Family · Kids · Review

Interplay Fairy Princess Craft Party Review

A few months ago, Sausage went to the birthday party of her best friend (I swear, that kid has a better social life than I do, I’ve literally lost count of all the parties she’s been to this year!), which was hosted by a company which provides dress up clothes and accessories (princesses and pirates in this case) and then provides crafts for the kids to get involved with, like painting plaster-of-Paris ornaments and colouring in. All of the kids had a marvellous time, so when Interplay got in touch a while ago and asked if we’d like to review one of their party in a box kits, I had a feeling it would go down well.

The kit we were sent is the Interplay Fairy Princess Craft Party kit, which gives you everything you need for six little ones to be able to make and decorate a crown, a fairy wand, and a pair of wings. The activities are expected to keep the kids entertained for up to an hour and a half and are an absolutely brilliant way to plan a party on a budget.

Fairy Princess Craft Party

We’ve not got around to hosting our party yet, between the masses of birthday parties, all of our recent hospital appointments and half term now being upon us, but we’re really excited about putting it all together. The kit itself costs between £20 and £24, so even if you wanted a party for 12 kids, you could effectively host a party at home for under £50, if you were to buy snacks cheaply (and let’s face it, what kids want at a party is nuggets, cake and juice!). As Husband and I are ALL too aware, birthday parties for little ones can be prohibitively expensive and coming up with a new thing to do every year can be a nightmare, so Interplay have provided a really cost effective way to host, whilst providing kids with a decent amount of entertainment.

The other good thing is that the kids can take the crown, wings and wand away with them at the end of the party, which takes care of the party bag gifts, too. The set is aimed at 5-8 year olds, and Interplay also make sets for kids who are Mad About Ponies, as well as Treasure Box making and Pirate parties, which means you could have mixed parties for boys and girls if the dudes didn’t want to make wands and wings.

I can’t express enough how much I love these kits – Sausage is so excited about planning her little soiree (which will no doubt involve some pink cupcakes) and I really think the kids she invites will get a lot of enjoyment out of the contents. Providing a budget option in the current financial climate means that kids who may have been unable to have an expensive party could now have a great little birthday treat for them and their friends, which doesn’t seem like a glaringly cheap option, and will allow their parents to do something nice for their kids without breaking the bank.

Interplay get serious props from the whole family for making these kits, for the ‘fun for kids’ aspect, as well as giving adults a break when it comes to cost, which really does make them an all-round winner in my book.

(post contains affiliate links)
Christmas · Review · Toys

Zelfs Venus Flytrap Spin Salon Playset Review

If you’re roughly the same age as me, I’d bet actual money that you had a Troll doll, with brightly coloured hair and cute features – or possibly even a whole collection of them. I had one when I was about 7 and I remember being taken on holiday to Hastings, where I proceeded to use the whole roll of film that had been bought for my camera to take photos of my troll, sitting on a fence. Anyway, I digress!

Zelfs Venus Fly Trap Spin Salon

The reason I mentioned Trolls is because we were recently sent a Zelfs Venus Flytrap Spin Salon Playset and the Zelfs themselves remind me of trolls, if a little more colourful and definitely better quality! They have a huge peak of brightly coloured hair and adorable faces, and the Spin Salon Playset allows you to do their hair and give your Zelfs a good old fashioned primping. The set we received comes with an exclusive Zelf, ‘Tressa’, but it can all be used with any Zelfs you already own, which means your whole Zelf family can be beautified!

Sausage really liked this set – it’s great for fulfilling the ‘makeover’ urge that 5 year-olds seem to all posses, without being overly girlie. It’s easy to use and comes with a brush and a couple of hair accessories, giving you different options of how to preen your Zelf.

This would be a great present to add to Christmas lists, as well as an Halloween treat for little ones, and I’m confident that most kids of around Sausage’s age would love it too. We’re planning to add to Sausage’s Zelf collection at Christmas and already have a few of the medium-sized dolls stashed to give to her. You can even get the miniature ones which also act as a pencil topper and I’m seriously close to treating myself to a couple as a throwback to my childhood! Children of the 80’s and 90’s, I defy you to not feel nostalgic when you see them in the flesh! 

(post contains an affiliate link)
Charity

Ranty Friday – People Who Begrudge Charity

waitroseWhen it comes to charity, everyone has those that are close to their heart; in our case, we tend to give to animal charities, I do Race for Life every year in aid of Cancer Research and our local NICU unit, which cared for Sausage after she was born, always gets a donation if we see a collection. Husband and I have also adopted both a lowland gorilla and a Bengal tiger on Sausage’s behalf from WWF and once those adoptions expire, she’s told us she wants us to sponsor a dolphin, a snow leopard and a donkey next time.

If you’ve ever shopped in Waitrose, you might have noticed that they have a token collection system for local charities. Each shopper is given a green token with their shopping and a box is placed by the exit with three choices of charity or cause for shoppers to choose from. At the end of a month, the percentages of tokens in each of the boxes is worked out and the total gift is apportioned between the three charities. Causes vary from big, well known charities, specific wards in our local hospital and, as of the last week, three local nurseries which need help towards toys, repairs and learning resources.

Being a bit of a disorganised shopper, I tend to get things as and when we need them, rather than doing one huge weekly shop, which means that I go to the supermarket at least three times a week and in this time, the attitudes of other shoppers have really shocked me.

Rather than looking at the three nurseries who are politely asking for help and deciding which one they’d rather the donation went to, I’ve seen several people tuck their token back into their purse or wallet and walk away, dissatisfied with the choices of cause. I won’t even go into the fact that it’s nonsensical, given the fact that its worked on percentages of a whole, meaning that each cause will still get the same portion of the cash. The thing that has shocked me is people’s begrudging nature.

Waitrose have chosen which three causes to help at this time, causes which they believe are worthy of help, and they aren’t asking anyone for any money, they’re simply asking for people’s opinion on how they should divvy up the donations that they make. The people who put their coins back in their purses have stooped to a whole new level of begrudging by not placing their plastic token into a box and it absolutely amazes me.

I can only assume that the refusal to help three local nurseries comes from the same place as the dirty looks that old people give mothers trying to navigate their way around with a buggy – it’s like they’ve completely forgotten that they once had kids and had to face the every day challenges that life brought. Surely, if their kids were at nursery and they needed funding, they’d have been willing to give their token then?

As I said, most people have their ‘favourite’ charities to which they’ll give their time and money and I understand that they’ll go out of their way to help charities which are close to their hearts, over and above others which aren’t, but I simply cannot understand (or stomach, if I’m honest) the thought that people can be so begrudging and mean when it’s not even their own money they’re spending.

What do you think? Am I being too judgmental, or would this behaviour bug you too?

Review · Toys

Disney Doc McStuffins Interactive Talking Doll Review

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have been thinking about Christmas for a while. I’ve had a list running for Sausage for about a month and every time I hear her mention a toy she wants, it goes on the list. One of the things she mentioned a while ago was the Disney Doc McStuffins Interactive Talking Doll, which was actually out around the time of her birthday but didn’t get bought for her back then, so when we were asked to review it, she was thrilled.

Doc McStuffins Interactive Talking Doll

The doll comes with a soft Lamby doll, as well as a doctors bag, comb and a couple of medical instruments. Doc sings the ‘Time For Your Check-Up’ song when you press her tummy and Lamby interacts with Doc when she presses the thermometer and ear thingy (yes, that’s the medical term!), to give her a check-up. She also says a couple of phrases and you can hear her heart beating.

One of the really good things about these dolls is that they both have a proper ‘off switch’, which means that Sausage can take Doc or Lamby to bed with her (who’s really soft and cuddly, despite having a battery pack inside her) and doesn’t get woken up by talking when she rolls over on her!

Sausage has been a huge fan of Doc McStuffins ever since it started and she’s been waiting for what seems like ages for the official toys to be launched in the UK, so she’s been practically inseparable from the doll since it arrived. It really piques her imagination and she does a medical check-up on just about anyone or anything who’ll allow her to!

On a practical level, the doll and accessories are really sturdy and well made; in our experience, official Disney toys tend to be very high quality, so even though it may seem pricey at around £39.99, depending on where you buy, the Doc McStuffins Interactive Talking Doll really is worth every penny. I’ve no doubt at all that once Sausage has grown out of the toy, we’ll be able to put it away for when the baby is older and wants to play with it, which provides even better value for money.

We’re really impressed with the Doc McStuffins Interactive talking Doll and can highly recommend it for any fans of the show as a brilliant addition to the Christmas list.

(post contains affiliate links)
Diabetes · Health · Pregnancy

And Onto Insulin I Go…

Humulin KwikPen Human InsulinSince I fell pregnant, I’ve known that my diabetes would be a complication. I had gestational diabetes whilst pregnant with Sausage, and it usually corrects itself after giving birth, but with a weight issue and family history of diabetes, mine never left me and I’ve been managing it with tablets ever since.

Once I started monitoring my blood sugars in this pregnancy, it became clear that the Metformin wasn’t doing enough and although with a pretty strict diet I managed to control my daytime sugar levels, every morning I’d wake up and the levels will have crept right up, despite having fasted over night. I’ve been testing my sugars 5 times a day and tracking them in a special diary so I knew, at a glance, that my morning levels were not at all ideal and that eventually I could end up on insulin.

I have to admit (and yes, I know, I’m a big baby…) that the prospect of using insulin scared me a bit. The thought of injecting myself was really daunting as I have a bit of a needle phobia and I built the whole thing up in my head to a point where I was genuinely really panicky about it.

Yesterday, though, I had a moment of clarity.

I thought about Jane, who writes Northern Mum, and her daughter who, at the age of 7 is already dealing with Type I diabetes. I thought about this post in particular and how Molly takes it all in her stride, a child of 22 years younger than me.

I thought about the many millions of women in the developing world who aren’t so lucky and don’t even know they have gestational diabetes until the worst happened.

Most of all, I thought about how lucky I am to be able to walk into a hospital, free of charge, and be told “Here you go, Mrs. Crammond. Here are the drugs you need to sustain yours and your baby’s life over the next 5 months. Do let us know when you need some more”.

After collecting my prescription from the hospital pharmacy, I went back to see my specialist diabetic midwife, who showed me how to set up my injection pen, what dosage I should be using and how to dispose of it all safely, after using it. My hands were shaking a ridiculous amount and I had to psych myself up to take the plunge and do it.

But, do you know what? For all of my worrying, I literally didn’t even feel the needle going in, it’s that thin. I’m on a low dose of what they call ‘background’ insulin for the time being to see if that will help to keep my fasting sugars down over night, but I’ll be liasing regularly with my midwife to monitor how the insulin is affecting me.

So, I no longer feel worried about the prospect of injecting or any of the other fears that I’d allowed to build up. I just feel lucky.

Very, very lucky.

(I want to give special thanks to Molly for being my inspiration and showing me how to man the heck up and stop being a great big baby. There’s a great video here where she shows you exactly how to a diabetic injects their insulin)