Life with two Smalls and a fistful of daydreams


FloridaTixCakeYesterday evening I hit the road and travelled to Birmingham to meet up with some other Birmingham and Midlands bloggers to celebrate with FloridaTix on their 10th birthday. I’d have gone all that way just to look at that cake to be honest, it was AMAZING! It was a bit of a shame to have to cut it, but it was just as yummy as it looked!

As a Disney fan since forever, visiting Walt Disney World in Florida has always been a bit of a dream and it was interesting to learn about how FloridaTix can help make your Dreams Come True in a hassle-free way to make sure you get the best out of your holiday of a lifetime.

Going to Florida isn’t cheap and there are so many different parks and attractions it can be overwhelming just thinking about it, never mind actually trying to organise it, so having everything in one place is great. Having met some of the team, it is obvious that they all love Florida and the job that they do – their enthusiasm is catching and you can tell that they want you to experience all the magic of Florida without any of the stress that can come with organising big holiday trips.

florida1Last night the team were in full party mode though, and welcomed us to the gorgeous Island Bar with bubbles and nibbles and provided us with entertainment in the form of hunting hidden Mickey logos round the room, #SnapeSelfies complete with selfie stick and a giant inflatable remote control minion (Arthur would have been so jealous).

FloridaFun(Here’s the result once we figured out the selfie stick!)

(Photo by Zoe Corkhill)

(Photo by Zoe Corkhill)

After we’d found all the Mickeys and investigated the cocktail bar a couple of times, it was time for the main event – a Disney and Florida themed quiz!

I’m not used to quizzes where I actually know a large portion of the answers! I teamed up with Zoe (from MamaGeek) and Tammy (from Me & The Tiny 3) and we rather inventively called ourselves The Jungle Book (It’s On Her Front) after my appropriately Disney-themed t-shirt. The cocktails may have kicked in a bit by this point…

It was great fun and, though we didn’t win, we were far from last – given the amount of (flaming) cocktails we had imbibed as a team, I’m amazed our answers were coherent at all ;)

IslandBar

It was a brilliant party and the goody bags were great – even if I have had to share the contents after Arthur took a bit of a shine to Mickey Mouse once he spotted him. I’m not giving up my Minnie Mouse pen though, no matter how much Tori begs!

florida17florida18


The Good Little, Bad Little Pig by Margaret Wise Brown unnamed

Illustrated by: Loretta Schauer

Series: N/A

Published: Parragon Books, 2014

Edition: Paperback

Print Length: 32 pages

Narrated By: N/A

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Picture Book

Where Did I Get It? I kindly received a copy from the publisher in return for this review as part of their Book Buddy scheme.

Blurb: Peter wants a perfect little pig for a pet. Not a bad little pig, and not a good little pig. Peter wants a good little bad little pig! So his mum sends the farmer a letter. Does Peter get what he asks for? From the hidden treasures of Margaret Wise Brown, author of the children’s classics Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny..

Opening Line(s):

One day, a little boy called Peter asked his mother if he could have a pig.


My Review: I opened this book with a little trepidation – I do not seem to love Margaret Wise Brown’s books as much as my children do – but was very pleasantly surprised to find that, actually, I love it!

The story is simple and charming – Peter wants a pet pig and Peter gets what Peter wants (I am very jealous, my parents never let me have a goat when I asked for one…). The little pig is the perfect mix of mischievous and well behaved to elicit smiles, groans and giggles all the way through the story.

Nobody can ever stay angry with it for long and this is captured beautifully by the illustrations which are bold and bright and friendly. There is lots to look at and talk about without the pages being crowded and the little pig in question is positively adorable. I am utterly in love with its sweet little face.

Luckily, Tori and Arthur love this book as much as I do, so it has become a regular bed time story ever since it landed on the doorstep.

They love to join in with the noises as the piglet tries to escape bath-time and scoffs up its food and they both have favourite bits where we have to stop and talk about everything in the pictures before turning the page.

Sometimes we read it twice in a row because we enjoy it so much the first time that we want to do it again and I don’t think you can ask for more than that from any book!

My Rating: 5/5*


 

 

MamaMummyMum

 


CMAdDon’t Belong by Cold


Ah, welcome to my late teens. I was OBSESSED with this band after my boyfriend and best friend discovered them and gave me copies of the albums that were out at the time.

They were great for that angsty teen phase of feeling like a misfit, I picked this track because it was one of the songs I had the lyrics of carefully written out and stuck up on my bedroom wall. Not the whole song, just my favourite lines. Which, I believe, were ‘Please don’t ever tell the world that I don’t belong.’ Because, obviously, if the world found out, it would reject me. Because the world cared.

Obviously.

It turns out I still know ALL of the words, even after several years of not listening to them much. I may have listened to them a lot…


If you have Spotify you can follow the playlist for my Music Alphabet by clicking this link – I will update it each time I add a blog post :)

Playlist so far:

Any Dream Will Do by Jason Donovan

Blown Away by Carrie Underwood

Cello Wars by The Piano Guys

Don’t Belong by Cold


103Back to school today and by some miracle we were ready in time for the kids to sit and do some reading together for a bit before running out of the door.

104I was in agony with a bad back today but the beautiful, cloudless, blue sky on the walk to school made me feel a little better.

105Arthur is a very loud player when he plays in his room. We bought him this rug today in the hope that it might cushion some of the clattering!

106Swimming lessons today – Arthur has his first then Tori gets in the pool and Arthur knuckles down to a bit of phonics fun!

107This pretty much sums up my day today. All day.

108Off-duty Superheroes on their way home after a day of playing and hair cuts. Spiderman has had a big hair style change!

109We had a busy day today visiting the Fordhall Farm Spring Fair and then exploring a new park which Caius took us to so I could have a bit of driving practise getting us there. I’m now shattered and achey (back is still playing up) and totally ready for bed already and Caius is yet to go and do a Swimathon later this evening. He’s mad :p


Homecoming: The 100 by Kass Morgan

Illustrated by: N/A

Series: The 100 (Book #3)

Published: Hodder, February 2015

Edition: Paperback

Print Length: 340 pages

Narrated By: N/A

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult Fiction, Action, Adventure,

Where Did I Get It? I kindly received a copy from the publisher in return for this review.

Blurb: Weeks after crash-landing onto a rugged, nearly unpopulated planet Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. They work together to feed, shelter, and protect one another from countless dangers, including attacks by violent Earthborns. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from home–dropships carrying Glass and Luke, as well as the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards.

Suddenly, Bellamy must flee transgressions he thought he had left behind in space, as Wells struggles to maintain his authority on Earth. And while Clark searches for clues about her parent’s whereabouts, she finds herself torn between finding them and helping the injured new arrivals in camp. Lives hang in the balance, as the Colonists find themselves fighting not just attackers from the outside, but also enemies from within.

Opening Line:

Glass’s hands were sticky with her mother’s blood.


 

My Review: And so the series concludes.

Much like the first two books, Homecoming was quite enjoyable and very easy to read – I polished it off in one day during the Easter holidays – but still not much to write home about.

There was plenty of action and bucketloads of drama after the Vice Chancellor lands on earth and starts flexing his authority. The trouble was, there were so many characters doing so many things that I sort of got a bit numb to it all by the end.

I was quite pleased that all the boyfriend/girlfriend swapping from the first couple of books seemed to have finished and everyone had settled down a bit in that respect, I was in serious danger of losing track by the end of book two if I’m honest.

There was a fair bit of death in Homecoming and while some of it was handled well – the crash scenes were suitably dark and horrific – some of it got a bit much. There were a few moments where the tone of the book implied I should be very upset by someone-or-other being dead but I didn’t feel like I knew said character enough to care. (Being deliberately vague here to avoid spoilers!)

The ending was a touch too ‘happily ever after’ for me but it wasn’t too sickly sweet, I suppose. I enjoyed reading Homecoming and don’t in any way feel like I have wasted my time reading the whole trilogy – I enjoyed them enough to keep going for a start! The 100 is never going to win any literary awards but it has sparked a hugely successful TV series and my Mum loves it so it’s good enough for me!

My Rating: 3.5/5*


 

MamaMummyMum


CMAcCello Wars by The Piano Guys


I love The Piano Guys – they do all sorts of covers on piano and cello accompanied by fab videos up on YouTube. They are super talented and their music is great to listen to but even better to watch.

Cello Wars was one of the first Piano Guys tracks I discovered and remains one of my favourites – the video is hilarious and they are SO talented musically. I have watched the video three times since starting to write this post because I haven’t seen it in ages and it makes me smile.

I just wish I could play an instrument even maybe a third as well as they do.


If you have Spotify you can follow the playlist for my Music Alphabet by clicking this link – I will update it each time I add a blog post :)

Playlist so far:

Any Dream Will Do by Jason Donovan

Blown Away by Carrie Underwood

Cello Wars by The Piano Guys


Max the Flying Sausage Dog: A Tail From London by John O’Driscoll & Richard Kelley index

Illustrated by: Arthur Robins

Series: Max the Flying Sausage Dog (Volume 1)

Published: Words In The Works LLC, 2014

Edition: Paperback

Print Length: 50 pages

Narrated By: N/A

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Picture Book

Where Did I Get It? I kindly received a copy from the publisher in return for this review.

Blurb: The bullies made fun of Max because he was so low to the ground. But just wait and see…

Opening Line(s):

Tom thinks this is the best day ever. It’s his birthday and he has finally turned seven.


My Review: Tori and Arthur love this book! One of Arthur’s best friends at school is called Max so it is one of the few words he can recognise – as soon as he spotted it we had to sit down and read.

The story follows Tom as he chooses himself a dog from a dog pound for his birthday and takes him home. Max, the lucky dog, is a dachshund with the interesting trait of a tail that spins rather than wagging. Tom doesn’t think much of this until Max spins his tail so hard he takes off!

Having a flying dog is pretty cool but Tom has to do his best to keep it a secret in case someone tries to take Max away. It doesn’t half shut the bullies up when they try to laugh at how low to the ground Max is though!

When Tom notices a burglar breaking in to his neighbour’s house he discovers having a flying dog can be very useful (and also very funny) and saves the day – to actual cheers from my kids when we read it together.

Tori, who is five and a half, can just about read this by herself with a little help although it’s a bit long to read alone in one sitting. She often picks it up though and has a go.

The illustrations are as brilliant as Arthur Robins usually is – his familiar style adding to the story and making the kids giggle at every page.

Our copy has an English-to-American guide in the front which explains a few of the words and phrases that haven’t crossed The Pond and here came one of the only things we’d contest – it says that Bangers and Beans is a favourite English meal. We uphold that this should be Bangers and Mash rather than beans, but really this didn’t matter in regards to the story – just prompted a discussion in our household!

The one thing that did jar a little when we read it, and needed explaining to our English kids too, was the use of ‘Rozzers’ when talking about the Police. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody actually call the Police ‘the Rozzers’ in real life aside from on the TV and that’s never on modern-based shows – I thought it had fallen out of use. Apparently not!

We did love that Max was based on a real dog and Arthur is totally convinced that real Max could fly, too. As nothing in the description of real Max denies this, maybe he could!

My Rating: 4/5*


 

 

MamaMummyMum

 

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