Who doesn't have toys that are still in good condition but just outgrown? That pile of toys that you sorted out for the charity shop that has never made it there....
Well now there is a fantastic reason to get sorting, tidying, clearing and donating your pre-loved toys as Argos team up with Barnardo's to launch the Argos Toy Exchange. Toys can be donated at around 740 Argos stores and also at 500 Barnardo's retail stores across the UK.
In exchange for your donations, as if helping a good cause and gaining some extra space in your house isn't enough, you will also receive a £5 voucher to spend in store on toys when spending over £35. Full details on the scheme and to find your local participating store click here.
The Argos Toy Exchange will run from today until Tuesday 27th November 2012 and all donations will be passed onto Barnardos stores to sell to raise funds.
Here's how your donations could help others:
* ONE bag could pay for a mobile phone top up to enable a young carer to keep in touch with their parent whilst at school which could help lessen their anxiety.
* TWO bags could pay for a taxi for a young carer in a rural area to be able to access a youth group or young carers group.
* FOUR bags could pay to keep Barnardo's free helpline running for 2 weeks.
* FIVE bags could pay for five sessions for an activity of a young carer's choice, allowing them to pursue a personal interest, develop skills and have a break from their caring responsibilities.
* TEN bags could cover the cost of running two drop-in centres for a month.
So with Christmas coming what better time to have a toy sort out and get donating (and helping)
Little Man has developed many 'strange' dislikes. He doesn't like the feel of many things on his hands and tooth brushing is far from easy as he doesn't like to open his mouth to brush.
I had tried the usual approaches from showing him me brushing my teeth and trying to get him to imitate and join in, sitting him on my knee with his back to me and looking in a mirror whilst trying to convince him to open his mouth, smearing the toothpaste on my finger to brush instead and many other ways. He was having none of it and obviously I worry about the effect that will have on his long term tooth health.
A lovely lady from Brush-baby sent me some samples of their products to try which included the Brush Baby Dental Wipes, toothpaste and Brush Baby tooth brush.
The Brush Baby toothbrush is very different to traditional brushes in that it is made from silicone (but BPA Free) and is very flexible but durable. The idea is that the brush can be chewed so great for babies and those, like Little Man, not keen on letting anyone close enough to brush for them. When used with a fluoride toothpaste such as the Brush Baby sample sent to me I knew at least fluoride was getting into his mouth and onto his teeth.
He happily chewed away and now even lets me move the brush along his teeth and gums for a short time so we are progressing! Because the Brush Baby tooth brush has bristles that face the teeth in two directions it means that in the limited time Little Man allows me to brush his teeth for I am managing to reach as much of the teeths surface as I can in less strokes. He is also getting used to having a brush in his mouth which was most of the battle.
We were also sent some Brush Baby Dental Wipes to use after meals or snack to continue with the tooth cleaning routine but Little Man has so far not let me use or try these successfully. I do hope that continuing with the silicone brush and getting him used to the whole idea of teeth cleaning may mean he allows me to try the wipes.
The Dental Wipes come in a box of 12 and have a textured surface on the material to help clean the teeth. You use by putting the wipe onto your index finger and wiping along the childs teeth.
I have been impressed with the progress Little Man has made using the Brush Baby toothbrush and hope his continued use will allow us to progress further onto a standard childs toothbrush.
From the title you may think that 'What To Expect When You're Expecting' is a fact based DVD for expecting parents but that's far from the case!
'What To Expect When You're Expecting' is a story of 5 couples that have, one way or another, started on the road to parenthood. The 5 couples come from all walks of life from TV show host (played by Cameron Diaz) to fast food outlet owner and the film follows their lives as they become turned upside down by the impending journey towards becoming parents.
With the film starring some big Hollywood names, the a fore mentioned Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and Chris Rock I settled down to watch.
Although the 5 couples are all different the film cleverly entwines them all in some way although this at times made the film a little 'busy' and with so many peoples stories unraveling it could be a little confusing. I did enjoy the film this said and Jennifer Lopez was really the star of the movie for me. Her tale of adopting a child from Ethiopia was played thoughtfully and brought tears to my eyes. Don't get me wrong this is not a weepy film that will have to watching from behind your pile of tissues and in parts is actually quite funny but I have to say I don't think I would be rushing to watch it again.
An entertaining film to watch, probably more so if you are actually on the same journey but not one that will be winning an awards in my opinion.
'What To Expect When You're Expecting' is out to buy on DVD on 22nd October 2012 from all good retailers.
Everybody loves a treat lets face it and when you get a box of them turn up to make life a little easier and to raise a smile then that has to be the best sort of perk.
Tesco Mobile recently sent me a whole package of perks to help them celebrate their new 'Family Perks Package' which allows families to share the mobile phone love and have up to 5 handsets on just one mobile phone bill, now wouldn't that make many peoples life easier?
The Family Perks package means that each member of the family can choose their own extra perk, whether it be extra minutes to other Tesco Mobile users, other Network users or simply extra data - the choice is theirs and full details of the plan (and the perks!) can be found at the Tesco Mobile website.
My thanks go to Tesco Mobile for their thoughtful package of perks......
Deadly 60 is a popular CBBC show starring Steve Backshall and is a wildlife programme aimed at a childrens audience.
The show follows presenter Steve as he journeys the globe in search of the 'Deadly 60' - the most deadly animals in the world and I was interested to see a wildlife programme would portray onto a board game.
The game consists of 3 sets of cards, an Item Card, an Animal Card and a Risk Card set along with a fold out board, dice, players pieces and a sand timer.
The first thing I really liked about the game was that the playing instructions were incorporated into the box itself - how many times have a paper set of instructions gone missing in your house? With the instructions as part of the box this would instantly solve the problem.
The game itself seemed fairly complicated to play when reading the instructions but once the board was set up with the players pieces in place then the game was actually quite easy to understand although it is aimed at children aged 10 years and above.
The aim of the game is to track 3 deadly animals by players taking turns to roll the dice and proceed through the 'stepping stones' on the board whilst collecting essential items marked on your animal card which is selected at random at the beginning of the game.
Risk Cards come into play when you land on a red stepping stone. These risk cards give the tracker a task to complete which will see you succeed and gain an item card towards the cards you need to collect to track your animal or fail and have to return to your base camp or into the medical centre where you stay until you roll an even number on the dice. The 'risk' element adds to the play and adds to what could be seen as a simple card collecting game.
I have to say I really enjoyed playing the game with my children and although I thought the game would be over quite quickly the risk cards added to the game play. The game is full of animal facts and although not quite in the realms of Jumanji (for those of us old enough to remember the film) it kept us all entertained for ages as we battled to track our animals.
Aimed at children aged 10 years and above this would make a perfect Christmas present idea for older boys and fans of the Deadly 60 programme.
Meet Harry.... well at least that's his name now but when he was my Daughters bedtime guardian to keep the monsters away he was called Henry.
With his cheery red scarf with an 'H' embroidered on it and a rather sad but sweet look on his face he has been part of the family for over a decade.
Little Man fell in love with Harry when he saw him sat on his Big Sisters bed and he's slept in his cot every day since. I adore the fact that Harry has passed from brother to sister and now sits guard to protect Little Man against any 'monsters under the bed' as he did for his older sister. I'm sure Harry makes him feel as safe as he did my Daughter.
I love the bobbles in the bears material from all the years of being lovingly washed and returned to his owner only to be hugged and hugged until he was back in the wash again. I still have the bear that my Mother bought for me before I was born, worn but loved, and I'm sure Harry will be the same.
This is my entry into the 'Who fights the monster under your bed?' #nomoremonsters competition being run by Warren Evans
The saying goes you're as young as you feel and I have to say I agree as I didn't 'feel' any age - until today.
Ok so when I have walked long distances I wake up the next day with a sore back. It's not getting older simply because I carried a heavyweight baby and my pelvis and back were put out of alignment - right! Right?
I look in the mirror and see lines, hell they are just lines but nothing I would want to get rid of. I have no grey hairs not that I would particularly worry if I did I don't think - age to me was something that never really played on my mind. Having started having children at 18 I was always the youngest Mum at the school gates and was used to people saying to me 'you don't look old enough to have a child of that age!'. Sometimes I was flattered other times I felt a bit like a novice that wasn't 'old enough' to be a parent.
As a Mum to 4 children aged from 20 downwards it wasn't a shock to hear people say they couldn't believe I had a child that had left school let alone who was 20 but those days are officially gone.
I told someone today that it was my youngest Sons birthday and he was 2 which raised no eyebrows and as the conversation went onward I explained that the eldest was 20 years old - again no raised eyebrows. So you may say? Well that's just it - no raised eyebrows!
The raised eyebrows or "really!" comment made me feel I must be aging well. So when today someone just accepted the fact that I was the Mother of a 20 year old as well as a toddler I thought to myself suddenly that age had caught up on me, I must look 'old enough' to have a child that age.
So now of course after studying for ages glancing in the mirror at myself I notice the familiar lines but now I am thinking I should actually start to moisturise and drink water and all that stuff, perhaps those laughter lines are deeper than I had thought?
Well before I do start shouting for the botox and worrying too much more than that studying quick glance I want to remind myself that no matter what I look like or what age I look I have got this way because I have lived, loved and laughed and who the hell can complain about that?
Yes I know Christmas is looming but when it comes to presents for Middle Son I usually struggle.
At 10 years old he is moving away from a lot of things he loved when younger and wanting something aimed at older boys. The Wild Science Weird Slime Laboratory is suggested for children aged 10 years and above (perfect!) and as most parents to boys (and girls as well) will know if its ghastly, gloopy and fun it ticks a lot of boxes in the fun category.
We were recently sent the Weird Slime Laboratory to give our thoughts on, Middle Son was in his element (see ticked his fun category box straight away) The box alone had him excited... 'Blood Clots, Tadpole Soup, Authentic looking guts...' what more could a Pre-teen science liking boy want, oh hold on 'Make funny fart putty' yep that was there on the box to.
The set contains all you need to create ghastly and disgusting looking but fun science experiments right in your own home. It does contain chemicals to be able to create such delights hence the age 10 years plus suggestion. There were goggles, mask, test tubes, stirrers and all things laboratory looking as well as full instructions in a booklet.
Middle Son flicked through the instructions and had a "Cool !" moment when he came across the Green Jelly Worms page and set about following the instructions to create his masterpiece, then we came across the first obstacle.... you have to start at the beginning (ok not rocket science you would say) and then do each experiment in turn as it is listed in the booklet. "But what if I don't want to do them all?" he asked, fair question but each experiment leads on to a another and, in my opinion, with quite limited amounts of the key ingredients of Calcium Chloride and Alginate, this meant doing it all by the book - literally.
I must have been tired when we were creating our slimy creations because I make up a key ingredient - a 'Calcium Chloride Bath' wrong and had to start again which meant we were down on our key ingredients straight away. Allowing for my mistakes I did feel a little more of the Chloride and Alginate would have helped no end.
The first experiment of 'Laying Eggs' went well and Middle Son was hooked and was soon over run with red slimy eggs (much to his 10 year old boys delight I must add!) created using the red dye and Alginate solution. It was a quick experiment and results were fast. Next came the 'Green Jelly Worms'. Again easy to follow and quick to get results although they didn't look exactly as they did in the instructions at first but the results were the same just not as ghastly a green colour. Middle Son was loving every creation and I am not exaggerating when I say this had him totally absorbed.
We carried on with the listed experiments for ages and I have to say I did have fun myself. My criticisms are that you cannot pick and choose the order of your Slime Laboratory experiments and a little more of the key ingredients would have been helpful for any mistakes made or spillages along the way but all in all Middle Son was loving every ghastly, slimy minute of it all !