Win 1 of 5 Spirograph Optical 3D Studio Sets
22:03 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments
Now I'm delighted to see that Spirograph is still going strong for a new generation. Spirograph Optical 3D Studio includes 3D glasses to make the colours in their designs pop in 3D!
3D Effect Dual Colour Pen, 2 Florescent Markers, 3 Colour Pens and a Rainbow Pencil..
Optical 3D Glasses - includes 3 LR44 Batteries
Spirograph Design Book.
10 Drawing Papers and 1 Spirograph Sticker.
Sealable Storage Bag.
For ages 5 years and over.
I've teamed up with Spirograph to offer five of my readers the opportunity to win a Spirograph Optical 3D Studio Set.
To enter the giveaway please complete the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entry options. Please read the terms and conditions.
What's Happened? What's Happening? - November Fun
09:54 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments
I''m seeing lots of festive events starting to fill my blog reader and I'm loving all of the excited little faces waiting to see Father Christmas or meeting reindeer. I know that this time of year is a prime time for events and we've been lucky enough to have some lovely invitations in the past few weeks. On Friday we're off to Snowdonia and I can't wait to share our adventures with you!
So whether it's a grand formal event or just a trip to your local grotto to see Father Christmas I definitely want to see your posts! If you've had any Autumnal November events or days out please add those to. Of course, What's Happening is always here if you're writing previews of events or plans.
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
Britain's Most Mischievous Toddler
12:07 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments
Meet Santa at the Chill Factore Manchester
13:59 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments
Bud was extremely excited as he remembered our trip to see Santa last year (you can read my post here - Snow Play and Santa at the Chill Factore) when we had some special one on one time as LM was too small to play in the snow. Another reason for the high excitement levels was that Bud was going to be playing in the Snow Park with Ian for the first time on this visit. He loved the idea of sledging, tubing and luging with his Daddy! LM and I were booked in for Snow Play in Mini Moose Land (read what I thought of it last time here - Mini Moose Land at Chill Factore).
We arrived just in time for our 12noon booking and were able to pick up our clothing hire very quickly (additional charge applies). I was really pleased to see that Chill Factore have added toddler snow suits to their range for hire, it was great to make sure that we could dress LM up in a padded Dare2Be snow suit instead of her usual all in one. Previously the smallest hire clothes available were age 3-4 so having snow suits from 12-18 months upwards is a great addition.
Bud and Ian then headed off to sledge while LM and I headed for a coffee. We did take some time to watch their fun from the balcony which looks out over the snow but my heart was in my mouth evey time Bud came down the hill on his own so we left them to it! Bud had the time of his life and pronounced it 'the most fun ever'. He had red, rosy cheeks from all the fun and his enjoyment was clear.
We then queued up to see Santa. Our booking was for 1pm and we were there just before. It was very busy and we ended up queuing for around fifty minutes. This wasn't too bad as there were plenty of toys and activities out for the children to enjoy and Bud and Little Miss enjoyed colouring and playing in the Wendy House.
The actual Santa experience was quite similar to last year, you walk through a beautifully lit tree arch, escorted by one of Santa's Elves and then head out into the grotto in Mini Moose Land. A special knock, taught by the elves, admits you in to see Santa. Bud enjoyed seeing Santa and telling him about his list but I felt that last year's was better, this one didn't find it as easy to talk to the children as in previous years. Both children received a gift and there was a photo opportunity and then time for LM and I to play in the snow. The gifts were an animal art set for Bud and a bath toy for LM. Both of them were very pleased.
You can't take your own photos with Santa and, as I said last year, I do find it difficult to justify a minimum cost of £11 for a photo of your children with Santa on top of the charge to visit in the first place. This year, as last, I wasn't taken by the quality of the photo so we didn't buy.
Mini Moose Land was lots of fun as usual, I did find the snow to be much deeper this time, presumably it's the snow that was displaced by the grotto's location in there. LM struggled at times to walk in it though, as her legs are so little! All of the usual soft play toys, the little sledging/tubing hill and slides are available too.
We had a lovely time at Chill Factore, as always and I'm sure we will be back for more snow fun soon. The children were really delighted to see a very special guest making an appearance this weekend and we couldn't resist grabbing a photo with Peppa Pig.
To visit Santa at Chill Factore please check out their Christmas page. Prices start at 2 for £15. Children aged 4 and over have an hour in the Snow Park included in their visit, while the under 4s have thirty minutes in Mini Moose Land.
We visited Santa as the guests of Chill Factore.
Red Rose Baby - The First Trimester
12:50 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments
I wanted to take some time to write about my first trimester, not telling my readers until twelve weeks means that I haven't really written about it yet.
I think Baby #3 has seen me very relaxed, a little too relaxed as far as ensuring all of my appointments were met. I booked in with my GP at what I thought was 9 weeks (although it was more like 7.5) to expect the usual process - a scan date and my booking in appointment at my local hospital, followed by my first Community Midwife (CMW) appointment in my local Children's Centre at around sixteen weeks. My GP did briefly mention booking a midwife's appointment but I filed that as 'to do later' as that was the cans during my pregnancy with LM. This led to quite a large amount of confuusion! I received two letters asking me to book a CMW appointment which I then duly did, I then received my scan appointment... the day before I was due to attend it. This was to take place at a healthcare centre, not the hospital and the letter said 'you must see your CMW before this appointment'. My CMW appointment was booked for ten days later than my scan. Oh dear.
In the end I had my scan and my due date was around ten days later than I was anticipating and I had to return, this time to the hospital, for the nuchal fold test the next week. Still before I had seen my CMW. In the end all was well. I saw my lovely CMW two days after my second scan. We have a group of CMWs in our area so I may not see her again for a little while but I know the other CMWs from previous pregnancies so I'm hoping for no-one else new. I won't see her again until 18 weeks now when, apparently, they won't listen for baby's heartbeat. Again, in previous pregnancies I've seen the CMW at 16 weeks and she's listened in then so that's new too.
I can't help thinking that all of this would have been made a little easier if GPs actually took the time to explain the next step following the 'I'm Pregnant' appointment. The system locally had changed completely in my area since LM's birth and I fell in to the trap of thinking it would be exactly the same as previous pregnancies, which led to masses of confusion.
In myself I've been feeling very tired, as can be expected with two little ones to run around after. I've had the usual nausea, as mentioned earlier, and the accompanying loss of appetite familiar from Bud's pregnancy. I'm pleased to have escaped the physical sickness of LM's pregnancy, in fact I've actually only been sick once this time, it's been close many others though. Based on this I'm wondering if bump might be a boy. I've always struggled to eat well during pregnancy, I simply don't want food, and this time I'm finding cheese, tonic water and rice to be foods that always hit the mark. Citrus fruits are a usual favourite that make the list too.
I've been struggling a little with my back and pelvis pain and I'm starting to think about ways to address that. My SPD was severe in LM's pregnancy and I'd hate to repeat it. I know it's not a given that I will get it again so any ideas to avoid it would be gratefully received!
I've been really pleased with the reception from friends and family. I think there's been a clear split between surprise and a complete lack of surprise! People do say the funniest things when you tell them and I've had more than few people say 'well, it doesn't matter what this baby is as you've got one of each already' and 'I'd have stopped at two as you have a boy and a girl already'. Thanks for that!
All in all I'm very excited about Baby #3 and really pleased to share this pregnancy with my readers. Here's hoping for a smooth, easy six months!
Christmas DVD Gifts for Kids
12:50 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments
Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave
The new DVD from the Island of Sodor was released this Summer. We caught it at the cinema then and Bud loved every second of it. The new adventure sees a huge storm hit Sodor and Thomas uncover something rather unusual when he is working in the stone quarry. This discovery leads to Percy and Thomas being forced to confront their fears, which engine's bravery is this the tale of? Which engine will learn a valuable lesson? And what mystery is lurking in the quarry?
There are a few new characters introduced in Tale of the Brave which include Marion, a self-propelled steam shovel, Timothy, an oil-powered engine and Gator (Bud's favourite) an unusually shaped engine, visiting from the mainland.
This is a really welcome addition to Bud's Thomas collection and it's been a real hit since it arrived on DVD last week. He's loved having the chance to watch the film again and re-familiarise himself with some of the new characters who might be arriving in Take n Play form from Father Christmas next month.
Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave has an RRP of £12:99 and is available from all usual stockists. It's currently on sale for just £7:00 at Amazon.
Mike the Knight: Journey to Dragon Mountain
We were really lucky to be invited to visit Warwick Castle in September to see the launch of Mike the Knight: Journey to Dragon Mountain, meet Mike the Knight himself and enjoy lots of fun themed knight activities.
The film is Mike the Knight's first feature length DVD and sees Mike, Evie and their Dad the King team up as 'Team Family Glendragon' to return a stolen crystal to it's dragon guardian. With appearances from many of the Glendragon favourites, including Galahad, Squirt, Sparkie, the Vikings and Gargoyle. The adventure kept Bud on the edge of his seat and some of the songs were very catchy.
There is a really lovely story thread featuring Squirt and his family that we particularly enjoyed and it was great to see the characters develop more fully in an hour long adventure. We've had it on regular rotation on the DVD player in our house and I can guarantee you will find yourself humming the 'Team Family Glendragon' song too.
The RRP for Mike the Knight: Journey to Glendragon is £12:99 but you will find it at Amazon for just £5:00 at the moment.
Fireman Sam: Ocean Rescue
This one isn't a feature length adventure, instead it brings together six of the ocean themed episodes from the most recent series of Fireman Sam. There have been some new additions to Pontypandy in this series - the Ocean Rescue Centre, a new coastguard - Ben - and two new vehicles - Juno the Jet Ski and Titan the Rescue Boat and they all feature strongly in this DVD. Of course, all of your child's favourite Fireman Sam characters are back too.
Our full review of the DVD can be seen here - Fireman Sam: Ocean Rescue DVD - as well as our review of the Ocean Rescue Centre Playset. The two would make a fabulous Christmas gift for any little Fireman Sam fan.
Fireman Sam: Ocean Rescue is available from all usual stockists and Amazon.
Which DVDs do your children have on their Christmas lists?
Chocolate: The ultimate Christmas gift
11:02 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments
Image by Cross Duck, shared under a Creative Commons Licence
The Feel-good Christmas Gift
Dark chocolate has the ability to improve your mood and help your body to combat disease. It contains an antioxidant called resveratrol, which increases the brain’s endorphin and serotonin levels giving us a slight mood boost and it can also raise the serotonin levels in your stomach, thus helping your immune system. So if you’re giving some chocolate to a loved one this year you’re also helping to keep them healthy and free from Winter bugs; as long as they don’t overdo their daily one ounce intake that is!
A Gift for Everyone
There’s not many people who don’t enjoy a piece of chocolate now and again, even if it’s only on special occasions. But Christmas is, of course, a time to indulge your sweet tooth no matter what
age you are. Children love receiving selection boxes and chocolate figures of snowmen or Santa,
while opening that advent calendar to reveal a sweet treat in the run up to Christmas is a long-
standing tradition. The great thing about chocolate is everyone has their favourite, which means that you can splash out on chocolate personalised gifts this Christmas for that extra wow factor.
The Luxury Option
Those luxury boxes of chocolates made by the experts in countries such as Switzerland and Belgium may cost a little extra but it will be reflected in the taste. Most of the major stores will stock luxury brands; gift sets including a bottle of champagne are a nice touch as a thoughtful present. Try out a nice glass of wine with some of those fruit infused cocoa treats to bring out the flavour, especially those fortified sweet wines and ports.
Make Your Own Festive Treats
Chocolate is also the perfect ingredient when baking cakes, brownies or desserts. The cooking variety is inexpensive and can be used to make popular cakes such as spiced chocolate cake and fruit cakes as well as puddings with syrup, homemade truffles and delicious white chocolate chip fudge. You can even buy gluten free cooking chocolate with no added sugar, which is ideal for making cakes for people with special dietary requirements.
Sales of chocolate soar over the festive period and it’s not hard to see why. This inexpensive but delicious foodstuff is a staple of the Christmas holidays, that is, until those pesky New Year’s resolutions start knocking at the door.
Three is the Magic Number - An Announcement
12:00 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments
So, it seems that fate definitely agreed with us as, within a couple of weeks of deciding that we might like to have a third baby, this happened.
Christmas Shopping with Tesco Clubcard Boost and Win
22:30 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments
The departments taking part this year are:
- Toys and Bikes
- Christmas trees, Lights and Decorations
- Health and Beauty Gift Sets
- Phones and Accessories
- Cook, Dine and Home
- hudl2 Tablets and hudl Accessories
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com
Fireman Sam: Ocean Rescue DVD
13:35 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments
- All at Sea
- Whale Watch
- The Pontypandy Cup
- Turtle Hunt
- The Treasure Trap
- Stage Fright
Murder Mystery Whodunnit?
14:19 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments
I've never attended a big Murder Mystery Evening before, although I used to have a friend who hosted them at dinner parties back in the day so I knew roughly how it would work. We were greeted with Prosecco and invited to take our seats at three round tables and, no sooner had we done so, then we were witness to a dramatic scene in which Lord John passed away (rather noisily) and the investigation began.
From there onwards we were treated to a really lovely three course meal with some of the nicest beef I've eaten in a long time. The Murder Mystery storyline was maintained through the introduction of a detective and police officer and we were supplied with a range of investigative techniques and suspects, in order to identify the person responsible for Lord John's demise. It all got a little raucous on our table and I'm afraid to say that our investigative techniques left a little to be desired! We got through all the evidence, background checks and witness statements and managed to reach a satisfactory conclusion. I'm pleased to say that we managed to identify the correct suspect but, sadly, couldn't quite work out why they did it. One of the other tables managed to solve the mystery completely so they were declared the winners.
The entire evening was thoroughly enjoyable. The Murder Mystery element was entertaining, even if our table did lose focus a little. The food was lovely and the company was great. It was a much needed evening with some great friends.
Thanks to Joe Bloggs and BGO for inviting us all.
- ► 2016 (60)
- ► 2015 (177)
- My Sunday Photo - 30/11/14
- Win 1 of 5 Spirograph Optical 3D Studio Sets
- What's Happened? What's Happening? - November Fun
- Britain's Most Mischievous Toddler
- Meet Santa at the Chill Factore Manchester
- Red Rose Baby - The First Trimester
- Christmas DVD Gifts for Kids
- Chocolate: The ultimate Christmas gift
- Three is the Magic Number - An Announcement
- Christmas Shopping with Tesco Clubcard Boost and W...
- Fireman Sam: Ocean Rescue DVD
- Murder Mystery Whodunnit?
- ▼ November (12)
- ► 2013 (391)
- ► 2012 (191)