Disclaimer: these games where gifted in exchange for review!
We have long brought and worked with orchard toys. My games cupboard is bursting at the seams with fun games we’ve picked up over the years. I will always say they have been a crucial part of Elijahs learning and development over the years. I’d like to apologise for this taking so long. Moving house in a pandemic and life got in the way so sorry! without further a due on with the review.
So first of all we where sent spotty sausage dogs. It’s a game where you build the sausage dogs up and then you try to match the colours and count using your child’s numeracy and colour co-ordinations skills. Elijah is three and quite advanced at many games so we where sent some harder games to play! Elijah is slowly getting the hang of playing so this is a game that will last us years.
Then we have penalty shoot out. A simple and fun game. You roll the dice pick up the shirt with same number as your dice then you turn over to see how many goals you have. It’s a great counting game and the winner is whoever has the most goals. This is fantastic for counting further then ten whilst you try to count the groups of balls which a lot of children’s games stop at. Elijah likes the colours on this and gets annoyed when he doesn’t get number four as it’s his favourite t shirt of the game 😂
And finally we have Dino-snore-us (I do love a pun) this game is Elijahs first proper board game and he loves it. It’s quick so it doesn’t drag on and Elijah doesn’t get bored. The aim of the game is to collect as many eggs as you can and not wake the dinosaur. He gets really excited when the dinosaur wakes up and I have to admit he is quite the cheat at this game!
Thankyou so much to orchard toys for sending us some lovely toys.
If you wish to find your own you can buy on their website or many retailers. Sometimes they’re in the special buy isle at aldi so keep those eyes peeled! The games are always affordable too!
Disclaimer these toys have been gifted in exchange for review.
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll probably know how much we love jaques of London toys as this is the second time we have collaborated with them. We have some beautiful products from them and they are such fantastic quality so I jumped at chance to work with them again.
With it being spring I wanted to choose toys that would be suitable to play outside. Despite it being sunny then snowing three hours later we still try to get out as much as we can to play!
First of all I choose the the nine pin quoits game. It’s a game I can play with Elijah and Elijah can play with anybody who comes round to play it’s a simple game of tossing a hoop onto the quoits in the hope of getting the most points and winning. Elijah however likes to cheat and puts them on himself when he thinks I’m not watching! It comes beautifully packaged and comes with a bag so you can take it wherever you go. You can take it to the beach or to a friends house the world is your oyster with this game! Click the link below to find it directly! You can the. use my link at the bottom of this post to get a 15 % discount.
We also choose a biscuit set. No they cannot be eaten they are wooden! Elijah loves all the different varieties of biscuits his favourite is the gingerbread man. Which means a singalong every time he sees it. We have a a lot of pretend afternoon tea party’s and picnics in the garden or indoors so it’s great for all weather! They are made of wood so a toy that will last for years and years to come . You can find them on link below and if you wish to purchase use my link for 15 percent of you can find at the bottom of this post!
I’ve been of the grid for a little while over here on my little blog. But for good reason. As you may remember a while back I spoke about how we’re moving, well we’ve finally moved. It was a long 6 long months filled with tears and stress but in the end everything worked out okay.
Moving is stressful. But then there is the element of having a toddler oh and being in a global pandemic. Why does being in a pandemic change things you may ask? Well for a start lenders for mortgages are way more strict, the lending criteria has completely changed and self employed are penalised which James is. The time frame of everything being completed is push back after pushback with the excuse of covid. Less people working and more push backs caused months and months of delays. Vendors wanting to have less viewings because of covid. Viewing houses in face masks unable to smell as well. Sounds weird but how else can you smell mould exetera. Valuations are often done remotely and applications take ages. The new build our buyers where going too was delayed over and over because of covid restrictions and materials being delivered for them. It was just delay after delay. Every life insurance plan and document had some question or other about covid. Then there’s obviously limited childcare and support to move because of this. You can’t go out to distress you have to stay at home living in boxes. You can’t go and stay at someone else’s to move and make it easier. It was just made so much harder. But it happened despite all this covid drama.
So we’ve moved from a terraced house with no parking in a not great area to a detached house with garage and drive in a nice area near my family and James’s family. The difference has been incredible. We hired a firm to help us move as we didn’t want to lift everything ourself and I would do it in a heartbeat again they where quick and helped with so much. Next time I might even pay for the packing as packing is absolute hell. I hate packing with a passion. Packing with a toddler and keeping them away from boxes and trying to help them understand they’re moving is hard too.
When we arrived the seller left a load of stuff which wasn’t great to be welcomed with and have left the house in a state. They clearly didn’t clean. But it’s starting to become more of a home after a week. We’ve treated areas of mould from their dirt and lack of ventilation. We’ve scrubbed the house as much as we can and it looks new again. We’ve redecorated Elijahs room which is a super hero theme and we now await his spiderman wallpaper to be put up and we’ve also decorated the living room which is the best room in the house now. A room we can relax in. The house needs work but I can see this being our forever home now. We really are happy here.
Elijah is adjusting well and is loving his new bedroom. He has asked to go home a few times but he is understanding day by day this is our home now. We prepared him by driving past a lot and talking about it lots so I think he may be taking it a little easier. He’s started the school nursery and loves it so much now!
Here’s to our future and making this house our home.
Whilst i wanted to write a blog post talking about the highs and lows of the last year in a reflective manor i couldn’t feel more against it this year. Normally i would set myself a list of unrealistic expectations and then feel sadness when i could not keep simple promises to myself. The simple fact is last year was terrible, Not the sort of year you try to find positives from but a year you shut the book on and perhaps think of burning. To many i am sure the last year had some positives that they could find but for me the only positives to come from the last year has been that i have learnt that i do not need to invest so much time and energy into others and to nurture myself. It is because of this new found self love that i am able to separate myself more before i become victim to my depressive and intrusive thoughts. Last year i became very invested in my phone, like many people had found themselves i realised that i had become addicted. The need to keep up to date with others gave me many expectations on what i should be doing with my life, how i should have myself together, how i should have life that is to be a insta worthy place. I would find more and more that i would question my appearance based on others, I would think does my house look good enough? I would think am i parenting correctly? am i doing enough? I would find myself in the endless scroll that never ended. Though i do not blame myself for becoming attached to my phone as it was my only means of contact to the outside world i still feel that it sucked the life from me. Since discovering my addiction i decided to use my phone less, take breaks and to remember the things that are posted online are often snippets of reality that are only showing the best bits of a persons life…
With that being said this is why i have often gone missing for chunks of time, i needed to concentrate on me and to take away the expectations put onto myself to create content that would be worthy of reading or seeing. There will no doubt all over the world be new fitness fanatics, artists, dieters and peacekeepers being created as we land on the other side of the chapter of last year creating more pressure for us to perfect our personal flaws. But know this, we do not have to improve ourselves, we are perfect as we are. Creating unrealistic goals and achievements can put extra pressure on us that at a time of such uncertainty that only sets us up for more disappointment. Remember if there are goals you wish to achieve set them for yourself in the mindset that there is no race to achieve them, there is no failure in giving up and it is okay to have no aspirations for this year.
I feel we will still struggle on this year as we all continue to battle the biggest pandemic in our lifetimes that forces us to hide away in our homes to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. The battle has still only just begun but know that you do not need to change yourself in a pandemic because others are, all you need to do is survive. To not only survive but to find your own happiness, to listen to the stresses and thoughts you have and to try and make yourself feel happiness in yourself by doing things you may love and by taking the time for you.
It is a new year and instead of making crappy pointless goals this year how about you make only one to be happy, to look after you first and let everything else fall into place. So watch your favourite films, cry reading books and have so many baths you become a shrivelled mess. But do not think of yourself as a failure or a underachiever. We do not and have never needed to change. May this year be a year that brings you comfort and joy.
I was recently offered some doddl cuttlery to try on a gifted basis in exchange for this review.
Elijah has always been really good with spoons and forks, I have always offered them at meal times since he started weaning and he can use them very confidentially he will even use a adult fork and spoon if little ones are not available. e.g. most restaurants. The one issue we have always had with elijah using cuttlery is adult cuttlery can be to sharp or too blunt when it comes to knifes so he struggles to cut his food at times and requires our support over his hands to push the knife down. I had seen a few people using doddl knifes and was interested in seeing if this would help his chopping skills so i said yes.
We’ve been using the cutlery for around a month, The small grips are perfect for little hands so make it easier for children to use. Elijah prefers to use his normal fork and spoon but loves the knife. Elijah has been able to work on moving the knife back and forth and to press down to chop food up. The size of the knife enables him to scrap the food to the fork without lots escaping, He is more confident when helping me cook too. He uses his knife to help me when cooking. He helps cut fruit and veg or anything else we are making. Hes able to use both his hands as he prepares food which he normally struggled with as food would move around with his other knife.
I will be giving the spoon and fork to my friend who has a young baby so they can use those but we will keep the knife to help develop his confidence in using a knife! This would be more suitable for younger toddlers but the knife is perfect for those honing their motor skills to chop!
Disclaimer- I was gifted a box of orchard toys in exchange for review of the shopping list game. All opinions are my own!
I have had shopping list for a few years now. I remember seeing it in a charity shop and picking it up and taking it to the till to try teach Elijah some words. We have had many, many games together with this game and have found orchard toys to be very beneficial in the teaching of Elijahs speech development and recognition of words, letters and numbers.
When I was sent the box with the updated version I was excited as I had a very old version with one of the lists missing. (Charity shop bargains can sometimes have their downfall). Elijah loves a new game that teaches him things and he was so excited.
Shopping list is a game which works by seeing who can collect all their shopping first. As Elijah’s still a bit to little to race against others we work to just complete the shopping list and name everything on the list. Elijah loves picking up the items and comparing against the list and putting in his basket. He thrives on the praise of getting things right so this is the perfect game for him.
There are several lists to choose from even one on a phone to make more modern. You can also choose from a basket or a trolley to put the shopping In too. Elijah likes the baskets the most as he plays with a toy basket the most! We love finding the food items and talk about the food groups they may belong too or what we use a product for like washing powder. The possibility’s to learn through this game are endless.
They have even brought out add on packs to game such as fruit and veg and clothing to teach your child new words and to identify more complex items. The mini packs that you add on you could play without the original set too so perfect for a quick game on the go or to take to a family’s house to play with them!
I will always and have always recommended this game to anyone with a young child and will be rehoming our old game to a friend and sharing the love!
Looking for things to do stuck in? A movie is a obvious choice but can you make it fun? Children are simple creatures, no offence to my child but if I cut his food slightly difference he’ll be fooled into eating the whole thing. So to make a movie special for the both of you is easily achieved.
So first of all choose snacks, favourite snacks. Im all for healthy snacks but when you go to the cinemas do you take a veg platter? No you take chocolate. Sugar and treats in moderation is not a issue so enjoy a treat. Once you’ve decided what you want to serve at your movie showing then work on presentation. Putting food in little bowls and displaying them nicely on a tray makes it feel like a little buffet. A buffet of your favourite naughty snacks. You can get popcorn containers for as little as a pound. If your feeling Christmassy then displaying on a load of Christmas platters and using Christmas themed cups can make it that little bit special.
Make the environment different. Do you sit on the sofa all day and have a cosy rug? set up a load of pillows and blankets on the floor with your snacks in the middle and spice it up. Change the lighting in your room shut the blinds and put fairy lights everywhere. The comfier the better. With young children you could ask them to invite their favourite toys so come sit and watch the film with them.
If your children are older you could make them or get them to make cinema tickets for the night. You could also play a game to decide who gets to pick the film! For younger children pick a film they’ll like that you don’t watch often. Musicals are great as children are free to dance and sing along unlike in the cinemas.
Ban phones. Put phones away like you would in the cinemas and wind down. Talk to your children about the film and what they like about it during the film.
Just remember to enjoy each other’s company and only pay attention to the film and eachother untill it’s done. Don’t worry about work or talking to people. It’s important to spend quality time with children and such a simple activity with no technology is perfect for this!
Hope your not forced to watch frozen or trolls for the millionth time like me!
As we are lunged back into the deep end which is lock-down it’s worrying whether it will be the same as last time or perhaps worse? Will our mental health deteriorate again? What will happen to our children who have only just been reunited with their friends and family’s only to be ripped away from them again. However this time it’s different, we know what too expect and with that comes bit more calm and less panic. We have learnt to adapt to what the world has thrown at us and made it through even our darkest days. So now we’re a week into lock down although i can’t say i’m not still a anxious mess i can say there are things that i am appreciating more and helping me negotiate my way through this confusing time.
One thing i love the most in the world is autumn. I love walks in the park and through the woods with orange, red and yellow filling the floors and air as the wind blows them all around and the leafs dance in front of you. Last lock down it was just nothing but pure heat and being in the uk that meant warm houses with no air con. This time i can wrap up warm and enjoy the cool air. This lock down, i’m taking control of doing things i enjoy more and not letting the hours pass by as i get lost in the abyss.
So first i am keeping active. I am going for walks with my husband and son or just me and my son. I am not rushing my way through going out now. I am taking in the scenery, changing up my routes and looking around at what nature has to offer. I turn my phone of and just chase around after my son and look for leaves and old trees together. I spend time talking and just enjoy being out. I’ll often fill up my thermos and take a hot drink out with me too. It doesn’t feel like were in lock down when we go for a walk it feels like we are in peace. If you have children i highly recommend walks even if round the block just to burn some of that energy, just so we can get some peace. If you live near a park wear a puddle suit go on a wet day and let your child jump in puddles and squelch in mud, it’s free and super fun! If mud and leafs isn’t your cup of tea then you can always exercise from the comfort of your own home. There are so many home workouts free to use on you tube, the same with yoga, unwind your mind and body at the same time.
I am trying to also keep my mind busy, i joined a book club and have gathered a small library worth of books to keep my mind focused when things get hard. The greatest escape is always to another world which is the realm of books. There is always something for someone. Not everyone enjoys physically reading so the world of audio books is another fantastic way to escape for a little while without the effort of reading a few hundred pages! With reading also comes blogging and writing which i love doing with a cup of tea, especially at the end of the day it’s the perfect way to unwind. I find journaling and writing in a diary is also a fantastic way to unwind in the evenings before bed to combat the stress of the day. I also find keeping elijah busy is a fantastic way to entertain me too. We get sensory activities, colouring and crafting everyday. I include elijah as much as i can in the kitchen too which helps me enjoy cooking again too. The next project after elijahs birthday is getting ready for Christmas and boxing up our house to move on to the next chapter of our lives soon.
I am trying to enjoy time with my family more. If there is one thing corona-virus has taught me it is that family and friends are important. That we should try and keep in contact with each other. I never thought of myself as lucky before the lock down but having my son and my husband with me has shown me just how important they are to me.It has shown me that i too am loved and that is something that i never thought was possible in my mind. This lock down we can see another adult and their under school age children outside which means i can see more people and elijah can see other children which makes the world feel so much less lonely too us all.
The biggest thing i am concentrating on is my self care. My skin has been neglected over the last few years and it’s time i treat myself like i deserve. That includes giving myself a full routine of skincare daily and introducing more skincare into both my morning and my evening routine. With the excessive uses of masks out and about my skin is becoming a spotty mine field. The dry weather is no help either! So the first thing i do in the morning is washing my face. I wash my face with facial wash and my electric scrubber. After this i use toner on a reusable cotton pad and get started on the moisturising. I use a serum and then eye cream, i then use a light moisturiser or day cream. My evening routine is very similar except i exfoliate with a scrub or peel every other day.I also use my topical creams after my serums and then apply a night cream. I always use lip balm at night as well to moisturise everywhere on my face. If i’m going out in the sunlight ill always apply a light sunscreen to prevent damage to my skin. When i do my skincare i like to light a candle and slowly massage it in and make it a relaxing environment. I’m also partial to the odd sheet mask or eye and lip masks i try to do these every few days i try to do them when i am particularly stressed so that they become a calming place and not routine!
Of course skincare is not just your face. Its your whole body. We always complain about dry patches of skin but do we nourish our skin first? Using a shower gel or creame that is moisturising and smells fab can always make you feel better. Using body scrubs every few days are a fantastic way to rid the body of dead skin and also leave our skin feeling softer. When out the shower using a moisturiser after helps to keep skin soft and help fight the signs of ageing.
Taking care of your hair and having the odd hair mask here and there can feel like complete luxury so try to incorporate into you bath or showers before you wash your face as when the oils can roll down your skin and cause a greasy feeling face! Of course then you should obviously get into pjs and shove on some cosy socks and snuggle up for the night.
Whatever you do to get through this lock down just know that your not alone. There are lots of people here for you including me, there is so much more to do aswell. Whether your idea of chilling means watching a series on netflix or doing a marathon, try to enjoy it! But remember take care of your skin and your mental health!
I have been gifted nivea products with no expectation to post. I am part of the nivea family and writing about or featuring their products is completely my choice!
I was kindly gifted this camera in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!
So my baby camera started to break about a month ago and I was looking for a camera that didn’t require to be turned on constantly and carrying around a monitor whenever I went. The sound of static would stop me sleeping and the out of range was useless. So when lollipop contacted me I was excited to try something new. I immediately jumped at the chance and I’m so glad I did.
The turn around time is so quick It arrived the next day and was a beautiful camera. You can even order it with prime! It was really well presented and easily shows how to connect and fit it. I choose the colour blue as we’re planning on decorating Elijahs new bedroom in the new house and wanted something that wouldn’t stand out too much! The camera can wrap around bits and bobs or be hung against the wall with a stand they supply which is fantastic! The Camera is really flexible and you can move it around. It also comes with wire hiders so you can attach to wall or hide against a wall without damage and need for nails for the wires!
Setting up was a bit confusing but once I worked it out it was fantastic. The camera works through a app on phone and sends notifications if your child moves across a area, Cries or even makes any noise. You can also have camera set as background audio so hear constantly or just have notifications and open when you hear them. I sleep and wake up when I hear a notification. I thought I wouldn’t but I hear it when it’s on loud. It’s fantastic if your walking round house or hanging washing out too. I can now have a bath without worrying about a monitor breaking or not hearing.
The sound quality is fantastic. The photo quality is amazing. The day and night mode both pick everything up and you can also set up recording of your little ones moments. You can also talk thorough the camera which is interesting and the best bit is you can play music or white noise so that your child sleeps. Elijah already has a white noise machine but sometimes I play the hoover sound and he notices no different.
You can change a lot of settings for your child. You can change how sensitive you want it and loud you want it. As the photos below show the clarity and the notifications so you know what’s going on when you watch it. Elijah is rugby tackling James when he went to read his bed time story and get ready for bed which I found hilarious I got a notification about the noise. The second he was talking to James after refusing to sleep 😂
Overall it may be a bit pricey but you get what you pay for I’ll use for a few more years and if I was to have another child I’d buy this again! I wish I had it when he was a newborn!
Last weekend we visited bewilderwood after being invited along on a gifted basis in exchange for a review. We primarily came for the glorious lantern parade but where also given some day tickets to use too. We’d seen a lot of photos on Instagram of bewilderwood and it seemed like our sort of day out! We love the outdoors and especially the forests so to go somewhere Elijah could enjoy and be outdoors ticks all the boxes. This will be a completely honest review from me and James’s point of view of both the event and the day trip.
So first of all we traveled from Suffolk which took a hour and half to get there but we regularly travel (lockdown postcode checked first) for days out. So this was no issue for us as we love going for a drive too! We arrived at 3 pm due to the fact our lantern event wasn’t till 7:30 and didn’t want Elijah to be tired. First of all the customer service team are fantastic, I had to isolate for a few days due to a family member I was near too having Covid symptoms so couldn’t go to the first event on the opening day of the lantern parade so had to rearrange. Luckily the family member did not have Covid so I could go the following week instead. They rearranged with no issues and they where lovely! The customer services also told me I had no time I had to turn up but the last admission was at 4 and they shut at five. So we arrived for 3pm.
So the good bits of the day trip! First of all the place was really lovely, there was a fairy tale fantasy vibe. The place is based on a book and the characters in the books are hidden around the park for you to find. The fact it’s in the middle of a forest is great too because you get lots of fresh air and can take in the scenery. The place is full of climbing frames, zip wires, treetop houses and slides galore. There’s lots of places to explore. There’s also arts and craft huts, story readings and much more to do during the day (before it starts to close).
Elijah loved running around and exploring. He even tried a big slide and wanted to go down a few more hundred times. He loves exploring all the tree houses and running through the woods. We looked out for characters and statues and Elijah got very excited spotting some bats and a giant spider! We loved the Halloween decorations too! There was a outdoor cafe with lots of picnic tables. They served hot food and drink too! It smelt really nice!
Being so close to Norwich it’s only twenty minutes to Norwich so there’s shopping and food places locally too that you can visit after or before. There is a gift shop with lots of little bits to remember your visit too! There is a boat ride that goes around and looked super fun although they didn’t allow us on as we where a minuite late.
Whilst we arrived at three we were a little disappointed a lot of things where closed when we arrived. The story telling was finished, many things where shut and it felt a bit like a race against the clock to look at everything in time for the place in time. When we arrived I also asked the staff what time the boat rides finished as we where most excited to do that. They told us they would run till 5pm when they shut so that everybody could have a go. So we decided to explore the park instead of queuing first. The downside of this was in fact the staff member was wrong and they shut at 4:30. Despite us arriving to the que for the boats at 4:31 they shut the gates in front of us. I asked if we could join as we where told they shut at 5 and it was one minute late the staff said no so we where all very upset. Elijah started to cry as we walked away and was sad and ended up in a tantrum. We left immediately as being around the boats again would of upset him all over again. I was surprised that they would state a last admission at a full paid price be a hour before they shut if everything is already closing. Perhaps they should advise a earlier arrival time. This way it avoids rushing and disappointment.
However we knew we where coming back later and we went locally to Norwich for dinner. Whilst bewilderwood would make a fantastic day out I would visit earlier if we where to go again. They did have a fantastic scheme with wristbands that you write your details on should your child get lost which I thought was fantastic. Overall we would come again but perhaps earlier to enjoy the story telling and arts and crafts. We would also come to have a go on the boats. The place is more suited to older children but so long as you follow your child along there’s no limit to the fun you can have together.
Now the glorious lantern parade. What can I say other then the fact it was fantastic!
First of all I’ll apologise for our photos we tried to walk through quickly to social distance and my camera didn’t want to focus. But none the less I can only describe the event as beautiful! Lanterns and fairy lights lit the whole way which took us about a hour to complete.
First of all we checked in and we went to make Elijahs lantern. The place was a light with lanterns absolutely everywhere and the energy from the kids was really sweet. There was a witch who opened the event and made everyone excited to go in the children loved it. However the only issue I had the whole time which lots of people loudly commented on was the fact they crammed us all through a small gate and didn’t filter people in so it created a big crowd and social distancing wasn’t happening. We tried to keep our distance but a lot of people ignored the social distancing rules.
When we followed the trails it was so pretty following all the lights and there was music and sound effects. Elijah enjoyed carrying his little lantern and kept trying to spot things. All the play frames where lit up and looked beautiful. There was story telling and characters too. The food and drink was open too and there was no rush to get to the end. We will book again for next year we loved it that much. It was well worth the travel and it was nice to experience some sort of festivity in the bleak of the corona virus pandemic.