Thursday, 25 July 2019

To The End of Year 2!

Wow, wow, wow. How on earth is is the end of the academic year. We are at the end of a wonderful term, in fact a wonderful school year. I feel like year 2 has been Alfie's best, his teacher has been amazing and just 'got' him which has made such a difference to his learning and attitude at school. He's now at the end of key stage 1 and things are going to start getting tougher, trickier and more challenging but my boy is ready, I know that. I always feel a bit weird at the end of the school year, a little bit emotional which I know sounds ridiculous but the months whizz by with lots of things going on during the year and then in a blink of an eye the academic year is done.....nuts. As I have done the last couple of years I have written a few words to my boy as he gets ready to have a good rest and enjoy his Summer holidays before starting in year 3!


Alfie, 

Another year done, you have achieved such an enormous amount this year. On reading your end of year school report my heart burst with pride with the praise from your teacher and head teacher, the little professor at school eh! Your thirst for knowledge and facts has become even more apparent and you are such a little factoid. You spelling is insane, you have free read for many months now and tricky maths is really starting to click. Your imagination is growing and never once have you come home from school upset or down you just adore the place and love to learn. We really are so proud of you. If you could start reflecting you school report in your attitude at home that would be great! Mostly you are a joy but at times listening and back chatting play a big part......still!


You have a new found confidence, gone is the shy little mouse that started in EYFS (reception) but now we have a boy that has had several speaking parts in assembly, clear and concise and confident. It's an amazing transition, we've found you have started to enjoy singing your heart out and having a little boogie which again is something you would never have done a few years ago. You have a wonderful little friendship group and I love hearing about what you get up to on the playground.....oh and of course that girls are disgusting and stinky haha. Saying that, you definitely have a soft spot for a couple of the girls which is so sweet!


We just love your school and your teacher this year has been phenomenal, what a shining star. She's just got you and your ways and instead of trying to get you to do other things she's incorporated your interests into your learning and enabled you to thrive and strive. You still a boy with very particular interests like trains, animals, reptiles but we have started to see you take an interest in other things like history and more sporting things. 


You've smashed the awards this year with 2 gold awards through earning house points, received a head teacher award and star of the week which is brilliant. 

We saw you race your way to 2nd place ...... very almost 1st, in your running race at sports day, those little legs were going super fast! It's also been a packed academic year with loads going on throughout the year, shows, fairs, sports day, school trips and loads of memory making with your friends which you will remember forever, I promise. 


As you are 7 years old now you're becoming more aware of your feelings, you're quite the emotional boy and seem to be affected by lots of things, some irrational, some deep. I'm sure you'll start to learn how to control your feelings and outbursts and we will support you every step of the way. You also are definitely trying your best to test the limits at times too, goodness me you can be a right rotter sometimes but then at other times you are the sweetest, most caring boy. You're always wanting to rescue creatures from outside and bring them in....not so awesome at times haha, then at other times you're wild, feral and completely nuts. Of course we would never change you and I urge you to continue being the crazy, geeky, cheeky boy that you are. 


As always, I'm very excited to see what the next year holds for you in year 3!! Your sister will be starting school in September and as her big bro I am hoping you will watch out for her and look after her, remember back to your first days starting school and how unsure you were. 


You've lost loads of teeth in the last year, you look like a pirate at times hehe, those adult teeth will soon be taking over though. Oh and don't get me started on the growth spurt! Although you're not and never will be the tallest in the year you've shot up in height and shoe size in the last few months, t-shirts were suddenly showing you belly and shorts not doing up which meant a whole load of new uniform for you!



Enjoy your 6 weeks of my lovely boy, relax, sleep in, have fun and make memories because before you know it will be Summer again and the new academic year starts all over again. I can't wait for our holiday together and then I can't wait to spend some one on one time with you just me and you.


So here is to year 3, what it will bring who knows but I know my boy is ready to tackle it head on! Love you son!



Monday, 22 July 2019

Nesting Done Right!



{Collaborative} It is something that all mums-to-be will go through at some point in their pregnancy, so there is a good chance that you have already heard about nesting. You might have even experienced it a lot during one of your previous pregnancies. If you are a new mum, then you will have it all to look forward to!

For most pregnant women, nesting comes in the later stages of their pregnancy and it is all about the urge they feel to get everything ready for the baby. Some women have very strong nesting urges and might even decorate their home! However, not all women will have such strong feelings as those.

Think you will go through the nesting phase soon? Here are a few things to do to make sure you get it right!

Focus On The Essentials

One of the main things you will need to do while you are nesting is make sure that you have all of the essentials that the new baby will need. It is much better to get them now before it is too late. Once the baby arrives, you will be incredibly busy and won’t have time to just pop to the shops to pick stuff up, and you might not be able to wait for stuff ordered online. It’s better to stock up now!

Get Some Cute Things Too!

You don’t just have to buy practical things. Now is a great time to see what kind of cute treats you will be able to buy for your new bundle of joy! If you take a look on this website, you will see that there are lots of adorable toys and furniture that you will be able to add to the nursery. It’s also worth taking a look at some cute baby clothes so that you can dress your new baby in something gorgeous to bring them home in.


Do Some Batch Cooking

You will be very busy with the new baby, and you might struggle to find the time to cook meals from scratch once you start life as a parent. Thankfully, batch cooking while you are still pregnancy can be a big lifesaver. You just need to cook plenty of healthy meals that are easy to portion up and freeze. That way, you just have to thaw them and reheat when you need an evening meal once the baby is here.

Stock Your Kitchen Up

It’s also very wise to stock your kitchen up with plenty of dry and canned foods that won’t go off in the near future. It then doesn’t matter if you struggle to get to the supermarket in the first few days after you give birth.

Get All Your Laundry Done

You should also focus on sorting out all of your laundry. If you get as much done as possible, then you won’t have to worry about it for a bit once you bring the baby home.

Good luck with the nesting phase of your current pregnancy!

What is a Promise Ring?

{Collaborative} Most people deem engagement and wedding rings to be the two most significant and symbolic pieces of jewellery. However, a promise ring carries just as much love and meaning. And, not everyone believes in marriage, thus this ring offers the perfect way of showing your love without actually having to tie the knot. This post will provide all the information you need to know about this precious ring. Thus, keep reading to find out more…


Let’s begin by revealing exactly what a promise ring is. It is all in the name with this piece of jewellery. By presenting such a ring to your partner you are promising to love them forever. Because of this, you may want to look into psychic telephone readings first to ensure that your partner is indeed your future. It is a symbolic piece of jewellery, which means a great deal if you are someone who does not believe in marriage. However, a lot of people present a promise ring to their partner prior to getting engaged. This lets them know that they are ‘the one’ and someday they will get married. Nonetheless, whilst promise rings are traditionally exchanged between lovers, it is not uncommon for friends and family members to present such rings. After all, a promise can be interpreted to mean a whole host of different things.

How do you find the perfect promise ring?
Now that we have established what this type of ring is and what is symbolises, it is now important to figure out how to find the ideal promise ring. It all begins with finding a reputable and trustworthy jeweller. You need someone with an excellent reputation and a lot of experience in the industry.
Nevertheless, finding the right jeweller is only the beginning. You will need to find out your partner’s ring size and you will have to assess her taste in jewellery carefully. When it comes to determining her ring size you have one of two choices. You can ask her mum or a close friend. Alternatively, you can take one of the rings she wears from her jewellery box. However, if you go for the latter option you will of course need to make sure she does not notice. When it comes to assessing your girlfriend’s taste in jewellery there are three things you need to look out for. Firstly, determine what metal she wears most frequently. Secondly, see whether she prefers coloured or colourless diamonds. And lastly, decipher whether her taste is bold, contemporary, subtle or traditional. After all, you want to purchase a ring that she will be happy to wear for a lifetime.
Last but not least, it is important to consider the various styles of rings you can opt for. Generally promise rings tend to be fairly plain, as engagement rings are the main attraction. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean you should just go for a plain band, as this will be too similar to a wedding ring. Instead, opt for a diamond ring, yet a subtle design. Pave settings are the most popular as they offer a pretty way of incorporating small diamonds.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Bluestone *The Highlights*

Ad {gifted stay} We have not long returned from the beautiful Bluestone Wales which is nestled in the gorgeous Pembrokeshire. This is our second visit which we are very thankful for as we had another great time memory making as a family. We adore Bluestone, it really is a wonderful family get away, the only thing is 4 days is never enough! You can read my original reviews here (part 1) and here (part 2) and there was a part 3 but for some reason I can't seem to access it but I will make sure this is a nice and concise post for anyone looking to visit. Rather than me repeating things I thought I would write a 'highlights' post as we definitely made the most of our time whilst we were there and I am going to sum it up in this post.



Just to briefly sum up our accommodation as you can read more in the links provided above, we stayed in a Gateholm Lodge which is upside down living, it consists of a double and ensuite and 2 twin rooms and a family bathroom on the downstairs. The upstairs is an open plan living room and kitchen/diner which is brilliantly equipped. The double doors open fully so you can immerse yourself into the beautiful countryside views. We were so lucky with the weather this year also, beautiful sunny days which was great.





This year we made the decision to hire a golf buggy for the duration of our stay which I have to admit, is not a cheap spend as it will set you back £95. You can pick up your buggies once in Bluestone and use the charging points around the park to charge them up. This is, hands down the best money we spent and it definitely enhanced our visit, we were able to see much more of Bluestone than previously and it was great to be able to drive the kids around without having to worry about tired little legs! If we were to visit Bluestone again I would definitely book a golf buggy. It is worth mentioning these get booked super quickly so I would advise pre booking before you arrive. 



So as this is a highlight post, I want to share the best bits from our few days at Bluestone and what really made our stay. 


First up, the pool. The swimming pool at Bluestone aka The Blue Lagoon is fantastic. There is exclusive use for Bluestone guests early morning meaning it is much quieter than later in the day. There are four water slides of varying speeds, scariness etc and Alfie was delighted this year as he was tall enough to go on all of them. He even managed to convince me to go on one....twice and overcome a HUGE fear, although I am still a scaredy cat and was shaking when I reached the bottom but it was pretty fun. Elarna wasn't tall enough but perhaps next time? The lazy river is particularly enjoyable and the wave machine is fun. The only thing that we were disappointed about and it really is a small thing is they had a total wipeout esque inflatable in the pool for guests to use which meant the wave machine wasn't on until 11am when it opened for general use and then later in the week the wave machine was out of order so we didn't get to experience it much at all which was a shame. We really enjoyed our morning pool trip especially as heading down on the golf buggy with our stuff and the kids made the whole experience less stressful!




Camp Smokey - This was somewhere that I wanted to go to the first time we visited but never made it in the end. I was determined this year to go and explore Bluestone more and Camp Smokey was top on my list. Situated near the steep ravine (near all the big zip wires and high ropes), Camp Smokey is where you can head to for a bit of a shin dig and pre set dinner (I think in the later part of the day), we head down to toast some marshmallows over the fire pit, enjoy some s'mores and have a cheeky little drink! It was a fabulous couple of hours. 







The Nature Trail - This was a bit of an impromtu decision to have a walk while we were waiting for our dinner reservation. Through the woods you can walk and find the fairies waiting for you in the gathering, the little fairy garden inspired me to make my own when we got home! There are also woodland bugs to spot and although we didn't make it the whole way round it was a really lovely way to spend 30 minutes or so. Be aware though it is a bit bumpy and stoney so might be a tricky for pushchairs to get around or those that have limited mobility. 




The Adventure Centre - When we visited to adventure centre last time it was such a hit we knew we'd go again. This time I paid for Alfie to do the sky trail while in the centre, this is aimed at children around 6+ and those unable to go on the really big zip wires and high ropes. It cost about £8.00 (I think!) and you just have to turn up between the hours of 10am - 5pm when the centre is open, there is not a time restriction on it either so the child can go at their own pace. It's basically a smaller version of the go ape style things, suspended at a height within the centre. Alfie loved it, he was a little bit nervous at times but the staff were there every step of the way with encouragement and advice and he completed it and was beaming afterwards. It was well worth booking! There are lots of things to do in the centre, notably the great wooden play equipment which is brill! There is also mini golf and inflatables and several old school type amusements where you can try your hand at the grab machines, slot machines etc. We really like it in there,  there is also the cafe situated here but I can't comment on the food as we didn't order anything. 





The Tournament - The theme recently at Bluestone has been sort of wizards and medieval. On the Thursday evening before we left we were very lucky to catch the tournament on the large tournament field. This was brilliant, the guys playing the knights were fantastic and put on a great show, it was such a brilliant ending to our Bluestone stay. I really enjoyed all the themed touches that were around Bluestone this visit, I don't remember it the first time we visited. 





The restaurants - There are plenty of eating and drinking places within Bluestone, should we be lucky enough to return I would love to do the Camp Smokey shindig which sounds such a lot of fun. We ate at the Farmhouse Grill (2nd time eating there) and we also tried The Oak Tree which is a pizzeria. We prefer The Oak Tree, there is lots of choice and the food is pretty decent, the cocktails are pretty nice too! The pizza restaurant is ok but I would say there are some strange choices of pizzas, there didn't seem to be any 'normal' or simple pizzas on the menu but they were happy to take requests which did make our life a little easier. Overall both good though and family orientated which is great. 



We just love Bluestone, there is something so relaxing and peaceful about the situation of the resort, the only problem is that 4 nights just isn't enough! Both times we have visited we have never been ready to leave which obviously says alot about the place. I can highly recommend and if you are looking for a place to stay in Wales and for free range fun my first stop would be Bluestone. 

So to sum it up Bluestone is the place to go for fresh air, family fun, an enjoyable atmosphere and memory making. We can't wait to return one day!

* Please note we were kindly gifted the accommodation in exchange for an honest and unbiased review, all thoughts are my own and all other activities and experiences featured we have paid for ourselves.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Smashers Dino EPIC Smash Egg *review*

Ad {gifted} You may remember back in May we reviewed the rather fun Zuru Dino Smashers well we are back reviewing a new addition to the range, the newly launched and the rather EPIC dino smash egg. This colossal egg features a whopping 25 surprises to be discovered within it. It really is a rather large egg as you will see below!


We were also very kindly sent a metal collectors tin to put all the collectible dino's in which has been very handy, but less about that and more about the giant egg!


The larger than life egg promises some super eggciting.....see what I did there haha, treats! Alfie was beside himself when he received it and couldn't wait to smash his way through and see what was inside. 


Once you've found your way through the packaging the egg can be smashed apart to reveal the contents. Inside you will find a dino egg yolk bag containing lots of treats. Not only that but within some of the other treats found within are bits of bones which then will form a big smash-o-saur!  


What I really liked about the egg is the different items that can be found within it, from smashers, putty, slime, kinetic sand, a fizzer as well as the different parts of dino bones and collectors map and character list. There is also a smash and rebuild stand included which is SO handy when you want to try and rebuild the eggs. 



 What did we love? 

- RRP £24.99 (although certain places it is on sale for £19.99 at the moment), what a great retail price as it just contains so many extra bits and pieces!

- You can rebuild the large egg and use it for storage or just keep rebuilding it and smashing it for fun! 

- It looks so impressive, it definitely isn't a disappointment! Would make a fantastic present.

- The dino's and collectible creatures found inside are so funny and cute, Alfie loves them and is pleased to be able to keep them inside his tin


Anything we weren't so keen on?

- Overall we love dino smashers, the only thing that is annoying is just how many orange bits there are to the eggs, we have sooooo many now it's verging on ridiculous and I would love to know if they can be recycled? I just don't know what to do with hundreds of orange bits, there are only so many times you can rebuild the eggs before they lose their appeal.  



I will leave you with a few more pictures, not too many to spoil the items inside but just enough to give you an idea about the contents inside. If you have a dino mad child like my son or a child that is into collecting things then I can highly recommend! Available from many leading retailers. 


There are lots of dino's to collect and there is even an app that can be downloaded to track which ones you have found and also has a bit of an interactive feature which is cool. Aimed at age 5 upwards I promise you won't be disappointed. 

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

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

World's Best Locations for both Sunshine and Culture

{collaboration} Some people travel for sunshine, and others travel for culture. But some people travel for both. A sunny resort might not satisfy your urge to sightsee. On the other hand, a culturally significant city such as London might impress you but leave you craving a nice tan (or simply a break from the rain). In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the world’s best locations for both sunshine and culture.



Perth, Australia.
Australis is a beautiful country with so many intriguing places to see. You’ll be treated to sunshine no matter where you go, but Perth is the best location to visit if you’re also looking for a cultural experience. You should head to the Perth Mint if you want a guided heritage tour which gives you some insight into an iconic building in the city. You might even want to look into Bayswater car rentals so that you have a way to get around whilst you’re in Perth. The city is so huge that you’ll probably want some form of transport to make your experience much less time-consuming. Make sure you put together an itinerary so you have a plan of all the things you want to see and do. Otherwise, you might be disappointed if you miss some things.

The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland.
Ireland is a beautiful island with a strong history. It might not be sunny throughout the year, but if you time your holiday well, then you could have the perfect opportunity to soak up the culture of this wonderful place whilst also soaking up some sunshine. If you’re looking for a specific location to visit, you should consider the Dark Hedges. It’s little more than a long avenue of beach trees, but it’s a completely surreal setting. The unique twists and bends of these branches have made this one of the most unique and beautiful places in the world. Okay, these hedges might not be culturally significant in a historical sense, but they definitely have great significance in modern culture. Since this location was used in Game of Thrones, the Dark Hedges have become drastically more popular. If you’re a fan of the show, then you should go and see them for yourself.



Santorini, Greece.
Santorini is another beautiful location that’s well worth visiting if you’re looking for both sunshine and culture. This stunning island is undeniably naturally beautiful. In fact, it’s famous for being one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Why else would such an overwhelming number of visitors be drawn to this tiny place every single year? But it’s not just beautiful in a natural sense. Santorini has become famous for its iconic whitewashed houses. Even if you’ve never been to the island before, you’ve probably seen pictures similar to the one above. If you want to learn about the history and culture of this island, you should explore some the towns and villages for yourself. In Pyrgos village, you’ll find the Theotokos church. It’s architecturally impressive and culturally significant to the area. Of course, the heart of Santorini is Fira. This huge city is definitely worth exploring whilst you’re on the island.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Choosing Broadband *Tips*

When we have moved house the first thing my husband puts at the top of his priority list have to be broadband and just how connected we would be able to be. As he works from home he needs a decent and fast internet connection, preferably and as he has previously worked in this sector knows just what he's looking for. It can be a bit of a minefield with so many internet providers looking to provide you with the best deals and competitive speeds such as fibre broadband to ensure that you get the experience from your broadband. Here are a few tips to help you while researching and looking into changing broadband provider or setting up a whole new connection. 


- Use the postcode checker to see the speeds and quality of internet available in your area. 

- Decide on your budget. There is usually a ton of offers available and it pays to look at these closely but do try and stick to your budget if you can unless of course it's a deal you can't refuse!




- If you are currently on a contract and are keen to switch check how long you have remaining and have a chat with your current provided. 

- Decide just what speed of internet you want and also what speed is needed. 

- Check with the internet provided if there is a cap on data, as mentioned on the cable website most providers do not cap on data but it is best to check. It does also depend on how you use your internet at home, you'd be surprised at just how much homes use is!

- Consider a broadband bundles. These deals can include not only broadband but TV and sometimes phone deals also which might be a good way of saving a few pennies. 

So all in all it's best to look around for the best deal and do the research. If you follow these simple tips then you should be able to source a great deal which works well for your home and family. Has anyone else got any more tips? DO share!

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Make your Garden Practically Maintenance Free!


{collaborative content} Just because you have a garden doesn’t necessarily mean that you are green-thumbed. If you have a garden space and you find yourself wishing that it was just being looked after by itself without you really having to do anything, then the good news is that there are actually ways to make that happen. If nothing else, you can at least hope to create a situation where your garden is almost entirely taking care of itself, and you have reduced the amount of maintenance you need to put into it greatly. In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the best ways to do this to ensure that your garden can be practically maintenance-free in the future.



Use Artificial Grass
The one part of the garden that needs constant care is the lawn, so if you can remove that problem then you will find that your garden is much easier to look after indeed. So what can you do to make sure that that is the case? Well, one great way to maintain the look of a lawn without any of the upkeep is to use artificial grass. With something like LazyLawn, you have the surprisingly realistic look of a real lawn, but you don’t have to mow it or feed or reseed it at all. That is a great way to keep a garden looking great all year round without having to even lift a finger, so it’s worth thinking about if that sounds like what you’re looking for in your own outdoor space.

Plant Perennials
You probably want there to be a number of plants around the place so that the garden can look beautiful, but if you are hoping to remove the need for maintenance, then you need to be careful about what plants you choose. In particular, you should make sure that you are going to choose mostly perennial plants, as those are much more likely to be able to just stay there and take care of themselves. You won’t need to water or feed them much, if at all, although you might need to prune them once or twice a year to keep them neat and tidy. But in general, filling your garden with such plants will mean that you can hope to have a beautiful garden without doing that much work.


Irrigation Systems
The main act that people need to do in their garden is watering, so anything you can do to make that easier is going to be worth your while. Probably the best way to make sure that it is merely being looked after by itself is to think about getting some kind of irrigation system built in. This is a system which waters the garden automatically, and so you won’t have to go out there and water it manually yourself. That can also be a great way to ensure that the garden is looked after while you are away, which can be a particular difficulty sometimes.

Great Ways to Soothe your Body & Mind

{Collaborative content} Most people are aware that the body and mind are inextricably linked. Understanding the nature of this connection, however, is something far more tenuous and difficult, and the kind of thing that you are probably going to need to think about for a long time to really get to grips with. However, what should be said for now is that looking after one will generally mean that you can expect improvements in the other, no matter which way around you are doing so. What is even more effective than that, of course, is finding some powerful ways to soothe both your body and mind at the same time. In this post, we will look at just a few of the best examples of how you might expect to do that.


Meditation

If you don’t already meditate, it’s a great thing that you should consider trying in your own life. It has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and that is with very good reason. People everywhere are finding that it helps to keep their thoughts calm and their mind centred and still, while also helping to remove aches and pains throughout the body. Clearly, these are all things that we all want to happen, so meditation is something that is definitely worth taking on board. You only need to do around ten to twenty minutes a day to see the fullest effects, and once you have got past the initial difficult stage you will find it is an easy practice to take on board too. It’s absolutely worth thinking about if you want to live a better life.

Floatation

In the act of floatation, otherwise known as sensory deprivation, you float in a tank with a little water and Epsom salts in it, which is otherwise completely in the dark and without sound. Such tanks have long been a way of getting back in touch with your own mind, and they can also provide some soothing and calming effects for the body too, so it’s a practice that everyone should try for that reason alone. When you spend some time in a floatation tank, you will take it as some essential time away from the world - and who doesn’t need that once in a while? What’s more, you’ll only need to go once or twice a year to really get a lot out of it, so you don’t have to put a lot into it to get a lot out.


Sports

It’s great to exercise, and it’s great for your mind if you put it to a particular competitive task for an extended period of time, and that is why playing sports is such a good idea in general. If you don’t currently play any sports and you are unsure about which to get into, it’s a good idea to just look at your local clubs and see if any of them strike you as particularly enjoyable. This could help you get in shape, and could even mean that you have a calmer mind too.