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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Going Wild at Knowsley Safari Park

We were invited to visit Knowsley Safari Park, a 550 acre park located in the North West of England, and home to over 700 animals. We were given the opportunity to ride their Baboon Bus with a guided safari tour and discover everything that Knowsley Safari Park has to offer adventurous families.

Knowsley Safari Park offers an interactive experience for animal lovers where you can come face to face with the free roaming animals, have lions block your path and watch as baboons hitch a ride on your wing mirror. Anything can happen! In addition to the drive through safari, Knowsley has an amusement park, a walk through Wild Trail, Sea Lion Encounter, Bat Forest, play area, Flight of the Talons and much more to explore. It is a full day out for all the family.

Our first port of call was a ride in the Baboon Bus with a guided safari tour. The bus goes all around the drive through safari route including the infamous baboon enclosure, where the cheeky monkeys get up close and personal with the vehicle. The tour guide was a very friendly and bubbly Liverpudlian lass who regaled us with facts about the animals and the safari park as well as some zoo related anecdotes and general chatter. We actually learned a lot of really interesting stuff in a fun and entertaining way, and although I am not usually a fan of audience participation, she was very engaging and made the tour enjoyable.

It was very busy and quite hot when we took the tour so the bus got quite stuffy, especially when the windows were shut in the carnivore and baboon enclosures, so remember to take some water and use the guide book as a makeshift fan!

As it was so warm a lot of the animals were sleeping and not very active, but we had a great view of snoozing lions, rhinos and other animals. The baboons were, however, super active!  They leaped on the top of the bus, using the windscreen wipers as climbing aids as they scaled the windows. It sounded like they were having a real party up there!  From our window we saw other cars crawling with baboons large and small. The mums with babies were particularly wonderful to see. Some monkeys left little presents on the roofs of the cars. Seeing monkey poo on someone's nicely polished car made Freddy laugh his head off! Toilet humour never fails to impress my boy. Before exiting the enclosure, the baboons on our roof were encouraged off and dozens jumped down and scurried away, which was quite a sight.

zoo, monkeys, baboons


After our Baboon Bus experience we went for lunch and were pleased to see veggie burger options for both adults and children in the restaurant. The restaurant was clean, reasonably priced and efficient and the fast food meals we had were not at all bad.

zoo, fun fair, amusements


Following our lunchtime break we went to the amusement park where we bought Freddy a wristband allowing him and an accompanying adult on all the rides, which included a swing ride, a kids' rollercoaster, dodgems, a carousel and other similar rides. While Ian and Freddy amused themselves with that, my girls and I went to the Bat Forest. The walk through enclosure was dark, but our eyes quickly adjusted allowing us to view the spectacular Egyptian Fruit Bats in flight and hanging around. They buzzed past our heads, flying around us. Quite an experience! We also got to see the lovely sealions in their pool, which we loved.

It was at this point that the heavens opened and it absolutely poured down with rain. So we made a dash back to the car to do the safari drive through in our own car. We had been supplied with a Go Pro to record our trip around the animals, but as it wasn't waterproof I had to film through the window, which was being pounded by torrential rain. Needless to say, the Go Pro videoing was a bit of a disaster.

As it was much later in the day and cooler, the animals were more active and lively. We saw lots of varieties of deer, antelope and cattle and came face to face with a huge camel that ran beside our car. The lions were up and about, fighting and crossing in front of the queue of cars. Unfortunately, we were a few cars back and didn't get a real close up of the beautiful big cats. Our favourite moment was when a rhino walked out in front of our car and stopped right in our path. He looked a bit agitated and rocked from side to side and we were slightly concerned whether he was going to charge at us. But the reason for his agitation soon became clear when he raised his tail and did an enormous poo on the road right in front of us, before turning and sauntering nonchalantly away. True to form, Freddy was in fits of giggles at the steaming pile of rhino dung!

We decided to brave the baboon enclosure in our own car, deciding that the risk of having a wiper or trim pulled off was worth it for the fun of having monkeys on our roof! However, the wet weather subdued the baboons and they were all sat huddled up under the cover of the trees, not at all interested in hanging off our car. It was a shame, but we enjoyed seeing the monkeys cuddling together against the cold, looking so humanlike!

camel, sealion, zoo


Knowsley Safari Park has been awarded the 2015 Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor. Until September the 4th you can get 20% off the price of entry when booked online, which makes the cost £13.20 for adults and £10 for children. The baboon bus costs an extra £5 per person and the amusement park wristbands cost £10 for unlimited access or £2 per ride.

It is a full day out for families and we really had a great day...in spite of the torrential rain storm!

www.knowsleysafariexperience.co.uk


Monday, 31 August 2015

Top Quality Red, White and Rose Wines from Spar Wine

The SPAR wine range covers a large number of top quality wines chosen and designed by leading industry experts, from delicious reds to crisp whites, including some excellent award winning wines at great prices. I was sent a red, a white and a rose from their brand new collection to try out, and pair with some vegetarian meals.

wine


Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Country: Italy   Region: Abruzzo
Priced at £5.50

A smooth, rich, and delicious wine with rich spice and coffee flavours. 

red wine


This is quite honestly one of the best reds I have ever tasted. It was so smooth with a wonderful rich and deep flavour that was so easy to drink. I loved it so much I resented sharing it with Ian and made him get a beer instead! 

When it comes to food pairing, some say this is the best match for pizza, but it is also great with pasta dishes. I paired it with a Quorn bolognese and it went together really well. It was a lovely taste of an Italian summer, enjoying the pasta dish with a couple of glasses of this smooth, big flavoured red!

SPAR wine


South African Reserve Chenin Blanc

Country: South Africa   Region: Western Cape
Priced at £6.09, on promotion at £5.50

With flavours of apple and honey, this crisp, dry white goes well with Thai curries, summer salads or antipasti. 

This is a great party drink for social occasions when serving plates of nibbles.


Rosé d’Anjou

Country: France        Region: Loire Valley
Priced at £8, on promotion at £6.50

This classic French rosé has an appetising nose of summery strawberries and cream. It has a very slight sweetness which is cut with juicy red fruit flavours on the palate. Served chilled it is refreshing and fruity and is a nice accompaniment to a meal.

This pretty pink wine is ideal with salads, mildly spiced curries and rice dishes. We served it with a Quorn and vegetable balti curry with brown basmati rice. It made a posh change to having lager!

SPAR wine


You can find out more about SPAR's award winning wines and about pairing wine with food at www.spar.co.uk/foodanddrink/award-winning-wines.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Crazy Legs Scooby Doo - toy review

We all love Scooby Doo here Inside the Wendy House. Ian and I have been watching since we were children and now 6 year old Freddy is a fan. So when we received a Crazy Legs Scooby from Character to review, there was quite a lot of excitement from oldest to youngest!

Scooby Doo, toy


The toy stands 30cm tall and is a good representation of Scooby Doo with this collar and tag. With a tap of his head, Scooby's legs go crazy! Each paw swivels independently, sending Scooby moving backwards, forwards, round and around in all directions! This random movement is quite chaotic and when accompanied by the sounds including boings and Scooby's catchphrases, it really is hilarious to witness!

scooby doo


Everytime you play with him, the movement is different  and unpredictable. He literally can end up anywhere: crashing into furniture, into your feet, disappearing under tables and bouncing off walls! You can't help but laugh. Take a look at this demonstration of Scooby in action.

                             


This toy is a great novelty item for Scooby fans. Little ones will chase him around giggling as he randomly spins and boings,yelps, laughs and says "Scooby Doo!!" It's a toy that puts fun before functionality, but anything that brings smiles and laughter definitely gets a thumbs up from me. Crazy Legs Scooby is completely bonkers, but that is why we love him.

It is suitable for ages 3 and up and requires 6 AA batteries (it comes with demo batteries). The RRP is £29.99 and it is available at Argos and other toy retailers.

Bake in Black - Music inspired baking for rock music fans!

If you love home baking and hard rock music, this new recipe book Bake in Black is for you. Featuring 58 recipes for cakes, biscuits, doughnuts, brownies and pies, each creation is a tribute to an iconic rock or metal band. Inspired by the sounds of bands such as Slayer, The Sex Pistols, ACDC, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath and Nirvana, each sweet treat is a unique bake designed to capture the essence of the music, with interesting flavour combinations and imaginative presentation. Every bake has been named after a track or album title, using some brilliant cake-related puns. How about Rainbow's "Since You've Been Scone" or Guns and Roses "Sweet Tooth O'Mine" or Meatloaf's "Battenburg Out Of Hell" to get you started? It's genius!!

Thankfully, not only is this book visually stunning, filled with humour, awesome rock band references and the coolest cake designs, it is also a great recipe book in its own right. The recipes are clear and concise, using easy to obtain ingredients and equipment. So you can reproduce these bakes and desserts at home. You can put your own spin on them and create your own versions of these amazing cakes and bakes.

punk, rock, music, cakes, GBBO


I had a go at making one of the cakes, and although I needed to tweak it a little to adapt it to the pans I have at home, the essence is pure punk rock! I made the brilliantly titled "God Save the Cream", a homage to the Sex Pistols.  The minted whipped cream worked wonderfully with the fresh strawberries and blueberries, covering the light sponge.

punk, baking, cake, bake in black


I am so inspired by this book that I am now trying to create an entire rock music themed dinner party for Ian's 47th birthday next week, complete with musical puns and awesome presentation. Maybe start with some Alice Soup-er served with Bread Zeppelin rolls followed by some Mexican food using Red Hot Chilli Peppers  and with a "Megadeth by Chocolate" birthday cake for dessert. It's still a work in progress!

Bake in Black is available from musicroom.com for £14.99. It would make an excellent gift for anyone with a passion for rock music and home baking, especially when paired with the Electric Guitar Baking Spatula (which is £6.99). It's a brilliant addition to any bookshelf and has brought buns with puns into my repetoire. Whoever said baking wasn't rock 'n' roll!

Musicroom is the largest online retailer of sheet music, tutor methods, instructional DVDs, music software, instruments, accessories and gifts. It sells everything for the musician or music lover. We received the book to review.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Love your Mouth - Dental Health Tips

A new survey of 10, 000 UK adults has revealed that thousands of people admit to not brushing their teeth at night! Seriously?! I am a bit shocked by this revelation...even if I am exhaustedly crawling up the stairs to bed I'll still throw a toothbrush around my mouth. But 45% of those asked by GSK as part of its Love Your Mouth campaign say they have not brushed their teeth at night due to tiredness, laziness or forgetfulness. 

Failing to have your evening brush can increase the chances of suffering from cavities, gum disease or tooth loss. Spending just 2 minutes twice a day brushing and an extra couple of minutes flossing helps prevent the build up of plaque that can lead to tooth decay.

Of those who do brush, 18% said they use only water and no toothpaste and 14% use a finger instead of a toothbrush. Again this seems a bit potentially damaging when there are a range of excellent toothpastes containing active ingredients and soft bristled brushes on the market, which do the job so well.

With 67% of respondents admitting to having fillings and 44% saying they know that they could take better care of their teeth, it is definitely worth reassessing your oral health and learn to love your mouth!

Here are ten tips to help improve your dental hygiene routine:

1: Brush twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time. Wait for 40 minutes after eating to avoid damaging enamel, which is temporarily softened by acidic food and drinks.
2: Use a suitable toothpaste. Whether you have sensitive teeth, stained teeth or have bleeding gums there is a toothpaste that has a formula suitable for your oral health.
3: Use floss or interdental cleaning aids. The gaps between your teeth trap food, which can cause decay or inflammation over time.
4: Use mouthwash to help rinse away food particles, deter bad breath and reduce levels of bacteria in the mouth. Do it at a different time to brushing to maximise your daily oral hygiene.
5: Spit, don't rinse. Water will wash away the fluoride from the toothpaste.
6: Use disclosing tablets occasionally to check how well you are cleaning your teeth.
7: A small headed, soft bristled toothbrush is best for effective teeth cleaning.
8: Prevention is the key when it comes to oral hygiene procedures. Ask a dentist for advice.
9: Make brushing part of your morning and bedtime routines and instill the importance of good oral hygiene to every member of the family.
10: Visit the dentist for regular professional cleaning and check-ups. Issues can be sorted out quickly and easily if caught early.

Visit the Love Your Mouth Challenge at LoveYourMouth.co.uk and find out how to improve your dental health and get suggestions for suitable GSK dental products (which are available to buy in stores such as Tesco and Superdrug.)

I took the challenge and was recommended Corsodyl Daily mouthwash as I occasionally get bleeding gums after brushing.  It offers everyday gum protection and has a clinically proven dual action formula. Fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents cavities, while gums are protected by the removal of plaque and given a 12 hour protective shield. It has a pleasant minty taste that leaves the mouth feeling fresh.  I was also recommended Sensodyne Repair and Protect as I suffer from tooth sensitivity. It offers daily relief from the discomfort of sensitivity while patented Novamin technology helps repair damage where dentine is exposed. Together, they are a good combination, helping to keep my teeth and gums healthy!


GSK, dental care, healthy mouth

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Design and Make Steampunk Jewellery

Our latest product to review from Interplay is the My Style "Design and Make Steampunk Jewellery" set. Inspired by the vintage steampunk genre, the set features aesthetic Victorian-esque designs from 19th century steam powered machinery such as cogs, gears, washers, nuts and keys. 

The Steampunk set includes everything needed to create eight projects, making necklaces, bracelets and earrings, and comes with a neat little box with compartments to store all the bits and pieces. There are decorative washers, nuts, gears, key charms, angel wing charms and ball chains, in both brass and silver colours, as well as ribbon, earring hooks, jump rings, craft wire, glue and flat nose pliers. Even after the eight projects have been completed there will be plenty of components left over to have a go at designing your own creations. The fully illustrated instruction leaflet has step by step instructions and is easy to follow. A ruler is printed on the bottom of one of the double pages for measuring lengths of ribbon and positioning components, which was extremely handy.

Interplay, Stempunk, jewellery making


We were very impressed with the contents. It is good quality stuff that looks really cool and funky. The girls were able to complete the projects easily, without having to deal with any fiddly knotting or plaiting techniques - which usually proves their downfall when making jewellery from kits!

The charms fitted to the jump rings and attached to the chains, ribbons or ear hooks. This process worked well using the flat nose pliers which squeezed the metal rings shut tightly. They are a good tool for the job. Using the PVA glue proved a little bit ineffective, so we switched to a stronger clear glue that we had, in order to stick charms together. It worked very well and the pieces have stayed attached after being worn.

This set gets a resounding thumbs up from Kezia and Ella. The finished pieces really are extremely wearable and look shop bought, encapsulating the Steampunk trend very well. The quality of the charms makes the end results look impressive. It is nice to see a craft set inspired by this popular genre, giving girls something edgier and cooler to work with. It suited my daughters perfectly.

interplay, steampunk, jewellery making


Priced at £19.99, this set provides everything needed to make eight pieces of jewellery, and includes the reusable pliers and the storage box, making it excellent value for money. Recommended for ages 8 and over, the projects help develop jewellery making skills and provide inspiration for budding designers to create their own pieces.

You can find the Steampunk Jewellery set at www.interplayuk.com/mystyle/steampunk-jewellery.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Dinotrux on Netflix #streamteam

Netflix have a great new show that is proving to be really popular with my six year old son Freddy. Dinotrux is Dreamwork's Animation's new action packed series featuring some awesome half truck, half dinosaur characters.

Netflix


The story centres on the adventures of Ty Trux, a huge Tyrannosaurus Trux and his tiny Reptool friend Revvit. When Ty's valley is destroyed by a volcano, he goes is search of a new place to call home. Injured and hungry he meets Revvit, who helps Ty and becomes his trusty sidekick and best friend.  They join with other Dinotrux and together they unite to defend themselves against big, bad bully D-Structs, an angry Dinotrux intent on destroying everything they have built.

The animation is incredible and the dinosaur/truck hybrids are just so imaginative. We love Ty's wrecking ball tail and the rock crusher jaws and Revvit's tape measure tongue!

The Dinotrux have problems to solve and use teamwork to find a solution, each employing their own skills along the way to build the things they need. This is a great message for kids showing the value of working together for the greater good. It also explores the theme of friendship, as the different Dinotrux learn to live together.

Freddy's favourite character is Revvit because "he is littler than all the Dinotrux, he is funny and nobody is scared of him and he always does good things!" One of Fred's favourite episodes in when Revvit ends up getting accidentally eaten by a hungry rock eating Dinotrux. We get a great look at the internal workings of a Dinotrux's digestion system. Tense stuff!

Dinotrux is definitely a great series that will help entertain the kids in the last days of the summer holidays. It's helped see us through these last few wet, rainy days.


          


We are part of the Netflix Stream Team and are enjoying discovering all the new shows and films available on Netflix. Find out more and sign up at netflix.com.


Dinotrux


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