Allotment Progress #1

Allotment

Last week I signed my tenancy agreement and sent off a cheque for £28 to pay for my yearly fees, the allotment pictured above is all mine.

shed

The ground is separated into a selection of raised beds in the following sizes 24m x 2m, two 2m x 2m, 1.5m x 2m and a grassed area which is 4m x4m.  Up at the top end there is a concrete area which currently houses a shed which I need to pay £30 to the committee for, I’m planning on erecting a greenhouse in this area and having a seating area and pots containing flowers.

On Saturday I went up to the site to see how much work would need to be done and to test the soil.  I spent around two hours digging up weeds and cutting down brambles and was actually quite surprised at my progress.

comparrison

My next step is to clear the allotment of all weeds, put the broken fence back up and get rid of a nest of red ants which seemed to be particularly aggressive.  I was told by a gardening friend that by digging the soil the ants will have been disturbed and could actually move of their own accord, I don’t want to risk the chance that this wont happen especially as i’ll be taking Arthur with me each time I go up so I’ve ordered some chicken lice powder which I’ve been told should be effective at removing the stinging little beasts.

I really want to keep the ground as organic as possible, some of the older folk at the site told me to spray the ground with roundup and leave it for a month to die but I’ve found a more organic solution of vinegar, dr bronners soap and epsom salts, keep your fingers crossed that this has the desired effect.

I have 2 compost bins, a 3 tier potting greenhouse and a wheelbarrow on order for delivery this week and I’m currently on the lookout for an incinerator bin to burn my garden waste.

David thinks I’m taking on too much as usual but I’m really starting to visualise how the plot is going to look in springtime, I just wish he had my enthusiasm.

 

Collins Back To School Resources

At the start of this month Lucie returned to school, she’s now in year 10 which means she starts her GCSE preparation ready for her exams next year.  We were sent a selection of Collins Back to School resources to support the new curriculum change and Lucie has been trying them out over the past couple of months.

collins learning resources

Harper Collins have a selection of books from Preschool right up to A Level, ranges shown below.
• Preschool
• Primary (KS1)
• Primary (Lower KS2)
• Primary (Upper KS2)
• KS3
• GCSE
• A Level 

You can see Lucie’s thoughts on the range by clicking the video below.

Capture

As a parent the only thing I ask of Lucie is that she does her best when it comes to exams, she is an intelligent child but like all teenagers gets distracted easily which can often have an effect on her work.  Lucie gets very frustrated when she doesn’t get one of the highest marks in the class and I worry that she puts too much pressure on herself which could potentially result in her not doing as well as she could do.Lucie often doubts her own ability and is often asking me to find a tutor who can help her with some of the subject topics she struggles with, my opinion is that she doesn’t need a tutor she just needs confidence in herself.I am very impressed with the range of learning resources that Collins offer for Lucie’s age group, the revision guides are very informative and have a very good question and answer section which I find is the best way to revise a topic.Collins maths GCSE Collins maths resource

The maths revision guide has colour-coded graded content, including problem-solving and functional skills, with lots of tried and trusted maths questions and exam practice.  I like the fact that the answers are detachable meaning I can test Lucie on areas that she needs help with and I know she isn’t peeking at the answers.

collins english GCSE resource
The English revision guide offers exam preparation and guidance to support your child throughout their revision.  There are both tasks and practice questions which help to reinforce learning and increase understanding of key concepts.  Lucie found it helpful to see what sort of answers would get you grading at C,B,A and A*.

As Lucie is studying German she found the German Dictionary very useful, it contains clear and concise language notes and information on common grammatical errors and confusable words.  German verbs are cross-referred to comprehensive verb tables, helping you find all the German verb forms you need.

collins atlas page collins atlas

The atlas was probably my favourite book as it was just packed with information not just about maps but climates, country information and factfiles which I’m sure will help Lucie over the next two years when she needs to do geography homework.

Collins is offering parents the chance to get 30% off their range of Back to School books until 30 September 2014. Simply use promo code SCHOOLBAG30 at Collins.co.uk 

*Disclosure: We were sent the books for review purposes, all opinions are honest and impartial*

 

 

Asda’s Little Angels and George Clothing

As a parent I like my little angels to look and feel their best inside and out so when I was asked by Asda to check out their Little Angels range and baby clothing I was very intrigued to see what sort of products were on offer.

One of my little angels is a teenager now so she stayed at home while I took the toddling little angel who is actually more like a little devil with me on his first proper shopping trip.

We were met instore by the fabulous Jo who gave us a tour of the Little Angels range and the clothing section, I was amazed at how many Little Angels products there actually were and the prices were so affordable I couldn’t wait to go shopping.

You can click on the video below to see exactly what we bought during our shopping spree.

I really wanted to explore the Little Angels range first so we headed off to the snack alisle, there was a great range of healthy snacks in a variety of flavours.

Little Angels snacks

 

I bought Arthur a selection of snacks to pop into his rucksack when we were out and about, I was pleased to see that the organic oaty bars contained no added sugar, no artificial colours and no hydrogenated fat and were made with natural ingredients. 5 bars cost £1.50 which works out at 30p a bar which is so reasonable.  The bars are stage 3 and suitable for children aged 12 months plus, Arthur had a bar as soon as I had paid for the shopping and it was devoured in seconds.  I also purchased some Little Angels flavoured puffs which were on offer 4 for £2 and contained no added salt, the puffs are idea for Arthur to hold himself and they melt in the mouth which he loves.  Our final snack purchase was 20g bags of raisins and sultans which were on offer 5 for £1.50, Arthur loves raisins and they are a perfect snacking food for him as they contain no nasties.

Little Angels Cutlery and bottles cutlery

Our next stop was to the bottles, plates and cutlery section where I purchased a lovely set of metal knife, fork and spoon for £2.55.  Arthur doesn’t really like using plastic cutlery as he is aware that it’s different from what we all use in the house so this set was perfect for him.  The handles are a great size for gripping and the fork and knife are blunt meaning there can be no accidents.  I noticed that there was a great Little Angels range of plates, snack holders and baby bottles which I wish I’d known about when Arthur was younger.

Little Angels bath Little Angels beauty products

One of my favourite aisles was the health and beauty aisle, I’m usually very wary about buying brands I’ve never used before for Arthur as his skin is so sensitive and he has eczema which I currently have under control.  I was surprised to see that some of the products were suitable for babies with dry or sensitive skin, paediatrician approved and hypoallergenic.  I purchased a protective nappy ointment barrier cream which I was so shocked to see was paraben free, I was even more shocked to see the cost was only £1.45.  I’ve not had a chance to use this on Arthur yet but I have tested it on my skin which like Arthur’s is sensitive and prone to eczema and I’ve had no problems.  I also purchased the sensitive bath and body wash which again is paraben free and only £1.45 and finally the baby soap which was really purchased for myself not Arthur and a bargain at 27p!

Little Angels nappies Little Angels swim pants Little Angels wipes Little Angels wipes

I visited the nappy and wipes aisle next, I’m a cloth bum mum but as Arthur has so many wet nappies during the night I can’t find a cloth nappy to suit him so I currently use disposables.  I thought this would be a great opportunity to try Asda’s Little Angels range of nappies for myself which I’ll feature in a separate blog post.  I purchased 2 packs of nappies each containing 48 nappies and was completely shocked to find out that 2 packs cost a mere £10, that’s actually less than it costs to buy 1 cloth nappy!, I would actually love to see a Little Angels range of cloth nappies in the future as I think it would be a great avenue for the brand to branch out into.

I noticed that Little Angels also do a range of swimming nappies for £3 a pack which I may go back and purchase.  I bought a box of sensitive baby wipes which cost £4 for 6 packs, I use baby wipes for all sorts of things around the home not just wiping Arthur’s bottom so this was a bargain purchase and my final purchase from this range was a pack of hand and face wipes which are great for carrying around in your handbag when you have a messy toddler.  I was pleased to see that Little Angels have bed mats and pull up pants for toilet training which could be very useful in the future once we start potty training as I’m sure we will have a few accidents along the way.

Little Angels mum range

A number of my friends are currently pregnant so I’m sure the Little Angels mum range will be very useful to them in the next few months, there is a great range of maternity towels, disposable knickers and breast pads including washable ones.

Little Angels laundry

The biggest surprise for me was the Little Angels laundry range, I actually almost missed this and it’s just by chance that I ventured up to the laundry aisle, there is a great range of detergent in liquid, gel, capsule and powder form and also a stain remover.  I purchased 3 of the non-bio 20 wash liquids which were a very affordable £2 each and I can’t wait to share the results with you.

Asda cardigan Asda leggings Asda pj's Asda socks

After spending longer than Arthur would have liked in the Little Angels section we moved on to the George at Asda section.  I’ve never actually purchased anything from Asda before so was shocked at the low prices, I was surprised at the quality of some of the items and thought that the prices could not have been right.  My favourite purchase was the two pairs of welly boots for £4, I almost spent £10 last week on 1 pair and I’m so glad I didn’t.

We picked up a 3 piece outfit for £12, a 3 pack of vests for £2.50, 2 long sleeve tops for £5 and an all in one for £5 which I will feature in an outfit post once Arthur has had a chance to wear everything.

Asda checkout belt

I wasn’t sure how Arthur would react to a proper shopping experience, I usually do my shopping online or bit by bit in stores as I know he can get quite grumpy but on this occasion he loved it and he only got grouchy when it was time to put everything on the belt at the checkout.

You can find the Little Angels Range at Asda Online and George at Asda Direct

I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on the Little Angel and George products once we have had a chance to try them out, if you have any favourites from the ranges that you think I should check out you can leave me a comment below or tweet me on twitter.

*Disclaimer – I received a gift voucher to spend in Asda, all thoughts remain my own and are honest and impartial*

 

Allotment Update

gardening supplies

As you can probably tell by my picture above….. I got my allotment! I’m so thrilled I can’t put it into words.

I’m now just waiting for my tenancy agreement and I’ll be good to go.  My first job is to take pictures of the plot in it’s current state so that I can document my progress, secondly I need to assess the areas that need immediate work.

I do know that a section of the fence needs to be secured as it has fallen down through neglect, I’d like to replace the front fence and gate to make it a bit more secure for Arthur and I need to remove some broken glass from the top section of the plot before Arthur is let loose.

I’ve read that Onions, Garlic and lettuce can be planted by December so I need to clear the plot of weeds so I can get planting.  I’ve been looking on eBay, Gumtree and Freecycle for tools and a greenhouse but there doesn’t seem to be anything about at the moment so a trip to a garden centre may be needed.

I’ll update my progress as and when I can but I don’t want my gardening bug to overtake my blog and bore people who don’t have greenfingers so I’ll try and keep my posts to a minimum of 1 a week.

If you have any tips for me I’d love to hear them.

Pampers Active Fit

Regular readers will know that I’m usually a cloth nappy user but recently Arthur has been weeing through everything during the night which has disturbed his sleep more than normal and has resulted in not only a change of clothes for him but a change of sheet for my bed.  I love my collection of cloth nappies but they have let me down on an evening meaning that I’ve had to search for an alternative, I personally don’t see why reusable and disposable nappies can’t live in harmony with each other, in my case I would have had a very big washing pile had pampers not come to the rescue.

pampers active fit

We were recently sent a pack of Pampers Active Fit nappies to try and over the past couple of weeks they have really been put to the test with my very active toddler.

I can’t imagine what it must feel like for a baby to wear a wet nappy for more than a couple of minutes, it must be the most uncomfortable feeling for them.  Imagine as an adult wearing wet underwear and sitting down on a journey to the shops or running and climbing, every second the wet fabric is rubbing against your skin, this must feel awful.

Pampers claim that Active Fit is the UK’s driest nappy and wanted me to discover this for myself.

Pampers active fit nappy

 

My first impression of the nappies were positive, I really liked the colourful patterns and the fact that they were unisex.  The nappies didn’t feel too bulky and had a soft material feel to them rather than plastic

pampers active fit

Each nappy had good elastic meaning it was snug around the legs without being too tight and causing redness, the inside was soft and felt nice and comfortable, Arthur certainly didn’t have any complaints when wearing it.

If you click on the video above you can view my pampers experiment where I show you exactly how Pampers active fit work and I prove that the wetness is drawn into the nappy keeping your baby’s bottom dry.

I’m very impressed with the absorbency of Pampers active fit nappies and will continue to use them as our night time nappy in the future.  I know that advertising always makes things sound better than they actually are but on this occasion I actually found out for myself and Pampers active dry really are as good as they claim to be.

This post is an entry for #BritainsDriestNappy trial sponsored by Pampers.  Learn more at facebook.com/PampersUKIre