Netflix Gems for this Half-term

For those of you who follow me on social media, you might have noticed that I have a severe Netflix addiction. And when Netflix asked me to join their StreamTeam, I was over the moon. So I thought I would share some of the films and shows my family and I will be watching during the half-term. Although we have some activities and play dates planned, we will have several afternoons that need to be filled with a quiet and chilled activity for both a seven-year old and a three-year old.

For my daughter:
Mia and Me - Moozles is obsessed with this show. It starts off as a live action, then transforms into a cartoon. And it's about fairies. There is only one season but Moozles has watched this season a few times.
Spy Kids - Moozles wants to be a spy, but who doesn't?! She enjoys all the Spy Kids films but the original is the best.
For my son:
Dinosaur Train - we recently bought a DVD for this show, and I have only just realised they have all the episodes on Netflix.
Mother Goose Club - Dubz has watched one of these nursery rhymes on YouTube (The Grand Old Duke of York) and it will be good to watch a few songs.
For the family:
Meet the Robinsons - we all love this film. And I cry every time I see it. It is one of our favourite family films. And there's even a dinosaur in it for a few minutes.
Adventures in Zambezia - we haven't watched this yet but looks like a cute film about an adventurous young falcon.
Husband and me:
Community - I love this American comedy. We are on Season five and still find it hilarious.
Daredevil - we have watched the first two episodes and are already hooked. I love a good bit of action, and this has great storylines to boot.
For me:
Once Upon A Time - I am currently on Season three, and am loving it. I love the fairy tale aspect, and it is just so fun to watch. There are four seasons and I have been watching two or three each week, when Husband is working late.
Begin Again - I remember seeing trailers for this film when it was in cinemas. Being a mum of two small children means that I do not get to see more than six films per year at the cinema, so I am so pleased that I can now watch this on Netflix. If only I could get Husband to watch it with me.

Will you be taking breaks next week to watch some Netflix? What will you be watching?

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Family Sweatshirts

That's right, we went and done it. We got ourselves matching sweatshirts. Boom. And we all think we are pretty cool. When our neighbours saw us in our matching sweatshirts, they looked pretty jealous. And so they should be. The lovely people at Leavers Hoodies came up with the cool dinosaur design just for us. Though to be truthful, they will design something for you too. But ours are especially cool as they have a scary Tyrannosaurus Rex with big teeth. Roar.

Family Sweatshirts

My regular readers know that Dubz is obsessed with dinosaurs. About 99% of the time, he wears a dinosaur top (and he obviously has dinosaur socks, shoes, jacket, etc). And I can't tell you how pleased he was to see that we all had dinosaur sweatshirts. He has been wearing his sweatshirt loads. It's really soft and comfy. I also like that it has long arms. Don't you hate it when a long-sleeve top/sweatshirt has sleeves that don't fully cover your wrists?!

Family SweatshirtsLeavers Hoodies specialises in hoodies and sweatshirts for school leavers. But they can also customise t-shirts, and onesies, amongst other things. We thought matching sweatshirts would be a great idea for a family day out. They will help distinguish us from others, which would be useful if one of the kids got lost. The kids have bright blue sweatshirts, Husband has the heather grey and I have the heather pink. So the kids know what colours we are wearing, and we know what colours the kids are wearing. Great for crowds! The colours still look nice after a run through the washing machine and the tumble dryer. I can't wait for half-term so that we can go somewhere in our family sweatshirts. Roar.

Family Sweatshirts

 

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We were given these sweatshirts for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own (and my family's).

 

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Have I ever mentioned that I'm from California? Well, I am. Not that you could tell from my accent. You see, after 13 years living in the UK, my accent has gone a bit 'Madge'. Remember the 15 minutes that Madonna was married to Guy Ritchie and lived in London? And then she started speaking with a faux British accent? Wasn't it annoying? Well, I kinda sound like her. *sob, sob*

Whenever I meet Americans and Canadians, they are surprised to find out that I'm American. This had been making my sad. Part of my identity is being American, and if I no longer sound American then there is not much left. But after my recent trip to The States, I felt renewed. I am American no matter what my accent sounds like. But I am more than that. Yes, I have changed. Yes, my accent has changed. But there is no need to be insecure about my accent. I am happy with who I am and what I sound like.

Have a look at the little vlog I've filmed on the subject. And yes, besides being an expat, I'm a total dork! xx

 

Seychelles Mama
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Fit by 40 May

It's been two and a half months since I began my healthy living and I am so pleased with my progress so far. I was in Florida at the end of April/beginning of May, so I did take a few weeks' break from my no gluten, no sugar and no dairy lifestyle. But how can you go to the USA and not eat pancakes, fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits? Hmmm, buttermilk biscuits. Anyway, before I start daydreaming about unhealthy American food, let's get back to healthy eating.

In the March update I revealed that I had lost seven pounds in the first 2 1/2 weeks. I lost another seven pounds for the April update, making it a total of one stone (14 pounds). This month has seen less of a weight loss. This has not come as a shock as I took time off from the diet to gorge on ribs, washed down by copious amounts of margaritas. I am actually surprised that I did not put on any weight in Florida. My weigh-in revealed a weight loss of four pounds, which I am happy about. I am now at a total of 18 pounds which is almost half of my goal of 42 pounds (3 stone).

Since last month's update focused on healthy eating, I thought this month's update would focus on exercise. While I firmly believe that what you eat is the most important part of losing weight, I think that exercise is a firm second. I have found a local yoga class. Though I have only attended a few times, I have enjoyed the hour of stretching and toning.

In March, I joined my local gym. I have previously tried doing exercise DVDs at home, but too often I would put it off. And since Dubz now attends pre-school three mornings a week, I couldn't make the excuse that I did not have the time. And when I have had particularly busy weeks, I have been heading to the gym in the evenings and on the weekend. I began just using the stationary bike, followed by a few stretches and abdominal curls. After so many years of not exercising, I did not want to do too much and injure myself.

I now alternate between the treadmill and the elliptical trainer. I then do abdominal exercises before either using free weights on my arms or the machine leg weights. Even though I only workout for an hour twice a week, I feel like my body is more toned. I would obviously prefer to go to the gym three or four times a week, but I am busy and I cannot always prioritise exercise over blogging and chores.

It is now almost exactly three months until my 40th birthday. Hopefully I can lose these next 24 pounds and become fit in time for 40.

 

Sim's Life
Fitness 4 Mamas

 

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Top 10 Dino-tastic Gifts

Dubz has mostly been playing with his sister's hand-me-down toys. But in the past six months, he has shown a great love of dinosaurs, with the occasional interest in knights, dragons and pirates. Last week Dubz celebrated his third birthday. Besides throwing him a dinosaur-themed birthday party, we needed to ensure that he received some super cool dinosaur gifts.

Rather than spending hours searching all over the internet, I found the first half of these items through Find-A-Present-UK. You can search by recipient or occasion, and it shows you where the items are available at and the various costs. It made the process go much quicker. I will definitely use the site again, and I can see it being especially useful when buying Christening and Christmas presents.

These gifts would probably be most suitable for children aged two through five.  Please note that I haven't included any books as I recently published a post on dinosaur books, but I will probably write a follow-up post soon.

 

1. Personalised Dinosaur Lunch Bag, £12.75

Top 10 Dino-tastic GiftsIt is super cute, has an adjustable strap and is the perfect size for a lunchtime picnic. Dubz has been carrying the bag around the house and keeping snacks in them.

It only took five days, from the day it was ordered, to delivery, which is amazing considering it is personalised.

 

2. Dinosaur Train DVD, £4.00

Top 10 Dino-tastic GiftsWe had never watched Dinosaur Train until I bought this DVD last week. It is actually quite informational, and a paleontologist comes on after every episode offering further insight. We don't normally buy television shows on DVD, but there aren't any dinosaur films that Dubz enjoys. If you do know of any good dinosaur films for young children, please give me a shout.

3. Think Pink Dinosaur Rucksack & Umbrella, £25

Dubz already has a dTop 10 Dino-tastic Giftsinosaur backpack, but this rucksack and umbrella combo are just so much cuter. I didn't buy these for him for his birthday, but they would make a great Christmas gift (surely one can't have too many dinosaur bags).

Through Find-A-Present.UK , I saw that these items were also available through Amazon and you can purchase them individually, which is also a great option if you don't need both the rucksack an the umbrella.

 4. Paint Your Own Money Box Dinosaur, £4.99

Top 10 Dino-tastic GiftsWe love a good 'paint your own' in our household. Not only is it a gift, but it is also an activity. Great for a rainy day. And when the kids ask what colour they should paint the stegosaurus, point out that we don't know what colour the dinosaurs were so they can be any colour the child wants. Not just playing, but learning. *pats self on back*

5.  Inflatable Tyrannosaurus Rex, £14.99

Top 10 Dino-tastic GiftsThough Dubz has several favourite dinosaurs, T-Rex is his absolute favourite. And what small child wouldn't want a giant dinosaur (is about 5 feet tall). Dubz has been carrying his around, and calls him 'my pet'. Check him out in the photo at the top, having a cuddle. Unless you have a very gentle child, this dinosaur will need some inflation daily.

6. Scootaheadz Dinosaur: Green, £14.99

Top 10 Dino-tastic GiftsDubz inherited Moozles' pink Microscooter. Obviously he is not fussed about the colour, but we thought adding a dinosaur decoration would make the scooter feel more like his and not just another hand-me-down. It is of a very high quality and I am surprised that it did not cost more. The scary, but smiley, teeth are a really nice touch.

7. Dinosaur Train Roar n' React Boris, £19.03

Top 10 Dino-tastic GiftsI was surprised at how big and sturdy this dinosaur was, considering its cost. Dubz is loving having this T-Rex to play with. He also loves that it makes roaring noises and talks. Apparently it interacts with only other dinosaurs from Dinosaur Train, so we will be getting another one--maybe the stegosaurus or the triceratops. My only gripe is that there isn't an off button.

8. Melissa & Doug Dinosaur Stamp Set, £8.00

Top 10 Dino-tastic GiftsDubz loves drawing, but his skills are limited as he is barely three. Mostly he draws a big circle, with a face and a hat, and says it is a 'monster'. But as he adores dinosaurs, these stamps will help him to be creative about dinosaurs on paper. And as they are packaged so nicely, you could take this out for a day at the grandparents without worrying about ink at the bottom of your handbag.

9. Travis Designs Dinosaur Dressing-Up Costume, £25

Top 10 Dino-tastic GiftsThis is absolutely gorgeous, and is definitely going on the Christmas list. Rather than in the usual costume format, this is a cape. It looks like it would be much more comfortable and easier to play in. It is machine-washable, and has the cutest spikes and tail EVER.

This is available at both John Lewis and Amazon, though they are almost sold out at the latter.

10. Orchard Toys Big Dinosaur Puzzle, £9.75

Top 10 Dino-tastic GiftsPuzzles are great, not just for aiding in critical thinking, but also for hand-eye coordination. This one features loads of dinosaurs, including some baby dinosaurs hatching out of eggs. I'm adding this to the Christmas list!

 

 

Family Fever
We were given a voucher from Find-A-Present.UK to try out their site. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

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Mummy Daughter Outfits

Let's face it. Mums and daughters like to dress up alike. And we have a small window to do this, because when your child turns 10, they will think you are the most uncool person alive. But Moozles has only just turned seven. And she still thinks I am the coolest. So when I presented her with matching pink espadrilles a few weeks ago, she squealed.

Mummy Daughter Outfits

mummy daughter spring styleIt can be tough finding matching clothes and shoes for mummies and daughters, especially in styles you will both like. A couple of months ago I blogged about a Spanish shoe shop called Pisamonas. I loved Pisamona's funky, European look and was looking forward to getting some shoes for Moozles and me. I thought the espadrilles would work well for both Spring and Summer, and who doesn't love a splash of pink? But Pisamonas has quite a few styles with sizes for children and adults, so we had several styles to choose from. Look at the leopard print!

Moozles was thrilled with the tiny wedge, and she thought they looked very grown-up. We both found the shoes to be very comfortable, and the ties didn't slip down. I thought they were quite reasonably priced at £12.95 for each pair (deliveries and exchanges are always free). My only issue was that the end of the tie frayed a bit after the first wear. But I just cut it off and it was fine for the second wear.

We decided to finish off our matching shoes with similar outfits. Moozles wore a Breton striped dress from H&M. It is now sold out, but look at this very pretty alternative from Little Joule.

Mummy Daughter Outfits

I am rocking a similar look with a Breton top from Marks & Spencer. This top is so soft and comfy (and only £25). I have been wearing it with jeans, shorts and skirts. Here I've thrown it together with a tie-dye skater skirt and leggings. In the early 90s I dabbled in grunge before becoming matchy-matchy and coordinating the hell out of my outfits. I now wear whatever with whatever and don't worry too much about clashing or matching. So, what do you think of our Mummy-Daughter style?

Mummy Daughter Spring Style

Mummy Daughter Outfits Mummy Daughter Outfits Mummy Daughter Outfits

 

This week I'm linking up to Street Style Mom from Reasons to Dress and Street Style Sunday from Style Me Sunday.

I was given the chance to choose complimentary shoes for Moozles and me, from Pisamonas. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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Throw Away The Baby ManualsDo you remember buying a pregnancy and baby guide when you found out you were pregnant? Perhaps even three or four? After all, becoming a parenting is serious business. I remember reading mine diligently, as well as some baby magazines. I wanted to be prepared. But it turns out that nothing can really prepare you for having a baby.

Yes, it is helpful to know how many vests, blankets and bodysuits to buy. And yes, one should know how to bathe their newborn baby, and what to do if your little one has a fever or gets cradle cap. But we have moved on from using parenting handbooks as helpful manuals. They have become baby bibles. And we have taken every word as divine law. We research how our babies should be acting, how they should be developing, how they should be playing. Then we either agonise over our children not meeting their targets, or we become insufferable braggarts and gloat to the other mums about how special our child is.

And this does not end when they are babies. Then we buy books on what to expect from toddlers, and how to deal with tantrums and the terrible twos. Sometimes we are so determined to fix our children that we forget to just let our children be. Just be. Grow and learn and play. And yes, sometimes there will be tantrums.

We have started to rely less on our instincts and more on what experts advise. But here's the thing. We are all experts on our own babies. We know when they are hot or cold (is there anything more annoying than a stranger commenting on your child being under-dressed??!!). We know when they are tired, and when they are hungry. We know when they need a hug and when they need to just shout it out.

But we are constantly being told that we do not know what is best for our own children. I remember the first year of motherhood, wanting so desperately to do everything correctly. I now wish I had worried less, and enjoyed my child's baby days. Because my daughter was fine, and I was doing a good job. I didn't look at any baby books when my son was a baby. I knew he was fine and that I knew what to do. And guess what? He is absolutely fine and I enjoyed his baby and toddlers days much more than with his big sister.

Mothers have been relying on their instincts for thousands of years. Baby books can be helpful. But they are not the ultimate guide to taking care of babies and toddlers. So come on mums, throw those manuals away. We really are the experts. We know how to take care of our babies and our children. And if you're really stuck, just google it.

 

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