Canvas Design Review and Giveaway

When Canvas Design offered me the chance to review some products for them, I jumped on the chance. Like most parents, I love having photos of my two little people on the wall but I hate photo frames that often take the focus away from the photo. That’s why I love canvases.
I love these canvases that I was sent – they’re now pride of place on our living room wall!


All I had to do was send my chose photo to them. It took me ages to decide which one to send. I on!y sent the original one and they emailed straight away to say if I wanted a big canvas the photo would need to be better quality as they do tend to distort when enlarged. Unfortunately all of my photos are of similar quality (iPhone, then uploaded again from Facebook) so I decided to have three smaller ones instead. The canvases have turned out brilliantly, no noticeable distortion and feel sturdy and good quality.
The prices are really reasonable and on their website they offer a price match guarantee! Their customer service was fantastic -they emailed me straight away about my photo quality. I ordered on Tuesday night and they arrived Friday afternoon by courier. You get a text message on the morning to give you a time frame in which it will be delivered, which is useful! A hanging kit is also supplied with the canvas so you don’t have to faff about it buying bits to put them up.

Canvas Design have given me the amazing opportunity to give one of their canvases, worth up to £59.99, to a reader, with a photo of their choice. Sizes range from a cute little 6×6″ to a huge 40×40″! You need to enter using the rafflecopter link below – I do check all entries so make sure you do the mandatory ones! Even if you don’t win, you can still order one of their canvases at a 15% discount by entering ‘BLOG15’ at the checkout. Delivery is also free which is even better!!

Visit their website here.

Please note ALL entries will be checked and verifies before the winner is draqn

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Family Fever

Cool Skillz

I’ve never been very good at doing physical stuff. In the days when I was young and children were far off in the distance, I was a pretty fast runner (long legs gave me an advantage). I was also pretty good at netball (being tall helped!), but apart from that…well, lets just say I kick a football in one direction and it goes the other way.
Harrison is already showing signs of being a little boy who loves doing anything physical – jumping, running, having a kick about in the garden and throwing balls,which I’m really pleased about., and I’m sure Alex will be the same. However, I have no idea how to teach him or help him develop these further. How can I teach him how to throw and catch when I can barely do it myself? That’s where Cool Skillz is going to give me a hand!

Cool Skillz is a multi skills physical activity club run by qualified coaches. The club works with children aged three and up to develop agility, balance and coordination through fun games and activities. It doesn’t focus on one particular sport,  it aims to teach children those all important gross motor skills, as well as social skills such as following rules, listening and team work. Lewis, the founder of Cool Skillz, has sent me some great ideas and activities to do with Harrison and Alex at home or in the garden (if it ever stops raining!). These activities can be found on the Cool Skillz Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/coolskillz .



Lewis is running a special fun day this weekend (Saturday 22nd February)at Warstock Community Centre in Birmingham. It starts at 10am for the little people and is £2 per person. It’s a chance to show some of the great activities the club does, so if you’re local I would definitely recommend popping along – much better than Saturday Soft Play hell! There all be plenty of fun physical games and challenges, including my personal favourite – the parachute!!


For further information about the fun day or to book a place or to find out more about what Cool Skillz has to offer, contact Lewis on 07794912079.

You can also head over to their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/coolskillz and check out some of the ideas you could try at home.
You can also follow on Twitter @coolskillzclub


Go along and have fun!

This is an advertorial post for which I received a small payment.


Valentines Hearts and Handprints

A slightly brighter day today – in fact we managed to play out in the garden for half an hour this morning, and had to shut the living room curtain as the sun was blinding us all for a while!

Today we were putting the finishing touches to things we started earlier this week, so most of it was done by me. The kids played with their toy kitchen a lot today, with their Melissa and Doug pizza set, their paper mache pizza and making me ‘cakes’ from playdough. Harrison is getting to the age now where he really enjoys role play and pretending. A plastic seat is all he needs to become a train driver, a little bag and he’s off to play with his market so keep an eye out for future posts about role play!

On Tuesday when we made our Valentines Biscuits, we also made our salt dough. For those of you who have never made it before, it’s really easy and can be used to make all sorts of things.

You will need:
1 cup salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water

It doesn’t matter how big the cup is as long as you stick to this ratio.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until it forms a firm dough.

Harrison and Alex then had great fun rolling it out using their little rolling pins, and using heart shaped playdough/cookie cutters cut out heart shapes.


We then poked a little hole through them with one of our playdough tools, but a pencil or a straw would do the trick. I didn’t get a photo of the hearts at this point as my camera battery died, but we then placed them into a silicone baking tray. These can be left to air dry but takes several days. We popped ours in the bottom of the oven whilst our biscuits cooked, and then left them in the oven at a low temperature for a couple of hours. By this point it was too late to do any thing with them so they have been left until today.

We got out shades of red and pink paint and painted one side of them and left to dry. It dried fairly quickly as the dough absorbs the paint but does soften them just a little. We then turned them over and painted the other side.



Once they dried we threaded string through the holes we had made and hung them on the wall. When our ‘love’ week has finished these will make lovely little gifts!



On Monday, after painting their cardboard hearts for sewing (see what we did here), the kids painted their hands, something that they do every time the paint comes out! Whilst they played pizza shops today, I turned them into these:


This came from various ideas and pictures I’d saw on Pinterest and Facebook.
It was really easy to make – on red and pink card I drew a big heart with a black felt tipped pen. I stuck the handprint in the middle of the heart. With older kids it would look better with the handprint stamped directly onto the paper, but with toddlers it usually takes at least two attempt to get a decent print so is easier to do it on a separate sheet! I then handwrote the little poem, which is one I saw on Facebook but adapted the wording slightly.

Here’s the poem enlarged – excuse my rubbish handwriting!!


A lovely little present for someone on Valentines Day!


Valentines bits and pieces

Another beautiful day….or not! I don’t like moaning too much about the weather as living in central Birmingham we are fairly protected, especially compared to these poor people in Somerset and other areas that are pretty much underwater!

Anyway, we turned the radio on to try and block the sound of the wind and rain, cranked the heating up and made some lovely Valentines cards. We had been sent a box of craft goodies by Baker Ross, which was perfect timing for the Valentines cards I had planned.

I had originally planned to make some pop out Valentines cards, but in the box from Baker Ross was a pack of pre-cut pop up heart cards,very similar to the ones we were going to make! For a pack of 8 cards it costs £2.56 on their website, so not badly priced!


Of course, I cheated and used these instead of making them, but if you want to have a go at making your own, here is what we were going to do:

1) Fold a piece of card in half
2) Draw a heart in the middle. Make sure the crease of the card goes through the middle of the heart.
3) Cut the heart out, leaving a small piece each side of the card intact
4) Make sure there is a crease in the middle of the heart.

The ones that I was sent came in a choice of red, white and pink.

We used a selection of the embellishments we were sent, as well as some of the materials I had already put in our Valentines Craft Box.

These included:
Felt tip pens*
Sticky gems*
Felt Roses*
Pearlized gems*
Tissue paper
Foam shapes

I put the embellishments in a serving tray and let them choose whatever they wanted and decorate however they liked. The items from Baker Ross were great as they were all self adhesive – usually with similar items we use a glue stick and they drop off, so I end up using glue guns but these had little sticky pads on the back. I wasn’t a massive fan of the little bows though, as they weren’t stuck together, so one gentle pull and they come undone. I really liked the felt rose stickers !


The kids really enjoyed decorating their cards and they looked really cute. I joined in and made a Valentines Card for their daddy – I’m clearly not as artistic as my kids!


When we had finished making these ( the other four cards have been out away for next year!) Harrison asked to do some more sewing, so I quickly made a heart with holes in to sew, which after the initial knot he did pretty well independently, and I sat with Alex to make a hanging heart.
I cut out a heart shape from red card and then cut out the centre. Using the bits and pieces left over from the cards he decorated it. I noticed doing this that his fine motor skills are really coming along. He’s coming up to sixteen months old – he took the lid off the rather small glue stick, managed to put glue on the back of quite small buttons and shapes and press them onto the heart without much help, which I don’t think is bad going for his age! His pen grip is almost spot on as well, which is amazing.


We used lots of textures whilst doing this – soft foam, hard and smooth buttons, fluffy feathers which is perfect for a young toddler, especially Alex who loves using his thumb to explore texture.

We looped some red wool around the heart and hung it on the wall. Hopefully we will add some more hanging hearts the week!

* denotes products that we were sent free of charge from Baker Ross for review purposes, and are available to buy on their website. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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