30 November 2013

Jungle Magic Sounds Aquadoodle

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Aquadoodles primary function is to enable children to have a fun place to draw and release their imagination but that is also mess free. 

I'm sure we all know just how easy children can go from drawing in a book to drawing on the walls and making a mess. Aquadoodle combats this as there is no ink in the pen, it is just simply water and so will not leave marks on walls or flooring. 

I have always been a fan of Aquadoodle because of this an this new one is no different. The Jungle Magic Sounds Aquadoodle has all the magic of the original Aquadoodle but also makes animal sounds as children are playing with it. 

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Press the end of the pen to hear noises and then place the pen onto the special areas on the mat to hear animal sounds, roars, drums and monkey noises too. 

Rather than drawing pictures and then having to start again on a fresh piece, Aquadoodle lets children carry on being creative as you simply draw on the mat and not long after the water fades and then disappears leaving a fresh space to draw again. 

I love the jungle theme and the boys love it too. Thomas likes to press and area on the mat, hear what noise it makes and then try to recreate that noise through imagery, sketching out the animal or item that makes that specific noise. 

The Jungle Magic Sounds Aquadoodle has an RRP of £24.99 but if you shop around and compare prices online you will probably be able to save a few pennies. 

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28 November 2013

Making Christmas Cards

I love Christmas, it is my most favourite time of the year and so when I had the boys I was so excited to have the excuse to get creative and make our own decorations, tree ornaments and cards. Today we have been making cards for Thomas' teachers. 

I prefer to make our own as then they are more personal and plus it means that you have something to do to make it even more festive. Bang on the Christmas tunes and get decorating a card with a Christmas theme.

We started off with some plain white card and then bought some accessories from craft shops and cut from old Christmas cards. It's amazing what you can make from old cuttings and a bit of glitter.

Thomas has 3 teachers, 2 women and 1 man and so we got to work trying to figure out what to put on each of the the cards, which would suit each teacher best and then just covering them in things until they were bright, shiny and just like Christmas itself. Fun cards made by a 4 year old!

As always, if you are cutting etc then make sure an adult does this bit or use safety scissors under adult supervision. 

And there you have it, simple home made cards for Thomas' teachers. The perfect extra little pressie and a personal touch too.

A Lifetime of Chores

I know it's not just me that hates doing chores. I hate most cleaning tasks, for some reason hoovering helps me to relax but I think this is more to do with the fact that the noise drowns out the kids moaning.

I do love shopping though, not just clothes shopping but food shopping. I don't know whether it's because I love my food (which I do!) but I just like being out, in a supermarket and choosing what I want to buy so I hardly ever buy food online. 

When I saw this infographic by Co-operative Insurance, I couldn't help agree with parts of it. We live in Yorkshire (I bet you've guessed that by our name!) and, although I don't go out much, my husband loves a good old night out with his friends and I love to chat to them online. Even if I'm not out with my friends, I still speak to them everyday, probably more than I speak to my husband (women speak more sense anyways!)

Life time of chores - An infographic by the team at Co-operative Insurance

I was shocked to see that, out of the people surveyed, it showed that people only play with their children for 9 hours a month. Just today I have built a fort, made Christmas cards, played with trains, had a cowboy fight and spent around 4 hours just having fun with my children so am shocked to hear that statistic but I guess nowadays with people having to go back to work and have childcare, I can understand where this figure comes from.

Apparently, we spend 4 times as much time watching television than we do in the garden. I do spend a lot of the night watching television and hate being outdoors in the cold so I can probably agree with this one for the most part. 

I think, on the most part, this infographic makes me think about our life and how it differs to other people. We need to get back to the point where we spend as much time as possible with our children.

So what, there's toys all over the house, they are children and you should be spending time playing with them, not picking up every toy. A home with children is not supposed to be spotless!

27 November 2013

Stocking Fillers for Mum & Dad from Aldi

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I always know what to get my husband for Christmas. He'd be happy with a new game for his console. The thing I do struggle with is buying all the little extras. The stocking fillers and smaller items. He never tells me what he wants and so I usually end up just buying chocolate (I love chocolate, who doesn't?) and then I get to share it with him. He's the same with me. He knows that I like perfumes and anything to do with my computer but other than that, he struggles too. 

This week we have had some help in the form of Aldi. They have sent us a hamper of items from their Christmas range. All items perfect for mum & dad for those little extra presents. Those things that we always forget about but that everyone needs. 

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It was like Christmas had come early when we opened up the box. Items for both of us that we actually needed too. We received:

Matching men's and ladies luxury leather gloves. These come in at £6.99 for the ladies and £9.99 for the men's and I personally love them. I much prefer leather gloves as they are warmer than standard gloves and also are waterproof against the elements so when the snow comes we can build snowmen and have snowball fights without getting freezing cold and wet hands. 

A pack of socks each. My husband received a pack of 5 novelty socks which come in at £4.99 and I got a pack of 2 character socks priced at £2.59. Socks are always a great stocking filler as it is something that everyone needs. My husband loves his socks and the creepy faces that are on the front of them. He is a big kid at heart really!

Then my husband was lucky to receive a lovely burgundy dressing gown costing £9.99. It is a great fit for him and is really snuggly and warm. We have even found the boys running away with it and watching television under it to get them warm .

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I then got a pair of Ladies Sherpa Fleece Booties which come in at £3.99. I was glad to have received these as I had actually been looking in to buying a pair of these recently and the price is also so appealing to me. They are very thick and warm and the fleece is really comfortable too. 

Last up, we both received a little tipple each. An Irish Coffee set which you just microwaved for 45 seconds, left to sit for a minute and then enjoyed as it warmed you up and a bottle of Rosy Nosey Christmas ale which, although my husband doesn't drink ale, my dad loved and has actually been up to Aldi since to try and purchase more. 

It's amazing what stocking fillers you can buy whilst you are doing you weekly shop at Aldi and at bargain prices too. All of these items are in store from tomorrow so make sure you get there as soon as possible so that you don;t miss out on a bargain!

Wednesday Words - A Mother

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Today I am basing my Wednesday Words on something I hear 2 girls talking about on the bus a few days ago. They were talking about one of their friends and about how she had recently suffered a miscarriage. I was shocked and horrified to hear supposed 'friends' saying these sorts of things:

'Who cares, it wasn't a real baby'
'It wasn't born so it doesn't matter'
'It's not as if she has met it'
'She already has one kid so I'm sure she'll get over it'

Who says these sorts of things? Why would you talk about a friend like that?

Miscarriage is such a horrible thing and you need support when you are going through it not uncalled for comments.

It would have been my due date on the 1st December (this coming Sunday) and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about the baby, the miscarriage, the pain...

A mother is not defined by the number of children you can see, 
but by the love she holds in her heart.
- Franchesca Cox

Wednesday Words

26 November 2013

Kids' Keyboard and Mouse from Aldi

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Our computer doesn't get used that often. I use the laptop and so the PC just sits upstairs. The only time it actually gets used is when my nieces and nephews come round to play. I don't like them using my laptop as it has all of my blog stuff on it and I'd cry if they deleted anything, so instead they use the computer. 

They are still young so I don't let them go online or anything. Our modem is downstairs and is wireless so I turn it off so that they cannot get online. They instead use the computer for playing games and doing homework. 

I don't mind looking after them and actually love helping them to learn about the computer and typing. My admin and typist background comes in to play here as it means that I can teach them about the ways to type etc. Trying to teach younger children can be hard though as our keyboard is just a plain old Qwerty keyboard and if you don't know where all the keys are, it can be hard to work out. 

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Aldi have sent us this lovely Keyboard and Mouse set which is to help children learn about typing. 

All of the keys are colour coded so that numbers, letters, symbols and other keys are separated to make learning easier. Vowels are also a different colour to the consonants which is a great idea as it means that they stand out and children can easily find each letter they need. The letters and numbers are in big writing too so that they stand out more. 

The mouse is liquid filled with what looks like a frog character inside and a smiley face on the buttons. 

I used to hate having to pull the computer out to match up the keyboard wire to where it fits in the back of the computer but luckily with this one, it is connected to the computer via USB port so is simple to fit. 

Overall, I think this keyboard and mouse are a great idea. Not only will they help to teach children how to type and where everything is on the keyboard but they are also bright so will stand out to them too. 

The Kids' Keyboard and Mouse go in store on thr 28th November so make sure you get down their fast so you don't miss out!

Christmas Décor from HomeSense

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I love scouring for bargains. I wont buy decorations until I know that I have found the cheapest place for them and I always look online and in store for the best prices, going through comparison sites to make doubly sure. Yes, I am very tight when it comes to money and hate the thought of spending too much. 

HomeSense are a home décor company whose eclectic and ever-changing mix of branded homeware is always up to 60% off RRP. This is because HomeSense buyers spend every day travelling the world looking for great quality products that then get delivered straight to their stores. This means that no two stores are ever the same and stock is different at every one.

Each store, on average, has over an incredible 33,000 items in stock, including furniture, kitchen wares, soft furnishings, lighting, art, bedding, bathroom accessories and now Christmas décor too. 

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Their Christmas items are beautiful and show off just how a classic, beautiful Christmas can look. With beautiful baubles, tantalising tableware and luxury soft furnishings, you know that you'll be having the finest Christmas with items from HomeSense. 

We received a gorgeous Christmas stocking from them. I have been looking for a stocking for myself recently as a lot of places do men's Xmas stockings and children's too but the others just seem very old fashioned. This one is perfect for me though as it is very modern looking and has a very thick, soft material which makes it look even more sumptuous. 

It will be great for all my little stocking fillers and with Christmas items starting from as little as £2.99 you are getting beautiful, high end quality at a fraction of the cost!

25 November 2013

Personalised Planner from Personal-planner.co.uk

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After being bored of the same old planners being on sale, Personal Planner was born. This is a website which allows you to make your own design of personalised planner to suit yourself. 

You can choose the colour and picture on the front of the planner and what text it will say too. The twelve month,weekly planner can then be customised inside with a whole host of add-ons too. There are 4 different sizes to suit so you choose the one that will fit you best and then pick layout and the extras to go inside like a notes section or a to-do list. 

You can also have a little colouring section at the back to keep children amused if you want or just leave it blank for spares pages and making lists. 

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I must admit that I found the whole experience very easy and simple to do. Their website walks you through every aspect of designing you own planner, right down to the last detail. You get to choose everything. I went for size A5 which is £19.99 and is the perfect size for me. There are then smaller and bigger ones to suit too. 

Choosing what month and year the planner starts, the pictures and colour on the front and back, the design inside, even right down to the colour of the ruler and the elastic. It really is thoroughly thought out.

I decided to do mine for my blog as I am always forgetting what day posts should go live and events etc and so I thought having a planner would be a great idea. The first inner page you can write your own info, just in case you lose the planer, so that it can then be returned to you. 

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Overall, I love my personalised planner. I love the fact that it is my specifications, it has everything I need in a planner and is my from very robust, thick paper which shows how great the quality of the product is.

24 November 2013

Christmas Special Buys at Aldi

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I love checking Aldi as their Special Buys always have fantastic prices and there is always something that I will need. We have just had a new one open up right close to so now we can get there more often which is even better. 

We work with Aldi quite a lot too and so for our décor posts this year, they have sent us a beautiful Christmas wreath and a pack of crackers. 

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The Christmas Crackers come in a vivid gold colour and like other crackers, come with a hat, quote and small toy inside. I love crackers as you never know what you are going to get. Although I hate losing and always seems to lose when pulling crackers. 

The wreath is priced at £6.99 which I don't think is bad at all and it comes in 5 different designs. I love the one we received as it covers all of the Christmas colours. red, silver, gold and green all shine out from the baubles, berries and the wreath itself. It has acorns to make it look extra rustic too and a pretty red bow to finish it off

When we get to the 1st of December and put it up, it will make our door and house look extra special.

These Special buys are in store now so get down there and snap them up before it's too late!

Happy Christmas Gift Bouquet from Bunches.co.uk

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Now usually I would be a bit sceptical about getting flowers delivered through the post. We all know just how much damage can happen sometimes to the boxes and things and so I imagined that flowers would end up a bit battered too. 

We were sent the Happy Christmas Gift bouquet to review from Bunches.co.uk which was delivered to us last Friday. Unfortunately, due to the fact that it was a school training day and we wanted to get out for the day, we weren't in and the flowers got sent back to the postal depot. I went to collect them on Saturday morning but being flowers I thought they would have started to wilt already, especially with being stuck in a sorting office for an extra night too.  

I was pleasantly surprised though. The flowers come in a small cardboard box, that when opened, the flowers bloom out and start to spread out. I think they are pressed quite firmly into this box to protect them and keep them held together better. I was happy to see that, even though they had been sent through the delivery system and spent an extra night at the sorting office, they were still looking fresh and pretty. 

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The Happy Christmas Gift Bouquet contains Carnations, Alstroemeria, Spray Carnations, Gypsophila and finished with festive red glitter Ruscus leaf. The red and white of the flowers do stand out so much and feel so festive, it really did get me into the Christmas spirit. 

The flowers arrived with a small box of chocolates which I thought was a nice touch. The boys thought it was great too and spent no time at all in tucking into them. 

Now, I'm no flower expert so didn't have a clue how to sort them and arrange them correctly. Luckily, Bunches.co.uk had sent a little card with them which explained everything that needed doing. It also had a pouch of plant food too. 

Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the style, look and quality of the bouquet and at £19.99 (which includes delivery) I can see why this is one of their best sellers this Christmas time. Just make sure that you order in sufficient time for Christmas delivery!

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23 November 2013

Project 365 Week 47

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The first photo this week is just really to show off Charlie's lovely new Christmas jumper. I couldn't help myself when I saw these in Asda for only £6 each and so snapped one for each of the boys up. 

Today, Thomas came home with a sticker on his jumper saying 'good work' and explained that he had helped the teacher with cleaning everything away and so was given the sticker to say thanks for his help. It is so nice to see that he is helping at school and I am glad that he got his own little sticker. 

We had a walk up to my sisters house since it was her daughters birthday. We had been waiting all day to go but eventually got to go and the boys enjoyed walking through the leaves in the dark. 

Thomas gets new books from school every few days and we love reading them with him. it is actually quite emotional to see my little boy growing up and learning to read!

After lasts weeks funny photo, I just had to show this one. This is Charlie playing hide and seek. No he isn't counting, he is hiding!

This is why I am so glad that our cooker has a child lock! Because Thomas now climbs up the drawers and onto the top to find goodies and Charlie has started copying him. I have to now chase them into the kitchen to make sure that they aren't climbing the cupboards!

This morning I just got sick of being in the house and so instead we decided to have a trampoline day. Outside for most of the day, in the cold sun, jumping and running about. It is so much fun to get out into the fresh air.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays CornwallTheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

22 November 2013

Pirate Fun & Our Amazing Fort!

Now remember we are only 2, 4 and a little bit more, years old and so nothing is going to be huge and spectacular... but, I think that whenever children use their imagination to make something, whether it is small or fancy, it is great because you et to see what children think about and how they see the world differently to us. 

Today we were pirates. So argh mi hearties, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum and all that malarkey. 

We decided to make a pirate fort. We were going to go for a ship but didn't want to get the carpet wet and the boys can't swim too and didn't want to be dangerous or anything (sorry for the sarcasm) so we stuck to a fort, a place where we could hide our treasure.

We chose a nice blue cover which had stars on it, so that when we were inside the fort it would look like it was night with big bright stars in the sky. That was Thomas' choice and I thought that it looked great. 

After getting all of our things, our gear and our monkey (pirates always need a pet) we were ready to sail the seas, or run around the room shouting 'yargh ahh ahh' as that is what we actually did!

Thomas had an eye patch, a sword and a hook. He was playing the old fashioned Captain Hook style pirate whereas Charlie had a gun, going for the modern look. We ran around looking for treasure, hiding from the evil Captain Longbeard (or daddy as he is usually known) but couldn't seem to find any treasure anywhere. 

After going back to our fort to hide from the evil Captain and to have a rest and feed our monkey, we popped out again and there it was.... a gold coin!

We ran over and picked it up. And there was another, and another, and another. We followed them all over the house until we found a big pile of them. 

But then Captain Longbeard found us and chased up back downstairs but luckily we got to our fort before he could steal our booty. 

Looking and smiling at the fact that we had completed our mission, we sat and ate our chocolate coin treasure and cannot wait to see what our next mission has in store for us!

I am entering our fort into the #blanketfortcomp from The Furniture Market and can not wait to see the other entries too. 

20 November 2013

Planning a Fun Family Road Trip

For many people a family road trip sounds like a nightmare. Ideally, a family holiday should be about getting from A to B with as little stress and hassle as possible. But taking a road trip is one of the best ways to get plenty of variety in your holiday as well as spending much-needed quality time with the family.

Of course, taking a road trip is just like any other holiday in that it requires plenty of planning and preparation before you go. So if you’re planning a road trip with your nearest and dearest any time soon, here are my top three tips to consider before you go.

Be prepared!
How much planning you do in terms of booking hotels or staying with friends and relatives depends on what sort of holiday you’re planning. If there are certain places you want to go on your trip then it might be best to plan a route beforehand and book into some hotels. Otherwise, why not be a bit more spontaneous and take your road trip one day at a time, only stopping when you feel like it?

If you do decide to plan an itinerary before you go, why not include all the family and use a map to plot your route. That way, everyone is included in the holiday well before you go and you can even do lots of research about the places you’re likely to visit. Be sure to include lots of break times in your itinerary and allow for bad traffic during rush hour in and around major cities.

Fun for the kids
One of the reasons so many people are hesitant to go on a family road trip is the fear that the kids will be bored. Admittedly, kids and long journeys aren't exactly a great mix but there are plenty of ways to avoid the inevitable boredom.

There are loads of games and fun stuff for kids to do, to keep them entertained instead of staring out at the grey motorway. Car games such as I-spy and alphabet-based memory games are great way to engage the kids during a long drive. There are plenty of amazing print & cut puzzle games and other in-car game resources available to keep the kids entertained while you focus on the journey ahead.

Money saving tips
Holidays can be expensive and with the constantly increasing price of fuel, a road trip is no exception. But there are ways to keep the costs down on your road trip holiday such as getting reward points on your fuel bills, which you can redeem at any time.

It’s also a good idea to take rest breaks and have meals in places off the beaten track. Even though the motorways are littered with service stations and fast food restaurants, the chances are you’ll spend over and above what you really need to. Stopping in a local town or village means you’re much more likely to get good food at lower prices.

Another great way to save some cash is to plan your route so you can stay with friends and family rather than spend lots of money on hotels.

- PR Collaboration 

Buzzing Brains Parking Garage from Kiddicare

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My boys love cars and are always zooming around the room with them so when Kiddicare got in touch asking us to review the Buzzing Brains Parking Garage, I knew that the boys would love it. We were in fact looking for a nice garage to get them for Christmas so this was the perfect time to try one out and see how it faired. 

The Buzzing Brains Parking Garage is a huge garage that is set on three levels. Over the 3 levels there are parking slots, a working elevator and a service station. The service station is on the ground floor and has a car wash, a repair centre and 2 fuel pumps. There are traffic lights which tell the cars when they can move and a sign which, when twisted, opens the lever so that cars can pass through. 

Now, just before I explain how we got on, the garage does say suitable for 3 years plus but Charlie, who is 2, loved playing with it and enjoyed being able to push the cars around it. I think the age limit may be more due to some of the small parts but as long as you keep and eye on younger children, they should be okay to play with it. 

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It comes in quite a few pieces which did daunt me at first but actually, it is quite easy to put together. If you follow the instructions and keep an eye on the box, you can follow it well and build it in no time. The stickers were also easy to work out where they went although the one problem we did incur was that the parking spaces were set opposite to the marks on the plastic garage itself. This didn't really matter too much as you couldn't notice the marks much any way.

The garage is very striking in bright,bold colours that stand out a mile away. Not only does it have 3 ramps that speed the cars down to the floor, but it has all the extras in between. From the working lift, which takes the cars up and down the floors, to the garage at the base where the cars can get fixed, fill up on petrol and have a wash too.

All the objects, colours and pieces are there to stimulate children's senses and develop their skills. I love it and so do the boys. The twisting for the lift, directions of the ramps, levers and accuracy to put the petrol pumps away are all there to help children learn.

The Buzzing Brains Parking Garage is supposed to be £39.99  but at the moment it has money off and is down to £26.66. Not only that but it is also included in Kiddicares 3 for 2 promotion. So actually 2 discounts altogether.

You can check out the Kiddicare 3 for 2 promotion on their website and maybe get your Christmas presents sorted for cheaper this year!

19 November 2013

Great Toys from Great Gizmos

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Great Gizmos is a leading provider of children's fun, creative and innovative toys. They provide a huge range of top quality toys that kids will love to play with and they are always at competitive prices. They have tried to find the best toys and gifts from around the world and bring a huge range of products to their one website so there is something to suit every age.

It was 1997 when Great Gizmos was established by parents who were sick of toys with no creativity and imagination. They wanted to bring toys that were based around the important things in life, like creativity and education but also fun at the same time.

Great Gizmos provide toys for all ages. There are a lot of craft kits and educational toys and also wooden toys that are eco-friendly. They do a stunning range of plush toys too and pocket money items. We were lucky when they got on touch and asked if they could send up a sample of their range out. We received:

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Dragon Bag from Lil' Pet Pals
Thomas is obsessed with anything that is dinosaurs or dragons and so his eyes lit up when he saw this. This lunch bag is insulated to keep food hot and has a personalised name tag inside so that you will always know whose it is.

This lunch bag was a retail price of £13.95 and has a dragon motif on the outside stands out with its bright green colour, orange eyes and wiggly ears. 

We have been looking for a while for a lunch bag that not only holds all of Thomas' dinner but also looks great and is suitable for a small child in its design. Thomas really couldn't wait to go to school and show off his new lunch bag and because it is insulated inside, this also makes it easier to clean as just a quick wipe and it's done. 

NICI Lion 25cm Dangling 
From the Classic NICI Wild Friends range, this Lion is a gorgeous plush stuffed animal that has a big fluffy mane and is so soft and snuggly. 

Since receiving this, Thomas has not let it go. He says that Lenny (that's now his name) is his best friend and must sleep with him and play with him too. Both boys love him and you'll usually find him snuggled up with one of them. 

Dancing Alligator from Plan Toys
This Dancing Alligator provides so much fun for all children. As you pull it along the carpet it bops up and down and makes a click-clacking sound. Charlie loves running around the room with this tagging behind him and watching it dance around. 

The alligator is made from natural rubber wood and finished with non-toxic water based dyes. It is made by Plan Toys who specialise in designing and manufacturing environmentally friendly toys. 

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Make Your Own Snow Dome Photo Frames from 4M 
I love this as not only do you get to create fab snow domes but also you can attach photos and have something to keep at the end of it. All this for only £9.99 too. 

This craft set is marked as 5 years + as it does need a lot of sticking and cutting and so my boys are a little too young to try this one out but my nieces can not wait to come round to our house and make the snow dome frames. They want to make one and surprise my sister (their mum) with a lovely, handmade present. 

All in all, I think that Great Gizmos sell and awesome, huge range of toys that are suitable for all ages and I bet the site will be popular come Christmas time as you can get everything in one place. 

You can check out all of their ranges on the Great Gizmos website.

18 November 2013

Christmas Party Outfits

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I always love a good excuse to be able to get the boys dressed up and wearing nice clothing. Normally they will wear clothes that are cheaper so that it doesn't matter if they get paint on them or fall in the mud but when we have plans to go out somewhere, I always make sure that we have nice clothes tucked away for special occasions. 

With Christmas coming, there seems to be loads of special days where you want your children to look a bit more formal. Meeting Santa, School fêtes and even parties are all around at this time of year and so I have looked around to try and find some of the nicest children's clothing for the party season for the boys to wear.  
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Tartan seems to be in at the moment and so this Brushed Checked Shirt from F&F at Tesco is totally in style and looks great too. I love the red as that's what Christmas is known for and it just looks so pretty on. The material is so soft to touch and it even has a gingham check cuff and neck lining to match. 

The brown boots match in perfectly with the red coloured clothing and they have a faux fur trim which keeps Charlie's feet and ankles nice and warm. Not only do they look stylish but they are comfortable and have good grip on the bottom so will be great for when the snow comes too. 

I teamed these items with some bright red canvas chinos to finish off the look. These chinos are easy to wear and would look great for casual and smarter looks. They have an adjustable waist to fit perfectly to any shape and have two pockets at the front with mock back pockets and dart in at the knee.

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You can also get the chinos in grey too and that is what I got for Thomas who went for a more understated look. The one thing I like about children's clothing from Tesco is that the trousers always have an elasticated waist which can be adjusted just by simply moving where the button is fixed onto the elastic. It is such a simple thing but means that children of all shapes and sizes can wear them and just alter to fit. 

Thomas then got a lovely pair of pumps that have a leather look. They look very retro and so are in style this season and the Velcro fastening means that Thomas can put them on and off himself. 

I love the party season as it means that I get to see the boys all dressed up. Now just to wait for Christmas!

17 November 2013

Play2Learn by TOMY

 Cheesy Riders, Mr Owl Pop Out Puzzles, Mummy Blogging, Official TOMY Blogger, Parent Blog, Peek a Boo Lion Cub, Play to Learn, Play2Learn, review, TOMY, Yorkshire Blog

We have reviewed some of the Play2Learn range before but are now back with another instalment from our TOMY Toys Official Blogger posts and this time we are doing the animal toys in the Play2Learn range. We were sent 3 toys from the range, Mr Owl Pop Out Puzzles, Peek a Boo Lion Cub and Cheesy Riders and these toys are suitable for children, I would say, around 1-3 years.

Mr Owl Pop Out Puzzles
This toy might look simple but is in fact many toys in one. There are 5 different themed pictures to make and all have a cute little animal on them. The 6th side of the cube has removable pieces for shape sorting. After you have got the animal the correct way you can then press down on Professor Owl’s head and see him blink and then all of the cubes will fall out. 
It is fun an educational as it is all about shapes sorting and learning where each piece goes.

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Peek a Boo Lion Cub
Press down on the lions head and his eyes will close and then music starts to play. Listen along to the soothing tone and then... POP!!! His eyes open and he giggles as the music ends.
I like the fact that even though this toys ins't exactly something you can play with an control loads but it is similar to a jack-in-the-box and will keep children in suspense waiting for the cub to open his eyes and no doubt will have them in fits of giggles when he does so. 

Cheesy Riders
Charlie loves pull along toys and this one is no exception. It has 3 fun mice which bump up and down whilst making a clinking sound as the toy is pulled along.
The mice can also be taken out of their seats and given a shake and they will rattle.
Although this is a fun toy to run around the room with, it is also educational as children can colour match the mice with the correct wheels on their cart and learn which goes where. 

Check out our short video to see each one in use:

These three toys are a big hit in our house, especially with Charlie, and I really do think that over time they will help him with learning his sorting and matching skills so not only does he get a bright, robust, colourful toy to play with but he is learning at the same time.

I can imagine any children beaming with excitement if they received these on Christmas morning.  

Project 365 Week 46

When the boys are asleep and I have finished the posts that need writing up, I do eventually, well sometimes, get to have a relaxing bath. A bit of bubble bath and a nice hot soak.

This is a photo of our cupboard in the hallway and it's where I keep all of the review items before I actually get them out and give them a try. It has a lock on it so the boys can't go routing around. It goes all the way round to the right and at the moment is packed full as I have such a busy schedule of posts to do. 

Charlie showing off his new clothes from Tesco and then the photo next to it is Charlie hiding. Yes, I know what you are thinking. That's not really a good hiding place, but I told him to go hide and he just laid on the floor covering his eyes. Good enough for him! And I had to pretend I couldn't find him for 5 minutes even though he was laid right there!

We get loads of toys to review all the time and the boys enjoy giving the a test. Charlie loves this owl that we received from TOMY. 

On our travels on Friday as it was a training day and we wanted to get the boys out so went on our training day out to the Trinity Centre in Leeds for some lunch and to just get out for a bit. 

Thomas loves the flowers that I received from Bunches.co.uk and keeps popping over to them to give them a sniff. 

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16 November 2013

Our Training Day Outing

I hate being stuck in the house all the time but being a blogger means that I am in quite a lot writing up posts and playing with trying out items for reviews. Yesterday was a school training day and so I decided to take a day away from blogging (well the competitions were already scheduled) and spent it with my family. Simon wasn't working either so we decided to take a trip into town.

We had a walk through the Trinity Centre in Leeds and admired their Christmas lights and decorations. A huge snowman stands in the middle of the centre with bright flashing lights an singing Christmas songs. 

Then we got to our destination, The Handmade Burger Company. Thomas has been wanting to go here since my birthday when Simon and myself went an loved it. You can see what we though in our Handmade Burger review.

The boys each got a little colouring set to do whilst we waited and they both enjoyed scribbling and colouring in, Thomas was also doing the puzzles too. I thought this was a good idea as it tool their minds off from waiting for their food and gave them something to do.

The meal went down a treat, burgers, chips, salad, were all so nice and even the ever fussy Thomas enjoyed his too. Promising the boys a dessert, I ordered a sharing sundae as we weren't really that hungry but were being greedy and didn't want to get one each. And then it came...

A yummy chocolate brownie and waffle sundae with vanilla ice-cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream with chocolate powder on top. Oh... My... Gosh... it was so yummy. All of us tucked in and devoured it although we still couldn't manage it all. 

I am so glad that we went to The Handmade Burger Company because not only are the staff really pleasant and always there if you need anything else, but there food is amazing too. 

After having a rest and finishing off our drinks, off we toddled to The Entertainer. We promised the boys a toy if they were good and so we went for a look around. The one in the Trinity Centre is packed full of loads of toys and even had a couple out to play with. Looking around the whole store, the boys eventually settled on the Play-Doh Diggin' Rigs Rowdy Trash Tossin' Garbage Truck. We paid for it and then went to wait for the bus home. 

When we got home, the boys took no time at all pulling the box open to play with their toy.

We had such a lovely day and it was so nice to spend the day out in town together, having nice food and shopping for toys. I can't wait to do it again!

Woodland Shimmer Canvas from Arthouse

Arthouse have been designing interior products from over a decade now. They create collections based on current trends and are one of the country's leading suppliers of home decoration products.

They make a range collections and try to suit everyone's budget so there will always be something you can afford and love. From their Vintage collection to their most well known, Opera collection, there is loads of choice and they even have an Opera Fun collection which are designed for kids with wild imaginations. 

I love wall coverings as I hate blank walls. We even have canvases in our hallway and I try to make every room look different by having different prints and colours. 

We are currently doing up our spare room and have been wanting to make it into a serene place for me to go and chill out. Even do a bit of blogging in peace or just sit on the bed and read a nice book. Our style this time is monochrome, so black and white. I find this look is really peaceful and when I saw the Woodland Shimmer Canvas, I knew that it would be perfect for the feature wall in there. 

Woodland Shimmer is from the Aluminum Etched Art range and is new for 2013. It comes as a triptych format with one bigger canvas in the middle and a smaller one at either end. This range are mainly used for focal points as no matter whether it's daytime or the middle of the night, the piece of art will shimmer and show off its stunning picture. 

I chose this one as it has the black background which matches in with my theme and then the stunning tree depiction in the bright silver, shines through and shows off all of it's glory and I think it looks serene and relaxing, a perfect piece for my quiet haven.  

This is a huge piece of art, being around 150cm wide and 50cm high so will definitely stand out. Each piece comes with fixings on the back so is easy to put up, all you need to do is to work out how far apart you want each one. Once up, it looks perfect above the bed and really does stand out as a focal point in the room. 

Arthouse is stocked at B&Q, Wilkinsons, Homebase and other DIY retailers and you can also buy online on the Arthouse website. This particular canvas is from one of there new ranges and is priced at £100. I do think that this is quite steep but I also love it and think that for the size of it and fact that it will match most colour schemes, it is a great investment.