Tuesday, 12 November 2019

(AD) Christmas Gift Guide for 4 Year Olds

So its Christmas, well it will be in around four weeks and its time for us here at victoriahockley.co.uk to publish our Christmas gift guides for 2019!

Today I am featuring gifts that are suitable for four year old boys and girls. Freddie isn’t actually four yet and wont be for another couple of weeks, so some of these gifts could also be used as fourth birthday presents as well!

The first item is the Pink Fong Baby Shark Song Puppet. Freddie is totally obsessed with Baby Shark and will constantly dance around doing the dance routine when it is played in the house. 

If we are early for picking up James from school he will often sit on the chairs by the back gate and ask me to put Baby Shark on YouTube for him. To use the puppet you move the mouth to start up the music of the entire song. 

Basically the faster you move the shark’s mouth, the faster the song will play or the slower you move its mouth the slower the song will play! I think this will be a huge hit with Freddie and probably also James who is seven!

Next we have the Mr Tumble learning pad. This comes with six activities to choose from including learning numbers, colours, shapes, letters and much more! 

Freddie has just started at our school nursery so something like this I think will help him so much, especially has the foundation curriculum has changed so much since James was in nursery, now children are expected to know how to write their own names before they move into reception class, which I think is crazy as James couldn't really write his own name till half way though reception. But he was the youngest in his class and was virtually a year younger than some of his classmates!

Next we have The Amazing Mystery Box. This product was originally launched in 2015 at Comic Con in London. 

Boxes can be bought on a subscription or as a one off. The box we received was the 24.99 one off box, with the value of the items being around £40. The items we received are fantastic. There are two model engines, a drink cup, a wallet, a backpack and a colour in table cloth which can be washed and recoloured! 

I have also been looking on their website and there are a few boxes that would be fantastic for James. As a special treat The Amazing Mystery Box have given us the code MYSTERYBLINDBAG and they will add in an extra treat with any box ordered!

**We were sent these items free of charge in exchange for featuring in this Christmas 2019 Gift Guide for Four Years Plus**

Monday, 11 November 2019

Living Arrows 2019 45/52

Welcome to Living Arrows post 2019! If you haven't heard of the linky before, This was set up by Donna at What the Redhead Said and the name comes from the poem by Kahlil Gibran "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth" Each week I post one photo of James and one photo of Freddie and share what they have been up to that week!

Today is 11/11 where we remember all who lost their lives in conflict. Yesterday mummy and James took part in Remembrance Sunday with our Beaver colony. It sounds so odd saying our colony. James did us all proud wearing full dress uniform despite the cold! Mummy has lots of memories of taking part in local services when she was in the Scouts and Guides. 

Freddie had a fantastic week back at nursery. He was thrilled to see all his little friends again after being apart for a week! He came out of school on Monday literally covered in mud and sand! I have no idea what he had been up to!! He literally seems to attract mud wherever he goes! In fact mummy had to wash a pair of school trousers every day as he came home so muddy! Freddie is also a little climber and he has started to use our empty wine rack in the kitchen to climb the door frame!

Living Arrows

Monday, 4 November 2019

Living Arrows 2019 44/52

Welcome to Living Arrows post 2019! If you haven't heard of the linky before, This was set up by Donna at What the Redhead Said and the name comes from the poem by Kahlil Gibran "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth" Each week I post one photo of James and one photo of Freddie and share what they have been up to that week!

This week the boys are back to school after lovely half term visiting Nana and Gaga. We all had dentist appointments on the Monday and then on the Tuesday mummy and the boys went to a local big Asda while nana and gaga did some messages. 

On Tuesday afternoon we took the boys across to Amble to go for a walk around the harbour and into the braid and the marina. Freddie managed to find some huge puddles, so much so that all the splashing actually filled his wellies with muddy water! Both boys were stripped out of their trousers and boots once we got back to the car!

Now we are on the count down to Freddie's fourth birthday which is in Three weeks eek!

Living Arrows

Our Great North Elmer Parade

So its the fourth of November and the Great North Elmer Parade finished three days ago! I thought it would be a good idea to put all our Elmer photos in one place so we can see how many we found!

These first three were actually found before the trail officially launched!

19th August 2019

29th August 2019

7th September 2019


5th October

So we found 14 of the big Elmer's and 15 of the mini Herd! I think for us this was pretty good, especially as the trail started right at the end of the summer holidays so we didn't actually have time to go hunting once the boys were back at school!

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Blogtober Day Thirty One!

Its Day Thirty One! We have reached the last day of October and the final post of Blogtober 2019! 

I am so thrilled to have completed the challenge this year So our final Blogtober Post I am going to write about what the boys are wearing for Halloween.

After recent circumstances, James school decided not to have the Halloween party for Years One to Six and instead they just had a school disco. But there was a Halloween party at Beavers for James. 

James left getting his costume up to mummy and all I got told was it had to have a mask. So this year James is going as a glow in the dark skeleton. Mummy has also bought him some glow in the dark slap bands and some Halloween glow stick necklaces.

For Freddie, Nursery had a Halloween dress up day. Trying to find a costume for Freddie that was in two separate parts so he could still go to the toilet was so hard. So Freddie went to Nursery dressed as a spider! He looked so adorable.

We have brought both costumes to nana and gaga's house so the boys could wear them to show nana and gaga.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Blogtober Day Thirty

So today I am going to write about Pintrest!I have been on Pintrest for a few years now and I love it! 

When we were going on holiday last year, I was addicted to Pintrest for finding ways to entertain the kids in the airport, what to pack for them etc

I also searched the resort we were staying in to get lots of idea's about things we could do while we were there. 

I also used it when we were going to Alton Towers with the kids a few years ago. Again this was to get idea's on how to keep the kids entertained on the coach for six hours and what we would need to pack for them in the suitcase. 

Another trip I used it to get idea's for was for when we were traveling on the trains to and from Surrey to visit Andy's family. 

Travelling with the kids is the main time we use it to get idea's, especially if it is a long trip like the coach to Alton Towers or the train to London.

So for me I use Pintrest to get ideas for travelling.

I have now also set up a board called Scouting. Since I am becoming an assistant leader with James Beaver group I have been looking on Pintrest to get some ideas on things we can do with the kids to go towards their badges.

What do you use Pintrest for?

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Four Signs You Child Is Ready For A Dog

Are the kids asking you for a puppy? Any pet is a big responsibility for a child, and a dog needs a lot of care. If the time is right, caring for a dog can be a good way to teach your children responsibility, and how to look after animals, but if they’re not ready, it can end up with you being the only one who takes care of the dog. 

Image - free for commercial use

You’ll need to feel confident that the kids can be in charge of feeding, walking and cleaning
up after the dog, with only minimal help from you. Here are the best signs that they’re ready. 

1. They’ve done their research. A dog is a lot of work, but it’s a good sign if your child has gone away and done their own research about dog ownership. Have they looked into what breed might suit the family best or researched local rescue centres or puppy breeders? Do they know all about different toys, dog beds and food brands like James Wellbeloved? Have they thought about where they could walk the dog or whether the house is suitable for one? If they’ve done their homework, this is a good sign that they’re aware of the responsibilities of dog care and aren’t just thinking about a cute puppy to play with. 

2. They’re well behaved around other dogs. If you have friends or family who have a dog, take note of how your child behaves around them. Do they hassle the dog to make it play with them, or do they patiently wait for the dog to approach them? Are they respectful of the dog’s space? Are they kind to it and interested in looking after it? If they can’t behave nicely with someone else’s dog, they’re not ready for a dog of their own. It’s important for children to know how to interact with dogs safely, like knowing how to safely approach them and how to pet them nicely. If they can’t do this, you run the risk of them being injured by the dog if they aggravate it.

3. Are they responsible? If the children are going to be in charge of caring for a dog, you need to know that they’re responsible enough for the care. If they’re already responsible around the house, this is a good sign. If they’re happy to help with things like doing dishes or other chores, then they should be able to manage looking after their dog. Kids of all ages can help with the dog, so don’t let them off. Even toddlers can do things like fill water dishes, or brush the dog, whereas older children can manage walks and cleaning up after them.

4. You’re willing to help. Small children can’t be expected to care solely for a pet, so you will need to be ready to step in and help. Even older children may need help sometimes whether with the cost of dog ownership or with dog care when they’re busy with their studies.

**Collaborative Post**

Blogtober Day Twenty Nine

Its day twenty nine! We are almost at the end of Blogtober 2019! 
Today the prompt I am using is "Instagram Round up!"

Over the last couple of years, Instagram has become one of my favourite social media platforms. Its become my favourite as I have it attached to both my  Blog Facebook page and my Twitter account so anything I post on Instagram will go directly to them both to save me going onto each platform individually and reposting!

I also use Instagram to keep up with what my favourite musicians, bloggers and sports stars are up to! I have seen loads of photos of one of my favourite musicians who has been on tour in Asia and is currently in Australia. I have also kept up with Manchester United via Instagram and of course my blogging friends!

First thing in the morning I check Instagram to see what has been happening on the tour in Australia and see what I also check to see what has been posted to Instagram stories the evening before. I then try and post to Instagram stories either via photos and or text. I have really taken a liking to posting on Instagram stories as I don't have a camera that I can do proper vlogging on. 

So what are my favourite Instagram pages?

First off I love Katie Ellison. Katie is a mum of 3 based in the UK. Her feed is gorgeous, a mix of home, lifestyle and her three gorgeous kids, 

Another page I love is Mrs Meldrum. Rebecca is another UK mum, based in North East Scotland. She has three gorgeous little girls, Her oldest is a few months older than James

Then we have the Manchester United official Instagram page. This page posts a lot of photos from match day and also behind the scenes. 

Finally we have Ada & Alfred. This is the page for my friend Alex's shop. I have bought a few bits from her in the past and currently I am using my Fierce and Female backpack most days. When we go out as a family I can fit our medical kit and a spare set of clothes for Freddie in and still its only half full!

Tell me below who or what your favourite Instagram pages are!

Monday, 28 October 2019

Living Arrows 2019 43/52 - Blogtober Day Twenty Eight

Welcome to Living Arrows post 2019! If you haven't heard of the linky before, This was set up by Donna at What the Redhead Said and the name comes from the poem by Kahlil Gibran "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth" Each week I post one photo of James and one photo of Freddie and share what they have been up to that week!

Today's post is also my Day Twenty Eight post for Blogtober 2019!

This week is Half Term for the boys so we have come to visit nana and gaga!

James last week had a disco at school on Monday night. It was a wear it blue night in memory of the little girl who died as blue was her favourite colour. James also had his fancy dress/Halloween party at Beavers! It was also his two leaders last night before our two new leaders and mummy as assistant take over after half term!

Freddie last week had a lovely time at nursery. He had his nursery rhyme challenge where all the kids sang nursery rhymes for the parents. Freddie was a bit shy and grumpy and cried a little bit. He also had his fancy dress Halloween theme day where he went dressed as a spider!

Living Arrows

Sunday, 27 October 2019

#ACEWinterRefresh Challenge!

Winter is almost upon us and with that comes even more washing than normal!

Freddie started the school nursery in September and with that came another two school jumpers, two extra pairs of trousers and five more polo tops! 

Not to mention the fact Freddie then gets changed into normal clothes when he gets home, so there is basically double the amount of washing from him! Then of course you have to add in the fact James goes swimming on a Wednesday morning with school so we have a set of swim shorts and a towel to wash every week as well!

Unlike James, Freddie seems to only get one day out off his trousers and jumper! In fact there was one day before half term he came home with mud up the inside of his trousers legs so they had to be washed that night to make sure he had a clean spare pair for the rest of the week!

We've been using Ace for Colours powder on the boys school clothes and it has certainly been refreshing them, and keeping the colours of the jumpers and of course the school logo nice and bright especially when they are being washed every other day! The towel James uses for swimming comes out of the wash so soft and smelling lovely!

Ace for colours has definietley been helping us and I plan to keep using it to keep the uniforms nice and refreshed!

**This post is an entry for the BritMums #ACEWinterRefresh Challenge, sponsored by ACE for Colours Powder. Get help for all kinds of stains with the ACE Stain Helper http://www.acecleanuk.co.uk/ and pick up the range at your nearest Morrison’s store or buy online on Amazon.**

Blogtober Day Twenty Seven

Today the prompt is "Favourite Ways to Relax".

So for me the best and easiest way to relax is to put my headphones in, open up Spotify and chose a playlist, then open up my kindle app and chose a book!

Yep I am one of those boring people who gets relaxed when reading. I have been known to start reading a book on my app and actually fall asleep with my phone in my hand. 

The best bit is that the kindle app keeps my place, so unlike a physical book where if I fall asleep I lose my place as I tend to drop the book. I can re open the app and the book is still at the same place!

My favourite author has to be Cathy Glass, who writes about the real life experiences she has as a foster parent.
So yes the best way to relax is to read and listen to music. What does everyone else do?

Saturday, 26 October 2019

(AD) Paperless Post

These days everyone is all about doing things online, and paper invites or cards can be ignored. So when Paperless Post got in touch with us to see if we wanted to try out their service we jumped at the chance. 

 Paperless post is all about sending cards, invites and even flyers by email. You can send all sorts of cards, invites, flyers etc by Paperless Post. 

When you register on the site you get credited 25 coins and more coins can be purchased, starting at £8. 

We decided to use Paperless Post to design an invite to a tea party for Freddie's up coming fourth birthday to send to Nana and Gaga.

The design we looked at first was baby shark, but we then decided to go for something different. We then chose a space themed card which was fantastic! Freddie absolutely loves rockets and most things space related!

As you are making edits to the card, in the top right hand corner it shows you how many coins your card will cost you to send to each recipient. So the invited we designed for Freddie's birthday would cost 6 coins per recipient.

Over all we really enjoyed trying out Paperless Post. It is such a good idea, I've lost count of the amount of times James has been invited to parties and we have ended up losing the invite!! At least with using Paperless Post the invite will stay in your email inbox and you can set reminders for it!

And since we have some coins left over from making the invite for Freddie's birthday, We will use them to make some Christmas cards since we are so lax at actually writing and posting them to our friends and family!

**We were credited with Paperless Post Coins in exchange for this Review**

Blogtober Day Twenty Six

Day Twenty Six, we are almost at the end of Blogtober - We have five days to go!

Today I am going to talk about the boys favourite toys.

First of all we have CB.
James has had CB or to give him his full name Cranberry Bear since he was around fifteen months old. We got him one day when we were in Newcastle at Card Factory and James literally fell in love with him and he took him everywhere! CB went to nursery every day with James. He has been so well loved and James hates to be apart from him. He has even been on the two Beaver camps that James has already been on and he's recently been to Kielder on the school residential.

Then we have Moo.
Freddie has lots of different teddies, but he never really took to any of them till he got Moo. He won Moo on a hook a duck at our local community fair in August 2018 and he literally fell in love with him! He takes Moo with him most days with him. Quite often he will leave Moo at home but virtually every day he does take Moo with him!

Both boys take their CB and Moo to bed with them every night, so they are both very well loved. Moo has had a few drys in the tumble dryer from when hes got wet in the rain or he has needed a sponge bath after hes had food dropped on him!

What are your kids like with their Teddies?

Friday, 25 October 2019

Blogtober Day Twenty Five

Today the prompt is "Counting Down"

James has been counting down to the school half term holiday which they actually broke up from school for yesterday.

It has been such a long and stressful half term, not just for James with having his teeth out, but for the school community in general after the tragic death of a pupil in our school.

Both the boys are so tired and are ready to have a break, although I expect that Freddie will not take to kindly to being off school for a week. He has really settled into the nursery but he is so tired when he gets home and he refuses to have a nap meaning he is asking to go to bed at half past five, then he is normally wide away at half past five in the morning. 

We are now also on the one month count down to Freddie turning four! It is exactly one calendar month today till our little dude is four years old! James is very excited for his brother turning four, we have started buying his birthday presents and James has chosen to get him a toy skip lorry!

I expect once we have had Freddie's birthday, both the boys will be counting down to Christmas!

What is everyone else counting down too?

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Blogtober Day Twenty Four

Today the Blogtober prompt is "Christmas"

I have to admit I have started sorting bits out for the boys for Christmas. The main problem we have for Christmas is Freddie having his birthday literally a month before Christmas day on 25th November.

As the boys are getting older we are starting to shop for them in the same age brackets for toys. Everything that James see's that he wants, Freddie then starts shouting that he wants it as well! The latest from James is playmobile based on Dreamworks Dragon. He loves that show so much, but Freddie rarely watches it yet he still wants some of the toys. The ones that James is pointing out that he wants are over £30!

Freddie is totally crazy about Hey Duggee, so I think a lot of the things he gets for Christmas is going to be related to that. He also loves the switch and go Dino that James got for his birthday, so if he doesn't get one of them for his birthday he will probably get one for Christmas. 

This year James will be taking part in the Key Stage Two Christmas performance at school so I will have two different performances to go to as Freddie will be part of the Foundation unit and Key Stage One. Freddie will also hopefully get to go see Santa at the school Christmas fair, which is for nursery to year two kids. Last year Freddie went to see Santa with playgroup and he cried the whole time we were there! We also went to a local garden centre to see Santa and he was ok, he didn't cry, but he didn't go into the grotto, He stood at the door with daddy and looked inside lol!

This year we have my parents coming to us for Christmas lunch which I am really excited about. They came to us for lunch a couple of years ago and it was so much fun! The boys had a great time and I really enjoyed cooking a full Christmas meal!

So what has everyone else got planned for Christmas? Let us know in the comments below!!

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Blogtober Day Twenty Three

Today the prompt I am using is "Weather"

So as most people know I live in the North East of England and the weather here is at the moment so cold! I know its only October but the temperatures have really dropped drastically and its now only getting to about 13 degrees during the day!

The boys are already wearing hats, scarfs and gloves to school some days. Our winters have definitely got colder over the last few years. Especially February and March, thats the months that the North East has had its snow! 

When James was in Year One the snow was so bad around us that the head teacher closed the school for two days as it was unsafe not only for the staff to drive to the school, but it was unsafe for the pupils and their families to walk to the school. We only live five minutes walk from the school front gates and it was so bad to walk. Freddie was only two so was still using a pushchair to get to and from his playgroup and we literally couldn't push it. I had to try and carry Freddie to playgroup on the Wednesday morning, then on the lunch time we got a message that the school was letting the kids go from 2pm so I had to go up and get James. Then I had to go round to the playgroup to pick up Freddie. 

I am really hoping we do not get as bad a winter this year as we had then, as having two boys off school will be a nightmare as they both love school and really miss it when they are not there!

So please keep your fingers crossed that winter 19/20 is not too bad for us!

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Blogtober Day Twenty Two

Day Twenty Two! We are nine days from the end of the month, which means nine days from completing Blogtober 2019!

Today the prompt I am using is "Day Tripping"

The last time we actually went on any sort of day trip was last year when we were in Majorca and we spent the day in Palma Aquarium.

It was absolutely amazing. We must have spent at least 45 minutes sitting in front of the eight meter deep shark tank! James was totally memorised by the sharks, some which were actually bigger than him! In fact some of the fish that were in the tanks were bigger than Freddie!

I really hope we can go back to Majorca in the next couple of years and hopefully go back to the aquarium. We missed out on doing the glass bottomed boat on the shark tank as Freddie was too young. 

They have something new there now called Aquadome, which is a 3D show about the humpbacked whale!

These are two of my favourite images from our Day Trip to Palma Aquarium!

Freddie staring into the tank

The Jelly Fish Tank