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Here you will find reviews of products, services and days out. Look out for some fab competitions and giveaways too!

To catch up on tales from the Button household, click HERE

Friday, 7 December 2012

Photo canvas from Printerpix

Printerpix recently offered us a large photo canvas to review, and so with my Godson's birthday coming up, I jumped at the chance!

And my Godson's mum has often talked about wanting a large canvas of her son to go above the fireplace.

So I asked her to email the image she wanted to use - and she sent a gorgeous photo of him 'surfing' with the waves crashing around him.

I promptly placed the order with Printerpix, and when it arrived a few days later, we were all blown away with how it looked!

The quality, the colours, and overall effect looked incredible - particularly as it had been blown up quite considerably!

Both my Godson and his mum were absolutely thrilled with it, and sure enough, it hangs pride of place above their fireplace.

Printerpix also supply photobooks and calendars among other photo gifts - they are relatively new on the scene, so do go and check them out!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Mega Hi Tower in a bag (giant Jenga)

Giant Jenga
We recently received a giant Jenga set to review, from Big Game Hunters, suppliers of many fabulous garden games and accessories.

I have always been a huge fan of the bog-standard small Jenga, and it is something we have always played together as a family, even before having children.

So I was absolutely delighted (probably more so than the kids to begin with!) to receive this giant version of the game.

It's a game that the whole family can play together - and it provides lots of laughs (and strops!) even for younger children.  In fact, my three-year old has made all sorts of other weird and wonderful constructions out of the blocks, and loves it.

This set comes with 58 blocks measuring 18cm in length, it's really well made, and comes in a sturdy carry bag which means it can be put away neatly without it disappearing all over the house!

I cannot wait to get it out over Christmas, with family and friends!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Bunk Bed from Bensons for Beds

Contempo Bunk Bed
My girls (aged six and three) have always shared a bedroom, and I have often thought about one day getting them a bunk bed, particularly as they are getting bigger and taking up more space.

And so we were absolutely thrilled when Bensons for Beds contacted us about the possibility of reviewing one of their beds.

Bensons have recently open several new concept stores around the UK featuring their new in store experience, the Comfort Station, which takes the stress out of finding the perfect bed!   But being where we are, we were unfortunatley unable to go to one of these stores, so instead we went along to our local store, to choose a new bed.

The service was friendly and very helpful and when I looked worried about assembling the bed, I was reassured by the fact that the store manager told me that normally it is her and another lady who assemble the display bunk beds in that particular shop!

My husband Tom and I set aside an afternoon last weekend and opened up the flatpack bed - to me, all the slats and pieces of wood looked pretty daunting, and within five minutes we were disagreeing about what went where.  Tom ended up telling me to leave the room, and I was amazed that a couple of hours later the bed was complete!

The bunk bed is made from solid pine and it indeed feels incredibly solid.   It is obviously of very high quality and is a lovely simple design.  The bed has given the girls' room a lovely 'wood' smell too, which I love!

And the icing on the cake is that when the kids get older the bed can be split into two seperate beds.

The girls are absolutely thrilled with it - Betty gets the top bunk and feels incredibly grown-up and Dolly gets the bottom and gets her very own snuggly 'den'.

This bed was £459.99 but is currently on sale for £229.99.  And it comes with a very high recommendation from the Button household! Thank you Bensons!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

KIDFIX car seat by Britax

We have recently been sent the KIDFIX car seat by Britax which is a test winner in its category.  It is for the older child - group 2-3, for children aged 4 years to 12 years.

This seat is approved for two different methods of installation: either using the ISOFIX system which anchors the seat directly to the car for added protection, or by using the car's 3-point seatbelt.

When I first opened up the box I was immediately struck by the sturdiness of this seat, with  the sides looking well-padded and robust.  And when my daughter first sat in the seat she commented on its 'lovely soft cushioning'.  

The KIDFIX has multiple recline positions, and comes in a variety of fun colours from dark grape to smart zebra.

It has side impact protection, softly padded side wings, seat belt guides, height adjustable headrest, and a soft padded cover that can easily be removed for washing.  

You can  also purchase various accessories to go with this seat such as a cup holder - an absolute must for my daughter to store her random stones and shells in!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Black and Decker steam mop

Black and Decker have just brought out this new steam mop.

This is very exciting for me as I hate the traditional way of mopping - a scraggly mop head that sheds bits all over the kitchen floor, and often doesn't smell very nice.

I am ashamed to admit that I hadn't used my usual mop for so long that it actually had things growing on it when I went to get it from the shed the other day - it has promptly gone in the bin.

So with this new steam mop you don't get any of these problems.  It boasts killing 99.9% of germs and bacteria, and only uses tap water to do it - so you don't need to use any nasty chemicals in the process..

The mop has just a 15 second heat-up time, 180 degree swivel action and can work right up to the edges of the floor.  And the auto select function ensures safety on all sealed floors, and gives a deep clean every time!

Below is a short clip, showing the mop in action:


This is a sponsored post

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

My cleaning standards have slipped...

It has dawned on my recently, that my cleaning standards have completely slipped in the last six months or so.

After being completely neurotic about having a clean home when my children were babies, I have since decided that now that they are older, a little bit of dust and a few cobwebs won't hurt them!

I remember I would vacuum the carpets and mop the kitchen floor daily - and I even cleaned the skirting boards probably more often than was normal.  The housework was a time-consuming chore that took up valuable time at home with the kids.

But now, I am ashamed to admit, that our kitchen floor barely sees a mop these days, and instead I opt for using a baby wipe to clean any isolated spillages or stickiness - and that's on a good day.  And instead of routinely vacuuming the sitting room every single day, I now begrudgingly get the hoover out if I know that we are having guests.

I think my lapse in housework first started when I read a quote that really resonated with me - it said that your children are only young for a very short period of time, so enjoy them instead of obsessing over the cleaning - as dust will be around forever!

I actually feel rather liberated now that I don't obsess over the cleaning so much, and yes, it does mean that I have more time to make dens, and dress up as cats, and throw glitter around the kitchen, and not have a melt-down in the process.

Plenty have recently launched their Juan Sheet campaign, which I think is hilarious - I love it.  Below is a video of when Juan Sheet takes on a sticky high chair mess with a wet sheet of Plenty...

I'd be happy to substitute a wet sheet of Plenty for a baby wipe any day!

Fly Trap! - a game of fly-flicking fun!

We absolutely love games in this household and so were pleased to receive this new game by Esdevium, called Fly Trap!

The game is for age 4+ (2-4 players) so is perfect for our family to all play together, and what an exciting game it is too!

To play, you have to shoot as many flies into the Fly Trap's mouth as possible while the other players push their pumps to close it and try to stop you from scoring.

There were squeals and much laughter as we played this game, and I was amazed to see my five-year-old became the absolute champion, beating my husband hands down!

The game comes with 20 plastic flies (in two different colours), one fly trap with an electric motor, two fly flickers and two pumps.

This product RRPs at £19.99 and is available on Amazon, Argos and Asda.

Please do go and check it out, it is a great game, and we have had a lot of fun with it!

Mega Bloks Play 'n' Go Table

My girls have always been big fans of Mega Bloks and we have had hours and hours of construction time with all the colourful and different-sized building blocks.

So my three-year-old was thrilled to be sent this Play 'n' Go Table to try out, which provides even more construction possibilities!  My daughter spent hours playing with this table with her two-year-old cousin, giving us peace and quiet!  They built up a tower, and whizzed the car around the tracks.  And we were able to add all our existing Mega Bloks to the set, which was great fun - even my husband Tom got heavily involved!

This set, which acts as a building platform, comes with blocks, building plates, decorated wall plates, a car, and a figure.  The table is portable, and when not in use it folds down flat for easy storage and all the  blocks fit really neatly inside.  And it is really easy to put together.

The kids thought this product was great, and so I would highly recommend it.  

Mega Bloks have 'Time to Build' pages on Facebook and Twitter - check them out!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Making sure your children eat well - when both parents work


It can be hard making sure your children are eating healthy fresh food at the best of times, let alone when you are both busy working parents. We can’t always be there to see what our kids are eating, but we can make sure they are eating healthily when we are not around.

Children that eat healthily are known to have better energy, stabilised moods and increased brain activity. A healthy child is most definitely a happy child.

When your children are at playgroup we can make sure that we send with them a good nutritious packed lunch or snacks. Fruits and wholegrain snacks (an apple and a cereal bar maybe) are great for packed lunches or snacks. Water or pure fruit juices are a nice beverage for them to sip on too throughout the day. Water keeps their bodies and minds hydrated and working at their peak, it also lowers the risk of urine or bladder infections, Things that are not fun when you are a toddler!  Ask your child what they would like to take with them. Maybe a lot of kids at nursery take grapes but your child takes an apple, they might want to try grapes for their lunch one day.

Limit portion size. Don’t make your child eat a whole plate of food if they do not want to. If they are full up, they are full up. Making a child eat when they do not want to may encourage obesity or over feeding. Remember to never use food as a reward or a bribe either. This sort of behaviour encourages naughty behaviour if they do not get what they want, or they may use it against you. Stick to healthy fun foods for snacks and treats.

If your little ones spend a lot of time with babysitters, and you want them to have a nice yummy dinner when you are not around, why not make things easy (and healthy) for your kids by giving them a healthy option ready meal. Many people doubt and disbelieve that there are actually any healthy ready meals out there but there are!  Make sure you choose a meal that does not contain too much salt, is prepared with fresh vegetables and is low fat. A nice hearty Sheppard’s pie, or children’s favourite Sausage and mash! These ready meals are quick and easy to prepare, and it means you have peace of mind that your little one has eaten a nice hearty dinner.  Meals on Wheels are not just for the elderly, anyone can have meals on wheels style dinners delivered to their door. Services like this are great for working mums and dads who perhaps need a little help when feeding the kids when busy.

Teach your children to cook healthy meals from a young age. This is a much needed life skill and makes food that are maybe seen as a bit ‘boring’ because they are good for you a lot more fun! Spend time together in the kitchen. Maybe make Sunday a ‘Family Cooking Day’. Let your kids invent and design a new healthy recipe, then cook it and eat it together!

This is a sponsored post by James Newhouse who writes for Oakhouse Foods - delivering fresh groceries, toiletries, home ware and frozen ready meals to your door.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Guest post: Is working more expensive than stay-at-home parenting?


Most of us probably know someone – if it’s not ourselves – who have said that it’s more economical for them to give up work entirely than juggle a job alongside costly childcare fees. The Social Market Foundation think tank points to the statistic that an estimated 10% of mums with children under three choose to stay at home rather than shell out for childcare. But is this really more cost-effective?

A recent study found that an average family needs to maintain an income of £36,000 for an acceptable standard of living (with lone parents needing £23,900) – an increase of a third since 2008. Aside from the typical costs of schoolwear, clothes, books and other essentials, part of the reason behind the increase is considered to be the rise in childcare costs.
It has been reported that the average cost of nursery care for children under the age of two rose by nearly 6% in 2011. This rise was compounded by limits imposed by the current government on the tax credits which parents in lower wage bands can claim to pay for the care.
The report, published by the Daycare Trust, found that the average cost of a part-time nursery place for a child under two years old is more than £100 a week, although this figure varies across different regions, with nurseries in London working out the most expensive. In some cases, a part-time place costs as much as £300 a week; around £15,000 a year.
Clearly, the cost is a sizeable chunk of any average adult’s yearly wage, and for those living in more costly regions, is perhaps more than they can realistically afford. In 2010, a spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said that £15,000 a year was a reasonable wage – but when that’s all potentially going towards childcare fees, that view is hardly tenable for struggling parents, and some may even find themselves facing rising debt due to the costs.
Of course, some parents may have the option of accepting extra hours or seeking additional work in order to meet these costs. However, this can have a knock-on effect in terms of their relationship with their children, robbing both parent and child of valuable time together.
Perhaps a lesser concern, but one that is nonetheless still important, is that careers can be cut prematurely short by the crucial decision to leave work in favour of becoming a full-time parent.
Although many workplaces have policies in place to accommodate parents who wish to continue their role in a part-time or flexible capacity, not everyone is fortunate enough to find themselves in such a position leading up to parenthood. The long-term expense of giving up a well-paid job that has been worked towards is one that can potentially never be repaid.
So, whilst some families struggle to juggle their finances once childcare costs are added to their monthly outgoings, some households don’t have much of a choice either way. However little their part-time or full-time work might add to the overall household income once childcare is deducted – even if it’s a negative figure – giving up work in the current economic climate might be considered by many to be a risk not worth taking.

What are your thoughts on this?



Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A child's eye view of the perfect home

A GIANT playroom, a home cinema, a swimming pool or a park in the garden have come out top in a list of things that children would like to change about their home.

Quirkier items on the wish-list included to paint the whole thing pink, move it to Cyprus or have a secret lock on the bedroom door.

Their dream bedrooms would include everything from lots of toys and a cinema size TV, to a chocolate fountain, a tent for sleepovers, a real racing car, a turtle aquarium or a full size Dr Who’s Tardis!

Redrow Homes carried out research among youngsters aged 6 to 15 years in a bid to understand what ‘home’ means to young people. 

On a more serious note the research uncovered some of the things that impact most on children during a house move and has led to the creation of a special scrapbook that will be given to the young children of families buying a Redrow home. In it, there’s space for them to add photos, draw pictures, write notes and keep a record of their old friends’ contact details so they don’t lose touch after the move. It also encourages them to think about the reasons for moving and to appreciate all the positives of their new home. 

The aim is to make young children feel like they have an active role to play in the moving process – rather than it being something that just happens and over which they have no control.

Redrow’s research revealed that having a new bedroom, a bigger bedroom or a bedroom of their own was the best thing about moving house for most children. Leaving behind friends and an old school or having to pack up all their belongings was the worst bit.

Some 53% of the youngsters questioned found moving ‘exciting’, but 11% of them described it as ‘scary’ and 20% said it made them ‘sad’; 45% were ‘very excited’ about making new friends, while the opportunity to discover a new neighbourhood made 29% ‘very excited’ and 50% ‘curious’.

Aimed at children aged 5 to 11, ‘Issy’s Moving House Scrapbook’ will be given free of charge to relevant customers at the point of reservation. It also offers parents advice on further reading to help their children adapt to a move, with a list of ‘bedtime books’ to choose from.

For more details of Redrow’s range of high quality family homes across England and Wales visit the website www.redrow.co.uk.  You can also meet Issy here: http://youtu.be/l9spktHhCng

This is a guest post, sponsored by Redrow Homes

Friday, 22 June 2012

Develop your club identity

Most of us like to have a sense that we belong somewhere or to something. It’s a natural human response and the reason that families and friends are such an important part of our lives. We can be rooted as well to where we come from, whether it is a country, a county or region, or a particular city, town or village. There is a sense of being part of something bigger than ourselves alone, and it is part of the glue that binds society together. 

Outside family, friends and nation, one of the most important and popular ways of being with other like-minded people is by joining a club and being part of a social, sporting or cultural group. You don’t actually have to play a game or be a musician or artist to belong to a club, you just have to be interested or, indeed, passionate about the pastime you want to be involved with. 

This makes developing an identity for your club a great way to enhance the club’s public presence and develop the sense of camaraderie between its members. 

The ideal way to do this is by getting a set of printed t-shirts arranged for your club. Established clubs will probably have their own written logo and a badge, so there are historic connections to bear in mind when deciding how to represent these on garments. There are also discussions to be had over quality. 

Obviously, good quality is usually a given, but if the club is involved in contact sports, such as football or rugby, and a logo is put onto the playing shirt, the shirt may well not survive more than one match. Even if it does, it is likely to become extremely dirty, requiring a high temperature wash every week or more often. This is where printing techniques can now produce high volumes at very reasonable prices, so if shirts need to be replaced on a regular basis it need not cost the club a fortune, whilst retaining that club identity on the field. 

Off the field, then, players and fans can put the name of the club out and about with a wide range of clothing with the club’s markings. Many clubs can take advantage of the keen prices offered by specialist garment printing companies and commission a range of items that can be sold to club supporters at a small mark up, perhaps to help raise funds for the club. Types of garments, as well as printed t-shirts, would include hoodies, sweatshirts, jackets and polo shirts, all offering the opportunity for the club’s identity to be publicised. 

It doesn’t just have to be sporting clubs that use printed garments to develop their identity. New clubs or societies formed at university, for example, can establish their own identities by developing logos and images that members and others can wear with pride. It could be a chess club, a choir, an international society or even a university department producing logos and designs to enhance their organisations, help to market what they do and encourage new members to join.

This is a sponsored post - written by James who guest blogs for Clothes2order.com

Car hire insurance for vans

When you take out a rental vehicle, it is of the utmost importance to take out car hire insurance. There are many convincing reasons to insure your rental van. Some of these reasons are true of any vehicle, and some are specific to vans. 

The reasons for taking out car hire insurance on your rental vehicle are many. First of all, no matter how skilled a driver you are, the chance of a collision is always there. The possibility that you may be involved in an accident is one of the main reasons for taking out insurance on your rental vehicle. 

Most often, you rent a van because you need to transport a number of passengers. This fact might make the van more susceptible to collision, since having a number of people in the vehicle while you drive can be quite disorienting. This is more true if there are children in the car. 

Vans are often rented by people who do not drive them on a regular basis, and thus the chance of an accident is increased. 

Another important reason for taking out car hire insurance on your van is that there are factors you cannot control. For example, even if your vehicle is parked, there are certain kinds of damage that may happen to it. Vandalism is always a possibility when you are away from your vehicle, and so it is worth getting cover for this. Not every car hire company includes vandalism in their insurance policies, so it is worth looking into to make sure that you are, in fact, getting cover for this possibility. Fire is another eventuality that is not always covered, but which is worth looking into. The more you are willing to spend on insurance cover at the outset of your rental, the more protected you are from having to pay for any damage that happens later. 

Of course, theft is also a concern when your vehicle is parked, and this is why many insurance policies directly address this possibility. When you drive a large vehicle around, it is possible that some people will assume that you have precious cargo on board. As such, the possibility of theft while renting a van can be even greater than that of renting a car. You do not want to be caught off guard, so the best option is to get yourself covered. 

It does not matter what type of rental vehicle you have, car hire insurance is a crucial factor. There is no way to avoid paying for damage and theft unless you take out the proper insurance cover when you rent your vehicle. When you have the right cover, you do not have to worry about an unfortunate incident taking the money from your wallet. These considerations involved in renting a van, help to make insurance especially important with this type of vehicle.

This is a guest post, sponsored by iCarhireinsurance.com

Key Features to Help Make Dressing Your Baby Easier

As any parent of a young baby or toddler can tell you, one of the hardest parts about getting a child ready in the morning is keeping them still enough to get dressed. A squirming baby can be almost impossible to dress if the clothing does not have features that make it easier for you to get it on quickly. For example, if the clothing has lots of small buttons or lace-up strings, your infant might not cooperate with you long enough to finish dressing. Fortunately, Vertbaudet have plenty of baby clothing with features that are specifically designed for easier dressing and undressing. 

Press stud fastenings 
One of the most convenient baby clothing features are press stud fastenings. These metal snaps allow parents to open and close clothing tops and bottoms quickly and easily, without worrying about finding buttonholes, which can be difficult when an infant wants to start crawling away from you. Infant bodysuits that have press stud fastenings on the back make it easy for mums and dads to close up the tops easily, while the press stud fastenings between the legs make nappy changes a breeze. Other infant bodysuits feature open neck tops, with press stud fastenings between the legs. Having the fastenings down there also makes it simple for parents to keep one hand on their babies at all times when removing the clothing.

Image courtesy of Vertbaudet
Adjustable straps and waists 
Adjustable points on infant clothing are another feature for easy dressing. For example, a pair of trousers with an adjustable waist helps parents achieve the right fit for their baby, no matter how small or wide the infant’s waist may be. On these trousers, the adjustable waist has elastic inside, along with two buttons. Parents simply pull the elastic to tighten the waist as required and then button it at the necessary spot to keep the waist snug. 

Some infant clothing features adjustable straps on the shoulders, with press stud fastenings on the ends. Infant boy dungarees, with adjustable shoulder straps, allow parents to lower or raise the bib portion of the outfit to fit their child’s stature. As babies grow, parents can change the snap position on the straps to continue using them for a longer period of time. 

Buttoned shoulders 
Another baby clothing feature for dressing and undressing easily are buttoned shoulders. These features make it easy to remove shirts and tops without having to pull the entire top over the baby’s head. Since some infants might become afraid when their faces are covered by clothing, tops that have this feature help them feel more comfortable during dressing and undressing. Some tank tops have snap buttons on one shoulder, which enables parents to open one side wider than the other to get the shirt off easily. 

Vertbaudet offers a range of baby clothes, children’s clothes and home collections for your little ones. Their Summer Sale is now on, with hundreds of items reduced by up to 60%, so hurry while stocks last. Shop now at www.vertbaudet.co.uk/shop/summer-sale.htm

This is a guest post, sponsored by Vertbaudet

Friday, 15 June 2012

Speedo Aquashot Waterproof Camera

Speedo have very kindly sent me their Aquashot Waterproof Camera to review.

Being a really keen amateur photographer, I was absolutely thrilled to receive this camera, as it is something I have wanted for a very long time!

There is a pool near our house that you can hire for an hour and have it all to yourself.  So my husband I took the kids along and the new camera and got some great shots! Most of the shots of them are just of their legs and bottoms, but we are working on getting them to get their heads under!  My husband went under water for me though, and I managed to get a cracking shot!  We really did have a lot of fun with it!

The camera is waterproof up to 3 metres, it has a flash, an LCD display, scenery settings, self timer, and built in 32MB.

It costs £137.00, and it really is the business - I love it!

LittleLife Ladybird Wheelie Duffle

Cotswold Outdoor has just launched a new range of children's travel products from LittleLife, including this fab LittleLife Ladybird Wheelie Duffle which we have been sent to review.

Betty, my five year old, absolutely loves this new suitcase - the fact that it looks like a giant ladybird AND it it just like my wheelie suitcase (although mine is just plain black) has caused much excitement.  

She got to try it out on a recent trip to London and looked as proud as can be pulling it along the underground platforms and up the escalators (and to be honest, I welcomed her help, as we had enough baggage of our own).  

This wheelie duffle has a 20 litre compartment for clothes, and maybe a couple of toys, and an internal accessories pocket for smaller items.

It is also made from hardwearing nylon and has a wipe-clean surface.

This lovely case retails at £40.00, which perhaps seems a bit pricey, but it has brought a lot of joy!

Cotswold Outdoor are also running a fabulous Facebook competition to win a LIttlelife Doodle Daypack - the competition closes on Monday!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

6 ways of ensuring your child gets a good night’s sleep

Photo by Tim Wilson
The lighter mornings and evenings are wonderful but they do have one drawback: they can play havoc with your sleeping patterns.

Adults aren’t the only ones to suffer; summertime’s sudden arrival can be particularly disruptive to children’s sleeping habits. It can be hard to convince a child to go to bed at 8pm on an early summer’s evening when there is still so much light in the sky and so much life on the streets.

Similarly, sunlight tends to flood through the gaps in bedroom curtains far earlier – a trigger which tells young children it is time to rise and shine even when breakfast time is many hours away.

So how do you ensure that the change of seasons doesn’t affect your child’s sleeping patterns?

1. Make sure your kids stay busy during the day

If kids stay active during the day then they should have no problem getting to sleep at their normal going-to-bed time; even if it is still sunny when their head hits the pillow. Sunny weather provides the perfect conditions for kids to run around outside and tire themselves out – setting them up for a solid night’s sleep.

2. Explain to them why they are going to bed when it’s still sunny

Young children will be naturally confused that they used to go to bed when the skies were dark and now, a few months later, they are being read their bedtime story long before the street lights flicker on outside. Explain to them that although it is still light, they have been up for many hours and need all their energy to rush around and enjoy the sunshine tomorrow. Telling children why they need their sleep will give them extra motivation to journey to that wonderful Land of Nod.

3. Adjust their sleeping hours

There is no real harm in letting children stay up half-an-hour later when the days get longer. You will have to reduce their sleeping hours at some stage so why not make the start of British Summer Time the time to do it?

4. Make sure they are not too hot

Are your children too hot in their bedroom now that the weather is getting warmer? One way of finding out is pretty obvious – just ask them! Lighter pyjamas, lighter bedding, open windows and fans can all help reduce the temperature. Black-out blinds can block out the morning sun and help them get a vital extra few hours’ shut-eye.

5. Food and drink

If children are struggling to get to sleep during a hot summer’s night it might be because they are hungry or thirsty. All that running around in the sun means that they might have a larger appetite than is the case during lazy winter months. Letting them eat a small bowl of cereal with milk just after they change into their pyjamas might settle a rumbling stomach – and settle their sleep patterns.

6. Wind-down time

The NHS website advises that parents whose children have sleep problems should introduce a 20-minute ‘wind-down bedtime routine’ to get kids ready for the idea of going to sleep. This wind-down period should be a time when kids stop running around or engaging in any activities which make them over-stimulated and unable to sleep.

It could also include a time when you read them a relaxing story – the NHS website advises that you should set a limit on how much time you spend with them before they go to sleep, so try to limit it to one story.

Perhaps a tale about Sleeping Beauty will get them in the mood for a night of sweet sleep!

This is a sponsored post written by James Christie who writes for Yellow Moon. Check out Yellow Moon’s range of craft supplies for kids.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Free Range duvet cover from Vertbaudet

Vertbaudet recently sent us this absolutely gorgeous duvet cover from their range.

We own a few chickens which my girls absolutely adore (goodness knows why) and so to receive a pretty pink duvet cover with chickens on the front (and one wearing wellies what's more), went down very very well.  It is a gorgeous design, and is of very good quality.

You can also purchase a fitted sheet and matching pillow case to go with it.

It costs £29.00 but currently has 20% off!

Personalised t-shirts

Betty was recenlty asked if she would like to take part in a design your own t shirt review, at which she jumped at the chance.

This is something we have never really done before, so I was intrigued to see how it turned out.

Betty of course drew a rainbow (she draws nothing else at the moment) and we promptly emailed the image off, for them to work their 'magic' as Betty called it.

The service was unbelievably fast, as the t-shirt was with us just a couple of days later.  And there it was, Betty's drawing emblazoned onto a Fruit of the Loom t-shirt - she was absolutely thrilled!

If you are interested in personalised t shirts from clothes 2 order  do go and check out their website - you can choose from different t-shirt designs and material weight, and it is a lot of fun.  Their prices look very competitive too!

Air Reach Upright by Vax

The latest vacuum cleaner I have had the pleasure of reviewing (and yes it is a pleasure to me) is the Vax Air Reach.  You can tell just by looking at it that it is the business.

It is not a full capacity vacuum cleaner, but is absolutely perfect for use in the bedrooms and the upstairs landing - as it can be used on both carpets and hard floors.

The suction is absolutely amazing - I swear it sucks up dust and fluff before it even reaches it - it just disappears before your eyes.  Because of its power, I did get into a couple of scrapes with it in the beginning, where it sucked up the fringe of one of my rugs, and tried to the take the whole rug with it.  But it was easily sorted, by pressing the reset button, away to go again, avoiding the rugs.

It is incredibly easy to use, and empty out, it doesn't take up much space, and I am pleased I don't have to lug the other one up the stairs whenever I need to vacuum up the kids biscuit crumbs from their bedroom floor.

The original price of this upright was £259.99, but I now see that it is on offer at £149.99 - which is over £100 off!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Summer fun with ELC!

It really did feel like Summer a few weeks ago, and the kids spent hours in the garden making their very own 'adventure playground'.  There were tears, a bit of squabbling, but mainly a lot of fun.  Their adventure playground which originally consisted of a swing, a home-made high-jump and a sandpit was hugely helped along by some fabulous garden toys from ELC.

The most successful item was definitely the basket ball set, and for just £12.00 I think this is amazing value for money.  It is a very simple idea but very very effective.  It is colourful, it folds up neatly, and you can set it up just about anywhere.  The ball is soft, causing minimal damage should it be thrown off target.  I have been taking it everywhere we go; pub gardens, grandparents etc.  It also comes with a sports bib - although I do think two should be supplied to stop the fighting over it (or is it just my kids that fight over EVERYTHING?)

Another really fun game is the Fish and Count which again at just £12 is great value for money.  The set is made from a foam material and you place the fish with hooks on in a paddling pool and use the fishing rods to catch the right coloured fish - it is actually harder than it looks, so the kids did not get bored.  Again a simple idea but very effective!  I thought it was great because normally when the paddling pool comes out and they have dumped everything they can possibly find into it they get bored, so this provided much needed entertainment.  We just need the Winter weather to go away and they can have another go!

When my girls weren't fishing or playing basket pool they were 'chilling out' with a BBQ - ELC have just brought out a gorgeous wooden BBQ set, which I love!  We are BBQ mad in this house, so this was prefect for them to play with.  It comes with a spit that can be turned and 11 accessories including a spatula, and wooden vegetables and meats to BBQ.  The set costs £25.00.  The gourmet pitta set, which comprises felt pitta with lots of healthy fillings, has also been a big hit, particularly with my two year old who will only eat pitta anyway.

Having just been on ELC's website, I have noticed that they are doing a three for two offer on all sports and garden toys - go and check out their range, there's loads on there!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Help for the body and mind in times of stress

There are an overwhelming number of factors that contribute to the build-up of stress. Change is ever present in our lives and, whilst change is often rewarding, it is also demanding of precious emotional and physical resources. Of course, we can now talk about such things, which is a bonus. Acknowledging a situation goes a great way towards coping with it. Stress, after all, is not necessarily a bad thing. Challenges can present us with opportunities to develop and move on. The idea is not to rid our lives of any stimulus, but to improve ways of dealing with it, learning to support our coping mechanisms, both physical and emotional.

There are many ways in which you can help relieve any stress you find yourself under. One of these is exercise. This will not only increase your lung capacity, it will also increase levels of ‘happy chemicals’ in your body. It does not need to involve lengthy training sessions in the gym either. A walk round the block in your lunch break for example, taking the dog to the park, can make all the difference to how you are feeling. Breathe deeply as you go to stimulate the circulatory system and keep oxygen flowing to the brain to help it work well. It will give you the time needed to mull things over and perhaps see things in a different light. Alternatively, find out what classes are available at your local leisure centre. You’ll not only reap the benefits of exercise, you’ll make new friends too.

When life is getting you down, don’t sit and mope on your own. Get in touch with a friend or friends who you know will be able to lift your spirits. Avoid those who are just going to make you even more miserable. It can often help to discuss a problem with someone you trust. They may have experienced the same problem and can offer advice on how they dealt with it.

It’s a fact that when we are stressed, our immune system is weakened and we are more likely to fall prey to lurking germs. With this in mind, it may be beneficial to take a tincture of echinacea in times of strain to help boost the immune system.

Another way to escape from the pressures of a busy lifestyle is simply ‘to be in the here and now’. If you want the ultimate in relaxation and energised living, understanding and attuning yourself to others and the world you live in, just be where you are. It does not require any experience, is free and can be done every day with just a little practice. It is merely being aware of what is going on around you, enjoying living in the moment. As you walk, try to slow down your breathing as well as your thoughts. Breathing exercises are very steadying and can help reduce the release of inflammatory and pain-causing chemicals. Concentrate on what is going on all around you and on the sounds you can hear. This will help to bring you back to the present moment and you will find that gradually there is a shift. You will become more relaxed, your thoughts will seem to slow down and you will experience a sense of peace and wellbeing.

If you find that the pressures of a busy lifestyle are beginning to catch up on you, a herbal remedy for stress relief may help increase your ability to cope. Look out for a tincture containing the natural based extracts of valerian and hops for best effect.

This is a sponsored post, written by Alison Cavog for A Vogel

How to make a beautiful button bouquet card

A children’s art and craft idea which is as bright as a button

All good arts and crafts enthusiasts know that buttons aren’t just things which you sew on coats and cardigans. In the right hands – and with a bit of imagination and a dash of glue – they can be used to make great art! As buttons come in different colours and sizes, it is a good idea to show off their variety by using them to adorn a home-made button bouquet greetings card – these are ideal for special occasions like weddings and birthdays.





For this exercise you will need the following craft supplies; all of which can be purchased from Baker Ross.  A Buttons value class pack (order number EV224)

White card (E99A)
Coloured card blanks (EK461)
Satin ribbon value pack (EV686)
Giotto colour fibre tip pens (EK642)
Silicone glue (EV901)

Now you’re ready to begin – why not try making a card yourself before letting the children loose on the task?

First, take a coloured blank and place it face-up on the table.



Then cut a slightly smaller piece of white card and glue it to the front. 


Once this is done, take a large button, add a layer of glue to the back and stick it on to the white ‘panel’. Then glue a smaller button on to the top of the large button. Make sure it stays in place! 

Kate (whose hands are pictured in the photos) has chosen to repeat the process and use five buttons; keeping them close together to depict a bouquet of flowers.


Kate advises that it works best if you just stick to round buttons for this design – so resist the urge to pick up a square button.
It’s quite fiddly, tiring work for youngsters but they can take a break to let the glue on the buttons and card dry. This task is now nearing completion – pick up a green Giotto fibre-tip pen and draw on the stems for the three shortest flowers.




A purple Giotto pen is ideal for drawing a bow around the stems. A cute little purple button in the middle of the bow adds a nice finishing touch to the picture. Pick up the scissors and cut a length of bright green ribbon which is long enough to loop around the spine of the card and tie it in an arty bow to finish.


You can either add a handwritten message sticker to the top or leave it blank.

These cards are ideal for special occasions like weddings – events where bouquets are rightly considered very important!

If your finished card looks nothing like the photograph at the start and end of this article then don’t panic! Kate has filmed a step-by-step tutorial to help you out.



This is a sponsored post by James Christie who writes for arts and crafts company Baker Ross. Check out Baker Ross’s fantastic range of Diamond Jubilee Crafts

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Have a real clear out for spring

Spring is here, and it’s time for a big clear out in the home. With summer now approaching we’re all looking at ways of de-cluttering our homes to make room for a fresher year. But with children who scream “don’t sell my old games" and a husband who wants to keep hold of those old football shirts, what can you do?

Well, you’re fighting for the greater good – a pleasant and fresh home. And, ultimately it is something that works for everyone. So it’s a simple case of making them understand that in the current climate a few pounds can go a long way. Whether you’re trimming the energy bills or what you have in the home, there’s money to be made.

Recycle

There are always going to be cupboards or corners that are full of used items that you no longer want or need anymore. You’ve upgraded many phones in your time, your children have worked their way through hundreds of games and there are homes for them to go to in return for a pretty penny. You can sell games online with musicMagpie and what this involves is scanning the barcode of your item and getting an offer. It’s likely that there will be a box full, and the average user makes £50 and with a freepost system you can’t go wrong. What’s more is that they will take DVDs and CDs too, so get digging.

Car boot sale

When you’re doing your clear out, don’t be throwing anything out. This time of year is car booting season, and you would be silly to miss out on it. While garage sales still occur on some streets, you are often better off going to a field where there is a following that go once a month – especially if you have potential antiques. So, pay out for a stand, fill the car and have a Sunday selling for the family fund!

Check your bills 

Taking a different approach, but once you have cleaned the attic, garage and spare rooms and have got a car boot sale in mind, it’s time to look at your big expenses. Finding the best deals for what you use is imperative to have more money for luxuries. We’re in a new tax year and fuel poverty has reared its ugly head, so face your demons and get your accounts fixed. Do you have more credit cards than you need? Are you paying them all off in a scatter gun approach when you should be focused on the highest interest rate ones first? There are so many ways to trim money off what you spend. Using an online comparison site is great for having a look if you are being overcharged for energy, insurance and home services. Take the time to check your bill and your spring could be a fruitful one!

This is a sponsored post written by Michael Edmondstone of Forward

Is going green right for you?

You’ve seen all the celebrities do it and heard all the news about why it’s important, but it’s only natural to still have questions about what it means to go green and how it will impact your family. Switching to renewable energy is likely to benefit your loved ones and your household budget in many ways, but before you take the leap, it’s important to learn all that you can.

Going green - What are the benefits?

Whether you choose to install a renewable energy system such as solar panels into your home, or simply start using a green electricity supplier, you can break the cycle that often comes with using an energy supplier that relies on fossil fuels to produce power. This includes the ‘Big Six’ suppliers, who have gained a lot of bad press for raising energy prices on consumers when they are most vulnerable. The primary benefit of switching to renewable energy is that you are less likely to experience price hikes. This makes for a greater peace of mind and a more stable household budget.

However, there are greater benefits associated with going green when you consider your own health and the wellbeing of the environment. Burning coal, oil, and gas emits carbon into the atmosphere, which has been proven to cause a great shift in the way our environment works. Carbon has caused such a rapid change that organisations like the Energy Saving Trust supports the UK’s goal of increasing green energy in order to garner 15 per cent of the power it uses from clean sources by 2020. Using renewable energy sources such as wind power and, to a lesser extent, solar power is a way to meet the energy needs of UK residents without further damage to the atmosphere. You can become a part of that by switching to green energy for your household.

Using green energy may also lead to other healthy green habits, such as buying your produce and meats from local suppliers, which cuts down on the carbon emitted during the transportation of foods. This also ensures that you know exactly where your food is coming from and gives you the opportunity to ask the producer if sustainable methods were used to farm it. Other green changes that are good for your family include biking to work and school instead of driving, as well as using natural cleaners free of unhealthy chemicals.

If you’re ready to make the switch, don’t think that you have to invest thousands of pounds in solar equipment or install wind turbines in your back garden. Green energy has become increasingly accessible over the past decade, and you can get on board fairly quickly by making a call to one of the renewable energy companies in your area. You’ll readily find that using green energy doesn’t have to be all that different from the energy that you use now, except for the peace of mind that you’ll get from knowing that your energy is clean and environmentally beneficial. 


This is a sponsored post written by Michael Edmondstone of Forward

Personalise your cards this Easter

Easter is one of the happiest times of the year. If not for the bright spring colours and the chocolate high you’re sure to get from munching on those candy bunnies, then it is special because of the time you get to spend with family. This year, make it even more memorable by sending personalised cards to everyone that you love to be around but probably don’t get to see too often.

How can I personalise my cards this Easter?

If you want to send a special message that’s just as nice to look at as it is to read, think outside of the box this year. You can first try to make your own greeting cards, which is the perfect way to make them unique. Replace plain card stock with recycled newspaper that you have dyed yourself in colourful pinks, blues, and greens. Add natural touches like pressed flowers or ribbon made from plant leaves, and etch your message in high-quality oil paints. If you have ever fancied script writing, now is the time to put it to use.

However, not everyone is gifted with arts and crafts, and this is okay, too. If you can’t find the inspiration, patience, or time to make handmade cards, you can still order personalised greetings from a company like Hallmark. This site has dozens of styles to choose from, whether you’re looking for something funny, sincere, or straightforward. You can even get your cards delivered to each recipient on the same day as you order.

We live in an increasingly digital society, and most greeting card services have acknowledged this shift in communication by offering e-card options, as well. If you frequently communicate with your loved ones via email, e-cards are a great way to surprise them with a touching Easter sentiment, especially since they probably check their email accounts more often than they check the regular mail. And e-cards are perfect for other holidays, as well. You can send anniversaries, well wishes, birthday cards, and graduation congratulations.

If your family is really into Easter, you may not feel like a card alone will be enough to celebrate the holiday. However, greeting cards can give you inspiration for sending even bigger gifts this spring. For example, you can pair your cards with gourmet chocolates in the shape of Easter eggs, or you could send them with gift certificates to your favourite restaurant inside. More creative gift-givers may even want to put together their own “Easter baskets” complete with candy, personal care items like scented hand creams and perfumes, and, of course, a personalised card.

The UK is the number one nation when it comes to sending greeting cards to express how we feel, and that’s no coincidence. Sending a beautiful message this Easter is not only a good way to make others feel special but also a way to get you excited about the new beginnings and the arrival of spring. So follow the trend and make your cards extra special this year!

This is a sponsored post written by Michael Edmondstone of Forward

Monday, 2 April 2012

It's time to get more from your payday!

If your pockets are suffering from the increased prices of everything, from food to energy, it’s time to revamp your budget. But this doesn’t have to mean cutting out expenses if you know how to get the most out of what you’re already paying for. Homeowners get ready, because this is the advice that will change your life -- and your bank account balance.

Starting with your household bills, you could be saving hundreds of pounds by giving a little push back to rising electricity prices. First, call your energy service provider to ask if they have any options that are cheaper than the package that you signed on to. If so, tell them that you want to switch. And if not, here’s your chance to research other companies that could give you what you’re looking for in a service contract.

As you search for a new provider, remember to set up an account for online bill paying or direct debit from your bank account, two features that are likely to get you a discount with your new provider. Doing business online not only ensures that your company will receive payment in time, but also makes communicating with you less expensive for them. For that reason, they are likely to treat you as a preferred customer if you go digital. And remember that the best way to save money on energy in the long run is to sign up for the least expensive of all fixed-rate packages and to get a combined electricity and natural gas tariff.

Heating and lighting is a necessity, but so is telephone service along with Internet access. After doing your research on basic utilities, compare broadband services to see which one will keep you connected for less money. The bundle strategy is usually a winning situation for homeowners looking for discounted Internet service, so try to get a package that includes cable television and phone service, too. And you can usually cut even deeper into prices if you sign on for more than a year at a time.

And just because you’re on a quest to save money doesn’t mean that you should skimp on having fun. If you’re financially responsible, there’s no reason that you should cut out all recreational expenses, as long as you do it the smart way. If you’re gearing up for your yearly holiday, try to purchase your plane tickets as far in advance as possible to take advantage of early bird specials. And if you usually employ the industry connections of a travel agent, now is the perfect time to save £100 or more by doing all the legwork yourself. Researching travel plans could even become an enjoyable pastime that helps you get to know this year’s destination and gets you excited for the trip. Make a game out of getting the best deals for the things that you need, and you’re sure to be pleasantly surprised as well as financially stable. And the next time payday comes around; you’ll be able to put more of that money into your own pocket.

This is a sponsored post written by Michael Edmondstone of Forward

Good hair days make the world a better place

Between waking up early to pack the kids’ lunches and getting yourself off to work on time, you probably think there’s not much time for a luxurious hair routine. But what if your hair becomes dry and brittle? Luckily, there are easy ways to treat your overworked or damaged hair that fit into your hectic schedule and your lifestyle as a mum. If you want to make every day a good hair day, here are the details.

1. Condition. This is the most important action you can take to treat or prevent dry hair because conditioner helps restore each hair molecule by coating it with the protein that it has lost. Conditioning your hair every time you wash is a must, and it is also convenient because it only takes a few minutes to do it while you’re in the shower.

2. Be careful with styling tools. Your hair may look good after an intense blow out, but you could be causing more damage if your tools are too hot. Remember to be gentle with the blow dryer, holding it away from your hair as you brush. Also, you should be using a curling iron or straighteners with 100 per cent ceramic plates, which are actually less damaging to your hair because they emit negative ions when heated. And no matter what styling tool you’re using, never turn it all the way up.

3. Use a heat protectant. The other preventative measure you can take to keep your hair healthy and moisturised is to use a product that protects against heat damage when you style. A formula like John Frieda Full Repair Style Creator Heat-Activated Styling Spray is a great product to use because it works with heat, not against it, to give your hair a lightweight finish without frying your strands. And it is so effective that it even works on chemically treated hair.

4. Sleep on a silk pillowcase. When it comes to drying agents that can make your hair more brittle, cotton is a major culprit. Everything, from cotton hats to the pillowcase that you sleep on every night could be zapping moisture from your hair, so pamper your tresses with a silk or satin pillowcase that allows hair to glide effortlessly across it instead of getting tangled while you sleep.

5. Research styles that work with your natural hair texture. Whether your hair is fine, curly, coarse, or soft, there are tons of creative styles that are easy to achieve that require little to no heat and time in front of the mirror. It is important to give your hair a rest from your usual style so that it has time to recuperate and restore its own moisture, so try out a chic ponytail at the nape of your neck or a retro headband that works will with your ensemble.

With tips like these that are easy to fit into your normal routine, you’ll never see another bad hair day again. And that’s good news for you because as a mum, you can get back to the things that really matter.

This is the sponsored post written by Michael Edmondstone of Forward

Friday, 30 March 2012

Mind the bump on the road: road safety advice for pregnant drivers

Photo by ‘Haven’t the slightest

You can still drive safely in the late stages of pregnancy although Scottish driver Emma French did cut things a bit fine when she sat her driving test in October 2011. 
It was reported that Emma’s waters broke four hours before she was due to take her driving test. She still sat the test and passed with just ten minor faults before driving herself to hospital and giving birth to healthy baby Eva.

It is hoped that Emma followed the following safety advice while learning to drive in the months before she gave birth – advice which will safeguard you and your unborn baby’s safety on the roads.

1. Put a belt over the bump 

Did you know that wearing a seat belt lowers the risk of injury to your unborn child by up to 70 per cent? The statistic comes from the direct.gov.uk website which states that the wearing of a seat belt if you are pregnant is compulsory. The only exception occurs when your doctor issues you with a certificate of exemption on medical grounds.

The website advises that if you are a pregnant driver you should ensure your comfort and safety by:

· Placing a diagonal strap between your breasts, positioning it around the side of your bump

· Lowering the lap strap as much as possible across the hips and under the bump. Is it over your belly button? Then it’s too high!

Research conducted by Loughborough University in 2001 found that 87 per cent of pregnant women wear seatbelts incorrectly. Following the advice given above should mean that you don’t become one of the unsafe majority.

2. Adjust the car’s environment 

As the pregnancy advances you will need to adjust your car’s environment. Inevitably, you will need to push the driving seat back – the Sussex Safer Roads campaign stresses that this can alter your view of the car’s mirrors so make sure that you can see clearly out of them before you drive off. It is also vital to ensure that, after moving the seat back, you don’t have to stretch too much to use the wheel. Sit as far back from the airbag as possible so that you can lower the risk of injury even further.

3. Tell your boss

If you are pregnant and your job involves driving it is always a good idea to tell your boss. UK working regulations state that your employer will be required to undertake a risk assessment of the work to be carried out by an employee who is pregnant. It is their responsibility to ensure your working environment – especially if it is the inside of a car – is safe.

4. Preparing for baby’s arrival 

If you’re leaving hospital by car after you have a baby your new child must be seated in an appropriate car seat. The website childcarseats.org.uk stresses that babies should be in rearward-facing baby seats until they weigh at least 9kgs and can sit up unaided. “Keep them in a rearward-facing seat for as long as possible” the website states.

It is always a good idea to buy a child seat from a retailer who will fit it for you. Many retailers are happy for customers to return after the birth of a child to double-check the seat’s fitting.

Whoever fits your seat, make sure that you don’t buy a second-hand one; you can’t be sure of its history and whether it’s been damaged in a crash before.

5. Look after yourself

When the pregnancy test shows a positive result it is time to start thinking about your safety as well as that of your child’s. Take plenty of breaks while on long journeys and if you haven’t got breakdown cover already now is the time to investigate taking out a policy. This is something which could prove invaluable further down the road – whether you’re pregnant or not!

This is a sponsored post by James Christie who writes for GEM Motoring Assist: a road safety organisation which provides breakdown cover

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Making hard reach items easier to obtain...

A growing number of us are turning to eBay and other classified sites like Gumtree to purchase a lot of large items i.e. furniture, baby cribs, children’s playground equipment, electrical goods - even motorbikes and cars. However, the problem of bidding on large items is that they are often only available if you go and pick them up yourself. This makes some desired items unattainable to buy, either because they are too far away or because they won’t fit into the family car.

In situations like this you can search for courier services or freight haulers, but the price that is offered is in some cases worth more than the item you have purchased! However, by using websites like uShip to obtain quotes from many courier services, you can benefit from a unique online shipping marketplace; linking people with customer-reviewed transport companies that can move hard-to-ship items, meaning those hard to reach items are now obtainable.

Transporters place competing bids to win a customer’s business, which drives down delivery costs and makes the shipping process more affordable and efficient.

With the help of transport marketplaces like uShip you will be able to find a courier or transporter who is able to ship any item to your front door at the fraction of the cost of the larger players in the market. If you need something shipped, then making uShip your first stop will in the majority cases save you time and a lot of money!

This is a sponsored post, supplied by uShip

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Child locator by Safe Girl Security

Safe Girl Security kindly sent us a Child Locator and Alert to try out with my girls.

During our stint at festivals and days out last year, I realised that I am really rather neurotic about losing my children in large crowds of people.  It wasn't helped by the fact that my husband lost my five year old for about 60 seconds (which believe me seems like a very very long time when you can't see your child) at a theme park last year.  And it seriously put a dampener on the rest of the day. 

This child locator is really easy to use - you attach the teddy bear receiver (pictured) to your child's shoe or belt and if your child goes out of range (approximately 25 feet) the alert feature on the parent keychain starts chirping loudly.  You then press a button on the keychain which makes the teddy bear that is strapped to your child start chirping, telling you of your child's whereabouts.  

This child locator is perfect for someone like me, although Tom (husband) is less convinced.  For me, it gives peace of mind in a crowded place with a wandering and very fast nearly three year old.

This child locator and alert retails at £24.99, which I think is very reasonable indeed.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Cadbury World with Superbreak

Superbreak.com recently gave us complimentary tickets for Cadbury World, with a night in a Birmingham hotel thrown in too. Firstly it was so nice for someone else to do all the organising such as booking the tickets and finding the hotel - lovely in fact!

The girls were beside themselves with excitement about going, as was I. It is somewhere I have always wanted to visit - I am a chocoholic and also have grown up knowing a Cadbury descendant!

Our day at Cadbury World did not disappoint - it was packed full of things to do and see.  I was fascinated about learning the Cadbury history and the story of how Dairy Milk came into being.  The day was packed full of information, videos, fun rides, chocolate making, chocolate decorating, and chocolate tasting! 

The highlight for the girls was the Cadabra ride, which was a little car that took you through a world of cocoa bean characters - there was so much to take in, I could have done with going round a further ten times.  The kids also loved the opportunity to concoct their own chocolate creation, and squealed with delight at the vibrating benches in one of the video rooms.

The absolute highlight for Tom and me was the entertainment in the marquee adjacent to the African Adventure play area.  The magician/ventriloquist called Kimmo was absolutely brilliant, and had adults and children in hysterics.

Unfortunately we didn't have time to go around the Bourneville village which offers a whole load more things to do and see, but we had a fantastic day out. 

We then had a short drive to our hotel which was right in the centre of Birmingham next to the canal where there are many lovely shops and restaurants.  It was a real treat to be able to all go out together, Tom and I both have a drink, and relax, and then head back to the lovely hotel for a really good nights sleep.

Thank you Superbreak.com - it was a top notch package!  The girls have been requesting that we go back to the 'chocolate factory' ever since.