Sunday, 21 December 2014

Florence's Letter to Santa

Florence has been a part of our family for almost two years now. We brought her home in January 2013 after a chance sighting of some gorgeous puppies on Facebook, on a whim we decided to go and see them - and we ended up bringing one home.

This in part is due to the Mister's decision to wait in the car...

I've never really been an animal person. I like them and all, but the furthest I would stretch to on the pet front was a hamster, of which we have had four over the past few years, Sparky & Cannonbolt (RIP) and now Alan & Victor. Florence arrived with us by chance, she was the runt of the litter and quite the little furry scamp and wouldn't leave me alone when we met her, and so here we are now.

Florence really is the most beautiful and loving companion. She is sweet, and protective, and loves to have fun and play. She loves nothing more than snuggling up for a nap but is equally game for racing around with the kids and being a clown. I never anticipated exactly how much I would love a dog, but I absolutely adore her & can't imagine her not being a part of our family.

Pets at Home invited Florence to write a letter to Santa last month, they have a huge range of fantastic gifts not only for dogs but a wide variety of pets of all shapes & sizes. We knew the one thing that she wanted, they don't sell, but as her mummy & daddy only the Mister and I could find her that...

We made the decision earlier in the year to get another dog, as a playmate for Flo and to keep her company. After watching her flinging her teddy around and chasing it, we thought she would probably like someone to play with, and as it happened a friend of A's from school told her that her dad's miniature dachshund was expecting a litter in September if we were interested. A couple of weeks after the pups arrived we went to visit them, and we were by chosen by Joseph (Joey). We put down a deposit that day, and then we picked him up & brought him home in November.

Joey, our naughty little sausage, is amazing. He has fit right in to our family, and after a couple of weeks of getting used to each other, he and Flo are the best of friends (as well as the worst of enemies at times - like any 'siblings'!). They are as thick as thieves and love to play together, and snuggle up to sleep at bedtime together. We all love him so much, especially Florence.

So Flo got her early Christmas present, her "Joey", and was also spoiled by Pets at Home who sent a hamper of all the things she had asked for for herself & her new brother, including their very own doggy advent calendar & selection box, candy canes for them to chew on, sock monkeys for them to play tug o' war with and lots of yummy treats & goodies for them to share.

And it just isn't Christmas without a fun festive jumper. If you have dogs and aren't dressing them up, you're missing an opportunity. Don't forget your furry family members this Christmas, treat them to something special.

What would be on your pet's letter to Santa?

Saturday, 20 December 2014

The End of Term - at last!

I think we all breathed a collective sigh of relief on Friday. The Christmas term really takes it out of you and those last two weeks are meltdown mode.

With five in school, there is so much I have to remember that most days I don't even know where to start. A couple of weeks ago for example we had L's parents evening the same night as H & E's Christmas discos at school, as well as E's usual gymnastics lesson. So - I went on the school run and picked up H & E, took them to gym where E had her lesson, the Mister picked us up and we went to the IL's house so that I could change E and we could pick up L (who had walked there after school with A, J had gone on home).

We took E, H, & L to the primary school and dropped off E for her school disco, which was 5pm-6pm. We then drove back across town (with H & L) to the senior school for L's parents evening, seeing three teachers between 5:15 & 5:45, before rushing out to the car and driving back across town to the primary school to drop off H and pick up E for 6pm/6:15. The Mister then drove us home, before heading back to pick up A from the IL's and then collect H at 7:30pm. Add in the usual swimming, football, tae kwon-do, rugby and after-school clubs, homework, housework, work, as well as parties, nativities, plays, concerts, Christmas shopping, wrapping, preparations.

Lather, rinse, repeat for a month. That has been our life.

I'm exhausted. The kids are exhausted. The Mister is exhausted. The bloody DOGS are exhausted. It's time to wind down & enjoy a well earned rest.

I have just about finished the Christmas shopping, and even most of the wrapping is done. We have decked the halls and made our annual batches of white chocolate and cranberry fudge and Christmas rocky road for the teachers at school, as well as some gingerbread.

L has managed a very difficult end of term change to his routine and handled it well with only a few hiccups. Not perfect, but getting there. We bought a couple of boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts for A & L's tutor group to thank them for welcoming him into their group and looking out for him around school, showing him patience and understanding.
E has coped so well with her first Christmas at school, with only one or two 'moments' of refusing to join in with things, & becoming a bit overwhelmed and tearful. She did GREAT.

Term has finished, and I could not be more relieved. A two week break is exactly what we all need, to retreat into our bubble and relax. In two weeks I will probably be counting down the hours until they return to school so I can put my house back together again, but right now it's time to kick back.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Minnie Mouse Polka Dot House

review post.

Hot diggity dog! Have you seen the fantastic Minnie Mouse Bowtique range from Fisher-Price? E was lucky enough to try out Minnie's Polka Dot House (recommended from age 2 years +) with its 4 floors & 5 rooms of play.

Minnie's Polka Dot House comes with 2 figures - Minnie, and her cat Figaro - and 16 accessories including a sofa and television, and an oven for Minnie to bake her delicious cookies. The house was assembled by 4-year-old E, with some help from big brother H who is 9. It took less than half an hour for the 2 of them to put it together & then place all the stickers. It was quick & simple for them to do, they worked together well to get it ready for E to play with.

The house feels quite robust and the accessories are all good & sturdy. E has really enjoyed this playset and is a big fan of Minnie Mouse, so the Bowtique range - which also includes bath toys and fashion figurines - has featured highly on E's Christmas list. The Minnie Mouse Bowtique range is available from many high street retailers incuding Argos, Toys R Us and Tesco Direct.

This set is great for encouraging imaginative play whilst enabling E to bring her favourite characters to life in her own living room, she has had hours of fun with the Polka Dot House & we'll definitely be adding to our collection!

E received a complimentary Minnie Mouse Polka Dot House for review purposes. The views shared are my own personal & honest opinions and written in my own words. All links are no-follow.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Meal Plan Monday 151214

Mon 15th Dec - Toad in the hole

Tues 16th Dec - Home-made curry, with pilau rice & sundries

Weds 17th Dec - Brinner*

Thurs 18th Dec - Slow cooker lasagne, and garlic baguette

Fri 19th Dec - We'll have a takeaway tonight, to celebrate the end of term - probably Pizza!

Sat 20th Dec - Tomato, goats cheese & herb pasta bake

Sun 21st Dec - Roast

I've joined in with Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky with this post
*Brinner = Breakfast for dinner
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