Saturday, 22 June 2013

Little green fingers sent us an amazing children's gardening set to give us a new burst of enthusiasm for the garden and help us join in the Britmums challenge. The minute my daughter opened the parcel she was sooo excited about getting out in the garden and planting her new seeds! This post is an entry for BritMums’ #KidsGrowWild Challenge. 

So here it is – our gardening story.
This was pretty much the case when we moved into our new build – we lovingly called it "our blank canvas"! One month later our first baby was born and together, little by little, on a small budget, we made it our own. At about 40m2 our garden is compact but we have tried to make the most of it and it works. I love it, my daughter loves it and Daddy is quite proud as he did most of the work!

So let us show you around... little ones have put their stamp on things wherever you look!

My little ones love the garden. Baby boy loves to sit under the bamboo with Mummy and watch the leaves blow in the wind, and to watch the windmills spin. My little girl loves chasing bubbles, building tunnels for Wiggly Woo in the stones, making fairy gardens, hiding dinosaurs in the flowers beds and making stone animals. This one is a crocodile!

And of course my daughter loves helping with the gardening and she couldn't wait any longer to plant her new seeds. We don't have much flower bed space so we decided to use pots and luckily found some round the side of the house looking sorry for themselves.

She got on her gloves and forked the soil and pulled out the old weeds that had been growing in the pots.

Then we explored the seeds we had been sent. There was a mixed packet (she has named everything flowers), sunflowers and some pansies.

She was fascinated by the seeds and their different shapes. We spent a long time looking at them and deciding what they looked like!

Squiggle then sprinkled the pansy and the 'everything' seeds in their pots and covered them over with soil. Then she carefully planted a couple of the sun flower seeds in the last pot.

Last year we planted sunflowers but we started them off on the windowsill in the kitchen. They are a great thing for children to grow as they shoot up really quickly, so they can almost watch them grow in front of them. We had 3 sunflowers last year, so Squiggle, Daddy and I chose one each and had a sunflower race. It was great fun, and of course, she won! I hope these do as well after starting them outside.

Once the seeds were planted I cut out the pictures from the packets for her and sticking them to some lollipop sticks she stuck them in as labels.

A sure way to get any child interested in the garden is to get them a watering can. Once she had planted the seeds my daughter just couldn't wait to get watering. She loves being allowed to fill it up herself in the sink and carry it through the house (with mummy following behind with the mop). She watered all her pots well and instantly asked when they would start growing. Gardening is a great life lesson in patience for a 3 year old.
One of the reasons my little girl was so keen to get planting is that I promised she could decorate the boring old pots. We took a trip to the DIY shop and I let her choose 3 sample pots of emulsion paint. At about £1.50 each it is good value and you even get a brush in the lid so it's pretty hassle free.

Mess and paint in the sunshine, what's not to love? She got to work planning and painting and soon our garden was full of smiles and laughter... and her legs were caked in blue paint! We have had a pit of rain since painting them and I'm pleased to say they haven't run. She took so much care and pride in painting them that I was terrified we would come down one morning to find pink puddles on the grass.

She has placed her pots with pride in front of her Wendy house, so that it now has it's own, special, vibrant garden. Every morning she is straight in the garden in her pyjamas to check their progress, so please don't let us down flowers! x


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A Special Father's Day Gift

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What did you do this Father's Day? We had a lovely day and I think Daddy was really pleased with his present this year – we made him a story book! My daughter absolutely loves stories, both reading and making them up, so it seemed the perfect idea!

She made the whole story up herself, I wrote the words she thought of, and she drew all the pictures. It was so cute and very funny, one to keep forever. Perhaps one day when she is the next Julia Donaldson I can sell it on eBay...?!

Weetabix on the Go!

We were kindly sent some new Weetabix on the go biscuits to try out and they have been going down a treat! Weetabix is a big favourite in our house with both adults and children, it's a name I trust and so I am always more than willing to give their new products a go.

The biscuits are really yummy – like Weetabix they have a savoury, wholesome feel to them but are delicious flavours with a hint of sweetness... just sweet enough I would say. I hate to be bombarded with sugar at breakfast time! The flavours we tried were 'fruit & fibre' and 'apple with a hint of cinnamon', both were lovely and I would be hard pushed to choose a favourite. Also available are 'milk & cereals' which, having tasted these, I would love to try.

Before baby number 2 appeared a few months back and I was a working mum, I was out the door at 6.45 four days a week. Breakfast on the go was a concept I was very familiar with and I would have happily have popped these in my bag for the journey or kept a packet on my desk for emergencies! 

They come in packs of four and a serving of four biscuits provides all the fibre, vitamins and minerals of two Weetabix. They are quite filling though, which is a really great thing, but you may struggle to eat four all in one sitting! If you are on the go you don't really have anywhere to store the leftovers, perfect however if you have people to share them with!

My three year old is a massive fan of them... after she has her bowl of Weetabix and toast in the morning she has started asking for a "weetabiscuit" now! Since she is not officially "on the go" I have said no but I have started giving her one as an 11 o'clock snack or for when she gets home from nursery. They are a great, wholesome, tasty treat to have on hand and she really loves them! Well worth a try!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Bargain boasters!!

I have come to realise I am what I can only label as a 'bargain boaster' - are you? I'm sure you are supposed to be proud of having expensive items and money to splash about but I am all about the bargains. I shop around, I compare home insurance, car insurance, internet deals, look for cash back at every opportunity and have a wallet full of points cards.

If somebody tells me they like my dress I proudly tell them the bargain price I purchased it for. Then I kick myself inside, why did I do that?? I just can't help myself. In fact, if I have payed full price for something I always round down the price when telling people about it.

Am I the only one that does this? If I told you I loved your new table and chairs would you automatically tell me the fantastic deal you had got for or would you simply say "thank you"?!

I think I get it from my Nana, she will call me up to let me know my cousin brought a packet of socks for £2 somewhere and I should do the same.

I love people to share there best money saving tips with me, you have to make your money stretch these days, so I'm always glad of suggestions. If you want to chat about bargains... comment me, tweet me, facebook me... I'm your girl!

I have received a small incentive to write this post but it is all my own thoughts and words!

Gadget Ga Ga Post 3 – Tommee Tippee Electric Breast Pump

Tommee Tippee very kindly sent me an electric breast pump to try out. Again, after using it, I have found this is something I wish I had invested in with my daughter. I purchased a hand pump when I was pregnant with her and to be honest it was such hard work I soon abandoned it and substituted her with formula when I had too. Breast feeding was not plain sailing with her and the first few weeks was all about expressing and formula and just trying to get her to eat! We got there in the end but this time I wanted to be ready. As it happened my little man was a whole different story and took to breast feeding really well, perhaps this is more the case with second babies? He was wide awake, alert and ready to go so after trying the pump out once I decided not to jinx the easy feeds and leave it for a couple of months which is why it has taken me so long to review!

Once we were more in the swing of things I gave expressing more of a go and have found the pump fantastic as it opens your options and gives you some freedom! Evenings are when everything starts to go a bit manic in our house – my 3 year old is tired and both kiddies need baths... 3 year old wants a story and baby cries through it as he's getting tired. It is the one point of the day I have one of those silent cream moments! My little girl has been such a superstar though and not complained about the new baby at all and so it is really important to me that she still gets tucked in by mummy and has her lullaby, just like she used to. The pump means I can have a bottle ready for Daddy to take over with baby and for a few minutes she gets me all to herself again!

The pump is really easy to use... you simply start off on the low setting to encourage the milk to release and then I tend to gradually increase the speed. I haven't really got into storing or freezing the milk, I just have 2 Tommee Tippee bottles and express straight into them. It can seem like a slow process but it takes about the same time as a feed and if I do it at the same time everyday it helps. The pump comes with everything you need and is actually very good value (especially if you consider the price of formula). A first bottle and teat is included and you also get a microwaveable steriliser which fits everything you need in. After I first sterilised the parts it looked like an impossible puzzle but it was actually very easy to put back together.

One of the complaints I have heard about this product is that it is quite noisy but it is not something that bothers me. Yes it makes a noise but it is not overly loud and I have used it while the family is watching television together and not disturbed anybody. I think for the price you pay you are getting good value for money. I have found it very comfortable to use – the closer to nature claim seems to stand true – it is a funny sensation at first and you do feel a bit silly but it doesn't hurt and you can even do it whilst multitasking at reading your toddler a story!

My little baby boy blue is completely fussy (typical man) and refuses to take anyd formula milk so I can see myself breastfeeding for a lot longer this time around. As I need to get out more and even get back to work I can see this pump being a godsend and great to have in the house!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Gadget Ga Ga post 2 - Tommee Tippee Nappy Disposal System

Once again with my first baby I had decided a nappy bin was an unnecessary expense - surely it's just an ordinary bin and you just put the nappies straight out anyway?

Well no! I did try but when you have a hundred things to think about and a crying baby you don't get round to it. My sister brought one of these bins for her baby and I found myself coming round to the idea.

So this time around my mother in law very kindly surprised us with the Tommee Tippee Sangenic Nappy Disposal System and it is fantastic!

You buy special nappy sack cartridges which fit within the bin, they are easy to fit, you just tie a knot in one end of the sack and hook it under. Then every time you have a dirty nappy, you pop it in, twist the handle round do the nappy is tied up, then push the lid down (which pushes the nappy in to the bin). The fragranced bags mean there is no build up of smell and there nappies are instantly tucked out of sight. I have found I have to empty it just over once a week. It is quite a funny sight when you pull out the string of nappies! I tend to tip them straight into a bin bag and take that straight out.

It is such a neat solution I wish I had had one before! The only downside is that you have to buy the cartridges. I haven't actually brought one yet though - our bin came in a value back with a stash of them and after 3 months I still have 1 roll left. I probably use about 2 rolls a month so they seem to last quite well and I have been really pleased!

please note I have received no incentive to write this review, I just wanted to share my thoughts!