17 November 2014

A funky homemade superhero costume

Last Friday was Children in Need, Little 1 came home from school with a note the week before saying they could wear a superhero costume to school if they donated. Their topic this term is also Superheros so she has been talking about super powers, making rockets, bad guys and catching villains as well as the lost crown jewels(!) for the last couple of weeks and I knew she would enjoy dressing up.

We didn't have anything at home, despite a drawer full of dressing up, that could resemble a superhero, we did have a cat ears, tail etc that she could have worn with black clothes and a black cape to be cat woman but 'No' that was not a superhero no matter how hard I tried to convince her!

So I took to good ole ebay and searched for superhero dress up, I knew lots of children would go as superwoman and with the prices of the outfits escalating due to the theme of this years Children in Need, I thought I'd have a go at making my own costume.

One of the first things I came across after changing my search to fabric was this brilliant pink superhero fabric, I thought it was perfect for a cape and would look great, there was also green and blue versions available too but for us it had to be pink!

I then, after thinking about the colours in the fabric, decided she could wear her black leggings and I would buy a yellow t-shirt and some turquoise fabric to sort of copy the 'POW' bit and make her look like a superhero.

Once it all arrived I got snipping, pinning and sewing (I ended up with some help from Nanny with the sewing as it was taking hours!) There were also problems with the turquoise fabric as it was really stretchy so the sewing machine kept catching and pulling it, grr.

First I cut out a cape shape out of the pink fabric using the t-shirt as a size guide as Little 1 was at school. I made sure to leave a couple of bits at the top for the neck bit and then pinned the pink fabric to the turquoise fabric back to front and cut that one too. I sewed it using the sewing machine and then turned it right side out and sewed around the edge again so it all looked neat. 

I'd had the idea of writing the word 'POW' on the front of the t-shirt in turquoise to link it to the cape so cut out the letters for that and nanny stitched them onto the front of the t-shirt. There was lots of material left so I cut a band to make a sort of belt and a small piece of the pink material for a buckle. This was all edged roughly before sewing it onto the bottom of the t-shirt.

There was still lots of material left so I decided to make some sleeves too as I thought Little 1 might be chilly in just a vest and t-shirt at school as she didn't have a jumper that would go with the outfit. That was simple and involved sewing a piece of material the right size in half, turning it right side out and then attaching it to the sleeves.

I also attached a popper and strip of material between the shoulders at the front of the cape so that Little 1 could take it on and off easily, I wasn't keen on using a tie cord especially as she would be wearing it at school and it might get pulled when she was playing in the playground.

I made her mask by just cutting a small piece of card in a mask shape with eye holes and glued a strip of leftover material on to it then cut around it so that it would keep it's shape and she would be able to see. I livened it up with a little strip of the pink material glued on there too and it was just tied loosely onto her head.

Here is the finished product, what do you think? Little 1 said 'Wow' when she saw it!! She loved wearing it to school and refused to take it off until she went to bed that night. There was quite a bit of material left over so we made Little 2 her own superhero cape too. The bonus to it all is that as the reverse side is turquoise the girls have been wearing their capes backwards and pretending to be Elsa from frozen too!

What kind of superhero would you be and what would your costume look like?

14 November 2014

Frugi- Gift of giving- A beautiful twirly bow dress

When I received a phone call from Karen over at Would Like To Be asking me if I would like to take part in the Frugi 'Gift of giving' project, I immediately said 'Yes, please'. 

Frugi is a clothing company selling gorgeous organic ethically sourced cotton clothes for children and a few bits for grown ups too. As a company they are really involved in giving back to charities, they are part of the 1% project, and raise money through their sample sales, to date they have given a huge £130,000 away. They wanted to focus on the theme of 'Giving' this Christmas and the 'Gift of giving' project was launched.

Karen is part of the Frugi family and was asked to chose another blogger to receive a surprise Frugi gift. I couldn't wait to see what surprise she had picked out for one of my girls and when it arrived I was in no way disappointed.

Our parcel contained this stunningly beautiful Twirly bow dress in just the right size for Little 1, she loved it immediately and so did I. It is so her colours and perfect for her to wear this Christmas. The dress is lovely and soft with a great feel against Little 1's sensitive skin. The fabric has a lovely weight to it with the navy edged lining flowing out from under the reindeer print top layer.

The back of the dress is just as  gorgeous as the front with a big bow to finish the dress beautifully, poppers up the back make for quick and easy dressing too.

We couldn't wait to see how twirly this dress really was and stepped out for a spin after teeming the dress with a pair of navy shoes.

Little 1 loves to twirl and this dress definitely allowed her to do that, it falls just nicely and has a lovely fit on my little girl, she loved it so much that she didn't want to take it off!

We love this dress and I can see it being the number one choice for the upcoming parties this Christmas season. It feels as though it will wash and wear well and withstand all that a partying 5 year old can throw at it.

Thank you Frugi and Thank you Karen x

N.B We received this dress as part of the Frugi 'Gift of giving' project in return for our honest opinion of the product. Outdoor photos in this post were taken by Karen's 'husband' who remains anonymous on her blog.

12 November 2014

Already a little reader...

Little 1 has been at school for 10 weeks now (7 of which were full time) and I am amazed at how well she is doing there. I know I said before she started that she was ready to go and already knew a thing or two (both from home and preschool) to help her along the way but I am really proud of how well she really is doing.

She has taken to it like a duck to water and runs off to the gate as soon as her teacher comes to the door (each class is directly on the playground with a little gated bit before the actual class door) shouting bye and so eager to go in, it is lovely that she likes school so much. I feel sorry for the one or two parents still leaving tearful children at the gates and those seeing sad eyes peering out from the classroom as they walk away.

They really did throw them in at the deep end at this school (we chose this school because it is a very academic one and thought it would suit our bright children well) and started sending them home straight away with phonics to learn (you can read my post about her first days and homework here) and matching letter cards so that they could start to build words.

That was very quickly followed by picture books/one word early reading books, spellings (well, a list of 5 words they have to be able to read and then make without looking at the word using their letters cards each week) and tricky words to learn (ones that can't be learnt phonetically like 'said' and 'she'). It seems like a lot for them to take in especially the younger ones but at recently turned 5 years old, Little 1 was ready for the challenge and has stepped up to the mark.

She loves making words using her letter cards and practicing her spellings and tricky words, she has been doing well and moved onto the third set of tricky words already ( I think there are 20 sets of words to learn in reception) and got all her spellings right so far. 

She isn't so keen on practicing writing the phonics in her book, this is a painful drawn out process each night with us persuading her to do it and her not really concentrating and putting in the effort, she keeps doing them huge or forming the letters incorrectly or in the wrong direction despite the fact she can write really nicely when she wants too and almost all the letters correctly. We often end up giving up and finishing it at breakfast when she is more in the mood but that is not exactly ideal is it! We have tried stickers and things like a smartie a letter or line but she just gets cross as she only gets a few! 

Thankfully it won't be for much longer though as she has done 24 letters of the alphabet to this point so only a couple more, but they probably start sending home diagraphs and trigraphs to practice next (that's the two and three letter sounds like 'th' 'ch' and 'air', I learnt that at a parents meeting at school, I had no idea either!) aaarrggghhh!

A couple of weeks ago we had parents evening and were able to look in her writing book, the painful homework process doesn't seem to have affected her as there was lots of really lovely writing in there, a shopping list, a description of a troll that read' My troll is bloo, he is fat and has big horns' (that one made me go awww, her first piece of writing) and plenty of other well formed letters and first words, so she is just being a pickle with the homework then!

One thing she does love and I mean LOVE is reading, we have always been a house of reading, the children's rooms are full of books as well as some downstairs, we read to them every night and often in the day too from when the girls were tiny and this has really helped Little 1. At parents evening her teacher said she is really advanced in her reading and flew through the first few bands of reading books and is has now been bringing home band 3 reading books for a while, we are so proud of our clever little girl and hope that her eagerness to learn and read continues but at the same time we are careful not to push her too far and let her tell us when she has had enough.

Yesterday she made my day (it was my birthday) by proudly coming home with a sticker on her chest saying Head Teachers Award as she had done a brilliant piece of work and her teacher had sent her and a couple of others to show the head. She was so proud of herself and we were of her too, it was lovely she really wants to please her teachers and is trying very hard.

Their topic this term is Superheroes, she had to make a wanted poster for a cartoon character, she had chosen Mickey Mouse and had written a description as follows 'Mici maus, he has a lon teyl, he has red shots (mickey mouse, he has a long tail, he has red shorts) she said she had written it by herself and her teacher had just reminded her to use finger spaces for the second line, I can't believe how well her spelling and writing is coming along already.

Great going Little 1, we are so proud of you x.

10 November 2014

Getting creative with left over loom bands

This week has been one of those odd sort of weeks, the weather has turned cold and it has been raining, the Little ones are tired despite it being the first week back after half term and they haven't been 100% either. Little 2 has really suffered with a horrible cough, it has disturbed her sleep all week and so we are both tired from repeated coughing fits overnight, but she hasn't been herself either she looks a little pale and doesn't want to eat (except the repeated ask for chocolate buttons!) and she keeps mentioning stomach ache but there are no other symptoms (thank goodness) so she is obviously fighting something. Over the weekend she said her ear was hurting but she doesn't have a temperature and she can go hours without mentioning it so I am just keeping an eye on it for the time being and providing a few doses of calpol for good measure.

Neither of us has felt like doing much this week, she has been well enough to go to playgroup and is pretty chirpy when she is not grumpy from being tired and hungry but she doesn't want to play and has spent much of the week lounging in the ball pool and quietly sat in her play tent with a doll or curled up with me watching Disney films under a blanket, I was hoping we could catch a snooze but it didn't happen!

I did manage to get her to do a couple of creative activities this week when she was up for it but they didn't last all that long and her attention span was not what it usually is....

Earlier in the week it was playdough, we had a pack of lots of different colours so I opened a few for her and offered her plates and cutlery hoping to get a little game going, she was happy to chop and dish it all out but didn't really want to make anything much.

She had a go at mushing it all together and told me that she had made a cat that I had to take a picture of..

And then used the empty playdough container to make 'chocolates' but after that she had had enough. She must have been out of sorts as normally she will play playdough for a good 45 minutes and come back to it over the course of the day too.

On Wednesday with it being bonfire night and all that I thought we should do some sort of fireworks pictures, I wasn't sure where the chalks were and didn't fancy getting the paint out for just a few minutes play and then I suddenly thought of the barely used packet of loom bands taking up space in the cupboard.

Now we didn't fall foul to the loom bands craze over the summer (it will probably be the last craze that I get away with avoiding though!) with the Little ones being a bit young and not that interested but I did get one pack in a mad moment as they sat there on the edge of the checkout (blooming product placement) one shopping trip, I made the girls one bracelet each and that was it, they have been in the cupboard ever since and the bracelets were forgotten by the next day.

I thought that stuck on some black card they could look a bit like fireworks so we gave it a go, they didn't end up looking like fireworks at all but the girls both enjoyed sticking with them and I have a space freed up in my art cupboard now.

Little 2 loves glue and will happily plaster a page in it before sticking anything on, she loves to watch it drip and gloop.

Little 1 had a go when she got home from school and just wanted to stick them on the page, they did look quite effective on the black card and as they were glow in the dark ones they looked good later on when we turned the lights off.

Have you got lots of left over loom bands now that the craze has died down? What are you going to do with yours?

6 November 2014

Running around in Richmond park

During half term we spent the weekend with friends in London, fellow blogger Karen over at Would like to be and her family. While we were visiting they showed us the wonder of Richmond Park. Having only been to London once, recently for Britmums, I didn't really know anything of the green spaces that London has to offer, I was impressed by the size of the open space in Richmond Park.

We drove around the road inside the park and took in the sights, the trees and the greenery with the city looming behind. There were lots of deer that were actually quite tame roaming free and lots of people watching and photographing them, it was lovely to see some big stags with huge antlers too as we drove around. 

Karen took us to the ponds near the middle and we all got out for a stroll. It was the perfect opportunity to take some pictures of the girls together. Two thirds of the photos in this post were taken by Karen's lovely husband and his camera, the remainder were taken by me, you can probably spot which ones are mine, the darker, less sharp ones, but the good news is I am getting a new camera for my birthday next week, yay.

The girls did a little bit of posing together minus Daisy who was busy getting to grips with her balance bike! The Little ones put on their best smiles and I was really pleased with some of the lovely photos when Karen sent them to me, I love this one of the two of them together, it is so them at the moment.

There was plenty of opportunity for spotting ducks and swans on the pond as well as one of the Little ones favourite past times of throwing stones into water.

Little 1 had a ride on Daddy and the bigger girls had a quick play in the fallen leaves.

There was plenty of long grass for running around in on the way back up to the car, the children all had fun chasing each other, hunting for flattened patches where the deer had been resting and posing for piccies too.

As cheeky as ever!

Little Daisy was so busy practicing on her balance bike and getting to grips with the rough terrain that she is missing from the other pictures, she was determined to get to where she wanted to be and she wasn't going to be stopped for a photograph! Bless her.

Although a short visit this time, we enjoyed ourselves at Richmond Park and will definitely go and explore some more when we are back in the area next.

Have you discovered any where new this autumn?

4 November 2014

Personalised Christmas cards- review

With only 6.5 weeks to go until Christmas day I have been super organised this year, the girls and Daddy's presents are bought I just need a few stocking bits for them now and my attention has turned to what I need to get for others. I am alway pretty organised anyway, with Little 1's birthday in October I tend to buy a lot in September and split it between the two occasions and Little 2's birthday is in February just a few weeks before Little 3 is due so I did hers at the same time too this year just incase there are any complications towards the end of my pregnancy, I feel better knowing everything is sorted just in case! 

I am one of those who does a bit of present wrapping each evening in the first few weeks of December and has it all piled and ready to post/deliver along with my Christmas cards. This year I even have my Christmas cards almost ready super early too curtesy of stressfreeprint.co.uk when they asked me to review their personalised Christmas cards and although I haven't written and addressed them yet they will be ready soon too! 

Stressfreeprint.co.uk is an online printing company who offer lots of personalised products, they can create greetings cards for all occasions, business cards, calendars, leaflets and flyers, posters, brochures, menus and invitations as well as cd and dvd packaging and presentation folders, they can cater for large business orders as well as small orders for individuals too.

We were offered a set of personalised Christmas cards to review, all I needed to do was send the photos and wording I wanted on the cards and they would do the rest. I had a picture that had been taken fairly recently of the Little ones that I wanted to use but it was very pale and on a white background and needed a border to make it feel more Christmassy. I looked on the internet but didn't have much luck finding what I wanted, I emailed stressfreeprint to let them know I hadn't forgotten to send the information and their kind customer service manager, Craig, offered me the services of their artwork team which I gratefully accepted. 

All stressfreeprint's products can be created using your own images or ones created for you using their new online designer tool or the use of their friendly artwork team. It only took a couple of days to receive a proof and I was really impressed I had sent them the photo and just said that I wanted something red, green and christmassy and this is what they had come up with. I love the design, the gingerbread men and tree shaped biscuits, candy canes and greenery giving the cards a fun Christmas feel that looked great. if I hadn't been happy the first time I could have sent back my opinions and had it altered but nothing needed doing.

Please excuse the quality of the pictures, my camera really is not that great, the cards do look a lot better than in the picture. The green and red on the cards really stands out and the border design is lovely and bright with a feeling of depth and Christmas sparkle.

I then sent the wording I wanted and the signature of all our names for the inside of the card (which I have cropped off the bottom of the picture for confidentiality purposes) as well as a small photo for the back of the card. I wanted to personalise each card to its recipients by hand rather than have a printed greeting at the top so there is plenty of space left to write names. I was then emailed another proof to look over and once I had agreed the cards were printed and arrived in a couple of days, all I have to do now is write them! 

I was impressed by the friendly emails from Craig on the customer service team as well as the artwork team, there didn't seem to be anything they wouldn't do for me and seeing as I was getting the service for free, I was a very very well looked after and one happy customer.

Stressfree print.co.uk also offer lots of other personalised products, they can create greetings cards for all occasions, business cards, calendars, leaflets and flyers, posters, brochures, menus and invitations as well as cd and dvd packaging and presentation folders, if you are looking for personalised products this Christmas they can create you something great.

Why don't you check out what they have to offer at www.stressfreeprint.co.uk

N.B I received a set of personalised Christmas cards and the services of the artwork team for free in return for this post.

1 November 2014

5 Little girls - Good friends together

You may remember back at the beginning of September I posted a post about a tutu photoshoot that myself and my fellow blogger Karen over at Would like to be did for our girls so that they could say goodbye before Karen and her family moved away, as their Daddy is in the army. 

Well it was almost 2 long months since we last saw them and although we have been keeping in touch, phone calls, sending goodies and writing letters, we all miss each other especially the girls as they had got rather close before they moved away. We took the opportunity last weekend at the beginning of half term to go and visit them in their new home and we are so glad that we did.

Good friends together

When we arrived after our long drive, it felt like we had seen them just a couple of days ago, the girls immediately went off to play together and giggled away happily while us grown ups got chatting. 

We had taken the Little ones bikes with us knowing that Karen's girls (who love the outdoors) would give them the confidence boost they needed on them to go it alone. It wasn't long before all 5 girls were riding bikes, balance bikes and scooters around the roundabout on the quiet street outside their home. I was amazed at the sudden confidence boost the Little ones had gained, Little one was off riding her bike alone at great speed around the roundabout and even had a go on Poppy's bike without stabilisers. Little 2 was going it alone on her balance bike when previously she wouldn't do it without us holding her saddle.

The 5 little girls had a great afternoon and got plenty of exercise, it was lovely to see them all again, playing and getting along together.

The following day Karen (and her husband) took us down to the river Thames and the girls scooted and rode along, they played in a sand area there which had big wooden boats for the children to play in and we laughed when they made sand angels. We continued along to a little park too and the girls had fun playing, climbing and balancing on the roundabout thingy! We had intended to have a little picnic but it was a bit too chilly by the river so we headed back for hot chocolate and lunch.

River Thames
After lunch, a play in the garden and a nap for Daisy, the girls were refuelled and refreshed ready for some more action, Little 2 liked playing on their swing now that she has got the hang of doing it herself.

Wanting to show us a little bit more of what they loved about their new home, Karen took us to Richmond Park that afternoon and we enjoyed a drive around seeing all the deer and rutting stags that were so tame as well as a walk, some stone throwing in the lake and a bit of posing for pictures together (Richmond Park post to follow) before we headed home after a yummy roast dinner.

We had a great time visiting friends, the Little ones already want to know when we are going again! All the photos above (apart from the swing one) were taken by Karen's husband who just so happens to be a little bit fab at photography (he has a much nicer camera than me too!) and took lots of pictures of the weekend for us, Thank you.

What did you do last weekend? We had a great time.