My Big Book of Monster Fun

 The My Big Book of Monster fun from Parragon Books is  the perfect thing for your children now the nights are getting darker and colder. It is jam packed full of activities to keep them busy on the dark nights and great with half term approaching.
 There is lots to do including colouring, quizzes, stories, there is even a built in bard game in the back. There is a over 180 pages filled whither fun, so its bund to keep them busy!
The book starts of with some fun Monster tales which is great for polishing up those reading skills without the children even knowing they are learning.
There are some great free drawing activities, like this one above where the children can show their creative flair and draw the winner of the most revolting pet competition.
Next up are some fun monster colouring in pages, followed by this great learn to draw page. I loved these type of things and remember trying to do them when I was younger.
I know my gang are going to make good use of this during half term and with it being the big monster book it is perfect with Halloween coming up! You can buy the book from The Works, WH Smiths and Amazon for only £7.99.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
xx
*I was sent the above item FOC as part of the Parragon Book Buddies Scheme.

Slimming World Low Syn Lunches

I have been on the Slimming World plan for 13 weeks now and have lost a total of 1 stone and 8 pounds in total. When I started I stuck to lots of salads and pasta dishes, but the trick with Slimming World is to keep a variety so you don't get bored. I have been sent a selection of noodle products to try out as a low syn option.
I have always loved noodles but my usual brand can be as much as 5 syns per packet, and I do not want to waste 5 syns on lunch. This selection of noodle snacks range from 1.5 to 4 syns, so a great lower option.
Itsu Chicken Classic - 1.5 syns
Kabuto Beef Pho - 1.5 syns
Naked Noodle Laksa Curry - 2.5 syns
Naked Noodle Japanese Teriyaki - 1.5 syns
Naked Noodle Beef Pho - 1.5 syns
Naked Noodle Chow Mein Stir Fry - 4 syns
Naked Noodle Hoisin Stir Fry - 1.5 syns
I am completely new to Itsu noodles and it isn't a brand I have heard of before. But at 1.5 syns for the pot I thought it would be worth a try. I love the fact that the cup comes with a cool lid and a nice fork, so you can truly eat in the go. But for me that is where the good stuff ends. I didn't like the noodles and I found them to have very little flavour, in fact they tasted nothing like chicken and where very watery. They retail for around £2 per cup.
I have heard lots about Naked Noodle in my group, but had yet to try them. As soon as I took the lid of the Beef Pho noodle pot you could smell lots of delicious flavours. I also love that the noodle cups are plastic, they are easier to hold. The noodles only take a few minutes to make, so ideal for a quick lunch, its a decent sized portion to and its not really watery. The flavour is amazing an if you wanted to bulk it up with some speed foods it would be great served with a side of steamed veggies.
After trying the Naked Noodle Beef Pho I was interested to see how the kabuto version compared. It has exactly the same syn value and around the same sized serving. I noticed though as soon as I opened the lid that the same smells weren't coming out and hitting me in the face. It was a little more on the watery side, bit that could be easily remedied by adding less water. There wasn't as much flavour in the kabuto noodles but they had a little more spice.
I love a stir fry and they are a staple of some of my weekly evening meals. I always have trouble flavouring my egg noodles to the right flavour and these noodle stir fry kits are ideal. You boil the noodles in your wok with the flavour sachet and just add your  meat, fish or vegetables. The hoisin is perfect for duck and I also like it with beef. At only 1.5 syns I will definitely be trying it again.

Do you have go to lunches or do you tend to have the same things, I recommend giving these a go as yummy, low syn quick and easy lunches.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
xx

Slimming World Weigh In Week 13

I had a really good week last week, I had set myself a very high target of a 4lb loss and wanted to make sure I got it. I want to stay on track for a 3 stone loss by Christmas and after a few dodgy weeks had a few pounds to make up.
I made sure I did 3 Speed Days this week and by the 2nd day I was dying for some pasta or potatoes, but managed to resist. I kept on repeating to myself " The More Speed You Choose, The More You Lose"
I rewarded myself with a steaming bowl of meatball pasta on Friday and it was soo good. My fitness level is definitely improving, and my FitBit really helps me stay motivated to keep moving.

I headed to tonight's weigh in knowing I would get the 2lb I needed for my stone and half award, and hoping to hit the 4lb target I had set...... This week I lost 3lbs!
So I got my award, I didn't hit the target I set, but I will happily take the 3lb loss! I have started to notice the changes in the way I look and I have officially binned the clothes that no longer fir me, as I will NEVER wear them again! I am officially 2 clothes sizes down and this picture from this week made me notice how much weight I have lost.
My neck has gotten smaller and my chin is definitely smaller, I have always hated having my photo taken, but am slowly getting used to it. See you next week.
This Weeks Result -3lbs
Total Weight Loss - 1 stone 8lbs
This Weeks Goal -  3lbs
Sim's Life

Ever After High Darling Charming Doll

Ever since we reviewed the Lizzie Heart Playset Miss S has loved her Ever After High and she has been enjoying the series over on Netflix. This week she received another of the series to review, the Ever After High Darling Charming Doll, aimed at ages 6 and over and priced at £16.99 from Asda and Tesco Direct.
Start a new chapter with Ever After High, where the teenage son and daughters of famous fairytales decide whether or not to follow in their parents footsteps. Darling Charming has chosen to rewrite her destiny as an Ever After Rebel and to do it in storied style. The daughter of King Charming is a fairytale princess who want to be the knight in shining armour. Darling combines both her princess and warrior sides in one spelltacular look.
Darling Charming has a stunning silver dress with metallic bodice and shiny peplum skirt. She has some spectacular jewel encrusted  shoulder armour and a lovely belt to complete the warrior princess look. She has some great accessories  including silver shoes, silver cuff bracelet with a flowery ring, tiara style head band and a silver armour inspired purse. As With all of the Ever After High collection she comes with her own stand and completely posable arms and legs.
Miss S really loved the doll, its very sensory appealing for her with the different textures and colours, She spent a lot of time feeling the fabric and removing the accessories. She loves that the doll has its own stand so when she is not playing with it she can stand it on her window with her other Ever After and Monster High dolls. They make great collectable pieces as well as dolls to play with. She kept saying beautiful when she was playing with Darling Charming, so I think she really likes her.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
xx
*I was sent the above sample FOC for the purposes of review.

Imagine the Possibilities with Barbie

You have probably seen some of our Barbie reviews and how much we love them. Most little girls I know love a Barbie doll, does your child love Barbie dolls? Miss S does we encourage as much imaginary play as possible as its great for her development. I remember when I was little playing with my Barbies and you could make your Barbies be anything you wanted. My Barbies were airhostesses, Zookeepers, school teachers and nurses the possibilities were endless. Your imagination is free to run wild when you are playing nothing is impossible, there is a fab new video created by the team at Barbie, take a look below.

I love the positive message behind the video, and a child's imagination really is endless. I love the adults reaction when the children come into to do the adults jobs. I would love to go to a child lead exercise class, they have limitless amounts of energy.
What do you think of the video? Do you enjoy watching your child playful imagination? What job would you most like to see a child act out and pretend to be?
Mandy
xx

Join me for a #NickJrPumpkinParty

You make have noticed the cool badge in my sidebar! On Monday I am co hosting a fab twitter party with UKMumsTv and Nick Jr, and this is your invite to join in the fun!
Make sure you're following me on twitter and use #NickJrPumpkinParty in all your tweets for a chance to win some fab prizes. Also pop over to my twitter here and you can get a head start by retweeting the post for your chance to win a fab prize bundle.
We have been sent a fab party box which the children and some of their friends are going to be having some great fun with. We have some craft activities to do and a scary cupcake creation to make, so make sure you follow along on twitter to see our creations. All next week on Nick Jr there will be some great Halloween episodes of all your childs favourite Nick Jr characters.
Monday 26th - Dora and Friends Into The City - 4.30pm
Peppa Pig - 5.30pm
Tuesday 27th - Paw Patrol - 5.30pm
Wednesday 28th - Zack & Quack - 5.30pm
Thursday 29th - Lily's Driftwood Bay - 5.30pm
Friday 30th - Wallykazam - 5.30pm
Once all the fun is over our very lucky guests get to take home a good bag all of their own!
If you don't win first time round don't be sad, because on Friday 30th from 5.15pm-6.15pm UK Mums TV are hosting another twitter frenzy, so even more chances to win!

Hey Duggie Magazine

If you have a preschooler who's getting a bit of cabin fever in this rubbish weather then get yourself down to your local newsagent today and grab the NEW Hey Duggie Magazine from Cbeebies for only £2.75.
If your 4 year old is anything like mine as soon as we walk into the shop he is mithering for a magazine, he doesn't alway get one. But when he does we like to make sure its a worthwhile one and not sut filled with plastic tat that he is going to discard after a few minutes.
What I love about this particular magazine is that it is jam packed with learning activities to keep your little one busy and engaged. There are colouring activities and dot to dot puzzles which are great time fillers for a rainy afternoon.
If your child watches Hey Duggie then they will know that in each episode Duggie has to earn a badge. Issue 1 of the magazine is all about earning the cake badge and the items on the front of the magazine help your child get theirs.
Mr C loves Hey Duggie so has really engaged with this magazine. He really enjoyed completing all the activities. Usually the magazine gets cast aside after about 10 minutes, but Mr C sat with this and went cover to cover completing each activity. He really liked the cake badge he got on the front of the magazine and the Hey Duggie Chef Hat!
The Magazine is in newsagents today, so be quick and get your copy while stocks last.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
xx
*I was sent this above magazine FOC for this post, plus a subscription to the Hey Duggie Magazine

Life Lately #autismparent

I sit and look back through my blog recently and noticed there are no blogs from me! There are my Slimming World posts, but not everyone wants to read those. My life is a stay at home Mum, to 4 children, 3 of whom have autism and that is what I strive to write about. My tag line says autism parent moans included and for the first time in years I have NONE!
Life is pretty good at the moment, yes I'm tired from little sleep thanks to Miss S, but this has become almost habit and routine. I thought  I would do a little update on each of the children, I plan to do one each month so I have something ot look back upon and celebrate their achievements.
Mr L has settled in so well at high school, better than we could have ever imagined. In the 6 weeks he has been there we have had just 1 incident. We had a prior with the school that L could choose his own punishment for bad behaviour. It was a structure that worked great for him in primary and I'm pleased they agreed to it continuing. He chose a break time detention and he dealt with it really well and hasn't looked back since. We get around 3 postcards a week sent home from school, telling us how well he is doing. But most importantly he is loving it, he seems to have matured and calmed down overnight. My eldest is growing up and coping with new transition wonderfully, so proud of him.
Mr D has had his ups and downs, he went through a bit of a patch of bad behaviour, he was fine at school but a nightmare at home! All he did was argue with his brothers, we took a look back over our Riding The Rapids manual for some tips and managed to reign im back in. He started Swimming lesson this term and he hates them. He seems to have an irrational fear of drowning, no matter how much we tell him the swimming teacher won't let home drown, he doesn't believe us! This accumulated in him hiding his swimming kit at school last week so he didn't have to go. This now means we have hand his kit to the teacher each Monday, he went again this Monday and the teacher said he did fine, he just doesn't like being on his back. He seems to have settled at school now and isn't struggling as much, his handwriting is improving thanks to the clover fingers programme he has been doing.
Miss S is still not sleeping great, she seems to go months sleeping well then has a 2-3 week block of really poor sleep. We are kind of used to it now and as I said above I get the chance to cat nap when all the children are at school. We now have Miss S's EHCP and it's nice to finally see a plan all written down in black and white. She is making great progress at school, her reading is coming along great, she still isn't there are all with writing. She finds holding writing tools awkward and tiring, but put her in front of a keyboard and she can type and spell amazingly. She is also making small steps with toileting thanks to her picture charts and we have finally cracked the toothbrushing.
Mr C is his regular self, he was star of the week in school last week and he was so proud of himself. He gets to be the leader in the lunch line all week and gets to sit on a special chair! He has been moved up a band in reading and his writing skills are amazing. He really loves going to school and is loving the challenges that reception has to offer. The pediatrician will come back to observe him again after Christmas, but from my point of view all the problems Nursery identified seem to have ebbed away. I have four with my other 3 children that transition to reception was sink or swim, they all struggled where Mr C has excelled. When he was referred via school as possibly on the spectrum I expressed my concerns and said they weren't giving him enough time. He was just a quiet little boy, who spoke in a little voice and didn't look at you, but then again he did start nursery at age 3, he just needed time to find himself. He well and truly has and I am quietly confident that he will be signed off after Christmas and I will remain the Mum to just 3 autistic children.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
xx

Slimming World Week 12 Weigh In

You may or may not have noticed that there has been no weigh in update from me for the last 2 weeks. This is because Dave has been on holiday and I was unable to get to weigh in. The 10 days he was away I was really naughty! All my meals were on plan but all the yummy snacks in between definitely were not!

I had my Mum with me for 5 of those days and we where just as bad as each other, if I said ohh I fancy some chocolate, she would say should I go and get some!! If Dave was at home he would of grabbed me an apple. In the 5 days we were together we had cake-away, chocolate, cream buns and a cheeky Nando's.
He came back last Tuesday and I got straight back on it, I was determined not to creep back above that 1 stone loss, I did 3 speed days, upped my water intake from 2 to 3 litres of water a day, kept my syns low and only drank green tea, around 5 cups a day. I was sure this still wasnt enough as I headed to weigh in tonight.
Im well and truly shocked, but super happy with this result! I'm only 2lb away from my one and half stone badge and I am determined to get it next week! I have all my meals planned and plan to keep it low syn, drink as much water as possible and only drink green tea! I have set my target at 4lb for next week, it seems high, but I want to make a big dent in my next stone bracket, which I haven't been in for 4 years.
I can do this! See you next week
This Weeks Result -3lbs
Total Weight Loss - 1 stone 5lbs
This Weeks Goal -  4lbs

Sim's Life

Monster High Luna Mothews Boo York Doll

You may have noticed the reviews over the past few months for the fabulous Monster High Dolls, Miss S now has quite the collection. She has really got into her dolls and its lovely to see her play skills get better as she gets older. She still needs a lot of prompting but she really loves these dolls. The latest in her collection is the fab Boo York doll retailing at £26.99.
With the promise of extra-bright lights in the big city, the Monster High™ ghouls are heading to Boo York City in their first ever monster-iffic musical, Boo York, Boo York! Whilst there, they hope to witness the historic passing of the Crystal Comet at a hair-raising gala and monster skull-ebration, and along their way they are introduced to new beast friends carving their way in the big city: Luna Mothews™ daughter of the Moth Man, shines in a goth-moth inspired print with mesmerizing wings and an antenna headband that is cute as a bug’s ear!; Mouscedes King™, daughter of the Rat King; avoids looking cheesy in an Upper Beast Side dress with golden polka dots on the bodice, a gold foil tapered skirt and bright blue tiara; her mouse ears, tail and tufted fur are totally monsterrific! and Elle Eedee™, daughter of The Robots, sticks to clean lines in a futuristic dress with metallic belt/overskirt, dramatic print cape, bright blue shoes and scary cool headpiece
Luna is a bright and funky doll and really stands out with her red & black hair and golden head piece. She has a set of removable wings on her back and a floor length skirt with a funky design. The whole doll is colour coordinated. Luna wears some cool looking boots, they are very intricately designed and the silver colour compliments the desing of the skirt. As with all the Monster High dolls Luna com's with her own stand so when you're not playing with her you can put her on display with the rest of your collection.
The doll is very visually appealing and I think that is why Miss S likes it, she loves feeling the large tiara on her head. She also like that all the limbs move, she likes to put them in some strange ways! I big plus for Miss S is that all the clothing and accessories are removable, she doesn't play with doll in the traditional way, but she loves to take everything apart and put them back together again. The Luna Mothews doll is very at home in Miss S's collection, she looks fab!
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
xx
*I was sent the above item FOC for the purposes of review

What's in Septembers Degustabox?

I had another Degustabox delivered this month and it had lots of things I haven't tried before. If you haven't heard of Degustabox it's a monthly subscription box priced at £12.99 that delivers 9-14 surprise products, many of the products are new to the market so you get to try them first. 
This month's box contained 13 items from 8 different brands, I am familiar with most of the brands and have had a couple of the products included in previous boxes. So the promise of new to the market products isn't so true in this month's box for me. So what was inside this month's box?

Sweet Sally Winter Spice Tea - RRP £2.40 - A ready to drink black tea, it's flavoured with citrus and spice, so has a real wintery taste. It reminds me a bit of mulled wine, lovely for a refreshing drink.
The Good Cider - £3 - I really enjoy a fruit flavoured cider and these 2 are really refreshing, you can really taste the apples coming through. They taste better ice cold, so stick them in the fridge before hand.
Up&Go - £1.39 - I have had these in a previous box and the children really liked them. They are great to throw in your bag for a quick breakfast on the go to. They are milkshake like but a little thicker due to the oats.
Complete Energy Bites - £4.49 - I was intrigued by these, as a tired Mum of 4 I am always low on energy. These bite size chocolate are the equivalent of a large coffee and provide an instant boost. I found the mocha flavour a bit strong, but did feel more awake after eating one.
Kent's Kitchen Posh Noodles - £1.85 - I have eaten a lot of noodles since I joined Slimming World and these 'posh noodles' are full of flavour. They also come in a range of flavours but I love these spicy szechuan , they have a real kick to them.
The Olive Shop Oil - £5 - A staple in any cook's kitchen, this is a lovely oil for cooking with. It's a different brand to what I normally buy but it's a really rich one and I will definitely be buying again.
Reece's Peanut Butter Cups - £1.70 - Another sweet treat favourite in our house, luckily we got 2 packs so we all got to have 1 each! In packs of three these peanut butter chocolate cups are amazing!
Mallow and Marsh Raspberry Marshmallows - £2 - I do like the odd marshmallow, but these are real luxury mallows. I loved the raspberry taste and that they aren't overly sweet like cheap mallows. I love them and am already looking to buy them again.
Maynard's Wine Gums - £1.50 - My hubby is a big wine gums fan so these went down a treat. Bonus for him is red and black are his 2 favourite flavours. We did get them about 3 months ago in a box, but hubby loves them anyway.
Bassett's Jelly Babies - £1.50 - These were the berry flavour jelly babies, we had them in a box about 3 months back.
What do you think of the contents? Want to try Degustabox yourself? You can get a massive £6 off your first box by using code BLDEG15 at the checkout.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
xx
*I was sent the Degustabox FOC for the purpose of an honest review

Shopping List From Orchard Toys

If there is one thing we love in our house it's a game with educational value, with 3 children with additional needs any added option to learn is always welcome. The shopping list game has recently been revamped, with some new upto date items added.
The game is aimed at children ages 3-7 and suitable for 2-4 players, and I love that the rules are so simple. Each player chooses a basket or trolley and also a shopping list. The small tiles are spread out face down and players take it in turns to choose a tile and see if the item is in their list. If it is they put in in their basket, if its not on their list they place it face down back with the other tiles. The first person to complete their shopping list and fill their basket is the winner.
The game is great for building observational skills and memory skills as the other players have the chance to see where you are placing your unwanted tiles. Mr C didn't take long to understand how the game is played and he loves it. It's a really simple game but the children really love it and want to play it again and again. From a parents point of view the game is made from good sturdy card and doesn't bend easily, so it looks like it should last a while.
As you may know from reading the blog Miss S have very limited speech, but she can read really well, so I use the shopping list boards to encourage her language. We sit and sound out the items and encourage her to practice using her words. It also means that as she can read that she can join in the game and she actually understands it and enjoys playing.
You can buy Shopping List from the Orchard Toys website for only £7.50.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
xx
*I was sent this item FOC for the purposes of review

Prestige Vintage Red Casserole Dish

Ever since I started Slimming World my casserole dish has been getting a good usage again, it was looking a bit tired though after 6 years use. Luckily for my the lovely people at Prestige got in touch and offered to send me a new one for review.
The vintage round casserole dish priced at only £20 is made from red ceramic. It has a non porous surface for great stain resistance, so it doesn't absorb moisture or odours. Prestige have combined a stylish vintage design with great practicality. So this dish will look great sitting on your dining room table and you can serve straight from it. The lid means that your food will say warm as you can cover it back up when you have finished serving.
The casserole dish is 26cm x 13cm which is a great size for a family the size of mine and it comes with a 12 months quality assurance guarantee. The casserole dish is dishwasher and microwave safe and it able to go straight from the freezer to oven. I love the fact it can go in the freezer as its perfect for freezing leftovers.
I knew instantly that I was going to try it out first on my tuna pasta bake as my old dish just wasn't big enough to hold all of the pasta. I must say I wasn't sure if it was going to fit in the Prestige, but it's a lot deeper than I thought.
There was even room for me to mix the ingredient in the bowl, I used to have to split it all into different pans. Now autumn is most definitely here I will be using it to make my casseroles and soups in, I'm using it tonight to make my Beef One Pot recipe, perfect for these crisp days.
This is just one of the lovely Prestige range, make sure you take a look a the website where you will find saucepans, grill pans, toaster, roastware and even bakeware.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
*I was sent the above item FOC for the purpose of review
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