#LittleLoves April 2019


Another month has gone by and it's been another good one. We've had a few days out with my favourite being a trip to Retford.  We ended up finding an amazing park which we will definitely visiting again, especially for picnics in the summer. We've also headed back over to Buckinghamshire/Bedfordshire way to see family for Easter. Blake was loving the sunshine, Easter egg hunts and a trip to the farm so it's been rather busy.

Anyway here are my littleloves for April:

READ

I've definitely not read as many books this month as I did in March and am currently still in the middle of my current read. I've even had a read this month where I read one chapter and gave up as it was confusing me, which I've left out since this is a favourites post.


Quiet by Fearne Cotton
Having read her two other books Happy and Calm I knew the kind of thing to expect from Fearne and I wasn't disappointed. Quiet is all about that negative inner chat we all have and how to quieten it down. Packed with interviews, tips, activities you can do and more it's a great overall read.

The Forgetting time by Sharon Guskin
A bit of a slow starter this one. It explores the idea of reincarnation with a little boy called Noah who's mum is struggling with his behaviour difficulties and his insistence that he wants to go home even though he is home. It's a thought-provoking fictional read that got me thinking about what I'd do if I was ever in the same position as Noah's mum. 

Let me lie by Clare Mackintosh 
Having read a few of clare's other books I've had this on my tbr list since it was released, however I've only recently got a copy.  As with her other books Let me lie was a brilliant thriller with twists and turns throughout which I love.

Currently reading: 
Autism, how to raise a happy autistic child by Jessie Hewitson 
With Blake having recently been diagnosed I thought this looked like a very interesting and informative read. I'm correct its filled with advice and the authors experience of having an autistic child. 



WATCHED

Netflix
It's mainly been catching up with new season realeses of some of my favourites

Santa Clarita Diet Season 3
The OA Season 2
Riverdale Season 3
Shadow hunters season  4

I've also now got into the whole Mrs Hinch cleaning and been watching her instagram stories along with other home/cleaning accounts.



HEARD
Like quite a lot of parents we were waiting to find out on the 16th if Blake had got into our first choice school for him. We are very happy to hear that he has! The school is about a 5 minute walk from our house which is very handy and we were very impressed with the school when we visited. 


WORE
Nothing new here 


MADE
Blake had a cold as was feeling rather sorry for himself so one morning we made these paper plate baby sharks. I got the idea after seeing it on one of the Facebook pages I follow.


We also had a go at making a felt Easter card which I picked up from The Works.  You get lots of felt shapes which stick on the card to make your design.  I found threading the ribbon through the felt card a bit tricky though. 


AND LASTLY..
I had to share this lovely photo of Blake feeding the goats at the Green Dragon Eco Farm. He's really loving animals and was excited and giggling. 


Primary School Admissions

Today parents all over the UK and Ireland will be eagerly and nervously waiting the news on which school their child/ren  will be attending from September. In fact some parents like us may already have heard. Not everyone is going to be happy with the decision that's been made. However, we are one of the lucky ones and Blake has an offer made for his first choice school.We've had to put him down for a mainstream school as at current there is no EHCP in place for us to apply for a SEN school however we are happy with our result as the school he's been offered we really liked when we visited.

5 years ago today I had found out I was pregnant with Blake so it's special in a way that we found out today. Honestly the whole thing is an emotional rollercoaster now we know what school he will be going to and I can't help but wonder where the time has gone and how my baby is going to school in September.  If like me you are feeling a mixture of feelings you are far from alone as I'm sure that most parents are feeling the same. 


Excited
I'm feeling so excited for Blake starting his new chapter of school life and thrilled we got into his first choice school. The school is round the corner and when we had a look around we were happy with the facilities and knowing that they have children with Autism who go there and there is the right support available. 

Tearful
I feel tearful knowing that Blake is starting school this year when it just doesn't seem possible. To me he still feels like his still a baby and I guess I'll always see him that way.

Nervous
I feel nervous because of his additional needs. I'll definitely feel more at ease once I know about 1 to 1 support he will get etc. I'm also nervous for him due to us having relocated he won't know anyone so it'll be all starting again for him. 

I hope you have had good news on your choice of school for your little one.

Untamed Dragons and Untamed Mad Lab Mini's

If you are a parent you most likely will know about the Fingerlings craze. If you don't know the original Fingerlings were released in 2017 and they were so popular around Christmas time they were selling out everywhere. Since then they have released many other designs. WowWee have now gone and done it again and released the UNTAMED Dragons to their rapture Fingerlings range. On top of that they have joined in with the collectables craze and have come out with the UNTAMED Mad Lab Mini's collectables. 







The UNTAMED Dragons come in four different characters with their own unique name and personality; Wildfire, Shockwave, Freezer and Venom (who we received). They have 2 modes tamed and untamed. Depending on the mode, the same actions get a different response.

When untamed your dragon lights up and become ferocious, whilst in tamed mode your dragon is your friendly companion. Poking and shaking your dragon will get it hissing and rouring, alternatively if you are kind to your dragon and pet it gently instead your dragon will hum and coo. 




The UNTAMED Dragons have blinking eyes, snapping light up jaws, gripping claws and super cool wings. Each dragon has its own way of expressing affection and anger,  (Venom breathes toxic gas) and they react to touch, motion and sound and make over 40 different sounds.


Upon opening I did wonder if Blake would have much interest in it as he is very easily distracted. However he has been spending a long period of time exploring how to get it to react in different ways and loves roaring with it. As he gets use to it I'm sure he is going to enjoy playing with it more independently. 

Made from sturdy plastic the UNTAMED Dragons have an on/off switch on the back of the head so there is no worrying about it going off in the night. They fit well on Blake's finger although he's currently not got to grips with the idea of holding it that way yet. Although battery operated it's not at all heavy. 


The UNTAMED Mad Lab Mini's are a fearsome collectable and like other collectables we've reviewed so far, they offer a surprise element in not knowing which collectable character you will get. With the UNTAMED Mad Lab Mini's you also have the excitement of finding out what fun DNA compound you will be extracting your character from. 

There are 34 prehistoric characters  to collect in the first series, of which 18 are common, nine are rare and three are ultra rare. There are also three limited edition characters, and lastly one rare golden character, Goldrush.


When it comes to removing the outer wrapper of the 'test tubes'  I reccomend using a pair of scissors as we found it to be tricky to unwrap. Once you have taken off the wrapper you will see what compound you have (BioSand, Geoslime or Terrclay) we recieved one of each.  Your collectable character will be covered by the collectors map  so you will need to Unwrap, pull of the lid and peel the plastic film away to release your new Mad Lab Mini collectible character!

As you can see below we found Ironjaw in some Geoslime, Bonesaw in the Terrclay and finally Gloom in the BioSand. The heads and bodies come apart so once you have a collection of the mad lab mini's you swap them to make your own hybrid creatures. If you want to you can also keep the compounds in the test tubes. At £4.99 it's a bit pricey if you choose not to keep the compounds, however they are pretty fun as well as messy which of course kids love. There’s also an app, and with each collectible you get a QR code which you can scan to collect in-app characters.

The UNTAMED Dragons retail at £16.99 and UNTAMED Mad Lab Mini's are £4.99 each and are sold in SymthsArgos and The Entertainer.

* We was sent an UNTAMED Dragon and UNTAMED Mad Lab Mini's in exchange for this review .  All thoughts and opinions are my own.




Fancy getting your hands on some UNTAMED Mad Lab Mini's?  Well I've got some to give away.

To enter complete the rafflecopter below.

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Fuzzikins bedtime bunnies

We are fans of Fuzzikins in our house, we reviewed the campervan set last year and Blake still enjoys playing with it often. Blake is also a fan of little figures that he can carry around and play with. Along with a love of crafts Fuzzkins are great for being creative.





We were sent The Fuzzikins Bedtime Bunnies set from Interplay. It's time for bed for these adorable bunnies, colour them in and pop them into their beds. The Fuzzikins sets are ideal for children who love crafts and lets them be creative thanks to the washable pens meaning you can wash the bunnies and once dry give them a new design.

The set contains:

- 3 cat figures that are in different sizes
- 3 felt tip pens in pink, grey and brown
- 3 felt beds
- felt accessories 



The accessories you get are super adorable. There  is a  mask and cape for the smallest bunny to play at being a superhero. All 3 bunnies get a sleep mask which are so cute and beds which your child can have fun designing thanks to felt shapes that stick on. All they have to do is peel the label off the back and stick them where they want. 




When it comes to colouring the bunnies you can practice your designs first thanks to the box having bunny cut outs. It's a great way for your child to be able to see their ideas before they draw them on the bunnies. Blake wanted me to do some designs on 2 of the bunnies first before he had a go.


The Fuzzikin bedtime bunnies set is an ideal gift for Easter especially if you are wanting to find an alternative to chocolate.  At £9.99 for the set i feel its well worth the price as I'm sure we will got a lot of use out of them. 

The set is for ages 4 years+ and is not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts that may represent a choking hazard.

*I was sent the Fuzzikins Bedtime Bunnies in exchange for this review by Interplay. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Fun with HAPE's Skinny Legs Toss




I've mentioned many times now my love for wooden toys. Hape toys stimulate children through every stage of their development and help nurture and develop their natural abilities. With this said, Hape are a brand we own quite a few toys from as we know they are built to last and are also lots of fun to play with.


 Hape's toys are designed not only to be fun for playing with but also to last a lifetime. We have previously and currently own quite a few of Hape's toys. Because they are built to last,once we have finished with them we will pass them on to family and friends.  We recently were lucky to be sent a wonderful game for Blake called Skinny Legs Toss. Designed for ages 3 plus this is a game we are bound to have lots of fun playing with. 




All of Hape's toys go through rigorous testing to make sure that they are of the best quality. The Skinny Legs Toss game is made from sustainably sourced material. In fact instead of wood the skinny legs toss game is actually made from solid bamboo and is painted with durable child safe paint. 

As you can see the spiders come in 4 different colours and are a cute design. The web is easy to put together as you only need to attach the feet to the bottom which is super easy.


The aim of the game is to take turns in throwing your coloured spiders at the spiders web and see how many you can get to stay. Whoever has the most is the winner.



Skinny Legs Toss is a fun game for 1 - 4 -players that is ideal for playing both in and outdoors. The game has many great benefits for learning including:

- turn taking skills
- playing with others
- gross and fine motor skills
- problem solving skills

The Skinny Legs toss is definitely going to be a popular toy this summer for us especially as we can play the game together in the garden and enjoy the weather at the same time. 

*We were given the Skinny Legs Toss Game by Hape in exchange for a review, however all thoughts an opinions expressed are our own.

Micro Motorz

Collectables are such a popular pocket money toy at the moment. We were introduced to our first collectable last month and now we get the chance go try out another this time the all new Micro Motorz. HTI toys brand new collectable is ideal for vehicle lovers  combining that with children's love of blind bags makes this the ideal collectable for racing car fans.

Each set contains six suprises that help children to create and play with their new vehicle to make it ready to drive. There are over 20 different Micro Motorz to collect in the first series, which means that children can build up a fantastic collection of super vehicles.



These include six Nitro Chargerz which are perfect for drag racing and pack some serious punch, there are three regular and three rare ones of these to find. Another selection as part of the series are the Speed Demonz which can be launched at speed and customised with their interchangeable spoilers, making them perfect for the race track.

The Hot Rodz vehicles come in garish colours with interchangeable air scoops which make them must-have racers. Again there are three regular and three rare ones to find. Last but by no means least is the ultra-rare Monster Treadz, which are rugged monster trucks that can crush their opponents in any race. These super machines even include slick gold engines to help complete their fierce look which is sure to stand out to any competitior.




They come in a brightly coloured packet which when opened, revealed three plastic chambers, along with a sticker that indicates which of the 4 teams the car inside may belong to. You can then snap off the chambers one by one to reveal the surprises inside and most importantly find out exactly which vehicle you have received. I personally felt that there was a lot of plastic for such a small toy. Although I love the blind bag idea i feel that they could be a way to reduce the use of plastic. Maybe by coming up with a way of replacing the plastic chambers, so you can still have the blind bags inside.

In the first chamber there is a tool for your vehicle along with leaflet that shows all the vehicles you can collect in series one . In the second chamber  is a tuning accessory such as a engine or a spoiler. The last chamber is where you find the vehicle which is inside a plastic display capsule. The capsules can clip together with others like you can see in the photo above. The capsules also act as a launcher to send the vehicle speeding away.




When we first started to follow instructions on how to put the launcher together we found it complicated to understand. I would recommend looking up on YouTube how to put it together as that what we did in the end for ease. I definitely feel they need to look at improving the instructions.

Overall i feel they do look pretty cool and can be fun for children to unwrap. We found the launcher to be incredibly fiddly and hard to work though. We most likely won't be buying any more as Blake hasn't taken much interest in them. Although they are aimed at children 3 years and over I feel that they maybe more suited for school aged children. 



The Micro Motorz are aimed for children at 3 years and over and retail at £4.99. You can find them at most toy stores/ supermarkets and even Amazon.  


*We were given the Micro Motorz featured in exchange for a review, however all thoughts an opinions expressed are our own.


WAYS TO UPGRADE YOUR CAR ON A BUDGET

Other than buying a house your car is likely to be the second most high ticket item you own.  We can't all afford our dream car unfortunately, however there are ways to upgrade your current car on a budget. Apart from repairs there are ways to upgrade your car without spending a lot of money.



1. Get Better Quality Tyres
It's important to do key maintence on your car regularly which of course  includes your tyres. A set of high quality tyres is a great idea for improving how your car looks as well as it's performance.

2. Get a Personalised Number Plate
Want your car to stand out? A personalised number plate is the way to go. newreg.co.uk can help you out with a number plate and you can be creative in your choice. In the UK, it’s legal for vehicle owners to buy and install personalised number plates, as long as the new plates don’t make your vehicle appear newer than its original manufacture date.

3. Tinting your Windows
Tinting your cars windows isn't just about making your car look cool. Getting your cars Windows professionally tinted helps to block out harsh sunshine and window glare.

4. New lights
New lights on your car are a great way of making your car look new and fresh. Why not try LED lights for a energy efficient and brighter look.

5. Car accessories 
There are many accessories you can buy for your car to give it a new look. New seat covers and floor mats are a great way to quickly change the interior. Then there are items such as steering wheel covers, light covers, car decals in a range of designs and so much more.

Autism : Getting a diagnosis

It's approaching a month since Blake got his Autism diagnosis. It's taken a long while for us to get to this point and as its Autism Awareness Day today in fact the whole of April is Autism Awareness month I thought I'd share about our experience of getting Blake a diagnosis. 

I first flagged up my concerns in regards to Blake when he was 18 months old and noticed that he wasn't doing some of the things his friends could do such as walking and talking. I even noticed little things such as flapping his hands a lot and staring into space in his own little world. After I spoke to my health visitor about it she sent off a referral for Blake to see a paediatricion however by the time the appointment had come around Blake was already walking. Even so I still went to the appointment with him and was told that he had no concerns at this stage because of Blake's age and was discharged.






Our health visitor kept in touch and continued to get me to fill in the ASQ (ages and stages questionnaire) every 6 months so that we could keep an eye on how he was getting on. Unfortunately he was getting more and more behind, which really didn't help me at all sending me into a panic and feeling I was a bad mum with him being so behind. The health visitor decided eventually that he needed to be referred again.

In between waiting for an appointment with a paediatricion we had a few appointments with a speech therapist. However after a while the appointments stopped as working with a child who potentially has Autisim wasn't in her area of expertise. We also were lucky to have other specialists involved to help us with Blake's learning and a he had wonderful 1 to 1 support at his previous preschool.

Finally after a long wait Blake got to see a paediatricion again in March 2018 ( just after he turned 3)   At the appointment I told the paediatricion my concerns and that I had discussed and looked up information with my husband and that we believe he may be autistic. He decided he wanted Blake to have a few tests to rule out other things and also to have a ADOS ( Autistic diagnostic observation schedule ) ADOS is an instrument for diagnosing and assessing Autism. The protocol consists of a series of structured and semi-structured tasks that involve social interaction between the examiner and the person under assessment. 



Unfortunately the waiting list for appointments meant we waited around 10 months for the ADOS appointment. However as we were relocating we were lucky not to have to wait long after for the diagnostic appointment. In the meantime between waiting we were lucky to have other specialists involved, to help us to find strategies to help with Blake for learning. We also eventually saw another speech therapist for a few appointments where we started learning more about PECS (Picture exchange communication) which Blake is responding well too.


The diagnostic appointment we had over phone was where the paediatricion confirmed that Blake is Autistic and that he was well over the cut off point. Now as we've moved areas, we need to start get the ball rolling so we can hopefully get an EHCP (Educational healthcare plan) in place for him starting school in September. 


Seeing Blake struggle with day to day life is extremely difficult. I sometimes have moments of worry about what his future will be like. There are bittersweet moments wheen I see children Blake's age doing so much more than he can and it makes me feel so sad for him. Then Blake will give me one of his cheeky grins or do something like try a new food and I remember that treasuring little moments like these makes me see life in a different way.


Review: Blue Coffee Box

Subscription boxes have been popular for awhile now and I love that there are so many different ones available. Today I'm sharing with you a subscription box that is ideal for coffee lovers like myself. The Blue Coffee Box is the UK's best gourmet coffee subscription service. Not only will you get luxurious gourmet coffee delivered to your door, you will be tasting ethnically sourced specialty coffee. 

With a Blue Coffee Box subscription each month you will receive a letterbox friendly box containing 3 bags of freshley roasted coffee along with tasting notes and information about the origin and farm where it is produced. Three new roasters are introduced every month from the top of the UK’s 300 or so craft roasters to hand-roast the beans. These are fresh roasted every week and members can select how they are prepared; whole beans or ground for cafetiere, dripper or espresso. 

Membership costs from only £7.99 per month (or less for 3, 6 or 12-month advanced payment). Members can cancel, pause, skip or upgrade at any time. 




Founders Jon and Harvey kindly gifted me a box to try out. As someone who loves my coffee and is unable to get through a day without a mug or two,  Blue Coffee Box is great treat. I opted for the espresso ground coffee box which is suitable to be used in espresso machines and stove tops. You can choose others though such as beans to grind, cafetière coarse grind, medium grind for pour overs and filter droppers. You also get to opt for light medium or dark roasted coffee depending on your taste preferences. I opted for light which is light in colour with no oil with more flavour and more caffeine. You can also if you wish opt for a surprise which tends to be the most popular option. 

I was excited when my box arrived as it was so perfectly packaged. I love it when companies make an effort with packaging without being over the top and Blue Coffee Box do this well. It's conveint too as the box is suitable to go through your letter box and you get a good amount of coffee for your money too. The pouches are practical as well as they can be resealed after opening. 



My box contained:

- Nano Challa ( with notes of Jasmine and Peach)
- Bushoki (notes of Orange, Marmalade and Honey)
- Los Robles (notes of BlackBerry, Pomegranate and Cranberry) 

Each pouch gives information on such as tasting notes, variety, process, altitude, producer, region and even the date the coffee was roasted on.

If you think that all coffee tastes the same you are wrong. I could definitely taste the difference between the varieties and my favourite has to be the Bushoki which was in fact the first one I tried. It's not at all bitter in taste in fact it's smooth with a sweet and deep flavour to it. Saying that I enjoyed the others too and love the aroma of the coffee sin the mornings.