Saturday, 4 July 2015

Teaching My Daughter to Sew

Yesterday I taught my four year old daughter to sew... and she loved it!

Just under a year ago I was able to reduce my hours in work to spend one day at home with my four year old daughter, at first this would be be a planned day of adventure making an effort to pack as much into our day together as possible. As the weeks went by we began to take these days for granted and got into the a bit of a routine; after walking her big brother to school we'd spend an hour or so at the park, pop to the post office or local shop to run some errands and make it home just in time to get started on lunch. The afternoons would usually involve baking of some kind, reading stories, a craft activity or board game and maybe a movie while I got some bits and bobs done around the house.

Although a little repetitive I look forward to these Fridays together and so so does Elizabeth, it's her 'Mummy Time', something that as a younger sibling who has been in full time nursery since she turned one, she doesn't get a lot of on her own.

 It struck today that these Mummy and Daughter days that we have both grown accustomed to, are coming to an end sooner than I had realised. I had been aware that Elizabeth starts school in September and I will be returning to full time work a week later, however what had dawned on me yesterday was that my first born, Ben, will be breaking up fir the summer in just two weeks!

Of course I'm really looking forward to being able to spend my day off with both my children and we have all sorts of days out and adventures planned, but I will miss our girly days together.

That's why in the afternoon I really wanted to do something different.

I've always loved sewing, my Nanna taught me when I wasn't much older than Elizabeth is now and I dabbled in making some dresses as a teen, but it's not been until recent months that I've really got back into doing it again and I'd noticed that Elizabeth had stated to take an interest.

I was sewing a broach back on to a corsage i'd made when she asked if she could have a try. Showed her how to safely hold the needle and told her what to do and she made a few stitches.So rather than putting my sewing bits away after this I routed through my craft stash and found some felt scraps.

I cut a really simple purse shape out of a piece of pin felt and threaded a needle. Folding the felt down and holding the edges together I made a few blanket stitches while Elizabeth watched, she was eager to take over and copied me easily sewing along the edge until she got close to the end where I knotted it off for her. I then started her off on the other side where again she continued until she was close to the end and I tied it off, I popped a few invisible stitches in the top and then popped on a very sparkly button that Elizabeth chosen from my button box.

We then turned the whole thing inside out and voila...  A very cute little coin purse that my four year old is extremely proud of!

She really enjoyed it and has already asked what we can sew together next!

I'm linking up with #Trash2treasure the fabulous new linky from Coombemill

Trash 2 Treasure

Friday, 3 July 2015

The Clangers are Back in Town with new Toys!

Do the names Mother, Major, Granny, Small, Tiny and Soup Dragon mean anything to you?

If so, I'm guessing you may have been a childhood Clangers fan?

You may be aware that the classic children's TV show first aired in 1969 is back on the BBC, with a £5million make over, although many factors of the series aimed at CBeebies' 3 to 5 year-old audience will remain true to it's 20th century roots. In fact the producer and writer of many of the episodes of the new series is the son of the original creator Oliver Postgate.

We were very excited to be one of the first families in the UK to receive a special package with a few of the brand new Clangers toys from Character Options inside! We didn't know what we would be getting so there was a lot anticipation when we opened the beautifully rapped pink and black parcels that arrived earlier this week...

The toys that we received included a beautiful supersoft plush Tiny Clanger dressed in the familiar costume from the series. The removable felt costume is intricately detailed and Tiny's hair is decorated with the familiar orange bow. She is the perfect size or the latest generation of Clangers fans to cuddle. These cute plush friends are also available in Major and Small and retail at just £5.99.

Also in our package was a set of Clangers collectable figures featuring Major and Small. these adorable pink figures are positioned to stand up and have movable arms, they have a high level of detail and are the perfect imaginative play toys or fans of the Clangers. 

 These sets are also available with Mother and Tiny, Iron Chicken or my personal favourite the cute green Soup Dragon. These character sets retail at £4.99 are the perfect accompaniment to the Home Planet Playset where all the Clangers action can take place.  Features of this set include a hidden slide down to the Living cave, a swinging hammock and a movable telescope as well as an exclusive Grandma Clanger figure. This fun set has an RRP of £24.99.

My 4 year old daughter is really impressed with our Clangers goodies and has been enjoying the new series. She has introduced Tiny Clanger to her dollies and have made a special place for her on her bed!

We are really excited to try out some more of the range later in the month, other toys in the collection include Tiny and Small Squeeze and Whistle Plush Toys,  which as well as having authentic knitted effect fabric also make the much loved whistling sounds of the Clangers when their tummies are pressed.

Another noisy one is the Whistle and Dance Mother Clanger who'll have your litte ones in fits of giggles and wanting to dance along! 

The toy that really excites me though is the Musical Starlight Tiny, as well as being a larger version of the plush we have received, it doubles as a bedtime comforter, playing gentle music and projecting a a starlight display on to bedroom walls and ceilings slowly fading away as your little one drifts into the the land of nod.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what we will be sent from the collection next and I can't wait to share them with you, but in the meantime enjoy the new series!

We were sent a gift to share with you, post contains affiliate links.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Wood Worx Jewellery Box Kit Review and Giveaway

Wood worx craft kit - jewellery box

Earlier this month we were sent one of the brand new Wood Worx sets from Interplay to review. The
Jewellery Box kit is aimed at children between the ages of 5 and 12 and is a great way for them to be creative while also using valuable skills such as measuring, sorting sizes and shapes and hand eye co-ordination.  For children up to the age of 7 this is an activity they would do with adult assistance, where as older children may want to take on the project independently. Elizabeth is almost 5 and was very excited about working on this together.

In the box you have everything you need:

  • 29 pre-cut smooth edged wooden pieces
  • 5 colored paint pots
  • 1 tube of glue
  • 1 tube of glitter glue
  • 15 rhinestones
  • 1 double ended paintbrush
  • 1 sticker sheet
  • Stencil
  • Step by Step instructions with pictures

wood worx  - make your on jewellery box

From the colour of the packaging and the heart pieces included in the set it is clear that the kit is aimed at girls, which I think is a real positive for a hands on wood work based kit, however there is no reason why a boy couldn't use the set if he wanted. There are also a variety of other sets available in the Wood Worx range too.

We got all the pieces out of the box and as suggested on the instructions, we began to measure up the wooden sections using the handy ruler printed at the bottom of the instruction sheet, creating piles for each drawer. Elizabeth proudly did the measuring all by herself and really enjoyed it.

Next, it was time to start gluing the sections together. I was impressed with how clear the instructions were to follow even for a child, providing step by step images and clearly worded hints and tips, although one thing they didn't dictate was how much glue to use. I fear my daughter may have been a little generous when squeezing this out as the tube ran out before we had completed the final drawer. We were able to use a tube of pva glue we had in the craft box but I would recommend dotting the glue onto the wooden pieces rather that squeezing out continuous lines like we did.

Once all the pieces were glued together we left them outside for a while to dry out and had some lunch. When we returned around an hour later both the chest and the drawers were solid and ready to paint. This part I left to Elizabeth as she had a clear idea of what colours she wanted where!

The paint provided was in a selection of colours that complemented each other well and the size of the pots were plenty big enough as long as you didn't want to paint the whole thing in one solid colour!

making and painting a jewellery box

Once the paint was dry we glued on the heart shaped handles and spherical feet. Now at this point I thought the Jewellery box looked gorgeous and would happily had it on my bedside table. However little girls (well my little girl, at least!) like sparkle and glitter and lots of stickers! Luckily the Wood Worx kit provided all of this, so she got to work decorating the box, using stickers to display her name on the back, stencils to create a pattern on the top, and rhinestones and glitter glue to add that extra sparkle!

the finished jewellery box - wood worx

The finished article not only looks great but is a really sweet functioning jewellery box for her to store her pretty beads and bracelets in. The bottom drawer is a little stiff but other than that the drawers slide out easily and the construction as a whole is really sturdy. I am really impressed with what my daughter ad I were able to create together in a day and it has given us both a lovely sense of accomplishment! 

All in all, the activity took us about four hours but that included breaks for the glue and the paint to dry. It was a lovely way to spend our day and I think the kit is great value at an RRP of just £9.99 providing everything you need (as long as you're not too eager with the glue!) The Wood Worx Jewellery Box sets can be purchased directly from Interplay or from Amazon

#Win a wood worx Jewellery box kit

I also have a Wood Worx Jewellery Box kit to give away to one of my lovely readers! Just Follow the instructions in the rafflecopter widget below to enter: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are feeling lucky why not pop over to Interplay's Twitter page to enter to win the Wood Worx kit of your choice or visit The Brick Castle who are giving away a T-Rex kit...

Good Luck!

We were sent this product for the purpose of review, all thoughts and opinions are our own, post contains an affiliate link.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Trutex School Uniform Review

Trutex school uniform review

School Uniform is a necessity, it's the clothing that your children spend most of their days in. You want it to be comfortable for them, to be hard wearing and to last but you don't want to spend a fortune on it. It isn't easy to find a brand that meets all of this criteria. My almost 8 year old, Ben, seems to have a a talent for getting his uniform as filthy as possible during the school day. If it's not mud or grass stains from playing football or cricket, it's white-board marker or his lunch, and last week it was clay!

A few weeks ago we were sent a selection of uniform from Trutex to try out before the end of term. Trutex is a  name that is synonymous with good quality, long lasting school uniform. It's the brand that clothed me during my school days and quite possibly my parents too. In fact this year marks the 150 year anniversary since Trutex first started producing school uniform, then trading as the Clitheroe Shirting Company in Lancashire.

We chose three items of uniform from the extensive selection on the Trutex website, these included the Junior Boys Slim Fit Trousers, a Crew Neck Sweatshirt and a Polo Shirt.  In line with the official school colours these were in grey and red. Although Ben is not quite eight yet he is tall for his age so I opted for age 9 in the trousers and age 9/10 in the tops. 

When the uniform arrived I was immediately impressed with the appearance of it, vibrant colours,  good quality materials and attention to the details. 

The items were all a good fit on Ben, The trousers were a little long but tucked up easily and at the rate he is growing I doubt that would be needed in a few weeks time. The waist of the trousers is elasticated at the back which is different to the adjustable elastics and buttons at the sides that I'm used to but they were a really comfortable fit on Ben and although not loose or slack there is definitely room for growth. The fabric of these trousers is thick and I can see them being hard wearing.

Both the polo shirt and the sweatshirt were a lovely shade of red that complemented the grey perfectly. The polo shirt fabric is named on the website as lacoste knit, i'd not heard of this before but it actually looked almost mesh like but was still as soft as cotton, it looked breathable and like it would be nice and cool in hot summer days (if we get any!)

So first impressions are great but uniform has to survive rough treatment in our house, from climbing trees to playing football and cricket, over the last few weeks this uniform has been through it all and has had the mud and grass stains to prove it. It's been washed and dried multiple times and I am really impressed with the results. The colour has stayed really bright on the red tops and they've kept their shape well. The fabric of the trousers has softened and is less stiff than at first but they have not shrunk and barely show any signs of wear. 

Each time the uniform has been washed, I've been impressed at how easily an array of marks and stains have come clean out.

Overall I am thoroughly impressed with this uniform from Trutex and although the RRP is slightly more than I would normally pay, looking at the way it has worn so far I can see it lasting a lot longer than the supermarket brands and therefore saving money in the long run. 

To find your nearest stockist of Trutex school uniform pop over to their website.

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity