Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Stocking Fillers

Previous years I've never brothered with stocking fillers for the kids, we do always have stockings pinned up for decoration, but I have never actually filled them up for Christmas morning. I have thought about it, but never done it.  Well that changes this year, thanks to Stocking Fillers.

Stocking Fillers are on-line store that are dedicated to making shopping for Christmas stockings and presents that little bit easier. They have a huge range of toys, games, gadgets and more that make ideal stocking fillers for Christmas morning, and not just for kids.

You can either build your own stocking, choosing the items you would like to add, or you can choose a pre-filled stocking. I went for the pre-filled stocking, for ease. 

The stocking arrived packed to the rim, full of goodies, and by buying the pre-filled stocking you can save 33% on full priced individual items. The contents are always a surprise, you won't know what items are included and the items vary.

I ordered the Boys 3plus for Jacob, costing £20 and included in my stocking was:

  • Mix and match 5 bath time animal puzzles
  • Pack of 6 Christmas crayons
  • Bitting dinosaur – little game
  • A wind-up aeroplane
  • Tube of wild world safari animals
  • Pull back – London bus and taxi set
  • Little wooden box of Christmas dominoes
  • Spin-top
  • Christmas pencil and eraser
  • Box of farm cube puzzle
  • Pullback racing car
  • Pop-up smiley
  • Straw
  • Sealife foam ball small

I was really pleased with the stocking, and I know Jacob will love it on Christmas morning. The items don't come wrapped-up, so I will wrap each item, as I believe it will add to the excitement.  I am also going to order the 8plus each for Liam and Lewis.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

snapfish photo calendars

It's that time of the year, the end is near, and a new one looms.  Amidst all the crazy Christmas shopping and preparations, I will always find the time to order myself a photo calendar for the following new year, one with lots of photos of the kids, some great memories captured over the past 12 months - a great way to share and celebrate those memories, whether you're keeping the calendar for yourself, or ordering more than one to give to a family member, so they too can also enjoy the great photos.

snapfish are an on-line digital photo service with over 90 million users (Wow that says a lot) and with 1 billion photos stored on-line.  You can share, print and store all your photos in this one website. Snapfish offers professionally–developed digital camera prints, free online photo sharing, unlimited online photo storage, and a variety of personalised photo products: ranging from calendars, mugs and mousemats, to books and puzzles.

For this review I had to choose from their range of photo calendars.

Photocalendars start from £4.99:
  • Classic Calendars -  You can choose from hundreds of backgrounds, various layouts, and customise special dates - available in 3 different sizes
  • Kitchen Calendars - you can add important dates within your calendar.
  • Desk Calendars - perfect for personalising your office desk.
  • Poster Calendars - Add up to 30 photos to a collage poster calendar. Available in 3 different sizes
This year I've ordered two types of photo calendars: the classic calendar and a new one for me, the poster calendar. I had lots of fun changing and creating the background, adding the birthdays and any other important dates within the calendar, and finally choosing my favourite photos from the past year.  I found the whole process very easy, from uploading and storing the photos onto the snapfish website, to dragging and dropping the photos to be included in to my calendar, ready for it to be ordered.

This is the first time I have ordered from snapfish, and I have been impressed with the whole process, and I'm especially pleased with my finished calendars. The classic calendar will sit proudly on my shelf in my lounge and the poster calendar I have stuck on my fridge door; both places where I will capture glimpses as I potter around the house and that I know will make me smile each and everytime I see them.

Monday, 15 December 2014


With three active boys that love to play football together in the garden, I have lost count of the amount of times they have kicked the ball over the garden fence - one side into the neighbour's garden, the other side into the road.

After school, be it light or dark, Liam will gather his two younger brothers and all will play football in the garden.  They love having a kick about together, although sometimes Jacob gets quite angry when his two older brothers stick him the goal - he'd much rather be with them kicking and tackling them.

So when we received the OpenGoaaal net, the boys were quite excited and very anxious to get it up to start using it, however we had really wet weather, and our garden was saturated and being it clay mud, trying to pin anything into the ground, was a no go, so unfortunately we had to wait a couple of weeks for the ground to dry out somewhat.  Once it had dried out, we tested the spikes, which they held and we were able to erect the OpenGoaaal fully - to the boys delight.

It is recommendable for two people to put the goal up, my husband and my oldest son did it together, it took them a couple of hours, but the whole process is very clear and the instructions and on-line video helped alot.

The OpenGoaaal net is 10 feet high, and the whole structure is very sturdy, allowing the boys to belt some balls at the net, without fear of knocking the net over, or losing a ball. It stands perfectly and you can adjust the width to suit your garden - but there is a minimum width for it to work, so please check on the OpenGoaaal website beforehand, to make sure it will fit your garden.  It is available in two sizes, standard which costs £99 and the large which costs £119. The net slides open and closed like curtains, perfect for putting it away.

The net was up and the boys were straight outside giving it a try, and the final verdict is, they are very impressed. - We put it up at the minimum width, but in the spring/summer we do plan to widen it, so when the boys bounce on the trampoline kicking the ball whilst they are bouncing, to try and get a goal, the OpenGoaaal net will protect any stray flying balls getting kicked into next door neighbours garden (to their relief I am sure).

Final verdict, the boys appreciate the freedom it gives them to play football in our garden without the worry of losing the ball. They've had tons of fun since it has been up, even playing in the dark - I can't wait until spring/summer evenings when they can get out there in the light and enjoy it even more.

You can follow OpenGoaaal:

The boys playing with it in the dark

The First Hippo on the Moon review

The First Hippo on the Moon by David Walliam's and illustrated by Tony Ross, an explosively jolly space adventure for children of 3 and up. 

The story follows Hercules Waldorf-Franklin III, an extremely wealthy hippo who pays for a space centre to be built to launch him into space, and then there is Shelia, who lives in the jungle, and she enrols her jungle friends to build her a space rocket from trunks, vines and of course, dung.

Both hippos want to be known as the first hippo on the moon, and both land on the moon at the same time, however Hercules Waldorf-Franklin III demands to be the first hippo on the moon – but will Sheila the hippo let him get away with his demands...

Two big hippos.
One ENORMOUS dream.
Who can make it to the moon first?
3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .
Introducing a wonderfully charming and funny new picture book from two superstars!

The book has vibrant illustrations, which adds more to the story than just the words, allowing the children to interact and enjoy the book more. There are also LARGE words used through the pages, which also show the animation of the words, bringing the book more alive, and much more fun.

The kids enjoyed this one, they loved the pictures and laughed at the story. The book is a pleasure to read as it is always great to see them enjoying a story.

Month in review - November

November is the eleventh month of the year and is a month in autumn and with 31 days

November's birthstones are the topaz (particularly, yellow) which symbolises friendship and the citrine. The birth flower is the chrysanthemum and the zodiac signs are Scorpio (until November 21) and Sagittarius (November 22 onwards).
We have a few birthdays in November - my youngest son was 5, then we celebrate one of my brothers birthday, and one of my nephews.

What we have been up to:

The first weekend we visited our local amusement park, Pleasesurewood hills, to celebrate Halloween and to watch the firework spectacular.  We went along with some friends, it rained, but we did have a great day and the fireworks were fantastic.  

The big haircut - I had 6 inches chopped off and I am loving it, it is the first time I have had short hair since 20 years ago - it is so much easier to handle and I've found I am wearing my hair down a lot more - whereas before, 99% I used to pile my hair on top of my head.

Change of schools for Jacob - We got the phone call we had been waiting for and Jacob moved schools, he moved back to the school in which he went to nursery, where he couldnt' get a placement, so after a few months on the wait list, Jacob was finally able to move back to his old school and be with his old friends.

Jacob celebrated his 5th birthday - he had a fantastic day, had a little party at home, family and friends came around.  He is really into his Lego at the moment, so he got a few boxes of Lego, some more Imaginext to add to his collection, and the latest Skylanders Trap-team.

Unfortunately we had a grill fire in the kitchen, which was not a nice experience, the cooker caught alight and ruined my cooker - luckily we had product insurance.

I experienced my first time being trolled on the Internet - not nice, but I ignored, blocked and reported.

Aquaint alcohol free sanitiser

Aquaint is a 100% natural sanitising water that kills 99.9% of Bacteria in seconds. The water provides the base for it to be highly effective as a cleanser, and its only other ingredient, a natural acid (Hypochlorous Acid) which is produced in the human body to fight bacteria and germs, provides its anti-bacterial properties. These two ingredients come together to make an effective, safe and efficient versatile santiser.

Aquaint is endorsed by Allergy UK as an ‘Allergy Friendly Product’ and it is so safe it passed official UK Drinking Water tests - it is said to be the safest sanitiser available to buy.

  • Free from alcohol, fragrances, preservatives or nasty chemicals
  • Kind to the skin, and non-drying
  • No need to rinsed off
  • Gentle, powerful and safe
  • It is harmless if swallowed
  • Multiple uses at home, out and about and whilst travelling
  • Safe for children to use
  • It is as safe as drinking water
I've been using it on all sorts of surfaces around the house, from kitchen sink, to the bathroom sink and I even cleaned the toothbrushes. It is so versatile you can even spray it on yourself to deodorise and freshen the skin.

Available in two sizes, the spray bottle 500ml, and the portable bottle 50ml.  I keep the 500ml at home, and carry the 50ml in my handbag - perfect for some quick sanitising of any cafe tables, or to clean the kids hands when we are out and about.

Perfect for my sensitive, eczema prone skin and even more so to use around the children. I am really pleased with this product, and cannot recommend it high enough.

Available to purchase in Boots, Amazon and other high street stores, you can also purchase it directly from the Aquaint website, starting from £2.49 for the 50ml and £4.99 for the 500ml.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Silent Sunday