Uncategorized

Summer Fashion with SimplyBe

Planning your summer styling

Vi writes:

“I’m not  sure about you, but I am well and truly in holiday planning mode! Our summer  holiday is the highlight of my year.  I only need to feel some sand between my toes to have had a great holiday!
With the days getting longer and evenings lighter, I can almost feel summer on the way! Like many people, I like to have a wardrobe update for summer, and when SimplyBe.co.uk got in touch I couldn’t resist starting my holiday shopping!”

 

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Choosing your holiday fashion.

Family holidays can be chaos, so I like practical yet fashionable clothes to wear. I always pack a couple of summer dresses, as they can be thrown over a bikini, or teamed with a pair of heels! And travelling in the UK – I always pack a lightweight cardigan or jumper too…
One dress can be worn multiple ways, and it saves on all important luggage space!

What to wear while you travel?

Whether you’re travelling by plane or car, comfort and style are essential! I like to keep my style simple, so I usually opt for linen trousers or my favourite jeans combined with a vest top and a jumper. I love this brightly coloured jumper, it is really flattering to wear and the colours are so summery!

Summer Jumper

Bit too warm for jumpers? Opt for a tunic instead, ultimate comfort with your leggings and perfect to sling over your swimsuit poolside! I love the detail on this one from Joe Browns;

Image: simplybe.co.uk

Summer Dresses

I always pack dresses as they are so versatile, just add accessories and one dress can have
multiple wears! If you’re on a budget when buying, opt for one classic style and a then a fun style too.

I chose this beach dress as it is lightweight – perfect to stash in your hand luggage in case of lost luggage. It also means it can be hand-washed easily – important if you have small children armed with ice creams while you’re away! (It machine washes nicely too!)

Image: simplybe.co.uk

The palm print is fabulous, last year palm prints seemed to be really fashionable, and I have a feeling it’s a trend which will continue for this summer too! It’s an easy to wear dress which is really flattering!

A linen dress when I go on holiday is essential, it’s my go to for city visits. Linen keeps me cool, but smart too. Add espadrilles or your favourite sneakers for the perfect sightseeing outfit!

Image: Simplybe.co.uk

This dress is a linen mix which makes it less likely to crease, when you come to pack it roll rather than fold it to keep the creases out! This is a great value dress at £22, and as a classic style it can be dressed up or down as you need.

 

 

This article was written in collaboration with SimplyBe, Vita was gifted a selection of garments to review.

kids, teenage reviews

The Penny Board 27″ skateboard vs the 22″ board

The Penny Board 27″ skateboard vs the 22″ board

PennyBoard-Po-Zu-sneakers Spike age 15:

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!

Thanks to the @incredibusy for help with the photos, and Po-Zu for the RESISTANCE sneakers – and if you’d like to see more cool shots, check out their instagram feed. #PennyAdventures 

 

kids, life

Five things you could do with 5 minutes peace

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!

Do-Breath-insta-incredibusy

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)…

 

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This post has been written in conjunction with Mahabis.

kids, travel

Futuroscope review

Summer family fun, and Futuroscope review

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.

Dune du PylaAs 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’!­

Futuroscope road signAs 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.

Futuroscope shardOur 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!)

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
kids

ANKI overdrive review

Anki OverDrive Review – by SPIKE, age 14

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.

kidschaos incredibusy Anki Drive Car track

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!

Find out more here: www.anki.com

Additional Photos: Ali Clifford, incredibusy.com

crafts, education, kids, travel

The Good Life Experience – family festival

The Good Life Experience

helter-skelter-good-life-experience
Helter Skelter na na na na na

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.

andrew-berry-brui-good-life-experience-prints
Andrew Berry Brui good life experience prints

We bumped into so many people we knew from the world of Instagram, including the talented illustrator Lucie Sheridan, and sweetly lovely Ruby @RubyDiamonds and her family, the winners of our #sgiew_goodlife Photo Challenge earlier this year – you can read Ruby’s review here.

All of the workshops and stall holders were happy and enthusiastic, and a delight to meet bumping into a chatting to the nicest of people… nods at Amanda Banham ceramics, Ali Dover, Jennie Maizels (pictured below on the swing!), Beth from Decorator’s Notebook, YuyoHepple Gin (yep, I might just have sampled the gin), Edward Carefoot Journeyman, Dorte from Lewes Map, Elinor and Michael, Beachhutcook, Helen from Nellie and Eve; who have I missed!

A video posted by Ali Clifford (@incredibusy) on

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!

the-amazing-scene-machine-goodlife-experience-2
Plasticine dogs for the Amazing Scene Machine
the-amazing-scene-machine-lea-and-spike
Lea and Spike’s Plasticine dog for the Amazing Scene Machine
the-amazing-scene-machine-goodlife-experience
Looking forward to seeing the finished animation Jim Parkyn!

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!

ali-clifford-and-ali-dover-good-life-experience
Amanda Banham has us hard at work – the two Ali-s – Clifford and Dover

We marvelled at Neil from the Harwarden Estate and his amazing pumkin carving, we danced and cheered for the amazing Stealing Sheep.

stealing-sheep-good-life-experience
The wonderfully polka dot 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!)

We’re already planning our visit to The Good Life Experience next year and there are some Super early-bird tickets on sale here for 15-17 September 2017. We seriously can’t wait!

vodka-good-life-experience
Black cow vodka
tent-and-bunting-good-life-experience
Roll up roll up – the academy awaits
neils-amazing-pumpkins
Neil’s amazing pumpkins
moonlight-good-life-experience
That moonlit sky though…
jeremy-vine-good-life-experience
Jeremy Vine in full flow…
jennie-maizels-tent-at-the-goodlife-experience
Jennie Maizels brings the blue skies
gill-meller-gather-good-life-experience
Gill Meller and his smokin’ fish…
forest-bar-good-life-experience
The forest bar
Adam Stanley, Welsh seafood pit bake
Adam Stanley, Welsh seafood pit bake
fire-pit-seafood-good-life-experience-chef
Adam Stanley, Welsh seafood pit bake
fanfare-ciocarlia-cerys-matthews-good-life-experience
FANFARE CIOCĂRLIA and the wonderful Cerys
dj78-good-life-experience
dj78 – we like his style!
diabel-cissokho-good-life-experience
Diabel Cissokho wowing the crowds
clover-field-good-life-experience
A field of clover for Gracie the dog to bounce around in
climbingthewalls-good-life-experience
Instagram Stories came into their own! @incredibusy
cerys-poetry-good-life-experience
Cerys reads Sue Boyle – ‘a leisure centre is also a temple of learning’
cerys-in-conversation-good-life-experience
Cerys gets us all singing ‘let’s go fly a kite’
caught-by-the-river-good-life-experience
Caught by the river
apples-and-glitterballs-good-life-experience
Apples and Glitterballs

 

ali-clifford-jennie-maizels
Jennie Maizels and me, Ali Clifford on the best swing ever

xx

Words and photographs, Ali Clifford
Also writes over on aGreenerLifeforus.com

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Kitting yourself out for the 2017 Autumn Season

Kitting yourself out for the 2017 Autumn Season

Autumn LeavesNow is a good time to quickly get the warmer clothes that you own out of your wardrobe and double-check whether it all fits. It is already getting chilly, so you do not want to leave it too much longer to prepare yourself for the colder Autumn months. Once you have done this you will be in a position to make a list of what you need to buy and go shopping. Most retailers are already stocking autumn coats, jumpers, boots and shoes. If you go shopping now, rather than leaving it for a few weeks, you will get the best choice. Usually, the best items sell out quite fast, so shopping sooner rather than later for what you need really is the safest option.
Photo credit Alex Wing

Coats and jackets

This year, there is a particularly good choice of coats and jackets available. A lot of designers have taken classic coat cuts and had a little fun with them. Combining the old with the new has produced some really great results. For example, traditional parkas that are made from bold floral fabrics.

Kitting yourself out with hats and scarves

Scarves-by-kelly-sikkema-72695However, if you do opt to buy one of these unusual jackets you may find it quite hard to buy a hat and scarf that matches. Fortunately, items like this are not hard to make yourself. In fact, making a scarf is a good first project for someone who is new to knitting. If it comes out a bit wonky it does not matter. No one will really notice when you are wearing it under your new coat or jacket.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Jumpers and cardigans

If you are more experienced you may want to have a go at knitting yourself a jumper. There are some really good patterns around for knitwear items. However, if you want a coatigan it might be worth buying one instead. The fact that they are as long as a regular coat means that knitting one could take you a few weeks. Often, it works out cheaper to buy large of items of knitwear from the shops rather than make them yourself.

Jeans

It is always worth having at least one pairs of jeans in your wardrobe for the colder months. These versatile items of clothing are ideal for keeping you warm so that you can continue to enjoy outdoor events and activities through the colder months.

This year, many fashion designers have been inspired by the fashions of the 80s. That means that the jean cuts are a lot looser than they have been for the past few years. Today’s, high-waisted tapered jeans are really comfortable to wear as well as looking great. They look just good worn with a t-shirt and a homemade jumper, but work just as well when paired with a suit-style jacket.

Dress trends for 2017

If you prefer to wear dresses, you are in luck, this year. Many of the warmer fabrics are back in vogue. Jersey is a particularly good option for the autumn. It is soft and comfortable as well as lovely and warm.

For a special event or party, a nice velvet dress is perfect, and they are more widely available than they used to be. However, you do need to be careful how you take care of velvet clothing. This short video tells you all you need to know about caring for this lovely fabric.

crafts, create, FREE printables, halloween, kids, monster

Milk Carton Skull Lanterns

So with much delight, we introduce our latest invention, the Milk Carton Skull Lanterns!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 incredibusy youtube video here.

For the PRINTABLE Skull’s face template click here

For more FREE printables for Halloween click here for Pumpkins
and here for brilliant Witches Hats
Some fab paper skull potato print Halloween party bags
How about Toffee Apples!
And some wonderful FREE printable, Skull Bunting

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

crafts, key stage 2, kids

How to melt crayons into a rainbow!

How to melt crayons into a rainbow!

melted-CRAYON-rainbowThere are lots of creative things you can do with crayons!

Did you know about the hashtag #FunCraftsKids?

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:
A Canvas
Some Crayons
Hair Dryer
Glue Gun (or tape, glue gun is quick and easy though!)

ALI-TITLE-FOR-youtube-video-CRAYON-rainbowWatch 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!

Let us know if you have a go too…

close-up-melted-crayons-on-canvas

melted crayons on canvas

Ali also blogs at incredibusy.com  aGreenerLifeforus.com and FunCraftsKids.com
Find Ali on instagram as @incredibusy too for other instagram photo challenges such as #sgiew (so good in every way!)

crafts, gardening, gardening with kids, google+ hangouts, kids

Toilet roll crafts – bird seed feeder

Chaos writes:

The one thing I really struggle to put into the recycling bin, is the toilet roll tubes, I can always think there is SOMETHING we can make with them, whether it’s planting seedlings in them, or making these lovely bird seed feeders. They are so easy to make, and the kids are tickled to be using peanut butter, to spread onto the loo roll tubes, cra-azy eh?!

KidsChaosToilet-Roll-craft

 

KidsChaosRedTedArt-screen-grab3So simple to do… basically, spread the peanut butter on the toilet roll tube, and sprinkle the bird seeds over the tube, pushing the seeds onto the peanut butter ‘glue’.

We do find some peanut butter a little dry, so – do as you do with toast! – paste a little layer of butter on to the tube before you spread the peanut butter onto the tube.KidsChaosToilet-Roll-craft-how-to



Then, slip the tube onto a thin branch, preferably in view of the window. We love eating our breakfast and watching the birds eat theirs – we have a favourite chubby blackbird in the garden, will try to get a photo of the bird seed feeder in action!

To see how our garden grows, follow our Gardening With Kids posts here.

and how to make an indoor watering can here!

To see me demonstrating the making of said bird seed feeder, click the youtube link, watch the video (also embedded below) and be inspired. – I joined the regular Google+ hangouts hosted by Maggy at Red Ted Art with some other fabulous creatives – Chris at Thinly Spread, Liz at Me and My Shadow Owls, Anthea’s Torus at ZingZing Tree, and Rebecca from herecomethegirlsblog. Cat in the Hat craft.

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