Chaos writes:

So who knew, pop-up books have lasting appeal! We received a couple of lovely things through the post this week, one of which was the THE SUPER SCIENCE BOOK by Kate Petty and Jennie Maizels.

Well, 10yo couldn’t put it down, initially he rushed to look through it, turning each page with a smile, and a twist of this, a turn of that, as each spread revealed with pop-up wizardry and fabulous illustrations, the principles of Physical Science.

An hour later, he was back, pouring over each little illustration and

Molecules, atoms, elements and compounds have never been so much fun. This is a fantastic book, whether your child wants to be a scientist or not – he or she will love it!


Button styles through the ages

Button styles through the ages

According to one historian, the first recorded use of buttons was for ornamental purposes, rather than practical, similar to some upholstery buttons we see today.

Buttons date back to prehistoric times, and were originally fashioned from materials such as shell, ivory, bronze, gold argent and even bone. As far back as 1600 BC, buttons were found to be a luxury garment decoration which adorned kings of Mediterranean civilisations such as the Greeks.

antique buttons 2Look at this prehistoric stone button with its hole pierced for suspension purposes. It is thought to date back to 5000 BC, and was discovered in the Syrian, Anatolian region of the Middle East.

The Middle Ages saw the introduction of a flatter design, often decorated with stones. By the time of the Crusades (1200 AD), it had become common to wear clothes closer to the body, meaning the practical use of buttons came to the fore. Some medieval buttons were made from cloth, and others from metal. Usually this was determined by the status of the wearer.

antique buttons 1These viking buttons are demonstrative of the geometric style of patterns that were common at that time.

Fast forward to the 1500s, and there is evidence to suggest that covering buttons with fabric became a popular practice. During the Renaissance, buttons, often decorated with jewels, commonly adorned hats, sleeves and shirts of the wealthy, while the lower classes were more likely to wear buttons manufactured from wood, copper or leather. Whatever the material, it is clear buttons were very much the thing to wear during this period!

With the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, button styles changed with the introduction of machinery capable of mass producing products. This is widely acknowledged to have led to a decrease in quality in button manufacturing, but someone who wasn’t short of quality buttons was Queen Victoria herself. The buttons she wore in mourning after Prince Albert’s death in 1861 were seen as being held in such high regard that they were widely copied for years afterwards, usually using black glass instead of jewellery. The style is still copied today, as shown by this collection sold by a US retailer.

Moving into the modern era, the style of buttons becomes more complicated. With so many waves in retro fashion, the button has retained the decorative use of old, but there is no predominant style. Buttons are also still essential practical items which are very much here to stay.

For more on buttons, click here


BritMums Live 2015: Social Media Optimisation – doing it all at once (yes, you must!)
Facebook tweaks its algorithm and suddenly nobody sees yours posts anymore. Pinterest fiddles with its feed and your referrals go from 1,000 to 100. It’s no longer good enough to be excellent on one social platform; you need to be working them all.

social media optimisationSocial Media Optimisation

Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, G+, Twitter all at once? Yes, you must! The why and how

Social media is constantly changing. We don’t *own* our social media platforms, third parties do. To effectively use social media for your blog or small business, you must keep up and evolve with the platforms. Myself, Ali Clifford; and Maggy Woodley, Red Ted Art presented a session at BritMums Live, 2015 focusing on Social Media Optimisation.

We shared our strategies and talked about how to cope with the various platforms, use the right tools for the job and make the time you spend on social work for you. CLICK HERE for a slide show of the presentation

BritMums Live! is the UK’s biggest and best social media conference and blogger event, where lifestyle bloggers and social influencers gather to meet and socialise, network with brands, improve their skills, and fire their creativity. BritMums Live has grown out of BritMums, the UK’s largest parent blogger community, made up of nearly 8,000 influential bloggers who create content about lifestyle, crafting, food, health, travel, education, tech, style and more.


I have always loved my Mum’s old typewriter – it was amazing to us to see her tapping away at full pace, she filled us full of wonder, glancing quickly at her shorthand notes and slamming the carriage return.tribe originals

The boys and I have been over to her house to start clearing as she’s moved to a care home closer to us, and they’ve delighted in the old Imperial’s discovery and have been typing amusing sentences to each other – and I’m so glad it’s in my life, as look, what an amazing photoshoot prop for my full collection of Tribe Originals! Pictured here are my new Maverick sunglasses, Coast watch which we are giving to Daddy for his birthday next week, sssshh, and Oak Wooden Cardholder which you can **WIN** {click here}.

Responsibly sourced, Tribe Originals are also offering an exclusive 25% OFF on their Wood Wallets (one of which you can win here)
Wood Tribe Originals Sunglasses – just love all of the designs, Maverick is so ‘me’ though – retro-chic!
Wood Watches – loads to choose from – pictured here, the Coast Hybrid Watch combines a tough stainless steel casing with real wood dials, to create a new generation in watch styles. We love how each dial is totally unique and will tell its own story…..
and Hollow Balsa Wood Surfboards – for 25% OFF use the code **incredibusy** at the checkout until 29th August 2015 here http://tribehq.co.uk/

Coast-crate Maverick-sunglasses-2 Oak-Cardholder-001-312x312

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


The Penguins of Madagascar at Chessington World of Adventures

We’ve been fans of Chessington World of Adventures for several years now, and were super-excited to have the chance to stay at the hotel and take a look at their new Penguin themed family rooms, and to check out their Year of the Penguins’ spectacular.Penguins of MADAGASCAR kidschaos

With the Penguins of Madagasar movie out 30th March 2015 on DVD and Blu-ray, Chessington has a whole host of penguin fun to celebrate at the theme park as part of their ‘Year of the Penguins’.

penguins-cheezy-dibbles-logoThey even have a ‘Penguins Live’ Show based om DreamWorks Animation’s PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR which is a singing and dancing spectacular indeed!

So Chessington’s Year of the Penguins features:

A new Penguin Bay and the arrival of six new Humboldt Penguins in April for the new Penguin Presentation (too cute!)
NEW Penguins of Madagascar themed hotel rooms at the Safari Hotel
The new Penguins of Madagascar Mission: Treetop Hopper ride experience
A celebration of the partnership with DreamWorks Penguins of Madagascar and the new show: Penguins of Madagascar Live! Operation Cheezy Dibbles!
It is running for the whole year and tickets start at £26pp for the day click here

If you have a chance to visit, or indeed stay at the hotel, your kids won’t be disappointed – the rooms really are rather special and the boys couldn’t wait to get into their bunk beds. On a grown-up note, I have never had such a comfy night’s sleep in a hotel, and to wake up to see wild safari animals roaming around outside our window was really quite special!

Disclosure: We were invited to this event courtesy of Dreamworks and Chessington World of Adventures for the purposes of this review and it was my birthday too. 🙂

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



Penguins of MADAGASCAR DVD kidschaos If you’re a fan of the Madagascar Movies, you’ll be familiar with the penguin characters Skipper andKowalski so in their own fun film, The Penguins of Madagascar.

The film is available on DVD and Blu-ray and opens with a young Skipper, Kowalski and Rico leaving the other penguins to rescue a runaway egg. This egg hatches (hoping this doesn’t spoil the surprise!) into cute little Private, and they set off together on their adventures as one big happy family!

There was much hilarity at the penguins addiction to Cheezy Dibbles – a rather brightly coloured orange cheesey puff snack (the kids couldn’t wait to act out the scenes!).PenguinsofMadagascar_4028x2692_4

And there is also a rather hilarious character Dr Octavius Brine (part man, part evil octopus) and his plans to take his revenge on the world voiced by John Malkovich.

The film is action packed, and as a grown up, you really have to pay attention to keep up, yet the kids LOVED it, and can’t wait to watch it all over again now they have it on DVD.

Penguins of Madagascar is out on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on 30th March from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

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


Every month we run a craft challenge on a theme – February is #Sheep #Crafts.


Share your Sheep Crafts photos on Instagram, or over on Twitter, using the hashtag #GetYourCraftOn, add your link to the linky below, and we’ll pick the best ones to feature here on the host blog the following month. (and on our Pinterest board too)

The photos you share do not have to be of the finished article – let’s see your work in progress as well as your completed masterpieces! Anything related to the #Sheep crafts or #SeantheSheep (! if you’re Aardman animation fan) topic. Just tag them with #GetYourCraftOn and follow and tag us too so we know you’re taking part) Our team’s four Instagram accounts are: @incredibusy (that’s me!), @redtedart @bluebearwood &@missielizzie.

This month’s Craft Challenge is #Sheep #Crafts. #GetYourCraftOn, and add your link to the linky below and check out our Pinterest board too.

[inlinkz_linkup id=494807 mode=1]


As MASSIVE Harry Potter fans – the boys were soooo excited to hear that we were going to visit Hogwarts in the Snow Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour for 12yo’s birthday treat…Hogwarts in the snow

Hogwarts in the snow castleThe creative team have gone to town with the most fabulous snowfall covering the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, we were blown away with just how beautiful the Hogwarts castle model is covered in a blanket of snow.

It was our first visit to the studio tours, so we felt really honoured to see the castle’s festive makeover up close as well as the iconic Great Hall decorated for Christmas – the two long dining tables are dressed for this seasonal feast with turkeys, hams, fruit, vegetables (ENORMOUS bowls of peas!) and snow cakes. Harry-Potter-Warner-Studios-6-KidsChaosHogwarts in the snow Christmas DinnerHarry-Potter-Warner-Studios-7-KidsChaos

So be quick, and treat someone special to a gift ticket this Christmas, the perfect present for the ultimate Harry Potter fan! Hogwarts in the Snow runs from Friday 14th November – Sunday 1st February 2015. Book online at www.wbstudiotour.co.uk

Incidentally, the shop is AMAZING – we spent ages in there, and it’s as beautifully merchandised as some of the sets themselves – We loved the vast array of clothing available and we treated 12yo to a really cool Gryffindor™ Hooded Sweatshirt.

And the grown-up bearded one bought a rather stylish Hufflepuff™ V-Neck School Cardigan – suits him!

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

Harry-Potter-Warner-Studios-4-KidsChaos Harry-Potter-Warner-Studios-3-KidsChaos Harry-Potter-Warner-Studios-2-KidsChaos Harry-Potter-Warner-Studios-1-KidsChaos


Cookie Cutter crafts – cookie on the side of a mug

We’ve made these before and never photographed them, eaten too quickly!
Super simple with the Holiday Season coming, and the kids (and grown-ups) love them!

Basically use a star shaped cookie cutter, and I used another piece of a letter ‘l’ from a alphabet cookie cutter set to cut the slot that fits over the edge of the mug, but you could use a knife to fashion the same effect…

Ingredients for the cookies and the royal icing here and if you enjoyed playing with cookie cutters, check out our snowman sandwich after-school snack here!


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

Homemade Thursday

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com


PC Protection: Keeping Your Kids Safe Online with Free Software

child using laptop


More than 20 million homes in Britain have internet access in 2014 – that’s more than 80% of all homes in the UK. Parents who are concerned about online safety should remember to implement safety precautions; available for free through internet service providers.

Safe fun online

The internet is of course an excellent learning resource as well as a great way for kids to amuse themselves and stay in touch with friends. There are however some online areas that aren’t suitable for kids, and unfortunately these websites can be stumbled upon by accident.

If you’re going to compare phone and broadband deals make sure to check that your provider offers good anti-virus software as part of your internet package. You can also talk to your Internet service provider (ISP) about parental control options that can allow you to block specific websites or even put a blanket ban across certain types of content.

The importance of virus protection

Your children probably know more about computers and the internet that you do but protection from online viruses seems to be one thing that doesn’t concern them too much. If the family computer has suddenly become filled with pop-up adverts or you’re being redirected to strange websites it usually means you have some form of PC infection. Viruses are very harmful to your computer and in many cases you won’t actually know that they’ve been downloaded; a virus can be implemented into you PC simply by clicking on a link. Hackers can easily take control of your computer, steal personal and financial details, and can even remotely shut down your computer via a virus.

Ask your PC provider

Make sure to ask your PC salesperson about the types of online protection available. Most computers today should have some form of protection already installed, which will save you money and there are also online companies out there that will provide this antivirus service for free.

Online mobile devices

Remember that children also have access to the internet through their mobile phone, and safety precautions should be be taken across any devices that can be used to get online.

Parental control software is available and this will filter out harmful websites and also allow you to choose which sites to block and allow. Your (ISP) should be able to provide all parental control software and anti-virus protection for free as part of your package.

Having good online protection

Putting protection in place is extremely important and you should consult with either your PC provider or your ISP to ensure you have access to this type of software. There’s no need to pay an arm and a leg for these facilities if you’ve already taken out or are going to take an online package through an ISP.

This is a commissioned post
Sources – pcadvisor.co.uk
Young Girl using Laptop” by Picture Youth” licensed under CC BY 2.0

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