Monday, 30 September 2013

The elusive hunt for indestructible toys

It is that time of the year that I start to search, desperately searching for a toy that will captivate his imagination. Toy shopping for my 11 year old is an experience I always dread, he has special needs & has unbelievable strength. If a toy has a weak spot he is sure to find it. If a wheel can come off a car it will be taken off, if the axle can be taken out to be used as a tool to dig holes in the plaster, holes will be dug(giant holes). A car track becomes a pile of plastic on his bedroom floor, a figure will end up headless & often legless & a jigsaw will become something for him to chew on. He loves toys that spin, spinning tops are his favourite and he will happily spend hours pumping the plunger to make it spin fast. Sadly these don't last long despite them being metal, I don't think one has survived for longer than a day. Why? well the brute strength he uses to make it spin warms up the metal, warm metal bends rendering the spinning top useless.

Toy shopping for him becomes a toy testing session & results in my husband and I humming and harring in the middle of a store. I will find a toy I think wouldn't end up laying headless or lifeless in the bottom of the toy box & my husband puts his muscles to good use, testing if the toy will survive living with my boy. We are not alone in the indestructible toy hunt, we rope in family members. I have had calls in the past telling me not to bother buying a certain toy because they managed to break one whilst they were checking if it would be suitable(picture elderly couples in the middle of toy stores breaking toys). We do have some success, metal cars survive, they might have a few dints and loss of paint but they survive, their dinted bonnets and scraped paint work adding to the look of them. Figures that have no moving parts last too, they may lose a finger or even a nose along the way but they survive.

I have 3 months to walk every inch of the toy store, to search every shelf, to find that perfect present, does it even exist?

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Thinking of holidays already

Our annual holiday is usually taken during the Easter holidays and is always with Haven, we usually do get a grant from Family Fund because of big T's disabilities, this allows us to enjoy a holiday as a family and gives us a welcomed break from our usual routine. This year though we managed to save for a weekend break at the Blackpool Cala Gran park during the 6 weeks holidays, it was a last minute decision as we decided to join our family who were also there for a break.

Check in was nice and swift, the staff were all pleasant and the park was really clean and well kept. It is one of the smaller parks we have visited and we were positioned at one end of the park with the entertainment complex being central. For 2 nights, we could hear a dull sound of music being played in the distance, it was not from Haven though & I could not work out of there was another site close by, however this did not disturb me or my children. We stayed in a Prestige 3 bedroom caravan, we usually pay the extra for a brand new caravan but did not on this occasion and the caravan was nice and clean, the d├ęcor was nice and the added en-suite to the main bedroom is a massive bonus. We also had parking at the side of our caravan which made unpacking/packing so much easier too. The caravan was well equipped and offered enough space for even us, a party of 8. I also liked that the windows had child locks on, this is not something I had noticed in other caravans we have stayed in before.  













On the park there is lots to do, we managed to go swimming, the children loved the slide and the ones that are not so confident in the water loved that they could stay in the shallow area. We normally miss out the crazy golf but decided to play, it cost £20 for all of us which I thought was a good price, we all enjoyed it with myself & my mother in law becoming rather competitive. Little lady cheated(slightly), little T loved his daddy teaching him, Big T was determined to get the ball in the hole, even if it took him 50 goes & the older girls just got on with it. I will try crazy golf again when we next return because it was fun for all of us(I will keep better score next time and beat the mother in law). 
Something we were I was excited about was hiring the karts again, we had done this at Primrose Valley and it was so much fun, granted my mother in law using the brake like she would a car brake(press button, release down) had me in stitches, also the fact that every hill had her yelling "hold on tight, hold on tight" also had me in fits of laughter all added to the fun. At Cala Gran the terrain is all flat so not many hills unless you count the speed bumps so it was not a thrill seeking ride, more of a casual ride around the park and this time it was little lady yelling "hold on tight" every time we approached a speed bump but it was fun and gave us all a little work out.
The entertainment was good, big T loves watching bands play so he was super excited when he saw that a band was playing one night, he rocked his little socks off all night. Another night a comedian was on, he was not to every ones taste but I and our party had a great night. We played rock and roll bingo every night but never won a sausage but it is the taking part that counts right?
The morning we were leaving we had a character breakfast, the food was all great and the characters Polly & Dj Ned came round to our table to meet the children and give them recipe cards to take home, afterwards we had a game of bowling before saying goodbye and heading off home.
I can honestly not fault this park, yes it is the smallest one we have been to but it still has lots to offer. It is a great location to visit Blackpool, I highly recommend a visit to the Blackpool Tower Circus, we had an amazing time and enjoyed it so much we can not wait to return. Whether you are staying on the park or wanting to visit the area I am sure you would find something great to do.

I would return again for a short break during the summer, next year we are heading back to Perran Sands for our annual Easter holiday, only 7 months to go.

I was not asked to write about our weekend break, I paid for the holiday and this is not a paid review

Monday, 23 September 2013

Worry, worry, then worry some more

I know it is completely normal to worry when you are a parent, to worry too much is common too. I think when is spills into your dreams then this is excessive worry.
What triggered it I think is this picture below



Stupid how a picture can cause you a sleepless night when it is mixed with other worries. 
Yesterday we took a trip to Chester Zoo, this is where I took the above picture of Big T, most of you will know he has special needs. In this picture I think he looks so grown up, he almost looks his age which is almost 12, his mental age is far behind those 12 years. His mental age is more around 6, I worry about him, I worry all of the time, especially what his future holds, will he be able to live independently or will he be able to live with the help of a carer or will his future be staying with us, staying with us till we leave the world but what then, what happens then? 
That is a worry that is constantly with me, my second worry was little T, he has been suffering with ear pain which we found out today is an infection in the ear to be treated with antibiotics, they keep reoccurring so maybe we will need to see the ear specialist.
My 3rd and final worry of yesterday was with little lady, she developed a rash late Saturday which looked like heat rash, Sunday morning it had almost gone but became more obvious when she got hot and sweaty whilst playing at the zoo. Today we took her to the Dr's, they have said it is eczema, I suffered all my life with it so I know how horrible having eczema can be and it is one thing that I didn't want to pass on but it seems I have, the only good part is at least I know how to ease it.
So with all that worry I headed off to bed, well little T's bed as he slept downstairs with Daddy2five so he could keep a close eye on him and I slept next to little lady so I could keep a close eye on her! About silly o'clock I was rudely awoken by a nightmare, a lion and a polar bear with what looked like crimped fur was on the loose and heading our way. Daddy2five and I lived in an apartment on a campus and in the block next to us lived Big T(dreams are silly).
When the news broke about the escaped lion and polar bear I headed over to sit with big T because I was scared he would open a window or a door to the lion(I know, far fetch right). I arrived at his apartment block to find that I didn't know where he lived, which door belonged to him, I ran up and down the halls screaming his name, knowing that soon the lion and polar bear would be there, just as fear was about to consume me I woke, I woke thinking what the hell was that!
So from my dream or nightmare should I say I can figure out what made me dream about what I did.

The campus - I am considering returning to college
Not knowing where Big T lives - my fear of where he will be living
The polar bear(with crimped fur) - I had said I wish I could see a polar bear and the crimped fur comes from an orang-utan that I saw at the zoo, he had impressive crimped looking fur.
The lion well I don't know what that represents other than the ones we saw yesterday were sleeping.

I hope to sleep well tonight!

Fireman Sam Drive & Steer Jupiter



We were sent the Fireman Sam Drive & Steer Jupiter to review and put through its paces. Little T was excited as soon as he saw the box & little lady followed him in his excitement only she had no idea what she was excited about. I removed Jupiter and the wireless remote out of the box and discovered we had to put 8 AA batteries in to make the engine and the remote work(not supplied) Once the batteries were fitted(like a week later because I kept forgetting to buy some) play commenced. I handed the remote to little T and switched on both the remote and Jupiter. Little T soon got the hang of steering, you turn the wheel to the left & Jupiter will steer left, turn to the right and it will go right. On the wireless remote there are 5 buttons; forward, back, boost, start and a button that is Sam's catchphrase. 
On Jupiter, underneath you will find 3 buttons, off, on and mute. When you put it into the on position the theme tune to Fireman Sam will play & will stop once you press the start button on the remote which then will make the sound of the engine starting, then whilst driving the siren will sound out. 
If you want quieter play the good news is you can put Jupiter into mute and the only sound will be when you 1st press start and then move off, other than that you will just be able to hear the movement of Jupiter. Jupiters ladder is a movable part and can be moved up and down by hand, I think a figure would have been a great addition to this product.

Little T loved playing with it and as soon as he put it down little lady stole the remote and claimed it as her own(she hides it in her dolls pram when she is not playing with it). She is 27 months old and can easily use the remote, yes she occasionally crashes into the wall but that is part of the fun, especially if the cat joins in trying to stalk it or hide from it. 
Fireman Sam Drive and Steer Jupiter is suitable for children ages 18 months and over, it can be bought for £29.99 which I think is a fair price. I had worried about how many batteries I might go through but so far they are still going strong and it has be played with quite a lot. I would recommend this to family and friends, both my son and daughter have loved playing.

We were sent this product for the purpose of the review, all thoughts & opinions are my own & maybe some of my children's, oh and the cats, lets not forget him.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

You are invited to our Something Special Party


Tomorrow I shall be hosting a very special party, a Something Special Party. My children love Something Special and I have been hiding a huge box filled with Something Special goodies.
If you fancy joining us online we will be telling you all what we think of the products and look out for online competitions by following the #somethingspecialparty hash tag on twitter on Thursday 12th September 2013, 4-6pm.
You can follow me, mummy2five & UKMumstv on twitter 
See you there!


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Baby & Toddler Show Manchester

Have you ever been to a Baby & Toddler show before? For any expectant parent the shows are like what a sweet shop is to a child. I don't even have a baby any more, she is a toddler but they are great for us to pick up great bargains.
I am super excited to be going to the Baby & Toddler show at Event City in Manchester. The show is on over the weekend from 27th-29th September & then the Baby and Toddler Show reopens its doors at Glow, Bluewater on the weekend of 11th-13th October.


Both shows will be packed with exhibitors that will have something on their stalls that you will find a bargain, I always go needing nothing but come home laden with bags.

The great news is you can save on tickets by using the discount codes below.

Save £10 – book 2 tickets for £20 by quoting BT12 at www.babyandtoddlershow.co.uk
Save £10 – book 2 tickets for £20 by quoting BT12 at www.babyshownorthwest.com

Monday, 2 September 2013

Back to school with Poundland


Back to school time means that we all tighten our purse strings, having four out of my five children in school costs a fortune, 4 lots of everything leaves the bank balance looking in a sorry old state. £20 does not stretch far at all does it? Well it actually does in Poundland, and not only that they have a wide choice to choose from. I was surprised at seeing some big named brands at Poundland and they were much cheaper than the usual cost. I decided to leave them on the shelf and go for the 3for2 offers. 
I was give a £20 and spent £19 on the products in the 2 images. For my £19 I bought; 5 water bottles, 2 x felt tip pens, 2 x pencil crayons, 2 x stationary set, 1 geometry set, 2 glue sticks, 1 pack of pens, 1 pack of pencils, 2 pencil cases, 3 lots of hair accessories, money envelopes, black tights, academic diary, glasses wipes & a memory board that you can put on your fridge using stick on magnetic tabs.
I managed to buy lots with a small budget, this is just a small amount of the back to school range with Poundland.


I was sent a voucher to purchase back to school items for the purpose of the post. 

Asda School Uniform

It is that exciting yet slightly stressful time of the year again, new school year! The children, well my children are all excited to be going back to school, why I don't know but they are. I, like many mums and dads have left everything till last minute, why I do this to myself I don't know. I promise that next year I will start early but I never do. The good news is that Asda actually do have well stocked shelves so don't panic if you have still not bought the uniform yet.

Asda sent me a selection of their uniform to review, I will admit I do usually go to Asda for their uniforms, I find their sizes fit my brood the best, well except little T who is the most awkward size.

First up we have the girls school blouse & the black skirt . The blouse is a good quality & not see through which is what I wanted, prices start from £3 which is excellent value. The black school skirt my daughter loves, it is just what she wanted and prices start from £6 which is great value.  
The boys charcoal trousers  start from just £3.50 and are good quality, I can adjust the waist so he has no need for a belt and they are a good length for his age. The red polo shirts again are excellent value for money, they always wash well without losing any of the colour, prices start from just £2.50 for a 2 pack which is really good value for your money as they do wash really well.




M loves her ruffle front white polo shirt, she likes it because it is different from the plain polo shirt and feels soft, prices start from £3 so they are not much more than the plain polo shirts.
I love the grey pleated skirt, for under 10's the belt comes with a heart shaped buckle and for over 10's it has a rectangular buckle. The shape is great and looks really smart on. Prices start from £5.

Next up I have another pair of boys charcoal trousers, prices start from £3 & these are different to the last pair, they have half elasticated waist rather than the adjustable waist which is where we hit the problems with little T. He is small for his age so we have to buy the smaller size age 3-4 for his leg length but then we normally need to adjust the waist lots, sadly as these can not be adjusted they fall down on his little waist so if you too need adjustable waist I would go for the other pair of trousers above. The quality is great and would be perfect on a child that does not need the waist adjusting by quite a bit as the elasticated waist allows for some adjustment.
So that is the uniform sorted now for the packed lunches, we were sent a sistema slim quaddie lunch box in pink. For £5 it is good value and is big enough to fit in a healthy lunch for your child. It can hold 1.5l and has 1 large compartment, 1 medium compartments and 2 small. It also come with a clear water bottle that fits nicely into the medium compartment or can be carried separately.



I was sent all of the above products for the purpose of the review, all opinions are of my own.