Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Xia Xia Giveaway from Find Me A Gift

Today is my hubby's birthday and to celebrate I am pleased to announce that Find Me A Gift have offered one of my lucky followers the chance to win some of their Xia Xia Toys.

Xia Xia Crab Toys (pronounced Scha Scha) are the latest craze to sweep the world! Following on from the success of Go Go Hamsters (also known as Zhu Zhu pets) this year sees the awesome Xia-Xia Moving Toys! These hermit crabs have inter-changeable shells, little ride-along buddies and skuttle along with touch sensitive technology! If the little toy robots hit a blockade/someone's foot, they will reverse back and try a different direction. Xia Xia pets also have three different playsets/houses for your pets as well. 

Find Me A Gift have very kindly offered me Trinidad the Crab and Confetti Cottage as a prize.

Trinidad is an ultra cool looking Hermit Crab with hotrod flames on his shell and a yellow, orange and red colour theme! Trinidad also has a tiny friend that can be swapped, placed inside the shell or sat just behind Trinidad's head. Trinidad has touch sensitive technology, on/off switch and a quick start guide and instructions in a handy carry case. Shells are universal and will fit any of the Xia Xia toy crabs.

Confetti Cottage playsets also has a handle so it can be used as a carrying case, so you can take your Xia Xia Crab with you wherever you go. When the Xia-Xia crabs aren't out playing or partying, they're chilling in their amazing Confetti Cottage which has plent of room for all their crab friends and it even has a fold out roof balcony. Confetti Cottage can even be linked to other Xia Xia toy crab playsets and accessories to create a crazy crab city. 

To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is enter via Rafflecopter below and comment below with the name of your favourite Christmas Carol. 

The competition is open to residents of the UK only and will close on the 4th December which is my daughter's birthday. Prizes will be sent direct from Find Me A Gift

Good luck

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The One With The #Friends Giveaway

Friends is BACK!

Relive all the fun and mayhem with your best friends; Monica, Ross, Chandler, Joey, Rachel and Phoebe as Warner Bros release Friends: The Complete Series Blu-ray Box Set.

I remember the very first Friends episode I ever watched! I must be honest and admit I was a little behind everyone else as it was an episode from the 3rd series. I was home alone, babysitting my nephew who was a tiny baby (he's 15 now!), channel-hopping when I came across Friends. Some of my friends had been raving about the show and telling me to watch it, so I decided I would give it a go to see what I thought. 

The episode was entitled The One Where Monica and Richard Are Just Friends and I must be honest that the main storyline didn't bother me. I didn't know who Monica and Richard were and why I should care about them. But I really enjoyed the episode because Phoebe was dating a guy who kept falling out of his shorts as he didn't like wearing underwear! I was in stitches watching it, laughing so hard I was surprised I didn't wake up my nephew who was sleeping on my chest! From that moment on I was a Friends fan! I watched every single episode, catching up on the older ones I'd missed and watching them until the show ended in 2004 after 10 years on our screens!

Even my friends loved Friends! In fact I saw my best friend do the hand gesture from Friends (the one Ross and Monica created as children so they could give each other and their parents the finger without their parent's knowing what they were doing!) to her sister in front of their mum so she wouldn't know what they were doing (Sorry Jean!) and that was only last week!

To celebrate the release of Friends: The Complete Series Blu-Ray Boxset I'm pleased to offer you the chance to win TWO oversized cappuccino mugs and a picture frame just like the one on Monica's apartment door.

To join in with this fun competition, all you need to do is use Rafflecopter and comment below with your results of which Friends character you are most like (the quiz is below under QUIZ not trivia) and you can win this wonderful prize that you can see above! Ironically, given we share a name I got Rachel (although Chandler was my runner-up!)

The contest ends on the 29th November and I will email the winner on the 30th. If I don't hear back by the 31st I will offer someone else the prize as the winners details must be supplied by the 1st December. This competition is also only open to UK residents

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 17 November 2012

#SatCap - Saturday is Caption Day

I rarely get to join in with Caption Day as Saturdays are usually busy for me as it's the only day I work outside the home. However today I've decided to join in with Mammasaurus and her weekly linky of Caption Day

So here is a picture from last saturday and when my older two did a 6 mile sponsored walk to raise money for the April Jones Appeal Fund in the cold and the rain.

If you want to join in yourself, why not head over to Mammasaurus, you can check out some other fun pictures and come up with more funny captions as well as join in yourself! 

Go on! You know you want too...

Monday, 12 November 2012

Sponsored Walk for #AprilJones #FindApril #Hope4April

On Saturday it looked dry and sunny although the forecast predicted rain, but hubby decided to go ahead with the sponsored walk he and the two eldest were doing to raise money for little April Jones, the missing 5yr old town from our neighbouring town of Machynlleth.

April's abduction has hit my children hard. They (and us) have suddenly released we are not as safe and protected as we had originally thought and in fact bad things do happen to children even in our quiet part of Wales. As we had been on holiday when little April had been taken it meant hubby couldn't join in with the searching and I couldn't help by donating food for the rescue teams and searchers. Hubby knew he wanted to do something to help April and he decided he would do a sponsored walk along the Mawddach Trail with our two eldest aged 7 and 9 (it was too far for my 5yr old).

So Saturday morning off they set, complete with a packed lunch. Because I had to go to work we decided they would walk from Penmaenpool to Barmouth and after dropping them off in Penmaenpool I drove to my parents to drop the younger two off before going to work. 

The Mawddach Trail used to be part of a railway line from Ruabon to the coastal resort of Barmouth, but during the Beeching cuts of the '60s this line was sadly one of many that was closed. My FIL used to drive the trains on the line and in fact, he was interviewed on Railway Walks with Julia Bradbury shortly before his death. 

From Dolgellau to Barmouth, the railway line follows the Mawddach Estury and it is a very walking and cycling route as it is set in beautiful surroundings and ends (or starts) with a walk over Barmouth's very famous mile long aqueduct (which used to open to allow tall ships to pass under after being built on shipyards on the estury). 

Despite the rain and the rain, my 9yr old son and 7yr old daughter both completed the walk with their dad, a walk of about 6 miles. I am so proud of them and will post how much they've raised when the money is all in. 

If you do feel like sponsoring them then contact me for details

Thursday, 8 November 2012

#R2BC - We Will Remember Them

This morning I was struggling to find something to be cheerful for to write as my Reason's To Be Cheerful post today. My eldest has been having trouble in school with bullying at school (see The Frustration of Bullying)

But then I remembered. This Sunday is Remembrance Day. A day when we we hold a two minute silence at 11am am on the 11th day of the 11th month as we remember those who fought for our freedom during the two World Wars as well as mourn and honour all those who have lost their lives in more recent conflicts. Today, with troops on duty in Afganistan, Iraq and other trouble spots around the world, Remembrance and this two minute tribute is more important than ever. 

They shall not grow old,
as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
and in the morning.
We will remember them. 

My grandparents and my great-uncle all fought in the wall and I will post more about them on Sunday. 

For them, and everyone else who fought and are still fighting for our freedom  I am entirely grateful for everything they did and that we have the freedom we enjoy today!

On Sunday, I will be attending the Remembrance Day service with my children before heading to the Cenotaph and watching as my daughters join in with their Rainbows and Brownies groups for the laying of the wreaths. 

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

So what are you feeling thankful for? Why not find something that is making you feel cheerful amidst all the doom and gloom. Find that silver lining and share the love by joining in the #R2BC blog hop hosted by the fabulous Mich over at Mummy from the Heart and check out all these other blogs which have joined in and share the love

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Chloe’s Magical Dress up Closet Review

Recently we were sent a new Golden Bear Product to review. Chloe's Magical Dress Up Closet.

I must admit that before we were sent Chloe's Magical Closet to review that I hadn't heard of Chloe's Closet before we were sent this product, but we have since. 

Shown on the children's TV channel Cartoonito, Chloe's Closet follows the fun-filled adventures of an adorable, imaginative little girl named Chloe, who discovers magical new worlds whilst playing dress-up in her closet. With each new costume Chloe tries on, she is swept up in a fantastical journey with her best friend and constant companion, her security blanket named Lovely Carrot. 

The show reminds me of Mr Benn, a similar TV show I enjoyed as a child and I bet a lot of the mums and dad's remember him as well and his visits to the fancy dress shop! But this is a more up-to-date and modern version ideal for little girls produced using 3D CGI and Flash Animation. 

To celebrate the popularity of Chloe's Closet, Golden Bear have released a selection of toys based on the show. We were sent Chloe's Magical Dress Up Closet for my 5yr old to review, and she enjoyed playing with it, although she did have to fight her older and younger sisters as they also wanted to play with it!

In the box you get Chloe's Magical Closet, Chloe figurine, 3 different outfits for her to wear and 3 scenes cards. The child picks one of the outfits from the cupboards on the side of her closet and dress Chloe. Then they place her on the platform, close the doors and slot one of the adventure scenes into the slot at the back of the closet. Press the heart shaped button and watch as the glittery doors light up and magical sounds play. Open the doors and find Chloe ready for her adventure.

A lovely toy which is ideal for any little fan of the show and guaranteed to give lots of fun and adventures. It certainly was a hit with my daughters!

We were sent Chloe's Magical Dress Up Closet for free on the understanding that I would write an honest review of what my family and I thought about the product. I received no payment and the review is my own honest and unbiased opinion of the product and I retain full editorial control and integrity.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Silly Riddles and Brain Teasers

The girls had friends for tea tonight, a set of sisters that they've become very good friends with and they all get along really well, including the boy.

At tea time we got on the subject of riddles and brain teasers which they were loving and of course when their granddad came to pick them up they wanted me to recite them back to him and before he even had chance to think about the answers, they were all shouting out the answers!

Here are some of the riddles, you might have heard of maybe a few you haven't!

How many of each animal did Moses take on the ark?
Moses didn't take any animals on the ark, it was Noah

Your uncle's sister isn't your aunt. Who is she?
Your Mother

If a red house is made of red bricks, a blue house is made of blue bricks and a yellow house is made of yellow bricks. What is a green house made of?

How far can a dog run into a field?
Half way, then it's running out of the field

A plane crashes on the border between England and Wales. On which side of the border are the survivors buried?
Neither, the survivors aren't dead!

A man is found dead on top of a snowy mountain. There are no footprints in the snow anywhere near the body and there is no snow on top of the body so it hasn't snowed and all he has is a backpack on his back. How did he get there and what did he die of?
He jumped out of the plane and the backpack was an unopened parachute

I was driving my car with broken headlights through a town with a power cut, so there was no street lights and there was no moon. A black dog stepped into the road and I stopped the car before I hit him. How did I seethe dog?
It was daytime

I have two coins in my hand. They total 55p. One of the coins however isn't a 50p coin. What are the two coins?
A 5p and a 50p. One coin wasn't the 50p coin but the other one was

As I was going to St Ives, I met a man with 7 wives. Each wife had 7 sacks, each cat held 7 cats and each cat had 7 kittens. How many were going to St Ives?
Just me. The others were just sitting on the side of the road

Mary's mum has 3 children. One is called Tom and one is called Dick so what is the name of the other?

I live in a bungalow, and because I love the colour red every thing in the bungalow is red. The carpet is red, the ceiling is red, the walls are red, the windows are red, the doors are red, even the bricks are red! So what colour are the stairs?
You don't have stairs in a bungalow

If you know any other riddles then feel free to share in the comments, as I'm sure next time they come for tea they're gonna ask for more riddles!

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Frustration of #Bullying

Today when my son came home from school he wasn't happy and we ended up having a row and me sending him to his room.

A few minutes later I became concerned by how hard he was crying in his bedroom. Normally he will shout and throw things in his room, but this was a deep down howl of anguish and he wasn't calming down so I went in to see if he was ok. 

He was lying on his bed sobbing, all he kept saying over and over was 
"I just want a day with no bullying. Please can I just have a day with no bullying!" I hugged him until he had calmed down, which took a while. He then started begging me to let him have tomorrow off school, that he didn't want to go to school, he wanted a day with no bullying.

Finally he calmed down and we had a chat. He's been having trouble off the same boy for years and sadly whenever hubby or I have been to see the head he hasn't been very helpful. 

So all evening we've been chatting about bullying and what he can do. We've always told him to ignore this boy, to tell his teachers, to just walk away and he's tried all of this but still he keeps calling him names! He's even tried hitting back and giving the boy a split lip but even that hasn't worked. The boy keeps calling him the same name over and over again, making fun of my son's surname.

My son has hit him a few times, once when the boy was calling me names because I'm not stick thin and could do with losing a few stone and again when he found out that this boy had given me a two finger salute! Talking to the boys parents wouldn't help either, I tried when he stuck two fingers up but she just didn't seem to care and it was their teacher (who has sadly left now) who dealt with it and made the boy apologise. My son also came home from school one day and asked me what the word "Rape" meant because this boy had threatened to break into a classmates house and rape her (did I mention they were 9!)

Tonight we've helped him come up with a witty retort for when the boy calls him names again. Tomorrow I am going to try speaking with the headmaster again and this time ask for the school's bullying policy because something has to be done! My son leaves primary school in two years and he has a choice of secondary schools, at the moment his only choice is the school that this boy doesn't go to!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Teaching Kids About Money

I remember when I was in my late teens and I got my first proper full time job working for a care home. All of a sudden I had gone from having a few pounds a week pocket money and babysitting money to having £100s each month!

The problem was.... I didn't know how to deal with it! All of a sudden, I could buy what I wanted, when I wanted! Not to mention all these companies suddenly offering me credit cards and financial deals!!! Yet I didn't know how to budget or manage my money correctly and all of a sudden I found myself in debt! Which got worse when I moved out of my parents home and into a flat of my own!

Suddenly I found myself owing lots of money to different people, having to pay rent, food, electricity, council tax etc and I didn't know how to deal with it. I kept burying my head in the sand and hiding the letters from debt collection agencies. If I couldn't see them, I didn't have to deal with them. I wouldn't even open the letters before they went into the bin. 

So there I was, back in the year 2000, aged just 23 and suffering from serious depression. It wasn't just because of the debt I was in, although that was a big contributor  there were other factors as well but the debt was one of the main ones. I would stay up all night chatting on the computer, sleeping on the sofa fully clothed, barely eating and what I was eating was junk food, having to watch a DVD's to fall asleep, rarely showering or washing my clothes and hair and only leaving the flat to go to work. My flat was trashed and a horrible mess, I just threw everything on the floor, rubbish, clothes, DVD's etc I had no pride in my flat and I just had no energy or motivation to do anything but play on the computer and watch DVD's. Yet somehow I managed to hide it from everyone and no one knew the state I was in. The only company I had was my dog and she suffered as well as my idea of walking her was just shoving her out of the door! She must have LOVED it when I went to work as she would go to my parents house where she was walked properly. Yet I adored my dog and she was my best friend and some days all I wanted to do was snuggle with her. Then when my flat flooded my parents realised what a bad state I was in and how badly I was coping and they brought me home and slowly, with help, I got over my depression and slowly began to rebuild my finances and learn to cope with money.

A few years ago I discovered a FANTASTIC website and I'm always raving about it. The site is Money Saving Expert hosted by the wonderful Martin Lewis and whenever I have a question about anything to do with money, I always check his website and thanks to Martin I have saved £1000s over the past few years!!!

Now that I'm a mother myself, I want to teach my children how to be sensible with money and how to avoid the trap that I fell into. But what is the best way to approach money to children, especially as mine are still so young, only 9, 7, 5 and 2. So here are a few ideas to help you get started. 

  • TRY BEFORE YOU BUY - How many times have you bought a DVD, book or a game and not actually liked it? By teaching children to rent from a library, friend or even a video shop or company, they can try before they buy and if they don't like it they know before they actually spend money buying it and can buy something else they do like instead
  • DO YOU REALLY WANT IT - They might see something they really really want, maybe that £50 big remote control car that does tricks, but ask them; how often would you use it? Would you really play with it or would it sit in your bedroom gathering dust? Suggest that if they don't think they would play with it that much they could use that £50 to buy 5 toys that each cost £10 and have much more fun and play with them more often. 
  • IS IT AT THE BEST PRICE? - Shopping online is getting so much easier to find bargains now with companies like Kelkoo and Google who can search for most of the online retailers and share the best price. Even if you just compare the prices at a couple of the bigger shops, this can save money (remember to include P&P).Teach them not to buy the game they really want at the first place they see it, but to research the price to see if it is cheaper or on offer somewhere else! Teaching children to research prices is a very helpful tool for when they get older.
  • SAVING - Encouraging children to save up can be a big help for when they're older. So they have £5 pocket money and want to waste it all on sweets, you could encourage them to spend £1 on sweets and save the other £4 because in a few weeks they would have enough money to buy that game they wanted on their DS. But it doesn't stop there, get them to help you look at savings accounts with you and try to work out which one offers the best interest. Teach them now about interest and how by leaving the money in their savings account can give them free money for when they're older! £100 in a bank savings account now could be worth £160 by the time you're 18 and because there are so many savings accounts for children to help you decide try to find the best one. One of the websites that can help you is Money Supermarket
  • REMEMBER HOW SHOPS WORK - They WANT you to spend as much money as possible! That's why shops are planned the way they are and you will almost always find sweets near the checkouts, ideal for pester power by tired children who are fed up of behaving and waiting in a queue. By learning the tricks that supermarkets use to try and part you with their cash can help save money for you and them in the long run as you don't fall for their tricks.
  • BUT FRED HAS ONE! - Peer pressure can be one of the hardest things as children compete to have the best phones, clothes, toys etc. By teaching them to research what they want themselves and not to buy something just because "Fred" has one is a really important lesson. What Fred likes and plays with, might not suit your child and he could spent all his money to buy some toy that Fred has, but then the toy just sits in the drawer ignored because it wasn't as fun as Fred made it sound! By encouraging them to make decisions themselves, not only helps them learn independence but helps them in later life to make logical and wise decisions, knowing all the facts!
By teaching our children to be money wise, we're helping them in the future! It is one of the best things we could ever teach our children.

Martine Lewis and Money Saving Expert are even going one further and they are compaigning on getting Consumer Finance Education in every school.

*** This post is my entry into the Money Supermarket Super Kids Saver Competition***

#SilentSunday One Picture No Words 4/11/12

Saturday, 3 November 2012

November Challenge Day 3 - Fireworks

This morning, despite the cold and wet weather, hubby and the oldest two set off for their Sponsored Walk to raise money for the Find April Fund, but sadly as only two other people turned up, they decided to postpone it until next Saturday in the hopes they could round up a few more people to join them!

So leaving hubby cleaning, I took the girls shopping!

After tea we headed down the harbour, braving the cold and the wind and thankfully it stayed dry until after the fireworks had finished!

But, I must say a very big thank you and well done to all the organisers who arrange such a fab night for the community to enjoy!