My Family

My Family

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Poorly Children, Big Choices + Bribery! That's Just This Week . . .

Poorly Children, Big Choices + Bribery! 
That's Just This Week. . .

This past week has been filled with all sorts. There's been almighty highs and lows, screams and tears but also hugs and kisses too. It's been one heck of an emotional roller coaster.

My little man has had a tough week suffering with an ear infection but he's been so brave, he's hardly moaned at all. He's not really a complainer although we did see several tears outbursts throughout the week when it all got too much for him. A trip to the local Walk In Centre with a two hour wait and a course of antibiotics later - I started to see a happy boy again although he did try to milk it for as long as he possibly could. He's a clever little man who realised that his teacher was bribing him with 'dojo' points (which is what they get for being good in his class) if he went into school nicely and took his medicine when he needed it. He would have done these things anyway but once he'd realised he could get something out of it, my mornings suddenly became hard work. He'd be fine then play up once his teacher was looking, waiting until they'd make him the offer, he does make me laugh!

It's been a week of big choices for my eldest daughter as it's Options Time at school. It's nothing like it was when I made my Options at school but that was a very long time ago. It's not just GCSE's now but they've added lots of other equivalent graded courses too. Being the 13 year old girl that she is, she tried to opt for all the 'easy' courses but I soon put a stop to that. We had to sit down and have a long talk about her future and where it could go. After lots of discussions, moans and tuts, I think we finally came to an agreement. I may be tough but deep down, I only want what's best for her and these Options choices are a big deal. So she won't be doing Art, Textiles and Creative Crafts but instead she will be doing History, Business Studies and Creative Crafts (<< This one I had to give in on something).

Last but not least is my middle daughter Lily. I'm pleased to say Lily is doing just fine, better than fine. She's been doing really well at school lately and loves to read and write just like her Mummy (which makes me very proud). She's always tucked up in bed with her kindle at bedtime and enjoys writing creative stories which she often shares with us at home. I'm very proud of all three of my children in very different ways. They're all beautiful inside and out!

So, our week has been filled with poorly children, big choices and bribery.

How's your week been?

Grey February? Cheer up & #Win a Horlicks Chocolate Light Bundle!

Grey February? Cheer up & #Win a 
Horlicks Chocolate Light Bundle! 

When the weather turns grim it’s always nice to curl up on the sofa with a warm milky drink, to give you a boost for the afternoon or evening. The lovely people of Horlicks and I would like to offer one lucky reader a lovely bundle of limited edition Horlicks memorabilia and a tub of Horlicks Light Chocolate. Horlicks Light Chocolate has 55% less fat than Horlicks Traditional which means no added guilt for 2016 dieters. It sounds fantastic!

Horlicks Light Chocolate contains 14 key nutrients including; Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Thiamin (Vit B1), Riboflavin (Vit B2), Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid (Vit B5), Calcium and Protein. 

Each 32g serving made with 200ml of water contains:

If you would like to win this lovely little bundle, it's really easy to do so. Just enter your details using the Rafflecopter Form below (please wait a few seconds for it to load).

This giveaway is open to the UK Only and ends on Sunday February 20th 21st.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Say Goodbye To Cartridges with Epson's New Eco Tank ET-2500 Printer #Review

Say Goodbye To Cartridges with Epson's New
Eco Tank ET-2500 Printer 

Epson's new Eco Tank ET-2500 is the ideal choice for any busy household looking to print at an ultra-low cost, this 3-in-1 inkjet printer comes with two years of ink included.

With no fuss, no surprises, printing costs are reduced by 70% on average. Epson's Eco Tank printers are the perfect choice for any busy household after the ultimate economical printer. A 3-in-1 inkjet with print, copy and scan features, the ET-2500 couldn't be easier to maintain, with two years' worth of ink included in the box. It's perfect for a family like mine.

I like to scan and copy a lot, as being organised doesn't come easily without those functions. Whether it's copying important documents of scanning pictures for multiple copies, the Epson Eco Tank ET-2500 got the job done easily with no fuss.

Imagine not having to think about ink for two whole years. As well as doing away with ink cartridges, the ET-2500 has four colour 70ml Epson genuine ink bottles in the box, which make it easy, clean and quick to fill the ink tanks. The included ink bottles can print up to 4,000 pages in black and 6,500 pages in colour at just a fraction of a penny per page.

With three children like mine who are always asking for printouts to colour in, this printer is so right for us. Often in the past, we'd go through so many ink cartridge,s way too fast and we'd often end up with none as I just couldn't get more (mainly because of the costs).

Equipped with Wi-Fi, the ET-2500 can take advantage of Epson Connect features. You can print quickly and easily over Wi-Fi from a smartphone using the free Epson iPrint app. You can also print remotely or through emails to the ET-2500.  You can print from anywhere.

We've been using our Epson Eco Tank ET-2500 for the past 2 weeks and have to say,it's pretty good. The initial set up took me around 40 minutes but that included setting it up, connecting it to my computer and filling up all the ink pots ready for use which wasn't as hard as I thought it would have been. The overall set up was quite easy and went well.

Once set up, the printer worked really well for us. We were able to print off lots of character colouring sheets using our laptop which made for three really happy children. I've used the copier and scanner a few times and have to say everything was so easy to do. 

I've been really pleased with it's performance. It's a nice sized 3 in 1 printer which fits nicely on my living room shelf. It's plain black so it fits in discreetly and doesn't take up too much space. I think the best part of all for me is being able to relax and not have to worry about the ink running by because the children have printed too much. Knowing that the ink is going to last so much longer, they can print away to their hearts content or at least until they have enough to stop them saying 'I'm Bored' which happens quite a lot here.

Now that we have our Epson Eco Tank ET-2500 they won't be saying that on my watch again. With two years worth of ink and a nice supply of paper for them, there's no excuse.

Disclosure: We received our Printer sample in return for an honest review.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Trying Something New - Secret Paris Colouring Book #Review

Trying Something New - Secret Paris Colouring Book 

Every January I struggle to give something up so this year I decided instead of giving something up that I would try something new and maybe start a new hobby whilst I was at it. Adult colouring books are something that I've been looking at for a few weeks now, there's just something about them that's caught me eye and attracted my attention. My three children love to colour and I often try to get in on the action but they never really want to share their books with me so my own book just seemed like the best solution. 

A few days a go I received this gorgeous colouring book and Scratch & Sniff Scented Pencils from Qwerkity which sell Unusual Gifts & Gadgets for Men and Women of All Ages. From the moment it arrived my children have been pestering me to play with it but, no chance! This is Mummies adult colouring book. It's special and just for grown ups, or at least that's what I told my children yesterday to get them to finally stop asking and go away.

The Secret Paris colouring book contains 96 pages in it's pretty hardback book. It's full of quirky and characterful sketches include picturesque streets, cafés and buildings, perfume bottles, birds, clothes, hair accessories, shoes, cakes and other Parisian delights.

The pictures are really lovely and the variety in it is great too. The pictures come in all shapes and sizes, big and small, detailed and easy. There's a nice mixture of sketches making this book suitable for everyone. From the nervous beginners like me right up to the pros who have been colouring forever. I really enjoyed taking some time out last night to colour a page from my book. I choose something easy to start with but think I did OK.

I choose this pretty flowery picture with a dark haired girl as it reminded me of myself in the summer. The details are lovely and the image itself is just so pretty, I loved it. It took me about an hour to complete but I'd taken my time to enjoy every moment of it. Relaxed and calm, quiet and still. Who knew colouring could be so chilled out, I really enjoyed it.

I think this new hobby of mine will stick, even if I only colour one page from my book a week. Taking one hour out from our crazy lives every now and then can only do us good.

I wonder what picture will take my fancy and get coloured next? Who knows.

Disclosure: I was sent my book and pencils for free in return for an honest review.

Rainy Days make Perfect Birmingham Sea Life Centre Days. #DaysOut #FamilyFun

Rainy Days make Perfect 
Birmingham Sea Life Centre Days.

Rainy days make perfect Sea Life Centre days. There's nothing worse than being stuck inside at home with three children using the 'I'm Bored' phrase over and over again. I hate those kind of days so we use our rainy Saturdays going out to places that are fun but inside.

We're very lucky to live close by to the Sea Life Centre Birmingham and love to visit them every few months. Their Gentoo Penguins are a personal highlight for us as we love seeing them every time we go. Watching them swim through the water is simply mesmerising.

The Sarlacc Jellyfish, Clownfish (Like Nemo) and Green Turtle are also favourites of ours. With so many different species of fish and underwater sea creatures there's lots to see. I love the fact there's lots of interactive features for the children to get up close of personal with their new friends. From underwater tunnels to hidden peep holes and more.

There's lots of things to see and do including: 
  • Creature Talks all day
  • Interactive Rockpool: Touch a Starfish and meet a Crab!
  • 1,000+ creatures including Seahorses, otters & rays and a Giant Turtle
  • 60+ displays including our million-litre underwater tropical tank, Nemo's Kingdom & Turtle Breeding
  • 4D Cinema
  • VIP Feeding Experiences: Go behind the scenes and feed our Penguins, Sharks and Giant Green Sea Turtle!

We spent a wonderful morning yesterday looking around and generally having lots of good clean, family fun. The current 4D movie was fantastic, the best we've seen so far. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea takes viewers on the journey of teenager Ned as he plunges into a world of adventure aboard the submarine Nautilus commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo. The thrilling 3D adventure ride features cues for popular 4D effects such as water splashes, wind blasts and bubbles. 3D fish swim out of the screen, bubbles fill the auditorium and viewers will feel the deck of the Nautilus jolt and shake when it is attacked by a giant squid. It was a lovely story featuring wonderful effects, we loved it!

It was nice to see some new features, their Breed, Rescue, Protect scheme was really interesting to learn all about and it was even nicer seeing all the new additions that have actually been bred and born within the Sea Life Centre itself which is wonderful. Birmingham specific conservations include; Otter conservation and Seahorse conservation.

Meet Tyler, Mia and Magnus. When you visit the Sea Life Centre Birmingham, Tyler the turtle and his friends will take you on a journey into their underwater world and help you learn how you can protect the oceans for years to come which is well worth knowing about.

There's been a few ticket price changes as there's now three ticket package options available when you book in advance online. You can buy a Basic Saver Ticket which includes entry into the attraction for your selected time slot from £12.50 per person. The Best Value Package which includes entry into the attraction for your selected time slot and a SEA LIFE Collectible from £14.50 per person and then there's the Ultimate Package which includes entry into the attraction for your selected time slot and a photo of your visit from £19.50 er person so there's lots more choice available depending on what you want.

Luckily for us we didn't have to pay to get in as we have Merlin Annual Passes which grant us free entry not only to the Sea Life Centre Birmingham but to an amazing 31 Attractions in total. This was our very first day out using our new passes but it won't be the last. 2016 is going to be an adventure packed year for us, there's so much for us to see and do.

 We'd like to thank Merlin Annual Pass for providing our year of family fun. As Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors you'll be seeing much more from us as we visit  many more of the attractions throughout the year. 2016 is going to be a good year for, we can't wait!

#SilentSunday 24/01/2016

Silent Sunday 24/01/2016

Monday, 18 January 2016

Drayton Manor Theme Park is riding high after a record breaking 65th Anniversary season!

Drayton Manor Theme Park is riding high after a record breaking 65th Anniversary season!

Drayton Manor Theme Park is celebrating the end of a record breaking 65th anniversary season, with its biggest ever attendance numbers recorded for 2015.

The award winning attraction based in Tamworth, Staffordshire has seen more guests visit during 2015 than any other year, with a 10% increase on the previous season in 2014.

The action packed anniversary year kicked off with a £2.5 million expansion of Europe’s only Thomas Land back in April 2015. The park welcomed a whole host of new rides and attractions including Captain’s Sea Adventure, Flynn’s Fire Rescue and Toby’s Tram Express, which increased the overall rider capacity in Thomas Land to 5,130 people per hour. The exciting new Thomas Land also saw the arrival of the brand new two-storey Sodor Airport, in a traditional terminal style it has a top level balcony for VIP ‘travellers’ with fab views of Thomas Land and a ground level café for guests to relax during their visit.

Following a successful summer, the much loved family attraction hit a record attendance for its Fireworks Spectacular weekend, welcoming nearly 33,000 visitors over three days at the end of October. Set to the critically acclaimed soundtrack from The War of the Worlds, visitors were dazzled by a fantastic, colourful array of explosive rockets and lights.

To top it all off, the 65th anniversary season ended with another record breaking attendance during its Magical Christmas event with a 34% increase in guests from 2014.  On Sunday 20th December, the park welcomed 45% more people than on its previous biggest day in 2014, smashing its biggest selling Magical Christmas day six times over!  

Despite the park’s momentous success in 2015, it's looking forward to the coming year and there is plenty to keep existing and new visitors excited. In spring 2016, the Staffordshire based theme park will see the opening of its brand new Tamarin Trail. Guests will have the opportunity to walk through the beautiful planted gardens in the attraction, getting up close and personal with the cute and inquisitive monkeys. It will have eight new enclosures that will be housing a variety of tamarins and marmosets. There are five species so far. 

2016 will also mark the five year anniversary of the opening of the hugely popular onsite four-star Drayton Manor Hotel, which has featured Thomas & Friends themed rooms since its opening in 2011. The park’s onsite restaurant the Grill Inn will also celebrate its fifth anniversary this year. So, there's a whole lot going on in 2016.

 To book tickets, or for more information about the park, visit or call 0844 472 1950. Reduced prices are available for tickets bought in advance.

Disclosure, This post is brought to you as part of our Drayton Manor 2015 Ambassadorship.