End of Summer

It always takes us a bit of time to settle into a more relaxed Summer, time for me to realise that it’s not all about expensive days out or endless pre planned activities. I get so caught up in what I think I should be doing with the kids, and what I see everyone else doing , that I forget about what really works for us. The last couple of weeks I’ve seen a real change in everyones attitude. Whereas in term time, the kids are very much split, into Z and the girls, over Summer they’ve managed to find new ways to play all together. Of course there are disagreements and many a time where I’ve wanted to hide in a corner and eat chocolate or cry, but on the whole they’ve been AMAZING. We’ve hardly watched any TV and the iPad has only been out once, instead we’ve visited every park in town at least twice, baked lots of cakes, played board games and run around the garden. The kids have made up their own games indoors and out, right now I can hear them setting up a soft play in the girls room and then planning a show for later. I love hearing them chat, plot and plan when they think I can’t hear.

Next year I’ll try to remember that I don’t need to set myself impossible goals for each day, that I don’t need to be dashing all over the place trying to keep everyone happy, that what really matters is we all spend time together and enjoy each other’s company.  There haven’t been many days when we haven’t seen friends, but I’ve stopped feeling guilty if the location or friendship group doesn’t please everyone. I can’t keep 3 children happy ALL the time, but I can teach them that with a bit of give and take we can all do what we want some of the time and what’s really important is being kind and thoughtful to each other.

DSC_0159

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Childhood toy memories

One of my strongest memories of my childhood toys apart from my beloved Cabbage Patch dolls are of my Rubik’s cube and the other Rubik’s products which were around at the time. Do you remember the one with all the clock faces? Or the flippy one with the rings?

I remember one Christmas, most of my cousins had a Rubik’s cube, one could solve it within minutes while the rest of us tried and failed for hours on end. I remember all my aunts and uncles trying and failing too. It’s funny watching my own children with them now, Z tries really hard to solve it, while the girls attempt to peel off the stickers and stick them back on in the right place. One day when I get a spare half an hour, I’m going to finally work it out. I’m sure there must be some logic to it that I’ve missed over the years, and it’s quite an impressive trick if you’re one of those people who can solve it in minutes, without switching stickers of course.

I’m sure most people must have similar stories to tell, my husband tells me he also had friends who could solve a Rubik’s cube easily, and his favoured approach was to take the cube apart  and put it back together in the right order while his brothers tried to switch the stickers around. The latest version of the Rubik’s cube has plastic squares instead of stickers and a faster action mechanism, I wish that had been around when I was younger, it would definitely have solved the sticker switching problem and subsequent sticker peeling.

It’s funny the toys that pass the test of time isn’t it? I love watching my own children play with toys I used to own, especially something as simple as the Rubik’s cube. Did you know the first Rubik’s cube was sold in 1977 and was called the Magic Cube before being renamed to the  Rubik’s Cube in 1980? [Read more...]

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Beach Buddies at Build-A-Bear Workshop

I love Build-A-Bear Workshop, I think it’s great that the kids are so involved in the making of the bears that they feel a connection and that the range of accessories is so extensive.

Build-a-Bear

Both my girls have birthdays over the next couple of weeks so when offered the chance to review our local Build-a-Bear we quite literally jumped at the chance. I  expecting Z at age 7 to not be quite so keen, but there was no way he was going to miss out, and I was really surprised at the range of bears and other characters which appealed to boys. He toyed with the idea of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for a while before settling on a Spiderman themed bear and couldn’t wait to dress him up in a Spiderman outfit and lightsaber. S loves rabbits, so was very pleased to find a lovely cuddly rabbit while H chose the super cute Sea Splash Dolphin from the Beach Buddy range. The Beach Buddies are puppets too, so great value for just £12.

Build-a-Bear
The next step was to choose a sound effect, Z chose Star Wars, S chose Happy Birthday and H a cute little giggle. Then after enthusiastically stuffing their bears they chose a heart. For an extra cost you can choose a beating heart which we’d never seen before. It doesn’t beat all the time, but just when pressed. H has been pressing dolphins heart before bed and pushing him up to her ear. I thought these were a really lovely addition. [Read more...]

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Alpine 10 Kids Daysack from LittleLife

We first used the Alpine 10 Daysack from LittleLife on holiday a few months ago and it was fantastic. Firstly, the bright purple colour meant we could spot little S wherever she was, and it held everything she needed as well as overspill from her brother and sister’s bags. The 10 litre capacity is perfect, any bigger would’ve been too heavy, but it was just about right.

Alpine 10 DaySack

The side pockets were perfect for holding drinks, snacks or card games and the grab handle great for when I had to pick it up in a rush. [Read more...]

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Getting organised for school

Once again the school holidays have passed by in a blur. I can’t believe that this time next week my little boy will have finished his first ever day at Junior School. It’s hard making the adjustment to a new school, and not just for Z. I know what is expected of me at his old Infant School where the girls will be, I know the teachers, I know what everyone needs and how things work. Junior School is stricter, there will be no more going into the classroom if help is needed, no contact with the teacher on a daily basis. I’ll have to wait till parents evening to find out how he’s getting on, although I’m sure if there are problems I’d hear sooner.  I’m excited and a little nervous for the both of us in this next adventure.

Top picks for going back to school in style

Backpacks

Z ends up taking quite a few things to school each day, so needs a good quality backpack with lots of room for books, sports kit and lunch. We chose this one from JD Sports.

bag

 

 

Water Bottles [Read more...]

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Family Fun at Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is one of those places we’ve driven past lots of times but never really known what was inside. I wish now we’d been before because it is just beautiful.

 

Blenheim Palace

The Palace itself is huge, Z especially was completely awestruck and even more so when he discovered it had taken 28 years to build!! The members of staff greeting people at the entrance to the palace were brilliant, very happy, friendly and full of knowledge. There are two routes through the palace, the upstairs is an audio visual tour which takes about 40 minutes and downstairs  you can walk around at your own pace. We started with upstairs, The Untold Story, which was great, but a bit long for the kids who found themselves gazing out of the window to the wide expanse of grass wishing they were outside. However, if you have older children I would recommend The Untold Story, Rob and I learned a lot, and were both glad we stuck with it.

After the Palace tour we set about exploring outdoors, but first refuelled in the beautiful Water Terrace Cafe, with an amazing view. [Read more...]

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Detox the Dishcloth

I have to admit, I do use a dishcloth. When I was pregnant I was very conscious of cleanliness and used a lot of dettol wipes around the house, but these days although I do still use dettol wipes, I don’t tend to use them as often as before, instead choosing a dishcloth, which I though would be better for the environment. I am quite conscious that they don’t stay clean for long, so wash daily in hot water and fairly frequently in my washing machine on a hot wash, which I appreciate is also not very environmentally friendly.

However, reading this information from Dettol has made me rethink my dishcloth.

Did you know?

  • 9 out of 10 UK dishcloths are ‘heavily contaminated’ with bacteria and have the highest level of bacteria in the world
  • Six out of ten contaminated dishcloths harbour harmful E.coli bacteria
  • UK dishcloths dirtier than toilet flush handles

While I don’t think I fall into the category of the 85% of Brits who fail to regularly clean their dishcloth at a high enough temperature, this information has made me wonder what exactly I’m wiping my kitchen surfaces with. [Read more...]

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Win a signed copy of Loon on the Moon with Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour

Did you know the 2014 Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour kicked off with the award winning Jonathan Meres in last January?  The book tour (in association with the Scottish Book Trust) takes the very best UK and international authors into schools across Scotland and the UK hoping to inspire a love of reading, writing and illustration. If you’re looking for ideas for new children’s books the website is also a great source of inspiration with recommendations for books by amazing authors.

In June the tour travelled to Brighton and Hove with award-winning Scottish picture book author Chae Strathie. Have you read Loon on the Moon, Jumblebum or Bedtime for Tiny Mouse? We’ve not read Loon on Moon yet, but I love the idea of Loon travelling around in his Loonzoomer collecting children’s dreams.

Loon on the Moon

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Getting our skills on

We were lucky enough to have an amazing holiday at the end of June, which was fantastic, but has meant we’ve been at home for all of the actual summer holidays. It’s been brilliant having the kids at home and we’ve already had so much fun together, but some days have been a little difficult to say the least, especially as my husband started a new job and has been working away a lot. I was most excited when I read about the Robinson’s Fruit Shoot Get Your Skills On  Challenge with Tots100, because I knew my kids would love it and it’d keep everyone busy and happy  for a few hours without costing me any money.

The kids loved working their way through the challenges, and I think did pretty well.

Week 1 Challenges

We tried cartwheels, bouncing tennis balls, hula hooping and head stands.

GetSkillsOn

Week 2 Challenges

We rolled down hills, climbed trees and made an awesome den.

rolling down a hill

 

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Week 3 Challenges

This week was the toughest for us, but we played some football, built a sandcastle and tried to swing as high as we could. We tried some limbo dancing too, which was hilarious, but I didn’t get any photos. [Read more...]

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Do you want to build a snowman?

At the end of the month we’re having a joint birthday party for my girls with a Frozen theme. I REALLY wanted to make these as Frozen party invitations, but ran out of time, so they’ll have to be party favours instead.

What do you think of Olaf?

We used marshmallows, raisins, icing pens, candy sticks and the hair is thin mint crisp chocolate.

Make an Olaf

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