The Vileda Clean: Vileda Windomatic Review

I’ve seen a few window vacuum cleaners on the internet or on adverts and I have always really wanted one. I have no idea why, maybe it’s the FOMO in me. I was too excited for a normal person when asked if I’d like to review the Vileda Windomatic Window Vacuum Cleaner. It’s the simple things in life that keep me happy!

 

Why I wanted a Vileda Windomatic

One of the things I really struggle with is anything that effects my raynaud’s and cleaning the windows is one of those things. I get really sore fingers, especially when I’m outside cleaning. The whole spray spray spray, rub rub rub, find other cloth, rub rub rub, get angry about the streakyness or bits I’ve missed as well as feeling headachey from the smell of the chemicals gets old. And so I don’t clean my windows as often as I should. Then I sit in my warm house glaring at the filth that dare cling to my windows. I live on a main road, so there’s a lot of filth.

I also mainly partly wanted it just because I love a cleaning gadget, but the more I thought about it the more I realised I can actually do so much more with it than clean the windows.

vileda windomatic lying flat

More than a window vacuum

The Vileda Windomatic is really handy for our bathroom which is designed terribly. It’s small so we have a shower over bath. Which is obviously next to the window and therefore a window ledge where water sits. There’s also another ledge directly below the shower head (which drips as you turn it off) that collects water. As a result, some of the sealant has gone really yucky and some of the tiles are covered in limescale despite regular cleaning with viakal. Sigh. In fact sitting water is a recurring theme because I always end up with a puddle of water on the worktop next to my kitchen sink. And I have a 4 year old, who gets the blame for spilling things.

 

Oh…and then there’s the condensation….in bedrooms, the bathroom and our kitchen. Ventilation in our house is terrible. Not forgetting there’s the child that licks windows and stuffs his entire face on to it.

 

vileda windomatic condensation on windows before

 

How it works

Basically, the Vileda Windomatic is like a squeegee shaped vacuum cleaner. So you just wash your window as normal then take off the excess liquid with the vacuum. As I’m pretty fed up with the chemical induced headaches from the special anti-streak window cleaner I decided to experiment with soapy water. The Vileda Windomatic says it can leave windows streak free, so what better way to test it than with plain old soapy water. I just cleaned the dirt off with a regular dishcloth then used the Windomatic to get rid of the water. The result was a beautifully shiny window!

The head tilts so you can go from top to bottom of the window. You can turn it sideways too to get all the bits across the bottom or in hard to reach places. The only places that I really struggled was behind taps. It’s like one of  those little dust buster machines with a squeegee head on, so naturally it can be quite difficult in tight spaces. The tilting head, once again, is handy here though.

vileda windomatic flexible head in both positions

As soon as I opened the box the Vileda Windomatic was plugged in charging. We left it overnight but it takes around 6 hours to get a full charge. From that charge you can clean around 60m² or use it for around 20 minutes. I haven’t cleaned all of the windows in my house yet, but I have used it sporadically, mainly in the bathroom and after a week has only just needed to be charged.

vileda windomatic orange low battery indicator light and shown plugged in charging

 

What we thought

It’s been brilliant at sucking up all of the standing water in my bathroom and it is living in there for the moment. It’s also really easy to empty the water reservoir, which holds 100ml. It doesn’t sound much but actually unless you’re clearing up a big spill it’s more than enough.

vileda windomatic water reservoir in three pieces

We’ve also used it to suck up the condensation on our bedroom windows. I’d usually have to use a squeegee and then mop up all the water with a towel. It’s really handy being able to tip the water away. I always thought it was like a vicious circle using the squeegee and towel because I wasn’t actually getting rid of the water. It’s also so easy to use that even Oliver has been having a go.

 

My mother in law spotted it in the bathroom one day and had a quick go on our bathroom mirror which was steamed up and has now put it on her shopping list. My mother in law is pretty tough to please, in fact R often refuses to buy something if his mum wouldn’t buy it. He asks her opinion on so much that he even wanted her opinion on a step ladder for the kitchen!! That’s why we have given the vileda windomatic a 5 star rating.

vileda windomatic 5 stars rating

 

 

We were sent the Vileda Windomatic Window Vacuum Cleaner for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Which is more than can be said of my fiancé.

 

When Life Revolves Around Kids

Before you’re a parent you absolutely demand that you’re life is never going to revolve around kids. Then you give birth to a tiny human and your world changes. Your opinions change. This week has been a complete testament to how much your life revolves around kids when you become a parent. Oliver is nearly 4 and a lot more ‘self sufficient’ than a tiny baby but life still totally revolves around him. Life really revolves around kids, especially when they’re poorly and we can either fight it, or accept it.

Last week Oliver was a bit (a lot) snotty and feeling rather grotty so he’s been at home instead of at preschool. Well and truly, life revolves around kids and I’ve accepted that. Everything has gone on hold and a lot of what I had planned and wanted to do hasn’t happened because Oliver has been here. He’s also been napping because his body is obviously trying to get better which has meant that he’s been up really late at night and struggled with getting to sleep at bed time. He also only wants Mummy, which has been tough. I’ve downed tools/laptop and just given him all of my attention and cuddles. He’s even napped on me. I haven’t been stuck under a sleepy baby for a long time. But I accepted and just let my life revolve around Oliver.

The To Do List

So this week my to do list has got longer and longer. We have a lot of things to plan for Oliver’s birthday party (in 2 weeks) and loads of things to do for our wedding. Then there’s the obvious day to day stuff. I still haven’t baked my Christmas cake. I really really need to bake my Christmas cake. And then start soaking the fruit for our wedding cake. It’s not even the short term things that I’m focusing on, it’s long term goals that seem to be getting closer closer.

All of the things I’ve needed to do but haven’t yet are

  • Redesign my blog header – you may notice my blog favicon (that little square at the top on the browser tab) is different to the header.
  • Write several blog posts – including a couple about my Raynaud’s
  • Reply to lots of emails
  • Read a book that I’ve been sent
  • Tidy the loft room ready for my brother coming to stay
  • Buy decorations and party bag stuff for Oliver’s party
  • Book a visit to see the hall so that we can plan better
  • Book a meeting with the wedding venue because we finally have our menus and it’s only FOUR MONTHS til we get hitched.
  • Bake the Christmas cake
  • Find bridesmaid dresses
  • Find a time when all of my bridesmaids are available to go shopping/try on different styles and colours of dresses. This is proving to be really difficult because two of them have kids and jobs to juggle.
  • Find a pair of shoes that I’m happy to wear on my wedding day (and some underwear!)
  • Plan Christmas
  • Buy Christmas presents
  • Plan a trip to Lincoln to see family and friends before/around Christmas
  • Plan a weekend trip up North to see friends in the new year
  • Find another weekend to have a hen.
  • Book the DJ
  • Plan our AV set up.
  • Chat to our photographers/videographer.
  • Write a list of questions for our wedding planning meeting
  • Design and send invitations
  • Send Christmas cards
  • Give notice for our wedding
  • Book a planning meeting with the registrar
  • Book hair and make up and plan my hair and eyebrow schedule (I realise that sounds totally pretentious!)

My brain is in overdrive

I feel like I’m getting to the point where I’m concentrating more on how much I have to do rather than getting any of it done. When your life revolves around kids it’s easy to get bogged down and panic at your never ending to do list. It’s easy to lose sleep and just concentrate on how behind you are, but I’m hoping this blog post helps me put my thoughts in order and concentrate on getting it done instead of just complaining about how much there is to do. I’m even planning on writing a to do list for R! Mainly because he keeps forgetting to get in touch with the DJ.

I’m also conscious of my weight at the moment. I did really well at losing a fair bit of weight last year and I can feel it creeping on at the moment. I’m really keen to make sure that doesn’t happen. I have my first seamstress appointment on 9th January and I’m well aware that I really can’t put weight on. My dress is a size 10 and fitted perfectly when I tried it on so I need to make sure it remains a perfect fit. I really want to avoid wearing shapewear underneath it. When I tried it on I didn’t need shapewear, so lets hope it stays that way. It’s the main reason I preferred that dress, it worked with my body shape without spanx. Hopefully you’ll start to see meal planning posts popping up on my blog with some delicious healthy meals on.

when life revolves around kids black text in yellow shape on background of clouds looking pink

Does you life revolve around kids? Do you find that you get bogged down with jobs building up when you have a sick child? Or do you have some tips to help me cope with getting ‘stuff’ done when Oliver’s not feeling well? I’d love to hear any advice you have.

 

 

Raising an eco warrior

This post contains affiliate links

Exctinction is a pretty heavy subject. We are talking about animals dying. We are even talking about humans killing animals. But I recently broached the subject with Oliver who is just about to turn 4 years old. I’m not going to lie, I’m secretly raising an eco warrior. We’ve talked about a few things, but in the end it all comes back to extinction, so why avoid it?

 

The effect of palm oil

We recently started cutting out palm oil from our diets and the cosmetic products we buy. I don’t wear a great deal of make up but sometimes used to buy it mindlessly. I will now only buy something I know I really need. I also only buy palm oil free soap and recently tried to go shampoo free, but was scuppered by hard water residue. When I’m looking for palm oil free products it can be really difficult as it’s often hidden. It’s pretty much in everything. It’s in a lot of bread products too, so we bought a bread machine* and now effortlessly make bread with 6 ingredients.

 

Where meat comes from

Because of all of these changes Oliver has asked a lot of questions. We’ve always tried to be as honest as we can with Oliver when he asks questions. He knows where meat comes from and we even show him on his body where each cut of meat is from. He’s still not really sure about whether it’s good or bad. I have joked about raising a vegan. Although we are meat eaters, we are honest about the effects on the environment and how animals are farmed. If not vegan I fully expect him to be passionate about higher welfare farming. And real higher welfare, not the kind where they’re stuffed in a barn with no space to move.

 

Conservation

We have an annual pass for ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and recently visited Paradise Wildlife Park. I know a lot of people disagree with zoos, but we use it as a great opportunity to talk about conservation and why such amazing creatures are kept in cages thousands of miles from their natural habitats.

 

To add to this, we recently watched the Hugh Fearnely Whittingstall program about the ivory trade. In the program he discovers that illegal ‘new’ ivory is still being bought and sold all over the world. We talked about what ivory is and why it’s bad. Since this TV show he noticed on the Lion Guard that there was an elephant with only half a tusk. He’d seen the episode several times before (the one where Simba has to talk in Elephantise and accidentally says the wrong word) and never mentioned it. He clearly took in the fact that people take elephant’s tusks. He doesn’t quite realise the extent to which they are taken, but he does know that ivory means elephants will die.

 

Childhood innocence

I’m sure a lot of people will argue that I’m taking away his innocence. That childhood is for blind enjoyment without the realities of the world. But I honestly think I would be doing him an injustice for not telling him. Not answering his questions with truth. I do tailor my responses to his age, as I said above, he doesn’t know the full extent of how elephants are maimed for their ivory.

I think that raising an eco warrior is possible without ruining a child’s innocence. Oliver doesn’t worry about these things outside of our conversations. It doesn’t effect his day-to-day life. He still sits and plays lego, cuddles teddies, pretends to be a dinosaur and is generally a bit of a crazy.

Are you raising an eco warrior? Am I ruining Oliver’s innocence?

raising an eco warrior text on background with ladybird in soil

 

Affiliate links are marked with a * – for full affiliate disclosure see my contact page.

Being a Raynaud’s Mum

The thing with being a Raynaud’s mum is not many people know what Raynaud’s is. When you go out all bundled up with your child wearing shorts people look at you like you’re crazy. Like some kind of irresponsible parent for taking the time to ensure you’re warm but not your child. There are so many things I have to consider before leaving the house and I put so much thought in to what I’m wearing it’s unreal. Thank goodness I’m not #instaglam because I’d have real issues! Then there are the other things associated with being a Raynaud’s mum…

What Raynaud’s actually is

For those who don’t know what Raynaud’s is a quick summary would be that it’s something that affects the circulation or blood flow in your extremities. That includes the obvious – fingers and toes, and not so obvious, ears, nose and nipples! I get it in all but the latter, but it’s been a while since Oliver stopped breastfeeding! Temperature changes really impact it, cold weather and stress/anxiety are also huge factors.

For me, that means my fingers and toes go white and numb. It means that I get immense pain through my hands and feet. I also get numbness and pain in my ears and nose. I have to wear loads of layers and keep my house warm. I have to wear slippers pretty much all year round. When it’s cold it takes me a long time warm up.

What being a Raynaud’s mum means to me

Being outdoors in autumn and winter is genuinely uncomfortable for me. It becomes so difficult that it affects my mood. I’m grumpy, I’m tired and I am just in so much pain I can’t do anything. That makes it hard for me to do things like puddle jump walks, collecting acorns and conkers. Going to the park when it’s cold. Days out that involve being outdoors for periods of time. Especially in exposed areas where it’s windy. The cold that you’re thinking of is probably the frosty chill in November, but that is the cold I feel in September.

 

At home when it’s ‘cold’ I’m often found under a fleecy blanket. Our living room is North facing which means it’s not very warm. The floor is also concrete which makes it even colder. Leather sofas are a no-no. The kitchen floor is also really cold too and even with slippers on I get numb toes. That means I’m not very fun once the cold sets in.

 

Raynaud’s mum guilt

I feel awful for much of the year for how boring I am. I can’t do a lot of the things that Oliver wants to do. He loves the outdoors. He loves nature. It’s really not fair on him that we can’t do the things he wants to do. I’m starting to invest in things that will help make my life easier. The only thing is that all of these things cost money. I’ve been wearing the same clothes for years and we don’t have a great deal of disposable income. We’re not impoverished or anything, but we are living on a single income and planning a wedding.

 

 

Being a raynauds mum - hat scarf and gloves every day from September

 

 

Have you ever heard of Raynaud’s? Do you suffer from it too? Do you have any tips to help me overcome the cold?

Howl-o-ween at Paradise Wildlife Park

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of going to Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne. It’s only about 20 minutes drive from our house but we have actually never been there. We’ve wanted to go for a while, though. I love animals, and I’m really interested in seeing how different zoos support conservation and raise awareness of these magnificent animals. On top of this, Oliver is obsessed with Halloween so ‘Howl-o-ween’ week at a new zoo sounded perfect.

 

When we arrived we had a walk around to look at all the different birds which are in a different area to the rest of the animals. After that we headed over to the main part of the zoo to see what Howl-o-ween delights we could find. As we wandered through the zoo you could see they’ve really gone to town on the Howl-o-ween theme. The animals have been given carved pumpkins as enrichment tools. There were pumpkins in trees and around the enclosures of different animals.

pumpkin carved with face in wolf enclosure

The Wolves

The highlight of Howl-o-ween has to be the wolves. After all that’s pretty much what the Halloween event is named after. We saw one really close in the enclosure near to the zebras and then another two in the woods. They’re really good at camouflaging themselves though and it was only when one moved that we realised it was right in front of us, so you do have to look closely! I recommend the Woodland Railway, although you can definitely see the wolves on the woodland walk too.

howl-o-ween wolf checking out a pumpkin

Photo Credit: Paradise Wildlife Park

There are loads of other Howl-o-ween activities going on, we didn’t get around it all as there was so much that Oliver wanted to see and do. The pirate ship play area was one of them. He spotted it on the way in and nagged us all the way around to go to it. We did watch the show in the Jungle Theatre though, he loved that! Especially the clever rat, Peaches who raises money for Apopo – the rats that help detect landmines in Africa. The laughing kookaburra was also hilarious, although not meaning to be. It just didn’t want to perform.

kuckaburra refusing to let go of snake

Dracula’s Bat Cave and a Snake

I have to say, one of the highlights for me was seeing the free flying bats. Although none of them flew at us, unfortunately. We did see the huge cluster of bats in the corner of the roof though. I did envisage a horror film scene where bats fly at you, but no such luck. Probably a good job with a 4 year old.

cluster of bats hanging in roof howl-o-ween

The other highlight was in the reptile house. I’m not a huge fan of snakes, but we went in to see which animal was being talked about. The keeper had one of the smaller snakes out and we were able to touch it. He gave us lots of information about the snake and answered everyone’s questions too. Oliver had been telling us recently that snakes are scary, so it came as perfect timing for him. He was absolutely in awe of the snake and watched it very carefully. So even though the scary Howl-o-ween snake turned out not to be so scary, he still enjoyed it.

howl-o-ween-oliver looking at snake in awe

 

What I really liked was that we arrived at a reasonable time and still made it around pretty much the whole wildlife park. We saw a lot of different animals and talked to Oliver about conservation and extinction the whole way around too. There are lots of signs with information about the animals and how endangered they are too.

 

Play areas

There are loads of play areas around the zoo, including old fire engines to play on and diggers too. There’s also the usual playground equipment and some augmented reality boards where you can see dinosaurs (although we couldn’t get it to work and our phone batteries were running low at this point). There’s also adventure golf, a go-karting type track and some lego type building blocks as well as bouncy castles.

On a cold or wet day there’s a soft play area inside the cafe. We only realised it was there as we were leaving but it looked a good size.

Picnic areas

There’s a covered picnic area somewhere, but there are also loads of benches throughout. Anyone with a small child knows that happy to hangry is only a matter of seconds. We plonked ourselves down among the big cats and actually saw the tiger strolling around while we were eating. We’ve read ‘the tiger who came to tea’ though, so we didn’t invite it over.

 

Overall, it’s a great day out. As we sat on the little train Oliver looked at R and said, “Daddy, can we come to Paradise Wild Park every day?” He absolutely loved it. As it’s only 20 minutes away in the car it’s a great location for us. We really enjoyed all of the Howl-o-ween activities too. There was face painting around too, but Oliver isn’t keen on it and there was so much to do he didn’t even notice. All of the kids could get a free wolf mask too, but we forgot to get one for Oliver. He didn’t notice though. And he can’t read, so he has no idea. Phew.

 

More photos of our day at Howl-o-ween at Paradise Wildlife Park

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Please note that we were given free entry to the zoo for the purpose of this review. All words, opinions and photos are my own, except where credited (those pesky camouflage wolves).

Window sill – Review

When we moved in to our house in January 2015 we were so excited about everything we wanted to do to it. There’s so much potential. It’s an ex council house and very well built so we knew that we could do pretty much anything without uncovering anything *too* bad. We had grand plans, but we can’t afford to do much of it yet. However, since we have now lived in the house for over a year and a half there were smaller finishing touches to the house that bothered me more than the ‘big stuff’. One of them being the window sill.

Why window sills?

I know you probably think a window sill is a strange thing to be really bothered by. Technically, it’s not just 1 window sill, but 2. The sills in our living room and master bedroom to be precise. The two rooms I spend most of my time in. The two rooms I would quite like to be able to use the window sills. But they were awful. They were orange tiles. Yuck! They were also really old and covered in paint splodges and scratches and the grouting between them had crumbled to dust a long time ago.

crumbling grout between orange tiles on window sill with white paint splodges visible on window sill

When we started knocking down part of the living room wall we started to think about how we wanted our living room to look, the window sill tiles were definitely not part of the vision! We decided that in the grand scheme of things the living room would actually be changed to a dining room eventually. It’s a pretty cold room and for me with Raynaud’s it’s not a pleasant space as a living room. Our south facing rear is much more appealing. We just need to build an extension. With all of this in mind, we came up with a few ideas to make the room workable as both.

 

The colour scheme

Colours are so important to me. We wanted something that suited our house and our personalities. Absolutely no magnolia. One of the decisions was that we wanted a ‘fireplace’ with a light oak beam above as a mantel. We will eventually get a fake wood burner to fill the gap. The colour scheme will be navy blue, grey and finished with pops of colour. We may throw in some copper accessories too.

 

With light oak in mind, we were delighted when we got the chance to review a piece from The Skirting Board Shop. At first, thinking we were limited to skirting boards we looked at different designs of skirting board and found a few we liked. Then I discovered the window sills. And there was American White Oak. Perfect!

The window sill

R was really impressed with the quality, it cuts like real wood even though it is veneered MDF. The hardest part of replacing the window sill was removing the tiles and repairing the damage from removing them. Once we had taken the tiles off and levelled the ‘remains’ it was just a case of cutting and sticking. Although I’m sure R will tell me off for referring to it as that! We followed the guide on the website and added 50mm on each end for length and 25mm for depth. Then we got the trusty Festool circular saw, guide rails and vacuum out. Which meant R could cut the window sill in our kitchen and make no mess – woohoo for me!

window sill after tiles removed and damage to bricks underneath

 

R checking the damage having removed the window sill

The finished window sill

before and after tiled to wood windowsill

I think you’ll agree the difference is amazing. It’s really spurred me on to think about all of the little details in all of the rooms. I can’t wait to get the bedroom sill in and start thinking about all of the finishing touches in there too. What’s really great about the window sill is that the veneer is real wood, so you can stain or oil it. This is particularly great news for us as we can match it to the oak mantle. I’m really excited about seeing it all come together.

I’m also really looking forward to making little window displays. We’ve already started on our halloween display!

halloween window sill display with halloween toy, cobwebs and spiders

 

I’ll be doing a big reveal on our finished living room once it’s all done. We have a bit of work to do but I am hoping it might be at least on the way to being finished by Christmas. (Especially as I’m not entirely sure how to dress that huge crack for a Christmas display!)

 

We were gifted two window sills for the purpose of this review, however all words and DIY’ing fiance’s are my own.

 

Linking up to

 

Life With Munchers

Blaze and The Monster Machines Monster Dome: Review

When we were asked to review the Blaze and The Monster Machines Monster Dome Playset by Fisher Price we jumped at the chance! Oliver is a huge Blaze fan, and so are we as parents. I remember one day watching it with Oliver and it was talking about trajectory. I’ve learned a lot from Blaze, and if even the tiniest part has sunk in to Oliver’s memory then I’m pretty happy too. So as fans all round we eagerly waited the arrival of the new toy. The monster dome review has to be the most exciting part of being a blogger’s child for Oliver.

oliver holding blaze monster dome box

What’s in the box

  • Blaze toy
  • Crusher toy
  • 2 launchers – one blue, one red
  • 2 (red) ramps, with arrows for up and down (so that you fix them in the right way around)
  • A (blue) 360° loop (5 pieces with arrows to show which way around to fix)
  • A ‘ring of fire’ (2 pieces)
  • Chomping sharkbot
  • 2 black finish line pieces
  • 2 finish line flags
  • 3 additional brown track pieces
  • Big screen/billboard sign piece
  • Stickers

Assembly of the Monster Dome

Assembling the track was pretty easy with the instructions to follow. The pieces come apart and go back together really easily. In fact, Oliver can take the pieces apart and put them back together pretty easily too. The sharkbot piece is a ‘one time snap’ though, which means it can only be done once. Oliver was a bit annoyed about this, but once he understood it would break if he tried to take it apart he was fine.

The pieces go together with 2 click in points. Once you’ve lined them up properly they slide in to place really easily and stay in place. Even Oliver, at just under 4 years of age, can do it.

track connector close up pieces monster dome playset

 

The stickers were easy to attach – but definitely requires an adult to put them on straight. I left R to this as I’m impatient and slightly cack-handed. He only had to unpeel and re-stick one piece, after sticking it on the wrong side of the ramp (despite clear instructions, tut tut). It stuck back down easily and hasn’t peeled off.

 

There are four layouts, each are easy to assemble and once built mainly just requires popping a few things out and rearranging slightly.

 

Or you can adapt it to play with your own toys….

 

Playing with the slow mo camera while Oliver tests out the new Blaze toy with a slight adaptation…

A video posted by Natalie Streets (@diaryofuem) on

What Oliver Says

“It’s reallllllyy coooooooollllll”.

The best part – “Racing!! And it was sooooo coooool when it flied and when I hit it too hard and it flied on the ring of fire that was really cool.” – Can you tell he has recently discovered the word ‘cool’?

What he didn’t like – the fighting. When I asked what he meant he said Crusher is always fighting. I think because he watches the TV show he sees Crusher as the bad guy. And he doesn’t like baddies because they aren’t nice and do bad things. But there are extra characters available to buy. He particularly likes Stripes and Pickle.

 

What Mum & Dad say…

“The build quality is great, it’s really strong. You could smash the launchers really hard repeatedly and it wouldn’t break” – Dad

“You can take it apart and back together so quickly and easily, meaning it’s so easy to put away and get back out” – Mum

Overall, we all really love this toy. It’s great fun to play with and we’ve had some brilliant races with each other. Although Oliver is always Blaze, both monster trucks race around the monster dome pretty fast. The instruction leaflet even has a little description of momentum and how momentum helps the monster trucks race around the monster dome without falling off.

Overall I’d say the Blaze playset has good value for money at less than £30 – it’s definitely built to last and Oliver has already played with it more than most of his toys and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I know that whenever his Cousin H comes over they will be having races against each other too! And the best part – no batteries! I’m envisaging lots of races at Christmas, between adults and children alike!

 

Check out our photos of the Blaze Playset

 

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The Blaze and The Monster Machines Monster Dome Playset was sent to us for the purpose of an open, honest review. All words and opinions are my own. Except Oliver’s. I like to think my command of the English language is slightly better than that.

 

 

&nb

Family Fever

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Is it OK to buy a NERF gun for a 4 year old?

This is a collaborative post.

Last year, Oliver’s Godfather bought him a NERF gun for his 3rd birthday. He loved it, but myself and R weren’t too impressed. I’m not sure if we were being a bit precious, or if it’s actually OK. However, now that Oliver is about to turn 4 I’m wondering about getting him a NERF gun myself. Oliver’s ‘Cousin H’ actually got a small NERF gun for his 4th birthday. So, it made me wonder, is it OK to buy a NERF gun for a 4 year old?

 

The NERF gun that Oliver was given was the NERF Mega. I have no doubt that specific model of NERF gun was not appropriate for Oliver. It was too hard to load and the bullets could be really painful. They even whistle when they fly through the air because they go so fast. However, the NERF gun that ‘Cousin H’ got for his 4th birthday was much smaller. Oliver and H could both load it, and the smaller bullets didn’t hurt anyone when they hit them. Which was tested out mostly by R and Uncle T. Of course.

Are we mad for even asking if it’s OK to buy a NERF gun for a 4 year old?

I completely understand that there are people out there screaming of course its NOT OK to buy a NERF gun for a 4 year old at the computer screen. But I love how Oliver has learned to hit a target with his gun. He learned to aim and that it takes a bit of concentration and thought, instead of just rushing in and pulling the trigger. We’ve explained the goodies and baddies concept too. He kind of gets that because of his love of Spiderman. But the guns thing is pretty new. He had no idea that in America guns are normal. As far as he was concerned, only the police and very very bad people have guns. So we addressed that issue. That toy guns like NERF guns are fun, but real guns are bad and they are not for playing with.

 

There are loads of things I feel like he can learn with his NERF gun, but I’d need to find a gun that was more appropriate for his age. I don’t know much about NERF guns. I never had one growing up, nor did my brothers. We really loved the one Cousin H had because it was so easy to load – and only came with 3 bullets. H’s one would be more appropriate for Oliver than the one he has now. You definitely need to do your research on NERF guns before you buy one for a child that’s younger than recommended.

 

And you should probably ask the parents too…

Is it OK to buy a nerf gun for a 4 year old? Orange Nerf bullets background piled on wooden board

NB: Although I was compensated for my time to write this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Including the terrible choice of Godparent.

Introducing: The Bridesmaids

A while ago I wrote about Bridesmaids proposals on the blog as I was thinking of ways to ask my best girls to be there by my side on the big day. Since then I have proposed to all three of my bridesmaids. Two of them are my BFF’s from home and one is my future sister-in-law. Without further ado, here’s an introduction to my bridesmaids

 

Holli

I’ve known Holli for pretty much forever, our brothers were 3 when we were born and would have been in nursery together at that point or soon after. When we were growing up we were often in different classes and had different groups of friends at secondary school but we were always drawn together. Every holidays we would be together almost every day. Our parents knew and trusted each other. There was never any worry if they knew we were together. She was the slightly mental, loud one and I was the sensible, quiet one. A lot has happened, a lot has changed, we have both changed enormously, but we are still together. We are the friends that used to sit on the sofa and say “if we are still single when we’re 40 we’ll just marry each other, right?”. Luckily she found Will and I found R.

Natalie

The unbelievably shy girl that I’ve known since year 7. We shared a name and an unbreakable friendship. Natalie went through her rebellious phase at 14 and was disowned by a lot of the girls in our friendship group, but I knew that she was still the same lovely girl. Secretly I envied her that she’d got the balls to be herself. A lot has happened since then, but I still love her and respect her for who she is. I admire her strength and her passion to be better in everything she does.

 

Megan

What can I say about Megan? She’s just the best future sister-in-law I could have asked for. At 10 years younger it really is like having a little sister. She was 13 when R and I first met. I was so nervous about meeting her because R adores her so much. I’ve seen her grow up and this year she has started university. She lived with us for a short while and seeing her be an amazing aunt to Oliver is just the best. When I asked Megan I gave her this poem over lunch. She cried a little bit and gave me the tightest hug I’ve had in a long time (it actually reminded me of her Grandpa who passed away when Oliver was 5 months old)

introducing-bridesmaids-sister-in-law-bridesmaid-proposal-poem

 

Holli and Natalie are friends and know each other well, but Megan hasn’t met either of them. We’re hoping to go shopping next month when Megan is settled at uni because the city she lives in has some brilliant shopping. I’m definitely starting to feel the pressure of getting the bridesmaids sorted out. I think the not knowing which colour or style dress they will be wearing is starting to get to me.

 

I’m hoping that I might be able to get a nice photo of the 4 of us while we are in Nottingham too. I wouldn’t like to delve in to some of the photos I have of Holli, Natalie and I from our younger days!

 

Only 6 months to go…

 

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Mudpie Fridays

Turning 30 : Why I’m not scared of it

Turning 30 is a huge milestone for a lot of people. For me it seems to be almost passing me by. I’m turning 30 on Sunday (25th September) and it’s going to be a very low key affair. Last year I thought my 30th birthday would be huge. It also marks a whole decade since I started university. I fully expected that there had to be some huge occasion to celebrate thirty whole years on this earth. But right now, I’m happy for it to quietly go by.

 

When you’re younger you pretty much expect to be doing or have done certain things by the time you’re turning 30. I recently found a piece of work from first year of uni where we had a 10 year plan. I wanted to have a good job, a husband, a house and children by the time I was 30. When I reached final (fourth) year I knew that was an insane age to be doing all of those things. My ideas of what turning 30 was all about had drastically changed.

 

There are loads of articles about why you should love turning 30. This article from PopSugar lists all the amazing reasons why turning 30 is something to look forward to. I’m fully aware that not all 30 year olds have reached the point that their list suggests though. Lifetime Magazine’s article about turning 30 hits the nail on the head a bit more. When you’re 29 you don’t suddenly wake up 30, it’s just the next day. On Sunday I will be another day older than I was the day before.

 

Maybe I’m less afraid of turning 30 because I’ve hit a few of the milestones already

  1. I have a child
  2. I’m in a committed relationship
  3. I’m getting married in six months!
  4. No more horrible landlords – we (sort of) have our own house
  5. We have a business
  6. We hope to have more kids after the wedding
  7. I gave up work to be a stay at home mum
  8. I’ve reassessed my aims in life and have become self employed with a (slightly blurred) vision of where I want to go while still being at home.
  9. I’ve found a hobby I love in yoga
  10. I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin

 

I think that in 2016, the age of social media, turning 30 can go one of two ways

  1. You either get paranoid about your wrinkles and download loads of airbrush apps to edit your instagram photos and cry about all of the things you haven’t achieved that you thought you would.
  2. Or, you embrace the fact that nothing really has changed and that you don’t have to have achieved everything and that instagram isn’t really that real anyway.

George William Curtis says it best, “age is a matter of feeling not of years”Turning 30 - Age is a matter of feeling not of years quote black text on white background

 

How did/are you feel/ing about turning 30? I’d love to read about other people’s experiences