Sunday, 29 September 2013

Argos colour match, new colours added to the range!

I don't know about you, but Argos is my go to if I am looking for something for our house. If you search for it, they are 9 times out of 10 likely to have it!



This could not be more true with their Colour Match range! They have recently added some pastel colours, as you know we have been busy decorating our dining area, hallway and lounge. The pastel colours they have introduced just so happen to fit in perfectly with our colour scheme!

I have been sent two products from the range to see how they match up and make a finishing touch to our decorating!

The ColourMatch Round Glass Wall Clock, at just £7.99. With silver hands and quartz movements, it’s a great statement piece for any wall in the home. We have hung it in our recently decorated hallway and it looks great!

                                      

And the ColourMatch Laundry Hamper, Sturdy and strong this attractive ColourMatch laundry hamper in a fabulous Tutti Frutti Green is made from durable polypropylene plastic and offers a 40 litre capacity. Both practical and stylish it boasts ventilation holes to prevent odour build up whilst airing your clothes, and is also lightweight for added convenience. This has been added to our landing next to the bathroom so that it is easy for me to pick up and take down to the washing machine, but as the colour compliments our ensuite too, we could just as easily move it into there. I have found it to be sturdy and easy to carry, however I do think it is a little on the small side for a family of four.

                                     

With a 3 for 2 offer across most of the products in the ColourMatch range, it’s never been easier to jazz up any home and add a burst of colour this summer.

For the full range of products available please visit www.argos.co.uk

Spaghetti with the Yeti review and giveaway!

Always on the lookout for new story books to fall in love with, I was delighted when we discovered Spaghetti with the Yeti by Adam and Charlotte Guillain, with illustrations from award winning Lee Wildish.


We were sent a copy to review, and let me tell you, it has been a BIG hit. Not just with Chester and Millie but also with me!

See if you can spot The X Files references here.....


I am a big X files geek so I was immediately in love with the book!

The story is a clever rhyming one, the illustrations are bold and bright. Captivating Chester and Millie from the start.

I do not want to give too much away but basically the story is about a young boy called George, who sets off on his quest up a steep mountain path to find a Yeti. He meets some very interesting characters along the way! I will say no more than that!


I have kindly been offered two copies to giveaway, so to be in with a chance please fill in the rafflecopter form below. Its very easy, all you need to do is answer a simple question, leaving a blog post comment. There are ways to gain additional entries if you so wish. Sadly a few people spoil it for others and try to cheat the system. Please do not waste your time doing this as I do check every entry.

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

My Wish list for Winter

Can you believe it’s nearly the end of the year already? I will admit that I have been kind of wishing this year away, seeing as our holiday is in November!  

I'm already thinking about Christmas…even though it’s a couple of months away yet, I'm already starting to get a bit nervous about sorting everything. Christmas with two young children is never short of hectic, as I'm sure many mums will agree. I have pretty much sorted the childrens presents but its everyone else I struggle with!

Since it’s getting colder, I'm going to have to get the winter clothes out – evenings snuggled up with the kids and the husband under a blanket watching a Disney movie sound perfect to me. 
This time of year really is my favourite, so here are a few things I'm coveting right now.
                               
These things are adorable! I'd love to get one for Millie, as she has curly hair, like I did as a child, this would make my life a bit easier in the mornings! Obviously she would want the ‘Princess Pink’ one, and it would be great to help her start to brush her own hair too.  
Chenille Spot Throw

                             
How cosy does this look? It would be fantastic to get snuggled under this with a cup of hot chocolate after the kids have gone to bed.
                                                  
It’s about time I got a new nightdress, and this one is just so cute! I wouldn't even be that embarrassed to answer the door in the morning wearing it. I don't really like buying clothes online just in case they do not fit, but I noticed Figleaves have an online fitting room – isn't it amazing what technology can do these days.
                                
Pretty much anything from Soap and Glory is bound to be gorgeous. I'm very eager to try out this body scrub – Soap and Glory products I have tried before have been lovely and always make me smell gorgeous!
                                                   
Well, obviously chocolate had to be in this list somewhere right?! This really is the yummiest drinking chocolate I've ever tasted – though it should definitely only be for a treat!

What’s on your winter wishlist? I would love to know!


*Featured post

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

New beds!

For a little while now Craig and I have been contemplating putting Millie into a bed. She is a little climber just like her brother, and her cot was proving to be less of a challenge for her! So a few weeks back after lots of discussions we went ahead and brought bunk beds! 

We live in a two bedroom house, and whilst I would love for the children to have their own rooms, buying a bigger house is just not an option for us at the moment. I am sure in a few years it will be, so I am pretty certain it's not going to be forever! 

Maximising space is always top of the list for us. Whilst they have a fairly spacious bedroom, by the time you add two beds and a wardrobe into it there is not much room left for playing or storing toys! So  we took the decision that a wooden bunk bed with drawers underneath would be our best option. 

The beds and new mattresses were supposed to arrive on Saturday, but surprise surprise 5 minutes after our allocated delivery slot had finished we got a phone call to say they were not coming! Luckily they offered to deliver on Sunday morning, although this still inconvenienced us as we had arranged for the children to stay at their grandparents and we were now behind. Not being able to take down their bed and cot until the new ones arrived. 

Anyway, they arrived fairly early and this is what we were faced with once we unpacked the box.....


I could of cried! 

We started at around 10.30am and at 5.45pm this is what they looked like.....




It was totally worth it though when we got the reaction we did from them....


We still have a few bits to do in their room to make it complete, but so far we have managed to put back in (after having a major cull) the wardrobe, 2 toy units, a book shelf and a few bigger toys. 

Millie calls it her ah ahh ahhh bed because it has Ariel (little mermaid) on the cover! She is being a little monkey and getting up to play toys (even in the middle of the night!) but we remember Chester doing the same so know that we have to just let her get on with it for a bit, before she realises that it really is bed time! 

Chester has been really sweet, he thanked us loads when he saw it, he could not believe that he had a big boy bed that was THAT big. He also loves that his little Sister is sleeping in a big bed and that she is below him! 

Can't believe my babies are growing up so fast! 





Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Second week of School and the washing machine knows it!

This week is Chester's second week at Primary School, we are now at the end of day two and I can say that already, the fact he is doing mornings instead of afternoons is better for him! Although next week when he finally goes full time will be great for him!

So far this week the highlight for him has been the fire drill. The excitement lasted all day on Monday! I suppose when you think about it, it is a very exciting thing for a 4 year old. He has never experienced any kind of fire drill before and I love that he was 'teaching' me what I would need to do if there was a fire. As much as he found it fun and exciting having to line up on the 'pretend grass' (astro turf) as he calls it, I am pleased that he also managed to listen and take on board the important things!

He has come home a lot less tired, more chilled out and very happy. I think this is mainly because he is starting to make friends. I am really happy for him, he seems to be settling in well. Its a learning curve for me too and whilst the first week I was nervous every day he went in, this week I seem to be just as chilled out as him. I am starting to chat with the other Mums and everyone seems really friendly and happy to include everyone in their conversations.

But the main thing I have learnt about my first borns first couple of weeks at School is how grateful I am for my washing machine!  How did they cope 'in the olden days' without one! Chester is a very active and messy child. This has certainly become more apparent over the last couple of weeks, and as I am really obsessing about keeping his white polo shirts white, I have had the washing machine on with uniform 3 times a week!


This week I have learnt from my mistakes of last week and not let Chester get dressed until AFTER breakfast. But he is now having his lunch at School and I can not be there to stop him spilling food or drink on his nice clean clothes! We have had lovely Autumn weather this week and long may it continue because my line is full of clothes every day!

I am now very excited to see how he gets on when he starts full time next week, the first day of full time being his Birthday, which he is VERY excited about!




* Featured post.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Faber-Castell stationary review

I love arts and crafts with the children, and they both seem to love it too. Chester's attention span is starting to be long enough for him to draw and create his own pictures now and Millie just loves to scribble!

A short while ago we were sent some lovely new stationary products from Faber-Castell to review.



With my Sister going on her travels for a year it was perfect timing for Chester and Millie to try them out whilst making her a leaving picture to take with her.

We were sent a Faber-Castell connector bucket, The fun and innovative “connector clips” allow children to create their own designs and models, as well as create their very own master pieces.


Chester thought these were amazing! He spent a lot of time creating models (mainly of new Skylanders that he has invented!) The pens were great for making their pictures, so many colours and shades (50 to be exact) to choose from, and I loved the fact that they all connected back together and stored away in the pot neatly! At £14.99 they are great value for money!



Here are their pictures for Auntie Sarah...




Needless to say my Sister was totally made up with their homemade gifts! 

We were also sent the Scribolino propelling pencil, it supports the skills in a child's first years at school.
Its ergonomic barrel promotes the ergonomic triangular shaft and provides the highest level of writing comfort. We have had a go with this and it seems to be great, Chester finds it easy to grip and we will be using this lots more during this first year School. It is only £3.95 and I feel that is a great price. 


Faber-Castell have also come up with another great idea... childrens party bags The Faber-Castell party bag kit is ideal for children's parties with a fantastic selection of colouring goodies. The pack includes: 10 x Faber-Castell red plastic party bags, 10 x Faber-Castell 12 GRIP erasable Crayons and 10 x Faber-Castell Fun Fish Sharpeners. Simple and easy to fill, with room for additional goodies or a slice of cake. A great way to end a great party!


We were also made aware of a really cool FREE app for the ipad called creative kids. It's easy as pie: step by step the app illustrates how moving images and animations can be created with paper, colour pencil and iPad. Children's fine motor skills, creativity and imagination are playfully trained at the same time. Its is a really cool app and to be honest I think you really have to download it (from the app store) and see for yourself how much fun you can have with it. It has given both of my children plenty of fun, not to mention distraction whilst waiting for food in a restaurant! For Chester he really likes to copy what the app is telling him and draw what is asked, whereas Millie is happy for me to take a picture of her dolly, add the picture to the frog so that she can make her dolly eat flies (you really do have to try it yourself to see how much fun it can be!)



All of these Faber-Castell products (and lots more) can be found at www.stonemarketing.com









Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Some changes for Millie and I.

Today was Chester's second day of School, which also means it was the second day Millie and I got to spend some quality time together.

Not knowing any of the Mums (apart from 1) in the playground, when one of them suggested a toddler group that was happening today I jumped at the chance to go with her. I thought it would be great for Millie but also great for me to get to know a new set of people. 

Believe it or not I am actually quite shy until I get comfortable and familiar with the surroundings, so it was quite daunting for me yesterday, especially as all of the other mums seemed to know each other. So I saw today as my chance to get to know some of the Mums outside of the playground! 

When we arrived at the group Millie held my hand and waited patiently with me whilst I waited to sign in and pay. This is something that Chester NEVER would of done, he would of run off and started playing by now! So it was nice to start the afternoon in a calm way! 

We had a great afternoon, Millie was in her element because there were dollies and a play kitchen to play with! I was happy getting to know some new people, AND we got to decorate a gingerbread man!

                                              
 
As much as I will miss Chester, I am really looking forward to spending the quality time with Millie, not just out and about but also at home. It will be nice to aim activities which are more age appropriate for her, rather than just letting her join in with whatever is fitting in with Chester! 


Monday, 16 September 2013

Chester's first day!

Ever since the summer holidays began 8 weeks ago, Chester has been desperate to go to School. Today, he finally got to do just that!

He is starting with afternoons this week, mornings and lunch times next week and finally full time from his 5th Birthday onwards. 

Since he got up this morning, all he wanted to do was get to School, so it was very hard for him having to wait until the afternoon. 

It was finally time to get him dressed into his uniform and I have to admit I had a tear in my eye. He looked to grown up!!

                                 

                                





After lots of pictures and triple checking we had everything we set off, but not before one last picture....

                                         

   
We were early, so we queued up outside the School gates with everyone else.

During this time Chester told me that there was no need for me to come in, he was fine by himself! Obviously I did go in with him!

When we got into his classroom he was asked to find his peg and then his name on the table. He recognises his name so found both with ease. It was then time for me to leave, by this time he was happily deciding what table to play at first and was not worried at all that I was leaving. I had a few tears on the way back to the car, and even thinking about it now chokes me up. 

Millie and I then went to the supermarket and had the longest browse EVER! I didn't want to go home today, there seemed little point when he was going to be there for less than two hours! 

When it was time to go pick him up, Millie and I were ushered into the playground with the other parents. Where we waited eagerly until Chester's teacher let them out one by one! 

Chester was full of chatter and excitement, he could not wait to tell me all about his afternoon. He (and the rest of his class) had been shown around the whole School, they had played with play doh, read a story and met their buddy's. It all sounded very exciting! 

Needless to say Chester is extremely excited about going back tomorrow! 

I am so relieved his first day went so well!



Saturday, 14 September 2013

Dear Chester

Dear Chester,

I am sitting here in this quiet house, whilst you and your Sister are no doubt having fun and causing chaos at Nannie and Grandads, so I thought I would write a little letter to you.

You are starting School on Monday and whilst I cant quite believe that you are at that stage in your life already, I am immensely proud of who my little baby has turned into. Yes, you are a typical boisterous boy. You love to play fight and cause mischief. But you are also a very caring and loving boy. You love to tell everyone about your Sister, you protect her and look out for her every day. You can write your own name, although most of the time you refuse to write further than C h because you claim thats all you need to write. Thats ok with me, I know that in time you will want to write your own name. You are 4 years old, I will not pressure you.

You amaze me with what you know and understand, you question the most trivial things and analyze every little detail. Perhaps you will be a planner like me, although I secretly hope you won't.

You are a clever little boy, and I am very proud of what you have already achieved. More often than not your imagination takes over and you create an amazing back story. You will need to be slightly more focused at School, but I am not worried, you will learn this in time. Whatever you do, do not loose your imagination, it is a great thing to have. In true Mummy style I am now going to quote you some Disney....

Walt Disney said 'if you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.' You will understand that more when you are older. 

I have no doubt that you will fit right in at School. It will be a different experience to Nursery, one that I am not sure you quite understand yet. You do not really know anyone yet at School, but you are a confident young man, and I think you will soon find your feet and make friends. You love to be king kiddie but I have got a feeling you will meet and make friends with lots of other king kiddies this week. Thats ok, it will be good for you. 

I suspect that I will miss you more than you miss me whilst you are at School! However, if you get a little sad your teacher will be there to talk to you. She seems very nice and I am sure you will get on very well. 

I hope you have a very exciting and fun first day at School my little Chester Boo, Mummy will miss our little chats and giggles in the day. But just remember that we can have those chats and giggles as soon as you finish School each day.


Lots of Love
Mummy
xxxxxxxxxxxx

Bud & Roo's Spectacular Adventures - book review

At the beginning of the Summer we were sent a lovely book, Bud & Roo's Spectacular Adventures - The Beach, which is aimed at Children aged 0-5 years old. 

       

As I am sure you all know by now, Chester and Millie really love their books. They get that from me, I love to read and love even more to read to them. I have great memories of reading books over and over again as a child and I really hope my children will go on to do the same.

When this book arrived on our doormat it attracted both Children.

It is bright and colourful with lovely big full page illustrations. 

       

There is roughly 6-8 words per page, this makes it easy for young ones to follow, but at the same time give opportunity to ask the children questions about what they think is going on, or what they think will happen next. 

        

Millie has a real obsession with dogs (or goggys as she calls them) at the moment so she was instantly enthralled. Chester was quick to realise that there was a little tiny ladybird 'hidden' on each page, and he took great delight in pointing out each one to us!

A truly lovely book.  

Lucozade Revive review

The Summer holidays have been very long for us, 8 weeks long. This is because Chester's School did not start Reception pupils until 2 weeks into the term. Although he is more than ready for School I have to say that I was a little bit happy that I got to keep him at home with us for just a little bit longer (Mum in denial here, how can my baby be old enough for School?!)

Of course, this meant that I had to keep him (and Millie) entertained for an extra 2 weeks! Being a terrible sleeper as it is, it is safe to say I am now well and truly exhausted!

So when I was asked if I would like to try out Lucozade Revive which is packed with energy releasing B-vitamins, a lightly sparkling drink, available in four refreshing flavours, Lemongrass with Ginger, Cranberry with Acai, Orange with Acai, and Strawberry with Lime. I thought wow yes please, give me some of those energy releasing B-vitamins! Then I read on to see that each bottle has only 50 calories, my first thoughts were send them to me NOW!



I don't know about you but I have a bit of a slump in the afternoon, where I could quite easily have a nap. I mean, why is there not a rule in the UK where everyone should be aloud a siesta?! We need to start taking some advice from our European friends I think?! Lucozade promote the slump at 3pm, however mine is more like 2pm! So I decided to try the Lucozade Revive at around 2.15pm.

I was sent all four of the flavours to try. I was really looking forward to trying the Strawberry with lime but a bit unsure of the other flavours. After trying all four flavours I surprised myself, not only did I like them all but the Orange and Acai was my favourite! I didn't dislike any of the flavours and would be more than happy to drink any of them again. Infact I have since bought the Strawberry and Lime whilst out shopping! Something else that surprised me was the fizz. I am generally not a fizz person, I would much rather drink water. However, these drinks are advertised as lightly sparkling and that is exactly what they are. Just the right amount of fizz.

But the big question is did the Lucozade Revive work? Did it revive me?! The answer is YES it did! After drinking a bottle of the Revive I was feeling refreshed and more alert within half an hour. Before drinking, I was a little concerned that it would affect my tiredness when it was time to go to bed, but it made no difference at all. Although I am a very light sleeper, I still managed to do my usual and drift off pretty quickly.

I love that Lucozade have come up with something a little different from the norm. The flavour combinations are a really refreshing change. They will certainly be on my shopping list from now on!

Planning a short break.

As you all know I am a planner and really like to plan ahead, especially when it comes to holidays and breaks away. Ever since we came back from our day trip to Lille I have wanted to explore more of France. Chester and Millie had a fantastic time and it made me realise that breaks away do not always have to be week long or package based.

So I have been looking into different types of breaks for next year, of course because Chester is just starting School we really have to take the School timetable into consideration when booking breaks away. With that in mind I started to look at weekend breaks away. I searched here and found some really reasonably priced hotels.

It is so easy to hop over to France nowadays. I mean it took less than 2 hours to get into Lille for day trip. We could perhaps get an evening train into Paris on a Friday and then get a late afternoon/early evening train back on the Sunday. 2 full days of exploring somewhere different with the children.

As much as I really look forward to our holidays, we realistically can only afford one week long holiday a year, this year as you know, is the exception as in just a few weeks time we will be off on our 2 week holiday and I could not be more excited. BUT we have had to wait a long year since our last holiday. We love to have holidays where we can explore and learn and maybe, by doing a few short city breaks a year, we will not only get to experience different cultures and see different sites. But we will also have lots more to look forward too. As a busy family we rarely get to have full weekends all together, but this could be a way to change that?

What do you do for your holidays? Do you like to explore like us or do you like to grab a book and chill out by the pool?

Doc McStuffins soundtrack review

Doc Mcstuffins is a programme about a six-year-old girl named Dottie McStuffins who, one day, wants to become a doctor like her mother. As a kid, she "pretends" to be a doctor by fixing up toys and dolls (because of this, everyone calls her 'Doc'). When she puts on her stethoscope, toys, dolls, and stuffed animals magically come to life and she can communicate with them. With a little help from her stuffed animal friends, Stuffy, Hallie, Lambie and Chilly, Doc helps toys "feel better" by giving them checkups in her backyard clinic. Each 11-minute episode includes original songs, the "Time for Your Check-Up" song and the "I Feel Better" song. There is also an additional song in each episode. During ending credits, Doc gives advice to viewers about staying healthy. The series highlights the importance of taking care of oneself and others, while showcasing the hallmarks of great Disney storytelling – fantasy and wish fulfillment.

Here is a little preview of what to expect...




The Doc McStuffins album was a huge hit with the children, Chester especially. I think this was because he could relate to most of the songs. For instance Chester is a bit of an obsessive cleaner. So he loves the wash your hands song and the clean your teeth song. The album has 26 songs and they are all very upbeat and fun! Chesters most favourite song is track 12, eat good food. They are all so catchy that I have been known to sing them at random intervals throughout the day!

Here is the track list....

1. “Doc McStuffins Theme Song” – Performed by China Anne McClain

2. “Time for Your Check Up” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Hallie

3. “Everyone Gets Hurt Sometimes” – Performed by Stuffy and Lambie

4. “I Feel Better” – Performed by Lambie

5. “A Lambie Like You” – Performed by Doc McStuffins and Lambie

6. “Nobody Wants a Broken Toy” – Performed by Gaby

7. “Wash Your Hands” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Hallie

8. “Do What the Doctor Says” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Hallie

9. “When You Need a Friend” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Rescue Ronda

10. “Made in the Shade” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Hallie

11. “Water Water” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Hallie

12. “Eat Good Food” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Bubble Monkey

13. “Take Care” – Performed by Stuffy, Lambie, Hallie and Chilly

14. “You’re Gonna Grow” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Lula

15. “Because You’re You” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Pickles the Bunny

16. “Loud Loud Louie” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Hallie

17. “Bop, Bop, Bop” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Boppy

18. “Look Great in Glasses” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Lambie, Hallie and Professor Hootsburgh

19. “Be Good to Your Tummy” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Lambie, Hallie and Gustov Gator

20. “Let’s Play Outside” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Glo-Bo

21. “Brush Your Teeth” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Bronty

22. “Get Your Sleep On” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy and Lambie

23. “Dinosaur Stomp” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Surfer Girl

24. “Stars Stars” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Aurora

25. “Everybody in the Pool” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Surfer Girl

26. “Close Your Eyes” – Performed by Doc McStuffins, Stuffy, Lambie and Hallie




Thursday, 12 September 2013

A day out at Old Macdonalds Farm!

At the beginning of this week, my friend reminded me that one of our local Sure Start children's centres had organised a trip to the farm. Old Macdonalds Farm in Essex. As Chester has still not started School I rang up in the hope that they would still have places. Thankfully they did have, and I was able to book Me, Chester and Millie onto the coach trip for just £5! That's for all 3 of us not each! 

I am really grateful for Sure Start Centres, I know I have said it a thousand times before but we love them. They are great, not only to take the kiddies too but also to get some support from the staff and other parents when needed. Unfortunately they are under threat of closure at the moment and that makes me sad. I would be lost with out the Sure Start Centres, we use them 3 - 4 times a week, they have helped me make local friends and have supported me when I have needed help and advice. This trip today just proves how awesome they are. We have wanted to go to Old Macdonalds Farm for ages, but the fact it is in a different county just over an hour away means that once you take into account petrol costs, entry and other things such as lunch or ice creams it is just not financially doable for most (including us) at the moment. But the Centre saved the day for lots of Family's today, our £5 included the coach, entry to get in (including wrist band for the rides) and animal feed. There were so many happy families and Children today. 

Old Macdonalds Farm has a great mix of farm animals, most of which you can feed, and rides/play equipment. It was perfect, especially for Children like Chester who have such a short attention span. Two of Millie's friends were there too and it was great to all walk round together, catching up with Mummy friends and Chester was happy to keep the little ones in line (most of the time). All the Children were kept entertained the whole time we were there, we could of easily spent so much more time there but we had a coach to catch! 

So a massive thank you to the Sure Start team for such a great day out! 

Here is our day in pictures......

      

                       

                       

                       

                       

   

 



Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The last thing on the to do list before School starts...

                      

So today, the last thing to do before Chester starts School next week was ticked off of our list. 

His teacher came around for a home visit, along with the class room assistant. Over the last two weeks she has been busy visiting each of the 30 children who will be in Chester's class, and today was Chester's turn.

I was amazed at how shy Chester was at first. Just before they arrived he was happily playing Lego with me. As soon as the doorbell went he went to hide! Very unlike Chester! 

But he soon settled and was happy to play some of the games that the teaching assistant had brought with her... on his terms of course. 

I think the visit was a really good idea. The teachers get to see how Chester behaves in his own home, whilst they explained to Craig and I what would happen in Reception class. 

We also got to ask questions, and had a chance to tell them any concerns we had. I was advised that l should not be too worried that Chester has a really short attention span, or that he thinks he is king kid. As she is used to it and does not think Chester will be the only one. Phew! 

Chester was excited to show the teachers his new School shoes, and of course his Skylanders! Luckily the teachers know all about Skylanders from last years Children! He was handed an invitation to a new starters party, which he is now very excited about, especially as he is allowed to dress up. Naturally, his dress up choice was decided within seconds... Iron Man! 

He was given a book to put in his book bag, I was excited to see that it was an Oxford Reading Tree book. I have fond memories of Biff, Chip and Kipper stories from my days at Primary School over 20 years ago! 

So that's it, that was the last to do before he starts his Primary School journey next week. Although I am happy for him, he is totally ready for it. I just can't believe he is at that stage of life already! Where have these past (almost) 5 years gone?! 


Monday, 9 September 2013

Sofia the First Soundtrack review

Both of my Children are really in to Sofia the First. I won't lie, I have been know to be engrossed in an episode or 3 myself! Chester may be a boy but seeing as Disney is such a huge part of our lives, he has seen all Disney films and programmes. He enjoys the programme just as much as Millie! 

Millie adores Sofia, she has a Sofia plush doll, which we had to purchase after she would not let go of her in the shop! She rarely lets go of her a month on! 


The programme is bright, colourful and full of lesson learning fun! It also has some really catchy music, so when we were offered the chance to review the CD soundtrack for Sofia the First there was no question about it. We were more than happy to review!



So, if you are unfamiliar, Sofia the First is a programme that is aired on Disney Junior. It is a story about a little girl called Sofia, who's Mum marries a King. Making Sofia a Princess overnight. It follows Sofia as she learns the ups and downs of being a Princess. Of course each episode has a moral to it and lots of catchy and upbeat songs to sing along to.

The TV series, aimed at kids ages 2-7, features a voice cast that includes Ariel Winter (Modern Family) as Sofia, Sara Ramirez (Grey's Anatomy) as Queen Miranda, Wayne Brady (Let's Make a Deal)  as Clover and Tim Gunn (Project Runway) as Baileywick.

Naturally, the next step was to release these songs onto a CD so that children could enjoy the songs they associate with the programme wherever they are! We have been listening to the CD in our car and it has had a lot of playing!

The Sofia album has 13 songs and all of the songs have that real Disney feel to them. A couple of them would even be perfect Disney Parade songs (in my opinion!) This album was a real hit with Millie and Chester, it has been so cute watching Millie dance away (mostly in her car seat!) and her most favourite song being the one from the Castle Trolls episode... Make some noise.

This is the track list....

1. Sofia the First Main Title Theme - Cast of Sofia the First

2. Anything (feat. Sofia) / Cast - Sofia the First

3. Princess Things / Cast - Sofia the First

4. Make Some Noise (feat. The Trolls and Sofia) / Cast - Sofia the First

5. Cedric the Great (feat. Cedric) / Cast - Sofia the First

6. Royal Fun (feat. Sofia) / Cast - Sofia the First

7. Perfect Slumber Party (feat. Amber and Sofia) / Cast - Sofia the First

8. All You Need (feat. Sofia and Vivian) / Cast - Sofia the First

9. Blue Ribbon Bunny (feat. Clover) / Cast - Sofia the First

10. I Belong (feat. Sofia) / Cast - Sofia the First

11. The Goldenwing Circus / Cast - Sofia the First

12. True Sisters (feat. Sofia) – Sofia The First

13. Rise And Shine (feat. Sofia) - Sofia

I will unashamedly admit that during the warmer weather last week, with the windows down, we were getting some very strange looks at the traffic lights, when I was singing along! No shame haha!

The Sofia the First album is a really catchy and upbeat album, Both Millie age 1 and Chester age almost 5 really enjoyed it. I would recommend it to any Sofia the First fans. The album can be purchased at various online retailers including Amazon where prices will start at £5.20.

You can get a taste of what music to expect below....



                                             


                                         

Sunday, 8 September 2013

A new adventure for my Sister!

Well today was the day. The day that my Sister and her boyfriend set off on their travels around the world. They are going for just under a year, and have lots of exciting adventures planned.

                                       

My Sister (and her boyfriend) are a big part of my Children's lives, they spend lots of time with them, call them up, and really take an interest in them. My Sister may be a busy nurse by profession but she always makes time for her nephew and niece. Apart from the last few weeks of course, when she has been busy tying up last things for her trip. 

I do not have such a strong bond with my Sister, we are different people and sadly, things have not been great between us over the last few years. However, she is my Sister and regardless of what she thinks of me, I am still super excited about the adventures she is now heading to! I am also really hoping that the year apart will do us some good. 

Today, we headed over to my parents house, met up with my Sisters boyfriends family and our Aunt, then headed off to the Airport. Stopping off for a late lunch on the way. Chester and Millie enjoyed their time with their Auntie and Uncle.

When we got to the Airport, Chester was super excited to see all of the Airplanes. We have not taken the children abroad yet (Disney trip in November will be their first time), so seeing the planes up close was amazing for Chester. As was sitting on the luggage trolley!!

                                    

Bag were checked in and then it was time for goodbye. Everyone kept it together until it was my Sister and Chester's turn for cuddles. Then everyone just couldn't stop the tears! Chester took it quite well until we waved them off up the escalator. Then he started questioning what the hell was going on. We have tried to prepare him for this moment for months but at age 4 he simply just does not have any concept of time. He was pretty upset, he also thought we were going to take them right on to their plane. So it was a very confusing time for him. Millie looked confused but is really too young to understand any of it at all. She was happy to give cuddles, blow kisses and say love youuuuuu though. 

All the way home, Chester was looking for airplanes and was convinced that each one he saw, was his Aunties plane! It was very cute. 

I have just had a message to say that they are waiting to board their plane, how exciting! So I just want to say I hope you both have a fantastic trip, take lots of photos and make lots of memories! We will all miss you loads but will be excited to check your updates, thank goodness for modern technology! 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Panama Jack sunscreen review

We have been sent some Panama Jack sun care products to test not only here, but also on our Florida holiday in November. So I will do another write up after the holiday too. But over the last couple of weeks we have had plenty of opportunity to slap on sun care products here in this country. So I just wanted to let you know our first thoughts...

This is what we were sent....


      

A lovely selection of products. I have decided to keep the SPF 50 spray and aloe gel for Florida. So will give a full review of those after that trip.

I will admit that I am slightly obsessive when it comes to sun care. This is due to a really bad experience on a family holiday (to Florida!) when I was in my early teens. We had been to a water park for most of the day and sun care had pretty much been forgotten after the first application. It was only when we got back to the hotel that we could see the extent of my sunburn. My face was so puffed up and sore that I could barely open my eyes! I felt so ill. Yet my parents still felt the need to drag me out to Planet Hollywood for dinner! No one else was burnt, we all used just the one application of sun cream that day, yet I was the only one that burnt. 

So you can see why I am so over cautious with Chester and Millie when it comes to sun care. Both of them hate the sun cream routine, so I was very pleased when the Panama Jack sunscreen spray turned up! I have never used sunscreen spray before, so was very interested to see how it works.

Normally I always use factor 50 for the children and myself, but decided to try the factor 30 for now. On the bottle it claims to to be a continuous clear sunscreen spray, which is water resistant up to 80 minutes. A non greasy formula with quick and even coverage.

So firstly I sprayed my own arm, for two reasons. Firstly to see how it sprayed, I didn't want it ending up in eyes etc! And secondly to see how my skin reacted to it. I have the most sensitive skin of us all and I am pleased to report it caused no reaction on me. 

Next it was the children's turn, Chester first. I simply sprayed it on his body, arms and legs. Then rubbed it in. The whole process took less that a minute and best of all their was no moaning from either Chester or myself! I repeated the same on Millie, with the same results. 

I used the Panama Jack SPF 30 kids sunscreen lotion on our faces, I understand they also do a specific face stick, which I will look into getting, as this would come in handy in Florida. But for now the lotion did just the job. I used the tropical lip balm on my lips too.

We have used the sunscreen quite a few times now, on the beach twice, in our garden, in the local outside pool and at the park. I can honestly say that I am more than happy with the results. No one has been burnt and we have only had to apply every 3 hours or so. It has proved that it is as waterproof as it says, it is non sticky, quick and easy to apply and it smells really nice! There is a very small amount left in the spray so I would say it was good for 4/5 days use. 

The Panama Jack products can be purchased on their website and the spray sunscreen has an RRP of £12.99. This is more money than I usually spend on one bottle of suncare. BUT I have never before brought sunspray, looking at other products on the market and after using it ourselves, I would be happy to pay that price. It has done everything it says it does and has gone above my expectations! 

Keep a look out for my next review, apparently Panama Jack is very popular over in Florida. Its hardly surprising that it worked so well in this country when it can cope with the sun and heat of the sunshine state! 

Yesterday's pile up....

You may of noticed on the news yesterday that there was an awful car accident yesterday morning on Sheppy crossing. If you didn't notice, let me fill you in...

At around 7.30am yesterday there was a pile up on the bridge involving over 100 cars and injuring over 200 people. Some of those people are seriously injured. It was very VERY foggy here yesterday morning and I think that was a major contributing factor. 

That bridge is not far from my home, in fact I would say less than 2 miles away. Luckily (for us) we do not need to use the bridge very often, Craig works in the opposite direction and I only travel onto the island for occasional toddler groups and the farm shop.

The first I heard of the accident yesterday morning was when somebody had mentioned it on Facebook. I thought it was a bit strange that I had heard continuous sirens for over an hour. Now I knew why. I switched on the sky news, and there is was. I felt sick. What an awful thing to of happened anywhere, but to happen so close to home it really shook me up. I was praying that everyone was ok and checking to make sure people I knew were ok/not caught up in it. 

I think times like these remind us how lucky we are to have the emergency services and the NHS, they all did a fantastic job yesterday and all deserve a massive thank you. As do all of the members of the public that helped and brought food and water to the scene. 

Above all I hope that everyone involved makes a quick recovery


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Lazy Millie's nap time!

Millie is almost 20 months old now and she has always liked her nap times. But recently she has been liking them a bit too much, taking 3,4 and sometimes even 5 hour afternoon naps! This consequently leads to bedtime being a real struggle. She used to go to bed at 7pm, the same time as her brother and almost fall to sleep straight away. But now, because of these long afternoon naps, she is refusing to sleep until 9 or 10pm! 

I can not decide if she likes to nap for that long due to a growth spurt (although its been going on for 2 or 3 months) or if its just that she is lazy?!

                                                      

I also can not decide what I should do about it?! I love the fact she naps for so long, it means that I can get lots of things done, when Chester starts School in less than 2 weeks this would be even more handy. However, I am well aware that it is making the evenings a nightmare for us. Plus I am not even sure if she should have so much nap at that age? 

I remember Chester at this age having about an hour maybe an hour and half at the most. 

Should I be waking her up? Is that the best thing to do? 

I would love some opinions on this, what are your experiences with nap times? 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Huggies Little Swimmers Hygiene mat - GIVEAWAY

A little while ago, I told you about the fab day Millie and I had at the Huggies Little Swimmers event. Since attending that event we have used the Hygiene mat lots of time, not only in the swimming pool changing rooms, but also at the beach, in our bathroom, and even as a portable time out mat! It folds away so small and is so light that it has become a key part of my changing bag!

Karen Pickering, Former World Champion swimmer and swim schools owner, who we had the pleasure of meeting at the Huggies swim event says:

‘The new mats are a great new addition to a baby’s swim kit, allowing easy changing on sandy beaches or wet swimming pool floors.

‘One major issue that parents face when taking their children swimming is how long it takes to get them ready, or get them dry afterwards. Hopefully with the introduction of this mat, it will mean less time preparing and more time playing!’

The mat is durable and machine washable, so can be used time and time again. It also folds away into a cool and compact waterproof bag for easy carrying to and from the pool or beach.

The new mat is part of a larger campaign to get kids swimming. It’s being launched in partnership with the UK’s largest swim school network, Water Babies, to offer parents a free baby swim session with any two purchases from the Huggies® Little Swimmers® range. WOW what an incentive, we had so much fun at our swim session, Millie really did enjoy herself and it did help with her (and my) water confidence.


Well the lovely people at Huggies have given me the chance to host a giveaway for a Hygiene mat! I am super excited about this as I really rate it highly!

All you need to do is answer a simple question on the rafflecopter form below, there are options for additional entry too, but these are not mandatory. As long as you answer the question you are in with a chance! Sadly, I do have to mention that all entries are checked and if you do feel the need to cheat, your entry will be void.

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com




Child safety - the Internet

Since writing my post last week about Chester asking for an iPad for his 5th birthday, and taking on board the opinions I got from it, I have been doing lots of thinking about Internet security. As an adult, I know what sites to steer clear from, what to avoid clicking on to and what 'friends' to ignore.But how would I prevent my children from clicking on the wrong things. What is the best approach to take with it all? 

Chester at the moment is allowed to use my laptop and my phone to play games occasionally, but somehow, a little while ago he worked out how to get onto youtube and watch videos of toy unveilings. Mainly those ones about plastic eggs with surprise toys inside. He loves them! But I am we'll aware that if it was that easy to get onto YouTube in the first place, it is going to be just as easy to click through to all sorts of other videos. 

Whilst I am happy for him to watch these toy videos, I would not want him to watch much else. What sites are you happy for your Children to use? Where do you draw the line? 

Obviously at the age of (almost 5) I would not allow him to access other social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter, but what age should I be thinking about letting him access those, and more to the point how do I stop him? I know of people have let their children have Facebook accounts at the age of 8, I do not think I would be happy with that. I mean kids are so easily led, especially at that young age. For instance, Chester has a Moshi Monster account online and he has had many 'friends' add him. Whilst the Moshi Monster site is pretty harmless, he was very excited to see that total strangers wanted to be his friends. This concerns me and I always watch over him when he is playing on it. 



I have been searching online and found a couple of interesting articles. Norton have got some great tips on their website to keep kids safe online. Such as looking into parental control settings, which can be added to computers, laptops, tablets and even mobile phones. We actually do not have parental control options on most of our devices (apart from Craig's mobile) and after reading the article I have looked into it further and discovered that there is a FREE app that you can download called Norton Family (or for a cost, Norton Family Premier) which is specifically aimed at parents. Features include an easy to use activity report that shows you websites that have been visited, it allows you to block certain websites and even allows you to restrict their time on the Internet. Pretty good don't you think?! 

The other article I read was on PC advisor, it quite rightly states that children these days have grown up with the Internet and do not know what life was like without it. They quite often learn how to use a touch pad before they can read or write. If you read my blog post last week you will know that this is indeed true of Chester. Who can correctly type his name and certain other words on a touch pad or the laptop keyboard. It presses again, on the gaming sites such as Moshi Monsters and advises that you should still be monitoring your children on those types of sites, even though they claim to be safe. I agree and will carry on watching over him play this and other games online. 

Both articles have opened my eyes a bit further and given me lots to think about. Whilst, as I stated in my previous post, we would never get Chester an iPad at this age, I do feel a bit more informed and confident about getting him a cheaper tablet and making sure we have followed the steps to secure it as much as we can BEFORE we give it to him. 


What are your thoughts on Internet security for children? Do you implement the parental control settings? 




Article collaboration.