Sunday, 19 February 2017

Itty Bittys **REVIEW**

They started by sweeping across America and Canada, and since being introduced in the UK last year Ittys Bittys have been a bit hit with kids and adults alike, filling homes, toys boxes and mantle pieces. But just what are Itty Bittys you may be asking, well read on.

Itty Bittys were first created by Hallmark in 2015 and having being a huge success in America and Canada they came over to the UK in October 2016, causing a stir from the moment they hit the shelves and its clear to see why.


The cute and loveable characters are just like their life size counterparts but in miniature cuddly form. There are no lights, voices, batteries or parts to worry about and no gimmicks or fiddly instructions just great quality collectables that are oh so cute!

These mini cuddly companions stand at 5 inches tall and come in a whole range of recognisable characters. Itty Bittys come in a range of collections, the collections currently available here in the UK are - Star Wars, Marvel, Wizard of OZ, DC Comics, Scooby Doo and even Snoopy and Peanuts.

James chose The Hulk, Iron Man, The Flash and Captain America and I know these won't be the last of his collection as he is already talking about what other characters he would like.


Ittys Bittys make great pocket money toys too, especially if your child likes collecting things. Priced at just £6 each they are, I think a reasonable price and something a child could quite easily save up pocket money for.

If there was one thing I would like to have seen would be a little loop or hook on the back to maybe attach a keyring or clip. James would have loved to have attached one to his school book bag or backpack but as there is nothing to do this with he was unable to do so. This however doesn't effect his love for his new Itty Bittys and they take pride of place on his pillow.

If you want to check out the full range of Itty Bittys you can check them out via the Itty Bittys website.

Which character would you or your little one love to own?

xXx

Monday, 13 February 2017

Learning at home with Reading Eggs **REVIEW**

When we were recently offered the opportunity to try out Reading Eggs I was thrilled and knew it would be something that I though could really help James.

James adores reading and learning and I knew that combining this with a program he could use from the laptop or his tablet was sure winner and I wasn't wrong!


Reading eggs is a multi-award winning early learning resource that supports your child’s learn to read journey with carefully designed online reading games and activities that are easy to follow, self-paced, and highly engaging for young children.

"Children love the games, songs, golden eggs and other rewards which, along with feeling proud of their reading, really motivate children to keep exploring and learning."

At the beginning of your Reading Eggs journey you child will have the opportunity to take a "test". I say test but it really is light hearted and a simple choose and click series of questions that James had lots of fun doing. This enables reading eggs program to start your child at the correct level dependant on their previous knowledge. I love this aspect and I was so pleased to know that James was starting at the right level rather than wasting his time on lower levels he may have already covered at school.


Reading Eggs has lots of different activities such as the one above. There are also lessons where they children can listen to sounds/words and answer questions and even a section where your child can choose books to read. This bit has been a favourite for James as he can opt to either read the books himself or have the program read them to him! Throughout all lessons and activities children can earn "reading eggs" which they can save up to use on their profile and for various things throughout.

As well as the Reading Eggs program you can also choose to sign up for a membership to Mathseeds which I found a lovely addition that worked great alongside Reading Eggs! Mathseed's is aimed at teaching children aged 3-8 the core maths and problem solving skills needed for school with fun, highly interactive and rewarding lessons. Again on the there is a quiz/test your child can take at the beginning, ensuring they start at the correct level.




As a parent I am a huge fan of Reading Eggs and wish I had found it sooner! I love the concept and set up of the website making it easy for both parents and children to navigate. I really like that Reading Eggs allows me to keep track of how James is getting on too with a screen which shows me what he has been doing and how he has got on.


From a child's perspective James has said that he loves using Reading Eggs (I can confirm he is always asking to go on it!). Its interactive and fun enough to keep him entertained and engaged but is still teaching him in a way he can understand and take on board. James has always been pretty good at reading but using reading eggs has really boosted his confidence. Mathseeds has also been amazing for James as maths is something he has struggled with at school. Even his teacher commented on how much more confident putting his hand up to answer recently so this has to be a good sign!

So you may be wondering how much its going to cost to have all this at your fingertips? Its actually so reasonably priced I couldn't believe it either! A yearly subscription to reading eggs (including Mathseeds) is just £47.95 a month, that's less than £4 a month! You can also purchase Reading eggs and Mathseeds separately if you wish to (Reading eggs £39.95 a year and Mathseeds £29.95 a year) but it definitely works out much better value to purchase the combined membership.

Have you tried reading eggs or do you think this could be something your child could benefit from? If so you check check out the reading eggs website for more information or to start your subscription here - readingeggs.co.uk.


xXx


**I was not paid for this post. I received a yearly subscription to reading eggs to enable me to write this review. All words and opinions are my own.**


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Learning to accept dissapointment. **GUEST POST**

Sometimes as adults we want to scream, rage and kick something when things don’t go to plan (and maybe sometimes we do!) but overall grown-ups have learned to recognise when something can be changed and when it can’t. 

But its harder for kids. And when my children are having full blown tantrums because they haven’t got what they want, I feel like shouting, “just get OVER IT!”. But that’s not very helpful – especially if they don’t know how to get over it. 

I was reminded of this at the weekend when we went to an art exhibition with my 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. We are expats living temporarily in Paris, and before we go back to the UK, I am trying to see as much here as I can. I really wanted to go to an art exhibition at a cool building just outside of the city called the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

(The Louis Vuitton building in Paris.) 


We were worried about taking two little children so I showed them a great You Tube video of a dancer going around the building and I made a game of how we would spot all of the paintings from the video. It was a tip I was given from another blogger. 

My 5-year-old became so engaged with this idea that he was desperate to get inside. When we arrived at lunch time - with full tummies and a hunger to see some famous art – we were immediately disappointed. The queue was out the door and it wasn’t even moving! We joined the line and hoped it would start to speed up. Nope. We were stationary for 45 minutes! The kids were getting silly and it was REALLY cold. 

At this point my husband and I decided to pull the plug but we had a another idea. We told the kids we would go to a nearby fairground instead. They were really happy and excited and off they skipped.  

After a few rides, we sat down in a warm cafĂ© for some yummy chocolate crepes. A combination of tiredness and a sugar rush led to my son’s sudden mood switch. He began asking if we would be going back to the building to see the art (of course, when we left the queue, I forgot to explain that we wouldn’t be going back that day). 

I tried to tell him that when we got home I would buy tickets online and we would come back another day. But he couldn’t accept it. He screamed loudly (like a 2 year old). He refused to budge. I tried negotiating, I tried cuddling, I tried threatening – I tried everything!  

In the end, my husband got so cross he stormed ahead to get the car. Unfortunately for my son we had to WALK PAST the exhibition and this set him off again. He was staring longingly at the building while pleading and sobbing,Please, please, please can we go, pretty please, but I want to I really want to… 

I felt so bad.  

With all of my techniques already used up, there was nothing left but for me to get down at his level, give him a big cuddle and tell him that I was very disappointed too. This seemed to be the only thing that sort of calmed him down; knowing that I understood his disappointment because I felt it too.


It’s a really hard thing to explain to a child. Because there are times in life when we should not accept disappointment and we should fight for what we believe in. Perhaps you’ve bought a product that’s faulty. Or you’ve received terrible customer service. You get an unfair exam result, you don’t agree with a political decision or you see injustice and you decide to act. There are many times in life when we should not accept it.

But there are many times when things are out of our hands and there is nothing we can do: 
  • A friend lets you down badly 
  • You don't get that job you really wanted 
  • You don't get the seat you wanted on a plane  
  • You can’t take your kids away on half term because the cheap rates are taken (that’s me…I tried to book too late!) 
  • You spend hours researching a product on the internet, get to the checkout and it’s sold out! 

 After the tantrum my son was safely in our car (warm and happy) he forgot all about his disappointment and was really brave as we drove past the building AGAIN. 

Sometimes, it is those ordinary moments that make you realise some of life's greatest lessons. In this case, accepting disappointment is the hardest of all.  


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

**This post is a guest post from the lovely Alison from Five Little Stars which is a product review and family lifestyle blog. Here is little about Alison -

 "I’m Australian-made but spent most of my adult life in the East Midlands with my English husband and our two spirited children aged 3 and 5. We’re very lucky to have been sent to Paris on a temporary work placement where it’s a challenge raising two little ones and not speaking the language. My favourite activities are family cycles along the river, breaking into warm baguettes and meeting new friends"

If you have enjoyed this blog post please do go check out more of her posts over at www.fivelittlestars.com. **


xXx



Sunday, 29 January 2017

Tantrums To Smiles - A new logo!

For those of you who regularly read my blog you may have noticed some changes happening over the last week or so, both on here and over social media.

We have a new header/logo!


This logo was actually designed by the lovely design team over at Tamba via Kay. Kay has recently set up a new blog over at theserandomacts.co.uk which covers all aspects of family lifestyle but also covers all the random acts of kindness Kay and her family are doing. Kay has a refreshing desire toto spread the love and kindess, changing the world 1 random act of kindness at a time, pretty amazing right!

As one of her firsts acts of kindness on her new blog she offered to design me a new logo/header for my blog alongside her team at Tamba and the above is what I received. I totally love it! The bright and fun feel to the logo really reflects us as a family and everything we cover on this blog. Can you spot our beloved pet rabbit Mabel hiding in there too?

I have now rolled this out across all our social media pages too including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and it feels so nice to finally have an eye catching logo that ties all my blog channels together nicely!

What do you think of our new Logo?

xXx



Sunday, 22 January 2017

Evelyn has glasses!

Back when Evelyn was a baby I started noticing her left eye turning inwards. I took her to the doctors and health visitor but was told this would adjust itself and was fairly common.

However when her eye was still turning at around 18 months, and seemingly getting worse I headed back to the doctors for a second opinion. Thankful this time we were really listened to and Evelyn got referred to see the Optometrist for them to have a proper look at what was going on.

A few months later our appointment arrived and she was given some tests. Its turns out she has severly reduced vision in her left eye, a bad squint in her left eye and is very very long sighted. The optometrist said that when Evelyn is doing something seemingly simple like watching TV, the concentration its takes her to see this is the equivalent to 5X more concentration than we would take to read a small print like a newspaper.


I can't lie my heart sank a little when he told us. I felt so sad for my little girl and the fact she may have been struggling to see things without any help. I was angry that we were fobbed off the first time but also glad we finally had a plan in place.

Evelyn was given glasses (she chose a Gruffalo pair and a Witch and Chips pair) from our local Specsavers and was so excited to wear them.


Its been around 6 weeks now since she got her glasses and we went back for our follow up appointment Monday. However the news wasn't what we wanted, whilst some improvement has been made in her right eye the left eye and her squint hasn't improved.

The optometrist has decided the best option for Evelyn is so give her a patch along side her glasses in the hope this will strengthen her left eye. I really worried she would hate the patch but she has taken to wearing it so well! She calls her self a pirate and the funky stickers she was given to put on top her patch certainly help.


I am so proud of how well Evelyn has adapted to wearing glasses. She's only 2 and a half and whilst she struggled keeping them on at the beginning she now happily keeps them on for most of the day. I felt so sad for her when we first found out she would need glasses, as a parent you never want there to be anything wrong with your child. I am confident though that these will really help her in the long run and that is definitely the main thing!

Does anyone have any experience of this with your children?

xXx