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Sponsored Video: Toca Ink

As a child I loved temporary tattoos, we weren’t allowed them to wear them at school so every school holiday and sometimes at the weekend my sister and I would be treated to a couple.  I have very vivid memories of my mother scrubbing my arm to remove a particularly stubborn, glittery one before a ballet exam as she muttered under her breath.  I don’t have tattoos now and don’t want one but see absolutely no harm in my children enjoying the simple pleasure of a temporary one from time to time, in fact Joseph is sporting a rather fetching Spiderman one on his right arm at the moment!

Another thing that my kids adore, that I quite simply was born in the wrong generation for, is their tablets.  They both have their own with carefully selected apps for both educational and relaxation purposes.  During the Summer holidays we discovered Toca Boca, a Swedish children’s digital gaming company with a huge range of fun apps to simulate imagination.  Joseph is a massive fan of free app Toca Kitchen Monsters and Imogen loves Toca Tailor Fairy Tales.  They adore the bold, colourful characters and I relish in the knowledge that all of Toca Boca’s apps are free from advertising and in app purchasing.

Toca Boca has collaborated with Brooklyn based tattoo artist Virginia Elwood to create the first in their Artist Play Series, Toca Ink, which combines the fun of both temporary tattoos and the Toca Boca characters.  “As a tattoo artist for over 10 years now, I regularly see how tattoos spark kids’ curiosity,” said Virginia Elwood. “Kids always want to touch a tattoo, ask questions about them and even have one drawn on them. Creating the Artist Play Series temporary tattoos was a fun way of making Toca Boca tangible for kids in the real world. I spent a lot of time playing the apps to understand the character’s personalities to transfer them to a temporary tattoo design.”

In this video you can see Virginia at work on the creation of Toca Ink.

This post has been sponsored by Toca Boca

Our #DesignaFriend Party

Yesterday Imogen’s bestest friends joined us for our DesignaFriend party as hosted by UKMumsTV and lots of other blogging families across the country.  We were sent a whole host of DesignaFriend goodies from the popular Argos range and, of course, the party essentials including cake!

During our party we designed our own DesignaFriends…..

030 DesignaFriend DesignaFriend

decorated cakes…

DesignaFriend

and the girls all joined the DesignaFriend Secret Club by making their own club cards.

DesignaFriend 065

Because a party just isn’t a party without games, we played pass the parcel too.

DesignaFriend

There was even time for a DesignaFriend fashion show!

DesignaFriend DesignaFriendDesignaFriend

After all that fun and excitement it was time for Imogen and her new pal Daisy to relax.

DesignaFriend

The DesignaFriend dolls and their great array of outfits all went down a treat with Imogen and our guests who instantly fell in love with their new friends.  The dolls are stunning and at 46cm a really great size for girls their age.  Each comes with it’s own unique outfit and a charm bracelet for you to wear and with each outfit you collect you can also add a different charm to your bracelet.

Argos have some great offers on the DesignaFriend range at the moment with dolls starting from just £14.99 and there’s a heap of half price outfits too, you can see the whole range here.

 

What’s in the #DesignaFriend box?

Just in case you didn’t know… UKMumsTV are holding a DesignaFriend  Twitter party this Wednesday (12th November) between 4pm and 6pm and we’ll be hosting our very own here at home.  Imogen has invited her best friends to join in with all of the fun and we’ve been sent a whole host of goodies to make our party a huge success.  So, what’s in the box?

Design a Friend The box is packed choc-a-bloc with DesignaFriend goodies including two very beautiful dolls who come dressed in gorgeous outfits and their own charm bracelets.

Design a Friend

There are lots of Design a Friend games and activities including pass the parcel and everything we’ll need to create our own DesignaFriend and exclusive DesignaFriend club card.

DesignaFriend

Because a party is not a party without cake we’ll be decorating our very own and of course there are awesome DesignaFriend goodie boxes for each party to take home.  These are filled with stunning little DesignaFriend outfits, charms for their bracelets and sweet treats!

DesignaFriend

 

Make sure you join me (@fayerios) and @UKMumsTV on Wednesday between 4pm and 6pm over on Twitter with the #DesignaFriend hashtag as there’ll be lots of fun to be had and plenty of prizes to give away too.   There are downloadable DesignaFriend templates over on UKMumsTV as well as a competition to win your very own DesignaFriend.

We’re Having a #DesignAFriend Party!

Next Wednesday I’ll be hosting another Twitter party along with UKMumsTV and some other lovely fellow bloggers and this time it’s for the awesome range of Design a Friend dolls from Argos!

DesignaFriend

Imogen and her closest friends will partying, playing as well as designing their very own doll friends as we talk everything #DesignAFriend on Twitter.

DesignaFriend

DesignaFriend2DesignaFriend1

The party will take place over on Twitter between 4pm and 6pm on Wednesday 12th November and as usual there’ll be lots of prizes up for grabs in spot competitions.  Make sure you’re following @UKMumsTV and the hashtag #DesignAfriend for your chance to win.  See you there!

Stoptober – How Did I Do?

Over the past month I’ve been taking part in Stoptober, the 28-day national stop smoking challenge, with the help of Boots who set me four weekly challenges to celebrate the changes I was due to experience becoming a non smoker.

The first was all about preparing myself to go smoke free.  Knowing my smoking triggers, learning how to beat my cravings and giving myself a goal to aim towards.  This week was undoubtedly the hardest with a pounding headache cursing me for the first few days which made me incredibly moody and and saw me have a little bit of a cry on more than one occasion.  I persevered and started stashing money I’d usually spend on cigarettes with the aim of purchasing a new pair of boots by the end of the month.

The second challenge was a lot easier and one that I quite literally stuck my teeth into!  With smoking dulling my taste buds and me being a whole a week smoke free my taste should have been returning to normal so it was put to the test with a tasty Coffee, Chocolate and Avocado cookie recipe.

Coffee, Chocolate and Avocado CookiesCoffee, Chocolate and Avocado Cookies

They tasted incredible and were a huge hit with the whole family, especially Joseph who I’m sure is giving his Mummy a little bit of encouragement here with his “you’re doing great Mum” thumbs up!

In week three Boots sent me a lovely half way treat which was also to be my third challenge, “The Smell of Success”, a lovely bouquet of sweet smelling flowers so that I could enjoy the return of my sense of smell.  This is something I noticed return very quickly especially during week two’s challenge making coffee for the cookies, it’s one of my favourite smells and one that has obviously been dulled for a long time!

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The final of my challenges was entitled the “Look of Success”.  Smoking can have a big impact on your appearance, not only staining your teeth but affecting your complexion and reducing the nutrients in your hair but these can all be reduced by quitting.  I received top tips from fashion photographer Claire Pepper on how to take the selfie.

Boots UK Look of Success Selfie Tips

Over the past four weeks I’ve been on a long journey, one that has been extremely hard but with the help and support of family and friends as well as the team at Boots with their challenges I’ve noticed small changes in me that have made a huge difference.  I am now smoke free (and fully intending on staying that way too), as well as healthier and a lot more well off with new boots on order as well as money saved towards to my next target, a MacBook!

Although Stoptober may be over, it’s never too late to stop smoking and Boots have loads of information to help you find the right way to do it.

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My Stoptober Journey Starts Here

OK it’s confession time, I’m a smoker. Yes it’s a dirty habit and one that I’m not proud of.  I blame my youth, working in bars for the reason I started and yes I did stop when I was pregnant with Imogen and Joseph but it was all too easy to start up again shortly after they were born.  Every New Year’s Eve I promise myself the new year will also see a new, no smoking me but it never happens.  There are many, many reasons why I’d like to give up, mainly because I don’t want my children to think it’s OK to smoke but also because of health and financial reasons, all that money I light up daily could be put to much better use.

As I am statistically more likely to quit with support this October I’ve decided to take part in Stoptober the 28-day national stop smoking challenge with the help of Boots, who have set me four weekly challenges.  Rather than being like a non smoking bootcamp these have been especially designed to support me as I experience new changes for the first time on my smoke free journey.

Stopober

The first of my challenges starts NOW and will see me preparing for my Stoptober journey with expert, tailored, advice from Boots UK pharmacist Angela Chalmers who has told me how to beat cravings and stay focused on my goal.  As per her advice I shall be starting a new hobby to keep my hands busy (which will see me preparing for Christmas with a lot of buttons), recognizing my smoking triggers and trying to avoid them, not punishing myself for any relapse that there might be and rewarding myself. I have my eyes on a new coat and pair of winter boots and a jar where all of my saved money will go to give me a visual goal.

I have my NHS Quit Kit in hand and have purchased a Boots NicAssist nasal spray and gum to try and beat cravings.  The NHS iPhone app is installed on my phone to track my progress and offer instant support as and when I need it and I shall also be turning to Twitter using the #Stoptober hashtag for a friendly ear.

If you’re planning on quitting for Stoptober there’s a wealth of information on Boots.com including how to find which nicotine replacement therapy is right for you and how to cut down using the Smoke Less Plan.  Also, do let me know, we can do this together, but if not wish me luck and join me for a Twitter chat (hashtag #bootsukstoptober) between 1pm and 2pm on Thursday 16th October to see how I’m getting on.

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They told me time flies…

As I cradled newborn Imogen in my arms, they told me.   I didn’t quite believe them, after all she was so small, so helpless.  “Enjoy her whilst she’s young, time flies” they said and by jove hasn’t it? Before I knew it she was a big sister to Joseph and starting pre-school. Imogen Tomorrow is Joseph’s first day in pre-school and his turn to start the long and exciting journey into education and for some reason I am finding it a lot harder to “let go” of my youngest, my baby boy. Baby Joseph In three years, nine months and 4 days Joseph has grown into a loving, independent, determined little boy with a love of cars, Octonauts, biscuits and of course, his big sister! Joseph Another thing Joseph loves is cuddles, and although at sometimes it can be a little tiring having a toddler chasing you around the house screaming “Hug, hug, hug!” It is one thing I’ll never, ever deny my kids.  So as well as embracing the moment of proper squeezy hugs, I’ve ironed, washed dishes as well as attempting to get dressed and put make up on all one handed with a little boy on my hip clinging on for a cuddle. Joseph & Imogen Fairy are encouraging Mums to embrace every moment whilst you can with their #PowerofSoft campaign, after all time flies and soon, like me, you’ll be packing them off for their first day of school.  I know that whilst your knee deep in nappies and spend most of the day with sick on your shoulder it seems a long long way away but believe me it really isn’t.

Sponsored post

Imogen’s Dream House #TigerCubHideout

It’s the Summer holidays and that means a certain amount of rainy days, it’s a given.  Today was one of those days.  Having grown tired of baking, reading and writing letters to her friends at school who she misses terribly Imogen hit the “I’m bored” wall, hard!  After offering various activities that were all met with a glum face I remembered an Email that I had a few weeks ago from Tiger Sheds.

Tiger Sheds are challenging bloggers and their children to design their “dream house” and share it with their readers in turn giving them the chance to win their very own TigerCub Hideout House. Imogen, well up for the challenge, decided that rather than drawing her house she’d rather create a model of her dream house and set about making what can only be described as a jolly great big mess of my kitchen! Imogen's Dream House in the Making Hours (and a shredded copy of Ideal Home later) this is the result…

Imogen's Dream House

…and a little video she’s made to show it off!

Didn’t she do well?

If you’re a blogger and fancy winning a pretty cool Tigercub Hideout House like this

Tigercub Hideout

then have a look at the Tiger Sheds Summer Competition for details of how to enter.

 

School’s Out for Summer!

Well, that’s it the long six weeks of the school holidays is finally upon us.  Imogen will return in September to her last year of the infants and Joseph will start pre school three days a week.  Imogen is already missing school and is very keen to continue her learning over the holidays so I’ve set her up with lots of fun learning activities and “homework” to keep her mind busy during the break.

I’m proud to say that the first thing on her “Summer Holiday Bucket List” was joining the library.  So she now has a stack of books to read and hopes to complete the Mythical Maze and get her gold medal soon.

To improve her writing over the summer break we’ve also been trying out this fun Story Starter idea from Netflix.

Story Starter

She’s already created some wonderful stories with colourful characters and in depth story lines.  You can find out how to make your own here.

For those raining days, it’s bound to happen at some point, Netflix has a range of educational programmes for all ages.   The Magic School Bus is a favourite of both Imogen and Joseph’s.  Ms Frizzle and her students are always off on an adventure which takes them to some weird and wonderful places including outer space, haunted houses and inside the human body!

The Magic School Bus

Another favourite here is Monster Math Squad, starring Max, Lily and Goo who put their minds together and use their mathematical skills to find solutions to overcome obstacles.

Monster Math Squad

Sea Creature and Octonaut crazy Joseph simply loves the Blue Planet, which certainly makes a welcome change from cartoons and with stunning photography and interesting facts it’s something the whole family can watch together.

The Blue Planet

How do you keep your little one’s mind active during the holidays?

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

 

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