Friday, 30 November 2012

Friday 30/11/2012 Wintery (30/365)

Winter Farnworth November

Sudocrem Balloon Race Competition

Sudocrem Mousse Balloon Race

Sudocrem Mousse have launched a new competition on their Facebook page to win £750 in cash, a great Christmas present for any family! Simply click on the Balloon Race tab and follow the simple instructions to release your balloon and enter the competition. The competition ends on 21st December 2012. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Christmas Gift Ideas: Laid Back Lullabies CD by Sarah Ffelan

Red Rose Mummy Christmas Gift Guide

I met Sarah Ffelan on Twitter and was intrigued when she asked if anyone wanted to review her CD of Laid Back Lullabies. As Little Miss is still very small I thought it would be great to take her up on it and see what my two children made of it. Music for children can be tricky so I was hoping for an improvement on some of the CDs that Bud has taken to his heart recently!

Laid Back Lullabies Sarah Ffelan CD

Track Listing:
1. Rock a Bye Baby
2. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
3. Lavender's Blue
4. I Can Sing a Rainbow
5. Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
6. Sing a Song of Sixpence
7. Hey Diddle Diddle
8. Hickory Dickory Dock

When the CD arrived it sat on the side for a couple of days until Bud was having a particularly manic afternoon and was overtired. He needed a nap. My eye fell on the CD and I thought we may as well give it a go. We put the CD on and he sat beside me while it played. He loved that he recognised all the songs and knew the words but was also amused by them being a bit different to the way he is used to singing them. He did eventually fall asleep, I'm not sure if that was down to the CD or the quiet time but, really, the two went hand in hand and the CD was a valuable calming tool. The baby slept through the whole thing! 

Sarah Ffelan has a beautiful voice and this combined with a modern arrangement of these traditional children's songs is a winning combination. We've played it a few times since that first airing and it is fast becoming one of Bud's favourites. Sarah is a mum of three and you can really tell that she understands how to calm children. Her little ones must get the best lullabies! I think this CD would make a lovely, different gift for any new parent or small child. It it is far superior to the saccharine-sweet nursery rhyme CDs around, with the added bonus that it may help your children to drop off to sleep too! It might even help you sleep too.

You can buy Laid Back Lullabies on MP3 on iTunes and Amazon and Amazon also has the CD.

I received this CD free of charge but,a s always, the opinions in this review are honest and unbiased.

Thursday 29/11/2012 New Friend (29/365)

Baby Christmas Elf

Wednesday 28/11/2012 Considering (28/365)

Outdoor Play Thoughtful Considering boy

Tuesday 27/11/2012 Into the Ark (27/365)

Playmobil Noah's Ark

Monday, 26 November 2012

Monday 26/11/2012 Watching (26/365)



TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Christmas Gift Ideas: Phillipa Knickerbocker Glory and the Ice Cream Castle

Red Rose Mummy Christmas Gift Guide

Growing up as a Philippa was great, I loved having an unusual first name but I was always upset when we went on holiday and checked out the souvenirs with names on. They very rarely had my name (most often we got things in Wales where it is a more common name) and I was often disappointed. My brother had a much more popular name so he could usually get something which made matters worse. I, therefore, always have a soft spot for anything with my name attached to it. We were recently sent a copy of 'Phillipa Knickerbocker Glory and the Ice Cream Castle' by Sarahjane Funnell to review and Bud was most amused by the little girl in the book having the same name as Mummy.

Phillipa Knickerbocker Glory Ice Cream World

The book tells the story of Phillipa (not spelled the same as me, another hazard to an unusual name with multiple spellings!). She is a little girl who loves ice cream and looks forward to her Saturday treat of an ice cream Knickerbocker Glory. This week she closes her eyes while enjoying her treat and she and her pet cat Mr Whiskers are transported to a magical ice cream world.

I wasn't sure what Bud would make of this book as it is definitely aimed at girls. It is very girly and pink and he seems to have decided that pink is for girls since the arrival of his baby Sister,. None of us are sure how this has come about because we've always tried not to say that but he has absorbed it from somewhere. Anyway, the illustrations are very pink, and very girly. Phillipa wears a tiara to eat her ice cream. The story and the amount of ice cream featured in it won through though and Bud really enjoyed this book. It is a little longer than those we normally read together and he is a little younger than the intended age range but we've read it a few times since it arrived and it is yet to make it to the bookshelf, it is in the 'constant rotation' pile of books in his book basket instead.  Last night he even persuaded his Dad to read it to him and it got a thumbs up from both of them. 

Phillipa Knickerbocker Glory Ice Cream World Book

Phillipa Knickerbocker Glory and the Ice Cream World is published by Phillipa Books. You can find them on Twitter and Facebook. RRP £7:99

We were sent a copy of this book to review but the thoughts and opinions contained within this post are unbiased and all my own.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Boohoo.com #partypose Blogger Challenge

My recent discovery of Polyvore is turning into a small obsesssion so I was pleased to have something to channel my 'creativity' into when I found out about Boohoo.com's new blogger competition. They simply want entrants to create their perfect party outfit for under £100.

Here's my entry


Boohoo.com #partypose Competition Entry
Boutique Kylie Metallic Sequin Front Shift Dress £25
Bobbi Rubbed Design Supersoft Leggings £10
Andie Glitter Mid Courts £18
Brooke Large Zip Around Design Purse £10
Kayla Spring Bracelet £8
IImogen Multi Drop Hoop Earrings £5


So, six items for a party outfit for just £76. Well within budget. I love the colour of the dress and think that these silver accessories will dress it up beautifully. I always prefer to layer a dress over leggings at the moment, to cover all my lumps and bumps. The shoes have a sensible heel which, given that I've lived in flats during my pregnancy and the last few weeks, is about all I'm fit for!

If you'd like to enter the Boohoo.com competition just click through to their blog and follow the instructions there. If you do enter  leave me a link in my comments, I'd love to see your #partypose.




Sunday 25/11/2012 Poinsettia (25/365)


24/11/2012 For Kerry (24/364)


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Healing for Kerry

In my self-enforced break from blogging and social media there was a list of people who I really missed chatting with on Twitter, or catching up with their wonderful families by reading their new blog posts. These, apart from a few exceptions, are people I've never met although I have a mental list of those who'd I really like to meet one day and Multiple Mummy, Kerry, is one of them. I remember winning two of her December competitions last year and her telling me that I was too lucky, we had a real giggle on Twitter,

Photobucket

Earlier this year Kerry suffered a brain aneurysm and has been fighting ever since to return to her beautiful family. I've never met Kerry but her blog was one of those where seeing the title in my email inbox was enough to make me smile and click through straight away to read some more of her excellent writing and see the photos of her winning smile and her gorgeous children. She also founded Science Sparks with Emma to share their love of Science, this is one of the most innovative, entertaining blogs that I subscribe to. 
The blogging community is a real force to be reckoned with and tonight we will be pausing at 10pm to send Kerry our love, thoughts and prayers. Liska from New Mum Online was inspired by the footballer Fabrice Muamba who, on his recovery from his heart attack, said that he thought that the power of prayer had helped him to recover. As a Bolton fan watching the match that night, I know that my prayers for him were among the rest being sent out into the universe. We've all been thinking of Kerry every day and rushing to read the updates that Multiple Daddy has posted to keep us informed but tonight we will unite at 10pm to think of Kerry and her family. I'll be lighting a candle and thinking of our beautiful Multiple Mummy. Please take a moment to do the same.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Thursday 22/11/2012 Not Quite Right (22/365)

Everytime I check on Little Miss' feet they are poking through her sleepsuit. I don't know how she does it!

Christmas Gift Ideas: Nationwide Tequila Tasting Classes


As we're nearly at the end of November and Christmas is just over a month away your thoughts have no doubt turned to sorting out what you are going to buy for various family members. Everyone has that one person who is difficult to buy for, we're unlucky enough to have several. All fantastic and valued family members and friends, just tricky to decide what to get for them. Living Social and Don't Shoot Tequila have teamed up to offer fantastic discounts on their Tequila Tasting Classes which would make a great experience gift for anyone who enjoys tasting high-quality Tequila (I'm thinking of two men on my list who would love this!)

The classes are running on a number of dates  and are reduced from £65 a head to £24 for one person, or £48 for two people, that;s a great saving of 65%! The classes are available in Manchester, London, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow

For more information you can have a look at their cool video advertisement


Head over to Living Social now to buy your deal but hurry, this offer will only last for three more days! Don't forget that if you buy this deal and then share it with your friends and three of them buy it too then you will get your deal free. 

I received two tickets to an event in exchange for writing this post, which solves one of my gift issues!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Wednesday 21/11/2012 Smiling (21/365)

Sorry that my 365 is almost exclusively photos of Little Miss sleeping at the moment, I just can't resist her!


Next Dress For Christmas Competition

Christmas is fast approaching and many of your thoughts will be turning to finding that perfect outfit (or two) to feel great celebrating in. As a result Next and Jane at Northern Mum have teamed up to offer a fantastic prize. All you have to do is have a look on the Next website and create outfits for the family and you could win a £500 Next voucher  to kit out your family for the festive period.

I've been playing around with Polyvore  and have put together the outfits that I'd love to see my family wearing this Christmas. We generally have a relaxed day and Christmas dinner with close family on Christmas Day and then attend a big extended family party on Boxing Day. This means that we need a comfortable (yet still stylish) outfit for present opening and Christmas dinner and then a party outfit for Boxing Day. I've chosen one of each for all of us.

Little Miss Next Christmas

So, Little Miss first. She is celebrating her very first Christmas this year and will, no doubt, be the centre of attention. For Christmas Day this Reindeer Dress with Matching Tights is just lovely. Nice and bright and fun. The Reindeer's pompom nose is too cute. I'm a big fan of dresses which come with the tights attached as it saves the hassle of trying to find tights to match and the red in these will go perfectly with these cozy red boots. Boxing Day requires a bit of sparkle and the sequins on this green dress will provide that. The dress' bow detail is echoed in the bow pockets of this little shrug which will keep her warm.The pair of tights on the left will match up beautifully and I adore these little tweed Christmas pudding shoes.

Bud's Next Christmas Outfits

Bud really suits bright colours and this is something I have found Next do consistently well. For Christmas Day I have chosen an outfit in blue and red. I like that the navy Snowman sweater echoes his Sister's outfit without being too matchy, and the checked shirt and cords add a punch of colour. As this season has been all about clashing prints I've chosen these tartan shoes to be really on trend. I haven't come across the Heritage range at Next before but I really like how unusual the styles are. This waistcoat and shirt set and trousers with braces are funky, smart and very stylish, perfect for my boy on Boxing Day. The berry desert boots are a subtle way of adding a little colour.

Daddy's Next Christmas Outfits

Red Rose Daddy is, by his own admission, stuck in a bit of a style rut at the moment. He rarely buys clothes for himself and usually receives them as gifts on birthdays or at Christmas so he really deserves something new. He is a big fan of the jumper and jeans combo and this burgundy patterned jumper is, I think, an understated version of the Christmas jumper cliché. The jeans are great and the boots would look fantastic and go with so many other outfits in his wardrobe. For Boxing Day, these trousers with this belt and shirt would be formal enough, it isn't really a 'shirt and tie' event but he would look very smart in these. I wasn't sure if he would be impressed by the floral print on the shirt but he liked it. The Chelsea boots are a classic addition to any man's wardrobe and one that would last a long time.

Mummy's Next Christmas Outfit

I can honestly say that I never thought I would like an outfit chosen by Geri Halliwell for her range at Next but this dress crept up on me. Firstly it is green, my favourite colour, and secondly, I love lace and this is a great take on this season's fashion. The fact that it is a similar colour to my girl's party dress appeals too. Silly, I know but we could be in green together. I think the silver shoes and accessories complement the dress really well. The ring is the only chance I will have of getting anything sparkly for my left hand this Christmas! For Christmas Day I've chosen a comfortable outfit. I love the wrap top and this would be easy to breastfeed in too (that's the only downside with the lovely green dress - I'd have to get undressed to feed Little Miss, it would be worth it though!) The skinny jeans are stretchy so would hold all my lumps and bumps in nicely. The boots are something I have been looking for. A good heel (not too high) and able to be dressed up or down. I'd complete this look with a fab, snuggly cardigan and a touch of sparkle with this long necklace.

I've really enjoyed putting together these outfits for the whole family. The prize wouldn't buy me all of the items I've shown to you but it would really help! Next have a really great range of fashion for the whole family this Christmas and I'd encourage you all to go and have a look. The collages were created using my new Polyvore account which is a free tool to bring all of the fashion you like into mood boards. I like it very much, don't forget to follow me if you create your own account.

If you'd like the chance to win £500 to spend at Next then head over to Northern Mum for the full details and terms and conditions.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Giveaway: Win a Hamper of Dr Beckmann Cleaning Products

Christmas can be a stressful time for everyone involved and the last thing you want to worry about is that rich food and drink staining your clothes. Dr Beckmann, the UK's leading laundry specialist understand this which is why they are giving one of my readers the chance to win a hamper containing all the products to keep their homes and clothes looking great over the festive period. Don't worry about gravy stains on your 'best' white tablecloth or spilling sherry on the carpet, there is a product in this hamper to help. It also contains products from the 'Service-it' range which will help to keep your washing machine and dishwasher working at their best.



I can personally vouch for the fantastic Stain Devils Survival Kit as Dr Beckmann sent me out a few products to try. Bud chose this day to draw all over the cover for our footstool cover using brown felt tip pen. There are three bottles in the Stain Devils Survival Kit box and one is recommended for use against felt tip. I followed the instructions and I'm happy to say that it removed the pen completely, you would never know it had been there!

Another Chance to Win

As well as this fabulous hamper Dr. Beckmann are giving you an additional chance to win over on their Facebook page. Although only one winner will be selected from this blog they will be giving away another hamper plus the new Kindle Fire to one lucky Dr. Beckmann fan with an additional 5 runner up hampers up for grabs.

The Kindle Fire is set to be at the top of many people’s Christmas lists as it is a hot rival to the Apple iPad. Not only is the Kindle Fire great for reading, which we discovered was high on the list of hobbies children enjoy the most, equal to playing computer games in fact, but it is also great for gaming and watching TV and films. 

For a chance to win the hamper of products simply follow the instructions below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to go and visit Dr Beckmann on Facebook to enter the Kindle Fire competition.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Warner Bros Halloween Fun Part 2 - LEGO Hero Factory: Savage Planet and Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens

Last week I reviewed the first two DVDs in our Halloween package from Warner Bros - Tom and Jerry Tricks and Treats and Big Top-Scooby Doo! The other two DVDs we received - LEGO Hero Factory: Savage Planet and Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens were passed to another little tester (my cousin's son), we'll call him Little R for this review. He is 6 years old so a more appropriate age I think.

Little R has now watched both DVDs and reported back to me so here goes.

LEGO Hero Factory: Savage Planet
This is an adventure featuring characters from LEGO Hero Factory. Rocka answers a distress call from banished professor Aldous Witch he finds himself under attack on the planet Quatros. Stormer, Furno, Bulk, Stringer and Nex head out from the Hero Factory to save Rocka but when they reach Quatros they discover that Aldous Witch has transformed into the evil Witch Doctor and plans to destroy the planet. The Heroes must work together to defeat the Witch Doctor and save Quatros.


Little R informs me that this DVD is really exciting. He really liked all the characters and thought that lots happened. His particular love at the moment is Transformers and these are quite similar, this was the 'best thing' about the DVD in his opinion. His Mum told me that she thought he was the right age (it is recommended for age 6+) and it was really action packed.There are three  She's actually looking at the LEGO toys in this range now so I think we can safely say this DVD was a hit. In addition to Savage Planet there is also a bonus episode called 'Ordeal of Fire'. This DVD is available from Amazon priced at £7:49

Ten-year-old Ben Tennyson is finally back from his summer vacation, and his life is a mess! Humiliated by his teacher, harassed by bullies, grounded by his parents, and cursed with a malfunctioning Omnitrix that's vaporizing his homework, Ben jumps at the chance to get away from it all at the Total Alien Immersion training program on the far side of the galaxy. Little does Ben know that total immersion means he can never turn human again. Crashing back to earth and stuck in his alien forms, Ben becomes the target of an all-new evil alien, Retaliator, engaging in a deadly cross-world battle, where nothing is as it seems.



Ben 10 is a fairly recent discovery for Little R but has quickly become a favourite. In fact, when I was offered the opportunity to review this DVD I knew I had to take Warner Bros up on it just so he could watch this. He has previously only watched the TV show so a feature-length Ben 10 was new to him. This DVD also uses CGI - a different animation technique to the TV cartoons so he thought it looked 'not the same' but 'still good'. The film lasts over an hour but his Mum said he watched it all and sat quietly while it was on, apart from the odd 'wow' and 'look Mum'. Mum also said that the effects were really good and the animation was high quality and much more interesting than the original series. Little R's Christmas list already contained quite a few Ben 10 items and watching this DVD has been a big hit, with repeated viewings since the first one. His Mum says that he would watch it every day if he could. This DVD is in the Ultraviolet format which means that you receive the DVD and a code to activate the film on Flixter so it can be shared on up to five digital devices. We haven't had chance to try this out but it sounds like a really good idea and one that I will be investigating further, it also increases the value for money of the original DVD. This DVD is available from Amazon at just £5 at the moment, a great stocking filler for any Ben 10 fan

Thanks to Warner Bros for sending out the DVDs to us. All opinions contained in the review are my own and are unbiased. 


Friday, 16 November 2012

Show your Spots - Children in Need 2012 (16/365)


Bud and Little Miss are showing their spots for Children in Need.
This is a great cause which does terrific work for children and their families throughout the UK.
To donate visit the website or call during the live TV broadcast on BBC1 tonight.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Thursday 15/11/2012 Colouring (15/365)


Wednesday 14/11/2012 My Girl (14/365)


Lord Derby Apple Crumble

Sainsbury's have launched a new cooking apple into their store. In addition to the popular Bramley they will now be offering the Lord Derby apple too.

We received a pack of apples, nutmeg and cinnamon to prepare an apple crumble showcasing these apples.


The apples are slightly smaller than Bramleys and much more regularly shaped. To me they resembled an oversized, darker-skinned Granny Smith.

I usually throw lots of different fruit into a crumble, basically anything that is starting to go past it's best in the fruit bowl but, this time, I decided to keep it simple and make it with just apples.

Apple Crumble
Filling:
3 Lord Derby apples,peeled, cored and chopped into bite-sized chunks
2 teaspoons of cinammon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
100g of Demerara sugar

Crumble Topping:
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon of cinammon
100g of soft brown sugar
50g porridge oats
175g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Mix the Demerara sugar with the cinammon and nutneg. Place half of the apples into a baking dish and sprinkle half of the mixture over them. Add the rest of the apples then top with the rest of the mixture.

For the crumble, place the flour, cinammon, sugar and oats in a bowl and mix well. Rub the butter through the mixture with your fingertips until you achieve a texture like breadcrumbs. Cover the apples with the crumble topping.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade and bake for 35 minutes. If the topping isn't golden brown then cook for a little longer, checking regularly. Don't let the topping burn though.

Serve with custard, cream, ice cream or, if you are Red Rose Daddy, evaporated milk.


I made the crumble for our fireworks party and, once it was ready it was attacked so quickly that I didn't manage to get a photo of the whole crumble.

We agreed that you could definitely taste a difference between the Lord Derby apples and Bramleys. The apples tasted a little sharper and also held their form better. Usually I find that Bramley apples cook down into a 'mush' but these didn't, you can clearly see the shape of the pieces in the dish above. 

We really enjoyed the apples and our crumble, it was the perfect accompaniment to Bonfire Night.

We received the apples and spices for the crumble free of charge but the recipe and the opinions contained within are all my own.


Monday, 12 November 2012

Mobile Monday - Christms is Coming

Yesterday we visited a local mill store to see their Christmas floor and I was very taken with their displays. I took a few snaps on my phone and have been dying to show them to you so I thought I would link up with the Mobile Monday blog hop at Cakes Photos Life





Monday 12/11/12 Bedtime Story (12/365)


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Sunday 11/11/2012 My Boys (11/365)


TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Remembrance

They came out of the morning mist, falling into step behind the military band. Old and young. From the veterans of old conflicts to the little Beaver Scouts shiny-faced, their legs moving quicker than the rest to keep up. Wearing uniforms or medals. Each of them displaying a small red flower as a symbol of their purpose. Walking behind their flags to their destination, the Cenotaph in our town park.

The community gathered to welcome them.  More again this year than last year. We waited patiently for Red Rose Daddy and his Explorer Scouts to arrive. We stood as the bright sunshine burned away the mist and we gave thanks. We remembered.

I didn't know the woman who stood beside me weeping silently throughout the service, paying her own painful tribute, but I hope it helped her to know that we stood with her and we supported her and that precious life she mourned.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

'For the Fallen' by Laurence Binyon

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Saturday 10/11/2012 The Return of Pat (10/365)

When we visited Blackpool after our trip to Cobble Hey Farm last Sunday Bud was upset to discover that he had left behind his little Postman Pat and PC Selby toys. He was virtually inconsolable so I phoned the farm to see if they could find them and, if they could, would they post them to us. Luckily the lovely people there found them and the two toys arrived in a jiffy bag this morning. Bud was overjoyed to have them back. Thank you Cobble Hey!

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