The Search For A New House Continues…

I have mentioned recently that we have been looking for a bigger house in our area. At the moment, Olivia is, at 13 months, still in our room as we only live in a two bedroom house and Jack’s room is far too small to fit the two of them in. Luckily we have quite an abnormally large bedroom so it isn’t too bad but I would so love my own space back.

Before Christmas, we were looking at three and four bed properties in our village. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on which way you look at it, the prices in our area are quite high so it can be quite difficult to find a house that fits both our needs and our price range. We were lucky enough last year that I was earning enough for Steve to leave a job he was unhappy in and he’s hopefully about to go part time in a new job from next month or April. We found that the fact that I was the only one working counted against us as my income can be variable so we have put off looking again until now.

We did find the perfect house in the village, close to the school, close to our beautiful common that we are so lucky to have and close to the amenities. It has been on the market for months and now we are finally in a position to put another offer in, it looks like they have finally rented it out.

This summer, Steve may also come into some money from an inheritance. We already have plans for this – put most of it in savings and pay off any outstanding debts. Hopefully we’ll also be able to put down 6/12 months of rent for a place as well whilst the savings accrue some interest and the debts fall off our credit score so we can hopefully get a mortgage. But if we find the perfect place in the village in the meantime, what will we do? Go for it of course.

But just what is the perfect place for us? Well, it needs 3 or 4 bedrooms for a start. One for us, one for Jack, one for Olivia – if there is another, that’s a bonus. We want wood flooring throughout the downstairs – we live in a house right now that is fully carpeted and that is totally not kid friendly – with Olivia at the age that she is, discovering food and exactly what a nappy is and trying to take it off, carpets are a nightmare. We want a decent sized kitchen – we currently have a galley kitchen and not enough space for all of our utensils. I want somewhere I can actually cook properly without feeling cramped and so Steve and I can start putting recipes on the blog again. We also want a dishwasher – this girl is fed up of hand washing!

I want a garden. Yes, we live a stone’s throw away from the local common right now but it hasn’t really been fair for Jack to grow up without a proper garden. I also want a decent amount of storage space – I’ve already mentioned that this house doesn’t have much in the way of kitchen storage and the same can be said for most of the house. We’ve got a cupboard in each bedroom and our garage – that’s it. It’s a flat roof so no loft and we do struggle with everything – after all, with two kids we’ve got car seats, bikes, pushchairs, toys…so much stuff and nowhere to put it. Jack has even got a whole bedroom set that he hasn’t been able to use yet because it won’t fit in his tiny bedroom so it is currently stored in the garage.

It may seem that we have got a whole list of things we want and it should be quite impossible to tick all the boxes but luckily the majority of properties round here come with plenty of storage space, decent gardens, downstairs wood flooring and enough bedrooms – it’s just the budget that often throws us.

For now, the search for a new house continues. I’ll keep perusing the websites looking for a local place and fingers crossed we find our perfect home soon!

Sponsored Post

Britax B-Lite Pushchair | Review

Item sent for consideration for review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

As per our role in Britax Mumbassadors, we often tell you about the brand new products available from the brand. We recently heard about their brand new B-Lite travel system and were given the opportunity to road test their new offering.

Suitable for children from birth to 15kg (which is approximately 3 years of age), this particular pushchair is claimed to be compact and agile so that it can be moved around with ease. It is Britax Römer’s lightest buggy to date and it is travel system compatible and comes with the option of using CLICK & GO® receivers to enable parents to attach any Britax Römer infant carrier, making it a great travel companion for the whole family. As we have an infant carrier, it is certainly something we could do – although Olivia is too big for that functionality now.

The pushchair weighs only 7.4kg and it is easy to collapse the pushchair with one hand with its single handed pull fold. It is so compact, it is easy to store no matter where you need to – car, hallway etc. It is also free standing when folded which is great – and the automatic fold lock means it remains that way until it needs to be used again. It also features an adjustable back rest and foot rest – this has been great when Olivia has fallen asleep whilst we have been out as it means I can lay her down so she can sleep soundly. The adjustable foot rest makes it easy to grow with the pushchair. It also comes with the safety features all Britax Römer products come with. The B-Lite includes an adjustable 5 point safety harness which keeps children secure and can be adjusted to different height positions, while the softly padded chest pads ensure additional comfort for children.

So what have been our thoughts on our road test?

We have found it great. I’ve been looking for something lightweight and easy to manage for a while now. I’ve got other strollers such as the Britax Holiday but I found that the hood didn’t go down too far – really not good when the sun is out and you want to cover their eyes. The hood on this is much better as it goes down a lot further, it is a large hood with UPF 50+ protection – although we still love the Holiday. There’s even mesh panels on the side for better air circulation.

The front swivel wheels (which work in both swivel and lock mode) really helped us to get around. I am able to manoeuvre around a lot better – very handy in this village as the amenities aren’t exactly the most pushchair friendly. The wheels are also puncture free – meaning I don’t have to worry about a flat tyre.

We found getting round simple and it is so lightweight that even Jack can push Olivia without a problem. The only slight gripe I would have with it is that there is a spacious basket but you have to put items in from the side due to the crossbody at the back – there isn’t much room to get things in from the side so it does mean you are limited on what shopping you can do when you are out. Other than that, we have been very impressed and with us planning to walk to school a lot more now the weather is getting better (we live at the other end of the village so walking in the rain and snow is awful and we end up completely soaked, otherwise we would), this will have plenty of use.

The Britax B-Lite is available in four different retailers: Coral Peach, Cosmos Black, Lagoon Green and Steel Grey and is available from all major retailers with an RRP of £180. We love ours and will be using it constantly – will you be picking one up?

Maplin USB Microscope with 400x Magnification | Review

Item sent for consideration for review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

I’ve mentioned before how into science and the world around him Jack is. We were recently offered the chance to review an item from Maplin and had a few different items to choose from – we gave a shortlist and we were picked to review the USB Microscope with 400x magnification – there’s a whole load of microscopes available on Maplin here.

This USB microscope, standing at 125mm high and 33m in diameter, helps you to explore the smaller details of the world with its 400x magnification. The microscope itself is digital and you can capture not only images but video – and you can even watch live from your PC, laptop or Mac (compatible with Windows 10, 8, 8.1, XP, Vista, 7 and Mac 10.5 and later) – a feature which Jack and Olivia both loved. The camera is 1.3 megapixel which is interpolated up to 2 megapixels to give a 1600×1200 pixel image on screen.

The design of the microscope is pretty sleek – it is plain black and comes with an alloy stand.

So what can we see with this microscope? Jack tested it out with such a wide variety of items – the carpet, a cotton bud, a leaflet, various body parts – he was keen to see what the inside of his mouth looked like in minute detail. All you need to do is place the microscope directly over or on the sample to get the highest magnification posible and slowly pull it away, adjusting the focus as you do so you get back to 20x (The minimum focusing distance is 10mm, giving you enough room to see by simply placing the microscope on top of your sample over an area of approximately 855mm²).

So is it easy to use? Yes, definitely. Jack and Steve spent ages discovering the world around them. Jack would happily have sat there for hours sorting it. To set it up, you simply have to plug in the attached USB lead to your chosen device and install the included software. This sets it up so you can see the detail of your samples in real time on a big screen. You can keep the microscope on the stand to keep it steady or take it off to look freely. There are eight LEDs to keep your samples illuminated whilst looking at them.

Overall, Jack has been very impressed with the microscope and Steve has too – he’s been as enamoured with it, if not more than Jack. Jack is constantly asking to get it out so that he can discover more about the world around us.

Are your kids into science like mine? Maybe they’d like a microscope like this. This particular model is usually £54.99 but is currently down to £44.99 and is available to buy at Maplin. Would you like one of these?

One Third Stories French Story Box | Review

Item sent for consideration for review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

If you remember, Jack and I reviewed One Third Stories back in 2016 and we were recently contacted to see if we would like to review one of One Third Stories’ Story Boxes. We were very happy to – Jack is keen to get learning more in French so we opted for the French story box.

I was sent the first box. This contains a story all about a T-Rex called Terrance who’s on a search for the perfect pair of shoes. It is said that your child will learn basic greetings, numbers up to ten, and colours. The activities within the pack include build-your-own dinosaurs using numbers and colours in French, using French numbers for simple sums, and how to tell somebody else your name, age, and favourite colour in French

You can choose your subscription – for 3 months, 6 months and 12 months. The 12 months works out the best value but for the 3 month plan, there is an upfront payment of £50.97 which works out at £16.99 a box. There is UK only free shipping and it auto renews after 3 months and you can cancel renewal at any time.

So what did we think?

Jack was very happy with his activity box. He has been learning snippets of French at school and is a total bookworm so this combined two great loves. He has been loving dipping in and out of the box, reading some of the story in English and some in French and working out what the French phrase means.

It has made me hark back to my GCSE French and is actually helping me to remember the language which I had long since forgot. Jack has been enjoying using the flash cards so that both he and I can get to learn the words in both their English and French words.

He’s definitely keen to get his hands on another box and learn some more French words – and I’m keen to help him. It is always great to see children passionate about learning – and I’m keen to help Jack with his learning too.

Are your children learning any languages?

My Personalised Power Bank From USB Makers

Item sent for consideration for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Do you ever struggle when heading out to events, knowing your battery won’t hold its charge for very long. I’m the same. My phone is always running out of juice which is so frustrating – especially if you are out reviewing somewhere and trying to take loads of pictures and add to social media whilst there – I’ve been on multiple days out where my battery has died and I’ve had to use Steve’s phone to capture those special moments until I can get back to the car and charge it.

I’ve had a few portable chargers over the years but they’ve always been big and bulky – something I don’t really want to be carrying around. I was offered the chance to review a power bank from USB Makers, with the design of my choice to suit my blogging life.

I opted for ‘Eat, Sleep, Blog, Repeat‘. I was very impressed with the delicate design when it arrived. USB Makers provide promotional items and I must admit I was expecting the power bank to be quite loud. I was super impressed with the muted colours and the font – it really suits the background and I feel the whole design is very ‘me’.

The power bank is slimline and very light – much unlike any other power bank I have ever used. The power bank comes with the standard Samsung USB charger with the option of a 3-way multi connecter if required.

It is available with 2,500mAh and is a very sleek design. But enough about the design and the weight of it, how are it’s charging capabilities?

First of all it came pretty much fully charged which I was very impressed by. I let my phone die and then put it on charge using the power bank – it got to 100% within about an hour and a half which is about right for my phone without a fast charging cable. I then took it off charge and waited until it was down to around 30% before putting it on charge again. The power bank managed to last out until the phone was fully charged yet again – but then I needed to put it on charge.

I managed to get almost two full charges out of the power bank which for such a small device I was very happy with. I am always active on my phone so I can guarantee I used it even whilst charging so the power bank sometimes had its work cut out – charging whilst I was obviously using the battery – but it withstood my tests well.

Overall, I am very impressed with the power bank from USB Makers – it’s lovely to have something designed just how I like it, that isn’t massively big and bulky and that can just slip into my handbag or pocket. I definitely know where to head if I want some more promotional/personalised material.