Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Student Security this September

The new academic year has officially started and it seems like your head is filled with last minute to-dos and preparations each morning. Have they got the correct packed lunch, do they need their PE Kit today?

Starting a new school year can be daunting for Mums, Dads and students alike, and with so much going on it’s understandable that parents often forget to spare a thought for security and if their child’s belongings are kept safe throughout the day. As a result, security specialist Yale has put together its handy hacks to help relieve that September stress.

As it becomes increasingly commonplace to leave expensive possessions in school bags, which are left unsupervised and vulnerable to theft, more and more schools are now actively encouraging students to consider security measures more seriously.

Does your child take a smartphone with them to school? Research has revealed that mobile phones are the most frequently stolen item in the UK. With 90% of children aged between eight and 14 now owning a mobile phone, it’s worth considering how to secure these.*

Why not consider a padlock for your child’s school bag or rucksack? These don’t have to be bulky or obtrusive. Novelty padlocks are ideal for children heading back to school, as they’re affordable, stylish and practical. Available in a variety of styles and colours, each Yale padlock comes with either a three or four dial combination lock that is easily re-settable.

The Active and Street Style padlocks offer a simplistic yet stylish design and are available in a number of colours. For fashion fanatics the handbag-shaped Fashion Dreams and Party Girl padlocks are perfect accessories, whereas the Football Padlock is ideal for footy fans.

Additionally, is your child always forgetting or losing their house key? Consider investing in a smart lock. Yale’s Keyless and Keyfree smart locks mean there is no need to worry if your child arrives home early or if they’ve lost their keys as you can let them in remotely via your smartphone. With a smart lock you can choose how you want to open the door whether it be using a PIN code, key card, key tag, remote fob or smartphone.

To find out about the latest security products to protect your little ones this September, head over to the Yale website.

*National Mobile Phone Crime unit

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Kitchen and Bathroom Renovations

We moved into our home five years ago this Autumn. The house is big with large gardens but the kitchen is tiny. For a family of seven things were tight in the kitchen with two double floor units, 3 single floor units and one wall cabinet. We had to combine our washer & dryer and then all we had room for was a fridge freezer. The kitchen is accessible from the lounge which means that one wall in the small lounge can not be used due to it having two doors on it and then access to the electric/storage cupboard. I've never been happy with the kitchen layout and when I saw that my area was listed for a new kitchen I initially thought that due to the kitchen only being five years old that we would not be listed for a new one. So when we were offered a new kitchen and bathroom from the council we were rather happy. 
The kitchen in 2011
When the contractors came I was itching to be able to design the kitchen to make the best use of the space we have. I didn't think we would get much say with it being a council house, I thought we would get to choose a colour from a small selection and that was that. How wrong was I. Whilst talking to the design team they said we could have what we wanted(within reason of course) so when I asked if the door to the kitchen could be moved to the hall they said yes, no questions asked. Moving the door creates more space in the lounge and changes the kitchen into more of a galley kitchen.
We selected our colour choices, opting for ivory doors with an oak block worktop(I have dreamt of this kitchen for years). The flooring we have gone for a dark grey colour. I think a lighter colour would have looked more aesthetically pleasing however, from past experience light flooring does not look its best after it has be trodden on a few times with mucky feet from the garden. The vinyl floor tiles we currently have are a nightmare to clean and never come up nice after scrubbing and using a steam floor cleaner on them.  
With the kitchen chosen all that was left to do was wait and de-clutter the house. When speaking to the council they said it would be after Christmas before the kitchen would be fitted. Then a surveyor came knocking on the door to inform us that it would in fact be done in a few weeks, coinciding with when the children break up from school(talk about bad timing).
So with a rush of de-cluttering and finding places for everything out of my kitchen and bathroom I have been rushed off my feet. We have set up a small kitchen area in my hallway(thankfully the hall is large) and yesterday the contractors came to make a start. 

Day One
Kitchen and Bathroom Rip Out Day

We were warned prior to the work starting that when they rip everything out, back to the bare shell of the house it will not be a pretty sight. Due to the house being a pre-fabricated house and not a traditional built house the bare shell looks bad. I was actually eager to see how my home is built. The house shakes in strong winds, during the summer they are like greenhouses and in the winter they are as warm as a static caravan. But the sight that I was met with when I returned home yesterday was not as bad as I envisioned. I can now see why the upper floor creaks with every step. The small wooden baton on top of the metal floor joists creates the creaking noises. The insulation is not at its best either but considering the houses were not built to last they are doing pretty well. 

The bathroom is the same as the kitchen only if I stand on the bath(like all normal people do) I can see right outside and into the eaves of the house. I am sure the birds that were nesting there are not impressed and we will have a flurry of creepy crawlies move in but only one week to go before it is sealed back up again.

Today as I sit in waiting for the plumbers to arrive I shall be browsing online and making a shopping list of new items that I would like for my new kitchen. I think the only thing that will get me through the next few weeks of renovations is coffee and lots of trips out to burn off the children's energy.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Hobbycraft Teepee Play Tent

A while back Hobbycraft kindly sent us a Teepee Play Tent for review. The teepee comes ready for you to decorate however you or your child wishes to do so. The only things you need is some materials and a little bit of imagination.
I pulled it all out of the box and inserted the wooden poles and tada it was up, in my living room I might add. Inside is where little lady spent the next few hours after collecting every stuffed toy she owns for a private tea party. I stared at the blank white canvas from the outside, little lady stared at it from the inside. Little lady wanted to paint handprints as shown on the box, little T recommended doing a minecraft theme but mummy2five won when I pitched my idea. I wanted a woodland theme. I pictured hedgehogs, foxes, owls and rabbits. Being a little bit crafty I had all sorts of materials and wool that allowed me to create a few little animals. But I wanted a special touch so I decided to look through clothes that had grown too small or baby clothing that I had saved from when the children were little. 

After creating templates I got to work cutting into the clothing whilst recounting great memories  from when they wore the clothes. A snip here and a stitch there and we had an owl. A little while later and Herbert the Hedgehog was created. Next was the rabbit and flower. I had found some bee appliqu├ęs and sewn a line of stitches to show where Billy the busy bee had flown from.

I had created two scenes and realised I had nothing to make a red fox out of so I am waiting for little lady to allow me to cut into one of her orange tops to create a red fox and a red squirrel. Trying to persuade a five year old that has somehow inherited your own stubbornness is no easy feat. 

In the mean time she wanted to play with her new teepee so out in the garden it went. Her and her two little cousins love it. Their own little den where their imaginations can run wild. It is one of the first thing little lady asks for me to pull out on sunny days. I am sure it will provide her with years of fun whilst providing me with great memories of the clothes she once wore.

Whilst I patiently wait for my daughter to lose a bit of stubbornness I made some bunting and a pillow for her teepee. Maybe I should admit defeat and buy some material for the fox.

The teepee is 140 x 120cm. The canvas comes plain ready for you to decorate however you wish and the quality of the canvas is great. I was impressed with the quality especially with the teepee only being £35. When your child is not using the teepee it is easy to fold up and store upright in a shed or even inside the house which is where ours is stored on rainy days. I would recommend the Hobbycraft teepee to family and friends, we loved decorating ours.

Disclaimer: I was sent the teepee for review. All opinions and images are my own. 

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Fairy Mountain with the Irish Fairy Door Company

Turn right at the butterfly house, through the gate. Move carefully forward five meters past the prowling cats and you will step into the magical world of fairy mountain. Up on fairy mountain two old trees provide the fairies of fairy mountain wonderful homes. Three homes in all but the residents stay hidden. Only when the garden falls silent do the fairies come out to play and tend to their garden.
We had previously told you about the colourful doors that the Irish Fairy Door Company provided our fairies with. Now I must show you the cute accessories that have been delivered to fairy mountain.
The Irish Fairy Door Company sent our fairies a garden set, a fairy treats plate, two packs of decal wall stickers and their fairy force book.
In the garden set they got a new wooden bench so they can rest and soak in the morning sun, a rake to tend to their gardens, a watering can so they can water their plants and a little flower to place on their table when they enjoy afternoon tea. They also received a fairy treat plate so we can put out delicious fairy treats for them. I can't speak for the fairies but I know my children adore the cute accessories from the Irish Fairy Door Company. Their imaginative play really does come alive when they play on fairy mountain. The accessories have been well played with endured all weather and still look great.
As our fairies live outdoors we have not had chance to use the decals just yet. Little lady has read through the Fairy Force book with me and enjoys the story of how Ben's bad dreams are kept away with the help of the fairies.

If you want to create your own magical fairy garden we all at mummy2five highly recommends The Irish Fairy Door Company for all that your fairy garden needs.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

To my beautiful daughter, I know your heart is breaking

Today you reached breaking point, 
today you broke down and I was not there for you.
Dad was though and I am pleased he was,
he will protect you and have your back.

School has been a struggle for years, 
we've always known that, we were prepared for that.
What we were not prepared for was the bullying,
for 3 years it has gone on, all from the same boy!

A boy, since when did boys bully girls, 
for years you have tried to hold your head high.
Been told by the teachers time and time again, 
it's just banter! Banter it is not.
I wish you would have told us how scared you were earlier, 
instead of keeping it in.
It is our job to protect you, make you feel safe, 
It is our job to ensure you are happy.

Now we know the full story we will, 
this I promise you.
I will not stop until you feel safe, 
until he is reprimanded.

Things will get better, I promise you that, 
Tomorrow we will get answers.
We will not stop until you feel safe at school, 
We will protect you.

The sad thing is you've decided not to attend prom, 
prom that you have been talking about for years.
The dress, the hair, the nails, 
how you will travel there.

We sat and we hugged and we cried together, 
we will do something special.
I don't know what and I know it will not make up for missing prom, 
but I know that you will feel safe.

I know that we will make it special, 
I know that your memories of it will be happy.
I sit here now writing this and my heart breaks for you, 
you should not be made to feel this way.

You're beautiful, you're funny, 
you're brilliant at creating great hair styles.
Far better than me,
you have your future at your feet.

To my beautiful 16 year old first born, 
I love you and that will never end.
I will fight your corner, 
that will always be the case.

I can not make up for missing prom, 
I can not promise that it will be as flash as prom would have been.
But I do promise that happy memories will be made, 
you will get a new dress and you will be with people who love you.


Friday, 5 February 2016

The Growth of Inclusive Sport in the UK

If you think sport is just for keep-fit fanatics, Sunday footballers, and those with too much time on their hands, think again – sport can play a part in everyone’s life to not only maintain a healthy body, but a healthy and active mind too. 
And that goes for everyone, regardless of age or ability level.  The growth of inclusive sport means that virtually anybody can get involved and experience the physical and psychological benefits that are associated with sport, exercise and social-interaction with like-minded people.  

The Inclusive Sport programme is a Sport England initiative designed to increase participation among disabled adults and young people from the age 14 upwards.  
The project is part of Sport England’s wider remit to increase regular sport participation by disabled people, and so far there have been two rounds of Inclusive Sport that have seen 88 projects benefit from almost £20 million of National Lottery investment. 
It’s not all about getting everyone playing football, netball or cricket though, as traditional team sports are simply no fun for those who have sensory issues, and difficulties with communication and social skills. 
Similarly, more individual pursuits such as running and cycling may not be suitable for those who limited mobility or who suffer with fatigue, though there are real strides being made to make these pursuits more fully inclusive, notably adapting bicycles for those with special needs. 
What are the benefits of physical activity? Physical activity benefits both the body and the mind and participation for people of all physical-abilities, is inextricably linked to both better physical and mental wellbeing and the noticeable benefits include: 
  • Improvement in muscle coordination, flexibility, muscle strength and endurance, all of which can increase life expectancy. 
  • Improvement in self-confidence, social skills, behaviour and academic performance. 
  • Positive experiences of achievement and accomplishment, both personally and as part of a team. 
  • Increase in attention span and responsiveness to others. 
  • Can help cut secondary health complications like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. 
  • Offer and outlet for physical energy that can help alleviate stress, anxiety and depression. 
Promoting physical activity If you know someone who is simply not interested in physical activity it can be near impossible getting them out and about, so you need to think outside the box and suggest activities that promote movement without being to ‘sporty’ or excessively vigorous. 
So you could consider things such as: 
  • Walking around the local park and collecting rocks, leaves, and flowers which can be used later on as part of an art project. 
  • Gardening can also be a great way to promote outdoor physical activity and have tangible end results to be proud of. 
  • Playing catch with a friend or even the family dog 
  • Learning skills such as juggling, balancing or kite flying. 
  • Playing games with hula hoops, gymnastic ribbons or skipping ropes. 
  • Taking part in sports that can still be fun without being overly competitive, for instance bowling, table tennis or swimming. 
Playing video games On the face of it, encouraging kids to play video games is a sure fire way to promote a sedentary lifestyle, but there are games designed to get everyone up and active. This can be a fun and practical way of introducing physical activity, especially to anyone who is self-conscious and would prefer to exercise in the privacy of his or her home. 
Instead of sitting in front of Mario Kart or Call of Duty, try some of these instead:  
  • Wii Fit Plus has a balance board and game software that promotes all kinds of physical activity such as yoga and Pilates, and even things like boxing and tennis on Wii Sports can offer a fairly rigorous workout.  
  • Just Dance is a game that is available on all consoles and promotes exercise through fun dance routines to famous songs. 
  • Kinect Sport Ultimate Sport Collection is similar to Wii Sports but is available on Xbox. This game includes sports like basketball, football, beach volleyball and boxing, all of which must be played using bodily movements instead of a traditional controller. 
Have you seen first-hand the positive effect being active can have on an individual? Or have you come up with some inventive ways to promote physical activity? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below…

Friday, 18 December 2015

Portable North Pole

Portable North Pole or PNP as most people know it has been used by us parents for many years. This year was the first year I have had a gold subscription to it. On previous years we have always created a video using the free subscription. I must say I am rather impressed with the gold subscription. You have access to unlimited videos, when you have five children this comes in very handy. I can now create a video for the run up to Christmas and a special one each on Christmas Eve. Not only that you can add extra details on the gold subscription. That is not all the gold subscription has to offer. You also get access to unlimited phone calls.

 My children all received their phone calls today much to their delight. Little lady who is poorly with bronchitis was very quiet when he called. Little T was as giddy as ever and said yes a lot. Big T who still believes in the magic of Christmas was thrilled that he made it onto Santa's good list.

I can not wait to show them their Christmas Eve videos before we go outside to see Santa's sleigh cross the sky at 5:20pm.

For just £9.99 you can get unlimited videos and calls. For all of Mummy2five's readers I can offer you 20% off any paid products, to redeem this offer enter BLG20PNP

I hope your children enjoy the Portable North Pole as much as my children do.

Merry Christmas from us all at Mummy2five