Learning a New Language with TeacherBoards: Review

We were recently given the opportunity to receive a product from a company called TeacherBoards for the purpose of a review. At first, I considered something that only BattleKid could play with, but with us all trying to get to grips with Portuguese, I thought something to help us all would be more valuable. Today I’m going to tell how we are learning a new language with TeacherBoards.

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards

TeacherBoards is a Yorkshire-based company that has been manufacturing and distributing boards to educational facilities for over 30 years. With a huge range of boards and educational tools, all manufactured within the UK to highest quality and specifications, TeacherBoards have something to suit everyone. They say

We aim to offer high quality, innovative products with outstanding customer care from specialist knowledge experts, providing you a simple and reliable service time after time.

As already mentioned I had considered choosing something for BattleKid to play with but I thought better of it. We didn’t start learning Portuguese before moving to Portugal but that hasn’t stopped us starting as soon as we landed.  We’re all at various stages of learning Portuguese, although BattleKid is way ahead of us as he is immersed in the language everyday in school.

But at home we often find ourselves referring to Google Translate or our Collins Portuguese-English dictionary when BattleKid asks us “mummy/daddy, what’s that in Portuguese?”. Once we find the word we are looking for, we find we often forget it and are continually referring back to the dictionary or translator.

BattleKid is very inquisitive and is eager to learn the Portuguese words for things. He accepts that there are two words for everything and never questions why. He surprises us everyday with the things he comes out with but there are still words and phrases he hasn’t learned.

So, in an effort to answer his questions and further our own learning, I asked TeacherBoards if they would be prepared to send us their Magnetic Dry Wipe Workboard Starter Kit, as I felt this would be the ideal tool to help us with our learning at home. Not only does it have a large dry wipe workboard and smaller ones too, but it also has a pack of lower case letter and numbers, which would help BattleKid with his alphabet and numbers learning.

I was absolutely thrilled when they agreed to send the kit to us. Learning Portuguese was about to get a whole lot easier at home. We eagerly waited for the kit to arrive and once it did, we got to work straight away.

 

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards

 

The Magnetic Dry Wipe Workboard Starter Kit contains the following items:

  • 10 x A4 Magnetic Drywipe boards
  • 1 x A3 Magnetic Drywipe boards
  • 12 x Slim Barrel Medium Tipped Drywipe Markers Black
  • 12 x Magnetic Mini Erasers
  • 1 x Tub 286 Magnetic Lowercase Letters
  • 1 x Tub 286 Magnetic Numbers/Maths Symbols
  • Multi-coloured storage trunk to hold everything.

 

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards

 

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards

 

How we are learning a new language with TeacherBoards?

We decided to put the A3 board on a cupboard by our fridge so that we could add new words to it as we learned them. The idea is that by having the board in a prominent place, we can read the words we are learning, any time day or night, and absorb the Portuguese for them until we are comfortable enough to replace each word with a new one.

 

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards

 

The first word to go onto that board was the word for flag, bandeira. I asked one of BattleKid’s teachers what it was as he had brought a toy flag into school one day and I realised I didn’t know the word for it. BattleKid’s teachers are so helpful and are always telling us new words when we ask them. I think they appreciate the fact we are trying to learn the language and they hear us using what little Portuguese we have with BattleKid, so they know we are making the effort where so many other expats don’t.

In a short space of time our A3 board was filled with words BattleDad and I want to learn, some for ourselves, others such as monkey, sheep and donkey to use with BattleKid. We will probably keep the words there for a few weeks before replacing them with others.

As for the A4 boards, we’ve used them in two ways. Firstly, we decided to put one in each room to help us learn the words for the items of furniture in that room. For instance, in the kitchen we have one with the word for things like the cooker, the sink, the fridge and the kettle. Beside each word you’ll notice an “M” or an “F”. These denote whether the word is male (um) or female (uma). Portuguese follows the same sort of rules as French with words being either male or female. So far this hasn’t been a problem unless you are referring to two of the item or thing as there are two ways to say “two X’s” depending on whether the singular is male or female. But it makes sense to learn that now rather than later.

 

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards

 

Secondly, I’ve been using the A4 boards with BattleKid to help him learn and recognise the letters of the alphabet. In school he has been learning his vowels and can recognise them and write them too, much to our surprise. I’ve also used the A4 drywipe boards to help BattleKid with his writing. Although he doesn’t start real school until he is six here in Portugal, he has started learning to write in preschool and I’d like to continue that learning and help him improve at home.

 

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards

 

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards

 

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards

 

So, we’ve been having fun in the evenings after dinner with letters and writing. And it’s a much better use of that hour before bedtime, rather than him watching TV. It’s also been great seeing BattleKid starting to recognise other letters apart from the vowels, and also to see him writing. It’s a milestone I wasn’t expecting to see so soon for some reason.

 

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards

 

What I love about the Workboard Starter Kit from TeacherBoards

  • A fabulous teaching aid.
  • A3 board is a perfect size for learning several words.
  • A4 boards are great for putting up in various rooms.
  • A4 board is the perfect size for little hands.
  • The drywipe nature of the boards make it easy to change up the words we are learning.
  • The magnetic letters and numbers are a huge help to continuing BattleKid’s learning and education at home.
  • The board, erasers, number and letters are bold, bright colours and will appeal to children.
  • The storage trunk is perfect for keeping everything together when not in use.
  • This kit will be so useful within the classroom situation for any teacher.

What I don’t like about the Workboard Starter Kit from TeacherBoards

  • Nothing.

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards

 

If there was just one thing I could change about this kit, it would be to have a smaller ‘home’ kit. We really don’t use all 10 of the A4 boards and it’ll take quite a while for us to get through the full box of pens. We also aren’t using all 286 letters at one time either. My suggestion to TeacherBoards would be to create a smaller “at home” kit for parents to use with their children. The kit could be recommended by the teachers who use the full starter kit within their own classrooms.

That said, I love this dry wipe board kit. It has become so helpful and useful around our small home in helping us learn everyday Portuguese words. It has also become a favourite of BattleKid’s for practising his writing and his letters. In the future I think it will help tremendously when he starts Maths as well.

 

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards

 

This kit not only helps us in learning a new language with TeacherBoards but will help with BattleKid’s continuing education at home. The dry wipe workboard starter kit would also be an invaluable piece of kit for anyone embarking on home education. The bright, bold colours will make the boards, erasers, numbers and letters appeal to kids and will help make learning fun.

I can highly recommend the Magnetic Dry Wipe Workboard Starter Kit to anyone wanting to learn a new language or home educate their children. TeacherBoards not only have this kit but a full range of whiteboards for teachers, and other teacher boards ideas. So please do check out the TeacherBoards website to have a look at their full range of educational boards and teaching aids.

TeacherBoards are confident that you’ll find what you are looking for. However, if not, they can alter a product to meet your specific needs. You can’t ask for anything better than that.

Are you learning a second language at home or are going down the road of home education? Then TeacherBoards might be able to help you out.

Cath x

*We were very kindly sent a Magnetic Dry Wipe Workboard Starter Kit for the purpose of this review, However, as always, these are my own honest thoughts and opinions of the product.

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards - We've been using the awesome Magnetic Dry Wipe Workboard Starter Kit to help us learn a new language.

Learning A New Language with TeacherBoards - This Magnetic Dry Wipe Workboard Starter Kit has been helping us learn a new language. Read more on the blog...

A Personalised Wooden Sign by Kent-Made: Review and Giveaway

I recently got a lovely email from the lady behind Kent-Made to see if I’d be interested in receiving one of her wooden signs for review. Now, I’ll be honest and say I hadn’t come across Kent-Made before receiving the email but once I’d had a look on the website, I knew I wanted to collaborate with them. So, after some discussions, I waited patiently for our personalised wooden sign by Kent-Made to arrive. And to say I was thrilled to receive it would be an understatement.

A Personalised Wooden Sign by Kent-Made

Kent-Made is a company that specialises in

Custom-made wooden gifts that will be treasured for a lifetime.

Kent-Made creates laser cut wood signs and engraved wood signs which can be personalised. I asked the lady behind Kent-Made, Chantel, to tell me a little bit more about her business, why she started it and here’s what she said

I had two young children, aged 2 and 3 at the time I started Kent-Made. I really wanted to spend as much time as possible with them but I also had a real desire to get back to work, even if it was in a small capacity. With the help of my husband we decided to do this by starting up a business from home that I could hopefully grow to something full time by the time the kids were in school. I always had a passion for wood, and so I decided to do custom made gifts that would last forever!

Currently I’m working day and night, as things have picked up tremendously as of late. I’ve had to really work hard to make time for the kids. I make sure I close that workshop door and make time to just play.

 

It was always going to be risky starting a small business from home with two little kids running around and not going back to work where I had a guaranteed income. I wanted a flexible working environment to still spend time with Emily and Cameron and be able to call the shots as to how I run my own business. So far it’s been a great journey, hopefully Kent-Made will continue to grow!

Chantel offered us one of her custom wooden signs in return for a review. Well, I didn’t know where to start. Her website is beautifully laid out and she has so many custom-made wood signs that I was spoilt for choice. From wooden name signs of every shape and size, to wooden wedding signs that will make a lovely and unique gift, there was so much to choose from.

I eventually decided on a personalised wooden bedroom sign for BattleKid. I thought it might be the ideal item as it’s small enough to not take up too much room and would be something for him. As we live in a very small two-bedroom home, space is at a premium, so little things to make it homely are ideal. 

I searched through the wooden bedroom signs and while I thought the airplane design might be the one, I got back in touch with Chantel, to see if she had a motorbike in her portfolio. I hadn’t found one on the website but thought it was no harm asking her if she could make one for our motorbike-mad son. And to my absolute delight she came back with a picture of one saying she would be happy to make it, if it fit the bill. Of course I said yes.

Chantel worked her magic and our personalised wooden name sign was soon winging its way to us.

When it finally arrived, I opened it and was thrilled with what I discovered. The sign was perfect, just what I had hoped for. It measures 22cm by 13cm and is made from 3mm plywood and was easily recognisable as a motorbike.

A Personalised Wooden Sign by Kent-Made

I waited for BattleKid to get home from school and told him to “close your eyes and hold out your hands” for a surprise. He duly did as he was told, and when he opened his eyes he was thrilled to see a wooden motorbike sign in his hands, even if he wasn’t totally sure what it was for.

He recognised his name and was soon naming the vowels in his name. For some reason his preschool teacher has been doing the vowel letters with them, so he can easily point them out.

A Personalised Wooden Sign by Kent-Made

What do I think of our personalised wooden sign by Kent-Made?

I have to say I really like it. Chantel went out of her way to create something unique for us and it wasn’t too much trouble at all. This to me speaks volumes where customer service and satisfaction are concerned. Not many larger companies would add a design to their portfolio because a customer has asked.

Secondly, the sign itself is well made, light and doesn’t feel flimsy. There is some flexibility in the sign but not enough to cause worry should little people attempt to bend it. The letters of BattleKid’s name are well formed and easy to read. And because it is light, it will stick anywhere. I also like the fact it is left unpainted and unvarnished. This means if I am brave enough I might allow BattleKid to customise it even further one day. Watch this space!

A Personalised Wooden Sign by Kent-Made

What I love about our personalised wooden sign by Kent-Made

  • Lightweight.
  • Well-made and feels durable despite the flexibility in the sign.
  • Because plywood has a natural grain, all signs will look slightly different from one another to reflect this fact.
  • Personalised to any name, great if your children have unusual names that high-street bedrooms sign companies don’t cater for.
  • So many designs to choose from for all occasions.
  • If a design is not on the website you can get in touch with Chantel, who will be happy to work with you to create something special. Our motorbike request was no trouble at all.
  • Each sign comes with free shipping within the UK and international shipping is available too.
  • Signs are not painted or varnished meaning your little ones can customise their wooden door signs even further.
  • They are brilliant value-for-money at a cost of just £8.99 each (for bedroom signs).

What I don’t love about our personalised wooden sign by Kent-Made

  • Nothing!

A Personalised Wooden Sign by Kent-Made
I think someone is happy with his new bedroom sign

I should point out that bedroom door signs aren’t the only personalised wooden gifts you’ll find on the Kent-Made website. There is a lovely range of laser engraved wood signs to choose from with things like personalised postcards (costing just £4.99), to wedding save-the-date cards (starting from £1.99) to Christmas decorations (priced at £4.99) and even beautiful wooden flowers (costing £5.99 each) which would make a lovely gift for anyone. I will be keeping Kent-Made in mind later in the year when I get ready to buy BattleKid’s annual personalised Christmas decoration.

I cannot recommend Kent-Made enough if you are looking for a personalised wooden door sign or a different personalised wooden gift for any occasion. And as mentioned, if what you are looking for isn’t on the website, please get in touch with Chantel via the support page of the website, or email her at help@kent-made.co.uk to discuss further. She might just be able to help you find the perfect gift.

A Personalised Wooden Sign by Kent-Made

And that’s not all. Chantel is kindly offering one of my readers the chance to win their choice of Kent-Made products up to the value of £20. So if you have two children, you can easily get them a bedroom sign each! Simply follow the instructions in the widget below and good luck!

Win a lovely Kent-Made Wooden Sign

Cath x

*We were kindly sent a personalised wooden bedroom sign from Kent-Made in return for this review. However, as always, these are my own honest thought and opinions about the product.

Competition Terms and Conditions

  • Open to my readers from the UK and Republic of Ireland.
  • Competition ends at 23.59GMT on 28th March 2018.
  • There is no cash alternative.
  • One winner will receive their products of their choice from Kent-Made up to the value of £20.
  • The winner will be picked at random and notified within 5 days.

A Personalised Wooden Sign by Kent-Made - Our review of the motorbike personalised wood sign by Kent-Made we received for BattleKid's bedroom door.

A Personalised Wooden Sign by Kent-Made - Our review of the motorbike personalised wood sign by Kent-Made.

The London Eye with Kids: How to have a Successful Visit

A few years ago, BattleDad and I tried, and failed, to visit the London Eye. We arrived late to the Eye and saw the length of queues and decided to try again another day. Fast forward a few years and I was going to be in London with my sisters for a concert. We had two days to fill, so we settled on a few London attractions including the London Eye. I enjoyed my first ride in it but wondered whether you could enjoy a trip on the London Eye with kids.LONDON EYE WITH KIDS

A short few months later, the Battle Family were in London for 36 hours before flying to America, and we decided to visit the London Eye as a family. I wasn’t too sure what BattleKid would make of it, but as it is only a 30-minute revolution, it should have been short enough for even him. I prebooked our tickets online to save any hassles and printed out our Flexi Fast Track before we left for London.

The Flexi Fast Track tickets meant we could visit at any time during the day on our chosen date and we would join the fast track queue. So, after a yummy breakfast in a café around the corner from the London Eye, we made our way around and joined the fast track queue with our printouts in hand.LONDON EYE WITH KIDS

The London Eye, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a giant Ferris wheel on Southbank of the River Thames. It opened in 2000 as part of the millennium celebrations and stands 443ft (135m) tall, with a wheel diameter of 394ft (120m). It is the most popular paid attraction on the UK with over 3.75 million visitors a year. And that number is growing.

The Eye has 32 sealed, air-conditioned passenger capsules which can hold up to 25 people, although the two times I’ve been, there hasn’t been 25 people in the pod. It rotates at a speed of 26cm (10 inches) per second and one complete revolution takes 30 minutes.LONDON EYE WITH KIDS

Despite visiting the London Eye with BattleKid at the end of the summer holidays, the fast track queue moved quite quickly. The same could not be said for the standard tickets queue. We entered our capsule, or pod, and we were off.

BattleKid was fascinated by the fact we were being chased by another pod and that we were getting higher. But the thing that grabbed his attention the most was the information tablets in the capsule. He loved switching between the day and night mode, much to my annoyance as I tried to spot various landmarks.LONDON EYE WITH KIDS

LONDON EYE WITH KIDS

Although the revolution is only 30 minutes, I felt it was ample time for a toddler. And as we stepped off the capsule, BattleKid made noises about wanting to stay on. I don’t think he grasped the idea of one turn. All-in-all he enjoyed it as he was still talking about the big wheel for weeks to come.

Tips to ensure you have a successful trip to the London Eye with Kids

  • Plan when you want to go visit the London Eye and book your tickets in advance. This will not only save you time, but you can often save money too.
  • If you can afford to, book fast track tickets, especially if you plan to visit during school holidays. Both times I visited, the standard ticket queue was at least an hour long, possibly more. And no one wants to queue for that long with kids in the holidays.
  • Ensure you arrive well before your allotted time if you book Fast Track tickets. Flexi Fast Track tickets allow you to arrive at any time on your chosen date.
  • Ensure everyone in your party has visited the toilets before you queue as there are no toilets on or at the London Eye. The toilets are located in the Coco Cola London Eye ticket office, as well as a disabled toilet and baby changing facilities.
  • If you are bringing a buggy or stroller, it must be completed collapsible and kept folded throughout the duration of your visit. I’d suggest using a baby carrier or sling if visiting the London Eye with a baby.
  • No food and drink, apart from drinking water, is permitted inside the capsules.
  • There is one bench inside each capsule, and seating is on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • While the London Eye is wheelchair accessible, only two wheelchairs are permitted in each pod, and only eight are allowed on the Eye at any one time. It is highly advisable to prebook tickets in advance if your party includes a wheelchair user.
LONDON EYE WITH KIDS
Big Ben and Westminster from the London Eye

Other information to note before visiting the London Eye with Kids

  • The London Eye is open every day of the year except Christmas Day from 11am until 6pm.
  • Standard entry London Eye ticket prices are as follows: Adults £26, Child £21 (3-15 years of age), Under 3’s are free.
  • Fast Track London Eye tickets cost £36 per adult and £31 per child, allowing entry to the London Eye at a specific time slot.
  • Flexi Fast Track tickets for the London Eye cost £40 per adult and £30 per child and are only available for purchase online. These allow you entry at any time on a specific date.
  • Capsules are available for private hire for 3-25 guests and there is also a champagne experience available if you fancy something special.
  • You can also purchase combination tickets which allow entry to the London Eye and certain other atttractions in London including Sea Life, Madame Tussauds and Shrek’s Adventure, ideal if you’re making a day of it in London with the kids.
LONDON EYE WITH KIDS
Can you spot the iconic London Bus?

We visited the London Eye before heading into Sea Life and I was surprised that BattleKid enjoyed it as much as he did. He liked watching the boats going past on the river, and of course, the information tablets, and he didn’t complain once. Except when we were getting off, and he didn’t want to. So, yes, a visit to the London Eye is even suitable for toddlers. And, by taking into account some of the tips I’ve mentioned, you can have a successful visit to the London Eye with kids.

Cath x

*We were not asked to write this review. Prices are correct at the time of writing this post (February 2018).

LONDON EYE WITH KIDS

Our Visit to OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Those of you who have read our USA Road Trip Holiday Diaries will know that we visited the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or OMSI as it is known, while we were in Portland. This had been recommended to us and was on our Portland Bucket List. In this post I’ms haring with you our visit to OMSI as well as some useful information should you plan a visit there yourself.Our Visit to OMSI

The day after we arrived in Portland we decided to head there. I was quite excited as I had found out they had a Pompeii Exhibition on at the time of our visit to OMSI. BattleDad is a huge fan of Roman History and we’d love to visit Pompeii at some stage so to see the exhibition was an unexpected bonus. Our only reservation for our visit to OMSI was whether BattleKid would enjoy it. We need not have worried.

OMSI was founded in 1944 and was originally located in Washington Park at the site of the Portland Children’s Museum. However, as visitor number grew, and exhibitions got bigger, a new location was found for it on the east bank of the Willamette River.

The OMSI building is huge and houses no less than 3 auditoriums, a planetarium and numerous exhibition halls. They also have a submarine exhibit in the form of USS Blueback which was used for the film The Hunt for Red October before being towed to its current location at the pier adjacent to the main OMSI building.

Exhibition halls include the Featured Hall for special touring exhibits and the Turbine hall with exhibits for engineering, physics, chemistry and space travel. There is also the Life Sciences Hall which is all about biology, and includes talks and demonstrations with live animals. The Earth Science Hall features geology-oriented exhibits with two specialised laboratories. The Planetarium holds astronomy and laser light shows. And there is the Science Playground which we spent the most time in.

We arrived shortly after 9.30am after driving from our hotel and once we’d bought our tickets for the Pompeii Exhibition (including museum admission) and planetarium tickets, we made our way to the café for a quick cuppa and bite to eat. There I had my very first peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which was quite nice.

After we had eaten, we made our way upstairs to explore the exhibitions halls. As soon as we entered this area, BattleKid made a beeline for some giant cubes and dived right in. He and I had great fun at a giant pinball machine which was designed to educate children about food groups. Although he was too young to understand these, he still had fun trying to whack the balls!

Our Visit to OMSI - BattleKid falling into soft bricks
Giants soft cubes!
Our Visit to OMSI - BattleKid playing with the food pinball machine
Fun with the pinball machine

There were exhibits about recycling and garbage, exhibits about animals where we saw a Dire Wolf skeleton and saw live animals, and my personal favourite, an exhibit about fluorescent materials. This brought me back to my science background.

Our Visit to OMSI - Fluorescent Minerals at OMSI
Fluorescent Minerals
Our Visit to OMSI - A Dire Wolf skeleton
A Dire Wolf Skeleton

Next, we moved onto the Science Playground. And BattleKid had a whale of a time in the Science Playground. This area has been designed for families with newborn to children of six years of age. Fully enclosed and designed so that children are visible and secure at all times, it encourages children to discover through play and imagination. It has various experimental stations including

  • a stimulating infant area
  • a giant sandbox
  • a water area
  • a reading area and
  • a physical sciences area.

First stop was the water area of course. Only, we hadn’t quite planned for the wet floor. We had to take BattleKid’s shoes off as we entered but forgot to take his socks off. Wet feet were the result for spending so much time having splashy fun in the water area. It also meant he couldn’t really go into the giant sandbox as his feet were still wet and I didn’t fancy trying to get sand off his feet!

Our Visit to OMSI - BattleKid having fun with the water area at omsi
Fun in the water area

Next BattleKid had fun at the physical sciences area and was playing with other children, putting balls through holes and down ramps.

Our Visit to OMSI - BattleKid playing at the physical sciences area
Fun at the ball wall

We moved into one of the rooms off the main one and he and I did a fun game with magnetic balls in a maze. I ended finishing it when he got bored!Our Visit to OMSI - BattleMum helping BattleKid with a magnetic game

As were we getting close to our 12pm time for the astronomy show in the planetarium, we had to drag BattleKid away from the Science Playground. This was the first time BattleDad had been in a planetarium and he and I enjoyed it. It was great being shown some of the star constellations we can see above our house in Portugal, although I couldn’t tell you their names, apart from the Plough now. BattleKid got a bit restless before the end but stuck it out thankfully.Our Visit to OMSI - BattleKid pretending to be an astronaut at omsi

After the stars show we made our way to the Pompeii Exhibition. They allowed entry at timed intervals, which was to allow them to show the short video at the start of the exhibition. This gave some background about Vesuvius and Pompeii and the build up to that fateful night in 79AD.

Once you had watched the video, you were let into one of the main exhibition halls which featured artefacts from Pompeii including urns, gladiator clothing and weapons, mosaics and frescoes. Between this hall and a second one, there were over 200 artefacts on loan from the Naples National Archaeological Museum.Our Visit to OMSI - One of the Pompeii displays at omsi Our Visit to OMSI - Roman vases from Pompeii at omsi

It was amazing to see how well preserved some of the items were and the level of detail in them, particularly metalworks such as jewellery and coins. After the main hall, we were led upstairs where there was another short video. However, it was advised that it was unsuitable for young children and we were allowed to skip this video and were let into the next exhibition hall by a member of staff. #

The video we didn’t see was a 4D one in which you could experience the fury of Vesuvius in an immersive theatre with vivid sights, sounds and shaking ground. I think it was very helpful of OMSI to allow families with younger children to skip this part.

The last room of the exhibition had more artefacts and also body casts of people from Pompeii. It was a sobering place, especially seeing the body casts of children. We didn’t stay long in this room with BattleKid.Our Visit to OMSI - The Pompeii Exhibition was at omsi during our visit

Before we finished our visit to OMSI we visited the gift shop which is well stocked, and BattleKid got a little space ship souvenir with his name on it for his room. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to OMSI and highly recommend it. Had we known how good the Science Playground was going to be we might have booked a later showing in the planetarium and let BattleKid enjoy it even more. I am so glad it was recommended to us and made it onto our Portland Bucket List.

Visitor information for OMSI

  • There is a large car park adjacent to the OMSI building with a charge of $5. WE were there early on a Wednesday morning in September and there was plenty of parking.
  • OMSI is served by public transport. The OMSI/SE Water Ave Station connects to the MAX, bus and Portland Streetcar lines.
  • The museum is open from 9.30 to 5.30 Tuesday to Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.
  • The café is open from 8.30 to 5.30 Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday and from 8.30 to 8.00 on Friday and Saturdays.
  • Submarine tours are from 9.50 to 4.30 and you can even do sleep overs!
  • Entry to the museum costs $14.50 for an adult and $9.75 for a child (3-13 years).
  • Entry to the submarine costs $6.75. For the Empirical Theatre, which we didn’t go to, an adult costs $7-8.50 and a child is $6-6.50. Entry to the Planetarium costs between $5.75 and $7.50.
  • The Pompeii Exhibition ended in October. To see up-and-coming events, please visit the Events page of the OMSI website.

Our Visit to OMSI

We can highly recommend visiting OMSI if you are ever in Portland, Oregon. There is plenty to see and do for children and adults alike. Children will particularly like the Science Playground, so give yourself plenty of time in there.

Cath x

*Prices are correct at the time of writing.

**We were not asked to write this review.Our Visit to OMSI

Our Visit to OMSI

Apartment in Astoria – New York AirBnB Review

Last September, the Battle Family finally visited New York for the first time. I had originally booked an apartment in Lower Manhattan via AirBnB but just two months before we were due to fly out, our host got in touch to say the booking was cancelled as they no longer had the apartment. Cue panic. We needed to secure somewhere and fast. I went back onto AirBnB and scoured ‘Book Now’ places to find us somewhere, and reasonably priced, and stumbled upon a fabulous apartment in Astoria.

apartment in astoria - review of a new york airbnbNow, Astoria wasn’t our first choice of areas to stay in. We had ideally wanted to be on Manhattan itself but with so little time before we travelled, the available apartments were silly money. I read the reviews of this apartment in Astoria and decided they were good enough for us. We booked it immediately and, although it was a little over budget, we were at least guaranteed our booking. Lesson learned. Always go for the ‘Book Now’ option, not the ‘Contact Host’ option.

We flew to New York on September 18th and although we arrived before the check in time, our host Jada allowed us to drop our bags off. She went through the building and apartment rules before we took our keys and headed straight for Times Square. I’ve written all about our New York holiday, but thought I’d let you know what our apartment in Astoria was like.


New York CityPASS

We booked a 2-bedroom apartment, mainly so that I could sleep with BattleKid as he had only just moved into a big bed. It also let me escape my husband’s snoring!

Located in Astoria on Astoria Boulevard, this modern 2 bedroom apartment will sleep up to ten people. Initial thoughts were it was a very clean, modern apartment, well decorated and would set a New Yorker back a fair few pennies to buy it!

You enter a lovely little hallway which leads into the open-plan living room, dining room and kitchen. The living room is comfortable, although only had one sofa which would seat three people. Additional people would have to use the dining chairs, although you couldn’t be spending a lot of time in the apartment. The living room also had air conditioning and cable TV.

apartment in astoria - review of a new york airbnb
The living room and kitchen – spot BattleKid

The kitchen was well equipped, with everything you’d need for a city break. There was even a kettle, which Jada said previous guests had insisted she get. We’d have been happy boiling water for our tea on the hob.

There are two bedrooms in this apartment in Astoria. The main bedroom had a queen size bed with a sofa beside it. We made this up as a bed and pushed it beside the queen bed for BattleKid. The main bedroom had a small built in wardrobe and gorgeous floor to ceiling windows which lead to a balcony. You could see the Manhattan skyline from the balcony.

apartment in astoria - review of a new york airbnb
Two bedrooms and a lovely bathroom

The second bedroom had not one, not two, but three queen beds, with an additional queen air bed in the huge walk-in wardrobe. The three beds were configured in a bunk-bed type style and I’d never come across anything like it before, but was brilliant. This bedroom also had floor to ceiling windows and a balcony on which to view the Manhattan skyline.

The bathroom was modern and had a huge shower. There was also a cupboard with a washing machine and dryer, handy if staying longer than a few days. You also have access to a lovely roof terrace for viewing the Manhattan skyline!

The apartment in Astoria was also well located near an underground station with a direct line to Times Square. That ride takes less than 20 minutes. There are bars, shops and diners nearby for food and drinks, and plenty of take-aways around which will deliver to your door via apps such as Seamless or Yelp Eat 24. My personal favourite was the Starbucks on the corner of Astoria Boulevard and 21st Street.

As for our host, Jada, she was lovely. She was very welcoming and accommodating. As we’d arrived early, as mentioned, she let us drop our bags off and collect the keys before we headed to Times Square. When we got back she had kindly put our bags in a wardrobe and hung up our coats! When one fire alarm kept beeping all night (the battery was going), causing BattleKid and I to take solace in BattleDad’s room, she responded to my message very quickly and helped us sort it out. Jada was a lovely host.

Overall, the apartment in Astoria turned out to be the perfect location for us. Getting to and from JFK airport was easy via Uber, and was less than a 30-minute ride. With a terrorist attack which occurred in Jersey the day before we arrived, we were happier staying outside of Manhattan. Although not completely child-friendly in terms of some glass tables, the AirBnB apartment in Astoria was brilliant for us and I’d highly recommend it should Jada list it again as available.*

Our stay cost us £213 per night. This is quite expensive but as we were let down so close to our trip, it was the least costly option short of staying in a hotel room. And hotel rooms are not an option for us. They are a last resort for us or booked out of necessity! Here’s a tour of our apartment in Astoria.

As an area to stay when visiting New York, I’d never considered Astoria but would definitely stay there again as its location for both Manhattan and JFK airport was ideal.

Have you visited New York, and if so, are there other areas we should consider for our next visit?

And if you are planning a visit to New York with your kids, why not check out my post about 5 Things to Do in New York with a Toddler in Tow and the Manhattan Top 10 with Kids by Our Globetrotters. And if they don’t convince you to visit New York, then check out the amazing pictures in Sorry About the Mess’ Winter in New York post. And you might want to consider getting a New York City Pass too!

Cath x

*The listing for this apartment is no longer on AirBnB at the time of writing this review.

**I was not asked to write this review.

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apartment in astoria - review of a new york airbnb apartment in astoria - review of a new york airbnb


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