Learning our ABC’s with Melissa and Doug

I have recently become an ambassador for Magic Fairy Wings. They are an online business selling craft materials , toys , children’s dress up , outdoor clothing and hair/fashion accessories. As part of our role we will be reviewing some goods from the site each month over the next few months.

We have recently been learning the alphabet,  both tots have been doing it for a while but we are now going more in-depth with it. I love the idea of fridge magnet letters but always worry as the magnets are small that are attached to the back.

I decided to choose the Melissa and Doug magnetic wooden letters this month  , these retail at £9.99. These are fab as each letter is a whole magnet there are no little magnets attached. They are a lovely bright colour and wooden so really sturdy. They also come with lower and upper case.

We have had so much fun with the letters. We are trying to teach them to put the letters in order. Archie is three so he is able to do this with the first few. Frankie being two she is trying but she is happily singing her ABC song. Archie is also learning to spell his name out so these are fab for getting him to do that and put the letters in the right order. Every time they come out to the kitchen they go straight to the fridge which is fab. They have been a big hit here.

    

There are loads of other educational toys and much more over at the magic fairy wings website , they also have a fab Facebook page. You can also find them on twitter.

 

 

 

I’m going back to school

Yes you heard it I’m going back to school , well online school. I was so excited when NCC home learning offered me the opportunity to review one of their courses.

There is so much to choose from on their website from childcare , counselling , nutrition and even creative writing. The choice is honestly amazing.

I studied Business at university and gained my degree in this subject. I then went on to complete a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education to enable me to become a teacher. I taught in secondary education for ten years before I had the littles. My last role was Head of Sixth Form. It’s something I definitely plan to go back to when both Archie and Frankie are in full-time school. I would like to branch out and offer other subjects so am always looking for further routes of study.

I’ve always had a passion for Criminal Psychology I find it fascinating.  I love watching any crime documentary , films or series and I get hooked. I was so excited when I saw that this was one of the courses that NCC home learning offered. So of course jumped at the chance to study this.

When I had registered for the course I was sent a unique log on and password. Logging on is easy and my course is in a  saved area. All the course reading materials and assignments/exams are all there in one place. Everything is super easy to navigate and so convenient.

The thing I love about this is that I can complete it in my own time and around having the littles.

At the moment NCC home learning also have 25% off all courses and even have payment plans to help spread the cost of your learning too. Go and take a look at their website to see what you fancy , I guarantee they have something for you.

I was offered to study a course with NCC home learning in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Keeping them busy with Phoenix Trading crafts

We were very lucky to receive a lovely package from Phoenix Trading. Just perfect for us as we love arts and crafts and they are built-in to our daily activities.

The package included 24 colour in finger puppets , paper dolls bunting , little woodland animals colour in card and fabulous funny faces sticker set. Archie and Frankie were beyond excited when we opened the package. So with a new packet of felts and coloured pencils we got stuck in.

Colour in finger puppets

These were Archie and Frankie’s favourites  , they enjoyed colouring them in and the fact they were a farmyard design was fab. They included farm-yard animals , tractors , farmers and land rovers. They provided hours of fun as we have been having puppet shows with them. The tots were really using their imaginations whilst playing with them which was amazing to watch.

      

Paper dolls bunting

These are so cute and you get loads of little paper dolls to colour in so hours of fun to be had. Both tots loved colouring these in and drawing faces and clothes on to the dolls. There were various different designs both boys and girls. They also come with ribbon and pre punched holes so they can be threaded and hung up. We have them on proud display in the playroom.

       

Little woodland animals colour in card

This was very cute and had the loveliest Easter design with bunnies and bunting. Frankie really enjoyed colouring this in and has decided to give it to Nanny and Bampy for Easter. This is great for children of all ages and ability.

Fabulous funny faces sticker set

This set is really good for keeping the littles entertained. The board with the faces on is strong and durable. This is fab for indoor use and for taking out and about and on journeys. Archie and Frankie loved this and found the faces they were making hilarious. The stickers are reusable and there are loads to choose from to make the funny faces such as hats , glasses , beards. This did bring so much fun and giggles to a rainy afternoon.

    

I was sent this package in return for a honest review. All thought and opinions are my own.

 

Our alternative Easter gift to the babies – their very own Star

I was over the moon to be offered to name a star from the Star Name Registry. I jumped at the chance as always been interested in doing this. I decided to name the star “siblinglove” to represent the ankle biters amazing bond.

You get to chose a special date so I went with the 13.1.14 this is Archie’s date of birth , I chose this to represent the day we first became parents. I chose Pegasus  for the constellation.

The package was delivered really quickly in fact it was the day after I was asked to review the star . It came in a lovely silver gift box with some pretty tissue paper and some lovely red roses. It was packaged really well and bubble wrapped to ensure that the frame did not get damaged.

I was sent the Extra Bright Star gift set , the package included –

  • Entry into the Registry
  • A4 Star Name Deed
  • The Sky Atlas star maps
  • Confirmation letter
  • Free Stelarium software download
  • Gift Explained Extra Bright Star
  • A4 Silver Certificate Frame with Deed

The gift set retails at £44.99 , there are various options on the website with a variety of prices.

The star deed tells you exactly where the star is located and you can go and check it out online. Archie and Frankie’s favourite nursery rhyme is twinkle twinkle little star. We often talk about and look at the stars. I cant wait to give them this as part of their Easter gift as they get far too much chocolate. We can then show them online exactly where the star is. It’s also amazing for them to keep for their memory boxes and to look back on whenever they want.

The sky atlas that comes with the gift set is a really handy go to guide to look at the constellations and learn a bit more about the stars.

If you are looking for a gift which is a bit different and has that wow factor then definitely go and check these out.

For a chance to win your own extra bright star worth 24.99 just enter here – leave a comment on the blog saying who you would give the star to and why. The competition closes at midnight on the 17.4.17.

I was sent the Extra Bright Star gift package in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

Teletubbies clip on pram toys

We were recently sent some lovely Teletubbies clip on pram toys by Character Toys . The Teletubbies we were sent were Po and Dipsy. Both the ankle biters are obsessed with Teletubbies so they were thrilled to open the package.

The toys are bright , super soft and really cuddly , they were fab for clipping to the pram or putting in the changing bag to take out and about. Frankie wanted to take Po everywhere with her. The toys are suitable for ages 18 months plus.

These are the 4 designs available

Frankie is teething pretty badly at the moment and so she used hers for comfort and to chew on. She actually fell asleep in the car seat with the ring in her mouth!

The Teletubbies have been coming on all of our adventures they have fast become the ankle biters favourite toys to take out and about. They have now requested La-La and Tinky Winky so I’ve told them we can buy them as a treat if they eat all their veggies this week.

I was sent Dipsy and Po clip on pram toys in return for an honest review , all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Folly Tower adventures with Schleich Farm World Toys

 

Today we decided to go for a walk up to the Folly tower and see the cows and take in the beautiful views. The ankle biters love going on adventures to the mountain. This was the perfect opportunity for them to take the Schleich Farm World toys we were asked to review.

We were sent the new starter set which includes a donkey, cow, rooster and a lamb. Archie and Frankie were so excited to play with these. They both knew exactly what the animals were when we got them out of the box. The animals were of really high quality and solidly made , they are definitely made to last.

We had a little play at home and built a barn with some blocks for the animals to shelter in. Archie and Frankie were so excited to put the animals in to the barn and were happy playing and using role play skills and their imagination which kept them entertained long enough for mummy to have a hot cup of tea.

                       

They really enjoyed taking the animals up to the mountain and creating memories with them. Frankie set them up on a pedestal and was doing her best animal noises. Archie then took them for an explore on to the grass and found some fab mole holes for the farm friends to play in and get muddy. He told me they would need a bath when we got home.

         

Archie wanted to show the real cows his toy cow , he said it was a “baby cow” Both Archie and Frankie really enjoyed playing with these and it really helped their imaginative role play skills. We are so excited to get some more of the Schleich Farm World toys to add to our collection. The ankle biters have already been telling me which ones they want next when we took a look at the full collection on the Schleich website.

I was sent a Schleich Farm World starter pack in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

Dairy Free Valentines baking with Auntie Mo’s

I was recently asked if I would like to try a new range of dairy and egg free cookie and brownie mixes by a new business called Auntie Mo’s. We love to get our bake on so I gladly agreed.

Auntie Mo’s are a Sunderland based business who produce dairy and egg free cookie mixes , brownie mixes and pancake mixes which are also suitable for vegans. Maria (Auntie Mo) makes these mixes dairy free as her nephew Alex had a severe milk and egg allergy.

I was so excited about this as we find it really hard to find cookie or cake mixes that are dairy free for Frankie as she has cows milk protein allergy and lactose intolerance. We were sent a lovely package with soft and gooey double chocolate brownie mix , chocolate chip cookie mix and oat and raisin cookie mix.

The packaging is so classy and perfect for a gift , you can either get a jar with the mix in which makes a fab gift ,  or the other option is a brown kraft pouch.

We decided to bake the mixes for Valentines day as a surprise for Daddy and so we could all have a taste of course.

Gooey double chocolate chip brownies –

                               

These were actually amazing , so easy to make too. We just had to mix 125ml water and 125ml of oil and whisk until it emulsified then add to the brownie mix and cook at 180 degrees for 25-30 mins. The house smelt so good whilst these were cooking.

So time was up ,  the brownies were cooled and they definitely got our seal of approval. They had a lovely gooey centre with a perfectly crisp top.  You would never think they didn’t contain dairy or eggs , they had a beautifully rich taste.  We all enjoyed these and what a treat they were.

     

Chocolate chip cookies / oat and raisin cookies

These were a massive hit with the ankle biters. It was the first time Frankie had ever tried a cookie. With her being cows milk protein allergic and lactose intolerant there are no cookies / mixes out there you can buy from the supermarket that she can actually have. Being a busy mum of two toddlers its fab to have the mixes already made up. Such a fantastic rainy day activity or when we just fancy treat to open the cupboard and have freshly baked cookies within 20 minutes.

Again super easy to make just add vegetable spread (we used Vitalite) and water and mix until it was emulsified. We then stired in the mix until it formed a dough . We used a table-spoon and scooped out balls of the mix on to greaseproof paper. We made sure we left a big enough gap between them to have room to grow as they cooked.

        

Within 15 minutes we had cookies. The ankle biters were so excited they could hardly wait for them to cool down! These definitely have our seal of approval. Frankie kept saying mmm delicious after every mouthful. James and I loved the oat and raisin and the tots loved the chocolate being the choco addicts they are, both mixes were equally yum. Now Frankie keeps asking me for “more cookies mummy”

            

The website has a wide variety of cookie and brownie mixes and have now introduced pancakes mixes which we will definitely be purchasing in time for pancake day. You can also find Aunite Mo’s on Facebook and Twitter. They are now our go to cookie mix fav’s.

I was sent these cookie and brownie mixes in return for an honest review , all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

Organyc – Organic cotton mother and baby range

Organyc Mother and Baby organic range

I was asked to review the Organyc mother and baby range which included baby wipes , organic cotton squares and menstrual pads. As me and the tots all have eczema prone and sensitive skin I’m always on the look our for organic and natural products for us all to try and see if they agree with us.

Organyc is a range of organic and natural feminine and baby care from sanitary and maternity wear to beauty and baby care. All products are made using organic cotton wool to give softness, comfort and breathable products. Organyc products do not contain parabens, synthetic ingredients, perfumes, or SAP.

Organyc baby cotton wipes

Organyc baby cotton wipes these were a pack of 60 organic baby wipes. They are dermatologically tested , Ethyl and Alcohol free and free of chlorine , parabens and SLS. This was fab as we all have sensitive skin and tend to have an eczema flare up with some baby wipes. I used the wipes on both tots and also myself to remove make up , there was no skin irritation or flare up. The wipes were soft but also durable enough to give the tots hands a good scrub after eating. I would defiantly use these in the future.

Organyc baby organic cotton squares

The Organyc baby organic cotton squares were a fab size and really soft. I tend to still use cotton wool squares to give the tots a face wash in the morning and to get the sleepy dust out of their eyes. They had a cute teddy and hippo embossed design which they loved. I also used some to take my make up off and found them so soft and loved the size , as some cotton wool pads can be small and you end up using loads.

Organyc menstrual pads

The Organyc menstrual pads are made with organic cotton. You can really feel the difference they are really soft. They were also well packaged. They didn’t have any plastic or synthetic materials in them which I find myself allergic to usually. They were still very absorbent and ultra thin. I will be switching to this brand as I really could feel a difference with the 100 percent organic cotton.

I received these products in return for an honest review all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Getting our craft on with Children’s Art Galleries

 

 

I was recently asked to review Children’s art galleries. Children’s art galleries is an online subscription where you have access to a website to upload your children’s art work.

I think this idea is just fab , we have so much art work dotted around the house and in folders as we just cant bare to part with it. Archie started nursery 3 weeks ago and we have around 30 pieces of art already ! The galleries are also open so Nanny , Bampy and Auntie Lou Lou can look at the ankle biters master pieces.

Archie and Frankie were sent a lovely arts and crafts “get busy” box each to help with their creations. It contained paper , pens , paint markers , glue , chalk and loads of lovely crafty bits. They were thrilled with them. There were some instructions to help with their first piece of artwork which was “this is how I feel today”

We took the boxes on holiday with us to Bluestone National Park they were perfect for a rainy afternoon. Both Archie and Frankie said they felt happy as they were having fun on holiday so the theme for their art work was happy.

Frankie’s “Happy” art work on the website  

Archie’s “Happy” art work on the website

The website is very user friendly and you can also share your children’s art work across social media. Soon there is going to be an added option of printing all work in to a book to purchase and keep. There are unlimited uploads and you own the copyright of the children’s art work. Prices start from £3 for the year which is so reasonable. The site is totally safe as there is no option for anyone to make contact with the children though the site.

I was given a subscription to Children’s art galleries in return for an honest review. All  thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

bakerdays letterbox cake

I was recently asked to review a bakerdays letterbox cake , how incredible a whole cake that fits through your letter box , who was I to refuse?

The cake came in a box that did actually fit through my letterbox , I wasn’t in at the time so it as a lovely surprise to come home to. When I opened up the cake it was so well packaged and all in tact. It came in a lovely little tin which it fitted in to securely , a card and a cute little packet of love hearts.

I chose the dairy free cake so Frankie could have some , even though it was for James. Lets face it we are not getting past the ankle biters with cake they can smell it a mile off.

The cakes come in a wide variety of flavours which include –

  • Vanilla Sponge
  • Dairy free
  • Chocolate
  • Fruit cake
  • Red velvet
  • Gluten and wheat free

There really is something for everyone.

I chose the cute Nutella I’m nuts about you design personalised with James’s name on it There were so many designs to choose from and for so many occasions.

The cake was only 5″ and we all had a slice each with enough left for the next days treat.

Such a fab valentines Day present , which design would you choose ? Head on over to bakerdays to take a look , you can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

I will definitely be using bakedays for future gifts and occasions.

As you can see it got Frankie’s deal of approval 🙂

I was sent a bakerdays letterbox cake in return for an honest review