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 Interplayuk.com.


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!


myrealfairy.com

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. 


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, 14 June 2016

Seconds Matter.


Seconds matter to me......do 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 arthritiscare.co.uk), 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!


Photalife

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.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Best and Worst Linky #53


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!

My featured post from last weeks linky comes from the lovely Laura from Life with Baby Kicks. Laura has left the Dubai and is back in the UK and we welcome her back with open arms. I really loved this post all about the reality of moving back and the enormity of it. 

Sarah's choice of post this week was from the fabulous Moderate Mum, she went without makeup (mostly) and you can read how that went here!

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, 6 June 2016

I Want Botox......so what!

I make no secret of the fact that I love makeup and skincare. I have always loved it, I love the way you put makeup on and it disguises imperfections, you can achieve different looks and it makes me feel good. Not only does it make me feel good but I also really enjoy putting it on, for me it's like a ritual.........therapy some might say. There is not a day that goes by that I don't wear makeup and more so these days I wear a full face of it (by full face I mean light foundation, highlighter, bronzer, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, eyebrow pencil and lip gloss). Now you may wonder how the hell I get time too do this but I simply make time. I have got applying my day to day makeup down to a fine art and can have my face done within 20 minutes. When I go out I do spend longer on it but generally 20/30 minutes is all I need to apply it on a morning. You might be curious to why I bother, am I completely insecure or something like that and perhaps I am but ever since I was a teenager I have fallen in love with makeup and I love buying it. Makeup is probably one of the things I splurge on, I very rarely buy high street brands these days and do tend to favour the high end brands and I justify this as I don't spend my money on much else other than clothes and the kids!

However, lets face it there is only so much that makeup can correct and cover. As I am now well into my (erghhhh) 32nd year I am becoming more and more aware of my skin and it is ageing. I hate it. There are days when I look in the mirror and I'm examining every single little frown line, wrinkle and furrow that I can see appearing on my face. It's so frustrating, I cleanse, I tone, I moisturise and use eye cream these days (definitely a sign that I'm getting on a bit) and although I think I'm pretty lucky with my skin and it's overall appearance I know that these little, pesky lines I see are going to be sticking around for a while.



I reckon if you ask any woman and possibly man there would be something that they would want to change about themselves. Nose, boobs, bum, cheeks, belly.......you name it I bet there is something and with the medical advances these days practically anything is possible. If I had the choice, without a doubt I would opt for mammoplasty (breast reduction), lipo or botox. For as long as I remember I have wanted a boob job, well a boob reduction to get rid of my big old boobies and replace them with some nice little pert ones........not so lucky really and I've just learned to life with them (even though after 2 kids they resemble deflated beach balls) but oh I would love to know what having a perky pair would be like! The chances of me ever having enough money to buy myself the perfect pair is extremely unlikely so in my quest to change my bod I would probably go for the option that I can afford which would be botox (for anyone who isn't sure what this is, these are wrinkle smoothing injections by relaxing the muscles that cause lines to appear over time).

Over the last couple of years I have been fascinated by botox and the results that can be achieved with it. I am seriously considering giving it a go. When I've mentioned this to a few people some people have looked at me in disbelief.......why would I want to inject my face with something......but why wouldn't I if it could make me look more youthful and reduce my wrinkles?! Of course it isn't for everyone and it is a big thing in celebsville but I have seen the effects and I'm impressed and would love to have some myself, I would also quite fancy training in being able to administer it also, I've never considered nursing in the cosmetic surgical field but I bet it would be pretty interesting. 

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with wanting to improve yourself of making yourself feel a bit better about yourself for a confidence boost. Of course, my wishes might be slightly different to the next person and what is right for me might not be for someone else. I would only ever want to make small changes but things I feel would make a big impact on my life. Of course, considering something so major as cosmetic surgery should not be taken lightly and alot of thought should be considered before committing. That is why if you decide to go ahead with a cosmetic procedure the folk at the Hospital Group are on hand to answer any questions and queries you may have. With surgeons that are specialists in their field and highly qualified staff you can be sure that you are truly being looked after.

I'm sure that I can't be the only one who would like to make some major changes, so come on.......fess up, if you could have some cosmetic surgery what would it be?

* Collaborative Post - this may be collaborative but I do genuinely want botox!

Sunday, 5 June 2016

My Sunday Photo - 05/06/16

It's been a while since I've joined in the 'my Sunday photo' linky but here is my offering for today.....

A very candid snap from the impromptu pub stop yesterday!





Photalife

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Our Week - Alfie Turns 4!

Another week and I'm a little late with my 'our week' post, oops. For my roundup post this week I couldn't quite decide what to do. Should I label it 'our week' as I usually do or focus more on Alfie's birthday and party, so I decided to roll it into one and chat about it all, well mostly Alfie's birthday and party as the rest of the week has been pretty nondescript.

I did a brief post on Alfie's actual post but didn't go into any detail surrounding the day and his party. So let me go back to last Thursday, the 26th May. Alfie was soooo excited that it was his birthday, I can't quite get over just how much he was looking forward to it, every night probably for about 6 weeks he's been asking us if it's his birthday the next day, bless him. I had to be quite organised as I was actually working the day before so wrapped everything up a couple of day prior to his birthday. This year we actually did something a little different and we let him choose a few things that he wanted. Now I bet you are thinking we are mad and I admit when my husband suggested taking him around Toys R Us to choose my mouth dropped open, this could only go a couple of ways........terribly or really bad. Surprisingly it went ok, Alfie understood that he was only allowed to pick a handful of things and they were specifically for his birthday. 


Amongst the gifts Alfie chose were his usual selection of construction vehicles (like we didn't have enough already!),  for the price these are excellent and provide hours of amusement, these are probably his most used toys. He also chose a selection of animals and a couple of jigsaws too. We did of course buy him a few surprises, I got him a little sports day kit as he really enjoyed his sports day at nursery, I also chose him a few clothes (which actually I forgot about until I found them at the bottom of my wardrobe, oops!), there was also some Lego, crocodile dentist and a lovely selection of books - particularly Julia Donaldson as these are our fave's! Elarna also gave him a rather lovely ceramic breakfast bowl with 'big brother' engraved the on the front.




Every year I say that I don't want to go over the top and buy tons and every year I fail spectacularly! I love treating the kids, in my eyes it's not spoiling it's me spending my money that I work hard for on my children to see the happiness and delight on their face and I would rather they were happy and content than me. This year I did try to restrict the pressies to things that I knew he would use and I think so far they were all good choices. Alfie was so excited when he came downstairs, I think he was just pleased that finally it was his birthday! I'd decorated the stairs and living room with banners and balloons and that added to his excitement! He seemed to take quite a long time to open everything so we had to gently hurry him up as were heading to Woburn for the day (review to come soon). We had a lovely day, in fact I've had the best week or so for a while, it's just been so lovely to spend time with the kiddies and hubby.





Friday was party prep day as I mentioned last week. Other than tidying I had to organise party bags, sweet cones, cookies and dirt pots......yes dirt pots you read that right. Over the last couple of weeks I have been scouring pinterest for some simple but cool ideas for Alfie's dinosaur themed party. I love pinterest, it's a completely random place but full of amazing ideas and I found a couple of fab ideas that I thought I could manage, and actually they were very simple and turned out well. I made these little dinosaur cookies that are supposed to resemble Arlo from the Good Dinosaurs feet. Really simple to make, just a basic biscuit mix flavoured with vanilla and a dash of green food colouring, I think I could have added a bit more food colouring but I was really pleased with how they turned out.



I then made these dino dirt pots. These were fun to make but I guess quite pricey in the grand scheme of things, they were well received by everyone though! I could have done with using smaller tumblers as these were quite big but never mind. These are literally a layer of crushed oreos, then chocolate mousse, more oreos and then mousse, they a jelly worm, more oreos and topped with a little plastic dinosaur and edible chocolate pebbles. I thought they looked really quite cool and the kids loved them. 




I then made some sweetie cones, I wanted to keep a bit of a green theme going to tried to fill with as many green sweets as I could with a mix of white, I enjoyed making these, I got the little personalised stickers of Ebay as an extra touch. I was initially going to just hand these out as party gifts but hubby suggested that not all parents would thank me for this so decided to make some party bags as well. 




In the party bags I filled with a mini colouring book, some crayons, a dino glider and a cute little animal slider puzzle. I found this great website called party delights which had everything I needed to fill them with for a reasonable price. I would probably say that in total the party bag and sweetie cone cost around £5.00 give or take a few pennies either way, I haven't properly added it up. I have no idea whether this is good or bad but hopefully they were well received. 



We also paid for a dino bouncy castle. This cost £85.00 and was ours until the next day. This was without a doubt the best bit of money spent for the entire weekend. The kids just loved it, I mean they just do don't they.......what child (and adult) doesn't love a good bounce. I don't think I saw it empty, there was pretty much a child on it at all time. We even managed to get some bouncing done the next day too so we really got our moneys worth, we ordered this through a local company who were great, ever so efficient and it was inflated within seconds!



I was hoping and praying for dry weather and thankfully it was.....and actually lovely and warm! I was hoping it was dry for not only the use of the bouncy castle but also for everyone to be outside rather than in so that the tidying up was less! I decorated the garden, although you can't really see too much of it but I put up some colourful bunting, blew up sooo many yellow and green balloons and dotted them all around the front and back garden, I had streamers in the trees, an inflatable dino and flamingo (no reason for the flamingo other than I liked it, ha!) and I had some colourful lanterns in the trees, it looked quite nice! Brightened up the garden a bit, so much so that I'm on the look out for some proper garden bunting to go with the pink and green that I already have. We also put a gazebo up and had a couple of blankets out so that people could sit and chill. Funnily enough we have a big wooden table at the back of the garden but noone sat round it which I thought was a bit strange but never mind, everyone just found there own place to get comfortable. 







As well as inviting our close friends and family I decided to take the opportunity to invite a few lovely local bloggers that I chat to regularly. When I first started to blog I had no clue just how big blogging is and I definitely didn't think a couple of years after starting that I'd meet some lovely and like minded people. My good friend Sarah who blogs at run jump scrap was coming anyway so it was great to have the lovely Sam from clicks and giggles and the equally as lovely Leslie from messyblog. It was fab to meet them and I hope we can meet up again soon as I didn't get alot of chance to chat properly as I was flitting everywhere, while making sure I had a full wine glass........ahem. It really was lovely to put names to faces.


As I'd mentioned in a previous post when deciding on the good dinosaur theme I knew of the lady I wanted to make Alfie's cake, Tiger Lily Cupcake ironically in Suffolk where we used to live! She was so good last year that I was willing to travel (or rather hubby was) and thankfully she did another fantastic job and Alfie was delighted with his Arlo and Spot cake. Tasted pretty good too!




We had a truly fantastic day, I was over the moon that Alfie had such a great day, he was absolutely shattered come 7pm to the point that he was just being a loon, he doesn't often appear overtired, and I really dislike the term but he was definitely just that. Once he was tucked up in bed and our friends little boy was aswell it was time to crack open another bottle of wine, get a take away and have a right laugh playing pieface! If you haven't played I urge you to do so.......hilarious. 





Sunday rolled around and I think I had about 4 1/2 hours sleep. Not that we went to bed overly late but when I have a few glasses of booze these days I sleep terribly. My mind seems to comes awake, I toss and turn and can't seem to get a decent sleep. Needless to say I woke on Sunday feeling knackered and Alfie was as usual a bundle of energy. He may have been full of beans but oh my goodness come later in the day he was grumpy, the late night (it was eventually coming up to 8:30pm when he went to sleep) clearly did him no good, he was such a whinge monster and in the end we just sat quietly on the sofa and cuddled for a couple of hours in the afternoon (I may have nodded off, oops). It was most definitely an early to bed night!



So as you can see we had quite the busy week. I think it's taken me the rest of the week to catch up and recover myself. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what the next year holds for us now Alfie is four, lots of new things in the pipeline for us and him. Here's to the next year - oh and the next week because this post is about the past week after all!