Monday, 31 December 2012

What a year 2012 has been!


It has been a busy year, here at The Syders. It began in January with crisp blue skies and by the time we reached February we had heavy snowfall. Of course, The Syders love the snow and we had a great time.


When February half term arrived we were back to blue skies and bike rides with our Granddaughter


Then I found an old camera film that belonged to my Mum's which I was thrilled to find family photo's from 1996 in the home I grew up in.


We went to Disney On Ice


We got a cute Bunny


We had a great Easter, spent with Family.
We Crabbed on the river...


We went to Brighton Pier


We BBQ'd


And BBQ'd Some More


We celebrated a 21st Birthday and The Queens Diamond Jubilee all on the same weekend


We had a successful year of homeschool. Our youngest concentration and writing skills have improved and our eldest started college.


Then our hearts were broken when we lost our old pal. I thought I would never stop crying.


We spent time on the water to take our minds away from losing our friend.


We enjoyed a great day out in London and the Olympics on TV


We had happy kids as we rescued more hens...


And a rather handsome Cockerel


We Grew Veggies...
Before

After...


We enjoyed summer campfires and toasted marshmallows


My Sister in Law and her lovely family moved to Essex...Five minutes from us.


I have had some amazing blog opportunities this year and one of them was visiting the Czech Republic with Cow & Gate and watching Ella from Purple Mum juggle apples in the middle of a Czech orchard was a fabulous experience.


We enjoyed carnival and the fair.


I decided to finish my degree...
at long last


 We went to Center Parcs, where we celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary



We enjoyed nice meals out


And cosy food in


We have ended 2012 with a wonderful Christmas that was busy, noisy and fun, surrounded by precious Family & Friends
(This photo shows how busy)


So what will 2013 bring for The Syders? I haven't a clue, but whatever it brings we will make the most of every single day and cherish the people we love!

Happy New Year to you all. Hope its a Good one!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Binatone KidzStar e-reader


I have never used an e-reader before so I was very interested in reviewing the Binatone KidzStar e-reader, especially as my Daughter is homeschooled, I'm thinking it might save some space in the house by having her books on a device rather than scattered all over her bedroom floor.


The device has a 7 inch colour screen and has a great rubber casing that protects the e-reader, in an attractive colour that really stands out. This casing can be removed to reveal a much more grown up looking e-reader, if the child prefers. Also the Kidstar e-reader can be used to watch videos, play music and view photo's.

First thing we did was charge it up as it needs a ten hour charge before it can be used. That was easy as it has a built in battery charger, so all we needed to do was plug in the USB lead (that is included) and plug it into our laptop. 

Then this morning once it was fully charged, we looked online for a book to download to try it out. There are places online where you can download lots of different titles for free, these websites are suggested in the manual. I knew my Daughter was desperate for the new book by One Direction so as a nice surprise I paid to download it from Waterstones and installed it onto the e-reader. It was so easy to do and I was thrilled that I managed to do it with no problems what-so-ever.

If you want to encourage your child to read, Binatone’s KidzStar e-reader is the perfect fun and educational device for any budding young genius! Available exclusively at Argos, the crystal clear 7” colour screen allows easy access to your library of e-books, audiobooks, videos and photos. The in-built zoom option allows younger children to enlarge text for easy reading! At just £34.99 this could be the perfect present for your child.

Big thumbs up from the Syders!

*We were sent a Binatone KidStar e-reader free of charge for the purpose of this review. We received no financial reward and our opinion is totally our own and unbiased.

UGG Slippers


I pride myself on being a frugal Mum and I'm really good at it, but one thing I don't scrimp on is footwear. I have always had wide, broad feet and I get so irritable if my feet are not comfy. All my kids have wide feet too and I've always had to buy them good quality footwear. Paying more for shoes always ends up costing me less in the long run because, no doubt about it they will last longer.

So, imagine my delight when I received a gorgeous UGG shoe box in the post! I gleefully unwrapped the beautiful packaging and instantly jumped up and down with excitement as I saw what was inside. A pair of Ugg slippers.


I couldn't wait to slip my feet inside these beauties. The fluffy interior is like heaven to my feet. The quality is obvious and I can instantly see that they are very well made. 

They are pricey, but I know they will last a whole lot longer than a regular pair of slippers and the delight I felt when I received them was thrilling, so they would make such a perfect gift for someone you love. They would not be disappointed to receive a pair of these, I promise you.

I am certainly enjoying mine...


*I was sent a pair of UGG slippers for the purpose of this review. I received no financial reward for writing this post and my opinion is totally unbiased. I know good quality footwear when I see it.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas On A Budget - Candy Cane Sleighs

A few weeks back I showed you my Christmas table and gave you a few ideas for dressing the table on a budget. As I told you, I always like to give out little favors to my guests and this year everyone will be getting a candy cane sleigh. I think they are such a cute idea and are really simple to make. My family will love them.


What You Need
  • Candy Canes - 2 for each sleigh
  • Four finger kitkats
  • Chocolate Santa's
  • Green & Red tissue paper
  • Parcel string
  • Glue & Sellotape
  • Small gift
  • Card & Hole punch for tags
Instructions

1. Stick two candy canes on the bottom of a kitkat - I uses clear sellotape to stick them.
2. Use two pieces of tissue paper, placing the red piece on the bottom and green on top, put your gift in the middle and make a small Santa sack. Tie with the parcel string.
3. Make a small tag, write the guests name, punch a hole and attach to the parcel string.
4. Glue the Santa sack on to the Kitkat, and then glue your chocolate Santa to the front. And thats it, you have a completed Candy cane sleigh.


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A Warner Brothers Christmas Gift Guide


We all have a movie buff in the family don't we. In my family, we all are and we love to receive a good DVD in our stockings. So if you are looking for a few last minute suggestions, then I have three great films to recommend as gifts.


One for Mum - New Years Eve

Now, I'm not saying Dad's wont enjoy this film but it is more of a chick flick. I love this film, and not just because Jon Bon Jovi is in it, there is a lot more to it than it starring one of my idols. This movie is a bit like a US 'love Actually' and is full to the brim with of some of my favourites like Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hilary Swank and Josh Duhamel, and thats just to name a few!

All about a group of people who lives are intertwined in New York on New Years Eve, the film focuses on love, forgiveness and second chances in life. A must have girlie movie!
Available to buy from Amazon priced at around £15


One for Dad - The Dark Knight Rises

I must say, this film isn't just for Men. I loved it! Christian Bale is superb and so is Anne Hathaway who plays Selina Kyle, she is just brilliant in this film. I also love that it has another favourite of mine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt starring in this film and of course, the legend Michael Caine.

Its been eight years since we saw Batman vanish into the night, and his return has been worth the wait. Brilliant film, full of action and cool moves. We loved it!
Available to by from Amazon for around £12.50


One for the Kids - Polar Express

This film is one of The Syders favourite Christmas movies. We also have this film on Blue ray 3D and it is magical to sit and watch with the whole family. The DVD is of course, great to watch because the film is so beautifully made. The story of a group of children who board a train heading to Santa's home in the North Pole. For one of the children, a little boy it becomes a journey of self discovery as he learns that life is full of wonder for those who 'believe'. Fabulous film for the whole family!
Available to buy from Amazon for around £14

*Thank you to Warner Bros for sending us this DVD selection and some Christmas treats.
Our views and opinions are unbiased and completely our own.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Happy Christmas Mum - We Miss You

Papa and I spend our whole year planning Christmas. We love everything about it and always have. Papa has always gone a bit over the top for Christmas and when we were first married, we would argue over it a bit. I was worried that he was spoiling the kids too much. As the years have gone by, I have slowly joined in with his enthusiastic festive spirit. You see, he doesn't have many happy Christmas memories as a child, in fact he has none, so he has made up for his lost Christmases as a child, by making sure ours are magical.


Papa spent his first Christmas with me and my Family back in 1988. It was the year Cliff Richard's 'Mistletoe & Wine reached number one in the charts, Phil Collins 'Buster' was the years top movie and Kylie & Jason an item (or were they?). That was the year Papa fell in love with my Family. He loved my Mum's house and how hectic, noisy and fun it always was. My Mum was one of the most disorganised people I've ever known, but she really knew how to open up her house and feed people, not just with food but with her warmth.

 (Mum Christmas 1990)

My childhood Christmases were very different from Papa's. I come from a large family and my Mum's house was the focal point. Our home was an open house and many people would pass through our doors over the Festive Season. My Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Friends would all visit and Mum's kitchen was never short of mince pies, tea and hospitality. Everyone was always welcome at Patsy's house.


We always spent every Christmas with my Mum and five Brothers and when she died in 2006 Christmas just didn't feel the same. For about three years after her death I struggled to organise our festivities, because I'd always done it with Mum before.

These days, things are much easier, in fact this is the first year since we lost her that I didn't feel like bursting into tears as I put the tree up. So I guess its true, time does heal. I still yearn, to have her at my Christmas table but it doesn't feel as painful as it once did. 


When I think of her as I raise my glass, I feel sad for her because since my Nan's death we discovered that some people that my Mum once adored, have turned out to be not who she thought they were and they certainly did not deserve her adoration. I guess she knows this now, so when I raise my glass to Mum this Christmas I forget those who do not deserve our love, but instead think of our Christmas table of the years gone by. Grandad sitting at the head with Nan, all my Brothers messing around and pulling crackers, while Mum frantically dishes up Christmas dinner.


Happy Christmas Mum, We miss you x

Friday, 14 December 2012

Talking Friends Superstar Toys

Still looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Then look no further… Following the success of Talking Tom Cat and his fellow Talking Friends apps, Outfit7 is shaking up the toy industry with the launch of Talking Friends Superstar, a first-of-its-kind app-powered toy.


I hadn't seen the Talking friends app before I agreed to review this plush toy, boy was I missing out! They are hilarious, and so much fun.

Extending play beyond successful apps is such a great idea. These toys - Talking Tom Superstar, Talking Angela Superstar and Talking Ginger Superstar are able to chat with and without the apps. We tried our Talking Tom first without the app, and he had us in stitches. His voice is really funny as he sings, tells jokes and farts. There is no need for a complicated set up, no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth needed, just switch the toy on and you are ready to go.

The toy comes in a lovely box, with a drawstring bag and a lead that you can use to connect your Talking Superstar to your PC or laptop, to download extra songs and jokes.

Bottom Line - What do we think? We can not recommend this toy enough. Excellent value for money and it provides lots of fun (and laughter). Big thumbs up from us!

Talking Tom Superstar, Talking Angela Superstar and Talking Ginger Superstar, are suitable for children aged 3 years+, and are available to order now from the Talking Friends Superstar website (shipping from 10th December 2012) priced from £35, with more Talking Friends characters joining the Superstar team soon. The toys run on three double-A batteries

*We were provided with a Talking Friends Superstar Toy for the purpose of this review. We received no financial reward and our opinions are unbiased and our own.

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