Aquabeads Jewel Starter set – a review

Aquabeads Jewel Starter set

Monkey has really embraced crafting over the last year; and certainly over the last 6 months I’ve seen a real difference in his approach.  He will sit and patiently work at something rather than the frenzied chaos of the past.  I’m not a great one for mess, so when I heard of a craft activity that was basically mess free, I was there like a shot!  Let me introduce you to the Aquabeads Jewel Starter set.

Aquabeads Jewel Starter set

Ok, so what’s your first impression?  Mine was, uum it’s very pink and very girl orientated.  Monkey reacted in exactly the same way – Mummy it’s for girls!  No, wait Monkey, trust me, this is for boys too.

I have to say, and comments on my Instagram feed back this up – Aquabeads – you are missing a trick. Boys will love this too.  I’m really quite curious as to why this great product, has been targeted to totally exclude boys?

Anyway, I will prove to you all out there that the Aquabeads Jewel Starter set (and therefore the range in general) can be enjoyed by both girls and boys.  It is aimed at children aged 4 years and over.

The set comprises over 800 jewel beads in various colours, a bead case (please provide a lid to make storage easier – I’m using cling film!), a layout tray, base tray, 5 template sheets, water sprayer, bead pen and instructions.

Aquabeads Jewel Starter set

Basically, you pick a template, put it in the base tray and place the layout tray over the top.  You then use the bead pen to pick beads up and place them in the relevant position. Once all the beads are in place, spray with water with the sprayer (from a distance of 10cms) and then leave to ‘set’ for an hour.  After the hour, I found the best thing to do to ensure all beads were bonded properly, was to turn the aquabeads over, spray again and leave for half and hour.  Then Monkey’s creations were ready to be admired.

Monkey has loved the Aquabeads Jewel Starter set, he quickly forgot all about the packaging, and realised what good fun he could have.  He did struggle a bit with the bead pen and ended up using his fingers (yes he still needs to work on his fine motor skills!). It seemed to me that as long as you didn’t have wet fingers then it’s fine.  Wet fingers and the beads will start sticking together.

As Monkey was making the dragonfly and tree we started talking about what he would like to make with the Aquabeads.  You really don’t have to stick to the templates.  Of course the first thing Monkey wanted to make was a tractor.  He started off making a red tractor and then realised he could make a John Deere one instead!  He was off!

Aquabeads Jewel Starter Set Aquabeads Jewel Starter Set Aquabeads Jewel Starter Set Aquabeads Jewel Starter Set Aquabeads Jewel Starter Set Aquabeads Jewel Starter Set Aquabeads Jewel Starter Set Aquabeads Jewel Starter Set

What can we do with my John Deere tractor Mummy?  You may remember we recently made some paper stained glass effect butterfly sun catchers; well that’s what we’ve done with Monkey’s Aquabeads Jewel Starter set creations too.

What else can we make Mummy?  Why not make a steam train Monkey?  I actual think that Aquabeads are an ideal craft activity for boys.  It doesn’t take long to create a little masterpiece and while it’s drying they can be off doing other things.  I don’t know about your children, but Monkey has a smaller concentration span for arts and crafts than his girl friends, who seem happy to sit for hours doing the same thing.  Make something, make something else later – perfect for Monkey.

Aquabeads Jewel Starter Set Aquabeads Jewel Starter Set

I threaded the tractor for him, and we used sticky tack to put the other creations on his bedroom window.

Aquabeads Jewel Starter SetThis Aquabeads Jewel Starter set is available from Amazon for £10.99, you can click through my affiliate link below to buy if you’d like.  There are lots of other sets available and I can thoroughly recommend.  I know a whole host of children, boys and girls who’d love this product.  As for us Mums, craft plus no mess equals heaven!

You can keep up to date with all the latest Aquabeads fun on Facebook and Twitter.  We both love this product, I really can recommend it.

Now Aquabeads people, the photos of Monkey speak for themselves, he has loved this activity and I’m sure we’ll be making more items over the holidays.  Please could we have a set more with boys in mind – vehicles alone would give a whole host of activities, dinosaurs, and so on.  I really do think an opportunity is being missed?  What do you think?

disclaimer:  we were sent this item for the purpose of review

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Place Sandals – a review

Place Sandals

Summer is here!  Schools finished and it’s time to get my walking feet on as Monkey and I enjoy the holidays together.  I have to be honest, I find summer can be a nightmare for me and footwear.  I have my trusty flip-flops, but sandals, sandals that I can walk anywhere in?  I struggle.  The situation is not helped by the fact that I am a half-size really.  Sometimes I can get away with a size 5, most of the time I need a size 6 to be on the safe side.  But whichever way I go, I’m waiting for blisters to arrive!  So, when I was asked to review Place Sandals recently, I was interested to see if summer might be easier this year.

Place Sandals

Place Sandals are new on the market and have been designed with hidden orthotic technology – I had to look that up, but basically it helps to naturally realign your feet and improve posture.  I recently wrote a post mentioning my hyper mobile joints, so I was interested to let me feet do the talking.

Place Sandals

Studies performed by the Birmingham Gait Lab in the UK (one of Europe’s leading gait facilities) have indicated that the unique biomechanical footbed technology BFTTM in these sandals can help to control and reduce excessive pronation, help to naturally re-align your feet, reduce knee pain, reduce foot pain, minimise back stress and reduce muscle pre-activation, which in turn can reduce muscle fatigue. Every Place Sandal has been expertly designed and incorporates all of the biomechanical knowledge and experience gained through 34 years in the foot health care industry. Our feet play a vital role in supporting the rest of the body and holding them in their optimum position with place sandals can help keep you pain-free.

I ordered the Capri sandals in Red, size 6.  I liked the look of the sandals and loved the colour.  The Capri sandals are available in sizes 3-9 for £55.00.

The Place Sandals uppers are great and the base of my feet feel really comfortable and supported.  The only issue I’ve had with my new sandals is with the red leather part of the sandal which feel quite tight on my top of my feet.  There is a slight elasticated vent on the inner side of each sandal, but for me personally, this could do with being a tad bigger.  I find that this restriction makes it hard to wear my Place Sandals for long periods; especially in the weather at the moment, which is a real pity.

I don’t have particularly dainty feet, so this issue is probably more to do with my feet, than the general design of the Place Sandals.  I’m hoping that over time the material will ‘give’ a little, as I really love the look and colour of my new sandals, and the idea behind them is fantastic.

To see for the full range of Place Sandals you can visit their website.  You can order direct from them or buy in-store at high street shoe shops such as Clinkards and Shoon.

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

 

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Alphabet Photography Project K is for Knight #alphabetphoto

Week 11 of PODcast‘s new linky The Alphabet Photography Project! What to pick for K? I was still wracking my brains for inspiration yesterday when Monkey finished at Nursery School.  He had a carrier bag full of goodies and some artwork, and a copy of a photograph. There was my K. So my Alphabet Photography Project K is for Knight. Alphabet Photography Project K is for KnightI apologise for the quality.  We were given a photocopy of a photo, so it’s not the best quality ever.

This is half of the photo, what you don’t see is Monkey holding on to one of his friends hands.  My brave little Knight needing a bit of reassurance. The photo was taken at Nursery School in March this year, when the children in Nursery and Reception had a Royal Banquet.  Monkey borrowed a Knight’s costume from his friend Mr S, he wasn’t that fussed about dressing up, but he agreed in the end.  He took Dave the Dragon with him – all good Knights need a dragon after all.

It was lovely to find this photo in Monkey’s bag yesterday, a lasting memory of a day at Nursery School.

This was the before School photo at home!

Alphabet Photography Project K is for Knight

You can tell by the face that he wasn’t in a particularly Knightly mood can’t you!!

 

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Putting Rug Doctor to the test

Putting Rug Doctor to the test

I’ve heard of Rug Doctor, and I’ve heard good things about them, but hiring a carpet cleaner sounded like a bit of a faff and I’ve never bothered.  I’ve recently learned that this was a big mistake!  I’d been invited to a demonstration event with Rug Doctor recently, but I wasn’t able to go – you can read all about Mummy Endeavours trip here though. When Rug Doctor heard how old my carpets were, they kindly agreed to send me a cleaner so try out.  So I’ve been putting Rug Doctor to the test.

Putting Rug Doctor to the testI received a Rug Doctor cleaner and a 1 litre bottle of carpet detergent suitable for cleaning two rooms.  Unfortunately the cleaner we received didn’t come with any attachments, so we’ve not been putting Rug Doctor to the test on our stairs and in the nooks and crannies.

The detergent is pet safe, always a worry with having our cat Brewster about.

Super Concentrated Carpet Detergent cleans, deodorises, rejuvenates and protects.  Contains SpotBlok stain repellent to protect your carpet against future stains and spills.

Time to put those claims to the test!  Our carpets are embarrassingly old.  Daddy P has owned the house from new, and has not changed much over the years.  The plan was to move when we got together, Monkey came along much quicker than expected, I gave up work – we are still here!  So having old aged carpets that have seen three cats since I arrived and a Monkey, there have been all sorts of spills over the years.  If ever some carpets were in need of some TLC, our carpets were.

My machine didn’t come with an instruction leaflet, I don’t know whether they do when you hire them out?  There are some instructions on the top and handle of the machine and I had a quick look on the Rug Doctor website for full instructions.

Then I was ready to go – putting Rug Doctor to the test.

The first thing I have to say is that the Rug Doctor machine is quite heavy but once I’d got the hang of the cleaner I was away. The photos I’ve taken really don’t do the results justice.  The difference in the carpets throughout the house is immense in our opinion. A very sceptical Daddy P watched on as I was putting Rug Doctor to the test, and even he was impressed with the results.  You could see the difference immediately.  The colour of the water was terrifying actually.  It was so dirty, but as I’ve already said, these carpets are old!

The biggest difference we’ve noticed is that the cleaning has raised the pile of the carpets. There are some stains that haven’t come out and I’m going to buy some Rug Doctor Spot and Stain Remover to see if that will help.  They are old stains, and the Rug Doctor really did have a tough challenge coming to this house.

I love the idea that the carpets have been deodorised; especially with having a pet in the house.

I was so impressed with the results downstairs that I really wanted to clean the whole house.  I dashed off to Homebase and bought another bottle of Carpet Detergent for £11.99.  I did notice that they also sold a larger bottle which would be suitable for 4 rooms.  We live in a very small 3 bedroomed house, and I found 2 x 1 litre bottles did the job here.  Again, I struggled a bit to get the unit and down the stairs, I’m a bit a weakling!

I had a chat with the lady in Homebase, you can hire the Rug Doctor for 24 or 48 hours (depends on how organised you are with clearing the clutter!) for under £30.00 for the machine and then you buy the cleaning fluid on top.  They do include the tools to clean the stairs etc, but they wouldn’t hire those out separately to me.  So my stairs are letting the side down at the moment.

The Rug Doctor units can be hired from a number of other retailers including Tesco and B&Q.  If you have the money you can even buy a unit outright for £499.00.  I don’t have that sort of money, but I’ll definitely be hiring a Rug Doctor cleaner again; whether it’s for these sad old carpets or new ones, when we finally got to upgrade.

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

 

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Fireman Sam GoGlow Night Bright Light

Fireman Sam GoGlow Night Bright Light

One of Monkey’s many heroes at the moment is Fireman Sam.  I’ve lost count of the times we’ve watched the Great Fire of Pontypandy!  He’s been asking me for a side light for his bedroom for a while and I was really pleased when Worlds Apart asked us if we’d like to review the Fireman Sam GoGlow Night Bright Light.  I knew it would be much appreciated. Fireman Sam GoGlow Night Bright Light

The Fireman Sam GoGlow Night Bright Light comprises a two in one rechargeable night-light and torch and comes with a low voltage transformer.

Fireman Sam GoGlow Night Bright Light

As a parent, the words rechargeable batteries are a joy to my ears!  You can charge the torch/night-light up by fitting to the base and plugging in the adaptor. The GoGlow white label at the front of the base glows red when this is happening.

This has been an instant hit here, and although Monkey likes the fact that it is a torch too, at the moment, it’s the night-light feature that he really loves.

Fireman Sam GoGlow Night Bright Light

The Fireman Sam GoGlow Night Bright Light is really easy for kids to activate themselves.  You just press the top of the night-light down onto the base and the light comes on.  After two minutes the light fades and if Monkey wakes up in the night he can turn the light back on again himself.

This feature has been a godsend this last week.  I think he’s having a few anxiety issues about moving to Reception in September and we’ve had a few unsettled nights. Although he’s still wanted a Mummy cuddle in the early hours, the night-light has reassured him.

I think the torch aspect of the Fireman Sam GoGlow Night Bright Light will come into its own when the nights start to draw in and I think we might be going on a Bear Hunt  or two with Monkey’s new trusty torch.  Again it’s really easy to activate as a torch – you just press and click the yellow part of the torch down, and you have light.

The Fireman Sam GoGlow Night Bright Light is recommended for children aged 12 months and over and is priced at £19.99.  It’s robust and a nice shape and design, for children to hold and play with safely.

My only niggle with this product, actually relates to the adaptor.  When the adaptor is plugged into the wall, the cable comes out of the top of the plug rather than the bottom. It just makes it a bit more difficult to hide away; especially from younger children. Monkey isn’t so bothered with cables now, but when he was younger, he was a nightmare – the cable would have been a magnet to him.

But other than that, we both love this Fireman Sam GoGlow Night Bright Light.  It’s actually small enough that you could take on holiday with you, we have a couple of sleepover’s planned with friends this summer and I’m sure this will be coming with us.

I apologise for the lack of action shots with Monkey himself; it’s the end of term and I have a tired little boy on my hands, if he doesn’t want to be photographed, then he’s best left alone.  Trust me, he does love this!

The Fireman Sam GoGlow Night Bright Light is available through Amazon, my affiliate link is shown below or from Smyths.

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

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Swimming progress #MagicMoments

As you may know I started my swimming lessons back in March.  I had had lessons 20 odd years ago, but I didn’t get far, my fears remained, I never really got there.  So I’ve spent most Friday evenings since March having an hours lesson.  It’s been a shock, I thought I’d just learn one stroke and that would be that.  No, from week 1 we’ve looked at breast stroke, front crawl and back stroke.  Eek.   Swimming progress?

swimming progress

Well some weeks are good, I feel that’s I’m overcoming fears and starting to get somewhere, other weeks are an absolute disaster and I come home quite disheartened.  I like our instructor, she’s taught my son in the past, she knows my fears, knows that my brain stops functioning half way through the classes.  But the lessons have been a bit disjointed, there hasn’t seemed to be any real structure and I feel that I’ve been treading water and not really overcoming my issues for a few weeks.

Our instructor was due to have a baby, so on Friday night we had a new instructor.  I was nervous, as we didn’t know who would be teaching us.  Would they expect too much? Would I like, and feel confident in them?  I was certainly feeling anxious as I get ready to go in the pool on Friday.

It was a really nice surprise to have an instructor that I’d had on the second lesson I had back in March.  He said he was taking our class for the evening to assess where we all were.  Fair enough and actually it was really good to go right back to basics.  I’m struggling with getting my breathing right, and front crawl has become a nemesis, total mental block.

The first time I met this instructor, he asked me to go back in the water with him supporting my head.  I was totally terrified, shaking, struggling not to have a panic attack.  I had never been on my back in the water in my life.  But he was great with me, and I eventually did it.  So Friday we could both see my swimming progress.  I can happily go on my back, I can swim on my back, I’m getting the hang of my stroke better. I enjoy back stroke. Most people have absolutely no idea how big an achievement this is; for me it is huge.

I’m quite happy doing breast stroke now, but because I don’t get my breathing right, I can’t go very far before I stop.  Yes, the deep end is still a very long way away for me.  But that’s not just breathing to sort out, that’s an absolute terror of being out of my depth.

The instructor gave me some pointers, they helped and I could see it all start to come together.  Now I just need to remember that this Friday.  Another issue.  I find by the following week, things still aren’t automatic, some lessons I spend half the session just getting back to where I ended the week before.  Frustrating.

Then it was time to ‘show off’ our front crawl.  Off you go Mary, you’re up first.  Ok, I just can’t get this right, I struggle to get going which then totally throws me out, add in remember.  Ok, no problem.  We took it back to basics and I got the hang of things a bit better.  The breathing still has a long way to go, but it made more sense.  A different approach was working.

Swimming progress, he could see the difference.  I get my face in the water.  You may laugh at that idea, but seriously, getting my face in the water = big achievement too.  I believe I can swim = major swimming progress.  I don’t believe I am swimming well = work in progress.

I still have a lot of obstacles to overcome, including the big one. Getting to the other end of the pool.  That will be a crack the champagne open evening, when I can do that.  It may take me another 40+ years to get there, but I’m sticking with this.

So this is my magic moment, it’s something that most people take for granted.  I wish I did!  But one day, hopefully I will.


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Cadbury Eclairs Velvets

If you’ve been reading the blog recently, you’ll know that we visited Cadbury World last month.  Daddy P is a big chocoholic and a particular fan of Cadbury.  So when we were asked to try the Cadbury Eclairs Velvets, I knew I’d win some brownie points.

Cadbury Eclairs Velvets

As soon as the package of Cadbury Eclairs Velvets arrived Daddy P was there like a flash. Amazing how his ears pricked up as soon as I mentioned chocolate.

Cadbury Eclairs Velvets

The new Cadbury Eclairs Velvets have milk chocolate on the outside, covering a wonderful layer of soft caramel, with a secret runny chocolate centre.

I did manage to hide a couple of the Cadbury Eclairs Velvets for myself, the rest of our selection has since rapidly disappeared.  So you like them Daddy P?  Oh yes!  So if the chocoholic man of the house says that they are good, you can trust that they are.  I do like the normal Cadbury Eclairs and these Velvets are a nice twist.

Cadbury Eclairs Velvets

These are now available from all major retailers for £1.99 for a 151g bag

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

Posted in Food and Drink, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The B&W Photography Project Week 2 #bwphotoproject

I’ve been struggling to keep on top of reading and commenting on posts again.  I know, slap wrists!  So I totally missed Week 1 of PODCasts new weekly linky, so here is my The B&W Photography Project Week 2.

The B&W Photography Project Week 2I love black and white photographs but it’s not something I actually do myself.  This project will be a great one to get me thinking  differently.

But at the moment, I’m just going to go back through old photographs and see what I like in black and white.  What works and what doesn’t.  If you’ve read my blog for a while you will know that poppies are close to my heart.  I wasn’t sure about transforming that colour, but actually I really like the way the black and white takes you to the heart of each poppy.

What do you think?

 

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Silent Sunday My Sunday Photo 200714

 

Silent Sunday My Sunday Photo 200714

 

OneDad3Girls

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Project 365 Week 29

Joining in with TheBoyAndMe and her linky 365 Project  A Photo A Day, Every Day, For A Year!  Project 365 – Week 29 Days 194-200.

Sunday 13th July – Day 194

Project 365 Week 29

Kate over at Darktea had recommended the Woodcote Traction Steam Rally to us, and as the tickets were considerably cheaper than going to Fairford again, off we went.  Monkey was in his element.  We found an old steam-powered hay baler and that was his entertainment sorted for a good hour.  He was totally fascinated.

Monday 14th July – Day 195

Project 365 Week 29

We’ve moved swimming lessons to Tuesdays from this week.  The Monday class timings won’t work when he starts school, so better to get it sorted beforehand.  So we had an uninterrupted afternoon at home.  Monkey decided that he wanted to make a collage with some leaves we’d pressed recently.

Tuesday 15th July – Day 196

Project 365 Week 29

Monkey had his settling in day in his Reception Class.  I think it went well, Monkey is certainly not telling me!  He came home filthy, so it was a quick change then off to his new swimming lesson.  He was less than impressed, big meltdown.  He was tired, it wasn’t the best timing, but never mind.  He actually did ok in his lesson, it’s the same teacher, and he coped well with meeting a group of new children.  When we got home he wanted to have a cuddle on his bed and be friends again.  So hence the silly selfie to get him smiling again.

Wednesday 16th July – Day 197

DSCN7188

While Monkey was at Nursery School I spent the morning using the Rug Doctor we’d been sent to review, cleaning the carpets upstairs.  It gave me the opportunity to sort Monkey’s room out a bit.  We are definitely suffering from too many toys/not enough storage.  After school he came to inspect my work and played happily with his Lego Hero Factory toys and dinosaurs.  I love seeing him sat like this – a proper little school boy now!

Thursday 17th July – Day 198

Project 365 Week 29

I’ve totally forgotten to take a photo of Monkey today, but I did take this rose photo earlier today.  My neighbours are on holiday this week and I’m in charge of not killing the plants in their garden – no pressure there then with this weather!  I adore their roses, this one is just stunning in my opinion.

Friday 18th July – Day 199

Project 365 Week 29

Today was Super Heroes day at school.  We don’t have any clothing to suit this theme and it was hot, Monkey didn’t want to dress up … blah, blah, blah.  He eventually agreed to wear his Super Mario t-shirt as a compromise and off he went.  It was also the last full day for him at Nursery School, only half days now until he finishes on Tuesday – eek!  He is getting so tired now, he needs the summer holidays.  The afternoon was spent mainly on the sofa, reading books and chilling out.

I had a new instructor for swimming, our normal one had a little girl on Thursday, a few weeks early.  The evening went well, I think I might be getting over my issues with front crawl.  Fingers crossed.

Saturday 19th July – Day 200

Project 365 Week 29

We had another thunderstorm in the early hours.  Monkey slept through the one on Thursday night, but not last night.  We’ve both been awake since 4am, not good.  I cancelled today’s meet up with a few friends as we are both so tired and I can see meltdown city approaching.  Monkey is insistent on a PJ day with his construction toys. I think we’ll both be in bed early tonight!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

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