Puddings Gift Guide 2016 – Add Some Colour with Ink Mill Vinyl

Very recently I made the some what mad decision to redecorate the kids room. Before Pudding was born I had in a last minute nesting moment painted the room yellow. Not relaxing pale yellow, oh no, bright custard yellow. So a year later I have re-painted a cool nordic off white. I know check me out being all trendy! Any way once finished the room needed a splash of classy colour and who better to provide that than Ink Mill Vinyl.

A Contemporary Family Home transitional-nursery

 

Ink Mill Vinyl will make vinyl stickers for your wall in any design or colour that you desire. But if like me you are slightly less artistic they have a set of go to designs. Including some great feature wall stickers. Personally I loved the clouds but Mr Pud said we saw quite enough clouds in Birmingham! But seriously they do all sorts, and every thing is customisable to your size and colour.

After much debate I decided on a height chart and a cool noticeboard that the kids can write on with chalk. After further deliberation I chose the Giraffe Height Chart in yellow. Now I know Pie would have liked the Star Wars type stickers but I had to think about Pudding too! For the blackboard I kept it simple and went for the noticeboard style, but there were loads to choose from.

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Once the Ink Mill Vinyl had arrived I got down to the task of putting them up. Of course in hindsight waiting for Mr Pud would have been sensible. But Pudding and I tackled this on our own, which I think is testament to how easy they are to apply. We were pretty happy with the results!

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I was really impressed by the quality of the vinyl stickers from Ink Mill Vinyl. They look great and stick very well. Possibly the height chart should have been a two person job but hey… The vinyl really brightens up the kids room and I can’t wait to see what Pie draws on his new notice board.

giveaway!

The lovely peeps at Ink Mill Vinyl have very kindly agreed to give one of their Blackboard Vinyls away to one of you lucky readers. If you would like to win one of your own custom blackboard vinyl stickers you can enter the giveaway below:

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DISCALIMER: Ink Mill Vinyl provided us with the vinyls free of charge so that we could conduct this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

The Clever Bees Club – Giveaway and Review

A group of my blogging pals were talking about this lovely company called The Clever Bees Club a couple of weeks ago and how they were looking for a few people to review their lovely product. So I went over for a little nosey….

The Clever Bees Club was started by Mark Smith. After taking his daughters to a Toy Shop and witnessing his daughters agonsising over what to spend their hard earned pocket money and the massive choice available. Mark got to thinking about how great a subscription box for kids would be and thus The Clever Bees Club was born!

What Mark has designed is a monthly subscription box aimed at 3 -7 year olds. The box is designed to be exciting and educational and is filled with high quality items and great activities based around a theme. The box aims to help with children’s development whilst being fun. You can read more about The Clever Bees Club on their website.

Well too cut a long story short, I was impressed! So I gave them a little message and whilst we were on holiday a lovely box was delivered to Pie.

Our Review of The Clever Bees Club Subscription Box

Now Pie may only be four but he knows when a parcel has his name on it, it’s the A he recognises! So he was pretty excited to find a large box waiting for him. I did manage to hold him off until the day after we got back, just so that we could all get the most out of it. The weather in Brimingham was disgusting so it was great to have something new to open and explore.

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Most fittingly the theme for the Clever Bee’s Box was water! We were all really impressed with the amount of stuff that was packed into the box. Pie kept digging through the shredded paper and finding more and more things.


He was particularly excited about the water balloons (managed to persuade him out of using those in the living room). The bubbles as always were a hit and the super soaker got great use in the bath (unfortunately straight in Pudding’s face). Luckily we had the soft flannel to dry her off a bit!!

The Clever Bees Club

The book, stickers and colouring crayons kept us all going for a wet and cold morning. The prized goggles are awaiting their first trip to the swimming pool. Most surprisingly Pie was really enthusiastic about the reward chart. We have been introducing a few little chores recently so this week we are rewarding for setting the table for tea! He is hoping to earn enough stars for a green light sabre…

The Clever Bees Club

We have yet to try the included recipes but they look yummy. I personally love the idea of the experiment using the ice cube tray. Being a bit of a science geek I am looking forward to getting Pie involved and taking about the outcomes. He is a curious little chap so reckon this will be right up his street. We just need the sun to shine to make the most out of it!

For the number of items in the box and the quality of the toys and activities I think the monthly subscription of £19.95 is fair. We were really impressed with the contents of the box, the items were all high quality. Everything is either useful or will be played with. All items were age appropriate to Pie and even Pudding can benefit from a few bits and pieces. Its a big thumbs up from us!

Enter our Giveaway!

Love the idea of The Clever Bees Club? Well we have been lucky enough to offer a free 3 month subscription to one of our readers! That’s 3 months of fun activities and new toys worth just under £60. Enter our competition below and we will announce our winner on the 30th June. Good Luck! (This competition is only open to UK residents)
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ThePrizeFinder – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/3-months-free-subscription-clever-bees-club#sthash.oAE5ooMQ.dpuf

We did receive The Clever Bees box free of charge in order to conduct the review. All the opinions are our own.

Top Tips for Avoiding Family Holiday Hell!

For those of you who read our blog on a regular basis you will know we are currently enjoying a holiday in The Lakes! But after our holiday faux pas at Bluestone, what have we done to ensure The Lakes won’t be a wash out?

Top Tips for A Happy Holiday:

  • Book good accommodation! I originally booked this trip 5 days after Pudding was born and in a total hormone stupor. When we checked it last week it became apparent that I had in fact booked one room with the idea that Mr Pud and I would sleep on a sofa bed! (Honestly a sofa bed? What WAS I THINKING??) We changed our mind last-minute and booked a great cottage instead. Room to move, two bedrooms and the essential kitchen with washing machine (we are weaning here people…)
    Holiday Cottage
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  • Keep packing stress to a minimum. You don’t need the kitchen sink or 18 outfits (washing machine remember?) Pack what you need, be ruthless! Remember when it comes to repacking you will have to track every item down and squeeze it back into the car. With the added addition of buckets, spades, inflatable crocodiles and the worlds most uncomfortable shoes that you brought on a whim! (Throw them away? NEVER)
  • Self catering? My preferred option, I know it’s a bit of a kick in the crotch to cook every night but least you know it’s going to be eaten (mostly). If you are going self catering, just get Tescos to deliver! Seriously, saves you the pain of packing it into the car or worse still driving round and round to find a supermarket after 6 hours of travelling.
  • Plan the route before you go! Nothing worse than not knowing where you are going and then losing mobile signal as soon as you are off the motorway. Download the route planner so it’s available. But don’t be militant about a leaving time or how many stops you will make. Go with the flow! Sometimes rushing kids out the house is just going to make matters worse. Relax have a coffee. (sorry no wine yet you need your wits about you!) If the traffic is shite then stop for a while. Sitting in a tail-back stressing and needing a wee is no good for any of you.
    Holiday Traffic
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  • Unpack the cases when you get the other end (not straight away have a brew first) This will make for a more relaxed feel. Who likes living out of a suitcase? Put stuff away, make it feel like home.
  • Don’t try to cram thousands of things into one day. It’s a holiday remember? Keep the pace relaxed! What does it matter if you don’t get out the house before 10? Kids feed off your stress, just let it go. Try and plan an activity for each day – get the kids to help choose if they are old enough. Remember toddlers don’t like walking too far and teenagers don’t like having no phone signal for more than an hour (15 mins).
  • Relax some of those rules about food. It’s ok if little Timmy wants to have an ice cream morning and afternoon, it’s a holiday! Stopping for cake and a drink is a novelty, so enjoy it. Also because holidays are busy little people get hungry or should I say hangry! Feed them. Often.
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  • Occasional late nights on holiday are exciting. A week of late nights is just perpetuating a natural disaster. Try and keep the sleep habits as close to home as possible. Parents and kids with no sleep is a recipe for meltdown. If you are out and about and little ones usually have a nap, maybe plan a short trip in the car at that point or encourage them to snuggle in the buggy. Tired angry children make holidays miserable, read the signs and take action. Quickly.
  • Don’t panic if you forgot to pack something! Remember this is England, not Outer Mongolia. Most things are available locally and if not get on Amazon Prime and order it for the next day! Nothing is out of reach and you know what if you forget it, it probably wasn’t that important!
  • Make time for each other. Once those rascals are in bed grab a bottle of something (anything) crack open some maltesers and a pack of cards. Reconnect with each other, phones off, laptops away and no TV. Talk and laugh about the day and the inevitable disasters. Reminisce or think about places you would like to come back too just the two of you. It’s your holiday too, enjoy each other!


    Takmeomeo
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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Dear Pie – A letter to my 4 year old

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Dear Pie,

I wish you could explain to me why you have woken every morning of your entire life with a scream. When you were little I knew it was hunger that made you wake squalling. But now you are nearly 4 and still most mornings the first thing Mummy hears is a whinge and a few sobs. I think this probably happens before you even open your eyes! If you don’t want to wake up at 7.30 then you really don’t have too, don’t think you are doing this for my benefit, I would quite happily lay in bed until 8-8.30. Are you hungry when you first wake up? I understand that hangry is a pretty serious problem but flinging yourself into my room and screaming into my face as your Dad opens one bleary eye in shock is not really the best way of requesting your breakfast. In all honesty it makes me feel less inclined to get up and make it…

I wish I understood where all your raging comes from. You can be so sweet and loving, most of the time I just want to wrap my arms around you and give you a big squidge. But the monster is always hiding underneath – an ill timed request to use the toilet, a slight struggle to get your socks on or worse still a wet sock and the world is on its head! It’s not just a quick scream, it’s a full on total melt down, even the Sausages take cover as you fling yourself all over the floor and scream. The neighbours must think we are torturing you, they don’t realise I only asked you to go to the loo and wash your hands before lunch. A very simple request requiring full riot control.

Your Dad and I can be tired and we understand we have good and good enough parenting days. It must be hard when we disappear for 2 or 3 days at a time to go on shift leaving you with the other parent before everything swaps over again. We know you can’t understand that we have stressful jobs or that we only got 2 hours sleep and aren’t at our best, we only ask that sometimes you are kind to us. Could we perhaps watch Harry Potter on these occasions without having to constantly protect our eyes from a wand? Better still maybe we could just sit together and cuddle.

I know you truly believe that everyone loves soft play and biscuits as much as you do, and that may be true of biscuits! However; Mummy does need to tell you that although she enjoys taking you to soft play, the bit she really likes is when you go off to play with the other children and Mummy can have a hot coffee and 5 minutes without you asking her why. Now Daddy, he loves nothing more than jumping round the play area and chasing you…

Finally I wanted to say You have been so great with Pudding since we brought her home, Mummy and Daddy can see how much you love her. It’s been a difficult time for you coming to terms with having to share Mummy and Daddy with someone else, but we are so proud of how well you have coped. Such a helpful sweet boy to your sister, she already adores you and we promise that it won’t be long before she is a big girl and can play with you. I know you get cross sometimes when Mummy cannot drop everything she is doing, it can be hard to be a big brother but you are doing a fab job!

Lots of Love

Mummy xxx

Farm Fun

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So Pudding and I went to the farm this weekend, she wasn’t exactly the life and soul as you have probably read. Well she missed out big time there was loads going on!

When we got there we saw loads of dogs jumping over things and running through tunnels. They looked like they were having a great time, I can’t imagine our sausages doing that. I guess they might if mum promised them some kind of amazing treat, but as they mainly like sitting on the sofa I think it would have to be the best treat ever. After that we walked round and found that someone had built a camp fire and was providing marshmallows for toasting, I got a long pointy stick and got to toast my own. It didn’t go great, I set it on fire and then screamed my head off when I pulled it out the fire and it was black. Mummy had to eat it for me and bribe me back to smiles with the promise of a cake later on.

Then there were loads of tractors and a huge piece of machinery that Mummy did not know the name of, but I was allowed to climb up into the cab and pretend to drive both of them. The wheels were so big that Mummy And Pudding could sit in them. I tried my best to ignore Mummy when she said I had to come out but eventually she sent Opa to come and get me. I tried the old cat in a basket trick, you know arms and legs out grabbing everything on the way past but it was unsuccessful!

I enjoyed seeing the sheep and cows, there were lots of baby sheep with their mummies but by this stage the most important thing was getting that cake that Mummy promised. I made sure she didn’t forget about it by reminding her every 30 seconds. I finally got the cake on the way back to the car, as usual I ate half of it and then decided I didn’t like it, Mummy ate it for me, what would I do without her??

Why my grandparents rock by a four year old

Hooray a weekend at Mutti and Opas! I love being at my grandparents house, Pudding doesn’t realise how great this is yet. I am taking full advantage of this. Grandparents equals undivided attention for me.

Firstly its all about the space. Mutti has a big house and a huge garden. Which I have built an amazing den in which has a no Pudding Policy! Jerry the guinea pig lives in the garden too. Mummy says she and Daddy had him before I was around and that when I was little he used to live with us indoors. Today Mummy and Opa built Jerry a new house. I was supposed to be helping but the huge cardboard box was much more exciting, besides those two kept being really silly…

The other awesome thing about Mutti’s is the food. I get biscuits and brioche almost on tap and Mutti makes amazing meals too. Mummy’s does cook but apart from sandwiches she really isn’t too good at it. Don’t get me wrong its edible but not exactly inventive. Mutti also makes cakes, all the time. Not those ones out of a box like Mummy does but from scratch and everything. Also I get to measure out all the flour and sugar and use her super mixer thingy too.

I also get to go swimming at Mutti & Opa’s posh gym which has a lovely big pool and is nice and quiet. My great shark fin float helps me to swim on top of the water rather than underneath. I quite like to wear my goggles too and I am learning to put my face under the water. Mummy doesn’t usually come in with us she likes to sit and drink coffee and watch me through the window. It must be really boring for her, although she always seems really excited about it. Sometimes Daddy comes in and sits in the big bubbly hot tub, apparently that is excercising….img_1185

Mummy always looks super relaxed when we go to my grandparents. I keep trying to get her involved in things, but she just smiles sweetly at me and cradles her cup of tea. She says its a bit like having a 2 day holiday. I can see why; great food and entertainment! I don’t know why Mutti & Opa always look so tired when we leave, I thought holidays were supposed be relaxing!!!