Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Tasty Little Numbers Competition

Another fantastic competition not to be missed this time from the lovely people at Tasty Little Numbers.  If you want to whet your appetite then look no further than my review here.

Three lucky followers will win a Tasty Little Numbers Treatbox crammed full of goodies!

I am drooling onto my keyboard remembering how much I enjoyed my goodies… so you really are in for something quite special!

So if you’re a lucky winner you could save it for an emergency and crack open your treatbox in the evening after a hard day with the kids or at work.  When you feel like rocking in the corner, put the kettle on and savour an indulgent chocolate bar (without feeling sinful)...




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Completely Clueless

I must admit to driving hubbie round the bend and holding him hostage for his knowledge of gadgetry and technology.

My IT skills are basic and that’s just me being kind. Don’t get me wrong I would be lost without my computer, I just cannot do anything fancy aside from turn it on, find word and start typing.

If an ERROR message appears, hubbie gets the computer into his manly hands, has a tinker and the computer accepts its fate, it will work again. If not he whips out the Hoover and gives it a quick clean inside… I just watch in awe of his superpowers!




Over to hubbie

“I do not mean to offend the many mummy readers but there is a stark difference between men and woman when it comes to gadgets and tech.

HD

For us men this is fantastic, basking in the glory of fine crystal clear picture and vivid colours

For the ladies – What? Huh? Looks the same as before!

Blu-ray

For us men we revel in the great features, magnificent images, and commentary

For the ladies – What? Huh? Looks the same as before!

The list goes on…

Anyway back to the cage where she keeps me until the next gadget breaks, the computer ceases or she wants me to help one of her blogging friends”

I just have no appreciation of fancy technology; hubbie goes all huffy I cannot see a difference. Am not sure if it’s just my lady eyes? Are men’s eyes built for appreciating extra pixels? Or are they just more prone to being suckered in by “technological” improvement jargon!

The same with a DVD and blu ray I was none the wiser, he gasped in wonderment and I just looked at him strangely. Still looks completely the same… just with a fancy price tag!

So how come I cannot see what the fandango is about…


Monday, 30 January 2012

Official Toy Fair Movie 2012

This is a great video of the Toy fair last week made by the very talented Pete Jenkinson from Toyology.

I really enjoyed watching some of the new and upcoming toys so thought I would share it with my lovely followers.  You might even want to start planning for Christmas haha – awaits the onslaught of abuse mentioning the C word already!!!

I have my heart set on the Mario race set from Kinect for my boys, so think we will be adding it to their wish lists.  I just won’t let hubbie watch the film in case he wants the board game that looks a little bit too much like his favoured World of Warcraft… with the talk of health bars and such like!

This is a must watch video if you want to see frothing bubble gum drinks, the new Moshi monster toys and another favourite of mine a remote controlled helicopter that flies upside down…



Sunday, 29 January 2012

On the blog: Some tips

I have started receiving more and more emails asking for tips with regards to starting blogging, reviews and so forth.  It comes as quite a surprise as I am a relative novice myself being at it for a short nine weeks today!

Its lovely to hear from followers but time is sadly stretched in the Missing Sleep household, so I thought it would be helpful to create a tips post to steer you towards.

  1. Join love all blogs - here you can interact with other bloggers, make some new friends and if you have a spot of bloggers block you can have a look at the blog hops and memes to get some inspiration!
  1. If you’re a parenting blog definitely join Tots 100 it’s a bit like being back in school getting graded but it’s a great place to learn valuable tips and read interesting discussions like How important are comments to a blog?”
  1. If you want to start reviewing but have yet to build much of a follower base.  Join Mummy News  then keep an eye on their facebook page and forums when items come up for review.  Another place to try is the baby website.com product-testing panel; you have to pay £5 a year for administration.  You can read the forums first and see if you think it is worth it.  I have given it a gamble as you get your £5 back if you do not receive products to that value in the year.
  1. Host a competition – buy some little prizes and try and encourage followers to your blog.  Make a facebook page, tweet away and slowly and steadily bring people to your blog (or comment away like a manic crazed busy beaver for the same result... hopefully!)
Good luck with your blogging journey, wherever it may take you!


Saturday, 28 January 2012

One Born Every Minute: Conception

This is the last prompt from Netmums, which covers disability and conception. I have no experience of disability as such so will dive straight into conceiving my boys. Don’t worry I won’t make you blush, I only plan to talk about the length of time it took rather than the gory details…

The first time round we had to move forward our wedding. It was booked for the March, but we started trying for a baby in the September thinking these things take ages… well we ended up moving the wedding to January by which time I was already four months pregnant, I had caught straight away.

I thought I would be like my mum and find the process somewhat tricky. But I did not have to do anything, no measuring temperatures or extra drugs to give my body a kick-start, hubbie just looked at me funny and I was pregnant (see I am sparing you those blushes!).

It did come as a bit of a shock to conceive so easily and it took a little time to sink in. I sat looking at the pregnancy test stick on my return from a lovely holiday in Amsterdam, glued to the spot digesting the information. Then of course the shock subsided and the excitement arrived. I was having a baby, whoop whoop!

Second time round, first month of trying again I was pregnant straight away. This time there was no shock; I knew it might happen straight away after my experience with my first. I guess I was taking it for granted so would have been in shock that time round if I had not got pregnant so quickly!

I have been fortunate enough to find it effortless to get pregnant each time. But I know that it is not something that comes easy to every couple. I have friends who have experienced failed IVF treatments, endured long and hard processes with much prodding, poking and heartbreak to get their babies. So I really do count my blessings and for all those still trying I hope you all have your own bundles of joy to treasure soon.




This post will be linked into Netmums.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Natural & Clean Competition

Natural & Clean have kindly offered an EPIC prize for one lucky reader of my blog.

Your prize will include:

Whoops-a-daisy! - The fine crystals of Natural & Clean convert liquid spillages into gel, making them easy to control and remove.

Baby clean-up kit - a handy travel kit especially if your children are as prone to travel sickness as mine!

The Essential travel kit – also handy to have in the car


Spot remover wipes - useful for spills on carpets and soft furnishings

Spot remover spray - removes the toughest spots and spills a toddler can throw at your carpet

Carpet and fabric deodoriser - perfect if your potty training!!!

Dry carpet cleanertiny particles remove dirt on carpet fibres

Foaming carpet cleanerWith this your carpet will be restored to its former pre children glory!

Bin deodorisergreat if you have any whiffy nappy bags in there! This is my favourite product!


 

To read more about the products we tested and see a picture of hubbie working hard in his marigolds click here

The competition will close on the 15th of February and the winner will be equipped for their big Spring clean, you just have to provide your own marigolds!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

SodaStream Clear Plus Review

We were sent a brand spanking new SodaStream to try out the new Clear Plus flavours.  Unwrapping the box of our fancy new red fizz machine was quite a momentous occasion, with much ooohing and aaaahing from the boys.


But I was more excited to try the new flavours…

The missing sleep household have eaten the equivalent of our body weight a few times over in the Christmas excesses.  It is actually a bit scary how many chocolates and biscuits we have somehow managed to chomp through… not that I didn’t enjoy every last one of them of course!

However there is light at the end of the tunnel the new Clear Plus flavours have proven health benefits to put me right again and remove all those nasty toxins! Halleluiah!

Usually some of the things that are good for you taste disgusting, but I really enjoyed the Grapefruit-Pomegranate concoction. 

The boys thought they were getting a treat and happily drank a little of both flavours with brightly lit up eyes, convinced we were indulging them in fizzy pop!  Little did they know…

I remember reading somewhere that Ginseng can increase your libido so I confess to keeping hubbie strictly on the Grapefruit-Pomegranate flavour and keeping the Lemongrass-Forest Fruits at arms length from him.  Just as a precaution mind, as I have enough trouble fending him off wearing unflattering thermal underwear as it is!!!

If your also trying to save money as part of your New Year resolutions, these drinks are excellent, I cannot believe they only cost £3.99 for 500ml, which in turn makes 10 LITRES of sparkling goodness!

And if you’re keen to save the world but can’t kick your fizzy pop habit then you must invest in a SodaStream.  Using the reusable carbonating bottle cuts down on bottle waste and if you’re planning on some hardcore protesting, you might need to be in peak physical performance so I would recommend the Lemongrass-Forest Fruits for your enjoyment…

In the meantime my immune system is constantly bombarded by my children’s germs (the one thing they have no problem sharing!) so its reassuring I am getting some added Vitamin C with my preferred Grapefruit-Pomegranate.

We did not have the last flavour to sample Green Tea Lychee, so we cannot comment on the taste.  But it does say that Green Tea extract helps with weight management.  For £3.99 it would work out cheaper than paying someone to weigh you every week!

Oh dear someone is looking awfully smug


He managed to get hold of the Lemongrass-Forest Fruits after all...

You can find out more about the flavours, SodaStream machines and make purchases http://www.sodastream.co.uk/gbretail/Default.aspx

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Kit Kat Chunky Review

We were sent some of these delicious treats to see which is our family favourite.


After a thorough tasting session, we had mixed opinions as to which flavour should be the rightful winner.


I was definitely a fan of the Orange edition.

My youngest was partial to the Double Choc variety.

Hubbie and eldest were in agreement that Peanut Butter was their favourite.

Sadly no one championed the White Choc, but it was still very much enjoyed.

Now quick grab yourself a handful of Chunky bars and host your own taste test, if you’re feeling kind invite a few friends… or not if you want to savour the chocolate to yourself!

It would be rude not to after all one voter a day wins £100 and you can even vote up to four times a day, just think of how many more bars you could buy with those kind of riches!

The bar with the most votes at the end of the campaign will be a new permanent member of the happy Kit Kat family.  Now I wonder what I can do to sway it the Orange way…

I just voted and Orange is currently in second place damn you Peanut Butter!!!

little BU Nail Polish Review

Having two boys I do not get to indulge in girly pampering much, so it was quite exciting getting some lovely nail polish through the post to take on a play date to the house of one of my youngest girlfriends (yes I say one of as he has about three or four at the last count and he is the ripe old age of… two!).


little BU is a brand of nail polish designed just for children.  It is a non-toxic, water-based, wash-off formula.  There are eight nail polishes in the range and they are pretty colours.  We were sent the sheer pink and pearlized mauve and both colours were popular with our duo, although the pink was very sheer, however you could see the glittery bits.




My son decided as his little friend was being beautified he would not be outdone and wanted his nails painted too!   Definitely follow the instructions and apply both coats and then it stays on really well, otherwise with one coat the colour soon disappears as toddlers stick their fingers in their mouth, their drinks, their nose… obviously older children will hopefully show more restraint!



I thought the claim of it being a wash off formula might be a stretch of the truth but was pleasantly surprised by how easy it came off in the bath this evening, a little gentle rub and it was all off.

Great product for children, especially nail bitters, those prone to spillages and clumsy parents like myself who tend to knock over little bottles… as the nail polish comes off clothes easily too!

The 9ml bottles retail at £9.95 each and are available to buy from Harrods and their own website.  I definitely think it is worth it because of the ease of removing the nail polish.  No more harsh solvents just happy little hands and feet.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Hooray for chocolate

It’s so nice to be back in doors, so I can slowly defrost.  I had the start of hypothermia nipping at my heels, whilst myself and the youngest explored the sand dunes for over an hour ensuring he met his fresh air quota!

It was like walking the gauntlet just with the sheer amount of dog mess everywhere!  I love the beach but I do not love the inconsiderate dog owners, who make it a nightmare with an inquisitive toddler, more than once in this family sand castles have been decorated by dried out poo, that the boys have mistook for stones…

So today I took a metal spoon with us and told youngest to search for treasure, but put myself on constant "poo watch".  After digging up large stretches of the beach I did finally manage to persuade him to leave for the warmer climes of our central heated house!

On arrival home he promptly emptied the sand contained in his Wellingtons on to the carpet. 




And then started his next series of WHY questions…

All this after a sleep-deprived night as youngest kindly shared our bed as he was coughing from 3am, is leaving me a little fraught!

I think its time to crack open the chocolate, luckily Kit Kat has sent me some samples to test.  They may just have saved my sanity…

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

tom’s toys Wooden Harmonica Review

My boys have been chosen to be part of a team of toy testers for tom’s toys; hence I can now proudly display another badge for you all to oooohh over.

We were sent the Wooden Harmonica in blue which retails for £4.  The harmonica was very well made, it endured lots of man handling by my two boys, who were very pleased to add it to their toy collection.


They already own one harmonica so its lovely they can now duet together!  Even though I thought my ears might bleed at one point from the racket, their happy faces more than made up for it!




The boys liked the design; it featured a helicopter which appealed to their love of all vehicles.  It was very easy to use and would suit children of most ages and fits nicely into a child's hand.

If you don't currently have a harmonica at your disposal, I would definitely recommend purchasing this one and start fine-tuning your childs musical talent!  Who knows they could be on Britain's Got Talent before you know it!  Well I keep hoping anyway, I need someone to keep me in the life of tea and biscuits I have grown accustomed too...

This item is part of the fantastic pocket money range, you can learn more about that hereThere is a huge selection to chose from which would take the stress out of picking suitable party bag fillers or just for buying little affordable treats for your child for good behaviour, perhaps linked into a weekly reward chart.

You can see more on the website.

Organix Veg and Oat Bar Review

When my boys were younger our house was dominated with snacks from the Organix brand, the fruit bars being a firm favourite so I am intrigued that they have brought out a savoury version.



We were sent a pack of the Tomato and Carrot Veg and Oat bars to sample.  I wondered what kind of reaction these would have with my boys.  Youngest was fairly excited when he saw the box and tucked into one quite happily until I made the fatal error of asking him was that nice? Suddenly he was trying to pick out the orange bits he no longer liked…


At this quite defiant age, if I had not said anything he would still be munching away contentedly.  His friend who is seven months younger absolutely loved her bar.  We left the rest of the box for her, as she could not get enough of them.


I think these are a great snack for children aged over 12 months, I confess I had a nibble but it was not for me!  Still am pleased Organix are helping take away some of the stress faced by us parents attempting (and often struggling!) to ply our children with veggies.  These bars making the process much easier!

The Veg and Oat bars are currently available to buy from Tesco and in the near future from Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Boots and Asda.  RRP £2.49.

You can find out more about Organix here.

You can also follow them on facebook and twitter.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Itsyourstory.co.uk review

We were given the opportunity to send in pictures of us as a family and have a lovely book made by Itsyourstory.co.uk.

As a family, books are very important to us, both my boys have heaps on their strained bookshelves and we enjoy ending the day with a bedtime story (or two or three depending on how much the boys try and push their luck!).  But for us all to actually appear in a book and for the boys to have their names feature is quite something else.


Ordering the book was a very easy process, with clear instructions when personalising, showing correct and incorrect pictures.  All of which helped ensure we got a splendid book through the post.


We picked the Amazing Family - child + sibling for £17.50.  The boys were so excited to see themselves as superhero’s and grinned like mad cheshire cats!

I think hubbie was quite pleased too seeing my picture on top of a skinny tightly clad lyrca wearing lady!

 
Eldest laughed at my X-ray vision super powers in the story, as I was keeping an eye through the walls as his character was meant to be sleeping.  But as he was actually hidden in a tent reading a comic and munching on snacks, eldest thought that was hilarious.  Hope he is not getting any crafty ideas of his own…

I would definitely recommend this company for their wonderful books, you can purchase a wide assortment of themes on their website, so there will be something to appeal to every child.  Here’s hoping if you fill them with so much wonder and awe from seeing themselves in print that you might just get away with one bedtime story… it worked for us tonight!!!
 
You can find out more and purchase through their website.
 
You can also follow on facebook and twitter

Very Lazy Posh Sausage Casserole Review

The cooking gene sadly passed on to my brother who can knock up a mean meal just by looking at the ingredients.

So I could not pass by the opportunity to try out a cooking concentrate from the Very Lazy range.  Especially with such a fantastic brand name, having missed plenty of sleep over the years, I do have moments of feeling Very Lazy!

Coming back from the epic play date on Saturday we were all pretty worn out so it was with great relief we knew we had the holy grail of cooking sauces hidden in the cupboard to make the cooking process MUCH easier!!!

The instructions were very simple to follow and you only needed to add 8 sausages, an onion and 200ml of water.  An hour later you have a delicious family meal to sit down and enjoy, which you can accompany nicely with mashed potato or in our case we had dauphinoise potatoes, carrots and snap peas.

It smelt delicious when it was cooking and it’s a shame my mum was not passing by so I could have pretended to have been slaving in the kitchen for hours preparing this culinary delight. 

The boys even ate their sausages with a little bit of the sauce, which for them is quite an achievement, as they only usually only like ketchup with EVERYTHING…


I did not know how much the cooking concentrate cost until after I sampled it and I really thought it would have cost more than the £1.92 it retails as, I was very pleasantly surprised!

You can read more about the Very Lazy brand here. 

Or follow them on facebook and on twitter

Saturday, 21 January 2012

A simple click, help support the NSPCC

For every 'Like' on the Sudocrem Facebook page Sudocrem will donate 50p to the NSPCC.

Sudocrem have pledged to donate £25,000 in total to the NSPCC to help protect babies and prevent abuse to children.


It will cost you NOTHING but make a HUGE difference, so please take one second out of your busy day and just press like!  Tell your friends, family, anyone who will listen to do the same J

There is plenty to read about nappy rash at the Sudocrem website, causes, advice and treatment.

One Born Every Minute: Rule Breakers

I have always been quite conservative in life; quite tame as a teenager, more nerdy than rebellious I was little trouble for my parents.  Very studious, nose always in a book! 

I tried smoking and thought it was disgusting so quit before I started.  I spoke to one friend who said she thought it was gross too, but stuck with it.  

“Why in heavens would you do that?”

“Because it was cool…”

But I eventually obviously broke my conventional mould as six months into my new relationship with now hubbie, we had got engaged, I had got myself pregnant and we were married.

It was literally a month of dating when my now hubbie asked my dad for my hand in marriage, am surprised he did not blanch at that, but I guess they just did not know the rest would follow on so quickly… There was a definate moment of panic for my parents accepting the speed at which everything else happened.

My mum found it hard me being pregnant outside of wedlock and was worried the reverend would not marry us, but luckily he was a lovely fellow that had no qualms as long as we were dedicated to each other it was enough for him.


I had come out of a long-term serious relationship, which had lasted eight years so I guess I did not want to hang about after wasting so much time on the wrong guy.  So I just fast-forwarded our relationship!

This post will be linked up to Netmums

Roaming peacocks

Has just come back from a lovely play date.  Hubbie was on tender hooks when we were outside though as our friends have two peacocks that roam the grounds.  The thing that scares him most in the whole world for some reason is peacocks…

So the entire time he kept one eye on the horizon just in case one appeared out of nowhere and ruffled its feathers at him. It is quite entertaining to watch, at one point I said I thought I heard one coming and he darted back into the house.

Youngest collecting flowers for mummy:


My friends live in a gorgeous cottage, they served us delicious homemade soup, and I must admit I was very reluctant to leave.  It was the perfect play date, the six children played well together.  Apart from the small matter of hubbie’s raised blood pressure from intensive peacock watch, we passed a very pleasant four hours together.


At one point I asked, “Oh is that cabinet for your power tools?” Thinking how clever having somewhere to keep them locked safely from their curious toddler…

“No” came the reply “that’s for our guns”

Yikes lol!


Friday, 20 January 2012

Jelly Belly Review

We were sent the impressive 600g 50 flavour box to review (RRP £22.98), this is definitely a gift for any Jelly Belly connoisseur, as you can savour the taste of lots of amazing flavours.  I have been able to get hubbie to do a wide range of chores by dangling a Jelly Belly bean in front of him.

As a parent it is very reassuring to see that Jelly Belly have a section on their website dedicated to eating sugar in moderation, you can read all about it here.  Taking this on board I ensured my boys had a few beans to sample at a time so they could really enjoy the bursts of flavour.  After all little boys need some sugar energy especially with the way my two dart about everywhere!

Jelly Belly also sent five 30g packets; I ensured I shared Jelly Belly love to all my friends’ children.  Each time I had a play date; I gave a couple as a special treat.  The children were receptive to them but the occasional flavour if it didn’t hit the spot would be spat out and remain stuck to my carpet…  Hubbie, the adult parents and myself obviously did not follow this technique you will be pleased to hear!

The children quite enjoyed the beans giving tongues different colours; mine was blue for a while!  Much to the amusement of my mummy friend who wanted it to remain like that for the school run…


Here we have a fetching blue chin variety of toddler...

I would have happily given Jelly Belly beans as wedding favours back when I got married.  I think these would have gone down really well, amongst the adults and children alike.  I would much prefer these to the standard fake champagne bottle of bubbles, something you can really relish and take your time over if you feel yourself nodding of in the speech section of the wedding!!!

They have also brought out a Beanaturals range, which is free from all artificial colourings and ingredients.  Each bean can take up to 25 days to create with this kind of care and attention lavished on each bean how can you not help but fall in love with them…



We score these 5/5

You can find out more and purchase from the website.

You can also follow on facebook

Jelly Belly also realise its very important to watch carefully when your children are eating any sweets to mininise the potential danger of choking.  You can see more extremely helpful advice here.

If you would like to enter the prize draw for a gift pack of 50 flavours of Jelly Belly Beans (RRP £22.98), please enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Bullying A Parent’s Guide Review

I am quite happy living in my bubble where only nice things happen.  Bullying is not something any parent likes to think would happen to their cherished children.  But the sad reality is it is a common problem in most, if not all, schools.

Given that I cried today reading Floss the Sheepdog to my youngest (he had to live outside and couldn’t play ball with the children when he wanted to, it was very emotional.  Well for me anyway!), I bet I will struggle when it comes to dealing with the BIG issues.

So it is good I am armed with this book from Mummy News to review, so I have somewhere to turn to for advice and to increase my awareness.  As it as been written by a survivor of bullying, it seems very grounded in solid practical advice, and not by some clueless academic who has not experienced bullying first hand.




The book gives you suggestions on how to build your child’s self esteem so they are better equipped to deal with bullies.  The book is also scattered with lots of examples of children’s experiences of being bullied, which is heartbreaking to read, but also informative.

I was a natural target myself at school, a bit nerdy, wore glasses (a lot to be said for having laser eye surgery!) and attired in clothes that on balance were not fashionable for their time.  I managed to make some key friends and survive the experience. 

Knowledge is power, this book will help you recognise the signs if your child is being bullied and hiding it from you and teach you the tactics to get them to open up to you.

The book can be currently purchased from Amazon for a bargain of £8.99.  At this price its quite affordable for every parent to purchase it ready just incase.  I hope that you may never need it, but it will be available for support and help for your child if required.

Can I go back in my bubble now?