Friday, 31 July 2015

As lots of companies Autumn Winter 2015 ranges hit their stores and online, I have a rant! Why put the items online if they aren't in stock. Next, Mothercare and Startrite shoes to name a few!

Sorry but I have my ranty pants on! I know that it's still Summer but as most of the Summer sales near their end most stores are already stocking their Autumn/Winter 2015 ranges in store and online. I have looked at Mothercare, Next and Startrite recently and lots of lovely new Autumn/Winter 2015 stock is making it's way onto their websites.

Mothercare's Autumn/Winter 2015 ranges are hitting stores and online now

However, here's my gripe. Mothercare launched their Little Bird range on July 23rd yet on launch day half the stock wasn't, and still isn't, available. Next have launched their A/W range and whilst lots of lovely items are in stock there are other items on delay. I picked one particular item the other day that I really liked for Thing 5 so I added it to my basket only to be met with a 'your item will be available in 8-10 weeks' message. 8-10 weeks, seriously??!! Lastly I visited Startrite shoes, again lots of lovely Autumn/Winter styles are hitting the website. I hit on the boys section tab and was greeted with a picture of two boys both wearing lovely looking boots. I was looking for a smart pair of shoes or boots for Thing 5 who currently lives in trainers and needs something smarter. One particular pair of boots caught my eye in this picture so I hit the boys boots section for a closer look. Guess what, they weren't there. After a quick tweet to Startrite shoes it seems that all Autumn/Winter styles are slowly making their way onto their website but these boots aren't available yet.

Startrite Autumn/Winter shoe and boots are slowly making their way into stores and online too

Well thanks a lot websites. Thank you for the let down. Why show us these products if we can't have them yet but now you've made us want them. Yes I know it's still Summer but the recent cold weather put me in an A/W clothes and shoes buying mood.

No Next I don't want to order my item and you take my money straight away only to have to wait 8-10 weeks for my item. DFS can make sofas quicker than that these days! 

So this week I've saved a heap load of cash, my usual shopaholic tendencies have been curbed by the lack of stock available, even though we've been tempted with the option to buy anyway to then be greeted with a big fat NO.

I would rather not see the products at all until it's available. I don't have the patience to wait, sorry!

And I refuse to admit I'm a shopaholic, not this week anyway!

There's no such thing as too many shopping bags!

Have you seen anything recently that you want but it's on a delay? Is something out of stock but you really want it now? Did you miss out on a sale bargain and now there's none left?

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The true cost of the Summer Holidays. How to keep costs down on days out and why theme parks and other attractions could embrace the larger family life too.

My children have been off school for a week now and in that time I've been asked if they can go to Legoland, Paulton's Park/Peppa Pig World, into London for the day, to the cinema, swimming, bowling and out for dinner most nights. I don't see this trend ending any time soon so I decided to work out roughly how much the Summer Holidays would cost me if we did all those things each week until September. 

Whilst others are sunning themselves on holiday or having a wonderful Staycation in the UK (hoping the weather gets better) we are at home this Summer and trying to fill our days with activities and days out that don't break the bank. 

First off is the fun and games the children want so here goes;

Monday; Legoland Windsor and HURRAH Legoland Windsor have embraced the larger family/group visitors and have added a Group 7+ option. That's £210 for tickets. Lunch out is another £50 plus drinks and a very small trip to the shop at the end maybe? We are heading towards £300 or more. Yes we could cut costs by taking a picnic lunch (or less children?!)

Thing 4 at Legoland Windsor

Tuesday; Swimming. Local Coral Reef swimming centre, much better than the local swimming pool where there isn't much to do except splash each other and get annoyed! Coral Reef includes Snake River flumes, rapids, the toddler pool area and more. Cost for us all £39, under 4's go free. 

Wednesday; A day trip to London. This usually involves visiting the Science Museum and Natural History Museum, hurrah for free entry. Thing 3 is keen to go to The London Dungeons (£141 for 6 of us, kids under 4 go free). Thing 4 wants to go on the London Eye again (online price approx. £100 for all of us, under 4's go free). Lunch out, keeping it cheap at Macdonalds would be around £30, somewhere else like TGI Friday's or similar would be nearer £70-80 for all of us.

A day trip into London

Thursday; Cinema time. They all want to go and see the new Inside Out film. Thing 5 is a bit too young for the cinema yet so he would have to be looked after. Thing 1 probably isn't interested either! So 2 adults and 3 children for the cinema is £44.20. Plus drinks and sweets/popcorn (purchased beforehand!) around £10.

Friday; Bowling. Which is fab as the whole family can join in, even Thing 5. We stick to one game as the attention span of all of the children isn't amazing. Our local bowling alley is fab and easy to get to and we an all enjoy a game of bowling for around £32 for 7 of us for one game. 

Oldest and youngest at the bowling alley

Saturday; Chilled day, Mummy needs a chilled day or at least as chilled as it can get with five children! We can visit a local park, feed the ducks, play in the splash pool. Ice creams at the park, £10 then out for dinner approx. £70-80. (A chilled day means Mummy doesn't cook!)

Takeaway anyone, our large pizza tower! (We had extra helpers to eat at this particular moment!)

Sunday; It's Paulton's Park time. The children loved it when we went last year and often ask to go back. The rides weren't too off limits for Thing 2 and 3 and the younger ones loved the Peppa Pig world. Cost for 6 people £163, children under 1 metre are free, I think Thing 5 would just about make it through if not it's an extra £28. A cheap lunch at a burger place would still be around £30, I would take our own drinks for throughout the day. 

Peppa Pig World at Paulton's Park

So if you did something every day to keep them entertained and it was what they wanted to do it would come to approximately £800+. For a week, that's ridiculous. No we aren't the average 2 adult, 2 child family but then we aren't part of the minority any more either. Bonus points to Legoland for the group ticket, that gives us slightly more incentive to go knowing we can buy that specific ticket. 

Even if you did one theme park a week and kept the other days to trips to the park and activities at home or outdoors it's still between £160 for Paulton's Park, £210 for Legoland Windsor and then you've got Thorpe Park which on the day would be a whopping £300 for all of us (£180 prebooked), children under 1m are free. Chessington World of Adventures is £189 for 7 of us at Early Bird prices, Thing 5 would have to pay. If you bought tickets on the day it would cost £252 for all 7 of us. Chessington also offer family and group ticket prices, my prices are based on those offers.

Staying at home instead of going on holiday isn't turning out cheaper at all. I know you don't have to fill your week with paid activities there are hundreds of attractions and days out that are free or low cost. I just want to show what these things cost and how much you could spend on keeping the children entertained over the holidays. 

Throw in a couple of birthdays to prepare for too and you will be rocking in the corner until September arrives!! 

Do you have days out planned over the holidays? How do you keep costs down? What fun activities do you have planned that don't cost a fortune?  

Red Rose Mummy

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

NEW Pink Lining Autumn Winter 2015 range including new prints Penguin Love, Cream butterflies on Navy and Tulips and Forget Me Nots. With new stroller strap feature on the Notting Hill Tote and shocking pink signature lining in the Mum on the Run bag.

Pink Lining Yummy Mummy bags in the new Autumn/Winter 2015 prints

There is always lots of people eager to see the new prints that come through from Pink Lining each season. The new Pink Lining Autumn/Winter 2015 prints do not disappoint. 

With three new Pink Lining prints including Penguin Love, Cream butterflies on Navy and Tulips and Forgot Me Nots. 

Pink Lining Blooming Gorgeous bag and a view of the inside of the bag with the usual fab PL features

The Notting Hill tote now comes with integrated stroller straps. Also pictured is the Mum on the Run which now comes with signature shocking pink lining. 

The Out 'n' About Mini Messenger and the Pram Organiser

Bottle holders and purses to match the bags.

Available across the wide range of Pink Lining bag styles available as well as the purses, wallets, bottle holders, pram organiser and more. 

In the Pink Lining child's range there is 2 new prints. Arnold the Alien and Raining Cats and Dogs. Available across a wide range of products from lunch boxes, rucksacks, wheel bags, overnight bags and more. 

These items are not available on the Pink Lining website yet but as the Autumn/Winter launch looms and the Summer sales end I expect them to appear very soon. 

Which new print do you like?

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The videos that my children insist on watching on Youtube including Kinder Surprise Egg unwrapping, Stampylongnose, toy unboxing, christmas lights to music. Are they favourites in your house?!

The four younger children in the house love watching Youtube videos.

Thing 5 watches Kinder Surprise Egg unwrapping?! Don't get me wrong, these videos are amazingly popular with many people racking up thousands or even millions of views. I would quite happily sit in front of him and unwrap (and consume) 100 Kinder eggs if that's what he wants. It's these and new toy unwrapping. People video themselves taking new toys out of the box, showing the contents of the box and then putting together and playing with the toys. Again these rack up the views and I can see them as a good review base for people who are looking to purchase these toys. Lastly it's the amazing Christmas light shows to music that people post on Youtube. Yes they are amazing but when you've watched the Christmas lights to Gangnam Style for the millionth time it kinda gets to you!

Amazing Christmas lights to music

Thing 4 at the moment is watching Harry Potter puppet pals where they sing the most annoying song ever in one clip. So annoying it's gained over 161 million views. 160 million of those from Thing 4! Next up for both Thing 4 and Thing 3 is.............. Hellooooooooooo I'm Stampy, huh, huh, huh. Yes, it's Stampylongnose with his annoying laugh. Yet again another popular choice amongst people. The kids love watching his Minecraft videos, over and over again.


As well as also catching up on many episodes of their favourite TV programmes, listening to music and watching funny videos of babies laughing, skateboard fails and other such videos they are kept well entertained by Youtube.

Harry Potter puppet pals

The most views on videos do come from the most unlikely of videos too. As I was writing about what the children watch I was amazed to see how many views the Harry Potter pals video had. The Kinder Egg unwrapping and toy unwrapping seems to be popular with a lot of children as many friends have said their children watch them too. Then you have the videos like 'Charlie bit my finger'. The ones that people post and think nothing of it and they end up gaining millions of views and everyone knows what it is when you mention it.

So thank you Youtube for keeping us entertained with a constant stream of videos old and new.

What do your children like to watch on Youtube? Is Stampylongnose a favourite in your house? Or the Kinder Surprise Egg unwrapping?

Monday, 27 July 2015

Our decision to postpone our Disney World Florida holiday. Travelling with young children and our alternative holiday plans with a long term plan to head to Florida when the children are older.

This decision wasn't taken lightly about postponing our holiday to Florida. It's been in the pipeline for a couple of years now yet I could never get my head around travelling with 5 children for 10 hours on a plane. Getting there and having hubby driving on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car with the same children that drive him insane taking a 5 minute journey in this country. Queuing with the same children who couldn't cope with the queues at Paultons Park last Summer. The 2 younger children would be limited on what rides they could and couldn't go on and I would be stood with them waiting for the older ones as they went on the faster rides. 

 The stress of the whole holiday experience was really getting to me which didn't bode well for the holiday itself. The stress was also getting to Dadof5StayingSane who was busy working to get money together for everything we needed. So the decision was made to postpone until Thing 5 turns 5. This is only 2 years away but opens up our options and massively reduces the stresses of taking young children on a holiday of a lifetime. 

It gives us more time to prepare ourselves. The furthest we have taken them on holiday is a 2 hour drive down the road. The older ones have been on a plane once before but with grandparents, all went fine but it's a big difference being on a plane for 10 hours! Leaving it longer also means we won't have a toddler in a pushchair to take with us, at the moment if he's out of the pushchair he still likes to run around freely and a busy theme park isn't somewhere I would like to lose him! 

Yes, I am seeing a lot of negatives but was also looking at the holiday at how it would be, and for a holiday of a lifetime it would be a huge outlay of money to spend when it wouldn't be enjoyed 100%. 

So for now we have decided to take them all to Disneyland Paris so they still get their Mickey Mouse fix. The younger ones will love to meet all of the characters and they will all look forward to experience the Disney Magic but with less of a journey and outlay of funds. We have done Disneyland Paris once before in March 2011 and the children loved it. Thing 5 just wants to go to Disney! 

Our previous trip to Disneyland Paris. Thing 4 was still very young and Thing 5 is yet to visit.

Whilst a lot of people have agreed with our decision and completely understand the reasons for us postponing there have been a few that haven't completely understood. This will be a one and only trip to Florida due to costs. Why do it now and not fully enjoy it if we can leave it a couple of years and open up more opportunities whilst we are there because the children will all be older. It's our decision and us that has to deal with it all, I don't care what those few think and stick with our decision to do what is right for us.

The children are happy with the decision and fully understand our reasons so we don't care what others think. We are happier, less stressed and have time to get our heads around the trip, will hopefully enjoy it a lot more too and be able to do more.

Disney World Florida, we will meet one day. It also gives you time to prepare for the arrival of the Mum of Five Staying Sane children!!!!! :-D 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

My Sunday Photo 26/07/2015- Summer Holiday Fun, Fun, Fun

Here are my two boys in some new clothes I bought recently. The t-shirts are reminding us what the Summer Holidays should be about!


Saturday, 25 July 2015

Maclaren Baby are set to relaunch 2 old classics. The Maclaren B01 classic stripe and the ever popular Maclaren Spitfire has been redesigned and set for launch.

Whilst at a recent Christmas press event I walked into the Baby and Nursery display and found a Maclaren Baby Spitfire pushchair and next to it the striped B01 model too. I knew these were new releases for 2015 as the Spitfire had been out quite a few years ago and I noticed a few differences on the new model.

The new 2015 Maclaren Spitfire

I took a few pictures of the Maclaren Spitfire 2015 as I was keen to know more but have yet been able to find out much information about it. I wanted one on it's previous release a few years ago but never did get one and this newer model looks even more tempting.

The lighting wasn't too good and it is more of the green colour in the picture above.

The gorgeous green colour of the pushchair with Spitfire detailing on the hood and brown leather look edgiung. It also has a flying jacket look to the footmuff with brown leather look outer and cream interior.

I am unsure on what chassis it is based but it looks like an XT model, although I may be wrong. I am also unsure on release dates and prices but as soon as I know more I will update.

For now though we can drool over the Maclaren Spitfire pictures I took and hope for more information asap! 

The inside of the footmuff and beside the Maclaren B01 (please excuse my dodgy photography in that last pic!)

On the countdown to double, triple birthday celebrations again. How can we celebrate and make each birthday special when they are on the same day?! Help and birthday inspiration needed!

Ok so that was complete bad planning on my part! However on August 10th 2012 Thing 5 entered the world and gatecrashed Thing 2's birthday. The past 2 birthday's have been ok, we've had lunch out, gone bowling, eaten cake etc... but I am struggling to make the day special for each child in their own way.

It is a big age gap, Thing 2 will be 12 this year and Thing 5 will be 3 so it's not like they want to do the same things and celebrate in the same way.

Last year I even bought one birthday cake and had both of their names on it. It was a huge cake so it covered both birthdays and there was plenty for everyone but I'm thinking Thing 2 really would have preferred her own cake in the style of her choice and Thing 5 really wanted that Mickey Mouse cake he was eyeing up in the supermarket!

Gorgeous designs on these Baker Days cakes, yet so different for each child.

Thing 5 would definitely prefer a pirate ship or fire engine cake (both M and S)

This is definitely more to Thing 2's taste. She would love this cake. (From M and S)

This was my birthday blog post from last year. As you can see the cake was lovely and we had a lovely day but I really think from now on and as they get older each child is going to want their own party and to do their own special thing. So what do I do?!

Last year Gravity Force was mentioned, an indoor trampolining centre. This year now Thing 5 is older it is more of a possibility and I know they would still love to go but what happens when they both want separate parties? We will have to shift birthdays around a bit, hold parties over the weekends before or after the actual day depending on what day their birthday falls and then have a quiet day on the actual day?

If I let one celebrate on the actual day the other one might get a bit miffed?! I mean, come on give me a break! It's bad enough having to organise five birthdays a year plus Mummy and Daddy's too but having 2 on the same day is a complete nightmare!

I have got Thing 5's birthday top ready for the big day. That's one thing checked off the list!

I have also bought a few of Thing 5's presents too. As a toddler and a varied interest in lots of things he was easy to buy presents for. Thing 2 hasn't requested anything as yet, apart from an iPhone 6. That got greeted with a big fat No! 

So it's that time of year again. What do we do on the day? How do we make each birthday special and unique? How do we celebrate to involve everyone? 

I've still got cards and presents to buy, the whole day to organise and I don't know where to start. Any hints or tips gratefully received. Shall we do a day trip, organise a big party, let each child choose something different to do or just keep it quiet and easy going?

Oh and it's Uncleof5StaySane's birthday that day too!!!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

NEW Little Bird Autumn/Winter 2015 baby and children's clothing range now in store at selected Mothercare stores nationwide and heading online very soon. Here's what to expect from the new range.

Our Little Bird collection so far, including new season and past season clothing. 

That's right Little Bird fans, the NEW Little Bird by Jools Oliver Autumn/Winter 2015 range is here. Various stores nationwide have been putting out the new stock over the past week or so and it is heading onto the Mothercare website VERY soon.

Lots of bright colours, rainbow designs and more to choose from.

Little Bird fans have been getting excited about the new 2015 range which has the most selection and choice of any Little Bird range so far.

From t-shirts to cardigans, dresses and trousers. There is plenty to kit your little ones out in Little Bird clothing.

I visited a local Mothercare a few days ago and got my two youngest children some pieces of clothing from the new collection and so far I am pleased with what we got. I also got Thing 3 a dress and although the range only goes up to 7-8 years it is a generously sized dress that fits her and she has just turned 9.

Our Little Bird 2015 haul from our local store

I have added pictures of some of the new season Little Bird range that is available so far with more being added later on in the season I am sure. So please keep an eye out on the website if your local store doesn't stock Little Bird. You will not be disappointed by the range available this season.

Is there anything you particularly like? Do you like the new range and the choice of clothing available?

Happy Shopping Little Bird fans.