Sunday, 31 July 2016

Books are #MySundayPhoto

Our son has always loved books, and I spent so many hours reading to him as a baby.  It was the only way to get him to sit still!

He's a very strong reader for his age, and loves reading loads of books.  For a while now he's been reading to himself at night (after some facts about his favourite football team from us) and loves so many different types of books.

He demolished this lot very quickly, so we're now swapping some of these with his friends, and of course doing the summer reading challenge at our local library.

I love that he reads so much, and really gets engrossed in a good book.  What do you love reading?

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Holiday shopping with Primark at The Fort continued

Like a lot of kids, our seven year old son loves hanging out in tracksuit bottoms and football tops, and getting him to wear something a bit smarter can be a challenge sometimes.  So when I went holiday clothes shopping with Primark at The Fort Shopping Centre in Birmingham, I set myself a challenge to find something comfortable but slightly smarter for him.

Primark opened at The Fort in March and is a tidy, spacious shop with two floors and everything you could imagine.  It's perfect for kitting the whole family out with brilliant fashion at great value prices.

There was lots of choice of older kids clothes, and as our son wears age 9-10 clothes these days, I always look for nice clothes without some of the more grown up slogans and brand names for him.  Primark didn't let me down, and I chose this fab outfit for him:

Brushed denim drawstring jeans £8
High top navy canvas baseball boots £8
Striped polo T shirt £4.50

The jeans are a lovely brushed denim, really soft and comfortable fitting.  Our son won't normally wear jeans, but with the drawstring adjustable waistband and loose fit, these were a great fit that he doesn't mind wearing all day.  The T shirt is fab, and again a really soft cotton.  I love the stripes and blue colour which look great on him.

And finally, the canvas baseball boots are just great, and a complete bargain for £8.  They're really well made, comfortable and set this outfit off perfectly.  £20.50 is such great value, with everything good quality and comfortable, he will get lots of wear out of it.

With loads of free parking, and great facilities for families including car buggies for hire, and child safe wristbands, we're regular shoppers at The Fort Shopping Park, and I love that you can browse and get everything you need in one location.  We always love to go to Frankie and Bennys or Nandos when we're there too.

I'll definitely go back to the rather fab Primark at The Fort again.  It's a great store, brilliant value and has everything to stock the whole family wardrobe up for the summer,  Perfect!

You can see the holiday outfit I chose for our daughter at the Summer holiday clothes shopping with Primark at The Fort post.

I was invited by The Fort to go holiday shopping at Primark with a free gift voucher.  All thoughts, choices and words are my own.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Summer holiday shopping with Primark at The Fort

Earlier this year, Primark opened at The Fort Shopping Park just on the outskirts of Birmingham.  With two floors, a new building with over 45,000 square foot of shopping, I couldn't believe my luck with The Fort invited me to do some holiday shopping for the kids there.

The store is absolutely immaculate and well organised, with grown up stock on the ground floor, kids and home on the top floor.  The store itself has plenty of space and is really welcoming.  It gives the impression that you could spend as much time as you want in there, browsing for hours or easily heading straight for the section you want.

I headed upstairs for the kids' section, and oh gosh, what a great kids' section it is.  The clothes are set out into girl/boy and age and there is everything for every age - shoes, accessories, underwear, tops, bottoms, you name it.  It really is a one stop shop, with everything you could need at great prices.

I set about looking for a holiday outfit for toddler girl.  There was loads of choice and it was all such great value; T shirts were around £1.50 each, leggings around £2.  Some of the clothes were branded too - I saw Minions, Peppa Pig and other Disney T shirts and accessories.  Everything was decent quality and fashionable with something for every taste.

Toddler girl loves to play outside so I was looking for an outfit for her that was comfortable and would be suitable for playing on a beach, at the park and would also work for eating out in the early evening.  I chose:

Blue flowery sun dress £2.50
Navy leggings £1.90
White sun glasses £1
Pink plimsoles £3
Blue polka dot sun hat £3
Navy cotton cardigan £5

This lovely outfit is right up our daughter's street.  For hot days, the really lovely dress with fab polk dot hat and sunglasses will help keep her cool.  The addition of the leggings means it's versatile and comfortable for climbing and running around.  The cardigan is perfect for cooler evenings when we're eating out and smartens up the whole outfit (as much as a three year old ever needs to look smart!). 

What do you think?  I love it, and think she looks great.  At just £16.40, this is such brilliant value and I know we'll get loads of wear out of her outfit on holiday and at home.  I was really surprised at the quality too, with high fashion and great value I didn't expect such a good fit and for everything to be well made across the outfit.  The cardigan in particular is made of cotton and really excellent.

We will definitely be back to Primark at The Fort Shopping Park in Birmingham. It's a fab store to stock up on fab fashion at amazing prices.  With all The Fort's great facilities for families too (like kiddie cars, a pay-for soft play zone and really excellent baby change and feeding facilities), it's an easy and enjoyable day out for everyone.

Check back tomorrow for my choice of outfit from Primark at The Fort for our son.  At seven, he's a bit older than our daughter, but the choice was still great!

I was invited by The Fort to go holiday shopping at Primark with a free gift voucher.  All thoughts, choices and words are my own.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

A summer front porch is #MySundayPhoto

The pots in our front porch look lovely at the moment.  I'm not a garden designer and I'm very sure these would never be allowed into Chelsea, but just love the splash of colour next to our house.

Very often you can hear bees humming around the flowers too - lovely.  It really cheers up the quite dark entrance to our house.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Cheers and tears at an end of year concert

Even when you thought I wasn't looking, I was watching you at your end of year school concert.

When everyone was nervously watching at the start, laughing at the humour and cheering at the end, I was watching you.

You stood out from the other 90 children, like the shinest, brightest star in the sky.  I know of course where the last seven years have gone, but still it seems unbelievable that you were standing there looking so grown up.  Sitting, listening, narrating in your own mature way.

You were unswayed by distractions, still in your seat.  Listening, watching, doing what you knew was right.  Somehow you've always been like this at school, but you stood out for it so much today.  While other children were fidgeting, trying to talk, you just sat, quietly.  Maturely.

And I was so proud.  So unbelievably proud of you.  I don't know how you are who you are, whether you were always going to be this way, or if it's because of us.  It doesn't seem possible that I am even in a small way responsible for you, the brilliant, funny, articulate, healthy you that you are.

And still and always, my heart could've burst today, watching you.  All the way through, sometimes out of the corner of my eye, sometimes facing you square on.

Sometimes with a smile, and sometimes with tears in my eyes.  You were brilliant my boy, you always are.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Am I the only person who didn't know this?

There's an easy way to tell which side your petrol tank is on from within the car.  I've been driving for nearly 20 years, and I never knew...

See the arrow next to the fuel symbol?  It points to the side your petrol tank is on.

Who knew?

(oh, and I must get my tyre pressures checked so the warning light goes off)

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Noticing baby conkers on the way to the park

Toddler girl and I went to the park at the weekend.  It was a lovely day, and we spent ages talking about all the things we could see on the way.

We passed a few horse chestnut trees, and these baby conkers really caught toddler girl's eye.

They were really small, probably just a cm or two across and such a bright vibrant green compared to the thick green leaves.  I was also amazed to see the beginnings of brown spots on the leaves, a sure sign of the inevitability of autumn and the richness of colours those leaves will turn into.

I can't wait to go back and collect some of the conkers to play with later in the year, but in the meantime it's lovely to enjoy summer and notice them growing.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Tinned tomato comparison - Ocado vs Cook Italian chopped tomatoes

Tinned tomatoes are essential in any food cupboard, in our house we use them as the basis for so many slow cooker dishes.  I always look for good value chopped tinned tomatoes and I love the rich thick varieties, so thought I'd give Ocado's own brand a run against the premium Cook Italian version I usually buy.

Both chopped tinned tomatoes promise Italian chopped tomatoes in a rich tomato juice and come in 400g tins.  Both also have a handy ring pull lid, to save getting the tin opener out.

The ingredients listed are Ocado: tomato (65%), tomato juice, acidity regulator (citric acid) and Cook Italian: Italian tomatoes (65%), concentrated Italian tomato juice, acidity regulator citric acid.

So far so similar, how different can chopped tinned tomatoes be, really?

Well the similarities don't end there!  Both tins are produced and packed in Italy, and the format and printing of the best before dates and batch codes look remarkably similar.

The look of both tins opened is remarkably similar too.  Very similar colours and richness of sauce for both. 

Could these be exactly the same chopped tomatoes but in a different tin?  You decide!

A four pack of Cook Italian chopped tinned tomatoes in July 16 retails at £3 at Ocado.  A four pack of Ocado chopped Italian tinned tomatoes is available for £1.39.

Which would you buy?