Stick Man {The Ordinary Moments}

One of LP and Little Man’s favourite books is The Stick Man. It’s one they can near enough recite and that we read often. Each time we go out on an adventure the children look for a stick man, often just finding a stick and being left disappointed that it was far too sticky and just not man enough!

But on our latest adventure Little Man found a stick that was still very sticky but was very man like too. A perfect stick man of a stick. Little Man had never been so excited over a stick. He put him in the pushchair, took him on the slide and even shared his ice cream with him.

I have never known children to get so excited over a stick but when I saw Little Man’s real life stick man I couldn’t help but understand. It was so much more to him than a stick – it had stick arms, stick legs and even a stick nose on that pointy sticky head. He was like a person in stick form and just like every other friend that Little Man has made – cuddly toys, TV characters and those that fill the pages of books – the stick man was real to Little Man, so real that we even brought him home with us.

I love how children can get so into a fictional world, that the lines between reality and fiction can often blur and that their imaginations can know no bounds. Little Man has read the stick man book, seen the TV adaptation and now has his very own stick man in the garden too. I just hope he doesn’t come home next week with a Gruffalo!

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Reception – Done!

Your first child starting school is such a huge thing. When LP started reception in September I worried because she was so little and because she was a summer baby – the youngest in her year.

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This year has gone so quickly and yet LP has learnt so much. At the start of the year she couldn’t hold a pen, couldn’t write any letters and didn’t know anything at all academic. We had focused on having as much fun as possible before she started school and thought that learning could wait – and a year later we realise we were right, those early years should be all about fun and learning can wait until they’re at school.

A year on and LP can write her name – and so many other names too. She can read basic words and she has a good guess at harder ones. She can count, can do some times tables and is the most creative person I know – who knew you could make so much from the contents of the recycling bin?!

This year has been a year where LP has been initiated into the academic world. After the summer there will be less fun at school and more learning, she won’t just be starting out and will instead be a fully fledged school girl and this year has shown me that there really is nothing to worry about. Our Little Pickle can hold her own, she can keep up with her classmates in every aspect and she never stops smiling whilst she’s doing it.

All the teachers and other children adore LP. She makes them smile – and they always tell me just how lovely she is. I read her first proper school report in tears – I was expecting her to be behind at least in some areas, needing to focus on things before September, but she was on track for absolutely everything and it was clear that she is just such a credit to us. We couldn’t be more proud. But really, LP should just be so proud of herself.

As a summer born baby children are often starting off on a back foot, being told that they’re younger, smaller and a whole year behind their September born classmates. But, in LP’s case, this hasn’t shown at all – apart from some little blips at the start of the year. She has thrown herself fully into school, literally bouncing into class each day and has given it her all. From Christmas plays to sports day – she has given Reception everything she has – and she has got so much back from it.

Yes, LP has learnt so much but she has also made lasting friends and left an imprint on her teachers too. Now, Reception is done and I am looking forward to spending the summer with the little girl that I have missed so much this year. The holidays cannot last long enough.

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Funidelia Costumes Review and Giveaway

Like any children, LP and Little Man love dressing up so when Funidelia got in contact and asked us to review costumes from their fantastic range it didn’t take long to say yes – but it took a while to choose the perfect outfits!

Funidelia have an amazing range of costumes, not just for children but adults too, for all themes and occasions. After our trip to Away Resorts at half term, when it was their superhero week, LP was adamant she wanted a Wonder Woman costume so it was only right that Little Man had a superhero costume too – it was hard for him to decide between Spiderman, Batman or a Captain America costume but in the end he decided on something completely different – Superman!

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The range of superhero costumes at Funidelia was fantastic with multiple options for each character and all in a really good range of sizes. They also had a vast range of accessories and LP and Little Man both chose wigs to go with their superhero outfits.

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The outfits arrived well packaged and ready to wear. Little Man’s costume consisted of the main all in one and a cape, both of which fastened with velcro. He absolutely loved it immediately and I impressed with the quality of the fabric and the fact it also came with shoe covers/pull up boots that a lot of costumes don’t have as standard.

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LP’s Wonder Woman costume came with so many accessories – a headband, arm cuffs, boots, a belt as well as the main dress of the costume. She adored it, especially all the accessories and, like the Superman costume, it had good sizing – although it looks quite big on LP we got the size up to give her room to grow as we do with all costumes.

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LP loved her wig although it’s so thick and such good quality that she didn’t wear it for long as her head got hot but it would be a great finishing touch for a fancy dress party – especially, if like LP, the child’s hair isn’t the same colour as the superhero!

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Little Man unfortunately didn’t wear his wig as it was just one size and a bit big for him but I am hoping he will grow into it – and wear it to the next party he goes to! Both of the outfits worked really well together and the children loved them. There’s really nothing else two young children could need.

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Whatever the occasion, Funidelia will have the perfect costume for the whole family and I have teamed up with them to give away a costume worth up to £100 to one lucky reader. Whether you want to be Batman or Catwoman or something else entirely, complete one or more entries below to be in with a chance of winning. Good luck!

Don’t forget to check out our other giveaways over on the giveaways page!

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Disclosure: We were sent the above products for the purpose of this review however all opinions are my own.

A Holiday Nightmare

*This is a collaborative post

People reading this post may think I’m talking about our recent holiday troubles – with our holiday being cancelled three weeks before we were due to fly out. But no, I am looking back to the worst holiday Hubby and I have ever had – a visit to Tunisia in 2007.

We couldn’t really afford a holiday that year, we had bought our first house a year before and were trying to pay off our credit cards but we had worked so hard all year that we found a budget package holiday company online and booked a last minute deal. It only cost about £300 each for two weeks all inclusive including the flights which now, looking back, should have set alarm bells ringing.

The flight to Tunisia was fine, the hotel was basic but fine and the beach was nice. But after our first impressions we started to see the reality – there were fly problems at meal times and there were stray cats everywhere. There were also a huge amount of incredibly drunk brits that did nothing to raise our spirits. But we booked excursions and planned to spend as much time away from the hotel as possible.

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But three days in, and on a trip to the three big cities in Tunisia, I was ill. Really ill. I had to sit on a coach for hours at a time, praying that I could stop myself from being sick or from having an upset stomach until we were somewhere with a toilet. It was, pretty much, the worst day of my life.

But, worse was yet to come. Both Hubby and I ended up in hospital, with nurses who were lovely but only spoke french. We saw more of that hospital than we did of Tunisia but we were so thankful for travel insurance! In the end we were glad to fly home – and it turned out we weren’t the only ones to have severe food poisoning – the plane literally cheered when we took off to head home.

It was such a disappointing holiday, more so as Hubby had planned to propose to me in Luke Skywalker’s house on a two day safari to Tatooine – which we ended up being in hospital for. I don’t think until that holiday I have ever come back a lower weight than when I left. It’s definitely a holiday we’ll always remember but sadly for the wrong reasons!

Since then I have refused to ever book a budget break, instead investing in slightly more expensive holidays and looking at websites like Luxury For Less. It’s possible to get really nice holidays for so much less than I would expect to pay and now that we have kids this would be a definite option for us – there’s no way we’d want the kids to have the same horrendous holiday experience that we had all those years ago!

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Luxury For Less lets you search for holidays within your budget, tells you all the countries or cities available and even lets you book flights, hotels and spending money too – all in one place. I know where I’ll be looking next time we book a holiday!

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For now, I’m focusing on our imminent holiday to Greece and hoping that we have a better experience than we did in Tunisia – I’ll tell you all about it when we get back. If you’re going away this year – have a wonderful holiday!

A week with the Peugeot 308 GT Line

Last week I got to try out the Peugeot 308 GT Line, a car I had no experience of however, my second car was a Peugeot 206 and I loved it – it was so lovely to drive and quite powerful too so I was looking forward to seeing how the Peugeot 308 GTi compared.

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When the car was delivered, I immediately took to the ‘Cumulus Grey’ metallic paint job. It was so sleek with the curves of the bonnet and I was impressed with the overall look of the car. It was appealing without being too overbearing, especially as it was a more sporty model with GT options like a leather steering wheel with red stitching and even aluminium pedals. It certainly oozed style inside. I especially liked the panoramic ‘Cielo’ glass roof with an electric shutter, so much natural light was able to flood the interior!

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The rest of the on board gadgetry was also very impressive with an awesome entertainment system computer with DAB and FM radio, an input for an external source and USB charging points handily placed in front of the gear stick, right where you need them. The entertainment system also acts as an intuitive SatNav with responsive touch screen controls. It was easy to use and programming a destination was simple. It had all the features and more that one would expect from a high end SatNav.

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The Peugeot 308 GT Line also comes fully equipped with front and rear parking sensors and a rear parking camera. This little addition is invaluable when parking in tight gaps. The screen automatically switches to the rear view complete with overlaid guidelines to assist with parking in marked bays. This was especially useful at the supermarket to line up evenly so as to not be closer to one side than the other. Complimented by the audible parking sensors, lining up neatly into a space was a breeze.

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Whilst the 308 is smaller than our current car, there was plenty of room in the front but with two ‘Group One’ high backed compulsory car seats in the rear, it looked a little cramped for the children at present. I was finding myself moving the drivers seat forwards to give LP some extra room to get out of her car seat comfortably. As the children grow and the booster seats get smaller, this issue would negate itself. I also found that vision through the rear window was also quite limited and with the dark tint, visibility at night was also quite poor. After a while though, you get used to this and it isn’t so much of an issue.

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There was enough room in the boot for a folded pushchair with room left over for shopping. However, I think this would be a great family car once the children are older but I loved using it for trips by myself over the week too – taking it for a couple of days away in Bath. It was beautiful to drive, so quiet on the motorway and the controls were all so well organised and intuitive.

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The Peugeot 306 GT Line has cruise control, steering wheel controls for the entertainment system so as to not distract you from the road, and it felt very smooth over different road surfaces, a must if you’ve got children who tend to sleep in the car.

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Overall, I loved driving the Peugeot 306 GT Line for a week and it’s a car I would love to own again in the future. It looks stylish inside and out, is wonderful to drive and just so comfortable. There isn’t much else you would need from a car. Having used it on both long and short journeys I would give it full marks – a really lovely car.

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Disclosure: We were provided with the above car to test drive for a week however all opinions are my own.