Grandparent forum Gransnet celebrates one year online

May 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A little over a year ago I read about a new website called Gransnet– an online forum for grandparents to discuss all sorts of issues. Interested in broadening my internet ‘favourites’ I checked out the website and was delighted with what was on offer.

gransnet 2012

Designed with internet savvy grandparents in mind Gransnet is the perfect place to find other likeminded grandparents who are online. Most importantly Gransnet is easy to use and has a discussion forum for everything- what’s happening in the news, recipes, books, films, general chit chat. Plus it hosts weekly competitions and features special guests who pop in for forums, blog posts and Q&A sessions.

Having recently joined up with aging charity Age UK to encourage more people to get online Gransnet is today celebrating one fantastic year online. Why not celebrate by joining in the Gransnet fun…

National Trust 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾

April 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Growing up I spent most of my time enjoying the outdoors and this is the case for most people who are my age. We’d climb trees, play conkers and go exploring all in time to be home before it got dark. It was a great way to grow up because I always knew that there was something outside to keep me and my friends entertained.

Now it’s a rarity to see children exploring the great outdoors and I don’t know if this is because parents feel that their children might be at greater risk of getting hurt or lost or because youngsters would prefer to watch the television, search the web or play on computer games.

50 things to do before you are 11 34 national trust

National Trust hopes to encourage children to enjoy the outdoors

The trust is that experiencing the outdoors when I was a child helped sculpt who I am today. I have a great fondness for animals and I believe that this is because I grew up searching for different bugs and catching butterflies. So I’m delighted to hear that National Trust has today released a list of ’50 things you should do before you are 11 ¾’.

The list includes activities which us grandparents enjoyed hugely as children; climbing trees, making mud pies, building dens, sledging and burying friends in the sand something which I used to do on every family holiday.

In an attempt to show how exciting exploring the outdoors can be the National Trust have enlisted five ‘Super Rangers’ who are all experts in their fields- a treasure hunter, bug catcher and champion stone skimmer- to teach children who visit National Trust sites how to make the best of their surrounds.

Brilliantly the National Trust has acknowledged that children won’t forget all about the technology which they enjoy so much. So they’ve created a website which children can sign up to (with parental approval) and register each of the tasks which they complete. With each completed task children receive online badges, bonus games and surprises from the National Trust which is a great incentive to get kids playing outside.

As grandparents I think that the ‘50 things to do before you are 11 ¾’ campaign is the perfect chance to champion the great outdoors because we can share all of our wonderful childhood experiences and maybe even help our grandchildren complete some of the 50 tasks too.

The campaign doesn’t officially kick off until 21st April which might be worth bearing in mind but view the list online now. Who knows it might bring back some great childhood memories.

Age UK join forces with Gransnet

April 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Since starting my blog I’ve become a regular visitor of Age UK’s website because it is packed with handy information, I’ve even taken part in several of their campaigns including the annual Spread the Warmth crusade and The Big Knit.

Now Age UK has teamed up with Gransnet, a social networking site directed specifically at grandparents, together they are hosting online forums which allow users to interact with other people who are a similar age and have similar lifestyles.

Gransnet Age UK online forum

Age UK recently joined Gransnet to host online forums

The forums covers all sorts of subject areas from hobbies to family and friends, TV and film recommendations to more serious topics like healthcare and politics- there really is something for everyone.

The partnership is set to be extremely successful as both Age UK and Gransnet have loyal followings that will get a lot from each other. Plus both organisations behold the same mission of ensuring a happy and healthy life for older people.

Join the discussions with Age UK and Gransnet here.

Top Tips for September

September 5, 2011 at 11:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I can hardly believe that it’s September already. I think it’s safe to say that this year really is flying on by. I thought it would be a nice idea to come up with some ‘September Tips’ to help guide you out of summer and into autumn.

Back to school- September offers huge relief for parents and grandparents as the children are back at school. After six weeks of finding ways to keep youngsters entertained September is the perfect chance to make some time for yourself.

back to school photoFor some, however, the sudden lack of company can leave you feeling a little lonely. I’d recommend doing something with friends and neighbours to fill your time and don’t forget that grandchildren can always come around after school.

Think autumn- Sadly summer is behind us which makes September the perfect opportunity to start thinking about preparing for those colder autumn months which will be right around the corner. My advice would be to write a list of things which you need to do in preparation including;

  • Check all of your heating applications are working correctly.
  • Call in the handy man to get any small maintenance jobs around the house sorted out. This will save you worrying about them later on in the year.
  • Restock the pantry with essentials that might come in handy when it’s too chilly to walk to the convenience shop.
  • Alternatively, make a batch full of delicious home-made food which can be frozen (I like curries, cottage pies, lasagne, soups and stew).  These homely meals are all perfect for a comfy evening at home.

Become self-sufficient- Take the chance to become more self-sufficient in September. My daughter Lucy recently brought chickens, which is a great way to source delicious free range eggs.

self sufficientDon’t be put off by thinking that you need acres and acres to raise chickens. You simply need a decent sized area which they can enjoy and lots of love care and attention. By also growing delicious vegetables, herbs and flowers being more self-sufficient can be extremely rewarding.

Think ahead- It might sound a little scary but September is possibly the perfect time to start seriously thinking about Christmas. I know lots of us say we’re preparing much earlier in the year but sometimes it’s easier said than done. My advice to save money would be to actually start purchasing bargains now, which takes off lots of pressure in November/December.

Have a great month… Annette.

School holiday activities with Grandchildren- Staying at home

July 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Staying at home during school holidays can sometimes be greeted with grumbles from children who want to get out and about. However, a day at home can be as much fun, and is generally a much more affordable way to keep children entertained.

So today I’m sharing my top tips on what to do when you decide on having a day at home with your grandchildren. I try to keep these activities for raining days or when going out and about seems a little grim.  Hope you enjoy!

Staying at home:

Cooking & baking-

A traditional holiday treat for me was baking delicious cakes. Lucky for us it’s still guaranteed to be enjoyed by all children. I like to bake cupcakes and let the children decorate theirs with quirky decorations. It’s a really exciting way to spend an afternoon, sat waiting for the oven to ping decorating to begin!

Once you’ve baked enough cakes why not try making your own pizzas. This is really, really great fun especially for children who are a little older. Make your own dough or if easier buy pizza bases from a supermarket. Get creative by adding a mixture of all your favourite toppings!

school holiday activities staying at home


Holding a craft day is good fun with grandchildren and for me extremely worthwhile. I enjoy patchwork quilting and give my quilts to family and friends as special gifts. So teaching my grandchildren all about patchwork quilting is really rewarding as a grandparent, as we can spend time doing something enjoyable together.

There are lots of different crafts, something which everyone will enjoy- do some research on the internet for inspiration if you like. I think it’s a good idea to keep a crafts box in the house for any unexpected visits so I stock up on creative bits and bobs when possible.

summer holidays crafts and blogging

Scrapbook/Photo blog

Making a scrapbook is a great way to document school holidays. Add photos, entry tickets, posters and leaflets from anywhere you have visited during the break. Decorate with glitter, paints, chalks and anything else from your craft box. Scrapbooks are great fun to make and even better to look back on in a few years’ time.

Alternatively, you could create a school holiday blog to document your fun days out, baking, crafts making etc… Get the children to write a little piece about their favourite part of the day/week and add photos and links accordingly.  This might be a little ambiguous for smaller children but having a digital copy is a good option if you want to share it with other family member and friends.

School holiday activities with Grandchildren- Outdoor days

July 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Getting out of the house and spending time outdoors is a really great way to keep children (and grandparents) active over the summer holidays.

The options of outdoor activities are pretty much endless and best of all most outdoor activities are usually free or cost very little. Here is a selection of my favourite things to do outdoors with my grandchildren;

Early morning bird watching

This is something which I did as a child and absolutely adored. Although getting little ones up at the crack of dawn might be a challenge the rewards are fantastic. Wake up early and head to a local park. Simply get the children to listen out for birds (extremely relaxing and tranquil in the early morning). If they are lucky enough to see one try and take a photo or jot down what it looked like. Count all the birds up and look them up in a bird book or online when you get home!

See The RSPB for more information about bird watching.

Bike Riding-

All children love going bike riding especially in the summer time. Try and go somewhere a little different than usual and take a picnic so that you can stop half way around for a lovely lunchoutdoor activities for grandparents and grandchildren

Fruit Picking

For a great summertime activity, take your grandchildren to a local fruit farm, where they can pick beautiful berries all afternoon- most farms will give you a basket to fill. The most exciting part of the process is taking your delicious fruit pickings home. Why not make your own summer dessert and let the children get involved too!

To find out where a Pick Your Own farm is locally search ‘pick your own farm along with your town/city/region’ in Google.

Visit a park

A classic day out that all children enjoy is a trip to the park. It doesn’t cost a penny and on a sunny day is the perfect place to spend the whole day.

Take a blanket, some nibbles and a good book so you can relax whilst the children enjoying the climbing frame. Most parks have a pond so I like to take some bread and feed the ducks- it might sound pretty simple but children really do love a simple day out with their grandparents.

School holiday activities with Grandchildren- Fun days out!

July 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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School holidays are right around the corner, which might be a frightening thought for parents. However, for grandparents school holidays are a great chance to spend time with grandchildren.

Next week is really exciting for me as my Grandson Sam is visiting from Italy whilst on summer break. Making sure we spend quality time together and have a great fun is really important. So I’ve come up with some great ways to spend time with your grandchildren over the holidays.

Alton Towers logoFun day’s out-

Theme Parks- Treating grandchildren to a day out can be great fun. Lucky for us one of Britain’s best theme parks, Alton Towers is located locally. However there are lots of different theme parks across the UK aimed at all different ages from Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventure and Lego Land. These days out can be quite expensive so look out for offers and discounts to make your day more affordable.

monekey forestWildlife centres- Wildlife centres are always a hit with children. Chester Zoo has always been a favourite amongst the family for years- perfect if you’re looking for a fully day out. Otherwise Trentham’s monkey forest is great for an afternoon trip. Enjoy a stroll around the forest while the monkeys wander around freely. A superb trip and great way to introduce children to animals.

Cinema trip- Every grandparent will know how much children love a trip to the cinema.  This week the final instalment of Harry Potter is released offering the perfect chance to catch a film. 3D films are also a great choice when going to the cinema with children- even if you do look a little funny in the glasses.

I’d recommend doing a little research into your local cinema to see different offers. I know that many local cinemas offer a selection of deals or promotional offers which are generally only available on specifics days or times. These offers are great when taking children out as they provide for a little extra spending money on the pick and mix stand.

visiting monkey forestThroughout the week I’ll be coming up with more activities for summer holidays including family days out, fun in the outdoors and ways to entertain grandchildren at home.

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