Friday, 20 September 2013

Holidays Are Coming

You cannot look at Facebook or Twitter without being reminded that Christmas is on the way. With Christmas being 95 days a short time away, I decided that today would be the day I sort out my "Christmas Drawer". I'd like to think of myself as fairly organised and like a magpie do spend most of the year collecting little things perfect for Christmas gifts and hide them away. The main advantage of starting early is the money you save. I haven't got as much as I had this time last year so I need to play a bit of catch up. What I did get so far, was stashed away and forgotten about so needed sorting, and in most cases unwrapping as they were still in the packaging from when I received them in the post. I had forgotten about some of the things until I opened them.

Whilst I was sorting the things out I got thinking about Aalliyahs Christmas list which she had written a few days ago (Early bird) and how much it had changed from last year. It was like I was looking at the list of a teenager. Gone are most of the toys and games requests and in their place are things like an iPod, a mobile phone and a laptop. Rather than wanting roller skates she wants a pair of Converse shoes. Granted she will always be grateful for whatever she receives and will always love her yearly hoard of board games she accumulates every Christmas but when did she grow up so quickly? When did she start caring about having the latest mobile handset, designer footwear or stylish clothing and accessories. It seems like only yesterday she was asking for a Scooby Doo teddy and a mystery machine! If anything I have realised how quickly they grow up and I should treasure every moment as pretty soon she will be asking me for driving lessons, a car or money for uni! 

What have your children asked for this year? Are they early birds like Aalliyah? If not, what are you planning on purchasing for Christmas 2013? I'd love to know.

*This post was in collaboration with John Lewis

Frubes Pouches - Review

Frube pouches are not just your average lunch box item. They are a tasty snack that can be enjoyed anywhere, whether you are playing on the computer, out at the park or just a simple yummy treat for after dinner. Frubes pouches are packed with delicious petit filous yoghurt in both Strawberry and Raspberry flavours. 

Designed to be super quick and easy to eat, just pull the tab off and enjoy! These were a huge hit with Aalliyah and I know she is getting a "healthy" treat which is the most important thing.

Next time you are in the supermarket, check them out! I'm sure the kids (and the adults) will love them!

How To Effectively And Hygienically Clean Your Childrens Toys

As parents, having a clean and hygienic home is important to us. We spend both our time and money making sure our home is as germ free as possible. We are always happy to spend money on products which are going to leave our kitchens, bathrooms and floors hygienically clean. We spend so much time caring about the bacteria on things like our kitchen surfaces, toilets and door handles we forget about the simple things around our home that could be harboring far more bacteria than a dirty floor.

The average childrens toy has over 2500 germs per 100cm2, whereas the average households toilet seat has only 1600 germs per 100cm2. You would never let your child get their hands on a toilet seat and yet they could be cuddling up to their favorite teddy all day which is a breeding ground for bacteria. Its not just soft toys that like to play host to these germs. Here are the top culprits for bacteria around our home.

  • Garden Trampolines are one of the worst offenders with a shocking 640,000 germs per 100m2.
  • Balls and bikes both gave a reading of 14,000 per 100m2.
  • The average games console controller had over 7800 germs per 100m2
  • The avergae households fridge handle showed more than 7400 germs per 100m2.
With that in mind, how can we ensure our home is "actually" clean. Especially with younger children who touch millions of different surfaces and have constant hand to mouth contact with things they encounter through the day. Here are a few simples ways to help keep your childrens toys clean and sanitized and help keep that bacteria at bay.

  1. Before attempting to sanitize any toy it is important to make sure the toy is actually clean and remove any dirt/debris or grease from the surface. This can be done by using a damp cloth and any mild detergent. Scrub all the surfaces of the toy and make sure any residue/dirt is lifted from toy. If you have any hard to reach nooks an ear bud works great at getting into these places.
  2. To effectively sanitize a toy, submerging the toy in a sanitizing solution works best. Obviously do not attempt to submerge any electronic toys, but for hard shell/plastic toys this is a great method. You can purchase many different sterilizing products for sterilising babies bottles and table wear which would also be as effective in sanitizing toys. After soaking the toys give a once over with a damp cloth to remove any solution residue and dry completely with a dry cloth/towel.
  3. To effectively sanitize an electronic toy, the best option is to wipe down the entire toy with a cloth which is soaked in a sterilising solution. Make sure to wipe down every area and pay particular attention to buttons. Make sure to gently wring out the cloth before wiping to ensure no water seeps into the toy. Again use an ear bud for harder to reach areas and once done wipe over with a damp cloth to remove any solution residue and then dry.
  4. For soft toys and teddies, the easiest and most effective way to clean them is by putting them in a washing machine. Check the labels to make sure they are washing machine safe and use a cold or gentle cycle. Allow to dry naturally by hanging them up or allowing to sit and dry. For more delicate materials that cannot be put into a machine , take a sponge with some washing liquid and water solution gentle rub into entire surface of teddy, repeat with a sponge and warm water then allow to air dry.

By following these handy hints, you can ensure your childrens toys are hygienically clean and safe to play with.

How do you fancy winning a months worth of cleaning products? What's more is that these products all contain Byotrol technology which you can read more about here. We are giving this prize to not 1 but 5 lucky readers! To be in with a chance of winning, just fill in the simple rafflecopter below.

Good Luck

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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Gallery - Selfie

OK, So technically is it still a "selfie" if someone else took it? Well I am not one for making the duck face pout in front of the mirror and taking those selfie shots so I have chosen this "kind of" selfie shot which was actually taken by Aalliyah. We were on our way home from Blackpool and I was miles away watching the world in a blur as we whizzed home on the train.

I am linking this over at Sticky Fingers blog for this weeks Gallery. Head over and check out the other entries.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Sunday, 8 September 2013

U-Build Connect 4 - Review

We love our board games, and I can think of no better way to spend some quality time with Aalliyah when its wet and cold outside, than playing some great games. U-Build Connect 4 instantly caught my attention as you not only play the game but have to construct it before hand so I knew Aalliyah would have fun doing that.

 I was a little worried when opening the box and seeing all the different lego pieces that it would be a nightmare to put together, but the instructions are fairly easy to understand and if you take your time you can build it right the first time. Aalliyah had lots of fun being the leader of construction from sorting all the individual pieces into their correct pile through to placing them correctly on the board. You start by making the columns where you drop your counters into, in the hope of achieving a Connect 4, then you move onto to making the bumpers. The bumpers are a great twist on the original game play. Moving the bumpers around makes it harder to place your counters in the correct slot and make for a much more interesting game.

This game really does appeal to all ages and there is lots of fun to be had not only playing it but making it beforehand. After playing it folds down easy and slots nicely into the box so you do not have to destroy all your hard work.

U-Build have other games in the range and I am looking forward to getting my hands on the Battleship game :) If you are looking for something slightly different than your average board game then definitely look out for the U-Build games in your local retailers.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Welcome To Ponyville

I don't think there are many of us ladies out there that don't remember "My Little Pony" . Even some of the guys too! They wont admit it but I bet a few of them had a pony knocking around in their toy box alongside their "Ninja Turtles" and "Power Rangers". I loved My Little Pony and loved the fact that you got your own special combs with them. Do you remember the plastic combs? How many of you tried to brush your own hair with the mini thing? I know I did and ended up getting it tangled up in my hair on numerous occasions.

To celebrate to launch of the MLP Welcome To Ponyville DVD we were sent a copy to watch and see what we thought and my how those little ponies have changed! They are cool, hip and super chic and have been totally revamped! So much so that upon seeing their modern new look Aalliyah was eager to watch the DVD. We watched it once and absolutely loved it! Aalliyah has since watched it again and really enjoys the fresh new and improved My Little Pony. The characters are fantastic and the storylines were great too. Easy to follow and kept you engaged throughout the episodes. Aalliyah already has her favorite pony... Fluttershy! She has a face which just makes you want to adopt her! 

Available for the first time on DVD , My Little Pony, Welcome to Ponyville is available from 2nd September in all good retailers aswell as from . The DVD retails at £12.99 and is certificate U so suitable to be enjoyed by all!

*Promo disc received for review purposes.All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The Gallery - Back To School

Never mind the six week holiday going fast, for me the past ten years have flew by! Where have those years gone? I can hardly believe that Aalliyah will be starting her final year of primary school tomorrow and then this time next year I will be sending her off to secondary school! When did my tiny, fragile baby become a strong, independent, young lady?

Strong willed, intelligent, independent, beautiful and ambitious are just a few of many words to describe my amazing daughter and I hope she continues to blossom and really succeeds in her final year of primary school. But most of all I hope she makes a lot of wonderful memories this year too as they will stay with her forever!

The Gallery theme this week is "Back To School" Head over to Sticky Fingers Blog and check out the other entries.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Travelodge Review

When going on holiday one of the most important things is choosing the right place to stay. Whether in the UK or abroad a bad hotel can ruin the holiday. Whilst on a recent visit to Blackpool, we had the opportunity review a local Travelodge located in the South Shore region of Blackpool.

The location of the hotel is fantastic as it literally takes less than five minute to walk to the beach and Blackpool front, but it far back enough that you still get peace and quiet at night which is great as everyone knows how lively Blackpool gets at night,

The hotel is large with over 400 rooms on 4 floors. We were on the top floor which was not a problem as there were elevators if you didn't fancy the stair climb. The room itself was a double. It was immaculately clean when we arrived. I was really impressed at how neat and tidy everything was. Nothing was out of place and there wasn't even a spec of lint on the carpet. 10 out of 10 for the housekeeping. We had an en suite which was designed lovely and featured a bath and a shower. There was a TV with free to air channels , a kettle and plenty of tea and coffee which all got replenished when the room was cleaned. The bed was amazing. If I could have sneaked out with it strapped to my back I would have! Super comfortable.

I know that Aalliyah would choose the breakfast as her favorite thing of the whole holiday! Travelodge offer a fantastic breakfast service. It is an all you can eat buffet style breakfast featuring cooked breakfasts, cereals, jams etc and what's more is that children eat free with a paying adult. Fantastic value for money and on the second day we visited the Blackpool pleasure beach and our hearty breakfast kept us going right through until later that evening when we went out for dinner. If you don't fancy eating out they served dinner too and always have a full stocked bar.

The staff were always on hand to answer any queries and there was someone at the front desk at all times. The service received at Travelodge was outstanding and I wouldn't hesitate to go back. I am returning to Blackpool in April next year and I am certainly going to be staying here again. You are guaranteed a pleasant stay here in a nice clean hotel with everything you could need and I recommend Travelodge to anyone whether single, couples or with children.

Going away? Why not check out Travelodge where you can find great rates across many different locations.

*Complimentary stay received for review purposes. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Silent Sunday