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Family Life

Get Your School Involved in Flag Football

NFL Flag is the non-contact version of American football providing children age 8-11 the ability to enjoy the fastest growing sport in the UK!
The NFL Flag programme presented by Subway teaches the fundamentals of American football while instilling NFL values and the importance of eating healthy and being active through a 6-12 week curriculum.
Over 10,000 kids in the UK have already taken part in the programme!
FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE - NFL London Games players Jurrell Casey (TENNESSEE TITANS) and Neiko Thorpe (SEATTLE SEAHAWKS) pictured at the NFL Flag Summer Bowl finale, presented by Subway, celebrate the 2017-2018 tournaments, played by over 10,000 kids across the UK. Schools can register interest online at

FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE – NFL London Games players Jurrell Casey (TENNESSEE TITANS) and Neiko Thorpe (SEATTLE SEAHAWKS) pictured at the NFL Flag Summer Bowl finale, presented by Subway, celebrate the 2017-2018 tournaments, played by over 10,000 kids across the UK. Schools can register interest online at

We went to along to the Summer Bowl in Chiswick which is the national final, the culmination of all of the regional tournaments which brings together all of the winning schools.


We arrived to huge NFL signs and a huge excitement coming from all the students as they waited patiently to play.


We were introduced to the basic rules by the friendly volunteers.


The highlight was meeting some of the American Football players. They were so friendly.


And as you can see, they were massive!


We enjoyed watching the games which are fast paced and suitable for all standards. The terms are also mixed.


It is a great way to get all kids involved in sport. You can see the enthusiasm they were watching their score come up on the digital scoreboard.


NFL Flag Presented by Subway® is currently operating in eight cities including London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol, Gloucester, Peterborough and Cardiff, with plans to roll out the programme to Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

Get involved and SEND THIS LINK TO YOUR SCHOOL to register your schools interest.



Activities Days Out Family Life Places Reviews

25 Things To Do With Your Child This Summer

As I enter the first Monday of the summer holidays without any plans, trying not to switch the TV on – this post from Emily at Kings Tutors is so helpful, I am devouring every suggestion. Have a look at her ideas – you will be so enlightened!


Take it away Emily…

It can be difficult to keep a child entertained for a summer, but with this list of fun, educative and healthy activities, you should find the task somewhat easier.

Reading Challenge

Head to your local library and see if they are holding a summer ‘reading challenge’. The summer reading challenge uses various rewards to motivate your child into reading 6 books over the summer break. If your library is not holding the challenge, you can always create your own. More information about the reading challenge can be found here


There’s an app for that

There’s an app for almost everything these days and summer activities with kids are no exception – explore app stores for ideas. Lots of these apps will involve outdoor activities, so you don’t need to worry about spending a day staring at a screen.


A fun evening activity, it is best to stargaze on clear nights and in areas with low light pollution. Don’t worry if you don’t worry if you know nothing about astronomy. You can find apps, websites and magazines to teach you and your child the stars.

Get lost in a maze (and hopefully find your way out again)

Find your nearest maze, let your child lead the way, and see how long it takes before you eventually find your way back out.


Find some wildlife to enjoy and to learn about. This could be in the zoo, an aquarium, a farm, or just in your back garden.

A day at the beach: a timeless classic

If you want the day to be somewhat educational, spend some time looking for shells and wildlife. There are also lots of urban beaches around the country now too, have a look online and find a more convenient and local way to enjoy the sun and sand.

Fruit picking

Another way to make healthy eating more fun. Whatever it is you go pick, your child will be more enthusiastic about eating it than they would be if it was shop bought.

Cherry picking

Board games

Pause the video games and take a break from screens, take the time to play some board games. If you want a more educational game than monopoly, there are lots of options out there.

Visit a cave

Do you know your stalactites from your stalagmites? If not, head to some caves and learn something new with your child; if you do, head to some caves and enjoy feeling knowledgeable while your child learns something new!

Grow something

Whether it be fruit, vegetables or some flowers, children will take pride in growing something, will learn some gardening skills and, if it is fruit or vegetables will be willing (at least try) to eat it.

Science experiments

There are lots of simple, fun and educative experiments to do from the home. This video is full of ideas.

Practice a new language together

There are lots of ways to learn some basic language skills, including apps, books and videos. You could help your child with some vocabulary they have learnt at school or try something entirely new with them. If you are lucky enough to be travelling abroad over the summer you could try to learn some of the language skills you might need; children will love having the chance to practice their skills on holiday.

Write a book or story together

This doesn’t need to be anything particularly long or spectacular, but it can be a fun and productive way to get creative and practice writing skills.

Take classes/lessons together

Everyone can always learn a skill and everyone can always get some more exercise, so have a look at what classes and lessons are offered locally. Leisure centres always have lots of options.

Scavenger hunt

Plan a scavenger hunt around your house, garden or beyond. Use clues as a way to practice educational skills.


There are lots of ways to make crafts fun – you could go for a walk and make a collage from items you find on the way or you could use crafts as a chance to re-use and recycle.


Educational, free, and out of the rain, museums are always a great way to spend a day.


Fossil hunting

This could be slightly more difficult because it can’t be done anywhere, but there are lots of places across the country which are suitable – just make sure you know your ammonites from your belemnites!

Have a smoothie day

Spend the day making smoothies. This can be a fun way to eat healthily and to sneak some fruit and vegetables into your child’s drink.

Summer sport

There is almost always some sport happening over the summer. See what’s on and try to get your child interested and see if they would like to try a new sport.

Bird feeders

Bird feeders are easy to make as this RSPB guide shows and they provide a great opportunity for your child to engage with nature.

Look local

Have a look on your local newspaper’s website; it will be full of local activities and events which are happening across the summer.

Outdoor cinema

Every summer there seems to be more and more open-air cinemas popping up around the UK. A trip to one of these cinemas is great for the evening; they often show family-friendly films too.

Art galleries

Let your child attempt to draw their own versions of the classics and teach them about the exhibits (or find a tour guide or brochure to teach them instead). Art galleries are often free, too!

Fly a kite

An old-school option, but always fun, especially if you make the kit with your child before flying it! This CBBC video might help you get started.


Kings Tutors are leading Private Tutors in London so if you are looking for a tutor to keep your kids brain ticking over this summer, contact them!

Family Life Interiors

Olivine Life : Hacks For Small Space Living

When space is limited, practicality often takes precedence over style, but with a few design tricks, storage hacks and a little flair, you can have the best of both worlds. Victoria Gray and Taline Findlater, Founders of Olivine Life have shared their advice on small spaces with us.

Thank you ladies, take it away and enlighten us!


We love experimenting with colour, but it is important not to forget that lighter colours will give the illusion of space, whereas darker colours will give you a cosier feel. By painting your walls and ceilings a pale colour, the light will bounce around your room more effectively. Try different shades of the same colour to avoid it all looking too severe.

Paint & Paper Library have a clever range of paints that include five shades of the same colour – each with the same tone – so you can’t make any mistakes!

Farrow & Ball also offer guidance readily in their stores on varying shades of white that work well together and complement each other. With these, you can create a seamless transition between skirting, joinery, walls and ceiling, which makes for a more calming space. Having said that, if your space is lacking in natural light, don’t be scared to opt for a deeper colour – it may not give you the illusion of a larger room, but it can give you a warm cosy design that you may find works well for the space.



When you start to consider the layout of a room, think about who uses it, when they use it and what functional areas you need to include. It may be that your sitting room needs to have a work space or a dining area or even both. When you have mapped out these areas on paper, you can then begin to look more closely at the detail.

Avoid pushing all the furniture in the room against the wall – it limits your design and becomes one dimensional. Pull pieces into your room, for example armchairs, and then anchor a small table or floor lamp alongside, so that it doesn’t look like it’s floating on its own in the room. Look carefully at how you will move through the room and then avoid placing larger pieces in your path.



In a small space, you need to be practical about storage – make sure it is working hard for you. Less clutter will automatically lead to a calmer living space, and in turn this will make the room feel bigger.

When it comes to furniture, think smart and opt for beds with drawers underneath; side tables with shelving or upholstered rather than hard dining chairs as these can then be used as extra seating in the living room when you have guests over. If built-in shelving is an option for you, make sure it extends to the ceiling – this will draw the eye up and give the illusion of extra height in the room.

A low bookshelf can double up as additional counter space if you need it and shelves hung from the wall will free up more floor space. Don’t forget to make the most of space under a staircase by incorporating a cupboard, or under a window, where you can add a window seat. By making the most of every corner you have, you’ll instantly feel you’ve gained space.



Wall space is certainly your friend in smaller rooms, so make the most of it! And don’t forget the space above the doors and windows. Mirrors are ideal as they can double the feeling of space, so don’t be afraid to use more than one.

Add more character to the space by adorning your walls with pictures and paintings – group them together in clusters to create drama and impact. When determining where to hang your art, eye level is always the best place to start. If you’re feeling unsure about the layout, it always helps to lay it all out on the floor first before taking out the tool box!


You may already have carpet or wooden floors in your space, but you can always add rugs to help mark out functional areas in a room, such as a seating area and a dining area. Rugs also bring colour and texture to the space without impacting too much on the flow of the room.

Ideally, in a sitting room you want the front feet of your sofa just resting on the rug. However, if you can get a bigger rug that sits under all your furniture, you can create the illusion of a much bigger space.



For more information contact Caitriona Roy or 07970 164372

Family Life

Let’s Ask Livvy : Ideas To Manage Your Kids Screen Time

Livvy Gormally is a Children’s Behaviour Expert and Parent Coach, mum of 3 and the founder of Let’s Ask Livvy. She offers personalised and child specific advice, skills and support to enabling parents to cope with their everyday parenting challenges. From tantrums to fussy eating, separation anxiety to anger management, Livvy has over 20 years’ experience as a behaviour specialist.


With the holidays looming, and as children want to use a screen more and more – she gives us some much needed tips on how to manage our childrens screen time.

Take it away Livvy…

I think that most parents try really hard to expose their kids to a broad range of activities each day and often feel guilty that TV or screen time makes up part of this diet. TV and screens are very much part of our lives and so our rules and attitudes towards TV and screens need to adapt to reflect this.

How much TV or screen time your child has is a very personal choice and it is important to consider your own family when creating your family rule. All children respond in different ways screens so this, together with parental choice should be the guide-getting the balance right for your family is most important thing.

If you are finding it challenging to set TV and screen time rules for your family, it might help to consider the following:

 Do you class TV as screen time or just phone/tablet? Is reading with a kindle screen time? What if your child was asked to research their homework topic or complete an online maths challenge? How about if you are cooking together and following an online recipe, a yoga class or a guitar lesson? These cross overs happen so often in everyday life, and even if we might be able to classify them as educational vs. non-educational or good vs. not so good, our children may not and this can lead to confusion and conflict. So, it is important to consider these factors when creating your family rules.

 Look closely at content-some Apps and programs have a stimulating effect on kids and some a calming effect so monitor content closely and set clear rules on what games, Apps, content the kids are allowed to access. Your baby may enjoy the bright colours, shapes, movements and sounds on baby TV, but you may want to avoid this type of visual or auditory stimulation just before you want them to take a nap. Whereas, if your toddler is exhausted from pre-school and needs to chill while you make lunch, an episode of two of their favourite program may help them unwind but stay stimulated enough not to fall asleep!

 If you are experiencing challenging behaviours such as reduced focus or listening, difficulties transitioning etc during or after TV or screen time look at content, how much and how often screen time is accessed. Monitoring TV and screen time and the effects it has on your children allows you to set realistic and age appropriate TV and screen time rules that work for you. Screens can be all consuming, so although you may have called the kids 5 times to tea, they may not have processed these instructions and feel confused by your frustration at not being listened to. If you want to deliver a message, make sure that you have the child’s full attention first.

 Screen time can be highly motivating and can work very well when incorporated into reward systems. For example, “once you have finished your tea you can have some iPad time” can be more effective than “if you don’t eat your tea then no iPad”.

 Pre-agreeing a realistic end time is important. If you have agreed 5 minutes of screen time, but their favourite program lasts 6 minutes, or they cannot complete their game within that timeframe this is will always end in conflict. It is important to be realistic-and think how you would react if someone turned Poldark off with 5 minutes to go.

 “Negotiating Down” is an effective strategy for children who always try to get a few extra minutes. If you say 5 minutes and they say how about 10? You say 4, they say 9, you say 3 its amazing how quickly they jump to settle on the original offer of 5 minutes.

 Clear boundaries are really important as shifting boundary rules are really hard for kids to understand and follow. Shifting boundaries tend to lead to more behavioural issues as the kids try to work out what made you shift the last time.

 Most importantly please try to remember that managing screen time is a relatively new thing in the parenting world, most parents are trying really hard to get it right for their kids, so be kind to yourselves and please do get in touch if you would like some family specific strategies.

If you have any specific concerns or questions, get in touch with Livvy yourself!

Family Life Services Spotlight

Bump & Baby Club : Modern Antenatal Classes in London

In my excitement of finding out I was pregnant with my first child, I eagerly booked into my local NCT class, the free hospital course and a private Antenatal class. Yes, I did 3 as I didn’t want to miss out on any potential friendships (wasn’t too worried about the information!)

Anyway, if Bump & Baby Club had been around in 2010, I would have certainly just signed up with them. They are the largest independent provider of antenatal classes in London and the number one alternative to the NCT and would have ticked all the boxes in one.

Bump & Baby Class

Currently operating in 29 locations across the capital – about 4,000 people pass through their doors each year!

In addition to antenatal classes, they run hypnobirthing courses and fun pregnancy events.

Let’s find out more from Alex Kohansky, who founded Bump & Baby Club.


Why did you start Bump & Baby Club?

Becoming a parent is one of the most extraordinary and emotional times of your life, and sharing the transition with a group of people who are going through the same thing as you, at the same time, is incredibly special. I experienced it myself when my husband and I took antenatal classes during my first pregnancy.

It inspired me to set up the company and I noticed that there was a real need for unbiased, evidence-based antenatal education, that was high in quality.

There’s so much information out there and I was keen to find a way to deliver it in a way that would appeal to modern parents-to-be.


Who is it Bump & Baby Club for?

Our antenatal and hypnobirthing courses are for anyone looking for a relaxed, straightforward and unbiased preparation for parenthood.

We attract a very sociable crowd and most of our groups go on to become great friends, which we love!


What’s next for Bump & Baby Club?

We’re working on increasing the number of classes we run each year and expanding to new London locations too. One day we might expand outside of the capital, but our priority is to maintain the highest level of teaching – excellent instructors take time to find, and the search for them sets the pace of our growth. Offering ancillary services might be something we consider as well.

Where are your courses?

We’re currently in 29 fantastic areas of London – and each one has lots of character.

North of the River we’re in Fulham, Notting Hill, Queen’s Park, Hampstead / West Hampstead, Belsize Park / Primrose Hill, Kentish Town / Tufnell Park, Mill Hill, Finchley, Muswell Hill, Crouch End, Islington, Stoke Newington, Walthamstow, Hackney.

And South of the River you’ll find us in Greenwich, Blackheath, Brockley, East Dulwich, West Dulwich, Crystal Palace, Clapham, Balham, Tooting, Battersea, Earlsfield, Wimbledon, Putney, Richmond and Twickenham.


Find a venue near you…

Alex’s Favourites

Website : Babycentre

Shop : JoJo Maman Bebe

Restaurant : Dishoom (especially the calamari)

Hotel : The Pig, Brockenhurst (New Forest)

Holiday Destination : California

Parenting Tip : Trust your instincts but don’t hesitate to seek support if you feel you need it

Family Life Interiors Products

How To Decorate for a Magical Easter with John Lewis


This post has been written in collaboration with John Lewis however all opinions are my own. 

Christmas decorations are compulsory but when it comes to the second most important celebration in the calendar, Easter – it is deemed optional. Well, it is for me! That was until I decided to step up the job of creating core memories (nothing like a bit of repetition and routine to instil this – don’t ask me about the physiology here though)  and invest in some Easter decorations that I can whip out each year.  This is how I envisage my Easter table to look…

Table setting

The obvious choice to buy good quality decorations is John Lewis and I had no doubt there would be a nice display of tasteful decorations of which to choose from. I was right!

John Lewis

Here are my top picks for Easter decorations from John Lewis.

Easter Tree 

A great base for decoration that packs a punch and that you can move from room to room is an Easter tree. I love this one – you can move the branches around, put decorations around the base and hang some eggs from the branches.

Easter Tree

Cracker Carrots £10

These are very sweet and the bright orange would really add colour to your Easter table whilst also giving the kids an activity to do in the run up.


Eater Bunny Garland £8

Bunnies are one of the symbols of Easter – does anyone know why? and this garland would look lovely above a window.

Easter Garland

Vintage Hanging Easter Eggs £8

I really wanted to buy the glass ones, but just can’t risk it. We have a kitten that jumps on the table and children that can get quite wild at times 🙂 so I opted for these ceramics ones that aren’t as delicate but are still as lovely.

Hanging eggs

Fluffy Chicks £5

These fluffy chicks would work well along a windowsill and won’t cause any harm if they fall off!


Egg Yolk Candles – Set of 3 £6

Wasn’t quite sure of the relevance of sheep other than Easter falling in Springtime, however my NZ mother would appreciate them. Instead I thought the egg yolk candles would make the table look pretty both lit or not.


There was also plenty of options for easter eggs, Easter egg hunts and table linen such as mats, napkins and even egg cups! I quite fancy this wreath. What do you think?


Hope this has given you some ideas. Have a lovely weekend! x


Books Events Family Life

10 World Book Day Ideas To Save Time & Money

With three kids who are all involved in World Book Day this year, there is no skirting around the subject and fobbing them off in something that I thought about at 7.05 that morning (i.e. like the last 4 years).  There needs to be a bit of preparation.


I watch in awe as children arrive at school on the Thursday (it’s always in a Thursday yeah?) in handmade costumes and just hope that my kids don’t start comparing their (my!) nominal efforts to their friends ones.

(They don’t, they are just delighted to not be in uniform)

What’s the problem then?

It’s the MOTHERS whose judgement I fear!

I don’t want to feel inadequate, this year I want to be known as one of those mothers, who do think, stitch, create and make.

But as I cant stitch – I have to think outside the box and thinking is one thing I can do!

This year, I am giving myself 4 days to concur up something that looks like I haven’t done any work the whole week, other than for Thursday, but really, I have just thought for 5 minutes and brain stormed with the little ones so we are all happy.

There will be no sewing machine out and no £12 last minute costume from Amazon. 

I am going to share my ideas which each have a twist



Animal Lover 

Rather than go the predictable route of a favourite like The Lion King (brown face paint and whiskers and voila – you can be pretty much any animal!), I want to introduce you to the Tall Grass books written by the lovely Clare Luther.

Each book is based on one animal’s journey, each with a different message.

The Friends Who Care 

Go top to toe in grey clothes, with a cushion under your tummy. 

(When I say you, I actually mean them – although I did go to go to World Book Day drop off and pick up dressed as Paddington Bear one year!)

The Friends Who Care

Happy To Be Me 

A gorgeous story with a lovely message encouraging children to be content with who they are and what they have got. These books should be on the National Curriculum!

Wear yellow and stick large brown spots on with masking tape. 

Happy To Be Me


Mr Men Fans 

We owe Roger Hargreaves a huge thank you. Hi characters are very easy to replicate.

My oldest is doing Mr Bump this year

A bit of face paint, colour block dressing and loo paper and hey presto you are a Mr Bump.


Mr Bump


Little Miss Sunshine 

One for the little ladies.

Head to toe yellow, freckles, bunches and red bows. Sweet!!

little miss sunshine

Princess worshippers 

If your daughter wants to go as Frozen, I mean Elsa (do you find yourself calling her Frozen too?) but you simply can’t allow her to go as a character that came about first in a movie (oh the shame in front of the mothers #jokenotjoke) here is a good idea.

Angelina Ballerina is a respectable bet.

Pink leotard and tutu. Pink Bow. Add whiskers. 

Angelina Ballerina

I am trying to push her towards Little Red Riding Hood as she has dark hair (and we don’t have a pink tutu)

Red towel and a little basket = immediately look like Little Red Riding Hood.

Little red riding hood


‘Footballer’ Wannabe 

My second son wants to go as a footballer from his ‘When I am group, I want to play for Arsenal‘ book (You can buy any team and they are really encouraging books)




I am rolling with it this year. ‘Let go’ I chant to myself, it is a book.

And it’s not a competition!

A few other ideas for football fanatics… (all great books that I recommend)

Froggy Plays Football 

Football Kit + Green Facepaint. 

Froggy Plays Football


Kicking a Ball 

Just had to include this wonderful book. Buy if you have a football lover ‘who only wants to kick a ball… ‘

Dress in any football kit!

Kicking a ball


For Those Who Hate Dressing Up!

Super Star Kids 

If your child isn’t one for dressing up, whack them in their home clothes and tell them they are a superstar, Gavin Rhodes has written a series of rhyming moral fun books and they are wonderful!!

I highly recommend them.

Rhyming Moral Fun

Roald Dahl has created some wonderful characters that are very easy to recreate at home without putting your kid into a full blown costume .


Blue dress, red ribbon and a couple of books under her arm. (although maybe the red bow was just for the stage – even easier!) 


George’s Marvellous Medicine 

Red T Shirt, saucepan and a bottle of shampoo!

George's Marvellous Medicine

And if you still can’t think all the major supermarkets have incredible ranges to pick from…

Also, if the actual purpose behind World Book Day is lost on you, head to the official website for a read!

There are also lots of WBD events happening around the country – take a look and if your little one is full of beans after school – you can head down there to continue the magic!

Hope this has helped and reminded you that it doesn’t have to give you a headache!

Have a great week (and can’t wait to see your efforts!) xx

Family Life Little Products Reviews Spotlight

Mini Epic : Take The Chore & Bore Out of Party Invitations

Have you noticed how each class or school send children’s party invitations? There are three different groups. Some flick the date out on whatssapp (my worst – umm hello, I have lost the date before I can say ‘another whatssapp group’), loads use an online tracking service – sorry, I do love my kids and their friends and the convenience of having it all in one spot, but I won’t be paying for a coin for each invitation thank you very much. The majority of parents, send a paper invitation home in the book bag. Yes, this is lovely for the kids and if I was more organised I would put it in my inbox and reply straight away – however often not….

None ideal.

So, when I discovered husband and wife duo (a professional animator and a media producer) who had created Mini Epic as an alternative  way of sending kids party invitations – I was very excited!




As parents of two young girls, they know the importance of getting invitations done as quickly as possible but also wanted something a little more entertaining than paper or a static image.


Party invitations rarely capture the excitement of what’s to come on the big day, so we wanted to create a new kind of invitation that’s entertaining, functional and makes the whole process of sending and managing invitations easier.


Mini-Epic is a fun and fast way to send online animated party invitations for kids’ parties.

  • You simply pick an animated template
  • Add your party details
  • Upload a photo and within 60 seconds your personalised invitation is ready to view.
  • Then you can send it by email and track your guests’ RSVPs (or download your invitation to share via WhatsApp)

And the good bit?

All for just £9.99!!!


Mini Epic


If you have a party coming up, you could try a free preview… 


I know for a fact a little girl who would love this 0ne…





An oldest son who would like this one (although he isn’t allowed a video game party quite yet!)



and a second son, who would like this invitation – he would watch it on repeat!!



And they do adult invitations so I may just be winning in the original stakes when I decide to have a party!

Jonathan’s Favourites :

Restaurant : Antipodea in Kew Gardens – their Brew Melt is a family favourite for breakfast on a lazy weekend.

Hotel : The Dorchester – there’s something special about having afternoon tea there with our daughters once a year.

Holiday Destination : New York – we have family across the pond and we always make sure we fly in to the Big Apple – so much to see and do.

Shop : Hmmmmm…very difficult to say, but I do like Reiss, my wife’s a fan of H&M and our daughters love Smiggles at the moment.

Website : Vimeo – inspiration, inspiration, inspiration!

Parenting tip : If you’re serving food at your child’s party, try individual packed paper lunch bags. Not only will each child get the same portion, but you can easily cater to any food allergies and it makes clearing up a whole lot easier too. Oh, and go for juice boxes or small bottles of water – less chance of a spillage!


Twitter : @the_mini_epic

Facebook : @TheMiniEpic

Instagram : @mini.epic

One off £9.99 includes invitation and tracking.