Websites of the Week- National Trust, Sizzix and Face Britain

April 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Annette's websites of the week

National Trust- Free Weekend offer– I’ve featured the National Trust in my recommended websites of the week on a number of occasions now and its mainly because I am a real fan.

This weekend National Trust is exclusively opening its doors to over 200 sites in an offer which enables the public to enjoy the National Trust free of charge. Giving families ample opportunity to enjoy all of the treasures which National Trust sites behold and the chance for children to kick start their 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ challenge.

National Trust free weekend

Enjoy a free week at National Trust

It’s worth noting that to be entitled to free administration visitors must fill in a short online form and print out the National Trust Free Weekend Voucher. The free entry voucher is valid between Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd April making for an entire weekend of National Trust fun.


Sizzix-Online Craft StoreI came across after seeing a selection of beautifully designed Sizzix patterned paper in a craft magazine. To my delight the Sizzix website is a wonderland for craft lovers like me as it’s packed with creative ideas, products and even features a quilting section complete with patterns- need I say more?

The best thing about Sizzix’s website is it’s free downloadable packs which will get your creativity buds flowing and enable you to create beautiful cards, scrapbooks, gift tags, invites and everything in between. 

Sizzix homepage

Craft website, Sizzix

Capitalising on The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the small matter of street parties, family gatherings and generally lots of celebrations, Sizzix have come up with a range of jubilee inspired paper that is free to download and will add a touch of creative magic to any jubilee party. I’m considering turning my patterned paper into homemade bunting that’s fit for a queen.


Face Britain- Face Britain, a self-portrait art project aimed at children, lit up Buckingham Palace last night as montages of the Queen have been created with over 200,000 school children’s self –portraits to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.

Set up by The Princes’ Foundation for Children and the Arts, Face Britain wanted to encourage as many children as possible to create a self-portrait and published them all in an online gallery. The deadline for submission has passed but the website is fantastic to visit nevertheless.

Bright, fun and interactive features a wonderful online gallery and has an interactive canvas which enables users to join in the fun and draw themselves online. But what I like most about the website is how visually exciting it is. Set out it artistic frames and filled with bright colours it’s a website which will please everyone and is perfect for grandchildren.

Face Britain homepage

Face Britain Art Project

Along with fantastic contributions from school children the site also features celebrity art work from a number of famous faces who’ve shown their support. View ‘Famous Faces’ to see self-portraits of Adele, Quentin Blake, Cilla Black and Derren Brown.

All in all is a brilliant website which reflects all of the enthusiasm and creativity which so many school children have put into the Face Britain project; a site which is most definitely worth visiting.

Family days out over Easter

April 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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As the long Easter weekend is nearly upon us I thought it would be nice to share my favourite Easter family days out. When you’re planning a family outing remember to look online for discounts and offers and go early to make the most of your day!

National Trust- I’m a huge advocate of National Trust and often turn to their properties and gardens for family days out. This Easter National Trust have teamed up with Cadbury who will be hosting various different Easter Egg Trails in National Trust sites- find you’re closest here. Along with Easter Egg Hunts in the most beautiful surrounds, children will also be able to take part in Easter themed quizzes and challenges, run the egg and spoon race and get their faces painted!

National Trust Easter

Explore a National Trust site this Easter

Check out the National Trust website for specific information about events near you and special membership offers with the National Trust. I recently received a 3 month free voucher which would be worth looking into if you’re not already a member.

Cadbury World- For most children Easter is all about chocolate so a trip to Cadbury World is the perfect treat for Easter. Located in Birmingham, Cadbury World is easily accessible and offers visitors an in depth tour of Cadbury’s and how they make their legendary chocolate. During the Easter period they will be hosting an Easter Eggstravaganza with a world class Easter Egg Hunt and some of the biggest and best Easter eggs you’ll ever see. Definitely worth visiting!

Easter at Cadbury World

Go chocolate mad at Cadbury World

Local Museums Local Museums are brilliant places to visit during seasonal periods because they will both entertain and educate children. The majority of museums have a timetable of schedules activities; my local museum, The Potteries Museum, is hosting Easter craft sessions but you do need to book in advance so consider this before going along.

If you visit a museum over Easter check out which other exhibitions they are holding on the same day. Chances are it will be something which you will really enjoy and it’s a great way of making the most of your day out.

Easter craft making

Visit your local museum for Easter crafts

Local Attractions- Spring has sprung, even if we had a blip yesterday, so get out and about and enjoy your local attractions. Here in Staffordshire the Trentham Estate is a great option with an outdoor shopping village, garden centre and beautiful lakes which are a real treat especially over a Bank Holiday weekend.  And I’d imagine that the Easter bunny will be wondering around the gardens to keep children entertained too!

If all else fails check out my alterative Easter craft indoor activities from earlier this week. Enjoy!

School holiday activities with Grandchildren- Family day out

July 13, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Today I’m talking about my favourite family days out with my grandchildren during school holidays.

For me a good family day out involves going somewhere which the entire family will enjoy, and importantly has a little educational value. Day trips are the perfect place to learn new things together something which I try to encourage.  

I’ve come up with a couple of suggestions which I think offer good variety and are great value for money. Hope you enjoy!

Family days out


museumI always remember visiting local museums as a child, and feeling fascinated with what was on display. There are thousands of museums up and down the country all focusing on different topics and subjects. With this in mind museums are a great way to get children interested in a whole range of subjects.

A trip to a museum is a great way to get the whole family out and about. The only tricky thing is deciding which one to visit. To avoid squabbling why not try to visit a few which suite all family members – remember entry to most museums is free with additional charges for entry to special exhibitions only.

In large cities museums are dotted all over the places, however if you would prefer to stay local do some research and find what’s on display nearby.


National Trust– 


Preserved National Trust establishments have lots to offer from historical landmarks, culturally enhancing sites and some of the most beautiful landscapes you can find in the UK.

I’d recommend visiting a variety of venues throughout the holidays as many hold different events from crafts, outdoor shows, guides bike rides and wildlife discovery walks all depending on where you decide to visit.

It’s great idea to become a member of the National Trust as you can make the most out of the variety of venues. As a member entry to National Trust and car parking is free – you will also receive a handy guide book for inspiration on where to go. For me a visit to National Trust is a school holiday must!

Canal Boat-

canal boatsI came up with the idea of hiring a canal boat when I heard rumbles about how much fun this was from a friend. Lucky we have a canal locally (Trent and Mersey) so this idea is pretty feasible- it might have been a little tricky otherwise.

Canal boats are available to hire from a day up to as long as two weeks. And although this activity is pretty expensive in comparison to others, it is something completely different which grandchildren will love.

If the option of hiring a canal boat seems a little too daunting then you could take the grandchildren for a walk along a canal instead. Ideally go to a canal locks so that they can see how the locks work and are operated- the children might even be able to get involved themselves. These sorts of trip are fascinating for children and will become fond memories.

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