We recently went completely out of our comfort zones and spent a weekend camping in the Lake District. We love a UK holiday but usually sleep in a cosy home like caravan. One of the biggest issues for us before going was whether or not Elsie would settle and sleep (if you are a regular reader you will know it took us so long to persuade her to sleep in her cot rather than her co-sleeper. As 'Blogger of the Year' for Koodi, we were sent the Koodi Bubble Cot to take with us for her to sleep in.
Shopping for school uniform can get very expensive, especially if you have more than one child to buy for. Thankfully, over the last few years, supermarket school uniforms have become more affordable and brilliant quality. Now I find shoes are the only items I have to splash out on and the kids can have three or four sets of uniform making them look clean and smart at all times thanks to the amazing prices.
Aquafresh have teamed up with Disney Pixars latest movie, the extremely popular Inside Out to try and encourage children to enjoy the routine of brushing their teeth. A survey of 1,558 parents showed that two thirds of the parents involved admitted their children don't enjoy brushing their teeth and nearly half of them claimed they have to make their children brush their teeth as they wouldn't do it of their own accord.
We were sent an Aquafresh Brushtime kit along with some handy tips to try out to make brush time more fun for us. I have to say we actually had a great routine already. Gracie has always loved brushing her teeth, we had a small period where we struggled with Zach as he wanted to be independent and do it himself and I worried about how it would affect his teeth letting him do it by himself. This is when we decided that we would let the kids brush their own teeth but only after Mummy or Daddy had given them a good brush first. Zach kicked off a few times and so was told we do it first or he doesn't brush them at all. It lasted two days with him watching Gracie have hers done before he gave in and we haven't had a problem since.
Our brushtime kit contained toothbrush holders, a bracelet, a stress toy and a sand timer along with a toothbrush and Aquafresh Little Teeth toothpaste all in a cute Inside Out wash bag. Gracie and Zach are both big Inside Out fans so were excited to start the challenge and even more excited to brush their teeth than usual. I found the sand timer the best addition to our routine as it showed me that although we brush our teeth everyday we don't do it for as long as we should so now the kids hold their timer while I brush their teeth and take over when it is finished. This makes me so happy now I know that they are being brushed longer and more thoroughly. It is quite worrying that we were doing it for probably only half the recommended time before so my biggest tip for anyone would be to get a timer of some sort, whether it be a physical one to hold or even a phone app.
I love the collaboration between Aquafresh and Inside Out. Children experience so many different emotions every day and it is nice to give them characters to explain how they are feeling and for them to associate the way they feel with the characters. Anger, Fear, Joy, Sadness and Disgust are all loveable characters and we are happy to use them to describe our feelings.
You can get lots of handy tips to help improve your brushtime experience here www.aquafreshbrushtime.co.uk
Well the day had to arrive eventually, but it doesn't make it any easier to believe it is here. Elsie is one whole year old today. One year ago today, I left Gracie and Zach with my Auntie and headed off bright and early to wait for my C-Section. I was scared and nervous and excited. It seems like a blur now I just remember the sick feeling all through the op (a side effect of the meds) and I remember crying as soon as I heard her little cry and the overwhelming feeling of being able to hold her immediately before anyone else, something I didn't get to do with her brother and sister. Her first few weeks were so hard and she really did give us so many scares. It was certainly emotional.
Since then she has grown so much and I wouldn't change a thing about her. Her cheeky personality and the way she loves to wind everyone up for a giggle, the silly faces she pulls when she is enjoying her food, the big smile and waves we get every single morning when we walk into her bedroom and the amazing bond she has with her big sister and brother. She has changed our lives so dramatically and our family finally feels complete.
Happy 1st Birthday Elsie! We all love you so much!
Fisher Price have a brilliant new range of Smart Stages toys for babies and have asked us to test out the Smart Stages Teaset.
''Every baby develops at their own pace, and Smart Stages technology lets you select the stage that's best for your child. Choose from developmentally appropriate songs, phrases and sounds within three levels of play- just slide the switch''The Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Tea Set comes with a stackable cake and two cute teacups with friendly faces. When the teapot is tilted it starts to make fun sounds including sing along songs, words and phrases. The light up tea bag button on the front of the teapot creates even more songs, sounds and phrases.
Encourages hands-on exploration with fun phrases and sing-along songs. Your baby can push and play with the teapot and press the tea bag to hear a range of colours and words.
This level adds in questions and prompts baby to interact with the teapot. Your baby can lift and tip the teapot or press the tea bag to hear songs and phrases. This is the stage Elsie is currently at and she loves tipping the pot to create noises.
This level encourages more imaginative play. Children can use the tea cups and cake to have pretend tea parties with their teapot and learn through role play.
Elsie loves the Smart Stages Tea Set. Her favourite part is definitely the stackable cake. She is fascinated with them being stacked and tries to do it herself. She also loves the little tea cups as they are similar to cups her brother and sister have in their toy kitchen except they also have cute faces on them. She has even been taking the cups in the bath with her for water play. As she is getting bigger she is loving having more grown up toys like her siblings and the Smart Stages Tea Set is her favourite at the moment especially when Gracie and Zach play with her and make her 'Tea'.
I know many people struggle with first birthday gifts and I think that this toy tea set is a winner. Fisher Price toys are great quality and long lasting, qualities I always look for in toys for my children.
The Smart Stages Tea Set costs around £16.99 (which is totally worth it!) and is available in all good toy retailers.
Back in June at Britmums when I popped over for a chat with Munchkin, they gave me a few nice goodies to bring home for the kids. One of the items was a stretch to fit sunshade with superior grip suction cups. I thought they would really come in handy for our new car until I bought them home to be told we have built in sunshades! They can be stretched to fit most windows (even awkward shaped windows!) so would be suitable for any car.
I figured it would be nice to give them away to a lucky reader as it seems such a waste us having them. So for your chance to win simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below. Remember to leave your name if you are commenting anonymously so I know who you are!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Open to UK only. The competition will end 05/09/2015 at 12am. All entrants must complete the mandatory entry on the rafflecopter form. Those who don't will have all entries removed. The blog owner will choose the winner through the rafflecopter form (which uses random.org) The winner will be notified by email and displayed on the widget. one winner will receive a munchkin stretch to fit sunshade. No alternative prize will be offered. Allow up to 28 days for delivery.
Fisher Price have a brilliant new range of Smart Stages toys for babies and have asked us to test out Sis' Smart Stages Purse.
''Every baby develops at their own pace, and Smart Stages technology lets you select the stage that's best for your child. Choose from developmentally appropriate songs, phrases and sounds within three levels of play- just slide the switch''Sis' Smart Stages Purse is a cute little handbag containing a few of the daily essentials; keys, phone, credit card, mirror and bracelet. The bag/purse opens up to store all of these essentials and easily empty them all over again. We all know babies love to fill up and empty our bags at any given opportunity! The bag also has the Smart Stages panel on the front where you can choose the most appropriate stage for your baby.
So a few weeks ago Gracie had her end of Nursery class party. The children were told to wear whatever they like whether it be fancy dress, party clothes, summer clothes etc. Gracie was so excited and asked if she could get a new costume as she has recently grown out of a few of hers. We looked in both Tesco and Asda, she saw none she liked in Tesco and when we were in Asda she declared she would really like a new Iron Man costume. Typically they didn't have her size and we didn't have time to shop around. She looked at all the 'boys' and 'girls' costumes but really didn't want to be a princess she wanted to be a superhero. That was fine with me. Last time they had a dressing up day she wore her Thor costume happily. She decided on a Captain America costume complete with mask and shield and was thrilled with her choice.
The Summer holidays can be long and boring at times. I find some weeks we are constantly on our feet, keeping busy then the next we tend to feel lost after one or two days of rest. I don't like the idea of the kids sitting on tablets or watching television all day and my kids are crazy on doing crafts. I won't pretend that I am a Mum who sits doing organised craft activities all day long, I have a million other day to day things that need doing. For this reason I love to have packs of craft activities ready to use when we want them. Some of them involve showing the kids what to do before leaving them to their own devices and others require much more supervision. We have spent lot's of time this summer doing some fun Baker Ross activities and have them all here to show you.
As I mentioned in my Becoming an Allergenius blog post , we were given entry to ThinkTank after the event to explore for ourselves. Although I live close to Birmingham I have never actually visited ThinkTank and had assumed it was more suitable for older children. I was amazed at the sheer size of the museum and the variety of things there were to see and do.
There are four floors in total and you enter the museum on Floor 2. The first thing we came to was an example of how diggers work, where the children can control the leavers and pick up balls and soft bricks with the digger and release them again. My kids love diggers and tractors so they thought this was really fun! Next to this was an area that showed the children what happens with recyclable products such as plastic and even how fruit/veg etc are used to make compost. They were able to have a go at some machines themselves so it really made it a fun way for them to learn these things.
Miss Nella is a new range of children's non toxic, odour free nail polish. The aim for them was to create a collection of polishes for children so they can emulate mummy in a controlled and safe way. The nail varnish peels off easily too, so use doesn't have to be limited to the school holiday's. It also means you can completely avoid using nasty nail polish remover on their little nails.
On Wednesday, we attended an event at ThinkTank Birmingham with AO.com where the kids were each crowned as an 'Allergenius'.We are quite aware of allergies in our house when it comes to food with 2/3 of our children having dairy allergies. What we weren't so aware of was allergens in the home, the most popular being dust allergies. I have always been badly effected by dust and so like to keep my house as dust free as possible but it isn't something the kids knew about until now. Of course the event was lots of fun and a light hearted way to educate the children whilst we learnt about the way Hotpoint are trying to tackle these allergies with their devices.
I was recently given a voucher to spend at Chemist Direct, the online pharmacy. They are a registered pharmacy providing all kinds of medicines, health products, vitamins and toiletries delivered straight to your door as well as their online Doctor and prescription service.