old trampoline

When we moved into our current home we inherited a trampoline from the previous owners. It was barely used and I have no idea why they left it behind but after a quick bounce from Dad and a thorough check we decided to hang on to it. Great decision because the girls have used it so much! It’s a perfect excuse to get them out of the house all year round and from tiny bounces they have evolved into ‘bum drops’ scissor jumps, star jumps, and 360s.

I am amazed at how long it has lasted. We have had to replace various parts over the years like the padding that goes around the bottom and the net too, but it was a photo I took earlier this year and posted on Facebook which drew some comments in from our friends.

Deathtrap!

I think that was the one that really opened my eyes and made me start searching ‘parts for trampolines ‘ online.

The photo was of the children bouncing away merrily with no safety net. The net had deteriorated over the winter and I hadn’t got around to replacing it. Plus every time I made a mental note to do so, it would immediately be covered by another trillion mental notes.

Deathtrap!

It might seem a bit harsh but all it takes is a nasty landing and you could potentially be looking at life changing injuries and even fatality.

parts for trampolines

As my trampoline is an odd size and shape (just different to the standard size) I couldn’t find the right net for the right amount of poles, all of my regular searches showed plenty of items but none that fitted our trampoline.

Would I have to throw it away? Where does one start with disposing of an old trampoline? the thought of dismantling it is enough to make me want to sit down and open a bottle of gin!

Time to get my finger out, I sat down in front of an empty browser began my search – parts for trampolines.

People of the internet, I came up trumps!

I found the perfect net and springs too as all of ours were rusty. I was able to order online and the products arrived swiftly plus, they were easy to assemble thank lawd! No swearing from Dad.

parts for trampolines

Top tips for looking after a trampoline

Keep it clean – That might sound odd but dirt and debris left on the mat can eventually damage it or get caught in the springs. To clean it all you need is a bucket of soapy water and a soft brush, if you’re clever you could even convince the kids to do it for you. Surely it would be fun? Make sure they also check for spider webs, bugs, insects and build up of leaves and dirt. If you store your trampoline in the winter, make sure it is completely dry before packing away.

Placement – I discovered this one on my searches. A well placed trampoline can extend the life for years. Look for a shady spot but make sure there are no overhanging branches or other objects nearby that avid jumpers might bang into! Plus, if it’s directly under a tree, that’s going to be a lot of leaves to clean throughout the year! Do we have to say – don’t place it near the barbecue or the fire pit? Possibly yes, let’s cover all bases.

If you are going to place it next to your fence, make sure it’s not by your neighbour’s fire area as embers caught in the wind can travel and land on your rubber mat singing burn holes into it.

parts for trampolines

Parts for trampolines

Are all of the springs connected? Are they damaged?

Are there any holes in the net?

Are any of the poles broken or bent?

Is the netting ripped?

Is the trampoline standing on a flat surface?

Look out for wear and tear on the mat or any sagging or tension issues. Excessive stretching of or damage to the springs.

Is the mat excessively stretched? Is it frayed, ripped or has the stitching come undone?

Check the frame connections. Is it bent? Are the welds broken?

parts for trampolines

Weatherproof your trampoline

Look for a rust resistant frame and a rugged mat. If you have bad winters remove the mat, leaving the frame where it is. The springs can be stored in a box and oiled before reusing. If you can’t store away, turn the frame on its side to prevent leaves or snow collecting on the mat and weakening it. Just make sure there is nothing sharp close by that could rip the mat.

A weakened mat won’t hold a jumper and they could find themselves jumping straight through! So keep an eye out for any accumulation during the winter months and remove it as and when. If it’s snow – it’s the perfect spot for making snowballs, just don’t tell the kids ;)

You can also invest in trampoline covers which protect the mats from frost and make the cleaning of debris easier.

If you have high winds you’ll need to think carefully about the trampoline, we found ours shunted and bent one year after a strong storm. You could look at getting an anchor kit if you didn’t want to dismantle it. over the windiest months. Trampolines have been known to travel quite far, next door’s garden, onto a parked car …

Rules for the trampoline!

To keep your trampoline in the very best shape there are a few rules to put in place that EVERYONE has to adhere to, no excuses for anyone.

No shoes

Only one jumper at a time – we need to be more rigid on this rule.

No climbing up the safety net.

 

Above all have fun! Look after your trampoline and you’ll have years of bouncy fun!

giant pass the pigs

I am organising a family barbecue soon; my daughter is coming over from Italy with her family, my grandmother is going to be 97 and it’s the perfect excuse to get everyone together and enjoy some family time. On family days like this we often play a few games and this year, I have a brand new game up my sleeve which I think is going to be an enormous hit…

Giant Pass The Pigs

Let me tell you more.

Paul introduced the game to me during our first Christmas together and I have been thrashing him playing the game ever since. It’s a really simple and fun idea; you hold two plastic pigs in your hands, shake and drop on the table. The two pigs can land in many different ways, razorback, trotter, snouter, even a leaning jowler and if both pigs land in the same position it’s likely to double your points! Take a look at the scores below for an idea.

Pass the pigs points

This version is perfect for playing at home, pulling out after a meal one evening. Christmas and family get togethers are always a great occasion to play and being in a handy case, they are great for taking on holiday too.

Back to the Giant Pass The Pigs, they are really cool, they are easy and quick to blow up – the twins did ours! They also have a string bag to keep them in once deflated along with the score pad, pencils and other bits and pieces that you need for the game.

We had our first game one weekend whilst staying at our caravan in Thanet, it was a really fun moment playing in the garden. Although Bessie’s face might not say it – I think she was concentrating on a win ;)

playing giant pass the pigs

 

This game can be played anywhere, indoors and outdoors, it’s easy enough to take to the park, beach or even on holiday as it packs away neatly and is quick to assemble. Like I said, it’s a family favourite.

Just look at them … they’re adorable, aren’t they?

Treat yourself to some family fun!

giant pass the pigs

Disclosure: Pass the Pigs and it is suitable for all ages, the younger players might need some help adding up the scores but that’s it. We were set a set of each game for the purpose of this review.

Summer Activities for kids and families

Okay, so we are on week 3 of the summer holidays, hands up if you have already heard ‘I’m bored!’ in that whining sound that grates every parent’s nerves.

Kids of today eh? There’s just no pleasing them. They are tired and fed up when it’s school time and they are bored at home with all the free time they could wish for! Mind you, if I look back to when I was a child, I said the same. My guess is some things will never change and this is one of them.

Sun-Pat Fuelling Families downloadable guide

SunPat fuelling families guide

Click to download a guide with 42 activities to keep busy this summer.

sun-pat football

I have come to the conclusion that with just a little thought and minimal planning you can actually keep them occupied and know that they’ll have loads of fun too. Sun-Pat have known this for a long time too and decided to come to all parent’s rescue this summer. They have put together an excellent sports kit held in a strong and handy holdall containing a football (which dad says is a very good one), a cricket set and a skipping rope.

With just these few items (which Sun-Pat sent us to review), we had an entire afternoon of fun and guess who was best at the skipping challenge? #JustSayin

Sun-Pat are convinced that all kids need to get outdoors is a little inspiration and some good company and on that note, they are giving away 420 special sports kits this summer and you can easily get one too.

In the photos, you can see us playing with our kit at the caravan but we shall be taking it to the beach and to parks, it’s such a handy bag with a carrying handle too. With the equipment included, you don’t have to stick to the traditional games but you can create your own like obstacle courses, or bouncing the ball as many times as you can, dribbling the ball around obstacles laid out and skipping forwards, backwards all sorts!

Summer Activities for kids and families

Research discovered that 85% of kids wish they spent more time outside over the summer so now they have no excuse. A bag full of goodies and the local park (plus a few peanut butter sandwiches for a half time snack) is all you need for an afternoon of fun.

Get your Sun-Pat summer sports kit

It’s very simple, just head over to the Sun-Pat Fuelling Families giveaway and click enter, with 10 being given away every day your chances of winning are high or, visit Sun-Pat on Facebook to enter.

Sun-Pat Peanut Butter is a perfect natural source of protein and fibre and helps maintain energy levels, and the guide also includes recipes for simple and delicious snacks to fuel your whole family this summer.

Disclaimer: Post in collaboration with Sun-Pat Peanut Butter

Boss baby review

You can tell it’s the summer holidays as the weather has turned! Typical isn’t it, months of glorious sunshine and hot sunny days and now the kids are home it gets cold and starts to rain.

No fear here guys, we were sent a copy of The Boss Baby DVD to review and it’s perfect family viewing. This is just what you need to pull out of the bag on a bad day (or even a good one for that matter!)

The Boss Baby Review

Boss-Baby-Maze

Well, it’s a comedy. It’s about the new arrival of a baby in the home and Tim Templeton, the older brother who is now 7 and should be in charge, starts to lose his temper when the new baby brother – who wears a suit and carries a briefcase – starts making it very clear he is in charge.

Tim goes on to discover his baby brother is on a secret mission and ends up teaming up with him. together they go on an awesome adventure that might change the world…

Who’s in it?

The baby is Alec Baldwin and other famous voices you are likely to hear are from Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Miles Bakshi and Tobey Maguire.

If you are interested, keep your eyes peeled for the THE BOSS BABY SPECIAL EDITION out on Blu-ray™ and DVD on July 31 which includes some great special features like the new Mini Adventure; a 3-minute action-packed journey through time featuring Boss Baby and Tim. Join the fun as Boss Baby and Tim battle pirates, travel through outer space, swim deep into the sea, and go toe-to-toe with some ferocious dinosaurs! Other special features include “Cookies are for Closers: Inside BabyCorp,”  Deleted Scenes and more!

DreamWorks Animation’s THE BOSS BABY is available now on Digital DownloadBlu-ray and DVD, from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. 

Download the fun attachments below to stretch the fun even further.

 

Boss baby review

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

Taking the books on holiday!

I love the fact that the twins are passionate about reading and I am so proud that they are so good at it! They are currently on Ruby level which is an excellent place to be and reading helps with their spelling, English lessons and comprehension. It also helps with all of the other subjects too, the comprehension, the writing and the revision when the time comes.

After a disastrous Year 4 (4 changes of teacher in 1 year!) we shall be pleased to see the back of it but I do feel it is more important than ever to keep the girls ticking over during the summer and reading is the perfect way to keep them amused and up to date. Bonus for me that it won’t be a hardship, maths, well maths will require the patience of a saint this summer…

There are so many fantastic books out there that when Harper Collins asked if we’d like to review some titles for them I jumped at the chance. The good news is, the books were all so good (sent just before last half term) that I’m going to have to go out and buy some more. Fortunately, many of the titles below were the first book in a series, so I know exactly what to buy them!

The girls are working their way through them,  here’s what they had to say…

Geek Girl – Holly Smale

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the first book that Alice chose out of the six we were sent to review and she couldn’t put it down. Bessie is reading it at the moment.

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek.” 

Harriet knows a lot of things, all sorts of things but she doesn’t know why nobody seems to like her at school. This is one of children’s greatest fears: not being liked by their school friends. It can cause great upset and reading about another child’s take on the situation helps in understanding how they can get on more.

Harriet goes into modelling, which of course isn’t going to be everyone’s way out of the problem. In fact, it doesn’t help Harriet much either as the reader will find out. So it’s up to Harriet to look for another alternative and that’s where the can’t-put-the-book-down syndrome kicks in.

Alice says: I really loved this book and want to read the others now.

Blink and you die – Ruby Redfort

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruby Redfort: undercover agent, code-cracker and thirteen-year-old genius – you can count on her when the ice starts to crack.

All good things come to an end… Ruby Redfort is running scared, a whole bunch of people want her dead and worst of all one of them is on her team. But just who is this agent of doom?

You can run, Ruby, but you can’t hide…

Alice says: I couldn’t get into this book so I have put it to one side to try later on.

Scarlet and Ivy, The Lights Under The Lake – Sophie Cleverly

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scarlet and Ivy’s school trip takes a turn for the worse as another mystery begins to unfold…

The fourth book in the SCARLET AND IVY series is perfect for fans of MURDER MOST UNLADYLIKE.

It’s summer and as a special treat after the horrors of last term Mrs Knight announces a school trip to Shady Pines Hotel on the shores of Lake Seren. Scarlet and Ivy are thrilled to get away from Rookwood for a break!

But the old hotel and the waters of the lake reservoir are covering up dark secrets. And when mysterious things start happening to hotel guests it seems that a malicious new threat is haunting the girls.

Locals say that at night you can hear the ringing of the church bells and see lights under the lake, that troubled souls buried in the flooded graveyard no longer rest…

Bessie’s first pick. she says: I really  loved this book and want to collect the others now too.

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Fran the Fabulous Fairy turns up in Tiga Whicabim’s shed to tell her she’s a witch, Tiga doesn’t believe her. Or at least not until Fran points out that TIGA WHICABIM is actually an anagram of I AM A BIG WITCH and magics her away down the drainpipes to compete in Witch Wars – the competition to crown the next Top Witch of Ritzy City.

Filled with silly spells, delectable dresses, ridiculous riddles and a serious shoe problem, Witch Wars is a witch story like no other. Although if you enjoyed The Worst Witch, you’ll love this too!

Bessie says: This was really funny and I really enjoyed it.

Radio Boy – Christian O’Connell

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice read this book and loved it, see what she has to say …

From leading breakfast radio star Christian O’Connell comes a brilliant and laugh-out-loud story of an ordinary boy with an extraordinary secret radio show. (Broadcast from his shed.)

Meet Spike, aka Radio Boy: a new Adrian Mole on the radio for the internet generation.

Spike’s your average awkward 11 year old, funny and cheeky and with a mum to reckon with. When he becomes the first presenter ever to be sacked from hospital radio, he decides to carry on from a makeshift studio in the garden shed, with the help of his best friends Artie and Holly, disguising his voice and going by the moniker Radio Boy.

Week by week, word gets around and soon Spike is a star… if only people knew it was actually him. When Spike begins to believe his own hype, and goes too far with his mocking of the school headmaster, a hunt is launched for the mysterious Radio Boy.

Can Spike remain anonymous? Will he get to marry the girl of his dreams, Katherine Hamilton? Will he become famous and popular? The answer to most of these questions is no…

Alice says: Such a good book, it made me laugh a lot and I couldn’t put it down.

Goodly and Grave in a bad case of kidnap – Justine Windsor

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An archly funny, classic mystery adventure with a magic twist!

Lucy Goodly is the new boot girl at Grave Hall, working for the cold, aloof Lord Grave. The other staff – Vonk the Butler, Mrs Crawley the cook and Violet the scullery maid – all seem friendly but Lucy soon notices that strange things are afoot in her new home – and not just Mrs Crawley’s experimental anchovy omelettes. There are moving statues, magical books and Lord Grave has a secret. Meanwhile, all over the country, children are vanishing. Could the mystery of the missing children be linked to the strange goings-on? Lucy is determined to find out…

Nobody has read this one yet but judging by the standards of the others sent through, we think this is going to be a really good read.

Skulduggery Pleasant – Derek Landy

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the great Skulduggery Pleasant: wise-cracking detective, powerful magician, master of dirty tricks and burglary (in the name of the greater good, of course).

Oh yeah. And dead.

Then there’s his sidekick, Stephanie. She’s… well, she’s a twelve-year-old girl. With a pair like this on the case, evil had better watch out…

“So you won’t keep anything from me again?”
He put his hand to his chest. “Cross my heart and hope to die.”
“Okay then. Though you don’t actually have a heart,” she said.
“I know.”
“And technically, you’ve already died.”
“I know that too.”
“Just so we’re clear.”

Stephanie’s uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror, it certainly wasn’t fiction.

Pursued by evil forces intent on recovering a mysterious key, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source – the wisecracking skeleton of a dead wizard.

When all hell breaks loose, it’s lucky for Skulduggery that he’s already dead. Though he’s about to discover that being a skeleton doesn’t stop you from being tortured, if the torturer is determined enough. And if there’s anything Skulduggery hates, it’s torture… Will evil win the day? Will Stephanie and Skulduggery stop bickering long enough to stop it? One thing’s for sure: evil won’t know what’s hit it.

Nobody has read this one yet but judging by the standards of the others sent through, we think this is going to be a really good read.

A lovely selection of great books that will keep tweens hanging on for more, why not invest in a couple or see if your local library has them?

Disclosure: Harper Collins sent us through these books to read for the purpose of this post, we would really recommend them to you