Saturday, January 24

Project 365 2015 - Photo Round Up - Week 4

OK I am now really fed up - Harry has been ill most of the week and we have had enough of illnesses now.  Seriously, when will we catch a break?
We have been housebound a lot of this week and I have to say a HUGE thank you to my wonderful husband for taking over the school runs and pick ups at the start of the week.
Week 4

Day 18
While all her friends had their faces painted in 'Elsa' designs Emmy went against the grain and became a Ladybird.
Day 19
One-on-one time with a poorly boy - funnily no-one is keen on eating his snot filled cakes and I don't know why!
Day 20
The eyes say it all - I'm feeling VERY sorry for him but boys are not the best patients!
Day 21
I HAD to leave the house today, so we walked the dog to the local shops - well I did tell Harry we were going to take the dog for a walk!
Day 22
A care package to send to OZ - our cousin can't get Galaxy chocolate over there and it's her favourite
Day 23
A lovely package from Vanish - We are part of the Vanish Bloggers Club - I've given these to the children and I know they will get very messy - but that's the plan!
Day 24
Emmy is hiding her teddies in bushes and obscure places for a 'Bear Hunt'
TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky


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Friday, January 23

Make Memories this Year with a Merlin Annual Pass! - Don't miss out on the January Sale

With 52 weekends a year, half term breaks and the entire summer holidays, there is so much time to have family fun. But how can you create fond and fun memories without breaking the budget?    
A Merlin Annual Pass unlocks 31 Worlds of fun across the UK for an entire 12 months and with Merlin Worlds across the country there is something for everyone, and the value is amazing.
Merlin Worlds include, Alton Towers Resort, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort, THORPE PARK Resort and SEA LIFE centres around the country.
You can also visit a number of London Worlds, which include; Madame Tussauds, the London Dungeons, the London Eye and the London Aquarium!
The best time to buy your Merlin Annual Pass is in the January sale, as you won’t see a lower price all year. So from just £99* per person you could have access to all 31 Worlds and visit them as many times as you like!
Start making memories now with a Merlin Annual Pass. Visit  to buy your pass, at it’s lowest price in 2015.

When you sit back and think about how much a day out for a family can actually costs it does limit your plans especially in the school holidays.  But with 6 weeks over the summer and then the other holidays these passes can actual pay for themselves on around 2/3 visits.

Last Summer we visited LEGOLAND and the kids had a ball, Emmy and Paul have been asking to go back ever since as lets face it even arriving early we didn't manage to do half of what we had planned.

To get a better look at the costs I have been pricing up the days out we are planning already with our passes - over the school holidays we are planning to visit these, as well as a few others at least once if not twice:

Legoland windsor, child sized lego car, lego car, merlin pass

LEGOLAND (with a 25% discount for advanced bookings)
2 x Adults =  £96.00 (£72.00)
1 x Child = £43.80 (£32.85)
Child under 3 = Free
Total for our family of 4 = £139.80 ((£104.85)

London Eye Standard tickets (online booking discount)
2 x Adults =  £43.00 (£38.70)
1 x Child (4-15yrs) = £15.50 (£13.95)
Under 4's = Free
Total for our family of 4 = £58.50 (£52.65)

SeaLife London Aquarium (online booking discount)
2 x Adults = £47.00 (£39.96)
1 x Child (3-15yrs) = £16.95 (£14.41)
Child under 3 = Free
Total of our family of 4 = £63.95 (£54.37)

Total for the 3 days out for our family = £262.25 (£211.87)

As you can see at the non discounted prices just 3 visits to these attractions would almost pay for the cost of the passes - and don't forget you can also get discounts for friends and family as well as other perks too.

It you want to make full use of these sale prices you will need to be quick as the offer ends at the end of the month!

Disclaimer:  We have been provided with Merlin Passes and will be putting them to full use over the course of the year - look out for our tips on making the most of the attractions very soon.
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Thursday, January 22

Learning through play - A look at Emmy's Birthday games

It's safe to safe my daughter isn't the most academic type.  She really isn't keen on School and tries her hardest to avoid any sort of homework.   She already has the excuses nailed, I'm tired, I'm hungry, I need the toilet, can we wash my hair?  You name it and she will find an excuse.

Reading she will just about do at a push but it almost needs forcing, she is get distracted too easily.

With her birthday approaching I am using this celebration to introduce her to fun but educational games which we can all play together.

I posed this question on Facebook asking for games suggestions:

We have been loving playing a few games in the evening as a family and now she thinks those are great fun I would like to slowly introduce some more, ones which require a little more concentration and teach her at the same time.

Using the suggestions given above and browsing the sales I have a nice selection wrapped up for her birthday.  There may seem a lot in her birthday haul but these are to be enjoyed by us all.

Here is a sneak peek at what she has (thankfully she doesn't read this blog and I won't be showing her this page - Dad you're not to either!!)

Junior Monopoly, Shopping Trip, Guess Who, Tell the Time, Rhyme Robber

We've also gotten her a LeapPad Ultra and some games for it too, as well as the entire Barbie DVD collection, well you are only 5 years old once.

Now I need to decide what cake to make.
Are there any other games I have missed which you think are MUST HAVE ones for our building collection?

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Wednesday, January 21

A proud Mummy post - My Water Baby

Regular readers may remember that last year Emmy moved up a class in her swimming lessons.  She moved out of her comfort zone of the learner's pool and into the main pool.
This change meant she was now a yellow hat and in a new class with a new teacher and new children.  The teacher no longer goes into the pool with her but stands at the side telling them what to do.
Emmy now is the youngest in her class by a year and a half...the smallest of the group.
She hated this change, we had tears and tantrums,  screaming and shouting.
She hated it!
We combated this in a couple of ways...bribery and perseverance and a new wetsuit.
The wetsuit did wonders, she no longer shivered at the side of the pool waiting for her turn.
Bribery - she was allowed a choice of sweet or her choice of dinner after swimming and after a month she was allowed a new toy.
Perseverance worked, the teacher was great and eased her in gently, allowing her to have a woggle if needed or a float until her confidence built up.
These tools were removed gently and Emmy didn't even notice.
Now she is excited about her lessons and almost runs there (she would if it was summer - she is scared of the dark).
She doesn't bat and eyelid when asked to try something new now and today this happened!
I am very proud of my waterbaby! 
She is doing brilliantly and now once again loves swimming.
To gain this award Emmy had to achieve the following:
Duckling Grade 4
1. Jump unaided, but supervised, into the water
2. Submerge completely
3. Rotate through 360° either horizontally or vertically
4. Show a mushroom OR a star float
5. Travel without assistance 10 metres on the front OR back
6. Climb out of the water with assistance if required
She has already gained her Kellogs Award Stage 2 and her 5 Metre badge last year
Stage 2 award
  1. Jump in from poolside safely
  2. Blow bubbles a minimum of three times rhythmically with nose and mouth submerged
  3. Regain upright position from the back without support
  4. Regain an upright position from the front without support
  5. Push from wall and glide on the back
  6. Push from wall and glide on the front
  7. Travel on the back for 5 metres, aids or equipment may be used
  8. Travel on the front for 5 metres, aids or equipment may be used
  9. Perform a rotation from the front to the back to gain an upright position
  10. Perform a rotation from the back to the front to gain an upright position
She is now working towards her final Duckling award - Grade 5 and towards her Stage 3 award, alongside her 10 metre badge which she is very close to gaining now.

Not bad for a 4 year old!!

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Rubber-dub-dub are you cleaning in the tub?

Forget about 'How clean is your house', how about 'How clean are you?'
According to this infographic produced by many people have only 4 baths a year.  Now I know I am a busy Mum with very little 'me time' but even I manage to get a nice long soak in the bath about once a fortnight.  Don't get me wrong, I shower every single morning and I often get into the tub with the kids for their evening bath but a nice long soak is my luxury.
It also suggests that 60% of bath taking Brits share a tub with their partners - that's definitely true here but in a water saving way as opposed to a romantic way.  I bath first then top up the hot water for Paul to hop in once I'm finished and head to bed.  This is perfect for us as the longest I am in the bath is around 30-40 minutes, whereas he will bathe for around 2 hours, he has a medical condition called Fibromyalgia which leaves him with sore and achy muscles and joints, a hot bath helps to ease the pain.
What are your bathing habits? Are you an everyday bather or a once a year on your birthday bather?
 "This is a collaborative post"
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