My prize from [Stamp]tastic!

Just before the kids finished school I won this amazing prize. Everything was a little hectic so I forgot all about sharing it with you until… I had to label the new uniform for the new school year.

The Prize

I won a personalised Stamp and ink pad and a fabric pen.

I got to design the stamp myself. I wrote my son’s full name, choose the font and added an anchor icon.

I choose a black ink pad although there were other colours to choose from.

I also got to choose a fabric pen. I decided to go with white as Noah’s shoes often have a black sole and I figured I would probably need it to write in them.

The stamp

I hope my pictures help illustrate how the stamp works. It reminds me a lot of a high quality crafting stamp.

You push the stamp onto the ink pad, then onto the clothes label. The stamp is clear which enables to you see where you have placed it and that it is the correct way around. It dries pretty quick too!

The pen

I wasn’t excited about the pen but it has really impressed me. Noah has wore his cap all summer and the ink hasn’t rubbed off. It was easy to write with and stands out clearly on the black material.


I would definitely buy these items again. They’ve made it easy to label everything.

I love how the stamp makes everything look so neat and perfect and how clear the pen is on dark colours.

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Learning through art with Arty Mouse

I discovered Arty Mouse last year at Felixstowe Book Festival (2027) and been a fan ever since. I was pleased to see them in attendance again this year and again offering amazing deals on their brilliant books. Click here to see my post on their event.

Here are a couple of reviews on the titles I’ve brought and used with my son:

Play Clay

This book is box shaped and inside is a plastic tray with all the bits you need to complete the pages. There is plasticine and cardboard cut out shapes (for example eyes, legs, hat). You then use the plasticine and shapes to complete the image and can draw with a wipe clean pen. Each page has a prompt, I.e a birthday cake that needs so many candles. This encourages counting as well as being creative.

My son had really enjoyed this book and it is easy enough to follow that he can do it independently on his own. When finished all the parts tidy away inside the book, ready for another day.

The only issue we’ve had is we lost some of the cardboard shapes so at the event I suggested they sell add on or replacement packs to increase the longevity of their reusable product.


This book is another box shaped one and inside is a plastic tray with all the bits you need to complete the pages. There is a stamp and foam shapes. You then use them stamp the shapes to complete the image and can draw with a wipe clean pen. Each page has a prompt, I.e a Loch Ness monster with missing humps. This encourages them to think about the shapes around them and how they make pictures.

My son loves this book too and on the last page he enjoy the freedom to make his own stamp picture. He is confident to use this without supervision due to clear easy to follow instructions.

My only suggestion to Arty Mouse would be to enable add on packs to collect more shapes and maybe even different colour ink pads.

I love how easy it is to tidy away, store and it’s a whole activity in one. Sometimes the plastic tray gets in the way of pressing down on pages on the left, so it might be nice to be able to remove the tray and reattach it afterwards.

Flash Cards (Numbers)

These are classic flash cards and store neatly in a box with the pen and cloth for wiping the cards clean when you are finished.

The cards have the familiar Arty Mouse characters. One side has the number for children to trace and can be found within the numeric picture. The other side has the number written as a word to practice writing. This is a great set to practice hand coordination with a pen and is really good quality.

At the FBF event, Noah had fun using their Words pack. The image below shows him using the pack -ignore the cat scratch on his face, he learnt a valuable lesson about not getting in the cats space that morning too.

Sticker Doodles

This was a book I bought at this years FBF and as soon as we got home Noah was straight into it.

I was a little hesitant about buying this book as it’s not reusable like the others. This book encourages children to draw in it with the wipe clean pen and at the back is a selection of sticker shapes that children can use to finish the pictures on the pages.

Noah has enjoyed playing with this book and has only torn one sticker – they do sometimes need a little help getting them off the pages.

Here’s a little video of Noah using the sticker book as soon as we got home.

They also had a book for cutting that I almost bought Noah as he is very into scissors at the moment. Maybe, I’ll get that next time…

My thoughts…

I also bought two more of the box sets but put them away for Noah’s birthday or Christmas. The box style books do make beautiful gifts.

All the titles I have bought have been of a high quality and the characters are appealing to preschool and early years children.

I hope they attend future FBF, as I would go to their stand. I also would be interested in buying more from their range. I am a fan, especially of the titles that can be reused.


Have you tried any of the Arty Mouse titles?  Do you know any similar books that I should check out – I’d love to hear your recommendations.

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Art and craft with Arty Mouse

This was the first event of Felixstowe Book Festival I attended this year. I went last year too and loved it.

Parents with children aged 2 to 6 years old were able to drop in between 10am and 12noon to try out the Arty Mouse range. This is ideal for their age group.

This was a free event (no ticket needed). However, the books were available to buy at half price and I couldn’t resist.

Representatives of Arty Mouse (I think from Top That Publishing) and volunteers of Felixstowe Book Festival, had prepared tables with different activities for the children to try. The children were able to move freely between the tables.

Here is a pic of Noah trying out their Arty Flashcards. These cards enable children to practice their writing and develop their reading skills.

Afterwards, children were rewarded with a certificate and some Haribo sweets. Sadly, I left behind Noah’s certificate and drawing of a cat, although, I think I would have been in more trouble with him if I had lost the sweets (luckily I put them in my bag).

The Arty Mouse products are a little bit special and make lovely gifts (especially the box kit books). I told Noah he could have two for the summer but the box ones I’m saving for his birthday and Christmas. He was very good about me taking them away as I could tell he wanted them most.

Noah was excited to get started in his book right away and really loved the themes in the book. He’s very into anything with wheels and robots are trending with him at the moment.

As I mentioned earlier, I am already a fan of Arty Mouse after discovering the fabulous books during last years Felixstowe Book Festival.  I can’t believe I haven’t written a review of those we bought last year and I will make up for that later this month.

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3 Easy Activities for Kids at a Gender Reveal Party

Amazon let me down!  I ordered my party supplies and they arrived just as the party finished.  I didn’t let that ruin the day.  Oh no, I took to Pintrest and I got my sister to help me out with her Guide Leader experience.

I hadn’t wanted the party to be a big deal.  Just a get together with my best friends and immediate family so I could share our good news altogether.  Most importantly, I wanted the focus to be about Noah becoming a big brother.


Insta - food.png

I had some amazing idea boards on Pinterest and had fallen in love with the idea of a Mad Hatters tea party theme.  I ran out of time for that so had to come up with a new idea.

My table spread consisted of:

  • Healthy snacks – fruit (nectarines, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries) and vegetables for dips and snack cucumbers
  • Savoury snacks – cheese pizza, chicken nugget (with ketchup in egg cups) and crisps
  • Sweet snacks – selection of cakes and biscuits

The juice jug was a titled jug.  I used Mr Kipplings cakes as they are sealed (prevents kids poking them before they have committed to eating them).

The centre piece was a cake from Morrisons with a surprise center (multi coloured sweets) and I just added a ‘Girl or Boy?’ cake topper bought from Etsy.

By putting the healthy stuff at the front, the children were encouraged to eat the fruit and veg – it worked!  They were the first be eaten.


Insta - gender crafts

We had a number of activities for the kids in celebration of a new baby.  These were:

Little bean

You will need:

  • egg carton
  • soil
  • runner bean seeds

My sister brought soil, beans and an egg carton. She cut the carton up to make little pots for each of them to grow their own (runner) bean.  They put soil in their carton and planted their bean and watered it.

Baby face plates

You will need:

  • paper plates
  • a section of craft bits i..e pens, pencils, crayons, glue, fluffy balls, fuzzy bendy wires

My sister had brought a ‘one I made earlier’ plate for the children to see what they could achieve.  They then each had a paper plate and used pens, glue and fluffy bits and paper to decorate their plate and make a baby face.

Volcano – gender reveal

You will need:

  • a tray
  • a small bottle (i.e. Robinsons fruit shoot)
  • 1 cup bicarbonate of soda (baking soda in US)
  • 200ml vinegar
  • food colouring (pink/blue – depending on the gender)
  • measuring jug
  • measuring cups

The children really came to my rescue as they helped with an activity I had never done before.

  1. I added the secret ingredient before we started and secured the bottle (Robinson Fruit Shoot) to an old baking tray using masking tape.
  2. The children covered the bottle in play-doh to make a rainbow mountain volcano (and helped secure it further).
  3. We then used a 1/4 cup for measuring the bi-carbonate of soda to a measuring jug (this enabled them all to have a turn), then used the jug to pour this into the bottle.  Using a measuring jug made it easier to get into the neck of the bottle.
  4. We then added vinegar, carefully and slowly to reveal blue or pink.


Insta - cuddles

My little nephew was a star at the party as we were all in baby mode.  Everyone wanted a cuddle with him and he was a really good sport about being passed around.  The children listened carefully about supporting his head and were incredibly gentle with him.

I was really proud of all the kids. They really made this party awesome.

My room decorations and confetti cannon from Amazon did not arrive in time but I think the end result showed me that you don’t need those things to throw a good Gender Reveal party.

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Jolly World Book Day

What is World Book Day?

It is a day to encourage children’s reading. Events are held across the UK to encourage children to talk about books such as dressing up as their favourite character. Many kids receive a voucher to get a sponsored book for £1 or £1 off a book of their choice.

Many publishers and other sponsors will host competitions so it is worth checking social media. Last year, I won the box set of “Percy Jackson” by Rick Riordan from Write Children’s Books For Children who ran hourly competitions on Twitter!

The Jolly Postman

This year, my son has chosen to be “The Jolly Postman” by Janet & Allan Ahlberg. He loves the books which are interactive and every other page is an envelope with a letter inside (or card, puzzle or mini book, etc). Plus, he has a red bike – very cool to a 4-year-old!

He has:

  • The Jolly Postman (blue version)
  • The Jolly Christmas Postman (red version)

Both books were bought by Noah’s aunty Hev (you can follow her blog “This Pug Can” by clicking here). No prizes for guessing which was for his birthday and which was for Christmas.

After role play in his (Postman Pat) costume as the Jolly Postman, we got warm inside with blankets, wotsits and the books themselves.  Usually, we read these at bedtime but today we had time to do the puzzle and play the board game.

I also feel I need to say a big thank you to Asda.  The costume sold out online.  Other stores had a similar one for an extra £10 and someone was selling Asda’s costume on Amazon for twice the price!  Asda tweeted back to help track down a costume for Noah.  In the store, staff retrieved it from the warehouse and Noah changed his mind!  He now wanted to be a lion from “How to Hide a Lion!” by Helen Stephens.  We began leaving the store and he changed his mind again and did want to be the Jolly Postman.  The staff returned to the warehouse to get it again.  They were so helpful and friendly and didn’t complain once about the interchangeable mind of a preschool diva.

Have a jolly World Book Day

I hope you have a jolly world book day and I would love to hear about what books you have been enjoying or the characters your child dressed up as today.

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The Beast From the East

This post is for me.  Today has been such a special experience, I want to look back and remember it, forever.

Snow morning

This morning began with my little boy getting to see snow for the first time. He wanted to go out in his PJs and it took some negotiating to get him to sit down and eat breakfast and get dressed first.

I wasn’t sure he’d have time to go out before nursery but I told him if he ate quick & got dressed fast he could play in the snow. I’ve never seen him get ready so fast!

SNew Experience

He was desperate to get outside but could I find his gloves and hat? We had them out in November but this morning they were missing.

I gave him a pair of my mittens to keep his hands warm and we tried to make a snowman (unsuccessfully). Then we threw snow at each other. He’s a better shot than me – I was lucky we had the excuse that we needed to leave or I’m sure he would have annihilated me.

Snowy Nursery

I managed to find his gloves and hat from 2 years ago. A Benjamin bunny hat and bunny gloves made by my mum (his Grandma PoPo).

After checking nursery was on, I drove him very carefully and slowly in. I was gutted they weren’t having a snow day as I wanted to stay & play with him. He was so excited and it was infectious.

At the nursery, he didn’t want to take his snowsuit off.  His key worker had to promise him that after the morning activities and registration there would be time to play outside in the snow.

I couldn’t wait to finish work and pick him up from my mums and hear all about how he played with his friends in the snow. As soon as we got home, he was straight out in the garden to play some more, before it melts.

Lobbing snowballs at me.

Giggling in the snow and eating it!

Here’s hoping that tonight it snows enough that we can stay home and play together tomorrow.

Review – Coco

Coco – By Disney

I took my son and his best friend to the cinema for their first time to watch the new Disney film ‘Coco’.

As this was their first time they did get spoilt. We bought them the kids special which came free with a Paddington Bear lunch box. We also took them to Kaspers after for ice cream because sitting still for a whole film was a big challenge for a 3 and 4 year old.

After the film we let them pose and dance on the red carpet. I’m glad we went during half term because the place was empty.

Review of Coco

This Disney film is about the Mexican Day of the Dead festival. The MC is a boy named Miguel who befriends a stray dog that’s actually his spirit guide. His family are against music and he really wants to play guitar and sing. His rebellion against his family sets on a path that causes him to crossover to the underworld. To return home he needs a blessing from his dead ancestors before he becomes permanently dead. But, they want to add a condition that he can’t ever perform music again. So he looks for the relative his family disowned to get the blessing without the condition.

There are a lot of themes about death explored in the film and there was a few occasions I got choked up.

It was a good film with a decent storyline. It’s worth watching but it’s unlikely to become one of those classic films that you could watch forever.