Frost Book Review – A Winter Animal Story

Eva received a copy of the Frost book to review last week, reissued and redesigned with a dazzling new cover! Frost is written by bestselling author Holly Webb and award-winning illustrator Britta Teckentrup. A perfect, read aloud, heart-warming winter tale full of wondrous animal adventure.

Frost Book Review

Frost Book – Eva’s Thoughts

Eva really enjoyed the illustrations throughout the book. Frost, a cute fox gets Cassie to follow him. She transports back to the Frost Fair on the frozen Thames which sounds really exciting too. She finds out Frost is a big sister and helps feed them with sausage rolls. Eva thinks this is lovely of Cassie as Frost needs her help.

Frost & Cassie - A Winter animal story

Frost 

Cassie’s neighbours all complain about the foxes hanging around the flat she lives in, close to the river Thames. Cassie thinks the foxes are beautiful though and has a favourite fox! A small fox with a white tail-tip Cassie calls Frost is her favourite. 

One night Cassie spots Frost looking cold and thin so she decides to sneak him some food. Frost wants her to follow him and leads Cassie towards the river where she feels the world change around her! She finds herself back in the 17th century- at the time of the Frost Fair on the frozen Thames. Cassie is thrilled by the sights and sound of the famous fair, then she glimpses a fox with a white tail-tip! 

Frost wants Cassie to follow him again, can she find a way to return Frost to his countryside home? 

Halloween Books For Kids

There are some fantastic Halloween books for kids of all ages. The girls absolutely love Halloween and a good spooky story to get stuck in to. Together we have put together a list of books we think are perfect for Halloween! Mostly suitable for children aged 7 to 9 but we’ve also included a super cute book perfect for 3-5 years too.

Halloween books for kids

Halloween Books For Kids – Night of the Living Ted

This is the first book in a hilarious new series by Barry Hutchison and illustrated by Lee Cosgrove. This funny yet scary book is aimed at 7 to 9 year olds. Eva recently reviewed Night of the Living Ted and absolutely loved it.

Night of the Living Ted - Book Review

Lisa-Marie & her step-brother Vernon pop into town in search of a birthday present for their dad. They discover a Create-a-Ted shop offering free Halloween Bears! That night the shopkeeper brings the bears to life for nefarious purposes but Vernon’s bear, Grizz doesn’t want to be a slave to humans. Grizz wants to rule the world! Having converted the shopkeeper’s Stuff-U-Lator into a machine for turning living matter into stuffed bears, he begins to prowl the streets. Can the children and Bearvis save themselves and the world from being stuffed?

Vlad The Worlds Worst Vampire Series

Vlad the worlds wors vampire series

We simply couldn’t pick a favourite from the Vlad the worlds worst vampire series. We’ve reviewed 3 of the Vlad books so far including Vlad the Worlds Worst Vampire,Fang-tastic Friends & Midnight Fright. In this funny series Vlad the worlds worst vampire faces many problems sneaking off to human school! Will he ever be a good enough vampire to earn his bat license? These are a great selection of Halloween books for children aged 7 to 9 years.

Hounds of Penhallow Hall – The Secrets Tree

For children who love a good mystery, The secrets tree is a great read this Halloween. Polly & rex are in search of a new ghost dog whilst celebrations are in full swing at the stately home. They come across a dog’s head carved in a door down the old stable block. They also wake a terrier called patch, only for him to run away.

The Secrets Tree

Polly & rex find him hiding in a hollow tree and find themselves on the trail of an even greater mystery. Inside the tree is a coded message! Can Polly & Rex unravel the mystery of the dog’s young master and his brother?

I’m Just a Little Vampire (Google-eye book)

This cure rhyming googly-eye book is perfect for little ones ages 3 to 5 years. Little vampire tells you all about his vampire life throughout this adorable rhyming book. The googly eyes wobble about as you turn the pages, delighting younger children!

It can be hard including younger children in Halloween excitement without scaring them but this book is perfect. Izzy loves this book, she received it last year and regularly pulls it out to be read to her.

Do your kids have any favourite Halloween books? 

Halloween Party Foods

We’ve been checking out Halloween party foods this week. The girls have half term this Halloween so we are planning a spooky week full of spooky foods, crafts, games & more!

Halloween Party Foods

Halloweiners

Heck Halloweiners

Heck sausages have created Halloweiners containing pork, pumpkin & black treacle! They also contain a dash of red chilli but not enough to be noticeable, especially for children. These gluten-free and dairy-free sausages are perfect for everyone. You can find these in store at Sainsburys from October 10th.

Halloween Party Foods

We were kindly sent some Halloweiners to try and I have to say, I am in love! I am extremely fussy when it comes to sausages, I tend to stick to pork & honey chipolatas. The Halloweiners are lovely though and I would happily eat these any day! None of us are overly keen on pumpkin but there wasn’t too much in these so they tasted just right.

Halloweiners cooking

We cooked up the Halloweiners for ourselves and a friend to try, we all quickly demolished them. I’m impressed we all enjoyed them with an extremely fussy eater, kind of fussy eater and someone who will eat most things. I think that says a lot! I had hoped to get a photo of the cooked sausages but we accidentally ate them before I had the chance, they smelled so good!

Fiendish Fancies

Who doesn’t love a French fancy? Mr Kipling has created these Fiendish Fancies, perfect for a Halloween spread. Morrison’s currently have Fiendish Fancies on offer for £1.

Fiendish Fancies

These delicious little treats are orange flavour sponge with a vanilla topping, drenched in orange coloured fondant icing. We love these and finished the box a little too quickly so we’ll be buying more! 

Spooky Skulls Gingerbread

Decorate your own Spooky Skulls

We regularly shop in Morrison’s who create fantastic gingerbread kits to suit different events. For Halloween this year they have created Spooky Skulls to decorate with Purple (WIN!) icing and chocolate beans!

Kids love decorating their own gingerbread then demolishing them after. These are a fab activity and snack whilst watching Halloween films. These fab packs are £2 in store.

Which Halloween Party Foods are your favourite?

Stain-Free School Uniform – #AceForSchool

A stain-free school uniform is every mum’s mission when the school term starts. You can guarantee those fresh, crisp white shirts will come home with some kind of stain. Luckily Ace for Colours and Ace Stain Remover Spray are here to help you keep uniform stain-free!

#AceForSchool

#AceForSchool Perfect For School Uniform

Ace products are fantastic for stain-free school uniform and keeping colours bright. The stain remover spray tackles grease, germs and stubborn stains, gently lifting the stain and brightening clothing. Ace for colours can be added to your washing machine drum to help lift any stains and brighten colours. 

Stained School Tops

My daughters kindly came home last week with stained tops. Izzy had picked a scab on her chin and had blood on her collar. 

Blood stained collar

Eva is earning her pen license in school at the moment, so she came home with a nice black ink stain. 

Ink Stain

Luckily I had the Ace remover spray so I gave both tops a good soak with it. I left it for a little while before putting them in to the washing machine. 

Ace Stain Remover Spray

Stain-Free School Uniform

I really didn’t expect the blood to wash out of Izzy’s school top as it had left a smear across a chunk too. Ace stain remover spray did a fantastic job at removing the blood stains though. The top is now stain-free and a lovely, fresh white again! 

Stain-free School Uniform with #AceForSchool

Obviously, black handwriting pen ink wasn’t likely to come out in the wash. However, Ace stain remover spray once again did a fantastic job! I was really surprised just how well Ace stain remover spray worked. We’re back to having stain-free school uniform thanks to Ace!

stain-free school uniform

I’ve been adding Ace for Colour straight in the washing machine drum with the clothing to help keep them cleaner and brighter and we are really noticing the difference! Dull school uniform is no more with Ace for Colours!

Have you used Ace products before?

This post is an entry for the BritMums #ACEforSchool Challenge, sponsored by ACE. Get help for all kinds of stains with the ACE Stain Helper. http://www.acecleanuk.co.uk/ or to buy head to your local Tesco’s, Morrison’s, Waitrose or Sainsbury’s

Treat Yourself With Nightwear From Yawn

How often do you treat yourself? I know it’s not often for me but it’s lovely when I do treat myself. There is simply nothing better than curling up in comfortable nightwear after a long day and Yawn have some beautiful nighties and pyjama sets.

Yawn was set up by Alice who has a fantastic business sense and believes in taking it slow, attracting brilliant partners and having fun and laughing. What’s not to love about that? 

A few years ago I was completely frazzled juggling the demands of management consultancy with a young family. I had lost passionI advising other businesses and had become really tired. I dreamt of creating a beautiful business all about helping other women to switch off more.  Yawn was born, not just to remind me to relax, but to create a different kind of business: positive, collaborative and slow. 

Alice – Yawn

Yawn produces beautiful designs and relaxing nightwear for women and I was kindly sent a Dark Blue Night T to review which I am a little bit in love with!

Dark Blue Night T

The gorgeous lightweight, luxurious feeling jersey fabric, Dark Blue Night T just screams comfort. I’m 5ft 1″ and wearing an xs, this lovely nightdress comes to just about my knees.  I love how you can curl up into it, perfect for those lazy mornings curled up with a cup of tea.

Treat Yourself - Dark Blue Night T From Yawn

I had to ask Eva to take a photo of me for a change for this post. I’m very uncomfortable having serious photos taken of me but feeling comfortable in this gorgeous nightie certainly helped.

Treat Yourself

If you are going to treat yourself make sure you check out the stunning range of nightwear from Yawn. This lovely Dark Blue Night T is £49 and worth every penny. As a spoonie who spend a lot of time indoors, comfortable nightwear is a must. Sometimes a little treat can really pick you up!

Have you treated yourself lately? Do you love nightwear?

AYESHA TANIA CROWNED WINNER OF INTERNATIONAL ART COMPETITION

Budding 11-year-old local artist to have artwork displayed across the UK and Ireland.

Following a public vote, eleven-year-old Ayesha Tania from Newport has been announced as the winner of the BIC® KIDS Young Artist Award 2018, which was developed to celebrate and inspire creativity from 5-11-year-old children this summer.

After receiving nearly 1,000 entries from across the UK and Ireland, 14 regional winners were selected by a panel of experts to face off in a public vote between 27th August and 9th September. Parents and children then cast nearly 20,000 votes to crown Ayesha, the finalist who represented Wales, our overall winnerFinalists had their artwork displayed on billboards across the UK and Ireland throughout the voting period, and as the overall champion, Ayesha’s artwork will be seen on a further selection of billboards from the end of September. She will also win a bespoke art party for her friends and family, courtesy of BIC®.

To be crowned nationwide champion, Ayesha entered an expertly crafted macaw pencil drawing. Ayesha’s success this year comes after the talented young artist was also announced as one of the 2017 winners.

Illustrator Phil Corbett, who sat on the judging panel for this the competition, said: “We’re thrilled to announce Ayesha as the 2018 winner of the BIC® KIDS Young Artist Award. Her macaw drawing is technically outstanding. The bird itself is so vibrant and realistic but the background is also extremely well put together. The fact that Ayesha was also a winner last year shows that she really does have huge amounts of artistic skill.”

Rebecca Huda, BIC® UK and Ireland’s Product Manager – Stationery, said: “We were incredibly impressed by the quality of submissions received and diverse subject matters tackled by young artists from all across the country. It was immensely difficult for our panel of experts to whittle the artworks down to just 14 finalists in the first place, so to win the title of overall winner really is a huge accolade for Ayesha.

“We’d like to thank all of the participants and encourage everyone who entered to continue nurturing their artistic talent. We hope to see even more entries next year!”

MOT Testing – Why Is It Important?

MOT testing is important when it comes to car care and passenger safety. October is fall car care month, as winter approaches it’s essential to ensure your vehicle is completely safe.

MOT Testing - Why Is It Important

Why is MOT Testing Important?

With the clocks going back in October the days are much darker often with adverse weather. The UK has had increasingly colder winters with more flooding & snow than recent years. Adverse weather can take it’s toll on your vehicle and may cause damage.

Ensuring your MOT is up to date can prevent a road accident. Putting off your MOT test could seriously impact yourself, your passengers and other road users. It’s always better to catch issues early on and have them fixed. 

MOT Testing

An MOT test is carried out by a  professional and should be done so yearly. This is required by law. The professional will need to check several things including:

  • Tyres 
  • Windscreen wipers and washers
  • Indicators
  • Brake lights
  • Exhaust system
  • The general condition of the body structure and chassis.

These are vital checks of the overall vehicle safety, roadworthiness and exhaust emissions of your vehicle. If any of these fail to meet the standards your vehicle will fail the MOT. To obtain an MOT certificate you will need to ensure any necessary works are carried out.

How To Book An MOT Test

There are several ways you can book an MOT test including online, by phone or in person. You can schedule your MOT test online today with Iverson Tyres from the comfort of your own home. The test takes 45 minutes to complete with Iverson Tyres. If the vehicle passes the inspection you will be issued an MOT certificate on the spot. If there are any issues Iverson Tyres can suggest the necessary work needed.

Have you had your MOT test yet?

Ladies Handbag From Estarer

I received a ladies handbag from Estarer to review this week. I am extremely fussy when it comes to handbags, it has to be functional. The first thing I noticed about this large ladies handbag from Estarer is the many pockets!

Estarer

Estarer was established in 2012 to give customers cheap but high-quality bags and cases. Their goal is to create a range of fashionable and practical bags/cases with excellent customer service and an easy, secure online shopping experience.

Ordering

I ordered the handbag from Amazon and it arrived sooner than expected. I ordered on Thursday morning and given an expected delivery date of Monday.

Unfortunately, I missed the delivery on Friday. Luckily I was able to collect the handbag the next day at my local Royal Mail depot.

Ladies Handbag - Estarer

The bag came with a service card inside promising a 30-day refund from receipt of purchase along with a 365-day quality warranty. If you scan the service card with a QR reader you can receive a 60% discount off your next purchase, an extra 365-day warranty on your purchase or pick 1 of 3 free gifts!

Ladies Handbag

Estarer has recently launched this new large ladies handbag which is available on Amazon for £25.99 with free delivery. These lovely handbags are crafted from durable, scratch-resistant PU leather with high-quality zippers and a soft lining.

There are multiple pockets including –

  • Main Compartment (Fits books/A4 Folders)
  • Mesh Water Bottle Pocket (Fits 500ml water bottle)
  • A padded tablet sleeve
  • 2 quick access pockets for purses and mobile phones
  • Side pocket with a key leash
  • An inner Zip pocket for passports
  • Front organiser pocket for cards, pens and notebooks.
  • Rear sleeve

No matter what you carry in your handbag, there’s a place for it with this lovely handbag. All the pockets are practical sizes so you can store everything you need for a day out, work or school.

A Versatile Necessity

Estarer has thought of everything to make this handbag practical and comfortable with a cross-body strap. This versatile bag is a necessity and will go with any outfit. Whether for work, school or family days out, this handbag is a great buy. I’m a big fan of cross-body bags, they feel much safer when out and about. With a pocket for absolutely everything and at a reasonable price, this handbag is perfect!

What do you think of the Estarer Ladies Handbag?

Why Is Home-Schooling Increasing?

Do you wonder why is home-schooling increasing rapidly? Surely everyone sends their children to school? It’s the done thing! But what if schooling isn’t right for your child? Your Thurrock reported this week on the increase of home-schooling in Thurrock and unfortunately, I hardly find it surprising at all.

Why Is Home-Schooling Increasing?

When the figures are compared to the rest of the county, the number of children home-schooled in Thurrock in 2017 is equal to 43 percent of the total number of children being home-schooled across the county.

The figures released by the county council show that 750 children are currently being home-schooled in Essex, excluding the unitary authorities of Southend and Thurrock. Your Thurrock

Home-schooling is an option many parents are desperately turning to as a last resort. Parents are seeing their children struggle with the workload, the expectations, the social expectations & being bullied and the effects it has on their children’s mental health.

Mental Health

Mental health is one of the major concerns for parents when it comes to schooling. Often schools are so over-crowded many students struggle to be heard in class when they need help. Many are overlooked for simply behaving well whilst teachers focus on those that aren’t behaving and disrupting the class. This leaves many children feeling lost and unsure with little to no confidence. Often Home-schooling is introduced to help the child build confidence with one to one learning.

The stress and strain of arriving on time, every day, perfectly dressed and homework completed can be too much for some children. Children are feeling more anxious than ever over schooling. Homework is increasing from as early as Reception with Maths, English, Reading and creative homework to fit in weekly. Often children have after-school clubs to attend on top. With little or no downtime for children and so many pressures, this often leads to meltdowns at home, where the child feels comfortable enough to let it all out. Sometimes this can be too much for the family all around. Often leading to the decision that home-schooling may be the best option.

School is overwhelming for many, being cramped in a small classroom with 30 other students chatting, homework demands, keeping track of personal belongings. For some children, it is simply too much to cope with. Eva struggled with headaches when she started in the year, with so many others making noise and so many demands, it was overwhelming her. Even now she often comes home desperate to unwind, and then I have to present homework to her. She loves school and learning but there are times we have seriously considered home-schooling. Eva, like many children, works best with one on one learning and schools just can’t provide this for every child.

Bullying

Bullying is of course now much worse than it has ever been. There is often no escape for children these days thanks to social media and mobile phones. Many children are hounded and harassed at home, school and online, with no escape. Being constantly connected makes it difficult for schools to fully monitor the situation and much is missed. This obviously has an extremely severe impact on a child’s mental health and this stays with them all their life.

As a parent of a child who has been bullied, I can honestly say there was not enough done to improve the situation. Children are left mostly unattended at lunchtime when most of the bullying occurs and often children are too scared to let a teacher know what is going on.

Bullying can cause self-harm and suicidal thoughts which teachers are generally oblivious to. Schools may try to tackle bullying but often it leads to the bullied child having to move school or turn to home-schooling.

Better Education

As I mentioned further up the post, many classes are crowded with 30 or more students. When you have 30 children and maybe 2 or at maximum 3 teachers in that class that’s 10-15 children each. How many of those children get ignored because they are quiet? How many are too shy to ask or help and feel they are bothering the teachers? How many sit through a class completely confused? And how many finish up without completing the work or have a basic understanding of the topic?

Many are turning to home-schooling because they know they can provide a better education for their children. Home-schooling allows one to one support with learning styles tailored to the child, not just a ‘one size fits all’. With that extra support, many children whose education has previously suffered at school have now flourished being home-schooled.

Mr Kitney from Inside Martyns Thoughts home schools his eldest son whose education has flourished where he had previously struggled in a school environment. When you see such a huge change in a child you can genuinely see why home-schooling is increasing rapidly.

Why Is Home-schooling Increasing?

Parents want to provide a good education for their children but not at the risk of their children’s mental health. As parents, we want to know that schools are protecting our children, that they aren’t at risk of being bullied, self-harming, feeling suicidal and struggling. Unfortunately for many, schools just aren’t equipped to ensure that happens. We know the educational system is failing many of our children, this is why more parents are deciding home-schooling is a better option for their child.

What do you think about the increase of home-schooling?

Delicious Adagio Teas Review & Giveaway

Delicious Adagio Teas offer a wide selection of gourmet teas, some of which I received to review. I also have some samples and an IngenuiTEA Infuser for one lucky winner, simply enter the Rafflecoptor below.

Selection of artisan teas from Adagio Teas

Adagio Teas

Adagio Teas are hand-picked sourced from the origin, working directly with the farmers who produce them in their native countries. Coming straight from the source means Adagio Teas are brimming with far more nutrients. All of Adagio Teas are full leaf with no added sugar and all-natural flavours.

They also have a lovely herbal range for those preferring caffeine-free teas. Adagio Teas are Vegan and Gluten Free, all flavours in herbal teas are from essential oils and the traditional teas are pure leaves.

Teaware

Not only do Adagio Teas offer a fine selection of artisan teas, but they also have a fantastic range of Teaware. PersonaliTEA Porcelain Small Tea Cups, Teapots & Cups with Infusers. This range comes in multiple colours & I kindly sent out purple for my review.

PersonaliTEA Purple Porcelain Range

The elegant purple 600ml ceramic teapot has a large infuser basket for loose tea. The non-drip spout is fantastic for avoiding spills and it just looks gorgeous! To finish the set the 2 matching cups are 120ml and both the teapot and cups are dishwasher safe.

The purple porcelain cup and infuser with lid has a stainless steel infuser for loose tea leaves. The lid doubles as a coaster for the infuser when it is time to remove the tea leaves. This 350ml cup is 9cm in diameter and as with the rest of the purple porcelain, dishwasher safe.

Delicious Adagio Teas

I was sent a selection of delicious Adagio Teas Samples to try including –

Tears of India & Sri Lanka 
Earl Grey Teas
Orchard Oolong Teas
Berries Teas
Orchard Herbals
Oolong Teas of China
Sweet Tooth Teas
Orchard Green Teas

Each of these sample boxes contains 4 different artisan loose leaf teas of various flavours. Each flavour is individually packaged in resealable pouches for easy storage & freshness.

Orchard Herbals - Adagio Teas Loose Leafe Teas

Along with the sample boxes we received two special collections including the Fairy Tales Pyramid Teabags andThe London Collection.

Fairy Tale Pyramid Teabags

Fairy Tales Pyramid Teabags From Adagio Teas

The girls insisted we try the Fairy Tale Pyramid Teabags first, no surprise there! This stunning collection includes ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Snow White’ & ‘Cinderella’.

Cinderella

A herbal tea blend to wake Sleeping Beauty from an ageless sleep. Magically created by the good fairies Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather.

We decided to try the Sleeping Beauty tea First, both girls had to join in so we used Izzy’s tiny Frog mug too. This collection is caffeine-free so it’s perfect for anyone looking for a caffeine-free tea that is tasty too!

Adagio Teas - Fairy Tale Pyramid Teabags - Sleeping Beauty

The Sleeping Beauty tea was divine and one we all really enjoyed. The fairytale collection is amazingly delicious and the tins are lovely to keep.

Snow White

An apple tea blend to help Snow White Ward off the wicked Queen’s poisonous spell and wake with the gentle kiss from her handsome prince

Cinderella

A Pumpkin tea blend to transport Cinderella away from the wicked stepmother, to the Royal Ball and the attention of her Prince.

The London Collection 

The London Collection - Loose Leaf Teas

This collection of 6 different flavours are all with London based names. A selection of loose leaf teas perfect for a flavourful tea infusion. The collection includes:

  • Oxford Steep
  • Earl of Westminster
  • Covent Garden Chai
  • The Crown Jewels
  • Double Decker
  • Piccadilly Citrus. 
The London Collection - Piccadilly Citrus - Adagio Teas

IngenuiTEA Infuser

Looking for an infuser that will attach to any cup? The IngenuiTEA is the answer! Simply add your tea leaves, pour in hot water and let them steep. When you place the IngenuiTEA Infuser on top of your cup it will release a valve. This valve allows your tea to flow down into your cup whilst the mesh filter retains your leaves.

IngenuiTEA Infuser - Adagio Teas

Easy to clean and dishwashable, this fab device fits cups up to 9.5cm diameter and is BPA-free. 

Giveaway

Delicious Adagio Teas Review & Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
UK Entrants Only.
Contact details will be pass on to Adagio Teas solely for the purpose of sending out your prize.

Do you love the sound of Adagio Teas?