Tag Archives: imagination

Capture The Colour Competition

14 Aug

I love expressing myself, my ideas and the things I love through pictures. I’m no David Bailey by any means but still gain great enjoyment as I capture images of anything and everything that draws the direction of my eye. A visual reminder of something or someone special, unique art spray painted across a South London wall, the weird and the wonderful, the pretty pink sky to an old cobbled street in Greece. All a moment captured in time, a tiny piece and glimpse of the past captured forever more. Each moment so different but as meaningful and wonderful as the next.

I love photography, it’s a way to build up a memorable profile of family life. I love the thought of this profile of memories being passed down through the generations still to come.

Another little hobby of mine is comping (I’m pretty new to it and finding it a little addictive)! Its not just any competitions I’m interested in but mostly those that require some sort of creativity of some sort. So, as you can imagine, when bringing the two elements that are Photography and creative competitions together, I’m never to far behind. This particular post is just that, my entry into a new and exciting photo competition one I’ve been keen to enter for weeks (only life gets in my way)! The competition is hosted by the well known brand and online site “Travel supermarket” and it goes by the title Capture The Colour Competition“. It’s a competition requiring a little creativity, imagination and that of a steady hand.

TravelSupermarket’s ‘Capture the Colour Competition’ is aimed at bloggers who will need to choose 5 pictures they have taken to match 5 different colour categories which are Red, Blue, Green, Yellow and White. Bloggers are then required to post the images and a little info relating to each, onto their blog (linking to the competition). Once complete bloggers Nominate five more bloggers to participate. Prizes are awarded for each colour as well as over all prizes given to an overall winner. There are iPads and travel vouchers up for grabs. You don’t need to wait to be tagged to enter. Check out their site for more info.

Red: MONKEY BUSINESS

Now I’ve chosen this particular image as its one I really do love. Monkeys are a fabulous subject to photograph, they are such beautiful and intelligent creatures who never fail to amaze me. This may seem a strange choice for the colour ‘Red’ especially given that ‘green’ looks more fitting. Nonetheless, I feel that it is the small delicate hints and touches of reflecting red tones that give this image an extra special edge. Image was taken last year during at day out with the children at London Zoo.

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Blue: A DRESS TO IMPRESS

What can I say other than I’m only human. A woman who’s only crime is her love for shopping. Blue Is one of my favourite colours as there are so many different shades of blue that seem to suit my fair complexion. Besides the colour black it’s the colour you’ll find me wearing whether it’s my clothing or that of my accessories. That’s why it only seems right to opt for blue when shopping for evening dresses and it was these two stunning dresses battling it out for my affection. I finally opted for the first one and wore to an awards bash with pride.

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White: PICK UP A PENGUIN

I love this image which once again seems a strange choice for the colour category I’m pairing it too. For some reason this just felt right. The penguin is beautiful and I remember how its beauty captivated me… Seriously, this is one of many penguin images I’ve taken. Others include some awesome underwater and feeding shoots.

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Green: WINTER WONDERLAND

A shoot taken on a freezing winters afternoon. This was taken on a day that time stood still, allowing me to spend time with my beautiful daughter. Alice-Sara is the sibling to a child on the autism spectrum meaning there are days she finds things difficult (its not easy as my daughter could tell you)! Sadly my time seems so unfairly spread leaving her longing a for little attention. We had a lovely afternoon making angels in the snow. Her green striped jumper looks bold and vibrant amongst the sparkling white blanket of snow, that completely covered the park we were visiting.

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Yellow: OCEAN WONDERS

This was taken a few years back when I first brought my canon camera. I was dead proud of this shoot and although I’ve got better at taking pictures overtime, its still this one I wish to included! I remember longing to show it off and now here’s my opportunity.

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So there you have it, my 5 colour inspired images of random adventures.

Now to tag 5 others (I apologise if you’ve been tagged already)

1) Mummybird
2) Diary of a teenage mum
3) Mum of three boys
4) Always Be a Friend
5) Cakes Photo Life

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The life of tired but very imaginative mother (AKA Bullshitter)

23 Jul

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The above is a scary resemblance to that of myself this weekend.

I drag my tired arse from my warm cosy pit and head for the ladies room… I sit peeing, staring blankly into space, pjs round ankles… I suddenly jump… Crap I’m falling from a very high mountain. Oh, no I’m not… I’m just falling a sleep mid pee and almost weeing on the flooring… God I feel like crap!

I do a dirty by not flashing the chain, I don’t want anyone of my three little “Darlings” waking up and joining me as I indulge my morning senses in the aroma of an instant coffee. I splash my face with ice cold water in the hope it will leave me beautiful and head out coffee in hand to my chair in the garden for a very unhealthy but extremely satisfying cigarette. I suck in the beautiful sounds of nothingness, bracing myself for the madness which is never far away.

It’s 8am, it’s a Saturday… Why am I even awake. I don’t need to get any children to school… I don’t need to worry about that for a whole 6 weeks! Shouldn’t I be sleeping… After all the children are!

When your child has kept you awake till 6am before crashing out and then so rudely snoring in such a way it almost resembles the Eastenders theme tune, you kinda don’t see the point of running for your duvet given the birdies are tweeting, the sun is peeking over the rooftops and anytime soon a 2 year old will be stood beside you demanding Cocopops and CBeebies.

Of course it was my 11 year old Little man who didn’t sleep till the insane hours of Saturday morning. I tossed and turned, yet hearing him commentate yet another imaginative WWE match (that’s World Wrestling Entertainment for those of you that didn’t know) was just to disturbing! I always hold this fear In the Pitt of my stomach, that little man will do something dangerous or destructive while I drift slowly into wonderland! Yer…. It’s just never gonna happen is it!

As I write that I have a moment of reflection… I really do need to sleep!

Melatonin is the not so amazingly magical supplement little man chucks down the back of his neck with the aid of a glass of juice almost every night In order to get some much needed sleep and allow everyone else some too. It slow releases and this is meant to mean that it helps him stay asleep all through the night. Melatonin is not a strong sedative, it’s actually something we all produce naturally… Only those on the autism spectrum seem to not produce enough. It sometimes has a desired effect and I find this is once we start reusing it having stopped it for a couple of days. This is why I will normally stop giving it to him on a weekend or have a break every few weeks. As you can tell from my lack of sleep, Melatonin wasn’t something that was working for us Friday night, little man needs to fall asleep within an hour of taking them or you can just wave goodbye to that beautiful nights sleep you regularly dream up in your head!

Well, by now I’ve drowned my insides with a third mug of coffee (yes… Mug, not cup) and I’ve noticed that my one lonely stinking dog end in the ashtray has now been join by two stinky companions. I head for the bathroom to cleanse the morning sins from my tired body… That actually means I head of to scrub away the toxins with “Soap and Glory”. I then power up the electric toothbrush and have a good go at tackling the morning breath that formed despite my lack of kip. Basically this is an attempt to resemble something living again!

As I stand slapping lashings of moisturiser onto my face, I glance up into the mirror… “FFS… Na, I don’t look like this In the flesh… Surly!” I reason with myself that this old shabby mirror has turned evil in an attempt to make me feel a tad more crap. Seriously there is no way possible that this 30 year old woman is the host of the largest, darkest eye bags she’s ever seen in her life. Despite my reasoning that the mirror has it in for me I decide to pull out the big guns just in case. I dash to the bedroom to uncover the super wand (that would be “Touché éclat) and one of my many bottles of whitening eye drops. I ignore the suggestion of light dabbing around the eye area instead really going to town on it like Lynda Barker slapping paint onto a feature wall… Only I’m meant to be hiding these deep dark rings that ever so slightly resemble tescos bag for life! For some reason unknown to me… Touché éclat is acting as a highlighter! The darkness has faded leaving what looks like shiny shallow graves that scream “Everyone, check out the state of me… Check out this record breaking piss holes in the snow” then just as I’m about to have a mini tantrum I have a cartoon moment as a lightbulb flashes above my head… Ping… Yes, brilliant I shoot out loud as I once more embark on a second mad dash to the bedroom… Only this time I emerge with my biggest pair of sunnies.

This is a brilliant plan, now there is no need to coat my lashes in Benefits Bad Lash, instead I can safely hide my shopping bags under the dark oversized lense! Thank goodness the suns shining.

The children’s father arrives and I take my over caffeinated self out the door in the direction of newsagents for a newspaper and some more caffeine in the form of a red bull light. The sun somehow helps wash away the yucky energy drained feeling consumed within me. Earphones lodged in ears I block out the sound of the traffic to the sounds of “We be burnin” by Sean Paul. Wait, I almost feel myself again, I’m winning the war against sleep deprivation… Oh yes… I’m smiling like a twat, I finally have a spring in my step.

Inside the newsagents I grab my paper and a couple of cans of “Wings” and head to the counter with a “Good morning, what beautiful wheather we’re having” kinda attitude. I’ve lived in the area years so of course I know the owners and their sons who are of the same age if not a year or two younger. For this reason polite chit chat always flows easily. On this particular Saturday morning its one of the sons who is serving and once we have engaged in small talk he rings up my items and hits me with the bill. The oversize sunnies have made everything dark so as I dig around in my handbag for my purse, I remove the glasses from my eyes and push them up onto my messy morning barnet. As I place the money in his hand our eyes connect… No, this isn’t a love story far from it actually! The expression upon this guys face was one that I can only discribe as fright, its one that reminded me that those oversize sunnies now sat up on my head where actually on my eyes for a reason… Shit!

Silence… Then he let out a slight chuckle before saying “I’m guessing you had a great night last night” with a nod and a grin.

By now I don’t no if I’m gonna drop to the shop floor and uncontrollable sob, run away or just die there and then! Remember this guy has pretty much confirmed in a round about manner that I look a right mess. I stand frozen in shock with the sudden realisation that my mirror has no evil motive… Omg i think as i flick the glasses back over my puffy eyes.

However, what happened next isn’t what one would expect. Sometimes I shock myself!

Instead of just running off, I instead find myself suddenly indulging this guy in what can only be described as utter total bullshit…. Yes verbal nonsense that is bursting at the seam pokies, over imaginative make believe that I can only blame on the days spent engaging in hours of imaginative play with a tiny tot (I gotta blame someone after all)!

“Not half… Didn’t get home till after 6 am” I said while trying to do my best impression off a nodding Churchill dog.

“Did you go into town” he asks

Oh god, here it comes… A second helping of verbal diarrhoea…

“Of course, I only go out in the West End these days… Not keen on the nightlife locally”

What…? Stop it Claire! Your lucky if you get out at all let alone the West End! Get out of here you silly women with make believe social life…. stop telling the man porkies! Yes, I hear my inner voice… Only my self control has suddenly pissed off when I need it most!

Oh… crap, here’s another helping! Somebody stop me please… To late!!!

“Well, first we, that’s myself and mate, had a few drinks in Leicester Square before heading down to the coliseum in Vauxhall”

20120723-162944.jpgJustifying the look of death with dancing in social settings failed to pay off as hoped.

That’s enough already you crazy sad freak… Your a total nutty fantasist… Home with you!

But I just couldn’t stop the easy flow of bullshit that seemed to be uncontrollably slipping of the edge of my tongue.

Oh ghosh… Here comes some more…

“Actually it was an awesome night” I said in an excited tone.

Mmmm… Really what night? Screams the inner voice I’m continuously ignoring for no good reason!

“They did happy hour every hour on the hour and you could enjoy a fishbowl of whatever cocktail you liked from the menu for just eight quid… *giggle* Needless to say I got a bit merry hence my morning presence and need for red bull” I let out a puff of air blowing my hair from over my face, somehow indicting how busy my social life is these days.

20120723-162312.jpgYou see… I may look like death warmed up in a microwave but I got off my tits on cocktails.

Surly that’s enough fibs for today!

But the conversation was clearly not finished….

He let out a confused laugh… “Strange I was there last night and I didn’t hear of any happy hour! In fact drinks were hugely over priced just as they always are!”

Oh… Crap, Crap, Double Crap.

Burning cheeks and a couple of heart palpitations later the realisation sets in! OMG… my verbal diarrhoea has been uncovered as just that, i’m left feeling totally stupid and crazy! This has all been rolled into one huge shameful mass of bullshit! What have I become?

I responded with the words “Oh that is strange” before making my super speedy exist quickly followed by power walking as opposed to strolling up the street in an attempt to reach the comfort of home where I can be safe from infecting others with verbal diarrhoea. Please, don’t let me see anyone I know! They may approach me for small talk… I’m not responsible for the rubbish I’m speaking today, nor am I responsible for the scariness hidden beneath these oversize TopShop sunnies! Faster… Come on, get inside before you make yourself look like an even sadder and bigger tit then you already have! Its safe to say i’ve now acquired a little more than a spring in my step… This has transformed itself into something of giant leaps as speedily hurry for the safety of home.

I dunno why I got so carried away with my little “White Lie” that same little white lie that ended up biting me on the bum. I guess at the moment dancing under the strobe lights amongst the artificial smoke seemed a much more interesting story! If i’m being totally honest… Which i swear i am now… I probably liked the idea of actually having the energy for a night on the tiles, this and the fact that sleep deprivation would have been a choice i made instead of an unavoidable situation I regularly find myself in. I’m not ashamed of the reality, after all that reality is my life. Little man along with his siblings are my everything and although some days I deal with things like a pro I understand that as a human being I have to embrace those other few crappy days too, that or lose the few marbles I have left! Aspergers accompanied with its many traits (sleeping or the lack of it being just one of them) is a huge part of our lives and that is “mostly” fine…. I guess I just had a moment of madness… I just let my imagination run away with me! I mean fishbowls… Whatever next!

For me I guess it was a stroke of bad luck! How unfortunate, out of all the night clubs in all the country, why oh why did I choose to revolve my bullshit around the one club he actually spent his Friday night.

This over tired but very imaginative mother really needs to get her head down on a firm pillow and engage in some hardcore sleeping action in order to recharge those flagging brain cells. Because if she doesn’t, the danger is that she will turn into fantasist which in english terms is what one would describe to be a total “Bullshitter” and not a very good one at that!

20120723-162721.jpgFinally this was me Saturday night… Unconscious, quite literally knocked out for the count… Some would describe me as dead. Oh thank good I wasn’t shoved in a freezer then buried alive! Ps… Yes Little man did wreak the house while I slept but at least he didn’t burn it to the ground… Touch wood!

Get creative with a box of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies

15 Jul

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day but now it can also be the most fun.

I was recently sent a big box of Rice Krispies, only this box was slightly different from those you usually see on the shelves down at your local supermarket.

The difference is These boxes are customisable… Yes, your child can really put their own stamp on their cereal.

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There are 8 different special colouring packs of Rice Krispies available. Here’s ours designed by my daughter Alice-Sara age 9.

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Look at the concentration on her face… An artist at work.

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Alice-Sara uses many different colours, stamps, glitter glue and stick-on gems to design her ideal Rice Krispies box.

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Alice-Sara really expressed her creative flare with the use of her magical imagination.

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Colouring in the Kellogg’s Rice Krispies box was loads of fun and Alice-Sara is pretty proud of her creation… And why not, I think she did a brilliant job.

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Special colour me in boxes of Kellogg’s are Available to buy from all good supermarkets. Plus the guys from Kellogg’s Have created its very own Rice Krispies website sharing some super creative ideas to keep your little ones busy this summer, you can even download some pictures of the Rice Krispies crew for them to colour. However, If colouring isn’t their thing then why not try your hand at making one of the fab summer recipes with your Rice Krispies! Check out the cute mouse treats below.

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This post is our entry for the BritMums #ColourMeInRK competition, sponsored by Kellogg’s.

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Thanks to both Britmums and Kellogg’s for running a great competition.
K
Disclaimer: We were not paid to write this post but did receive a box of colour me in Kellogg’s Rice Krispies and a selection of colouring pens and pencils.

Help a child with Autism communicate with the world they live in

3 Jun

So, I was on twitter recently (nothing new there I know) when I came across a very interesting tweet from one of my new followers.

The tweet in question contained a link to a very interesting website and article focused around a campaign that is aiming to help children with autism by providing them with a way to communicate with the world they live in! Here’s how.

With your help a child with autism can be given the tools needed to better communicate their needs, making the world a much easier place for them to live in.

The charity making this happen is “Hearts & Minds Challenge

They don’t need you to give funds, they don’t want your money, all they need is your old mobile phones, even those that are no longer working!

Here’s what the charity had to say!

Once upon a time, a mobile phone was a status symbol, a way to tell the world that you were so important that people had to be able to reach you all the time. Nowadays a mobile is a necessity, but we still like to have the latest model with features that can improve our daily life.

Now; when you want to trade up your old phone, you could be helping someone with Autism to communicate their basic needs and for the first time, truly express what they want. And the phone doesn’t even have to be working to help….

Autism is a developmental disability which typically affects social interaction, imagination and the ability to communicate. Half of all people diagnosed will have severely delayed speech and as a result, can become frustrated, leading to behavioral challenges and social exclusion.

In the past, these individuals could be taught to use picture exchange communication or “pecs” a system of handing over a picture to request an item. Thus replacing that negative behaviour with a vocabulary of different pictures, all of which have a huge value to the individual. They are prompted to try to say each word and can slowly learn to speak independently with the picture system as support.

However, at least a 1/4 of all people diagnosed with Autism will have to use an alternative communication system for life, which can become very unwieldy as their vocabulary grows.
They must also rely on carers and therapists to update and maintain the system, so they never have independent control of what they want to say.

There are electronic picture devices, but the vocabulary is static, the devices bulky and expensive and the individual cannot express exactly what they want.

However, thanks to the development of a simple App, which recreates the picture system in a digital format, so called ‘non-verbal’ people can communicate exactly what they want on an Apple iPod or iPad. The Grace App, named after the little girl who inspired it is a basic picture vocabulary in a digital format which the user selects then shares to communicate what they want. Most importantly, they can actually add to their pictures themselves using the device camera, or google and save an image if they cannot find and photograph what they need.

Lisa, who created the Grace App says:
“Just because someone is not yet talking, it doesn’t mean they have nothing to say”

Lisa said the App has allowed Grace to express herself clearly and her frustration and tantrums, which could last for hours are now vastly reduced.
“Grace is also interacting with us a lot more, and I’m delighted to hear her using her own voice, as her speech continues to improve”

There are a lot of families that could benefit from trying out Grace or one of the many Apps developed to support the needs of people with autism – but they need the device to use it. This is a big commitment for a family who may have limited means, and a lot of demands on their income due to the pressures of raising a child with Autism.

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Hearts and Minds are a charity with a mission to raise the quality of life of individuals with autism have come up with a scheme to turn old mobiles into new technology like the Apple iPad, while raising funds towards opening an Education Centre For Autism in Greater Manchester.

To help: Go through your drawers and cupboards and clear out all those old mobiles that are taking up space, contact the school and donate those devices in the envelopes provided. Not only will you be giving a child with autism the chance to communicate, but you will go into a draw to get your mortgage paid for a year – who wouldn’t like that?

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Once I read the above I just had to write this post and share this great campaign with my readers.

I also found a great video on the Hearts and Minds website that really does share a strong message with the world on what a difference we can make by donating our old mobile phones. The video shows a selected number of children with autism using their iPad at home or in school. Attached is a message from the families of these children who state what a remarkable difference the iPad has made to their child’s life.

Warning… The video is a real tear jerker! I sobbed all over my iPhone!

I was actually about to write a sponsored post for a company that specialises in recycling mobile phones, saving the environment and making us a bit of extra cash in the process. Then I read about ‘Hearts and Minds’ who are not only saving the planet but helping a child with autism to communicate. Of course it’s Ok to recycle your mobile for cash, especially if you have little… We all need some extra pennies sometimes. But remember this charity are happy to take any mobile phone, regardless of the state it’s in… Broken, old, “a brick” it really doesn’t matter!

Thankfully my son is verbal and actually speaks very well! However he does have an array of communication difficulties and even for him such technology is a godsend. Little man attends a special school and as part of an OT programme he is now learning to touch type, his fine motor skills are very poor and his handwriting hardly legible. An iPad is on the Birthday list and it’s something I’d purchase with the knowledge of knowing that for little man it’s so much more than a fancy handheld tablet.

I hope that others will read this and next time they open a draw to discover an old dusty mobile they remember this post and therefore remember that for a child with autism that dusty mobile is a door that opens into a world of communication!

Remember families and schools wanting to register for the programme can do so over on the hearts and minds website

For more information on the programme visit Grace App or Hearts and Minds to see if you can help give a child with autism a way to communicate.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or guest post. I have not been asked to write this and have not received anything for sharing this information. I have done so as a way to help a charity on their mission to help others.

Welcome to the world of little card people

25 Apr

It’s fantastic when you receive an email inviting you to try out an exciting new product and exciting is what I’d describe Carddies to be.

I had seen Carddies floating around on twitter so had popped over to their site to see what they were all about. The product itself is really simple but the idea a clever one that combines both creativity and play.

So what are Carddies?

Well, basically Carddies are a series of colouring kits that consist of card people who live in a box. Each box of carddies comes with its own theme and consists of hand drawn card people to colour, colouring pencils, hand drawn background scene to colour and little plastic stands so your carddies can stand upright and be played with.

Carddies are designed for children 3+ though the toddler who is 2, has also has been having lots of fun playing with his sisters finished set.

I love the idea behind Carrdies and feel they would be brilliant for creating social stories for a child on the autism spectrum while encouraging creativity and improvements in fine motor skills.

Carddies were kind enough to send both Alice-Sara and Little man (aka A boy with Apsergers) a pack each to try. Now Alice-Sara is very creative when its comes to arts and crafts where Little man has always had difficulties with his fine motor skills and therefore will normally give up very quickly on anything that requires any colouring.

The fact Little man was sent a football theme box of Carddies made all the difference and he had fun actually designing the kits for the players. It was a great way to unleash some inner creativity that he has and he remained on task for a little longer than usual.

What was great about the above kit was the fact this one even came with its own plastic little ball so once the players were fully customised and connected to each of their stands you could engage in some imaginative football play.

OK, Little man still hasn’t really got the who concept of imaginative play but he has recently developed a bit of an obsession in WWE and for the first time ever has asked for some play figures. We got him some and his play revolves largely around him pretending to be a WWE wrestler fighting his 10 inch figures (a little strange and creates quite a lot of noise)! Little man has asked me to tell the makers of Carddies to draw some WWE wrestlers and they will make a lot of money… Bless him!

Alice-Sara was sent a family 1 box of carddies. She had loads of fun colouring them in and giving each a name. The lovely people at Carddies even popped a few extra people and animals in with the delivery for Harley my 2-year-old toddler to play with and he loves them so much his also been happily playing with Alice-Sara’s finished family members.

As mentioned, each box comes with its own background scene to colour so it provides the children with lots to do. Little man hasn’t completed his scene yet though I’m sure he’ll find the motivation soon.

There are currently 10 sets of Carddies to choose from and many more on the way.

I love how Carddies is a family owned business. The brand is owned by two sisters, Raquel and Esther. Raquel started drawing and making little card people out of cereal boxes for her three daughters during rainy house bound holidays. Since then Raquel has drawn lots of little card people for hundreds of children.

Raquel joined forces with her sister Ester and made this lovely idea into a business that has now been nominated for many awards and loved by thousands.

Check out the Carddies site where children can join up to the special Carddies club which is packed full of exciting games and treats.

Disclaimer: This is a review post, all opinions are honest and those of my own. We were not paid to write this review but did get provided with a sample so we could share our opinions.

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.

Little one’s can take great pictures with the V-Tech Kidizoom Twist this Christmas

24 Dec

1

DAY TILL CHRISTMAS

The children have been extremely lucky to road test some of the newest toys on the market, and as the Santa’s Little helpers comes to an end we still have a few more to come.

When we were asked to review the V-Tech Kidizoom Twist, I have to admit that I myself became a tad over excited! Harley is forever putting his little chocolate fingers all over my camera so the prospect of him having his own couldn’t have come soon enough.

The Kidizoom Twist is in fact aimed at pre-schoolers aged from 3 years, Harley may actually only be 2, nonetheless he loved it all the same! It really is felt that my youngest little helper may in fact grow up with an interest in photography, and his not half bad at it either.

V-tech have been extremely clever when creating the Kidizoom twist, the must have Christmas Gift which is featured in the ‘Argos, fab fifteen’ (Top fifteen christmas toys for 2011).

The 2 megapixel camera camera with 5 digital zoom and coloured screen has a number of clever features designed to bring ease of use, entertainment and learning to it’s tiny users. The Kidizoom twist really is more than just your average kid’s camera. It’s really funky design makes it super cool and appealing to children while it’s designed to restrain bumps and falls avoiding them horrid costly replacements.

The Kidizoom Twist features not one but two lenses window’s so your tot doesn’t come across the problem of having to angle the camera in-order to see their target image and position the camera accordingly to take a picture. The child can instead hold the camera at eye level and take a picture with ease.

That’s not all, this camera has a number of special editing features allowing your child to create some great features to their pictures such as frames, wacky stamps and the ability to distort the picture in-order to create some really funky funny faces, which I feel is very appealing for children on the autism spectrum (Harley’s elder brother, Little man loves this feature on his younger brother’s latest gadget). Another fabulous feature to this camera is the voice recording mode that allows you to edit & change the tone of your voice to five effects (pitch up, pitch down, slow, robot and echo)  you can then add the edited voice to your images.

The Camera also has a number of built-in games, five in total, you can even use your own pictures within the games to play games such as spot the difference amongst a whole host of others.

If all that doesn’t sound great enough Kidizoom also has the capability to video, giving it that extra edge.

Oh… and in case you were wondering about the name and the reference it makes to the word twist? This camera does actually have a revolving lenses, meaning it spins round to face the photographer in-order for them to create the perfect self-portrait or video of themselves.

Harley loved the Kidizoom twist and to be honest so do his older siblings who actually ran-out two different sets of batteries. Little Harley is just mastering them all important motor skills so yes, he did drop the camera once or twice, but the protective rubber casing around the camera ensured its safety and saved it from breakage.

We, actually received the camera on the morning of the day we set of to Butlin’s so Harley got to bring his lovely new Kidizoom twist along for the ride, which provided lots of photo taking opportunities.

Kidizoom Twist Specifications:

2 Mega Pixel

4x digital zoom

Built in flash

Twisting/rotating lenses

Colour screen

256 MB built in memory (Holds over 500 images & has a SD card slot)

Voice recording & editing mode

Video recording

Image editing (funky effects)

5 built in games

Connect to TV & PC

Dual viewfinder

Durable (funky rubber protective casing)

Accessories can be brought separately such as SD card and protective case

Parental perspective.

I loved this eye-catching camera from v-tech, the only disadvantage I have, is the fact the screen is a tad small (I did expect a slightly bigger screen) though this is meant for younger children and despite the screen being a little small its more than enough for a pre-schooler. I did love the amount of features V-Tech have packed into this kids camera, it really is so much more than a camera, with games and video recording, it’s my opinion that the camera is great value for money.

The camera helps the development of hand eye coordination, gross and fine motor skills while allowing their growing imaginative and creative sides to shine through. It’s great, not only is this super fun but it’s actually quite educational too!

****
We easily award this one with a 4 out of 5 stars.

Available in a choice of pink or blue

Sold at around £49.99 (price may vary depending on retailer).

This is currently on Sale with a £10 reduction (£39.99) at Argos

Click HERE for more details

Disclaimer

V-Tech sent us the Kidizoom Twist in blue, for the purpose of this review! All opinions that are given by myself & the children are our own, are honest and haven’t been influenced in any way.

Win board games in our big Christmas Countdown

20 Dec

5

Days till Christmas

With five days left till the big day here is another awesome prize to excite!

The lovely people at www. theboardgamers.co.uk have donated a lovely prize in-order for me to run yet another great give-away!

The Boardgamers is a great online retailer selling a good selection of games for all ages and abilities. When they invited me to come and pick a prize for my readers, I will admit, I had my work cut out when choosing due to the number of great games on display!

I also discovered that  The Boardgamers  products are actually what I’d call “Better than reasonably priced” instead their games are much cheaper than many other online retailers selling board games that I’ve come across. With all your top brands and names in board-games www.theboardgamers.co.uk  really is worth taking a peek at!
Honstly don’t just take my word for it, check it out yourself by clicking HERE

The Prize

Well, as a result of my inability to choose I instead narrowed it down to two, therefore letting the lucky winner chose which game they want to win.

So, here’s your two choices

The winner can choose either

Imaginations Doctor Who’s battle to save the universe


or

Imaginations Play that tune

Here’s how to enter

It’s simple, just leave me a comment telling which game you would choose if you won and who it would be for. Don’t forget to leave me a comment containing your contact details (email or twitter)

Additional entries

To gain additional entries just use any, or even all the share buttons within this post… Leaving an additional comment for each action taken. Remember in-order to gain extra entries you must first do the compulsory action required to enter (located above)

Merry Christmas all and good luck

Competition will close at Midnight on the 10th January 2012.

T&C
Winner must choose one one the two listed board games, Competition open to those in the Uk only, the prize is as stated and no alternatives will be offered, winner has 48hrs to respond to the winners notification. Name and address will be passed on to Boardgamers.co.uk who will send out the prize directly, winners name will be published on this blog.

A DOUBLE WOW!

11 Sep

 In August Harley shared some WOW toys with everybody as part of the, ‘Santa’s little helpers’ feature that’s now in full swing and is in it’s third month. Little H had so much fun playing with these fabulous toys, that I wanted to share some more of their products with you all.

 For those who didn’t see our last WOW toy review back in August,here’s a little more about them.

 WOW toys are designed for children aged between 18 months to 5 years old.

 The guys at WOW know a lot  about toys, all are designed and made from scratch each going through a series of strict safety checks before finally being delivered to the shops.

 Developmental benefits

 WOW toys are packed with developmental benefits! These toys are great  for pre-schoolers as-well as children on the autism spectrum, not only do they help feed a child’s imagination but help develop basic motor skills to advanced social interactive role play.

 WOW toys don’t require any batteries and this is a feature I’m sure many parents will love!

 WOW toys grow with your child, offering great value for money, making them the perfect gift for your little ones.

 This time Harley reviewed Mario’s Pizzeria & Roll it Riley.

 Lets start with Mario’s Pizzeria. 

What you get: This is an 8 piece set, consisting of

 1x Pizzeria 

1x Magic oven

 1x push-along trike 

3x removable pizzas

 2x figures

Special features:

 Magic oven with push to bake button

Spin Mario on  the chimney to choose your topping

 Harley had a lot of fun playing with the pizzeria. His daddy is Italian so it made the perfect toy. Like all WOW toys, all pieces are well made, there are no little pieces all pieces are chunky and ideal for the little hands of a pre-schooler. I don’t know if Little H is advanced but he will already use two toy figures to act out a scene, pretending the figures are communicating with one another, and this is what he did with Mario and the delivery boy contained in this set. His older sister plays this way all the time and I think it’s because he regularly observes her in action. What ever the reason it’s very cute and I sit watching him enjoy himself with a smile. He had fun popping the pizzas in the oven and discovering the magic features (the oven button and spinning roof) As expected H was overly happy with the push along trike and took a number of his other WOW figures for a ride:)When I asked H if he liked his pizzeria, he clapped, and said yes before kissing all the pieces (something he seems to do a lot lately) on this response it gets ***** stars

 As a parent I think it’s a fabulous set, that hosts a great set of features for your child to discover and learn, keeping their little minds busy. The full five stars is given to this toy as it really does give off the WOW factor.

 Next up is… Roll it Riley.

 What you get: This is a 3 piece set, consisting of 

1x Steam roller called Riley

 1x driver called Kev

 1x road sign

Special features

Realistic engine sounds and rattling roller

 motorised toy

Roll and Spin sorter/ face changer

 Harley loved this one as he associated it with Bob the builder. Though  the supplied figure went by the name of Kev, H insisted on calling him  Bob and I gave up on telling him, “Not Bob, that’s Kev” So Bob it was. The face changer was enjoyed by H and as well as pushing it around the living room he sat spinning the roller and copying the expression,  which was so cute but funny at the same time. He played with Riley  alongside his pizzeria and at one stage he swapped roles between Kev  (aka Bob) and Mario:) Lots of fun was had and Riley kept him very busy and fully entertained. ****  stars is again given to, ‘Roll it Riley’!

 As a parent I loved the spin and sort face changing feature (when Riley moved his face expression changed) This made me think about the potential benefits of such a toy for a child on the autism spectrum who has difficulty understanding facial expressions as Riley could prove  a great resource, offering the children a fun way to learn and understand these expressions better. I really laughed on discovering the name of Riley’s driver, “Kev” it’s sad but true, that yes, many blocks in construction are called John or indeed Kev (well, at least it seems this way, as I know of a few, *giggle*) I’m finding it really easy to again give the product the full five stars.

  I highly recommend WOW toys for your toddler/pre-schooler. This is a very honest opinion, otherwise why would this mum have WOW toys hidden in the button of her cupboard ready for Little Harley’s 2nd Birthday which is on the 11th December. We are also planning to add to the collection at Christmas (yes, just two short weeks after his birthday, meaning a very expensive December for this mum).

 WOW toys can be brought from a number of stores both on and off line. Amazon have a great range and Argos stock them too (they are currently including a small number of their Wow toys in the offer, “2 toys for £15″.

Tescos direct are currently stocking, ‘Roll it Riley’ for a steal of a price, at just £10.99. To buy or for more information, Click HERE

Mario’s Pizzeria can be brought from Amazon for another fantastic price of just £16.99. To buy or for more information, Click HERE

Are you ready for the next playground craze

19 Aug

 I’ve been seriously excited about sharing this review, but had my  instructions to hold of from posting till nearer the big launch date.

 Bumpeez are set to become the next big pocket money, playground craze  throughout the UK.

 Bumpeez are twin packs of fun collectable, pocket money toys priced at  just £1.99. These exciting new toys are all set to hit newsagents, toy  stores and supermarkets nationwide from the 24th August 2011.

 When I received the email back in the beginning of July, asking if the  children would be interested in giving Bumpeez a try, I knew these  would be an instant hit with Little Man.

 Bumpeez are aimed at both boys and girls between the ages of 5-11  years (though little man is 11 on the 1st of October, I think these  may appeal to those that little bit older too).

 Its fair to say that when it comes to collectable pocket money toys,  many children on the autism spectrum take to them like a duck to  water! Just look at Pokemon, (a game which is said to be created by a  guy with high functioning autism, likely, ‘Aspergers syndrome’) or  that of Yu-Gi-Oh cards, both have  been a hit with children on the  spectrum. This is not only for the appeal of forming a collection but  also the social aspect that surrounds these games,Just like Bumpeez  they offer the opportunities needed to better a child’s social  skills.

 Bumpeez go one step better! These are not cards but instead highly  collectable solid circular chips encased in a highly tactile removal  silicon ring that come in a variety of different shapes, colours and  sizes, (another appealing aspect for children on the autism spectrum  who may require lots of sensory/tactile input during play).

 The idea of the silicon outer ring is to allow the Bumpeez to bounce.  These can then be bounced against different surfaces to play tricks or  games. The different shapes of the ring mean each will require varying  degrees of skill to bounce.

 Bumpeez offer the child versatility in that they can be played both  with or without the silicon ring, either indoors or outdoors. There  are already a total of 25 games created, yet children are encouraged  to make up their own, improving the child’s imagination skills (an  essential tool for those with autism).

 Collectables

 Little man loved his packet of Bumpeez that contained the characters,  ‘Cloud’ & ‘Candy killer’ He loved how there were so many different  characters to collect, 100 in total. Bumpeez also have 10 different  colours to collect.

 The overall goal is for the child to collect all the coloured chips  with matching coloured rings. Each chip has its own character and  trading value. ‘Omar’ is the lead character therefore the rarest with  the highest trading value. Other characters include Omar’s friends,  Robot, Pam and Johnny-Q.

 Little man loves the whole trading concept that surrounds Bumpeez. He  told me that the fact you don’t know what bumpeez you’re getting makes  the collecting aspect more exciting.

 From a parental point of view, I found Bumpeez to be great value for  money. The fact that each pack contains two bumpeez is fantastic. I  have known other products aimed at children labelled as “pocket money  toys” priced at anything but pocket money prices. I can honestly see  little man collecting these from the time they hit the shops next week  till the day they disappear! I can easily vision my 8 year old daughter  following suit much to little mans “delight” (yes, that was good old  fashion English sarcasm)! Since early July when little man first  discovered Bumpeez his continually asked, “Mum, how much longer till I  can get some more Bumpeez?” I’m being driven loopy with anticipation.  He has already taken these into school (an autism special school)  before the end of term and told me his class peers showed a keen  interest his new toy.

 It seems that the fun that can be had with Bumpeez is limitless. What  with the chance to acquire special rear addition packs containing,  silver, swirl (Bi-colour) & golden chips resulting in the child  winning a fantastic prize makes the purchase of a packet of Bumpeez  even more exciting.

 “Oh, I almost forgot to tell you!” Bumpeez have an interactive  feature. The online element means kids can access cool game, tips and  tricks, plus lots of new and exciting features at the official website: http://www.bumpeez.com

 So, parents be prepared… in just 5 days from now Bumpeez will hit  the shelves of your local store, how cool will you look when your  child asks, “Mum, what’s these?” and your able to tell them with  confidence!

 Bumpeez will be available to buy at all good newsagents, independent  toy stores, (such as the entertainer) national supermarkets and high  street stores including WHsmiths & Toys R us from 24th August priced at just £1.99

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