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Welcome!

Hello,

We’ve done away with the old blog…

Therefore it’s probably time I re-introduced ourselves.

Me – I’m Bex, aged 26, a childminder based in Norfolk. I have recently signed up as a *mature student* to start a foundation degree in Early Years in September. I am very excited to get started but very aware I need to make a conscious effort to manage my time well whilst working and also ensuring we have enough family time.

I am going to be continuing with childminding 3 days a week whilst studying and also continue to run our soft play business (answer enquiries – not the heavy lifting). Active adventure Soft Play – http://www.facebook.com/softplayhirenorwich/

I really enjoy getting out and about the children and exploring nature, craft & we love messy play! We love trying out new toys and recipes.

Big A – A is now going into Year 4 at school, really into anything crafty at the moment. We have been baking, making Pom poms, trying out acrylic painting, Hama beads.

Little K – K is now going into year 1 and growing up way too quickly! She is really into flinging herself around at the moment without any fear and has now started gymnastics. K loves nothing more than to play with her babies (Annabelle’s in numerous designs and styles), Hexbugs are a big hit and she loves designing tunnels and houses for them.

Hubby – DJ Barney is now officially *blue tick* verified on Facebook. He is loving his new rounded stardom and we need to extend the door frames for his enlarged head. – Jokes aside he is doing amazingly! https://www.facebook.com/Djbarneyuk/

He and also recently started his new business venture a mobile valeter –

Luxe Auto Clean & Detailing Specialist – http://www.facebook.com/norfolkcarclean/

So that’s an update from us… I am to blog at least once a week about our goings on and about any new toys/games/days out we have found exciting 🙂

If anyone would like to contact me please do at – joysoftoys@live.com

Or head over to our Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/Joysoftoysblog/

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New beginnings.. Our Puppy Benji

This Christmas is going to be extra special for us as we are welcoming our puppy ‘Benji’ the week before Christmas.

Benji is a Cavapoo and after much research we believe this to be the breed for our family home. He won’t be a massive dog, low shedding & (apparently) hypoallergenic. Cavapoo ‘s are a great family dog and relatively easy to train.

It just so happens when looking for our puppy we found someone we knew selling a pup. This helped massively with the worry of buying from the ‘wrong place’ which I was very worried about, ensuring we bought a puppy from a reputable breeder.

We have visited a couple of times and ‘Benji’ is such a lovely puppy he is playful & so snuggly. Unfortunately he is the only pup in the litter as his sister died at birth. We have read up about ‘Singleton’ puppies and understand he will need to be socialised with other puppys to ensure he understands cues from other dogs.

Little K & Big A absolutely adore him and can’t wait to see him again. The benefit of knowing the breeder means we can see photos and visit regularly as only down the road. His current owner is awesome and is helping us with training ideas & tons of advice. As our first family puppy there is so much to learn, tips and tricks along the way. I’m sure there will be some disasters along the way eg. Chewed shoes etc. but we are very excited to be puppy parents.

The girls chose Benji a little teething toy and a blanket from Pets at home and gave them to him when we visited. We are all very excited and cannot wait to welcome him into our family.

So.. now my weekend is consisting of researching insurers & local vets and the health plans they offer… any advice would be wonderful.

Thanks for reading

X

L’Oréal Paris makeover

After returning from a weekend away with friends I realised that my make up selection was lacking… old Avon powder from yesteryear & some old mascara really didn’t match up to my friends beautifully organised make up bags full of products.

On Monday I went into the city in search of some new make up. I headed to Intu Chapelfield shopping centre in Norwich. Boots was the obvious shop to have a browse as the largest phamarcuetical shop in the mall.

The L’Oréal stand in Boots stood out to me as I wandered the aisles. A lady approached asking if I needed any help. I took this opportunity to ask if she could help me with a whole new make up look.

The lady ‘Becky’ was so helpful her own make up looked great and was similar to the make up look I wanted. She sat me down and tried some colours to help me choose the products which suited my skin tone and really made me feel at ease ( I worry dreadfully about not being very knowledgeable about applying make up). She offered some great tips, a genuinely friendly conversation and helped me understand the different products and how to apply them. After applying a face full of make up and checking I was happy, we settled on a lovely range of products to give me a day look & also some going out make up. She even helped me choose the correct brushes to help me apply my make up. A massive thank you for making my shopping trip an easy, enjoyable and fun experience.

I came away feeling really pleased with the service I recieved ‘Becky’ went above and beyond to help me find everything i needed. I bought 12 products and Boots had a great 3 for 2 offer which mean to my products, brushes & Ted Baker bag only came to £101 plus I got lots of points on my Boots card.

The products I bought were ;

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Mattifying base

L’Oréal Paris True Match – Super Blendable Foundation in creamy beige

L’Oreal Paris Brow Artist Genius Kit

L’Oreal Paris Glam Bronze

L’Oréal Paris Le Blush in Rose Santal/Sandalwood Pink Blush

L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche in Marron Glace

L’Oreal Paris True March Minerals Mattifying Powder

L’Oreal Paris Color Riches L’ombre Pure in Golden Nude

L’Oreal Paris Infallible Gel Crayon in Browny Crush & Super Copper

L’Oreal Paris False Lash Architect Mascara

L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Matte Mahogany Studs Lipstick

L’Oreal Paris infallible fixing mist

All of these lovely products together created the look in my photographs below. I am super excited to get practicing my new make up regime… I may need YouTube as my friend for tutorials.

Thank you for reading.

Disclaimer : All opinions are my own & I was not sponsored or paid for this post.

Credit: Photographs were taken by my husband who filled his time waiting for me 😘 info@djbarneyuk.com

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse – Norfolk Museum

Earlier this week we visited Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse. As I bought myself a Norfolk Museum pass this year I have unlimited entry to lots of museums in Norfolk. Our favourites are the Norwich Castle & Gressenhall. Children under 4 are free & children with Children’s University passbooks get in for free so a cheap day out for us.

There is so much to do at Gressenhall; visiting the museum, the house and farm, an awesome play area and the cafe. During the holidays they usually have crafts to complete too.

They have a stamp trail to follow also if you fancy a long walk along the field (although they always allow you to collect your sticker at the end even if you don’t complete it all – as tricky with a pushchair in tow).

We headed straight into the workhouse as it was raining heavily, the museum was quiet and Little K and Big A loved exploring the 1950’s style room and looking at the old television and the games children used to play with.

We then walked around all the old machinery and into the world war area where they watched a video on the women who worked on the farms in the war the ‘land’s army’.

As you walk around the museum there are lots of area which are interactive for the children – dressing up, puzzles & things to touch and feel.

Little K & Big A were really interested finding out about what the children did in the workhouse, the food they ate ‘yuck’ and dressing up too.

We then headed out to where they were doing crafts and attempted to make a corn dolly & coloured some leaves to stick on their big collage ( activities are free with a pot to put donations in ). The corn dollies were made from straws and we gave it a good go to try and create a lovely design with a bit of  helo from me persevering the girls made a good attempt at the professional looking ones on the side.

After creating and exploring we were hungry for a snack, we headed over to the cafe which was super quiet only us and one other family. We enjoyed a cream tea & some mini ginger bread biscuits (these were a bargain 25p). As a museum pass holder I also get 10% off in the restaurants.

Feeling refuelled we headed over to the farm, we were greeted by the lady who worked on the farm she took the time to talk to us about the piglets and asked if we would like to go on a trailer ride. As we were the only people about we had the trailer to ourselves, which was lovely. We saw sheep, horses & some pheasants on the ride around the farm. The girls had a go at milking the pretend cow soaking themselves in the process.  We saw some piglets, chickens and turkeys.

We then headed back up to the play area, they have a massive play area within the trees with picnic tables. This is a really lovely area to explore and climb. There is a smaller section for the younger children which is semi-enclosed ( with little ones your really need a friend or someone on the entrance to stop escapees ).

Gressnhall shuts over the Winter and reopens in the spring so this will be the last visit for this year, we had a lovely time and cannot wait to return in 2018.

 

 

 

Hapids – Stylish girl Pillow review & *Giveaway*

We were sent 3 decorate your own pillow sets from Hapids.

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Little K & Big A were super excited to get started and unpacked the boxes.

You are provided with lots of pieces of fabric and a tool to poke the fabric into the main body of the cushion.

There are 7 different patterns to choose from – Butterfly, owl, bear, fox, heart, parrot or flower.

Here is the video of the girls creating their lovely pillows – https://youtu.be/bOUvjS4ng2c

The pillows were quite simple to make and Little K aged 5 was able to match the colour to the number on the chart and then put the correct colours on her pillow to create the desired pattern.

They took around 1/2 hour to 45 minutes to complete and the girls found them fun to make & said they are ‘super snuggly’.

The pillows now remain firmly in place on their beds. These pillows would make a fabulous Christmas or Birthday present.

You can purchase them yourself on amazon at the following link -https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B071NPM7FK/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508749004&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=hapids+pillow&dpPl=1&dpID=51-%2BBBmvK8L&ref=plSrch

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Would you like to win your own Pillow?

Check out my rafflecopter giveaway –

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/733cb6a41/?

 

We were sent 3 pillows in order to provide an honest review and we decided to give one away to follower.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

Occidental Margaritas

So…. we have just returned from a week long holiday at Occidental Margaritas Barcelo hotel in Gran Canaria.

Last year we stayed at a Barcelo hotel in Fuertuventura so thought we would try another as we had a lovely time last year. We bundled our girls up to go to Nana’s and headed to London Luton for our flight. We arrived at our hotel and were told there were two parts to the hotel the standard hotel rooms and the apartments. We were sent over to the premium reception.

We paid for premium plus at the hotel which meant we had access to an exclusive A La Carte restaurant daily, a separate relaxed area for breakfast, unlimited access to the Balinese bed area including jacuzzis with waitress service & all premium brand alcohols. We feel the extra £400 we paid for the upgrade was well worth the money, we enjoyed great tasting cocktails, lovely steak meals, relaxation with few people around us. We had fresh water in our rooms daily, clean beach towels & also had a voucher to spend in the hotel which be bought a bottle of Moet to take home with us. We often saw standard all inclusive guests trying to sneak in to the beds and the staff had to remind them that they had to pay extra to go in those areas.

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We stayed in a superior suite which was lovely with 2 balconies, a lounge, kitchen, shower room with views and a lovely large bedroom. The hotel was very clean and tidy.

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The entertainment wasn’t overly exciting a few performers singers/bands, a bird show (which the birds didn’t seem to happy about) & some wonderful dancers. OK for a week but any longer we would have headed offsite nightly to find alternative entertainment.

For anyone interested in finding out more about our hotel here’s the link :

https://www.barcelo.com/en-gb/hotels/spain/canary-islands/gran-canaria/occidental-margaritas/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwg7HPBRDUARIsAMeR_0jKu9dral1ppPhvYNE0MMOwirWedUh_rwGqrwvxxV11ETNqUe1VcWoaAqcNEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CK75l-7Yg9cCFZMW0wodqKcOBw

We spent a few days lounging around but we went for long walk and did lots of exploring too. We explored the magnificent sand dunes of Maspalomas and even partook in a spot of nude swimming at the nudist beach. (Hubbys idea and we felt rather stupid in clothes amongst hundreds of naked bodies)

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We rode camels on the dunes of Maspolomas – poor things didn’t look overly happy! They were a bit shaggy and grumpy! The camel behind me kept roaring and showing us his dodgy teeth. The ride took us along the sand dunes and was fun but probably wouldn’t bother if I was to visit again, there wasn’t anything spectacular to see that you couldn’t see by foot.

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We went paragliding on the beach of Playa de Ingles, this was a fabulous experience – totally out of my comfort zone but you only live once so we went for it and wow what a view! Highly recommend looking at the various combos the company offer which we only read about on our last day they offered boat trips, jet ski, quad rides plus lots more. The company was situated on the beach front to the left of Playa de Ingles beach.

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We went on a dolphin and whale search trip from Puerto Rico which was great fun and we actually saw a mother and baby whale and lots of dolphins leaping in the sea. This was a beautiful trip and lasted 3 hours we didn’t want a full day trip so this was perfect for us.

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We found an amazing little bar called the Tipsy Hammock – great music & a massive menu of cocktails. We were a little bit addicted to returning to this bar on a daily basis. They had live Saxophone or a DJ each evening and are situated on the beach front. I even enjoyed a Popcorn Mojito! Check out their page – https://www.facebook.com/tipsyhammockbar/

 

Thank you for reading and feel free to follow/comment/share.

Bex x

Time for change – How do you juggle your commitments?

This week was the first week back to school & my first week in college, a week full of emotions and getting back into the swing of juggling a million things.

The girls are now in year 1 & year 4. Little K said ‘Year 1 is boring as there are no toys’ & Big A was sad as some of her friends were no longer at her school but they both survived their first week back without any injuries/illnesses 😛

Daddy and I have booked a holiday for some adult time at the end of the month in Gran Canaria. We all went away as a family to Costa Del Sol in May so the girls are going to stay at Nana’s for the week which will be great fun!

I managed to get a bargain on my travel insurance by using Top Cash Back a site where you click through it when shopping online and you claim back a percentage of the cost in the form of either bank transfer or shopping vouchers. My travel insurance came out at £6.70 for us as a couple.

Check out the site here – https://www.topcashback.co.uk/ref/rcollins91

My first day in college was long! After 6 hours in class I was exhausted, I forgot how draining sitting in class absorbing information was. With lots of reading to do for my course I’ve set myself a target of 1 hour reading a day plus extra on a Monday on my day off. I’m excited to get started on assignments and look forward to Tuesday, my next day of lessons.

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I was back to work Thursday Friday this week and enjoyed these days getting back into the swing of school runs & childminding. Toddler groups have restarted after the 6 week break so it was nice to see lots of friendly faces who we had not seen for a while.

The girls clubs have restarted too, after stopping swimming the girls have started gymnastics on a Saturday. They are both very enthusiastic as Nanny bought them both a leotard & are getting to grips with stretching etc.

Sunday is certainly our day for catching up on housework, relaxing and spending time together this week, recouping ready for our next week of excitement.

How do you juggle all of your commitments?

 

 

 

Big A’s first concert

When Little Mix announced they were coming to Earlham Park I quickly snapped up tickets for Big A & I via O2 priority moments.

Back in June we surprised her with the tickets as a birthday present she was delighted.

I was slightly apprehensive about taking her to a festival as she is only 8 however as the venue is only 5 minutes down the road I thought it was too good an opportunity to miss.

On concert day we made our way up to the park to join the queue of many thousands to get in. Unfortunately the organisers had clearly not thought this through and it took about an hour to get through ticket and bag search.

Once in we headed straight to get our faces ‘glittered’ Big A loved this at – £10 for her face & £5 for mine I felt mine was much better value.

Little Mix were fabulous and great performers however it was difficult to see as they were so far away – unless you paid for golden circle to be up close! The tv screens were also tricky to see so we ended up standing as far back as possible and had to bear piggy backs to be able to see.

A thoroughly enjoyed the concert, there wasn’t no any trouble that we saw or anyone over intoxicated ruining the atmosphere.

Exiting the concert was interesting thousands of people trying to fit through one small gate and if walking towards the road you end up in a pitch black dark field.

All in all we had fun, saw A’s favourite band and enjoyed some live music.

 

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