Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Christmas in Squeaky Mansions

If only...  But as it's December tomorrow (have you got your advent calendar ready?) I thought I'd start our Christmas posts, to give you a little insight into the World Of The Squeak.

Neither of our families has a huge number of "Christmas traditions", except they both share one very important one (aside from the dinner, obviously), namely Avoiding The Queen.  Walks, feeding ducks, washing up (if things are really desperate), the age of satellite telly has been the death of this age-old family tradition, because there's always a repeat of a 1970's Christmas Special on somewhere.

So as we didn't really have any family traditions, we decided we'd try to make our own, so that Squeaky will have things she always associates with a family Christmas.  First off, the Christmas Pyjamas. It seems to be quite a popular tradition this one, at least round South Wales, so much so, I don't know who I "borrowed" the idea from. Quite simply, everyone in the family receives a brand new pair of pyjamas to wear to bed on Christmas eve night, which they then wear to open their presents the following morning.  OK, this is a tradition that involves spending a little bit of cash, but everyone needs pyjamas, so it's a good chance to get everyone in decent condition for at least one night of the year!

Second of our traditions is one that truly is part of a traditional Christmas.  After the dinner has been eaten, the pots & pans washed & put away, and at least one round of turkey sandwiches has been made, it's time to break open the cheesy footballs, and gather round the table for a game of cards or two.  Good chance to turn the telly off (please!), cards are always a source of entertainment, and someone will have to remind me the rules of almost every game.  They're much less prone to arguments than scrabble (my dad is legendary for cheating at scrabble and inventing new words), and it's a great way to get an insight into what people are REALLY like - who is determined to win at all costs (me, usually), who throws a temper tantrum when they're first out (brother-in-law), and who is just not paying attention to their cards?  And if you can win actual cash from your nearest & dearest (pennies, admittedly), then all the better!  I have an admission though, the Greek Gods, snooker mascot & Bali Beaches cards above are strictly not for playing with. I have a bit of a love for pretty playing cards, these are for looking at, boring brewery corporate cards are for playing with.  Cards cost next to nothing, especially compared to the board game du jour, can be tailored to almost any age (snap & happy families spring to mind), they're fab for a budget Christmas.

More to follow, another time.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Seven Secrets, an award, and a bundle of tagging

The fabulous Kate at Kateonthinice tagged me, and gave me this  award!

My challenge is to reveal 7 secrets about myself.  Yours is to read them!  (And check down the bottom to see if you've been tagged, natch)

It's harder than you'd think - what constitutes a secret in the blogosphere? Something none of my readers would know? Most wouldn't? Something I'm prepared to run the risk of my mum finding out? (she normally only reads the posts I link on facebook, but you never know)

  1. I am part cyborg.  If not actually the $6million woman, than at least the good few $,000 woman.  Both my ankles are held together with meccano style metalwork, which means I've had the dubious pleasure of trying out all sorts of painkilling meds (mmmmm fun), and seem to have a 75% chance of a free grope at the airport.  Coupled with a pair of hearing aids, some days I feel that I owe more to the skills of the NHS (and their overseas counterparts) than nature.
  2. I have entire series of books & films that I have made an effort not to watch, and have every intention of continuing to avoid.  These include Star Wars, Harry Potter & Twilight. If this upsets you, tough.  There is nothing you can say that will make me change my mind.
  3. I actually really like the taste of Lemsip, and have been known to drink it even when I haven't got a cold.
  4. I have travelled on numerous planes with a glasses screwdriver in my purse. It's now become a matter of principal that I won't take it out until a security search is actually vigilant enough to notice the fact I've got a contraband item (and a sharp metal one at that) about my person.
  5. When SqueakyDaddy's on late shifts, I tend to be online reading blogs, entering comps, and generally wasting precious sleeping time until about 15 minutes before he's due home. Even if that's 3am
  6. I have got a large glass of rum & ribena in front of me, with the excuse that I'm using it for medicinal purposes to defeat my germ. It's not providing any inspiration, but it does taste nice.
  7. I'm still convinced that the only reason I passed my driving test, at the second attempt, was that there was a rail strike that day, and the roads around the test centre were jam-packed, so we couldn't do as much driving as normal, and most of that was inching along in second at best.
Now, there seems to be a thing for tagging 15 people on this, but that seems a bit harsh to me (and will also show off where I'm really, really behind in reading other people's blogs when I tag someone that did this weeks ago)  So I'm going to tag:

Danielle at blogbybaby
Mama Syder at thesyders
Emma at emmaand3

Monday, 28 November 2011

Magpie Monday - NCT Round Two

Part two of my Magpie finds from last week's NCT sale insanity.  My bruises have just about healed, I almost considered a second run at the Albany Road charity shops over the weekend (common sense & bank balance won out in the end) and I can now get my head around the all-important question "errr, what the heck did I buy then?"

First out of the starting stalls today, a pair of grey Next skinny jeans.  I'm a sucker for skinnies, and La Squeak is all length and no width, so they look better on her than chunky trousers.  There's a bit of a grass stain on the left knee, it's faded now after a wash with the Vanish, but hey, even if it hadn't, for £1 I'm not about to argue. There'll be grass stains on both knees by the time Squeaky's finished wearing them.  (I left the price stickers on the first couple I took photos of, then decided it was too much work to take sellers' names off & just took the whole tag off the others, in case you were wondering)

Nothing special these, I broke one of my golden rules - check the labels. They're only Tescos, but again they were only £1.  It's so much easier for nursery and when Daddy's on Squeaky Wrangling Duty to dress her in trousers, they're more practical than skirts & tights (much to my dismay), and these are in good nick, a sensible colour to hide the dirt, and have lots of pockets.  Squeaky has just developed an obsession with pockets.  She doesn't tend to put anything in them, but she likes to have them, and look inside them a lot.  Maybe I should hide small but interesting things inside them to surprise her?  Raisins, perhaps?

And while I'm breaking my golden rule of label-checking, I spotted these in the boys section while I was in the queue to pay, and to quote Little Bo Peep on Show Me Show Me "Oh My Woolly Word, I just gotta have it!"  We had a pair of khaki cropped trousers last summer, which turned out to be a wardrobe staple for ages, and these are just FABulous.  I have absolutely zero qualms about dressing Squeaky in boys' clothes, if they fit & look cute, I don't care.

Then I grabbed this very festive stripy t-shirt. The photo doesn't do it justice, there's a sparkly gold thread in amongst the stripes there.  I'm looking forward to dressing her up over Christmas in this, it's so soft & cosy, and it'll hide cranberry sauce stains nicely.  That's right, I have a child that refuses to eat dinner, but will eat yorkshire puddings, gravy and cranberry sauce. Hmmmmmm...

I foolishly ventured upstairs to the toy section.  I was actually very good, they also have bedding & things upstairs & I resisted the temptation to grab an In The Night Garden sleeping bag, partly because it was £8, which was WAY over my budget, and mostly because the last 2nd hand one I bought cost me 50p and I'm spoiled now.  I did grab this noisy shape-matching game though.  The puzzle is a bit (OK, lot) simple for Squeaky, but the noises are very entertaining & she's enjoying learning what the animals are, and copying the noises.  I'll probably get sick of this very soon & donate it somewhere, but right now it's doing OK.  (I also bought a Waybuloo Fuzzy Felt set, but that's upstairs in my wardrobe hiding out with the Christmas presents, so no photos for you just yet.)

And a last minute, bonus entry to today's bargain bonanza!  We went to the carvery for Sunday lunch, and when I took Squeaky for a change, through the connecting doors into the Travelodge next door, I spotted a table of books, on sale raising money for Cancer Research.  Well, internet, you know me by now, I'm not one to turn down a book.  There were 3 or 4 Enid Blyton books there, all short stories, and in varying conditions.  Squeaky actually chose this one, and I asked her if she wanted any of the others as well (I was feeling generous), but no, she only wanted the Watering Can book.  The stories include such gems as "The hole in the mackintosh", "Mr Binkle's Boots", and the intriguing sounding "Mr Pink-Whistle and Santa Claus". I'm not sure I want to find out how Mr Pink-Whistle got his name.

Well, if you've got your breath back, that's all from me for today. See what everyone else has been finding, over at Missie Lizzie's place. Me and My Shadow

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

DDH - the journey continues

If you remember way, way back in October last year, after a selection of typical NHS cock-ups, we got to see the paediatric orthopaedic specialist, way down in the Vale of Glam, who said that after worrying, fretting & double-nappying, Squeaky's hips were "just within the normal range", but that they'd send us another appointment for 6 months time to check again once she was walking.  6 months came and went.  No surprises in the tale of missed dates that this whole saga has been, and to be honest I was torn between harassing the doctor to find out what was going on & shrugging it off thinking they'd said things were ok.

And then last week we got one of those letters addressed to "THE PARENTS/GUARDIANS OF MISS SQUEAKY BABY" in big capital letters.  Telling me to phone Llandough & make an appointment to see the orthopod for a follow-up. 6 months has become 14.  I umm & ahh for a week, forget to phone them because the appointment line is only open silly hours & eventually get round to making an appointment for 15 December.  Happy freakin Christmas.

I know in my rational brain that all will be well, she doesn't appear to have any issues with walking.  Part of me doesn't even want to bother going.  But I know I'd never forgive myself if something wasn't picked up.  So now we have another round of me fussing, fretting and generally getting into a state, a trip to Lovely Old Out-Of-The-Way hospital, and a trip to somewhere nice on the way home as a reward.  Hobbycraft? Ikea? The drive-thru Starbucks?  All of the above?  Who knows.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Music Therapy

I was challenged to Mammywoo's Music Therapy meme by Him Up North, and after having spent a fair number of years in the wilds of Ilkley & Leeds, I've learned not to argue with a Yorkshireman.

For those of you as out of touch with the memes of the moment as I am, it's a simple premise.  Three different artists, three different songs, three sets of lyrics that mean something to you. ARGH. It sounds so easy, but it's so difficult. My entire music collection is boxed up and either in the attic, or in a storage unit somewhere the other side of town, my mp3 player is upstairs next to a sleeping SqueakyDaddy.  And I'm old and haven't listened to anything more relevant than Radio Wales in years.  So I'm working from a mixture of memories and ARGH.

1) Wilson Phillips - Hold On

"No one can change your life except for you
Don't ever let anyone step all over you"

I'm not proud, I'll admit to my 90's teenhood.  I love the song.  There's been some long long nights this song got me through in my teens, and times where maybe I should've listened to those lyrics again since. Given the right mood, this song can make me cry.

2) Fools Garden - Lemon Tree

"Isolation is not good for me
Isolation, I don't want to sit on the lemon-tree"

A reminder not to wallow in my own self-pity. And a perky, happy, silly reminder that drags me straight back to college, jumping around in the now-defunct Travs in Ilkley.  The last night before I left college, the DJ played this (as he did very frequently), and said we'd never hear it again after that night.  He was wrong, but it takes me straight back to a simpler time and leaves me with a smile. Also it makes me popular with people from Germany.

3) Cliff Richard - Congratulations

Now, you weren't expecting that, were you?  Let me explain.  SqueakyDaddy and I both have a shameful love of the Eurovision Song Contest (I very nearly chose LT United's "We Are The Winners"), and we have a tendency to not take things very seriously.  So when we got married, we decided to have a bit of fun with the music, and walked out of the ceremony to this.  Just those first beats make me smile.  The whole thing summed us up, and our wedding, and took everyone by surprise.

Who to tag? You!  No, not you, you've already done it.  You, there, trying to hide behind your mug.  I can see you!

(In other words, if you want to do it, I've tagged you. If you don't, I haven't.  Get to it, people!)

Monday, 21 November 2011

Magpie Monday - Winter Warmers

Saturday was the quarterly (if I remember to go to them all) test of endurance and pointy elbows that is the Cardiff NCT sale.  Squeaky & I bundled into the car with my friend & Squeaky's and off the four of us went for a shopping expedition.  If you'd seen the contents of my bag, expedition was the right word, you'd've thought we were off to conquer the Antarctic by the amount of food 2 toddlers seem to need.

We hit one of the charity shops before lunch (there's LOADS on that road, and you can usually pick up a fair haul of bargains, but having the girls with us kind of slowed us down a bit), where I found this gorgeous Pampolina hoodie/cardigan.  It looks to be brand new, there's not a bobble on it.  I love the colours, I'm not one for pastels, and I'm really not going to miss her in this am I?  The embroidery on the hood is fabulous (though it seems to be more a decoration than a proper hood, it doesn't sit right), and the detail on the breast patch, wow!  SPARKLES!!!!  Every little girl needs sparkles from time to time, right?

The ladies in the shop were struggling to size it, it's a German brand, and like a few continental brands I've found, the label just gives a measurement, not an age. We guessed at roughly a 2-3, but it comes up a little bit small and is a spot-on fit for Squeaky right now.  Perfect for the chilly weather.

My friend picked up a vintage dressmaking book, a Wombles bed linen set (screamingly 1980's, I think I had the same one myself) and a toy laptop to entertain the girls over lunch (which was left in the cafe when we finished, it'd served its purpose!)

Then onwards to the NCT Sale.  The usual rugby scrum of over-entitled mommies, grannies and volunteers who are REALLY regretting volunteering and would much rather be sipping a latte in Starbucks.  I'm going to spread these finds out over the next few weeks, but today is all about the snuggly warm stuff.  The rails weren't inspiring me, I have to admit, so I spent my money on the rummaging tables in the middle of the room.  There, I spotted a Laura Ashley girls cardigan, again looks to be brand new, hiding amongst the George at Asda babygros.  I know I just said something about not wearing pastels, but creamy-beige doesn't count, does it?  I just fell in love with the detailing.  Covered buttons & the collar, oh.  I'm a sucker.  But £2.50?  For Laura Ashley?  I brought it back to its spiritual home, Laura Ashley was from Merthyr, so it's only right that the cardigan comes here.  That's my excuse anyway.

And finally for this morning, also hiding out on the rummage table, though I honestly don't know why... a Ted Baker hoodie, for the princely sum of £1. It would've been rude not to, for that price.

We learned a few ideas for how to handle the next sale better - merge our shopping into one bag, so only one person needs to queue, and the other can wrangle toddlers, then settle the money up afterwards.  The queues are crazy, and that seems to be where most of the patience (and tempers) are lost, adults as well as children.  Still, we each came away with a bag of bargains, and enough to keep the washing machine busy for a day or two.

Why not pop over to Missie Lizzie's place & see the other bargains? Me and My Shadow

Thursday, 17 November 2011

My letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I've been a very good girl this year, and for Christmas I would like:
A shiny new car
A shiny new house
A winning lottery ticket...

You get the picture.

I was thinking about this the other day, the Letter to Santa thing.  It's turned into quite a business now, there's a whole selection of companies and charities who will send your child back a letter from Santa, in return for a chunk of your hard earned cash.  But that causes a couple of problems - 1) which one to choose? and 2) have I really got that hard earned cash to spare?

I think I've found the answer.  The real Santa, as we all know, lives in Reindeerland, not a PO Box number, or a trading estate somewhere on the edge of Leicester.  And the real Santa will read our letters for free, and reply to as many as he can (sadly that means there's no guarantee, but FREE!)

If you, or your child, want to write to Santa, and tell him how good you've been, and what you want for Christmas, his actual, real & proper address is:

Santa/Father Christmas
Santa's Grotto

Just 3 things to remember:

  • Write your name & address on your letter, or Santa won't know who it's from.
  • Attach a 1st or 2nd class stamp to your envelope
  • Make sure you post your letter before Wednesday 14th December, to make sure it gets to Santa on time.
I got this information from the Post Office, I have not been compensated in any way for sharing it.  This is the first of my Christmas On A Budget posts.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Slatterny, or why I'm not allowed nice things

I was tagged by the lovely Wendy at Inside The Wendy House to answer the immortal question, "Where do I blog?"  And then I kept her waiting all weekend while I drank cider, watched The Wurzels and played on the beach, before coming home to answer the question.

We all wonder, I know, what the people behind the blogs we read REALLY get up to.  Are they the saintly neat & tidy people with everything in its place that my husband assumes is how the rest of the world lives, or are they the slatternly folk for whom everything has a place, and that place is wherever it lands?

From that picture, you might be able to guess which side of the line my blogplatz falls on. Highlights of this picture include: a can of Coke Zero, some hair wax, Squeaky's change bag (the black messenger bag on top of the drawers), and almost out of shot, the baby monitor.  You can tell it's real, the screen is showing my last post, mid-way through the creative process.  It's actually not as bad as it could be, there's often a discarded coffee cup or two, and maybe a plate of toast hanging around there somewhere, but as we've been away, I haven't had chance to make too much mess, there's only the static junk there today.

Honestly, though, I can see the tv, Squeaky's usually around my feet (the uncomfortable old wooden chair is because she worked out how to climb onto the computer chair, so I took it away. She can climb on this one now too, though.), or if she's not, she's watching CBeebies just a few feet away.  The desk is getting pretty rickety now, I had it when I went to university, and it kind of leans to the left in a slightly worrisome manner.  I keep thinking about replacing it, but while it's still standing, what's the point?  I'm the last of the Old Skool, in that I'm using a desktop pc (a very new one at that, I only bought it last month when the old one died a death), mostly because my lappy is a temperamental beast, and if I'm writing, I want to know it'll get to where I wanted to post it. Otherwise I'd blog in bed, it's warmer there.

I'm going to tag the following lovelies.  Are you saints, or slatterns like me?
Abigail of Abigail and the Future
Gingembre of Momma Wears Combat Boots

See Bibsey's original post, where it all began.

Giddy Up!

Hello, my adoring public
I said, way way back in the mists of time (earlier this year), that I was revelling in the fact that Squeaky loved the kind of sit-on rides you find outside the supermarket, but that she hadn't figured out they do things when you put money in them.  Sad to say, that's no longer true.  Squeaky Daddy is a soft-touch, and when she spotted the carousel horses (it was TEENY, only 3 horses and no up & down), out came his cash, and away she went.  Again.  And again, and again.  It's the start of something expensive, isn't it?  I can tell.

I Am A Cider Drinker
This was the last of our 5 (yes, FIVE) £9.50 holidays this year, and to be honest, it was probably the biggest let down.  We got a call a fortnight before, asking us if we could swap dates or locations, because they had a jive weekend on, and were over-booked.  Yet when we got there, there were plenty of empty chalets, so I'm not sure what was going on there.  We'd made arrangements anyway, so we weren't swapping.  And by arrangements, I mean tickets to see The Wurzels and babysitting by Grandma & Grandpa.  I'm not going to apologise, I spent my formative drinking years in Somerset, The Wurzels are an important part of my heritage & I can sing Combine Harvester with the best of them.

Serious business, this beach lark
Anyhoo.  The site, this time was like stepping into the set of Hi-De-Hi, and our chalet would have been classed as "basic" if it were 1981, never mind 2011.  Still, we did what we do best, and had fun.  The weather was remarkably mild for November, so we played on the beach, used our Groupon to visit the Seaquarium (well worth the Groupon price, not so sure about paying full price), ate ourselves silly at the carvery down the road, and generally had the Squeaky version of a very good time.

Please understand at this point, that the Squeaky version of a Very Good Time involves carrying around a small brown mouse bought from Ikea the other week, and trying to share your dinner with it.  Much to the consternation of fellow dinners.  No Little Brown Mice were harmed in the making of this blog, though one did get slightly sticky whiskers.

So that's been our weekend.  Horsies, little brown mousies, and a trip in a time machine back to the mid 1960's.  Next weekend... the NCT Sale hits Cardiff, so it's a girlie shopping extravaganza!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Justin Fletcher - Hands Up! The Single

No. Really. It's NOT a cover of the Ottawan song.  Though that would have been entertaining.

Justin Fletcher, star of pretty much EVerything on CBeebies releases his single Hands Up on 20 November.

Take a look. 

I sat Squeaky on my lap this morning to watch it, and she's hooked.  As soon as it finished, she was demanding "more".

Come on people.  Wouldn't it be even better than Rage Against The Machine if we could get Justin to number 1 for Christmas, keeping the X Factor off?  Children's tv's done it before... Mr Blobby and Bob The Builder were Christmas number 1s, so why on earth not Justin?  You'll be able to download the single from amazon or itunes from 20 November, and here's the facebook page for the single.

Do it people. Let's mess with Simon Cowell's master plan.  JUSTIN FOR CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE.  I'm starting a campaign. Are you with me?

Disclosure: I was provided with a cd free of charge for the purpose of this review.  I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own.  Links are provided for your convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Magpie Monday - End of the Year?

Yep. It might be the first week in November (just about), but according to my local car boot, it's the end of the year, and they're finishing now til about April.  I can see their point, it was a quagmire yesterday, and I really wished I'd got my wellies on.  Now I've got to take the car through the carwash (sorry, I'm lazy), and clean the buggy wheels.  In fact, can I do that at the car wash too?

Right. Well.  Anyway.  There's getting less stalls now as well, so nowhere near the chance of finding something lovely as earlier in the season.  I've been really jealous of people who've found lovely vintage Ladybird books for pennies, because I only ever see them in Hay-on-Wye with crazy price tags.  So when I spotted a pile of books today with those distinctive matte cardboard covers, I had to have a closer look.  Sadly most of the Ladybirds were newer, and the few vintage ones were dull and/or badly looked after.

The stall didn't disappoint though.  Someone who knows far more about these things than I was haggling out a bargain on a vintage early 70's Sindy doll, still in her box.  I wouldn't have known where to start with that, so I was glad to be out of it.  I did spot a pile of other old children's books, and took a closer look.  TBH I was hoping for The Eagle, Beano or Dandy, but my luck wasn't quite that good.  I couldn't leave the Enid Blyton Bedtime Annual of 1978 behind though, could I?  Sadly the binding's a bit shaky & there's a page missing out of the middle, but these things happen.  I'm particularly amused by the title of the last page "I Love Little Pussy"  (Oh dear, the google hits I'm going to pick up from that don't bear thinking about.)

And in addition to our old friend Enid, I also found a gorgeous pop-up fairy tales book, which I simply couldn't leave behind.  Sorry about the flash flare at the bottom, it's a really really yellow-tinted book, and all the rest of my pics were coming out looking like they had jaundice. It was 75p back in 1982 when it was printed, so the fact I paid 50p for the pair is a bit of a bargain.  This reminds me of the kind of books my cousins & I used to share at my grandparents' house when we were little.  I wonder if the Rupert Bear annuals are still there?

Do you know how difficult it is to take photos of pop-up books, by the way?  I didn't, but I do now.  There's only 3 stories in the book, but each one has a pop-up scene, and this one is my favourite.  (Any secret nail-bloggers reading this, I'm wearing Revlon's Facets of Fuchsia)

So, that's the car boots over for another year. Good job I've got a stash of finds I haven't shown you yet!  What have you found? Pop over to Missie Lizzie's place & tell the world. Me and My Shadow

Hotel Chocolat Winner

The mighty randomiser has spoken, and the winner is Number 36.

The lucky winner is... Michelle @fluffymummy

I'll be in contact very very soon.  Thank you all for entering, please stick around, I'm sure there'll be more cool stuff very shortly.

I've sent you a DM on twitter, can you get back to me by Sunday (13/11), thanks!

Friday, 4 November 2011

HABA Toys Splish Splash Fishing Set

We were delighted to be sent the HABA Splish Splash Fishing Set to review recently, as part of our ambassador relationship with HABA

The Splish Splash fishing set is a lovely introduction to magnets, with a fishing line with magnetic “hook”, and five beautifully coloured fabric creatures to catch, picking them up with the magnets hidden inside them. Squeaky loved the bright colours straight away, and quickly got to grips with catching the fish, crab, jellyfish, starfish and turtle, and then taking them back off the hook.

The creatures are as colourful and well made as I've come to expect from HABA toys – the fabric is well stitched, and the animals are brightly coloured with attractive designs on the fabric and happy smiling faces. As well as catching the creatures, we've spent many (many, many) moments identifying the creatures in response to Squeaky's “Whassat?” questioning. To me, that shows a good degree of thought has gone into the game, providing an educational aspect, as well as the entertainment. There's also opportunity for education for older children, learning about magnets, polarity and magnetism, without the messy iron filings that I remember from my own childhood.

The Splish Splash fishing set is a fantastic take-along toy, the whole set fits into a pocket or bag, and as the creatures are magnetic, it's easy to keep everything together. The creatures are water-friendly, and the game can be played as a water fun game in the bath, in a paddling pool (if only the weather was better), or on dry land. I found the creatures dried quickly and well, and if you're like me, you can use the magnets to stick them onto the radiator to dry even quicker!

Squeaky hasn't bored of the Splish Splash fishing set at all, and it seems to have quickly become a favourite, and she returns to it on a regular basis, and is now discovering that magnets stick to other things too! I've found  the starfish in a few unexpected places!

The HABA Splish Splash Fishing Set is suitable from 2 years.

Disclosure: I was provided with the HABA Splish Splash Fishing set free of charge for the purpose of this review.  I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own.  Links are provided for your convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

HABA Small Sounds Workshop Review

As HABA ambassadors, Squeaky & I get exciting parcels to play with, to share our thoughts with you lovely readers.  Recently, we received the HABA Small Sounds Workshop to try out & review.

The Small Sounds Workshop consists of a drum, xylophone (with beater for either), and a “magic sound flute”, better known to those of us of a certain age as a Swanee Whistle. All the instruments are made of beech wood, and are smooth, safe and light enough for small hands to easily play.

Squeaky immediately took to the xylophone and drum. We'd visited a local hands-on science museum about a week before the toys arrived, and she'd been fascinated by a drum machine and a much larger scale xylophone, so these couldn't have been better timed, her eyes absolutely lit up. The swanee whistle's ball handle makes an excellent second beater, and Squeaky quickly mastered drumming & playing the xylophone with both hands. I think we may have a future Patrick Moore on our hands! The xylophone's three chimes are different colours, adding a good educational aspect, as we can encourage her to hit a certain colour to play simple tunes.

She did struggle with the swanee whistle a little, while she enjoyed the sound, she struggles to blow it successfully herself, as she tends to block the opening, but I've no doubt in time she will master this as well, and I'll find myself accompanied by sound effects wherever I go.

I was a little concerned that Squeaky would be a bit young for the Small Sounds Workshop, as it says ages 2 up, but she's 21 months, and I've had no cause for concern, the parts are all firmly fixed and she's loving her introduction to the world of music. As long as HABA don't start making full sized drum kits and violins, we're safe!

Disclosure: I was provided with the HABA Small Sounds Workshop free of charge for the purpose of this review.  I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own.  Links are provided for your convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.