Plasticine Softeez {Review}

Like most children, mine developed an early love affair with playdoh. Like most parents, I did not. It was a substance that came into our house proudly as a set of single colours, but left it shamefacedly, hidden in a bin, an odd brown colour. Eventually I gave up the pretence of perfect parenthood, and banned it.

But children… children really have that whole ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ thing down, don’t they? A few weeks ago Ameli called me over to show me what she’d been crafting, and she had turned my entire brand new pack of blu-tack into a sad, monochrome blue fish tank with remarkable sea creatures inside a punch bowl! So I promised her some plasticine… one day.

DSCN5396

Well, one day came sooner than I expected because we were sent not one, but three two of Plasticine Softeez to review just days after the sad fish bowl experience.

You can watch the whole unboxing and the fun they had with it on the video here, but for the highlights, read on!


YouTube Direkt

Read more: Plasticine Softeez {Review}

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3 Beautiful Father’s Day Gifts From Xupes

Father’s day is just a short way away now, and if you’re thinking of getting something a little bit special for the dad or partner in your life, Xupes is a great store to visit.

Along with new jewellery and watches, Xupes also sells antique or vintage pieces, including preowned Cartier watches and fine art, so if you’re looking for something a little different to the always special hand-print art, have a browse of their pages. I was tasked with finding my five favourite items from there site so here they are below:
<p>Santos 100 Rubber XL 2656</p>18k Yellow Gold Monologo RingExceptional & Rare Anglo-Indian Miniature Games Table 19 C.

1) The Cartier watches on Xupes make up an impressive collection, and I love this one. At just under £3,500 I think it would look good on the kind of guy who looks good in a suit.

2) This gorgeous BVLGARI ring is definitely something for the more discerning jewellery-loving man. A statement piece, I think they call it? Anyway, it’s 18k Yellow Gold and £995. They have this photographed with a woman’s hand, but I’m pretty sure it will suit a man!

3)  My brother was a chess champion at school (and a rugby player and star athlete, so no one ever called him a nerd!) so whenever I see a chess board, I think of him. He’s about to become a dad, so this would definitely be something I’d think of getting for him. It’s Anglo-Indian and currently £2950.

Xupes, as you’ll realise when you browse around the site a little, sells both new and pre-owned jewellery, watches, antiques, handbags and art. This means that sometimes you might see something you like, but find it sold already, so it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the website if you’re in the market for fine jewellery. They have two gorgeous cufflink sets, for example, but these have both been sold.

Xupes can also sell your items, on your behalf either on commission, or they can buy it outright or offer part exchange. For high end merchandise, this is probably a better option than eBay! I knew someone who sold a diamond ring on a local selling site once. The buyer got in touch a week later saying his girlfriend had said no, and would she refund it. Feeling bad for the guy, she did – only to discover later the diamond had been swapped for zirconia! By then her buyer was long gone, and she was left very upset and quite a lot poorer.

So if you’re thinking of selling jewellery, going a reputable and traceable route like Xupes is probably your best bet – that and not issuing refunds!

 

Sassy Kids Subscription Boxes {Review}

We’re fans of subscriptions here – from boxes to magazines, we love getting mail. Recently I was offered a Sassy Kids Box to try, and since it was almost Aviya’s birthday we decided to get a box for her.

Part of the Sassy Bloom product, the initial Sassy Kids Box is a little different to other boxes we’ve had in the past as it’s aim wasn’t crafting, but activity, which I thought was quite a unique spin. I’m not sure if future boxes will look the same though – watch this space!

The box is quite a bit smaller than other boxes, which is really useful if you don’t have a lot of space, and makes them perfect for taking along on holidays too.Sassy kids box

Read more: Sassy Kids Subscription Boxes {Review}

I’m A Freakin’ Parfait {Or The Many Layers Of Mothers}

I’ve had an odd week.

Things have happened, I’ve connected with an old friend, taken a walk down memory lane, had totally unusual conversations, and you know what – I’ve been fully there with it all.

Does anyone remember this scene from Shrek? About the layers?


See. Layers. Like a parfait.

Motherhood changes you. You go from spreadsheets and workshops (if you were an adult educator and project manager like me) to nappies and breastfeeding in a blink of an eye. Unless you make an effort to stay current in your work place, you can quickly be left behind. It’s just how it is. World news has to be big to even break through the fog and haze of sleepless nights, sore nipples, and the mind-numbing awareness that you’re probably doing something wrong.

It’s just how it is.Read more: I’m A Freakin’ Parfait {Or The Many Layers Of Mothers}

Tree Of Life Pendant From Kaya Jewellery {Review}

I don’t tend to get a lot of jewellery as gifts, and it’s something I am very unlikely to buy myself, unless it’s for a very special reason. Most of the jewellery I own is over a decade old! Since the birth of my children however, I have been incredibly fascinated by the human placenta, in all it’s life sustaining beauty.  I remember seeing a series of pictures once, possibly by a doula, of trees made by imprinting a newborn’s placenta on paper, and I’ve always loved that association of the life-force of birth with the Tree of Life. We certainly have an association of trees with life, with sustainability and with our continuance as a species. Even down to the ‘family tree’.Kaya Jewellery

When Kaya Jewellery got in touch to ask if I’d like one of their beautiful pendants to review, I was absolutely taken by their Tree of Life pendant. I’ve always wanted a Tree of Life to celebrate my beautiful girls, but as I said – I was unlikely to buy one for myself! You know what it’s like? Everything else takes priority!Read more: Tree Of Life Pendant From Kaya Jewellery {Review}

5 Uses For Chalkola Pens

We were recently sent a set of 10 Chalkola pens to try out around the house and I was pleased – I bought a chalk marker for my kitchen some months back and it was really so much easier and more effective than using normal chalk. I was pleased.

I had no idea how much I was going to love the Chalkola pens. I mean, I like stationary as much as the next person, but I don’t really have a thing  for it, you know?

Well, Chalkola pens are my new favourite thing. I’m not kidding. When I found them in the living room with no lids on, I put them in a box and hid them above the fridge where the children neither know that they are, nor can reach them. I may have said something about them being MINE! ALL MINE! too.

The pack of comes with 10 Chalkola pens with colours including white, black, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, brown and purple.

The colour are so vibrant and bold, there’s no mistaking what’s been written or drawn. They dry quickly, so you don’t have much chance for smudging, and they stay in place – well, indefinitely, at this point. You can’t smudge it simply by touching it either – you need a wet cloth to wipe it off, at which point it comes off really easily. A wet cloth to wipe, a dry cloth to polish off the residue.

Here are some of the things we’ve done with our Chalkola pens over the last few weeks:

1. Write notes & make lists on our kitchen chalkboard

Chalkola Pens Chalkboard

Read more: 5 Uses For Chalkola Pens

This Is Not A Book – Book Review

We love books, and while they don’t rock the blogging world, they’re great fun for the kids and they keep our house overflowing with books shelves stocked. The most recent book in our collection is being released for sale today, and it’s called This Is Not A Book.

It really isn’t, by the definition of a book. I mean, it doesn’t have a story, or words, for that matter, but it has pages and it’s bound on one side, so you know… it is a book.

Anyway.

This Is Not A Book is probably the most unique book concept I’ve seen in a while. It has 32-pages but each image is a double page spread. There’s a picture of a monster, a piano, a laptop, butterfly, fridge, tent and so on, but the nature of it lends itself to interaction. It turns the book into a toy, which is rather awesome.

This Is Not A Book Laptop

For example, give the children the book, and they immediately start tapping on the ‘laptop’ page, ‘working like Mommy!’.

Turn a few pages to the piano, and they’re banging out a tune. The butterfly went flitting around the room, the monster almost ate Aviya up in one huge gulp, the fridge turned into an (online!) restaurant order. My favourite page is the tent. Turn the book into a triangle shape, and you’re inside a tent.

This is not a book review pianoThis is not a book review piano

I think that’s what “author” (illustrator? is it an author for a book with no words?) Jean Jullien was going for. He says about the book, “This Is Not A Book is a toy with many pages! Playfulness is something that I hold very dear as it encourages us to experiment and challenge our surroundings. This Is Not A Book is an invitation to do just that

It so is that!

There’s just one thing about the book that bothers me. The tightrope walker. If you’re looking down on a tightrope walker, you’re not going to see the clouds. If you’re looking up at him, he’s not going to be hanging upside down. See?

This is not a book

But the children love this book. It’s meant to be for 2 – 4 year olds, but even my 6 year old is crazy about it.

This Is Not A Book is available today for £6.95 on Amazon.

5 Ways to Celebrate Science With Kids

I think when we look back on our lives, some day far off in the future, we’re going to realise that one of the biggest things that changed during this generation was the perception of girls/women in the workplace, and specifically, in careers like medicine, science, mathematics, engineering. While my personal interest in those subjects is … lacking… it’s something that I’m incredibly grateful for. I love knowing that if they choose it, it’s an option that’s even more available to my daughters than it was to me.

What? You’re not ancient! 

No, I’m not. But I struggled so much with math in the last two years of school and I know beyond a doubt that it wasn’t a problem with me, but with my teacher. I passed every mock test, knew all the answers at my private math tutor, but sat down in front of an exam, and I’d make myself sick. Honestly, I ground my teeth so badly, I developed abscesses and missed one of my final exams!

And the teacher in question? I remember distinctly a comment about how maths just wasn’t really for girls.

Was I going to be a chemical engineer, a doctor (my younger brother is both those things – proud big sister that I am!) before that comment? No, probably not. Actually, definitely not. But did failing miserably at math affect my chances of university entrance? Yes, it did. I passed entrance with age exemption, eventually. Did it affect my confidence? Certainly did. Do I think I can ‘do math’? No. Till I actually do it, then I’m not so bad.

So, I think that looking back on my life, I think the changed attitude to women in science will be one of the most wonderful changes of this generation.

And it’s with that in mind that I love things like British Science Week.Read more: 5 Ways to Celebrate Science With Kids

Dragon Tales Story Sticks #BostikBloggers

We’ve really struggled with the #BostikBloggers challenge – dragons – this month. Not least because I’ve had a chest infection that’s left me feeling like a fire-breathing dragon myself. So I have a bit of empathy with dragons right now. It’s hard work, breathing fire!

Dragon Tales Story SticksAnyway, I decided to go for our old standby on this one, and created story sticks. The good thing with story sticks is that they aren’t fully formed puppets. They leave a lot to the imagination. I like that, because kids don’t really need everything spoon fed to them.

The Princess

Princess

I stuck a lollipop stick into the polystyrene ball, and put a veil and crown on it. Can’t be easier. And the girls love their interchangeable green haired king, or veil wearing princess. Depending on what the story requires.

The Knight

Knight

Every good princess needs a brave knight to keep her safe. This knight is always ready for battle, wearing his helmet. (Our knight has wonky eye sockets. Never mind.)

The Wizard

wizzard

All medieval stories need a wizard. Ours wears the moon in his hair. He’s just that cool!

The Dragon Guarding His Treasure
Dragon

A paper golden chest filled with golden coins and jewels… guarded by a ferocious dragon. Well, not that ferocious. Actually he looks kind of cute with those droopy eyes.

The girls have enjoyed telling stories about their characters, and everyone from the princess to the knight have had a go at vanquishing the dragon. And in some versions the dragon is more like a family pet, and no one has to be vanquished.

Simple crafts, hours of fun. Winner!

T.G.I. Fridays For Family Friendly Meals

On Mothering Sunday we were invited to T.G.I. Fridays in Southampton for a family meal. I can’t say I’ve had much of an opinion about T.G.I. Fridays before our visit, but now I am a fan – their food is addictive! I’ve spent all week craving some of the foods we ate on Sunday.

On arrival at T.G.I. Fridays were were welcomed by a hostess and taken to our table. The children were given an emoticon place mat, which made for a great photo mask, and they were given an activity pack – pencils, a book of activity sheets, and a Mother’s Day competition to participate in.

We ended up having a very long and leisurely lunch, spending almost three hours there, and the children were more than happy to sit with their activity books, enjoy the drinks and food and have fun with the balloon artist’s flower creations. It’s the longest we’ve ever managed to keep the kids entertained without screens in a restaurant!

As any good meal does, I’ll start with the drinks. There’s an extensive drinks menu at T.G.I. Fridays – apparently there’s over 1000 cocktails in the training manual, so you could probably request almost any cocktail you wanted, but even so, there’s a huge list of cocktails and mocktails on the menu.
drinks
Our waitress recommended the Raspberry Crush -fresh raspberries, cranberry juice, sweet & sour and orange sherbet, blended with crushed ice- which one of our party ordered, and I ordered the very tasty Gold Medalist -strawberry, banana, coconut, pineapple and BOLS Grenadine – then spent the whole drink wishing I’d ordered the Raspberry Crush, which was divine.Read more: T.G.I. Fridays For Family Friendly Meals