In and amongst our busy weekend , adventures and gallivanting, we still found time for some family time at home. On Saturday morning we had a lot of fun as we got to grips with a new game by Spy Code named “Operation: Escape Room”! We were sent it recently from Smyths Toy Store, and have had a lot of laughs and tense moments with it – it is ideal for some family fun and time together on these cold, wet days!

Escape rooms are all over right now, and are a fun thing to do (or so I hear). This game brings that experience to a child’s level and creates the thrill and problem solving vibe of an escape room, right here in to your living room! Within the box there are three challenges and each one is to be solved in order to retrieve the golden key. Once found the key takes you to the next puzzle and so on, until you get the final key, which if found in time, will stop the ticking “time bomb” (as named by Megs)! It was great to test our spy skills and problem-solving nerve with three  seemingly simple tasks (they were harder than they appear) and that are designed to make you work as a team.

Operation Escape Room is suitable for ages 6+ and both Ethan and Megan really got into it and understood exactly what they needed to do. It is a fast paced game and something you can play in just a short space of time which we really liked about it. Unlike the board games we have tried to play with in the past, where they seem to lose interest easily, this wasn’t at all like that at all- It was fast moving, fun and required some skill and problem solving skills too, which they were only too happy to demonstrate. They enjoyed the urgency of each task and the fact that they were “on a mission” to solve the problems, find the keys and free the family member that needed to escape! We played it a few times, taking turns on the tasks and they loved it every time.

How to play Operation Escape Room 

You begin by assembling the games/puzzles and then placing them around the room (the instructions are really easy to follow – as long as the kids aren’t nagging at you in the process!). After this you choose someone to wear the escape belt, and then you have to work together to free them! It requires you to collect three keys in challenges of skill, strategy and luck, before the time on the escape belt runs out.

We began with “The skill challenge” – this  tests your ability to navigate a maze. From here we went onto “The strategy challenge” which required that we complete mathematical puzzles, find patterns and solve problems to crack the code. This was by far the hardest part, and rather tense too! Finally, when we cracked the code and released the key, we moved onto “The luck challenge”, which is exactly that – luck. It leaves it all up to chance.

Completing each challenge earns one of the three keys you need to release your teammate and if found in time you can stop the timer and free them.

What we loved:

As I said we loved the fast pace and excitement that this game brought to our home. It was a lot of fun to play together and the kids were ever so giddy as they tried to get the keys! We liked how it tested their brains with puzzles, required team work and some level of energy, and we liked how it tested their motor skills too.

It’s great that the skill challenge offers players different levels of difficulty, enabling this game to grow with the kids and offer many many more moments of fun and spy missions!

What we didn’t like so much:

The only think I am not so keen about is that it is a little bit plasticy for me! This is obviously purely a personal thing, but I do worry it could easily get broken if the kids are too heavy handed in their state of urgency to free their sibling/parent/friend. It also requires batteries (2xAAA), so don’t forget these!

Operation: Escape Room is available now from Smyths Toy Store. It is £19.99 and also available for home delivery (how convenient). It would be a great gift for Christmas, a child’s birthday, or just for the fun of it on a rainy day, to keep the kids busy and having fun! It was a lot of fun and we look forward to sharing it with friends and cousins, and having many more family laughs with it too. There are so many ways to play and I think one evening I may even get them dressed up as spys, and bring out our imagination and role play skills as well as the teamwork and problem solving that this game requires.

Thank you Smyths / Spy Code for this new and fun addition to our family game cupboard!

*We were sent this game for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and pictures are our own. 

 

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Almost every weekend Megan asks us if we can go out to Wetherspoons for Breakfast. She loves eating out for breakfast and especially loves the sheer size of a brekkie she can get there (because its so cheap!).And so this Saturday, after they had both completely cleaned their rooms, we decided to reward them by taking them out for a big Breakfast at our local Wetherspoons.

It was a pretty nuts experience (as is usual with our nutty kids), and whilst they were mostly better behaved than they usually are when we eat out, it was still an exhausting experience that I wouldn’t want to repeat any time soon! Aside from that and a country walk following, this week has been rather casual and uneventful (but filled with some lovely ordinary moments that have made me smile)!

Grateful For

This week I am grateful for my children! Whilst we have these really nutty experiences where I wonder who these monkey’s are that I have birthed, we also have moments where I look at them all playing or being lovely and I am glad that I am a mother to such a lovely brood of kids! I am grateful they cleaned their rooms this week, that Ethan has taken to kissing me goodnight every evening (whilst asking me how I am), and I am grateful they have each other to play with, be friends with, and have ultimate sibling adventures with!

I am grateful for an overall lovely weekend with the 3 of them.

Succeeded At 

This week I succeeded at getting the kids to clean their rooms – they look so nice now and I haven’t stood on lego in 2 days (winning!).

Found Beauty In 

The most beautiful part of the week was out lovely countryside walk on Saturday afternoon! We took a short walk in the wolds, and with the sun shining, fresh air and clear views, it was most lovely! We are very fortunate to live in this part of the country and I love that these stunning (family friendly) country walks are so accessible to us whenever it takes our fancy!

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Since seeing “The Greatest Showman” a few weeks ago, my children have been slightly (insert very) obsessed with Circus’ and stunt people. They dance, attempt to do random stunts, and put on shows for us all of the time. Megan especially dreams of a life in the circus as a trapeze artist, and will often use this as the main reason she doesn’t need to go to school EVERY day! So, you can imagine the sheer excitement that ran through our home last week when we were invited to see The Paulos Circus in York on Saturday for a family afternoon of fun! Lets just say it was the ultimate dream for them, and a wonderful treat for us all.

We invited Grandma along with us as we thought she might enjoy it too, and all hopped in the car and headed to York with a picnic! It was easy to find, plenty of free parking, and thankfully traffic was minimal for a Saturday afternoon which was great. Once there, and after a short wait in line, we found some spare seats (its a free for all so get there early) which were nicely placed just on the second row back. The show was fantastic throughout, and we all had a laugh a minute as we sat there in the big top as spectators of the 2pm performance of “The Paulos Circus” and their #CreatingMemoriestour2018!

 Nothing beats the thrill of live entertainment, especially when it is something you are so passionate about, and involves a show that is filled with so much to see, and generally all round very talented individuals. They only have about 8 performers for the whole thing, which in itself is amazing. And together “The Paulos Circus” team put on an incredible 80 min show that is jam packed with ‘edge of your seat’ stunts, traditional circus tricks, catchy and well loved music, laugh out loud jokes and all round silly behaviour!

It opened on a complete high with stunts that took our breath away. And then, just when you become reasonably comfortable with what you are seeing, they would step up the shock factor and add in blindfolds to which you would here a subtle “nooooooooo” make its way across the audience! There were several moments (straight up and throughout) that had us torn between daring not to look, and needing to look at what they were about to do. It was such a fantastic opening (and all round performance) that had us captivated from the start.

Each of the stunts performed were amazing and we saw everything from “A Clown” (not in traditional clown attire), to a juggler… Trapeze…tightropes and knife throwing! We were completely wowed by the magic of the light show, and this was a truly spectacular part – it must have taken ages to coordinate! “Mr Laser” brought the mystery factor to the ring, and blew us all away as he moved and commanded the flow of light around us. I loved how though his performance he created the illusion of light being something more physical that you literally felt you could reach out and grab! Alice especially was fixated on this whole part, and loved it. It was something I suppose was extremely sensory for the younger members of the audience as well as being awesome for us all. (These pics don’t really do it justice)!

The show was great for the kids  – they loved the shock of the stunts and performers, the beauty of “the sparkly lady” on the Trapeze ring, and they laughed their socks off at the mimes, and antics of the lovable “Mr N”! They loved the experience of being in a circus tent as a spectator of live talent, and especially loved the fresh popcorn that grandma treated them to!

For us adults it was hilarious and breathtaking, and overall it had a good balance of being both exciting and a little silly. It was filled with laughter, amazement and just pure joy for all of the family, and from Alice at almost 2, up to Grandma who is a little older, we all very much loved it from start to finish and had a great Saturday afternoon as a family.

Circuses, I find are such a lovely thing to do as a family. They provide moments to laugh together, moments to be wowed together, and moments to be completely blown away together. I love that in places like this, we are all feeling the same emotions at the same time, and I love the excitement and adventure of being in a big top where extraordinary things occur! It makes lasting memories for all and is all such a fun and lovely family day out.

Isn’t it amazing what people do for jobs? It is inspiring (especially to our budding trapeze artist) to be in the presence of people with such wonderful talents, and it most certainly gets a thumbs up from us!

The Paulos Circus is touring Yorkshire right now, and For just £7 each, it is money well spent, and an absolute bargain for a family afternoon out! There is something for all ages (even little Alice loved it) and both kids and adults alike will have a jolly old time! It is currently at ROKO HEALTH CLUB, Stirling Road, York, YO30 4TU From Friday 6th of April until Sunday the 13th of May, and then I believe it will be coming to East Yorkshire! For all dates and times why not keep upto date by following them on Facebook or Twitter!

Please note there is knife throwing, and a scene with a plastic bottom… but thankfully not together!!!!

*Thanks so much to The Paulos Circus for inviting us along in return for a review. All thoughts and pictures are my own.
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Yesterday morning was a lush day when we took a lovely family walk along the cliff tops at Bempton on the East Yorkshire coast. I haven’t been up there for years, and whilst there was a rather nippy wind blowing, the skies were blue, the sun was shining, and the kids were in great spirits. It was a great moment to share together following a hectic week, just being chilled and having lovely chats!

Owned by the RSPB it is a lovely spot to see over the surrounds bays of Filey and Flamborough for miles, and catch a look at sea birds in their natural habitat. They are over 300 m high and on a clear day like yesterday it just feels like such an impressive spot to be looking way down to the waves below, out to sea, and generally around the coastline! I used to often go as a teen with my own family, and it was great to introduce this beauty spot to the kids!

Alice is our main bird lover in the family (though we all seem to love being in nature). “Bird” was one of the first baby signs she mastered, and uses it daily even now. She often will get mega excited when she spots them flying in the sky or walking in the streets, and then points before making the sign. If she is near them then she chases them whilst pausing for a fit of laughter at how funny they are to her!

I love seeing their interests and personalities develop, and whilst we all love the outdoors, I love that this is a moment especially for Alice – our little bird lover!

Because the kids love creatures, and we are all great lovers of the outdoors, this year it just made sense for us to join the RSPB and have some lovely walks and up close experiences with nature. I liked the idea of helping preserve these lovely habitats, and that the kids could get a monthly magazine to read about seasonal animals and bugs, and that together we could go on the hunt for more wildlife in our local area. I thought it would be especially lovely in the Summer for our days out, and a great thing for Alice and I to venture out to on school days too. Its a great way for them to grow in awareness of life cycles and things, as well as a respect for nature and wildlife.

I like to imagine these up coming ordinary moments, and perhaps her growing excitement to go see the birds and wander the cliff tops of Bempton together with a little picnic!

It feels a little strange to be doing with the kids all of the things I enjoyed in my younger days, but then I love it too because it means that in these ordinary moments of family cliff top walks, I can share memories and tales of the ordinary moments of my childhood!

There is a lot of joy and peace in watching the birds and staring out to sea on a sunny day, and doing that with our little faves made for such a beautiful and relaxed morning together. The kids loved running and exploring, looking at the beautiful views and spotting birds! We cant wait for Summer when we can spend more hours exploring the coast and beauties of RSPB spots around us locally and further afield. The kids are so excited to go spot some puffins and invest in some binoculars, and I look forward to more moments where we wander along chatting and enjoying the outdoors together on sunny Saturday’s (or even midweek!)!!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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