Monday, 25 August 2014

It's not your birthday song...

Birthday's are a time for celebrations, parties, presents and apparently immense sibling rivalry and jealousy.

"How many presents did I get for my birthday Mummy? How many cards?"
How many people came to my party?"
"Can I have something today too?"

These are just a sample of the questions that burst forth from our six year olds mouth when it was his younger brothers birthday a couple of weeks ago.

This is obviously completely natural and somewhat expected but we did feel that this year the oldest is old enough to take a joke. We therefore decided to make up a song to remind the boy that it was not his birthday that day. A little bit like the Mad Hatters 'un birthday' song but far less tuneful and rather slightly more insane.

He tried to look grumpy about it but couldn't surpress a grin and then giggles as we continuously took the mick out of him throughout the day.

You might think this sounds like cruel parenting but we were on holiday so usual parenting standards were completely out of the window....

The big lad ended having just as many treats as his little bro. Oh well if you can't spoil your children who can you spoil?


Saturday, 2 August 2014

Gold Stars

These are the latest Gold Stars activity workbooks from Parragon Books...


Recently Parragon released research statistics which suggested that almost half (47%) of parents in the UK are worried that their childrens' education will suffer over the six week break from school.

This research got me thinking. I personally believe this worry most likely doesn't occur until they are at exam stage. Our oldest is too young for us to worry about him falling behind at school over the summer holiday. However, there is the worry that such a lengthy break from school will have an effect on his ability to settle back into the classroom environment. 

The research also suggested that almost a quarter of parents (23%) admit to feeling under pressure to spend lots of money during the summer. I don't know how convinced I am that the figures quoted in the research (£228 on the average child) are related to purely educational pursuits. I think it depends what you class as educational. A family holiday for example will most likely always be educational in some way. Whether it be how not to navigate the directions to your location correctly, or how not to spend an extended period of time together in perfect family harmony. Seriously though there is pressure to spend money entertaining the children and educating them at the same time is an added bonus.

First impressions of the Gold Stars Work Books from the boys are that they are fun which is the best reaction from young children to get them interested in something.

The pages of gold stars at the beginning of the books for the children to rewards themselves after completing each page is very appealing.

"It should be borne in mind that children do need a break from more formal learning as imagination and creativity depend on it. The 'Summer With Gold Stars Challenge' allows for structured learning alongside a full and fun summer holiday. Parents can rest easy in the knowledge their children are continuing to learn and develop, whilst having fun, enjoying the long summer break." This is a quote from an educational consultant at Parragon Books. 

If the boys enjoy the workbooks then they will want to learn and at the same time they will be entertained for a while. Win win. 


Monday, 28 July 2014

Summer Days...


So, the summer holidays are here. 

Six weeks of endless "what are we doing today Mummy" and "I'm a bit bored" has arrived. 

We are a family that likes to get out and about. Often we do question why we cram so much into our weekends, when we go back to work Monday feeling exhausted. We know the answer of course. Time flies. The boys are only going to be this age once and we want to make the most of the enthusiastic, full of energy stages that they are both at.

I have, however decided that we need to combine full days out with days at home playing games and in the garden. Six weeks is a long time and I think for everyone's sake we need to have a nice balance of the two.

The sunshine we are currently experiencing lots of, obviously helps with my plan for a combination of days away and days at home. Yesterday we had a lovely full day at the seaside...



Living in the Midlands the seaside often feels a million miles away. We forget that actually we can get to one of our favourite places in less than two hours.
This is the beach at Chapel St Leonard's. A massive, beautiful sandy beach where the sea is never too far out for a paddle or a swim and shells for collecting are a plenty all over.

This photo was taken at eight o'clock last night. Past the boys' bedtime which makes playing 'beach cafe' even more exciting!

Parking at Chapel point costs a pound for the whole day. We took a picnic on the beach and after a few hours on the sand walked along the front to Chapel village (about twenty minute walk with the little ones). 

Our usual order of one toffee, one rum raisin, one mint Choc and one strawberry ice cream went down very well. Then the boys had some of their pennies to spend. '2p machines' are a favourite!

We had a lovely day and did not need to spend very much money to have lots of fun.

One of the boys' favourite games to play on the garden is 'tea party'. They set up their little table and chairs and get some of their toys sat round for cups of tea and snacks! Now, they are happy for the cups of tea to be pretend but when it comes to the snacks they expect the real deal and not surprisingly their 'friends' are always hungry!

Definitely a smiley face with this in his hand! The big lad prefers the raspberry flavour and the little one likes the chocolate...and Mummy likes both!

 Here's to an awesome, fun filled summer.

If all else fails you could always invest in a bouncy cage...



This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie's BN. Learn more at  http://bit.ly/1mRpMCL







Friday, 25 July 2014

Bye bye 20s


Today is the last day of my 20s.
A lot has happened in the last ten years. Marrying my Jon Bob and having our boys obviously being the highlights!

Memories such as the first time Samuel's feet ever touched the sand at the seaside and the first time Freddie said 'I love you Mummy' are mine forever.

Today we have had a lovely day just doing everyday things and being reminded of just how lucky and blessed we are....


Monday, 21 July 2014

Champagne, XPlus and talking apes...

Our child-free weekend started very well on Friday night. 
We were lucky enough to be invited to the opening of the X Plus screen at the Showcase Cinema Delux in Derby.



Firstly, it was lovely to go somewhere new. Because we have a showcase in Nottingham we very rarely venture further afield for the cinema but it made for a great night out. 
The hubby is the last to associate the words 'shopping centre' and 'fun' but in the early evening the food court at intu derby had a lovely holiday like feel to it and so we enjoyed a bit of pre cinema grub.

The set up at the entrance to and the foyer of the cinema is very attractive and looks more like a swanky nightclub.

We were made to feel very welcome and enjoyed champagne and canap├ęs in the lovely bar before finding our seats in the new X Plus screen.

Wow, the sheer size of the auditorium and screen has a great impact when you first walk in. It feels more like a theatre or concert hall. The screen runs floor to ceiling, wall to wall and has a significant curve in it which increases the impact of the picture.



For me, the most impressive factor of the new X Plus is the sound. A clearly very proud gentleman from Dolby explained before the film that they had doubled the number of speakers in the auditorium and installed over head speakers also. To test the impact of the sound system the lights were dimmed and we heard the sounds of a storm building to such a climax it was actually a bit scary.

The film we saw was The Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. This is definitely a cinema film. When I say this I mean the greatness of this film lies in its awesome visual and sound effects. 
Who knew that Ape's could be so terrifying...Toby Kebell's Koba is the what nightmares are made of!
The story is a fairly simple moralistic tale- "Ape's do not kill Ape's" is a motto used amongst Ceasar's primate family. However Ceaser's fondness of the human race appears as weakness to a hate-filled  Koba who ignores the groups motto causing misunderstanding and ultimately war with the humans.

This film is for sci-fi and action film fans. The Clarity and realistic quality of the 3D images on the XPlus screen were better than any I have seen on cinema screens before. Hopefully the enhanced picture and sound quality is equal in 2D films also.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Lots For Tots Nottingham

Here is the summer edition of  Lots for Tots Nottingham. I have an article in it all about getting out and joining groups when you have a baby...

http://issuu.com/lotsfortots/docs/lots_for_tots_nottingham_issue_5

I didn't mean to

Possibly the worst excuse in the world has made its way into our house on a regular basis.

"I didn't mean to"  is used as a reason for doing anything that they know they perhaps shouldn't have.

Our boys are generally very well behaved. At home, however, where they are masters of their universe, they can often turn into little beasts.

I'm sure that they think that learning the meaning of 'I didn't mean to' gives them a free pass.

I didn't mean to shoot my brother with the nerf gun- really? Even though I saw you aiming at him?

I didnt mean to tip the whole tub of pens on the floor- hows that then? Did someone make you tip them?

I didn't mean to eat the other ones biscuit or drink all of their pop- classic.

What they really mean when they say it is that they didn't mean to get caught.

I might start using it on them....'I didn't mean to wash your hair' or 'I didn't mean to cook broccolli for dinner.'

Not sure it would go down very well