Friday, 19 September 2014

Back to School Round Up

It's been a long time since my oldest son started his very first day at school, this year see's him completing his GCSE's and a Public Services course alongside as he wants to become a fire fighter. I am so very proud of him, how much he has achieved and how far he has progressed since he started school, despite all the bullying and problems we have had along the way. 

This week my fourth and youngest (and definitely the last) child started nursery for 3 days a week, I miss her, she is growing up so fast but its time for another chapter. These 3 mornings a week are going to give me time to do the things I want to do, it feels so strange but in a good way. 

Anyway, I thought I would share a few things that I have found really helpful..

For those first timers something to help them get ready for their new setting, Penwizard have a range of books you can personalise like the book we have, Peppa pig and is personalised not only with my daughters first name and surname it also has a character that looks like her. You can read my review here and find a discount code which is exclusive to my readers.





What is the one thing I have found to be the most common thing that needs replacing throughout the school year? Lunch boxes! Some are hard to clean others break or even get lost, we go through endless amounts of food bags or cling film and for a long time I have have been on the look out for the perfect lunch box. I have discovered the yumbox a bento style lunch box which is perfect for not having to use food bags as it has plenty of sections for healthy snacks, I have read lots of great feedback about these so well worth the money. I have seen some really inspirational ideas for filling them too and Pinterest is a great place to look for some.


Nits are every parents nightmare, as soon as you get rid of them they come back. Well in my opinion prevention is better than cure and tea tree oil has been a best friend for some time now but it can be a pain adding drops of it to your everyday shampoo and I have tried some brands that state tea tree oil as one of the ingredients but you can't smell it at all. Vosene have come up with the ultimate combination and have some lovely 3 in 1 shampoo and detangle spray. They have also launched a NitWatch campaign to help parents stand up to nits. You can also win some to try for yourself.
  



Last but not least I have found a product that your child will love, we worry about our children making friends and its so hard when you can't be there with them. I was recently introduced to a company called Popagami, they have designed packs of origami animals that look great when they have been completed, I have written more about them here and you can even try your luck at winning a pack of your own. They are a really fun product that will give your child a helping hand with making new friends at school.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Popagami Review and Giveaway

We have recently been introduced to the world of Popagami, they are origami animals. My oldest son has always had a thing about origami and has made some amazing creations, from miniature books to stars and water bombs. All of his creations are really detailed and sometimes very fiddly, sometimes I wonder how he managed to find the patience to complete some of them.

Popagami was created by former science teacher Phillip Craik. Popagami have sets of fun animals to fold and make that anyone can try because of the simple folding instructions. They are available to buy from the website and are very affordable at £7.99 for a combo pack which includes the book and 24 large designs to fold and create. At the moment there is a 50% discount on these packs and can be purchased for only £3.99 you can also opt to go for some pop-ette packs which are smaller but also have 24 sheets for a bargain price of  £2.75, there are also bigger packs available and there are some free downloads that you can print yourself and you can either watch the instructional video on the website or find the online instructions if you don't have the book. 

We all had a go at making one and were really pleased with the results, I started mine first so the children could follow my lead and I have to say although they are aimed at children, I really enjoyed making one. I chose to make the cow, all you have to do at the end is blow into the right place and your animal inflates and of course cut around the ears to finish the shape. Its a great activity if you want something to fill a half an hour gap. Popagami animals can be used for display or they have many other uses which you might not have thought about, they can be finger puppets, you could put an LED tea light inside to make a night light or they can be filled with sweets, this would be good for parties, Christmas, end of school gifts or even used as something to help your children make friends in their new school or class. 
I have teamed up with the lovely people from Popagami and we have 3 sets to give away, to enter all you have to do is complete the form below.

We were sent this item free of charge for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 





Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Potty Training with LumiPotti

With Little Moo having Kidney problems and having been on prophylactic antibiotics for her whole life except the first 6 weeks, it leaves a fair amount of worry about the lasting damage this has done but I have to be realistic about it, this is the lesser of the two evils as if she wasn't on medication, she would no doubt have some serious bladder and kidney infections which would leave more scar damage and cause other complications.

When G was potty training, little Moo really wanted to do it too only I didn't think she was ready so I left it a while, now I want her to try she will only sit for a couple of seconds at a time. 

When the LumiPotti arrived she was eager to try. Thinking ahead,  I didn't put the batteries in for a while as I knew the novelty of having a new potty would wear off but as soon as I put the batteries in and she saw the light this encouraged her further to sit on her LumiPotti and try to produce something. I do think that having had to wait for long lengths on the potty in the past to try and produce a sample for the hospital has had an effect on her wanting to try so I was really pleased when she tried. She is such a good girl! 

So let me tell you more about the LumiPotti...

The Lumipotti is an innovative day and night potty with a built in night light that is removable for those night time trips to the toilet making the it a product that will grow with your child's needs at every stage of toilet training which will help your child on their way to independent toileting. Priced at around £23.99 its not one of the cheaper products but you get what you pay for and this has also been tested by G who is 3 and he managed to sit comfortably without any leaks as I think boys need a higher fronted potty which this has so. It has a deep container and its really easy to empty too. Little Moo has sat on this facing both ways and seems comfortable in either position which I see as a good thing because if its comfortable either way then it will be easier for them to get seated when they are in a hurry.
It is made with Anti-Microbial plastic which is brings the fight against harmful bacteria including MRSA, E-Coli, Salmonella and Pseudomonas Aeroginosa into LumiPotti.
The night light is battery operated with three AA batteries, is completely removable. It has a photosensitive light sensor and is movement activated. This means that it only activates when the there is low or dim light. It will stay on for 60 after no movement is detected. I am yet to find out how long the batteries will last but they are currently still going strong. There is no on/off switch to deactivate the light which I would find handy to save the batteries when not in use but with the features it has this hasn't really been a problem, it's actually one less thing to worry about whether its on or off.
At present both children are getting good use out of the LumiPotti and Little M uses it in the day and G uses the night light when he goes to bed. The light is quite bright to so definitely gives enough light for those middle of the night trips.
I highly recommend the LumiPotti if you are looking for something your child will be comfortable using with an added feature that will help them to achieve independence. 

We were sent the Lumipotti in return for this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 




The Alphabet Project S is for...

Skydive..

In Early August this year I did a skydive for charity and I met some lovely people and I'm considering doing it again next year, even though it made me feel so ill I had to go to bed for a few hours! I think I must be crazy! But it was amazing too :) you can read my post about it here




I am linking this up with the Alphabet photography project over at podcastdove.com 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Depression, Anxiety and Me

I really don't know where to start with this, I know I have been building up to writing it for a long while but never found the courage. Having read various articles and comments about recent events involving famous people, it has spurred me on to find my voice and speak out. I have been so moved by what I have read that I not only am I moved to write about it but I will be doing some fund raising too. 

I have suffered with depression on and off over the years from the age of around 17 because of various traumatic events that have scarred me for life, those events made me the person I am today. strong, yes but inside screaming and unable to cope with simple daily tasks. One thing I want to say is that this is not being written to get sympathy, nor do I need negative comments, I simply want to let others know they are not alone. At some point everyone that has depression or anxiety will feel alone, lonely, desolate, desperate, weak and maybe suicidal. You can have the most loving and wonderful family and friends around you but at the same time feel like you are on your own because nobody understands or you feel like you can't tell anybody because you feel like a failure or that you don't want to be a burden. 

I know it's not the case for everyone but having people in your life that don't understand can be so hard at times because for me, I have always found it hard to express myself, to find the right words that don't cause an argument or make me sound stupid so its just easier to say nothing is wrong. 

So I put on this fake smile and I got so used to pretending that everything is fine with my fake smile that it became normal, I still do it now and I bet loads of other people do too. Imagine if you were honest every time someone said "Hi, how are you?" people would just start avoiding you and thinking there goes misery guts! So I guess for me, this is a technique that I use not only to mask feelings to others but also to myself. Inside, it's far from ok but pretending for so long that all the feelings of pain and those that caused endless tears for no apparent reason become feelings of numbness and failure and so without realising it, I started to avoid going out so I don't have to see people for fear I may say too much to someone or sound silly. 

I recently got told I also have anxiety, I fidget if I am not busy doing something, another habit that I guess is also me trying to be ignorant to what is really going on, I keep busy because then I don't have to think about things too much. I don't really watch tv because if I sit down and I haven't got my phone then I fidget.  People sometimes ask me how I do it, 4 kids, look after the house (that gets totally neglected!), write a blog, sew, bake or create something... I don't think I am successful in keeping up with everything in my life and I have lost touch with many friends over the years too. I forget everything and I have to put everything in my phone with 2 reminders and paperwork, I used to work in an office and my desk was always tidy, now I lose letters and other important paperwork. Maybe that part is just because I have had children but my baby brain isn't getting any better, is that normal? what is normal? everyone is different so in my opinion you can't be a normal person. 

I have hit rock bottom many times and felt suicidal many times and although we are going through quite a tough time at the moment (that's another post!), I am taking medication and trying my best to make small improvements and get the correct help and support that I need, this is making a massive difference to know that because I spoke up to the right people, there are people out there that care and that will point you in the right direction. Getting help is not easy as I have found out but with my children in mind, it's something I am willing to fight for. 

It has taken me days to write this, coming back to it several times and reading it over and over, deleting bits and just generally faffing over it, I really hope that by writing this it's going to help someone else.
I made a pledge over at Time To Change to help end mental health stigma by sharing my story, I will be writing updates, now that I have made it to the end of this first post I hope that if there is anyone that reads this and feels alone, depressed or just needs some help or support please know that you are not alone. 

If anyone has 2 minutes to spare  to pop over to time to change, you can pledge too, it can be something as small as asking a friend if they are ok, no money is involved so it really is a great way to help this campaign.

Thanks for taking the time to read 

Lucy xx  


Thursday, 4 September 2014

Personalised Book From Penwizard

Now I know Peppa Pig is not everyone's cup of tea and after seeing many many episodes over and over its not my favourite, but my youngest 2 children love it and the youngest, well I am sure she loves it more than life itself. So when the opportunity cam along to personalise a book with her name and a character that looks just like her, well ok a cartoon version, I couldn't wait to see the look on her face.
Little Moo will hopefully be starting nursery very soon and so this is a perfect present to go along side starting nursery or school.

Penwizard create personalised books catered to your needs, you can choose from many different books, not just back to school but other books for many other occasions too.
Not only can you have a first name but a surname or middle name too. Our book was created specifically for nursery but you can also change that to school, playgroup or pre-school. Then you can also design your character to have similar features to your child. 
Our book arrived within 2 days which is a fantastic turn around for something which you expect to take much longer. I am really impressed by the great service and quality of the book and I can highly recommend Penwizard if you have a child who is a bit anxious of starting in their new setting. If you would like to order your own book, you can get 15% discount by adding the code 362589 at the basket. 

We were sent a book from Penwizard free of charge for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Win Business Cards From StressFreePrint

I have had some business cards designed and printed for my craft business through StressFreePrint and I have to say I am very impressed.

You can either give them your pre-existing design, use the online designer to design them yourself or the team will design one specific to your needs. 
I didn't have a design already but had a rough idea of what I wanted mine to look like so I did a quick sketch...



Then they very promptly came up with the design below, I wish I had the time to sit and do my own design but having 4 children it would have taken too long, I am terrible for paying too much attention to detail, well that's what my tutor used to tell me at college! 



They were very prompt through the whole process and liaised through email with me at every step of the process. Its not just business cards that they can supply, they do leaflets, posters, menus, brochures, invitations and more.

They were delivered really quickly once the design and print had been done and I am really pleased with the quality of the cards to, I believe business cards are so important as if you have a design that catches someone's eye then they are going to remember you. 

I have teamed up with stress free print to give away 500 business cards to one lucky winner, just complete the form below to enter. Good Luck!



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