Celebrating The Small Things:Week Twelve

This week has been a bit of an emotional one with the realisation my youngest isn’t so little anymore and how all Frankie’s hard work has been paying off for him.

Frankie’s Eyesight Improves – Its been nearly a year now since Frankie first started wearing glasses and it has been more than a struggle at times. He isn’t to bad at keeping his glasses on but since he had to start wearing a patch on his left eye we have had nothing but problems.
There have been so many bribes and ultimatums to get him to wear it and it has actually cost us a small fortune in the money he has earned for keeping it on.
It has however been worth the pain as on this visit to the hospital his sight has made a huge improvement and I couldn’t be happier.

Home Styling Tips From The Experts – I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous event hosted by the lovely people at Amara. When it comes to home styling I tend to buy pieces that I like without much thought about how and were they are going to fit into the house.
A day of tips and tricks has helped me no end and I will be showcasing this next week with a post on everything I’ve learnt.

Oscar’s Last Dance Show – Realisation is setting in that my youngest will soon be starting primary school and I will no longer have a little ankle bitter nipping at my toes.
I sat and watched his final dance performance with a lump in my throat and a funny feeling in my tummy that in a few short months this stage of both our lives will be coming to an end.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Eleven

This weeks ‘Celebrating The small Things’ has been a seen us doing a lot of catch up with the things that got cancelled and postponed due to the horrible snow. Did the bad weather mess up any of your plans?

World Book Day – World book Day came a lot later than expected this year due to it being way to icy for the little ones to get into school in their flimsy outfits.
Frankie was super excited to get all kitted out as Willy Wonka and got completely immersed into the character; it was a different situation with Oscar though who flat out refused to join in.
He has gone from being a little boy who lived in fancy dress and couldn’t even take a trip to the shop without some form of dress up to not wanting anything to do with it at all!
I was still desperate for him to join in through the worry that he would fill singled out, but he waltzed into nursery without a care in the world it was in fact him who was the odd one out and I have to admire him for that.

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Weight Loss Goals Being Achieved – I am a few months into my membership at David Lloyd Health Clubs now and I have really been keeping the benefits in so many ways, with the biggest of those being my weight loss.
For those of you that regularly read my blog you will know that my weight gain over the past few years has been a real problem for me and something I have been really struggling with.
Since joining David Lloyd at the beginning of the year I have seen a real change to my body shape and in turn a boost to my self confidence which I hoping will allow my to be a little braver in front of the camera soon!

Bridesmaid Dress Shopping – My lovely little sister is getting married this year and the bridesmaids dress have been a bit of a problem to say the least! None of us have been able to find anything we had all liked until the other day when we had a trip to Dig For Victory and found a whole shop of adorable dresses that can be made to measure and to your exact requirements.
In a few weeks time we will be getting measured up and ready for them and I literally cant wait.

Geomag Review And Giveaway

I would say the toys that always go the distance and have been pasted down and much loved are anything that involves construction. From Lego to Mechano they have been favourites with both the boys and girls and have all stood the test of time.

The benefits of constructions toys are endless and here are just a few reasons I love them as much as the children:

Enabling Creativity – Construction toys allow children to build and create with no limit to their imagination and what they can create.

Improves Gross And Fine Motor Skills – Moving around and manipulating small pieces all help with building their large and smaller muscles in a fun way.

Building Hand-Eye Coordination – Moving pieces into place, lining things up and connecting pieces are all great ways to work their hand-eye coordination.

Nurturing Problem Solving Skills – Thinking through what they initially want to create and then over coming hurdles that they come across along the way is a great starting block for building problem solving skills that will be essential in later life.

Working Together – Construction play is so versatile in many ways and as well as being great for solo play it is the perfect way to get children to put their heads together and work as a team to create something special.

With all of this in mind I was really happy when Geomag offered me two sets to try out with the children. The Panels and Mechanics set compromises of brightly coloured, transparent panels that can be joined together with with its magnetic steel spheres and rods.

This invisible magnetic force allows mechanical movement and allows any of the structures you build to move and rotate.

Geomag is aimed at children aged 5+ so I know it would be absolutely perfect for Frankie who has just turned six and is passionate about creating all types of buildings and structures at the moment.

Frankie’s eyes lit up when he saw the boxes full to the brim with all the shiny pieces and he was itching to get started.

He started simply by creating lines and triangles to get his confidence with them and then once he realised the potential of both the Geomag and himself then he was away!

It wasn’t long before the rest of the children took and interest and joined in with the fun…much to my delight as it is usually a real struggle to get my eldest son interested in anything that isn’t aimed at online gaming!

Unknowingly as well as all the above benefits I have already mentioned, Geomag hits all the STEM needs which cover science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Who wouldn’t enjoy a toy that allows the children to explore all of these important elements in a fun way.

If this sounds like something your little ones would enjoy as much as mine have then below I have the chance for you to win a Geomag Panel set of your own worth £89.99

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Ten

Running behind with this series once again – but hey ‘better late than never’.

It was a pretty big one for me work wise and was a little hard to really concentrate on the smaller things when there were so many exciting things taking place, so this is exactly where I will start.

Working With Kids: By this I don’t mean having to go out of the house everyday and leave the kids, I am in fact lucky enough to take my little ones along with me for a large part of the work I do and this saw Izzy taking to the ice with some of the stars from Disney On Ice and little Oscar get a special screening of the new Peter Rabbit movie.
They always say never work with kids and animals and although it can be pretty stressful at times I am very grateful to be able to do just this.

Loving My City: A lot of my work takes me into London on a weekly basis and normally involves me flitting from one place to the next and not really stopping to take it all in. After the Peter Rabbit screening I had a few hours with Oscar and we took this chance to wander around town taking it all in; from the beautiful architecture to the eclectic groups of people.
London has so much to offer and I really need to slow down and make the most of it when I get the chance.

Oscar Writing His Name: This is a proud moment, mixed in with a little Mum guilt too if I’m honest.
The more children I have obviously the more limited my time is to spend with each of the children and with the older ones having homework to complete I sadly devote a lot of learning time to them a poor little Oscar gets a little left out.
So the other day whist he was writing his Grandad’s birthday card with Izzy, she came in showing me how well he had done with writing his name without any help from her.
I was over the moon that he had done it and a little guilty that there had been little input from me! So its a big thank you again to his fantastic nursery and a big kick up the bum for me to set some time aside to work with him.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Nine

This weeks ‘celebrating the small things’ is a bit about how I’ve been trying to think positively when things are not going the way you hoped. I am always a glass half full person and I wholeheartedly believe that thinking positively isn’t about expecting the best but accepting that whatever happens is the best thing for that moment in time.

A No No To Wheat For Frankie: We seemed to be spending a lot of time at St Thomas’s with Frankie this year in a bid to see if we can tick a few allergies off his huge list!
The other month we had a success with baked egg and I had high hopes for the wheat challenge but sadly it wasn’t to be. We had got right to the end of the five hour long test before he broke out in hives and was having itching in his throat and ears. We were both devastated as he had been sitting there all morning planning all the new foods he would be able to eat and this all came crashing down in one foul swoop!

On a positive note the reaction wasn’t as bad as it could have been and there is still good chance he could pass the challenge at a later date which we have everything crossed for.

And So Came The Snow: For me the attraction of snow is very short lived. Yes it looks very pretty and I love getting out to take photos in it, it is great fun to get the sledges out and bomb down the hills with the kids but it brings everything to a complete standstill, everything get cancelled and the kids eventually get bored of the whole thing!

I did however manage to embrace it as much as possible is as its such a rarety to get a few snow days in the UK. We went out and and enjoyed playing in the white stuff and then equally enjoyed getting back in to snuggle up with a hot chocolate.

Birthday Parties: Birthday parties when you have five children tend to take up a huge amount of the weekend, it is lovely for the kids but I often find myself thinking of the hundred and one ways I could be filling my day instead of being there though.

I have to say though this birthday party that was for Oscar’s best friend was an absolute delight.

None of the other children had really formed firm friendship groups whilst at nursery and would never really mention specific friends until primary school age. Oscar however is a different child althoghter and has a best friend that he speaks of very fondly and recalls their adventures at playgroup with such passion.

Its times like this the mum guilt kicks in for moaning about them having their own special times as they are such important experiences for them.

Workspaces For Teens

Give me a newborn over a teenager any day! Oh yes there are the sleepless nights and the endless cycles of feeding but as long as food, comfort and plenty of cuddles are supplied they are pretty much catered for. Teenagers however are a different breed altogether.

I have managed to navigate one child through their teens and she has now made here way into her twenties with both of us coming out the other side pretty much unscathed, however I am now on the same journey with my eldest son who has been completely different to my daughter.

I actually couldn’t ask for a better teen than Archie in so many ways to be honest. He is kind, caring, thoughtful, helpful and aside from the occasional strop he is pretty easy going. However when it comes to schooling its a different matter!

He is punctual, always completes his homework and is very well behaved during class but is a naturally gifted boy that is coasting through school and isn’t fulfilling his potential which is in fact more frustrating than anything else.

If he was messing around or not completing work then this could be dealt with by punishing him, but lack of motivation is a much harder thing to crack as it has to come from him.

He does however have lots of ambitions for jobs that don’t nesseserily need formal education and he has his heart set on this. I love and encourage my children to follow and fulfil their dreams so I am probably a large part to blame for this and need to get his mindset to think in a slightly more practical way without quashing his dreams.

He currently dosent have a area dedicated to learning so I think a workspace where he can keep organised, stay away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house whilst still building on his teams would be just what he needs right now.

Below I have listed a few of the top things I think are needed to create the perfect working environment for a teen:

Privacy: This is always something that most teens crave and I think its very important to allow their work area to be private and somewhere they can grow their own independence.

Organisation: Organisation isn’t always something that goes hand in hand with teens and many struggle to get this sorted, so a good desk such as the ones from Lionshome will help them to make sure everything has a place of its own, things are to hand as and when they need it and allows enough space for them to carry out all the work that needs to be done.

Limit Distractions And Boost Creativity: Make this area somewhere that is solely for work. Make sure that computer games and any other devices are kept away from this area to limit distractions and allow this area to be a calm, motivating place that allows your teen to be creative, productive and engaged to have a positive effect on their schooling and hopefully whatever career path they wish to follow.

I would love to know how you get your teenage children motivated to work.

*Collaborated post

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory Themed World Book Day With Party Delights UK

World Book Day is one of the favourite days of the school year for my lot…well and for me actually. I love going through all their most loved books and choosing which characters they want to become.

There has been a huge variety of different characters chosen over the years and I have to say some have been easier to create than others. One author that is always top of the list though is Roald Dahl.

He brings back so many found memories of my childhood and I would get completely immersed in his tales, from the shenanigans of the evil Witches to the heart felt adventures of The BFG to the trials and tribulations of the mischievous Twits and the troubled life of darling Matilda.

His thought provoking tales have bought so much enjoyment to myself and my family over the years that it would be rude not to honour his work on such a special day.

On paper as well as on screen Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is alway a hit and the boys were lucky enough to be sent a Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka outfit each from the lovely people at Party Delights UK.

They are certainly the people to go to to get kitted out for World Book Day, and its not only the children they have thought of, there is also a section for the teachers too.

There are way to many costumes to list on here but there are some firm favourites such as Harry Potter, David Walliams, The Gruffalo, Alice In Wonderland and many more.

Frankie was thrilled will his costume that had all the finer details that are often left out such as Willy’s cane, a super cute bow tie and of course the spectacular top hat.

Oscar’s Charlie Bucket outfit came complete with authentic grubby patches and a little attachment inside the jacket to hold the all important golden ticket!

Head over and take a look yourselves at the fantastic range and get your little ones kitted out in style for this very special day.

*We were given these outfits for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Six

I seem to be getting later and later with these posts each week but I am determined to keep them up as I know they will be such a lovely reminder to look back on in years to come.

Last week was full of school runs, clubs and work but we still managed to share a few special moments along the way.

Water Babies: Swimming is by far one of the activities I avoid like the plaque! the sheer logistics of getting in and out of the pool bring me out in a cold sweat as getting in and out of our swimwear seems to take longer than the actual swimming itself.
However I had a real pang of guilt at my reluctance to go when I saw how much they all enjoy it and how well they were all swimming.
So from now on no matter how much I don’t want to immerse myself into the cold pool or struggle with sticky bodies and wet clothes I will get those little ones in the pool at least once a week.

The Perfect Nursery: Choosing schools for our children is always a nerve wrecking choice and I don’t think their is a parent out there that doesn’t worry they have made the right choice.
I’ve been both happy and unhappy with decisions on schooling I have made over the years but one place I couldn’t be more certain on is the nursery I choose for my youngest two.
It doesn’t have all the mod cons or a swanky building but it is full of love and care for each and every child and after picking up a poorly Oscar on Friday who was being cuddled and comforted I know there is no place I would rather enlist my children’s care to.

Woodland Walks: We can all get a little complacent with the things we have and I know that since writing these posts it has made me feel grateful for all the things I have that I would normally take for granted.
Walking Frankie to school in the morning is something I don’t often have time for as I’m busy trying to fit everything into my day; but when I do it is wonderful to be able to take a shortcut through the woods, turn off from everything else that is buzzing through my mind and connect with him and the beautiful surroundings.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Two

This time of year is never my friend! I get depressed by the weather, long for brighter and longer days and generally spend the whole of January and February wishing away the minutes until the start of spring.

I am however hoping that this new series of ‘Celebrating The Small Things’ I started last week is going to bring a bit of joy to the next few gloomy months ahead.

This week I have picked a couple of my favourite moments that have involved things I don’t get time to enjoy as often as I would like.

One On One Time: With five children this is certainly something I don’t get the chance to do as often as I would like so I cherish them everytime I get the chance.
We took a trip to Southbank to an event where Frankie got to meet some of his favourite characters from the Cartoon Network show – We Bare Bears and we both sampled delicious coffee that had been expertly poured and topped with incredible latte art.
Aside from having to take some pics whilst I was there we spent the rest of the morning completely screen free, talking about all those radom things that run through the mind of a six year and and really just enjoying each other.

Healthy Changes On Track: For those of you that are followers of my blog you will know that the past few years have gained an ever expanding waistline with my change in career.
Its something I’ve been battling with for a long time now and this week I feel that I’ve finally broken the cycle and things have got back on track.
There have been no faddy diets, I’ve just cut out the rubbish and reduced my portion sizes, I have got back into all the exercises I love such as spinning and kickboxing and have been feeling and seeing the benefits both physically and mentally.

Getting An Insight Into School Life: When your children set off to school they spend over half their day in the care of somebody else and we have very little insight into what they get up to; and if your children are anything like mine they aren’t to free with letting you know what they do either.
At the beginning of the week I wasn’t to excited about the thought of having a meeting at the school, but was pleasantly surprised when we got the chance to join the children in the classroom to see what they get up to during their working day.
It was so lovely to see Frankie interacting with his peers, thumbing through textbooks and asking questions on things he was coming across and seeing how much he has come on during his short time at school.

Please Don’t Let High School Take Your Sparkle

It’s that time of year again when the children are returning to school to start a fresh year of new and exciting challenges…for some it might not just be a new classroom it could be that big jump from preschool to reception or primary to secondary school.

In our house it is Izzy that will be taking that big leap to high school and to be honest she is taking it all in her stride.

It can be a huge change for both the child and parents with so many unknowns for everyone.

With Izzy being my third to take this step I don’t really have any anxieties about the whole process as it is a familiar school for us both and something I’ve had many years of practice with.

I am however getting a sinking feeling that the pressures of fitting it will cause her quirkiness to disappear and she will feel the need to conform and follow the crowd.

My little bare footed hippie certainly knows her own style but as she has got older the thoughts of others have been swaying her a little and as I’m sure we all know the pressures of a such a big change and that dreaded teen angst creeping in can have such a huge impact.

I know with the older two that I found the move to secondary school the biggest change as their it is such a tricky age. They are really trying to find themselves and this means much less parental involvement is needed in their day to day goings on which can be pretty hard.

They look to others for recognition and this is where I noticed a change with my older two as my opinion moved down the pecking order and their peers were not the people they wanted to please rather than me.

With this in mind I really hope she doesn’t loose  her huge zest for life, her don’t care attitude towards everything she does and her individual style. I hope she learns to withstand everything that it thrown at her over the next few years and let her inner sparkle continues to shine bright and be that one that stands out in the crowd.