Review – Hobbycraft wooden advent calendar

Even as adults, hubby & I still tend to have a chocolate advent calendar – you know, we’re still big kids! We’ve forfeited them this year though as we both eat enough chocolate as it is. For the last couple of years I’ve really fancied a wooden advent calendar (either pre-made or DIY) but have just never got around to getting one. I was recently given the opportunity to review a DIY wooden advent calendar from Hobbycraft so I excitedly jumped at the chance as I haven’t gotten crafty since last Christmas!

I received a tree shaped advent calendar and some supplies in order to complete the calendar:

I didn’t have a couple of other colours I needed for some of the drawer designs I had in mind so I had a look through my own (limited) supplies. The advent calendar is much bigger than I was expecting it to be (it is 50 x 44 x 7 cm) but it means the drawers are plenty big enough to fit plenty of treats inside! 
The calendar doesn’t need priming or anything, the acrylic paint will go straight on with pretty much one coat so it didn’t take long to paint the main part. The drawers were the most time consuming, but I wanted them all to be slightly different – if they were to be all the same colour it wouldn’t take long at all. The other time consuming part was waiting for the paint to dry between adding detail & glitter as the paint did take quite a while, so I completed the calendar in two evenings (4-5 hours in total, so it could probably be done in one day). 
Considering I don’t really do a lot of crafts, I’m quite impressed with the finished calendar (any untidy parts you might spot are by my helper, the husband!):

I’m still not exactly sure what I’m going to put in it yet. I was thinking of Christmas activities to coincide with our Elf coming to stay, but I might put the odd treat in there too. 
The plain wooden advent calendars from Hobbycraft are priced at £15 – I think this is a brilliant price for the size and it’s very sturdy so will last & last. Other supplies can be purchased from Hobbycraft too. I definitely recommend having a go!
My rating – 5/5

I was sent these products free of charge to review. All thoughts & opinions are honest & my own.

Little man J at 2 years 8 months old

So my biggest little man is going to be three in 4 months time! How? How?! I must say I am really dreading him becoming a ‘threenager’ as he is absolute terror enough at the moment and we are really struggling with him.

He is becoming more & more independent every day. He can now manage to unfasten and take his shoes off, he takes his own coat off, he starting to be able to undress himself. He’s progressed really slow in these areas (but advanced in others) but we are finally getting there – since he’s been at nursery he has been progressing so fast.

His vocabulary is coming on in leaps & bounds. In his last update I mentioned that he needed more encouragement in saying simple sentences – well he is now coming out with the most random sentences, using the longest words ever! He takes me by surprise every week now and I have to ask him to repeat it as I think I’m hearing things. He likes saying ‘That’s my favourite’ at the minute. Some words are so funny though as he means one thing but it sounds like another rude word – for example, ‘smack’ comes out as ‘f**k’ (he says this when I ask what he did to N – you’ll find out further down) and ‘stick’ comes out as ‘s**t’! I shouldn’t laugh but it’s too funny. He can now count to 10 unprompted too – it’s taken a while but he’c catching up! – and he knows all of the colours.

He is loving reading at the minute and often repeats what’s coming next (mainly because we read the same ones so often!). His favourite books at the minute are Stick Man and his Iggle Piggle words book. I have finally moved all books from his reach though as he is a bit of a book ninja and more often than not, rips pages – they’ve had to be sellotaped back together – so now I’m mainly buying board books! His favourite song/rhyme at the minute is Row Row Row Your Boat, and he loves screaming at the crocodile part – ear plugs are essential!

He is being such a pain food wise at the minute. Every week I will collect him from nursery and he will have eaten something that he won’t touch at home (grr). At home, he will ask for something, take one bite then decide ‘No I don’t like it’ and ‘You eat it’ (grr). Meal times are a pain in the rear as he will barely eat anything, but I don’t give him anything different unless I know it’s something he genuinely doesn’t like as I’m not cooking two different meals when N will eat what we eat (most of it he is just being awkward with though). His favourite foods are the minute are grapes, sausages (still), bread & butter, and jelly.

As I said above, he is being such a little terror at the moment. We’re really struggling with his behaviour towards N. He will smack him, push him over, throw toys at him, sit on him if he’s on his knees, poke him in the eyes… I know some will say this is normal toddler behaviour towards younger siblings- which yes it is – but the way I am feeling at the minute it is getting me down so much as you just can’t do anything with him. Anything we have tried, doesn’t work. He will just do it again. And again. And again. Even at stay & plays they have noticed, so it’s not just me. I’m going to write a separate post about it as I have so much to say, but we have a health visitor coming out on Monday to discuss it.

Apart from the extreme terror that he is being right now, he is doing great and I say it every time, but I’m proud & amazed at the bright, clever little boy he is becoming.

Family Friday

Review – Organix baby & toddler products

With a greedy toddler & baby in this house, who never stop eating (well obviously they do at some point, but it doesn’t feel like it!), I have to make sure that I’ve got plenty of snacks and the like for them as one of them will be wanting food at practically every point in the day. The lovelies at Organix recently sent us a box of goodies for J & N to try out.

In the goody box, we received:

  • multigrain mini cereal puffs (RRP £2.49)
  • apple rice cakes (RRP £1.19)
  • vanilla multigrain hearts (RRP £1.99)
  • banana, peach & apple muesli (RRP £2.69)
  • banana soft oaty bars (RRP £2.49)
  • red pepper hearts (RRP £0.75)
  • baby biscuits (RRP £1.19)
  • apple & raspberry puree pots (RRP £.199)

As you can see, there was a good selection for both boys and they were both hankering over all of it, a bit like vultures!

The actual food looked like the photo on the packets so there is no misleading and you know exactly what to expect. All of them were high quality and organic too, as you would expect from Organix.

N loved the cereals – his favourite though was the muesli (it did smell yummy!). If you are baby led weaning, I found a great little tip with the mini cereal puffs – if you leave them to soak in milk for a few minutes then you can roll them up into balls making them easier for baby to eat with fingers.

Both boys loved the rice cakes, but then they are always munching on them for snacks anyway. They also both loved the oaty bars, though they are very messy as they are so soft & crumbly! The biscuits went down a treat too with both boys, also good for snacking on.

N loved the red pepper hearts (J spat them out, but he is very fussy at the minute!), they are very messy though and leave a red coating all over the place so I recommend not wearing white whilst eating, or use a brilliant stain remover! N wasn’t too keen on the fruit pots at first – up until trying these he had only had fruit as it comes (as we started off BLW) so he wasn’t used to the puree texture. After he pulled a face at it I tried it myself, and I must admit it was a bit tangy.

All in all, this is a great selection of products and the majority went down rather well with both boys. I have bought Organix ever since J started eating and will continue to do so as they are always consistent (though I do usually only buy them when they are on offer).

Our rating – 4/5

We were sent these products free of charge to review. All thoughts & opinions are honest & our own.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

On Thursday evening we went to see the town Christmas lights being turned on. We attempted it for the first time with J last year but it didn’t go very well in the end – we were running a little late so we were half way down the high street when they went on (so missed the countdown and bits before) and then they had fireworks which J was terrified of and just cried at so we left!

It was much more successful this year though. We left in good time as we knew it would be very busy, not that we wanted to get near the front anyway as it would have been a bit loud for N. We arrived around 20 minutes before the big switch on and caught the end of the Co-Operative Junior Choir, who were rather good.

After they’d finished, it was time for the big man in the red suit – Santa of course – to get on stage and count down to the switch on. Both the boys still weren’t really sure what was happening to be honest! they were both gazing when the ‘pretties’ came on though, and then came the fireworks along with fake snow and Christmas songs! It was pretty magic, the firework display was brilliant and both boys were mesmerised by it – I don’t think N is going to be scared of much! After our Christmassy trip to the garden centre last week too, we’re definitely getting into the Christmas spirit now!

Project 365 – Week 47 (days 320 – 326)

Day 320 / November 16th
Rubbish photo day so it’s another review book for bed time reading!

Day 321 / November 17th
We visited a nearby garden centre today and J was mesmerised by a talking tree!

Day 322 / November 18th
Another rubbish photo day but didn’t want to bore you with another book shot so it’s a sleeping shot instead! I often go in to kiss him goodnight and he’s out of the duvet in a random position.

Day 323 / November 19th
Another Christmas decoration from my amazingly creative friend Mama Tigerlily. Before I miscarried, our nickname for baby was ‘belly bean’ so this is another tribute for them on our tree.

Day 324 / November 20th
We went to see the town Christmas lights switch on this evening and they put on some fabulous fireworks afterwards (this is only taken with my phone).

Day 325 / November 21st
Some Mega Bloks play time with J whilst N had a nap.

Day 326 / November 22nd
I decided to dig the Christmas countdown plaque out today – 33 sleeps!

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