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…
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!!
The 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!
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!
Family time together just so special as our boys get older – they are more independent and dare I say a little ‘feral’ this year? We’ve had the best of times and made new friends, made memories, and given us something to look forward to next summer too – why? what? how? you ask? Well, a week at Fforest gather, that’s what!
Over to Spike age 15:
If you’ve not heard about Fforest gather – you’re clearly not following @incredibusy on the instagram – or @coldatnight, which you should remedy forthwith – follow us here and here… It’s through instagram that Mum, and it transpires on chatting to fellow campers at Fforest gather, many others, have ‘met’ Sian and fallen in love with what she and husband James have been doing in Cardigan, Wales for the last couple of years…
A small intimate ‘festival’, not really a festival, but that explains the basis of the event – week long holiday with accommodation (optional, you can also bring your own tent/camper van) and daily workshops you won’t want to miss… a new kind of holiday in fact! Two family friendly weeks of adventures in nature, music, culture, creativity and simple pleasures.
We stayed in one of the ‘group tents‘ – our family in one end, in two bedrooms, and our friends and their three small children in the facing ‘tent’. We brought our own sleeping bags and pillows, and the shared bathrooms a short walk away were positive luxury compared to some campsites we’ve stayed in! The group tents have a communal cooking, and eating area in the centre – and an amazing view across the fields. However, after trying the first catered meal in the canteen, we decided that we’d ditch the camp cooking, and eat with the majority of the other campers – the breakfast and evening meals were just amazing – and the dining area was super conducive to socialising too.
The beauty of the Fforest gather is that the workshops, talks, walks, performances and activities are all included in the ticket price. Two sessions a day, one at a very civilised 10am, and the afternoon sessions start at 2pm – Between our two families, we tried Screenprinting, Nature illustration; natural dyeing, canoeing, Tamsin with her pencil and puppet making, Bees make honey with the honey farm, making bacon, smoking fish, making cheese, cooking with fire; axe & knife craft; yoga and wellness; drumming; beer cocktail classes; bird illustrations, silver ring making; forest school sessions; den building; tree climbing; wild swimming and learnt about foraging with Jade and coppicing with Bruce – woah, all in one week?!
The evenings were equally entertaining, with, Music from Eyre Llew, and DJs and chatting, and Fforest Island discs, and beer drinking at the adorable little ‘Bwthyn pub‘. Candle lit, and roaring fire – this little pub is located at the heart of the Fforest camp.
A brief selection of our favourite workshops: Natural dyeing with Hazel Stark – Indigo Shibori (a Japanese pattern technique) – we were so blessed with the weather, so a day spent outside in the Fforest vegetable gardens, patiently folding, pegging and dipping our canvas tote bags was well spent.
Bird drawing with Matt Sewell, such a delight; as was the glasses onto inanimate objects with Finn Thomson making faces and giving objects sight – such a fun workshop! Seeing objects – using wire, paper, glue, and a LOT of imagination, in the project barn.
Seriously, this is an event/holiday/week long party I would recommend – such a lovely way to spend time with your family.
We went with good friends, and came away with even more…
Time to plan for 2018… 23 JULY – 5 AUGUST 2018 www.fforestgather.co.uk
A new kind of holiday.
Two family friendly weeks of adventures in nature, music, culture, creativity, making, growing & simple pleasures.
500 acres of bliss. Only 300 tickets available each week.
Week 1 – Monday 23rd – Sunday 29th of july
Week 2 – Monday 30th july – Sunday 5th of august
Baabuk Slippers as soft and gentle as our new kitten
Mum asked me if I would write a blog post about slippers – and as a 13yo there I thought that there is really not much I can tell you about my family’s LOVE of Baabuk slippers made from New Zealand boiled wool, so I thought I’d write about my new kitten as well, as he’s as soft and gentle as these slippers!
First though, this is what I know about Baabuk – each pair of their GUS slippers features the all-natural benefits of wool, it’s temperature regulating, so these slippers will keep feet not too-hot now it’s heading towards warmer weather and not too-cold as it was when we got them (and the kitten) in January. Oh, and wool is also moisture-wicking and odour-fighting, (handy for my stink bob brother) thanks to its inherent antimicrobial nature, so you can wear them without socks, and wool is water repellent, too, which is also handy.
The wool comes from sheep in New Zealand. Their wool then travels to Nepal to be boiled and felted into a single piece which becomes the woolly upper for Baakbuk slippers.
Apparently, the clog-bootie design is inspired by 16th century Russia’s Valenki boots, and is finished off with a natural rubber sole that gives a little extra grip.
Since our kitten (and our slippers) arrived three months ago – I love love love being at home, coming in from school, popping on my slippers, and hanging out with the kitten – it’s really LOVELY!
I thought I would write a blog post about how it feels to have a kitten in the house – and some top tips for making a new kitten feel welcome and loved.
So we did a lot of research before we got a kitten and there is some REALLY useful information on the BlueCross website and the RSPCA too if you are thinking of rehousing a cat.
Bringing the kitten home
We selected one room for the cat to live in from day one – this was my brother’s bedroom, as it’s the biggest – so we bought a natural scratching pole and made sure that the kitten’s food bowl, water bowl and cat litter tray were placed apart in the room (cats don’t like these things all close together).
Cats prefer a saucer or a plate to a bowl and we bought some eco cat litter – which works really well, and biodegrades rather than adding to landfill.
So each day after we got him, we opened up the space a little bit more for Kipper to explore, he played and slept in my brother’s room, and then on day two we opened up the landing for him, and day three my bedroom and so on until he then had the run of the house. This made him feel secure and familiar with one room – and he’s been happy pottering around the house ever since. We have moved the food bowl to the kitchen, and the cat litter tray is now tucked away in the hallway downstairs – he also has a water saucer in the sitting room as well as the kitchen – which he likes!
If you look closely at Kipper the kitten’s little feet, it looks as if he’s wearing slippers too! So he doesn’t feel too left out… (seriously, every family needs a pair of Baabuk slippers).
Finding a good Vet
Ask your local friends for Vet advice, we have found a lovely local vet, through a neighbour with a really happy cat, and picked up a second-hand wicker pet basket from Ebay (Mum tries to cut down on the amount of plastic in the house, and we always try to buy second hand too for things like this).
Today Kipper is at the Vet, having a chip, and being neutered – eughh… poor kitty! We are looking forward to welcoming him home and giving him lots of love.
These are all of our slippers, you will LOVE them, loads of colours (and styles) – if you’d like to know more about where to find them, click here
As the weather is getting warmer, we are all coming out of hibernation and looking forward to spending more time outdoors – on my Christmas list this year, a Penny Board 27″.
I loved how it was packaged, (and will be using the big box to keep some treasures in!)
Ronnie age 13: I have had the smaller penny board for a couple of years, which I bought with my own money, and I love it – it’s still works really well, and I enjoy taking it out on our street after school.
Having tried a friend’s longer Penny Board, I found that the larger of the boards was easier to navigate around corners and I really think the big one is a lot better, because I would definitely recommend getting the larger board as you get taller (My brother agrees and he’s 15 and 175cm, and I’m 162cm)
As I skate on the road (which is a quiet London backstreet) you don’t feel the bumps as much as you would on a normal skateboard – and I would definitely say that it’s worth saving up to buy the REAL Penny Board, rather than cheaper copies as the quality is absolutely excellent, the wheel mechanism smoother and just looks so cool!
Spike age 15: We also found that the bigger size cruises easier and turning is smoother. The 27″ board is a bit longer and wider than the smaller 22″ size, offering a bit more surface area under your feet, and hey my feet are getting bigger every week now!
The Design on the board
The Gunmetal Red Metallic Fade 27″ is the perfect board if you want to shine with a little more stability. the Metallic Fade is a unique look you can’t find anywhere else in the cheaper market. It is made with the same high quality formula Penny is known for, with a distinctive faded finish.
Perfect for riders of any skill level, the Penny Board itself is quite flexible so that balance is easier and the colours are really great, I like that and the bearings inside the wheels are very smooth so that you can travel for quite a time without having to boost yourself again!
What we wouldn’t give for FIVE minutes peace and quiet!
We KNOW that the Holiday period is meant to be about being sociable, and playing with all of the new toys and gadgets – we KNOW that, yet, wouldn’t it be just delicious to sneak off and find five minutes peace and quiet to yourselves?
Our friends at Mahabis asked KidsChaos to share what we would do with those FIVE minutes, so we put our feet up and had a ponder…
Five things you could do with #5minutespeace and #thegiftofdowntime
1) Write a to-do list… even though that sounds like WORK, it will actually make you feel less anxious about things you may have forgotten about – jotting down your top priorities for the week ahead.
2) De-clutter your kitchen junk drawer (in fact, that could go for your handbag, your sock drawer and your magazine rack as options too!) Set an egg timer… and stop when it pings 5mins… (it’s actually very therapeutic!)
3) Give a friend a quick call on the telephone, just five minutes to ‘check in’ with someone who might like to hear your voice, rather than read your text!
4) Have a read of a chapter of Michael Townsend Williams’ book Do Breathe: Calm your mind. Find focus. Get stuff done. “we breathe better, we think better, feel better and do better. Finding stillness inside, we create success outside.” Or take five mins to download his app here BreatheSync.
5) Put the kettle on, make a cuppa, and put your feet up!
It’s really amazing what can you do in five minutes hey?! It will honestly make you feel more productive and that you are on top of things, taking five minutes out to reflect.
Mahabis have published their very first Christmas advert, about finding 5 minutes peace this Christmas. This time of year can be so hectic, and we realise how rare it can be that you have time to put your feet up. Needless to say, spending five peaceful minutes away from noise will energise you, to be able to concentrate on the demands of family life (like making pancakes together, or being thrashed at the latest Christmas game)…
We’ve had a fab time this summer, with trips up to Lancashire, Swansea, and Hastings – and two weeks camping in France – at the end of our camping trip, we spent some time at a couple of theme parks, and I’ll let 11yo take over the story from here. This is his review in his own words:
Futuroscope review – age 11
This summer, after leaving the campsite at Dune du Pyla in Southern France, which we had stayed at for two weeks, my brother and I and family stopped off at an F1 Hotel near Poitiers, and slept there for the night to break up the journey back home.
As we woke up, my Mum and Dad declared that we were going for a surprise visit somewhere.
And so we set off, in our car, my brother and I stared out of the window hoping for signs of where we were going.
Not too long after, we spotted a big crystal shard building sticking out of the ground, in the distance.
We then started noticing signs marked Futuroscope, and there was then a turning on the motorway with a big sign directing us down a slip road, the sign was also marked ‘Futuroscope’!
As we pulled into the car park we started asking our Dad about Futuroscope and he explained that it is an amazing theme park which we have been driving passed every year and this year we were lucky enough to get free entry as my Mum writes a blog.
My first thoughts about Futuroscope was the fantastic large buildings: a city of cylinders, the great shard building, and we couldn’t wait to check out the rides.
As we walked through the theme park, I kept my eye out for rides and when I couldn’t see any I asked Dad and he said that the rides were all inside rides, so the first ride we went on was in the Shard building, which was a 4D movie with moving seats, wind, and on a moving conveyor belt so that it felt as if you were inside the screen – Rayman Rabbids Time Travel.
It explained all of the odd things about history and how they had been caused by the Rabbids. I really enjoyed this ride, as it was my first indoor theme park ride experience.
Our second ride experience was a driving experience. Were it seem like you were in a formula one car racing through the sharp cornered streets of a French city and nearly running people over. They made this experience work by using: moving seats, air fans and water jets; which sprayed at us.
Our next ride experience was my favourite because the staff strapped you into the hand of a robotic arm and asked you what level you wanted 1, 2 or 3. I chose number 3 and the arm span into action. Twisting and spinning, tipping upside down, all in the time of the beat. (there was music playing.)
The ride was called Dances with Robots. . . I’ve only included my very favourite rides as I would be here all day otherwise!
Ali: I would like to add a thanks to Futuroscope for their Premium passes – I can highly recommend, saves so much queuing time! The PREMIUM Pass gives:
• One-off priority access for 1 person to 5 attractions: “The Time Machine”, “Virus Attack”, “Dynamic Vienne”, “Dances with Robots” and “Arthur, the 4D Adventure” – we went on them ALL (although, the Virus Attack made me feel VERY ill!)
As a kid myself (Ali @incredibusy writes) my dear Dad – a Formula One fan, took us to car tracks to watch the racing, bought us toy cars (he had two daughters – and gender seriously was not an issue!) and a Scaletrix track which we played with to its death. The big ice cream tub at Granny’s full of toy cars has be played with by my boys and their cousins, so the tradition and delight in all things motor sports has continued.
We recently acquired an Anki Overdrive track and a couple of cars, and I’ll have to say that I LOVE it (see my Instagram stories – much to the amusement of my followers) – – however, I’m handing over to my 14yo to tell you more:
Spike age 14:
We’ve had train tracks, and car tracks before – and loved them, so I’m here to tell you that the Anki overdrive is a fun and immersive game for all the family. There are many engaging modes to play, both by yourself and with others. its quick and easy to set up and you can begin racing within minutes.
We easily downloaded the app onto both Mum’s iPhone and my Samsung Galaxy android. It’s really intuitive and simple to use…
The starter kit comes with enough tracks to build up to eight different courses to keep the game fresh and exciting. There are also two ‘lifters ‘ that raise the tracks and create even more customization options.
As well as this, the starter kit contains two supercars: ‘ground shock’ and ‘skull’ , my personal favourite supercar is ‘ground shock’ as the glossy blue colour looks really cool.
The app interface is easy to understand and the graphics are amazing. There are many different races you can partake in such as ‘battles’, ‘battle races’ and ‘king of the hill’. There is also a solo challenging campaign mode were players can rack up wins and earn ‘money’ to spend on cool gadgets and weapons in the store.
The weapons are epic, varying from charge beams, to chain guns and psychokinetic rays. There are also boosts like healing boosts and revolver damage boosts.
The multiplayer mode is heaps of fun; me and my brother spend most of our time on Anki overdrive ‘battle racing’ shooting, boosting and swerving around corners. definitely our favorite mode!
The track is easy to dismantle and pack away when you have finished play too (Mum told me to write that bit) – overall we absolutely love it!
We’ve had ourselves a full and active summer, we just didn’t want it to be over…
Youngest started at ‘bigger than ever’ school and we thought, that’s it, Autumn is on its way – And then, with great joy, we packed our tent into the back of the car and took ourselves off for a long weekend to North Wales. We were meeting my sister, husband and Gracie the dog, for an amazing family weekend at The Good Life Experience, and WHAT a wonderful family festival.
Located in the grounds of the Hawarden Estate, former home of Prime Minister William Gladstone and now owned by his great-great grandson Charlie Gladstone and his wife Caroline (they of vintage lifestyle brand, Pedlars). You may have seen us talking about Pedlars over on aGreenerLifeforUs.com too – as they’ve been one of our #sgiew (@sogoodineveryway) photo challenge judges.
It’s a stunning location, with a castle, rolling grounds, a lake… before you even start to take in the iconic helter skelter, the beautiful bell tents, and general loveliness that goes to make this such a fabulous spot for a family festival of Music, Culture, Food & The Great Outdoors.
The Good Life Experience was founded in 2014 by four friends Cerys Matthews, Steve Abbott and Charlie & Caroline Gladstone, and they’ve crafted a festival that is wonderfully entertaining, based around themes of slow living, hand crafts, and the great outdoors, with a bit of poetry and live music thrown in for good measure. Fabulous guest speakers, art & craft workshops, swing bands and lindy hop dancing, coffee stops, ceramics, archery, axe throwing, Jennie Maizels‘ sketchbook clubs, Alex Pole forge kitchenware, plasticine stop motion animation, bushcraft, a dog show(!) and so much more!
Between the six of us, we managed to cram a LOT into the weekend, listened to the amazing (and hilarious) Doctor John Cooper Clarke, adventurer Ben Fogle talking about his life, DJ78 with his classic wind up gramophones, and John Higgs, talking KLF and the spectacular Swing Patrol swing dance class… yes, I’ve looked them up on the internet, there IS a class near me!
We marvelled at Neil from the Harwarden Estate and his amazing pumkin carving, we danced and cheered for the amazing Stealing Sheep.
As Tim at Gather Outdoors said, it’s great to meet up with so many like-minded people all in one place (and many that we follow and interact with on the ‘gram!)
So with much delight, we introduce our latest invention, the Milk Carton Skull Lanterns!
Spike age 14:
We really wanted to have a go at making some skull lanterns, and thought the milk carton would be perfect for this, and it wasn’t until we started planning the graphics for it that we realised how brilliant it was that the handle itself created two brilliant indentations that were perfect for the skull’s eye sockets!!
We’ve since made LOADS of these are they are so easy to make, you can either print off the FREE printable here, or use marker pens, like these * affiliate links which work really well on plastic bottles – for full instructions watch my Mum’s incredibusyyoutube video here.
For the PRINTABLE Skull’s face template click here
We have a few rainbow crafts on the blog that we can call upon, however, having teenagers and pre-teens in the house, it’s good to push and encourage their creativity, as they have become more and more drawn to staring at their screens and not wanting to be quite as creative as they used to be…
So we have FOUND A WAY and that is stop motion animation – so – check this out, we set up a tripod, take a series of photos, and make an animation! What fun…
For this particular craft, we took a square canvas* and some old crayons, and got busy, you can watch the stop motion in the youtube link below….
You will need:
Glue Gun (or tape, glue gun is quick and easy though!)
Watch the video here for instructions, basically, glue the crayons to the top half of the canvas.
Prop the canvas at an angle and start warming the crayons with the hair dryer.
Move the hair dryer to the top of the crayons, and start heating from the top so that they melt DOWN… note, the red didn’t melt as fast as the other colours, yet it still looks OK in the final result.
Lower the canvas to a smaller angle so that the crayons don’t drip off the end of the canvas, have fun, and don’t worry if the crayons ‘splatter’ that’s all part of the fun and creativity!