Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Spot the Sillies Pesky Pirate Puzzle - Review

We were sent Spot the Sillies Pesky Pirate Puzzle from Gibson Games to review. This is a 100 piece jigsaw puzzle with a fun observational game at the end. You have to spot the items that don't belong within the picture. This puzzle is suitable for ages 5 and over however, Miss C was able to help put the puzzle together with no trouble.

Wee Z started piecing the puzzle together and, with a little help from Miss C, it took them about 15 minutes to complete. The pieces are made from 100% recycled card however aren't as strong as some other puzzles we've completed before. I could bend the pieces ever so slightly. However, if the puzzle was well looked after then I can see it standing the test of time and durability.

The kids had a great time completing the puzzle. The pieces were quite easy to fit together. Wee Z loved the silly pirate faces and Miss C liked looking out for sharks. The puzzle is really colourful and there are lots of things to talk about.

Once the puzzle was complete, the kids started to look for the things that didn't quite belong on the pirate ship. There are 10 things to find and the answers are included in the box. Immediately Wee Z spotted the iPad tablet hiding behind a mast. Miss C spotted a meerkat too.

Pesky Pirates is a really fun puzzle and I like that it has another task once the puzzle is finished. Once you've found the Sillies once, you know where they are for next time but it is still a fun puzzle to do over and over again. There are 3 other Spot the Sillies puzzles available to buy too. Amazon are one of the stockists suggested on the Gibson Games website.

We give this a 9/10

We received Pesky Pirates for the purposes of a review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Learning About Money Made Fun

I read an article today that I totally agree with. The article, Teach Kids About Money, talks about financial education being introduced to secondary school pupils. We never had anything like this when I went to high school. My only dealings with money was my pocket money from my parents and a visit from a local high street bank encouraging us to open bank accounts with them.

Being money wise is so important. There are so many people in debt nowadays and this is partly because they are clueless about money and a lot of the time, through no fault of their own. How do overdrafts work? I bet there are lots of people that wouldn't know. They probably think it is free money from the bank and are oblivious to things like interest charges. Borrowing money at crazy APR rates? Some people just see those ads and think, yep that will do me til pay day.

Wee Z already knows about money. He can count and is really good with Math. So we taught him about money. He had an educational learning support worker with him at school and she couldn't believe that he knew the least amount of coins to use to make up 70p. He makes me laugh if we ever go shopping and he reads me the price of something and says, "Wow, that's a good deal!" or "Geez, that's a bit expensive!" Miss C likes to put her £1 in her piggy bank and she knows that Mummy and Daddy work to get pennies for her ballet and her new shoes. It tickles me that she thinks a coin is more valuable than a note.

I think it is so important to talk to children about money. Not to scare them IE Mummy has NO money; although sometimes that is a necessity - "Can I have these really cool toys/games/magazines Mum, please?!" It's about explaining how money works, how we get money, how to save money for things we would like and how we use money to get things we need.

Like anything, money can be taught through play! Some of the ways we learn about money are:

  • Playing shops - One person is the cashier and another the buyer
  • Counting with coins - How to make up an amount with various coins
  • Separating coins into colours or sizes or values
  • Using their pocket money to buy a treat - How much do you have? How much does it cost? Do you have enough?
  • Putting any spare change into a savings pot to save for a special treat
At least teaching my children about money can't come back to bite me in the bum like my teaching of where babies come from did.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

What We Did Last Week #WeekEight

Last Sunday, after a mountain of ironing, we decided to go swimming. Again. Husband had a relax in the sauna and then, he took over from me so I could enjoy the steam room. After swimming, we went for lunch and, because it was such a lovely day, we stopped off at the park on the way home.

On Monday, it was back to school for Wee Z. Miss C and I spent the morning playing with her dolls and then we had lunch. In the afternoon, we went for a walk to the park and played on the swings before we had to pick Wee Z up from school.

On Tuesday, it was another lovely day so it was off to a different park. Miss C stayed on the swing the whole time we were there and even refused to get off the swing when we had to leave to get Wee Z from school. Bribery by jammie dodgers eventually got her to part with her beloved swing.

On Wednesday, the sun had disappeared. It was really cold but at least it was dry for our walk into town to buy a birthday present and some yogurts. I got the birthday present (some Skylanders) and lots of other things, like Beast Quest books for Wee Z and some new boots for Miss C. I forgot the yogurts! With only 15 minutes to spare before I had to get Wee Z, we ran to another shop and picked up some yogurts.

On Thursday, Miss C went back to nursery after the holidays. She was excited to see her teacher. I picked her up when nursery finished, we had lunch and then we went to the park. It was freezing cold but Miss C wanted to go on the swings. Again. After school, Wee Z had a birthday party to go to. He was super excited as it was a laser tag party. I took him and it looked like all the kids (and some grown-ups too) had a great time chasing each other with the laser guns.

On Friday, after nursery, Miss C and I made butternut squash soup. We picked Wee Z up from school after having a cuddle on the couch to warm up. It was cold! Husband took Miss C to ballet and then I took Wee Z to his Friday club.

On Saturday, I had to work. I walked all the way to work and the snow was threatening to fall. On my way back, the sun was shining brightly. In the afternoon, we made some smartie cookies. The kids had a movie night. This week they chose Hercules. I went out to a friend's house whilst Husband had God Father down for a few beers and The Big Bang Theory.


Friday, 22 February 2013

Look Out, Ladybird - Little Tiger Press Review

We were lucky enough to be chosen as one of the families to join the Little Tiger Press Parent Panel. One of the first books I read to Wee Z when he was a baby is called "I don't want to have a bath!" which is about Little Tiger himself. Since then, our collection of Little Tiger Press books has grown. They are some of our favourite books.

We received a new title to review: Look Out, Ladybird. This is the story of a ladybird who is learning to fly but can't quite get the hang of it. It tells of her struggles and the hurdles she has to overcome in order to be able to fly like a big ladybird should. It's a good story for showing that practise makes perfect.

Miss C loved the pictures. They are bright and colourful. She loved that she could spot part of the next animal before she turned the page to reveal which animal appeared next in the book.

Wee Z loved reading the book himself. It's an excellent book for first readers.

I loved that the action words stood out in bold writing, like when Ladybird bumped into something or went weeeeeeeeee! down Elephant's trunk.

Look Out Ladybird is a lovely picture book story that is easy to read and it provides a laugh for all the family at the end.

We give it a big 10/10

We received this book for the purposes of a review for the Little Tiger Press Parent Panel. The opinions expressed are my own.

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup - Recipe

I'm not a skilled soup-maker but I do love a bowl of soup so I've been trying to improve my soup-making skills. I made chicken and rice soup last month and it turned out rather well. Miss C loved it.

This month, I decided to try a recipe I'd found in my Lorraine Pascale cook book: Butternut Squash with Chilli and Ginger. It sounded heavenly and so easy to make too. I adapted it slightly to my own taste.


1 butternut squash
2 garlic cloves
2cm piece of ginger
Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp of chilli flakes
1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock
50g butter
Salt and pepper
1 lime

Let's cook it!

Cut your butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Score the butternut squash with a knife and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil. Place them in a roasting tin and add your 2 garlic cloves, still with their skin on. Put them in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 35 minutes or until the butternut squash is soft on the inside.

About 25 minutes into your roasting time, add some extra virgin olive oil to a soup pot along with your butter and chopped onions. Add some salt and pepper and gently fry the onion for about 20 minutes.

Remove the butternut squash from the oven and allow it to cool. Once cooled, remove the butternut squash from its skin and place in a bowl. Into the soup pot add your chilli flakes, ginger and butternut squash and then pour in your stock. I used pre-packed liquid stock and made up the stock as per the pack instructions.

Bring the soup to the boil and then remove from the heat. Place the soup into a blender or food processor to make it really smooth. Once it is completely smooth, place it back in the soup pot and squeeze in your lime juice to taste. I used the full lime. Reheat and serve.

You could add some cream or coconut milk to the soup on serving or whilst cooking. Just remember you can not freeze the soup if you add the cream. I didn't feel it needed any cream as it was lovely and smooth with a real kick from the chilli flakes.

Flashback Friday - The First Night

For Flashback Friday this week, I'm continuing my pregnancy story. Last time, I had just given birth to my beautiful little boy, Wee Z.

I thought I might get a few hours sleep. Maybe wake at 7am feeling a bit more myself and not so hazy and exhausted. Wee Z had other plans.

We had arrived on the ward at around 2:30am and Husband was sent straight home. I was by myself in the room with Wee Z. I did fall asleep straightaway but about an hour or so later, they brought another lady into the room. This woke Wee Z up.

I decided to try and feed him so I got him latched on. It was agony. I had thought breastfeeding was supposed to be the most natural thing on the planet. Whoever wrote that you should feel no pain clearly had never breastfed before in their life. Or they had the pain threshold of a God.

I called the midwife to come and check my positioning as after a minute I was still in agony. Apparently he wasn't on properly, so I took him off and tried again. The midwife was happy that he was on properly but I was still so sore. It felt like my boob was on fire. The midwife told me that it shouldn't hurt and if it did to take him off and try again and then she left.

Eventually Wee Z went back to sleep so I put him in his cot beside me and tried to go back to sleep myself. I think we lasted an hour before he was up again and the whole routine of trying to feed without pain began again.

By the time the sensible hours of the morning came, Husband was allowed to visit and he took Wee Z from me so I could have a wash and get some breakfast. Wee Z slept for most of the day. I, on the other hand, was up and talking to visitors who had come to see Wee Z when I should have been trying to rest too. Or trying to feed Wee Z.

I was hoping I'd get a sleep that night and yet again, Wee Z had other plans for us...

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Boys #TheGallery

There is only one boy in my life.

Wee Z.

I was a bit nervous about being a Mum to a boy. I had no dealing with baby boys before he came along. All my cousins are girls and I have two sisters. The only male things I had in my life were Husband and my cats and they certainly don't compare to a baby boy.

I need not have been nervous. I love having my boy!

He can be messy, loud and boisterous but he is also a Mum's boy. He loves cuddles with me and doesn't (yet) get embarrassed by a big "Mum kiss". He runs back to the gate to make sure I have a big kiss and cuddle when he goes off to school.

I hope in years to come, we'll have the sort of Mother/Son relationship where he'll be able to come to me to talk about anything.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Outdoor Play in the Sun

The Sun has got his hat on
Hip, Hip, Hip-Hooray
The Sun has got his hat on
And we've been outdoors to PLAY!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

How to Make Rainbow Cupcakes

A friend asked me if I could make her some rainbow cupcakes for a birthday party. I can do cupcakes. I think I do them quite well but rainbow cupcakes? I wasn't sure about that. I had no idea how to go about making a rainbow cupcake.

I have seen rainbow cakes and they are pretty straightforward to make. You just colour your sponge mix over a few cake tins and off you go. Could I do cupcakes in the same way? Simply layering the colours on top of each other; would it work?

Turns out it does. Rainbow cupcakes are that easy to make!

Here is how you do it:

To start with, you need to make up a normal cupcake mix. I love my vanilla cupcake recipe as it is so simple and quick to make.

Once you've made up your sponge mix, divide it equally across 5 bowls. You'll need red, yellow, orange, green and blue food colourings. Add a small amount of one colour into one bowl and mix it well. Do the same with the other four bowls using the other four colours.

Starting with the blue mix, spread a small amount into the bottom of a cupcake case. Repeat the layering process by adding green, orange, yellow and top it off with the red mix.

Bake in an oven for about 18 minutes. Top with a buttercream of your choice. I used a toffee buttercream by making up a batch of buttercream and adding in some toffee dessert sauce to taste.

The cupcakes, when in their cases, look like they are red velvet because of the red tops but the rainbow is revealed when you take the wrapper off and bite into the cupcake. The kids loved them!

So clever!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

What We Did Last Week #WeekSeven

Last Sunday, we spent the day indoors. I did my ironing and the kids got to watch some TV. After lunch we sorted out the book cupboards and played some games. We also made a face painting video which was lots of fun.

On Monday, it was the first day of half term. Wee Z and I had an appointment at the Doctors. We walked there and then headed over to the library when we finished. We then walked home and had lunch and a Creme Egg as a treat. In the afternoon, we read books and Wee Z started building one of his LEGO Ninjago sets.

On Tuesday, we went swimming. I hadn't been swimming in awhile so it was great to see the kids enjoying the water and being so much more confident. After swimming, we went for lunch to McDonalds. In the afternoon, we played Junior Scrabble.

On Wednesday, we awoke to a blanket of snow outside. We decided to make some white chocolate chip cookies before lunch and then, with nice full bellies, we would play outside in the snow after lunch. By lunch time, the rain was on. It was very light at first so the kids went out to play and had a snowball fight. They were soaked! They had a bath to warm up and changed into their jammies. We spent the afternoon building LEGO.

On Thursday, we went swimming again. In the afternoon, we went to the dentist for our check-up. Thankfully no one needed anything done to their teeth! In the evening, I took Wee Z to his first Valentine's Day disco at the school and Miss C and I cuddled up on the couch to watch Tangled.

On Friday, we went food shopping. When we came home, I put the shopping away whilst the kids played with LEGO and Playdoh. After lunch, as it was a lovely day, I decided to walk over to a friend's house. It was a good 2 mile walk there and a good mile and a half home as Husband picked us up on the way back when it started to rain. We had pizza for dinner and then Wee Z went to his Friday club.

On Saturday, we had a chilled out day at home. Wee Z went to karate and Miss C went to the park with Husband. I did some washing. In the afternoon, the kids played out in the the garden and I enjoyed a cup of coffee and my cook books in peace.


Friday, 15 February 2013

Flashback Friday - A Valentine's Day Photo

The theme for Flashback Friday this week is Valentine's Day.

I've decided to go with a photo of Wee Z when he was 1 and a half. This was taken about 6 days after Valentine's Day with my Valentine's rose he bought me.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Funny Things My Kids Say #18

I was in the kitchen last night, tidying after dinner and Miss C said to me, "Mummy, you are a nice lady."

"Thank you Miss C, that's really nice of you to say."

A few seconds passed and then she said, "Mummy, why are you not a witch?"

I'll give her 10 years before she's thinking I'm the word that rhymes with witch.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Girls #TheGallery

"How many Grandaughters?!" 

That is what people used to ask my Grandma whenever we were out with her. Six girls. No boys. Just girls.

No boys for 47 years in the family until Wee Z came along.

Six girls. Can you imagine what that must have been like for my Grandparents whenever they would have us all to stay in their big guest house in a small Scottish town by the sea? So small, everyone knew everyone. And everyone knew when we were getting into trouble.

I'm the eldest of the six, followed by my cousin, followed by my sister, followed by my cousin's sister, followed by my youngest cousin and finished off with my youngest sister.

Whenever we got together, more so the first 5 girls as my little sister was just a baby when we were all hitting the terrible teenage years of hormones, PMS and boys, we had great fun. We loved being together and were the best of friends and then we would fall out and hate each other.

We would sing together, dance together and put on performances for our Grandparents.

We would plot together, plan together and be really mischevious together.

There was the time we locked an Aunt, my Grandma's sister, out of the guest house. There was another time we hid all the wine from my Grandma. There were times we would hide in the guest house loft and not come out for ages, leaving our poor Grandparents wondering where we had gotten too.

There was the time, after my sister and I moved to Manchester, that our cousins came to visit. They all got their belly buttons pierced that trip.

I always smile when I think of the fun we had together. I'll never forget it.

I love those girls with all my heart.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

My Dream Shoes

I've always loved shoes. I don't know why but I have. Sadly, my love isn't nourished as much now that I have Wee Z and Miss C. Well, it's not nourished on me. It is most definitely nourished on them. Miss C has more shoes than all of us combined at the moment.

A girl can never have too many shoes.

I present to you My Dream Shoes:

My Dream Shoes

Aren't they just beautiful? So the price tag of almost £4000 is quite heavy but if I gave up my eternity ring rights...maybe just maybe I could have these instead. Would I wear them? Of course I would not. They would be on display in my living room in a glass case. These Christian Louboutin shoes are My Dream Shoes.

They even have a ballerina pump incase heels aren't your thing.

So the dream shoes might just remain a dream however, that doesn't stop me from buying shoes that look a bit similar.

Shoes from ASOS

Or maybe just some shoes.

Shoes from New Look

I do love shoes.

Shoes from Next

I'm submitting this post to the Next Blogger Network as it features some of their new range of shoes for S/S13. I have not been paid to write this post nor have I received any shoes for writing this post...if only!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Half Term Fun

We're on half term this week. These kids seems to have quite a lot of holidays, don't they? It was only just over a month ago that they were on Christmas holidays!

I've taken the week off work so I can relax and enjoy the time off with Wee Z. I really only get to see him at the weekend now he is a full-time school attendee and even then, it isn't for the full weekend as I work weekends.

Our plans for this week are:

  • Swimming
  • Baking
  • Going out for lunch
  • Walks to the park
  • Reading our library books
  • Watching some films
  • Helping Mummy with the food shopping
  • A Valentine's Day disco for Wee Z

We may even get a bit creative and crafty. On Sunday, we did some face painting and made a video for Make Time To Play.

One place we will be avoiding this half term is soft play. Too busy, too loud and too much for me to cope with!

Enjoy your half term!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

What We Did Last Week #WeekSix

Last Sunday, we had a house day. Almost. We did go for a bike ride but it was so cold, it really just was a day for staying in and watching films. After hearing the sad news about Matilda Mae, I cuddled my children extra tight.

On Monday, it was back to school for Wee Z. Miss C and I spent the day indoors painting. It was a horrible day. Wet and wild. Snow was definitely on the way.

On Tuesday, I woke up and checked my daily weather report on Facebook. The locals confirmed we had snow. We walked to school and then came home to play and make meatballs for dinner. In the afternoon, Miss C and I did some colouring in. I love colouring in but Miss C got fed up after 10 minutes.

On Wednesday, Miss C and I went for a scooter ride. We went to the shops to get some milk and a sweetie and then walked/scooted over to the park and had a play on the swings. It was really cold but the sun was out and it was dry and it was nice to get some fresh air.

On Thursday, Miss C went to nursery. My friend came over with her baby and I got to have lots of baby cuddles which was nice and eased my broodiness. It is easy to forget the demands of a newborn when you see them looking so small and cute. Then the baby did a huge poo and I was quickly put off the idea of another one.

On Friday, Miss C and I made some butternut squash soup whilst Husband tinkered with his scooter. My Dad arrived after school for a short visit. We had tea together and then Wee Z went to his Friday club. Once my Dad left, Miss C and I went for a bubble bath.

On Saturday, I went to work in the morning. When I came home, Husband was heading out with the kids to go swimming so I had the afternoon to myself. I caught up with Hollyoaks! In the evening, we went out for dinner to celebrate Husband getting his new job and Wee Z getting pupil of the week and his silver award at school.

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