My Sunday Photo: Happy!

We did some chalk art on Friday, & Ellie & Jake seem very happy about it!

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My Sunday Photo 20/3/16: The Reader

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Ellie loves to read, and write, and has become very good at both! Great to see 🙂

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Children given the chance to try a new activity free for a year

Children across the UK from all walks of life, are being given an equal opportunity to take part in a quality-checked activity free of charge for a year via Sponsored Child 2016, a charitable initiative created by KalliKids.com.

Designed to encourage children of all ages on the importance of developing personal interests and engaging in new activities, the annual sponsorship scheme gives youngsters the chance to try new things and learn new skills in anything from swimming and playing the piano, to dance, tennis, mathematics and much more.

Ambassador and former British number one national tennis champion, Julie Pullin, is also supporting the initiative, “All children regardless of circumstance, economic or social status deserve the opportunity to learn new skills. Tennis gave me all sorts of skills from confidence and social skills to wanting to succeed, dealing with adversity, being respectful to others, conflict resolution, positivity and tenacity, as well as some amazing experiences”, she said.

Triumph over tragedy for Sponsored Child Sophie…

In 2015, 25-year-old Kayleigh Osborne applied for a place with Sponsored Child for her 4-week-old daughter, Sophie, to be sponsored with swim school, after her husband, Dan, was tragically killed in a car accident shortly after their baby was born.

Kayleigh said: “I saw Puddle Ducks swimming club had a taster trial which I went to and loved, but couldn’t afford to commit to the lessons. Someone suggested I apply for a place through the KalliKids Sponsored Child scheme. It went from there. It was an amazing opportunity for me and I was so pleased she was picked.

“Sophie started learning to swim in April 2015. As well as it being an invaluable skill, it has helped me to overcome hurdles and has been essential in helping us to bond. In the water she relies on me solely. It gives us time to be together, focused on something positive and not our grief.  Now I wouldn’t be without Sophie for anything.”

Karen Bach, founder of KalliKids.com spoke about the scheme, “Since we launched the scheme two years ago we’ve helped so many children across the country like Sophie, to try out fun, new activities that will aid their physical and social development and help them to build greater confidence as they grow.  I would urge parents to take a look at the many sponsorships on offer, it is free and easy to apply online and if successful, free to take part.”

The scheme is open to all children across the UK and selected children are motivated and enthusiastic with a positive attitude towards learning and are able to commit to attending the full 12-month activity schedule.

Applications are open now, to enter go to: www.kallikids.com for more information.

KalliKids is the trusted online resource that currently connects over 90,000 parents with quality-checked, children’s activities and services across the UK. Membership is free; users can simply search for activities of interest in their local area to discover a selection of accredited children’s activities and services, all checked upfront and with ratings and reviews from like-minded parents. Parents can join to save money, become part of a wider family-oriented community and share their opinions and recommendations across one, easy to use website.

The Treadmill

So…I’ve bought a treadmill.

Ellie, ever observant, noticed this – probably because Jake was standing on it at the time – and asked me “Daddy, why have you got that – ” Me: “treadmill?” “yes: ‘treadmill’?”

I actually have this slightly mad idea of using it as I play my favourite Xbox game, Skyrim, so that I walk as my character does, run when he does, & sit down in the Inn and drink ale as – well, actually I probably do enough of that already, & that’s probably why I need the thing in the first place…

I was explaining to her what a treadmill does and why I need it. I believe the words “big fat belly” may have been used, again. Possibly.

Her response took me by surprise.

“But daddy, it doesn’t matter what you look like, it matters that you’re kind”.

Wise words for a 5-year-old, and definitely a Magic Moment!

Although I do need to lose weight (as well?) 🙂

For more Magic Moments just click the pic:

My Sunday Photo 21/2/16

Recent gifts from my loving twins!

Ellie wrote out my shopping list for me – her reading and writing is really coming along! Although I did give her a lot of help with spelling.

And later spilt water on it: sorry ’bout that.

Jake gave this little toy – and said that “every orange thing is a kiss from me”.

I love my little nearly 6-year-olds so very much. Sorry to get soppy!

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DIY Palette Bar

Can you think of anything better than having a bar in your own home? It sounds like an expensive project, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a guide on how to make the perfect bar to suit your social needs.

Building

Gather your chosen palettes and position them in the way you’d like your bar to sit. Choose the correct height and width of the bar and, if necessary, saw the parts off that you don’t need. Use another palette and saw off each section so that you’re left with numerous wooden slats.

Concentrate on building the front of the bar first, select a couple of slats to nail onto the top of the palette, this section will be the top of the bar.

Next you need to attach the palettes together, again using nails hammer the sections together, giving you the frame of your bar.

When positioning your bar, remember to make sure that behind the bar is enclosed, leaving an open section to enter and exit from.

Believe it or not, you’ve don’t the hard part. You should now have your assembled bar.

Touching Up

Now that you’ve built your bar, you need to consider maintenance. The last thing you want is for your bar to only last a few months. Start by sanding down the wood, removing any possible lose bits that could cause splinters. Then use a varnish to cover the wood, this will help maintain the life of the bar, as well as making it practical to use in the garden too. Now you’ve done this messy bits, you can concentrate on the exciting part, the details.

Detail and Alcohol

How you decide to design your bar is entirely down to personal preference. If you’re hoping to use the bar to entertain guests, why not display some nice spirits on the bar top along with some photographs or gimmicky items. If it’s more personal use, get all of your favourite beers or wines and position them neatly on the bar, next to a couple of glasses or maybe even a decanter for added effect. If you’re wanting to use the bar outside, which is a great option especially when it comes to summertime, think about adding lights around the outskirts of the bar. This will add character to the bar, and if used outside will help create the perfect social area for you and your friends. One thing to remember if using the bar outdoors with lighting, install yourself a weatherproof junction box, this simply ensures that the cable for the lighting can be outside without any risk or potential dangers.

Now you can sit back and enjoy your hard work, why not crack open a bottle of wine or pour yourself a well-deserved pint.

Written by Jasmine Smith

Jump on it!

Who remembers space hoppers?! (It’s OK; you don’t have to admit it if you don’t want to.) 

The good news for those of us who do – whether we’ll admit it or not – is that they seem to be making a comeback!

And for those who don’t – read on! (Hint: they’re great.)

I was delighted to receive from the fine people at confused.com not 1 but 2 great space hoppers – complete with natty pumps –  as part of their #Jumponit campaign.

Jake and Ellie were very excited about this, and also were determined, as ever, to do as much as they could themselves.

So, first step: Pump it up!

It was fun! but then we had a bit of a surprise:

Even so, we were pumped and ready to go, so there was nothing else for it but to head out & test-drive our new bouncy toys!
Fair warning: some of this was filmed by a 5-year-old boy. He did his best…)

I love how Jake tried to make his hopper smaller by trying to let some air out! And I’d forgotten just how much fun a good bounce in a space-hopper is!

Also: I’d like to point out, please, that there was a storm here the night before. My garden is messier than usual, honest…

As you can see we had a lot of fun, thanks to confused.com: Jump on it!