Halloween tips
Not long now and we’ll be celebrating Halloween which is a real fun event for the children and with a little preparation can be fun for parents too but what you need is good ideas.
Matalan are holding a Twitter party this Wednesday 25th September @matalan  between 1 – 2pm where all things Halloween will be discussed. There are some really creative bloggers taking part and co-hosting the party, each of the ladies bring their own tips and tricks to the table and prove that lots of fun can be had even if you’re on a budget.
Helen – The Crazy Kitchen @jessies_kitchen
Becky – Family Budgeting @familybudgeting
Carolin – Mummy Alarm @caro_mad
Cat – Yellow Days @CatParrot
and me Mari @maris_world
Matalan will be giving away 10 x @20 gift vouchers during the Twitter party, all you need to do is tune in and share your top tips and ideas, make sure you follow @matalan and use the hashtag #HalloweenTips
Have a look at the topics underneath and jot down your thoughts to share on Wednesday, each of the bloggers will be following up the party by writing a post on the Matalan blog so watch out for them too and have yourself a spooky Halloween
  • Decorating & Decorations
  • Food & Drink
  • Costumes
  • Games, Activities & Crafts

In the meantime I am collecting all my ideas on my Pinterest Halloween board, nip over for some fabulous inspiration just click on the image

halloween pinterest board

nes logoThe 14th  – 22nd September is National Eczema Week and Dove® Pure & Sensitive have formed a new partnership with the National Eczema Society to help people look after sensitive skin.

If you suffer yourself or have a child that suffers from itchy skin you will be well aware of all the products that must be avoided and how this ailment causes great anxiety in the family.

I have suffered from dry skin since my early 20’s and have spent a small fortune over the past 20 years on creams to replace the lost moisture and calm the broken skin.

I have to wear gloves for washing up to protect my skin from the detergent, if I don’t patches of red start to appear and before I know it it’s gone quite deep and becomes painful. Dusting is the same or when I’m deep cleaning a room, the mixing of dirt and product is lethal to my skin.

Winter is worst, the combination of cold outdoors and heated indoors starts to play havoc and before I know it my hands are red raw and my face is itchy; in fact one product I have stayed clear of in all this time is the classic soap bar.

I have to admit at being surprised when asked by Netmums to review a product for sensitive dry skin and discovering the product was soap. Simply because soap and sensitive skin don’t mix in my eyes, but Dove were specifically looking for reviewers with sensitive skin so they must be aware of the doubt before even starting out, right?

Dove pure and sensitive soap

Dove® Pure & Sensitive is a mild non-soap, hydrating, emollient cleanser and is recommended for face and body cleansing. Dove® was the first to introduce the innovative Directly Esterified Fatty Isethionate (DEFI) technology. Dove® Pure & Sensitive preserves the skin barrier with a mild surfactant that minimises protein and lipid damage.

Washing hands

The soap lathers up less than a ‘normal’ bar of soap but once I had a good soapy mixture I was able to wash my hands well and rinse. Afterwards they felt smooth and moisturised, quite different from a normal soap experience.

Washing my face

The biggest surprise of all as I was very reluctant to lather up my face but I am really pleased to confirm that after washing and rinsing, my face didn’t feel tight at all, in fact it felt smooth and as if I had just put some cream on.

I am really impressed with this product and although old habits die hard and I can’t see myself reverting after all this time to washing my face with soap I can say that it didn’t harm at all or have any bad effect on me. I shall most definitely use the soap for my hands, especially after gardening when my hands are ingrained with mud and need a good scrub.

Thumbs up from me

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I have been paid expenses and supplied with a product sample for this review but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.

This is a Netmum’s sponsored review.To find out more click the button:

I spoke very briefly of the start of the school year and how the girls were finding Year One and I’m pleased to announce that as each day passes the girls are relaxing more and beginning to enjoy the new school year. This was even more evident on Wednesday when I stood in the school playground at 3.15pm waiting to collect them.

I understand, after conferring with the other school mums, that each child is responsible for their own book bag, this also means putting things in and taking things out. I noticed this after Bessie had her trainers in her bag for three days on the go, I added a quick note in her contact book ‘Please could you check that Bessie removes her trainers from the book bag and puts them in the PE bag? Thank you’

It worked, that very evening the trainers had finally found their way into the PE bag yay!

Being responsible of one’s book bag is a big thing seeing as Mummy has always done it for them in Reception and my Bessie has been one of the last children out of the class at 3.15 most days till now as she gathers all her belongings before exiting but on Wednesday my Bessie was an unheard of third in the queue!

A beaming smile on her face as she found me amongst all the parents she waited her turn hopping from one foot to the other. finally released she ran towards me grinning and squealing “I am Star of the Day today mummy.”

star of the day

‘Well done Bessie, what was that for?’ I asked

‘For writing very well.’

I could feel how proud she was, it was oozing from every square millimetre of her. She showed me her certificate and her sticker on her cardigan and I praised her loudly, hugging her and sharing her delight.

Alice arrived to join us a little downcast as she hadn’t been chosen and I reminded her that lots of other children hadn’t been awarded with a star yet and there was plenty of time to keep trying her best

So please allow me to enjoy a proud mummy moment with you all and share with you a conversation with the girls last night as they were discussing the Star of the Day award.

Bessie: What did I have for breakfast this morning mummy?

Me: We had toast and jam this morning as we had run out of milk remember?

Bessie: I’d like toast and jam tomorrow morning please, then I might get Star of the Day again, Alice you should too then you might get one too.’

Bless her heart, I had to explain it doesn’t quite work like that but I was really touched at her thought process as she tried to figure out why she had been chosen.

In other news, so far so good with the after school activities.

We are on Green level reading books and whizzing through one book each per evening  – about 24 pages.

And last night for the first time I picked up a BIG girl’s book The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton and read chapter one to them. They’re used to looking at the pictures whilst I read so this was the first time they had to conjure up the picture in their heads, they loved it and it’ll be on with Chapter 2 tonight.

back to school year 1We are one week in to Year 1 and I had tears Tuesday morning from Twin 1 who didn’t want to go into school.

She did say her throat hurt and in all fairness she was exhausted the night before not moving from the sofa after teatime, so I gave her some Calpol and sent her in.

Is that really bad mum practise?

I could have kept her home, I work from home but I was brought up that unless you were on death’s door, off to school you went. Anyway moral of the story I got called at lunchtime to pick her up and then she really did look poorly, big red eyes and a hot forehead, all symptoms that weren’t clear in the morning.

Cue mum guilt.

I’m lucky that working from home allows me to be on call all the time as we don’t have anyone who can step in for us should there be a call but occasionally I do get invited up to London to attend an event or a press day and this made me realise I need to put an action plan into place. I need to speak to a school mum or neighbour and ask their permission that in the unlikely event that I am in London could they pick my child up from school and keep her until I can get back from London which would most likely be an hour at least.

I’ve heard from school mums of various little ones this week having break downs before school, crying and being taken into school by a teacher, heart breaking for a mum to stand and watch and one thing we’re all having to get used to is no contact with the teacher at all other than the contact book. This makes me feel jittery, these people are with my children all day and I am interested in what they do, how they behave when I’m not there, how they cope with various situations and of course, it’s the start of a new term, I want to know about it.

Some children are really good and relaying to their parents what has happened at school, my twins aren’t. I ask them how their day was and the reply ‘Good.’

I try to find out what they’ve been doing but if I push too hard they both clamp up and say ‘Can’t remember.’ in a real teenage way, like ‘lay off mum!’

We’re taking up a few after school activities too. Last year we did gymnastics and the girls loved it, we also did swimming which they adore too so we’ve continued those until such a time they tell me they don’t want to any more and to the mix we’ve added two new school activities, Dance and Drama.

Yes this may be too much but I’m hoping it will be more play than hard work and I’m hoping they will enjoy these new experiences and gain courage from them because that is what it’s all about. The minute they tell me they don’t want to do it anymore we’ll stop.

We had our first homework on Friday evening, 1 A4 page of sums. Count the animals in the boxes and write the number. Both of the twins forget which way round 2, 3, 5 and 7 go even though we did practise over the summer. 6’s and 9’s also need a little thinking over but slowly slowly they’ll get there. The other exercise was number lines, fill in the missing numbers like this

1 2 3 _ _ 6 _ _ _ 10

maths whomework

The girls found them easy and parents were encouraged to add extra challenges and mark the work ourselves all to be handed in by Wednesday. I added 5 simple sums as we’ve been practising over the summer (ie 1 + 3 =  ) they are easy for the girls, they use their fingers to count and they are very happy to get their ticks and smiley faces plus a Very Good written at the bottom.

I’m looking forward to getting our reading books sent home too, we need to get back into a reading routine.

How’s your back to school going?

UNIQLO kids

I’ve seen the UNIQLO shop and I like their window displays and products they have on offer but I’ve never entered, always in a hurry to get somewhere so when I was asked to take the UNIQLO challenge and spend £100 on the entire family I thought why not?

How far can you stretch £100?

Well I was very pleased to see each range so reasonably priced, I started with the kids range as the girls have shot up over the summer so most of last winter’s clothes are going to be too short in the arm, length or leg.

I love the bright autumnal colours that run through the range and finally settled for 2 pairs of dark blue easy trousers as they are a classic, easy to wash and iron and go with just about everything they own. I bought the small size and am happy to report they fit, I notice there is an adjustable waist too and we’ve turned up the bottoms. RRP £9.90

UNIQLO kids

I added two flannel check long sleeve tops, one in a bright red and the other yellow, the girls like that they are soft, I like that as it gets colder a t shirt underneath should be suffice to keep them warm. I ordered size 5-6 and they come up quite big, we’ve turned up the wrist and let the shirt hang over the jeans RRP £9.90

I finished off the kids shopping with my favourite item of all a faux shearing long sleeved hoodie, one orange and one red. They are zip up and lovely and warm. They are gorgeous bright colours and perfect for outdoors play as easily washed in the machine. RRP £12.90 

UNIQLO kids

I then took a look at the men’s collection and although it is very nice you won’t catch my husband in skinny jeans and tight tops, he likes loose and cool as in ‘doesn’t make me hot’ so as he’s not in great need of much he got two new t shirts, in jewel colours. One thing I will mention is the colours were different to how I had imagined them RRP £4.90

UNIQLO

Then it was my turn and as you can imagine it took some time. I was very impressed with the selection available and even more so with the prices, some great threads on there for next to nothing. I opted for a printed skirt RRP £14.90 that I’d like to wear over tights with ballerinas or with boots as the autumn approaches and I teamed it up with a yellow long sleeved t shirt RRP £12.90

UNIQLO

I need to find someone to take a photo of me wearing my rags!

Disclosure: I was asked by UNIQLO to spend £100 to dress the family, my total came to £103.00 all opinions of the products are my own