Our 99p Store Summer – Fun on a Budget!

We were delighted to take part in the 99p stores summer challenge, to see how much fun we could have after purchasing ten items from a 99p store using vouchers we were kindly given.

99pWhere did I start – well a trip to the 99p store of course.  I don’t usually visit this shop as it is a little out the way but my first impressions were of the wide array of products on offer.  I have to say I spent a good while browsing round picking out suitable items for my two young children to give them a jam packed summer of fun!

99p allAs you can see from the picture above we picked ten items from the 99p store, of a varied nature from sporty to crafty with elements of fun and not forgetting a sweet treat included in there.  I wanted to have things to entertain on both rainy and sunny days to ensure we wouldn’t be bored throughout the summer.

One sunny day at home we decided to try the bubbles in the back garden, but not just your normal pot of bubbles, a fun saxophone that generated bubbles as you blow into it and a fish shape that blows bubbles as you pull the trigger.  Miss M and Mister B were thrilled with these and had lots of laughs and giggles as they covered the garden in bubbles trying to pop them along the way!

99p bubblesA few days later we ventured to the park and one thing I knew Miss M would love is a new skipping rope after her old one broke a few months ago.  And the 99p stores one didn’t disappoint.  With it’s Zhu Zhu pets theme and pink/purple rope, Miss M was thrilled and couldn’t wait to run across the grass testing it out.

99p skippingThe following week turned a little rainy, so we spent a few days at home.  But luckily from my 99p store haul, I had some crafty things to keep the children occupied.

Mister B got stuck into the mini play dough pots, his fingers getting right into the squidgy dough with an excited grin across his face.  He decided to make a rainbow, adding all the colours one on top of another.

99p playdohMiss M meanwhile got to work building a wooden house, a great challenge for a girl who loves getting crafty.  And to top it off she got to cover it in coloured glitters!!  She absolutely loved it and it was the best thing she had done all day as she kept reminding me.

99p wooden house

We also picked up another craft kit from the 99p store which we are still in the process of making – a gorgeous cupcake sewing kit.  I am so impressed with the amount of detail in these, loads of embellishments included to make a delicious tray of fun cakes.  Miss M can’t wait to finish them this weekend so she can use them with her play tea set and shop – all handmade herself (with a little assistance from mummy as these were a little tricky for her but well worth making).

99p cakesTime for another date at the park, and this time we went armed with a pair of badminton rackets (shuttlecock included) and a spiderman shooter set.  What amazing value for the badminton set – Miss couldn’t wait to play and Mister B had his eye on the spiderman set which you just had to pump by hand and the end bits shot into the air.  Some great entertainment for any grassy area that keeps the children active and something different from the usual things we take to the park.

99p badmintonI was keeping an eye out for a dry sunny day for our next activity as I knew it could get a bit messy.  We got some fabulous chunky paints in a squeezable tube with a sponge dabber on the end to draw with.  I knew these would be a big hit with both of mine and decided the best plan of action was to go outside with a large sheet of paper – in this case I used some brown packaging paper that had a arrived with a parcel a few days before.

Paint1

Paint2My children thoroughly enjoyed themselves doing the painting and loved being outdoors.  The paints were easy to use which was great for two year old Mister B but gave enough detail for five year old Miss M to create some great artwork – check out her pictures below!

paint3I have been totally surprised and delighted by the things I purchased from the 99p store.  The range of activities we have done has been fantastic from indoor to outdoor, at home to in the park, clean to messy.  My children have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one and some have been done many times over.

I definitely recommend trying out your 99p store for summer fun on a budget.  Just look at the fun we have had with just 10 products costing a total of £9.90 – an absolute bargain.

I have just one last item to show you – I couldn’t forget something sweet for the occasional treat at the end of the day and look at this bargain box of lollipops we found!  Enough to see us through the summer – oh and two happy and contented children – what more could I ask for?  The 99p stores summer challenge has definitely left me inspired to go back for more!

99p lolly

Walkers Mighty Lights Crisps – Review

Everyone loves munching on some crisps for a tasty snack so when I was sent some of the new Walkers Mighty Lights crisps to try, I knew I’d have plenty of willing taste testers at home to give me their thoughts.

With just 114 calories per pack and having 30% less fat than standard crisps these have got to be worth a try.  For an everyday snack or lunch boxes, these are ideal knowing that you are eating a tasty snack that doesn’t pile on the pounds!  It also means they are handy to keep in your bag for when you have that urge to snack or to have a pack with a glass of wine knowing you are not adding too much extra fat and calories to your day.

Another bonus with these crisps are that all flavours are suitable for vegetarians, great seeing as me and husband aren’t meat eaters so it’s good to know we can enjoy these crisps just as much as anyone else.

Walkers

The Walkers Mighty Lights crisps themselves are made from real potatoes with no artificial colours or preservatives and are a source of fibre.  Each crisp is ridged giving it that extra texture with each bite and they come in three varieties of flavours – Roast Chicken, Cheese & Onion and Lightly Salted.

So time to taste and 5 yr old Miss M was first up eager to open a bag.  She tried the lightly salted variety as she is not keen on too much flavour with her crisps.  The packet didn’t last long as she sat there munching them and when I asked for her thoughts on them I got “Yummy, I really like them mummy”.

Mister B also went for the Lightly Salted, and his verdict was “Mummy can I have some more”.

Daddy tried the Roast Chicken and thought they were really quite delicious, definitely something he’d be happy to eat again.  He said the flavour wasn’t too strong, there could be more but he was quite happy with them and said it actually meant that the flavour wasn’t overpowering.  He really enjoyed the texture of the crisps being a bit of a fan of ridge style crisps.

He also taste tested the Cheese & Onion, as this is one of his favourite flavours, and it didn’t disappoint.  He’d happily eat these in his pack lunch at work each day.

I tried them and although I have nothing particularly against them, they wouldn’t be my crisp of choice.  I’d definitely purchase them again for the rest of the family as they all enjoyed them and knowing that they are that bit healthier than normal crisps, being 30% less fat, that is a bonus.  I’d much rather them eat lower fat snacks if possible as that leaves room for other treats now and again.

So overall, the Walkers Mighty Lights were a success in this house, something that had a good crunch and texture and enough flavour to keep everyone happy.  A good choice of flavours too, something for everyone.  We’d recommend Walkers Mighty Lights – why don’t you give them a try?

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Potty Training – How to go about it

One thing I’m struggling with at the moment is potty training.  Although Mister B seems to know when he wants to go, he neglects to tell me which can be very frustrating.  Below are some hints and ideas on how to go about it.

The Dreaded Potty

Unfortunately, we all know that potty training isn’t the easiest of steps in a child’s life. We all expect mishaps and mistakes, but what do we do when nothing is working? What do we do when they just don’t want to use the potty?

Praise

A lot of success in potty training comes from positive reinforcement and praise. When someone praises us or acknowledges our accomplishments we strive to do it again or achieve something greater. The same is true with our children, but a nod or simple “well done.” doesn’t quite cut it. A lot of children, while starting to feel more independent and grown up, will strive on the claps and cheers as they use their potty.

The Potty

There are some great products out there to help your child feel triumphant as they tackle the potty and new found independence. Whether you let your child come with you and buy the potty they like the most, or make them ruler of the toilet with a throne potty, it’s a good idea to involve your child in “potty training” before they even start. Remember that you are making a big deal of their achievement and not potty training as a whole. Think about how you give praise too. Is a sweet or chocolate the best reward?

THRONE1 THRONES2

Potty Thrones (as mentioned above) are available from www.bambinodirect.co.uk

Anxiety

Remember that you child may feel really anxious and worried about using the potty. It is best to make light of any accidents and keep them from being a big deal. Just get out the mop or something, clean it up and move on. Accidents will happen and they may come even after a long period of success. Don’t be shocked or disheartened.

Smells and Mess

Imagine you have just been to a public toilet and … lets be blunt – pooped. As you leave someone goes in after you and says. “Phoawrr!” or they start to gag. How would you feel? Obviously it’s not exactly the same for your toddler, but do your best to keep any disgust at bay. Yes it may smell. Yes it may go everywhere. Yes you may get it on your hands. All those things are unpleasant, but just stop and think how your little one may feel.

Age

When should I start? How old should they be? These are commonly asked questions and the answer is simple. 1. Generally children are unable to control bowel movements until 18 months, so before that is somewhat impossible. 2. The majority of children are potty trained between the ages of two and three, but many are not ready until after this. 3. You child has the ultimate deciding factor when it comes to readiness or ‘the right time.’ Don’t rush it or put too much pressure on either of you.

Hand Washing

This is something that is often over looked and of course you need to be careful that they aren’t washing their hands too much, as this can lead to dry skin and irritation. Hand washing is important though and the sooner you help your child get into the routine the better.

Potty training is different for every child and every parent. Don’t compare as this won’t help in the slightest and may just lead to frustration or disappointment. Of course search out help and support if needed, but ignore ages, stages and statistics. Take on the challenge with your little one and accomplish it together at the right time for you.

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Summer Play Linky

Welcome to the Summer Play Linky, which has been running over a different blog each week over the summer holidays.  This week it is my turn to host and I’m going to share with you painting in the garden – an activity I usually shy away from but one my children love and have so much fun with.

I do hope you can join in with any activities old or new to occupy children over the summer holidays.  The linky runs for two further weeks and can be found on the following dates at these blogs:

12th September – Red Rose Mummy
19th September – In The Playroom

 

Summer Play

Grab this button and join in
the Summer Play Linky

If you’d love to get some play ideas, have a look below and share your own fun play ideas.


Painting in the Garden

I’m never keen on messy play, so summer is the ideal time of year for me to get the children outside and let them be creative with paint.  A few days ago, I took a long strip of paper (some packaging paper that had come with a parcel I was sent) and laid it across the patio.  We had some 99p sponge paints from the 99p shop, along with some solid paints, brushes and some cut up potatoes.

My two couldn’t wait to get stuck in decorating the piece of paper anyway they chose.

Paint1Paint2paint3

They even decided to paint their hands to make prints.paint4paint5My children had so much fun free painting as they wished using the materials they were given.  They were kept entertained for a couple of hours and loved every minute of being outside with paints, using their imagination to create their artistic masterpiece!

So simple, yet so much fun can be had being outside on a sunny day, keeping the mess out of the house.  We had great fun – why don’t you try outdoor painting too?

 

Chuggington Chugger of the Year DVD – Review

One thing that any little boy loves is trains, and a programme that both of mine have always loved watching is Chuggington on CBeebies.  It always keeps them amused watching Brewster, Koko, Zephie and the other trainees going about their tasks so when we were sent the new Chuggington Chugger of the Year DVD to review, both their faces lit up and they couldn’t wait to watch it.

ChuggingtonThe Chugger of the Year DVD features seven exciting episodes that kept my two thoroughly entertained.  They watched all seven straight through, both glued to the television excited to see what happened next.  And once it was over they asked to watch them again – a sure sign of good entertainment!

The episodes included on this Chuggington Chugger of the Year DVD are:

Hoot V Toot
Stop the Press Emery
Babysitter Brewster
Chugger of the Year
Chug of War
Gold Wheels
Chug o Flage

Chuggington dvdAlso included with the Chuggington Chugger of the Year DVD is a fabulous die cast train “Speedy McAllister”, which was a huge hit with Mister B.  He’s loved pushing it along, in fact he has taken it everywhere with him this last week.  Little does he know but mummy has a Chuggington train set put away for later in the year – can’t wait to see his face when he can add Speedy to the other trains and play with them all on the roundhouse and track!

Speedy is a great little addition to this DVD and something that is sure to be enjoyed by all little Chuggington fans.  The DVD has been a huge success with my children, and been watched many times over already – it’s great to entertain them on rainy days or in the morning before breakfast.

We’d definitely recommend it – a big hit with us!

 “Chugger of the Year” is available from Sainsburys, ASDA, HMV, Amazon and the BBC Shop.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

A day out for Bank Holiday Monday in Pictures

It was Bank Holiday Monday today, and the sun was shining.  We hadn’t really planned anything and I didn’t want to go to far, so we took a stroll up to the Plymouth Hoe with Miss M on her bike and Mister B in his pushchair.

It wasn’t too busy and the weather was much better than I had been expecting.  The children love being out in the fresh air and we tried to find things to look for on the way.

Miss M loves cycling and led the way.

Hoe3Mister B was fascinated by the statues on the war memorial and intrigued that the man had a gun.  He then ran off to the main area of the Hoe overlooking the sea and had a little dance in the open space.

Hoe1We then found a giant metal tortoise statue that they both love and hopped on for a ride.

Hoe2After a walk around we then caught sight of the soldiers from the barracks doing a training run across the Hoe, Miss M is always in awe of soldiers and stood and watched while I sat on a bench and relaxed looking out to sea.

We then headed down on to the path along the seafront, and round the corner found a little tree lined path back inland with lots of exciting trees and wooden objects to climb on.

Hoe4At the end of the path was a play park – their eyes lit up and off they ran to play, exciting having a go on everything as fast as they could.

Hoe5As we had only snacked on a few bits for lunch, we decided to head to Royal William Yard for tea at Las Iguanas, this being the latest restaurant to open up there and one I have been keen to try out for a while.  Mister B insisted on wearing his groovy glasses while Miss M had her eye on the chocolate brownies for dessert.

Hoe6After eating, Miss M insisted we took a walk around the area, it was so peaceful, quiet, the sun was setting, it was still gloriously warm – what a great way to end the day.

Hoe7We walked around to Devils Point with views out to sea.  What a magical evening – I could have happily sat there for a while had it not been for two lively children keen to run around and explore.  They ran up grassy banks, between trees, eager to be first to see what was around the next corner.

Hoe9And to have a gorgeously sunny blue sky at 6pm was the perfect end to the day!

Hoe8

Secret Ready Brek Cookies

We love baking and I remember many years ago making Secret Cookies with Ready Brek.  I knew my children would love these so thought we’d give them a go as something to occupy Miss M during the summer on a rainy day.

Mister B wanted to assist too and insisted on wearing Miss M’s Hello Kitty apron rather than his own – but whatever makes him happy!  Miss M carefully followed my instructions to mix the ingredients herself and was very excited by the ‘secret’ part of the cookie.  A hidden square of white chocolate pushed into the centre of each cookie before it is baked.

Ready Brek1Here’s the recipe we used for Ready Brek Secret Cookies:

5oz butter
5oz caster sugar
1 egg yolk
4oz Ready Brek
3oz self raising flour
2oz cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
15 squares of white chocolate (enough for 1 per cookie)

1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy
2. And in egg yolk and beat well
3. Add the Ready Brek, flour, cocoa powder and baking powder
4. Mix to form a dough then break into 15 balls, flatten each ball down pushing a square of white chocolate into the centre and covering completely within the cookie
5. Bake for approx 15 minutes on 190°C

Ready Brek 2

The best way to eat these cookies is when they are still warm, so take them out the oven, let them cool slightly then take a bite and you’ll find the white chocolate square in the center is all gooey!

Ready Brek 3These are deliciously yummy, I have to say our plateful of cookies didn’t last long although we did manage to save a few until the next day.  They are almost as delicious cold as well, although if you pop them in the microwave for a few seconds it gently warms them up and they taste just like they’ve come out the oven again.

Why don’t you have a go at making these, lots of fun for children whatever the weather?

Karin Akesson “Love To Shop” Black Canvas Tote Bag

Every girl loves to go shopping and this Black Canvas Tote Bag by Karin Akesson from Gifts4Gifts.com is perfect to carry all your bits and pieces whether it’s for a casual day out or on a shopping trip itself.

WP_002862 This black tote bag was kindly sent to me from Gifts4Gifts, designed by Karin Akesson and perfect for any shopaholic out there.  The words on the bag are:

It was on sale

I deserved to treat myself

I have wanted it for ages

I’ll get a lot of wear out of it

I needed cheering up

I haven’t bought anything new in ages

I need it for a party

I never spend money on myself

I saved money elsewhere so I deserve to splash out

I really need it

I’m sure most of us females can relate to at least one, probably most of these phrases making this the ideal gift for anyone of the female species!

The tote bag itself is neutral being black with white writing and is very well made.  Being 100% cotton it is very strong but also soft to the touch which is nice.  The strap is a nice length allowing you to carry it over your shoulder or you can carry it like a typical shopping bag.

This is a good quality tote bag that would last and look good out and about, another good feature is that is 10cm wide so has plenty of depth to hold things.  This makes it really roomy and definitey the sort of bag a girl needs to carry around and with it’s quality will definitely last.

You should give them a try too – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

 

Cussons Mum & Me Little Explorers Bathtime Fun

Bath time with my two is sometime a battle, but I always keep an eye out for something exciting to keep them occupied and entertained while they are in the water.  So when I was offered the new Little Explorers range from Cussons Mum & Me to try, I was eager to try it and see how much fun it offered my little ones in the bath.

We were sent the products shown below to try:

Cussons9085-RT_Bath-Crackle-single-sachet-18.6 cussons 19159_EX_Hair Body Wash RT cussons 19163_EX_squidgy soap_RT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The children were excited about trying some new things at bath time and we started with the Bath Crackles.  On emptying them into the water, we were quite impressed with the loud crackling noises and bright blue/green pieces fizzing away in the water.  Both Miss M and Mister B loved the crackles and didn’t want them to stop.  Once they finally died down, we were left with a greenish tinge to the bath water although my two just wanted more crackles.

cussons4

Next it was time for the Squidgy Soap, a foamy soap that squirts out of a can.  This can be moulded, made into balls, or anything else you imagination lets you.  We have tried various different foam soaps before and I have to say that this was the easiest to squirt out of the can giving lots of volume and big smiles on my children’s faces.

Cussons 3They loved it, I have never seen them have so much fun in the bath, they covered themselves the Little Explorers Squidgy Soap, giggling the whole time.  And they really didn’t need that much foam, a few squirts kept them occupied for ages.  I think the looks on their faces in these picture say it all  – just look how much fun they are having!

Cussons1If you need something to occupy little ones in the bath then I’d highly recommend trying Little Explorers Squidgy Soap, we love it and give it a big thumbs up!!

Cussons2Lastly we tried the Little Explorers Hair & Body Wash to wash.  It had a rich creamy texture that is kind to eyes, perfect for an all over wash for little ones.  It has a delicate fragrance that I really liked so made my children smell all fresh and clean after the bath ready for a bedtime cuddle.

We loved the Little Explorers range of bath time fun from Cussons Mum & Me.  The whole range is dermatologist approved and hypoallergenic – perfect for little ones skin.   Why don’t you give them a try too – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.