Sunday, 30 December 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013

I feel like 2012 has flown by and for once I can say WOW, what a fab year it has been!! Here are some of the highlights, although there are loads more things I can think of too!

I started 2012 with a big baby bump. But 9 days later, a week early, Millie decided it was the right time to make her entrance into the world! Ok, so the birth was not fab at all not least because I was freaking out that she was trying to be born on an odd number day! (I will, one day probably talk about her birth) but thankfully she came out breathing and healthy. Chester became a big Brother, a very proud and protective one at that!

In February I started my Blog. Since then it has grown from strength to strength and I am amazed as how well it has taken off! I love blogging about my family life and am thrilled that people love to read it!

Fast forward to May/June time. First it was the Jubilee celebrations, I organised a family Jubilee Party, it was so fab to have the Family all together having fun. I made all the food from scratch (as did some family members) and we had a Jubilee Quiz. It was a perfect day!

Then I found out that I had won my dream prize.... A cookery master class with Marco Pierre White!! I am actually still bouncing off the walls about the whole thing! It still seems so surreal. Marco was so lovely, he taught me lots. It was a once in a life time experience and one that I certainly will never ever forget!
(Also I just want to say, this picture is an awful one of me! Thankfully I have lost the baby weight since this was taken, however it still is my fave pic of all time!)

Next up was Craig's 30th Birthday celebrations, which I had been secretly planning since January! He was totally shocked when he found out on his Birthday that a day later we would be off to Disneyland Paris for a couple of days!! We are massive Disney fans so he was so pleased! We had a great time creating lots of memories.

In the Summer, we had the Olympics and Paralympics to follow on TV. I am the first one to admit that I was actually very negative about the Olympics/Paralympics before it began. It had never been something that interested me. However, we all totally got caught up with all the hype and Chester spent most of the Summer re creating the Olympics in our garden!! I was extremely lucky to win tickets to the Paralympics, Craig and I spent the day watching the Wheelchair basket ball, it was amazing. Then just 2 days later my Sister has a spare ticket to the Athletics so of I went again, the atmosphere was amazing and I am so proud to say I was there!

August was another fab month, Chester and Millie had their Christening. I am really pleased that we finally made the decision to get them both Christened, after loosing a friend last year (which I will never get over, especially as he was so young just 29 years old) It was top of my priority for this year and has put my mind at rest that I have covered all bases for what happens after this life.

Another fab prize I won this year was tickets to Lollibop festival on my birthday! Yes, it was ridiculously hot, but the look on Chester's face when he saw the Skylanders Arena made it worth it!!!

In September we had a fantastic family holiday, it was actually Millie's first holiday. We went to Center Parcs and the Swimming pool was a big hit with both Children.

The last part of the year has been action packed with lots of activities for the Children, we also booked next years Holiday to Walt Disney World Florida, so not only have we had a great 2012 we have something fantastic to look forward to in 2013!

This year has been amazing. Both Children have grown so much, I am so proud of them. I will be sad to see the back of it, although I am very excited about what 2013 will bring!

So I will take this opportunity to say Happy New Year to all of my readers, hope you all have had a great 2012 and will have a great 2013!

Also, hope you have had lots of fun reading my Blog in 2012, I certainly have had lots of fun writing it and hope to learn and grow even more throughout 2013!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

An awesome Christmas

Wow, can not believe its over for another year but what a fantastic Christmas it was!

Chester really 'gets' Christmas now, so the lead up to Christmas was very exciting. It truely is more magical with kiddies. Millie's First Birthday is not for another 2 weeks meaning that this was her first Christmas! She was a bit overwhelmed by it all but non the less she enjoyed herself.

Christmas eve was great, we were woken up at the semi reasonable time by Chester, who very excitedly told us that is was just one more sleep to go! My Sister and her Boyfriend invited us over to their home for the day and as I had to work in the evening we arranged to go round quite early.

They live about an hour away from us and just round the corner from them is a big retail area, Chester had sold his Chuggington train set a couple of days before (to make room for new toys) so I said we could stop off at Toys R Us on the way so that he could get a Skylander Triple pack. This was very tricky as I had to try and persuade him the best one to buy without letting on that he would receive Skylanders for Christmas! Whilst we were in there I spotted the Moshi Monster Advent calender reduced to £9.99 which worked out around 41p per moshi! So I treated Chester to that, and picked up some pink toot toot drivers for Millie's birthday.

By the time we eventually got to my Sisters Chester was even more excited about Christmas, he could not believe all the presents under her tree! My parents popped over as well and we had a really nice buffet. My sister had organised a Christmas themed quiz which I came second on (how annoying that my Dad beat me!) . She also did a Disney Christmas themed quiz, as many of you know we are all Disney mad so its no surprise that I came first! Well actually, I came joint first with my Sisters boyfriend! Sadly the day was over in a flash and it was time for us to head home so that I could get ready for work.

It is tradition  in our house, (as I suspect it is in many a house) to read t'was the Night Before Christmas (A visit from St Nicholas) by Clement Moore. Every Christmas eve for as long as I can remember that poem has either been read to me or I have read it. So I was determined to read it to the Children before I set off to work for the evening.

We also put out Father Christmas' snacks out before I went to work. This year they were homemade Christmas cookies, Archers and Lemonade, carrots and the reindeer food we made at the Sure Start centre. Oh and we left a Key out so that Father Christmas could get in as we do not have a chimney!

Off I went to work, when I got home Craig updated me on the evenings excitement. Both kiddies were fast asleep so we set about putting the presents around the tree.

I would love to say we were woken up by the kiddies on Christmas Day, but the reality is that we were so excited for the kiddies that we were awake by 5am listening out for them to wake up!!! When Chester did finally wake up at nearly 8am it was magical! Because Millie is still so little we have the monitor in their room so we could hear it all. He got out of bed opened his door, we then heard him gasp and say NO WAY!!! He came running in to our room and said Dad DAD, he's been, he's REALLY been!! Craig asked who has been and Chester said Santa, he has really been, my sack is full up!! He then went to wake up Millie and tell her the same!

Poor Millie did not have a clue what was going on around her, one minute she was fast asleep the next she was sitting on our bed with a sack full of presents in front of her!! Chester has asked Father Christmas for Crusher Skylander Giant and Millie asked for a noisy toy. They were both very happy to find that they got what they asked for plus a few little extras such as Disney DVDs, plate/bowl set and of course a wooden toy each made by the elves.

Whist why they were opening/playing with their toys from Father Christmas I contacted my parents to let them know the kiddies were up so they set off on the 45 minute journey to us. They really wanted to see the kiddies open the tree presents so we all waited upstairs until they arrived.

Chester was very pleased to see that Father Christmas had posted the key back through our front door, he also had eaten his snacks and fed the reindeer. He knew the reindeer had been fed because they had made a bit of a mess outside our front door!!

We spent the next hour or so opening pressies, Chester was very excited and very pleased with his pressies.
His favorites being Skylanders/Skylanders Giants figures, Leapfrog tag (he got the map, the body and couple of story books) Ben 10 stuff and some hulk hands!. Millie was again overwhelmed by everything so it took her a long time to open her pressies but her faves so far seem to be her Leap frog picnic basket, Fisher Price vanity unit, and the Vtech sit to stand dancing tower!

We then all had breakfast of bacon rolls before the kiddies opened pressies from Nannie and Grandad. The biggest surprise of the day came next. Craig and I had asked everyone for decorating vouchers as we desperately need to decorate a few rooms in the house, the hallway being top of the list. So when Dad came in with a big rectangle box for us all I could think of was, he does know we have a pasting table right?! Then when Craig and I opened it up we were shocked/surprised/pleased that it was a new 40" TV!! We had a tube TV and because nothing was wrong with it (and because we had other things to spend money on) we had not updated to a flat screen TV. So we were really very grateful to my parents for bring us up to date in TV fashion! Although they did get a telling off from me for going over the top on the present front!

Craig and Dad then spent time setting up the new TV, along with the new Blue ray player (naughty Dad went out shopping without Mum!) whilst Millie had a nap and Mum, Chester and I played Chester's new Jolly octopus game which was fab.

It was then time for Mum and Dad to go, they were spending the rest of the day round my Sisters. So I got on with the Christmas Dinner whilst Craig Chester and Millie played toys! We had a lovely Christmas Dinner, with Craig telling me off for making it so good because it made him eat too much!!!

I really do not know where kiddies get their energy from though, me and Craig we almost falling asleep for the rest of the afternoon while both kiddies were bouncing off the walls playing with their new toys!

The Christmas celebrations didn't end there, on Boxing Day we went over to Craig's Nan's house to spend some time with Craig's family. We had another lovely day with pressies and a buffet. Sadly both Chester and Millie had temperatures by the end of Boxing Day (and now have the winter bug) so we had to leave earlier than we would of liked too.

So Millie's first Christmas was certainly action packed! We all had a fab time making lots of wonderful memories. Now that Chester is that little bit older and 'gets' the magic a bit more it was awesome to watch the excitement through a childs eyes. Craig and I agreed that it was the best Christmas we have had because of Chester's reaction to it all!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas Baking!

So the last few days have been mega hectic, but I was determined to find time to do some Christmas baking with the kiddies.

I really wanted to make a gingerbread house, but have never made my own always brought the ones that you just decorate yourself. So this year because of time constraints I was naughty again and brought a kit that you just needed to roll, cut out and cook. When I got this out of the pack I very quickly realised it was going to be rubbish. The template was tiny and the dough was very dry even after I kneaded it. So I gave up.

Then I spotted on Jennifer's Little World that she had made one, she made it look so easy. So it gave me some confidence to try it myself. I say try it myself as when I got going I got a little bit possessive over the gingerbread so in the end Chester only helped me decorate a little bit of it and Millie was not allowed anywhere near it!!

Like Jennifer I got the template from Tesco's website , I had most of the ingredients in the cupboard, I just had to pop to shops to get some Black treacle.

I was amazed at how easy it was, I cooked 2 pieces at a time for 8 minutes so whilst one batch was cooking I was rolling/cutting the dough for the next section of the house.

I ended up with lots of left over dough so I got the festive cookie cutters out and made some cookies.

For once I had a little patience and did not rush. I left the Gingerbread to firm up over night and then spent a good hour and half assembling and decorating the Gingerbread house this morning....

I also decorated the cookies, Chester has picked out a tree and a snowman to leave for Father Christmas tomorrow evening.

Whist I was in the baking mood Me and Chester decided to make a cheats yule log!

Because I was now running out of time and patience I made a basic sponge mix (200g butter, flour, sugar, 4 eggs) then I added half a jar of melted Tesco Finest desert sauce (its new and very yummy) mixed together and put in a loaf tin.

Normally when making a yule log I put the mix on a baking tray then roll the sponge whilst warm, I didnt have time for this so this is why we used a loaf tin.

Then whilst I was out finishing the Christmas shopping Craig kindly carved the 'log' into a bit more of a log shape! Chester and I then covered it with Chocolate frosting and then placed Orange Matchmakers all over it to look like lots of little logs!

I have to say that even though it is a bit off track from the original it really is yummy and looks lovely and, well, I suppose the main thing is that Chester LOVED making (and eating) it!

So thats our Christmas treats baking done for the year, I am linking this post up to The Crazy Kitchen's Gingerbread House Linky!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Skylanders Christmas Lights!

As you all know Chester is Skylanders mad! So you can imagine how excited he was when I showed him this new website that lets you create your own festive Skylander scene?!

The website is Its a fab site that lets you pick a Christmas scene and then lets you decorate the scene. Not only with Christmas lights, but also special neon versions of new Skylander Giants and Lightcore Skylanders!

Once you have created your perfect scene you can share it with friends on Facebook or Twitter. Or you can email it to people. As soon as I showed Chester the website and how to click and drag the Skylanders onto the scene (its very easy) he was in the Skylander zone! He played around with lots of scenes, and especially loved using the new Skylander Giants!

If you have a Skylander mad child (or grown up!) this is the perfect way to get Skylanders involved in your festive celebrations! I must say it is a little addictive as I spent lots of yesterday evening playing around with different scenes!

Below are a few images of some of the Skylanders you may come across while creating your scene!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas play time!

So today was the day of Chester's Christmas play! He has been practicing it for weeks, so I  really felt like I already knew it! He has had some ups and downs about his play over the last few weeks, he was given the main part in the play, and although he was confident in doing it I think he wanted to be with his friends. All of his friends parts were in groups so understandably he could not understand why he was on his own. But fast forward to this morning and he was a very confident little boy who needn't of worried!

Now, to most people when you say the main part in the Christmas Play, you would automatically think (including me) that he was Joseph. Admit it, that is what you thought, right? No, not at Chester's School. The main part there meant that he was a boy (called Chester) who wanted a dinosaur!!! When I was first told, I did think well that is not very Christmasy?! However watching it today I think they pulled it off ok. It still would of been nice to do the nativity though, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for a traditional play next year!

Chester was given lots of lines so I was nervous for him in case he forgot them. But I needn't of worried, he got them all right and did a great job at playing his part! Whilst watching it, I was reminded of how grown up my little boy is! Daddy and Nannie even managed to get the time off to see him and they were equally as proud as me!

Some of the Children in the play were as young as 18 months old and each one of them did a fab job at their parts! The School hall was packed out with proud parents, everyone was so proud, that the fact the Christmas play was not very traditional seemed to be forgotten very quickly! At the end they got all of the children to dance to Gangnam Style which was really really cute too!

Chester on the stage, getting ready.....

Friday, 14 December 2012

Chester's entry for the #teamskylanders challenge!

If you know us, you will know that Chester is totally Skylander obsessed! All he talks about from morning until night is Skylanders! When we went on a family day out last weekend he managed to out talk an 8 year old about the subject of Skylanders! He especially makes me chuckle when he rings up his Auntie or his Grandad (he has got them into Skylanders too) to give them tips and to tell them what upgrades he has managed to get his skylanders on Skylanders Spyros Adventure!

So when I read on tots100 that they were looking for 12 children and there parents to join team skylanders, having a chance to try the new Skylander Giants gamed and selection of Skylander toys,  I knew that Chester HAD to enter!

To enter he needed to come up with his own original skylander Character. So I told him all about the #teamskylander challenge and within 10 minutes he had thought up his Skylander, what she was called and what her powers would be!

So here is Puffie.....

Chester has told me that she is a water element Puffa Fish who is lovely and cute..... until you annoy her and then she gets angry and puffs up some spikes to injure the baddies!

Upgrades include, spikes that glow up, spikes that fly to the baddies, super fast powers to get to the end of the level in quick time and spikes that stretch really really far, even through unlocked gates apparently!

I think he did a really good job coming up with and then creating a skylander, it just goes to show how passionate his is about Skylanders!

Some more photos of Chester making/with Puffy:

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Holidays are coming!

Yesterday, I took the kiddies to our local (ish) shopping centre Bluewater, because I had heard the Coca Cola truck was going to be there!

Well when we got there you couldn't miss it! We que'd up for our free can of Coke and a chance to have a picture taken next to the truck.....

Ok so the pic they took is not very good, its a bit dark. So I took some other photos, sadly though there are no more of all of us (well not Craig) together.

If I wasn't feeling particularly festive before this then I certainly am now! They had some great singers, singing Christmas songs and even some fake snow! Which Millie loved! Chester was very pleased with himself because I allowed him to have a few sips of Coca Cola! 

If anyone gets the chance to see the Coca Cola truck I would totally recommend it, it really puts you in that "Holidays are coming" mood! 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Win a visit from the FA Cup to your childs School!

Last week our dishwasher blew up! It literally went bang, we have had it for 7 years, it was a built in dishwasher that we brought with the house (its was a new build) so I was disappointed when it started to go wrong. Today we are sitting in waiting for the new dishwasher to arrive, its not a built in one but hopefully it will look nice in our kitchen. We have gone for a Beko one this time as it has such good reviews.

I spent a lot of time last week researching for a new dishwasher and whilst I was researching I came across a competition over on Beko Mums United facebook page, Chester is still at Nursery so is too little to enter but I know that lots of you have children of Primary School age so I thought I would share it with you all!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Drusillas Park review

On Saturday we took the kiddies to Drusillas Park for the day, it was a family day out that we have had in our diarys for weeks! By the end of last week I have to admit I was starting to get a little worried about the weather! However on the day it was mild and sunny, perfect for walking around a small Zoo!

Drusillas is in East Sussex, so about and hour and half away from us in the car. It was easy to find via sat nav.

I had done my reasearch and found out that Father Christmas would be there, he was free to visit but for an additional £4 each the Children could also come away with a gift. We went for that option, we went to see Father Christmas first and I am glad we did. It was only a 5 minute wait when we got to his cottage but later in the day the que was much longer! Chester LOVED seeing Father Christmas, seeing his little face light up when he saw him was awesome. However, the same can not be said for Millie who cried her little eyes out! It is her first Christmas though so it probably was a bit of a shock to her! The presents they received were lovely, Chester got a Reindeer soft toy and Millie got a my first bear! When we came out there was a lovely area where the children could do some colouring in and chat with the Elf and Mrs Claus, and also some reindeer and a sleigh to sit on!

Another extra to Drusillas is Thomas the Tank Engine, Chester was super excited about this. Thomas took us on a ride along with Annie and Clarabel, where we also spotted James, Diesel, the Fat Controller and Bulgy the bus! We actually went on Thomas twice throughout the day, the second time round we spotted Cranky at sodor docks!

Then we retraced  our steps a little and walked round the park looking at all of the animals. Now, I have to admit that when we walked through the entrance me and Craig did look at each other and say this is a bit small. But after walking round I am happy to say it is actually a lot bigger than we first thought!

We spent lots of time looking around at all of the animals, Millie loved seeing lots of interesting animals from her pushchair and Chester not only loved the animals but also loved some nice little extras that Drusillas have. They are: an animal spotting book, every time you see an animal in your book you can stamp it. Then there were the Zoolympics at various spots around the park. Ranging from hanging like a monkey to running as fast as you can! Every time you completed a Zoolympic challenge you wrote down your time/speed/etc in your Zoolympic book then at the end you hand it into Guest Services who will send you out a certificate! Both of those extras are free of charge and went down very well with Chester (who is 4), they were a nice little touch, keeping him entertained throughout the day!

There are lots of Small animals at Drusillas, too many for me to mention but highlights for us were: penguins, snakes, beavers, Racoons, lots of different types of monkey, dwarf mongooses, minature donkeys, rainbow lorikeets, meerkats and lemurs.

There were some opportunities to get up close to some of the animals via walk through enclosures. I took Chester into the Lori Landing, where for £1 he got to feed some lovely Rainbow Lorikeets some nectar! He was very nervous at first and spilt a lot of the nectar, but he soon got some confidence and at one point 3 of the Lorikeets were sitting on his arm!

Another big plus at Drusillas are the play areas! In the summer they have a small water splash area, but all year round they have 2 lovely big outdoor play areas and a good sized indoor one! Craig and I even had a go on the hamster wheel! We spent a good hour and a half in the 3 play areas, it was not only a nice place for the kiddies to play but also for us to have something to eat. We took our own lunch but there was plenty of choice to buy or cold food too. All reasonably priced.

The only downside to Drusillas was the amount of extras that were paid for activities, Chester really wanted to go on penguin plunge, which was a bouncy castle slide. But it was £3 for 6 slides. There were a few other paid for extras in that area and we felt it was a little unnecessary to charge you more money when you have already paid to get into the park. Although that feeling did not count for paying to feed the birds as I expect that charge and find it acceptable.

Drusillas certainly is a whole day out! We got there at 10.15am and left at 3.45pm! We could of easily of stayed for longer but the kiddies were getting cold and tired. In the summer I can image we would stay from open until close. Admission ranges from £10-£16.50 per person (over the age of 2) or between £18-£77.50 for a family ticket depending on how many of you are going and if you go on a peek/off peek day. An annual membership is £57 per person. There is much more to do and see than you can imagine and we certainly recommend it, it was a great family day out where there really is something for everyone!

Top 5 children's animated film heroes

Animated films may be made for children, but the best ones have something for adults to enjoy, too. Whether it be high adventure sequences where the protagonist outsmarts the villain or moments where we get to see them just hanging out and having fun with friends, there’s something undeniably loveable about an animated film hero. Here are the top 5 on our list:

1) Woody, Toy Story 
The Toy Story films may have originally garnered attention for their revolutionary animation, but the films’ fearless toy leader—Sheriff Woody—will keep its legacy alive for generations to come. Through thick and thin, he shows unwavering devotion to his owner, Andy, and to his fellow band of misfit toys. Who else would climb into a claw game to save his (then) arch nemesis or return to Sunnyside to help his friends formulate an escape from the wrath of one corrupt toy? Of course, none of Woody’s feats would be possible without the help of his number one partner, Buzz Lightyear. Both of which are favourite characters in this house, Craig introduced Chester to them right from birth and Chester goes almost everywhere with either his Woody or Buzz figures!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Hasbro Elefun and Gator Golf reviews

Included on Chester's Christmas list last year was Elefun and Gator Golf. He had seen the adverts and really wanted to play the games. So you can imagine how pleased he was on Christmas day when he unwrapped them! We brought him Gator Golf and hubbies Aunt and Uncle brought him Elefun.

I included Elefun on my Christmas gift guide so I wanted to do a little review in case anyone was wondering if it would make a good present for a little one....

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

School choices!

Wow! I have never known stress and pressure like it! I have had sleepless nights and constant worry!

For the last few weeks Chester and I have been trawling round all the local Schools to try and decided which 3 to put on his application list! With the help of Craig of course, but as he is at work all week I am having to relay all the info to him, so lots of pressure on me!

I never for one moment thought that choosing the Children's School would be so stressful. Its not as easy as I first thought. I thought (in my naivety ) that I would just pick the one I wanted him to go to, put it top of the list put a couple of others down to show willing and that would be that! But no, what I actually have to do is pick my top School and then very carefully think about the consequences of my next two choices.

Apparently, the 2nd and 3rd choices are only really any use if they are undersubscribed Schools otherwise if you do not get your 1st you are unlikely to be offered 2nd or 3rd, meaning you could get a School that is not on the list and more to the point one that you do not like! But after looking round what felt like hundreds of Schools I quickly realised that there are no Schools in our area that are undersubscribed! But there are a couple of Schools I really do not want him to go to. Unfortunately (but I can see why) the way the distance is measured by our local authority is straight line distance. Which means for us that our nearest School is not the one I would even consider sending Chester too. I mean according to the straight line distance, to walk to it, we would have to walk through some houses, across a railway line and through some more houses. Driving wise it is not our closest at all. But the 2 Schools that we can physically walk too are 4th and 5th closest via Straight line distance!

As his Mum I feel huge amounts of pressure to get it right for him, I want him to feel happy and comfortable in his School, after all he will be there for 7 years!

In the end, this evening, I have finally submitted the form after changing it several times. I am really really hoping Chester gets his first Choice School but we will just have to wait until April now before we even find out!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Our living room has had its Christmas makeover!

When I was growing up we didn't out up our Christmas decorations until mid way through December as that was the thing to do. But now it seem more normal to put it up the first week of Decemeber! So because I couldn't wait anymore that is what we did, put up our decorations at the weekend!

Chester is so excited about Christmas this year, he was excited last year but he was only just 3 then. This year he is 4 and has a bit more of an understanding. Although he was not impressed when I had to explain he could only have one chocolate from his advent calender per day! I suppose 24 days is a long time for a child!

Hipp Organic Top ten tips for surviving Christmas plus Hamper giveaway!

1. Set a present budget for baby and stick to it! 
They’ll probably be more interested in the boxes and bows anyway! 

        2. Delegate
Plan ahead and put your guests in charge of special jobs. Photography is a great one to hand over – you won’t have time and will want a record of this special day.

  3. Rule The Routine  
One of the benefits of hosting Christmas is that you can do it on your terms and time dinner around baby’s routine.  Use nap time to prepare the veggies, to enjoy your own meal or open presents.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Christmas gift ideas for Preschoolers

Now that it is December and Christmas is only just over 3 weeks away, I thought it would be a good time to share with you some gift ideas for Children of Preschool age. Preschool age is classed as age 3-5, some of these gifts are aged at 18 months-5 years. I know that sometimes it can be stressful trying to find the perfect gift for little ones, so hopefully my post will be of some help.

Most of the items on my gift ideas for Preschoolers list are items that we have used/are still using. Some of them  we have brought, others were given to us to review in the past, but all of them are things I genuinely think are great and have been a big hit in this house. A couple of items are things that I have actually brought for the kiddies this year on recommendations from others.

So  *said in the voices of Ant and Dec*  in no particular order.........

Little Lady Chlo Chlo's hair clips 
Gifts for Children do not just have to be toys! Ok, Millie maybe officially a little bit young to be classed as a preschooler but it doesn't stop me buying these cute little clips for her! I must stress that it my own decisions to let her wear these clips they are actually aimed for age 3+! The designs are fab, so many to choose from. There are some lovely Christmas deals on at the moment which is updated all the time so its worth keeping an eye on the facebook page. I have brought several different clips/sets of clips, they are always great quality and I always ask for the non slip grip to be put on to mine (at no extra cost!). My favorites at the moment are the Gingerbread ones, very festive!

WOW toys 
I say toys rather than picking a specific one as they are all so lovely. What is great about these toys is that you do not need any batteries, they still have lots of features but without the need for batteries! Chester has got a great imagination and these WOW toys just seem to fuel it even more! We have Harvey Harvester, Clippety Clop Farmer, Ernie Fire Engine. For Millie's birthday in January we have brought Casey Camper Van, Dynamite Daisy, Misty 'n' Molly. On Chester's wish list is Stanley street sweeper and Flip 'n' tip Fred!

Hama Beads
Hama Beads are a childhood favourite of mine, so I was thrilled when Chester wanted to sit and make some Hama bead creations with me! What is even more great is that these come in all different sizes to suit the age/ability of your child. Chester is happy using the Maxi Beads at the moment as they are a little more chunky and easier to hold. He loves the Dinosaur that he made and I know that he has asked his Auntie for the girl and boy peg boards with some extra beads! I love the fact the boards are reusable and you can buy all different coloured beads!

Elefun is a game that I remember well in the run up to Christmas last year! Chester was constantly showing me the adverts on TV and telling me that he really wanted it! So when he got it as a gift for Christmas he was ecstatic! We have spent many an hour playing this game, you put the butterfly's in the elephants trunk and switch it on, then you watch the butterfly's fly through the trunk then try and catch them with your net. The person with the most butterfly's at the end is the winner!

Snackin Safari
If you have read our review for Snackin Safari you will know how much of a hit this has been in our house! As Chester loved Elefun it was inevitable that he was going to like this action packed game! Snackin Safari is a fun game where you have to try and pick up snack cards with your elephants trunk! Whoever has the most at the end is the winner!

Hungry Hippos
I think you have probably guessed by now that alternative board games are a massive hit in this house at the moment and Hungry Hippos is another game that Chester is excited by. Its a fast paced game where you have to get your Hippo to eat the most amount of marbles to be the winner of the game! One of Chester's favorite things to do is to count everyone's marbles at the end of the game so not only is it fun it is educational too!

Leapfrog Tag reading system
We have got Chester a Leapfrog Tag for Christmas this year, after much research and reading lots of reviews we decided that the Tag rather than the Tag Jr was better for Chester, hopefully it will last him a long time and with lots of different books to purchase it is sure to keep him interested! The Tag system helps you read with your child and helps them to learn at there own pace. Chester loves story time so I am hoping we can use it as an add on to that!

Little Tikes Cosy Coupe
If you saw my post a few weeks ago you will know that the the Cozy Coupe is a well played with toy of Chester's that stays at Nannie and Grangrads house. Its a great imagination starter for Children, Chester is always going on adventures in it. If you have got the space its a great toy to keep your preschooler entertained!

Leapfrog Count and Scan 
Chester got this for Christmas last year and its something he plays with at least once a week!
In the box you get a scanner, 10 items of food and a shopping bag.
How it works is that your scanner has got 3 settings numbers, colours and music. You put your scanner on the setting you would like to use and then start pressing your scanner onto your food items. There are many phrases and songs as well as telling you what product you have just scanned. For instance if you pressed the scanner on the carrots when its in colour mode it is likely to say to you "orange carrots" or Number mode "lets count carrots together, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7" If you scan something other than the food, for example Chester thinks its hilarious to scan Millie, some of the phases include "is that organic" and "mmm tasty".

I hope this post has given you some ideas, would love to hear some of your gift recommendations, so if you have any please do leave a comment below!

Friday, 30 November 2012

Me&i Children's clothing review

When I went along to the baby show at earl court a little while ago I met lots of lovely people and saw lots of lovely products. One of the things that has stuck in my mind is the Me&i clothing range.

If im honest what first caught my eye was the material. A lot of the lovely clothes were made of Velour. When Chester was a baby he had a velour dungaree set with a little pup on the front of it. It was my favorite outfit for him at the time, so seeing all the lovely clothes on the Me&i stand brought back some very fond memories!

I had a lovely chat with Pernilla that day and she explained to me that not only do they sell these lovely clothes but they also have opportunities for others to sell them too and make a bit of money for themselves! So I will start by telling you about the fold over top we were sent for Millie to try and will go into how you can get involved afterwards!

When I had Millie I was sick of the lack of choice for Chester, I mean basically for baby boys its jeans and t shirts right?! So I swore to myself that Millie would always be in dresses or skirts and tights. 10 months on and I have found out that is not always practical! So sometime Millie will be seen in long tops and leggings instead. I have not yet put her in a pair of jeans, I just cant bring myself to do it! Surprisingly I am the total opposite of what I would like Millie to be. I am not a girly girl myself, what I mean by that is that the way I dress not in other aspects of my life as that is quite girly I suppose! I will always been seen in jeans, jeans, jeans and er sometimes leggings and long tops!!

So, back to the point... Millie was sent a green fold over top with a cuddly bear on the front of it. At first glance I was a bit worried that this would not be girly enough for her. However, as soon as I put it on her (I paired it with some leggings) I could see that she looked very cute and indeed very girly!

The fold over top is Velour (80% organic cotton and 20% polyester), it is lovely and soft. It has poppers on the inside and then a lovely ribbon on the outside. This is very good because even though children will wear there average age clothing the fit will be different on each child, so the ribbon enables you to tighten as much as you need to. Millie is quite tall for her age so I asked for 12-18 months for her. It is obviously a bit long in the arms but thats no problem because the cuffs are that elasticy fit I just bunched up the material above that and it looks fine! It fits perfectly everywhere else.

As most of you know, Millie is a very active 10 month old and loves to get everywhere, so taking a picture was a bit of a challenge! As she is so active I was a bit worried that the ribbon would come loose, but it was fine and stayed put. Millie has worn the foldover top several times now, meaning it has also been washed several times! It has washed up really well, no shrinkage and little stains came out easily.

The foldover with cuddly bear is on offer at the moment for £19. Now I have to be honest and say that this is far more than I would normally spend on a top for Millie, the most I have probably spent is £6!! However,  if you compare the quality of this top and how well it washes to one I would normally buy you can see why the saying you get what you pay for exists! There is a lovely range of lovely bright clothing for babies and children on the website that is well worth a look!

As I mentioned earlier Me&i are looking for sales representatives to run clothes parties from home. The idea has taken off really well in Scandinavia and they are hoping it can be a success here in the UK too! Basically how it works is that you buy or rent one collection per season, do 4-5 parties a month and get 20% commission (going upto 25% if you hit certain targets). You take the orders and then Me&i send them out meaning no trying to deliver or chase for payment! So it is a lovely little earner to fit around your family commitments! If you would like anymore information on this opportunity then take a look at this page on the website.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Hasbro Hungry Hungry Hippos Review

I was a child of the 80's and I remember playing Hungry Hippos very well. My Sister and I had the game, I think we got it one christmas. It had a red board and there was always a fight over who would have the pink hippo!

Chester is 4 and is starting to get a little more patient with sitting still and playing board games, so I have been taking a lot more notice of what kind of games are available for him. I was delighted to find out that Hungry Hippos is still going strong and couldn't wait to sit down and play it with Chester!

In the box was a game base, 4 hippos, 20 plastic marbles and the instructions.

Setting the game up was pretty easy, the Hippos all just click into place. I have to say we have already lost 2 marbles under the sofa, but that's no surprise really is it?!

All the Hippo's now have names which i think is cute. They are called: Hungry Hippo, Bottomless Potamus, Veggie Potamus and Sweetie Potamus. Their colours are Orange, Yellow, Green and Blue. So no pink but actually I love the bright colours. The base is a light blue colour.

The idea of the game is to get the balls into the middle and then press your hippo so that it eats the marbles. You can either play it so that whoever has the most amount of marbles at the end is the winner or with this version you can play it with a golden marble, and whoever gets the golden marble is the winner!

Chester quickly picked up the rules, even if at first he did insist on having 2 hippos all to himself! It is great for improving his counting skills, he really enjoyed counting everyone's marbles at the end of the game!

I think its worth mentioning right now that the game is aimed at ages 4+ and you should never play this game with a child under the age of 1 crawling around you! Millie wasn't happy to just sit and watch she wanted to eat all of the marbles! So we now only play when she is napping or we play it on the kitchen table!

What I really love about this game is the packing away! That sounds awful but bare with me. The child in me was excited about playing the game but the mother in me was worried about what was going to happen to all those marbles when we had finished playing, they could easily get lost, just like the 2 under our sofa!

But it seems Hasbro have thought of everything, because, when packing away there is a clever storage space on the underside of the game base. Including a pot to store away the marbles. The hippos each have a space on the underside of the board to click into, with there heads resting on the ball catch of another hippo. Its easy to detach them from the base to store them away, you simply press in the two tabs and pull.

So not only is everything packed away securely, it is also compact and fits perfectly into the box!

The RRP is £14.99 but I have seen it in Asda this week for £8.84 so grab yourselfs a bargain!