29 June 2013

Project 365 Week 25/26

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I'm so sorry, again I forgot to put our post up last week and so today is a double post.

Our week in pictures for week 25 is mainly brotherly love and outdoor play. Thomas playing on the Blackberry Playbook and on his new hopper thingy and Charlie getting to grips with the Dinosaur Train toys. 

Friday was a change for us. It was the first time I have been out without the kids for more than 4 years. I went out with my sister, Kelly, and ended up seeing my brother and my dad (family night out!!!) but it was great to have a bit of time to be away from the kids and have a nice break. From left to right in the pic: Krystal, Me, my dad, Marcus (my brother), Kelly (my sister), Jamie and Fenny bent down underneath.

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A new week and a new day out. Today we went to Alton Towers. You can read about our awful experience in their car park here. Apart from that, it was a nice day and the kids loved being there and going on rides. 

Another week of fun filled pictures, the boys playing outside and Thomas doing a bit of gardening. 

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

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28 June 2013

Winnie The Pooh by TOMY

Both Thomas and Charlie love watching cartoons on television and so having toys that are associated with the programmes are a big plus. Winnie the Pooh has been a family friend for years and both boys love it too. I find that it's a great bedtime cartoon as it's settling and helps the boys relax before bed.

We were sent some of the new Winnie the Pooh range from TOMY to review that are great for young children, probably for ones aged around the same as Charlie. I couldn't wait to get them out and get playing, for Charlie of course (I'm a big kid at heart). TOMY have always been known for great quality toys that last forever so I was keen to see if the products still live up to their reputation.

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Cuddle n Glow Pooh
A super soft plush toy that is perfectly sized for babies to cuddle at around 10inches tall. Whilst Pooh is being cuddled his cheeks glow red and if you press his nose, 5 different lullabies play to sooth children off to sleep.
Pooh even snores and yawns ready for his bed in his night shirt and sleeping hat.
The soft glow nightlight can be used with or without the lullabies to help baby sleep and give a little glow into the room. It has an automatic timer which can be set to 10 or 20 minutes so once baby has drifted off to sleep, the toy will turn itself off and not play all night.
Both boys love this and actually fight over who gets to cuddle him first, Charlie usually wins after squawking at Thomas and will gently and lovingly cuddle Pooh until he eventually drifts off. The fact that you can set the timer is a big plus as it means that I don't have to go into Charlie's bedroom to turn it off. 

Mummy Blogging, Parent Blog, Yorkshire Blog, Adventures of a Yorkshire MumTwist and Turn Activity Toy
This is such a simple toy but Charlie really loves it. 9 little plaques that all flip over to reveal different pictures.
The little handles are perfect for small hands and the simplicity of it means that it is perfect for young children and babies. 
Charlie loves to just flick the plaques over and find each character, giggling as he does it whereas Thomas flips them over and tries to match all the colours of each, naming each character as he goes.

I find that this is a great toy for playing memory games. We try to guess what character is coming next, see whether we can remember where each is and see who can get all the colours to match up the quickest.  

Bounce Bounce Tigger
This toy is based on the fact that Tigger loves bouncing hence the name of the toy. He is a soft plush but contains a capsule inside him 'where the magic happens' and when switched on he will play soft sounds and make 'boing boing' jumping noises. 
The boys like to throw him to each other and hear the noises he makes whilst flying through the air but also, Charlie just loves sitting with him to see how fast he can get Tigger to bounce.

One of the best things is that Tigger is machine washable. The capsule inside can be taken out so everything electrical is removed and so can be washed. this is great because plush toys never stay clean too long in our house.
Just to be sure that it washes ok, I gave it a try. I was so glad when it came out fully intact and wasn't in pieces around my washing machine. The toy washes great and the colours haven't faded and are still bold and bright.

Check out our video to see them all in action. Note: I have a very strong Yorkshire accent so be warned!

As you can see, we thoroughly enjoyed playing testing out these toys and getting to grips with them. Charlie and I give the Winnie the Pooh range a thumbs up for quality and excitement, great for younger children and for imaginative play.

The Winnie the Pooh range can be purchased from all good retailers.
You can follow TOMY on Facebook and on Twitter for all updates about their new and upcoming toy ranges. 

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Let's Get Social Sunday

- I was sent this product/s to review but all thoughts and experience are my own honest opinions

Friday Chaos Blog Hop

Welcome to The Friday Chaos Blog Hop

Feel free to link up your favourite posts from the past week, DIY's, recipes, parenting advice, pregnancy posts, fashion & beauty posts anything you like! We love to read new posts and here at the Friday Chaos Blog Hop want to be able to share all of your posts!

Some simple rules!
1. ONLY link up 2 posts per person (no giveaways or other hops)
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Visit at least two other blogs and comment on their posts.
4. Come back next week to see if you have been featured as blog of the week.
5. Grab the button below and leave a comment so we can comment back.

Grab button for Fridaychaos
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Have fun! 

26 June 2013

Wednesday Words - Letting Go

Today I'm feeling a little sentimental. Thinking about my children, how much my heart hurts when they are hurting. Thinking about them growing up and not needing me any more, having to let them go. How do we do this? That's why I thought that this weeks quote fitted perfectly.

                     Making the decision to have a child is momentous. 
                           It is to decide forever to have your heart go 
                                 walking around outside your body.
- Elizabeth Stone

Wednesday Words

25 June 2013

Madame Tussauds Blackpool Competition

We all love seeing our favourite celebrities and now you can even get to meet them... well wax works of them that is.
At Madame Tussauds in Blackpool you can see a range of celebrities, from cartoon characters to old film favourites or TV stars, all have had their own wax works done and you can get up, close and personal with them. 

You can see the whole variety Madame Tussauds Blackpool has to offer on their website here.
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Favourites such as Barbara Windsor and David Beckham are now joined by the likes of Shrek and Bear Grylls.

Madame Tussauds Blackpool is located on the promenade just opposite Central Pier, right at the heart of Blackpool.

Now for the competition. 

The nice people from over at Merlin Entertainment have given us a group day pass to give away. The pass can be used for up to 4 people (doesn't have to include children but children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult) and is worth a whooping £45. 

Please remember to check the T&C's at the bottom of the Rafflecopter application and our full terms here. This giveaway is open to the UK only and any entries left that do not follow the mandatory entries will be disqualified. After the one compulsory entry of answering the given question the Rafflecopter will then open a round of optional extras, you do not have to enter any of these but these will give you extra entries into the competition.

And please, if you are commenting on the blog as 'anonymous' can you please write your name in the comment otherwise I cannot count your entry.

23 June 2013

Alton Towers: Shock, Shock, Horror!

Now I'm not one for going on rides, I don't like roller coasters but after much reassurance and many, many drinks the night before with my sister, I agreed that I would go on their new ride, The Smiler. We had fast-track tickets for it so I wouldn't want them to go to waste. 

So my husband Simon, sister Kelly, her husband Neil, the 2 boys and I all set off in my sisters car for the 2 hours journey down there for the thrill ride of our lives, I just didn't know that was going to happen in the car park.

Parking in one of the back car parks so it wasn't as busy, we got out and started getting the pram put up. The car needed pulling forward a little so whilst Neil did this, we all proceeded to move to just behind the car next to us so we could get the pram up and everything packed in ready to go. Thomas was bored of waiting and so sat on the floor whilst we did this. 
Anyway, we started walking towards where the signs were pointing, only to see, out of the corner of my eye, the car we had just been standing behind, reversing but very fast and so, so close to us. We had only just started walking away from the back of it. I turned round to see that the car was rolling unmanned speeding towards some huge bricks which surrounded the car park. 

The car after it had crashed and how far it had gone from where it was parked

Whilst I was shouting to everyone that there was no one in the car, flashing in front of my eyes was the fact that my children and all of us were just behind that car. Thomas was sat just behind it, Charlie in his pram and if that car had started rolling 10 seconds or even 5 seconds earlier, they would have been hit. 

But then I got angry! Who was there to help us? Where were security patrolling the car parks? What happens in an emergency? Nowhere, no one, nobody was there! No Alton Towers staff, no one patrolling the car parks to make sure everything was ok. What if that car had have hit one of  my children? Who could I run to for help? The nearest thing to us was the hotel 5 minutes away or the trains which take you to the entrance but in an emergency, if my child was laid in the road, no one was there!

And then what? We got to the trains and told a member of staff. Was he sympathetic? Did he ask if we were ok? If anyone was hurt? NO, he didn't... 'oh I'll report it' is exactly what he said and then off he walked away from us. He didn't care, they didn't care, as long as they had our money they could give a crap what happened to us. 

I was fuming by this time, so shocked that such a big place like Alton Towers wasn't bothered about its customers and a bit upset thinking about what could have happened. 

This ruined our day, and although we did go in and still enjoyed ourselves inside the park, the fact that I was so wound up by what had happened meant that my nerves were shot to pieces and I didn't go on anything, not one ride. Oh no wait, I went on the horse carousel with Charlie and Thomas but I mean the big rides.
I'd spent all week mustering up the courage to go onto The Smiler and the whole host of other thrill rides which we had gone into with the intention of doing everyone, buying the FastTrack Platinum tickets at £90 each (that's £360 for all 4 of us!) so we could beat the queues and take it in turns to go on each ride. 

But no, nothing, none of them. I went on nothing, so upset about what had happened in the car park, I just couldn't get it out of my head. Kelly, Neil and Simon did go on The Smiler, which they said was a fantastic ride, but I just couldn't, I spent the whole day shaking with fear thinking about it too. 

I'm so upset that not only did it ruin our day but Alton Towers did nothing to help us, weren't even bothered when we reported it and even when we got back to our car at 5pm, had only stuck on note on the cars windscreen which said something about its rear wheel arch being bent.

I know that obviously it was the drivers fault for not securing the handbrake before laving the car but surely Alton towers should have some sort of staff on the car parks in case of emergencies. What would they have done if any of us had been hit? Probably left us there with no help at all. Well thanks Alton Towers, thanks for a day that was scary for all the wrong reasons!

Note: I will be doing another post with photos and about our actual day out in the theme park but for now I'll leave you with this.

Kids Grow Wild Challenge

Thomas is always digging up the garden so when we got our gardening set for the #KidsGrowWild Challenge, I knew he'd be in his element. 
Having a look through our set and finding out what flowers we had been sent to grow, some bright yellow sunflowers, blue pansy's and cute pink pretty flowers too, we got all our things out ready to start. 
Filling the watering can up with water, setting our pots out and pulling our gloves all the way on (you have to be safe you know!) and then... We got cracking...

Doing exactly as it said on each packet to make sure they grow correctly, we started with the sunflowers.

  1. Fill the pots half way with compost
  2. Place a couple of seeds into the pots spaced out
  3. Fill to the top with compost and pat down
  4. Water thoroughly
  5. Place out in the sun so they can catch some rays
So simple yet fun. Plus it means that Thomas gets to learn about looking after something. He waters them everyday and makes sure that they are in the sun to get that much needed light.

I loved the fact that Thomas got to dig and play in the mud whilst also creating something that will grow and look lovely in the summertime.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ #KidsGrowWild Challenge in association with Moneysupermarket.com

21 June 2013

Swings, Slides and Climbing Trees

Bringing up children can be all money, money, money but it doesn't have to be. You don't need to pop to all these fancy play centres that charge a fortune to get into and in the gorgeous summer weather, why would you want to be stuck inside anyway? 

Our local park is a small one but just the right size for the kids. It doesn't get that busy and so many days when Thomas finishes nursery, we will pop up there for a bit and have a play. It's a great place for the boys to run off a bit of their energy and just to have a play.

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With everything we need there to have a good day, it's lots of fun, even mummy gets to have a go! The swing is so much better when mummies on it to make sure we go high, high, higher right up to the sky.

The fact that everything is child friendly makes going to the park a great day out, the children get to run around as much as they like and I can play on the swings read on my Blackberry Playbook whilst they are there. The park has a metal fence around it so he kids can't go wondering off anywhere and are always within a safe distance to me.

For a boy though, what's more fun than getting daddy to help you climb a tree. The best feeling in the world, when you get to a big branch and can stand on top of it looking down to see how far you have come up. 
Having a go on the slide or even just shouting through the railings to friends playing nearby. 

It's great at this time of year to see all the blossom growing on the trees. I like it when there's a little breeze and we get all the blossom falling around us, makes it feel so magical. After explaining to Thomas that when the blossom falls, we get to make wishes, he popped over to the tree to thank it and to make sure it heard his wish.

You know it's summer time when the daffodils are in full bloom and I love the photo of Thomas laid by the side of them. We made sure we were extra special whilst walking near so that we didn't damage any.
Even just rolling down a hill or climbing on huge rocks can be fun when you are 4 year old. 

For us though, this house, the park house, is our ideal place to live. I love it! No one lives there now and it has all been boarded up. Such a shame because it is such a lovely house right on the side of the park and would be perfect for someone to do up and live in, preferably me!

So don't despair in the summer holidays, which we seem to be flying towards, don't worry if you are short on money and don't have any means of travel. Try your local park for fun ways to get out and about.

You can even book small events to go to that are either cheap in cost or free to watch such as the Propaganda Exhibition which is free for children and under 18s. Showing how posters, films, cartoons, sounds and texts are really the state trying to influence us. A full exhibit of different types of media which is definitely going to get the brain ticking.

Kids don't need flashy presents and expensive places to travel to, anyway who wants to be sat in a car for hours on end. They just want to have fun and be outside so make it fun in the sun out at your local park. 

19 June 2013

Lets Stop Judging Each Other #S2S2D

Written by an anonymous midwife, this quote, writing, whatever you want to call it shows just how much we should appreciate each other and not judge other peoples lifestyle choices. I thought this would be the best post to link up to the #S2S2D linky because it is about being happy with what you have and supporting each other.

To The Mum
To the mum who's breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing gift to give your baby, for any amount of time that you can manage! You're a good mum.

To the mum who's formula feeding: Isn't science amazing? To think there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn't produce enough would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You're a good mum.

To the cloth nappy mum: Fluffy bums are the cutest, and so friendly on the bank account. You're a good mum.

To the disposable nappy mum: Damn those things hold a lot, and it's excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry! You're a good mum.

To the mum who stays home: I can imagine it isn't easy doing what you do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be amazing. You're a good mum.

To the mum who works: It's wonderful that you're sticking to your career, you're a positive role model for your children in so many ways, it's fantastic. You're a good mum.

To the mum who had to feed her kids from the drive-through all week because you're too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You're feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren't complaining! Sometimes sanity can indeed be found in a red box with a big yellow M on it. You're a good mum.

To the mum who gave her kids a homecooked breakfast lunch and dinner for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they're learning to enjoy healthy foods at an early age, a boon for the rest of their lives. You're a good mum.

To the mum with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos, it takes a lot to maintain order with children in a place where they can't run around. You're a good mum.

To the mum with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle: they always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their minds don't they? We've all been through it. You're a good mum.

Sometimes we all need to hear this, and stop Judging each other.

If you would like to support Emma from Crazy With Twins by writing a post, then feel free to use the #S2S2D  blog button below and link your post up to the linky too.

Shoulder to Shoulder to Day
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.vevivos.com/2013/05/22/title-shoulder-to-shoulder-to-day-22-may/" title="Shoulder to Shoulder to Day"><img src=" http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u568/ToriWel/811fe3d0-1420-4987-9719-6c146ee76adb_zps87798b9c.jpg" alt="Shoulder to Shoulder to Day" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Wednesday Words

18 June 2013

AEG UltraCaptic Ucanimal - Specifications

I love cleaning and so when were sent the AEG UltraCaptic Ucanimal to review, I couldn't wait to try it out. 
With powerful cleaning, easier emptying and an HEPA 13 allergy filter, I wanted to know whether it did really pick up better than any other I've used before. 

My first post about the AEG UltraCaptic Ucanimal is it's specification. All the things that have been improved or added to make it an exceptional cleaning tool for all flooring types. Even great for allergy sufferers and pet lovers.

Compact & Go
I love this new function, the Compact & Go, whereby you compact the dust before emptying it. This, in turn, is supposed to make disposal easier with no dust floating away in the breeze. When you compact the dust it also means that you have more space and can vacuum longer before needing to empty it.

HEPA 13 Allergy Filtration
This filter catches even the smallest of particles leaving nothing but fresh air. This is a great aspect, especially if someone in the family suffers from allergies. Not only that but the filter is washable.

AeroPro Silent Nozzle
The AeroPro Silent nozzle is made for powerful cleaning of different surfaces and has a powerful suction to ensure quick results. The nozzle has three functions, a crevice nozzle, brush and an upholstery nozzle all in one.

Easy Storage
With both vertical and horizontal storage options and both ways having a stand for the handle, it makes for easy storage which ever way you choose. 

Digital Display
Clear digital LED display which indicates the power setting which is being used from 1 (low power) to 5 (high power).

Over the next few week, I'm going to be trying out every aspect of the AEG UltraCaptic Ucanimal and will be posting about how I got on with it, what I liked about it, didn't like about it, how it worked for us and whether it helped us with speed, cleanliness and dust particles. 

I can't wait to start...

- I was sent this product/s to review but all thoughts and experience are my own honest opinions

17 June 2013

Aspire Calorie Burning Soft Drink

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I am forever drinking fruit juices and so when I heard that Aspires claims that it increases your metabolism, helping you to burn calories, I just had to give it a try. Really? Can a drink help you to lose weight?

A lightly carbonated drink that contains only 5 calories per 100ml, provides a good source of vitamins and minerals and has a combination of carefully selected beneficial ingredients all combined together to give the best drink for burning calories. 

Mummy Blogging, Parent Blog, Parenting, Yorkshire Blog,Containing the extracts of Guarana and Green Tea and also L-Carnitine and it is suggested that these sorts of ingredients can help in raising metabolism, suppressing appetite and aiding weight loss.

A study in my home town of Leeds, at the Carnegie Centre laboratory, Leeds Metropolitan University shows that Aspire Drinks will help you to burn, on average, 209 calories whilst not increasing the heart rate or adversely affecting health in any way and has the same amount of caffeine as a standard cup of coffee.

For me, at first it was a little hard to drink. This wasn't because of the drink itself but because I'm not really a fan of cranberry juice. I thought that I would push past that though, I need to lose weight so kept drinking it and actually after a few cans, it became quite a refreshing taste.

I preferred to drink the cans chilled and they were very refreshing and thirst quenching but found that, because they were in cans, it meant that if I went out, I could pop one in my bag and have a drink whilst out.

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I took one to the park with me and whilst the kids were playing, I sat and enjoyed it. Now I am really unfit but the drink seemed to give me energy, I had to check the can at one point to make sure I hadn't picked up an energy drink by mistake, but no, it was definitely Aspire that I was drinking. I think all the quality ingredients and the small amount of caffeine really do help with keeping you going when you get to that point where you feel you cannot go on.

I think the fact that it increases the metabolism is a real plus. Not needing to eat so often and feeling fuller for longer are a big help in the aid to lose weight and that metabolism is what causes all those feelings of hunger.

If you are wanting to try Aspire for yourself then it can be purchased in Holland and Barretts, Waitrose and many more stores.

You can follow Aspire Drinks on Facebook and on Twitter.

- I was sent this product/s to review but all thoughts and experience are my own honest opinions

16 June 2013

Happy Fathers Day

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To Simon:
I just want to say happy Fathers Day to you. You are a great dad to our 2 boys and we could not function properly without you. Always making sure the kids have everything and even losing out yourself to put them first. 

To Dad:
You have always been there when I, when we, needed you. Always putting all of your children first and making sacrifices to make sure that we never went without. You are, and always will be, the best Father in the world and I am so glad that I grew up with you as my dad.

To every dad:
Remember this day is about you, spent it with your children, whether they are young or grown up. You cherish them yes, but don't forget about yourself. Today is about you!

15 June 2013

Project 365 Week 24

Even though my brother will probably kill me if he sees this photo, I couldn't help myself, I love this photo of Thomas chasing my brother and his 2 friends round our garden with a jug of cold water.

Playing the saxophone is just too much hard work, better do it outside on the slide.

Thomas practising riding his new skates around the room. Don't think he'll be going pro any time soon though.

The boys are always playing together. Thomas decided that one of the dinosaurs from The Dinosaur Train, wanted to eat Charlie today.

I love this photo of Charlie on a swing with his beautiful big grin.

Argh mi heartys...

Jumping on the trampoline is so much fun in this hot weather.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Weekend Blog Hop
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

14 June 2013

YSL Rive Gauche From Fragrance Direct

When I was asked if I wanted to review a perfume from Fragrance Direct, I was in 2 minds. Yes, every girl loves perfume and smelling nice but for me, it's a bit hit and miss whether the scent will give me a blazing headache, leaving me ill. After a bit of thought, I decided to give it a try. After all, if it means getting to try a new product and seeing whether I can use it, then that must be a good thing, right?

They agreed to send me Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Eau de Toilette Spray which comes in 100ml. YSL Rive Gauche is a vibrant perfume named after the left bank of the River Seine in Paris.

It's different from a normal perfume as it comes in a metal tin rather than a glass bottle, somewhat similar to a deodorant can. At first I was in mixed minds as to whether it was good or tacky but then realised that for mums, like me, this was a great idea. Many times I've taken a bottle of perfume out with me so I can give myself a bit of freshness throughout the day, and after a few hours realising that the glass has broken and the perfume has leaked into everything in my bag meaning everything is ruined, even my bag which is now covered in glass. Luckily, since the YSL fragrance comes in a tin can, this wont happen.

The spray itself is also different from regular perfumes. Not really floral or musky at all. I really don't know how to explain it apart from saying that it smells 'clean'. With top notes which include Bergamot, Lemon and Honeysuckle and essences of Ylang-Ylang and Lily of the Valley but for me, the scent of Sandalwood is the most prominent. Not that I mind. I love the scent of sandalwood and think it is a truly gorgeous perfume to wear all day long.

Even though this perfume has been around for decades, it is still a very contemporary fragrance which I think will be around for years to come too.

You can purchase YSL Rive Gauche Eau de Toilette Spray from Fragrance Direct here.

Fragrance Direct can be followed on Facebook and on Twitter.

- I was sent this product/s to review but all thoughts and experience are my own honest opinions

My Alex and Alexa Wishlist

We spend a fortune on the boys. Clothes, shoes, accessories, I just can't help myself. Every time I see a nice top I just have to buy it. It can be cheap, expensive or somewhere in between and that's why I love Alex and Alexa. Not only do they have some gorgeous clothing suitable for budgets but also have the more expensive kids designer clothing for the more extravagant purchases. 

I am basing my wishlist on clothing that I would like to get for Thomas and what I think goes together well for a nice summer style. 

A gorgeous DKNY tee with writing and a cute bike logo in perfect summery colours coordinating well with these Bench cargo pants. The Lacoste pumps work well with the colour scheme matching perfectly with the cute dinosaur Skip-Hop backpack, all perfect for this summer weather.

I love the fact that the clothing can be bought in a range of different sizes as although I'm not usually one for matching clothes, I do like the odd summer outfit, for my boys, to be matching and Alex and Alexa facilitate this.

Their selection of vintage toys makes the website even more fabulous.
An alternative to the regular boring plastic looking toys, lovely things like this ride-on giving a vintage look that any child would love.

I am in love with the website, the landing page is so easy to navigate from, giving all the options and even showing all the sale items that you can pop along and look at. I like the fact that I can refine my searches and look for exactly what I need.

All in all, a fun funky summery look that will suit any stylish little boy.

-This is a sponsored post although everything wrote about in this post is my own writing and experiences

I Love my Post

13 June 2013

What you should know about hiring a bouncy castle for your party

There are few play-things that cause as more excitement at a kids’ party than a bouncy castle. And let’s face it, watching children leaping about and howling with laughter can cause just as much enjoyment for the adults too. Here are a few key points worth remembering when you start planning the ultimate children’s’ party this summer.

Where it all began

Originally designed in the early 1960s by John Scurlock, as a result of an attempt to cover a tennis court, bouncy castles were first known as moonwalks – due to the way people were unable to stay on their feet for longer than a few seconds. Within ten years a whole new industry had sprung-up due to their popularity and bouncy castles were quickly becoming a common sight in back yards and parks across the world.

These days the party industry is a multi-million pound business, with no reputable outdoor event being seen without one form of inflatable or other and party goers are not just limited to castles. Anything from slides to giant animals are available – all in a huge range of sizes.

Do your homework

If you’re thinking of hiring a bouncy castle for your party you must do your homework first. Check-out a selection of suppliers in your area to see what they can offer you. Check online for location, price range and the different styles that are available. It’s usually best hiring locally as this often ensures better service, it’s also more convenient when it comes to picking up and collecting the castle as these things aren’t small - though most reputable companies will deliver and collect as part of the service.

Don’t be governed purely by price. A reputable company is always worth paying that little bit extra for, especially when your children’s safety is concerned. Talk to a couple of companies and go with the one that you feel comfortable with.

Check what you are getting for your money

Safety should be paramount at all times. Be sure to find out the safety policy of the company you are hiring from, this includes checking if they are fully insured and what extra insurance options they might be able to offer you. You’ll also need to find out what equipment is provided. Items such as pegs and play accessories usually come as standard but you may have a choice when it comes to the more important units – like what you use to keep the castle inflated for the day with 20 excited little party animals jumping on it for six hours.

Make sure the generator is up to the task

The generator will normally come as part of the package, but some companies will offer you the option to provide your own. Remember, diesel generators  are usually the best choice. If you are holding your party on council land, most authorities forbid the use of petrol powered equipment – not to mention the economic benefits of using diesel. If you are providing your own generator you’ll need to make sure the one that you choose is up to the job. Some bouncy castles can be as big as

35ft wide, so you’ll need to make sure that the machine you choose can provide enough power to keep the party going for the whole day.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself

Despite all the hard work and planning that goes into it, parties are about having fun. So make sure you get as much out of it as the children. Sit back relax and enjoy the jollity that is taking place in front of your eyes – failing that, let your hair down and see what all the fun is about for yourself!

From Bland to Brightness

Our living room is so bland. Creams and neutral colours which are boring and so out dated. I love bright colours, bold patterns and so decided to thrown everything out and start again. 

Deciding on a colour scheme of red and silver, we started gathering the things we would need. Wallpapers, lighting, cushions and curtains, all to make our room look lovely. Even to the more bigger items like our sofa which is in much need of changing. 

Our living room is so big and has a wooden dado rail so it means that we need 2 different wallpapers so they don't look over bearing. I am loving the floral patterns at the minute and so went for a gorgeous poppy design, with red and white poppies and silver patterns to match. For the bottom wallpaper I chose stripy with red, white and silver stripes which is a total match for the top paper. 

Trying to find matching items was quite straight forward as there are loads of floral things around at the moment. We bought matching curtains and cushions to fit into our flowery pattern and then went for a sumptuous jazzy rug which makes our room feel so homely. 

These gorgeous light fittings to give it a bit of a boho feel fits perfectly and then a few African inspired wooden heads and accessories which we purchased in Spain fit well with our designs. 

Now comes to main part of our needs, a new sofa. We cannot quite afford a new one at the minute but have been looking around to find to one which fits just right for us. After much searching and trying to figure out whether we wanted fabric, leather of a mix of both, we found our perfect sofa. The gorgeous Fama Nimbo corner group from Rodgers of York is a perfect mixture of bold and bright patterns and is truly fabulous. It's also great to be able to go to a local company to buy furniture as I fins that they have a much more personal customer service and seem to want to help you find the right products for you as a person and not just rush you out to get to the next customer. 

I can't wait to save up enough money to purchase this sofa so our living room is complete. I am loving the fact that our house now looks like a home.

-This is a sponsored post although everything wrote about in this post is my own writing and experiences

12 June 2013

Wednesday Words - Growing Up

Having kids is hard work and a huge learning curve. The one thing that I have learnt the most though is how to be childish. There are so many things I hate in life but the most prominent thing is when people don't play with children. They don't have time, They're too busy or whatever but don't you realise that just because you grow up, doesn't mean you have to grow old. Having fun isn't just for kids, it's for everyone. 

Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional. 
- Bob Monkhouse

You don't stop laughing because you grow old,                                    
                You grow old because you stop laughing
- Michael Pritchard

One day, you will wake up and realise that you have got old and have missed out on all sorts because you assumed that you had to grow up and be an adult. But you don't. Yes, you get older and have all these responsibilities but that doesn't mean you need to feel old. You are as old as you feel and so if you carry on as normal, acting as you want to, live life to the full, be happy and laugh, you will feel young.

Playing on a see-saw, or like my brother and his friends, playing in the swimming pool with Thomas, having a water fight, just have fun and smile, don't grow old and just fade away, go out smiling and having a good time.

Wednesday Words

10 June 2013

We're All Going On A Summer Holiday

With the summer holidays coming up, we've been trying to think of ways to fill the whole 6 weeks so the boys aren't bored. It is very hard though. Yeah swimming, parks and going to museums can be great fun but not something you want to do every day. So we've kind of got our heart set on a nice last minute holiday to fill up the time. 

Looking for holidays though is so much hard work though. Where do you go? Do you book private or go for a package holiday? Villa or hotel? The list goes on, and on, and on...

The last holiday abroad that we went on was to Majorca and we loved it. Majorca is one of the Balearic Islands of Spain. The gorgeous weather attracts most people but the tourist attractions are a big plus too with the Coves del Drach being the most popular.
The Coves del Drach is an underground cave which you can go inside to explore. It is known to have one of the biggest subterranean lakes in the world, called Martel Lake. It is truly a beautiful thing to see although I must admit that down in the caves, it does feel very claustrophobic at times.

Thomas was only 1 year old when we went and it was hard work. We'd booked a villa and it wasn't very child friendly, the Coves del Drach is a big no no for children and I would advise people not to take children, the humidity is just too much for young ones.

That's why we turn to review sites such as Zoover to make sure that the holiday we are taking is suitable for us and the place we are staying in will be adequate to accommodate us.

No matter where we go, I'll be sure to check it out thoroughly before booking the holiday and will no doubt be sharing all the pictures with you lot to show you how much of a fab time we had.

Let's Get Social Sunday