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Dr Oetker Ristorante Pizza – A review

We were sent a voucher for a Dr Oetker Ristorante pizza a couple of weeks ago and we only just got round to actually fetching it from the shops!

The kids asked for baked potato and spaghetti in tomato sauce with their pizza.
With the exception of Ella (she’s not keen on pepperoni; it’s a bit spicy for her so she gave hers to KayCee) we all really enjoyed our dinner and I especially enjoyed the short time it took to get dinner on the table!

On those evenings when things are a bit hectic and time is running away with you, it’s great to be able to get dinner on the table in under 15 minutes.

I can’t say whether these pizzas are the best pizzaria taste this side of Naples because I’ve never been to Naples but they are delicious!

Bags of Love – A Review

I recently received* a personalised Kindle case from a Bags of Love, a
website that specialises in photographic
present ideas
.

The case arrived within 2 days of being ordered, which was the first thing
that impressed me.
The second thing to impress me was the actual product!

To say I’m pleased with the kindle case would be a huge understatement. I LOVE it!
It’s soft to the touch, the quality of the printed photos on the material is excellent and it’s really well made.
My photos don’t do it justice at all!

 

I spent ages on the site, trying to decide what to order!
They have birthday gifts, valentines gifts, new baby gifts, anniversary gifts for men, Christmas gifts and a whole host of other gift ideas.

I’ve seen loads of things that I know family members would love to receive at Christmas or as birthday gifts and loads more things that I’d love to treat myself to!

I’ve added the link to my favourites and I’ll be visiting it the next time I need a personalised gift 🙂

* I received the Kindle case in return for a review. However,
the review was written by me and reflects my personal opinion.When I accept a product for review, it does not guarantee a favourable
review.

 

Redakai – A Review

I’d never heard of Redakai but of course, my 12 year old son had and he was really pleased when I showed him the pack we’d been sent to review!

I’ve always been sceptical about these kind of card games. Aiden started collecting Pokemon cards a few years ago and I just saw them as a waste of money. I couldn’t understand how the battles you see on the TV or on the Gameboy, (yes, I’m showing my age now! I was hooked on Pokemon on the Gameboy when Aiden was a toddler!) could translate to a card game.
To be honest though, I never took the time to find out how you actually played it. Maybe if I had, I could have spent more quality time with Aiden doing something he loved; I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually enjoyed playing Redakai!

I did take me a while to actually understand the rules and aim of the game but with help from Aiden, I eventually got the hang of it.

Now I know how to play, I can’t understand why I got so confused in the first place; it’s really quite easy! I think I probably expected it to be more complicated so I was over thinking it when I read the game play instructions.

In the box you get an assortment of Character cards, monster cards and attack cards. You each pick a Character card then use monster cards to help your own character and attack cards to attack your opponent. Monster cards can heal damage you’ve been dealt from an attack and they can also increase your defence zones.
You do need a box each really to be able to play a proper game but seeing as we only had one box sent for review, we split the deck in half and played a mini game for the purpose of the review!

Aiden won the first time we played but I’m ready for a rematch! A lot of games aimed at children can become a bit of a chore because of the mind numbing boredom but this game kept me interested and was enough of a challenge to stop me getting bored too quickly.

The cards are stored in the plastic box and they’re very strong, which is a plus point in this house because Ella (4) won’t be able to do as much damage as she would if they were just made of card!

We both love the 3d effect and the movement on the attack cards is great.

Official Info….

  • Redakai comes to life with amazing Blast3D™ Technology!
  • Redakai has innovative “Stack to Battle” gameplay. Stack attacks to damage your opponent, and stack monsters to power up your own defenses.
  • Redakai is highly visual and intuitive, easy for kids (and parents) to learn, but a lifetime to master.
  • There are two versions – Basic and Advanced game play. The Starter Set enables you to play the basic gameplay.
  • For Boys 6-12 yrs old

Spinmaster say “Start your training to become a Kairu warrior with the Redakai
Starter Pack! Face off against any opponent with your arsenal of animated
attacks. Use the X-Reader to store your X-Drives, and then transform it into
your battlefield for a one-on-one Kairu showdown! Master the power of Kairu
with the Redakai Starter Pack! Comes with 16 X-Drives plus 7 bonus X-Drives! And
a two in one battlefield/ storage case.”

NEW Redakai X-Drive
Starter Pack –
worth £9.99

 

Ways to fund your summer holiday

This is a sponsored post.*
Ways to fund your Summer Holiday
The cost of a summer holiday and keeping the family entertained can be quite an expense. Flights, accommodation, meals and special treats whether you’re staying in the UK or going abroad are always increasing in price but there are a number of ways to make some cash from things you already own and even make money online.
An easy way to start is to have a look around the house and find items you no longer need.
musicMagpieJust by entering the barcode you can sell your unwanted DVDs with musicMagpie. You’ll instantly know how much you are being offered and they’ll collect your items for free by courier or give you a Freepost label. Once they’ve received your items they’ll send you a cheque.
Amazon trade-in – Similar to musicMagpie, Amazon offers a trade-in service for books and video games. It does mention textbooks but they often take kids’ books as well. Rather than paying in cash, an Amazon giftcard will be credited to your account which you can then use towards almost everything on the site.
eBay and Gumtree– For all those other items you may have then these sites are worth looking into. Old toys, kids clothing, furniture and even cars can be sold but there can be listing fees and selling fees on eBay so to keep those costs down, register on the site and keep an eye out for free listing days.
Rent out your driveway – Is your driveway being used? If there’s a lack of free parking where you live then you could rent out your driveway. Sites like Park at my House and ParkLet make this easy to do and you could make up to £250 a month.
Shop online – Shopping online can help you save a lot of money. Before you buy anything though you should join a cash back site and check whether the site you want to buy from offers commission. Sites like Quidco and Topcashback are a few of the highest paying so whether you’re booking your holiday online or doing your grocery shopping you can recoup some of these costs.
Even if you can’t get cash back it’s always a good idea to have a quick Google and see if there are any voucher codes or coupons available. These can offer percentage discounts, free delivery if you’re ordering online and savings on meals out and activities. The top UK attractions including Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures, Thorpe Park and Blackpool Pleasure Beach regularly have 2 for 1 offers and reduced tickets when you buy online. If you’re planning a trip to the cinema then take advantage of the £1.50 adult and child cinema tickets at Vue.
Surveys – If you’ve got some spare time in the evening then filling in surveys offers an easy way to make money online. MySurvey and Valued Opinions frequently send out surveys so receiving your first payment shouldn’t take too long to do. These surveys can be anything from 5 minutes to 30 minutes long and pay from 50p to £5. Both of these sites pay in a variety of ways including Boots vouchers, nectar points and Amazon vouchers. MySurvey also pays by Paypal. Other reputable survey sites include Pinecone Research, Opinion Outpost UK and Global Test Market.

So, whether you want to sell unwanted DVDs with musicMagpie or spend your evenings taking surveys, there are so many ways you can make a few extra pennies for a special summer trip. Start now and you and your family will have a dream holiday.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write/host it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will be good for my readers.

Cutting the bills doesn’t have to be stressful

This is a sponsored post.*
Cutting the bills doesn’t have to be stressful
You’ve seen the new budget and you’ve read all about fuel poverty, now it’s time to see how you can save money each year. Of course, saving money often leads us to believe that we have to cut luxuries, and while this would make a difference, cutting your bills could be a more effective way of approaching things.
Energy continues to be imperative to life and a commodity that, thanks to the United Kingdom’s dependence on foreign sources among other things, we are paying through the nose for. Finding electricity prices that seem reasonable can seem like a tough nut to crack – it doesn’t have to be that way.
Save energy
It’s an obvious fact that if you use less then you will pay less (A simple idea that is overlooked by many). If that’s the belief then you couldn’t be more mistaken because the fact of the matter is by saving pennies each day, you can save plenty of pounds over the course of a year. So, how does this happen? We’ll look at a top three:
·         Lighting – One of the big expenses from around the house, in terms of energy and electricity, is lighting. If you don’t turn lights off every time you leave a room then you are wasting money, so try to ingrain it into the whole family to turn the power off at all times. Additionally, traditional light bulbs are still very popular in homes but by changing them for energy saving bulbs you can save 20% annually and they also last a year longer than the standard offerings.
·         Water – Save water and save energy by cutting down on what you use. By only using the dishwasher and washing machine when there is a full load and filling the kettle to only what you need each time, the pennies will be saved. What’s more is that if you wash with cold water then the quality tends to be the same and you’re not spending as much money.
·         Standby – Those little coloured lights on all your electronic devices are all to often left to glow throughout the night and day. Whilst they signal standby mode, it’s time to start thinking of them more as leaking electricity mode.  Despite regulations which have been put in place to reduce the electricity used in this mode, it’s still a great idea to switch these devices completely off to save on electricity. Every little helps after all.
Shop around
Whatever you are spending money on; there are ways to trim it down if you have a look at alternatives. It’s a case of knowing how to compare electricity prices or where to look for your insurance so that you can get the best deal. There are plenty of online comparison websites to have a look at, and you will get great prices if:
·         You know what you use – Ultimately, you need to know that you aren’t spending too much on your tariff by knowing exactly what you use on a month to month basis. Once you know this then you will be in a better position to compare the market.
·         You check the market – When you are ready to check the market, know how. While you may be able to get a good deal by going direct to a supplier, it’s unlikely that they will be cheaper than what you will find by using a comparison website like uSwitch. Through using a service like this you will know the full industry landscape and be able to make a better judgement based on this.
·         You use the right payment methods – While you may be keen to just get your new billing set up, take a second to think about extra costs that may make your bill more expensive. By combining your electricity and gas bill you will get a better deal, similarly the use of online billing and direct debit can make a huge difference.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Pairs in Pears by Bananagrams

We received a PAIRSinPEARS game from Bananagrams the other day and I have to say, we LOVE it! The first time we played, KayCee (6) was helped by Grandad and I was ‘helped’ by Ella (4)!
To play, you each have a certain number of letter tiles (the number depends on how many players there are) and you have to work fast to make pairs of connecting words in the same pattern.

If you’ve never heard of it (and to be honest, I hadn’t) here’s the blurb 🙂

PAIRSinPEARS is a word construction game for age 6+, where players race to make pairs of connecting words in matching patterns. PAIRSinPEARS comes in a pear-shaped cloth pouch, containing four full alphabet sets in four beautiful and distinct designs. The game provides a great way for children to develop memory and cognitive skills while learning the alphabet, pattern recognition, vowels, vocabulary, rhyming and more.

We played a couple of games until it was bedtime which led to the girls complaining that they weren’t tired and would like to play just one more game!
They went to bed when I promised we could play again the next evening when they got home from school 🙂

As promised, we played again the next day and Aiden (11) joined us. We didn’t play the timed version because KayCee can’t do it fast enough so we played the Pairs Points version. You don’t have to match up the designs in each word but if you do you get double points.

It’s a perfect game for Kaycee; she fell in love with words once she learnt how to read and she’s always practising her spelling and reading. The game is helping her learn the difference between consonants and vowels. She’s really good at it and has won a few times.
It hasn’t worked out quite so well for me….I keep getting all the Q’s. I mean, how is it possible that no matter how much we mix them up, I pick the Q’s every time?!

I’m definitely going to be checking out the other games from Bananagrams; they’ll be great as birthday presents for the girls 🙂

* We received a free PAIRSinPEARS game in return for an honest review.

Keep children entertained in the car

This is a guest post, written by Sainsbury’s. These are great tips, which we’ll be using when we go on holiday in October 🙂

 

How to keep children happy in the car
Anyone who regularly drives with children in the car will tell you that these small back-seat passengers can send a driver’s stress levels through the roof. Bored children are disruptive children. Keep them happy and entertained in the car and you’ll be well on the way to a trouble-free journey.
Here are some ideas to help you keep them happy while you concentrate on driving:
Games
Games are always a good way of stalling the inevitable question: “are we nearly there?”. Keep them occupied with a guessing game and they won’t notice the time as the miles fly by.
The old favourite ‘I spy’ is a good starting point. Some families vary this by making a list of things to be spotted – for example, a purple bicycle – and getting the children to tick them off during the journey. Or you can ask children to compile their own list once they start getting restless in the car.
Older children will probably be happy to play on their games consoles. You can avoid flat battery ‘angst’ by keeping a charger in the car.
Take a break
Regular breaks are important on a long journey. As well as refreshing the driver, they break the monotony of the journey for the children and give them a welcome chance to run off steam. With luck, younger children may fall asleep once they get back in the car.
It’s a good idea to involve children in planning the route you’ll be taking so they know when a break is coming up and can look out for signs.
Pack food
Even if you’re taking a picnic or planning to eat at a service station, it’s a good idea to pack some tasty treats to eat in the car. Food is a great pacifier, and a snack or goody bag at the right moment can stop a back-seat riot in its tracks.
Alternatively, you can promise a sweet treat as a reward for good behaviour – a few crumbs in the back seat is a small price to pay for peace and quiet.
Music
Most children love listening to music so take along a good selection of their favourite CDs. Encouraging them to sing along will take their minds off the miles and create a feelgood atmosphere in the car.
Books
Talking books can be equally effective. These can be hired from your local library, where you can look for a story they haven’t heard before.
Remember, too, that the old stand-bys like puzzle and colouring books can be just as diverting as electronic gadgetry. For some children, there’s nothing to beat the magic of a new colouring-in book and a pristine set of crayons.
Be prepared
One of the key factors in making your journey stress-free is preparation. When children are your passengers, planning is essential: making sure they are happy travellers will give you a head start in achieving a calm and enjoyable journey.
In the same way, ensuring you have adequate car insurance cover will give you peace of mind before any trip.

Fairy Princess Tent – Review

The lovely people at Big Game Hunters sent us* a very pretty, Fairy Princess Tent to review.

It arrived while the girls were at school and I hadn’t told them about it because I wanted it to be a surprise.
We spent all day Saturday sorting and re-arranging their bedroom trying to make room to fit it in! I told them we were making more room to fit all the new toys in that Santa was going to bring them! It wasn’t exactly a fib because we needed to do that as well and the girls got rid of loads of toys they no longer play with 🙂

It arrived just as Ant was going back to work after his lunch so he took it upstairs for me and left me to it.
I was a bit skeptical that I’d be able to put it together, especially as it was made from wood and needed screwing together, rather than metal or plastic poles that slot together. I usually leave ‘putting together’ jobs to Ant but I wanted it all done for when the girls got home so I did myself 🙂

I needn’t have worried at all. The instructions were very easy to follow, however, I do think the 15 minutes time frame given for putting it all together is a bit very optimistic! It took me about an hour to put it all together (including taking a few photos) which for me was quite good, even if I do say so myself!
The screws went in very easily and the only real problem I had was with Instruction 2. It said to screw the upright poles in but there were no screw holes in the plastic fittings. The poles were an extremely good fit though so I had no worries about it coming apart.

The canvas is waterproof and very thick. I must say again, the quality of the materials is excellent. I was very impressed. The colours and design are lovely and I knew the girls were going to fall in love with it!

I shouted them upstairs when they came home from school and Ella gave a little squeal of excitement when she saw it. They both ran straight inside, giggling and saying how ‘cool’ it was!
As soon as they’d got over the initial excitement, they ran to the dressing up box to put their princess dresses on. They moved pillows and duvets in and made a bed for them to share!

They played in it for quite a while and the only problem we had was with the tie strings that hold the door open. KayCee rolled it up and double knotted it. It took me ages to get it undone and I think a velcro fastener would have been more practical.

They both kept thanking me for getting them the ‘beautiful castle’ and giving me kisses and cuddles.
To see my girls so happy and excited was really lovely and the Fairy Princess Tent gets a huge thumbs up from this family!

Guess where they slept last night?!

*We received the tent free of charge in return for a review. My review was honest and accurate.

Britmums and Kodak Big App Challenge

I’m so excited about this challenge! I LOVE Kodak Big App and have been on the site for ages loading loads of different photos, trying to pick my favourite.

Our bedroom is the only room in the house without bookshelves/pictures/stickers all over the walls and I’ve been itching to do something creative when I redecorate the room next year. At the moment, it has one picture on the wall above our bed.

and the rest are bare. I’ve picked some large stickers for the wall in the picture above and now plan to move the picture of the babies and replace it with Ant’s favourite picture. It’s me and the kids on the beach at Skegness last year when we went to Haven. I picked this one for the bedroom because it’s very tranquil
It’s going to print out on 16 A4 sheets so now I’m on the lookout for 16 frames! I’ll be getting Ant to hang them because he’s a perfectionist and I know he’ll measure and mark and remeasure and hang them perfectly 🙂

 

We also have a very bare wall up the stairs that I keep wanting to do something with and haven’t found any ideas I like, until now! The opposite wall has loads of family photos on and I intend to add to them over the years as our children grow. As soon as I saw the Kodak Big App I knew that this would be the perfect way to fill that huge wall space.
I’ll be printing this one out in the week and will be back to share the pictures when I get it hung on the stair wall 🙂 I’m so excited!

Flashback Friday Oct 21st – Aiden’s Birth Story

Aiden’s Birth Story

This is Aiden’s birth story, the eldest of my three wonderful children 🙂
I went two weeks overdue so the hospital arranged for me to be induced on Easter Sunday.
I had to be at the hospital early Sunday morning and my friend Jo was my birth partner. They induced me in the morning and I started getting contractions shortly after.

Gas & Air

I was on gas and air most of the day and I have to say I love that stuff! Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t take the pain away but what it did do was make it so that I didn’t really care about it!
To cut a long story short…..I spent all Sunday in labour but not progressing. By Monday morning I was shattered so agreed to have an epidural.
Around lunchtime, on Easter Sunday Aiden started getting distressed. They decided to do an emergency c-section because I still wasn’t dilated.

Not A Girl!

I hadn’t found out what I was having at my scans and was absolutely certain I was having a girl.
It was a shock when I had a boy and Jo said (even though I can’t remember any of this!) I answered ‘Jasmine’ when they asked what I was calling him!
Jo said, ‘Shell, it’s not a girl, it’s a boy’ and I was like, ‘errrm, I can’t remember what name I’d picked for a boy!’.
The first one that came into my head was Aiden so that’s what I blurted out! Luckily, I love the name and didn’t change it when I got home and looked in the baby name book to see that I’d picked Bradley John if I had a boy.

Aiden's birth story - me and Aiden

C-Section

The c-section wasn’t the best thing I’d ever gone through. I was still in pain and able to move my legs so I still think that they didn’t give me enough epidural. The doctor was getting stressed with me because I was crying and trying to move and the nurse kept giving me gas and air and morphine.

Jo left not long after the surgery was over because she was shattered as well. She’d been awake for a day and a half. I was a bit emotional when she left. It was scary being left on my own. I didn’t say anything to her because I felt guilty. She’s since told me off numerous times for saying it was fine for her to leave when I wasn’t being totally honest!

All in all, it wasn’t a bad first birth experience and I’ve now got a wonderful, sweet, caring, kind 11-year-old who I adore, as do his sisters 🙂 most of the time when they’re not arguing!

Aiden and Ella

 Missed Being Pregnant

I loved having my new baby but I was surprised to find myself feeling a bit sad because I missed being pregnant! The kicks and feeling the baby move were what I missed the most but I also missed going to the midwife appointments and hearing the heartbeat.
The first midwife appointment I went to was the best. I was so excited but nervous at the same time. When she got out the pregnancy wheel and asked me the date of my last period, time seemed to slow and it took ages for her to tell me what my due date was!

It was 5 years before I’d get pregnant again. KayCee’s birth story and Ella’s Birth Story

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