Review: Afternoon Tea at Cocoa Cabana, West Didsbury

A couple of weeks ago to celebrate two friends getting new jobs, a group of us went for afternoon tea at Cocoa Cabana in West Didsbury. To my shame I’ve never eaten there before, but I’ve bought and eaten plenty of their chocolates over the years. I was interested to see what their chocolate afternoon tea would be like, plus it seemed like a bargain at £16.99 each, so I needed to check it out properly. 

Review: Afternoon Tea at Cocoa Cabana, West Didsbury

Cocoa Cabana in West Didsbury is a small chocolatiers and cake makers. They have three small tables inside and on nice days you can sit outside on Burton Road and watch the world go by. There were eight of us, so we took up all of the inside tables. Because of the size of Cocoa Cabana and the work involved in making an afternoon tea you do have to book in advance. 

My friend Sarah had done all the booking and had arranged for us to take some celebratory prosecco with us to have with our tea. There was rather surprisingly no corkage to pay for this. The afternoon tea comes with unlimited tea or coffee, you can have hot chocolate but there is an additional charge for this.

Review: Afternoon Tea at Cocoa Cabana, West Didsbury

We were served pots of good tea and we chatted as our sandwiches were brought to us. I was one of two vegetarians and our sandwiches were brought on separate plates. I thought that was a nice touch as the carnivores often snaffle the veggie sandwiches before I get to them. The sandwiches were freshly made with seeded bread and good quality fillings. There were nice egg sandwiches, cheese and pickle and ham and mustard amongst others.

More tea was poured, prosecco corks popped and a procession of sweet treats were brought to our table. The freshly made fruit scones came with lashings of cream and a salted caramel sauce; a real twist on the classic but one I really enjoyed. It was a little sweet for a couple of my friends, but the sauce was a winner for me.

Review: Afternoon Tea at Cocoa Cabana, West Didsbury

The chocolate tarts were much coveted. Crisp pastry filled with chocolate ganache and topped with a red berry. The tarts were excellent, but very rich and very intense. Most of us managed half a tart each (you can take what you can’t finish home if you’d like).

Following the chocolate theme, there was also a large plate of chocolate brownies. I am not much of a brownie fan, but I shared one with a friend and it was perfectly crisp on top and gooey in the middle. 

What did turn my head was this little plate of prettiness. Tiny eclairs, a teeny banoffee pie, a bite-sized cheesecake, little raspberry chocolate pots, a miniature lemon meringue tart and the lightest, most magnificent pistachio macaron ever.

Review: Afternoon Tea at Cocoa Cabana, West Didsbury

As with every afternoon tea I’ve ever had, there was far too much food, which is probably a good thing. Afternoon tea should not leave you wanting more and the staff at Cocoa Cabana were clearly used to boxing up leftovers. 

The Afternoon Tea at Cocoa Cabana is just £16.99 per person, which is really excellent value. We didn’t feel rushed and the service was attentive but not intrusive. I did need to go home and have a nap directly afterwards, but that is my greed and not a comment on the quality of the food. I liked the separate veggie sandwiches; and the macarons I will dream of for a while yet. I do think the salted caramel sauce should be sold in jars.

The verdict? A good afternoon tea, with some real highlights at very reasonable price, not to mention accommodating and attentive service. It’s nice to have afternoon tea (and chocolate) of this quality available outside of the city centre. Go on, treat yourself (and me).

Cocoa Cabana 128 Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2JQ

Visit the Cocoa Cabana website for further information http://cocoa-cabana.co.uk/

Review: Afternoon Tea at Cocoa Cabana, West Didsbury

Note: We paid for our Afternoon Tea in full.

7 Things to do in Manchester – Summer 2017

Over the last few weeks I’ve been studiously jotting down some fun things to do in Manchester over the summer 2017 holidays. My list seems to go on forever, so it’s time I wrote it down properly and shared it with you, dear reader. As ever, if you have any more suggestions for summer fun, please comment below!

A Summer of Victorian Entertainment for Children and Families at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is throwing open its doors this summer to the world of the Victorian children at play. Every Wednesday in the summer holidays, a range of activities will take visitors back in time to when the Gaskell’s daughters would have played in the House. Highlights include circus skills, Victorian theatre and costumed actors with a Victorian craft to take home for each child.

There’s so much going on at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House this summer, visit their website for more information and to pre-book for special events

intu Trafford Centre turns fairy tale dreams into reality with Princess-Sing-Alongs

A whole host of beautiful princesses from fairy tales are set to descend on intu Trafford Centre this summer. Every Tuesday join one of their Princess-Sing-Alongs. Wannabe Princesses (and Princes) are invited to join a host of beautiful princesses for a sing-along in the Main Dome of the centre every Tuesday at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm.

Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White will be performing at the centre, welcoming fans with the chance to sing along to their hearts’ content.

7 Things to do in Manchester - Summer 2017

Manchester BookBench Trail

Manchester City Council and the National Literacy Trust have joined forces with Wild in Art to bring their iconic BookBench sculptures to Manchester. The BookBenches will be displayed in cultural hubs, leisure and shopping centres across Manchester. Families will be able to discover the BookBenches by following a trail and complete quizzes and activities as they so do. Many of the venues will host reading-themed events throughout summer 2017. Visit the website for details about the trail.

The Lowry, Salford Quays

This August The Lowry hosts an incredible selection of family shows. In the Quays theatre they have a month long run of Room on the Broom (Tue 1 – Sun 27 Aug), the well-loved classic The Jungle Book (Tue 29 Aug – Sat 2 Sept), and in the Lyric theatre you’ll find the kooky clan from The Addams Family (Tue 29 Aug – Sat 9 Sept).

The Lowry will also open its doors on Sat 5 August from 10am until 4pm for a summer 2017 Open Day, with free activities that enable visitors of all ages to explore the venue in a completely new way.

7 Things to do in Manchester - Summer 2017

Digital Skills for all the family in Cheshire!

Drop in and get making at these free and family friendly hands on workshops at different Cheshire East libraries across the borough. Choose from – Animations in Minecraft, Build an Infrared Detector Circuit, Interactive LED art and PatternBeats.

Not forgetting “Crewecraft” – a festival of all things Minecraft in Crewe – join one of five public interactive sessions where you can build a part of Crewe’s heritage.

Full information on venues, dates and times and how to book your free place for all these workshops – http://www.shift-digital.co.uk/events/

Kids’ Cookery Camps with Food Sorcery 

Kids aged 7-14 years can book a place on on one the Food Sorcery Kids’ Cookery Camps this summer. The workshops help kids gain the confidence, skills and independence they need to get cooking. 

Chef Jason gets the kids prepping, cooking and eating tasty, nutritious food in a fun and friendly environment. He teaches timing and safety in the kitchen and encourages creativity with flavours. The menus will vary, but there is always be a vegetarian option available and special diets can be catered for if discussed in advance.

For more information, visit the Food Sorcery website.

Summer at the Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry is always a hive of activity over the summer. This year is no exception – there’s plenty to keep your family occupied! From cheering your team on at the Science Showdown, to getting your game face on at Power Up! What about tinkerering and creating at MakeFest too? With their special events and exhibitions; as well as the usual halls of fun and a steam engine ride – they’ve got everything you need for a fun-filled, family day out.

Visit the MSI website for full listings.

7 Things to do in Manchester - Summer 2017

Picture:  © Jason Lock

These are just a few of the many, many things to do in Manchester over the summer. You can catch up on our plans for the summer holiday on our summer bucket list. But if you have any other suggestions for things to do, please comment in the box below!

Have a great summer 2017!

Days Out: Foodies Festival 2017, Tatton Park

As a keen eater of food, I can think of few things more exciting than going to a food festival, particularly a food festival on a glorious July weekend in the grounds of one of the great Cheshire estates – Tatton Park. We had VIP tickets for the day, so on Sunday we made the short trip from Didsbury to Knutsford to enjoy the Foodies Festival 2017.

Days Out: Foodies Festival 2017 at Tatton Park, Cheshire

If you’ve never been to the Foodies Festival before, it’s a bit like a giant farmers market, with lots of street food stalls and beer tents as well as little stalls selling kitchenalia and other foodie items. They also have some marquees where you can book to see various demonstrations, kids cookery, wine tasting and yoga if you’re so inclined.

The Foodies Festival does an annual summer tour around the UK, but sets up camp in Cheshire each July. It’s a real celebration of global food with stands and stalls from all over the world, plus local UK producers keenly selling their wares.

Days Out: Foodies Festival 2017 at Tatton Park, Cheshire

It is and it isn’t a family event. Both times we have been we have taken the boy and he’s quite liked it, mainly because he gets ice cream and a good hour in the excellent adventure playground afterwards. I guess being dragged around a busy festival while your parents swig samples of gin and nibble excellent cheese doesn’t really do it for most six year olds. Which is why booking tickets for one of the kids cookery demos would have been sensible idea had we thought of it earlier.

Days Out: Foodies Festival 2017 at Tatton Park, Cheshire

I’m reliably informed that Friday is the day to go to avoid the crowds, Sunday was busy but we picked our queues carefully and tried our best not to be too greedy. Between us we ate some delicious dishes; nibbling Spanish cheeses and meats, Paella, Calamari and er, chips and garlic mayo. We found homemade cakes and bags of fudge for pudding. Along the way sipped prosecco, mateus rose (it’s still a no from me), gin samples, raspberry juice and a lovely gin cocktail.

If you enjoy good food and discovering new and interesting things then the Foodie Festival is for you. It is busy, especially on the weekend days and the tickets are not so cheap that you’d just pop in for a quick bite for your lunch (VIP tickets are £35 each). With an additional £6 to park your car at Tatton Park, the costs of the day soon mount up.

Next time I think I will find a foodie friend to go with, rather than take the boys. That way I can explore things at my own pace. It’s certainly the place to go with a picnic blanket to sit on in the sunshine; listening to the live music and getting pink-cheeked merry on pimms or prosecco from the Bus Bar. 

Days Out: Foodies Festival 2017 at Tatton Park, Cheshire

Click here for more information about the Foodies Festival 2017.

Note: I was given a pair of tickets to the Foodies Festival 2017 in return for this blog post. All images and opinions are my own.

Win a Milkshake! Fabulous Friends! DVD

Milkshake! Fabulous Friends! is a brilliant compilation DVD of your favourite children’s shows from Channel 5’s Milkshake! Hit shows on this DVD include Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly, Fireman Sam, Thomas & Friends, Little Princess, Bananas in Pyjamas, Toby’s Travelling Circus, Wanda & The Alien, Pip Ahoy, Toot The Tiny Tugboat, Dora & Friends, Paw Patrol, Wissper, Lily s Driftwood Bay and Bob the Builder.

The Milkshake! Fabulous Friends DVD is rated U and is 140 minutes long and is available in retailers and online now. Compilations are great DVDs for pre-schoolers who like a bit of variety and have fairly short attention spans.

Milkshake Fabulous Friends DVD DVDs for Five Year Olds

Win a Milkshake Fabulous Friends DVD

Win a Milkshake! Fabulous Friends! DVD

To be in with a chance to win a Milkshake! Fabulous Friends! DVD, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will be sent a Milkshake! Fabulous Friends! DVD.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 5th September 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
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12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

UK Wine Hour – Wine Tasting Event in Manchester

Last week I was invited along to the first UK Wine Hour event in Manchester. It took place in the beautiful (beautiful is a wild understatement here) and ancient surroundings of the Baronial Hall at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. It was a small but perfectly formed event in a stunning venue, with lots of new and interesting wines to try.

UK Wine Hour is a “Twitter Hour” where interested people chat along on Twitter, swapping wine tips, asking questions and generally celebrating wine. UK Wine Hour runs 7-8pm on Thursdays with the hashtag #UKWineHour. This was the first UK Wine Hour Live event in Manchester, there have been others in London, but Northern wine lovers got their turn last week.

UK Wine Hour - A Wine Tasting Event in Manchester

The Baronial Hall was packed with wine merchants, large and small, offering their wares for tasting. Some had just two or three wines to try, some had a fairly large number of bottles to choose from. Personally, I found myself drawn to the merchants with just a few well chosen bottles. 

I had decided to start with fizz, then white, red and then fortified wines. I was pleased to see English fizz represented by the Exton Park Vineyard in Hampshire, but my favourite on the day was a Viña Pomal Rioja Cava which I don’t think is quite yet readily available in the UK, but worth pestering your local wine shop about.

UK Wine Hour - A Wine Tasting Event in Manchester

We were spoilt for white wine on the night, I think most of the room were quite taken by the Hungarian wines from Disznókö – one of the largest estates in the Tokaji region of Hungary, located in the shadow of the Carpathian Mountains. The Dry Furmint 2016 (£14.99 from Oxford Wines) was a real find.

I loved all three of the wines offered by Didsbury-based Reserve wines. This delicious Oliver Zeter Nussriegel Riesling Trocken 2016 (above) at £15.99 was a real favourite and one I will be seeking out next time I’m on Burton Road. 

UK Wine Hour - A Wine Tasting Event in Manchester

In terms of good reds, I was drawn to the wonderfully named Gnarly Head from California Wines which was described as having “rich, dark berry flavours with layers of plum, pepper, cola and chocolate”. It certainly packed an enjoyable punch!

I’m not normally a sherry or port drinker, but I was persuaded to try two ports, including a rather good 10 Year Old Tawny, £22.99, available from Waitrose. I also tried an astonishingly rich wine – Marques De La Vega Pedro Ximenez which tasted like Christmas pudding in a glass. I believe it will sell for around £15 a bottle once it reaches the UK. It is utterly delicious, a very good bargain and it’s on my Christmas list already.

I’m no expert, but I enjoy tasting and learning about wine. I didn’t feel even slightly intimidated by the event, it was so friendly. It was just the right size, with approximately 60 different wines in the room, so plenty to try but not too many that you’re overwhelmed. I think I tried around 20 different wines and discovered some real gems. UK Wine Hour Live events don’t happen on a very regular basis, but at £15 a ticket, a selection of some really great wines and a really friendly atmosphere I know I’ll be going to the next one.

Find out more, follow UK Wine Hour on Twitter. Join in the #UKWineHour chat on Thursday evenings, 7-8pm.

Health: Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray side effects

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray and I was pretty positive about it. We’d all three of us used it on the early onset of a cold and it really had stopped it in its tracks, I was impressed. But today I want to share with you a bad reaction I had, which on further investigation seems quite common.

Health: Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray side effects

This morning I woke up with a bit of a sniffle, so I reached for my bottle of Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray and used it according to the instructions. If you sniff when you spray it does burn and run down the back of your throat and is very unpleasant, so I’ve learned not to do that. Taking care not to sniff, I popped two squirts up each nostril whilst I was sat up straight and my head not tilted. I was almost instantly hit by the most incredible pain.

The pain was like a hot poker being pressed on the top of my head on the right side, then forced down through my skull and down my neck. Over the first few minutes it radiated through the right side of my skull and through my right ear. In an attempt to try to get some of the Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray out of my nose, I gave it a good blow, which may have helped I don’t know. Every tooth on the upper right side of my mouth hurt and I had to lie down in the dark for over three hours. I took painkillers and slept, I couldn’t physically have done anything else. This is what I imagine having a stroke feels like.

When I woke up later, the pain is less, but the top of my head is still throbbing and fizzing, I have earache and my eyes are aching. I feel rotten. As soon as I felt able, I propped myself up in bed and googled “Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray bad reaction” which brought me to the Amazon reviews for the product. I filtered them so I could read the (49 at the time of writing) 1 star reviews and almost every one of them complained of a similar reaction.

Health: Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray side effectsImage above is a screenshot taken from Amazon.

The Vicks website gives a comprehensive list of the possible side effects, but it does not mention the searing intense pain that myself and other users have reported.

I’m sharing this information with you, not to stop you from using the product, because it has worked for me over and over in the last six months; but to say if this side effect happens to you, you know it’s not just you.

If you are worried, contact your GP. It’s just over four hours since I used the spray now and my head and neck are throbbing and achy. I took painkillers, I’ve drunk plenty of fluids, I lay down and rested as much as I could. It’s not as acute as it was but it feels like it had probably settled in for the day and many of the 1 star Amazon reviewers said the same. 

It could be that I am just suddenly sensitive to the ingredients. But I have used it several times over the last six months with no ill effects. I wont be using Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray again, I’d rather have a cold than feel that pain again.

If you experience any bad side effects when using Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray or any other medicine, you can report your experiences to The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency here.

Note: This blog post does not constitute medical advice, I am just sharing my experience of this product.

What’s on our Summer Bucket List for 2017?

I was speaking to a teacher this morning who excitedly told me there were “seven more sleeps” until the school holidays begin, this is a number which fills me with terror and excitement in equal measure. It may seem like a long time to fill with activities, but I think those six weeks will go in the blink of an eye. I asked him last night what he wanted to do over the holidays and together we came up with a summer bucket list of sorts.

We have some sketchy plans for the six weeks our six year old son will be off school and out of routine. I want him to relax, have fun and enjoy being six. We also want to really work hard on getting him ready for the big leap into Year 2, so lots of reading, some work books and lots of counting in twos, fives and tens. 

During the school holidays we are going on holiday in North Devon (right on the Cornish border) and there’s lots to do there. We will be going to the Just So Festival in August and Ben and I will be leaving Daddy and the dog at home and going to Ribby Hall for five days. In between we have trips out and fun things planned, plus plenty of rest days at home so we can chill out and get bored.

What’s on our Summer Bucket List for 2017?

⇒ Build sandcastles on the beach in Devon
⇒ Sleep lots (Ben’s suggestion)
⇒ Visit Ben’s cousins in Devon
⇒ Go to the playground in the park
⇒ Visit Westward Ho! and see if the shipwrecks are still visible
⇒ Go crabbing and have fish and chips in Appledore
⇒ Visit the Sealife Centre at Weymouth
⇒ Have lunch at the River Cottage Canteen in Axminster
⇒ Go on some treasure hunts using Treasure Trails maps
⇒ Visit the castle fort in the park in Bideford
⇒ Go fossil hunting in Lyme Regis
⇒ Count the stars at night, when camping at The Just So Festival
⇒ Go for a dip in the Bude Pool
⇒ Sing around the Just So Campfire
⇒ Visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester
⇒ Feed the animals at Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall 
⇒ Bake and decorate cakes for our nice neighbours
⇒ Build a bug hotel for our garden
⇒ Have a Cornish pasty picnic on the beach
⇒ Join the Tribal Tournament at The Just So Festival (we are buzzing!)

What's on our Summer Bucket List for 2017?

Check back at the end of the summer to see how we got on!

What’s on your summer bucket list?

Family Festival: What’s on at Just So Festival 2017?

The Just So Festival is now in its 8th year and 2017 promises to be a vintage one for this award-winning family festival. Produced by Wild Rumpus and taking place on 18th-20th August at Rode Hall in Cheshire, the Just So Festival is a wonderful melting pot of music, literature, arts, theatre, dance, comedy, storytelling, magic and adventure, with new and exciting sights, sounds and things to do. This annual, intimate, weekend-long family festival is an imaginative outdoor adventure like no other.

Family Festival: What's on at Just So Festival 2017?

Just So veterans will recognise the familiar festival goings on, such as tales from storyteller extraordinaire, Ian Douglas as well as campfire music and songs in the Spellbound Forest. There’s a full programme of extraordinary events happening throughout the weekend. Experience the wonder of the Woodland Theatre. Encounter lands, creatures and characters beyond your wildest dreams in Tales of Animalia. Visit Away With The Fairies, an enchanting secret fairyland where sprites make mischief up in the trees and you could with luck meet the Fairy Queen.

Sing and dance your socks off at the Footlights stage with over 20 brilliant artists and bands performing over the weekend, including Just So legends The Baghdaddies. Dance the night away in the Jitterbug tent where you can learn to dance the CanCan, Charleston, Circus Swing, Flatfooting, Bollywood, Ballet, Tap and Jive, not forgetting the retro disco.

Explore the universe at The Observatory.  Learn about the constellations with Star Gazing sessions led by an astronomer, make an array of star and moon shaped lanterns to parade against the twilight sky. Explore the High Seas and enjoy some family yoga, tai chi, meditation and take a wooden rowing boat out on to the tranquil lake.

Family Festival: What's on at Just So Festival 2017?

The littlest Just So adventurers should head directly to The Peekaboo Garden – an entire area of art, music, paint, clay, dens and bubbles and top notch facilities for the under 4’s.

This year Just So are introducing some exciting new areas to explore. By the lake you’ll find the Silver Screen – an area dedicated to your favourite family films, recreate iconic dance scenes, join in a chorus line or become an extra in a Just So production. In the Social Barn next to The Social you’ll find insect eating, foraging and the first ever Just So jelly fight. Not to mention peculiar picnics, barmy dinner parties, a food funny face challenge, plus the legendary Just So Midnight Feast and The Great Just So Bake Off.

Discover the new Forgotten Courtyard. Tucked away in the ruins of the Old Tenants’ Hall is Rode’s beautiful Italian Garden complete with a fountain, Italian cypress and olive trees. Find this secret spot in the grounds of Rode Hall and take part in workshops, provocations, debates and talks. Meet some of the UK’s favourite children’s authors and find out more about the world around us.

Family Festival: What's on at Just So Festival 2017?

Take yourself out of your day-to-day lives and experience a weekend of pure magic and wonder. At the heart of Just So is the now famous Tribal Tournament. Join in with the most bonkers competition in the land as festival goers of all ages dress up as a fish, frog, fox, owl, lion or stag and compete throughout the weekend to see which tribe comes out on top.

Whether you’re visiting for a day, or camping for the weekend, the Just So Festival is just the ticket for fantastic family fun. Get creative with clay, make a paper lantern, sing, dance, explore and immerse yourself in the magic and creativity of this wonderful family festival.

Families planning to come to Just So 2017 are being advised to buy tickets earlier than usual this year, with tickets selling at a record rate for the 5000 capacity August event.

For information and tickets visit www.justsofestival.org.uk 

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

Win a MyStyle Friendship Bracelets craft kit

The school summer holidays are on the horizon and I am pleased to have an Interplay MyStyle Friendship Bracelets kit set to giveaway to one lucky blog reader. The MyStyle Friendship Bracelets kit is suitable for ages 8+ and is just the think to keep craft-loving kids occupied this summer!

Make fabulous friendship bracelets for you and your friends with the MyStyle Friendship Bracelets kit. With a little practise you can learn to make up to ten cool bracelets to wear and share! Start with the basic knotting principles and build up your knowledge and skills until you can create all sorts of designs. You could even mix and match the different coloured threads. Follow the 20-page colour illustrated activity guide provided to see how its done!

Win a MyStyle Friendship Bracelets kit

Win a MyStyle Friendship Bracelets kit

To be in with a chance to win a MyStyle Friendship Bracelets kit from Interplay, simply complete the rafflecopter entry form below – good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will be sent a MyStyle Friendship Bracelets kit.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 21st August 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Your email address may be passed on to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Easy Crafts: Make your own Manchester Bee

This month we’ve been busy getting ready for Didsbury in Bloom. We’ve been sprucing up our front garden and helping to build a bug hotel on our road. This year Didsbury in Bloom celebrates our connection to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) which was founded in the village and we’ve been learning about how we can help encourage birds and bugs into our gardens. 

We have plans to build our own bug hotel and we are collecting the materials we will need to put it together. We’ve also been searching in our garden to see what bugs we could find, with all the rain lately we’ve seen a lot of slugs and snails!

Rather fittingly, this month Craft Merrily have challenged the Bostik Bloggers to create a creepy crawlies craft. I wanted to do something simple, and knowing I had some kids to entertain on a play date, I sketched up these templates, one of a Manchester Bee and the other, a butterfly. I then printed them out and set the boys to work.Easy Crafts: Decorating Butterflies & Bees

To make and decorate your butterfly and Manchester Bee  you will need –

Templates printed out – they’re sturdier if printed on card
Colouring pens
Glitter or other embellishments
Bostik fine & wide glu pen
String or ribbon
A hole punch
Scissors

Download these templates for FREE here.

Easy Crafts: Make your own Manchester Bee decorations

Method –

This is a ridiculously easy craft. Just set the kids to work decorating the butterflies and bees however they like given the colouring in materials you have, then get the kids to embellish them however they like.

Easy Crafts: Make your own Manchester Bee decorations

I encouraged the boys to colour them in first, then to scatter glitter and stick on the paper flowers however they liked best. They came up with some lovely creative ideas, but my favourite was the yellow and black Manchester Bee.

Once they’re decorated how you want them to be, I’d leave them to dry for a few hours before cutting them out, or getting a grown up to cut them out for you.

Easy Crafts: Make your own Manchester Bee decorations

To turn them into tree decorations; using the hole punch, make a hole in one of the wings and thread through some string, tying a knot in the string to form a  loop. I think these would make really great bunting too, just punch two holes in and thread the string though each hole to hang it on the bunting.

Easy Crafts: Make your own Manchester Bee decorations

As you can see, they look really effective and several of the neighbours have commented how lovely they are. They’re not rain-proof, but they are quite fun to hang out on sunny days, especially when the Didsbury in Bloom judges are walking past.

Easy Crafts: Make your own Manchester Bee decorations

What other crafts can you think of to make with these Manchester Bee and butterfly templates?

Easy Crafts: Make your own Manchester Bee decorations

Note: I am a Bostik craft blogger and I was sent the materials to create this craft from Craft Merrily. 

Check out my other craft tutorials here!