This month we’ve started a little tradition of playing a family game after dinner in the evening.  Meg and Eli are able to stay up a bit later without being too grumpy and it’s a great opportunity for them to spend some time with their Daddy who often comes home when we’re mid-way through eating.

So, we were delighted when Learning Resources sent us their new game, ‘Pancake Pile-Up‘ to try out.  Not only was it a new game to add to our supplies but it was also one which encouraged running.  This is a win-win for the kids!

Pancake Pile-Up is a relay race game aimed at children aged 4-8.  The idea is to use your plastic spatula to carry one pancake at a time across to your plate and pile them up as quickly as you can before finishing them off with a pat of butter.  The game comes with some activity cards which have different orders for the pancakes to go in.  We haven’t played this specific game with Eli as he is too young but it’s a great twist for older children to create an additional challenge.

As with all the games from Learning Resources, this isn’t just a fun activity, it also presents a great opportunity for children to learn without realising it.  It helps with balance and orientation, as well as providing a great outlet for burning up some excess energy.

We have played this a number of times, and it’s getting quite competitive now.  We have always played girls against boys and at my last count it was definitely the girls in the lead *cough cough*

The other thing I like about this game is that it would be perfect to play outside when the weather gets warmer and it’s something which could be played with the children’s friends when they come over which would teach them patience and taking turns as well (or try to at least!)

The game is on sale for £17.94 and I think this is good value for money.  The plastic spatulas and the pancakes are sturdy and well made, not likely to be damaged if a little one takes a tumble or accidentally stands on one (it happens…) – I also think it would be great to give as a gift.

Although the age limit is for 4 upwards, Eli has very much enjoyed playing with this and I think with a bit of adult supervision there’s no reason why children under 4 who can walk and at least attempt to balance the pancake can’t get involved.  As you can see from the pictures, both Meg and Eli tend to hold their pancake on but as they are at the lower end of the age limit I think this is to be expected.  Heck, even I hold mine on when I’m racing against my Other Half!

You can even put variations on the game as we did, such as having to hop like a rabbit or slither like a snake to get your pancakes across the room.

Bouncing like a kangaroo

And of course, with pancake day just around the corner it would be the ideal addition to a pancake themed party!

Disclaimer: We were sent Pancake Pile-Up for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts and opinions are our own.


dear beautiful

This has been a fantastic month for us with lots of opportunities for us to relax and enjoy spending time together.  We’ve been out every weekend as a family and have avoided any more nose dives into puddles!

We have loved:

* Spending lots of time outdoors, exploring and discovering signs of spring
* Watching Planes (our favourite film this month)
* Spending half term together
* Visiting Knowsley Safari Park
* Playing a family game every evening after dinner and before bed

But, back to the photo.  I had such high hopes for this month’s and I absolutely love it, apart from one thing…which I think will be rather obvious.

We were at the Safari Park, enjoying a lovely family day out but of course surrounded by some rather wild animals.  Right at the point when the photo was taken, my gaze just slid to the window of the car, just to check that none of the lions had decided to visit us!  I didn’t have time to take another one of us all, so this month it is ME who isn’t looking at the camera and not one of the usual culprits.  Whoops.

What a rookie mistake!



Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach
On the internet, we can be anyone we choose.  No one knows who we really are.

Where do I start with this book?  It was such an absorbing book that I finished it in less than a day.  I found the writing flowed so well and was very easy to read which meant I could literally race through it.

The premise as well, totally fascinating because it is such a plausible idea.

The story centres around Leila, a young(ish) girl who has lived quite a sheltered life.  She finds being sociable difficult and awkward, always seeming to be one step behind everyone else and so spends the majority of her time online.  Although it’s not openly mentioned in the book, she definitely appears to be somewhere on the autistic spectrum, she is very literal and doesn’t seem able to compute why someone would say one thing, when they actually mean another.  One day she discovers a website called ‘Red Pill’ where philosophical concepts are discussed.  Leila becomes a regular presence on the website and one day is approached by the website founder (Adrian) and becomes involved in a plan to help someone commit suicide by taking over their identity online and keeping up the premise that this person is, in fact, still alive in order to protect their family and friends.

This book is incredibly intense; the story is told by Leila who is narrating her side of events some time after the whole plan has been exposed.  It is a dark subject matter, the idea of someone committing suicide is never a light topic after all, but Leila’s naivety, her isolation from the real world, adds in to make the story seem quite suffocating at times, for want of a better word.

The thing that really gripped me though, was how much this could be a true story.  Social media is everywhere these days, it is a massive part of people’s lives and I think for the most part we all share information about ourselves and assume that those who reciprocate are (for the most part) exactly who they say they are.  The idea that someone could impersonate another person, someone you might think you know, is quite terrifying.  Imagine you hadn’t seen a school friend for a number of years and suddenly they ‘friend’ you; you add them because you ‘know’ them.  But do you really?  It’s quite a scary thought!

The only gripe I have about the book is the ending.  It was a short story, not much over 330 pages, but the ending was rushed and could have gone further I think.  I can’t say much without giving the end of the story away but there are definitely some things left hanging and unexplored at the finish.  I think Lottie Moggach deliberately wrote it that way but this can be quite frustrating for the reader.

The book kind of reminded me of a modern day The Net (90’s Sandra Bullock film) and is well worth a read.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it.  I’m looking forward to seeing what Lottie Moggach comes up with next!


Meg has been asking to go somewhere she can ride her bike for weeks since we moved and we just haven’t had the opportunity to do so.  Living on a main road makes me a bit wary of just going for a ride up and down the street; cars whizz so quickly that it makes me nervous to consider her riding out there.

So, with a couple of hours to spare on Sunday evening we headed out to Southport Botanic Gardens to blow off some steam.

The Botanic Gardens are amazing, with a lake running through, a miniature railway, an aviary as well as a play area.  I can imagine it gets very busy in summer.

We must have timed it right however, as it was pretty much deserted when we got there.  Lovely and peaceful, until of course Meg and Eli arrived!

Eli was quite taken with the swans and reserved all his bread for just them.  Ordinary ducks are far too boring apparently.

We even managed to find a sweet little place to stop for a snack, on a carved out dragon.

There were lots of lovely signs of spring too which was so uplifting.  Be gone horrible winter weather!

As usual, I am linking this post up with Coombe Mill’s Country Kids.  Do check out some of the other posts, especially if you want some great ideas on how to enjoy this mild weather 🙂


Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

The theme for this week’s The Gallery is ‘Guilty Pleasures’ – I knew straight away what my photo would have to be.  I don’t have many things which I am embarrassed about, which I have cause to be a little bit shady on when asked for more details.  

For example, I’m quite proud of the fact that my old(er) man crush is Kenneth Branagh…I mean, I just would…alright!

But the one thing I find myself over-explaining, rationalising, perhaps even playing down, is my love of cheesy American TV shows, and occasionally British ones too.  I know that the majority of them are lame, and stereotypical (it always seems to rain when the two protagonists need to have it out, have you noticed?) but I just love them.  

I get stuck into one particular series and then I spend the next few months devouring them.  Since we signed up to Lovefilm I don’t even have to buy the DVD’s anymore, I can just watch them instantly.

At the moment we’re working our way through Grey’s Anatomy but here are some of my previous obsessions.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?  I’d love to know I’m not alone!

Head over to Sticky Fingers if you want to learn the guilty pleasures of other bloggers!