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I'm not sure why my son has so many watches! I think it was a vain attempt to get him to learn how to tell the time that has so far backfired. Most of the time he wants one to be like the big boys but them never looks at them for much longer than a few days.
My youngest saw the Lego City watch in our local Lego store and wanted it so badly. Seemed fairly simple with a number dial, measuring hands for seconds minutes and hours, and the all important Lego look. Added bonus was the little building site character that came with it. So £15 later he had a Lego watch.
The box has a couple extra pieces for size adjustments and to allow you to move the coloured bits around as you like them. The bits all snap together easily ... and unfortunately unsnap just as easily. The main piece that holds the watch together comes undone with the lightest of knocks. At least the scratch-resistant mineral crystal lens stops any huge damage when the watch falls to the ground. I haven't tested the water resistance but apparently it has a water resistant depth of 165 feet (50metres).
- Battery included (already in watch)
- 2 Year EU Guarantee
The watch is a good size for a 5 year old wrist and make good birthday gifts for that age group.
My son still likes his and wears it at the weekends even though he can't read the time. I ended up using a small elastic hair tie to hold the clasp in place. One of those very small clear ones that you tend to get in a packet of 20 or so.
It's Lego and makes my son happy so worth the purchase even with the clasp problems. Only trouble now is that Lego make watches for almost every other Lego set and he wants a Lego Chima watch this time. Maybe after some household chores I'll think about it.
(c) oioiyou 2014
Our house has a slight obsession with Lego. Thankfully we have children so it makes our obsession a little more acceptable! My husband and I grew up with comics and with the new Avengers and other such movies it's reignited our love of everything SUPER.
I was going for wife of the year award at Christmas and bought my husband the Playstation 4. A couple months go by and Lego Marvel Super Heroes for the PS4 comes out. My youngest begged for a couple days and I finally gave in. It was a bit expensive but currently you can get it from Amazon for just under £30. Also if you have a different console don't worry as it comes in various forms. Wife of the year present has now turned into a family present.
The game follows the numerous characters as they battle the baddies. There's over 100 characters to collect as you go along. At first you follow the story-line to finish levels but once you have completed a level you can later go back to it on free play. I think my favourite is free play because we now have a good number of characters so we've been going around making sure our collections are complete. From the streets of Manhattan to the S.H.I.E.L.D Hellicarrier there are fun activities, races and buildings to go into.
Each character has its own special powers and abilities that you learn along the way. They are very true the actual characters so easy to understand. When your character fights baddies you sometimes activate your super fight which is awesome. Hulk is by far the funniest ... he grabs hold of the baddies ankle and slams him to the ground from one side to another until broken. My son likes that Iron Man throws baddies head first into the ground and then shoots them in the backside.
As with other Lego games there are various studs and bricks to collect along your travels through the game. There are also hidden Stan Lee characters in each level to rescue. Finding him gives you a good collection of coins too. very much needed as my youngest keeps buying every new character as soon as we unlock them (drives me a bit crazy). I have found myself playing when the kids aren't around just collecting as many coins as I can to feed his addiction!
The visual quality of the game is really good, the flow of the game play is fast and the comic scenes are quite funny. The whole family enjoys the game. The controls are easy to figure out. I thought potentially my 5 year old would have problems but he's pretty good. There's only one thing he can't seem to figure out and that's when Iron Man does a puzzle as it's sometimes a bit tricky to solve. He likes running around New York City doing tasks and beating up garbage cans (as you do).
Think my husband like the game just as much as the kids. Sounds funny but I love how true to Lego the characters and setting are. Looking at all the pieces you can easily see how they would have been put together using real Lego pieces. My son has the Lego Spiderman set which includes the Daily Bugle building and when he saw it in the game started going mad with excitement. It was bit for bit exactly the same so he was really pleased.
Only one downside for me and that is that there currently isn't an online play option. On one occasion I managed to get my character stuck. No matter what I did nothing worked. I dropped out and let my son play on which dragged my character into the next scene and I got to come back in at that point so problem solved.
Good game for the whole family and definitely recommended by my family.
(c) oioiyou 2014
OK well this past year has been hard on our family so we started looking into going away for a mini-break. Something easy, not too expensive, child friendly ... etc. Friends of mine are always going on about Butlins Bognor Regis so one night I got my skates on and started looking into what exactly a Butlins break would be like. I have never been to Butlins or any other holiday camp. When I was a child I remember the holiday camps not having the best of reviews. I was left with the impression that it was a place for families on limited budgets and that they weren't very nice. I spent a good 30 minutes going through the website and various reviews. our plan was to have a long weekend away so in a moment of bravery I booked it!
I phoned ahead on the Thursday to check about flooding but thankfully Bognor Regis hadn't been hit too bad and the camp was reporting good to go.
The booking was for:
Arrival Friday afternoon
B-line passes for a show
Departure Monday morning
We traveled down on Valentines Day after school let-out. Little had we realized but the weather was the worst it has been for a little while. Horrendous traffic and bad winds but we arrived in one piece a couple hours after our expected arrival time. The first person we came across was being blown away by the wind but still had a great big smile on his face. He directed us around the corner to another entrance as we'd driven into the one for another hotel. Once at the right entrance we drove the car over to the hotel doors. The lady at the door said we could happily leave the car there until we were settled in so everyone grabbed a bag and marched inside. I must have looked a windswept mess! We approached the desk to get our room key. I think it was obvious that we hadn't been before and the lady walked us through every question we had. From the room to the kids clubs we were given the low down. Our room was on the 2nd floor which is great for me because I like to opt for the stairs if possible and it's not too high up :) The room was easy to find and i was pleasantly surprised with the space. We'd seen a photo online and I said to my husband that our room should be like the photo but maybe without the seating area as i thought ours would be the most basic of the rooms. I was wrong! Our room was an exact match the the online photo.
As you walk in the bathroom is to the right. Good size, clean and a powerful shower. Next is the kids bunk bed room. they were so happy with it. Built in shelving, individual bunk lighting and decoration making them feel like they are in a submarine. I had read online that each bunk had it's own DVD television so they'd brought their favourites with them. Typically my eldest couldn't get the player to work but all i did was press the source button on the remote to go all the way through to DVD again and it suddenly worked. No magic but sometimes our TV at home forgets what station it is on and needs a reminder and that's how I sort that one. It didn't play up again. On the wall close to the pillows is a earphone jack which my older child was happy about as he wanted to watch a film that if his little brother had heard then he would have had a visitor wanting to join in. One thing I noticed in the boys room was that someone before has used a crayon to draw a little scribble along the wall. The scribble was a bit faint now but a magic eraser could get that right off (slightly OCD sorry). The ladder to the top bunk is helping to the feel of being a submarine style and thus is rounded metal bars. i get the idea but slightly hard on the foot and also a little slippery for accident prone children (mine) ... Only one person slipped off though and that ended up being me.
Walking out from the bunk room there's the adult section. A large double bed, dressing area, table and chairs, television and built in wardrobe. Inside the wardrobe is great big shelves, a safe, ironing board and iron (not that I do that at home so not doing it at Butlins!) and lastly a kitchen cupboard. The kitchen cupboard is handy and houses a small fridge, kettle and bits like tea and coffee. I had read a review on the internet that said the bedside tables and dressing table were very small. The bedside tables are small but not anything that I would see as a negative and the dressing bit is big enough to hold the hairdryer and that's really all I need. I could perch paperwork and a charging Ipad on there too.
After moving the car into the overflow car park at the rear of the Butlins property we were resting in the room. I heard a loud bang so went to the window to see what the wind had done. A chair from one of the balconies above had blown off and broken when it landed in the front car park. I rang down to reception and told them. Only moments later i saw two ladies run out to collect the bits. To my amazement in the wind and rain they took the time to inspect the cars nearby to ensure there was no damage done.
Because of the bad weather and traffic we'd arrived quite late and the restaurants were closed. I got onto the phone and reception put me through to the Papa Johns on site. Very happy as they are my favourite and they delivered to our room.
In all honesty I didn't sleep very well Friday night. I worried about the car being on the seafront ... but it was only a few metres from the crazy waves really. Sounds silly being kept up by the cars safety. I finally got to sleep and woke to beautiful sunshine.
We went to The Deck for a buffet breakfast. Lots to chose from and the kids loved that they could serve themselves. A young lad near me dropped and broke his plate. I felt for him because he looked so upset with himself. i checked he hadn't hurt himself and moved him from the broken crockery. His mother and staff then took over cleaning and getting him a new plate. I overheard a staff member telling him that is made her feel better because she brakes at least one a day. Hopefully that's not the case :) but it made him smile. At one dinnertime my fussy eater demanded we find him toast and jam. He doesn't eat very well and normally I am happy just to see him eat anything. I found a member of staff and asked if she'd be able to do anything for me. Ridiculous as it is I was so happy when she came out of the kitchen with with toast and a vast choice of jams. Very child-friendly and understanding! only thing I would say is avoid the coffee. My son loved the hot chocolate but the coffee was just awful.
In the hotel my sons had noticed a huge games room so that was our first stop after breakfast. Video games, screens, dancing, racing and all round great fun. We left my eldest there whilst we returned to the room to get dressed for the day. I came back to find him playing with another boy his age and having a wonderful time. We left him to it and grabbed a coffee from the SOHO coffee bar at the front of the hotel. More friendly staff and a much better coffee.
Once we dragged the big boy from the gaming area we made our way to the Skyline Pavilion where lots of bits are located. Arcade bits are always fun for the kids. My little boy doesn't really understand a lot of the games normally but there was a lot that he could figure out as well as stuff for the older ones. One game in particular he fell in love with and wanted to visit daily. Lots of four player games available for family fun :)
For different age groups there are clubs for activities they can get involved in. My eldest falls into the Club Red age group (9-12 years). There is a small charge for these activities. He went off with them a few times and made shambala bracelets, a graffiti art t-shirt and had an archery outing. The staff were full of energy and when I popped in to see how he was getting on the children seemed to all be very happy. I have a rather large age gap between my children so having something for my eldest to get his teeth into without the little one trying to tag along is great.
Dick vs Dom was the stage show we got to see. We all enjoyed the show. It was great fun ... admittedly a bit messy! We used our B-line passes to get access to the seating early and chose to sit on the front row off to the left. Go team Dick! :) Very glad to have had the passes because it did get rather busy. The show was wonderful fun, interactive and had bits for both the adults and the children.
We booked in for a couple games of bowling. Bowling is one of the activities you have to pay for but it's much less expensive than the bowling near home and if you book 2 games you get the 3rd for 50p. The bowling was good fun but I wouldn't play to win. Many of the balls are damaged (deep chips). No need to ask why as we watched a family next to us allowing their children to literally throw the balls. It did make me stop in my tracks but thankfully they only played one game and then left.
Walking back we saw the Skyline Gang nightly performance. Skyline Gang is the kind of mascots for Butlins. My youngest got a Rainbow toy (the orange dog) and was so happy to see him on stage. He made us watch the nightly show 3 times. To be honest it was high energy and good fun. Plus there's a bar and coffee stand right there for refreshments while the kids go mad. On the same stage we watched Mike the Knight, Fireman Sam and Thomas the Tank Engine. We went to see Scooby Doo as well but the little one didn't expect him to be so big and ran away. Not sure what he expected but oh well.
With the weather on Friday I thought we'd not get any time on the Fairground but the rest of the weekend was sunny and fabulous so we went off and went on some rides. The Put Put golf is a small extra charge but very good fun.
We were getting ready to visit the beachfront and noticed a few empty parking spots in the front car park so set off to move the car. My car was perfectly safe and I had no reason to worry. We drove round to the gates and were greeted by the most happy security guard ever. He had music booming out from the gate hut. the spot in the front was still there so now my car was out front waiting for when the weekend was over. The guards music was still going when we'd made our way back to head for the ocean. He was having a boogie and it just makes you want to join in. We went to the beach a couple times over the weekend and each time he was there smiling and dancing away.
I can't say more about the staff really. Everyone we came across was friendly and full of energy. I know they are paid to be that way but so is the customer service lady at our local grocery store and she's a moody witch! I walked past some staff who were finishing their shifts and one was saying she was off out. A child approached them to say hi and instantly they were all playing with the children in the courtyard... lovely to see. At one point during our break we walked past a staff member helping a young boy find his parents. The boy seemed very calm and the staff member was telling him that if they couldn't find the parents at the stage area they wait at the hotel and he'd get him a slushy drink. I bet the boy was hoping his parents would be lost a bit longer.
Family night in the gaming room was our last night activity. It was great fun and the kids got to play on lots of different consoles. You'd think the room would be constantly full and that others would monopolize the machines but we could always get onto something.
With all the activities going on we nearly missed out on swimming. SplashWorld is a collection of slides, wave pool, swimming pool, tots area, hot tub and viewing deck. We spent a couple hours swimming and going on the slides.
Time to head home. Check out is very easy, probably because you pay ahead and there's nothing to settle up. Just hand over the keys and wave goodbye. Had a great time away but always nice to be going home.
We had a lovely little break. Great place for a long weekend with the family. If we were going for a week break might look into one of the self catering apartments as they look nice.
I kept a running tally in my head over the weekend and the hotel, dining package, extras like the B-line passes, Club Red activities and bowling etc we spent ruffly £550. Not bad for two Adults and 2 children on a 4 day weekend break.
BTW: If your kids play arcade games to collect tickets, don't leave it to the last minute to trade in for prizes. We didn't collect tickets but those that did formed quite a large line to cash in on Monday morning.
Totally forgot a point I wanted to make ... Most of the time family places seem to be sponsored by sweet companies and sodas. Overwhelmingly in your face is the norm. I mentioned it to my husband who had noticed it too. Butlins seemed to only have the odd few things like that and it wasn't in your face. The Deck restaurant didn't offer soda and had loads of healthy options. Quite nice not to have it soooo commercialized. There's still some but it's a good balance for sure.
(c) oioiyou 2014
I absolutely love our Senseo coffee maker. There are loads of options with it including a cheap attachment that means I can also use other ground coffees of my choosing. no and again it is nice to change from the regular or have something a bit more indulgent especially with the cold rainy weather hitting hard. When visiting a friend who has a proper barista style coffee maker I thought to myself how nice it would be to have some frothy milk more often. Our big coffee machine was just too much hassle thus why it no longer has pride of place in the kitchen so I started trolling Google. ideally I wanted something small that I could put away when not in use and even better if it matched the Senseo coffee maker.
My search didn't bring back too many results at first in part largely to me not knowing what to type into the search. After a little while I had about 4 I was looking at. I didn't want one of those handheld ones because I have one of those and it's useless. Whilst I was looking at the shortlist of items an add came up on the side of my screen for a Senseo Milk Twister! obviously i clicked to have a look. Never dawned on me to call it a "milk twister" but glad Google ads knew what I wanted! It was available through Amazon but was sourced from Germany. I went onto YouTube to watch a video about it to ensure it was what i was after especially as it was priced at £68. Bit pricey but I really wanted it so new year pressie for me.
The Twister is available on Amazon UK in Black but picture shows that you may be able to source a white version and also a black version with a blue base (maybe a bit of mix and match too). I wanted all black to match our other machine and the kitchen so works for me that black was all that was available.
Straight to the cuppa!
Have to say when it arrived I was pleased that it was very simple to use. I opened up the packaging gave everything a wash and then got right to it. Poured about 100ml of milk (to the fill line) and then placed the lid on (the lid has the stirring bit attached to it). Tap the power button once for hot frothy milk in just over a minute and press and hold the power button for a moment to get frothy milk without the heating.
I was really impressed with my frothy coffee! My son loved his froth top hot chocolate too.
I love a clean home but I hate things that require a lot of effort to clean ... the twister thankfully is in my good books. Having the frothing bit attached to the lid means you lift it from the milk and run it under hot water for a quick and easy rinse off. Also once the lid is off you can easily pour the froth into your cup and get right to the good bit. Because it's got milk in it and I have a weird thing about the smell of milk I always clean out the main bit of the twister after each use before I even get started with my drink. I quick wipe through with some hot water and soap and good to go. I try to avoid any water touching the bottom of the device just to be careful as it's the same as the bottom of a kettle and they say you shouldn't get those wet.
Well yes just one ... It's from Germany and thus has a Mainland Europe plug. When it arrived in the box was a UK adapter so at least there was a solution right there waiting for me.
Quite an expensive little present for myself but i think in the long run it will pay for itself. I work at home and have been known to nip out for a Starbucks. Since the twister arrived I haven't gone more than a couple times.
Enjoy a cuppa in style
(c) oioiyou 2014
Ok so I've entered a weird stage in my life. I feel young, vibrant and fabulous but with one boy off to high school soon and a bigger birthday just behind me I am starting to feel a little "past it". I used to be a working mother but am currently at home so there isn't the need to put a suit on in the morning or even slap on a bit of shimmer. Many days I find that if I haven't got to go out and do something beyond the house I look more like a troll than the lovely woman my husband married. I looked in the mirror the other week and told myself that I was going to start looking after myself and being one of those mothers that shows up at school looking like she's at least had a shower! deal made now I just need to get on with it.
For months I have been on the fence about buying a new curling iron. Mine somehow got lost when we moved home a few years ago. I very rarely use a curling iron thus why I have left it so long but there was a birthday party coming up and the adverts for the BaByliss Curl Secret had caught my eye. I was wondering around Sainsbury's getting a few bits when I saw the curlers on the shelf with all the Christmas gift ideas. Completely out of character I picked them up saying to myself "you deserve a treat you wonderful lady you!". Over at the checkout I put all the shopping through and then just stood there in a bit of shock. The bill had gone to £138! I looked up the screen to see the price of the curlers ... £119!! really? wow ... I put my little coupons through and got about £3 off the total ... At this point I remembered I was due payment for a freelance job I'd worked on so went ahead and purchased them. Not sure what came over me really as that's a stupid amount of money for curlers but I've done it now.
The next evening I decided to have a play and see how these curlers worked. As per my normal I only briefly looked at the instructions but could see by the drawings how to hold the curlers. I slotted an amount of hair into the open end the clamped the curlers shut. Just as I did that the curlers made a churning noise whilst looping my hair into it ... beep beep beep and release ... BEAUTIFUL curl! Couldn't believe how easy it was (keep reading!). I continued doing bits of hair to have some loose curls hanging around. Every other piece of hair I did would have to be done twice, I would clamp the curlers down and then the curlers would beep once and release the hair. I thought I was maybe not putting the hair all the way in properly or something like that as certain angles were harder than others. I was almost done so grabbed the last bit of hair, slotted it into the curler and clamped down. The curlers pulled my hair in but then beeped once and started to release but it hadn't fully released my hair. I had a moment of panic remembering the girl on YouTube who burnt her hair off on a set of normal curlers! I tried re-clamping and releasing the curlers but they still had a tight grip on my hair. I gave a goof yank and got a little bit back so gave another pull and thankfully got my hair back. PHEW! I sat there for a moment thinking what on earth did I do wrong. With a bit of trepidation I tried the bit of hair again but this time everything went to plan. Not sure what possessed me but I did another last bit after this and wouldn't you know it I got stuck AGAIN! I lost a couple strands of hair in this one.
Figuring it was something I had done wrong I got the instructions to find I had been holding the curlers back to front. Why do I never learn? I always skim instructions and end up wishing I'd taken a minute to read them properly. Maybe next time, hmm.
As for the curls hanging in there mine didn't do too badly really. My hair is not great at holding a curl and yet these hung in there for the rest of the evening (few hours) so would certainly survive a party outing.
The curlers themselves are much bigger than the normal curling iron. The cord is nice and long which makes using the curlers a lot easier and BaByliss supply a hot pad to put them on when you need to place them down or leave them to cool. Use the 2 heat settings to say how hot you want the curlers to get and them adjust the timer (3 choices) if it takes a bit longer for your hair to curl.
One thing that confuses me is this, "This styler is not designed for use on very long hair and should not be used on hair lengths below the bust" and the reason is because when you put the hair into the curler that position dictates where the curl starts from if you have very long hair you could still use this but just not for a full length curl if you see what I'm saying. If you have very short hair then ok this might not work a great curl but my hair is just above the bust line and it works fine (when held the right way round!).
Amazing how a few curls can suddenly make you feel a bit different and better about yourself. Now and again I still have my troll days but so far most days I've been keeping up the pact I made with myself. Make me feel a bit better so bonus.
Thanks for reading and curl on everyone :)
(c) oioiyou 2013
I love shoes but being a stay at home mother means I don't buy new ones that often. With a wedding to attend on the horizon I knew new shoes were a must to spice up my little black number. Dooyoo voucher at the ready I started searching for something fabulous and it wasn't long before I found THEM.
I have always liked the funky look of Irregular Choice shoes so I knew that was going to be where my search was. I typed in Irregular and then clicked to look at products in the shoe department and there was a lovely pair of shoes starring back at me. The Irregular Choice Grey Baby Beauty Herringbone Bow Boots. I am not over weight but have larger calves so high boots never suit me. Not sure why I am doomed to rarely find a pair of boots that can cope with me but oh well because I like ankle boots more anyway. The heel is significant for some one who is in flats 24/7 but not so high that I would fall over and the decoration looked super cute. The heel has a bow decoration on it which adds a delicate and girly feel to them. The shoes are mostly covered in a Sherlock Holmes (herringbone) style fabric and then a splash of floral fabric along the back and under the black bow.
I looked at a few variations of these boots that Irregular Choice has to offer but kept coming back to these. The prices for their shoes can vary a lot but these are selling on Amazon for £70 (current sale price checked in Feb 2012 - normally £78). I know that is a lot of money but for me I don't buy myself new clothes or shoes that often so when I do I tend to spend a little extra and treat myself. This is where Dooyoo vouchers come in handy too. Shipping was fast but was an extra £4.50 charge.
The side zip is a favourite of mine as I hate squishing my feet into shoes so this makes things easy and quick. The big thing for me with the side zip is not just ease of putting them on but also getting them on when the cushion pads are in. I suffer with corns regularly even though I am constantly looking after my feet and dealing with the corns. Especially if I am wearing heel these can be problematic so I always have corn cushions and gel pads to hand. When these are in shoes and you slide your feet in they can move and then be worse than not having them in at all. The side zip allows me to put the gel pads in and be able to see that they are in the right place and get my feet in the shoe and perfectly placed. Also with corn pads that stick directly to the skin these can also be tricky in the same way so basically all hail the side zip!
As the shoes are covered in fabric I am very careful with them but as I arrived home from the wedding my youngest was up giving the babysitter hassle and he managed to drop his chocolate milk on my left shoe! I took them into the kitchen and wiped them clean. I used Fairy liquid diluted with water to get all the stuff off and then left it to dry over night. I took a deep breath the next morning when going to see the damage and to my delight they looked fine. I checked them in a few different lights and nothing. Thank you shoe god!
It's always nice to go out and know that most likely you will be the only person wearing a certain something because they aren't something you'd pick up on the high street.
If you fancy treating yourself these shoes are awesome and I've had a lot of compliments about them so big recommendation from me.
(C) oioiyou 2013
Two heavy garbage bags in hand I slipped out the back door. The freezing cold winter wind was biting! Brrrr! I walked as quickly as I could to the gate, turned the little handle and dumped the bags into the bin. As I turned to walk back a large gust of wind blew and banged the gate shut behind me. In that instant I realized my keys were on the hook in the kitchen and I was officially locked out. I climbed up onto the bins and waved like crazy at my youngest who was watching Shrek but he couldn't hear or see me. I could see the shadow of my eldest in his bedroom and my hope was that he didn't have his earphones on. I ran in my slippers to the front of the house and knocked on the front door. A few knocks later I'm on my knees shouting through the letter slot for some one to let their freezing mother back in. My eldest walked across the landing and shouted to me that some one was at the door ... "Yea me ya monkey, come open the damn door!"
Note to self: Take two seconds to put the latch on hold next time and avoid this whole saga repeating! Or just always wear trainers so I can climb on the bins, jump over the gate (probably injure my rear!) and then make a sympathy coffee.
We bought the Yale lock when we first bought the house as the rear gate only had a latch and the kids play in the garden alone. The lock required a key to enter from the parking area out back and the turning of a little handle if leaving the garden so I liked the feeling of safety if gave me. It's nice to be able to do things around the house and know that your children are safely playing in the garden. We live in a lovely area but all the same I like to keep an eye on them.
Fixing the lock was relatively easy. I handed the packaging to my husband and said get on with it! Normally I am very handy but I don't do locks. I have made too many mistakes lining up locks that I refuse to do them any more. My husband took a couple of hours to get the lock in place because the gate is slightly off centre and caused a heap of drama.
The fact that this lock comes in a matt grey colour is great because I didn't really want a bright gold or silver lock looking out of place on the gate. This one blends in well even with our brown gate so definite bonus for me.
The pack comes with everything you need to install the lock and two keys.
Suitable for Timber & Glass-Panelled Doors
Suitable for doors 32-57mm thick. Case W x D x H: 62 x 70 x 41mm
£23.66 from ScrewFix
£24 from Amazon
(C) oioiyou 2013
4-3-2013 >>> Done it again! grr! This time bare foot! Honestly I never learn!
"All the classic features you know and love, just smaller!"
I love shoes and like to buy my children nice shoes so you can imagine my joy at walking into an Office store with a 20% off coupon. Oh yes I was very pleased.
Both the boys needed a pair of casual shoes. My oldest had his eyes on a pair of Toms so that was easy but what to get the little one? I saw the Converse display and was instantly drawn to them. I have spent a lot of my life in Converse.
I picked up a green pair and staff brought out his size. They looked so adorable on that I had pretty much made the decision to buy them. Of course my little one had to throw a spanner in the works and demand them in red! Thankfully red was in stock. I lifted the box lid just to double check the colour and that they were in the box, paid and off we went. I ha to pull over in the shopping centre as they both wanted their new shoes on. This was the interesting moment...there weren't proper laces like the ones we tried on! To be honest I had thought laces might cause him some trouble so found the "fake" laces a pleasant surprise. To one side there is a Velcro strip which opens up the shoe. This has been really good because little man can put his shoes on by himself now. I couldn't tell you why one pair had normal laces and one Velcro but I'm not complaining. The box said they were the same style so whatever.
A great thing for any mother is kids shoes that can be slung into the washing machine. Thankfully Converse wash easily and dry quickly. The canvas top and rubber soles seem stain-proof (hopefully I've not jinxed things now!). Even now months and many washes later they still look as good as new which is fabulous. The "All-Star" logo is on the tongue and the heal and both are un-faded and holding tight. I remember a pair I had years ago and the rubber label peeled off.
I had a discount on the total purchase but all the same a £24 worth spending. I'm going back soon as his feet have grown and this time on the search for some high tops (there's a fun pair with Captain America on them we like - he'll have to learn laces this time round!). Office stores stock kids Converse shoes in sizes for non-walkers, toddlers and tweenies. Prices range from £20 - £50 but can be found for a little less on Amazon and eBay. Make sure you know your sizes as US sizes are different.
Children's sizing recommendation chart
1-2 years 6-8
2-3 years 9-10
4-5 years 11-12
6-7 years 13-1
8-10 years 2-5
I have been told before that their sizes run 1/2 a side big but that's never been the case for me or the children.
Happy shoe shopping!
(C) oioiyou 2013
I left my eldest child to learn what he needed to from Nursery and School. I figured that he was there all day and thus when it was me time we would play or relax together. It may just be one of those things and he was never destined to be an academic person but ... I can't help but think if I'd spent more time teaching him at home too would he have a better founding to learn? Would he be a better student now had I got my butt in gear earlier? Well all I can do now is help him with his homework and do a few things in line with what they are learning in school to help him understand the topic.
Now for child number two ... My youngest is only 4 years old but when I do homework with the older one he is desperate to do some of his own and be one of the crew. It is obvious already that he is completely different from the elder boy. They have done almost everything differently. They say not to compare but how can you not? My eldest walked at 11 months so when 14 months came along and the little was was still shuffling his bottom across the carpet you naturally wonder if they are ok. And the same thing happens when you watch the elder one messing around with the television remote and getting lost so the youngest grabs it off him and shows him where is says TV guide! It's amazing how two children growing up in the same house can be so very different.
I have gone through a number of home study books with my children and the little one and I have just finished the first in a collection of book learning book from Fisher-Price. My son liked the look of them in the shop because he recognized the Little People toys pictured on the front. Tesco was selling them 3 for 2 so we bought Phonics, Writing and Telling The Time. Typically I don't have the receipt so can't tell you the exact price. I want to say that they were under £2 each and then the 3 for 2. I looked on-line and could see at Sainsbury's they are priced at £2.99 each.
Most children's learning books have a page of gold star stickers or something similar to allow the child to mark off pages and activities they have conquered and this one has the same but with a bit of Fisher-Price style added in. The stickers are pictures of Little People characters and then some other very colourful completion stickers to put onto the poster attached to the cover. The poster is good fun as each completion sticker gets you closer and closer to the finish line. Most books you would put your sticker on each page whereas this one it is all in one place to show you straight away how well you are doing. The poster is the first thing he looks at when the book comes out and when Dad gets home from work he can barely get his shoes off before the book is thrust in his face.
It is always great to find different ways of teaching a subject and Fisher-Price has given me a great tool with their 1-2-3 Warm Up!
1) Use you finger to write your name in the air (I hold his hand and do this and the next step with him)
2) Spell it backwards
3) Shout the first sound in your name!
4) Say three other words that start with that sound
5) Roar like a lion!
6) Chug like a train
7) Buzz like a bee
8) Hop on one foot and sing the alphabet (working on this one as he can only really get to l and then the letters start to become one for a bit) :)
9) balance on the other leg and say a word that rhymes with sing (I pick new word to rhyme every so often to jazz things up a bit)
10) Count down from 10 and blast off like a rocket
Warmed up and ready to begin. I had never before thought about a warm up exercise and it worked really well. The first time it got him a bit too hyper to knuckle down and work but since then he knows the drill and loves it. my older one keeps joining in the fun and I'll give them their own rhyming words.
The book has activities with missing letters, colouring the right picture, say the sound, matching the letters, first and last letters, what's in the middle vowel sounds, rhyming words, draw the word, letter pairs and joining sounds (sh, st, ch...). All the basics that most of the learning books have but I have to say I really like the set up here best. The book is only about 20 pages but packs a punch of information. But at the very same time as saying that it hasn't got too much on each page. The pages are set up well and in a basic format so they don't look overwhelming or scary for the student.
We're ready to start the writing book now and I'm very pleased as the warm-up is different and will have us jumping like kangaroos and hopping like rabbits! oh dear, maybe I'll draw the curtains for this one!
Have a look on-line for the Fisher-Price ideas for parents to do with their age child (scroll through for older ages - some good ideas here). http://www.fisher-price.com/en_GB/playtime/joyoflearning/index.html
(C) oioiyou 2013
Remembering back to my youth the tent we used was old and had a funny smell when you first got it out. It did the trick and weathered storms so obviously couldn't have been too bad! As I now have my own children the camping holidays are coming back, it's time for our own family tent. I now realize why we never bought a new one all those years ago, they are expensive! Sales here I come for sure
Roaming the sales:
Many different stores hold various sales throughout the year. The tent that topped our list was a pop tent from Dacathlon but it was still a lot even in the sales and didn't come with any extras so we ended up purchasing our second choice which was a 4 man tent pack from Halfords. In the sale we got it for £99 (down from £149).
The tent has a main living area with one bedroom off each side.
What's in the pack:
The added bonus was that the tent pack comes with the tent, 4 sleeping bags, 2 double air-beds and a carry bag to tuck it all away at the end. I like the idea of the sleeping bags being in the carry bag awaiting their next use so it's one less thing to remember when loading up the car. Also my kids use their normal sleeping bags at friends houses and during winter a lot so they get a bit grubby and it would suck to have to take away a dirty one because I ran out of time to wash or dry it.
When the tent first came home the children wanted it to be put up in the back garden so they could see it. The pack doesn't include a ground sheet but that is something we already had so no trouble but if you don't have one get one before you head out to camp.
The carry bag is topped with a drawstring so if you don't pack things "just right" you can still manage to get it closed. A vital bit as sometimes it can be really hard to get things back into their packaging.
Quite easy and straightforward to set up so we're good on the argument front! This is why we liked the idea of the pop tent so much but to be honest this one wasn't difficult. In total I think it took us about 30 minutes to get the tent up and beds in place.
We have a few nifty gadgets that charge via the car so we were able to easily and quickly inflate the air-beds. They are awesome and feel like such luxury from my childhood days of camping. The only problem we found with them was that the kids move a lot in their sleep and have managed on occasion to wedge themselves along the edge. Mine are old enough to get unstuck but if you have younger less capable children might be worth lining the edge with pillows.
The middle living area is a great size. the children and I can walk around and only have to bend at the sides (husband is a different story but that's his own fault for being so tall). We bought a camping torch from Halfords for £6.99 that lights the whole area nicely. We put our camping table up in the centre as the weather wasn't great and had the board games at the ready. Sadly the weather that weekend didn't improve but it gave a good test of the tents durability. The winds were high and the rain was heavy so a true test. We did add a few extra stakes just to be on the safe side. The next morning we were all nice and dry so that's good. The living area wasn't 100% dry as the door had blown in but it wasn't horrendously wet and the door was fixable. I had left the lantern hooked up over night (not on, just hanging) and it had fallen off but didn't brake.
From the Halfords website:
Approx Pitch Time: 25 minutes
Fire Retardant: Yes
Guarantee Period: 1 year
Hydrostatic Head: 1500mm
Maximum Head Height: 200cm
Number Man Tent: 4
Number of Bedrooms: 2
Number of Doors: 1
Pole Material: Fibreglass
Taped Seams: Yes
Packed Weight: 22kg
I have wiped it clean so far and that is all that has been needed to get it nice and ready for another use.
I would say the Halfords 4 man tent is a good one and the pack comes with the basics needed but I would only recommend it to those planning to camp 1-3 times a year at most. If you go more often it would be worth investing more.
*On our second trip out one of the air-beds was a lot lower by morning so we'll need to locate that leak!*
(C) oioiyou 2013
Slow-cooking is my new "thing"! I have found too many times recently that I get the kids home from school and then have to take them straight out again for dance, martial arts, tutor, friends houses ... then suddenly we are all home, hungry and waiting for me to dive into the fridge and figure something out. Growing up I don't remember a time when my mother didn't have two jobs on the go but she always managed to get a nice warm meal onto the dinner table. Now it's my turn and I'm slacking! We have a rice cooker / slow cooker from my husbands father but at Christmas we were given a Crock-Pot slow cooker.
Very sleek and stylish. Ours is the one in the picture and although red isn't a match to the rest of our kitchen I still like it. To be honest it doesn't live on the counter so there's no issue about the colour.
As above we got this as a gift but I surfed around and found that it costs about £40 new. Maybe shop around because I looked a big name stores for a price but I'm sure it can be found for a little less.
What's in the box?:
Always nice to know what extras come with your purchase. Sometimes makes you feel like you're getting some extra free goodies. The thermally insulated carry bag comes with it. Now at first I thought when in this lifetime am I going to need to transport food or the cooker??? Well....if I wore a hat I'd be eating it! I have taken food to a friends when she held a "pot luck" evening, I took food to my mother when she was ill and took it along to a cooking with children event at my children's school. All this from the woman who stored away the bag thinking it would never see the light of day again. Admittedly it does look a bit professional showing up with the Crock-Pot in its bag.
Cooking & Cleaning:
I have my set favourites but since having this new slow cooker I have been a little more adventurous. Our older rice / slow cooker had two options. You could cook rice or slow cook and there was no heat choices. You could adjust the time you wanted something to cook for and after that time it would turn to keep warm but that was it.
The Crock-Pot is different as it allows you to choose a heat setting when turning it on. There are three heat settings, low, high and keep warm. There isn't a timer but I usually know what time I have put something on and when it should be finished so not something I worry about. The heat settings is something I really like because my favourite thing to make in a slow cooker is pulled pork. The lower and longer the cooking the better (I think).
According to the box the 5.7 litre capacity is enough to make food for 5-7 people. Not sure about that myself as when pretty well filled it makes a meal that serves my family of four with maybe a tiny bit left over because my youngest doesn't eat very well. Maybe that means we eat like pigs but that's just us. I like to think we have healthy portions.
One thing I found surprising was that the Crock-Pot is dishwasher safe. The lid and internal cooking pot can be chucked into the dishwasher for ease of cleaning. I like the idea of this but sadly not practical for me. We have a half size dishwasher and if I put the Crock-Pot bits in there then I loose space for dishes and stuff so it works out better for me to wash it in the sink and then I can dry and get it off the counter top and out of my way until the next time I need it.
I can't imagine a time when I would put mine into the microwave but apparently it can go in there safely. I have however put mine into the oven before when my food needed a bit more help cooking. I took the internal pot out and put that alone into the oven.
I mentioned the portable option earlier and getting back to it the cord is detachable to make it easier to put into the bag and transport around. The lids clips tight so when cooking or travelling the food stays safe and sound. I still watch it like a hawk when driving it somewhere just in case. Not sure why I worry so much because anyone who has seen my car would probably think any new stain would just blend in!
The handles are a good length too. You can easily link your arm into the loops. Now this next point is a bit funny and I wouldn't have ever thought about this normally but when I took the Crock-Pot to a school cooking event I was put at a stall where the table was a bit slanted. The menus kept sliding off the table which was driving me mental but the little "feet" on the bottom of the Crock-Pot have little non-slip things on them and they did their jobs holding the pot where it was and even when I had it open and was serving it never moved.
Dimensions Length x width x breadth: 415 x 290 x 230 mm
Weight 2.15 kg
Even full of food it didn't feel very heavy. Normally I wouldn't pick it up and test how heavy it was but when I took food to my mothers I obviously carried it to and from the car and it was no more awkward then carrying my little one when he was in a newborn car seat. Weird connection but if you have children or grandchildren you'll hopefully understand what I mean.
A recipe I must share because it's awesome!
Pulled Pork (me style)
Quantities always vary so use your discretion
Get a nice cut of pork shoulder (Try to pick one with little fat on it) (Make up a dry rub and coat that shoulder well the day before if possible - Dry rub ingredients bellow)
Put some onion slices in the base of the pot
Add a clove of garlic (chopped)
Rub the pork shoulder with some extra dry rub and then place it on top of the onions and garlic
Put some more onion slices on top of the shoulder (just a few)
I then put the pot on to cook for Between 4 and 6 hours on a low heat (I would normally put this on before the kids are even dressed for school that morning)
By 6 hours the shoulder should shred using a fork easily and I recommend shredding it whilst hot
Take the shoulder out and discard any juices or fat hanging around in the pot. Sounds a bit wasteful but I tip the lot and then add more very thinly sliced onion
Once the fat and tissue is out of the way I put the shredded pork back into the pot and then add half a bottle of BBQ sauce. The onion and pork get mixed up in it and then cooked for another hour or so. By this time the house smells like a country kitchen and we're all hungry. Time to tuck in!
My children like to have chips and pulled pork sandwiches.
1-2 tablespoons of salt, sugar, brown sugar, ground cumin, chilli powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper and about 1/4 cup paprika
(C) oioiyou 2013
Ok I go every so slightly mental in the winter time. My mother is convinced of a draft in every room of her house and if she can't convince you of a draft then there is a whoosh of wind obviously penetrating the room you are in from the hallway! She has a portable heater that can be dragged out and turned on to heat a room but she's quite fragile this year after some medical treatments and thus getting up can sometimes be more difficult so I started my search for one that had a thermostat.
I found the Delonghi h3kw heater online with Amazon for £31. The specifications seemed to fit the bill. The product itself is small so won't over-power her living room and it oscillates to warm a larger area. The Delonghi offers an adjustable thermostat that kicks the heater into action when the room reaches the desired temperature.
The heater is rather quiet compared to ones we've had in the past. It apparently houses a "silence system", 38dB noise level on minimum power and 43dB on maximum power .... To be honest the dB's don't mean much to me but I can tell you it's quieter. Our old heater had to be turned down or off to have a conversation or hear a softer conversation on the television. I would just crank up to television but my mother cares about her neighbours so is a bit more respectful.
The foot switch is lovely for my mother as she doesn't need to get out from under a warm blanket to adjust the oscillation feature, she only has to un-tuck her foot. The foot pedal would come in handy if you had one under a desk at work I think because if it's getting too hot you can switch the oscillation on thus keeping the heat but not directly on your legs (might have to get myself one maybe).
I have told her off for things like this before because I have always thought that the bathroom is no place for a heater but she read on the box that this particular heather is ok for bathroom usage with its IP21 Drip Protection! I still make a point of telling her to not have it in there for long periods of time and to ensure she's careful but it does give me a little more peace of mind.
The cat is sometimes a problem maker because he rubs up against the heater and knocks it over but the joy of this one is that it will cut out if he does this. Still a bit annoying but at least she doesn't need to jump up with a quickness to save the heater and carpet from flames!
Compared to the old radiator style heater she had this one comes out tops. It's smaller, quieter and does the same job and a bit better. The Delonghi is white and light grey and wipes clean relatively easily. The only area that take a minute longer to clean is the slotted front but I use an old nail brush which does the job brilliantly. The heater hasn't been stored away since it's arrival and with reports of snow on the way it will most likely be out for a while longer but when the times comes to put it away it shouldn't be difficult. The heater itself is rather small and has a little handle slot along with cord storage.
Technical Details from Amazon:
Dimensions (L x W x H): 27 x 21.2 x 33.9 centimetres
Weight: 1.9 Kilograms
Heat settings: 3
Heating power - max: 3kW
Safety system: Tip-over switch
Frost protection: Avoids temperature falling below 5 degrees centigrade
Overheat safety protection: Yes
Manufacturers guarantee: 1 year
Right everyone go get warm!
(c) oioiyou 2013
Ok slight obsession at the moment but I have been captivated by Jennifer Worths book Call the Midwife (book #2 is going down a bit slower but still rather enjoyable). I caught the end of the Christmas episode on the television over the holidays which was great. I had been really fearful that the characters wouldn't be as I'd pictured them or that it would ruin the book in my mind. Luckily the characters in the Christmas episode were perfect and left me wanting for more. An advert caught my attention, it mentioned a second series coming to the BBC so I knew I absolutely had to get my hands on the first series. My husband found that the BBC shop website was having a big sale and ordered the DVDs for me (6.99 and free delivery).
Jessica Raine plays the part of Nurse Jenny Lee. Jessica looks exactly as I pictured Jenny Lee to look. I have not seen her in anything before though "The Woman in Black" is on my must watch list and she is apparently in that.
Pam Ferris was cast to the role of Sister Evanangelina whom I adore. She is a nun with a rude streak which makes me love her character. Sister Evangelina is short-tempered and snappy but at the very same time she's warm, witty and approachable. A hard part to play I would imagine.
Sister Monica Joan is taken on by actress Judy Parfitt. I remember her playing the Queen in Ever After so it's fun to see her take on the role of a nun with a few loose screws.
Looking on the web at the list of movies Jenny Agutter has been in makes me realise I have seen her a number of times over the years but I couldn't have told you that moments before my search. She has a kind motherly face that suits the role of head nun at Nonnatus House.
Fred is one I had to look twice at before realising who played him. Fred is the handy man, a little rough around the edges and usually covered in dirt from fixing or mending something. It took me some time but is suddenly came to me ... It's Minty from Eastenders (Cliff Parisi)! I don't watch Eastenders myself but my mother always did so I knew who he was.
This one I wasn't sure of at first but it is very clear to me now that there is no better person than Miranda Hart for the part of Chummy. She plays a serious character beautifully. Chummy as a character is a larger young lady of a wealthy background who joins the team. She is the character I spoke of in my review of the book who was aided in learning to ride a bicycle by a small boy from the area.
There are other fabulous supporting characters that help to make this series relate to the book but far too many to list them all and aside form a few hair colours I had imagined differently they are all well represented.
Plot and extra information:
For those who haven't read my book review (shame on you! he he he) the story of this series comes from the books written by Jennifer Worth about her experiences being a midwife during the 1950's in London's Docklands. "Call the Midwife achieved very high ratings in its first series, making it the most successful new drama series on BBC One since 2001" and series 2 is on it's way.
Nonnatus House itself is a pseudonym used in the book and series taken from St Raymund Nonnatus, the patron saint of midwives, obstetricians, pregnant women, childbirth and newborns. Many names were changed for the book but if I knew their real names they probably wouldn't suit them to me!
The 1950's is shown through the series so perfectly. The sets, props, medical utensils, uniforms and every day clothes are very true to the time as far as I can tell. I do enjoy stepping back in time. Seems the series has come at a good time .... Most of my friends are vintage inspired or mental depending on which one you are speaking to.
I have laughed, cried and been on the edge of my seat even though from reading the book I know what happens!
(C) oioiyou 2013
Waiting in the checkout at Primark I noticed a rather large pack of cotton pads on sale for only 50p. A great price for 2 x 80 packs. I think they are usually priced at £1 but this particular pack was ripped (none missing) so reduced.
There are so many uses for cotton pads ...
1) Soak in white vinegar and attach to the sink using cling film, leave over night to dissolve lime scale. Can sometimes require a few goes depending on how bad the build up is.
2) Nail polish removal
3) Make-up removal
4) Couple drops of vanilla essence and place in the fridge, or coat in some bicarbonate
5) Soak in bleach and leave in a hard to clean mildew spot for a few hours, pads work well for this because you can bend them into the hard to clean gap.
.... I could go on for a while listing the uses for such a simple bit of kit so getting back to the Primark ones inparticular...
Removing nail polish didn't go exactly to plan. Normally I would use only two from the pack I buy at Boots but I ended up using five from the Primark pack because they fell apart. Using my facial cleanser went smoothly as only two pads were required.
For cleaning these do the usual job with no complaints from me.
The difference between these and ones from Boots or Sainsbury's is that you may need to use a few more of the Primark ones but all in all they are a lot cheaper so I will stick with them. A friend refuses to use the, because when she takes her make-up off they seem to "dissolve on her face" but I don't really wear more than mascara and I just wash that off in th sink so I can't really comment.
(C) oioiyou 2013
After seeing a number of adverts and then walking past the JML stand in a local store I coughed up the £5 thinking I could have bought a miracle hair removal system that would change my life. Oh how fabulous my legs were going to look!
Later on at home I got the box out and took everything out to see what I had. One large pad, one small pad and a bunch of replacements. All these bits at the end could be tucked away into the black wallet like case. I stuck the adhesive pad to the large pad holder and got my pins out. Following the instructions I rubbed in one direction for a bit and then in the other to remove hair and dead skin from the area. I hadn't realised the amount of dead skin there was and thus started regreting my decision to do this on my bed. Hopefully the hand towel I had was going to be enough. Each area took quite a bit of effort and a couple goes to get the hair off and left my skin very dry. My hands got tired by the time I had finished my first leg so I took a break before continueing. To do the knees was interesting, i had to try different angles before sussing out how to get the job done. Behind the thigh was going to be akward and time consuming so i avoided them for the time being. In total to do both legs it took me about 40 minutes and I got through 2 pads.
I tried to do my bikini line but it was not easy and just didn't seem to work. Maybe the hair there is thicker.
Good luck if you decide to try the pads on your underarms! Underarms naturally dip in a bit and trying to flex the pad to the skin was nearly impossible and hardly any hair was going anywhere. In some more sensitive areas it cane feel like you are rubbing sandpaper across your skin.
After a few uses I noticed that my hair still grows back fast and just as much as before so I'm not overly interesting in buying more pads. The process is time consuming and takes effort enough that I would much rather jump into the bath and have a shave.
(C) oioiyou 2013