Wednesday, 29 April 2015

How to get a Good Night's Sleep...

When you become a parent, sleep can change from something that you take for granted to somewhat of a luxury. Whether it's because you're sharing your bed with a wriggly toddler who likes to sleep diagonally, or you're up until the early hours tidying up up LEGO, and trying to find your carpet under a sea of toys, getting a full eight hours every night becomes a distant memory.

As we tell our children, sleep is important and plays a vital role in our health and well being, so in the interests of looking after ourselves it is important to do what we can to get a good night's sleep.

I've put together some top tips to help mums get the best out of their time in bed:

 Turn your bedroom in to a sleep sanctuary

The bedroom should be for sleep (and maybe one other thing...) if you remove other things that may be distracting you, you are more likely to get to sleep easier and reap the benefits. Laptops, game consoles and TV's a can keep you awake and disturbed, even when they are not on they have standby lights, may buzz or create electronic noise. Replace these with calming pictures and decor that relaxes you so that as soon as you enter your boudoir you can't wait to drift off into a dreamworld. If you have streetlights outside your house invest in some blackout curtains to keep your room quiet and dark.  

Make sure your bed is comfortable

Your bed is the piece of furniture that you are likely to spend the most time using, but how much time did you spend choosing it? When shopping for beds take time to think about what you want. Your bed should be inviting and comfortable, so take time to research and choose the perfect one for you. We may not all be able to have a four poster king size bed with silk drapes and 10 pillows (yes that is my fantasy bed!) but you can make sure that you have a mattress that suits you and choose bedding in colours and fabrics that help you to relax.

 Give yourself a bedtime routine

It may sound silly but it works for your children so why not you?  Try to get strenuous tasks such as house work or exercise done earlier in the evening and give yourself some chill out time before bed. For the last hour before going to bed limit your food and drink, especially caffeine. There is nothing more annoying than almost drifting off to sleep then realising that you need the loo! A few minutes before you go to sleep, stay away from any external stimulation, including books, newspapers, TV or other sources of noise or light.

These are just some things that you can do to maximize the benefits of the sleep you do manage to get. I'd love to hear your tips for getting a good night's sleep?

This is a collaborative post.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

LEGO Frozen Disney Princess: Elsa's Sparkling Ice Castle Review

Frozen Lego Elsa's Ice castle disney princess

Our family love LEGO and we have become rather engrossed in Frozen fever too so when the lovely folks at House of Fraser asked if we would like to choose something from their extensive toy selection to review, it's no surprise that we quickly decided on the one thing that encompasses both of these! The LEGO Disney Princess 41062: Elsa's Sparkling Ice Castle set has a suggested age range of 6 - 12 years and has a recommended retail price of £34.99. 

We have a frozen mad four year old daughter, but also a LEGO crazy seven year old son who was also very interested in this set, (not to mention two 30ish year olds who can often be found singing along to Let It Go and playing with minifigures... ) This is hopefully going to be a set that the whole family enjoys together. 

When the box arrived I admit I was surprised at how small it was, the set contains just 292 pieces and I would compare the size to other LEGO sets we have that have retailed at around £24.99, however this is the first Disney Princess set we have owned and I guess that branding does come with a price tag. Hopefully it will also come with some extra special pieces!

What's in the box?

On opening the box we found 3 bags, two instruction books, a shiny sticker sheet and a 8x16 base plate.

Instruction book one 

Instruction book two 

lego frozen anna elsa olaf minidoll minifigues

Anna, Elsa and Olaf Minifigures

My daughter loves these and would quite happily play with these Disney Princess mini dolls and their LEGO snowman friend for hours even without the rest of the castle set. I have to admit even as a 30 year old woman, I think they are pretty awesome! The detail in their dresses, the fabric cloaks and even the freckles on Anna's face just make them that extra bit special. Olaf is constructed rather than a minifigure as such but still rather cute and very distinctively Olaf, buckteeth and all! I would have loved to see Kristof and Sven included too but maybe them being left out means there could be another LEGO Frozen set to come? Or that could just be wishful thinking on my part!

Constructing Frozen...

Following the instruction sheet the first section you put together is Olaf's picnic blanket, which includes a sandwich and a cookie and makes reference to the 'In Summer' song from the movie which Olaf, Anna and Kristof sit on a red checkered blanket!

The next part to construct is the Sleigh. The Sleigh also has a cute little ice slide, together these form their own little playset which my daughter loved! The are also some adorable accessories including a pair of ice skates that you can fit on to the Anna minidoll to play ice skating.

Elsa's Sparkling Ice Castle

It's difficult to know where to start when describing the castle, the. re is just so much attention to detail and beautiful finishing touches including special blue glittery pieces that I've not seen in LEGO before.

The Sparkling Ice Castle itself took us around 30 minutes to build, working together a family, although it may take a child on their own longer. 

The suggested age range for this set is 6 - 12 years and I would agree with that for putting it together as we did this as a family but once it was constructed my four year old has had so much fun playing with it that I would say that it would be a suitable gift for Frozen fans aged four and above as long as an adult is happy to help with the construction.

LEGO Disney Princess 41062: Elsa's Sparkling Ice Castle has an RRP of £34.99 which is high for a LEGO set of this size but is justified in play value and I can see it becoming a very popular and sought after set.

We love it!

Like this? Check out our other Frozen posts:

Singalong with Sing-a-long-a Frozen

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Earth Day 2015 - Eco Bead Craft Kit Review and Giveaway

Today is International Earth Day 2015 and to mark the occasion we have been sent the Eco Bead Craft Kit from Interplay to create our own jewellery made from recycled scraps of paper.

 The Eco Bead kit from interplay is aimed at children aged 8 years and above and includes the tools and accessories needed to make beautiful beaded jewellery. You just add the paper!

My son (who will be 8 in the summer) and I got out the kit to create some beads together.
I love up-cycling and reusing things so the idea of recycling paper to create some funky jewellery really appealed to me, Ben loves anything crafty and decided he wanted to make a bracelet for his little sister.

The My Style Craft kit includes 3 different types of template to cut out the correct shapes of your paper ready to make them into beads. We decided to use some old newspaper that was waiting to be recycled, some wrapping paper and some scraps of coloured paper from our craft box. One great thing about the shape of the templates is that they are long and thin so you can genuinely use scraps of discarded paper or even ripped newspaper.

Once we had cut the paper it was time to use the curling tool, despite this being quite small it was simple to use and really effective, both Ben and I easily got the hang of it and I actually found it quite cathartic! As you roll the paper around you gently dab the PVA glue on to it and then glaze with some more glue afterwards. To allow the beads to dry the kit includes a foam mat and cocktail sticks to stand them on. (We did find that you got rather sticky and the glue got everywhere so I would suggest covering the table with newspaper first.)

Once the beads are dry (we left ours overnight) you can get creative with the provided accessories to turn your recycled paper beads in to beautiful bracelets, earrings and more! One thing to note is we found the thicker string quite difficult to thread through the small decorative seed beads but it was fine with the paper beads that we made.

We created a pair of newspaper print bead earrings and a bracelet made from recycled wrapping paper.

I think the newspaper print earrings look great and will wear them proudly! I also love the idea of trying this with old books that have been damaged, I think they would look really effective and go fantastically with the Romeo and Juliet real page fragment pendant my husband bought me for our anniversary.

Another fabulous idea for this kit is to up-cycle old pieces of your children's artwork, I love how Anna from In the Play Room created beads with her children's bubble paintings.

If you really haven't got any paper to recycle you can print off colouful templates from the Interplay website ready to create beads with.

Ben and I really enjoyed using this kit together and he is really proud of what we created.

The Eco Bead craft kit is available from Amazon and John Lewis and has an RRP of £7.99 which I believe is really great value as you get plenty of accessories included and when these are used up you still have the tool that you could make plenty more beads with and use ribbon or wool to display them. I can see this getting a bit addictive!

Casa Costello

To celebrate Earth Day we have an Eco Beads Craft Kit from Interplay to give away to one of My Mummy's Pennies' readers. Simple complete the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win...

Good Luck!

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