Category Archives: Pregnancy & Parenting

Finding The Right Childcare.

Collaborative Post

Childcare is one of those things every parent struggles with from time to time. Whether it is trying to decide what type of childcare works best for your situation, or trying to decide how best to provide childcare for a child who just needs after school care. Child care is such an individual choice. So, how should you go about deciding on what child care will be best suited to your needs?

What type of child care is available?

Consider what options you have available to you locally, this maybe a day centre, child minder, nanny or pre-school. Of course you may be limited by what is on offer locally to you, and what is best suited to the age and needs of your child. Personally, I found that asking other parents about their experiences was a great way of gaining ideas.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Deciding factors!

For my daughter I settled on a pre-school which fitted in well with school drop off and collection for my older children. I didn’t want to have to drive far between drop offs, so location was an important deciding factor! I needed to be able to drop her off before or after the school run. Pre-school also meant she got to mix with lots of children, and as she was talking from a young age I felt this was a really important thing for her! The hours the pre-school offered were very similar to school hours, so worked well for our needs, but may not have suited everyone.

Cost is obviously a big factor in deciding on what child care will work for you. Don’t automatically assume that one type of childcare will be better value than another, investigate all options! As you may be surprised by what you can afford – especially if you are looking for options which will cover you in the school vacations too.

What should you be asking when looking into childcare?

This is really one of those questions which I can’t answer as your questions will be specific to your needs and the needs of your child. Some questions you may like to ask are; Do you provide lunch? What types of activities do you offer? How do you document my child’s progress? What are your rates and how do you take payment? ( What payment do they want in advance!).

Where to find help on what childcare to choose?

Consider using a site like toddle.com.au they have over 40 years combined experience working in child care, and have a wealth of knowledge. They also have some great blogs on how to deal with problems such as separation anxiety in toddlers which is well worth a read! You can also ask local parents on their experiences, which can be especially helpful when looking at childminders. Just remember that every family is different, and your childcare needs may be very different to another family. You may also find that a combination of childcare options works best – and that’s ok to!

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Treasure X Aliens Review

My 9 year old saw Treasure X Aliens advertised on television, and thought they looked great fun! So we were delighted when we were asked to review them!

Treasure X Aliens are a collectable toy, packaged in a plastic egg and containing a slime guzzling alien toy! If you’re looking for a chocolate free alternative for Easter eggs, this may be a good solution, as they would be great fun for children to find on an egg hunt!

How do Treasure X Aliens work?

Open up the outer plastic egg to reveal a squidgy egg inside.

The squidgy egg needs to be squeezed then the alien will burst out! When you squeeze the squidgy egg you can see your alien ready to burst free!

We put down some paper before doing this bit, as I didn’t want slime all over the furniture! The alien slime actually bursts out quite slowly, meaning the slime can be contained! The slime is really smooth, colourful and stretchy to play with. It is quite sticky, but that makes it relatively easy to clean off smooth surfaces, unlike some other slime we’ve played with!

Mixed in amongst the slime is the alien and an alien treasure! We didn’t find a rare crystal but hopefully we might one day!

What are the aliens like?

The aliens are fun to look at, made of a firm but squeezable plastic. The absolute best bit is they are able to suck up the slime they arrived in! We loved watching the alien suck up the slime, and then spit it out again!

Ignoring the children, I confess I found this bit great fun! Some aliens seem to suck up the slime better than others, and it is a bit of a slow process but almost like magic!

Treasure X Aliens are a pocket money toy with an RRP of £4.99, they could also be a great party favour! We think they are great fun. I loved that the plastic egg could be used to store the alien and slime safely. There are 12 to collect, and they are available at Smyths Toy Superstores now.

Uni-Verse Surprise Unicorn Toy Review

Uni Verse Toys

If you have a child who loves unicorns, they need to discover UniVerse Collectable surprise unicorns! These are blind bag collectable toys, each containing a unicorn with a quirky character! We were delighted to be sent some to review! So, how do they work?

Revealing the UniVerse Unicorns!

Unwrap the packet to reveal a cloud with an emoji face, this is all soft – like a cloud might be! My daughter thought the cloud was really sweet, she was reluctant to drop it into water to dissolve!

Drop the cloud into water and let it dissolve. The water magically changes colour! Giving a clue as to which land the unicorn you are about to reveal will be from! The water turns to slime once the cloud is fully dissolved. Then reveals the packets with the unicorn and accessories in! This stage is quite messy, so make sure you do it on a covered surface, or a surface which is easy to wipe clean.

The Unicorns!

Lift the bag out, and open to reveal the colourful bags with the unicorn, accessories and scratch card in.

There is an accessory to go on the unicorn’s horn and one for it to hold in it’s mouth.

We were excited to reveal a gamer unicorn, who came with a remote and lunch box! I think this one was all of our favourite!

There are over 40 unicorns to collect, each one has a quirky look! I love the look of the ones from Glam-a- Ganza Land in particular!

The unicorn toys themselves are great fun, the accessories make them really quirky. No two unicorns look the same, they’re different shapes, colours and like different things – this was something I thought was really good. The slime I found very messy, but it was quite a fun and unique part of revealing the unicorn. My daughter thought the slime was amazing fun, although she was sad she couldn’t keep it to play with again. There was quite a lot of plastic waste, multiple packets containing bits, great fun for revealing the toy surprise, but quite wasteful. The unicorns themselves are really lovely, and I think they will be played with frequently – especially by mixing and matching the accessories between them all!

Baa Baa Bubbles Game Review.

Baa Baa Bubbles Game review – game received for purposes of review.

If you’re looking for a family game to enjoy this Christmas look no further than Baa Baa Bubbles from Spinmaster Toys.

This simple to play game will have everyone laughing as you try to avoid being the player who makes the sheep sneeze and lose her wool!

Setting up the game was simple, we did find we need to add quite a coating of bubble mixture when we first set up the game. I’m not sure whether we covered the sheep enough or whether the bubble dabber wasn’t flowing as well as it could be – or perhaps both?

The aim of the game is to end up with the highest number of points. You get the points by successfully ‘feeding’ the sheep the number of times stated on the meadow cards. If the sheep sneezes on your turn to feed her, then you get no points! Here’s a short video of what happens when she sneezes and loses her wool (aka bubbles!).

At the end of play it’s simple to pack away, just remember to rinse of the bubble residue.

We absolutely love the game, it is perfect if you have younger members of the family. It is easy to understand, encourages counting and taking turns, but is also great fun!

Mr Kipling Cake Stand Review

We were excited to receive the Casdon Mr Kipling Cake Stand to review! My daughter – age 5 – is still very into imaginative play, and will often lay out a tea party or picnic for us all to enjoy. So this set was greeted with much enthusiasm! The set is suitable for age 3+.

Casdon Mr Kipling Cake Stand

It’s easy to put together, then attach the Mr Kipling stickers – although it does need a grown-up to click the stand together firmly. It comes with 10 replica Mr Kipling cakes! The cakes are really realistic, and my children thought it was great fun being able to identify the Mr Kipling cakes!

This is not just a imaginative play toy, but also a clever shape sorter! (I love toys which have multiple ways to play!) On the bottom of each cake is a shape which corresponds with a shape on the stand. This makes a great game, and as some shapes repeat it allows the stand to be arranged in a couple of different ways too. The shape sorter makes it ideal for pre-schoolers to play with.

It is perfect for imaginative play, as it provides the most fabulous afternoon tea for the toys! It’s also decorative so when it’s been left on the coffee table it actually looks quite sweet! (Literally!).

The set is light, so it is easy to carry around and perfect for little hands to manage to serve cakes from the cake stand.

The Mr Kipling Cake Stand is great fun, easy to wipe clean – (when play gets over enthusiastic and an angel slice gets dunked in your actual cup of tea…) But most important, it has been enjoyed by all of our family.

The terrible twos…

I think the terrible twos have arrived. Frustration of wanting to communicate, but not quite being able to has started to see tantrums being thrown by my youngest child. It feels as though he has gone from baby to toddler in the blink of an eye. Suddenly he is harder to entertain and fiercely independent. The pushchair is now redundant – he must walk everywhere. When he tires he simply sits down on the floor wherever he is – and will shriek when he is gathered up to be carried.

Toddler Climbing..

Today has been a challenge, he has discovered he can climb with ease up the radiator onto the windowsill. The radiator thankfully was cold, but he had scaled it within moments while I vacuumed the rug in the same room. I swung round to see him attempting to stand on the windowsill. Pointing with delight at the hen who was watching him from the garden. Having told him off, and distracted him with a toy car, the next attempt at climbing was over a stair-gate. I have never experienced a toddler attempting to clamber over the stair-gate, and he’s not even age 2 yet…he is 22months!

There’s also the biting, hitting and kicking. N has taken to hitting and kicking everyone when he gets told off. He has also started to try to bite. It’s horrible! I was hoping we might miss this stage! I’ve had to explain to my 8 year old that he can’t hit back, as it reinforces the idea that it’s ok! Currently, when N hits out the children will tell him to stop, and if he does it again then they will walk away from him. This usually results in N crying – but it does stop the hitting out.

Communication

I think, once N starts to talk a little more, the terrible twos may start to be easier to handle. I try to take a breath and talk to him asking him what he needs. One of the tantrums this week, was as he wanted to watch a certain thing on the television again. I spent a few minutes trying to work out what the problem was, then he started to point and say “Gen” ohhh he means “again?” he looked and excitedly replied “Yea” – iPlayer on and problem solved! But sometimes the tantrums are not so easy to resolve – especially when they are over someone elses LEGO car or a school book. But, they’re lessons which he needs to learn – not everything is his. I think though, Christmas may be very interesting!

Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Glitter Salon – and Series 6 Royal Snowball 4 pack Review

Hatchimals have been popular with my daughter for a while! We were delighted to be able to review the new Hatchimals Glitter salon and a 4 pack of the NEW Royal Snowball Hatchimals Collection!

Excitingly, there are two Hatchimals included with the Glitter Salon which are exclusive to that set!

The set comes with a Hatchimal, a Hatchimal egg, accessories, glitter, glue, a brush and the salon.

My daughter couldn’t wait to hatch the Hatchimal egg! Remembering to rub the heart until it changes colour – then it was ready to hatch!

Inside the egg she was overjoyed to discover an elephant hatchimal and two accessories! She couldn’t wait to try it out in the glitter salon!

Hatchimal Glitter Salon

To use the salon, I would suggest covering your play area with something you don’t mind getting a little glittery! We put half a bag of glitter into the dome, then carefully painted a little glue onto the areas we wanted to make glittery! The glue was easy to apply in a bottle which looked like a nail varnish bottle.

Once you’ve added your glue, pop your Hatchimal carefully into the stand and into the dome, ready to be made glittery!

It is then as simple as press the button to make the glitter spin around and make your Hatchimal all glittery!

We left the Hatchimal in the dome for a couple of minutes before lifting it out – just to make sure it was dry. Lifting the dome out may require a bit of adult assistance to avoid glitter spillage! The end result was great and my daughter was delighted! Any excess glitter can be brushed off carefully using the brush included!

We love the Hatchimals Glitter Salon! It is simple and fun to use. No batteries are required – huge bonus! I also love that there is in-built storage for the Hatchimal accessories! I’m forever saying ‘please put the accessories away – they’ll get lost!’ for all toys! Then a few days later we have tears as one has been lost and we spend hours looking for them… But the Hatchimals Glitter Salon has plenty of storage for accessories!

My daughter and I love being able to add the accessories to the Hatchimals to give them a different look!

Season 6 Royal Snowball 4 Pack

I can’t quite believe we are on to season 6 of the Hatchimals! Season 6 feature The Royal Hatch Snowball Collection!

We excitedly opened the eggs, which characters would we discover inside?

Huge excitement as we revealed an ice-skating Hatchimal! Complete with stand so it can stand up!

We found a fuzzy soft one which came with a snowman!! I think this may be my favourite!

Huge squeals as we hatched a glittery monkey with a pink gem! This one is my daughters favourite!

We love the Hatchimals Royal Hatch Snowball Collection and I think another set may well be on my daughters Christmas list! All of the none glittery or fuzzy Hatchimals could be used in the Glitter salon too, so I can see that being used a lot over the next months! Great fun!

Ice Age: Scrat’s Nutty Adventure Game – Review

Disclaimer: Game Code Received For Review

We were so excited to get to review a copy of Ice Age: Scrat’s Nutty Adventure! It’s available on Nintendo Switch, XBOX One, Playstation 4 and PC, suitable for age 7+. We have reviewed it on XBOX One.

So Scrat – our favourite Ice Age Character – is on an adventure to recover his prized possessions – currently locked away in Scratazon Temple! The only way to get it back is to quest to find four crystal nuts!

Scrat Trying to Catch a Crystal

Game Play

You play the game as Scrat, you control him as he runs and jumps across the map to find the crystals. Along the way there are several Ice-Age creatures to either defeat or avoid in order to get to the crystals! You can attack the creatures from a distance, but beware they can also attack you!

The controls are quite easy, and my 5 year old could master certain bits of the game with no problem. However, she struggled with the problem solving aspects and we did have to point out that the game is aimed at an older child. My 8 year old loved the game, he found it very exciting and enjoyed spotting the other Ice Age characters which pop up in the game. He had no problem with jumping between levels, or working out where to go next!

I think it is a great family game, and we enjoyed taking it in turns to play. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a family friendly game to play over the Winter months! Watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/cIkboo7P9FM

Juno My Baby Elephant – Review

A little while ago we received Juno The Baby Elephant to review. As a family we’re wild about elephants, when I say we were quite excited by the delivery it’s an understatement!

Juno arrived boxed beautifully, and it was quite easy to unpack her. She needs 4 x AA batteries which are not included – so do remember to get some ready!

Play with Juno!

The more you play with Juno the Baby Elephant the more she will learn. She starts off very shy, her ears covering her eyes, and the more she is played with – the braver she becomes! She really responds to touch. My daughter loves put her into cuddle mode and getting Juno to give her a kiss.

Juno comes with her toy mouse, and her peanut. Sometimes she will eat the peanut and other times she will toss it – watch out as she has a really good throw! We have been hit on the head a couple of times by Juno being a little naughty and throwing her peanut across the room! I love the fact that you can offer her the peanut (or mouse) and she will take it with her trunk!

We learnt quickly that if her batteries run flat she only plays to a limited degree – e.g. her trunk won’t move up and down! The only negative I have about Juno is that she doesn’t have a volume control, so when I tried to play with her after the children were in bed, she woke them up! Mental note, don’t try playing with Juno without your children’s supervision!

Watch Juno!

I took a short video of Juno in action, just so you can hear some of her sounds! I was hoping she might throw the peanut but she was getting tired instead!

Juno has provided hours of fun, and continues to do so! I think she will be a very popular toy for Christmas 2019 on many lists!

Juno the Baby Elephant is available in Smyths Toy Store RRP £79.99

5 Halloween Books for Pre-Schoolers

Tomorrow we are off for our weekly library visit. I love owning books, but I also love visiting the library. It is a place to go on a wet afternoon, great with a toddler in tow, and it provides the choice of so many books! Our little library has quite a limited collection, but they are always willing to order books in – although I confess that we don’t often use that service!

I digress, as it’s almost Halloween, I have decided that we should choose some super spooky books to read! So, I’m sharing some of our favourite Halloween appropriate books for Pre-Schoolers with you;

Winnie the Witch – Winne and Wilbur Written by: Valerie Thomas

We love Winnie the Witch! They are great fun to read, and beautifully illustrated! Winnie and Wilbur is hilariously funny – my 5 year-old is highly amused when Winnie keeps tripping over Wilbur!

Lydia Lou – Written By: Julia Donaldson

By the author of the Gruffalo, a Ghost tries to wake up Lydia Lou by making lots of noise with the help of animal friends. It’s a really funny story, and we usually find we get a bit loud when reading it – you won’t be able to resist making the sounds!

Funny Bones By: Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg

When I was little this was one of my favourite stories! Yet, I’ve not read it to my younger two children as yet… So, we are going to get one of the series out from the library so I can re-live reading about the skeleton family!

Yuck! That’s not a monster! By; Angela McAllister and Alison Edgson

Can a Monster be pink and fluffy? Well, that’s the question this family of little monsters are asking! This is a lovely tale, about how we’re all different. I think monsters are appropriate for Halloween, and it is such a lovely story I couldn’t miss it off the list!

Room on the broom – By Julia Donaldson

No Halloween reading list would be complete without Room on the Broom! The marvellous witch who tries to give everyone a lift on her broom stick. Will they all fit? What will happen? It’s a lovely adventure which my daughter is fascinated with every time we read!