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Event: That’s Not My Meerkat

To celebrate the launch of Usborne Books About Town “That’s not my” book bench, here are two free events for your diary if you’re in the London area.

Wednesday 6th August
That’s Not My Meerkat Photo Shoot @ the That’s Not My… Bench on Peter’s Hill in front of St Pauls.

Calling all little pandas and meerkats for a fun photo shoot with lots of animal props and costumes. Usborne will be giving away goody bags and there’s the chance to win That’s not my… books, as well as get some adorable photos of your little ones in a beautiful Central London setting during the summer holiday.

Thats not my meerkat bench

Friday 15th August
Meerkat flash mob

Don your furry ears and fluffy tails for a meerkat flash mob. More meerkats than you’ve ever seen before will be descending on Peter’s Hill at 1pm, not to be missed! Masks can be printed at www.usborne.com/bookbench or collected on the day.

Find out more at www.usborne.com/bookbench. We will be going on the 6th so maybe see you there!

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Review: The Nut Job

Part of your summer holiday is probably going to involve taking the kids to the cinema (especially if it’s wet play) so it’s worth knowing what’s good and what’s not.

My latest recommendation is The Nut Job. The animated story follows Surly, a mischievous squirrel, who must plan a heist to get into his town’s biggest nut shop in order to help his pals in the park gather food to survive the winter. Together with his trusty sidekick, Buddy, he assembles a ragtag crew to help him get inside and of course, hilarity ensues.

We were lucky enough to go to an advance screening last Sunday and my kids loved The Nut Job! My daughter was at the edge of her seat the entire film! They both said it was really funny and their favourite character was the dog (I won’t spoil it by explaining why!)

In fact, both kids are asking to see it again! Parents might find it a bit childish but it’s 100% a kids film and a must see for the summer holidays. In fact it’s rare for a film to be solely targeted at kids which I think makes a refreshing change.

The voice cast includes Will Arnett (GOB BLUTH!!), Brendan Fraser, Katherine Heigl, Liam Neeson and Maya Rudolph.

The Nut Job is released in cinemas nationwide on Friday 1st August.

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Childs Farm Comes to Cartoonito

Last week, the kids and I headed down to the Curzon cinema in Victoria for the launch of the new Childs Farm cartoon that launched on Cartoonito earlier today. I’m a fan of Childs Farm products and previously reviewed the brand here.

childs-farm-top-to-toe-cleaning-kit

The award winning, natural hair and skincare range for baby and child launched a new animation series for preschoolers based on the familiar animals found on the Childs Farm product labels. The cartoon sees them carry out their everyday antics on the idyllic farm, located in the beautiful British countryside. The debut episode ‘Pigs can Fly’ aired today, Monday 28th July 2014 on Cartoonito (SKY 619 and Virgin Media 706) at 12:30pm.

childs farm cartoon cartoonito

Childs Farm centres around Radar the dog and his friendly crew of farmyard animal friends: Truffles; the pig, Bella; the dancing goat, Buster; the rather unusual pony, Peggy; the sporty duck, Mimi; the motherly mouse and Old Red the tractor.

The moral behind the cartoons is anyone can do anything if you give it a go, and have a little faith in yourself!

To celebrate the launch, Childs Farm released Get Soaked bubble bath for all the family (250ml, £3.99 exclusively into selected Boots stores), which features all the characters from the cartoon. The bubble bath includes organic tangerine that helps calm, soothe and moisturise. I used in the kids’ bath last night and it smells lovely (but not overpowering) and left their skin soft and moisturised.

The Childs Farm collection is available in selected Boots UK stores nationwide, boots.com, Waitrose, Ocado, John Lewis and childsfarm.com.

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New In The Kitchen: Spices, Fruit Shoot Jams and Eclairs

What’s new in the kitchen this week:

Vandotsch Speculaas Spice Mix – from £3.99
Why cook/bake boring cinnamon when you can use some direct from Sri Lanka and infused with cloves, ginger and six other spices. I’ve been using it in baking and sprinkling some on the kids’ porridge at breakfast.

vandotsch spice mix

Robinson’s Fruit Shoot Jam – £1.59
If you have kids you are familiar with Fruit Shoots, but did you know they also make squeezy jam? They are 45% fruit and made with 30% less sugar than your average jam/marmalade. They come in three flavours:

Apple & Blackcurrant
Strawberry & Summer Fruits
Orange

Use them on toast, on dessert or swirled through yoghurt and when the bottle is empty, they make a great water squirter. Look for them in the supermarket jam aisle.

fruit shoot jams

Cadbury’s Eclairs Velvets – £1.99
These chocolates are more of a grown up treat and as I’m lactose intolerant, I left them to my husband to review. He said they were delicious; he doesn’t usually go for eclairs as they are more caramel than chocolate but I like these because of the melt-in-the-mouth chocolate centres take them to another level! In supermarkets now.

cadburys eclairs velvets

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Event: Microsoft Windows Parents Approved

Last week I went along to the ultra swanky Microsoft apartment in Victoria, a stones throw from Buckingham Palace.

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Along with a case of apartment envy, I learned about new Microsoft Windows apps and devices and a bit about what Microsoft is doing to connect with families. A lot was covered, a lot went over my head, but what I thought was really good was the Microsoft Windows Safer Initiative.

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They have an app called Kids Corner which can turn your Microsoft Windows Device into an area set up solely for kids. This means they can’t access anything that isn’t in that area/under that login so you can hand over the device safe in the knowledge the kids can’t access anything you don’t want them to.

We have mainly Apple devices here and a drawback is when I hand over my iPhone or iPad, the kids move things around, delete things, add things, call people etc. If I had a Microsoft Windows device this wouldn’t happen; I could put all their apps and games under their login and that would be all they could access. Sounds great huh?

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With Windows you can go into the Family Safety Zone and check everything they’ve looked at, files opened, even sites surfed on that device. You can choose the number of sites they can look at, set a time allowance and times of day they are allowed on the device. These restrictions apply to the account and not the device so they can’t log in at a friends house and look at sites you don’t think are appropriate.

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Depending on the ages of the kids, you can apply different restrictions to different users. I love the idea of this; some may feel it’s a bit George Orwell but as a parent I feel it is my job to be responsible for what my kids access online, even something as innocent sounding as YouTube isn’t without its pitfalls. As well as full episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse there are also explicit music videos and content totally inappropriate for kids.

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So if you already have Microsoft Windows 8.1 and you have kids, look into the Kids Corner app, you won’t regret it.

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