In The Playroom
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I was recently sent this Caboodle Fun and Funky Changing Bag to review. I am really loving it as its so spacious and also great quality.
It’s hard to believe, but after 3 kids this is the first proper changing bag I have had. I have previously been making do with the free one they give out from the Boots Parent and Baby club, so I really do think it was about time I have an upgrade – and I must say, this one does the job so well.
I have found it especially ideal for days out on the weekend, when we are going for the full day and with all the family together. I can fit in nappies and wipes for the younger two, spare clothes, drinks cups, any toys they need and still have plenty of space and not feel the bag is cramped. On those days, I have been able to ditch my handbag and just keep my keys, purse and phone in a section of this bag too so everything is in one place and I feel less weighed down with a handbag here, a small backpack there, another bag over there etc etc!
- Hanging in the hallway, you can get an idea of its size
- Small metal badge reading Caboodle, and you can see the lovely grey spotty pattern. I really like this, it tends to go with everything and looks cheerful yet not OTT!
- The zip pull, again reading Caboodle
- Bag all loaded into the car ready for a day out
- The whole bag
- Inside lining and zip compartment. This is a generous size and has a section for your phone. There are also loads more unzipped pockets inside
- Metal feet on the bottom to stop it getting scuffed
- Outside pocket, there is one on each side
There are quite a few accessories included:
1. Changing mat
2. Insulated bottle holder, to keep milk or water at the right temperature
3. Zipped plastic pouch – ideal for putting any dirty or wet items in,to keep the rest of your stuff safe!
This bag will be really good for days out when we go to the local water parks and need to bring even more things like the children’s swimming clothes and towels, or for picnics when extra food and cups and plates are needed as it really will fit in a lot! It also would be great for newborn days when you have so many different things to bring. For me having 3 young children I find it great that I can get everything into the one bag. There’s no way I could do that with my old smaller changing bag so I had taken to just shoving stuff in various carrier bags – so disorganised, and not stylish at all. I have taken some telling offs from elders in the family about doing this! So they are much happier to see me with a proper smart looking changing bag! I am much happier with this bag too and really don’t know why I did not get one like this sooner!
This bag is currently £40.00 on Caboodlebags.co.uk which I think is good value for such a useful and good quality bag. There are a couple of other colour options also available: Blue, or Red Spot and there will be a new red trim version coming soon with grey spots like mine but a red trim rather than purple.
It’s my first time linking up to the Small Steps, Amazing Achievements Linky over at Ethan’s Escapades. I have been meaning to join in for a while but have not had the chance, but this week I am extra proud of my little Mr T so I knew I had to make the time to join in and share his achievement 😀
Here he is – taking part in the nursery end of year show last week! He was so good, and so cute. His first performance was a teddy bears picnic dance, you can see him with his little teddy ears, heart and face paint top left and bottom left! Then he has joined in with ring a roses, and was the bus driver for wheels on the bus – which he loved!
Taking part in a show like this is a big thing for any small child, especially for the first time but for a child with Autism even more so. I am so proud of him! He has had support from one of his key workers sitting behind him and helping him with some of the performance, so he has been able to sit and take part in the whole show – which was quite a long time for him to sit, as there were lots of songs from different groups of the children and even a small play. All of the children did really well!
Mr T has settled in so well to his nursery and I am so proud of the steps he has made. Most importantly, he is really happy to go and spend his time there!
Here he is with his first school picture, also such a proud moment for me
At the end of the school year, I can see all the effort which we have put in – the teachers, speech therapists, me, and the various other professionals he sees (can’t list everyone he sees a lot! :p ) – is all starting to pay off and he is doing really well. I am so glad he has a winter birthday so he has another whole year in his nursery before moving up to reception, which will give him a chance to develop his skills even more and I can not wait to see what achievements the next year will bring him!
Well done Mr T, my beautiful little teddy!! 😀
They really enjoyed exploring here and picking some of the apples. They are still very small and need to grow much more before they will be good to eat, so I had to make sure they left some on the tree so they can still grow!!
In our old house we had blackberries growing in the garden which they loved picking and eating. I’m not sure exactly what the berries here will be, there are some small round black ones and some small round red ones. I couldn’t let them eat anything as I’m not sure! So I let them pick and them put them back down on the floor so that birds can come and eat them if they want.
After picking some of the little apples they could play picnic with them by putting them in the play table. It’s nice to see them enjoying such a simple thing and being so excited by what they discover growing in the garden!
Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou! is a new book from Julia Donaldson. Like many households with young children, Julia Donaldson is a firm favourite in our home so whenever she has a new book out, we are always eager to read it!
This book is all about a little girl Lydia Lou, who is fast asleep when a ghost comes along and makes it his mission to wake her up. He finds it hard so one by one he enlists the help of other animals and characters and they all make their noises to see if they can wake her up.
I felt this book is aimed at slightly younger than some of Julia Donaldson’s other recent story books (for example The Highway Rat or The Singing Mermaid.) It is quite simple and with lots of repetition so it was best for my younger children (almost 2 years, and 3.5 years.)
It includes loads of animal noises and rhyming, so is great for getting the little ones involved and joining in. Different fonts and sizes are used for these words to help make them stand out on the page.
Overall, it is another lovely book to add to Julia Donaldson’s collection. It is perfect for age around 2-4 years old and makes a great bedtime story.
I have a great prize to share with you all today from Character World – A Disney Planes bedding set including the Disney Planes Dusty single duvet (worth £24.99), and a Disney Planes Dusty rotary fleece blanket (worth £6.99)
I haven’t seen Planes yet but I am actually really looking forward to it (yes, I am one of those mums who likes the Disney stuff almost as much as the kids do 😀 ). I’m sure we will enjoy it as much as Cars and then my boys will probably start eyeing up all of the merchandise in the shops!
Most children seem to like bedding of their favourite Characters, and it’s nice to let them put their own stamp on their space. My boys have some Thomas bedding sets at the moment and accessories like the plush cushion.
There is also a new range out from Monster’s University if your child is more of a Monsters type person!
Character World is the UK’s leading licensed household bedding and accessories company. They offer a range of officially licensed bedding products to suit all ages and tastes – from Disney Princess, to Hannah Montana, to One Direction, to Lego and Nintendo. They can offer entire bedroom makeovers comprising of beds, duvets covers and curtains, through to blankets, cushions, rugs, t
See www.characterworld.uk.com/ for all the ranges that they offer!
For your chance to win the duvet and fleece set, enter via the Rafflecopter below – Good Luck!
Enter as many options as you like, the more you do the more chances you will have.
Seen on PrizeSpotter.co.uk
Zoe and Beans books are a lovely series of books for young children by Father and daughter duo, Chloe and Mick Inkpen. We recently received Look at Me! to review from the publisher Macmillan books.
This is a medium sized board book all about dressing up and pretending. It has a simple story showing Zoe and Oscar trying out all sorts of different costumes and ideas when deciding “What shall I be?”
The illustrations are really appealing and cute as always with Zoe and Beans. For those who are familiar with the characters, the style of the illustrations would be instantly recognisable. They have a lovely soft pencil-crayonish look but are still bold and bright enough to grab a young child’s interest.
The book goes through bumble bee, pirate, doctor, and robot before Zoe and Oscar settle on pretending to be each other. Each page is very simple with only one or two sentences and the language is kept simple which is great for young children or toddlers who are still developing their language skills. It also includes fun sound effect type words like bzzzzz, and beep beep which are good for grabbing younger listeners attention and to give variation to the tone of voice when reading.
It’s a handy book for my 23 month old as I find long story books don’t always keep his attention as he is still under two and can’t sit still so long, he would get half way through and he is off! So a shorter book like this is perfect for his attention level, and with it being a board book with sturdy pages I am happy for him to take this and ‘read’ it by himself or take it off to look at the pictures as I know it can not get ripped.
My 5 year old was able to read the text of this book himself as it is so nice and simple, which is great because he was able to read it to his younger brothers which givess a sense of achievement for him. It is lovely to see siblings all sitting together and the oldest reading to the younger ones, that’s always such a sweet and proud moment for me as a Mum 😀
There are other Zoe and Beans books available if you want to build up a collection! As well as board books there are some longer story books for age around 3+. We have a copy of Zoe and Beans Christmas List which is signed by the author so quite special!
My friend Pippa from Red Rose Mummy is currently running a competition to win this book and another from Zoe and Beans “How Many Pets?” so why not pop over there too in case you get lucky! 😀
It is definitely BBQ weather at the moment with all this heat. It seems like everyone is wanting to get outdoors and enjoy it while it lasts. Luckily for me, MoneySuperMarket had given us £50 towards hosting a barbecue for their #thecharcoalchallenge competition (see here for more details)
To make the budget go further we got together with friends and contributed jointly to the barbecue. I was in charge of bringing the vegetarian foods:
I got a mixture of quorn burgers, bean burger, bbq salmon and bbq prawns. This was all bought from Tesco at 2am the night before as I was in a bit of a rush and knew I wouldn’t get much time in the morning either. Thank God for 24 hour supermarkets 😀
I also wanted to have halloumi and falafel as they are always nice for a veggie BBQ, but couldn’t find it at the time. Never mind though, all was nice, especially the sweet chilli prawn skewers.
My friend’s flat has a large communal garden so that is where we held the barbecue. Luckily one neighbour had all the barbecue equipment, which they kindly lent so we did not need to buy any of that. My friends provided all the meat, which was delicious as you can see below
To make the barbecue more fun for all the children we put out lots of activities like slide, tunnel, paddling pool with loads of plastic balls, and a small bouncy castle and decorated the place with balloons.
It was a lovely barbecue and a great way to spend a sunny afternoon with friends and family. We will definitely keep doing more barbecues in future.
Twinkl is a website offering a wide range of printable education resources, including worksheets and much more. I have been signed up to Twinkl for quite some time now, and find it really useful to have loads of worksheets all in one place, to save me having to google for different ones all over the place. Recently I was given a premium subscription to try out, and this enables me to have unlimited access to all of the resources on Twinkl and to print full sets at once, saving time.
My 5 year old has been a fan of work sheets since he started nursery at 3 years old, and he loves to have extra to do at home. He will come to me himself and ask if I can print him out some worksheets, his favourite being anything maths or numbers related.
At the moment, Twinkl has a great section focusing on Under The Sea which is quite appropriate for my boy as his school arranges the classes with names after sea creatures. At the moment he is in Shark and will be going up to Whale in September. I had a look through the Key Stage 1 resources, as he is going up to year 1 in September so I would like to encourage him in this level of work. There are some lovely worksheets which he enjoyed doing:
In the collage above you can see
- Shark Portrait Page boarder – A simple sheet which comes with the option of being fully lined, half lined or narrow lined. Decorated with a shark border. The border made it more appealing for Mr Z so he was more keen to practise his writing. He seems to be progressing really well with this at the moment and getting more confidence with his writing. He was happy to show me what he can write and spell by himself. His finished work did made me laugh, he had put a sentence about “I like my mum wen she less me to have the copooter and aPad” – clearly a child of the modern generation! It came complete with an illustration of Bejewelled! May I add I don’t let him play on these all the time!
2. The jellyfish page from Under The Sea Description Writing Template. This is a premium resource pack and there are 14 different sea creatures included. I found this set really good, to encourage reading, writing and careful thinking about the characteristics of each animal. The sheets include a word bank at the top and then room for the child to write their own paragraph, using these words as inspiration. This is something a bit different from the usual worksheets I have seen.
Mr Z has not worked through all 14 yet but he enjoyed writing a couple of sentences about some of the sea creatures and felt quite pleased with his finished results. I’m sure he will be asking to do the rest of them soon.
3. Rockpool counting activity from the Seaside theme. This is another premium worksheet and it gives a picture with lots of things to spot and count, then write the number next to the word. I knew Mr Z would love this as it is number related.
I have printed loads more out too for him to use over the Summer holidays, and I am sure I will keep going back to the site to replenish my supply!
For teachers there are also loads more handy resources for in the classroom, for displays and more. I focused more on the worksheets myself but I can see that this would be a really great resource and definitely worth looking into if you are in teaching.
The other area I was really interested in trying out from Twinkl is the SEN section, and I found there are some visual time tables, including editable ones which is useful!
My 3 year old has Autism and has been recommended to use visual timetables at home and at school, and has also started off with using PECS (a picture exchange communication system). It is always good to see resources like this available in case he needs to expand on the words in his PECs folder or for me to make some extra time tables to help with certain situations. I will definitely need to make more for him over the summer holidays to help with his transition from being in a routine of going to nursery and speech therapy sessions, to being at home in a slightly more unstructured routine. I know it will help to keep him calmer if he can see the visual structure of the day and then take the pictures and put them into a “finished” post box once they are done.
Some of the other sections of the SEN area seem to be still under construction with more needing to be added but I am sure that soon there will be more and I will definitely keep checking back as this is a really important area to me. There should be ideas for sensory games, motor skills, communication choice boards and more.
I had a look around the forum too, where you can discuss ideas for educational activities or ask for help locating any resources and also make suggestions for the site. I saw some discussion about adding Makaton or signing resources on the site in future which would be something I would really welcome!
Twinkl are currently offering a free trial of Premium for schools. I can see how handy this would be for schools. I know my son comes home with a lot of Twinkl resources, so obviously his school have already discovered Twinkl!
With the Premium service, there are 10,000 extra resources that you have access to. Without the premium subscribers, Twinkl would not be able to make any resources at all! So by getting Premium you can also feel good that you are helping to support this brilliant service.
It’s definitely worth considering as something beneficial to keep your child busy and keep them learning over the Summer holidays. I will be printing out plenty more worksheets for my 5 year old and I will also be getting ready to print out some of the Eid resources for Eid coming up.
MoneySuperMarket are running another competition, to find out all about what is on our “Bucket Lists”, what are the ultimate things we would love to achieve and tick off our lists during our lives.
It’s easy to think of ideas if money is no object. There are so many places in the world that I would love to see, so the first things that jump to mind for me are travel related, however the first item on my list is a journey that is made not just for sightseeing or enjoyment purposes. Rather it is a journey to fulfil a spiritual goal and to reconnect. This is something that I have wished to do since I was much younger; something that fills the heart with longing and hopefully changes it for the better on it’s return. A journey that will give a sense of peace. A journey which has famously changed the lives and outlook of others who have gone before, such as Malcom X.
This journey is the Hajj. The Islamic pilgramage. My ultimate bucket list aim.
I have been fortunate enough to go and do Umrah (the smaller pilgramage) before we had children, so I have seen the kaabah and done tawaf. I have prayed in the Haram, and in Masjid an Nabawi and I am so glad I was given the opportunity to do this. (Alhamdulillah) The moment of seeing the Kaabah for the first time is something really special. It is in this direction that we turn to pray 5 times each day so to finally see this in front of your eyes is so surreal.
But Hajj would be on the next level. It is a much more challenging journey. To think of all those who have gone before and completed the same journey, every year for more than 1400 years so many people have been coming, from every country in the world, all with the same purpose. And to then think of our children and children’s children and the future generations continuing this as time goes on – to me this is an amazing thing and it must be my ultimate bucket list aim.
However, knowing that money is an issue for a lot of people at the moment, MoneySuperMarket have also asked us to come up with a budget bucket list. There are loads of simple things I would love to do which I have not yet achieved so here is mine:
The back to nature list:
- Camping – I have never done this but we will be going this summer, so that will be one thing ticked off the list already! I quite fancy roasting some marshmallows under the stars 😀
- Take the kids to a bluebell woods – Somehow we have never done this! We have been to normal woods, but the bright blue of the bluebell woods is really beautiful and I would love to take them, great for photos too!
- Ditto Lavender fields! I loved the smell of lavender since I was little
- Stay in a lake house – secluded and relaxing and calm. After running around after the kids and rushing from appointment to appointment all the time, I sometimes crave something like this. Somewhere that is just quiet!
The practical list:
- Pass my driving test – I have been learning now for well over a year and had about 3x the amount of lessons most people have! 3rd attempt coming up and if I finally pass I can stop spending so much on lessons every week and get more freedom and spontaneity to go where I want, when I want. I really really do hope I can get this one ticked off my list soon!!
- Making a decent biryani – My cooking is not too bad but this is one dish which never comes out so well, and I feel like it is the mark of a proper mum who can cook biryani when guests come over, so I would like to master it!
- Finish fixing up my garden and redecorating my house – It would give me a lot of satisfaction to feel that there is not so much left in the house which drastically needs doing! I will be making a few steps in this direction so do look out for those posts coming up soon 😉
The just for fun list:
- Take the kids to Butlins – I keep meaning to take them. I used to go every year as a kid so it is something I would just like to do with them
- Take the kids to see some peacocks – Maybe in Richmond Park. I love peacocks! Again its something I remember enjoying when I was a child so I want to go and experience with the kids
- Go on a big holiday with the kids, their cousins and all of the close relatives
- Take the kids ice skating
- Take a break and go on a mini holiday with my best friend (Mumtographer)
The long term list:
- See my kids grow up, get married and have kids – Obviously don’t know what the future holds, but I hope they experience this and I would love to see it
- Travel all over the world with my husband – Once the kids are fully grown, we are looking forward to seeing some of the world’s great places together. As we had them young, I am hoping we have plenty of years left do this once they are bigger!
- Spend some time focusing on helping others – I have thought about volunteering for Home start, training to be a portage home visitor, or even fostering children once mine are quite a bit older. I would have to consider the best way for me to do these things and balance it with my own children’s needs but it is definitely important to me to make sure I achieve something worthwhile and have the opportunity to help others as others have helped me in life.
There are so many more things I could add to my lists, and endless extra categories I could add. I hope I manage to achieve as many of these as I can, but I know that as long as we enjoy each day spending time with loved ones, making the most of our time, making memories and helping others along the way, letting our loved one know and feel how loved they are and enjoying each moment – then the specifics and details of the lists do not matter, we will have no regrets.
This is my entry for the MoneySuperMarket Budget Bucket Lists Competition and I would like to tag the following 3 friends to take part in the competition:
You can find out more about the competition here