Wednesday, 2 September 2015

A Collection of Boredom Busters For Kids

I don't know about anyone else but at this point in the summer holidays I am usually running out of ideas to entertain the children, even if you have been away on holiday somewhere, what do you do when you get back to entertain them? My 4 year old is still hyper from our week away in Weymouth and I need some ideas fast. To help you out I have collated some ideas to pass the time away, some are mine, some are from some other fab bloggers and some have been inspired from Pinterest. I am always on the look out for cheap ways to entertain them so here goes...

You could make some Pirate Treasure from old bottle tops that can be collected from those boozy summer barbeque's.

They are really easy to make you just need a hammer, if you are feeling really adventurous you could paint them with some gold spray paint. I quite like them how they are and so does my 4 year old who really loves pirates.

Another favourite that the kids have gone back to again and again because they make nice gifts, especially if you need one last minute, you can fill them with sweets or other home made goodies are Hama bead bowls, follow the link for a full tutorial on how to make your own, they are really easy too.




You could try this toddler painting without the mess of cleaning up afterwards. This kept the little ones occupied for a short space of time but I love it because I hate the mess of cleaning up the paint after the kids have tried to redecorate the house and themselves with paint that seems to stain everything it touches!



On the other hand if you love mess that is easy to clean up you could try this shaving foam play from Tales of a Brummie Mummy. I have wanted to buy a tuff spot for some time now and still haven't got around to looking for one but its on my to do list, it must make cleaning up a bit easier when it comes to messy play.
There are also some other great ideas from Tina like this Glitter slime and something I have yet to try with the kids is making some Lego crayons I am definitely going to do this with my 4 year old, he really loves Lego and won't start school until after the others have gone back because he is starting reception and they start differently to get them used to the school day. 
I hope I have given you some inspiration if you have some kids at home that are currently trying to start a war with each other because they are bored and you are pulling your hair out because nobody seems to be listening to you. 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

My Autumn/Winter Footwear Wishlist

I used to love shoe shopping before I had kids, even though I have always been fussy, I used to take great pleasure spending a whole day, making sure I had seen every shoe in town before I finally made my purchase! But now I actually can't stand it because I am so fussy because dragging unwilling kids around the shops is not fun so what I do now is look on line for the ones I like then I only have to visit one or 2 shops to make sure the fit is right before I buy. Once I am happy I either buy there or if I can get a better deal on line then I wait until I get home to order. I have already been looking for my autumn/winter boots because now is still a good time to get some bargains as shops are still getting rid of last years stock to make way for the new season. 

I have been browsing the ladies boots and love the look of these, I really wanted them last year but couldn't afford them at full price so I am pleased to see them at a bargain price. 

I have of course seen others too and these are on my list I just need to sweet talk my husband!

I have also been looking at Rieker boots, they have some gorgeous styles and I really love these, very affordable too...

I have a thing about the colours grey and brown, I hardly ever buy black boots or shoes. Maybe because they look more casual and I usually dress for comfort. As my kids are growing I am learning to treat myself a bit more often and buy clothes and shoes I wouldn't normally wear, its been nice because people are commenting on how nice I look so making the effort sometimes is worth it. I am looking forward to some autumn/winter shopping and browsing for clothes. With all this time browsing you can tell the youngest 2 children have been staying at Nannies house, time to go and collect them tomorrow so the peace and quiet will be shattered with cuddles and laughter once more.


Have any of you thought about buying for the winter yet?

Featured Post.



Sunday, 23 August 2015

Strider Balance Bike - Win Entry and Bike Hire for The Next Race


My youngest daughter is at the stage where she wants to do everything her older brothers and sister do. My oldest who has just turned 16 is always out on his bike, skateboard or scooter and my 4 year old son is always on his scooter or balance bike so when we gave this to Molly for her third birthday she was over the moon to have her own set of wheels. 
Since discovering balance bikes I haven't looked back to a bike with stabilizers to teach my children how to ride a bike. If there is one thing I have never enjoyed teaching the kids, it's how to ride a bike. Running along, bent over whilst keeping your child upright and trying not to fall over while at the same time you are trying to build their confidence is not easy. 
When I learnt to ride a bike I  had to teach myself, I don't remember anyone holding me while I tried to keep my balance on what was then a trendy chopper bike that had been handed down through several siblings and other children, it was red and rusty in places but I didn't care if it meant a bit of freedom I was determined to learn. I still bear the scar on my hand from trying to cycle down a narrow path edged with a rusty corrugated iron panel that had jagged bits at the bottom and of course that was the bit I landed on. 
Anyway enough about my memories! 
George was given a balance bike a while ago and after seeing how quickly his balancing skills progressed I knew it was the way forward for Molly too. She is always very cautious about physical play when she is exploring something new and we are slowly building up her confidence to help her do things for herself. she tries really hard but is usually quite slow on her scooter and one of us usually ends up pulling her along so I was really keen to see how she would react on her own bike. She has been keen to take it out quite often but is still quite slow and its taking her some time to coordinate sitting and running with it at the same time but I am sure she will get there with practice, its nice to see her trying. 



So, let me tell you about the brand Strider and about their balance bikes.
Strider have now sold over 1,000,000 bikes. All bikes are sold with a no quibble refund policy if you aren't happy with your bike. They offer free next day delivery and have an after sales service.
One of the greatest things is they are not just bikes for toddlers either, they have sizes that range up to adults. The web store also has a range of accessories and spare parts too.

Prices for the bikes start at £60 and upwards, we have the sport model which retails at £80. It comes in 7 different colours and I have to say I adore the bright pink colour that we chose. The Sport is suitable for ages 18 months to 5 years, this is a bike that is going to last. Its completely adjustable to suit different sizes and both the handlebars and saddle can be adjusted without needing any tools, a brilliant feature in my opinion. 
Included in the box is a bonus padded seat and XL post which can be added as your child grows. It's designed to be lightweight so the child can handle it more easily, I can definitely say I felt a difference in comparison to a normal bike, it is really lightweight but still has a good quality, sturdy feel to it. Assembly was really easy and also completed without the need for any tools.
The tyres are flat-free tyres which are a lightweight alternative to air filled tyres which can be purchased and fitted when your child is able to handle a bit more weight. 
I review products honestly and fairly and I have to say that I just can't find any fault with this at all, its a really good quality balance bike that I am more than happy with and will be recommending this to friends and family, everything about it is fantastic, from the handle bars to the wheels. 

Strider also run events, here is what they have to say....


We hold the following fun packed and exciting events for children:
    • Strider Racing - Fun and competitive racing for children aged between 18 months and 5 years.
    • Strider Adventure Zone - Designed for kids of all abilities aged between 18 months and 5 years, to test ride the Strider and make friends while improving their biking skills.
    • Strider Championship Series - Aimed at ages 2-5 years, an exciting and exhilarating experience to take part in our championship series. Let your kids show off those striding talents and come along to race their way to success.
    • Strider World Championship - Annual racing event bringing together strider riders and their families. No matter what the age, bring your child along to experience this world racing event.
    • The second race in this year’s Strider balance bike Championship Series takes place at Kent’s fantastic Cyclopark on 6 September. The race is open to all Strider Riders ages 2-5 years old and it’s a fantastic and fun family day out. All riders will receive a medal and race plate to remind them of their day and the overall winner takes home a trophy! 
      Strider balance bikes teach kids to ride safely, simply and securely and over one million have been sold all over the world, meaning Strider has taught more toddlers to ride than any other brand.
      Entry is just £10 per child to the next race day, and tickets can be bought here: Race Tickets

       
    • Strider Championship Race. Kent, September 2015

    • Win the chance to enter your child in the next race event you will win the ticket entry and bike hire so don't worry if you don't have a Strider bike already and it will be a great chance for you to see the great quality of these bikes too. All you have to do to enter is complete the form below, good luck
Family Fever

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Summer Fun With Boots

Children's eye health is so important, did you know that your eyes are 10 times more sensitive to UV damage than your skin?  And children's eyes have larger pupils and clearer lenses so are more susceptible to sun damage. I have also learnt that your its not just the light that bounces of reflective surfaces (including smart phones) the UV rays also bounce off the surfaces too and that is why Boots Opticians have made both sides of their lenses UV protective. Maybe I will think twice about those cheap sunglasses I paid one whole pound for which probably don't have any protection at all! 
 I have always had to wear glasses and when I was younger there wasn't much choice for kids and the national health glasses were not very trendy at all, I remember wearing some hideous red metal framed glasses. At every photo opportunity I would make sure I wasn't wearing them but luckily I only needed them to see what was being written on the board in class or at home for watching tv, then I was told later that I had to wear them all the time and so as soon as I could wear contact lenses I did and have never looked back. Having young children around doesn't make it easy either so I only wear my glasses if I am not going out or first thing in the morning. This has made it easier for me when buying sunglasses as I don't need to buy prescription ones but what about children?  My oldest son has always worn glasses, he even had a patch on one eye when he was little, he is long sited and although he has had times of not wearing glasses he has now been told he doesn't have to wear them all the time which is great but he still needs them or he risks his eye sight getting worse. Eyes are good at tricking you, its easy to think that you can see just fine but one of your eyes might be working harder to compensate for the other one it means that it could be making the problem worse. 
We were invited to visit a Boots Opticians this summer to gives my sons eyes a health check, the optician was very thorough and friendly, she explained everything she was doing at each step of the tests.  Charlie was then able to choose a pair of prescription sunglasses, after trying lots of styles he found one he really liked so he had some measurements taken and we were given a receipt to bring back for collection of the glasses. It took around a week for them to be ready and so we went back for them to be fitted, this was done quickly and Charlie is now safe in the sun.
Children's eye tests are free at Boots so there isn't really any excuse not to go and get them checked and they are really friendly and helpful. There is a branch finder on the website where you will find lots of other info and some other great products for the summer.

We were given the prescription sunglasses in exchange for this review.  


Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Black & White Photography Project - A Trip To The Beach

Since my In-Laws moved from the north to the southern coast we have been able to visit more regularly, which is really nice as I have missed seeing them since we moved back to the south. The little ones love going there, especially as Nanny makes amazing cakes for them every time they visit. 
If the weather is nice we visit the nearest beach which as you can see is a stone beach but we still have lots of fun throwing stones in the sea and skimming stones with the older ones. My happy place is at the sea, rain or shine and one day I would think about moving near to the coast but for now I am happy where I am seeing as we get to visit so often.




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Friday, 7 August 2015

The New Baking Range From Annabel Karmel

You may have heard of Casdon Toys, who specialise in role play toys for children, they have teamed up with lead baby food expert Annabel Karmel to introduce a new baking range for children. 

We find that baking with the children is a great way to spend time together as a family and it helps the children to develop their life skills. I try to make sure everything is prepared before I tell the children what we are doing because if not it usually ends in baking hell. 

They were all excited to try out the new utensils from the baking set because they are fun, brightly coloured and all just the right size. The baking set comes with 75 different pieces so you can image the delightful looks on their little faces when they opened the box. This particular set is priced at around £24.99

Whats in the box:                          

  •  1 mixing bowl with anti-slip base
  • 1 Silicone spatula
  • 1 Whisk
  • 1 Rolling pin
  • 1 Brush
  • 6 Measuring spoons
  • 10 Cookie cutters
  • 2 Mini pop cake trays
  • 1 Pop cake stand
  • 25 Paper sticks
  • 1 Decoration pen
  • 3 Icing bags with 8 nozzles
  • 4 Plastic cutters
  • 6 Mini silicone cups
  • 1 Mini cupcake tray
  • 1 Mini tart pan
  • 1 Cake mould
  • 14 recipes



We had a look through the recipe ideas that are supplied with the set and decided to make one of our family favourites, flapjack. We often add some of our own bits in and today we added raisins. We used our own tin instead of the small loaf tine in the set because we had too much to fit in it. They were delicious, only thing is I gave the photography job for this review to my older daughter and of course there isn't one of the final product because they were all too busy eating them to think about taking a photo! So all you can see is our mixture :)

Other sets in the range include the Mini pizza set which we have also used the quality is fantastic and the pizza cutter is completely safe to use, my 4 year old managed to have a go at cutting his own pizza safely. I love this set because if there is an adult pizza cutter around he has always tried to use it but never really allowed because he can be quite lively at times and has been known to throw things without warning, not a nice trait to have at the dinner table but this set has definitely made cooking more child friendly for us. The sets are suitable for age 5 and above but my 3 and 4 year old were still able to join in with supervision. 
The sets are dishwasher safe and suitable for ages 5 and above, they are very reasonably priced and are available to buy from Tesco or Smyths Toys, you can find more information about the sets on the Annabel Karmel website.




Family Fever

Friday, 31 July 2015

Dora Sing Along Tour with Smyths and New Toy Range from Fisher Price

This summer sees the introduction of a brand new Dora and Friends toy range from Fisher Price. To celebrate there is also a Sing along tour at various Smyths toy store branches where there will be pop up karaoke booths, some of them will even have character appearances where your children will be able to get their photo taken with Dora so if you have a store near you its worth checking as this would be a great opportunity to entertain the kids for free over the summer holidays. Videos from the booth can also be entered into a competition where the winners will be featured on Nick Jr. Below is a list of dates and locations for you to check...

Symths

  • Waterfields Retail Park, Watford (Dora Costume Character)  - 27th July
  • Westwood Cross Shopping Park, Thanet  - 28th July
  • St. David’s Retail Park, Swansea – 29th July
  • Crown Retail Park, Leeds (Dora Costume Character) – 31st July
  • Clifton Moor Retail Park, York (Dora Costume Character) – 3rd August
  • Ravenhead Retail Park, St.Helens  - 5th August
  • Halls Mill Retail Park, Bury - 6th August
  • Middle Engine Lane, Wallsend – 10th August
  • Glasgow Fort Shopping Park, Glasgow (Dora Costume Character) – 12th August
  • Boulevard Retail Park, Aberdeen (Dora Costume Character) – 14th August

Sky Retail Stands

  • Brent Cross, London - 18th-19th July
  • The Centre MK, Milton Keynes – 25th – 26th July
  • White Rose, Leeds  - 1st- 2nd August
  • Intu Eldon Square, Newcastle  - 8th – 9th August
  • Bon Accord, Aberdeen – 15th – 16th August
If none of the locations are near you and you still want to enter the competition, all you have to do is record your little ones singing along to the Dora theme tune and upload via the tool on NickJr or via their facebook page before August 16th for a chance to be featured on Nick Jr.




The range includes some really great toys, there is a set of different character dolls, each one is 8 inches tall, dressed in a removable outfit with soft hair, poseable arms and legs and each one comes with an adventure charm that can be attached to the Fisher Price Dora and Friends charm bracelet. Each dolls is priced at £10.99

Dora Magic adventure charms priced at £7.99 is a play pack that includes a figure and a special charm bracelet that you can wear or share, the charms feature Perrito, a camera and Dora's backpack.

Magic Charms Bracelet, this one has been very popular here, the bracelet comes with plenty of charms that can be removed and changed around to suit and also comes with two more bracelets that are great for sharing with friends. This is priced at £9.99

Dora smart phone, this one is suitable for age 2 and above. It looks just like the one from the show and is priced at £9.99 you press the screen to hear incoming calls, voice mails, bilingual phrases and songs.

My children have really enjoyed playing with these toys and thanks to there being bracelets to share there have been no arguments.



We were sent a selection of toys from the new range in return for this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


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