Designing swimwear with Surania

Designing swimwear with Surania

We were approached back in June with the opportunity of designing swimwear with Surania. The European online retailer offer a ‘design your own’ selection of swimwear for all the family.

I don’t get much opportunity to wear a bikini these days, but there 12 style options for the bikini tops alone, before you even start looking at bottoms and the all important fabrics.  I did also spot that you can buy underwired bikini tops from Surania – a must for ‘Mrs Barely any boobs’! They also offer a range of Tankini’s and full swimsuits.  I finally decided to go with a Beach Dress as I liked the flexibility that would offer me, both on and off the beach or by the poolside, for future vacations.

There are a large number of fabric patterns available, as well as plain block colours.  I loved this design for the main part of the beach dress and picked a coordinating plain blue for the adjustable straps.

Designing swimwear with Surania

Once you’ve selected your preferred materials, you input your sizing – the simplified option asks for height (inches – I found this odd for a European seller) along with your bra size, and the dress size you would buy pants in.  For the detailed option you provide your height, waist, hips, bust and lower chest measurements – again, all in inches.  I went for the detailed option as my bust and hips really don’t belong on the same body!

Next up was Monkey.  I let him pick his one design and colour scheme, clearly this was a mistake as he pretty much duplicated the colourway of his existing swimsuit.  But the boy was not for changing.  He went for Boxer style shorts with a coordinating blue waistband. Again we went for the detailed measurement option and supplied his height, waist and hip measurements.

Ordered placed, it was just a case of waiting for our one-off pieces of swimwear to be delivered.  Now this is where we have a slight niggle.  I’m not sure if it was because our ordered was placed at the end of June and demand was high with the holiday season about to kick into full swing, but our order took 6 weeks to arrive via DHL.  The website states 15 days from date of order.

Designing swimwear with Surania

The stitching of both items looks good, the beach dress has elasticated bust support and adjustable straps as I’ve already mentioned.  The material is the same stretchy type fabric you get most beachwear in.

Designing swimwear with Surania

The shorts have a comfort insert too.  I would have expected both garments to have some sort of care label stitched into them – they didn’t.

Fit wise we were both pleased, as neither felt too tight or too loose, so we were both happy with our designer swimwear from Surania.  My beach dress cost £44.60 and Monkey’s boxer style swim shorts cost £14.95.  I do like the idea of being able to select really specific swimwear, especially as my top and bottom half measurements don’t equate to the same ‘dress size’, and it’s lovely to be able to select your own pattern too. You are paying a premium for this service.

disclaimer:  we were sent the items shown in exchange for an honest review.

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Wild Pets Spider

Now you know that we are big bug fans here (we’ll gloss over Monkey’s new-found terror of wasps!).  I have friends with a real phobia of spiders but they don’t bother us in this house.  I knew Monkey was going to love a parcel that arrived recently – the Wild Pets Spider from Character.

Wild Pets Spiders

The Wild Pets Spider range are aimed at children aged 5 years and there are 4 different critters to collect – Chiller, Creepster, Eyegore and Wolfgang. Each Wild Pets Spider comes with 3 x LR44 button cell batteries and full instructions.

Monkey received Eyegore and the fun was about to begin.

Wild Pets Spider

Eyegore is operated by touching sensors on the top of his body. There are three different play modes where he also changes the colour of his eyes too.

Blue eyes indicate Creep mode as Eyegore creeps around a small area.

Wild Pets Spider

Green eyes indicate Explore mode as Eyegore gets more adventurous and wanders further afield.

Wild Pets SpiderRed eyes indicate Attack mode and you are in trouble as Eyegore makes a beeline for his intended victim – in most instances this has been me!

Wild Pets Spider

The Wild Pets Spider has caused much hilarity since Eyegore moved in, he really does go when he’s on attack mode.  Even Brewster the cat has been fascinated by the arrival of Monkey’s latest pet.

Wild Pets Spider

One word of warning, watch where your children play with their new pet.  Eyegore decided to have a good look around my bedroom, which was fine, right up until he decided to go under the bed.  We have a wooden framed king size bed with minimum floor clearance, but large enough for Eyegore to get under.  Cue frantically trying to find something long enough and thin enough to persuade him of the errors of his ways and get him back out into daylight.  Would you believe he thanked me by attacking me again.  That’s gratitude for you.

The Spiders work well on lino and carpet and Eyegore will be much played with I’m sure. The Wild Pets Spider range are available on Amazon (affiliate link below) priced at £12.99.

disclaimer:  we were sent the item mentioned in exchange for an honest review

 
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Fun over the summer with The Works

I’ve long been a fan of The Works shops, from way before I had Monkey.  They always have lots of bargained price books for children and adults alike.  I have to be honest, I’ve not really looked at them as a toys and games supplier before, but that might just have changed.  We’ve had fun over the summer with The Works.

Fun over the summer with The Works

We received a selection of craft activities, a game and a bubble machine bundle worth £25.00. It was time for some fun.

Play Sand is a new concept for us, and I thought Monkey would like it.  This Play Sand Castle Super Set is priced at £8.00 and contains a 450g tub of play sand and 3 plastic moulds, and is aimed at children aged 3 years and over.

Fun over the summer with The Works

The box picture is a bit misleading, Monkey thought he’d be able to replicate the castle, but in reality there is nowhere near enough sand for that.  But, once he’d got over that initial disappointment he was away.  The texture of the play sand totally fascinated both of us, its mouldable, reusable and generally just fun!

We have a lot of space themed play here so the Alien Adventure Kit was a great addition to our fleet.  Priced at £3.00 this craft set is aimed at children aged 5+, so perfect for a 5 and half year old Monkey.

Fun over the summer with The Works

The kit comes with foam pieces to make a spaceship and 6 aliens along with glue, 2 rocket launchers and instructions.  Monkey decided to make his own versions of a few of the aliens but that was half the fun.

Fun over the summer with The Works has also included lots of bubbles – a must in any home!

This Bubble Machine is available for £4.00 and comes with 1 x 4oz bottle of bubble mixture. You will need 3 x AA batteries to work it.  I did spot another set on The Works website which includes a pack of 4 x AA batteries for £6.00 which might prove a better buy, if you get through as many batteries as we do here!

The biggest hit here has come in the form of the Play-doh Monster Smash Game.  This has had Monkey in fits of the giggles.  It’s fair to say that there has been quite a lot of cheating involved too!

Fun over the summer with The Works

The game is priced at £6.00, is aimed at children aged 3 years and over and can be played with 2-4 players.  You get a plastic wipe clean game board, 4 pots of Play-doh, flying saucer mould, 4 Smasher Shoes and game instructions.  The flying saucer mould has 4 different 3D alien moulds inside it.  The idea is to stomp on the aliens before they reach all the food in the fridge.

Monkey absolutely loves this game, and we’ve played it on numerous occasions since it arrived.  It’s a big hit.

We have tried the Mission Outer Space Rainbow Brush set yet.  Although the set, priced at £5.00 is aimed at children aged 5+, at the moment Monkey just wouldn’t get the most out of it.  We’ve put it away and will try it in the future.

Fun over the summer with The Works

It does sound fab though, so I’m sure in the future it will be a big hit.

I’ve certainly realised that The Works is more than just a book shop and there are a whole host of ideas on their website to keep the kids amused.

disclaimer:  we were sent the items mentioned in exchange for an honest review

 

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teapigs teapops

You may remember I discovered teapigs some time back.  I’ve been a fan on their Super Fruit tea temples ever since.  We’ve even made cake with teapigs before now!  So when I was told of another way of using my favourite tea temples I was keen to find out more.  It was time to make some teapigs teapops.

teapigs teapops

The teapigs Super Fruit tea temples contain hibiscus, elderberry, blackcurrant, raisin, lingonberry and blueberry and I thought they’d be perfect for Monkey and I to try as our first teapop experience.

teapigs teapops

teapigs teapops - Super Fruits
teapigs teapops - Super Fruits
Print Recipe
Ice pops using teapigs tea temples
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
- 12 hours
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
- 12 hours
teapigs teapops - Super Fruits
teapigs teapops - Super Fruits
Print Recipe
Ice pops using teapigs tea temples
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
- 12 hours
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
- 12 hours
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Brew the tea temples for at least 4 minutes in the boiling water
  2. Sweeten with honey
  3. Remove tea temples and leave to fully cool
  4. Once cool top up with 350ml water/milk
  5. Prepare the strawberries (or other fruits of your choice)
  6. Pour your cooled tea into ice lolly moulds and add in chopped fruit
  7. Place in the freezer overnight to set
Recipe Notes

Recipe provided by teapigs

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So what did we think of our first taste of teapigs teapops? Well we might not have had the summer sun but these certainly brightened up our day.  They were a big hit and Monkey has asked me what we can try next!

teapigs teapops

I’m not a lover of anything with a citrus flavour personally, but teapigs suggest using their Lemon and Ginger tea temples with the juice of a whole lemon, lemon zest and honey.  I love the idea of trying something with the Peppermint, Chocolate & Mint or Rooibos Creme Caramel too.

I might try using milk instead of water with our Super Fruit tea temples to see what that tastes like.  I love Chai tea, so for myself and Daddy P I’m tempted to try the Chai Tea Temples with almond milk, a vanilla pod, cinnamon and honey.

Have you made teapops before?  I’d love to hear your suggestions if you have.

disclaimer:  we were sent the items shown in exchange for an honest review

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The Charter in Aylesbury – a Table Table eatery

I’d not heard of Table Table before so I was rather intrigued to discover we have one fairly close to us.  It was time for Sunday lunch and I took two willing assistants with me to try out the menu at The Charter in Aylesbury.

The Charter in Aylesbury

The Charter in Aylesbury is on Rimmington Way, just off the A41 as you head into the town from Bicester.  There is plenty of on-site parking and we soon discovered that this is a very popular lunchtime location.  We had a table booked for 12 o’clock and by the time we left the car park was full.

First impressions – tidy, clean, and very customer focussed.  We waited for a few minutes to be seated, and as we walked to our table we were told all about the Table Table Tasty Rewards card (a great way to save pennies towards future meals).  Monkey was also given a Horrible Histories activity pack and a crayons set.  Once seated we were told who would be looking after us for the duration of our stay.  Our waitress Becca soon arrived and I have to say we were all really impressed with her and her customer service skills.  We’d expected to have to order our food and drinks at the bar (ok when you are in a group but a pain if you go out by yourself with a younger child in my opinion), but no, full waitress service is available at The Charter in Aylesbury, which was a very pleasant surprise.

We were made aware of the different menus available and ordered our drinks. Cheers!

The Charter in Aylesbury

There were lots of options available on the children’s menu but I knew that as long as there was pizza available Monkey would be sorted!  For £3.99 children get a main meal with two sides, and either a starter or dessert included.  The 5 different Starters cost 99p if ordered separately and the 9 different desserts £1.99.

Daddy P and I fancied a 3 course meal but I didn’t want Monkey to have to wait for us.  No problem, his meal could be brought out with our starters.

There are 12 main meal options available and he ordered a Build Your Own Pizza, you can add 2 out of 4 toppings, but Monkey likes his pizza plain, for his sides he ordered garlic bread and coleslaw.

The Charter in Aylesbury

If you have older children, who want a little more, but still less than an adult portion, then the Junior Meal option at £4.99 offers 6 options (but no veggie option which seems strange when they are well covered in the smaller options).

Daddy P being ever the traditionalist decided on a soup starter – Tomato with Basil pesto.  I opted for Calamari served with Tartare sauce.

The soup was hot and flavoursome and I was rather impressed with the Calamari – it’s so easy to over cook it, but this was lovely, not at all chewy or greasy.

We both decided to go with the Sunday Roast option having Roast Turkey (£8.99 with 3 meat options and a veggie pie, served with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, root vegetable mash, green beans, stuffing and gravy).  Becca told us we could always go for a slice of all 3 meats – turkey, pork and beef if we wanted.  But we both fancied the Turkey. We were also provided with cranberry sauce and added cauliflower cheese for an extra 99p.

The portion sizes kept Daddy P happy and I have to say I couldn’t actually eat all of it (I did have my eye on the dessert menu!).  Everything was well cooked and delivered to the table nice and hot.

Now I always find it hard to resist a pudding and the Eton Mess was calling me, Daddy P opted for the Apple and Cherry Crumble.  The kids menu had something that really sparked Monkey’s interest and kept him entertained – the Scary Face Sundae comes with Vanilla ice cream, strawberry laces, mini chocolate beans, milk teeth gums so you can create your own scary face.  He loved it!

We were all really impressed with The Charter in Aylesbury, for a chain eatery, the food was as good as the price.  Not only that, the staff were a breath of fresh air, attentive when required, Monkey was made to feel welcome and that actually seemed to care about their customers.  Sadly, something that is often lacking in other establishments.  We ate well, I might have had a large and small glass of wine, Daddy P had half a Shandy, followed by a Coke and Monkey had a Babyccino, but our bill was still under £59.00.  For a family meal in a child friendly environment we give The Charter in Aylesbury a big thumbs up, and I’m sure we’ll be eating there again in the future.

Worth also noting that kids eat free weekdays before 5pm!

Have you been to a Table Table eatery before?  I’d love to hear about your experiences.

disclaimer:  we were given a food and drinks voucher in exchange for an honest review

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The B&W Photography Project Week 59 #bwphotoproject

The B&W Photography Project Week 59 with PODCast and today I’m sharing with you the detail on a cannon from the time of Henry VIII, a surviving relic from the Mary Rose.

The B&W Photography Project Week 59

I was 14 when the ruin of the Mary Rose was brought up from the bottom of the Solent.  I remember it vividly, and as a huge fan of the Tudor period, even at that age, I was mesmerised.  I went to visit the Mary Rose Museum as it was some years ago, and this photo was from our recent trip to the see the new museum complete.  It’s amazing to see the difference in how the ship itself is becoming more and more part of the display.

I just love all the little details on this cannon, that something that was so functional on a ship could still be so beautifully decorated.  I’m sure that wouldn’t happen in this day and age!

 photo 4d06e438-4e6a-4f3b-88b2-0c1093350397_zps361ad0e9.jpg

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Silent Sunday My Sunday Photo 230815

I still remember my first visit to see HMS Victory, I went with my parents and my brother. I’m guessing I was about 8, I’m sure my Dad will correct me shortly!  The ship looked so large and so beautiful.  In those days the masts were at full height and all the rigging was still in place.  I remember the hammocks, the cannons and the impossibly small spaces that sailors had to live in.  I also remember the rear of the ship, I know, not exactly a nautical term, but it was so different from the rest of the ship, especially when seen externally.

Silent Sunday My Sunday Photo 230815

This shot only captures a small part of it, but I also love flags, so it called out to me to be this week’s shot!

I remember one other thing from my first visit, I came home with a HMS Victory pencil.  I wonder whatever happened to that!

Have you been to Portsmouth to see HMS Victory?

OneDad3Girls

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Project 365 2015 Week 34

I’ve been joining in with Project 365 since the start of 2014, and been inspired by The Boy and Me to make sure I take a Photo A Day, Every Day, For A Year! Project 365 2015 Week 34 Days 227-233.

Sunday 16th August – Day 227

Project 365 2015 Week 34

We went out for Sunday lunch in Aylesbury for a review, nice food and great service with a smile. Daddy P has wanted to visit Bletchley Park for ages so we visited for the afternoon. Monkey was really too young to appreciate it all, but he was free and our tickets become an annual pass, so I’m going to go back on a school day!

Sunday night is bath night with Daddy P, look I’ve got a beard!

Monday 17th August – Day 228

Project 365 2015 Week 34

We drove down to Whipsnade Zoo for the day, it really is one of our favourite places.  We met up with one of my Dad’s cousins and spent a lovely day seeing lots of baby animals – elephant, hippo and lemur were highlights.  Monkey’s wasp phobia decided to come with us, which proved challenging at times, and sadly doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Any ideas on how to de-stress a child in this situation would be appreciated because I am out of ideas.

Tuesday 18th August – Day 229

Project 365 2015 Week 34

We spent the day with my ex MIL and my eldest niece who’s just come back from her first holiday abroad with her boyfriend.  So lovely to see the smart young woman she has become.  Monkey had a lovely time making up the ‘Wasp’ game!  He made a paper wasp and then we helped him make a big cardboard dice out of cardboard.  Of all the subjects for a game ……

I’d totally forgotten to take any photos and luckily my cross stitch project came to the rescue!

Wednesday 19th August – Day 230

Project 365 2015 Week 34

Oh what a challenging day.  I haven’t been to Jado Chi since the school holidays started but my friend and I had arranged to go and take our boys with us.  Her son is in the year above Monkey, but at a different school – they were at Pre-school together 3 years ago – eek!  Well Monkey wasn’t impressed and was literally stuck to me like glue.

A quick trip home to change and then we met back up for lunch, the wasp saga continued but we did get some giggles and he almost had a conversation with us all.

Thursday 20th August – Day 231

Project 365 2015 Week 34

We’d got Monkey’s first swimming lesson in 4 weeks late in the afternoon so I decided we’d have a home day.  Monkey was happy playing whilst I caught up with a few job.  I was expecting a review delivery which should have been with us by 2pm, of course it didn’t arrive until after we’d left at 4.30!

Swimming – what to say.  I knew it would be a challenge, 4 weeks in Monkey’s world is a lifetime and we’d missed class change, so there were a lot of new children in his class. Cue him running away from the pool twice, me taking him back to the pool edge and him nearly dragging me in with him.  Tears, screaming, you name it we had it.  The teacher and her assistant tried everything.  It was the worst he has ever been, and in the end we had to admit defeat.  It has left me totally drained and even more concerned about what we face when he starts school again next month.  Do I admit defeat and give up on lessons, and walk away from 18 months of trying, find a one to one class, I just don’t know. He actually loves being in the water, so I have no idea.

Right now I’m just drained, running on empty and in need of one easy day.  Sorry feeling sorry for myself, ignore me.  Tomorrow is another day!

Friday 21st August – Day 232

Project 365 2015 Week 34

We met up with Tina from The Soup Dragon Says and her son for the day at the Winchester Science Centre.  After yesterday, I wondered what Monkey would throw at me, but apart from breaking my bracelet (sob), he was on good form and really enjoyed himself.  He wasn’t interested in the planetarium but loved everything else.  This crane was his clear favourite, but he really had a wonderful time.  Can thoroughly recommend, and he’s already asking when we can go back.

Saturday 22nd August – Day 233

Project 365 2015 Week 34

We drove over to Blenheim Palace to meet up with a few of our NCT friends, the aim was to have some fun in the Pleasure Gardens and enjoy a picnic together.  Monkey decided he didn’t want to play in the sandpit, so we took our bucket and spade back to the car. After a quick visit to the Bygones Museum we headed back to the gardens to find a bit of shade to set up our camp for the day.  Then the wasp issue returned and Monkey was getting very upset.  Someone on Twitter had suggested using water bottles so he could aim the water at the wasps, it didn’t help with the hysteria at all sadly.  We headed off to the Butterfly House hoping it would distract him, but he was just getting more and more upset.  So we left our friends and headed home.  :(

Project 365 2015 Week 34

 

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Walking around Brill #Countrykids

I’m as guilty as the next person of not enjoying what is right under my nose.  We are surrounded by lovely countryside here and really it’s very easy to get outdoors without travelling a long distance.  Earlier this month we did just that, and spent an afternoon walking around Brill, a village which really is beautiful, on our doorstep and with a family connection.

Walking around Brill

Monkey’s grandfather used to go to school in Brill as a child and Daddy P can remember having family in the village.  It’s a really quaint, typical English village but it becomes very popular due to its main attraction.

Walking around Brill

The view from Brill hill over the windmill is breathtaking on a clear day – you really can see for miles across the Bucks/Oxon borders.  The windmill itself dates from the 1680’s and was in use until 1923.  These days, although no longer working, it’s open to the public on the first Sunday of every month through the summer.  We couldn’t persuade Monkey to climb the steep steps into the mill itself, so we walked around Brill instead.

We started walking around the field which houses the windmill and came across a little hidden treasure in the form of Hartwells Barn.

While there were lots of families around the windmill, this area was totally deserted and gave us more wonderful views.  I think we might have to bring a picnic next time.

We obviously had to have a closer look at the windmill whilst walking around Brill. Monkey had seen one very similar when we visited Avoncroft Museum recently, so he was full of chatter about it.  One of my ancestors was a miller in another Buckinghamshire windmill that sadly no longer exists so we wondered if it might have looked as lovely as this one.

There always used to be an ice cream van on duty near the windmill, but he was awol on the day we visited.  So it gave Monkey the perfect incentive to walk around the village and see if the corner shop had anything he fancied.

His luck was in and we sat looking over towards the village church whilst he indulged.

It’s possible to do a circular walk around the village which passes through the park – incentive number 2.

Of course, as we were walking around Brill, we were always on the look out for our little friends! (pre wash phobia setting in).

We headed off along the footpath which would lead us back to our, enjoying the views as we walked.

We spent a perfect afternoon walking around Brill, just proving that we really shouldn’t overlook what is on our doorstep!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Crazy Legs Scooby

Monkey and I both love Scooby Doo, he’s our kind of dog!  We were recently sent the Crazy Legs Scooby by Character and he’s rather fun.

Crazy Legs Scooby

Crazy Legs Scooby is aimed at children aged 3 years and over, he comes with 4 x AA batteries which will only work on the Try My option.  To see him do all his crazy moves you need 6 x AA batteries. He’s rather a handsome chap isn’t he and he stands at approx 30cms from paw to ear tips.

Crazy Legs Scooby

Crazy Legs Scooby can be operated by touching his head or pressing one of the black patches on his side.

Crazy Legs Scooby

His paws start spinning and he really does show you his groovy moves – he moves forwards, backwards as well as in a total 360 degree spin. He talks too!  Monkey will be 6 in December and I find he will play with Crazy Legs Scooby for short bursts of time, but he doesn’t hold his attention as well as he probably would with a younger child.

Crazy Legs Scooby is priced at £29.99 and is available from a number of retailers including Argos and Amazon.

disclaimer:  we were sent this item in exchange for an honest review

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