My Family

My Family

Monday, 10 July 2017

Our Primary School is making BIG changes - Working Parents are Going to Struggle.

Our Primary School is making BIG changes - 
Working Parents are Going to Struggle.

Our Primary School is making some BIG changes from September 2017 and us parents won't get a say in any of them. There will be new school start times, changing from our usual drop off time of 8:55am to a 'more open' time slot of anything between 8:45am and 9:00am where you'll no longer be able to accompany your child into the playground but instead you'll be expected to just send them off past the playground gates on their own, and I've heard this will apply to all, even including the new Reception kids after a week or so.

Our school set up a 'proposal' a few months back about refurbishing an old school building that sits around the corner from our current school which is no longer a 'proposal' but an actual reality. The plan is to extend the school making two of each classrooms for each year.

The building work has been going on for months and the building is still looking like it's never going to be ready in time. The school isn't telling us much but they did hold a meeting for the new Reception intake parents where they told them that only one small part of that building will in fact now be ready by September meaning that 3 classrooms, one of which my son will be going into will be surrounded by a working building site. I'm not sure how this is going to work but I for one am not a happy parent and will be worrying about my boy.

The biggest change of all that is really going to affect me and all the other working parents, is the huge decision they've made to close the school at 12:30pm every Friday from September. The school is saying they need this time to plan lessons to benefit our children but as a working parent what am I going to do with my children every Friday for half a day?

I could understand if this was happening to a Secondary school where children were old enough to walk themselves home but this is a Primary School we're taking about. With children aged 10 and under, how are they supposed to look after themselves if their parents work? The answer is that they can't, it's illegal for a young child that age to stay at home alone. So what are we supposed to do? It's hard enough to find a job these days without the risk of us losing that job because we can no longer work Fridays. I haven't told my boss about this yet but it's only a matter of time before I will have to and I'm pretty worried about the outcome. If I can't find someone else to look after my kids every Friday from September, I could potentially lose my job which would only be the start of more problems.

These plans are all no longer a 'proposal'. They're now actually happening so I need to think of a plan. Do I start looking at other schools in our local area and see if I can move them or will this be happening to all our schools eventually so there's no point wasting my time?

What would you do if you were me?

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Live a Little Luxury at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham #Review

Live a Little Luxury at the 
Macdonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham 

This weekends adventures brought me to the very heart of my home town, Birmingham's city centre. Snap bang in the middle of the cities hustle and bustle of it's exciting shopping centres, bars and clubs. The Macdonald Burlington Hotel is literally a stone throw away from Birmingham's main transport hub, New Street Train Station. When you head out of the station as it's situated right across the road in front of you so you'd never have to worry about getting lost. I've walked past the building so many times before without really realsing that it was there as it's situated above the row of shops with it's entrance quite hidden away within a luxury shopping arcade. It's not hard to find once you know where it is though.

Offering an impressive combination of traditional splendour and comfort, a room at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel is ideal for anyone choosing to visit Birmingham in style. 

The hotel hosts a total of 114 rooms but each room has its own individual features allowing you to completely relax. I was treated to one of their Executive bedrooms and have to say that it was 'WOW' from the moment I walked in. It has got to be one of the biggest hotel rooms that I have ever stayed in and for a city centre hotel I was totally not expecting it.

Most city centre hotel rooms that I have stayed in, in the past are generally really small and made more for a quick comfortable stay rather than a real luxury treat away. The Macdonald Burlington is set right in the centre of Birmingham's busy city streets but once inside you'll feel like you're a million miles away from all the noise outside. The Macdonald Burlington Hotel offers you the perfect accommodation for a city break, romantic weekend, or business stay. Whatever you have planned, pure four star luxury awaits you and surrounds you. 

My Executive bedroom had all the usual mod cons and comforts that you'd expect for a comfortable nights stay plus loads more: A HUGE luxurious bed, a flat screen TV to unwind, a large work desk and chair for any work you might need to do, free unlimited WiFi which actually stays logged in throughout your stay and use of a fluffy bathrobe and slippers.

 Not only was my bed the biggest and most comfortable bed I've slept in but my room had another amazing feature. Through another door, I had my very own en-suite bathroom with freestanding bath tub, separate shower and beautiful little luxurious toiletries all for me. The bathroom was huge, it was bigger than my whole bedroom at home, there was even two little steps that took you up into it from your room. It's all very glamorous. I have to say that I've often searched the Web for hotels with freestanding bathtubs as they're a huge selling point for me and I would always pay 'extra' to get one of those as they're just so amazing. 

As you can imagine, my Saturday was spent doing some serious shopping in the Bullring which was lots of fun but boy was I tired afterwards. Shopping can be hard work (in a fun way of course) at times with all that walking around so I do have to admit that the highlight of my day and stay was getting back to my room, throwing on my fluffy over sized robe and slippers and enjoying a gorgeous bubble bath in that amazing bathtub. If you're not a bath person, which I have no idea how anyone could resist having a bath in that tub though, you'll be very happy to know that there is a separate walk in shower which is just as cool.

I could quite easily have spent my entire stay happily relaxing in the comfort of my room but luckily for them, they have a lovely restaurant and bar that tempted me out for a short time.

 I booked in for dinner upon arrival which was really easy to do as all the staff were really friendly and helpful, trying their best to make my stay as memorable as possible, I guess. 

Dinner was served in their beautifully decorated Scottish Steak Club restaurant. I was given a lovely table in the corner of the room over looking the streets below which was perfect for me as I'm a real people watcher, I take great pleasure in the beautiful moments happening around me, I saw one couple stop in the middle of the street to dance which was adorable.

The Scottish Steak Club restaurant has a real vibrant, cosmopolitan outlook where everything and everyone is very relaxed. It's all very elegant and pretty making it the perfect place to sit and relax with a glass of wine and a three course dinner. The restaurant uses all fresh seasonal ingredients in their innovative cuisine and I have to say it was all very delightful. I enjoyed each of my courses and would definatley go back again, it was superb.

The Macdonald Burlington Hotel is all about those little added luxuries that make any hotel stay feel extra special. From the massive bed to the stunning bathroom. The fluffy robes and slippers to the sweet smelling toiletries. It's only the best for their guests. Fresh milk is brought to your room on request by the lovely Room Service with a simple phone call down to reception which is a lovely touch. An ice bucket sits on your table with another note, that fresh ice is also available upon your request. It does make you feel very special indeed.

Last but not least my stay included Breakfast which consisted of a Continental Buffet plus a made to order Full Cooked Breakfast which was all very enjoyable. The cooked breakfast was quite small but I had requested two items to be left off, mushrooms and tomato.

The Continental choices more than made up for that for me though as I do love a good Croissant and selection of Danish pastries. There was a nice selection of fresh fruit available, cereals and even ham and cheese too. You can help yourself to any of these.

Overall. I have had an amazing weekend and have been made to feel like Royalty. 

The Macdonald Burlington Hotel sure know how to make their guests feel special.

If you're ever looking for somewhere to stay on your next visit to Brum then this is one hotel that you must give a try. They'll make you feel welcome no matter the reason for your visit and will look after you throughout your stay. The lovely staff are on hand to help at all times.

I know the next time I'm looking for a night away for a little 'Me Time' this is going to be top of my list. I'd stay all over again just for that freestanding bathtub. Yes, I loved it that much!

There are over 40 Macdonald Hotels and Resorts all over the UK. If they're all as good as the Birmingham one, I can't wait to head a little further from home to try another soon.

Disclosure: My stay at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel was complimentary but all the photographs used and opinions expressed are all 100% honest and entirely my own.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Hot Wheels Spinnerz - Hot Wheels Join the Fidget Spinners Craze! #Review

Hot Wheels Spinnerz - Hot Wheels Join the 
Fidget Spinners Craze! 

This weekend, my not so little baby boy Ryan celebrated his 7th birthday and as a special birthday treat, he was sent a whole set of the brand new Hot Wheels Spinners from Bladez Toyz which will be hitting the shops here in the Uk later this month. He had asked for a new Fidget Spinner for his birthday as he had lost his first one somewhere in the house so when he opened this full set of Hot Wheels Spinners on his birthday he was absolutley delighted.

Ignore his big sister Lily in the background (she'd just woken up) but look at that cheeky grin on his face when he opened them up, I think he was very happy. He's been playing with them ever since he opened them. If he's not spinning one of them, he's lining them all up on the table or floor and spinning all three of them at the same time, he's having great fun.

The “hottest” Fidget Spinner craze needs a ”hot” licence!  You can collect these striking Hot Wheels themed fidget spinners with their ultra cool car designs and spin away! 

They are the ideal pocket money priced toy for all Hot Wheels fans or Fidget Spinner fans. There are three different designs to collect, Orange, Blue and Yellow, each sold separately. 

I have one very happy little boy, he absolutely loves his new Hot Wheels Spinnerz.

Disclosure: Ryan was sent his full set of Hot Wheels Spinnerz for his birthday. This review contains our opinions which are all our own and 100% honest.

Despicable Me 3 Radio Control Inflatable Jumbo Tom #Review

Despicable Me 3 Radio Control Inflatable Jumbo Tom 

This weekend saw the long awaiting launch of Despicable Me 3 at the cinemas. We were so excited! My children and I all love the Minions and enjoyed every one of the movies so far.

We didn't get a chance to go and see it this weekend as it was my little mans birthday but we are going to see it next weekend, hooray! I'm not sure who's more excited about that.

We may have not been able to go and see the movie just yet but the kids weren't dissapointed as I surprised them at the party with the brand new Despicable Me 3 Radio Control Inflatable Jumbo Tom from Bladez Toyz for them to all play with. There was a wide range of ages at the party but everyone loved having a go. The older ones (aged 7 and up) had ago but did run off quite quickly back to the bouncy castle and pool so the poor little guy did have some stiff competition. I found that the younger children aged around 4 and 5 got the most enjoyment out of it. One little boy played all sorts of games with him and had great fun. At one point I'm sure I over heard them having a fun conversation (one way of course).

Radio Controlled Tom is described as 'Jumbo' but he's actually just 35cm tall so compared to some of the other Jumbo inflatables we've had in the past, he's actually quite small but that's good news as it means he don't take up much room in the house when he's not in use. Your jail break themed Minion can be moved in all directions and will even perform 360 degrees spins at the touch of a button. Just inflate and play for lots of despicable fun!

This Remote Controlled Minion' is ideal for Despicable Me 3 fans aged three and up. 

Please note: he requires 2 x AA batteries for the handset and another 4 x AA batteries for the drive unit, which are not included so you will need to buy these separately. 

 The new Remote Controlled Despicable Me 3 toys are available in three characters: 

Tom, Fluffy the Unicorn and Mel. 

We've been playing with the rather cute Minion Tom who comes dressed in his super cute jail outfit, complete with safety goggles, ready to get up to lots of mischief and trouble with you. He's lots of fun to play with and suitable for all ages (over 3 years). Ryan loves him.

Watch out for Despicable Me Super Saturdays at The Entertainer - they will be demonstrating the inflatables and racing them in every store on Saturday 8th July. 

Disclosure: We received our Despicable Me 3 remote controlled Tom sample in return for an honest review. All the opinions expressed within are 100% honest and our own.

Friday, 30 June 2017

JoJo Bows are at The Entertainer #Review

 JoJo Bows are at The Entertainer 

JoJo Bows are now at The Entertainer and I for one am very happy about that as it makes being a parent living with a JoJo Bows fanatic so much easier as I love that shop.

My daughter Lily who's 10 is been taken over by the craze and is completely obsessed with these JoJo Bows, she wears one every single day. Every morning she spends more time picking out which bow to wear than she does getting dressed, she drives me crazy.

JoJo Bows come in several sizes and a whole variety of different colours and patterns. 

We already have several JoJo Bows but this week Lily was ecstatic when The Entertainer sent her some more to review. I think it's safe to say, they're her favourite review item ever!

JoJo Bows are this months latest playground’s must-have fashion accessories. Inspired by the look of Youtube superstar JoJo Siwa, they're a fun new accessory that my girl adores.

Lily loves to match her bows with her outfits, she's growing up right before my eyes.

She wears her big bows on the top of her pony tail when her hair is tied up so that it's not in the way for school but still looks pretty in her hair. She wears her smaller bows on the side of her head or at the end of her plaits too. Where ever she puts them, they always look great. Lily loves wearing her JoJo Bows as they make her feel pretty and girly.

Don't they look pretty?

 JoJo Bows are a little pricey for what they are but Lily loves them and they're a great way of getting her to do home chores to earn the money for them, she also bought some with her Birthday money too. JoJo Bows make Lily happy so who am I to argue with that. If they make her happy, then I am happy. These pretty little bows make my Lily very happy indeed.

Disclosure: We received our JoJo Bow samples in return for an honest review. All the photography and opinions used are 100% my own and all completely honest.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Newest Competition! #Win a Summer Mini Eggs Chocolate Gift Box!

Newest Competition! 
Win a Summer Mini Eggs Chocolate Gift Box!

Who said Mini Eggs were just for Easter? ... Not Me!

I am so happy, Summer is finally here and I for one am loving it! The warmer weather, the brighter nights and the simply joy of sitting out in the garden that Summer generally allows. 

I'm in a good mood today so I'm launching another yummy competition where one of you lucky people can win a Cadburys Summer Mini Eggs Chocolate Gift box which contains a Heroes carton, Mini Eggs and a yummy selection of your favourite Cadbury chocolate bars. 

If you would like to win this prize, you can enter using the Rafflecopter Form below.  Please feel free to do as little or as many of the entry options in the Rafflecopter Form as you like.

Terms and Conditions: Open to the UK only. Winner drawn on July 31st.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Beautiful Personalised Gifts from GiftPup .com #Review

Beautiful Personalised Gifts from GiftPup .com

This week we've been checking out some gorgeous personalised gifts from GiftPup.Com

GiftPup.Com supply a wide range of quality personalised gifts suitable for all the family. 

Most of their gifts are handmade by experts as they take great pride in both the quality of their products and their customer service too. They now deliver worldwide and with many of their gifts you can upload your favourite photograph or include a name and special message which is such a lovely idea. There's lots of gifts to choose from, there's cute cuddly toys and practical stationery, pretty jewelry pieces and lots of general keepsakes too. They also have a handy site searcher for you which saves lots of time, you just enter who you are buying for and click search, letting the site do all the hard work of searching for you, it's a great feature.

I got to choose two of their lovely gifts from their website last week for my children.

The Dreams Loading Caramel Charlie Bear is so soft and fluffy and comes wearing the cutest little T shirt I have ever seen. You can choose the colours of the shirt and add your child's name to it. Ours says 'Ryan's Dreams Loading' which he loved, it's great having his name on it so no one else can take or touch it. It's a great way of keeping big sister's hands off. It's an adorable night time friend that Ryan was absolutely delighted with.

The Vitoria Girl's Pearl Bracelet is the sweetest little children’s bracelet. It's totally adorable and would make the perfect gift for the special little lady in your life. Lily actually jumped for joy when she saw her very own grown-up pearl bracelet. I think that meant she like it. Lily loves her jewelry but because she's only 10, I tend to buy her mainly costume jewelry so this was a nice change for her. It's freshwater pearls are so delicate and pretty.

You can engrave the little heart with any name which again makes it even more special.

The beautiful pearl charm bracelet comes inside a dainty organza bag and placed within a stunning ivory gift box which is then tied with a silken ribbon…..the perfect finishing touch!

 Both of the gifts we received from GiftPup.Com were well made and beautifully presented.

Lily and Ryan were both delighted with their gifts and are sure to enjoy them for a long time to come. Ryan's bear is already on his bed and Lily's bracelet is sitting pretty in her box.

Disclosure: We received our gifts complimentary for the purpose of this review. The photography and opinions expressed are 100% honest and all my own.