Thursday, 31 October 2013

Educational Resources From Twinkl

I'm not a stranger to home schooling. I did it with both my eldest children many years ago. We had a computer and internet back then but it was difficult to find resources online. You either had to be a teacher or pay lots of money to access any available resources. If only Twinkl was available back then.

In the end I had help from home tutors who came to the house and eventually my Eldest Daughter got through her exams. No1 son who also had a home tutor for a while ended up going to a BESD (behaviour, emotional and social difficulties) school where he was supposed to be for six months and ended up being there for three years.

I can't currently Home School the littlies as much as I would love to, but I do like to encourage further learning at home, so finding a good website with so many resources is great.
Twinkl Teaching Resources is the trusted home and one stop shop for thousands of lovely, unique and FREE printable teaching resources for EYFS, KS1, KS2, teachers, home educators, childminders, nurseries and more.


Twinkle has an excellent section for Parents including time tables and behaviour charts as well as work sheets for reading, writing and numbers just to name a few.
There is also a free trial of resources for schools which can save time with all it's unique and helpful tools and materials.

As it is Halloween we decided to try out the Halloween activities resource pack and had fun with the colouring sheets, wordsearch and trump cards as well as finding a pumpkin soup recipe sheet. 

I also printed off the Autistic Spectrum Mind Map which is really useful and I'm planning on giving a copy to Star's teacher. In fact there are lots of resources for Special Needs and I will be working my way through them.


There are lots of resources for Autumn and I've been looking through the Bonfire Night activities. I will be downloading some word maps and getting the girls to write some Bonfire related poetry. As well as having fun while learning I hope I can prepare the littlies for the noise and sensory overload that is Bonfire Night.

Twinkl also has a great community forum you can join along with lots of other parents, students, teachers and teaching assistants. It's easy to join in and chat with others or ask those niggling questions.


Twinkl also has an awesome blog, a recent post has lots of Halloween Crafts for you to do with your children, or why not enter their fantastic competition to win a bundle of goodies from Hobbycraft?


You can join Twinkl for free and if you like what it has to offer you can upgrade for as little as £24.95 a year for Gold Membership or £39.95 for Platinum Membership where you can have access to over 97,000 resources!


I was gifted a Platinum membership of Twinkl for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own, and be prepared as I will be sharing more of our activities that we have found from Twinkl in the future. 

Monday, 28 October 2013

My Little Zebra

You may have notice a new tab at the top of my blog with says My Little Zebra, this is where I am now going to keep my posts about Star and her progress and problems.
Currently I am trying to get a proper diagnosis for her, she has already been diagnosed as having high functioning autism and hypermobility syndrome, but I want further investigation into the hypermobility syndrome in a vain hope that she will get better treatment in the future.
Earlier this year at the beginning of the school holidays, Star woke up with, what is effectively, a slipped disc in her neck. At this moment in time she still has that slipped disc and all the physiotherapy she has been given has strengthened her neck so she can hold this twisted position without so much pain. No treatment she has been given has actually improved the position of her neck and I'm beginning to believe that it may be permanent. The medical slang for someone with a rare or obscure medial condition is a Zebra. Medical students are sometimes taught 'when you hear hoof beats, think horses not zebras' In other words, always look for the obvious problem rather than the unusual. In many ways this is a good thing, but not when it gets to the point where people are forgetting what zebras look like, or even the fact that they exist. I believe that Star has Elhers Danlos Syndrome (or Hypermobility Syndrome type III) and this is considered a rare zebra condition.


The past few months have been difficult for the whole family but even more so for Star. First she had to leave a school where she was progressing well. She had lots of help in place and I had a good relationship with the school and we worked together. It was sad that she had to leave but we really had no choice. Then she had her neck problem, the hospital still insist she must have fallen or injured it somehow, they won't accept that it happened while she was sleeping. Most of the school summer holiday was spent in hospital or visiting hospital. We barely had time for anything else. Although we did manage a couple of days away in Blackpool.
Then we moved house. That was traumatic for all of us, I had lived in our old house for twenty four years. We left behind family and friends and although we didn't move very far, it's not the same being on the same street.
in hospital


Next up was a new school. I'd had real problems finding a school for the littlies because there were no places for all of them at any one school and I didn't really want them separated. Also the school holidays hampered my looking and contacting schools, especially as the Local Education Authority in our area had recently handed back the school admissions back to the schools rather than taking applications themselves. By a stroke of luck I managed to find a school that had just take on a new teachers so they could have another year two class and the girls where accepted. This meant no planning, no visits, no preparing. Just one morning to say hello to the teachers and tour the school and then BAM back to school after nine weeks off. Of course, Star is still visiting the hospital twice a week so that has been another thing to contend with, as well as still having to wear a collar.

back to school, finally


So now we are currently seeing a severe regression in Stars behaviour. She's not sleeping again, she's having tantrums, being miserable and refusing to go to school. She has lost all control over her emotions and is constantly breaking down. I am hoping that this is just a temporary back step, only time will tell. It's half term this week but my plan is to go into the school when they return and see what I can do to make school life more easy for her and make sure she has everything she needs in place.

However, despite this being a fairly negative post I still have to think of all the positive things we have achieved. We had a lovely new home for one, after being cramped up in a tiny house for so long it's like a dream come true having somewhere big enough for all of us. Also, I did manage to find a school where they could all attend together, I really thought for a while that they would be split and I would be working out how to be in two different places at the same time every morning and afternoon. Finally, despite everything, Star has made a new friend. She doesn't make friends easily, but she has really clicked with a little lad who lives in our street and goes to the same school. They walk to school together and really enjoy each other's company. That's a big achievement for Star, a little shining light amongst all this stress.



Ethans Escapades

Friday, 25 October 2013

I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth!

Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth,
And spotted the dangers beneath
All the toffees I chewed,
And the sweet sticky food.
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth.

My mother, she told me no end,
‘If you got a tooth, you got a friend.’
I was young then, and careless,
My toothbrush was hairless,
I never had much time to spend.

Oh I showed them the toothpaste all right,
I flashed it about late at night,
But up-and-down brushin’
And pokin’ and fussin’
Didn’t seem worth the time – I could bite!

Exctract from Oh I Wished I'd looked after me teeth by Pam Ayers.
Taken from the The Works: The Classic Collection 2008.

When I was a child I remember watching Opportunity Knocks with my mum when Pam Ayres came on and recited her poem, Oh, I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth. Even back then I hated my teeth, and I hated my mum's teeth even more because she didn't have any. She was brought up during the war when toothpaste was rare and gum disease abundant. If you were unfortunate to suffer gum disease then your teeth were taken out and you were given false ones. This happened to mum when she was only nineteen years old!

I wasn't happy with my teeth because they were crooked, but not crooked enough for a brace, and the enamel was already damaged. Mum said it was because of all the Penicillin I'd taken for my constant ear and throat infections. In those days it was not sugar free. As I grew up I hated showing my teeth and rarely smiled properly for photos.  I tried all sorts to get them looking whiter, even bleaching with a home kit, but nothing worked. Then one day, my dentist, the lovely Gino, asked me if I'd like him to 'do something' to make my teeth nicer. I said yes, of course, and wondered why I hadn't been asked this before at the dentist? A few weeks later all my front teeth were covered with veneers, they were made to look straighter and for the first time ever I was happy to see my own smile. 

Nearly ten years later and I've had most of my five veneers replaced at least once, and two of them have been replaced with full crowns. I'm still fairly happy to smile. 

Sadly, my gums have suffered too. I've had five children and although I managed the first two unscathed, the other three caused me gum problems during pregnancy and I have lost two of my back teeth. 

So I'm not a perfect example of how your teeth should be, I've had plenty of problems and my nicer teeth are 'fake'

The advice I give my children is to clean their teeth regularly, visit the dentist regularly and report any bleeding or sore  gums. We usually have around four or five tubes of toothpaste in our house so there is something to suit everyone because even in the same family our teeth are not the same. 

To make teeth cleaning fun for the littlies we have a little song we brush to, it goes to the tune of the Okey Cokey.

Put your toothbrush in, your toothbrush out
In out, in out, brush it all about
First you do the front and then you do the sides
Then spit the toothpaste out.

We sing it twice, once with toothpaste, once with water.




I have been trying out Oral B Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste for the last couple of weeks. I do still occasionally have problems with my gums so anything that can help prevent that is welcome. I like the taste of Oral B Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection, it is not too strong, just a mild minty flavour, it leaves a tingly fresh feeling in your mouth. For adults and Children over 12 years it claims to prevent and reduce gum problems in just four weeks of regular use. 


This post is an entry for Britmums  #ORALBLoveYourGums Challenge sponsored by Oral B, promoting healthy gums - something especially important for pregnant women. Get tips and advice on www.oralb-loveyourgums.com 


All thoughts and opinions are my own, and so are (most of) my teeth.



Halloween Craft and Story Time

The Little Man has settled well into his nursery, he's had a few teething problems getting on with the other children but nothing too bad, he seems to have made friends anyway. Today I joined him for the last hour before he broke up for half term. We did some crafts together, we decorated an orange (like a scary pumpkin) and made some spider cupcakes as well as some cutting and sticking activities. Afterwards we were stuffed with lots of sweet sugary things and E numbers before being allowed home for the afternoon. I thought he would be all hyped up, but quite the opposite, he's currently snoring his little head off here next to me.

The Little Man's Halloween crafts (no cupcake, he ate it!)

Yesterday while in the bath he told me that he had heard the story of Snow White in nursery. So I asked him who Snow White lived with and he replied 'her daddy' mmmm I thought, so I asked him 'what about the seven dwarfs'? He replied, 'they huffed and they puffed and they blowed the house down'

I'm thinking he may have got his stories a little mixed up!




Wot So Funee?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Soft Play, Free Fun from Bassetts Soft and Chewy Vitamins

Today I took the Little Man along with a couple of friends to soft play. My friend commented that there was nothing like soft play around when we were young and she's right, that got me thinking how about how excited I would have been as a child. Of course, these days I have to help Little Man climb around, and go down the bigger slides with him, it's a tough life but someone has to do it. (No, honestly, it's tough, I was shattered at the end of it!)
For me, soft play means giving the children an opportunity to get some exercise and have fun while being indoors. Great for winter days out. It's also a chance for me to catch up with friends while our children have fun. If I'm honest though, I prefer soft play centres when they are quiet and full of younger rather than older children. The older children do tend to go a little crazy, and sometimes the noise levels are astounding. All my children love soft play, although the Little Man is only just getting to grips with climbing. Star sometimes gets worked up if there are too many children or it's too noisy, but mostly she just joins in and enjoys herself.

Here are some photos of today's venture, although not very good as it's difficult to take decent pics of children rushing around especially on your phone.


Our soft play session today was paid for by the vouchers you can collect with Bassetts Soft and Chewy Vitamins. A recent survey by Bassetts showed that 71% of mums in the Uk enjoy treating their children to a soft play day because it is guaranteed high-energy entertainment that can be enjoyed whatever the weather.*

Bassetts Soft and Chewy Vitamins come in a range of flavours for children to take one-a-day to support a healthy lifestyle. We tried out the orange and strawberry flavours and the children liked the flavours and the chewy texture.




Each packet of Bassetts Soft and Chewy Vitamins comes with a Free Soft Play Sticker. By going online to https://www.bassettsvitaminssoftplay.co.uk/ you can enter the code and print off a voucher. You then need to stick the sticker off the pack onto the voucher and then take it along to your soft play centre of choice. With half term coming up it will be a great way of entertaining your child for free.

I received two packs of Bassetts Soft and Chewy Vitamins to try along with the free soft play stickers. All thoughts and opinions are my own apart from the survey statistics.

*Bassetts Soft and Chewy Vitamins research study of 1,000 mums of 4-10 year old children carried out between 25/06/13-27/06/13

Please Note: Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied diet and healthy lifestyle.


Monday, 21 October 2013

Andy and Mike's Tick Tock Time Machine

On Saturday we were lucky enough to go and see Andy and Mike's Tick Tock Time Machine at Solihull Arts Complex. The littlies were really excited as they are already a big fan of Andy and Andy's Wild Adventures on CBeebies.

Tick Tock Time Machine
The Stage

Waiting for the show

Right from the start the littlies were captivated, joining in with everything and having a real good time. Even the Little Man sat in his seat for the first half which is good going for him as he can't seem to sit still for a full episode of Peppa Pig lately. He became a little restless in the second half but for a hyper active three year old I think he was pretty well entertained.

So we all knew Andy (The tall one with lots of hair) from CBeebies, but this was our first time meeting Mike and I'm so glad we did. He was really funny and energetic (and a bit sweaty) and he and Andy make a great team. They really are BFF (whatever that means, I'm trying to appeal to a younger audience here)

The show, which is totally interactive from beginning to end, takes you on a journey through time including the wild west and medieval times and ending up in the future, where Strictly Come Dancing is still going. 
Although it is a two man show, you do get to meet a lot of other characters thanks to the incredible shrinking machine and a little help from the audience. 

The audience get to join along with clapping, singing and dancing all the way through. But beware of the things they teach your children, the Babybel dance was a big favourite along with the very noisy version of Rock, Paper Scissors. At least we know now how to win every time, if you want to find out how you'll have to watch the show. 

The humour is great for kids and adults alike, no-one is left out, and the way Andy and Mike tease each other throughout is bound to cause a giggle or two. You'll definitely leave with a smile on your face. 

The show is now touring until 3rd November and then continues 15th February 2014 until 9th March. For a full list of venues and dates please visit Andy and Mike's website

Andy and Mikes
Visiting Medieval Times and Sir Posealot

After the show we got to meet Andy and Mike which was a real nice touch. They signed pictures for the littlies and posed for photo's.

Andy and Mike
happy smiley children


When I told Andy that a couple of weeks before I'd had my photo taken with Dr Ranj (CBeebies, Get Well Soon) he jumped up to have a photo with me. The lovely Mike kindly took a couple of pics for me. (Thanks Mike)

no knee bending involved


They have a great competition over on their Facebook page where you can win a mega Lego Duplo prize just for uploading a photo of you with Andy and Mike's cardboard cutout and telling them where you'd like to travel back in time. I think we would like to go back to Saturday and watch the show again.

Visit Andy and Mike's Tick Tock Time Machine website and watch a preview video as well as finding out tour dates and where you can meet Andy and Mike in shopping centres around the country.
Follow Andy and Mike on Facebook and Twitter for all their latest news.

It would be lovely to see Mike on CBeebies too, and there is currently a Facebook page in support of this. I will be contacted CBeebies to say how much my children would like to see him on TV too. It would be fantastic if Andy and Mike's shows were aired as well.


Also, Andy and Mike are supporting the Lullaby Trust in memory of Matilda Mae. The Lullaby Trust provides specialist support for bereaved families and promotes expert advice on safer sleep, working to raise money for research into SIDS. You can make a donation online at www.justgiving.com/TickTockTimeMachine
or you can make a donation of £3 by texting Tock13 to 70070
or even better, go and see Andy and Mike's Tick Tock Time machine and make a donation there!

We received tickets to see the show for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. So is the photo of me and Andy which I am framing for my bedside table ;) (ah I have a mummy crush!)


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Canal Walks for Country Kids

When we moved I was thrilled to find out that we would be living right next to a canal. You can't see it from our house because of the trees. The canal path is on the opposite side, so we can't go straight down to it even though we know it is there. What we can do though is walk a little way up  the street and find the steps down to the to path. So far we have only walked one small stretch but I am hoping to go a little further one day soon. We could walk all the way into the city if we wished...might take us all day though! I do have a friend who also lives by the canal, she walked along it to visit me last week, we estimated half an hour but with a toddler and pushchair it ended up taking an hour. I'm going to attempt a visit in return and hopefully do it a little quicker.

The best bit is walking home from school along the canal, the littlies love it. We've seen lots of barges which is really exciting for the Little Man. We also see lots of ducks.

This is the view from the bus stop

The Little Man spots a light in the tunnel

We love living by the canal!
We are still living in a suburb of a huge city but now we've moved we are a little further out, in fact right on the edge. Just a five minute walk from our home takes us to miles and miles of countryside. I can't wait to go and explore.

A five minute walk in the opposite direction takes us to a lovely little village green with it's own historic church.


It's not all pretty though, currently we are living on a building site, it's quite common to wake up in the morning to see diggers going past our garden fence. I only have one neighbour so far, the rest of the houses are still being built, but they are not far off being finished now, and there will be a new street built too which will cut five minutes off our walk to school. 

Walking to school


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 18 October 2013

A Little Garden Story

Once upon a time there were seven dwarfs


They all lived together cramped up in a little cottage

(this was not our real house)

There was not much room and they were very unhappy.
Then one day a lovely fairy godmother, called Carol, phoned and asked if they would like to move to a big house that was just being built. They went to take a look at the house....
(this is our real house)

It wasn't quite finished but they were very happy. They waited and waited and then the day came and they moved into the finished house. It was lovely, they had so much room and all seven of them were really happy. There was one thing though...the garden

the new and boring garden

Although it was very new, it was also rather boring. The smallest of the dwarf family enjoyed running around on the grass but thought they would be happier with a more exciting garden. What could they do?
Raisie thought all her wishes with her fairy godmother were used up, but still she decided that if she could come up with some wonderful ideas for the garden then maybe, just maybe the fairy godmother would make one more wave of her magic wand.


Over on the Tots 100 site Raisie found a fabulous competition where you could become and ambassador for Activity Toys Direct. All she had to do was go magic shopping with £750.
Now, what would make the boring garden a magical wonderland for the little dwarfs?

To start with they would need a little play house of their own. They loved pretend play, becoming characters or even animals in their own imaginations and acting out fantastic stories. Imagine the magical places they could pretend to visit if they had a play house like this;

Activity Toys Direct
TP Toys Forest Villa 2 Wooden Playhouse £399

Then think of those lovely summer afternoons when the little ones just want to stay outside all day. They could eat their lunch in the garden if they had one of these;

Activity Toys Direct
Plum Garden Picnic Table and Carousel £54.99

The little dwarfs love having fun with sand and water, building a beach in our little garden would be maybe taking it a step too far, and I'm sure the neighbours and the cats wouldn't be too impressed. A fabulous sand and water table, however, would be a fantastic alternative.

Activity Toys Direct
Step 2 Sand and Water activity centre £74.99
Now although the girls, Star and Boo, like a lot of imaginative play, the Little Man likes excitement and rushing around. So this next choice is especially for him, and maybe it will keep him occupied enough to let the girls have a little space for their quieter play.

Activity Toys Direct
Step 2 Up and Down Roller Coaster £129.99

 Finally, no garden is complete without a garden swing. The little dwarfs can take turns to swing and push, and I'm pretty sure there will be lots of singing going on as well.

Activity Toys Direct
TP Forest Single Swing £83.99
With almost all the money spent, Raisie finds £7 left...ohhh ice cream for everyone!
This is our garden of fun for our little dwarfs but a fairy tale is not complete without some pretty princesses and handsome prince charming.

The Little dwarfs dressed royally

So they all lived happily ever after......

No Wait!!

That's not the end, the garden is for everyone, what about the big dwarfs? Surely they deserve a little something too?

A few things for the big dwarfs

Now all the dwarfs are happy :)

The End


This blog post is an entry into the Tots100/Activity Toys Direct garden makeover competition.







Baking Mad for Halloween

In our house baking is something we do together.

The Littlies helping me bake up some treats


We love the Baking Mad website it's full of wonderful recipes and so easy to use.
As it's nearly Halloween I've been looking at some spooky things to bake and Baking Mad has plenty to chose from.
 What about this delicious looking  Spider Web Cake, this is definitely on my to bake list:

Halloween baking
Click picture for recipe
It's really easy to make and who can resist all that yummy chocolate?

Or if cakes are not your thing, how about these  Halloween cookies? I know my littlies are going to enjoy having a go at these:
Halloween baking
Click picture for recipe


If you don't have the right cookie cutters then BakingMad.com has some tips on how to make your own templates instead.

There are lots of cupcakes to choose from but my favourites have to be these pumpkin cupcakes, and guess what? They actually contain pumpkin!

Halloween baking
click picture for recipe
I decided to start off by baking a Devil's Food Cake. It was easy to make and very delicious. I'd never made the meringue frosting before and was happy to find it was easy. This is my effort with a link to the recipe.

Halloween baking
My version of Devil's Food Cake

I've written this post because I love baking and I love BakingMad.com who were kind enough to send me goodies to use in my baking.

All thoughts an opinions are my own, the littlies belong to me and so does the Devil's Food Cake I made (it's mine, all mine!)



Monday, 14 October 2013

Star's Neck - The Saga Continues

It seems like so long ago now but back in early August Star suffered from a subluxation of the atlanto occipital joint in her neck. In layman's terms, she twisted her neck. She was admitted to hospital for a short while but they seemed unsure of how to treat her, first thinking of manipulation under anaesthetic, then taking three days to find a suitable bed for traction, and finally doing, well, nothing. She was assigned a physiotherapist and we have been visiting the hospital regularly. I don't even have to give her name at reception now, like Star says, we are regular customers.

Ten weeks later and Star is not in so much pain as she was at the beginning, but her neck is not straightening back up. If you study the back of her neck you can actually see where the bones have twisted. She is being treated for torticollis (bent neck) but the twist makes it a little more complicated than a regular bend.

We still don't really know how it happened, she just woke up one day in pain, and the pain got worse. I took her to the GP but he couldn't figure out what was wrong and decided to treat it as tonsillitus. I wasn't so sure and a few days later I decided to take her to A&E. This is what she looked like on that day.


You can see how her shoulders are hunched up in pain and the tilt of her head.

She was given a collar by the hospital which was supposed to support her neck in an upright position and straighten it. It eased her pain and she became dependent on it. Now her neck muscles are too weak to hold her head straight, but the tilt is still evident too.



Here is a recent photo of Star without her collar. As you can see her shoulders are not hunched because she's not long taken the collar off and is not in pain. However, you can still see the tilt of her head on her neck. This is normal to her, she cannot put her head straight without it causing great pain. In reality, it's not much different (apart from the shoulders) to the first photo.

Her physiotherapist is worried because she is not making enough improvement so more measures are now being taken. Within the next couple of weeks she will be starting hydrotherapy and will also be having the left side of her neck taped to encourage the muscles in the right side to work more and become stronger. She is also being referred to a new consultant because if these treatments don't work then the only option will be an operation. I'm praying it doesn't come to that.








The Littlies New School.

You may remember some time ago that I had some worries about finding a school for my children when we moved house. The situation looked dire as our moving date was pushed further and further back. When the holidays were over we had been given a date to move which was just one week after the start of term, so it seemed pointless sending them back to their old school. It would have been really distressing for them too. Then the move was put back again and another week of no school passed us by. We finally moved, on a Friday, so we were now into the third week of no school.
The Monday after we moved I began calling the local schools again only to be met with, sorry we can't take any more year twos. Boo is in year two and I really wanted them all to go to the same school, it's what they wanted too. Then I happened to call a school which only that week had opened up another class so they could take on more year two children. So all three could attend and it was only a twenty minute walk away.

All three went for a couple of hours induction and all were really happy, so it was just a matter of sorting uniforms and they were off to school. At the end of the first week Boo received a certificate in assembly for 'settling in and trying hard'
The Little Man has settled amazingly well for a three year old, although it's obvious he misses his pre-school. He wouldn't have been going back there anyway, but that's not easy to explain to someone so young.
Star has settled well, I was really worried about her especially with her neck, but she's doing amazingly well. We had a little upset the other day when she got pushed in a dinner queue, but it really was an accident and no lasting damage was done.

I thought it would be difficult getting into a routine where we have to leave the house half an hour earlier than we did before, but we have managed really well. The walk is ok, they still get really excited that they have a lollipop man to help them cross the road. Sometimes we walk back home along the canal which is nice, and it means we don't have to cross the road because the canal goes under it. The Little Man goes every day until 11.50am, which means I barely have time to go home and complete my housework before it's time to pick him up again, it's really awkward for arranging to go out anywhere. Just one more year and my baby will be at full time school, that's harder to swallow.

The school seems ok, it's obvious that they have been struggling in the past, but they really seem to be pulling through now. They've just appointed a new head teacher and made a lot of changes around the school. I guess it's a good time to be joining because everyone is having to deal with all things new and different, not just my littlies.

I'm so proud of all three of them, it really couldn't have been easy for them making such drastic changes in their lives, but they have all coped really well.

Back To School

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Fighting the Flab - Ozeri Bathroom Scales Review

The time had to come, I really need to lose some weight. Well, ok, I know I've been here before but I just keep slipping back into old habits (aren't they the ones that die hard?) and the weight just isn't shifting.

I'll put my hands up, I'm rubbish at dieting. I am good at healthy eating though, so it's time to hide the biscuit tin again, stop buying chocolate from that local shop that sells it cheaper than anywhere else I've ever known (I know, honestly, what am I to do?) and get my big  butt slimmed down. This time I'm determined. I have to be, I've told you about it.

I have a brand new pair of bathroom scales which will help me in my quest. Even though I currently cringe when I see my weight, I'm happy to look at my new scales and hopefully one day those little figures will make me even happier.

Here are my new scales, elegantly modelled by the Little Man.



I am a big fan of Ozeri products, I've already reviewed the Epicurian digital kitchen scales and the Green Earth Pan, both of which I use regularly. My new bathroom scales are the Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom scales which are currently on offer at Amazon for only £17.95 a saving of £12 on their regular price. I think they are really great value.

The scales are attractive, made with impact resistant tempered glass and with a wide screen, back lit digital display which is very clear and easy to read. A switch on the back lets you chose between kg, stones or pounds. They are very accurate and there is no need for tapping or switching on, you simply stand on them and they display your weight accurately. The display shows for a few seconds after you step off then the scales turn off to reserve battery power. The scales use high precision sensors that can weigh in 0.1kg or 0.2lb increments. 

The scales even arrive with batteries tucked into the packaging!

I'm really happy with these scales, more so than any I have owned before. They are attractive and would fit in with any decor, they look great in my new bathroom. The only thing now that would make me happier is if they showed me at a lighter weight. I'll get there one day.


I received the Ozeri Precision II bathroom scales for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

A Baking Boost

I was sent these gifts from Tesco Clubcard Boost;

Clubcard Boost is the new name for the Exchange and Rewards scheme run by Tescos. You can read all about it here.

In terms of how other customers can get these types of gifts to treat their friends and family. Once they have £5 in Clubcard vouchers, they can use Clubcard Boost to 'Boost' it up to £20 to use on a wide array of gifts from days out, clothing, Tesco Direct - SO many different experiences and products to choose from. Perfect for anyone who likes to be savvy with their Clubcard points and get the most out of the perks of being a Clubcard holder and also some great Christmas present ideas too! We used to do the 'exchange' which was a couple of times a year, Clubcard Boost is now on all year round which just opens the opportunities for people to use their points whenever they want to do so.
Tesco say that they have changed their reward scheme to make it easier for people to understand.  You are now able to turn every £5 worth of Clubcard vouchers into £10 spend in selected Tesco departments throughout the year.

What a brilliant idea and I'm sure those who collect points from Tescos will find this really useful especially with Christmas just around the corner.

So I bet you are wondering what I did with my lovely gifts aren't you? Well, I baked a cake!

A very yummy giant cupcake!

Disclaimer: I was sent a giant cupcake mould and a cake decorating kit along with a very lovely gift card from Tesco Clubcard Boost in return for telling you about their new reward scheme. The resulting cake was all my own work!


We Moved House!

Well, we did it, we moved house, we moved from a tiny three bedroomed house into a lovely big five bedroomed house. It is like a dream come true, and honestly, I've been dreaming of this for so long.

The actual move, however, was more like a nightmare, in fact I still have moving related nightmares on a regular basis. We knew we were moving for two months, but were told that we would be given two weeks notice before we actually had to move. I stupidly thought this would be plenty of time to pack up. Of course a lot of stuff was packed away in the two months before. Photo albums, keepsakes, books, pictures, the sort of things you have lurking in the back of cupboards or taking up space in your wardrobe. We also had some major clear outs, the understairs cupboard and pantry (yes, we had a pantry) were cleared of all their junk and we sorted out a lot of clothes and donated all those we really didn't need.

I guess you don't really realise just how much stuff you have, especially after living in the same house for 24 years. No1 son was definitely the most organised. His room was full of things he'd collected over time, from magazines to tiny little figures, all his consoles and games (he never threw anything out and all his stuff still had their original boxes.) He planned and sorted and bought himself some heavy duty plastic boxes to store all his valuable stuff. He must have at least a couple of hundred books! He was first packed with everything but his bedding and his pc packed with a week to go before move day. Good job too because I had to beg him to help me pack up his sister's stuff. Eldest Daughter was offered work experience just before the move which meant early starts every day, and coming home fit for nothing but food and rest. She packed barely anything and we were still packing away her room when the removal guys arrived.

Packing is so difficult. You don't want to be living out of boxes for a long time. It's hard to decide what to pack away and what you will really need until the end. I found it particularly hard with the kitchen. I did pack away a lot of stuff only to find myself rummaging through boxes to find it again. Also, where on earth do you put all the boxes? As I said, my house was tiny, I didn't want to be tripping up over boxes for weeks. Of course it was useful having the two cupboards we'd emptied of junk to store boxes in, but it wasn't nearly enough space. Our already incredibly cramped bedroom space became a maze of boxes. The Little Man's bed was taken apart and the space created used for storage while he squashed inbetween us in our bed. It still wasn't enough.

Moving day came and I was really not ready. I was still packing up when the removal guys arrived, and we'd already changed the time to a couple of hours later. The whole day was a complete nightmare from beginning to end. It was non-stop packing loading and running back and forth between houses. The removal van wasn't anywhere near big enough to what we needed, OH had found them online and they said they would be able to do the move in two runs. After the two runs they left us with loads more stuff to transfer. I called on help from a friend with a big car and I had a car that I'd hired and we carried on until around 10pm. I never, ever, ever want to move house again. Although, being my first time I realise I had a lot to learn. There may even be a blog post in there, 'How Not to Move House!'

Well, with the move over (apart from the stuff we'd had to leave with a neighbour until we could pick it up at a later dater) we fell asleep in our house of boxes. The next morning I had to make my way to London for the MAD Blog Awards. Back home on Saturday afternoon I set to making our new house liveable. Here's the good bit. Unpacking has been so much easier! I guess that's because of moving to a much bigger house, we have so much space that we didn't have before. All our stuff that took forever to pack was soon found a new place to live. And just a couple of weeks later everything was sorted, well everything apart from the photo albums and things I'd packed first. At last we can call our new house a home, and I love it.

We all have our own bedrooms, well apart from the two girls who are happy to share, we have three bathrooms, no more waiting for No1 son who takes forever! The other day I bathed the Little Man in the family bathroom while the girls were showered in another bathroom, it took half the time it used to. Also, I have a huge kitchen. My previous kitchen was not only tiny but it had a door on every wall which drastically reduces space. My new kitchen is all I've ever dreamed of, loads of space, loads of storage and I just love it. No, I mean it, I really really love my kitchen. I spent a whole day baking cakes, scones and pies all while cooking a family meal and I actually had space to do this! I just need a bigger cooker now, that's top of my list of things to buy.

Our garden is smaller, ah the sacrifice! But we do have a lovely huge shed, a water butt and composter as well as a brand new lawn and tall fences. In the front garden (we never had a front garden before) we have grass and plants and I've already located a spot that would be perfect for a herb garden. The kitchen is at the front of the house so it makes sense to have my herbs there, and I'll make sure to plant some delicious smelling ones to give our visitors a treat.

The week we moved I also acheived my goal of finding a school for the littlies, all three of them together. I'd been having trouble finding a place for Boo in year two as all the schools were full, but then I tried a school I'd tried previously and as stroke of luck, they'd just added another year two class. They have settled in lovely, it's been a bit tricky with Stars neck but I'll write more on that later. I'm just happy that they have a school to go to and it's not too far to walk. On nice days we walk home along the canal which is lovely.

I feel truly blessed, I really do. For so long I wanted a nice home. No matter how hard I tried to make my old home nice it just wasn't big enough for us. I had many, many happy years there (and quite a few sad) but they are now memories to hold and now I can make a new life in my new home.

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay



Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I've also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me...is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I've loved. If I don't love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It's always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I'll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.
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