• Review: #Playmobil Easter Eggs 2016

    pirate
  • Competition: Win a Product of the Year Hamper

    POY-bag-no-logos
  • The School Learning Curve

    eating
  • Book Review: SuperFairies- Dancer the Wild Pony by Janey Louise Jones

    superfairies

Review: #Playmobil Easter Eggs 2016

playmobil mermaidAs Playmobil Playologists we get to have a look at some of the best new Playmobil on offer. We’ve looked at Playmobil Easter Eggs for the past couple of years and the kids have had loads of fun with them. In fact, they are some of their most played with pieces of Playmobil.

It goes without saying that these are an incredibly good idea as they solve that sugar dilemma which every parent has at Easter. They’re also something that the children can play with an enjoy.

 

pirateThis year we looked at set 4946 The Mermaid with Seahorses, 4945 Pirate on a Treasure Hunt and 4947 Soccer Player with Goal. As you’ll see in my video Fifi was very pleased with the mermaid and the boys loved the pirate, not so much the soccer player as he didn’t come with much ‘stuff’. My two boys are not all that interested in football though and they love their Playmobil pirate ship more than anything so I guess this wasn’t much of a surprise. I thought the soccer player was excellent as the leg moves to enable you to kick the ball.

 

footballerThe eggs are excellent little sets, they’re easy and fast to put together, which makes for very quick play. It’s also really nice that they are easily transportable in their little eggs which double up as money boxes.

Have a look at how we got on:

 

Competition: Win a Product of the Year Hamper

poy-header-logo-wb5Late last year I was really thrilled to be asked to go along to help judge the shortlist for this years Product of the Year. You can find out how I got on here. I was also asked to go along to the awards ceremony to find out which products had won, this year the competition was stiff so I was very excited. Then unfortunately I became quite ill and ended up spending most of January in bed which wasn’t good and so I missed out!

Anyway, I kept in contact with the team and they filled me in. I was really pleased to see that some of my favourite products had won including Seven Seas, Cif, Goodfellas, Andrex, Boo Tea and Aero.

You can be assured of a great quality product if you see the Product of the Year badge on it. These awards are given as a result of a nationwide survey of shoppers, thats normal people like you and me. This also means that it is a prestigious award for manufacturers as this seal of approval translates into more high street sales.

I’m genuinely thrilled for the winners because to win one of these awards, or in fact even be nominated, reflects the amount of work that a whole team of people have put in. Do make sure you check out these products in your local supermarket.

Readers of Being a Mummy have the chance of winning a hamper containing 42 of this years winning products worth £185.

POY-bag-no-logos

Cereal: Weetabix Protein Crunch (Weetabix Ltd)

Confectionary: AERO Mousse (Nestlé UK & Ireland Ltd)

Convenience Food: Birds Eye Stir Your Senses (Birds Eye)

Dairy: The Laughing Cow Light with Cheddar (Bel UK)

Dessert: Müller Pud Corner (Müller Dairy)

Gluten Free: Goodfella’s Gluten Free Pizza (Green Isle Foods)

Granola: Jordans Lighter Granola (Jordans, Dorset & Ryvita)

Green Tea: Tetley Super Green Tea (Tata Global Beverages)

Healthy Breakfast: Fruitus Breakfast Bars (Halo Foods Ltd)

Healthy Drink: Little Miracles Rooibos Tea & Elderberry (Little Miracles Drinks)

Healthy Food: Slim Pasta, Noodles & Rice (NAH Foods Ltd)

Healthy Yoghurt: Activia Fruit Fusion Blueberry & Acai (Danone Ltd)

Kids Confectionary: Bebeto Fruit Strings 7 Day Pack (Kervan Gida)

Kids Dairy: Petits Filous Pouches (Yoplait)

Pasta Ready Meal: Dolmio Pasta & Sauce Kits (Mars Foods UK)

Sauce & Seasoning: Sharwood’s Stir Fry Melts (Premier Foods)

Savoury Snack: Ritz Crisp & Thin (Mondelez International)

Yoghurt: Arla skyr (Arla Foods)

Bladder Weakness: Always Discreet for Sensitive Bladder (Procter & Gamble)

Cleanser: Nivea Daily Essentials Sensitive Caring Micellar Water (Beiersdorf UK Ltd)

Cough, Cold & Allergy: Bronchostop Cough Syrup & Pastilles (Omega Pharma Ltd)

General Healthcare: Nexium Control (Pfizer)

Hair Care: Garnier Honey Treasures Strength Restorer Range (Garnier)

Oral Care: LISTERINE® Advanced White (Johnson & Johnson Ltd)

Skin Care: Dove Body Wash (Unilever)

Tampon: Tampax Compak Pearl (Procter & Gamble)

Toiletries: Gillette Fushion ProGlide Sensitive 2 in 1 Shave Gel (Procter & Gamble)

Toothpaste: Oral-B 3D White Luxe Perfection Toothpaste (Procter & Gamble)

Vitamin: Seven Seas Perfect 7 Range (Merck Consumer Health UK)

Weight Loss & Slimming Aid: Bootea Shake (Bootea)

Wet Shave Razor: Gillette ProGlide Razor with Flexball Technology (Procter & Gamble)

Women’s Hair Removal: Gillette Venus Snap Razor (Procter & Gamble)

Air Freshener: Ambi Pur 3volution Plug-In Starter Kit (Procter & Gamble)

Baby Wipe: Asda Little Angels Extra Protection Kits (Asda Stores Limited)

Cat Food: Whiskas Pouches (Mars Petcare UK)

DIY: Loctite 60 Seconds (Henkel Ltd)

Dog Care: Pedigree DentaFlex (Mars Petcare UK)

Household Cleaning: Cif Power & Shine Bathroom (Unilever)

Household Paper: Andrex® Gentle Clean (Kimberly-Clark)

Laundry Care: Comfort Intense Fabric Conditioner (Unilever)

Nappy: Pampers Premium Protection Active Fit Nappies (Procter & Gamble)

Technology & Accessories: Energizer® EcoAdvanced™ Alkaline Battery (Energizer Group Ltd)

If you’d like to stand a chance of winning, then please comment below and use the rafflecopter telling me which of these products you’ve tried and which you’d recommend. Closing date for entries is midday 26th February 2016. You can find the Terms and Conditions here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The School Learning Curve

eating

Teaching them to eat- easy!

One of the things I’ve come to realise as the children have got older is that its not the process of learning how to deal with a baby which is the steepest learning curve of parenting. Not at all. By far the steepest learning curve happens when they go to school and they get homework.

You think I jest don’t you? I really mean this. Changing nappies: a doddle, the midwife showed me once and I got it straight off. If you asked me to change a nappy now I might shudder, but I could do it with my eyes shut whilst writing a 3000 word essay. Teaching the children how to eat- well that was easy, just required a bit of reading around what to feed them. The Key Stage 2 child’s homework, well if it wasn’t setting a bad example to my child, I could quite easily find myself tantruming on the floor sobbing my heart out in frustration.

It was a hard day, that dawning realisation that actually, I cant do the primary school child’s homework. I’ve got a degree and two further university degrees. I cant do the primary school child’s homework. How did it come to this?

Well, firstly being a child of Thatcher I was subject to an enormous amount of experimentation in government education policy (sound familiar?). The upshot being that I wasn’t taught grammar. This is something which has haunted me throughout my life, making foreign languages very difficult to learn and also causing no end of stress with my writing. When I first wrote museum exhibition panels they would come back to me covered in red pen. It was humiliating. I’m still not completely sure of it, a lot of my writing is guesswork, which i’m sure for lots of you explains the grammatical errors in this blog. I am trying, but it is hard to re-learn (or indeed learn) something you don’t know to start off with.

The impact of this now is that I simply do not understand what is being asked of my children. Fronted adverbials, subjective noun clauses and their friends all mean nothing to me. School workshops which aim to tell me what my child is learning by asking me to define these in sentences are the very epitome of horror and humiliation. I didn’t really want a Year 5 child to know my weaknesses but now they do and now I feel very small. I’m putting this down as another learning experience, just one I probably could have done without. Sort of akin to when you learn that its easiest to watch the school bully pick on someone else rather than intervene.

For me the ‘school learning curve’ doesn’t stop there. Maths is now taught in a completely different way to when I was at school. So although I can get the right answer, I cant explain the proper working out method and so I am in effect, useless. So useless that we have had to employ a tutor at £20 per half hour to help out. I have failed.

More failures on the school experience are in the realms of my personal and social education. Clearly mixing with artistic and creative types in my world is no match for those you find in the suburban playground. I have failed my children with my lack of understanding of the social dynamics and politics of these people, I’ve very few school run friends. This means that I am the mum standing alone in the playground whilst the others all seem to throw their heads back laughing and having fun, like they are participants in some sort of wine advert or at the Ferrerro Rocher presidents ball. The knock on impact is that my kids have very few playdates and the eldest, who struggles with social interaction is often found talking to himself at playtime.

What can be done? I cant be alone in this. I really didnt think that when my children went to school I’d have to go back myself. I’ve been mulling the options:

  • Train as a primary school teacher myself. Its quite possible that this would be the cheapest option overall by the time i’ve paid for all the tuition.
  • Try to teach myself. This is quite a challenge for the sleep deprived, middle aged and fiscally challenged.
  • Abandon all hope and rely that the teachers will sort out any issues and tell the children you cant help with homework.
  • Another solution. I can’t think of the best thing to do really so i’m hoping readers might be able to help! Can you suggest a brilliant book to help me understand what the children are talking about enough to be able to explain their maths and english homework if they can’t understand it? Can you identify with this problem, has it happened to you? Can you make me laugh about it? I’d really love to hear your thoughts and comments and I promise I wont judge your grammar!

Book Review: SuperFairies- Dancer the Wild Pony by Janey Louise Jones

superfairiesFifi loves ponies and fairies, that means she loves this sort of book and that means I love this sort of book. There is something special about finding a genre which you enjoy in literature and trying to read everything you can in that area. I remember doing this as a child and it’s lovely to see my daughter doing the same. The result has been a massive improvement in her literacy skills, so its all good.

Fifi loved this book and she’s written her own blog about it here. Looking through and having a read myself I can see why she likes it. The book has some lovely colourful illustrations scattered through. It is nicely presented and a ‘proper’ chapter book. However, its also quite thin which makes it a really manageable read which isn’t too daunting.

From the point of view of a book purchaser (sometimes its nice to own them rather than visit the library) this is a great buy, not least as its only £4.99. A bargain! Although in all honesty I’d pay twice that to see the amount of enjoyment and reading that Fifi gained from it.

You can get hold of a copy from Curious Fox books here. Its their book of the month at the moment.

Film Review: Oddball and the Penguins

Oddball_QuadI knew that this film would appeal to my animal crazed 7 year old the minute I saw the trailer. She’s keen on all things cute, cuddly and animal related and this ticks all the boxes. I must admit, I didn’t think it would be for me, but that isn’t a consideration when you have children is it!

Oddball and the Penguins is a homegrown Australian movie shot entirely on the coast near Melbourne it features up-and-coming Australian star Shane Jacobson (“Kenny”), Sarah Snook (“Steve Jobs”, “Predestination”) and Alan Tudyk (“Frozen”, “I, Robot”, “Death at a Funeral”).

The movie reminded me of one of those classic 1980’s animal movies, it really took me back to my childhood. I have to admit, it isn’t the greatest, most slick animal film i’ve ever seen. However, it had  the 7 year old bouncing around the room as she really got into the film. She hasn’t stopped talking about it since, re-naming her soft toys as Oddball.

ODDBALL_1_©_Global_ScreenOne of the things which surprised me was that its based on a real life story. There really is a chicken farmer and a penguin colony protected by Maremma dogs. You can find out about the Warrnambool Penguins here. What a fantastic story, it had me researching and looking for more information for hours!

Oddball and the Penguins is genuinely an enjoyable family film, it has no pretence about it and is appropriate for all ages. Check it out in the cinema from February 12th.
Synopsis
Off the coast from the small town of Warrnambool lies Middle Island, a sanctuary once home to thousands of the world’s smallest penguins. But since foxes learned to cross the shallow channel to the island, penguin numbers have plunged. And if they fall below ten, park ranger Emily Marsh will be out of a job. This shocks her father, eccentric chicken farmer Swampy Marsh. His wife ran the sanctuary, but when she passed away, Emily stepped in, while Swampy retreated to his farm. Emily’s nine-year-old daughter Olivia is the glue that keeps the family together.

And at the centre of everything is Oddball, Swampy’s rambunctious Maremma sheepdog. After Oddball goes on an off-leash run that nearly destroys Main Street, tensions rise. If the sanctuary closes, Emily plans to take Olivia and move away with Bradley, an American tourism consultant. So now Swampy might lose his daughter and granddaughter as well.

The solution comes when Swampy rescues an injured penguin from the island and discovers to his amazement that Oddball – who can’t bring himself to guard chickens – is an expert at guarding penguins. With two weeks until the final penguin count, Swampy and Olivia devise a crazy plan – train the rambunctious and unpredictable Oddball to protect the penguins and save the sanctuary, while somehow keeping the operation a secret from everyone.

Will Emily discover the truth? What about the suspicious Dogcatcher? And who is the shadowy person trying to make sure the sanctuary closes?

What follows is a rousing adventure as Oddball, Swampy and Olivia manage to save the penguin preserve, their family and the town itself.