father's day, kids, life

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!

charity, life

What an amazing thing to be a part of… the #TeamHonkRelay – Team Honk is a collection of bloggers, Tweeters and Facebookers who come together to raise money for Comic Relief and Sport Relief.

Team Honk, set up in 2013 by Tanya Mummy Barrow, Penny from Aresidence and Annie Mammasuarus, have this year designed a blogger team honk relay challenge where a baton is being passed from Lands End to John O Groats. Bloggers up and down the country will be using a range of weird and wonderful modes of transport to pass the baton over.

teamhonkrelay badgeYesterday was London’s turn… Our leg of the team honk relay was an ingenious Monopoly theme – #Honkopoly! We covered every colour of the Monopoly board with a couple of extra iconic points of interest along the way. We walked, skipped, ran, skated, and pushed buggies. Armed with the baton and props including Get Out Of Jail , Chance and Pass Go cards as well as amazingly designed leaflets which we gave out to people with details of what we were doing…and tonight we find that we are on the leaderboard of Sport Relief’s ‘freestyle‘ fundraisers!

Bloggers who took part in the London leg included: Vanessa from HPMcQ, Sophie from Franglaise Mummy , Sarah from Grenglish, Swazi from Chocolate is not the only fruit, Alison from Not Another Mummy Blog, Me (KidsChaos) in my Hi-Tec trainers, Jennifer from Jenography, Gillian from A Baby on Board, Rosie from Mummy and Boo, Gretta from Mums Do Travel, Julia from I Carried a Watermelon, Stephanie from Was This In The Plan?, Jacinta from Jacintaz3, Maria aka @maniasmama3, Sachelle from Holiday Tots, Maggy from RedTedArt, Nell from the Pigeon Pair and Me, Kelly from domesticgoddesque, and Uju from babesabouttown.


ali clifford maggy woodley honkopolyWe had a great day being a part of the team honk relay.

supporting this worthy charity and raising money for a fantastic cause. So, we’d love it if you could sponsor us all here please. Thanks so much!

I think it’s worth it for Maggy, Red Ted Art‘s eyelashes, and our tutu and tights get-up from Delights UK – we certainly got some *HONKS*.

You can keep track of the journey by following the hashtags #TeamHonkRelay – and let us know when you have sponsored us, so that we can tweet about you too!

And if you’re interested in actively getting involved with Sport Relief, the first ever Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games take place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014. The public can join the fun and games by running, swimming or cycling their way to raising cash at over a thousand venues around the country, including the landmark events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Honkopoly-incredibusy-redtedart-teamAs one of the biggest fundraising events, Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active raise cash and change lives. The money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to help transform the lives of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people both at home in the UK and across the world.

key stage 2, kids, life

As a family, we like to play games together… we like the classics (of my youth)… Monopoly, Connect 4, and anyone remember ‘Sorry’?

My parents always bought a new ‘family game’ every year, and I’ve carried on this tradition with my own children.

pucket photoThis time last year, we bought Pucket – an amazingly fun game, you pull back the elastic to fire your wooden pucks through a gap in the middle of the board (the ‘gate’), and when all of your pucks have got through… before your opponents’, you’ve won! It’s manic, and massively funny to play. We can highly recommend this game 🙂


Now the makers of Pucket, ETGames, have a new game… it’s called ‘Bridget’ and the boys LOVE it… 11yo opened it on his birthday, they figured out the rules – taking it in turns to add the bricks to get across the board with their ‘bridges’…they insisted we took it with us to the restaurant for Birthday Supper with Daddy… and excitedly explained the Bridge Building Strategy Game to him. “A three dimensional noughts and crosses” which I seem to lose to a 9yo and an 11yo…grrr.

bridget-kidschaos-square(When not playing the official game, they use the bricks to create characters and funny faces!!)

It’s produced following the same Fair Trade principles as the production of the Pucket game, and packaged in a small organic cotton bag, perfect for taking with you on your travels, and Bridget is carefully hand-crafted in the UK – in fact, it’s quite a thing of beauty!

I’ve recommended this to several friends who have already purchased the Bridget for Christmas pressies, and my Brother in Law will certainly be getting one from us too this year!

If you can recommend any other classic games you think my family, and the boys age 9 and 11 may like – please comment below, thank you 🙂

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

kids, life

KidsChaos-plan-for-thorpe-parkThe boys had been behaving well all week, homework done, on time, thumbs up from their teachers, they’d got dressed and to school on time EVERY day for the week (without me losing my voice ‘reminding’ to clean teeth, pack sports kits etc), so it was time to break it to them…. carry on like this for another five days, and next weekend we’ll take you to Thorpe Park!

The boys pored over the Thorpe Park website, planning which rides they would be going on, and in which order… this took quite some planning as 8yo is not quite tall enough for some of the scarier rides (he’s just under the 1.4m limit at 1.3m – however, there are LOTS of rides he CAN go on at that height, equally scary if you ask me!)


So we packed some snacks, and waterproofs, and set off for a day of fun.

KidsChaosThorpeParkTALLMy personal highlights were all fairly ‘water-based’ so I’d say if you CAN take waterproof trousers too, do! I hung out with 8yo, and started with Depth Charge, (picured below, a couple of times!) followed by Flying FishLoggers Leap (damp), Rumba Rapids(soggy), and the SOAKING WET Tidal Wave.

Another favourite of mine, which took some doing to get me on there… was the Detonator. 8yo said it was more fun going on there with me, than with Daddy, as I actually enjoyed it and queued up straight away to go back on! Gut wrenching, but a GREAT view from the top! 8yo and I LOVED RUSH too, so make sure you ask for a blue wristband for your child as you enter the park, this denotes that he is tall enough for a 1.3m ride, and speeds things up.

Meanwhile 10yo and his Dad went on ALL of the ‘extreme thrills’ rollercoaster rides that he listed as his PLAN for the day, so he had the best day EVER apparently!

(and yes, they both braved it backwards on the Swarm!)

So a great day all round, we’ll definitely be going again, and 8yo will be pestering me on a weekly basis to see if he’s 1.4m yet!

There are a few offers on at the mo, to help families to make savings when visiting: Pick up a Frijj to take advantage of a 2-for-1 coupon offer when booking tickets. Check out more information on their Facebook page.

We were lucky enough to be given our tickets by Thorpe Park, however if you book tickets seven days or more in advance you can save 30% – adults from £30.24, children from £23.52 (under 12)

We drove, as we’re only half an hour away, however, if travelling by train, South West Trains website offer online discounts on entry too.

We heartily recommend it for a day out, take waterproofs, and plan your day, would be a great day out for half term – see you there!

Ali, KidsChaos.

Are you on Google+ Follow me here, and say hello, and I’ll add you back to my circles.

Oh, and I’m on twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos too… Erm, and funnily enough on Facebookand Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it!
Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com

Awesome rides at THORPE PARK
Check out interesting facts on some of THORPE PARK’s top rides!

gardening, gardening with kids, kids, life

Chaos writes:

Out in the garden this morning before school, grabbing some compost for the little Papiermâché seedling pots pictured below.KidsChaosCompostTreasures

And look! (actually, look away now if you’re squeamish about worms… oh, too late…)

There was a potato growing deep at the bottom of the hotbin compost bin! I’ve pulled him out, and re-planted the little spud, how exciting – looking forward to harvesting them later in the year 🙂 #composttreasures

To read more on our gardening adventures click here to see where we got our delicious compost for our seedlings.
KidsChaosPAPERMACHETo see how our garden grows, follow our Gardening With Kids posts here.

and how to make an indoor watering can here!

Are you on Google+ Follow me here, and say hello, and I’ll add you back to my circles.

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

cooking, cooking with kids, create, kids, life

Chaos writes:

We have a lovely recipe for Squid with Fennel…. 10yo LOVES it and requests it ALL the time. Trouble is, last time we made it together, 8yo cried the whole way through the meal… So, 10yo and I have come up with a compromise, and have replaced the fresh fennel, and fennel seeds with rocket. So cooking with kids has a new recipe for you….And 8yo was so delighted by this option, he offered to make it all himself!…. Using his beloved Sheeplands Farm Bamboo chopping board (his favourite Christmas pressie can you believe?) check out this speedy easy recipe:SquidTagKidsChaos

INGREDIENTS: (serves 4)

400g dried tagliatelle
600g frozen squid rings (calamari)
couple of handfuls of rocket leaves
1 lime
3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (finely chopped)
olive oil
sea salt
ground pepper

Heat the olive oil, and gently fry the garlic. Meanwhile, pop the pasta on to cook in a large pan of water. Add the squid rings to the fried garlic (make sure they are defrosted) and the zest of the lime, and half of the lime juice, and the chopped parsley. Drain, and add the cooked tagliatelle pasta, and the rocket too, and give it a good stir.

Season to taste, adding a little more of the lime juice if needed.

We like to grate some parmesan over it to serve (although, according to the OH, this is ‘against the law’ of no cheese with seafood… don’t ask) which is delicious!

Want a speedy pancake pud to follow? Click here for the quickest pancakes in the history of the universe.

This one’s great for the school dinner packed lunch flasks for the next day if there are any leftovers!

For more Cooking with Kids recipes, join my community over on Google+ here.

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

Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com
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baking, life

Chaos writes:

So, how my life has changed. Gone are the days of claiming a posh lunch on expenses, or even HAVING a lunch break. Working from home, and managing school runs, and budgeting on a day to day basis leaves us freelancers with little time for ourselves.

So there is nothing I like better these days that going to a cafe and having a (Fairtrade) coffee and a slice of cake. (click here to sample a slice of our own #Fairtrade Cake!) This has become a ‘treat’ to me, is that a little tragic? I just get such a pleasure from meeting a friend, having a chat, a soya latte and time out from the other ‘stuff’.

A bonus for me, is that our little local cafe owner (The Gooseberry Bush, SW19) totally has her heart in the right place too, she is constantly raising money for the local St George’s Hospital neonatal unit (@FirstTouchNNU) and all of her delicious food is locally sourced, and the coffee is of course Fairtrade too.

So as we approach Fairtrade Fortnight, I thought I’d give one of you a chance to get your hands on your own delicious Fairtrade coffee, with it’s own special story.

Mzuzu Fairtrade Ground Coffee is part of the Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range. Grown by the Mzuzu cooperative high in the Misuku hills, in the northernmost region of Malawi.

Three years ago Sainsbury’s joined with Comic Relief coffee traders Finlays and Twin, the fair trade organisation which works with smallholder farming groups, to develop new African speciality grade coffees..

The project is funded by the Government’s Department for International Development under its Food Retail Industry Challenge Fund (FRICH), which sets out to improve the lives of poor communities in Africa.

Ellen Msiska, Fairtrade coffee farmer said: “I have brought water down to my house from the hills in a pipe which I paid for and laid myself. This was paid for from coffee money, and means I have good quality water for my children to drink.”

This prize draw has now closed. Many thanks for all of the entries! Really enjoyed reading them 🙂 MANY CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER ‘FRAN’ TOO!!
How to enter:

1 – Comment below to tell us your coffee story… your favourite time for coffee? with a cake? IN a cake? A Latte? or a Flat White?

2 – ‘Like’ KidsChaos on Facebook and tell us how you like your coffee.
and comment below to tell us you’ve done so.

3 – Follow Twin Fairtrade on twitter to support their work and Fairtrade Fortnight

4 – Follow @MoreKidsChaos on twitter with a little fun #HowMuchIsTooMuchCoffee? hashtag

5 – For an extra entry, Add KidsChaos into your circles in Google + and comment below to tell us you’ve done so.

Terms and Conditions

– Entrants must be over 18 and in the UK
– By entering this prize draw, the player assigns to KidsChaos.com all exclusive rights to reproduce and represent the copy related to this competition on any media (both online and offline)
– Entries close Midnight on the 10th March (the last day of Fairtrade Fortnight)
– The winners will be notified personally
– KidsChaos’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered in to and no cash alternative will be offered
– This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Google+

Interesting Links:

Michaela Strachan reports on food safety from Malawi

Comic Relief

Fairtrade Fortnight 2013 runs from Mon 25 February to Sun 10 March

Mzuzu Project, Malawi

kids, life

Chaos writes:

Every birthday, every Christmas, my lucky children receive new toys, new books, new STUFF – we have a rule of one in – one out, and it is SO hard to stick to!

Our lucky neighbours have slightly younger children than us, so they receive frequent hand-me-downs, and we are so grateful to them for allowing us to recycle our toys quickly and locally!

We go by the sorting-mantra “Bin, Recycle (via the neighbour’s kids), Charity” (much like the SKIP, KEEP, SELL, CHARITY piles on Aggie‘s daytime telly programme ‘Storage Hoarders‘ – very popular telly with my in-laws, who are fortunately following suit, they have SO much stuff!)

Having decided to have a bit of a grown-up clearout too, (it being NEW YEAR n ALL) I’m tackling my own STUFF bit by bit, I have recently joined the local branch of freegle for the first time, and have had a bit of a clear out, honestly, you’ve got to try it, it’s so cathartic… it gave me such a lovely warm feeling of community, I’ll chip away at our loft, so freegle, look out! 🙂

cooking, food, google+ hangouts, kids, life

Chaos writes:

I seem to spend my whole time impressing other people’s children with my culinary skills…. little do they know! Tonight’s a case in point, 10yo has a playdate. Playdate says: “mmm, delicious pizza, is this HOME-MADE?!”

“Yes” I answer, “of course it is!”
“Wow, it’s the most delicious pizza I have ever had. My mummy is so lazy, she BUYS ours”. (apologies to all mums and dads who BUY their pizzas, seriously, I do that too….)

So, this is basically the easiest thing, bung all of the ingredients (300g flour, a tsp of dried yeast, tbsp sugar, 30g butter, 2tbsp milk powder, 1 tsp salt, 420ml water) into the breadmaker at 3pm, go on the school run, come back from school run, break the pizza dough into six pieces, shape into balls.

Make three pizza (I have proper pizza bases, nice and thin and crispy) couple of spoons of pasta sauce, rip up mozzarella ball, grated cheese, couple of olives if you’ve got them….

Freeze the extra three dough shapes, and use them in about a fortnight! (kids get bored of having pizza TOO often believe it or not…)

job done. Nigella, beat that. 🙂

britmums hangout vegetarian

2014 UPDATE for this recipe…. temporary glitch with the breadmaker (it started spewing out black smoke!) so we’ve been experimenting with using flatbreads and wraps as makeshift pizza bases – and these are SUCH a winner – spoon a couple of tomato pasta sauce, mozzarella, a few slices of mushrooms and some grated cheese, and pop in a hot oven for about seven minutes – sprinkle over a handful of rocket, and TOTAL WIN!

I joined Britmums to talk about vegetarian meals, both simple and fancy – click to watch the google+ hangout above.

Ali also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

This post is part of the #FaveFamilyRecipes Competition with BritMums and Tilda Rice. Every pack sold will provide a meal to an expectant mum in need in support of the World Food Programme’s Mothers Helping Mothers initiative in Bangladesh