Saturday, 29 September 2012

Silent Sunday - Iron Man Bear

Iron Man, Build-a-Bear Workshop

Friday, 28 September 2012

My Double Digit Daughter!

Flashback Friday 

My little Kizzy is just a few days away from her tenth birthday.  My little ray of sunshine is turning into a real young lady.  I watched her walk into school this morning.  She is a good 6-12" taller than the majority of her peers with an inner confidence that allows her to stand tall.  

As ever, when a birthday is imminent, I can't help but reminisce about the years gone by and I've enjoyed pouring over the photographs of Kezia taken since her birth in October 2002.


Kizzy was the willful little baby that came into the world so fast that her dad missed her being born.  While she was making her appearance, Ian was on a motorbike from Birmingham oblivious to his daughter's arrival! She was a dream baby.  Calm and content.


At 2 she was an adventurous little soul with a zest for life and a cheeky sense of humour.  Shortly after this photo was taken on the London Eye, she squeezed an entire tube of suntan cream all over herself after sneaking it out of my handbag.

When she was 3 she used to tell me elaborate stories about her life before she was born!  She used to say that she missed her old family.  She told me that she lived before in 'French-Africa' where she ate Crocodile Soup.  She also said that she and  her parents were killed by a friend they owed money to and that she went up into the sky where she searched for the right family to be born into.  When she found me she flew into my tummy because I was just right.  Her stories were so descriptive and detailed I did wonder if my baby girl's soul had previously existed in another person.  It was pretty spooky for a toddler to be telling these tales of a past life.  Whether there was a paranormal element to her past life memories, or whether my little girl had an extraordinary imagination, I'm very, very glad that I got to be her new mummy!


At 4 she was developing her own sense of style and loved her hair clips, pretty clothes and her floral  afghan coat.  Her Great Grandma called Kizzy her "little star" as her personality shone so brightly.  She was such a loving little girl with an empathy beyond her years.


At 5, my little school girl became a popular member of her class at her new school and wowed the teachers with her imagination when it came to story writing.  She looked so cute in her school uniform. 


My 8 year old was growing up fast and taking her new Junior School by storm. Her confidence increased and her sense of humour developed, making her one of the most entertaining kids I've ever known.  She took to her role as big sister to Freddy beautifully and their relationship has blossomed over the years so that Freddy adores her.  She is like another 'little mummy' to him.


Now almost ten, Kizzy is a fabulous young lady.  A great big sister to Freddy and a brilliant little sister to her older siblings who all love her to bits.  She is an amazing daughter and we marvel at how mature she is and enjoy how much fun she is.  She is always so helpful and so eager to involve herself in everything we do.  She's a joy.  She might be messy and she might procrastinate at bedtime, but other than that she is no trouble at all.  She has been a model daughter...long may it continue.  She talks to me about everything and I hope that this openness and honesty lasts so I can help her through the years to come.  I count myself extremely blessed to have all my children.  They are my world.


This weekend we are off for a girlie shopping day with lunch at Costa.  She wants clothes for her birthday and we'll be picking out some lovely things for her Winter wardrobe.  She also wants pierced ears but I'm holding out on that one (due to my extreme allergy to metals).  

Happy Birthday to my awesome ten year old daughter!  You make me proud every single day.


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Bespoke Leather Wristbands from Wayveband

 If You Have Teenagers You'll Love Wayveband

The obsession with wristbands and teenagers is a growing trend.  They really wear their hearts on their sleeves to support favourite causes, bands or events.  Now they can add to their collection with their own  unique wristbands thanks to the innovation of one mum who wanted to get high quality, personalised wristbands for her sons and their friends.  Using recycled leather and a printer that can reproduce designs accurately onto the band, Wayveband allows you to get creative and design your own bespoke leather wristbands online.

There are a loads of different colours, designs and fonts to make a unique statement.  You can add text, photos, logos and patterns.  Images can be tiled across the band.  The bands can be fastened using a stud or a leather thong and worn individually or stacked making them really versatile.

From party prizes, invitations, VIP access bands, save the date reminders, wedding favours, club mementoes, school leavers' gifts,  love tokens to Christmas gifts, the possibilities for using Wayvebands are endless.  How about getting your blog details printed onto one?  More memorable than a business card!!

I was offered the chance to try one.  The website is really user friendly and the scope for personalisation is massive!  The colour, font and size of the text can be adjusted.  Images can be added and the colour of the band can be chosen from a huge range of hues.  I had fun just playing with the website!  But being the generous mother that I am, I let Ella create a band for herself.  She chose to use a life affirming quote from her favourite author John Green, choosing the colours and the font that she wanted.

It arrived quickly, boxed and impressively mounted onto cardboard packaging.  It looked really great and would definitely be a really lovely present for anyone. I was impressed with the quality.  The printing is perfect and the fastening options are very good.

I love that she can wear this band and see her favourite book quote whenever she needs a fix of John Green to get her through the day.  It also looks really cool.

Ella was delighted with her unique, John Green wristband and made a lot of excited noises in the way that only 16 year olds can!  She is going to post photos of it on her Tumblr and also email John Green with an image so other fans can see it.  It is truly a great product that she absolutely loves.  I can see her wanting more Wayvebands featuring more quotes, song lyrics and other things that are important to her!

The pricing is really competitive compared even to other similar unpersonalised  items.  Text bands are just £7 and Single Image Bands are £9.  Pre-made patterned bands are £5 and plain bands just £3.  Generous discounts are applied to bulk orders so, for instance, if you wanted 200+ indentical bands you would get a massive 70% discount.  That would be perfect for a wedding memento or a school fundraiser.

A Wayveband would make an excellent stocking filler for older kids and teens.  It's definitely a personalised gift that will be hugely appreciated!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A Shrine To The Boy I Fancied In My English Class

Mellow Mummy is asking us to post about those things in our lives that fill us with pride and give us that "I made this" feeling!

I am not the best at making things.  I can't sew or knit.  I am a rubbish gardener.  I am not someone who excels at crafts.  I'm not arty.  My cooking is competent but not really worthy of bragging about.  My decorating and home making leave a lot to be desired.  The only amazing things I've ever 'made' are my five wonderful children!

So, for my 'I Made This' post I am choosing something that I made that has a bit of a story behind it, which makes me smile whenever I look at it!

When I was 15 and at secondary school I signed up for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.  (I only did this to get out of the Friday afternoon Games lessons!)  One of the activities that I did was pottery.  As I previously mentioned, I am not one of those naturally artistic types.  I was not blessed with any natural flair when it comes to being creative.  So when we had to decide what we were going to make, all I could think of was making a shrine to the boy that I fancied in my English class!  It certainly was a more elaborate way of externalising my affections than by writing his initials on my rough book!

So I made a slab pot which had his initials (I.M.D.) cut into the design.  A snake was wrapped around the outside of the structure which added an air of danger and mystery to my creation and paid homage to the rock/punk music scene that I favoured at the time. It was glazed and fired.  My creation became a "shrine to the boy I fancied in my English class".

clay pot, modelling, pottery, slab pot

28 years later, the "shrine to the boy I fancied in my English class" sits on the windowsill of the bedroom that I share with that very same boy that I fancied in my English class.  You see, that boy grew up into the man I married.  Five kids and 15 years of marriage later we are still blissfully happy that my first love turned out to be my Mr.Right!  My clay slab pot is a reminder of our history, our shared past and our time as teenagers at school.

I have kept this pot for years, moving it from house to house.  I even kept it during the years immediately after school when our paths diverged and we lost touch.  It's like I always knew that Ian was the man for me!  It makes me smile when I look at it, knowing that I made it so long ago.  That girl who made this shrine was at the beginning of her journey and her life took lots of twists and turns along the way.  But in the end, she ended up exactly where she was meant to be with the man she always loved!

To know I made this, proves to me that my life is exactly how it was intended to be!

I'm tagging Bloggomy and Emma and 3 , No Discernible Talent and The Crazy Kitchen (because I'm hoping she posts more pictures of the amazing cakes she has made).

Mellow Mummy I Made This Meme

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Halloween with Poundworld

It's that time of year again when we feel winter approaching.  Nights are drawing in and the shops are stocking Halloween goodies in readiness for October 31st.  For great value Halloween decorations, craft products, fancy dress items and confectionery, Poundworld stocks an extensive range of spooky and scary essentials that cost just £1 each!  


We were sent a lovely box full of Halloween treats which included things which will delight everyone!  Youngsters will love the shiny foil stickers featuring skeletons, witches, pumpkins and black cats. The ghostly Foam Shapes can be decorated and used to make the house look spooky! Both are perfect for fun Halloween craft activities.  

Window Stickers look really effective.  Whether your kids like the cute gel stickers or the scary words written in dripping blood or the spooky 3D characters, Poundworld has something perfect for your little monsters.

For Trick and Treaters, there are lots of fun accessories to complete any Halloween outfit.  False Nails, Make-Up Sticks and False Teeth are just some of the range.  They also have bags to collect your loot in!

Take a look in store at your local Poundworld for everything you need to host a fabulous Halloween party for your family and friends, without spending a fortune!!

YooMoo Frozen Yogurt To Enjoy At Home

yoomoo's "fro-yo" retail range

frozen yogurt

The exciting new retail frozen yogurt range from yoomoo is offering shoppers the opportunity of buying delicious frozen yogurt products to enjoy at home.  In 150g or 750g tubs, the low fat, natural yogurt based treats are perfect for those of us who want a healthier yet still indulgent treat.  Each variety is packed with natural goodness!

I was sent a voucher to buy a 150ml individual tub.  My local shop stocked Angelmoo. At £1.79 it isn't cheap, but it is an all natural tub of virtuous yumminess with no added nasties!  The natural yogurt base was swirled with blueberry sauce and freeze dried berries and topped with vanilla flavoured  pumpkin seeds.

The base is creamy, the fruity sauce adds a contrasting tang while the seeds add bite.  It is a good combination and a great low fat alternative to other less healthy puddings!  Angelmoo is one of the seven varieties of yoomoo to hit the supermarket shelves, with flavours to please fans of fruit or chocolate or for those who prefer to go au naturel!!

yoomoo is available in Sainsbury's, Asda, Tesco, Morrison's and Waitrose so you can enjoy yoomoo from the comfort of your own home at anytime!

Show Me, Show Me - The Recipe Book Edition

This week Carolin wants to see our favourite recipe books.  Mine is the first completely vegetarian recipe book that I ever bought myself on becoming a fully fledged veggie, imaginatively entitled Vegetarian.  It's a big, glossy, fully illustrated book which has over 300 recipes.  It has a reference section at the front and I remember pouring over the facts and figures to be sure I wasn't in some way going to starve my family by deciding to go completely vegetarian.  It has had such a positive influence on my vegetarianism.  It made everything look so easy and so appetising.  It gave me a lot of confidence at a time when being a veggie was not so mainstream...back in the pre-Quorn days!  It inspired me to use different ingredients and get experimental in the kitchen, whilst at the same time holding my hand and guiding me through the transition into vegetarianism!

I love recipe books that have lots of  photos and I can sit and flick through the pages for ages just looking at the pictures of the food and salivating slightly. (There are no calories in looking!)

cookbook, recipes

My most used recipes are for the easily adaptable, to use up whatever veggies are left in the fridge, Veggie Hot Pot with Cheese Triangles (a version of which I made for Valentine's Day with heart shapes on top!) ...

recipes, vegetarian

...and the Spicy Bean and Lentil Loaf, which is fabulous and so easy.  It's nice to find good, simple, hearty veggie recipes, so beautifully illustrated and so easy to follow.

cook book, recipes

I'm linking up at Show Me, Show Me on Mummy Alarm's Blog!

linky, meme

Monday, 24 September 2012

My Superhero Husband #kodakavengers

My husband Ian is a bit of a comic book geek when it comes to the Marvel Avengers.  He loves all the films and admits to a man-crush on Tony Stark.  I bought him the 1978 Black Sabbath Tour T-Shirt as worn by Tony Stark in the Avengers Assemble movie and he is adamant that the resemblance between himself and the man behind Iron Man is uncanny!  Ian also thinks that he would be able to beat the Hulk in a fight.  The green giant, who is not in the least bit jolly, would definitely find himself in a battle of brain over brawn  going up against my husband in this fantasy battle.

It is therefore no surprise that Ian was very quick to volunteer as a model for the #kodakavengers Linky Challenge on the Britmums Blog to celebrate the release of Avengers Assemble on DVD and Blu-Ray.  Kodak have an exciting online printable kit which includes a whole host of Avengers goodies that can be printed out and used to create a fun movie night or party.  We printed out the masks!!

My Superhero husband was in his element.  He made a dashing Captain America, a ferocious Hulk and a  spectacular Iron Man!  Here is is striking his best poses and embracing his inner superhero.

Avengers, Marvel
Captain America...The Old School Hero

Avengers, Marvel
The Hulk...You Won't Like Him When He's Angry!!

Avengers, marvel
Iron Man...The High Tech Hero
You can print out your own Superhero masks and join in the fun yourself.  There are some great prizes to be won...and you too can get your husband or kids to embrace their inner superhero.

Unfortunately for Ian, the closest he normally gets to being Iron Man is when he is doing the ironing...but he will always be a superhero to me!


Finding The Right Nursery

Freddy is now at that age where he qualifies for 15 hours of free nursery each week. As we don't have much contact with children his own age, it is the perfect opportunity for him to mix with his peers, have fun and develop social skills.  We settled on the nursery attached to the local Infant School having attended a parent's evening where we were shown around and given information on the setting.  It looked good and they talked a good talk so we signed Freddy up to five afternoons a week.  I spent the weeks before telling Fred how great it would be with toys to play with and paintings to paint and fun to be had.

I'm not going to go into details of what went wrong, but it resulted in my outgoing 3 year old becoming hysterical at the mention of the 'n' word.  He became wary of people and really clingy, he began to stammer and his personality changed overnight.  All he remembered was that he cried there. The emphasis of the nursery seemed to be on making the kids school ready.  It enforced independence to the point of being cruel and made the children sit for prolonged periods of time.  The staff were referred to as Mrs or Miss and not by their first names.  It was formal and very structured, not warm and nurturing.   These children are still little tots who need to play and have fun. I couldn't even see any toys constantly available to them to play with at will.  No home corner.  No dressing up.  No painting.  We withdrew him from that nursery, but not before damage was done to my boy.

This was a really difficult time for me.  I felt I had failed.  Failed to give my son the tools needed to cope.  Failed to keep him happy.  Failed to do what all the the parents taking their kids to nursery were doing.  I promised Freddy it would be great and it wasn't.  I'd betrayed my son's trust. I looked at my once bubbly boy and saw a nervous wreck. It broke my heart.

It took a while before Freddy's confidence returned but he was still wary of other people.  I researched new settings for Freddy's nursery.  I found a lovely daycare centre with an Outstanding Ofsted report and went to visit with Freddy who was still very suspicious of the whole idea and clung to me like a limpet.  But I liked what I saw.

Today we took the big step of taking Freddy.  I was nervous.  I didn't talk about it until we got there when I told him we were going to visit the nice ladies that worked there.  He was reluctant but as we went in to the big, bright room he was met by Mandy who took the time to engage with him.  She told him that this was a place for laughing not crying.  She told him he could play with any of the activities at any time because this was where children learned through playing.  The structure was relaxed and friendly with staff called by their first names.  Children can wear slippers indoors if they want to.  There is an area where children can go to relax and lie down with cushions, blankets and teddies if they get tired.   Water tables, sand, paints and all the toys are constantly available.   The staff get down on the floor with the children.  As soon as I saw Mandy lying down on the floor with Freddy using torches to hunt for spiders under the cupboards I knew this was the place for him.  When they built rocket ships and blasted them off into space and Mandy landed hers on Fred's head which made him giggle, I felt confident enough to sneak out.

I waited in the car, just in case it all went wrong, but it didn't.  He had a lovely time and although he'd asked where I was, he was happy with the explanation.  He was really pleased to see me when I picked him up, greeting me with a happy smile.  He said goodbye and told Mandy he'd see her tomorrow.

The nursery have said I can be as flexible as I want with the 15 hours sending him in as I see fit without any pressure of doing the full five sessions.  They said if you get up one morning and it's sunny and you want to take him out to the park instead then go and have fun.  It's all about what is best for each child as an individual.  I love that policy!

I hope my boy will get confident with other children his own age and make friends.  I hope he will realise that it is OK for him to do his own thing away from me.  I hope he develops and grows as a little person in his own right.  I want him to be happy!

I'm still taking it one day at a time and trying not to make a big deal about it to him but I am so proud of him and so pleased that I took the time to find him somewhere new rather than dragging him to somewhere where he was not happy.  My son's happiness is paramount.  I feel like I've redeemed myself after sending him somewhere that was fundamentally wrong for him.

Fingers crossed for the rest of the week and beyond!

nursery school, Graco Nautilus
Freddy x

Deadly 60 and Ruckus from Imagination Games

 Deadly 60 Tracker Board Game and Ruckus Family Edition Reviewed

Deadly 60, Ruckus

Deadly 60 is a BBC TV show featuring wild animals which are rated by the presenter as to how deadly they are.  Kizzy loves it so was very excited at the prospect of Imagination bringing out a series of Deadly 60 games.
Available from Tesco and Amazon the range consists of:

Deadly 60 Board Game - £19.99 RRP
Deadly 60 Trivia Box - £7.99 RRP
Deadly 60 Ruckus - £4.99 RRP

We were sent the Tracker board game to try out.  The aim of the game is to track down three of the deadly animals.  You have to race around the board collecting essential items like medical equipment, strength and trek supplies as required by your chosen animal card.  Risk cards pose a potential hazard to the mission and the dice have to be thrown to see if luck is on your side.When all the items have been collected the player has to throw the dice and has 30 seconds to throw higher than the animal's tracking number to successfully track it. If you fail it is back to base camp to start again.

BBC Earth, Imagination

The game is for 2+ players aged 8 and over.  It is quite straightforward to play and teaches children about the incredible animals, featuring deadly facts about them and a full colour picture on the card.  Fans of the Deadly 60 TV show and animal lovers will really enjoy this game.  Trying to score enough to successfully track the animal is the most exciting part of the game and is quite tense!  It is definitely a great family board game that will be enjoyed by all.

Deadly 60

Ruckus is a game that comes in different themes.  There is a Deadly 60 version, but we were sent the Family Edition of Ruckus.

Imagination Games

The game consists of 54 cards featuring funny characters such as Roller Rex, Macho Macho and Rock Monster.  The idea is to collect sets to win points.  You can steal from other players in this fast paced and ferocious card game.  Sets are made and stolen until the final card is played so the winner is not decided until the last minute as players make a real ruckus.

You steal cards by placing a matching card from your hand onto another player's set.  There is a lot of matching and stealing in the game and a lot of shouting! 

The game is for ages 8 and up and for 2+ players.  As it is a self-contained card game, it is perfect for travelling.  Ruckus would also be a great stocking filler if you are thinking of Christmas shopping already!

Find out more from Imagination Games at

The Red Hot World Buffet Manchester

A Food Lover's Fantasy

My daughter Megan lives in Manchester and one of her favourite places to dine is the Red Hot World Buffet.  So when I was offered the chance to review the chain I was only too pleased to take Megan and her two sisters for a Sunday lunchtime buffet.

We arrived at 2.30pm and there was a queue to get in.  It moved quite quickly though as families were directed to tables or diverted to the bar area.  The restaurant is housed over two floors and we were seated on the second floor in a really attractive dining area with decor from Mexico.  It was really modern and funky, bright and spacious.  We were served by our waitress who took our drinks order and explained the buffet system to us.

The restaurant prides itself on serving a huge range of healthy, fresh dishes that are replenished regularly.  Diners pay a set fee which allows them to visit the buffet as often as they wish.


The buffet area is huge with dedicated areas such as Indian, Italian, Chinese, Tex-Mex, Starters, Salads and Desserts.  Up to forty chefs are busy cooking a selection of the 300 dishes and keeping the food topped up.  There are  ten live stations where you can get food cooked to order.  Megan had an Asparagus Risotto freshly cooked in front of her.

As we are all vegetarians we were really impressed with how many veggie dishes were available to us, however a V sign on the labels would make it easier to identify which foods are suitable for vegetarians.  Kizzy almost piled her plate with Calamari thinking they were some sort of fancy onion rings.  A veggie friendly symbol would have avoided this mix up!

The food is beautifully presented with some dishes ready served into little bowls, others in big lidded serving vessels and some on platters.  It really is a treat for the eyes for any foodie!

The temptation is to go for a big mix and match plateful of different cuisines, and although I promised myself not to do this, I couldn't resist adding more and more tasty offerings onto my plate making a combination of Indian, Chinese, Italian and Tex Mex dishes.  I did actually enjoy having a little bit of everything and sampling all the different veggie food.

My favourites included Paneer Mather, Chinese Noodles, Thai Vegetable Curry, Four Cheese Pasta, Corn and Spinach Gratin, Spicy Veg Quesadila and Chana Dahl.  The Indian, Thai and Tex-Mex food was really quite hot and spicy and not for the faint hearted.  However, there are plenty of other offerings such as traditional roasts and pizza for anyone who prefers their food mild!

The desserts really were impressive to behold with up to 40 homemade puddings on offer.  A beautifully decorated ice-cream counter served up a selection of flavours including bubblegum, coconut, mango and my favourite banana and caramel.  There were gateaux, cake, brownies, fruits, mousses, jellies, cheesecake, apple crumble and sweets galore to chose from.  Everything was so pretty!  


Dirty plates were collected regularly from the table and we were given a jug of tap water to drink on request.    Lots of waiting staff worked the dining areas and the service was very efficient.

Red Hot World Buffet

Lunch is served from 12-4pm and is £8.49 during the week and £9.99 at weekends.  Dinner is from 5.00pm -10.30 (or 11pm Friday and Saturday) and is priced at £13.99 (or £14.99 Friday and Saturday).   The later sitting has more food options including a Sushi Bar and Waffle and Pancake Station.   Children under 10 are half price.  Drinks are priced not included (a small fizzy drink costs £1.75).

Kizzy, who is 9, was charged adult price on the bill and I had to query this with the manager who promptly refunded me the £5 difference and apologised.  So if you take the kids make sure that you specify their age prior to being billed to be sure they are charged the correct price.

I would definitely recommend booking in advance because the place gets so busy, especially at peak times.  However the buffet area is huge and there is plenty of food which is constantly replenished so it copes well with the amount of people dining.

We had a really enjoyable meal with a great range of vegetarian food to choose from.  The Red Hot World Buffet is a slick and impressive operation that well deserves the string of awards and accolades it has achieved over the last couple of years.  I don't think anyone would be disappointed with the range and quality of food available.  Restaurants are located in Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham, Northampton and Manchester.

To find out more visit the website at

*We were given £30 towards our bill for the purpose of this review.*

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Trampolining For Little People

As the days of good weather get fewer and further between, the opportunity for enjoying the outdoors is getting a much more precious commodity.  Whenever the rain abates, Freddy is eager to go and play in his garden and his favourite activity is trampolining.

We have had the trampoline for a couple of years now and Fred has been bouncing on it ever since he was first able to walk.  He is a bit of a natural with great balance and confidence.  His latest trick is the perfected seat drop.  He has copied his sisters and uses his arms to propel himself back onto his feet in one impressive move.  I tried to catch a seat drop on camera but he was too quick for me.  Instead I got lots of before or after shots, each one with an etched look of concentration on Fred's little face!

I love that he is getting fresh air and exercise and having loads of fun. The trampoline has been worth its cost ten times over for all the play value it has given my kids!  

toddlers, trampoline

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 21 September 2012

Win A £20 Wilkinson's Voucher

I posted earlier this week about National Cupcake Week and how Wilkinson's stocked a great range of kid friendly baking utensils that helped to make cooking with kids fun!  From cookie cutters to silicone baking moulds, the range is colourful, durable and practical...perfect for cooking up a storm in the kitchen!

cupcakes, baking with kids

If you fancy buying some of Wilko's fabulous cookery utensils yourself, how about entering this giveaway to win a £20 Wilkinson's Voucher!?  Of course you don't need to spend it on bake ware, you could get stationery, toiletries, confectionery or any thing else from their extensive range of items for the home and garden.  It's really easy to enter with the Rafflecopter form and a winner will be drawn at random after the closing date of October 1st 2012.  Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Flashback Friday

It's Friday and I'm flashing back to 2006 and a holiday to Centre Parcs in the Lake District.    I really like the fact that the kids get to do activities that they have never tried before when we holiday there.  Ella had a go at quad biking which she loved.  Driving around the muddy course was messy but fun, and she did a great job!  It's hard to believe that in six months time she'll be applying for her provisional driver's licence and taking to the roads for real!

centre parcs

quad bikes, Centre Parcs

Centre parcs

Kizzy was just four when she got to ride on a little pony called Domino.  She was so desperate to get up into the little saddle and held on so tightly as the pony walked along the path.  She loved it and was a natural.

Centre Parcs

pony trekking, centre parcs

I even had a go at the giant zip wire while we were there...but sadly there is no photographic evidence of my epic zip through the trees.  I still remember having to overcome my multiple fears as I climbed the tower and jumped from the small platform, putting my life in the hands of the harness that attached me to the wire!  It was exhilarating and I felt a real achievement having faced my fears.  The older kids also had a go and put me to shame with their bravery!

I definitely need to do a few more adrenaline rushing activities in the near future, as an a escape from the mundane and as a reminder of what it feels like to live on the edge!!


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Win £100 With The Tesco Baby Event


Until the 30th September Tesco will be holding its third and longest running Baby Event of the year, demonstrating its on-going commitment to giving families the best value for money and the best savings across all baby essentials. These great offers will be available in-store and online at to offer parents and mums and dads-to-be amazing savings across all of their favourite baby essentials helping the family budget go further.

This event will offer parents fantastic deals on everyday products such as nappies, wipes, toiletries and baby food, helping to ease the pressure on parent’s purse strings as they prepare to send their older children back to school. In order to celebrate the launch of this Baby Event Tesco will also be offering parents the chance to win a host of prizes every day on the Tesco Facebook page, @TescoBabyClub Twitter and at

Lorna Dickinson, Tesco Category Buying Manager for Baby said: “With this, our longest running Baby Event we demonstrate our on-going commitment to helping families. We understand that basic essentials such as nappies, wipes and formula can take a real toll on the family budget which is why we are offering parents their favourite baby essentials at prices they can afford. By running our offers both in-store and online we are doing what we can to make parent’s lives as simple and easy as possible whilst rewarding their custom with some great prizes we know families will love.”

With great savings such as Huggies Super Dry Economy Packs, Pampers Wipes six packs and Johnson's Baby products at half price, parents can save on all their baby essentials both online and in store.

In conjunction with the Baby Event, Inside the Wendy House is giving one lucky reader the chance of winning a £100 Tesco voucherTo be in with a chance of winning this great prize, simply fill out the Rafflecopter Entry Form below.  Closing date is 12.01am on 28th September 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Making Clay Face Masks

Wild Science Face Mask Laboratory Review

Kizzy enjoys anything to do with science and beauty, so the Interplay Wild Science Face Mask Laboratory combines two of her favourite subjects!  The set, which has had a makeover for 2012, allows girls aged 8+ to discover the secrets of the cosmetic industry whilst creating their own beauty products and exploring the science behind it.  I have no problem with my daughter loving the gender stereotypical beauty industry and I like how this set endorses the idea of  combining beauty with brains!

The set includes everything needed to make personalised luxury creamy clay cleansing treatments using ingredients that are used by professionals from the top cosmetic brands.  Everything fits neatly into the smart silver workbench that keeps all the bits and pieces organised.  

The ethos of the company is very positive for girls, helping them learn about their changing skin, feel good about themselves and be independent young women.  There is positive affirmation that they are beautiful and encouragement to have the attitude to resist the pressures of destructive stereotypes.  It reinforces the idea that science is for both girls and boys.

The best place to do the Face Mask Laboratory is by the sink with access to clean water.  There is a "get your skills" section in the instruction book which teaches the child how to use the syringe and pipette, and how to measure with them.  It was a really good exercise that Kizzy enjoyed doing and ties into doing science at school.  The instructions are very clear with step by step photos.  There are even some experiments to carry out on the ingredients and some facts and hints about skin, which adds to the educational value of this kit.

Safety is very highly considered in the instructions.  An allergy test of the ingredients is recommended.  Plastic gloves and a dust mask are included for protection. There is also advice on the safety of storage of the finished product and use-by stickers to ensure freshness if you keep the face mask.   

The masks were easy to make and can be personalised with fragrance and colours to create a bespoke beauty product.  The finished masks can be applied, left for a few minutes and then rinsed off with clean water to indulge your skin and make you feel great!


This Face Mask Laboratory set is educational, fun, positive and produces a genuinely good end product that leaves the skin feeling fresh and clean.   It would be great fun at a sleep over or a pampering party.

Wild Science produce a range of products that are educational, creative, fun and inspire children to discover the world of science. The cosmetic sets allow children to indulge their passion for beauty products whilst learning about science at the same time. The range includes a Perfume Laboratory £12.99, Luxury Soap Science £12.99, Lip Balm Laboratory £12.99 and the Face Mask Laboratory £12.99.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Our Jungle Junction Toy Party

Yesterday, I hosted a Jungle Junction Toy Party along with 15 other blogging mums across the country. We were sent loads of fabulous toys, cup cakes, colouring sheets and ideas for the food and activities.  The parties ran from 4-6pm alongside a Twitter party hosted by UKMums.TV.  The event was a massive success that got Jungle Junction trending on Twitter!!

The children happily played with the giant Jungle Junction Playset and the Race Launcher along with lots of characters including Taxicrab and his Boat.  They did colouring sheets, made Plasticine models, designed new roadsigns (the 'No Spilling' sign invented by one of my guests was very appropriate as we had our first Tropical Cocktail drink spill about 10 minutes into our party!!) and ate a yummy themed tea of road sign pizza, munch crunch veg, chocolate cupcakes and Kizzy's Jungle Jumble Cupcakes!  We watched Jungle Junction on TV as I'd been recording them all on my Sky Planner in readiness!  Every child took home some lovely Jungle Junction goodies and prizes were won for the colouring and modelling.

It was pretty hectic, but it was a lot of fun for all the children who came to play!

Here is a photo collage of our party!

Find all these Jungle Junction Toys and more at the Flair website!

It's National Cupcake Week

Making Baking A Piece of Cake

This week (the 17th - 23rd September) is National Cupcake Week.  Here Inside the Wendy House, we love the odd cupcake or two and here are a couple of our past creations (with links to the recipes)!

Coffee Cupcakes
Bailey's Cupcakes

Baking is such a lovely activity to enjoy with the kids.  So when Wilkinson sent us some baking goodies to try out we were most pleased!  They have a range of durable, colourful and practical accessories which are perfect for encouraging the kids into the kitchen.  The range includes silicone moulds, aprons, scales and utensils, making baking a piece of cake!  It is all such good value.  A pack of 12 bright coloured silicone cupcake moulds cost just £2!  Kids' utensils start at just £1, and have an element of fun that will make them want to help out with cooking.  They are never too young to start!


We received some great cookie cutters in assorted shapes which will make some very appealing, bite size  cookies or gingerbread.  We also have a butterfly shaped cake mould, cup cake cases and an icing bag.  They are all very kid friendly, but also fully functional and good quality. 

So later this week we will be baking ourselves some yummy cupcakes ... how about these delicious Oreo Cupcakes filled with pieces of  Oreo and topped with vanilla buttercream??  It is National Cupcake Week after all!

Oreo Cupcakes

There are four ways to shop at Wilkinsons, the high street 'home of family value' retailer:
In store, from the catalogue, online at or by phone on 08456 080807.


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