Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Dr Beckmann Service-it Washing Machine Cleaner Giveaway with 10 Winners!

Dr Beckmann can be relied upon to clean all of those things we try to ignore - smells and dirt from washing machines and dishwashers, nasty stains on your clothes and those not-so-white net curtains. Still family owned and based in Bolton, the people behind Dr Beckmann have been making cleaning and laundry products for almost 100 years.

My washing machine lives a very hard working life. My previous machine lasted me 9 years and over 10,000 washes, so when I got my new Hotpoint washing machine almost 2 years ago, I knew I wanted to look after it as best I can.

I regularly use Dr Beckmann Service-it Washing Machine Cleaner to keep my machine whiff-free and happy - in fact, I'm quite proud to say for once mine looked much cleaner than the one in the advert!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

My First Discoveries: The Bee - Children's Book Review (age 4-8)

The Bee is a small and incredibly beautiful creature, and The Bee children's book from Moonlight Publishing is also small and beautiful. From the My First Discoveries range, this is a non-fiction book aimed especially at children aged 4-8.

The Bee really is a gorgeous book. Created by Gallimard Jeunesse, Ute Fuht and Raoul Sautai, (the latter two of whom also illustrated) it is full of warm, vibrant colour and drawings so detailed that you look twice to see if they're really photographs.

February events for families in the North West and Manchester area

There is always loads going on for families in the North West, including free and cheap events, but over half term some venues push the boat out and put on some really special events. Here are some of the things you can get up to with your children this half term and Spring...

In Manchester...

Saturday, 18 February 2017

New Carlton Children's Books for Spring - Bundle Giveaway

One of the best things about any new season is all the new releases, and this Spring Carlton Books have loads of really interesting books for children. We've been sent 3 of the best to take a look at. They're a really eclectic mix taken from 3 different book ranges - and one of my readers can win all 3 for themselves.

The books I'm looking at are My First Creativity Book: Ponies (age 3+) by Anna Brett, The Fairy Creativity Book (age 6+) also by Anna Brett and Champions League Fact File written by Clive Gifford.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Who Will Be Your Family Flood Marshall?

Recent research has found that the 72% of us have no idea what to do in the event of a flood in our home. We don't understand what a flood alert is, don't have a personal flood plan, and only 18% of us know who is responsible for keeping our home safe from flooding.

My 8 year old has stepped up to the challenge to answer these questions and become our Family Flood Marshall.

Our home has never yet been in a flood, but some of my children's schoolfriends aren't so lucky. In December 2015 hurricanes Desmond and Eva caused 16,000 homes in the UK to be flooded. Many of those homes hadn't ever flooded in the past, and fairly close to us, a 200 year old pub was washed away. Nature likes to surprise us.

1. Are we in danger? The first thing the Family Flood Marshall needs to know, is if we are in danger of flooding. Listen to the radio, watch the news and weather reports, and if you feel you are at risk, you can always get the most up-to-date information available from the Environment Agency Flood Information Service or by calling Floodline 0345 988 1188.

Are you still financially linked to your ex?

It's always good to learn something new, and yesterday I learned that up to 6 years after you have closed a joint credit product, you are still linked to that person financially, and it could well have an effect on your ability to borrow money.

When my relationship with my ex broke down we both moved on, and within 2 years we both lived with other people. Our story is an all-round happy one, but it's easy to see how a whole group of people can become financially entwined really quite quickly. It would never have occurred to me that my exes new partner's financial history had any effect on me, and could affect my ability to get any credit from a mortgage through to a mobile phone.

I'm not alone. Almost 11.7 British people took out a joint financial product with a partner they’re now separated from, and 69% of us didn’t realise a link still exists when we close the account. Less than 3% of people surveyed by Censuswide knew you were linked for 6 years*.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

30 months - 2 1/2 years #TBCSmiles

It's ridiculous to think that it's been 2 1/2 years since we lost Elspeth. That is a really long time and back 2 1/2 years ago I don't know what I expected, but I think imagined we'd be settling into a different life where Elspeth was further from our thoughts. Instead, she's right there all of the time, and I guess this is how it's going to be. But we are learning to cope with that better.

Everyone here can talk about Elspeth now. We remember her with fondness, smile and laugh at things she once said or did. She is mentioned now more than she has been in a long time, and it is so much more relaxed than it used to be.

It would have been Elspeth's 19th birthday on Sunday, so when we were able to all get together, (except for our 19yo at Uni) we went out to eat. It was a lovely relaxed evening, the food was good, but the company was fantastic. There really is no greater joy for myself and my partner than to watch our children laughing and joking together - like any normal family. There were lots of smiles.

We remembered Elspeth's birthday with our annual Double-Cake Day. It's exactly what she would have wanted.

Thank you to everyone who shared smiles with us using the #TBCSmiles hashtag - it's been fantastic seeing them all and peeping into some precious moments with you. They are all amazing and looking through them really is the best job.

Monday, 13 February 2017

LEGO NEXO Knights: Season One DVD Review and Giveaway

My children love the LEGO NEXO Knights and are fans of the TV series, so they're very happy that Season One will be available to buy on DVD from TODAY - 13th February, and we've been sent a copy to review.

LEGO NEXO Knights Season One contains all 10 episodes - 212 minutes of action on 2 discs.

Friday, 10 February 2017

LEGO Movie Clips, Printables, Games and Activities!

You may have noticed that LEGO movies are everywhere at the moment,The LEGO Batman Movie has just hit the cinemas, and The LEGO Ninjago Movie trailer is whetting our appetite for the next one! Half term is around the corner, so I've gathered together some of the best LEGO Movie activities that are around at the moment....

The Lego Batman Movie

We reviewed The LEGO Batman Movie and loved it. Here's the LEGO Batman Cribs short, our favourite of the LEGO Batman trailer videos - there are loads more on their You Tube channel.

There is a great LEGO Batman Movie website, with loads of free stuff for kids. A good place to start is with the SigFig Creator. Make a mini version of yourself - go random or even create your own supervillain... We have a complaint - where's the curly hair!!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Browns Brasserie and Bar, Manchester Restaurant Review

My partner and I have been very lucky with our date nights recently, and this week we took the tram into Manchester to review Browns on York Street. Open all day for food (9am-late), we visited on Monday to try out their new Spring menu.

This was date night, so we chose a little table for two, but there really is a nice variety of seating at Browns, with several larger tables for big groups. We visited at a naturally quiet time, but this is a huge building and that space has been well-used. Tables aren't close to each other and even with smaller children I wouldn't feel I was encroaching on someone else's quiet meal.

There is an excellent drinks selection, with several nice choices for non-drinkers, and plenty for anyone who does enjoy alcohol. Craft beers, a lengthy wine list and a big choice of cocktails including exclusive Browns Signatures, alongside the more commonplace draft and bottled drinks.