Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Treads Boys Black School Shoes 1 Year Guarantee Put To The Test

I promised I'd be back and I am! Treads are a relatively new company who make their children's school shoes as durable as possible. They're so sure your child won't go through the toes or scrape through the leather that they offer a 1 year guarantee. My boys Treads shoes still fit and they are now 9 months old... so what do they look like now?

Underside view of brand new shoe with rubber moulded sole

To refresh your memory, Treads make shoes in sizes from 12 1/2 to 'big foot ' 11, so fit most junior/Key Stage 2 children or older. This is what the Treads school shoes looked like when I first reviewed them and they were brand new - you can find my initial thoughts and an explanation of some of the technology in my Treads School Shoes Review.

My youngest son chose a quite traditional style with an easy to use 'hook and loop' Velco-type fastening.

Standard new black 'velcro' fastening school shoes in box

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

January #TBCSmiles

It's January, yeeay! All of my family are finally back at school and work - we are better! Yeeay! I've taken it easy getting back to writing, partly because I was so blooming tired after the flu, partly because my kids were off school, and partly because it made me too ill to take anything for my high blood pressure for 2 weeks, so my eyesight has suffered. The ripple effect is massive.

We are now playing catch up with just about everything. The boxes from all the deliveries before Christmas still fill my hallway and we owe one of the big kids their main Christmas present. The van didn't go to the garage and is now off-the-road waiting for it's brakes to be fixed. We still have Christmas goodies that need to be eaten and best before dates are getting incredibly close. As a bonus the LEGO Winter Village is still all out, something none of us are actually upset about (it definitely doesn't count as a Christmas decoration really).... and we are all well and that's the main thing.


Disappointingly we've had no snow to fill this month's photos. It's cold and slippy, but it forces changes to mundane routine and gets everyone's adrenaline pumping. It excites us and as nature shows it's power, it takes our mind off everything smaller. Instead the weather has reflected the mood of the nation in many ways. Dismal, poor and a bit blustery at times. Boring.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The Top 7 Tag: 2018/2019

2019 is here with a bit of a blur for me. I seem to have fallen into it rather than the usual meandering approach through Christmas, possibly because I've slept more in the last 3 weeks than I did in the previous 3 months. Back to Earth with a bang, and a little reflection on the year just gone.


I've been invited to join in with the Top 7 tag by Laura from Tired Mummy Of Two. It was started by One Frazzled Mum and asks me to look back at 2018. To share my favourite 7 blog posts, 7 things I loved about 2018 and 7 things I'm looking forward to in 2019. Then I get to tag 7 other bloggers to take part.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Party Season Women's Clothes with Fashion World

Fashion World is an online clothing store which promises great prices, huge range and good quality clothes.  Before Christmas they sent me some lovely items which I was really excited about wearing - then I got flu. My clothes remained in their bags while I was ill, all I wore for 2 weeks over Christmas was pyjamas.


Finally I am almost human again, although running a cracking temperature and a bit red-faced still, but dressing up makes anyone smile. On Sunday (which also happened to be 12th night) my partner and my 10 year old took some photos of me in my new outfits. Please excuse the fluffy socks, that didn't occur to me until we'd taken half the photos, and my male family members clearly aren't bothered by labels or hanger straps!

Monday, 31 December 2018

Goodbye 2018....

Well, that didn't quite go to plan. Usually at the end if the year I post something carefully crafted and added to over the previous couple of weeks. This year flu decided against that and if you follow my social media you'll know that we really got hit hard. 2 days before Christmas my 10 year old and my partner were so ill they were referred to hospital, and I was so ill that I was told not to go with them. Thankfully my 10 year old was allowed to come back after assessment and my partner was given oxygen and fluids for 24 hours and allowed home Christmas Eve afternoon.

Thank you to every single NHS and public sector employee who gave up part of their Christmas to look after people like me and my family. I honestly cannot thank you enough.


Every year I say just focus on what is really important at Christmas and don't fret about the rest. I was honestly too ill to care about the rest and was struggling with the important, but while I was unable to function, the sparkle and glitter came from everywhere.
Friends offered to cook, to help, to look after the smaller boys. They even offered to finish my Christmas shopping.
Our big kids descended on us, took stock and took over.
One of our Uni kids had to make tricky choices about who to see, without putting older relatives in danger. A very scary choice to make when your Dad has been hospitalised, but we found the perfect solution and there's so much joy in this photo, it brings a tear to my eye every time.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

The Pyjama Factory Winter Nightwear Review (Sent For Review)

Pyjamas are probably the UK's most overlooked and yet most loved Winter wear. We have such varied weather we can even manage without in Summer, but once Winter arrives there's the whole cold and frosty vs warm and snuggly thing and pyjamas are a necessity.


Once everyone is home and has settled for the evening, there's little better than to get into your pyjamas and truly relax, so I'm very happy to say my boys and I have all been sent new pyjamas for Christmas by The Pyjama Factory.


My two boys both took very little time to choose pyjamas, the range is pretty broad, with Harry Potter, Gaming, TV, movies, sports, dinosaurs and all sorts of children's pyjamas. There will be something to please any child and my almost 9 year old went straight to the gaming section.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Lavender & Lovage: A Culinary Notebook Of Memories And Recipes (sent for review)

It's been a little while since I reviewed a cookery book, but I've dusted off my apron for Karen Burns-Booth's debut cookbook, Lavender & Lovage: A Culinary Notebook Of Memories And Recipes From Home And Abroad. I think the title pretty much says it all really...


I read Karen's blog even before I had The Brick Castle and her food is good, unpretentious, tasty fare. Born in South Africa, she's lived in countries all over the world and has soaked up the food from every one. This is a gigantic recipe book with around 160 recipes. Alongside are snippets giving history, origins or a short tale about the recipe or it's ingredients. They're short and sweet, and really do add to the dish, often giving useful hints for home cooks too.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Beasts Of Balance Family Game Review (Age 7+) Sent by Sensible Object for review.

Beasts Of Balance is a fantastic family game which we first came across over two years ago when it wasn't quite complete. It was so beautiful and had so much potential that I'm delighted to see the finished product hasn't had to make any concessions. Last week we were sent a copy to review and it's been well-used already!


Beasts of Balance is a 'digital tabletop hybrid stacking family game' for 1-5 players aged around 6-7+. Different animals, elements and special artefacts are balanced in a tower and using the free app. you see them as they interact with each other, your world grows and evolves - until the moment it tumbles....


The box is gorgeous, easy to open, very strong and perfect for storage afterwards. You'll need 3 x AA batteries and you have to download the free app. to play, but that's pretty much it. The rules are only online (I'd rather have a physical copy to refer to), but they are intuitive and easy and you can start to play straight away.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Slapstick Family Theatre Review, HOME Manchester (Review Visit)

Last Friday we visited HOME Manchester for the very first time and we had an amazing night out! Slapstick is performing until this Saturday 22nd December and the group of 5 Dutchmen are true all-rounders. An amazing array of instruments played, perfect comic timing and complete commitment to character make it a unique show that really is a great night's entertainment for anyone.


We took the tram down and HOME Manchester is really easy to find, 5 minutes walk from Deansgate And Castlefield Station at Tony Wilson Place. It's gorgeous down there and the area was alive with people excited for Christmas. The HOME bar was really busy, but we were still served drinks quickly.

The show started before we even took our seats, as an 'elderly infirm man' wandered through the crowds with his walking frame, making the crowd laugh by getting in the way of everyone. Once we were in the auditorium the actors were all wandering around warming up the crowd and swapping the sweets and crisps of any willing participants.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Haynes Build Your Own Working Engine Model Kit Giveaway (age 10+)

I've got a really exciting toy giveaway today, and sadly it won't arrive in time for a Christmas, but it will make an excellent new year's gift for someone.

Now, you can relive the joy of lying under a van in a car park in the pouring rain at 10pm, but from the warmth and comfort of your own lounge and age 10+. Haynes are making model engines...


I haven't had the pleasure of playing with the Haynes kits yet, but at £36.99 for an Internal Combustion Engine and £54.99rrp for an over 250 piece, fully functional motorised Petrol V8 with its own mini Haynes Manual, it's got to be a fair price.