#LITTLELOVES JUNE 2019



June started off well with the in laws visiting. However the week after we had to cancel our holiday the day before we were to go away as the area was flooded and no trains or buses were running.  This was of course disappointing and we had to change our holiday to July which meant paying extra due to summer holiday prices. We've had a visit to Blake's new school for the intake meeting and a home visit so we could chat about Blake's needs for starting in September. We now have some sessions booked in for him during July to get use to the environment and staff.  We've also had both Fathers Day and my Birthday this month so it's been busy.

READ
This month I've got through 5 books which are a good mix of genre's.

Playgroups and processco By Jo Middleton
I absolutely loved this hilarious and very relatable read. If you are a mum you will love this book as it shares the ups and downs of parenthood. Now pass the jaffa cakes.

Milkman by Anna Burns
It took me awhile to get into this one, however I persevered and I'm glad I did as I found myself getting hooked. I don't think it would be everyone's cup of tea however I like that its different from the usual books I'd pick up.

The Familiars by Stacey Halls
This one has to be my favourite read of June. The story is based on the true events on the Pendle Hill witch trials. Many of the characters  are based on real names, although the story is fiction. If you enjoy historical fiction than this is for you.


The disappearance of Emily Marr by Louise Candlish
Not as good as a previous read (our house) by this author, however I still found it to be an enjoyable read.

The guilty one by Lisa Ballantyne
A crime book of sorts. The book goes between lawyer Daniel and his story of when he was a young boy and Sebastian who is 11 years old and has been arrested for the murder of 8 year old Ben.


WATCHED

Netflix:

Good girls - back for season 2 and I really hope they will do season 3.

Black Mirror-  season 5, again I'm hoping they will do more series 

The good place-  my most recent binge watch I'm on season 1 episode 9 so far.

Films:

Mama Mia & Mama Mia here we go again - I had to watch the first one again before my first time watching the second. They are both so cheesy, however I do love ABBA and their music. 

Mary Poppins Returns - I treated myself to this with my birthday money. Personally I feel its not as good as the classic one but still an enjoyable film.



HEARD

My mental health isn't good at the moment ao I've been distracting myself with the calm app again. As well as the meditations I'm now enjoying the music on there to help me to relax. Chasing wonder is my favourite so far, but I still have many more I've yet to listen to.

I've also been listening to ABBA Gold Greatest Hits as you can't beat ABBA to chear me up. 

Last of all I've heard Blake singing happy Birthday to me which is incredibly sweet and even helped by blowing out the candle.


WORE

New handbag - This was my birthday gift from Stuart. It's from a company on Facebook called Blue Sky Bags. I absolutely love the bucket style and the rose print fabric with the black leather. The lady makes them herself and you can see the love and care gone into it. Unfortunately she isn't making any bags now for 2 years as she needs to focus on her studies.

Daisy Print top - I just love the summery print. Blake loves daisys too so it's kind of apt that I picked this one out. 

Dew knot earrings - I'm a huge fan of Dew earrings and own a few different designs. This pair was what my in laws got me for my birthday and I love them and been wearing them ever since.

MADE

Wonderful memories. We had the in laws over and Blake was loving seeing them. We had a few days out which I wrote about the first was Whisby Animal Park and Play Barn  The second was our local soft play centre, Playhouse Gainsborough  

Blake and I also did a fun activity making alien from a paper plate. It's such an easy make too as all we needed was a paper plate, paint sticks, Glue and googly eyes. 







AND LASTLY..
As next year I'll be 30 I decided to compile a 30 before 30 list. If you are doing similar kind of list I do hope this will give you some inspiration. 

Also over on both my instagram and facebook pages I'm sharing my #100happydays. I'd love to see you join in or check out what is making me happy each day.


Encouraging my budding artist with the Hape anywhere art studio




Do you have a budding little artist at home? Blake's at a stage where we are still trying to encourage him to draw lines and circles as he is slightly behind on his fine motor development. This doesn't stop him though and he loves practicing. At the moment he doesn't have a prefered hand to use and goes between left and right and back again. 

We were recently gifted the Hape Anywhere Art Studio which is ideal for helping Blake to practice. I feel its important to encourage children to be creative and provide the right tools for them to have fun doing so. 

The Hape Anywhere Art Studio is a handy as its a good size for when  you are on the go. Although admittedly I found it slightly bigger than I was expecting it to be its still great to grab and go without being heavy.



The compact tabletop art studio is double sided with both a whiteboard and blackboard for children to draw, paint and imagine. The whiteboard is magnetic  and comes with a magnetic eraser and a clamp to attach to the board incase your child wants to attach paper to it. The blackboard is ideal for using chalk which you get two of with this set. 

As usual with any of Hape's toys the art studio is made from wood. All of Hapes products go through testing for safety and to check they are the best quality.  As you can see in my photos the art studio has bright colours around the edge so really stands out. The paint as usual with Hape is durable and childsafe

The stand of the art studio can be tightened on the side to help it to stay up although we did have a few issues with it sliding from time to time.


*We were given the art studio by Hape in exchange for a review, however all thoughts an opinions expressed are our own.

30 Before 30

Today I turn 29, which means I've entered the last year of my twenties.  I've actually achieved quite a bit in my twenties. Got married, had a child and own our own house. 30 feels like a big milestone and so I decided to do a 30 before 30 list of things I'd like to do by this time next year.



1.Get into a better sleep routine
I have a bad habit of going to bed really late and feeling exhausted the next day and this needs to change.

2. Get into good skincare habits 
I need to start using products that are better for my skin type.

3. Get highlights 
I've not had my hair dyed in 7 years. I use to have highlights and so I want to get them done again.

4. Get a pet
I'd love to get a pet not a cat or a dog. However maybe a budgie or Guinea pigs.


5. Go to an art class
I love creative hobbies and would love to go to a class and learn a new painting skill for example.

6. Go to a pottery class
Again as above I'd love to learn a new skill and it would be great to make something for our home.

7. Spa day
I've never been on a spa day and have always wanted to.

8. Weekend away just me and Stuart
Since having Blake we've never had a night away from him. I'd love to be able to spend time away just me and Stuart for a few nights.

9. Do an escape room 
These look such fun  to do and it would be a great experience for Stuart and I to do together.

10. Give blood
It's been awhile since I last did

11. Go to a casino 
Again its something I'd love to do, just so I've had the experience.

12. 100 days of happy challenge
Photos of things that make me happy over 100 days

13. See a westend show
Would love to head to London and see a show maybe Matilda if its still on by the time we can go.

14. Learn calligraphy 
Another creative hobby I'd like to do

15. Add a love lock to a bridge 
There is a bridge not too far from us to do this one

16. Get at least 1 more tattoo 
I have 4 so far 

17. Save
I want to get into better saving habits and save up so we have a good amount in an emergency fund as well as for holidays.

18. Try a new food
I tend to opt for safe foods and go for the things I know i like. I'd love to start trying new foods more.

19. Fill my art book
I love creative hobbies as you have probably guessed by now. I'd love to have completely filled my sketchbook by this time next year.

20. Visit more places up north
Since moving to Lincolnshire I want to explore alot more places up this way now they are easier for us to get to.

21. Watch some classic films
Would you believe I've never watched dirty dancing or pretty women

22. DIY crafts 
I want to actually do some of the DIY craft ideas I've seen on pinterest instead of just pinning them.


23. Eat at a Michelin star restaurant 

27. Read some classics
I love reading but want to definitely start reading more classics such as Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Wuthering heights and Little Women.

28. London Eye
I'd love to see the views of London from the London eye. I can't believe that its something I''ve not done yet.

29. Make a scrapbook 
I want to start printing off photos instead of just having them on my phone or camera.

30. Disney movie marathon 
I need to get more Disney DVDs however I'd love a day where I can watch as many as I can fit in.

Last minute Fathers Day card with Stampin up

Fathers day is tomorrow and Stampin up got in touch to see if we fancy making a last minute card for Fathers day.  We were sent a range of products so that we could do this. 

We were sent a black ink kit, a fathers day set of cling stamps, a clear block, some plain white cards and envelopes and last of all a set of Stampin write markers. 

When looking at the instructions on how to use the cling stamps I was unsure fully what to do.  I feel that the instructions over all need to be made more clearer to understand. This is especially important if like me you've never used them before. I did have a look online to see what to do and hopefully I've done it right, it seems to have worked so I must have.

If I've got it right you use the clear stickers in the cling stamp set and you sick them directly onto the clear block and then pop the rubber stamp over the top. You then use the stamp in the ink like you would usually do and press onto your card to make different designs. 

Then you use the double ended markers to draw and write whatever you like. What I didn't realise until now is that you can also use the markers on the stamps so that you can do different colours or a multi colour effect.




Blake and I opted to do a very simple design which is ideal for a last minute card. You could do so many different designs. If you have a child who has a wide range of arts and crafts products than you can get even more creative if you have the time. 

Making cards are a great craft activity to do with children. Blake actually has his own kids stamp set, so once I worked out we needed to put the stamps onto the clear block he pretty much knew how to use the stamps.  He then wanted me to use some of the markers that are metallic colours to do some swirly patterns to give the card a bit of colour. 

We will definitely be giving this a try again to make some much more colourful cards.

*I was gifted the Stampin up products in return for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Sensory toys

*Contains Affiliate links*
*Items featured are either brought by myself or family members.


Sensory support for someone with autisim is really important. With autisim a person can really struggle with processing everyday information with any of their senses being over or under sensitive.  This can then effect someone who is autistic's behaviour. However there are ways in which to help for example therapies and equipment.

 Each child has different needs and those needs change depending on various range of factors. I wanted to share with you today some of Blake's favourite sensory toys.



Calming toys

Lights are a great sensory aid. At night Blake has a star night light lamp which you can get from most toy places in various designs. It's part of Blake's routine to have it on every night. 

Another favourite is a light up spinning wand , Blake actually got one in a goodie bag a good few years ago when we went to see in the night garden live. Blake also has another which we currently keep in his backpack. 

One of my favourites are the liquid motion timers as they are so relaxing and mesmerising so are ideal for bedtime or for when Blake needs some down time.

Blake's ultimate favourite at the moment is the colour changing bubble fish lamp he got this as a gift at Christmas and can spend ages just watching the changing colours. He now says "All gone, bye bye fish" when he has had enough.

A great present Blake also got is the Glow Art drawing board. It's great for mark making practice. There are 36 different multi colour LED lighting effects transforming and bringing drawings etc to life.


Messy play

Messy play is touch and go with Blake dependant on he type of messy play for example he isn't a fan of shaving foam or slime and playdough however he loves the Learning Rescources Play foam  which is mess free along with arts and crafts, sand and water play.

Water play us definitely Blake's favourite and these Munchkin suction cup bath toys  are a very recent purchase that make bathtime so much fun. 






Physical 
Blake absolutely loves bouncing around and his trampoline is a favourite. He has had this one for a good few years now. It's the Getgo fold away trampoline which we got from Argos although they no longer seem to sell it. 





I'll definitely do another post as we expand our sensory toys. Especially as I've got my eye on some other products that would be great for Blake with giving him more physical sensory feedback. 

Fathers Day Gift Guide 2019

Father's day is a tricky time this year for my hubby as it's the first one without his Dad around.  I know its going to be a hard time for him and he won't feel like celebrating. The first fathers day without your Dad around is certainly a day filled with a mixture of emotions and I remember the feeling well. Even so I still want Blake to give him a card and some gifts.

This year fathers day is Sunday 16th of June so you still have some time to find something to suit your Dad and hopefully these ideas will help.




Fathers Day Cards | prices vary |  Danilo, Clintons, Tescos and all good independent card shops

If you are looking for some humorous cards this year these ones are lovely jubbly.  



OSMO Shave Spray and Grooming Tonic | £9.30/£7.70 | Feelunique 

Grooming products are always a popular choice. OSMO have a great selection of products available. The shave spray is a weightless multi-tasking gel with soothing aloe vera, the spray moisturises and maintains making it ideal for skin fades and beard definition. The grooming tonic is a lightweight oil free formular that helps to refresh and stimulate the scalp without weighing the hair down. 




Black Leopard Moistuiser and eye cream | £23.49 / £18.99| Black Leopard 

Black Leopard’s Moisturiser is an essential choice for men on the go. Mens skin is thicker and less rich in water and is subjected to shaving/razor burn. This premium anti-aging men’s skincare product will nourish, strengthen, hydrate and protect the skin helping Dad to look younger and his skin healthier.  Black Leopard eye cream is great for helping Dad out to reduce fine lines. It also removes puffiness, lightens dark circles, and plumps skin. 




Steel Bonnets Blended malt whisky | £55 for 70cl | The Lakes Distillery
If you fancy treating Dad to a tipple than Steel Bonnets Blended malt whisky is a good choice. Steel Bonnets is the first cross-border blend of exceptional English and Scotch malt whiskies. At its heart is single malt whisky from The Lakes Distillery, created with love and great care in the Lake District National Park. Creamy vanilla and comforting woodsmoke are interwoven to create a whisky born of the unique rugged character and heritage of the of the Scottish & English borderlands. The whisky has creamy, slightly nutty & full bodied flavour.



Personalised Toblerone Bar | £12.99 | Toblerone

Treat your dad this Father’s Day to a Toblerone 360g personalised bar; a deliciously solid mountain of Swiss milk chocolate with honey and crisp almond nougat pieces. For that extra special gifting moment, tag the bar with your dads name, and make the day his. Be it a nickname or an inside joke. 




Green and Blacks Selection boxes | price varies | Green and Blacks

Treat Dad to a wonderful selection of chocolates from Green and Blacks this fathers day. With a wide range of different delicious collections available you are sure to find one suitable. The two featured above are the Tasting collection which contains 24 mini bars of milk, white and dark chocolate and the Treat collection which has a range of milk, dark and whitechocolate in various sizes. 




Blue Tea Subscription Box | £12.99 a month | Blue Tea Box 

If your Dad is a tea drinker why not treat him to a subscription box with Blue Tea Box. With a subscription Dad will recieve a letterbox friendly box containing 3 bags of loose tea along with tasting notes and information on the origin and farm where the tea is produced. You can choose what type of tea from the selection below or opt for the popular surprise me option. 
Black - breakfast, assam, early grey, darjeeling, etc
Green - includes sencha and flavoured
Connoisseur - includes oolong, pu erh, white, yellow
Fruit - includes fruits, mint, and infusions
Healthy and Herbal - includes detox, rooibos, herbal

If coffee is more your Dads thing than tea the Blue Coffee Box  is an option. 



Cheese lover hamper | £23.99 | Gift Pup

Give your Dad a cheesy gift this fathers day with the cheese lover hamper from GiftPup. The hamper is filled with several different cheeses along with crackers, pickles and chutneys to enjoy with them. Comes complete in a wooden slated crate and a card to send a personal message.



The Great Taste Charcuterie Hamper Box | £26 | Yumbles 

If meat is more your Dad's thing than cheese than the charcuterie hamper from yumbles is a good option. This beautifully packaged hamper box contains 3 of The Real Cure’s smoked wild venison salamis, all Great Taste Award winners, and to round things off they have included their 3 star Great Taste Award winning Hartgrove Coppa Ham.This really is the ultimate selection of cured meats to keep even the foodi-est of foodies happy! The hamper box contains: 

  • Wild Venison Salami - Smoked Sloe and Garlic 
  • Wild Venison Chorizo 
  • Venison Pepperoni - Smoked Chilli and Caraway 
  • Hartgrove Coppa 

*We were gifted the items featured for the purpose of this guide.

Playhouse | Gainsborough | Lincolnshire

Today we had initially planned to go to a country park, however due to the rain our plans changed and instead we headed to our nearest soft play centre. Blake loves soft play and we like that its a way to keep him occupied for awhile and burn off some steam. 


Location and Admissions :

Situated on the Corringham Road industrial estate in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. Playhouse was a bit tricky to find as the satnav took us the wrong way. I reccomend using Google maps which seems to be more reliable. You need to look out for unit 9 on Lusher Way, unfortunately the sign for Play house is pretty faded which also made it a bit tricky to find.

We were really impressed with the costs for admissions:

0 - 12months . . . . .£1.00
1 - 4 years . . . . . . .£3.00
5 - 11 years . . . . . .£4.00
Any accompanying babies free with a paying child
Adults
First Adult . . . . . . . . Free with paying child
Additional Adults . . . £1.00


This meant for 5 of us (4 adults, 1 child) we paid only £6




Facilities:

Playhouse Gainsborough consists of two separate fun soft play areas for children up to the age of 12. The junior play area is suitable for children aged 4 til 11 with three level soft play area that consists of a giant astra slide, rope bridges, sports area, sky glide, roller squeezes and much more! The toddler play area is suitable up to 4 years which allows the younger children to play in complete safety away from the bigger children. The area includes a magic ball pool, double bumpy slide and range of soft play shapes. Blake wanted to play in the toddler area as that was where he felt most comfortable.

Food and drink:

The coffee shop sells a wide range of drinks, meals and snacks for both children and adults at great prices. To give you an idea the most expensive item on the menu is! only £5.  Today for 4 drinks, 4 tea cakes and a bag of crips it came to around £9 so it's a great way to get out with children and inexpensive too. 

Other:

Party packages are also available if you are thinking of something to do for your child's birthday and prices are reasonable too starting from £6 per child.


Whisby Animal Park and Play Barn | Lincolnshire

Recently I've been thinking of sharing more of our days out and adventures. We have Stuart's mum and her husband spending time with us for just under a week atm. This means we are making most of the time together so you will likely see a few more days out posts coming up. Today we headed to Whisby Animal Park and Play Barn in Lincolnshire.



Location and Admissions :

Whisby Animal Park and Play Barn is located in Whisby Lincolnshire. 
The Animal Park and Play Barn is situated within Whisby Garden Centre. We started off at the cafe as we arrived around lunch time before heading to the Animal Park and Play Barn. 

The Garden Centre of course is free but when you get round to the play barn you pay for entry for the indoor and outdoor play areas and see, feed and pet the animals. 

Current prices are:
Adult £1
Child  £4.95 


Things to do at Whisby Animal Park and Play Barn:

Indoors:

When you arrive you go right through the Garden Centre. There are signs to show you the way to the Play Barn so that its easy to find. Once you are at the Play Barn that's where you pay for access to the play facilities and seeing the animals. 

Inside the play barn where you pay is also a great sized soft play area with lots for children to play on. There is also a cafe where we got ice cream, a party area and most importantly toilets. 


The animals:

The animal centre isn't massive however it didn't bother us.  You can pay to get some feed for the animals however this wasn't something we chose to do. Even though the animal selection is small its a lovely place to visit and we spotted  Deer's, an alpaca, goats, geese, chickens, ducks, rabbits and guinea pigs. 







Outdoors: 

Outside there is a large play area where its great for children to run around and burn off some steam. This is especially ideal on on days like today when we've had beautiful sunshine. They have a mixture of play equipment suitable for children of Blake's age and a bit older plus for younger children too. There are plenty of benches around which is handy if you want to take a picnic. There is a sandy area which looks like lots of fun ( Blake wasn't bothered) , a zip wire and more. 




Overall we had a lovely time at at Whisby Animal Park and Play Barn and would definitely go again. Blake loved the animals and the play areas and I definitely think it was great value for money.