Easter activities for kids

Easter activities for kids

 

As we all noticed when frantically leafing through our diaries, Easter is late this year. And with its late arrival has come a very welcome heatwave. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together a guide for Easter with family-friendly activities and ideas that’ll make Easter go down sweeter than a Cadbury’s Cream Egg. See, good things do to come those wait. 

 

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No Easter is complete without an egg hunt. Instead of the traditional, this year, introduce clues so kids have a bit of riddle-solving to do along the way. Or add challenges like ‘do 10 bunny hops’ for little ones to try. As an alternative, get the kids to hide eggs for the adults with rewards they’d like to receive – ‘extra pudding’, ‘stay up late’ and other requests will probably spring to mind.

Why not host your own spring Olympics? Invite friends and family and set races such as an egg and spoon race, egg toss and a donut-eating contest of confectionary strung up on string.

The garden offers ample spring-centric shenanigans. Grab some foil trays and encourage kids to make their own Easter garden. Pick spring flowers and press them to make a montage, or gather foliage to decorate Easter bonnets.

Inside, try blowing out eggs and painting them. Think faces, farm animals (white pom poms for sheep, quail eggs for pigs) and botanical-themed eggs. Otherwise, dabble in a little Easter baking. Try making beautiful, edible Easter bark by melting milk and dark chocolate, spreading over a baking sheet and marbling together using a skewer. Scatter on some coloured chocolate buttons and chill in the fridge for an hour to set.

Alternatively, host a mini Easter party. Play pin the tail on the bunny, Easter piñata or make some art by filling blown-out eggshells with paint and taking turns to throw at a canvas – messy but totally worth it.

 

 

 

Away

 

There’s a whole host of Easter goings-on to take part in this year. Join in with the Cadbury Easter Egg hunts at 260 National Trust properties (nationaltrust.org.uk), or look for dragon eggs at English Heritage sites (english-heritage.org.uk). At the Emirates Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth, there’s an Easter trail running where little ones can hunt for egg-shaped puzzle pieces – plus there’s an Easter high tea for hungry grown-ups (spinnakertower.co.uk). Meet the Easter Bunny at Marwell Zoo, Hampshire (marwell.org.uk), and enjoy a Lindt Gold Bunny hunt at Hampton Court Palace (hrp.org.uk).

An incredible 30,000 chocolate eggs are ready to be found at The BIG Sheep, Devon (thebigsheep.co.uk), along with a host of baby animals to admire. Budding scientists will be well entertained with activities at We The Curious, Bristol (wethecurious.org), featuring a 3D planetarium.

Come up close to animated ice age creatures at Birmingham Botanical Gardens (birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk), do some crafts at Pink Pig Farm, Lincolnshire (pinkpigfarm.co.uk), and help solve crimes to earn a CSI badge at The Deep, Yorkshire (thedeep.co.uk).

In Wales, there are swashbuckling pirate theatre shows during various spring weekends at Folly Farm, Pembrokeshire (folly-farm.co.uk) and an Alice in Wonderland-themed tea party at Gower Heritage Centre (gowerheritagecentre.co.uk). Look out for The Very Hungry Caterpillar making his appearance at RHS Flower Show Cardiff (rhs.org.uk).  

Enjoy puppet shows at the Scottish Seabird Centre, East Lothian (seabird.org) and activities galore at the National Museum of Rural Life, East Kilbride (nms.ac.uk). Don’t miss the Edinburgh International Science Festival (sciencefestival.co.uk) where children can learn about everything from surgery to coding.

Join in with activities throughout the town in Bangor’s Big Easter (visitardsandnorthdown.com), hop on the Easter Eggspress Steam Train, Belfast (steamtrainsireland.com), or book onto the Easter surfing camp at Alive Surf School, Portrush (alivesurfschool.com). We particularly like the sound of segways, zorbing and mini quad bikes at The Jungle’s Family Fun Day, County Londonderry (thejungleni.com). The perfect Easter holidays? We’ve just planned it.

 

 
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Kids' Easter essentials

Kids' Easter essentials

The chocolate. The spring flowers. The sun on our faces. Easter – and spring for that matter – are just around the corner and in honour of the upcoming holidays, we’ve picked ten essentials that’ll make the break go down a treat. From the cutest Easter dresses to toys to keep little ones happy all break long, these items will get you excited for Easter now. We can practically taste the chocolate…

 


1. Floral fancy

Yumi Girls Pressed Butterflies Prom Dress

 

If there was ever a moment for a new dress, it would be now. And what better frock to see her through spring occasions than one with a painterly floral print? It’s our favourite for sure.


Yumi Girls, Pressed Butterflies Prom Dress, £40

 


2. Splash back

Hamleys Nerf Super Soaker Splashmouth

 

We’re forecasting warm weather this Easter (fingers crossed) and booking in an almost compulsory water fight. Your shortcut to easy Easter entertainment, a couple of water guns will help while away a sunny afternoon.


Hamleys, Nerf Super Soaker Splashmouth, £12

 


3. Hopping around 

Happy Socks Rabbit Print Socks

 

Keeping feet cosy in the most Easter-appropriate way possible, these beauties will result in happy feet, guaranteed.


Happy Socks, Rabbit Print Socks, £5

 


4. Little lamb

Hamleys Lamb

 

After the springtime ritual of a farmyard trip to see the new lambs, surprise little ones with a woolly friend of their own.


Hamleys, Lamb, £18

 


5. Cute cover-up

Petit Jour Paris Peter Rabbit Family Apron

 

Mess, what mess? Baking, crafts and the like will go down much more smoothly with a super sweet apron that kids will be proud to wear.


Petit Jour Paris, Peter Rabbit Family Apron, £9

 


6. Ultra huggable

Hamleys Rabbit Soft Toy

 

That face… It would be impossible for kids not to love this laughably soft bunny that will no doubt play a starring role in Easter playtime proceedings.


Hamleys, Rabbit Soft Toy, £18

 

 

 

 

Winter kidswear you'll want to steal

Winter kidswear you'll want to steal

Kim and North, Beyoncé and Blue Ivy… twinning is officially a thing. When once you wouldn’t be seen dead in your little one’s cutesy jumper or think of dressing your tot in your tee, today the modern family wardrobe is one that matches. From the t-shirt for every member of the gang to the cutest mini-me trainers, here’s the winter kidswear you can wear too.

 


1. Heat rush

Lyle & Scott Microfleece Parka

 

There’s no room for shivers or sniffles with a super cosy parka. Think of it like taking your Sunday morning lie in with you.


Lyle & Scott, Microfleece Parka, £60

 


2. Blue for you 

Tommy Hilfiger Boys Stripe Logo T Shirt

 

Do same-same-but-different with a cheery logo tee for guys and little guys alike.


Tommy Hilfiger, Boys' Stripe Logo T Shirt, £25

 


3. Ready for action 

Barbour International Girls 4 Pocket Belted Quilted Jacket

 

You say outdoors, we say Barbour. The brand’s quilted jackets are too good to keep to yourself – we recommend one for all.


Barbour International, Girls' 4 Pocket Belted Quilted Jacket, £50

 


4. Black and white

DKNY Girls Hooded Cardigan

 

Adding drama to the knitwear arena, DKNY’s logo layers are impactful for all the right reasons.


DKNY, Girls' Hooded Cardigan, £26

 


5. In tow

Converse CTAS Hi Infant Trainers

 

There are few things in life as cute as tiny Converse. Fact.


Converse, CTAS Hi Infant Trainers, £28.99

 


6. Grey area

Lacoste Boys Short Sleeve Crew T Shirt

 

If we had to pick a universally flattering wardrobe staple, we’d be hard pushed to find one that’ll top the classic grey top itself.


Lacoste, Boys' Short Sleeve Crew T-Shirt, £14

 

 

Half term heroes

Half term heroes

February half term is sometimes the hardest one to fill. It’s cold, spring feels a long way off and you’re somewhat lacking in imagination. Fear not, help is at hand. We’ve beavered away to find some great ideas for making February half term the best of the year – for you and your little critters.

 


1. Game on

Hamleys Scrabble Harry Potter

 

Gather friends for a board game championship, add water and food colouring to cornflower to make gloop or use masking tape around the house to form a race car track.


Hamleys, Scrabble Harry Potter, £35

 


2. Lightbulb moment

Hamleys Water colour easel set

 

Get crafty and paint family portraits, use pillow cases to host an indoor sack race or tape the sides of a bedsheet to the floor and blow air into it using a box fan to create a dome-like den.


Hamleys, Watercolour easel set, £17

 


3. Challenge accepted

Hamleys Sprite Black Stripe Metal Scooter

 

Wrap up and make full use of the garden this half term. Create an obstacle course, make a nature scavenger hunt or an outdoor mud café.


Hamleys, Sprite Black Stripe Metal Scooter, £114

 


4. Out of the box

Hamleys Red Bubbleator

 

Pick flowers and freeze them with water to make ice ornaments, try tin can bowling or host a bubble fight.


Hamleys, Red Bubbleator, £18

 


5. London calling

Catimini Long Sleeve Tee Shirt

 

There are activities galore at Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival (southbankcentre.co.uk), puddle jumping championships at London Wetland Centre (wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/london) and storytelling at Shakespeare’s Globe (shakespearesglobe.com).


Catimini, Long Sleeve T-Shirt, £14.50

 


6. Be marvelled 

Tommy Hilfiger Boys Check Shirt

 

Head to Butler School at Audley End House and Gardens (english-heritage.org.uk), enjoy science experiments at Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum (scienceandindustrymuseum) and watch live stage shows at Cadbury World (cadburyworld.co.uk).


Tommy Hilfiger, Boys' Check Shirt, £55

 


7. Animal antics

Chipmunks Boys Creepy Slipper

Go wild animal tracking in Sheringham Park (nationaltrust.org.uk), enjoy events as part of the Dark Skies Festival (darkskiesnationalparks.org.uk) or take part in half term shenanigans and book a deer safari at Margam Country Park (margamcountrypark.co.uk).


Chipmunks, Boys' Creepy Wellington Boots, £18

 


8. And action!

Barbour International OW Barbour Boys Troutbeck contrast panel Jacket
 

Pretend to be Tarzan or go zorbing at The Jungle NI (thejungleni.com), trek the West Highland Way (westhighlandway.org) or book a canoe trip on the River Fal (http://canoecornwall.org.uk/).


Barbour International, Boys' Troutbeck Contrast Panel Jacket, £24

 


9. Winter wonders

Helly Hansen Kids jr crew midlayer jacket

 

Make February half term your moment for a ski trip, visiting Efteling (efteling.com) in the Netherlands, one of the world’s oldest theme parks, or trying to catch the Northern Lights while staying in a glass igloo in Kakslauttanen, Finland (kakslauttanen.fi).


Helly Hansen, Kids Jr Crew Midlayer Jacket, £70

 


10. World's your oyster

Timberland Boys Short Sleeve T-Shirt

 

Other destinations on our February bucket list are the stunning scenery of Liechtenstein – one of the world’s least visited nations – and New Orleans for the Mardis Gras celebrations taking place throughout the month.


Timberland, Boys' Short Sleeve T-Shirt, £14.50
 

How to dress kids the Swedish way

How to dress kids the Swedish way

 

Aka how to thrive in winter


The weather is gloomy and the January blues are most definitely upon us, but the festive feeling doesn’t have to end, not according to our Scandi friends, who have become masters in cherishing the blistering chill of winter. Here’s how to breathe new life into these cold-weather months.


Shop Polarn O. PyretShop All Kids’ Clothing

 

kids

 

Whatever the weather, get outdoors

There’s a Swedish saying that goes ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing,’ which is why you’ll find them embracing nature and making the most of the great outdoors all winter long.
The layering principle, rätt klädd med lager på lager, can help you dress kids for all weathers. Here’s how to do it…


  • Layer one consists of Merino or polyester base layers. These fabrics trap heat close to the skin, drawing cold moisture away, keeping the wearer dry and warm. This isn’t thermal underwear however. Buy dresses, tops and long johns which are perfect for inside the house once you’ve come in from the cold.
  • Layer two is a middle layer of breathable fleece or wool. This keeps in heat under the outer layer and releases moisture. In less chilly weather, soft-shell jackets or fleece jackets can be worn alone, without the need for the third layer.
  • Layer three is a wind and waterproof outer that protects against the elements. A padded winter coat is what you need, or a Polarn O. Pyret shell jacket to attach to layer two’s fleece jacket. These are designed so if you sit in a puddle, you won’t get wet. Polarn O. Pyret also make waterproof trousers which attach to their coats and hook over the kids’ feet to stop them riding up.

Finish off the layers with gloves, boots and a beanie hat, which can be worn under a hood. Kids will be ready for every adventure.
Take-home tip: With the right gear, you can all enjoy hours outside.

Layer 1

Layer 2

Layer 3

kids

 

Establish cosy Fridays

Fredagsmys, which means Friday cosiness, is a widespread tradition in Sweden. On a Friday night the family gathers together and eats tacos, crisps and dip, and snuggles up on the sofa to watch TV. Taking into account long winter nights, Scandi interior design provides the perfect setting for a night in. Think mood lighting and luxurious texture.
Take-home tip: Establish one evening of the week as a family night in.


Make the coffee break intentional

Fika, meaning ‘coffee break,’ is a national institution in Sweden. But it holds more significance than just a literal translation. While it traditionally consists of coffee and fikabröd such as cinnamon buns, it can really be anything, as long as you’re sipping coffee, eating a baked treat and taking a break, as it’s more about pausing and making space; establishing the coffee break as a designated moment.
Take-home tip: In the business of weekend activities, designate time to eat as a family and share about the week.

 

kids

 

Switch-up Pancake Day

Shrove Tuesday in Sweden is also known as Semlor Day. Instead of pancakes, semlor - cardamom-flavoured buns, filled with almond paste and cream - are eaten. So popular, they’re now enjoyed through all of Lent. Pancakes with jam and cream, however, will almost invariably be a restaurant children’s main course option throughout the year, along with meatballs and mash, and hot dogs.
Take-home tip: Make your own Pancake Day tradition.


Build an interchangeable wardrobe

Polarn O. Pyret and other Swedish kids’ brands are masters in playful patterns. Stripes, dots and bright colours are key and make for unisex pieces that can be mixed-and-matched. Kidswear is also designed with practicality at the fore. Super-soft fabrics that don’t lose their shape when washed, seams that can scarcely be felt, and easy-to-put-on garments; these features make clothes kids will want to wear – and life easier for you. Arm your children’s wardrobe with these and they’ll keep happy and stylish all winter.
Take-home tip: Think timeless patterns and bold colours for clothing that’ll work for passing on to friends.

 

Kids’ summer holiday essentials

Kids’ summer holiday essentials

With the summer holidays fast approaching, now is the time to start planning what to pack for the kids. From poolside essentials to practical pieces – think waterproof sandals and lightweight raincoats – we’ve picked 11 kids’ summer essentials to help make your holiday planning that little bit less stressful. Now, who wants an ice cream?

 

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1. Raincoats

Polarn O. Pyret Kids Waterproof Rain Jacket

 

If the weather doesn’t play ball, it’s worth having a raincoat up your sleeve (or rather, in your bag). A light one like this won’t add much weight but will be the best thing you pack if there’s a sudden downpour.


Polarn O. Pyret, Kids' waterproof rain jacket, £35

 


2. Quick-drying sandals

Birkenstock Rio Eva Kids Sandals

 

From beach to changing rooms to pool, soggy sandals that soak up water aren’t much fun. Instead, pack a hard-wearing pair and kids will be able to head seamlessly from activity to activity.


Birkenstock, Rio Eva Kids' Sandals, £19.99

 


3. Ride-on luggage

Trunki Zimba The Zebra Ride-on Suitcase

 

Airports, train stations and the like involve quite a lot of walking and waiting. Make these in-between times more fun with a ride-on Trunki that’ll be a relief for tired feet.


Trunki, Zimba the zebra ride-on suitcase, £39.99

 


4. Light cover-ups

Polarn O. Pyret Babies Organic Cotton Cardigan

 

Make sure you pack light clothes as cover-ups if little ones have had a lot of time in the sun. Choose loose cotton or linen clothing that’s cool and comfy. They’ll also double up as layers for chillier days.


Polarn O. Pyret, Babies organic cotton cardigan, £24

 


5. UV hats

Polarn O. Pyret Kids Uv Legionnaire Hat

 

Instead of a normal sunhat, choose a version in UPF50 fabric to give max sun protection. The result? Less worrying for you and more time for the kids enjoying the outside.


Polarn O. Pyret, Kids' UV Legionnaire hat, £12

 


6. Toy packs

Hamleys Arts & Crafts Bag

 

Taking some new toys on holiday is a must for rainy days and entertaining in restaurants. Packs of crafty goodies give plenty of fun options and take up minimal packing space.


Hamleys, Arts and crafts bag, £17

 


7. Hooded towels

Minene Yellow Animal Hooded Towel

 

Swap a beach towel for a hooded towel that will help get little one’s temperature straight back up after swimming. With a matching carry bag, this one is easy to pack and super soft.


Minene, Yellow animal hooded towel, £24

 


8. Grown-up dresses

Pepe Jeans Girls Anabel Dress

 

Channel some mini-me style with a stylish denim day dress – perfect for summer evenings. Complete with sandals and a light cardi over the top.


Pepe Jeans, Girls' Anabel dress, £60

 


9. Printed shorts

Pepe Jeans Kenneth Juniors Short

 

Shorts are a great opportunity to add colour or pattern to kids’ outfits. Take inspiration from the tropics by way of these printed Bermuda shorts, and team with a simple tee.


Pepe Jeans, Kenneth juniors shorts, £55

 


10. Sun cream

Ultrasun 50+spf Extreme 100ml

 

Protect even the most delicate of skin with a high protection sun cream from Ultrasun. It glides on super easily and doesn’t contain emulsifiers, preservatives or perfume.


Ultrasun, 50+SPF Extreme 100ml, £22

 


11. The inflatable

Sunnylife Rose Gold Luxe Ride On Flamingo Float

 

An oversized inflatable will bring plenty of fun to holiday pool sessions. Pack this flamingo one and bring out as a mid-holiday surprise – it will give Insta opportunities aplenty.


Sunnylife, Rose gold luxe ride on flamingo float, £65

Best kids' spring clothes

Best kids' spring clothes

Longer days, bluebell woods, Easter egg hunts… we’re getting excited for all that spring brings. Navigate the change in seasons with our pick of the best staples to take little ones into springtime.

 

Shop The Edit

 


1. Love to layer

Kite Daisy Pinafore

 

A pinny is the perfect transitional piece. For warmer days, pair with a cotton tee and when it’s chillier, throw a cardi over the top and a long sleeve top underneath.


Kite, Daisy pinafore, £28

 


2. Shout out

Zadig & Voltaire Girls Short Sleeve T-Shirt

 

Get in on the slogan tee trend and impart wisdom with this standout t-shirt.


Zadig & Voltaire, Girls' short sleeve t-shirt, £39

 


3. Hero hue

Timberland Boys' Trousers

 

Coloured trousers instantly inject a sense of spring into a wardrobe. Choose burnt orange that’ll pair seamlessly with white or navy.


Timberland, Boys' trousers, £55

 


4. Dapper dude

Polo Ralph Lauren Boys Striped Oxford Shirt

 

When spring occasions demand smarter dressing, make sure he’s decked out in a crisp, striped shirt. It’ll look as good with a V-neck and trousers, as with shorts and sandals.


Polo Ralph Lauren, Boys' striped oxford shirt, £49

 


5. Topical tropical

Polarn O. Pyret Girls Parrot Print Leggings

 

Fashion and homewares are turning to the tropics for Spring/Summer 2018. Translate this trend into your little one’s looks with these fun, printed leggings.


Polarn O. Pyret, Girls' parrot print leggings, £12

 


6. Shoulder to shoulder

Monsoon Girls Plain Enid Denim Jacket

 

Denim jackets come into their own in spring. As stylish thrown over pretty dresses and leggings as layered with knitwear and a beanie, they're the ultimate versatile piece.


Monsoon, Girls' plain Enid denim jacket, £24

 


7. Double trouble

Tommy Hilfiger Boys Reversible Bomber Jacket

 

Get two looks in one thanks to a reversible bomber jacket. Practical and timeless, a bomber is a shortcut to effortless style.


Tommy Hilfiger, Boys' reversible bomber jacket, £110

 


8. Casually done

Howick Junior Boys Badge Sweatshirt

 

Pack away heavy knitwear and instead make sweatshirts the new go-to. Providing the ideal level of warmth for spring, they’re also comfy and work for indoors and outdoors.


Howick Junior, Boys' badge sweatshirt, £22

 


9.Feet first

Converse Boys Ctas Core Hi Trainers

 

Iconic Converse are the ideal footwear solution to springtime weather. For all weekend plans, he’ll look super cool.


Converse, Boys' Ctas Core Hi trainers, £34

 


10. Florals for spring

Yumi Girls Girls Floral Kimono Dress

 

Combining an English garden pattern with an Oriental style shape, this fusion dress will work for a multitude of situations.


Yumi Girls, Girls' floral kimono dress, £30

The ultimate toy chart

The Ultimate Toy Chart

 

Hamleys Toys

 

If there’s one product that takes centre stage at Christmas, it’s the toy. Wished for, opened, paraded around, played with for weeks – a great toy can make childhood memories. Yet, like all yuletide duties, picking one – unless you’re under strict instructions from the recipient themselves – can be a troublesome affair. But to make it less work, more fun, we’ve delved into Santa’s grotto and cherry-picked our favourites for 2018.

“Sit back and watch the reactions”

Whether it’s the supersized version of everyone’s favourite marmalade-loving bear or the sassy Batgirl who’ll make everyone say ‘yass’, these will delight little ones. Long story short: peruse our hand-picked lists of top toys and it’ll be the simplest of all your festive assignments.


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Imagination-sparking

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Action and adventure

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Games and gadgets

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The best summer activities for kids

The best summer activities for kids 

 

Summer is fast approaching and with it the pressure to fill school-free days with endless distractions. Fear not, from fairytale castles to imagination-sparking museums and superb countryside, we've got our hands on a whole host of activities for kids that you'll want to add to the bucket list.

 

Shop Holiday Essentials
Scotland

 


Scotland


Long summer days, spectacular scenery and a host of cultural epicentres make days out in Scotland a treat. Journey to the heart of planet Earth at Dynamic Earth (Dynamicearth.co.uk), Edinburgh, where with interactive exhibits, a 360° dome and school holiday hands-on activities, budding explorers can discover all about nature. Head to Highland Wildlife Park (Highlandwildlifepark.org.uk), near Kingussie, to meet Britain’s first polar bear club in 25 years, or Camperdown Wildlife Centre (Camperdownwildlifecentre.co.uk), Dundee, for European brown bears.


Harry Potter fans will love riding The Jacobite (Westcoastrailways.co.uk), the iconic steam train, and there are children’s shows galore at The Edinburgh Fringe (Edfringe.com). Kids go free to the Royal Highland Show (Royalhighlandshow.org), Edinburgh, on 21st to 24th June and for a taste of tradition, watch the Loch Lomond Highland Games on 14th July.

Antimal antics

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Wales

 


Wales


Kids will love the spectacular experience of Zip World Bounce Below (Zipworld.co.uk), Blaenau Ffestiniog, with slides and trampolines set in a cathedral-sized underground cave. For another day's trip, it's hard to imagine a holiday without going to the beach. Head to Barmouth beach, Snowdonia, for donkey rides and ice creams or one of the sandy beaches on the Gower Peninsula for surfing lessons. Be sure to check out Rhossili Bay, known as 'the supermodel of British beaches'.


Strike your own coin at The Royal Mint Experience (Royalmint.com), near Cardiff, and there’s history aplenty at Cardiff Castle (Cardiffcastle.com) and Caernarfon Castle (Caernarfon-castle.co.uk). Spot dolphins at Cardigan Bay and for a magical trip, explore Llanddwyn Island.

Hit the beach

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Northern Ireland

 


Northern Ireland


See sweets being made at Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory (Auntsandras.com), Belfast, and have a guided tour of linen mill Wellbrook Beetling Mill, (Nationaltrust.org.uk) in County Tyrone. Take a day trip to Castlewellan Forest Park (Discovernorthernireland.com), County Down, for one of the world’s largest permanent hedge mazes and explore the Mourne Mountains – the inspiration for C.S. Lewis’ Narnia.


A history fiend? Head to Titanic Belfast (Titanicbelfast.com) where you can discover the story of the ship in the interactive galleries. Hang out with seals at Exploris Aquarium (Explorisni.com), Portaferry, and, for those who are feeling daring, enjoy the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim, with its spectacular vista.

Nature trail

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Northern England

 


North and The Midlands


Little ones will be enthralled by The National Space Centre (Spacecentre.co.uk), Leicester, with its 42m high rocket tower, planetarium and the chance to walk in the footsteps of many a famous astronaut. For history buffs, a trip to Warwick Castle (Warwick-castle.com) is a must. There are daily shows, such as a birds of prey showcase, and a Princess Tower, where kids can help solve a puzzle to unite the make-believe prince and princess.


Enjoy mountain biking, high ropes, archery and more at Kielder Water and Forest Park (Visitkielder.com), Northumberland, where the sky is said to be the darkest in England. Head to Blists Hill Victorian Town (Ironbridge.org.uk), Shropshire, to journey back in time, Chester Zoo (Chesterzoo.org), or base a day around Manchester with indoor skiing and snowboarding at Chill Factore (Chillfactore.com) and footballing like the pros at the National Football Museum (Nationalfootballmuseum.com).

Fit for a prince and princess

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South

 


South


Plan a city day trip to London. Take kids to Dinosaurs in the Wild (Dinosaursinthewild.com), in Greenwich Peninsula until 31st July, for an immersive, prehistoric experience, while pilots-in-the-making will enjoy the Emirates Aviation Experience (Aviation-experience.com). The first open air cinema for children is heading to London during the summer (Lunakidscinema.com), showing family favourite films like Paddington 2 and Finding Dory.


It’s 100 years since Stonehenge (English-heritage.org.uk) was donated to the public so head there to marvel at the sight. For a swimming adventure, think Coral Reef Waterworld (Everyoneactive.com), Berkshire. The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (Historicdockyard.co.uk) is ideal for an educational trip, as is the Eden Project (Edenproject.com), Cornwall, for giving an immersion into nature.

Day-trippers

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Your half term holiday guide

 

Wondering how to entertain the kids this February half term? From indoor crafts to outdoor pursuits, here are some fun activities to keep them occupied.

 

 


Home

There are plenty of ways to make your home a whole lot more fun during the holidays. Use felt tips to make a treasure map or create animal masks. Alternatively, paint cardboard boxes and turn them into theatres for soft toys and puppets.

Even in the depths of winter you can still make use of the garden by investing in exciting play equipment. Inspired by the Winter Olympics? Invite friends over and stage your own competition complete with country flags and medals.

Section 1 IMG MAP HTHG

 


Town

Time to head out of the comfort of home? Story-telling sessions, craft-making and fun trails can all be winners. Check out your local library, leisure centre, museum and garden centre for information. For days out, there are dozens of child-friendly events going on, from the Viking festival in York to the children’s book festival at The Eden Project, Cornwall.

"Look out for half term deals."

Transform your everyday chores into fun activities to do with the kids. You could try ‘alphabet days’ where you nominate each day of the holiday a different letter and do things starting with that letter. For example ‘L’, you could drink lemonade, sing lullabies, play sleeping lions and make lanterns.

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Country

It may be cold but there are so many ways to enjoy the outdoors. Head outside, take some dressing up clothes and put on a play- Little Red Riding Hood is perfect. Farms, outdoor high ropes and adventure parks are great places for a day outs. Check out Dayoutwiththekids.co.uk for attractions near you.

"Take the chance to explore the local area."

How about making it a mission to go to all the woods in your area? Make a nature book with lists of birds, bugs and plants and get kids to keep a log of all they see. Also look out for junior park runs and football coaching in your area- perfect for giving kids time to let off steam.

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Away

February half term is often just the right moment for a holiday. Desperately craving the warmth? Stock up on stylish tees, lightweight knits and swimwear from our new collections. Equally it’s the ideal time to snap up cool-weather clothing bargains if you’re going skiing or to Scandinavia.

"In need of a holiday? Now’s the time to go."

No time for a trip abroad? A staycation packs just as much appeal. Top of our UK hit list? Fossil hunting and cream teas on the Jurassic Coast; the Beatrix Potter sights in the Lake District; and Edinburgh with its castle and zoo.

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The partywear guide according to kids

The partywear guide according to kids

 

Dressing for a party is always fun, right? While we swish around in a comfy, sequined jumpsuit, tradition dictates that we dress our kids in stiff, buttoned-up shirts and itchy, restrictive dresses. But if let loose on a world of sartorial options, what would kids choose to wear? We’ve gone straight to the source and surveyed mini partygoers to see what they’d put in their event dressing arsenal. The results are in…

 

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Boy smiling in a Lacoste top

 



“I’d wear my school shoes,” divulges Maisie (aged 4), “and a blue dress with hearts on it, or one with fairies on it.” There's a definite fantasy theme at play. “I would put on a snow queen outfit that is white and blue,” Eliana (5) says, “with a beautiful tiara with snowflakes on it.”


The boys go for a sporty, high-low look. “I’d wear my Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom top or a shirt and a bowtie because then I’d look smart,” Beau (6) explains. “For my trousers, I’d wear my football shorts with the big number ten on them and my brown boots for shoes.” Reuben (2) would follow suit. “He likes to wear what he calls his ‘goal-keeper’,” his mum explains, “which is any long sleeve top with stripes on it and his monkey trousers!”

 

Girl in 3 Pommes dress and cardigan

 



Some interviewees take a thematic approach to party dressing. “ I would wear a ballerina outfit,” Rosie (3) confirms, “with my sparkly tap shoes and my hair tied up.” “I would dress up as a present!” Emma (7) exclaims.


A defining factor is all decision makers know exactly the look they want. Brooke (12) would wear “a black skater skirt, black tights, platform ankle suede boots and a white, off-the-shoulder top.” Barney (5), meanwhile, says “I’d be a snowman with candy because I love Christmas and snow and candy.”


From our extensive fieldwork research, we’ve deduced kids have great taste. Left to their own devices they’d pick fun combos, expressing their personalities, that are lot more exciting than the archetypal party looks. So, from crunching the data, we’re taking inspo from our eveningwear experts and have pulled together four great party looks to shop now. “Parties are fun!” Maisie exclaims. We couldn’t agree more.

 

Rock chick

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Sporty star

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Princess for an evening

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Animal antics

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10 best school bags

10 best school bags

Compared to shiny new shoes and a new school uniform, nothing causes as much excitement about the new school year as a bag. When options for personalisation are limited, school bags bring fun into the getting-ready-for-the-day proceedings. We’ve taken matters into our own hands and picked 10 of the best school bags that’ll make going back to school all fun and games.

 

Shop Bags For Younger Kids Shop Bags For Teen Girls Shop Bags For Teen Boys

 


1. Clever critter

Happy Sammies Fox William Small Backpack

 

Whether they’re beavering away or larking around, this bag will give lessons and playtime a little animal magic.


Happy Sammies, Fox William Small Backpack, £29

 


2. Right at home

Joules Zip Back Bag

 

Going to school come September can be daunting, but a bag that’s enjoyable to wear can be just the ticket for a happy transition.


Joules, Zip Back Bag, £29.95

 


3. Flower power

Desigual Bag Odissey Nanaimo

 

Armed with a rucksack as gorgeous as this one, your star pupil will be able to conquer anything the school day throws at them.


Desigual, Bag Odissey Nanaimo, £74

 


4. Play it cool

Herschel Retreat Backpack

 

Purveyors of effortless cool, a Herschel backpack will be a firm favourite in the weekday playground and the weekend park.


Herschel, Retreat Backpack, £80

 


5. The it bag

Therapy Tiffany Tote

 

This bag – so grown up and sophisticated in its aesthetic – will make all their friends jealous. Plus, at this price, it’s a steal.


Therapy, Tiffany Tote, £25

 


6. No revision needed

Eastpak Orbit Backpack

 

Eastpak’s iconic bags always work. Just the right size and super comfy, it’s a school goer’s classic for good reason.


Eastpak, Orbit Backpack, £37

 


7. Simple but effective

Kenneth Cole Nylon Backpack

 

Searching for a black backpack that’ll adhere to the school uniform rules? We’ve got your answer.


Kenneth Cole, Nylon Backpack, £80

 


8. Totes glamorous

Desigual Bag Corel Seattle

 

This tote with a painterly pattern is so beautiful it could almost be the inspiration for fifth period art.


Desigual, Bag Corel Seattle, £64

 


9. Star pupil

Minene Kids Stars Rucksack

 

This rucksack passes the practicality test with flying colours. Lightweight with useful water bottle pockets, you’ll know you’re on to a winner.


Minene, Kids' Stars Rucksack, £22

 


10. Little monkeys

Trunki Toddlepak Backpack Monkey

 

Snap up this bag pronto. So fun and bright, there’ll be no problem getting little ones to put it on and head out the house.


Trunki, Toddlepak Backpack Monkey, £19.99

Best wedding outfits for kids

Best wedding outfits for kids

 

As the countdown to wedding season begins, turn your attention to what the kids will wear on the big day. From adorable suits for boys to dreamy dresses for girls, we've picked outfits so good you'll wish they came in your size.

 

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Girl in a Yumi Girls dress holding flowers

 


Here come the girls

A tradition dating back to Ancient Rome, flower girls historically walked in front of the bride down the aisle, scattering herbs or grains - with petals later becoming the norm. For today’s ceremonies, pick a dress in the same hue as your bridesmaids. Alternatively, go for a white, ivory or cream dress and match it to the bride's gown.

“Complementing accessories will set off the dress”

For a traditional wedding scheme, opt for satin or organza. Layer a pretty cardi over the top and pair with tights and closed occasion shoes. If you’re channelling a more relaxed, boho vibe, kit her out in a lacy dress with sandals and ask your florist to make a fresh flower headband. Pack a cotton day dress and leggings as a back-up for later in the day, a sun hat and a cute apron for keeping her outfit looking smart.

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Lets hear it for the boys

 


Let’s hear it for the boys

While page boys traditionally held the bride’s train as she walked down the aisle, nowadays they have varied roles in the proceedings, doing everything from carrying the rings to accompanying the flower girls. A tailored suit is perfect for formal weddings. Match to the colour of the ushers and he’ll look just the part.

“Go all out in mini-me style with a three-piece suit”

For a more relaxed do, pair a shirt - slightly unbuttoned with a vest underneath or buttoned up - with chinos. Shirts with colour accents are great for giving a smart look without the need for a tie (you'll thank us later). Polished black or brown shoes will complete the look.

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Back-to-school essentials

12 back-to-school essentials

The summer holidays are finally here, but before you pack away the uniforms and box up the books, it's worth spending the time getting next year's school essentials sorted before holiday mode takes over. From smart shoes to stationery so good you'll wish you kept it for yourself, here are the back-to-school essentials that'll get your kids off to a flying start come September.

 

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1. Case in point

Sara Miller Parrots Pencil Case

 

Beautiful stationery makes light of hard work and little ones will be itching to get cracking when they’ve got as gorgeous a pencil case as this one.


Sara Miller, Parrots pencil case, £20

 


2. Happy thoughts

NPW Positive Pens

 

A little encouragement goes a long way and these pens, each featuring a cheery saying, will give school stars that little boost they need.


NPW, Positive Pens, £8.50

 


3. Thirsty work

Asobu Flavour It 2 Go Water Bottle, Red

 

We all know keeping hydrated is key to concentration but sometimes water just isn’t that tempting. The infusion section of this bottle means you can pop in all manner of fruit and be left with a flavour that’s much more appealing.


Asobu, Flavour It 2 Go Water Bottle, £12.99

 


4. Touch down

Kangaroos Kids Backyard Trainer

 

Budding athletes will find these trainers more than keep up, in performance with their non-marking soles and in the style arena.


Kangaroos, Kids Backyard Trainers, £21.99

 


5. Shoulder to shoulder

Superdry Trinity Montana Rucksack

 

A great school bag is one that fits everything in without being too overbearing and uncomfortable. This one scores full marks on practicality and aces on the fashion front too.


Superdry, Trinity Montana Rucksack, £34.99

 


6. Colour in

Lelli Kelly Girls Colour School Dolly Star Shoes

 

The trendiest shoe in the playground this September? These Lelli Kelly shoes, which come with colourful pens for customising the star design.


Lelli Kelly, Girls' Colour School Dolly Star Shoes, £55

 


7. Fruit crush

Sunnylife Watermelon Eco Lunch Box

 

This bold lunch box is almost as tempting as the food you’ll pop inside. Dishwasher safe too, it’s a win win.


Sunnylife, Watermelon Eco Lunch Box, £13

 


8. Got you covered

Polarn O. Pyret Kids Navy Rain Coat

 

Forecast: rainy. Solution: an understated raincoat to layer seamlessly over a uniform.


Polarn O. Pyret, Kids Navy RainCoat, £35

 


9. Making waves

Pepe Jeans Guido Swimwear

 

Practical? Check. Stylish? Check. Keep his swim kit looking great with some statement but not too outlandish swim shorts.


Pepe Jeans, Guido Swimwear, £22

 


10. Time to shine

Cluse La Bohème Rose Gold Watch

 

Alongside the sea of navy, white and black, a watch is the school-goers opportunity to accessorise. Choose a grown-up and sophisticated watch like this and although she’s wearing a uniform, she’ll still feel she’s got on a touch of glamour.


Cluse, La Bohème Rose Gold Watch, £79.95

 


11. Cosy toes

Tommy Hilfiger Boys Small Flag Logo Stripe 2 Pack Socks

 

Colourful socks make sorting through the drying a whole lot easier and getting socks and shoes on a mile more fun.


Tommy Hilfiger, Boys Small Flag Logo Stripe 2 Pack Socks, £9

 


12. Well drawn

Jigsaw Flamingo Melon Drawstring Bag

 

Give P.E. proceedings a taste of the tropics with a drawstring bag in everyone’s favourite summer motif – the flamingo.


Jigsaw, Flamingo Melon Drawstring Bag, £19

10 best girls’ Easter dresses

10 best girls’ Easter dresses

After months of cold weather, spring is around the corner and with it the perfect opportunity for little ones to don an Easter dress. We’ve handpicked ten of our favourite frocks, so gorgeous you’ll wish they came in your size.

 

Shop The Edit

 


1. White out

Zadig & Voltaire Girls Dress

 

Nothing says spring like a crisp, white cotton dress. It’s perfect for pairing with sandals and a denim jacket.


Zadig & Voltaire, Girls' dress, £90

 


2. Little lilies

Monsoon Lily Printed Dress

 

Taking inspiration from an English garden, this dress has a whimsical, painterly look that we love.


Monsoon, Lily printed dress, £34

 


3. Animal antics

Kite Elephant Dress

 

In 100% organic cotton with an elephant design and adorable stripes, this dress scores full marks for practicality and style.


Kite, Elephant dress, £24

 


4. Flower power

Bardot Junior, Girls' Ebony floral dress

 

The classic floral dress is given an update with an off-the-shoulder design. It’ll see her through many an occasion, from Easter to prom and beyond.


Bardot Junior, Girls' Ebony floral dress, £55

 


5. Festival vibes

Yumi Girls Birds Embroidered Chambray Dress

 

Channel a boho look thanks to this carefree embroidered style. Chambray is ideal for giving the look of denim but with a lightweight feel.


Yumi Girls, Birds embroidered chambray dress, £30

 


6. Pretty and preppy

Polo Ralph Lauren Girls Ralph Lauren Polo Dress With Small Logo

 

If in doubt, go for a classic. A simple design, sporty shape and timeless hue makes this dress one that’ll last.


Polo Ralph Lauren, Girls' Ralph Lauren polo dress with small logo, £69

 


7. Smart choice

Little Dickins & Jones Girls Magnolia All Over Print Dress

 

For more formal occasions, she’ll love getting dressed up in a girly printed dress with a full skirt.


Little Dickins & Jones, Girls' magnolia all over print dress, £40

 


8. Denim days

Fat Face Denim Pinafore Dress

 

A pinafore is the definitive versatile piece. Mix and match tops underneath and vary the look by teaming it with tights or leggings.


Fat Face, Denim pinafore dress, £22

 


9. Colour pop

Tommy Hilfiger Girls Shiffley Dress

 

Go bold in the colour department with a standout red dress. The belt gives it a varsity air.


Tommy Hilfiger, Girls' Shiffley dress, £75

 


10. Make a statement

Karl Lagerfeld Girls Dress

 

The quirky graphic and cool, casual shape makes this day dress a very fashion-forward choice.


Karl Lagerfeld, Girls' Dress, £85

Kids' winter wardrobe saviours

Kids’ winter wardrobe saviours

We’re all for dressing for winter – the excuse to wear our softest cashmere and loungewear all day, yes please – but the kids, sometimes not so much. To avoid the never-ending battle of getting wrapped up before heading out the door (because sometimes we do have to leave the house), we've picked the kids' winter wear that’ll make your life easier. From chunky knits to ludicrously cute hats, these pieces are so chic you'll wish they came in your size too. Winter, we gotta love you.

 

Shop Coats & Jackets

 


1. Times two

3 Pommes Girls' Jacket

 

We all like something for free, right? This puffer is reversible with a jazzy outside and a glistening inside, meaning you get two in one. Bingo.


3 Pommes, Girls' Jacket, £42

 


2. Duvet dreams

Polarn O Pyret Kids Padded Coat

 

This is a coat that means business. From the purveyors of gear for Scandinavian climes, Polarn O. Pyret triumphed with a coat as cool as streetwear and as toasty as a Sunday by the fire.


Polarn O. Pyret, Kids' Padded Coat, £69

 


3. Look luxe

Catimini Sleeveless Fake Fur Waistcoat

 

In true mini-me style, a fake-fur gilet will add warmth to all her party ensembles. Luxurious and chic, it’ll also work paired over jeans and a sweater for that perfect high-low combo.


Catimini, Sleeveless Fake Fur Waistcoat, £59

 


4. New adventures

Tommy Hilfiger Boys Tommy Hilfiger Arctic Parka

 

Future Bear Grylls will love careering round jungles and forests in a parka that’s got all the cool of the urban street and all the practicality needed for a mountain top excursion.


Tommy Hilfiger, Boys' Arctic Parka, £130

 


5. Spread the love

Zadig & Voltaire Girls Grey Knitted Sweater

 

Nowadays the best knitwear makes a statement. Tap into the current zeitgeist with a rainbow ‘love’ sweater that’ll be pride of place in her closet.


Zadig & Voltaire, Girls' Grey Knitted Sweater, £99

 


6. Back track

Little Marc Jacobs Boys Bicolor Knitted Cardigan

 

This jumper reminds us of T-Birds in Grease and a retro bitmap pattern and we’re in love. Simple at the front, standout at the back, it’s too cool for school (though admittedly could also work for that too).


Little Marc Jacobs, Boys' Bicolor Knitted Cardigan, £109

 


7. Don’t sweat

Levi's Girls Billie Sweat Shirt

 

Half sparkle, half sporty, this sweatshirt treads the middle ground between girly and tomboy perfectly. Nice one, Levi’s.


Levi's, Girls' Billie Sweatshirt, £51

 


8. Farm friends

Polarn O Pyret Kids Goat Print Jumper

 

We’re championing the goat as our mammal motif of the moment. Teamed with cords, it’s a little bit hipster and we kind of love that.


Polarn O. Pyret, Kids' Goat Print Jumper, £28

 


9. Right on top

Esprit Knit Hat Eyes

 

The two golden rules of wintertime hats: it must be warm and it must be cute. We’ve got our eyes on this beauty that successfully abides to both prerequisites.


Esprit, Knit Hat Eyes, £11

 


10. Cool cat

Kenzo Kid Boy Hat Marine Blue

 

The Kenzo tiger and neon green lettering gives this hat such enviable urban vibes that's making us wish it came in adult size.


Kenzo, Boys' Marine Blue Hat, £40

 


11. On your toes

Zadig & Voltaire Girls Black Leather Boots

 

With that rock chick look nailed, we wish we’d been trendy enough to wear these when we were young.


Zadig & Voltaire, Girls' Black Leather Boots, £155

 


12. Boot camp

Chipmunks Boys' Ranch Boot

 

A lesson in expert boot making, this Chipmunks pair have extra grippy soles and a heritage look that’s ideal for smarter occasions and also more casual dos.


Chipmunks, Boys' Ranch Boots, £28