5

EasyBelts – Belts for Young Children (Review & Competition)

easybelts blue and grey

My 3 year old cannot buckle his own belt, can yours? I suspect not, as they are pretty tricky for little people. Maybe your little one doesn’t really need a belt? My son has always needed belts as he has always been tall for his age, and therefore has always worn several sizes bigger than the average, and because of that, trousers would be long enough in length but always too wide in the waist, so belts have been our friend for some time. (Has anyone seen Croods? Whenever I hear the word ‘Belt’ I think dun dun dun!)

Belts were fine on young toddlers as you pretty much dress them head to toe, but as they get older and want to become more independent and when they start potty training, the ability to work a belt buckle actually becomes important. My son has actually been pretty lazy with dressing himself and only recently started dressing himself every day, he always wanted me to do it, but I have managed to coax him to do it himself and become more independent, which really frees up my mornings, giving me more time to actually make myself a healthy breakfast (not that I have time to eat it until about 9am, in the office). Of course, he can dress himself, almost entirely by himself, except for the belt, that is literally the only thing he cannot do by himself.

Until now… A clever Mum came up with the idea and created EasyBelts. These belts use velcro instead of a buckle, the ring comes in different sizes and the belts come in various designs, patterns and colours.

racing car velcro belt for kids

We were sent one to review, now I am actually lying because we were not sent one. I ordered what I believed would be the correct size, and the lovely lady at EasyBelts was concerned that I had chosen the incorrect size, as she knew my son was 3 years old, so she sent another belt of a smaller size, just in case, which I found very sweet, it is personal touches like that which are simply lovely.

Another way that EasyBelts are just fabulous is that they have kindly offered up 4 additional belts for me to give-away to my readers – that’s you! So if you would like to be in with a chance to win a belt of your choice from the EasyBelts website, any design, colour or size of your choosing, then scroll to the bottom and enter via the Rafflecopter widget. I have 4 to give-away!

3 year old wearing racing car belt

So, what are the belts like and do they work, I hear you say? Why yes they certainly do. Actually, I couldn’t have been more surprised when I took them from their packaging, showed my son, who was incidentally thrilled because it was blue and had a racing car on it – yes boys and transport! I threaded the belt through the loops of his trousers and left him to see if he could do it up. Now I figured, being his first time that I would have to show him how to do it, and that he would eventually, with a little practice, manage to do the belt up, but he fastened the belt so quickly that I didn’t even have a chance to turn the ‘video-mode’ on my phone and record the inaugural event in all it’s splendour. So I am afraid you will have to take my word it.

The website was easy to use and they even have a helpful tips section to aid you in choosing the correct size.

racing car belt on a 3 year old

So, as far as belts go, it meets all belt-criteria in all it’s belty-goodness, it’s belt-erific (ok I will stop now).

  1. Trousers do NOT fall down (check) – that is kind of the bear minimum requirement of a belt!
  2. Belt is able to be fastened by young child (check) – yipee, that is kind of the point of this amazing invention and it does indeed work.
  3. Belt it nice to look at (check) – the belt does come in an assortment of colours and flavours designs.
  4. Belt does NOT cost £300 (check) – it is actually very reasonably priced, starting at £6.
  5. Belt does my washing for me (fail) – I’m sorry to disappoint you, it is clever but not that clever, and in fact it is recommended that you do not wash it in a washing machine, it is advised that you hand wash to protect the velcro.

close up of belt buckle

If you have any questions about this product, please ask them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

Competition Time

As I said before, EasyBelts are offering 4 belts to 4 of my lucky readers. Just in time for back to school and nursery! To be in with a chance to win a belt of your choice from the EasyBelts website, please login to the rafflecopter and complete a task. For every task completed you will receive entries into the competition, more tasks = more chances to win.

Terms and Conditions of entry:

  1. You must be a UK resident to enter.
  2. You must enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and perform the task(s) correctly (for example, if you enter your email address to subscribe, ensure when you receive the confirmation email that you accept the subscription too), for each task completed you will gain more entries into the competition.
  3. You must enter a valid email address into Rafflecopter so that you can be contacted if you are a winner.
  4. This is a sponsored post, and the organisation “EasyBelts” will be sending a belt of the winners’ choice to the winner directly. The belt must be chosen from the EasyBelts website, the winner will decide on a design, and will choose the correct size.
  5. The four winners will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter after the closing date (7th September 2015), and the winners will be contacted via email and announced soon thereafter. If a winner does not respond within 14 days another winner shall be chosen. Check back to this page to see the winner, it will also be announced on my social media.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Competitions at ThePrizeFinder – See more prize finder

U, me and the kids
11

How NOT to get a passport for your child

passport and airplane

Getting a British passport is tricky, they really make you jump through hoops, absolute perfection is required, so getting a passport for a young child is as tricky as extricating a warm bottle of milk from a toddler at bed-time.

So to help, learn from my mistakes, this is what you DON’T want to do:

  1. DON’T ignore your mother when she asks you to apply for the passport nice and early (like at least 6 months before the holiday). Yes I know mums are always right!
  2. DON’T naively think that 4 months before the holiday is the perfect time to pick up the forms from the post-office.
  3. DON’T then leave said forms lying around the house for little hands to “accidentally” pour milk all over.
  4. DON’T wait another 3 weeks before you replace the forms.
  5. DON’T stupidly think that photo-booths are meant for young children.
  6. DON’T visit said photo-booth alone meaning that you will spin the seat to the very highest setting, which will not be tall enough to get your 3 year old’s head in the red circle.
  7. DON’T almost break your arms by lifting up your heavy 3 year old with one hand, leaning out of the picture whilst reaching back inside with your other hand to press the damn button.
  8. DON’T be under the illusion that you will have unlimited tries to get the photo extra wrong, you will only be given 5 tries and then you have to pick between a photo of either – nothing… the top of his head… half of his head… a tiny far away head…  a perfect one of him but with your arm in the picture…hmmmm which one will they take longer to reject!
  9. DON’T send the completed form off to the passport office “just to see”  if they might accept it.
  10. When the form comes back rejected, DON’T be suckered in by a photo shop that “guarantees” the photo will be accepted.
  11. When you finally decide to use “check and send” at the post office, because there are only 2 months remaining, DON’T be surprised by the list of 3 stupid reasons that they won’t accept the form, being: there is a slight shadow on his face in his picture (are you joking?!), you need the longer birth certificate (ok fine, I can make my peace with that one), all of the dates on the form need to be the same (really?) or at least close, and they won’t accept a date more than a month old (darn).
  12. Okay I believe we are onto the third form now, my colleague is fed-up having counter-signed the thing a million times, so DON’T be surprised if she never wants to see you ever again.
  13. On the third try of taking photos of my son, decided to go to snappy snaps as they were the ones ‘approved’ by the post office, DON’T be surprised though when snappy snaps say they cannot guarantee the photo will be accepted.
  14. Only 7 weeks until the holiday…leave little man with hubby while I try to find a post-office that is open late on a monday night. DON’T believe the opening times listed on the post office website as you will be driving all over your town until you realise there is NO post office open past 6pm that will do more than sell stamps! (Grrrrr).
  15. Tuesday night, leave work early, arrive just in time, wait 30 minutes in the queue but finally the form is approved and and sent off. Yes, my purse is £55 lighter but still, DON’T be surprised if you fall down to the floor in an exhausted and thankful heap.

1 week later, passport has arrived, yipee! 6 weeks to go…erm did we actually book the flights?…

3 year old holding first passport

Now that you know what NOT to do, hope you can learn from my lessons next time you need a passport for your child!

Mums' Days
15

A Sea-life Adventure (#Competition)

We spent a fantastic afternoon at Weymouth Sea-Life Centre Adventure Park. This is no ordinary sea-life centre, it is like an under-water mini-theme park. Look at the map it is pretty interesting:

sea life centre map

I have to admit that I was very excited as I have never been to an aquarium before! Most of the park is outdoors (but they do have a rainy day policy), unlike most sea-life centres, it is more like a zoo, with zones spread around with a few indoor aquariums.

You can expect to see the following: penguins, seals, turtles, sharks, otters, stingrays, crabs, urchins, seahorses, jellyfish, octopuses, starfish. In fact you can even touch the star-fish, which I did, though Nate did not feel brave enough to do that. The starfish actually come from Weymouth.

hands on at aquariumstarfish in tank from weymouth beachsea urchin and toddler looking

There are 5 rides, a splash zone and a Lego zone, though look at the opening hours for each zone because some of them open late or close early, such as the lego zone, which closed at 4pm, and therefore we missed out, which Nate was very sad about as he loves Lego.

3 year old inside a lego shark

Ensure that you take a towel and a spare set of clothes so your child can enjoy the water play. Nate loved this, and we stayed there for about half an hour. There is a little pool with a water slide and sprinklers to run through. The water slide is small but fast, so keep an eye on younger children as they may go under the water and not be able to re-emerge by themselves. The water depth in that zone is about 2 feet. So if you have a 2 year old or younger you may want to take a towel and shorts for yourself so you can take them on the waterslide.

3 year old at splash zone

What I loved most about the day was watching my 3 year old boy’s eyes light up as he screamed with glee:  “look mummy it’s a seahorse” as he ran from tank to tank, pointing and exclaiming. There is nothing better for a mother then seeing an excited  and happy boy.

I particularly enjoyed the jellyfish as they were colourful and made me feel very calm:

The stingrays and shark were pretty exciting too, and in that zone it is a traditional aquarium tunnel with water all around you.

stingrays in weymouth sea life

I liked the little touch of the passport which children can get stamped in each zone, my 3 year old really enjoyed stamping his passport, especially because each stamp was in the shape of the creature in that zone.

I would have liked us to try the water ride but we ran out of time, it was a traditional log flume and looked fun, though you would definitely get very wet.

Useful Information:

  • Postcode: DT4 7SX. The location was perfect as we were able to spend the morning on the beach, then crossover the road to the sea-life centre where we spent the afternoon. I don’t think it would take up an entire day, 3 hours was enough to cover the majority of the attractions.
  • Price: This was the major let down for us, it was very expensive to buy tickets on the day. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves so we don’t completely begrudge the cost, but I thought it was definitely on the expensive side, for the three of us it cost £60 this was after we used a money off voucher. The gate price is £23.50 per person over the age of 3 years old, although if we had purchased it on the website in advance it would have been reduced to £16.50 each, which is definitely more reasonable. This price does include a ticket to the sea-life tower, which is valid for 14 days, and we visited on a different day. If you are lucky enough to have a Merlin pass this is one of the attractions you can visit for free.

Competition

I have three tickets available for one lucky winner, this will allow entry into the park once their new ‘Rainforest Experience’ attraction is open, so it is only valid between the following dates: 5th September – 11th October 2015.

Terms and Conditions of entry:

  1. You must be a UK resident to enter.
  2. You must enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and perform the task(s) correctly (for example, if you enter your email address to subscribe, ensure when you receive the confirmation email that you accept the subscription too), for each task completed you will gain more entries into the competition.
  3. You must enter a valid email address into Rafflecopter so that you can be contacted if you are a winner.
  4. This is not a sponsored post, the tickets are in the form of free entry flyers and will be provided by myself and sent directly to the winner.
  5. The tickets are only valid at the Weymouth Sea-life Adventure Park and only during the following time period: 5th September – 11th October 2015.
  6. The winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter after the closing date (7th September 2015), and the winner will be contacted via email and announced soon thereafter. If the winner does not respond within 7 days another winner shall be chosen. Check back to this page to see the winner, it will also be announced on my social media.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

*This is NOT a sponsored post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

More competitions at ThePrizeFinder – See more here

Family Fever
4

Inside Out (and above all the rest)

inside out movie poster

Just want to say up-front that I believe this movie is probably not suitable for 2, 3 or 4 year olds. My 3 year old has seen many movies at the cinema and enjoyed almost all of them, and even though he enjoyed parts of this movie he also found it a bit scary and hard-going so we didn’t quite make it to the end. Mummy came back to see it again though because I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I would suggest perhaps 7 years and above would gain the most from it, and I can see how it would be the ideal opportunity to explain and help children to open up more about their feelings, and have definitely seen inside out type activities popping up all over pinterest already.

The movie centres on Riley as she quickly grows from a baby to age 11, who is perfectly happy with her family in Minnesota, playing hockey and with her friends etc. until she has to re-locate to San Francisco, where everything changes…

3 year old with inside out characters

I really loved the emotions in her head being characters, it is so witty and clever, so well thought out, in fact it is pretty ingenious and definitely one of the best Disney movies I have seen in a while, and perfect for the older tween audience. I loved the little details, the fact that her “train of thought” was an actual train (clever), and that there are islands of personality.

The only let down for me is that, although all the emotions were amazing, and how they interacted, it could have been so much funnier, but in fact half of the movie just features Joy and Sorrow and them trying to get back to HQ, which is a bit of a downer. The best bit is the end when you see inside the head of other people and even dogs, and see what the emotions look like, they had border collie version of anger, sorrow and joy and then ones with beards etc, it is very funny, the funniest bit of the movie, I wish there were more of those, but that is probably just me, I’m a sucker for a kids comedy.

I need to give a very special mention to the Pixar short film “Lava” which they show before the movie as that was one of the best Pixar shorts I have ever seen and as amazing as the movie. The music was so beautiful that Nate and I were singing along to it by the end, it was so clever and I have to admit to a tiny tear! Absolutely beautiful.

What do you think of the movie? and the short film?

4

Sunday Sampler #1 (My week in Summary)

my week in summary 3 year old

Here is a little sample of my week…it has been a tough one with little man being particularly naughty at nursery. This is the first time we have been called aside and told that he is mis-behaving which is both mortifying and disturbing because it is just not like him. So that was my major downer this week and my particular worry.

Reading: This week I am reading two books concurrently. One is part of the Dream Sequence series by J.J DiBenedetto. I will be reviewing the whole series soon, so look out for that. For now I can say that it is about a girl who can see other people’s dreams, it’s a clever concept.

The other book is Inferno by Dan Brown, I’m not quite finished but am enjoying it, I have enjoyed all of Dan Brown’s book though they have started to become a little predictable. I think that I enjoyed Lost Symbol a little more, but Inferno is still good. It is about a crazy guy (yes all his books start with a crazy guy) who believes that the world is over populated and that he must release a plague to kill off half of the world so that we don’t run out of resources. It is set in the beautiful city of Florence, which is a treat because I love Florence. If you only choose one Dan Brown book to read though I would suggest Angels and Demons to start with or Lost Symbol as they are slightly better.

Bedtime Reading: Nate and I have not been reading as many books at bedtime due to his naughty behaviour. But his favourite this week has definitely been “Bumpus Jumpus Dinosaurumpus” by Tony Mitton which is about dancing dinosaurs. It has a good reading pattern that Nate has picked up and reads along with me. The only downside of this book is I cannot say some of the Dinosaur names – how embarassing! I have a University Degree and yet I don’t know how to say Deinosuchus, can’t say I have ever come across that one in real life though so I won’t be too hard on myself.

Watching: Like half of the country I am watching “The Great British Bake-off” of course. I absolutely love that show. I don’t have any favourites yet, but I am enjoying Mel and Sue’s puns, as usual and that Chocolate Cake last week, with all the chocolates running down the side, amazing!

I am also re-watching “Grey’s Anatomy”, I haven’t watched it for several years as I sort-of gave up after the airplane crash. However, I am thoroughly enjoying watching it again from the beginning, it really is a quality show and just as enthralling as the first time. I have a question for you…Team McDreamy or Team McSteamy?

Cinema: We went to the cinema this week to watch “Mistress America”, wow what a waste of time that was. We had to walk out half way as we just totally didn’t get the humour and the movie just wasn’t making sense. It seemed like the character Brooke (a thirty-something) had A.D.D she could not finish a thought or sentence before switching to something else. It is not often that I walk out.

Listening: Aside from my audio-books above, I haven’t been listening to anything new. However Nate found a new song that he likes, so I purchased it for him: “Black Magic” by Little Mix. I was very surprised when it came on the radio and he said “I like this song mummy, I know the words”. I don’t know where he heard it from, as we don’t really listen to the radio, but it is lovely to see him picking up things from around him and making his own decisions.

Phrase: Nate came out with the following phrase, which surprised me, he was pulling toilet paper off of the roll (too much) and said “This looks 30 metres long, like a Brachiosaurus”. Yeah my jaw sort of hit the floor with that one.

Working: I have been managing the big office move, for several months now, and it all came to a head this week. When I go in on Monday I will no longer have my own office, we are moving into an open plan area with another team, which I am both pleased about and slightly reticent. Firstly I am pleased because it is quite isolating in an office with just one other person, even though she is the loveliest person, you don’t really feel part of a team, so it will be nice to have 12 other people around me. However, since I have to do a lot of writing as part of my role, I worry slightly about the noise levels. But I am sure it will be fine. The good news is, from Monday that is one big project that I don’t have to worry about anymore, it took up a lot of my time!

Blogging: This week I posted about our 50 Counties Challenge, which I’m super excited about. I love Britain so we will really enjoy getting to know it better!

My favourite blog post this week was over on the Frugal Family blog – “Festival in your Garden“. What an inspired idea to hold your own festival in your own garden! I love this idea and may re-purpose it. You get to choose your own music, food, games, decorations etc. What a lovely idea.

How was your week? Do you have a book you can recommend to me? I love receiving new recommendations!

18

The Great British Counties Challenge!

My family are challenging ourselves to visit all 48 English counties and 2 in Scotland (for those not so good at Maths that makes 50!), making this the Great British Count-off! We are setting ourselves the target of completion to be 14 months, its crackers because we work full-time but we are going to give it a shot anyway.

great british counties map

I visited little man’s potential school a few weeks ago, and it made me realise that this is our last year with Nate where we have some amount of freedom until he is 16 at least. From next September onwards we will only ever be able to travel during term-times and it will be so expensive that travel will definitely diminish, so we thought, let’s take advantage of this last year and travel round the UK, mostly keeping within England as many trips will be undertaken over a weekend. We are going on a family roadtrip with Continue reading