Monthly Archives: September 2012

Justin’s Funny Faces Sticker Book Review and Competition!

Justin Fletcher is a huge favourite in our household and so you can imagine the excitement when Justin’s new sticker activity book arrived for the boys to review!

E was desperate to have a go with the stickers and instantly set about creating a funny Pirate!

The stickers were easy enough to peel off, so when Boo was unhappy with E’s efforts we could peel them off and start again! The words on each page are great for encouraging reading, and for thinking about what the people in the pictures might be doing!

Our favourite picture had to be the monster and this is one of the versions we created:

We’ve really enjoyed the sticker book and it’s been ideal entertainment for the wet days we’ve experienced over the last week! I was impressed with the way the stickers do actually peel off so they can be re-used. This would make a fabulous Stocking Filler and keep the whole family giggling! The book is due to be released on the 4th October and will be available to buy from all good book stores! You can pre-order at Amazon.

If you want the chance to win a copy of your own enter via rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fabulous Four and starting the terrible Two’s.

Since starting school, Boo has become quite a little star. Obviously he has his moments where he won’t pick things up or decides he doesn’t want to go to bed, but generally school seems to be suiting him. His temper is improving meaning I can enjoy time with him, rather than constantly battling with him. He’s loving climbing onto my lap to tell me all about his day and asking what I’ve been doing, we talk to each other in a way we’ve never done before – or not that I’ve noticed until now anyway!

Elvis on the other hand, has hit the terrible twos early, he’s 20months, full blown tantrums currently are complete with screeching and writhing around on the floor while pounding the ground. I manage to let him ride out most tantrums, casually observing from a safe distance, and sighing with relief when they end with the need for a huge cuddle. I don’t remember Boo having such dramatic tantrums so early on, or being quite so needy for a cuddle afterwards, but I do remember finding tantrums very upsetting. I suppose partly as Elvis is the second child, I have atleast experienced some tantrums and therefore am slightly more relaxed with the idea that there is no point intervening (assuming they are not about to do themselves any harm of course!). Of course it’s not always a nightmare, infact apart from the tantrums from E both boys are really very good, and sometimes I have to remind myself how lucky I am to have two such fabulous sons!

The best part about the boys now being 4 and almost 2? It has to be the clear development in their social skills. They’re keen to play together, Boo usually is the leader in their games and while there is still a clear frustration when E doesn’t follow instruction, they’re getting there, and Boo is starting to show huge amounts of patience! The current favourite game seems to be Pirates and they chatter happily as they bombard the ‘ships’ with sand and the occasional bucket of water! I think E’s rapidly developing vocabulary is helping their play to advance to a new level, as they can communicate so easily now. Sometimes I think Boo wishes E hadn’t learnt to say his name quite so well as it gets shouted loudly, clearly and often as Boo runs to far ahead or climbs too high!

Cravendale Epic Straws – Beware of the Cats!

Our milk of choice is Cravendale, we drink loads of the stuff in tea and both boys love drinking it to! So when we got offered the chance for some free milk and to try out the new Epic Straws from Cravendale, we leapt at the chance (especially as we got to try them out before they’re officially released!).

The straws are sturdy and can be washed easily – they even arrive with a handy bag to store them in! They come with connectors as well as a diagram to assist you building a straw of epic proportions! Boo loved helping build this one:

But of course once you’ve built’ll want to build more!! So you can let imaginations run wild and get on with some construction resulting in a fun way to drink milk! We had fun building and drinking Cravendale via our Epic Straws, lots of laughter filled the house and then this happened:


Becareful People! You’ve been warned! The cats are after our Cravendale!

Find out more about Epic Straws from 24th September 2012.. #EpicStraws

Taking the Mickey! ~ Magpie Monday

I’ve been a bit quiet on the Magpie Monday posts for a few weeks, mostly because our purchases have been less exciting to read about and more about starting school or entertaining Elvis while Boo is at school.

However, this week I thought I’d share a few of our finds, as they really made me smile!

First of all there are these fabulous pasta dishes, they caught my eye and made me stop and look at them:

While they’re decorated with pasta shapes I think they have a seaside feel to them (i guess due to the pasta shell shapes!) and they’re divine to hold. £2 later and the set were mine, we eat tons of pasta so they’ve already been well used!

Elvis loves Mickey Mouse, and in our attempts to financially tighten our belt we’ve rid ourselves of Sky (their broadband was dismal and tv was pricey without it). So we happily purchased him this little collection of Mickey goodies to make up for the loss of his favourite Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!

At £3 for the lot we were all happy, and the huge 25cm tall Mickey Mouse survived the washing machine and is as good as new! Now Mickey gets dragged to every meal and has already made close aquaintance with the pasta dishes..!

Linking up with Liz for Magpie Monday pop over and see all the lovely things the Magpies have been buying!

Touch and Feel version of Dear Zoo! Book Review.

Can you believe that Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell has been entertaining little readers for 30 years? First published in 1982, over 5 Million copies have been sold worldwide, and its popularity shows no signs of fading! Dear Zoo has kept up with technology and produced an app for iPhone ideal for entertaining little ones on the move!

We were sent a copy of the new Dear Zoo touch and feel book, Elvis loves books, and he’s fascinated by Dear Zoo, so I was delighted to have an alternative copy which introduces new talking points about textures and continues to encourage making the right animal noises (or is that just our house.. Raaaaarr!).

My favourite part of the book has to be the Lion as I can catch fingers as they poke through the lions mouth – so yes our Lion bites – Rargh! E’s favourite, has to be the jumpy frog, he spends ages poking the frogs sticky feet! 

I have to admit that I still like the original version, and that I think we’d need both editions in our house as they serve different purposes! The touch and feel version is not ideal for a bed time book as we get a bit over excited reading it, but it’s fabulous for entertaining E while I’m waiting for Boo to come out of school. Boo is 4, and still enjoys the book to, and it’s helping him learn to identify simple words as well as talk about what he can see.

A huge thank you to Macmillan Publishers for sending us a copy of this lovely book to review!

Jingle Puzzle: Five Speckled Frogs! Review

Anything which encourages a love of music and especially singing is a good thing in my opinion, all too often I hear of children who have been told they can’t sing or they’re not musical. So the opportunity to review a Jingle puzzle was something I was keen to do!

The Jingle puzzle comes with a cd of songs, an activity sheet, stickers and most helpfully a word sheet! Everything is brightly coloured, and easy to follow, so even if you are a musical novice yourself you can still follow the pack! Also, the emphasis is on getting on and singing, so even if you can’t read music you can still join in with the songs!

The puzzle Boo found fairly easy, but it was a great way to get him talking about musical notation and how you read music as well as play games including both boys with the counting songs! The other songs on the cd are also mostly counting related and we learnt a few new songs along the way!  Boo has just found a confidence in his singing, and so really enjoyed loudly singing along with the CD, while E took a quieter approach but enjoyed listening. E has started to sing along when the CD is on without the puzzle, and I’m suprised how tuneful his singing is becoming!

The activity sheet was really useful, and my only complaint is that there is only one included, I ended up photocopying it so the boys could have one each. But obviously it would be even better if there was an option to print additional copies from their website? Boo has asked to play with the puzzle several times, and we have listened to the CD a lot since it arrived, so we’ve been singing the songs constantly since!

It is a great introduction to learning music, and could also be used to help slightly older children learning to read music in a fun way! Priced at £9.99 the Jingle Puzzles are good value, available from the Music Room, free delivery is available on orders over £15!

Disclaimer: We were sent a Jingle puzzle for the purposes of the review, all opinions are my own honest views of the product.

Home Visit – Starting Reception at Primary School

I’ve been quiet the last week on the blog and twitter, I have been busy preparing for Boo’s new teacher to come to visit. I have to be honest, the idea of having his teacher visit I found terrifying and invasive. I felt that Boo was going to be judged on the basis of how clean and tidy our home is, and hence my huge decluttering session.

I found myself anxiously cleaning the skirting boards with wet wipes, cleaning the windows of any tiny smears and polishing the dining room table…(after of course clearing the dining room table of all Boo’s craft projects!). Mr G is normally a pillar of calm, but I even made him anxious, suddenly deciding he must redecorate the dining room in case she didn’t approve of our choice of dramatic colour scheme. We found ourselves arguing over whether we should offer her a cup of tea in a mug or the best china, should we greet her in our normal clothes or dress up for her arrival?! So when she arrived in her casual clothes and merrily greeted us with a huge smile, while the learning support assistant sat down and entertained Boo and E with a huge basket of toys, we breathed a small huge sigh of relief.

No white gloves checking for dust, no raised eyebrows at our choice of artwork adorning the walls and shelves, all she wanted to know was about Boo. Not what he could do academically, but a bit about who he is, what he doesn’t like, and how we’d describe him. Describing him was harder than we anticipated, the words ‘sporty’ ‘confident’ ‘active’ ‘competitive’ were thrown around, and then I wittered off into talking about how he liked to do puzzles and ‘small lego’.

The discussion then turned to what they will be learning for the first term, it was all about making their own play dough and baking. I remembered my fear that I hadn’t done enough with him to be ready for school, and smiled as I realised we’ve done lots of baking and making our own play dough, so for the first few weeks at least he’ll be OK! Now I just need to address my fear of the school gates on Boo’s first day!

The Great Declutter..

Since having children, I’ve realised that I am living in the world of clutter. I refuse to get rid of anything which might be useful at a later date! This has led to many arguments with Mr G who is a minimalist by nature, and famously threw the Christmas presents away one year as the bag was ‘in his way’.. After a conversation with a very dear blogging friend, I decided that enough was enough, the time had come when I had to deal with my clutter. If I considered how many “things” were really important or exceptionally special to me, i could count them on one hand, so how come my house is overflowing?

While Mr G has been out at work I have cleared an entire cupboard, and already can feel the veil of doom lifting! To be able to open the cupboard without being attacked by a box of oddments in our house is a miracle, and I have tackled the worst cupboard today! Hooray! Go me! The charity shop were delighted to get new stock, and someone will be delighted with whatever oddment they might find on their next visit there!

When the children go to bed this evening, I’m going to take the opportunity to deal with the corner of doom – otherwise known as the toy box. I feel ashamed at how many toys they have, and all the toddler and baby toys are sat taking up space when realistically neither child plays with them anymore. I intend to take advantage of Ebay offering free listing until the 9th September and get listing, as the cash would come in handy with Boo starting school and needing new school shoes!

Right on time a charity bag has been popped through the letter box and the bag will be collected on time to fill it with the outgrown clothes and clothes which I haven’t worn since becoming a Mummy to Boo in 2008…yes..4 years on there are still some hiding at the back of the wardrobe!

Tomorrow I intend to tackle my shoe collection, something which I have been avoiding for far to long..wish me luck!