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Saving for a Disney World holiday next year! Super excited!

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since 21/01/2008


Wollaton Hall And Park, Nottingham 16/01/2013

An oasis in the middle of the city

Wollaton Hall And Park, Nottingham Wollaton Hall and Park based in the heart of Nottingham City centre is a favourite place for me and the family to visit. What can you do here? First, you will want to pay for a ticket for your car in the car park, it is patrolled by parking services and you will be issued a parking ticket if you don't. The costs are currently (as of Septemeber 2012) £2 for up to 3 hours, £4 for the whole day or £25 for a yearly pass. The park is locked over night, the time this will happen is shown at the ticket machines. The car parks are mostly gravelled surfaces and are generally well looked after. We regularly go to Wollaton Hall and park to go for a walk around the large lake that is situated here, there are plenty of geese and ducks that you can feed here, there are no signs telling you not to give them bread so we often feed them our leftover crusts! You can picnic here when the weather is nice, even on a busy day there is enough space for 1000's of families to picnic without being squashed! Sometimes we also take our bikes and ride around the hall, grounds and lake. Near the bottom car parks there is a small play park area but there is not much to keep the children occupied for long here. The nice thing about Wollaton is the large deer population that roam around the park as they wish. When calving/rutting season are happening there are signs up to alert you to stay away from the deer as much as possible. There are also lots of birds, squirrels and other wildlife. I love to take ...

Victoria Centre, Nottingham 23/08/2012

It needs a good revamp!

Victoria Centre, Nottingham I have lived in Nottingham for over 6 years now and in that time I have not only shopped at the Victoria Centre, but for a few years I worked in one of the shops housed within the centre until it closed down due to the recession (the shop that I worked in, not Victoria Centre itself). I think this is a nice sized shopping centre in the middle of Nottingham Town Centre. It has a ground floor and upper level. It's main rival is the Broadmarsh shopping centre which is also based in the centre of Nottingham, however Victoria Centre always has a slightly more up-market feel to it and is also quite a bit larger. There are lots of good bus routes that can get you either into the small bus station that is adjoined to the building or dropped off very close to the centre. There is also a large underground car park if you need to get into town by car and the charges for parking are on par with parking anywhere else in town, and cheaper than using an NCP car park. There are children and parent parking spaces on most levels and disabled parking on the top level close to a motability shop. The range of shops in the centre, like any other centre currently, have taken a bit of a beating of late. There are empty units but they do get filled eventually even if some of the companies that take them on don't seem to last too long! There is a sizable House of Fraiser, John Lewis, Top Shop and Next as some of the main shops inside as well as chains like Poundland, Clarkes, Cardzone, clothes ... 22/06/2012

Nothing with this company is direct! I've shopped with this company before from their stores based in town centres so thought buying from their website would be a breeze, unfortunately for me it didn't quite work out that way! I was searching the site for something specific, Muddy Fox cycle clothing, particularly padded 3/4 length trousers. The search function quickly took me to where I wanted. I decided to have a general look on the site to see if there were any bargains that I just couldn't miss, on the home page had been an advert for t-shirts from 99p, as I expected when I clicked the link the children's t-shirts were 99p with the adults ones being considerably more. The website has a good range of childrens, ladies and mens clothing and all the sporting goods you could imagine. They sell bikes and all sorts of safety equipment for many different sports and have a larger range of items available than they do in store as they are not restricted by size. There is a large sale section on the website with lots of really low priced items, although often there are only certain sizes available to order. I wasn't sure what size trousers I needed so I did actually pop into a shop to try on a few sizes, I decided to buy the clothes online anyway as each item I had looked at was at least £2 or £3 cheaper online than in their shop, even with paying £3.99 for postage and packaging (standard delivery), as I was buying more than a couple of items this worked out a money saver for me! I ordered a cycle shirt, 3/4 length ...

Street shopping vs Online shopping, which is better? 18/06/2012

I like to try before I buy!

Street shopping vs Online shopping, which is better? I have recently done a fair bit of online shopping, which is a little unusual for me so I feel I can give a good view on this topic. I think the easiest way to set this out is like this: What I like about shopping online is: The fact that you can use cash-back websites so you get some money back just for doing your normal shopping, if I asked for £1 at the till in Dorothy Perkins after buying a new top I can only imagine the sales assistant would think I was mad! You don't get wet, or get blisters from uncomfortable shoes, you can check the prices of different stores in the click of a button. You don't have to stand in a long queue no matter what time you do your shopping. You can shop at stupid o'clock in the morning if you feel like it! Sometimes you can get items cheaper online than you can in a store. Once all your items have been delivered you can try them all on at once! What I don't like about online shopping: When shopping for clothes each shop has a slightly different size so sometimes you need to order more than 1 of an item and then you have to organise a courier or get to the post office to return the unwanted sizes. Items often look different in a photo than they do in real life, or the material can be different that you thought as photos just don't let you feel what an item feels like in real life. You can get charged quite a lot in the way of package and postage, if you shop from a few different sites this can quickly add up! You have to wait what feels ...

Fast Lane Gravity Double Loop Track Set 07/04/2012

Double Loop, double the chance to fail!

Fast Lane Gravity Double Loop Track Set Well it's the Easter holidays and the kids are bored already, just a few days in! The weather has been awful so I've been trying to keep the boys amused indoors. I started to tidy their play room the other day and found this double loop tracks set that was a birthday present a few years ago and thought it might keep them busy for a while. The things I do for 30 mins peace and quiet! This set was played with a few times when it was first bought as the uncle that bought it is a big kid and took it out of the box as soon as it was unwrapped, but I must admit that I can't remember when it last came out of the box! This is the first time I've tried to set it up, and I can confirm that it isn't all that hard to work out! The flexible neon yellow bits of track attach to each other using smaller black bits of plastic that slide under the yellow plastic, or straight onto the loops and start piece which also slide under the yellow track. It's easy to attach it all together, but there is a picture instruction sheet too just in case you get lost. The top of the track has a special release so you can hold the cars up until you are ready to watch them attempt the double loop. This can be held in place with a plastic clamp on a table top or window ledge, basically somewhere with a bit of height. At the end of the track is a special spinning wheel that is supposed to slow the cars down at the end, more on that later! There is a key type thing that you put into the release system and watch ...

Trax TFS.20 Boys Mountain Bike 05/04/2012

Making Trax

Trax TFS.20 Boys Mountain Bike So our first bit of good weather this year and we decided to get the kids bikes out of the shed and get them out in the fresh air. It was a beautiful day at the park and lots of my boys friends were also riding bikes. It was at this point that we realised just how little my oldest son's bike was looking comparred to his friends and comparred to him, had he really grown that much over winter? So we started looking for a not too expensive bike that was bigger than the 16" frame he currently has. We tried Decathlon but they were a little on the expensive side considering that my oldest will probably only use this bike for a year or 2 at most before he will need a bigger size frame again! My husband happened to pop into Halfords to see what they had on offer and came accross this bike. In my opinion comparred to what he had previously this is a big step up. This bike is 20" and has larger tires than his old bike. It has front and rear suspension, although my husband has told me it's not very good, 6 gears and basically looks like a smaller version of my husbands mountain bike! In my 7 year old's opinion its the best bike in the whole world because it looks like Daddy's and has gears even if he is still getting to grips with them! It's a lovely red colour with black detail. My 7 year old is of average height for his age and has the saddle just slightly higher than the lowest setting, the seat does adjust easily so that it can be used by your child as they grow. It came with ...

Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion 30/01/2012

Clinique- good for sensitive skin

Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion This is step 2 of the 3 step clinique system. Step 1 is wash using either a bar of Clinique soap or liquid face wash, step 2 is using clarifying lotion and step 3 is to moisturise. As I have really sensitive skin I have to use the mild clarifying lotion instead of the normal lotions which are numbered 1, 2 and 3. I have tried many different clensing products over the last 5 years and this one is the best for my skin. The other products I have tried have given me an allergic reaction, such as itchiness and my face swelling up so I was worried about trying this due to the inital expense, but it has never caused me a problem. A friend recommended I try it as she had similar problems. Clinique do claim that no one can be allergic to their products because of their strict testing, but I do know some people who have found the products to dry out their skin. I do ocassionally get dry skin, but I only cleanse once a day instead of the recommended twice and use a free extra moisturising gel for 2/3 days and it fully hydrates the skin again. I was told by the Clinique rep that if I did have any problems with the products that I could return them within the first couple of weeks and they would happily either refund me or help me to find the right products within their range. The lotion doesn't have any smell to it, and although it is a pale green colour in the bottle when poured onto a cotton wool pad it comes out clear. Although it's called a lotion it is a liquid so care ...

How Much Poo Does An Elephant Do? - Mitchell Symons 10/12/2011

Why is my child so gross?

How Much Poo Does An Elephant Do? - Mitchell Symons My children's school often run a book fair for a week, during this time you can go and browse through lots of children's books and buy any you like the look of, a % of what you spend is then given back to the school to spend on new books for the school library. It's basically a win/win situation and ensures the school gets a good selection of new books a couple of times a year. Last time my little boy made me go up and ask the teachers about a book he had seen the day before and could no longer find, they told me they could order the book in specially for the next week if I gave them the title, asking for 'The world's biggest boogey' was not a highlight of my motherhood but he was chuffed to bits with the book. This year in keeping with the tradition my oldest decided on a book titled 'How much poo does an elephant do?...and further fascinating facts!'. At least this time I didn't have to ask for it by name as there was a copy on the shelf which we grabbed and paid quickly. I can see what drew my son in, on the front cover there is a cartoon picture of an elephant stood next to a huge pile of poo, and the word poo in the title is written in poo (not litrally as that would be gross) and the biggest word on the cover. The book is bright yellow which is also very attractive to a younger reader! This book was under the 'more confident readers' section and claims to be aimed at 7+ years, my little boy was 5 when he picked this but he is an advanced reader so I wasn't too ...

Topps Moshi Monsters Sticker Album 08/12/2011

Moshi Monsters, monsters your little ones will like!

Topps Moshi Monsters Sticker Album I was less than impressed when my boys came back home from a shopping trip with Grandma with a Moshi Monsters sticker album. This is not because I have anything against Moshi Monsters, more the fact that I'm the one who will be forced into buying about a million packs of stickers to fill the album! My 6 year old was really keen to get hold of some stickers, and although my 4 year old didn't really get the concept at first he was spurred on by his bigger brother to pester me until I got a pack to start off the album. The Album The album has 40 pages with space for 214 individual stickers. The middle pages are a stick and lift playscape, which basically means you can put certain stickers on the page, peel them off and put them in another position. These special stickers are a little harder to come by but are all very cute! In fact most of the moshi monsters are cute rather than scary, the album puts them into categories and shows you all the houses and shops and other areas which are associated with the online Moshi Monster world, where my son does have an account for limited play with friends only. In the middle of the album was also a poster the size of 2 A3 sheets put together with another 4 sticker spaces on it. This can be put on the bedroom wall or similar when completed. The album is well put together and after a few months of both my boys constantly flicking through to add stickers it is still in 1 piece although the edges are looking a little ...

Flair Doodle Dudes Quad Squad 08/12/2011

Not worth a doodle

Flair Doodle Dudes Quad Squad This toy was heavily advertised around the new year and my soon to be 6 year old son was insistant that he wanted some of these for his birthday. As Grandma had no idea what to get for him I found a link to this toy and sent her an email suggesting she get these. When my son opened his birthday presents he was really pleased to see that someone had listened to him and bought him just what he wanted! So what do you get? Inside of the box you get 4 plastic doodle dudes all with different shaped heads (little plastic figures that stand about 10cms tall), 4 little plastic stands to display the finished article, 4 bakgrounds that slide into the display stands, idea sheets (with picture of the doodle dudes so you can design them before making a final decision), leaflet with design ideas, 4 coloured pencils and stickers to help you decorate the doodle dudes and backgrounds. How do they work? Basically you design how you want your doodle dude to look like on the sheet of paper, and then stick and draw onto the plastic doodle dude your design, pick a bakground to slide into the display stand and admire your handy work! Sounding good? I like the idea of these and can see why my little boy wanted this toy, however in practice they haven't turned out so well. The plastic seems to absorb any felt tip that you use and leaves the colours looking dull and often smudged, the pencil crayons don't work on the plastic material either. The backgrounds tend to fall out of ...

There's An Ouch In My Pouch! - Jeanne Willis 08/12/2011

What could be causing the Ouch?

There's An Ouch In My Pouch! - Jeanne Willis This is a book that my youngest son got free from the Bookstart programme where all children of a certain age were given free books to encourage reading, literacy and generally spending time with your child. This book didn't really appeal to my son at the time and it took some months before he bothered to find it on the book shelf and ask me to read it to him. Although that could partly be my fault as we have so many books. making a choice can be hard at times! This book is 24 pages long, it is actually well written and more advanced than some other books he also got free. The pages are full pictures with the text a bold black laid over the top. The pictures are really nice and bright as this story is based in the outback. The story is about a baby and mummy Kangaroo. Willaby is upset because there is something in his mummies pouch that is causing an ouch! As he can't be comfortable with his mum he jumps off to find somewhere else where he will be comfortable, but will it turn out well for him? Or will he find out what is causing the ouch in mummies pouch? Sorry for the spoiler here guys but the ouch is actually caused by another baby, as such this book is great for reading to children who are being introduced to the idea of a new baby in the family. The book is written in little rhyming bits and uses lots of odd words which are often in bolder, larger print or different font type. This makes the book a little harder for my older son to read to his brother as ...

We Love Bunk Beds! - Paula Metcalf 07/12/2011

A Bedtime Bunk Bed Story

We Love Bunk Beds! - Paula Metcalf This is a book that Grandma decided would be great for my boys after we had bought them bunk beds! The story is about 2 elephants, Doris and Shirley, they are sisters and like to do everything together! Doris the younger sister likes to be very close to Shirley including at bed time and 2 elephants just can't fit into 1 bed! Mummy elephant decides that the girsl need bunk beds so they can be close to each other but not in the same bed, but will this solve the problem for the girls? I like this book as it points out to siblings that bunk beds are fun, and as it's a story about beds it is great for bedtime as it reminds the children where they are headed next! This book is 22 pages long, it's just slightly smaller than A4, all the pages are full pictures with a few lines of text laid ontop of the picture. The colours in the book are mainly pastels and nice to look at. The actual pictures are of a lovely quality and I quite enjoy looking at this book. I would say this book is mainly aimed at pre-reading children Overall this is a nice book that my boys have chosen a few times for me to read to them. My 6 year old is more than happy to read this to his younger brother (although he is an advanced reader for his age), the story doesn't seem to get boring for them. I would recommend this book to people with younger children, and especially if you have bunk beds in your house and maybe the children aren't that keen on them, it may make them see the beds in a new ...

Toy Story Scrabble Junior 07/12/2011

Toy Story...Toy Scrabble

Toy Story Scrabble Junior My little boy got this for his 6th birthday in March, he had been asking for a scrabble game since seeing an original junior scrabble set at his Grandma's house. His Aunt decided that as he liked Toy Story this would be the best game to get for him. Personally I would have rather got a bog-standard version of the game as I'm worried that when he out-grows Toy Story he will lose interest in this game also. As it was a present I'm not sure what it cost but it is currently available at around £20 from places like Amazon. However, my little one was glad to get this game and wanted to play a game as soon as it was unwrapped. In our house we don't have a good track record with games as the littlest likes to hide all the pieces so the first thing I was worried about was trying to keep this game somewhere accessable and yet out of the way of little hands unless supervised. The box is quite big I would say around 25cms X 45cms but luckily it does fit inside of my games cupboard. Inside of the box is the board with a standard scrabble board on one side where you can make up your own words and on the other side are words that you have to copy which are all in the theme of Toy Story with words like Woody and Buzz and pictures of the characters too. The board is bright and colourful and both my 6 and 4 year old were instantly excited to see the toy story characters and wanted to play. Also inside of the box is a bag of letters/tiles that you use to either cover the pre-set words or ...

Fisher-Price FisherPrice Bubble Mower 06/12/2011

Bubble Mower, make bubbles instead of cutting the gass

Fisher-Price FisherPrice Bubble Mower My little boy got this as a birthday present for his 1st birthday. My parents bought it for him and asked if it was OK, as it states from 2 years on the packaging. I agreed with my parents that he would be supervised during use, and as his walking was already quite advanced for a child of his age he would be fine with this toy. Packaging ------------- The box this toy comes in is quite large, I would say around 50cms long, 30cms tall and 20cms wide, if that makes sense. It has a large picture of the bubble mower on the box and states for use from 2 years+. The Toy ---------- When you open up the box it comes in a few parts (I wasn't there at the time so I can't specify what needs making up, however I believe it was a simple push and click effort needed). It is made primarily of plastic and stands about 70cms tall when made up. It has a bottle of bubbles included so you can get started straight away. The mower is grey, red and blue so could be used by boys or girls as it's not girly or particularly manly either! To put the bubble mixture into the mower you attach the bottle to the plastic cap (which is attached to the mower with string), put the plastic cap into the well provided, push down and the mixture is drained into the mower. The Test ----------- We had awful weather for the first few days after making this so hubby decided the kids could play with this inside (my 3 year old couldn't wait to have a go!). The first problem we ...

Tomy Aquadraw Deluxe 06/12/2011

Entertain your tots for hours of clean fun!

Tomy Aquadraw Deluxe What is it? Tomy Aqua draw deluxe is a children's toy made to encourage drawing and imaginative play. It is a cloth square measuring around 1m by 1m backed with a plastic-like substance (it doesn't feel or sound like a plastic sheet but it is water proof). What makes this mat different to other drawing mats is that you only need to use the water pens provided to make a picture, and once the water dries you can start again. What do you get for your money? You get one mat, 2 pens and 2 A4 sheets of stencils. It comes in a box measuring about 30cm by 45cm and packs away easily after use. The mat folds very flat and small. The tops of the pens screw off (they screw in the opposite direction than you would imagine), there are signs on the pen to show you which way to turn them. You fill them with ordinary tap water, the nibs are made of a felt like material and wet easily. Although they do not drip, if you flick them they will spray the water out, which my oldest likes to do to make 'splat' pictures. Our mat makes all areas touched with water turn blue and when the children have finished playing I hang it over a chair until it dries, then fold it and put it away. This was bought as a Christmas present for my then 1.5 year old and he loves it, as does his 4-year-old brother. It cost around £20, and it seems to have been this price for a long time. You can buy some that have Barbie or Thomas the Tank Engine toys with them but they are more expensive, the toys will ...
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