Friday, 1 July 2016

Mister Maker Club

Most parents will be familiar with the hugely popular Mister Maker show on cbeebies, it is a great show full of fun arts and crafts for viewers (or mini makers) to try out at home.
The Mister Maker Club is a brand new collaboration between Mister Maker and the fabulous team behind Toucan Box, together they have come up with some fab craft projects inspired by the programme that can be delivered to your door every fortnight. Last week we were lucky enough to be one of the first to try this brand new subscription box.

I had high hopes for the box, we have had Toucan Boxes before and i been really impressed with them and the idea of their amazing quality projects combined with Mister Maker really appealed to me and I knew the boys would like it too.
The box is sized so that it can fit through your letterbox (yay) and can be personalised with your child's name, I love it when you can do this as children just love to receive post. The box is immediately recognisable as a Mister Maker Club box due to its bright design. 

Inside the box is everything you need to complete your craft project along with some easy to follow instructions, Seb is five and was able to follow them by himself. There is also an activity book to go along with the craft, plus a collectable sticker and chart.

We received a Night Sky craft box, inspired by Van Gogh. We cut out the foam to make buildimgs, painted on windows and then added glitter and stars to the sky. The craft took us about 30 minutes in total to complete and our night sky turned out really well I think,  I love the frame!

We absolutely loved our Mister Maker Club Box, the craft went down really well and having everything included made it so quick and easy. I also love that the boxes are gender neutral.
This box would be great for fans of the show and would also make an ideal gift idea. I would say it would be perfect for chikdren aged 3+

The Mister Maker Club costs £5.95 per fortnightly box plus 98p postage. Take a look at the website for more information and to sign up.

Family Fever
**This box was sent to us for the purpose of this post,  all opinions are my own**

Thursday, 30 June 2016

My best new baby buys

Let's face it, new babies don't really need an awful lot of things, but buying baby items is so exciting and most of us do get sucked into buying items that end up being used once and forgotten about. I certainly did, particularly first time around.
Now Barney is three months old(how did that happen?!) I thought I would share my best new baby buys. Some are practical, some are pretty but I love them all.

Chicco Next to Me Crib I absolutely love this co sleeping crib, babies love to be close to you and after cosleeping with Alex most nights for over 3 years we thought a cosleeping crib would be a good investment, after looking at the available ones we opted for the Chicco Next to Me as it is a great size and I had an inkling I would have a long baby. We have it attached to our bed with the side down and Barney has been settled in it since we came home from hospital. I love that he is right next to me and if he stirs at night I can just pop my hand on him and he calms, it made life easy for night feeds too.
I love that it folds down for travel and have taken it away with us twice already.  I can't imagine him not being there next to me now and i am going to be so sad when he outgrows it!

Milton Cold Water Steriliser Of the various sterlisers we have tried the Milton Cold Water Steriliser wins hands down and so many other experienced mums feel the same,  there is a reason it is still around after all these years and why they are used in hospitals. It is the most simple thing ever but so practical! Simply fill with water add a Milton tablet and pop your bottles or other bits in, you can add bits in and take bits out throughout the day without the faff of having to re sterilise everything each time. After 24 hours change the water(you can use the old water to wipe down the kitchen or anything else). It is also great for travel too and I see that they now sell a solo version which looks really handy.

Mama Designs Cellular Blanket I have a thing for baby blankets, we have so many particularly as the big two were winter babies. I wanted a couple of new ones for Barney and while pregnant I discovered Mama Designs over on Instagram and ordered one of her fabulous cellular blankets right away. We have some bright cellular blankets that I dyed myself but I just love this one, it is huge, warm and gets so many compliments.

Funky Giraffe Bibs When Alex was small bandana bibs were just becoming a thing, these dribble bibs are everywhere now but Funky Giraffe are still among the best, I love the designs and the price is great too. Barney has a few but is now getting morw dribbly so I need to invest in some more.

Nappies I love my cloth nappies, we have a pretty big stash from using them with Alex but I did buy a few smaller ones to use this time as Alex didn't wear them from birth and birth to potty are generally a big big for newborns. I went for Tots Bots Bamboozles with wraps and a few teenyfits to go along with the nappies we already owned,  the teeny fits were okay until Barney was around 4-6 weeks old, the Bamboozles are still fitting him although on the biggest rise now. Although I have plenty of nappies I am considering trying the new Eayfit Star and a Happy Mat, the prints are so lovely!

Close Caboo I was adamant that I wanted to babywear more this time around. I did lots of research and found that the Close Caboo was widely recommended for a newborn and was easy to use. I was very sore after my section but I was able to baby wear fairly quickly and as promised the Caboo is very easy to use and comfortable too and I am happy knowing that Barney is in a natural position.   I also have a We Made Me Wuti wrap which I was sent to try out and I love that too, you can see my thoughts on that in my review.

Coconut Oil This is definitely the product of the moment, you can use it for pretry much everything. Barney has dry patches of skin and a little cradle cap like many babies and I use coconut oil on him. I don't use any other products on him at all at the moment, just water in the bath and then a massage with coconut oil afterwards. I also use coconut oil on the bigger boys after baths and on my hair, on any scrapes, in cooking, the list goes on and on. I personally like Lucy Bee Coconut Oil.

So those are my best new baby buys, what are yours?

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Symmetrical Butterfly Paintings

Symmetrical butterfly paintings are a bit of an old school craft,  I bet most of us did this at nursery or school when we were children! As part of our recent butterfly life cycle work we looked at symmetry and these paintings are a great introduction to this idea for younger children and will cement the idea for those already familiar with symmetry. Plus it is always fun to get messy with paints!

These are so simple and give such lovely results that your children will be proud of.  All you need is paper and paints to get started.

Choose some paper and fold in half. I usually like to use coloured paper as I find that the boys tend to leave spaces between the paints and coloured paper looks pretty as a background.  Open up the paper and paint on one side, I make sure to encourage the boys to use a good amount of paint so that we have enough on the paper to get a good print.

Once happy with the painting, refold the paper along the same line and smooth over with your hand to helpmthe paint transfer before opening the paper up again. Tada you should now have a lovely symmetrical picture.

Leave to dry and cut into butterfly shapes. We have ours out on display at the moment  brightening up the kitchen.

If you like these Symmetrical Butterfly Paintings check out our Chinese New Year dragons which used the same technique.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Our weekly meal plan 27/6

Happy Monday Meal Planners, it's time for our weekly meal plan. We have got to the end of June and it's halfway to Christmas already. Yes I mentioned the C word, I am one of those people who likes to plan ahead.

Last week we ate all our meals although not in the planned order, I am so pleased we did the full week after a couple of weeks of missed meals.
This week is looking to be busy, we have a night away, and a few other bits planned so hopefully we will have another good week of sticking to our meals.

Monday Salmon, new potatoes and green beans

Tuesday Eating out

Wednesday  Fish fingers sandwiches with waffles

Thursday Chicken, bacon and leek pasta bake

Friday Slow cooked meatballs in tomato sauce with pasta

Saturday Pizza, garlic bread and salad

Sunday Chicken and potato curry with rice

Unfortunately the Meal Planning Monday linky is no longer running, but the good news is the meal planning is carrying on in the form of a blog hop. Why not join us?

Why not check out my previous meal planning posts

Sunday, 26 June 2016

June Degustabox Review and discount code

It’s time for my June Degustabox review and discount code offer for my readers. This month the discount has been increased to £7,  that’s right the fab team at Degustabox are offering an amazing £7 off your first box, all you need to do is sign up using the code BLDEG15 and you will receive your first box for just £5.99, this is a total bargain!

If you haven’t heard of Degustabox before, it is a monthly food and drink subscription box containing items from both well loved and exciting new brands so you can discover delicious new flavours each month. We have been lucky enough to have been reviewing these boxes for two years now, and i genuinely love them in particular as each month the contents are a total surprise until you open the box, plus i find the delivery service that Degustabox use is excellent so no worries about my box going missing or getting damaged in transit. You can see my thoughts on previous boxes and some recipes I have made with products received in the boxes here.

This month's box had a nod towards the summer season with lots of products suitable for holding a BBQ.

Butterkist Yogurt Covered Popcorn RRP  £1.49 We are big popcorn fans, I usually have a bag in the cupboard ready for rainy afternoons watching a film and I love all the new exciting things that popcorn makers are coming up with at the moment. Butterkist Yogurt Covered Popcorn comes in a large sharing bag or as a multipack and contains  just 95 calories per serving. This went down so well with my boys,  they could get enough!

Haywards Medium and Tangy Silverskins £1.89 With a classic flavoursome taste these silverskins qill add a tang to any dish. Great on a cheeseboard or in a BBQ salad. This isn't something we would use so we have passed them on to my mother in law.

Heinz Amoy Coconut Milk £1.99 Made from ripe fresh coconuts in Thailand, perfect for curries and desserts. I regularly use coconut milk am looking forward to using this one in a curry this week.

Branston Spicy Tomato Relish £1.65 With BBQ season upon us, everyone is embracing burgers and hot dogs and this relish makes a great alternative to the traditional ketchup. Phil has tried this one burgers and really enjoyed the different taste to his usual sauce.

Schwartz Homemade Burger Mix £1.49 Regular readers will know that I actually reviewed thsee Burger Mixes recently and really enjoyed them. They are such an easy way to make burgers for everyone to enjoy, perfect for the BBQ season.

Zeo Cloudy Lemonade £2.75 Having tried some Zeo drinks in the past I was really pleased to see the Cloudy Lemonade in this months box. Each serving contains only 28 calories and 1.5 teaspoons of sugar, far less than alternatives. It is a lovely refreshing drink, perfect for summer entertaining.

Sacla Pesto Pots RRP £2.79 Pesto is a staple in our house and these mini pots are absolutely perfect for making quick meals for one without waste. We actually used two of the pots the day the Degustabox arrived using the recipe supplied by Degustabox and the pesto is really lovely and each pit us the perfect size for one person.

BakedIn Mug Brownie £1.50 Mug cakes have been popular for a while now and this brownie in a mug is an ultimate comfort food treat and is ready to eat in a couple of minutes.  This brand is totally new to me and i have ordered one of their baking subscription boxes to try.

Marstons Lager £1.70 A big bold lager laced with flavour. Unfortunately neither of us drink lager so this has been passed on,

Smooze Mango and Coconut Fruit Ice RRP £2.50 A freeze at home fruit ice made from natural ingredients including coconut milk, fresh fruit juice and puree. Mango and Coconut and a winning combo and with the weather being pretty warm these make a really refreshing treat for kids and adults alike.

Destrooper-Olivier Belgian Butters £1.10 I love Belgian biscuits, I have family who live in Begum and one of my big memories when visiting them was drinking hot chocolate in Bruges accompanied by delicious buttery biscuits and these Belgian Butters took me right back there, perfect with tea or hot chocolate these are available in Waitrose.

Shirataki Miracle Noodle If you are dieting and looking to lower your carb intake, these noodles are for you. Each serving contains just 5 calories which is pretty amazing and they are gluten free. A great alternative to pasta.

This months box was fab as usual, although a couple of tbe products didn't appeal to us, I am always happy to share the Degustabox love and pass those bits on. As the total product value was well over £20 it really is a great value subscription box.
As I mentioned at the beginning of my post you can receive a whopping £7 off your first box, simply sign up at Degustabox and use the code BLDEG15 for your discount.

You can also find Degustabox on Facebook and follow over on Twitter or Instagram to keep up to date with the latest information.

 **I received this box for the purpose of this post, all oponions are my own**