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, education, kids

Chaos writes:

You may have been following our latest ‘growing’ kitchen fun on twitter; we’ve been overwhelmed by this amazing phenomena – growing our own mushrooms on the kitchen windowsill…

This fabulous invention, the Espresso Mushroom Kitchen Garden has been the talk of our kitchen – This little ‘garden’ uses recycled coffee grounds and we grew our own oyster mushrooms in just two weeks.

Both kids have really enjoyed the experience of spraying the mushrooms with water, and rushing in from school to see how they’ve grown. 8yo even wrote a recipe (pictured) which we duly followed, when our mushrooms were ready to harvest –  fried them up, served with chopped parsley on a couple of slices of toast. De-Lish-ious….

We had been talking to Alex at Espresso Mushroom about just how much we wanted to tell the world about their mushrooms, and have joined forces with them and our friends at Cafédirect to offer you the chance to win this fab prize. We have some tasty espresso coffee from Cafédirect and an Espresso Mushroom Kitchen Garden gift voucher, so you can WIN and grow your own Pearl Oyster Mushrooms – it’s such fun!

This prize draw has now closed, thank you for all of your entries, the lucky winner is Eileen from Staffordshire. 🙂 xx

How to enter:

1 – Comment below to tell us how you’d cook your mushrooms

2- ‘Like’ KidsChaos on Facebook and tell us what you’d cook with your mushrooms!
and comment below to tell us you’ve done so.

3 – ‘LIKE’ Espresso Mushroom on Facebook and comment below to tell us you’ve done so.

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

5 – And another add Espresso Mushroom into your circles on 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 competition, the player assigns to 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 20th of December
– 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+

education, key stage 2, kids

Chaos writes:

Living in London, we are lucky enough to have a great deal of WW2 history at our fingertips which is useful when you have kids in Key Stage 1 and 2.

Our children can totally relate to the reality, and horrors of the London Bombing circa 1940 when we showed them this photograph given to me by a friend and neighbour, in our adjacent street in South West London. Coincidentally, last week everyone was talking about a FANTASTIC new website which maps the WW2 bomb census in a most beautifully graphic way…. Our neighbour’s house pictured, was not rebuilt until 1945 – we sadly wonder what happened to the family who lived there…

You can also follow @BombSightUK on twitter

crafts, key stage 2

Chaos writes:

You’ll know that we are quite fond of creativity and art in our house?
We came across this little gem in a book we picked up in a charity shop this week….How to walk through a sheet of A4 paper? You can do it, however tall you are!

Look at the illustration, notice the dotted lines.

Click here to download and print your own template (saves you getting the ruler out!)

Use a pair of scissors to cut along the lines, and carefully open the big zig-zag hole you’ve just created, and step through it!

And now the ‘science’ – by making the back and forth cuts in the A4 paper, you are increasing the length of the edges of the paper – Ultimately, you could cut a hole in a piece of paper big enough for the whole class to go through! 🙂


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

Ali also writes over on
Follow on Bloglovin


Chaos writes:

Living in suburban London, we are often oblivious to the wildlife that surrounds us, as the traffic rushes by, and we rush to school, late as ever!

8yo and I have been talking about wildlife a lot since we found out that the RSPCA have launched a new children’s short story competition – called Wild About Britain – as a celebration of British wildlife. Last week, I had a call from the school at lunchtime, to come and collect 8yo who was pale and poorly… we walked back home together, and away from the noisy main road he was rather reflective, and said ‘It’s so calm – with no car noise, and no-one around’ – so we walked quietly together listening to the songs of the birds, counting four different birds singing and chirping. As we walked into the house, and through to the back he was so delighted to see a fox, curled up asleep in the afternoon sun, on our shed roof!

(we opened the back door to take a photo, she saw us and scampered!… shame).

What is your best memory of Britain’s wildlife that you and your family have experienced together?

The RSPCA would like to encourage families to explore Britain’s wildlife. To inspire families to get involved, the RSPCA want to know what your favourite memories of Britain’s wildlife are. If you know a budding writer it’s their chance to put pen to paper and let their imaginations run wild.

From fascinating foxes and heroic hedgehogs to country lanes and woodlands, they want to hear about your experiences. All you need to do is add a comment to this post telling us about your favourite anecdote from Britain’s wildlife. And I’m giving away three RSPCA wildlife Bag for Life to my favourite posts.

Here are some weird and wonderful wildlife facts to get you thinking….

Have you ever seen a black fox? Fox cubs are often born blind and deaf with short back fur, they do not normally start to turn red until they are about five to six weeks old!

Have you heard a Robin singing in summer? Robins are actually one of the only UK birds to sing all year round. In autumn its song is more subdued and melancholy in tone compared with spring’s upbeat song.

Have you witnessed an owl climb? Tawny owlets are able to climb back up into the nest if they fall out. This hopping from perch to perch in trees is called ‘branching’.

Children under 16 can also enter their story into the Wild About Britain competition by visiting and you can also tweet using the hashtag #wildaboutbritain.

Good luck!

Comments close midnight 9th December, a FREE RSPCA Bag for Life for the three favourite comments 🙂

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 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

crafts, create, key stage 2, kids

Chaos writes:

We belatedly wanted to tell you about the fabulous new Children’s Art School which opened just in time for Half Term. 8yo went along for the two day course, and absolutely LOVED it! (aimed at 7-12 year olds, this was just perfect for him)

The theme was ‘Objects in Motion’ – They played drawing games, looking at how colour can create and show motion, they made mobiles, and over the second day worked on them further.

As the youngest of two very creative children, it was nice for him to be the focus of the artistic attention, and he is so incredibly proud of the work he produced.

The venue by all accounts, inspired the children beyond the realms of their usual classrooms, and Katriona, the course leader was both encouraging and fun to work with.

There are more of these holiday courses planned for the Christmas break… perfect!

To find out more, visit
And follow them on twitter too @ChildrensArtSch

baking, cooking, cooking with kids, crafts, kids

Chaos writes:

So, as these boys have got bigger, so the cakes have got simpler….

yet… THIS cake has so far been the most popular amongst 8yo’s peers…. “Wow! Your Mum Is AMAZing” apparently, so I will be attempting an alternative version of this next week for 10yo’s birthday sleepover – so, see, I do make an effort, and don’t always BUY the cool cakes that turn up in our house!

I thank the invention of Pinterest for the inspiration, such a great place to pull together visual triggers!

Any ideas of what we could do differently next time? Perhaps jelly babies instead of Smarties? what would we use to hold them all in, instead of #Fairtrade KitKats??? Answers on a postcard, (or below if you like!)

Other ideas for the top, not so colourful, but we DO like the odd Malteser in our house too, especially now they are Fairtrade!

Click here to read more about Laura Dockrill and Maltesers (the calming of the Angrosaurus that is ‘Darcy Burdock’) and for a chance to win a signed book!

Click here to read more about CAKE! And Fairtrade Coffee….

crafts, create, kids

Chaos writes:

Half term fun with Fimo – how simple is this! On the way back from the Canal Museum this week, we called into my all time fave shop (well, I was an art student, what do you expect….) And 9yo picked himself a couple of pressies (for being good all week….) – Three packets of Fimo, and some googly eyes!

The chap in the London Graphic Centre at Charing Cross was such a sweetheart too, he kindly offered to bubble-wrap 9yo’s plaster cast of the canal bridge plaque he’d made at the Canal Museum. #hero

We positioned the eyes, took a photo, removed the eyes, baked the characters in the oven, and with our trusty glue gun, stuck them back on, using our photo for position-reference! – Job done!

cooking, crafts, key stage 2, kids

Chaos writes:

What a lovely half term we’ve had – 9yo and I went to the Canal Museum over near Charing Cross. He’s in year 5 now, Key Stage 2, and studying Victorians… they could not have been more helpful and enthusiastic, John showed us how to make icecream, and Jay took us on a canal boat trip, which 9yo LOVED – so inspiring, he beamed the whole time we were there, and learned SUCH a lot – I cannot recommend this enough to you!