Friday, 30 November 2012

Just Dance 4 Review

Here it is!  The latest installment of the hit dancing franchise, Just Dance 4! Featuring over 40 top hits from some of the coolest artists (Elvis Presley anyone??), it takes the party to a whole new level of fun!

dance game, XBox,

We were sent a copy, along with my very own personalised Just Dance 4 T-shirt, so we could get up and moving to this much anticipated game.

XBox, dance games

The play list is excellent with hits spanning the decades:

Artist Name                                Song Name
2 Unlimited                                   Tribal Dance
A.K.A                                          Hot For Me
Alexandra Stan                             Mr. Saxobeat
Anja                                             Crazy Little Thing
Army Of Lovers                           Crucified
Barry White                                 You're The First, The Last, My Everything
Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes     (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life
Blu Cantrell                                  Hit' Em Up Style (Oops!)
Boys Town Gang                         Can't Take My Eyes Off You
Bunny Beatz                                 Make The Party (Don't Stop)
Carly Rae Jepsen                         Call Me Maybe
Dancing Bros.                              Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
Elvis Presley                                Jailhouse Rock
Emma   Cercavo                          Amore
Europe                                        The Final Countdown
Flo Rida                                      Good Feeling
Halloween Thrills                         Time Warp
Hit The Electro Beat                    We No Speak Americano
Jennifer Lopez ft Pitbull                On The Floor
Justin Bieber ft Nicki Minaj          Beauty and a Beat
Kat DeLuna ft Busta Rhymes       Run The Show
Las Ketchup                                Asereje (The Ketchup Song)
Marina and The Diamonds           Oh No!
Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera    Moves Like Jagger
Nelly Furtado                              Maneater
Nicki Minaj                                 Super Bass
One Direction                             What Makes You Beautiful
P!nk                                           So What
Panjabi MC                                Beware Of The Boys (Mundian To Bach Ke)
Rick Astley                                Never Gonna Give You Up
Ricky Martin                              Livin' La Vida Loca
Rihanna                                      Disturbia
Rihanna Ft. JAY-Z                     Umbrella
Sammy                                       Some Catchin' Up To Do
Selena Gomez and the Scene      Love You Like A Love Song
The Black Eyed Peas                  Mas Que Nada
Skrillex                                       Rock N' Roll (Will Take You To The Mountain)
Stefanie Heinzmann                     Diggin' In The Dirt
Stevie Wonder                            Superstition
The B-52's                                  Rock Lobster
The Blackout Allstars                  I Like It
The Girly Team                           Oops!... I Did It Again
They Might Be Giants                 Istanbul
Will Smith                                  Wild Wild West

There really is something for everyone and extra hits can be added from the in-game shop.  Gangnam Style is available to buy which is very tempting!  Shame it isn't on the original playlist though.

There is a host of innovative modes to choose from, so you can play in the way that works best for you:
  •  Just Dance-Off! Challenge your friends in 6 rounds of dance battles with the all-new Battle mode! Go head to head dancing to unique choreographies and music so you can be crowned the dance battle champion!
  • Bring Your Crew: With songs that feature 4 player dance routines, it’s your time to shine! Each player can get their own moment of fame with unique choreographies and moves for each member of your dance crew.
  • Just Sweat It Out: The popular Just Sweat mode gets a major upgrade with brand new workout sessions, personalised programs, and an actual calorie counter. Stay fit, and have fun playing Just Dance!  Perfect for wearing off all those mince pies on Christmas Day!
  • Alternative Choreographies: Unlock alternative choreographies for your favourite tracks including ultra-challenging and outlandish routines.
  • Dance Quests: Find and win up to 6 challenges per song and unlock more rewards.
  • Dancer Card: Create and personalise your own dancer card to check out all your awesome dance stats (e.g., favourite tracks, best scores, and challenges).
  • Just Can’t Get Enough: Just Dance 4 still has everyone’s favourite modes like Duet Mode and Dance Mash-up Mode with 45+ mash-up choreographies, and more!
The game itself is colourful and entertaining, as you dance along with the avatar on screen, being scored on your dance moves.  

Just Dance 4

As with the other Just Dance games, my girls love it.  They really approve of many of the songs such as Maroon Five's 'Moves Like Jagger' which is their favourite.  I love watching them get up and dance together. It really can be quite a vigorous work out with some fancy moves to challenge players.  It's a really fun way to get fit!  They enjoy the mode where they dance together with their own moves, allowing them both a chance to take centre stage and shine.

The only negative with this game is that it is difficult to control.  Selecting songs using the Kinect leads to some frustration as it is very hard to scroll to the one you want.  Once picked it is fine, but the navigation is a bit tricky.

Just Dance 4 is available for Wii, XBox and PS3 now. You can buy it from all good game stockists.  The XBox version is currently £27.99 at Amazon.  It's a great idea for Christmas that will definitely get the family up and dancing.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Future of Confectionery

When you think about the future of sweets do you conjure up images of  everlasting gobstoppers, toot sweets or exploding candy?  Apparently, according to food futurologist Lyndon Gee, this is exactly where the future of confectionery is heading.  Interactive and morphing sweets are not as far away as we might  think.

Children today want more from their sweets.  As taste buds change, children will enjoy a more interactive eating experience where they can dip, mix and shake their confectionery to customize the flavours, consistency and strength.  This confectionery mixology will see kids inventing their own sweets within the next decade.

wham bar, confectionery mixology

An exciting new sweet has just been launched, the Wham Rocket.  It takes the elements of a Wham Bar, mixes them up and creates a totally new, futuristic way to enjoy them.

Interaction and mixology are at the heart of Wham Rocket. Eaten with an edible foam dipping stick, the new sweet allows sweet lovers to take as much (or as little) of the extreme sour sherbet as they can handle. Add in some tongue-tingling sugar crystals and Wham Rocket will blast your taste buds into outer space.  The iconic 80's sweet has been reworked for a whole new generation.

So the future of sweets is full of exciting possibilities with taste buds being pushed further than ever before.  Broccoli flavoured sweeties anyone??  It is all very Heston Blumenthal!

Kizzy liked the Wham Rocket!  Replacing the old fashioned sherbert fountain licquorice stick with a candy foam stick was met with approval.  The sour sherbert was a hit and she loved the sugar crystals.  The plastic packaging will go in our recycling for disposal which is also a plus.

Wham Rocket, the tongue tingling addition to the Wham family is available to buy now (RRP 45p). For more information, visit

Get a Free video from Santa with Portable North Pole

One of the Christmas traditions that I love is making a Portable North Pole video for the children.  Little ones can get to experience the magic of Santa and his village online, with a personalised message that includes their name, personal photos and other customised details.

The brand new 2012 videos include brand new scenes from Santa’s village, funny new elf clips and more. The basic PNP video is completely FREE to stream for an unlimited number of times during the holidays. And for a small fee, users can create an extended five-minute premium version, which includes exclusive clips of Santa riding on his sleigh, a personalized Christmas Carol sung by the elves and more.

There are also other products available to buy from Santa's e-shop.  How about a personalised telephone call from the big man himself?  For just £2.99 it is a fabulous way to make sure the kids behave in the run up to Christmas, knowing that Santa is watching!  Or you could get a personalised letter from Santa or even a certificate showing your child on the 'Good List'!  5% of all purchases goes to their Children's Hospital charity.

I love the website and I love making the videos for my little ones.  This year, Freddy had a PNP video from Santa made by his sister in law Jade.  He absolutely loved it and interacted with Santa as he told him that he needed to remember to clean his teeth and said he'd been a good boy!  It is simply genius and a wonderful thing to do for free during the festive season.  The premium 5 minute video is just £2.99, so if you want some extra Santa magic you can upgrade!

PNP are offering readers of this blog a 10% discount on merchandise.  Just use code BLOG10BK when ordering from Santa's e-shop.

Freddy watches his video for the tenth time!!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Win A Family Ticket To A Pantomime!


Men dressing as dames, TV stars taking centre stage and crowds shouting "Behind you!"  That's right, it's panto season again.

This year, Skype is partnering with Qdos Entertainment, the largest pantomime producer in the world, to broadcast the first ever live pantomime via Skype into Great Ormond Street Hospital. A special performance of Peter Pan from Llandudno’s Venue Cymru will be brought live into the London hospital using Skype technology on the 13th December where patients and their families will experience the magic of pantomime. The event will help bring the spirit of Christmas to patients and their families who will be in the hospital at this difficult time of the year.

Peter Pan, Qdos, GOSH

To celebrate this, Skype would love to offer you the chance to win 5 tickets for you and your family to see a Qdos pantomime of your choice this festive season.

Here is a  list of Qdos pantos - so you can find a venue near you.

To enter, simply leave me a comment telling me what panto you would choose to take your family to this year if you win.  Include a way for me to contact you such as Twitter ID or email address.

For a bonus entry, tweet:  

"Oh no you didn't...oh yes you did!  Win panto tickets with Skype and @wendymcd83 at  " 

Leave me a second comment to let me know you've tweeted.

The competition closes at 12pm on December 5th 2012 where a winner will be drawn using randomizer.  I will contact the winner for email, phone and address details for the tickets to be organised by the PR company.  A Family Ticket is five tickets for the panto of your choice from the list.  UK only.  Two entries per person. 

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions
Loquax Competitions

Aldi Special Buy Toys

Keep your eyes peeled in Aldi Stores in the run up to Christmas for some great value Special Buys that will give you some great ideas for the kids.  Aldi are stocking a range of toys which will be ideal for stocking fillers, gifts for little friends or for popping under the tree.  From December 9th while stocks last, the following will be available in store:  a Pocket Library, Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles and Wooden Model Toy Kit.  I've been sent some to try out.

Pocket Libraries £2.49

This little box of six mini board books is excellent value.  Featuring kids' favourites such as Cars, Disney Princesses, Chuggington and Mickey Mouse, the little books focus on subjects such as colours, shapes, sharing and counting.  The size is perfect for little hands.  The back of the books can be put together to make a bigger picture which adds an element of fun to the set.  The set also includes a sheet of stickers.  The colourful pages and the engaging text will hold the attention of little ones.

Disney, Aldi

Disney, Aldi

Disney, Aldi, library

Wooden Jigsaws £4.99

These puzzles contain two jigsaws in the box.  The chunky wooden pieces are sturdy and easy to handle.  They don't bend so won't get damaged.  They feature favourite characters from Cars and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse also Disney Princesses. The puzzles come in 16, 25 and 50 pieces so be sure to pick the one that suits your child's age and ability.  One of the puzzles comes with a printed back so you can easily sort them out.

Disney, princesses, jigsaw

puzzle, aldi

puzzle, Aldi, Disney princesses

Wooden Model Kit £4.99

Hands and minds will be kept busy with these model toy making kits.  Children as young as 5 can build a model with adult help.  Children aged 8 and over will be able to work independently.  The kits come with everything needed to make a wooden model.

model kit, Aldi, wooden model kit

These toys will definitely make little ones very happy on Christmas morning, without breaking the bank!

Gummy Bear Stars in his First Movie!

The Gummy Bear song is one of those catchy tunes that you can't get out of your head.  My 3 year old loves the song so when we received The Yummy Gummy Search for Santa DVD from Lionsgate, I anticipated that it would be a real winner (especially as we also received a super cool Jelly Mould with it which Freddy loved!)

Gummibar, Christmas

This is the first time that internet sensation Gummy Bear has starred in a film and it is a non-stop dose of colourful, zany festive fun featuring plenty of laughs, music and dancing.

The story features Gummy Bear on a mission to find Santa and save Christmas for all the children in the world.  Assisted by his equally whacky and quirky friends Vam Piro, Kala and Harry, they head to the North Pole in a madcap search of Santa.  On their adventures they meet a strange dance-crazed alien which adds to their problems!  It's all a bit bonkers...Gummy is a Y-Front wearing, dummy sucking, green bear!  But this craziness held Freddy utterly captivated and he has watched it over and over. The film is filled with songs and dancing. Fred can now sing a lot of the songs (which are very Euro-pop influenced and are very catchy).  It makes him giggle (especially the bit with the alien on the dance mat!!)  and anything that makes the kids happy gets a thumbs up from me!

Gummy Bear, DVD

Music videos are included in the DVD extras so you can sing and dance to I am a Gummy Bear whenever the mood takes you!

Gummy Bear has also influenced us in a culinary way as we made our own lime green Gummy Bear jelly using the mould that we were sent.  Freddy loved making the jelly and filling the mould.  Unfortunately in his eagerness to see if the jelly was set, he dropped it upside down on the kitchen floor.  We scooped it up and put it back into the mould, but the slightly gritty, under set jelly was never quite the same again!!  But, much like this Gummy Bear film, it made us laugh!!

Gummy Bear

Gummy Bear's all singing and dancing film: The Yummy Gummy Search For Santa is currently on sale at Amazon for just £6.00.  It'll make a great stocking filler for young children and bring plenty of slightly crazy Christmas cheer to the festive season.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Little Puggle Activity Boxes

It's not always easy to find fun activities to keep the little ones entertained, but with Little Puggle you  can receive stimulating and inspiring educational play ideas direct to your door.  With a monthly subscription service or the option to buy one off themed boxes, Little Puggle delivers a treasure trove of creative goodies and ideas for activities which will delight any child.


The box arrives with a thoughtful sticker featuring your child's name and the contents are tantalisingly wrapped in tissue paper. We were sent a Transport Activity Box to try out.

Little Puggle

Each box contains a selection of activity packs suitable for kids aged 3-7.  We received a racing car kit, a cardboard police car and felt tips, a wooden yacht with paints as well as some stickers, transport themed sheets of paper, a straw propellor, a tips book for grown-ups and a Kids' Fun Book. 

activity, crafts

I was expecting more of an arts and crafts box with things to make from scratch so I was surprised to find the pre-made activity kits ready for Freddy to build and play with.  He was very enthusiastic as he got to work on the Speedway Racing Car Kit.

craft, art

Once he made the slot together car, he decorated it in the stickers and the finished car lead to some imaginative play.  

car, transport

Using the extra craft materials he helped make and fly paper aeroplanes, inspired by the transport theme.

He has had a lot of fun with his box of crafty toys (although the cars and planes are now in the recycling due to strenuous play).

Little Puggle takes the effort out of having to source quality activities for your child, providing an easy way to entertain your child with monthly or one-off boxes.  The parents' leaflet gives ideas for extension activities and the kids' activity booklet provides some extra themed fun!  With themes such as animals, superheroes, princesses and fairies and Christmas, there is a theme for every child to enjoy.  They are perfect as gifts, to use for parties or play dates or simply for a rainy day!

Subscriptions range between £12.95 and £29.95 a month, but you can order single boxes to be delivered directly to the little person in your life!   They come in three sizes: mini with 2 activities for £16.95, original with 3 activities for £23.25 and the play date box with 5 activities for £33.25: each with extra craft materials too.

To find out more and to subscribe or buy a one-off box (the Christmas box would be a lovely present idea for a child) take a look at the website:

Monster High Skultimate Roller Maze

On Your Mark, Get Set, SCREAM!

My daughter Kizzy loves Monster High and was very excited to find out that the cutest monsters are now the stars of their own video game:  Monster High Skultimate Roller Maze available for the Nintendo Wii or DS.

Wii, Nintendo

It’s time to lace up your skates and get ready to race! Pick your favorite Monster High character and assemble a team of friends and fiends as you skate your way through the crypts of Monster High. Collect power-ups, avoid monstrous obstacles in your path, scream past the competition and use each character’s special ability to win the race and bring home the victory! 

Monster High

Kizzy took to the game (as soon as she worked out what buttons to press) and was soon winning races as her team of girls (or should that say ghouls) skated to victory using their special powers.  Each character has their own abilities such as the ability to grow wings and fly or ride a tidal wave.  They can also try to sabotage other racers' efforts by blasting them with flying books or leaving a man eating coffin in their path. Whilst racing round, players have to pick up coins and skate through bat filled coffins to fill their power bar. When filled, the character reaches full power and their special abilities can be unleashed.

The game controlled quite easily once Kizzy got the hang of it and stopped crashing into the walls!  She quickly got the hang of it and really enjoyed taking on the other monsters.  There was plenty of trash talking dialogue between competitors done using subtitles.  Kizzy soon found her favourite characters, Frankie Stein, Lagoona Blue and Draculaura and went on to victory!

The game play is simple and a little limited with just a few different tracks but you can mix things up by switching between the four play modes and using different characters to make up your team.  You can use strategy to use the best skaters as different situations arise.  There are also three difficulty settings and unlockable characters to get the most out of the game.  It is a great game for Monster High fans who want an enjoyable and entertaining game to play with their friends.

I love the message that being unique and being yourself is a good thing.  It is good teamwork, as you choose your team mates, that leads to victory.  It is a cute, girlie game for ages 7+ which is fun and simple to get to grips with.

It is available to buy now from stockists such as Amazon.

Lalaloopsy Littles Sew Cute Doll

Stumbles Bumps n Bruises Sew Cute Patient

Lalaloopsy dolls are sewn from a fabric that reflects their personality.  Stumbles Bumps n Bruises, the little sister of Rosy Bumps n Bruises, is a gorgeous blue haired doll sewn from a nurse's uniform.  She has her cute little pet bear and together they feel a bit under the weather.  They need a caring child's help to get better with lots of lala-love and medicine. This Lalaloopsy Littles doll brings out the caring and nurturing side of your little one, whilst they role play as a doctor or nurse with their adorable patients.


The quirky doll comes with a thermometer to take her temperature, a bottle to give her medicine, a potion and heart shaped cloth to make boo boos disappear, a removable cast on her foot, a stethoscope that makes silly sounds and of course her sweet and slightly poorly pet bear with his bandaged ear. 


She is a perfect patient who always takes her medicine, loves to wear bandages, and often comes down with the Sillies!  She will be adored by any little Lalaloopsy fans aged 4 and over who will enjoy looking after her and making her all better.  

I think this is a lovely addition to the Lalaloopsy range of merchandise.  The role play element of the set allows children to interact with Stumbles using the accessories in a caring capacity.  The doll is beautifully made with all the detail of the older Lalaloopsy siblings.  The smaller size makes Stumbles perfect for little hands.  Her teddy bear has a removable plaster cast arm and leg and also has a head bandage that fits over his ear.  

The boxed toy looks so appealing with everything displayed attractively.  The little details like the heart tag and the stitched panel at the bottom of  the box will delight any one who receives this doll whatever their age.  They make wonderful collectibles as well as lovely toys to play with!

Lalaloopsy Littles Sew Cute Patient Stumbles Bumps n Bruises doll retails for £29.99 and is available from all good retailers nationwide.

Lalaloopsy, Stumbles Bumps n Bruises

Monday, 26 November 2012

Scotch Mystery Gift Challenge Clue 3


Here is the third clue in the weekly Scotch Mystery Gift Challenge.  Simply submit your guess on their Facebook app for your chance to win a beautifully wrapped gift from Scotch.

In Greek mythology, the first women on earth – she comes with 

charms, but whatever you do, don’t open her box!

Good luck!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

My Sunday Post #project52 #pastysanta

You know it's Christmas when the paper bag you get your veggie pasty in at Gregg's doubles up as a fake Santa beard!  So simple, yet brilliant!

beard, Greggs

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Silent Sunday #Healing4Kerry

Handpicked Christmas Gifts

If you are looking for top quality, unusual and inspiring gifts to buy for Christmas that have been handpicked by a team of experts, then look no further than The Handpicked Collection. They sell a great range of products that will suit every taste from fun stocking fillers to indulgent cashmere and silk items.  Many products can't be found anywhere else as they are exclusive to the Handpicked Collection.

There are gift ideas for him, her and also for the children.  Whether you want a gift for the home or a personalised item, The Handpicked Collection has something gorgeous for everyone.

We were sent a very beautiful Olive Wood Heart Chopping Board from the collection.

Handpicked Collection

The quality of the wood and the beauty of the natural pattern is fabulous.  The board is handcut and can be personalised with a message.  Being Olive Wood it contains high levels of oil so it is naturally anti-bacterial.

handpicked collection, gifts

It will look beautiful piled with cheese and olives as part of a Christmas buffet.  Or it is equally good for everyday use as it is functional and hard wearing.  It will also look lovely on display on a shelf, adding some natural beauty to your kitchen.

It costs £14.95 plain or £26.95 if personalised.  It measures 21cm x 19cm.

The website is lovely and gives you so many inspirational gift ideas, listing top 10's in various categories to help you pin down the perfect presents.  Take a look at to find out more.

You can also take a look at The Handpicked Foodstore  which offers a great selection of gourmet gifts and artisan food for your foodie friends.  So whatever your taste, Handpicked has it covered!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Earning Extra For Christmas With Swagbucks

I am one of the twelve bloggers who have agreed to take part in the Swagbucks Christmas Challenge with Tots 100.  We are being pitted against one another in a battle to earn the most Swagbucks before December 14th to win a £250 voucher!  Exciting stuff - I love a good challenge!

Up until a few days ago I'd never heard of Swagbucks.  It is an online rewards programme that allows you to earn Swagbucks for completing tasks online such as playing games, watching videos, carrying out surveys or simply doing your shopping!  SB's can be redeemed for shopping vouchers, gifts or even as charity donations.  Swagbucks is also a search engine and you can use it to search the internet.  Doing so rewards you with random Swagbucks pay outs.  You can also find special codes online to get extra SBs and join in with their Facebook page to win bonus points.

Swagbucks is huge in the US where users have earned lots of rewards for doing the sort of things they normally do online. They have paid out over $26m in rewards since 2007!  Now it's launched in the UK, it's our turn to reap the benefits of this site.  Thrifty internet users can easily clock up a heap of Swagbucks that they can swap for vouchers for Amazon, HMV or iTunes.  Every little helps and I'm looking forward to giving my family some extra treats with the Swagbucks I accrue.

One way of earning Swagbucks is through referrals.  So if you want to help me in this challenge, as well as setting up your own FREE Swagbucks account please click through here to set yourself up an account and start earning your own Swagbucks:

The website is full of ways of earning SBs and it is a little addictive, if like me you love the idea of getting vouchers for Amazon for free.  Watching your total go up is really quite a thrill!

Over the next three weeks I'll be keeping you all updated with my progress and sharing tips and hints to how you can boost your balance.  We can have our own Swagbucks community of thrifty bloggers!  So please join me and let's get earning.

I am being given some extra Swagbucks for taking part in this challenge!


Coming Together For Kerry

None of us who know Kerry could fail to be devastated by what has happened to her.  A beautiful woman, a loving mother and a supportive member of the blogging community, Kerry touched so many of our hearts.

Photobucket, blog

I first met Kerry at Cybermummy in 2011 and then again at various blogging events throughout the year.  She's lovely.  Always with a kind word and a friendly smile.  We ate lunch together at Christmas in July 2011  and Kerry was so enthusiastic about where her blogging was going, with plans being made and ideas flying around.  Earlier this year we heard the shocking and devastating news that Kerry had suffered a brain aneurysm.

Multiple Mummy

On November 24th at 10pm we are coming together to share positive thoughts, prayers and good wishes for Kerry in the hope that  our combined positivity will make a difference.   We are coordinating an outpouring of love focused on Kerry and her family, organised by Liska, who herself is an incredibly compassionate woman. Uniting to support a fellow blogger during times of need is what this community does best.  Whether you are religious or not, please spare a thought or a prayer for a young woman who is seriously ill.  Let's help make a miracle and bring Kerry home to her family.

Why My Washing Machine Works Overtime!

One mucky pre-schooler who is a magnet for mess. Fashion conscious teens who change their clothes four times a day. Kids who play hard indoors and out.  Dinner times that end in messy tops (and even messier tablecloths!)  Arts and Crafts sessions with paints and glue and glitter. School uniforms and mud spatted PE kits that need to be clean and ready to wear on Monday morning. Face paints which get on towels and clothing as well as faces!  Baking sessions where most of the cake mix gets over the bakers. Grown-up daughters smearing make-up on their bed sheets, wiping mascara on flannels and getting hair dye on towels.  Even after leaving home, bags of dirty washing come home when my oldest kids visit.  This is my family life - this is why my washing machine is the busiest member of my family!  

washing machine, mucky kids

John Lewis are inviting bloggers to write a post explaining why their washing machines see a lot of use.  Three lucky winners will receive a state of the arts Hotpoint appliance from the John Lewis washing machine range.

This post serves as entry into a John Lewis competition for the chance to win one of the three Hotpoint products.

Problems with Restricted Mobility in the Home

Disability can be quite a difficult subject to talk about. Whether you are disabled or not, understanding the needs of those with disabilities is always important.

My own dad is a blue badge carrying, registered disabled person due to his severely arthritic knees.  His disability impedes his mobility and makes walking very difficult for him, but maintaining his independence and ensuring his standard of living is as good as it can be, means he can still enjoy his day to day activities and lead a rich and fulfilling life.

It is important to be aware of the needs of disabled people. Both inside the home and out, being disabled poses many challenges that are often difficult  to truly understand and appreciate.  With both the elderly and for the disabled, mobility is often an issue that can adversely affect the quality of life. But there are steps that can be taken to improve the lives and independence of people with extra needs.  

Whether living alone or as part of a household, the need for independence cannot be underestimated and it’s crucial to understand the individual's  needs and how having increased mobility can bring its own freedom.  This post focuses on some adaptations that can be made in the home.

The Home 

It’s recommended to keep rooms clean and clear, so that everyone can move around freely. Rooms can often become cluttered but this can prove limiting and even dangerous for those with disabilities. 

Climbing the stairs often becomes difficult. With a disability, this simple action can be painful or outright impossible. If you consider all the actions required, from holding the rail to the intense bending and putting weight on the legs and knees, it’s easy to imagine  how this process could become problematic to someone. 

You could consider moving to a bungalow or to an accommodation without stairs (as my own dad has done), but these days it’s much easier and less expensive to look at assembling a stairlift in the home.  It also allows a disabled person to continue living in their own house. This simple addition can fit in virtually any home, thanks to a customisable rail that can cope with corners or high rising steps.  A stairlift makes the upstairs of a home accessible, improving the standard of living and providing greater independence.

The bathroom can also be adapted to make living with a disability easier.  Even though this may be a sensitive area, achieving independence is important, so the right facilities are needed. Having grab rails near the toilet gives confidence and stability to someone with limited mobility or balance problems.  Installing a shower seat makes getting up and down easier and helps prevents falls.  Having a wet room or a walk in shower is a good idea, making showering much safer.   

These simple steps can really make a big difference to someone's life.


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Dallas Seasons 3 and 4 - Who Shot JR?

My journey into the back catalogue of Dallas continues with seasons 3 and 4 on DVD that have been sent to me by the good people of Warner Bros.  The fast paced drama full of intrigue and deception is as fresh today as it was two decades ago.  The snapppy dialogue, gripping storylines and fabulous characters make Dallas an ageless guilty pleasure!  It is within these two box sets that we see the saga of "Who Shot JR?" play out.  This remains the greatest cliffhanger in TV history that kept the whole world guessing.  I get to relive that moment and intend to enjoy every glitzy, glamorous episode all over again!

Dallas, TV Series

Features all 25 episodes from Season 3: 'What Ever Happened To Baby John (Part 1)', 'What Ever Happened To Baby John (Part 2)', 'The Silent Killer', 'Secrets', 'The Kristin Affair', 'The Dove Hunt', 'The Lost Child', 'Rodeo', 'Mastectomy (Part 1)', 'Mastectomy (Part 2)', 'The Heiress', 'Ella Saves The Day', 'Mother Of The Year', 'Return Engagements', 'Love And Marriage', 'Power Play', 'Paternity Suit', 'Jenna's Return', 'Sue Ellen's Choice', 'Second Thoughts', 'Divorce - Ewing Style', 'Jock's Trail (Part 1)', 'Jock's Trial (Part 2)', 'The Wheeler Dealer' and 'A House Divided'.

Dallas, TV Series

Features all the episodes from Season 4: 'No More Mister Nice Guy (1)', 'No More Mister Nice Guy (2)', 'Nightmare', 'Who Done It?', 'Taste of Success', 'The Venezuelan Connection', 'The Fourth Son', 'Trouble at Ewing 23', 'The Prodigal Mother', 'Executive Wife', 'End of the Road (1)', 'End of the Road (2)', 'Making of a President', 'Start the Revolution With Me', 'The Quest', 'Lover, Come Back', 'The New Mrs. Ewing', 'Mark of Cain', 'The Gathering Storm', 'Ewing vs. Ewing', 'New Beginnings', 'Full Circle' and 'Ewing-Gate'.

Available to buy at Amazon and other good DVD retailers.

Snowmen Film Review

Out now on DVD from Arrow Films, Snowmen is the heart-warming coming of age drama starring Ray Liotta and Christopher Lloyd.  The film focuses on three unlikely young heroes and a winter that changes their lives when they decide to try to break a Guiness World Record.  They battle bullies and unite the community in their endeavours to do something that they will be remembered for.

The themes in this movie include death, illness and bullying, so it is in parts a very emotional watch.  However, the over-riding theme is that of friendship and the fact that true friendships will endure through thick and thin and that everyone counts.  My girls and I sat down to watch the review copy that we were sent, not knowing the storyline and we were gripped from the start.  We all cried during certain scenes and shouted at the TV in outrage during others.  It really did suck us in to the emotions of the film.

family film

This film is half sweet and sentimental and half very sad and distressing.  The values and lessons portrayed in this film remind us that living a good life and being the best we can be is what really matters in this life.  The young lead portrays Billy, the troubled boy who wants to leave his mark, beautifully.  The friendship between him and his friends is heartwarming and the end scenes are infused with real feel good stuff!  There are some funny moments and some very distressing scenes.  Together this blend of content makes this a really enjoyable film (although possibly not for very young children thus the PG certificate.)  I highly recommend this for a life-affirming family movie that will definitely move you!

Snowmen is out now to buy from good stockists including Amazon where it is currently just £7!  It will make a great stocking filler or make a fab festive family film night.

Mathable Deluxe Review

Mathable is a new range of board games from Wooky, created in partnership with maths whizz Carol Vorderman.   It is a crossword style game, that uses numbers instead of words to test the keenest players.

We were sent Mathable Deluxe Wooden Edition which is a game suitable for two to four players ages 9 and over.

board game

The deluxe wooden edition includes the game board, 4 wooden tile racks, 108 wooden tiles and a deluxe tile bag.

board game

To gain the highest score players must use all their mathematical skills, logic and strategy to outwit the other players. 

board game, Mathable

Players have to make simple maths equations by crossing numbers on the game board, scoring points for each number tile played.   The mathematical operations: divide, multiply, add and subtract, are applied to pairs of numbers horizontally and vertically.    So if there is a 3 and a 4 on the board, you could play a 7 or a 12 tile to score points.

This is definitely an educational game for keen thinking kids.  It'll exercise the grey matter as you test your numeracy skills and try to outwit your opponents.  It is a good family game to play with the older children and makes a change from all the word games on the market.  It makes maths fun which is great for improving number confidence in school children.

The Mathable Deluxe Wooden Edition is £24.99 and available from amazon and other good stockists. There is also a Junior Mathable game for ages 5 and up which is a great introduction to playing with numbers for younger children  (RRP £14.99).  There is also a Mathable Domino (£16.99) and a Mathable Quattro (£5.99).

Find out more about the range at

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Win a Delicious Bakerdays Letterbox Cake -CLOSED

We recently reviewed the utterly gorgeous and totally scrummy letterbox friendly cakes from Bakerdays.  We were very impressed with the cute, personalised cake that Megan received for her 21st birthday, so much so, that we are going to give one away to one lucky reader.  With Christmas coming up, a fabulous festive designed cake straight to your door would be wonderful!  They have a brilliant Christmas range including one cake covered in Brussel Sprouts!  I think they are utterly brilliant and would make a great gift idea for a loved one.  After all who doesn't LOVE cake!

cake, bakerdays
Image from

To be the lucky winner of this cake, simply follow the Rafflecopter entry instructions below.  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions
Loquax Competitions

Claire's Support UNICEF

There is no greater gift than the gift of life.

Claire's is one of the shops in town that we cannot walk past without Kizzy and Ella wanting to go in.  They love the colourful ranges of jewellery and accessories on sale.

Claire's have launched a new partnership with UNICEF- "Little Things Make A Big Difference" - which aims to give children the best start in life.  Everyday, thousands of children die from deadly but largely preventable causes such as malnutrition, diarrhoea and malaria.  UNICEF send lifesaving supplies such as clean water, vaccines and food for those who need it the most. This Christmas, Claire's will be selling six bespoke jewellery items in their Claire's For Unicef Range to raise money for UNICEF's vital work saving children's lives.  £1 from every purchase will be donated to UNICEF.  This is enough to give eight life saving vaccinations or feed a malnourished child for one day.

The range is very pretty with a pink and silver colour theme and featuring hearts and stars.  Each item features the life affirming message "A Gift For You...The Gift of Life For a Child"  so the recipient knows that this gift has helped raise money to save a child's life.

Claire's Unicef Range

Claire's customers can also add a donation at the till whenever they make a purchase or buy gift cards with an added on donation to UNICEF.

I think that this partnership is a lovely way to give a little back at Christmas time to help those in need.  I always try to include gifts that help others when I buy presents for my children, and I know my girls will love this range and the fact that they are giving the gift of life to others.  I can't always donate cash sums to every charity I support, but it is easy to incorporate a donation when making a specific purchase.  It's an easy way to give, especially when money is tight.  The jewellery costs £4.50 - £5.00 and would make a lovely stocking filler.

Bigsby Gets A Pet Mouse!


Gifted young authors, from Victoria Primary School have won the Hallmark Story Buddies national literacy competition, becoming published authors at the age of just six years old with their story, “Bigsby Gets a Pet Mouse”, getting it published in time for Christmas!
The class fought off tough competition from hundreds of school children aged between five and seven years old from across the UK and Ireland who entered the national literacy initiative launched by Hallmark Cards and supported by education advisors and the Confederate of British Industry (CBI) to complement the school curriculum. 
The competition required the children to write a story in no more than 200 words about a cute and cuddly Story Buddy called Bigsby.  Story Buddies use innovative technology to allow the characters to actually join in as you read aloud to them, bringing the story to life. The winning book will be published and sold by Hallmark as an addition to the newest member of the Story Buddy gang – the lovable Bigsby, with a donation of sales going directly to the school for its entire lifecycle. 


Following a public vote against 19 other shortlisted entries on Hallmark’s Facebook page, Victoria Primary School was chosen to win the coveted prize, with an overwhelming majority of the votes with their 200 word story, “Bigsby Gets a Pet Mouse”. The sweet tale of an unlikely friendship between Bigsby, the woodland creature and a cute mouse, penned by the young authors will become a brand new Story Buddies book that will launch in time for Christmas. 
Victoria Primary School’s book, ‘Bigsby Gets A Pet Mouse’ will be available online from 1st December 2012 through priced £3.00. Fifty percent of all proceeds from the book will be donated to the school.  Bigsby himself and additional books in the series including ‘Bigsby’s Borrowed Shoes’ and ‘Bigsby’s Big News’ are also available from Hallmark stores, good independents and online.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Perfect Christmas Outfits From Next

I have that festive feeling bubbling in my belly!  Our choccie advent calendars are on standby ready to count down the days until Christmas Day.  The chill in the air teases us with the prospect of snow.  The Christmas adverts are taking over the TV.  And Next have their Christmas collection on line!

When Northern Mum asked us to show her our dream family day Christmas wardrobes, I was happy to pour through pages of sparkly, glittery party wear and funky, woolly Christmas jumpers to find outfits for Ian, the three littlest, my baby grandson (due on December 18th!) and myself.  Oh to win the £500 prize and make my fantasy shopping a reality (otherwise we will be donning our novelty, velvet Mr and Mrs Santa outfits for another year!)

Ian's Christmas Outfit

The whole James Bond vibe of the recent months has given me a slight fetish for men in sharp suits and there isn't much sharper than this white tuxedo jacket.  With hints of Michael Buble and John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, it reeks of  rampant exhibitionism and frivolous fun.  The patent wing cap shoes would keep him looking sharp right  down to his size 12 feet.  I'd like to share my Christmas day with my husband infused with the magical confidence that will overtake him because of this tuxedo!  To keep him grounded and to remind me that my novelty T-shirt wearing hubby is still somewhere inside that flamboyant get-up,  I'm teaming it with novelty festive fairisle socks (and probably his novelty red velvet Santa boxer shorts too).  I'd also need to give him a bib so he doesn't dribble gravy down his front, because white tux's are unforgiving when it comes to food spills.

Ella's Christmas Outfit

My trendy teenager would absolutely love to dazzle in this sequinned, snowflake jumper.  As it's long, she'd probably call it a dress and team it with nothing more than a pair of woolly tights. But just in case she was feeling modest, I've included a pair of skinny party jeans with just a little added sparkle..  The wedge  boots are really gorgeous.  The hidden 8cm heel will add a couple of inches onto her height, which will be much appreciated by Ella as she is very dinky.  The absolutely awesome Reindeer Onesie would be the snuggliest, cosiest outfit to relax in, whilst sleeping off the excess of Celebrations and candy canes.

Kizzy's Christmas Outfit

Kizzy's Christmas Outfit by wendymcd83 

I adore this outfit for my ten year old Kizzy.  It's funky, fashionable and fun.  It's got attitude, just like my tween.  The black hi-top boots are practical but the patent shine gives them a feminine edge.  They look so comfy too!  I adore the winter shorts and tights combo.  Sadly I don't think I could pull this look off as a 40 something housewife, but I think it is a great fashion statement for the young generation.  The sequin tie top has just the right amount of sparkle to combine festively feminine with edgy.

My Christmas Outfit

My Christmas Outfit by wendymcd83 

My fantasy outfit would be enhanced if Santa could deliver a miracle weight loss potion to me in time for Christmas day.  Failing that, the rather stylish bodyshaper will be excellent for sucking in my wobbly bits, holding up my boobs and cinching in my waist.  Hopefully it will cope with the strain as the Christmas dinner feasting puts it under extra pressure.  I adore the embellished tunic dress and the lace shoots (shoe boots...get it!) are incredible. (Would my bunions squeeze in?  To right! Even if it took a crow bar I'd get my feet into these pretty, girls' shoes!)  I don't ordinarily wear much jewellery, but the bracelet watch is a lovely piece that not only looks gorgeous, it also helps you time your Brussel Sprouts as they boil on the hob.  Very handy!

My Christmas Outfit

I love dressing Freddy!  My little dude looks so cute all dressed up on special occasions.   The mandatory festive jumpers are a definite must have for a three year old.  I've picked out two, a Snowman design and a Reindeer design,  because he is guaranteed to spill dinner, chocolate and fizzy pop at various points during the day.  The jeans are well cut and look cool and will cope with a day of crawling around on the floor getting presents from under the tree and then playing with all his new toys in the middle of the floor while us grown-ups watch a Christmas day edition of Surprise Surprise!  The trapper hat and boots will be excellent if any of his presents require being outside, keeping both toes and head warm and toastie.

Ted's Christmas Outfit

Ted's Christmas Outfit by wendymcd83 

Hopefully by Christmas I will be blessed with the title of Grandma to my baby grandson Ted.  If not, that means he is overdue and needs to be induced after Christmas day, meaning that all his newborn sized "Baby's First Christmas" romper suits will have been purchased in vain!  Plus his mum, my future daughter-in-law Jade,  will be extremely fed up making us all feel bad for her!  So fingers crossed for Ted's timely arrival!  I have picked out an outfit for Ted based on the desire for him to come on time in the week before Christmas day.  Being called Ted, I couldn't fail to fall in love with the aaron cardigan with teddy bear ears!  Awww!  The fairisle romper suit and two piece outfit are so stylish...real baby chic.  The matching I Heart Santa bib will be ready to mop milky spit ups.  But the 'piece de resistance' is the Christmas Pudding bobble hat.  All this baby cuteness is making me feel very grand-maternal indeed and looking forward to a festive cuddle with my son Joe's firstborn.

I have spent a fair few virtual pounds putting together these gorgeous Christmas Day outfits and I have loved every minute of it.  There are definitely a few key pieces that are now on my Christmas shopping list.  The Next range of Christmas clothing, accessories and gifts is really lovely to peruse...there are so many fabulous things.

Take a look at for some inspiration this Christmas.

Check out outfits and inspiration on my Pinterest Board and my Polyvore account where full details of the items in my outfits can be found.

And because I'm now feeling all festive, here is a Christmas photo of me and my kids!

family, Next


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