Starting School – A Letter To Little Squirrel

Well here we are… today you start your school life. 5½ years have flown by in the blink of an eye. You have grown from a beautiful, wide-eyed baby in to a clever, bright, kind and loving little girl, and you have made us very proud parents. We love you very much and we can’t wait to see what your school years will bring…

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Left – the day you were born
Right – graduating from pre-school

I am so excited for you darling. I hope you love your school years as much as I did. I think you will… you are more than ready to begin your education. You have lots to learn, but you constantly amaze me with how much you already know. You are smart little one, and eager to learn, which I know will give you a good start.

You look amazing in your new school uniform, and I can tell from your face that you love it.

I am expecting to find a big lump in my throat as you walk through the doors of your classroom this morning. Today is only a short day for you, 09.30-12.00, but I will be thinking of you, wondering what you are doing, who you are making friends with, and hoping to see a big smile on your face when we collect you at midday!

My advice to you is to be kind, to listen, to ask questions, and to enjoy every minute!

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Back To School With Smiggle

 

This has been the most exciting Summer as we get ready for Little Squirrel starting school in just a couple of weeks time…
First we visited our local school uniform supplier and got her all kitted out for her new school. Seeing your child in a school uniform for the first time – what a rush of emotions that was!
Next on our list for getting ready for school was to find the perfect school bag and the perfect pencil case for this first exciting term. So last month, at Little Squirrel’s request, we visited our local Smiggle store to find the schoolbag. She very quickly decided on this Fluffy Swirl Junior Backpack

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Fiffy Swirl Junior Backpack

We were really lucky as when we were in store this backpack was on sale and cost us only £17.50, when it normally retails at £36. I know she was drawn to the fluffy colourful design and the Smiggle-scented ears, but I have to admit I love it too! Such a fun backpack, but I am also really pleased at the quality of this product, it feels strong and is practical with three zipped compartments and two drink bottle compartments. We also have a friend who has had this backpack for 6 months now and it is lasting really well!

Not long after we had bought the schoolbag, I had an email asking if I would be interested in reviewing some products from Smiggle’s Back To School range, so this is what we received and what we thought…

We received two pencil cases. One was the Smiggle Bestie pencil case, a fluffy Smiggle character with one zipped compartment, that comes with a character back story and birth certificate. The product itself is well made, and feels lovely to the touch, but I am afraid it is a little on the small side in length, as it doesn’t have room for standard sized pencils…

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Left – Smiggle Bestie pencil case
Right – Dolly Squad hardtop pencil case

The other pencil case, pictured on the right above, was the Dolly Squad hardtop pencil case. Again, I love the fun, bright design of this case, but it is big and a little bulky I feel, that I don’t see her carrying this to school every day. We would most certainly get use out of it at home for storing colouring pens and craft supplies, but for a school pencil case I think we are going to buy ourselves a softer, less bulky one. Little Squirrel has her eye on the Fiffy character two pocket pencil case which is reduced from £12.50 to £8.50 at the minute. This one matches her school bag!

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Fiffy character twopocket pencil case

Next we received a pack of Juicy Highlighters – 5 scented highlighters, retailing at £4.50 (though included in a 2 for £5 offer at the minute), and the Ice Cream Highlighter, retailing at £5.00. Both are fun products, and my girls love the novelty of a scented pen, and I know they will get lots of use, and fun, out of these.

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Left – Juicy scented highlighters
Right – Ice cream highlighter

Finally, amongst our array of Smiggle goodies to try was the Now You See Me kids wallet and a reversible sequined A5 notebook. Little Squirrel loves the cute design on the wallet, and I think this will be handy to add to her schoolbag for carrying money in for school trips… The notebook is a hit with sequins and a unicorn for obvious reasons!

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Left – Reversible sequined A5 notebook
Right – Now You See Me kids wallet

I have to be honest, I am a fan of Smiggle. I love their bright, fun designs. Some products could be more competitively priced, but they regularly have super money-saving offers on making some of their products more affordable. At the minute they are running 2 for £5 on stationery essentials and have 50% off back to school goodies when you spend £20+. I have always been impressed with the quality of the products we have bought, and the girls love a trip in store, where they are dazzled with sights and scents.


Thanks to Gareth from Beattie Communications Group and to Smiggle for sending through this range of products for us to review. As always are opinions are honest and my own. Prices are accurate at the time of publishing this post.

Princess & Superheroes With One 4 The Kids Events

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Last month we were invited by One 4 The Kids Events to have lunch with Cinderella and Iron Man at Browns Bar & Brasserie, Glasgow.

I decided to use this invite as an excuse for some one on one time with my eldest. So we hopped on a train to Glasgow Queen Street, took a hop skip and a jump across George Square, and arrived at Browns for midday.

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Awaiting us at our table was a little bag with sweet treats for the kids and some colouring sheets and crayons for the kids to colour, and enter in to a competition to win a prize from the special guests!

Next we were served lunch. I had pork belly and Little Squirrel had fish and chips. The staff at Browns were really lovely and welcoming, and the food was served promptly. Little Squirrel’s fish and chips was delicious, however I was a little disappointed with my pork belly as it arrived with noticeably undercooked skin. The meat itself and the trimmings were super delicious, but the skin was nowhere near crispy, and this made the food loving me a little sad!

During lunch Cinderella and Iron Man entered our dining room and made their way around the tables, introducing themselves to all the eager young diners and posed for photos with those who wanted to!

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There was also a face painter there, who could transform your little one in to the princess/superhero/animal… of their choosing. Little Squirrel opted for a Princess design, of course!

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Once everyone had met Cinderella and Iron Man, and had their chance to get a photo, the kids gathered around for story time, with Cinderella reading her own story. The kids hung on her every word as she recounted the tale of the stepmother and stepsisters and her fairy Godmother and Prince Charming. After story time it was time for musical statues, with prizes being handed out to the best participants. Finally Cinderella and Iron Man decided on the best colouring sheet and awarded a prize to the winner.

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It was now time to leave and it was clear that everyone had throughly enjoyed a wonderful couple of hours, judging by the big smiles on the faces of all the kids, and the parents!

One 4 The Kids Events use performers from Wish Upon A Star Entertainment, who I wrote about on my last post, about Little Squirrel’s 5th birthday party. I am a big fan of Wish Upon A Star Entertainment. As a family who love Disney, but can’t stretch to a holiday at one of the Disney Parks, I feel Wish Upon A Star Entertainment, along with One 4 The Kids Events bring a little bit of that Disney magic to Scotland.

One 4 The Kids Events have a huge line up of similar events, ranging from Lunch with Moana to a Jurassic World encounter with an 8 ft T-Rex, to summer craft sessions, on this Summer across Glasgow and Edinburgh. Take a look at their Facebook page for more information and booking. You are guaranteed a magical experience!

Little Squirrel’s 5th Birthday Party with Wish Upon A Star Entertainment Scotland

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Regular readers will have noticed Little Squirrel turned 5 last weekend.
As this is her last year at nursery we decided to invite some of her nursery friends to her birthday party, which meant our numbers were too big for our usual house party.

Initially we were going to book a soft play party, but Little Squirrel requested a princess party instead…
So we booked a local church hall as our venue, and then the hunt was on for the entertainment.
I had a few recommendations for local businesses that could provide a princess for a birthday party, but in the end we decided to go with Wish Upon A Star Entertainment, who I was aware of through Instagram, and who were the most reasonable in terms of value for money!

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If you saw my last post featuring the birthday cake, you will know already the theme of our party was The Little Mermaid, so we booked for a mermaid princess (Ariel) to come to Little Squirrel’s birthday party as the entertainment.

So last weekend in a church hall in Kirkintilloch, Ariel came to entertain Little Squirrel and 15 of her friends as part of her birthday celebration.
She started by introducing herself to the children, and kicked things off by teaching them how to wave, smile, and march like a princess for their very own princess parade.

Next it was storytime; of course our princess read the story of The Little Mermaid… The kids were hanging off her every word. I was really impressed by how she involved the kids in different parts of the story, and injected some humour in to the story as well. She was engaging, and funny, and magical!
The performers at Wish Upon A Star entertainment are all trained to act, walk, and talk just like the characters they are portraying, and our princess really did just that! All the parents were asking me “is she really American?”.ArielstorytimeCollage.jpg

After the story was over, it was time for musical statues, which once again was executed excellently. The kids had to all pretend to be frozen, like when Anna from the movie Frozen turned in to an ice statue. After musical statues there was some time left for musical bumps, and then it was time for the cake presentation…

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Before it was time for Ariel to say Goodbye, we got a chance to have photos taken with her.

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Ariel with the Little Squirrels

For £100 we got a 1 hour princess party package. The whole experience far exceeded my expectations, and Jennifer who played the role of our mermaid princess was just amazing! She really transformed each element of the party from a traditional party game in to something unique and captiviting for her audience. I was really impressed with how well she engaged with all of the kids, with how accurately she played her role, and I think we all fell in love with Ariel a little bit!
I was a little concerned that a princess party would be too girly for some of our male guests (and we couldn’t afford to pay to have a superhero character attend as well) but  boys and girls alike were transfixed by Ariel, and it was clear to see how much the kids enjoyed the mermaid party experience.
I really couldn’t recommend Wish Upon A Star Entertainment highly enough. If you are thinking of hosting a princess/superhero party then check out their Facebook page, or email them with your enquiry at wishuponastarentertainment@yahoo.com

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Little Mermaid Birthday Cake

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We celebrated Little Squirrel’s 5th birthday last weekend, and the requested cake design was Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

I had already seen a Little Mermaid Cake design on a Facebook page that I knew would be perfect…

I adapted the design slightly from the above tutorial, but used this as a guide to the overall finished look I was going for.
I found this tutorial on Youtube for a more “realistic” Sebastian…

Here’s a close up of my Sebastian and Flounder…

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I love how simple and effective the finishing touches on this cake are, from the spirals for seaweed to the conical tubes for coral, not to mention Ariel’s shimmering mermaid tail!

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This was a really fun cake to make, and the birthday girl was thrilled with her 5th birthday cake!

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Happy 5th Birthday Little Squirrel

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Today you turn 5 years old. How much you have learnt this last year…

You will start school in August and I only hope that you enjoy your school days as much as I did.
You are so eager to learn… you constantly amaze us with new facts you have learnt at nursery. At the minute you are intrigued by China, after learning all about Chinese New Year at nursery. When we are out in the car you shout out “Chinese restaurant” when you spot the Chinese symbols on the restaurant signs. Your writing is really coming on, and you love drawing houses, flowers and people .

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Dance!

You and your little sister joined a local ballet class last year, which you have really enjoyed, and have made some lovely new friends there.
You love a dance party at home, especially an Irish dance party in our kitchen…

Maybe we will find some Irish Dancing lessons for you to join this year…

Your love of music continues, especially the Disney compilation we listen to in the car. At the minute one of your Disney favourites is I Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book, which you have almost word perfect now! I have been playing you Prokofiev’s Peter & The Wolf lately, which Grandpa used to play for me when I was a little girl, and you seem to love it as much as I did. Both you and your little sister love to skip through the forest with Peter, flutter around like the little bird, and to stomp around to Grandpa’s theme!

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Fun with Grandpa

You love your food as much as I do, and you have definitely inherited my taste buds, with your love of blue cheese, and pate, and mint choc chip ice cream! One of your favourite meals at present is Chinese soy and garlic pork with rice.

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Ice cream!

One of my favourite things is to watch you and your little sister play. It is clear how much your little sister looks up to you as she follows your lead in play scenarios, and I love how much she makes you laugh with her funny little ways!

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Sisters

My darling you are growing up to be such a clever, inquisitive, loving big girl, and I am so very proud of you. Love you to the moon and back my fellow pea in a pod!

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A Moana Birthday Cake For Littlest Squirrel’s 3rd Birthday

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When asked what sort of birthday cake Littlest Squirrel would like for her 3rd birthday, there was no hesitation… Moana. Alongside a Moana costume and a Moana wig on her wishlist for her birthday presents, a Moana cake was the order for the day.

I opted for a simple design, very similar to the Tangled cake I did for her big sister’s 4th birthday last year. I used an icing sheet with an image of Moana from Edible Prints as the centrepiece, and surrounded it with some Tahitian flowers and foliage. I used a petunia cutter and mould to create the larger flowers, and I picked up a seashell icing mould from Lakeland to create the shells which adorned the cake board.

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I was really pleased with how the cake turned out, and I was thrilled when a friend asked my Littlest what was her favourite thing about her birthday party, to hear her respond… “my Moana cake”!

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For the cake itself, a chocolate cake was requested, so I used a Chocolate Mud Cake recipe, which produced a beautifully rich, chocolatey, moist cake.

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This was a cake I really enjoyed decorating. The icing sheets surrounded with your own decorations are a really simple and effective way to make a show stopping celebration cake.

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I love to look back on the posts of the cakes I’ve created for my girls birthdays, and my hope is that they love to look back on these when they are older, and have children of their own to bake for.