Friday, 3 July 2015

Time to get our garden back!

*This is a collaborative post* 

There's a whole world of stuff that still needs doing in our house - the new bathroom needs fitting, the utility needs fitting out, the downstairs toilet needs finishing off, we have no garage doors and in fact no garage roof.  However, right now that's all by the by.  The sun is shining and I'm all about the garden ideas!

Our back garden isn't huge by any stretch of the imagination and I guess if there was one thing I could change about our house now it would be a bigger garden with more sunshine.  (Much of the sun in our garden is blocked by our own house and that of our neighbours - we live on the wrong side of the street I think!)  Anyway, having essentially doubled the size of our house over the last year we're not about to move for the sake of a new garden and need to make the best of what we've got. 
With all the building work we had done last summer our garden became something of a builder's yard and we spent much of last summer decamping to the park as there was nowhere safe to play outside at home.  We have talked a lot about what we went to do with our garden in the long term - extending the paved area, removing some of the more overgrown plants, putting down fake grass (this is bone of contention but Dave has finally conceded that I might get my own way eventually).  

This is all long term though.  As in "Not this year love, we don't have the time money!" After spending a beautiful sunny afternoon in our friends' new back garden we I came to the conclusion that I wasn't prepared to spend another summer with no usable outside space.  Ben's comment of "Our garden used to be fun Mum and now it isn't" was the nail in the coffin! 


We decided that, whilst we do have lots of plans, we need to do something to get our space back for now.  The main priority has been to clear out the space; take things to the tip, move bricks etc out of the way, cut back (or even down) some of the more overgrown areas.  Whilst I was at Britmums and the kids were away Dave spent the whole weekend cutting the grass and then digging it up before levelling the garden out ready for new turf.  This will be the second time we have re-turfed the garden and whilst we know it won't last well with three kids and a dog, if it lasts us this summer it will have been more than worth the money! 

Once the turf has been laid (which is literally happening as I type) I will be concentrating on adding some colour by repainting the sand table, hanging some bunting and some planters.  


 

Watch out for more updates on our garden makeover over the coming weeks! 




Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Tried & Tested Tuesday

Morning and welcome to another Tried & Tested Tuesday! Thanks to you to all of you for joining in, sharing your posts and using the hashtag every week – you make #TriedTested the success it is! Keep up the good work!  We always love reading your posts and discovering new products (and usually end up with a long wish list at the end of it all!) Thank you for supporting us, and for sharing the linky love!

 As we have mentioned, Kate is getting to grips with having a newborn and 3 other children so you’ll have to forgive her for a lack of comments or retweets over the coming weeks! (Keep an eye on instagram for lots of gorgeous #babyspam)

 Please have a quick read through the points below to make sure you know how things are working:

* The linky is open on Tuesday – from 8am to midnight on the same day 

* We’d love to share your post on Twitter – please tweet us your link (@Lollinski & @FamilyFever) along with the #TriedTested hashtag and we’ll retweet that for you 

* If you’d like Colette to tweet you a reminder each week when the linky is open then please drop her a tweet (@Lollinski) and she’ll add you to the list

* We will continue to feature our two favourite reviews from the past week and we have introduced a brand new “featured blogger” badge which we’re very excited about! If you are this week’s featured blogger we will send you over the code which we would love you to add to you blog post or sidebar!

So if this is your first time here 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, it’s lovely to have you back! Crack on, link up and share some commenty love – let’s face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

This week we have loved:

#TriedTested featured blogger

 The Essential One review from Ghostwriter Mummy - we both adore this brand for baby clothes. Not only are they soft and practical, they are super cute to boot!

  #TriedTested featured blogger

Leavers Hoodies review from Polly Mixtures - the pictures in this review made both of us go 'ahhhhhh' - you can't get cuter than a pair of matching hoodies! 

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 on the posts we have each linked up as well as a couple of others if you can – we 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 or irrelevant posts will be deleted out of fairness).  We do our best to visit each post and leave a comment but we can’t promise to get round everyone every week! We would love it if you grabbed our badge and popped it on your post too so other people know where to find the linky.

We're going on an adventure

Monday, 29 June 2015

BUBABLOON - Review

How many times have you watched your little one happily playing with a balloon and then put it in their mouth.  Your heart skips a beat as you wait for the inevitable bang in their face.  I remember Ben at about 8 months old at Finley's Christening crawling around on the floor and a balloon popping in his face - surprisingly he didn't even react but I often thing that sort of experience could be the sort of thing which caused a life long phobia of balloons! 

The BUBABLOON is designed to alleviate the risks associated with balloons by providing a fabric cover which keeps the light, floaty, bouncy effect of a balloon whilst protecting little ones from popping and the threat of choking. 


The BUBABLOON is super easy to use - you just pop the balloon in through the opening and then inflate as usual before tying a knot and slipping that inside the cover.  It also reduces the risk of over inflating the balloon as the cover provides resistance and means you know when to stop! 

The moment I gave Amy the BUBABLOON she was entranced by it shouting "ball, ball" and throwing it around.  Of course with it being a balloon there was no real risk of it damaging anything in the house which meant I was quite happy for her to throw it and kick it - something which wouldn't of course be possible with a ball! 




What we love about it: 
* It makes playing with a balloon a whole lot safer 
* The balloon will last far longer with the risk of it popping significantly reduced
* The tactile fabric
* It comes in a wide range of colours and designs to suit every taste
* It retains it's balloon like qualities - the bouncy floatiness! 
* The cover is machine washable
* It comes in a handy little pouch so could easily be kept in your bag for those times when you just need a ball!
* It works just as well inside the house as out.
* It encourages physical activity & develops gross motor skills

What we're not so keen on: 
* Nothing! Genuinely!  I really didn't think I'd be that bothered by the BUBABLOON but it's ace! 

Amy is a big fan of her BUBABLOON and I'm sure it won't surprise you to know that Ben had his hands on it the moment he got home from school! 

The cover is priced from £10.99 and is available exclusively via www.BUBABLOON.co.uk

*Disclaimer - We were sent the BUBABLOON free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*

SOS Mummy Survival Kit with lights by TENA

SOS.  Help!  How many times have you felt like shouting that as a Mum?  I know I have.  I'm the Mum who this morning has her hair scraped back off her face and full of dry shampoo as she was too tired last night to wash and dry it before bed (and I certainly don't have time for that on a Monday morning!  I'm the Mum who often leaves the house only to notice her leggings are covered in food or snot (thanks Amy!).  I'm the Mum who suddenly realises on Sunday night that she's not washed / ironed the school uniforms. 

It's not that I'm a disorganised person, there just seems to be so many plates to keep spinning - looking after three kids, keeping the house in order, working from home, teaching a couple of days a week - there's a lot going on in this head of mine and I would hazard a guess to say that most of you feel exactly the same! 



In order to make my days a little easier, the team at lights by TENA sent me an SOS Kit to help me through those moments where we just want to shout "HELP"!  . . . 

Bio Oil - 6 years on I've more than accepted my stretch marks, they're no longer the ugly red scars snaking across my tummy but just silver puckered lines adding further texture to my tummy which has more than done it's job three times over.  I plan to use the Bio Oil to take a little time for myself and try to address my dry skin - particularly on my legs now that the sun is starting to shine and I'm going to have to get them out in public!

A personalised apron - I feel like perhaps I should just start wearing this around the house at all times so that I can whip it off when people come round or I need to go out and I might stand a chance of having clean clothes on! 

Antibacterial gel - when you have small children this is pretty self explanatory isn't it?  They will, and do, touch just about anything.  A regular squirt of anticbac gel to try and minimize the germs is a lifesaver.

Dry shampoo - show me a Mummy who doesn't have dry shampoo in her arsenal and I'll show you a liar!  As I've already said, my hair is scraped back this morning aided and abetted by a good spritz of dry shampoo!  (Hands up who's with me?)

Gel foot cushions - More often than not I will be wearing my Birks or Converse (or the more recent addition to my summer shoe wardrobe - my Saltwater Sandals) - comfort is key when you're running around after kids all day.  I'm so out of practice when it comes to wearing heels these days so these gel cushions are going to come in handy next month with some big celebrations to attend! 

Luxury Tea - I don't drink tea. At all.  Can't stand the stuff.  I quickly passed this posh tea onto my friend so she can enjoy a posh brew! 

lights by TENA Liner - And of course, with up to 69% of pregnant women and new mums suffering from light bladder weakness keeping these individual liners to hand will give you one less thing to worry about! 

What would you include in a Mum's SOS Kit?

*Disclaimer - lights by TENA sent my SOS Mummy Survival Kit free as I thank you for writing this post*

5 Birthday Gift Ideas for 6 Year Old Boys!

Birthday season is upon us in the "We're going on an adventure" household.  July is a busy month for us with Grandad turning 60, Chloe 4 and Ben 6.  With that in mind I thought I'd share some ideas for gifts that I know my little dude would love just in case you're stuck for inspiration for your own 6yr olds! 



1. Lego - Ben got his first Lego set for his 4th birthday and there's been no going back!  Lego is now our "go to" gift for him - at birthdays, Christmas or even a good school report.  With prices from around £5 there's LEGO sets to suit just about any budget
2. Magformers - Ben's love of construction doesn't stop at LEGO.  Whenever I collect him from after school club he's often playing with a magnetic construction kit and I know he'd be thrilled to find Magformers among his birthday presents next month!

3. Action Figures - Transformers, Super Heroes you name it, Ben loves them all and can spend ages faffing about with action figures and playing imaginatively (sometimes Chloe will be allowed to join in too)

4. Scooter - Ben and Chlo are both pretty obsessed with their scooters at the moment and I'm looking at investing in a microscooter each for them so I can at least fold them up and stick them under the pushchair when they're not in use!

5. Adventures - Children have so much stuff these days, why not look at giving them an experience for their birthday instead of more toys?  You could buy tickets for a theatre show or local attraction - Ben loves a day out!


*Ben was gift some Lego from House of Fraser in exchange for writing this post*

Friday, 26 June 2015

The Appealing Rabbit - Alphabet Cards - Review

The Appealing Rabbit Alphabet cards were invented by a dad trying to motivate and support his own son in developing his writing.  Ben was very much the reluctant mark marker however Chloe is keen to pick up her pen and write or draw at any given opportunity.  She loves her phonics lessons and likes to point out different letters in the environment all the time. 




I'm impressed at how hard Chloe works to form her letters correctly and I knew she would enjoy the Alphabet Cards as another way of practising.  

I didn't introduce the element of competition to Chloe initially.  I knew she would just enjoy writing on the cards and working on her letters.  I was a little disappointed that the letters are actually all in upper case.  At Chloe's age she is learning to link upper case with lower case letters, learning both the letter names and the sounds which they make.  As she worked through them I was impressed that she recognised the majority of the letters and made the sounds associated with them but didn't necessarily know they names of them so this is something we will work on. 



The illustrations are designed to make the shape of the letter and give your child a space to work in - rather than a line to trace.  I like that this encourages a little more independence in letter formation though I must admit that not all of the letters seemed to be formed in the same way as I would normally teach them.  This was of no real bother as we didn't pay much attention to the start and end points preferring to focus on the shape of the letter and I modelled any letters which she found tricky.  Whilst the illustrations are beautiful there were times where they were almost a little distracting, Chloe wouldn't always see the path of the letter until I pointed it out to her. 



Chloe worked happily through the whole alphabet, enjoying being able to rub out any mistakes with the end of her special pen.  This of course encouraged her to be a bit of a perfectionist with her letter formation which is always a winner.

What we liked about them: 
* They're a handy size to keep in your bag for using out and about (eg in a restaurant) 
* The dry wipe pen and rubber come in the pack 
* The letters wipe clean easily so can be used over and over again
* The pictures are detailed and really attractive

What we weren't so keen on: 
* I wasn't keen on them being upper case.  It would have added an interesting element to have upper case on the front and lower case on the back allowing children to practise writing both sorts of letters and also matching upper and lower case. 
* It wasn't always clear which route should be taken on the path to form the letters, and some were different to what Chloe is taught however I just showed her first and she was fine.
* Not all of the letters showed a clear start and finish point - of course this can be modelled to start with.



Over all I think the Alphabet Cards are a very sweet product and would make a lovely gift for a child of Reception age! 

You can find The Appealing Rabbit on Twitter as well as their website.
*Disclaimer - We were sent the cards free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*

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