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When I was growing up we didn’t have home computers, tablets or apps to help with our learning however that was a different time. These days IT is at the epicentre of the majority of career choices in one way or another and ITC related subjects are enthusiastically and thoroughly explored as part of the national curriculum.

Having access to the internet is a real advantage for many children and having had the opportunity to review Reading Eggs with Kieran I am convinced that in a way the children of today have a great number of advantages when it comes to learning that we didn’t.

Reading Eggs is a website which offers fun and learning-focused levels dependant on age and ability.

reading eggs

Click to enlarge

Kieran chose to review the Reading Eggspress section, already being a keen and skilled reader. Needless to say he was impressed!

Testing out Reading Eggs

At this level the site offers a wide range of themed games and activities, as well as online books to read, all of which build on existing skills and confidence in all aspects of literacy from a love of reading to spelling and more.

The way the site works is that users may collect golden eggs etc for achievements made on the site and these may be swapped for clothes for their avatar and more. For anyone who knows anything about Club Penguin, it works in much the same way apart from the games and activities are far more focused on learning.

A spelling game in progress.... choose which of the worlds are incorrectly written and correct them for bonus points!

A spelling game in progress…. choose which of the worlds are incorrectly written and correct them for bonus points!

While I am keen for Kieran to be out and about, enjoying the fresh air and climbing trees, using the PC is a part of his leisure time and I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to review Reading Eggs with him as he now has a place online that merges fun with learning.

My rating as a parent: 5* – a fun and educational website which is easy to navigate and promotes a love of reading and a wide range of skills. As confidence and ability grows your child may move up through the levels to find more challenges games and activities. I also appreciated the feature which enables users to read stories online and then leave a review.

Kieran’s Rating: Ten out of ten! I loved playing the games and when I go on next time I want to beat my score in the Spelling Sprint and go up a level to get more golden eggs. I’ve enjoyed playing on the site so much that I even chose it over Minecraft one day!

We were given an extended free trail in order to review this site and after this runs out we will be subscribing (full subscription information is available on the website). For my readers wanting to try the site out themselves I have been given a code which will give you a four week free trail as opposed to the standard 2 weeks. Just add UKB26RET when registering.

I’m a big fan and would love to hear what other parents and children have to say about it so do leave a comment if you choose to give it a go.

 


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 There has been a lot of buzz in the press about large corporations taking more than their fair share of the retail market and smaller enterprises and more local, as opposed to national companies feeling the squeeze. This trend is in part caused by the way in which we, as consumers, choose to spend our money.

I am the first one to put my hand up and say that I am guilty of shopping online at big recognised stores purely because it is quicker, easier and one would assume (not always correctly) cheaper. What I really want to do is source my gifts, household items and more from local retailers however to be honest I’m not sure I have the time or the energy to do this when with just a few clicks elsewhere and what I want comes from wherever it comes from.

Made Closer is the brain-child of John Palaguta-Iles who, like many of us wanted to shop locally when buying items for a new house. John found the time it took to source such items excessive and this spawned an idea which could potentially revolutionise the way we shop. Sensing a gap in the market for those want to support the local economy, to buy items which have a significantly lower carbon footprint having not been shipped from thousands of miles away and to help support the UK job market John launched MadeCloser.

Made Closer enables shoppers to search for and buy a wide range of items from electronics to gifts and toys within the UK or even with the region they live in. Giving the site a bit of a road test I was surprised by how easy it was to use. Entering my postcode and then browsing the items merchants have on offer allowed me to see clearly where they would come from.

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I could easily see as I browsed which items were very local to me (within 50 miles) and where everything else came from without scrolling through pages of information or even having to contact individual sellers.

This is the convenient way to enjoy guilt-free shopping. The range of items available is wide and growing weekly which is why I have bookmarked MadeCloser and will check it first when shopping before automatically visiting one of the larger and faceless international brands. Clearly John Palaguta-Iles has his finger on the button as not only does he care about boosting the local economy; he understands the pressures on the consumer when it comes to simply not having time to shop around ourselves. MadeCloser offers a real, practical and progressive option for changing your shopping habits in future and I for one am pleased to see it.

If you want to know more about John’s vision and the ideals behind MadeCloser this article may well be of interest. Do have a look at the website and keep in touch via either Facebook or Twitter as mark my works, MadeCloser is going places!

Just one example of the many fabulous products local merchants offer on MadeCloser. This lovely starfish pendant is both affordable and clearly marked as being sourced from Cornwall.

 

*This post has been written in association with MadeCloser and yet  remains true to my own thoughts, feeling and experiences

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