Sunday, 26 June 2016

Something for me!

I am very good at putting everyone else before myself. I am not complaining about that, it's what I have always done, and it makes me happy when my kids are happy. But for quite some time now I have been meaning to find some time for myself. Just me, myself, and I.

3 weeks ago I started going swimming. Initially I tried to go at 6:30am, but quickly realised that as I am not a morning person at the best of times, it would be more realistic for me to go in the evening! 

I quickly got into the swing of it, and on my first session I swam 22 lengths. Then I got a little cocky and swam 40 lengths on my second visit. But the next day I ached all over so realised that was just too much to start with!

This last week I managed to swim 3 times and each time I did 30 lengths, so in total across the week I swam just over a mile! A pretty good achievement for me, seeing as I am very unfit! The best thing is that I am really enjoying myself. I am WANTING to go and I am looking forward to my swim days! 

It has made me realise that it is OK to be selfish sometimes, for my own wellbeing I need that time for myself. To do something I enjoy, whilst improving my fitness. I have even enjoyed some relaxing time in the Sauna and Steam rooms! 

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Introducing Ham, the Hamster!

This time last week we popped into Pets at Home to have a look at the fish. We already have fish, so the children like to pop in every now and then and have a look at what's new in the world of fish!

As we were browsing round at all of the other animals, we came across an adoption area. Chester read the descriptions of the animals out loud so Millie understood. But there was one animal that stood out for Chester and Millie, and that was Ham, the Sirian Hamster. His card said that no one wanted him and that's why he was up for adoption. The children were quite upset by this, and they were both fascinated by Ham. 

We carried on browsing around the shop, all the time I was wondering if we should adopt Ham. I had a Hamster when I was younger, he was called Harold! I remembered how much I loved him, and loved caring for him. So when the children went back over to Ham and asked if we could adopt him, I called a shop assistant over to help us. The lady was actually super good with the children, she spoke to them rather than me, asking them questions and making them aware of what a big responsibility having a Hamster is. 

So it was decided. We were adopting Ham! 

We chose a nice home for him, made sure we had all of the supplies we needed and off we went! 

Chester and Millie were very excited to see Ham enjoying his new family home. 

On the shop assistants advice they have been talking to him, making sure his water is topped up every day and that he has enough food. Over the week Ham has become more and more adventurous, it seems though, that so far the only person he will go too is Craig! The children are not overly happy about this, but understand that Ham needs time to get used to us all! 

His favourite thing to do is go in his Hamster Ball! The ground floor level of our house is all wooden or vinolay flooring so he has great fun whizzing between the rooms! Chester and Millie love following him around and helping him if he gets 'stuck' in a corner! 

We popped back into Pets at Home the other day as the children wanted to buy Ham a 'toy' and when they excitedly told the sales assistant it was for Ham, he excitedly replied with 'oh Ham, I remember him, I put him in the adoption area'! Which then lead to a 10 minute conversation about how old he was, and how he was getting on in his new home! The children were thrilled! 

I think Ham is a great addition to our family and I am so glad that the children are loving their responsibility as chief carers for him! 

Do you have any pets?! 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Chester's Rollercoaster ride of emotions watching the football!

I'm sure I don't need to tell you how much of a massive football fan Chester is. So when he found out The Euros would be on this summer he was beyond excited! We try and encourage him to be interested in sport, be it playing it or watching it, we are happy for him to get involved.

Of course as a family from England we are supporting our team, but for Chester he is really struggling as to where his loyalties lye. As an Englishman he wants to support his country, but as a Crystal Palace fan (and a Goalkeeper himself) he feels he should be supporting Wales, who have 3 Palace players on their squad! We have tried to explain to him that international football is different to the premier league football he is used too, but he just wants to support the Palace boys! 

For the first England match I thought it would be a great idea to make a big deal out of it to show Chester how to coming together as a family we can support our country. So I done a BBQ for before the match and then, because I know just how much Chester loves Lindt chocolate, I pulled out a surprise box of Lindt Swiss Luxury Selection for us all to share whilst enjoying the match! 

They were of course a huge hit, and certainly got everyone excited before the match!

The next England match was a really tough one for Chester. It was England v Wales, he was at School and sadly they were not permitted to watch it. But I was at work and we were permitted to take the time out to watch it. One of my work colleagues offered his front room for some of us to watch it so as a thank you, and knowing how well they went down here, I gave him a box of the Lindt Swiss Luxury Selection too! 

Now, I have to admit that even I found the match very hard to watch! You spend all season hoping your goalkeeper saves the goals and then your country have a match against him and you have to hope he doesn't save the goal! Very mixed emotions! I recorded the match for Chester and he watched it as soon as I picked him up from after school club. Chester couldn't get on with supporting his country so did what he does best and supported the Palace boys! 

Do your children struggle to know who to support when it comes to international football?! 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Our amazing day spent learning whats new with Skylanders!

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to a lovely, querky, hotel in Shoreditch to find out what is new in the world of Skylanders. I made the mistake of telling Chester and Millie a few days before. This meant that for the majority of half term I was being asked 'is it Skylander day yet'!!

But let me tell you, it was definitely worth the wait. As soon as we walked into this room I could tell it was going to be an awesome day! 

Chester is a YouTube kind of kid. He gets all of his gaming news from YouTube, so a few days before he found out that Activision were releasing a new Skylanders game in October. So as soon as we walked through the door he headed straight for the Skylanders Imaginators stand to see what all the hype was about! I think you will agree from these pictures that he was beyond happy! 

Chester was able to explore a little bit of the new game, which is called Skylanders Imaginators. I would say the single most exciting thing about Skylanders Imaginators is that you can create your own characters! I think Activision have really listened to the children this time round. Chester quite often plays with the figurines and will often make up his own characters as part of his story. So to now be able to create your very own characters to play in the game is amazing! Chester has a go at making his own and I have to say there seem to be endless possibilities to personalising your Skylander

Excited?! We certainly are! Take a look at this trailer which shows just how awesome Skylanders Imaginators is set to be!

Another exciting thing to come from Skylanders this year is the launch of Skylanders Battlecast. Which is a brand new, free to play mobile card game. The game will offer everything from collectability to strategic card combat, online player v player and even a single player campaign. Players will simply need to download the app, purchase Battle card packs/booster packs from selected high street retailers, or they can even purchase digital packs (which I happen to think is a great pocket money incentive). Then you basically customise your team creating the ultimate battle collection. 

This game brings the cards to life using augmented technology, Chester and Millie absolutely loved this feature, believing their cards had come to life! 

The fun continued with Chester and Millie being able to taste mystery Skylander ice cream flavours, create t shirts, pick some sweets, have a characature done, and even enter a crazy photo booth! There were also plenty of consoles around for all of the children to play the current game, Skylanders Superchargers. Chester had lots of fun playing the game with some newly made friends. 

We would like to say a MASSIVE thank you for the invite to this unforgettable event, the children both came away extremely happy, over the last couple of weeks we have been having lots of fun playing with the new wave characters and also exploring Skylanders Battlecast! I have to say that it has got a bit competitive in our house where Battlecast is concearned!

Now the countdown is on for the October release of Skylanders Imaginators! Who's with us?!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

A day in the life of Baby Annabell

Recently the lovely people at Zapf Creations sent us a Baby Annabell doll, highchair, and accessory pack. With the simple request that we have a day in the life of Baby Annabell.

Well, to Millie, who absolutely loves to create imaginary scenarios with her dolls, this was a dream come true! I absolutely loved the day, observing how my 4 year old views adults was hilarious and has probably taught me a lesson or too about what you should and should not say in front of Children! 

So Baby Annabell started off her day by going on an adventure. Millie wanted to take her out in the car, so we went on a little road trip with Baby Annabell, apparently she was very good and slept the whole way! 

When we got home it was time to put Baby Annabell in her high chair ready for her lunch

Of course as lunch was chosen by Millie, it wasn't your usual baby food fare, it was Chicken Nuggets! But nether the less, Baby Annabell appeared to enjoy it! 

Then whilst Millie was eating her own lunch she distracted Baby Annabell with a rattle!

Millie loves to dress and undress her dolls, and Baby Annabell was no exception. She chose an her an all in one just in time for story time!

And here is Millie reading the story!

As you can see Baby Annabell ended up having a nap outside in her newly made bed!

I really love Millie's imagination, I love watching her play and create different scenarios. I hope that she continues to be such a playful and imaginative child! 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

What Millie is wearing, Summer 2016

When it comes to clothes Millie is such a girly girl. She may only be 4, but she knows what she likes. She is happiest when she is in a pretty dress, and even happier if her shoes match the outfit!

But I always find it a little difficult dressing Millie as she is also a climbing trees and rolling down hills kinda gal. She loves nothing more than to create herself little adventures. 

Mothercare recently asked me if they could send Millie some products from their website. I have always loved the practicality of Mothercare, not only do they sell really lovely, on trend, clothes. They also sell a wide range of baby and children's products, from nappies to car seats, and even toys!

I decided to choose this Tiered Floral Dress, and accessorised with socks and shoes.

The dress is 100% cotton and is fully lined. As it is pretty but flowing it has a multitude of uses, from going to a party to playing at the park! In fact Millie desperately wanted to wear it to Nursery to show it off to her friends!

It's worth noting that Millie is a tall 4 year old, and personally I prefer her dresses to be around knee length. So I ordered the Tiered Floral Dress in an age 5. I am really glad that I did as you can see it fits her perfectly. It does state on the label that it is up to 110cm, Millie is already 108cm and still only 4 and a half so I would always go next size up if you are looking for a longer length.

The Pink Flower Shoes were also a hit with Millie. They have an easy fasten thin Velcro strap, making them easy for Millie to put on herself, the 3D flower detail is just gorgeous and they are the kind of shoes that would match well with several outfits. But the best thing about these shoes, according to Millie, is that they grip very well when walking UP the slide! I did laugh when she came home very excited to tell me this! It just goes to show that 4 year olds have very different reasons to want non slip soles!

Now I don't know if it's just our household that gets a regular visit from the sock fairy? But over the years I have learnt it's best to buy socks of similar pattern/design. Because chances are they will not be in pairs for long! When I spotted these Floral Lace Turn Over Top Socks  I knew that not only would they go well with the outfit, but more importantly they would not suffer too much if they had to be mismatched pairs! 

The whole outfit was under £30, and I do think that it is worth it's money. Like I said earlier the shoes can be pared with so many different outfits and the quality and comfort make them a really good value shoe. I really love the fact that the dress is fully lined, it's rare to come across fully lined every day dresses nowadays. 

So that is what Millie will be wearing this summer! I already have my eye on some other gorgeous  dresses from Mothercare, most of which would go with the shoes and all of which are practical for my dress loving, tree climbing, girly girl! 

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Football Presentation Day

Football is a massive part of Chester's life. He lives, sleeps and breathes football. He is constantly giving us little football facts and opinions.

Chester has 3 football loves. As you all know, he has a lot of love for Crystal Palace. He also loves his Soccer Elite sessions on a weekday evening. But he also plays in a league, he is the teams goalkeeper and he is very passionate about it, he takes his role very seriously. 

Every match and training session is a reason to self criticise and push himself further. As his parents we fully support his football, but we never push him. He has taken it upon himself to do that. If he lets in a stray goal or maybe doesn't quite see something he should have, he will come home and be quite harsh on himself. Whilst I don't agree that he should always be so harsh on himself, I really love the fact that he can recognise and accept where he has gone wrong or needs to improve. He always seems to learn from it. Being a goalkeeper, he is very aware that he can make or break a match and he would much rather be remembered for saving the goals! 

Today it was his teams Presentation Day. The whole team are great, they all play really well together and I really love that all of us parents support each and every child on the sidelines. The players received some fantastic awards today, all well deserved. 

Chester was given the 'Most Improved Player' award and he his little face when his name was called was something I will never forget! 

Chester is an extremely competitive child, but when it comes to his team, he fully backs each of his team members. He was congratulating others and was genuinely happy for them and the awards they were winning, so when his name was called he couldn't quite believe it! 

I think today has given Chester a massive boost, he was genuinely surprised to get an award and hasn't let go of it since. I am now really looking forward to the next season and watch the team play some more fantastic football! 

Well done boys! 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Our crazy busy half term!

Today was the first day of 'normal' routine in over a week. The children were back to School and Nursery and I was back to work after a few days off. Now, I am sitting here thinking back on the May half term and wondering how we managed to cram it all in!

We started the week off visiting my parents down in Dorset. Long weekends visiting Nannie and Grandad is always a great thing for Chester and Millie. They have a great relationship with my parents, especially my Dad, and they really miss being able to just pop round and see them. So it really is the simple things that keep them happy. 

Amongst other things, we visited Upton Country Park, where we has an amazing time exploring and climbing. 

We had a BBQ on the beach, which was a first for all of us, and I am sure it won't be the last! 

We walked round to the park, where Chester and Grandad played football whilst Millie explored the play area. 

Then on the way back from the park Chester and Millie found some goslings, which Millie made friends with and named them Poppy and Joey! 

Needless to say when it was time to come home Chester and Millie were not happy bunnies! So to cheer them up we headed to Gravity, a (fairly) newly opened trampolining centre not too far from us. It was the first time we had visiting and I can assure you it won't be the last! We had an absolute blast! Who knew that a room filled wall to wall with trampolines could be so much fun?! 

Friday was the day Chester had been waiting for all week, we headed up to London to a very special Skylander event, which I am going to blog about seperatly so watch this space! 

Saturday was back to Millie's usual routine of Ice Skating, and she did amazingly well this week! She was practicing her bendy knees and perfecting her 'lemon'. Her confidence amazes me week on week. She wanted to skate around the big rink on her own several times and I was happy to let her! 

Sunday we wanted to make the most of the lovely weather so we decided to make the most of our English Heritage membership and visit two properties! Firstly Walmer Castle and Gardens, who just so happened to have a special flower and garden event on. The children had lots of fun playing traditional garden games, painting pots and exploring the castle. 

Then it was on to Deal Castle, which was quite simply a brick maze! It was really fun to explore the rooms, with all the twists and turns. 

We then decided to have a cheeky round of Adventure golf, where we had lots of fun around the very interactive course. Millie of course made up her own rules and eventually decided she prefered to use her hands rather than her golf stick! 

We finished the day doing what the children love best, running around on the beach! 

Phew! What a week, we managed to cram so much in but seeing how much fun the kids have had makes the tiredness I am feeling now totally worth it! 

What did you get up to on your half term? I would love to know.