Wednesday, August 24, 2016

|FUN|Paw Patrol after school mat and Weebles Pull & Play Seal Island Playset Review

 

T loves Paw Patrol, the cute characters and the rescue stories have kept him captivated since he was quite small, so it seemed appropriate that when we were offered to review the new Weeble Seal Island playset, I'd create an after school mat too.

This mat was super simple, just Paw Patrol colouring, the playset and a DVD, yes I know I'm breaking my own rule and my own reason for using the after school mat but he had a particularly energetic day at nursery and was very tired, in reality he didn't watch any of the DVD because he started a craft project too, but sometimes I'm happy to use screentime if it's balanced with him being very active in the day.

 

The Paw Patrol Weebles Pull & Play Seal Island Playset is a lovely play set, with very cute Weeble characters based on the characters in the cartoons.  

 

The set is for ages 18m - 5yrs, T will be 5 at Christmas and to be honest I think this was a little young for him, although he really liked it, I just don't think it would have kept him occupied for very long.  I think when he was 18-24m he would have absolutely loved it.

 

T loved how there's a a pull and retract boat, and that Wally the Sesl operated it!

 

A younger child would have had more fun with it in my opinion as their just wasn't enough happening to have captivated his imagination.

Durable and long lasting th play set would be perfect to keep younger kids occupied.





The seal islands play set retails at RRP £29.99, which I think is a little pricey! THe individual weebles are RRP £4.99 each and both can be purchased from Toys R Us

Overall we think this is a great toy, I just would have said its for a younger child than recommend and a little pricey at £29.99.

Disclosure:we were sent seal island to play with, in exchange for our honest review,

 
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

|FUN|building confidence in the water with SwimFin©

 

Despite the fact that we had every intention on T being an early swimmer and having lots of confidence in the water, things didn't really work out like that.  Although he absolutely loved the water and going swimming, as soon as he got out of his comfort zone, he lost all confidence, gets upset and basically clung on to the closest person at all times!

We knew that we needed to stop this in order for us to take T to swimming lessons and for him to be able to learn.

Queue, the SwimFin, I must admit at first I thought they were just a fabulous toy. I had no idea that something so appealing to children could possibly be a learning aid!

In my opinion the SwimFin is a fantastic aid to keep children buoyant in the water, enabling them to feel the experience of swimming, but without clumsy arm bands or rings. 

We're really hoping that in time the SwimFin will give T the freedom in the water that he currently doesn't have.  We've been getting in lots of practice in the garden, both on land and in (a tiny bit!) of water. 

 

Not only is the SwimFin a wonderful floating tool to help children learn to swim but it is also a fantastic prop for playing!   We've had many a game of shark chase since we got it! 

 

The SwimFin comes in an array of lovely bright colours, as well as shark grey (which we went for) and killer whale black.  They are £21.99 which I think is really good value.
 


As well as the SwimFin, we were sent funky floaties to also try, made from durable neoprene the pack of 4 cute sea life characters are great for helping children to go that little bit further than they usually would go, without realising that they are going out of their comfort zone!  T loves them!  We've used them in the paddling pool, bath and swimming pool!  They retail at £9.99 and come in a handy little mesh bag.

 

We were also sent a set of dinky divers, these weighted rubber toys are great for dropping to the bottom of the pool for children to 'dive' down to retrieve. T is still to actually put his head under the water to grab them but he's getting there slowly, I, sure it won't be long before he's diving down to get them without any concern!

 

I absolutely love this fantastic  back pack   It's available *HALF PRICE* in the SwimFin shop at the moment, absolutely perfect for taking your SwimFin and other pool 'toys' to the pool!  In fact I've just ordered one for T! It's now down to £5.49 with free shipping!

 


While you are over on the SwimFin website, check out the Finlay Club and make sure you register your child, there are online games and colouring pages for them!

If you hadn't guessed, I am a huge fan of the SwimFin and highly recommend it.  It was also fantastic to find out that they are a local company to me!  Always a bonus X

 

Disclaimer: we were sent these products in return for our honest review, all opinions are our own.
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Monday, August 22, 2016

|FUN|fly squatter painting

 

This week it's our week for the kids make and bake club video. 

This quick and easy process art activity was done a couple of weeks ago when cousin Jack came to visit. 

The boys both really enjoyed doing this painting, which could easily be used for wrapping paper or just for the fun of it! 

Our paint was a little thick and although worked out really well, and unbelievably both boys didn't get a drop on them! Next time I would add a tiny bit of water just to make it more 'splatty' 😉

Anyway, I'll leave you with the video so you can take a look yourself!  If you have a go, is love to know how you enjoyed it! 



Please give us a 👍🏼 if you like it and subscribe to see a new Make or Bake video every Monday!

You can see all our Kids Make and Bake Club videos here
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

|HEALTH|#serenz hayfever review

 

There's nothing worse than not being able to sit in the garden in the sun when you've got allergies!  I no longer get traditional hayfever thankfully but I do suffer from an irritable nose/throat and really annoying tickly cough, which are heightened by sitting out in this beautiful weather we are having.

Therefore. I was really interested to see if allergy relief Serenz would ease my symptoms when I was offered the opportunity to review.

The product comes in an aerosol type nasal inhaler and has 60 doses, I've only needed to take one dose on each nostril each day, although you can take up to 6 times a day.  The packaging is a little large, but still small enough to fit in your handbag for convenience.

 

I find that when I use Serenz I do get a slight burning sensation which although can be slightly uncomfortable is perfectly normal and the benefits far outweigh the slight discomfort! 

Since using this product my tickly cough has all but gone and my irritable throat is very much reduced, I start to notice a difference within about 10 minutes which is fantastic for rapid relief.  My allergy is quite low at the moment and I'm very interested to see how it improves my early spring allergy, when my symptoms are at the highest.

Serenz retails at £17.90 and you can buy it here.  If you suffer from allergies I can highly recommend this product to you, it seems pricey but for me it really has helped, I'd say it's certainly worth a try!



Disclaimer: This has been written in collaboration with Serenz
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Saturday, August 20, 2016

|FUN|Fireman Sam After School Mat Inc. Fire Station Review




We are really trying to cut the amount of screen time T has at the moment and so I'm trying to give him a few activities each evening to keep him occupied whilst we're getting dinner after getting home from work. 

The after school mat is something that Becky from 3 princesses and 1 dude and I came up with a couple of years ago, to keep our littles busy in that tricky Mum time of after school (or nursery!) and before dinner/bed.

For this mat, I found some great fireman printables online which included a cute little rhyme. There were also some writing sheets which T loves to do. 

 

I also used an old puzzle which is now far too easy for T to create a little game. We used a dice and each player took turns to roll, if we rolled an even number you could put a piece of the puzzle down, the winner being the person who places down the final piece. T loved this game and it's a great way of using those puzzles which otherwise wouldn't be used anymore! 

 

We have also been lucky enough to be sent the new Fireman Sam Fire Station for review which inspired this mat.  T used to be obsessed with FMS, and so when he saw this all his memories came flooding back and he could wait to get out Jupiter and start role playing with the set! 



This set is based on the new TV series and features the *new* Fire Station.


 


Fireman Sam Electronic Pontypandy Fire Station is priced at £39.99 and is available from Character Online. Personally I think that this is quite pricy for what you get in the set. Jupiter is not included and although it claims to be 'electronic' there's only a little control desk that has flashing lights and sounds, I actually think more could have been electronic, like the light on the outside and the lift, for £39.99 I would expect a little more. 

Having said that the set is great for small world and role play and scenes from the cartoon series can be re-enacted with the characters.
  

T found the firemans pole quite tricky to get working, but overall loved playing with the portable set.   He really liked the control desk and the addition of the 'dolly' which is featured in the cartoon. Also included in the set are Fireman Sam and Elvis. 

 

Disclaimer: we were sent the fire station to play with in return for our honest review. 


 
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Thursday, August 04, 2016

|FOOD|slow cooker bolognese bake


The boys like a nice pasta dish at weekends and I like them because they are really nice and quick to put together generally.  This one has a bit more substance to it than their usual tuna or vegetable but I didn't want to be standing about on a hot day making a 'proper' bolognese sauce.

The bolognese sauce for this was made overnight and so all I had to do for lunch was cook up the pasta and prep it for cooking. 

Of course, you could use the bolognese sauce alone with spaghetti too. 

Ingredients (serves 6 'normal' portions or 4 manly sized portions)
500g lean minced beef
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced (I have to grate mine instead so The Hubs doesn't know it's in there 😉)
1 can tinned tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp mixed herbs
2 cloves garlic, minced

To serve:-
500g dried pasta
About 135g Grated cheese
About 3 tbsp Crispy fried onion flakes

Method:-
1. Throw all bolognese ingredients in the slow cooker, fill the tomato tin full of water and add that too. Cook for 7-10 hours on high, until thoroughly reduced.

2. When you're ready to prepare, cook the pasta according to the instructions, drain and mix into the bolognese sauce, place in a 1 1/2 litre oven proof dish and top with grated cheese and onion flakes. I'm not ginving you the exact measurements for these as I find that cheese in particular is a personal preference, on a lot of recipes I've followed, sometimes I have to add more cheese and sometimes considerably less depending on the strength you use. 



3. Bake on 180oC for 25 minutes, until heated through, the cheese is melted and the onions crispy.  Serve immediately with salad. 

I hope you enjoyed this simple family recipe, you can see all our family friendly meals here.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2016

|FUN|Learning with LEGO® book launch


We were very lucky to be involved in the launch last month of a new book called 'learning with LEGO®' there are some absolutely fantastic ideas to help your child develop whilst playing with LEGO®. 


The book is priced at $14.95 (about £11.94) you can order your copy here it is available in both kindle or paper version in the UK.

I've downloaded ours to T's tablet so he can look through and choose what activities he'd like to do, this simple tossing game was the first activity he picked. Great for gross motor skills and co-ordination!
 
 

I can see this book being referred to for many years ahead and look forward to each time T opens kindle to have a look!

The book has so many activities aimed at children from 4 - 10, there's just so much in there.   I particularly can't wait to do some of the Maths ideas with T when he's a little older. 
 

Along with the download for the book, you also get links to make your own Lego printables, we made a great poster for T's bedroom.

If your kids are into LEGO® I'd highly recommend this book there are just so many ideas to use! 



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