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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Dreaming of a Play Room

When we moved into the house it was just me and the other half, since then we have had the addition of the boys and i think it's safe to say that we have amassed a huge collection of clothes and toys. I often find myself dreaming about extra space and creating a play zone where the boys can have their own little area and that there is a central room where all the main toys and games can live.Am sure the boys would love to put their stamp on it too.

I would love to convert the loft space and create a bright area where the boys can spend hours playing, reading and snuggling down during the wet and cold weather. I envisage big Velux windows that let in lots of light, and two distinct areas one for playtime and one for quiet time.

The 'play' section will play home to the train table, yards of track, easels, games and toys. There will be huge wall storage boxes where the toys can be stored by theme, and the boys can easily access them. Walls will be decked with art work and a wall painted with blackboard paint.

The 'quiet' zone will have big comfy beanbags, and cushions maybe even a sofa and will play home to a large bookshelf and a collection of our favourite teddies. A TV will also sit in the corner where the boys can watch a DVD or two.

Although i have these grand plans to create a play area, there is more than just a little part of me that hopes that maybe there will be a chance to create another little nursery....!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Halloween with Aldi Specialbuys

Last year the boys were pretty taken with the Halloween displays around the estate, to be fair they were quite impressive and each year there are more ambitious offerings. They wanted to decorate our window but we left it very late in the day so ended up with just a few bits and bobs from the limited selection left in store.

Tomorrow (Thursday 1st October) sees Aldi launch its Halloween Specialbuy range which will be available while stocks last. The range has a wide selection of items from fancy dress to novelty door bells and of course everything that you would need to host a Halloween party.

The fancy dress range sets start at just £3.99 and if you don't fancy a full set there are tights, tutus and pyjamas. The spider boppers are a bargain at just £1.79 and went down a real treat with the boys and are ideal for little ones who want something that's not too scary.

The partyware selection is extensive including tablecloths, bowls and party bags. The colourful monster design was our favourite. The serving dishes are also a great idea for serving up nibbles and sweets.

Decorations will also be available from the large inflatable characters with LED lights, talking door knockers. One of our favourite decorations is the LED tea light holder which essentially creates a candle type display by using batteries which is perfect for my little ones (and just £1.79)

Why not check out the full Halloween Specialbuy range in store and don't forget those sweets for the trick or treaters!

Disclaimer: we were sent some items from the Aldi special buy range for the purpose of the post but all opinions are our own

Monday, 28 September 2015

Miffy's new TV show and Sensory Miffy Giveaway

Early this year one of my childhood favourite characters Miffy celebrated her 60th Birthday and in my role as a Miffy Mum i am excited to be able to tell you about a new TV series that will launch early next month. Thats right Miffy's Adventures Big and Small launches on Tiny Pop at 7pm on the 2nd October.

The series will be based on the classic character's from the Dick Bruna story books, and the Iconic Miffy and friends will discover the wonderful world around. Designed with a simple narrative each episode is seven minutes long and will feature fun songs, shapes and will help to engage little ones as well as keeping the bright primary colours associated with the Miffy stories.

I have had a sneak peak, and we will definitely be tuning in!

So to help the launch of the new show Miffy will be hosting a Twitter party this Friday at 1pm.Just check out @Miffy_UK.  I also have a fab prize of a Sensory Miffy to giveaway. This brightly coloured textured toy is suitable for children six months and older, and features 14 sensors which children can press to learn about the body.

For a chance to win just enter the Gleam form below. Terms and Conditions Apply, UK entrants only. Good luck

Sensory Miffy Toy

Monday, 21 September 2015

Bebop Wizard Den Bouncy Castle Review

With a big garden and two energetic little men (aged 3 and 4) and hopes of a nice summer I had already been looking at bouncy castles for sale so you can imagine our delight when asked to review the Bebop Wizard's Den Bouncy Castle

Make no mistake, my boys have the combined energy of a medium sized nuclear fission reactor and I was curious to see how much of this they could expend on a product of this nature - and whether said product could actually stand up to the challenge!

The castle was delivered in two surprisingly modest sized boxes, one for the inflatable itself  and one for the electric air pump. The latter is very well packaged by the way, and the box is worth keeping for storing the pump when not in use. Assembly was ridiculously easy, simply roll out the castle at the spot you want it, fasten it down with the four plastic pegs provided and connect the pump to an integrated tube at the back. Tie it tightly around the pump nozzle( the ties are part of the tube itself) and you are good to go.

The length of the plug wasn't quite long enough to run from my garden to the nearest socket in the kitchen but I used an extension lead so that wasn't a problem. Upon switching on the pump it inflated in less than a minute. It's worth mentioning that the pump fan runs fairly quietly so need to worry about disturbing the neighbours!

Design wise the castle we had was very pleasing. The colours were nice and vibrant, the towers have little mushroom style tops and access to the interior is via a nice uncomplicated mini slide. What I particularly like is that the walls are made of a tough mesh so that you can see exactly what your little ones are up to, and they can see what's going on outside. The material of the castle is very robust, which is just as well because as soon as it was inflated my little ones were all over it giving it the most vigorous of testing! I am happy to report that the pegs stood firm and the fan stayed attached to the castle throughout all of our many play sessions in the time we had the castle. Each time we had to put it away for the night (or during the occasional bad weather) the castle deflated quickly, it rolled up without problem so and was easy to put back in its original box for storage in the garden shed. I would note that the plastic pegs need to be treated with care as they are not thick and need coaxing out of the ground gently.

It's fair to say that my boys absolutely loved playing on this castle, they spent literally hours bouncing around in it pretending they were knights in a castle, Pirates on a desert island, astronauts in a spaceship.....the amount of play they got out of it was staggering. It withstood everything they could throw at it, although we were careful to follow the attached safety guidelines. They were really sad to see it go and I strongly suspect that the boys will be asking for an identical one of Santa this year!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a Bebop Wizard's Den on loan for a fortnight for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are my own.

Friday, 18 September 2015

A Home from Home

Last week we visited the in-laws who have a lovely house in Chester, although it's under an hour away from our home in some ways it seems a million miles away. Whether it's the mix of city and green space or the the historic origins, but everything seems to be a much more relaxed pace and as we took the city tour down the River Dee, I spotted a lovely little property that I could happily see as my own.

I can see why many people choose to relocate and retire to different areas or even different countries. After many of years of paying into pensions schemes, paying mortgages,insurances, policies and providing for their offspring, there is a definite lure of creating a new start.

This got me thinking about my ideal retirement location, and despite the lure of foreign seas I think that some parts of the UK really tick all the boxes. So for now here is my top three.

Firstly as I mentioned at the start of the post is Chester, with the appeal of a great city centre, and lovely walks, I could see myself spending hours exploring the City walls, strolling through the parks and dining in the many different eateries, as well as being only a stones throw away from Wales.

Next up would be Southport which again is only an hour away, but has that wonderful sea air, traditional seaside attractions and of course some fantastic green space.

Lastly somewhere 'down south' such as Devon  or Torquay, that tends to see the best of the British weather, have amazing Cornish ice creams and cream teas. Not only that but they have the most adorable village locations, quaint houses with thatched roofs, and for the more seaside type locations there are those beautiful brightly coloured beach huts, which I could quite happily fit with all the mod cons and call that my home.

However if the numbers come up, I won't hesitate in thinking twice about boarding a cruise ship and sailing round the world a few times before I make up my mind!

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post

Monday, 14 September 2015

Gro-Snug - Review

Despite little pops being my third child i have never been able to master the skill of swaddling. I have tried with different types of blankets and swaddle blankets but have never quite been able to create that snug little haven that newborns seem to love. So when i was offered the opportunity to review the Gro- Snug a new product from the Gro Company which combines a swaddle and sleeping bag all in one i was keen to give it a try,

The Gro- Snug has been cleverly designed so that it combines a swaddle and a sleeping bag in one by the use of popper and zip fastenings and is suitable for babies from 5 to 12lb.

To start with we used the Gro-Snug as a swaddle. The swaddle is super easy to use and it really is just a case of closing the poppers and the front zip fastening. As Pop's was very wriggly, we found that the swaddle really helped to comfort him and we saw quite a marked improvement in his sleeping and really helped with the startle reflex.

The Gro Snug easily converts into a gro-bag and after the swaddling stage we used the snug as gro-bag, where arms can be out simply by opening the popper fastenings. This allows Pops to remain warm and comfortable and made the transition to a sleeping bag a seamless one.

In both modes the Gro-Snug opens from the bottom to allow for easy nappy changes. Chin and zip guards are also fitted to prevent any rubbing. The Gro- Snug is made from supersoft cotton and can be washed and tumbled dried, and as we have used ours so much i have found that it has washed well and remained supersoft.

The Gro- Snug is available in two different weights dependent on the room temperature; light for use in warm rooms of 21-25c and cosy for cooler rooms of 16-20c. It is available in three different colours of white, grey marl and rainbow spot, each coming with a handy little room thermometer.

We have used the Gro-Snug every day since receiving and i can honestly say that we love this product. The ability to combine an easy to use swaddle and gro- bag in one is in my opinion a genius idea and i will definitely be recommending this product to other parents.

Disclaimer: We received a Gro-Snug for the purpose of this review but all opinions are my own.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Lego Dream House

Little man loves to build and has just started to explore the concept of Lego so when we were offered the chance to build a Lego Dream House with Ocean Finance it was a perfect opportunity to get creative.

Now if you asked me about my dream home I would be thinking of a huge kitchen with island, conservatory, play room and a spare bedroom, big garden  etc but it seems these don't feature in a four year olds ideal home.

So little man set out armed with his box of Lego and a few extra pieces that had been passed down from his nephews and this is what he come up with.

Little man was very keen throughout the build to describe the features of his 'dream home' and it seems that security is very high on the agenda at this home.

Firstly there is an entrance gate at the front path to let the good guys in sorry no baddies allowed.

Down the front path there is also a dog detector, they have to stay outside too and a glow light for when it gets dark.

The front of the house is complete with door number so in little mans words the 'postman knows where to call' and of course security is top priority we have a house alarm complete with water spray. The side garden also has its very owntrap door just in case any baddies are located, they will be thrown in!

Inside the house little man has fitted a telephone for those important calls, one bed so that we can all sleep together and for a safety conscious little man a safety gate to make sure children are safe.

Moving into the back garden we have the chief aka Daddy who is gardening, an outside bath/paddling pool  complete with big taps and a BBQ for cooking tea.

This post is our entry into the Ocean Finance Bloggers competition, we were sent a box of Lego to allow us to take part.

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