Less Screen Time And More Play This Half Term

A new study has revealed that, by age 7, children will have spent 2 years and 3 months of their lives in front of a screen.  More than half of that time is ‘mindless’ screen time – spent without family or friends, in solitary, screen-based activities. The study, conducted by Persil amongst parents in the UK and Ireland highlighted that time spent in front of a screen dwarfs time spent outside. Parents reported that their children spend more than twice as much time in front of screens than playing outside – equating to 456 days of alone screen time by age of 7 versus 182 days of outdoor free play. This latest research also shows that children now spend much less time on “real play” than ever before. One reason is the unprecedented amount of time they spend indoors looking at screens.

Screens, when used in the right way, can be very beneficial – aiding learning and development amongst children. But there needs to be a balance between screen time and outdoor play. This is a balance we know parents are looking to achieve. Sir Ken Robinson, leading expert in education, creativity and human development, and Chair of the Dirt is Good Child Development Advisory Board, comments:

"If you’re an adult now, how much time did you spend as a child playing outdoors, making up games on your own or with friends, dashing around, taking tumbles, all for the sheer fun of it?  Until recently, children spent many hours every week on this sort of physical, imaginative, social play.  “Real play” like this is not only enjoyable: it is vitally important in young lives. Research has long shown that it has essential roles in the balanced development of all children and young people.

Here are five simple tips on how to balance your kid's screen time and outdoor play this half term week based on the idea and recommendations by Sir Ken Robinson.

1. Find an engaging way to limit screen time:
Create a brightly coloured rewards chart to allocate time slots on how much time is allowed behind a screen and to help plan outdoor activity for your kids on a daily basis. This is a fun and creative way to reward your kids with well-done stickers when they stick to the plan every day! By using reward charts and coloured stickers your kids will see the change as a positive one!

2. Encourage fun and creative activities with your kids:
Don’t be afraid to get messy – indoors or out. Find an activity your child really loves and enjoy the fun together! It could be as simple as making music out of garden twigs, or starting an arts and crafts session using conkers, pine cones and leaves you found in the park, or playing team games such as rounders’ or a treasure hunt. It is also a great way to bond together and encourage creativity. Inspiring your kids to be creative can stimulate their imagination and also reduce stress and anxiety.

3. Embrace the British weather, even in the winter:
We all know splashing in puddles, climbing up tree houses, swinging on swings and getting really muddy is a child’s dream of having fun! On a rainy day grab your wellies, a waterproof coat and go on an adventure with your kids at your nearest park.

4. Try incorporating 'real play' into your child’s daily routine:
Real play is unsupervised and self-initiated. Some ideas to get you started are playing with sand, painting, chasing games, role play, juggling, and hiding games. Giving your kids opportunities for active, physical, imaginative, and social play can have such positive benefits in kid’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development.

5. You don’t have to spend loads of cash:
Real play doesn’t have to be expensive. Sometimes it’s nice to just be with your kids so, join in with any outdoor activities, go for a stroll together and have a conversation about their interests or be imaginative and have an exciting bake-off competition together. The main resources are time, energy, companionship and laughter.

Persil, along with parents and experts recognise the importance of children playing and embracing dirt, and have been promoting the benefits of outdoor play for over a decade. Persil is commitment to addressing the play imbalance that so clearly exists. As part of that commitment, they have collaborated with a series of initiatives to provide parents with practical solutions to addressing this play imbalance.

There are several ways you can get involved:

Outdoor Classroom Day – Taking place on 1st November 2018, this initiative challenges schools to get children to take at least one lesson outdoors that day and celebrates the importance of playtime. In 2017 alone, 2.3 million children took part around the world in over 100 countries, including over 580,000 in the UK where the campaign is led by Learning through Landscapes. Parents and teachers can sign up atwww.outdoorclassroomday.org.uk 

Parkrun – it is easier than ever to get the whole family enjoying the great outdoors with parkrun.  As an official sponsor, Persil is helping to ensure there are hundreds of free events that take place every weekend across the UK, go online atwww.parkrun.org.uk to find your local one

Real Play Coalition – Persil, alongside IKEA, National Geographic and The LEGO Foundation created the Real Play Coalition – a movement that prioritises the importance of ‘real play’. Join us in our mission to make the world a more playful place by visiting www.realplaycoalition.com and signing up for more information

The JoyFills Café In London hosted by Love Island’s Jack and Dani

To celebrate a tasty new biscuit brand JoyFills why not head to the UK’s first ever hot-air balloon café on Monday 29th October 8-2pm, to help lift the spirit of the UK,  the first day after the clocks change, the unique hot air balloon inspired café  will be first experienced by you along with Jack and Dani from Love Island, you will have the opportunity to soar up to 55ft above ground level to experience the amazing London skyline view.

Attendees (on a first come, first served basis) will be treated to Oreo and Cadbury’s JoyFills, a cup of coffee tea or hot chocolate where you can wave goodbye to summer and officially say hello to the colder months, The cafe will be open to the public from 8.00am – 2.00pm in Stratford’s Olympic Village (address details below)

Bite-sized biscuit, JoyFills one day only hot air balloon experience will bring smiles of joy back to the faces of the UK, as British Summer Time officially comes to an end.
  • Who: JoyFills, a new deliciously light biscuit with a soft, creamy filling
  • What: The JoyFills Café – a unique hot air balloon-inspired experience and café
  • When: Monday 29th October, 8.00am – 2.00pm
  • Where: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 5 Thornton Street, London, E20 2AD
  • How much: Free entry
To help re-live that summer feeling as we officially transition to autumn, the pop-up café will allow visitors to enjoy a warming drink whilst munching on the tasty new snack, available in delicious Cadbury and Oreo flavours.  While providing a thoroughly enjoyable antidote to those post-summer blues, the JoyFills café on the ground will also be giving away packs of the light, airy biscuits alongside a complimentary hot drink to passers-by.
JoyFills are available in four delicious flavours; Cadbury Milk Chocolate creme, Cadbury Choco cookiecreme flavour, Oreo Vanilla creme flavour and Oreo Choco caramel creme flavour, with each small but mighty bite a true taste sensation.  Found in the biscuit aisle of all major retailers including Tesco, Asda, Co-op, Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s for just £1.50. Each sharing pack contains 90g of the innovative bite-sized treat, ideal for sharing with friends and family. 


Not really surprising to me as a working mum, but rather interesting to learn that British parents do an equivalent of an extra day’s work per week in the mad morning dash, working parents’ busy morning routine amounts to an additional 10 hours 15 mins a week on top of their nine to five jobs.
The typical parent completes 43 tasks – from last-minute homework to defrosting the dinner - in a gruelling domestic routine BEFORE they reach their day job.

Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain studied 2,000 working parents with children of school age to celebrate the launch of new Nutri-Grain snack bars, which are made with six B vitamins and iron, known to help release energy from the food we eat and keep us fueled up on busy days, the purpose of the study was to find out just how much us working parents do each day. On average, school-age parents leap out of bed at 6.01am (with one third up before 5.30am) to ensure they can complete a checklist of 43 tasks – taking more than two hours - before they even get to work. This amounts to 10 hours 15 mins every week, equivalent to more than a whole additional working day. 

The busy working parent’s checklist of 43 tasks:

Commuting to work
Brushing teeth
Getting yourself dressed
Making breakfast for the kids
Getting the kids to brush their teeth
Packing and making your own lunch to take to work
Ferrying the kids to school
Packing the kids’ school bag
Cleaning dishes / packing the dishwasher
Putting a washing load on
Preparing for any after-school clubs (e.g. packing sports kit)
Filling up coffee holder/water bottle
Making/eating breakfast
Brushing the kids’ hair
Searching for misplaced items (e.g. kids’ clothing, homework etc.)
Getting the kids up and dressed
Getting the kids to finish their homework
Packing and making the kids’ school lunch
Making the beds
Filling out permission slips
Wiping surfaces
Polishing school/work shoes
Feeding the pets
Making a to-do list or shopping list for the day
Organising medical appointments (doctor/dentist/) or picking up prescriptions from the pharmacy
Arranging childcare
Defrosting food for dinner that evening
Scrolling through social media
Putting away toys
Ironing work/school clothes
Applying makeup / grooming
Folding/putting away clothes
Organizing play dates
Having a shower/bath
Drying/styling hair
Checking/responding to emails/messages
Paying bills
Taking the bin out
Exercising / going for a run / to the gym
Watering the plants
Reading the news/weather
Walking the dog
Locking up (doors, windows, setting alarm)

A Kellogg's spokesperson said: “It’s clearly a case of wake and work for British parents who are packing in a whole additional working day every week on top of their nine to five jobs.“The morning checklist of chores means working parents’ days are rammed, understandably leaving most exhausted by 11am. Fuelling up with a mid-morning snack is a great way to get through the 11am slump and sustain energy levels throughout the day.”

Eight in ten parents (79 per cent) confessed they do not eat a big enough breakfast to sustain them through to lunch, while 42 per cent said they skip it altogether most days and despite getting up at 6am to do their morning chores the average parent doesn’t leave work until 6pm, meaning their day is in fact a far cry from the traditional nine to five.

Leading UK nutritionist Laura Clark estimates the morning shift for working parents could be equivalent to burning over 300 calories every day:
80 per cent of working parents admit to getting HANGRY from failing to eat a proper breakfast, leading 44 per cent to have arguments with colleagues , The morning dash has never been busier for British working parents according to new research released today, which reveals their wake-up routine adds an additional day's work* on top of their nine to five jobs every week.

Dr Becky Spelman, a leading UK psychologist, said:
“We're all feeling the stresses of modern life with the hassles of always-on culture and parental chores adding to the burden of already frazzled parents. As well as ensuring that we all keep our minds and bodies properly nourished and energised, employers offering flexible hours for working parents can be a real help when it comes to managing the work-life balance.”

In a brand new recipe Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars have been fortified with six B vitamins and iron, with no artificial colours or flavours, Created as the perfect mid-morning snack for people with jam-packed schedules, Nutri-Grain bars contain 25 per cent of our daily needs of B vitamins, which help release energy from food, and 17 per cent of our daily iron needs, which helps cognitive function.
Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars are available from all major supermarkets and are approved for school lunchboxes.


Merlin Entertainments launches new school lesson ‘Fake News and the Media’ to educate young people on the pitfalls of false information in popular and celebrity culture. Madame Tussauds London
has been at the forefront of popular and celebrity culture for more than 250 years, this amazing new a new programme will support and educate students about fake news.

The ‘Fake News and the Media’ school lesson is part of Merlin Entertainments new ‘Today’s Lesson Will Be…’ educational programme that is being rolled out across the company’s London attractions. Created in collaboration with education specialist SHAPES for Schools this new lesson is linked to PSHE and the English national curriculum and is targeted at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 students aged between 9 – 13 years old. The ‘Fake News and the Media’ lesson has been created as a reaction to the current issues around the distortion and misuse of false information and the influence it is having on young people’s choices.  As the lines continue to blur between what is a real news story and what is false, the interactive lessons will provide teachers and their students with the essential skills to navigate the news agenda safely online and across social media.

Delivered by Madame Tussauds performers, the ‘Fake News and the Media’ lesson will lead students through a critique of how the media presents news whilst also analysing the difference between rumour, spin, satire and false information. It will include:

  • Structured discussion around modern celebrity culture and the media, and how the two are linked.
  • Working in groups to categorise news stories according to different criteria, including, how the news was shared; who wrote it, text and images, and the emotive impact on the reader.
  • A group-based definition of ‘fake news’ and other key terminology.
  • A game in which pupils try to identify their classmates’ real stories from their fake ones.
The new ‘Fake News and the Media’ lesson can be booked as part of Madame Tussauds London’s school's package. This includes such benefits as a 40% saving on tickets and free Teacher Resource Packs. For more information please visit www.madametussauds.com/education

Joanne Channon, Education Manager at Merlin Entertainments, said: “The dissemination of false information through the media both online and across social media can be incredibly confusing and challenging for young people. Out of the classroom learning is proven to be highly effective in helping to stimulate young minds while boosting student’s social skills such as confidence, creativity and communication. We believe our new workshop will inspire students this academic year and we hope it will have a positive impact on how they interact with modern media in the future.”

Merlin Entertainments ‘Today’s Lesson Will Be…’ educational programme offers high-quality learning opportunities outside of the classroom with a variety of curriculum-linked workshops at five of London’s most iconic attractions. The learning experiences, accredited with the LOtC quality badge by The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, are currently available at the Coca-Cola London Eye, Madame Tussauds London, DreamWorks Tours: Shrek’s Adventure! London, SEA LIFE London and The London Dungeon and offers a range of workshops covering subjects from English, science, geography to history and even drama – offering a range of levels from KS1 all the way through to KS5. For more information visit www.merlinsmagicallondon.com/schools

Cadbury Goo Heads Tray Bake

As Halloween approaches why not enjoy the spookiest time of the year with the New Cadbury Goo Heads and Goo Head Mini’s, these delicious Cadbury chocolate eggs filled come complete with a gooey white fondant and make the perfect treat for this time of the year. So I decided to take a much-loved tray bake recipe and incorporate these delicious Goo Heads.

The Cadbury Goo Heads offer a spooky twist on the much loved classic Crème Egg and for trick or treating, each cool gruesome head comes in a range of eerie characters, from a scary skeleton, petrifying pumpkin, frightening Frankenstein, dreadful Dracula or terrifying Were-Wolf, each filled with gooey white fondant encased in a delicious Cadbury chocolate shell.

Cadbury Goo Heads Tray Bake

175 g baking spread
175 g caster sugar
3 eggs
150 g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
75g Cocoa Powder
100 g icing sugar
3 Packs of Mini Goo Heads for topping
1 pack of Mini Goo Head cut into small segments for inside brownie mix


  • Preheat the oven to Gas 4, 180 C, grease and line a 31 x 20 cm shallow tin.
  • In a bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the sifted flour, baking powder and cocoa and fold in.
  • Turn into the prepared tin, push into the corners and level out the top.
  • Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes (test with a skewer, it should come out clean if cake is cooked). Cool and place on a wire rack.
  • Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl and add a little water (few tsp) to make a spreadable icing. Spread over the top of the cooled cake and top with smashed pieces of creme egg.

Cadbury also has a wider range of classic treatsize goodies that are perfect for this Halloween from  Cadbury Crunchie, Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons and Cadbury Fudge treat sized bags, as well as Cadbury Heroes. Happy Halloween.

Product information
Cadbury Goo Head, 40g, RRP £0.55, Cadbury Goo Head Five Pack, 200g, RRP: £2.85, Cadbury Goo Head Mini’s, 89g, RRP £0.89, Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons (12x treat size bars per bag, 170g), Cadbury Crunchie (12x treat size bars per bag, 210g, New Cadbury Fudge (15x treat size bars per bag, 202g RRP £2.79, Cadbury Heros Treat size Friends Bag (variety of 16x treat size per bag, 225g) RRP £1.99, Cadbury Heroes Family Bag (variety of 20x treat size bars per bag, 278g) RRP £3.99.

Chotto Desh

We were ever so excited to head to Sadlers Wells to watch Chotto Desh. Chotto Desh is created by Akram Khan Company and Theatre-Rites’ directed Sue Buckmaster.

Chotto Desh means “small homeland,”  the story follows Akram a young man who has a dream of becoming a dancer, throughout the story, Akram recalls many memories in childhood in Britain and Bangladesh. Chotto Desh celebrates living your dreams and the memories that bring you to where you are in life today.

Chotto Desh is a stunning story told through music and dance, we were visually mesmerised by the visual lighting and magical movement and dance styles throughout, Chotto Desh was wonderfully inspiring to watch a true feast for the eyes, a feel-good production which was visually satisfying.

If you loved to be entertained and love being immersed than Chotto Desh will most defiantly do this, the one-man show goes beyond all expectations, for one man to fill the stage and hold the audience takes real talent and presence, the standing innovation at the end was wholly deserved and shows just how amazing this production is, a stunning must-see experience for the whole family.
Chotto Desh is on at Sadler Wells, for more information check out Akram Khan Company- Chotto Desh

Quentin Blake Unveils His Historical Collection Of Artwork At The Science Museum

We were extremely honoured to attend the Science Museum and join the second Birthday celebrations of the Wonderlab.

To celebrate the Science Museum unveiled a series of artworks created by acclaimed children’s illustrator Quentin Blake, Quentin Blake is famously known as the illustrator of the much-loved books written Roald Dahl. The artwork features a historical collection of scientists and engineers that are larger than life, the artworks are hung on the large white walls of  The Equinor Gallery just outside the Wonderlab.

There is a total of 20 women and men from the world of science and technology that feature in this new work of art, alongside each stunning illustration is the objects for which they are best known for.

If you just can't get enough of the gallery artwork then why not take a piece home, if you head into the Science Museum shop you will also find some beautiful artwork Quentin Blake depicting the artworks.

We also got the opportunity to explore the Wonderlab where we got to explore the amazing world of science through the immersive and hands-on exhibits.

For more information check out the www.sciencemuseum.org.uk

Divine Chocolate

I love Chocolate, so I was ever so delighted to these new Divine Chocolate Bars. Divine, the first ever farmer-owned Fairtrade chocolate bar which was launched onto the UK.

Divine Dark Chocolate Bars are made of with cocoa farmed in São Tomé, once the world’s biggest cocoa exporter, the Divine Chocolate ts 100% organic, vegan, and certified Fairtrade. Best of all the Divine Chocolate Bars taste deliciously smooth and rich flavour, but best of all they come is an exciting range of flavours from:

Exceptionally rich and pure 95% cocoa bar, A rich dark chocolate with a taste of blueberry and popped quinoa. Warming ginger and aromatic turmeric.

Refreshing zesty lemon with a rich 85% cocoa. Or why not try the delicious dark chocolate with cocoa nib. Divine Organic Chocolate tastes amazing rich and smooth and is the perfect treat any time of the day.

Chocolate Week Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Brownie

To celebrate Chocolate Week Recipe which falls on 15-21 October 2018, chef Gopi Chandran from Sopwell House has created this delicious Indulgent Chocolate Brownie recipe.

Serves 8-10 people

250g good quality dark chocolate – we use Callebaut Dark Chocolate Buttons
250g unsalted butter
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking flour
4 large eggs
300g caster sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
2. Lightly grease a tray-bake tin (or silicone tray) and line with baking paper.
3. Melt the butter with the chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and set aside to cool slightly.
4. Combine the eggs and sugar to create a custard-like consistency.
5. Slowly add the chocolate and butter, mixing in gradually to ensure the cold and warm mixtures combine smoothly.
6. Add the flour and baking powder, and mix well.
7. Once combined, pour the mixture into the lined tray and spread evenly.
8. Bake for 30 minutes, or 25 minutes if you prefer them more gooey and soft.
9. Leave to cool, slice into 8-10 squares and enjoy!

Sopwell House’s Chocolate Brownie is served in The Brasserie with passion fruit crémeux & coconut sorbet.

Sopwell House is a stunning 18th Century Georgian house located in the city of St. Albans deep within the Hertfordshire countryside. The hotel is the perfect place to dine boasting a 2AA Rosette restaurant, a vibrant Brasserie, an elegant cocktail lounge, and conservatory bar, all of which look out on 12-acres of beautiful gardens. for more information check out www.sopwellhouse.co.uk.

Thunderbirds Are Go: International Rescue

We love playing games, so we were really excited to download the cool new Thunderbirds Are Go: International Rescue app, the game gives players the chance to be Virgil with the help of his trusty team John Tracy and lead engineer Brains, you will get the opportunity to complete life-saving mission rescues, this fun game gives you the opportunity to become a hero, simply choose a rescue mission  and your off, but you'll need to use your problem-solving, creativity and navigation skills to complete each daring mission. Check out the cool game trailer to get an idea of the gameplay that awaits.

Thunderbirds Are Go: International Rescue also includes a dyslexic-friendly font, and allow parents to monitor and limit their child's gameplay time. The game is suitable for children from 6yrs+.

Thunderbirds Are Go: International Rescue is an official game based on the hugely popular television series created by Kuato Studios and ITV Studios Global Entertainment.  The game is available to download for free on the App Store and on Google Play worldwide (see links below)
App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/thunderbirds-are-go/id1363201024?ls=1&mt=8
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kuatostudios.thunderbirdsprod

Three Sat Under The Banyan Tree

We were ever so delighted to attend Polka Theatre in London to watch the amazing theatre production of Three Sat Under The Banyan Tree, a magical enchanted story based on The Panchatantra – India’s Aesop’s Fables.

Photo credit: Craig Fuller

The story follows three orphans who share a magical book given by their father, the book will help the young orphans learn from the tale, the young orphans begin to share the stories of the book and bring to life the amazing stories to life, the production is stunningly shared from start to finish with each story sharing a vibrant story, each filled with music movements and beautiful yet simple costumes.

Photo credit: Craig Fuller

We loved every minute of the show, the actors literally brought the stories to life, a great production filled will life lesson stories perfect for the whole family. Three Sat Under The Banyan Tree will be playing until 21 October, suitable for children from ages Ages 7+, For more information check out polkatheatre.com.

Body Worlds London

Body Worlds London

We were really excited to attend the exclusive opening night preview of Body Worlds. Body Worlds is an amazing unique interactive exhibition of the human body, it has been a huge global success and now has a permanent home in the London Pavilion in Piccadilly Circus.

The exhibition starts on the third floor, we were given an interactive headset which allows visitors to listen to cool facts as they explore the exhibition, visitors can wander freely exploring each floor at there own pace taking in this fascinating experience.

Body Worlds

We were in awe as we walked through the exhibition, at times it felt quite surreal yet extermly fascinating, having the chance to look inside the human body gives you a huge insight on how the body works and the lifestyle choices we make and how they affect the human body.

The human specimens are produced by using a preservation technique developed by Gunther von Hagens a German doctor and his wife and creative director Dr Angelina Whalley, all of the exhibits on display have given consent to be part of the unique plastination process.

Body Worlds is a thought-provoking and educational experience which you will find yourself talking about long after you leave, its a valuable educational experience that really makes you think about your own body and life. Body Worlds opens its door to the public on the Saturday 6th October at the London Pavillion in Piccadilly Circus. To find out more about Body Worlds head over to bodyworlds.com/exhibition/london

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