Friday, 30 May 2014

Mi Local App, my saviour!!

Are you are fed up with trying to find out what children's activities are available in your area??

Do you struggle to keep the kids busy during the school holidays???

Fret no more - the lovely Tessa McLeod has the answer for you!!!

Tessa has designed and created a children's activity finder app for both iphone and android platforms.

This app is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!

MiLocal is designed to make it easier for families to find out what`s on in their local area.

By using the GPS on your phone the app lets you know what`s on around you on that day as well as helping you plan a fun packed week in advance.

The initial launch county was Dorset, but Hampshire and Devon are also covered, with a complete UK wide launch as Tessa`s final goal.

Mi Local give you all the information you need to find -

  • Classes and clubs
  • Free activities
  • Parent and toddler groups
  • Attractions, places of interest and days out
  • Indoor/outdoor play centres
  • Local helplines and emergency contacts
  • Chat messaging facility to talk to other local mums

Once you have installed the app on your phone it couldn`t be easier to get started, all you do is fill in a few personal details, turn your GPS on, choose what types of activities you would like to be shown and viola you are ready to go!!!

The app shows you the first 100 results in the categories chosen by you.

Depending on how many categories you have chosen determines how far away from your location the listed activities are.

For example, if you choose 2 categories it could show activities up to a 30 miles radius but if you choose all categories available you may only have an activity radius of 5 miles.

Each individual activity page has details of the opening times, entry/participation costs and a feature to call them, a map to find the venue and sharing the activity details with friends from your contact list.

It is highly advisable to ring your chosen activity prior to going to confirm opening times and costs as these can change frequently.

The new chat feature is great addition so you can easily keep in touch with other users, so making new friends is easier too!!

I basically cant get enough of this app, and almost squealed with delight when I realised that it has a new feature that tells you if a certain activity is starting soon, great if you love to be spontaneous!!!!

If you live in Dorset you MUST download this app, I can assure you you WILL use it!!!!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Artists in the making?

Last month the leading educational toy and art specialists Galt, started to run a series of `Mini Masterpiece` competitions on their website, winners getting their hands on an amazing bundle of crafting and artwork supplies.

Each month for the next few months they are featuring a different piece of classic artwork.

The artwork is downloadable and printable for us to create our own `mini masterpiece` at home; be it with felt tip pens, crayons, paint, glitter, stickers etc.

Last month The Water-Lily Pond by Monet was featured, this month it is the turn of Vincent van Gogh and The Starry Night.

I printed the black and white outline of the image from the Galt website and asked Alfie to create his own version of the classic painting.

Typically Alfie wanted to look up the original on the internet so he fired up my chrome book and off he went!!! Randomly he informed me that he knew all about Van Gogh and about him cutting his ear off as had been learning about him at school only last week!!!!

Once he was happy with what it should look like out came all the paints, glitter, pens, crayons etc that we own!!

Jacob decided he wanted to have a go too, so he got creative too.

Unfortunately Alfie and Jacob`s ideas of how it should look is far from the original. Saying that I love both of their efforts and the fact that they were getting creative; plus it kept them quiet for a few hours after being stuck inside during the usual great weather during half term!!! Great fun was had by all.

And not to be left out Benjamin spent the entire time the boys were creating trying to climb up and help!!

Here is the finished article, Alfie was very proud of his creation. Not too bad xxx

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Before I go any further I apologise for this moaning post; I have had few hard days with the boys and am now exhausted. I have found that blogging my feelings has become my therapy so here goes!!

Am I the only mum who feels like the bad cop??

I don't know what the trigger was but over the last few weeks the boys have been on a mission to test my sanity. No matter what I say or do to them they just ignore me and do the opposite.

I have tried to be the nice mum who says yes to as much as physically possible but when all I get in return is naughtiness and attitude, why should I constantly reward the boys?? I don`t want to be the boring and horrible mum who always says NO but its getting to the point were that's all I am saying to them.

My usual day is to sort the housework out as quickly as possible whilst the boys are playing nicely. I say nicely very loosely, my definition of nicely is not killing each other!! Then I like to take them out somewhere to stimulate them and burn off some of their never ending energy.

Now then, I worked all day yesterday so hubby had the 3 boys for the day.
Did he do any housework???? NO.
Did he say no to the boys once all day? NO.
Did the boys behave for him?? YES!!
Did he spend the entire day out with the boys having fun whilst not giving the work at home a second thought?? YES!!

It`s not hubby fault in any way but they just seem to like him more and do what he says when he says it.

Why cant I spend more fun time with the boys and stop being the bad and boring mum??? I wish that there was some magical fairy who would come and do my washing and cleaning for me so I could take the boys out more. I try my best to balance keeping a clean house with being a fun mum but am struggling.

Sorry for the moan but it does make me feel a bit better getting it down in words xxx

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Mum`s birthday cake with a little help from Cake Angels!

Last week an unexpected parcel arrived on my door step. A lovely selection of goodies from Cake Angels.

Look at the lovely bright colours, I could`nt wait to give these beauties a go!!

April, May and June are busy months for birthdays in the Wood household; today is the turn of my lovely mum.

I don`t usually make my mum a cake but was inspired to create something bright and flowery for her after receiving these goodies.

There were 2 oranges in my fruit bowl that had passed their best so decided to make an orange infused cake, something I had never done before, so was a tad worried how it would turn out!

I used my Nan`s and Mum`s traditional sponge recipe that they had taught me...,I don`t think its a family secret, so apologise to them if it is!!!

The recipe is very simple; I need it to be simple or I muck it up!


As I said a moment ago, it is so simple....

  • pre heat oven to 180 degrees for fan ovens or gas mark 6 for gas ovens
  • grease or line your chosen tin, I chose a 2 lb loaf tin for this bake
  • weigh your chosen amount of eggs - I tend to always use 3 eggs, this makes plenty of cake batter to make at least 24 cupcakes, 2 x 8" sandwiches, or in this case a 2lb loaf
  • weigh out the same weight of the eggs for butter, sugar and self raising flour
  • cream the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk till light and fluffy
  • add eggs and whisk together till all eggs are incorporated into mixture
  • add flour and gently fold in with wooden spoon, making sure not to mix too vigorously so to not remove all the air added by whisking. As I was making a orange infused cake I also added the grated zest of 2 oranges at this point.
  • place batter into tin and put in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer placed in the centre of the cake comes out clean
I did find that as I was using a loaf tin that the cooking time had to be increased to 45 minutes

Here is it before I used the Cake Angels products....not bad for a first attempt, even if I do say so myself!!!

I used Cake Angels ready made vanilla icing RRP £2 per tub and 2 packs of their 2d royal icing cake decorations in the daisy flowers design RRP £1.49 per pack

The vanilla icing was very easy to spread but can also be used in a pipping bag straight from the tub with no more preparation needed. It tastes so creamy and surprisingly light.

I hope my Mum likes her spring inspired birthday cake!!

I will be giving the ice cream cone cake kit a go in the next week or so, check back to see how they turned out!!

I was sent these products free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion and views.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

docrafts Crafting Supplies Giveaway

Regular followers of my blog may remember that I ran a give away a few months ago in conjunction with the lovely people at docrafts for a kids crafting goody bag.

This time I am lucky enough to offer all you budding parent crafters a chance to win some goodies for yourselves!!

Who out there is fed up of letting the kids have all the fun creating masterpieces whilst we are left to clear up the aftermath??

You?? Then I have something for you will LOVE.

docrafts new project is to try and engage more parents with creating crafts for themselves such as birthday cards, invites, scrapbook pages etc.

Why not let your creative side out and see what happens??

I have been kindly given 2 x bundles of goodies to give away to you lovely readers with an RRP of over £60. 

The bundle includes -

I`m sure you`ll agree that this is a great little bundle of supplies, worth over a whopping £60!!

Everything you need to get creative when the kids have finally gone to sleep!!!!

All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter widget below and cross your fingers that you will be one of the lucky two to win these goodies.

Please note that no children should be allowed to use the Guillotine due to the sharp blade.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 12 May 2014

How something so small can make a big difference - Wall Art Stickers Uk Review

At the end of last year we decided to redecorate our lounge thinking it would be an easy job. Oh no...
5 layers of stripped wallpaper, lots of wall sanding down and 5 weeks later we had finally finished it!!

We had made one wall a feature wall but had left the one long wall plain.
For the last 5 months I had been toying with ideas of what to do with it; put up loads of family photos or leave it plain???

Last week put a shout out on twitter for people to review their products.....I jumped at the chance. For some reason putting an image or quote on the wall never occurred to me as an option. has a HUGE range of images, approx 1,300; which will satisfy every taste and style. Prices start from £6.49

I found it so hard to choose just one but after lots of deliberation a personalised word quote was chosen.

Each sticker is made of high quality vinyl and your chosen image can be printed in one of 20 colours.

My chosen wall sticker was delivered 2 days later and up on my wall the same day!!

Included with sticker are very detailed and simple instructions that only an idiot could get wrong. Plus a video showing each stage on their website.

Here is my plain, boring wall before putting the sticker up.

The process of actually putting the sticker on the wall only took about 20 minutes, the longest part was making sure that the sticker was level. For the size of this sticker it is definitely a 2 person job, I could never of held the sticker in place whilst checking it was level.

Once in the desired position and was level, we removed the backing sheet and rubbed the sticker onto the wall using the spreading tool supplied.

The transparent top sheet is then slowly removed to reveal the finished product.

I did find that I had to repeat rubbing over the top sheet a few times to make sure that it had stuck to my wall, most likely because my wall isn't 100% smooth and had a few nobbly bits!!

Here is the finished product and I have to say that we all love it, it is so true!!! I have now decided to start placing family photos around the quote so it is going to be a work in progress.

If you need to liven up a room, make a statement or just make a small but meaningful change then are for you!!

At checkout use the following code to get 10% off your first order 10_OFF or DO8LTXLG3Q4B for free delivery.

*please note only one code can be used per order*

I received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion on the product.

Family Fever

Canvasdesign Winner

A few months ago I ran my first ever give away in association with CanvasdesignUk.

The lucky winner Blake has been nice enough to send a photo of his prize; a 30" x 30" montage canvas.
I think it looks amazing, don`t you??

Keep checking back for details of my upcoming competitions.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Friday, 9 May 2014

Blog Your Heart Out - My turn

Okay...who knows what Blog Your Heart Our is about??

Blog Your Heart Out is like a modern day chain letter but on the net!! I answer 5 set questions about myself and my blog, then tag in other great bloggers to give their answers.

Its a brilliant way of getting to know fellow bloggers by answering the questions you want to know the answers to!!

I`ve been tagged by Letters to Elliot to answer my questions to here goes.

Who/What encouraged you to start blogging??

After many years of nagging me trying to persuade me to start blogging Emma Collins aka Theprmummy finally convinced me to give it a go!! I never got the whole idea of blogging till I started so was completely naive to how it all worked, I now wish I had started it years ago.

How did you choose what to blog about??

As I had just gone onto maternity leave with son #3 my life was newborn orientated plus having my 2 older boys all I did, said or thought about was my kids. So a blog about our daily lives seemed appropriate.

What is something most people don`t know about you?? would`nt know it now to look at me but when I was younger I was sport mad!! I did gymnastics at a competitive level and even tried out for the GB gymnastics team!!!! On average I did 5 hours of exercise a day, gymnastics training in the morning before school, GCSE PE at school then gymnastics training again after school, and that's not including all the other after school sports I did.

What three words describe your style??

Easy-going, laid-back & sleep-deprived!!

What do you love to do when you are not blogging??

Having 3 boys and a man-child husband to look after 99.9% of my time is taken up by looking after them. When I do get a second to breathe I tend to either blog, fall asleep or more recently go for a run/power walk with my bestie Theprmummy to try and shift the effects of the last 7 years and 3 pregnancies!!

Right then that's my 5 questions answered, now I tag -

Louise Jolley
Jennifer Grace
If you would like to be added to my tag list just shout xx

Thursday, 8 May 2014

I`m a Morrison`s Mum!!

Over the Bank Holiday weekend Morrison`s via Britmums invited me to become a #Morrisonsmum and do a shop in one their stores. I was to then report back on my views of the shop and produce available.

They very kindly gave me £80 to spend in-store. This is well and truly over our weekly budget of £60 so I was excited to see how much we could get and include some naughty luxuries.

Usually I shop at Aldi or Asda and so am used to getting good value for money.

Our nearest store is in Verwood, Dorset, approximately a 25 minute drive away. I wouldn't normally go this far out of my way to go food shopping as we are very spoilt in Bournemouth and have a superstore almost every few miles!!!

So on Friday night (2nd May) I convinced ThePrMummy to come along with me and we set off in search of bargains!!!

Due to it being a bank holiday weekend and with the promise of some nice weather I decided to not take a list of things to get, but to see what stood out for me and took my fancy.

The Verwood store is currently undergoing a complete redesign with a new HUGE store being built next door. I didn't find that this impacted my shopping experience at fact it has made me want to go and see it finished as looks like its going to be massive.

Having never shopped at Morrison's before I didn't know what to expect,  I'd only had vague descriptions of the general store layouts from my Nan who lives next to a store on the Isle of Wight.

I was very pleasantly surprised!!

Everywhere I looked there were yellow I`M CHEAPER signs on the shelf edges showing that the prices had recently been was a sea of yellow!!!

Half full already!!

The fresh fruit and vegetables were situated right by the front doors so you walked straight into a vibrantly coloured, fresh smelling and widely varied selection of fruits and vegetables.

I'm used to Aldi`s offers of the week prices so was surprised to see that Morrison's prices were pretty much on a par with Aldi.

Typically my phone battery decided to die whilst walking around the store so didn't get many photos of all the lovely products available, but did get a few random ones of myself and ThePrMummy!!

As you can see from how full my trolley is and the size of my receipt that I got a lot on this shopping trip!!

That`s a rather long receipt!

My weekly budget is usually £60 to feed the 5 of us, this shop came in at £89, so it only cost me £9.......AMAZING considering I was rather naughty and filled up the bottom drawer of my freezer with ice lollies for the kids!! Emma and I were having bets on how much each of our trolleys would come to, hers came to £115 but that did include baby food and formula so she was impressed with that!! I was well out on mine saying £105.

This has to be the worst photo of me ever!!!!
Saturday night was stay at home date night with hubby and so decided to treat ourselves to a nice Italian meal. I got a meat feast pasta melt from Morrison's own chilled range with some of the amazing in-store bakery's cheddar and red onion focaccia bread.....yummy. The whole meal only cost £2.66 for the pasta meal and £1 for the focaccia.......BARGAIN.

I decided to get everything needed for a nice chicken roast on the holiday Sunday and then make a Chicken Noodle Stew for the Monday.

Here is what I got :-

1 x Morrisons Saver Peas 89p per pack, 1/4 used = 22p
1 x Morrisons Savers Chicken £3.92, 1/2 used = £1.96
1 x Morrisons Savers Carrots 59p per pack, 1/4 used = 14p
1 x Morrisons Potatoes 69p per pack, 1/2 used = 34p
1 x Morrisons Savers Broccoli 49p 
So a chicken roast dinner for 2 adults, 2 kids and 1 baby = £3.15 or 78p per serving!!!!!!!!!!!!

For my Chicken Noodle Stew I used :-

Left over chicken = £1.96
Chicken carcass for stock = free!!
3 x carrots = 14p
2 x potatoes = 17p
Ribbon Noodles from store cupboard = 20p

So a grand total of £2.27, or 45p per serving as I made enough for hubby lunch the next day!!

This photo doesnt do my Chicken Noodle Stew justice, it was delicious.

I have to say that I am genuinely surprised at the quality and price of Morrison`s products compared to the other big brand food shops. And am glad that I have managed to produce some lovely tasting budget family meals.
If I had a store nearer to me I would definitely start using Morrison's on a more regular basis but can`t justify the trip out to Verwood at the moment.

Thank you to Morrison`s and Britmums.

I was sent £80 in vouchers to spend in-store in exchange for my honest opinion which is truly my own.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Real Nappy Week - Conclusion and My Honest Opinion

I cannot believe I`m saying this, but I have absolutely LOVED trying out cloth nappies for Real Nappy Week!!!!

At the beginning of the week I was very apprehensive about how I would be able to change my habits and routines of using disposable; but after an admitted hard first few days the last few days have been a breeze and it has been a joy to use them

I think that the cloth nappy world have a new member!!

After my first disaster day which has been deleted from my memory I tried all nappies for the week, below is a quick summary of each nappy`s best features and how I honestly found each brand that was sent to me.
I have to admit that I have been using disposables at night and the cloth nappies during the day, this is because Benjamin has only just got back into a decent sleeping pattern after a really bad cold and teething so didn't want to give him a reason to wake wet in the night. Once I feel more confident with the nappies I will definitely be trying them at night.

Here we go!!

Tots Bots Easyfit V4

  • An all-in-one system , with Velcro fastening and popper adjustments.
  • Integral bamboo insert with an added extra insert that boosts absorbency for longer periods or overnight
  • I loved this nappy and found the fact that you could add an extra booster great as Benjamin can be a prolific wee`er!!
  • The Velcro fastening made it feel just like a disposable and was so easy that even my mum at first attempt managed it no problem. A definite favourite for me, plus the pattern was really cute.
  • No leaks!!

  • One size fits all due to unique `bra strap` like leg adjustment system allowing use from birth to potty training.
  • Hybrid nappy so can use reusable or disposable inserts.
  • Comes with extra reusable booster inserts to increase absorbency for longer periods of wearing or overnight. 
  • Popper fastening system.
  • I found using the popper system to close the nappy very awkward as Benjamin is a wriggler during nappy changes. However over the last few days it has become easier so am not worried about them now, just practice is needed!!!

  • Popper style fastening system 
  • Highly elasticated waist to ensure good fit
  • Features suede cloth lining to trap moisture quickly
  • I found these nappies dried really quickly, to be honest they were almost dry when they came out of the washing machine so only needed about 15 minutes on the line.
  • Again I found the poppers tricky to begin with but got the hang of them quickly.
  • No leaks!

  • All in one nappy, no extra inserts needed.
  • Velcro fastening system with popper leg adjustments.
  • Waterproofing built in.
  • Integrated absorbent insert with unique pull out tab system for easy washing and drying and a cleverly designed tuck in pocket to easily insert absorbent core back into nappy.
  • This nappy is definitely one of my favourites, its so easy to use with the Velcro fastening and I love the tabs to help when reinserting the cores back in the nappy.
  • No leaks!!

  • Combines an all-in-one nappy but has the option to add extra absorbent cores as necessary.
  • Extra cores are secured by popper onto integrated core.
  • Popper fastening system.
  • I liked the look of this nappy and liked that you can secure the extra cores onto the nappy.
  • The fir was good and adjustments are made my poppers on the front.
  • My only bugbear with this nappy is that it doesn't seal like a normal nappy. The tabs from the back of the nappy secure under the front rather than over the front of the nappy; so the tabs become wet with urine???????
  • We have had a few accidents with this nappy but probably due to me not doing it up tight enough.
  • Classed as a two-in-one, 
  • Can have disposable or reusable soaker pads.
  • One size shell fits all sizes from birth to potty training.
  • Soaker pads are secured in nappy by poppers.
  • This nappy has me in a dilemma...I love the fact that you can just remove the wet/soiled soaker pad and reuse the shell until it is dirty or wet BUT I found that because the soaker pads are so absorbent that they took a stupid and I mean STUPID amount of time to dry!! I put them in the tumble dryer on low for 60 minutes and were still damp!!
  • Saying that I think that this is my favourite of all the nappies tested do far.
  • A true classic in the cloth nappy world as was introduced over 10 years ago.
  • One of the cheapest cloth nappy systems around.
  • Velcro fastening.
  • A very simple nappy to use, just layer up the desired amount of fleece inserts and you are on your way!!
  • To enhance the waterproofing of the nappy a waterproof wrap can be added.
  • I love the look and ease of these nappies but found it to be the bulkiest of them all, leaving Ben walking with a definite waddle!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at The Nappy Guru`s and the Fill Your Pants team for giving me the chance to try these nappies. And to my personal Nappy Guru Rachel who took the time to explain to me how each nappy worked.

With out all of your help I would never of come to realise how easy switching to cloth would be!!!!!

I highly recommend anyone to give cloth nappies a go, they are not as hard and scary as they first seem.

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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Real Nappy Week Days 1-4

Here is an update on how I have been finding Real Nappy Week so far.

Day 1 - Monday

Right, with my practice day of cloth nappies behind me I decided to take the ultimate test and go out with them on!!
We went to my local meet up of networking business and blogging mummies called Lemur Link Up and had all my fingers and toes crossed that we would be OK and stay dry!!

I put Benjamin in the Gro Via All in One nappy in the new Drift design. 

Assuming the position!!

I love the design on the nappy and found it really easy to put it on. The nappy is a popper design which at the moment I am finding a bit fiddly but am sure I will get the hang of it the more I use it.
I like the fact that you can adjust the amount of inserts in the nappy depending on the amount your baby wee`s.
We were out for just over 3 hours and changed him once; not because he was wet but I think I was worried it could leak and so was being overly cautious, over the course of the day I used a Charlie Banana, and Bambino Mio Solo. All with no leaks!!!!

Day 2 - Tuesday
Today we spent the day in as the weather wasn't great, first of all we used the Smarti Pants nappy; the thickness of the padding and inserts didn't fill me with hope as Ben is a super wee`er but to my surprise it coped really well with the huge amount of wee produced!! Again it is a popper design and I`m seeming to get the hang of them as this one went on like a dream.

We also used the Little Lamb Cotton Nappy, this has to be one of the cutest nappies I have ever seen...plain white in colour and really fluffy. Benjamin looked like a little lamb...haha, get it?? The Little Lamb uses a velcro closing system which is just like a disposable nappy, so I had no problems on that count! Because we were inside all day I didnt use the waterproof wrap supplied, plus I didn't want to cover up his cute bum!!

Day 3 - Wednesday

Wash day!!

I have to admit that as the nappies were bring being washed and dried today that I put Benjamin in a disposable to go out. Plus he has got really bad nappy rash, most likely from the fact that he has started teething again, not the new nappies. I kept in disposables all day and his bum seemed better.

Day 4 - Thursday

Today I been at work for a few hours so Nanny had the challenge of dealing with cloth nappies!! When I told her that Ben would be trialling cloth she was like "Oh I used cloth nappies with you Jenifer, I know what I`m doing". Yes mum, you may of used cloth nappies 32 years ago but things have changed a lot and boy did she get a shock when I dropped him off and gave her a lesson in modern nappies!!
I have to say I was worried about how she would do with them but as you can see by the picture below she was like a pro!!! I gave her the Tots Bots Eastfit V4 in their Hickory Dickory Dock design and she loved it, I think using the velcro rather than the poppers was easier for her first one to try.

Where am I at the moment with cloth nappies??

  • I am having to re-learn my nappy routine as in getting everything ready to hand as with disposable nappies I use the nappy to wipe any poo off Ben`s bottom and then wrap it up. I can`t do that with the cloth nappy so had to have a nappy bag open and ready to take the poo and wipes. I can now see why people use re-usable wipes as all I would have to do is wipe his bottom and put the wipes in soak with the nappy.
  • Washing and drying wise I am going to have to be more organised, as all of a sudden I seem to of run out of the cloth nappies and some of them are taking longer to dry than others.
  • After my first bad day with leakages I have come to realise that you need to change cloth nappies a lot more frequently than a disposable.
  • I am loving using the cloth nappies and the more I use them the more I feel that I may be converted permanently to using them, this is not a good thing for my bank balance!!!
If you would like to give cloth nappies a try but worried about the cost then go to the Nappy Guru`s website and receive 20% discount on all orders placed during Real Nappy Week.

Check back at the end of the week for an update on our journey and detailed description of my thoughts to each nappy supplied to me.

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