Thursday, 30 April 2015

Why my Summer born child will be starting school in September 2016. A child born in August, the baby of the school bunch turning four years old just 3 weeks before the school term starts.

How do I know that in 16 months my youngest will be ready for school? How do I know that my August born baby, turning 4 just three weeks before the start of school will be ready to head into the big wide world and become a school child.

Let's look at the evidence. Every waking hour of my day he's asking to go to preschool. He asks for his preschool top before bed, and when he wakes up in the morning. When I pick him up from preschool he wants to go back. His best friend is at preschool.

Preschool, preschool, preschool, preschool. That's all I hear about. If he could go more often he would. Roll on September when he will experience a couple of full days at preschool, lunch times and the tiredness that goes with a full day.

When we drop Thing 4 off into Reception class he wants to stay. He queues in the line to choose what to have for lunch and the teacher amuses him by asking what he would like! He goes off to play with some toys in the class and I have to tell him its time to leave.

So, that's not to say things might change in the next 15 months but I highly doubt it. My last baby is growing up and by the time the children start back this September I will be applying for his Reception class place for September 2016. My last baby is growing up and flying the nest. I will be redundant, no longer needed by a small person during the day.

I completely understand when people say their child isn't ready for school. Every parent knows their child best. Also when that child is a Summer born baby and, like Thing 5, only turns 4 in the August leading up to the start of school it can seem like a big change for them. However, I do see the rising 5's struggling too whilst I see the just 4's taking it all in their stride. Every child is different. Every child has had a different experience of preschools, nurseries, childcare etc... before they start Reception class and I do think this factors in to how they handle the start of school too.

For now, I know he is ready. The same as Thing 2 was ready and starting school didn't phase her, another August baby. (August 10th is a good day for a birthday!)

I completely understand the request of some parents of letting Summer born children start later in school. When they start and they have just turned 4 yet there are children in the same class turning 5 just weeks into the start of Reception class it seems such a big age gap when they are that young. So for parents who feel their children aren't ready I do think that there should be the option to start them later if need be.

Do you have a Summer born child? Were they ready for school? Would you rather they had started later or did they have no problems starting school? 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

An update on my Slimming World journey, or in other words, my long stay over at the Slumpsville service station on route to my Slimming World target destination!!

Last year I kept you updated with my Slimming World journey. I started in January 2014 and just 17ish weeks later in May 2014 I hit my first 1.5 stone target. When I started I didn't believe it was possible for me to lose weight. I was stuck in my size 16's and nothing was going to work.

I am amazed that I lost 1.5 stone in just the first 4 months. I hit target on my birthday which was the best present ever. When I first set my target I thought that would be plenty of weight to lose and I would be happy. However, once I hit my target I thought there was a little more I could do. So I reset my target for another 1/2 a stone.

My Before and After pictures from when I hit my first target

That's nothing I thought. I had already lost 1.5 stone so what was a measly 7 lbs more. Well, I got complacent, I got comfortable with what I had achieved and since then (almost 1 year later) I have still yet to see that new target. I did get down to within 3lbs of my 2 stone target but then went back up and hovered around my original target or slightly above. After Christmas 2014 I weighed in after a few weeks break and vowed that I would get back on my Slimming World journey but since then I have yo yo'ed up and down 2lb off, 2lb on, 1lb off, 1/2 a lb on. I'm just stuck going up and down.

That's not to say Slimming World isn't working. It's me that's not working hard enough for something I want. On the one hand I really want my 2 stone award and then on the other hand I go 'Oh well, I did lose 1.5 stone maybe I should stay where I am and be happy'. One week I'm on it and motivated and the next week I have a week where I just eat what I want and tell myself to be happy with what I've done. I'm having an argument with myself!

I'm still not happy with my wobbly bits, however not as wobbly as they were before Slimming World! I will get to my 2 stone award even if it takes me another year (although I hope not!). Now I have set that target I am going to get there and achieve what I have set myself up to do. It's my own fault for becoming so complacent with it all and not sticking to it 100% even though I had set myself another target.

Just remember, some peoples Slimming World journey is faster than others, some people take the scenic route and some people travel in the fast lane and get there quickly. 

Mushy Pea curry is my BFF when it comes to quick and filling Slimming World friendly meals. Recipe here; Mushy Pea Curry recipe

Monday, 27 April 2015

A foodie round up of new products that have hit the supermarket shelves or caught my eye whilst shopping recently. Including peach & mango Fruit Shoots, Cadburys Dairy Milk Puddles, salt n vinegar Skips, Warburtons milk roll, Heck chicken Italia sausages, Haribo and more!!

I thought I would do a quick round up of new products in the supermarkets recently that have caught my eye. Yes I am meant to be following my Slimming World healthy eating plan but that doesn't stop me looking at all of the yummy goodies on offer in the supermarkets. The children always like to try new things too and so I am always on the look out for different things for them too. 

First up is Peach and Mango Fruit Shoots. I was in the queue at the supermarket last week and the lady behind me put these onto the conveyor belt. They caught my eye, I love peach and mango flavour squashes so this combo could be rather scrummy. I have yet to try them though.

Peach and Mango Fruit Shoots £1.89 for four (Tesco)

Next up is the ever popular Burtons Fish 'n' Chips which made a comeback recently, I remember scoffing a packet or 100 back in the '80s/'90s. However, the curry sauce flavour caught my eye the other day. If anyone has tried them let me know what they are like! 


Burtons Fish n Chips curry flavour, £1.59 for six packs (Asda)

One for the Slimming World people. Muller Lights are our best friends. This is a coconut flavour Muller Light with a hint of lime. A lovely tropical taste to satisfy the taste buds. 

Coconut Muller Light with a hint of lime, 68p (Asda)

Purely for research purposes a bar of Cadbury's Puddles may have fallen into my mouth last week. OMG, it was lovely. I am a sucker for some mint chocolate anyway and this is the runny mint fondant centre I love. It's a must try for any Cadbury's lover, just try and restrain yourself, unlike myself who scoffed the lot in one sitting. If I'm moaning this week that I have a gain at Slimming World please give me no sympathy!!

Cadbury Dairy Milk Puddles with a smooth mint flavour filling, £1 (on offer in Morrisons)

Warburton's milk roll. It's bread. Don't let the name fool you. I was intrigued as to what it was when I saw it on the shelves the other day and went in for a closer look. It is round slices of bread, quite thinly cut and smaller than a regular slice of bread. However, they make lovely little sandwiches for the littlies with less chance of wastage. The bread was lovely and soft and its called milk roll as its got extra calcium in it. I've bought it a few times since and the kids love it, they eat all of their sandwiches too. Very little crust on the slices too, 

Warburtons milk roll, 79p (Iceland)

Ok, I know these have appeared in the shops before but I swear they haven't been around for a while. If I am wrong then I am sorry but I got rather excited when I saw them in my local supermarket the other day. They also didn't hang around for long at home as all of the children loved them. Salt and Vinegar Skips, grab them now! 

Salt and Vinegar Skips, £1 for 6 packs (Asda)

Haribo TANGY minions, I repeat Haribo Tangy Minions. Enough said really, BUY THEM! 

Haribo Tangy Minions, £1.29 (Tesco)

Heck Chicken Italia sausages. I've spotted Heck products on the supermarket shelves for a while now but only one or two products here and there. Heck chicken sausages and meatballs are a firm favourite of some Slimming World members as they are low in Syns. I bought these from my local supermarket last week for myself and the OH, however the Things got in on the act and I had to go and buy two more packets! These are delicious, I wasn't sure what the OH would make of them but he commented on how nice they were. These will remain a shopping list staple for all of the family. 

Heck chicken Italia sausages, £3 for a pack of 10 sausages or 2 packs for £5, currently on offer in Tesco

Please note that most items can be bought in other supermarkets as well as the ones mentioned, prices may vary in different supermarkets. 

Dear Kate and Wills, Are you in labour? Is the birth of the Royal baby any time soon? Are you fed up of people asking you how you are feeling?. Please can we have a Royal Edition of One Born Every Minute or should we all just leave you alone??

I feel for William and Kate I really do. It's bad enough when your friends and family call you every day in the last few weeks of pregnancy. 'Any twinges', 'Are you still fat', 'How are you feeling'. All questions are usually met with a few profanities and the need to not engage in conversation with anyone until the baby has arrived.

So to have the world's media camped outside the hospital where the impending birth is going to take place plus countless reporters elsewhere ready to catch you on the mad dash to the hospital or camped outside your home must be unbearable. In one of  the most anxious, stressful and yet private and important times of your lives where you want things to go as smoothly as they can you do not want to be harassed by reporters, cameras and cars following you.

I know, I know. Yes she's a Royal, Yes she is always in the public eye, Yes it's what she signed up for but jeeez give the girl a break. At the end of the day she's a pregnant woman the same as all other pregnant women nearing the end of a pregnancy. Whether it be your first, second (or fifth) each one is the same precious moment in time as the previous and it's a special time for everyone involved.

I am not involved in the Royal Baby's birth though. I'm not the anxious parent or relative, the midwife delivering baby or any other medical professional involved. Although I have the same feeling now as I did when Kate went into labour with Prince George. I feel like I am there. The slightest mention of Kate being in labour and we all feel like we are the Dad waiting for his mobile to ring to say it's happening. The amount of cameras and reporters outside the hospital make you feel like you are there too. Whether it's being broadcast live on TV, everyone on Facebook is talking about it or your Twitter feed is filled with #RoyalBabyWatch (yes I did pose a couple of Royal Baby tweets last week!). However, I am not camped outside the hospital with a stupid hat on and a cake baked ready for the birth (I hope it goes stale before the royal baby arrives!)

Once she has had the baby I am sure she just wants to walk out of the hospital in her joggers and trainers, hair tied back in a ponytail and to get home to rest up and enjoy those first few baby days. If someone walked into my hospital room and told me that I had to get up put my poshest frock and shoes on, do my make up, have my hair styled and walk out into a flurry of reporters shouting at me and cameras flashing I probably would have slapped that person around the head with a bed pan.

Yes, at the moment it feels like if the reporters get any closer they might as well be in the room with her. Shove a few cameras around the room and have the ITV and BBC Royal news correspondents fighting over who gets to be at the head end of the bed and who gets to be in the ideal position for the best first glimpse of the Royal Prince or Princess. No, just no. Leave the poor girl alone. I don't care if this is what she signed up for. She can have cameras shoved in her face every other day of her life but some days are just too precious to worry about the worlds media.

BTW Kate, if you want to dress your bump up as Mr Bump go for it, it's what other weird pregnant women do, right?!

My 'bump'. What else would you do 4 weeks before your due date?!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Maclaren Baby Object of Design Orla Kiely 'Artfully Playful' pushchair stroller. Gorgeous fabric colour and design on a Maclaren Quest stroller frame, suitable from birth.

I stumble across this stroller whilst browsing the internet the other day and it really caught my eye. I am always on the look out for something different to stand out with and this pushchair really fits into that category.

The Maclaren Baby Orla Kiely design is just as the name suggests 'Artfully Playful'. With a white/black patterned base colour to the fabric and then hints of orange, yellow and brown throughout it really is an eye catching and bright design but very pretty too.

The stroller is on the Maclaren Quest chassis and it has features including;

  1. Washable Seat Fabric
  2. Infant System
  3. Five Point Harness
  4. Compact Umbrella Fold
  5. Tether Strap
  6. Foot Operated Linked Brakes
  7. High Performance Aluminium
  8. Carry Handle
  9. Carry Strap
  10. One-Hand Fold
  11. One-Hand Recline
  12. Rear Wheel Suspension
  13. Front Wheel Suspension
  14. Ergonomically Optimised Handles
  15. Waterproof Hood
  16. Expandable Hood
  17. Viewing Window on Back of Hood
  18. Leg Rest
  19. Recline
  20. Shopping Basket
  21. Raincover
  22. Raincover Pouch
  23. Head Hugger
  24. Shoulder Pads
  25. Buggy ID Tag

This buggy is suitable from Newborn upwards and has four seat positions. It can take children up to 15kg (EU-UK) and the buggy itself weighs 6.25 kg. This is a lightweight stroller but with the benefit of the newborn system plus headhugger etc... for the smaller babies and can then carry your child right the way through to toddler. Ideal for travelling too due to its small, lightweight folding frame. 

RRP is £295 and it is available now from the Maclaren website and a few other Maclaren online retailers.

Friday, 24 April 2015

To the school run Mums, we are all the same, with all the same goals. Just to get to the school playground and home again with no major incidents! Let's unite, talk and share our playground chatter.

The school run. No school run is ever the same. You would have thought after doing them for almost 16 years (including the first ever nursery ones) it would be the same, mundane, trip to school and back again. Oooooh no, how wrong could you be.

Our lovely school run route and Thing 4 helping out with Thing 5. A light saber is an essential piece of school run kit! 

Happier times when Thing 5 couldn't get out of the pushchair. Thing 3 on the school run. 

It's the most perilous journey there is. You are going out into the unknown. What challenge faces you today?! Don't get me wrong there are the days where it is the most boring job ever. You walk to school, stand in the playground side by side with all of the other Mums awaiting the same whirlwind to be released from the classroom. Inevitably they will run out of the classroom asking if a friend can come round for tea (always putting you on the spot), complaining they are hungry or thirsty, the teacher wants to talk to you or they have a bumped head sticker displayed proudly on their chest like a trophy of the day!

The walk home can be boring, you get filled in on what they have done (nothing usually, really in 6.5 hours they did nothing??), all goes well and you get home in record time. Those days are few and far between though. More recent times bring a Thing 5 who can release himself from the pram, Thing 4 wanting to jump on his Micro Scooter and scoot home from school (that's if you remembered to take it like you were told to!) and Thing 3 comes out of school like a bear with a sore head and you have to try and change the situation before it turns into a full on Kevin the Teenager strop, you know the one!

Scooting on the school run

In amongst all of this, I'm walking along a main road, there is school traffic everywhere, the Things are too busy trying to talk to their friends on the other side of the road, the local bus is heading your way and it swings around the corner of the road so fast it almost ends up on the pavement and the toddler is now on the loose. I'm yelling (I hate yelling!) but needs must. 'Slow down' 'Don't run' 'Keep away from the road' 'Hurry up' 'Don't push' 'Get in the pushchair, plllleeeeaaasssseeeee'. It's stressful.

I look forward to the school run, that's the part where you are walking to school on your own for 10 minutes, the calm before the storm. The silence before it all erupts and the kiddies are home from school. Don't get me wrong, on rare days they can walk home with the military precision of the Von Trapp children. We have a lovely chat about their day, Thing 5 picks me some flowers (usually dandelions but the thought was there) and Thing 3 comes out of school happy and willing to hold a conversation that doesn't involve moaning. Those days are fab and as long as it's not raining you enjoy the walk. Add in rain to your journey and you wish there was the American style yellow buses that dropped them home for you, not only cutting out the school run but cutting down the traffic too, school traffic is a nightmare.

The school 'run'!

So school run Mums unite. In those few minutes we have before the children are released, lets have a chat, share our day, have a moan. For some it might be the only adult conversation they have had all day, for others it's the end of their working day and the start of a hectic evening routine but in those few minutes spare some time for another playground dweller. :-)

Let's Talk Mommy

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Our review of the fab Mattel Amigami craft and creativity kits. Including the Panda, Dog and Bird kits. Release you creativity to make your own designs. Fab and fun arts and crafts with endless design opportunities.

We were recently sent a lovely selection of Amigami toys to review with a little help from our friends! We had lovely invites to send out asking our friends to come and help us try out the Amigami kits and put them to the test!

Amigami are fab little kits. The animals are solid plastic bodies and each one comes with it's own selection of crafty add ons including colourful shapes, wings and eyes to twist, stick, clip on and style.

We were sent the Dog, Panda and Bird kits which came with full instructions for each animal, a full set of colourful shapes, paper stripes to curl and stickers. Each child can then style their animal in their own unique way meaning that no animal will ever look the same once your child has released their creativity.

Ready for our Amigami creative session, instructions, tools and card at the ready. Oh and the sun was out for us too. :-)

There are other animals in the Amigami range too which are available from many toy stores.

We had a lovely creative session out in the garden. I set out a blanket with all of the kits on and instructions and just let the children help themselves. It was fab as there is no need for glue or scissors etc.... so you can really just let them get on with what they are doing and there is no mess or cutting involved in order to create.

Curling the colourful strips to make springy shapes to attach to the animals was so quick and easy. Each animal came with a curling bar where you attach one end of your strip of card to the small point on the bar and just twist around. You can the use it to make crazy hair on your animal or a curly tail.

Curling the colourful card strips around the handy and easy to use curling bar. All coloured card is pre cut and easy to separate and use. 

All of the colourful shapes came on one sheet of card and were easy to just push out of the card and were instantly ready to use. They had holes already punched into them and they attached to the main animal body using small plastic shaped clips. These was so easy to do and also meant that if they changed their mind on something it was easy to remove and change. We were also sent the star puncher tool which allows you to make star shapes in the colourful card, adding even more detail to your designs.

There is endless possibilities with these kits and quite a few different animals to choose from. We love cracft in this house but sometimes it nice not to have to get the scissors, glue and paint out in order to have fun. These were an instant hit and I could really just sit back and watch them create without having to help out with cutting out shapes or punching holes in things. It meant they could really get creative without having to keep asking for help and at the end they had something they had made and put their own unique design into as well.

I would highly recommend these for crafty days, party favours, presents for friends etc.... They are excellent, fun, colourful and creative.

The children had a fab time. We had lots of unique creations made and they didn't all look the same which was good. You don't have to follow a strict set of instructions in order to make it and then it ends up looking exactly the same as your friends one that she made! Lots of positive comments from the children including the fact that they can go home and restyle over and over again which is great.

There are endless possibilities to make and create. This bird was made by my almost 3 year old. The recommended age is from 6+ years but with my supervision I just wanted to show what he could do and how easy it is. He could have added a lot more. 

Four more of the many other designs available from Amigami. Each comes with over 70 reusable stickers. 30 different colourful paper parts and 6 shaped plastic pins to attach the paper parts for endless creative fun. 

Friday, 17 April 2015

Silver Cross baby prams introduce the stunning yellow to their fabric colour range on their Wayfarer, Pioneer, Surf 2 and Reflex pram models. Available to buy now.

Yellow is the newest colour to the Silver Cross range and it definitely has the Wow factor! It's available on the Silver Cross Surf 2, Silver Cross Pioneer, Silver Cross Wayfarer and the Silver Cross Reflex prams. It's also available on the new graphite chassis offering a great combination on the different style and selections of pram systems. 

Silver Cross Reflex
Silver Cross Surf 2

Silver Cross Pioneer 

Silver Cross Wayfarer

All are available to buy now from the Silver Cross website. 

Introducing the Bugaboo Runner jogger stroller pushchair. Compatible with all existing Bugaboo seat units or can be bought with it's own seat unit. RRP and more details here. Available from June 2015.

The NEW Bugaboo Runner stroller pushchair

It's coming! The Bugaboo Runner jogger pushchair. Bugaboo's first jogging stroller that can be used with an existing Bugaboo seat unit or can be purchased with a seat unit as a complete package.

Different views of the Bugaboo Runner

Run together
Whether you run to feel free, run to get healthy or run because you love to go fast, the Bugaboo Runner is the latest innovation to keep you on the move together with your child. We designed the Bugaboo Runner as a complete jogging pushchair (including seat and adapters), and as an accessory for Bugaboo owners (including adapters). Why should you buy two different pushchairs just because you enjoy running? You and your child already love your Bugaboo pushchair, now you can take it out for a jog. Just click on your Bugaboo Cameleon³, Bugaboo Bee (2010 model onwards), Bugaboo Donkey or Bugaboo Buffalo seat (please see bottom of page for recommended seat uses or visit the Bugaboo website too), grab some water and snacks, a blanket for your child and go!
 Fun on the go!
Unique to the Bugaboo Runner is that you can choose to jog with your child (from 9 months) facing you – or looking out at the world. Once your child is old enough to face the world, why not have fun together, by exploring new places and playing games? Counting trees, I-spy, sing songs, all these games are a great way to connect with each other and the world around you.
 Smooth run
Of course the Bugaboo Runner was designed with active parents who love to explore yet untrodden paths, which is why it has air-filled tyres and a suspension system to absorb any bumps along the way. A speed-control brake along the entire handlebar allows you to adjust your speed with either hand, and we’ve made the fixed, three-wheeled base as lights as possible for easy steering. Thanks to its compact fold, the Bugaboo Runner base will fit any car boot, so you’ll never need to leave home without it.

Tracking controls on the front wheel and a front view of the Bugaboo Runner with seat parent facing. 

 What are you waiting for? #RunFree with the #BugabooRunner

What you get with your Bugaboo Runner (if buying complete); (1) rain cover (2) aluminium bugaboo runner chassis with wheels*(3) black seat fabric (4) seat frame (5) wire frame (6) rotating carry handle (7) extendable sun canopy (8) underseat basket (9) air pump
* Including Bugaboo Runner/ Bugaboo Buffalo adapters.

The Bugaboo Runner chassis (incl. adapters) will retail for £349/ €400, the Bugaboo Runner complete (chassis + seat, incl. adapters) will retail for £583/ €710.

Recommended Bugaboo seats that can be used with the Runner chassis. 
The Bugaboo Runner is a separate chassis designed purely for running and is suitable for: 
(1) Bugaboo Cameleon³ seat - all 
(2) Bugaboo Bee (2010 model and onwards) seat - all 
(3) Bugaboo Donkey seat - version 1.1* 
(4) Bugaboo Buffalo seat - all
Before use, please always ensure your harness is fully functional, your seat fabric is not torn and seat frame has no broken parts before you go running.
Due to continuous improvements in our products and (varying) regional safety regulations, Bugaboo recommends use of the latest pushchair seat in combination with the Bugaboo Runner extension. Due to varying safety regulations resulting in different product designs per region, the recommendation can vary per region. 
Never use the Bugaboo Runner with a carrycot/bassinet/pram body or infant car seat
*version 1.1 can be recognised by the wooden seat board

Friday, 10 April 2015

Travelling to Florida. Where do you buy your theme park/attraction tickets from? From your travel operator? Or from a carefully selected ticket website. A round up of a few Disney/Universal/Florida attraction ticket selling sites I have found.

So you've booked your Florida holiday. You've got your flights and accommodation sorted and now you need your theme park/attraction tickets. There is so much to see and do in Florida that I confess that I do not know them all but obviously the main ones are Disney World, Universal Studios, Island of Adventure, Busch Gardens, Seaworld and lots, lots more. 

You can buy your tickets from your travel operator so you've booked everything at the same time and it's all done. However, what if you want to shop around? What websites are out there to buy all these tickets from? I have been having a look recently with a bit of help from Google and a few have caught my eye so I thought I would do a quick list of some websites out there where you can buy tickets and get all the information you need, what tickets would be best, duration of stay, what you can fit in on your holiday and much more advice too.

Florida Tix have a holiday planner so you can sit back and really take your time to plan your holiday and what tickets you need for which attractions you want to go to. Their website states lowest prices guaranteed and they will price match if you find the tickets cheaper. With Walt Disney World tickets, Universal Studio tickets. Seaworld, Discovery Cove, combination parks tickets to combine more than one attraction plus shows, tours and lots more. Their website is definitely worth a look. Also up until April 12th 2015 they are offering free Dine 4 Less card with every 2015 booking, see their website for more details. You can also book your tickets with just a £10 deposit to secure and then you just have to pay off the balance at least 5 weeks before your travel date.

Travel Republic also have a huge selection of Walt Disney World and Universal tickets available including all of the fab combo tickets as well as things like Boggy Creek Airboat rides, The Space Badge admission to the Kennedy Space centre, Pirates Dinner Adventure on International Drive, Orlando hot air balloon rides plus much much more. Very competitively priced too and lots of info and advice on their website so definitely another one to check out when looking for your ultimate ticket package.

The American Attractions website has four easy to find sections from its homepage for Theme Parks, Excursions, Dining and Shows, FAQs and a Contact Us section. Also on their homepage is a 'As recommended by' badge which is good to see. Again lots of tickets available and combo packages for all of the main Walt Disney World, Universal, Bushc Garden, Seaworld attractions. As well as the Kennedy Space Centre, Legoland Florida. Aquatica and much more.

There are so many more websites to buy tickets from as well as the ones mentioned above. Each website I have mentioned sells a whole array of tickets for Florida attractions, theme parks, shows, dining experiences and more, not just the few things I have mentioned in each section so it is well worth spending an evening (with a glass of wine) and researching all of the available websites for the best tickets/combinations that you want. It's your holiday and you can do as little or as much as you want to and the flexibility of a lot of the tickets is fab.

Any advice on how to fit everything in without overwhelming ourselves would be greatly received. I want it to be a holiday too and not to come back more stressed than when we went. Thank you.