Saturday, 30 July 2016

Finding Dory ǀ LittleLife Swim Bag Review

Just in time for the much anticipated release of the new 'Finding Dory' film (in cinemas now) LittleLife sent us their new Dory Swim Bag to test out.  Finding Nemo is a firm favourite here and has been since Meg was a teeny thing so there was no doubt that the kids would recognise the much loved Dory.  In fact, I think Meg was quite jealous that Eli was trialling the bag and not her!

Finding a decent swim bag has proven a little bit of a challenge for us.  The kids go swimming weekly and it's nice for them (and me!) for them to be able to carry their own stuff.  But many of the typical 'wet bags' which are currently available on the market are just too big for Eli.  The drawstrings aren't adjustable meaning they sit too low on his back and once his swimming gear is wet then they become far too heavy for him.

Although compact in size, making it perfect for the younger child, the LittleLife Dory Swim Bag has a 10 litre capacity which gives plenty of room for all of your swimming gear: towel, swim shorts and goggles and the roll top fastening makes it easy for Eli to access on his own.

The bag is quite narrow so it does become more of an oblong shape once the towel has been placed inside, but Eli didn't seem to find this awkward; although a shorter child may find the bag sits quite low if the straps aren't adjusted properly.

The fabric is waterproof with a soft padded back which makes it comfortable for him to wear and the straps are adjustable too meaning no bag dragging along the wet changing room floor!  There's a hidden side pocket which has a zip and would be ideal if an older child needed to take locker money or spending money into the pool or to the beach with them.

The details on the bag are also very sweet from the fins to the tail and the bag is easily recognisable as the famous Dory and we have had expressions of joy from many children at swimming lessons when we have walked in and they have spotted the telltale blue and yellow fish.

We've had a number of LittleLife products over the years and they have all lasted well; keeping their shape and remaining intact despite prolonged use and this definitely looks to be the case for their Swim Bag range too.  Although the bag isn't cheap, retailing at £24.99, I'd suggest that it's a worth investment for a bag that can be used for trips to the beach, the pool or just as a daily backpack if you have a particular fan of the movie and I have been really quite impressed over all.

We were sent a LittleLife Dory Swim Bag for the purposes of this review.  However, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Our Summer Adventures... ǀ Week One

The summer is undoubtedly a hectic period and it's difficult to find time to sit down and gather together all my thoughts on the things we have been up to.  It's also more difficult to find a spare moment to myself with six weeks to fill for Meg and Eli too!

Usually I drop off the grid a little bit on the blog and I know that others in the community do likewise as we all go adventuring and memory-making but I'm going to try and be a little better and at least give you a snapshot into what we have been getting up to.  I might forget for a week or two but do pop back and there will almost certainly be something for you to see.

If not, then my Instagram account is the place to catch up with us over the summer as I will regularly be found over there.  Do pop by and say hello.

But onto the first week!  It was kind of a cheat week as the kids were still at school on Monday and Tuesday so I had a bit more time to rush around getting all kinds of last minute bits and pieces done and preparing for the start of the holidays.

We've had a few slow mornings which have been perfect; after the longest school term it has been truly blissful to not have to rush uniform and breakfast and finding reading and homework books but to just take things at our own pace.

Of course Eli is such a high energy boy that we couldn't spend all day at home so we have also tried to combine movie watching and chilling out with some time outside as well.  We spent the first day in the pinewoods near to our home; one of our favourite places to be and it's always so quiet.

We saw, literally one other person the whole time we were out and although it was clouding over when we first set out, the sun soon showed up and we spent hours just running through the woods, up and down the dunes and generally having a merry old time.

The kids favourite game at the moment is Harry Potter so I just found myself a comfortable tree stump and read whilst they scurried about pretending to be in the Forbidden Forest.

We also took advantage of a summer offer and headed to our local Trampoline Park; we couldn't have chosen a better day either as it rained for almost the entire morning.

In and amongst all the busyness there was even time to go and meet a very special new addition to the family.  I tried to leave my broodiness at the door but was very difficult!

I hope that you are enjoying the summer break as much as we are!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

It's A Bing Thing! ǀ Magazine Review

I have to admit, I am a bit of a sucker for magazines for the kids, the brighter the better!  It's a great way to keep them occupied from the stickers to the activities, not forgetting the toys which usually accompany them as well.

So when we were asked whether we would be interested in checking out the new Bing magazine...I knew we were onto a winner.  Bing is a character from a CBeebies show and the theme for the first magazine is the outdoors and playing outside; something which is very timely as we have just started the summer holidays!

Aimed at children aged between 2-5 years there is a range of activities included from completing scenes using stickers to letter formation, craft and cutting out to colouring in.  The activities are simple and effective, teaching basic skills whilst still being captivating for a younger audience.  Published by Egmont, it is a monthly magazine and costs £3.99.  This is a pretty average price.

The first magazine comes with a 5 piece garden playset which included a water squirting frog, Eli's newest friend who seems to come everywhere with us now!

The variety of activities held Eli's attention and weren't too long or complex meaning he didn't lose interest; and he isn't a boy known for wanting to sit still and complete anything if it takes longer than a few minutes.

As you might expect, you get to see all of the favourite characters from the show, the pages are all brightly coloured and simple to understand and there are handy suggestions to parents of other activities you could engage with to help take your child's learning further.  

The activities cover a broad range meaning that those at the younger end of the age bracket and the older end are not excluded.

Overall Eli really enjoyed exploring this new magazine and we will certainly be looking out for it in the future.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Dressing My Husband For The Day ǀ Fashion

We will have been married for 9 years at the end of next month and yet there is still something which continues to divide

James has a very simple style which centres mainly around the colour blue, the darker the better.  He will, occasionally, branch out to dark grey or sometimes even black but that is pretty much where it ends.  Unless you are talking about garish flowery shirts and then he can't seem to get enough of those!

So when I was asked whether I would like to create a post around how I would dress him for the day I had to smile.  I shall try to keep my own personal preferences under wraps and think about how we could reach an agreement on some of the very stylish items featured at House of Fraser.

There is a huge choice of shorts and tops from House of Fraser that it was really tricky to choose but I finally settled on a choice of two items from each department which I think would be two pretty good looks when we go on our holiday in a couple of weeks.

James' style is very laidback overall and I have tried to find a nice blend of items which aren't too wild in colour; I think they pretty much meet any brief that he would give me about the type of items he would be willing to wear and who doesn't look a Jack & Jones tee, even if it is bright in colour?!  

What do you think of my chosen looks?  I think James would be pretty pleased!

This is a collaborative post

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

BookTube-A-Thon 2016 ǀ Books & Writing

It's no secret that I love reading and at the start of the year I decided to blend a slightly different focus into my Youtube content and began sharing regular book videos.  I was excited to discover that there is a whole community of 'booktubers' who love nothing more than sharing and discussing their thoughts on books.  I was in heaven!

There was so much going on from Q&A's to monthly round-ups, book hauls to readathons and I have been dipping in and out of joining in with them all.  This past week has seen me joining in with something called the 'BookTube-A-Thon' a week dedicated to reading and various different challenges.

The basis of BookTube-A-Thon means that you pretty much have to read one book a day, something I have never previously managed to do but having finished my freelance work for the summer with the kids still at school and the sun blazing down, I was pretty confident I could give it a whirl.  Who needs clean clothes, a tidy house and home cooked food anyway?!

So far, so good.  I have read two books and completed the first two challenges.

I'm about halfway through my book I'm reading 'only after sunset' (see my TBR video here for the different challenges involved) and 100 pages into The BFG which is my choice for the book to movie adaptation challenge.

Unfortunately, I have left my biggest books until last which is making me a little less confident about getting them all read by Sunday; I did notice with Cinder that I had to keep reminding myself to slow down and take in the words and not speed-read.  Whilst the purpose is to get the books read within the week I still think you need to appreciate and enjoy the books themselves, surely?

Hopefully though the rest of the week will be just as successful!  I'll let you know.

buzzoole code

Monday, 18 July 2016

Going Down Under with Smiggle ǀ #GDAYUK

Recently we received an invitation to attend the release of the latest range of stationery products from Smiggle at their Manchester Arndale store.  Smiggle (where smile meets a giggle) are a brand which first began in 2003 and has quickly taken the world of stationery by storm.

We have come across their vibrant and innovative products before and I knew that Meg would absolutely adore the new range.  I wasn't wrong!

On arrival, the staff were positively brimming with excitement and encouraged Meg to interact with everything.  Scented erasers, fluffy pencil cases and pretty much everything in between; the store is an assault on the senses, but in a good way!  Meg dove straight in, commenting on the new products before heading to the back and the row of pink; her eyes twinkling.

The new product range is inspired by all things Australian and predominantly features two new Aussie pals; a squirrel and a koala.  The range features items such as pencil cases, wrist slapbands, keyrings and notebooks.  The Aussie scented erasers have gone down a real treat here, the kids both love the fact that baby Joeys can be removed from the tummies of the kangaroos to form their own tiny erasers; a sweet and clever touch!

Although Meg was definitely drawn in by the pink items, there was plenty for boys too.  We got to see the unveiling of a brand new product range which is being launched the summer as well; the camo range is aimed at both lovers of pink and blue and is another fab stationery range.

We had a really enjoyable morning exploring the products on sale at Smiggle; meeting lovely blogger friends, trying some sweet treats and getting involved with the activities in store as well.

Thank you to Smiggle for hosting such a fab event and for inviting us along.  I can see we will be returning before the start of the new school term to stock up on exciting stationery!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Finding Fairies... ǀ Days Out

One of the things I love about where we live is the fact that we have so many great outdoor spaces at our disposal.  There is the beach just a short drive away, the estuary, plenty of countryside and woodland to explore as well.  And there are so many places that we haven't even discovered yet!

One of these places was a Fairy Glen which we have driven past a number of times but have never managed to get round to visiting so when we were at a loose end on Sunday afternoon we decided to finally give it a go.

What a wonderful place to have discovered!

There was a lovely little stream which followed alongside the path and was the perfect place for the kids to wade; if the weather had been a bit nicer it's definitely the kind of place you could brave bare toes but unfortunately it was just a bit too muddy; it didn't stop Eli splashing and wading in his wellies and he ended up very wet by the end of our walk.

We came across a waterfall and decided to divert from the main path a little bit; this led to lots of exciting 'exploration' where the kids ran ahead and tried to find our way back and guessed which way we needed to go.

I think we probably actually got a little bit lost as there were some definite hairy moments but this just added to the sense of adventure for Meg and Eli.

Pepper was also in her element although she ended up so muddy that she had to be forced into the water before we left.  As strange as it seems, she is a dog who does not enjoy water so this would a feat in and of itself!

One of the things I particularly enjoyed was our ongoing discussion about where the fairies might was a fairy glen after all!  We came across this huge rock face which had water dripping down from somewhere...cue lots of discussion about this being the place where fairies come to drink; I love the imagination of children.

James also had a pretty good time, taking the kids out into the water and showing them points of interest in the surrounding environment.  I think it might be safe to say that he had as much fun as they did at some points.

This has to be one of our favourite finds in the local area and we will definitely be returning to see what else we can find in the near future.

Perhaps we'll bring some spare clothes next time though for this little boy who is very drawn to mud, grime and getting wet!