Saturday, 31 March 2012

At Peace -The Gallery

This weeks Gallery theme is At Peace


For me At Peace means the ocean, I love hearing waves crashing down on the shore, whenever I go abroad, every evening when all is quiet you will find me sat on the beach just listening to the waves, sadly it is very rare we get to do this. I find it so relaxing and peaceful. Here in the U.K I don't get to sit by the sea at night time but Rhyl on a cold day can be just as quiet, yes its not as picturesque but if you close your eyes it sounds the same.




These are my favourite images I have of sitting listening to the waves crashing down.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Extreme Close up- The Gallery

This weeks theme is Extreme close up & I couldn't decide between my favourite so I have narrowed it down to  and old image & two images taken today in my garden.
Can you guess what animal I am?
I took this shot last summer whilst at West Midland Safari Park, It was a great day because most of the animals co-operated.

Can anyone shed any light on what flower I am?
We moved house last Autumn & the garden is full of bushes that we unfortunately have to chop down or relocate, whilst cutting them down I came across this beautiful shrub, so I have decided to try to reloacte this one because its far to pretty to chop down.


Lastly this bush also in my garden seems to be a favourite of the ladybirds such a shame that this one has to go too because they are great for getting rid of flys off crops 


Friday, 23 March 2012

Colour- The Gallery

The chosen theme this week is colour, this image I took at the Llangollen balloon festival

many colours in this image 









WOW Toys review


WOW Toys asked us to review some of their products for them I was very surprised when a rather large package arrived, WOW Toys had sent us 3 gorgeous toys for me & my family to review,  out of the well packed package came  Danny's Diving Adventure, George's Dragon Tale & Flip 'n' Tip Fred. All of their toys are free from batteries, PVC free & are painted with non-toxic paint. They are extremely durable too, my son dropped Danny's Diving Adventure down the stairs which landed on our solid tiled floor and it did not brake. He also insisted his daddy packed them all to go to his nanna's house for a sleep over, he has played with them every day since we received them and all are still in the same condition as when they arrived. The toys are not suitable for use on the sand because this could damage the moving parts. All the toys are brightly painted in different colours which enables you to teach your child colours.




Danny's Diving Adventure is suitable for ages 1½-5 years & is brilliant for helping your child development it will help your child with their visual, auditory & tactile stimulation, it will help to develop fine motor skills & hand/eye co-ordination, as your child grows the learning will not stop your child will be able to role play with it which massively helps your child to use their own imagination. I love listening to my children playing with toys that allow them to explore their imagination. In the box you will find an activity speed boat, a working diving board, Chris the daring Diver who forever dives into the bath water ocean with Daphne the dolphin & lastly Mandy who likes to steer the speed boat. The deck of the boat opens to reveal a secret cabin with a table set ready for when they have completed their adventures, also sat at the table is a little yellow cat who has fish laid out for his dinner. 
 The boat can be filled with water tip up the boat and watch the water pour from its mouth, place Danny on the diving board & press down the lever to watch him dive into the water in his own unique style.

My son loves to play with this toy in and out of the bath.





George's Dragon Tale is suitable for ages is suitable for ages 1½-5 years and like all WOW Toys it helps with your child development, this toy helps to develop fine motor skills, social development & again allows them to use their imagination. In the box you will find Smokey the Dragon who is very strong, he pulls along the the chariot, the boulder & Sir George the brave knight who is fighting off the horrid beasts to save his fair maiden. The boulder can be catapulted into the air by pushing down on the lever, Push along Smokey and his chariot & you hear a realistic clipperty-clop sound. This one is a big hit with my son who is almost 4 and has now decided he wants a castle and Princess so he can help Sir George and Smokey rescue her 
 



Flip 'n' Tip Fred is suitable for ages is suitable for ages 1½-5 years like Danny's Diving Adventures it is brilliant for helping your child development it will help your child with their visual, auditory & tactile stimulation, it will help to develop fine motor skills & hand/eye co-ordination, as your child grows the learning will not stop your child will be able to role play with it which massively helps your child to use their own imagination.
  
Flip 'n' Tip Fred is a trusty motorised Truck who loves to make recycling fun he comes with 3 recycling bins and 2 lovely helpers named Lucy & George. He has many features, making the imaginary play you can have with him more fun. He has a sturdy carry handle, and you can load the recycling bins into his bucket, then lift the clicking lever to tip them into his truck. He is a friction powered truck with realistic engine sounds & at the rear of the truck match the bins to the pictures, then lift the lever to watch them fall into the revolving waste crusher, slide up the clicking door to empty the truck. Lucy or George can take a seat at the wheel or on top of the truck. My son loved this toy he constantly tipped the recycling bins into the truck then would lift up the door to watch them fall out, he was very insistent that we had to put the matching bin onto the corresponding image. He loved that lifting the handle on the bucket made the bucket lift & tip out the bins. It helped us have conversations on recycling thus teaching him about the environment.




We love the quality of WOW Toys product they are excellent value and we will be adding to our collection.


All our opinions in this review are our own and we received the toys for the purpose of the review  







Thursday, 22 March 2012

Domestic Goddess?

My family will tell you I am far from being a domestic Goddess but to run a home you don't have to be, If I could get away with not cleaning I would, unfortunately with five children, one very hairy springer spaniel & cat constant cleaning is a must. Cleaning in our home takes quite a bit of time we have to ensure we keep on top of it because my youngest two children have allergies & my son suffers with asthma, because of this we have to be careful to use as little chemicals as possible. So how do I do it? my husband helps, in fact he does more than help, I have no shame in admitting he is quite some cleaner. We both together are bringing you some top cleaning tips.


Rule 1: music helps when cleaning, I much prefer to clean with music than without.
Rule 2: make the children responsible for their own bedrooms, if they are reluctant you could make it into a game for younger children, so say who can get the most toys in the toy box, for older children this doesn't work, I find going in with a bin bag and declaring that whatever is on the floor the next time you come in will be deemed fit for the bin, if your kids are a bit cheeky you may find that they pile everything on the bed, in the event of this happening please let me know how you deal with it.


Windows
Cleaning your windows can be a right pain most get in a window cleaner but they don't come inside do they! So to get good streak free windows I use glass cleaner then wipe them till they are full dry and streak free using newspaper, If you don't want to use window cleaner hot soapy water with a splash of vinegar works just as well. After each time wipe down the frame with a damp cloth.


Oven
I can see you all now thinking oh god I hate cleaning the oven, I think its a women top hate to clean. After each use, wipe down the hob, this cuts down the need to scrub it, for the glass on your oven or oven top use soda water it's brilliant for shifting grease. Remove any parts you can and leave them to soak in hot water with washing liquid this will stop you having to use brute force to shift the the built up grease. If you have a free standing oven don't forget to clean down the sides too.


Fridge/freezer 


If you have had something quite smelly in your fridge and you can't shift that smell, cut a lemon in half and pop it on the shelf this will keep your fridge smelling lovely. For your freezer check the setting if its to high for what you have stored in there you will be constantly having to defrost it.


Hoover
Now this is one piece of electrical equipment that I would be lost without it, not only does it gobble up all your dust and dirt its great for retrieving things that are out of your reach but do be careful its great at hoovering up socks too(I think this is where all the odd socks go its the only explanation I have). Kids can use it, some even think its fun my girls argue over who gets to hoover them room(strange girls). Whilst hoovering go over the top of your skirting boards and door frames, also hoover the vents of your electrical equipment, if you want to check how dusty your home can get check the back of your tv. Emptying the bag/cylinder is helpful too, your hoover will have a better suction, also don't forget to hoover under things & if you have a rug take it out and give it a good old beating.
Teach them young


Dusting 
I don't use polish that often, because to me it mainly just shifts dust around so we go over everything with a slightly damp cloth(if its too wet it doesn't work as well) and rinse it out often. This removes the dust rather than just moving it around. 


Mopping 
We use a bog standard good old fashioned mop, make sure your mop is clean, and squeeze as much water out as possible, you can also go over with a fresh mop of pure water after using floor cleaner this picks up left over bits and residue. We have a no shoe rule, which just leaves the hallway getting muddy daily.


Washing and Ironing
Now with 7 of us in the house our washer is constantly on the go, the pile is never ending & sometimes the washer and dryer can't keep up. If you can't live without these 2 appliances then I suggest you take out extended warranty on them, this has saved me a small fortune over the years. We lazily bung most of it in together and use colour wash strips, then every now and then do a white wash with a little whitener in. Towels and pot towels always go on a boil wash, and then most thing get thrown in the dryer which has made me quite good at shrinking things, I recently shrunk my husband rather expensive suit trousers, in my defence its his fault for putting them in the wash. DON'T put plastic backed bibs in the dryer, they have a habit of melting like a crisp packet to a naked flame! Always wash new clothes this will get and dust and left over dye out of them, after you dryer has finished fold the clothes straight away this cuts down the ironing pile dramatically, as for ironing I only do it if it really is needed such as school uniforms. 


Slow cookers
Buy a slow cooker, many things can be cooked in a slow cooker our favourite is leek and potato soup.


I  honestly am a terrible cook, I am more of a baking kind of wife, a whole chicken freaks me out when trying to cook it, my cooker needs double the time what it says it needs so I solve this by having our Sunday lunches cooked by my mother in law and boy what a cook she is. My husband has already been warned if we ever split then I shall get custody of his mum, my brother also keeps trying to get her to go live with him and his fiancĂ©e 70 miles away just for her Sunday roasts.




Top tips passed down 


Toothpaste gets marker pen off most things


bread is good at scrubbing off scuff marks 


2 Steradent tablets in water are great for cleaning net curtains (do people still have net curtains?)


vinegar and bicarbonate soda is mean't to work a treat on grout.




If you have visitors you wish to impress or trying to sell you house, bake cakes and make some fresh coffee. Your home will smell homely.



If you have any top tips please feel free to share them 



Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Graco Symbio b 5 point essential check list




All the other Graco Symbio b testers and I are linking together to bring you our own opinions on what we consider to be the most important things when buying a new pushchair.


Choosing a pushchair can make you a little excited, well it does for me being a pramaholic, trying to find the right pushchair is the real task though and can sometimes be stressful. If you are anything like me you want it to be perfect & will seek far and wide for that perfect pushchair for your little prince/princess. Some buy because they like the look of it & forget about the practicality of it. So here you will find my 5 point essential check list when choosing a pram for.

Graco Symbio b 






PRICE
The Symbio b retail price varies I suggest you shop around on average I have seen it priced around £475. So do I think it is worth it? my answer is yes I honestly do, for your money you get a seat unit that is also a carrycot so it is suitable from birth, it parent faces & world faces, not only that the handle flips over, now that you have to love. It will last you all the way through from newborn till your child does not need a pushchair. The carseat adaptors allow you to use it as a Travel system for them quick shopping trips when your baby is busy sleeping all you will need to buy separately is a Graco Logico S HP carseat. There is no need to buy another pushchair.


EASE OF USE
The Symbio b is one of the easiest pushchairs I have had in all the 12 years I have been using them, taking the seat off is very simple as is folding the frame its as simple as 1,2,3 literally, you can view my video of our Symbio b being set up with the handle flipped over to the wheels, you press button 1, pull up on lever 2 then fasten with the clip number 3. 1 & 2 can be done easily with 1 hand and I don't fasten it together with the clip I just put it in the boot handle down (which results in the wheels facing up so no more muddy boot). Unfolding is easy unclip number 3 the flip the handle up and the Symbio b opens. My husband is not that good when it comes to unfolding/folding prams and has been known to put our past pushchairs into our minibus unfolded to avoid working out how to fold them, but I am pleased to say he can fold and unfold the Symbio b.


LOOKS
Now it scores 10/10 for its looks its, modern, the fabric feels and looks nice it looks clean in its shape and my pet hate it does not resemble a golf trolley, everything is in proportion.




PRACTICALITY
Living in the Countryside I can be limited on what I can use, we have many country lanes & plenty of rough terrain yet we also need it to be useful when shopping in our town. The Symbio b is great because with the flip of the handle its larger rear wheels easily guides it over rough terrain, and for when I am shopping I let the front swivel wheels weave in and out around the shops, my only niggle is the basket is not large enough for your shopping but I solve this by appointing my husband chief bag carrier. It easily fits into my boot but we have a 9 seater minibus with large boot space but I could easily fit it into a smaller boot like a renault megane.


CUSTOMER SERVICE
I have owned quite a few Graco's and not once had a fault on any of them, but from what I have seen in response to buyers who have had faults they are always responded to quickly on Graco's facebook page. . The instruction manual is fairly easy to follow but to be honest setting up your pushchair is so easy. 


You can read my full detailed Graco Symbio b review here


You can find the other testers thoughts here 






Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Channel five: City of Friends‏

I am pleased there is now another show for my son to watch that gently teaches him life skills whilst happily watching TV. He always imaginary role plays rescues so this is exactly what he enjoys. 

City of Friends is the beautifully animated pre-school TV show that’s turned into something of a global phenomenon. Originally from Norway, City of Friends is now airing in more than 150 countries around the world!

Currently on Channel Five’s Milkshake! the series centres around the three emergency teams – Police, Ambulance and Fire – and the three friends, Max the police officer, Elphie the fire officer and Ted the paramedic who work together to solve problems and help people around their city.

Max is everyone’s friend and the city’s mischief-maker. The children in the city think he is the coolest and the funniest in the whole city. Elphie is a bubbly and adventure-loving elephant. Her impressive trunk and its water-shooting abilities make her a natural fire-fighter. Ted the caring young teddybear, is starting his life in the ambulance service. He’s very popular and offers great comfort to people in need, providing reassurance with his cuddly warmth.

Cooperation, friendship, tolerance, knowledge, activity and fun are the key words which apply to the residents in the City. The series sparks the imagination with exciting, playful storylines which are entertaining and teach very gentle, but valuable life-lessons along the way.

City of Friends trailer

The inspiration for the stories came from creator Carl Christian Hamre’s own day job working as a member of Norway’s state police. “One evening I told my son a bedtime story about the three emergency services; how they work together to solve the challenges and problems they are called out to. However, this time, I replaced myself and my colleagues, with people and animals in the emergency services, and City of Friends was born.”

City of Friends airs weekdays on Channel Five’s Milkshake! at 6.20am every day (little earlier than when my tv is switched on, so I set my sky box to record it so it can be viewed at our leisure). To see the rest of the characters and some clips head over to the City of Friends website http://cityoffriends.tv/ and the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/CityofFriendstv to find out more information. 
Judging by the latest viewing stats, the global phenomenon that is City of Friends looks set to continue! Often noted for the way it teaches kids gentle life-lessons, the animated pre-school show, which is currently on Channel 5’s Milkshake in the UK, is now airing in more than 150 countries around the world and in the UK, City of Friends has already reached more than 1.3 million viewers.

We’ve been fortunate enough to get an exclusive interview with the main characters of the show, Max the police officer, Elphie the fire officer and Ted the paramedic!

Q&A with characters of City of Friends
Hello Max, Elphie and Ted, thanks for taking time to talk with us, how are you all today?

We´re all quite tired at the moment as Jump’s had some days off from school and has kept us very busy!

Max, you’re the police officer, Elphie you’re the fire officer and Ted you’re the paramedic – what made you want to work in the emergency services?

Max: Keeping the city nice and safe – and the joy of scooting around on my own emergency vehicle of course! With sirens and flashing lights I am unstoppable! I love my Scooter!

Elphie: with a trunk as big as this, I had to find something useful for it! My trunk is great and perfectly made for my job as a fire fighter or helping Jumpi down from high trees and buildings!

Ted: my daddy is a police officer, so I wanted to do something different – but still be able to help people and drive around with sirens and flashing lights! So becoming a paramedic and driving around in my ambulance is perfect for me!

And what’s the best part of your job?

All three in unison: Helping people!
Max: With sirens, of course!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to join the emergency services?

Ted: Be nice to others – and you will have to love to help others as well! I think that goes for all emergency services.

Elphie: Yes – and you will have to face fear, and still be able to think clear! So be brave!

Max: And if you want to catch thieves, you will have to run fast! Just as I do! Whoo-hooo!

What’s the best thing about living in City of Friends?

Max: Well, it has the best friends around – all in one city! And there is always something going on here, so we have enough to take care of!

Ted & Elphie: Thanks to Jumpi!

Max questions
Max you’re everyone’s friend and the city’s mischief-maker. The children in the city think you’re the coolest and the funniest in the whole city. How does that feel?

Oh, well it comes quite natural to me I must say! And I love it!

How did you become a police officer?

Well, I believe Bobby (City of Friends Chief of Police) saw my talent and hired me at once!

Really?

No, not really! I have dreamt about this since I was 4 years old, and been asking so many times for Bobby and his team to take me on as a recruit! I think I was here with my application every day for two years! And now they have taken me on – and I will prove they made the right decision!

We love your police scooter, what’s that like to ride?

It´s just lovely! And fast! And cool! So all in all – it´s just like me! We are the perfect match for each other!

Elphie questions
Elphie you’re a bubbly and adventure-loving elephant. Your impressive trunk and its water-shooting abilities make you a natural fire-fighter. What’s the best part of working in the fire service?

Even though I just love it when we go out in the countryside to pick apples from my cheery-picker on the fire engine, the best part is when you feel you’ve made a difference to someone – and have given them a helping hand! Or should I say trunk?! And one more thing, if you have the time, when Frankie drives fast through the streets of City of Friends and the wind blows in my big, big elephant ears – it´s just lovely!

And how does it feel to be the world’s first fire fighting elephant?!

Just fantastic! If you have any elephant readers, I must encourage them to try to follow in my (big) footsteps! But they must remember, it could be dangerous fighting fires but it´s the best!

Ted questions
Ted you’re the caring young teddy bear and have just started your life in the ambulance service. Why did you want to work as a paramedic?

I wanted to help others! This is the perfect job for that, even though most of the time I’m helping Jumpi! But sometimes we help others as well!

Ted, you’re very popular and offer great comfort to people in need, providing reassurance with your cuddly warmth. What makes you so caring?

I am a teddy bear – I am just made for that, don´t you think? As a proud member of The TBA (Teddy Bear Association) I must encourage other teddy bears to try this – we are made to comfort people, especially youngsters!

And here’s a clip of the main characters from City of Friends
Embed

City of Friends airs weekdays on Channel 5’s Milkshake at 6.20am, Saturdays at 6.15am and Sundays at 6.25am or visit www.cityoffriends.com and the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/CityofFriendstv to find out more information. 


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

ETY-Kids5 Earphones for kids review

Mummy News sent me ETY-Kids5 Safe Listening Earphones for kids to test & review for them.


In the box you get


1 set of instructions
1 ETY-Kids5 earphones
Shirt clip
6 ear tips in 3 different types
Zipper pouch to keep them in.


They retail at around £69.80 and come with a 1 year Warranty & are for ages 4+




The idea behind the ETY-Kids 5 are to protect your children's hearing whilst they are listening to music or other audio, they cleverly limit sound output & will not go over a safe sound level ensuring your child will not damage their hearing through listening to music too loud. You can even buy custom made ear moulds.






They are really good we tested them out on our son who is almost 4 & they fitted him lovely, they are designed to blot out background noise, meaning a safe volume is ok for listening. They easily fit into his ears and are easy to fit he said they feel comfortable & he happily left them in for a while whilst playing on our laptop. Myself & my husband compared them to normal earphones & we both noticed that the sound was not as harsh in the ETY-Kids5 earphones yet they maintained great sound quality. The pouch is very handy because every parent will know when you have small things they tend to get lost especially when out in the car, the pouch is nice & compact & just the right size for carrying around your earphones when they are not in use.






They can be used for listening to music on a laptop, ipod, MP3 players, portable games & DVDs and many more, the Gold Plated 3.5mm 3-conductor plug will fit into most devices.




I would recommend these because our child's safety is very important & often hearing is overlooked, the damgae is normally done over a period of time & will effect them in later life but the ETY-kids5 earphones are not only safe for your child but very easy to use.



Thursday, 8 March 2012

John Crane's Tidlo Grandpa has come to stay

John Crane have sent many Tidlo Grandparents off on their jollies to homes all over the U.K. We will be taking pictures of our Grandparents adventures as we go along. We found out yesterday we had a Grandpa coming to stay, his journey has been full of fun so far and the poor thing was a little tired after his first days stay in mummy2five's household, his adventures start here....
Little Welsh Grandpa 
has arrived 
aka Taid


Luckily he had given up chocolate for lent so he was able to fit through our letter box.

We took Taid on a little house tour and shown him to his room, he was very impressed with the zoo in his room and settled down to meet the strange, yet wonderful animals

Taid was a little intimidated by the dinosaurs closing in on him 


Thankfully squawk flew in to tell him they were harmless & only want to check him out because they had never seen a Tidlo Grandpa before. 

Squawk asked him if he would like to feed the giraffes


Taid had an amazing time feeding the giraffes, so he offered to help clean the Giraffe house 




Taid picked up a fork & bucket then set to work, he worked hard on making the giraffe house sparkling clean,


Taid became very tired after all that cleaning so Daddy giraffe offered to take him back to his sleeping quarters for a power nap




back in his room Taid did not find his bed very comfortable & grumbled a little about how the mattresses on holiday always make your back hurt!


He sneaked into the little boys bed which was far more comfortable & softly drifted of to sleep.






Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Mothers Day ideas

Mothers Day is ever so close, if you are looking for ideas that are quick and easy you have come to the right place. A few years back we made my mother in law some unique gifts and here I will tell you how we did it.


Firstly we printed a small image of my son onto A4 photo paper, then we added a little verse all to do with little hands, I got the verse off a print that my husband did when he was small but have since found the verse on the internet. The verse is:



There are always so many of my fingerprints to see,
On the furniture and walls from sticky, grubby me,
But if you stop and think a while,
You'll see I'm growing fast,
Those little handprints will disappear,
You can't bring back the past.
So here's a small reminder,
To keep not throw away,
Of how those tiny hands once looked,
To make you smile one day



Print the Verse out below the printed image, then cover your child's hands in paint( I bought some Childrens finger painting paints) then place both hands either side of the verse. You may find it easier to do 1 hand at a time & test a few hand prints out of scrap paper first. Leave your prints to dry then frame them.



This is how my son's looked
(sorry about the image quality I asked my mother in law to quickly send it to me)


Another unique gift idea is to make a picture cd, you can do this my using the Windows DVD maker on your laptop or pc if you have the program installed. Add all of your favourite images, you could even add a little music to go with the images, then burn onto a disc. For the disc cover you could do 1 hand print of your child then allow to dry, once it is fully dry write the verse over the hand print.


Unique Gifts for unique women :)

Brit Mums Live 2012 Meet & Greet

So this year I will be attending my first ever Blogging Conference (little giddy dance)


I will be Travelling to London with my husband, mother in law & my youngest two children(the 3 eldest are staying with Nanna so they don't miss school) Whilst I am having fun with all you lovely bloggers my babies will be sight seeing with Daddy & Nanna.




This is Moi with my gorgeous boys 

So far I am not sponsored so I am doing it alone :) (independent woman moment)

Name: Joanne

Blog: www.mummy2five.com

Twitter ID: @mummy2five1 

Height: 5ft 4

Hair: All my own :) dye free dark brown, quite long, usually scraped back for mummy duties but will be let  loose for the event.  

Eyes: Brown & I am told they are big

Likes: Family time, coffee, blogging, talking, photography, baking, did I mention coffee, getting creative, the countryside, & more coffee.

Dislikes: Fake people, dishonesty, cleaning, cooking, my teeth, being skinny, I could go on & on but will leave it there.

This is my meet & greet I look forward to seeing you all.