Thursday, 18 September 2014

What's Happened? What's Happening? - September Fun

September continues and it seems that everyone is back at school now, and most of the brand new reception children have started too. Now Bud is in school we're really keen to make the most of our time together by planning fun things to do every weekend. We aren't necessarily booking full days out in but are planning a few, alongside trips to the cinema and swimming and time at home to rest. I'm sure there will be lots of fun activities in the run up to Christmas (am I allowed to say that word now the children are back at school?) too.

Last week the back to school WHWH did really well with some fabulous events linked up. This is Life had fun in the snow at Chill Factore this is one of our favorite local spots for fun together. We're Going on an Adventure took the whole family off to York Races, can you believe I used to live five minutes walk away from York Racecourse but I've never been? Special mention for an adorable photo of one of my favourite blog babies in her Beco Solelil back carry too! The Adventures of Jack Jack went to RAF Coningsby, which happens to be one of my Dad's favourite places. He's aeroplane crazy and regularly visits and has loved seeing the Three Lancasters this Summer so I'll be sending him the link to this post. I'd love to visit some day, it's definitely on our list.

What's Happening? is rather quiet at the moment, I guess people aren't planning so much at the moment. I'm hoping this will pick up in the run up to Christmas. Speaking of Christmas, Clearly Bex shared details of the cBeebies Christmas Panto ticket ballot. We've applied and I have my fingers very tightly crossed! Manchester Mummy shared details of the forthcoming Ramsbottom Festival, this is local to us but I always seem to forget about it. With appearances from The Levellers and Soul II Soul I really wish I could make it this year!

What have you been up to? What are you planning?

I'd love you to link up your blog posts to What's Happened? - featuring events, days out, holidays, film, theatre and restaurant reviews and any other 'happeneds'. What's Happening? is the place for you to link your event previews, holiday or days out plans, ongoing events and ticket giveaways.

I read and comment on every one and share on Twitter, Facebook. Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.

I've created a Pinterest board where I pin all of your posts, feel free to follow it.

As always, I would love it if you would add the linky badge to your post to direct your readers here

What's Happened? What's Happening?

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Mike the Knight - Journey to Dragon Mountain at Warwick Castle

Last Saturday we got up very early and headed down the M6 towards Warwick for a very exciting day out! We're a house full of Mike the Knight fans so were already excited about Mike the Knight - Journey to Dragon Mountain - the opportunity to go and see a special screening of Mike's first feature-length adventure, meet Mike and one of the dragons and explore Warwick Castle was too good to be missed!

Mike the Knight logo

We arrived to be welcomed by a Mike the Knight themed tea party with jam tarts to enjoy and then went in to see the film. Journey to Dragon Mountain lasts around an hour and I think it kept the whole audience interested. Bud was glued to it as were most of the other children, and the grown ups too!

Mike the Knight Journey to Dragon Mountain

Glendragon is in danger! When the King returns from faraway lands, he discovers that the Vikings have stolen a treasured crystal jewel from the dragon of Dragon Mountain. It is the King’s mission to return the jewel and Mike’s job to help him. The King, Mike and Evie form “Team Family Glendragon” and soon find themselves on an epic quest filled with dangerous obstacles from meddlesome gargoyles to giant dragons!

We all really enjoyed the film. I'm a bit of an Alexander Armstrong fan and I love that he voices the often absent King of Glendragon. It was great to see him feature so much in Journey to Dragon Mountain and for Mike and Evie to go off on an adventure with him for a change. Bud's favourites Squirt and Sparkie have a big role to play with Squirt in particular having his own plotline and happy ending. The Vikings and Gargoyle (my favourite) also appear throughout, our only disappointment was that Trollee and his family were nowhere to be seen!

Mike the Knight Journey to Dragon Mountain

After our special screening we went into the Castle grounds and had the opportunity to meet Mike the Knight, Evie and one of the dragons! If you visit Warwick Castle over the next two weekends and you're brave enough to pose for a selfie with the giant dragon you could win some great prizes! Simply upload the photo on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #DragonSelfie to be in with a chance of winning! Bud loved meeting Mike but LM was less impressed, here's our #DragonSelfie.

Mike the Knight #DragonSelfie at Warwick Castle

In addition to Mike's appearances you can also try your hand at various knightly activities including:
Galahad’s Gallop
Jester Zone
Build Glendragon Castle
The Blacksmith’s Horse Shy
Colour and Craft Tent
Target Test
Sparkie and Squirt's Egg Hunt
Evie's Wizard Workshop

These were so much fun and both LM and Bud really enjoyed taking part in the activities. Our favourite was Galahad's Gallop where you could race hobby horses in pairs. Bud was delighted to beat his Daddy!

Warwick Castle Mike the Knight activities

As the day progressed we watched some of the scheduled activities around the Castle, including an exceptional Birds of Prey demonstration and the awe inspiring Trebuchet demonstration. The latter was my favourite part of the day and the whole experience really engaged the audience while educating too.

Warwick Castle Trebuchet Demonstration

Warwick Castle is a fantastic day out and we really enjoyed our day with Mike the Knight there. I think Journey to Dragon Mountain is a must buy for any little Mike and Evie fans and I can imagine it will find it's way into a lot of stockings this Christmas. It'is available from all usual stockists and Amazon where it is currently just £5).

Disclosure: We were invited to visit Warwick Castle as the guests of the Mike the Knight team and supplied with free entry and a goodie bag.

What's Happened? What's Happening?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Schleich Dinosaurs

Bud loves Dinosaurs. At four and a half he knows endless facts about them and his dinosaur books and toys occupy a fair amount of his playtime. When the opportunity came for us to review some amazing dinosaurs from Schleich's new range we were very excited!

Schleich Dinosaurs

We received seven dinosaurs from the range and they arrived on Bud's first day of school! He was so happy to see them, they were the icing on the cake that day. As he pulled each dinosaur from the parcel he was able to name most of them straight away. The box contained:

Schleich Dinosaurs

Bud recognised all of the dinosaurs apart from Therizinosaurus and Quetzalcoatlus (he just called this one a Pterodactyl, which allowed us to talk about pterasaurs being the name for flying lizards, not dinosaurs, again). He was slightly confused by the presence of two T-Rex dinosaurs but quickly decided that one was the Mummy and the other was the Daddy. We went to look up the 'new' dinosaurs in his big book and find out whether they are meat-eaters or plant-eaters which is always Bud's first question about an unfamiliar dinosaur. We found out that Therizinosaurus is thought to have been omniverous and Quetzalcoatlus ate fish, in case you are wondering!

Schleich Dinosaurs

I loved the opportunity to expand Bud's dino knowledge with the inclusion of less well known dinosaurs into the range. We probably would never have come across Therizinosaurus and Quetzalcoatlus without Schleich making models of them and it's always exciting to discover a new dinosaur (or pterasaur) together.

Schleich Dinosaurs

Since the dinosaurs arrived they have been used in the sand pit, water table and inside the house. Using them in sand gives the opportunity to make great dinoaur footprints! They are sturdy and up to small hands exploring them and playing actively with them. These are great, some have moving jaws and limbs. They are incredibly tactile and Bud has really enjoyed exploring them and talking about the sharp teeth, claws, colour of the skin and the size of the dinosaurs. They are a great toy to support a child's interest in dinosaurs and one that really helps them to learn. Bud has great fun making up stories featuring his dinosaurs and they lend themselves brilliantly to imaginative play.

Schleich Dinosaurs

Schleich make amazing models and these dinosaurs are no exception. They are exceptionally detailed and beautifully coloured. Those that Bud knew were easy to recognise as the models are so good. They are more expensive than a lot of the dinosaur toys you will see in the shops but, for a dinosaur enthusiast, I think it is well worth paying for them. They are available for pocket money prices though, it's just that pocket money will buy one dinosaur, rather than a bag of lesser lizards. These are real heirloom toys. I can imagine putting them away in the attic and getting them out for my grandchildren in the future. Dinosaurs are a timeless toy and these definitely match that.

Bud has been completely delighted by his new dinosaurs and says that they are his favourite toy quite frequently. He's had to be dissuaded from taking any number of them to bed with him on several occasions. I can't recommend them highly enough for any little dinosaur fan.

Schleich Dinosaurs are suitable for children aged from three years upwards and are available from all usual stockists, including Amazon.

Disclosure: We received the dinosaurs for review purposes

Mummy of Two

Monday, 15 September 2014

cBeebies Sweet Dreams with Squidge - Review and Giveaway

We're huge fans of cBeebies in our house and the fun, yellow Squidge mascots are a definite hit. Golden Bear Toys have launched a new range of cBeebies Bugs toys and we received Sweet Dreams with Squidge for LM to try out recently.

Golden Bear Toys cBeebies Sweet Dreams with Squidge

The cBeebies Bedtime Song is an institution in homes across the country as parents use the 'Bedtime Hour' to settle their children a part of the evening routine. This makes the idea of Sweet Dreams with Squidge inspired. The toy is in the familiar shape of Squidge, complete with night cap ready for bed. He's quite large and, as well as his facial features, has a stars pattern on his bottom right. Pressing the largest of these stars plays the full cBeebies Bedtime Song, accompanied by slowly flashing lights at his base. Press the star again and the music will stop.

Golden Bear Toys cBeebies Sweet Dreams with Squidge

The music plays quite loudly but this isn't a toy that goes on and on, it plays through once and then stops. Sweet Dreams with Squidge is now an essential part of LM's bedtime routine. We kiss and cuddle her and place her in her cot, we then switch on her nightlight and press the star to set Squidge off playing, say goodnight and leave the room. On most nights one play through is enough and she will go to sleep after the song finishes but, but on other evenings, she will press the star herself to play the song a few times before she is ready to go to sleep. Before we had Sweet Dreams with Squidge she would probably have started crying at this stage but now she is quite happy to use the toy as part of her self-settling routine. 

The tune is quite loud when it plays but I don't think this matters as it does play for a short period. Sometimes we will hear it in the middle of the night and it's a sign that she has woken up, found Squidge and then drifted off again. Obviously this routine won't work for every child but, for LM, who has always been an excellent sleeper, it works brilliantly. We did have a few problems settling her for a while over the Summer but a new nightlight and Sweet Dreams with Squidge mean those are a thing of the past.

Golden Bear Toys cBeebies Sweet Dreams with Squidge
Aaaah Squidge!

cBeebies Sweet Dreams with Squidge is aimed at children aged ten months upwards, which I think is a perfect age range for the toy. It's the sort of age when bedtime routines can really become established and you could use Squidge as part of it. He requires three AAA batteries which are included. The RRP is £19:99 which I think is good value for money for an excellent toy. LM loves Squidge and will not be without him at bedtime now, he's a definite hit here.


Sweet Dreams with Squidge is available from all usual stockists and Amazon.

I've teamed up with Golden Bear Toys to offer one of my readers the chance to win a cBeebies Squidge for the little one in their life. To enter, simply complete the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional options. Please read the terms and conditions.

cBeebies Sweet Dream with Squidge
We're going on an adventure

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Growing Up with #PowerOfSoft

We've had some big milestones in our family over the last couple of weeks. First of all Bud started Reception. He's sailed through the first week and a half and had a wonderful time making new friends and getting to know his teachers. All of my worries about him going to the toilet, eating his lunch and getting changed for PE seem to have been assuaged so far, with no real issues at all. I'm a very proud Mummy!

Three days after Bud started school LM turned two. My beautiful, funny, bundle of energy is now a proper toddler. It seems like the baby days are over and I'm very sad about it. She had a wonderful birthday packed with visits from friends and family and some wonderful gifts, it was lovely to watch her bouncing on her trampoline with her cousins and having a fantastic time. I very much see the child she will be in the future at the moment. She's determined, strong, energetic and stubborn as a mule. Incredibly entertaining and her speech is developing so quickly at the moment which makes her very funny company.

No matter how much my children grow and advance they will always be my babies. I only have to look into their eyes to see those (not so) tiny babies looking back at me. I've always done everything I can to look after my children in every way and we've always used Fairy to wash their clothes with. I remember the mountains of washing before each of their arrivals and the softness of the freshly laundered clothes. Dressing them in their tiny sleepsuits and vests and inhaling their baby scents was always lovely.

Fairy have a new campaign which aims to help parents to treasure every second of life with their babies and the softest cuddles you'll ever have with them. I've never been one to wish away the days, no 'I can't wait until they are sitting/weaning/crawling/walking etc', I was always happy to enjoy them at whichever stage they were at. Sometimes, especially when it's hard - a reminder of how quickly they grow is so valuable.

In association with Fairy.

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