Thursday, 20 November 2014

Let the imagination run wild with Hug-Mi

When a new up and coming company tweeted me on twitter, I was keen to learn more about their new product, and was cheeky to ask for a sample to review. They happily accepted in return for a review. The company is Hug-Mi. The product, a backpack like no others I have seen.
You probably wont have seen them before either, as they are so brand new, they are on kick-starter, if they make their pledge amount, you will probably see them everywhere, as your child, I expect if they are like mine, would love them.
We got to choose the bag we could receive, so I put that one on my youngest.... She is loving the My Little pony at the moment, so it just had to be the pink pony -Poni-mi. They have lots of other designs, including various bears, which are very boy friendly as well as girl friendly, dogs, and even a tortoise.
The bag is like no other, as it also doubles up as a costume.....
S loves it so much, the first week, we had to let her wear it for the school run, even though it was empty. Its great as the costume still fits over her coat. She actually wears it too.... we have tried numerous 'Disney' rucksacks and she wont wear them for longer then 5 minutes, meaning I have to carry it along with the main rucksack filled with everyone's lunches.
The rucksack is designed with children between the ages of 3-10 in mind but younger children and older children will still love them. For the purpose of modelling the bag, J stepped up to the mark as S just wouldn't stand still.
The bag whilst being modelled is on the tightest setting, so has plenty of room as the child grows. It has an attached hood to add to the costume, but can be folded away inside its own pocket if its not wanted. It also has extra arms that come around and Hugs the child... hence the name. These attach onto the straps with Velcro like material. But again can be folded away into pockets if not needed.... they can also attach around the child's hands/wrists for imaginative play....
Front view

Back view

Showing off the hugging arms
 The bag is so soft, even after being caught out in the rain. and has a large inner space. The zip is how I can only describe like a big smile shape, so it really opens the bag up, and has a net to stop everything falling out.
My girls just love wearing it and dressing up with it at the same time.... S only wears it in full on dress up mode, as demonstrated by J... mid neigh... as ponies do...
Since we have had it, I have not had to carry it, so it will be a success for all her toys on our walks that she insists she takes along for the ride. As she grows older, I can sneak her juice bottle in, and spare clothes, and if im feeling mean the families lunch as its that big.
So where can I get it from you ask?? Well they are available through kick-starter if you pledge £25, if you wish to pledge more, you can even design your very own hug-mi bag. If you wish you can pledge a little less and get some more great things. The kick-starter pledge campaign ends on 21st December, so they don't have long to wait to get to the target. So if you fancy helping about a new company, or buying one of these fantastic rucksacks pop along to Kick-starter for Hug-Mi. where you can also view a great video showing the different designs, and the company specs of the product.
I was given this bag in return for a review, all words, photos and opinions are my own.

Child denied tap water - UPDATE!!!

It seems my last post certainly touched a nerve with parents everywhere, sparking plenty of comments and discussion. My post had over 9000 page views in 32 hours, and whilst I don't always do "follow up posts", I thought due to the popular nature of this topic (and in fairness to fun2b!) I ought to keep you all updated as to how things have progressed over the last few days.

Firstly, I want to thank everyone who viewed, commented, and shared. I have been overwhelmed with how big this post became! I recieved a reply from fun2b last night from their management team explaining "what went on" behind the scenes on their side. One of the big frustrations for me surrounding this whole experience was that I had commented on their Facebook site and also emailed them to give them a chance to talk to me before I posted onto my blog. As I wrote on my last post, I received no reply and my Facebook post vanished.

Without going into hugely technical detail, it appears there have been problems with the IT setup behind the scenes meaning my email to them (along with many more emails from others) had not been received. Another technical issue prevented my Facebook post uploading. Fun2b explained to me that it is indeed their policy to provide a glass of tap water to a child if needed (but they don't go over the top with this policy as revenue generated from food and drink sales are what keeps them open and in business. This is fair in my opinion!). My experience, along with others' experiences highlighted in the comments made through the various mediums have brought to light a breakdown between fun2b's water policy and what the staff have come to believe the policy is.

Fun2b have rectified the IT problems, and have said they will reinforce their policies to the staff. Personally, I feel this is a fair resolution to the issues I outlined in the original post.

Ultimately, I'd like a positive outcome from this. I don't blog to hurt companies, and my first post was borne from my feeling let down and angry. I'm a great believer in second chances however, and fun2b took the time to write me a long and honest reply to my experience. They have endeavoured to fix the problems I highlighted, an that's all that can be asked of them. I feel that as my original blog piece gained strength and struck a cord with so many people, there is a certain responsibility that goes with "big posts" like this, a responsibility to be fair and truthful. To this end, it's only fair for me to mention that fun2b have been open and honest in their response to me. I don't wish to hurt them, we all know how negative publicity can damage businesses, and it seems that my blog piece, whilst it served its purpose in voicing my opinion and attempting to rectify "issues", it also runs the risk of becoming some sort of hate campaign. This has never been, and will never be my intention.

As I mentioned, mistakes happen and all I expect is for them to be fixed. That's all that can be expected of any business, big or small. I think fun2b have fulfilled their responsibility to fix them, and as a blogger it's my responsibility to post the good, as well as the bad.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Child denied tap water!

Question of the day: Is it right to deny an exhausted, thirsty child a glass of tap water in a children's play area?
As the title of the blog suggests, yes a child was refused tap water.... and YES... this is in England, UK. Tap water, the one thing we are really lucky to have on.... tap... literally.... yes I know other countries aren't so lucky. But in one Children's play area, we weren't so lucky.
In the October half term, we met up with another family in Warrington's Fun 2 B. The entrance price was a little more expensive then our usual play areas we visit, but as a half term treat, we decided to give it a go....
The parking was a nightmare to begin with, but eventually after an hour wait, I managed to slip out and move it from a traffic wardens play area to on site. But we didn't let that deter us... the girlies went off to play....

So I could enjoy a hot chocolate in peace.... again the prices were a little more inflated, but it was the girlies treat, and this was my treat.....
 Our friend who visited with us has a child that cant have squash, so she asked for a glass/cup of tap water, and was refused..... we asked why... and they pointed us in the direction of a bottle of water for £1.... our basic right in the UK and we have to pay for it.... the child didn't want bottled water, good old tap water would be sufficient... but nope.....

Play areas are designed for kiddies to run around and burn  off all their energy, and the mums to try and relax.... if we had no more cash on us, this child would have ran the risk of getting dehydrated.... which as we all know is very dangerous in young children. In this case we were pushed to buy the thirsty hot child a bottle of water to stop him getting ill.

I could understand if we only paid the entrance price, as they are a business, but we had numerous hot drinks between us, and we all ate.... well I refused to pay up for me, so nibbled on some of the girls chips as the prices were so inflated on the food as well... between the two families we paid over £50 on this trip, and was still refused the cup of tap water for a child.
I emailed them after to get their response, and they have decided to ignore my email. On the day I also popped it on their Facebook page as I was so disgusted, and that also got deleted, and now we cant post posts on their wall....
I understand they have no legal obligation to offer tap water, .... I just had to name and shame a place that say they are so family friendly yet, will not offer a child some tap water.... please share to let others now.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Dear Santa....

So this weekend officially started our Christmas crafts and activities with the girlies. If you follow me on Instagram, you may well know I am Christmas OBSESSED!!! I just love the build up, and the challenge to make it magical for the girlies.
This weeks task was a simple one... the list for Santa... We have already done our girlies gifts, but wanted to make sure we had some from the list... but  few surprises have come up, so we are hoping Grandma may pull it out the bag... if not, I may be pushed to use the credit card for just one more present...  they are not getting everything on the list, but the one present each they showed the most enthusiasm for whilst writing the list.
The girls are both at different stages, so we decided to do 1:1 with both girls, daddy helped J and I helped S. We decided to get S to cut and stick into a board for us to then write her list for her, and J went through the big book of toys for ideas, with daddy writing everything down, for J then to pick 5 out of the long...long.... list for her then to write herself.
This was a perfect activity to do whilst dinner was cooking, and helped S practice her scissor grip...

J went a bit toy demanding, wanting lots on each page.... (yep, we used a catolog from a well known toy store for inspiration, as all we were getting was boy marrying Barbie!!)

S soon finished her present board, and got down to play....

S's list.... wanting lots of princess Lego... and the interactive dolphin!
 J took her time and wrote her letter very well, but used up the page before any list was written, so we had to put the actual list on the back. We have noticed a HUGE change in her writing since she has started school, and she's even attempting the spelling of words herself too.

After the list, she then drew lots of pictures, and made a border using a pattern... it was beautiful.... her first real list.... We had told her we are posting them to Santa, but didn't want to post this work of art, as this would need a place in her memory box.

Dear Santa, I would like, Lego, Barbies, Wii U, Board Games,
Whilst J was at school today, I managed to slip her letter out, and re write it with a letter explaining her beautiful art work was kept behind. We then found the Royal Mail Santa's postal address, and wrote the envelopes out, ready to be posted after school.
They are now en-route to reindeer land. I think this is a fab idea from the Royal Mail, I am not sure if we will get a reply, but some lucky children do. All they ask is its sent by 6th December to be in with a chance, and then I think it all depends on the demands.... well Santa is busy getting ready after all.... If you want to send yours off too, the address is.....

 Santa’s Grotto,
  XM4 5HQ

All you have to do is pop a stamp on, and include your child's name and address so they know where to reply too.
I will let you know if we get a reply!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Our Wedding. part 1

Today is our wedding anniversary. It has been 4 years... WOW!!! We have survived 4 years married!! So this post will be flashing back to that memorable and expensive day! Mostly photos as they do say a thousand words themselves. Hope you enjoy looking back at our special day...
Our wedding was originally booked for May 2010, but we found out we were expecting J, so wanted to postpone, unfortunately as the hotel already had our deposit, they could only move it forward or back 6 months or loose a lot of money. We chose back so we had more time to save.... we would need it with J on the way. This meant more time sorting the details out.
I went off the usual stereotype white wedding dress, as I felt that I couldn't walk down the aisle in white after having J, and as our theme we were attempting to go for was winter wonderland, I instantly fell in love with this dress when I found it! The shoes, I had to have the ankle strap to keep my feet in place, were from good old eBay, as well as the pearl necklace and bracelet which also had an extra sparkle with them too.  I had an old sixpence cello taped to the bottom of my shoe as my something old, and its till there now...I'm hoping to pass the same one on to my girls when its their turn.
My tiara, was my mums she wore when she got married, and I believe my sisters also got married in it too, as my something borrowed. My hair.. well I was selfish... I wanted a really time consuming up do, that I could never recreate, and to get my moneys worth out the hairdresser. I originally wanted long curls, but my hair is so thick, they drop out very quickly. My make up I left to the beautician, and looking back, I don't like it. I'm clueless when it comes to make-up.
My parents in law, took J off my hands whilst I got ready, and my parents came to get ready with me, along with my eldest niece, who was my flower girl. The hairdresser did my mum and my niece too, and we enjoyed buck fizz, I also had croissants, but my stomach was doing cartwheels... My mum was the one who also helped me squeeze into my dress... THAT STORY is going to have to have a whole post for itself... I so almost ended up down the aisle in a bin bag...seriously.
As my mum got ready, my dad helped me put my necklace on to help finish the look off, and I straightened up his poppy... we HAD to have poppy's,Lest we forget... its not just our day... and I got a lovely daddy daughter shot, being 1 of 4 girls growing up, these photos are rare.
We were ready with plenty of time to spare, and the cars were even early. Unfortunately, one of my classic cars broke down the day before, so we only had one of the classical and a Merc pitched in instead. The drivers couldn't believe how calm we were when they told us, but what could we do? Risk it breaking down on the way??

 Whilst they were waiting for the room to be organised, and for myself to arrive, the photographer got the guys to pose for some shots... Daddy M does not like the camera, so I'm surprised they got these shots. The photographer must have thought I would be late with the watch poses, but in fact I was early, and I had to go around the block several times due to the hotel thinking they could get an extra meeting in our rooms before our vows.

The room was eventually ready for us, and all my little details I spent so long picking out and organising all came together...  I love the white twigs with the battery operated fairy lights in over sized vases... I originally wanted candles either side of the aisle, but as we wanted it child friendly, we decided against that idea. The white aisle runner also helped bring it all together for our theme, although it would have been better if I paid triple the price for a carpet one, but it did the trick. The company we did to do our chairs, also did a fantastic job, and so glad we chose a small family business over a huge firm.
Instead of page boys, we got our nephews to be poppy boys, giving out fabric poppies that we organised from the British legion to all our guests for a splash of red so we could still remember what day we were sharing.

It was then time to go in.... 2pm 11.11.10

Daddy looked extremely nervous, and wouldn't turn around...
 The ceremony went without a hitch, apart from J deciding to scream her little heart out, so my sister in law, took her out.

We had two readings, one from daddy's brother and one from my sister.

It was soon time to "kiss the bride" I love this photo, as it looks like a love heart with our heads and Daddy's arm.

On leaving the ceremony, we were greeted with champagne, and buck fizz for our guests... well it was time to celebrate.

I just love the when I flick through the photos, everyone apart from Daddy and myself are wearing poppies... and there is  glimmer of red in every photo. Bringing happiness into a day of remembrance.

And not forgetting the obligatory confetti shot...

So that our run up on the day, and the ceremony... the rest of the day ill have to be another post for another time, as I'm sure this is long enough already.

Monday, 10 November 2014

5 alternative things you can do with a Revel Body SOL sonic vibrator

Yep... you read the title right. This post is all about a Vibrator. Before you click close, im not going to go into the details, as im just not that type of person, and my blog is not built for that sort of details!
Instead im going to give you 5 ways to use a vibrator that you may not have thought have before.
  1. Play catch with a friend.... yep you heard me, good old throw and catch.
  2. Massager.... it works well as a neck and back massager. Even my girlies liked massaging their arms and legs with it!
  3. Stress ball.... you can roll it around in your hands and all your stresses will roll away too. (well kind of)
  4. Helping to make a friend smile in an innocent way. Yep, I made a friend who was a little down try and guess what it is... and she didn't guess until she made a joke saying its not a vibrator is it?
  5. Mini bath spa.... make the water move for a gentle spa.

As you can tell by the alternative uses, this is not any normal vibrator. There is no rabbit ears in sight and it doesn't look like one either.

On my twitter and instagram sites, I have had people guessing what it could be... some guesses are a computer mouse, speaker, or a game buzzer. Basically anything but a vibrator. But to be fair the picture did not include the attachments.
You can use it several different ways, with the various attachments... it comes with 3, that attaches to the middle, to give different types of stimulation.
Or you can use it 'backwards' where it gives a suction feel. I have been told it gives.... The.Best.Bath.Ever. It is meant to feel like oral sex, what normal vibrator can do that?
You can change the power settings, to increase or decrease the intensity.

and it comes with its own docking station to charge it up with a USB.

The technology is different to normal vibrators using sonic technology after conducting research. The research found that some people were using electronic toothbrushes for more then just brushing teeth....
The centre comes out, which is the vibrator, and slots back in with magnets, so if you or your partner has a pacemaker, this is not for you! I was sat for a good 10 minutes talking and fiddling with the magnet effect... simple things keep me amazed. It is fully waterproof so is safe if you need to hide away in the bathroom. It is smooth, and stylish, and I've not seen anything like this before. But hey, im usually a prude.
If you want to know more,  Check out their website here. If you order direct from them, you get a 30 day money back guarantee, and it comes with a two year guarantee.  If you want to buy one here is the link.
I was given the Revel Body SOL Sonic Vibrator for the purpose of a review. All words, photos and opinions are my own.

Family Fever

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Nativity 3 Film Premiere

Today we were lucky enough to be asked if we would like to attend the film premiere of Nativity 3: Dude, Where's my Donkey? on behalf of Save the Children for their Christmas Jumper Day. I eagerly said yes, and then watched the trailer. For some reason I thought it would be a cartoon type film. Nope. I was wrong. I asked Grandma M and Grandad if they would like to come too if I could get enough tickets, and they happily said yes... I was thinking if S didn't have the patience they would be able to stay with J so she wouldn't miss out. Thankfully, we were allowed all of us to attend. So THANK YOU!!  We made a family occasion out of it, and met up earlier then the start so we could have a coffee and breakfast.
It was then time for the 'festivities' to start. We were all dressed in our Christmas Jumpers, and I was feeling a tad embarrassed being in them so early, but when we arrived, I needn't have. We were greeted my balloon modellers who happily made donkeys and reindeer. We were also given an elf's hat each too.
Then we made our way for the girlies to have their face painted. Going back a year ago, both girls freaked out at the thought, today they happily sat and had it done.
S chose a red glittery stocking for her cheek.
Then it was J's turn.... she went a bit more full on....

....and went Frozen type theme with glittery snowflakes.....
We where then pointed in the direction of writing a letter to Santa. Grandma helped S so Santa could understand the scribbles.
The girls then posted each of their letters.... so Santa, please let us know if they don't arrive....

After our letters to Santa was posted, it was time to pose with the cast of the show, and become a part of the cast too for a poster. Grandma M actually was wearing a green top, so had to wear her jacket over her Christmas Jumper so she wouldn't disappear into the background.... good old green screens are magic aren't they?
After all the fun festivities, we then purchased a snack pack for the girlies consisting of some sweets, popcorn and a fruit shoot for £3.50. However after getting into the film, we needn't have worried as there was snacks provided too. We have been spoilt. So again, Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day... THANK YOU!!
The film started almost straight away, which was handy as the girls didn't get time to get bored, and both were watching it. Up to this point the only other film they have sat and watched all the way through was Disney's Frozen.
The film is a great family film, and even though my almost 3 year old enjoyed it, my 5 year old was laughing, on the edge of her seat, and smiling all the way through it, as well as Grandma, and Grandad, and I must admit,  I even laughed out loud at points too. The film is a U rating, so it is a perfect film for the Christmas treat. It is about a dad & teacher who looses his memory after being kicked in the head by a donkey. A non qualified teacher and all the children then try and help him get his memory back, so he can remember his life, daughter and the lady he is going to marry on Christmas eve. Even Santa makes an appearance, and little J gasped with excitement when she saw him. There is also a flash mob dance competition thrown in to the mix too, with lots of singing which probably helped keep my girls attention. I'm worried ill give away the story line, so will leave my review there. But I will just say, we saw it as 3 generations, and we all really enjoyed it, was a great way to start our festivities.
So if you want a light hearted Christmas film to treat your family to this year, why not try this?
AND.... if you want an excuse to get your Christmas Jumper out, make sure its out for an airing on Friday 12th December for Save the Children's Christmas Jumper Day. You can find out more here.
I was given free tickets as a family to see Nativity 3 on behalf of Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day. All words, photos and opinions are my own.

Family Fever