21 September 2015

Review: I See Me Personalised Story Books

During the summer holidays Logan turned from a good big brother to a naughty big brother, constantly harassing his baby sister to get attention and generally being a little pest. It was really frustrating for the other half and I, we weren't sure what to do. Disciplining didn't always work and I hated having to give negative attention all the time. Ignoring sometimes worked but you can't ignore everything, especially when Logan's 5 and Harlow's 8 months. Thankfully we were saved in a sense when I See Me agreed to send us one of their personalised books for Logan to review.

First a little bit about I See Me: "we provide the highest quality, most personalised children's books available. We opened for business in May of 2000, after a year of active product development. My husband Allan and I received a personalised book as a gift for our first son in 1998. While we loved the fact that it was personalised, we thought that the illustrations could have been much better and the story more customised to the child. Thus I See Me! was born."

So what could I See Me have possibly sent to help us with our big brute brother problem? Well Logan received a gorgeously personalised book entitled "The Super, Incredible Big Brother", and you know what, it couldn't have arrived at a better time. Logan was still being a major annoyance monster to Harlow but when this book arrived things seemed to turn a corner and I could finally see the light. The Super Incredible Big Brother book is personalised for one big brother and one sibling i.e. Harlow. It literally is the perfect gift for a new big brother and includes both Logan's name and Harlow's name throughout the book. This book is a very good quality hard back with thick glossy pages inside. When you open the book on the second page you have the option of personalising this too with the big brother's full name, a photo of them and also a place to put some nice words from the sibling. I chose to put "To a wonderful big brother! I love you! Baby sister - Harlow". There's space to put the year as well (2015) so big brother can look back and see when they received the book.

The book is written by Jennifer Dewing and illustrated by Jill McDonald, and can I just say what a fabulous job both have done. The story is captivating and very reassuring for the new big brother as well as the illustrations being fun, friendly and ever so colourful. Throughout the book both Logan and Harlow's names are used within the story and through the illustrations which gives it an even more personalised touch. Logan loved it that he could see his name in big bold fonts surrounded by beautiful drawings.

You might have noticed from the photo above that the book comes with a little something extra for the special big brother. It's a coordinating Super Incredible Big Brother award medal with a place on the back to write the proud big brother's name! How frigging awesome is that! The medal we received along with the book was the icing on the cake for Logan, he loves receiving awards and I think to know he was receiving an award for being a Super Incredible Big Brother really made his day and started a turning point for us. Almost over night he stopped being so mean to his baby sister and started to interact more with her. He wanted to help her and be helpful to Mummy and Daddy too. It really was a pleasure to see. Logan loves his medal so much I can't not mention that he wore it in bed all night that first time he received it then he wore it into school the next day to show all of his friends and teachers. He was so proud it melted my heart.

I'm so glad he's back to his incredible big brother self and I'm hoping it continues. We read the book frequently at bed time as a little reminder to him how super he really is as a big brother. This book is available directly from www.iseeme.com for $34.99 with a shipping cost of £6.50 and 2 weeks turn around. There's so many books to choose from, and I mean loads, with your child taking the starring role. Each book allows you to include a dedication to go inside the front cover, some offer the option to upload your child’s photo (which our book did for inside the front cover) which will be used throughout the book and some even feature options to further customise your child’s skin tone, hair colour, hometown, birth date, favourite colour and best friend’s names.

Overall we totally love this book in our house and it made such a difference for us. I would definitely 100% recommend it for any new big brother and also any big sister as I See Me have a book for them too. In fact it would make an excellent gift from new baby to their older sibling. Pricing is more on the expensive side as it works out to around £23 for the book plus £6.50 shipping on top but I think it is well worth it. The book is excellent quality from the cover to throughout the pages, I just can't praise it enough and you definitely get what you pay for with this.

Mummy's rating - 10/10
Logan's rating - 10/10

Please visit www.iseeme.com for more products and information. You can also see what they get up to on Facebook and Twitter so why not pop over and say hello!

I was sent a copy of the I See Me "The Super, Incredible Big Brother" book and coordinating medal in return for an honest review.

Family Fever
Laura's Lovely Blog

20 September 2015

Silent Sunday 20.09.15


19 September 2015

Keeping Your Kitchen Clean When You Have Little Ones & a GIVEAWAY

I've noticed that as a family we seem to be using the kitchen an awful lot more than we used to. It's one of the main areas in the house that we seem to congregate in and with more loitering comes the inevitable mess. I'm talking toast crumbs, drips of spilled juice, splashed cooker hob from tasty dinners, yucky sink from cleaning too many dishes, grubby fridge door from hungry little fingers, the list is endless! There's always something that needs cleaning in the kitchen so here's a few quick tips to keep your kitchen clean when you have little ones.

Have a To Do List
Tackling everything at once will give you a migraine so why not write up a nice To Do List so you remember to do certain jobs on certain days. For example; clean cupboard doors on Monday, bleach sink on Tuesday, wipe worktop daily, clean the kettle and toaster on Wednesday etc. Lists and planners like this help you to keep on top of jobs with a gentle visual reminder. You could even be super fancy and laminate your list.

Share The Jobs
Sounds simple enough but sharing the jobs out can make life so much easier. You could add a Name column to your To Do List and make sure everyone has something to do. Even getting the kids involved with a simple task such as wiping the worktop helps them to realise how important it is keeping the kitchen clean.

Get The Right Products
There's no point in putting in lots of effort with the kitchen clean if you don't have the right products! Fear not though, Dettol have this under control with a massive range of brilliant products to keep your kitchen clean and sparkling as well as the rest of your home. Their antibacterial wipes are amazing and I use them all the time, they definitely make my life easier especially when cleaning a messy high chair.

Clutter Free
Keeping the kitchen clean when you have kids will be made easier when you don't have clutter around. Don't be tempted to keep that paper work in the kitchen, it'll only get in the way and get covered in some form of food. If the kids dump toys now and again be sure to tell them to tidy them up so no one's tripping over them and it's one less thing for you to clean in the Kitchen. Making sure the kitchen is clutter free also adds to the feeling of looking cleaner than it probably is. When I see clutter I always think of dust and food crumbs but when there's clutter free surfaces and flooring things just seem cleaner.

Little And Often
This motto seems to be the key in a lot of things especially when trying to keep your kitchen tidy when you have kids. Doing tasks little and often won't only help you to keep on top of things but sometimes with kids it's the only thing you can do. For some of us there's no way we could spend a good couple of hours deep cleaning so a spare minute here and there will have to do. Little and often jobs could include wiping down the cooker hob so oil and grease don't build up, a quick wash of the fridge trays, doing the dishes etc.

Hand Washing
There's no use trying to keep your kitchen nice and tidy if your hands are filthy, this is especially true for little hands. They seem to get so dirty and their touch turns everything into a sticky mess. Prevent extra work for yourself by making sure hand washing for little ones is fun. Stock up on Dettol's Kitchen No Touch Soap Dispenser and your messy hand problems should be solved.

So that's some of the little tips I follow to help keep my kitchen clean and tidy with kids around. It's never easy though and I completely appreciate that. There's always something that needs doing but to give you a hand along the way Dettol have agreed to give away a Goodies Bundle* of their products so you get off to a great start with kitchen cleaning.

To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is enter via the rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a collaborative post however all words and opinions are my own. *The Goodies Bundle from Dettol will be similar to the products shown however may vary due to stock etc.

17 September 2015

It Doesn't Always Have To Be Pink #2

As most parents know having a little girl means there's normally a pink explosion in the household which can literally take over if you're not careful. Back in April I wrote a post called It Doesn't Always Have To Be Pink to show parents alternative clothes for girls. This is version #2 for you all with some lovely brands who have some super cute clothing and accessories for your precious princess.

Fred and Noah
Fred and Noah make both boys and girls clothes from some very funky unique patterns and prints. They're handmade with care so attention to detail is spot on. They can be found on Etsy and stock clothing such as leggings, dribble bibs, printed tees, headbands etc in sizes 0-5 years. I've recently purchased a little pair of Bambi leggings for Harlow to wear and I honestly can't wait till she's old enough to put them on.

I love sweetpetitekids, they always have such unusual patterns of fabric to make their gorgeous baby and toddler leggings from. You can also get matching dribble bibs to go with your leggings for added cuteness. As you can see here Harlow is sporting her giraffe leggings and matching dribble bib. They're super soft and must be so comfy for baby to wear. Sweetpetitekids make leggings in sizes from 0-4 years.

This fab website is an eco-friendly online boutique stocking some gorgeous kids organic brands which include; Anarkid Organic, Boys & Girls, Fred's World, Maxomorra, Nosh Organics, Piccalilly, Poco Nido and The Bunting Tree - as well as tights from Slugs and Snails. They always have a fantastic sale every now and again so I make sure and purchase some unusual pieces for Harlow. I suggest you check out DaisyChainBaby.co.uk for some cracking clothes for your little one.

Roses and Bows
Every little girl needs some accessories for her outfits and what better way to do that than by purchasing some awesome hair accessories from Roses and Bows. They have a massive selection to choose from and their delivery time is pretty quick for handmade items. We prefer the headbands with bows since Harlow doesn't have much hair but you can get the bows on clips as well.

So that's some of the baby clothes and accessories we've been loving recently. If you know of any others that I should be looking at then please let me know. Or if you'd like to be featured in my next It Doesn't Have To Be Pink post then please drop me an email.

14 September 2015

Review: Cuddleduck

I've been on the hunt for more bath toys recently as some of the one's we have are getting a bit past it if you know what I mean. It always seems to be the way with bath toys, they get all grubby after a while and never seem to last that long. The Cuddleduck from Cuddledry was brought to my attention a few weeks ago and when it was agreed Harlow could try it out I was very pleased. This little duck isn't just a bath toy but also a teething toy so it came along at the right time for us.

The Cuddleduck has been created by the makers of the awesome Cuddledry Apron Towel. Harlow and I reviewed this back in February and we're still using it today. Since the Cuddledry towel is so amazing I had high hopes for this little duck and I wasn't disappointed.

Our very own blue polka dot Cuddelduck arrived in his own smart presentation box. You don't have to have blue of course as there's always pink or original, but we chose blue as Harlow has enough pink in her life at the moment. He's a bath teether toy, retails for £6.99 and is completely safe for babies to chew on. He's handmade in Spain using natural rubber, which has no nasties, and is painted using child safe paints which conform to the EN71 European toy safety standard. He has natural antibacterial properties which means he's perfect for babies with sensitive skin. He's pthalate free and non toxic too.

These little Cuddleducks have a lovely rubber texture to them which makes them soft and easy for your baby to hold. Harlow absolutely loves her duck and gives him a good old chew whenever she gets hold of him. She seems to be able to hold onto the Cuddleduck for a good while whilst chewing. This makes my life easier especially at bath time since she's preoccupied with a toy and I can get on with washing her and her big brother.

Someone also kindly mentioned on Instagram that if I was putting this Cuddleduck in the bath I should block up any holes with a glue gun so it lasts longer and doesn't go mouldy however as you'll see from the photos Mr Cuddleduck doesn't have any holes so he's perfect for the bath. Well done Cuddledry for thinking of this, it made me one happy Mummy.

One thing I did notice was that where the Cuddleduck joins together, in the middle, the join looked a little rough round the edges. Maybe it's just the mold that's been used to create the duck but it could maybe do with being a bit smoother if at all possible. Saying that Harlow loves her Cuddleduck and even though she has two bottom teeth he's managed to last so far. Hopefully he'll still be intact when she gets her top teeth! I have to say I've had a nibble on the duck myself (all good reviewers would surely do the same) and I'm optimistic that he'll survive the baby teething stage and beyond.

Overall a great little duck for teething babies (or to keep yourself company in the bath) and these ducks would make a great 'extra' present to pop into a gift bag when one of your friends or family has a baby. The pricing is fair to me because of what the ducks are made of and because of the potential to last longer than other bath toy ducks.

Mummy's rating - 9/10
Harlow's rating - 10/10

Please visit www.cuddledry.com for more products and information. You can also see what Cuddledry get up to on Facebook and Twitter so why not pop over to say hello!

I was sent a blue polka dot Cuddleduck in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Family Fever

13 September 2015

Silent Sunday 13.09.15


12 September 2015

Giveaway: Mama Jewels Fox & Flower Applewood Pendants

Wearing your gorgeous jewellery after you've had your baby becomes nigh on impossible, especially when they get a little bigger and start teething. Your jewellery becomes prime grabbing/ pulling/ eating material and if it's not baby safe it can do more harm than good. Not to mention it could get broken which isn't great if you've spent a few pretty pennies. In steps Mama Jewels to your rescue! They've got a fabulous selection of baby safe teething pendants and necklaces for you to choose from and do you know I've been given 2 beautiful pendants to give away to you lucky readers!

The very generous Amanda, from Mama Jewels, has agreed to let me give away one of her Fox Applewood Pendants and one of her Flower Applewood Pendants. So I'm offering both to one lucky reader, hurray! It means you'll then have a change of pendant to wear with different outfits when you're with your baby.

You can check out the review I did back in May of the very lovely Liberty print Betsy teal wooden teething necklace if you fancy but to be in with a chance of winning your own Mama Jewels beauties simply enter via the rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

11 September 2015

Review: Orchard Toys Robot Run

You might have seen the Big Alphabet Jigsaw review we did for Orchard Toys recently? Well here's the next toy to be reviewed - Robot Run! It's an addictive fast paced picture card game for all the family to enjoy. You get 41 picture cards in the box and 1 instructions leaflet. The game is very simple and easy to understand so you can get started straight away.

To play the game you deal out 5 cards to each player, face up, then put the rest in a pile in the middle face down, with one card face up at the side. The card that's face up is the one you have to match your cards to and the youngest player goes first. You then each take turns matching either the colour or type of robot to the card in the middle that's face up. If you don't have a card that matches then you take a card from the face down pile. You keep playing like this until one player has used all their cards as they are the winner. Out of the 41 cards there are 10 different types of robots, 4 different colours and 1 rainbow paintbrush card. If you get this card then you can change the colour of the card in play to whatever you want.

You can have 2-4 players per game and the age range advice is from 3 years to adult. It's a fantastic game which encourages colour and object matching skills as well as reaction speeds. It helps to develop social and communication skills along with turn taking, and every parent knows how frustrating it can be for little ones to take turns so this game is great for that. It also helps develop observation skills which is definitely a good thing to learn from a young age.

The first time we played this game is when we took it on our overnight stay to Edinburgh with us. The four of us were all in a room together for the night so to keep Logan entertained before bed time we played some Robot Run. The instructions were really easy to understand and we played the best out of 5 to win. Obviously Logan won, ha ha, but it was great and so much fun. It was great to get him off his iPad for a while and interacting with us.

Logan really enjoys Robot Run, as do I, and we've played it a good few times since receiving it. It's so simple and quick for kids to pick up that it's the game I go to now for Logan and I to play if we've got a spare 10 minutes and he's bored.

Robot Run retails for £7.50 and can be bought directly from www.orchardtoys.com. Alternatively you can also find Orchard Toys games in some supermarkets and all good toy retailers.

Overall a superb game and one which I'd highly recommend to friends and family. It's fab to play and I definitely haven't got bored of it which is great. As all parents know you often have to play games again and again, and they become so tedious. Not this game though. Pricing is fair too and I'd happily pay this myself.

Mummy's rating - 10/10
Logan's rating - 10/10

Please visit www.orchardtoys.com for more products and information. You can see what they get up to on Facebook and Twitter so why not pop over and say hello! You might have also noticed that I'm now an Official Toy Tester for Orchard Toys so watch out for more exciting reviews coming soon.

I was sent the Robot Run card game in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

10 September 2015

Supermarket Shopping with Baby

Trying to get a supermarket shop done with a baby in tow is never easy. A lot of people would say well why not do it online and get it delivered? But if you're like me and you don't like the idea of someone man handling your fruit and veg then that's not an option. I like to see what I'm picking plus it gets you out of the house for a bit at least and there may be bargains to discover. So to make your life a little bit easier here are some of my tips for a supermarket shopping trip with baby.

Pick Your Time
Picking the best time to go can be crucial for a good trip and it'll vary from person to person. I find the best time for us to go is when I've just dropped Logan off at school in the morning. Harlow and I will drive through to our local supermarket, I'll hopefully find a parent and child space, give her a quick breastfeed in the car then we're off into the shop.

This is the best time for us as she's had her breakfast, has had a nice sleep so not grumpy, and is pretty alert and ready for a nosy at what everyone's doing. Like I said it might not work for everyone but it works for us so far which means I'll be sticking to this routine until things should change, i.e. Harlow has a meltdown.

Bring Snacks
Every parent will tell you that bringing snacks along for your baby to nibble on can be a life saver. Of course that's only if your baby is weaning and if not just make sure they have had a proper feed before entering the supermarket or it won't be pretty! Anyway back to snacks, stuff your changing bag with things like raisins, quavers, baby biscuits etc. Something you can easily hand over that'll keep them occupied but won't make so much of a mess.

A full contented baby is a happy baby and prevents escape from the trolley!

Make Them Comfy
Trolley's aren't the comfiest of things for your little one to sit in so I always take a fleecy blanket along for Harlow. I just pop it on top of the trolley seat first, making sure it covers the metal back, before putting Harlow in and whizzing round the shop. As well as keeping her comfy it acts as a little support for her back as she's still only small.

Write a List
To keep yourself on the super organised no time wasting track be sure to have a list written up the night before, at least, so you know what you're looking for. Try and stick to the list to make your shopping trip quicker plus it'll also save you pennies and stop you buying unnecessary items. Being organised means less chance of your baby upsetting your supermarket shopping plans.

Ask For Assistance
If you get to the till and need a hand with bag packing or putting items on the convener belt then just ask. A lot of the shop assistants are more than happy to help especially when you have a cute baby with you. When I did my food shopping last week I never even asked for help but had a lady on the till packing my bags and a manager putting my items from the trolley onto the belt. It was great and made such a differences, no crying baby waiting for Mummy.

I'd love to hear if you have any handy tips for getting your supermarket shop done with a baby in tow?

  Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

9 September 2015

Harlow's 8 Month Update

Another month has passed in a blur and Harlow is now 8 months old! It frightens me to think Christmas is just around the corner and soon it'll be her 1st Birthday!! I'm trying not to think about it too much though. Since the schools have gone back Harlow and I have been on quite a few little play dates which has been lovely. It means that I don't have to stress about keeping an eye on Logan, and Harlow can get some quality time with Mummy.

Would you believe that not long after writing her 7 months update Harlow's first tooth made an appearance. It's not all the way through and a second tooth has joined it so that's her getting both front bottom teeth at the same time. For how small they are they're very sharp. Let's hope there's no biting Mummy since we're still on our breastfeeding journey. Speaking of breastfeeding, I've been invited to some lovely events recently but I'm so worried about leaving her in case she doesn't take a bottle, she's never had one. I'm honestly not sure what to do and not sure if it'll even be worth the stress. We'll see what happens in the coming weeks.

The crawling and standing has reached new levels, she's super fast on all fours and tries to reach from one piece of furniture to the next when standing but is still a little wobbly. She can stand up in her cot now which is quite cute until her big brother tries to lift her out! Cheeky monkey's the both of them. She also has a fascination for the dogs food and water bowls. Any chance she gets she'll crawl towards them at lightening speed before being lifted away.

Weaning is still going well with Harlow happy to trying anything that's put in front of her. There's some firm favourites though which include; yogurt, strawberries and spaghetti bolognese. She was weighed a few weeks ago on 26th August and came in at 16lbs 7oz, just a dainty little thing. What she lacks in weight she makes up for in height, I think she's going to be quite tall as an adult. I'm 5' 7.5" myself so it'll be interesting to see how big she grows. Clothes wise she seems to be comfortable in her 6-9 month clothes at the moment but depending on brand some are too big i.e. M&S sleepsuits, they're huge! Her 6-9 month tights are a bit too big as well but the 3-6 month seem to be perfect. I never had this problem with Logan, if anything he outgrew each stage of clothing within a couple of months and even now he's been in size 6-7 for a good few months and he's not 6 till December.

She had her first shot in a supermarket trolley a few weeks ago and loved it. I think because she's super nosy it was perfect for her to see what was going on. Normally I would leave her in her car seat and put that on top of the trolley or I would put her in the Boba Wrap but now that she's getting bigger I thought I'd try the trolley seat. Since she's still small and to keep her comfy I put one of her fluffy blankets in the trolley seat first before letting her sit in it. There were snacks on hand too for when she got fed up and it worked a treat.

Harlow still isn't a massive fan of sleeping. I'll be luckily if she manages to nap for an hour or so a day and most of this napping is done when we're in the car. If she does manage to fall asleep it's normally when breastfeeding and if I'm lucky I'll manage to get her in her cot for a quick nap but it never lasts longer than 30 minutes at most. I've managed to get her into a bedtime routine though so she knows when it's time for bed, around 7pm, however she still needs me to settle and will often wake up a few times for a snuggle and breastfeed before going back to bed and sleeping till around 10pm before another feed is due.

Harlow is a very happy baby and I'm lucky that she doesn't put up a fuss no matter where I take her, she just comes along for the ride and doesn't mind one little bit. Like I said she's super nosy so I think she rather enjoys it. Hopefully she'll stay like that for a bit longer but I can imagine the more mobile she becomes the more frustrated she'll be at me trying to guide her in a safe direction!

It'll be exciting to see what the next month brings and hopefully she'll grow some more hair!

7 September 2015

Giveaway: Orchard Toys Big Alphabet Jigsaw

As well as reviewing the lovely Orchard Toys Big Alphabet Jigsaw, I'm able to give one away to you lucky people that read my blog! You'll have seen from my review how much we loved the jigsaw and how much Logan actually enjoyed doing it, which was fab as he's not a huge fan of jigsaws normally. Being autistic means he sometimes struggles with certain tasks or games that other children find easy, but because this jigsaw is well structured for him (i.e. the alphabet) he loved it.

Anyway to be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is enter via the simple rafflecopter widget below.

6 September 2015

Bargains of The Week - w/c 31.08.15

It's time for another Bargains of The Week and I'm rather pleased with what I've managed to purchase this time. As you'll probably notice it's mostly stuff for the kids I spot and I'm sure every parent is the same. You always look for things for them and never anything for yourself! It's just the way life is now and I don't mind it at all.

Clothing Bargains
My local Sainsbury's store must have been having a clear out of their old summer stock as I managed to grab a few items of clothing for Harlow. There were some great little bargains as the clothes were half price but some of them also had 2 for £4 on them so even more savings when going through the till. I think the most expensive item was the cute little dress coming in at £2.50 but everything else was £1.25 or less, brilliant. Some are 9-12 months and some are 12-18 months.

More Lego!
We're Lego mad in our house as some of you might have guessed so when I spotted this amazing bargain I had to buy it and put it away for Logan's birthday or Christmas. It's called the Lego City Police 60067: Helicopter Pursuit set. Prices range from around £21 to £35 for this set however I bought it for an amazing £12.50 from Sainbury's supermarket! What a steal. It looks like it has lots of interesting little characters as well so I'm sure Logan will be pleased with this.

Something for Harlow
Well this is another Lego purchase but it's Lego Duplo for Harlow this time. Again spotted in Sainsbury's (they're definitely helping me spend my money anyway) alone on a shelf, the last one left, I couldn't leave it. Especially since it was only £6.50! That's another toy sorted for Christmas or birthday. Prices on this range from £10 to £15 so still a good price.

That's it for this week and if you have a Sainsbury's local to you I suggest you nip down and have a nosy to see what bargains they've got. Each store varies but there's normally always something going for a good deal so definitely worth a look.

As always I'd love to hear if you've managed to pick up any bargains this week?

Silent Sunday 06.09.15


5 September 2015

Review: Build & Play Ford Mustang from Revell

This toy couldn't have arrived at a better time for review. Logan had just gone back to school and the other half and I promised him that if he was a good boy and behaved he would get a little treat. Luckily this turned up at the perfect moment and I kept it aside for when the school week had finished.

This toy is a Build & Play Ford Mustang from Revell. For those of you that don't know, Revell provide a wide range and variety of true-to-the-original model kits for people to build and enjoy. Here's a little bit more about them: "For almost 60 years now Revell has stood for unique expertise in the development and making of true-to-the-original plastic model kits. Today, Revell is not only the market leader in Germany but also throughout Europe. Furthermore, in recent years the company has emerged as one of the leading suppliers of remote-controlled products on the toy market. What’s more, in 2012 Revell GmbH joined the globally operating Hobbico Group with headquarters in Champaign, Illinois/USA. Hobbico is the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of RC model products for the hobby industry. In assuming distribution of the Hobbico brands in Europe, Revell continues on its path towards becoming a fully comprehensive supplier to the modelling market."

Revell have everything a model builder could want from Easykits for beginners to sophisticated kits for professional model builders. Logan received the Ford Mustang from the new Build & Play collection to try out. It's for ages 6+ this model so I thought Logan could probably handle it pretty well. We're very used to building using other toy products and I had my fingers crossed this would go down a treat. I'm glad to say Logan was very happy to receive this toy and had the box opened in seconds. It says on the box that it should take around 15-30 minutes to build this car as it has 12 pre-coloured parts that can fit together without tools. Logan put it to the test and got stuck in. He found it quite easy to build and only required help from his Daddy on a couple of parts. All in all it took around 10 minutes for him to complete. He was expecting it to do something when built but I explained it was a car for pretend play and he seemed happy with this. He even got some Lego mini figures to put in the driving seat, and yes they do fit, and pretended to drive the car around up my doors/ walls on the floor etc. He really seemed to be enjoying it.

The launch range includes the sporty American classic Ford Mustang GT (12 parts, 190mm); the turbo-charged supercar Audi R8 (15 parts, 177mm); and the iconic Ford Police Car (17 parts, 215mm). Revell have described these toys as "durable" however when Logan dropped it by mistake the car broke into pieces. The actual parts weren't broken so it was easy enough to fix back up but I'm not sure how pleased I'd be if I had to help fix it every time he dropped it. Luckily it's only been the once so far. Some one has also some how stepped on top of the car which means the pieces of plastic either side of the front windscreen look slightly squished which is a shame.

Revell Build & Play is available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit www.revell.de/en. They normally retail for around £9.50 and I think it's even on Amazon if you do a little search.

Overall Logan enjoyed building this and still enjoys playing with this car however it was quite quick to build so the joy of that was short lived. Maybe I should try him with the other models in the Build & Play set as they have more pieces. I think for what it is (a plastic toy car) it should be priced cheaper but it's good that it gets children into building their own models especially if they've watched an adult do it and weren't able to join in if it was too complicated.

Mummy's rating - 5/10
Logan's rating - 7/10

Please visit www.revell.de/en for more products and information. You can also see what they get up to on Facebook so why not pop over and say hello.

I was provided with the Build & Play Ford Mustang model in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

2 September 2015

It's Not a Label

When your child is diagnosed with Autism it isn't the end of the world, in fact I found it to be quite the opposite actually. I felt such relief and yes there were tears of sadness but there were also tears of joy. Joy that as a parent I was right! I knew that my child didn't conform to the norm and there's nothing wrong with that at all. Having a diagnosis is not a label, if anything frankly it makes life that little bit easier for the other half and I, and Logan. We understand what's going on and can make allowances so everyone has a happier and easier life.

Without a diagnosis I fear Logan would be singled out as a naughty disruptive child when really he lashes out through fear and when he feels he's being attacked in some way. A big part of autism is having a lack of social and communication skills and since this is a massive part of life in general it really is quite a scary thing to comprehend. I've seen what it can be like for an adult with autism so for a child who has to trust and put their faith in someone to help and guide them must be terrifying.

With a diagnosis of autism I feel that, as a parent, you are taken more seriously when you have concerns, support is requested and provided for in nursery/school, other parents have a better empathy and understand (especially when your child lashes out). There's nothing to hide or be ashamed of so I tell everyone (within reason) that my son is autistic so that they are prepared in some sense when he does something out of the ordinary. A whole support network of parent groups and learning courses etc are opened up to you and it's refreshing to meet other parents who's children have been diagnosed with autism too. Having a diagnosis is not a label, it's a form of help and support and hopefully an acknowledgment of understanding from others.

As a blogger I've been lucky enough to have different opportunities and most of these involve Logan. Recently Logan and I were asked to review some children's theatre shows at the Edinburgh Festival and before Logan's diagnosis I would have probably turned this down. However with the diagnosis came help and support for me as a parent as well as Logan and we've come such a long way as a family. For this reason I don't feel afraid anymore when taking Logan out and about. I try to be prepared as much as possible for any eventuality although sometimes you can't be and you just have to go with it. Yes there's always going to be difficult times, it's just going to be that way which I've accepted now, but having a diagnosis meant that taking Logan to see some children's theatre shows was easier. I felt confident, I walked right to the front of the queue at each show to speak to the staff on hand, explained Logan had autism and asked if it would be ok if we could walk in first to get a seat near the exit so that if things did get a bit too much for him we could leave sharp. Most of the staff were more than happy and were very helpful. Some of the staff didn't have a clue but I was very persistent and this won out in the end.

Before Logan was diagnosed the other half and I were quite often at a loss when it came to his behaviour. One minute he was fine and happy, just like any other child, the next he would be taking massive meltdowns over small things (this is what it seemed like to us) and the world was ending. We didn't know whether we were coming or going when it came to Logan and his moods/ behaviour could change at a moments notice. With diagnosis came support from the health professionals and the other half and I were invited along to several different support groups for parents. These support groups were invaluable and helped us to gain a better understanding of autism and what it meant for helping Logan.

What I'm really trying to say is don't be afraid, be empowered to do what's right by your child. Yes it's hard, I completely understand that. When your child has additional support needs sometimes you feel lost, confused and just plain exhausted. Sometimes you even feel embarrassed by what other people think but don't be. You're doing a great job so don't give up. With the right help and support things can get easier.

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