Friday, 22 August 2014

Petshopbowl - Bank Holiday Offers Upto 60% off!




I'm a huge fan of Petshopbowl, I love the fact I can get all our pet supplies delivered - especially good if (like me) you're heavily pregnant and can't carry the heavy stuff! Petshopbowl have got a variety of fabulous special offers on to celebrate the August Bank Holiday Weekend! 

There's 60% off Dentastix fresh, 50% off James Wellbeloved Dog Food pouches, up to 33% discount on Drontal and Frontline and lots more offers! There are some huge savings to be made, so it's well worth stocking up and saving some money! Don't forget delivery is FREE on orders over £19.99, and I've always found the delivery service to be prompt and well packaged! They also offer bottomless bowl, so you need never worry about running out of pet food again! 


Ms G x


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Mega Bloks - First Builders


Having a 3yr old and a 6 year old in the house, we seem to do a lot of construction, building sets like Mega Bloks are hugely popular! In recent months we have noticed a return to the boys wanting to build imaginatively without instructions, and it's something I am keen to encourage. Mega Bloks sent us the First Builders Big Builders 220 piece set currently on sale for £29.99, for the boys to review! It's aimed at ages 1 - 5, so E (aged 3) is the perfect age to test the set out, and was happily assisted by his big brother!

The set arrives in a great storage box, ideal for keeping the blocks tidy when they're not being played with!


The lid to the storage box is cleverly designed so it works as a building base, enabling play everywhere and anywhere, it was especially useful for garden play when E wanted to build tall towers and we needed a nice stable base!




The boys both enjoyed the Mega Bloks, with E experimenting with towers and shapes, while Boo opted to build bridges to use for play in the sand and with some of their other toys, and spent a long time encouraging his little brother to help with the building! Rather effective I think!




So if you're looking for a toy to encourage motor skills, imagination and work well either indoors or in the garden, grab a box of Mega Bloks First building blocks!


Disclaimer: We were sent the Mega Bloks for the purposes of an honest review, all thoughts, opinions and images are my own.

Friday, 8 August 2014

The summer job!


I remember well my first job, it was working in a tiny cafe in a seaside village, and I'll be honest they worked me ludicrously hard for pennies. It is a summer I remember fondly though, as I gathered the little brown pay packets together and took them into the bank and saw the pennies add up! It's funny looking back how much I learnt through having that first job, if only with regards to my time management skills! I did resent missing out on long days at the beach, but loved having the money to buy my own chips while my friends still had to ask their parents for money!

One thing which sticks with me though, is there was no training at all, they just expected that I would be "sensible" although as I'd never seen a tea urn before this was a bit stupid, and I am thankful I only had one minor scold on my hand. It does occur to me now looking back that I was quite lucky not to have really hurt myself in a work accident

Of course now I think businesses are much more aware of the need to look after their employees, and I'm sure that same cafe now ensures their young staff are well trained. But accidents can still occur and when they do you might find yourself needing some help from a company like Leo Claims, they are operated by a firm of Solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. While you have three years to pursue a claim for personal injury, it is worth getting advice sooner rather than later - if only to ensure that if you have a claim, it has the best chance of being successful. 


Disclaimer; This post is written based on my thoughts and opinions based on my experiences. It is not written with the intention of providing any form of advice. This post has been sponsored.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Taste Inc. Microwavable snacks


We received some Taste Inc. microwaveable snacks to try, and I have to say I was quite excited by the sound of the chicken and chorizo baguette in particular! 




The idea of these snacks is simple, in under 2 minutes you can have a burger or deli style baguette in the comfort of your own home - or perhaps your work place! 

The quarter pounder with cheese, this looked impressive, the only difficulty I had was un-peeling the cheese from the plastic wrap!


How did it taste? It was rather good, and certainly tasted as good a takeaway burger, this was certainly our favourite! 

The chicken and chorizo baguette, was simple to cook - you needed to turn it half way through cooking, and it looked very impressive! Unfortunately the chorizo wasn't as spicy as I was hoping, and the mayo sauce it came with neutralised the flavour, so it was a little disappointing, I think I would not use the mayo next time!



Then there was the Sweet and Smoky BBQ Chicken Sandwich, this had a great sauce, but the roll was unfortunately a little chewy. It was a tasty snack, and at 280 calories, served with a salad formed quite a low calorie lunch time meal in minutes!



Disclaimer: We received the 3 reviewed items for the purposes of an honest review. All images, thoughts and opinions are my own.

Beautiful Sandals #MagpieMonday


It's no secret that I love a bit of thrifty shopping! As I heard someone selling at our local carboot sale say "It's not about the money, it's about recycling..avoiding things ending up in landfill.." that's so true, and I have to admit I do love a bargain too! 

This week, my ultimate purchase is a pair of sandals for me.. I adore shoes, and it's been a while since I could justify an impulse purchase on beautiful shoes.. however these caught my eye, sat in their box looking unworn and unloved and I knew I had to have them! Daft as it sounds, even if they hadn't been my size I think I'd have attempted to force my foot into them..however luckily for me they were my size..fitted well..and they were coming home with me!




They're beautiful leather gladiator style Boden sandals, with a zip fastening on the heel. I was a little worried that perhaps the zip would rub my heel, but they're designed cleverly so that the zip is concealed behind a piece of the super soft leather so there's no fear of the zip rubbing! I'm not convinced they had been worn at all, the leather soles had slight marks but they could have been made in minutes of trying on, so I am delighted! I am saving them for post pregnancy as currently my feet are quite swollen during the day! Can't wait to wear them!

Ms G x

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Homemade Marshmallow Crispy Squares


Marshmallow crispy squares are a firm favourite in our house, and the joy of them is you can make them easily with your children! You can also keep them plain or go a little crazy adding extra ingredients, decorating them, or my favourite - drizzling them in melted chocolate! They're ideal as a tea time snack or as a treat to take on a picnic, and super simple to make!

You will need:


45g Butter
300g Marshmallows
180g Rice Kripsies (approx - add slowly you may need a little more or less!)

(We also used malteasers and sugar craft butterflies to decorate)

Method:

Melt the butter and the marshmallows on a low heat, when the mix is totally melted add the rice kripies slowly to ensure that they're all really well covered! Line or grease a brownie tray, and then spoon the mix into the tray making sure you pack it down well into the tray. 

The boys decided we should add some malteasers and butterflies to decorate our marshmallow crispy squares, so they pushed them carefully into the top of the mix. 





This works really well using M&M's or smarties too, or my favourite..crushed honeycomb pieces! Wait until the mixture is cool, and place it into the fridge to set. Once it is set firm, serve it whole ready to slice or cut it into pieces and enjoy!








So there it is, a simple to make super tasty treat perfect for summer!


This is my entry into the Stuck in the tree Bakespiration Challenge 


Summer day out to London?


Whether you're on a day trip or a local to London, if you're looking for something fun to do this summer holiday have you considered a trip to visit The O2? Let me tell you why I think it's a fun place to visit!

Firstly, jump on a river bus to get to the O2, it gives you an entirely different perspective of the City of London, and it's much more comfortable than other forms of public transport, it also turns the trip into quite an adventure! We have tended to jump on the river bus from by the London Eye, and so we can enjoy the trip down the Thames and arrive relaxed at The O2 ready to enjoy the rest of our day out! The river buses are very frequent, and there are lots of pick up points along the river!

There is plenty to do when you arrive at The O2, you can catch up with the latest Hollywood or Bollywood films at the 11 screen cinema which also boasts Europe's widest 3D cinema screen! If you fancy something a little more active, take the family bowling, or if you're feeling really adventurous you can even take on the challenge to climb the iconic building!! Imagine what amazing 360 degree views of London you'd get from the top of the building! Or if you fancy something a little more sedate how about catching one of the fabulous shows which The O2 is renowned for hosting - how about something like Lee Evans which is sure to make you laugh! Whatever you decide to do, there is also a great variety of places to eat or grab a coffee so you can catch up with friends before checking out some of the free activities offered at The O2 - e.g. The Sky Studios (where you can even have a go at reading the news yourself!).

Have you visited The O2? Do you have a top tip to share for visiting? 


DISCLAIMER: This post was written in conjunction with The O2. 


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Nutritious and Delicious - Fritatta Recipe


During the school holidays, I find the boys want food quickly, and I have found myself frequently trying to quickly make them a *something* to avoid them eating all the unhealthy snacks in the house. However 6 weeks of thinking up fast recipes is quite a lot for anyone, and I have been looking into new fast, simple and healthy meal ideas! The boys love eggs, and they're easy to cook with plus there are lots of recipes on the British Lion Eggs site to inspire you too! We regularly make things like eggy bread and scrambled eggs with cheese as the boys enjoy helping to cook them, and eggs provide lots of vital minerals and vitamins! Plus if you cook them carefully the calories in an egg are quite low, so are perfect if you're trying to maintain a healthy weight. 

Fritattas are easy to make, and can use up lots of leftovers, plus they're easy to eat and if you have a fussy eater enable you to sneak a few extra vegetables into their meals!

We used;

3 x Medium eggs

Milk (approx 15ml)

Grated Cheese (we used about 25g)

Ham, chopped into small pieces.

3 Cold Salad Potatoes - peeled and sliced

1 Tomato chopped.

1 Spring onion (diced)

Mixed Herbs

< NOTE: You could use all sorts of things in a fritatta - chorizo, chopped cooked carrot, cabbage, broccoli - any left overs could potentially be added! >


Simply whisk the eggs, milk and herbs together, while you're gently heating a little olive oil in frying pan on a medium heat. Drop the ingredients into the pan spreading them out well, then pour the egg mixture all over! 

Just added to the pan

Almost cooked..but not quite!

Cook it until it is starting to brown, and the edges are lifting away from the pan, do make sure that it is cooked properly before you serve it (ours took about 15 mins to cook as I used a large frying pan and the mix was thinly spread. Cooking time will vary depending on how many ingredients you use and how efficient your stove is). Serve straight away, we like to enjoy it with some fresh vegetables, but it also works really well with a slice of fresh crusty bread!




A great lunch and so simple to encourage even the fussiest eaters to enjoy helping to cook and eat healthily! Both of the boys have asked if we can have it again, and have begun to suggest variations to the recipe to! 

What would you add to a frittata? Do you have a favourite mix?


Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with British Lion Eggs.








Fruity tea Ice Lollies!


I'm a huge fan of fruit tea, and as it's been so hot I've been enjoying lots of iced tea! The boys enjoy iced tea too, but are some what addicted to ice lollies so I wondered if I could combine the two to create a slightly healthy iced treat than they normally want to eat!

What you need;

I used 1 x teapigs super fruit (or your favourite fruity tea)
A handful of frozen raspberries
A handful of blueberries
Honey to taste.




Make up your tea as normal, add honey to taste (you'll probably want the tea to be quite sweet so that the lollies taste yummy!) and allow the tea to go cold. Add the fruit to the lolly moulds, then pour in the cold tea. Pop the lollies into the freezer (I left ours over night!). 

Then when they're frozen.. enjoy! What do you think? They look pretty tasty don't they?


I enjoyed them as they're very refreshing, and my 6yr old loved the fruit hiding inside them! Next time I think I will add a little more honey as my 3 year old found them not quite sweet enough as the raspberries were quite tangy!




Friday, 18 July 2014

Chocolate Soreen Flapjacks!


With the summer holidays almost upon us, I'm always looking for tasty treats which are simple to bake and tasty to eat to keep the boys full at tea-time! I've had fun baking with Soreen in the past, and they have just made a great video showing how easy it is to make Chocolate Soreen Flapjacks! These looks so tasty, and easy to make with my boys over the holiday! Check out the video and let me know if you try the recipe out for yourself!




Ms G xx

Disclaimer: I am sharing this video as I think it is of interest to my readers, this post has not been financially compensated. 

Monday, 7 July 2014

Great Pet Ideas for Children!

Once kids reach around 5 or 6 years of age, they may express a desire to have a live cuddly companion around the home. So when the time comes, what kind of pet should you go for? Adding a pet to your many responsibilities at home can be a challenge, but the outcome is well worth it.

The following pets are ideal for kids of any age - each one providing something your children can treasure and bond with as they grow. Take a look at these great pet ideas to help you make an affordable and appropriate choice for your child.

Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are very friendly and can be a little shy at first but this is what makes them such loving and affectionate pets as they become more relaxed with you. Aside from cleaning out their cage every week or so, they require very little maintenance (welcome news to young families!). Keep in mind that guinea pigs don’t like to be alone so it may be a good idea to keep two at a time. This works out especially great with two kids since each one can learn to care for their pet on an individual basis.

Cats

Gifting your young child with a kitten is maybe one of the best pets you can pair them with. As well as giving them something they can bond with long into adolescence, cats will make less work for you since they’re more independent than most pets.

Kittens can be hugely playful and energetic which is just what your kids crave in their formative years, but take care to supervise them if your children are particularly young. Some cats may have a lower tolerance than others depending on their personality so take care when choosing your first cat.

Fish

Fish can make a great first pet for younger children since taking care of them is fairly low maintenance. Kids can enjoy feeding them and generally observing them in the tank. Fish are known to promote a calm and soothing effect on owners too so this is a huge plus for any hyperactive little ones!
Also, unlike other common pets, fish don’t come with any vet bills or visits. You just need to make sure that the tank is well equipped to guarantee a safe and healthy environment for the fish and ensure that they are fed regularly. Encourage your child to feed them routinely so they won’t forget, for example, before breakfast each morning

Disclaimer: This post was provided for me by Victoria Sharpe, the thoughts and opinions do not necessarily reflect my own.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Thai Restaurant Southampton, Kuti's Royal Thai Pier.


A restaurant in Southampton with a view of the water is a rarity!  Kuti's Royal Thai Pier is situated adjacent to the Red Funnel terminal, and is within an easy walk of the main shopping area. I adore Thai food, and had heard several people talking about how good the food was, so when we were invited to try the restaurant out I jumped at the chance.
Kuti's Southampton
Kuti's Southampton
We dined on a Thursday evening, and the restaurant was serving to a good mixture of couples and groups of friends. The atmosphere was friendly, and relaxed - the ideal venue for us to enjoy a quiet meal for two! The view from my seat was lovely, and I confess I was rather in awe watching the Red Funnel dock!

20140619_192227
View from Kuti's over Southampton water

The waiting staff were delightful, friendly without being over demanding and offered help with the menu when I struggled to decide which side would compliment the main the best! The food itself was beautifully presented, I ordered the tempura vegetables as my starter, and they arrived adorned with this beautifully carved carrot butterfly;
Carrot Butterfly - Kuti's Southampton
Carrot Butterfly - Kuti's Southampton
The tempura vegetables were impressive, a generous serving, and cooked to perfection, I can honestly say that they were the best I have eaten, and as I love tempura vegetables that is impressive!
Kuti's Tempura Vegetable Starter
Mr G opted for dim sum, he commented on the beautiful presentation and said they tasted divine - so divine that he would not share.. though he was happy to taste test my tempura vegetables.. I'm not grumpy about this honest..(maybe a little bit grumpy..)
Kuti's Dim Sum
Kuti's Dim Sum
The main course came with only a short delay, which was lovely as often  I find the delay between courses too long ! We ordered Phad Thai, Duck on a sizzling platter and Egg fried rice. The duck looked impressive as it was placed onto the table sizzling noisily, and I can tell you it was the most succulent and delicious dish!
Kuti's Duck on a sizzling platter.
Kuti's Duck on a sizzling platter.
The egg fried rice was beautifully cooked, it was tasty and light, although fried it had no greasy texture, it complimented the duck dish perfectly! The Phad thai was served cleverly, with the nuts and lemon served on the side of the dish, so you could add if you wanted or leave if (like me) you don't like the crunchiness of nuts mixed into the dish, though I enjoyed the Phad Thai, it wasn't quite as good as I had hoped.
When we finished, we weren't hurried to decide whether we wanted desert, and this meant we had a lovely chat and then decided that we did indeed want desert (hey, I'm 7 months pregnant..if I don't have a great excuse for desert now when would I?!).
I decided to go for the Thai style pineapple fritters, they were divine and as I am sat here typing this my mouth is watering ever so slightly! Cooked to perfection, they smelt as sweet as doughnuts with the wonderful tangy hit of pineapple! The vanilla ice-cream which accompanied the fritters was rich and creamy to - it was a truly luxurious desert!
20140619_203228
Kuti's Pineapple Fritters

Mr G opted for a chocolate cake, which arrived as an enormous portion, looked fabulous and he admitted was absolutely beautiful, totally delicious and in truth the portion was so generous he struggled to finish it.. (luckily I was on hand to assist - it was a fabulous slice of cake!). Sadly, the image I have taken doesn't do this chocolate cake desert justice, but I assure you if you love chocolate cake - this is for you! It's laden with chocolate!!
Kuti's Deserts
Kuti's Deserts
We will definitely be returning to visit Kuti's Thai Royal Pier again, the food was fabulous and the relaxed friendly environment was the ideal place for either a romantic meal for two, or a catch up with friends. They offer a great value lunch menu too, with two courses for £9.95. There is free parking directly outside, or for very little cost in the Mayflower park car park adjacent. Whether you are a Southampton resident, just visiting the city, or passing through (perhaps on your way to a cruise..) I would recommend a visit to Kuti's Thai Royal Pier.


Disclaimer > We received £40 towards the cost of the meal in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Little Big Songs - Pre-School Music CD


Singing is the easiest way to get children involved in making music, most of us probably remember singing with family or at play group from an early age. Don't panic if you feel you can't sing, if you enjoy it you will encourage your children to enjoy it. Singing is very personal, and I've often heard over the years "I can't sing as I'm embarrassed by what people might think" and often from the people with lovely singing voices. 

So, what can you sing with small children? I've already explained my horror as my children started singing songs from the radio, thankfully getting certain lyrics totally wrong! However it's inevitable that children sing what they hear frequently! If you want more child appropriate songs, without resorting to the golden oldie fail safe nursery rhymes or songs from children's tv, check out the fabulous CD Little Big Songs by Jerry & Co. The songs are all about everyday experiences, e.g. The day we moved, Ooh that's lovely grub; and are sung by a mix of a gentle adult voice and children's voices. 



Complete with a little book of lyrics, you can sing a long to your hearts content! I have been singing Scrub-a-Dub with my children on a daily basis, it has a simple melody which is catchy and easy to remember, plus it does seem to encourage small children who are reluctant to wash to actually enjoy bath time! The CD is perfect for people who want to encourage their children to be musical in a very simple and positive way! Whether you use it to sing-a-long in the car, or want to be more ambitious and create actions to go with songs this is the perfect pre-school music CD! There are a range of songs which you can watch as a video with beautiful illustrations depicting the story line of the song.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the CD for the purposes of an honest review, all thoughts and experiences are my own. 

Pampering Gifts for Dad this Father's Day.


Sometimes it is hard to choose a gift for Dad on Father's Day, I know my own Father is incredibly hard to buy for as he always likes any present we get him. Mr G is no different, he will always smile and make a fuss of the boys - even when they bought him an Ironman toy one year! This year how about showing your Dad (or the special man in your/your children's life) some TLC with Radox and Dove for men?



We were sent this fabulous selection for Mr G to try out, now he won't admit to enjoying a bit of pampering, but seriously Mr G, I know you "borrow" my face wash and moisturiser from time to time! Mr G is a big fan of Radox already, he loves a good soak in the stress relieving bubbles and swears he does feel more chilled out after a long soak in them - these will be perfect for any Dad feeling the pressure over the World Cup matches! The Shower & Shampoo Mr G described as refreshing!




The biggest hit had to be the Dove Men + Care, Mr G described the face wash as very luxurious, he said it was very rich to apply and lathered up in a way which left his skin feeling moisturised. I can vouch for his skin smelling lovely after he'd used it to! The moisturiser absorbs quickly, and works well to leave his skin soft, he will definitely continue to use the Dove for men products! I think they're great value, and would make a lovely gift for any man needing a little TLC for Father's Day or to de-stress from the world cup! 




Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Hospital Bag Essentials.. 30weeks Pregnant!


Eek...30 weeks pregnant, I'm in the final countdown, and it is time to get organised! I think I am fairly organised for baby's arrival, but for myself? Erm.. no..my organisation stops at having the baby's moses basket sorted in honesty! 





So.. I'm making a list..and sharing it with you incase I have missed something vital! I'm writing this post as part of my role as a bras4mums ambassador, but all thoughts and items on the list based on my own thoughts and opinions!

Hospital Bag - for me!

  • A Bag.. yes I need to get a holdall!
  • Maternity Pads (I bought these on offer from Boots!)
  • 3 pairs of pants, I like the look of these maternity pants.
  • Black yoga trousers
  • 2 Vests/Camisoles
  • 1 Cardigan
  • Flipflops (to use in the shower after giving birth)
  • Moisturiser 
  • Facial Water Spritzer (these are great while in labour to refresh you without fuss!)
  • Hair brush
  • Towel
  • Toothbrush and Paste (incase they keep me in..)
  • Night dress, I have a great Hotmilk nightdress like this one which is designed for breastfeeding but looks good enough to be seen out in!
  • Nursing Bra, I have a couple of nursing bras, but I am about to purchase this one from bras4mums after a discussion with the lovely bra lady herself TJ, you can read about my struggle with my favourite bra.
  • Breast Pads 
  • MP3 player, I am not going to bother making a playlist this time as last time I was in so much discomfort I stuck it on random and Rudebox was playing as I was pushing..I would have laughed but I was so mortified that I even had that song on my MP3!
  • Socks.. I always have cold feet!
  • Medication, I am on long term meds, so I need to remember to pack them!
  • Mobile Phone
  • Purse with change.

Ok so what am I forgetting for *my* hospital bag?! Help!

 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

EBody - Review


After the ecloth event I attended last month, I was sent some products to try out, and a couple of these were from the EBody range I was excited as I tend to end up with a house full of damp towels and flannels, and in the winter they take hours to dry!


The hand towel is super soft, and really absorbant! I would recommend washing it before you use it though, as I did notice a few bits of fluff come off on the first use! It really dried hands well, and it never got that cold soggy wet towel feeling! The towel is also lots lighter than a normal towel, so ideal for travelling with! We're so impressed we've decided to order two of the bath towels!

The Face Cleansing Mitt, I loved the idea of this, you put your hand inside the mitt, add a little of your normal cleanser and away you go. Sadly, I was unimpressed, it worked ok, but no better than a flannel. It is incredibly soft, so may be great if you have super sensitive skin, but it's not something I would use - unless travelling when it again is so light it would be ideal to pack if you're on a limited luggage flight.

By far my favourite product, was the hair turban, I LOVE this! I have very long thick hair, and a towel drying my hair is a nuisance - and not great for it either! The hair turban allows you to sling your wet hair into it, and then carry on getting dressed, your hair is partially dried when you take the turban off, and while it was quite wet and soggy when I took it off my hair, it dried very quickly! This is my new must have hair product, I couldn't be without it! Sorry about the dismal selfie, but I wanted to show the waffle fabric off!



Disclaimer: I was sent the EBody products to give an honest opinion on them, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated or asked to write this review.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Garden thriftiness! #magpiemonday


The sun was shining brightly, and the carboots were heaving..so our Sunday morning started in style! We are slowly doing up our garden, and I have been desperate to find garden furniture but with a minimal budget I have a minimal choice. Being pregnant, the fabric and metal framed furniture has not appealed, as I fear I will land on the floor..(ok I may not have gained that much weight, but I feel as though I have!) and the sturdier furniture is more than my budget will stretch to at the moment! So it was with huge excitement I spotted this very ordinary plastic garden chair, and with great glee I handed over £4.50! The chair is sturdy and reclines, best bit...I saw a brand new cushion which will fit it perfectly at a charity shop on Friday so I'm hoping it might still be there later today! 





I went on to buy two of these for 50pence each..



They're insulated coca-cola glasses, with a lid and slide top so you don't have to worry about a) spillages or b) bugs in the glass! They were sealed and brand new, and while I've never been on the Royal Caribbean cruise ships I can recline on my new chair sipping an ice cold drink pretending to be sailing away somewhere exotic all from the comfort of my garden!

Linking up with the lovely Liz for Magpie Monday, do check it out if you love a thrifty bargain! 

Ms G x



Friday, 30 May 2014

Let's Make Music - 1



I'm from a musical background, and believe it's important for children to both enjoy making and appreciating music. I want my boys to make there own decisions on whether they like the sounds of music and talk about why. I try to expose them to an ecletic variety of musical styles and encourage them to respond - this may be simply by dancing along! This half-term, I have been subjected to a duet of the boys version of Gangnam style.."Hey....sixty ladies.." and while I was horrified at their song choice I was impressed with how in in tune they were. Boo has been desperate to learn to read music for a while, but I remember vivdly being pushed to learn to read music at a very early age (I could read music before I could read words..) and it's not a memory I look back on fondly.This half term, his persistance and nagging to learn to read music so he can learn to play an instrument has paid off, and I gave in, gently introducing him to the musical alphabet and looking at a picture of a piano keyboard she's worked out which way is "up" and "down".
To make things more interesting - especially for E who at 3 loves making music but isn't too interested in the how to.. we decided to make our own instruments. Most parents have experimented handing their children pots and pans with a wooden spoon, I still do if I need 10minutes to do the washing up! I asked Boo what we should try making, his reply that thing the bald man plays, looking at him blankly I finally worked out he was referring to Richard O'Brien..this video is to blame..






Yes, OK the love of this song is entirely my fault, but come on it does make you want to join in with the dance right?! Unphased, we grabbed a couple of old boxes (we used an egg carton lid) and some elastic bands. If you had more patience you could decorate the box so it looked more attractive than our efforts, but simply pulling the elastic bands over the box (and warning the boys not to "play" it near their face incase of elastic band pinging!) made a great and super simple instrument.




We experimented with what happens when you tighten the bands, move them or use thicker elastic bands. We then talked about pitch, which band made the low sound or the high sound! From there we moved on to talking about what happens if we used something to hit the bands rather than pluck the bands..I then started complicated things by talking about the workings of a piano and had to stop as I could see two blank faces looking back at me.. Still.. the boys are on their way to learning more about music and instruments and I've not spent money on plastic toy instruments which play for them..! (Or been subjected to a recorder..though that is due to recommence next week..!) My plan is weekly to encourage a musical activity for all of us, which will be educational and fun, and I will share it on the - with better images (and maybe a video?!) Do you make music with your children? How do you make it fun?

Ms G x


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

WIN a Personalised Reading Book for your child!


Father's Day is almost upon us and I'm delighted to be able to offer one reader the chance to Win a "My Dad.." love2read personalised book! Just imagine Dad (or Grandad's!) face when he sees himself as the star of the bedtime story! 



Love2read enable you to use ten photos and text to say simple phrases ideal for youngsters learning to read - e.g. "My Dad likes cars.." There are lots of templates to choose from, you just select one, and follow the simple instructions to upload 10 photos and simple text! You can even make the name of the book more personal "My Dad", "My Daddy..", "Our Dad.." "My Hero.." to name a few!



Having reviewed a couple of love2read books, I can safely say that they are really lovely and each book we have received has been treasured by all the family! So this would be a fabulous Father's Day gift which will be enjoyed for years to come! All Father's Day orders need to be placed by Tuesday 10th June to ensure they arrive on time check out the website for further information; www.love2read.co.uk
 



Want to enter? Follow the steps on rafflecopter below!




a Rafflecopter giveaway




  Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/personalised-reading-book-fathers-day#sthash.Y9S9Axzo.dpuf

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Saving money and being "green" while cleaning..


Have you ever looked at how much money you spend on cleaning products each year? I don't know about you, but Mr G is obsessed with buying very expensive toilet cleaner which claims to kill lots of germs and eliminate limescale, I'm not sure about the germs but it doesn't deal with the limescale, and it does dye my toilet blue..but that's another blog post. These cleaning products tend to contain lots of chemicals, and really I don't like using them or having them around the children. When I was invited to an event with ecloth, I was delighted as I have been using their cloths for quite a while, and being able to visit the luxury 5 star Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, who themselves are proud to say they use ecloths to clean with, was an added bonus! 

ecloth, eliminate the need for lots of products to clean with, suddenly all you need is a bottle of water to spray onto a surface and an ecloth. How does it work? Most microfibre cloths have between 90,000 and 200,000 fibres per square inch, ecloth have 1.6million! The fibres are important as they trap grease, dirt and bacteria in between the fibres, so they catch bacteria rather than kill it. The benefit? You're removing the problem rather than killing it and smearing it "dead" all over the surface! The bargain hunters amongst you will argue you can buy a cloth and spray cheaper than one of these cloths, but seriously, each cloth can be washed 300 times, so suddenly spending £5 on a multipurpose ecloth seems very good value to me? 

If you're interested in how to clean your limescale riddled toilet, I can recommend using a little citric acid left (preferably over night) to work its magic, before giving a good scrub with a loo brush then flush! It's worked magic on our loo! We use white vinegar as a disinfectant (not with the citric acid!) as due to it's level of acidity it works magic at germ killing! For some expert tips on how to make your own cleaning products at home (mostly using stuff you probably have in your kitchen cupboard!) check out the greener cleaner! They incidentally, also love ecloth!

Until the end of May 2014 you can enjoy a 20% discount at www.e-cloth.com products by using the discount code ETP20, and there is free delivery on UK orders over £10 to, so it's the perfect time to stock up! 


Disclaimer: Thanks to ecloth for inviting me to the event to see the products,  all thoughts and opinions are my own and based on my own honest experience using ecloths for approx 3 years. 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Personalised Gift Ideas for the Perfect Christening


While it may not be the case in every geographical region, as a general rule consumer spending is continuing to rise throughout the UK. This is great news for retailers, who are benefitting from soaring turnovers as households begin to see a gradual rise in their disposable income levels.
On a fundamental level, this means that consumers are currently able and willing to spend more on gifts for special occasions, especially those that are to commemorate a christening or the birth of a new-born child.
Three Unique and Personalised Christening Gift Ideas
With this in mind, it is worth thoroughly researching the gift market to identify the best possible products for an upcoming christening. Personalised gifts are particularly popular, as they are genuinely unique and carry significant meaning for the recipient. Consider the following ideas:
  1. Personalised Coat Hangers for Style and Functionality
One of the key trends in the modern gift market has seen the development of multi-functional products, which solve multiple consumer problems with a single innovation. Personalised coat hangers provide a relevant case, as they offer a unique memento of a specific occasion whilst also serving a practical and necessary purpose. Available through online outlets such as a Shed Load of Gifts, they are relatively affordable and ideal for anyone who wants to purchase something innovative and useful within a tight budget.
  1. A Customised Photo Frame in your Colour of Choice
If you would like to spend a little more, why not invest in a picturesque baby photograph frame that features a personalised message? Not only does this enable the recipient to place a number of carefully selected and meaningful photographs around their home, but it also serves a constant reminder of your love and affection. These products also come in a host of different colours, which can be gender specific depending on the gender of the baby or simply selected on the basis of an existing design theme.
  1. A Unique Novel with a Personalised Hero and Narrative

Personalisation trends in the gift industry have grown increasingly innovative in recent times, as consumers have continued to demand unique and unusual products to satisfy their needs. In terms of christening gifts, this has recently translated into customisable novels, which can be influenced to include specific characters and narratives. So why not create a story where the new-born child is the hero, in which he has to save his family or battle with evil super-powers? While this may seem far-fetched, it is a relatively new concept on the market and is bound to impress both parents and older children too.

Disclaimer: This post was provided for me by Victoria Sharpe, the thoughts and opinions do not necessarily reflect my own.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Outdoor Fun with Mega Bloks!


We were sent a bag of Mega Bloks first builder blocks to review, there are 60 colourful blocks which can be used to build all sorts of things, and as the weekend was hot and sunny we decided to play outside with the Mega Bloks! They are perfect for some mega outdoor play, but I confess I've never thought to use them outside until now!




The first thing that struck me was that my 5 yr old asked "are there any instructions?" and when I replied "no, you can make anything!" he instantly beamed and announced he wanted to build an elephant! 


I was quite impressed with his efforts to build an elephant, and he certainly made a better attempt at it than I could have done! 



My 3 yr old was too busy already building a tower to help his brother with any animal building, I was impressed how well the bricks stand on the grass without toppling over!

We also had fun building bridges for trucks to drive under, they were also transported merrily in the garden toys! The blocks were hugely popular in the sandpit too where they made walls to protect castles, bridges which they covered in sand and more towers thanks to a tower obsessed 3 yr old!

The boys loved playing with the Mega Bloks first builder bloks, and I found that as they're colourful they were easy to encourage them to pick them up to put away. The bricks are light, and easy to keep clean so an ideal indoor toy to be played with outside, and I can see us having a lot of fun with them this summer! 

Mega Bloks facebook page currently is running a fantastic competition to win 1 of 4 play 'n go wagons - which look perfect for outdoor play with Mega bloks this summer! To enter you just need to fill in your details here!



Friday, 16 May 2014

Occasion wear from Long Tall Sally (and a fabulous competition!)

Tis' the season..whether you're going to attending the races, your best friends wedding or perhaps a christening the summer seems to bring a host of occasions to get dressed up for! If you are tall don't despair,  Long Tall Sally is on hand to ensure you can look glamorous for any occasion! 

The shimmer shutter dress is gorgeous, whether you're heading to the races or a cocktail party this dress will take you there in style! With an incredibly flattering neckline, and cinched in waist this dress (when I'm not pregnant!) is the ideal shape to show off my curves!



My absolute favourite dress from Long Tall Sally of this season has to be the Deluxe Lace shutter dress, it offers a coverage over the shoulders with a beautiful lace cap sleeve and a sexy lace back panel. This dress is ideal for taking you through day into evening, and the fabulous bright colour will ensure you aren't a wall flower at any event! It's such a dramatic dress - don't you think?




For those seeking a more classically stylish look, the Bonded Lace dress offers the classic cut of a shift dress, with a little stretch in the fabric to aid a good fit. There is also the Bonded Lace Jacket available which would turn this dress into a super smart suit ideal for any occasion, and I think the jacket would work well with a simple camisole and jeans for a summer trip to a pub garden!




The lovely people at Long Tall Sally have offered a £50 voucher as a prize to one of my lovely readers, I'm a huge Long Tall Sally fan, so I'm very sad not to be able to enter this one myself! To enter the competition follow the simple steps on the rafflecopter widget below, please make sure you read the t&c's at the bottom of the widget! Good Luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway ...


Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own.