Friday, 24 October 2014

The Extension - Update 5 (More walls and a roof!)

So here is part five of my picture updates!

Ben was excited to be able to climb up the scaffolding to the first floor and have a look around the site.

He was pretty gutted when the scaffolders came to put up the next lot of scaffolding and put one big ladder up to the top which Grandad deemed too step to be safe for Ben to climb up.

Another couple of week's work saw the end of July and the first floor built and a roof!

You can see previous updates here:

The Extension - Update Number 1 (Goodbye Leaky Garage)

The Extension - Update Number 2 (Digging the footings)

The Extension - Update Number 3 (Getting out of the ground)

The Extension - Update Number 4 (Actual Walls) 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

See Ben settle into his Year 1 class & new childcare arrangements - An Autumn Bucket List Update

As we reach the end of the first half term of this academic year it makes sense to have a catch up on this particular part of my Autumn Bucket List.

The change from EYFS to Year 1 can be quite a big one as the day moves towards more structured learning (by which I mean sitting at tables).  Of course how dramatic this change is depends on the individual teacher or school.  Some schools will adopt an EYFS type approach till right towards the end of Year 1 whereas others will make the change much sooner.

Ben is "Summer Born" and as such is very young within his year group.  As he attends a 1.5 form entry school he is actually in a mixed Reception / Year 1 class which means he is actually more the middle of his class in terms of age at the moment which I think probably works in his favour.  I had been a bit worried about how he would take the change to Year 1 but so far it seems to be working well for him.

Last night I went to meet his teacher for his Parents' Evening - having asked him the day before what he thought Miss D would say about him and whether she would say he tried his best he replied that he wasn't sure and that he was nervous.  I had anticipated that she might tell me he was a bit silly at times (the fact he drew a big black line right across the front of his school top last week is a case in point) however I was really pleased that actually she told me he has settled down really well now.  He still has his silly moments but she can see he's trying really hard to make the right choices.  He's working hard and doing well in class.  He has a lovely friendship with a girl in his class which appears to be working well for both of them at the moment, I think she's calming him down a bit and he's bringing her out of herself.  (Oh and apparently they're planning to get married!)

Since going back to school in September we've worked hard to make sure he is practising his spellings almost every day, getting his homework done on a weekend and listening to him read as often as possible - I've been really proud of him for doing all this without complaining.  The pay off being that, so far, he has achieved full marks in each spelling test and his teacher is planning to move him up a level in reading next term.

The start of this academic year also saw a big change in Ben's childcare arrangements.  Ange, our wonderful child minder, has been looking after Ben for the last three years however she is very popular and just doesn't have the spaces to look after all three children for me.  The solution to this was that Ben now attends out of school clubs elsewhere a couple of days a week while the girls go to Ange.  I sold this to him as being a very "big boy" thing to do.  I thought he might be bothered seeing the girls at home time and then going somewhere else but he's really not at all.  He has settled right in and really enjoys going to "Clubs".  In fact I think Chloe quite fancies going as well but she's not old enough yet.

I'm really proud of the way my little dude has taken all the changes to his day in his stride.  He's growing up so fast!

One more tick on the list for Autumn 2014 . . . 
  1. Watch Chloe start Nursery 03.09.14
  2. See Ben settle into his Year 1 class & new childcare arrangements  23.10.14
  3. Enjoy some Mummy & Amy time
  4. Family Day at York races (we missed it last year for the first time since Ben was born) 07.09.14
  5. Collect conkers - this was a massive fail last year so we need to try again!
  6. Move into the extension & host an extension warming party!
  7. Attend Harvest Festival at school 03.10.14
  8. Start Chloe's swimming lessons
  9. Start dance lessons for Ben
  10. Depending on the state of our garden I'd like to plant some bulbs for Spring!
  11. Kick leaves - a standard Autumn activity of course!
  12. Splash in puddles - obviously!
  13. Enjoy getting wrapped up in jumpers and hats
  14. Celebrate bonfire night
  15. Make soup
  16. Blow dragon breath
  17. Stop breastfeeding
  18. Get back to work two days a week
  19. Autumn crafts
  20. Celebrate Amy's 1st birthday (did I really just write that?)
  21. Keep going on that long hard "Wedding Weight" slog

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Cussons Mum & Me "Real Midwife" sponsorship programme

At the end of last week I was lucky enough to be invited to a very special celebratory afternoon tea at Cussons HQ in Manchester. 

Now I'd love to share some photos of the lovely sandwiches and cakes - however I was too busy eating them and chatting to remember to take any!  Blogger fail! 

The reason behind the little tea party was to introduce Cussons Mum & Me's Real Midwife: Kerry Evans.  PZ Cussons have teamed up with The Royal College of Midwives and women's health charity, Wellbeing of Women and after a nationwide search they will be providing £60,000 worth of financial support to Kerry as she studies for a PhD.

We were privileged to be able to spend some time chatting to Kerry about her career - what had inspired her to start her career in midwifery in the first place and how she was feeling about this fabulous new opportunity.  One of the things that Kerry was most excited about was that she was going to be able to continue her clinical practice alongside her studying - which she explained would keep her research grounded, allowing her to remain inspired by the women in her care.  Kerry is planning to research ways to manage anxiety during pregnancy.  Of course I wish her the best of luck with her studies and from chatting to her last Friday I know that the ladies having their babies in Nottingham are very lucky to have such a lovely lady on their side.

As if the afternoon wasn't lovely enough already we were also given a lovely goody bag full of treats from the Cussons Mum & Me range which I've been enjoying trying out at home.  The range is split into three sections - Pregnancy, New Mum and Baby.  I will be writing a bit more about what we think of the products in a separate post when we've had time to try the all out! 

You can follow Cussons Mum & Me on TwitterFacebook or check out the website - Review

So I was sent some running gear from this summer with the express purpose of supporting me in my efforts to get fit, to try and encourage me to get out there and give running a go.

Have I used it?  Erm no. *hangs head in shame* 

That is the main reason why this post has taken so long.  The intention is there, it really is.  I keep thinking "I'll do it tonight when Dave gets home" and then I get caught up in a flurry of feeding time at the zoo, spelling practice, sorting out school uniforms, baths, bed, blogging . . . and then then next thing I know I'm lying in bed thinking "I didn't do it again today.  Tomorrow. I'll do it tomorrow".

When I first started to look at the SportsShoes website I was pretty overwhelmed by the choice.  What I know about running could be written on the back of a postage stamp . . . "I can't do it" basically.  I suppose in theory you just get out there and run don't you - but the right equipment will surely set you on the path to success (or at least help you to avoid knackered knees, bouncing boobs or being run over because you weren't seen . . . )?

I already have some running trainers (which I erm, walk in) and a sports bra (which I learn to do crazy flash mob things in) so I thought maybe some running tights and a top would be the way forward.  

The SportsShoes website is packed with brands at great prices - I couldn't believe how much I could get for my money. 
In the end I chose: 

* Some fancy Nike running tights - I figured the high waistband would be good for my "mum tum" and the "compression fit" had to be supportive for my wobbly bum right?

* A long sleeve Nike running top (which I can't find on the website anymore) 

A Nike hoodie - Yeah so I bought this more with the thought that if I don't actually run it might be pretty comfy on the sofa . . . I'm not sure this is the attitude of a runner?

A hat - just in case I ever build up the courage to go out running in the cold (though with my stupid asthmatic lungs this seems unlikely)

When all the kit arrived I got the tights out and couldn't see how I'd ever get them on - they're like half the size of me.  But then they are "compression tights" - so they work a bit like Spanx.  Getting them on was quite an effort but they fit and were pretty comfortable . . . did I take them out for a test run?  Nope, took them off and had a curry on the sofa.  Oh yes. 

So . . . the SportsShoes website is ace - lots of running stuff for not a lot of cash.  Me?  I'm not so ace. I now have some super running gear folded neatly in my drawer whispering to me to get my fat arse out there and start running.  I might. Maybe.  We'll see.

*Disclaimer - I was sent these items free of charge for the purpose of review however all thoughts and opinions are my own*

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Bioskin Junior Range - Review

I've mentioned before that Ben and I both suffer from eczema.  My eczema started towards the end of primary school and is a specific type of eczema confined to my hands and feet - it was at its worst in my early twenties but has been very well controlled since then.  Ben's eczema started before his first birthday and he was quickly under the care of a dermatologist.  After a few visits we had found a combination of treatments which work and his eczema is mostly well managed now too. 

Anyone who suffers eczema is likely to have been through a whole array of lotions and potions - many of which are thick and greasy.  One of the things I love most about the current moisturiser I use for Ben is that it is easy to apply and sinks in quickly so it's comfortable for him. 

It's not often that I will try new things on his skin, as I say we have it relatively well controlled it seems foolish to rock the boat and risk a flare up however when I was contacted to see if we would try some of the Bioskin Junior range I had a read on the website and thought we'd give it a go. 

I decided to try out the Daily Nourishing Spray and the Shampoo . . .

Bioskin Junior Daily Nourishing Spray 
I love the idea of a spray - in fairness to Ben he's pretty good at having his cream on and has been from a very young age.  There was a short time where it was a two person job however he quickly seemed to realise that it felt better once we'd done it and he might as well just stand still so it was over and done with.  He is in fact so good now that he is quite happy to put it on himself much of the time.  Anyway - the spray seemed ideal for getting the job done quickly, particularly if your little one isn't so keen on having their cream applied.  I have always found cold creams to be soothing on sore and itchy skin but I know Ben used to scream about it being cold when he was little so the spray scores points on that front.  Having had a quick spray on my own skin I was surprised at how well it spread and how moisturised my skin felt.  Reading the description on the website I was really impressed to read that Bioskin Junior Daily Nourishing Spray doesn't just protect skin by creating an artificial barrier like most traditional creams, in fact it nourishes the skin in such a way as to help it repair itself.  Ben was quite happy with the spray - he said it felt nice and we talked about how it had spread on his skin.  I think it smells quite medicinal and wasn't all that keen but Ben said he quite liked the smell and as we're applying it to his skin I think his opinion counts more than mine!  He sprayed it right onto some very sore patches and didn't complain of any stinging which can often be caused by moisturising broken skin!  All round I would say it was a major win and he was really happy with it. 

Bioskin Daily Spray

Bioskin Junior Shampoo 
When Ben's skin was really bad we didn't really wash his hair much as we didn't want the shampoo to be a further irritant to his already delicate and upset skin.  With my own eczema being specific to my hands and feet I know all too well the difficulties of washing my hair during a flare up - so much so that I often used to ask Dave to wash my hair for me to avoid having to put shampoo on my own fragile, damaged skin.  I've even been known to wash my hands wearing gloves.  The idea of a shampoo specially formulated for eczema sufferers is a great idea.  Ben was happy to try his new shampoo - I was really impressed with how much it lathered up and I liked the smell (Ben said he thought it smelt of food?! Strange boy)  It rinsed off easily and he said it didn't sting his eyes at all.  I will be using this on all three children now as I think it will be really helpful for Chloe who still suffers from a bit of cradle cap.

Bioskin shampoo

We're really impressed with the Bioskin Junior range and would happily recommend it to other little ones suffering with eczema.  

*Disclaimer - We were provided with these products free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions are my own - and Ben's!*

Tried & Tested Tuesday

Welcome to Tried & Tested Tuesday! It’s so lovely to see so many familiar faces and new ones linking up each week – we really enjoy seeing the range of products you have been trying out. We do our best to visit you all each week, but do bear with us – we are both busy mums!

Last week was another record week with 97 link ups – thank you to every single one of you! If you’re new to this linky then welcome along! You can find out more about it and how to join in here. If you’re a regular then welcome to you too! Crack on, link up and share some commenty love – lets face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

 Each week, as you know, we like to feature two of our favourite reviews from the previous week. 

This week we loved:

 #TriedTested featured blogger
Pink Lining Wanderlust Rucksack review from Chelsea Mamma - it is so pretty and so practical, and it made us want to go and buy one!

 #TriedTested featured blogger
Science 4 You skeleton puzzle from Northumberland Mam - great item that I actually went and ordered after reading the review. It will be a great Christmas present for Gemma.

If you link up please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment as well as a couple of others if you can – I know that people really, really appreciate the feedback! We do ask that you link a maximum of 2 posts each week to keep things fair for everyone – if you choose to link up an extra post please make sure you visit extra posts in the linky to balance it out.  (Additional posts will be deleted out of fairness). We do our best to visit each post and leave a comment, as well as tweeting from @FamilyFever and @Lollinski. We would love it if you grabbed our badge and popped it on your post too!
We're going on an adventure

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