• Featured Post: How I’m Affording a New Bed!

    kingsize bed
  • Review: Playmobil Ferris Wheel Set 5552

    playmobil ferris wheel
  • Book Review: Pom Pom the Champion by Sophy Henn

    pom pom by sophy henn
  • English Heritage Kids Takeover- Knight School at Eltham Palace

    Fifi (aka Sukie the Clever) is fitted with her helmet prior to jousting

Featured Post: How I’m Affording a New Bed!

kingsize bed

Our bed, i’m looking forward to a new fresh wooden frame which I can hoover under!

The husband is nostalgic, I can see his point, its been with us from the moment we moved in together a couple of years before we were married. Our bed was there on all the major flash points in our lives as a sort of sanctuary from the trials and tribulations of life. And. Its just very comfortable. Well, at least it was, however over ten years on its not so comfortable for me. There is a seven stone weight differential between me and the husband and we are completely different heights as well- him being a foot taller than me at least. Now we have two small pits, a sort of Alex sleeping shape one of which I have to make my own. I need a new bed.

This is where the minefield begins. In the last ten years beds have undergone some sort of marketing revolution whereby you are dazzled by the choice available to you. Did you know for example that I can now have a different level of softness to the husband? Well, all of this comes at a cost anything from about £600 to over £10,000. We cant get much cheaper as the husband is so tall that he needs to have at least a kingsized bed. In fact, technically he needs bigger as his feet still poke out the end, but we cant fit a bigger bed into our bedroom.

By the time you’ve got a new base you’re looking at something which nearly amounts to the cost of a small second hand car. A good nights sleep is vitally important to a good healthy life, i’ve come to the conclusion that I need to get over my budgeting a little and just get the best thing we can afford. But how to fund this?

Looking at my options and given that there are a few other things we desperately need to get sorted in our house (before it falls down) like the barge boards which need cladding and possibly a new car before that completely gives up the ghost (i’ve written about this before). I’m currently coming to the conclusion that a personal loan might well be a good solution. TSB (linked to) have a handy calculator which you can use to see if its worthwhile for you, basically for loans between £7,500 and £20k the apr is 3.9% which is very reasonable. I know people whose mortgages have a higher rate, so this could in fact be preferable).

I’m going to be straight here, a personal loan is by far the better option than a payday loan however tempting that is. You’ll find that the apr is much much less and you’ll also be dealing with a reputable bank rather than a payday loan company. The only thing I can think of which might be better would be a 0% finance deal for each or your purchases, but that is very restrictive and depends on a lot of factors.

With children and a drastic change in our financial situation i’ve had to become very careful about how I spend our money and manage our finances. Unfortunately, because we bought everything new when we set up house together everything is starting to wear out at the same time. For us, at this moment in time a personal loan really does look like the best, most affordable option and it will save us having to go without a good nights sleep and a car!

Review: Playmobil Ferris Wheel Set 5552

playmobil ferris wheelAs Playmobil Playologists we get to try some of the best new toys that Playmobil has to offer. We were sent Set 5552 to have a play with and literally almost immediately the 8 year old set about building it.

Playmobil Ferris Wheel

Manning the ticket booth

Since we built the set its taken pride of place in our playroom. We’ve not had a chance yet to add the batteries for the lights but we have motorised it with the Playmobil Electric Ride Motor. This has proved so popular that we have had virtually every Playmobil figure that we own. We’ve had an entire Roman legion queueing up for rides, a pirate army and some knights. Even a horse has had a ride. Things have got a bit extreme as Fifi realised the money making potential of such a venture and has been fiddling charging her little brother to let his figures have a ride.

Playmobil Ferris Wheel

Going for a ride…

This is a fairly easy to construct, exciting Playmobil set. Its quite big so does require a bit of space, but you will certainly get more than your moneys worth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dont just take my word for it, here is the 8 year old building it and his thoughts:

 

 

Book Review: Pom Pom the Champion by Sophy Henn

pom pom by sophy hennWe absolutely love Sophy Henn’s creation Pom Pom the Panda. There is something just so sweet and innocent, yet completely childlike about him. The stories and illustrations are always superb and when you read the stories with your children you never feel short changed.

Pom Pom the Champion is the latest book in the series which deals with the concepts of boredom, winning and taking part. I must admit that it made me laugh out loud when I read it, in particular the page where Pom Pom complained he was bored whilst standing in front of a sea of toys. So much like our household! I really appreciate books which I can relate to as much as Ned because it goes to show that it isn’t just my household or my parenting.

This is a brilliant book for helping to explain to a three year old the concepts of taking part, winning and friendship. It really struck a chord with little Ned who is dealing with these toddler dramas on a daily basis and we found lots to talk about.

With little Ned going off to nursery school in September i’m currently scrutinising our bookcases and getting rid of books which I think have very little value. Conversely I have a list of books which I’m going to keep to pass onto my grandchildren. The Pom Pom series are ‘keepers’.

Thank you Sophy Henn for producing such wonderful little books, I think they will become modern day classics.

Pom Pom the Champion by Sophy Henn is out on the 3rd September £6.99 PB published by Penguin. You can have a little sneak peak for yourself here.

Disclaimer: I was sent a review copy

 

English Heritage Kids Takeover- Knight School at Eltham Palace

 

childrens knight school

Fifi (aka Sukie the Clever) is fitted with her helmet prior to jousting

When I was seven years old I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist. Things were simpler in those days, museums and heritage attractions weren’t really made for children. The Young Archaeologist Club were regarded as quite radical and I cant really even remember having an eye spy or quiz sheet to do around a heritage attraction or a museum, ever!

Thank goodness things have changed and nowadays kids come first. This year English Heritage have put children at the very front of their activities and have appointed Thea and enthusiastic history obsessed eight year old to be their Children’s Executive Officer. Her job is to put the fun back into history for children. Luckily Thea has some help as English Heritage commissioned a poll of over 1,000 children to draw up a list of the top history inspired wishes.

Thea English Heritage CEO

CEO Thea doing some jousting

These are the top ten:

  • Discover hidden treasure
  • Be a King or Queen for the day
  • Sit on a throne
  • Fire a cannon
  • Build a fort
  • Sword fight with your friends
  • Battle pirates
  • Conquer a castle
  • Put on a suit of armour
  • Fire an arrow in the air

I was completely and utterly jealous of my kids, who got invited along to Eltham Palace to have a go at Knight School training with Thea. They had an absolutely fabulous time, not only enjoying Eltham Palace which is a fab day out anyway, but learning all about how to be a knight.

Eltham Palace makes for a great day out with the children partly because its such an usual and amazing place; part Henry VIII palace, part art deco mansion with quirky rooms build especially for Mah-Jongg the lemur and a WWII bomb shelter in the basement. There is a lot to explore and discuss, a fantastic kids trail and plenty of dressing up opportunities. If you go on a nice day you can also explore the lovely gardens and enjoy some delicious food whilst the children play in the playground. I actually cant really think of much better as it does have something for everyone.

name badge presentationHowever, the wonder of Eltham Palace really did pale into all insignificance compared with Knight School training. This was one of the highlights of our summer. The children got to have a little go at competitive jousting and then some sword fighting, including an actual melee. There weren’t too many tears- the worse being when Ned actually tripped over his sword and landed face first on the ground, so frankly that doesn’t count. I thought this impressive in itself. What was more impressive though was the amount of information that the children absorbed because they were enjoying themselves, along with how inspired they have been to find out more. They loved being given their own medieval names for example and have been wearing their name badges with pride ever since;  step forward for your dinner Eudo the Brave, Sukie the Clever and Simone the Vigiliant… (how I’ve loved this too!)

I have to admit I think that seeing Ned at Knights School must have been one of the cutest things i’ve ever seen. Have a look:

childrens joustingIf you think that your children might like to have a go at something similar then here is a list of all the places where your children could have a go themselves:

Have-a-go jousting and medieval kids activities are on offer at all of these events:http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/kidstakeover/joust-with-a-knight/

Plus hands on medieval activities / sword fighting / knights schools at these places:

Framlingham Castle 

www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/knight-time-Fra-17-08-2015/

Beeston Castle and Woodland Park

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/clash-of-knights-Bee-22-08-2015/ 

Eltham Palace and Gardens

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/kings-and-queens-Elt-23-08-2015/

Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens 

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/hands-on-history-crew-go-medieval-Bel-24-08-2015/

Kenilworth Castle 

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/knights–princesses-academy-Keni-24-08-2015/

 Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens 

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/knights-tournament-Bel-29-08-2015/

Smart is the new cool with Project Mc2 #Netflix #StreamTeam

Bean becomes Camryn Coyle

Bean becomes Camryn Coyle

There is nothing that we love more at Being a Mummy than a trip to the Science Museum and the chance to find out about ways to encourage girls to like so called’ boy’ stuff. Although i’ve done absolutely nothing to encourage it with a mixture of boys and girls in our household the gender stereotypes are still there. I often wonder how this can be, I think some of it is school influences and some of it simply nature.

I was thrilled to hear all about Project Mc2 which is a range of dolls and a Netflix show aimed at tweenagers. Its about 4 girls: McKeyla McAlister (MC2), Adrienne Attoms (A2), Bryden Bandweth (B2) and Camryn Coyle (C2) who have a motto: ‘smart is the new cool’. Its making a real impact with little girls if Fifi and my niece little Bean (aged 5) are anything to go by. We sent Bean and her mummy along to the launch of the new dolls at the Science Museum to find out more:

Bean becomes Camryn Coyle

So with school invariably arrives the gender stereotyping that girls like pink, ponies, dolls and brushing each others hair and boys like blue, science and climbing trees.  But as a parent you soon notice that all children like TV. So now in a valiant attempt to engage young girls into perceived typical boys world we have Netflix’s own show Project MC2, it’s a new  fashion doll line to accompany a TV series about geek chic girls doing science and foiling a plan to abduct a millionaire boy.  Aimed at tweenagers (that’s an actual thing) 4 lead girl characters, all thin and pretty and wearing huge  amounts of make up do science experiments to save the day. The TV show is high energy but quite complex to follow for a 5 year old as the story continues across all the episodes and this generation are used to a resolution by the end. However, it engaged our 5 year old princess tomboy and she loved the phrases like ‘I’m Smart, get over it’ and ‘Stand back I’m trending’. Both of which I am hoping she doesn’t repeat back at school come September!

Enough about the show, she loved it, it ticked all the little girl show boxes so onto the launch. Wow, what fun. We solved a puzzle, dressed up as our fave character and watched some really cool science experiments. Bean (our 5 year old daughter) was really engaged in finding out how things worked and the experiment by the CBBC presenter had all the children cheering in their seats. We rode the wave of interest and popped through into the Science Museum after we watched the show (with popcorn) and Bean loved pretending she was Camryn Coyle (the redhead in the show like my daughter) and spent a good few hours getting properly involved with all the exhibits. Would she have liked it as much if she hadn’t watched the show? Probably but it gave her a reference point that girls are interested at science and running in high heels.

project Mc2 DollHowever what Bean loved most was the doll, it’s a great doll, its got cool clothes and you can get a version which comes with the skateboard (which is on the Christmas list apparently).  The doll looked at everything in the Science Museum too and when we got home Bean watched the rest of the episodes and so did the doll. The doll has been most places with us this summer holiday. Partly I think because she loves the idea that the doll is a ‘real’ person. Barbie is still firmly a cartoon. Camryn Coyle the doll did get to recreate the TV show and we did have to attempt the science experiment from the show with spaghetti and food dye. So it worked, it made a little girl interested in science and indulged her love of dolls and TV. Brilliant, if your little girl is looking for a doll for Christmas this might bridge the gap between Barbie and a traditional doll.