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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 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.


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.


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’m so excited to see them all on the wall!

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


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

Flashback Friday Oct 14th – KayCee’s Birth Story

KayCee’s Birth Story

Another birth story, this time it’s KayCee’s birth story from 2005. It didn’t go as smoothly as Ella’s and if you’re squeamish, or pregnant (or both!) you may not want to read it.

I remember being pregnant for the first time and worrying about every little thing I read in other people’s birth stories. I just wanted to put a little warning out there before you read!

Baby KayCee - KayCee's birth story

Waters Broke In The Middle Of The Night

My waters broke and I went into labour naturally with KayCee in the middle of the night. This was a new experience for me as I’d been induced with Aiden.

I spent most of the day on gas and air but things didn’t progress and KayCee started getting distressed. They decided to do an emergency c-section and I got whisked away to get ready for surgery.


They seemed to be taking forever to get the epidural in. They finally did it and things seemed to happen really fast afterwards.

Soon than I expected, they were lifting my gorgeous little up girl up to meet me. When they told me we had a girl I just cried. I was so happy. Ant held her while they sorted me out and a while later we went to the ward.

Blisters From Sucking Her Hands

I couldn’t stop looking at her. She sucked her fingers all the time and we noticed some little blister like marks, one on each hand near the thumb. We mentioned it to the midwife and she said it was where KayCee had sucked her hands when she was inside me. They were worried that they might get infected so they put her on antibiotics.

It was a nightmare trying to get her to take the medicine until a lovely midwife on the night shift showed me how to make it easier.

She squirted the medicine into a new teat (the ones they provide for the bottles of formula) and put the teat into KayCee’s mouth. She sucked straight away and in a few seconds, the medicine was gone. I was very impressed!


Broken Needle

I was a little dazed and my memory isn’t the greatest but I think it was a short while later when the head anaesthetist came to see me, accompanied by the anaesthetist who had done my epidural.

They came to tell me about a complication that had happened when they were trying to get my epidural in;
the needle had broken in my back and the piece that had broken off was still in there.

Nobody had told me at the time because they didn’t want to distress me while they were doing the surgery.
The anaesthetist who did it looked worried like he thought I was going to shout at him or something.

Ant and I both assured him that we totally understood he wasn’t at fault. There was nothing he could have done to stop it happening and his job was made harder by me being so overweight so we didn’t blame him at all.


We had some visitors while we were in, one of them being Jonathan, Ant’s eldest son from his first marriage. Luckily, he was in the country and came to see us; (he’d been in Australia and is now teaching English in China) it was lovely to see him because, with all his travelling, we don’t get to see him much.


Jonathan and KayCee - KayCee's birth story

X-Rays & Pain

I spent the next couple of days being x-rayed and scanned, trying to find the needle so the back surgeon could go in and get it out.
I remember being very scared when they wheeled me away from Ant and into the theatre. He didn’t have to look after KayCee while I was in surgery as they’d sent her to the special care baby unit so Ant could be with me.

All I remember after that is thinking that I’d never felt pain like it in my life, ever.

Every single part of me seemed to be screaming in pain and I woke up crying. I was in the high dependency unit and if I remember right, I think I had a male nurse, who was really lovely. I can’t remember what he looked like but I remember he kept trying to make me smile.

Cut The Clothes

They wanted to get me changed at one point, I don’t remember why but I know I had my own clothes on, pyjamas I think and when they tried to move me, I told them to just cut the clothes, I didn’t care about them at all. I just couldn’t stand being moved.
I think I was on the HDU overnight but my memory is really sketchy!

When I could move again, I got Ant to describe the dressing on my back. He said it was a see-through sticker but he couldn’t see the wound because it was full of blood.
I was let home after a few days.

They gave me an appointment to go back to see the surgeon who had removed the needle so he could check the wound and sign me off to the care of my doctor.

I had the dressing on for a week in total and it felt horrible. I was so relieved to have it taken off!
The surgeon was pleased with the wound so signed me off and instructed me to see the nurse at my doctor’s.

Wound Problems

As I sat back in the car to go home, it felt like a tap had been switched on and the water was running down my back. I got Ant to have a look and he said it looked like the wound was opening.
To cut a very long story short, the wound did come open and it took six weeks to heal. It had to be dressed daily by the nurses from my doctor’s surgery.

They came to my home every day for 4 weeks then I went to the surgery every day for the next 2 weeks.

I shudder to think how much my treatment cost. The dressings they used cost between £25 and £40 each depending on the size. They were special dressings to collect all the fluid that was leaking from the wound all the time and sometimes it leaked that much Ant had to change the dressings more than once a day.


If I’m honest, those 6 weeks were really hard for me. I found it hard to bond with KayCee because I couldn’t do things for her without someone having to help me and I kept getting depressed because I had to rely on Ant for everything.

He never once complained and hugged me when I cried and blubbered that I felt guilty because I couldn’t do anything. It felt like it was never going to end.

The day the nurse said I didn’t need to go anymore was one of the best days of my life! I could finally start looking after my baby properly.

The Internet

Even though she was my second baby, it didn’t stop me worrying about silly stuff, especially with having a 5-year gap. There was one difference those 5 years had brought though…. the internet! I didn’t have a computer when Aiden was a baby.
If I was worried about something I had to wait to see the healthcare worker or phone my mum!

If I was worried about anything when KayCee was a baby I could Google it! Information for colic, nappy rash and infant hiccups was readily available. I also had Ant to reassure me when I was worrying needlessly about things. He’d had plenty of practice, after all, KayCee being his 10th child!

Kellyann and KayCee - KayCee's birth story
Kellyann & KayCee, Ant’s daughter from his first marriage. She was in the RAF at the time so we didn’t get to see her much either. As you can see, they adored each other from very early on!


My dad and KayCee - KayCee's birth story
My dad 🙂

I’m left with a scar but surprisingly, it’s gone quite small considering the size of the wound.
All in all, it was a stressful time but our gorgeous, smart, wonderful KayCee was worth it all 🙂



KayCee and Ella

Here’s Aiden’s birth story and Ella’s birth story.

Designing t-shirts

It’s quite a short activity but one they totally enjoyed 🙂
To be honest, I’m pleased it didn’t take long today. I know it sounds awful but I’ve been suffering from a headache that’s been trying to turn into a migraine since I woke up this morning.
I’ve been on strong coffee and tablets and even though it’s still lingering, it’s staying as a headache and I can cope with that!

The children have been wonderful all morning. Usually, they bicker at breakfast, they bicker at teeth brushing time and again at getting dressed time but this morning they all worked together.
When the morning routine was finished, they stayed upstairs in Aiden’s room and built a den that they all plan on sleeping in tonight 🙂

After lunch, they each got their plain white t-shirts ready and opened up the fabric paints.
KayCee got her paints and t-shirt for her birthday. Aiden & Ella used an old t-shirt each and some fabric paints that their sister, Kellyann bought them for christmas and we’ve just got around to using.

Aiden planned his design in pencil while the girls just dived right in!

They weren’t very impressed when I told them it takes a few hours for the paint to dry!

KayCee and Ella went off to watch Button Moon on dvd (Ella got it for her birthday and today was the first time she’d watched it) and KayCee seemed to like it more than Ella!
It brought back some nice memories. Button Moon used to be on when I got home from school. My sister is 10 years younger than me and she used to watch it. It’s funny how your views change over the years. When I was around 13, Button Moon was very annoying and silly. Now I’m 35, it’s full of nostalgia and I enjoyed watching it with the girls. I even remembered the lyrics to the song!
KayCee giggled at me singing,
‘we’re offffff to button moon, we’ll followwwww mr spoon, button mooo-ooon!’.

When that was finished, KayCee watched her new dvd; she got, ‘The very hungry caterpillar and other stories’. She loves reading this book to Ella at bedtime and the dvd didn’t disappoint. Ella got the book and turned the pages along with the story on tv.

They’re now in the kitchen with their friend, Savannah, having a teddy bear’s picnic… being nice and quiet, just for me 🙂

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