#Freerangesummer and an Epic Visit to Kielder Forest

We spent a fabulous couple of days at Kielder Forest staying at Leaplish water park last weekend and I have to say that it was AMAZING. I promise a full review and update of our #EpicKielder adventure, but in the meantime I will leave you with some images. keilder It was a weekend filled with skimming stones, walking, new adventures, lots of fresh air and Mini falling asleep before dinner (which is unheard of). As you are reading this we will be off to France to experience Thompson Alfresco and a week of sunshine (hopefully). I hope you have had a great week and feel free to link up any summer posts. Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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TEFAL ingenio – A need, want, must have moment


 Look the handle comes off so fast I couldn't catch it on camera!

Back in July as part of the Tefal Innovators project I was invited to London to take a look at the new Tefal products that were going to be hitting our shelves.  This is where I was introduced to the Tefal Optigrill (which we now use regularly) and also where I had a need, want, must have moment. Let me introduce to you TEFAL Ingenio, which is a set of pans which I am hoping will revolutionise my kitchen.  I am currently waiting to buy a full set and once I do I will let you know how I get on with them.  But first let me tell you why I really must have these pans. They have a detachable handle
  • This turns a pan in to a cake tin
  • This turn the pan in an oven dish
  • This turns the pan in to a serving dish
  • This makes them easier to store
  • This makes them harder to knock off the cooker
ingenioset330 Other Features:
  • Refrigerator to hon to oven to table
  • They have glass lids and plastic lids so you can store things in them
  • Titanium non-stick coating is extremely resistant and can be used with metal utensils (except whisks and knives)

  • Thermo-Spot heat indicator let’s you know when pan has reached optimal cooking temperature
  • Dishwasher and oven safe

The real benefit for me is that this pan set would mean that I could clear clutter from my kitchen.  I would not need tupperware, cake tins, pyrex  and oven dishes.  I would even get rid of my steamer and collender if I bought the steamer and draining attachment.

The Tefal Innovation Panelists

Disclosure: I was invited expenses paid to a blogger day in London and received a couple of Ingenio pans   
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Back to School Blog Linky

back to school blog linky

Can you believe that my scottish friends children have already gone back to school?  Here in England we have three more weeks, so I thought it might be a good idea to host a blog linky for all things back to school from school uniform reviews to first day photo's.

I would love you to join in and each week I will do a back to school post along with a round up including my favorite posts from the week before.

I am going to start things off by showing you how I record the boys first day at school:





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Crafting our Dream Car #DreamCarCraft

Carcraft are challenging people to craft their dream car to be in with the chance to win £50 worth of Amazon vouchers. craft your car It is really simple to enter all you have to do is: 1. Help your child (or children) craft their dream car. 2. Take a photo – there is room for more creativity here! 3. Finally, tweet us your photo at @Carcraft with the hashtag #DreamCarCraft. But get your skates on as it ends on Friday.  To find our more take a look at the craft your dream car terms and conditions. Today has been one of those days where we have all played hokey cokey with the weather (in, out, in, out, in, out) so we took the opportunity to work on our car when it was raining.   This is Mini's, it has speical wheels so it can go faster and it is make from rock for when you might get hungry whilst on long journeys!   3.
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#Freerangesummer – The next installment

Can you believe that it is less than 4 weeks until the children go back to school, much sooner than that for my fiends in Scotland.   Time really does fly when you are having fun.  I appreciate that not everyone is as lucky as me to be able to take the summer off work (pretty much) and spend time with their children, but I do think that it certainly polarises opinion of long school holidays. free range summer Last week was filled with lots of fun at Butlins with Dairy of a Frugal Family and believe it or not, it allowed for lots of free range parenting and provided me with the perfect place to allow the boys a little extra freedom.  I let them get their dinner and drinks on their own, go to the games room on their own and also spend time with the Frugal's  without me watching over my shoulder. We also managed to find some outdoor spaces to play in the most unlikely of settings.  The top image is a woodland service area just off the M25, the perfect spot to allow the children to let off some stream and go to the loo and the tree climbing took place on the edge of the car park at our Premier Inn hotel in Berkshire.  Just goes to show you that outdoor play and adventure is never far away and that children can play anywhere given the chance. Alvin is also proving to be an excellent competition for our #freerangesummer and we are all benefiting for dog walking adventures. What have you been up to this week?  I would love for you to link up. Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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Win £50 in Takeaway Vouchers!

Fancy a night off? JUST EAT has got you covered. JUST EAT is giving the readers of Mum In The Madhouse the chance to win £50 in JUST EAT vouchers. Just enter our competition! just eat How much extra does it cost to order from JUST-EAT.co.uk?
  1. £2.50
  2. £5
  3. Nothing!
JUST EAT is the nation’s top online takeaway ordering service. We’re free to join, and with over 17,000 restaurants nationwide you’re sure to be able to find something you fancy. Whether it’s a meal from your local Chinese restaurant or a piping hot curry from the nearest Indian, ordering is simple. Find great new restaurants in your area, or take advantage of online ordering with your old favourites! Click here if you’d like to follow us on Twitter for competitions and discounts! a Rafflecopter giveaway
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The evolution of our vegetable patch in the garden

Garden 2009 Way back in February 2009 after I had my mastectomy MadDad built three raised bed in the garden so we could start to grow our own vegetables.   This is those raised bed in July 2009. That year we planted cabbage, cauli, broccoli, kale, chard, spinach, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, leeks, beans, peas, pumpkins, courgettes and strawberry’s  We were rather over adventurous that first year and crammed everything in to the beds and pots.  Our cabbage and cauli was eaten by cabbage whites.  The pumpkins took over the small space we had and invaded our neighbours too!  The carrots got munched by carrot fl, but we had a super time growing things and it was a brilliant experience for the boys and to this day runner beans go by the name Robbie Runner Beans! garden 2013 As the years have gone on we have learned that we just can not grow carrots.  That cabbages are hit and miss for us and although we can grow onions they are actually really inexpensive to buy so are not best use of our tiny bit of land. This year we have planted new potatoes, cabbage, sprouts, broad beans, peas, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers (in the conservatory), pak choi and salad leaves.    We have three raised beds which have the peas in one, potatoes in another and broccoli and sprouts in the other.   Each year we rotate what is in each of the beds and as soon as the potatoes come out in a week or so we will be planting some winter kale and other winter greens (spring cabbages). We have two large barrels which both have broad beans in this year.  We want to encourage the boys to eat them and growing them is often the best way for us to introduce a food to them.  In fact the peas never get from pod to plate, just pod to mouth!  We are growing strawberries in hanging boxes and baskets, but they are very small this year.  Perhaps we need top replace them next year.  Has anyone else had this issue? Tomatoes are also grown in planters and we have one tumbler in almost the flowers, which has done remarkably well. I also have a number of pots with herbs in including Sage, Chives, Mint, Rosemary, which remain outside all year round and we have more tender ones in the kitchen including Basil.
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Pong Ipad Case review

I mentioned that we were testing out a Pong Ipad case on a previous #freerangesummer post and we have now had it for five weeks  and I have to say I am really impressed.  If you follow me on twitter you will know that my children are not gentle with electronics and we have had to have the screen on our family Ipad replaced on more than one occasion!  So it is safe to say that we have put the case through it's paces. pong What we liked:
  • It is a slimline case more akin to the apple case than many other cases and it is a really great fit.  We love the adaptability of the origami fold mechanism and the fact that it has magnets in it, so snaps together reassuringly too.
  • It protects the user by directing wireless energy and radiation away from the user by up to 52%.  As a parent this is a BIG factor for me.
  • It increases wifi speed by up to 2.6% thanks to a special patented wafer thin ariel in the case.   This also helps boost battery power b y some sort of hocus pocus too!
  • The case enables you to use the ipad both in portrait and landscape mode and feels really secure.
  • It closes down you ipad when you close the cover to save on battery life.
  • It fits really well.  The ipad clips firmly into the case without any flexing and feels really secure and safe, which with two destructive boys is a must.
maxi ipad We weren't keen: Other than the cost $120 I can not see anything we do not like about this case, but  I would pay that price for it especially if it saved me spending £80 a time for a new screen! 9
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Top 20 Windsor Names

Having a baby requires months of planning, from buying new clothes, choosing the nursery furniture and not least of all, choosing a name. Check out this infographic charting the most popular boys' and girls' names in England and Wales, compared to the most popular Windsor family names.
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The best rides for 7 and 8 year olds at Thorpe Park

When you think of Thorpe Park you often think that it is the place for older children, but I want to assure you that my boys who are seven and eight had a blast at Thorpe Park and are desperate to go back.  So here are our top rides for seven and eight year olds at Thorpe Park.  Mini, who is seven is just over 125 and Maxi who is eight is 135cm.  Both are looking forward to the day when they are over 140cm and can ride everything in the park!

rush   Rush is like a massive swing.  Be prepared to leave your stomach behind you.  This is Maxi's favorite ride and as he was under 140cm he had to ride it with MadDad. quantum   Quantum was Mini's favorite ride and is right next to rush.  It is a magic carpet ride that speeds you up and over!  Mini loved the fact that he didn't need an adult to come on this ride with him. storm surge Thorpe Park excels at water rides and Storm Surge is like a helter skelter with water and inflatables.  What is not to like? loggers leap   Loggers Leap is a log flume ride which thrills young and old.  The boys went on this ride three times! rumba rapids   The Rumba Rapids was a firm favorite of the boys too.  They didn't need to go on with either of us, but decided that it would be fun to get Daddy wet again! tidal wave   Yet another water ride.  This time Tidal Wave.  You do not have to ride to get wet, this ride makes an EPIC splash too. flying fish   The Flying Fish was one ride that the boys rode again and again together.  Both at the front and the back.  In fact sometimes they didn't even get off! The boys were also able to go on X, Zodiac, Banana Ride, Rocky Express, Storm in a teacup, The Detonator and  Wet, wet, wet.  We had an amazing couple of days at Thorpe Park and stayed in the Crash Pad, which is kind of like being in a caravan, compact, but has everything you need. Top tips for getting the best value:
  1. Book your tickets at least two days in advance at home
  2. Print them off
  3. Second day from £6.00
  4. Consider staying onsite if you live any distance away.
My friend Cass at Frugal Family has a super competition at the moment to win tickets to Thorpe Park, so get yourself over there and enter.
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