Thomas and Friends Day to Night Projector

Blake moved from his cot into sleeping in his big boy bed last month and to begin with he was doing fine. However, recently he has started climbing out of bed and wanting to be playing with his toys. When I was asked about trying out the Thomas and Friends day to night projector I thought it would be a good idea as a way of trying to keep him in bed. 

When we received the Thomas and friends day to night projector Blake was eager to get it out the box. It is a lovely interactive toy as well as a handy projector for night time. Blake has always had a projector in his room at night and now upgrading him to this sweet Thomas and Tidmouth shed projector is perfect for night time with a calming glow featuring stars and the Thomas signature number 1 to help sooth him to sleep.

Start the day with a cheerful morning song and sounds. During play time, Blake was rolling Thomas through the shed to hear chugging sounds. The Tidmouth shed also produces different sounds, phrases and music as your little one plays. Blake has loved putting Thomas in and out of the shed as well as pushing him around on the floor and even carrying him around where ever he goes. The toy is sturdy which is needed when you have a hard handed toddler who loves throwing it around. The train is a great size for little hands to hold onto and it easy to move Thomas about. 

Turning the projector from day to night mode is pretty simple by sliding the switch. This then provides you with a sweet goodnight lullaby once Thomas has been tucked away in his shed. Stars and moon shapes will be projected along with Thomas's face and his signature number 1 through the roof of the shed. 

Overall Blake has loved playing with Thomas and although the projector hasn't made a difference yet in keeping him in bed it is a fun toy to help distinguish between day and night. 
We love the day to night projector and see it as a great learning tool and will have lots of fun with play. 

Mummy and Me - February

I thought that I wouldn't get that many photos of me and Blake with it being a shorter month. However I managed to get a couple which I am pleased with. 

 Stuart always take a week off work in February and so the first photo was taken when the 3 of us were out for fish and chips. Blake was being such a cheeky boy and we have a few of these shots where he is sticking his tongue out for the camera. 

Popping out for a coffee with my mother in law is something we do frequently and this month I managed to get a few selfies of Blake and I snuggled up on the sofa in a local pub which do fab hot chocolate's by the way. 

We do lots of reading and so I'm glad Stuart took a few photos of me reading to Blake. Blake loves his books and its been a good month for him with getting some new books to enjoy. 

I'm looking forward to see what March brings. 

Living arrows-9/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”- Kahlil Gibran

I really struggle to get photos of Blake when we are out and about having adventures these days as he is super fast and doesn't like staying still. On Saturday we headed off to the zoo and one of the photos I managed to get of Blake is of him coming down the slide on his own. 

Blake is a very timid toddler and is very reluctant to go up and down slides and soft play items on his own. However he chose to overcome this on Saturday was loving climbing and coming down the slide on his own which made us so proud.

The ordinary moments- A trip to the zoo

One of the things we had been meaning to do was take Blake to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo as its pretty close to us. This was Blake's first time on Saturday of going although we did take him to the zoo in the Isle of Wight back in September 2015. It's been on our bucket list to take Blake to more places like this and more often.When we were asked by Stuart's mum and her partner if we wanted to join them along with Blake's cousins (who they were looking after) we jumped at the chance for him to be able to experience the zoo. 

Blake loved running around in the butterfly garden and seeing animals such as the giraffes as well as burning off some steam in the soft play area. It was lovely to see him having such fun and days out like this are just perfect. 

The Ordinary Moments

Creating a garden suitable for the whole family

You may have recently seen my spring garden inspiration post  where I wrote about the things I'd love to have this spring if we had our own garden.Having a garden that would be suitable for the whole family is important to us and its something that once we have our own place with a garden  we have many ideas for.

Here are some of our ideas:

Garden Dining Set
For us a good dining set is important to make the most of the lovely weather in the summer.
We would make the most of dining alfresco by eating most meals outside, having picnics and BBQ's too. I love the rattan dining sets from Fishpools as they are such great quality and of course the style is right up my street.

Dedicated play area
We would love an area of a garden that is a play area for things such as a swing and slide set, swimming pool etc. This would be so that Blake could make the most of being outdoors especially in the warmer months. 

Plants/fruit and veg
Having areas of the garden for plants to care for and for us to be able to grow our own fruit and veg is something for us that we would love to do. With Stuart being more into the idea of gardening and growing our own fruit and veg I came across some garden protective clothing from Engelbert Strauss that will be ideal for him to get out in the garden come rain or shine. Engelbert Strauss specialise in protective clothing for all situations especially for gardening, meaning that they are ideal brand hence why I'd choose them. As Blake gets older it would be great for him to get into gardening too and a fab way for him to start learning about plants etc in all types of weather. 

Lights and Decor 
Lanterns with pillar candles and/or solar powered lights would be perfect for the evenings to bring a romantic atmosphere  to the garden when your child/ren are in bed. There are also so many different garden ornaments and decor items such as wind chimes that can really bring your garden to life. 

If you have quite a few toys and or items for the garden than a shed is ideal for keeping toys, garden furniture and tools away. Not only as a safety measure for when the children are out but also for keeping items locked up so less likely the risk burglary.

Gazebo and other furniture
 It would be really nice in the summer time to have a Gazebo up in the garden. My parents used to have one up in their garden when my sister and I were children. It's ideal for having a shaded area in the garden during the hot months.

Best Date Nights on a Budget

If you are looking to have a fantastic date night with your loved one, but looking to save your hard earned cash, we have you covered. Here are some great date night ideas that will not only be fun and entertaining, but will keep you financially afloat.

Wine or Beer Tasting

Search online for local breweries or vineyards that offer tours of their establishments – its likely that they will offer tastings as well to entice you to purchasing their product. Places such as Meantime Brewing offer 2 hours of educational – and tasty – fun for you and your significant other. This is a great double date idea as well!

Volunteer Together

For those seeking to give back to the community but want to still spend quality time together, opt in to volunteer. This can be walking the dogs at a local pet shelter or cleaning up litter along a canal – anything that allows you to bond with your loved one on a whole other level. Volunteering is absolutely free, is life giving, and a great way to spend the day with a like-minded person.

Go to the Zoo

The zoo isn’t just for children; adults can enjoy the animal kingdom as well! Admission is often at a very low cost, but can offer hours of fun and a bit of exercise for you and your date.

Check out the Town

Depending on what city you live in, there will always be something going on. From a free skate night at a rink, to a festival happening at city centre, enjoy the free activities that may be offered to you. Check out your city’s website for a list of things going on, and embrace what makes your town special!

Homemade Happy Hour

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Who says you need to hit up a bar to enjoy great alcohol and company? Host happy hour from the comfort of your home. Search online for a new drink recipe (This strawberry daiquiri is a great place to start) and test out your mixology skills as bartender for the evening. Out of alcohol?  Order bottles from Hungry House and have them delivered to your door within an hour, and get your drink on!

Game Night

A great idea for a couple or a bit more adventurous as a double date, hosting a game night is a terrific way to have some friendly competition all while enjoying each other’s company. Have your date and friends bring over whatever game they have to offer some variety, or head over Amazon to peruse their never-ending list of board games.

Celebrating 35 years of Dear Zoo

We love the fun lift-the- flap book Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell and this year celebrates 35 years of the firm favorite. It's a book that toddlers and parents alike will love and children will love lifting the flaps to discover the animals that the zoo has sent. Including animals such as a monkey, elephant and giraffe to name a few,  however will the zoo send the perfect pet? 

 “I can hardly believe that Dear Zoo is celebrating its 35th anniversary! I really am enormously touched and delighted that successive generations of young children continue to love Dear Zoo - their obvious pleasure when interacting with it is so gratifying to see, and for me is the very greatest of compliments!” - Rod Campbell

Blake loves his copy of the book and is one of his favorites that he will take off the bookshelf and hand to me to be read again and again. 

On the 23rd February 2017 a special hardback 35 year edition is being released.  
With extra-thick paper, shiny foiled jacket and beautifully designed slipcase the edition will make the perfect birthday, Christening or Christmas present to be treasured for years.

Dear Zoo is a great classic with bright and bold artwork and is a must for children's bookshelves. 

Dear Zoo has sold over 8 million copies worldwide since its publication in 1982 and is published in more than 20 languages. The original board book edition forms an essential part of every child’s first library, and Dear Zoo is available in a wide range of different formats and published By Macmillan Children's books. 

Wilf Books Subscription Service

Recently I came across WILF books and got a chance to try out their subscription service. Blake really loves us reading to him as well as looking through books on his own and babbling away to himself. The 3 books that we were sent are great for his age and interests. We had a book based on sharing, Peppa Pig fun at the fair and Elmer's weather. 

When you first sign up you will be asked to fill in a survey so that they know more about your child such as their age, interests and what type of books they love to read.Your books will than be delivered to your door on the 1st of each month. 

Here is a handy guide on how WILF books works:

When it comes to signing up for a subscription you opt for a monthly, 3 month or 6 month subscription. When Blake's subscription arrived I loved that it was addressed to him with a little note inside for him on a postcard. 

The books: 

This is a great little book about sharing. Blake is at an age where I am trying to get him used to sharing toys etc when we are out and about with friends or at places where he needs to interact with other children. 

Peppa Pig fun at the fair
A book about going to the fair - Blake seemed to love the story although I was a bit put off with one of the sentences in the book which I personally thought was a bit sexist. 

Elmers Weather
Blake has an Elmer book already but not this one. I love that it tells you about all different types of weather to help kids with learning and with such a lovable character.  

Overall I feel the subscription is a fab idea as children love books and the service provides you with books suitable for your child's age and interests. It's great that your child gets it sent in their name and they get a personal note for them in the box. 

Top 5 Key Components of a House You Should Not Often Change

There are some changes that you make to your home that are worth it, especially in the uplift it gives to the value of your property. But there are some components that don’t need to be changed as often as other, as Balustrade Components illustrate.

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1. Staircases
Your home may look like a simple box construction, but all these components work in harmony together to provide strength and structure to the building.
For example, as soon as the outer walls are complete, the roof trusses are added almost immediately, followed by the roofing material. This is because the roof holds the walls straight, and stops them from bowing out.
In some older properties, the staircase can play a vital supporting role too, especially staircases that are pinned to the outside wall of a home.
Deciding one morning to replace the staircase and ripping out the current one may only be a good idea if you have the DIY skills and mathematical know-how to replace it with a strong staircase that meets all planning permissions and building regulations.
Getting it wrong will mean expensive repair work, especially if the strength of a wall has been affected.
With professionally design and built staircases, they are created to last and as such, once you have your designer staircase, you really won’t need to replace it in your lifetime.

2.Supporting Walls
It can easy to assume that the only really important walls in your home as the outside walls. But properties over the years have been designed and built following different methods. This means that a wall that look insignificant could be acting as a central pillar to the home.
Supporting walls are all to do with evenly distributing the weight of the building and by removing a wall, and not replacing it with a load bearing lintel, potentially the house could shift or, worse still, collapse. 
The safest option is to ask a qualified builder or surveyor to identify a load bearing wall and if it is, to buy in the services of a builder to knock the wall down and fit a steel lintel or RSJ. 

3.Flooring Solutions
An important part of the interior design of your home, one of the most expensive components to replace are the floors and floor coverings in a property.
There are many ways of investing in flooring solutions that will last in the longer term;

  • Hard flooring – for hard flooring solutions, popular in busy households because they are so easy to keep clean, are polished concrete floors. With treatments by professional installers, you can have a concrete floor that looks nothing like concrete! Opt for a slate finish or the decadence of marble, for example. Add rugs for warmth and texture if needed.
  • Carpeting – wall to wall carpeting in the UK became popular from the 1930s onwards as was a means on insulation, as much as an interior design feature. Carpeting is suitable for all households, more so when you choose the ‘right’ colour and patterns. However, to make carpet last longer, try the following;
    • Best quality carpet for your budget – for a carpet to last a long time, choose the very best quality within your budget.
    • Stain repellent treatment – a treated carpet will resist stains much better, and is easier to clean.
Good quality underlay – underlay cushions the fibres of the carpet thus, prevents the all too common ‘walked on’ appearance. Many carpet fitters will say that the quality of the underlay is just as important as the quality of the carpet, if not more so.

4.Heating Systems
Another essential component that can be expensive to fit is the heating system in your home. And this is why choosing the right system is important.
Central heating is the most common type of heating system in a home, and has been in favour since the 1930s. But there is another heating system on the block: underfloor heating.
Wet or water underfloor heating is the most economical to run but takes more effort to install. However, it is a system that has few moving parts thus the chances of breakdown are minimal, and requires very little maintenance. 

There are times when makes changes will make a difference to how a home flows and feels, and this can add a significant amount of value to a family home. 
Again, this will take design and structural know-how but is certainly a worthwhile consideration in turning an older property into a home fit for the modern family. 

Balustrade Components provide a range of fixings and components that are essential in the structural changes made to a home. 

Living Arrows- 8/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”- Kahlil Gibran

Another week has flew by and we made another trip to the park. This time I chose to take Blake to the park that was closer to the town rather than the usual one near our flat for a change of scenery.

 He loved it as usual his favorite thing at the park is the swings but this time round he was also loving sitting on the roundabout, which they don't have at the other park we go to. 
It was kind of the spur of the moment trip as I had popped into town as I had need to go to the library but also needed to go to a few shops.

 The second photo I'm sharing is of a chilled out Sunday we loved relaxed days like this. I had decided to do a toy rotation as there was some toys he had got for Birthday/Christmas that he had not yet played with or toys that he hadn't played with for awhile. 

Living Arrows

The Ordinary Moments - Seeing Nanny

Blake loves his Nanny and he loves it when she comes over to see us. He always has such a cheeky grin on his face and loves playing with her. This week was half term so it meant she was able to pop over to see us for a few hours, without having to rush back to get to her afternoon job. 

Blake's favorite thing to play with Nanny is cars but he also loves drawing. In fact she was the one that got him into as he had no interest in drawing until she started encouraging him.

I love seeing the bond between them and  them enjoying time together, It's also lovely to be able to spend time with my Mum. When she comes over we usually go out to lunch together but as the day she was over was Valentines Day we chose not to this time.

Apple Tree Yard, The Good Girl and Chamilia #Littleloves

 I am joining in with Morgana of coffeeworksleeprepeat #littleloves and am sharing with you my #littleloves over the last 2 weeks. 

Over the last two weeks I managed to finish off the previous book I was reading (The Night Watch) and then started and finished reading The Good Girl by Fiona Neill. It took awhile for me to get into the book but than i started reading it pretty quickly. I've also been reading many books to Blake recently and we got a Wilf book subscription which I will sharing my thoughts on his coming week.

 I've watched all 4 episodes of Apple Tree Yard recently and I'm
definitely going to have to purchase the book. I've also started Shadow Hunters which I've only watched one episode of so far.

Stuart was off work on annual holiday and I've loved hearing 
Blake playing with his Daddy giggling away. Blake has also loved having his xylophone out to play with and has been playing music on it for us.

We've not made much recently but however I managed to get Blake to attempt to make Stuart a Valentines day card.

For our Anniversary on the 4th Stuart got me a gorgeous Chamilia charm bracelet.
I've been wearing it non stop recently. 

With Stuart being off work we decided to try out a cafe nearby that hasn't been open long called the cod and waffle. We also spent time over at Stuart's Mum's place as my sister in law was over finalising her wedding plans ready for May and we also had my brother in law and his family over after not seeing them for awhile either so it was lovely to see everyone. 

Buying a family car

When you start thinking of trying for a family you may want to start thinking about the type of family car that will be suitable for you. There are many things that you will need to consider which can be really confusing. 

Transporting children can be really stressful and so it's important to find your unbeatable car that matches your family's current lifestyle and suitable with your ever changing budget.

What are plans for the next five years or so?
When looking into buying your first family car its a good idea to think about your future over the next five years or more. Do you plan on just having the one child? Or are planning on having two, three or more? If you are planning to have a big family than you will need to think about the size of car you will need. Would you be able to fit three cars seats in the back for example. 

Think safety 
Once you have an idea of what sort of car you are going to go for you need to start thinking about the safety side of things. Looking for cars with a high safety rating is important. Look for cars that have airbags, anti-lock brakes, and the LATCH system for carseats. If you are planning on buying a second hand car this is especially important. It would be worth making sure that with second hand cars that all things are working and may consider getting an MOT done before your bundle of joy arrives.

The space you will need is also important as I mentioned above you need to think about your lifestyle. But you may also need to think about not just the size of car seats but if the buggy will fit in the boot along with shopping.

Another important thing as getting a baby/child in and out of car seats can be a nightmare its better to think about going for a 4 door car for example rather than a 2 door. This way the back is going to be easily accessible. 

Do you want a car that has Isofix? not all cars do. Personally for us we find using a car seat with Isofix a lot  more easier than having to use the seat belt strap. So you may want to consider that as an option.

You will need to sit down and work out what you can afford. Baby's are expensive and you will need to work out what you can afford when it comes to buying a family car. You will need to work out what you have left once all your other out going's are cared for. 

*This is a collaborative post 

Spring Garden inspiration

Now that spring is arriving it seems to be a time where people start looking into ideas for there gardens. As we live in a flat I have decided to compile some ideas of what I'd love to have if we had our own garden to enjoy.

First of all we would have to have a gorgeous garden dining set this for us would be a must as during the spring and summer months we would spend a lot of time outdoors. 
I can imagine making most of our meal times by dining alfresco and why not? whenever the weather is warm you need to make the most of it.  I'd also love to have some other garden furniture such as a sun lounger so I could relax with a book and soak up the sunshine. 

Other items I'd love to have would be some good lights for enjoying the garden in the evening. I love solar panel lights and feel they are perfect for path ways so you can see where you are going. I also like the idea of using lanterns with pillar candles to bring a relaxed mood to the garden. These would be prefect for on the dining table if you are having a romantic meal with your partner too. 

I've always dreamed of a garden with a little archway I think they are so sweet. I'd love to have one for a little private area of the garden.

 One thing both Stuart and I agree on with having our own garden is that we would love to have an area to grow our own fruit and veg. This is something we have always wanted to do when we discuss about having a place with our own garden. 

Last of all we can't forget things for Blake, I'd love for him to have his own swing and slide sets. Other items we would love for him to have is his own sand and water tray and a swimming pool for the hotter months. 

What are your dream garden ideas?

*In collaboration with Fishpools