Monday, 29 February 2016

Trunki Paddlepak - Review

Having been a big fan of the brand Trunki since Alfie was born you can imagine my delight when I was contacted by the company to see if we would like to be 'chief testers'..... I obviously was delighted and more than ready for our first testing mission! Alfie, my very willing little volunteer was excited to receive our first item to review which was a rather lovely Paddlepak, how very exciting and Alfie couldn't wait to road test it. We had the perfect opportunity a little while ago. Just opposite where we live is a rather large showground and recently there was an agricultural vehicle show. We watched them set up for days and days and Alfie grew more and more excited as a variety of farm vehicles started to turn up. I thought that this would be a perfect occasion for a long walk and to test the Paddlepak out.


First I want to talk about the fab features that the Paddlepak includes. A versatile, water resistant, spacious backpack it's idea for days out, chilling by the pool, walks in the park or school. I can't wait to use this on holiday, I can't quite explain just how spacious it is. When we first used it I had shoved a few things in it such as some gloves, a scarf, a jumper and some wipes and there was loads of room. For the purpose of this review I did shove a big coat in it too just to pad it out a bit. For a backpack it's pretty spacious and it does have quite alot of useful features. 


Features
  • Roll top closure which simply rolls over itself to create a water tight seal (very handy!)
  • The trunki grip to store sunglasses or goggles
  • Reflective straps for safety and visibility 
  • A breakaway safety buckle if required
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Several pockets, one on the tail, a mesh pocket and internal dry pocket
  • Water resistant fabric
  • A loop for hanging
  • Spacious for lots storing lots of items
  • Quirky and unique design
  • Easy to clean



Although from these pictures it kind of looks like the Paddlepak is the same size as Alfie (bless him!), I think because I had filled it to capacity to see how much it would hold makes it look alot bigger. I mean it is a generous size but with less items in it is less bulky than shown.




We have previously used something similar but with reins attached in a different design so Alfie has been quite used to wearing a backpack style for a while now so I wasn't really expecting any issues with him wearing it. In my opinion if you are currently using these style reins the PaddlePak is the perfect step up in getting children ready to carry their items to school. With Alfie starting school in September (wahhh!) this is a great little backpack to help him get used to carrying his books and pencils etc etc and freeing us up to push Elarna along or similar. At the end of the day he is turning into a right little Mr. Independent so I am eager to encourage him to be happy to carry his own things!



We love the quirky design of it and it's a real talking point. I love that it fits snugly on Alfie and he was more than happy to have it on his back, not once did it look uncomfortable or be hanging half way down his arms. He was pretty pleased to be carrying it himself, he felt very proud. 



I took lots of lovely photos of him enjoying his time wearing the PaddlePak. It takes alot for me to get Alfie to smile so I am absolutely over the moon with these pictures, I really am. 




Th Paddlepaks are available in a wide variety of designs, check out the octopus......it's amazing! They are also available in different sizes too depending on what you fancy using it for. Starting prices are from £19.99 for the medium and £24.99 for the large, however thy are currently on sale for a great price of £17.99 (how good is that!). For more information please click here.



Has anyone ever used a Paddlepak? What are your thoughts? 
* Please npte I was kindly sent the item free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are that of my own and if I don't like an item I will be truthful!

Friday, 26 February 2016

Our Week!


Wow....another week done! We are coming close to the end of February, although I have to admit I feel like it's kind of dragging now, I can't wait for payday.......my first proper payday since finishing mat leave, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to it just a little bit! 

This week, has been nice. Once again it was a mixture of having things to do but not being manically busy. We started Saturday quite early....I think since the mornings are becoming lighter we are starting to have a few more early wake ups from the kids (erghh, time to get some blackout blinds back up!), Alfie went to rugby while I did a few jobs and then we were out for lunch for a friends birthday (I swear that we don't eat out every week, I know it probably seems like we do but honest we don't!). Lunch was lovely, we had a good catch up with our friends, chatted about holiday and Alfie got to spend time with one of our friends daughter so there was happiness all around. We popped back for some coffee so the kids could play some more and it was a nice way to finish of a lovely afternoon. 

Sunday we had promised to take Alfie to soft play, we'd not been to any of the local soft plays since we moved so thought it was about time that we tested them it. It was ok, not the best we had been to but Alfie had a great time and Elarna even had a little explore.  My husband also decided that he was going to start to prepare the garden ready for a bit of a revamp. One minute he's in the garage and the next I find he's chopped a bloody tree down.....I knew he wanted to do, wasn't quite expecting it to be chopped down within an hour though!

My days off changed this week, I now have a Tuesday and Thursday off so have felt a little bit of out sync, I think it's quite nice though and breaks the week up nicely. On Tuesday Alfie decided he wanted to make cakes so obliged, only issue was he wanted them to be green (why I have no idea) but I ran out of green food colouring so had to try and concoct a colour out of the colours I did have left! Yesterday we ran out of nappies......bad disorganisation on my part so it was a trip to the supermarket. I decided that we would do the food shop while we there (I normally do the food shop online for ease), I have to admit I wasn't looking forward to it but I was pleasantly surprised that Alfie was an actual star and good as gold and it was Elarna that started to make more noise than him!

This is my week, how was yours?


Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Best and Worst Linky #39

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. 

One of my favourite link ups last week came from the lovely Caroline who blogs at Becoming a Stay at Home Mum, I loved her review on the Fitbit charge HR and although I haven't personally got a fitbit (but would like one!) I thought this was an ace review, so for anyone thinking of getting one it's well worth a a read.



Sarah's favourite link up from last week was from the fabulous Dawn who blogs over at Rhyming with Wine, she writes amazing rhymes so please do have a read. 

Final profile pic


Rules
  • 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, 23 February 2016

Win a Canvas with Custom Canvas!

Displaying Custom Canvas Mother's Day.jpg
Displaying Custom Canvas Mother's Day.jpg


Fancy winning a canvas courtesy of Custom Canvas? 

With mothers day just around the corner sometimes it can be hard to think what a Mother would love to receive. If you are stuck for gift ideas then what about a beautiful canvas to capture a memory or memories and put a smile on Mums face. I love nothing better than a canvas hanging on the wall, I have several around our house and I love looking at them on a daily basis. I  not only love the look of a canvas but they are both modern and stylish and are a great way to display a favourite image.

The lovely folk over at Custom Canvas are giving one of my lucky readers the chance to win a canvas up to the value of £30 for mother's day. Whether it be a wedding shot, a birth or simply just something you love let us know what you would choose to have on your canvas if you were lucky enough to win.

Entry is via the rafflecopter below and all t&c's are listed. Please ensure that you leave a valid twitter and email address so we can contact the winner. 

Competition T&C:
To enter this giveaway please follow the Rafllecopter form above.
This competition is open to UK residents only.
The winner will be randomly selected via rafflecopter. Entries will be verified.
The winner will be contacted directly by one of the Custom Canvas team.
The prize will be an E-voucher up to the value of £30 to be used on the Custom Canvas website and has no cash value.
This giveaway ends 6th March 2016.


Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Icon Wall Stickers - Review

Wall Stickers, Wall Art & Decals Store

Sometimes you want something to just jazz up a plain wall. You want something that looks fantastic and has minimal effort involved. When I was contacted by Icon Wall Stickers asking if I would like to review some of their wall decals I jumped at the chance. was particularly eager partly because I'm a bit lazy when it comes to decorating, I mean I like it at first then I just find it dull when it takes longer than a day, also I like that you can change or enhance the decor of a room with something as simple as a sticker or stencil. When I was first contacted we had just moved so the walls have been a bit of a blank canvas. This is great but not very personal so I felt we needed something to put our stamp on the house. 

I was kindly able to choose a selection of stickers/decals. I chose a couple for Alfie's room, one for Elarna's room and one for our room. When they arrived (which was super fast) they were well packaged and in a secure and sturdy cardboard roll with a set of instructions.

The designs I chose were a large T-Rex, one of Icon Wall Stickers new porthole designs, a crown and a beautiful, vintage birdcage. 

On initial impressions they look great.....fantastic designs and bright and punchy colours (the T-Rex was supposed to be blue but I ended up with a yellow one, however when I put it on the wall I wasn't overly bothered, I think the yellow looks pretty good, also the birdcage was supposed to be grey but I was sent a black one but I think it looks amazing now up!).

First things first, I have added a few pictures of us putting these up on the wall so you can kind of see how it's done but what I would massively recommend is to watch the video. We started to put the first decal on the wall before I realised there was a video to watch which was a big mistake as we started to put the decal on the wrong way (oops), once we realised we carefully had to peel it off the wall and start again.....luckily we realised before we got too far!


Anyway, on with the application. Icon wall stickers advise that if the wall has been freshly painted to wait at least 3 weeks for the paint to be fully dry. It is also advised that he wall is gently wiped with a damp cloth and left to dry for a few hours to ensure the best possible application of the sticker. As I mentioned above make sure you understand which part of the decal needs to be stuck to the wall for it to adhere. 

The sticker should be secured to the wall with masking tape and a strip of tape across the middle to create an anchor point. You then start to (very carefully) peel away the application layer from the backing layer ensuring the decal is stuck to the backing layer. This is where I became quite confused about which part was which and watching the video certainly helped. Because 2 of ours were larger decals I had to rope in some willing volunteers to help, I certainly can't imagine doing it by myself. Another pair of hands is useful, trust me. So you continue to apply to the wall being careful not to get bubbles in the sticker and you then are left with a lovely piece of wall art stuck to the wall!


http://www.iconwallstickers.co.uk/


The port hole sticker was applied differently as it is just a case of peeling it off and sticking it down, much easier than the wall decals if I'm honest! 

Overall I think they look amazing, I love them all. Not only do they look effective but they have added a bit of individuality to our rooms. Other than the awkwardness to apply (which is fine if you take your time, don't rush and rope a willing volunteer in) they are such a simple way of bringing life into a room. My favourite is the bird cage, I just love it. I now can't wait to properly finish our room and getting looking just how I imagine it. Alfie absolutely loves his dinos and they fit in beautifully with his duvet and curtains. I also love Elarna's crown, unfortunately even with wiping the wall down we have had a bit of an issue with it sticking for some reason but we have some spray adhesive which should remedy that.


Thank goodness for Grandparents helping :)

Icon Wall Stickers have an amazing range to choose from and are fantastically reasonable in price (the T-Rex starts from £12.99, the porthole from £8.99, the crown from £10.99 and the vintage birdcage from £16.99 all prices size dependant). There is a huge choice of colours to choose from and a bespoke service is available should it be required.

I wouldn't hesitate ordering from them again and I'm already looking to see what else I fancy for the playroom!

* Please note I was kindly sent these items free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are that of my own and they are my honest opinions.....otherwise what is the point in a review!

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Weekend Style #22

I am literally on fire this week......I've got flat lays galore as well as pictures of both kids.....amazing. 

I've got some lovely little outfits to share this week. First up is this lovely tunic dress, I really struggled to know what to put with it, I think the leggings look ok, wondering if a darker colour might be better?


Oatmeal Character Tunic (RRP £6.00) - Next

Pale Pink Sparkly Leggings - Next



The next outfit is a really cute little Minnie Mouse set.....now I have to be honest I'm not a huge fan of Disney motifs on clothes, I mean I love Disney but I just don't usually buy clothes with Minnie or Mickey on the front. However, that being said this little set is lovely and was a nice gift and I think it looks lovely on. 


Minnie Mouse Dress - Nutmeg

Hairband was from Next, Elarna didn't think much about keeping it on for the photos!

Unfortunately I can't remember where the frilly bum tights were from....possibly M&S!


I also have another lovely outfit from Alfie to share. Same jeans as last week but with a different top. I spoke a couple of weeks ago about just how much I love the monochrome/American style look at the moment and how lush is this top! I love it.


American Style Top (unsure of cost, I can't remember) - Next


Last but not least a very colourful outfit. I felt like we needed a bit of a spring in our step so I chose some very bright leggings and a turquoise top....I love the little appliqué butterfly on this top, so cute.




Aqua Mummy T-Shirt (RRP £6.00) - Next

Leggings (bought in sale) - Mothercare

What do you think of our outfit choices this week?

Friday, 19 February 2016

Our Week!


I can't believe another week is drawing to a close! This week has gone by very quickly and it's been really lovely. Last weekend saw my hubby take Alfie to rugby and then swimming straight after.....Alfie came home quite tired as I'm sure you can imagine. Saturday evening we went out for a valentines meal.....just the 2 of us! It had been an incredibly long time that we'd been out as just a couple and it was a lovely and very enjoyable evening. On valentines day hubby once again spoilt me rotten, he always says he hates valentines but then buys me some gorgeous stuff and I even got a rose from Alfie which made me beam with happiness. On Sunday afternoon we had a lovely (if not cold and windy) walk around our local lakes, it was a really nice way to spend the afternoon and blow the cobwebs away.

As Monday rolled around I have to admit I was already looking forward to Tuesday. My Mum & I are big fans of Strictly Come Dancing and for the 3rd (or 4th, I lose track) year we had booked up to watch Brendan Cole on his theatre tour, he is an amazing dancer and puts on a fantastic show, this years was no exception, if you like him and Strictly I would highly recommend. We also managed to sneak in a cheeky glass of wine and a pre-theatre dinner which was great! 

Wednesday was spent in the house, the weather was miserable so a snuggly sofa day watching a couple of films was definitely on the agenda. I got about 5 loads of washing done, felt a bit like Superwoman until I saw the washing basket yesterday to realise that it was overflowing once again, gahhh!

The only downside this week has been the continuing illness (still!). My husband and I have the worst coughs, Alfie still has a bit of a cough and Elarna has been running a high temp on and off. Honestly it's such a nightmare, one of us always seems to be poorly in some way or another! 

This is my week, how has yours been?

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Best and Worst Linky #38

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. 

My favourite link up from last week was from the lovely Tracey who blogs over at The Anxious Dragon.......5 modern words she hates. I was nodding in agreement with bae (erghh, I even hate writing it!), really great post,  have a read!


Rules
  • 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



    

Monday, 15 February 2016

Alfie at 3 Years 8 Months.

I am soon to be Mum to a four year old. I remember thinking last year how on earth I am going to cope with a threenager......the terrible two's was bad enough! I can't quite decide whether I've loved or hated the past year at this age.........a mixture of both I think. We have had rough days weeks (sometimes feels like months!) but also moments of pure happiness! 

I haven't published an update in absolutely ages, the last couple that I did write were about life coping with the threenager..... part 1 and part 2

So how is life at the moment with my little hurricane? Well......it's busy, tiring and non stop!


Alfie is a spirited, cheeky, active, clever, caring, stroppy but cute little boy. At times I'm tearing my hair out and at other times I am bowled over by his little personality and caring nature. 

He is ALWAYS on the go, he generally has to always be doing something, usually something active. Getting him to sit down and focus on something like colouring or painting is a no go area, within 10 minutes he is bored and running off leaving me to either finish what we started or pack it all up! He would much rather be outside, playing with his trains or reading a book. 

He absolutely loves reading which I am really pleased about, I adored reading when I was younger and I'm so pleased that he enjoys it, I am really trying him to encourage him to read lots during the day. We have a huge amount of books and before bed he loves to chill and read with us. Some of favourite books he can just recite word for word, I think we know them backwards! If we do want him to chill, we stick a film on for him and cuddle up on the sofa....particular favourites at the moment are The Good Dinosaur and Thomas and the Legend of the Lost Treasure. 



I'm pleased to write that the relationship between Alfie and Elarna is finally pretty good. If you read my posts regularly you will know that there has been a few issues with jealously and bonding but things are definitely better. In fact he is so caring towards her at the moment and aware of things that she is doing that she shouldn't be! Just yesterday he made me aware that she was trying to put a bit of Lego in her mouth. He still can't quite cope if she tries to play with his toys (unless on his terms!) but he now knows if he doesn't want her to play with them the best option is to find one of her toys and give it to her. The use of a 'baby jail' also helps with this we have found too!



We continue to take him to rugby, we signed him up for a 12 week course which finishes in March, we're unsure whether we'll continue it or not, I'm hoping to but it depends on how much he progresses in the next few weeks. If you follow my blog regularly you'll know it's been a bit hit and miss as to whether he joins in much! He is getting better but there is certain games that he isn't as keen to join in as others. I think we should persevere as it will stand him in good stead when he starts school. We'll see how it goes.





We had the health visitor pop over a few weeks ago to welcome us to the area, do Elarna's 10/12 month check and Alfie's pre- school review. I had a few worries that I chatted over with her, mainly about Alfie's behaviour. He can be so defiant at times and hit out and me being the over worrier that I am had my concerns. She completely reassured me that he is just at that age where he is learning to test the boundaries and actually at this age they are very clever at manipulating situations to their advantage. She was also very impressed with his number counting and reciting of the alphabet! I asked whether he should be starting to write letters (he sort does with a bit of help) as some of his friends are beginning to and she again reassured me that every child is different and he will excel in different areas, such as reading and numbers. She also commented on the fact that he is very active and thought that he will just be one of those children that would prefer to be doing something physical than focusing on writing.......sounds about right, ha! So I am trying my hardest not stress about what he's not doing and focus on what he can do and is really good at!



Being at this age appears to be so complex! Sometimes he can go from being in the grumps to being a smiley boy. I guess he's starting to learn he can control his emotions and how they affect the situation he's in! Most of the time he's a lovely lad to be around, very caring, sweet natured and chatty......other times he can be an actual little devil child!




As much as I hate to see the time go by so quickly I love watching him develop into a little boy rather than a toddler. He is more than ready for school, I think he's going to get lots out of it (when he settles in!) and I'm going to be sad to see him go....it'll be very strange him going 5 days a week, he's in only nursery 2 days a week currently. I know some people look at it as free childcare but I actually love the 2 days off in the week that I have with them both, it will definitely be odd come September.

I'm really hoping he'll get into the little country school 3 miles down the road from us, we put it as our 1st choice. Our 2nd choice is the school we are in the catchment for and I wouldn't be overly disappointed for him to get in there but I would prefer him to be in a slightly smaller and more of a village school......it was so lovely when we looked around! Fingers crossed, still got a few weeks to wait before we hear.






He really is my superstar and I can't quite believe that he's nearly 4! I see alot of my husband in him, so does everyone else but there are definitely some of my traits that I see in him too. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the next year has in store for us. Lots of changes are on the way and it will be a big step and learning curve for us all. 

Any advice of how to cope with the fearsome foursomes?


Best of Worst