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Are your pets part of your family?

I don’t know, if you’ve got pets, but to me they’re an important part of family life. They always have been. When I lived at home, we had two cats: Hexe and Mix. They are mother and son and I’m not joking when I say that they’ve got my mum wrapped around their little fluffy paws.

My mum gets up numerous times at night to let them in and out of a house – worse than Amy’s newborn days. They get daily treats, such as cold sliced meats, crazy specialist cat biscuits and are probably the most spoilt pets I have ever seen. If Hexe wants to sit on the sofa, she wants a yellow blanket and a pillow and she’ll get a yellow blanket and pillow. She can’t speak (obviously, that would just be crazy), but believe me, she’s pretty darn good at letting you know what she wants and even better when it comes to bringing across what she doesn’t want.

Mix is no different and I swear it’s my sister’s fault. When she was little, she treated him like a small child. She’d play with him all day long. She built him a cardboard hotel with palm trees (we’ll just call her creative and not crazy), she took him to bed with her every night and he got so attached to her that he was the one who vetted her boyfriends – yep, he would seriously jump at them, if he didn’t like them.

They might sound like right little furry odd balls, but they are part of our family and they do have a lot of good sides. They’re loving and caring and know instantly, if you’re upset or feeling unwell. The people from Sunrise Care have compiled a great infographic talking about all the benefits having a trusty furry friend can have. Find out more about them below:

do you count your pets as a family member

Are your pets part of your family? What do you love about them?

This is a promotional post.

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Win a Cityscape Roller Blind worth up to £300

cityscape roller window blind from Curtains-blinds.co.uk

Nice little blind up there, isn’t it? Well, hold your horses because it’s your lucky day today. Curtains-blinds.co.uk are giving away a fabulous City blind, made-to-measure, worth up to a value of £300.  With less fuss than curtains, and a modern look, it’s a stylish addition to any room and if I’m being completely honest, I’m a little jealous that I can’t enter this competition myself.

Blinds are a great option for your room, if you want to to keep light or unwanted looks out, but don’t want any heavy overwhelming curtains ruining the airy feel of your living space. They are also perfect, if you want to add some colour and texture without investing a lot of time and money in a new wall colour or even wallpaper.

If you want to win a Cityscape Roller Blind worth up to £300, all you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below following the instructions provided. Please ensure to fulfil the mandatory requirements first before earning extra points and please don’t try and cheat. All entries will be double-checked and validated. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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First Day at School – German style

I know that the summer holidays have not even begun for some children, while for others they’re already in full swing, but there are also some for whom the summer holidays are a time of anticipation and excitement and they are those who are looking forward to their first day at school the end of summer.

As the shops are already luring us in with their back to school offers and all the pretty stationery on the shelves reminds me of my own back to school shopping, I thought I’d take you on a trip down memory lane with me, right to when it all started: my first day at school.

Now, don’t start yawning just yet, because the first day at school in Germany is quite the event. It’s a big family affair that really celebrates the first day at school as a new milestone in a child’s life and I loved every single minute of mine.

In Germany, you start primary education at the age of 6 or 7 depending when you were born and also your parents’ decision – they can ask to delay your start by a year, if they have the feeling you aren’t quite ready yet, so you aren’t quite as young as kids in the UK or Ireland.

First day at school – the look – the embarrassment

I started school at the end of August in 1991. I had the most hideous hair cut – picture a boy’s hair cut with some strange growth at the back – and the worst thing about it is that it was completely my own choice. I wore a dress with a colourful floral pattern, black party shoes and frilly white socks – in German schools, you don’t wear a school uniform. On my back, I proudly carried a bright red school bag (Ranzen), but the most important accessory of my day was my Schultüte, a huge cardboard cone filled with sweets, toys, school supplies and small gifts.

My first day at school - my Schultuete

I can still tell you exactly what I found in my Schultüte. It had a big Snow White print on it with pale green tulle netting on top and a little plush dog was cheekily poking its head out of it. It was filled with pens, an eraser, a ruler, some Maoams, Haribos as well as a Xanti cassette, which was one of my favourite audio plays back then, and some small toys.

But before I could open it and see all my treasures, there was the formal part of the day: the official ceremony, which sees the headmaster of the school give a welcome speech and a colourful programme presented by students from year 3 and 4. They perform funny sketches or songs for the new students and give their account of what life at school is like.

First day at school – the ceremony at school

The highlight of the day is when all the tutors get up on stage to read out the names of all the students in their tutor group or class as we call it in Germany. It’s a little like the scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – just without the hat, but it’s a very exciting moment for students as it’s the first time you get to meet your tutor and the people you will meet every day for the next 4 years.

We gathered in a group and then walked over to the main building where we were shown our new classroom. Hand in hand, all of us proudly carrying our shiny new school bags, we walked into the room that would see us read our first words or carefully follow swirly lines that would eventually form into letters. It has a little play corner at the back of the room and the walls were decorated with bunting and colourful letters. On the the alphabet and on the table each of us found the Fibel, a picture book introducing young children to the alphabet and reading simple sentences and little stories towards the end of year 1.

On your first day at school in Germany, you are given a copy of the Fibel. Learning to read in German primary schools

After a quick introduction and getting to know my new classmates, we had an official photo taken which is a lovely way to remember your first day at school, I think. I would have totally inserted it here, but it’s somewhere in my parents house and I didn’t want to ask them to go through all of their photos. There are literally thousands of them and it would have taken them ages, so you’ll have to settle to my dad’s snapshot at the beginning of this post.

I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me. I like remembering these special days and it really was exactly that for me. My first day at school got me excited about starting my educational journey and I really enjoyed sharing this day with all my family. My parents and both sets of grandparents came to the ceremony and afterwards we had a lovely meal together that saw me raiding my big Schultuete and all the small ones that kids get from extended family and friends.

Can you remember your first day at school? How did you celebrate it?

This is a promotional post.

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Rostock Zoo: A girlie day out

Rostock Zoo is one of the places that we always, always, always visit when we are staying with my family in Germany. I’ve blogged about our visits in the past. Here, you can read about Amy’s very first trip to Rostock Zoo - I can’t believe how tiny she was. This time, we had a girlie day with my mum and sister and we had the best of fun.

Since our last visit, the zoo has been extended and the new area close to the entrance near Barnstorfer Ring now houses a new attraction called Darwineum. As you might have guessed by its name, the Darwineum features exhibitions around the topic of evolution and the origins of life on earth, but there is also a tropical hall, the new home for the apes and monkeys living at Rostock Zoo as well as a changing exhibitions on topics such as society’s cultural evolution and more.

We had such fun day and didn’t even notice that we had been wondering around the grounds for almost six hours. Rostock Zoo isn’t overly huge. I think you can see everything in around 3 hours, but we stopped at the play equipment along the paths, had some fun on the playground and enjoyed some ice-cream in the sun. Despite looking quite grumpy in most of the pictures, Amy had an absolute blast. She’s still imitating the monkey noises, talking about the Eisbären (polar bears) and complaining about the little boy who tried to push her off one of the rides on the playground – obviously the latter one was not one of her highlights, but here are some pics that show you some of Amy’s favourite animals:

Rostock Zoo 1

Rostock Zoo 2

Rostock Zoo turtle

rostock zoo jellyfish

rostock zoo 4

rostock zoo 5 polar bear being fed

Rostock Zoo 6 penguins

rostock zoo 7

rostock zoo 8

rostock zoo 8 meerkat

Rostock Zoo polar bear statue

Do you like visiting zoos? Where is your favourite zoo?

Rostock Zoo (18059 Rostock, Barnstorfer Ring 1) is open from 9AM and closes at 6PM in winter and 7PM in summer. Children under 7 go free, children between 7 and 16 years pay 8€, adults 16€. Concessions for pensions, students and people with a disability are available as well as discounts for groups. More details and information via the official website.

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12 cushions for £30 or less

12 cushions for £30 or less, one cushion for each month, stylish cushions

Soft furnishing such as rugs, throws or cushions are a great way to transform your home without having to make big and expensive changes like painting or hanging wallpaper. They add texture and can completely change the feel of your room by creating a contrast to your current colour scheme or tying colours together.

Patterned cushions and bold colours can also add life and energy to a room, giving it more vitality and interest. Achieving all these effects doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and to show you that it’s possible to give your space a completely different feel and look without breaking the band, I have browsed the internet and collected some fun and colourful cushions for you. All of them are available online or on the high street and cost £30 or less – some of them even considerably less.

Have a browse below, maybe you find some cushions that will help you transform the look of your living space:

12 cushions for £30 or less, one cushion for each month, stylish cushions

Blanket
direct.asda.com

Cocktail cushion cover multi
scandinaviandesigncenter.com

Chevron toss pillow
oliverbonas.com

Throw pillow
direct.asda.com

Hand sign
£4.09 - ikea.com

 

Do you use soft furnishings like rugs, throws and cushions to accessorise your living space?

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Monday Parenting Pin It Party #61

It’s Monday again and after my first week as a host of the Monday Parenting Pin It Party, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who got involved. I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone’s posts and was so pleased to see such a huge variety in topics. If you want to link up your posts this week, grab the badge below and hop over to Andrea’s blog, because that’s where the party’s at this week.

rp_Parenting-Pin-It-Party-Badge.jpg

If you don’t know what the  Monday Parenting Pin It Party is yet, where have you been? Here a quick recap for you:

The Monday Parenting Pin It Party is a linky that is traveling from blog to blog, giving you the chance to link up your best craft, recipe or parenting posts, so that we can share them on our collaborative Pinterest board and show them some comment love. Each host also picks, their two favourite link ups each week and awards their favourite posts their very own special badge. Cool, right?

What are you waiting for? Get pinning!



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Peter Rabbit giveaway with Rainbow Designs

Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit is one of the most popular characters in British children’s literature and to celebrate the adorable bunny and his timeless tales, we have teamed up with the wonderful people from Rainbow Designs.

Rainbow Designs design and manufacture soft toys and educational toys based on classic characters from Books, TV and Film such as Peter Rabbit, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, Elmer, Guess How Much I Love You and Paddington.

With comforters, lullaby musicals and cuddly toys for little ones and puzzles, stacking toys and pull-a-longs for toddlers, Rainbow Designs create products to meet all of your child’s development needs as they grow. They make beautiful presents to mark a baby’s birthday or Christening and are adorable as part of a nursery décor while still being an educational and fun toy for little ones.

Today, we have an absolutely adorable prize bundle up for grabs and you can choose between two of them. Bundle A is a nursery bundle and includes a snuggly comfort blanket, Peter Rabbbit bookends and a my first Peter or Jemima cuddly toy. Bundle B is a toddler bundle featuring colourful stacking blocks with Peter Rabbit motifs, a peg puzzle and an adorable Peter Rabbit pull-a-long for little walkers.

Peter Rabbit Nursery Bundle, peter rabbit or jamima cuddly toy, peter rabbit bookends, peter rabbit comforter Peter Rabbit toddler bundle with Peter Rabbit stacking blocks, Peter Rabbit peg puzzle and Peter Rabbit pull a long

If you want to win a Peter Rabbit prize bundle, all you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter below following the instructions provided. Please ensure to fulfil the mandatory requirements first before earning extra points and please don’t try and cheat. All entries will be double-checked and validated. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Rainbow Designs for providing this giveaway prize.

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10 Ways to Hide Toys in Your Living Room

10 ways to hide baby stoys in your living room, toy storage in living room, hide toys

Having a baby is a fun and exciting time for new parents. Not only do you love your new child and get to spend time with them, you also are able to purchase new clothing, accessories and of course, toys for your new little one! Babies love toys and if you are like most new parents; you have a ton of toys that take up your living spaces, especially the living room.

Having a child means you will no longer have a clean house and baby items will be strewn here and there. However, what do you do when you have company coming at the last minute? Or someone stops by for an unannounced visit? You do not want your living room to look like a toy store! Thankfully, there are tips you can use to keep your home looking tidy and clean without becoming overwhelmed by your baby’s toys. Check out 10 ways to hide toys in your living room below:

#1 Hidden Storage

If you want to keep your living room looking like an adult space, invest in hidden storage. This could be any number of methods from storage containers to leave under the sofa to storage ottomans. Find an option that works well for your living room area to keep the baby toys hidden away.

#2 Toy Chest

A toy chest is a great area for your baby’s toys and can give the baby their own special area. Toy chests come in many colours and material such as wood and plastic so you can find an option that fits your décor.

#3 Decorative Chest

For a more up-scale version of a toy chest, choose a large decorative chest or trunk. This will allow your space to still feel ‘grown up’ but also offer you a place to hide toys your little one regularly plays with.

#4 Storage Baskets

Storage baskets are a great way to decorate your space and offer room for your baby’s toys. Choose a wicker basket, decorative or even metal box style containers to keep the baby toys off the floor!

#5 Entertainment Centre

An entertainment centre is the area in which you house your television and electronic components. You can also use the entertainment centre to store your children’s toys. Use the storage cubbies of a unit or add baskets to the top to hide toys or unwanted clutter.

#6 Baby Area

Another great option is to create a baby area. Choose a personal photo of your baby from the Light Republic Baby Gallery and create a gallery so your baby knows it is their area. Then keep the toys only in this space. Do not allow your baby to move the toys to other areas of the living room. You can include baskets to keep the toys off the floor.

#7 Quick Clean-up Method

It is best to create a clean-up method that will allow you to quickly arrange the living area for comfort. By having extra laundry baskets or storage containers, you will be able to quickly remove the toys from the area, making it easy to enjoy time with your guests.

#8 Shelving Units

Shelving units also make it easy for you to keep the living room area clean. Shelving units can be attractive and decorative and keep the toys off the floor.

#9 Bench Seating

If you have enough space in your living room, you can create bench seating. With an empty corner, you can add an L-shaped storage bench, which you can use to hide toys and unwanted items. This is a great way to add extra seating in the space that looks great and is useful.

#10 Stay Consistent

Once you come up with a plan for keeping the living room clean, stick to it. By staying consistent, you will have a space that is constantly clean and your baby will learn how to clean in the process.

How do you hide toys and other unsightly clutter? Do you have rules in place to keep your living room toy free?

This is a featured post, but I hope it gives you some ideas how to hide toys and make your living room look like exactly that.

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Monday Parenting Pin It Party #60

It’s Monday and to make the start into the new week a little more bearable for you, I’ve got a brand new linky on the blog for you – the Monday Parenting Pin It Party. If you are an avid blog reader, you might have come across it on some of my favourite blogs already, but this week it’s making a stop over on my little blog and I’m terribly excited about it.

If you don’t know what the  Monday Parenting Pin It Party is (where have you been?), it’s a linky that is traveling from blog to blog, giving you the chance to link up your best craft, recipe or parenting posts, so that we can share them on our collaborative Pinterest board and show it some comment love. Each host also picks, their two favourite link ups each week and awards their favourite posts their very own special badge. Cool, right?

Follow jbmumofone’s board Mondays Parenting Pin-It Party! on Pinterest.

Want to get involved? Here are some very simple rules:

1. Link up a family friendly post using the linky below. They can be a recipe, a craft, a post about a day out or whatever your heart desires.

2. Follow the Monday Pin It Party Pinterest board, where we’ll showcase all entries.

3. Show some bloggy love by visiting two or three other blogs that have linked up, leave them a comment and your Pinterest ID, so that they know who to follow.

4. If someone comments on your blog post, try and follow them back on Pinterest and if you can, add the badge below to your blog post, so that each week’s host gets a bit of linky love.

Mummy Alarm

But now let’s get to the fun part, my favourites from last week, which was hosted by Jenny from Mum Of One:

Number one are these DIY Superhero Light Sabres made from pool noodles, which are super fun and really easy to make. They’re a great accessory for your very own superhero sidekick and will provide your little hero with ours of fun. The great thing about them is that no one will get seriously hurt when they get a nudge with them.

Monday Parenting Pin It Party #90

Another post that I really enjoyed was this post that looks at 6 Fun Summer Projects for Young Tinkerers. With 6 great ideas for construction play and problem solving, this post has everything you need to keep little engineers busy during the summer holidays and at the end of it, you might even have a robot that does all your housework for you – but only maybe!

Thanks for linking up, ladies. You can grab your very own Featured Pinner badge below:

Mummy Alarm

And now it’s your turn to link up your favourite post. Use the widget below and get pinning!