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Our Summer Holiday Round Up 2016

With Oscar returning to school on Thursday 🙁 I thought it would be nice to put together a Summer 2016 round up post of all that we have been up to. We have had a very long Summer as Oscar had nine weeks off as he broke up on the 8th of July. I absolutely love him being at home and we have had so much fun.

Week 1

We started off the holidays going straight from school at 12 o’clock to a hotel near us with Oscar’s school friends and went in the walled garden where they swam all day had hot dogs for tea and had a fantastic time! As the weather was nice we spent the rest of the week in the garden and got ready to go on holiday. We also went into London to a Finding Nemo event with Epson which was great fun! Archie had his first hair cut at Sharkey’s and he was so good sitting in the Lightning Mcqueen car.


Week 2 and 3

We flew to sunny Mallorca on the Saturday. We had an amazing time and the flight being only 2 hours was perfect for Archie who was a right fidget. We met up with one of Oscar’s school friends who was also in Mallorca which was lovely and went to see some close friends of ours that moved out there a few years ago. Our hotel was on the east of the island, the Protur Biomar Gran Hotel and Spa and it was really lovely. We went on an excursion to see the Pirates show which if you have kids is a must. The show is absolutely amazing, I have never seen anything like it. It was fantastic!


Oscar made lots of friends around the pool and both the boys loved the kids disco in the evening. We also hired a quad bike for Oscar which was so funny as Greg had to run behind him to make sure he didn’t bang in to anyone and we took a horse and carriage ride where the boys waved to everybody we went past.

Week 4

When we got home Oscar’s friend from outside his school had finished for the Summer so we went swimming with them and for a picnic. We went for our weekly fish and chips on a Tuesday with Great-Nanny which was lovely for Oscar as he is usually at school. It was great to go and check on our house build to see the progress. It was amazing to see what they had done in just 2 weeks! We had some lovely weather so I put the pool up in the garden and we also went to the local park a few times. Oscar also went to the cinema with Daddy.

Week 5

Daddy went on a stag do for a few days so I booked a few days in Norfolk with my best friend and her two children which was so amazing! Norfolk is home from home for me as as a child we went there 3 or 4 times a year staying in Brancaster. This time we stayed a few miles from there at a hotel called Briarfields and the kids loved being on the beach, building sand castles, eating ice cream and running around. We had such a fantastic time and we will try and do it every year now! We missed Daddy loads though!


Week 6

We met up with Oscar’s school friends at the walled garden for the day and the weather was amazing! I looked after my friends son for a couple of days and we went to the opening event of Gravity Force in St Albans that the boys loved. We went to visit Great-Nanny, went to the local aquadrome and went to see Scooby Doo Live at the London Palladium which was great. Even Archie sat in his own seat the whole time as he was transfixed on the singing and dancing.

Week 7

Daddy took a day off and we went bowling and for lunch with my Mum and Dad. The weather was amazing so we spent quite a lot of the time in the pool in the garden with Oscar’s friends over to play. We went to the Crayola Bus Tour event and Oscar got to do lots of art and crafts. On the weekend we went to Oxford for my Auntie’s 60th birthday and I got to see all my cousins and we even retook a photo that was taken 27 years ago!


Week 8

One of Oscar’s best friends had been away the whole Summer so we got to catch up with him and go for lunches and to the park and they played in the river. Oscar was so pleased to see him.

Week 9

This week has been a really special week! On Saturday Oscar and Archie were page boys at Greg’s best friends wedding. Greg was best man and I was asked to do a reading in the church. I won’t bore you to much but Steve has become one of my closest friends, hes more like a brother to me than a friend and we were so happy for him and Cheryl and it was an extremely emotional but amazing day. I almost crumbled in the church when I had to do my reading, I had never been so nervous! So congratulations Steve and Cheryl and thank you for a truly amazing day!


On the Sunday Greg was a little worse for ware and I was totally exhausted. We went to bed at 2am and Archie woke up at 6.30! Oscar stayed awake until 1am and partied all night long so he was a bit of a grump on the Sunday. So we decided to get some fresh air and went to the hills in Northolt, had a picnic and walked to the top of the hills and looked at the view of London.


We also went bowling with friends, went to see Great-Nanny and now we are ready for Oscar’s first day back tomorrow! Year 2 he we come….

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Designing & Building Our Dream Home

Back in March last year we started viewing houses as we wanted to move. Within a few months we had brought a bungalow for the plot so that we could design and build our own house which was so exciting! We met with Greg’s architect – PFG Design and within two months had the plans ready to submit to the council. We drove around and took pictures of houses that we liked, made a list of what features we would like and after a few attempts we were over the moon with the design. In December last year we had our planning permission granted and after getting everything in place and choosing our builder we ended up starting on site on the 13th April with a 10 month building schedule. Our builder- GRE Group is absolutely amazing and from his previous work his attention to detail is second to none.

When designing the house we made a list of what was really important to is. Such as having plenty of storage was so important and downstairs we have put a large cloak cupboard in and in the boys playroom a large cupboard across the back wall with wooden bi-folding doors to store all of the boys toys in so then we won’t need storage boxes everywhere and they can just have their play table and a sofa in the room with plenty of space to play. Upstairs there is two huge built-in cupboards for sheets, towels etc so everything will have a place. One thing I really wanted was a gallery landing so a nice light can drop through to the hallway downstairs which we incorporated into the design.

Firstly the existing bungalow had to be demolished and the site cleared. This only took two weeks which I was shocked at how quickly the site was completely clear. We took the boys to watch the house being smashed to pieces, which Oscar loved!

The foundations were then dug out and the concrete poured in. The rooms were then laid out which made me panic as it made them look so small. I then measured them out in our garden at home and it put my mind to rest. As the walls went up I was still nervous about the room sizes as the breeze blocks made everything look so dark and small which the builder reassured me is an illusion and will be absolutely fine once they are plastered and painted. In truth I wish I had not seen it at this stage as it really worried me. I even went on so much to Greg that he got the builders to remeasure each weekend which they were obviously all spot on.

We are now almost five months in and the build and we lost a few weeks to the usual hiccups that come along the way as the foundations needed to be dug deeper and a BT line had to be moved. So far we are estimating to move in at the end of February next year and we are so excited. The second floor is nearly finished and all of the rooms set out.

We have met with a kitchen and bathroom designer and the kitchen/utility and bathrooms are nearly completely designed. One thing I had really underestimated is just how many decisions there are to be made. Everything from the obvious colour schemes, kitchen, bathrooms to light switches, coving and architraves. The list is endless and more seems to get added every week. This week I had to pick what colour fencing I would like, now I thought fencing is fencing but then the builder pointed out with our chosen brick colour, slate roof and slate patio we should think about a colour that would blend in with that so we picked a nice dove grey.

To add little personalised touches to the house I have come up with a few little ideas one of which is a personalised brick which our builder gave me from the batch of bricks so it matched and I found a company through Google and sent it to them with instructions of what I wanted on it. With a few weeks it was returned and it is now in the house above the bi-folding doors at the back of the house from the kitchen. I am so pleased with it!

I have so many ideas and photos on my phone that I have saved from searching the internet for ideas for each room. The boys rooms decor is decided and I will post a blog post with photos of what we are going to do to make the rooms extra special for the boys. I know it has taken me almost five months to right this post but I will be posting monthly updates going forward. Here is what the house will look like at the end.

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Oxfam’s Donation Drive

As we are currently in the process of building our new house I have really started to declutter and sort through everything so when we do move it is as stress free as possible without moving things we don’t need anymore. So when I was asked by Oxfam to take part in their Donation Drive campaign it was perfect timing! Oxfam’s Donation Drive launched on the 26th August and is running for a month. Their campaign is to encourage the great British public to donate what they no longer need or want to one of their 700 Oxfam shops, because they turn those donations into cash to fund their truly amazing work fighting extreme poverty and suffering across the world.

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They are asking the public for donations of: clothes, music, books, homewares – tableware, linen, rugs, curtain etc (not electrical equipment) and accessories (jewellery, shoes, scarves, shoes, belts, bags, braces etc).

So I started downstairs and went through the house room by room. I was pretty ruthless and before I knew it had piles of black bags ready to go to our local Oxfam shop in Rickmansworth. This time of year is always when I have a big clear out as with Christmas only a few months away, I know the boys will be inundated with more toys and clothes! With the big move hopefully in February I am more conscious of the amount of stuff we have and take the rule if I haven’t used it in the last two months then its going!

I really find decluttering and organising really therapeutic and am so happy when I know all our unwanted things are going to help other people. It was also great to get Oscar involved through sorting his old toys and teaching him about charity and helping others. We ended up with so many bags that Greg had to help me take to the Oxfam shop as I couldn’t carry it all on my own!

When you drop off your unwanted things to the Oxfam shop by then gift aiding the donated items – this is called ‘Tag Your Bag’ your unwanted items will be worth 25 per cent more.What I really love is that when you ‘Tag your Bag’, Oxfam will let you know how much money your stuff has raised and you can get yourself some Nectar points too.

So get organising and donate your unwanted bits and pieces to your local Oxfam store over the next month and take part in the Donation Drive.

“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.”

 

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Huggies Little Swimmers Vlog – Why They Are My Swim Nappy Of Choice 

*This post is in collaboration with Huggies

So this Huggies Little Swimmers Vlog comes from the less glamorous cloudy and wet England unlike my last Little Swimmers vlog that was made when we were on holiday in sunny Mallorca.

In this vlog you will see a round up of why Huggies Little Swimmers are my swim nappy of choice and why they are so easy to use and how great they are which is why they are U.K.’s number one leading brand for swim nappies.

So I hope you enjoy this second vlog and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thanks for watching!

Remember to check out the little swimmers website which is www.littleswimmers.co.uk for more ideas for a spontaneous swim and check out their fun website.

The Little Cake Boutique Pokemon Cupcake Review

Last week we had a delivery from The Little Cake Boutique of the most amazing Pokemon cupcakes! Oscar was over the moon as you can imagine as he loves Pokemon! He sat there and went through the cakes to teach me all of the Pokemon names.


The attention to detail of the toppers is amazing and every character as you can see looks like the characters from the television show and the new Pokemon Go app that everyone seems to be obsessed with! We’ve had to give Oscar one of our old iPhones so he can play it like his friends. They taste amazing too! 


The Little Cake Boutique is based locally to us in Watford, 17 miles northwest of Central London. The kitchen operates a delivery service with their delivery charges being very reasonable. 

Using techniques self taught over the years, Cathy and her team produce delicious biscuits and cupcakes for all occasions. We actually had some beautiful biscuits from Cathy at Christmas which finished off my Christmas table perfectly.


Whether it’s a small intimate function, a birthday party,a baby shower, a corporate event or a wedding. The Little Cake Boutique will without doubt be able to produce beautiful cakes/biscuits/giant cupcakes for you with a high attention to detail.

Not only do the cakes look so artistically presented. But the quality of the ingredients used is notable. These cannot be compared with your regular supermarket cupcakes. The finest of ingredients used, coupled with the creative designs have won over some of the world’s leading brands. Of whom have provided such high praise testimonials on the business’s website: www.thelittlecakeboutiquelondon.co.uk.Their online photo gallery showcases a vast selection of cakes and cake flavours that the Little Cake Boutique can offer. 

The Little Cake Boutique produce 12 cupcakes/biscuits as a minimum order as the cakes are baked fresh in batches. They produce giant cupcakes which have become such a popular craze as they are bring used as cutting cakes at parties. At only ÂŁ36.50 each, it is significantly more reasonably priced than competitors however there is certainly no compromise on quality. The giant cupcakes look as if they should be priced much higher.  
Orders can be placed through the online contact form, whereby a member of the boutique will contact you very efficiently. Or you can phone the boutique directly on: 07501 211488. The boutique have a Facebook page which I strongly recommend ‘liking’ as you will be kept up to date with all the new product launches and new ideas. I have been told that a very special christmas range (including Christmas gift boxes) will be launched in September, so keep your eyes peeled! 

If you have an event coming up,  give the Little Cake Boutique a call. They offer such a personal and bespoke service that you would expect to pay such a high premium for. If you want your event to have a showstopper, the Little Cake Boutique’s cupcakes will fulfil your expectations in every way possible. 

Win Four Jump Sessions At Gravity Force, St Albans

Mummy’s Zone has teamed up with Gravity Force to give you the chance to win FOUR free jump sessions at the brand new trampolining centre in St Albans.

Gravity Force is the leading provider of trampoline parks in the UK and are really excited about their new site in St Albans that opens in only a couple of weeks time on the 17th August.Displaying GF Opening.jpgDisplaying GF Opening.jpgGF Opening

Gravity Force are taking pre bookings starting now and there is a whopping 25% off of selective sessions if booked up until launch day on August 17th. There will be 25% off Gravity Jump, Gravity Tots, Gravity Fit, and birthday parties, if booked by Sunday 24th July by using the respective money saving codes – ‘JUMP1’, ‘TOTS1’, ‘FIT1’, ‘PARTY1’. To book and find out more about the sessions available visit www.gravityforce.co.uk or call 0845 498 9049.

There is something for everyone at Gravity Force. “Gravity Jump” is the core session and gives you access to all the park’s facilities. “Gravity Tots” kids’ class is suitable for toddlers from walking age up to five-years-old, along with any parents or guardians. “Gravity Fit” provides a high intensity, low impact structured fitness class that burns fat whilst building, toning and defining muscle. Children can also host their birthday parties at the trampoline park.

Gravity Force is the ultimate UK trampoline park. Whether you’re a freestyle pro looking to showcase an insane routine on the Tumble Tracks or an average Joe looking to get stuck into a game of trampoline dodgeball there really is something for everyone.

We have teamed up with Gravity Force to offer you the chance to win four free jump sessions at their St Albans site. So enter below and good luck! Happy jumping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entrants must be aged 18 or over at the time of entry and the competition closes at 00:00 on 16 th August.

Follow Gravity Force on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/gravityforceuk/

Follow them on Twitter – https://twitter.com/gravityforceuk?lang=en

Like their page on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/gravityforceuk/

Subscribe their our Youtube channel – https://www.youtube.com/user/gravityforceuk

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The Power Of Skin To Skin

*This is a paid advertorial for WaterWipes

WaterWipes recognises that skin to skin bonding is absolutely vital for newborn babies. In their latest video campaign, they’re aiming to prove just how powerful the bond between mother and child truly is. I had caesareans with both Oscar and Archie and it was so important to me that we were given skin to skin contact as soon as possible. As soon as we were home I always made sure when feeding or when we were relaxing at home I always had Oscar or Archie laying on my chest often snuggled in bed together to encourage the bonding process between us as much as possible.

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WaterWipes have put together a lovely film which through an experiment they have shown clearly the natural power a new mum has to care for her baby. Using infrared filming techniques and equipment to monitor heart rate, breathing and blood oxygen levels, it captures for the first time the biological response to skin to skin contact. The film makes visible the innate ‘superpower’ that every mum has to stabilise her baby’s biology when held in the skin to skin position. The experiment was conducted in collaboration with three first time new mums by world renowned skin to skin expert Dr Susan Ludington.

After watching this lovely film it will show you how amazing nature really is and that all your newborn baby really needs is you…. their Mummy! World-renowned expert on skin to skin Dr Susan Ludington comments that, scientifically, your skin on baby’s skin is a potent combination and can do something absolutely amazing for your baby. I was so surprised watching it how the little baby’s heart beat and vital stats went up and responded when they had skin to skin contact with their Mothers. Dr Susan explains that mums’ bodies are extraordinary. We spend nine months making and then give birth to our baby. Then once baby is born, a mother’s body continues to do incredible things for her baby – she even has the power to regulate baby’s biology simply by holding her baby skin to skin.

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This video has made me feel that as a Mother by giving both my boys the most skin to skin contact as possible as newborns along with breastfeeding that I have given them the best start to life that I possibly could have. So get cuddling your newborns. As if you needed more of an excuse to snuggle up with them!

 

 

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Huggies Little Swimmers Video

At the moment we are in the very hot and beautiful Mallorca on our Summer holiday. As you can imagine we have gone through loads of the Huggies Little Swimmers swim pants as Archie loves being in the pool splashing around with Oscar. They are easy to use with velcro sides so changing them couldn’t be easier. He has gained so much confidence just in a few days. Here is a little video I made of Archie enjoying being in the water in his Little Swimmers……

Remember to join in the fun you can pick up a packet of Huggies Little Swimmers from the baby aisle and check out their great website www.littleswimmers.co.uk for more information, top tips and expert advice.

I would love to see your videos and pictures of your little ones having fun in the pool in their Little Swimmers. Please tag me in the photo/video and you can use the hashtag #getsetsplash

This video is in collaboration with Huggies as we are proud to be a Little Swimmers blogger.

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Our Day At The Epson EcoTank #PrintingDory Event

Yesterday we went into London to the Epson #printingdory event to get hands on with the new EcoTank printer range at The Disney Store on Oxford Street. As Oscar broke up from school on Friday for the Summer he got to come along too and was so excited. We drove into London, parked up and walked round to the store and was shown upstairs to where the event was being held. When the lift doors opened we were greeted by a gorgeous brunch and drinks and Oscar was drawn straight to the photo booth basket of all of the characters in the new Finding Dory film which is released on the 29th July and we can’t wait to go and see it!

We were then given a short presentation from Leonie and Neil from Epson and Bobbi from Disney. So what are the new EcoTank printers all about? Epson’s new EcoTank range of printers features revolutionary refillable ink tank technology that offers an unbeatable combination of convenience and value for homes, home offices and small offices. You can now print without cartridges at a very low cost. Research showed that most people use around 70 ink cartridges over a two year period when using an old printer but now thanks to the Eco Tank way of printing when you buy a new EcoTank printer it comes with two years worth of ink which is up to 11,000 pages in black and colour! It truly is a printing revelation. When you finally run low you simply buy the additional ink bottles and refill your EcoTanks inside your printer.

I am someone who uses a printer a lot. From printing off boarding passes to photos to update our picture wall in our lounge and it is so annoying when your in the middle of printing and suddenly one of the colour cartridges becomes low and the rest of your printing is not as clear as when you started. I love that with the new Eco Tank printers you can just top up what ever colour is needed using the individual bottles. I did have a good look at the printer and the bottles and refilling the EcoTanks looks so simple and easy to do. I can’t wait to have our new printer delivered to try it for myself!

The EcoTank printers have a wide range of connectivity options making it so easy to print anything from your laptop, tablet device or smart phone using Wi-Fi with auto-setup, Wi-Fi Direct and Ethernet. These are combined with the simplicity of email print and the ability to print from your Android and iOS phones and tablets using Epson’s free iPrint app. EcoTank printers also support AirPrint. I often use the email function on my printer so whatever I need is ready for me to grab when I get home.

We then sat down and took part in lots of Finding Dory arts and crafts that Epson have put together with Disney which will keep your little ones entertained over the Summer holidays. Oscar loves doing art and crafts and it hardly costs a thing and we can spend hours making different things and spending quality time together. Research showed that most families over the Summer holidays will spend a whopping ÂŁ1500 on days outs and activities. Epson have made some great and easy to make printable art and crafts activities and we made Squirt the turtle, some photo booth props and a pretty collage. There is also pop up cards, origami Dory and many more things to choose from.

We had a really lovely day and the boys enjoyed it so much! I can’t wait to get started using our new EcoTank printer and I will write another post so you know how we got on with it. Thanks Disney and Epson for a really special day!

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Our HIPP Organic Garden Adventures

A few weeks ago we were sent a bundle of the most amazing goodies from HIPP Organic to make sure we had a fun garden adventure. Both Oscar and Archie love playing in the garden whenever possible and often after school if the weather is good we play in the garden and eat dinner out there too and the HIPP Organic tray meals are perfect for alfresco dining on our new picnic blanket. The rest of the range is great too with more than 120 products for every stage of weaning including pouches, jars, tray meals, cereals & fruit pots.

So when our goodies arrived Oscar was excited to get started and we firstly opened the ‘my first ever veg garden’ kit and Oscar with a little help from Archie coloured in the box then added the soil and seeds. Over the last couple of weeks our radishes, peas, carrots and peppers have grown and Oscar loves watering them daily and watching them grow. We then went outside and planted some seeds and can’t wait to see what they grow into.

This is the first Summer that Archie has been walking and big enough to play and enjoy being outside and take part in his first garden adventure. He loves kicking a ball, chasing Oscar around everywhere and building his giant lego bricks. HiPP Organic understand the moments that matter to mums and sometimes dinner time can take you into the kitchen away from playing outside but cooking the microwave tray meals take literally minutes. Archie’s favourite is the animal pasta dish and HiPP Organic are the only brand to offer pasta shapes in zoo animals, alphabet and numbers which children love!

Family beliefs and values embody HiPP Organic, who are instinctively organic and have been for over 60 years.  They believe in organic for a better legacy, using farming techniques that leave the soil full of nutrients for the next generation. I am constantly worrying about Oscar and Archie eating as healthy as possible and the fact that HIPP are thinking of the future too is great. They are passionate about providing the best possible quality food for all babies & young children and are obviously getting it right as they have been one of the leading baby and toddler food brand for over 60 years.

Archie loved his new toadstool tent the most and when it first came it was raining so we had great fun inside with it first then last week we got to play in the garden with it. He loves hiding inside it and playing peekaboo. He finds it very funny.

HIPP have provided us with some fabulous bits to have a great Summer and have lots of adventures in the garden. Now Oscar has finished school and has a whooping 9 weeks off we will have plenty if time to have fun outside. Thanks HIPP!

Disclaimer: We were sent the garden explorers pack as part of this blog post.