Thursday, 30 April 2015

Book Review: Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort

We're a big fan of underpants in this house, so you can imagine the response I got when I asked the boys if they would like to review the new title in the 'underpants' series for Simon and Schuster.

Monsters Love Underpants is the seventh collaboration from Claire Freedman and Ben Cort who have already drawn us into worlds where aliens, dinosaurs, pirates and even Santa Claus expose their pant-loving antics.

This paperback edition features a QR code which takes you to a free online audio reading of the book by Mel Giedroyc.

I love this trailer for the book.

Ben, 6, is eager to help with the schools blog when he's old enough and often comes and sits with me to help me write some of the book posts, so he stepped in to help tell you all about the book.............

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Moving House: Decluttering

Whilst packing for our house move I'm having a massive Declutter session. This is resulting in boxes of packing and (almost as many boxes) of things to sell. In fact I've probably got enough for a car boot sale.... if only I have a car with a boot to be able to do it with! I remember when I was little we used to live on a really busy road and me and my sister would spend Sunday afternoons with a table in the front garden selling our old toys, gone are those days. For 1) it is probably now illegal (most things are) and b) I live on a side road with my kids so it's not got as much 'traffic' as other roads. To this end I am left with only one other option turn to the Internet.

I've currently got my 'clutter' listed on Sheffield Forum and Preloved - with some items on ebay. I hate ebay it takes so much in fees but sometimes you need items gone (a bed) and you have to take the last resort hit.  I also use Gumtree but won't pay to boost my listing after so many days which means I spend time copying and pasting it onto another advert to re-list.

I have hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of kids books to sell. I am so reluctant to give these to a charity shop after the way I have seen some of them deal with 'leftover' books.  I'd really prefer them to go to a home that will love them as much as we do.  Biggest problem is ...... I really don't want to have to post them.  Not only does Paypal take a % of the selling fee but then you have the post office to queue up at, the materials to post, and ........ well you may as well have given them away.

Anyone got any great hints or tips?

Monday, 27 April 2015

Coping with our kids ..... job description

Having a clear out of some of the stuff I was given when Ben was born (6 years ago).... thought you'd enjoy this........

A responsible person, male or female, to undertake a life long project.

Candidates should be totally committed , willing to work up to 24 hours daily, including weekends during the initial 16 year period.

Occasional holidays possible, but may be cancelled at no notice.

Knowledge of health care, nutrition, psychology, child development, health and management in the educational system essential.

Necessary Qualities:

energy, tolerance, negotiation, problem solving, communication, listening, budgeting, time management, decision making, boundary setting, prioritising, providing loving support, patience, good self-esteem, self confidence and a sense of humour.

No training or experience needed, no salary, but very rewarding for the right person.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Moving House: Let the saga begin again.....

Long standing readers of my blog will remember back in 2013 when we were forced out of our old rental house and had to move to a new one (no?  read about it here).    In the last 18 months we have taken the shell from a run down house (with mould on the walls and ripped wallpaper) to somewhere we love to call our home.  3 months ago we finally finished (with the landlords permission) decorating the kids bedroom.... just for (a month later) a letter to hit our doorstep ....... the landlord was selling our house and we were to move out at the end of our tenancy (May).

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Upcoming films we want to see

We've been to see quite a lot of kids films recently thanks to Sun Perks and Odeon's Kids AM showings.  Unfortunately this has the drawback of us seeing loads of trailers for films we really want to see and hoping there will be some Preview tickets released that we can get our hands on.

Here's our top 4 new releases coming up......

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Bradfield: Damflask Reservoir walk

Saturday was another lovely sunny day and once again ideas for places to go were not coming to mind easily.  I'm more than happy with walking  but everywhere I found that I fancied took between 1 and 2.5h to get to on public transport (I hate not having a car sometimes).  Then Bradfield came to mind.  It's only half an hour up the road and not a place we've ever really been exploring at, we've had a quick walk one wet day and been to the pub for tea when we first moved up..... oh and we've  been round it on the bus when we went to Our Cow Molly Farm last year.  But making a day of it, never.

So I got to googling and there are loads and loads of different walks to printout and follow.  I choose the circular walk around Damflask Reservoir as at 3.8 miles it was about right for the boys to either stop for a rest half way or go all the way around in one go.   Another picnic packed and I told the boys we were off on a Famous Five adventure (that's really what it felt like) and even nipped to Morrisons for some Ginger Beer :)

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Made in Sheffield: Ecclesall Woods and the Abbeydale Miniature Railway

Last Sunday was lovely and sunny so we packed a picnic and headed to the south west of the city.  The boys were pretty excited as it was our first visit to the Abbeydale Miniature Railway, something I had heard people mention but never actually got to ourselves.

We packed a picnic and headed out to catch the bus.  From the bus stop you'd never know the railway was there (well apart from the yellow sign) as it's headed inside Ecclesall Woods, another area that in almost 10 years of living in Sheffield we had never been too.

The woods themselves are beautiful, covering 140 hectares, like other woodland in Sheffield there is plenty of Wildlife as well as archaeological features.   There are over 15km of pathways, which we found out are also bridleways.  If you visit the council website  there are a selection of walks you can
download to avoid getting lost, these include an 'easy going' walks.  There is also a self-guided "Ecclesall Woods Archaeology Trail" leaflet which we are looking forward to doing at some point.  Unfortunately on this occasion the husband was with us and isn't really one for exploring for too long so we didn't get much time to actually explore the woods ... watch out for a follow up post :)

Saturday, 18 April 2015

In My House by Alex Hourston

I have to make an apology in advance, I love being able to read or use an item before telling you about it but life has caught me on the hop a bit recently, combine that with having just started a new book when this landed on my doormat and you may see why I've not got round to reading this pre-released copy of Alex Hourston's 'In My House' yet.   However I hate to delay any review by more then 2 weeks, and always aim to get something up before a book is released, so what I'll do is to tell you all about this book and then pop back with my verdict  on it just as soon as I have managed to open the cover and enjoy the story.   My aim is for this to happen before its official release on 21st May 2015, Sorry!

If you've get hold of the book when it's released I'd love you to share your opinions.

From the description given it sounds just like my sort of book, I love a good mystery and tales of suspense which is why I was eager to get my hands on a copy.  Fairy tale happy endings and predictability, whilst having their place, are nothing compared to a book that makes you think and question your own ideas.  I can't wait to get started, in fact I flicked through it to get an idea of what the writing style was like and had to stop myself from reading too much in the last few chapters so as not to spoil the ending..

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Capturing precious moments with CanvasPop

I take so many photos of the boys and recently started having professional ones taken, the only
trouble is my husband takes so long to put them up that the boys have changed considerably by the time it's hung.  For this reason I've always avoided canvas prints.    Don't get me wrong though I absolutely love them.  When I left my final teaching placement the children, under teacher supervision, made me 2 gorgeous canvas' (one patterned one hand prints) that hung in my room until they sadly got damaged in a house move a few years ago :(

I may have got a little too excited when, last week, CanvasPop approached me and asked if I would like to try their service (for free).  It didn't take me long to reply to them (and check they did actually mean lil' old me!).... then I had to find a great photo.

I don't know about you but it's becoming increasingly more difficult to get my 2 boys in the same photo, and when I do to get them both with happy faces and not one looking like he is being strangled or wants to be somewhere else.
  I was stuck, I didn't want to go too far back (they change so much), I looked back over the last few months and really surprised myself at just how few pictures I do have of them both together (and how bad some of my photo's really are). I did manage to find one, after deliberation over whether I really loved it and seeking friends approval (this was not a decision to be taken lightly) I sent off my photo.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Flowers from Tesco

I don't get flowers very often :(  usually Valentine's day and sometimes my birthday but more often than not it's only when my husband had done something very very bad and thinks that's the way to make it up.  Honestly my kids buy me flowers more (usually with my money lol).  So when Tesco sent me a £5 voucher to try their selection I couldn't think of a more deserving person to treat.
My local Tescos has a great range so I was spoilt for choice, from beautiful seasonal bouquets to hand-tied finest* designs their flowers are sourced from British and international growers.  Whether it's seasonal favourites like daffodils, sunflower or lillies to more premium exotic ranges from Holland, Kenya or Colombia there's sure to be something for you to fall in love with in all the colours of the rainbow.  They also offer a freshness guarantee which varies depending on which bloom you choose (up to 14 days on some).  

I choose a glorious bunch of lillies and roses which offered a 7 day guarantee. I must admit with some of the buds already open, and the sell by date very short (had I bought on the 9th of March they'd not have survived the 7 days), I was dubious about this claim.
I took them home, cut the bottoms of the stems to freshen them up and added the sachet of food to the water in my vase before arranging them.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Lush: 29 (High Street) Gift Box

I've not got one exciting Lush product to tell you about this week but the whole 29 (High Street) gift
box.  I was ever so lucky to have won this set recently from the Sheffield High Street store, you may have noticed some of the products creeping onto the blog on my #ThankLushItsFriday posts but here's the whole box in all it's glory.  at £119.95 it's a lot of money to spend in one go but if you love all the 24 products in it then it makes a perfect birthday gift or to treat yourself.
The products themselves come to around £88 when bought separately but you do get more of some of the items then you can buy in store, 3 exclusive products and a beautiful box that you can refill time and time again.

The gift box was designed by MinaLima with vintage luggage in mind and is a journey through Lush's history, they have even names it after their first shop: 29 High Street, Poole! Inside it's full of all time favourites, some classics, exclusive surprises and new innovations.



Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr Benn - Spaceman

I'm a 90's girl (born in the early 80's) so Mr Benn was a big part of my childhood TV ... and as such he is one I've been able to get on DVD for my children to enjoy just as much as I did.

The story was very simple and followed the life of Mr Benn, an ordinary fellow living an ordinary life in an ordinary house - at Number 52, Festive Road.
Mr Benn's life though is far from boring, he'll be off on a walk and suddenly begin to wonder what life could be like in the past as a red knight, a hunter, a Gladiator or a caveman.  Perhaps he wants to explore other places as a cowboy, a pirate,on a magic carpet or (in this book) a spaceman.

You simply cannot watch children all the time

We've recently been a victim of a crime, the only problem is it was our 3 year old (possibly aided and abetted by his 6 year old brother).

Let me start by saying Noah is a smart arse.  I'm not blowing my own trumpet here but this is a 3 year old who can not only read, recognise and 1:1 match his number 1 - 1000 (yes he can count this high) but has also started to read simple words.  He is far too bright for a 3yr old and it's come back to whack a hole in our pocket.

Before any of the haters start my boys do not spend all their time unsupervised in front of technology but sometime sitting them in front of the TV for an hour while you do the housework or have a shower is a very important part of parenting.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Lush T-Shirts

How many times have you been to a networking event and wished you had a custom designed T-shirt to advertise who you are?  Well it's almost as if Lush T-Shirts have read your mind.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Lush: Bunch of Carrots - Bubble Bars

Happy Easter.  Last week I brought you Fluffy Egg, part of Lush's Easter range, well this week we all tried out the Bunch of Carrots (or rather 1 of them).

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Our #budgetholiday ......... Keswick

Gosh my holiday seems so long ago now but I just remembered I barley made a dent in telling you all about it.

So Saturday, when we went to Grasmere  we also took a trip to Keswick to visit another place I remembered visiting with my mum ... The Pencil Museum.

The museum is home to the worlds first pencil, the longest coloured pencil, a giant, an escape artist’s
pencil and much more.  The museum explores, as you would expect the history of pencils and in particular the famous Derwent pencils.  Hubby really likes history so the displays were right up his alley whilst me and the boys completed an activity form (with our free Derwent Pencils).  They enjoyed playing the games they found and exploring all the different types of pencils including watercolours.  They requested some in the shop but the cheapest ones in store were around £20 and therefore a little out our price range!