Zack and Quack – We are having a celebration!

We all get fed up of our kids watching the same TV shows over and over again and so when there’

Disney On Ice – Dare To Dream – Review

As all families up and down the UK we had hectic Christmas but the desire to return to normal did no

Starting Pre-School – Our Top 5 Tips!

Sammy is starting pre-school for the first time, which is a huge thing in our lives. He may not yet

 

Zack and Quack – We are having a celebration!

February 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

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We all get fed up of our kids watching the same TV shows over and over again and so when there’s news of something new hitting our screens I think it is often parents that are more excited than the kids.

This week sees the beginning of Zack and Quack on Nick Jr which hits our screens on Friday at 4.30pm!  Zack & Quack, is about two friends a boy and a duck and takes place in a cardboard pop-up world where Zack interacts with his paper world in ingenious ways; constantly finding creative ways to solve any problems. The way Zacks world literally “pops up” out of a book is actually quite addictive to watch but don’t take my word for it, here is the trailer!

In order to celebrate the start of Zack and Quack we are inviting you to join us and UKMums.tv on Twitter from 3.45pm for our first ever Twitter party!! There will be lots of fun and chaos going on in our house and  for you my fabulous blog reader there will also be plenty of chances to win fabulous Nick Jr prizes!!!!

Log on to Twitter and go to @UKMumstv on FRIDAY from 3.45 to join in the fun. I am now off to bake a cake for the occasion……if there is no cake on Friday you know it all went horribly wrong.

The boys are very excited!!!!!

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Disney On Ice – Dare To Dream – Review

January 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

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As all families up and down the UK we had hectic Christmas but the desire to return to normal did not really hit us this year until Elliott was required back at the school gate on a grey and drisily January day. That’s because after the last present had been unwrapped and the last mince pie had been eaten we still had a special treat up our sleeves for the boys, we were off to see Disney on Ice Dare to Dream!


Elliott and I were SO excited about this review. Elliott LOVES shows and we are all Disney obsessed in our house but for me there was a little bit of extra excitement because back in my teens I was a skater. My after school hours would be spent on the ice and I lived for the sport, I watched skating, I read about skating, Torvill and Dean were my heroes and well you get the picture. This show was right up our street!

The day finally came and as a costuming family we had to make a very important decision before we had even arrived, what were the boys going to wear??!! We knew that the O2 would be filled with little girls dressed in their Disney Princess costumes so not to be left out the boys donned their Peter Pan and Captain Hook costumes and we were ready to go

We arrived at the O2 and you can’t get away from merchandise, it was everywhere, on the plus side you had plenty of choice and if there was a long queue you could move down to the next stall but on the negative if you are on a budget everything is expensive. In fact I heard a number of parents complaining about the prices of everything from a gift to take home to a bag of £8 candy floss you were paying a serious premium.

I have to admit that post Christmas we were a budget family and having pre-empted this issue Elliott already understood that we wouldn’t be buying anything that day but he was so excited about the show he didn’t mind and we took our seats and waited for the lights to dim and the show to begin.

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This is where Im going to split my review up a little and give you a few different perspectives.

The Kids!

The boys LOVED this show, the lights, the music, the colours and the sets were so beautifully Disney that for them it was just all so magical. The production standards were so high that it was as if a small piece of Walt Disney World magic had landed in the middle of London.

Elliott was transfixed from beginning to end with lots of enthusiastic “Mummy, look” comments throughout the performance. The music was kept at a level he was able to cope with so there was no need to whip out his ear defenders at any point. This particular Disney on Ice production you COULD say is aimed more towards the girls with it centering around the Princess department of Disney but my boys LOVE a princess movie (Elliott watched Cinderella twice a day for a month and Sam is firmly pitched in the “Zunzle” camp) so this didn’t bother them in the slightest but there was an older boy in front of us that wasn’t best pleased with the lack of testosterone; I suspect its something that comes at a certain age so this is worth bearing in mind.

Sammy being that bit younger did get the fidgets but he too was pretty much glued because at the point that maybe the skating alone wasn’t enough to keep him entertained Disney would throw in a new element to draw him back in. He also was very pleased to see his beloved “Zunzle” fly and Max the horse complete with skates! There were some toddlers there that did stuggle to get through the whole show but this was due to their age and I think you have to seriously consider the reality of your toddler being able to sit in one place for that length of time before you book.

The best moment for me was Sams reaction to seeing Mickey Mouse for the first time, both the boys had the BIGGEST smiles on their faces when he arrived with Minnie, Donald and Goofy in tow. Unforunatly Sam then decides he wants to go down to the ice to speak to Mickey Mouse but luckily a bit of persuation and he let it go and was happy to watch.

When it comes to the kids experience of Disney on Ice I think it comes down to a comment Elliott made when watching Rupunzel “Mummy, it’s magic!!”

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A Parents View.

The show is well put together and has a good flow. If the idea of 2 weeks in Florida is your idea of a personal hell you may struggle with this one but if you are like me and LOVE Disney then it will be just as entertaining for you as it is for the children, oh and take tissues, there was a part where a little girl was brought to the ice to help Rupunzel and Flynn release a lantern and I was nearly in tears and it wasn’t even my child! This isn’t a “Childrens show” in the likes of Peppa Pig but a family show aimed at young and old.

A Skaters View.

If you are trying to introduce your children to skating this would be a lovely way to do it but if you are wanting to spend an afternoon watching incredible choreography and superbly skilled athletes this isn’t the show for you. The skating, in the majority, is pretty simple. Some of it is purely down to the fact that if you are wearing a Mickey Mouse costume with limited visability and restricted movement even Christopher Dean would struggle to muster anything other than simple steps. The show is worth seeing for a lot of reasons but the skating from a “skaters perspective” is not one of them.

The boys and I had the most wonderful afternoon at the O2 that it really did allow us to end Christmas on a real high this year. Would we go and do it all over again? In a heartbeat in fact this family would happily become Disney on Ice regulars!

 

Mummy, Not Big Thing were given tickets to see Dare to Dream in exchange for a review

Starting Pre-School – Our Top 5 Tips!

August 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

Sammy is starting pre-school for the first time, which is a huge thing in our lives. He may not yet be 2 and a half but in our area children begin pre-school at the age of 2. He will only be going for a couple of morning sessions a week but it doesn’t help reduce the anxiety attached to letting my baby go.

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I have of course been through this process before with Elliott and when Pink Lining asked us if I would write a post for you of our top 5 tips for going back to school I thought it was an excellent idea.

1. Talk to your child about how much fun they are going to have and all the exciting things that they are going to do It sounds obvious but sometimes we all get caught up with the rush to get them there in time and getting everything sorted but it is important that they are excited at the concept.

2. Avoid saying things to your child about how much you are going to miss them. I think we tell our children we are going to miss them as a way of explaining to them that you aren’t pleased you are leaving them and as an expression of love but his will make them feel anxious. Instead you could tell your child of a plan you have to do something exciting when you pick them up like taking them out for lunch/tea or to the park and you can tell them about this on their way to sustain the excited feelings whilst you are not there.

3. Consider putting your pre-schooler in uniform. I know this may be a bit odd but Elliott wore uniform all through pre-school even though he started off being the only one in his class that did. When I went to his new starter meeting I was told to put him in old clothes he was about to grow out of because they could get trashed whilst he was in school. I don’t think any of the children in his class ever arrived in old clothes and you would hear complaints at the school door about favourite clothes that  had to go in the bin due to some irremovable stain.  School uniform is designed to be tough and is so much cheaper than regular clothes that on the occasions Elliott would come home with stains that wouldn’t come out I never worried about how much money we had lost as I looked at him and realised everything he was wearing down to the plimsols on his feet had cost me all of about £5! The other advantage of your child wearing uniform is they will always look smart and they also know that when they put their uniform on they are off to school. If you have a special needs child this can really help them to understand when they are going off to school. Elliott may have been the first one to start wearing uniform but by the time he finished he was one of a number that followed suit.

4. Have special things only for pre-school. Every child likes to feel special and to add to their excitement about pre-school it’s nice for them to have big kid things that they only use for school – the bigger deal you make of it the more special it will become. It could be a pair of school shoes, a lunchbox or a school bag. Sammy has to take a bag with him to pre-school as he isn’t quite potty trained yet and we have spent time looking at the PL Child range picking out something he really likes. He has chosen a robot  satchel (I was sure he would choose dinosaurs) and I love that he has chosen something that can not only fit but also display some of the million drawings he is bound to come home with. Sammys first day he will get to trot off to school with his new satchel on his bag and feel every bit the big boy going off to school.

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5. Don’t be surprised if they don’t cry on their first day and then cry on their second week. Unless your child is hanging off of your leg and needing to be peeled away from you on their first day there is a good possibility that tears will not be shed. In fact as much as I was pleased Elliott ran into the classroom with only a passing glance at me leaving part of me was disappointed he wasn’t screaming for me. The second day I dropped him off and we were once again fine, I got quite cocky thinking how mature my 2.5 year old was and how he was so secure that I would return for him he didn’t worry. Then week 2 hit. All of a sudden we had tears, screaming, a key worker having to pull him off me and my leaving being accompanied by SCREAMS for mummy. I felt terrible! I was told that for most kids this is normal because week 2 is a little less exciting and they are a lot wiser to what is going to happen. Its normal, we all go through it and they are soon over it and running in to school without a care in the world, you just have to ride it out and know you are leaving them with people who deal with it year after year after year and if your child was overly stressed they would call you.

So that’s it, my top 5 tips! If you are going to be dropping your only or youngest child off this year than treat yourself to a cup of tea and a cake somewhere near by while they are at school, a bit of “me time”. If you still have a little one then buy them a cake too and enjoy having time with just them for a change. Make Pre-school a positive experience for the whole family because before you know it they will be at BIG school!!!

Back To School With Clarks

August 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

Preparations continue in our house for the big day when Elliott will step through the school gate for the first time as a pupil!

Today our task was a trip to Clarks for shoes!!!!!!

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I am a big one for getting things done as soon as possible to avoid a last-minute panic, it never happens but I do try. I already have things squirreled away for Christmas and I started to get Elliott’s school uniform before he had even finished pre-school however when it comes to school shoes we all know that as soon as you buy them your child IS going to have a growth spurt so you need to get them as late as your nerves can handle, in my case is 3 weeks before the big day, which for everyone else is only a week!

I decided that I did not want to be buying school shoes for Elliott whilst having a very frustrated Sam trying to escape the confounds of his pushchair so this meant that in order to go without him a weekend shopping trip was in order – so buying school shoes 1 week before term starts + weekend = I better make an appointment!!

Booking an appointment at your local Clarks is easy, you can do it online and it only took a couple of minutes and judging by the well sustained crowd in store today I would say that anyone shoe shopping in the next week would be wise to do the same. There were families everywhere and as one family would leave another would soon take its place and yet when I booked an appointment I had my pick of a multitude of times that would suit me.

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Despite the numbers of waiting families as soon as we arrived for our appointment we were put straight to the front of the queue and within minutes Elliott was having his feet measured by a staff member. There were staff everywhere, the above image doesn’t show all of them and they were easy to spot if you needed any assistance. Our local store, Lakeside Thurrock, was so well stocked with staff that there could be no complaints about unnecessarily long wait times because they really had drafted in every pair of hands to measure and fit the perfect pair of shoes for each child.

One of Elliotts favourite things about going to Clarks is getting his feet measured and he counted down his shoe sizes until he had big enough to use the measuring machine! Give my boy a gadget and he is happy!

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After measuring Elliott was handed a little Bin Weevles magazine to keep him entertained – It hadn’t even occurred to me to bring him something to do – and it certainly made the wait a lot easier, we read the jokes and then started on spotting weevles “Where’s Wally” style. In fact Elliott enjoyed this so much he carried on for most of his fitting!

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Despite it being one of the busiest shopping times of the year for shoes we were in no way rushed into making a decision on what shoes to buy for Elliott. Hannah, our fitter, explained all about the different features of the different shoes and Elliott must have tried on about 6 pairs and sent Hannah on 3 trips back to the stock room until we found the perfect pair.

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When it comes to shoes Elliott wasn’t going to be an easy customer. Firstly he needed a pair of shoes that wouldn’t be too difficult to take on and off himself, He also needed a pair of shoes to go with his trousers – easier said than done because in our school the reception children have to wear tracksuit bottoms and in the absence of any non-cuffed, dark grey trackies Elliott is going in girls jersey knit trousers (I actually took them with us and he changed into them for his fitting to make sure they looked right) the third issue is that Elliott often tiptoes when he walks – this is a common ASD trait and it is something we need to discourage him doing so he needed a shoe that was comfortable but fitted well and had a sole that wasn’t too flexable.

The variety available considering the Clarks design team have such narrow parameters to work within for boys school shoes is amazing and although Elliott walked into Clarks desperate for a pair of Jack Nano shoes in the end the shoes he chose were Clarks Longpoint GXT – they have Gore-Tex technology which is guaranteed to keep kids feet dry and knowing how much my son likes to run around and splash in puddles this is probably a really great thing for him to have!

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Todays trip to Clarks could have been a nightmare with long wait times, a bored child and a staff member that felt pressured to get as many people seen to as possible. Instead it was as though the crowd was not there at all and we walked out with a pair of shoes Elliott was happy with, I was happy with and fitted his needs. Clarks had thought of everything even down to little things like the magazine and it made the whole process a happy one.

As for Elliott’s shoes. Well its hard to review those as he wont be wearing them for another 3 weeks so I will come back and update this post later with how they have fared but for now they are perfect, smart, presentable, sturdy but comfortable and real leather!

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When it comes to school shoes you only have to look at the crowds of families at Clarks today that come back year upon year to supply their children with shoes to know that you are simply in the right place!

Mummy, Not Big Milk Thing was invited by Clarks to review their Back To School range and we were given a £40 voucher towards the cost of a pair of shoes to do so.

 

 

A New Chapter – School!

August 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

It is a huge milestone, starting school and our road to Elliott going has been a very rocky and stressful one, so much so that for a while we seriously considered home schooling him!

The impact of where we live geographically has had a huge impact on the boys education already and they are only 2 and 4! Being in a London Borough it means that we suffer with one HUGE issue, a shortage of school places and apparently its only going to get worse. Due to this Elliott got his FIFTH choice school, you can imagine how pleased we were with that!  We also have to pay to start Sam in pre-school when he is only 2 and a half because by the time he turns 3 there are not enough places and therefore he may not be able to go at all!school

Sam is only going to be doing 2 mornings this year so it’s not like he is going full-time but I honestly don’t feel ready to watch my baby go off through those doors and lose him for 6 hours a week. However I know he is going to love it. Due to some lengthy meetings at Elliott’s pre-school Sam has had the opportunity to dip his toe into the water and do a couple of pre-school sessions with the older kids and he had a ball and didn’t want to leave. Reassuringly whenever we popped our heads out of the window to see what he was doing he wasn’t clinging to his brother or remotely worried about where we were, he was happily doing his own thing and interacting with other children in the class.

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I think Elliott is ready to start school but I REALLY know that I am not ready for him to go. Due to him having special needs we have had the opportunity to have long discussions with his school about how they are going to deal with his needs and they are fully aware that if we are the slightest bit unhappy with what happens once he is through that gate we will be pulling him out. This being said it is a good school with a good reputation and I have a friend who also has a child with ASD that went into the reception class last year and he has thrived there.

It’s an anxious time, I am loosing my boys, just a little but more than I am ready for. The side effect of this is that  I am feeling slightly broody but there is NO WAY we are going to have number 3 just yet; number 3 is planned and if things go according to plan then they will arrive sometime in 2016 but my hormones just keep screaming at me that by the time Elliott was starting pre-school at the same age Sam is now I was already pregnant.

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Time is ticking and we have already packed so much into the holidays, we have been to Legoland, Chessington, the boys have been to the London Aquarium and on the London Eye, we have even had days on the farm and on the beach and then we have been out with Iconic Legion raising money for good causes. We have seen Monsters Inc and Planes and although Elliott still wants to see Smurfs and Despicable Me 2 before he goes back to school we may not have chance.

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It’s amazing how fast it really goes, Sam hasn’t completed his potty training as I had hoped that he would but his scooter skills have hugely improved. Elliott has been keeping up with his school work and can confidently count to 20 and his writing a drawing is coming on so well!

We have been off to visit the boys Nan but we aren’t going to see Nanny, Grandad and Prudence but yet we still have time for so much more. This week is a quiet one but tomorrow its back off to Chessington, hopefully, if not the Aquarium beckons, we still need to fit in going swimming next week. We have 2 Doctor Who events to do and fitted in there somewhere Sam does his first solo day at pre-school.

Elliott doesn’t start school for another 4 weeks, due to reception starting later than everyone else, which is a good thing because my goodness do they need a lot of stuff and I am still struggling to find him sweatshirts in the right colour.

This blog post doesn’t really have a point or a message but with 2 such big milestones I felt as though I needed to write something to mark them, to take a pause from the chaos of the day and just mark the moment we are standing upon.

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When Elliott was 5 days old my aunt came to visit him with my cousin Jacob who was sitting in his immaculate school uniform, having just started reception. Jacob held his baby cousin in his arms and my aunt said to me “It seems 5 minutes till Jacob was a baby and now he’s at school, you think it’s forever away now but you will blink and Elliott will be 5″ – those words haunted me and the worst thing is, she was right!

BACK TO SCHOOL! – Stuck On You – Review

August 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

With Elliott going to Primary School in September and Sam beginning Pre-School it is safe to say that school supplies are on the top of our shopping list, as I am sure it is with millions of others around the country.

Before the kids broke up however we were sent a lunch bag and water bottle by Stuck On You to review. We had already purchased from them one of their value packs of vinyl and clothing labels in preparation for the new term so we decided we would review those too and let you know our findings and thoughts.

In a slight new direction to the blog I decided that rather than write a lengthy blog post I would make you a video and so here it is!

 

Bigjigs Toys – Mission 3

August 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

The lovely folks over at Bigjigs asked us to get creative and make a video of the toys they had sent us.

This was our “creation”, so grab your bucket and spade and an ice cream because the sun is shining and we are off to the Seaside!

Money SuperMarket’s BIG Night In – Big Milk Thing Style!

July 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Money Supermarket set bloggers all over the internet a challenge, to host a “Big Night In” and as simple as it sounded it did have me scratching my head for a while. I mean if you are going to have a Big Night In it needs to be a BIG night in, right?

So as a starting point I began to think about a theme for our night. I thought about trying to recreate the things that make a good night out with the kids and translate them to the house but that seemed a bit obvious and also If we were going to do bowling and movies etc we may as well go out and do them properly, we needed to do something we could only do at home. So then I thought about general “boy” themes and for a while I did consider doing a cowboy theme night, a pirate theme and even a summer festival theme but I struggled to come up with ideas to make them REALLY work so they were no goes also. Finally I decided that if I needed inspiration for what my children would enjoy for a BIG night in there was one thing for it; I decided to ask Elliott what he liked to do at home and then try to make it bigger.

565955_10151398928339994_214673392_n Elliott said “playing with my toys” – ok fair enough he’s 4 I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting! So I started to think about the boys toys and struck upon the theme, BATMAN NIGHT!

Elliott and Sam both love a bit of Batman, Elliott has Imaginext Batman and Sammy has Little People Batman, They love to play Batman games alone and also together and of course they LOVE to dress up!

With the theme settled upon I invited a friend of ours from Iconic Legion, Del. The boys really like Del and he is great with them and I thought having a surprise guest will make the night seem even more special – luckily for me he was up to it ….. I think the promise of a roast dinner helped tip the scales!

So we needed food, activities and most importantly FAMILY FUN but also not so much work to set it all up that it would suck out all of the enjoyment out of the evening for the adults. After a bit more head scratching I had a plan in mind and after picking Elliott up from pre-school it was a quick trip to Tesco to  pick up the things we would need that we didn’t already have in the house

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I decided to theme the kids food but as Del and I both suffer with food allergies and Steve will have done a long hard day in the office I committed to cooking a roast for the grown ups – everyone loves a good roast. Being mindful to keep things simple I cheated and bought pre chopped veggies that I could just throw in the steamer and roasted baby new potatoes as there wouldn’t need pealing and chopping. But that’s not the fun bit the fun bit was the boys dinner.

I knew I wanted something Bat shaped and came up with Batman Pastry Pizza, I bought a puff pastry sheet, cut it into bat shapes with a cookie cutter I already had and then coated each bat with a homemade sauce made from, tomatoes, garlic and onions roasted in olive oil and fresh basil which was then blended together with some boiled spinach.  On top of the sauce then went a bit of classic mozzarella and into the oven they went for around 15 minutes.

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To go along side the pastry pizza I made some Riddler tortilla chips another easy make, I cut tortillas into the shapes of question marks coated them in olive oil and popped them into the oven to bake till crisp – some of them came out a little too “crisp” but the dustbin seemed to enjoy them. I made 2 batches in the end, one plain and another with a sprinkle of smoked Paprika on top.

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Next were the drinks. My boys are both little and I don’t really like them having too many fizzy drinks so as it was a treat night I mixed some blackcurrant squash with lemonade and told them it was Poison Ivy Punch – They were happy with that! Originally I cut out a bunch of Ivy leaves out of green crepe paper but they looked a bit naff when Del pointed out that we had a whole bunch of the real thing growing in the garden, doh!

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When Del arrived at the house we were still waiting for Steve to arrive home from work so we moved the boys Batman toys out into the garden and spent an hour just playing with them. Sam wanted to use Elliotts Batman a lot and I have to say Elliott was very good about sharing, I think the surprise arrival of Del had made him so happy that he would have been content to share anything with Sammy at that point!

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We relaxed and Sammy changed into his Robin costume, which was when  I realised Elliotts Batman costume was in the washing pile buried somewhere – not my brightest moment but don’t worry I do redeem myself later – We needed some bad guys for some of our activities later on in the evening and so we selected some of the kids larger stuffed toys and decorated them with baddy masks, Elliott also decided he wanted to have a go at being a baddy too!

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Steve arrived home and it was time for food! Dinner time with Elliott is always a battle ground and after presenting him with his meal it is usually followed by “I don’t like…..” but on our BIG night in he declared his dinner as being the best dinner “ever”!!!!  It was demolished by both of the kids and I even managed to pull off the roast without wrecking it (yay me!)

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Desert was a little less inspired and I went with Mr Freeze Ice Cream – Ok yeah I know ice cream is ice cream but I jazzed it up with wafers and sprinkles and Mr Freeze frozen chocolate sauce, which is the type that hardens on contact with the ice cream.

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Dinner demolished and it was on to GAMES!

First up was the Riddlers Laser Challenge. All superheroes need to be able to deal with a laser maze in order to gain access to evil villan HQ and Batman and Robin are no exception. The laser maze was an easy set up. I cut a roll of crepe paper into strips and taped the strips together we then used the frame of our garden gazebo to set up a criss cross laser maze. Bad guys were put in strategic places and the challenge was to get to through the laser maze without breaking any of the lasers and avoid the bad guys – if not you risk being caught by the Riddler himself!!!!!! – or if you are a grown up then it would be Del in his 1960s Riddler costume! Oh and guess what, I remembered about Elliotts Batman onsie and as the night was drawing in and the temperature had begun to chill he was able to happily substitute it for his normal Batman attire.

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The boys loved this challenge but for Sammy It was a lot easier as he was able to just crawl under all of the lasers and make his way through but he enjoyed it none the less! When it came to my go I took a more challenging route which led to a lot of giggles but some very unflattering photos!! Hehe

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Unfortunately due to the joys of traveling though central London Steve had arrived home a lot later than usual and so we had fading light to contend with. As such we decided that we would have to bring our final game forward and this was going to be a REALLY messy one Jokers Custard Pie Fight!

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Custard Pies were prepared and laid all over the garden (and a bath was prepped for afterwards) there were rules however for Elliott to follow, no throwing pies at any animals that were stupid enough to venture into the garden, no throwing pies near my new camera and no throwing pies at Sammy. I have to say he observed ALL the rules and OMG what fun we all had!!!!!!

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In hindsight I would probably wait until Sam was a bit older to play this again and I would make sure I didn’t accidently inhale shaving foam when Del smashed me in the face with a pie (it burned my throat for a good few hours and nearly made me throw up) but it was soooooooooooooo worth it!

Kids dipped in to a premature bath, PJs on and we were onto our next game!

Mr Freeze Ice Block Knock. This again was simple yet effective. Mr Freeze wants to be top bad guy so we set up all of Elliotts I  figures  that we could find, apparently only 4, and set them up at one end of the coffee table. The game was to then take it in turns to slide ice cubes down the table and try to knock over the figures.

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It turns out Elliott has a better aim than Steve! There was a certain amount of cheating involved in this game so a winner was not declared but it worked really well and, as a bonus, my coffee table got a wash too!

Evening had long turned into night and If we wanted to have any chance of getting the children to bed and then up again for Elliott to attend pre-school our further game of Bad Guy lasso and trying to recreate 60’s style wall “climbing” tv scenes (you know the ones where they climbed walls that were drawn on the floor and then flipped the image) had to be abandoned. They weren’t forgotten however as the first thing Elliott wanted to do when he woke was set up the teddy bad guys to lasso with a dressing gown belt!

So what was our verdict on our BIG night in? Well Money Supermarket gave us a £50 budget for our night and I would say that it came well within that and that included the roast dinner and £5 for a Batman t-shirt for Steve to wear, which unfortunately was too small. The best thing was that we could easily have expanded it to entertain more people with it costing very little, if anything at all. We had a GREAT time and I think we proved to ourselves that with a bit of imagination and not a huge amount of work you can have a good a time in the house as you can out of it. We will be doing this again but I think next time we will actually start in the afternoon rather than the evening, invite more friends and really stretch out the fun!

(http://www.moneysupermarket.com/home-insurance/competitions/big-night-in/)

 

Sci-Fi By The Sea Herne Bay – June 16th

June 17, 2013 in Doctor Who, Fundraising

So yesterday was a day our family had been looking forward to for a number of weeks, Sci-Fi By The Sea in Herne Bay, Kent. It was the first time this event had been staged and amongst the stalls were,  actors who had appeared in such things as Star Wars and Doctor Who signing autographs, bouncy castles, props on display, music, competitions and about 90 people wearing a magnitude of incredible costumes!

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Just a few of the costumes on display

It was a special day for us because it was the first event where the boys mini Tardis has been on display to the public – I say “mini” but it is still over 6ft high the real one is 10ft  Sammy also got to debut his new 6th Doctor costume and it went down a storm. In fact the costume was nearly incomplete as the bow my Mum had made and sent to me in the post failed to arrive in time. Luckily the mum of an Iconic Legion friend stepped in and came up with the perfect bow the night before and he looked fantastic! I spent most of the day being asked the question “Did you make the costume yourself?” , which I didn’t so pointed out the epic team effort that had been made to get it together rather than taking the credit, aren’t I good!

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Our first challenge of the day was actually before we had even arrived in Herne Bay and that was to get the Tardis taken down and attached to our new roof rack, which we had purchased specifically for Tardis transportation, It wasn’t a difficult task but it was time-consuming and poor Steve then had to unload it all at the other end put the Tardis up, take it down and reload it at the end of a very tiring day and then unload it again to bring it into the house. You can tell how exhausted he was by the simple fact that the Tardis is still sitting in our hallway in pieces.

It still needs A LOT of work. One of the first jobs is to give it a paint job because the current colour isn’t at all right and needs to be changed, then it is a new sign, new window frames, new light interior etc etc. It will take time and we have to do it carefully because in between it all it will need to go off and do more shows so it will have to be display ready at every stage. It isn’t and unpleasant task in the slightest and in fact seems to be Steves new labour of love and he has been happily skipping backwards and forwards to the DIY store.

Back in Herne Bay yesterday Elliott had a major break through and began to stand near to and interact with others in costume. He is almost getting to the stage where he will have  the occasional picture taken with individual characters but he is still finding his feet and he is combatting his shyness. I think in time he will be more like his little brother and walk up to the biggest scariest costumer he can find and try to make friends..

By lunchtime Sam was exhausted and went from wide awake to comatose in around 30 seconds. We didn’t take the  pushchair out of the car and he was too heavy to carry for 2 hours so we ended up plonking him on the floor of his Tardis on top of an old curtain and Steves coat – people seemed to love this because they thought he looked like a recreation of the 6th Doctors regeneration scene, in fact a few people thought he was a dummy! It’s not something I would do again but it solved an immediate problem.

The original 6th Doctor, Colin Baker was amongst the shows signers and did pop along during this nap to pose for a few photos, not with Sam  - he was there one minute and gone the next, I think Steve was a little disappointed because he was hoping to ask him to sign the inside door of the Tardis. I’ve heard from many people that Colin Baker is a pretty nice guy but to be honest if that is the case he must have been having a bad day because he came across to me as being a bit full of himself. He did however pose with Sam for a photo later on in the day so for that I am grateful. We will be attending another event in the near future which Mr Baker is attending so I guess I will find out then if this was an isolated case.

The day flew by and the weather held up with only some occasional light spitting but given that the weather has been so cold this past week we were happy that was the worst that it threw at us.

The only downside to our day was that Sam’s beloved Sonic Screwdriver appeared to have been taken – one minute he had it during the photo session at the top of this post and then their was a mini invasion by a lot of children and when they were cleared he was going a bit nuts and it wasn’t till later we realised that his screwdriver was gone. We only know now what may have happened from looking at the photographs. I’m not saying it was taken on purpose but he doesn’t let it go EVER and so he must have dropped it and it been picked up by another child because none of a costumers saw it and it wasn’t on the ground in any of the pictures. Needless to say this is the danger of a child taking toys out of the house but its hard to explain that to a 2-year-old that went to bed asking for his screwdriver and woke up asking for it again and again and again….

In the hope of not loosing Elliott you may be able to spot around his neck in photos a blue lanyard which is attached to his First Fone. It was certainly reassuring in the crowds to know he had something on him that may help us if we were to become separated.

At the end of the day the vibe among the public and the attendees was that they had as good a day as we had and that everyone just couldn’t wait to do it all again next year!

You’re Giving Your 4-Year-Old What????!!!

June 13, 2013 in product review, Uncategorized

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I don’t normal write about a product we are reviewing until I actually come to writing the review but on this occasion the product seems to be dividing opinion so much that I thought that a discussion followed by review would be best.

Years ago I earnt a living working for Vodafone and on occasions I would get a parent call me to ask what they could do about the £100 phone bill there 7-year-old had managed to run up on their mobile phone – this was the days before picture messaging, apps and internet – The first thing that would go into my mind was “what on earth does a 7-YEAR-OLD need with a mobile phone!!!!” and in the majority I still hold that opinion but not so much in the case of a new product on the market – OwnFone.

The difference between an OwnFone and a regular phone is that YOU the parent are in control – you pre-load the phone with 2, 4, 8 or 12 numbers and they are the ONLY numbers that the OwnFone can call. The phone can’t go online, it can’t text, it can’t take pictures it can just make calls and receive them.

It is not much bigger than a credit card, it doesn’t even look like a phone and your child can design it themselves. If it is stolen it is useless to anyone other than your child, unless they fancy a chat with “Nanny”

I read an article discussing the product and it accused the manufacturer of trying to capitalise on parents fear of child abduction – RUBBISH – I don’t think an own phone reduces the risk of child abduction in the slightest but I do think that in the right circumstances this is an excellent tool for the modern age.

How many parents buy they children a mobile phone “just in case” they need it in an emergency when they are out at the park with friends, walking home from school, away from home etc. How many children then actually use that phone ONLY in an emergency? How many children become victims of crime when the fancy new phone gets stolen?

How many parents want to send their children to school with a mobile phone for the above reasons but can’t because the school – quite rightly – has a ban on mobile phones in school because children can’t be trusted to not text under the desk during lessons etc.

If you could give your child a phone that could only dial Mum, Dad, Home and 999 wouldn’t that solve 99% of the problems that come along with giving a child/young teen a mobile phone?

A few years back my friend went through an acrimonious split with the father of her, then, 6-year-old son. Hostile phone calls were often made by her to him and visa versa but at the centre of it all was they both wanted the best for their son. The little boy needed to know that no mater what his Daddy was still there for him whenever he needed him, he needed that security. The trouble was he didn’t like to ask his mum to phone his Dad and when my friend did call her ex to speak to his son and the ex didn’t answer, in order to avoid another drama, it would cause the child to feel insecure and prompt another argument. If he’d had a phone with just Mummy and Daddy buttons on it he could have phoned either parent without needing to ask and both parents would know if that number rang they were to answer it no mater what.

You can see my point that actually there are circumstances where this product is needed in this day and age but I am giving it to my 4-year-old who, doesn’t walk home from school alone, he doesn’t play out with friends and his father and I are still together so what on earth does a 4-year-old want with a mobile phone??!!!!

Well unfortunately despite our best efforts to watch Elliott like a hawk he is a runner, he has in the past scared the life out of us by going missing when we are out, only to be found somewhere completely different to where we were looking for him. I have been told that its part of his condition but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

When he was around 2 I bought a remote alarm that I could set off if I couldn’t find him and it would bleep to tell me where he was. It sort of worked but only if he was in range.  With OwnFone I can now call him if he disappears – he may not be able to tell me where he is but I can talk to him and guide him to finding an appropriate adult to give his phone to so I can find out where he is.

Will it work, is it appropriate? Well I guess only time will tell on that one and that will form part of my review and I know there will be people that will still disagree that the product is right for my child but right now I can say that I feel more secure taking my little boy out knowing we have OwnFone around his neck.

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