Friday, 19 December 2014

Travel Tips to Stay Safe This Winter

BRITAX PARTNERS WITH GOOD EGG SAFETY TO LAUNCH ‘DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS’ INITIATIVE 

London, November 2014 – With the winter holidays firmly on the horizon, millions of families all over the UK are planning the big drive home for Christmas. With the prospect of celebrating with friends and family and dining out on festive feasts, it can be easy to forget the dangers that go hand-in-hand with travelling in winter conditions. No parent wants to take chances when it comes to their children’s safety, which is why leading mobility brand, Britax has teamed up with Good Egg Safety to provide parents with some useful winter travel tips to ensure the nation’s families reach their destinations safely this Christmas.
The partnership follows the launch of Britax’s latest Group 1-2-3 car seat, ADVANSAFIX - the first multistage car seat using ISOFIX connectors that gives parents the option to keep their child in a five-point harness up to 25kg. This cleverly designed multi-stage car seat has been developed with busy families in mind, ensuring optimum safety for children aged from 9 months up to approximately 12 years (9kg – 36kg). ADVANSAFIX adapts and grows with the child, giving parents the freedom to choose one seat instead of two and the assurance that their little ones will travel safely year after year for up to 11 years.

Britax safety expert, Mark Bennett, said, “Christmas is an exciting time of year for families. Each year is another milestone for children and it’s a time to celebrate with loved ones. But amid all the excitement, it’s really important to consider some simple car safety checks to ensure you and your most precious cargo arrive safely. Making sure you have the right car seat installed for your child is the first step to providing that reassurance, so if you’re unsure if your little one has outgrown their seat, be sure to visit your local car seat retailer as they will be able to advise you on what’s right for your family.”
Jan James, CEO at Good Egg Safety said: “We welcome this important initiative from Britax. Of course child car seat safety is a priority at any time of the year, however it is especially important in the winter when driving conditions can be much more hazardous and the chances of a collision increased due to poor visibility, glare from the winter sun, slippery roads and darker mornings and evenings. We are driving in conditions we are less used to, and often at a later time, for example after visiting family and friends, or returning from a Christmas trip. Good Egg Safety supports Britax in encouraging parents to double check their child's car seat this Christmas." 
To support Britax’s ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ initiative, Good Egg Safety has provided 12 simple tips  and checks for families to consider before setting off for the holidays:
1.       Check your child’s car seat is properly fitted before every journey – particularly if you’ve removed your seat or had others in the car next to the child seat
2.       Check your child’s harness is at the correct height and tension – always adjust the harness to your child when they go in the seat to accommodate their clothing
3.       Remove thick, puffy jackets or winter coats – these can prevent the harness from fitting your child properly, and your child may overheat once the car warms up. As a driver it is worth keeping a spare pair of suitable driving shoes in the car.  Footwear such as winter boots have thick soles that can catch on pedals
4.       Remove any non-soft toys or gifts your child may receive and store them in the boot until you get home – a toy will become a projectile in a collision and can injure occupants in the car. Put presents for friends and family in the boot of your car, rather than next to you or on the back seat
5.       Set the recline of your child’s car seat to semi-reclined rather than upright after trips out, so that they can fall asleep without you worrying about their positioning
6.       Don’t drink and drive!  If you are going to have a drink, avoid driving the next morning – you can easily still be over the limit the next day
7.       Always keep a breakdown kit in your boot.  This should include:
  • Warning Triangle
  •   Tow Rope
  •   Torch
  •   Hi-Vis Jacket/Waistcoat
  •   Tyre Pump
  •   Blankets/Emergency foil blanket
  •   Spare hats, scarves and gloves
  •   Sunglasses for winter sun glare
  •   Umbrella

8.       If you are going on a long journey, also take/check the following:
  •   A flask of hot water/tea/coffee
  •   Fresh, bottled water
  •   Food/Chocolate
  •   Ensure your phone battery is fully charged

9.       Check the tyres and stock up on antifreeze and screen wash
10.   Take into account weather conditions for your journey and allow extra time and breaks
11.   Early evening failing light is particularly hazardous for spotting cyclists and pedestrians in dark clothes, so with the added distraction of travelling with children please take extra caution
12.   Don’t rush! It is tempting to rush home from work for the holidays, but take the extra time to drive safely and considerately
 For more information on Britax’s latest combination seat ADVANSAFIX, visit http://www.britax.co.uk/car-seats/car-seats/advansafix

Thursday, 18 December 2014

What Will Be Your Emergency This Christmas?

It always happens at the worst times possible and these things usually happen in three's. This year we have had more than our fair share of bad luck financially and it has left us struggling to make ends meet. We have had problems with our local council not assessing us properly and putting us in massive debt which had a knock on effect with us paying the rent on our house and of course managing all the other household bills and expenses. 
In the last month we have had several things come up that had to be dealt with. 

The first thing that went wrong was my teeth, I had an abscess and I have had 3 parts of the treatment so far with the next two weeks to wait for the cap to be fitted so my tooth feels kind of strange at the moment as it is no smaller than the others with a chalk like temporary coating. I hope that the coating lasts through the festivities. So my treatment was of course in the highest payment band.

Then the front tyres needed replacing on our car and of course to stay safe we had to get this done as soon as possible. Another £270 with the tracking included.


Those two things alone have cost nearly £500 that may not sound like a lot to some but when you don't qualify for the government freebies but are still on a low income it can be crippling at this time of year.

All I can say is thank goodness for the credit card, without this our Christmas would have been completely ruined and a big fat pat on the back for me because yesterday I had my first interview in ages and today I found out that I got the job so we will be able to pay it all off little bit easier.

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Monday, 15 December 2014

Kids Christmas Gift Guide with Prizes to be Won

My Gift Guide for you this Christmas with some fabulous prizes to win too.

Every year I find lots of gifts that I would like to buy and it's always a hard decision to choose which one to go for, especially with the little ones who are largely influenced by the adverts they see on TV and want absolutely everything and never forget to remind me each time they see the adverts! 


The bits I really struggle with is stocking fillers as these are usually lower priced items but its sometimes a challenge to find items small enough to fit so this year I am changing the game plan. The little ones have bigger stockings so theirs are staying the same but the older two are going to have bags, which I am going to make, instead of stockings so that if I decide to buy a notepad for instance then I know it will fit. Megan loves stationary so would be over the moon with some larger sized, smaller priced items and hopefully I will be finished before Christmas eve this year.



This year I thought I would would put together a few ideas to share with you whilst I have been browsing.


For The Younger Ones

Brio have some really lovely toys, they are not just for train sets as that's what I think of first when someone mentions Brio but the other toys they produce are also of a really high standard and are beautiful toys.

The Stacking Panda from Brio

This is for children aged 19 months and above, its beautifully painted and teaches colours, patterns, sequencing and is also great for hand eye co-ordination. 
More information can be found on the Brio website and you can also buy this from various on line stores including Amazon for the current price of £16.34.

You can also try and win one by completing the Gleam form below - supplied by leading toy distributor, Marbel




The Pull Along Giraffe from Brio

I just know that Little Molly is going to love this toy, when she stayed in hospital last, she took a little pull along toy from the play room and it was with her the whole time and if any other child so much as looked at it she clung on to it and gave them a glare, well more like a death stare but that's why I know she will love one of her own. This is suitable from 12 months upwards and can be found on Amazon for the current price of £14.99. It has four sturdy wheels and promotes good balance and early walking.  Brio is a brand I really trust and I know this is a toy that will last and last so really worth the  money.

Placematix 


A dinner set with a difference, this set is a little more on the pricey side but a fantastic idea if you have a fussy eater, its dishwasher safe and suitable for ages 1-4, it can be found at JoJo Maman Bebe for £25. It is also compatible with lego bricks and is less likely to be knocked off the table easily like some other bowls because it all attaches to the base plate.



Ben & Holly DVD and Book

Christmas wouldn't be the same without some festive stories and Ben & Holly are very popular in this house, not only does it entertain the kids but I have been known to have a little chuckle when its on, I love the characters in the stories and so do the kids. You can find these on Amazon, the book is currently priced at £4.76 and the DVD is £7.00. 
Great stocking fillers for the little ones.
You can win a set of these by entering the twitter give away.

Peter Rabbit Play set 


The Peter Rabbit Secret Treehouse Playset (RRP £29.99) is the perfect place to hide out and plan new adventures. Explore fun features including the look-out point, working lift, telescope and lots more! Why not use the flip over planning table to plan where your next adventure will take you? Or if you need a quick get-away, open up the trap door hatch and drop down onto the slide! The playset includes an exclusive Peter Rabbit figure and is suitable for children aged 3 years and up. 


Great for school age children

Dream Lites from Pillow Pets

As soft and cuddly as your other favourite Pillow Pets® plus a soothing glow of stars to create a perfect night light.
Features:
Projects a starry sky on your ceiling and walls.
Three soothing colours: Amber, Blue and Green
Shell glows as a comforting night light
20 minute sleep timer option.

Available from various places for around £20



Magno-Z Characters

These are a great stocking filler, suitable for ages 3 and above, even my 15 year old likes them so they are a brilliant choice if you are not sure what to buy and there are lots of different ones to collect. They are magnetic characters that join together or stick to other things. We did a review of these which you can read here and also try your luck at winning some in time for Christmas.



Minecraft Books


Something that is hugely popular amongst school age children at the moment is Minecraft. My kids are mad about it, even the 4 year old. There are a range of very reasonably priced hardback books about for different parts of the game and are available to buy from Amazon for around £3.85, this will be one of our stocking fillers too.




Hover shot from Maps Toys


Looking for the ultimate action toy this Christmas? Want to find a present that Mum and Dad will love to play just as much as the kids? The answer is the brand new Hover Shot from Maps Toys. This amazing game will test your shooting skills with pinpoint accuracy and bring out the competitor in everyone. Challenge yourself or another player but most of all have a ton of fun!
The Hover Shot includes a battery-operated base which features five stands on which you place balls. Turn on the airflow and watch as they bob up and down in the air ready for you to fire at. You can control the airflow of the base to challenge players even further.
But what makes this game really fun is that when you turn the lights out and turn the game on to night mode, the balls appear like glowing stars in the air – awesome! Each gun can hold 3 foam darts and you just pullback, shoot and reload. The game is perfect for 2 players so pit your wits against every member of your family.
Priced at around £24.99, the Hover Shot is a must-have this Christmas. Available from Amazon.

 Talking NASA Space Helmet


The Talking Space Helmet is priced at around £35.99 from Amazon and looks just like the real thing. It features a mission control countdown and life-like blast off sounds. A spring-loaded retractable visor allows kids to really get into character too. You can also complete the costume with a space suite, back pack, boots and gloves, all available separately. 










Poochie & Co Handbags


These aren’t just any old handbag – the Poochie&Co Handbags feature the cutest dogs covered in sequins. Choose from loveable Yorkie with her pretty pink bow and pink sequin body and co-ordinating strap or why not carry your goodies in the super-strokable Golden Labrador bag who has a sparkly gold sequin body. From pugs and poodles to terriers and spaniels. Whatever breed of dog you love, there is a Poochie&Co handbag just for you.
Seen on some of the most high-profile young celebrities in Hollywood ,including 9 year old Oscar nominated start Quvenzhané Wallis, the Poochie&Co range of handbags are the must-have bag for girls and dog-lovers in 2015.
Priced at around £19.95 each, the Poochie&Co Handbags are available from Amazon.


Moshi Monsters Beanstalk Play Set



Slide your favourite Moshlings down the twisting vine slide, push them on the leaf swing and store them in the leaf pods all with the Moshi Beanstalk. Includes 1 exclusive Moshling inside and a secret code for 1000 free Rox and online beanstalk. For ages 4 years up. Available for around £20 from various stores.







Frozen Top Trumps


Top Trumps has been a timeless game that my kids have gone back to again and again. We have loads of different packs here as my oldest was collecting them at one point and we even have the board game which is great because you can swap the packs over. Obviously Frozen is massively popular at the moment and this would make a great stocking filler priced at around £5 they can be found on Amazon

Sunday, 14 December 2014

From Birth to Three - Black And White Photo Project #bwphotoproject


I love black and white photos and when I saw this project, I don't know how I have missed it up to now  as it been going on a while but I thought I would join in. Whilst posting some of my photos on Instagram I decided I should use a selection of photos of Molly as I managed to get hand and feet photos and so its a birth to now selection, she is almost three so it would be nice to see a select few photos put together to see how she has grown.
  







Molly has grown so fast and I can't believe that in a few months she will be 3.

So much personality for someone so little. 

Molly is cute, cheeky, funny, loving and very clever, with beautiful big blue eyes.

Molly can be very well spoken but sometimes sound like a proper cockney, a real combination of both me and her Dad. Of course being a chatterbox and sometimes very loud, she gets from her Dad! 

I love how she calls me Mumma. She is a real Mummy's girl.

I love you to the moon and back, to the stars and around the whole universe. 

xxx

I am linking up with www.podcastdove.com and their #bwphotochallenge





Thursday, 11 December 2014

When You're Trying To Conceive

I have been through this many times, yes I have 4 healthy children but I have also lost 4 so I have some experience in trying to conceive. In my experience if you are coming off any type of contraception you should wait at least a month until your body returns to normal, this was something I never wanted to do, wait? who wants to wait when all you want is to become pregnant, each time I never waited and that meant a pregnancy lost in some way because my body wasn't ready so here are my top tips.

  • Wait for a month after stopping contraception to let your body return to normal.
  • Take a Folic Acid supplement everyday.
  • Eat healthily and get lots of sleep
  • Make a note of your cycle so you can work out the time when you should be ovulating. Some do this with a temperature chart but I could never remember so I just listened to my body. Using an ovulation predictor kit can help a lot with this. 
  • Relax - this is my biggest tip, when you are stressing about it you won't get pregnant, when you stop worrying and just have fun it will all happen so much easier.

When a couple is trying to conceive, it’s very important to time when to baby dance. A woman has a 2-3 day window of opportunity during a single cycle. That’s a very short time for the sperm to catch the egg so a couple needs to make sure to know when those days are. One way to detect ovulation is by using an ovulation predictor kit or an OPK (ovulation prediction kit). An OPK detects the body’s surge of LH or Luteinizing hormone which is triggers ovulation. There are 2 kinds of OPK, one is a small test strip, another one is a a midstream applicator. Both just differ in sizes and usage but have the same result – 2 dark lines means a positive result, which means you are ovulating. And that is the best time to baby dance for more chances of conceiving. 

Compared to the pregnancy test where even if the second line is just a faint line, a woman is pregnant, in an OPK, if the second line is faint, it means you’re not ovulating yet, so you will have to keep testing until the second line is as dark, or darker than the first line. In a single 28 day cycle, most women ovulate midway through their cycle, cycle day 1 being the first day of their menstrual period. A woman can begin testing around day 8 or 10 until she gets a positive result to ensure that she doesn't miss her ovulation. Visit http://pregnancytips.org for more information on how to track your ovulation. 


For some it is harder to read the signs your body is giving you as they can be so subtle that they can be easily missed. For me I knew when I was ovulating as I used to get a certain pain in my side, always the same side too as I only have one ovary, I know 8 pregnancies with only one ovary is pretty amazing work. Its is a lot easier to know when you are ovulating if you use the predictor kits as then you know for sure when the time is right and it takes some of the stress away. 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Merry Christmas from the Half Shell Heroes

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a new collection of toys aimed at the younger audience from ages 2-5 years old. With bright colours and chunky designs they are ideal for little hands. The range includes lots of different figures, a large shellraiser vehicle, the secret sewer HQ and more, for the full range head over to UKMums TV to take a look. I think its great that there are some ninja turtles aimed at younger ages as my son loves them. 


Everyday this month you can win a different prize with the #halfshellheroes Advent Calendar, head over for your chance to win some fab prizes.


Sunday, 7 December 2014

The Mum/Dad Meme


I was kindly tagged in The Mum/Dad Meme by Sarah from  Boo, Roo and Tigger Too The Mum Meme is a set of questions about the Mum or Dad behind the blog, so here goes...

Who was your first crush?

OMG! Well I think it was Keanu Reaves, have you ever seen Point Break? That's the film I first saw him in...

What were the last three things you bought?

  • Eco Egg Refills –Since winning an Eco Egg, I haven't looked back and haven't bought any laundry detergent at all, it's saving us loads of money with the amount of washing we do and they had 50% off yesterday so I stocked up on refills and some Tumble dryer balls, I know exciting stuff!
  • Livie & Luca Boots – I have ordered Molly some new boots and they have a fantastic sale on at the moment, yes there is a theme going here, I love a sale and happy to hunt for the best bargains. Livie & Luca sell children's and adults shoes that have barefoot soles, they are flexible and brilliant for little feet, I mean how cute are these boots? 
  • Bath Bombs – I have been on the look out for stocking fillers and thought I might support a small craft business in some way buy buying them from Etsy so 3 star shaped bath bombs are on their way to us through the post, I do most of my Christmas shopping online too 

What are you secretly hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year?

Not much at all because we are on a very tight budget this year. Everything I can spare will go on the kids presents. But I would love a new weekend bag because each time I have to stay in hospital with Molly I either have to take several bags or one that has a huge rip in the seam and I would love a new pair of slippers because the damn dog keeps trying to eat mine and the fluff really doesn't feel soft and fluffy now that she has been munching on them.  

Where would you go on holiday if you could go anywhere in the world?

Florida! Especially at this time of year
I have always wanted to take the kids to Disney, I hope that one day we will make it there, its going to be an expensive trip with 4 children but I want to do it when they are all at an age to enjoy it, I know Charlie will be older but there will be places he will love with the white knuckle rides and various other bits, in my opinion you are never too old to have fun.

What are you reading at the moment?


I really don't have time to read books very often but I do read lots of other blogs when I can.

What was the last concert you went to?

Madness - It was only a small one at a racecourse but I love Madness and have always wanted to see them, they were brilliant. 

What were you like at school?

Well at Primary school I was quiet, shy and found it hard to make friends. That pretty much stayed the same at High school too for the first 3 years, it felt like everyone had their friends and although I was friends with various different groups of people, I always felt like an outsider. The last 2 years of school changed me massively, My mum and I moved quite far away and instead of being in high level groups they put me in all the bottom groups and expected me to work myself up. I started to hang around with the rebellious kids and became the kid at the back of the class who liked to joke about. But I still got on with my work at the same time and managed not to get into too much trouble.

The Mum Meme tag…

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