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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
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


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?
must-have debut novel by Paul Carroll is a satirical reflection of contemporary
Britain.  A witty, black comedy with a
thought-provoking core.
draws upon the age-old saying: “Everybody should be famous for fifteen
minutes.  After they die” and questions
if society has gone too far.
entertaining and shocking, this book is a perfect present for those looking to
add a bit of depth to this year’s Christmas stocking.
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
more information visit
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, 

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 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. 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 🙂

Reading Eggs – Review and 5 week free trial

I recently used a code for a 5 week trial for Reading Eggs and I’m allowed to share it with you (see below for instructions and the code).

For those who don’t know what Reading Eggs is, it’s a web site that helps children learn how to read using really fun games.
Ella and Kaycee have been on it tonight and both of them loved it.
Ella didn’t want to go to bed, she kept asking to play, ‘just one more, pleeeaassseeee mummy?!’ till I had to be forceful and say that, no, it was too late to play again!

I took some screenshots to show you the kind of games Ella was playing. She’s 5 and when she first started, she had to do a test that helps them find out what level she was at.
Then the games began!

She had to make the word using the sounds it makes when you spell it out loud, f-oo-d


Spin the wheel then match the word to the picture it lands on.


Match the words to the pictures.

Tomorrow I’m going to be working with Kaycee. She was on her net book on the site while I was helping Ella and she asked if I could work with her for a while.
I was really pleased to see that although both children were on the same account, there’s no restriction to them logging in at the same time.

Kaycee’s working on the 7+ section of the site. With each activity they do, (on the older and younger sections), they earn eggs which can be spent in the shop, on furniture and decorations for their house as well as clothes for their little character 🙂

I wouldn’t normally consider buying a subscription to a site like this but after seeing how much Ella loved it and seeing how great the challenges are, I’d definitely consider it.
Reading Eggs Prices


To register for your free 5 week trial with Reading Eggs simply:

Visit and click on the ‘Parents Click here’ button

Register your email address and create a password
Activate your account and add your child
Once set up is complete add your promotional code UKB24MBT in the ‘Have a promo code?’ box located on your parent dashboard and click ‘redeem’

Click on ‘Start Reading’ to begin your learning journey with your 5 week free trial
Another good point I nearly forgot to make is that I actually enjoyed sitting with Ella and helping her. Sometimes these things can be really boring for the adult! I’m looking forward to seeing what the 7+ section of the site has to challenge Kaycee tomorrow 🙂

Hama Beads – My girls LOVE them!

The girls came home from school yesterday and the first thing they saw were the Hama Beads; they instantly wanted to get them open and start creating but I told them dinner and chores came first!

I think it was the first time they cleared the table after dinner without arguing and without it taking half an hour!

Ella’s kit included two boards, shaped like a puppy and a kitten.

Kaycee got a heart, hexagon and butterfly board.

The girls have used Hama Beads before, unlike me. It was my first time and I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed creating on the different boards, with my girls. We spent at least 2 hours working on our creations and I’ve never known the girls to focus on something for so long and then complain that they had to pack it away when bedtime came!

Kaycee said she loves Hama Beads and the only thing she wants for Christmas is more beads and boards and some clothes for her baby Annabel 🙂

I’ll definitely be ordering more sets for me them for Christmas!


For more Hama Bead ideas, check out the following links 🙂
Please note: We were sent the Hama Bead kits in return for a 100% honest review.

Nano Speed Super Vert Crash Set – A Review

I thought Aiden (12) would love the Nano Speed Super Vert Crash Set and when it arrived he was quite excited.

It only took me about 15 minutes to put it together and I have to say I was impressed that I did it without any help; I usually just leave those kind of toys for Ant to sort out!




It was all ready and waiting for them when they got home and the two big kids of the house (Ant and Aiden) had the first play.

I’d like to say that they loved it but unfortunately, I can’t.
First of all, they couldn’t get the little cars to go round the first lot of loops with just pulling back on the car and after a while, they gave up.
They ended up pushing it through the (rather noisy) battery powered motor.

Once they’d got them working with the help of the motor, they then got annoyed with them flying off the track all the time. They soon gave up and didn’t want to play anymore; they were talking about design faults and stuff so I went to check out other reviews on the Internet and found that the cars flying off the track isn’t really a design fault, in fact, that’s supposed to be part of the fun!

Kaycee and Ella (7 and 5) both thought it was great fun and loved when the cars went flying off the track!
Just goes to show the difference between the boys and the girls; the boys wanted more structured play and I think, more control over the cars, (they must have forgotten that it’s called a crash set!) while the girls just wanted to see them jumping off the track and trying to get them to crash.

Kaycee took some videos when they were playing so I thought I’d share one with you.
Be warned, the camera has really picked up the sound and it sounds louder on the video than it does in my living room but even so, it is quite noisy and I ended up making them play outside with it because it was giving me a headache.

* I received the Nano Speed Super Vert Crash Set 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.

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