Thursday, 29 March 2012

Looking without really seeing.

Sometimes you look but forget to see.  I am guilty of this at times.

My Pre-teen daughter is sat on the sofa as I write this.  I am proud to see how she is turning into a beautiful young lady, mainly all legs (the gangly stage - lucky girl !) She is becoming 'her' and discovering herself, who she is, what she likes and dislikes and although this can at times cause tension and disagreements I am immensely proud of her every achievement.

She has recently had her hair cut into an elfin type bob which at 12 is going against the grain in terms of standing out from her peers that all sport the same Stepford type 'uniform' hair and although she has experienced people calling her boy names she simply explained 'They must be jealous that I can do it and its just because I like it"  Wise words and ones that will stand her in good stead for the road to adulthood where it is sometimes easier to fade in than stand out and risk judgement.

As her Mother I support her with my whole heart even when that at times goes against what I want but she is, after all, her own person and allowed to discover this whilst knowing I am here to catch her if it all gets too much. My children, my life, my love.

Slimavite challenge 2012 - week 12

So my last update I was optimistic I had seen the end of a lull in my Slimavite diet plan.  For those new to my Slimavite updates I have already lost 3 and a half stone prior to Christmas (all the weight I gained when pregnant)

I am now starting on a new challenge which is to lose the weight I have gained since getting married and prior to my pregnancy which stands at a further 2 stone and a few pounds.  My 2012 target weight is 11 stone.

Mothers Day brought chocolates, ice-cream and my favourite Mexicana cheese, of course my husbands reasoning was "I didn't realise you were dieting" What? Where have you been? Do you not live in the same house?

Luckily I wasn't keen on the brand of chocolates so I happily reluctantly shared those but was tempted (and gave in) to the Ice-cream and cheese. Come on I am human. So after indulging I knew what had to be done and back to the shakes it was.

After a slow start I was pleased this week to lose 2lbs.  With little or no temptation left in the house but with Easter egg filled cupboards looming, I am hoping to repeat this week with another loss.  Onwards and downwards...

Week 12 loss - 2 lb 
Weight left to lose til my target weight of 11 st - 2 stone

review disclosure

It's nearly 'that' time... come on be honest!

This is what seems to have become a daily ritual in my house when it's nearly 'that' time.

Quickly unload the dishwasher and re-pack with the days used pots and pans, run the hoover round and if time dab part of the floor with the mop, spray anti-bacterial spray and give everything that 'I've been cleaning all day look'.  Rush and hang out the washing that has sat in the basket drying itself.

Bin the rubbish, tidy the toys, think about dinner and if lucky put the oven on.  Turn off the computer screen.  Put some toilet cleaner round the rim and anti-bacterial spray in the air.


Because I have played with my son, been to the park, blogged when Little Man asleep, talked on the phone, ignored the housework (Geeze it will still be there tomorrow) and before I know it 'that' time will be here.....

The time when my Husband gets home!!

I am sure I am not the only one. Come on be honest.... any more tips you can offer a non-domestic Goddess?

toys, clean, house, housework, tips, rush


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Drift off to sleep with Slumber Slumber innovative sleep solutions

How many of us like to go to sleep listening to music?  I know my teenagers do but I usually end up having to untangle them from their headphones once they have drifted off.

Slumber Slumber has a clever and innovative solution to tangled headphones.  The Stereo Pillow Speakers are a set of small flat speakers that fit discreetly underneath your pillow and allow you to listen to music in bed. The 4ohm, 2 watt speakers are designed to ensure great sound quality even under your pillow.  We have been trying them out and Pre-teen especially has found them really useful.

Stereo Pillow Speakers
The low wattage speakers are not only for music but also perfect for those people that listen to hypnosis  CD's when drifting off.  They can be used together under one pillow (great way to drown out a snoring partner!) or under two pillows so two people can listen together as the wire between the two speakers was generous.  Easy to use and adaptable to a variety of music sources through a standard jack connector.

Can be used under one pillow...

.. or wire extends between two pillows easily
The Stereo Pillow Speakers also mean that your iPod or MP3 can be put safely on a bedside cabinet so no risk of rolling onto it and breaking it - this was always a worry with Pre-teens iPod.  With the jack connection they could also be plugged into a radio and we are on the look out for a radio alarm clock that has a jack input as I think these speakers could also double up as a handy way of waking someone when the alarm goes off!

Available from Slumber Slumber for £20.00 and currently with free UK P&P.

Slumber Slumber also have a  variety of other sleep solutions including Light Therapy products such as the Lumie Bodyclock that allows you to wake naturally from your sleep using a 'sunrise' that gradually lightens to prompt your body to wake in a more natural way.  The Lumie Bodyclock can also use in 'sunset' mood to help you drift off to sleep whilst listening to your pillow speakers!

Review disclosure

Monday, 26 March 2012

Things I have learnt this week...

Sometimes it is nice to sit back and review the week and within that you observe many things.  Things that work, things that don't and things that are downright stupid.

This is what I have learnt over the last week:

  • You can sit a teenager at a computer but you can't make them do homework.
  • Don't let people take photos of you from behind - its not usually a pretty sight!
  • A tasty chocolate in the mouth is worth 3 on the hips.
  • Sleep is not for the weak and yes I want my 'stolen' hour back.
  • Trying to do a cartwheel (that you could do perfectly at 10) is not a pretty or graceful image at 38.
  • You are what you are but you can't do what you want.
I have the photos to prove point two, the scales to prove point 3, the eye bags to prove point 4 and thankfully no evidence of point 5!

What have you learnt in the last week?

Always watch who's behind you!


A wooden car with a difference - Automoblox X9 Purple SUV - our thoughts

As I mentioned in my previous Play Merrily review, Little Man is discovering cars at the moment.  He has always had 'a thing' about toys with wheels so the Automoblox X9 Purple SUV wooden car was met with much excitement.

Automoblox X9 SUV
A rather cool feature of the car is that it is a toy in itself but can also be connected to other Automoblox cars in the range to create a unique vehicle. 

The X9 SUV is made up of 4 main parts that push into one another to form the shape but can be broken down further and wheels removed to make it connectible to other Automoblox cars.  Although the car is suggested at age 3+  the car itself had no small parts that I could see other than the 4 purple people that fit into the seats.  Little Man happily played with the fully constructed vehicle as he would any other car and although constructed mainly of wood it was not too heavy for him to pick up or push along.

Separated into 4 main parts..

...then connected together.
The quality of the parts was very good and the pieces secured together easily and more importantly stayed together when used under play conditions.  I liked the 4 'people' that could be seated in the vehicle as it added a new dimension that I have not seen before in a car.  I do think to get the most out of the Automoblox car you would really need to connect it to the others in the range but there was still value in the one car as you can see from the photos of it in use below.

The Automoblox is available to buy from Play Merrily Toys priced from £23.95 and there is currently free UK shipping on orders over £15.00.  A great quality wooden toy that suits a wide range of ages.

My thanks again go to Merry at Patch Of Puddles.


BigJigs Roundabout Set - our thoughts

Every day Little Man is learning and finding new types of play. Recently he has discovered cars and playsets so the BigJigs Roundabout Set was a perfect toy item.

BigJigs Roundabout Set
The Roundabout Set is just one set from the BigJigs Road and Rail range and I really like that this set can connect to others in the range to create larger sets and allows children to build their own villages and towns. The BigJig sets are also compatible with other leading wooden train track systems.

The Roundabout Set contained 13 pieces, 7 pieces of interlocking wooden road pieces, 2 vehicles, a postbox, a letterbox, road sign and a tree with 'town' sign.  The pieces were very easy to connect and Little Man helped put the road together with Daddy.

Easy to connect wooden pieces.
The quality was superb and the pieces were the perfect size for small hands.  Little Man took the wooden bus everywhere he loved it so much.  The BigJigs Roundabout Set is available from Play Merrily Toys and retails for £19.95 (less P & P charges). Play Merrily stocks the entire Big Jigs Rail Wooden Train Set range, including the BigJigs wooden letter train carriages, which are perfect for spelling out the name of a child as a gift or novelty toy train.

A great quality set, ideal as a starter set or in addition to your childs existing wooden train or road sets.  Comes in a sturdy cardboard storage box with its own carry handle making it easy to take along on trips out.

Little Man played for ages with his set.
My thanks go to Merry from Patch of Puddles .
Review disclosure

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Happy Feet 2 and Warner Bros made our day.

Those lovely people at Warner Brothers have come up trumps again.  Happy Feet 2 is released on DVD on the 26th March and we have been sent a selection of Happy Feet goodies to celebrate its release.

Happy Feet 2 is released 26th March

Not only did Warner Brothers send us a Triple Play (DVD, Blu-ray and digital copy) version of Happy Feet 2, but also the first film and the charming March Of The Penguins. Also included in our goody box was stickers, magnets, a colouring book and a rather cute beanie hat that Little Man took a shine to!

Happy Feet 2 is the animated fun family film sequel to Happy Feet.  This film follows Mumbles and Gloria as they discover their son, Erik, has two left feet after Eriks first attempt at dancing results in him slipping and ending up being laughed at by most of the other penguins. As Mumbles is a dancing penguin he is rather ashamed off his sons lack of dancing skills and runs away.  But without ruining the film for those yet to see it it becomes clear that the love and support of your friends goes a long way when faced with adversity.

The dance sequences make you forget that this is an animated film as you are carried away with the chreography.  What's not to love about cute penguins dancing? Here's a little taster of the film:

This dancing family film would make an ideal Easter present for those wanting to steer away from chocolate and is available to buy on DVD from Amazon.

My thanks go to Warner Brothers for their kind gift.

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Dirt Devil Tempest DCC070 cylinder vacuum cleaner - our thoughts

I am one of 10 bloggers putting the Dirt Devil Tempest (DCC070) through its cleaning paces. With a moulting dog, 4 children and 2 cats we know how to make mess that would make any vacuum cleaner shake with fear!

Dirt Devil Tempest DCC070 
The first thing I noticed was how quickly the cleaner was to put together. The weight of the cleaner itself was surprisingly lightweight. The handle design in particular was very good as it gave even weight distribution when being carried so great for carrying up and downstairs and perfect when you wanted to hoover the stairs and hold the machine at the same time.

The array of tools and attachments that came with the Tempest was impressive, including a carpet floor brush that was adjustable for use on both carpet and hard floors (we have both in our house), an Intense Turbo Brush which had a rotating hard bristled brush inside that was fantastic on stairs and for dog hairs.  The  accessory tools included a Crevice Tool (I found this great for cleaning down the back of the sofa and on car seats), an upholstery brush and a dusting brush for delicate areas such as keyboards and along the tops of curtain rails.

One of the worst things about hoovering in our house is the dog hairs.  We only have one dog but the amount of dog hairs that roll up the hall like tumbleweed anyone would think we had more than one and they have become my nemesis - I'm sure as soon as my back is turned the hairs multiply!  The worst areas in the house for this is the mat at the front door where the dog likes to sit and the dog bed.  The Intense Turbo Brush was perfect for cleaning these areas and although the following video doesn't show the hairs as clearly as I would have liked it certainly shows what the Tempest can do. You can hear how powerful the 2200 Watt Dirt Devil is.

I love the fact that the Tempest is bagless as I am too lazy busy cleaning to empty a bag and never remember to order more before I run out. I then find myself pulling dust out of the bag to make room inside it for me to hoover again.  This bagless cleaner means no more no more dusty bags to change and the Microban filter keeps dust in the air to a minimum and even the HEPA filter can be washed to make sure it is working effectively.

Emptying the dust canister is easy by releasing the catch on the top by the handle, removing the canister and then pressing the release catch (whilst holding over the bin!).  Dust will drop into the bin then its just a case of wiping the inside of the canister with kitchen roll or similar, closing the canister and replacing back into the cleaner.

Easy to empty dust canister
I could easily rave on for ages about the Dirt Devil Tempest as I didn't find much to not like about it (perhaps the hose could have done with being a bit longer for stair cleaning) so all that's left to really say is if you are looking for a powerful cleaner that is bagless, lightweight and does actually clean and hoover at maximum capacity every time then you can't go far wrong with the Dirt Devil Tempest.

Review disclosure

Winners announcement: Kidizoom 2MP Camera (pink)

Its competition time here at Bloggomy!

This competition has now closed - thank you for all your entries.  The lucky winner is Esther James @Esthermate.
Please email with your address details (email in the contact me tab)

This prize has been supplied by Argos who stock a superb range of great Vtech toys including this fantastic Kidizoom Camera. Argos sells a huge variety of popular toys including Playmobil and Lego for kids that love to build, and an enormous selection of exciting costumes for kids that love to dress up, with everything from Disney princesses to characters from Star Wars.

Win this 2 mega pixel camera featuring a 4x digital zoom, built-in flash, colour screen, 5 great games and dual view finders. The camera is durable and helps children improve their social and emotional development, hand to eye co-ordination, visual development and creativity.

Edit and enhance your photos with a variety of frames, stamps and wacky effects. There's a great voice recording function with 5 different voice changing effects; pitch up, pitch down, slow, robotic voice and echo.

How to Enter


Argos have compensated me to run this competition on their behalf

Monday, 19 March 2012

The power of blogs...

We all know how awareness can be raised through blogging and this ability to raise awareness was made more than clear to me late last week.

I have met Emma from Emma and 3 and her lovely daughter at many blog events and have followed her posts on Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH) as part of Healthy Hip Week recently.  You can read all about it here.  I was so grateful to Emma for her posts after reading them, let me explain why....

Little Man has been walking for about 4 - 6 weeks now and is 17 months old. He learnt to sit unaided and crawl what some may consider late but when I saw him walking and stumbling some time after first walking I knew I had to ask for advice.  He walks with his feet very wide apart (a wide 'gait') and stumbles most of the time. His left foot appears to drag slightly when walking also.  At first I bought him a push along pram so he could steady himself whilst walking but this had little effect.  Next I had him fitted for some proper shoes to see if it was the soft soled pram shoes he was using that weren't providing his foot support. The new shoes made it slightly better but still his walking stance remained the same.

In came Emmas DDH posts and I found that sufferers are more likely if they were breech or transverse lies in the womb, Little Man was both - a box was ticked in my conscience.  I decided to ring Emma for advice on the leg creases that can be evident in those with DDH and a talk in general about the condition which is unusual in boys.  Emma was more than helpful and said to visit the GP and push to be seen for an x-ray or second opinion if I wasn't happy with the advice given.

This morning I visit the Doctors and he said Little Man had not been walking long enough to gauge if anything was wrong (or something to that effect) and if there was still a concern after the Summer to come back. But he watched him walking and said the walking gait would change considerably as he became accustomed to being on his feet. One of the checks suggested through the awareness posts was to put both feet together flat on the floor and see if his knees were at the same level - to me they were slightly off so I pressed the Doctor to check.  He seemed reluctant but humoured me.  He said leg length was the same, knee height the same and then examined his hips, then admitting that one hip was slightly more pronounced than the other and he would refer him to a Paediatrician.  I sighed with relief that I was not imagining a problem with his walking and that I had stuck to my guns.

I shall now wait for an appointment to see the Paediatrician but without Emma and her blog I may not have even known what DDH was.  Although it may turn out to be something else or nothing at all I am grateful for the power of blogs.

Deluxe Charm Bracelets by MyStyle - our thoughts

With yesterday being Mothers Day, Pre-teen and I spent the morning making some bracelets using the Deluxe Charm Bracelets set by MyStyle.

Included in the set was an impressive selection of 7 different coloured polymer clays, 2 bracelets, eyelets, a selection of charms, 3 different types of glitter, 2 coloured foil rolls, toothpicks, dowels and a handy pink plastic case to store them all in.

Everything you need to make 40  beads
The basics of this set is to let your creativity go wild and design your own beads to thread onto the supplied bracelets.  There are a good selection of ideas in the colour instruction booklet to get you started.  By adding two colours of clay together you can create a stripy effect, swirls or just a new and unique colour bead.

You start off by combining your colours and adding glitter, craft foil or whatever else takes your fancy, roll the clay into a ball and thread onto the wooden dowel.  Add an eyelet each side by threading onto the ends of the dowel, reshape the clay if necessary and make sure all excess clay is removed from the middle of the eyelets (so they are easy to thread onto the finished bracelet) and ensuring the eyelets from either side touch in the middle of the clay.

Clay bead in place and eyelets threaded on.
At first we were making the clay balls too big but we soon got the hang of it and really liked designing our own colour and styles.  The glitter was easy to use and the craft case kept it all in one place.  Pretty soon we had beads of many combinations ready to go into the oven to 'set'

Our bead designs

15 mins in the oven
After the allocated 15 minutes are beads were ready.  At this stage after cooling it is suggested that the beads are coated with glaze or clear nail varnish (not included in set) to give them a shiny finish.  We threaded the beads onto the bracelets and adding some of the charms included in the pack we soon had two finished and totally unique bracelets.

We added charms to our beads when threading

Two totally unique Deluxe Charm Bracelets
I really enjoyed spending time with my daughter creating our charms and this is a great kit for girls aged 8 years +.  Perfect activity for a girls sleepover to just to brighten a rainy day. I would highly recommend it.
Review disclosure

Ravensburger 3D puzzles takes puzzles to a whole new level

Ravensburger has gone beyond the traditional flat puzzle that we all know and using new technology has taken puzzles upwards - literally!  We have been building the new 3D puzzle replica of the Empire State Building and it has been great fun.  The puzzle when completed stands at over 46cm in height and is really quite impressive.

The first difference you see with the 3D puzzles is that the pieces are made from plastic and 'edge' pieces are hinged, as the puzzle is not flat you are no longer looking for edges to start the puzzle but each piece is individually numbered so you simply start the puzzle at number 1 and connect the next numbered piece in the sequence to it.

.. numbered pieces tell you how to build your 3D puzzle.
With clear instructions in the supplied leaflet you can start building quickly. Each piece of plastic puzzle clicks into the next but we did find you had to make sure they clicked in firmly so the puzzle remained sturdy as the higher you built the harder it was to click in any pieces lower down the puzzle.

Our 3D puzzle begins

Plastic inserts act like frames to hold the building firmly in place

Upwards we go!

Last few pieces to add and the puzzle is complete
The suggested age range for the 3D puzzles is 10 years + and at 12 years my daughter soon got the hang of this new way of puzzle building although she did start the puzzle again when halfway up as the pieces were not quite clicked in and when she tried to rectify this some pieces pushed through and fell inside the puzzle.  The secret is nimble fingers and making sure the connection is clicked in firmly.

The 3D puzzles come in four different iconic designs, the Empire State Building, Big Ben, a red and white lighthouse and also the Eiffel Tower - I'm sure this range will soon grow to include more buildings.

We both really liked the idea of a puzzle that build upwards and the finished puzzle is now proudly on display.

Review disclosure

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Slimavite challenge 2012 - week 10

As a reported last week on my weekly Slimavite diet diary update I have been struggling to keep with the diet plan.  Not through anything to do with Slimavite itself but because of my own motivation.

This week has been thankfully a different story and I have been going back to basics and re-reading my blog posts from last year to see what has caused my slack.  I decided to do this after receiving the advice from Amy that organises my Slimavite shakes and it seems to have been very good advice as I have felt brighter and far more enthusiastic this week.

I have gone back to two shakes, one for breakfast and one for lunch, and then a balanced meal in the evenings.  When it came to weighing myself this week I wasn't disappointed that I had stayed the same at 13st and 2lbs as I know I cannot expect to see an instant weight loss but I am hopeful that next week I will see the results on the scales. Although I received some lovely chocolate, ice-cream and my favourite cheese for Mothers Day I have restrained myself from tucking in (I would have done 2 weeks ago!)

Looking forward to next weeks weigh in...onwards and downwards!

Week 10 loss - 0 lb 
Weight left to lose til my target weight of 11 st - 2st and 2lb 

Review disclosure

Saturday, 17 March 2012

It takes a lot to shock me but...

Today was one of those days when I was.  Pre-teen wanted to meet up with some of her school friends in a town about 15 miles away so I agreed to drive her and stay in town whilst she spent a few hours with some girls from her year.

We got to town and she went off with her friends and I happily went for some retail therapy.  When I was browsing the shops I noticed how many groups of young children, younger than Pre-teen were out together.  Primark and New Look were chock full of youngsters spending money.

When Pre-teen and I met up again we decided to go for something to eat and this is where my shocking experience started.  We sat down to eat and a group of 5 children, I would say about 10 years old and certainly not old enough by the looks of them to be in Senior school, came in and sat down on the table over from us. Nothing unusual you would say but what happened next shocked even me.

One of the boys and one of the girls from the group shared a chair and the boy started to feed the girl with her food.  In between mouthfuls the two started kissing whilst their 3 friends sat and looked in opposite directions.  The act, for me, was way too old for their tender years and the kissing continued as they were obviously out on their own without parents.  I couldn't help but witness the fondling and kissing that followed as they were right in my view no matter where I looked thanks to the mirrors on the wall of the restaurant.  Is this what happens on Saturdays when children meet their friends?  For me it was the fondling that shocked me.

Where do children go from there?  Does kissing and fondling in public mark their limit?  Do they think this is what they should be doing or am I way behind the times by accompanying my child whilst in town (ok we were in different areas but I was still always within 10 minutes walk from wherever she may be) I know I spent a couple of back row in the cinema moments in my teens but I was at least 14 or so before I even thought about anything near what they were doing!

Today was an insight into Junior school aged children that had me shocked.  I was left wondering if their parents realised what their children were up to this afternoon. I bet the Mother of a child in another parentless group would be so proud of her son smearing tomato ketchup from a sachet all over the inside of the window of the restaurant! A sign of the times?

Friday, 16 March 2012

Tyrrells now have Crinkly Veg!

I do like crisps and would have to list them as one of my favourite snacks, but Tyrrells have gone one step further with their new Crinkly Veg crisps.

Tyrrells Crispy Veg crisps
Crispy Veg crisps are still handcooked English crisps in keeping with the rest of the Tyrrells range but unlike their more tradition flavours Crinkly Veg is just that!  Beetroot, parsnip and carrot crinkled and handcooked into crisps with a rosemary and wild garlic flavour.

Tyrells beetroot crisp
At first sight the crisps obviously look different to what you may be used to, with reds, oranges and brown crinkly delights but I have to say I love the idea.  I am a big fan of root vegetables and so happily tried a pack (or two!) to give my opinion.  I didn't know what to expect and they didn't taste like much more than garlic flavour crisps as there was no distinct beetroot,parsnip or carrot taste to them but I think perhaps it could have been overpowered by the rosemary and wild garlic flavouring.

I wanted them to be a little more 'crisp' as well but I have to bear in mind they are root vegetables and may not crisp up in the same way as potatoes.  I loved the idea of the Crinkly Veg but sadly they were too garlicky for my own personal tastes.  I would eat them but I don't think I could eat a whole packet.

If you love Rosemary or Garlic you are on to a winner with the Crinkly Veg and I will certainly be looking to try the other vegetable crisps Tyrrells have to offer: Parsnip crisps with black pepper and sea salt, the delicious sounding Beetroot crisps with sea salt and Beetroot, parsnip and carrot with sea salt as they sound more appealing to a non-garlic lover like myself.

Tyrrells crisps contain no MSG or anything artificial are Gluten Free and vegetarian friendly and are available from supermarkets and stores countrywide - just look for the retro feeling bags with quirky black and white photos on the front.

Review disclosure

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

But is it Suitable?

I think I am in danger of becoming a prude.

I was brought up wanting, like most teens, to be able to do and watch things that were beyond my years.  Ratings on films were not so prevalent to my memory but I have noticed film ratings more and more as my children become teens and adults.  When I asked to do or watch something my Mother deemed too 'adult' I was meet with "Don't wish your life away" or "If you do everything now you will have nothing to look forward to". I do believe ratings are there for a reason as is the 9pm watershed on television.

My daughter is 12 and when a film is advertised as a 12 rating she loves to be able to say "I can watch that now" and I can't really say much about that - it's a fact but as to whether I think it is suitable is another thing.  Having watched several 12 rating films with my daughter I am struck by some of the language and images that 12 rating film covers - see why I say a prude?

There are scenes of a sexual nature (to use the correct words) and words that I wouldn't want my teens using.   Ok I know that they are probably used, heard and understood by them but do I really want them hearing and seeing them at the, in my eyes, tender age of 12 in a film being watched at home?  I do swear but not usually in front of my children and sex is not a taboo subject in our house in the slightest but I find myself shocked at what film ratings think is ok for a 12 year old to watch.  A rating of 15 is no better and I wonder what the guidelines cover - sex references are fine but not full frontal imagery for instance.  The problem is that until a film is watched you don't know what exactly is contained within it.

Modern films seem to be pushing the boundaries with sex in the same way as music videos (Thought videos are usually not rated!) every music video it seems features scantily clad women in provocative poses but not so for any male featured in the video. How many scenes of women in hot pants and arse shaking can sell a song I wonder?  No wonder I see so many teens wearing outfits I just look at and think 'put a coat on love you must be cold'

I think I am going to be dragged kicking and screaming into having to accept this is a fact of modern life but do I have to like it?  A prude on my own or does anyone else have an opinion?

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Looking for an Easter gift for a baby - HABA have a suggestion!

Easter is nearly here! Not everyone wants or can have the more traditional chocolate eggs but HABA have a lovely musical bunny sure to entertain any little one.

Benji Bunny is made from organic cotton and is suitable from birth. Benji is so soft and his pink heart holds a special surprise.  Pull the heart and Benji will gently play 'Hush Little Baby' making it perfect for attaching to a cot or pram.  The lullaby plays for quite a while and has soothed Little Man to sleep on a few nights.

HABA Benji Bunny
Benji Bunny has a sweet little face and is a mixture of plush and textured organic cotton.  He has his own pocket on his front and a cute tail. The material is high quality which you can tell from the moment you touch it and is gentle against babies skin.

Little Man was rather taken by his cute nose!
A perfect gift for Easter or as a present for a newborn.  Height approx. 20cm.

Review disclosure

Wheely good fun with Jungle Junction and Flair

I bet you there are few of us with pre-school age children  that haven't seen the Disney programme Jungle Junction.

Featuring the wheeled animal characters Zooter, Ellyvan and Bungo and their friends, the friendly characters love zipping around their jungle home and having adventures.  Flair have released a series of Jungle Junction toys and playsets that are going to please any young fan.  We have been kindly sent a selection from the range to review and have fun with.

Aimed at children aged 3 years+ the Jungle Junction Wheel Around Fun Set  is a real hands on toy that allows children to drive around the characters on their jungle playmat creating their own adventures. The set contains a cardboard playmat, 2 road signs, road sign stickers and the characters Zooter, Ellyvan and Bungo. Use on its own or in addition to the other play sets in the range.

Ellyvan comes as a pull back toy that has opening doors on the back and a rather fun trunk that turns rounds and makes a clicking sound.  At quite a reasonable size Ellyvan was perfect for younger children aged 1 year + as there were no small parts and his size meant it could be played with easily by smaller hands - pull Ellyvan back and watch him go!

Turn Ellyvans trunk...

.. doors that open to carry things inside.
One of Little Mans favourite toys from the Jungle Junction selection from Flair was the bath toy. Hippovan is again suitable from 1 years+. Squirting water from Hippovans mouth soon became a favourite bath time activity and again is a great size for smaller children.

Hippovan bath toy
 Finally we received a rather cute Zooter plush toy.  He was really soft and Little Man was really excited when he discovered he had his own set of wheels underneath. Wheely good fun!  They are akin to inline skate wheels and can make the toy go along at quite fast speeds.  The Zooter plush toy was an instant hit and worked well on carpet and laminate flooring.  Easy to surface clean as well should he pick up any dust on his travels.

Two wheels to whizz around on!

An Oscar winning collection from Warner Brothers

Films are my great love and provide opportunity to totally immerse yourself in a visual journey.  I love all types of films from the black and white classics, musicals to horrors. I don't think I could live without a good movie.

Last week I received an Oscar winning collection of films from the lovely people at Warner Brothers and I have been spoilt with the contents:

An Oscar winning selection
Gone With The Wind is a masterpiece that stands the test of time. Celebrating its 70th anniversary it is a film epic combining period romance, saga and war. It is set in rural Georgia in 1861 just as the American Civil War is about to commence, it tells the tale of life, love, loss and war in an era of cotton plantations and unrest.

The film won 10 Academy Awards.  The immortal line "Frankly my dear I don't give a damn!" stems from this film when Rhett Butler tells the  fiesty Scarlett O'Hara he no longer cares for her and her selfish ways and caused a stir at the time of its release as profanities were unheard of in films (can't same the same now sadly)  I love this film and it carries you along and thoroughly entertains from start to finish.

An American In Paris is a visual journey that is listed as one of the American Film Institutes Top 100 American films.  Starring Gene Kelly (Who hasn't seen the great Singing In The Rain?) the dance sequences are incredible.  Winner of 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture this film will not disappoint those that love their musicals.

Another classic film Doctor Zhivago is also included in my collection and is another film celebrating an anniversary - its 45th.  Directed by David Lean, Doctor Zhivago is a story of Russia torn apart by war and, like Gone With The Wind, tells of love through war.  Starring Omar Shariff it also won 5 Academy Awards and is now available for the first time on Blu-Ray.

The final film in the box was The Blindside which is a modern film starring Sandra Bullock based on a true story. The film is semi-biographical and follows the life of Michael who after spending most of his life in foster care has far from the best prospects until he meets Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock). An emotional and tear jerking film that is well worth watching.

An incredible set of films to add to any 'Bucket List of films to see'... oh and did I mention the rather tasty edible Oscars in the box?

My own chocolate Oscar
My thanks, as ever, go to Warner Brothers for their gift and for selecting an amazing collection of films.

Monday, 12 March 2012

So much 'red tape' and where's the school nurse?

I am sure I am not the only person that has seen the world slowly but surely become covered in red tape.  It can feel at times every where you turn there is another rule that makes life a little more complicated.

Even simple things like school trips require forms, usually identical to the last school trip one,  to be filled in with medical information and asking questions such as ability to swim in different types of water - will they be swimming at the Theatre?   Would it not be easier to keep details on file to use and change as and when circumstances change?  The strangest one I find it that schools are not permitted to apply sun cream or administer Calpol even with a parents permission.  I understand some things are there to protect but surely if a parent gives written (another form!) permission shouldn't that be sufficient?  Is applying sun cream not giving a form of protection ok even if it is just to skin but with skin cancer rates on the increase it is important.

How long before we start saying children cannot go into the seat on trollies just in case we upset someone?  I have started to notice many supermarkets don't even put seat belts or reins in their trollies any more. Is it just another fear of being sued should a child hurt themselves on them rather than thinking without them they could fall out of the trolley?

And where's the School Nurse?  In my school we had a nurse on site who could give you a headache tablet, plaster or suchlike.  In fact we nicknamed our school nurse 'Jenny Rennie' as whenever you went to her with an ailment you always seemed to come away with a Rennie tablet no matter what your woe. Some schools have a nurse that comes on a rota (Children now don't feel ill more than once a term please!)  School nurses used to double up as 'Nit Nurses'  and we would all have our hair checked - no taboo as everyone was checked.  These days a letter sometimes doesn't even come home to say there is a outbreak at school as it may offend.

In my opinion our world is trying to be so politically correct and in doing so we start to create minorities.  By singling out a group or person we could offend or upset we start to look at who or what that person has or is rather than how we can help or even better just accepting we are all people.

Or am I missing the point completely?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Mothers Day gift box craft activity

Tesco Magazine have a rather thrifty and clever idea to make your Mothers Day present even more personalised with a special gift box idea.

We have joined in with the fun after watching the ideas video on the Tesco Magazine website.  As this is a gift for Mothers Day, Pre-teen was in full artistic control and got started by wrapping a cardboard box in plain paper, added some glitter writing,  then set about adding sequins, bows, glitter and anything that took her fancy to create this unique, one of a kind gift box.

After wrapping a box in plain paper the art begins!
Pre-teens finished gift box.

Every one of the four sides....

... was personalised with different sequins...

... and sparkles.....

... and even some gem stones!

The finished box is a gift in itself... can't wait to see what Pre-teen put inside for Mothers Day!  Why not have a go at a personalised gift box yourself - there's some great ideas to get you started on the Tesco Magazine video.