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Craft Wishlist for Kids

Arts and crafts with kids is a great way to spend time together; it is relaxing, creative, encourages expression of feelings, thoughts and opinions and can be fabulously sensory. Jasmine has always been very creative, she just loves to express herself through artistic materials. I remember very clearly at nursery, and in reception class at school, she came home every day with a junk model or several paintings/drawings. Her book bag is always stuffed with sheets of paper and she has no fear of being messy – in fact, she absolutely relishes any opportunity to get stuck in.

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Making potions

Sonny was never as fussed when he was smaller but this year is getting much more into painting and drawing and sticking; for Easter, he painted hedgehog plant pots for his teachers as gifts and he really focussed during the process.

For me, art, craft and messy play activities could not be less about any finished product, it is all about the processes used to achieve the eventual outcome, and the fun they have throughout. As such, we get through a lot of materials and are always looking to replenish supplies. I’ve been browsing The Works Arts and Crafts section today and come up with a little wishlist of things I would like to buy before the summer holidays are upon us:

Set of four canvas blocks – perfect for splatter painting, preserving handprints and great as homemade gifts from the kids.

Colouring and sketch studio – I know Jasmine would love this and I think it is great value at just £10.

72 glass craft bottles – I always keep a stash of these in stock as my two both love making potions and these little bottles are ideal for containing their creations.

Wooden birdhouse – perfect for decorating and a good introduction to more learning such as caring for animals. You could also make your own bird food to go alongside it – simple and fun to do. An absolutely bargain at £2!

There are so many more items I could add to our wishlist – head to www.theworks.co.uk now for more inspiration.

This is a collaborative post

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Rockfish Torquay

The Torquay branch of Rockfish combines sublime location with beautiful seafood to create a convivial atmosphere. Situated on the banks of Torquay Harbour, the views really are special; aim to book a table for around 6pm to enjoy a sunset stroll around the quay after dinner.

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I’ll admit it – I’m not a great fan of seafood but found a good range on offer at Rockfish with something to suit all appetites and tastes. I started with delicious salt and pepper prawns whilst James had the calamari.

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The children were given an activity bag on arrival, which was a nice touch. The pack included stickers, crayons, a workbook and even a wallet. These packs are included in the £6.95 cost of a kids meal consisting of a main, side and dessert. Jasmine chose the beef burger as she refuses to eat seafood and Sonny had the fish fingers.

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For our mains, we adults opted for the fish and chips – I had cod and James chose haddock. I also added mushy peas and curry sauce to my order, both of which were gorgeous. There are so many different mains to choose from but personally I don’t feel you can get much better than fresh cod and chips.

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The children had ice cream sundaes for dessert, which looked amazing – we had hoped to try them too but we ran out of time.

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All in all, we had a lovely time at Rockfish Torquay, followed by a walk around the quay at sunset. Perfect!

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We received a complimentary family meal in return for this review; all words and images are our own.

How Technology Has Brought Us Closer

We all have been guilty of complaining that new technology has actually moved people away from each other, shutting us in our little virtual worlds. But is that always the case? There are technological innovations that have bought people closer by reviving communication and love for humanity. There are some important ways in which technology has made a part of a tight-knit sphere of community and acceptance.

For instance, let us take a look at online gaming. Whether its is Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing games (MMORPGs) or simpler games that people tend to play with others, this has bought us together in a community- the ‘gaming community’. And being a part of a community not only gives a sense of meaning to a person’s online presence, but also makes them feel like they are needed and they are a part of something bigger than themselves- a need that we all have in social relationships.

If you have ever gambled online, you know the effect the community can have on you. It is often speculated that people play online bingo mostly for the social experience that the game offers them. Though the bingo promotions and contests may be huge, people tend to stick to the game and stay loyal to the site because of the social features that they offer. There is always a way to find some lovely people in the chat rooms and to have an endless discussions about anything and everything.

So maybe now is the time to look at technology from a different lens. Instead of thinking of innovations as the portal to humanity’s doom, we should look at it from a wider perspective and figure out the ways it is helping us express ourselves better than we have ever had.

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Carluccio’s Exeter

We are very fortunate to be spending Easter with Cofton Holidays in Starcross, South Devon; a beautiful spot beside the River Exe. This evening, we ventured into nearby Exeter to sample the delights of Carluccio’s at Princesshay, a modern, sprawling open-air shopping centre.

Having never been to a branch of Carluccio’s before today, I suppose I was expecting something fairly standard in terms of Italian chain restaurants. What was delivered, however, was rather more authentic – the staff, the wine list, the ingredients, they were all properly Italian. The menu was a little more what we elaborately referred to as grown up than a number of other places we have eaten at with the children, providing no real “safe” options such as pizza, chips or chicken nuggets. I can see why this might be attractive to most customers – it’s always nice to get the kids eating similar things to the adults, after all. Not so great for fussy eaters though and it certainly presented a problem for Sonny who refused all of the food other than the breadsticks and ice cream. In all honesty, he was actually really happy with this but it did mean we had to feed him again once we got home, resulting in a super late bedtime.

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Jasmine, meanwhile, thrived in the environment, chatting away to our waiter, ordering for herself and even having a go at the Italian pronunciation of her chosen meal. Our waiter was very approachable and welcomed the children speaking to him, which I was very happy about. We try and encourage the children to practise independence where possible, in safe environments of course. Something like ordering your own meal isn’t a big deal to the majority of adults but can be daunting the first few times you have to do it. By exposing the children to these experiences at a young age, we are hoping to raise outgoing, confident, self-reliant individuals.

Anyway, I digress.

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We enjoyed three courses of really delicious food, particular highlights including creamy dolcelatte from the antipasti starter, signature rosemary and garlic potatoes with our mains and Jasmine’s exquisite dessert of cherry ice cream. The children both also really enjoyed completing the little workbook that doubled as their menu.

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Popping our Carluccio’s cherry in Exeter has encouraged us to seek out other branches closer to home, our nearest being Brighton, I believe. I am particularly keen to have another go at their gorgeous tiramisu; the best I have tasted in a long time.

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Thank you for having us, Carluccio’s, see you again soon.

We received a family meal free of charge for the purposes of this review; all words and photographs are our own.

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Fertility News – Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott Welcome Their Fifth child

It’s blessing times five for 43-year old Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott as they welcome their fifth addition to the household and get ready to be back to diaper duty! The couple welcomed their baby boy Beau Dean on Thursday, March 2.

Aside from the media news, Spelling also took to social media to personally announce the good news as she tweeted: “We are so excited to announce the birth of the newest member of the McDermott family! Please join us in welcoming Beau Dean McDermott.”

One source says that Spelling gave birth to the baby through a scheduled c-section. Before baby Beau Dean, Spelling and McDermott were already parents of 9-year-old Liam, 8-year-old Stella, 5-year-old Hattie and 4-year old Finn. It was Tori’s rep who confirmed in October that the couple was expanding their family. 

Before they welcomed baby Beau Dean, in December, they also added a member to the family — Nutmeg, their pet pig. This family looks happy, no matter what people try to say about them.

McDermott and The Beverly Hills 90210 alum tied the knot in 2006. It has been a tough roller coaster ride for them but they have remained strong and are committed to keeping their marriage strong. Great job! Congratulations to Tori and McDermott and their growing family.