Wednesday, 24 April 2013

LolliBop Children's Festival 2013 - A Fun-Filled Day Out!!!

LolliBop has announced the dates and location for this years LolliBop festival. 

This year it is all change for LolliBop as it is moving after spending the last two years at Regents Park, London to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on the 16th, 17th and 18th August 2013.

We were lucky enough to be given tickets last year and the children all had a wonderful time, seeing their favourite TV characters and everything else that was going on that day. It was a beautiful summer's day and even the brief thunderstorm didn't spoil their day and the heat of the sun quickly dried us off. 

Not only did they get to see some of their favourite characters from TV, my favourite was Titan the robot and he was my son's favourite as well! You can read more about our day at LolliBop last year here

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is already famous in it's own right. Millions of people tuned in last year to watch the 2012 Olympics which were held there and LolliBop is the first children's festival to take place and they guarantee it will be their best year yet. As it's the 4th year they wanted to go bigger and this meant moving to a larger location in order to bring you even more entertainment and activities than ever before! But that's not all, not only do you get to attend LolliBop, which will be a big deal in itself, the park has lots of lovely added benefits to explore outside LolliBop, such as a brand new kids playground - set to be one of the most dynamic and imaginative kids areas in the UK. It will include a large-scale adventure playground, sandpit and rock landscape. Children will be able to build dens, investigate insects or even explore ladders, slides and walkways set amongst the trees. Timber-clad, it will reflect and enhance the natural environment, with solar panals to produce it's own green energy. 

Another reason to move from Regents Park is the transport links. The closest station is Stratford, which has 9 rail links and 3 underground links. In fact there are over 190 trains to Stratford from all over the country, making it even easier for LolliBop fans to attend the festival and Stratfod is one of the most connected stations in the UK. Not to mention you can also get to LolliBop on over 10 bus routes as well!!!

Tickets are already on sale and are selling out fast. In fact in just a few short weeks of being on sale all the Super Early Bird tickets have SOLD OUT!!!

Early Bird tickets are still available which I strongly recommend getting if you want to go as LolliBop is a lot of fun and they selling out fast!!!

The LolliBop line-up and programme hasn't been released yet but if it's anything like last years it's sure to be amazing. 

The only thing that I am sad about is that we won't be able to go this year! I'll either be heavily pregnant or have a newborn as I'm due a few days after LolliBop. My kids are devastated that they can't go again this year as they had so much fun last year, but there's always next year!!!

For more ideas on how much fun there is to be had at LolliBop check out their gallery full of images from last years event

Monday, 15 April 2013

If Only I'd Known...

I remember, 13 years ago I was suffering from depression and one of the things I was depressed about was that I was 21, it was the start of the new millenium and I was lonely, I had never had a serious boyfriend and I felt like an old maid, a spinster. No one loved me or liked me and I was going to die alone and childless.

The being childless was a big issue. I LOVED children and was forever babysitting and wanted to work with children one day (at the time I was working at a care home for adults with learning difficulties and challenging behaviour and had been there since I left college 3 years earlier).

All I had ever wanted was to be a mother, preferably with a husband who loved me and wanted kids as much as I did, but it looked like I would never get one and my future looked bleak. 

Little did I know that just waiting in the wings was a wonderful man I would marry and who would give me my hearts desire; four, soon to be five, beautiful children who I adore!

A year later I met the man I was destined to meet and by the time I was 25 I was pregnant with my eldest. Fast forward 10 years and I have a wonderful son aged 10, three beautiful daughters aged 8, 6 and 3 and a new baby due in August to make our little family complete. 

Looking back I never thought any of this was possible and I wouldn't have one child let alone five!!!

But the one thing I wish I'd known, back when I was pregnant with my eldest, is to buy Real Nappies!!!

I have been buying disposable nappies now for 10yrs and I have at least another 3yrs of buying nappies ahead of me! I dread to think how much I have spend on disposable nappies over the years and how much waste I have contributed as it takes 200-500 for EACH nappy to decompose and a baby will use 3000-3500 nappies a YEAR!!! Which means for the past 10 years I have added 30,000-35,000 nappies to the landfills!!!

With real nappies, although they can be expensive to buy in the first place, they can last a lot longer and be passed onto to younger siblings. 

In fact Cloth Nappy Tree has worked out roughly how much it will cost to buy disposable nappies Vs washable real nappies and compared the prices, this is based on just one child's use, so if you add younger siblings then you really see the saving mount up!!!

If you use 7 nappies a day and each nappy costs 22p then it means you spend £1.54 a day on nappies
7 days a week at £1.40 a day means you spend £9.80 a week
52 weeks in a year at £10.78 a week means you spend £560.56 a year on nappies.
If you use nappies for 3 years (sometimes it's more sometimes it's less) then that will cost you £1,681.68 on each child. 

Little Lambs budget shaped washable nappies are a simple but reliable and fit babies well. Included in the pack is
40 shaped cotton nappies (20 size 1 and 20 size 2)
40 washable fleecy liners
20 Littlelamb wraps (the waterproof bit) 10 of each size
20 night time boosters
200 paper liners on two rolls
2 lidded buckets
Complete use and care instructions and helpful advice
Total cost £300 for a birth to potty pack of Little Lamb cotton nappies and wraps. Which works out as £1.93 a week over 3 years. 

This means I would save £1,381.86 over the course of 3 years and one child, the saving would be even bigger with younger children. Even if I had to buy a new packet of real nappies for every 2nd child the savings would still be huge. Of course this doesn't include the cost of washing and drying the nappies which would eat up some of the profit, especially as we don't have a garden to dry them in. 

This is why I am considering using real nappies for my new arrival!

To make pregnancy fun and with easy to access advice and ideas and I recommend any pregnant lady to download Aptaclub's app which is full of advice for mums-to-be.

* This post is my entry into the Aptaclub "If Only I'd Known..." Competition * 

Monday, 8 April 2013

Win a BeSafe Pregnancy Belt and protect your unborn baby in a car

Recently I received a BeSafe Pregnancy Belt to review and I was very impressed with it, in fact I love it!

The BeSafe pregnancy belt is a simple idea and I'm surprised no one has thought of it before, it works by clipping onto the lap/hip part of your seat belt so that the belt isn't pressed against your baby bump. This is really important because should you be in an accident, the belt will tighten to keep you save, but it will tighten over your baby and could cause serious injury or even death to your unborn baby. 

Accidents can easily happen and no matter how hard you try you cannot prevent them. I remember when I was heavily pregnant with my now 6yr old, in fact it was a few days before I went into labour, and I was driving down a street in our hometown when someone walked straight out in front of my car without looking and I had to slam on the brakes. Thankfully (and illegally) I wasn't wearing a seat belt, but I dread to think how much harm could have come to my daughter if I had been! She would've taken the full impact of the seat belt tightening and squashing her!

It doesn't bear thinking about it, and that was just when I had popped out to the shops!!!!

The BeSafe Pregnancy belt is brilliant because it moves the lap belt away from your baby and it also makes it more comfortable to wear a seat belt because no matter how often you adjust the seat belt, the belt always presses onto your baby bump.

You can read my full review of the BeSafe Pregnancy belt here

The other day I received another BeSafe Pregnancy belt I have won in a competition, and I decided I would give it away to one of you, my lovely followers so that you can keep your baby safe whilst travelling in a car. 

To enter is easy via Rafflecopter, just comment on the blog how many weeks pregnant you are. For an additional entry share the picture of the BeSafe Pregnancy belt on facebook (just remember to comment on the picture you have shared it and to fill in the option on Rafflecopter to say you have)

Good luck everyone!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Colour Splasherz Carry Case Review

I have two daughters, one aged 8 and the other aged 6, and they both love crafty stuff. Drawing and making things is their favourite pastime and what they spend the most doing. Often when tea is cooking, you will find one or both of them sitting at the kitchen table creating something. 

So you can imagine how pleased they were to receive a Colour Splasherz Carry Case from Character Online to share. 

But what is Colour Splasherz?

It's a really cool jewellery range that changes colour when you dip them into warm water, but changes back to their original colour when dipped into cold water. But what makes them even more impressive is that they keep your chosen colour until you decide to change them back by placing them in warm or cold water. 

The colour Splasherz carry case is perfect for keeping all your beads safe and allows you to take them with you wherever you want to go to create your jewellery designs. Even better, it opens up to become a water container to put your warm and cold water so you can have lots of fun creating amazing patterns and with it's built in strainer it helps keep mess to a minimum, which is always a priority to me! 

The carry case comes with;
2 Colour Splasherz pendants with settings
10 Large Colour Splasherz beads
90 Non-colour change beans
Easily adjustable chains

My daughters LOVED the Colour Splasherz and couldn't wait to get it out of the box. There was enough for them each to make a necklace and they loved the fact that if they got bored of the colours, they could just dunk the necklace in either warm or cold water to change the necklace. It certainly kept them quiet for a few hours and they were proud to wear their creations and to show to everyone how they magically changed colour!!!

We would recommend the Colours Splasherz as they made an ideal gift for any little girl!

We were sent Colour Splasherz Carry Case for free on the understanding I would write an honest review of what we thought about it. I recieved no payment and the review is my own honest and unbiased opinion of the product. and I retain full editorial control and integrity. 

#SilentSunday 20wk Scan Picture

To join in with this weeks Silent Sunday linky or to see similar posts, please click here

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Mumsguiltyiitis - Trip to the Dentist pt 1

I have yet to meet anyone who likes going to the dentist! No one ever seems to like going and having their teeth drilled into and the horrible numb feeling, not to mention the actual needle to numb you in the first place.

Me, I hate going, with a passion!!! When I was little I had some horrendous experiences at different dentists which has left me traumatised and I really do not like going and I'll only go when I can't stand the tooth pain any longer. Usually when I start headbutting the wall to try and ease the pain, that's when it's time to admit the painkillers aren't working and it's time to enter the lions den!!!

Sadly this means, and I'm really ashamed to admit it, my children have rarely been to the dentist, especially the younger two. The youngest has never been and my 6yr old has been once but refused to open her mouth so the dentist could check her teeth. My son has been to see the orthodontist once, as he has an issue with his side teeth growing behind his front teeth (giving him rabbit teeth), but the orthodontist said he would see him again when he was 10 and he's never been to the dentist since (he turned 10 last month). I keep saying I will make them an appointment, but then I find an excuse, any excuse to put off making an appointment, and then the longer they go without going, the worse it gets because then embarrassment sets in.... what if they say my children have rotten teeth because they haven't been for so long, it'll all be my fault, I'm such a terrible mum, everyone is going to know it and judge me. I call it a case of the never ending mumsguiltyitis, something that seems to affect us mothers in everything we do!

Last week my 6yr old woke up crying in agony and saying her tooth hurt, so of course I then started suffering from mumsguiltyitus... If only I'd taken her to the dentist sooner, I'm such a rotten mum, it's my fault my child is in pain and there's nothing I can do to ease this pain, oh what a horrible mum I am I've scarred my child for life!!!

So, taking a deep breath, I reached for the phone and rang the dentist to see if I could get her an emergency appointment.

I had heard there was a specialist children's NHS dentist at the local cottage hospital, which just dealt with children and I decided to give them a go as I had heard some good things about them. So nervously I phoned up and explained the situation and I was offered an appointment for her that day.

Of course this morning I had been for a retinopathy scan on my eyes as part of my diabetic antenatal care as pregnancy can increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy which, if left untreated, can cause blindness and is the main cause of blindness in diabetics. To check the back of my eyes I had had to have some eye drops which meant that I couldn't see properly and the bright sunshine was making it worse. I was so glad my dad had taken me to the appointment as there was no way I could safely have driven myself afterwards! It was touch and go whether the drops would wear off in time for me to take my 6yr old to the dentist, but thankfully they did just in time and I was able to go, complete with the whole tribe!

We arrived and I explained what had been going on to the dentist and how my 6yr old was a little nervous as I took a seat in the room with her, my 3yr old on my lap whilst my 8 and 10 year olds waited outside. The dentist was lovely and really put her at ease as he explained exactly what he was doing to her and to me and even better he was Welsh and spoke understandable English and Welsh. Now I have nothing against migrants who have entered this country to work, but our last dentist (the one we haven't been to see for a while) was Polish, which did make understanding when he was saying very difficult, so it was nice to meet one we could understand and it helped put my 6yr old at ease.

He quickly examined her teeth and much to my relief he said she had really nice teeth and that he could tell she was looking after them, however one of her back teeth did have a little hole. This was what I had been dreading and I had visions of them pinning her down to inject her and then drilling a bigger hole in her poor little tooth to fill the hole, but it wasn't like that at all. The dentist explained to her what he was going to do and showed her the tools he would use and let her look at them as he explained what they were and what he was going to do with them. Then he quickly cleaned the hole before putting in a temporary filling in.

Then it was time to go and because she was so brave she chose a sticker and then we went to the shop where she chose a magazine for being such a big 
brave girl!!!

I was so impressed with the dentist and how good they were with my 6yr old that I've registered the other 3 and they all have appointments to go next month for a check-up!!!

The question is.... how will she cope on her return visit for a permanent filling!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Our New Car

Today was the day I have been waiting for since the sad day we had to scrap Mr B our lovingly nicknamed Ford Galaxy. Poor Mr B had a problem with his head gasket and kept blowing his top and sadly it cost too much money to repair him. It was a sad day in our house when we had to say goodbye, as everyone had fallen in love with him, despite his many faults, and were sad to see him go. 

Of course the biggest problem with scrapping Mr B meant finding another car, suitable for our needs, that we could afford!

Not having a car simply wasn't an option. Our local hospitals are both 60 miles away with poor public transport links and we both work out of town (although we can manage to get to work by train and our employers luckily work with us and let us work around the times of the train!).

I began to despair that we would ever find a car... they all seemed to be to far out of our budget (and I didn't want to go into debt to get one because then you have to pay the debt back!), or they were too far, or too small for our family of 6 (soon to be 7) or there was something major wrong with them!

Finally, one day last week, hubby came across an advert in our local newspaper for a car, similar to our beloved Mr B, a Seat Alhambra (we describe the cars as "cousins") within budget and not to far away. 

So Good Friday, my dad took me to have a look at the new car. Now I took my dad because the last two cars I have bought I haven't and they have turned out to be problematic cars. Especially Mr B who had an overheating problem the entire 18 months we owned him and it turned out the previous owners (who I didn't realise at the time were back street dealers) had taken the thermostat out of him to make him run cold so he wouldn't overheat on my test drive. Had I known they were back street dealers I wouldn't have touched the car at all, but sadly the person I took with me to have a look at the car (who claimed to know all about cars but I don't think he did as my dad noticed things about Mr B the first time he saw him that someone who knew about cars should have known about) didn't tell me until after I had bought him.

So off we went to have a look at this car, mum came with us for the spin and we also took the boy and the toddler with us! The guy selling the car seemed a nice chap, a biker who had lost his right arm in a motorcycling accident and was selling the car as he wanted an automatic as his knee, which he also injured, was giving him problems. We took the car for a spin on the rural roads where he lived and after chatting with my dad and hubby via phone we decided to go for it. 

Of course, being Good Friday, all the banks were shut and I was unable to get my money out of the bank so we arranged to meet today at the train station. 

So this morning I set off on the 9am train to collect my new car, complete with 4 children, 3 car seats and my mum who came to give me a hand!

Me and my 6yr old on the train
Photo taken by my almost 8yr old

After an hours journey, trying to keep the kids occupied and the toddler off the floor and not wriggling under seats or lying on tables, we arrived at a town which is now infamous for unpleasant reasons, we arrived at Machynlleth, the town where 5yr old April Jones was snatched 5 months ago and who is still missing when she should be celebrating her 6th birthday on Thursday  We had an hours wait her for a connecting train to finish our journey and of course the wind was biting it was that cold! I spent the wait trying to reassemble the toddlers car seat as she'd been sick in it on Good Friday and although we had washed to cover, I needed to put it back on. Mum took pity on me and took the children for a quick walk to a nearby garage to buy some munchies and drinks for the remainder of our journey so I could concentrate on what I was doing. 

Passing the Dyfi Osprey Project

Finally we arrived, 2 and a half hours after we had left and found the guy waiting for us at the station. Leaving the kids with my mum I quickly ran into town to the bank and got the money out to pay for the car. We walked to a nearby car park and after telling the older girls, who had yet to see the car, that it looked like a blue Mr B, they spotted it immediately!

Formalities over, I was finishing signing the paperwork needed to transfer ownership of the car, when my 10yr old boy pitifully cried from the back of the car
"Can someone please help me with my seat belt!" joined in by my 6yr old daughter who had the same cry. I was soon able to see the problem with the seat belts... whoever had taken them out last had put them in the wrong way around so that the catch for the seat belt was on the wrong side! 

Finally after half an hour of tugging, pulling, yanking, sweating, swearing at and spraying with lots and lots of WD40, I finally got the seats swooped around, the toddlers car seat attached properly and my own pregnancy belt attached and we were ready to go!!!!

The car performed well going home and most importantly... it DIDN'T overheat!!! Not even on the high mountain roads!!! Something which has been a big issue in the past 18mths and meant we rarely went anywhere because we knew Mr B wouldn't handle the distance and especially not the climb up mountains and hills without overheating and a cry for more coolant!

An hour later we arrived at my mum's house and found hubby was there on his delivery round with work, so he was able to admire the car! Then the kids decided they wanted to stay at my parents whilst I went to pick daddy up from work as they were having too much fun designing a Spongebob Squarepants competition hosted by Argos (click here if you want to enter). 

I went to pick daddy up and he persuaded me to let him drive the car home so he could have a go at driving it. 

Tomorrow I have another long day as I have to visit the DVLA to sort out the car tax, a visit to hospital to the diabetic clinic and then my 20wk scan where hopefully find out if we have a little brother or little sister cooking!!! 3 of the kids will be at my parents as I take my soon to be 8 year old so she can have some pre-birthday 1:1 time with mummy and she's so excited that she will be able to see the baby and hopefully the first to find out what it is!!!