Me and Mine (February 2018)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February has just flown by and it has been another busy month for us all. Earlier this month we visited a few houses on our house finding mission and before we knew it we found the perfect house. It happened much quicker than we expected and we are now waiting on all our paperwork so fingers crossed everything goes to plan. If it does we could be in our new house by the Summer. 

Both Zach and Elsie have had a few family sessions in school so I have been quite heavily involved with the school this month and it was lovely seeing them in the school environment and letting them show me what they like to do each day. I do enjoy going along to the family sessions and having one on one time with each of them. 

Me and Sam got to go and watch Bowling For Soup live at the O2 Academy Birmingham. I saw them briefly last year at Slam Dunk Festival and they are a band that I absolutely loved back in my school days. Sam has seen them a few times over the years so it was one that we both really enjoyed. I love the nostalgic feeling of watching bands from my youth and singing along to their biggest hits like a fan girl. 

We also managed a proper date night this month. The weekend after Valentine's Day we went for a nice romantic meal at The Winery in Burton Upon Trent while the kids spent time with his parents. It was so nice to dress up and go somewhere really nice for once and the food was amazing! The kids were really happy too as it meant we all stayed at his Mum and Dad's house and the kids love staying with their Nana and Popsy.

We then had half-term which meant we had Logan with us too. It was a crazy week, we had two of the kids friends over one day so I spent a day entertaining 6 children. We played hide and seek in the woods and played games. We got a bus into town to show Logan the Coventry Transport Museum and we went to a super cool birthday party. 

Me and Sam attended our first Wedding Fayre which was interesting to say the least. I still have no idea where to start with plans but I guess we got to have a nice walk around and talk about our plans whilst the children spent time with their grandparents.

It was such a busy month that I failed at our family photo I am guessing it is going to be difficult every month as we just don't get the time with Sam to get even a quick snap each month. Maybe next month!

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful

review

Review: Original Stretch Armstrong

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


The original Stretch Armstrong is back! Stretch him, pull him and tie him in knots. When you release him he will use his super strength to return to his original shape. Stretch Armstrong can stretch to four times his original size. Zach was sent two products from the new 'original' range both bad guys, 'The Original Stretch Armstrong Stretch X-Ray' and Stretch Armstrong's arch nemesis 'The Original Vac-Man'.



The Original Stretch Armstrong Stretch X-Ray is a see-through stretch monster. You can stretch the arms, legs and torso and even the internal organs stretch with him. Zach was amazed at how far you could stretch this one and was so worried it would snap though of course it didn't! We all thought it was really funny wrapping up his torso and watching it untangle itself to get back to the original shape. 



The Original Stretch Vac-Man is Stretch Armstrong's arch enemy. Pump his head to vacuum pump the air out of him and you can set him to any pose you like. Press the release valve on the top of his head and he returns to normal. This one was really strange you can make his body go really wide as well as stretch him. This was definitely Zach's favourite and is apparently a hit with adult children too. Sam was just as excited to play with them as Zach was and they both seemed to take a shine to Vac-Man.

It is great that classic toys like Stretch Armstrong are still a hit with kids today without the need of changing them. They are such fun novelty toys and can keep kids entertained for hours as well as providing some nostalgia for adults who may remember Stretch Armstrong and his enemies from their childhood. 

You can view the range here along with all the new Stretch Armstrong products.

Guest Post: Preparing Your Children For Moving House

Monday, February 26, 2018



Moving home is a stressful period at any time, but when you add children into the mix it suddenly becomes a whole lot more challenging. Depending on their age, they may or may not understand what is going on, so when it comes to packing up all of their belongings and putting it in the back of a van, it can present its own set of challenges to the children.
Many of us have been there before as a child growing up, feeling as though our parents are dragging us away from our friends – everything that we know. If you think the move is stressful for you then it’s going to be ten times worse for the kids, which is why you should do what you can to put them at ease.
Clearly Explain What is Happening
Young children probably won’t understand what is going on and it can be incredibly unsettling seeing their whole lives packed away into boxes. When you come to the decision to move home, speak to the children about it. While you shouldn't approach the situation in a way that makes the child believe they have a say as to whether the family moves or not, you should be open to listening to their concerns.
Explain the decision to move and where you will be looking to move to. It is at this point that you will probably have to reassure them that they will be better for the move and that they will still be able to keep in touch with old friends and make new ones, depending on how far you are moving.
Include Children on House Views
Try to include them in the process of moving as much as possible, and one such way is by inviting them to house viewings. This way, they can offer their own opinion on a new home and, when it comes to moving, it won’t be so much as a move into the unknown for them.
Whether you opt for rented accommodation or look at buying, such as by looking at a property for sale by auction, viewing the property before making a concrete offer is important. You wouldn’t move into a place that you haven’t seen before, so why expect the same of children?

Give Children the Opportunity to say Goodbye
Once all of the arrangements have been made and finalised, determine a moving day well in advance and tell the children when this is. This way, you give the children time to say goodbye not just to their friends in the local area, but to the house as well – after all, they have made a lot of happy memories here.
This period allows children to come to terms with the change that is happening and, while it may not completely sink in until once everything has been moved, it should help to put them at ease.
Encourage Children to Pack their Belongings
Continuing with the theme of getting the children involved as possible with the move, parents should encourage children (of an appropriate age, of course) to pack their own belongings. Not only does this teach a valuable lesson in taking care of one's belongings, but it also lets them pack away at their own speed.
When children feel involved, rather than simply taking a back seat and watching on, they should feel more comfortable with what is happening as they have taken a certain element of control over their own packing. When events are unfolding around you and you have no control over them, it is enough to make anyone feel uneasy.
With all of the above ticked off, your children will be ready for moving day – with all that is left is to unpack and make your new house feel like a home.
*This post contains sponsored links

coventry

Coventry Transport Museum

Thursday, February 22, 2018


As it is half-term and I have had all four kids this week, I have been trying to keep them busy without spending a fortune. Earlier in the week we went and spent a few hours in the local woods playing outdoor games but today I wanted to do something different. Coventry Transport Museum is a place that I have visited more times than I could possibly remember with school trips and family outings when I was a child and even the occasional visit with friends in my late teens. I try to take my kids at least once or twice a year and today I was pleasantly surprised to go and find lots of new parts which I hadn't seen before, along with some old favourites. 

Coventry Transport Museum holds the largest publicly owned collection of British Vehicles in the world and uses it to tell the story of Coventry and it's people through the rise and fall of it's biggest industry. I have lived in Coventry all of my life and so I realise how important this is to the people of Coventry. As a child, both of my uncles worked for Peugeot, we went on school trips to the factory, where we looked out for relatives and family friends at work and were invited to family events. My Grandma once worked at Rolls Royce. Even the tutor groups in my secondary school were named after the many car manufacturers that were once part of the motor industry in Coventry. Whenever I get a black cab in any part of the UK and get into a conversation with the driver and they ask where I am from, you can guarantee they will tell me that their cab came from Coventry! It is always nice to know your birth city is famous for something!



Anyway, I decided to take the kids today for a nice free day out, the museum is free admission with optional donation drops in various areas around the museum. You can go at your own pace around the museum and can stay as long as you want. There is so much to enjoy and a lot to learn. The kids particularly loved seeing all of the bicycles with display models going as far back as the early 1800's. They thought the Penny Farthings were hilarious and wondered how people would learn to ride them when they are so high! They also loved seeing what engines look like outside of vehicles. There were a few examples spread around the museum of different engines and I was surprised at how intriguing the kids found them, especially the one near the end of the museum, where you press a button and it shows you how it works. They were fascinated!



There are cars from all different eras. I love looking at the really old vintage cars but the kids quickly chose their favourites. The boys chose the racing cars and the girls chose the Barbie car. They were all impressed with the old Police cars, vans and fire engines though too. We had such a lovely day out and are so lucky to have such a cool, fun place on our doorstep. We will definitely be checking out the events calendar in the next school holidays as I know they run some fun activities for the children at these times. 

If you are looking for days out in the West Midlands, I would definitely recommend a visit. I am going to try and take the kids to explore many more Coventry places of interest in the next few months so I will try and write up as many as I can to give you a feel for whether they are worth a visit or not and help you plan some fun packed days out!

Bush Baby World Animated Series #ad

Friday, February 16, 2018

You may have already seen the Bush Baby World toys from Golden Bear. If you haven't, Bush Baby World is based in a magical world full of cute and cuddly characters with plenty to collect and love. They have been a huge hit with children last year and to celebrate the success they have created an animated series, bringing the characters to life. There are 11 episodes so far and they are all free to view on the website and Youtube. You can watch the latest episode by clicking below.

 

My girls love the Bush Baby toy range so they are going to love watching the short episodes! The characters are adorable and likely to be a big hit with fans. Bush Baby World is aimed at children between the age of 5-9 years but I think the show will be loved by younger ones too!

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

*This is a collaborative post

Siblings (February 2018)

Thursday, February 15, 2018



This month the kids have spent a lot of time outdoors. We have taken every opportunity to get them outdoors enjoying some fresh air. They love visiting our local parks and we are so lucky to have so many close by. The first two pictures were taken at Coombe Abbey Country Park which is a lovely park which has a play area for the kids but also has plenty of land to explore. Gracie, Zach and Elsie were making dens in the trees and attempting to climb some together. 


The next two photos were taken at our nearest park which is just a 10 minute walk from our house. It is one we spend a lot of time at throughout the year and one cold Saturday morning early this month, I had all four kids, including the kids soon to be stepbrother Logan and they managed to get the whole park to themselves to play in. It is even more crazy than usual when the four of them get together. They all get on so well and play so nicely together but they also get overexcited and easily tired. We try to see him once every three weeks for a whole weekend which is really nice for them all. 


The last photo was taken last weekend in the woods which is actually at the end of our street. We haven't been exploring in the woods since last Summer so the kids really enjoyed it. We had a couple of Stretch Armstrong toys to review which they took out with them and they got to be silly and stretch them as far as possible whilst I took photos of them. They enjoy doing their reviews and even though they were sent for Zach, he much prefers to play with his siblings rather than on his own. 


That has pretty much been it for this month. They have been at school mostly and working hard with homework and reading in the evenings and so they have loved to spend every weekend outdoors and having lots of fun! They are looking forward to half-term together now to relax and unwind.



The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

gift guide

Valentine's Day Round Up

Wednesday, February 07, 2018


I am not usually a big fan of Valentine's Day but this year I have someone special to celebrate with and I think that makes all the difference. I know many see it as a gimmick and that you should tell your other half you love them every day but what harm is there in telling them every day AND having a few days per year where you make an extra effort and enjoy spoiling each other?! For those of you who love to treat the love of your life I have a fabulous round up of items here I thought would be perfect for Valentine's Day.


If you are a chocolate lover and like to try new flavours, this Jenny Wren three-layered folding box is really cute. The box contains twelve hand-finished Belgian chocolates and truffles. Four milk, Four white chocolate and four dark chocolate. Whether you buy them as a gift or for the two of you to share after a nice romantic meal. 

I can definitely vouch for them. Me and Sam have finished them all off between us. Thankfully he loves white chocolate whereas I am a milk chocolate fan so there were few arguments over who gets which and although I don't usually like dark chocolate, the flavours were so intriguing and I actually enjoyed them too! The box is really lovely too, it opens up so that you can view all three trays at once. I would definitely buy them again.

They are available to buy in Sainsbury's in the lead up to Valentine's Day at £6.49.



I think jewellery can be a great way to let someone know you love them. Some of my favourite possessions are pieces of jewellery that were gifted to me by friends and family and therefore mean a lot to me. Whether you wear it every day or on special occasions, you always think of that person whenever you look at that item. Jewellery doesn't need to be expensive to be special either. Jewellery Box have a huge range of stylish jewellery at really low prices. The sterling silver 'Love you to the moon and back' pendant is just £23 and the arrow set above which actually consists of separate necklace, ring and earrings come to just £18.36 together. The website has so many nice unique pieces to suit everyone and is definitely worth a look if you are on a budget. 


If you are looking for something a bit fun and different then why not think about a gift for the bedroom. So Divine are a new sex toy brand who are looking to provide sex toys for everyone. If you are a beginner then something simple like a vibrating bullet is a great starter to be used alone or to be enjoyed together. So Divine have a great beginners guide for anyone to help choose the best toys for your lifestyle!


For the guys out there you may want to look your best for a Valentine's Day date night, or ladies you might want to gently persuade your man to do some grooming before you go out. The Gillette Fusion Pro Shield Chill lubricates before and after, the blades lay down a protective layer to shield from irritation. Plus, FlexBall Technology makes maximum contact* over contours and gets virtually every hair. Gillette Fusion ProShield is Gillette's most advanced razor and is available to buy from Boots and other retailers. 

Guylian is definitely one of my favourite chocolate brands. You may not know that the Guylian brand actually started with a love story. 'In 1958, lovers Guy and Liliane combined their delicious praline recipe and delicate shapes to create the seashells we now know and love'. How cute is that?! I had no idea. There is actually a large range of Guylian products and as well as the classic sea shell shape we are used to, they also do a selection of praline hearts especially for the ones we love. I am always happy to receive Guylian chocolates, whatever the occasion. 

Guylian's Valentine's Day chocolates are available from all major supermarkets, selected independent stores nationwide and via the website www.guylian.com


This is an exciting one. So many of my friends watch the show, and it is next up on my watchlist (so please no spoilers!) Peaky Blinders is hugely popular and people are going crazy for merchandise and themed parties etc. so if you and your partner are partial to a bit of Peaky Blinders, there is now a range of spirits available at 31Dover.com. The range consists of Rum, Irish whiskey and Gin each with their own unique flavourings. I was sent the Spiced Dry Gin to try, it is made from a blend of nine botanicals including ginger and grains of paradise. It is so good! Paired with a good tonic, you can't go wrong. 

Of course if that is not your thing 31Dover.com actually sell a huge range of alcohol to suit everyone. It is definitely worth a look!

*Contains PR samples. Opinions are my own.

my little pony

Review: My Little Pony Sparkle Globe Maker

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

My girls are both huge My Little Pony fans and were so excited to get their hands on the Sparkle Globe Maker set from Sambro. They couldn't wait to get started and make their own cute sparkly glitter globe. The box contains enough bits to make two snow globes so they both got to make one each. In the box you get :
  •  2 x glitter globes
  • 1 Snow station
  • 1x funnel
  • 4 x glitter pots
  • 2 x characters
  • A selection of scenery pieces
The snow station is brilliant to keep the snow globe steady and hold all the bits you need to create your own sparkly globe. It can get quite messy if you are not careful so I would definitely advise parental supervision for small children. Although they will need supervision, most of the making can be done by a child as the funnel makes it really easy for them to fill up the globe. All you really need to do is choose the character, choose the scenery pieces then pop the lid on. Once that is done you simply add water and glitter and you're done.


It is a really fun activity and the girls loved it! We did have a few issues with one leaking which was a shame but we were sent a replacement and have had no problems with that one at all thankfully. I'm not sure if it was a mistake we made or whether it was a faulty globe but the replacement worked great. As well as being fun, it is nice to do a craft activity with an end product that will be used over and over again. The glitter globes have been displayed for all to see in their bedroom along with all of their My Little Pony toys and collectibles and they love showing them off to their friends. 

It is a lovely set and I think it would make a great gift for any My Little Pony fan. 

Chicco

Review: Chicco Echo Stroller From Kiddies Kingdom

Monday, February 05, 2018


I know Elsie is now three years old and isn't really at the age where I use a pushchair often but she is so tiny for her age and struggles to walk far so after walking the school run, being at Nursery all morning and walking home, if I need to then take a walk up to the shops it can be long and tiring for both of us. I did decide however that she didn't need a big pushchair any more so I decided I needed a good quality but cheap stroller and that I needed to sell our iCandy. 

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