Knutty Explorers: Thaikhun, Guildford – A review

“What the¬†forkis for dinner?”

Enlight1 (47)

A question I get asked numerous times every week, and often one which makes my eye twitch in anger.

As a mum and wife, I find it really hard staying inspired on the dinner front. The intent is there, I don’t mind cooking, I bookmark recipes I like, with every intention of one day making them, and some weeks (when the world doesn’t feel like it is conspiring against me) I even manage to meal plan!

It doesn’t help that my kids are quite fussy eaters. Don’t ask me where I went wrong, I don’t know. I tried the baby led weaning thing, I tried pouches, I tried making my own cooked and pureed food until I couldn’t fit anymore in my freezer. You name it, I tried it, but nothing seems to have made much difference with any of my 3. Thankfully, the 8 year old is coming out the other side of it now and will at least try new foods but the 6 year old and the toddler have good and (very) bad days where food is concerned. Mealtimes can often be pretty traumatic in our household but I have stopped the shouting and started the calm, “well, that’s fine but you don’t get anything else”, approach. It doesn’t seem to have changed their eating habits but the house is a lot calmer so that’s something I suppose…

We rarely get to eat out these days because the toddler is incapable of sitting still for more than 15 minutes and I go into panic mode as soon as he or one of the other kids start revving up for a tantrum. The stares from other diners, the embarrassment when the waiting staff remove the toddlers plate and all he’s done is drive one of his toy trains we’ve taken out with us through his food. It’s just not worth the hassle, expense or wastage.

So, when I was contacted by the lovely folk at Thaikhun to see if we would like to review their new kids menu, I jumped at the chance…as soon as I had checked with my mum that she could babysit the toddler ūüėČ

Luckily for us, Nanny and Grandad came up trumps as usual and agreed to have the littlest one so myself and Mr Knutts could take the 2 older ones to experience some Thai food. This would be the first time my boys have eaten Thai food (they have had some Chinese food however in the form of Prawn crackers and breaded chicken) because of their fussy eating habits and I was a little apprehensive but you have to give these things a go don’t you.


¬†With the little one safely dropped off for a sleepover at Nanny and Granddad’s (he was very excited!), we set off with the older two for our local Thaikhun Restaurant in Guildford, Surrey. They also have restaurants in various locations around the country so do check their website to find your nearest one. Luckily for us, Guildford is about 15 minutes drive from where we live so it wasn’t far to travel at all.

We booked a table for 5:30 and arrived there spot on time…a miracle in itself but probably helped by the fact we didn’t have a willful toddler in tow for a change ūüėČ

We were greeted warmly by the staff and were shown to our table in the middle of the restaurant.

The restaurant is decorated and themed in such a way so as to try and transport you to the streets of Bangkok, Thailand’s capital. I have to say, I’ve never been to Bangkok, but I certainly didn’t feel like I was sat near Guildford High street! They’ve done a pretty good job. The kids also thought it was amazing in there and I even sent them off with my camera to take some of their own photos for me. Looking around the place kept them entertained for ages…

(The photos the boys took)

¬†Once back from their trip around the place taking photos, the kids were given super activity sheets which had various activities on to keep them occupied, along with some colouring crayons and also some dried edible bugs which they were encouraged to try! One type was dried silk worms but I can’t recall what the other pot were – I was probably in shock and didn’t take it in. Either way, they looked maggot/worm like and I could see their little legs and faces staring at me, frozen in time. I immediately recoiled and had visions of me eating one and projectile vomiting across the table before we had even had anything to eat so politely declined, as did Luke my eldest. Daddy Knutts and the middle one however, were feeling game. They both tried a couple and then, to my utter bemusement, the middle one started scoffing the things like they were Haribo! This kid HATES vegetables and fruit to the point I have a 30 minute fight with him most mealtimes about even trying a mouthful, and yet, here he was, chomping on dried worms like they were the most amazing thing he had ever had. Kids…don’t try and apply logic to them. Ever.

Zak eating worms!

¬†We ordered our food and drinks and they all arrived at the table promptly. Seen as I love my cocktails, I thought it only right that I try one and I chose a Coconut Mojito, whilst Daddy Knutts plumped for a beer. It was absoloutely smashing and I could have easily had 3…or 6 of them ūüėČ

The kids got cups of Milk, water or Juice included in their kids meal so we plumped for cups of milk which, when delivered to the table, came in cute little animal beakers with lids on. Despite my eldest being 8, he didn’t seem to be bothered by the animal cups at all and happily swigged his milk from it.

Our food arrived promptly, the kids dinners arrived with the adult starters which I thought was a fab idea and they, again to my utter amazement, tucked straight into their meals without so much as a whine! It was a miracle!

Luke opted for Grilled Chicken with plain noodles and BBQ Sauce. Zak opted for breaded chicken with sticky rice. All kids meals come with a pot of vegetable sticks in a cup too.

My fuss-pot eaters like to have their food separated at home if there is a sauce involved, so when the kids meals arrived in a tray which had compartments and separate pots to put sauce in, it was like my prayers had been answered! I think this is one of the reasons they didn’t moan and just excitedly tucked into their dinners. This made for a really nice atmosphere, as opposed to the usual mealtime carnage, so we actually all managed to sit, enjoy each others company and chat to each other which is a rare occurrence because poor Daddy Knutts often doesn’t get in from work until late and we sadly have to eat at a different time to the kids.

The meals were simple, but tasty, which is just what you want for kids. In my eyes and theirs, it was brilliant.

It was genuinely really lovely.

I went for some chicken spring rolls to start with and the hubster went for some deep fried breaded king prawns. Both dishes were really delicious and came with a dipping sauce.

IMG_2804

 The kids were about halfway through their dinners by the time our mains arrived which was perfect as they still had some to eat whilst doing their activity sheets and nobody was moaning or getting bored because they had to wait or were finished. It was really good, family friendly, service.

For main, I chose Breaded Chicken with Coconut Sticky rice, which also came with a chicken soup on the side, and Mr Knutts went for steak with Sticky Rice. Both meals were delicious and we would happily recommend them to anyone thinking of going. The portion sizes were very generous, but not so much that you couldn’t finish it and ended up wasting food. Spot on once again.

The waiting staff were very attentive and spied me being a clumsy plonker as I knocked my middles ones milk off the table and all over the floor. A lovely waitress was straight over with some kitchen roll, she didn’t make a fuss about it, I helped her clean it up and she popped off to get Zak a new milk. Really great service and didn’t make me feel awkward at all.

We thought it only right that we try the puddings while we were there (well, you have to don’t you?!) and I went for a Sticky Date pudding with Whisky Ice Cream. It was sooooo scrummy. Squidgy cake, chewy dates, sweet and sticky sauce with a potent whisky ice cream. It was the perfect way to finish off my meal.

IMG_2818

Hubster went for some Chocolate Chili Ice Cream and he really enjoyed that after a carb loaded meal.

The children got an ice lolly included in their kids meal, but sadly the freezer wasn’t working properly so these were off the menu. It didn’t matter, the kids chose from their grown up ice creams (not the whisky one, though it was tempting to see if it made them calm down at all…) and the waitress bought this out to them in a little bowl. It was just the right size for them and the Strawberry one that the kids went for had real strawberry in it. I might have had a little test of it myself… ūüėČ

IMG_2817

Overall, we had a fantastic time at Thaikhun, Guildford and we would totally have no qualms in recommending it to family, friends and Life is Knutts readers!

The kids meal, inclusive of a starter, main, pudding and drink is £5.95 which I think is really good value for money given the portion sizes and the good quality ingredients used.

Even if your children are fuss-pot eaters like mine, give it a go! You never know, you might be surprised like I was!

I have to just add, that I did have a bit of a giggling fit at my eldest reading out some instructions on the kids menu at one point. It was telling the kids how to say ‘hello’ in Thai, but one of the words, well, read it for yourself but it did make me chuckle hearing my 8 year old saying it at the top of his voice!

IMG_2820

Thank you so much to the staff at Thaikhun, Guildford for being so kind and accommodating. We loved our evening out and will certainly be back, the kids have already asked when we can go again!

After our meal, we went for a little stroll up to Guildford Castle to help all that scrummy food digest. if you haven’t been to Guildford before, we can thoroughly recommend it. Little alleyways, places to explore, wonderful shops, a castle and much, much more.

Here are some photos from our evening stroll…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Disclosure: We were given a complimentary meal at Thaikhun, Guildford, in return for this review. All thoughts, opinions and photos are my own.




The Book Corner: A review of, Spot Goes on Holiday

Image from funwithspot.com

Growing up in the 1980’s, I was a HUGE fan of the Spot ‘lift the flap’ books and watching the animated version on TV.

Written by Eric Hill over 35 years ago, Spot has become a firm family favourite all over the world. The books have been published in over 50 languages and are now also available in sign language and Braille editions.

His toddler-like behaviour, getting up to mischief and exploring the world around him resonated with children and parents alike, making him the superstar pup he is today.

I vividly remember sitting with my Nan at her house and her reading the book, “Where’s Spot?” to me as I sipped a cup of warm Ribena and chomped on a packet of Quavers (we only ever got a treat like Quaver’s at my Nan’s house…). In fact, when I think of Spot, more often than not, I think of my Mum and my Nan. Precious memories.

The novelty of having a flap to lift on a page, to encourage you to investigate and find out what was hiding behind it, was always so much fun. I was a very careful child and I always ensured I was gentle with my books. I liked things ‘just so’ and that’s something that hasn’t really changed. My youngest cousin however, well, she was a bit different. When she came along, I can recall one of the flaps getting ripped out of the book and having to be stuck back in with sticky tape. I was very upset, she thought it was funny. I still love her though and I suppose I will let her off now after over 20 years… ūüėČ

Teaching children how to handle books is a very important life skill in my opinion. To be careful with the pages, to treat the book gently, to learn the fine motor skills required to turn the delicate pages over without tearing them. A life the flap book is another, fun way of teaching the children how to do this.


When I was offered an opportunity to review a re-release of a Spot ‘lift the flap book’, I jumped at the chance.

We don’t actually have any Spot books (all my childhood ones are lost somewhere in the abyss of my parents loft) so I took this as a wonderful opportunity to pass my childhood love of these books on to my youngest boy, Ben. He’s 2.5 and the perfect age to enjoy a Spot story.

The book we were sent was, Spot goes on Holiday. Again, this is a book I remember well from my childhood and it’s delivery was timely as were were due to go off to Wales on a Camping holiday that same week. Perfect! It would help explain to Ben what we were going to do and what he might see on our trip to the Welsh seaside.

Every night that week, me and Ben sat down together at bedtime and read the book. He loved it as much as I recall loving it.

We also ended up taking the book with us camping as a bedtime read because he loved it so much and he even recognised some of the pictures in the book from our own days out.

IMG_2002

IMG_2004

IMG_2012

IMG_2123

IMG_2149

He turned the pages carefully, he was excited to see what was hiding under the flaps on each page and was actively seeking out the part on the page where the flap might be after just a couple of pages. He was repeating the names of things back to me as I said them and he also began pointing at Spot and saying his name on each page when he found him. It was just adorable.

The story lines are simple, the characters are lovable, the illustrations are really colourful and child-friendly and there is a kindness about the books that I can’t quite explain but I know is there. Like seeing a friendly face, someone familiar, someone you know.

The book simply tells the story of Spot being told he is going to the beach for the day by his Mum and Dad. It shows them getting ready for their day out and it also shows what adventures Spot has at the beach. Ben thought it was really funny when Spot took the wrong persons towel near the end, this part has him giggling his head off most nights at the moment, accompanied by some mummy sound effects of a disgruntled hippo of course ūüėČ

 I cannot recommend the Spot books enough if you have a little one. I would hazard a guess and say any child up to the age of 5 or so would love these books, and then, even once they are 6 or so and reading for themselves, I am sure they will still enjoy it to a certain extent. My middle one did, because the books are fairly simple language with bold print, he was more than capable of reading it to his little brother by himself. He then prompted his little brother to lift the flaps, to seek out the characters in the pages and loved sharing the story with him and was really proud of himself afterwards for being able to do that on his own.


 

Colouring Sheets

Image from funwithspot.com

 

Spot has had a bit of a rejuvenation online too and now has his own website!

We didn’t have that in the 1980’s! ūüėČ

You can find the link to the new website here.

Once on there, you are able to download and print off some Spot colouring sheets, play a dressing up Spot game and find out more about the world’s most lovable puppy! My middle one loved playing the online game and we took some of the colouring sheets away camping with us.

If you are local to Cheltenham, UK, there is a Spot event being held at the Cheltenham festival in October 2016. Details can be found here.


 *Competition time*

If you would like to get your hands on your own Spot ‘Lift the Flap’ book, just enter my competition!

All you need to do is enter this Rafflecopter!

Competition closes Friday 19th August.

Winner will be announced on Saturday 20th August on my Facebook page so do swing by to check out if it was you who won!

I will then be in contact to organise sending the prize to you.

Spot says good luck! Woof!

contact-us

Image from funwithspot.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Do follow me over on Facebook to see if you’ve won!




Pick your Poison: Gin Cocktails, featuring Pickering’s Gin

Pick your Poison: Gin cocktails, featuring Pickering’s Gin

IMG_1215

 

When I was recently contacted by the spiffing chaps and chapettes from Pickering’s Gin Distillery in Edinburgh, asking me if I would like to test a couple of their small batch Gin’s, I thought I had died and gone to my literal Spirit(ual) heaven. Gin, my first love of the alcohol world, and Scotland, the place my heart feels most at home, combining in one wondrous opportunity. So, I replied to them immediately and said, “no thanks”.

Only joking!

Of course I replied, trying to play it cool, and said, “well, if you’re sure, I’d love to”, that kind of thing. And so here we are!

I received 2 miniature samples of their Gin, a bottle of Pickering’s signature Gin and a bottle of original recipe, 1947 Gin, which was plenty to make about 6 cocktails.

I set about testing them (such a tough job but someone had to do it) and thinking of interesting ways to drink them, but in ways which were also going to do the Gin justice. Sometimes less is more where Gin is concerned. It’s already had so much love, care and attention paid to it, it often only needs a decent tonic to set it off nicely, or even on some occasions, just poured over ice.

I have to honest and say I do like to have my Gin with a tonic at least, but even in their pure state, these Gin’s by Pickering’s were smooth, full of citrus notes and easy to drink.

I was sent their signature Gin, as well as a minature of their original 1947 Gin, which is made to the exact recipe found on a scrap of paper from 1947 (see story below). The 1947 Gin contains Cinnamon which gives it a more frangrant and spicy kick, which I loved. I have to say, of the two Gin’s I was sent, I loved the 1947 Gin the most. Both Gin’s were delicious, and the signature Pickering’s was a much smoother, easy to drink Gin, but there was something a bit different and unusual about the 1947 which I thought was super.


¬†“Who are Pickering’s Gin?”

Slide background

Image from pickeringsgin.com

Pickering’s Gin was founded in 2013 by friends, Matt Gammell and Marcus Pickering. They found a premises in Edinburgh, the Old animal Hospital Dog Kennel’s, and set about converting it from a decaying ruin to the beautiful distillery they now call home, Summerhall.

Pickering’s gin is based on an original Bombay recipe, handwritten on a fragment of paper dated 17 July 1947. It was kept as a family secret for over 66 years and it only resurfaced in 2013 when Matt and Marcus began distilling at Summerhall. I love that it has a history to it and a real family link.

They have spent time perfecting the recipe, finely tuning its balance of 9 diferent botanicals, so they can tweak it to suit the more contemporary palate people now have. The result is a smooth, refreshing and easy drinking gin. Perfect for a summers evening G&T.

“What bontanicals are in Pickering’s Gin?”

The 9 botanicals they use are juniper, coriander, cardamom, angelica, fennel, anise, lemon, lime and cloves. They are carefully measured and added to the grain spirit in a 500 litre copper still which they have named Gert, after one of Matt’s relatives.

According to Pickering’s, the secret of the gin‚Äôs smoothness is, “Gert‚Äôs ingenious, custom-designed bain marie heating system. This provides a gentle all-over-heat to the still. Thus the botanicals enjoy a luxurious simmer that coaxes out their subtle, soft, highly drinkable flavours”. In short, the botanicals have one of the most gorgeous, luxurious, bubble baths ever, and in turn, release all their flavour so we can enjoy a really rather lovely Gin. Magic.

tours-van

Image from pickeringsgin.com

“Can I visit Pickering’s Distillery?”

You sure can! As if Scotland, and Edinburgh, weren’t wonderful enough places to visit already, you can now pop in and have a look at how Pickering’s is created.

Their distillery is located within the Arts Venue, Summerhall (formerly the Dick Vet School), in central Edinburgh. You can find directions by clicking this link where you can buy some for yourself as well as have a distillery tour.

They even have a bar there where you can sample their gin in all it’s glory in their, “Perfect Pour”. You can also sample other Gin’s from other Distilleries and they even, wait for it, have gin on tap, pumped directly to their bar from the distillery next door! How amazing is that folks?!

“How do I get my mitts on this delicious Gin?!”

You can buy your own Pickering’s Gin by clicking here!

It retails at £29.50 for 70cl.

They have a large range of different Gin’s, as well as gifts, so make sure you swing by and have a peek!

*********

Thank you Pickering’s for sending me my 2 minature samples! I’ve loved testing and experimenting with them!




So, here are my 2 recipes using Pickering’s Gin for you to try at home. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Gem.x




Pickering’s Apple and Elderflower

Enlight1 (24)

This is a simple and refreshing cocktail, using easily available ingredients.

Perfect as an afternoon tipple to accompany¬†a slice of Apple Pie with cream in the garden on a summer’s day.

Ingredients

50ml Pickering’s Signature Gin

100ml Apple Juice, the purer the better

50ml Elderflower Cordial

25ml Freshly squeezed Lime juice

Cubed Ice

Method

1 – Place the Pickering’s Gin, Apple Juice, Elderflower Cordial, lime juice and ice in a cocktail shaker.

2 – Shake well for 1 minute

3 – Pour over some more cubed ice in a glass and serve.



Pickering’s with Earl Grey, Honey and Lemon

Enlight1 (25)

This is probably one of the most unusual tipples I’ve had but trust me, it’s delicious. It’s a take on a recipe I read in a booklet which was included in a Gin cocktail herb growing kit a friend got me for my birthday. The kit also came with a couple of tea bags which they suggest you infuse into your chosen Gin. One of the tea bags was Earl Grey & Blueflower which smelt beautiful! I love Earl grey so the thought of putting it with Gin was already a hit in my eyes and I decided to give it a whirl with the spicy 1947 Gin, because the recipe also called for a small amount of black pepper which I thought would sit nicely with the cinnamon spice.

Here is the recipe…

Ingredients

(for 2 tumblers of cocktail)

100ml Pickering’s Original recipe 1947 Gin

Earl Grey & Blueflower Tea Bag (You can buy a similar bag here, or just use a normal Earl Grey tea bag)

25ml Runny Honey

25ml Fresh Lemon juice

Tonic Water to top up

Freshly cracked black pepper if you wish

Cubed Ice

Method

1 – Steep your Earl Grey and Blueflower Tea Bag in your Pickering’s 1947 Gin for 10-30 minutes, then remove.

2 – Add the honey, Gin, lemon juice and cubed ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake well for a minute or so.

3 – Pour into a glass and top with tonic water.

4 – Garnish with the freshly ground black pepper and some herbs/garnishes of your choice.




¬†Disclosure: I was sent 2 free samples of Pickering’s Gin for review. All words and thoughts are my own.




Teachers end of year Gift Ideas – In association with Two Ducks, St Johns, Woking

“The future of the world is in my classroom today”.

Ivan Welton Fitzwater


I really cannot believe it is almost the end of another school year.

Where is the time going?!

My eldest shall be moving into year 4 and my middle one will be in year 2. The toddler is still home with me until 2018…not that I am counting down to when he starts school or anything ūüėČ

It’s a cliche, I know, but it really does only seem like yesterday that they were starting in Reception. The fact that my eldest only has 3 years of Primary school left scares me half to death! It’s just zoomed past in the blink of an eye.

We are so lucky to have been allocated places at a fabulous school near us, which the boys are thriving at. The school is super, the parents and friendships some of us have made are sure to last a lifetime and the teaching is beyond brilliant.

Teachers have one of the most demanding, and variable, jobs in the world in my opinion. They are often responsible for the learning of 30 children and have to meet the huge demands and expectations of governments, parents and headteachers. It is a rewarding job, but also a tough one. I know many people joke that half of the year is holiday for teachers, but this truly isn’t the case. The amount of hours they put in out of school hours, prepping, planning and marking,¬†is enormous and it is all done for the benefit of our children. They have to adapt what they are teaching to suit the different learning styles of each of the children in their class and they have to remember each child’s specific personality in order to ensure they are getting the most out of them, all whilst keeping it fun, entertaining and engaging. It’s no mean feat.

 So, as the school year draws to a close, and the teachers finally do get to have a little bit of down time, it is only right (in my opinion) that they are rewarded with a little something from the class to say thank you; a memento for the teacher to remember their class by.

We have always done this at our school in the form of a class collection and then the money collected is used to get the teacher a gift. I think it is a really lovely way of ending the year and of showing your appreciation of all the hard work they have done.


Two Ducks Logo

 If you are local to Surrey, there is a superb little shop in St Johns, Woking, which is the ideal place for you to head to in order to buy your teacher a unique, and thoughtful, gift that they are sure to appreciate.

The shop is called, Two Ducks, and it is owned by a lovely lady called Claire.

Photo of Claire, owner of Two Ducks

 Claire is local to the area and decided to start Two Ducks in November 2013 as a pop-up shop in Woking town centre. In May 2014, Claire took the plunge and found a premises in the little village of St Johns, Woking, and it is here that Two Ducks now thrives.

You can read more about the lovely Claire, and why she started her business, by clicking here.

Claire’s shop ethos is that all her produce is British made, which I love. There is nothing nicer than turning over a beautiful mug to see the name of the town in which it was made imprinted on the bottom of it, or to find some Jam that has been lovingly made in a small British village. The best of British, right on our doorstep. A small, local business, supporting other small local businesses.


Teacher’s end of year gift ideas

The shop itself is a treasure trove of loveliness. It is a quirky building, full of character, and is actually much larger once you’re inside, a bit like stepping into a Tardis! You can take a virtual tour of the shop here.

Full of super gift ideas to suit every personality, you are sure to find something at Two Ducks.

Here are a few to whet your appetite!

************************************

1. Perfect for clubbing together..

These beautiful boards,¬†hand-painted by¬†St.John’s artist Victoria Page, can be personalised with the teacher and children’s names. The pictures can be made with the class emblem (e.g. fox) or just with a plain heart¬† (¬£25)

NB: These take a week to make, come in a variety of colours & require all the children’s names with upfront payment

************************************

2. Perfect for hanging on teacher’s door

Teacher’s choice are these stunning hand-painted door/classroom signs¬†(¬£14.95, you¬†can also put the class name on the reverse)

************************************

 

3. Perfect¬†For teacher’s house

These pretty porcelain hand thrown tea-lights are a fab reminder of the class & can be paired with gorgeous scented tea lights (Tea-light £15)

************************************

 

4.Perfect for a token pressie

They have a range of sweet little gifts from ¬£2.50 to ¬£8 including ‘best teacher’ soaps, chocolates, votive candles, pen pots, hand creams &¬†glass earring dishes/coasters- perfect for when you need to buy¬†for lots of people!

************************************

5. Perfect for a boxed gift

Why don’t you make up a boxed gift with from items of your own choice? You could mix and match normal gifts with foodie gifts¬†(chocolates, popcorn, scarves, etc)¬† (Prices range from ¬£10 up)

************************************

 

6. Perfect for a simple thank-you

They have a wide range of lovely cards to say ‘thank-you teacher/teaching assistant’, ‘Good luck on your 1st day at school’, ‘Congrats on your results’, ‘Good luck at University (from ¬£2.50)

************************************

If there are too many lovely things to choose from, or you’re not sure what your child’s teacher would like, why not let them choose something themselves by giving them the gift of a Two Ducks Gift Voucher?

You can buy Gift Vouchers for Two Ducks, online, by clicking here.


¬†I hope this has given you a few ideas for end of year gifts and I am sure Claire would love to see some new faces in her shop! She is lovely so do swing on by if you’re passing and say hi to her whilst having a look around (and if you happen to have paid her a visit by finding her because of this post, do let her know!).

It really is an Aladdin’s cave of gorgeous gifts!

(Directions to Two Ducks)


If you live too far away from Surrey, and sadly can’t make it in to her stunning little shop, Claire can do her utmost to send things to you in the post. Feel free to phone her at the shop or email her using this online contact form and she will get back to you ASAP.

¬†…and lastly, good luck with the Summer Holidays Parents! Once more unto the breach comrades, we can do this! (Maybe with a little help from a few bottles of wine and a sip or two of a G&T! – Let’s hope the sun finally get’s it’s hat on!)

Gems.x

Two Ducks on Facebook

Two Ducks on Twitter




Kids activity idea: Capture the flag (from Percy Jackson)

“At the end of the day, a kid should have dirty feet, messy hair and a smile on their face”.

IMG_1104

All kids love to be outdoors. I know some of my best childhood memories are of long summer days spent playing outside in the street, or over the common, near my parents house. We had no time limit during the school holidays, we just had to be back before it got dark, and we always did as we were told. Fresh air, exploring, making memories.

Sadly, it is impossible where we live to give our children that much freedom. I don’t feel safe letting them be quite as ‘free range’ as we were, but I still think that getting outside and doing some physical activity every day is very important.

We make sure that every few weeks, we meet up with a group of close friends and we do a good old family walk together. We explore our local area and the kids have a bit of freedom to run about and burn off some energy. These get together’s are fast becoming some of our favourite times, the kids – and the grown ups, especially if there is a pub involved! – truly love it.

On one of our walks that we went on this weekend, I asked the kids if they would mind playing a game I have been asked to test out. They all jumped at the chance and were super enthusiastic which was awesome so I set about explaining the rules to them.


The game is called Capture the Flag, and is based on a game played in the movies, and books, of the Percy Jackson series.

If you’re not familiar with the Percy Jackson series, you can find out about them more, here.

The basic jist is that the books/movies are based on the characters and stories of Greek Mythology, and Percy is a Demi-God Рmeaning he is the son of a mortal woman called Sally and a Greek God, Poseidon.

He struggles at school but soon realises that there is more to him than meets the eye…and so begins Percy’s adventures.

My eldest is absolutely obsessed with Percy Jackson so he couldn’t wait to get started on playing the game with his friends!!!

I also love the stories and I think it is great that my eldest already knows so much about Greek Mythology at such a young age, it really helps capture the imagination and makes for some pretty creative writing by him from time to time, as well as some interesting Ancient Greek lands in Minecraft being built!


 Rules and the aim of the Game

Capture1

Capture2

Capture3

Capture the Flag is a game played with 2 teams.

Each team has a flag which they hide in their area, or land as my kids liked to call it.

The basic aim of the game is to capture your enemy teams flag by performing a raid into their land to get it, without being caught.

The place we chose to have our game of Capture the Flag was our local wetlands centre. It had wide open spaces, suitable for the kids to run around safely, and a path across the field which acted as a very good boundary line between the two lands. We had made a couple of flags at home before we went by using some old windmill sticks and some coloured craft tissue paper, one Green and one Pink. This would be a really good craft activity for a rainy summer holiday afternoon if you were at a loss for ideas!

IMG_1134

¬†After explaining the rules to the kids, they were rearing to go and decided, of their own accord, to split into a boys team and a girls team…kids! They stuck their flags in the ground and placed a bag down a little way from their flags to act as a prison. If you get tagged whilst in your enemy’s area, you are sent to prison and you have to wait for another team member to come along and set you free by tapping your hand before you can join the game again.

After a countdown, it was game on and the kids were off!

Giggling, hysteria, happiness, heckling parents on the sidelines, it was wonderful to watch!

The kids spurred each other on, they helped each other out, they came up with game plans and had a whale of a time.

We played 3 games and, I am very sad to report, the smelly boys won all 3 games!!!! The cheeky monkeys!

They were all left laughing with rosy cheeks and sweaty brows. A perfect way to burn off some energy on a rare sunny afternoon!

¬†The kids verdict on the game was that it was, “Super fun!”. I think that means they enjoyed it!

For me, their faces in the photos say it all…


 If you would like to have a go at playing the game, you can do so by using the rules in this post.

It would be a great game for birthday parties, for schools to use in PE, as a warm up exercise at sports clubs or just for a large group of friends to play together, like ours did.


You can also buy the new book in the Percy Jackson series, The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo – Book 1) ¬†here! It’s sure to be another good one, full of action and adventure, and I know my 8 year old lad is desperate to read it.


¬†Do let me know if you have a go at this game, I’d love to hear what you and your kids thought about it!

Gems.x