Numbalee

Does the thought of helping your child master maths make you groan with despair? I feel your pain. I can show the twins spellings, comprehensions and English tests until my heart’s content but try anything maths related and it’ll end in tears if I’m not careful. When I was asked if we’d like to review the new fun maths game Numbalee, I jumped at the chance with every hope that it would be fun and the girls would become more confident in their maths.

Numbalee is a neatly packaged game in a zip bag containing 150 number tiles, two 12-sided number dice, one maths symbol dice and five symbol discs alongside an instruction booklet for 12  family games.

The game is aimed at players aged 6+ (perfect for Key Stage 1 and 2) and can be played from 1 – 8 players as there are a range of games to play solo for practice or competitively in a group. Players are encouraged to talk through the sums they are making to improve their understanding and their confidence.

Each of the games has been designed to cater for a wide range of abilities and specifically to improve skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

The game was initially created by Oliver Leck to help a friend’s daughter who was struggling with maths in school. He spotted that there weren’t any fun maths games on the market and together with his father, a teacher, he developed the game with primary school children in mind.

What’s the verdict?

With my teaching assistant hat on I can say this game is an excellent resource for practising the essential maths skills needed in everyday life. It also makes my afternoon interventions more exciting, the children look forward to playing a game with me rather than ‘doing maths’.

I also gave Numbalee to a few members of my school Blog Club to get some feedback and where they (Year 5 and 6) enjoyed the game and played happily for an hour, they said it wasn’t for them. I asked them why and they said it was ‘too easy’ for them.

Would you recommend it to anyone else? I asked. ‘Yes, for the younger students. It would be perfect for them.’ came my reply.

Numbalee is now available online (RRP £19.99) at www.numbalee.com as well as on Amazon.

fashion world

There’s nothing like a few new additions to the wardrobe to put that spring into your summer step is there? I love that word ‘capsule’ it makes me think of jetting off somewhere for the weekend with a bag containing every item I could possibly need to make my trip perfect.

Fashion World invited me to take a look at their website and choose some items I loved. It wasn’t difficult and within minutes I had a lovely long list which I then had to work my way through, eliminating as I went, to cut it down to a respectable list. Grown-up echoes of the catalogue challenge my brothers and I played as kids on the run up to Christmas – ‘Choose your favourite item on this page.’ for Every. Single. Page.

Weekend capsule wardrobe

If I were to jet off on a weekend to France say, I would certainly consider carefully the clothes I travel in as they would be part of my capsule wardrobe (there, I got to use it again). Most likely I would opt for a comfortable pair of jeans, a brightly coloured t-shirt, a cardigan or hoodie and a fancy scarf that will go with other outfits I plan to wear. On my feet some converse or trainers – comfort all the way for travelling.

fashion world

I would definitely pack a dress. I love dresses and the summer is the perfect time to wear one; legs out and feeling fresh. Fashion World had this beauty that I couldn’t resist and I am so glad I got it as I have worn it a couple of times on very different occasions and had some excellent remarks on it.

I might also pop a swimsuit in if we’re going to stay in a hotel with a pool or maybe somewhere hot. Swimming costumes are a bone of contention for me. I am conscious about my body and want to look my best at the same time. This fabulous Figleaves one piece is bright and cheerful, it also holds me in in all the right places. I’m in love with it and can’t wait to wear it over the summer.

fashion world

One other item to think of is the bag of course and Fashion World came up trumps with this oversize holdall that will hold everything I need. Neatly packed, my silver bag will not only carry all my gear but will look very smart as well.

If you’d like to take a look at Fashion World click here and work out your summer capsule wardrobe.

Disclosure: Fashion World sent me the items mentioned for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.

SIlk'n Lipo

Is it possible to blast fat away from problem areas from the comfort of your home with today’s technology? Apparently, it is!

A while back I received an invitation from Silk’n to review their new product Silk’n Lipo, an innovative fat reducer which uses proven technologies that deliver visible long lasting results in 8 – 10 weeks.

I was immediately intrigued. I have been moaning about the fat around my middle since my twin pregnancy and it has never gone away. Yes, I do like a glass of wine and yes, I do like chocolate – two commodities that also love turning into fat. So being caught in this vicious circle and adding the peri-menopause into the mix, my middle hasn’t budged one bit – not even with my recent running programme. I figured that my tummy fat needed something much more serious to deal with the situation and a fat buster seemed the perfect route.

What is Silk’n Lipo?

The gadget combines two sources of energy for targeted fat reduction: Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) to shrink fat cells and Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) that removes the extracted fatty acids from the body and tones the underlying muscle. Using a belt, you strap the machine around the target area and turn it on. It blasts for 15 minutes and turns off automatically at the end. You can then put it away for the next treatment or continue to another area you wish to treat.

Does it hurt?

NOT AT ALL! This was one of my first questions, will it hurt? I was assured it wasn’t and can confirm that to be true. It would feel like one of the twins was pressing my tummy with a Tangle Teezer. You have complete control of the intensity and since my first use on the set level, I have upped it to the max every time.

Silk'n lipo trial

Can I move around during the treatment?

Absolutely. I have had it strapped on and typed or marked homework, even prepared food in the kitchen.

What’s in the box?

The box comes with the two units, two electrode pads, a docking station, a couple of connectors and belts in various sizes for different parts of the body.

Is it easy to set up?

A piece of cake.

The docking unit is small and neat, and it takes about 3 hours to charge each time for use. Although the first time will need a longer 6 hour charge. The docking station turns from orange lights to green lights once ready.

Silk'n lipo electrode pad

You then fix the electrode pads to the units and wet them before applying to the treatment area. (I use my fingers in a glass of water.)

Place the units with the connectors and attach to the belt, then wrap around and press the on buttons on each device.

Silk'n lipo belt

The start is a prolonged press and the units will vibrate so you know they are switched on. Every couple of minutes there is a vibration to reassure you that the device is on and working.

Any warnings or contraindications?

Not for me. I have looked out for redness and have seen none. After my first go, I noticed an aching area in the treated area, as if I’d done a lot of situps. It disappeared and hasn’t returned since.

Starting measurements

The idea is I take measurements at the start and again every two weeks, I’ll be updating my two weekly measurements on my Instagram feed and coming back halfway through the 10 week trial with an update plus a final update at the end.

Silk'n lipo fat buster

Starting measurements – waist 33″ or 84cms.

Expected results

Silk’n Lipo say…

Lipo + current diet and exercise routine = you can expect to see a 2-4cm reduction in girth within 8-10 weeks.

Lipo + enhanced diet and exercise routine = whilst it will vary from user to user, you can expect even better results.

My goal

To wear a skirt I bought two years ago, a River Island size 12 which has always been too tight. If I lose 4 cms around the middle, I’ll be able to wear it.

Week One

This week has been the perfect example of how life can sometimes get in the way of the best laid plans. My darling nana has been rushed into hospital with bleeds on the brain. Twice. So this week has been a full on rush to school, rush home, rush to the hospital and include various after-school clubs, rush to put dinner on and then fall into a coma on the sofa. The beauty of the SIlk’n Lipo is, I’ve managed to fit it into all of that! Admittedly, only three times and for the area I am treating I should probably blast it every day and possibly on more than one section (next week!) but at least I made a start.

I am very impressed with how easy it is to fit into a busy schedule and I am really looking forward to seeing some results soon. I would like to point out it was my birthday and then my husband’s birthday this past week so I probably overdid the cake and wine. there’s always next week to improve on that right?

Cost of a Silk’n Lipo

The Silk’n Lipo costs £449.

renovating your home
Renovating your home and buying a holiday home are both wishes are mine that I’d like to make come true.

We moved into our home just before the twin’s second birthday and when we viewed the house for the first time, I already had a plan to renovate it and make it ours. My plan is to knock through a wall, opening up the lounge right through to the back garden, bifold doors on to the garden and a lovely homely open space for us to live in. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? However, when we did have the available cash ready, we decided to spend it on our wedding and what a great decision that was! A wonderful day with our family and friends but it meant the renovation dream was put on the backburner for another few years.

The second time we had the cash available we decided to spend it on a caravan and a car. It was a fabulous time in our life, we went to Devon, Cornwall, West Bay in Dorset and lots of occasions closer to home; Rye and Thanet to mention a couple.

Then a couple of years ago, we swapped the caravan for a static in Birchington Vale. A decision we have thoroughly enjoyed and still do but of course, the renovation dream gets put back further and further.

There are other ways to raise the money to consider like releasing equity for example and I guess, depending on where you are in your life it could be a very valid option. Many people have taken advantage of this scheme and have made their dreams come true.

Buying a holiday home

la manga strip spain

Paul and I both have the dream to move to a sunnier clime in our old age, once the girls are settled in jobs and are living stable lives. Somewhere not too far away, so the twins can come and join us regularly. We like the idea of Spain as Paul has family there and it’s a quick easy flight away. We’ve also decided to keep a small place to live back here in the UK should we ever be able to make this dream come true. It would make visiting so much easier and I really don’t want to lose contact with the girls.

Paul spends lots of his spare time watching A Place in the Sun and other property programmes where people are viewing abroad and he has bookmarked sites on our browser. This is one wish I can wait for but definitely would like to make come true. I think we’d probably sell our family home and divide the money between two properties, one in the UK and the other in Spain. This dream has still a long way to go before being realised so in the meantime I’m focusing on the house renovation and of course, once that’s done our home will be worth even more! Maybe we’ll get a swimming pool too.

Pizza Express Bluewater

It hit home recently that the twins have reached the stage where they start making the decisions. I had come home with two rain macs ready for the coming Spring (we hope), they took one look at them and turned their noses up. “I don’t like them.” one said. “No, neither do I.” chipped in the other.

The rain macs were put back in a bag along with the receipt until the next occasion arose where I could return them and get my money back. End of an era, right there.

However, I have been gaining some serious Brownie points on how we are spending our time this Easter break. The trip up The Shard was a straight win (Go mum!) and yesterday I accredited my account with some serious points by taking them over to the brand new Pizza Express restaurant at Bluewater. A girly day out with shopping and a fun lunch.

Pizza Express lunch

If you haven’t seen it yet, the new Pizza Express restaurant is near the cinema, it’s on the same floor, just around the corner…on top of Gravity could be the best way to describe the location! It’s a large, open space that has been sectioned off very cleverly and the interior design is a collection of gorgeous blues, copper and natural textures, it’s really fun and welcoming.

Pizza Express Bluewater

Our table had been booked for midday and this meant we were able to order and start before the midday rush started and boy did a lot of people eat whilst we were there. On the back of that observation, I’d recommend booking a table if you plan to go on a busy day.

We sat at a diner-like table close to the entrance and the girls were given a fab passata tin with colours and the best entertainment booklets I’ve ever seen – currently working with Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Puffin books.

It didn’t take us long to choose from the menu and, as the girls were eating dough balls as a starter included on the child menu, I decided to have a starter too and went for my favourite Buffalo mozzarella. It was delicious drizzled with pesto sauce and served with sweet baby plum tomatoes.

I was really pleased to see a section on the menu called ‘Leggera’ which has pizzas for under 600 calories. As I am trying to lose weight around my middle but don’t want to give up all the good stuff this was the perfect solution for me. There were three pizzas to choose from and I went for the Leggera Padana which was scrumptious.

Pizza Leggera Pizza Express

The girls, of course, had their eye on a dessert before even tucking into their dough balls and seeing as this was an ‘occasion’ for us I wanted to try a dessert too but which one?

Our waitress, who couldn’t be more helpful, came up with a great idea that I hadn’t heard of before…

“If you’re not that hungry but still want to finish with something sweet, why not try one of our Dolcetti?”

Pizza Express Dolcetti

Dolcetti is ‘small desserts’ in Italian and Pizza Express have a section of puddings that are small enough to squeeze in after your meal, think of half a pudding. They are also served with a cup of coffee or tea in my case.

This impromptu, affordable lunch was the perfect occasion to talk about lots of different things with the twins and allow them to chat openly about things on their mind. It was the perfect girly lunch, thank you Pizza Express, we shall most definitely be back again soon.

Disclosure: Pizza Express invited us for a free meal for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own.