Toot Toot Drivers Fire Station

We are very familiar with the Vtech Toot Toot range, 2 of my 4 children have loved playing with them as little ones. The youngest of my gang is now 6, so a bit old for the Toot Toot range but I have younger nieces and nephews who visit and I know they would love playing with the  Toot Toot Drivers Fire Station.
The fire station provides hours of fun for little ones and is suitable from 12 months. The set is made from quality moulded plastic and there are no small parts, all are nice and chunky. I love how brightly coloured the station is and it comes with its very own fire engone that plays lots of different tunes.
The fire station has lots of moving parts to keep them entertained, the kids can ring the bell, wind the doors open and closed, move the engine up and down the 2 movable ramps and 4 interactive smart points. The smart points are a great additional feature to the toy and when the fire engine is placed on the different smart points the kids get a different response from each one.
The Toot Toot fire station encourages motor skill development and is a great toy for learning about cause and effect. My little ones always loved cause and effect toys, their little faces used to light up when they saw they have done something magic! The fire station inspected with cause and effect mgic that will keep them playing with the fire station for hours on end. I also think it's great for some imaginative play, it's lovely to see the kids making up their own rescue stories as they play.
My 2 testers Mr C and Miss M had a lovely time playing together with the Toot Toot Fire Station, they particularly liked watching the engine zoom down the yellow ramp, knocking down the flames as he goes. They also loved the little singing fire engine that comes with the station, if you press the button on the front he says lots of different phrases and sings songs. With Christmas speedily approaching you can't go wrong with a toy from the Toot Toot range, the Fire Station retails at around £30 and is available in most toys shops.
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Weekly Weigh In - 21/08/17

Welcome back to my weekly weigh-in! I'm hoping that having to share my results will make me more motivated to get a good loss each week and stick to plan. If you saw last week's post you will know I lost a fab 3lb on my first week back on the wagon.

I continued on the right track this week, using my fitness pal to track my food intake and my Fitbit to get my daily steps in. I had a great week, but I knew at the beginning of the week that Thursday and Friday were going to be off days. It was my birthday on Saturday and I was out celebrating on Thursday and Friday with friends. Both days included alcohol and take away, Chinese and pizza to be precise. Plus as it was my birthday I was gifted a few treats, which it would have been rude not to eat haha. So it was no surprise that this week the scales said.....
I'll take a one pound gain any day, it was my birthday and I was spending some much-needed time with my friends. I normally do my weekly weigh-in on a Saturday, which is what day this result is from. I then post my result on the blog on a Monday. Next week, however, I am going to be posting my results on Wednesday. The reason for this is for the next 4 weeks I am going to be following the Diet Chef plan. I spotted a special offer where you get your first 4 weeks hamper for just £95. Which is a 50% saving. I am liking the idea of all food is ready for me and no thought having to go into it. It's not a review or paid promotion, I have paid for the plan out of my own pocket. But I will report back to you on how I find the food, what weight I lose etc.
See You Next Week

Top Tips For Stress Free Back To School

So there are just 2 weeks left until the children go back to school and we are already planning stages, with 4 children planning is essential. We want to back to school process to be as smooth as possible for the children. I thought I would share with you 5 top tips for preparing for back to school.

1. Back Into Routine
We are pretty laid-back in the holidays, obviously, with the children being autistic we have a pretty solid routine, but are a bit more relaxed around bedtime. With a short time left till we go back, we have started enforcing the normal school day evening routine. The children are allowed an hour on their technology after dinner. Then it's time for pyjamas, teeth and quiet time in bed. I believe by enforcing this 2 weeks early it makes it less of a shock to the system than doing it the night before they go back to school.

2. Stand Out From The Crowd
The kids all need bags to take into school, especially my daughter who travels by bus. I always go for a bright and colourful backpack. She will never lose it amongst the boring black and blue ones. She will identify it's hers and it's got plenty of space for all of her school things.
3. Personalise It
You really can't go wrong with school items you can personalise. We have these 2 items from The Personalised Gifts Shop and they are great. Dayton can take his water to school every day and not get his mixed up in the sea of water bottles. For Cody I went for a pe bag, the children all have plain navy bags, this royal blue with the alien on the front will have him finding his bag straight away.
4. Spend A Bit More
I used to buy the standard supermarket shoe for the kids priced at around £10. After about 6 weeks I was finding that they needed a new pair. Last year I deiced to splash out on Kickers for them, they cost £40 per pair, but they lasted the whole of the year. So I have done the same this year. 
5. Don't Go For The Same As Everyone Else
When it comes to coats all the kids tend to have the same. blue or black coat. I always try and go for something a bit bright and funky. You can always guarantee that Regatta has a nice selection to choose from. They are completely water proof and in the winter you just add a base layer underneath for the perfect winter coat.
Do you have any back to school tips of many saving advice for parents?Please do share them below.
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Bottersnikes & Gumbles are on YouTube

As a Mum of 4 kids tv plays a vital part in keeping me sane and getting some jobs done. Recently the boys have been watching Bottersnikes & Gumbles on CBBC at 3.05pm each day. Bottersnikes & Gumbles follows the adventures of three Gumble heroes, Tink, Bounce and Willi, who love nothing better than to 'gumble' all day long which means crazy, stretchy capers around their junk valley while carefully avoiding getting tin-canned by their stinky, grumpy, lazy neighbours the Bottersnikes. The award-winning CGI animated series is aimed at 6-9 year olds, it is based on the much-loved 1970’s classic children’s books by Australian author S.A. Wakefi eld and illustrated by Desmond Digby.

As massive Youtube fans, the boys were delighted to find the Bottersnikes & Gumbles Youtube channel. This has been a great find for the school holidays. The channel has show clips, compilations and even viewers game play. I like that they have compilation clips that last a little longer, perfect for popping on when I have a job to do and need some peace and quiet.

The boys have loved watching the game play videos of the children playing gumble run, which is available on the CBBC website. The boys loved playing the game and there are 3 challenges currently available to choose from. They get quite competitive when they're playing Gumble run and I think they enjoy playing as it's about a show they love.

Bottersnikes & Gumbles is aimed at ages 6-9 year olds, Mr C and Mr D who are 6 & 10 both love it. The episodes are easy to follow and not too long, so perfect for keeping their attention. Sounds great, doesn't it? If you're intrigued I have some exciting new for you! From tomorrow Bottersnikes & Gumbles can be watched on Netflix UK! I know the boys are delighted to have another excuse to watch their favourite episodes. Have your kids discovered this fab show yet? If not get them over to Youtube today and get them geared up for the Netflix UK launch tomorrow.

Make sure you subscribe the Youtube Channel and check Them Out On FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram.
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The A-Z Of Autism - Q Is For

When Mr L was diagnosed back in 2007 I didn't have a clue what Autism was or even what it meant, 8 years on and 2 more diagnoses it's still a puzzle. I have been contemplating doing a blog series with all the words associated with Autism to help other parents and to maybe be a bit of a reference point. So say hello to the A to Z of Autism. There has been a bit of a gap since the last post, life gets in the way when you have 3 kids on the spectrum! So I thought I better pick it back up again. You can see the other A-Z of autism posts hereThis time is Q is for, I thought this one would be a short one, but I was wrong.

Quirky - AutismMumma
Apart from the obvious ASD traits, my children have little quirks that make them individual.
I agree with autism mumma here, all of my children have their own little quirks, it makes them individual and very fun.

Questioning - Parenting The PDA Way
We question whether our kids are 'normal', we question whether they need a diagnosis and then if the diagnosis is correct, we question our parenting, we question whether we are meeting their needs or not, we question others when they disagree with our parenting, other people question our kid's diagnosis, we ask questions to better understand and help our kids. 

Questions -Faith Mummy
Answering questions are part of my daily routine with Miss S, she wants to know what day it is, what time it is, is it morning or evening, is it school today! Always with the questions, all the time and I have to answer them.

Quiet Time - Brody Me and GDD
Needed for everybody! Needed when in noisy places. 
I definitely agree here, we have 1-hour quiet time in our house before bed, it helps them wind down and chill. We do struggle to find quiet places to chill when we are out and about.

Always. Because siblings don't always react in a way to calm the situation.
My gang are forever quarrelling, they drive me crazy sometimes, it can be over the smallest things!

Quit - Chaos In Kent
Something we all consider when things go pear-shaped or the system once again fails us. 
Pretty sure we can all relate to this one!

Ques - Stephs 2 Girls
Very difficult, pretty much impossible in fact for my girl to wait in...
My gang do not que, in any way shape or form, they just can't do it. I have asked Mr L what makes queuing so hard for him, he tells me it's the not knowing and the noises! Not knowing how long he will be waiting.

This was suggested by Allison from my facebook page, Miss S especially fits this criteria, she quotes books, adverts and lines from films.

Thanks to all the above bloggers for their inclusion, also to Toni Pearson, Allison Hoyles, Debra Etchells from my Facebook and Instagram pages. Stay tuned for R is for in a few weeks time.
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Teenagers Autumn Wardrobe

This awful weather we have been having has got me thinking about sorting our wardrobes out for the winter. Luckily the shops all seem to have the same idea and have started showcasing their autumn and winter ranges. My biggest issue when it comes to clothing is definitely my teenage boy, he is 13, but the size of an adult male. He is almost 6 foot and takes a size 11 shoe, plus at 13 he wants to be fashionable! So I have been shopping around on the web trying to find some stylish bargains to make an autumn capsule wardrobe that doesn't cost the earth. I'm thinking he needs a good pair of men's jeans, a few polo shirts, a hoodie, a winter coat and some good all-round boots.
 A pair of skinny jeans are a must have item for any teenager, Mr L prefers all of his clothes dark so these black skinnies are perfect. Jeans are a great autumn/winter item as they keep you warm from the draft and they can be dressed up or down. I opted for a navy t shirt to match his colour preference. You can go wrong with a polo shirt as you can add a hoodie on top on the cooler days. The hoodie is an autumn essential and great for the winter as it can be added underneath a jacket for extra warmth. The teenager just likes to wear a hoodie around the house in the winter.

I think the Joe Browns coat is really stylish, it's not too thick so perfect for layering up for the autumn and winter months. It's waterproof so ideal for those rain showers that we are susceptible to in Manchester! A pair of boots is the last thing on my list, it's important that the boots are hard wearing. The tread is the most important thing as it needs to cope with the wet and possibly snowy weather. These fit the teenages bland colour criteria but the laces give them that subtle hint of colour. I think all of the items I have chosen for his capsule wardrobe are great, they fit his criteria and they will last the autumn/winter season. Are you preparing for autumn/winter yet? 
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Weekly Weigh In - 13/08/2017

So there are no big speeches about how this is a new beginning and how I'm going to stick to it this time and be really good all time. I have a lot of weight to lose to be classed as a healthy weight, even when I first joined slimming world I was classed as morbidly obese, such a joyous word morbid isn't it. I lost almost 3 stone on slimming world and then got disillusioned with the plan. I hated feeling so restricted and filling myself up with mullers and mug shots! It's just not real food, how can you be healthy eating sugar-free crap. I was also fed up with only being able to have tiny amounts of fibre and dairy each day, If I had Weetabix for breakfast I couldn't have a sandwich for lunch, well I could if I synned the bread lol, im a sucker for a sandwich lol. I have nothing against slimming world but after nearly 2 years of yoyoing up and down its no longer for me. 

My lovely friend introduced me to my fitness pal and macro tracking, she worked out how many calories I am allowed to eat each day based on my daily calorie burn on my Fitbit and I have been tracking and logging for a whole week. I am loving the freedom calorie tracking has given me, I can pretty much eat whatever I want as long as I track it and it comes within my macro allowance. 

I have just come to end of my first week of tracking and have enjoyed a really varied diet this week. I have even had and tracked a McDonalds, which was still under my daily allowance. The main thing I have noticed from tracking is how it makes you look at the food you're eating and what it contains. At the end of my first week I have lost............
So it's not as much as I used to lose each week with slimming world, I would lose on average 5lbs a week, but I am happy with a 3! Just 3.5lb a week would mean a stone in a month! I also think considering what I have eaten this week 3lb is a great first week result. 
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Leap Frog Count Along Till

We are in the midst of school holidays and we had a welcome delivery to brighten up the very wet holidays. The team at Leap Frog sent us one of their fab toys to play with, the Count Along Till, it talks, sings and has 20 items included in the box!
The set comes with 8 different food products, 10 coins and even a little plastic credit card. The till comes with demo batteries in them, we have been using it for a week and the batteries are still going. It is recommended to change them before you start playing with the till.
The face of the till is interactive and each of the button says a different word or sound. When the child presses the food item it tells them how many coins it costs to buy it. The bottom on the till screen also has the power button and you can have the volume high or low.
The count along till is suitable for children aged of 2 years old, all of the pieces are child safe. The food items are all made of chunky plastic and have air holes in them should they end up in small mouths. Supervision of young children is recommended to prevent this from happening
It's a great toy for counting and imaginative play, it teaches songs and fun phrases. Your little ones can set up their own shop and let the friends buy products and pay them for the products they buy, so it's great for basic maths skills too.
They can scan the items and press the buttons and the till tells them how many coins the item costs. They can post the cons in the coin slot on the bottom of the till screen and the till tells them if they were correct. The kids really enjoyed discovering the different ways to play with the till. 
They played happily with it for almost an hour which is impressive for 2 children cooperatively playing. Thye most enjoyed just simply playing shop and taking it in turns to buy items and pay for them. We definitely recommend the count along till, it's a  great toy for cooperative play, imaginative play, learning colours, numbers and counting. The Count Along Till is available in most major toy stores for around £20.
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Back To School With Debenhams

Now we are in the summer holidays I have been thinking about school uniforms, with 4 to buy for it can get quite costly. It's a necessary purchase and the quality is more important than the price, if a uniform is going to last then I don't mind paying a bit extra. I have been given the opportunity to kit one of the kids out in a uniform from Debenhams and put them to the test. I went with Miss S as our reviewer as she puts her clothes to the ultimate test! I got her kitted out with 2 skirts, 2 polos shirts, 2 shirts, 2 cardigans and a pair of Skechers shoes all ready for September.
I will start with the Skechers shoes, she is really heavy on her feet and goes through lots of shoes, so I normally buy her standard supermarket shoes for around £10. These Skechers Velocity Pouty shoes look much more hard wearing. They cost £25 and look like they will withstand a lot more use than the cheaper ones I normally get for her. They are leather and have a super soft lining and cushioned insole, the soles have flexible rubber traction and they fasten with a simple but secure velcro tab.
Skye has a royal blue cardigan for school and I sometimes have trouble getting one in her size if I leave it too late. This one is pure cotton and is so soft, it's a lovely bright blue and perfect for layering in the summer and winter. It's got double hemming on the cuffs and waistband so there will be no fraying on the edges. They are available from ages 4-5 right the way up to ages 15-16, such a great availability of sizes and prices start from £5.60 dependant on the size you're looking for.
I love these classically designed kilts, they come in a pack of 2 so they will last her throughout the year. The material feels really good quality and the elasticated waistband means they will be comfortable for Miss S to wear. They are made with durable easy iron stain repellant fabric, which is perfect for our tom boy who attracts dirt! The skirts have permanent pleats, so I don't have the hassle of ironing them in every time. The kilts are available from age 3 right the way up to age 16, with prices starting from £8.
The 2 pack of fitted blouses are an essential uniform must have to go along with the pretty kilts. They have a lovely shape and slightly puffed sleeves. They are 100% machine and dryer safe and the fact they are a 2 pack means you have one to wear and one to wash. The retail from £8.80 and are available from age 3 up to age 16.
I also selected a 2 pack of polo shirts as an alternative to wearing a collared shirt all the time, her school allows either and she does like an option. They are 100% cotton, so super soft and machine washable and tumble dryer safe, so ideal for a busy Mum. The girl's design has a pretty scalloped collar and 2 button fastening.
I am really impressed with our new Debenhams school uniform, you can really see and feel the quality. The prices surprised me as I thought the cost would be a lot more than the cheaper supermarket uniforms, but the price is only a few pounds more. I don't mind paying extra when it's going to last. I am also pleased with the fit on the uniforms, they are true to size and fit Miss S perfectly. The full range of uniforms is available now in the Back To School Section on the Debenhams website.
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Win £100 Worth Of Star Wars Goodies This Force Friday

As any of my regulars know I have a monthly giveaway with Paladone and this month we are on a Star Wars theme, I know they are a favourite of my readers. Paladone have pulled out the stops and provided a fab bundle of products worth £100. This giveaway ends at midnight on Force Friday!
You could win this super cool Star Wars Infinity light, Darth Vader 3d mug, BB-8 alarm clock, Storm trooper cookie jar and a 2 pack of Star Wars drinking glasses. A great bundle I'm sure you will agree, for your chance to win, just enter via the widget below and do read the terms and conditions before entering.
Terms and Conditions
Open to UK & Ireland residents over 18years. 1 prize for 1 winner, chosen at random via Gleam. All entry methods are optional. Make sure you complete each entry correctly or you will be disqualified. Come back each day for extra entries. Winner will be contacted within 3 days of the giveaway ending. If they do not respond within 28 days a new winner will be chosen. Your details will be passed to the PR/Company and nobody else. Delivery is the responsibility of the PR/Company. Raising the Rainbows is not responsible for any damaged or missing prizes. Please allow up to 28 days for the prize to arrive. The company reserves the right to substitute the prize for one of similar value if the original isn't available. Bulk or automated entries will be disqualified. Giveaway open until 11.59pm on September 1st2017
                                                                            Enter my other giveaways here
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Summer Styling With Jacamo

I don't know about you but for me going on holiday is all about getting some lovely new clothes! I love a whole new wardrobe and detagging everything as I wear it. I only go away once a year so it's a real treat. The hubby, on the other hand, couldn't care less and would wear any old tat!  Now I can't have him showing me up in Spain, so I have created this wishlist post in association with Jacamo showing him what I would like him to wear while we are away, stylish and sleek, no hobo and scruffy!
As it's a beach holiday the most important thing is some good swim shorts, nobody likes skin tight budgie smugglers, well some do, but I definitely don't! These Tog24 Cove swim shorts are lovely, the design is nice and subtle and they are a good length. They provide an adjustable waist, perfect for later in the holiday after excessive food and alcohol consumption. They come in sizes small all the way to xxxl.
Next up is a pair of casual shorts for the evening time or for if we have a day trip out that don't require swim shorts. I love these Crosshatch Kanaster Denim shorts, they could be dressed up with a nice shirt or dressed down with a vest or a t shirt. They are button fasten and available in size 34-54 waist.
I mentioned polo shirts above so I thought I would include one that would be a perfect match for the Crosshatch shorts. This pale blue Voi Wyndham polo is the ideal shade to go with the denim shorts, its available in a longer length which is perfect for Mr RTR as he has a long body and some polos look a bit small on him. It's 100% cotton so great for sunnier weather and is available right up to size 5xl!
We will be going out to a few shows which require us to dress up so a pair of chinos is essential for the holiday wardrobe. The casual fit tobacco chino is great for the sunnier weather abroad as the relaxed fit allows air to circulate around your legs. The colour is great for matching with a whole range of colours, and will certainly compliment your tan.
The last items for his holiday capsule wardrobe has to be a nice holiday shirt. It had to be a nice print shirt though to get him into the holiday spirit. This Label J blue chambray print shirt will go perfectly with the chinos and also with the Crosshatch denim shorts, so good for 2 wears during our holiday. It would even look lovely with a white vest underneath and worn open!

What do you think of my choices, would your hubby let you dress him? Luckily for me Mr RTR is so laid back he will wear whatever is in his wardrobe, so I think I did well.
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The lovely team at Ecco shoes contacted me and asked if they could send me and the children some back to school goodies. I, of course, said yes and a lovely box of goodies arrived last week while I was on holiday. The kids have been dying to get into it, so my Mum had to hide them till I got back. Check out my Youtube video which shows all the lovely items they sent us.

When it comes to school shoes for Miss S comfort is our number one priority, her is probably how they look, she's 9 and knows what she likes. So we were both pleased with the Ecco Elli shoe we were sent.
With over 40 years experience in making shoes for kids, ECCO mixes luxurious materials, state of the art leather made in their own tanneries - with functional style for boys and girls. They are renowned for the attention to quality, detail and craftsmanship. The entire range features ECCO's signature and innovative FLUIDFORM technology, which directly injects a resilient, shock absorbent material directly into the shoe mould, bonding the sole to the upper instantly. This creates a reliable and durable union that can withstand all the knocks your kids can throw at them. It naturally cradles your child's foot and cushions their step but still allows for easy movement with a light and flexible fit.
The classic Mary Jane is always a popular choice for school and smarter occasions. This practical pair has been given an extra feminine touch with the addition of subtle rhinestones that are just enough to add a little sparkle to every step. Crafted from soft leather, they are designed for all-day comfort.
They feature a leather Mary Jane embellished with subtle rhinestone detailing, they are easy to put on and get the right fit thanks to the Quick Fastener closure system. The highly breathable textile lining feels soft against the feet and promotes a fresh in-shoe environment and the inlay sole can be removed to provide extra width if you need it. I really like the soles grip, they look like they will provide lots of wear and tear against Miss S's heavy tread. The shoes are really stylish and we are both really pleased with them. Thanks again to the team at Ecco for the fab shoes and box of goodies.
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