Monday, 20 June 2016

Dinosaur D.N.A - Review

As well as Alfie been very interested in all things creepy crawly he also is obsessed with dinosaurs. Recently we were asked if we wanted to review a 'Dinosaur DNA' kit and I knew that this would be a sure fire hit with Alfie. As we are going to be away over Fathers Day I thought the perfect opportunity to give this a go was when we paid Grandma and Grandad a visit before our hols. Now my Dad enjoys all things prehistoric and I did have an inkling that he would enjoy doing this (and I wasn't wrong!). 

So we set up a prehistoric dig camp at my parents and both Alfie and my Dad were keen and eager to get started to see what they could find. Included in the dino kit is a plaster of paris block, some excavation tools and a couple of cardboard mats. We have done some similar kits before on a smaller scale and my first bit of advice would be to set up a bit of a work area with plenty of rubbish bags for all the dust! 

The block included is quite large and firm and from what I could see on the box there was dinosaur bones to find inside and a DNA tube. 

Alfie and Grandad started to excavate using the tools provided, we found that they were ok but my Dad did have to get some of his own tools to help as they were a bit stronger, once we started using these tools we were able to excavate the bones alot quicker. It was fun but it did take quite some time before we even found any bones. It's not really something that can be rushed as the bones could be easily damaged. It suited my Dad down to a tee, he has lots of patience and is a bit of a perfectionist so he carefully helped Alfie dig the bones out and dust around them to ensure they weren't damaged. Once we found one set of bones it was easier to dog out the others. 

It was so lovely to watch them both together, I don't think you can beat a Grandad/Grandson bonding time. It is time consuming however and sometimes Alfie's attention waned somewhat but Grandad did have a lovely time by himself, he was definitley in a zone!

As I said it was fun but messy and alot of patience is required, it's not something that can be rushed as the bones and DNA could be easily damaged. Once the bones had all been discovered, the Stegosaurus was able to be connected together. The model itself is great and glow in the dark! It was a little tricky to put together but provided in the box was a little packet of soft, mouldable wax that can be used to pop into the holes and connect the dinosaur up. 

The little tube of DNA contained a couple of stickers and these stickers are used on the cardboard mats that were included in the kit. Once the stickers are in the correct place you can then download an app on your phone (either IOS or Android) and a dinosaur will then be projected once linked up (I think!). I'm yet to try this out as like an idiot when we went home I left the dinosaur and the mats so we've been unable to try the projection out yet......great idea though!

Overall, although messy and time consuming this was a great kit. So great than my Dad has asked for a more 'adult sized' one for him to do.....I know what I'm getting him for his birthday, ha! They had a great time digging and being archaeologists/palaeontologists. I would highly recommend if you have a dino obsessed child on your hands and want a good couple of hours of quiet time.

* Please note we were kindly sent the item free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review, all thoughts and opinions are that of my own.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Bug Safari - Review & Competition!

We have been on a bug safari, a bug safari, a bug safari!! Alfie at the moment is loving bugs and creepy crawlies (much to my despair!), I'm really trying not to let my fears rub of on him but when he brings me a spider I admit, I do recoil somewhat. Over the last couple of months he is absolutely fascinated by all things bug like and is becoming more and more brave in wanting to touch them and feel them and let them crawl over him. When we were asked if we wanted to review Nick Baker's Bug Safari I knew that Alfie would be the ever keen explorer.

Firstly, before I begin please excuse the manky bit on the sofa, I had removed the cushion as Alfie had just spilled all his juice over it so it was drying in the sun. Anyway, so when Alfie received the bug safari he was super excited to go out hunting for some creepy critters and bugs, thankfully the weather was fab so we wasted no time in checking out the kit ready to start searching.

Within the kit is everything to become a budding bug hunter. There are tweezers, tongs, a brush, magnifying glass and bug holder. We found the tongs very useful for capturing bugs and the plastic enclosure was really useful for having a quick look at the bug and then transferring it to the bug pot for a closer look.

We spent quite some time scouting the garden looking for bugs, we found ants, red ants (loads of blooming ants), a ladybird, a bumble bee and most exciting for Alfie was this little dude.....a stag beetle! Alfie absolutely loved watching him and looking at his pincers, he was quite feisty!

As soon as Daddy was home from work the first thing Alfie showed him was that he'd caught a stag beetle. *Disclaimer time* we didn't keep the stag beetle in the pot very long we did let it go once Alfie had shown Daddy. He was so proud, it was lovely to see. I love observing him embracing his new interests, every day he is more fascinated by new things and animals and critters definitely seem to capture his imagination. Also included in the set is a bug book with space to record finds and charts to help identify all your finds. For a RRP of £9.99 I think this is fab. For more information or to purchase one head over to

One of my readers could be lucky enough to win their very own bug safari kit, so if you fancy yourself being a budding bug hunter enter via the Rafflecopter below! This is a UK based competition, entries are only valid using the Rafflecopter and the winner will be notified by email and twitter so please do leave valid contact details, thankyou! Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best and Worst Linky #54

Beautiful Things

Run, Jump, Scrap!

Hi everyone and a huge welcome to the best and worst linky run by my lovely friend Sarah who blogs over at Run Jump Scrap and co-hosted by myself. If you're new to the linky we're delighted for you to join in, please do have a read of the rules. If you're a regular then thanks as always for the support. Sarah and I split the commenting now, it is working well doing it like that. You should have received a comment from one of us so if you are missing one please do drop us a tweet or email. We've had some great posts over the last few weeks!

This is the linky where you can tell us about the best or worst things that have happened in the last week or even the last year, this could in the form of a blog post, a photo or even a video. It can be an old post or a new post, we don't mind we just want you to share it with us. We want you to share your babies firsts, the crappy day at work you've had or a makeup disaster basically the good, the bad or the downright ugly! We want to share your excitement and tears, highs and lows no matter what it is.

Each week we will both choose our favourite posts from the week before and feature you on the next weeks Best and Worst, we will also feature you on our Twitter feed. 

Don't forget to check out our 1 year linky giveaway which you can enter to win some fab bits and pieces. To find out more and enter click here!

So a few things to mention! I'm running the linky solo this week as Sarah is away. I am then away for 2 weeks so next week there will be no best and worst, then Sarah will be back the week after running the linky solo while I am away. I go away on Thursday so will slowly work my way through commenting, please bear with me, thanks.

There are 3 featured posts this week! With Sarah away on hols I thought that I would pick a few for you to feast your eyes on!

First up is from the rather fabulous My Real Fairy I just loved this, it was Little G's first vlog and isn't he just the budding gardener!

Next up, Natalie from Mum In Brum, lets face it we all should be more 'Kanye', if you want to know what I'm going on about then you should definitely head on over and have a read.

site logo

Finally, I couldn't not mention this emotional post from Five Little Doves, with it being SANDS (stillborn and neonatal death charity), this is a tearjerker, grab the tissues. 

  • The linky will open at 6.30am on a Wednesday and close at 23.55pm on a Friday
  • You can link up one or two posts each week
  • Please comment on the 2 posts before yours and have a nosey at the host's too. We've noticed that some people have just been link dropping and not commenting on the 2 in front, please do return the favour so everyone gets some comments and linky love, thankyou.
  • ***Please add the badge to the bottom of your page so everyone knows where you have linked up***
  • Tweet your hosts @helsy_1983 and @RunJumpScrap once linked up so we can retweet you. When tweeting and commenting use the hashtag #bestandworst so everyone knows where you have come from
Best of Worst


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Seconds Matter.

Seconds matter to they matter to you? Every day I count myself lucky having a roof over my head, a healthy family, a helpful husband and 2 beautiful kids. Every day I thank my lucky stars and seconds, minutes and days matter to me. But what if seconds felt like hours to you? What if these seconds and minutes in our life felt like countless hours in a struggle to just get through the morning, afternoon or the whole day. For someone suffering with arthritis this can quite commonly be the case. 

Imagine not being able to flex your hands or bend you fingers, imagine not being able to put your socks and shoes on because of this. What about walking, imagine suddenly losing your independence due to arthritis taking over your joints and stripping you from the life you previously used to have.

Clock, Time, Watch, Monument

In the UK more than 10 million people consult their GP with arthritis and related conditions......that's a huge  number isn't it! Living with arthritis and related conditions can be tough but there are simple steps that can be taken to help (as advised on, things such as taking care of your joints, keeping moving when possible, eating a good diet and asking for help when needed are among some of the advice given. 

Over on Premier Bathrooms there is a wonderful campaign running surrounding the topic of seconds matter and the emphasis on simple tasks that we perhaps take for granted can be really quite difficult for someone suffering with the condition. Within the campaign there is a fascinating video that was filmed to show just how difficult simple day to day things is very tricky, wearing an arthritis suit to try and gain an understanding of what is like makes interesting viewing. Please do go and have a look. 

* Collaborative Post. 

Monday, 13 June 2016

I was the Mum.....

Today, I was the Mum who wanted to cry. I was the frazzled Mum, the stressed Mum, the irritable Mum. 

I was the Mum who was struggling with her child in the supermarket. The Mum that was avoiding the passing glances of people as I tried to calmly negotiate with my son but in the end pretty much dragged him out of the shops.. 

I am the Mum who tried not to give up. I am the Mum who eventually did. I was the Mum who kept repeating the word no. I was the Mum that kept saying 'please stop doing that'. I was the Mum who tried to bribe her child to behave just to get some jobs done. Yes that was me. It didn't work.

I was the Mum who wanted to shout, wanted to scream, wanted to pull my hair out in frustration. I was the Mum wondering what I'd done wrong. I was the Mum who felt like a failure. I was the Mum hating on myself for the rest of the day.

Saturday didn't start that well. I woke up grumpy, Alfie seemingly knew this and was pressing my buttons. I knew I had to get some jobs done and as hubby is exam marking I needed to keep both kids occupied and take them with me. I suspect Alfie was feeding of me and my grumps even though I was trying not to make it too obvious, but the day was hard. It all seemed such a mission, Alfie didn't want to listen or do as he was told. We battled for quite alot of the day..... Alfie do this please.....NO, Alfie would you like snacks? NO....... Alfie we need to go out put your shoes on.......NO. This was pretty much the day. I guess the afternoon was doomed from the start but I persevered and took him and Elarna out to the local shopping precinct. He was ok in the car, we chatted and I even promised him a kinder egg if he was a good boy. I kept explaining that we needed to get something for Daddy and Grandad for fathers day as this is the only chance we would get we needed to get it done quickly. He was good with this but when we actually made it to the shops we managed one shop. ONE SHOP. Alfie then decided that he just wasn't up for it, he really just did not want to continue and instead wanted to do his own thing. Even bargaining with him didn't work, he quite simply just didn't want to be with me.  I can't tell you how stressed this made me feel, I was trying to  be quick but when you have a child having a meltdown and wailing this makes things extremely difficult. Even after some very intense discussion with Alfie  and with the threat of his cement mixer been confiscated he continued to act up. In the end I ended up frog marching him out of the shopping centre and taking him home with 2 out of the 6 things ticked off my list. As I march out of the shopping centre I averted my gaze from all the other shoppers, embarrassed that I'm half dragging my four year old child out. What they don't see is me blinking back the tears wondering where it all went so wrong today. 

You see I was the Mum that probably was in the wrong. I was the Mum that should have realised that it was a mistake to go out. I was the Mum that should have snapped out of the grump. I was the Mum that needed a hug. I was the Mum who had a crap day. I was the Mum who eventually realised the error of my ways. I was the Mum who spent the rest of the day feeling like shit. I was the Mum who eventually realised that I was being a bit hard on myself. I was the Mum who gave extra cuddles the day after. I was the Mum who knows parenting is tough. I was the Mum who woke up in a better mood the next day! I was the Mum that picked myself and told myself that it was just a bad, bad day. 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Growing Old, Feeling Young.

When I grow old I want to feel young. For me, my Mum is a great testament to this.......sorry Mum for the picture but I love it hehe. Before my Mum retired she was stressed, tired and quite frankly at times quite unhappy. After my Dad fell unwell and she took voluntary redundancy and early retirement she's like a new woman. She has a busier social life than me, honestly she is always doing something I can't keep up! She's happier, cheerier and so much more chilled out. During her retirement she has taken the plunge and joined the U3A (university of the 3rd age) and expanded on her knowledge and skills. She goes to French classes, goes bowling, rambles, attends talks and (OMG) at times line dances!! 

Over at bathing solutions they have a great 'breaking barriers' campaign running, it really is an important subject to discuss. Working in healthcare I know only too well that elderly people can be stereotyped and not expected to be able. Now let me tell you, do not judge a book by a cover because I have seen some of the elder generation doing things that I most certainly couldn't! It always amazes me just how young at heart some of the elderly generation are. 

Now I'm not saying my Mum is elderly because she isn't but obviously she's not young, however she is defintley young at heart. I love the concept of the breaking barriers campaign, why should elderly people be categorised. Not all older people are less capable or in need of a zimmer. 

What I like about the campaign is instilling that our senior generation are more than capable to learn new skills and start to learn new things. Take my Mum for example, although she was always good at speaking French now she is excellent, plus did you see that I mentioned line dancing..................line dancing for goodness sake, not to mention her weekly zumba classes!! 

So I guess the point is that we are never too old to learn a new skill or start something that we have always wanted to. We only get one life so we should live it. Check out the breaking barriers page for more inspiration and ideas on just how you can embrace growing old but feeling young. 

So how would you like to grow old but feel young?

* Collaborative Post.

My Sunday Photo - 12/06/16

When Mummy gives you a chocolate finger to munch on!


Saturday, 11 June 2016

Our Week!

So last week it was all about Alfie turning 4 but this week it was business as usual. This week has been pretty dull overall. It's been an ok week but quiet although, actually this has been a good thing in hindsight. During the last few days my husband has been exam marking, every year he marks GCSE physics, he's done it for a few years now but I do tend to lose him to this for several days as it's extremely intense and needs to be a quick turnaround so with this comes lonely evenings but I do get to watch what I want with no moaning, ha! Anyway, read on to find out about our week.

So the weekend started with a mini shopping trip, I took Elarna with me as it was only fair I took at least one child! I needed to get an electric cool box for holiday (I know, I know I am soooooo rock and roll!) and then I decided to pop to Matalan for a few holiday bits and pieces. Now I haven't been in to Matalan recently but was quite impressed with their clothes at the moment, they had some seriously lovely stuff for the littlies and I got a few bits for myself (obviously). I got home, tried the purchased items on to then decide that I actually wasn't keen on a couple of bits so it was back to Matalan with the other child to change them (and buy more things, ahem)! As I took Alfie the 2nd time he has the attention span of a gnat so there was no way that I was going to be browsing for too long so I did what I had to do and left quite quickly. When we got home hubby was ready for a break from marking so we decided to watch some of the tour of Cambridge that was happening just near us. We watched a little bit of the time trial but there wasn't a huge amount to see so we decided to pop to our local for a cheeky drink, after this we decided to go for an impromptu woodland walk and it was gorgeous! It was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. We had a very quiet evening, I literally watched a few episodes of The Slap and  the 1st ep of the new season of Mistresses and went to bed - hardcore me. Sunday was once again quiet but a gorgeous day so we watched more of the tour, we watched the cyclists start and then we went back again later to watch them finish. We were supposed to be going to a birthday party but sadly, due to personal reasons we could not go. The rest of Sunday was very quiet.

The rest of the week was very much non descript also. The only highlight of the rest was a cheeky dinner out with a couple of girlfriends on Thursday. Now I'm not one to go out on a school night but this was lovely and I really needed, it was good to see them before we head off on our holidays!

So this is my week, how has yours been?

How to Make a House Last Forever.

How to Make Your House Last Forever

We have hard, stressful lives, and we all spend our days wishing to get home. However, if our homes are far from indestructible, we often find ourselves in for bigger problems when we get home. However, rather than letting your house and its items break down, and tell you when they need to be fixed, we can take control today. With the right furniture pieces, revitalised television centre, a new bed, and a brand new sofa, you can take care of the problems before they occur. Your house and its items will last forever, and then the pure relief at getting home will be intact day after day.

Autumn, Landscape, Home, Rural, Rain

If you want to transition from carpets to vinyl flooring, perhaps start with one room like the bedroom. It lasts a lifetime, it’s easier to clean, easier to replace. The benefits are easily found with vinyl flooring rather than having carpets. So why not start one room at a time and see how much you like the change?

The move on to your dream television, and get it mounted to the wall, far out of reach, and away from any accidental zone. Even without children, many have found themselves tripping in to their television stand or area, knocking it down. However, it it’s mounted it’ll add a sense of elegancy to your living room, make it easier to clean, create space, keep it away from toddlers and save it from being a part of an accident you just wouldn’t want to deal with after a long week.

With all of your spare room from moving the television, why not treat yourself to a leather corner sofa. Corner sofas are indeed the new ‘in’ furniture, and leather ones are easier to clean, and easier to fix should there be a problem. They handle the wear and tear, and still offer cleaning ease. Definitely something to build your entire living room around.

Perhaps the most important investment you need to make is in your bed. It’s clear to all that metal beds are built to last, so why not treat yourself to a king-size bed. If you make the right choices, your bed could last for what feels like forever. No more worrying when you exhaustedly throw yourself on your bed after you’ve finished a week of work. Many spend more buying cheaper beds every year or so, so why not go all in, and make your bed, and house, and rest, last forever?

Don’t forget to then get a memory-foam mattress, and some fancy sheets.

If you fancy changing up your kitchen then look in to getting a new one put in. Small changes are noticeable. However, if you want to change it drastically and ensure it lasts forever. Why not get built in appliance work tops. They work brilliantly. As your guests enter your home there’s nothing to see but cleanliness, and the fridge- we’ll get to that- so why not hide your appliances. Also rooms look better, the appliances are out of harms way, meaning they last longer. By investing in your kitchen, it’ll take care of you, rather than you taking care of it. Also, opt for a nice American Style Fridge Freezer to polish off your new kitchen.

By taking all of these steps you can take control of your house, ease the pressure, and focus on yourself. Your house will last ‘forever’, and it’ll take care of you, rather than you worrying about it. Although it might seem a lot to take on now, you’ll be thanking yourself when everything is as it started out in 10 years time.

By making the right choices, and choosing your new approach, you will make your house and its items live forever, or at least a lot longer. That means more time for walking the dog, or watching the big game. Win-win.