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Friday, 31 May 2013

Sealife Centre Manchester Preview

We have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the Sealife Centre at the Trafford Centre and with just a week to go until the doors open, we were lucky enough to be invited in for a sneak preview ( thanks to Laura from Blogs up North)

The tour began at ' Turtle Beach' where we listened to an interactive talk on the history of Turtles that was packed with interesting facts, special effects and encouragement for the children to shout and join in. Little man was particularly taken with the illuminated turtle.

Interactive Turtle talk
Following the talk we were guided through to the see the Sealife which began with the Shoal Room which was rounded tanks where as the little man said the fishes were 'going round and round'. This created a lovely visual effect and was the start of lots of beautifully thought out colourful displays.

Shoal Room

As we moved through each of the 'areas' i was pleasantly surprised to see that there were lots of things to keep the Little man engaged, with tanks on his level so that he could really get a good look in. Some of our personal favourites were the turtles,  the seahorse nursery and the little tunnel tank in the coral reef section which the Little man spent a long time walking through and spotting the fish.

Little man sat watching

So Colourful

All in the Tunnel

Little man at a handy peek hole

The underwater Ocean tunnel was fantastic and i could have spent a lot longer in there as there was so much to see.

Towards the end of the attraction there was a play area which although wasn't open for the preview looked like a good inclusion to the centre. Although the gift shop was not open on the day, after a cheeky peek through the window it looks well stocked with a huge range of goodies.

The tour ends at the rock pools where there is the opportunity to touch crabs and starfish, we didn't see any starfish but the little man was eager to touch a crab. My young nephew spent a long time listening to the information given by the friendly host, taking it all in as he held a crab himself and gently placed it pack into the water. I also chatted to a lady who was visiting from the Blackpool Sealife Centre who told me all about how each centre is different.

Little man touching a crab

Although the Sealife centre wasn't quite finished we thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon and could have spent a lot longer in there. Am sure we will return and see the centre again when its fully open.

Disclaimer: We were given free entry into the attraction but all opinions are our own.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Family Film Night with Coca Cola

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

It’s true what they say about children growing up so fast, i love cuddling the boys so i thought a family DVD and snack evening would give us an ideal opportunity to snuggle up and enjoy some family time.

I remember how much i enjoyed family nights around the TV with bags of sweets and a favourite movie or progamme to watch, and for the past few weeks the Little man has been getting into a routine of watching a snippit of a DVD in his room just before bed. Tiny man has also recently discovered the television, and is fascinated by the bright colours and sounds that come from the big thing in the corner of the living room (he has also learnt that the buttons on the remote controls affect it, but that is another story altogether!)

With these happenings in mind i decided to make a proper evening of it. First stop was the local Tesco, where Little and Tiny were allowed to pick some snacks for themselves (under mummy’s careful supervision of course, otherwise they would be plucking things from the shelves even now!) I selected crisps, marshmallows and a stash of my favourite Diet Coke which on returning home i popped in the fridge to chill.

Little man helping mummy to choose

The boys checking out their 'selection'

Little man helping me with my pick and mix selection
That evening the boys both had early baths and fresh sleepsuits put on, and the snacks and goodies were placed into several bowls, the boys had cups of milk and we opened the Diet Coke.

With the curtains drawn we all sat down and watched a few episodes of Curious George, a firm favourite of both boys (mainly because of the quirky animal noises). The snacks and drinks were carefully rationed out to avoid gorging (and too much chocolate going on to little hands) and mummy and daddy kept commenting on the episodes, asking Little man questions about it which he loved to answer. His favourite episodes seemed to be the one about rocket rides and trains.

Tiny went to bed at his normal time, which left us just enough time to watch a Thomas the Tank Engine film with the Little man before despite his best efforts his eyes became too heavy to keep open and he asked to go up to bed.

Needless to say we finished of the remainder of the snacks whilst the boys were fast asleep.

A lovely couple of family time hours. I really look forward to the next one.

For more pictures from our family film night take a peek at my Google + album

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Wooden Train set Review

I've always enjoyed looking at the John Crane Train Sets on so when we were offered the opportunity for the little men to review one we were slightly giddy.
John Crane Train Set
An eager little hand

The 100 piece set makes a fantastic track which is easily makeable from the picture on the box, and has enough different pieces for active imaginations to make a number of fun alternatives. Even i find it impossible to resist seeing what different layouts i can come up with.

Set up and ready to play
The little man absolutely loves making the train up and whizzing it over the bridge, and was quickly into construction of his own railway.

What is really great about this set is the nice solid construction; not just of the track and engines but also of the accompanying trees, buildings, animals and so on. The train colours are striking, and there are a pleasing number of engines, trucks and carriages that come in the box. The whole set was sturdy enough to stand the excited attentions of both of the little men.

The brightly coloured trains

Little man ready to play
It is telling that even after having had this set for a couple of weeks it is still one of the first toys little man asks to play with in the morning. A real winner!

Disclaimer: We were sent a train set for the purpose of this review but all opinions are are our own.

Project 365 days 139-145

139- Little man loved watching the plane flying round and round
140- Feeding the ducks
141- Loving how the little man sleeps

142- Little man snacking at work
143- Little man relaxing
144- A spot of baking

145- Little man watching the Blackpool trams

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Project 365 days 132-138

 132 Time for the train set
133 The flowers on my tree are starting to bloom
134 - A wild wet windy day

 135 Beautiful Sunset

136- Little man exploring water beads
137- Tiny playing with the cars and garage

138- Two cheeky boys found my box of cereal

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 17 May 2013

Walkers Hoops and Crosses Review

Little man was very happy when we received a parcel in the post last week containing a little monkey teddy (who has been adopted as George) and a packet of the new Walkers Hoops and Crosses corn snacks.

It took about three minutes of admiring the monkey until we cracked and ripped open the bag and were all eagerly tucking in.

The Hoops and Crosses are a baked corn based snack made with 56% wholegrain and contain no artificial colours or preservatives. I was pleased to find that they contain just 85 calories per bag and they are available in three different flavours, Roast Beef, Salt and Vinegar and Prawn cocktail.

The snacks were an instant hit with the little man who spent time sorting the hoops and crosses into piles of Os and Xs as he prefered to call them, and of course wearing the Os on the fingers.

The beef flavour was strong but not too overpowering and the snacks were a nice size. Even though they are corn they do have a nice crunch to them.

Little man has happily munched through half a packet with his lunch and both daddy and i have had packets in our lunchboxes.

Disclaimer: We were sent a sample pack of Walker Hoops and Crosses and received payment for my time but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Learning to Swim

I learned to swim at an early age, both my parents and grandparents talked about the importance of water confidence and being able to swim. I attended lessons every week, was taught the strokes,swam for badges, jumped in, learned to dive and did the whole swimming with the pyjamas on. The water became my friend, i didn't fear it, i gathered a strength, the 'water confidence' my parents talked about.

As a mother i want my boys to be able to swim, to enjoy the water. I want to watch them swim their first 25 metres, stitch swimming badges to shorts and frame certificates, but more importantly i want them to have such a valuable skill.

I have been looking into swimming lessons for the boys and i think they are now at an age where they can have fun in the water and start to understand the principles of being safe. I was surprised to find that there is quite a range of lessons available in our area, and our local pool has dedicated pool times for the little ones. The only requirement is using the double nappy system which is a disposable swim nappy with a Splash About Happy Nappy over the top for Health and Safety reasons.

So with our holidays coming up and an indoor heated pool on the complex it is the ideal opportunity to get the boys into the water in preparation for signing up to a course of lessons.

This is a featured guest post

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Pink Lining Changing Blooming Gorgeous Review

Having two boys very close in age my changing bag is often packed full of stuff to deal with every possible event for both baby and toddler, it also usually doubles as my handbag so practicality and design are high on my wishlist.  Although i have tried several different bags none have really met my needs and stood up to the test - until the 'Blooming Gorgeous' changing bag.

When the bag first arrived i was over the moon with my choice. The green dragonfly pattern is adorable and looks really pretty and the blooming flower detail and stitching is stunning.

This designer changing bag really does have everything covered. The bag comes complete with a fold out changing mat with the cute cupcake print and 'yummy mummy' detail. There is also a clear wet bag with the same print which is a great idea ( especially for us as something always ends up wet).

Changing mat and wet bag
Inside the bag there are two insulated pockets for bottles, a zip pocket and an open pocket, key fobs which i used for dummys, a pen loop and a little detachable mirror (Genius!)

Inside the bag and the 'pink lining'
The front of the bag also has a pocket with a magnetic fastening and there are pockets at either side of the bag too.

The straps are easily adjusted to fit over the handles of the pram and the two carry handles can be clipped together for ease of carrying.

Packed with mine and the boys stuff

I love the amount of space in this bag - there is more than enough room to carry everything the boys need from bottles, nappies and changes of clothes plus plenty more space for my purse and mobile. The bag is so pretty that teaming it as a handbag is a bonus.

Disclaimer: I was sent the Blooming Gorgeous bag for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are my own.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Paper Themes Cupcake Wrappers review

The last few parties i have been to there have always been cupcakes involved, it's no secret i love cupcakes. So when i was offered an opportunity to review a range of personalised cupcake wrappers i was keen to give them a go.

The cupcake wrappers from Paper Themes  are available in a variety of  colours and designs all of which can be personalised with your own text.

A Selection of the designs
Keep Calm Design

The wrappers were made of thick card and fit nicely around a cupcake by interlocking the edges. I found the fitting of some of the wrappers a little tricky and needed to mould the card before placing around the cupcake. Once in place the wrappers stood up neatly, allowing the topping of the cupcake to be seen.

Complete with Cupcake

Personalised design
Removing the wrapper to eat the cake was really easy and the wrapper was not marked with cake debris.

Cupcake wrappers would be a lovely way of personalising a wedding or engagement and creating a little keepsake of the occasion.

Disclaimer:  I was sent a sample selection of wrappers for this review and was paid for my time, but all opinions are my own.

Feeding the Birds

Little man your language is coming on so much, you have started to form sentences and have such a good understanding of what is being said. I have started to keep track of some of the funny and adorable things that you say.

After helping filling the bird table with  bird seed, You shouted 'come on birds where are you'.  Followed by 'come on birds tea's ready.

So cute!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Project 365 Days 125- 131

 125- A day out with Thomas at East Lancs Railway

 126- A sunny bank holiday in Southport
127- Tiny- How Do i get in the car?
128- Little man feed the birds

129 Tiny playing waiting for his immunisations
130 Diesel a new addition to litle man's collection
131- A view on the Mile in Memory of Matilda Mae

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Win a Zalando Voucher

Zalando is a online boutique with a  fantastic range of clothing, home, kitchen and lifestyle products with a wonderful selection of brand names.They are currently celebrating their 2nd Birthday.

I have joined forces with Zalando and have a fanastic competition

To be in with a chance of winning fill in the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Project 365 Days 118- 124

 118- Baking Chocolate Cupcakes
120- Little man enjoying the spinner

 121 Little man collecting stones on our walk

122- A spot of sailing
123- Coffee Time
124- Well the ice cream van was right outside!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 3 May 2013

Ice Block Towers

Both the boys love building and stacking, so i thought it was be fun to make some frozen cubes so that we could make some ice towers.

I made some ice bricks using a  baby weaning portion container. To make them a bit more interesting i used different flavoured juices and milk.

Ice Blocks

I placed the ice bricks in the centre of the Tuff and Little man soon sorted them, placing the same colours in different sections of the Tuff. Whilst doing this he named the colours and counted the number of bricks.

Tiny enjoying the Ice blocks

Colour Sorting and stacking

Tiny was intrigued by the feel of the ice bricks and soon chose a selection of ice bricks to pick up and feel.

Little man soon got to work on stacking the ice bricks to form a tower, tiny joined in too and made his own little tower. It wasn't long before little man realised that the bricks were made from juice and started to suck on the ice bricks.

Making Ice Towers

Both the boys had lots of fun stacking and sorting the ice bricks and it was an added bonus that they were tasty too. Next time we play ice blocks i will make a wider range of flavours and different size bricks.

This is definately one for the Summer.

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