Thursday, 22 February 2018

Review of the Zak Storm Hover Vehicle and Collectable Coins


James is such a typical boy, who is into cars and super heroes. He also loves technology, so anything that involves his tablet is a big plus to him! He loves playing games on his tablet that will help him with his learning or that he can incorporate with his toys! So when the people behind the Pop UK show Zak Storm got in touch and asked if he would like to review some of their toys and the accompanying app on mummy’s iPad he was thrilled! He loves his tablet, but if he gets to use mummies he is thrilled!

We were sent the Zak Storm Hover Vehicle and Figures retailing at £14.99 and two of the Collectable Coin packs retailing at £4.99 per pack.

These actually arrived with us late afternoon while mummy was cooking the tea and James was thrilled to see that it was actually something for him to use! He however decided to wait till the next day after school to take them out of the packet as he still had his school reading to do that night.

The first thing that mummy did was get out the iPad and go to download the app, this is where it got tricky as when we went to download it onto my iPad mini 2 it wouldn’t download with the message saying you need iOS 10, My iPad operates on iOS 9.5 which according to Apple is the highest iOS software available for that device. Luckily the app is also available on Android and Amazon FireOS 5.0, so you don’t necessarily need to own an Apple device to access all the fun that the app and Collectable Coins create!

The Collectable Coins have a QR code on the back of them to scan into the app to receive digital rewards such as weapons, powers, words and health. This helps you to progress in the game! So the more coins you collect, the more loot you can get to help you in the game!
The best thing I have found is that you don’t need to actually have the app to get enjoyment out of the figures!

Zak Storm is what is known as a connected play experience, where children watch the show, play the game and level up to enjoy a mobile gaming experience like never before. 

James had a brilliant time exploring the app and scanning in the codes on the coins to see what he got! I can definitely see us ordering James some more of the coins as he loves blind bags and the fact that these ones have the codes for the game, it’s even better!
We have also downloaded him the Coin Sheet from the Zak Storm website so he can keep track of which coins he has and which coins he needs!

James loved showing the app and the coins to daddy and seeing as daddy is a big fan of computer games, I think this is something that daddy and James can enjoy together!

These products that we were sent are available from Smyths Toys, along with many other toys which I think will be on James list for his birthday!


**We were sent these products free of charge in exchange for this review, all words and pictures are our own!**

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Our Weekend Happy

This weekend has been quite a chilled one before James goes back to school after the half term holiday. We actually have only spent two nights of half term at home!

Friday we woke up at nanas house! Nana and gaga had picked us up from home on Thursday lunch time as James had to get his eyes tested! We had quite a chilled out day watching tv and playing with all the toys the boys keep at nana and gaga's house, in the afternoon mummy and nana took the boys across to Amble as we needed to grab a few bits from the shops and James wanted to go and see the fishing boats! The boys had some quiet time in the afternoon and snuggled up on mummy's bed to watch Peppa!

Saturday we were up playing with the toys as mummy's laptop was meant to be coming back from repair (it didn't come back and mummy is cross!!) We needed to go to argos at Alnwick to return Freddie's buggy and pick up the new one (post will come on that soon!) while we were there we decided to pop into sainsburys and pick up some bits for tea. Freddie was thrilled to get his first pair of slippers which had Hey Duggee on them! While mummy got James some Superzings! We had an early tea as Freddie hadnt napped and he was exhausted. While mumm, nana and Freddie were out James and gaga got the scalectrix out! They can only really play on it when Freddie is either asleep or not in the house as he causes mayhem with it!

Sunday well Freddie decided he was going to wake mummy up at 0315am wanting to watch Peppa Pig! So mummy had an early start, Freddie eventually went back to sleep around 0430am and slept till just after eight, nana took him downstairs and gave him some breakfast so mummy could grab an extra hours sleep! We then left to go home around half past ten. We met daddy at aldi to do some shopping and the boys went home in the car with nana and gaga while mummy and daddy walked back. Once we were all back home we had some lunch and the boys played with the their toys. The early start caught up with Freddie and he passed out in the middle of the lounge floor for the first time ever! He then woke up and climbed onto mummy's knee and went back to sleep and mummy joined him! The boys were both in bed and asleep by eight ready for the week of school runs and playgroup ahead!

So this was our weekend happy! 

Monday, 19 February 2018

Living Arrows 2018 8/53

Welcome to Living Arrows 2018 Week 8!
We had a brilliant time last week visiting family and enjoying a family day out in London! 


James was thrilled he got to visit Pudding Lane, where the Great Fire of London started and we saw the monument that was built to commemorate it. By the time we got back to my in laws house our Google fit apps on our phones said we had walked over nine miles and done over twenty thousand steps! 

It was such a busy day! We arrived into London just after ten am and headed straight down to see the London Eye, Big Ben and Palace of Westminster. James was thrilled about seeing Big Ben especially as he had seen it on Go Jetters! 

The photos of the boys were actually taken while we were at their grandparents house and out in London!
       



 



Living Arrows

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Guest Post - The Modern Day Dad

Today we have a guest post from Han-Son at DaddiLife


The modern day dad - are we really ready?                      

I tried something different on Saturday. A dad’s club run by a local nursery. It was brilliant - not just for the kids - I mean who wouldn’t love Den Making, Sand Pits, Story Time, and all wrapped up with a lovely hot chocolate!?

But it was also great to simply socialise with a few other dads in the local area. As a dad who works full time, it can be tricky to get out and meet other dads, especially in a new town - so these moments are actually pretty good all-round.

I’ve spoken to a fair few other people about the experience since, and I’d estimate around 70% have seen it as a joke in some way - “what, really?” “Why do they waste their money on that,” and my personal favourite - “I don’t get that at all.”

I tried to explain that it’s there to encourage more bonding time with our children, and also meet new dads (and it was also free!).

But the whole thing also got me thinking about where things are at with the modern day dad.

Dads want to be more active

It’s a subject with a huge range of different factors, and with over 250,000 stay at home dads now, it’s clear that a shift is starting to happen rapidly across the UK.

But even though study after study shows how fathers want to be more actively involved dads across almost every area of their parenting life – there’s still a strong sense that the wider attitude in business and society is anything but.

Mums are not the only target

Everywhere we look, the world is parenting is still a vastly mum dominated world. And, hey, that’s not really a complaint as we have to realise that mums have been, over the last few decades, the de-facto primary caregiver.

But as more mums are breaking barriers of their own (and quite rightly), dads need to be doing the same. And some dads are starting to make their voices heard – where something as previously unquestioned like a ‘Mother and Baby’ aisle are now shifting to convey a more balanced sense of parenting.

Why did it take so long?

There are however, still a huge range of areas that need more dad’s focus. Everything from changing rooms, baby screenings at the cinema, and products from health through to even everyday items like the kids water bottles– it’s time we got our heads out of thinking as mum as the only caregiver, and start to reflect the facts of modern dad life.

It’s not just a UK issue ofcourse, but when you consider that New York is now ahead of most UK cities when it comes to nappy changing rooms being more accessible for dads, you realise quite how far we have to go yet.

Can dads find their voice in 2018?

As we embrace 2018, I hope that more dads can make their voices heard and get the organisation’s thinking about the parenting balance that our modern day attitudes really reflect.

Only through that will we start to evolve the way we as a larger society talk, see and hear about parenting, and who knows, perhaps we’ll even start to take the humble dad’s club even more seriously.

Author Bio


Han-Son runs DaddiLife – a parenting website for dads with a range of tips and advice across health, things to do, and reviews  - exclusively focused on the modern day dad.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Siblings February 2018




Welcome to the February post for The Siblings Project. 

This month my boys have been busy going back to school for James and starting playgroup for Freddie. When they are not in school or playgroup then Freddie is James little shadow. In the mornings as soon as Freddie sees James he goes absolutely nuts and so hyper! However once we get home from school, he still does get a little bit upset some days as he really does miss having him around to play with.

The photos this month were taken one day after school and playgroup. The boys were sat on the sofa watching Cbeebies after their snack, although James was actually still eating part of his! They were both utterly exhausted as getting back into the swing of school and starting playgroup has taken it out of them!






James is not the biggest fan of having his photograph taken at the moment, but Freddie well he is such a poser and if he sees the phone he shouts cheese before you even have the camera app open!



The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Guest Post - Toddler Tantrums by BattleMum

Toddler tantrums are part of the parenting course and for me Freddie is definetly in the "Terrible Twos!" 

Today we have this fantastic post all about dealing with them from the lovely BattleMum


5 top tips for dealing with toddler tantrums.

Unfortunately, tantrums are part and parcel of having children. You show me one child that hasn’t had a few in their little lives. Even the best-behaved children have them from time to time and we, as parents, have to accept this fact.

I have had to deal with many, from low-range tantrums because our son wanted to close the dishwasher to a full on screaming meltdown because I dared to put his post-nursery snack on the wrong plate. How was I supposed to know he wanted his Mickey Mouse plate instead of Thomas the Tank Engine?

I have a few tips for dealing with toddler tantrums. Some may work, some may not, but these are the ones I employ when our son goes off on one.

1.   Distract them. There are certain situations at home when I know a tantrum could manifest itself and during these times I do my best to distract our son, so it doesn’t happen. For instance, if I switch off the TV before bedtime I always have something else to do in reserve, so he will hopefully not notice it going off such as getting his George teddy bear and his dummy ready, when he had one. Distraction can also work during minor tantrums. Our son often helps me unload the washing machine but once the clothes are hung he’ll often want to put them back in. If I say no, he might kick off, so I ask him to help me with something else. If Mr. Independent thinks there is something else he can ‘help with’ the tantrum usually dissipates.

2.  Talk to them. This can either be used to distract them or to try find out what it is they want or what is upsetting them. Sometimes our son gets a thought in his head and if he can’t do it/find it he kicks off. He also sometimes gets frustrated that he cannot relay what it is he wants, and this can sometimes set him off. I find if I get down to his level, hold his hands, make eye contact and speak to him calmly, he’ll try his best to tell me what it is he wants. It often turns out to be a toy he put down in the morning that he suddenly remembers and wants again. Also, gently talking to them during a tantrum such as “I know you are tired, I’m sorry we were out so long” can help calm them down if you remain calm and talk to them in a gentle voice. We don’t give toddlers enough credit for understanding more than they can say.

3.   Avoid situations where they can arise. This may not always be possible and continuing from my first point there are things I avoid to prevent tantrums. I don’t eat or drink anything in front of our son that I don’t want him having, such as chocolate. This might sound mean, but sugar has a big effect on him. I don’t force him to eat when he doesn’t want to, and I let him decide if he’s had enough at meal times. I try to let him choose his own bedtime stories to avoid tantrums then. I also try to make the minimal fuss before bedtime, sticking to our routine as much as possible. Little things like this have helped me avoid some tantrums, some but not all.

4.   Let them have the tantrum. Sometimes you just have to let them get on with it. We must remember that toddlers don’t yet understand their emotions, let alone know how best to deal with them and sometimes you just have to let them get it out of their system. We all know the benefits of having a good cry and the same can be said of toddlers. If we get to this stage I do one of three things. A.  Walk away from our son. B. Stay silent but in the same room. C. Sit silently near him if he’ll let me. Once he’s calmed down he’ll usually come in for a cuddle, and it never lasts more than a few minutes.

5.   Mimic them. This is either used as a last resort in our house or if the tantrum is a mini one. Copying him sometimes shocks him into silence with the confusion of what mum is doing. But be warned, this can have the opposite effect so use it wisely and sparingly. When it works in a positive effect we usually end up laughing together and the tantrum is gone and forgotten about.


These are by no means the only ways of dealing with toddler tantrums but are the ones I’ve used to try to avoid or stop them in their tracks. I’ve used them since our son was one and a few are still valid even today, aged 4. These have worked best for us between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old. I’ve found as he gets older, talking to him and getting down to his level have been most effective, as has distracting him. And although the tantrums continue today, they are much fewer and far between than in previous years as we can communicate with one another better. I doubt they’ll ever fully stop as the pre-teen and teenage years are yet to come.

Thank you for this brilliant post! I will definitely be trying some of these out on Freddie! Most of his tantrums are normally about James going to school!!

You can find BattleMum on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest

Monday, 12 February 2018

Living Arrows 2018 7/53

Welcome to week 7 of Living Arrows 2018! 
This weeks photos of James and Freddie were taken by Nana and Gaga when they were looking after the boys last week! Mummy and Daddy had had to go away for a few days for a family funeral so the boys went to stay with Nana and Gaga. The poor boys both ended up ill with viral infections so missed school and playgroup. Freddie even managed to carpet burn his nose while getting distracted looking at photos on Nana and Gaga's wall!


 

 

This week its half term so we are visiting Daddy's family for a few days and so far we are having a brilliant time! The boys have met Nanny and Pappy's cats Zippy and Cecil who they both adore!!



Living Arrows

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Mobile Phones in Primary School Yes or No?

James is now in his second year of primary school and he is ver aware of the technology in the world around him. A topic that keeps creeping up is mobile phones. Now both me and his daddy have them and also both sets of his grandparents. Now James keeps saying he wants one because his friends do. I have no idea if or how many of his friends do have them but we don't feel James can have one till he is much older!

Having been in his school on a morning I have seen first hand the older kids from year five and year six who are ten/eleven years old coming to the office and handing over their mobiles to be locked away. This got me thinking about phones in schools, especially primary schools. 

As our school does not let kids walk home themselves unless they are year five or six then a phone is a good idea especially in an emergency for example if they are meant to be staying for an  after school club and it gets cancelled then the child can ring a parent and tell them they will be home earlier etc.

I asked around to some other parent bloggers to see what they thought and this is what they said:

Helen from https://www.kiddycharts.com says Our school let them have them but not use them in class it’s only for Year 5 and 6 IF they walk to and from school. That’s fine with me - they are there for emergencies or if we need to contact them. Other than that not sure why they’d need them I guess? 

Pete from www.householdmoneysaving.com says I think they should be locked away. Kids have no need for them in school, and I think they can only cause a distraction. 

Star from Https://autismkidsontour.com says  I think in primary school they should be allowed them for getting to or from school but not while they are there. It is a good idea to put them all away somewhere safe like the office, to stop them getting stolen or broken.

Cherry from https://thenewbytribe.com says Former primary head here and we allowed kids in years 5 and 6 who were walking home alone and had permission (written) from parents to have a phone in school. It had to be turned off and handed in at the office every morning and they signed a contract (with parents) to say they wouldn't take photos of others in school and post them on social media (as many of them had social media accounts sadly) - in all honesty we had about 2 children bring phones- most parents made the sensible decision that if they lived close to school it wasn't needed! 

Julie from https://ponderingparenthood.com says I'm a primary school teacher - I don't think there's any need for children to have their mobile phone in class. I think it's reasonable for them to bring them to school if they walk home alone but agree that they should be locked away during the day - this helps protect the phone's owner from potential theft and the other children should the owner feel the need to misuse the phone, for example by posting photographs on social media. It also prevents the phones becoming a distraction during lessons. 

Adam from http://youvegotallthistocome.wordpress.com says  We have a few bring theirs in, but like others, it's a case of locking them in the office all day and then they take them home. They're not bothered, and it's fine. 

Emma from Https://bubbablueandme.com says Our school have a no phones on-site applicable to parents and presumably kids as a safeguarding thing in case of photos. (Although doesn't apply at school performances when you can take photos for personal records only). The school is small, the village is small, so even kids who walk alone (very few of any) would make use of one). I think the rule is fine and avoids them getting lost, stolen or putting pressure on the owner. 


Rachel from https://thedaisypages.com says I’m not aware that any of the kids in my son’s primary school have mobile phones. My son won’t get one until he’s eleven, which I think is pretty standard where we live. Perhaps it’s different because we live in a rural area, no children walk to school alone. 


Carol from https://virtuallyallsorts.com says I see no need for primary school children to have mobiles at school. The only time they'd need them, surely, is if they're older children and they walk to and from school alone.

And our view is: At the moment James is only five and in Year One. As previously mentioned our school does not let kids walk home alone unless they are in Year five or six, James will definitely not be getting his own mobile phone till he is in at least year six. As I will be still going up to the school to collect Freddie, James will probably walk home with us. Once he is in year six, especially towards the end of year six when they do their transition to secondary school we will see about getting him a phone then as the secondary school he will most likely go to finishes before the primary school so he will most likely get home before me and Freddie. 

Friday, 9 February 2018

Spring Term First Half Term Over!

How fast is this term going!! It only feels like five minutes since we went back after Christmas and now James is on holiday again!

He went back on 8th January so this half term has literally only been five weeks long and he's already had two school trips! 

The first trip was on the second day back after the Christmas holidays and they went to Thornley Woods! James couldn't stop talking about all the carvings on the trees!

The second trip was to Washington Wetlands Centre and again he had a brilliant time!! James thrives on being outdoors! We sent James into school with his school trousers and socks and shoes in a bag but they didn't actually get back to school till just after three o'clock ready for us parents to collect them at quarter past three! He never stopped talking about the trip the whole way home and for the rest of the night!!

Each class does an online blog and James loves sitting down with mummy and looking at all the photographs of the things he has done with his friends!

We are still doing his school reading every night after school and we have only missed a couple of nights when James has been totally exhausted!! Now that Freddie has stopped having a nap, he is in bed much earlier which means mummy gets some quality time with James to do his reading!

His school gives each year group an essential question at the start of term that they have to answer in their project outcome at the end of term! This term the question that Year One has is "What Makes The Earth Special". Last term it was "Fire: Friend or Foe".

When he got his first homework after the Christmas holidays it was a piece of writing and he was struggling quite a bit to start with, but once we put a pencil grip onto his pencil he seemed to do a little bit better. 

This last week of half term has been quite a hard one for James as mummy and daddy have been away for a few days for the funeral of the boys great nanny who we lost at Christmas. So Nana and Gaga have been on school duty with James.


James really seems to have come on in leaps and bounds since he went into year one! Roll on the next half term to see how he goes and of course the outcome of "What Makes The Earth Special"

Thursday, 8 February 2018

First Half Term of Playgroup

So Freddie has completed his first half term at Playgroup and its actually gone ok. He is pretty lucky that a little girl he has known since he was tiny from Sure Start comes in the afternoons after she finishes in the school nursery!

On his first couple of days he got quite upset, although on his first day he ran in and then cried after I had left. They actually called me to come and collect him early but by the time I got there he had settled right down and was having a ball in the water tray! On his second day he burst into tears as I went to leave. Both days though he soon cheered up and enjoyed himself! Although on his first day he found the water tray and absolutely soaked himself from head to toe, But thats Freddie for you! He absolutely loves playing in water!!

His second week he was only in one day as we had a prior engagement with Messy Little Thing. He was very excited on the way up as it was snowing a little bit! He also kept stopping to look at trees, cars and basically anything that was a vehicle as they are a massive distraction to him! When we got to playgroup, the outside door was open so we went in and put his lunch box on the cart and went to hang up his bag. He had a few tears when he went in, but the staff are brilliant and knew to distract him straight away with water and sand!! By the time I got to the outside door and into the yard he was no longer crying! When I went to pick him up he was crying a little bit, but they said he had only started crying when they put his coat on him to come home. 

His third week started with tears when we got there! All morning before it was time to go, Freddie had been going to our front door shouting I go now! Once he had his coat on he was pulling me towards the door! He was full of chatter all the way up, but once we walked through the game he literally tried to turn around and walk away! Mummy had to pick him up and carry him into the cloak room. We put his lunch on the cart and went to hang up his coat. Luckily one of the staff members came out of the classroom and greeted him and picked him up saying come on Freddie lets go and watch some Peppa while we wait for everyone else to join us! They know that Freddie LOVES Peppa so its a good distraction! When I collected him, he was standing in one of the windows looking for me and they said he had a few tears when he went to put his coat on, but that is normal for Freddie, hes definitely not a fan of putting his coat on!

His second weekly session had a much easier start. He still had a few tears but he actually got into the building and coat off before he cried! But he had stopped crying before I had even left the room! At pick up he was absolutely brilliant! He was chatting away and no tears at all! This was the first time I had collected him and he had not been in tears! The next day we were in Sure Start and he saw some of the staff in the yard with the children and he got so excited to see them and was shouting hiya!

His fourth week well this week started with tears before we even got half way up the road towards the gate! Mummy had to pick him up and carry him into the cloakroom to hang up his bag and coat! By the time mummy was out the door and into the yard I couldn't hear him crying at all! When mummy collected him he came bouncing out with one of his little friends that he has known since he was tiny all chat!! 

His second weekly session started the same as the first! Lots of tears before we even got to the gate! We were a little bit early that day, so had to wait about five minutes before he was able to to in and in that time he stopped crying all together and was full of chat, however once the door opened for him to go in he started crying again so one of the staff had to pick him up and carry him in! At pick up though he was so happy and full of chat!

And his fifth week, well poor Freddie actually didn't go to playgroup this week as the poor boy ended up with a nasty viral infection while he was staying at his nana and gaga's house. He was up screaming the house down with pain in his ears.

Over all I think starting playgroup has been a huge success for Freddie and he definitely needed it to get used to being away from mummy and daddy ready for starting his free hours this time next year once he has turned three! 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Guest Post - Making a decision to grow our family.

Today I have a lovely guest post from Jules over at Pondering Parenthood, all about the decision to grow her family!

Hi, I’m Jules and I write at PonderingParenthood. I started my blog just over two years ago when my husband and I were trying to conceive; little did I know that I was actually already pregnant! So my blog became all about parenting, lifestyle and my random musings!

I’ve always known that I wanted to have more than one child. I was raised as an only child (I have two brothers who had already grown up and flown the nest when I was born) and I often wished that I had a sibling to play with. I’m also very much used to getting my own way, which I don’t think is necessarily a good thing!

I ideally would have liked to have three children, but I have Polycystic Kidney Disease and have been advised to have all of my children by the time I’m 35, which is hurtling towards me this Autumn. Fortunately, I am 27 weeks pregnant with our second child as I write this, so, provided all goes to plan, we’ll be stopping at two in the Spring.

We still thought hard over whether we should grow our family, though. Little M is 19 months now and is such a lovely child. We worry that we’re going to ruin that by adding a crying, needy newborn into the mix! What if we can’t give her the attention that she needs and deserves? What if she stops being an amazing sleeper and we have two children to see to in the night instead of one? We have become accustomed to enjoying a good night’s sleep – I think we’ll be in for a shock!

But then we have to ask ourselves, what if Little M adores having a sibling? What if this baby is as great a sleeper as her big sister? What if Little M benefits from the sibling dynamic, and the ability to teach her little sister new things?

To be honest, we can’t wait. I know the first six months to a year are going to be the toughest I’ve ever experienced, but I just know that come this time next year, or the Spring after that when this new arrival turns one, things will get easier and life will be great. Or at least I hope so!

Thanks for that brilliant post Jules! Its definitely hard the first few months, but when I look at my boys now and see their bond its so worth all the sleepless nights!

You can find Jules on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


Monday, 5 February 2018

Living Arrows 2018 6/53

Welcome back to Living Arrows and its week 6 for 2018!
The boys are currently with Nana and Gaga but this weeks photos were taken before mummy and daddy had to go away! 

These were taken last weekend at Nana and Gaga's house. James had to go to the dentist on the Friday afternoon so he had an early pick up from school and as a treat him and Freddie got to stay at Nana and Gaga's house with mummy! James passed out on the bottom of Nana and Gaga's bed so mummy had to pick him up and move him to his bed!

Freddie was sleeping in with mummy and as normal he was such a bed hog! He was also dancing along to Derek and Amy on Milkshake on 5! He loves playing with all James old toys at Nana and Gaga's too!
 

Both boys love staying at Nana and Gaga's, but mummy finds it really stressful as its all open plan downstairs which means Freddie has access to everything from the washing machine to the cooker to the stairs and the upstairs! He loves running up the stairs yelling for his gaga!! 





Living Arrows

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Train Travel with Kids!

We are soon taking the first of our two big trips! We are traveling from Newcastle to London, then across London on the underground and then onto another train out to Walton on Thames where Andy's parents live.

Now that James is five we have a family railcard so we get 60% off James ticket and a third off mine and Andy's. Last time we travelled that distance James was only 4 so he didn't get a seat and it meant four of us squashed into two seats till the train quietened down and myself and Freddie could move into empty unbooked seats.

This time I want to be prepared and not just rely on the tablet to keep both boys occupied. For the last few weeks when ever I have been out I have been looking in Poundland, Tesco and Tiger for little toys and games to keep the boys amused.

First off I picked up these little blox sets for James at Tesco. I think these were £1 each. We have a digger and a police car. He will have one in his bag for going down and I will have the other in the suitcase for on the way home.

I also picked up a couple of match box cars at Tesco for 90p each. James has loads of these at home and both boys play with them so these will keep them both amused on the train and also at their grandparents house.

Next up I picked a bag of plastic animals. These are mainly for Freddie but I think James will end up playing with them as well.

I picked up a set of eight toy cars at poundland and split them between the boys so there would be no arguing over the cars like normal!

The last thing that I packed was some sticker books! I grabbed these from Aldi in the Baby and Toddler event for 99p each. We have one on colours and one on shapes, then we have one on diggers and one on trucks and cars. I have put two of these into the bag for on the train and the other two are in the case for on the way back! No doubt the boys will both get some new toys when we are away as James has been asking to go to the Lego store!

Fingers crossed that these keep the boys amused on the trains!

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Things To Do In London With Kids!

So half term is approaching and we are off to visit the in laws in Surrey. Since we have to go via London to their house and we have 4 days to fill while we are down we promised James a day out in London.

James has been obsessed with visiting London ever since they started learning about the Great Fire of London as part of their project at school last term.

Now this is where I got stuck! We have visited London many times as a couple pre kids but we have never actually gone with the kids!

We have a few places on our list to visit like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and of course Pudding Lane where the great fire started but that is it! So I turned to some of my fellow parent bloggers to get some tips and here's what I got! 

Nikki from https://yorkshirewonders.co.uk/ suggested a visit to Ripley's Believe it or Not. This is somewhere I have always wanted to visit but have never had the time! At the moment the boys are a bit young to visit, but it is definitely somewhere we can go in the future!

Katie from livinglifeourway.com suggested a visit to the Royal Parks if its a dry day! We are definitely going to be in the parks letting the boys have a run and burn off some energy!

Lynsey from https://mummythatsme.com says that the Science Museum is great and has lots of hands on exhibits! This is somewhere we would love to take the kids, but we know how busy it gets and since we will be traveling in from Surrey we probably won't have the time to queue up!

Samantha from  http://www.northeastfamilyfun.co.uk/ says how fun the childrens audio tour of the houses of parliament is! I think James would love something like that, Hopefully we can do it in the future when Freddie is a bit older!

Amy from www.allaboutamummy.co.uk suggested going to the National History Museum! Again this is somewhere we would love to visit but it is always really busy and you normally have to queue to get it! I don't think Freddie would be patient enough to wait!

I have plenty more tips from other parent bloggers that I couldn't fit in this post! There are so many things to do that I didn't have a clue existed! 

Check back in a few weeks to see exactly what we did on our day out in London!

Thursday, 1 February 2018

My Favourite Christmas Presents

So I have been toying with writing this for a while and I've finally found the time to sit down and write it!

So what were my favourite presents?


Number One: My Be necklace
This was in my gift bag of presents from Andy and the Boys. The small disk says Be and the larger disc says things like Kind, Strong, Happy etc. I absolutely love this and wear it most days!

Number Two: Earrings
I had been saying for months that I needed new earrings as Freddie had pulled some of mine out and had lost the backs. So for months I haven't worn a pair. I love these pearl earrings that Andy and the boys got me! I don't normally wear drop earrings but these are simply gorgeous and I have already worn them on a number of occasions including Christmas Day

Number Three: My Coat
My parents gave me money for christmas and I said I was going to put it towards a new coat! I got this one at Matalan in the Sales for £25 reduced from £45! This coat is so warm and so thick, so it keeps me nice and cosy on the school run.







Number Four: Our Calendar 
My best friend and her husband got us this for Christmas and I love it! I normally forget to buy a calendar till the middle of January! This one we can add photographs to so I'm going to add photos of the kids to it when I get a chance! It also comes with a pen which is brilliant as I can never find a pen when I want to put things onto the calendar! I already have it filled in with lots of important dates for our family for 2018!!



and Number Five: My Heart Necklace
This was another present from Andy and the boys. I have worn this a couple of times since I got it and its so beautiful! 

These are my favourite presents for Christmas!! The coat has got to be the best investment I made as I have not been cold on the school run!! And by wearing my Be Necklace it reminds me everyday to be strong, be thankful, be happy etc!