Thursday, 25 October 2012

Halloween Party ideas and Poundland £2 off voucher!

When we were sent details of our first Poundland Ambassador Challenge, we were all really excited, we love to decorate the house for a party!

So we set off to our Local Poundland store and we're amazed to see the selection of products available.

With everything you need from table decorations to fancy dress and snacks.

My three children couldn't wait to pick out some bits and pieces.

The Challenge was to spend less than £20 to put on a Halloween Party.
The Dress up selection was great, although alot of the costumes will need extras from elsewhere, as most of the available items are masks, capes,hats and accessories such as bat wings, broomsticks and axes, so you may need to couple these with a black top and trousers you already have.

My youngest son picked out a spooky looking red mask and a scythe, my eldest went for a large axe, and my daughter found a nice cat set, which included a cat mask and a tail, then she picked some red witches hair and to match the cat outfit she found a little black cat plush bag : total spend  on costumes  £6

 We then moved onto the tableware selection, here there were paper cups, plates and napkin sets, bowls, novelty glasses and table clothes to name but a few, after much thought we settled on a lacey table cloth which looks amazing laid out on the table, a large black pumpkin bowl, some spooky blood stained paper cups and skeleton funky straws which come in a pack of 8. Total spend on tableware £4

Then we picked some general decorations, again the choice was a little over whelming and my three spent quite some time changing their minds. There were plenty of skeletons, big sethered arms, ghosts and ghouls. 
We eventually settled on a colour changing ghost and pumpkin, which stand about 4 - 5 inches tall and glow in a variety of colours, a pack of 4 glittery spiders and a pack of 20 balloons, which are orange and black with Halloween designs on. total spend: £4
Of course you can't have a Halloween party without the treats and you find something to suit everyone in Poundlands selection, there is gummy eyeballs, spooky popping candy and skeleton lollipops! But we decided to go for a bag of Haribo trick or treat gummy sweets, and the fright mix which included a great selection of lollies and chewy sweets and a huge bag of creepy Popcorn, which was enough to fill the big pumpkin bowl and Chloes cat bag with some spare for trick or treaters! total spend on treats: £3

Then of cause if you are holding a party the finishing touch is to add some very spooky music, and Poundland even have this covered too, with a CD with an hours spooky music soundtrack so you can really set the scene.

So for just £18 we have brought everything included in this post and have enough stuff to make put on a brilliant Halloween party - outfits, decorations, snacks and music!

If you are having a Halloween Party Next week be sure to check ou the Halloween Range at Poundland andto make it even better Poundland have a fantastic voucher running at the moment too £2 off any £12 spend. Simply right click and save this file , print it out and take it into store to claim.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Pillow monsters and Making moments

For fear of repeating myself I am once again nearing the end of the week and am not quite sure where the days have gone!

Yesterday was meant to be parents evening for my eldest two, however Jakes has been rearranged for after the Break because his teacher has the horrible illness that is sweeping around at the moment.

The start of the week I was feeling pretty awful, with the worst sore throat and headaches, but it is passing now, Mikey has also been under the weather and fighting off the sickness bug, you can really tell when the school holidays are coming up, the children seem so much more unsettles and groggy,  I am really looking forward to the lazier mornings!

It is my birthday tomorrow too, I will be turning 30.  To be honest I haven't really given it much thought, birthdays don't mark big celebrations here and the day will pass by pretty indifferent I  imagine. My parents have given me some money so I am looking forward to picking out something nice for myself with that, which is a real treat because I very rarely spend anything on myself.

Jake also gave me a lovely gift, he gave it to me early as he was rather proud of it, and I must agree he is rather lovely.

Meet my new pillow monster, he was lovingly made by Jake himself, hes so unbelievably squidgy and soft and with his crazy button face and wonky smile I love him.

And in other news, I have been busy making a new website which is a collaboration between me and my mum, who has been having a difficult time recently with her health and I am determined t keep her smiling and give her something to focus on! so if you'd like to pop over and take a look we'd appreciate it  We haven't fully decided on where it will lead just yet, but right now it is showcasing all the photos myself and my mum take, and the creative designs we make too.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Friday again

It's Friday again, the weeks are passing by so very fast, the months moving ever forward as we now near the end of October, it seems crazy that 2012 is in the last quarter and before we know it Christmas will be upon us and the New Year celebrations.

Money is tight and budgeting is my main anxiety causing issue at the moment and I am hoping to get things on track in the new year, but it is difficult constantly trying to cut corners when you're already making every penny stretch as far as possible, the bills seem to be ever increasing whilst incoming money is lower than ever.

However trying not to dwell on the depressing things, the past few weeks have particularly been busy ones, and I have been meaning to dedicate more time to blogging about the 'normal' things we get upto.

I had my youngest sons parents evening, which went well, his new teacher is lovely and he seems to have settled into year 1 fine, much more confident and chatty than he was last year, which I guess is understandable, as last year he had only just turned 4 when he started full time, being a young one in the year group, and he was often the quiet one in the class, which was the opposite of how he is at home, so it was nice to hear that hes more chatty this year. There are no particular worries about his learning, I am still in the unknown grounds of if to be more pushy with regards to his spelling practise and reading, but am just doing as much as he's happy with for now, which I hope is working.

Will be interesting next week is my eldest twos parents evening, and I really need to sit down before hand and think about all the things I need to discuss with regards to Jake, but that's another post.

We also had fun picking out some decorations for Halloween, which I will be sharing with you all next week and we also thoroughly enjoyed the Sylvanian Families Twitter party, although it was abit manic with lots of children, trying to keep them organised and tweet!

And to put an extra big smile on my face I received some yummy fudge to review too!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Gifts ideas for a new arrival

A new baby is one of the most life changing events that is ever likely to happen to any family, and no matter if it is your first child or 5th the excitement and expectations that come along with knowing a new little person will be joining the family are always strong.

So when a friend of mine told me she was expecting her 2nd baby I was thrilled for her, and I know that she has been as eager to make sure she is as prepared for the arrival as she was with her daughter.

Her baby is due next month. All preparations are falling into place, a double pushchair, warm snugly sleep suits are amongst the baby essentials and I have found myself browsing through the baby selections looking at all the nursery products thinking up the perfect gift for my friend.

A great website is Baby & co who have a lovely selection of products, being a family run business with more than 24 years experience, looking through their site is like having a good friend recommending all the essential baby gear.

Not only do they stock prams and pushchairs from all the top brands, nursery furniture and bedding but also safety equipment and toys too.

Whilst I was browsing the site I found these perfect gifts for a new born baby.

pack of 6 muslin squares from the lollipop range £10.99
 Muslin Squares are a perfect gift for a new mum, they have hundreds of uses and you can never have too many, which means they are always a much appreciated gift.
Safety1st thermometer priced £2.99

This bath thermometer is a great little gift which is sure to be well received, and will come in useful too!

20cm Stieff Teddy £23.99
Or you can go for a traditional teddy, and this Stieff teddy is one of the cutest I have seen, soft and cuddly this bear is suitable for all ages and can either become a much loved teddy or a perfect keepsake.

No matter if you are currently awaiting a new arrival into your own family or looking at gifts for a friend, I'm sure you will find something to suit your needs from Baby & Co

This post was brought to you in conjunction with Baby & Co.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Muddy Puddles!

We are forecast more rain, which I guess isn't to surprising for this time of year, and when the rain stops I guess we'll have some snow to look forward to.

I really don't mind what the weather is like, and try to get out even if it is not so nice out there.

It doesn't really bother me if its muddy, cold or wet, well it doesn't providing we have the right clothes and shoes for the weather!

On my search for new rain macs for the children I have been looking through which is a fantastic website set up by a mother of 3, who like myself understand the frustrations of having the wrong clothing when all you want to do is get outside, because lets face it, there are more 'off' weather days than good ones, MuddyPuddles is now one of the leading suppliers of quality outdoor clothing and they pride themselves on supplying great quality outdoor clothing that lasts lots of running jumping and splashing in the muddiest of puddles!

I love their  PuddlePac range, which are thin light weight water proof jackets, which are a must have for all country kids who like to get outdoors, these jackets are great because they are so light children won't want to throw them off as soon as they start to run about, like with thicker coats.
Ideal also for days out with family or school they fold up small so can be kept in a bag until needed so you never get caught out in a rain storm.

The Puddle Pacs come in a great selection of colours too including the standard Blue, Navy and Pink but if you want something abit different there is also a stripy design and even a pink star variety.

Puddle Pac from £20

And if you are after something abit warmer for the very cold winter months, MuddyPuddles also stock a great selection of skiwear jackets and boots and even base layers to make sure everyone stays cosy and warm even in the worst weather, check out the fantastic range now by visiting their website.

This post was brought to you in conjunction with MuddyPuddles

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Grafix Art kits for kids.

Many times I have said here that art kits are something that always go down a treat with my three, but there are such a lot of different arty things to choose from the shops, some of the kits are really disappointing when you get them home, and I have a bit of a hate for glitter glue and pom poms which I just do not know what to do with!

So when Grafix contacted me and asked if I would like to have a look at some of their range of childrens craft kits I couldn't wait to see what they sent.

And I was not disappointed, we received three different sets, all looked equally appealing, bright colourful boxes instantly grabbing the childrens attention.

fun childrens art set grafix kits

For my eldest there was a build your own Monster truck, this was perfect, he is the least crafty of my three, being a 10 year old he is much more interested in his computer games, however building the monster truck from the book really got him interested, the pieces popped out easily enough without any tears, and the instructions were simple enough for him to follow alone, he completed the truck in just over an hour and was very pleased with his efforts.

make your own monster truck from paper grafix childrens art

 This fantastic model kit is priced at just £1.49 direct from Grafix website I highly recommend it, it would be fantastic for friends birthday presents, and a great stocking filling for Christmas

For Chloe there was a Crystal tattoo set, we've had lots of bead and jewellery makers in the past and alot of them are not great, often the beads are too fiddly to thread and the jewellery isn't very good after your efforts, however this kit has just one sized beads included all multicoloured and enough elastic to make a couple of bracelets and a necklace, the beads are easy to thread onto the elastic and make simple bangles which Chloe loved, Then ontop of this there is the tattoos.

grafix girls tattoo crystal jewellery set bead making

The Crystal tattoos are little gems which have a sticky backing to them, when you peel them from the sheet you can stick them onto your skin, and then when you don't want the tattoo anymore you can simply peel them back off and re stick them to the sheet ready for the next time, I was slightly dubious of how good these tattoos would be, but was really surprised that they stuck perfectly well to skin and peeled off again holding the shape of the designs. Chloe has had them on and off so many times since we have had this kit and they are all still use able.

And just as an added extra you get a lovely pink work station to store the beads and tattoos between uses, you get alot more beads than you can use with the elastic provided, so if I was to be overly picky I would say it would have been nice to have abit more elastic, but thats really not a problem when you way up the fact the rest of this kit gives lots of enjoyment, all simple and fun which can be used without lots of adult interaction, I have looked around and found the Crystal tattoo set is currently available at Asda for £6 which I think is a great price for this fantastic kit, it would make a wonderful Christmas present.

The third Grafix kit we received was a make your own sea creature set, this one all three of my children wanted to have ago at, although it was sent for my youngest, with an age of 3+ on the box

grafix art kit contents make your own sea creature

Inside there were 4 Sea creatures sets to make, all individually packed, the great thing about this kit was that no scissors, paint or glue is needed, the bodies of the sea creature are all ready coloured and holes punched around the edges for you to use the supplied pipe cleaners to connect together sections and make dangly legs, then there was a lovely sheet of stickers to add the finishing touches to your designs.

I was thinking the simple nature of this kit would mean that it wouldn't entertain them for very long, but they all sat happily for around half an hour making their monsters, and there is still one left to do another day, this kit is priced around £3 amazing value for the quality of this fun kit, you could happily untangle the pipe cleaners after you have made your creatures and then have them to re use again another day if you choose too which would make the value of this kit even better.

Overall we really loved the Grafix kits and will definitely keeping our eyes out for more in the range, you can find out more on the Grafix website, and look through the fantastic kits available, all are really affordable and great simple fun which will get children creative.

Sylvanian Family Twitter Party!

I am so very excited to be a host for the Sylvanian Families Twitter Party next Tuesday 16th October between 4 and 6pm, myself and 24 other bloggers are hosting parties for our friends and families.,

Celebrating 25 years of these amazing little figures, I am a huge fan myself and have a large collection from my own childhood and am so pleased to see they are still popular toys for my children to enjoy.

On Tuesday 16th,  we will be enjoying looking at Sylvanian toys and playing themed games, I'll be tweeting photos and updates to the Party Hub UKmumsTV  there will be  lots of competitions for those who are on twitter so everyone can get involved!

So be sure to put the date in your diary and come join us on twitter using the hashtag #Sylvanianfamiliesparty following @ukmumstv and me @sarahdazjc so you don't miss out on the fun!

Monday, 8 October 2012

The change of seasons

I haven't taken many photos recently, and the ones I have seems to lack their sparkle, I returned from our boat trip over the summer, and I guess being back inside a house with not so much pretty things to photograph I lost my passion for it.

However this weekend just gone, I rectified that, me and Chloe went out into the local fields, and I took along my camera.

There is nothing nicer than the changing of season, the colours of Autumn to capture my creative side, I simply love the colours of the leaves at this time of year

Anyway here are a few of the photographs I took this weekend, hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Autumn footwear from Brantano

I love Autumn, I like the cool crisp mornings and the beautiful colours, finding conkers and crunching through leaves, the frost, enjoying a afternoon walk then coming home to warm back up, with a cup of hot chocolate.

But there is a problem, we're all abit short of suitable boots and winter footwear!

People who know me will know that I am not one for following fashion really, and tend to stick to practical needs, and so when it comes to my footwear I tend to grab the closest thing to me, the easiest to put on in a rush and something that is comfy, and so my trusty pair of crocs tend to be the most worn. As for the children they seem to have all had a sudden growth spurt and so everyone is in need of some new winter boots.

Brantanos have a really great collection of shoes, huge variety to suit the whole family, with top brand names such as Clark, Hush Puppie, Sketchers and Start rite to name just a few.

We have a local store which is great to have a look in, but there is nothing better than abit of online shopping, so I have been having a nosey through the Brantano website where they have a huge selection to choose from from school shoes to sandals with some web exclusive styles too, so it is definitely worth a look.

I am liking the look of these Mountain Peak Camo boots for the boys
MountainPeak Boot : £24.00

and I love these Sketchers boots for Chloe
Sketchers Keepsakes - £45

As for me, well I think it is time I swapped my crocs for some Wellingtons!

This post was brought to you in conjunction with Brantanos

Thursday, 4 October 2012

National Poetry Day

Toady's National Poetry Day,
So we should all be conscious of what we say,

If we have the time,
We should only try to speak in rhyme.

So, get out the paper and a pen
encourage your husband or children.

It may be gloomy outside with no sun,
but think of a poem, its really good fun!

 Join in on Twitter too #NationalPoetryDay

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Lonely reality of Social networks

As I sit here in front of my laptop once again, wasting hours starring into the screen my eldest gone to his Uncles with his dad,  Chloe out with her friends, Mikes quietly playing with his lego and me enjoying a Sunday afternoon doing what I seem to spend the majority of my time doing, looking into an online world.

As I flick from blog post  to facebook, to my emails and back again, skimming through this world full of other people, telling their life through the posts and snippets they choose to share, I glide over the stories reading some, commenting on others but on the most part just looking.

Then a post on facebook caught my eye, 'WARNING : personal messages are viewable on your timeline - this is not a joke - I've checked!' As I read the post detailing how old private messages from 2007 - 2009 were now showing up as wall posts, I went off to see for myself if this was true, or just another scaremongering chain mail type message, I opened up my profile page, and clicked down the list of years, 2012, 2011,  2010, 2009, 2008, 2007... Joined Facebook 28 June 2007

I starred into screen, a condensed story of my life. Scrolling through the photos and posts in 2007 Sure enough there was a box '65 friends posted on your timeline'  opening up to read through the messages I recognise some of them as what maybe at the time I thought of as personal messages, all one sided, no replies from me just the messages I received, because if you remember back to early facebook days there was no way to reply under a message but only to post 'wall to wall' and with facebook being a new site and much smaller in size, people did not have the worry of over sharing or privacy that everyone seems concerned about now, so indeed these messages were never private, but infact it is our views of what should and shouldn't be public that have changed.

I read through them, 'Hi Sarah wow long time no see, great to hear from you!' I smile at the newness to facebook, the thrill of connecting with old school friends and catching up, then I stop and click away, and realise I am maybe one of the most unsociable users of social networks there is!

What happened from that time when I started using facebook and each person I added to my friend list I connected with, had a conversation with, swapped stories of the missing years and shared photos of family, why now do I still have the draw to facebook but I seem to sit their with a silence? a lonely spectator.

The catch up messages, the friendly chat no longer needed as we sneakily peek into each others lives when we post, no need to interact, personally, we can silently watch. with a quick 'like' here and there. I now have many more friends on my friends list than I had in 2007 I still have the old school friends I added back in 2007 and I have new friends that have been made over the years.

The old school friends who I remember being happy to hear from, I have not interacted with much over the past 5 years, I have not been over to say hello, how you doing?  and nor have they to me, friends who I used to email often with lengthy catch up messages, have not been contacted, my email box is missing the messages, they are no longer needed as we can catch up on facebook....

But do we? Do we really keep in touch on facebook, or is it all abit impersonal, in a publicly sociable way?

Facebook is wonderful, is a brilliant way to keep in touch with friends and family, but is strangely lonely too if you forget the reasons for having it there in the first place. I tend to have facebook open in the background slip in and out a few groups I'm a member of here and there, but other than that I really have no idea what I do there! I seem to miss my friends updates and haven't had a catch up chat with anyone in a long time.

So I am going to make an effort to actually say hi to my facebook friends, interact more and use it in a all round much more sociable way.
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