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Review: Mr Tickle Storybook App

2014 April 22
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by Kelly

Just before the Easter holidays Kate and I went to the launch of the Mr Tickle Storybook App in London. Not only did we get to meet the man himself we had loads of fun playing with the new app and having Mr Men balloons made for us. Kate had a brilliant time and it was really exciting having our first London trip just the two of us.

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The app itself is a huge hit with Kate. And with Piran. And me in fact. It uses the original illustrations and music and has been bought up to date brilliantly with loads of interactive features throughout the story.It has been made for the under fives but we all enjoyed something.

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The story is narrated by David Walliams and it works perfectly. You can read the story to your children or by tapping on the words you can listen to the narration.

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Kate enjoyed the story but the activities were what caught her attention. in particular she loves the funny faces game and will play for ages and ages. There is also a colouring app which is fun. Piran (age 5) enjoyed playing with the activities but was less interested in the story.

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There is also a brilliant Whack a Worm game *WARNING: This game is very addictive and has been known to bring out people’s competitive side*.

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What I loved the most about this app is how it appeals to everyone. Parents will love the trip down memory lane, everyone loves Mr Tickle and the activities mean that it is much more than just a story app. It was tested on children during development and it really shows. I think for the price of £2.49 this is a good value app and the format is just crying out to be used again and again for all our favourite Little Miss and Mr Men stories.

Mr Tickle Storybook App is available on the iTunes App Store.

Disclosure: Kate and I were treated to lunch and the launch in London and our travel expenses to and from the event were paid. We were also given some Mr Men goodies and a copy of the app for review.

Happy Easter

2014 April 17
by Kelly

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I caught the sunrise this morning. I woke feeling tired but good and when I saw that orange light reflecting off the window in the kitchen I knew I just needed to catch it.

The school holidays are still something I am coming to terms with. Much fun has been had but there is so little time for any of my usual personal pursuits that I am left feeling a little bereft. With Mr C working away my routine is everything to me and the change of pace is hard and very exhausting.

Mr C is home tonight for 3 and a half days and I am going to make the most of them together as a family while I can. Sewing and blogging and reading can tidying can wait until next week when he is back at work and the kids are back at school.

Whether you are religious or not I think that Easter marks the beginning of something special, this year is finally getting into the swing of things, lots of new things are abundant and the lighter evenings and warmth of the sun promise something quite wonderful up ahead. I am still waiting for the winter I think – this year seemed to easy, I was expecting it to be really hard but despite being a little soggy it wasn’t too bad at all. And now the grass is growing, the trees are blossoming and we have so much to look forward to.

So exciting.

Would your household benefit from a double oven?

2014 April 15
by Kelly

This post is bought to you in association with ApplianceWorld.co.uk. For more information on this type of post please see my Disclosure for Readers page

If cooking plays a large part of your life and you often wish you had more space in your oven to cook with, then perhaps a double oven could be the answer. Who hasn’t wished for more space when a big occasion arrives, for example, cooking Christmas dinner for a large family! There is nothing worse than trying to keep your ham and roast veg warm, when your turkey still has an hour of cooking time to go. In the end you try to cover things over with tinfoil and plates, trying to keep the heat in, but sometimes it just ends up being a nightmare- chewy, hard lukewarm roast spuds and boiling hot turkey.

So, if you have ever been faced with the nightmare of trying to cook multiple items at once, whilst ensuring everything gets served at the same temperature, then a double oven might be just what you need. They give you the increased flexibility to have more on the go at once, and more importantly, they have become increasingly versatile, helping us spend less time in the kitchen and still bringing us excellent results with the minimum of effort.

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Contemporary double ovens have revolutionised cooking in the home, and there are many reasons that you should own one and reap the benefits of this life-changing kitchen appliance.

Firstly, long gone are the days when double ovens could only be afforded by those households where money was no object. Nowadays, with advancements in technology and price competition between manufacturers, costs have come down, so that owning a double oven is within range for the ordinary consumer.

One of the main positives about owning a double oven is that it is a great time saver. Most of us these days live very hectic lifestyles between work, social and family commitments. We all look to maximise or optimise our time as much as possible, and a double oven can help with enhancing your life considerably. Having the ability to cook multiple dishes simultaneously will allow you to become much more efficient with your time. Instead of having to cook meals earlier in the day and reheat them later, you are afforded the luxury of cooking multiple dishes right before you serve them.

If you are the type who likes entertaining regularly, then a double oven would also be perfect for you. You can be cooking your main meal in one oven, while you are heating up appetisers in the other oven. Having the ability to cook a variety of dishes at different temperatures simultaneously is a dramatic upgrade to the cooking experience, and gives you the time to entertain your guests without worrying about the cooking.

There are many household appliances that will change your life for the better, and a double oven is one such appliance that will change the way that you work in the kitchen. They save you time and ultimately transform your cooking experience.

Home or Away

2014 April 13
by Kelly

Disclosure: This post is bought to you in association with Parkdean Holidays. Further details can be found on my Disclosure for Readers page.

When I was asked to have a go at the ‘Home or Away‘ quiz with Parkdean Holidays I was sure it would be hard but thought that I would do okay. However, it was REALLY tricky. It does make me happier about the fact that we stay in the UK for our holidays though – so many beautiful places to see.

My top score of 487 is never going to put me top of the leaderboard to win a seven-night holiday worth up to £750 at the winner’s choice of 24 Parkdean Holiday Parks. But the holiday is up for grabs until 19th May so you have plenty of time to practice and get that top score.

Enter to win a fantastic Parkdean Holiday worth up to £750 Know your Newquay from Nice? Take the Home or Away Quiz to be in with a chance of winning a UK family holiday worth £750 with Parkdean Holidays.

If you have a go leave me your score in the comments – I would love to know how you all do.

Blogtacular. Be there or be…

2014 April 7
by Kelly

The internet is truly a wondrous place. Through blog and twitter I have become friends with two very interesting and inspiring ladies.They are both called Kat and are both very clever at the wonderful things they do.

They are putting on the best blogging event in town in May this year. And so I challenged Kat (the one on the right) to answer my questions in 140 or less – Twitter style!

Who are you? I’m Kat, I am a blogger, photographer, Mama, know-all and social media addict.

What do you do? I am one of the directors of Blogtacular which takes up most of my time. Around that I fit my creative work and blogging.

What are you passionate about? I am really passionate about community and collaboration; we are stronger together. I love food, sewing, photography and gentle parenting.

What is Blogtacular? Blogtacular is the hottest ticket in town. It’s a place for bloggers to come together, connect and take their blog to the next level.

Why have you created Blogtacular? There were no UK conferences which made us excited. We wanted a place for creative bloggers packed full of great speakers so we set it up!

Who should come? Nice people! Everyone who values great quality content, design & photography. It’s a place for every blogger who identifies with those ideas

Why should we come? Because our speaker line up is pinch-yourself-incredible and because you will be in on the legendary first Blogtacular.

Details please. To name a few of the awesome speakers: Joy Cho, Yvestown, Mini Modern, Tilly Walnes, Ellie Tennant and Xanthe Berkeley.

Do you have a catchphrase? Nothing worth having comes easily.

Complete the sentence: Blogtacular. Be there or be ……… consumed by jealousy.

For me one of the best things about events like this is being surrounded by people that don’t look at me like I am mental when I say I am a Blogger. And even better, people that are passionate and excited about beautiful wonderful things. And I cannot wait to come away inspired and ready to make this blog so much more.

And you should all come too.

Finish Along 2014 – Quarter 2

2014 April 2
by Kelly

Well Quarter 1 was a mixed bag! Of the six projects I had planned I managed to complete 3.

And so onto Quarter 2. It is really fun sitting down and thinking about what I can do over the next three months. This quarter there is a very important Secret Sewing Project, the bits left over from last month and even some selfish sewing for me.

1) The Just Big Enough Blanket

This is Mr C’s Christmas present that I STILL haven’t finished. I did make some progress over the last three months. I am worried that it won’t be big enough and how I am going to block a blanket but it is all good fun.

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2) Set of drawstring bags

Another overdue Christmas present. I have chosen the fabric I just need to start sewing.

3)Hexagon cushions

Finish the hexagon cushions for my room. I did manage to machine quilt the fronts and pick the fabrics for the backs. I bought the zips. I just need to cut the backs and sew them up. A couple hours work at most but it is one of those things that just keeps getting put off. I might still add some hand-quilting but I am not sure.

4) Super Secret Sewing Project

Unable to share details but I have the pattern and the fabric chosen I just need to start sewing. Thinking I might take this on holiday with me so I can make a start.

5) Fair Isle inspired Table Runner

This is a project I am working on for Simply Solids. Inspired by Kate’s cardigan and the first project I have designed myself and drawn using Touchdraw on my iPad I am really excited about how this will turn out.

6) Geranium Dress for Kate

I have bought the pattern and Kate has chosen the fabric. I want to make this one first as I am going to make her one for my brother’s wedding so I need a trial run!

7) Wedding Geranium Dress for Kate

I have the very lovely fabric I bought from Jen (@muminthemadhouse) when she was de-stashing recently.

8) Washi Dress for me

I have purchased the pattern, some muslin and some navy polka dot fabric to make a Washi for me. It is time to be brave and make something for myself. The ever so clever @Tiddlyompompom is putting me to shame with her gorgeous Staple dress. She did shirring and everything. So impressed.

9) New apron for me.

Finally decided to use my Robert Kaufman Uptown Apartments for something. The minute I saw this fabric I HAD to have it. I have been meaning to make myself an apron for ages and then I will get to see this gorgeous fabric every day.

10) Pleated Tote

I am very excited to be heading off to Blogtacular in May and more important than what I am going to wear is what bag I am going to take. It is time to make a nice new one just for me so I have decided to make this pleated tote. I keep changing my mind about which fabric I should use though!

That is quite a lot so we will see.

Linking up with the 2014 Finish Along with Katy at The Littlest Thistle.

#theyearinbooks {April}

2014 April 1
by Kelly

This month I am going to try and do it right!

So I have already reviewed what I read in March in my very late March post so here are the books I am planning on reading this month.

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A Female Genius: How Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s Daughter, Started the Computer Age – James Essinger
I became aware of this book through an author interview and my interest was grabbed. I am happy to finally be including something non fiction. I have already started this and hope that I can find the time to finish it soon.

The Accident – C.L.Taylor
My extremely clever friend Cally has her third novel out this month and I have it pre ordered for when I am on holiday in Cornwall. Her first two books were of the chick lit variety so I cannot wait to see how she tackles this new genre.

The Memory Book – Rowan Coleman
As Cally’s book isn’t out until the 10th I have bought this book on her recommendation on my Kobo. Being in Cornwall means Grandparents to amuse children and having to watch my parents choice of TV so usually a fair bit of reading can be done. I am looking forward to it!

I will be back in May to tell you how I got on. Linking up with Circle of Pine Trees for #theyearinbooks.

#theyearinbooks {March}

2014 March 31
by Kelly

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March was a month lost to illness and chaos and a determination to clear out lots and lots of stuff from our house. Therefore not a lot of reading got done really.

I did finish one book though.

A Walk in the Park – Jill Mansell
It’s been a while, but Lara Carson’s back in Bath and lives are set to change as a result. Because Lara left her family and boyfriend Flynn eighteen years ago without a word to anyone. Why has no one heard from her since? Her childhood best friend Evie is thrilled Lara’s back and able to share her happiness. Evie’s about to walk down the aisle with her dream man, Joel. Or so she thinks… Then there’s Flynn Erskine, even more attractive now and stunned to see Lara again. The spark between them is as strong as ever, but how’s Flynn going to react when he discovers the secret she’s been keeping from him? Oh yes, there’s a lot of catching up to be done…

I really enjoy Jill Mansell books, again this is one that was easy to read and get lost in. I liked the characters though and the ending made me happy. All good things come to those who wait.

#theyearinaudiobooks {March}

Bonkers – Jennifer Saunders

I am going to write my April post RIGHT NOW so I stop writing these posts at the end of every month. That is what I said last month. Well you never know.

Made it: Typewriter Lampshade

2014 March 30

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Getting in right at the end of the quarter I have finished my lampshade. It took so little time it’s embarrassing that I’ve had the kit and the fabric for *cough* years. I absolutely love it and it was a brilliant way to use a piece of fabric that I loved so much I never wanted to actually use it. Now I see it every day and that’s brilliant.

I notice Sew Scrumptious has these kits for sale. Warning: visiting that shop may cause fabric purchases. It definitely got me, they have the amazing Roald Dahl fabrics in stock.

It is the second time I have used one of these kits and it is definitely a two person job if you want to do it well. I will be making more though as how amazing is it that you can use any fabric or wallpaper you like. So cool.

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This was one of my projects in my Finish Along 2014 – Q1 list.

Stuck in my mind

2014 March 28
by Kelly

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Do you like watching TV? I do but since I was in my late teens I have had a love of TV box sets in particular. I just love getting completely wrapped up in the characters and storylines. My addiction started with Star Trek – Voyager and Deep Space Nine to be precise (on VHS too, none of this fancy DVD lark back then). Then Buffy and Angel. In the end I purposely stopped watching weekly episodes just so I could gorge on the whole series once the box set came out. ‘Just one more’ became such familiar words with friends as we stayed up much too late on a school (well work) night.

The invention of Netflix and box sets on Sky now means I am never short of something to watch. Right now I am fully emersed in Season 1 of Elementary – and I am watching against the clock the whole series is deleted from Sky at the end of the month. I am also watching Chuck Season 1 and Covert Affairs Season 3 on Netflix. I watch lots when I am sewing, once I have listened to all of the Radio 4 programmes that have been suggested to me by my clever friends Emily and Victoria.

And so, I thought I would draw your attention to the two posts that make up Sally “Who’s the Mummy” Whittle’s 40 Box Sets to see Before You’re 40. First up was teen drama; family drama; guilty pleasures; comedy. And the second post is supernatural, sci-fi, and (vaguely) medical and legal drama, along with a couple of shows she didn’t quite know where to place.

I have just counted and I have seen 17/40. With only 4 and a bit years until I am 40 I had better get watching!