Bike Skills with Ridgeback Bikes

ridgeback bikes kids

Kids love to ride bikes don’t they? And for most children, it’s one of the first things we teach them as soon as they’re old enough! I remember with Teen, he was eager to learn to ride without his stablisers and so we ventured out to the park one weekend and he picked it up in no time!

But not all kids are this confident. My daughter, for example had no interest at all in riding a bike. She had one at a young age and would have a go with the stabilisers on but she could take it or leave it! She certainly didn’t want to be bothered learning to ride it without the stabilisers. This may have been a mixture of  lack of interest and nerves. But we didn’t push it. She would learn in her time. Which she did, but she’s never really taken to it and I wonder if that’s because we didn’t encourage her enough when she was little.

My twin boys are the same. Neither of them can ride without stabilisers and at 7 years old now, I really wanted them to learn! So when I received an invitation from Ridgeback Bikes to experience one of their Ridgeback Bikes Kids Club events, we were all overjoyed!

The event was being held at the wonderful Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London and it was a lovely sunny day, perfect for having fun on bikes! I must admit I was concerned that my boys’ might be considered ‘old’ for being non riders but the Ridgeback Bike team made them feel at ease immediately! They even had a kids cycling coach , Rob, on hand from The Bicycle Society who specialises in teaching bike skills to younger ones!

First of all we had the compulsory helmet and bike fitting which took place at Independent Bicycle retailers Pave Velo, who have just opened a brand new store opposite the Olympic Park.

ridgeback bikes kids cycling

A Ridgeback Bikes member advised us that my boys would need a 16″ bike according to their height, but for a non rider, he said it was much easier to learn to ride on a smaller bike where both feel are flat on the ground. Taking the pedals off too was a great tip… this turns the bike into a makeshift balance bike. Balancing is, after all, THE most important skill to master! Once the balancing has been mastered, the pedals can go back on then it should be relatively easy!

Once bike and helmet in place, we all headed across the road into the park!

ridgeback bikes bike riding learning kids

Rob from the Bicycle Society had organised some fun activities for the kids to do. There were different sets for different abilities. This was a great way to get the kids’ excited as well as familiarising them with their bikes!

kids bike riding cycling

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For me, it was wonderful to see my little H joining in. Both boys are incredibly shy but H rose to the challenge like a pro! The staff on hand were all so encouraging and supportive and Rob spent a little one to one time with him, determined to have him riding on his own by the end of the session!

And he did!

The secret to learning and learning fast, is all in the balancing and looking ahead! Once the peddles had been put back on his bike, H set off using his feet first… ESSENTIAL… then once the speed was up, on the peddles went his feet! Then he was off…

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I can’t tell you how amazing it was to see him riding on his own… I went to the event just hoping that the boys would have fun, never imagining that one of them would actually learn to ride in such a short amount of time. O had a little go on his own a bit later but his shyness overcame him. He did watch intently though, picking up all the hints and tips, so once we got home and he felt more relaxed, he could put them into practice!

Ridgeback Kids Club is the perfect place for kids to pick up those all important cycling life skills! Making it safe and enjoyable. Plus Ridgeback Bikes has been building bikes since 1983 for UK riders and has an unmatched reputation for innovation and quality. From high-performance flat bar and touring bikes to comfortable commuters and children’s bikes.

Why not join the Kids Club now to receive the latest news on Ridgeback products along with exclusive offers. And for those who have purchased a new Ridgeback bike, sign up and receive your FREE goodie bag worth over £25!

ridegeback bikes kids club

We had a great time today. I would recommend everyone joining up and taking part in the events because they are so much fun and it really does help build confidence and skill for kids! Sometimes when we try and teach our children to rise ourselves, there can be lots of frustrations and upset when they don’t get it, so having a third party involved can make that process easier!

Thank you Ridgeback Bikes for a great day!

You can check out the social hashtag #RidgebackKidsClub and follow on Twitter and Instagram using @ridgebackbikes

Lego Scooby Doo Blow Out Beach Bash Movie at Legoland

We were invited to Legoland Windsor last week to watch the new Warner Bros. Lego Scooby Doo Beach Blowout Movie in their super 4D on site cinema. The movie itself wasn’t in 4D, which I was so happy about as my twins don’t really like the 4D experience… it scares them. So Phew!

We haven’t been to Legoland for years and it was something we definitely wanted to do this summer, which made this invitation all the more special!

I took my twins, my daughter and my daughter’s friend along with me to help with the review ;) We arrived nice and early and after the obligatory Costa we headed round to the screening. All the kids were very excited about seeing the film… the boys more than the girls!

lego scooby doo

Lego Scooby Doo Movie

It was funny seeing the famous Mystery, Inc. gang as Lego! I always find it fascinating how Warner Bros gets this so spot on! They all looked brilliant! The film starts off with the friends heading off to the annual Blowout Beach Bash… a party that promises 3 fun-filled days of summer laughter and enjoyment! But of course, nothing goes THAT smoothly for our favourite gang and it’s not long before some Ghost Pirates roll up, threatening to ruin the good vibes! Scooby and his friends must foil these spooky swashbucklers and save the beach bash once and for all! Do you think they will succeed?

The film is really very good. It’s a brand new original Lego story, full of the usual wit that we have come to expect with all the Lego films! There was the whodoneit aspect that we love Scooby Doo for and of course the loveable Scooby himself!

My boys loved it and were completely engrossed the whole way through!

lego scooby doo movie

The Lego Scooby Doo Blow Out Beach Bash Movie is available now on DVD and on Digital Download. Take a look at the trailer…. it’s a perfect summer movie for the kids to watch over the holidays!

After the film we headed into the park to enjoy everything else Legoland had to offer! One of my twins’ favourite things was seeing all the amazing figures and scupltures that were made out of Lego! They’re not huge theme park fans… I let my daughter and her friend go off on their own with their fast track wrist bands to go on as  many rides as they could, which they did, but my boys gained more pleasure from the simpler side of Legoland. The basics.

There are loads of different areas in the park like the Ninjango World, Heartlake City where the Lego Friends live, there’s the Kingdom of the Pharaohs and Duplo Valley to name a few, but my twins absolutely loved the Imagination Centre where they could build things and explore! They even went on the Skyrider… a little car that travels along an aerial track. It’s slow and easy and gives great views over the park. This is a perfect ride for the very young guests or any child who is a little nervous!

We also ventured over to the Atlantis Submarine ride which was truly amazing! Even I loved this! You all get on and it lowers into water, taking you on a magical underwater adventure. There are lots of fish and even sharks to spot!

The ‘show’ at Legoland was another highlight! This one was The Pirates of Skeleton Bay and had some super stunts in! Like this one below… that tower was incredibly high! There was also fire and jet skis and plenty of action!

We did so much and it was great to spend some time with fellow bloggers Katy from Modern Mummy and Kate from Life Daily…. we did some rides together including The Heartlake City Express! Perfect for a group selfie ;)

Photo credit: Katy from Modern Mummy!

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There really is so much to see and do at Legoland, we didn’t manage to get everywhere and now it’s left us wanting so much more. The ideal would be to have an overnight stay in one of the themed onsite hotels which look so cool! Definitely something to look into for the future!

We had the best time! Exhausted when we got home but full of happiness! Thanks Warner bros and Legoland for a wonderful day!

twins legoland

It’s Vac-Man – A Review!

Everyone knows about Stretch Armstrong don’t they? That toy man who you could stretch out? He’s a bit retro as he was around when I was a kid… my brother had one in the late 70’s and into early 80’s! But Stretch has made a comeback in recent years for this generation to enjoy! He has proved incredibly popular and so the makers, Character, have added new toys to the range including Stretch Armstrong’s arch nemesis Vac-Man!

new vac man

All the toys have been given a facelift and update for the 21st Century, but they are still the nostalgic toys that everyone knows and loves.

My twin boys were so excited to have Vac-Man delivered to us for a review! We have Stretch Armstrong already who they enjoy playing with so they couldn’t wait to see what Vac-man was like! Even though he has lots of similarities to Stretch in terms of size and the ability to be pulled and stretched to 4 times his original size…….

vac man toy

…. he FEELS very different! Instead of having a soft goey feel to his body like Stretch, he has a knobbly feel with tiny little round pieces inside, but he is still soft! Until you take the air out of him! And that’s the special feature of Vac-Man (hence the name!)….. he comes with a vacuum which you attach to a socket on his head. This enables all the air to be sucked out of him, causing him to go almost rigid!

vac man toy

You can then move him into different positions, as though he has poseable limbs! Also if you stretch him out and then vacuum out the air, he won’t bounce back as soon as you let go of him, like Stretch Armstrong. Vac-Man will stay stretched!

My boys had fun seeing how far he would stretch!

vac man toys

Pump out the air and pull him into any pose you can think of, then simply release the valve and watch him return to his normal state. This was hilarious to my kids, they had Vac-Man posing in all kids of positions!

All of my kids have enjoyed messing around with him…. and being quite a heavy toy, my older Teen even got involved as he is much stronger and could stretch and pose Vac-Man into even more weird and daft poses… much to the younger ones delight!

There are a few more Stretch toys in the range and my boys definitely want to collect them all… including Octopus and Fetch!

Vac-Man retails at around £29.99 from all good toy retailers and is aimed at kids from 5+… why not check him out, as well as the other toys in the range at Character Online.

How Much Effort Should You Put into Finding a School for Your Child?

When you’re looking for a suitable school for your child, it’s crucial to put a lot of effort into this exercise. This is the place that will often determine how successful your child becomes in later years. Below are some of the things you can do to find the best school for your child’s requirements.

Carry Out Some Online Research

The internet and the latest mobile technologies have made it much easier for modern parents to research schools and to find out more about them. All of the leading schools in the UK have an online presence and provide a lot of information about the school itself, its history, its facilities, and much more.

For example, if you are thinking about sending your child to a private school in Essex, Colchester High School has a professional website that includes the information you need to know about this particular school. Having a comprehensive online presence like this is a clear indication that a school is serious about the way it deals with parents and students.

Find Out About the Schools Reputation from Parents

Carrying out some online research is a great starting point, but you should delve a bit deeper and find out more about a particular school from people who have already had experience with that school.

You can do this by talking to parents of current pupils and past pupils of the school. These people will tell you about the good points and divulge what the bad points are. Based on this information, you can make a much more informed decision about whether or not to send your child to a certain school.

Talk to Teachers and the School Principal

The people who work in a school you are researching are another important group of individuals you should approach and question thoroughly until you get the answers you want. The principal of the school and its teachers should be able to answer your questions and address your concerns, in person or via email or telephone. If this does not happen or you’re not satisfied with their responses, it may be time to look at another school for your son or daughter.

Don’t Settle for the First School You Research

Don’t be too hasty when choosing a school for your child. Most parents have a wide range of options, so you should never settle for the first school you research. By visiting a number of different schools, you will be able to determine what the advantages and disadvantages of each school are and make a more informed decision about which school is the best environment for your child.

The more effort you put into finding an appropriate school, the more likely it is that you will find the perfect school for your child. This effort may take some time, but it will ensure that your child is happier and performs better in the school you eventually select for them.

The Wind in the Willows – Opening Night in the West End

We were incredibly lucky recently to have bagged an invite to a very exciting event…. it was the opening night of a brand new West End Musical… The Wind in the Willows!

I decided to take my daughter along and we’d been looking forward to it ever since we’d been invited… it was going to be a late finish so I didn’t take my twins along as I was worried about bedtime with school the next day… but after watching it I REALLY wish I’d taken them because it was absolutely brilliant!

We loved it so much and I know my boys would’ve loved it too! But maybe it’s a blessing because this means I will have to go and see it again sometime very soon ;)

When we arrived at The London Palladium, even though I knew it was opening night, I had no idea it was going to be a full on red carpet event! There had been previews all week so I thought maybe all the press would’ve already been… but no.. they were totally out in force! There was a sea of photographers and film crews at one end, with a red carpet walkway at the other where one celebrity after another were stepping out of flash cars, dressed to impress and posing for photo’s! It was all very exciting!

Here’s a video taken from The Wind in the Willows website giving an insight into the magnitude of the event, plus a little glimpse at some of the action from the show….

I have to admit to being a little star struck, especially when we saw the writer of the show, Julian Fellowes, who created and wrote the whole Downton Abbey sensation! He was literally standing in front of me at one point. I would’ve loved a ‘selfie’ with him, along with each and every one of the guests, but luckily I had my very sensible daughter with me to reign me in a bit!

In the row directly behind us in the auditorium was actor Kevin Kennedy, who played Curly Watts in Coronation Street back in the day! He was with his wife and daughters and they were all super lovely, chatting to us before the show started. I’d wanted to buy some chocolate for my daughter but the kiosk had closed, so Kevin offered up some of the chocolate his kids had. So generous and sweet!

It was a full house by the time the show was about to start and we absolutely couldn’t wait!

the wind in the willows

Right from the start you warm to the characters. We are first introduced to Mole (Craig Mather) and Ratty (Simon Lipkin) who have a very cute friendship. Mole wants to go off and explore the forest but he is rather naive so Ratty reluctantly offers to go with him! Then we meet Mrs Otter, played by the wonderful Denise Welsh, who is always looking for her wayward daughter! Denise keeps her lovely North East twang for this role and she was definitely one of the standout performers for me! Toad (Rufus Hound) explodes into the stage in true Toad’s extravagant fashion… I think he was everyone’s favourite.. funny, larger than life and colourful. Gary Wilmot as Badger was wonderful… he is a musical theatre legend! But I have to admit to being completely drawn into the character of baddie Chief Weasel played by the brilliant Neil McDermott…. I couldn’t take my eyes off him! His portrayal was flawless…. sneaky and naughty… his facial expressions, singing and dancing were absolutely on point! Loved him!

the wind in the willows london palladium

The Wind in the Willows is a riotous comedy which follows the impulsive Mr Toad whose insatiable need for speed lands him in serious trouble. With his beloved home under threat from the notorious Chief Weasel and his gang of sinister Wild Wooders, Toad must attempt a daring escape leading to a series of misadventures and a heroic battle to recapture Toad Hall.

Featuring eye-poppingly beautiful design, exuberant choreography and a gloriously British score, The Wind in the Willows brings an explosion of anarchy, humour and heart to the famous London Palladium!

the wind in the willows musical

the wind in the willows london palladium

the wind in the willows

The Wind in the Willows is only running for a short time so please make sure you catch it over the summer. It’s a perfect show for families and children will absolutely love it!

To find out more visit the website for tickets!

 

The Lego Batman DVD & Toys Launch Party

A little while ago we headed into London early on a Saturday morning for a very special event! My kids like a lie in at the weekend so if they say they’re up for getting up early, then it must be for something REALLY good!

The Oxo Tower on the South Bank was the exact location…. the weather was beautiful and no matter how many times we’ve hung out on the South Bank, we still love to just admire the views!

South Bank London

The launch party was with non other than Warner Bros. and Lego, to celebrate the release of the Lego Batman moDVD. We saw the Lego Batman Movie at the cinema and absolutely loved it, it’s absolutely brilliant. So this was very exciting! We also got a sneaky peak at the brand new Lego Batman toys to accompany the release!

There are big toys and figures, as well as amazing new costumes!

lego batman toys

The Lego Batman building sets are just stunning, as you would expect! Some were all laid out on a table and my twins were admiring them closely! Some of their favourites being…

The Two Face Double Demolition set…

lego batman movie toys

lego batman toys

The Batwing….

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And the Ultimate Batmobile….

There was lots of fun to be had at the launch party. Games, dressing up and meeting some characters from the movie! Hook a duck proved fun AND productive…. my kids won lots of Lego goodies which meant of course they wanted to go back for more…..

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Rubbing shoulders with Batman and Batgirl…..

And enjoying lots of yummy food, including ice cream!

We had a great morning, the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were very lucky to receive a goodie bag upon leaving which included some more Lego Batman sets AND the DVD! Awesome!

Thank you so much Warner Bros and Lego :)

Win a 3 Months Subscription to Smartick

Maths is one of those subjects that just doesn’t come easy to some kids. It can be challenging and can really knock a child’s confidence when they continually ‘don’t get it’. If we’re not careful, as parents and teachers, and help our children as much as we can, they could slip into that downward spiral of assuming they’re simply not good at maths and therefore not try. We need to encourage them to believe that they CAN do it, even if they have to practice that little bit more.

I recently read some research that found ALL children can succeed at Maths… but they all learn in different ways and these differences need tapping into. There’s far too much emphasis on speed and calculation, whereas some children have deeper thought processes which too much testing and a lack of that personal feel can make maths become lifeless and boring. But with a bit of creativity, children can be much more engaged.

That’s why we are loving the Smartick Method which we have been using at home for the past few months. Read my previous post about how my young 7 year old son was struggling and how I thought Smartick was helping. It’s a great resource for kids maths, unlike anything else out there, and I can honestly say it’s really boosted my son’s confidence in his abilities.

smartick method maths kids education

Here at Mummy Endeavours. I’m giving away a three month subscription to Smartick so you can try it at home with your child…. I absolutely know he/she will enjoy it and reap the rewards at school!

To enter, please fill in the Gleam widget below…..

Mummy Endeavours – Win 3 Months Subscription to Smartick

 

Best of luck.

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