Review: The 5* luxury spa experience for families at Elounda Resort, Crete

Elounda Resort 3

Photo credit: Alison Perry

Kids and spa aren?t usually two words you associate with each other, but at the Elounda resort in Crete, your children can experience the Six Senses Kids package while you soak up the sun or have some spa time of your own.

Nestled between the Bay of Mirabello and olive grove covered hills, Elounda is the ultimate in luxury. Families can choose between the Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort, the Elounda Mare Hotel or the Elounda Peninsula All Suite Resort ? all three sit on the site of an old fishing village, with much of the original charm retained (imagine turning a corner to find a beautiful old Greek chapel with pink flowers outside).

Elounda Resort 1

Photo credit: Alison Perry

Our stay started in the most relaxing way ever ? after a brilliant buffet breakfast (fruit and croissants for me, Nutella on toast for her) I dropped off the five-year-old at the Kids? Ark. There, she took part in the Six Senses Kids session, while I went to the Six Senses Spa for a treatment and chill out time.

The Six Senses Kids experience aims to teach children about wellness and health, in an interactive and fun way. They started off with a yoga class (?There were even SOME poses that I couldn?t do!? laughed my incredulous ? and super flexible ? daughter). This was followed by a mini spa treatment, where the kids had their feet washed and then used an olive oil and sugar scrub on their feet and legs. Lastly, they went out to the Kids? Ark garden to do a botanical treasure hunt and pick some fresh herbs before making some bread, with their herbs in it.

Elounda Resort 2

Photo credit: Alison Perry

Meanwhile?. not too far away, in the Six Senses Spa, some grown ups were being pampered to within an inch of their lives. The two-level spa has waterfalls, glass sculptures, floating crystals and lots of beds to relax on, drinking tea. After my facial and massage, I sat outside on a balcony overlooking the vast resort and out to sea.

But it?s not just all-age spa treatments that make Elounda special. The accommodation is beautiful, yet practical for families, with separate rooms for kids, adjoining rooms and cots, bottle warmers and stairgates available. We were lucky enough to have a two bedroom suite with a private pool ? the five-year-old?s face when she realised we had our own pool was a picture. Luxurious touches like bathrobes, slippers (including mini versions for kids) and a daily turn-down service tell you that you?re staying somewhere special, where attention to detail matters.

Elounda Resort 4

Photo credit: Alison Perry

The restaurants vary from the family-friendly Oddysseas (perfect for a Greek lunch next to the water, while the kids watch the fish swim below) to The Old Mill, a fine dining restaurant serving mouth-watering Cretan cuisine. So whether you?re looking for a quick pizza by the pool or a beautiful gourmet dinner, the food at Elounda is top-notch.

Still need convincing? Here are 10 reasons to take your kids to Elounda?

  • The brilliant kids? club ? We don?t tend to use kids? clubs much on holiday these days, but the five-year-old loved the Kids? Ark so much, she begged to go back the following day. As well as the wellness experience, they have a pool with two waterslides and loads of games and activities, both inside and under a covered area by the pool.
  • There are plenty of quiet spots ? Even though you?re on holiday with your kids, there?s often nothing worse than other people?s kids. Elounda, brilliantly, has numerous little beaches and coves that you can escape too, if things get too crowded.
  • The Arsenal Soccer School Camp ? if you?ve got a child between 5 and 16 who loves a bit of footie, they can attend the camp and learn new ball skills, regardless of their playing ability. The five-year-old loved it, especially when the coach helped her score a goal!
  • It?s easy to get around ? being built into the hills, makes for a beautiful setting but it also means getting from one part of the resort to another can give your glutes a good work out and result in tired children asking to be carried. Elounda are one step ahead though, and they have a number of golf buggies which ferry guests around. Some are on a timetable, so it?s just a case of waiting for them to come along, but you can also just request a buggy in any shop, restaurant or reception area.
  • The kids can learn to dance ? whether they fancy learning some ballroom or hip hop dancing, they can take lessons with the internationally-acclaimed choreographer Fokas Evaggelinos who leads the judging panel on the Greek Dancing With The Stars!
  • The fun continues in the evening ? Elounda has various evening activities for kids, from a mini disco to a cinema night complete with popcorn. There?s also a Cretan Night you can enjoy as a whole family (we loved the traditional music and dancing!).
  • Fuzzy eaters will find something they like here ? While you gorge on Greek salad, tzatziki and more feta cheese than you can possibly imagine, there?s a great children?s menu which covers off traditional Greek food for the adventurous and things like pasta and fish goujons for those who want to play it safe. You can even order fresh baby food too.
  • It?s fun for teenagers too ? older kids can book tennis and golf lessons, try water skiing and sailing, while in the evenings, there?s a dedicated teenage area where they can play board games and video games.
  • No need to bring a buggy or car seat ? along with the cot, steriliser, bottle-warmer and other equipment you can request for your stay, Elounda also has a number of strollers available for guests? use, meaning you don?t have to lug yours from home. You can also request taxis with car seats too.
  • The sunsets are worth going for alone ? whether you get a babysitter and watch the sun set from a romantic table for two, or you snuggle up in bathrobes as a family on your balcony to watch the sky turn pink, purple and finally dark, it?s not to be missed and will give you some pretty special holiday memories.
Elounda Resort 5

Photo credit: Alison Perry

Sovereign (01293 762 003, is offering a week at the five star Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel ? part of Sovereign?s Family Collection ? with prices from £4,599 per family of three ? saving up to £935 per family. Departing on 27 May 2017, the offer includes a seven night stay on a B&B basis, a child stays for free offer, UK airport lounge access, private airport transfers and return international flights from London Gatwick with British Airways. Book here.

We sent lifestyle and travel blogger Alison Perry (and her five-year-old daughter) along to Elounda resort in Crete to road-test their wellness package for children. You can read more from Alison at and or catch her on Twitter @IamAlisonPerry

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BritMums is the UK’s largest parent blogger collective. We offer bloggers the latest support, advice and how-tos as well as feature great content on food, travel, relationships, health, charities, crafting and much more. Our social network is free to join and helps bloggers connect with others; our BritMums Pro programme connects bloggers with brands on our high-quality projects and our annual conference, BritMums Live, is the blogging event of the year.

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Easy Paper Quilling Emoji Cards

Many moons ago, we had a lovely lovely guest post showing us a great Paper Quilling for Beginngers ? it was a beautiful (and easy!) Paper Quilled Heart card ? perfect for Valentine?s Day or Mother?s Day. They were well received and I loved the fact that people where having a go at a ?new skill? ? ie paper quilling ? all be it a simplified version of paper quilling. It may be simpler, but it isn?t any less beautiful nor less fun! So I decided it would be nice to have another Paper Quilling for Beginners project for you and came up with these Easy Paper Quilling Emoji Cards for you! Where old traditions meet modern trends!!!!

Paper Quilling for Kids and Beginners - Emoji Greeting Card

Easy Paper Quilling Emoji Cards

(affiliate links have been added in brackets for your convenience!)

How to make your Paper Quilling Emoji Cards

Remember, if you like our videos you can subscribe to Red Ted Art on YouTube for free! You will be the first to see new videos (rather than having to wait a week or two for me to add them to the blog!!).

I DO hope you liked our Paper Quilled Emoji cards and that you do have a go at this easy paper quilling project!!!! Do share anything you make with me on Facebook or Instagram!

Want to learn more about paper quilling? get the paper quilling ?stuff? and check out some of these ideas here on Red Ted Art!!

Paper Quilling Supplies

  • Quilling paper (US/ UK)
  • Slotted Quilling Tool (US/ UK)
  • Quilling Stencil & Pins (optional) (US/ UK)
  • (here is a handy glue dispenser for quilling US/ UK)

If you are feeling inspired you may also LOVE this Quilling Set:

quilling set

Aren?t they adorable? Get your kit here ? US/ UK!! They would make a lovely gift too!

Paper Quilling Projects on Red Ted Art

Paper Quilling Flowers ? so sweet! And a perfect introduction to ?grown up? Paper Quilling!

paper quilling

Check out these fabulous Paper Quilled Butterflies

butterfly quilled

Cute Paper Quilled Christmas Wreaths!

Easy Paper Quilling for Beginners - Christmas Wreath. Turn them into earings, ornaments, greeting cards or gift tags. Beautifl!

Or check out this adorable Quilled Heart Card ? a great intro to quilling for kids:

quilled heart how to

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Tags: card making, cardsc, emoji, mother’s day, paper, Paper crafts, paper quilling, quilling, valentine’s day, Valentines Day Cards, videos, vlogs

Category: Card making, Gifts That Kids Can Make, Mothers Day, Paper Crafts, Paper Quilling, Quilling, Valentines, vlogs

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#NepalNow : A recycling centre that makes a difference

woman sorting bottles

Bishnu sorts bottles

Bishnu?s hands work fast. She grabs a plastic bottle from the large bag in front of her and twists off the lid, smoothly tossing it into the small bucket near her feet. Her craft knife flicks, slicing through the label, cutting out the small strip of glue that held it in place, severing the coloured collar left behind on the neck of the bottle and whipping it off. Her final movement: flicking the bottle into the one of the large open-mouthed sacks hanging around her ? one for green, one for water, one for clear soda?. It?s barely landed before she?s picked up the next one.

recycling centre Nepal

Jen with Bishnu in work garb, in her red saree and a detail from the site

I was sitting with Bishnu at the Himalayan Climate Initiative?s Nagar Mitre PET recycling centre in Kathmandu, Nepal. Coca-Cola had flown out of a group of bloggers to Nepal for the #NepalNow trip, to see its work with non-profits and non-governmental organisations along with its #5by20 project (more about which in a subsequent post). We were here to see how this innovative recycling public-private partnership works. Coca-Cola paid for my travel, accommodations and food. 

It has all been amazing but to be honest, this stop was one I was most looking forward to on our trip.

The plastic bottles in our lives

Whenever I toss a plastic bottle in a recycling bin in London, I can?t help but think about its journey, where it came from and, crucially, where it goes. As we all think more about living sustainably, what we do about our plastic bottles is a big issue. Just how big? In the Kathmandu Valley alone, 17 tons of plastic PET bottles (polyethylene terephthalate ? the most common type of plastic drinks bottles) are thrown away on the street everyday, and about that much daily in the rest of Nepal.

Every day.

These women, the workers who supply it and this facility play a vital role in the health of the nation, where the waste management system is not up to the job. Independent waste workers gather the bottles from the street and restaurants provide used ones. The workers in this facility sort the bottles and bale them, before sending them on for recycling. HCI is doing things differently from other sorting centres.

at the Nagar Mitre recycling, Kathmandu


How HCI makes a difference for workers

As you might imagine, this isn?t traditionally the most respected or well-paid work.

Yet HCI, a youth-driven non-profit committed to social inclusion and climate resilience, is remaking and professionalising the process.

To the gatherers, it pays up to 23 rupees per kilogram, much more than the 12 rupees per kilo they get from other sorting centres. More than that, it has elevated the work they do. One collector, in a video for HCI, describes being called ?khatey?: garbage. HCI provided them with official branded jackets ? uniforms ? and now they are seen as workers, not scavengers.

For the sorting jobs, HCI reaches out to vulnerable women, trafficked women, and women trapped economically. It offers flexible shifts, fair pay, free health checks and medications, and more. Even educated women seek out these jobs. Bishnu is pursuing her bachelor of economics degree. Her husband is a lawyer and they have a 7-year-old son. She opts to work 6 hours a day, 6 days a week to help pay for her degree and contribute to the family income. 



The women work expertly with sharp knives to prepare the bottles for recycling


A different bag for every bottle type

And the facility itself, we?re told, is miles ahead of similar places. There is not the expected bad smell ? we actually ate lunch in a small courtyard beside the office just steps up from the workspace. All I could detect were the delicious aromas of dal, spinach, and vegetable curry. 

What at first looks chaotic is actually highly organised. Women sit on short stools in pod-like spaces, surrounded by the huge bags they?re filling. Full bags are rolled and carted out for baling. The unsorted bottles sit in a separate space. The women wear heavy-duty gloves, face masks, protective aprons. We heard stories of the terrible conditions elsewhere: overpowering smell, lack of safety for workers, animals, pests, even children running around. 

Here, the feel is professional and organised. We are allowed to walk around freely and talk with the women. I even had a go at using a new prototype tool Coca-Cola engineers created to facilitate the removal of the lid collar. TKNAME looked on politely as I struggled to insert it into the neck, struggled to cut the plastic. She was very polite and didn?t laugh. I was a rampant novice among experts.

How Coca-Cola helps

HCI?s vision is to put the Nepali economy firmly on the path to sustainable development, by finding practical and innovative ideas. Nagar Mitre is one version of that. They also run programmes that educate about sustainability, help build earthquake resistant homes, encourage young people to get involved and more.

Recycling is a global initiative for Coca-Cola. Here, they have not only invested money but also shared expertise and advice. Even their visible involvement encourages other organisations to support and contribute to the initiatives.

?Without Coca-Cola, this project would not have happened,? stresses Prashant Singh, the founder of HCI five years ago and until recently its CEO. He has now stepped aside to make way for Shilshila Acharya, a 29-year-old Nepali woman who studied environmental science in Norway.

A real-world feedback loop

The relationship also creates a conversation between the recyclers and Coca-Cola. To make the work faster during sorting, the company invented a tamper-proof lid with an easier-to-remove collar ? the small round piece of plastic that remains around the bottle neck after you twist off the lid. Next up: it is looking at developing a glue for labels that comes off easily so sorters like Bishnu don?t have to spend time cutting out that section of the bottles. 

The result of all these efforts? HCI has made an impact since its inception, with 329.84 tons of greehouse gas reduced through PET bottle recycling and $1.5 million U.S. resources reserved. This is all in addition to the material way it has improved the life of workers. 


The prototype tool for removing lid collars

Jenography in Nepal recycling centre

Jen tries out the prototype type, with limited success. Note Bishnu?s furrowed brow

Still challenges ahead

From this recycling plant, the baled bottles have been shipped to India for recycling. But India has recently banned the import of plastics from other countries. Coca-Cola, HCI and its board are looking at their options, including lobbying India, exploring the feasibility of breaking up the bottles (if they are plastic pieces rather than entire bottles, they can be exported) and other options. 

In the meantime, here in this well-run the ladies quickly and efficiently work their way through the piles of bottles, tossing, cutting sorting, making Nepal a cleaner, safer space for everyone.

On the #NepalNow trip, Coca-Cola paid for travel, accommodation and expenses. All opinions are my own. 

Check out our visit to an earthquake-affected rural village getting toilet & washing facilities:

#NepalNow : How to rebuild a village post-earthquake


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About Jennifer Howze

Jennifer Howze is the Creative Director and co-founder of BritMums. She blogs about family travel at, tweets at @JHowze and Instagrams at @JHowze. Previously, she wrote the Alpha Mummy blog at The Times and as a journalist has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel,, Allure, SELF and Premiere, among others. She won The Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for a health article in Seventeen magazine.

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#BloggersBeatingCancer? How you can help

Blogger Emma from Island Living 365 turned the loss of losing a loved one into something positive, inspiring her and Mumzilla to create #BloggersBeatingCancer, a virtual coffee morning to raise money. Here she shares her story?


A word that none of us want to hear. It has been estimated that 9 million people died from cancer in 2015. It is a disease that is indiscriminate. It is a disease that is cruel. It steals the young, the old, the rich and the poor. It doesn?t care what gender or race you are. It doesn?t care if you are a mum or a dad, a sister or a brother. I knew all of the statistics but I always thought cancer was something that affected other people. I never dreamed that I would lose Sarah to it.

sarah #BloggersBeatingCancer


Bright, beauti-ful Sarah. A young mother who doted on her children. Sarah who did everything right. Sarah who was healthy. She had the life that she had always dreamed of. The life she had planned. This wasn?t part of her plan. Yet, she was brave and courageous and she told us that she would beat it. She wasn?t going to let cancer win. However, this was one battle that even Sarah couldn?t win. Fifteen months later she died. She fought to the very end. She was a warrior.

In the immediate aftermath of Sarah?s death I struggled to make sense of it. Memories tortured me. Before I lost Sarah, I never really appreciated how grief is physical. In those early days I could al-most feel grief next to me. Some days grief would physically hurt me, pummelling me in the chest. Now just over a month later and I can still feel grief in the room. A memory will suddenly come back and I am floored. I come across a photo of us laughing on my hen do and I get cross with myself. Cross because I can?t remember what we are laughing about. I want to hold onto every good memory of Sarah, I want to remember everything about her. I?m scared of forgetting about the little things. How at university she came to my rescue on many an occasion. How we would have heating wars, Sarah being sensible and turning the heating down, while I would turn the heating back-up again. How at university I always looked liked a typical student where Sarah always looked im-maculate. We were very different, yet there was so much laughter and on Sarah?s part, a lot of patience!

I was always a little in awe of Sarah. I wonder if she realised that. None of us would have predicted cancer taking Sarah. It doesn?t make sense. However, I have come to the sad realisation that death doesn?t make sense. For Sarah to be taken from her husband and young children, that will never make sense, it?s just wrong. Sarah?s funeral was packed, in the end people were standing up at the back. People came from all over to celebrate her life. A life lived to the full. A life where she had dedicated herself to serving the community in the police force; a life where she had doted on her children. Her life wasn?t meant to end like this.

There are so many lives ending everyday because of cancer. Lives that shouldn?t be ending. #BloggersBeatingCancer is our chance to do something about it. An opportunity to come together as a community and remember all our loved ones. #BloggersBeatingCancer is our chance to raise money and awareness about cancer. Please join us on Friday 30th September at 10:30am for coffee and a social media thunderclap. Use the hashtag, get involved, get your friends involved, get fundraising.

coffee morning

Photo credit: Antonio Guillem, Shutterstock

You don?t have to be a blogger to take part, anyone can take part. Perhaps you just want to donate some money in someone?s memory. Perhaps you would like to use this opportunity to have a coffee morning with your friend that now lives over the other side of the world. Use this #BloggersBeatingCancer morning to Skype the friend you miss, use it to chat on twitter with your friend who now lives abroad, use it to message your old school friends. The internet is a powerful tool, with it we can reach across the world and chat to our friends as if they are sat in the room with us. We need to celebrate friendship, we need to tell our friends how much they mean to us.

Do it for those 9 million people that lost their lives to cancer last year. Do it for family. Do it for friends. But please just do it. We have to do something.

You can donate here.

Home page image: Antonio Guillem, Shutterstock

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BritMums is the UK’s largest parent blogger collective. We offer bloggers the latest support, advice and how-tos as well as feature great content on food, travel, relationships, health, charities, crafting and much more. Our social network is free to join and helps bloggers connect with others; our BritMums Pro programme connects bloggers with brands on our high-quality projects and our annual conference, BritMums Live, is the blogging event of the year.

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11 Fun DIY Projects Made from Household Goods

11 Fun DIY Projects Made from Household Goods

The great thing about do-it-yourself crafts is that you don?t have to be a master engineer to have fun with them. As long as you?re willing to roll up your sleeves and maybe deal with a little glitter stuck to your eyebrows, you can create all kinds of unique trinkets to use and display in your home. Here are just 11 ways to repurpose your household goods into something new.

1. Egg Carton Centerpieces

Egg Shell Vase - super simple and sweet

Don?t think of egg cartons as one big items. Think of them as a dozen individual items that can be cut, dyed, folded, bedazzled and glued in creative combinations to make eye-catching centerpieces. For example, you can build an egg carton rosebush by painting the pieces red and folding them like flower blossoms.

And of course, don?t forget to use the egg shells themselves too!

2. Ice Tray Soaps

Gifts Kids Can Make - Bath Bombs without Citric Acid

Broken ice trays may not create ice cubes in perfect squares anymore, but they can still be used for DIY soaps and DIY bath bombs. Simply pour your oils and mixes into the ice trays like they?re cold water you?re trying to freeze, and voila! After a few hours of patience, you?ll have mini-soaps to carry with you during flights and road trips.

3. CD Mosaics

You?ve just found an old box full of CDs and DVDs. They contain media you either don?t care about anymore or have already purchased on updated technology. Instead of throwing away these relics from an ancient time, however, consider cutting them up and using them to create mosaic artwork. They?ll be equal parts beautiful and resourceful!

4. Wine Bottle Candle Holders

If you?re wondering what to do with that leftover wine bottle from your last dinner party, try turning it into a candle holder. The prettiest kinds are made with dark bottles and long white candles that provide a nice color contrast, but you can experiment with all sorts of combinations and colors. You can also let the wax freely dip down the bottle for a one-of-a-kind look.

5. Salt Dough Party Favors

Button Salt Dough Hearts

This is an easy craft to get ready in minutes. Make your own Salt Dough and make it into decoration; you can use them for holiday presents, gift bags and even party favors at weddings and baby showers. Best of all, since you?re making them at home, you can customize your favors with whatever messages or designs you?d like. We adore the simplicity of these Salt Dough Hearts!

6. Balloon Lanterns

Blow up a balloon and cover it with a special mixture of glue, paint and twine. Let it dry. Then gently insert a needle into the ?skin? of the balloon so it will pop and fall away but leave your lantern intact. Congratulations! You?ve just made a balloon lantern, and now that you?ve got the hang of it, you can make them in dozens of shapes, sizes and colors.

7. Bleached Clothes

Bleach sticks can be used for more than just stubborn stains. For example, you can write and draw words, pictures and patterns on dark t-shirts and sweaters; you can also add a little pizazz to old jeans by streaking them or writing messages down your legs. Just make sure you know what you?re doing before you uncap the bleach. It isn?t a chemical that easily forgives mistakes!

8. Recycled Seed Starters

garden activities for kids
The next time you buy chocolate chip cookie dough from somewhere like Hampton Creek Foods, don?t throw away the empty container. They make wonderful flowerpots and seed starters! All you have to do is fill them with soil, seeds, beans, roots or whatever other plants you?d like. Then put them in the sun and remember to water them regularly. What sprouts next will bring a touch of green to any room.

9. Pebble Coasters

In addition to protecting your wooden tables and decks, pebble coasters will also inspire lots of admiration among guests at your next garden party. They?re easy to put together, too; just collect a handful of smooth, flat pebbles and use hot glue to attach them to regular coasters. Your guests won?t be able to stop talking about them!

10. Suitcase Pet Beds

When that zipper just won?t go around your suitcase anymore, consider turning it into a bed for Fido. You?ll need to remove the hinges so that it doesn?t accidentally close on him, but once you?ve seen to the technical details, it becomes a fun project involving fluffy pillows and cushions to make sure your furry friend is comfortable in his new accommodation.

11. Shoe Boxes

30 Wonderful Shoe Box Craft Ideas
Cats love empty shoe boxes, and it turns out they might be onto something. Shoe boxes can be painted and decorated just about any way you?d like, and once you have several, you can use them as everything from cupboards to bookshelves. Just make sure you reinforce them if you plan on using them to support heavy weights.

Whether you?re a longtime arts-and-crafts fan or just a thrifty parent looking for new ways to repurpose old goods, these are a few ideas you can use to turn everyday household objects into fun and creative mementos. The only limit is your imagination!

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Tags: crafts, diy, Recycling

Category: Recycling

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Paper Helicopter DIY ? STEM for Kids

We do love a paper craft? paper is something that most people easily have to hand and with a snip here and a cut there (or just a fold and fold)? you can quickly and easily make ALL SORTS of fun paper toys and paper decorations. One such idea are these oh so simple Paper Helicopter Toys. Super quick and fun to make and great to watch them fly and spin! Based on nature?s helicopter seeds these really are a marvel. Get the kids making the basic shape.. and then why not experiment and see how you can turn this simple DIY into a proper S.T.E.M. activity. Get the kids to come up with alterations and predict what will happen to their toy? then explore and experiment what really happens and see if you can figure out why! Super simple science for kids!DIY Paper Helicopter - easy to make and watch them spin and fly. Then experiment and see how changes effect your paper toy.

Paper Helicopter Toy ? materials:

  • some paper
  • paper clips (optional)
  • scissors

Yep.. that is REALLY it.. you can probably make these without scissors nor paper clips ? with some simple tearing?. making this a super fun on the go little paper craft!

How to make a Paper Helicopter Toy

Remember, if you like our videos you can subscribe to Red Ted Art on YouTube for free! You will be the first to see new videos (rather than having to wait a week or two for me to add them to the blog!!).

Also do check out our YouTube Paper Crafts Playlist ? LOTS AND LOTS of paper crafts all in one place! Alternatively browse our Paper Crafts Here!

I do hope you enjoyed the Paper Helicopter video. As mentioned previously.. do watch it RIGHT TO THE END to see the Helicopters fly, but also to hear about the extension ideas and how to turn this fun little Paper craft into a proper S.T.E.A.M. activity and really get the kids THINKING and EXPLORING!


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Tags: diy, helicopter, how to, Kirigami, paper, Paper crafts, paper helicopter, paper toy, science, STEM, videos, vlogs

Category: Kids Craft, Paper Crafts, S.T.E.M., Science, vlogs

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Prison Architect Escape Diary: Invisible Is The New Black

I can?t stop fighting. I wonder if this is a common feeling for prisoners, but in my case it?s literal. No matter how many times I press it, the button to lower my fists and surrender doesn?t do anything, and even though I?m cuffed, the guards still consider me hostile. That?s how I ended up unconscious and in the infirmary; the door to my cell in solitary opened, an armed guard saw me restrained and stationary inside, and immediately shot me twice in the chest.

This was a concern, at least until I pulled the greatest escape of all. I vanished.

Prison Architect?s escape mode is compelling, but not without its problems.

Escape Mode flips the prison building and management simulation on its head, putting you in control of a single prisoner within a jail rather than the architect of the facility?s systems. You earn reputation points through acts of criminality ? destruction of property, beating people up ? which can then be spent to unlock traits for your character. Among others, those traits include Deadly, which gives you a percentage chance to kill a person with a single strike; Instigator, which increases the likelihood other prisoners will join in with whatever ruckus you create; and Quick, which helps you to outrun pursuing guards after whatever terrible deed you?ve just committed.

Gain enough reputation points and you can then also recruit other people to your crew, ordering them to follow, controlling them individually as desired, or possessing them in lieu of a Game Over should your current wrongdoer be killed.

Other than this, the game?s simulation is mostly unchanged. As you wander around a prison with WASD, guards will still patrol as before, prisoners will still follow their routines, and riots will break out should the seeds of dissatisfaction be spread too far and wide. It is exciting, in the way Dwarf Fortress? own Adventure mode is exciting, to know that you are dealing with a simulation robust enough to stand up to multiple genres of game ? at least, in theory.

My name is Wilders. I don?t know what crime I?ve committed, but I?m a newly arrived inmate at a high-security prison. I?m told it has three gangs ? the infamous reds, blues and greens ? and that riots are a regular occurrence.

But this is not my experience. During the first few days inside, not a single riot takes place. Instead I fill my time by destroying the toilet inside my cell, sucker punching guards and being repeatedly tasered unconscious. Soon, I?ve enough of a reputation to start expanding my crew. An inmate named Corner joins my group, then another named Ranger, then another named Wilson.

Levelling all these inmates can be a bit of a grind, requiring you to repeatedly create low-level mischief to get reputation points, to spend one of those reputation points to skip the inevitable punishments in a locked cell, and then to start again.

But slowly I?m making progress, and as I become Deadly, then a Skilled Fighter, then Tough, the reputation points come more quickly and easily. It helps that a lone prisoner, with no nearby guards or security camera to witness the act, can be assaulted with impunity. You can do the crime without doing the time ? although I feel bad, I admit, that I am simply killing in exchange for points.

This strategy reaches its head when I recruit a fifth member to my crew, Smyth. Before I?ve bothered to unlock any reputation traits for him, I use him to start a fight in the canteen. I have time to throw two punches before he is immediately shot to death by an armored guard.

All of Prison Architect?s complicated simulation still being present means that there are avenues other than direct violence. You can sneak inside workshops and kitchens in search of contraband, which you can then sneak around metal detectors and stash in your cell. I take advantage of this fact to smuggle a wooden pickaxe back to my room and, under cover of night, start digging a tunnel underneath my toilet.

It takes a long time to dig that tunnel and when I emerge after clearing just four tiles, I am spotted by a patrolling guard and immediately beaten unconscious. Workmen fill in the hole while I serve time in solitary.

Next I decide to mix direct and indirect strategies. I use Wilson to beat up a guard and steal his keys, stashing them inside Wilders? prison cell. Then I use Corner to kill an armed guard in a single punch, steal his shotgun, and hide the weapon in a cell neighbouring Wilders?.

That night, when the cells are locked and everyone is sent to sleep, I use Wilders to take the keys, sneak out of his cell, grab the shotgun, and head into one of the prison?s restricted areas. These are red-striped zones which are designed for prison staff only, and stepping into them as a prisoner is an immediate offence that causes all guards to turn hostile.

I?m not making an escape attempt, however. I?m heading toward one of the prison?s power generators. I get inside without being beaten to a pulp and have plenty of time to destroy the generator and every capacitor that surrounds it. In doing so, I plunge a wing of the prison into darkness.

Finally, the riots start.

In my time playing Prison Architect?s escape mode, this is my most satisfying experience. It would be better if I could be sure that the riots were the results of my actions, but it?s still good that they could have been a result of my actions. By damaging the generators, I?ve made life worse for my fellow prisoners, thus making them more dissatisfied, thus increasing the likelihood they might decide to raise fists and punch a neighbour in the head.

Two days later, during the third riot of my stay, I decide to make a break for it. I don?t even need to commit the violence myself this time. I gather my crew together ? Wilders, Corner, Ranger, Wilson, and new recruit Hawkins ? and I simply wait for the violence to start. When it kicks off, I swoop in, being careful not to hit anyone myself, and grab keys and a taser dropped by a guard.

And then I bolt for the front door.

The guards are distracted enough that this works surprisingly well. I get through the first locked door as guards open it to come streaming inside. I open the second and third locked gates myself with my stolen keys. It?s only when we?re outside, thirty, forty yards away from the first road gate that Wilders ? my original prisoner, who I?m controlling ? is shotgunned unconscious. Immediately my control switches to Wilson. I grab the keys Wilders just dropped, open the road gate, then the next, and?


But the game isn?t over yet. I need to get the whole crew out.

So the next day, I try again. Wilders, making a habit of it, is knocked unconscious again, but Hawkins and Corner reach safety. Ranger, sadly, joins Smyth in the morgue, killed only a few feet from breathing fresh air.

I?m now back down to just a single prisoner again: Wilders. The guy I started with.

Now on my own, I could choose to recruit a new crew to help me escape, but each new addition would simply give me more people I need to get out the front door. As I?ve maxed out all of my reputation traits at this point, I should be able to handle myself without backup.

After being healed in the infirmary and spending reputation to skip my punishments, I try again. It?s become routine now: punch guards till one of them drops their keys and taser; grab both and run for the front door; slip through some back rooms for a shorter route towards the outside; once out, immediately sprint south towards the bottom exits and freedom.

Everything goes to plan this time and I get through the last gate unhurt. There?s no one nearby pursuing me, and aiming with the taser is easy enough that if anyone comes close, I can easily take them out. I?m sprinting so fast that I?m even keeping pace alongside a vehicle driving on the road beside me. I don?t need to worry about that, because although it appears to have guards in the back, they won?t stop or exit a vehicle once inside, and you can pass through the vehicles without taking any damage.

And then, feet from victory, I find myself suddenly, inexplicably in handcuffs.

Did one of the guards on the truck spontaneously arrest me, even though I was outside and the vehicle was in motion? I don?t know. But I do know that even though I was in shackles, the game still considered me aggressive. The ?surrender? button remained at the bottom of the screen, encouraging me to press space to end my already-ended assault. I obeyed and received hundreds of reputation points, but the UI never acknowledged my surrender. I kept pressing the button and received thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions of reputation points. Then the game took away all of them.

My aggressive state didn?t end when I was taken to solitary. It continued all the way through my spell there ? I had no reputation points, so couldn?t skip my punishments. It continued as the largest riot yet took hold of the prison, prompting the arrival of riot police. I could see them briefly as they passed my cell door and hear the shouting and shotgun blasts.

It continued as I was taken again and again to the infirmary until, eventually, somehow, it stopped.

Which is when I disappeared.

Prison Architect has a kind of fog of war which casts the world your character is unable to see in black and white. Normally this effect recedes slowly when you enter a new room, wiping away the areas outside till all that remains is your immediate surrounding. It?s an attractive and easily readable effect and, when controlling an individual prisoner, feels a lot like the walls are closing in around you at night.

But in this instance, the effect kept going past the walls of my cell until Wilders himself disappeared. I could still move around, but I couldn?t see him or anyone else, and the whole world was in black and white.

In the morning, when my cell doors opened, I walked outside the cell block and towards the yard. I could see through the black and white mist that a lot of the prison was damaged, but I couldn?t hear any violence happening. Occasionally a door would open, but no one seemed to take any notice of me as I walked through the three front gates when they opened for unseen staff. Or when I walked through the next two gates, which had been smashed to pieces during the major riot. Or when I walked off the edge of the map, ending the game.

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Years in the making ? Lou Dalton X Jaeger

imageimageLeading light of British Designer Menswear, Lou Dalton has teamed her expertise with Premium British clothing brand Jaeger to create an exciting collection of outerwear pieces. These two stylish entities have come together to combine their practical philosophy and sense of adventure to produce a collection that puts functionality at the forefront. Taking inspiration from and revolutionising Jaeger?s enviable heritage, including design features from the archive collection, and items worn by Adventurer extraordinaire, Ernest Shackleton and his team for their 1914 Endurance Expedition to Antarctica, and combining it with Lou Dalton?s signature aesthetic for contemporary classicism and refined yet contemporary tailoring.

In keeping with Shackelton?s careful selection of Jaeger to supply his protective kit over a century ago, the new collection has been meticulously curated by Dalton and the design team, led by James Jee, at Jaeger. This premier collection launching for Autumn consists of, non-surprisingly, outerwear essentials for the contemporary urban adventurer.

imageKey pieces within the range include a nylon trench with a removable flannel gilet, a shower-proof stretch nylon hooded jacket, a mixed-gauge wool sweater, as well as a balaclava, gloves and all important snood.

The colour palette is natural influenced by the natural environment. Ink navy, camel and charcoal grey are juxtaposed with rust and pale blue to imitate both rural and industrial environments.

Reflecting Lou?s signature line, this collection has a heavy focus on performance-wear, the collection is engineered to be worn on-the-go and is specifically designed for the wearer to embrace the natural elements. Fabrics have been chosen based on their technical abilities, including thermocool wool and stretch nylon to ensure maximum manoeuvrability. Handy, sneaky design features include pack-away zip hoods, natural contoured shapes, engineered to fit closely to the shape of the body and storm cuffs for a streamline effect.

imageJames Jee, Head of Menswear Product at Jaeger says of the collaboration, ?It?s been fantastic to build upon her design skills and aesthetic, as well as bringing in some of our well-established principles as a brand. Jaeger was founded upon a pioneering premise around quality of fabrication, and even now, some 132 years later we are embracing this principle in new and exciting ways. The Lou Dalton for Jaeger collection is a great example of this?.

Channel your inner Playboy with Debenhams latest Hammond & Co launch

imageThe traditional style of male nightwear, the Pyjamas have always carried a certain sexy association to them, no we?re not talking the flannelnet type. You know, when worn by leading men in classic films from the golden age of Hollywood. They can work miracles to increase the masculine persona of a gentleman. In the same respect, images of the fairer gender either stealing or share her rugged partner?s night attire have served as fodder for Mills & Boon novels for decades.

imageThis season, High Street retailer, Debenhams? hugely successful Hammond and Co. collection by the rakish and sauve British Designer, Patrick Grant. This collection, offers true gentleman?s attire by fusing Savile Rowe tailoring with a contemporary take on modern wardrobe staples. The range offers casual to sartorial elegance from Harrington jackets and denim to overcoats and three piece suiting. But for this season, Hammond and Co. Move into the more  seductive arena of  loungewear and underwear, meaning you can still look the your dapper self well into the wee small hours.

imagePyjama sets are available in a variety of styles suitable for every modern gentleman. With prints ranging from the house check to polka dot, ensuring it had never has been so stylish to retire to one?s suite, quarters, bed, to where the magic happens.


A Scandic Taste for a British Fave ? John Lewis Presents PRESENTING

For Autumn 2016 John Lewis Menswear is introducing, PRESENTING; a unique curation of three emerging menswear brands, which brings a distinctly Scandinavian slant to this British institution. A favourite of Britain?s everywhere, John Lewis will be stocking a trend led selection of designs from Libertine-Libertine, Samsøe & Samsøe Menswear and J Lindeberg, which, until now, for the majority can only found in select independent boutiques around the UK.

imageLibertine-Libertine, was founded in 2009 and has quickly established itself a reputation for offering a clean minimalist aesthetic crafting the perfect balance between simplicity and cultured sophistication.

imageSamsøe & Samsøe creates unique and undeniably recognizable Scandinavian fashion. The brand continuously develops attractive, market-oriented and international designs, supported by the best essential products.

imageLastly the luxury Scandinavian brand J Lindeberg, this could be described as the most premium part of the PRESENTING offering for this season. Founded in Stockholm in 1996, by Johan Lindeberg, it offers outstanding products for a contemporary active lifestyle.

John Lewis will offer a point of difference on the high street by stocking these exciting brands as an introduction to its customers who may not be previously familiar with the collections. The carefully curated selection of products have been chosen in line with key current trends in menswear and will launch in three focused stages throughout the season.

It will launch the three brand?s interpretations of the Rollneck knit in September for protection against that Autumn chill, a Bomber edit in October to combat the transeasonal elements and a elegantly masculine curation of Longline Overcoats in November for the lead up to the Yuletide.

Beth Pettet, Buyer for John Lewis Menswear Brands explained the concept as, ?We are delighted to be working with 3 brands who are relatively new to the UK market but who are bringing an expert eye to the current trends within menswear. This season?s Presenting collection underlines our ambition to cater for the fashion customer who is both individual and confident in his style. The range combines premium quality clothing with a fresh and exciting take on the key items of the season.?