Reviews

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Fizz is a lovely of making videos so when she was sent the Stikbot Space station (£19 on Amazon) to make and review it was seemed like a great half term project. The set came and it included one Stikbot and all we needed to make a space station.

The box comes with all you need to make your own animations. However there is a lot of making going on and I have to admit that we haven’t got around to making any animations yet! No glue, no scissors and not much mess so that was a win for me!

Fizz found the instructions easy to follow and has managed to make most of the space set herself with little help. As she wants to do this herself it has meant delays have happened as she has spaced out making the kit up.

She has really enjoyed it so far though and has nearly completed the set which will enable her to make space themed animations. I think we will be buying a couple of extra figures though as the set only comes with one space explorer.

Having downloaded the app (free and a few seconds of time) we are almost ready to go. The app seems fairly easy to use and the stop motion seems simple enough too. My only worry is the time needed to produce a full video but I am sure over summer we will get the knack of it!

The Stikbot range is such a fun activity and I would definitely recommend these for a gift but maybe for the older kids. At 8 Fizz did get bored early but I think over the summer it might be the perfect activity! I am hoping this is a project she’ll want to revisit and have fun with again soon.

 

 

 

 

This half term we have scheduled a trip to Sealife Brighton. We have been gifted annual passes and with half term thunder storms looming we are looking for alternatives to spending a day at the park or beach. The SeaLife centre is one of the few places the kids are still excited to go to.

Late last week I took the youngest one to the complex. The parent and toddler ticket is perfect for this as you can spend as much time wondering around without feeling rushed. He hasn’t been since he was a small baby so it was lovely to see his amazement at the big fish, underwater tunnel and terrapins. He had such fun and I am sure we could have spent all day discovering!

This week I’ll be going again with the older two. The new Sea Stars exhibit looks great but we are really looking forward to Jurassic Stars which is running from 23rd May until the 3rd June. With Jedi learning about dinosaurs and dragons at school this is an ideal time to visit! I love that there is a fossil trail encouraging the kids to look out for certain fossils to discover a hidden word as well as there being arts and crafts. We did have a snack peek of the fossil sand tray which is perfect for little ones too.

If you are in Brighton on a short break this week or even having a staycation then the Brighton Attractions Combi saver is a fabulous idea too!

Let me know what you are getting up to this half term break.


As the seasons start to change again, many people start to prepare their homes for the weather that will come. They check the gutters are clear and the fences are painted. Of course, inside the house there is plenty to do too.
Checks on the boiler, clearing out the chimney, and a dozen other little chores can easily fill a weekend. When will you ever have time to freshen the decor? With summer and new light you’ll want to spruce it up, you’ll be noticing all those unfinished home jobs now. Here are my tips from natural looking laminate flooring (great for those of you with children or pets compared to carpets) to simple tricks like moving the furniture around to create a new look. It really is easy to create a new look ready for summer for a few sleek changes. 

Replace what is worn

If your wall art is looking frayed, it’s time to let it go. It’s impossible to create a fresh new look with ‘weathered’ items. The same goes with carpets & flooring. I think that I would go for a natural looking laminate flooring as this is so durable with children about.  

As for the walls? Repair what you can with options like filler. But if the bumps and cracks won’t sand down, it might be time to call the plasterer for a fresh finish.

Think about replacements

If you like to change things each season, then set your home up to make that easy to do. Pick furniture that is easy to move.

Choose sofas and cushions that are standard sizes so they can easily be covered and recovered when you fancy a fresh colour.

Make sure your base colour palette complements all the colour swatches you think you might lean toward when you want to change things up. Greys, creams, and olives all work well with a wide range of vibrant tones.

Painting yourself

If you choose to tackle the painting yourself, there are a few tips that can help you achieve a great finish. Start from the top down. That means, start with a satin or matt white ceiling. Here’s an example of what our finished boys room was like and the look we will go for in our living room.

Use wood paint for the doors, door frames, and skirting boards. Wait for all this to dry. If you spot spots of paint, you can use a baby wipe to remove them once they are dry.

Now use decorators tape to protect the white edges and block in your wall colour. You’re finally ready to get that roller busy!

Strong and subtle

Good decor usually features a strong accent colour and then several more subtle shades of the same. This also opens up the choices for soft furnishings or covers. So long as it matches one of those choices, it will probably work really well. You can do this for your window dressings, table cloths, vases, cushions, rugs, and wall art.

You might even paint the chimney breast in the strongest colour, or the wall around the window. A feature wall with lots of photos scattered all over is also a great idea and doesn’t cost much to do. 

Bold or block colours that are classic are great this season. We have just painted the boys room a denim blue with white skirting. It looks very strong and smart with minimum risk of grubby hands marks!

Moving around

Sometimes simply moving the position of your furniture can help to make it look like a completely different room. It can even help you to shift the focus in the living room. Lighting can do the same. Change the position or direction of the lights to highlight something else for a quick and easy change.

There are plenty of ways to freshen the room and even more ways to give the illusion you’ve worked hard on something new! Throws, cushions covers are a great way to give your seating a new lease of life/ I’m incorporating yellows and teals this spring. 

These are just a few ways that you can change up you home and your decor. If you try any of my ideas do let me know and I’d love to see some of your links over on my facebook page Free Spirit Living or tag me @chellemccann on Instagram.

 

I’d never thought of upgrading my previous change bag, after all I’d used it for my first born and had continued to make use of it as the years passed so we had got used to each other and did not consider making a change (not pun intended) when our second came along. However when I first saw the Skip Hop Duo Backpack I knew it was time, not only does it look good it also has a few features my previous bag was missing such as straps to attach to the buggy which I wanted to give me a spare hand again -perhaps more important with two children to manage now!
When the Duo arrived I was immediately impressed with the quality of the material used, it feels like it’ll last. The main pocket is large and although it did not come with a separate smaller change bag as some other brands do it does have inner pockets were you have a change mat (included) and two smaller pockets you can use for nappies/ wipes. You can then use the remainder of this area for whatever you wish – I’ve often put my supplies in here for both children and myself, it is large enough for a child’s lunch box and a large toy, but if you’re not worrying about what snacks your older child might need then there there is plenty of room for all of baby’s clothes/ toys/ bottles in here. There are also two smaller pockets on the front which I chose to use for spare clothes, a comfort toy and small essentials I might need like tissues and hand sanitiser. Another feature is two side netted pockets which I regularly use for items I need to access quickly such as a drink for me or my keys – they are very handy. At first I wasn’t sure everything I used to carry would all fit in comparison to the previous bag but the Duo did manage comfortably.
So now my bag is packed I tested it, and I really tested it. You name a generic daily task you complete and I’ve probably done it. We have travelled with it, done the school run, gone shopping, walked the dog, gone to parties and play dates. I’ve had it on the buggy, under the buggy, on my back… in all weathers. I did consider whether there would be a comfortable striding space with the bag attached to the buggy but have to say that this must have been considered at the product design stage as the strapping attaches to the buggy in such a way that allows the base of the bag to tilt towards the buggy to give your legs plenty of room, even my 6ft partner was pleased.
Something I never considered before however was what I would do with my change bag in a dubiously cleaned baby change area in a motorway service station, I would always try to balance it at the cleanest position I could and then struggle to get everything I needed out to change the baby before making the quickest exit I could – with the Duo this problem was solved as it was attached to the buggy and. ore importantly it gave me my hands back to get on with the job at hand. I could open it whilst it was still attached to the buggy and have access to everything without having to take it off from the nice, clean buggy it was attached to. It was a revelation and I knew I’d never go back to my old change bag after this.
I have to say I am impressed and it has never let me down. I may not have never thought of upgrading initially but since using the Duo I haven’t look back once.

We are right next to Brighton Racecourse and this time of year there is so much wildlife around to see on our daily walks around this green area of Brighton. We were sent the Outdoor Adventure Range from Brainstorm to help with our nature walks and we loved using them over the last few weeks.

We were sent the night time vision torch, magnifying glass and binoculars. The second two have been pretty much part of daily life since!

Jedi loves the magnifying glass and spotting caterpillars, snails and all the things along the ground/below knee height. Fizz decided the binoculars were hers and has pretty much become a bird spotter (and some butterflies too!).

We have yet to use the night-time vision torch as it is still light at bedtime but I think towards the end of the summer we will get this out to use again.

Here are the photos of our daily adventures!

We would really recommend these products if you want to encourage your child to learn about nature, natural habitats and also responsible ways to protect nature as they will create great discussions whenever you use them!