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Quiet in the back!

car

OK, I admit, I like to do anything I possibly can to keep the kids quiet while they’re in the car. If we’re on a long journey, I want to be able to put the music on loud and enjoy the drive, and if they’re happy in the back then it makes it all a lot less painful.

We’ve done a few long journeys, France and Ireland spring to mind, but we’ve also been to Cornwall, Devon and Wales, and thankfully, it wasn’t too painful. We don’t do things like mini board games or anything like that; they’re good at travelling but not so good at travelling and getting on with each other at the same time! iPads, movies and music are always winners. Top tip though, two sets of headphones, two different movies because I can guarantee that they will NOT want to watch the same film!

I-Spy is always a hit. It’s helpful now The Boy can actually spell, because I tell you, trying to guess a word beginning with T when it’s actually R makes for a really long version of I-Spy…..

Colouring seems to be a good one, but I have no idea how they can do it, I struggle to read and reply to a few text messages when I’m in the car (as a passenger, obviously!) before I start feeling sick, so the thought of colouring, reading or writing is a big no no! They seem to love it though, and you know, anything to keep the little darlings quiet happy. And food. Food is always a good idea. A bit like feeding time at the zoo, if they’ve got something to munch on they’re happy.

Having enough space in the car always helps, I remember one year (pre kids) we all drove down to Cornwall on a bank holiday weekend, hoping to find a B&B when we got down there. Big mistake! We ended up sleeping in our cars one night. Thank god we got a larger car hire for travelling across the UK otherwise we would have been cramped up in the back of a 2 door! As long as kids feel like they have their own space, and there’s enough legroom for adults too, then you don’t feel like you’re on top of each other and need to escape, which is always helpful when you’re on a long journey!

I think we’re quite lucky really, we both enjoy driving, the kids enjoy being in the car, so road trips don’t feel like a chore, at least not to start with! I’m sure if we had a convertible or a massive monster truck they’d feel a lot more fun, but you can’t have it all can you!

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Fish, fish and more fish.

The one request from The Boy for his birthday this year was a fish tank with loads of fish. Which was a bit iffy because, as people who know me, know, I hate fish. They’re really creepy looking, I’d go as far as saying evil. I’m sure if they had the power they’d jump out of the tanks and attack people.

Anyway.

We were in the process of looking for a tank that we all liked when I was contacted by Swell asking if I’d be interested in picking something from their collection. Sometimes this blog gives me fab opportunities and has the best timing! After some serious debating between me and the hubs, we settled on the Fluval Edge Aquarium in white. The plan was to put the tank in The Boys room, so he could watch the fish when he falls asleep, and so I didn’t have to look at them in the living room, so the 23l size was perfect.

Edge23L(White)

It has a unique 360 degree view, and is the world’s first 3D cube aquarium. I always preferred round, old school tanks but this one has changed my mind! As well as being able to see the fish from all angles, there are some fab lighting effects. The blue, moonlight light is perfect for night time and The Boy thinks it helps the fish know when it’s bedtime. Works for me.

There is lot’s of technical stuff that comes with the tank, it includes the Hagen Aquaclear, a powerful three stage filtration system that includes mechanical, chemical and biological filtration, all of which is hidden by the discrete design. Unfortunately that means nothing to me but the hubs knew what it meant, and apparently, it’s very good.

It’s actually really hard to get good pictures of a fish tank, with 10 speedy little fish flying around inside, and believe me I tried! We have various Danios and guppies in there, you would not believe the names that have been picked! There is: Hulk, One Eye, Bart, Tony (Stark) Mada and Gasca, Silver Surfer, Hal (Jordan) and Plecy. Sadly, two of the fish haven’t stuck around for very long, the original Plec  croaked it within a few days of the other fish joining him, and we found another fish this morning, but The Boy is loving his new tank and pets. If he hadn’t recently broke his elbow, he would be up there in his room playing, as somehow they’re stopping him being nervous about being on a different floor to me now.

Top tip, tell your eager beaver child that he’s not allowed to get up if his fish are swimming fast, it means it’s too early. Works, even if it’s for a day or two. My one cottoned onto my stupid fib and found it hilarious that he fell for it but it stopped the “Mummy, Silver Surfer is swimming really fast….” each morning!

Massive thank you to Swell for sending us the fab tank and for all the fishy advice!

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Can you have family fun for a fiver?

I don’t know you know, it’s quite a tough one! When you think about it, it’s almost £50 to take the four of us to the cinema these days (complete and utter rip off!) so it can seem like an impossible task to find something to entertain kids for less than the cost of two happy meals.

Wilson Field set the task of coming up with some ideas, so I’ve had my thinking cap on! It’s not been used in a while, let’s be honest so I’m a bit rusty, but I’m pretty sure these things would keep most kids happy for an afternoon or two!

Baking:
My two love to bake, The Boy has only just got into it, but he loves being able to stand in the kitchen whisking away, and GG is a proper Jamie Oliver, so give them a packet mix and they’re happy. I don’t think I’m brave enough to let them go the whole, bake from scratch thing, on their own just yet, but ready to mix is fine, and they can both get the cakes they want for under a fiver. Easy.

Get out in the garden:
Now we finally have a garden, and it’s slowly starting to warm up, they’ve both gone all green fingered on me. Every time we pass some seeds, they want to stop and have a look and what we could grow. GG wants to have a herb garden, TB wants to grow sunflowers. A couple of packets of seeds, some space in the garden to call their own, or even some pots if you don’t have a lot of room to plant (or you like everything in pots like me) and away they go!

Hit the beach:
I’m a pale skinned redhead, so I avoid the beach like the plague during the summer unless there is a huge parasol I can sit under, but in the winter and spring, I love it. Nothing better than walking along the seafront, being whipped by the wind. TB is an avid stone collector, so he’s happy, and you can bag a bag of chips for a fiver at the end. My kind of activity!

Go to the library:
I am happy to say that both my kids have my reading addiction. I always thought TB would hate reading, but I’m wrong, that boy is going to be a bookworm like his sister. They have both been getting through books like nobodies business so we’ve been hitting the library every two weeks to get some new ones. GG is now on The Hunger Games, so we’re waiting for her to finish the first one & we’ll watch the film together. As it’s free to hit the library, you even save a fiver!

Movie night:
Popcorn, sweets, duvets, film to keep four people happy, and away we go. I LOVE movie nights. We all squish on the sofa together, under our duvets and watch either a superhero, action film or a disney latest. Tonight is movie night! Under a fiver.

There are probably a million more things you can do for under a fiver, but I didn’t want to list loads that I wouldn’t actually do! There’s stuff like playdo, crafts, painting, chalk walls, all that stuff, but that only counts if you already have the ingredients to start with (we do, and I hate messy play!) but we do all of these on a regular basis, so it would seem I’m pretty good at entertaining the kids for under a fiver!

cupcakes

herb garden

beach

books

popcorn

 

images from Pinterest.

 

 

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Tulipop ~ new homeware & stationary range

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Tableware

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Bubble_tableware

 

I love these sets from Tulipop, a new range of homeware and stationary that has launched over here. The enchanting world, dreamt up by mother of two Signy and brought to market by her best friend Helga, is an original, beautiful and magical children’s range. Launched in Signy and Helga’s home country of Iceland in 2010 from a joint dream to create something unique they would want to buy their own children, Tulipop is now an established, award-winning brand. It is recognized and loved for being a cool, fun brand that offers kids something a bit different from the norm.

They would make great presents for younger kids, my (now) five year old loves his! You can buy them online here.

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Miss Anna by Anna Lou of London

The phrase ‘like mother like daughter’ is becoming more and more apt in my house, especially when it comes to things like shoes, make up, hair and jewellery. I can pretty much guarantee that if I find it interesting or enjoy spending my money on it, the girl will too. We are going to be dangerous shoppers in a couple of years!

She’s very particular when it comes to her style, which I love, so when I was contacted by Anna Lou of London about their new Miss Anna range, I sent the link to her (permanently attached to her iPad) and let her pick her own piece to review.

The brand Anna Lou of London was created  in 2004 when Anna started selling handmade jewellery on Portobello Road Market and within months her designs were snapped up to be sold in Harvey Nichols. Several years on from the company’s humble beginning, Anna Lou of London has become an internationally recognised brand.

The piece she chose was the initial necklace, in black and we both love it. Because she’s coming up to teenage years, she’s grown out of the younger style of fun jewellery, but she’s not quite old enough for adult styles, so this is perfect. Big enough to stand out, stylish and with enough bling to impress a tween!

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H1

 

They have free delivery on all orders over £25 at the moment, and there is 50% off all their handmade silk scarves, which ends on 30th March, perfect idea for Mothers day! I love the personalised necklaces, you can pick everything right down to the actual chain, which is what I love the most, because I hate wearing thick chains, the thinner and more delicate, the better for me, almost invisible preferably! The forget me knot bangle is also a huge fave, along with the initial earrings. In fact, I could probably spend a fortune on there! If, like me, you’re a serial shopper, you can sign up to their site and get 10% off just like that! Enjoy!

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Currently loving: me&i

We’ve been huge fans of me&i for a while now, TB has a couple of their tee’s and they’ve always been a massive hit with him, and anyone who spots him wearing them.

Founded in 2004 by Susan Engvall and Helene Nyrell, working from the kitchen table at their homes in Barsebäck, Sweden, they felt that many children’s clothes available were either of poor quality or too expensive. Also, they didn´t like the rigid gender lines: clothes with fire-breathing dragons in burgundy and black for boys, or glittering princesses in pink and purple for girls.

They launched their first children’s collection in autumn 2004. Many of the clothes used the same colourful prints for both boys and girls and the colours and patterns were largely inspired by their own childhoods in the 1970s and 1980s.

me&i collage

Today, the me&i brand is firmly established in the Nordic market and has recently launched in the UK and Germany.

We love the bright colours, funky patterns and the great quality of the materials. I’ve got one of their summer dresses, and it’s still looking good 2 summers on!

We were recently sent two of their & sweatjackets in blue and yellow for GG & TB. I’ve never been one to dress them in the same clothes (mainly because GG is a girl and 6 years older than TB!) but these jackets are the exception! I wouldn’t even mind them wearing them at the same time! It’s a great sweatjacket, with a real retro design, it reminds me of the Oasis/Blur fashion way back when! They’re made from 96% cotton and they’re fab! Priced between £27 & £29 depending on the size.

I adore the baby clothes (broody alert!) and because they’re unisex they’re going to work for as many babies as you want to have! *cough*

They’ve just launched a new collection for the summer, available to buy now, for women, kids and babies alike, available here.

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