Monday, 24 July 2017

Summer Holiday Days in with BIC® Kids

Summer holiday fun with BIC Kids

The Summer holidays are here and like many parents, my first thought is to plan days out and activities to fill the days and prevent the dreaded uttering of 'Muuuuuuum, I'm bored.'

Boredom isn't as bad as its reputation makes out, however. In fact, boredom often breeds creativity! To start off the six weeks of summer, we had a day at home with a selection of BIC® Kids products sent to us to test out and create some artistic masterpieces to enter into the BIC Kids Billboard competition.

Both of my children love to draw and colour and were delighted with the new editions to their art drawer, they couldn't wait to try them out!

Colouring pens and pencils from BIC

We were sent the following:

BIC® KIDS Kid Couleur 12 pack, RRP £2.99  - washable felt tips

BIC® KIDS Kid Couleur 12 pack, RRP £2.99

The BIC KIDS Kid Couleur felt pens are durable and ultra washable felt pens with blocked tips. I have to admit that I am not usually a fan of felt tips, as I always worry about them staining hands and clothes, however, these washed off skin really easily and hopefully will be the same for clothes. A perfect way for kids to explore their creativity without too much lasting mess!
 BIC® KIDS Evolution Ecolutions colouring pencils, RRP £2.99

BIC® KIDS Evolution Ecolutions colouring pencils, RRP £2.99

The BIC® KIDS Evolution ultra-resistant, wood-free colouring pencils are ideal for everyday drawing and colouring. Both my children subconsciously suck or chew of pens and pencils when they are using them, a habit I discourage, but with the resistant chew-proof lead and barrel these pencils are nice and durable so I don't need to worry too much. 

BIC® KIDS Plastidecor® crayons, RRP £2.99

BIC® KIDS Plastidecor® crayons, RRP £2.99

The Plastidecor® crayons don't look like your standard wax crayons, these look much more grown up and are ideal for children over the age of 30 months to create with. Recommended by teachers, these crayons don't have paper to peel away and instead can be sharpened easily and so far none have broken! 

Boy colouring and drawing

Each pack of colours retails at just £2.99, which is great value given the quality. The colours of each variety are vivid and come in a rainbow of colours.

kids colouring in

 find out about the competition to win your child's art work on a billboard.

 Would you like to see your child's art work on a billboard in your local area? 

In partnership with Mumsnet, BIC® has launched a fantastic nationwide competition for all budding artists aged between 5-11, which will give 10 lucky winners the chance to have their artwork displayed on billboards around the UK – with one random winner taking away a fabulous £300 Tesco voucher. What’s more, there are tonnes of BIC® goodies available for those that enter.
“It doesn’t matter if your child thinks the sky should be yellow, the sun pink, or the grass purple – we want to see the nation’s most imaginative drawings. All you need to do, is send a photo of your kid’s best drawing by the 6th August. Entries will then be judged by our panel of expert creatives and winners will be notified before the billboards are launched in September,” says Rebecca Huda from BIC®.

I've entered both Elizabeth's and Ben's creative drawings from our fun day at home into the competition and if you have a creative child aged between 5 and 11, it's really easy to enter too, and you have until 6th August. Find out more here.

drawing of a pirate ship

drawing of a picnic

“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a voucher as a token of thanks for this post.”

Friday, 7 July 2017

Introducing the Vegetarian Society Approved vegan trademark and free Just V show tickets!

Last month I was invited down to the Vegetarian Society Cookery School in Altrincham to celebrate the launch of the brand new Vegetarian Society Approved vegan trademarkthis is the Vegetarian Society’s second trademark, which will complement their highly successful vegetarian one that currently certifies over 15,000 products.

Along with a small group of foodie bloggers, I was given a fabulous introduction into the world of vegan cookery in the form of the vegan toolkit workshop

A vegan feast including pasta, pastry and chocolate cake

As a special treat for my readers, I also have news about how you can get completely free tickets to the Just V show in London this weekend, read down to the bottom for full details!

This new Vegetarian Society Approved vegan trademark offers the assurance of strict checks to ensure products’ vegan credentials making sure they are free from:

  • animal-derived ingredients,
  • cross-contamination during production,
  • GMOs,
  • animal testing either directly or via commissioned processes.

As well as food products, the new trademark will soon be seen appearing on cruelty-free cosmetics, beauty products and even vegan cafes and restaurants such as The Retreat Kitchen in Richmond.will carry it across their homemade range.

I've found the original Vegetarian Society Approved trademark extremely useful over the years when shopping for packaged produce and I will be looking out for the new trademark appearing in shops, especially to provide reassurance and clarity on cosmetic and skincare products.

brand new Vegetarian Society Approved vegan trademark

I've been a vegetarian for over twenty years and despite a brief dalliance with veganism during my university years, I've always had some reservations about cooking meals without dairy, being a rather fussy eater anyway, I was worried it would significantly limit my options.

Amazing vegan meringue made with aquafaba (chick pea water)

However, I am always open to trying new things and I am very glad that I did. During the day I learned some great tips and tricks, from how to make perfect vegan meringues and eggless mayonnaise to great recipes for vegan pesto, cashew cream, how to best prepare tofu and  I even discovered entirely new foods to me such as Jamaican Ackee and breadfruit.

Ingredients to make a tasty vegan Tagine

Tasty vegan chickpea Tagine cooking

Tasty vegan chickpea Tagine with aubergine and couscous

Alex Connell, the principal tutor of the Vegetarian Society Cookery School
Photo courtesy of the Vegetarian Society

Our day was led by Alex Connell, the friendly, funny and passionate principal tutor of the Vegetarian Society Cookery School. Under his expert tuition, I was delighted to discover that vegan cookery is nothing to be scared of. In fact, I have come away with so much inspiration that I am introducing a vegan day at least once a week in our house and so far the whole family has happily embraced it!

potato salad dressed with vegan egg free mayonnaise
Photo courtesy of the Vegetarian Society

After learning some basic skills in the morning, such as pureeing garlic, chopping onion and celery, as well as making pasta, pesto and mayonnaise, we each chose a recipe to follow to contribute to a wonderful vegan feast that we enjoyed later in the afternoon.

 My recipe of choice for the day was a Spicy Chickpea Tagine with Aubergine Harissa, which I enjoyed so much (despite not usually being a lover of aubergine/eggplant) that I have made it again twice already!

A vegan feast at the Vegetarian Society cookery school, cheshire
Photo courtesy of the Vegetarian Society

Vegan Toolkit course at the Vegetarian Society cookery school
Photo courtesy of the Vegetarian Society

I enjoyed a wonderful day filled with delicious food and fabulous company and I'd like to thank everyone at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School for making us all feel so welcome as well as my fellow bloggers Jenny, Nicky, Helen, Ellie, Annabelle and Emily.

You can follow the Vegetarian Society on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube to keep up to date with their latest news!

free tickets to Just V Show London 2017

As I hinted above, I also have new of a great freebie for you...

The Vegetarian Society will be at the Just V Show at Olympia in London this weekend ( 7-9th July ) and you can claim FREE tickets to the Just V Show via the Vegetarian Society website, what's more, if you stop by the Vegetarian Society stand you'll be treated to a fabulous goody bag full of samples and vouchers to take home!

This post was commissioned by the Vegetarian Society. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Dressing as The Demon Dentist for World Book Day

Demon Dentist dress up costume for world book day boy

World Book day is almost upon us for another year and this time I had the challenge of finding a costume that met the approval of my rather fussy nine year old. Although he wanted to join in with the day and demonstrate his love of reading, he sees himself as too 'grown up' for the supermarket dress up costumes that his younger sister loves. The contents of his wardrobe don't exactly lend itself to adaptation either, unless of course he decided to go as a football player!

So when the lovely folks at Pretend to Bee  offered to send us their Mad Scientist Lab Coat to create a World Book Day costume with, Ben had an idea that involved a head torch and a bottle of ketchup...

Making a world book day costume with ketchup and a lab coat

Ben is a big David Walliams fan and you may remember his extreme reading challenge last Autumn when he had to read in an interesting location. His book of choice was The Demon Dentist and it was this that had given him an idea...

The Mad Scientist lab coat from Pretend to Bee arrived quickly and was a good fit for my tall 9 year old, with it's simple and unisex design with pull apart velcro fastening at the front. I could see it being a fantastic base for a multitude of costume ideas from Crazy Scientists, to Doctors and of course Dentists...

Mad Scientist lab coat costume from Pretend to Bee

Although the The Demon Dentist herself, Miss Root is a women, that doesn't mean that Ben couldn't be his own version of the terrifying tooth tackler!

Getting ready to squirt Ketchup

So we teamed the lab coat with a disposable dust mask (available from most DIY stores- a surgical mask would be a good replacement but we couldn't get hold of one of these) and his camping head touch then got out a bottle of Ketchup!

I've got to say that I did have fun standing in our yard squirting my 9 year old with ketchup, although my neighbours probably think i'm nuts! (If they didn't already!)

Here is the finished result ready for tomorrow, he's really pleased with it, what do you think?

Boy Dressed in Simple The Demon Dentist Costume for World Book Day

What's more is the ketchup should easily wash off the lab coat so it can be used again for different costumes and role play which makes it great value.

What are your children dressing as for World Book Day tomorrow? I'd love to see some pictures, do tweet me to share them at @mymummyspennies.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

LEGO Batman Movie takes over LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester

LEGO Batman poster

The caped crusader has landed at one of our favourite places for a family day out, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester! 
Superhero. Crime-fighter. Master Builder. LEGO Batman™ is all of those and so much more!
The North West's own LEGOLAND has been taken over by The LEGO® Batman™ Movie Days from 10th February until 12th March, including half term!
LEGO Batman movie days at LDC Manchester

You can meet Gotham City’s Caped Crusader to celebrate the release of the Warner Bros. feature film, which includes photo ops with the scene-stealing star, a fun scavenger hunt with prizes and LEGO Batman™-inspired LEGO build activities!
We visited last week and had lots of LEGO Batman Themed fun!
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Factory tour

We started off with the factory tour, which both my children have done countless times, but they still love it and especially enjoyed the special Batman passwords and the limited edition LEGO® Batman™ Movie brick they each got at the end!
We then walked straight on to the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride to zap some skeletons and save the Princess and Baby Dragon, there were no Batman extras here but it was still lots of fun and my 9 year old was chuffed that he got the highest score!


Next in was in to MINILAND, which had been well and truly taken over by LEGO Batman and the villains! We'd been handed a fun LEGO Batman mark and a scavenger hunt card on entry so we got to work searching for the clues and solving the riddles! The children had an awesome time spotting all the characters hidden among the familiar LEGO structures and did a great job finding them all.

Just as we came out of here, an announcement told us that LEGO Batman himself had arrived and was ready for some meet and greets so we wandered over to the Party room, and joined the short queue to meet him and get a photo. An official photographer was present to take photos you could later purchase but they were happy for us to take our own pictures too. My six year old delighted in giving LEGO Batman a big hug!

We then wandered back to the LEGO Racers: Build & Test area where as well as the usual vehicle bits and bobs there were lots of special Batmobile pieces available ad a competition to build your own Bat themed creation with 25 bricks or less! My nine year old carefully constructed his entry (which he got a special pop badge for) while my six year old just enjoyed building lots of cars and sending them down the ramps! The children would have happily spent hours in this area if we'd let them!

While we were there we also popped into the 4D Cinema to watch The LEGO® Movie™ 4D: A New Adventure, built a cute LEGO Raccoon  Master Model Builder’s workshop, drove around the LEGO CITY: Forest Pursuit driving adventure (kids only, unfortunately!) and built skyscrapers on the fun earthquake tables!

As we were getting ready to leave we headed through LEGO City Builder and entered the Batcave! (formerly Ninjago training camp) 
Here there was a fabulous Batman wall mural made of individual LEGO bricks that everyone could help create, along with a Batman laser challenge and this is also where the children exchanged their scavenger hunt entries for a cool pop badge and certificate.

You do need to bear in mind that some parts of LDC are currently closed for renovation (as they are going to launching some pretty exciting new things including a LEGO® Ninjago City Adventure play feature very soon!) so there is less to do than you may have experienced on earlier visits, but  for our family the LEGO BATMAN activities more than made up for this and we spent a good few fun filled hours in the centre.

If you have a LEGO BATMAN fan in your family, then it's definitely worth a visit during this event. Do make sure you find a good offer, such as buying a cut price combo ticket online or using the Mcdonalds Happy meal half price voucher!

Don't forget you can read about some of our previous visits to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, here and here.
Are you a Fan of LEGO Batman? Have you seen the Movie yet?