Tuesday, 16 September 2014

My Magical Mermaid and Twizzles

The girls and I were very lucky to be sent out some new toys to test out and review. They came at a great time as the girls needed a back to school boost as the realisation that summer really is over and early mornings and early nights are back in hit them.

I'm sure you've heard of RoboFish before, I know myself when the ad comes on I sing along to it. Well Zuru have added an exciting new addition to the multi award winining RoboFish line. My Magical Mermaid is enchanting, simply drop her into water and watch her come to life, she'll spiral and dance with beauty and grace.

The girls were so excited when they saw her. There are different ones to collect and there is also a play set available that has a mermaid and LED tank, I think Abigail will be putting that on her christmas list! Myself and Ella took her out the front in the sun, I had filled a tub with water and she swam around quick enough, I think they would get more out of her in the bath as she really can swim.

She comes with weights to put on her tail if you want her to dance. We tried it out in a jug and it worked. I'm sure if we had her in something deeper it would have worked even better.

Ella had a lot of fun in the sun watching her flit about the water and even asked if we could break out the paddling pool for her!

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the mermaid, she really does swim and I would be happy to get the girls another one so they have one each.

My Magical Mermaids are suitable for ages 3+ and come with a bonus set of batteries.

The Twizzles are cute little characters that love getting their hair done and adore cupcakes. With over 100 ways to style their hair, it doesn't matter if it's straight, pigtails or curly they have so much flair! Watch as your Twizzle even spins her head to follow her favourite cupcake flavour.

Twizzles provide endless amounts of fun for girls aged 3+

"Press me down, push my tail and watch me Twizzle around!"

Ella loved the Twizzle and claimed it straight away, it was the perfect size in her hand to carry around and style hair on the go. She has not put this down since it arrived and puts her Twizzle on her bedside table every night. Definitely a big hit.

Twizzles are very bright and colourful and easy for little hands to manage, they come with a few accessories to style their hair and when you push their heads down and pull their tail they pop up and spin around showing off their hairstyle.

The Twizzles would make a perfect stocking filler this Christmas and they come in different styles, Berry, Cherry, Cinnamon, Caramel, Sprinkles and Peach (who is pictures above). They sound good enough to eat!

These lovely toys got a big thumbs up from Ella who was my main product tester as Abigail was in school but Abigail also got a lot of fun out of them particularly the mermaid.

(Disclosure: I received these toys for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own and I am not paid to give them.)

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Settling into routine

We are half way through our second week of school and the girls are settling in nicely. Ella was slightly surprised on Monday when she realised she had more school to do "I have to go again?", the novelty has worn off, this is your life now! Abigail is having a great time and hasn't even complained about homework. From next week she will be in school an extra hour everyday so we'll see if she's still as enthusiastic then.

The days seem to be going by very quickly we are up and out the door first thing, drop Abigail off then Ella. Sometimes I have stuff to get done down the town other times I can head straight home. I'm only there a short while and then I have to get Ella, we are only home 40 minutes and it's time to get Abigail. With snack time, a play outside or tv time and then homework the afternoon just melts away and before I know it it's dinner time. I'm hoping once Abigail has her extra hour I will be able to get that little bit more organised and I defiantly need to get back to meal planning.

On Monday we had Abigail at a dentist to check on her broken tooth and we were relieved to get an appointment for her next week to get it sorted.

Today when we picked Abigail up she was all excited to tell us about a birds nest she made in the yard at lunchtime with her friends. I thought it was so sweet and they even included some berries for the birds to eat.

Ella was up a bit last night, she has a cold and gets herself worked up when she wakes up coughing so she took over my bed last night and got a good sleep. She was still a bit off this morning but was in fairly good form so off she went to school. She was in great form when I picked her up and happily crunched through the leaves the whole way home.

I love crunching the leaves, it's great when you get a big pile to jump in. The girls have noticed the leaves changing colour and are already talking about snow!! With the way the days are flying by it won't be long until we have Halloween and we all know what comes soon after that.

I have been very busy in the background with my blog and have some reviews coming up soon. The first one will be some fun toys to keep an eye on for the Christmas list. I also have some exciting news to share, I have just recently become a member of the Netflix Stream Team. I'm very excited about this as I love watching movies and discovering new tv shows and now I get to write about them too. Years ago I used to work in a movie shop and when we first had Abigail we lived above Xtra Vision and we didn't have any tv channels so watched movies and box sets all the time. I loved it! Tomorrow I will have a post on what's good to watch this month, the girls have been getting stuck into the kids shows.

How is everyone else settling into the school routine? Those of you with first timers how do you find it?

Monday, 8 September 2014

A bit of science

We have been very busy the last week settling into the school routine. So far it has gone a lot smoother then I was expecting and everyone is in reasonably good form just a little bit more tired. We took Abigail back to the dentist this morning to get her tooth checked again and were relieved to get a follow up appointment next week so that they can start work on it. She was very nervous but was super delighted when the nurse gave her a mask and gloves afterwards. Abigail is really into science at the moment after watching some YouTube videos where they did simple experiments. Off she went to school afterwards and myself and Owen went to the shops to pick up a few bits. We came across this science set and thought it would be a great idea to pick it up and surprise the girls for after school.

Abigail was so excited when she saw it "I can be a real scientist!!" The experiments were nice and fun and could easily be done without the set just household items (mostly baking soda and malt vinegar). Once homework was out of the way Abigail and daddy got their gloves on and set to work. They picked two experiments to try today.

The first one was of course the Exploding Erupting Volcano. They started out by measuring out the vinegar and safely pouring it into the plastic volcano that came with the set.

Next Abigail added a few drops of red food colouring.

And finally some bicarbonate of soda.

At first nothing happened so we added a bit more soda and quickly put the top on and then it started bubbling out!

Before we knew it we had a fully erupted volcano. The girls thought this was so cool but my goodness the smell of vinegar was so strong!!

For the second experiment they chose the Mega Fizz Inflating Balloon. This is one Abigail had seen before so she knew how it worked and was excited to try it. First you get an empty bottle and pour some vinegar into it.

Next Owen held open the balloon while Abigail carefully filled it with bicarbonate of soda. Because it took a second go with the volcano we decided to add a good bit of soda.

Then Owen carefully put the balloon onto the top if the bottle. He lifted it so that the soda would pour into the bottle. It reacted straight away fizzing up!

And then the balloon started to blow up..

It fizzed up so much we had to run out the back with it incase it popped!! The girls thought this was hilarious.

Maybe we put a bit too much bicarbonate of soda in lol.

This really was so much fun and so easily done. It really grabbed the girls attention and they can't wait to try more experiments. Great fun activity for all the family. What kind of fun things do you like to do as a family?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

How do you let it go?

"Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know.."

Those words aren't just the lyrics to a Disney song, they are reality. After going through a stressful period and successfully coming out the other side the last thing you want is to go back there. So when things start stressing you out again and you feel like you have no one to turn to who can understand what you're going through, what do you do? You keep it to yourself (conceal), you ignore the niggling feelings that keep you up at night, take away your appetite and make it hard to breathe (don't feel), and last you slap a smile on your face and let the world know you're fine, everything is great, when it's not (don't let them know).

Now I know that this is the wrong way to handle things but I still react this way. I bottle it all up until one day, like Elsa, it all comes out and I imagine people are horrified by what they see. The real you comes out and because it's been buried for so long it's raw and rough around the edges and you have no control over yourself. You don't want to leave the safety of your bubble because you worry what other people will make of you. When you are trying so hard to keep that armour on the outside shiny you forget how to look after yourself inside. But the reality of it all is people don't notice.. And if they do they don't want to know because everyone has their own problems.. Wouldn't it be great if we all just opened up?

I'm glad that I can recognise how I feel and what it's doing to me but it still doesn't solve the problem of how I deal with it. I'm getting there. Writing helps so maybe I should write more but I do get a bit of a block when it comes to writing how I feel just the same as when I try to speak.. It's never easy admitting you're not doing so good and so you try very hard to polish up the armour, stop the cracks showing, straighten out your smile and get on with it.. But I'm getting there.. I keep telling myself that..

How do you let it go?

I already feel a bit lighter after writing this down.. I find writing therapeutic, I really need to get more of me out and onto virtual paper..

Monday, 25 August 2014

Smarty Cat Games

My girls are always asking me to play games with them, they love when I get down on their level and we do something fun so I was delighted to be sent out some new games for us to try.

'Smarty Cat Games put the fun back into teaching Irish language to kids. Founder Claire O'Gorman says "From working as a teacher, I know how precious time is and how difficult it can be to find resources that are exciting and engaging for the children. These games are not only great for the classroom but a fantastic opportunity for parents to connect with what their child is learning in school."

The range includes:

Chatty Cat Ball for developing the child's oral language skills.

Ce Mhead Cat, a board game to develop a child's understanding of past, future irregular verbs.

Cluichí Gaeilge, a suite of 10 different games which cover the ten themes in the national curriculum for Irish, ideal for the classroom or at home.'

Each game came with helpful instructions so we could jump straight in.

Chatty Cat Ball was a fun one to start with. The idea is you throw the ball and ask questions. Now as my girls are 4 and 6 this was a little bit hard, Ella can't read yet but Abigail did very well with a bit of help from myself. I must admit I was never very good at learning to speak Irish in school so my pronunciation might have been a bit off but by the end of it we all had some of the basic questions and answers down. This will be a great game to play throughout the school year as Abigail is starting 1st class next week and her Irish will be progressing.

The next game was part of a set of 10 called Cluichi Gaeilge. There were 6 boards with pictures of food on them and the Irish name underneath each picture. This came with a packet of cards also containing the pictures and names and a packet of blank cards. Out of this we played a shopping game called Splot. We each picked a board and then spread the pictures cards upside down on the floor.

We each had a turn to pick a card, call out the name in English and then we would all say the Irish word and see if we had a match to our board.

If you didn't you put it back. Whoever filled up the shopping list first was the winner. This one was really fun and easy for the girls to understand, a few more goes of this and even Ella will have the Irish words down.

Continuing with the boards and cards we played a version of Bingo. The girls had 3 boards and half of the blank cards each while I would pick a picture card and call out what was on it. If the girls had what was on the picture card they would then place a blank card on their board. Whoever filled up the board won.

We had a great time playing these games and the fact that it promotes learning of the Irish language gives them a big thumbs up from me. They are perfect for playing at home or school.

You can can get your own set here and find them on Facebook here

(Disclosure: I received the games for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own and i am not paid to give them.)

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Short and sweet.. Maybe a bit bitter!

The blah has not lifted and on top of that I'm feeling bored! I know I'm a grown up, I'm not allowed to feel bored, but I do.

I'm so done with the summer holidays.

We are just back from a lovely weekend at my nannies, it was like the last hoorah of the summer and I'm just ready for the girls to go back to school now, they are ready to go back too. We need some routine and structure in our lives again. A reason to get up, dressed and out the door in the mornings. A better eating routine and some good sleeping habits would be welcome too.

The summer has been fun but my creativity has been killed off and now I am just done...

Anyone else feeling this way?

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Feeling a bit blah..

I was on a roll last week feeling very productive and getting new posts out regularly but I knew myself it would be short lived. Bursts of energy like that always are and I seem to have used up all my resources because this week I just feel an overwhelming sense of blah.. It could be the weather, rain, sun, rain, sun.. Or it could be a come down after the manic weekend we had.. Oh I haven't told you about my weekend yet have I?

Hmm well Friday night was my sisters last night staying with us and we had planned on having some girly time, putting on face masks etc, but our plans were thwarted when Abigail face planted herself on the floor which resulted in her front adult tooth breaking in half. Que all out panic and basically having no clue what to do! If it wasn't for the ladies in the Irish Parenting Bloggers I would have had a melt down. They gave me numbers to call and a tip to put the broken bit of tooth in milk. Finally got to talk to a dentist who said she would be ok til the next day. Got the girls off to sleep but I didn't get a wink myself..

Managed to get her an appointment with our local dentist in the afternoon. They had a look at her and said that unfortunately the nerve had been exposed so she would need to be referred to the trauma clinic in the dental hospital.. A patch was put on to cover the nerve and the bit of tooth was cemented into place. We got home to find my Dad and other sister had arrived to take herself home. It was sad saying goodbye..

Right before bed the piece of tooth fell off and crumpled in 2 pieces. Que another sleepless night from me!! Sunday was spent checking Abigail every hour to make sure the nerve cover was still in place. Monday finally arrived and I called the dentist who said to bring her back down. Thankfully it hadn't got any worse so they cleaned her up and put a better cover in place. Now we just have to wait for her appointment. She hasn't been phased at all, isn't in any pain and thinks she's a vampire!

Since then I have been feeling blah.. I have no energy, not much appetite and all I want to do is lie down.. At least the girls have been happy enough to potter in and out of the garden between showers of rain, honestly I think they are feeling a bit blah too! We are off to my nannies tomorrow for a few days so I'm sure that will lift my spirits. I'm not sure if I will be online as much which will probably be a good thing! I suppose I should really go and pack..