Paw Patrol And Top Wing At Showcase Cinema De Lux

On Saturday we watched Paw Patrol and Top Wing on the big screen at Showcase Cinema De Lux at Bluewater. We were kindly gifted 3 tickets to watch the Nick Jr Big Screen Heroes show in exchange for our review. 

Paw Patrol - Paw Patrol and Top Wing at Showcase Cinema de lux

Paw Patrol And Top Wing

We haven’t visited a Showcase Cinema De Lux before so we weren’t too sure what to expect. Bluewater is signposted really well making it easy to find Showcase Cinema De Lux (and the Mr was pleased to find an open bar below!). Upon arrival we were pleased to find that unlike our recent cinema trips, all the chairs were clean, in working order and recline!

This is perfect for us as Izzy often ends up on my lap halfway through which aggravates my chronic pain. Having my legs raised took off the pressure making the experience a rather comfortable one!

Izzy watching  an episode of top wing

In total there were 6 episodes swapping from Paw Patrol to Top Wing and each one had Izzy glued to the screen, even Eva seemed happy enough to watch. Izzy loves Paw Patrol but hadn’t watched Top Wing before and she was certainly impressed.

Top Wing - Paw patrol and Top wing at Showcase cinema de lux

The display and sound were perfectly clear, we forgot Eva’s ear defenders but thankfully the volume wasn’t so high it overwhelmed her yet it was loud enough for Izzy to hear even though she only has 50% of her hearing currently due to glue ear. Overall we really enjoyed visiting Showcase Cinema De Lux and watching Paw Patrol and Top Wing on the big screen. I can see us visiting this cinema again in future.

Top Wing

Showcase Cinema De Lux

Showcase Cinemas has 21 cinema across the UK offering luxury recliner seats for a more comfortable cinema experience.

Ticket Prices are:

Adult – £9.35
Child – £8.60
Senior – £8.60
Student (Id required) – £9.25

Have you visited a Showcase Cinema before?

Brightening Clothes -#ACEWinterRefresh Challenge

We’ve been brightening clothes with Ace for colours as part of the Britmums #ACEWinterRefresh Challenge. We took part in a previous ACE back to school challenge and loved their products so much we still use them.

Brightening Clothes #ACEWinterRefresh challenge

Brightening Clothes

We received 2 boxes of ACE for colours to help us with this challenge. The girls wear a lot of red and pinks thanks to their school uniform and it being their favourite colours so we decided to brighten some up.

We decided to test ACE for colours mainly on a red fluffy pyjama top that was a lovely bright red last winter but has slowly faded and a pair of light pink and black socks that were a little grubby and faded.

Easy To Use

ACE for colours is really easy to use, simply add the specified amount on the box along with your usual washing powder to refresh your clothes. You can find Ace for colours at your local Morrison’s store or online from Amazon.

ACE gently lifts stains helping you keep up with the never-ending school washing pile, keeping clothing bright, robust and clean. ACE is gentle enough you can add it to every wash keeping your clothing in the best condition possible.

Results

The red fluffy reindeer pyjama top came out surprisingly refreshed and looking much brighter than before. I had been thinking of replacing these but these results mean it will last Izzy most of this winter and still look bright and colourful. It was a little difficult to get a before and after photo but I am pleased with the results.

Reindeer pj top refreshed with ACE for colours

I was really shocked to see just how much dirt was removed from the socks and the pink is almost like new again! The black is looking much darker too rather than faded.

Before and After ACE for colours

Do you use any ACE products?

 *This post is an entry for the BritMums #ACEWinterRefresh Challenge, sponsored by ACE for Colours Powder. Get help for all kinds of stains with the ACE Stain Helper and pick up the range at your nearest Morrison’s store or buy online on Amazon.

Mess-Free Fun – Playfoam Pluffle Review

We’re enjoying mess-free fun with Playfoam Pluffle which we were kindly sent to review by Learning Resources UK in September. Pluffle is the mesmerising feel-good fluffy stuff which is mess-free meaning both children and parents will love it!

Playfoam Pluffle

Play Foam Pluffle

Playfoam Pluffle comes in packs of 2, 4 and 9 and suitable for children 5 years and up. We were kindly sent three 2-packs to review including Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Pink and Purple. Unlike similar products, this can’t dry out, can be mixed and is completely amazing to touch and watch. Several packs and colours are available to buy making Pluffle a flexible and fun product.

Playing with Playfoam Pluffle

Pluffle is a fantastic learning resource, squishing, squeezing a pinching develops hand strength and watching the lava-lamp like flow encourages concentration. This truly is mesmerising and we all found ourselves flipping over handfuls to watch it fall and flow.

Under the sea Playfoam Pluffle sensory play scene

Imaginative Sensory Play

Izzy was fascinated and couldn’t wait to let her imagination loose finding an assortment of toys to create play scenes. She loves the feeling and says it tickles her fingers! It really is super soft to the touch.

Izzy loves to mix things so she had most of the colours a little mixed in rather quickly too otherwise I could have added more photos’s.

Beach Playfoam Pluffle Scene

I love this beach scene Izzy created using the Blue and Yellow Pluffle though. She sat playing with this scene for quite some time, burying characters in ‘sand’, letting them swim in the ‘sea’ along with the sea creatures.

Our Thoughts

Overall we think Playfoam Pluffle is brilliant and a great SEN resource for children aged 5-10 years. Izzy really enjoys pulling out her tubs to play with. Even Eva had fun getting involved feeling Pluffle and setting up scenes.

Have you seen or heard of Playfoam Pluffle before?

Plusnet Modern Day Fairy Tales – Rapunzel Rewritten

Plusnet have teamed up with Larry Lamb to re-imagine a trilogy of classic fairy tales for the digital generation. Recent research suggests infrequent readers are on the rise between 6-16 years. Giving these classic’s a modern day twist will appeal to children under 10 and give them a positive way to use technology. 

We were asked by Plusnet to re-imagine our own fairy tale favourite and received a box of supplies to help us. As a family, reading is very important to us and a main topic on our blog. Some classics are rather outdated for our modern day technologically advanced world. 25% of parents today admit to changing the story lines of classic tales to fit modern day values and we were excited to rewrite a classic ourselves.

Plusnet - Jack and the Beanstalk

Using the Amazon Fire HD10 we watched the Plusnet trilogy to give us ideas. The trilogy includes Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk. 

With the books, pens, pencils and stickers, the girls set to work deciding which story to rewrite. In the end they decided on Rapunzel, and wanted kindness to save her instead of a Prince. 

Rapunzel Rewritten

Once upon a modern time, a young Rapunzel sat on her bed, daydreaming. Rapunzel had been locked up in her tower by an evil witch, Mother Gothel, who was jealous of her beauty and long, magical hair.

Plusnet Once upon a time online

As Rapunzel sat daydreaming, an idea suddenly came to her.
“Perhaps if she booked a pampering spa day, Mother Gothel may feel happier and beautiful and set me free.”

Rapunzel uses her smartphone to begin searching for spa days and books Mother Gothel in at a luxurious spa, offering full day packages.

Rapunzel pages 2 to 3

Now Rapunzel just had to find a way for Mother Gothel to get there without knowing about the surprise.

Rapunzel realises the next day, Mother Gothel would take an Uber shopping to buy supplies for Rapunzel. She changes the booking just in time the next morning.

Mother Gothel is surprised when her Uber pulls up at a luxurious Spa retreat. Before she can say a word, a member of staff whisks Mother Gothel through to the spa, handing her a fresh bathrobe and fresh youth smoothie. Mother Gothel relaxes, allows her hair to be dyed and enjoys her pampering session at the spa.

When Mother Gothel returned, she thanked Rapunzel for planning her surprise spa day. “Thank you, Rapunzel. I feel amazing now and I see that keeping you here is wrong. Sorry Rapunzel, you are free to leave, the Uber is outside waiting for you.

The end.

What do you think of the girls ‘Rapunzel Rewritten’

Blanket Fort Building Challenge

We received a Blanket fort building challenge from Time4Sleep who are aiming to build the world’s biggest blanket fort! We received an essential fort building kit to join in the fun and build our own forts at home.

Blanket Fort

A better world starts with a blanket fort.

Blanket Fort Building

We love building blanket forts, it’s one of our go-to ideas when the weather is miserable so we couldn’t wait to get started! In the end, we actually made several forts, each slightly different from the last.

Fort Building Challenge Kit

With the summer being so up and down we have spent a good week building different forts with our kit from Time4Sleep. We received Fairy lights, bunting, wooden pegs, a torch, popcorn boxes, popcorn, bed sheets, a chalk board sign, an iPad stand and blanket fort book.

Popcorn and blanket forts

The girls absolutely love snuggling up with the lights on, watching a DVD or their tablets cosily in their forts. I filled their popcorn boxes up with a mix of popcorn and sweets and they have spent hours together enjoying films or books and redecorating their forts, making sure their ‘Girls only’ sign is on display at the entrance!

Benefits Of Blanket Forts

Building blanket forts is so much more than just fun for kids. Blanket fort building enhances children’s cognitive skills such as problem-solving and planning. Social skills such as cooperating and negotiating are needed and the building itself builds practical skills too.

Building Forts for fun

Children are free to let their imaginations run wild as they decide on their building plans and how to decorate inside. Once built, blanket forts create a cosy safe space to relax or play in. With lots of miserable days this summer, blanket forts have kept the girls amused quite a lot.

Another benefit is silence! The girls love their blanket forts so much they often disappear for an hour or so at a time. Izzy especially loves being able to snuggle up in a blanket fort for hours on end and is silent the entire time.

Do your kids love building forts too?

Conversation Cards For Kids From Together Equal

We received a set of conversation cards from Together Equal. Together Equal targets families, with profits from every pack going directly to small, independent charities working towards equality.

Conversation cards for kids from together equal

As a family we often discuss equality and we were excited to use Together Equal’s conversation cards. Together Equal is a not for profit organisation which works with a number of charities supporting victims of abuse. Having had the support of Women’s Aid in the past, I personally love the whole idea and product.

Together Equal

Research has proven the power of conversations with an OECD study identifying the positive impacts of conversations between children and their parent or guardians. Using this knowledge, Together equal have created an enjoyable, engaging game that can be played at home or on the go. Then conversation cards have been developed for families with children aged 7-11 year although Izzy (4) has been joining in with us too! There is a variety of topics, some fun, some are thought-provoking and some touch on societal gender stereotypes.

Family Discussions

Equality - Is it ok for boys to cry?

We have used the conversation cards quite a bit to be honest, the girls love a good discussion! One of the first cards we discussed asked ‘Is it ok for boys to cry?’. Both girls instantly answered yes! It’s a topic we have discussed before so I wasn’t surprised by their answers. Eva happily explained to us why it’s ok for boys to cry too which was lovely to hear.

Together Equal - Conversation cards for kids

Another favourite card asked ‘If you could make a law that everyone had to follow what would it be?’. Eva answered that she would make it a law for everyone to be kind all the time. Izzy’s answer was funny, she said she would make it a law for everyone to drink one beer a day!

Tell the person next to you what you think makes them awesome

We have kept the conversation cards on my desk and quite often one of the girls will open them up and ask if we can pick one to discuss. I love this, it’s a really fun way to start a conversation. I love the card above, it’s a lovely way of making your friends and family feel good about themselves. Hearing the girls tell each other why they think the other is awesome was adorable!

Honestly, I think these cards are fantastic, you can take them anywhere to get a conversation going. Knowing profits after production costs all go to fantastic charities that help victims of abuse get their life back is reassuring. I know too well just how much donations can change peoples lives and Together Equal are doing amazing work to spread equality and help others.

Have you heard of Together Equal’s Conversation Cards before?

The Baby Detective Blog Tour

I received The Baby Detective by Sarah Norris to review, a parenting book unlike many others I’ve read. This book doesn’t dictate what is the right or wrong way to care for your baby. Neither does it tell you which parenting style to go with, instead, it gently guides you through caring for your newborn.

The Baby Detective

The Baby Detective

Sarah Norris gently guides you through investigating what the problem is and why it is happening. With 25 years experience as a maternity nurse caring for hundreds of new mothers and families Sarah developed a new method. The unique AIM (Assess, Investigate, Modify) method to help parents solve the challenges any new parent may face.

Sarah Norris

A Unique Parenting Book

New parents can often feel confused and overwhelmed with unasked for advice, tips and tricks to care for their newborn. This book encourages parents to use their own tuition rather than telling them what to do. This book will give you the confidence to care for your new baby with confidence. Solving each challenge you face from sleeping, feeding, routines and winding.

Different Case Studies

Each case study is unique and as a parent of 2 daughters myself, I’ve faced most of these problems. Looking back at my own experience these problems sometimes took month to solve due to conflicting advice, especially with Eva. Sarah’s explanations of looking for clues as to what affects your baby is fantastic for new parents. I honestly wish I had a book like this to hand as a new parent. Everything a new parent will face with their newborn is covered. From environmental factors, biological states,temperamant and emotional response.

Record Keeping

Sarah explains how record keeping can help new parents keep track and solve problems. From feeds taken, winding times and issues, sleep patterns and issues, nappy changes, Sarah makes record keeping seem a breeze . She also goes on to explain whilethis can be reassuring it can also increase anxiety at times. If this happens she explains what to do in that situation. This kind of book would have been helpful when I had Eva. I became obsessed with weighing Eva weekly until she was over a year old. Because she was born at 4lb 14oz, then dropped to 4lb 4oz due to jaundice, I was constantly worrying. Record keeping can be useful, but it needs to be kept simple and not become obsessive as Sarah explains.

How To Be Your Own Baby Detective

Rather than tell you which problems may arise with a newborn Sarah explains situations she has faced with new families. With each challenge the parents face The Baby Detective explains how to assess the situation, investigate the problem and make modifications. This method can be applied to big and small problems even those minor day-to-day issues.

Planning

The Baby Detective covers planning ahead using AIM. This can be applied to family gatherings at home, medical appointments or treatments. It can also be applied to Social events away from home, foreign holidays and as baby develops. This in depth look at planning helps you plan aheadwith ease to suit you and your babies needs.

Winding Your Baby

An in depth look at winding, why your baby gets wind, anatomy of babies stomach will help you understand what is going on with your little one. This will fill a new parent with confidence instead of leaving them feeling clueless. With an extensive look at winding techniques that will help your baby you will quickly become a winding expert!

Useful Tools And Equipment

As a new parent all the baby products everywhere can be really overwhelming. You can feel really unsure what will actually be useful day to day and how to use them. Sarah looks at each tool and why you may need it, reasons it can be useful. She also explains how not to overuse items like pacifiers and tips for sensible use. Each item is fully broken down again, filling a new parent with confidence that they are doing the right thing to comfort and care for their newborn.

What Is Normal

As a new parent knowing what is normal for your baby can be very confusing and scary. Again Sarah gives an in-depth look at every part of a newborn. From skin colour, umbilical cord, eyes, arms, feet, noises and crying. The Baby Detective also looks at head shape, appetite, wind, hiccups, breathing and temperature, febrile convulsions and sleep. A look at birthmarks, urine, feaces and constipation, menstrual blood in baby girls and skin rashes will leave you confident in caring for your newborn.

Where and How To Get Help

As you face new challenges you may require support and have no idea where or how to get help. Sarah makes this easier for new parents by point5ing out exactly where to get the help you need and how. From other peoples opinions, hospital, community midwives, health visitors, GP’s, consultants, maternity nurses and support groups. Whatever help you need, Sarah Norris has compiled an extensive list to make finding help easy.

Emergency Action

We have all faced a newborn screaming, having a total meltdown whilst feeling overwhelmed and exhausted ourselves. Sarah offers some fantastically useful advice and suggestions for this situation. Sarah provides comforting ideas for your baby, an emergency routine to reset and calm a baby. These aren’t long term solutions but will help you get back on track and continue with the AIM method in desperate times.

Genuinely Helpful Parenting Book

Having read The baby Detective, I love Sarah Norris’ way of looking at caring for a newborn. I remember too well how stressful those first few months with Eva were. I never felt confident that what I was doing was right and everyone felt I should try their way. It’s very overwhelming and stressful but The Baby Detective would make that time much easier for any new parent. I genuinely couldn’t recommend this book more, it’s unlike any other parenting book I have read.

Using Less Plastic For 2019

We’re planning on using less plastic for 2019. It’s no secret we use plastic far too much all around the world. We produce over 300 million tons of plastic every year with 8 million tons being dumped in our oceans. It is important more of us use alternatives where we can to reduce this waste.

Using Less Plastic For 2019

Using Too Much Plastic

I’m not going to pretend, I use far more plastic than I should. For 2019 I want to make an effort to change that. Last year we swapped from plastic shopping bags to bags for life and tote bags. We also reuse plastic bottles and packaging where we can. Also, we use refillable razors instead of disposable and we have reusable cups & bottles. I realise this just simply isn’t enough though and would love to keep finding new ways to go plastic free.

Using Less Plastic For 2019

Having been introduced to Eco Food Wrap last year for school packed lunches, we have reduced our plastic use. We’ve been sent a few more lovely samples recently too which will be used instead of plastic film and food bags. When I think about how many food bags alone we go through, it’s quite shocking really! Cheese is something that uses a lot of clingfilm being opened and re-wrapped across the week. Eco Food Wraps really reduces that constant waste.

Children love straws and my girls are no different but plastic straws should only be available to those who genuinely need them. There is definitely a need for plastic straws but the majority of us are perfectly able to use a different option. Paper straws we find aren’t always that great, those we have tried so far have gone soft and mushy long before the drink is finished.

Instead, we ordered 16 Bambooz Bamboo drinking straws. These came with a cleaning brush and a pouch for them to stay in. These straws can be washed and reused and with 16 we should be ok for a while. The girls have already found they prefer Bambooz straws as they are sturdier. Being able to wash them with the handy brush makes it easy to keep them clean.

Next, I am looking at shampoo bars to reduce our waste in the bathroom too. We go through a lot of shampoo and conditioner with 3 of us having hair long enough to sit on! I know Lush have a few so we will check there and online.

I’ll be looking for other ways to go plastic free this year too so if you know of a fab product then please do leave a comment of get in touch!

Are you trying to use less plastic?

First Parents Evening This School Year – Feeling Proud

The girls first parents evening for this school year came round quickly. I’ve missed several of Eva’s due to the school’s lack of organisation, cancelling then rebooking for the same time. It can be rather frustrating before you even get to the actual appointment. Luckily things have really improved this year and we attended last Tuesday.

First Parents Evening This School Year - Feeling Proud

Previous Parents Evenings

I love hearing how well Eva is doing and finding out any concerns we can resolve. My main worry is that the teachers miss far too much. I don’t feel the last few teachers have spent enough time around Eva to get to know her and how she is actually getting on. Her first teacher was amazing, she had Eva figured out instantly, worked out issues we could work on together and I couldn’t have been happier. Ever since then it hasn’t felt the same at all.

Frustrating

Eva’s last school report mentioned she needed to find an author she loves which infuriated me as at the time she had re-read ALL of the Harry Potter series 4/5 times and loves any J.K.Rowlings book she has discovered so far. For her teacher to have missed this huge obsession of hers was a shock to me.

The report also said she needed to read a variety of books, anyone who has read our blog for some time will have seen several of Eva’s book reviews. She literally reads anything and everything! She’s even bugged her dad to help her find more material and ended up reading a few of his old Commando comics. We visit the library almost every week and the girls quite often reach their 14 books limit. She is known as a bookworm yet somehow her teacher missed that for an entire year!?

Improvements

I’m glad the school has finally organised a better booking system for parents evening as it meant I can book both appointments closer together. As I don’t do the school runs, I try to make a point of attending parents evening myself.

Big girls off to school!

Eva’s Parents Evening 

Eva’s appointment was first, we met with her teacher in her classroom and we looked at Eva’s report so far. I have to say I felt immensely proud to see Eva is working above expectations. Her teacher had such lovely things to say about Eva, how clever, happy and kind she is. I had to breathe deep not to cry in all honesty!

Her teacher admitted at first they missed how well Eva was doing but moving her seat helped and she’s doing fantastic. To hear she writes amazing stories at school too was lovely. I left that classroom beaming with pride! Eva’s teacher seems perfect for her this year and I am so pleased she is getting the praise and encouragement she deserves in school as well as at home. 

First Parents Evening For Izzy

I have to admit I was nervous about Izzy’s parents evening. Having not been to nursery, I was unsure how she had adapted to school life. Whilst she was a little emotional in class to start, Izzy has grown much more confident and really enjoying school. We told her teacher about My Mood Stars and sent them in the next day for the class to use. I explained I hadn’t sent Izzy to a nursery which her teacher hadn’t realised. We discussed how instead we learnt through play at home. Her teacher seemed quite pleased with her progresss far although her full observation wasn’t due until this week.

Izzy showing Happy Stars

Due to being born with tongue tie we discussed her speech issues and the school feel she will improve with some sessions which is great! To hear she has a best friend already was lovely but to hear her friend has cerebral palsy and Izzy is extremely caring and helpful with her is absolutely beautiful! Izzy has such a caring, motherly nature that it doesn’t surprise me but makes me so proud of her.

Feeling Proud

I can’t really explain just how proud I feel of my girls, they are beautiful inside and out. Their teachers this year are both fantastic and I love that they have got to know the girls well already. The fact a teacher has finally realised Eva’s abilities is brilliant and I can see why Eva’s confidence has been boosted these last few months. Even if it has come with a little attitude at home, haha! 

Have you had your first parents evening yet this year? How did you child/ren get on?

Soothing Skin With Eucerin #MyAquaphor

I’m using a Soothing Skin Balm from Eucerin called Aquaphor. Having sensitive skin due to Eczema I often struggle to find products that help.

Soothing Skin with Eucerin Aquaphor

Soothing Skin Balm

I was kindly sent a sample of Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm to try out. Designed to give dry to very dry, cracked and irritated skin the SOS care it needs for all the family. Containing only 8 ingredients, Aquaphor is gentle enough to use on highly irritated skin, babies skin and as a nappy cream.

#MyAquaphor

Protecting skin by creating a breathable protective barrier, Eucerin Aquaphor soothing skin balm allows the skin to breathe. Allowing oxygen and water vapor to circulate to and from the skin helps strengthen it natural barrier function.

Dry Skin

Izzy fell over at school a few weeks back and ended up with a big graze on her chin. Of course, she picked this like mad at first and other creams have done very little. It was so dry and cracked from the cold weather but no longer weeping so I decided to see if Eucerin Aquaphor would help. After a bath, I put some on Izzy’s chin and left it. As you can see below it was quite bad to begin with!

Unicorn Crown

I then forgot to use Eucerin Aquaphor for a day or so and you could see her chin was beginning to irritate Izzy again. We’ve started using it again and it is slowly helping. As you can see below it has gone from an almost heart-shaped scab to 2 smaller scabs and the skin is healing around it at last. Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin balm is amazing!

Izzy's chin is healing using Eucerin Aquaphor

Eczema

I have Eczema and really struggle during the winter with my skin. My arms are full of makes from tearing my arms apart so I thought I’d try using Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm for myself too. After a bath, I slathered my arms in the balm and it instantly felt soothing. Usually, my arms feel on fire even after a cool bath or shower and I can’t stop scratching!

Eczema calming with Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm

I forgot to take a before photo but the photo above shows my arm after a week of use. I suddenly realised I hadn’t been scratching anywhere near as much. There aren’t any fresh scabs where my skin feels much calmer and it is a lovely relief. I can see Eucerin Aquaphor becoming a household essential for us and can see why it has been a household stable since it was first introduced to the US market in 1925.

Have you used Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm before?

*This post is an entry for the BritMums #MyAquaphor Challenge, sponsored by Eucerin. Discover the benefits of Eucerin https://www.eucerin.co.uk/products/aquaphor/soothing-skin-balm-45ml