Win a personalised Calender with PhotoBox 73

Can you believe that it is only two months to 2014!  I know that I can’t. To help ease you into 2014 mode, I have a fab giveaway from PhotoBox to win a personalised calendar ready for the new year.  A photo calendar is the ideal way to personalise a calendar and help remember those all-important dates such as birthdays and anniversaries.   They are an excellent way of making your memories last all year round and make the perfect present for Grandparents.  I used to make one for my Mum every year and she looked forward to it. In time to give the perfect gift or even to make a calendar for more »


ipad apps

Must have Ipad Apps – Help please 3

We were really lucky recently to have been gifted a tablet from Currys, more specifically an Ipad 4.  We have been putting it to the test and I thought I would share with you our favorite games, apps and also a really good piece of advice that I got from Rith at Geek Mummy.

Dirt Desserts 8

I first saw these on my trip to LA to learn about Epc and I just knew the boys would love them.  Plus they are simple to make and take no time to set, so are perfect for children top make themselves. Ingredients Angel Delight of other instant chocolate mousse Milk Chocolate biscuits (oreo’s would be perfect) but we used double choc chip cookies Jelly worms Method: Make the mouse as instructed on the packet and pour in to glass or plastic containers. Crush the biscuits in a bag with a rolling pin (The amount depends on the depth you want) Add your snakes on top. All in all this took more »


theme parks

Encouraging them to reach for the sky 6

It is half term this week in The Mad House and thanks to Warburtons we visited a local theme park Flamingoland earlier in the week.  We had an absolutely amazing time and the boys had a blast.

After school fun – Shape Sticks 6

I am going to be bringing you a new regular feature here at The Mad House, After School Fun (thanks to the Evil Overlord for making me a snazzy badge!).  During the summer my boys who are seven and eight tend to play out after school.  There is lots of cricket, football (soccer) and bike riding, but with the clock change coming and winter on its way more and more they need indoor activities to keep them occupied after school and to stop them fighting and to try and keep them away from the dreaded screens that they love so much! They need things that can hold their attention, but do more »

shape-sticks facebook

worldgone wild

Discover the savage world 29

We have so many books in the Mad House that we had to buy a new book case for Mini’s bedroom last week.  Not that I am complaining.  I love that he is a book worm and I really wish that Maxi would have the same relationship with books that iIni does. Both the boys really love “fact” books and they are great for encouraging boys, who can often be reluctant readers.  We are fans of Miles Kelly Publishers and have received and bought books from them before and they sent is the new Discovery Channel Discover the Savage World book to review and also set us a couple of challenges more »

Learning by example 1

I have blogged before about the fact that Mini’s teeth are showing their first signs of decay and how we are now on

the Dentist’s quarterly visit list. We have been making a concerted effort to improve the boys brushing and both the boys use a sonic toothbrush, just like both MadDad and I do now.

However, one of the things that has made the biggest difference for us is introducing disclosing tablets on a Sunday evening. These are small purple tablets that the boys chew and they dye the plaque on their teeth a purple colour, which gives the boys a visible image for them to concentrate on. You can even get ones that show both new and old areas of plaque. The light areas show new and the dark areas olds. They cost around £2.30 for a pack of 20, which I think are great value and well worth adding to any cleaning routine.

The only big improvement is knowing how long to brush for, this is due to the fact that both their toothbrushes have a build in timer like the colgate proclinical electric toothbrush, means that they know to spend thirty seconds concentrating on each quarter of their mouth.

Benefits of using an electric toothbrush for children

According to clinical studies chil;dren remove 41% more plaque with an electric toothbrush than with a standard brush.
Electric toothbrushes help children use appropriate force when brushing.
They help with the length of brushing, as they often have built in pacing technology.
They help familiarise children with movement and noise in their mouth, so help when visiting the dentist
Longevity, you can replace the head rather than the whole toothbrush
They are fun to use and anything that helps to take the pressure out of teeth brushing is a bonus in my home!
Ultimately for me, the fact that an electric toothbrush will do a better job of cleaning my childrens teeth means that I am all for them. I have lots of other tips and tricks to encourage tooth brushing in children.

oral b


Make a newspaper wig 3

Inspired by fabulous children’s book Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre.  So this post is an entry into the #Tots100Seawigs competition in association with  we decided to make our own newspaper wig, which is our seawig.

Words on a Wednesday – Choose Joy 4

  My mantra for 2013.  We all need reminding every now and then and looking at this beautiful piece makes me smile everyday. Choose Joy artwork from Pen and Paint.  I love mine and am never disappointed by anything Lindsay makes.

choose joy


After school fun – Lets be a spy and how to leave a secret message 4

So on to the Spy Gear kit we were sent. The biggest hits were the Stealth com walkie talkies as they didn’t need to use their hands. They loved these and have been played with a lot. They go in to their bedroom and communicate. Mini caught me out with the Micro Agent Motion Alarm as he put it in his bedroom, so when I went in it set the alarm off. He is very protective of his room and all his books and hates people going in it, including Maxi’s friends when they visit, so this was one of his favorite items.

The Night Goggles have come in to their own now the nights are getting darker and Mini can even use them over his prescription goggles. The Spike Mic Launcher did not survive Alvin and was an early casualty of #MadPup! Both boys like the Field Agent Spy Watch, but found it difficult to put on themselves.

Overall the Spy Gear stuff is great and I can see us getting a lot of play out of it.

Apple printing and apple eating! 8

Today is apple day and we are celebrating it in the mad house, by apple printing and eating delicious apple pie and the last two apples from our tree.  When we moved in to our new build home 7 years ago one of the first things we did was plant an apple tree and a pear in the garden.  We have watched over the years as those trees have grown and developed just like our children and watched the joy on the boys faces when the apple bears fruit (the pear never has, yet………).

dutch apple cake


A space party for an out of this world parents evening 1

It was parents evening at the school this week.  Safe to say we walked out of the school with the biggest grins on our faces.  Mini’s conference was exceptional and he is coming on in leaps and bounds and his English work is fab (probably down to all the reading he does).  Maxi is too steaming ahead, but we are going to have to have a conversation about effort as at the moment he is applying minimum effort to get the desired outcome (Hey I guess that is a typical eight year old boys thing).

Perfect presents for the man in your life and a giveaway 341

I adore my husband.  I have spent nearly  half of my life with him and I hope to grow old with him by my side.  As the years have past I have learned lots about him and also lots about my gift buying for him.  Never buy him clothes.  I buy what I would like him to wear rather than what he really likes to wear!  Times have changed and when we were younger and have duel incomes he really wanted for nothing.  If he saw something he liked then he would buy it for himself, but now we have little spare cash and he actually has a wish list again, more »


dream catcher

A home made dream catcher made my Mini 7

Not only did two years classrooms flood, but the library and ICT area also flooded. The dining hall has been turned in to a storage area and the school has been unable to serve warm meals. All this uncertainty has resulted in a very anxious Mini. This partly shows by him being filled with bravado and the other side with issues sleeping.

So in addition to working on stopping him being a reluctant sleeper and doing things to prevent nightmares, we also made a dream catcher together. When I say we, what I mean is I held the tape and chatted to him whist he made his own dream catcher.

We used, some wood from a plant in the garden with tape to make into a circle (ish) and then mini used rope to tie round it. He then strung some pretty beads on to string and attached them.

Whilst he concentrated on making the dreamcatcher we talked about their history and all the things that have been worrying him.

How to make a sourdough starter 4

Inspired by the Hairy Bikers, Mini has decided that he wants to make sourdough bread, which means that we need to make a starter. So We have started the process and at the moment we are on day two and MAria (as Mini named her) is currently sat in the airing cupboard.

Mini never does things by half so we received sourdough starters on line and he decided to use one from the BBC (as they often use this site for recipes at school).

He also decided he need to keep on top of what day it was so used our new A4 flexible magnetic chalkboard from First 4 Magnets, which was only £3.49 (they send it to us free) and stuck it on the fridge so he could see it and tick off after he had done what needed to be done each day.
We would love for you to join us in learning how to make sourdough bread, like Helen at The Crazy Kitchen has. If you do, please let us know by leaving a comment and you can follow our progress over on The Mad House facebook page or Instagram.



Cooking with Kids – Cadbury Pebble Cookies 2

Cooking and baking is something I do a lot with the boys.  I cooked with my mum growing up and a lot of the skills I have are all down to her.  Cooking and baking is great for children as it teaches them lots and lots of new skills including measuring and weighing (you can even add conversion in), time measurement and management.  Plus I am a great believer in home made and home cooked.

Hands on Maths for Maxi (year 4 or 8 year old) – Shapes 1

axi is currently working on shapes at school in maths and this week brought home an Islamic pattern sheet and he had to identify a number of polygons on it and colour them all in different colours. Maxi is 8 years old and in Year 4 at school (key stage 2).


For someone like me that finds this type of mathematics really hard it is nigh on impossible to look at that page and see anything other than triangles.

Thankfully First 4 Magnets had sent us a magnetic tangram this week. We were sent the yellow one and it retails at £1.99.

Complete square measures 125mm x 125mm
Seven separate magnetic shapes
Made from high-quality die cut foam on a flexible magnetic backing
These challenging and addictive puzzles are based on the ancient Chinese tangram puzzle. Each puzzle is made from premium foam with a flexible magnetic backing providing a secure grip to a steel surface like your fridge. Each puzzle is die cut and supplied as a square so you can easily break the individual shapes apart to create new shapes. A tangram contains a small square, two small isosceles triangles, a medium-sized isosceles triangle, two large isosceles triangles, and a parallelogram. An isosceles triangle has two equal angles and two equal sides. A parallelogram is a four-sided figure with each side parallel to the opposite side.

When I received it I put it on the fridge and everyone in the house has played with it, including Maxi’s friends who have come to visit. I decided to set some challenges for the boys to follow some patterns using the tangram and it was great fun for everyone.

On the suggestion of Cathy from Nurturestore this weekend will be spent turning a sleeper offcut in to a geoboard.


epic blu ray pack shot

My #Epic trip To LA 13

Last month I took a trip to LA to meet with the Epic Director, Chris Wedge and Art Director, Mike Knapp. What stood out to me when I watched Epic was the animation. It is magical and harks back to an early age of animation. There is so much attention to detail and it really shines and makes Epic something exceptional.

An Epic woodland hunt 44

Last month I took a little trip across the atlantic to learn more about Epic and the extras on the Blu-ray and DVD, which is released today.

Epic woodland walk

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