Tag Archives: christmas wish list

YOU CAN MAKE £ FOR YOUR FAVOURITE CHARITY WITHOUT DONATING A PENNY

5 Dec

20

DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS

I really aimed to post this on Saturday as one of our weekly recommended charities that are worth supporting this Christmas, but a little thing called life happened to ruin that plan.

This is actually not a charity, more a way to help a number of charities. ‘Give as you live’ is a programme brought to you by Everyclick that enables you to make money for your favourite charity just by shopping online as you normally would.

You yourself don’t actually need to donate a single penny.

Hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of online retailers have joined the ‘Give as you live’ programme pledging to donate a percentage of its sales to your chosen charity, all you have to do is shop as you usually would. Basically this gives you the opportunity to raise money without actually donating a cent.

To get a better understanding of what ‘Give as you live’ was really about, I headed to Liberty’s in London’s West End to find out more.

Liberty’s is a high-end department store just of London’s Regent St. Over one or two glasses of bubbly the lovely Polly Gower’s CEO, Everyclick and founder of ‘Give as you Live’ told me all about it!

The lovely Polly told me that the Give as you Live programme is connected to all 220,000 UK registered charities and the programme unlocks an untapped, additional fundraising revenue stream that is free to all charities online. Participating charities can receive up to 90% revenue share and already more than 600 charities are raising funds through ‘Give as you Live’ with more charities being supported every week.

The Give as you live programme can be used with over 1,300 of the biggest online retailers, from supermarkets, travel agents, to dating sites. I decided to go and checkout and discover just how many stores where part of the programme and as promised all the big names were there. Every retailer that I used online was part of the programme… Some Examples are Tesco’s, John Lewis, Sainsburys, M&S, itunes, Debenhams, play.com, Boots, Mothercare, Topshop, Toysrus etc… honestly every single store I could think off is listed on the Give as you Live programme.

Another thing I learned from Polly is that Everyclick are able to provide your publication with a gift guide sharing the best-selling gifts this Christmas for all it’s readers and sites such as mumsnet are already a part of it.

Here is a list of products that seem to be pretty popular this Christmas, and here’s how much the online retailer will donate and your chosen charity will raise from the purchase of such items.

Product: Apple ipod 2 Price: £399.oo Raised for charity: £5.99
Product: Iphone 4S Price: £499.00 raised for your charity £7.49
Product: Amazon kindle Price: £89.99 Raised for your Charity: £4.45
Product: Ride on Dalek Price: £209.99 Raised for your charity: £6.30

In December 2010 £6.8bn was spent shopping online, if the same amount was spent on Christmas shopping this December 2011 through ‘Give as you Live’ a potential £170m could be raised for UK registered Charities.

The whole online shopping experience for you is no different, you spend not a penny more than you would if you didn’t shop via the Give as you Live site! Just by using Give as you Live to access your favourite online stores this Christmas you raise money for YOUR chosen charity. All you need to do is decide what charity you want the funds donated to? Mine would have to be the NAS 🙂

You can even make your own wish list and share it with friends and families.

So… If you still have Christmas gifts to buy and plan to do so online, please do it through ‘Give as you Live’ site making sure your chosen charity benefits this Christmas.

To shop or find out more go to www.giveasyoulive.com today.

Give as you live are also running a competition allowing you the chance to win a fantastic £500… to find out more click HERE

Lastly a big thank you to Polly and her team for a truly fabulous night at Liberty’s.

Girls can do Meccano too

20 Aug

When we came back from our break away, the children where delighted to  discover they had some rather lovely Meccano sets waiting for them.

Later that day I was chatting with a friend online why the kids got  busy with their reviews (no rest for the wicked) My friend asked me  what my daughter was up to. Well, to say she was a little shocked when  I told her Alice was busy with her own Meccano set, was an  understatement! Honestly, you could hear the gasp from miles. Seriously  people, are we still stuck in the dark age where girls were expected  to play happily with Barbie and only Barbie?

The lovely people at Meccano  sent Alice-Sara, the rather pretty,  ‘Girls tool box construction set’ Wow, take a look at this and tell me  Meccano is not for girls! This is totally chick, very appealing to any  princess, I’m sure! A 60+ piece set all stored inside one very pink  and glittery tool box.

This girlie set is aimed at little ladies aged from 5-8 years. Each  set comes with an instruction booklet which is broken down into easy  to follow steps to enable your child to construct a total of ten  different girlie vehicles (note… only one piece can be built at any  one time).

Alice is 8 years old, and at the, “Higher end of the recommend age range” that has been given for this set. This showed as she had no trouble  following the instructions and constructing a range of different models. She commented that she enjoyed the challenge of constructing  the different models and had lots of fun doing so! Alice has built all  10 models in the instruction booklet. Here favourite is the funky buggy type car, she has dismantled this reconstructing it back together a  number of times. Alice seriously enjoyed the meccano set and rated it a 10

From a parental prospective, the Meccano set for girl’s, is a great  addition to the children’s construction range. It’s my opinion that  Meccano should bring some new girlie additions to this collection in  time for Christmas (here’s hoping they do) I will be honest, I was tad  disappointed that Alice did not require my help! I was kind off  looking forward to showing her how it’s done (though I think she may  have done better than I would have, probably showing me a thing or  two)! It’s great that brands like Meccano and Lego are now marketing their toys at girls as well as boys. When I was a kids I looked to get  my mitts on my brothers Meccano, but he would always tell me, ‘It’s  not meant for girls!’ We live in a world where little girls grow into  woman who choose to become mechanics and train drivers therefore why  shouldn’t we play with toys like Meccano.

Meccano helps the development of hand/eye co-ordination and fine  motor skills, it also helps a child gain independence and teaches them  how to follow basic step by step instructions. The beauty with Meccano  is, the sense of achievement it brings when a child has constructed a  model independently. The accomplishment helps build confidence, a very  important life skill. This is a set that receives a huge thumbs up from mum.

We were sent this product direct via the manufactures. However through  some online research it would seem that the, ‘Meccano girls tool box  construction set’ can be brought from a number of well-known stores and is priced at around £19.99 by most stores including Toys R us (though prices do vary).

Look out for our next Santa’s little helpers review to discover how  the boys found their Meccano sets…Coming Soon!

Thank you WoodenToyShop Love Little Man

16 Jul

  It’s been a great first month, which is all down to the WoodenToyShop!

 For those who read the blog on a regular basis, will know that my daughter was featured as our first little helper in the blogs new feature, ‘ Santa’s Little Helpers’ that showcases some of the best and hottest toys form July to December! These little elf’s otherwise known as my three children will fully put all toys and gadgets to the test then give you their honest opinion and overall rating in-order to create the best Christmas wish list to be found online! Giving us her thoughts & inspirational craft ideas when reviewing the Melissa and Doug friendship stamp set from the WoodenToyShop, I found myself very proud of her professional approach when it came to being a toy reviewer (given that she’s only eight, over-excitement was kept to a minimum)

This week our Little helper is the one and only Little Man himself, sharing his thoughts on the… WAIT FOR IT…. DRUM ROLL PLEASE… “Children’s Large Wooden Cricket Set” from the fabulous online toy retailer, ‘WoodenToyShop’ I must state that  I did find this an odd choice what with the  fact he would have done almost anything to avoid a game of Cricket in the past! 

When the WoodenToyShop kindly invited us to pick something from the online catalogue I didn’t dream Little man would request they send him out a cricket set! It took him just seconds to score the content on the site before finally shouting, “Yes, this one please mum” I remember thinking, “What on earth…”For one I was stunned that he had spent so little time choosing! This is normally something that takes him some hours… admittedly he does get this from his mother, which only highlights my confusion that little bit more! The choice of a cricket set baffled me and for this reason I admit I didn’t email my choices right away giving it a few extra days convinced he would change his mind… If anything I would have bet money on it that this was going to happen sometime in the next few hours! However… realising that in-fact my son who has Aspergers syndrome, was in fact looking forward to the arrival of his new “Cricket Set” I got ordering, FAST… while secretly praying for a fast delivery given my delay he was already getting impatient. 

As his mother I then made the decision to embrace my sons optimistic attitude and over all willingness to try his hand at something new!

You may now ask yourselves, “What the hell has this got to do with the review of a cricket set?” when you go on to read the next part of this post, I promise, Its relevant, so stick with it! 

Some few months back I took the Little Man for an Occupational therapy assessment in London’s Harley street, where he was asked to perform a number of task requiring a demonstration of his ball skills. This would show the assessor how good he was at using his upper body “upper co-ordination” The Assessor would set a number of challenges to establish what difficulties if any, he has with both fine and gross motor skills and that of his sensory processing! Little man went ballistic, “I’m not doing this, its stupid!” he unpleasantly stated. I sat patiently as the assessor gave it her all trying to convince him to participate in the activities asked. I made a suggestion to which I so rudely received a one finger gesture before he slang me out the door. My son hated to be asked to do something if he knew it was something he struggled with. He would fall to pieces and panic. I could hear him so stubbornly  refusing, shouting, “You think because I have Aspergers I can’t do it! I hate all off you” Two hours passed before we finally left Harley street and headed home.

 All three toys arrived together I watched my daughter grab hers and disappear while I opened baby Harley’s (coming soon) However, Little man continued to watch the TV, he seemed to have lost interest… I feared this would happen! Two days later I came down and there it was hanging out it’s box, just as it was the day it arrived! Yes, I understood better then anyone that Little man could be an impulsive buyer, but he had continued to remain positive up in till the day the toys arrived.

Day 4… and the cricket set is still sat lonely and untouched in its box! Day 5 and movement was looking slim as I discovered it still sat there in its box getting dusty. With this I decided to leave it be for one more day, at a push two, then I would return the product, that or ask a family member or child’s friend to do the review, either way it seemed that little man wasn’t even going to look at the thing let alone review it. 

Day 6… I went into the hall to package up the cricket set and drop it at the post office before early closing in-order to send it back to it’s rightful owner but….

 “It was gone!”

 Following the faint sound of thumping I ended up in the garden where I stood, jaw on the floor and feet rooted to the ground… I saw my Little man stood there in his pyjamas swinging his bat back and forth, forcefully hitting the little red ball against the brick wall that was just about holding up this old house. He occasionally ran side to side as not to allow the ball out of his sight, trying hard not to miss. My little man couldn’t see me stood there tears in my eyes. The cricket set from the WoodenToyShop turned out to be so much more then a review of a toy, but it provided me with an insight and valuable lesson, “Have more faith in what your child can do!” I’ve always believed in him but from what I saw at the OT assessment and throughout the past I stupidly drew to the conclusion that he wouldn’t be that good a cricketer just as his mother isn’t! Shame on me!!

He was out there some hours, spending time on both his transport fascination and practising his ball skills. I kept going to the kitchen window to grab a peek and felt my heart leap with pride with every single trump of the ball against the rattling wall. He had a smile so huge, I melted… Deciding not to trigger any challenges I decided not to snap a picture in fear of being caught and didn’t even ask him to give any feed back on his new toy in fear of being told to sod off so I waited patiently just as I did at that OT assessment at Harley street. 

Day 8, I found this next to my bed…

“Dear Mangers of the woodentoyshop, thank you for sending me your cricket set. I really like it, its solid which is a good thing as I loath toys made of plastic, maybe that’s why mum thinks your a great toy shop. I didn’t like the colour of the ball and think you should make black ones. but that’s just an opinion rather than criticism. The ball did bounce off the way displaying amazing speed, I’m quite good and only missed a few times! My mum thinks I can’t do it because she has never seen me do it, she tells me I can do a lot of things and is always proud of me and my sister and brother but I’ve been practising for a long time with my school tutor who I miss because I now go to school, “The best school” The lady in London who mum took me to see, asked me to do this almost ruining my mum’s surprise! I even kicked her out the room, it was crazy! 

My score 1 Only joking 3… Joking again! 10 is my final answer, thank you WoodenToyShop Love XXXXXX XXXXX aka Little man.”

Shocked I grabbed my phone to call the OT but remembered it was the weekend which meant it wouldn’t be open! I checked my emails for her report  but was quite sure it wouldn’t be there as yet, it was to soon maybe! How could I possibly wait till Monday to make contact? Then right at the bottom of my inbox  I discovered an unopened email with an attachment, realising it was sat there unopened in my inbox… just like the cricket set and for almost the same length of time. 

I downloaded and opened it, It was the longest report I had ever read. My son had areas of difficulty in all seven of his senses, bilateral co-ordination, running speed and agility, fine motor precision, fine motor integration amongst others… I read that he had very low muscle tone, and was struggling to cope with his sensory processing mainly due to his extremely sensitive senses. This was of course a lot to take in as his mother I knew that this report was going to shock me and upset me a little… But then I noticed what I had first come looking for..

 “UPPER-LIMB CO-ORDINATION… This test comprised of eye-hand Co-ordination activities such as throwing and catching a tossed ball, dribbling a ball and throwing a ball at a target. XXXXXX displayed excellent ball skills and managed appropriately with throwing and catching a small ball using two hands and with one hand, and also managed well with dribbling a ball while alternating hands.”

This was said to be his strength, I was blown away! Yes, he will need a programme that is devised by his OT and implemented throughout his school day by teaching staff as well as six individual OT sessions a term from a professional OT each lasting 45 minutes each, Yet just this one thing above was all it took to prove that my little man had the ability to make me eat my own hat. 

For me it was fate, God delivered us this cricket set for my Little guy to display his skill while delivering my surprise (No, I’m not a big god person, but you have to admit this was as if he was being rewarded for all his hard work) If I could give this product a rating of 100 I would… The maximum ten is what it will have to be then. Perfect for any child who loves ball games, or just wants to improve and practice in the back garden. It’s simple design with just a small logo/image, but mostly plain… that for us was perfect, extreme colours or patterns would have sent Little man into a sensory overload. For all those artist, paint it, go crazy with a spray can, my daughter would! Of course the set allows you to Play alone or with others, it has four stumps allowing some good old-fashioned rounders. Little Man can build up his confidence and hopefully as his social skills improve he will start to challenge others. With the ability to build social skills, improve eye-hand co-ordination and healthy exercise… For under a tenner its got to be a winner.   The large wooden cricket set has an astonishing price tag of just £6.95 10/10

The woodentoyshop.co.uk is still right up there in my opinion and remains a 10/10 top marks for a site that is fairly priced, offers a discount day via a code from facebook page or twitter (Fridays) Best of all… A discount for nurseries and schools accompanied with the chance of winning all the returned but undamaged stock that can no longer be sold due to the fact its been opened (completely safe and usable condition, draw is done on a monthly basis)

 Be sure to return for the Competition to bag your child an awesome gift from the WoodenToyShop, while supporting my first ever give away!

Visit the WoodenToyShop blog for product reviews, new lines, guest post and more.

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