Monday, 21 October 2013

Winter's coming.... oh, hang on!

I am soaked! I only walked a few metres to T and J's school to pick them up but I got drenched! I look like a drowned rat.

Don't get me wrong, I love the rain. When I don't have to go anywhere and can curl up in my duvet and listen to it outside. But when I have to go somewhere, I hate the stuff! We get soggy, my shoes don't dry properly and I feel cold.

I actually prefer the snow - at least you can have fun in the snow, throwing snowballs and making snowpeople.

So hurry up snow please!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Please don't share!!

At one point we've all seen it. Friends or family on Facebook sharing random pictures. Some are Memes and are really funny! Some are of missing people and I always share these in the hope that it will reach that one person that holds vital information! Some are of scammy competitions, I spend ages trying to explain to some that they are fake and so noticeably fake! Like the current one, "Argos." see the fullstop? That's how you know it's fake! Facebook really need to clamp down on these pages, especially the ones offering 1,692 iPads because the security film is damaged and they can't sell them! (!!) I mean, really?

But they're not the posts that concern me most.

It's those ones of abused babies and children. The latest, about a boy called "Chris" who was supposedly murdered by his own father. I know this happens. A few posts ago I wrote about the subject. I'm not trying to hide the fact that it happens. Far from it! But, tell me, what good does it do to share the picture of the little baby black and blue? It won't stop it from happening to someone else. All you are doing is giving the person / people who abused that poor child the attention that they crave.

By all means, share a post of writing. Tell the world, or at least your friends, family and any followers, how you feel about this and to report anything they feel is even the slightest suspicious. Babies don't have a voice. We adults are their voices, we need to protect them!

So please think hard before you share that picture again. We need to help these innocent children but not by sharing the pictures of their abuse.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Do you Trick or Treat?

From the moment they are born, all we, as parents, want to do is protect our children. When they are old enough to understand, we drum into them the dangers of life around us. How to cross the road safely, how medicines are not sweets, why it's not a good thing to pull your little brother around by his arm (yep, I've had that!). One of the most important things we teach them, especially in this day, is not to talk to strangers. My worst fear as a parent is someone snatching my child.

 So why is it that every year we allow our children to knock on doors unknown. We dress them up in little costumes and let them get sweeties from all those who like to open their door. Yep, I'm talking about Halloween.

 It's only been the last couple of years that I've allowed the kids to go out on Halloween. J was almost three when we first took him out. Dressed in his little Skeleton outfit, he looked really cute. I only allowed them to visit people that we knew in the area, yet they still managed a bag-full each of different sweets and treats.

Last years costumes!

However, the following day while walking down my nans street, J started to walk up someone's path. When I asked what he was doing, he replied so innocently "I'm trick-n-treating mum! I want some more sweeties!"

It made me stop in my tracks. my almost-three year old was linking knocking on doors to getting sweeties. What had I done? It made me realise why so many parents don't allow their kids to go out "Trick or Treating". It also made me think how many did and allowed them to knock on strangers doors! Why do parents spend the time to inform their kids of the dangers yet freely allow them once a year?!

How about you? Do you let your children go? Do they go alone or you do take them? Do they knock strangers doors?

I am quite excited this year, as it's Baby B's first Halloween and I've bought him the cutest little Frankenstein costume!

The girls haven't decided what to dress up as yet, but I've heard some whispers about Smurfs. J wants to dress up as a skeleton again (for the third year running!). I'm even going to attempt some Jack O'Lanterns this year! 

Considering last year’s event I think it’s a smart choice to chaperone them again this year until I feel like they’re at an age where they understand the hazards involved and can do it safely on their own…it’s not all fun and games you know. This costume infographic from fancy dress ball (scroll to bottom of page) has some excellent ideas if you like me are chaperoning again this year and will give you some food for thought if you want to spook not only the kids, but also put a scare into the neighbours.

Some tips for a safe "Trick or treat!":

  • Please remember that, although the costumes look lovely, in darkened areas they aren't so easy to spot! Get some reflection badges or bangles - they are cheap to buy and make seeing a child so much easier!
  • If your children are going out alone, make sure they understand the dangers of knocking on strangers doors.
  • Make sure you keep an eye on your group when you go out. With some lovely costumes available it's likely that other children have the same one - it's so easy to grab a hand of the wrong child.
  • Don't let them eat too many sweets! Apart from being bad for their teeth, too much sugar means very hyper kiddies before bed! Not a great thing, believe me!

If the weather is bad we'll be staying in and playing some games! We'll be playing "Pin the foot on the skeleton", dunking for apples and spider treasure hunt! I think I'll get the kids to carve some pumpkins too!

I’m still wondering if there’s a reasonable way to dissociate Halloween from the notion of getting treats…any ideas?

Have any of you made any cool Jack O’Lanterns?

We hope you all have fun on Halloween this year, but please remember to be safe!

This post was a collaboration :)

Monday, 14 October 2013

The Anagranimals & The Wishing Tree review and giveaway!

Our household is a big reading one. We love books. If we go on a long journey, we all have a book in our hands. If we go on holiday, we all take our books. If we want some quiet time, we get the books out. We've always encouraged books as we believe it helps contribute to a childs intelligence and vocabulary range. With reading tests in school, C and T have always been above average. In their last tests, C was 5 years older in reading level and T was 3 years older. I hope J and Baby B follow!

When we were sent "The Anagranimals and the Wishing Tree" book written by Leith Moghli, the kids couldn't wait to read it!

It is aimed at 5-9 year olds, but each of the kids really enjoyed the story (and the pictures!)

 The story is about 6 animals who wish they could do things that other animals can do. They literally bump into a magical tree. This tree is a Wishing Tree, and it grants each animal a wish!

J loved looking through the book himself, but he loved T reading it to him too. He said he'd like to see animals change in real life. I'm not sure I would like to see a Leo-Tiga-Mur!!

The book has an open ending for another story "The Anagranimals and the Weeping Willow". We are looking forward to any future releases, especially J!

It's such a warm and fun story that any child will enjoy! In fact, that any person will, as I enjoyed it just as much as the kids did!

Thanks to Leith Moghli, I have 1 signed, first edition copy of The Anagranimals & the Wishing Tree to give away! All you have to do is complete the Rafflecopter below.

The first four options are mandatory and you MUST complete all four to be entered. The other options are free for you to choose from. If you have any problem trying to enter, please see my guide on how to enter.

Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Versatile Blogger Award

I've been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award! Many thanks to Linda @ Mother Distracted for the nomination!

"What is the Versatile Blogger Award?" I hear you ask.

Well, it's an awesome way of showing up and coming blogs to you, the readers, to have a nosy at and enjoy! The rules are simple;
(1) You must add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your post
(2) Thank the blogger who nominated you
(3) Write 7 random facts about yourself
(4) Nominate 7 other bloggers.

7 random facts about me!
Hmmm, just 7? Haha, I have a lot more than 7 but here goes!

(1) I absolutely LOVE Gizmo - you know, the cute little gremlin. Not the ones that destroy everything, the cute brown and white little thing. I even bought a Gizmo Furby when I was younger!

(2) I rock at Guitar Hero! We always play it as a family and I always win! I still can't master Through the fire and flames on expert though, but I'm happy with that! Have you seen how hard it is? See this video if not!

(3) My secret weird crush is Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. He is so awesome - the things he comes out with sends me into fits of giggles. I want a Sheldon Cooper - so much I was even thinking about naming Baby B "Sheldon"!

(4) I was a young mum. I found out I was pregnant just after finishing my GCSE exams. My doctor initially told me the reason I was constantly being sick was due to gastroenteritis and stress. The tablets he prescribed me could have caused miscarriage or early labour!  I was 16 years and 10 months old when C was born and I wouldn't change her for the world!

(5) I love doing cross-stitching! I did one whilst I was in hospital with C (long story, will blog about it soon) - it was a gorgeous Winnie The Pooh sample with her names, date of birth and weight. I haven't started T's yet, but will do soon.

(6) When I was a teen, I had Bell's Palsy. The left side of my face wouldn't "work" properly. My eye wouldn't shut, if I smiled the left side would stay still, but my body was fine. My doctor said it was very rare for a child of my age to get it, let alone a female of my age! You can still see the effects of it in my face, my eye is a little droopy and my smile is crooked.

(7) I started smoking when I was 13. I smoked for 11 years, but I quit 5 years ago. I'm very proud of myself for that!

7 bloggers I nominate:

(1) Jacqui & Kelly's Us Two Friends - very good friends of mine and well worth a read!

(2) Lucy's The Parent Game - pop on over for a wonderful read.

(3) Su's Soosie Wales - a fellow Welshie, pop on over!

(4) Christine's Mummy of 3 Diaries - this lady has a lot of choccy as competitions. No good for my diet! Haha

(5) Erika's Eclectic Enchantments - a new blogger but a lady after my own heart! And I love the dress!

(6) Claire's Penny For Them - she has a wonderful blog and even better taste in music!

and last, but by no means least;

(7) Joanne's The Blunt Truth - another Welshie friend, I love reading about her thoughts as her boys grow older.

Take a look at these wonderful blogs and share them with your friends :)

Friday, 11 October 2013

If the shoe fits! Brantano shoe fitting review

A couple of weeks ago, J and I took a little trip to Cardiff to visit Brantano. As J started school in September, I knew the importance of getting the correct size shoe for him. And because he has weird feet just like his mum (sorry babes!) I knew that it was even more important to get him measured so he would be comfortable all day in his school shoes.

Excited at having a new pair of school shoes!

 The lady that measured J's feet was lovely. J is normally very shy around strangers, but she made him comfortable and kept him talking about school and his friends whilst she measured his feet.

Having his left foot measured.

First,  she started by measuring the length of each foot. Many children, and adults, have different sized feet. You probably wouldn't even realise without measuring them!

As it were, J's feet were the same size.

Now for the wideness!

After the length's been measured, the width of the feet is then done. J's was off the scale as he has such wide feet.

After having his feet measured and picking out a pair of shoes he liked, J received a certificate and a sticker. On the certificate is his name and his feet measurements. I thought this was a great idea as it means I can just refer to that if I needed to get him another pair in the coming weeks!

"Look at my certificate mum!" - J
So, with J's feet measured there was only one thing left to do - try his new shoes on! We went for an 11.5 H shoe and they fitted lovely, with space for growing too! The lady explained that when buying shoes you should always be able to squeeze your little finger around the heel and there should be about a thumbs width at the toe of the shoe to allow for growth.

His new shoes fitted perfectly!

J was really chuffed with his new shoes and couldn't wait to show them off in school! We really enjoyed our little trip to Brantano, it was so simple and relaxing to get him a pair of school shoes with no stress! Why not take a visit to your nearest store? The shoe fitting service is free! I think it saves a lot of hassle and moans of "They're hurting mum!".

Disclaimer: We received a free pair of shoes for doing this review and visit. However, our opinion is 100% our own.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

When? What? Where? Who? A Paperblanks 18-month dayplanner review

Are you like me? Do you forget almost everything? I am useless when it comes to appointments. Birthdays I'm pretty good at remembering - just don't ask me how old - and some phone numbers, but you can almost guarantee I'll forget an appointment. And with four children, that's not great.

Paperblanks were very kind to send us an 18-month dayplanner to review. I'd been looking for something I could store everything in and this was perfect!

 There is everything you would ever need in this planner. As well as week-to-view pages there was a removable address book, national and international holiday dates, a world time zone chart, birthday and important dates page - the list goes on!
Simple and perfect.

Don't forget to add your I.C.E. details!

With monthly-to-view pages you can mark and see all of your important dates at a glance!
I can even add the kids timetables so I know what they need each day for school!
Plenty of space with the week-to-view pages.
A detachable address book!

The ideal size, this diary now has a permanent place in my handbag. I have all my dates in reach and I now have no excuse to forget any!

Disclaimer: We were sent the dayplanner for free to review. However, our opinion is 100% our own.

Sorry kids.....

Sat here reading the news and all it is filled with is sadness. Last week, with all the stories about kids being killed by their own parents, I realised what an awful time we live in. Parents are supposed to look after their children, not hurt them! Today topped it off, I read the news that Baby P's "mother" would be released early after she "no longer poses a threat to the public". Of course she doesn't! The one person who she SHOULD have looked after is now dead, that poor little boy tortured and she stood by and allowed it to happen! That's the reason I use the term "mother" very lightly! She was in no way a mother - yes, she may have given birth to him, but she certainly didn't love, nurture or protect him, like any real mother would.

I'm sat here so angry. My fists are clenched, I can't stop thinking about that poor little baby, about all the poor little babies and children that have been through similar. Why do "parents" (and I use that term very lightly too!) do it to their own flesh and blood? I just don't get it.

At that point, I remember about the baby in my arms. My baby, snoring, peaceful while he sleeps. That thought comes back to me, "How could they do it?!". Baby B is perfect! Yes, he has his moments, but that doesn't make me angry. What makes me angry is the pain and suffering that kids have to go through from the people that are SUPPOSED to look after them, make them safe, love them no matter what. It's like a contract - as soon as they are born, you should be ready to sign your heart away. Promise them the world.

How could anyone hurt someone so innocent?

But I'm not liking this world at the moment. What has happened? Rewind back 20 years ago and it was safe to play out in the street. We could go anywhere and not worry about being snatched, attacked or worse. Our parents knew once they called for us, we'd be back inside. But now, I don't even like the girls walking down the shop on their own - and that's only a five minute walk away!

I find myself each week apologising to my children. Sorry for all the nasty people, the way the world is and the things people do. I wish I could change it for them.

Back to school - The Bento Box review

J is such a fussy eater, so I was dreading him going to school. At home, when asked what he wants for dinner, he'll normally ask for either bread and butter or rice pudding. Sometimes, he'll surprise me and ask for sausages, but that's not often. So I was secretly hoping that, by having his school friends sat eating the same things as him, it would encourage him to eat more things.

Normally, the kids would have school dinners. I prefer them to have different things each day and I remember how much I hated having sandwiches! But, looking through the school dinners menu, I realised there was a lot of things J would just not eat.

So when Munchkin offered to send us a Click Lock Bento Mealtime Set to review, I jumped at the chance!

The Click Lock Bento Mealtime Set

 From the outside, it looks much nicer than a normal sandwich box. The Clip Lock on the sides make the lid very secure (which means no crumbs or other bits of food in the bottom of his school bag!). There's even a little fork and spoon!
 Inside the box there are three separate compartments. One large and two small. On some food boxes I've found that lids are difficult to remove. Not a problem here though, they were so easy to remove and place back on, which is great as it means J can be independent with his lunch box.

 I sliced up some cucumber, J's favourite food at the moment! As you can see, I managed to get a good few slices in the one compartment. I put some coleslaw in the other, just for the picture, but it shows how much you could put in there.
 Nice and secure in the pots, I love that they are removable so if I wanted to make J some pasta (another favourite) he could have his sandwiches in one side and pasta in the other.

 The only thing I was disappointed with was that the main part for the sandwiches wasn't that big. In the photo you can see I had to remove the crusts from the bread for them to fit in, which was a shame as J loves his crusts - but there was a little extra room then so could fit in a sausage roll.
It looks so tidy and smart when everything's inside. J was so excited to take it into school and show his friends. I've even had other mums ask me where to get it as their child wanted one.

Overall, it was a brilliant lunch box. It certainly does the job it's intended for and with many uses I can see us using this for many years to come.

Disclaimer: We were sent the Click Lock Mealtime set for free to review. However, our opinion is 100% our own.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Kids capture the colour competition!

When I seen Travel Supermarket were holding a competition for kids, I couldn't wait to get J behind the camera. Almost every week I have to go through my phone to see what pictures he's taken, or edited. The record so far is 693 - 200 of which were Baby B's nose. "But it's so cute mum!" was his response when I queried why so many.

Just one of the photos J has taken with my phone!

We were sent a camera for J to use. He didn't take a minute to get it on and going - another 5 pictures of Baby B's nose! This was going to be tricky! But out on trips he wanted to take as many pictures as he could! So here we go!

For the WHITE category,

Harvey is a "Very big, very white rabbit, just like the one that should come out of a magician's hat!" - J

As J pointed out, there's no snow to take a picture of - so he opted for his grampy's rabbit instead.

For the YELLOW category,

"My favourite thingy mum HAS to be in the competition!" - J
A yellow minion. J loves Despicable Me, as do we all, so he had to get this in for the yellow category!

For the GREEN category,

"The pelican is on green grass though mum! That will count!" - J
I did try to explain, but he was having none of it! He wanted this picture of that pelican on the green grass.

For the RED category,

"Postman Pat's van is red! I want him to be in it!" - J
Of course, he was correct. Postman Pat's van IS red. And J did have lots of fun that day at Longleat!

And finally, for the BLUE category,

"Watch us splash!" - J & L
I did try to explain that he needed to take all the pictures but he wanted a picture of his cousin L and himself splashing in the pool after it sprung a leak! "We had so much fun mummy, I want to remember it forever and ever!" - so he asked his sister, T, to take the picture for him.

So that was J's entry into the Kids Capture the Colour competition! He had lots of fun taking photos all over the summer - look out for more soon!

(And J)