Friday, 27 March 2015

Growing Up

This week saw Olivia turn 9.

As she is getting older she's really getting the fashion bug wanting to choose her own clothes, asking for heels on her shoes, loving handbags especially River Island ones (like mum!) wanting to wear make up etc, etc...... I suppose we are now fully entrenched in 'tween' territory yay!

This year we (family members) decided to buy her lots of new clothes, shoes, handbags and make up which worked out well for me as yet again she has had another growth spurt. This recent one has put Olivia into age 12-13 and I must admit at only 9 some clothes are a bit too grown up for her so it's a balancing act trying to find nice outfits that aren't too old for her yet not babyish.

After receiving plenty of new outfits (not at all jealous I swear!) Olivia decided on this funky get up to celebrate her birthday in.

Olivia's outfit is all from Primark age 12-13 except scarf which is one size from the children's department at H&M. Prices unknown apart from Jacket which she already had in the sale for £5.

Linking up with Clearly Bex and MotherGeek for Trendy Tot Thursday.

Trendy Tot Thursday : ClearlyBex

Olivia is 9!

So March is nearly over and what a crazy one it has been for us! Birthdays, upon on birthdays, upon birthdays! I kid you not 4 in less than 2 weeks but hey, at least they're all over in one go am I right!

March 21st 2006 at 15:55 saw the arrival of one Miss Olivia Nicole B and this year was birthday number 9. As you can imagine Olivia has had plans and ideas for months and I mean 12 long months......... ever since last years trip to Legoland Discovery Centre in Manchester.

I was prepared to be totally organised this year, I started putting money away each week, booked the chosen venue in plenty of time. A meal at her new favourite restaurant Red Hot World Buffet for all the family and a couple of school friends sorted...... or was it?????

No, it wasn't. *sigh*

After visiting the local bowling alley for my nieces birthday lil' miss decided 'hold on a sec....... I think I would like a bit of this for my birthday' so there I was left to change all my plans pandering to the every whim of my fickle 8, soon to be 9 year old! The things we do!

When the big day arrived Olivia woke up at her dads and I had time to organise the house with all manner of of birthday balloons and banners ready for her coming home.

She wasn't disappointed receiving everything she wanted and more, trust me she isn't one of those children who is happy with whatever she gets, we had a Monster High theme for decorations and party bags and we are now totally in the grip of the Shopkins craze god help me!!!!!!

We finished off the day with family round and a disgusting amount of takeaway food and a mini sleepover but everyone had a great day and that's all that counts isn't it! Me I'm off to start saving for next year..... double digits, double the fun, double the expense........

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Snowman and Snowdog Grotto at intu Trafford Centre

How do you pick which grotto you visit? 

Do join on the end of the local shopping centre grotto queue and pray that you your child(ren) play nice and smile after their looong wait in line and not freak out and refuse the obligatory shot with Santa wasting the £xxx amount of pounds you just paid the whole beautiful experience topped off with a 99p shop toy that, if they are anything like my daughter they will hate!

Oh the joys of the holidays! Or do you....................

Plan ahead scout out the best places and promptly book into one of the newest swankiest grotto experiences to be had??

Well after previous "fun" experiences in the first scenario in years gone by, the past few visits have been ones that really are visits to remember. Last year my sisters and I paid for a private story time one on one with the big man himself with the local theatre group and it was a huge success, all the kids loved it! Could we top that this year? Well the people over at intu Trafford Centre thought that maybe they could and well, who was I not try it out after all Olivia is 8 now and I think pretty soon she will be too old to be sitting on Santa's lap! (although these days it's more standing next to, not sitting actually on Santa's lap!)

Situated in Barton Square (outside Legoland Discovery Centre) intu Trafford Centre's The Snowman and the Snowdog Grotto promises a magical experience for children of all ages based on the book and film of the same name a new story with a twist on the classic and timeless The Snowman. The grotto itself is adorned with many different snowmen statues and the snowdog is sat out front waiting to greet everyone.

Unfortunately due to traffic we were actually running late, bloomin' football grrr....... and the usually short bus ride took twice as long (and over an hour on the way home!) but the staff at the grotto were very nice and understanding about it especially with the confusion of us not receiving the correct voucher, but all that was irrelevant in the end when we made it inside.

First we were greeted by Billy's mum. Billy is the little boy who decided to build himself a snowman and a snowdog. Here Billy's mum told us her story interspersed with bits of the film sitting in her front room.

After listening to her story and discovering the magic of snow we were finally on our way to see Santa. Led past a display of snowmen in a beautiful christmas setting, all children were invited to sit at lovely little old fashioned school desks with lamps on to write a letter to hand into Santa. No letters getting lost in the post for us! Olivia asked for an Orbeez soothing spa and some Monster High dolls and she kept tight hold of it.

One at a time the children were taken through to where Santa was ready and waiting for them and boy, was Santa shocked when he seen how much Olivia had grown this year! Join the club my friend, join the club!

What I really enjoyed was the tailored and personal conversation Santa had with Olivia, none of this 'have you been a good girl' stuff, they actually had a little chat. He kindly asked Olivia if she would be able to make him jelly on Christmas eve as the mince pies get stuck in his teeth! So that's our Christmas eve cooking taken care of! He then took her list and carefully folded it in front of her and popped into his magical bag sending it straight to the top of the list pile back in the North Pole! She was delighted (I was thankful I knew what was on said list!)

After having her picture taken Santa sent us on our way as he is obviously a very busy man with lots of children to see and she was one happy little girl.

The experience for me was made more special by the fact that there are showing times for the grotto meaning that you are not waiting in massive queues with cranky kids you turn up for your booked time, I do recommend you book as it is really busy then you wont be disappointed by being turned away due to it being full.

You can find out more details including opening times (10am till 10pm from 3rd November to 24th December) and prices (£4.50 per child with a gift and £2.50 per adult) I am in 2 minds about the adult charge but considering you also get the full experience with story and film and the fact that £4.50 is very reasonable for what you get for me the total of £7 was cheaper than what I paid last year so it wouldn't be too bothered paying for me really. There is an online booking fee but for the peace of mind knowing that you get to experience this magical visit with Santa without waiting in long queues or being turned away, as many where whilst I was there its a small price to pay really. Hop over to this page to find out more Britain's First The Snowman and The Snowdog Grotto

*Disclaimer: Olivia and I were supplied with free vouchers for our visit and received complimentary vouchers and a gift bag. All thoughts and opinions are our own*

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Trendy Tot Thursday 20/11

How on earth is it nearly the end of November already seriously?!?! I have been busy buying Olivia all kinds of new clothes, boots, gloves and tights to keep her warm this winter. This is no easy feat when your child grows constantly, I have 4 bin bags of clothes she has outgrown recently it's ridiculous so I have had to resort to drastic measures we are nearly the same shoe size!!!!!!!!

Anywho it's time to get to my fav outfit recently. As I am struggling to link up every week or even blog at all I will feature the outfit she wore on our recent trip out on the Mersey Ferry.

Olivia wore her Cool Cat leggings and top from Tesco age 9-10 it is getting a bit small for her now but she likes it. She wore it with her bargain £1 boots from Internationale size 4 and her funky new My Little Pony socks again £1 from Primark. Her purple coat was £4.99 from Barnado's a favourite hunting ground of mine and is a Tog24. Her hat/scarf all in one id from Tesco's and from last year which saved me forking out again for one this year especially as it was £10 she is definitely getting her wear out of it!

Trendy Tot Thursday : ClearlyBex

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Would you leave your child home alone?

There has been a lot in the lot news and various parent sites about leaving your children home alone. Would you, should you, how old exactly should they be before you even contemplate it?

Before writing this I thought I would have a little look and see if there is actually any laws or guidelines on this subject and do you know what? There isn't any actual laws at all the NSPCC has some guidelines however.

You would think there there would be something in place wouldn't you? If we as parent could be so easily prosecuted for neglect or abandonment then surely there should be a law in place to help us as parents judge this grey area because lets face it not all of us parents are going to agree are we!

I think I can actually see why as well. I mean each child is unique, some mature quicker than others. Each parent raises their child(ren) differently so who can realistically say what would be right for one would be right for another?

When I was 11 I used to babysit a family friends children. We both lived on the same road and my mum was always home when I was there. To me I felt like I was responsible enough for this as the children weren't babies, the baby was with my mum, and usually they would all be in bed. However this came to an abrupt end when one night the police knocked on the door and asked for my mum. This is when I found out that I was too young to babysit but in 3 months time when I was 12 then that would be perfectly fine. This situation happened again when I was indeed 12 the same neighbour 'concerned' that the children were at risk but they left quite happy that there was no danger and I was mature enough to handle any situation with various phone numbers available to me as contacts and my mum a few doors down.

It's enough to make you wonder, I do now, was I actually  responsible enough at that age and would I ever do that to Olivia? At 8 years old she is far to young to be left in that situation or to be left home alone isn't she! I feel that she is still too young to be able to look after herself should she be on her own and I don't trust her to be able to feed herself past snacks and sandwiches. Saying this, I have on occasion nipped to the shop with her staying in the house. Usually at her request I should add. You can see the shop from my front door it takes me less than a minute to get there and back. I take my keys so she doesn't have to open the door to anyone, I turn the fire off if it is on and the cooker too and Olivia is usually either sitting on the sofa or in her room. She is a sensible girl and I know she won't try anything she shouldn't in the whole 3-4 minutes I am gone except turn the sky over to the disney channel!

This is the extent of my trust though, she is absolutely not old enough to left alone any longer than that and especially not overnight but some more definitive guidelines or laws would be handy to help us out don't you think?

What do you think? I would some other parents views on this subject!