Tag Archives: Easter
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#silentsunday – Butlins Style

7 Apr

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A Quick Hello From Sunny Bognor

4 Apr

As a Butlins Ambassador I’m currently enjoying an Easter Half Term mid-week break at their Bognor Regis Resort. Myself, the three children, my mum and a friend are staying in the lovely new hotel the “Wave” and are really enjoying our experience so far.

When I come back I’m planning to write up a review in which I will share our thoughts on all aspects of our break. I will also be sure to share my thoughts on the services offered for those families off a child with a disability such as autism or Aspergers.

What I will say now is that Little Man is coping with the changes reasonably well and we are managing to have a good time despite the odd mini meltdown.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures for now… Enjoy!

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Story Telling With The Easter Bunny

5 Apr

If you’re looking for one great alternative to the “Typical” Chocolate Easter Egg, then I have it right here !

Abigail the adorable floppy eared bunny is the latest addition to the Hallmark ‘Story Buddy’ range.

The super soft, super cute Abigail joins her friends ‘Watson’ the Racoon, ‘Cooper’ the Bear and ‘Jingle’ the Husky as the fourth addition to an already fabulous range of Story Buddy’s and what’s more Abigail isn’t just an adorable bunny but she’s also a female one, making her the first girlie buddy of the range.

Story Buddy’s are more than just your “Typical” cuddly toy, but an interactive, innovative friend, designed to bring the magic to your child’s story time.

Like all buddies, Abigail comes complete with her own beautifully illustrated book “Abigail and the balance beam’s” that tells the story of how Abigail tries to make her mother extra proud of her by performing gymnastics.

As yourself or child read aloud specific passages from the book, Abigail will suddenly start to interact, creating a totally magical reading experience

Unfortunately, things have been a little hectic here what with us all being unwell at some point or another, the decorating of more than one room and my Mac becoming buried someplace within in the mess of it all, we therefore didn’t get to film this one! However, leading up to Christmas last year, we did review Abigail’s super cute racoon friend Watson via video in which your more than welcome to have a peek if desired.

An unwell Alice-Sara was pleased to have her story buddy to cuddle last week

Abigail truly is an adorable bunny with a lot to say. My daughter Alice-Sara 9, fell in love with her instantly, she’s also proved something of a big hit within the family as the toddler can hardly contain himself and therefore keep his hands to himself.

Dressed in her pretty pink dancers custom, she’s not only innovative but pretty stylish too.

Lot’s of fun can be had with Abigail and any of her friends, plus you’ll never become bored, not when Hallmark have created a range of additional story books especially designed for each character and priced at 5.99 each.

If that’s not exciting enough, those with iPads and iPhones can download the fabulous free app from the app store to accompany the adorable bunny. The app includes a short animated story that can be played aloud through the app’s internal narrator or even recorded by a loved one to add a special personal touch to the story telling experience. Also included on the app, are a selection of child-friendly puzzles and interactive games that allow your child to dress up Abigail, just like in the story book.

Its official, we are a Story Buddy loving household, what with our latest addition ‘Abigail’ the Bunny who is now housed alongside Watson the Racoon and Cooper the bear, don’t be too surprised if you find some more lovely story buddies moving in during the year as there are new releases planned for later in 2012.Harley the toddler with another of the buddies ‘Cooper the Bear’

These really are genius, a hit with all three of my children, with each owning a buddy of their own and enjoying reading alongside them regularly.

These are also great for the child on the autism spectrum and those with special educational needs. It was Little man who put Watson to the test during our video review last year and I found it helped to install confidence when reading aloud.

Cute, innovative, interactive, fun, educational and doesn’t rot your little ones teeth, what more could you ask for in an alternative Easter gift?

Abigail the Bunny can be brought in branches of Hallmark as-well as online and falls into the same price racket as her fellow buddies at just £19.99

Check out the Hallmark website & Facebook Page for more information or simply click below to watch the promotional advertisement from Hallmark!

#Silent Sunday

25 Mar

Easter Crafting for a £1

22 Mar

This year myself and the children have done lots of different craft projects, its all that bit more exciting now Harley is that bit older and therefore able to contribute that bit more. Harley is 2 and seems to be a keen crafter making it one of our favourite afternoon pass times.

In the run up to Easter, I’ve shared one or two reviews on some brilliant creative activities that are fun for all ages and abilities. This week we’ve been doing all sorts of Easter crafting, what with competitions such as designing and making Easter bonnets and cards, its been rather busy in our house.

We were pleased to be sent a cute Easter gift bag containing some found Easter crafts from Poundworld. Within this gift bag were a few things perfect for the activities we had planed. I’ve always loved a good pound shop, these stores are not new to me, though Poundworld is somewhere I’m yet to discover. Here’s what was sent and how we used it, and remember everything is priced at the bargain price of a £1 with one or two deals thrown in for good measure.

A Dozen Decorative Chicks £1

Cute little yellow chicks perfect for any Easter crafting project. These also look great as non edible Easter cake toppers. Myself and the children have been busy making paper mache decorative eggs which we housed in a pretty basket we had decorated with lovely yellow ribbon adding a few of this chicks amongst the eggs made an excellent touch. You can find out how to make your own over on my sister blog “Mummy of many talents” tomorrow.

Make your own Easter Cards Activity pack £1

This was perfect for the children’s entries into the Easter card making competition. Within the pack you get 6 cards and 6 envelopes plus a cute selection of toppers and pretty embellishments for decorating your cards. Alice-Sara had her friend stay over for a sleepover and both had tons of fun making Easter cards. They did empty the crafts box adding additional touches such as glitter and other girlie bits and pieces. These are fantastic value for just a quid.

Easter Bonnet Decorating kit £1

A really good size pack of dressings for your Easter bonnets. Included are some sheets of luxury tissue paper, 6 brightly coloured large pipe cleaners (perfect for creating bunny ears) some ribbon and a good selection of pretty Easter embellishments. Alice used these to decorate her bonnet she had made with card and with what’s left we’ll decorate the straw bonnet supplied by Poundworld (see below) as a competition entry.

Straw Easter Bonnet £1

A really pretty straw Easter Bonnet decorated in pale lemon ribbon. The hats the perfect size for little heads and can be customised if desired. As mentioned we’ll be customising ours for a competition we’re entering.

Easter Poster Art Kit £1

I knew as soon as I saw this that my toddler would claim it and claim it he did. He loves painting and this set came with 4 posters to paint. Each poster consisted of a cute chick design and the quality of the paper was impressive. Sadly the brush fell apart within minutes and the basic water colour pallet was not really visible on the paper, I had to get the toddler to put lots of paper on his brush to get any sort of colour on the paper. Luckily we have poster paints which I took out for the remaining posters.

Easter Egg Hunt Game £1

This set consists of flat-packed Easter Baskets and Easter eggs. These are easily assembled into 3d visions and children can hunt for the eggs around the house and if whether permits, the garden, adding them to their baskets as they go.

As we already have the appropriate supplies for an Easter Hunt game we used these to make a fabulous beaded Easter picture by decorating both the eggs and baskets with the use of thick double sided tape and an assortment of beads, then we mounted the cards to some black paper. (you can find the step by step on my sister blog Mummy of many talents tomorrow) see picture below for finished results.

So… that’s all the crafting done, there was however, a few other surprises in our bag.

Pink Easter Bunny Ears

These cute pink bunny ears are fabulous addition to any Easter costume, costing just £1. Below Alice-Sara kindly models them for you.

Character Chocolate Easter Eggs £1

A couple of chocolate character Easter eggs, costing £1 and currently on offer for 4 for the price of 3. Great value and better priced then many other retailers. The kids reported these were yummy.

Chocolate Easter Bunny

Lastly we have this super chocolately big bunny costing £1. The kids however cannot comment on its yumminess as mother took him to bed and mother never speaks of the secrets of the bedroom, OK! 🙂

All in all, excellent value for money at Poundworld who also sell everything from cleaning products, to books and homeware. Plus you’ll find lots and lots of brands for just a pound… you can’t really grumble at that can you!

Crafty Family Fun

17 Mar

I love spring, for some reason it brings out the creativeness within me, which is then passed on to the children for good measure.

Out of my two eldest children (these being Little man AKA a boy with aspergers and Alice-Sara his younger sister of 2 and a half years) its Alice-Sara who has always been the one most keen to embark on any creative projects, whether this be drawing and painting, or making something from odds and ends.

My youngest, Harley, a very energetic toddler of 2, has already displayed a fondness for crafting. He loves everything from finger painting to gluing and sticking (basically, anything messy).

Little man is extremely creative when it comes to ideas, poems and LEGO creations. He draws plans for designs, but doesn’t actually enjoy putting pencil to paper, he would much rather do everything on a computer if given the opportunity! The Use of Colour is something else his always struggled with! Given the choice, he will do everything in black and white! Little man does have many difficulties, not just with his gross but also his fine motor skills. His lack of control over his fine motor skills causes him difficulties when colouring or painting a picture as he struggles to remain within the lines, and being a bit of a perfectionist, he will normally just reframe from the activity all together!

Over the last few weeks, myself and the toddler have found ourselves elbow deep in paint, glue, goggly eyes, pipe cleaners and everything else you could possibly think of! Since discovering his enjoyment for such activities, I’ve found it a great way to interact and spend lots of mother and son time, enjoying each others company while the two older children are at school (before I know it, he’ll be in that place soon too, and I want to enjoy my toddler being a toddler for as long as possible).

Having been on a creative crafty high these past few weeks (trust me, we’ve made everything from Easter Baskets to sock puppets) I was delighted to hear from the lovely team at Baker Ross.

Baker Ross have an online Aladdin’s Cave, filled to the brim with everything you’ll ever need to get crafting, plus loads of undiscovered treasures. I love it over there, so, I’m obviously delighted to be part of their network of bloggers.

Yes, this makes complete sense, as not only do I love their stuff (I could quite honestly spend hours browsing their online store) but I love to craft, bead, draw and paint with or without the help of the children. I also believe that by encouraging little man to express more of his inner creativity, he will benefit greatly! This could also help improve his fine motor skills and he may well benefit in a therapeutic type of way too.

A few weeks back, a smiley delivery man brought me a box that put me in a crafty mood. Inside there were Daffodil windmill kits, a pot of pre-cut foam to create 3D flower pots, a very funky key ring making kit and the toddlers favourite, a kit to make an array of Pom-Pom bugs.

Although, I love to use the magic of imagination when thinking of, or working on a project, it was quite pleasing  how these were all kits with an intended purposes. So, instead of being sent craft supplies which I’d spit up and use within varying projects, I actually had some pre-planed tasks to embark on with the children.

Now, I’ll start with the Miniature 3d flowerpot kits, which sadly was mine and that of the children’s least favourite! Basically, you get a pot of foam pieces all pre-cut into the required shapes…. Flower heads, steams, leafs, flower-pot etc. The instructions are Ok, though some sections needed to be read twice. The only additional material that was required to create these foam flower pots, was some silicone glue (clear in colour). My daughter found this most fidley and it was frustrating to glue the bits on and then have to wait around for each bit to dry, it really wasn’t productive. Little Man attempted it for all of 2 minutes and this really wasn’t appropriate for the toddler. The leafs wouldn’t stick correctly to the stems as these were to thin, gluing each part, pressing firmly than waiting to dry before attempting another section, was the only way forward. What would have been perfect is, if the foam was self adhesive, otherwise this just ended up a bit of a gluey mess. I did however have some double-sided tape tabs which I cut and gave the children to use. This worked out a little better, though it was still not perfect. Once these had been assembled, they looked quite groovy. In the end we just made a selection without leafs, though they were all pretty much leafless by the end ! The fact these are made of foam meant they would be easy to customise and decorate if desired (I’d highly recommend some little gem studs applied to the petals for a pretty finish).

 Next up were the Brilliant Bug Pom-Pom kits: These were the toddlers favourite, and if I’m honest, mine too. Harley, the toddler, was able to help me with these and did so for over an hour, which passed the time nicely. The best thing about these, is the fact each kit (bug) comes in its own bag which is absolutely brilliant, means they could be used for party bags etc. The Pom-Pom bugs are dead simple to make, with easy to follow instruction, these look really effective. Each bag contains instructions, goggly eyes, the required amount of Pom-Poms for the Bug you’re making and pre-cut foam pieces for body, wings, etc

All you do is glue the pieces together as shown on the instructions. We did cheat and on certain sections we used double-sided tape! This was purely because Harley wanted to play with them right away, he isn’t the most patient child, but then again, what 2-year-old is?

I particularly loved the Lady Bird we made, what with its massive goggly eyes and big smile. My toddler Harley, loved the completed Bugs, he honestly sat playing with them for hours (a cheap Christmas 2012 for me then, I hope)!

Check out the picture I took of the Lady Bird with a completed caterpillar alongside the foam flowerpots I told you about first.

Daffodil Windmill Kits (10 kits per pack) were next on the list. These were made by my daughter and my good friend Donna. This crafting activity also came in their own packaging so great for gifts, especially Easter ones. These, I wouldn’t recommend for younger children, the instructions were not the easiest I’d ever seen, so, was in agreement when my friend blamed the instructions rather than herself, when she got the first windmill very wrong. 🙂 What’s more, there is no clear description of what way the pieces should be fitted and quite obviously my daughter did become a tad frustrated. However, on a more positive note, the overall quality of the windmills is absolutely brilliant. They do start of a bit stiff, but after a while loosen up allowing them to spin as they should. These are made from good quality card and they would look fabulous stood in some flower pots next to the daffs.

These are kinda like constructing a gift from a Kinda egg, only bigger. Children are not really required to use their imagination on any kind of level, as it’s basically a step by step construction process that I guess some children will feel proud to have completed. As nice as these look, I do personally like my windmills with some personal touches, so I think I’ll be getting the kids to decorate these with some sparkle.

Now up in-till this point, its fair to say that I was unsuccessful at getting Little man (my eldest who has Aspergers Syndrome) engaged in any of the above. He just wasn’t interested! Then came the wonderful Super Shrink keyring kit and that was it, he found something he wanted to have a bash at!

Little man must have seen the potential as I was a little confused at how the kit we had been provided with, could possible make keyrings.

The kit contains lots of keyring attachments, 5 mini packets of colouring pencils and lots of plastic sheeting (size of a standard photo).

Seems like a strange selection of supplies, wouldn’t you agree? It was only once I had taken a look at the instructions, that I realised how these worked and was both impressed and intrigued by the idea! Basically what you need to do is, take one of the plastic sheets and draw your design (any design) on the rough side. You need to ensure you leave enough room to hole punch the design and cut around it. Once cut and complete, heat up the oven and then place your design inside (with the help of a grownup helper) Leave in the oven for 2-4 minutes, remove and leave to cool! What actually happens is the plastic shrinks and becomes thicker, the colours (if used) become somewhat darker, though, I still found the supplied pencils to appear way to light, so Little man used markers instead, which worked really well. Once cool, you simply add the keyring attachment through the hole that was punched before the design was cut and baked.

As previously mentioned, Little man isn’t big on colour, his actually not keen on drawing (unless it’s a simple bus design or that of a hotel plan)! With this he instead opted for a simple design, a quote as opposed to a drawing. He enjoyed this activity so much that he started making keyrings for all his teachers and staff at his school, he even made one for the cab driver and escort, each with its own personalised message.

This was a great idea, it’s a fantastic idea to get children on the autism spectrum to display their feelings for others (which many find hard to express).

Above a selection of Little Man’s message keyrings to teachers and staff at his school. 

Little man loved the kit so much that he has told me that once these are all used up, I’m to order him some more, bless him.

If you love crafting with your kids, check out these creative kits and loads of other fabulous arts and crafts materials, over on the Baker Ross website.

Build-a-Bear Workshop Fun Packs Review

6 Mar

Build a Bear workshops are pretty awesome, with store’s located all over the country, your bound to have heard of them before. My children love anything Build-a-Bear Workshop® and as a parent I think its pretty cool too! The fact you can visit a store, pick and stuff a bear, (inserting a heart with a wish attached) shop for it’s clothing and accessories then take it home is pretty exciting for a child and is a fantastic idea. We love it so much that my daughter recently had a Build-a-Bear Workshop® Birthday Party, she’s 9 and I worried maybe she was a tad to old for this now! Well, she loved it, and continues suggesting we pop in every time we’re out shopping in Bromley.

Admittedly, it cost a bit of money to be building bears on a regular basis, yes here and there, birthdays, Christmas, treats, but every week, my daughter has little chance of success! However, it seems that Build-a-Bear Workshop® have the perfect solution!

The Build-a-Bear Fun Packs are an all new and exciting pocket-money range of miniatures. All 12 bears that make up this exciting collection, all feature in their full size at Build-a-Bear Workshop® meaning your child gets the same great quality, just in a mini vision of its original form.

Just like the original bears, each comes with a heart to insert. These however, are not just any heart but a friendship heart.

The Friendship Heart series comes with one of six colourful hearts that each has a special meaning . Fill your Furry Friend with Love (red), Strength (green), Courage (purple), Happiness (yellow), Dreams (blue), or Honesty (orange). The special BABW Heart Ceremony is included so that each child can bring their Furry Friend to life.

Fun Packs cost £5.99 and include…

Mini Furry Friend

Heart and ceremony instructions

t-shirt

fabric sticker set

trading cards

Collectors guide with activities and an online code to use at www.bearville.com

Ok, £5.99 is in my opinion, a tad over priced, considering these are really small! Nonetheless, you do get a lot in your fun pack and kids do seem to love them. If Alice-Sara wants to spend her pocket-money on fun packs, I wont argue!

The best part for me, is that these are not blind foil packaged, you will therefore not end up with a load of doubles, which wouldn’t have been ideal at price of £5.99.

Alice seems to like them, keeping it on a shelf in her bedroom with all her bigger bears, I can quite honestly see her ending up with a shelf full soon enough!

The trading cards have not come in use as yet! This is because none of Alice’s friends seem to not have acquired a fun pack of their own as yet. If this does happen, I know she will likely enjoy this aspect, she is a bit like her older brother who has Aspergers syndrome, she loves to form a collection.

Check them out for yourself, what’s more, there are lots of special offers taking place at Build-a-Bear Workshop® especially for the Easter period. The latest one I’ve discovered is a Free Egg decorating kit, with every purchase of £20 or more.

Disclaimer, we were not paid for this review, though we were given a free fun pack to conduct this review. All opinions remain my own.

Mookie Toys – Pillow Pets

4 Mar

Mookie Toys have a number of awesome products, some of which the children have reviewed. This time Mookie have brought to the UK, from the US the original Pillow Pet.

Pillow Pets are more than just your average pillow but a super soft cuddly toy that can be hugged but also slept on once the velcro strap has been released and the cuddly toy is converted into a beautiful soft cosy pillow.

We were sent one of these Pillow pets by Mookie Toys to review. We choose the awesome brightly coloured yellow Bumble Bee known as BumblyBe! Others in the series, include a cuddly Monkey, playful Penguin, Cosy Panda, Cute Puppy, Magical Unicorn and a whole host of others. What’s more a new range of fluffy bunnies are due in for Easter!

We love these and although the pillow was intended for Alice-Sara (the toddler got something similar before Christmas) It’s been the toddler who has claimed it! Honestly no one is getting near this thing, Harley loves it! He can either be found cuddling up to it or resting his head on it as he watches one of his many Bob dvds!


These are seriously super tactile so ideal for the child who is tactile defensive, or those with sensitive skin. Little man loves the feel of pillow pets but given Harley is guarding BumblyBe like his life depended on it, Little man hasn’t really stood a chance of cuddling up to it!

Pillow Pets are really lovely soft cuddly toys that double up as fluffy inviting pillows. If you fancy getting your little ones a pillow with a difference, it’s hard to go wrong with one of Mookie’s Pillow Pets, even I’ve had a cuddle (at my own risk)!

Check out Pillow pets by visiting pillowpets.co.uk (prices from £16.95)

The Return of Olly The Little White Van

4 Mar

Olly & his friends are back on our screens with all new episodes of Olly The Little White Van! 

Olly (voiced by the fabulous Justin Fletcher aka Mr Tumble, Justine’s house & loads more besides) is the most helpful little white van in town, doing errands for everyone, and being helpful in anyway he can 

Olly, teaches our children this important message throughout the first series (Harley reviewed last year). Now his returned to do it all again in series 2, which consists of some 52 x 5 minute episodes, aired on Mini CITV every weekdays at 9.45 AM and then again at 12.45 Lunchtime.

Harley, has been incredible lucky and has been invited to review the second series which was sent to us on a sample dvd. I was confident he’d enjoy it, given his love of the first series and in all honesty, I could do with seeing some new episodes considering he had really worn out the last lot (Kids never seem to get bored of watching the same thing over and over again)!  

Olly is just as energetic & cute as ever, as he continues to do what he does best “Helping others” Bazza (Olly’s best friend) is still getting himself into light-hearted mischief, and a host more adventures are had with Stan Olly’s driver in episodes such as the Bumpton Cup.

We received the dvd via royal mail a few weeks back, though Harley didn’t actually get to watch it till yesterday morning! He actually posted the dvd into his Early Learning Post Box, causing me to spend the best part of 2 weeks searching high and low for it… just as I was about to give up, Harley the Little Postman delivered the dvd to me, along with the words, “Mum… What’s that?” Nonetheless, it was worth the wait, giving Harley something to enjoy on a Saturday morning and myself the chance to get “Mummy stuff done” 

Of course he loved it! His watched it again this afternoon before finally crashing out for a Sunday lunchtime nap. 

The online website is just as great as when we last checked. I’m loving how it has a facts and fun activities section, which contains a number of PDF downloadable fact-sheets and activities, which have been designed with the help of a child psychologist and number of parenting experts to encourage your child to be helpful on a daily basis. 

Plus there’s a fabulous kids section, packed with fun colouring in activities and a host of games & puzzles to keep them busy.

What’s more, Olly the little white van is currently running a fun & exciting competition with the most amazing prize, one I’m sure will delight any young Olly fan! 

If your Little one just can’t resist belting out that catchy theme tune as the credits run, get out your  video camera or mobile phone and start filming! Why? Because they could potentially win the opportunity to meet the man behind the voice, “Justin Fletcher” himself! 

There is no mistaking it, Olly The Little White Van, which first hit our screens back in June 2011 is something of a raving success, that just looks set to get bigger and better with each episode. With new toys, games and apps, set to launch this spring (sometime after Easter) plus the edition of exciting collectable die-cast models, brought to us by ‘Hornby’ (see my Toy fair 2012 post) Olly & his fun gang of friends, look set to be around for a long time yet! Harley for one couldn’t be more pleased!  

For a sneak preview of some exciting episodes and full instructions & terms and conditions on the amazing competition, visit Olly’s magical site.

Facebook loving Mums and Dad’s can check out what’s up and coming in Bumpton via the awesome Olly Facebook page, or follow this cute and helpful white van over on twitter 🙂

 

Harley & Peppa Go To Playschool

28 Feb

Oh, we received a rather special gift for the toddler last week. The postman knocked at our door with a very special delivery, in a big white cardboard envelope and addressed to Harley himself.

How excited he was to open the envelope and discover a very special Peppa Pig book! Yes, this wasn’t just any Peppa Pig book, but a personalised Peppa Pig book, titled, “Peppa Pig and Me – Harley and Peppa go to playgroup”

This is a truly special book for a truly special boy

The beautifully presented paperback story book is filled with brilliant personalised touches making it really exciting for little Harley.

This includes cartoon styled illustrations of Harley with Peppa pig, which have been cleverly generated from the details I gave when ordering the book. His name also appears throughout the story.

Harley displayed an almighty smile upon his face as I read him the story of how he spent his first day at playgroup amongst Peppa pig and all her amazing friends. He never lost interest once, keeping his attention throughout the time I was reading.

He was so adorable as he kept nodding his head and saying “Peppa pig hold Harley hand”

I was dead impressed with this book, a Ladybird publication that is beautifully illustrated and worded from start to finish.

It’s easy to order your personalised story which is available from the awesome site Buyagift.com, all you have to do is give a few details that help describe your child’s characteristics, and if desired a small personalised message, which in my opinion makes a lovely touch.

I’d highly recommend this book, and it could prove the perfect alternative to a chocolate egg this Easter.

The book is priced at £14.99, to find out more visit Buyagift.com who sell a huge range of truly unique gift ideas, from personalised books to gift experiences including pampering days which i actually wouldn’t mine this mothers day (though I’m sure the pocket-money of three little ones wouldn’t cover it)! A mum can dream, can’t she:)

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