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Me Time with Netflix

Finding time for yourself, as a busy parent, can be very tough but it’s really important to make sure that you do take some time out of your day to spend alone and doing exactly what you want!  Personally, even if I just manage five minutes watering the garden when the kiddywinks are in bed that’s enough but the ultimate has to be a long soak in the bath and catching up on a spot of TV or watching a favourite film.

Ever since we got Netflix at the beginning of the year my TV viewing has broadened and I’m enjoying a lot of shows that I possibly wouldn’t normally have watched.  The greatest thing about Netflix though is that it’s all there and ready when you are.  There’s no rushing to get the kids into bed so you won’t miss the start of a programme or missing a cliff-hanger because the mother in law is on the phone!

One of the series that I have really enjoyed on Netflix is Orange is the New Black.  Set in a women’s prison and a far cry from Prisoner: Cell Block H, it tells the story of Piper Chapman (played by the stunning Taylor Schilling) who is found guilty of a ten year old drug trafficking crime and sentenced to 15 months in a woman’s federal prison.  The new series started at the beginning of this month and so far I’m really enjoying it!

Orange is the New Black

 

Interplay Butterfly World Review

Our friends at Interplay recently sent Imogen and Joseph their Butterfly World Kit from their My Living World range for review.  This kit contains everything needed to rear and observe the amazing lifecycle of butterflies, including:

  • Pop-Up Butterfly Rearing Cage
  • Jar Cover
  • Small Plastic Pot & lid
  • Paint Brush
  • Informative Guide written by Nick Baker
  • Caterpillar Order Form

Interplay Butterfly World

The plan was for us to collect our own caterpillar eggs or caterpillars using the equipment supplied and the knowledge in the guide book.  Having just planted veggies in the vegetable patch at home, I honestly didn’t see this being a problem – they seem to like my broccoli!  However the weather was not on our side and the local caterpillars were hiding!  So we sent off for the live caterpillars from the supplier recommended by Interplay, Gribblybugs.

A couple of days later a small, well packaged box arrived containing a pot with five very small caterpillars.  The pot contains everything the little caterpillars need until they turn into pupae.

Interplay Butterfly World

Over the next 14 days we watched our caterpillars eat and wriggle around their pot.  They got bigger and spikier everyday until hanging themselves upside down on the lid of the pot and the chrysalis were formed.

Interplay Butterfly World

Then once all five caterpillars have turned into pupae, it’s time to move them (very carefully) into the butterfly rearing cage.  Pop the plastic lid off the pot and carefully remove the special paper lid that the pupae are attached to and, using the double sided tape provided, stick to the roof of the cage.

The butterflies will normally emerge within 10-14 days, however we had a bit of a shock after only 5 days (it was incredibly hot which apparently helps) and found our first butterfly emerging as we came home from school.

Interplay Butterly World

Over the next couple of days we watched all five of our Painted Lady butterflies emerge, feeding them on a 10% honey solution as detailed in the booklet.

This weekend we released our butterflies in the garden, it was a lovely experience, they flew around our heads and perched themselves in the garden before heading off for pastures new.

Interplay Butterfly WorldInterplay Butterfly World

Interplay Butterfly World

The entire family has loved watching the caterpillars and the butterflies, it’s been amazing and has taught us all a lot.  Imogen and Joseph were always aware that they’d have to set the butterflies free and so it didn’t upset them in the slightest, in fact they were delighted to see them happily flying around.

The booklet contained in the kit is really very informative and Imogen is still reading snippets of it now and again, learning about butterflies and their lifecycle.  The Butterfly World kit is priced at £12.99 but can be reused (we’ll certainly be doing it again) and caterpillars from Gribblybugs are available at the discounted price of £9.50 using the code in your booklet.  This is a great, educational kit that is bound to keep children entertained over the school holidays and will make a fantastic “holiday project” to write about and tell their friends.  Imogen has taken pictures of her butterflies and one of the pupae to show her friends and teachers at school.

Woolly and Tig “Songs for Wobbly Moments” Review

We’re massive fans of Woolly and Tig in this house so when the kiddywinks were offered a chance to review Woolly and Tig’s first musical CD Songs for Wobbly Moments I jumped at it! Songs for Wobbly Moments is due for release on 7th July and contains 20 fun songs from the increasing popular Cbeebies TV show.

  • Big Stomps
  • If There wasn’t a “No”
  • The Thunder Bang Song
  • Funky Dunky
  • Bunches
  • Rubba Dubba Rock
  • I Like Monsters
  • Counting Kisses
  • I Love Woolly
  • Holidays
  • Elves & Shoemaker
  • Give a Smile
  • Weenie Worries
  • I Love Mummy
  • Mairi’s Wedding
  • Cheeky Wee Echo
  • One More Step
  • Agree to Disagree
  • Auld Lang Syne
  • Counting Kisses Woolly’s Solo

Songs for Wobbly Moments

Just like the programme, the songs relate to new and different experiences that nearly every child has to face helping them explore their feelings and deal with them.  All of the songs are fun with great melodies and incredibly catchy lyrics that I guarantee will have you singing along in no time.

Imogen quickly declared “Bunches” as her favourite which is described as a pantomime song and is about haircuts.  Joseph likes both Stomp and The Thunder Bang song, simply because he can make as much noise as he likes whilst siging along!

Songs for Wobbly Moments will be available from 7th July on iTunes priced at £4.99 and Amazon on either CD or MP3 download from £5.99. 

Interplay Fairy Garden Review

Imogen loves all things fairy, she has a growing collection of figurines at home and her favourite book is The Complete Book of Flower Fairies which permanently lives underneath her pillow.  In the midst of rubbish week with Imogen suffering with an ear infection a surprise arrived from Interplay for her.  Her very own fairy garden, it was as if the fairies knew she needed a boost!

Interplay Fairy Garden

This lovely craft kit contains almost everything (you’ll need to add your own compost or soil) needed to create your very own fairy garden at home including:

• Fairy Garden Bowl
• Fairy figurine
• Oyster shell (water feature)
• Sparkly Fairy Cottage
• Clothes Line with posts & pegs
• Fairy sized blanket
• Grass seed
• Coloured gravel
• Fairy mushrooms
• Fairy flowers
• Fairy dust (glitter)
• Fairy stars

Interplay Fairy Garden

The kit also contains full colour instructions which are really easy to follow, even for non readers.   Imogen was very keen to get her fairy garden ready for it’s occupants and once the compost was added she slotted together the pre cut glittery fairy house.

Interplay Fairy Garden

Once the house is assembled there’s a pearly oyster shell water feature, multi coloured fairy path, miniature toadstools and a washing line with dinky pegs and fairy sized blanket to put in place.

Interplay Fairy Gadren

The finishing touches are twinkling stars for the water feature and the path as well as flowers to dot around the garden and a sprinkle of grass seed.

Interplay Fairy Garden
Ta da!  Your fairy garden is now ready for your fairy or fairies in our case!

The kit is beautiful and Imogen and Joseph spent a lot of time creating the perfect garden for their fairies and it’s been played with and perfected ever since.  Our grass is growing rapidly thanks to it’s sunny position in Imogen’s room but she takes great care of it with a small pair of scissors.  It’s available to purchase from Interplay here priced at £12.99, we’ve already brought another one as a present for one of Imogen’s friends.

Netflix and London Fashion Week

To celebrate London Fashion Week Netflix has teamed up with Natalie Hartley, Fashion Director at Glamour magazine to create ten easy and stylish tips on how to get the look of your favourite film or TV actress.

“As Fashion director of Glamour Magazine, I am constantly on the hunt for fashion inspiration wherever I go, whatever I do. For me Netflix has become a one-stop-shop for ideas. Whether I am organising a high fashion photo-shoot based on the fabulously manipulative Claire Underwood from House of Cards, or a summery sport-lux feature drawing motivation from the preppy cheerleaders in Bring it On, I can always find something to spark my creativity.

Let’s face it we don’t always have the time or money to keep buying into the latest trends, so using the characters to inspire the way you put an outfit together from your own wardrobe is always fun.

The key is to trust your instinct, and always be comfortable in what you are wearing.”

- Natalie Hartley, Glamour Magazine Fashion Director

Gossip Girl Series 1 – 6

Blake Lively is always well put together and she is not afraid to wear colour. If you are afraid of colour the easiest way to begin is to add a bright pair of shoes to a plain black outfit. Blake loves to accessorize so why not wear statement jewels with a simple t-shirt and add a blazer to give it that upper west side twist.

House of Cards Series 1 – 2

With House of Cards returning to Netflix for a second series this Valentine’s Day, Claire Underwood’s stylish but minimal look is a great one to copy. To recreate this wear a fitted dress layered over the top of a shirt for an extra stylish detail – this also works as a great cover up for those not wanting to bare arms. Structure is key to this look so make sure clothes are flattering. Go for knee length skirts with a kick hem for a more striking look.

The Bridge Series 1

The way to get Sofia Helin’s Scandinavian-chic look is to wear your usual pair of skinny jeans but rock it up with a great three quarter length coat or add a leather biker jacket. Keep colours tonal and simple and add a strong block heeled boot to finish your look.  I would opt for a cross body satchel bag, which is a great style for mums as it means you can still use both your hands for other tasks!

The Bridge

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Isla Fisher is all about statement designer clothes but I don’t think you have to spend a lot to look good, its how you wear what you have. In this film she would style animal print with bold coloured dresses and even clash pinks and reds. Checks and animal prints are bang on trend and easy to pair with colours.  There are no rules here, anything goes!

Annie Hall

Annie Hall is the ultimate style icon for anyone who loves to add a masculine twist to her wardrobe. Quick tip for this look is to raid a male wardrobe for an oversized shirt that can be worn with jeans and a man’s blazer. You can wear skinny jeans if that suits you the most or be true to the trend, and style with a pair of wide legged trousers and flat brogues.

The Help

The easiest way to get the look is to find simple floral A-line dress shapes and add a denim jacket for a modern update. Cropped trousers are a key style worn with a midi height heel. Cut the sleeves off an unwanted shirt and add to a pencil skirt. Mix and match your pastel shades and look out for boxy shaped bags.

Damages Series 1 – 5

Glenn Close can really work a simple shirt; it’s a classic wardrobe piece and worth investing in with many high street options available. Wear with a loose pair of trousers and a trainer to give it an edge for day or add a simple court shoe and earrings to dress this up for night. A plain white shirt always keeps things looking fresh.

Mr. Selfridge Series 1

Choose lace, cream and full-length skirts to recreate Rose Selfridge’s look.  An easy way to work her style into your wardrobe is to concentrate on the neck area. Adding a high neck blouse under a sweatshirt will instantly update something so ordinary. Keep your hair up to elongate the neck and add a cute pair of earrings to complete the look. Cropped jackets also look great here and can be worn with a pair of jeans.

mr selfridge

Iron Lady

Love her or hate her Margaret Thatcher has become a huge style icon of our time. Her distinct trademark piece was her pearls so the easiest way to represent her style is to add pearl earrings or a simple single strand necklace to any outfit, it would even look great with a plain white tee. Opt for a more traditional straight leg trouser cut or add a pencil skirt to complete.

Bring It On: In It To Win It

Prada has overhauled the sports trend this summer and possibly might have even taken inspiration from this film! For an easy wardrobe update invest in a bright pair of trainers and wear with everything!  Other quick fixes include wearing a silk bomber jacket, or a sporty all in one that means you don’t have to think too much if time is of the essence!

This February, Clifford the Big Red Dog® made his appearance on Netflix, both Imogen and Joseph have been enjoying his adventures and Imogen has even drawn a picture of him with a sparkly hat.  He might just need a bit of fashion advise from Natalie!

Clifford the Big Red Dog

Vinyl Flooring: Durability You Can Afford

Vinyl Flooring: Durability You Can Afford

Anyone passionate about crafting or cooking probably spends a lot of time in the kitchen. If this is the case, it’s important that your kitchen floor is durable and resistant to spills and heavy foot traffic. Vinyl flooring is an extremely popular flooring style for use in the kitchen, as it is water and stain-resistant making it perfect for craft and cooking mishaps, which are inevitable!  Even better, vinyl flooring is extremely affordable and offers a lot of style options! Today’s manufacturers are creating vinyl flooring that is both visually beautiful as well as extremely durable.

There are two types of vinyl flooring, which are sheet flooring and vinyl tile. Sheet vinyl flooring is laid down in sheets, and tile vinyl flooring is laid down much like traditional tile flooring. Tile vinyl flooring is perfect if you want to get creative with unique patterns, but many people prefer sheet vinyl flooring as it is sometimes easier to install.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is great because it’s not only durable and able to withstand a beating, but it provides a lot of comfort underfoot, as well as noise reduction. Because it’s less expensive than many other flooring options, you can honestly replace the flooring throughout your whole house! Vinyl flooring is a very popular option for homes with children and pets, because of its easy maintenance and extreme durability.

If you’re in the process of remodeling your kitchen or even your craft room, consider installing vinyl flooring today!

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Our #ZackandQuack Party

On Friday with held our very own #ZackandQuack at home as well as on Twitter with @UKMumsTV and @NickJrUK.  Imogen, Joseph and their best friends gathered after school for some great craft activities and the UK premiere of the new Nick Jr show Zack and Quack.  This is What we got up to.

Our first task was to create something in a group craft activity.  The children all very quickly decided that they’d like to make the pop-up race car that Imogen had seen on a sneaky clip of the show.

Zack and Quack
Our pop-up race car takes shape and Imogen and Sebastian get busy decorating wheels.

Zack and Quack
Wheels done, it’s time to decorate!

Zack and Quack
Ta da!  Creation complete it was time to tune into Nick Jr for the premiere of Zack and Quack.  The children were amazed when they saw the first episode “Pop Up Speedway” where they saw the racing car they’d just made hit the screen.

Zack and Quack
We all really enjoyed Zack and Quack, especially when Zack and his friends pull the tabs on their amazing pop up world.  Imogen can’t wait until the next episode this Friday.

After the show the children decided to decorate their own treasure/trinket boxes and made magic keys from pipe cleaners to keep their secret treasures safe.

Zack and Quack
Fun was had by all, thank you to UKMumsTV and Nick Jr for having us and don’t forget to tune into Nick Jr (Sky 165, Virgin 715, through BT Vision and TalkTalk channel 318) at 4.30pm this Friday for the next exciting Zack and Quack episode.

Keeping Fit with Netflix

Last month I became one of Netflix’s Stream Team, a team of bloggers trying out Netflix and showcasing the best bits in monthly blog posts.  This month is all about keeping fit.  Although January is truly done and dusted, Netflix are doing their upmost to help us keep our New Year’s resolutions and have teamed up with fitness expert Niki Wibrow to create easy to follow exercises that can be done whilst catching up on your favourite TV show.

We all lead busy lives, especially us Mums, and gym time is a luxury that most of us just can’t afford.  Another thing I never get time for is watching TV, so the idea of multi tasking and exercising in front of the telly sounded perfect.

Niki Wibrow has developed three bespoke exercises concentrating on five
different areas. Each can be performed in different combinations, at different
speeds and at different numbers of repetitions to suit your fitness plan.

1. Warm-ups – Cardio, Boxing Combos & Yoga Swings

2. Legs – Skaters, Spider Squats & Plies

3. Arms – Dolphin, Walking Planks & Tricep Dips

4. Core – Toe Taps, Twisting Planks & Seated Abs

5. Back – Lying Superman, Standing Stars & Kneeling Superman

Now you have your exercises sorted what are you going to watch?  These suggestions from Netflix are perfect for building your exercise routine AND eliminating boredom whilst your doing it!

Beginner – Approx 20 – 25 minutes

20-25 mins20-15 mins120-25mins2

 Intermediate – Approx 30 – 40 minutes

30-40 mins30-40mins130-40mins2

Advanced – Approx – 50 – 60 minutes

50-60 mins50-60 mins1Picture shows: DCI John Luther (IDRIS ELBA)

Your Invitation to Our #ZackandQuack Twitter Party

This Friday (7th February) between 3.45pm and 5.45pm you’re all invited to spend the afternoon with us and UKMums.tv whilst we host a Twitter party to celebrate the UK premiere of Zack & Quack on Nick JR.

Zack & Quack

Zack is an adventurous and dynamic 7 year old boy and along with his best friend and side kick Quack (an impulsive young duck) they live inside the most amazing pop-up book ever.  It’s a place full of fantastical surprises – where pulling pop-ups makes exciting and unexpected things happen. From the second they step into their garden the adventure begins. Exciting new worlds and fantastic voyages quite literally unfold before your eyes.

Zack & Quack

In the premiere episode “Pop-Up Speedway,” Zack and his friends build a pop-up race car and Zack wants to prove it’s a winner on the greatest raceway ever. Zack and Quack will have to use all of their pop-up “engine-uity” to show that their homemade hot-rod is just as good as the other cars. If you simply can’t wait until Friday there are sneaky Zack & Quack clips and games over on the Nick Jr website.

The party coincides with the screening of the first ever episode of the new series which will be shown on Nick Jr at 4.30pm and as ever there’ll be chances to win some great prizes too.  Get following @UKMumsTV and the hashtag #ZackandQuack for all the party fun and games.  We hope to see you there!

Keep Your Children Safe: Household Electrical Appliances Safety Tips

Electricity is such an important and longstanding part of our lives that we seldom notice all the ways we use it and all habits we have learned to keep ourselves safe. It’s easy to forget that what comes automatically to an adult may never occur to a child, especially not to a small child. Ever-useful electricity can be dangerous in so many ways. If you have children, then you need to be aware of all of them.

For the Littlest Ones
The smallest children don’t know what electricity is, but they love to touch things and put them into their mouths. Remember that their mouths are wet and that water conducts electricity. Live plugs that pose little danger to adults can be a hazard to small children.

Never leave a live charger or connector unplugged when there are small children around. That means that the chargers for your mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices should always be removed from the outlet when not in use. Devices with removable power adapters, such as radios, speakers and some small appliances, should be kept out of the reach of children. Remember, they can pull out the removable power cords and put them into their mouths.

Of course, you need to be careful with outlets, too. Outlets should be kept switched off, and for extra protection, you can plug plastic covers into the openings. Remember, small children can flip the switches on the outlets almost as easily as you can.

Teach Your Children To Respect Electricity
Older children need to be taught to respect electricity. Websites like Think Safe can walk them through electrical safety lessons, and you can reinforce those lessons in your home.

Rather than banning your older children from using outlets and electrical devices, teach them to do so responsibly. Show them how to identify and avoid live wires and teach them to keep electrical devices far away from water. Modern electronics are so obliquitous and so often-used that it can be easy to forget that they pose an electrical hazard. They should never be operated near water or with wet hands.

Fires May Be a Bigger Concern Than Shocks
According to the Electrical Safety Council, “Every year in UK homes, about 70 people die and 350,000 are seriously injured from electrical accidents,” and approximately half those injuries are due to electrical fires. Electrical fires are most often caused by worn out cords, overheated wiring, faulty appliances and overloaded outlets.

Both pets and small children can chew on cords, endangering themselves and creating a fire risk at the same time. Inspect cords regularly, and look out for signs of wiring problems like power flickers and a hard to trace burning smell.

Beware of overloading sockets, as well. Power strips and plug adaptors can allow you to run more than one device from a single outlet, but is it a good idea? Each outlet should be limited to 13 amps or 3000 watts of output. The Electrical Safety Council has a calculator to help you avoid overloading outlets. They also keep a list of electrical product recalls. Make sure that none of your electrical appliances are on the list.

If you have taken advantage of the new fixed energy prices, then your family has plenty of electricity to spare. Make sure that it’s used safely.

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