Sunday 30 April 2017

An apology to my child...

I gave my child an unfortunate name. When I was pregnant we spent loads of time trying to decide on a name. We'd got other children and so lots of the favourites were already used up. I was actually 37 weeks pregnant when we finally decided on a name.

We didn't know whether we were having a boy or a girl. I had specifically asked not to find out, which got harder as the pregnancy progressed and my baby plotted at 11lbs. They insisted on scans regularly, especially towards the end, just in case I had an instant baby.

I've had 2 instant babies and I'm not trying to show off, but it's definitely the best way to go about it. Sleep through a quick labour, wake up and have a baby. It's more surprising, but less tiresome than the usual way. The hospital didn't really like the idea of an instant 11lb baby without any medical help. Repeatedly scanning me was their way to somehow insure against this...

The scanning did however supply us with some awesome photos... (And at least once the Sonographer did slip up and refer to the baby by gender, but we forgave her.)

By the time came that my hospital bags were packed and sleeping in a lying position was impossible, I really was a bit concerned. I don't like to definitely name my children before I see them, in case it doesn't fit, but I need some ideas. 37 weeks was pushing it really because we had nothing.

Friday 28 April 2017

Personalised Bronze Sextant Pocket Watch Review: GiftsOnline4U

When I review a gift website it can be quite tricky to find something appropriate that fits the budget. I was honestly spoilt for choice with GiftsOnline4U and I ended up choosing something I'd otherwise never have found, yet it's perfect...

My partner has long-standing loves of both watches and ships, so this Personalised Bronze Pocket Watch With Sextant Design is spot on. Unbelievably GiftsOnline4U actually stock over 100 different engraved pocket watches - plus another 4,400 personalised gifts for anyone of any age...

Thursday 27 April 2017

Mowgli and Byron Corn Exchange Manchester Restaurant Reviews

My 8 year old loves trying new foods, so was ecstatic to be given the opportunity to review two of Manchester Corn Exchange's restaurants in one day. The boys were to be filmed giving their opinions of the Kids Menus at Mowgli (Indian Street Food) and Byron (Proper Hamburgers).

We started off at Mowgli, where my youngest decided almost immediately that he would disown us and go to sit with our friends from Simslife. Thankfully they didn't mind! He chose the same meal as his brother - the Kids Menu Gunpowder Chicken and Fries. They like curries but they like generally spicy too...

Tuesday 25 April 2017

New STABILO Stationery review for National Stationery Week.

STABILO make great stationery for all members of the family, so when I said we'd be getting a handful of new products to look at, 4 different people here immediately got excited. We've been sent the new STABILO BOSS Original Pastel Highlighters, a beYou! Ballpoint Pen and EASYstart Colouring Pencils.

The STABILO BOSS Original Pastel Highlighters are that very familiar shape and style which we've all used, but now available in pastels! Reliable and long-lasting, they really haven't needed to change since before I was a student.

Sunday 23 April 2017

The Non-Wedding Anniversary...

In a couple of weeks I'll have been with my partner for 11 years. It's a long time but there'll be no celebrations, meals out or cards. It's most likely he won't even know the date is in any way significant.

We aren't married. In fact I've never been married. I was with my older children's Dad for 15 years, but we didn't marry either. When I was young and politically strident I wasn't going to be owned by a man, now I'm older I know that isn't really the case. I'm paid to publish posts such as this one and write about all kinds of daft stuff, but we have a big family, so it's lack of money and general logistics which prevent me now.

Saturday 22 April 2017

Education - a right or a privilege?

I filled in a questionaire on Facebook the other day, you may have seen it. You answer a range of questions and it tells you which political party you most agree with. Its like a blind taste test to show who you should probably vote for...
There was a question, 'Should university fees be scrapped?'. There's room for discussion and debate about all of the questions, it's really nicely done. Someone had started a discussion with the comment 'No. Education is a privilege '.
What? A real person just said that? A privilege that you Sir are entitled to, but children born into households with less money than you simply aren't? Because? How can any human being think they have a born right to advanced education, but the guy down the road doesn't, purely because his parents don't have much cash.
Charles Dickens, George Orwell and Stephen King were all born into poverty. Steve Jobs had to drop out of college because his Foster parents couldn't afford it. Imagine what he'd have achieved with your privileged education.
My friend, maybe you simply need the education, that's why you have been given that right by birth.

The Magic Of My Name Personalised Story Book Review (age 0-8)

The Magic Of My Name is a story book for children aged around 0-8 which is personalised for your child. You choose boy or girl, hair colour and then add their own name, which becomes focal to the entire story...

The book arrives wrapped in card and plastic to protect it from the elements during shipping, and I was impressed with the quality and weight. Each page is thick glossy paper. Our book is a hardbacked copy and it's nicely bound and will wipe clean from small spills.

Friday 21 April 2017

StikBot ZANIMATION Studio Review (age 4+)

StikBots are bendy little characters who have moving arms, legs, torso and head. Their hands and feet are suckers, so they stay where you put them and are ideal for creating stop-motion animation films. Perfect then that they've released their own StikBot ZANIMATION Studio.

The StikBot ZANIMATION Studio is suitable for age 4+ and we've been sent one to review. It promises to make a movie director out of us all and includes everything you'll need barring an actual device - smartphone or tablet. My son is using a 4 year old phone and the app. still worked on his old Android version.

Included in the box are 2 StikBots, a tripod, staging and scenery. We were also sent the Hair Styling Set with a gold StikBot and 9 different hats and hairstyles.

8 Ways To Make Money While Travelling.

This post is written by Nikolai Catrow

Everyone thought about a future profession in childhood, and if your dream came true – you are lucky! As show numerous opinion polls, the happiest people in their profession are those whose work is directly related to travel. Such a work brings pleasure but demands good health and stress resistance from a person.

So, you do not like to stay at home but you love to travel? Choose a profession from the list that will allow you to travel around the world:

Thursday 20 April 2017

Wearing your creation on your head...BrickHats Review

If you are going to make something cool then you want people to see it. What better place to display your creations than your own head? BrickHats come in 6 different colours and somewhat bizarrely proved the perfect canvas for my partner to create an amazing tribute to the host of The Joy Of Painting, Bob Ross...


Usually I accept an item for review because I think we'll like it, but just occasionally I'm more intrigued than certain. I honestly couldn't decide about BrickHats, but it turns out they're actually brilliant...

Tuesday 18 April 2017

When the kids decide they don't want to be on the blog...

A friend of mine today explained on her Facebook page that her family would no longer feature on her blog. She'll continue to talk with authority and be a fabulous advocate in her field, but won't share personal stories. This was at the surprise direct request of her 9 year old.

When your children are little it may not occur to you that you are sharing anything they wouldn't like shared - you may not even know. I think you get away with this scott-free for a shorter period than most people might think.

The Boss Baby at the Hilton Hotel, Manchester...

On Easter Sunday we were invited to see a private screening of The Boss Baby at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester. I've never watched a movie in a hotel before and it was such a lovely event and so well organised that I thought I owed it to them to write about it.

The Hilton Hotel are rightly proud of their association with animated family movie The Boss Baby. They want to promote their family friendly side, so that families know they can come and stay and be fully catered for - in fact, children stay and eat for free.

Saturday 15 April 2017

32 Months #TBCSmiles

It really is the best job in the world going through all of your photos each month - thank you to everyone who has shared their smiles using the #TBCSmiles hashtag. They're infectious and an absolute joy to look at. Some of the brightest smiles are at the bottom of this post.

Easter Egg Hunt 2016

I hope this past month has been a good one for you. Sunshine and the promise of some time off over Easter make everything a little less heavy and the chance to get out and have fresh air without freezing is very welcome!

Wednesday 12 April 2017

New Skylanders Imaginators Characters for Easter 2017

My two boys had a surprise early Easter gift in the post yesterday courtesy of Activision and Skylanders Imaginators. They've already played the game through a couple of times, but character releases shake everything up and add their own unique characteristics...

New characters have been released in waves and we've been sent the characters in Wave 4 to review including 2 very special edition Easter variant characters. The boxes themselves are gorgeous - the illustrations are really well done.

We have Easter Edition Egg Bomber Air-Strike and Hard-Boiled Flare Wolf and brand new releases Grave-Clobber and Pain-Yatta.

Tuesday 11 April 2017

iExplore Bugs from Carlton Kids Books review (age 7+)

iExplore books are a series of books with an associated app. which brings them to life via Augmented Reality using a smartphone or tablet. iExplore Bugs by Hannah Wilson is fresh off the press at Carlton Kids Books and we've been sent a copy to review.

iExplore Bugs is an excellent quality hardback full colour book. 32 pages full of everything your average child could ever possibly need to know about the most fantastic and exotic bugs alive, including the Goliath Bird-Eating Spider and Queen Alexandra's Birdwing Butterfly.

Monday 10 April 2017

Digital Kids Show, Event City, Manchester Review

The Digital Kids Show will return to Manchester's Event City this November 18-20th. Filled with all kinds of things that computer-obsessed youngsters love, we went last year and our boys had an awesome time.

This year the show is over 3 days and there is absolutely loads to do. Most of the programme will be the same each day, but some of the main stage acts and presentations will vary.

Everything in the giant Event City Hall and the show is especially suited to families with children of any age who would happily spend all day at a computer, whether playing, designing, editing, watching or learning, or all of those at once.

Saturday 8 April 2017

A Fun Day with Specsavers and JCB Kids children's glasses

Today we were invited to Specsavers at Manchester's Fort Shopping Centre to help celebrate the launch of their new range of JCB Kids glasses for children. With promises of a real JCB Backhoe Loader and 'meet and greet' with the JCB Transformer, as well as eye tests and glasses if they were needed, how could we refuse?

It wasn't hard to spot Specsavers. Parked outside was, as promised, a genuine JCB Backhoe Loader with it's own glasses...

Thursday 6 April 2017

Roblox Toys Series 1 from Jazwares Review (age 6+)

Roblox has kept children in my house entertained and shouting at each other across the room for the last 10 years. The blocky PC game have now teamed up with Jazwares and launched their own range of collectible toys featuring characters and accessories familiar to game players...

We've been sent a selection to review, including a Mystery Figure Pack, the Core Figure Pack - Mr Bling Bling and the Game Pack - Work At A Pizza Place. The figures are articulated, with a bend at the knee and hip and turning shoulders and neck.

Wednesday 5 April 2017

NEW LEGO Ninjago City Adventure at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Manchester

This Easter LEGO fans visiting Manchester have a treat as the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at the Trafford Centre has had a £1m revamp. The entire centre has had a shake around and the soft play climbing frame 'Fire Academy' has been completely removed, making room for the huge LEGO Ninjago City Adventure.

I took you on a tour of LEGOLAND Discovery Centre last year, and a lot of the attractions remain the same. The visit will appear just as before until you've walked through Miniland, then you'd believe you were in a different place...

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Simply Be Spring Holiday Fashion For Curves.

I love it when a review is a treat for me, and a chance to try out 2 outfits from Simply Be's Holiday Shop is definitely one for me. Simply Be specialise in women's fashion, plus size and curves, with clothes in sizes 12 to 32, including tons of amazing brands such as Fiorelli, Figleaves and Marc Jacobs.

I'm the wrong side of 40 with 5 pregnancies and a serious hernia behind me. My last operation has left me with a swollen, lopsided tummy and a thick scar that feels much more comfortable with something soft over it. I mainly wear long skirts or dresses and loose waistlines and I still want to look nice, the same as anyone else.

Simply Be have a great selection of dresses that I really liked, including lots by Joe Browns (they have some gorgeous sundresses), but my job was to choose from the huge Simply Be 'Holiday Shop'. It was a genuine pleasure searching the site and knowing that everything came in my size.

Saturday 1 April 2017

Events for Families in the Manchester and Northwest area this Easter

Here are some of the things you could be getting up to with your family in the North West this Easter....

If you have an April event to add, please email it to me with the subject April 2017 and I'll add anything appropriate - we are particularly fond of those which are low cost or free....