Postcard from Butlins – Day Two

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Savory Scones

My mum was an amazing cook and baker and growing up our home was filled with the smell of cooking and baking.  She cooked everything from scratch including bread and biscuits.  One of my favorite things that she baked was her savory scones.  She could whip them up in 10 minutes flat and always said that the less you handled them the better they were.  She never rolled our her scones, she just patted them down and often just cut the in to triangles rather than cut them in to circles.
When my mum died I took her cook books, but to be honest most of the time she cooked from memory.  I have this recipe as she used to cook it for me when she came to visit when we lived down south as she knew how much I adored them.  The secret ingredient is paprika, which is used in a very small amount to add a smokey flavour to the scones Ingredients (makes 12)
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 75g cold butter cubed
  • 100g Char-grilled Peppers (chopped)
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 egg
  1. Heat your oven to 220 degrees c (gas mark 7) and lightly grease a baking tray or use a silicone baking sheet on top of a tray.
  2. Place flour and baking powder in to a bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles bread crumbs (I actually use my food blender for this part and just give it a quick pulse).
  3. Crack and beat the egg and add enough milk to it to make 150ml.
  4. Add the peppers and paprika (the paprika adds a lovely smoky hint to the scones without overpowering them) to the liquid and mix in to the dry mix with a butter knife till it is a soft dough.  Do not over mix.
  5. On a lightly floured surface kneed until smooth and roll out till around 1 cm thick (I just press with my hands).
  6. Cut with a 7cm (ish) cutter ( you will get approx 12 scones)
  7. Place on the baking tray and brush the tops of them with some milk (try not to go over the edge as it stops them rising evenly)
  8. Bake for 15 minutes and place on a wire rack to cool.
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Postcards from Butlins – Day one and a competition

  first day-postcard-frontblank postcard back  Butlins Blog Competition Digital Postcard Win an iPad, Wii U, iPad Mini or iPod Touch with Butlins Butlins are call for all bloggers to tell them about a special childhood holiday memory that still makes you smile and you could be in with the chance of winning one of these 4 prizes: An iPad, WiiU, iPad Mini or iPod Touch. Once you have thought about which childhood holiday was most memorable to you, all you need to do is write and post on your blog a short description and conclude the entry with the end line “Competition sponsored by Butlins Holiday Parks, helping your family make memories.”  Then email us at with link to your blog entry to let them know! How to enter Please:
  •  Write and post on your blog your favourite holiday memory.
  • Include the end line “Competition sponsored by Butlins Holiday Parks, helping your family make memories.”
  • Email us a link to your blog entry at by midnight on 18th August 2013.
  • If you like, you can also tweet about the competition and keep us updated on your progress by using the hashtag #butlinscomp
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Sunderland International Airshow 2013 – a view from the sea

airshow We adore the Sunderland International Airshow and it is something we have visited every year with the boys since returning to the North East.  However, this year MadDad and MIni had the opportunity to view the airshow from a different perspective.  They took the DFDS Sunderland Airshow Sailout, which costs £15 for children and £30 for adults and includes a three course lunch too. The sailout is such a popular event that it often sells out early and we were lucky enough to receive our tickets via the press office. The trip at a glance
  • 10:30-11:00 Check-in and board the ship.  Boarding will take place at 11am
  • 11:30 Ferry leaves port for Sunderland.  You have a three course buffet lunch.
  • 12:20 Ferry arrives at viewing point off Seaburn and Roker
  • 14:00 Ferry leaves Sunderland for voyage back to port
  • 15:00 Ferry arrives back into port.  All passengers disembark
dfds  Collage MadDad's Review You are guided to a free car park as you enter the Port of Tyne and then are shown where to exchange your ticket for boarding pases and board the ship.  Once onboard you have the freedom of the ship and we decided to go for our lunch, which was a three course buffet style meal.   Both Mini and I enjoyed the food, although we did find the drinks rather expensive (which are the only extras you have to pay for). The boat dropped anchor off shore at 12.20 and we found a place on the deck to watch the Red Arrows who were opening this years airshow.  It was hot on deck and I was glad that we had took sunscreen and hats.  Although there was 500 people onboard the ship didn't feel crowded and there was plenty of room to find a vantage point. Watching from the sea gave a whole new perspective on the airshow.  The planes were closer and we had super views and really enjoyed our day.  There was people of all ages on board the ship from families with small children and older couples.  You avoid all the traffic and queues getting out of Sunderland. The only negatives were that the day was far too short and we didn't get to see all the days flights and also the drinks were more expensive than I anticipated.  Saying that we will be looking at booking tickets for next year for the whole family. Mini's Review I was really excited to be going on a special trip with just Daddy.  I love planes and have lots of models at home and the airshow is one of my favorite things to go and see.  I have never been on a ferry as big as the one I went on, which was called the King Seaways.  The food was gorgeous and the carrots were my favorite part of the meal. After the meal we went to get a drink of slush as it was very hot on the deck.  I was excited to see the red arrows and they surprised me by being so close and it felt like they nearly skimmed the funnel of the ship.  We also saw Misdemeanor (a Hawker Hunter), which I have seen before and could tell it was her by the colours she is painted. We also watched two helicopters that did lots of tricks and they were absolutely class.   I was a little upset to have to set off back before we saw the Typhoon.  I wish the trip had been longer and I would love to go next year with all the family. airshow Collage Mini was so excited to be going on the trip that he was up super early and fell asleep in the car on the way home.  He hasn't stopped talking about his experience since getting home.  
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Skimming Stones

dog walk Part of our #freerangesummer means that I have to learn to let go and be a little more relaxed with my parenting style. I have to admit that this is something of a challenge for me as my natural style is to organise and plan for everything! skimming stones But I am learning that we seem to have the best times when I just relax and put no expectations on our time together.  Take last night as an example.  It had been a warm day and when MadDad got home he suggested wse go out for dinner and for a drive and walk with Alvin. The evening was glorious.  The weather was amazing, warm, but with a breeze and the sunset was breathtaking.  I stopped worrying that the boys needed to go to bed and we had the most fantastic eveing at Scaling Damn.  The boys skimmed stones and the pup loved exploring. late summer sun I watched the sun set over the lake (well reservoir, if I am being technical) and was thankful for my wonderful family and the spate of good weather we are having in the UK. Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
The Mad House
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I would love for you to link up any posts you might have about activities in the summer holidays.
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No screens after 6pm #screenfree

We have a rule in the Mad House that there are no electronics after 6pm.  For us this means no Ipads, video games, phones and computers for the boys after 6pm.  I have read that the LCD  screens can affect the production of melatonin by up to 22% and therefore, make it much harder to get to sleep. This has been a long term rule at our house and we encourage the boys to read real books, play board games, chat, do jigsaw puzzles and crafts after six pm until bed time or even play outside (which is their current favorite activity). At the moment the boys go to bed around 8pm and come inside around 7pm as there is a one year old living next door. We do allow some TV, especially if there is documentary we have recorded and we often do this, so we can sit as a family and watch it together. Now the boys are seven and eight we are transitioning from junior jigsaw puzzles to family ones as we have been struggling to find age appropriate ones that provide a challenge.  So Orchard Toys sent a couple of their talk along 150 piece puzzles and they have been great fun for the boys to do together.  The one below is Dinosaur Discovery and is 150 pieces.  It is perfect for the boys to do on their own and within a timescale that stops them getting board.  We were also sent Where is the wood too.  I would say that these puzzles are perfect for up to age seven, they have good sized pieces and are very well made.  Plus they come with ideas for discussions based on the puzzles, so are great for family time.  Plus at less than £10 each they are perfectly priced as birthday gifts. jigsaw We are also moving on to reading chapter books as a family and doing lots of puzzle books.  Maxi particularly likes sudoku and crosswords, whist Mini really loves drawing. I also have to say that it is good for us as a family to mindfully turn off the screens and play together.  We have scramble battles, play bananagrams and still love dino dice.  Boggle is one of my favorites at the moment too. Dobble We are also trying to reduce our dependance on screens for those I am boarded moments whilst waiting for food to be served or waiting in queses with small games and have recently been sent Dobble from Esdevium Games, which is a card game and the perfect size for keeping in my bag.  It is a card game, which is based on the concept of snap and needs, speed, good observation and super fast reflexes.  You can play up to five different mini games from the one tin of 55 cards (which are circular) and is a great game for all ages and is currently less than £10. What are your favorite screen free pastimes?  
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Cut the rope Toys review

My boys are both fans of cut the rope and were delighted to receive some goodies and toys from the brand from Vivid Toys. cut-the-ropetalking-om-nomproduct27251_d5c4230cd547dba0d462f9e37e72cdb3 (1) They received a plush cut the rope OmNom that makes the cut the rope noise, which Mini really loved.  As it is a circle the boys took to throwing it at each other and it wasn't long before Alvin decided that this must be his new toy.  This is around £9.99 and has been a big hit with any of the many children that come through my house. We were also sent a joke book (RRP £4.99).  My boys who are now seven and eight really love and understand jokes.  This book has been well thumbed and has 64 pages of age appropriate jokes.  It is a super book for any reluctant reader and prepare yourself to be inundated with jokes. cut the rope We were sent a comic, which is a monthly publication and is £3.99.  I find childrens comics quite pricey, but this did have a lot of content and was also filled with puzzles posters, experiments and also things to make and do, so Maxi enjoyed it and as always the boys love the freebies that you get on the front of childrens comics and magazines. This edition came with a small book and pen and some cut the rope stickers. We were also sent a doodle book, which I actually nabbed to put in the boys summer activity packs for the car.  This is £5.99 and is filled with activities including dot to dots and mazes (which are Maxi's favorite). 9
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10 Last minute rainy day activities

The british weather is notoriously fickle and typically it will pour with rain when you have a sunny day activity planned, so it pays to have some last minute rainy day activities that you can do with things you have in the house.  We have a large crafty stash so often turn to that, but I appreciate this isn't the case for everyone.  So I have put together 10 rainy day activities that need minimal or no planning at all and are perfect for unexpected rainy days. rainyday activities
  1. Learn how to bubble write
  2. Colouring in
  3. Write a book report
  4. Try some decoupage
  5. Write a letter to a penpal
  6. Make fingerprint art
  7. plan and cook a meal
  8. Make a masking tape race track or town
  9. Make your own play dough
  10. Make paper flowers
Looking for more ideas, then Cass at Frugal Family has some more great rainy day ideas on her blog.
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Free summer printables from Pen and Paint Blog

Pen and Paint is Lindsay Hopkins and I  first discovered her fab artwork on Instagram.  We now have four of her prints around our house and we love them  Everytime I look at them they make me smile and people always comment on them. pen and paint blog bucket list Lindsay also has a brilliant blog and every now and then she offers free printables on it and I just had to share the summer ones with you.  I have printed out the bucket list one for my boys to colour in and fill in, but Lindsay also have one that is pre coloured in. pen and paint summer Both my boys had the Spring version of the seasonal print in their rooms.  I love the fact that you can make children aware of such fantastic art and they love it and have been waiting for the summer one.
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#Freerangesummer doesn’t mean that I ignore my children………..

Nor does it mean that I let them be bored or fail to plan activities for us as a family.  I am not a parent that see's boredom as a virtue, in fact I have a bored jar for times like that! No a #freeRange Summer means that I am trying to give my children some freedom to play out.  That I am trying to establish some boundaries for them to stick too and to reduce their reliance on screens.  In today's increasingly technological world they are increasingly looking at picking up a piece of technology to escape their boredom. climbing fountains   I am trying as a parent to learn how to balance technology in my parenting, as really my boys are the first generation of children to have this access to tablets, PC's, Video Games, Mobile Phones etc.  I do not want to exclude it totally, but I do need to find the right balance for us as a family.   I am still aware that there might be health risks from exposure these devices. However, more and more they are coming home from school and showing me apps that they have used in a classroom situation, the most recent one Mini has been using to create cartoon strips.  So I realise that I can not exclude them using an Ipad, but I can regulate that use and make it as safe as I can.  I was recently sent a Pong Ipad case to review, which are designed to reduces exposure to radiation by up to 78%.  As a parent this is very important to me.  Safe to say I can not stop the boys using an Ipad (well I can, but I am not going to)!, but I can make using it as safe as possible. We have some very strict rules when it comes to screens.  None other than TV after 6pm.  The Xbox has parental control with a time limit on and I am really strict with regards to the type of games that they can play or apps that I download for them. My summer is going to be filled with weeks away with my children, with organised activities and visiting parks (where I hope to leave them to play while a read a book)!  The days are going to be spent with them playing cricket with friends and spending time in the midday heat making comics on the ipad.  What I am looking for is a balance that suits us as a family. I am not advocated leaving your children to get bored, what I am advocating is allowing them some freedom where appropriate.   I think that it is OK to let children climb trees and role down grassy banks at castles if it is safe. Whatever you do this summer, just make sure you have fun.
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