Thursday, 23 October 2014

What Happened at the Doc Mcstuffins Doctober Twitter Party?!

I was a host for a twitter party recently! It was the second one I'd com been chosen to host and I was really excited because Doc McStuffins is one of my 3 year old daughter's favourites - it was the theme for her 3rd birthday back in June - her favourite character depends what day it is! ... not only is my daughter a big fan but my five year old son also enjoys watching! He really likes Chilly the snowman and Stuffy the Dragon! 
Doc McStuffins Doctober Twitter Party

Twitter parties are chaos and when I tell people about them I get one of two reactions -
1. Ohhh cool I love a good twitter party, I'll be joining in and hoping to win something!
2. What's a twitter party?



So what is a twitter party? Well, during the set party time - I have an actual party going on along side lots of twitter interaction - the point is to introduce something new to followers, get the hashtag trending - this event had the super fab hash tag of #Doctober and the objective for followers is to win an awesome prize!

So, yup! At the same time as being glued to twitter, I'm also hosting an actual real life party in my living room! I'm so grateful for my grown up guests for helping control the party while I was busy tweeting! 

Doc McStuffins Doctober Twitter Party


We had a party, with lots of games and lots of lovely food and CAKE but most importantly, we got to play and see the new Doc Mcstiffins toys from Flair!

Doc McStuffins Doctober Twitter Party Cake

Doc McStuffins Doctober Twitter Party cake

I'm just going to let the photos speak for themselves because this was absolutely loads of fun and total chaos! 

Doc McStuffins Doctober Twitter Party


Doctober Doc Mcstuffins Carry Along Case
Doctober Doc Mcstuffins Carry Along Case

Doctober Doc Mcstuffins Role Play Set
Doc Mcstuffins Walk n Talk Mobile - I'll be reviewing this one in a separate blog post
Doctober Doc Mcstuffins Walk n Talk Mobile

What did the party achieve?
Lots of playing with new toys!
Lots of Cake!
Lots of mess!
Lots of fun!
On twitter there were 15 blogger hosts including me and during our two hour twitter party we managed get #Doctober trending and reach over a million people! That's amazing isn't it! 

Emma in Bromley xx 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Tree Fu Tom - Toms big spell DVD


Tree Fu Tom, Toms big spell dvd
Both my children enjoy Tree Fu Tom, and I love that it's an interactive show where it encourages the viewers to play along and do the movements. The latest Tree Fu Tom dvd - Tom's Big Spell is an enchanting collection of 7 stories and I've been pleased to have this to hand during all these rainy days we keep getting! It also sits well for halloween season and half term!
My children love all the insect based characters and the adventures they get up to, along with that element of magic!

Tree Fu Tom DVD - Tom's Big Spell Take a trip to Treetopolis, a world where movement creates magic in the hit CBeebies show Tree Fu Tom. Featuring the voices of Sophie Aldred (Doctor Who) and Mark Bonnar (The Paradise, Silent Witness) the multi-platform fantasy adventure series released the new DVD Tom's Big Spell containing seven big world adventures was released on 6 October. 

Tom appears to be a normal eight-year-old boy but when he puts on his magic belt and performs a special sequence of movements (known as Tree Fu) he transforms into a tiny but mighty, magical super-hero. Children are all encouraged to join in the Tree Fu magic moves.
Pre-schoolers will be spellbound as they join Tom, Twigs and all the other enchanting friends in Treetopolis on seven all-new exciting adventures. Tom is off to the castle for an exciting day at Spell School, but when he can't master the new spells straight away a drop of Magic Potion Lotion looks like the easy answer. However books begin to fly and broomsticks run riot as the newly enchanted objects turn naughty! Tom needs you to help him perform Big World Magic to restore calm to Treetopolis. The DVD also contains six other magic episodes including Bad Tom, The Cavern Coaster, Woodgrubs, Chuckleberry Tom, Don't Go Slowly and The Last Squizzle. So what are you waiting for? It's Tree Fu time!

Available now.

Emma in Bromley xx


*I received a copy of the DVD for the purpose of being able to review it



Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Lunchboxes - Potential Breeding Grounds for Bacteria

I was sent this article to share and I also received one packet of Dettol Wipes (rrp £2) I wanted to share it because Dettol's research highlights that only 48% of parents clean and disinfect their child's lunchbox everyday and I was surprised by that.

Lunchboxes potential breeding grounds for bacteria
Research carried out by the Dettol Back to School Study shows that only 48 per cent of parents clean and disinfect their child's lunchbox every day. 
 This means crumbs can build up and the lunch box can become a breeding ground for bacteria such as E.coli, salmonella and staphylococcus aureus. However, a quick wipe with a dishcloth may not help as research has found that nine out of ten dishcloths in the UK are ‘heavily contaminated’ with bacteria
Lunchboxes often remain in warm conditions in schoolbags for hours, without being refrigerated, meaning that they are in the room temperature‘danger zone’ where bacteria multiplies most rapidly, increasing the risk of food poisoning. In these conditions, one bacterium such as salmonella could become several million in just eight hours. 
In order to help reduce the risk of foodborne tummy bugs, Dettol has compiled three easy top tips for parents to follow: 
  • Pack frozen water bottles into the lunchbox as freezer packs. This will cool down the food inside, helping to prevent it from hitting the danger zone, and the water should be ready to drink by lunch time.
  • After lunch, children should be encouraged to discard all leftover perishable food and packaging, emptying crumbs straight into the bin. Avoid reusing packaging such as sandwich bags and tinfoil because they could contaminate other food.
  • Wipe down the lunchbox with an antibacterial wipe, such as Dettol Anti-bacterial Cleansing Surface Wipes, before packing in order to kill 99.9% of bacteria.
Emma in Bromley xx

Monday, 20 October 2014

Maria Made It - Beautiful Bespoke Gifts and Jewellery

I'm pleased to share with you this wonderful handmade gift, made by a very talented local mum, Maria from Maria Made It

Maria Made It  Heart Frame with Silver Fingerprints


I have a beautiful heart shaped slate frame featuring two fingerprints - Blake's is on a silver star charm while Maegan's is on a silver heart charm.
Maria Made It  Heart Frame with Silver Fingerprints


Maria Made It  Heart Frame with Silver Fingerprints


When you first get in touch with Maria, she will take care to consider your requirements and you will recieve some sketches along with the modelling compound and clear instructions on achieving a good print - mine was for fingerprints but Maria also works with hands, feet, paws and drawings too!
Maria Made It Handprint keyring

I had chosen a frame, Maria works with a company who handmake frames so she can get the right one for you, but not only that, frames can be tricky to post if you are planning to send your present - Maria  can make the silver charms and advise you on the right adhesive so you can attach them to your own frame too! 
Charms can be used to create amazing pieces - I love these stars all grouped together.
Maria Made It Fingerprint Stars


Maria is a very talented jewellery designer and can make you a bespoke piece or gift - I particularly love her little silver fingerprint birds.

Maria Made It fingerprint bird

And bunnies! 
Maria Made It fingerprint bunny rabbit

I love that I've captured my children's fingerprints at age 3 and 5 because I think it's lovely to remember that these special gifts are suitable for any time in your children's lives, not just when they are newborns! 
Maria can also capture your child's drawings in silver too - how clever are these!
Maria Made It childrens drawings recreated in a silver charm


Maria can also make up a bespoke memory piece for those babies who become extra bright stars in the night sky.

As a talented jewellery maker, Maria can make stunning pieces
Maria Made It Penguin

Brilliant beadwork.
Maria Made It Stars and Hearts earrings

Maria is a very busy lady and her order books will be closing mid November for Christmas gifts so make sure you place your order early!

Some pieces can have an engraving on the reverse.
Maria Made It Engraved Star

Look out for Maria Made It at school fairs in the run up to Christmas and you may also be interested in hosting a party with Maria, where the host has plenty of choices such as a discounted piece, discounts for the whole group or a charity donation - Maria doesn't charge for parties, simply asks for a minimum of 3 orders. 
Maria Made It Stall

Visit the website www.mariamadeit.co.uk
or order on Facebook 

Bring your Bear Day with Paddington Bear and Action Medical Research

Paddington says “be bear-illiant” for children’s charity

Bring Your Bear Day

In the year of his big screen debut, Paddington Bear is asking nurseries and schools across the UK to help raise vital funds for his favourite charity, Action Medical Research, by taking part in its annual Bring your Bear event.
It’s very easy to join in, just choose any day during the school year when the children bring their teddy bear, or a favourite soft toy, along with them for the day. Each child brings in a £2 donation with their bear to support vital research to help sick babies and children.
Many Bring your Bear participants organise a whole day of fun activities, such as reading Paddington stories or holding a teddy bears’ picnic. Children can also take part in a drawing competition with a chance to win a visit from Paddington himself, as Action Medical Research is his favourite UK charity.
Every nursery and school that registers will receive a free fundraising pack, including a poster and Paddington stickers, and access to an online toolkit full of useful materials. These include tips on linking the event to the Early Years curriculum and activity sheets to download.
Gina Campbell, event organiser at Action Medical Research, says: “Bring your Bear is all about putting the ‘fun’ into fundraising and is the perfect event to get children excited about helping others. Every year we get fantastic feedback about what the children have got up to and with the Paddington film due to hit cinemas on 28 November this year, the lovable bear will be even more popular! Please join in and help us – and, of course, Paddington – make 2015 a ‘bear-illiant’ year.”
Money raised will help fund medical research into conditions affecting babies and children. Medical research can save and change children’s lives. Yet surprisingly, medical research into conditions that devastate children’s lives is poorly funded.  Action Medical Research is currently supporting work around stillbirth, epilepsy, meningitis, cerebral palsy and brain cancer, as well as some rare and distressing conditions that severely affect children.
To register and receive your free fundraising kit visit action.org.uk/bringyourbear
Follow on twitter @actionmedres and @amr_events
Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/actionmedres and facebook.com/actionevents
Follow us on Pinterest at pinterest.com/actionmedres

There are some wonderful activity sheets for everyone to print off too :-)


Emma in Bromley xx
 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Vintage Style Filament Light Bulbs

I moved house recently and I daydream interiors! I'd love to have the cash to splash on redecorating every room! 

I like to share some of the wonderful things I come across and these Vintage Filament light bulbs are brilliant! 

"Throwback to yesteryear with this vintage-style light bulb, tapping into the steampunk trend with a Victorianna influence. A gorgeous focal point in any room, it'll finish your d├ęcor with an original twist."

Vintage Style Filament Light Bulbs
Vintage Style Filament Light Bulbs
Vintage Style Filament Light BulbsVintage Style Filament Light Bulbs

These are just a selection of the Vintage Light Bulb designs available on special offer until Tuesday 21.10.14 prices vary but most seem to be about the £10 mark 

Emma in Bromley xx

Friday, 17 October 2014

National Chocolate Week with Santa Maria

It's National Chocolate Week and I was sent something a little different to try for the occasion - 

Santa Maria Cocao and Ancho Chilli Seasoning


This rich, tomato based cooking sauce is inspired by mole, a traditional Mexican sauce. Made with a blend of herbs and spices this recipe is enhanced by the rich, bitter-sweet taste of ache chilli and cacao. 
Price: £1.89
Availability: Tesco

The jar suggests using chicken but I'm always trying to find something a little different for veggie sausages so I added the sauce and veggie sausages to a casserole dish and roasted, I served with rice and it was delish! You can taste the hint of chocolate from the cacao and I enjoyed trying something new, I use Linda McCartney veggie sausages as I find they really soak up all the flavour of the cooking sauce and they really had quite a bit of a kick from the chilli!

The Santa Maria website has some wonderful chocolate recipes to try out too:
A juicy, rich chocolate cake with wipped cream and roasted black pepper.

Chocolate Cake


A juicy, rich chocolate cake with whipped cream and roasted black pepper.

A classic dessert with a lively contrast between smooth chocolate and salty, crunchy chips. Worth trying!



Chocolate Truffles - Super simple, but really tasty truffles. Dark chocolate, chilli and raspberries are a real flavour bomb!

Chocolate Truffles 

Super simple, but really tasty truffles. Dark chocolate, chilli and raspberries are a real flavour bomb!


How are you celebrating National Chocolate Week? 

Emma in Bromley xx

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Reports of Attempted Kidnapping and Child Abductions in Bromley

It all seemed to start on Saturday when a Facebook status was being shared by many local Bromley parents with details of an attempted abduction of a child in Sainsburys by a Eastern European lady.


I did tweet asking both @sainsburys and @mpsbromley (local police) about it at the weekend but I didn't get a response from either! (I also asked the person who started it off on facebook but haven't had a reply yet but then I did only ask her this afternoon!

The whole thing just left me feeling worried.

It's a horrible thing to have happened to anyone but sometimes these things can just be rumours or a misunderstood situation, I hoped it'd be the latter rather than an actual attempted kidnapping.

Either way, I'm glad the little boy is safe and that his mum is recovering from a scary situation. You'd like to think something like this would reach the news but why would it with missingkids.co.uk claiming this: 

     In the UK, a child is reported missing every 3 minutes


It was worrying me and on my mind enough to have the first "stranger danger" chat with my children, something I've never really felt the need to bring up with them, I'm not keen on telling them about the darker side of "humanity" - there's just things I'd rather they never had to think about even for a brief moment, I guess most parents feel that way.

I wasn't really going to blog about this, after all it had been one report by a friend of a friend of a friend who had shared their Facebook status ... But following on from the social media reports of the attempted kidnapping in sainsburys at the weekend ...

Monday saw an alert being circulated by Braeside Prep

"We had a email message from Braeside on Monday for attempt of abduction in Tesco, Sainsbury and Bluewater." 

Tuesday saw a parent alert from St George's school about a reported incident of an adult talking in appropriately to Bullerswood pupils



And Today there's been an alert issued by Raglan - it was this that made me decide to share the alerts on my blog, and also the reason why I'm sat here feeling worried about the safety of Bromley children.

"Raglan Primary School : SAFETY OF RAGLAN CHILDREN

ALL YEAR GROUPS 

Dear Parents/Carers, 

We have just been alerted that there have been reports of several attempted child abductions, in the Bromley area. These have happened today in particular at Braeside Prep School, Sainsbury's in Bromley, and Nurseries near Scotts Park School. 

The reported attempted abductions are being carried out by a group of women and not just a single person. 

Please be extra vigilant and if you see anything suspicious inform the police straight away. 

Please keep your child/ren with you at all times, when you drop off/collect children to and from school. 

Thank you for your understanding in this matter. 

School Office"


Also today - Children at Parish primary had a letter about the attempted abductions in their book bags - mentioning Scotts Par, Braeside Prep, Sainsburys and Bluewater

I wish the local police had replied to my tweet at the weekend as I'd rather have confirmation that there's reason to worry but if we are seeing alerts from several local schools then it would be fair to think that something genuine has happened, schools wouldn't be issuing such warnings over rumours or misunderstood situations!

I always hate it when people say "remain vigilant" to parents, I think it's the least thing we need reminding of when it comes to our children! 

I'm hoping we will see some community police around our local schools for reassurance but otherwise, if you can, walk in groups, look out for each other and report anything even remotely suspicious to the police. 

Thank you to the mums who have shared their school alerts with me.

Have you had any alerts issued that I haven't mentioned or did you see any of the incidents take place?

Stay Safe!

Emma in Bromley xx

Update: since I published this, there have been several other parents sharing their alerts:




Update 2 - 16th October 2014
One local school issued a parent alert stating that the original sainsburys on Saturday incident posted on Facebook wasn't true
Parent Alert Re Bromley Child Abduction

And Raglan have issued a message saying all of yesterday's reports were false too.
Raglan Primary School : UPDATE RE SECURITY MESSAGE TUESDAY 15TH OCTOBER

ALL YEAR GROUPS 
Dear Parents/Carers 

Re London Borough of Bromley Security Alert sent out yesterday. 

All schools have received a statement from the police this morning regarding yesterday's attempted child abductions. The police have carried out a full investigation and concluded that no abduction attempts were made. 

I apologise for any concern caused through yesterday's communication following the Borough's Security Alert and would like to pass on the police reassurance that the information given was not true. Our intention was not to cause alarm but to raise awareness so that you could be extra vigilant. 

C. Burgess 
Senior Leader/School's Safeguarding Off

I'm relieved that this wasn't a real situation but I'm shocked that sooo many schools issued false reports and the panic caused to many many local parents could have been prevented. When it's one facebook message there's a 50/50 chance of it being true or false but when many local schools start issuing parent alerts claiming that several incidents of child abduction attempts have been reported - then it comes from a voice of authority and is seen as truth. 
Why did so many schools send out false reports? why didn't any say they hadn't been confirmed by local police? 

I'm not entirely sure what the point of this whole spectacle has been or why someone would make up sooo many false reports of child abduction attempts, just glad that no child has been taken. 


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Family Halloween Party - Hallowe'en 2014 crafts, decorating, feast and vintage tips

This year we are planning on holding a small family Halloween party in our new house! We will be using our dining room - which after the party, we will be using as a playroom while the children are young ... with a sofa bed in it for when my Family in the North visit! 
Currently the said "party room" is still stacked high with boxes - I'm finding it impossible to unpack with two small children ha ha

So I'll start with the planned Halloween party food! 
Pelagonia Pumpkin Jam - Pumpkin Jam Tarts

I was sent some wonderful Pumpkin Jam from Pelagonia - I'd never heard of pumpkin jam before! It comes in a lovely glass jam jar and then I kind of wondered ... What does one do with pumpkin jam?
We spread some on cold toast shapes to  taste it - perfect! The Pelagonia website has a wonderful recipe for Pumpkin Jam Tarts which I will be attempting as this looks and sounds much nicer for a party! 
Dr Oetker gel food colour, sprinkles and ready roll icing for halloween cakes

I'll also be making plenty of cakes and biscuits using some of my favourite Dr Oetker goodies - I was sent a selection of decorating items to use - I'm going to have lots of fun with the ready to roll icing (my kids call this playdoh they can eat!) love the food gel colours in jet black, neon orange and ultra violet, cakes are going to be topped with chocolate sprinkles and banoffee and Dr Oetker is always in my shopping basket - the cake release spray is one of my favourites! 
Looking forward to getting creative with these sprinkles and icing sets! The Dr Oetker website has some brilliant halloween recipes. I've promised Blake I'll make either cakes or biscuits with spiders on the top! 
I've made severed fingers from veggie hotdogs and ketchup - seriously quick and easy, just a bit of clever slicing - I used a teaspoon to cut away a finger nail shape! 
Hot Dog Severed Fingers for Halloween party food

Draw little ghostie faces on mini marshmallows with a food ink pen (I found mine in the cake decorating shop in chatterton village) and scatter them in hot chocolate - make a bowl full in the slow cooker left on low and ready to serve at your guests request :)
Ghost marshmallows in hot chocolate - halloween party food


Check out my Pinterest board for Halloween - there's lots of terrifying treats to bake and crafts to make here! 

Halloween is a great excuse for lots of crafts and we have some wonderful bits from Hobbycraft.
Hobbycraft Halloween crafts

We've already made spooky suncatchers and decorated some foam witches hats - might I add, with the most Ah-Ma-Zing glitter glue! The orange is almost neon and the colours are so vibrant!


Hobbycraft Halloween decorations

Also from Hobbycraft we have this scary skeleton hanging decoration which is 5ft tall and jointed so you can pop him in comical or scary poses.
scary spiders web full of plastic spiders and a purple glass witch lantern - I'm using a led tea light in mine.
Meg is ready for trick or treat with a sweet little felt frankinstein's monster bag!
  
Creating your vintage hallowe'en by Marion Paull

I'm drawing lots of inspiration from the most adorable Halloween craft book I've ever seen, sent to me for review from Cico books - Creating your Vintage Hallowe'en by Marion Paull.
Full of stories, folklore and history, mixed in with crafts, games and food ideas and the most darling vintage artwork. 
I was in love with this book in moments and it's inspiring lots of ideas for our little party - there's even handy templates to make the things in the book. The ribbon book mark has a pumpkin gift tag and the book reminded me of a word I'd forgotten all about! Pukwudgie! My give year old is enjoying hearing about all the legends and the book also reminds us that the "too American" Halloween celebration was celebrated here long before there! Bring on your party! 

Emma in Bromley xx

Hallowe'en 2014 crafts, decorating, feast and vintage tips