Pineapple pinecone

A quick blog post to share with you the wonder that is camping… and the sort of crafts you can do whilst you are stuck in a Pine Forest in #FrenchFrance and the boy’s pineapple pinecone.

Pinecone Pineapple
We go on holiday every year with some lovely family friends, and as the kids get older, they get more and more feral, and tend to take themselves off in packs, doing their own thing, whether it comes to popping to the camp playground to make new friends, or getting crafty with the paints and pencils we still take with us every year… So it was with much delight that I found this Pine Cone Pineapple creation by our eldest, he liked it so much he posted it onto his new ‘now I am going into Year 7 please may I have an Instagram account?’ instagram feed….

Pine forest

It was a very visually inspiring place it has to be said… with the largest sand dunes in the World on our doorstep in a pine forest at the foot of the Dune de Pyla. You just had to look UP and the view was pretty awesome too… Look at those leaves!

Follow Ali on twitter as @incredibusymum and twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos for more posts like this one… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it! and come say hello at instagram.com/incredibusy too x
Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com

Frozen Crown Craft – paper cup craft

Frozen Crown - paper cup craft

We’ve said it before, paper cups are a great asset to a store cupboard…And for no other reason that they can be VERY handy to have around for that impromptu Frozen Crown making session – what better way to spend an afternoon, making paper cup crowns, and then sitting down to watch the Frozen film on DVD!

Stage 1 Paper Cup Crown

You will need:

Paper cups
Scissors
Pom-poms
Glue
Alice band

Instructions:

1) Cut a series of triangles around the rim of the paper cup.

2) Turn the cup to sit on it’s base, and glue the pom-poms onto each point of the triangles.

3) Using the scissors, push two holes into either side of the base of the paper cup.

4) Thread the Alice band through the holes, and WEAR with pride! (seen here modelled by our Italian student Marta!)

Stage 2 Paper Cup Frozen Crown
Paper Cup Frozen Crown

Paper Cup Frozen Crown

For more quick and simple paper cup ideas, check out our W is for Whale and Red Ted Art’s pom pom party poppers!

Follow Ali on twitter as @incredibusymum and twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos for more posts like this one… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it! and come say hello at instagram.com/incredibusy too x
Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com

W is for Whale paper cup craft

W is for Whale – paper cup craft

Paper cups are a great asset to a store cupboard… you never know when the post school playdates may descend on you, and for this time of year, paper plates and cups are often safer in the garden for the al fresco dining that may take place! W is for Whale paper cup craft

They are also VERY handy for a last minute craft session, particularly if you are practicing your alphabet crafts – and all you need for this W is for Whale paper cup craft, is two paper cups, some parcel tape and a couple of googly eyes!

You will need:

Two paper cups
Parcel Tape
Googly eyes
Pipe cleaner (white or blue)
Hama or Perler Beads in an array of blues and white!

Instructions:

1) Using the parcel tape, stick the two cups together facing each other to create the body shape of the whale.

2) Wrap the parcel tape all over the body of the whale to cover it.

3) Fashion the whale’s tail from more parcel tape and attach to one end of the paper cup whale.

4) Do the same with the two front flippers, and attach just below the position on the eyes.

5) Add the googly eyes, essential in any paper cup craft!.

6) Pierce a small slit where the blow hole on the top of the whale’s body will be.

7) Push the pipe cleaners, or wires, into the hole, and add some Hama or Perler beads to look like water drops and you are DONE!

For more quick and simple paper cup ideas, check out our Paper Cup Frozen Crown and Red Ted Art’s pom pom party poppers!

Follow Ali on twitter as @incredibusymum and twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos for more posts like this one… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it! and come say hello at instagram.com/incredibusy too x
Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com

Moomins Review 2014 – Polka Theatre

Moomins Review 2014 – Polka Theatre

We do love Wimbledon’s Polka Theatre, and as the boys get bigger, I fear I may be toddling up there on my own to watch shows without them! We took them to see The Moomins ‘Moominssummer Madness’ at the weekend, and we are all in agreement that it was a most delightful show. We were enchanted by the characterisation of Snorkmaiden and Moomintroll, of Moomimmamma, Snufkin and Little My (the youngest boys’ favourite character by far – see handwritten review below!) of course, Misabelle was absolutely fabulous too.  KidsChaos-Polka-Theatre-Moomins-Puppets

The show is based on Tove Jansson’s 1964 book Moominsummer Madness and as the boys and their Dad have read MOST of Tove Jansson’s Moomins Books they were chuckling along and all said that it was a great adaption.

Moomins Review

KidsChaos-Polka-Theatre-Moomins-Snorkmaiden-and-Moomintroll

Moomins Review

Tove Jansson’s much-loved Moomins are brought to life on stage with the ensemble’s fabulous puppetry, songs and and great humour. Moominsummer Madness is part of Tove100, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Tove Jansson.

To book at the Polka Theatre, SW19 click here.
Follow them on twitter here @polkatheatre.

Follow Ali on twitter as @incredibusymum and twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos for more posts like this one… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it! and come say hello at instagram.com/incredibusy too x
Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com

 

What I wore to Britmums Live 2014

What I wore to Britmums Live 2014 Ali Clifford and Maggy Woodley

Yes… I know, you know what I wore to #Britmumslive 2014. So many people asked – and I told sooo many people! A couple of rather lovely frocks from the wonderful PoppyEngland - Honestly, Bryony at Poppy England has some beautiful dresses for women size 8 to size 16 and for little girls, from 6months, to 10years! (we ask the question again… why did I have two boys?!!) Maggy from Red Ted Art and I loved wearing the dresses – we are both a #PoppyFrockLover :) I warn you… there will now be a LOT of Britmumslive photos…! #MakeitBritish

PoppyEngland parcel

The parcels arrived, and the tweets started (look at that packaging with the giraffe!)

And then we got DRESSED – and following the tiara theme, the lovely Georgie at Common Farm Flowers down in Somerset popped a beautiful floral tiara in the post arriving safely and in time to adorn the quiff…

If you would like your own Poppy England frock at 15% OFF, use the code BOATSANDFLOATS15 before the 12th July 2014… And failing that, for a chance to win a limited edition 2014 Boats Print reversible washbag, follow Poppy England on twitter and or instagram and tweet I’m in it to win it with @poppyengland #poppyfrocklover.

Loved my three fabulous rings from another #PoppyFrockLover TreasuredBouquets - they just HAPPENED to coordinate perfectly! :) For more thoughts on Britmums Live click here.

Ali Clifford by Liliesarelike Ali Clifford selfie Ali Clifford PoppyEngland feet Ali Clifford and Maggy Woodley
Ali-Clifford-wears-PoppyEngland-Day-1-FlowerFarmer
Ali Clifford Britmumslive rings

Follow Ali on twitter as @incredibusymum and twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos for more posts like this one… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it! and come say hello at instagram.com/incredibusy too x

Ali also writes for Britmums here: GreenRoundUps and over on AGreenerLifeforus.com

 

Nokia Lumia 520 Cyan for ‘Big School’

Nokia Lumia 520 Cyan for ‘Big School’

For as long as I can remember, our eldest son has been pestering us for a mobile ‘phone.

We have resisted by telling him that he cannot have one, in fact does not need one…until AT LEAST he is at secondary school….

Nokia Lumia 520 CyanWell, that came around quickly… September was looming, so we started to look around for an affordable ‘phone for him. And found this Pay as you go on Three and a rather funky Nokia Lumia 520 Cyan perfect for ‘Big School’ (I’m guessing I will not be allowed to refer to it as big school anymore right?) So the plan is to get that for him for September as promised.

Anyway, end of Year 6, and the school takes the class of 28 children off to France for a week, and what does 11yo do a month before he is due to board a ferry? He leaves his MP3 player in his jeans’ pocket and ummm, I washed them, in the washing machine…And, yes, it no longer works.

And the poor thing was beside himself! “How can I listen to music on the coach trip to France?”.

So we checked with the teacher, and without the SIM card, he has been permitted to take the mobile phone away to France with him… Fingers crossed it comes back in one piece, and YES, he WILL be ceremoniously emptying every pocket before ANYTHING goes into the washing machine this weekend! And watch this space for a new Instagrammer – he can’t wait to get started :)

Follow Ali on twitter as @incredibusymum and twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos for more posts like this one… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it! and come say hello at instagram.com/incredibusy too x
Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com

 

See the Child: Change the System

see the child See the Child: Change the System

I was lucky enough to be at Britmums Live 2014 and attended one of the INSPIRE sessions, “How to be an Agent of Change: Advocacy and charity campaigns” featuring Camila Batmanghelidjh, Kids Company; Lindsay Atkin, Lilies Are Like YouTuber; Hayley Goleniowska, Downs Side Up; and Chris Mosler, Thinly Spread.
All very inspiring women indeed – and Camila Batmanghelidjh is the founder of Kids Company - the charity behind See the Child. Change the System.
Camila spoke of how vulnerable children in Britain desperately need our help. She movingly talked of how too many children across the country are suffering squalor, abuse and neglect. Most can’t get any help because the system just isn’t coping. Watch this video:WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP? Please help by signing the petition to show you care. This will help support an independent task force to redesign children’s services so that every child who needs help can get it. By voting, you too are helping to show the politicians that we’re no longer going to stand for this. Many of these children, and those who work with them, are being failed by a system in crisis, vote now by clicking here.
Visit the campaign’s website seethechild.org for more information.
Please do follow on Twitter @SeetheChild along with Facebook, G+, and instagram and search for the hashtag #SeetheChild and start sharing by commenting, and retweeting.
#SeetheChild are asking people to text I SEE to 63000 - (a standard network charge as a vote, not a donation). The text will constitute a ‘vote’ for change but you will also be able to sign up on the website.
see the child Ali Clifford Finally, in addition to voting, #SeetheChild would really like you, your friends, followers and family to post a picture of yourself as a child with the campaign messaging something along the lines of something like: “This is me as a child. Some children don’t have such happy childhoods. I’m supporting the #seethechild campaign to change Children’s Services in the UK. Share your childhood photo and sign the petition here bit.ly/1tfykF3.
Follow Ali on twitter as @incredibusymum and twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos for more posts like this one… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it! and come say hello at instagram.com/incredibusy too x
Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com

Robotic Anki Drive race cars powered by artificial intelligence

Robotic Anki Drive race cars powered by artificial intelligence (AI)

My new favourite Futuristic Toy! Launching this Wednesday at Apple Stores in the UK, the Anki Drive racing game was created in 2010 by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute graduates and robotics experts using the same criterion as Google’s self-driving cars. Anki Drive robotic race cars

The cars and the race mat (and the packaging for that matter) are beautifully designed. Pictured here is the yellow ‘KOURAI’ who has his own personality type, and as one of my friends pointed out on Instagram tonight, has a look of the Batmobile about him… Probably due to Boris Sofman, Anki’s CEO’s astute involvement of none other than Batmobile and Iron Man‘s facemask designer, Harald Belker.

So, grab your iPhone, iPad or iPad mini and pick a car! The player can race others cars that control themselves (AI) which spookily respond and adapt to the real player. As you get started racing (either solo with the AI or with friends) the cars’ technology realises where they are on the mat, and navigate the course (without falling off the track, which I do recall with some painful memories of the scalextric slot cars we had constantly falling off the track).

My boys love playing Mario Kart on the Wii… so I can’t wait to get racing with the Anki Drive with them – driving these funky miniature, AI robotic cars with bonkers personalities and upgradable armoury! (and even better, when you’re finished playing, you just roll the racing mat up and store it in its box!)

So watch this space for a review from the boys… I’ve had a great morning playing with these Anki Drive race cars, and I know what Mr. KidsChaos is getting for Father’s Day!

Follow Ali on twitter as @incredibusymum and twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos for more posts like this one… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it!

Days out with the Family to York

Take the Family to York

For a family getaway that ticks all the boxes for fun, entertainment, outdoor space and history, you can’t beat York. With great road and rail links, York is a fuss free destination to get to with kids in tow. City centre accommodation for more than two people can be pricey so why not book a family room in a Travelodge in York for a comfortable night’s sleep that’ll leave you with enough money left over to enjoy all the treats this fantastic city has to offer?

take the family to York York Maze

Open for the summer holidays from July 12th, this maze, aptly made from maize, is the largest of its kind in the UK, providing ample opportunity for you all to get pleasantly lost together. Wear your comfiest shoes and if it’s hot make sure you pack sun cream and drinks. If you have any really little ones in tow ensure you have a firm grip of their hand so they don’t run off and get themselves well and truly lost! The viewing towers dotted around are well worth a climb to see fantastic views of the maze from within. When you finally find your way out, the fun’s not over – there are lots of rides to tempt your children while you sit down for a well-earned rest.

National Railway Museum

Most kids are fascinated by trains, and adults certainly don’t have to be train spotter types to enjoy this fantastic museum dedicated to the UK railway’s 300-year history. Your children can experience what it was like to travel on an old-fashioned steam train in the bone-shaking simulator in the Great Hall. If your kids are aged between 6 and 11, pick up a Kids’ Handbook to make the most of the experience. Also, watch out for special family events taking place throughout the summer holidays.

Jorvik Viking Centre

This world famous attraction is an absolute must-visit when you’re in York as a family. When it comes to figures from the past, the grizzly, bloodthirsty, helmet-clad Vikings seem to capture children’s imaginations like no other tribe and Jorvik Viking Centre is where they’re vividly brought back to life for young and old to experience. Now celebrating its 30th anniversary and the fact that it’s welcomed over 17 million visitors through its doors, Jorvik has added a new interactive dimension to its exhibits, making it even more interesting for kids. What makes Jorvik so special is the fact that it’s all on the excavation site of Viking York, so rather than seeing the artefacts in a museum setting, you actually get to experience Viking life where it was lived and breathed all those years ago.

Of course, you won’t be educating yourselves all the time, so when you want to take a breather and they want to run around, head to the lovely Rowntree Park in the city centre to enjoy the tranquil scenery and recharge your batteries. After a family trip to York, you’ll all return home refreshed, relaxed and a little bit brainier!

Commissioned post.

Tin Can crafts – savings tin

How about a Tin Can Savings Tin?

With Father’s Day looming, we decided to do something a bit different for Dad and as one of his foibles is collecting coins. *Saving* £2 coins in piles around the house, particularly on shelves… So we came up with a genius tidy-up plan… tin can fathers day savings

We decided to tidy up the favourite shelf for Mr.KidsChaos, our bedroom mantle piece.To assist with the tidying, we made him some Savings Tins, and they look nice too don’t you think?

Can we call this photo a #Shelfie?
Our bedroom ‘Shelf’ is often very cluttered, with our favourite wedding pressie painting from Jill Barker & Jonathan at Middlewick, and the odd pair of his daft colourful sunglasses. His collection of coins tumble constantly, as they get knocked and fall to the floor and it makes me go a little crazy!!

FREE printable tin can printThe kids decided he needed somewhere to save his £2 coins, and told me what the text should read on the tin cans. They picked the colours, and I designed the graphics. Bonus is, you can print these off and do the same thing too, for FREE!

Simply print them off here, and trim them out, and glue them on to your clean tin cans.

Don’t tell him, but I often BORROW the odd coin when we’re dashing off to Martial Arts club, or Cubs…. Sssh, he never reads this anyway, he’ll NEVER know. Perhaps if he saves enough, I could BORROW some of it for a bit of Bathroom DIY…watch this space!

For more FREE printables for tin cans, click here for a fun game for the summer – kick the can.

For more FREE Father’s Day Printables, try our Monster Truck card and Jigsaw Puzzle Cards.

And other uses for bean tins, and soup cans can be seen over on A Greener Life For Us, using up old paint to make plant and pencil pots click here.

Oh, and I’m on twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos too… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it!

Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com