Tech presents for kids

It’s my twins birthday this weekend.. they’ll be nine years old!

Jeewiz how did that happen? It’s all going so quick I’d like time to slow down a bit please!

I still think of my twins as being about five or six… they’re only little and I guess with them being my last children… I do tend to baby them a LOT! They’re so cute and adorable and love cuddles and being with Mummy but what I’ve noticed with them, more so than with my older two, is that they don’t play with TOYS as much. They have loads of toys but they’re not interested in them at all really.

All they want to do is play on their gadgets and devices.

tech consoles ipads

They are obsessed!

I know this isn’t unusual in this day and age though… it’s a universal phenomenom we’re dealing with here as parents and although I do restrict ‘tablet’ time I don’t find it that much of a problem. It’s a sign of the times, kids need to be clued up and tech savvy in today’s world and actually, having these devices to play on certainly does have it’s advantages!

Most importantly, it means they’ll be quiet, especially if I’m needing to work as they’re so absorbed. It’s like they’re not even in the same house as me, barely moving at all until a last minute toilet dash or to eat! Also, by playing some of the games they download, they can all play together, which means they’re interacting and communicating, getting along nicely, rather than doing their own thing or even worse…. fighting!

So for their birthday this year they’ve asked for tech presents of course. On their rather extensive birthday list there’s not a single toy which is a bit sad… apart from maybe Squishes, which they have already!

xbox one

At the moment they have a PS3 that they play on but obviously, despite lots of games they have and still use regularly, the PS3 is now obsolete. They have the Nintendo Switch which they love and have asked for new games for but they have been asking for a new console for a while and it seems EITHER the PS4 or the XBox One will do! They’d have one of each if they could but they seem to be leaning more towards the XBox as this will be something completely new and the one that most of their friends have!

My eldest son had an Xbox. The old version he’s had it for years and still uses it! He’s not that into gaming so he hasn’t hanckered after a new one but I know he too would love it if we bought the XBox One S!

After reading up on it, this super machine not only provides exceptional family gaming but also has the Microsoft Windows userface (which I’m used to) and has the ability to do so much more in terms of entertainment experiences.

I’m sold anyway on this so even if we don’t get it for the twins’ birthday… it’ll still be on the wish list for Christmas and we’ll definitely buy it then! There’s absolutely no point in buying lots more toys…. they’ll get SOME of course but if they don’t play with them it’s a waste of money! They’ll get far more use out of the Xbox whether we like it or not!

How to fill the Summer Holidays Week by Week

The summer holidays can feel extremely long when you’re struggling for content to fill it with, but too short when the new school term is only weeks away. Filling the summer holidays week by week is more than achievable, but it will take a careful effort in planning and scheduling. It’s also important to consider pacing. Much like a good movie, your summer break must have periods of excitement bound and tempered by periods of calm relaxation to recharge those involved.

I’ll be honest and say we like to just chill out mainly in the holidays if we can. The kids need it. School is tiring so just doing nothing is appealing. My children are quite well behaved though (touch wood!) and they are happy playing, watching tv or in the garden!

It’s nice to break up the summer holidays with an actual holiday but many people who double book holidays back to back can often feel burned out! Same if you do nothing but socialise the entire time.. you can feel absolutely exhausted by the end week, right when school is starting.

Thankfully, the six weeks (on average) of the school break isn’t an overly long amount of time to plan for, so you needn’t worry about having to plan this like a military operation. However, it can pay to know exactly when and why you might enjoy certain activities at a certain time, so consider the following rough guide for clues on how to do this. 

The First Week

The first week of your summer holidays is likely the time when your family will want to relax from work or school for a time. Jumping right into a holiday can be a little tiring, and quite overcrowded depending on when you travel. However, some families might feel energised by the effort of jumping abroad with haste, so it all depends on your tastes and family setup. Spending at least a day or two bonding in your new time off can help everyone once again settle down with spending a full week together. This could perhaps be crested with hosting a family barbecue for even extended members of the family. The first week is also a great time for you and your children to polish off any homework or summer projects they may have been assigned, so they needn’t worry about them anymore.

The Second Week

This can be the perfect time to head on holiday. The family has settled and the summer is in full swing. If you have older teenagers who’re fans of the social vibe, this can be the perfect ‘party time.’ It’s the period with the most energy, so be sure to make use of it.

The Third Week

This week may continue to be filled with your holiday abroad. If not, this can be a perfect time to visit family, to settle into home life fully, to begin repairs on your home or take care of many other summer organisational tasks that you may not have gotten around to yet.

The Fourth Week

The fourth week is important for many reasons. It can be a great time to socialise, to visit family that live a relative distance away, a time to enter into a new hobby, a time to perhaps even spend time committing to some incredibly late spring cleaning. The fourth week is also an excellent time to commit to home repairs, such as installing insulation preparing for the winter, as the height of summer and August is here, and now is the best time for those servicemen to complete their tasks.

The Fifth Week

The fifth week is often a great time for creative and relaxing enjoyment. There are many small events you may consider worthy of attending, some that can inspire and relax your family in equal measure. For example, booking tickets to see Aladdin, the popular show touring theatres could help you and your family to bond, and can serve as a wonderful surprise. These shows often tour over summer, and booking in advance for this week can secure you a seat.

The Sixth Week

The final week of the school holidays is a perfect time to unwind, but you might also consider making use of the lowered prices of heading abroad or to a local holiday destination, as many parents will not risk heading there during the final week. However, you might be the family that absolutely relaxes from activity such as this, so one final special break could be a wonderful time. If not, consider relaxing, eating good food, bonding together as a family in your four walls or simply reading in the garden. Now is the time to once again adapt to the flow of life, and in one week begin remembering one of the funnest summers of your life.

With these simple tips, filling the summer holidays week by week could be a practical reality, instead of a worrying duty.

 

*Collaborative Post

Making the Most From Your Soft Furnishings

When you decorate a room, soft furnishings act as the perfect finishing touches. They can tie a colour scheme together, and also act as an opportunity for you to experiment with different textures. You need to focus on the soft element of your furnishings – they should be cosy and inviting; pulling a room together and welcoming you, and your loved ones, into your home.

So how can you make the most from them?

Making the Most From Your Soft Furnishings

Cushions

Let’s start in the living room, which is the room most people will see. Cushions are a simple way to colour co-ordinate a room. Whatever paint palettes you’ve chosen for the room, you definitely don’t want everything to be the same colour., even if it’s your favourite, it will be far too much. There are plenty of colours and designs for you to explore. If you fancy a bold print, don’t be afraid to embrace that. This year has seen the rise of cosy and homely as opposed to minimalist. You could have a variety of soft textures, too, to make the living room look more inviting.

Blinds

Don’t let your blinds just serve as a practical purpose for blocking out the light from a room. By choosing a bold print or colour, they can act as a stylish feature and really tie a space together. Direct Blinds have a wide range of colours and styles for you to choose from, so you can find the fit that’s right for you and your design. 

Towels

Similar to the blinds, towels could be considered as just another practical element to a home and not much thought given to them. However they play an important role in bringing some colour to a bathroom. You could either match them in a different shade to the walls, or go for contrasting colours to give the bathroom a stylish edge.

Duvets

The duvet is easily one of the most eye-catching elements in the bedroom. It can bring a room together and emphasise the look you’re going for. For a child’s room, you can go for fun, block, colours or cartoon prints. For your own room, you want something that reflects your ideals. This is your private haven away from the world. If you want a calming neutral bedspread, go for that. If you want to have fun with colour and patterns, choose that option. You do whatever you want as your bedroom is just for you.

Dreaming of the Perfect Engagement Ring

Many young girls dream about getting married one day, especially when they see the oh so romantic fairy tale style weddings that are portrayed in their favourite Disney films!

Getting married is something girls like to discuss on a regular basis… and it’s not even a husband they’re interested in half the time… it’s just having the wedding day!

wedding engagement

Yes, that’s right! We love nothing more than to discuss the whole shebang as there’s literally so much to fantasise about…. where we would like it to take place… will it be abroad somewhere hot and idyllic on a stunning beach, or will it be more traditional in a church? Will it be a Summer or Winter wedding? What would be the colour scheme? Who would we invite? And most importantly…. what kind of dress would we wear?

Dreaming about that fairy tale wedding dress is just heavenly….. being a princess for the day!

We love it!

As we get older though, our attention turns to maybe the more materialistic object of our desires…. the engagement ring!

As soon as we have our first serious boyfriend, this is definitely on our minds! We look in shop windows, even with our boyfriends, and point out rings we like the look of! This is childish behaviour obviously because we’ll probably have broken up the following week and also, things look a lot different when we’re older! We would be expecting our future husband to know exactly what kind of ring to buy us. And to produce this perfect piece in a proposal to end all proposals!

But this is unrealistic and actually, I think most women now would prefer to choose their own. For the man to propose initially, then they could go off and choose the ring together…. with the choice ultimately being all hers. That way there can be no awkward thoughts like ‘Oh I don’t like it!’ or ‘Oh no it doesn’t fit properly!’

Imagining the most beautiful, exquisite diamond engagement ring is another fantasy us girls have on a regular basis, and this just gets more intense as a relationships develops! Every girl has a different idea of what her perfect ring would look like so unless you’ve done the window shopping together already…. it’s probably best to go and pick your own I think!

For me, I love a diamond solitaire.

engagement ring

There’s just something special and romantic about a single diamond. The bigger, the better obviously!

I have to admit. I chose my own engagement ring and it’s similar to the one in the photo. Mine is platinum but white gold is a very popular choice too and comes in cheaper…. which means saving on the precious metal could add you more diamond, right ladies?!

Gold is coming back in fashion too. Rose gold is very popular in other jewellery choices but not it seems, as an engagement ring. White gold and platinum still reign supreme!

What’s most important though is you have to love the ring completely. After all, you’ll be wearing it for a very long time, hopefully forever more!

Family Friendly Spots for your London To-Do List

If you’re heading to the Big Smoke, a.k.a. our wonderful capital city London, with the kids, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options for things to do there!

From a day sampling ice creams and meeting penguins, to an evening at the theatre, I’ve rounded up some of favourite family-friendly activities to add to your to-do list.

theatre days out trips london discount tickets

Enjoy a Night at the Theatre

Going to the theatre is definitely one of our favourite London things to do. It’s full of great theatres so you’re spoilt for choice for fun shows that your kids will remember for years to come. With shows like Matilda, School of Rock and The Lion King getting rave reviews from audiences of all ages. Plus, you can find some great theatre ticket deals if you book in advance!

Rub Shoulders with Celebs at Madame Tussauds

Get your camera phones ready for a day out with the Queen, One Direction and the Beckhams at Madame Tussauds. It might not be the real thing, but you’ll have amazing photos that you’ll cherish forever! They have loads of interactive zones, like their new Star Wars Legends experience’ so kids of all ages will find a celeb to be starstruck by!

Relax in Granary Square

This public spot always has plenty going on, whatever time of the year you visit. In the summer you can take a picnic and let the kids dash through the gorgeous fountains. They even have a Granary Squirt app that lets you control the jets!

By the canal, there’s always something fun going on. In the late summer there’s a floating cinema, at Halloween it was filled with thousands of carved pumpkins and it was draped in gorgeous blooms during the Chelsea Flower Show.

theatre days out trips london discount tickets

Get Close to Nature at London Zoo

Get up close and personal with over 750 species of animals at London Zoo, including lions, monkeys, gorillas and penguins. If you or your kids are nature-lovers, this spot needs to be added to your London bucket list! They even have after hours events and keeper for a day experiences that kids are sure to adore.

Mix Your Desserts with Science at Chin Chin Labs

For a truly unique treat, head to Chin Chin Labs and feast on delicious ice creams frozen with liquid nitrogen. The menu changes weekly so you never know what exciting concoction you’ll get next. With incredible flavours like burnt butter caramel, pandan and purple violet, you’ll be just as happy as your kids in this joyous and fun-filled lab!

Make planning for the family trip to London a breeze by taking your kids to any or all of these five favourite spots in the city to make lasting memories. Let’s face it, they’re not just for the kids – the adults are sure to have a whale of a time too!

We’re having a Heatwave

So Great Britain is in the middle of a heatwave!

Glorious isn’t it?

I can’t remember the last time we had such fabulous, prolonged good weather.

Normally we get the odd few hot days then it’s back to rain or grey skies! Our Summer seems to have been around May time the past few years, then the summer holidays are dire. You can’t plan anything or go to the seaside because you’ll freeze to death!

Hence, I’m enjoying our summer while it lasts and I’m praying it stays till the end of July and into August as we’re off to a couple of festivals! It doesn’t even have to stay THIS hot… as long as it’s reasonably warm and NO rain! We don’t do rain thank you very much!

Thing is though, I haven’t got that many Summer clothes to wear when the weather is like this! We didn’t go away last year so I didn’t buy anything new! This year we’re hoping to get a last minute bargain in late August so I’d better start shopping before all the Autumn stuff arrives! Have you noticed that all the shops seem to stop renewing their Summer stock whilst it’s still Summer?! Annoying! So if you leave holiday shopping to the last minute you’ll find it near impossible to get anything!

I’m going to a wedding too in late September so I’ve been looking at dresses from Esprit, a company who I think do a great mix of casual, every day wear and classier type clothes.

How gorgeous is this halter neck dress……

esprit dress summer fashion dresses

This dress could easily be dressed up or down and looks as though you’d stay lovely and cool in it… nice a flowy and not too tight! Absolutely perfect for this heat!

Talking of heat, one thing I would absolutely love to have in the garden when a heatwave is upon us is  hot tub! Even in the Winter, in the right enclosure it could definitely still be used, especially if you have kids!

We’ve actually been pricing some up and some are rather reasonable! This one here is from the hot tub barn and is the perfect size. They’re also great for relaxation and winding down after a busy or stressful day! Definitely need one of these in my life right now!

hot tub spa

I am absolutely loving this heatwave.. everyone has a tan and looks healthy! It’s not doing me many favours in the work department though! Working from home means I just want to be outside in the garden instead of sitting at my desk. But taking the laptop outside isn’t as easy as it sounds… the screen isn’t easy to see, even in the shade and for me to be accessible to the WIFI I have to sit in a certain corner of the garden, which isn’t the most comfortable!

Oh well, there are worse problems to have I suppose!

Hope you are enjoying the weather too…. long may it continue!

 

13 Years Ago

Ah the month of June! One of my most favourite times of the year… because that’s when my little baby girl first came into this world.

13 years ago and I couldn’t believe my luck!

I was absolutely convinced I was having another boy. I didn’t allow myself for one second to imagine that I’d be lucky enough to get a girl this time round! I even went so far as avoiding anything pink in the shops. In Mothercare I would steer clear of the baby girl section…. because then I would imagine having a girl, want a girl, and perhaps it would’ve made me disappointed when it wasn’t a girl!

Not that I didn’t want a boy. My son was the love of my life and I enjoyed every single moment with him. I wanted a boy when I had him… and was over the moon that I got what I wanted. I wouldn’t be that lucky and get what I wanted again would I? Having another little boy would’ve been wonderful too of course, but it’s only natural to want to experience the other gender.

We didn’t find out what we were having, we wanted it to be a surprise.

So that June, 13 years ago…. we were absolutely over the moon… and shocked, that we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl!

Wow! I really lucked out!

Having her come into this world and into our lives was the most perfect moment.

And she has been the most perfect daughter.

If someone would’ve asked me at any point before children to describe my perfect little girl in terms of looks and personality… I would’ve described her down to a tee!

She’s everything I ever dreamed of. Such a girly girl, which, after having a boy for six years before she came along, was just wonderful. I bought pink everything! Actually, I was so into the pink she had no choice BUT be girly!

On my side of the family she is the only girl out of TEN grand children!

She is surrounded by boys, as I was as a child. Lots of boy cousins and of course her three brothers! It has certainly taught her to hold her own and she’s not afraid of getting down and dirty playing boy games!  She also has the wickedest sense of humour!

Yet she remains delightfully feminine (most of the time!) and loves pretty things!

I absolutely love being with her.

I can’t believe she is now a teenager! The years have flown by.

Thirteen years have gone in the blink of an eye and now our girl is big… almost as tall as me!

I miss her littleness… the tiny girl she used to be.

I wonder what these teenage years will be like for her? So many changes ahead and life lessons to learn…. but I’m looking forward to experiencing all of that with her. We’re so close now. I hope we never lose the special bond we share.

She’s such a good girl with a big heart. She has so much love for everyone and is equally adored by everyone who knows her.

My precious girl xx

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