Monday, 29 April 2013

Weekend woodland exploring

This weekend has been totally awesome, firstly because Hubbie and I had a date night on Saturday, we went to see Iron Man 3 and it was amazing. Secondly because I have dropped my Sunday shift at work, meaning that I get to spend more time with my family!

What better way to celebrate than spending my first free Sunday by visiting a woods local to my parents house and exploring?! Chester is a real outdoors kind of kid, he loves to be running around, burning off some energy and exploring. I can see that Millie will end up the same way, she loves to walk everywhere and  is interested in pointing things out everywhere we go!

So after my parents kindly offered to look after Chester and Millie whilst we were at the cinema , well actually I should rephrase that ... my Dad kindly offered to look after Chester and Millie weeks ago but he neglected to tell my Mum opps!! I thought it would be a nice idea for all of us to go for the walk, my parents live an hour away from us, not a million miles away but long enough for them not to see the grandchildren as much as Chester and Millie would like! So perfect opportunity for some bonding time.

Chester and Millie were recently sent a lovely Poppy Cat mystery trail adventure pack so we took this with us. Included in the pack were some Poppy Cat mystery trail activity sheets, all of which can be downloaded/printed from visitwoods.org.uk for free. The activity sheets made the walk a real adventure for Chester especially. He had his detective hat on for most of the walk, he was looking all around him looking and feeling things that could potentially be ticked off of his list of finds!

This is our woodland adventure in pictures.....
Chester and Grandad having a race, seeing how many people it takes to hug a tree, sibling chase!
Jumping off logs, colour matching, counting roots on trees!
Feeling the texture of Moss, Sibling love, reading up about a bat house!
Millie exploring rocks and dirt, Poppy Cat and Alma enjoying the walk too, juice and hot chocolate stop!

So as you can see we really did have a fab fun filled time! Millie chose to walk most of the way, even though she was tired her determination is just as strong as her brothers! We knew about this woodland walk, it is on the Woodland trust visit woods website along with lots of others that we didn't even know existed so it is well worth checking out the website for a list of woods local to you. 















Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Sunshine, giggles and proud moments....


Today has been a really lovely day. I had planned nothing! We had a day where we did not even have to leave the house, wow what a miracle!

When we woke up I was so pleased to see the sun was shining, we didn't get up until just before 9am. Something that is a very rare luxury in this house! We then brushed our teeth and went down for breakfast in our PJ's! I made Eggs Benedict, my favourite breakfast and we then didn't get washed and dressed until 11am oops!! Was so nice to just chill out though!

We then spent the rest of the day in the garden, Millie is really loving exploring the garden at the moment. Last year all she could do was sit on the blanket and watch, but now she can walk around, climb and explore! Chester loves to show her what to do, so we all spent a lot of time playing catch and football. Lots of laughs and running around, even when Chester managed to throw the ball at Millie's head she just shook her head and giggled!

 

Later in the day Chester had decided to put on his Mr Incredible outfit even though it was really hot! He was busy saving the world though so the heat didn't phase him! His next trick was to climb his playhouse, which I was not impressed about especially as he broke the window as he climbed. But when asked why he thought it would be a good idea to do such a silly thing his reply was 'well Flyn Ryder does it Mummy so why can't I?' Now for those of you who are not aware Flyn Ryder is a character from Disney's Tangled, he climbs on the roof of a house when he is trying not to get caught! Cheeky Chester has an answer for everything at the moment, I then spent a good half an hour trying to explain why it was wrong to do that!

What happened next put a tear in my eye and made me such a proud Mummy. I was hanging out some washing, Chester and Millie were sitting on the trampoline. I could hear Chester chatting away to Millie about anything and everything, Millie responded with a few baby talk babbles. But what he said next was just awesome... 'I love you so much Millie, and I will always look after you' I turned round to look at them and he had his arm around her. I was standing there for ages, it was just such a lovely moment. I am so proud of Chester, he is such a boisterous boy but when it comes to Millie he is the most caring and kindest little boy I know.

The day finished with a trip to the park so effectively I broke my own rule for today by leaving the house, but we did only have to walk 2 minutes round the road to get to the park and it did wear the kiddies out ready for bed!


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Monday, 22 April 2013

Traffic light biscuits!



I was at one of the local Sure Start Centres this morning at a baby/toddler group with Millie when I came across a recipe folder. I had a quick flick through it and came across a really fun recipe for traffic light biscuits. I thought this would be both fun and educational for Chester so one of the ladies kindly photo copied it for me. This afternoon we have been making the traffic light biscuits;

Ingredients:
200g butter/margarine
100g caster sugar
200g plain flour
100g semolina
pinch of salt
Jam
Smarties (I bought 4 packs to find the correct amount of Red, Orange and Green ones)

Method:
Pre heat the oven to 160c and line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix the flour, semolina and salt into the butter/sugar mixture.


Once it has formed a soft dough place onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle. You now need to cut out 24 rectangles, it may take a few goes at re rolling before you get that amount. place the rectangles onto the baking trays (12 on each). Take one of the trays and cut 3 holes in each of the rectangles on that tray. I used one of my piping tubes to cut the holes as they need to be the same size as the smarties. Put both trays into the oven for around 15 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool.


Once cooled spread a little jam onto the rectangles without holes. Then stick the ones with holes on top of the ones without holes. Next you need to press a smartie into each hole (red, orange, green to make traffic light colours).


Chester really enjoyed helping me to make these biscuits. The best part for him was getting the smarties ready. While the biscuits were cooling we spent a lot of time sorting the smartie colours and counting how many we had of each colour. So it was very educational and lots of fun at the same time, so much fun that waiting for the biscuits to cool was not as drawn out as it normally is!


We found that even though we had 4 packs of smarties we were short of orange ones by 2 so we just decided to substitute the orange with yellow for those biscuits! Our biscuits are by no means perfect (you will notice that the rectangle and circle shapes are not spot on) but that is because I let Chester do as much as possible. The main thing is that we had lots of fun making them AND they taste yummy!



Saturday, 20 April 2013

Poppy Cat & Woodland Trust get together to launch an outdoor adventure campaign!













Chester and Millie are big Poppy Cat fans and all four of us love going on walks and getting some fresh air. A couple of weeks ago I received a very exciting email telling me all about a new partnership between The Woodland Trust and Poppy Cat, this is what I was told;


The UK’s leading woodland conservation charity, the Woodland Trust, is partnering with the popular Nick Jr. series, Poppy Cat, to launch an outdoor campaign for pre-schoolers with an ‘adventure’ platform for its VisitWoods website for one month from 19th April 2013.

VisitWoods.org.uk hosts information on over 11,000 UK woods that are open to the public. Poppy Cat content has been created for the site with downloadable activity materials focusing on ‘Mystery Trail Adventures’ - available for children aged 2-6 years to engage them during family outings to the woods.

Simone Ashley-Norman, Woodland Trust, says, “You are never too young to visit a wood and our partnership with Poppy Cat will enable families across the country to get outdoors this spring and make the most of our beautiful native woodlands. VisitWoods.org.uk makes finding and visiting woods as straightforward as possible, for all ages and abilities, so there’s no excuse to stay indoors!”

Michael Dee, Director of Content at Coolabi, the producers of Poppy Cat, adds, “Poppy Cat is an adventurer who is often embarking on journeys to the woods with her friends. This provides a natural link to VisitWoods and we are pleased to partner with the Woodland Trust to provide exciting content for children and families to make their everyday adventures extraordinary!”

To support the Woodland Trust partnership and allow Poppy Cat fans to continue the adventure at home, Nick Jr. will air nature-themed Poppy Cat episodes every day from the 18th April at 7.15pm for two weeks.  There will also be campaign content at nickjr.co.uk alongside Poppy Cat clips, games and activities.

Poppy Cat, starring the voice of Joanna Page (Gavin & Stacey), is based on the award-winning books created by Lara Jones. Poppy Cat's heroic gusto and unquenchable curiosity propel each experience often leading to unexpected discoveries. For more information on the Nick Jr pre-school series or the Woodland Trust Poppy Cat campaign, please visit www.poppycat.com / www.visitwoods.org.uk, or become a fan of Poppy Cat’s on Facebook (www.facebook.com/officialpoppycat) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/PoppyCat_).

Older brothers and sisters can also discover more age appropriate activities via the Woodland Trust’s Nature Detectives initiative – naturedetectives.org.uk.

I was so excited about this, I have been looking on the Woodland Trust website and found some woods less than 2 miles from our home that I didn't even know were there! Now that the weather has brightened up we are going to be visiting a few local woodland areas and do some exploring using the Poppy Cat downloads! We were sent a Poppy Cat Mystery Trail Adventure Pack to use as well, so look out for some blog posts in the near future about our adventures!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Finally a chilled out Mummy!

I knew that choosing Chester's Primary School and then waiting for the results would be stressful (as you know we found out the results over a week ago) but I never thought it would take its toll on me as much as it did.

For months I was not really sleeping, so I was constantly tired. This had a major effect on how I was functioning as a wife and as a mother! I was unmotivated and really lacked in concentration. I did my best to carry on with the kids hectic schedule. To be honest it is my fault the kids have such a hectic schedule because I want them to experience lots of things and have some lovely memories. Its kind of an obsession of mine, mainly because I have a very good memory so I remember right back to my very first day at Nursery School at the age of 2. Most of my memories are good, but what frustrates me more than anything is that I can not remember any play activities at home apart from those powder paints you used to have to mix with water (I so would love for those to still be available!). I know that I would've done play activities at home with my Mother, so why can't I remember them?! So yes I probably over do the amount of things we do but oh well, the kiddies are happy and that is the most important thing to me.

So anyway.... since finding out that Chester has been offered a place at the School we put down as number one choice I have instantly noticed a change in myself. I have slept a little better (I am not a great sleeper so being able to sleep 5 hours solid is a real treat for me), I have not been so distracted everyone has had my full attention. The children have made me giggle loads because I have been more chilled out about what I am letting them do. All of a sudden a little bit of paint in the hair or glue on the table is not so much of a disaster! I am focusing on other things and not having to always thinking oh god, what will happen if he doesn't get in!

My thoughts over the last week have been a lot less stressful, I have been chatting to Chester about School. He is really excited about it all, as am I. Its the next big chapter for him, my little boy is growing up. We have taken his acceptance form into 'big School' and been to the uniform shop to look at what he will be wearing and place the order! Now the worrying and stress is over we have so much to look forward too!

Sometimes I find it amazing that something has worried me so much and that it has consumed so much of my time for so long! But then I give it a bit more thought and realise that actually, as a Mother is natural to want the best for your child and to worry about them. I am sure there will be a lot more worrying moments as a parent, but boy am I pleased that this one is over!

My John Lewis holiday wish list!

As I am sure you know by now, We are going to Walt Disney World later in the year! I couldn't be more excited about it! Another thing I am sure you all know by now is that I am a MASSIVE planner! I need to make lists, I make lists for just about everything! Today I am making a list, its a holiday wish list! I have been browsing the John Lewis website and have come across some lovely things that would be perfect for our trip!

 Firstly I came across these lovely Sunglasses, I am a nightmare with sunglasses so usually have to end up buying a couple of pairs a year! These John Lewis oval sunglasses with flower detail are only £20 a bargain for sunglasses I think!

Next I thought about suitcases, I know that ours are too big as the luggage dimensions have changed since we last went to Florida 6 years ago. I came across some lovely Samsonite  B Lite suitcases, the large one was perfect size and a reasonable price for a suitcase. 



Another item I have been thinking about lots is a Video Camera, Millie will only be 22 months when we go to Florida so I want to be able to capture the magical memories on film for her to watch when she is older. Browsing today I quickly realise that they have changed loads since I last bought one! rather than being rectangle they are now mostly circular, fantastic for ease of grip! I love the look of this Canon Video Camera but I can see that it is going to take a lot of saving to get anything as nice as this!

Lastly my thoughts turned to entertaining the children whilst on the plane and I came across this really cute John Lewis 4 in a row game! Chester really loves this game so it is sure to entertain him for a long time, its also grown up enough to keep the adults entertained too! Win win situation! 






*This is a sponsored post

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel review

Chester is really into his board games at the moment, I am only too happy to play board games with him because I have always loved them. I have been introducing him to what I would call traditional board games, the ones that I played as a child and some that my parents probably played as children. But it is also nice to give new board games a chance. Recently I was asked if we would like to review The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game. Chester has loved squirrels ever since we first took him to Center Parcs so I knew that he would immediately be attracted to the game.


The game comes in a tree shaped box, the base of the box also doubles up as a useful tree for the acorns to sit in, preventing them from rolling away and getting lost under the sofa forever! The game is advised for ages 3+ and for 2-4 players. The aim of the game is to collect an acorn of each of the 5 different colours for your log. The first person to do this is the winner. To do this you need to use a very simple spinner, Chester found this very easy to use and because of the pictures on the spinner it made it very easy for him to work out what he needed to do.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Gloop! Very messy play!

When we go to messy play days at the local Sure Start Centres Millie always beelines for the gloop! She is not afraid of mess, she embraces it!

So yesterday I did something I have been meaning to do for ages... make our own gloop! In my 4.5 years of having Children this is the first time I have made it, shame on me! All I needed was a deep tray, water and corn flour! I will eventually invest in one of those Tuff Spots that everyone praises, but for now I am happy with my deep tray!

This is one of the rare times you will hear me praise the wooden floor in our front room, I can often be found moaning about it. Why did we pick a wooden floor, our house is now sooooo cold in winter! But yesterday thank goodness for the wipe clean wooden floor!

I stripped Millie down to her body suit, placed the tray of gloop on the floor with some little figures and a car in it. Ken somehow managed to sneak his way in there too. I then showed Millie (and Chester but he lost interest within seconds) the gloop! At first she wasn't sure if she should get in it or not. But soon she was sitting in it, trying to pick it up, pushing it with her feet and playing with the toys in it. She spent a good 45 minutes exploring the gloop, here are some pictures of Millie's gloop adventure.....

Ooooh Gloop!

Can I eat it?! Please!!





Thursday, 11 April 2013

Choosing Millie's Stroller at Kiddicare Lakeside!


Since Millie turned 1 in January and then even more so since she started walking in February I have been thinking a lot about Millie's pushchair. She has been a very lucky little girl and has had the comfort of a Stokke Xplory for quite a while now, I love the Xplory, the height is fab and the fact she could face me was lovely. However, realistically we no longer needed such a big pushchair. With the exception of big days out and shopping trips Millie was mainly walking everywhere,  she started to hate getting in the pushchair because she was so independant. I was starting to get fed up with the whole get the pushchair out of the car and set up routine, I think this was mainly because for the last four and a half years we have always had a big travel system style pushchair be it for Chester or Millie. Although it has always been our own choice we have never had a simple, light easy fold stroller.

So a couple of weeks ago we made the decision to purchase a stroller for Millie. Now I don't know about you but when I am purchasing anything, especially things for the kids my first port of call for research is online, I scoured the net reading reviews on all sorts of strollers from all sorts of sources from review sites to blogs and everything inbetween. I got a lot of useful information from reading up online, however, with something as important as a pushchair I wanted to give my final choices a test run. Having been there several times before and knowing how big their staff knowledge and volume of stock was I immediately thought of Kiddicare. So on Tuesday the decision became reality when I headed to Kiddiecare Lakeside for a ViB shopping experience!

Incase you are unaware ViB is a free personal shopping experience with a dedicated member of the expert Kiddicare team. It can be held in the privacy of the Very Important Baby room or in the store. It’s a handy service for nearly or newly mums and dads who may be finding the decision making process a little daunting – there’s so much kit to choose from after all. They are on hand to answer questions about any product, demo how to use it, and make recommendations based on things like budgets, child’s age/weight/height or the family’s independent requirements.

I may not be a new Mum but I am a Mum that needed lots of stroller advice and demonstrations, so this experience was perfect for me. Best of all it is free! So I arrived at the store (on time, yay!) and was greeted by Carla. We instantly start chatting about my requirements and wander over to the Pushchair area of the shop. I not only had Millie with me but as it is still Easter Holidays I also had Chester too, Carla instantly interacted with both of the children which was fab. As you all know Chester is a little live wire and as we got to the pushchair test track area Chester saw it as an opportunity to have a race (with himself!) several times! Carla was very patient with him (thank goodness) and chatted away to him keeping him distracted for a little while longer!

Even though I have been to Kiddicare Lakeside a few times since it opened last December I was still totally overwhelmed by the choice on offer! I had explained to Carla what I was looking for and she called over Holly from the Pushchair desk to help us out. Holly was instantly just as friendly and welcoming, we went through my requirements again; I was looking for a stroller that would be easy to fold, light to carry, light to push, have a foot muff and raincover (or options to buy matching) and a budget of around £180. My last requirement was that it had to be well built and sturdy enough to keep up the pace of two weeks at Walt Disney World in November!!!

Hmmm so many to choose from!
Holly was very helpful, she started showing me the different types of pushchair and asking me about other features that I liked and disliked. Both Holly and Carla were very patient with me whilst we put up and down (and up and down again!) lots of different pushchairs. There were some that I instantly said no way to and others that I wasn't too sure on. Each time I wasn't sure Holly or Carla were reminding me of things that I had said I liked or giving their opinion on how the pushchair would fit into our lifestyle. There was no hard sell, all they were interested in was making sure that I made the right choice for our family.

I eventually chose a Cosatto Supa, after Millie having a little test drive in it up and down the buggy test track I could see that she was very comfortable, it was easy and light for me to push and was in my budget, well at the top of my budget!

Checking out the Kangaroo pouch to keep her hands warm! 
Aside from its 4 year guarantee the Supa also had some nifty well thought out extras which made it stand out from the others. Holly had shown me that it had an extended hood which could be opened up at the slide of a zip, a pocket in the extended hood for a tablet (computer), ok I hear you, we do not actually own any form of tablet but one day I hope that we will and in the meantime my parents do and they will be coming with us to Walt Disney World! It had a speaker to attach the tablet or an mp3 device for music (this I could do!), caps on the wheels to make them look neat, little buttons on the handles matching the design, and the best feature... when you fold the pushchair down a little stand pops out so that the pushchair can be freestanding. Meaning no marks on the wall you are trying to balance it on whilst storing and no having to hold it upright or lay it on the floor whilst waiting to board the airplane to Disney!

I had a momentary blip with my decision when I saw last years model for £70 cheaper. This wasn't a problem for Carla or Holly, they just simply put the pushchairs side by side. Showed me the features of both again until I decided what I wanted to do. The updated features on the newer version were so good that they were worth the extra. My next decision was what design to choose! Cosatto really like to think outside of the box when it comes to pushchair colours and patterns. Now most who know me would assume I would go for the most Pink pushchair I could find, however I actually struggled to choose and my most favourite design was the monsters! But as much as I tried to view it as neutral it really was a boys pushchair, as much as Millie really does look like a girl, I just couldn't put her in it. I wasn't particularly keen on the flower design and not overly fussed on the red cat design. So it was now down to the pink (and black) bow design or the brown and orange fox design. The pink one was obviously very girly and pretty, but the fox one was neutral and extremely different to anything I had seen before. The foot muff on the Supa can be used four different ways and I liked all of the designs on the Fox one. So after much thought I decided to go for a Cosatto Supa in Foxtrot.

Holly went to sort this out, but came back with some bad news... the Foxtrot was out of stock apart from the display one. I was really disappointed and after spending all of that time choosing I really didn't want to go for an alternative. Holly really wanted to sort this for me so whilst she was trying her best to make me happy Carla, the kids and I walked round the store. Carla was showing me some other things I had mentioned to her earlier, she also gave me some advice on nappies and a sample to try. Holly came and found us to let us know that she could sell me the Foxtrot display model and because it was display she could give me 10% off! I was a little unsure of having a display model at first, but Holly assured me that it had been on the shop floor for a month at the most and she also sent it over to the pushchair service centre to give it a check over for me!

Carla and I headed over to the tills and whilst in the que I had another moment of panic deciding if I had made the right choice! I am really unsure how Carla kept her patience with me I am so indecisive when it comes to big purchases! Craig was at work so he was trusting me to make this big decision by myself! Carla was fantastic, we got out of the que and she went and got the other pushchair for me so we had them side by side again (this time at the other end of the store!)


I then rang Craig, asked his opinion, sent him a picture of them and then asked Carla's opinion. Carla was very honest with me and said if you buy last years model you could save that extra money for Disney. But then because I kept fussing over the hood (I didn't like the hood on the older model, it was a bit flimsy) she said I think you would be disappointed if you went home with this. She was right, I would of been. I am glad I listened to her!

Carla stayed with me right up until I had payed. For the last 40 minutes Chester had been whining that he wanted to go to Kiddicafe for lunch, I had already decided that we would have lunch there anyway so Carla left us to have lunch and told me where to find her if we needed anymore help.


So in the end we all went home really happy, Craig loved the choice I had made when I demonstrated the Supa to him later on and although we have only been using it for a couple of days Millie seems very happy and comfortable in it and I am happy with it too! I will be back to Kiddicare Lakeside (probably several more times) before our trip to Disney as I want to get a pushchair cover for the plane and a few other little bits (any excuse to go to Kiddicare haha). I am really happy I chose to go to Kiddicare to purchase Millie's pushchair, I can be confident that I got it for the best price because they update their digital price labels everyday with the best price, the ViB experience was awesome and I felt like no question or ask was too much for Carla (or Holly). I also realised when I got home that I had chosen a pushchair that was not even on my list of ones to look at! I had tested a couple on my list but was not happy with them for one reason or another (mostly handle height or handle comfort!) so it just goes to show if you are not sure always test in store for yourself!

*Disclaimer - The ViB experience is free, I paid for my pushchair and all thoughts are my own. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Sponge painting!


This morning I announced to Chester and Millie that we would have a messy play day. As usual in this house, things to not go quite to plan! After Chester's swimming lesson this morning the plan was going to be gloop, sponge painting and sicking and glueing.

What actually happened was Swimming,  and then a 'quick' trip to the supermarket because we needed bread. By the time we got home it was almost lunch time, so we had lunch and then I had a look at the front room. Well. You can tell its Easter Holidays here, it looked like a toy bomb had gone off! So I then spent the next 2 hours constantly repeating myself (kids can you put this back, help tidy up please) and clearing away all of the mess mainly by myself.

So by the time we actually got round to any messy play Millie was fast asleep!! As I particularly wanted her to be involved with the gloop we skipped that and went straight onto the sponge painting!

I had managed to get a pack of 4 shaped sponges from a local convenience store for £1! We had a star, butterfly, fish and duck. As our living room floor is wooden and Chester wanted to do LOADS of sponge paintings we set up in there rather than at the kitchen table. I put four different paint colours onto plates and away we went! It took a while for Chester to understand that he didn't need to press really hard into the sponge to get some paint (a lot of paint was used this afternoon!). But he was very happy creating his own ideas with the sponges. We also used our fingers in the paint, he didn't like this at first as he is not too keen on getting his hands dirty. However, after a while he accepted it was OK. He even wrote 'C' whilst finger painting. He also was quick to realise that if he dipped the sponges in two colours he got some very pretty two tone paintings. Another 'trick' he came up with all by himself was that if he laid a blank piece of paper on top of one of his sponge painted pieces of paper it would create another lovely picture!


We spent such a long time on sponge painting that we actually ran out of time to do any of the other messy play things I wanted to do today. But I am not worried as there is always tomorrow, plus I feel Chester has really got a lot out of the sponge painting today. He really thought outside of the box to create some different ways to use the sponges and the paint. All I gave him was encouragement to try to do things differently, he was the one that came up with the ideas!


Oh and I just want to admit that the picture at the top of this post was actually my bit of sponge paint art :) the rest however was all Chester :)

Shloer Raspberry & Rhubarb Punch review!

At the weekend we saw a tiny glimpse of the sun, I hadn't seen it for so long I started to daydream about lovely Summer afternoons sat in the garden. Something else that really reminds me of Summer is Rhubarb! I am a little obsessed with it, well actually, I am a little obsessed with Rhubarb crumble! I have never really thought outside the box about what else to do with Rhubarb, but that doesn't worry me because I am happy with my crumble!

Well that was until I tried Shloer's new Raspberry and Rhubarb Punch!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Why I can breathe a great big sigh of relief!

Just before Christmas I posted about School choices and why I was so stressed about it. After months of waiting, yesterday was the day we found out what School has been chosen for Chester.

I have not slept for a couple of weeks with worry about it all. I knew that the School we put was a big risk. But I also knew (well think I know) that the School we put was the one that would be the best for our son. So yesterday came and after not being able to sleep we were all up early. It was then a very long wait until 4pm. The time that we were all told we would receive our emails. I passed the time by playing games with the kiddies and doing lots of arts and crafts! But just before 4pm I set up a film for the children to watch and then I stalked my emails obsessively. I was keeping a check on facebook as well for updates from everyone else. 4pm came and went and no email. 4.15pm, still no email!! I was starting to panic a bit and got it into my head that this clearly meant we had not got what we had asked for! Looking back at it now I can see it was perfectly acceptable to not get our email until 4.35pm, the sheer volume of applicants meant that it was always going to take time to get the emails sent for every family across the county!

So 4.35pm came and finally the email was there. Up until that point I had desperately wanted to know, now I found myself too scared to even open it! My palms were sweaty, my heart was racing. I had no idea I would get so worked up about it all! I was just so worried about what School Chester would get offered I just simply could not bring myself to look!!

Eventually what seemed like a few hours later (although I am pretty sure it was only a few minutes) I clicked on open. I scrolled down, could see my details and Chesters. Then it go to the point where it said "please be advised that Chester has been offered a place at the following School". I just froze! AGAIN! Butterflies were really going crazy in my stomach! I then slowly scrolled down a little bit more and YES!!!!!!!!! He had got his first choice School!!! I could not believe it! All this worrying since November/December last year and finally I could breathe a sigh of relief!! I then checked that sentence at least 10 more times before I could be certain that it did indeed say he had a place at our chosen School!

Next task was to tell Chester the good news, needless to say he was over the moon! He kept saying I knew I would get in there because I loved it and they knew it!! So cute! But now the problem is that he wants to go to 'big School' right now! He can't grasp the concept that he will have another long wait until September before he can really start!

I then text Craig because he was at work, he was just as pleased as the rest of us! Now we can all relax a little and concentrate on the next chapter which will be preparing him for School and buying his uniform! I can't quite believe that I am saying that! My baby Chester is now old enough to go to Primary School?! How can that be?! Where have the last four years gone?!!

All grown up!! 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Home Storage Black Ottoman REVIEW!

I have blogged before about storage being an issue in our house, it gets me down a lot. So when I got an email a few weeks ago about Ottoman Storage Boxes from homestorage4u.co.uk I was more than happy to give one a go and see how it faired in this crazy house!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Making our own Story Sack!

A couple of months ago I received one of our local Sure Start Childrens Centres newsletters though the post. Now as most of you know I really rave about the Childrens Centres they have been the key to my sanity since Chester was born! Lots of like minded parents all together with their children, all there for the same reason. No one seems to judge you if your baby still has porridge in its hair and everyone is friendly. Back to the point... so the Childrens Centre newsletter came through my door, I have a quick scan to see if there is anything new. I am in luck, there is a new 4 week course starting soon.

The 'course' is making a story sack. As both of my Children love story time and we actually borrow the pre made story sacks from the Sure Start Children Centres often I thought this would be a great thing for me to attend. I quickly rang up to reserve my place (which I am glad I did as it booked up really quickly). I was informed that the children would be looked after by creche staff and the adults would be next door (in an open room) making the story sacks. Then the last 20 Minutes the children would come back in and would get a story sack read to them. Great, I could not wait!

Two new books in the Poppy Cat series! Review.


Chester and Millie are STILL big Poppy Cat fans. Both the TV series and the books. I think what attracts them the most is the bright colours and bold simple pictures.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Egg box Daffodils

I have been meaning to do this with the children for a few weeks now, but today was the day we finally sat down and done it! I have vague memories of doing it at Nursery School as a child so thought I would recreate that with my children!

I finally remembered to save an egg box, which is the base of the craft! So what we did was cut the egg box base into six, trimming the edges and cutting where needed to make four 'petals'. Next was the fun part for Chester and Millie, they got to paint them all yellow. Well, with the exception of one which Chester insisted we painted purple! The painting went well for Chester, for Millie however, it was a totally different story! At first she painted her tray, then she tipped the paint out of the pot and squelched it between her fingers, lastly she tasted some! I wasn't too worried as it was great sensory play for her and it kept her entertained whilst Chester painted them all.


Monday, 1 April 2013

Boots feel good radio


Boots and Mumsnet have started  a series of weekly radio shows broadcast on Sunday evenings on Real Radio and Smooth Radio. The show is hosted by Kate Thornton and each week features experts on particular topics. Broadcast times: on Real Radio from 7-8pm and Smooth Radio from 8-9pm. Called Boots feel good radio the idea is the radio show experts give there advice on various health topics and on the forums people ask questions and give suggestions and tips! It seems to be going down really well, with lots of activity on the forum.

I have been busy listening to a couple of the shows, they were very useful, this is what I found out...

Anti Ageing show:

The Anti ageing show was hosted by Kate Thornton, with expert advice from Dermatologist Dr. Nick Lowe and Psychologist Emmy Kenny. Lots of feel good music was played inbetween the questions which was fab!

The first question was from a 27 year old who had noticed fine lines around the sides of her eyes when she smiled.
Nick said "Mild smile lines are good and show you have a positive attitude! Smile lines can get worse with sun exposure so protect your skin with UVA absorbing day cream which has a SPF 15 (that is all you need for this country). Wear protective sunglasses and you could also try Boots lift and luminate eye cream."
Emma said "Smiling is integral for well being"

One of the other questions was one that was close to my heart because I am useless at caring for my skin and if I am honest it is mainly because I am confused about all the products that we are told to buy!!!
So the question was "I often get confused by all the products on the market, do I really need a toner, cleanser, moisturiser, exfoliator, serum, balm, gel etc!? Is there not a product that does everything, a kind of one stop shop?!"
Nick replied with " Simplify everything, go into a boots store where they have some great skincare advisors who will be able to help you find out what your skin type is in a non-biased fashion. Then keep it simple, aside from your cleanser you need no more than two products in the morning and two in the evening. One can be a serum that you put on first and the other a protecting day cream. If you have dry skin be sure to use a cream cleanser so that it doesn't dry the skin more. Do not use soaps or detergents".
Kate then asked the question that was on everyones mind! What is Serum?! Nick said "Serum is a thin solution that feels smooth and dry's quickly. That is the key, it drys quickly and spreads easily but it importantly delivers some really good ingredients to the skin". He also pointed out that the skin is much better repaired and moisturised at night than it is in the morning.

Easter weekend 2013!

Well although the bank holiday weekend may not quite be over, we are all well and truly shattered here so bank holiday Monday has been renamed day of rest in this house!! Although Craig has just broken that by taking the kiddies to the park for a bit!

Friday Chester was up stupidly early! Because at our local Toys R Us they were having a Skylander event! I think everyone knows by now how obsessed with Skylanders Chester is! Most of the time it is not even about playing the game its about using the figures to make up imaginary games! So they do get well used in our house! In order to claim a goody bag at the event Chester needed to colour in a picture of Legendary Lightcore Chill. As he knows all Legendary Characters are Gold and black/blue he coloured the whole of her in Yellow (or golden as he called it). He took this very seriously and spent all afternoon on Thursday making sure it was perfect! I am actually gutted that I forgot to take a picture of it. So anyway back to the event... we got there for start time of 11am, Chester was very happy to receive his goody bag which had some activity sheets, a poster and some pencils with skylander rubber toppers in it! Whilst we waited for Gill Grunt to come out Chester checked the Skylanders display for any that he didn't have. He picked up Easter edition Legendary Lightcore Chill, which came in a special box and with stickers. As it was Easter I said I would treat him! My Dad had spoken to Craig on the phone that morning and said that he really wanted to get Chester Hot Dog. So when we saw none out on display we were a bit disappointed, however a lovely member of staff went out back to look for one for us. She came out with the last two, we had one and then I made it my mission to find the other lady who's little boy was also looking for Hot Dog! Luckily I found her and the member of staff happily handed it over to her! Chester then met Gill Grunt and seemed very happy about it, however the next day he announced that it wasn't the real Gill Grunt it was only a teddy. I am so sad about this, he is too young to think like this! So I told him it really was the real Gill Grunt (although I am not sure he believes me). I wandered around the store with Millie and she picked a doll for me to buy her (I am really not a fan of dolls, they really freak me out but I have finally given in and let her have one). Sadly the hour and a half we were there they could not get the Wii to work to play the Skylanders Giants game, Chester was quite upset about this and he would of patiently waited all day if he had too to play it but we had to go and get Millie some new shoes so sadly the trip to Toys R Us ended with a tantrum!!