Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Go Mini Stunt Racers

There is a new range of toys from Golden Bear, fun funky character Mini cars with a twist.

We were asked if we'd like to give these little cars a test, and my youngest was thrilled to receive the stunt launcher.

These cute little cars all have their own personality and a stunt to match, the stunt launcher enables you to 'charge' the car by pulling back the handle and watching the rev counter clock up to max, then press the start button and watch the car race off along the floor.

These are perfect toys for children who love cars, the stunt launcher requires no batteries which is a real bonus, although there are a couple of cars in the range which do require batteries to enable sounds and additional features.

Each car in the series has a stunt mode, which can be selected via a switch on the base, to activate the stunt, the car that comes with the stunt launcher does wheelies.

 The stunt launcher is priced around £19.99 and additional cars are priced from £4.99 you do not need the launcher to enjoy the cars as they can be charged up manually by dragging the Mini backwards across the floor, the box does state that they do not work on thick carpet pile and not to be used outdoors, but we have had fun with ours on the slabbed patio area with no problems.

The designs of these Mini cars are great, with the friendly faces and iconic style to the mini cars they are sure to become a favourite.

You can see the whole range at www.goldenbeartoys.com

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Glimpse of Summer

The weather really has been lovely the past few days, blazing hot sun lovely evenings just perfect for the summer holidays and a huge contrast to the weather the past few weeks. So you would hope that everyone has been getting out and about and making the most of the sunshine.

But with the soaring temperatures it can sometimes be too hot to spend time outdoors, the thought of dragging hot children out for a walk can almost seem more hassle that its worth, children spend so much time in doors with modern technology to entertain them,  there always seems to be a excuse to break them from these comforts, too hot, too cold, too wet, windy, late or early!

But walking is something that really doesn't have to be a hassle, and can be enjoyable, a simple stroll through the local park in the evening, or walk to the local shop can be less hot and troublesome than starting the car up, not to mention the health benefits to walking!

Did you know that just 10 minutes walk can burn off 38 calories,  or a gentle stroll for half an hour can burn off over 70 calories?

It's so important to get up and get walking, not only does it have great health benefits but when more people use the streets it makes everyone realise that there is valid reasons to look after them and ensure they are safe, attractive and enjoyable for pedestrians, and that is exactly what Living Streets main aim is.

You may remember I wrote about Living Streets Walking Challenge back in May, when they were encouraging people to get walking in the Great British Walking Challenge, which was a great success, now they are encouraging people to take a look at the fab Ice Cream Calculator

Which will work out how many calories you have burned off each time you take to the streets, it is really easy to use, and is great fun, adding a evening walk to end your day can be an amazing way to wind down, and whats more it cools off in the evenings and you get to enjoy the wonderful evening sunlight and catch those glimpse of summer which you otherwise might miss.

 So why not join in, take a walk today - no excuses, and then see how many calories you've burned off, you are also in with a chance of winning a Zoku ice lolly maker if you use the Living Street Calculator, and if you take along your camera and capture any summer time photographs then be sure to tweet them to @livingStreets and use the hash tag #glimpseofsummer you may get your photo displayed on their pinterest board Helping to encourage everyone to make Britain a happier Healthier place this summer!

The haircut...

Anyone who knows me, will know I am not a fan of hairdressers, I have a real avoidance to haircuts, and love the longer, natural some would say scruffy, looking hair.

I wrote about my boys hair styles in the bloggers carnival 'boys have long hair too!'  if you read that post you will of seen that I said that no matter how much I love the longer hair, and how much I try to avoid the hairdressers, if my boys asked for a haircut I wouldn't stop them.

My youngest has the most beautiful blond hair, which grows fast and when he asks for a hair cut, we normally trim it abit but leave it fairly long, but as it reaches his shoulders and starts to look progressively 'longer' the 'girl' comments increase.

 Although these don't bother him as such, you can see him thinking differently about his hair each time someone says 'aww isn't SHE pretty' hes 5 and not quite decided on what he wants for himself and confident enough to stick to his reasoning, hes still happy to experiment in abit of this and abit of that, so when we were at my mums house and her mobile hairdresser was around my mum asked him if he'd like a haircut, he agreed and was eager to have his hair 'short' so with my heart in my mouth, I agreed to let him have it cut short.

Now I won't pretend I love it, I will always prefer the longer hair, but I can't force Mikey to feel the same, and I have to allow him to try whatever hair style he wants.  I will just secretly hope he eventually decides on the longer hair, like his older bother who even when asked refuses a haircut.

Blingles - Bling Studio Review

For tween girls like my daughter, it seems the more you can personalise something the better, she is terrible for doodling on all her books, sticking pom poms and glitter onto her shelves and generally adding a dash of bling to anything in any way she possibly can. She is not one for conventional toys, she won't really sit and play with anything for very long, so finding something to withheld the boredom isn't always easy, yet arty crafts pens and paper is something that she enjoys and will happily do by herself.

So when we were asked if we wanted to take a look at the new Blingles Bling Studio from Character, which is aimed at girls aged 6 and above we were eager to get our hands on it.

If you have a girl, or indeed a boy, who loves to get arty, you may well already be aware of the annoyance that can be caused by home craft kits, the ones with the annoying glitter glue that simply never actually sticks to anything, or the packs offering to enable you to make something wonderful that ultimately never materialises, or the tiny parts which end up no where useful but turn up under the sofa, in the bed, and everywhere they shouldn't be for weeks after.

Well the Bling Studio is different, it is a novel idea meant to make adding a touch of bling easier, and it really does work. In the Bling Studio set you get the Bling Studio itself with over 320 gems in various colours, a handy gem storage container, a gem pen, glue roll, transfer slides and instruction booklet and several design templates.

Now my daughter has used sellotape, prit stick, blue tack and just about ever other slightly sticky substance in the past in a desperate attempt to style her books, bags, phones and such like with glitter and gems and every time she does so she is proud of her efforts and comes skipping along to show me how she has defaced her DS and I can't help but show my disappointment in the tatty effect shes created, with strips of tape and splodges of glue hanging off messily.

But the Bling Studio allows you to add your own gem designs to pretty much any surface, the gem pen is a very effective way of picking up and positioning the tiny little gems into place on the special design mat which grabs hold of the gems keeping them in place where you want them (ie NOT all over the floor!)

Then you use the transfer sheet to pick up your design and place it on the glue roll which adds a strong sticky glue layer to the underside of your gems, when you then press them into place on your chosen item and  peel off the transfer sheet you are left with just the gems.

It is important to read the enclosed instructions carefully in order to get the order right, but it is very simple and I showed Chloe once and she was perfectly able to use the kit herself afterwards.

Included in the box is 4 template cards which are double sided, or you can make up your own designs.

You receive enough gems,  glue roll and transfer sheets to make 12  designs, Priced at £19.99 its worth keeping in mind that the supplies will soon be used up but replacements can be purchased in the form of additional accessory packs starting from £7.99

With that in mind, I still think this is a great idea for crafty tweens and Chloe really loved it, so much so in fact she took it into school on their last day when they were allowed to bring along an activity and although she returned home having used up all the supplies she said all the girls in her class loved it and wanted to bling everything! It was simple enough for her to demonstrate how to use to her friends, and impressive enough to hold every ones attention.

The finished designs are great and have stuck to a number of things, including Chloes mobile phone, the bling studio itself, paper notepads, fabric pencil cases and school bags and I will be buying some more accessories as birthday and Christmas gifts, the studio itself is sturdy and will happily sit on her shelf until it is refilled with additional gems, it really is effective in providing a way to move and position the tiny gems enabling you to have a very usable end result.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Chasing Dreams

Its the school holidays and the sun is shining on us for the time being at least. Perfect for the holiday season.

We are not globe trotters, and having never been abroad we don't really take much time out on holidays so planning a break for us is normally a last minute dash to a campsite when the weather man forecasts a few days of sunshine.

Our trusty little tent a few sleeping bags 3 children and a huge dog all huddled together into our little car we do look rather unorthodox to say the least, heading off to our favourite campsite in Wales where you don't need to book a spot, and has just basic amenities it is a beautiful place to go and spend some family time away, with our unplanned approach to holidays and love for the simple things this suits us down to the ground!

I do love to have a break away from things, even if it is a mad rush of jumbled preparation. Being self employed means that if we are not tirelessly trying to make some money we have very little, and so saving for a holiday never really materialises into a reality, just thinking of affording the passports seems like such a huge hurdle yet alone searching out a holiday reasonable enough to consider. So we stick to holidays at home, the more basic the better.

Whilst I would one day love to travel far and wide, right now trekking the world seeing new cities and cultures is off the agenda we have to stick to what we can do, I mentioned a few months ago that our dream would be to have a small cruiser on the canal, a haven away from the busy rush of home, a place to appreciate the beauty of nature and truly relax, see the beautiful country we live in from another angle. We are true country dwellers our children growing up outdoors we long for the freedom that you just can't get living on a street. So we started saving, a truly unheard of endeavour, and have spent the last months sticking to our no treat, essentials only approach, yet we were still a long way off being able to reach our target.

Then my mums friend handed us a golden opportunity, a real chance to fulfil our dream, he has a small cruiser, which he had intentions of doing up and using with his Grandchildren, but things didn't go that way and he has not been able to get it into a workable state, sat being unloved and unused this little cruiser although small is more than we could of hoped for, enabling us to catch a glimpse of that dream this summer!

So whilst it still needs a bit of work to it, meet Misty Blue.

We have been offered the chance of using her this summer if we can get her into a usable state, the gentleman who owns her is 85 and unable to do the work he wants, so my other half has offered to help him out, at the moment there is alot still needing to be done and so we can't actually go cruising along the beautiful canals, she needs alot of TLC  a licence and whatnot but we are hopeful that we can at least enjoy some time this summer relaxed and carefree, a break from the norm - isn't that the true definition of a holiday after all?

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Silent Sunday

Orbeez Soothing Spa

Orbeez, If you are yet to see the range of Orbeez products then you are yet to experience soft and squidgy wet and wacky balls of fun.

Orbeez are super absorbent polymers - which start out life as small hard balls but place them in water and they expand upto 100 times their original size.

orbeez character soothing spa box

There is a whole range of Orbeez related products, which are a big hit in the USA, I hadn't actually seen or had a look at any Orbeez things until I received an email asking if we would like to test out the new Soothing Spa set.

When the set arrived it contained 1500 ready expanded multi coloured Orbeez.

whats in the box orbeez soothing spa contents

The Spa needs some simple construction, be sure to ensure the locator at the back is in place to aline up the inside sections correctly, and 2 x C batteries which don't come included, the set is not huge but big enough to place both feet.

orbeez soothing spa feet sizeIt says in the instructions to add some warm water to the Orbeez and then drain, before adding them to the Spa, which we did, and then we turned on the Soothing Spa and sat back to enjoy.

The wheel at the back rotates which collects Orbeez as it turns and then dispels them out at the top, dropping them onto a tray which then rolls down into the collecting bowls, we found these took quite a while to fill up and never really created a waterfall type effect that is portrayed on the box, so we removed the collecting trays and let the Orbeez bounce straight into the main section of the Spa.

orbeez super absorbant growing polymer ballsChloe thought it was great and it kept her happily entertained for ages, much longer than I was expecting, and the next day she went back to it again.

We put all 1500 Orbeez into the spa straight away and it filled  it to a reasonable level, Whilst using the Spa some of the Orbeez got 'squashed' and went a bit mulshy but the good majority of them have survived,we have left them in the Spa for well over a week without bagging them up and they have not dried out or altered in any negative way as yet.  Chloe has gone back to it almost daily and happily plays with the Orbeez which really are great to look at, feel and just generally enjoy!

orbeez balls fun The spa has a light up feature and perfume to add the Orbeeze to add to the fun too which is a nice little extra.

This is a great set and a fun way to play with these clever little super absorbant polymeres. I really like the idea of Orbeez and have been having a look at the website   and see that there are several products using these clever little balls, including light up lamps and you can purchase them in their original form to 'grow' yourself which would be a great way to include some science to this fun activity.

orbeez soothing spa

The soothing Spa is priced around £29.99 I found it at Smyths Toy shop,  but they don't stock the replacement Orbeez, there is however a leaflet included in the soothing spa which tells you how to get hold of replacements.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Olympics Inspired Clothing From Next

With Just under one week left until the Opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games, the red white and blue designs are bound to be making there appearances again as the nation shows its support to our athletes.

For the children to get into the spirt of the games Next has a lovely range of clothing.

We were sent some T.Shirts from Next as part of the wear it, wave it and win competition prize and they are lovely, we have dodged the rain and been out proudly showing our support to TeamGB.

 Chloes T shirt has sequin detail and the Olympic lion head design made from 100% cotton priced £11 - £16 from Next Online

Where as Jakes focus on 'The Games return' design making it a very trendy top suitable for any occasion, made from a cotton polyester mix it is great quality and washes amazingly well. Priced £10 - £15 from next online

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Competition to Win £100 to spend at PlayMerrily!

The Summer holidays are upon us, children up and down the country will be joining in a chorus of 'Mummmmm I'm boreeed!!' The weather will keep us trapped inside no doubt for some part at least, so what to do to keep the little people entertained?

A Blogging friend of mine has a fantastic competition which may just do the trick to dispel boredom for at least some of the time.

The competition is to win £100 voucher for either Playmerrily or CraftMerrily if you have not yet heard of these amazing websites then do pop over and have a look.

They have some wonderful toys and games which are sure to keep everyone happy, with  loads of craft inspired materials and sets to keep you going all summer long.

So what do you need to do to get your hands on that voucher? Get creative and share an amazing holiday inspired design using Hama beads.

Hama beads are something you may well have already in your cupboard, if you haven't yet tried out these fantastic beads then this is a perfect opportunity to do so.

The little plastic beads come in a variety of colours, aimed at children aged 5 and above, you peg them onto a sturdy plastic boards to create a design, then using some waxed paper and your iron, you heat your design and the beads stick together so you can then proudly display your masterpiece in a window, or where ever you choose. The only limit is your imagination and creativity because there are endless things you can create with these versatile little beads.

I haven't found a child yet who hasn't enjoyed Hama beads, all three of mine have happily sat and created various designs, and they are a simple must have for those rainy days over the holiday, needing no forward planning they are sure to entertain for longer than 5 minutes Hama beads really are one of those parents best friend products.

So this is a win win situation, get inspired and have fun this Summer Holiday, then share your works of arts for a chance to win £100 to spend on some fantastic products. All entries should be unique the more original the better, your free to be innovative but all entries should be unique rather than copied from the internet or a book (inspiration is fine). The entries will be judged and the Judges decision will be final, more prizes may be added to the pot depending on number of entries, so share this fab competition with your friends and get involved!

Heres our entry Designed by Chloe - 9 years old inspired by the wonderful 'Summer' weather we're having at the moment!

We were sent a set of HamaBeads to have ago at creating our entry and help spread the word of this fantastic competition. If you haven't already got some beads in your cupboard then CraftMerrily has a fantastic offer to get you everything you need to join in here but purchase is not required to enter, any beads from any source are allowed and all will be treated equally so  dig out those beads and get creative!

 Competition Recap

Prize:  £100 Playmerrily voucher  (additional prizes may be added depending on number of entrants)

Entry: Create your own Hama Bead 'Amazing Holiday' inspired design
then email your entry to  patchofpuddles@gmail. com with a note of the first name and age of the child.

The winner will be judged by a member of DKL Marketing LTD or Hama Beads themselves (to be confirmed).

End Date: 31st August 2012

Further information and Terms and Conditions can be found here

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Who's ready for the holidays?

This Friday teachers up and down the country will no doubt release a huge sigh of relief as they get to break up for the Summer holidays, the last week of the summer term is undoubtedly the hardest for everyone involved.

Everyone assumes parents however will be fretting over the holidays cursing the long break ahead.

But not me, I will be jumping for joy come Friday when we can shove the school bags to the back of the cupboards and forget about them for a while, yes I am lucky that I don't have to worry about childcare as we work from home, but I am truly 100% thankful for the upcoming holidays, I can't wait to spend time with the children and destress from the school routine.

If everyones children are similar to my own then they will be tired, ratty and generally rather horrible right now and in much need of the summer break.

My eldest has been pushing boundaries and acting like Kevin Patterson, stropping about and saying 'I Don't CARE' at every opportunity, falling out with friends yet desperate to be with them, rushing out the door before he's hardly spoke to me and I'm sure too much time with his peers is not all that great.

 My youngest has turned semi feral grunting and growling if anyone dares disagree with him, throwing the most horrendous strops over nothing in particular, I always wonder why people say 2 year olds are the worst for tantrums, when  life was sweet until they started school!

Chloe is no better, and is moody and full of attitude when shes not blasting out music and dancing on the coffee table.

Not to mention the fact they look unkempt and scruffy as their school clothes are in desperate need of replacement after a year of wear and tear, my youngest seems to have suddenly decided to grow about 4 inches making his trousers depart his ankles, yet splashing out on clothes for the last few days of term isn't on my priority list and I will wait to see if he grows some more in the next few weeks before making a mad dash rush to the shops the day before they return to school!

The 'Summer' nights are not helping either,  they do not want to go to bed in the evenings yet they are absolutely shattered in the morning and it takes a huge shove to get them out of their beds. Then things are rushed and breakfast is left half ate as we grab bags and bundle down the street, grumpy, scruffy and exhausted!

I can't wait for the relaxed mornings without the stress of finding book bags and matching socks, I long for lazy days and late evenings without the worry of 'school tomorrow' I want to not have to be the shouty moany Mum who is always in a fluster and disorganised, forgetting swimming kits and consent forms.

For the six weeks I can step back abit and over look the un brushed hair and the computer games in the evenings, for 6 weeks I won't have to remember whos dinner money has been paid and which day is PE and which is swimming!

And maybe after the break we'll all be refreshed ready to face the next school year in a completely rejuvenated organised fashion or maybe not...

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Colour Me In with Rice Krispies!

The other day I received delivery of big parcel, inside was a beautiful art set and a huge box of Rice Krispies!

What do art supplies have to do with Rice Krispies you may be wondering? well Britums has teamed up with Kellogg's and have asked a group of bloggers to get creative for a chance to see their designs on T.Shirts or even win a £500 prize!

This summer Rice Krispies have changed the design of their boxes leaving them blank for children to personalise their breakfast.

Rice Krispies are such a great breakfast cereal and always popular, they are adored by all three of my children and are often asked for as an after school snack, the familiar characters of Snap Crackle and Pop are well known and it was great fun for the children to give them a new look.

Colouring is such a great pass time and perfect for rainy lazy mornings, with the school holidays coming up  and the weather not great I am definitely going to be stocking up on Rice Krispies. They really are a must have, not only for a satisfying start to the day when given as breakfast, but also they are amazing things for quick and easy entertainment - Chocolate cakes are a must and now with the 'colour me in' boxes they have even more entertainment value!

Here is our finished Box which we're entering into the Britmums #ColourMeInRK competition.

If you want to see some of the other design and how other Britmum Bloggers have decorated them then be sure to pop over to the  linky!


Sponsored Video - #Domestos4unicef

Can you imagine living with out the luxuries we all have? Living where basic hygiene is not met, because sanitation is so poor, where health is hindered and disease spread quickly?

Basic sanitation has been deemed a basic human right by the United Nations, yet still there is a staggering estimated 2.5 billion people living without access to improved sanitation. Living where sanitation is so poor and open defecation is a major cause of disease, the smell, the flies, ill health and disease all due to not knowing the links between good hygiene and health.

UNICEF have a behaviour change program designed to help improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, teaching them about good hygiene practise to reduce disease transmission and help people live healthier happier lives. These programs are amazingly beneficial giving people the knowledge to improve their lives for their communities and future generations,

Domestos are giving 5% of their average proceeds from specially marked bottles to UNICEF to help support this program and change lives.

The best way to help educate the next generation is in Community led programs like this where everyone is learning and sharing the information about hygiene and health.

When you can help communities understand you are empowering them to take action for themselves, this has the most overall value and lasting effect truly changing lives.

Please take a second to watch this video, visit the DomestoForUNICEF website to see how spreading vital understanding is so important and help spread the message by supporting UNICEF and Domestos, share this post, tweet about this campaign using the #domestos4unicef  hash tag and lets help improve the lives of the next generation and help make the children dance and be happy!

This Post is Sponsored by Domestos
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