Monday 31 October 2016

Peter Rabbit 'The Tale of the Great Rabbit and Squirrel Adventure' DVD - Giveaway

Peter Rabbit is one of my children's favourite TV shows so I am really pleased that Abbey Home Media have released another collection of fantastic episodes. Fun, friendship and adventure abound once more with further tales to delight Beatrix Potter fans everywhere.

Join our hero, Peter Rabbit, in this fifth instalment of his animated adventures. Peter tells a curious Cotton-Tail how he and Squirrel Nutkin became friends and how Nutkin's lost his tail. Soon Peter is on an adventure to retrieve Nutkin's tail, even though it means going to Owl Island! This charming DVD collection features over 70 minutes full of fun, mischief and adventure, in six action packed episodes. 

With a taste for radishes and a thirst for adventure, Peter Rabbit is the lovable and extraordinary friend you longed to hang out with when you were a kid. But when the chips are down and danger lurks, there's no better friend to have around than Peter and his boundless courage will always see him through.

Peter Rabbit 'The Tale of the Great Rabbit and Squirrel Adventure' features the episodes:
  • The Tale of the Great Rabbit and Squirrel Adventure
  • The Tale of Old Brown's Feather
  • The Tale of the Wiggly Worms
  • The Tale of Two Enemies
  • The Tale of Fierce Bad Rabbit
  • The Tale of Mr Tod's Trap
Want to win a copy for your little one? Just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below! Good luck!

  • The giveaway will run from October 31st until November 13th
  • One winner will win one copy of Peter Rabbit 'The Tale of the Great Rabbit and Squirrel Adventure' on DVD
  • Prize will be sent by the PR company
  • Open to entrants aged 18+
  • UK residents only
  • No automated entries
  • One entry per person
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday 30 October 2016

Is My Son On the Spectrum?

This is a post that I wasn't really sure if I would write, or if I did, that I would publish. I tend to keep everything here lighthearted and upbeat and not talk too much about the serious stuff that's going on in my life. I started writing my blog so I could read back about our lives so it seems really stupid to leave this out as it's the biggest thing that's happening with us right now.

My four year old son, C, started preschool at the beginning of September. Around three weeks in, the preschool leader asked if she could have a quick word with me. She told me that she had a few concerns about his behaviour, touched on them briefly and recommended that I book an appointment with his health visitor or GP. I have to admit that I brushed it off a bit. I have a little bit of experience with autism (although she never actually mentioned that word, I guessed that it's what she was getting at) and C is so different from what I've seen in other autistic children, although I do know that the spectrum is broad. I sort of thought that three weeks was very quick for her to come to me with these concerns as preschool was a totally new experience for him. He had never been to any sort of playgroup, he'd just be at home with me, his daddy and sister so being with 24 other children every day was a massive change but then again, she had worked with lots of children.

A couple of weeks later, I had my settling in meeting with the preschool leader where she explained in more detail the things that were worrying her. C has been quite sensitive with noise. On one particular day, the children were playing with dry pasta in the water tray and making a lot of noise. C covered his head with his arms and said, "It's too noisy! I want to go home." As time has progressed, his key worker can see the signs when something like this is going to happen again and takes him out of the room just to get a couple of minutes away. They have also made him a countdown rocket to help him calm himself so he can see the numbers and count down from five to one.

At story time at the end of the day, they found that he wouldn't sit to listen to the story so they made him up his own little box with weighted toys and things that he can fidget with as he listens. Since they've introduced that, he'll sit quietly but she thinks that he can't focus unless he's keeping his hands busy.

When it comes to snack time, the children are told to wash their hands, grab a plate, pick their toast and fruit then pour their milk or water. One day, C spilled his milk as he was pouring it and got really upset. He didn't even calm down once they'd cleaned it up. They then realised that he wanted to go back to the beginning of the routine and wash his hands again, pick his toast again then pour his milk again. It was like he couldn't get past messing the routine up. Also, if he wants to play with a toy, let's say dinosaurs, but it's snack time, he needs to have a visual. His key worker has made a "Now and Later" sheet so they would put snack time in "now" then dinosaurs in "later". This way, he knows that he is still getting the dinosaurs whereas beforehand he would just take it as a no and get upset.

The biggest thing (something which I have actually noticed too) is not being able to express himself when he's upset or angry. He lashes out and hits. Interestingly, he understands other childrens' emotions and asks if they are okay when he sees that they are sad, but he can't express it when he feels it himself. We've since put in an application for CIDS Team - who are specialist workers and psychologists - to observe him in class so we are waiting to hear back from them.

I have to be honest and say that I felt a little bit like my heart had been ripped out as she was speaking to me and I did have a cry on the way home. I know that if we do get a diagnosis that it's not going to change who he is. He will always be the same C that he's always been. We have our behavioural appointment with the GP tomorrow morning and my stomach is in knots. One step closer to finding out, eh? Wish us luck!

Thursday 27 October 2016

4 Films to Watch with your Kids this Halloween + giveaway!

I absolutely love Halloween, it's one of my favourite times of year. Because I love it so much, I've tried to get my children excited about it from an early age. It's worked well because my four year old son, C, is obsessed and I think he'd wear a Halloween costume every day if he could! My children are obviously too young to watch proper horrors but we love watching seasonal themed versions of our favourite animations. Here are four films that you should watch with your little ones. I loved Tom & Jerry and Bugs Bunny when I was a kid so it's great to have an excuse to watch them all again.

Tom & Jerry's Magical Misadventures 
This DVD features seven magical episodes. Wielding magic wands and careening through creepy castles, Tom is up to his old tricks as he continues the never-ending chase of his elusive target: Jerry. Fall under the spell of fun and laughter for both children and adults alike.

Tom & Jerry Tricks & Treats 
This amazing DVD contains a whopping 20 different episodes. The mischievous pair that is Tom and Jerry continue trying to outwit one another in this selection of adventures in which they encounter witches, werewolves, mummies and ghosts.

Tom & Jerry Halloween Hijinks and Shrieks 
Tom and Jerry are all dressed up with so many places to go in these seven hilarious episodes of zany chases and thrilling escapes. Showcasing their best attempts at clever disguises, these shorts are packed with the precise comic timing and over the top gags that made this award winning series one of the best in animation history. Join them in all-out antics and after-dark adventures in this collection of crazy cartoons.

Bugs Bunny Howl-Oween Special 
The wascally wabbit Bugs Bunny encounters dimwitted witches and vacant vampires in the holiday special. Bugs is joined by well loved Looney Tunes favourites Tweety Bird, Sylvester, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and Speed Gonzales.

You can get your hands on these titles on Amazon and I'm also hosting a giveaway over on my Twitter page to win the lot!

What's your favourite family friendly Halloween movie? 

Monday 24 October 2016

Baby Born Brother Doll - Review

E owns four different toy dolls and she adores them but they get played with a lot by C too. It's really cute watching him play and look after them. I know he'll make a brilliant daddy in years to come! For now, he was so excited to receive his own boy doll to play with. All of E's dolls have pink clothing and accessories so he was happy to see some blue!

The doll comes with:

  • Potty
  • Spoon and bowl
  • Bottle
  • Nappy
  • Dummy and dummy chain
  • Heart shaped bracelet
  • Sachet of food

The other dolls we own either came with no accessories or a just little fake bottle so C was really excited to properly look after his baby. We filled the bottle up with water, he placed it in his mouth and squeezed gently. You need to keep the baby upright whilst feeding or he will soil his nappy immediately. You can make the baby go for a wee in its nappy by lying him down. For using the potty, C placed him on it with his legs bent, in the sitting position. Getting the doll to go is easy, you just need to press and hold his bellybutton. You will hear a click which switches from peeing to pooping mode. C has only been potty trained himself since March and think he's a proper adult now so he thought it was so much fun teaching his baby to use the potty.

The next thing that we tried was getting the baby to cry but unfortunately we couldn't master this one. I followed the instructions which said to feed the baby water then squeeze its right arm several time. Every time we've tried this, the baby just wets itself and I cannot for the life of me figure out where we are going wrong. If you own this doll, I'd love to know if you've got it working and how.

C's absolute favourite thing is feeding the baby porridge. You need to fill the bowl with water, up to the fill line, and mix in the sachet. Keep stirring until the lumps have gone. This took quite a while for us and it didn't really thicken a lot. At first I thought I'd maybe put too much water in but I followed the instructions to a T. This didn't put C off. He scooped up a little, fed his baby and his little smile was adorable. 

He's really enjoying changing his nappy, giving him his dummy (the dummy clip doesn't stay attached to the dummy which can be a little annoying, I'm worried we'll lose it) and just looking after him in general. The doll wears a little heart bracelet and I thought including one for your child to wear is such a cute idea. I love the birth certificate too so your little one can name their baby and keep their "birth" details safe.

The Baby Born Brother Doll is suitable for children aged 3+, it retails at £44.99 and is available from all good retailers. You can keep up to date with all thing Zapf Creation on Facebook and Twitter

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 
Sunday 23 October 2016

Halloween & Autumnal Crafts with Baker Ross

We have been Baker Ross Bloggers for just over two years now - half of C's life! He has always been into arts and crafts and gets so excited when he receives his parcel. He automatically recognises the logo on the box and can't wait to get stuck in.

We recently received a box of crafts items themed around Halloween and Autumn. Halloween is C's favourite time of year and he has been learning all about Autumn at preschool this month so he's always telling me about the leaves changing colour and falling from the trees. It was the perfect box for him.

Inside our box was:

We started off with our fibre tip pens and Day of the Dead bags, mostly because I wanted to colour one in too! I love that the pens come in packs of three. My children love to draw and I feel like I am always buying marker pens so the amount you get for the price is very reasonable. 

The kids were able to share a pack whilst Chris and I had another. The Day of the Dead bags come in three different designs with three different handle colours. Chris and I had so much fun colouring them, never mind the kids! We leaned quite lightly but obviously the children didn't know any better and leaned heavily. A mixture of the fibre tip pen and the paper bag meant that the colour seeped through onto the other side. Both sides of the bag have the same design printed but the kids didn't seem to mind and coloured around it anyway.

The Haunted House Photo Frames were our next choice. The kids love these because they are so simple and they can do the majority of it themselves. They only needed a little reassurance (especially 2 year old E) of where to place the stickers. There are three different colours of Haunted House to choose from; purple, green or orange, and stickers such as windows, doors, frames, cats, witches etc. to stick on. All are made of foam and are already adhesive, you just need to peel the backing off. No need for glue. Living in 2016, I very rarely print photographs off so we didn't actually end up using them as frames! They do come with adhesive magnets though so you can stick them on your fridge.

C was most excited to do the Sand Art. He loves working with sand more than anything - maybe it's because he likes making a mess! There are five different leaf shapes and they are completely adhesive so again, no messy glue required! It also comes with five mini bags of coloured sand and hanging ribbon. You simply peel one bit off, pour some sand on, shake off the excess and continue until the leaf is finished. This is definitely the kids favourite activity and they look absolutely fabulous when they are done. 

Before we used the Dotty Art kit I said to Chris that C would probably find it easier than E as he is older. I was wrong! She took to it so well. There are eight different spooky characters to choose from; monster, spider, ghost, cat, pumpkin, owl, bat and skull, and seven different sticker colours. Each sticker sheet has large, medium and small stickers to coincide with the circle sizes on the character sheets. 

The kids both got stuck in and only really needed us when it came to peeling the circles off the sheet. C did get a little bored and felt it was repetitive but we made it into a competition to see who could finish theirs first which got him a bit more excited again. I think they did a great job!

I've written so many times before about how C loves the foam stickers from Baker Ross. He got especially excited about these because they were autumn themed and he could recognise the acorns and pinecones from learning about them at school. 

I realised just how much he's grown up whilst doing this activity. Previously, he'd just take any sticker and place it anywhere on the page but now he had made sure his trees and animals were along the bottom of the paper and even put the apple and owl in the tree. There are 25 different tree, leaf and animal designs so they are great for making autumnal pictures.

Finally, we had our Friendship Bracelets. If I'm honest, these were probably the least interesting for the children but only because they are so young. I think an older child would get more use out of them. In saying that, C and E each had one and gave mummy and daddy one too. BFF's, right?

All in all, we adored this bundle of Baker Ross products. The quality of the items for the low prices are fantastic. C finishes school for half-term on the 28th October and I've kept a few pieces aside for him to do then.

You can view the entire range of products at the Baker Ross website or you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

(We received these items as part of our role as Baker Ross Bloggers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 
Saturday 22 October 2016

Look in my Letterbox #74

You can really tell that I haven't been winning (or comping, really) as much as I was before C started preschool because my post is dwindling! Half-term starts on the 29th October so I'm hoping to find more time to enter. I need to with Christmas coming up! Anyway, here's what I received in the post this week.

Super Hero Mashers figure
I won this from 365games on Facebook. C absolutely loves anything Marvel or DC Comics so he'll be thrilled with this. I've put it away for Christmas of course!
I've written before about how I am a massive fan of Panic! at the Disco. I spotted this top on Redbubble and I just had to buy it. It's lyrics from one of their songs (Miss Jackson - look it up if you haven't heard it, I love it!).

Baker Ross

 We haven't done a Baker Ross post in a while but C is so excited to get them started up again. He loves crafts!

Bundle of goodies
 My friend Jenna at Chic Geek Diary sent C and E this little parcel - how lovely!

Cbeebies magazine
 I did a post a while back and received a subscription to Cbeebies magazine as a thank you. This is our first installment. The kids love magazines so it's going to go down well.

Angry Birds bundle 
 On Friday, we had an Angry Birds Twitter party! This arrived a few hours beforehand and C was so excited. We put the party stuff up, made some party food and watched the Angry Birds movie - it's hilarious!

Did you receive anything nice this week?
Thursday 20 October 2016

Colours of the Sea Ariel - Review #jakksbathtime

I have spoken numerous times on the blog about how I don't believe in gender specific toys. My children are close in age and both play with the same toys despite being different genders. C loves dolls and princesses, E loves dinosaurs and cars. E has even dressed up as Buzz Lightyear whereas C has worn a Princess Anna dress up costume. I will let them play with whatever they like for as along as they like.

Speaking of princesses, I put C's name forward to review the Colours of the Sea Ariel doll from Jakks Pacific because of his love of princesses and I was pleasantly surprised to be chosen. It's quite sad that I expected him not to be chosen just because he's a boy but I love that it wasn't an issue. When she arrived, he was literally bouncing up and down and couldn't wait to get her opened out. 

Colours of the Sea Ariel is a bath toy but can also be used out of the bath. She comes with a little Flounder squirt toy for bathtime use too. The doll itself is made of sturdy plastic with the lifelike red hair - it is amazing! She says 14 different phrases that can be activated by pressing her shell necklace. She only says a set amount of phrases but once you submerge her tail in water, it activates the rest so you have two different sets depending on where you're playing with her. There is a little button on the back of her neck which makes it easy to switch the language from English to Spanish. 

C loved the fact that her tail lights up and especially thinks it's great when we turn the lights off in the bath and let her light the water up. He loves clicking through all the phrases so he can get to the part where she sings 'Part of Your World." We dug out our Little Mermaid DVD when she first arrived and he had to press it to make her sing at the point where she sings in the film. 

I've included a little video below of her lighting up in the water:

I have to admit that I was a little worried about taking a battery operated toy into the water but of course, it's meant to be a bath toy so I trusted Jakks Pacific! I also didn't want her beautiful red hair to get ruined so I was a bit apprehensive about that too. I remember taking my own Barbie dolls in when I was little and they'd get all matted. I needn't have worried though. We had no problems with the batteries and although I probably don't need to, I've been brushing her hair whilst wet then leaving it to dry and it hasn't gone horrible - success! 

The doll is recommended for children aged 3+ but C's younger sister has just turned 2 and loves it and can use it just as well. Both of the kids are utterly in love with her and I truly believe that she would make a fantastic Christmas present. I can see lots of little ones being very happy!

Colours of the Sea Ariel retails at £34.99 (but at the time of publishing, is currently on sale at Amazon) and is available from all good stockists. 

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Masha and the Bear 'Holiday On Ice' DVD - Giveaway

Hooray, Masha and her friend Bear are back in a collection of seasonal episodes that will be released on DVD on Monday October 31st.

A retired circus bear settles into the woods and prepares for a quiet new life surrounded by peace and tranquility until he is introduced to an adventurous little girl named Masha. Masha is an energetic three-year-old who lives in an old train station in the forest. Precocious, silly, and friends with everyone she meets, this energetic girl can’t seem to keep herself out of trouble.
Bear is a warm, fatherly figure that does his best to guide his friend and keep her from harm, often ending up the unintended victim of her misadventures. Together with a loveable group of friendly animals that have made the forest their home, Masha and the Bear entertains adults and children alike, teaching viewers about creativity, loyalty and true friendship.
In this special, seasonal collection, eager to learn how to skate like a pro, Masha gets Bear to teach her. With a bit of effort, Masha gets Bear down to the frozen lake where Lady Bear is already. Hopeefully Bear and Lady Bear can help Masha learn the steps.

This special Christmassy collection includes the episodes:
  • Holiday On Ice
  • One, Two, Three! Light the Christmas Tree
  • Picture Perfect
  • Tracks of Unknown Animals
  • Watch Out!
  • First Day of School
  • No Trespassing
  • The Snow Maiden
  • The Wolf and the Fox
 To be in with a chance of winning a copy for your little one(s) just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

  • The giveaway will run from October 20th until November 6th
  • One winner will win a copy of Masha and the Bear Holiday On Ice on DVD
  • Prize will be sent by the PR company
  • Open to entrants aged 18+
  • UK residents only
  • No automated entries
  • One entry per person
  a Rafflecopter giveaway