Firstly, I want to say I’m absolutely knackered! I woke up aching, so it’s fair to say the Bear Grylls Adventure Birmingham definitely tested my physical ability. I LOVED EVERY MINUTE! I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the Bear Grylls Adventure in Birmingham before the masses and boy oh boy it didn’t disappoint. The 20 million pounds invested into this facility was worth ever penny.
On arrival we received a warm welcome from a member of staff who escorted us to the ticket office. Staff were extremely welcoming. The process was organised and customers were processed through efficiently!
At reception point, customers are issued with a waiver form, a wrist band which contains details of your activities and times. And a clever little rubber band which stores all customer photos from each activity. The band also gives customers access to a locker to store personal belongings.
Basecamp comprises of 4 activities each estimated to last 22 minutes. Each task most definitely challenges your mental and physical ability. And I can confirm YOU will be completely knackered by the end.
Before completing the base camp activities customers are permitted to watch a short video, containing health and safety information and details of experience.
”Let me out” the famous words of ‘me’ as I progressed through the experience.
I don’t think I’ve screamed so much since being in labour. When the lights went out I went into panic mode. During this task customers loose their ability to see, which heightens all other senses.
To make it out the other end a series of tasks are presented including small and confined spaces, tunnels, water and the ability to work as a team. I have been asked not to give too much information away, to prevent ruining customer experience. However, what I can say is, if you like creepy crawlies and trying new “foods”.. You’re in for a treat.
To ‘Break Out’ team work is an absolute must! Not only that, if you’re brain isn’t in gear, you’ll end up trapped! Unfortunately it was only myself and my other half who completed the break out task. As I have the well known “baby brain” I was completely confused.
Escape rooms are equipped with several clues which teams are permitted to solve to break out. We failed miserably. After standing scratching our heads for 5 minutes and arguing over our inability to solve the problem, we progressed to a “forfeit room”. Which included dark holes, steep drops and a series of problem solving elements.
The break out experience challenges your ability to solve problems, piece together clues and actively listen. The more team members the better.
“Survival is about making calm, smart decisions under pressure. Get that bit right and the rest will fall into place!” (Bear Grylls)
This was one of my personal favourites although I failed miserably at it. The assault course is inspired by Royal Marines training camp in Lympstone. However some elements have been removed. Those who have physical ability will thoroughly enjoy this element. You might even want to challenge yourself at beating the 55 seconds it took the marines to progress through the assault course. OR you may just lie on the floor in defeat and hope no one sees (like me).
The base camp is a non stop intense package which ends with a Archery experience. Customers are shown a health and safety demonstration followed by a brief from trained members of staff. This experience was another personal favourite, and for that reason I wished it would have lasted longer.
Honestly we had so much fun. The member of staff was friendly and interactive. He was definitely an expert in his field as he was able to teach muggings over here how to aim with just one attempt. Now that’s talent. Thank you to the amazing member of staff for making our experience all the more pleasant.
Customers are given 8 attempts to get the perfect shot before ending the base camp experience.
Each challenge was allocated d the perfect amount of time given that they are high endurance. However I would have loved a little longer on the archery experience as it’s a brilliant end to base camp.
“Europe’s tallest high ropes” and little old me got all the way to the top. However that was not without out the help of the fantastically trained staff member who offered encouragement and support all the way to the top.
Bear Grylls high ropes comprise of 36 different challenges over 5 floors with the 5th floor being 20 metres high. Overcome your fear and walk across the slim lined rope at the top floor, however if you’re scared of heights look straight and don’t look down. You might want to challenge yourself on the rolling beam which tests balance and ability to focus under pressure. I did dip my toe in and attempt to walk across the rolling beams, however I wasn’t quite brave enough on this occasion.
The highropes also features zip lining from a Chinook helicopter, 8 metres hire.
Over all We had an absolutely amazing experience and it most definitely exceeded all of our expectations. This adventure is appropriate for families, groups, team building days for work and couples.
– The interior design is phenomenal
– Acivities are extremely affordable
– Staff are well trained within their field
– The Adventure brings the ocean and the mountains right to your doorstep
– There are a variety of activities to choose from
– There is a restaurant onsite
– Ideal for those who do not have experience in such activities
– Activities are well structured
– Health and safety is always at the forefront of their minds
– You can have your photos from each activity emailed straight to you.
– I would have found a note pad and pen in the breakout room really useful to write down clues.
– I would have loved a little longer on the Archery excersise as it was really enjoyable.
Thank you to Bear Grylls Adventure for allowing us the opportunity to visit and review this amazing facility.
*DISCLAIMER: I was gifted with the opportunity to attend the Bear Grylls adventure to experience Basecamp and the high ropes In exchange for an honest review. I can confirm that all of the opinions are my own and I will always remain honest to my readers.*
*DISCLAIMER: I was gifted with the opportunity to attend the Bear Grylls adventure to experience Basecamp and the high ropes In exchange for an honest review. I can confirm that all of the opinions are my own and I will always remain honest to my readers.*
Growing up as a little girl, I can vividly remember my deep rooted love for children’s books and fairytales.. As my mother read the words, I can remember transitioning into the world where super heroes, and princesses were beautiful, kind and self-less. I always hoped that at the end of each novel, would present a secret passage which allowed me to enter the world of fantasy.
The importance of books
I’m an advocate for instilling the love of books in my children, and believe it’s one of the most beneficial attributes you can foster within your child. Why? Books play a significant role in lives of children as they transition into adulthood. A parent who has incorporated books in the early stages of their child’s life will observe an improvement in communication skills, imaginative play, vocabulary, language and attention span.
Have you ever noticed that when your child reads a book they begin to mimic the qualities of the character. That being said it is so essential that the reading material we provide to our children have positive connotations.
As the mother of a 3 year old and 5 month old, I am constantly on the look out for children’s books which promote, empowerment and self esteem. So when I discovered “The Works” 10 for £10 book range I was absolutely over the moon. There are so many fantastic books on the shelves in 2018. However, very few actually reflect real life experiences that children may encounter, for example having a sibling, or transitioning from nursery to school. The works book range does exactly that, all for an affordable price.
The Works is the UK’s leading discount retailer founded in 1981. The Works 450+ stores across United Kingdom provide books, toys, gifts, stationery and arts & crafts to its 22.5 million customers each year.
The works sell approximately 40,000 different products yearly. What I love about this organisation is their ability to cater to various target audiences. The works has been imbedded into my transition from childhood when, my mother used to purchase my picture books all the way through to adulthood where I now purchase my favourite novels and organisers. Their ability to academically accommodate the differing stages of my life has been impressive. Not only can you find an array of big brands within The Works stores across the UK, they have developed a range of their own branded products.
The 10 for £10 deal
The works 10 for £10 offer allows parents to choose fantastic children’s picture books from a wide range of authors and genres. This is amazing for stocking up your child’s book collection. My 3 year old had the pleasure of choosing 10 of the most amazing picture books to review, and boy oh boy was he was in his element.
Normally when we choose books I have to persuade him to choose books that are educational and beneficial to his needs. However, as we browsed the collection, I was thrilled at the fact that the majority of books advocated empowerment and an educational message within them, which eliminated the tears and tantrums. AND WHAT A BARGAIN AT £10. As parents we love a bargain so to be able to select 10 books for £10 (£1 each) when the RRP is £5.99 is phenomenal.
Although my 3 year old LOVES books, story time can be short lived as he has quite the reputation for being easily distracted. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised at his ability to sit down and actively engage with each book. The bright coloured book covers and pictures definitely aided in his ability to sit and actively listen to each story.
He asked if he could share his top 5 favourites out of the 10 books we were gifted. He also very helpfully offered his perspectives on why he liked each book. (It took us a while haha).
If any of you have children from age two upwards, you are well aware that they can be extremely inquisitive. WELL. When my son asked “Mummy how did I get here” I immediately told him to ask his dad. I so was not ready for the question. So when we received “The bump” it was like all my prayers were answered. This amazing book explains step by step the process of having a baby in a child friendly way.
During this book my son and I laughed, smiled and he asked questions about his birth. It provoked conversation that I never dreamed of having with my 3 year old.
My son has recently become a big brother and I honestly wish I would have discovered this book 6 months ago, as it would have made the process a lot easier for him to understand. I purchased one personalised book for £19.99 to help explain the process when I could have purchased this for a fraction of the price.
This is a tale of a little prince who is shy and scared to meet his subjects. Those close to him tried their very best to bring him out of his shell, however nothing seems to work until Grandma comes along with the best advice ever.
Anyone who knows my 3 year old will know that he’s a very confident and self assured child. However occasionally when in the company of new people he can be very shy. As I began reading the book to him, he began to suggest reasons as to why the prince shouldn’t be shy. “Mummy he shouldn’t be shy because he has all of his family with him”.
I was so impressed at how the book allowed my son to look at this from the perspective of another child. He was able to offer advice to the boy in the book which demonstrated a level of maturity and empathy. Again this book encouraged conversation about confidence and self esteem and why it’s important. I love that this book encouraged empowerment, as well as an important message at the end of the story.
This book was one of my sons favourites. This is a tale of two brothers who are moving house but they don’t want to leave. The brothers soon discover that moving house can mean new friendships.
I read this book to my 3 year old while we were away on holiday. Ironically he had been making lots of new friends. Therefore he was able to refer back to his own experiences as we progressed through the book. I honestly feel that this book empowered him with further confidence to engage, communicate and initiate more friendships. Before he went to bed he stated “I can’t wait to play with my new friends tomorrow Mummy”. “I want to play catch like Noah from the book”.
Not only that, he spoke of a time when he was at the park and initiated play with a little girl who had no friends. As a parent I was so extremely proud of the optimism and maturity he demonstrated through reading this book. Had we not have had this book, I would have been unaware of experiences of making new friends and involving others.
This is the tale of a little fox who is scared of the dark. This story highlights the fun to be had in the dark and shows that night-time really isn’t that scary after all.
when I read the title, the first thing my 3 year old said was “Mummy remember yesterday when I was scared of the dark”. When he says yesterday, what he really means is 2 years ago haha.
As parents, at least 80% of our children have experienced a phase of being scared of the dark. When they’re in that mode it’s very difficult to console them and settle them to sleep. If this is you, you need this book in your life. This book beautifully rhymes and has a fascinating and effortless method of explaining why night time isn’t so scary after all.
What I loved about this story is that my son actually went to nursery and recited much of this book to his peers. I loved that the book empowered him to tell the story to others. His key worker stated that it opened up conversation about children in the class who may be worried to go to sleep when it’s dark. *Proud Mummy moment*.
‘Have you seen my potty’ is a story of a little girl who had something important to do, little Suzy needed a poo. The book explains her mission to locate her potty.
I absolutely love the underlining message behind this book and how it empowers children to use the potty/toilet. Suzy Sue refused to do a poo until she located her potty as she knew it was wrong to do it anywhere but there. This book is brilliant to support parents who are potty or toilet training their child and I will most definitely be utilising this book when my youngest hits that milestone. What I also loved was how it encouraged my 3 year old to demonstrate empathy. He was so concerned that Suzy sue couldn’t find her potty and forced me to read the book frantically in order to get to the end.
6. Little hedgehogs big day (back in stock soon)
This particular book really resonated with both myself and my son as he is starting school in September. And ironically in this story the little hedgehog doesn’t feel that he is big enough to start school, which echoes my exact worries. Although he is very assertive he’s so small an literally can’t imagine my baby carrying a tray to get his food at lunch time.
The story Illustrates the anxiety and worry the hedgehog feels at the prospect of starting school, he can’t sleep as he is struggling to find ways to get bigger before he starts school. Following numerous suggestions from his friends on how to grow, he confides in his mummy.
This story demonstrates the beautiful way in which a mother empowers her child to accept his individuality by showing him and explaining to him all the amazing achievements in his life so far. I definitely shed a tear while reading this book to my son. I have actually taken the same approach to empower my little one to start school. I asked him to rate this book, his reply “20 out of 10 Mummy”. I think he liked it .
7. How to babysit a Grandma (back in stock soon)
Honestly this book had both me and my 3 year old rolling on the floor with laughter. My son absolutely loved it. He could relate to absolutely every single page of the book. ‘How to babysit a Grandma’ is a story of a little girl who switches roles with her nanny for a weekend. It’s literally a “how to” guide on how to babysit an adult. This book is honestly so relatable, down to the activities that the little girl and Grandma get up to.
I love how the switch of roles between the little girl and Grandma empowered her to think and act as an adult. As I sat and read the book to my son he subconsciously began to risk assess the scenarios in the story placing himself and his Nana in the scenario. “Mummy if I took Nana to the park we would need a plaster because she is very clumsy”. I loved that this book encouraged his wild imagination.
This book was one of my personal favourites. Scurry the little mouse wants to grow a sunflower just for his Mummy, however disaster strikes when his baby brother eats the only sunflower seed. They set off on an adventure to find a sunflower seed. This story, shows the effort that two siblings go to, to make their Mummy happy. It demonstrates compassion, care and selflessness.
After reading this book to my 3 year old we had a conversation about why it’s important to look after your parents, it was so nice that I was able to refer back to the book to reinforce my points.
Bear has an awful cold. He is adamant that no one has ever been as ill as he is. And when his friend arrives to visit, Bear declares that mouse does not appreciate the “gravity of his situation” despite the mouses efforts to make Bear feel better.
My sons favourite character was mouse. Almost immediately he observed the mouses desire to care for others. My observation was that the book really reinforced why it’s important to help others when they’re in need. As a parent when we teach our children morals and principles we never know how much of that information they’re digesting. One thing I consistently in-still in my son is to care for others and to help others when he is able to. This book most definitely echoed my teachings. Not only that, this is brilliant for children who are learning the art of empathy and compassion.
This book is a story of a little bear who is excited to sleep in his very own bedroom. But with the absence of his big brother, things seems a little scary. Big bear sits with little bear to reassure him that there are no monsters under the bed. Very similar to the ‘who’s afraid of the dark book’ so many children are afraid of monsters under their bed. Even as an adult I cover my feet In bed as I think some one may eat them if they’re out haha. So this little story is so relatable to many children, I love that the big bear humours the little bear in order to comfort him.
WELL! It’s safe to say my son knows 50% of the books off by heart already as he requests that I read them during breakfast, while he sits in the bath and at bed time. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your child enjoy books particularly when they’re advocating confidence and self-esteem. Before reading the 10 for £10 range my honest opinion was that it was too good to be true. How can books so cheap be of a good quality. However, I was so wrong the quality, the price and the content is absolutely fantastic. I would honestly encourage you to check them out! GO GO GO.
*It’s a huge thumbs up from him*
If you want to keep up with the works, you can either sign up to their newsletter for offers and new products or you can follow them on social media:
*Disclosure: Today’s post was sponsored by “The Works”. I can confirm that all of my opinions are my own and I will always remain honest with my readers. I hope you enjoyed this collaborative post. If you have any questions please send me a message*
Has your child recently been diagnosed with a developmental disability?
Are you awaiting the process of diagnosis?
Have you observed behaviour in your child that leads you to believe they may have a developmental disability?
Are you confused about where to seek help and advice?
Has your child’s diagnoses left you feeling isolated and confused
If you’re nodding your head to any of these questions then, This book is for you!! Victoria Hatton’s “Talking Autism” is literally the parents bible to Autism.
When I was gifted this book to review, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I knew that my mind was open and I had a desire to learn, digest and transfer my knowledge to others particularly in my line of work in Childrens Services. However, nothing could prepare me for how comprehensive and detailed this book would be. When I review an item, my thoughts and opinions are completely honest and accurate, so believe me when I say that this book is phenomenal.
The importance of raising awareness
So, why am I reviewing this book? Some may think it’s none of my business, I don’t have a child with Autism. I’m making this topic my business, it’s everyone’s business. In my last post “The invisible face of mental health” I spoke about stereotypes and the way people perceive situations without gaining the full picture. It’s so important that as humans we gain an understanding of why children react in a particular way to situations. Particularly in the context of Austim.
Victoria Hatton, is an Author, a mother and a teacher. Victoria speaks of the moment her daughter was given an Asperger diagnosis. Ironically, Victoria had spent years studying the topic of autism, preparing dissertations and working with children with developmental disabilities. Her motivation to write this book compelled me to continue reading. Not only is she a professional who works with children with Developmental disabilities, she is the mother of one. This is a beautiful combination of perspectives wrapped into one book, which allows readers to experience autism from two different angles, professional and personal.
You see from my position as a teacher, I had never realised just how hard it was to get support. Autism was my passion, my background, my life even then. But when it came to my own daughter I found myself second guessing my decisions.
Talking Autism was written and published by Victoria Hatton in 2018. During your journey through this book you can expect six bite size chapters with experienced-based and professional advice, strategies and interventions for parenting your unique child.
The Diagnosis Process
Getting Educational Support Right For Your Child
What If School Isn’t Working
I love that the chapters have a systematic format, (beginning, middle and end) which makes it very easy to read and digest. The book offers an overall picture of each stage of the process. This means that you’re able to select the chapter best suited to the stage you’re at.
Something I immediately observed as I read the book was my ability to analyse my response to previous situations I had encountered in relation to the autistic children I have worked with. I found myself talking to the book and answering questions out loud. Victoria’s way of Interacting with the reader throughout the book is phenomenal. I found that this encouraged reflective thinking. While reading the first chapter “initial concerns” I was able to put past experiences into perspective.
Each chapter of the book allowed me to expand on my understanding. However, for the purpose of this review I want to focus on three particular areas which have significantly altered my mind set.
Girls on the spectrum
I can only speak from a professional point of view as I do not have a child with a developmental disability. However what I can say is, ‘Girls on the spectrum’ is a chapter which heavily resonates with me. Victoria spoke of her experience of having a daughter with Autism. Coupled with the lack of resources which were available at the time of diagnoses to help her distinguish behaviours amongst the two genders.
Victoria provides a guide of differing elements that parents should flag up to professionals who are considering whether to conduct a diagnostic assessment. The guide provides examples, scenarios and potential issues that both parents and the child may encounter. As a professional I also find this extremely useful. Not only to guide parents who may be unaware of the difference but for my own practise so I can tailor my intervention to suit the child.
One of my favourite sections of this chapter is “Understanding Triggers And Why They Matter”. Parents and professionals, how much easier would it be if you were able to understand the reasoning behind a child’s behaviour and implement ways to manage it. Victoria helps you to do just that. As we are aware children are completely unique and no two children will have the same triggers. The strategies chapter offers tips and advice on how to broach the subject of triggers in a child friendly manner. What’s great is that Victoria recognises that it may be complex to address the issue of triggers with a child and offers alternatives to gaining this information. Other elements in the chapter include:
Reducing environmental triggers
Tackling task based triggers
Preventing sensory overload
Raising self esteem whilst reducing the fear of making mistakes.
What If school isn’t working
Again, the topic of school for some one with a developmental disability can be complex. In my experience in children’s services a lot of parents have found their child’s transition into school extremely complex. Particularly if a child is demonstrating challenging behaviour before the formal diagnoses.
Not only does Victoria provide a list of strategies designed to reduce the likelihood of your child refusing to attend school. She highlights a list of elements which may result in a child refusing to attend school and strategies for the smooth transition back into school.
To conclude the book Victoria offers some final words. Not only is she an Author, A mother and a teacher, she has a knack for motivational speaking. Her tone of voice within this chapter, left me feeling positive and refreshed.
As a reader, I have always found that it’s so important to end any piece of writing with a positive end note leaving the reader feeling optimistic with something to reflect on. Victoria’s book did just that. I look forward to continuously referring back to the guide and heavily incorporating it into my practice as a children’s Services Practitioner.
My review summary
Although this book is specifically made for parents I would strongly encourage practitioners, teachers and healthcare professionals to purchase and use as a guide. My personal experience is that a lot of people have a lack of understanding of developmental disabilities such as Austim. And for this reason it is difficult to maintain relations and provide appropriate interventions.
Further, parents honestly I would describe this guide as a “community in a book” as it provides so much support advice and direction to ensure your child thrives and utilises the resources available to them.
Not a book reader?
This guide is so easy to read and understand. Victoria’s style of writing in this book is extremely relaxed and interactive. During reading time, I felt that I was having a conversation with her rather than reading a book. As mentioned earlier, as it has a systematic format, you don’t have to read the entire book to find the information you require. The contents page Is very clearly titled for ease.
When you think of MENTAL HEALTH what’s the first thing that pops into your head?
Do you ever think about children under the age of 8?
Research suggests that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age 5 so why are there such a lack of resources to support children’s mental health to ensure that they thrive into healthy adults? As a Children Services Practitioner and a parent, one of my main observations was that there was a lack of emotional development mental health interventions for under 10’s to support parents and carers.
“The years from 4-8 are the most important when it comes to a child’s emotional development. We really should focus all our efforts on our child’s developing emotions and sense of who they are at this age.”(WeParent)
As my son is due to start the transition to a new school In September, this resource has come at the perfect time to equip him with self awareness, social skills and the ability to manage potentially difficult situations within his own environment. Therefore, I am extremely excited to be reviewing this amazing parents guide to mental health for children. EVERY parent should have access to this resource not only are you investing in your child’s mental health but it acts as an early intervention for parents who maybe struggling with elements of their child’s development.
Why is your child’s emotional development important
As children grow, they are exposed to varying situations including the transition into school. Therefore having the ability to regulate and manage emotions is imperative as situations they encounter will become more complex. The way children are supported to manage emotions at a young age will significantly influence the way in which they cope with life experiences.
What I love about the founders of the WeParent is that one has 40 years of experience working as a clinical psychologist, and the other is a father which I think is the perfect recipe for a successful collaboration. Knowing that the co founders have an understanding of how challenging it can be to be a parent coupled with the expertise of a clinical psychologist is invaluable.
WeParent are committed to positive mental health. Everyday our children face challenges that will test their coping skills, and as their parents, you want to know you’ve done everything possible to help them. Mental illness is on the rise, but you can do something about it for your own child by giving them the skills they need to deal with their emotions, cope with stress and be happy in their own skin. The best time to start is during the mid-childhood years. WeParent’s mission is to give you the tools to be the best parent you can be. We are your psychologist in your pocket”
We parent has an online module library which comprises of 6 categories with 33 modules in total. They also offer a ‘MODULE OF THE WEEK’ which changes on a weekly basis.
⁃ Preventing bullying
⁃ Friendships & social skills
⁃ Positive sense of self
⁃ Sibling rivalry
⁃ Dealing with Grief “module of the week”
Once you have selected a topic, the site will give you an overview of learning outcomes and what is expected within the module. What I love is that each module is broken down into small sections making it easier to progress through the module. I also found this simplified the way I was able to work with my child. I chose to work on one section per day which allowed for reflection. Each module provides “fun facts” and “quotes from parents” which helps bring the topic to life.
After receiving the learning outcomes you then progress onto “GO TO STRATEGIES” which offers you a holistic tool kit for parents to utilise when talking to their child about ‘bullying’ for example. The beauty of this segment Is that is has two key components:
1.WeParent “Top tips” – offers parents advice on how long they may spend on a topic and how to question and discuss sensitive topics with your child.
2.WeParent “Road block” – Road block considers difficulties that you may encounter as a parent. For example in the ‘bullying’ section it supports parents to engage with their child who is being bullied.
As this is an online portal you literally do have a “psychologist in your pocket” making it easier to work on modules from the comfort of your home, coupled with ability to refer back to a module as and when required.
I have been working on the topic of bullying with my son for the last 2 weeks and I can honestly say that I have observed an increase in his ability to be assertive. Not only that he has been able to identify in his own words what he thinks bullying is, he has even transferred his skills by giving examples from his nursery experience. My sons ability to be assertive and deal with challenging situations is something that I have worried about naturally as a mother. However the tool has been absolutely invaluable.
In approximately 3 months time I will be doing a follow up review of all the topics so I can offer a holistic review of each module.
1. WeParent focuses on early intervention.
2. It is supported by psychologists
3. It is an online toolkit that can be used on the go.
4. WeParent is extremely user friendly
5. It focuses on real life situations that your children WILL face in their lives.
6. The guide can be adapted by the parent dependent on age and ability
7. Although this resource is for 4-8 years old this can easily be adapted for older children. Particularly for those who may have additional learning needs.
8. The website is bright coloured and very inviting.
So to celebrate this amazing site I am giving away 10 FREE 12 Month Subscriptions.
To enter all you need to do is comment on my blog post what you would like to use ‘We Parent’ for? For example:
Confidence and self esteem
Terms & Conditions
The giveaway ends at 12am on 20/07/2018.
Winners will be chosen at random.
Worldwide entrants encouraged
You can keep up with WeParent on the following social media’s.