Mama OWL Blog

Remembering These Days | Blogging Our Memories

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The drafts folder of my blog has more half finished posts than I wish to acknowledge. My kids are reaching an age where they don't necessarily need or want everything documented, but at the same time I do want to keep a record of our life, the things we enjoyed, the places we went, the little things that one day I will have forgotten all about - like the time L got E to draw a moustache on her own face and all hell broke loose during the 30 minutes I had gone out for on a 'Santa run' one Christmas. I think that this blog is important to continue, and I want it here in case the day ever comes that I can't remember, so at least I can read about it and smile.

There has been so much going on over the past few months that I have all these things I want to get written down (or rather, typed) but I still haven't managed it. So this is me saying I am going to start making more of an effort to keep it together, to organise the chaos in my brain into words and get it 'on paper', so to speak. I have been taking an online Social Media Marketing course in a bid to branch out into freelance and make more use of the skills I have taught myself over the last few years, and to hopefully end up with a recognised qualification at the end of it - I'm currently busy reviewing the class slides and webinar recordings ready to take the exam. I'll be continuing with the Advanced Social Media Marketing diploma in January, in addition to a Blogging and Content Marketing course that I'll be taking at the same time.

The children are all growing up, and fast. Our home life has changed so much this year, both big changes and small but all making their impact felt in our day to day life. A has gone off to uni, J and L are both studying for GCSEs with J in his final year meaning college and sixth form applications and lots of revision, H is in his last year at primary and has just turned 11 a couple of weeks ago so it's all getting very real and emotional for him. E will have SATs next year, and is constantly at gymnastics squad training (she's up to five hours a week now) which is a lot of pressure for a six year old but she absolutely loves it and is so good at it too. The boys are all still playing sports which means lots of running around to their football, rugby, and tae kwon do, and I am also the admin for H's rugby which is of course extra responsibility for me but a role I really enjoy - even if just for the social aspect because that is the closest thing I have to a social life these days, we've made some great friends through rugby.

Now of course Christmas is coming, and I feel massively unprepared, it is only 18 days away and I am simply not ready. This time last year I am fairly certain that I was ready to go - everything wrapped, groceries ordered, everything prepared and in place for the big day. This year? I haven't even started, everything is half finished and half assed and I feel completely overwhelmed. I've made a mental note to begin preparing for next Christmas in January, I feel like I have dropped the ball this year and I have tried to spread myself too thinly with our family commitments - lesson learned.

So if anyone else feels like they are slowly losing their grip, that they have too much to do and not enough time or money to do it, then rest assured that you are not alone. Just think, in a couple of weeks we can start drinking prosecco at breakfast time and nobody will bat an eyelid. Hang in there.

A Very Shopkins™ Christmas

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

If you have a child in primary school then I am relatively confident that you will have heard of Shopkins™. I have been trying to resist but they are now very slowly infiltrating the house and E is completely obsessed - every time I hear the distinctive "Shopkins, Shopkiiiiiins" tune playing from the TV it is sure to be followed by a little voice shouting "MUUUUM - CAN I HAVE THIS FOR CHRISTMAS PLEASE?".


The new Shopkins™ Kinstructions sets offer hours of building and construction fun with a huge variety of colourful Shopkins™ locations and scenery. The mix and match buildable figures allow your child's imagination to run wild and create their very own Shopkins™ characters, and each Shopkins™ Kinstructions set contains at least two!
 
The sets start at £4.99 (just the right size for a stocking stuffer) and these mini pack assortments include two shopping trolley and two checkout sets, with two different characters inside such as the Shopkins™ Kinstructions Shopping Cart with Freezy Peasy & Wild Carrot. Larger sets, like the Shopkins™ Kinstructions Fashion Boutique are £9.99 and are perfect for 'on-trend' Shopkins™, featuring hairdryer, till, and two seats for Shopkins™ as well as including three fashion inspired Shopkins™.
 
 
The Kinstructions sets are also compatible with other construction kits to make for endless creative play, as well as lending themselves to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning possibilities. Trends UK have a wide variety of Shopkins™ Kinstructions sets including the larger £19.99 sets like the 175pc Cupcake Café with four cute little characters that can be separated and rebuilt.
 
The sets are hugely collectible and are the big thing in the playground at the moment, E is very keen to expand her collection and they are a great toy for hours of imaginative play so I am more than happy to encourage her and I have a feeling that Father Christmas will have a set or 2 (or 3 or 4...) under the tree for her this year.
 
 
E received Shopkins Kinstructions sets for review purposes. All words and opinions are our own.

Keep Cosy this Autumn with an Ollie and Leila Snuggle Sac

Monday, 24 October 2016

The nights are drawing in and there's a definite chill in the air, Autumn is very much upon us and we all find our minds turning to cosy evenings in at home in the warm with hot chocolates, snuggly warm clothes, and our favourite comfort foods.
 
 
E - like me - loves to cuddle up in front of the telly on a chilly, dark Autumn evening and so Ollie and Leila have sent her a Snuggle Sac to help keep her cosy & warm on the sofa. There are several different fun designs to choose from including polka dots, stars, pirates, and fairies, but E opted for their adorable Pony design in a super soft fleecy material with 100% cotton lining. It even comes with its own tote bag, which makes it ideal for taking to sleepovers or when she goes to stay at little Nanny and Grampy's house, all she has to do is slip her favourite pillow in the pocket at the top.
 

As is often the case during the colder months, poor E has been suffering with one of the many bugs that has been going around and her Snuggle Sac has been a godsend - she's been wrapped up on the sofa without me having to lug her bedclothes up and down the stairs, and for ease of care it is machine washable as well as able to be popped in the tumble drier. E is a typical girly girl and loves pink, flowers and ponies, the bunting is a gorgeous embellishment on the horse & stable design and E adores it.
 
 
Ollie and Leila boast a huge range of products exclusively for children in many stunning designs including beautifully crafted furniture handmade to order as well as soft furnishings, bedroom accessories, and storage options of all shapes and sizes.
 
E received a complimentary Snuggle Sac from Ollie and Leila for review purposes. All words and opinions are our own.

FRIGHT NIGHTS at Thorpe Park Resort - DO YOU DARE?

Saturday, 8 October 2016

On Thursday night Thorpe Park Resort held a preview evening of this year's FRIGHT NIGHTS, which is also an anniversary celebration of 15 years of FEAR! I attended with the Mister, our eldest son J (15) and his friend C. As the experiences are quite intense, they are not recommended for children under the age of 13 or for those with a more sensitive disposition so we left the younger kids at home with their grandparents.
 
 
Our evening started with being chased across the car park by zombies and verbally abused by a bad tempered clown, the characters throughout the evening were brilliant and not a single cast member broke character even when they were simply crossing the park from one attraction to another (making eye contact usually resulted in you being chased or growled at!). We enjoyed wonderful hospitality from Thorpe Park on our arrival with delicious refreshments at Fin's Bar & Grill before making our way in to the park to face our fears & see just what #FRIGHTNIGHTS2016 had to offer!
 

My biggest fear is clowns so I admit that visiting The Big Top was not particularly appealing, but if you're going to do FRIGHT NIGHTS then you absolutely have to give everything a go - that's all part of the fun! We enjoyed several turns on all of the big rollercoasters - SAW: The Ride (my first time, and it was absolutely gut wrenching!), Stealth, Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, and The Swarm - as well as a turn on the Samurai, and we managed to get around all of the mazes except Containment over the course of the evening. A highlight was Derren Brown's Ghost Train, I won't give anything away but it's an intense and exciting new experience that must been seen to be believed.


The Big Top was as petrifying as expected with lighting effects that played with your mind, so when clowns leapt out of nowhere it was even more terrifying because you couldn't possibly have seen it coming! It was fantastic and frightening all at the same time, we ran out of there not knowing whether to laugh or cry! The Cabin in the Woods was equally as freaky, after choosing a door to go through we were met with lots of weird and scary characters throughout making us jump out of our skin at every turn. Blair Witch left us screaming in terror as we walked through the darkest woods I think I have ever been in, as cast members appeared from the shadows and frightened the bejesus out of us - my live feed on Facebook might have been shot in complete darkness but the viewers were left in no doubt as to how scared we all were!

 
 
So much work has gone into the creation of these attractions and experiences, the attention to detail from props and sets to characters and stories is phenomenal and the actors are flawless. Thorpe Park have pulled out all the stops to ensure that this year's FRIGHT NIGHTS is the scariest yet. The mazes are cleverly thought out and will have you torn between shrieking with fear and screaming with laughter. Fantastic fun and spookily brilliant - FRIGHT NIGHTS 2016 is absolutely not to be missed!
 
You can book tickets online at ThorpePark.com, and don't forget that my competition to WIN 4 tickets to FRIGHT NIGHTS is open until midnight on October 12th.
 
We visited Thorpe Park Fright Nights for review purposes. All words and opinions are our own.
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