Thursday, 21 August 2014

Club Penguin! - Review!

Club Penguin is a virtual world aimed at children between 6 and 14 years old.....Kids can create an online persona in the form of a very cute colored penguin....They waddle around the virtual penguin world playing games, chatting with other penguins, visiting their igloos, attending parties and earning points to buy Puffle pets, penguin clothes, and furnishings for their igloos.....


 Since its beginnings in 2005, over 220 million penguin avatars have been created in 190 countries and children log in from around the world to play in six different languages. Club Penguin is known around the globe for its unwavering commitment to providing a safe online experience that doesn't compromise creativity or fun.

When I was given the opportunity to review Club Penguin.....I asked the girls what they thought.....Would they like to have a months free trial membership?....Amongst the squeals of excitement they said YES!!

So we made up a new account.....One they could share for the month....

I had a quick play about on it to see what it was all about.....

I could see the makers of this site have put a lot of effort and thought into the safety of children using it....Even when signing up there are prompts not to use your real name or tell anyone your password....


I really like the chat options....You can set your child’s account to either ultimate safe chat mode (kids can only select pre-approved phrases from a list) or standard safe chat mode (free typing is allowed but it’s moderated and has filters that block swear words and things like phone numbers....I think this is fantastic for younger children who might not think about what they are saying.....
 
 The girls got on with playing...At first there was a basic walk through to the game.....How to move around, different things you can do and one thing that I really liked was the safety quiz.....It is basic online safety a great way to develop safe internet habits. My girls are very sensible and did very well in this test.....


Becky especially liked playing the games and earning coins....Ellie on the other hand liked spending the coins, changing how our penguin was dressed and buying things for their igloo....There is just too much to look at, see and do on this little island of penguins....


Club Penguin is free to play, but most of the content is reserved for paying subscribers....Membership isn't too expensive starting at £4.95 for a single month but if you buy it for 6 months or a year the price does drop....For example a year is £29.95 which works out at £2.50 a month.... 

The highlights of being a member are that you can....
Dress up and express their unique styles.
Collect rare and exclusive party items.
Discover all new experiences every week.
Earn special Stamps to impress friends.
Collect 14 kinds of puffles with unique personalities
Take puffles into special games to help earn coins and points.
Express their creativity with countless igloo combinations
Customize, save, and show their perfect homes to friends

Becky is 11 and Ellie is nearly 7 and they both loved Club Penguin.....I do have a feeling after today I will struggle to get Ellie off it.....

As from today Club Penguin is being taken over by FROZEN!!!


 The Frozen takeover sees the Club Penguin Island transformed into the Kingdom of Arendelle from 21st August to Wednesday, 3 September.  

During this time, Club Penguin and Frozen fans can:
Join a quest for magical snowflakes hidden around the island and collect special rewards.
Help thaw the island from its frozen state.
Get their very own Ice Palace igloo to decorate, and listen to a special performance of Let It Go in Elsa’s Ice Palace.  
 This is a great online community with so much to see, do and play.... The social atmosphere seems clean and kid-friendly and this seems like a great introduction to social media and online gaming for children.....

 We were given a months free trial to Club Penguin for the purpose of this review....This is my honest review....All thoughts and opinions are my own!!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Back to school clothing guide....


Going by my Twitter and Facebook timelines it seems like people are starting to prepare for going back to school.....

Here are some top tips for getting ready for going back to school.....

Make a list of what you need and stick to it....Don’t buy things which are nice to haves or extras.

How much of everything do I need?

Assuming you do at least one load of washing during the week you will probably need....

• Sweaters/ cardigans/ sweatshirts x 3
• Polo shirts/ shirts x 3
• Trousers/skirts x 3
• Socks 10 pairs - They will get lost.
• PE Kit - 1 set including plimsolls
• School shoes - 1 pair
• PE bag
• A school Book bag 

• A tie, if needed. If there's a clip-on/ elasticated option use that it is so much easier than having to help a four-year-old fasten a proper one each morning. Wet wipes come in handy for cleaning them.
• A school coat

If money is tight find out if there's a second hand uniform shop run by the school or try local Facebook selling pages....Even charity shops local to you may have uniforms....Even one's with Logos.

If your family income is low, you could be eligible for funding to pay for uniform, contact Citizens Advice or your Local Education Authority to find out more. 

If you’re struggling to afford your child’s school uniform, speak to a teacher or the head teacher at your child’s school. They may know where you can get discounts or find cheaper items. At the very least they will understand your situation better.

Double-check whether you really need it - Before you buy any item of school uniform. Many items are compulsory, but some are optional.

At the end of the summer holidays supermarkets and high street stores are often tripping over themselves to tempt you with cheap uniform deals and BOGOFs. Buy items in the next size up.

Buy only what you have to from the official uniform store!!

Instead of buying a school branded jumper, can you sew the school badge on to a generic jumper? This way you can buy cheaper items but still comply with the uniform regulations of the school.

Kids will grow - Buy as large as you can without your child absolutely swimming in the school uniform.....Make sure shoes fit well with some room to grow, but not too much....

Don't forget to label EVERYTHING!! If you haven't got the time or the patience for sewing on name tags a biro will do!! Make sure to show your child where you've put their name, so they can check it themselves....

 If the school's uniform list gives options such as skirts or pinafores for girls, and you're unsure about your child being the 'odd one out', ask around among those with older children at the school.

School shirts get filthy. Invest in some stain remover to soak stained polo shirts or shirts in before washing.

If your child is on the skinny side, look for trousers and skirts with adjustable waistbands....

Avoid tights for younger girls if possible.....When they do PE they will struggle to get them back on or even give them trousers to wear on PE days.

 Don't expect school shoes to last a full academic year!

Get Velcro shoes.....The teacher will struggle to help 30 children do up laces or tricky buckles on PE day....

If the school list says black shoes only, don't be tempted to push the rules with blue or brown. Chances are you'll have to fork out for a second pair of shoes

Happy Shopping!!

Northumberland Live 2014

For my readers who live in Northumberland or up this way this might be of interest to you! 

This Saturday from 12 until 8pm there is a free music festival at Blyth Beach called Northumberland Live....


 There is something going on for the whole family with The Christians headlining but also loads of local home grown talent performing too.....

Metro Radio will be DJing on the day and asking for song requests by tweeting @EventsNE and Radio Northumberland will also be there....

The whole event is free, and full information can be found by visiting Northumberland Live....

 There will be lots going on as they are playing up to the beach party theme with a fun fair just for children including a tea pot roundabout, giant slide and hook a duck and street theatre....

There will be the usual seaside favourites of ice creams and fish and chips available to buy as well as top notch locally produced food and drink. 

Lots of fun for the whole family.

 Getting to Northumberland Live:
Ample free parking is available in the centre of Blyth and on Blyth Quayside as well as at The Ranch car park. Parking on the Festival site is limited and visitors are encouraged to walk or cycle to the Festival if possible.

FREE Park and Ride shuttle bus:

A free park and ride bus service will be up and running dedicated to getting you to the action. Hop on at either Blyth Library or by the Spirit of the Staithes roundabout just off Blyth Quayside. The bus will run from around 11.30am on a loop basis between the pick-ups and the venue, coming back round every few minutes. After the event ends the route will be reversed. All Park and a Ride vehicles will be wheelchair accessible.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Wyld Wood Cider - Review!!

Recently I was asked if I would like to review some Wyld Wood Cider.....I jumped at the chance of course....I do like a glass of cider.


Wyld Wood was formerly known as Premium Organic and was re-branded back in September 2011 to emphasise its organic and rural origin.....

This cider is produced in Herefordshire’s organic orchards using organic cider apples and which are matured in old oak vats which results in an easy to drink cider with a ripe apple aroma and a refreshing well balanced taste. Suitable for vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs.


 I was keen to give this a try.....I chilled it in the fridge for a few hours and once the kids had gone to bed I cracked a bottle open!! It looked like normal cider and smelt so strongly of apples....It is a dry cider but there is also a sweetness there too.....Absolutely delicious and so refreshing!


The sparkling cider comes in traditional 500 ml bottles and also in a 3 liter box which is very handy....I think the boxes would be perfect to have at BBQ's on a lovely summer evening.....

At 6% it is slightly stronger then other brands of cider and as it's so easy to drink I suggest you keep an eye on how much you are drinking.....I am not speaking from personal experience by the way.....hehehe

I know when Stu & I have drunk all the cider we were sent we will be buying more.... 

If you’re feeling really Wyld, you can even cook with their cider.....A delicious and great addition to any meal!  
 
Wyld Wood is available nationwide and you are able to buy it in a variety of supermarkets and indendent stores across the country, including Waitrose, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsburys. Or of course, you are able to order all the range from the comfort of your own home at their online shop....

Wyld Wood is official cider of Jamie Oliver and Alex James’ Big Feastival....


 The festival for the second year running is a unique celebration of music, food and fun for all the family, set on Alex James idyllic Cotswolds farm......The Wyld Wood Cider Bar is located within a cool tepee which will once again be centrally located....

You can enjoy music from top acts, see top chef demos in the Big Kitchen and try lots of tasty food....Browse local producer stands, join a cookery class or join top chefs for intimate Q&A sessions. You can keep little and big kids happy in the fun-filled Little Dudes Den, join an arts & crafts workshop, enjoy the Big Top games or take a spin round the vintage funfair.....

It all starts on Friday the 29th of August and carries on all over the weekend closing on the evening of Sunday the 31st of August.....

  
I was sent 4, 3 liter boxes and 8, 500ml bottles of Wyld Wood Cider free of charge....This is my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.....

Monday, 18 August 2014

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday

 

Last weeks meal plan mostly went to plan....On Friday the kids had their soup and Stu and I had a massive fry up.....It was so good!

On Saturday it was Stu's birthday the kids decided takeaway just wasn't good enough for their daddy! He needed a party tea, a proper birthday cake and some extra presents as well as his graphics card for his PC.....lol His new pj's have caused much amusement but he loves them....hehehe



This week the kids have taken control of the meal planning and I don't think they have done a bad job....

This week on the menu we have....

Monday - Corned Beef hash & Baked beans!....
Tuesday - Hot dogs in buns with Corn on the cob....
Wednesday - Chicken stir fry and noodles....
Thursday - Home made pizza the cheats way....
Friday - Spaghetti Bolognese & Garlic bread....
Saturday - Left over bolognese in wraps!....
Sunday - Sausage casserole, mash & veg....

As always I've joined in with the wonderful Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky...

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Five Years Ago.....


 Five years ago we made the journey to hospital....

Five years ago I was so terrified.....Not sure whether my girls would live to tell the tale.....

Five years and one day since we all went through the stress and trauma of open heart surgery....

Five years and two days since we went through it all again....

Five years and two days since I nearly had a breakdown.....One girl in intensive care the other going in for open heart surgery....

Five years and two days since one girl was on a hospital ward and the other was in intensive care.....

Five years and three days since both my girls were on a hospital ward in beds next to each other...

Five years and three days since one of my girls collapsed and had to spend 24 hours on oxygen....

Five years and four days since they were both out of bed and itching to get to the play room...

Five years and five days since they were both fit enough to come home but it had been left too late to discharge us...

Five years and six days and we were home waiting for the new series of X-Factor to start....

 I've covered up Becky as she asked me too.....She's at that age.

  You can read our full story...


Five years doesn't seen that long but to us it seems a lifetime ago.....We made it through....

My girls are heroes! So brave!! 

Both of my girls are fine....Fit and healthy and their heart problems do not effect their daily life at all.....

I just like to remember this day as it was a very important part of our life!!

Liquoriceuk