Wednesday 19 December 2018

Best Board Games for People with Disabilities

My six year old son C was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder ten months ago. It's still a massive learning curve for us, we are still learning how to cope day to day as we go along and have been attending workshops to teach us how to best deal with his behaviours.

As much as I still don't even like to admit it, it is a disability, and we do have to make some adjustments for him as he processes things differently. We know what to do and what not to do as we know what will cause a sensory overload and subsequent meltdown. Although we do need to make these adjustments, we also try to treat him as normally as we possibly can because I don't want to use his autism as an excuse for "naughty" behaviour that has nothing to do with the condition. 

C struggles mostly with social situations and empathy and imagining how others are feeling. Taking turns and waiting are hard for him too. He likes to be in control of situations so he knows exactly what is going to happen. He cannot cope with the unknown. Waiting is a struggle because he prefers to physically see how long something is going to take as he can't imagine what five or ten minutes looks like. 

For as long as I can remember, we have had a family game night. It's something that the four of us can do to spend time together and have fun. There are a few that I don't think he could cope with such a Monopoly simply because of the duration of the game - there's no way he'd sit that long! - so we tend to choose games that are short and hold his attention.

C is a typical six year old boy and loves a bit of toilet humour. I know that these types of games will make him laugh and he actually wants to play them because he finds them so funny. Gooey Louie - who knew that a game where you have to pull bogies out of a giant nose would be so fun? Although there is the unknown aspect of when the brain will squeak and pop out, he got used to it quite quickly and anticipates it. We do make a minor adjustment and remove the black coloured one as it frightens him.

Poopyhead is another one that C really enjoys. He is really good at remembering sequences and the aim here is to place cards in order; toilet, poo, wipe, wash hands. The loser has to attach a rubber poo on their head. This game helps his memory, having to remember what card comes next, but adds the funny aspect with the poos.

Pull My Finger is probably C's ultimate favourite. Each player spins and pulls the monkeys finger. It's bottom will expand then fart unexpectedly. Again, he anticipates this and it is a little better as he can physically see the bottom getting bigger and so knows when it is going to happen. This one is great as it is fast paced but also encourages him to take turns and wait for others to have their turn.

Disney Guess The Film is one that is not only great for C but for the whole family. We are massive Disney fans and this game shows a little part of a scene and you need to guess what film it is to win a point. C can recall things very quickly with precision (I feel like he may have an eidetic memory) so he always excels at this one.

5 Second Rule is a fun one that even trips me up! Each player has five seconds to name three things from a category that is chosen such as "3 things you see at the beach". It encourages C to think logically and quickly. Sometimes he does give a bit of a silly answer under pressure but rather than getting annoyed, we've found that he finds it quite funny instead.

Finally, Jenga is a game that I originally thought might be hit or miss. It's a classic so I'm sure it needs no introduction but C takes his time to properly think about the consequence of his move and it proves to work well for him!

As he gets older, I would love to introduce more grown up games to him such as Cluedo or even Chess to see if he enjoys those and how we can adapt them to his capabilities. Board games can be great for people with disabilities and can help with the brain. I have focused here on our experiences with C and ASD but board games can help many people with different types of disability, some of which can be seen on the Bathing Solutions blog.

(This is a sponsored post.)
Monday 17 December 2018

Chad Valley Tiny Treasures Doll - Review

My four year old daughter E is a right 'wee granny mush' as we say here in Northern Ireland. She loves to put on a dress and pretend she's the mummy (because that's what mummies wear, apparently) and I'm the kid. Over the years, we have had a number of baby dolls that she has also played mummy to but none of them as fantastic as the Tiny Treasures doll from Chad Valley.  

We received the boy version of the doll and as soon as we saw him, I was awestuck by his realistic facial features. He has a good mop of brown hair underneath his little blue hat, hair is something that none of our previous dolls have had and I like that it has been included. 

Upon opening, the weight of the doll adds to its realism. Weighing in at 2lbs 10oz, it is definitely like holding a real newborn baby and even has a scent of talcum powder. He is dressed very sweetly too in a beautiful blue pair of dungarees with a bear pocket and even has a little bodysuit underneath it. 

E has named her new baby boy Jesus. I'm going to take a guess and say this is partly because of the time of year and also because she's been practicing for her nativity at school but hey, she can call him whatever she wants. The doll comes with a little hospital band attached to his wrist and a birth certificate so you can joy down its name, weight and other stats. As well as just looking realistic, it's these little extras that really set the Tiny Treasures doll apart from the others. 

The cardboard box that the doll arrives in has a buckle attached so it can be used as a car seat. E has decided that it's a crib and put baby Jesus to sleep there. His eyes shut when he is laid down and open again when he is picked up. 

E has fallen in love with her new doll. She puts him to bed at the bottom of her bed every night, gets him first thing in the morning and brings him downstairs with her. She has even taken to bringing him in the car to nursery in the morning for me to bring back home to "babysit" then bring him back at pick up. She is definitely treating him like a real baby! 

The Tiny Treasures doll retails at £39.99 and can be purchased from Argos. Argos also do a whole host of accessories to go with the doll such as a Moses basket, baby carrier and wardrobe. E is so enthralled that I have decided to put a call in to Santa to bring some of these extras for Christmas!

You can also keep up to date with Tiny Treasures on Facebook and Instagram.

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 
Saturday 8 December 2018

Dressing for Autumn/Winter with Fashion World - Review

Autumn/Winter is my favourite time of the year to shop for, from a fashion point of view. I'm a big fan of chunky knit, jumpers, boots, layering and the A/W colours like maroon, burgundy and mustard are gorgeous.

Being a busy mum of two, I rarely find the time to physically go out to browse in high street stores so I spend a lot of time online shopping but then have a minor panic because I can't try the clothing on and don't want to buy something that doesn't fit and go through the faff of returning it.

My mind has been completely changed by online clothing retailer, Fashion World. They very kindly offered me the chance to choose some items from their website for the season and see what I thought.

I live in black and grey so I knew that I wanted it to change it up a bit so firstly I opted for the Blush Pointelle Jumper. I decided to team that up with the black Chloe High Waist Snake Skinny Jean and grey Edita Stud Detail Boots. I wanted to stick with a jumper and boots for winter but also get some of my beloved black in there too. I couldn't stray too much!

I was quite anxious when the items arrived as, although I went for my normal size, I know some shops differ when it comes to sizes. I needn't have worried though and everything fit perfectly.

The jumper was surprisingly soft and cosy and will definitely keep the heat in when the temperatures get cooler. My wardrobe is devoid of colour (that probably stems from being a self confessed emo kid in the 2000s) so it was nice to inject some pink into it and I found that it was a colour that I actually suited.

The jeans are absolutely amazing with their snake print which is very subtle. My partner originally thought they were simply wet look before taking a closer look. I am a sucker for animal print in all forms and I am a big fan of the snake print trend right now.

The boots are by far my favourite of all three. I'll admit, I always opt for flat shoes as they are easier, mostly reaching for Converse or Vans, but I love the chunky heel on these as well as the stud detailing. It helps that they are very comfy to walk in too.

I was really pleasantly surprised by the range that FashionWorld held and it took me quite a long time to decide what I wanted. They have clothes for every occasion! With the entire outfit costing under £100, I definitely will be purchasing more in the future.

(I received these items for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Fingerlings The BFF Collection - Review

If you have a young child, I'm sure you are familiar with Fingerlings and in the run up to Christmas, I'm willing to bet lots of children have them on their Christmas lists. We reviewed the new Fingerlings Hugs a few weeks ago (and loved it!) and E was very excited to have a play with one of the Fingerlings BFF Collection sets.

There are four different BFF (best friends forever, in case you aren't familiar with the lingo!) collections available; Danny & Gianna, Billie & Aiden, Violet & Hope and Ashley & Chance. We received the Ashley & Chance, much to E's delight as the pink and turquoise colours are lovely together.

Ashley is the big interactive Fingerling and Chance is her mini BFF. Chance isn't interactive but can hang by its tail onto Ashley's tail or you can even attach her to pencils and carry her around with you much more easily than you can Ashley.

E instantly took a liking to Ashley and couldn't wait to see what she did. There is a little switch on the back of her head and once it's put into the 'on' position, she instantly comes to life. As their name suggests, Fingerlings fit nicely onto your pointer finger which makes it easy for you to interact with it.

We quickly discovered that Ashley responds to touch, motion and sound and can interact with up to 40 different movements and sounds. She will blink, turn her head, give a cute little monkey babble and give a kiss back once you've blown one to her - to name a few!

E loves to treat Ashley like her little baby making sure her little tuft of hair is fluffed up and found that if you rock her in your hands, she'll fall asleep. She also likes bouncing her up and down as that makes Ashley emit a high monkey screech which E finds absolutely hilarious.

Playing with the Fingerlings is exciting because you discover what she can do as you play. There's no cheat sheet so it keeps that anticipation as you can't wait to see what else she'll do next. E likes to bring Ashley everywhere with her and I like that fact that it's small enough for me to carry around in my bag to entertain her whilst we are out.

The Fingerlings BFF Collection are available at all good toy shops such as Smyths and The Entertainer and have an RRP of £14.99.

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 
Thursday 22 November 2018

E's Dream Horse with Petplan Equine

To say that E is an animal lover is a massive understatement. She will "aww" over any animal or creature that she sees on TV, she's obsessed with her nanny's two dogs and if she even sees a dog in the street, she'll be itching to run over, pet it and become its new best friend. 

Petplan Equine recently got in touch about their fabulous new campaign, asking if E would like to draw her dream horse and have it turned into a real soft toy. Like many other four year old girls, she definitely dreams of having her own pony so I knew she'd be excited to do it. 

One day after nursery she sat down with all her felt tips, eager to get started. Although she is only four, she is a fantastic little artist so I knew she'd take the time to make her horse look perfect. She needed minimal help from me, I just had to guide her hand around the page to get the horse outline, then she gave it eyes and a smile, lots of polka dots and a mane, tail and, for some strange reason, some hair along the underside! She then asked if I could finish it off with some swirls, stars and hearts as she wasn't able to do them "neat enough." 

A few weeks later, she received her imagined horse in soft toy format and I was blown away by how amazing it looked. Every little detail that E put into her drawing was replicated and E instantly fell in love. She brings her new horse everywhere now - even to bed! I suppose that's the good thing about her dream horse being a toy, I don't think she could fit a real pony in her bed with her! 

If you are lucky enough to have your own horse or pony, being a responsible horse owner and getting horse insurance from Petplan Equine is the way to go as their priority is keeping both horses and their owners happy. You can put your trust in them to get your horse back on their feet following any illnesses or injuries. Thank you, Petplan Equine for E's new favourite toy and the fact that she designed it herself makes it that little bit more special.

(This is a collaboration with Petplan Equine, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.) 
Wednesday 7 November 2018

Pull My Finger Game - Review

If I said the phrase "pull my finger" I'm sure everyone would know what was going to happen. It's a typical dad joke that's been around for years so when I heard about the Pull My Finger game from Jakks Pacific, I just knew that it would be right up C and E's street as they find all things "toilet humour" hilarious. Farts are always funny to a six year old boy especially!

Pull My Finger is a game suited to 2 or more players, where you spin a spinner and pull the finger of Mr Buster, the monkey, and wait for him to fart.

Inside the box you receive Mr Buster, two monkey butts, a monkey tail, a base and a spinner as well as the game instructions. It's really easy to set up and you can get playing instantly. The monkey clicks into the base (although we did need daddy's help as we weren't strong enough for that!) then you attach his tail and butt. The butt inflates using what looks like a straw/valve so there is no need for batteries.

The game instructions are very simple, even E who has just turned 4 can play easily. Each player takes a turn, spins the spinner and either pulls the monkey's finger between 1-4 times, skips a turn, chooses another player to go or play reverses in the opposite direction. I did wonder if the children would be strong enough to pull the finger but with one hand on Mr Buster's head to keep him steady, they did it with ease. It helps that you hear a faint squeak so you know when you've pulled it hard enough.

When the butt eventually farts is a total surprise but all adds to the fun. The player who makes the monkey fart is out of the game and play continues until there is one player left. Watch the video below for C and E's reactions.

At 6 and 4 I feel like C and E are the perfect age for this game. It is immature but young kids find that type of thing hilarious and it's been played with lots in our house! It helps that each game doesn't last too long, I'd say roughly 20 minutes so it's great if your child has a short attention span like mine!

Pull My Finger currently retails at £19.99 and you can purchase your own at Smyths Toys.

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)
Friday 2 November 2018

Oregon Scientific SmartGlobe Adventure - Review

I've written quite a bit about how my eldest child, six year old C, is a very logical learner. He likes facts and statistics, always wanting to know why things happen and the history of everything. When we were given the opportunity to review the Adventure SmartGlobe from Oregon Scientific, I knew that it would be something that he'd love, as in the past he'd like to use an old mobile phone to look up places on Google Maps to see where they were.

I was initially really surprised by the sheer size of the globe. It's extremely colourful and you can read all the country names easily, as well as their capitals and some other cities. The globe runs on 3 AAA batteries which are included and comes to life when you press the power button on the attached pen.

You are encouraged to select a category on the globe's base; Continent, Name, Capital, Population, Area, Currency, History, Features, Geography, Language, Highest Point, National Anthem or Amazing Facts. Once you've done that you can touch the pen on any of the 220+ countries and the automated voice tells you a fact. With over 4,000 to learn, it's sure not to get boring! C is like a sponge and absorbs information only to recite it about a month later. I definitely think he'll be impressing his friends and teacher with his knowledge after playing around with his SmartGlobe for a while.

As well as learning facts about countries you can also learn some facts in French and compare the areas and populations by touching two different countries. When you think you've learned a lot you can even quiz yourself by playing one of the 25 in built games, making the globe ask you questions and prompting you to find and tap the correct country. C finds these a little too difficult at the moment but I bet the more he plays and older he gets, this will definitely improve.

C has been completely attached to his SmartGlobe with his favourite areas being finding out each country's National Anthem or comparing areas or populations. He's also decided that his favourite of all the countries is Egypt. I love that the base has a zoomed in map of the United Kingdom and Ireland. My own knowledge of geography is rubbish as I never enjoyed it at school, and living in Northern Ireland means I've been a bit ignorant to where in mainland UK certain towns and cities are. It's been a bit of an eye opener for me!

On the box of the SmartGlobe, there is a QR code that you can scan with your phone or tablet and download the Augmented Reality app. Honestly, my first impression was that the app was pretty big  at 765MB and I found that I had to delete quite a lot off my phone just to install it. 

After installing and signing in, you are able to use your device to scan a certain area of the globe and learn more about that country whether it be what animals live there, the monuments or sights such as the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty or even cuisine. 

It does seem a little glitchy/jumpy when trying to scan but I am unsure if that's down to my device or the app itself. The AR aspect is a nice little addition to learn some extra information. At the end, you can test yourself by doing a quiz on what the AR app might have taught you.

I honestly cannot praise this product enough and I wish I had it when I was a child! C is always wanting to have either his tablet or the PlayStation but he has actually been choosing to play on the globe a lot more instead. I never thought I'd see the day!

The Oregon Scientific SmartGlobe Adventure retails at £59.99 which I think is absolutely amazing for what it does. You can find out more about the range of globes at the Oregon Scientific website.

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)
Saturday 20 October 2018

Ladybird Tales of Adventurous Girls - Review

One thing that I've always wanted to instil in my children is that they can do anything or be anything that they want to do or be. Nothing should be out of bounds because it's seen for a specific gender, C will happily play with E's "stereotypical girly toys" and E loves superheroes as much as her big brother. She's even told me that when she's older, she'd love to be a firefighter or a police officer. 

When I heard that Ladybird were publishing Tales of Adventurous Girls, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on a copy as it's something I'd like both my daughter and son to read. We aren't stuck in the 50's anymore and I want to teach them from an early age that women are just as important as men in this world. Girls can save the day too!

Ladybird Tales of Adventurous Girls is comprised of six different stories; Gretel and Hansel (a huge grin appeared on my face upon realising that the Gretel's name was first for once in this popular Brothers Grimm fairytale), Tamasha and the Troll, Tokoyo and the Sea Serpent, Chandra and the Elephants, Sea Girl and the Golden Key and The Snow Queen.

All of the short stories are wonderfully different, but the theme is the same throughout. The heroine. The female characters who are so inspiring and empowering. C and E are 6 and 4 and they listened silently to every word, absorbing the words and meanings. It will definitely be a book that we will read a lot. I was only familiar with Gretel and Hansel so I even enjoyed reading this myself.

In addition to fantastic fairytales, you are taken aback by the beautiful illustrations that accompany each story, all of them being drawn by six wonderful female artists. I was particularly excited about the introduction being written by Jacqueline Wilson. I owned all of her books as child and she has always been an inspiration to me. She questions why the princesses in the typical stories always have to have a handsome prince rescue them, why can't they save themselves? E loves her Disney Princesses, I won't lie but it's been lovely to introduce her to something different and teach her that she can do anything she puts her mind to.

Ladybird Tales for Adventurous Girls would make a fantastic Christmas gift this year and is suited to children aged 4-8 years old. You can purchase your own copy here.

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 
Tuesday 16 October 2018

Treat Yourself to Some Nice New Lingerie This Season

At this time of the year, most of us update our wardrobes. We need warmer clothes and to start getting ourselves ready for events like Halloween, Bonfire Night and the party season. But, the one thing many of us forget to do is to buy some new lingerie from somewhere like Simply Be.

A lot of us do not particularly like going shopping for lingerie. We feel a bit shy and find that having to get completely undressed to try everything on to be a bit stressful.
Why it is worth the hassle
However, you really should resist the urge not to update your underwear. It really does have a significant impact on how you look and how good you feel.
If you are wearing an old bra that does not give you much support, it will be impossible to look your best. It does not matter whether you are wearing an expensive new top or a saggy old t-shirt.
Old and worn underwear tends not to stay in place well. Having to constantly pull your knickers up because they keep slipping is uncomfortable and annoying.
Tap into some new trends
It is also nice to treat yourself and buy something that is fashionable. Right now, there are some really lovely items available in the shops. So, if it has been a while since you tried some different bra and pant cuts, now is a good time to do so.
Over time, we all change shape a bit. So, it makes sense to be brave and try something new every now and again. It is the best way to discover that magic lingerie set that makes you look and feel amazing.
Something pink
If you want to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month you can do so in lots of different ways. Dressing in pink on 19 October is one way to do it. So, why not buy yourself some pink lingerie? That way you will literally be dressed in pink from head to toe.
Currently, quite a few retailers are selling pink bras, pants, camisoles, boudoirs and slips. It is a colour that flatters most women and is light enough to be worn under most items of clothing without it showing too much.
Tattoo Prints
If you are not really keen on lace, but are a bit bored of plain materials, try on some tattoo print lingerie. These bold, elaborate patterns are designed to accentuate the female form as well as look interesting. They are also a great way to cover up thread veins and little patches of cellulite.
Try a bodysuit
This year, bodysuits are very much back in style. Again, if you have not tried one before I recommend that you do. They are not for every woman and you have to get the fit right. When you do that, you will be surprised by just how comfortable they are.
Plus, a body suit provides you with another layer of clothing. They may be thin, but that does not matter because it is the air that they trap next to your skin that will help you to feel warmer. If you want help deciding if this trendy item of lingerie is for you I suggest that you read this enlightening article.
If you liked this clothing related post, why not read a few more of the ones I have published, this past year. This one, which is about Christmas jumpers, is a good place to start. After all, it is never too early to start planning for that special family event.
(This is a collaborative post.) 
Monday 8 October 2018

Fingerlings Hugs Boris - Review

I'm sure everyone has heard of Fingerlings by now, the cute little monkeys that hang onto your finger and interact with your actions. Since the hype built up, there have been more animals added to collection (we actually reviewed a Dinosaur one a few months back and were seriously impressed) and now sees the addition of Fingerlings Hugs

Fingerlings Hugs are big, cuddly soft toys which have the distinct Fingerlings monkey look. There are two different monkeys to collect; a pink one named Bella or a blue one named Boris. We were so excited to receive the latter and see how he fared against the smaller plastic Fingerlings. 

E was excited to get cuddling him and he is so soft so he's perfect for that task! As well as just being there for a hug, Boris is interactive so the fun doesn't stop there!

Once you've switched him from 'Try Me' mode to 'ON', it's time to get playing! Throwing him in the air causes him to shriek (in a real monkey manner) as though he's really enjoying it, pressing his nose and mouth against you lets out a kissing noise - which is definitely E's favourite - and if you hold in the button on his ear and speak, he will repeat your words in his own squeaky, high pitched monkey voice. 

E has absolutely loved treating Boris like her own little pet and it helps that when you lie him back, he will close his eyes and go to sleep, letting out a big sigh. We have also discovered that he can *ahem* fart, which makes both children erupt in fits of giggles! 

Both C and E have really loved playing with Boris and E even brings him to bed for a cuddle every night! 

Fingerlings Hugs would make a lovely Christmas gift for children aged 2+ and I definitely think even older children would enjoy it as six year old C is pretty taken with Boris! 

You can purchase your own Fingerlings Hugs Boris or Bella from all good toy stores including Smyths and The Entertainer for £29.99.

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