Me and Mine (May 2018)

Thursday, May 31, 2018


May has been a very exciting month for us. We started with a family trip to the seaside for the first time this year as it was Logan's birthday. It was really nice to spend a day visiting places local to where he actually lives and we were really lucky that it was a lovely sunny day so we managed to visit a local farm before heading to the beach for a BBQ. We also managed a very rare photo of all six of us together whilst there.


We also made it back to the bluebell woods before we ran out of time which was so exciting as I had hoped to be able to take some nice family photos and they turned out great. We had so much fun exploring the woods, finding all of the natural clearances and following them until we could find the perfect spot to stop. 

The most exciting part of the month has been receiving the keys to our new house. We have waited so long and it is a fresh start for us all with the kids leaving their school and us all leaving our friends and family behind. As the last day of May is our moving in day, we will have to aim to get a picture of us all outside our new house ready for next months Me & Mine.



The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful

Bluebell Woods

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


I have always wanted to find a nice bluebell wood to be able to take some beautiful photos and have never got around to actually doing it. This year I was determined to make it happen after seeing an array of photos popping up on my Instagram feed. Our nearest wood was at Ryton Pools Country Park in Coventry and after visiting slightly too early, we returned a few weeks later to find the bluebells in full bloom. They are so magnificent looking. I was just in awe looking at the colours with purple as far as the eye can see. 

I went armed with my camera and tripod and manage to capture so many lovely family photos that I just wanted to share a few of my favourites for you all to see! 





Have you managed to see any Bluebells this year?

review

Review: Untamed Velociraptor Fingerling

Monday, May 28, 2018


As everyone in the house is Fingerlings mad at the moment, I made sure I went to speak to the PR we had been working with whilst at Blog On X earlier this month. Whilst there I spotted the 'Untamed Ferocious @ Your Fingertips' range which is actually a range of super cool ferocious dinosaur fingerlings! As soon as I saw it I immediately thought of a little boy who I thought would love it. 


I ended up bringing home this Velociraptor called Razor. He chomps and growls and moves his head and eyes. He also reacts to your touch in certain spots on the head. Logan thought he was really cool and all of the other children were so jealous because he is so awesome. The Untamed range is a great alternative to the monkey range if your child is into less 'cute' toys. It has certainly been a huge hit in our house. 

I am loving seeing the kids playing together with all of the Fingerlings creatures. They really are great fun interactive toys. There are no parts for them to lose by accident and they are all priced under £20. 

The untamed velociraptor is available to buy in Entertainer stores amongst other toy retailers. 

pillows

Review: Perfection Pillow

Sunday, May 27, 2018



I have always been someone who struggles with sleeping. I am always tossing and turning and waking up feeling like I have barely slept at all. Over the recent months I have also been suffering with a sore neck quite often and figured it was a result of the position that I slept in. I was sent the 'Perfection' pillow by reflexpillow to try out and see if it improved my sleep and neck pains.

'Inappropriate pillows do not support the anatomy of the human body so it's not surprising that sleep science has turned to pillows as a major focus' says Noel O'Connor who founded reflex pillow  during an impressive thirty year career as a specialist in the treatment of back and neck pain 'while your mattress may support your lower spine, the soft tissue of your upper spine and neck requires even more support'. 

I was so ready to try the perfection pillow out but a bit reluctant to get excited. It turns out even that first night of using the pillow was a complete eye opener. I felt so much more comfortable and supported. I slept through the night and my neck felt huge amounts better the following morning. 


With a head dip that is designed to keep the spine aligned and a dedicated shoulder slot, Perfection ensures the optimal positioning for your head, neck and shoulders. By supporting the upper body frame in this way, your neck and shoulder muscles are spared any stress and strain as you sleep which improves blood circulation and redistributes your body weight to help prevent stiffness.


In the few weeks since I begun using the perfection pillow, I feel a lot more relaxed and well-rested. I feel like I am holding less tension in my neck, which I was having to massage regularly as it felt so tight and sore. I feel so much better and I am just so impressed with the difference it has made to my everyday life. 

The perfection pillow is currently available as part of a kickstarter campaign and so far has surpassed the funding goal. You can find it here  to find out more information or purchase for yourself. 

Summer Garden Must Haves

Thursday, May 24, 2018


With all of this glorious sunshine we are currently enjoying, it is the perfect time for thinking about ways to entertain children outdoors. My children love to be outdoors and we love our woodland walks and visits to the park but when it is nice every day, I still have things to do at home so it is nice to find activities for them to play in the garden where I can keep an eye on them. It is also nice to have plenty of choice for when friends visit with their children so there are no arguments over who gets a turn first. 

Water activities

Water activities are a must! There is so much a child can do with water and it isn't exclusive to a paddling pool. We have always loved having some kind of water activity table for as soon as a child can stand up. Fill it with cups, watering cans etc and they can have a world of fun making 'drinks', watering plants or even starting a water fight. I keep looking at garden water slides. It would either be a genius idea or a big mistake, I can't quite decide which, but they look like so much fun! For babies I love the idea of a water filled play mat like the teletubbies water mat. It can be popped on the grass in a nice shady spot and gives the stimulating feeling of water play without the mess. 

Ride-ons 

Bikes, scooters, skateboards etc. are always a winner. We have our Cosy Coupe for the kids to drive around in, scooters for each of the children and a range of bikes to suit all ages. We have a scuttlebug bike which is great as it is foldable, a toddlebike which is great as a first stage before a balance bike, a Cruzee balance bike which is amazing for teaching balance. We are hoping Zach will go straight onto his bike without stabilisers this summer after years of using his balance bike. Having a range of ride-ons available means children can race or ride together. 

Ball Games

Is there anything more versatile than a ball? So many games have been created around them. You can get little football goals or basketball nets, golf sets or boules. If you are a bit nervous of trusting a child with a ball near windows you could opt for something like a swingball with the ball attached. 

If you are looking for outdoor activities that don't take up space, chalks and bubbles are always popular here. Last Summer I had all of the kids in the street drawing chalk murals on my front garden path, much to a few neighbours disgust at the mess. In my opinion it creates hours of fun, promotes creativity and imaginative play and it is easily washed off with a little water!

Let me know what your summer must-have items are in the comments below.

*This post contains a sponsored link

Review: Stuffed Fables

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Our second Board Game Club game this month was Stuffed Fables. On first impressions, we thought the game sounded really interesting and were really excited to try it out. 

'Sworn to protect the little girl that loves them, a group of stuffed toys has been drawn into the Fall, an otherworldly, fantastic realm ruled by a brooding master of nightmares'.

Stuffed Fables is an unusual adventure game in which players take on the roles of brave stuffies seeking to save the child they love from a scheming evil mastermind. All of the action takes place in the unique storybook- a book that acts as your rules reference, story guide, and game board, all in one! 


The game comes with lots of different pieces as you can see above; including different kinds of cards used throughout the story, character pieces, dice, buttons etc. There are detailed instructions which explain what each item is used for and explaining the rules throughout each part of the story. 

The game is quite complicated and so including setting up and reading the instructions as we play, we found that it is very time consuming and that we had been playing for hours and still seemed to be so far off completing the game.  It is a shame that there is so much to set up that it wouldn't be easy to pick up where you left off after packing away. 

I did really enjoy the working as a team element of the game as that is something we don't usually do. We are a very competitive family and so are always playing games that involve competing against each other. It was nice to be able to discuss possible moves before deciding what to do and Gracie found it surprisingly fun too. I thought it may be too difficult for her despite being 7+ but I think playing as a team made it much easier for her to understand.


The game and pieces are amazing quality. I was surprised at the price range until I opened up the box and saw everything that was included. There is so much detail that has been put into every part of the game and you really do notice that. I do however, think that the storage box should have had more compartments so all of the cards don't get mixed up between uses. That way it could be a lot easier to set up each time. 

Stuffed Fables is a very 'different' game. I really enjoyed the gameplay itself but it is very time-consuming and so you would need to have a lot of free hours to be able to sit and play properly. We found it quite frustrating that we spent hours playing yet didn't actually get very far. I think maybe once we have moved house and are settled, we will try and find some time to give the game another go and see if we enjoy it more next time seems as we will already know the basic set up of the game.

Siblings (May 2018)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


We are in May now and it is time for our monthly Siblings update. The past month has been another fun filled one for the kids. It started with a trip to Ryton Pools Country Park on a search for Bluebells. We didn't find them as we were a little early but the kids did get to explore the woods and enjoy a nice picnic in the sun. They also found this animal totem filled with carvings of animals you can find in the woods which is really cool!


It was Logan's birthday this month so we travelled to Wales to visit him and he took us to the local places he loves. We went to Wiggleys Fun Farm where all four of them got to feed the animals and play on the indoor and outdoor play areas before heading to the beach for a BBQ, building sandcastles and jumping waves in the sea. The sun was shining all day and even the sea was lovely and warm. Zach had the time of his life jumping around in the sea and was soaked head to toe. Gracie soon joined him and the two of them really enjoyed themselves. Elsie wasn't a big fan of the sea but let her toes get wet and watched the other two happily. We don't get to the beach often as we live so far away so it was a lovely treat for them. Somehow I didn't get any pictures of all three together at the beach but you can see lots of lovely photos of each of them over on Instagram.


To end our month we finally made it back to Ryton Pools one evening last week to find the bluebells in full bloom. It was really beautiful and I got some lovely photos of Gracie, Zach and Elsie together. They really enjoyed helping me find the perfect spot and exploring the woods, finding the clearings so we wouldn't damage any flowers and looking for different animal habitats on the way as Gracie has been learning about them at school. 

It seems they have had a lot of outdoor fun this month. Hopefully the next month will be just as fun!




The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

collectibles

Review: LOL Surprise Confetti Pop

Friday, May 11, 2018


The LOL Surprise dolls are another huge craze for the kids at the moment. They love the surprise element of not knowing which doll they will find inside. Gracie was so excited to open up her new LOL Surprise Confetti Pop and to see how different it would be to the original LOL Surprise. She loved the confetti pop effect, it really made her laugh seeing confetti exploding everywhere!


There were lots of little accessories and clothing packaged separately for her to find in the ball and she really enjoyed opening it all up and dressing her doll. I thought I would hate the confetti but it is made out of thick paper and is easily picked up afterwards. I had images of tissue paper being ripped and found all over my house! 

Gracie loved the LOL Surprise Confetti Pop and was really pleased with the doll she received inside. I think it will be a huge hit with small LOL Surprise fans! 

review

Review: New Fingerlings

Thursday, May 10, 2018


Fingerlings have been a huge hit, if you haven't heard of them already, they were one of the most wanted toys at Christmas and were sold out in most toy stores! I had a huge struggle trying to get hold of one as it was the only toy Zach requested for Christmas. Thankfully a friend managed to get one to me and I had a happy boy Christmas Day. What I hadn't expected was for Elsie to love it so much. She was given a cheaper version of one which didn't work very well at all. The knock-offs are awful in comparison. Since Fingerlings proved so popular they have produced some new two-tone characters to add to the collection.


Fingerlings react to touch, motion and sound. You can swing them, pet them or rock them to sleep. Elsie was sent one of these new Fingerlings and she likes to talk to hers and give her kisses. We find it really cute how her Fingerling always reacts to the sound of Elsie laughing. It is nice that it seems quite personal to her. She has such an attachment to this little monkey.


They are really cute and a great price as far as interactive toys go! We are all big fans with Gracie currently asking if she can have one next! You can find Fingerlings at most toy stores both in store and online. 

#BoardGameClub

Review: My First Bananagrams

Thursday, May 03, 2018


This month we have two different games as part of the board game club. The first one is My First Bananagrams. I actually have original Bananagrams and think it is a great game but haven't ever played it with children so was really pleased to see My First Bananagrams when it arrived. I think it is a great game for children to practice their English skills and was intrigued to see how well they got on with it. 

It is a great game and it comes in a handy little banana shaped bag which is perfect for travelling and playing on the go. As the game is aimed at small children, all of the letters are in lowercase, the vowels are all yellow and with some letters that are easily mixed up by children eg. b, d, p, q, the tiles are all different colours and are underlined so you can see which way up they go. There are 80 single letter tiles and then as an extra there are a number of combo-letter tiles (each with two letters) you can add in with combinations such as ai, ee, oo, at, ch.

To actually play it is quite simple. Turn over all of the tiles in the centre so you can't see the letters and each player takes 15 tiles. Once someone shouts 'split' everyone turns their tiles over and the aim is to use up all of the letters to make a connected word grid. At any time during the game you can swap and put one of your tiles back in exchange for a new one from the pile in the centre (the bunch). When you have used all of your letters shout 'BANANAS!' If all of your words are correct and not misspelled then you are the winner!

We played with all three children although I know Elsie is too young and wouldn't know how to play so she was on 'my team'. Gracie is in Year 2 so has a good grasp of English, spelling and reading and Zach is doing really well with his learning to read. We have played the game a fair few times now and they are getting better each time. I think it will take them a little while to be able to play competitively against each other because they are still getting to grasps with putting words together themselves using the letters and Zach is still needing help putting words together at times. I definitely think we will play this game a lot as I can see them learning so much each time we play. 

This is a game I would definitely recommend. If your children are older then you can go straight for Original Bananagrams or if they are younger, you can use the letter tiles for different pre-school activities. It is such a diverse game with so many ways to use them educationally.

Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy Mania Tour Birmingham- Gracie's First Gig

Tuesday, May 01, 2018



One of my biggest hobbies is going to gigs and festivals in my spare time. Music has always been a huge part of my life and has become a love my children have inherited. Every time I go to a gig I have to film at least one short clip to show the kids when I come back home and they love to watch them. It was Gracie's birthday in December and she didn't really ask for anything for her birthday and when I saw that Fall Out Boy had a UK arena tour I thought it would be an amazing idea to surprise her with tickets to see them for her birthday.

Of course it was the best present ever and we finally got to go in March. Me and Gracie got some matching tour t-shirts which we wore throughout the whole show and she had the best night! She is usually in bed way before 9pm which was when Fall Out Boy came on stage and she had been in school all day beforehand so I was amazed she lasted all night. She was amazed by all of the things that as an adult who goes to gigs often I tend to be used to, like the lights, stages rising in the air, pyrotechnics so watching her face was probably one of my favourite parts of the night. 



We were sat up in the seating area as we had Gracie and despite being so far away, we had a good view of the stage. I have to admit they were not as amazing live as I hoped they would be. I am not sure if it is because I am so used to watching acts at smaller venues like the 02 Academy where it is much more intimate and you can see the stage clearly even from the back and the acts involve the audience a lot more. It was great hearing all of my favourite songs of theirs and seeing how much Gracie enjoyed herself. She was so buzzing she got up and went to school the next day and took her t-shirt to show in assembly and tell everyone what she had done. 

She is already compiling a list of acts she wants to go see next, as is Zach who is so jealous that he hasn't been to one yet! I will have to find a family friendly festival to take them to next!

Instagram