Family Bucket List 2019 – it’s a while since I wrote a Bucket List since the one that I wrote previously had quite big things on it which made it a bit unrealistic in terms of timing and budget. I’m going smaller, but small doesn’t always mean less quality. Chris works long hours so we need to make the most of our time off.
Have a BBQ on the beach
A picnic at the park
Take Isabelle dry skiing
Go to a Blogging conference
A family holiday abroad
A weekend family getaway
Declutter the house
A living room picnic
Go to a theme park
Get over my fear and get my front tooth fixed
Wear bright colours (I always wear black)
Visit a National Trust property
Start a yoga class
Have a Mummy Daughter day out
Have a Daddy Daughter day out
Be more sociable
Have some family pictures taken
Get Freddie’s bedroom sorted
Visit a Christmas market
A beach day
Visit somewhere new
A spa day
Learn to drive
Read a new book per month
Spend an evening binge watching a box set
Cook something new
Make the garden more child friendly
Plant flowers/plants and hope the dog doesn’t eat them
Set up a You Tube channel for Isabelle
Vlog – even just once!
Make a photo book
Take more photo’s (more with me in)
Go to a zoo
Take the kids swimming
Learn something new
Do something out of my comfort zone
Take part in a charity event
Do a craft project
Camp out in Isabelle’s room
Sign Isabelle up for a class
Have my nails done
Start to meal plan
Have some screen free days
So that’s our list. It’s not anything too big except maybe the dental work which is a massive deal for me.
I hope that we manage to get everything or most of the things listed and will blog about each one as they’re ticked off.
7 Month Baby Update – We had the best first Christmas with little Freddie. He loved the lights and decorations and even got stuck into unwrapping presents on Christmas Day.
You can definitely see his little personality shining through now. He’s the smiliest baby and is so pleased to see people and be involved with his surroundings.
He’s quite grabby and a bit rough with it. Poor Isabelle has her hair pulled on a daily basis.
Sitting up unaided
Getting on his hands and knees
Clicking his tongue
He now has four teeth, two top and two bottom and has started to grind them which is a horrible sound. We all have awful nights when his teeth push through but it’s only a couple of nights so not as bad as it could be. He really loves his teethers which we use in combination with teething granules and Calpol when needed. His to teeth seem really wide for baby teeth so he’s really suffered with these and they aren’t all the way through yet.
Freddie loves to play and we have a couple of play sessions a day where we get lots of toys out on the floor where he can sit up, roll around and generally shuffle his way around. He loves this and it’s a great way to give him some independence out of my arms. He loves things that make noises (of course). We bought a bumbo just as a back up for when he just gives up on sitting up and falls any which way. It was a total fail since he stretches out and rolls to one side to escape. I think we may have left it too late for this to have been any use to us. We do have a jumperoo which he loves and at the moment we’re just deciding on whether or not to get a baby walker so that he can come and find me if he wants to.
I plan to go and get him weighed this week but i think he’s growing just fine. He’s quite long so some of his 3 – 6 month trousers are too short but size 6 – 9 months are a bit too big around the waist. He’s in both 3 – 6 and 6 – 9 month sleepsuits and the same with tops. He still has his scrummy baby rolls which I love.
Freddie is still breastfeeding and I don’t see this changing for the foreseeable. At the very least I would like to get to a year but ultimately I’m going to let Freddie lead the way as to how long he wants to feed for.
He’s bitten me quite a few times now which really hurts, and when he first got his bottom teeth he was scraping them on my nipples which lasted for a few days. I thought this might be the end but we’re still going strong. It would be nice if he slept a bit longer at night as he’s currently feeding around five times a night.
We’re loving this. I love the look on his face when we put him in the Highchair and he eagerly waits to find out what he’s getting. So far we’ve tried:
Soft boiled egg
Baby rice cakes
So far so good with only broccoli being the only thing that I’m not sure he likes the texture of. It made him shudder.
I’m going to start putting together some little meals soon, but for now he’s enjoying all the different tastes and textures.
Hmm the sleeping isn’t going so great. He co-sleeps with us at night and I don’t mind this at all, but he is waking for feeds around five times a night still which is exhausting.
I need to look into this a little bit more and see if I can get him to go down on his own at the beginning part of the evening so that I get a little bit of baby free time, even just to sit and watch TV. He only sleeps with my arms around him which means that I have to go to bed quite early.
During the day he will nap in his pram if we’re out and about or in my arms which doesn’t really give me a lot of time to do things around the house. Again, now that Belle is back at school I’m going to try and get him in his crib so that he gets a decent chunk of sleep and I can get on and do the washing etc instead of trying to do everything one handed when he’s awake.
When the New Year hit, so did the return to work dread. At the moment the thought of leaving Freddie fills me with dread. I don’t want to leave him AT ALL!
I’m due back to work in May so we need to start thinking about childcare and the logistics of having two children in different places. I’d like Freddie to go to nursery, but the thought of having one at nursery and one at school is making my brain ache trying to work out the drop off and pick up.
I also know that I need to work on his naps so that he will sleep during the day wherever that may be.
If you have two kids going in different directions I’d love to know how you work it all out and how long you work for.
Cutetitos Are the latest collectible mystery plush toy that will definitely be a winner this Christmas.
Unwrap the burrito to discover one of twelve Cutetitos. The latest collectible pets.
The Cutetito is wrapped to look like a genuine burrito, it even comes wrapped in foil.
Unwrap and rewrap the burrito as many times as you like with the velcro fastening.
Which pet did we get?
There are a selection of pets to discover including a puppito, catito, slothito, pigto, bunnito, bearito or monkito!
They also range in level of spice (just like a real burrito). Will you reveal a mild, medium, hot or super spicy.
As well as the pet you get a collector card which tells you your new pets name, date of birth, level of spice and a quotito.
Isabelle was very excited to unwrap a Cutetito and really didn’t mind which one she got.
Once we took the packaging off the burrito was wrapped in foil, just like you would get from a street vendor which I think went over Isabelle’s head but I thought was a nice touch.
We got Luckito a blue cat who is hot in spice level. Both the toy and the wrap are so unbelievably soft.
Isabelle was over the moon with it and was constantly wrapping and unwrapping her Cutetito. She was playing with Freddie, her six month old brother who thought it was fun to pull her out so that Isabelle could wrap it back up.
Luckito has been given a prime spot in Isabelle’s bedroom and she’s already on her way to saving up her pocket money for another one.
Isabelle is a fan of collectible toys ranging from dolls to mini figures and pets.
The Cutetitos are larger than most collectible toys with very little packaging. The wrap is made from the same soft material as the pet so you can wrap, unwrap and rewrap over and again.
The Cutetitos would definitely make a great Christmas stocking filler or birthday present. They’re aimed at the 6 – 10 range but are suitable from three years onwards.
As a parent I thought the Cutetitos were a lovely surprise gift and good value for money with a recommended retail price of £9.99.
They get the thumbs up from us.
Cutetitos can be bought from Smyths Toys and other retailers for £9.99
*we were sent a Cutetitos for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Guinness World Record Challenge Game Review – Hands up if you have a Guinness World Record book. The book full of weird and wonderful facts. Many of them unbelievable or a bit cringy like the longest ever finger nails.
We used to buy Ryan the Guinness World Records book every Christmas and he would sit reading out all the strangest facts that he could find.
Guinness World Records Challenges Game
We played this with Isabelle who is really looking forward to playing again on Christmas Day with her big brother who will be with us. Any chance to make him do silly things.
Isabelle’s first challenge was to stack as many coins on her bent elbow as possible. I thought that she wouldn’t be able to do this but she was surprisingly good and managed to stack five before they fell off.
We all had a go at the back to front hand clap challenge which was a lot of fun.
This game puts players knowledge about Guinness World Records to the test and challenges opponents to demonstrate some nifty record- breaking skills using everyday household items!
Included in the game are the board, 20 challenge cards (10 best time and 10 timed challenges), 150 Guinness World Record cards with 600 questions including some amazing records, a score pad, counters, dice and a ping pong ball. The aim of the game is to collect three challenge cards to be crowned the winner.
Its amazing just reading the world records alone and here are a few that caught Isabelle’s eye:
Most Modelling Balloon Sculptures Made In One Hour – John Cassidy (USA) made 747 balloon shapes in just one hour at Buck County Community College in Newtown, Pennsylvania, USA on 14 November 2007.
Most M&M’s Eaten in One Minute Blindfolded using Chopsticks – On 8 December 2011, Ashrita Furman (USA) at 20 M&M’s in 60 seconds while blindfolded in New York, USA.
Largest Pizza Commercially Available – The Giant Sicilian has on sale at Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizzeria in Los Angeles, California, USA since 2010. It measures 1.87m (20ft 36in).
I thought this was a really fun family game. It was a chance for everybody to get a bit silly and the challenges were things that Isabelle could get involved with as well. This gets a huge thumbs up from us and we would recommend it for the top choice for playing over Christmas. It would also be a lot of fun to get a group of friends round to play when the kids are in bed. We can’t wait to see Ryan try and put as many socks on as he can whilst standing on one foot!
The game is available to buy at online and at most toy retailers for £24.99
*We were sent a copy of the Guinness World Record Challenges Game for the purpose of this review. All opinions and thoughts are our own.
Beaker Creatures Review + Competition – Isabelle loves a kit of any kind, but one that has surprise toys inside is even better. When we were asked to give Beaker Creatures a go she was very excited.
Beaker Creatures is a kids science kit with the end result revealing collectible alien creatures.
The kit comes with:
Two Beaker Creature Reactor Pods
Two Classification Cards
Two double-sided Mini-posters featuring amazing science facts and fun images
Liquid Reactor Super Lab base
A set of tongs and a stir rod
Experiment Guide featuring step-by-step instructions for five experiments
Full-size poster for display
Setting up the set was really simple. Everything just clicks into place so we were good to go in a few minutes.
There were two reactor pods in the set and Isabelle was really excited to see which creatures she would find.
We had to fill the plungers with water, and as per the guide we decided to use coloured water to make it a bit more interesting.
We chose blue water to go with the red pod and yellow water to go with the green pod. I had to help Isabelle fill up the plungers with water but everything else she was able to do herself.
She placed the first reactor pod into the beaker and plunged the water which started to fizz. It was very exciting and once the fizzing stopped she used the tongs to fish out the little creature.
The whole process was very exciting and she was really pleased with her alien creatures.
once the fizzing has subsided we were able to reveal our creatures. She got an Astrolyte called Blerk and a Minisaur called Hornfello.
Isabelle loved this kit and has asked for some more reactor pods so that she can do it again. From a parents perspective I was really pleased with it since it was really easy to put together and the instructions were very clear and easy to follow. We did it on a tray but there was very little mess and the set can also be used to perform other experiments such as making alien slime so will be used time and again. I would definitely recommend this set as it was a lot of fun and we’ll use it time and again.
The Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab retails at £25.00 from Learning Resources website and the extra pods are £4.00 each.
Win a Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab – Just fill in the Rafflecopter Form below
Christmas Gift Buying with Wicked Uncle is so simple. Once on the site it’s really easy to navigate since you can pop in the age of the child that you’re buying for, and it shows everything within that age category. This is great if you’re buying for an age range and you’re not sure what the kids are playing with at that age.
There is loads to choose from including games, stocking fillers, keepsake gifts and a great range of toys.
I went on site to find a gift for both Isabelle and Freddie and these are my top five for both.
Don’t Say it – Fast word game – £14.95 – This would be great to challenge Isabelle with. She loves the yes and no game and we have endless staring competitions. I’m sure I’d be able to beat her at this though!
You can also have your gifts gift wrapped for £3.50 for the first gift and then £1.75 for any additional gifts which I thought was reasonable and gives you less things to do.
There is also a birthday reminder service which is quite handy for remembering nieces, nephews and children on friends.
Wicked Uncle’s last date for Christmas delivery is Friday 21st December for Standard Delivery and Saturday 22nd December for Express Delivery (when ordered before 4pm).
We were given a £40 voucher to spend on site which I did on my phone. The whole process from navigating to payment was extremely simple. The only thing I found time consuming was trying to decide what to buy!
*we were sent a £40 voucher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Money Saving on your Christmas Shopping – It goes without saying that we’re all after the best deal and the most for our money at this time of year. You should never just settle for the first price you see when buying Christmas Shopping, whether it be for Christmas presents, Party Clothes or the Festive Food. I love a bargain and whenever I buy something I always have a bit of a search to make sure that I’m not paying over the odds. Here are some of the tips and sites that I would recommend to get the most for your money.
And stick to it. Make a list of everything you need, and who you’re buying for and stick to it. The amount of times we’ve left some of our shopping to last minute and had to spend more than expected and bought gifts that we may not have otherwise bought. Keep a little notebook in your bag or make a list on your phone and tick off as you go. It’s also a great place to store all your receipts just in case.
Loyalty cards are a great way to get a bit of money off at Christmas time. Save up your points all year round and wait for the special offer emails that get sent around October/November time.
Boots Advantage card send out loads of vouchers where you can get extra points and of course the 3 for 2 offers are great at Christmas time.
Sainsbury’s and Tesco points are best saved up and spent on non-food items such as restaurant vouchers, days out or use towards the kids christmas presents in the toy department.
Cash Back Sites
Get cash back on things you were going to buy anyway by going through the relevant cashback sites. These are the ones that I’ve used previously.
Top Cash Back – Always check to see if the retailer your buying from is listed and take advantage of money back and promotional codes
Swagbucks – You can earn cashback on your shopping as well as taking part in short surveys.
Quidco – Again, another one to check out before making purchases to see if there are any savings to be had.
Actually, before you hit the cashback sites make sure you compare the prices of the items you want to buy, particularly on big purchases. This can also be done for alcohol if you’re planning on having a party or need to stock up for Christmas.
My Supermarket is the only one that I’ve previously used but there are lots available including:
Some shops such as Boots and Debenhams have special card holder evenings where you get additional money off if you buy on the night. Have a look out for these which are usually sent by email.
Online shopping baskets
This one I’ve blatantly stolen from Martin Lewis. Go onto the stores that you intend to buy from and add the items that you want to the shopping basket and then leave it………Some retailers send an email reminding you that you have items in your basket, and some will offer a discount code to entice you back. It doesn’t apply to all retailers but definitely worth a go.
Last Minute Shopping
A lot of retailers start the January Sale early and start dropping their prices just before Christmas to capture as many Christmas shoppers as possible. Take advantage of this, but anything that is likely to be at the top of the kids Christmas list is unlikely to be still available if you hang out for this.
If like many parents, a mobile phone is at the top of your kids christmas list then make sure you hang out for the best deal possible. A contract phone may seem the best option, since you get a free phone, but do you? Nope. If you were to work out how much you would pay over the contract period versus a pay as you go phone you may not be getting as good a deal as you think. Take advantage of this Contract V’s SIM Calculator before you make a commitment to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
Not sure what to buy the kid that seemingly has every shape of plastic know to man then why not buy an alternative Christmas present such as a magazine subscription or sign them up for a class. This is an old post that I wrote but still worth a read.
If there really isn’t anything that you can think to buy for a friend or relative, then consider buying them a voucher for somewhere that you know they like to shop so that they can put it towards something that they want. This is also useful for teenagers who will get more for their money in the January sales than if you were to buy a load of clothes before Christmas. You could go one step further and make it a shopping day with a bit of lunch in between shops as well.
I’d love to know your top tips for saving a bit of money or getting the best deal when Christmas Shopping. Pop me a comment below x
Let Santa know where you sleep with a Hey Santa Door Hanger
Let Santa know where you sleep with a Hey Santa Door Hanger – When Ryan was around the age of five or six he was fixated with robbers coming into our house so we had to make sure that there was nobody in his bedroom, under the bed or in the wardrobe before he was happy enough to go to bed. Christmas that same year he was really worried that he didn’t want Santa to go into his bedroom.
We told him that Santa would know this and leave his stocking outside of his bedroom door for him which relieved his anxiety and made it much easier than trying to get his stocking at the end of his bed where it had been left previously. So it’s become our tradition that the stockings are left outside the children’s bedrooms hanging on the door handle, and we’ll carry this on with both Isabelle and Freddie.
So how does Santa know which bedroom each child sleeps in?
Well he is amazingly magic, but as a helping hand we’ve got these amazing door plaques which we will leave on each of the children’s doors so that he knows exactly where to leave each stocking without mixing them up.
As Ryan is no longer a child he doesn’t get a stocking for Santa, but we’ll be hanging them out for both Isabelle and Freddie.
The plaques are from Hey Santa and can be personalised with your child’s name in either English or Welsh. Hey Santa is run by a brother and sister team who take pride in making your unique personalised door plaque.
Each plaque is made to order with your children’s name so make sure that you check that the spelling is correct and also allow a few days for delivery. Each plaque is £7.95 with FREE postage & packing within the UK.
What we think
I thought the quality of the plaque was really good and there was a good choice of colours to choose from. Isabelle loves her’s, especially since she has moved into a different bedroom and was worried that he might not know. These would make a great gift for children who will be able to use them year after year.
*We were sent a door plaque for both Isabelle and Freddie for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own.
6 Month Baby Update – Happy half a year baby boy! We’ve seen a real change in Freddie over the past month. He’s got a cheeky personality and wants nothing more than to be involved in anything and everything.
He has his first tooth! This came through a couple of weeks ago after a few days of flame red cheeks, dribbling and chewing. He spends a lot of his day fiddling with his tooth with his tongue and has made it known by biting his sisters knee, daddy’s fingers and most excruciating me when he feeds. Ouch! We’ve been coping with the teething with lots of teething toys, calpol and teething granules. This past few days though he’s been spitting the calpol out which is an annoyingly new thing that he’s started.
Freddie loves to play. He likes lights and sounds as well as music. His favourite toy is his car-car which was one of Isabelle’s by Playschool which I don’t think you can buy anymore. He’s happy to play on the floor for a little while, and now that he can roll around seems to be happy. We also bought a jumperoo which he can bounce like a pro in now. It’s a godsend when I’m trying to get dinner sorted.
He’s still got his adorable chunky baby legs and whilst he’s a big boy he’s quite long. He’s now at the in-betweeny size on clothes so size 3 – 6 months are getting too small and some he’s outgrown but the 6 – 9 months clothes are way too big.
The feeding has been going well. We’ve ditched formula completely as it’s been really hit and miss for him taking the one remaining bottle that we were giving him so it’s breastfeeding all the way now. I’d like to go until he turns one, but he bit me the other day and pierced my nipple. It was excruciating and I’m hoping that it was a one off, but he is constantly scraping his tooth on my nipple as he feeds which is not very nice at all.
We decided to wean him just before the six month mark as he was getting so cross and upset when we were eating and constantly trying to grab food out of our hands. He’s only having one meal a day which is mostly baby porridge, carrots and sweet potato. He does like a bit of toast in his hands as well as the Ella’s kitchen giant wotsit crisps (6m+). I think we’re going to do a combination of baby led and purées dependent on what we have in the fridge. So far so good with this. He loves sitting at the table with us, and is managing really well to feed himself. I think we’ll carry on like this for a few more weeks before we add in lunch and breakfast on a daily basis.
We’ve given up with trying to get him in his crib endlessly and are currently co-sleeping. I’m sure that a lot of people will have a lot to say on this topic but at the moment it’s working for us so that’s what we’re doing.
Christmas Gift Guide for Babies – Freddie will be six months old when Christmas comes. Being so young we don’t think that he will need very much but here are some things that have caught my eye that I think will capture his attention.
There’s something so lovely when you get a personalised gift that you know has been specifically picked for your baby. Peter Rabbit is a classic and would fit in perfectly in any nursery and loved for it’s softness and kept as a keepsake.
Mark babies Very First Christmas with this adorable Christmas Sack which is personalised with their name and the year of their first Christmas. It will always be one of those things that make you go mushy every year you take it out of storage.
It’s practically the law to have some sort of contraption to put your baby in whilst you run round trying to get a few jobs done. We’ve recently got a jumperoo for Freddie and whilst he’s only in it for very short stints throughout the day, it gives me some hands free time to get other things done whilst Freddie has the time of this life jumping and playing with the various toys.
This is a lovely gift both for a parent and the baby. The set contains a Baba + Boo print nappy in size one (lasting from approx 8 weeks – potty training), a matching Nappy Bag and a Gift Card. If you haven’t used washable nappies before then this is a great way to see what you think AND how cute will your babies bum be in one of these!
This funny interactive robot has lots of features to keep your baby entertained including over 100 letters, shapes and sounds. Play with the two buddies, Rockit and Glow for an interactive experience to develop their sensory development and aid gross motor skills. It even records sounds which Rockit will repeat back.
Five different activity balls each with a different fun activity inside including rattles, spinners and clicking sounds. These are the perfect size to fit in your baby’s hand and will encourage them to roll and crawl if they roll away. They also have lots of different textures and colours to capture your baby’s attention.
Since Christmas presents are a treat it’s nice to pick something a little bit special out. I found The clothing label Squidge & Smudge on instagram and fell totally in love with their whole feed. They have a lovely selection of handmade dungarees, leggings and tops.
What are you getting your little ones for Christmas?