Learn as You Play

Some of you will remember that back when Kieran (my now 9 yr old mini-teen) was small that I was introduced to Orchard Toys and had the opportunity to review a number of games and puzzles with him that he went on to spend hours enjoying.

Taylor is now 4 years old and already very familiar with Orchard Toys and now he too has the opportunity to review new and much-loved games and what not.

Recently we were sent these two fabulous releases, Robot Run and the Big Alphabet Jigsaw.

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What we’ve always loved about the Orchard Toys range is that they offer a vast number of ways in which your little ones may learn while enjoying themselves. Each of the games also explains what skills may be practiced and developed.

Taylor has been learning and practicing his letters recently before starting school in September so the Big Alphabet Puzzle is a bonus. He enjoys jigsaw puzzles as well as letters and numbers and so he’s put together the puzzle five times already. This puzzle comes with a full-sized (puzzle sized) coloured poster which may be used as a template to help young ones work out what goes where. Taylor used this once and asked for it to go on his bedroom wall before doing the puzzle hiimself.

Lots of letter and sounds talk in our house right now!

Robot run

Robot Run has been equally well received and has been played several times as part of Family Games Night and during the days. We always end up laughing with this one. Safe to say this game, brilliant for practicing turn-taking, matching, colours and more  has quickly become a firm favourite.

As with all Orchard Toys games and puzzles we adore the quality of the pieces and the child friendly packaging (it’s always easy for little ones to tidy up and fasten the box!). We’ve given many Orchard Toys games  as gifts in the past and no doubt will be doing so again when Taylor starts school!

All in all both of these get a big thumbs up from us!

Orchard Toys


*We were sent these two games free of charge and asked to post an honest review of our findings and have done just that. Orchard Toys have no editorial control over our reviews.

My Hydration Pledge


I need to drink more. No, I’m not talking about sneaking the odd gin and tonic in here and there, I’m talking about that free running stuff that comes out of the tap. We are very lucky that here in the UK we have access to fresh water wherever we go and it is free (ok, we pay water rates but that incorporates everything from the washing machine to the shower as well as drinking water).

Why Now?

Why am I making a pledge to increase my water intake now? Now is as good a time as any and to be honest I’m well aware of how lax I’ve been in the self-care stakes when it comes to drinking enough! I have definite health, weight and activity goals, I wear a fitness monitor bracelet thingy, I go to Weight Watchers and track my food and yet up until now I’ve made little real effort to boost my hydration. A lack of motivation and a smidge of laziness on my part if I’m being honest.

I’m choosing now because there is no good reason to wait.

Why is Hydration Important to Me?

Hydration should be important to all of us. Our bodies are made up primarily of water, our cells need water, our joints require it for lubrication, it helps regulate our temperature, delivers the nutrients we need to where we need them, helps to flush out the toxins and other rubbish our bodies build up and more.

Not meeting hydration targets and becoming dehydrated may cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, you wee less (and urine may be darker) and these are the least harmful side effects with severe hydration being incredibly serious. This guidance from the NHS shows that hydration really isn’t a joking matter.

I always make sure that the boys are properly hydrated because it is important and I figure that it’s time to apply the same standards to myself and my own health and well-being. If you’re looking for more reasons to hydrate and how to achieve it have a look at the Hydr8More website which has a fabulously informative blog as well as being home to a funky water bottle I’ve had my eye on for a while (two types, one for plain tap water which uses a special natural filter to soften water or a newer fruity version that you can use to infuse your water with fresh fruit flavour).

The Pledge 

I hereby pledge to increase my tap water intake (I’m not a fan of wasteful throwaway bottled water). I will track my progress and I will report back. Today (at the time of writing) is the first Monday of August 2015 and there’s no better time to start now.

Wish me luck.

Top Tips and Tricks

Do you have any top tips or clever ways to boost hydration when like me you tend to forget? I’m determined to make this change for the good of my health but any advice or clever motivation tips would be much appreciated!

Stay hydrated!



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