Saturday 29 September 2012

Saturday Philosophy: 29th September

Time to think which questions have been puzzling me this week!


  1. Why is it that when you are running late all the traffic lights seem to go red as you approach them?
  2. Why are Furbys making a come back?
  3. Why did the maps app open the Manchester map for the first time dead on the street my mum loved in as a child?

Friday 28 September 2012

Friday Review: Wild Science for Girls Perfume Lab

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We were sent the Perfume Lab from Interplay for me to test out with my daughter. At nearly 9 she is dead keen on science so it was great to have something scientific to try out at home. The kit comes with everything you need except water and newspaper to make perfume, slim and crystal pourri. There are safety instructions too as parents need to make sure the kit is used safely.

First of all my daughter made the perfume. The simple instructions are very clear and she was able to make eucalyptus perfume. She was too eager to tip it out so maybe should have shaken it for longer to get more of a perfume. The perfume can then be used to make the crystal pourri but we haven't tried that yet.

Her next experiment was with her best friend making sublime slime. They managed to to do this together without any help from me and this is what they ended up with:
Both girls had lots of fun with the kit and its a great way to help them with science at home. At £12.99 it's a reasonable price for a kit with so much in it. I am sure we will carry on enjoying the contents for quite some time yet.

Thursday 27 September 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful: Letter S ( #R2BC )

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
With an S prompt from Michelle here I go: 

1) Son's School Work

My son seems to have really got into year 1 with enthusiasm. His new teacher is really impressed that he can already do year 2 maths work (he answered the older children's homework!). Reading is something he loves doing and he is progressing well. Today he brought home his first spellings and I was very pleased that he managed to use the look - say - cover - write method and managed most of his first 5 without having a sneaky peek:

2) Singing Praises

It's always brilliant to hear good things about your children. A teacher told me this week how much more mature my daughter seems after the summer break. Great to see that the staff have noticed and let's hope she continues to mature in a pleasant way. She has also been praised by her keyboard teacher and the sensei at Jujitsu (little brother also doing well there).


3) Swinging in the sunshine

It's not been a total washout this week. We had some glorious weather at the weekend and we were out making the most of it:




Wednesday 26 September 2012

Flab Fighters Week 3


As so many of us are flab fighting at the minute I thought I would create a linky for us all to help encourage each other! So each week on a Wednesday join in and get support and encouragement. Just let us know:

  • What you aiming to achieve (general weight loss, drop a dress size)
  • What you doing to get there (diet, fitness etc.)
  • What you did right this week
  • What you did wrong this week
  • How its going so far
I'll be putting a badge in that you can use on your posts and putting the linky on each week. Let's fight that flab and get nice and slim!

What I did right this week

I made it to the gym several times including once whilst the children had a martial arts class. At Rosemary Conley I did the top level 3 fitness routine which gets a real sweat on! I stayed pretty close to my calorie allowance and drank very little alcohol.

What I did wrong

The Wii wasn't switched on at all which wasn't good. I finished off the children's leftovers a couple of times which is an old bad habit I thought I'd lost.

How it went

I ended up the same weight as last week. I feel a lot more muscular though so this may be reducing the weight loss (well I can hope!).

How have you done?


FlabFighters Grab my button and join in:


Tuesday 25 September 2012

Tuesday Book Review 1: This Moose Belongs to Me

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Harper Collins sent me a couple of new picture books to review with my children this month. This is the first of them.

Oliver Jeffers - This Moose Belongs to Me

This is Oliver's 10th book and we have already enjoyed several of his previous works. They all have his distinctive art style and quirky story telling. The story this time is about young Wilfred who adopts a moose as a pet. He introduces various pet rules and names his moose Marcel. It turns out however that Marcel may not be his moose after all. A lovely story to share with children.

It is currently out in hardback at £11.99 which is quite pricey for a children's book. It is available from Amazon at much lower prices to make it a great addition to your child's bookshelf.

Monday 24 September 2012

Life's Simple Pleasures

Life these days can be pretty hectic especially for parents and families with commitments at work, school and in the home. Do you find that sometimes you just need to step back and indulge yourself or your family in one of your simple pleasures? 

For me one of the most relaxing things is to have time to sit back with a fresh coffee and a good book:

For my children a trip to a playground and either being pushed or swinging themselves is great for both of them:

Sitting down with a colouring or puzzle book is also something that they both enjoy:

And of course you can never quite beat the simple pleasure of jumping in puddles....

What are your simple pleasures?

Saturday 22 September 2012

Saturday Philosophy

Last week got people thinking so here are my questions for this week:
  • Why does one dark sock always end up in the white wash?
  • When you are running late why does the phone ring/a delivery arrives/the bin men block the drive?
  • Why teddy bear shaped bread:
What questions are puzzling you this week?

Friday 21 September 2012

Toys R Us Toylogists: Reviews Week 2

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Another dip into this month's Toyologist toy box.

Thomas' Daring Drop

This was the toy that got the biggest wow from my children out of our first review box! My son is a big Thomas railway fan and has most of the stories and a large selection of wooden railway. We had never had any Trackmaster plastic tracks before so it was a new experience for all of us.

The set came with pictorial instructions and says adult assembly required. Having tried to construct it with my 5 year old helping I would thoroughly recommend building it on your own! The pieces need to be quite forcefully put together in some places and if not done right then Thomas' comes a cropper.... Once I twigged that there are bits that clip over the edge of the track we were fine.Then it was time to put the batteries in Thomas and set him off around the track. With the points in one direction Thomas bravely chuffs up to the top of Blue Mountain Quarry and onto the perilous drop:

We all enjoyed watching him go round and dropping onto the lower track. He can also go round the lower loop and pass the friendly crane at the side of the quarry. If he does crash on landing then the switch gets flicked to off so no battery is wasted.The set is currently on the website at £39.99 which is the kind of price you would expect for such a large railway (over 4 feet/120 cm of track). It is suitable for 3+ and would make a super main present for the Thomas fan in your life.


This was the toy in the box my 8 year old daughter reached for first! It's pink and fluffy and very girly. There are three Flufflings currently available on the Toys R Us website. They come in pink, purple or blue and are £19.99 each.

My daughter took hers to school for show and tell she thought it was such fun. Then I discovered she was still only in Try me mode! I had wondered why she wasn't jumping like it said on the box..

Once turned on properly she has 3 modes:

  • Dance to her own music
  • Giggle and laugh
  • Jump around
Here a couple of videos we shot of her in action:

She is really entertaining to watch and not too loud. A conversation piece and fun to share with friends. I think the novelty value would last longer with a younger child. If you have a dog or cat this would either freak them out or they would chase it round the room!

Thursday 20 September 2012

Cravendale Epic Straws

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My children were each sent a preview set of Cravendale Epic Straws (website opens 24th September) with a challenge to make the wackiest workable straw. Here are their creations:

They certainly had a lot of fun trying and possibly learnt a bit about engineering on the way to get fun straws that actually still suck up liquid!

Reasons to be Cheerful: With letters Q and R ( #R2BC )

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
Michelle has given us the letters Q (if we are brave!) and R (if not so brave) as prompts for the linky this week. So being me I'll have to try both!

Q for quiet time

Last Friday I was feeling so shattered I actually took the time to buy a takeout coffee and a local paper from the village post office. I then sat in my car enjoying the 2 together. It's amazing what a difference 20 minutes of total chilling can make!


R for rainbows

The good side about the wet weather is the number of rainbows I have seen this week. There is something about a rainbow that is almost a cast iron guarantee of a smile.


R for a ripping read

I was sent the latest book by local author Gill Jepson. I loved her debut novel for teenagers set at Furness Abbey. Her second book Guy the Grumpy Gargoyle is also based at the abbey but is aimed at younger children.

The book tells the story of Guy from the building of the abbey, the dissolution and how some animal friends make him happy again. It was a lovely story to read to my 5 year old at bed time. He loved joining in with appropriate noises or actions.

The book really held his attention and he really enjoyed it. At one point he said it was the best book ever!

That's about all I can think of right now so please go and check out the rest of the hop:


Wednesday 19 September 2012

Flab Fighters Week 2


As so many of us are flab fighting at the minute I thought I would create a linky for us all to help encourage each other! So each week on a Wednesday join in and get support and encouragement. Just let us know:

  • What you aiming to achieve (general weight loss, drop a dress size)
  • What you doing to get there (diet, fitness etc.)
  • What you did right this week
  • What you did wrong this week
  • How its going so far
I'll be putting a badge in that you can use on your posts and putting the linky on each week. Let's fight that flab and get nice and slim!

To kick it off this is my entry:

My aims

I would like to lose another 2.5 stone and drop about 1.5 dress sizes whilst getting my BMI to a healthy level.

What I did right this week

I made it to the gym several times even when I just had 30 minutes for a reduced workout. At Rosemary Conley I did the top level 3 fitness routine which gets a real sweat on! When eating out on Sunday I chose healthier and lower fat options off the menu.

What I did wrong

I didn't get on the Wii very much at all. I also made poor menu choices at a pub on Friday. Plus I had a little bit too much wine over the entire weekend. There were not enough days that I kept to my calorie limit from Rosemary Conley.

How it went

I was lucky to get away with only gaining 1/2 a pound. Next week I need to stick much closer to the calorie limit and get exercising more again!

How have you done?

  Grab my button an
d join in:

Tuesday 18 September 2012

After School Activities

Like most parents I want my children to be able to try a wide range of things and to learn new skills. However time and money are limited as are the energy levels of my children (and myself!). Ironically now I am working more hours there is more money but a lot less time. The children get collected from after school club around 5 which leaves little time for much at all.

The one activity that my children have done weekly in term time is swimming. This is such an important life skill that it is worth the effort and cost. I want them to reach a certain competency at several strokes before stopping (much to my daughter's disgust!). We do also swim for fun at weekends.

My son goes to Little Kickers on a Friday night for some boy time with his grandad. This is a fun way for under 7s to learn football skills. He has just over a year left of being able to attend this club.

Currently neither of my children are in a uniformed organisation. My daughter loved Beavers but wasn't as keen on Cubs as her pack had no other girls in it! She is now waiting for her 10th birthday so she can join Guides. My son can start Beavers after this half term and I hope he enjoys it.

For Christmas my daughter was given a small size keyboard. Now she isn't in Cubs she has been allowed to have keyboard lessons at school. It does mean she will have to ask for money for her birthday instead of other gifts.

Tonight both children started a 5 week martial arts taster. They mostly seemed to enjoy it. Hopefully it will instil a bit more listening and obedience as well as useful self defence skills. Typically this is the same night as Beavers so there may be a conflict if they want to carry on.

So it is a bit manic at the moment and we all get a bit tired at the start of term. Hopefully we will get into the routines and it will get easier as things settle down. In future they will probably settle on one or two things each and no more! At least they are experiencing a wide variety of things and meeting lots of new faces

Monday 17 September 2012

Book Review: Top That - Monster Mayhem Doodle Wars

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I was sent this book to review with my 5 year old. It was an instant hit with its monster theme. With 96 pages of doodling and colouring activities it will provide many hours of entertainment. Each page has a different monster mayhem games theme with clear instructions but lots of room for self expression. At 5 my son couldn't read the instructions himself but once told what they said he had a good go at the task in hand:

The book has an RRP of £7.99 but is currently reduced to £7.19 on the Top That Publishing site. I think it is a good price for a book that will provide many hours of fun. It's also great for pen handling and reading skills without your child knowing.

This would make a great small birthday present or a stocking filler for boys aged 5 and up.

Saturday 15 September 2012

Saturday Philosophy

Some intriguing questions that may not have an answer!

  1. Why do children wake up earlier at the weekend than on a school day?
  2. Why does one item of school uniform always miss the wash?
  3. Why is there a wheel from a scaletrix car in my washing machine?
Answers on a five pound note!

What questions are bugging you this week?

Friday 14 September 2012

Toys R Us Toylogists - Review 1

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Opening our first Toyologists' box was a bit like Christmas come early in our house! Lots of lovely toys to look and and try and hard to know where to start... This is what we have tried out so far:

Peppa Pig Giant Snakes and Ladders

This Peppa Pig game is the biggest version of snakes and ladders I’ve played indoors and you can see its scale based upon my 8 year old’s hand in the photo. For a small child this is definitely giant and if it had been bigger it wouldn’t have fitted in our front room (which isn’t huge!).

This was very easy to set up:

  1. open box
  2. unfold mat
  3. place counters and dice ready
The larger size counters and dice make it easier to handle for younger children than traditional sized games (and are less easy to lose). The squares contain all of Peppa’s family and nice big numbers for learner readers.

There aren’t a huge number of squares so the game went quite quickly. This would help with the attention span of small children. Being able to play on the floor is also a bonus as the dice doesn’t get over enthusiastically rolled off the table. At £9.97 its a reasonable price for a game that can be taken any where as its all made of plastic and light and easy to transport.

Ben 10 Omniverse Omnitrix Touch

My son got hooked on Ben 10 aged 3 despite having never seen an episode! I had to buy him a DVD of a few episodes to meet the demand… He was therefore most keen to get this Omnitrix out of the packaging. He had had a different Omnitrix a couple of Christmases a go so he knew exactly what to do with this one.

I did struggle to fasten it on his wrist as the plastic is so new but my daughter had no problem fastening it on herself. Maybe she was less afraid of pinching than I was!

The Omnitrix comes with 3 modes:

  • Alien voices
  • Sound effects
  • Unlock secret messages

This little video demonstrates my daughter trying out the settings:

Each part of the touch sensitive screen brings up a different alien in the voices mode. To use the code mode you need a specially marked pack of Ben 10 products which each have a code. We didn’t have any to try out.

Both my children enjoyed trying to get different sounds and flashing lights from the display. I was quite relieved they both knew where the OFF button was! This is definitely something my son would love to show off to his friends and if you have a big Ben 10 fan in your home then this would be a good addition to their collection.

Ravensberger My First Clock game

It was great timing to receive this My First Clock Game as both my 5 year old and my 8 year old are keen to either learn to tell the time or to improve on their use of analogue instead of digital time telling. The game is aimed at ages 4-9 and has games that suit the whole age range.

The game was quick to set-up with a pop together pair of hands and cards that pop out to play. We set out playing the middle level game where you read the digital time out to the next person who has to try and set the hands of the clock at the right position.

My 8 year old was the best of this at this game even beating me as I forgot about putting the hour hand half way to the next hour! This level of the game is definitely for those that already know something about telling the time, although my 5 year old could read out the numbers.

For the younger players the entry level game involved putting different time cards into the right order. Then they have to say what happens at that point during the day.

There is another advanced level that we haven’t moved onto yet. This one probably needs to be played between children of a similar standard as its more of a free for all than a taking turns game.

At £6.99 this is a great addition to a family’s games cabinet. My children were very keen on it and I’m sure we will get a lot of play out of it whilst my children are learning through fun.

Thursday 13 September 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful: Letter P (#R2BC)

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
After all of us guest hosts this summer Michelle is back from her break and has offered us up the letter P! So how can I fit my reasons to be cheerful into P:

1) Perfect Neighbours 

I came back from church last Sunday to find that my lovely neighbour had mowed my front grass! Our lawns are only separated by a couple of low level shrubs so it is easy to just whizz across and do both. What a lovely surprise and I just hope I can get a chance to return the favour (if it ever stops raining!).

2) Pennies in my Pocket

This week I started doing a few extra hours at another local secondary school. This should make a big difference to my bank balance whilst I do this temporary work. No idea how long it will last but its great whilst it does.

3) Pounds off my Weight

All the effort seems much more worthwhile when the scales show a loss of 3.5 pounds! To help keep me on track I've started a Flab Fighters blog hop so we can all share our fitness journeys. It goes up on a Wednesday but stays open for a week.

4) Parcel of Pleasure

We received our first Toys R Us Toyologist parcel on Monday. I am not sure who was more excited myself or the children! We have a fun 4 weeks ahead to review what came in this parcel before we get the next one. I have reviewed some already on the Toys R Us Toybox and I will put a weekly review on here too.

Enough P's I think! Please go and visit the other blogs in the hop:

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Flab Fighters Week 1


As so many of us are flab fighting at the minute I thought I would create a linky for us all to help encourage each other!

So each week on a Wednesday join in and get support and encouragement. Just let us know:

  • What you aiming to achieve (general weight loss, drop a dress size)
  • What you doing to get there (diet, fitness etc.)
  • What you did right this week
  • What you did wrong this week
  • How its going so far
I'll be putting a badge in that you can use on your posts and putting the linky on each week. Let's fight that flab and get nice and slim!

To kick it off this is my entry:

My aims

I would like to lose another 2.5 stone and drop about 1.5 dress sizes whilst getting my BMI to a healthy level.

How I am doing it

I am going to a Rosemary Conley Diet and Fitness class each week. We do a great workout and get a pep talk and encouraged to stick to the diet which is low calorie, low GI and low fat. To help stick to the diet I am tracking my intake on MyFitnessPal which helps me know what I am consuming.

I signed up for 6 weeks at a local gym and making the most of it by going 3 times a week and following a programme created for me. I am also working out on the Wii Fit and trying to do yoga regularly.

What I did right this week

On most days I stuck to the calorie allowance and kept my fat intake down. Plenty of vegetables in my diet and watching the portions. I made my 3 trips to the gym (even if one was only for 30 minutes!). Every day I did some form of exercise whether yoga or dancing with the kids using the Wii.

What I did wrong

When I gave in to temptation and had a coffee cooler I forgot to ask for skinny which loads up the calories. I also fell back into bad habits and when tired and stressed tucked into rather too many naughty things...

How it went

I was so pleased to have lost 3.5 pounds this week which puts me back on track and heading in the right direction!

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  Grab my button and join in:

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Tuesday Review: Sylvanian Families Camper Van

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To celebrate the 25th birthday of Sylvanian families we were sent a camper van and a family to test out and review. I have to admit to being too old to have had my own collection of these figures but my younger neighbours did!

My children were really delighted to see what was in the box. We would love a real vintage camper van but this may be the closest we can get. It definitely has a real retro look which we all loved.

It didn't take long for my daughter to set it all up with a fitted kitchen and even books and games for the children to play:

It made a great little adventure and really fired up their imaginations. The toy is aimed at boys and girls aged 4-7 and it did seem to appeal to both of mine. If your child already has Sylvanian families then this would be a lovely addition to their set. The RRP is £39.95 but it is well made and looks great quality.

In our case this is our first Sylvanian toy so the family was needed to play with it. The cat family come for around £18 and have moveable limbs. They are very cute to look at.

A delightful set to own and play with.