Thursday, 30 January 2014

Pasta necklaces!

Ever since Millie and I played with her threading beads last week I have wanted to make pasta necklaces with her. Today we had some spare time so I decided to give it a go. 

Of course Millie just wanted to eat the Pasta at first....


But she soon understood what she needed to do....


Love her funny face in that picture, she was really concentrating to get the pasta on the string! 

After we eventually threaded lots of pasta onto our string, we tied our necklace up and chose what colour we would paint it! Millie chose red, green and purple. I was very impressed that she pointed to the red whilst saying 'red'. So at only just two she can already recognise at least one colour! 




As you can see Millie had lots messy of fun! 

Here is the finished necklace...



AND Chester was so impressed with Millie's necklace when he got home from School that he requested to make one too! His is currently drying! 



 




Who's on the Loo - book review



Now that Millie is two, potty training is something that is on my mind. I dreaded potty training with Chester, and although when he was ready it only took just over a week for him to go from nappies to pants, the thought of it just makes me cringe! Chester is going through a 'toilet talk' phase at the moment. Every other word is poo or wee. I hate it, and confided in one of the other Mums at Chester's School about it. I was very relieved to hear that her son has the same obsession as Chester. Her advice was to embrace it, rather than condone it. So for instance when he says poo, ask him what letters are in that word. I think that is great advice and I have tried to embrace it as much as I can.

Then a few weeks after this conversation I receive an email all about a new book.... Its called Who’s on the Loo and its published by Scribblers.  Its a gentle and amusing way to introduce your child to toilet training. Children who have reached the toilet-training stage will think this is the funniest book they've ever seen! Parents will smile, too, as children and parents turn the pages to discover who’s on the loo.

Well let me tell you that this book has been a big success in this house! Millie has shown so much interest in her potty AND the toilet since we started reading it. She especially likes the page with baby Humphrey the Rhinoceros as it has a dummy (or 'my' as Millie calls it) in its mouth!


Chester loves looking for the duck on each page because he say's the word poo! They both love the last page because you have to flush the toilet! 



They have learnt that going to the toilet is a normal everyday thing that everyone (even a Rhinoceros) needs to do! So not only has it helped Chester and Millie, but it has also helped me! I now have more confidence talking toilets with my children!

So whether your child is going through a 'phase' or starting to get interested in potty training then I highly recommend this book!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Slow cooker chocolate and banana swirls

I have never cooked a desert in my slow cooker and when I came across the base for this recipe I knew I had to give it a go.

Ingredients... 

100g butter
3 cups self raising flour (I worked this out to be roughly 350g)
Teaspoon of salt
1 cup of milk
3 tablespoons of Chocolate spread
2 large bananas thinly sliced

Method...

Rub together the flour, butter and salt. Then gradually add the milk and stir. Once you have a smooth dough roll out into a rectangle. 
Spread your chocolate spread on to the dough and sprinkle on your bananas. 
Roll your dough up like a Swiss roll and slice into rounds about 5cm thick. 
Grease your slow cooker bowl and lay the slices of dough into the bowl. Making sure they are only one layer. (I had enough left over to make a second batch, it really does depend on the size of your slow cooker.)
Place lid on and cook on high for 1.5/2 hours. 


Once cooked they looked like this....


I can confirm that they were indeed very yummy and that there were no left overs! 

The great thing about these is that they are so versatile. You could do a sweet OR a savory version with lots of flavor options. I am definitly going to try savoury, possibly a pizza style swirl. 

What do you think? Would you give these a go?! 


Link up your recipe of the week

Monday, 27 January 2014

Do you feel happy with the service you receive?

As you know last week was not a great week for me. I called it my waste of a week.

Now that I have recovered from the sick bug and my head is a bit more clear I am thinking more about the service I received from the doctors last week. During Millie's first year I made a big complaint to our doctors surgery, after the way I was spoken to by one of the Doctors about my concerns for Millie's milk intolerance. Something that I mentioned in the complaint (although it was not the main complaint) was the system they had in place for booking appointments. What they did was open the phone lines at 8.30am and rather than allocate you an appointment they get the duty doctor to call you back, to gauge the seriousness of your illness. It was getting so bad, that even if you rang for an appointment two weeks down the line they couldn't make it for you because they had not opened the books for that week! 

They promised they would change, and to be fair to them they did. I had been happy with the new system where you were able to book appointments in advance and even get an appointment for that day without having to speak to someone first.

But sadly last week, I felt let down yet again. I had wanted to see a doctor about my back, it was really painful and over the counter pain killers were just not working. More importantly I needed to get some answers and find out exactly what was wrong, if I knew, then surely that would be the first step to working out how to make it better?  I tried to call but they didn't answer. 

So after dropping Chester to School I popped in to make an appointment. I was shocked at the response I got. I was told I would get a phone call at some point that day from the duty Doctor, who would probably prescribe over the phone! I went away thinking, that surely is not going to happen. Surely the doctor will call me and realise they will need to see me to assess what, if any, tablets they were going to prescribe. 

Well about 3 hours later I got a phone call from the duty Doctor, who might I add, has never met me before. After a short discussion I was being told to pick up a prescription in an hour and pick up a physio referral sheet from reception incase I feel that I need it in a couple of weeks! I was shocked! I mean how can it be that easy to get hold of prescription tablets?! I certainly was not happy with the way my medical problem was dealt with and it turns out I am not alone. In a recent survey 36% of people are worried that their Doctors aren't listening to them

I have since taken the tablets and they are causing some side effects. I have also self referred myself to the Physiotherapist as I really want a professional opinion on what is causing the pain in my back. I am yet to decided if I will carry on with the tablets as the side effects are not nice, but it has knocked my confidence of the NHS yet again. I feel that if I call up for an appointment, I am just going to be fobbed off again. 

Have you had any positive/negative experiences with the NHS recently? 




*Please note this post was written in association with First4lawyers

Yesterday was a pirates and Lego kind of day!

Yesterday was a washout weather wise wasn't it?! We had planned to go to the park, but realistically that was never going to happen. Dont get me wrong I am all for taking the kiddies out in just a bit of rain. However, yesterday was more than just a bit of rain, it was more like an 8 hour downpour here!

So instead we found ourselves making a pirate treasure map using cold tea.Then whilst that was drying we made a pirate sword! We were also going to make a hook but I had pretty much run out of cardboard by then!





The afternoon was spent making up yet more Lego. Which seems to be Chester new favourite thing to do. Yesterday he enlisted the help of the Moshi Monsters, who became volunteer firefighters for the day! I love his imagination and could listen to his little stories all day!


Millie was content with pushing her dollies around in their pram and colouring herself in!

Just another typical day in the one blue one pink household! Did you have a lovely weekend? What did you get up too?


Mini Creations

Sunday, 26 January 2014

#NYNYStyleProject

Earlier this month, Modern Mummy and An Essex Wife launched the #NYNYStyleProject; a monthly list of daily prompts to help encourage women to inject a little glamour into their day-to-day lives. When I read a little bit more about it, I immediately knew that it was what I needed. 

You may remember my post at the beginning of the month, a new year a new me. Where I admitted that I had really lost interest in myself. I seem to have no spare time and of course, I am always last on the priority list. I spoke about how I wanted to make little changes at a time to enable me to do more things for myself. 

Since having the children I have totally forgotten what fashion is. Dont get me wrong, I was never a fashion expert but I did make sure I took pride and care in what I chose to wear. Nowadays its more a case of throwing on whatever is at the top of the draw! I wear jeans with EVERYTHING and that is starting to bore me! 

Anyway... The main idea behind the style project is to encourage women to feel better about themselves. Its about taking you out of your comfort zone and introducing you to trends, designers and products you may not of heard of. See, this is exactly what I need! 

My main problem of course is money (isn't it always), since having the children my money priorities have changed. My main concern is the children and then whatever is left is for other essentials. Sadly, by the time it gets to me there is not much left in the pot! However, I have been watching the #NYNYStyleProject hashtag with interest and I have already been inspired. I have seen that its not always splashing the cash that makes you look or feel good. 

So I have decided to join in, starting from February! How about you? Would you like to join in too? Its really easy, here's how....


  •  Find the day's prompt on the month's list. I have popped February's below but they are also published (over on Modern Mummy and An Essex Wife) in advance, around the 25th of the month. 
  •  Interpret the prompt as you will - and incorporate your interpretation into your daily style, health, fitness or beauty regime. It can be an item of clothing you own, a piece you've seen and are lusting after, something you've done that made you feel better about yourself.  
  •  Take a photo!  
  •  Share it on Instagram or Twitter. Don't forget to use the hashtag #NYNYStyleProject so that other people can find your pictures.
  •  Search the hashtag yourself and check out other people's photos. Like what you see? Tell the photographer! It's a nice way to get to know each other and a lovely confidence boost too.  
  •  You don't have to join in every single day! Sometimes it's just not possible - and that's okay! Dip in and out whenever you like, and if you're not able to take your own photos, look at other people's for inspiration.

I am really looking forward to joining in, and taking those first steps to reclaiming confidence in myself! 






Hawaiian chicken

Every now and then I have a real obsession with Pinterest. At the moment that obsession is happening, and the other day I started a new board to help me get inspired to use my slow cooker more!

Well it worked because today I made a totally yummy dish that I found on Pinterest! As with most slow cooker meals it tastes better than it looks! 

So for anyone else looking for some slow cooker inspiration I urge you to try this really easy and yummy dish.....

Hawaiian Chicken

800g cubed chicken
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce


Put all 4 ingredients in the slow cooker, mix together and cook on low for 6 hours. 

                                     

                                     

                                     


That's it! How easy is that?!

EDIT: A week later I tried this recipe with pork and it was yummy too!

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com Does your family have any slow cooker favourites? 
Link up your recipe of the week

Friday, 24 January 2014

Concentration games!

As you will know, if you read my previous post, that I have not been well this week. So keeping Millie entertained has been a bigger challenge than normal!

But today I managed to find a happy medium.....

                         

The total opposite of her brother, at the age of 2, Millie seems to love concentration games. She has spent nearly all morning threading beads or moving a magnetic pen over her numbers board chasing the ball! 

Both activities have encouraged her to talk about animals, shapes, colours and numbers. We have had lots of fun counting, singing and learning. I have still been able to rest up and use minimal energy whilst doing it so it has been a win win all round! It had also given me lots of ideas for future play days with Millie. So watch this space! 

A waste of a week...

This week has been what I would call a total waste of a week. I have had the dreaded NoroVirus. I can honestly say it's the worst kind of sickness I have ever had, and that's including the almost 9 months of sickness I had when I was pregnant with Millie! *Touch wood* I seem to be the only casualty, and we are coming to the end of incubation period! 

It has totally knocked me for six. Thankfully the main symptoms have now subsided, but now I am feeling the after effects. I am totally drained of any energy and just generally feel awful. 

What is worse is that my back, which was already getting bad before this week, is so painful.

I think the strain of the sickness has caused my back pain to progress a lot quicker than it would of. It has become unmanageable with painkillers and I am finding it hard to sit, stand, lay. Infact I am finding it pretty hard to do anything! This morning I have spoken to the Doctor over the phone and she said it sounds like I have muscle inflammation. So she has prescribed me tablets and I have to self refer to the physiotherapist. 

I am really hoping that the tablets start to work this weekend, not even on a selfish level. Of course the pain is awful, but to me the worst thing out of all of this is that my Children have not had a great week. Craig has done a great job at being nurse, but poor Millie has spent most of the week watching films! Chester has been at School so thankfully that has kept him entertained in the day, but he has not got his Lego out once this week. We had planned to go to Pizza Hut on Wednesday as a belated treat for Millie's birthday, this is more for Chester to be honest, and he was so looking forward to it. Then I was planning on taking Millie swimming again after the success I had taking her last week. But those things have had to be postponed for now. 

Although both Children, especially Chester, have been very understanding. With Chester even insisting to Craig that they go to the supermarket to buy me some chicken soup as that makes people feel better! It's taken it's toll on them. The last couple of evenings our house have been meltdown central. I think this is out of frustration. Maybe this is my own fault because I do normally give them both nearly all of my time and attention, but nether the less it's not been fun! 

Today I have managed to set up a small activity for Millie (will be posting a picture of that later), but even that was painful enough on my back! 

So here's hoping normal service resumes shortly in this house! 

How has your week been, I would love to know.... 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

My moments that mattered in 2013

Ok So I know that when you have children you are bound to have lots of moments that matter. I know for sure that I do. 2013 was a big year for us, Millie took her first steps, Then Chester started Primary School. But when I think about 2013, I must confess that most of my thoughts go to things that happened whilst we were at Walt Disney World! Being totally obsessed with Disney are you at all surprised?!

Lloyds Bank recently asked me what my moments that mattered were for last year and here they are....

  • The children's reaction to meeting Tigger. He was of course very bouncy and cuddly. His energy really bounced off of the children, it made their day!
  • Chester and I taking a ride on Prince Charming's Regal Carousel. Chester could not stop smiling the whole time we were on this ride! He has been on similar rides before, but I think he was really immersed in the atmosphere and the setting! 
  •   All the Girls together! Dont get me wrong we all had loads of fun as a family, but girls and boys are into different things. So it was really nice that my Mum and I could share Millies first Disney Princess moments together! 
  • Family! We went to Florida with my Parents. They really wanted to witness their Grandchildrens first reactions to Disney World. I will want to do the same when I am a Grandparent too! We had lots of great meals out whilst in Florida and The Rainforest Cafe at Disney's Animal Kingdom for breakfast is a favourite of mine. 
  • Ice cream! Well not just the ice cream, food in general! The food in America is so different to food in the UK. I love the Americans idea of snacks, although I don't think my body could cope with them for longer than 2 weeks! Everyone was laughing when my Dad and I came back with these gigantic ice creams!
  •   My Mum. She had a lot to deal with on this holiday. As I have mentioned before, we got news that my Nan (her Mum) had passed away the first day we were there. I am immensely proud of how my Mum coped with this tragic news. She was determined to still show the grandchildren how fun Walt Disney World is. This photo with the Minnie ears just makes me smile and reminds me just how strong she was (and still is).
  • Ariel - We stayed at Disney's Art of Animation resort in the Little Mermaid rooms. It was just amazing. The amount of detail that had gone into the theming was just. Amazing. I am a total Disney geek and I noticed so many little details that totally made it for me! I hope that someday we will be able to go back and stay there. 
  •  Sibling love, Chester and Millie get on really well. I know that we are really lucky that they do. Throughout the whole of last year they have been so kind and caring towards each other and I could not be more proud! I only hope that they continue their friendship. 
  • Millie's first haircut. I had saved this moment for Walt Disney World, I had heard great things about how they treated the children whilst getting their first hair cut. Its one of those moment you want to cherish, and of course I wanted to keep one of Millie's lovely curls. They didn't disappoint, Millie was kept entertained, she even got a certificate and some mouse ears at the end for being such a good girl. And yes, I got a keepsake curl all wrapped up and put into a lovely bag.   
  •  Parade watching! Chester loved nothing more than to sit on his Daddy shoulders and watch the parades go by! This particular parade was the special Christmas parade, it was on way past Chester's bedtime, but he really wanted to watch it! 'Snow' was falling and when I took this picture he had just seen Father Christmas go by!  
  • Chester getting picked to play the part of the beast was just the most magical moment ever. I will never forget it! He was chosen because he could roar the loudest (what a surprise!). He had to say a few lines to Belle and then he got to dance with her. He was just in total awe of Belle, she gave him a kiss on the cheek afterwards and he was made up! He still talks about being the beast and dancing with Belle now!
  •  When we went to Walt Disney World, Millie's absolute favourite Disney Princess was Rapunzel. I made sure that we had fast passes to meet her on our first full day. We dressed Millie in her little Rapunzel outfit and the reaction was so much more than we could of ever imagined. She was in total awe! Rapunzel was awesome, she chatted to Millie, who could barely say anything, not only because she was only 22 months old, but also because she was just star struck! She spent ages with Millie, it was a real tear in the eye moment for all of us (including Chester!)
 

So there you go, those are my moments that mattered in 2013.As you can see, sometimes its the little things that matter the most. What were your moments that mattered? I would love to know... 
  


Sunday, 19 January 2014

My little pickle.....

Little pickle... That is the set of words I am using to describe Millie at the moment. I should probably be using a stronger set of words to be honest as she has certainly hit those terrible twos!

                                                 

I am not ashamed to say that the last couple of weeks have been somewhat of a challenge, and I will admit that I had forgotten just how terrible the terrible twos were! 

She is throwing tantrums at the slightest thing, the other day the meltdown began because she had no boggies in her nose! How ladylike?! Within seconds she was face down on the floor, screaming! Her worst tantrum has to be the one that happens a few times a week, during the School run. She really misses her brother when he is at School, so when we drop him off she wants to stay with him. It usually ends in tears though (sometimes from me!) when I end up having to scrape her off of the playground and carry her under my arm to the car. Oh the shame! I realise that you are probably wondering why I don't just pop her in the pushchair? My answer would be that is second on my list of morning to dos, first on my list is arriving at School in plenty of time to faff with the pushchair! 

Yesterday her tantrum was because she wanted to play a game. By game she means app on the iPad. I of course do not just let her sit around on my iPad all day (although I am not a total meany I do let her have a play sometimes!), so I said no. Well, you would of thought something terrible had happened! Honestly, it was 20 minutes of screaming for the iPad before I could calm her down enough to make her see that playing princesses was just as much fun! 

A rare turn in Mummy's old DS...

                                                 

She has gone from doing as she is told, to doing the opposite. She has also developed selective hearing, if she doesn't like what you are telling her or asking her to do she will pretend she has not heard! 

She used to happily hold my hand to walk along the high street or back to the car. Not anymore. Oh no. Now she likes to shout out 'let go me' constantly whilst wriggling like a worm! Twice now she has tried (and thankfully been unsuccessful) to run away in the split second between me opening the car door and getting her in. I have learnt my lesson now as much as it pains my back, I now need to pick her up before I go to open the door! 

Just as I was starting to think that she was much more laid back than her brother she proves me wrong! She is in to everything, she likes to climb everything, she likes to have everything, she likes to make a mess, everywhere. 

Millie has also shown her strong willed and stubborn side a lot more over the last couple of months. Craig asked her to come and get dressed one weekend, she turned rounds and said 'no Daddy, I am trying to dance'! She constantly says no when you ask her to do something, and she is well known to tell you 'naughty' then point sternly at the stairs and say 'sit on the step'! Cheeky monkey! 

She copies her brother all the time, this can be a good thing and a bad thing. Her speech and communication is much more advanced compared to Chester's at that age. Not that Chester was behind, but just that she loves to copy her Brother. But he has also taught her how to strip down to her nappy. She finds this hilarious, as does Chester. 

I have got a feeling that this year will be the year of more grey hairs! I will need to find some more patience from somewhere! Having said that, I wouldn't swap it for the world. I love my children, I love being a mother, and I know that they are only young once. From experience I will cherish these cheeky and testing moments as they do not last forever. In a few years they will be the memories that I look back on and laugh! 

        


Anyone else going though the terrible twos stage at the moment?! 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Heroes of the City - App review and product giveaway!

Recently we were made aware of a cartoon called Heroes of the City, its about rescue vehicles in a small town where everyone can be a hero! Its about some friends (vehicles) who help the townspeople find thieves, put out fires, and solve one of the many mysteries that happen in the otherwise quiet town. You will also get to know Calamity Crow, the most unlucky bird in town. Emphasizing friendship, Heroes of the City contains a great deal of warmth and what may be accomplished by helping each other. The cartoon is primarily targeted at children age 3 – 7.

Its a really lovely cartoon, Chester and Millie were both engrossed from the moment it began!

Here is a trailer...


Heroes of the City Season 2 - Trailer 01 from Pelle Ferner on Vimeo.

There is also an app, The Heroes of the City Movie app! An all-in-one, safe and fun children's application. The app includes both movies and games and is aimed at children aged 2-6 years old. The content is fully adapted to the target audience and is based on the popular television series Heroes of the City

Features:
More than six hours of entertaining movies!
Nine exciting games!
Airplay function for your Apple TV!
Collect trophies to unlock your own secret surprise!
One full movie episode, 3 games and a music video for free.



I have the app on my ipad and Chester and Millie both love the games, they are at opposite ends of the age range yet both seem to love it just as much. Its easy for Millie to navigate, she especially likes the game where you have to catch the bee with the net, all she has to do is tap onto the screen once and it swipes at the insects!



Chester's favourite so far is the pairs game. He really loves this type of game, he has to turn over two cards at a time to find all of the matching cards. I have played it too and it appears Chester has a much better memory than me!!


The Heroes of the City movie app is available to download both in itunes and Google Play. This is great for me as Chester's tablet is compatible with Google Play so I won't have any arguments on who can play on the app! As a parent I really love this app, its bright, colourful, educational and has enough content to keep my two little monkeys entertained!

You will be delighted to know that I have a Heroes of the City bundle to giveaway!


So if you would like to win the bundle which includes a book, dvd and die cast cars. Please fill out the rafflecopter below. You just need to answer one mandatory question and then all the other options, giving you extra entries, are optional! Good luck! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com





Friday, 17 January 2014

Technology is moving on so fast...

But of course I mean that in a good way! It was only the other day I was saying that the internet has come such a long way so quickly. Even though I am still in my twenties, it does make me feel old because my children will never know what life was like WITHOUT the internet!

More recently the internet has helped to advance all kinds of technology. Most people nowadays own either a smartphone or a tablet (or both!) so technology has moved forward yet again to make way for apps!

Whenever I think about technology moving forward it always (and I mean always) reminds me of the Carousel of Progress at Walt Disney World. As I am sure you are all aware by now, we took our children on their first Walt Disney World holiday last November. I am also sure you all know how obsessed I am about all things Disney, so really its no surprise that things remind me of the most magical place on earth every day! But, back to my point. The Carousel of Progress (which by the way has a really catchy tune, top points to anyone who can name the song for me, bonus points for singing it to me) is a show/ride which shows us how far along technology has come since the turn of the Century. Now by turn of the Century I mean last Century because the ride was Walt Disney's very own creation so it has not really been updated and (quite rightly) is almost exactly the same as the day it opened. I took Chester onto this ride with me, and he was amazed that at the turn of the Century people did not have TV's! I guess to him at the age of 5 he takes everything for granted. But since going on that ride, he has asked me so many questions. One that especially makes me chuckle was when he asked me if because TV's were black and white, did that mean people were too?! I love the way his mind works! But its the last scene of the ride that stands out the most for me. Its the latter part of the Century by now and it shows how people can open and close their curtains at the press of a button, it also kind of hints into the future and how people can see each other over technology. So, not so long ago that was predicted for the future, and now that is what is happening!

Why is any of this relevant I hear you asking... Well I have discovered something totally awesome. Which really does show just how far technology has come! It is called Hive Active Heating. It basically lets you control your heating and hot water remotely from your smartphone, tablet and laptop. How amazing is that?!



I have been reading up on this new technology with amazement, some key points I have picked up on are as follows.....

Hive Active Heating allows you to turn on your heating (even when its not due to come on yet) whenever you like, you can even schedule it so if for instance you are coming home earlier than expected You can go online or use your app to get your home warmed up ready for your arrival!

It will automatically come on to protect your pipes from freezing! That is called Automatic Frost Protection. How many people have gone away in winter months (like us, Disney last November) and worried that their pipes were going to freeze if you did not keep the heating on?! What a great way to put your mind at rest!

The thermostat is wireless so can be fixed anywhere in your home! It has a hub too! This clever little box simply plugs into your broadband router so that your thermostat can connect to the internet and be controlled remotely!



If you have a hot water tank (also known as a conventional boiler system) you can control your hot water with Hive! So not only your heating but your hot water too! Fantastic!

I love how technology has moved on in this way, it is certainly something that will help us, we are a busy family and something as simple and accessible as this can only be a good thing!


*Please note this post is in collaboration with Hive Active. However all thoughts are my own.







Wednesday, 15 January 2014

I made a number cake!

As you know Millie turned 2 last week. I love making cakes, but have never made my childrens birthday cakes. However, on facebook a couple of weeks ago I saw a picture of a number cake covered in skittles.

So from that moment, it was decided that I would make Millie's birthday cake. We have a lovely cake shop in our town and I often go in their for last minute bits, they always seem to have exactly what I need and their prices are great. I popped in to enquire about hiring a number tin and to my surprise it was only £2 per day (with a £10 deposit)!

Now Millie is such a girly girl so I decided to use pink smarties instead of skittles. I made a chocolate cake (basic 200g of butter, sugar, sr flour, 1tsp baking powder, 2tbsp cocoa, 2 tbsp golden syrup, 4 eggs). I then cheated on the icing, because quite frankly, I love the taste of betty crocker chocolate fudge frosting! I used 3 (large) tubes of pink smarties and that just about covered the cake.

The cake tasted yummy and I am really chuffed that I made such a good job of it. Millies face when she saw it was priceless!

What do you think.....





Online habits....

Recently I came across a very interesting article about online viewing habits. It always gets me thinking when I read articles about the internet. I am in my late 20s now and when I was at School, which really wasn't all that long ago, the internet was not even part of our lessons. It wasn't part of everyday life as it is now. I remember only using our family computer to reference from the encyclopedia cd rom! That makes it sound so long ago but it really wasn't! 

Now that Chester is at School and uses the internet as part of his day, it has become apparent just how much technology has come on! In our day it was blackboards and chalk, nowadays its interactive white boards and internet pages projected onto the board! Chester is only 5 and I have said before how happy I am with our School choice for him, they are a small village School and they have embraced how technology is part of our everyday lives. Chester even has his own login for an internet programme the School use to help with reading. At the age of 5 he can easily navigate his way around the website AND he can sign himself in! 

I find that amazing, when I was 5 I didn't even know how to use a walkman let along a computer!! Even 2 year old Millie knows her way around my ipad! 






As an adult, I use the internet daily. Even if I am having a day off from my blog, I just can not resist going online. I think we have become a nation obsessed with the internet, and that’s hardly surprising considering how accessible it has become! 

Going back to when I was at School, aged 15/16 mobile phones were just being introduced as an everyday item, not just for business men and women. I remember me and most of my School friends discussing what phone we had/wanted and the main ‘must have’ feature was the game snakes! Who remembers that?! Nowadays I find that 90% of my time on my phone is spent on the internet, I text occasionally and rarely feel the need to make a call from my phone! Amazing really! 

Something I use the internet for, especially since having children, is shopping. I find it very easy to research and shop online. Its great at Christmas time, I don't have to brave the crowds in the shops, I can just order the presents whilst sitting in the comfort of my own home! One of the things that surprised me whilst reading the article about online habits was that whilst people are more likely to purchase a product if it comes with customer reviews, most of those people tend not to leave a review themselves. In fact 35% of shoppers don't bother to leave a review. As someone who never buys something online without reading a review first, I find this a little surprising. 

I review products on my blog, I will also make sure I review products I have bought online if the option to leave a review is there. I always give honest reviews, good or bad as I know that I would appreciate that if it was me looking to purchase the product. Reviews have persuaded me to buy the product in the past, and they have also persuaded me not to. In a time where money is something we are trying to save not spend, I think reviews are an essential part of internet life?

What are your thoughts on this? 




*Please note, this post was brought to you in association with Ladbrokes Bingo. All thoughts are my own. 

LighterLife FAST

I was recently asked if I would like to review the new LighterLife Fast range. Having seen lots of facebook status' and tweets about people doing 5:2 diets I was intrigued. Reading further information about LighterLife Fast, it seemed to me that it was a great way to kick start my new year new me plan.

LighterLife say that they have the very first 100% nutritional 5:2 product, the FAST programme has been designed to make intermittent fasting easy as well as nutritionally complete, ensuring you receive all your needed nutrients on your fasting days. It is currently on sale (exclusively) in Superdrug stores. I was pleased to read about these nutrients, because one of the first things that crossed my mind when reading about the 5:2 diet was how can you get everything your body needs by doing this?

So with my mind at rest I said yes and this is what I was sent...


I was very excited to see the chocolate milkshake and the toffee bars, I love my chocolate and sweet things are my falling block when it comes to cutting back or dieting!

I have been on the LighterLife 5:2 diet for over a week now, so wanted to give you my thoughts so far. I have found the diet easy in the respect that its only 2 days that you diet. So that has pulled me through my fast days so far, knowing that the next day I would be allowed to eat more! I like the fact that the range has a lot of variety. You can have any 4 packs from the LighterLife fast range per fasting day. So if you do not like one variety, there's always another!

Having tried what was sent out to me, I can confirm that I would happily eat the Toffee bars for all of my fasting days! Everyone has different tastes and sadly my taste buds did not think much of the milkshakes or porridge. I think that this is because they are made up with water, I think this must flatten the taste a bit. To me all I could taste were the added nutrients! The soup was tolerable and I would consider that fasting pack again. The dinner meals for me we not what I would pick, and that is simply because you have to rehydrate the food with water, it did not appeal to me at all. What I do love is the fact that you do not have to worry about counting calories, its all done for you, all you have to count is 4 packs per fasting day! Easy!

Like I say everyone has different tastes, so toffee bars it is for me! I also think I would quite like the cranberry and raspberry bars. I have a sweet tooth! Weight wise I lost 2lb in my first week. I am happy with that, I really didn't think I was going to loose, especially as although you eat sensibly for the other 5 days you are only really dieting for 2!

I am going to carry on with the 5:2 diet using some of the LighterLife Fast packs to help me along the way!

Millie's 2nd Birthday!

So thats it, I am officially a Mummy to a 5 year old and a 2 year old! No more 1 year old, I can't really get away with calling her my baby for much longer can I ?! Thats right my little baby Millie has turned 2!

As her birthday was during the week, Chester was at School and Craig was at work we decided to get up early so that she could open her presents before everyone had to head off. We had managed to get a Little Tikes gourmet prep and serve kitchen from the Asda Black Friday deal a while back so Craig spent the evening before putting it together. I was so excited for her! I always wanted a play kitchen as a child so I am so pleased that I have been able to give one to my daughter (although I am pretty sure that Chester is going to want to play with it just as much!).



Then the plan was Millie and I would go swimming or do something fun. As it turned out Millie had an unusual bout of nappy rash so we could not really go swimming, I didn't want to irritate it any more. When I asked Millie what she wanted to do she said 'see Frozen'! We have already been to the cinema twice to see Disney's Frozen, we love it! I would of happily taken her to see it again for her birthday as she requested, however, during the week it is only shown in the evenings at our cinema. So instead we stayed at home and played with her new toys. It surprised me at first that she didn't seem too interested in her play kitchen, but looking back, I think she was just very overwhelmed with everything!

We played play doh, duplo and princesses. Before we knew it, it was time to pick Chester up from School. The original plan was to have dinner out at Pizza Hut as Millie requested Pizza for her birthday tea. However, Craigs parents really wanted to come down and see Millie on her Birthday and didn't want to eat Pizza. So we changed the plan and will now go out for her birthday tea this weekend (its a good job she is only 2 so will not remember!)


For Chester's 2nd Birthday we went to the London Aquarium and it was a big hit. So we decided to do the same for Millie. We went on Sunday, no one was working so we could all go. Craigs parents also came along with us so it was a great family day out. 



Millie really loved all of the fishes and other sea creatures. She did however spend the whole time looking for Mermaid (Ariel) and King Triton! She made the connection that they were sea creatures and as soon as she did, she was convinced they must be in there too! So cute! As you can imagine, we spent a long time at the Nemo and Dorey tank! I am pretty sure those clown fish are getting really annoyed with being called Nemo! Millie didn't call them all Nemo though, some of them she even called Nemo's Daddy!



There was an area where you could touch a starfish, its the same area that was there when Chester turned 2. Although Millie was not as brave as her brother, I still managed to get a picture very similar to her brothers!

The only disappointment at the Aquarium was the penguin encounter. Sadly that was the part I was most looking forward too! The penguins themselves seemed to have a great enclosure and seemed happy. However the area was just badly positioned. The viewing area was really small, the rest of the aquarium is really well thought out and spacious. So the penguin area seemed to be a badly thought out afterthought, which just bottlenecked. Packed in like sardines springs to mind!



After the Aquarium we stopped for some snacks whilst looking at the views. Chester was super excited to see the wheel and Big Bentley (Thank you Cars 2)! Millie had walked around for over 2 hours by that point and was getting tired. Pretty much as soon as we put her in the stroller she was asleep! Our original plan was to go back round the Aquarium again, but it was clear that both children were tired. So we took a slow walk back to the station stopping to watch the street entertainers and then for Chester to play on the lovely wooden play area. He really had a great time climbing and exploring! He is in his element when he is outside, so this was the best part of the day for him!


So thats it, our youngest child is 2, the terrible twos have already started appearing! How could I forget about those with Chester! Luckily this time I have experience and know what to expect! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

My baby is turning two!

How is that possible?! HOW?! 

So this time 2 years ago my Mum was telling me that I was going to have the baby the next day (a week early) she just knew it. She wasn't wrong. I had pains the very next morning and by the evening was in hospital in labour. Sadly the hospital were low on consultants because it was a Sunday (their words not mine) so I had to wait five hours in the waiting area before someone finally took charge and said something wasn't right! It was the early hours of the Monday morning when I was rushed down to theatre for the emergency c section I should of had hours before hand. For as soon as they hooked me onto the monitor they knew something wasn't right.

Thankfully Millie came along and she has turned out fine. Although it was a real heart stopping moment on the operating table. Something I will never forget! 

It's funny really, it doesn't feel like that long ago at all. 2 years is a long time, yet it still feels like yesterday to me! 

As much as I try my hardest to savour every moment of both of my Children's childhood (and believe me, my house has suffered because of it) they still seem to grow up just like that! 

Millie is certainly a very head strong little girl. She knows what she wants and she will try her hardist to get it! She has already begun the terrible twos, some days can be very challenging. However those moments are soon forgotten when she does something like saying Thank you very much in an almost Disney like manner. Or when she tells any of us (it's normally Chester) that she loves us. 

In the car yesterday she was singing along to her Doc Mcstuffins CD. She sounded so grown up. I was so proud of her, yet at the same time I was sad that she has grown up so quickly! Where has my baby Millie gone?! Although, let's face it, she will always be my baby.

This time last year, cheeky Millie looked like this....

                                               

Now, she is looks like this.....

                                                      

So a big Happy 2nd Birthday for tomorrow Millie! We are going to have lots of fun celebrating, including a trip to the London Aquarium at the weekend! 

The OXO Good Grips Over The Door Rack - Review

Last year was our decorating year. It was the year we both got off of our backsides and finally made our house a home. This year I will be carrying that on by adding some finishing touches to a lot of the rooms. 

What we have found out over the last year is that new build homes are not always as lovely as they first appear! The walls are made of plasterboard so it takes a different kind of screw to hold anything in place. This is one of the reasons it took us so long to get on with the decorating, we are not great at DIY and quite frankly we didn't know how to get round some of these filmsy wall problems! 

Something I have wanted for ages in our ensuite is a good towel hook. We had one when we moved in but it soon fell out! I was approached by OXO a little while ago and after having a browse round their website I came across something that stood out for me and my needs. An over the door rack. 

I was sent the OXO Good Grips Over The Door Rack to review. 

                        
My only concern with anything like this, is will it damage my doors. Everything seems to damage so easily, as the saying goes 'they don't make things like they used too' and that is certainly the case with this house! I needn't of been concerned though as the stainless steel Door Rack has a soft non skid surface AND the opening flexes to fit different door sizes! 


                              
It has five non slip hooks, which I would say are perfect size (quite wide) to hang towels. Which is what we have used them for. Even with heavy towels hanging on them no marks have been left on our door. As you can see from our towel choice we are all big kids, everyone has a Disney towel in this house! 

                             

Another thing that crossed my mind was what would it look like from the other side of the door. Would it look silly? Well this is what it looks like....

                             

Personally I think it is barely noticeable. My door shuts with no problem either. 

The OXO Good Grips Over The Door Rack is currently priced at £25.00. I think that is a fair price, I think it is a really well made and sturdy product. It has generous size hooks and looks in place on my door! It has lots of potential for lots of doors in my house. Our understairs cupboard for our hats, coats, scarfs and bags, our kitchen for our aprons and tea towels or even the children's bedroom for dressing gowns, School bags and jackets. Not forgetting our main bathroom and our cloakroom for more towel potential! 

So if you are looking for hooks that won't put holes or marks on your doors, and want something that is both practical and in keeping with modern tastes then this is the over the door rack for you!