Thursday, October 23

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year...

It might seem like a long way off right now, but the truth is, Christmas is well and truly on its way. I know, I know. IT’S ONLY OCTOBER. But before you tut and click off this page, it’s really worth thinking about the fact that this holiday really does always tend to creep up on us, in a much scarier way than anything Halloween can bring! Now, whilst in all honesty it seems like you have ages and ages to prepare, it’s best to get a move on, quick!
According to Everyday Loans in this article, just the basics of having a child are costing almost £4000 per year, and that’s not even taking into account things like Christmas presents. There will be so, so much that you’ll have to buy, even if you’re not prone to spoiling the children - that's my pitfall!  From the gifts that you’ll have to order in advance, to the ones you’ll have to find replacements for because Santa can’t quite afford them this year, there’ll be so much to consider that you best get started now!
Of course, it’s not just about the children – there are gifts to buy for everyone else, and cards to write, or even make. It’s one of those annoying times where you actually have to sit down and put a pen to paper for once, carefully making sure you don’t miss anyone off your list (or the kids’). You’ll have to think of everyone at school. At work. At church, or your other groups. It can be a nightmare, too, so you’ll want to have a few spares to hand to save embarrassment. "Oh, yeah, I did write you one but I left it at home, so sorry!" doesn’t really wash with anyone! For the people who are extra special and deserve a little something more, you can get personalised cards made by ChuckleMonster, just to add that thoughtful touch.
The actual arrangements of Christmas day itself will need to be considered, too. Where will the children open their presents? If you and your partner are separated, where will they spend the day? Where will they eat? There’s plenty to think about. Speaking of eating – do you want turkey, or do you fancy something else? Does the whole family just want to escape altogether and spend the season abroad?
There’s so much to think about from budget to everything else. Whether you’re religious or not, Christmas is an exciting time of year. Do you celebrate Christmas? I certainly enjoy it much more now I'm a Mum and I can spoil the kids. 

What are your plans this year and are you like me and have the 'battle' of who's parents you go around to avoid cooking? 


"This is a collaborative post"

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Wednesday, October 22

Construction sets with a difference - GoldieBlox

When I was younger Lego was for boys....the horror! I loved Lego.  Now you can get Lego friends sets which is obviously geared at girls being pink and all that.
There were also loads of construction type kits for boys, Mechano being just one example.
It was rather stereotypical even back then.....and no I'm not that old only mid 30's!  Girls had Barbie's and boys construction toys.  I got it. It didn't bother me, Mechano didn't really interest me. It was boring.
Now, I bring my kids up knowing they can play with whichever toys they like....Harry is often seen with a Doll and a Buggy and Emmy Lego sets but I also get that these sets don't interest her much.
GoldieBlox recently sent some of their new girls construction sets for Emmy to play with.  She is a girlie girl and they were an instant hit.  These are award-winning toys from the US which have recently landed in the UK! 
They are construction toys which teach basic engineering and building concepts to girls in a fun way.
By following the story and the diagrams you can build a parade float, dunk tank and a spinning machine.
Emmy was instantly engaged. She could see from the off she was making and how to get to the finished result in a few basic steps
Review, GoldieBlox, Parade Float
Each set features an interactive toy, containing a book series and construction set, which encourages kids to build in the context of a narrative. The stories feature Goldie, a girl inventor who solves problems by building simple machines.
These kits are great fun and the feature the cutest animal characters which bring alive the toys too!
GoldieBlox, Spinning Machine, Review
Created by engineer and entrepreneur Debbie Sterling, GoldieBlox aims to introduce engineering concepts to girls at an early age, providing them with more options and spawning a movement to disrupt pink toy aisles everywhere. 
GoldieBlox Dunk Tank, Review,
I really love this idea and the sets are wonderful too.  Emmy adores them and it wasn't long before she was trying to create her own ideas using the sets.
These sets are now available from Amazon and Hobbycraft

Disclaimer:  We were sent these sets for the purpose of this review, all thoughts are our own and unbiased.

5 reasons you should get an ultrasound before your 2nd trimester

Hello, soon-to-be-parents, and congratulations! Finding out you are expecting is one of the happiest and most joyous times in your life! Although it is an extremely exciting time, discovering you will soon have a little one to care for can also bring about the nervous thoughts like, "are we ready for this?" and "will I be a good mother/father?"

While we may not be able to answer these questions, we can provide answers for some other very important questions, such as why you should get an ultrasound before your second trimester. In case you were wondering, you should and here are five reasons why!

The first, and probably most important reason why (which is probably why it is number one!), is an ultrasound before your second trimester allows you to confirm the pregnancy. This first ultrasound, which normally takes place around 6-8 weeks, will not only let you know for certain that you are expecting, but it will also let you and your doctors know if the fetus is properly implanted and developing in the uterus. If there is an issue, an early ultrasound may be the reason why it was discovered.
The second reason why, and most tear-jerking, is to say hello to your developing bundle of joy! You will always remember the moment you saw your baby for the first time. The tears will come, but they will be happy tears! This big moment will always be remembered and it also makes for a great keepsake for the baby books that will one day be created to help remember the special moments like this.

In addition, an ultrasound before your second trimester also allows you to capture every milestone. For women who are unsure just how far along they are, an ultrasound is a great way to determine the gestational age of the fetus. In more simple terms, it will tell you how long you have been pregnant. Having this accurate information will give you a more accurate timeline of you pregnancy, which ultimately leads up to a more narrow due date range.

Another reason why you should get an ultrasound before your second trimester is to determine viability and to check for signs of a possible genetic complication. Also, an ultrasound will help point out if there are any potential risks for both mother and baby.
Lastly, an ultrasound before the second trimester allows the parents-to-be to plan for the future with their little one! An early ultrasound can let you know if you can expect multiples and this will give you plenty of time to plan for you new additions. If you find out that you are expecting twins, triplets, or more, the earlier the doctor knows the better because a pregnancy where multiples are involved can pose a slightly higher risk than normal pregnancy.

So, what are you waiting for? Call your doctor to schedule your ultrasound so you can benefit from the five reasons why you should have an ultrasound done before the second semester!
This post was written by Glenn Josephik. Glenn is an account representative and the marketing coordinator at MedCorp LLC, the industry leader and premier business source for used portable ultrasound systems. You can follow Glenn Josephik on Google+
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Tuesday, October 21

My Baby is 2!

How on earth did the past 2 years just fly by?
I've blinked and missed so much, yet on the other hand so much has captured.  Thanks to our blog every memory, every milestone and even the mishaps have been recorded.  Nothing has been missed and that was the sole aim of setting up our little corner of the internet over 3 years ago now. 
I would love my kids to look back one day on all of these memories recorded for them and to cherish them as much as I do.  To relive them and to remember the fun we have on a daily basis.
On Sunday Harry turned 2!
He was first mentioned within these pages when I revealed our secret at 8 weeks pregnant.
This was his first picture:
His birth was announced on these pages while I was still in recovery after his planned C-section, with his first baby picture displayed (Forward planning came into play there and a very good friend who published the almost pre-written post for me).
We spread his birthday treats out over two days.  On the Saturday for tea we took him to Pizza Express where he was a very big boy and sat nicely on a big boys chair for nearly all of our meal!  Amazing - usually he gets bored and keeps getting down, it is however amazing the power a mirror, stickers and watching your dinner being cooked has - Oh and flirting with the little girl behind you, he starts young.
On the Sunday he actually slept in!  It would appear that 2 year olds like sleep - now if he could teach his 4 year old sister I would be very grateful!
He slowly opened his presents, infact he did what Emmy used to do, open one present and then play with it before starting on the next.  Emmy of course kept trying to make him open more.
I had planned to cook him his favourite breakfast of scrambled eggs with beans, whoever I had forgotten those when shopping in the week - party food was higher on my list so a McBreakfast it was all around, not that anyone complained.
A lazy morning followed playing with his new toys. (I wrote about what we bought him last week).
A little over whelmed and unsure of what was going on he was a little cuddly for a while, too excited to sleep but desperately needing a little nap.
We had a small family party with his grandparents, uncle and cousin and later on his godmother came to visit.
It's really hard to believe he is now 2 but he does seem to have grown up over night and now I have to stop pretending he is a baby still and make that call to pre-school to book his taster day for after Christmas.
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Monday, October 20

Review: My Friend Cayla Interactive Doll

Back in the summer Emmy and I went into London to attend a private party at Hamleys to meet a very special doll.  We were introduced to My Friend Cayla who is set to be top of the Christmas lists this year.
So who is Cayla and why is she so special?
Well here she is:
My Friend Cayla, review,
As you can see from the off she isn't you typical overly make up style doll, she looks just like you would expect a 7 year old to look, wearing leggings and a t-shirt fashioned with a denim jacket, skirt and trainers - she is wearing exactly the same style Emmy would choose herself to wear.  From a parents point of view it is refreshing to see a very casual attire and no make-up - after all these dolls are aimed at children afterall so why do the majority of them have to be super skinny with high heels and make-up?
My Friend Cayla is a doll with a difference, she is set to become your child's friend.  She can understand almost anything you say by using speech-to-text technology.    Download the free app to an Android or iOS smart device and connect to Cayla via Bluetooth Wireless Technology.
She is 18 inches tall and comes complete with a hairbrush and mirror.  She retails at £59.99
You can get to know Cayla, ask her questions such as her name, about her family, her favourite foods, music, hobbies, pets and much more and she will answer you, you can tell her about yourself too and she will remember.  You can ask her questions such as 'What is the Capital of France?', questions about where animals live and even about famous people and she will answer you.
She will also play games with you too using your iPad or smartphone, she will read you a story, talk about the pictures in her photo albums.
My friend Cayla, Interactive doll review, talking doll, top toys christmas 2014
Emmy was rather taken with this doll and it was easy to see why, she liked chatting away to her and thought it was very funny when Cayla chatted back to her.
I on the other hand have a few niggles, and I have waited a while to share this post while we tried to iron out the kinks.
Firstly, I couldn't get the Cayla app downloaded onto my Android phone as I didn't have enough memory.  I removed all my photo's, most of the games and reset some of the settings however I still didn't have enough space.  We had to set this up with Paul's phone initially to get around this problem.
Next we encountered connection issues, the signal kept dropping out and Cayla would unpair from the Bluetooth frequently which was rather frustrating.  I recently got a new phone so we tried again and had more luck this time.  Emmy was able to ask her questions, listen to the stories and to interact with Cayla better.
Sadly there is another slight problem, Emmy has a cold.  This is effecting her speech and when she asks Cayla a question she needs to repeat herself a few times before she is understood - meeting with 'I'm afraid I don't know that one'.  Thankfully Emmy finds this very funny so she just keeps asking over and over again.
My friend Cayla, story telling doll, interactive doll
Older children will probably have more luck in making themselves understood, Emmy is 4 and a half and can mutter or talk quietly - to make Cayla work effectively you need to be clear and louder.
You maybe slightly worried about Cayla being linked to the internet, however the software system checks for offensive or sensitive words against a pre-set blocked words list.  If the question or answer contains any words on the blocked word list Cayla will announce that 'she cannot talk about those things'.    You are also able to add your own words and phrases to a blocked list (once added this can not be undone and the list can't be viewed - just incase your child tries to change the settings. 
Overall we like this toy and we can see this being hugely popular this Christmas.  You can find out futher information about Cayla on the website
Disclaimer:  We received this doll for the purposes of this honest review, all thoughts and opinions are our own and unbiased.

We're going on an adventure
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