Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Our DIY utility room home improvement makeover with before and after pictures

The almost finished revamped utility room. 

Before and after pictures of home improvements are always good. I always do them when we are starting another DIY project. 

I’m also very ashamed to say that these two pictures were our utility room. The dumping ground. The room where the washing got washed and folded and then it stayed there. 

Dadof5's collection of paint trays and empty bottles adorned the top of the cupboard. Laundry was always piling up and our carrier bag collection was impressive. 

The room with a cupboard slap bang in the middle of the wall that was full of rubbish and crap balanced on top of it too. The room where kitchen overflow ended up, when the food shop wouldn’t quite fit in the cupboards, where all of the carrier bags got dumped.

When we built the extension the room was hurriedly painted the green colour as it’s a tin of paint we already had and the worktop was an off cut from my parents kitchen, black with flecks of colour in it (not that you can see it!)

The weights bench is Thing 1's addition to the room which also made its way into a corner of the dumping ground where it stayed with minimal use. 

It was depressing. Not that I try and spend much time in there but when you are washing clothes for 7 people it becomes one of the most used rooms! 

So I was on a mission to completely revamp the utility room and with a plan and some ideas from the internet we’ve nearly finished and here I share it’s transformation. 

First we had to get rid of the cupboard. It was the main focal point as soon as you walked in the room. Again this was something we had acquired from someone else and at the time it was handy. It was going to be repositioned on the opposite wall behind the door but after Dadof5 saw how just taking that cupboard off the wall made such a difference he decided we could get rid of it completely. 

Curver knit basket in misty blue, storage containers from Ikea. Small succulent plant from Sainsbury's.

Next we painted the walls white which again made a big difference. I think back when we finished the extension and were painting the utility room for the first time I did like the mint green colour but the whole room needed changing and freshening up. 

I got the 2 long length Malm floating shelves from Ikea. I wanted storage space which was accessible and that looked nice too. I chose to use the Curver My Style storage baskets in grey and the Curver knit storage baskets in misty blue on the shelves. 

I also wanted to change the worktop but being on a budget I chose to cover it using dc fix which is like a fablon covering. I chose the Sanremo Oak style. It was very easy to apply and has covered the old worktop perfectly giving it a great revamp. 

Sanremo Oak dc fix covers the worktop

I repainted the small cupboard and drawer between the 2 appliances to white and will be adding silver cup handles (in the post!). 

We have 2 washing machines in the utility room and I will be swapping the silver one seen in the picture with the white one that's currently hidden behind the door just so it looks better. I was going to get rid of the silver one but unfortunately just one washing machine can’t handle the workload! 

The accessories which are the laundry basket, washing powder storage and bread bin are all from Matalan. The utility room will be a laundry room as well as kitchen storage overflow! 

All accessories are from Matalan. The laundry tin with scoop holds my washing powder. 

The last job is to clean up the tiles on the floor, I will leave that job to Dadof5 as he was the one who neglected them! 

I will hopefully be adding a few more accessories and will add an updated picture very soon.  For now we are very pleased with the result.

Now to teach them all how to use the washing machine and put the clothes away once washed! 

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Review - Casdon Supermarket Till. Role play fun with working till functions

Casdon Supermarket Till Review

When the Casdon Supermarket Till arrived it was a fight as to who got the first go! 

 Of all the role play games, playing shops is by far the best and most played game in our house. The two youngest couldn't wait to get set up and start playing straight away. 

The till features a fully working drawer with money, a chip and pin machine, shopping scanner, working screen, microphone and comes with some play food too. 



Credit card

Play money 

Play food

For every till function there is a sound. Like when the chip and pin machine is being used or you are putting prices into the till. The working microphone was also great and Thing 5 loved calling for someone to 'come and help on Till number 1'! 

The food that is included is a great start to the supermarket experience and then the children soon raided the kitchen cupboard for more supplies for their game. Also included is the play money so the shoppers can pay for their shopping, the till drawer makes a noise when it opens too. 

The working scanner is great for scanning the food products through, this was used lots on it's first time out of the box, I think Thing 4 loved scanning everything through the till like he sees the shop assistants do it in the real shops. 

The till brought endless hours of fun for the children and it was great to see them interact and play together. Taking it in turns to be the shopper and then shopkeeper. It also helped with their maths when it came to counting out coins or using the till to price up the shopping. 

We would definitely recommend the Casdon Supermarket Till and it will be played with for a very long time. 

The till does require 3 x AA batteries which weren't included. The till costs RRP £17.99 retailer dependant. 

We were sent the Casdon Supermarket till for review purposes. All thoughts and comments expressed are our own. 

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Review - Casdon Toy Dyson Cord-Free Vacuum Cleaner

Casdon Dyson cord-free vacuum cleaner REVIEW 

When the Casdon toy Dyson cord-free vacuum cleaner arrived in our house I was ever so slightly jealous of who was going to get to use it! 

Looking exactly like the real thing, my youngest couldn't wait to get stuck in and try it out. Putting it together was so easy. With just a few clicks the three parts were together and we were ready to get started on hoovering the entire house!

With it's realistic sounds and small plastic pieces that move around inside the cylinder, Thing 5 happily hoovered away for ages. Being just like a grown up and hoovering away, he always wants to use Nanny's real Dyson cord-free hoover when we go and visit so he was delighted to have his own to use at home. 

It requires 3 x AA batteries which weren't included but it can still be used for pretend play without the batteries. 

The toy hoover has mainly be used as a full length cleaner but it can be used, just like a real Dyson, as a short handled cleaner too. Which means Thing 5 has also tackled the stairs and sofas for me in his cleaning frenzy with his new Dyson. 

The Casdon Dyson cord-free vacuum cleaner is aimed at children aged 3 years+ and is so easy to use. It all comes apart with just a push of a red button so it's easy for little ones to be able to change the hoover from one mode to another without getting frustrated at not being able to do it themselves. There are great play opportunities with the hoover and Thing 5 loves following me around whilst I hoover too. 

The cyclone action which then moves the coloured plastic pieces around inside means it looks and acts like a real Dyson, feeling like they are picking up things from the floor as they go. 

It is also very light so can be carried around easily. It also stores very well without being too bulky, it stands on its own too so can be tucked out of the way but ready for use straight away because there is no need to pack all the pieces up or store it out of the way. 

The Casdon Dyson cord-free vacuum cleaner is available from Amazon and Smyths Toys. 

Disclaimer; We were gifted the Casdon Dyson cord-free vacuum cleaner for the purposes of this review. All thoughts expressed and comments are our own. 

Review - Lollipets from Spinmaster

 Review - Lollipets from Spinmaster 

These fab new interactive Lollipets from Spinmaster were an instant hit in our house as soon as they arrived. 

Available in single or twin packs they are a cute little pet with a lolly that interacts and moves in certain ways when you move the lolly in front of it. 

Priced at a very reasonable £5.99 for a single pack or £10.99 for a twin pack they come in a great range of colours and styles and ideal for gifts or treats for the children with a great price point. 

Each pet moves around when you turn it on and you can also move the lolly to make it do different things. They follow the lolly or lift it upwards to make the lollipet hop, hold it to the side to make it dodge or behind to make it sprint. 

With 20 characters in the range to collect you can build a great collection and all of the lollipets are attracted to each other too, love certainly is in the air! 

Each single pack includes one Lollipet, one lollipop, 1 map, 1 sticker and an instruction booklet. The two pack has 2 of each item with 2 different lollipets included. 

Each pet is beautifully decorated and you can get fuzzy, glittery, brightly coloured and pastel coloured ones. Each Lollipet comes with a character card, a map, a colourful sticker and a unique treat shaped like a real lollipop! Batteries are included so they are good to go straight out of the box.

The lollipets have been played with so much since they arrived and the children love watching them interact with each other and move about across the floor. The also see who can make them do more tricks than the other ones too. They are also a great size to pop in your pocket or bag and take out and about with you, great interactive fun on the go. I love it when you have toys that are portable for instant on the go fun wherever you are. 

This cute and brightly coloured bunny lollipet was from our single pack. Watching it hop around is great fun and it's so cute seeing them follow their lollipop and do different tricks when you move the lollipop around. 

The double pack is great fun as you can see the lollipets attract to each other too. The contents of our double pack are featured in the picture at the top of this blog post. A cute little mouse and rabbit set in pastel colours.

Lollipets can be found in store and online at Smyths Toys as well as The Entertainer, Argos and many more stores. Priced at around £5.99 for the single pack and £10.99 for the double pack. 

Disclaimer; we were gifted the lollipets for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and comments are our own. 

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Review - S.W.A.K kissable keychains

S.W.A.K keychains are a fab new toy from WowWee. 

Available in  12 different styles they are an interactive keychain that makes a kissing noise when you touch the lips. 

Each S.W.A.K. keychain is lip shaped and comes with KissTech, a unique sensor technology that detects your cheek and gives you a kiss. The longer you hold it the longer it lasts.

 Each S.W.A.K. comes with a postcard, sticker, and removable keychain. With a slot located at the top, your S.W.A.K. is also a fun way to display your favourite photos or cards.

We were sent three of the designs which include Mermaid sparkle kiss, Unicorn sparkle kiss and Gold kiss. The full range of 12 designs is also featured below. 

The design of each keychain is vibrant in colour and a great addition to any girls collection. My daughter loved the unicorn design the best but would love to collect more and loves the yellow graffiti design too. 

Sassy lips deliver a quick kiss to mega smooch sounds, the longer you press them against your skin the longer the kiss will last. 

These are a great affordable collectable toy for children and with 12 designs to choose from it would be easy to collect them all with the affordable price tag of around £6.99 each. They would also make great gifts for friends too, we are always looking for new gift ideas and the price point on these is appealing and also gives the opportunity to build a collection too. 

Each keychain comes packaged with postcard and SWAK sticker too and has batteries included.

We have found them in Smyths Toys in store and online. With 12 designs to choose from, which one would you choose first?

Disclaimer; We were sent three SWAK keychains in exchange for a review. All thoughts and comments expressed are our own. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Enter the set of Gringotts Wizarding Bank at Warner Brothers Studio Tour London, new to the studio tour in April 2019

New at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London for 2019 – The Making of Harry Potter, for the first time ever visitors are invited to enter the set of Gringotts Wizarding Bank as the Studio Tour unveils its biggest expansion to date.

Officially opening on Saturday 6th April 2019, Gringotts Wizarding Bank expansion will be the Studio Tour’s biggest addition to date and has been designed and built by many of the original crew members who worked on the hugely successful magical film series including Oscar® and BAFTA winning Production Designer Stuart Craig, Construction Manager Paul Hayes and Head Propmaker Pierre Bohanna.

From Harry Potter first discovering Diagon Alley to the famous trio escaping on a Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon in their quest for a Horcrux, Gringotts Wizarding Bank played an important role in the Harry Potter film series. On 6th April 2019, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London will unveil a new permanent addition allowing visitors to walk through the wizarding bank of Gringotts, the Lestrange vault, a gallery of goblins and so much more.

Lined by towering marble pillars, the grand banking hall will be decorated with three magnificent crystal chandeliers and finished with real brass leaf. Inkwells, quills, ledgers and piles of Galleons, Sickles and Knuts will complete the goblin tellers’ desks as seen on screen. The Prop-making Department, led by Pierre Bohanna, created over 210,000 coins for the final two films alone.

Gringotts Wizarding Bank is famously run by goblins. Walking through the marble frontage of Gringotts Bank, visitors will discover the costumes and prosthetics belonging to Bogrod, Griphook and many other goblin bankers. Each prosthetic mask took weeks to create, with every hair individually inserted and veins painstakingly painted by hand. It took four hours to transform actor Warwick Davis into Griphook in the films which included him wearing black contact lenses and dentures with extremely sharp teeth to complete the goblin look.

Once through the banking hall of Gringotts, visitors will enter the depths of the Lestrange vault used to store the treasures of Bellatrix Lestrange including the Sword of Gryffindor and Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup, one of Voldemort’s many Horcruxes. Here, visitors can try out a unique photo opportunity allowing them to step inside the Lestrange vault and surround themselves with treasure.

Entrance to the expansion will be included in general admission ticket price.

  • TM & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
    Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.
    Harry Potter characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The January blues. The longest month ever and everyone’s skint!

January, oh January! Hardly anyone looks forward to January. It's at least a bazillion days long too. However, we are nearly there! 

We’ve just had a lovely Christmas. You spend time with family or go away on a lovely holiday over the festive season and then January hits and it’s back to reality.

You also get paid early before Christmas, which at the time we all think is very handy for Christmas and we spend out on gifts, festive food and decorations for the house. Various Christmas parties and gatherings with work colleagues or friends and families and we are all having a fab time.

Between Christmas and New Year you live off of leftover turkey and Christmas chocolates, you watch endless amounts of films on TV even though you’ve seen them millions of times before and you lose track of what day it is, life is good.

The Christmas tree and some festive sausage rolls, we may have eaten too many! 

Then, BAM, January hits you square in the face. Back to work and school. Back to the every day.

You also start thinking about everything you want to do in 2019. You look up holidays, write a list of home improvements that should have been done in 2018 (and 2017, 2016 etc...), you aim to drink less, eat less and try Veganuary.

By mid January you have either started off really well or struggling with your new lifestyle choices. You realise it’s still at least 2 weeks until payday and  it feels like you got paid about three months ago.

You decide that cutting out alcohol  completely and eating healthily maybe wasn’t a good idea because right now you could really do with a large glass of wine and a bar of chocolate. January sucks.

Then there’s the weather and boy do we love to moan about the weather. Suddenly January decides to throw in a blast of cold weather and the threat of snow which could last weeks and we are wondering what we did to deserve this kind of treatment! I get it though, it’s the middle of winter, we are not going to be basking in the sun so it’s to be expected however we are still going to moan about it.

A snowy day in 2010. Snow is heading our way again soon. 

I’m not saying it’s all doom and gloom. If you are still succeeding in your goals that you’ve set that’s fab. With everything that January throws at us it’s not easy to stay on track with things if you are feeling unmotivated or stressed with other aspects of life.

Also the Christmas period for some isn’t a great time. Family time can bring tension and arguments. Some people are alone for Christmas and a lot of people spend too much over Christmas and then have to deal with it for the rest of the new year. 

If you are dealing with money worries or are feeling down or lonely, please reach out to someone. There is always someone who can help. Whether it's a friend or neighbour that you can confide it, your GP or even The Samaritans who are always there at the end of a phone line to talk. Getting January out of the way may make things slightly easier for some but that doesn't mean it gets easier for everyone. 

So as we wave goodbye to January please congratulate each other on doing so well on keeping to their healthy eating or new fitness regime, don't make people feel bad for trying something new or make them feel bad for not sticking to it but let them know that they did well in trying something new. If you can see someone struggling don't let them struggle alone but lend a helping hand or just an ear to listen, a little goes a long way for someone who isn't having a good start to the year. 

Monday, 28 January 2019

The one where Mum goes all 'home improvement' and gets DIY crazy!

The OH has always been the one to call on for a bit of DIY. Whenever I suggest getting someone in to do some decorating for us he scoffs at the idea and grabs the paint rollers! 

When we did the extension six years ago we did a lot of the work ourselves to begin with. Knocking down the old garage, digging the foundations, filling in the concrete and laying the block and beam floor.

Anything that he can do himself he will do it rather than pay someone to do it! Which also means it takes a little while longer for anything to get done. 

Recently though he seems to have become a bit oblivious to what needs doing or maybe just avoiding it all. So when I recently ordered some paint and paint rollers so I could get on and paint the hallway he asked what it was for?! 

Now I am far from a perfectionist when it comes to DIY, I just want it done. The upstairs hallway is currently grey with a bit of blue and cream thrown in from previous DIY attempts that all were unfinished (I confess, it was me!). The ceiling hasn't been painted since it was replastered six years ago and the loft hatch has turned a nice shade of yellow. So here I am armed with paint, gloss, brushes and rollers and Dadof5 tells the Things I ordered all the stuff for him to do it. 

I could have sent that not so subtle hint of having painting equipment ordered and addressed to him to get him motivated but I was, and still am, going to do it or at least start it! I quite like painting and there's nothing to say that the stuff that was delivered isn't going to stay in the packaging for the next six months if I don't start anyway, sometimes we just need to give them a little nudge to get started! 

This isn't a dig at Dadof5, as I mentioned he is always keen to do lots himself. A couple of years ago he fitted a new kitchen, still slightly unfinished but fitted and perfectly useable whilst I enjoyed the ripping down of the old kitchen. With the help of Grandparentsof5 we laid a new path and gravel driveway at the front of the house as seen here Garden makeover on a budgettore down and rebuilt the fencing in the back garden last summer, I did help with those projects. He fitted a new bathroom downstairs when the extension was completed and a few months ago he repainted our old tired bedroom and built a new bed and furniture, whilst I watched telling him what to do. 


There are still so many projects still to do, albeit slightly small ones and some only decor. I have written a big list which always seems quite daunting but also satisfying when you complete a job and it can be scrapped from the list.

The DIY list is long but as I said it is small projects that can be ticked off quite quickly. A little bit of DIY and paint and the addition of some accessories and it will look a lot better than it does now. 

However, as soon as you finish one you start another and by the time they are all finished the first project you did looks like it needs doing again! 

Grandadof5 has been tasked with making another house bed as seen in Thing 5's bedroom. Now it's Thing 4's turn for a bedroom makeover, more about those in an upcoming blog post. 

Our recent bedroom makeover

Thing 5's bedroom makeover, house bed made by the fabulous Grandadof5

For now I am off to grab a paint brush and get Dadof5 motivated. There's DIY to do and there's no time to waste!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

A blog post a day may keep the madness at bay......... 2019 here we are, let's get motivated!

Its 2019! Streamers, balloons, party poppers, fanfare........

2018 wasn't a great year and I was so glad to say goodbye to it. 2019 hasn't started the best way either and I am one hugely stressed Mumma at the moment. 

Nothing that back to school, pay day and some alcohol won't fix. How I've made it this far through parenthood without a drink still amazes me and others. 

So 2019 the year of my 40s, arghhhhhh. And yet in 2018 I still managed to become a grandma, pretty impressive. 

This year, as with every other year is the year of slimming, money saving and more me time. Which I think is what I said in 2015, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Oh well, one year we will get it done properly, maybe this year is the year?! 

I don't want to set specific targets, I don't want to expect myself to achieve all I set out to do and that may be not the way I should be thinking. I should be stronger and say I WILL achieve everything this year. I aim to be slimmer, I hope to save some pennies and get out and about more with the children and I hope to maybe have a day or two to myself too without feeling guilty about the kids and Dadof5 left at home. 

Previous days out include trips to London which the Things love where we have been to The Shard as well as the London Eye, London Aquarium, Hard Rock Cafe and more. The 2 younger ones love Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World as well as Legoland which are all nearby. 

Maybe it should be I DEFINITELY WILL to all three things. I have lost weight before as shown here in a previous blog post, My previous weight loss journey 2014. If I have done it once I can do it again and hopefully keep it off this time? I just have to be in the right mindset and hopefully this year it will happen, again! 

2019 sees big changes and changes I don't think I am ready for. Turning 40 as mentioned above and Thing 5, my youngest, starts Junior school. This may not seem a big thing to many but he is my youngest. I have never had my youngest child be this old! I always have a baby and toddler to keep me busy. I don't want this to happen. I don't want him to grow up and I certainly don't want to finally leave the Infant school which I have been part of for the past 12 years. Change scares me, Dadof5 is blissfully unaware of this and keeps chirping on about how wonderful it will be to have him in Junior school, how fab it is that the children are growing up and getting older whilst I am a sobbing mess about it all. Oh and by the way, the children growing up doesn't mean life is getting easier, more about that in a separate blog post! 

This year I plan to get out and about more whether it be days out or weekends away. See places we haven't seen before as well as visit much loved places where we all like to go. 

Thing 2 is going through her GCSEs this year so we will be limited as to when we go anywhere. Yes I am usually a bad parent who takes their children out of school to go on holiday but with this being a crucial year for her I won't be doing so. I am also sure it would be frowned upon if we leave her at home and go away without her! 

The Things are growing fast too. Thing 5, our youngest, will turn 7, Thing 4 turns 10, Thing 3 will be 13 and Thing 2 will be 16.

I am so not ready for 2019, I am a few weeks too late in getting started and motivated with anything and the start back to school hasn't gone too well either. 

However, over the next few weeks I hope to turn it around and get started as I mean to go on. Positive, upbeat and motivated. I will also try and blog more this year too so watch out for more regular updates on the Things, days out, home improvement and maybe a few more Mumma 
meltdowns too!

For now, pass me some alcohol and leftover Christmas chocolates.