Energenie Smart Plugs: Review and Giveaway

Tuesday, 17 October 2017




I love technology. I always have. Whether it be a new computer, games console or gadget, I just love it! I also love that a lot of new technology can make life that little bit easier, which as a busy mum, I'm all for (!), so when I was given the chance to try out Energenie Smart Plugs, I jumped at it!





Energenie Smart Plugs were designed to help reduce energy bills, while also providing convenience to people. The Energenie Smart Plugs also come with a gateway, which is the hub that the devices in your home connect to. The whole system is really easy to set up around the house. With just a few clicks, I had the gateway and the three Smart Plugs set up and ready to go.













Using the MiHome app, web browser, IFTT or Alexa, adapters around the home can easily be controlled, either as a simple on/off or as a timer.






I set the adapters in places that are hard to reach plugs and that are easily left on by the family. I decided on Mikey's room, the conservatory and the bedroom. These three places are where the plugs are left on all the time, even when they're not supposed to be. It happens all the time! Mark has been away with work for nearly a week, and I only noticed today that he left his computer plug turned on!


We've been using the Energenie Smart Plugs for nearly a week now. I have already noticed a difference. I'm no longer worrying about leaving plugs turned on in the house when I'm out and I love that the MiHome App has an option to monitor the energy savings, so I can see how much I'm saving :)

I can definitely see myself getting some more adapters for the house, as they can just be connected to the gateway that is already set up.


To find out more, Energenie Smart Plugs can be found on Amazon and retail for £79.99.



Now, you have the chance to win your very own Energenie Smart Plugs set. To enter, all you have to do is enter via the Gleam form below :)


Good Luck!




Win the Energenie Smart Plugs (3 Pack) #4



 Prize: Amazon voucher for Energenie Smart Plugs
The closing date is 15th November 2017. 
Winner will be notified by email within 7 days of the competition closing. UK only.



Disclaimer: We were sent the Energenie Smart Plugs Pack in return for our honest opinion. As always, all opinions are our own.



Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Christmas Gift Guide #1 : My First Scalextric

Sunday, 15 October 2017





I know it is only October, so please forgive me for what follows!

If you're like me, you're probably already looking at and buying Christmas presents for friends and family. I sometimes find that it can be a bit hard finding presents for the kids that are that little bit different and will keep them entertained for long after the decorations come down, so I thought I would write a series of Christmas Gift Guide posts that may give you some inspiration!

Here is the first Gift Guide post, featuring My First Scalextric!






The My First Scalextric set features a figure of eight track, which is really easy to assemble. The track chevrons on the circuit, the adjustable power hand controllers and the two rally cars are colour coded in red and yellow, which is perfect for little ones to help them match the right car to the racer.










I remember seeing Scalextric in the toy shops when I was younger, but I had no idea that there is one suitable for little ones. I knew that this was something that Dot would love and I was right!








Dot played My First Scalextric for over half an hour with her brother. That kind of time spent for any game is unheard of with Dot! There was also a lot of laughter, which is a definite plus! It really is a great activity for the family where everyone can get involved. At one point, Dot had to take the controller back off me as I didn't want to stop playing!


What I also really liked with the My First Scalextric is that it is fully compatible with the Micro Scalextric range of sets and cars, which means that the track can be extended and new cars added. The possibilities are endless!


On a side note, as a parent I really liked the box. I know that sounds really daft, but after Christmas is over and you're trying to put the toys away, it can be really frustrating when you can't get them back in the box. Sometimes the boxes are easily torn or broken, or sometimes the toys are not designed to be repackaged after they've escaped from their boxes.





None of that is true with My First Scalextric. The box is so sturdy and each set piece has a specific place that it can be repackaged like new after playing. Happy parents all round :)


Our house loves My First Scalextric! It really is fun for the whole family and a perfect introduction to the world of Scalextric!


My First Scalextric retails at £39.99 .You can find out more about the My First Scalextric and buy it here. You can also find Scalextric on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.




Disclaimer: We were sent My First Scalextric in return for our honest opinion. As always, all opinions are our own.

An Interview with Dorothy

Friday, 13 October 2017



I love finding out what my children think about things, so when I was tagged in a Toddler Interview by the lovely Rebecca at The Coastal Mummy , I thought it would be a great way to find out what Dorothy thinks about the world around her :)


Dorothy is a cheeky, funny little girl, so I was looking forward to her answers! So here goes.....









What is the best thing about being a toddler? 

Um.....drawing!


What makes you laugh?

Paper (aeroplanes). They swish around all over the place!


(Note- they really do swish all over the place- our house is full of paper aeroplanes!)




What do you love and why?

Daddy, because he likes Liverpool and I like Liverpool.

(Note- This is Liverpool Football Club. It was inevitable, as the first thing that Mark sang to her as a newborn was the 'Jamie Carragher' song. I don't know much about football, but I definitely know that he played as number 23!!)



What is your favourite book?

Llamas in Pyjamas.




What's your favourite food?

Golden Arches.
(Note- This is McDonalds- we used this as a code, but she cottoned on quickly!)



What is your favourite song?

My dancing song (Suits theme tune)



What is your favourite programme?

(At top volume) Hey Duggee!





What's your favourite toy?

My people. (Dorothy has some WOW toys that she calls 'her people'!)





What is your favourite thing to do?

Um....Reading!





So there you have it! There was a lot of laughter as we were asking and answering questions!



Now, as is the rules, I'm now tagging some other people to interview their toddlers! Please show them some love and head over to read their toddler interviews!




Mummy of 5 Miracles


The Homemakers Journal


The UnNatural Mother


The Epileptic Blogger











Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

A Few Things I've Loved In September

Saturday, 30 September 2017


It's been a long time since I wrote on here. There's no real reason, it's just that life just flies by so fast, that we came to the end of the month before I realised!

I thought I'd let you know just a few things that I've loved this month and give you an insight into our busy month of September!



 


Celebrating my Sister's birthday

My sister will love me sharing this with you, I'm sure! So this month, my little sister turned the big 3-0! To celebrate, my sister-in-law's and myself took her out to celebrate! It was a hilarious evening and even now is making me tear up with laughter! I've never seen anyone eat waffles with a knife and fork and spread on ice cream with a knife as if it was butter! Joanne, I'm looking at you!!!



Mikey went to Drama

Mikey has loved drama ever since he was at primary school. It really helps with his confidence and his anxiety of speaking in public. He has been doing drama after school since Y7 and takes part in all the school productions. However, this month, Mikey took one step further. He joined a local youth theatre group and loves it! After the first session he went to, we were told that under no circumstances were we to walk him in or get out of the car to pick him up. It's embarrassing! We have to drop him off at the door and pick him up there every week!!



Mikey and Dot at the allotment

At the beginning of the month, Mikey and Dot spent the day at their grandparents. They both had a ball, as usual, but the best thing they said they did was go my mum's allotment. Mikey has been helping my mum grow different vegetables for a long time, but it was Dot's first time visiting. She even helped herself to some of the produce, eating as much as she could of sweetcorn before my mum and dad could stop her!!






Mikey running

At the end of the last school year, Mikey has been trying to beat the school record for the 1500m. He was only a few seconds off, so to increase his fitness and to prepare himself for next term's cross country trials, he has been training every week at the local playing fields! He has always loved long distance running and took it upon himself to go running. On occasion we walk round with him, but he's so fast, he laps us every time, then stands there tapping his foot waiting for us to get back to the start!!




So that's just a taste of what we've been up to this month! How was your September?

 
 
 



Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


Cow's Milk Desensitisation

Friday, 15 September 2017

 So this morning I woke up and realised that I haven't blogged for over two weeks, which is really unlike me! The past few weeks have flown by so fast, so I thought I'd let you know the most important thing that has happened to us lately.



Hospital Appointment

As you are all aware, Mikey is severely allergic to eggs and nuts as well as having an allergy to milk. As he has multiple allergies, it restricts him and his diet much more than if he had just one allergy.


However, all that MIGHT change in the near future. We recently met with Mikey's allergy specialist who told us that Mikey would be a perfect candidate for oral tolerance induction for cow's milk protein, which is amazing and we still can't believe it!


Since he was about five or six, Mikey has been eating cooked milk in his diet. It began with a crumb of cake, which was then increased slowly over the coming weeks, months and years later, he can easily tolerate a few malted milk biscuits. He tells us and his friends that he's allowed biscuits every day as they're his medicine!

Like the cooked milk, desensitisation is something we were allowed to go away and discuss, but as he is much older, Mikey was allowed the final decision. We were told that there isn't a requirement for him to do it, but when we were discussing it in the car and at home, although it's a scary process, he realised that it would be a great opportunity for him.

As a parent, the whole process is both daunting and mind blowing. My little boy who has been avoiding cow's milk for over 12 years could soon be drinking it!


We know that it will be a long process. It'll start with a very diluted amount of skimmed milk, which Mikey will only have a drop of to begin with. This will also be done in hospital just in case. After that, it'll be done at home, where we'll increase the drop amount slowly, day by day.


Although the programme in theory should take three months, we were told that no-one manages that straight away. Patients usually have to take a couple of steps back and then carry on. None of this bothers us or Mikey though. Even if it takes him a year to finish, it'll definitely be worth it!

By even attempting this, I know that Mikey has matured so much. Years ago, he used to back into the corner whenever any new food was offered, even when it was safe. Now, he can sit and discuss the options given to him. I'm so proud!


We're not sure when the desensitisation programme will begin as we're waiting for an appointment letter, but Mikey is hoping it is soon!




Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday



JakiJellz

Write Size: Helping Kids to Write Right- Plus a Giveaway!

Thursday, 31 August 2017





Most children love writing- I know mine do! Even Dot loves to join in and do her 'homework' when Mikey sits down to do his! The problem is though is that they have to use big pencils, unless you 'borrow' some when you play crazy golf!


I was amazed when I heard that there was a company out there who were making pencils that were the perfect size for little ones!





Introducing, Write Size! Write Size specialise in making pencils that are the right size for little hands, giving them better control and balance for writing.

As they say on their website, "Would you give a 5 year old a full sized guitar to play with, an adult sized ball to learn the skills of football with or size 10 shoes to learn to walk with? Using this logic, why do we give children adult pencils to learn to write with?

That is very hard to argue with, so we decided to put all of the different sizes of pencil to the test to really see if they helped the children with their writing!



Age 2-6 pencils





Dorothy tried out the smallest size pencils in her Write Size Workbook. Dorothy normally tries to write with my pens so it was interesting to see her with something more her size!








Although only 2, I could tell the difference in her writing immediately. She held the pencil better and could draw and write much easier than she had in the past. It was a definite thumbs up for these pencils!




Age 6-10 pencils






For the pack of age 6-10 pencils, my niece Maisie was the tester. Maisie has been a keen writer and reader since starting school last year and is almost always writing something. She was the perfect candidate!



In her own words, Maisie gave me her verdict, " It's not heavy and makes my writing seem pretty. It's easy to write with too".

She also wrote her review...Another thumbs up for Age 6-10 pencils!






Age 10+ pencils






I have to say that I was skeptical about the Age 10+ pencils. I didn't think that tweens and teens pencils would be that far off from adult pencils or make that much of a difference to writing. Mikey put them to the test.




Although a bit chunkier than the pencils he's used to, even at 13 years old, Mikey found that the Write Size pencils really helped with his writing. He said that it was easier to grip than a regular pencil and didn't break, which his school ones normally do!

  
So there we have it, a clean sweep! I am so glad that I found Write Size pencils as they really can change the way that children write for the better. There's also a added plus, as each pack is very affordable at only £3.99 for a pack of 5 pencils :)



You can find out more about Write Size on their website. You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.




Giveaway


But wait, there's more! The lovely people at Write Size are giving you the chance to win a Writing System 1, which is made up of a pack of 2-6 years writing pencils, plus an Alphabet & Handwriting Practice Book 1.


For your chance to win enter via the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway



Prize: Writing System 1, provided by Write Size.
The closing date is 30th September 2017. 
Winner will be notified by email within 7 days of the competition closing. UK only.





Disclaimer: We were given Write Size pencils and a workbook in return for our honest opinions. As always, all opinions are our own.


The Pramshed


Ticket To Ride- First Journey: All aboard!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017


As you may know, I am part of the new Board Game Bloggers Club. I love a good board game (I may have mentioned that a few times!), so was very excited to see what would arrive this month.


When we opened the box, we found Ticket To Ride: First Journey. We were intrigued! We'd never heard of it, but it looked really good!




We weren't disappointed! The concept of Ticket To Ride: First Journey is that players take it in turns to travel across a beautiful map of Europe while collecting train cards, claiming routes on the map and trying connect the cities shown on their tickets







 Ticket To Ride: First Journey is designed for children 6 and over, although 4 and 5 year olds could easily play with some supervision. We did try with Dot, as she's usually really good with taking turns and playing games, but when she realised she couldn't build a long continuous train, she left us to it!




You would think that Dot leaving would stop us, but no! Mikey and I played game after game! It's so addictive! You only have 20 trains to play with, so you have to use them wisely!

The winner is the first person to complete six tickets or has the most tickets completed when a player puts their last train down and they are rewarded with a Golden Ticket!





We really had a great time playing this game. Although it says that it's aged six and over, I can definitely see myself (aged a little over 6!) playing this with the family a lot. I was also pleased to see that they do a whole range of these games, so I might be creating a Ticket To Ride collection!

As a mum, I love that there is also an educational element to the game, but not once was that noticed by the kids! On a side note, I also really like that they added a few extra trains in case some get lost. I thought this was a really nice touch :)


*Side effect warning* After playing, you may find yourself singing, "Ticket to Ride", by The Beatles. It's not a bad side effect to have!



Ticket To Ride: First Journey is available from Amazon for £25.99 and is suitable for up to 4 players.


Disclaimer: I was sent Ticket To Ride: First Journey in return for my honest opinion. As always, all opinions are our own.




The Snake Who Baked A Cake: Review

Monday, 21 August 2017


As you know, we love books in our house! We have bookshelves filled with them in almost every room of the house. Even the attic is full of boxes of books that I one day wish I could put in my very own library! (Think Beauty and the Beast!)


So when I was asked to review The Snake Who Baked A Cake by S.Afrough and S.Hough, we couldn't wait to read it!




The Snake Who Baked A Cake  is a lovely story about a snake called Jake, created by two sisters.


After becoming an auntie and mother respectively for the first time, sisters Sara and Simin quickly came to love story time and the joy of creating new worlds, and adventures, which would spark the imaginations of the children in their family. Wishing to share their stories with other young readers, and their families, they decided to put pen to paper beginning with their favourite character of Jake, a Californian red-sided garter snake, and his surprising ability to cook scrumptious cakes.





It's such a lovely little story and both Dot and I loved how it flowed and rhymed. It really has made Dot want to join in baking and cooking and help me in the kitchen instead of just bringing her the food when it's ready!






The Snake Who Baked A Cake by S. Afrough and S. Hough & illustrated by S. Goodway is available to purchase for RRP £5.99 paperback and RRP £2.99 ebook from online retailers and all good bookstores.



Happy Reading :)


Disclaimer: We were given a copy of The Snake Who Baked A Cake in return for our honest review. As always, all opinions are our own.

The Importance of Baking Together as a Family: The Snake Who Baked A Cake


You may have seen our review of The Snake Who Baked A Cake. It's a lovely story about a snake called Jake, written by sisters Sara and Simin. Although to a child it is a normal story, it highlights how baking can be a great activity to do together.




While growing up, Sara and Simin's mother was avid baker and a wonderful cook. It was important for her to be able to make and create recipes that her family loved.

When deciding on an adventure for Jake to embark upon, the sisters wanted it have an element of everyday life that was interactive and encouraged sharing. Baking does all three.

Baking is one of the first activities that parents, grandparents or carers can do with children to create a bond. The experience is interactive, messy and fun for all! It can be both collective and independent, giving children a sense of independence when carrying out certain tasks on their own yet having the company and guidance of an adult.

Baking builds discipline and responsibility. Children learn to follow a sequence of instructions to ensure the success of whatever their baking. Starting off with washing their hands and taking out the necessary equipment and ingredients and finally finishing off with the tidying and cleaning up.

Baking also has educational elements to it. Literary skills are used on each occasion during baking. When deciding upon a recipe, the adult reads out the ingredients and relays the information back to the children, allowing them to learn and expand their vocabulary. They may also count items, weigh out ingredients and time their bake, all of which helps to develop early maths skills.

Baking also allows for all five senses to be stimulated:

Touch- handling ingredients reinforces their learning and understanding of different food textures and viscosities.

Sight- Visual changes in colour of the bake or when decorating.

Hearing- Hearing sounds from the cracking of eggs to the noisy mixer.

Smell- Children can smell the lovely aroma of the freshly baked cake.

Taste- Finally, they can eat their creation!
 
All of this enables a solid base for learning as they are having a rounded experience while baking, but also in understanding and associating the task with all five senses. This will help them in their speech and being able to express themselves in different ways, contributing to their emotional development.
 
The end result is an occasion that brings everyone together by indulging in the bake, further empowering the children with a sense of joy, achievement and pride, which boosts their confidence.

There is so much more to baking a cake or cooking together. Knowing this, it makes it all that little bit more special and important :)

Kaya Jewellery: Necklaces for mum and a Giveaway!

Saturday, 19 August 2017





I love jewellery (who doesn't?!), but I only love wearing it if it means something or is sentimental in some way. I only wear my engagement ring, wedding ring and a ring that was given to me last Christmas that is engraved with a special phrase.

So when KAYA jewellery asked me to review a piece from their collection of Mother necklaces, I was intrigued!







Every bracelet, necklace or pendant is created with love and hand-engraved in London to celebrate the special bond between mother and child, friends, BFF's or family.

There's something a little bit different about this jewellery store though. Owner of KAYA Jewellery, Tanja also supports children who are not as privileged as ours, so she gives part of her profit to charity through the Eduki Foundation in the Netherlands. Last year, they donated over £5000 to pay for the education of 16 children in Gambia, which is amazing!


The website is so easy to navigate, which was great as there were so many different types of Mum necklaces to choose from! I like the classic, simpler types of necklaces and fell in love with "The Circle of Life".

I always wanted a necklace or something that I could wear that had the names of the children on, so I loved that I had that chance! It's not easy to find anything with their names on, especially Dorothy's, so I was over the moon that I could have my necklace personalised.

I could also choose the type and length of the chain, which I thought was a really nice touch :)

My necklace arrived sooner than I expected. It only took a few days from ordering! It was really well packaged and arrived in a gorgeous little box.












I absolutely love my new necklace and haven't taken it off since it arrived, apart from at bed time! I love that I can carry a little piece of Mikey and Dot with me wherever I go :)


You can find this necklace and many more on KAYA Jewellery's website. You can also find them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!


GIVEAWAY

Now I am running a giveaway where one lucky person will win £40 to spend at KAYA Jewellery! You can enter via the Rafflecopter below!

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize: £40 voucher, provided by KAYA Jewellery UK.
The closing date is 16th September 2017. 
Winner will be notified by email within 7 days of the competition closing. UK only.





Disclaimer: I was given Circle of Life necklace in return for my honest opinion. As always, all opinions are our own.

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