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Walker’s Hoops and Crosses – Review

Both girls have packed lunches every day except one when they’re allowed to choose a hot school meal. We did let them have school meals all the time at one point but it turns out both of them prefer to take a packed lunch!

Ant makes the packed lunches in the evening and I know he’s having the same trouble I used to have when making the lunches and that’s to make them nutritious and interesting so that the girls don’t get bored.

They tend to have a sandwich, some tomatoes and cucumber, a small cake and occasionally, a packet of crisps. We both believe that in moderation, crisps are fine and once a week (sometimes not even that) is totally fine for them but I still sometimes wonder whether anyone who sees crisps in their lunches is automatically judging me/us because there are so many stories in the news about packed lunches at the moment.

When I found that Walkers now make Baked Hoops and Crosses, which are made with 56% wholewheat, I was really pleased that I’d now be able to let them have crisps in their lunchboxes (still only occasionally!) without feeling guilty!

We received a packet of roast beef flavour and all who tried them (we forgot to save one for daddy to try and he wasn’t best pleased! Ooops!) thought they were delicious. They were packed full of flavour.
Even Kaycee, who isn’t a fan of meaty flavour crisps usually, thought they were lovely, although she did say she wished they’d sent prawn cocktail instead but was glad they didn’t send salt and vinegar (we’ve got loads of salt and vinegar crisps from multipacks because everyone chooses the other flavours first and we’ve told them they have to now eat the salt and vinegar before we open anymore packs!).

As each bag is only 85 calories, they’re great snacks for Aiden and myself as well; we’re both doing Slimming World and are always on the look out for low calorie snacks.

The girls would like to thank Walkers for the ‘oh so cute’ monkey that arrived with our crisps; I have a feeling there’s going to be a little arguing going on as to who’s going to sleep with him first!

 

PosturePlast – A Review

I’ve suffered with back pain since Aiden was 3 months old and I slipped a disc while at the photographers with him.
He was 13 yesterday and 13 years of back pain gets you down, it can make you depressed and some days, when you’re having to rely on your husband/mum/children to do the simplest of things for you, it can make you feel like you’re a burden to everyone.

So you can imagine I jumped at the chance to try PosturePlast and I wasn’t disappointed.
You can wear each plaster for 48 hours and it’s designed to help you improve you posture. I found myself having to bend my knees rather than my back when picking things up etc.

It controls your movements which in turn can help prevent further back injury and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t wake in the middle of the night with back pain.
For the last few years I’ve had to prop myself into the sitting position, using 4 pillows, around 3-4am every night because it was too painful to stay lying down.

I didn’t expect the results to be that fast but that’s not the best bit….I’ve since had 3 nights in a row where I haven’t woken up with back pain and I haven’t even been wearing the plasters on those nights!
Ant thinks the combination of the PosturePlast improving my posture and the extra walking I’ve been doing is helping to strengthen my back 🙂

There are a few points I need to make that weren’t so good but they’re small and basically, I can put up with them if means my back pain goes away!
The first is that I didn’t find it at all easy to apply on myself. I watched the video on the website but it didn’t go as smoothly for me; the plaster instantly folded in on itself and I had to get Ant to sort it out and apply it. I didn’t want to risk wasting the PosturePlast so when/if I need another one on, I’ll just ask Ant to do it, it’s easier!
I also wasn’t able to wear it for the full 48 hours because I found the stickiness started to irritate my skin after about 30 hours; I’m sure I’d get used to it the more I wore them though.

All in all, the PosturePlast really did help with my back pain and after getting better sleep this week than I have done in years, I’m very happy to recommend them to all back pain sufferers.

If you want to be in with the chance of winning a year’s supply of PosturePlast, check out the competition on their Facebook Page.
It’s open until April 30th 2013.

*I was sent samples of PosturePlast in return for a review. This post was written by me and is an honest account of my findings.

Disney’s Shake It Up – I Love Dance

Both girls love dancing and Disney so I knew they’d like this cd! Ella especially loves to dance and is always putting on dance shows for us 🙂

I have to admit to not knowing any of the songs/singers or even having heard of the show but you don’t need to know the show to enjoy the music.
Thankfully it’s not annoying to me which can be a problem with some children’s music; actually, I could quite get used to it!

When I asked Ella what she thought about she said, ‘it’s good, I like it’ and she started dancing 🙂

The cd is available from Amazon – Shake It Up – I Love Dance

For those, like me, who don’t know anything about Shake It Up, here’s a little synopsis:

Best friends CeCe Jones (Bella Thorne) and Rocky Blue (Zendaya) have dreamed about becoming professional dancers ever since they were little girls. Their big break finally comes when the girls get jobs as dancers on a local TV dance show called “Shake It Up, Chicago.”  Now, in the third season, Rocky and CeCe must re-audition for their spots on the show and balance their dance lives with
school, boys, and family. Through it all, these two best friends always stick together.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of the cd for review but all opinions are honest and our own 🙂

They won’t go to sleep!

 

 

It’s getting harder to put the kids to bed. The little
stinkers, 5 and 7, have decided that they don’t need sleep any more.
Seven is their normal bed time, but that time seems to be
getting later and later every night as they put up more of a fight to stay
awake!
I’m not sure what they think they’re missing out on. Mum’s
daily dose of Eastenders perhaps? Or maybe they’ve heard rumours about Karl’s
antics on Corrie and just had to see it first hand.
I don’t know.
It’s not just the initial fight to get them to bed that’s
the problem. It’s the constant coming downstairs for the most trivial of
reasons that’s getting irksome.
Last night I thought, ‘I’ll keep a count of how many times
they come downstairs tonight’. Which I did because I’m cool like that.
Anyway, seven times our youngest came downstairs and our
eldest came down four times – all separately. That’s 11 disturbances (thank you
GCSE maths). Just not good enough.
It got to 10.15 and I heard the stairs again, which they
love to stand on and earwig for as long as they can.
So before the little one had a chance to say anything, I
jumped up, walked upstairs, picked her up and put her back in bed, accompanied
by a few stern words.
Still not asleep by 10.15? Not on my watch.
Here are the reasons why the little stinker got up:
1. Thirsty.
2. Need the toilet.
3. Thirsty.
4. Need the toilet.
5. Need the toilet.
6. Too hot.
7. Need a tissue.
8. It didn’t get to 8.
She’s trying to pull a fast one here. Either that or there’s
a medical problem. But she doesn’t need the toilet that often during the day
time. Funny that.
It’s getting more and more ridiculous every night and I’m
not really sure how to deal with it. I remember being the same when I was
little though, so I can’t really be too stern with her.
I’ve asked my mum what she did to stop me getting up all
night. She couldn’t remember so that wasn’t really a help. “You just grew out
of it”, doesn’t really help the current situation. Thanks anyway, mum.
I’m thinking maybe an incentive based thing where we give
them rewards for not getting up (unless it’s something genuine) –  but how do you distinguish what’s genuine and
what isn’t?
Time the length of her wee and decide after that? Measure
the percentage of liquid that’s gone from her beaker of squash?

 

All I know is that for a 5-year-old to be wide awake at
10.15 and still looking for excuses to stay awake when she’s got to be up at
7am for school is less than conducive to her attention span in class.
Not that you need that much attention in order to do potato
painting but that’s besides the point.
We regularly buy leisure vouchers on
the cheap through daily deals websites like Voucher Cloud and Groupon, so we
could threaten to stop days out. But I enjoy them just as much as the kids so
that’d be a punishment to myself!
Our eldest isn’t too bad in comparison, although I still
class getting up four times a night as a bit of a micky take. Her excuses seem
a bit more believable though. Maybe she’s just learnt to play us.
What do you do though? Possibly a two-way baby monitor or
walkie talkies where she asks for permission to get up and if it sounds genuine
then give her the green light to come downstairs?
“Junior 2 requesting permission to use the lavatory.”
“Roger that Junior 2, all clear for descent.”
“Junior 2 requesting permission.”

                                             

Not going to work is it. She’d see it as an excuse to stay
awake by constantly asking us questions.
Tell her that we’ve employed the booger man to stand watch on
the stairs from 7pm to 7am? Possibly cruel. Possibly trauma inducing. Possibly
worth a shot regardless.
I’m kidding, I wouldn’t do that really, but something needs
to be done to break this cycle or it could get worse.
I don’t want to shout at her because I’ve never shouted at
either of them. Although that may work in my favour because they’ve never seen
me angry. Not that it makes me angry, just irked, so I’d have to pretend to be
angry and I’m the world’s worst at bluffing.
What would you do? Or what have you done in the past to stop
the kids getting out of bed all night?
Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated!This is a sponsored post

Fitbit Aria and Zip Tracker

I was lucky enough to win a Fitbit Aria wireless scale and Zip Tracker from a competition I entered on Naked Mum. I’ve been really impressed with the scales and tracker that I won I figured I’d share my experience of these products with you 🙂

 

It arrived really quickly and I have to say I’ve been very impressed with both the scale and the tracker. I’d been using an app on my phone to track my steps when taking the girls to school but I always worried about the amount of battery power it was using. I didn’t want to end up not being able to phone Ant if I had a problem with my back or ankle so it’s great having the tracker.

I put it on my bra and wear it all day. I don’t think I’ll ever hit the goal of 10,000 steps a day but it’s interesting to see how many I actually do.

The website is excellent. You have to create an account at FitBit to start with then you can access all your stats.
Your dashboard shows the amount of steps you’ve taken, miles travelled  calories burned and your active score. The zip tracker syncs up when it gets close to the dongle.

The Aria scale can have up to 8 family members registered on it and each person has to set up an account with Fitbit. it’s very easy to open an account and only takes a few minutes.
The results are sent to the main account but each person can choose to keep their results secret from the main account when they open their personal account.
The scales measure your weight and the percentage of body fat you have. You have to step on the scales with bare feet for it to measure the body fat.

There’s another tracker available that does a bit more than the one I have and I would love to get it one day. The One is not cheap at £79.99 but if I could afford it I’d get one tomorrow!
It measures the same as the Zip Tracker but it also counts how many stairs you climb and tracks your sleep patterns.
I never sleep right through the night and I’m constantly tired so it would be great to see the results of the sleep tracker. It also wakes you gently with a silent alarm that vibrates against your wrist.

Another thing I like about FitBit is the weekly email report they send which is great to help you see your average steps, calories burned and distance travelled.
You can see from mine that I wasn’t very active the week of that report! I am trying to improve and I’m sure as the weight comes off the amount of steps will increase 🙂

I actually look forward to receiving the weekly email now to see if I’ve improved on the last set of stats!

Zu3D Animation Kit – A Review

I knew straight away that the kids were going to love Zu3d Animation Kit and I wasn’t wrong!

 

In the box is a good quality HD webcam, a printed background, a packet of plasticine, a green piece of cloth (the green screen) and the software cd.

 

 

 

Aiden was poorly so it was left to me and the girls to check it out!
It installed very easily with little input needed from me. The webcam installed automatically and the software installation didn’t too long.
We were soon ready to go and we made a short animation together while we got used to the controls. I had to use the tutorials that are online at first because it looked a bit confusing but I soon got used to it.
Kaycee (7) wanted a go on her own so I let her get on with it while I started dinner.
Not surprisingly, she was brilliant at it and didn’t need any help from me at all.
She loved it and was disappointed when she had to let Ella have a turn!
She loved that you can see through your hand on the screen when you need to move the model and the ghost image of the model that is left in its last position really helps with keeping your animation movements smooth.
Ella (5) needs help as she keeps forgetting to press the record button and gets distracted easily. I found her playing with the plasticine after a short while, the laptop and software completely forgotten!

 

She did find it funny seeing herself on the screen though!
Here’s Kaycee’s very first animation completed all be herself 🙂
We didn’t get round to adding sounds yet….that’s our next project!
I’m going to get them loads more modelling clay so they can have fun making lots more animations!

 

Competition – A Matter of Life and Death

 

WIN A SIGNED
COPY!
BUYING
THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS PRESENT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE…
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
If, by
Christmas Day, you’ve had enough ‘festive cheer’ for one year, then fill your stockings with
presents with a darker edge.
If woolly jumpers,
over-indulgent hampers and a box of old-lady soaps are not your thing, then how
does ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ sound?
This
must-have debut novel by Paul Carroll is a satirical reflection of contemporary
Britain.  A witty, black comedy with a
thought-provoking core.
Paul
draws upon the age-old saying: “Everybody should be famous for fifteen
minutes.  After they die” and questions
if society has gone too far.
Both
entertaining and shocking, this book is a perfect present for those looking to
add a bit of depth to this year’s Christmas stocking.
For
a chance to win one of 3 signed copies of A Matter Of Life and Death, simply tell us the
name, in the comments section below, of the debut author:
a)   Paul Carroll
b)   Caroll Paul
c)    Lewis Carol
For
more information visit www.amolad.co.uk
Terms & Conditions
Competition closes on Wednesday 12th December 2012 at midnight. Three winners will be picked at random and contacted within 72 hours. Please reply within 48 hours of the notification e-mail or I will redraw. UK entrants only. Prize will be dispatched within 28 working days to a valid UK address. Prize is the responsibility of the PR company to dispatch.
You can contact me via twitter @shell1207 or email, shell1207@hotmail.com 

Equestrian Budkins Review

When I was asked to review some wooden doll house toys I think I was more excited than the girls! I’ve always love everything miniature and still love dolls houses; we’d have a huge one if we had more room! Anyway, I digress!
I chose Budkins Equestrian Dolls, a Grey Wooden Horse and a Le Toy Van Jumping Set.

I set the equestrian budkins up on the kitchen table while the girls were still at school and waited for their first impressions when they walked in the door.

Kaycee took a sharp intake of breath and asked who’s it was, Ella walked in and said, “wow, awesome, who’s is that?”
When I told them it had been sent for them to review, they were super excited and instead of going to get changed out of their school uniforms, (which they know they should do as soon as bags and coats have been hung!) they went right back in the kitchen and I’m now listening to them neighing away!
They’ve been playing for ages and the only negative I’ve heard from them is that the poles that sit in the slots for 2 of the fences (are they called fences? I know nothing about horses/show jumping!) don’t stay in very well. I know they’re meant to be able to come out during play when the horses hooves catch them but these seem to roll out when no one is near them. Ant said the cut out on the uprights should have been slightly angled to avoid the problem.
It didn’t stop them playing though!

As a parent, it’s great to hear your children playing nicely together for a change and even nicer to see it’s with really well made wooden toys and not like a zombie with another computer game or crying because another plastic piece of rubbish has broken within days.

Note to self: make sure dishes are put in the dishwasher before taking photos, not after!

 

 

There are some really great toys on the site and with Christmas coming, I’d much rather spend my money on toys like these for the girls because I know they’ll last well and get plenty of use.

* I received the items 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.

Life’s Major Hurdles

This is a sponsored post


Life’s major hurdles

For the many wonderful moments that life holds, there are a number of terrible ones, too. And when they arrive, they can be particularly devastating and difficult to overcome. But finding the strength to make the best of a bad situation and move forward as a wiser person is what life is all about.
Work Issues

One of the most distressing issues that can happen in the workplace is becoming the victim of an accident at work. Severe injuries may permanently affect your ability to work, stripping away your earning potential. Consult the materials at Gov.uk to learn your rights as an injured worker, and enlist the help of an experienced solicitor if your employer is uncooperative. These two resources are important if you are the victim of sexual harassment or unfair labour practises as well.
Unemployment can result in monetary troubles and shake your confidence, especially if you’ve run out of statutory redundancy pay. Try to keep up your spirits by networking and sending out resumes, and look for opportunities for further training that will strengthen your application in this competitive job market.
Relationship Problems and Family Disputes

Whether they be familial, friendly, or romantic, relationships are the most meaningful part of a person’s life. Finding people who can share in our joys and sorrows is truly one of life’s greatest blessings. But there is a flip side to that, too: losing someone we love—whether that be through a dispute, a divorce, or a lost contact—can be one of the biggest obstacles we encounter.
If you’ve simply lost contact with someone you care about, why not look them up? E-mail, Skype, and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter make it easy to reinitiate contact with friends, family members, and business contacts with whom you’ve fallen out of touch. Don’t let old grudges and disputes hold you back; you may be surprised to find just how willing people are to forgive and forget.
Things get more complicated when it comes to break-ups and divorces. These are highly emotional separations that can really take their toll on your psyche and your self-esteem. In the case of a divorce, there are legal and financial issues to settle as well; look to family law firms to provide consultation and serve as mediation to resolve the divorce on amicable terms. Turn to close family members and friends to talk about your feelings and frustrations and give you support during the divorce process.
Financial Problems

If you’re buried under mortgage or credit card debt, take the first steps toward recovery by doing a complete analysis of your current income versus expenses and establishing a tight budget. You may be able to make informal arrangements with your creditors to make smaller payments until you get your finances on track. If your financial issues are more serious, look to formal arrangements as possible solutions before filing for bankruptcy. Gov.uk and the National Debtline provide important information and strategies for getting out of debt.

 

Magnetic Magic Balls – A Review

I did wonder whether anyone in our house would find this cube made out of balls, interesting. I needn’t have worried; it seems everyone is now obsessed with the little magnetic magic balls!

I have to admit, they are strangely addictive!

Kaycee and Ella keep fighting over them and even Aiden gets annoyed when he wants to play with them and someone else already has them.
We’ve checked out the different videos on You Tube to get ideas of what can be done with them but unfortunately, I haven’t been very successful with any that I’ve tried.

They make it look it really easy on the videos…maybe I just need more practice!

Anyway, I can’t seem to get them back into the actual cube shape but I will not be beaten by some tiny magnetic balls. I will persevere and I will make that cube.
Then I’ll try something a little more adventurous, maybe something like my super wonderful husband’s home made ring!!

They would make a great stocking filler for the man in your life and if you’re having trouble finding gifts for him, check out Christmas gifts for men at Paramount Zone 🙂

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