Monday 28 January 2013

A Step Back In Time

On Saturday Grace and I were lucky enough to be invited along to a PR event for Squashies.

Remember old favourites from your childhood - Lovehearts, Drumsticks, Double Lollies and Refreshers? Well Swizzels Matlow have given them a new lease of life in a fun squashy form! They taste exactly like the originals but are even easier to eat (Hmm, is that a good thing? Yummy AND easy to eat? My waistline doesn't think so!!!).

The event was fab! An 80's themes Tea-Party with lots of old and new sweets to try and games and face painting for the kiddos and a great chance for me to meet some fellow parent bloggers for the first time! Got some great advice and tips and met some lovely people!

Grace had a whale of a time and made some lovely little friends - here she is with the super cute Roo of Boo, Roo and Tigger too!

My favourite sweets were always Lovehearts - a timeless, simple gesture of love for all ages, as well as being just delicious! Speaking to Sarah Louise Meslop, Marketing Manager at Swizzels Matlow, I found out that the factory they are made is dubbed 'The most romantic work place' with 1 in 4 staff members being romantically involved and they will be appearing on various popular TV shows on and around Valentines Day! I found this absolutely fascinating - maybe they do contain some kind of magic love potion after all!! After spotting this pack, I think they are set to become a firm favourite of Graces too!

A great day was had by all!

Pop over to the Squashies website or download to app on your tablet or smart phone to enter their great competition and be in with a chance of winning a years supply!

The event was held at V&A Museum of Childhood which is somewhere I'd never heard of before but can't wait to visit again! We have already planned another trip with my friends and their children so we can spend the whole day there and get involved with some of the great activities they put on for the little ones as we had to rush off to get the train back to Portsmouth.

I was a bit put out that some of the 'vintage' toys were ones I had myself as I didn't think I was quite vintage yet but Grace loved seeing what toys I had when I was a kid and it was great to reminisce

Saturday 26 January 2013

Review - Baker Days Valentines Days Cakes.

I don't know about you but I always like send Grace an anonymous valentines card in the post (I say anonymous... she knows as well as I do who sent it) as it's something my Grandmother always did for us and I think it's cute!

I was contacted by a lovely little company called BakerDays who create the most adorable little cakes that are small enough to be sent in the post without anyone having to be about to sign for them and I thought it was a great alternative!

Of course they aren't just for kids, they have a fantastic selection of cakes to choose from for any occasion from 'New Job' cakes to 'Just to Say' ones which can be personalised with text or even a personal photograph to make them extra special!

After having a good look through all the lovely options I decided on this one as errr... have I mentioned my obsession with all things owl themed?

It arrived in this simple yet sweet reusable cake tin with a cute card and a little packet of my favourites – Lovehearts (which Grace unfortunately demolished before I got a chance to take a photo!

The actual cake is a nicely made, moist, fluffy sponge which is the £14.99 option but for an extra cost you can upgrade to a larger cake or different variety (even a gluten and wheat free one).

A lovely, yummy way to let someone know you're thinking of them! Grace and I really enjoyed it and I will definitely be using them in future for my loved ones on their special days!

Disclaimer - I was sent this product for free to review but was not paid to write this post and all views are my own.

Friday 14 December 2012

Our Experience with PKTMNY

So, as mentioned in a previous post, Grace and I have been trying out PKTMNY, the fantastic pre paid debit card for children to manage their pocket money.

Grace was totally excited about using it for the first time. After discussing with her what amount was for spending and what was for saving she decided to save up 2 weeks worth of spending too so she could buy a TY Beanie Boo to add to her collection. I was really impressed with her for not just thinking (like to be honest, I probably would have) ‘I’m allowed to spend this so I better spend it now’.

The first time she used it we went in to Debenhams and I showed her how to use the chip and pin machine, whispered her pin number to her,  the cashier said ‘You’ll regret teaching her that in a few years’ to which she proudly replied ‘It’s not her card, it’s mine, I’ve got my own card you know?’.

I got to college on a Thursday evening so since I started in September she has been using her pocket money to buy a magazine to take to the babysitter, ( not to read of course, she’ll only buy the one with the best free gift) so she has been using the rest of the agreed spending amount on that, she has continued to look very pleased with herself when we get to the cash desk and she says ‘Can I have MY card please, Mum?’, and tells me she feels very grown up when she’s using it!

The initial saving goal she has set for herself is £17.00, with which she intended to buy a Monster High Doll. She is almost there but I did explain to her that at this time of year it might be better to wait and see what Santa brings before buying anything and that most things are usually cheaper after Christmas and she was happy to do that so we changed it to £25 as there is another Monster High Doll for that amount and she should reach it in time for the January Sales!

It’s been great to see how responsible Grace has been with her spending. PKTMNY has been a great help as she’s really enjoying being able to see the amount building up and getting closer to her goal, and the thing that she wants, and it’s really encourages her to keep going. 


 This post is part of a project with BritMums, sponsored by

PKTMNY  , highlighting it's launch. The new tool allows parents to easily pay and monitor their children's pocket money online, whilst allowing their children to earn, save, spend and manage their money in a totally safe and fun way. We have been trailing the service and all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Birthday Party at Christmas Time!

Organising a child’s birthday party can be enough to send even the calmest of us into a panic at the best of times, let alone when it falls around the Christmas period.

Here are a few handy tips to take some of the pressure off and ensure your child’s party is the talk of the playground, while saving a few pounds in the process!

Having the party at home is of course the most cost effective option but not all of us have room for that hey? I certainly don’t. If you visit your local councils website and search for community centres most of them will offer you a list of halls available to hire for parties. Alternatively church halls are often available to hire. Many at only a small cost or for a returnable deposit.. 

Whether you’re planning to hold the party at home or in a hall, one way to make your child’s party stand out is to choose a theme. An obvious choice would be a Christmas theme which is great but maybe you and your child will want to keep it separate to Christmas to make it that extra bit special! 
Princess and pirate parties are always a popular choice but why not go for something a little different… Super Heroes, Birthday Butterflies, Monster Ball, Pop Stars, Disney Stars or dress up as something beginning with the first letter of the birthday boy/ girls name! 

Games like pass the parcel, musical statues/bumps/chairs, Simon Says and sleeping lions always keep the children entertained and can be changed to fit in with the theme ‘Pin The Crown On The Princess’ ‘Minnie Mouse Says’ etc.

Alternatively you can hire an entertainer to lighten the load. Most children’s entertainers can offer packages that include music, games and a magic show, so all you have to worry about is the food!
Children’s entertainers are not regulated and so do not have to have CRB checks so always make sure children are supervised.

It’s not a party without a party bag, right? Why not make your own with the children for a fun craft activity in the lead up the party and to save a bit of cash? You can find empty paper bags in most craft stores or find them online for pennies and use whatever crafty materials you have at home to decorate them to fit with the theme of the party. Fill them with a few sweets (buy in bulk to make it cheaper), stickers, a few little toys and that all important slice of birthday cake!

I usually let Grace make her own invitations too. I write just ‘To………..’ and ‘Please come to Grace’s party at (time, date and location)’ in black marker on a blank sheet of card and let her have free reign on the rest with felt tips and her craft box! Great fun for her and also means she can personalise them to suit each friend she is inviting! 

Making your own decorations would also be good fun and give your party an even more personal feel. Feel free to add any ideas in your comments! 

Friday 30 November 2012

Learning The Value Of Money

Having a mother with Narcissist Personality Disorder means that one of the many skills required to be an independent adult that I wasn't taught was how to manage my finances.
My Sister and I were never encouraged to save and if we wanted something we were just given it to keep us quiet, we never had to earn it which resulted in us both having no idea of the value of money and both getting into a lot of debt in our late teens, getting things on credit that we couldn't afford to pay for and never saving.
Then after becoming a Single Mother and not receiving any financial help I continued to struggle, so I made a decision as soon as Grace was old enough for pocket money that I would use it to best prepare her for financial independence so when I was given to opportunity to try out PKTMNY I was really keen to get involved.
I love the fact that Grace can see how much she needs to save to reach her chosen target which really encourages her not spend everything at once and another thing I like about it is that while she is in control of her own pocket money I can keep an eye on what is being spent and where from my account.

Grace is given £1 for every year of her age (currently 6) and after discussing which is a good amount to save we decided she could spend £4 and save £2 towards the Monster High Doll she has chosen for her target.

It has been great to see her developing a positive attitude towards saving and PKTMNY really is a great tool to help her do this. It’s really helped me to show her the importance of saving and that if she spends everything she is given then she will not be able to pay for the thing she wants. We will definitely continue to use it until she is financially independent.

Disclaimer = This post is part of a project with BritMums, sponsored by
PKTMNY , highlighting it's launch. The new tool allows parents to easily pay and monitor their children's pocket money online, whilst allowing their children to earn, save, spend and manage their money in a totally safe and fun way. We have been trailing the service and all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Things to do with your GlossyBox box Number 1!

I decided as the GlossyBox comes in such nice, handy sized boxes, that I'd make good use of them.

I printed off a sheet of flower print I found online and glued it to the lid then typed out what I wanted to store in the box and glued that on too! Simple! Looks cute though I think!

Monday 26 November 2012

Our Weekend.

So Friday night, I had my niece to stay. She's a toddler. Toddlers are awful little people aren't they? Jesus. Don't get me wrong I love that little monkey to pieces but you forget don't you, as they get older what hard work they used to be? After wreaking havoc on my my poor defenceless flat, she decided she needed to go to bed... needed to but didn't WANT to... subsequently screaming and whacking Grace on the head until 10pm when she finally admitted defeat. 7.30 is bedtime in my house (Unless she's seen an advert One Direction are on something slightly later than that of course!) and I cherish that bit of me time when I get to chill out and catch up on things. All that aside we do absolutely love having her around and she clearly feels the same, her little face lights up when she see's us. It's just nice to be able to give her back.

Saturday we went to visit cousins over in Gosport, bit off Wii playing, bit of X Factor. All the usual Winter Saturday-night-in goings on!

Sunday morning I decided to teach Grace how to cook my favourite dinner (You know just in case I'm ill and that, 6 year olds are allowed to use an oven unsupervised, right?) but we got half way through preparing it and my Dad called to say he and his partner were taking us out to lunch so it's been put in the fridge until tonight when we shall finish it and blog about it as really is too delicious to keep to myself.

So we went off for a pub lunch, a bit of Christmas shopping and then we went to see the Christmas lights being switched on in Fareham Town Centre by non other than the real PEPPA PIG AND SANTA! Followed by some fireworks and the fantastic Ska Band OffBeat Offensive who had Grace and my Dad up dancing when they played their favourite song - The Specials,  Monkey Man! A lovely evening which involved a little trip to TKMAXX where my Dad bought me this little vintage-esque owl lantern with a Christmas Spice scented candle in, I absolutely love it!

Now back to work in the pouring rain. Just lovely!