Monday, 29 August 2016

Preparing for Education with Phonics School - Review

Tomorrow is the big day! I can't believe that this time tomorrow D will have got through his first day of nursery! Those all important first days of both nursery and school are probably more daunting to us parents than they are for our children. Preparing for the start of education is a must in my eyes. Starting your children on the path to education and what they can expect from nursery and school can be achieved in many ways. Sitting down and talking about what they will be doing is a great way to start and D got really excited about learning what he will be doing each day. He will mostly be learning through play and making new friendships with his class mates.

Starting off the learning phase at home means your child can progress at their own speed and can get one on one help from you before they're in a class of 20+ children. D, Simon and I have been completing little phonics based exercises for a few months now but without knowing what way the nursery and school will teach him can be hard! So when I was contacted about trying Phonics School  I knew this would be something of interest for now only us but all you Mums and Dads also embarking on the early years education journey.

Phonics school is a children's television programme with the purpose of teaching children aged 3 - 5  about phonics and how to both read and write phonics in a fun way. The whole programme series complies with the current curriculum in place for  children aged 3 - 5  in schools and nurseries across the county. Each episode in the series focuses on one, two or three letters in the alphabet. The letters in the series are all called Phonikers and each Phoniker is named its phonic sound. The Phonikers all go to school where they learn all about themselves. They learn their phonic sounds, shapes and how to control their magic powers, each Phoniker can change into any object that starts with their own sound. In order to change back into their letter form they need to trace their shape. The programme has been developed by experts for the early years foundation stage and certified by the BBC for worldwide distribution.


We received the phonics school learning pack which is the DVD of series one (90 minutes of Phonics School episodes - 16 episodes) and a large work booklet with a page for each Phoniker. The only episodes without a page in the booklet is the episodes which are about blending together and writing their name.


D loves learning, he is fascinated by phonics and how he can learn to write them if he tries his best every time. We did have trouble before when he would just give up and refuse to do any little work sheets got for him and would come back to them a few days later or he would find a different sheet and want to do that instead. With Phonics School we didn't have that problem in fact D wanted to keep watching and doing the activities as much as possible! He still asks every day if he can watch the Phonikers, we've made good progress in the book although we've been trying to spread the activities out and have only completed about 9 pages in the book. D has however watched every episode at least twice and doesn't show any signs of wanting to stop! We try to complete one page at some point every day or two. We completed two pages on the first day but D was a bit restless by the end of the second and we decided one page was enough for each session.


Each page in the booklet has 3 lines for practising writing the letter which is being focused on. We started using the booklet by completing all three lines with D practicing his letters. and following Master Anok's (the teacher at Phonics School) directions on how to remember how to write the letter down. D knows how to write some letters down mostly letters in his name or letters that are easy to write like l, i, o and c. He has struggled a bit with a and u as he couldn't remember to go back down for the flick. During the first episode of Phonics School a is the Phoniker you learn about and Master Anok did a much better job than I did when explaining how to write a. Something just seemed to click in D's mind and he found it much easier to write a.

The start of the work booklet has instructions for parents on how to use the book. It has suggestions on what should be done and in what order. The first step is to watch the episode then talk about moments in the episode that your child liked and what each Phoniker turned into during the episode. It suggests to ask them to find you an object at home that starts with the sound. As you can see in the photos above D found an apple for a, Sqirmtum (from Tree Fu Tom) for s and Twiggs (also from Tree Fu Tom) for t. D did need some encouragement to pick items up and say their name then compare it to the phonic sound he wanted to find. Then your ready to start tracing the letters and completing the page in the work book.


The last page of the book is certificate for your child once they have completed the book. I love that this has been added to give your child a little something for all their hard work. The certificate has a space for filling in your childs name. I think I will let D write his own name in the space when we reach the end of the book  so he can practice after the last episode in the series.

Phonics school has made learning phonics much clearer for D and he has developed a love for Phonics School over the last 2 - 3 weeks. Learning through watching a programme which is both fun and entertaining is enticing for children around D's age. I was impressed with the clear and easy to understand instructions Master Anok gave both the Phonikers and D throughout each episode. I understood how I should be describing the way to write each letter out to D and how to make the letter sounds properly as they didn't have phonics when I was at school! I do think that we will still use the DVD long after we have finished the booklet. Once the booklet is complete I will look into more of the series and perhaps see if I can get more work sheets for the DVD we have too.

I would recommend the Phonics School series to all parents of children who are getting ready to start school or nursery. I do also think that it would be a valuable resource for children who are in school already but would benefit from an extra phonics boost at home too. The series is also perfect for keeping children in the learn frame of mind throughout school holidays and for keeping up with what your child is learning in school. Children and adults can learn about phonics and the way they are taught in school.

You can purchase the DVD and work booklet in the Learning pack by clicking the link. The learning pack costs £16.99  You can also digitally download the series on Itunes and Amazon Prime. You can purchase the book to acompany the digital series for £5.99.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Childs Farm Suncare Range Review

Now that we are well into the summer one of my main concerns about this time of year is skin damage from the sun. Children are at risk from sun exposure with softer and in D's case more sensitive skin. Giving children the right protection is important for their health. I always want D to have sun cream on to protect him. I on the other hand need SPF more than anything else and actually went search for sun protection with a factor above 50. It turns out there aren't many products out there but I did come across the Childs Farm Sun Cream and decided to get in touch with them about it. I was surprised when they got back to me and said we could review their Sun Care Range!

Childs Farm is a British brand which aimed to create safe, kind to skin bath products for children all over the UK. They want every child to be able to enjoy their products. Creating products using essential oils and all natural products mean even children with eczema are able to jump in the bath with their siblings and enjoy the same toiletries! No need for parents to spend time and money on all those extra products for different children. Childs Farm products are all dermatologist approved as well as being approved by pediatricians too so you know the quality you'll get before you even open a bottle. All the Childs Farm products also have the Happy Skin Promise which is that they are suitable for children aged 6 months and above, while being made to suit the unique needs of children and babies hair and skin.All their products are free from parabens, SLS, artificial colours and mineral oils. They also contain 98% naturally derived products. With Childs Farm you know you are getting products that won't damage you child's beautiful skin.


I was surprised when we received the package in the post and opened it to find this cute little bag and also a bottle of their hair and body wash to try along with their Sun Cream and After Sun. The perfect holiday kit!

Childs Farm have just launched their new Blackberry and Organic Apple Hair and Body wash which we received with the Sun Care range. We stated using the Childs Farm hair and body wash straight away in the bath. It smells incredible and I loved that it lathered up so well when rubbed on the skin. I could tell straight away when using it on D just how little I needed to use to get D completely clean and knowing that there was no added ingredients that would have adverse effects on his skin made bath time much more enjoyable. We have used other hair and body products before that claim to be friendly to sensitive skin and have made D's skin dry and also caused little rashes! There was no worries with Childs Farm and having the funky cartoon on the bottle got D interested in wanting to look at the bottle before he put it on his hands to get washed. They also have the cartoon on TV. You can watch it on Cartoonito every weekend. We have been trying to get D involved in the washing process in the bath and I do think that the Childs Farm Hair and Body wash gave him a little push to really pay attention when he is getting washed. The bubbles it created also helped!


I popped the Childs Farm Sun Cream and Childs Farm After Sun in a plastic bag ready for the airport before we left. Both products contain 100ml which means they are just perfect when your going on a  quick holiday without check in luggage! I was able to carry both straight on to the plane with no issues at all. I knew that we would use the sun cream daily during our week away as even though we stayed in the UK it was hotter and the sun was stronger at the southern coast of England compared to Northern Ireland. Plus I get sun burn at home anyway!


I am sure many of you have read about the products you should be avoiding when it comes to sun care. I know I've seen posts and information about all the horrible man-made ingredients that some sun care ranges can include and why we shouldn't use them. Some of those ingredients can actually tell our skin to open up our pores and let in all the nasty bacteria and rays in that we are trying so hard to keep out. There's even one which shouldn't be mixed with the rays from the sun! Childs Farm Sun Cream contain none of those ingredients, not one.

 The Childs Farm Sun cream not only protects against the UVA rays from the sun but also provides protection from the UVB rays too and it's water-resistant making it perfect for those days in the pool or at the beach when children are always in and out of the water. The sun cream has an SPF  rating of 66.8! Isn't that incredible? The protection it provides has also been marked with an EU rating of 'Superior'. The Sun Cream has a nice smell and I am not entirely sure what it smells of but it isn't the usual smell I associate with sun creams which is always quite strong. To me it smells slightly like baby lotion ( I love the smell of baby lotion!)mixed with sun cream. What ever the smells it it's lovely.

When it came to applying the Sun Cream for the first time I liked the texture when I was rubbing it on. t was smooth and felt soft once it had been applied to D's skin. I liked that you could tell where the sun cream had been applied in two ways. The first was that the sun cream changes the colour of the skin slightly when applied and creates a layer of sheen that lightens the areas where it is applied. The other way is the feel of the skin where the sun cream is applied will stay softer than your actual skin so running your hand along the area will tell you if you have missed a spot! I found this invaluable while we where at the beach as the sun was quite strong. I was able to feel D's skin after applying the sun cream and see if I had missed a spot that I couldn't see in the sun.

The After Sun from Childs Farm contains Aloe Vera to help aid the healing process. Among other natural ingredients to help skin heal from any kind of outdoor wear. You don't need to have been exposed to just sun but the wind too can irritate the skin. Childs Farm After Sun can be used to soothe the skin after both sun and wind exposure.  I did use it and I must say the coconut smell is amazing! You can feel the after sun soothing the skin straight away. There's no waiting until your skin absorbs the after sun and even though I did only burn a little at the shoulders when I forgot to reapply the sun cream to myself. I found that I had only needed the one application of Childs Farm After Sun that night before bed. I don't think I have ever had an after sun that worked that well. Maybe the one time my Granny applied Aloe Vera from her plant directly to my skin!

We will also be using our lovely bag the next time we go to the leisure centre for a swim. I forgot to add it to our suitcase before we left. D has beenusing it to carry his trains up and down the stairs daily though!

I think that the Childs Farm Sun Care Range is by far the best range we have ever used when it comes to Sun care. I have never found a sun cream that actually protects D as much as this one as well as being so easy to apply. Although the Childs Farm Sun Care range is made for children I did use it alongside D while we were gone.

All of the products are well made and are perfect for all children. They're even perfect for adults who struggle with products for sensitive skin during the summer or all year round or those that need the extra protection from the sun and it's rays. I know that Childs Farm is now going to be our go to for sun care in the future. It is slightly more expensive than our previous sun cream but the added benefits and knowing how well it works makes it worth it. Plus for using the sun cream every day for over a week now we have only used about 1/4 of the tube for both of us which is pretty good going when I was applying it a few times a day.

You can purchase the Sun Cream (RRP £10.99), After Sun (RRP £4.99) and Hair and Body wash  (RRP £3.99) from Childs Farm on their website using the links above. The Sun Care range is currently on saleat the time of posting.
Friday, 5 August 2016

Claudi & Fin Greek Style Frozen Yoghurt Lollies Review

Summer is now in full swing and we seem to be going through ice lollies by the pack. Most ice lollies  aren't great for you and can contain many additives we don't really want our children having. When I was contacted about trying the Claudi & Fin Greek Style Frozen Yoghurt Lollies I knew that D would be excited to try them. Ice lollies without all  those bits in is what he needed summer. We've  recently been having Greek yoghurt over fruit and D loves it, it has become a favourite for dessert in our house over the last few weeks. I had heard of Claudi & Fin before but we had never bought them, mostly because I forgot to look for them!


Claudi  & Fin was started by Lucy and Merial who wanted to create a healthy ice lolly for their children Claudia  and Fin after search for one that both tasted nice and was healthy for them. After months of trial and taste testing the recipe for Claudi and Fin was perfected and it was both delicious and healthy! The perfect combination for a children's  treat. Their children lived and Sainsbury 's  loved them just as much.  So much in fact that they put them straight into their stores.


We got some vouchers in the post to pop by Sainsbury 's  and get our own lollies (sending them in the post would be a disaster! ). We set off the other Saturday for our trip to Sainsbury 's, D was super excited about getting some new ice lollies to try. When we found them in the freezer he refused to put them in the basket! Instead he carried the packs around the shop before he put them in the bag. He loved the box's and their funky designs of lollies with faces. He kept telling  me  about their eyes and was making them talk while holding the box in front of his face.


 He wanted to get stuck in the moment we got home! He wanted to try the strawberry flavour first.


So we opened the box and I was a little surprised by the cute packets each lolly comes in. They're fun and enticing,  plus they're very easy to find if you pop them in the freezer out of the box! The strawberry flavour has the little pink lolly character and the mango flavour has the yellow lolly character as you can see above.

D loved the strawberry flavour mixed with the taste of the greek yoghurt. Having them mixed so well together in the convenient form of an ice lolly was a huge bonus for me. There was no need for a bowl or spoon and D could still enjoy all the goodness that is packed inside.


I don't think he was quite so keen on the mango flavour as he didn't want to finish his mango lolly and he kept pull pulling this face. He did  try it a few times though. D can be a little iffy when it comes to mango flavour products and he can hate the flavour mixed with anything else. Although he does enjoy mango I think the combination of mango and the greek style yoghurt was the taste that he didn't really like.

I have been enjoying the rest of the box instead and I must say I really didn't think I'd like them as I'm not a great lover of greek style yoghurt. They taste lovely and surprisingly refreshing on a hot day!

The ingredients that are inside Claudi & Fin Greek Style Frozen Yoghurt Ice Lollies can be seen  in the picture above. As you can see there's no nasties in there and the ingredients are easy to read as well as knowing what they are! All to often I find children's products contain ingredients I can't even say never mind know what they are! I love that they are both child and parent friendly.

All in all we have loved the Claudi & Fin Greek Style Frozen Yoghurt Lollies. D really loved the strawberry flavour, so much that we've bought another box since! I do enjoy the mango flavour and Knowing they are good for me means I can enjoy a lolly packed with goodness along with D because let's face it kids ice lollies always taste better!

I would recommend Claudi and Fin Greek Style Frozen Yoghurt Ice Lollies to all parents. It doesn't even have to be hot to enjoy these lollies!

You can purchase Claudi and Fin Greek Style Frozen Yoghurt Ice Lollies in both Mango and Strawberry at Sainsbury's. Each box contains 4 lollies and have an RRP of £2.50.

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