Friday, 19 December 2014

Happy HEX-mas

My eldest was a little sad because he has been unwell and is now missing the last day of term, the children all get to bring in a toy to play with which is a bit of a novelty so he wanted to join his friends doing that.  Luckily I had this HEXBUG Shark Tank needing to be reviewed so that cheered him up no end!  It looks really good in the box for the price (RRP £29.99).

I did not realise HEXBUG had so many new additions, we went a bit mad one year and stocked up on all the tracks, tubes and zip wire so I thought we had everything we could get really.  How wrong was I!  Having real fish and knowing how much work is involved (regular water changes and cleaning the tank!) the Shark Tank is a nice alternative. 

The Shark element adds some extra excitement for your Aquabot collection, the jaws can be used to try and grab your fish direct from the water.  Children can be involved making the tank look nice as it comes complete with some coral.  But fortunately it will stay a lot cleaner with robotic fish!  I liked how my eldest was making shark noises and getting caught up in the action. He said if its lucky the shark gets a fish but most of the time it has to make do with a mouthful of coral!  He even started bursting into song, the fish swim around singing a happy song and the shark sings the dead song whilst trying to catch them!!!  He was preoccupied for ages.

If your children are hoping for a first pet this Christmas offering the Shark Tank might be a suitable alternative until they are ready to face the responsibilities of real pet ownership.  You can even buy additional HEXBUG Aquabot 2.0 (RRP £7.99) as stocking fillers.  The second version Aquabots are more sophisticated, they have smart fish technology, if you tap the tank or touch the fish it becomes active again swimming around.  It makes for a more realistic fish keeping experience.  These new fish friends also have an LED light so you can see them even when night falls.

Available at Toys R Us, Argos, Smyths, John Lewis, Amazon, Red 5 and The Entertainer.

Our British Gas Home Truths

We have had more home renovations going on this year than most people might have in ten years!!!  It has been a particularly trying time and finances have been especially strained, because of this hubbie has had to do as much of the work as he can himself.  He has learnt to lay laminate and skirting boards, his painting technique has improved considerably and he saved us hundreds attempting to measure and put up blinds!  He has been covered in head to toe in dust, but he battles on ripping out ceilings and bashing down walls.  A good tip is to make entirely sure walls are not supporting before doing this...

We have learnt that terms like “well maintained” might be a little exaggerated when it comes to buying a house.  But we do not regret buying such a big house even if we only live in a fraction of it, we have had to replace 30+ windows and remove a chimney, replace wooden joists and face woodworm and damp head on, but it’s a great big adventure for the family.  Although one made more comfortable for finally getting central heating and hot water!

Watching the British Gas Home Truths Hub makes me realise that we are not alone; lots of people are actually going through similar things.  I like hearing about the family history behind each home and seeing how people manage with larger families or changes of circumstances.  Although I have never been precious about keeping the house immaculate, with young children you soon realise perfection is unrealistic and too stressful to achieve.  My mum always said I was a good mum but a rubbish housewife!  I am trying a bit harder now they are getting older but when they were younger I used to get out the paints, the play dough and the glue and let them be “creative” – codeword for LOTS of mess!!!  I thought a 21 month gap between my two boys was tough enough but if I had been told I was having triplets I think I would have passed out in shock!

I like how the parents in the video have learnt to juggle style and practicality.  I think its important to have a very functional house with children, what we have adjusts as they get older, more and more ornaments can be dotted around now as they leave them alone!  Although we have just got the puppy and its her turn to disturb them by having a chew on everything!!!  We have learnt she has a real taste for old style Lath and plaster, it must be the horse hair, so we have to stop her running off with bits of it to eat...

Plan of Action: London 2015

I am planning our holiday for next year and it looks like London to see the boys godmummy!  London has so much going on and plenty to see, I thought rather than drag my good friend to us we would make the most of the bright lights of the city and her great hospitality!  Well she did mention in her Christmas card it would be nice to see us…

I tend to like to be organised, down to every last little detail.  I want to know what we will be doing so I really like the Hotel Direct Twitter Guide, produced to revolve around events in various cities including London.  Seeing as we will not be getting away as much next year I want to feel I have packed in as much as possible into our London trip.

The twitter guide was launched in November, so although its relatively new you would not think so looking at the website.  It is already very well populated with a wide range of appealing events and even has its own twitter group which is free to subscribe too.  It’s very user friendly to navigate as a whole, you can see all the information you need in one place, like prices, location, whether you need a ticket and the closest hotel.  I feel I have suddenly got a better grasp on my holiday planning thanks to this twitter guide.

Looking at the events happening now gives me some idea about when I would like to head to London next year!  I think a December visit would be ideal.  Winterville has caught my eye, it has a whole kids quarter with plenty of entertainment dedicated to children (ice rink, pantomime and fairground) and my favourite part naturally is the food and drink market, I would make a beeline for the Christmas table.

I would really like to see Hogwarts in the Snow (14th of November 2014 to 1st Feb 2015) for its seasonal makeover, we have reviewed the Harry Potter Studio Tour already but somehow seeing Hogwarts looking so festive is worthy of another trip surely!

There is also a Santa Run in Battersea Park, the boys would think it is hilarious seeing the sea of red Santa’s all racing along.  Maybe they could encourage their godmummy to register; she has done some running in her time and it does sound like it’s for a good cause.  I would probably faint if I tried to run so I will cheer encouragingly from the sidelines and hold her water bottle!

The twitter guide covers many different areas so you will find an event to cater for your own unique interests and pastimes.  It is a useful resource for Londoners or those just stopping by!  You can search by month and type of event so its simple enough to find a suitable event for your own family.  I will be continuing to use this guide because there are so many events I am learning about that I never knew existed!  I am a little sad we missed Brick 2014 in November, my two are massive LEGO fans.