Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The PKTMNY experience: using and learning

We have been using the PKTMNY scheme for a few months now and it has certainly helped the children to understand more about money.
Before, the boys would get their pocket money on Saturday morning and it would be gone before bedtime on Monday!!

They have learnt to save (well, more than they did before!) they have set themselves goals, mainly new Skylander figures and they are working hard to save up enough money to get them.

They love having their own `cash card' and they all have special places that they keep them!

The first spend on a card was from Lochlan, who purchased an upgrade for an online game, he entered all of the details and then went onto the site to see that it had been taken and that the money he had left was still there!

He then assisted Kaide to upgrade on his game, unfortunately there was a glitch and the money was taken but the game upgrade did not happen. Lochlan was very mature and contacted the game and explained the situation, they sent a reply and assured him the money would be refunded, so he kept an eye on it to reassure Kaide, the money did get refunded, and I was extremely proud of Lochlan in the way that he helped out his brother! (I was keeping an eye on them in the background, but let Lochlan take the lead).

Neva and Xene have been saving theirs to get small gifts for their friends for Christmas and I think they will be spending over the next few days.

They have all learnt a great deal, no longer do they just think money is available for anything they require, that if they REALLY want something and it is not their birthday or Christmas they have to save up for it and be patient..

If they want to earn extra money they can always help out with extra jobs, but up until now none of they have decided to use that option!!

The boys have decided to wait until after Christmas to see if they will be lucky enough to receive the Skylanders they are saving hard for, if they do not get them then they will go and purchase them in January.

This post is part of a project with BritMums, sponsored by PKTMNY, highlighting it's launch ( The new tool allows parents to easily pay and monitor their children's pocket money online, whilst allowing their children to earn, save, spend and manage their money in a totally safe and fun way. We have been trialling the service and all thoughts and opinions are our own.   

Jokers Masquerade Costume Review

This year I had four different costumes to provide for Christmas Performances, including an angel, an elf, a school teacher and the traditional Nativity Elephant!!

The angel and elf were easy as we already had these costumes, the teacher was Neva's normal clothes, the one proving the most difficult was where to get an Elephant Kids Costume ?

When I was given the opportunity to review from Jokers' Masquerade fancy dress costumes I jumped at the chance, although I wasn't completely sure that they would be able to help me for this one, although if they hadn't been able to I would have taken a look at the Child Christmas Outfits and chosen something for Tyrus to wear over the festive season, I saw a lovely snowman for him!
The search on the site was easy to use and I tried the Kids Animal Fancy Dress to see if they had what I was looking for and I was very pleased to find that they did!!
I checked the size guide and ordered Kaide a Medium, it arrived on Friday Morning, ready for the performance on Monday.

He wanted to try it on immediately...

Kaide is quite fussy about what he wears, and if he doesn't like something he will soon tell you, however this was not the case with the Elephant, in fact I had to prise it off of him so that he could eat his dinner for fear of getting it dirty before the performance.
On Monday afternoon the whole elephant thing made sense, basically it started AFTER the birth and it was about the baby that wouldn't stop crying, and they brought four lumbering elephants to try and make him happy, along with lots of other fabulous characters, eventually the only one that could stop him crying was a little girl who gave his a gentle kiss, proving that all gifts do not have to be HUGE, its the smallest things that are sometimes the most precious!!
It was a very enjoyable afternoon and Kaide looked fabulous in his costume, it was light enough not to bother him and the elephant's face was comfortable to wear on his head, as soon as he got home, he put it back on again until he went to bed!!
Next year, when I get my list of costumes, I shall not hesitate to go and look up Kids Fancy dress at Jokers Masquerade, as I am sure they will have what I am looking for.




Christmas With The Skylanders

As you know from the previous posts and drawing three of my children are Skylanders Mad!

Like so many other children Skylanders has captured their imagination and I have found that they all have a common interest, which is lovely.

This year the children can get creative by adding some Skylanders sparkle.
All they need to do is visit, select a Christmas scene and get decorating with not only standard Christmas lights but also special neon versions of the new Skylanders Giants and LightCore characters!

Once you’re happy with your creation, you can then personalise it even more by adding Christmas message and sharing it with friends. So, spread a little bit of Christmas magic, Skylanders-style!

Here is our first attempt, it is very easy to use and Eowyn and I had great fun making this card.
With so many people opting to send cards via the internet, this is the perfect way for your children to show their love for their friends and family, and their love for Skylanders!

I envisage getting quite a few of these creations between now and Christmas...

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Postcards from Santa

It is getting very close to Christmas and the children are getting rather excited to say the least, we have been out Christmas Shopping for most of the day and feeling quite festive.
When we returned home Neva decided to draw her picture for the `Postcards From Santa' .

Santa and the Elves spotting Dolphins in Wales.

She decided to draw him Dolphin Spotting in Wales, with the Elves, as this is one of her favourite holiday destinations and things to do.

 This photograph was taken on our holiday to Wales in August 2011, we were very lucky and we did actually see the Dolphins, they are pretty amazing!

I am inviting 5 lovely bloggers to join in and enter the Postcards from Santa competition for the chance to win some great prizes and have some creative fun too...



Mummy vs Work

Real Housewife of Suffolk County

Boo, Roo and Tigger Too

Wishing You All A Very Merry Christmas xxx

Friday, 14 December 2012

Maps International review

The entire Morrison household LOVES maps, our bookcases are overflowing with them...

We have A huge world map above the computer where I am currently typing from, a map of Europe in our hallway upstairs that takes up an entitre wall.

Our lounge has old framed maps of Norfolk and Suffolk.

I have to admit, my geography used to be pretty poor, it was one subject that I didn't have an interest in, and dropped it as soon as I could, but Asa has a very good knowledge of Geography and his love of maps has rubbed off on me.

The children have grown up with maps all around them, and their knowledge of the world is quite impressive, just by having maps on the wall and finding places they have been on holiday.

We do not have a GPS system for our car and do not intend to get one, we take it in turns to map read when we are going somewhere we are unsure of.

Every holiday that we take, we get the corresponding Ordnance Survey map, to explore the area. We have found some stunning places to go walking or take a picnic, just by looking at the maps and taking a more scenic route!!

When I was given the opportunity to review from Maps International, I jumped at the chance.
I couldn't wait to see what they would send us to review...

We were told that we were going to be sent a Glow in the Dark World Map, so I immediately went onto Maps International to have a look!

It arrived the very next day, an efficient and quick delivery service. It was delivered in a Sturdy cardboard tube.
The map itself is excellent quality and I am still deciding exactly where to put it, all four bedrooms have been suggested by at least one person from each, but I am thinking more in the Piano room.

The map in daylight is excellent, but I was even more interested to see how it would perform in the dark.
I didn't have to wait very long, as the winter nights draw in so early...

All I can say is WOW, the children called it awesome. It really does Glow in The Dark spectacularly.

My camera was not able to show it off as well as the picture on the website, and I can honestly say it looks EXACTLY like that when in the dark, amazing.

The website has some fantastic maps on there, I particularly like the Map wallpaper, and may consider using this when I redecorate the Study.

If, like us you love maps, the wonderful people at Maps International have given me a special code to offer all of my blog readers.
If you enter the code 'HEXMUM15' this will give you 15% off everything from the online store.

It is definitely worth a look for anyone that enjoys maps.

Bratz™ Crystalicious Deluxe Review

From a very young age all three girls have LOVED Bratz dolls, to be honest when I first saw them I wasn't convinced, but now 11 years on, I can honestly say they are the easiest doll for a child to play with, I love the way that you can change their feet/shoes so easily, and they are so much easier to dress than the other types of dolls. The accessories they have for them are great and they have definitely take over the entire house!! We have Snow Cottages, Aeroplanes, Cars, in fact we could probably make an entire Bratz town.
But like any good toy, they constantly have a new range of dolls to keep the girls transfixed. This year on Eowyns birthday list we had Bratzillaz and the new Crystalicious range, so you can imagine Eowyns sheer glee when we were offered a Cloe Crystalicious Deluxe Doll to review!!
Here is what they say about these new Bratz:
The Bratz™ girls are truly dazzling this season, with MGA Entertainment® unveiling several exciting new lines of the popular fashion doll range.

The Bratz™ girls have gone crystal crazy, sporting sparkling new hairstyles and fabulous fashions in the new range, Bratz™ Crystalicious Deluxe (RRP £19.99). The new doll line encourages girls to get creative by designing trendy, beaded and crystal hair styles for their Bratz™ dolls, using the cool hair accessories provided. Girls will have hours of play time fun creating new styles and looks for their doll.

Each doll comes with a range of accessories including: glitter hair gel; hair clips; sparkly jewel stickers for hair or skin; glitter shimmer flowers to decorate fashions and hair; a star brush; and a crystal bead strand with a glitter tinsel hair extension for use on the doll or girl’s own hair. The doll also comes with a hair dryer to use on the doll, which has realistic sounds and light-up function. Characters available in the range include Cloe, Jade and Yasmin.
Eowyn loves her new Cloe, she can be found most nights in bed with Eowyn and I have sat on her nurmerous occasions when Eowyn has lined up her Bratz to sit on the Sofa, leaving just enough room for herself, and no-one else!!
She loves the little hairdryer and so does her little brother, especially when she blows his hair with it!!
She is always playing with both her sister's hair and trying to put it in hair bobbles, which they are not too keen on, so this is the perfect alternative.
A great adition to the ever expanding extra large box of Bratz dolls and accessories, a perfect Christmas Present for any little Bratz fan.
She loved the sparkly silver tube of glitter to put in Cloe's hair, and also on herself!!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Financial Life In The Family

With a family of eight, and only one main income into the house, we obviously need to be careful with money. I am not saying we go without, by any means, but we do keep an eye on our spending.

Holidays are usually taken in the UK, in a self catering cottage or possibly a caravan, we have taken the four eldest to Disneyland Paris twice and hope to go again with all six, but their passports alone will cost £360, so we shall have to save for them first!!

When news of the new scheme and website PKTMNY was discussed, I was very keen to test it out. the four eldest get pocket money each week, although I have to admit, at times, it is usually a piece of paper with the amount written on it, as I have not got the right amount of change!! So this service sounded perfect, I could set them all up with accounts, arrange for the money to be transferred and I could then add extra or limit spending, but at the same time the children would become more responsible.

After we had set up their accounts we discussed the subject of money, and how they choose to spend it. The two boys never have very much money, as soon as they get it, they spend it, but the girls are keen savers.
The PKTMNY scheme has certainly changed the boys for the better, they can now see the money going up or down, depending on their spending or saving, they have set themselves targets to buy things (mainly Skylander related!) and they are now working towards it, instead of wasting it.

Even when going shopping the other day, they were comparing prices and discussing which was the best value for the money, which is amazing, considering usually they just pick up the first item I ask them to get.

I can definitely see this having a positive effect on the way that they all treat money. Since they were all born we have been saving for them, but they do not see this, so did not have any idea about the amount you could actually save if you put your mind to it. The giant Lego sets the boys have seen suddenly become a real possibility, instead of just a wish for Birthday or Christmas.

I hope that this new found interest in money will stay with them through their lives and they will learn to manage money responsibly, although the prospect of six children going to University is not one I am going to think about now!

This post is part of a project with BritMums, sponsored by PKTMNY, highlighting it's launch ( The new tool allows parents to easily pay and monitor their children's pocket money online, whilst allowing their children to earn, save, spend and manage their money in a totally safe and fun way. We have been trialling the service and all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

#TeamSkylanders Introducing Shadow Slayer

 The final Skylander created in the Morrison Household is by Lochlan aged 12.

This Skylander is called Shadow Slayer, he is an Undead Skylander.
Attack 1 : Shade Slash - Slices opponents with Shadow Claws.
Attack 2: Shadow Rocket - Gathers Darkness inside his body and releases a blow of darkness.
Upgrade Attack: Vampire Slash - Gains health whilst attacking enemies.
Description: Shadow Slayer was originally called Slayer, before being consumed by darkness, once meeting a witch and was cursed forever, however he trained long and hard in the Underworld to eventually meet Master Eon and became one of the Skylanders.
Strength: 50
Defence: 30
Speed: 70
Luck: 80
This is Lochlans creation, a much darker skylander than the brightly coloured crab of Kaide and the Fluffy white polar bear of Neva. His favourite characters are Chop Chop, Hex and Ghost Roaster from the first Skylander game, and he has quite a few of the Giants on his list for father Christmas this year...
Lochlan is the Skylander expert of the family and frequently beats his dad (Lochlan disagrees and says it is EVERY time!)
I have played the game once and managed to beat Lochlan, ( I just kept hitting the buttons!) so I shall not be picking up a controller again, guaranteeing a 100% win rate...

#TeamSkylanders Introducing Ice Breaker

The second Skylander created in the Morrison household is from Neva aged 9.


This Skylander is called Ice Breaker, she is a Water Skylander.
Attack 1 : She charges at her enemies, with her tough head, flips them in the air and pounds them with her sharp claws on their way down.
Attack 2: Shoots Icicles from her wings
Upgrade Attack: The Icicles turn into baby Polar Bears and attack the enemy.
Description: Ice Breaker was meant to be part of a scientific experiment. During this time huge icicles fell into the laboratory and mixed with the chemicals.She was very clever, so she looked around for survivors, but couldn't find any, then she slipped on the chemicals and ice, from her back, wings grew. As time went on she was able to fly, she went in search of people, she was found by Master Eon to become one of the Skylanders.
Strength: 90
Defence: 85
Speed: 50
Luck: 30
This is what Neva has created, before she even began I knew that she would create an animal based Skylander as she is animal mad.
She has a real love for any animal that is linked with cold, ice and snow, her name means Snow, I wonder if that has anything to do with it!!
Neva hard at work drawing Ice Breaker

#TeamSkylanders Introducing Snipper

All of our children are Skylander crazy, they all have different ones on their Christmas List, although they have let Lochlan put the game on his list!
My favourite of course is Hex....

This is the first of the family skylanders, by Kaide aged 7.

This Skylander is called Snipper, he is a Water Skylander.
Attack 1 : Power Pinch from his huge claws.
Attack 2: He chucks his shells up in the air and then pinches the enemy and he hits the enemies in the head with the shells.
Upgrade Attack: Posion Pinch which is Deadly.
Description: Snipper was caught in a net to be eaten at the restaurant, but he escaped and was trained in the ocean by Master Eon to become one of the Skylanders.
Strength: 70
Defence: 95
Speed: 40
Luck: 20
This is Kaide's entry into Create Your Own Skylander, I have to admit that I know very little about Skylanders, although talking to Kaide I have learnt quite a lot tonight!!
All of these are Kaide's own words, hence the "chucking the shells", he was adamant that is what he wanted to say, although I will feel very guilty the next time I eat Crab!! I was a little shocked at his drawing, I thought for a 7 year old, it is fantastic (I am biased of course) he obviously doesn't take after his mother, (I am the one who gets asked to draw something at Nursery, and then the children ask me what it is) thank goodness some relations have artistic flair!
Look out for Neva and Lochlans entries, who knows what they will produce


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A Reminder of Two Special Granfields xxx

This ornament wasn't very expensive, in fact it cost me £4.99 in 1997, funny the things you remember, but it is worth a million....

At the beginning of December 1997, I was five months pregnant with Xene, we were living in our very first rented flat, waiting to move into our very own mortgaged house, I was a student nurse, trying to finish my first 18 months core programme before baby came along, Asa was working as a Duty Manager at a Local Leisure Centre.

We didn't have very much money, but enough to buy presents for family members.
I had bought a pair of tracksuit bottoms for my Grandad, I was much more organised then!

But that December in 1997 wasn't great, my Grandad never made it to Christmas, and he never got the tracksuit bottoms I had carefully wrapped for him. So in January I took them back to the store and spent a very long time going through the Christmas Ornaments, trying to find the right one, and this is him...

This little fellow has stood on my mantelpiece every Christmastime since then, to remind me of you Grandad.

Two years later, I was pregnant with Lochlan, our family suffered another blow, my Uncle Freddy went to join my Grandad.

So now when I look to my mantelpiece I remember two Granfields, I miss you both and am sorry that you never got to see my six wonderful children, but I do tell them all about you and they all know to be extra careful with Mummys Special Ornament xxx

Monday, 10 December 2012

Notcutts Christmas Lights Review

Every year we have had a REAL Christmas Tree, this year, we explored the possibility of having an artificial one, however all of the children were completely against it!
So we ventured out on Friday afternoon to pick a REAL tree from the local Garden Centre.
We chose a lovely 6 foot Christmas Tree and brought it home!

With quite a large tree we need lots of lights on it, before the children cover it in every decoration imaginable. So I was very excited when we were given the opportunity to review some lights from Notcutts...

They came in a very sturdy box that we can store them in which is excellent as I always seem to have to untangle all of the lights each year!!

Here they are on the Christmas Tree, as you can see they are so bright the camera went a bit nutty!!
Usually we need to have two sets of lights on, but with these, they are certainly bright enough by themselves, in fact Eowyn asked me for a pair of sunglasses because they are so bright!!

And here is the finished tree once the children had added the essential baubles, stockings, Disney ornaments, in fact anything they could find!!

The lights are superb and light up the entire room, they have a really long lead on them, meaning we do not need an extension lead to run them, which is a first.

Notcutts have an excellent range of Christmas decorations on their site, they are just up the road in Sunny Suffolk, so not too far at all.


I NEED A New Pushchair!

Throughout the last fifteen years I have had MANY Prams and Pushchairs, that is because I have had six children, so there have been many different combinations that I have required, doubles, travel systems, ones able to take Buggy Boards, in fact you name it, I have probably tried it!

But I know I am not alone in this, nearly every mum that I speak to has the same kind of Pram Obsession, I think it must be something to do with hormones, once you become pregnant you become fixated with Prams and Pushchairs....

Our youngest child Tyrus has reached 18 months today, and as he is my last child, I no longer have a need for the double pushchair that he has shared with Eowyn, so it is time to look for, what could be my very last pushchair (sniff, sniff).

He is getting quite mobile, but still has a few naps every day, plus he is way too heavy for me to carry when he gets tired, so I need a lightweight pushchair that lies back for when he has a little snooze, it needs to have a raincover and a hood.

Whilst browsing on the internet I had a look for Pushchairs at Bambino Direct. They have a vast range to choose from, and at reasonable prices too.
I have found a few that I like the look of, although when placing the photos near to each other, I obviously have a particular requirement, dark coloured with a hood!!
As much as I love testing out pushchairs, with six children to drag shopping with me, it is not ideal, with Bambino Direct it is free delivery for orders over £50, meaning I can shop from the comfort of my own home and have it delivered at a time convenient to me, without having six children telling me how BORING shopping is!!
This is a featured post for all those pramaholics!


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Wonders of Pregnancy

Throughout all of my six pregnancies there have been many changes in terms of advice, regarding sleeping positions, weaning, dummies, in fact if I were to compare all of the advice I had been given, my brain would probably explode, not to mention all those ever helpful people that can’t wait to give you their opinions! (whether you asked for them or not).
One thing that has remained constant is the Bounty packs that you receive throughout pregnancy and after the birth; they always contain a very handy book giving a week by week guide to the pregnancy and lots of little samples to try out.

For the first two pregnancies the book was very useful, but from the third child onwards, we had the wonderful world of the internet, which meant I could look up all of the information on the Pregnancy site Bounty    without a toddler or baby ripping the book or using it as a dribble bib.

3 weeks
20 weeks
Although I have had six children, I am still fascinated by the whole growing of a baby and I love the fact that you can follow through your pregnancy week by week , although I was always impatient and used to skip ahead a few weeks! The tiny little cell that turns into a full grown baby in just 40 weeks is truly amazing.

I find the whole concept utterly compelling, which is probably why I am so keen to train as an antenatal teacher , to be able to share in such a wonderful experience with so many people, must be an amazing feeling, and one that I am looking forward to immensely.

This is a featured post.


Sunday, 2 December 2012


The lovely Sarah over at This Is Me Sarah Mum of Three tagged me in the Christmas Tag meme, and as I woke up today to find that my wonderful husband and the four eldest children had put up the Christmas Decorations whilst I was still sleeping, I thought now would be the perfect time to do it.

Q1. What's your favourite thing about Christmas?
I love watching the children's faces when they wake up on Christmas morning to a HUGE stocking at the end of their bed and they have a massive smile saying "He's been". After we have opened our stockings (yes, we all have one!) we all go downstairs to see if there are any presents under the tree, every year the pile gets bigger and their smiles get wider.
Q2. What's your favourite make up look for the festive season?
I very rarely wear make up, so if I do wear any it will only be mascara, eyeliner and some lip gloss.
Every year, during the festive season we have a Fancy dress Party at my husbands Rugby Club, so my make up for that is quite varied! This year the theme is Superheroes and Villains, so who knows what I will be wearing...
Q3. Real or fake tree?
Since Asa and I have been together we have had a real tree every year, this year we spoke about getting an artificial one, but the children and were completely against it, so we shall be going sometime this week to pick our tree.
Q4. Giving presents or receiving them?
Giving them of course. I LOVE wrapping presents and finding that perfect gift for everyone, I take great care in choosing each and every one.
Q5. Do you open your presents Christmas morning or evening?
We open them in the morning, stockings (well, Asa's rugby socks!) upstairs all together, when these are opened we have larger stockings, that I have made for each child (that reminds me Tyrus needs his completing)  hung on the fireplace in the playroom, and then the presents under the Tree.
For Christmas dinner we have at least one set of parents to join us, so the children will have more presents later in the day too.
Q6. Handmade Christmas cards or bought?
Each year, at least two of the children make Christmas Cards at school that we can order, so it is a little of both!
Q7. What's your favourite Christmas film?
That's a tough one. I agree with Sarah that Santa Claus the Movie is a great Christmas film, I remember going to see it at the cinema with my entire village school, just before Christmas, there was so much excitement, it brings back very fond memories.
Although I associate lots of films with Christmas, every Christmas Eve Asa and I put the children to bed and watch one of the latest movie releases that we both really want to see, and we have our own little Christmas Eve buffet of lots of lovely food and watch the film, although on a couple of years I have actually fallen asleep due to young babies or children late to bed!
Q8. What's your favourite Christmas food?
Everything! Except Brussel Sprouts and Christmas Pudding. I love the whole Christmas Dinner Experience and am becoming quite the expert. Last year we had 18 for Christmas Dinner. I love Mince Pies, the Turkey and all the Trimmings, and kind of Chocolate or Meringue Desert, and of course the left overs.
Asa and Neva make their own Pickled Onions every year and they are amazing, Hot and Spicy but very tasty.
I would like to tag Lucy at Lucy's Madhouse and Clare at Emmys Mummy