Saturday, 22 December 2012

Sponsored Video: Samsung A Note To Santa

My boys love the yearly ritual of writing the letter to Santa.  It is a magical moment, seeing the enthusiasm on their faces and the wonderment in their eyes, as they carefully plan what they would like.  Youngest needed me to help with the writing but with a Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 he could have copied and pasted bits from other places and done a visual representation of what he wanted.  Which might have been a good idea as his first draft for Santa included a shoe with a handle… luckily his second edition was more workable!

Eldest was slightly concerned if he wrote more on his list than Skylanders, Santa might get distracted and pick something else, with the GALAXY Note 10.1 facilities I am sure his letter could have been quite clear!  Lily the little girl in the video, copies a picture of the perfect bike for her, so Santa has plenty of help to get it just right (averting any Christmas day tantrums phew!). 



It is funny seeing Santa planning his workload with the same technology.  Then the busy Elves having present lists to work through and needing to search how to make certain items… Pulling off Christmas is quite a momentous event after all, so it’s only natural to see Santa and the Elves requiring the best technology at their fingertips (us parents could do with that kind of help!).

Next year I am not sure if pen and paper will satisfy my two.  Christmas can be traditional and modern at the same time; the video goes to show how well they both combine!  Tempted check out more about the Galaxy Note here.

This post is sponsored by Samsung

Friday, 21 December 2012

Skype at Christmas

We rely on Skype ourselves, the boys enjoy seeing their grandparents, aunty and uncle and cousins, who live so far away, we do not get to see them very often unfortunately.  They can interact so much more seeing each other’s faces, how they respond to their jokes and silly antics.  But Skype can mean lots more.

It is really moving watching this video seeing how technology can really make a difference to people’s lives.  Seeing children animated and happy watching a pantomime remotely is very touching.  It is wonderful that Skype can be there to support and engage everyone.  For children who are restricted to a hospital bed, it’s more magical to bring the Christmas spirit to them, having the chance to see the pantomime and laugh and giggle as if they were actually there themselves.  It must be so hard for the parents knowing their children will not be home for Christmas, but it seems various companies and of course the staff at the hospital really know how to make a difference at this time of year.  Who would think you would be able to see Peter Pan live from Llandudno’s Venue Cymru all the way at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

I was really saddened to read in the newspaper about presents having been stolen from this hospital, presents bought from the charity fund.  People tirelessly fundraise to bring cheer to the children there at Christmas and its heart wrenching to read that anyone would be so callous as to steal these.  But companies like Skype give me hope for the good in the world.  I think as parents we need to know about that good.  I admit I brushed away a tear watching this video.

Sponsored by Spreaditfast

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Tis the Season to be Jolly

I have been tagged by the lovely Attachment Mummy to answer some Christmassy questions.  Seeing as it’s less than a week away now and I do love this time of year (I do have a penchant for mince pies and Christmas pudding after all!) I thought I better get on the case! 

What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?

I love the build up, the first sightings of Christmas tree’s (and decorating our own), the start of the many grotto visits, hearing my boys practising for their school performances (snippets of song filling the house!) and I am especially fond of the Christmas food, although I would gladly avoid sprouts at all costs!  Nasty green vegetable!!!  The day itself is so magical seeing their faces having their Christmas stocking and later their presents from Santa.  I would quite happily have nothing on the day itself, all I want is the pleasure of seeing two very happy contented faces.


Demonstrating the how not to decorate your tree pose!

What is your favourite make-up look for the festive season?

I agree with Attachment Mummy washing my face is a luxury; time to actually preen myself is something of the past.  Actually to be fair even back then, I never really did more than a little token mascara, lip gloss is too sticky, it drives me mad.  I am also not that keen on the suffocating feel of foundation on my skin!  I am a low maintenance girl through and through, if you’re lucky I might brush my hair for you!

Real or Fake trees?

We have never had a real tree, I know they smell nice but I hear some people are driven to distraction with the falling needles.  I would like one to try at least once, but with a restricted budget and a perfectly competent fake tree (very large and quite beautiful) it’s a one-day kind of moment.  The cat seems content chewing on the fake tree as it is; I dread to think what he would be like with a real one!  No doubt scaling to the top in search of adventure…

Giving or receiving presents?

Definitely giving, I want to see if I choose well and if they seem happy, the boys especially.   Nothing beats their radiant smiles on Christmas day.  If I was given an ipad though, perhaps I might change my tune, but as it is my needs are quite small on the whole, choccies and some warm socks and I am a contented bunny!

Do you open your presents in the morning or evening?

The present opening commences in earnest in the morning, as long as everyone is up and washed (and dressed – my mum’s ideals!) then we can get stuck in!  Although this year I am going to see if we can get away with staying dressed in onesies for as long as possible!  Often the present opening goes on for many hours, as my boys used to get fatigued from all the unwrapping but as they have got older the amount of time to get through it all has reduced (and luckily the dog helps them out too!).

What’s your favourite Christmas film?

We love Elf and watch it over and over again.  I am keen to see what Arthur Christmas is about, so might be one to add to our list (when its reduced, currently £10 on Amazon, not going to happen!).  We enjoyed the Santa Clause the other day when it was on television.  We have the Muppets Christmas Carol, eldest loved it last year, after an initial reluctance when he thought the puppets looked a little scary.

What is your favourite Christmas food?

I love the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, but I think it’s the sweets that I look forward to the most; I very much enjoy the mince pies, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake and really go to town on all those dried fruit offerings!  My mum makes a rather delicious trifle too.  Cheese board does not interest me as I spend far too much of the year living on a plain cheese sandwich for lunch as it is!

I am going to tag Really Rachel, This Is Life, Katie Cupcake Cymru and Unique Young Mum ever hopeful they can take part, but given the proximity to Christmas and the long lists of tasks to do, I leave it to your discretion if you would like to get involved!

Christmas love to you all x

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Adopting an Elf

We have adopted one of Santa’s little helpers, through Elf on the Shelf, it was my mum's kind idea to give it to us.  We have named him Eddie, here he is tucked in our tree:


My mum hoped Eddie would help me out as what better incentive to behave than a elf quietly watching what they get up to and reporting directly back to the big man himself!  We started it with a flourish, very excited after reading the accompanying book with my two.  But as we started a fair few weeks back, I am running out of hiding spaces for him, I have a terrible memory so really have to wrack my brain in case Eddie has already hidden there!

Another problem is remembering to actually hide him ready for the morning, once we forgot (mean mummy I am!) as I went to the cinema with friends.  Luckily I used the excuse that youngest had touched him (rules of elf ownership are no touching of the elf, otherwise he loses his magic and cannot return to Santa supposedly!).  So thankfully I managed to get away with it.

I do love the idea though; just next year I will bring the little fellow out closer Christmas day!  But he has been a great asset, when they start playing up when we are out and about, I get my mobile phone and say I am going to ring Eddie and they are back in line behaving quick smart…

Monday, 17 December 2012

Abbey Home Media Releases

The boys were very happy to set eyes on the two DVD’s we were sent by Abbey Media.  We have had a chance to watch a little bit more on the TV with the nights drawing in, so finally had the opportunity to watch them.  With all the after school clubs it always seems a frantic dash everywhere, its time to start relaxing over the Christmas break, especially now they are both full of cold, sigh!


Both DVD’s would make lovely little stocking fillers.

Jelly Jamm: Radio Goomo

Was very colourful and filled with the adventures of five nutty friends.  My boys laughed lots at their silly antics.  Both were totally absorbed by it, the friends are like typical kids, squabbling, being loud and over excited.  Trying to work together (not always successfully) to solve problems (like getting the super loud radio off their friend before their ears explode!).  It shows children how better to deal with problems, if unhappy just telling their friend turned out easier than elaborate plans to try and remedy the situation!

In another episode one of the friends has jelly measles but wants to carry on and not admit he is poorly.  In the end he admits very reluctantly that he needs rest and medicine.  His friend stays to look after him and another friend stops them missing out on the beautiful aurora by making a series of mirrors transport the effect into their room.  Shows the value of friendship and how kind everyone can be to each other.

Available to buy from Amazon for £6.69

Almost Naked Animals: It’s My Party

Are quite a funny looking bunch of animals, going around in an assortment of underpants and having shaved off their fur.  Probably best suited for children five plus as it is quite bizarre but that made it more entertaining for me.  Anything to have a break from yet more Cbeebies, something to get me to giggle along with the boys! 

Howie makes an interesting manager for the tropical resort with his love of stunts and very tight fitting underpants!  There is an octopus character who is prone to moments of extreme panic, a karate practising chef pig and a bunny who arranges the activities and is very kind one minute and then extremely hostile the next!  A bunch of loveable oddballs but not sure if I would ever build up the courage book a room in their resort!

Available to buy from Amazon for £7.99

Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas Elf Competition

I love competitions, the chance of winning something shiny and new.  Space is a premium at our house, the boys toys are taking over, one day I will be found hidden under a pile of LEGO, having lost my way going about my daily life!  So entering a competition to win a Kindle Fire HD should help free up some room for those who hoard books!  Maybe then I could start to get on top of all the toys… I love reading, its very relaxing after a hard day parenting, so with this nifty gadget I would be in my element!

It is very simple to enter the competition (and also lots of fun) so I could not resist giving it a try.  You just need to head to the SSE facebook page and help out the elves.  It is a fabulous little game to get that festive feeling, although my hand is a little sore after manically tapping the arrow keys to get the poor elf sprinting to help charge the Kindle Fire HD.  I felt tired out just watching them, especially the little fella on the treadmill.  The guy holding the torch looks like he got off lightly when they were handing out tasks.  My laptop groaned as I gave the arrow keys such a vigorous workout!  My sympathies to the elf that got jumped on his tummy!  I think I would definitely be a torch bearing kind of elf!



You can find the game here.  It serves as a thank you from SSE at Christmas.  The prize would make a lovely gift for a special family member or close friend, but I would be sorely tempted to hang on to it for myself.  Although I definitely would not be reading books in the bath anymore with this piece of kit!  I do not mind dropping the odd paperback into the water, but not a Kindle Fire HD!!!

Entries must be received by 4pm on Tuesday 18 December to ensure that the winner gets their gift before Christmas!

You can find out more about SSE from their website.


This is a sponsored post

Christmas with Warner Brothers

We were sent a lovely Christmas stocking from our friends at Warner Brothers filled with a couple of Blu-ray films for the grownups and some candy canes and Lindt chocolate figures (a couple have been eaten prior to taking the photo, my boys move quick when it comes to chocolate!).  


I think films make great Christmas presents, with the cold weather, nothing beats tucking up nice and warm and watching some action, romance or a good family film together (ideally with lots of munchies)!

We had The Dark Knight Rises perfect for hubbie with an action packed opening scene with lots of fighting and rolling around on a plane floor.  Interesting accent of the main bad guy, Bane (possibly slightly dodgy!), “now is not the time for fear, that comes later”… Yet I was reliably informed though from my dear friend over at DaisychainBaby that he is actually very hot under that mask, so having learnt this I am more than willing to forgive him!

Hubbie said it would be awesome to have a bat cave in our house… oh dear!  I thought a decent action film in itself was a great present for Christmas but now he is aspiring for so much more… next thing he will be trying to make our little Nissan into the bat mobile!

Takes a bit of time to get into the swing of things… as Batman slowly returns to his superhero status after retiring, prior to that he manages to get his car pinched and has a rather lackluster approach to the latest gadgets, but eventually he gets into the swing of things and is back on form!


Available to buy from Amazon

We also had New Year’s Eve, which was more suited to me; I really enjoyed this, watching the very diverse characters go about their plans for the New Year celebrations (or try and avoid it altogether!).  Marriage, new babies on the way and the wish of a dying man, those that want to party hard and those who would rather curl up and stay in bed!

Very funny film with very real characters (lots of quality actors), this is one film I plan to watch again and again.  I laughed lots at the parents trying desperately to be the ones to have the first baby of the new year to win the $25,000, begging for a C-section after having had plans to chant calmly during the birth!

Quality quotes of a daughter trying to get her mum to let her stay out "I am 15 this is not a training bra!" - I am so not ready for when my two boys want to get out there with their mates, can I keep them tucked up at home FOREVER lol!


Available to buy from Amazon.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Even Skylanders are feeling festive

If your children are waiting with limited reserves of patience for Santa to bring Skylanders Giants for Christmas, perhaps you can keep them occupied for a little longer with a fun website to design your Skylanders Giants Christmas scene.  You can place them around a tree, a log cabin or an igloo and decorate the setting with lots of Christmas lights.  It is something to wile away the time, perhaps bring it out when you attempt to decorate the tree, that is always an interesting experience here!  Last year youngest sniffed up some packaging (so have not been in a hurry to decorate yet!).  Although if I do not start soon I do risk being slightly bah humbug, so shall start getting festive in a flourish! 

Here is how my eldest got on:


If you fancy showing your children head to the website.  You can then share their efforts with friends and family, saving on the postage and still spreading Christmas joy with a message on facebook or twitter instead!  All that spare money having no stamps to buy leaves you with more resources to stock up on the latest Giants instead.

Born to Toddle Review

I was sent a £20 voucher to pick some lovely bits and pieces from the Born to Toddle website.

The site is tailored for children 0-5 so with two boys aged 3 and 5 they were well catered for here.  So I had somewhat of a little struggle as there were so many great items to pick from, I settled for two from the arts and crafts section.  I also spent a little bit more of my own money, as I really liked what I saw to get a jigsaw to squirrel away for the Santa stash!  Another bargain for only £3.95 and one to help eldest know more about Britain and Ireland.

The Finger Painting Party Set was only £13.99 reduced from £21.95.  I was impressed with how much was included in the handy storage bag.  


Even when the paints were quickly exhausted (all over the paper, table, floor and walls!) we were left with useful tools for future arty sessions.  The tools helped create some interesting patterns and it was good for youngest to experiment with and get messy!  He was very proud of his attempts and luckily the paint was easy to wipe off everything with just a baby wipe (hooray for baby wipes they seem to magically clean everything!!!).


The second set was a Swirl ‘n Spin Art pack, but they do not appear to stock it now as I cannot find it, I guess everyone thought like I did, another interesting bargain to get the children involved in being creative so quickly bought them all.  They really have great presents for Christmas.  This is one site you should check back regularly to see the special offers before they disappear.

It is worth keeping an eye on their facebook page if you like competitions as they have given away a few £20 vouchers lately.  If I have not yet convinced you to head straight to their website then the words of the founder should inspire you:

“As we strive to provide children with a sense of adventure and excite them on their educational journey, I feel our products will help engage a child’s imagination and foster creativity”, Jacqui Greet, Co-Founder, Born to Toddle.com

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Fireman Sam Venus 2 in 1 Vehicle Playset

The boys were quite excited with their new set of wheels; the Venus 2 in 1 Vehicle Playset is lots of fun regardless of how much you like Fireman Sam.  My boys were quite big fans of the show and had a few bits and bobs dotted around the house, but do not watch it as often anymore.  Having said that this vehicle is so versatile it is definitely bringing Fireman Sam appreciation back to our house!


The boys were very impressed with real water shooting out of the hose, the tank can be removed, and so being portable no-where is safe from being drenched by them!  Obviously tackling imaginary fires is the true purpose but it was more hilarious for them seeing me have to get changed, as my bottoms were soaked through!!! Never take a picture of a child armed with a full water hose, whilst you try and get a good shot you leave ample opportunity for them to do there worst (whilst still somehow looking angelic!).  Having said that its lovely hearing their giggles and not arguing with each other for a change, so I took it all in good humour!


The little tools and Fireman Sam character pieces are a welcome addition to the set, so you can drive around and then have proper adventures.   Using the tools to rectify the situation, putting the barrier out to notify people of danger, use your fire beater (seriously I did not even know what a fire beater was until setting eyes upon this set, so very educational for me never mind the kids!!!) to sort out the fires and the axe and spade to do other tasks fitting for the role.  All in all this is the perfect toy for imaginary play and comes complete with lots of sounds and phrases to complete the experience.


The Fireman Sam range of products are available to buy from Asda.

UKMUMS.TV have a rather fabulous competition that ends on the 17th of December to win a £250 shopping spree at Asda (just think of all the cake, wine and chocolate you could buy if you win!!!) and £100 worth of Fireman Sam goodies.  The competition closes at 9am Monday 17th December and can be found on their website.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Sponsored Video: Boots Christmas Advert

I love how everything is gearing up for Christmas, the festive adverts, the Christmas music, and the mainly mince pie diet…  I am turning a blind eye to the Easter eggs I have seen dotted around our local supermarket (seriously!!!).   I am focusing on all that is shiny and glitters and relishing in the 14 short sleeps till Christmas.

I cannot wait to see the reactions of everyone I know and love when they open their presents, I get more excited about giving than receiving these days (as long as there is something chocolaty wrapped up for me I am a happy bunny!).  I have tried to pick presents that will last longer than the day itself; I want them to really enrich the lives of my nearest and dearest.  It is great when a present can open up new opportunities (or adventures), life needs a bit of excitement and Christmas is the perfect time for it!

The advert seems so natural as it actually has real families on it, instead of actors faking the feeling of family cohesion.  It’s all about well thought out presents, really making a difference for the ones they love.  My favourite part is the saying “let’s make you into a unicorn” as the little girl styles her dog’s hair!  Am glad it’s not only my poor pets that get harassed by the kids!  Although that dog seems to be enjoying the pampering quite nicely, thank you very much!



Visit the official Boots website for inspiration.

This is a sponsored post for Boots, but all thoughts are my own

Rachel’s Organic Review

We were sent some lovely samples to enjoy, lots of rice pudding pots perfect to warm us up on cold autumn days and pot after pot of delicious limited edition apple and cinnamon yogurt.  We also had plenty of little pots of natural yogurt, which we could also use in our baking.  My mum was very pleased with this delivery and was soon tucking into the apple and cinnamon yogurt with relish.  My dad eyed up the rice pudding pots, so I let him leave with a handful of them, because it’s nice to share.  Although it is hard to share nice things, but luckily there was plenty left for the boys and myself to enjoy.

Rachel’s Organic have plenty of tasty recipes for you to follow on their website.

We tried the Chocolate Cake.  We have a tendency to just use icing sugar and butter as our cake topping, but it was great using chocolate, cream and Rachel’s Organic low fat natural yogurt instead.  It was less sweet but still very satisfying, nice and chocolaty.

Ingredients

25g cocoa powder, sifted 3 tbsp water, hot 225g margarine, 225g caster sugar 300g self raising flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 4 eggs, 2 tbsp Rachel’s Low Fat Natural Yogurt

Icing

150g dark chocolate, 100g double cream, 100g Rachel’s Low Fat Natural Yogurt, 2 tubes of Smarties

Makes: 12-16 Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a small tray bake tin measuring 30 x 23cm

2. Measure the cocoa and water into a small bowl and mix well to form a smooth paste

3. In a mixing bowl add all the other ingredients and beat well until creamed, fluffy and light in colour


Then add the cocoa paste and mix again. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin

4. Bake for about 25 – 35 minutes, until springy to touch. Check by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean the cake is cooked. Transfer to a cooling rack and leave to completely cool in the tin

5. To make the icing, heat the chocolate with the cream in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and stir until melted. Leave to one side to thicken and cool slightly then add the yogurt


6. When the cake has cooled, pour over the icing and spread with a palette knife and decorate


Tip: This cake freezes really well with or without the icing 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Children’s Film Villains

My children are getting a taste for children’s animated films, especially with us watching a few more with the colder weather keeping us indoors more.  We have a habit of decluttering our own films and selling dvds to make a few quid, but the boys collection keeps growing as they happily watch their favourites again and again.  They have even taken a shine to some of the villains.

Boingo from Hoodwinked

With a name like Boingo and a characteristically cute demeanour you have no idea he is the naughty guy, he seems to go around hopping and being friendly (if not a little nosey!).  But all this is just a big smoke screen for his plan to steal the fairy tale recipes.  A pint-sized villain goes to show they can come in all sizes, even with cottontails and big disarming bunny eyes (trust no one!).


Henry J. Waternoose from Monsters, Inc.

The main man himself in his dapper clothes and kind and caring nature for his employees does not seem a natural villain, but yet again we are deceived and he is up to no good, kidnapping sweet innocent children and getting them to scream to generate energy to power the city of Monstropolis.  Moral of the story do not trust over friendly bosses…


Vector from Despicable Me

I love this guy, he has a pet shark, he seems to be a great evil mastermind, but manages still to be conned by three adorable little girls selling cookies.  He has a certain lovable nerdy naivety.  Plus daddy kindly bankrolls him, after all if you’re planning on being an evil villain this really helps, as watching the pennies and budgeting would not seem sinister enough somehow!!!


Mother Gothel from Tangled

I love a mean mother type always makes me feel like I am coping better and the boys aren't doing too badly.  With all intents and purposes Mother Gothel seems loving and kind, she lets Rapunzel have a pet, keeps her in relatively nice accommodation (admittedly locked up in a tower, but great views!) and has hobbies to follow, but she is plainly there to keep Gothel young and beautiful (has she not heard of decent face creams!).  Be weary villains are not all after the fame and glory some just want to look pretty!!!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Tots100 Team Skylanders Entry

Here is the entry of my eldest into the Tots100 competition.

Meet Squeeze

Squeeze is the creation of my five year old, thinking outside the box the snake had to have wheels and is wearing a baseball hat, I asked him why the baseball hat and his reply was “so he protects his head from baddies”… (Yes the well-known protective shielding powers of the humble baseball hat bless him!!!).  Squeeze has wheels so he can supposedly drive on any train tracks and get away quickly (so Skylanders we need lots of train tracks in the game please!).


Squeeze has lots of ownage powers, as you can hear about in the video:

Friday, 7 December 2012

When you have a bump

No I am not talking about the one you sport when your pregnant but rather the one that happens when another car, truck, lorry, flying saucer (delete as applicable) knocks into your car.  I have a license but rarely drive so am clueless to the formalities when it comes to being in a car that gets bumped (I was a passenger on this occasion).  


It is easy when you’re anxious, it’s quite a shock after all, to forget to get the right information.  Never has it been so important as when the driver in question then changes the story when it comes to telling they’re insurance. 

To help you out:

At all times have some paper and pen in your car (ready to whip out if needed and get all the important stuff detailed!)

Make sure you get witnesses there and then, take their names and contact details (of any drivers, pedestrians, passengers that may have seen what happened).

Details of the other car (registration number and colour)

Insurance details of the other driver

If a police officer is attending get all their relevant information

If you have a camera (even using your phone) take photographs to document everything (damage to the vehicle, road position)

Make a note of weather conditions, road markings etc, anything that might come in useful when you submit your claim

It goes without saying help out any people who are injured first, but if you’re all okay just a little shaken it’s important to get everything in order and do these things.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

love 2 read Personalised Book Review

We were sent a fabulous book completely tailored for my eldest.  I love the idea behind this company; you pick the pictures and the text and create a one off book for your child.  There are plenty of guidelines and it was very simple to do, at the moment we are trying to do as much as possible to encourage a passion for reading in my five year old.  He is coming along well and this book is a great asset to help his ability, but it’s hard to keep him motivated.  Although having seeing pictures of himself, his brother and family has definitely spurned him on.

Priced at £14.99 with postage on top this is more than I would normally spend on a book, but given the uniqueness of the finished article I think it is worth the money.  Plus there are savings to be made for multiple book orders, which is helpful.  It is a small book (but probably ideal for youngsters attention spans), however it is filled with memories.  If you are struggling with sibling rivalry like I often think I am, you can make a book and fill it with pictures of each of them to try and foster better relationships between everyone!  Eldest had a book packed with how much fun his brother and him have, how they enjoy visiting places and exploring.  


But I also had enough room to fit in some of his favourite things too (Skylanders had to have a mention of course!).


The picture and text quality were good.  I like how each picture is in a frame on the page, so visually appealing.  There is also a “can you read the words page?” – with a couple of the most common words used in your story.  I think it would be better if you could actually have six different words here, rather than two words repeated three times each. 

I think I pitched some of the book correctly but did choose a few tricky words to challenge him, but the beauty of this company is you can cater the book to whatever level you choose, with a few or lots of words per page.

Eldest liked the page showing nine of the photographs again, he then recapped and elaborated without the help of the words in the book.  It is a good prop building discussion about the photo’s, developing his comprehension further.

To find out more head to the love 2 read website.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Pet Plan Vet Awards

As crazy as pets can be, it goes without saying we want the best care for them.  Even when they drive us crackers with their antics, we love them as one of the family and they love us back unconditionally (well more so our dog than the two cats, for them it largely depends on their mood!).

When my poor dog cut her leg on her walk as someone carelessly left broken glass, it was the impressive work of our local vet that had her back on her paws in no time.  It was a moment of sheer panic until the reassurance from that kind member of staff kept me grounded, before I passed out from the sight of all the blood!  

Petplan is letting you have a chance to thank your vet for moments like these with their vet awards, you can find out more information and nominate your chosen practice or individual person here.  It is very quick and easy to submit your vote (no need to leave the comfort of your own home and dash off anywhere like the poor dog in the video below!).  So its worth taking a few moments of your time to recognize your vet (that and you also will go into a draw to win one of three weekend escapes, which includes two-nights accommodation at a pet friendly hotel in the UK). The thought of a few nights away is enough of a lure to entice me to vote right now...
This article was sponsored by Spreaditfast, but all thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Lakeland Fairy Tale Cottage Mould

Finally on the second attempt we managed to make the adorable chocolate cottage.  First attempt was no fault of Lakeland, just rather I got peckish seeing all the Cadbury’s chocolate and did not melt it down in time, it went straight into my tummy!  So I had to keep you all on tender hooks until I had a chance to restock my chocolate supplies and try again.

The mould was very easy to use (we had the Lakeland chocolate melting pot make light work of melting the chocolate) and the end result is impressive.  We could have spent longer decorating but the boys were eyeing up the chocolate and Smarties wistfully and it was only a matter of time before the chomping commenced!


The walls were made of thick chocolate, so very moreish!  I had to have a cup of tea straight away and get in on the house eating before it was demolished!  I think this is a perfect festive treat, with older children you can really go to town decorating it too, so quite a fun activity for all the family with the added value of being a tasty edible indulgence afterwards.


We mainly stuck with milk chocolate except where we ran short and improvised with some dark chocolate we had in (for the hidden walls).  But you can of course use white chocolate as well or a combination of all of them to make a chocoholics delight!  I love the picture Lakeland have on their website, with white chocolate button slates (complete with sprinkles) on the roof and other lovely detailing around the windows and snow frosted garden.  
Our higgledy-piggledy attempt may not be visually outstanding it was however a great first attempt and now we shall have an incentive to improve through the years.  A chocolate house at Christmas I have a feeling will be something lots more families’ start doing as time goes on!  For £11.99 the mould is superb quality that will fare you well as you create your own masterpieces, you could make Chocolate cottages as presents for family members (and then visit shortly afterwards to help them eat it!).

The mould is easy to wash clean afterwards.  You can also use the mould to make gingerbread creations but I think chocolate is where my heart is!  Head to the website to order your own.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Jokers' Masquerade Review

We were sent a Kids Batman fancy dress costume (£19.49) for youngest to review, but as I ordered the size medium it fitted eldest better so he inherited his third costume in the last week, the lucky thing!  Although youngest will be able to grow into it and enjoy some fabulous Batman adventures soon enough, especially at the rate he is growing!

The costume was exceptionally well made, hardy enough to handle whatever crime fighting antics your little superhero gets up to!  With built in ripped muscles and a flowing cape, they are all set to take on the Penguin and the Joker.  There are plenty more Kids Superhero fancy dress costumes to pick from, so everyone in the family can get involved, even the grownups.

Demonstrating the immense span of his new bat cape!  The cape is attached to the mask, its great because it does not cover the whole face and this way children are more likely to keep it on!  Especially as the cape is rather cool!


Having been so pleased with my experience of Jokers' Masquerade they were my first port of call for a Kids Christmas fancy dress outfit as eldest is playing the part of a reindeer in his school show.  He looks so damn adorable in it!  Forget the superhero’s everyone should consider dressing their children as reindeer!  All together now awwwww....


I am happy with my experience of this company as my items both arrived quickly.  If your struggling to get your children sorted for the school plays and shows at this time of year, its so quick and easy to order from them.  Forget trying to make a costume I am too sleepy, I feel like hibernating this time of year, not sewing and fixing and mending some materials into a work of art!  For £14.99 you cannot grumble at all!