Half Term Fun With The Ministry of Food

Parents all over the country are either breathing a sigh of relief (no school runs for awhile) or mildly panicking on entertainment choices as half term begins. Happily I can point you in the direction of an exciting free event which is also educational (just don’t tell the kids!)

The Ministry of Food is staging a whole week of activities at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester. Learn about rationing and growing your own food during the Second World War. Ask why carrots were once eaten on sticks or parsnips used as a substitute for pineapple. Why were people encouraged to ‘Dig For Victory’ or what on earth is Woolton Pie?

The kids wont have time to get bored with creative sessions, hands-on art activities, storytelling and music. They’ll even be able to handle real artifacts!

Depending on which day you choose to visit, you could make your own gardener’s apron, colourful fruit basket or allotment tote bag. Under 5s are also catered for, Jo Jingles will be providing sing along sessions all based around food and growing your own. My children received some Jo Jingles sampler CDs and I’m sure your kids will love her.

There’s also a 360 degree cinema style experience to see the ‘War At Home Big Picture Show’.

The Museum Cafe is getting in on the act as well, selling ‘Ration Bags’ to hungry visitors.


Open Studio Family Drop-in Session 22-30 October – daily 1-4pm.

Creative Activities:

  • Gardeners Apron, 22, 23 October.
  • Bountiful Baskets, 24, 25, 29, 30 October.
  • Allotment Totes, 26, 27 & 28 October.

Jo Jingles Session (under 5s) 22, 25, 27 & 29 October.

Timestacks Object Handling, daily at 12.30pm and 3.30pm.

Visit the Imperial War Museum North website for more details



Dirt Devil Mummy Bloggers Event at The Lowry with Mr Stink!

Yesterday morning the children and myself set off for The Lowry in Manchester for a Mummy Blogger Event hosted by Dirt Devil. It’s not a location we’ve visited before and we were very excited to be participating in the event, meeting other bloggers and watching a show. We even took a new Vacuum home!

The event began with an informal gathering in the Hexagon Room, the children marvelled over some rather fancy crayons they had been given before joining an art workshop and eating lunch. I then settled down with an array of sandwiches and had a chat with the other Mums at my table.

The good chaps from Dirt Devil gave us a presentation about the company and their new products. They were very aware that cleaning is not a favoured pasttime of most Mums (or Dads for that matter) but that the premise of the brand is high powered and more importantly quick and easy cleaning. I had to hide my excitement at this point, cleaning is most definitely not a fun activity, but a new Vacuum, well that’s a different matter!

They had brought three new products to show us, first was the Dirt Devil Reach. This little cutie can apparently stretch right across a tennis court! Resisting a very strong urge to grab one and go for a jaunt to see how far the hose came with me, I marvelled over the massive 13m cleaning radius (that’s the stairs sorted then). Priced with an RRP of £69.99 it’s a very affordable little vacuum.

Next was the Dirt Devil Pure. A bagless upright with a 1900W motor, it has an 8m cleaning radius and an ingenious switch on the front to vary the brush depth depending on carpet length. I loved the folding carry handle, despite being a standard sized machine it could easily be pushed into a small cupboard. Priced at just £79.99 it was the most expensive machine I saw that day but still very affordable.

Finally I enthused at the Dirt Devil Easy Handheld. Cordless and rechargable it provides the perfect solution for those quick cleans that tend to pop up around the home or car. It comes with a wall mounted charger meaning it’s always ready to go. I was lucky enough to be given one of these machines to review, so I’ll save my full thoughts for now (plus it’s busy charging up at present!). But at just £59.99 it’s also very economical.

All three machines come infused with Microban technology. This wonderful addition really makes them stand apart from other vacuums, Microban kills bacteria and odours building up in your vacuum. 99.9% effective against E.Coli, Listria and Salmonella amongst others. This feature really appealed to me.

Dirt Devil have a great website full of cleaning tips, tricks and a handy little tool that helps you pick which vacuum is right for you. They also blog regularly about all kinds of events and news (not just cleaning). It’s definitely worth a visit.

Or if videos are more your thing, you can visit their Dirt Devil YouTube page, there’s how-to videos, press events and more. I’m particularly fond of their Toupee Video, which had me chuckling away yesterday.

In August they are launching a Dirt Devil Facebook page, which promises to be very exciting, with games, comps, news, views and the celebrity world of cleaning. If you have little ones then keep your eye on it for the upcoming Little Devils comp.

After all that cleaning our ‘little devils’ returned from their workshop. We all made our way to the theatre and sat down to watch David Walliams new play ‘Mr Stink’. Whether your familiar with the books or not you really must get yourself along to see the show, it’s fabulous. So fabulous in fact that I am going to write about it in more depth soon. It’s playing at The Lowry until Sun 14 August so still plenty of time to visit.


The three Dirt Devil models mentioned are available to purchase at Argos, Tesco and other leading retailers both online and offline.

To ask questions, give suggesstions etc contact Dirt Devil on Twitter.

A trip to Knutsford!

I am always on a quest to find places that still have a variety of independent shops. I had heard good things about Knutsford in Manchester, so I planned a visit there recently.

It is only a small town with one main shopping street called King Street. It’s quite narrow with a few side streets leading off it. But still manages to host a variety of stores and the rather pretty Council offices and a restaurant. Even though I only had about 4 hours to spend in the town it gave me the feeling of being nicely self containted. There’s individual fashion shops, designer shoes, jewellers, card shops, wool stores, galleries, homeware, gift and antique shops.





We did manage a spot of lunch while we visited and stopped off at a lovely little place called the Knutsford Wine Bar. It was really busy for a Tuesday afternoon, which might well give the correct impression that the place is popular with locals and tourists alike.

In the afternoon I went into the most fantastic card shop called Church Hill Gallery. There was a very unique collection of cards on offer from some very talented designers, there was also some very mouth watering handmade papers. The shop itself has a very atmospheric feeling, which I’ve tried to capture in this picture, I bought a much needed diary while I was there.



I also spent some considerable time in a store called Fibre & Clay which is a knit studio and contemporary craft gallery.  Downstairs were two rooms full of beautiful crafts and accessories and upstairs were two rooms full of wool and cotton yarns.

I loved one of the window displays which included an old singer sewing machine and a couple of Julie Arkell characters.

So if you can, definitely add Knutsford as one of your places to visit this year, it’s certainly worth the trip.