Thursday, 21 August 2014

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge . . . Our Family Contribution

So unless you've had your head well and truely buried in the sand over the last week or so you'll most likely have seen any number of people tipping buckets of cold water over themselves in the name of raising awareness of "ALS" . . . well it worked as I had no idea what ALS actually was.  I had to Google it to discover that ALS is a degenerative condition also known as Motor Neurone Disease in the UK.  I've also seen people donating to Macmillian which doesn't seem to have been the original intention but at the end of the day money raised for charity is money raised for charity right? 

So after laughing at lots of friends soaking themselves (and maybe drooling over a topless David Beckham) the Ice Bucket Challenge made it's way to the "We're going on an adventure . . . " household when Ben's best friend Finley nominated him last night.  I told Ben this morning, showed him the videos and explained that Finn had said it was his turn next.  Ben spent the day plotting his nominations and was quite excited at prospect of being soaked when Daddy got home from work.  Of course the nominations followed a somewhat predictable pattern ending up in all three of us getting an icy cold drenching - we stopped short of involving Chloe as I think it was safe to say she'd have hated it!

Ben's Ice Bucket Challenge 

Daddy's Ice Bucket Challenge

Mummy's Ice Bucket Challenge 

So we've done our bit, soaked ourselves, made our nominations and will be texting ICED55 to 70070 to donate £5 to MND Association - Have you been nominated yet? 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Happy Birthday Thomas!

Today our puppy had his 5th birthday.  I appreciate that doesn't really make him a puppy any more but he will always be our pup! 
brindle boxer puppy
Thomas at 10wks old

We are immensely lucky with our Thomas, there's just three weeks between him and Ben so they've grown up together.  Thomas is the most gentle, placid dog you've ever had the pleasure of meeting but still with plenty of silly boxer bounce!

When I told Ben and Chloe that it was Thomas' birthday today they were really excited and suggested we should get him a cake.  I was happy to oblige, I mean who turns down a perfectly good excuse for cake?

We trooped off to the supermarket to choose a cake, having discussed that Thomas wouldn't actually be able to eat the cake and perhaps we'd pick him up some extra treats.  On the way to the supermarket Ben joked that Thomas might like a sausage cake . . . the conversation developed as I asked him how he might go about making a sausage cake and the next thing I know I'm buying the ingredients and we have a full baking session planned!  (I think that ticks the "child led activities" box)

Ben actually wanted to bake a full cake for Thomas but I managed to convince him it would be better to bake buns so that we could add sausages to some of them but still be able to eat the rest ourselves. 

cake ingredients
Just you standard cake making ingredients?

So under Ben's instruction we made up a standard bun mixture (you know the score 100g self raising flour, 100g butter, 2 eggs), added cocktail sausages before popping the bun mixture over the top and baking as per usual.

measuring cake ingredients
Measuring out the sugar

making cakes

We used different coloured bun cases to identify which buns belonged to Thomas - I don't think anyone needed to find a surprise sausage in the bottom of their tea time treat! 

sausage cakes
Sausage buns! 
As the buns were cooking you could smell the cocktail sausages, a sort of "toad in the hole" type smell and I was a bit worried that they might taint the "normal" cakes but thankfully that wasn't the case. 
Once the cakes were cooled we set about decorating them - four with dog treats for Thomas and the rest with lots of fudgey icing and sprinkles for us to enjoy! 

dog birthday cake
I can't be the only one that thinks they look quite appetising?

kids baking

When Dave got home from work we lit some candles and sang Happy Birthday to our dog . . .  

I think Thomas quite liked his candles and he certainly enjoyed his cakes!  (Dave clearly thought we were mad but it kept Ben and Chloe thoroughly entertained for the day)

Sausage cakes & candles for our pup x
(Please don't worry - I don't make a habit of feeding my dog cake and I'm not suggesting you do either!)

Tried & Tested Tuesday

Welcome to Tried & Tested Tuesday!  It’s so lovely to see both 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 sometimes broken laptops and summer holidays hold us up – please bear with us!
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 have loved: 
#TriedTested featured blogger
Swankie Blankie review from The London Mum - doesn't this just look so soft and luxurious? We loved the tips for bathing a baby without a bath too.
#TriedTested featured blogger
Tiddley Pom Organic Baby Massage Experience Gift Set review by Hayley from Home. As a parent to children with eczema myself, it was great to hear of a product that was kind to sensitive skin.
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!  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

Monday, 18 August 2014

Dyson Cool AM06 Bladeless Fan - Review

Now let's start this post by saying I love the summer! I am loving that we're getting more of a summer these days, even if it only lasts a few weeks.  Being able to feel the sun on my skin, sit in the garden and enjoy the odd BBQ is my idea of heaven.  Of course that's not to say it doesn't come with its down sides - suncream, sun hats and struggling to sleep on warm evenings are all a bit of a pain at times. 

Dyson Cool event
Explorin the Dyson Cool at The Trafford Centre
This year, during that wonderful heatwave we enjoyed the luxury of a Dyson Cool Air Multiplier Bladeless Fan .  I was lucky enough to be invited to an event at The Trafford Centre in June where we met with a Dyson engineer and learned all about the clever stuff behind the Dyson.  This dude was SO passionate about his technology and I loved listening to him talking, especially as he managed to make some really complicated stuff pretty accessible for my over tired Mum brain (this was also helped by the lovely lady who grabbed a squawking Amy and took her to play so I could listen properly!)  I wish I'd had Dave with me to listen to the talk as I know he'd have loved it.
Dyson Cool AM06
The rather beautiful Dyson Cool AM06

Your average fan is noisy and ineffective.  It just buffets warm air around your room, not cooling you down and distracting you with the irritating noise.  Bearing in mind I've been heavily pregnant in the height of summer twice we have had several arguments over a fan in the bedroom - when you're that hot you really don't care about the noise and will do anything possible to cool you down (including frozen peas wrapped in a towel on your feet - yes really)  Dave on the other hand couldn't cope with the noise and would always turn the fan off when he came to bed (personally I just saw it as revenge for his snoring)

The Dyson Cool AM06 is immensely clever.  There is no turbulence, no chopping up of the air - it's a smooth, steady stream of cooling bliss.  To look at, it just makes no sense, how on earth can it possibly work? But work it does.  The fan is so powerful that despite the fan officially being a desk fan I can feel it across my living room - unlike the massive industrial type fan I came across in a shop the other week which I walked past and whilst I could certainly hear it I couldn't actually feel any benefit from it at all.  Now the Dyson Cool AM06 isn't silent, you can still hear it working however the clever bods at Dyson have made sure that the tone of the fan is completely inoffensive.  It's so easy to block it out.

What we love:
* It looks nice! 
* It's sturdy 
* It's safe for the children - no nasty blades spinning round and begging to be poked at!
* The noise level is
* The smooth, steady air flow 
* It's super effective 
* You can set a timer so don't have to worry about falling asleep with it on 
* A remote control - yes I'm that lazy
* You can alter the angle of the fan, air speed and also whether the fan is directed in one place or rotates
* The distance you can feel the air over is immense
* It's really easy to keep clean - just a quick wipe round, no fluffy dusty blades blowing muck around your home!
* It's so economical (40% less power consumed than the AM01)

What we're not so keen on: 
* Ok so at around £220 it's a pretty hefty investment and I would never have believed it was worth it till I had one.  You really do get what you pay for.  (Even my Dad was impressed and that's saying something!) 

And it's good fun too  . . . 

*Disclaimer - I received the fan free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions are my own*

Is it time to go back to school yet?

This morning Ben and Chloe are driving each other, and me, absolutely crackers.  Sitting where the other wants to sit, shouting at each other and generally winding each other up over nothing.  I fear that, after 4 weeks, the novelty of being at home for the summer may well have worn off! 

In fairness I think they are both pretty tired after a weekend away at Nana's house, they do generally come home grumpy & hard work when they've been for a sleepover! 

When I was teaching full time I used to listen to parents wishing away the holidays and think "How can they do that? Don't they want to spend time with their children?"  But I get it now.  I get that the lack of routine can become hard work, I get that trying to keep them occupied without spending an entire month's wages on adventures is tricky, I get that it's impossible to get general day to day tasks done with small people following your every move . . . I'm starting to crave a little normality, a chance to top up my patience reserves! 

Don't get me wrong, I love my little people and I love spending time with them but I'm definitely starting to look forward to September! 

Baby & Toddler Show - Manchester & Bluewater - Giveaway

The Baby & Toddler Show returns to Manchester at the end of September and Bluewater in the middle of October.  I'm looking forward to popping along to the Manchester show and having a good old explore!  It's great to be able to see the products in real life and make comparisons.  I'm going to be thinking about the next stage car seat for Amy and I always like to see the different clothing brands.

I'm pleased to be able to offer you the chance to win a pair of tickets to visit either the Manchester or Bluewater show.

(Complete as many of the Rafflecopter options as you like but please do make sure they are completed accurately as I will check and I would hate to have to disqualify anyone for not entering properly)

*Disclaimer - I have received a pair of complimentary tickets*

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