Loola

Maxi Cosi Loola: Hidden Treasures

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This weeks task from Maxi Cosi was a very interesting one. What we had to do was find hidden treasures in our city, by hidden treasures they meant finding places you haven't been to before or that you never knew existed. The task has given us all the opportunity or excuse to rediscover our own cities and see if we can get to them easily with our Maxi Cosi Loola.

Hotspot Number One
The first place we decided to visit is the Coventry Transport Museum. Now this one was something I had visited but not since before I had children. It is a fantastic free to enter museum with fun for all the family. It's amazing seeing the changes in transport over the years, including a 1936 caravan in the exhibition with a VERY old pushchair out the front. Of course I took a photo of the Loola next to the old pushchair to see the difference. See if you can spot it. There are lots of famous cars you may recognise at the museum which we snapped some pictures with too. We had lots of fun visitng the museum, it is so easy to get to on the bus and easy to get round with a pushchair so I think we will be visiting it more often






Hotspot Number Two

The second place we visited was somewhere I had heard of before but hadn't actually visited. I only found it by chance when exploring a bit and was quite shocked to find it. This place was Lady Herbert's Garden. That will probably mean nothing to many of you but Lady Herbert's husband is a quite important figure in Coventry history and the Garden was actually laid out by her husband Sir Alfred Herbert after she died unexpectedly in the early 1930's. The Garden is beautiful and was lovely to have a walk around. Unfortunately we could see it's not as well looked after as it once was which is a shame but I'm certainly glad I managed to find it.





Hotspot Number 3
For hotspot number 3 I was heading towards the old cathedral ruins. Coventry is famous for the fact it has had three cathedrals the first has very few remains, whereas the second which was bombed in the second world war has been left untouched with a new cathedral built right next to it. The remains of the second cathedral are a big tourist attraction and to be honest is something I don't bother to visit as I seen it so much with school trips as a kid. I thought it would be a nice idea to go and have a look. Unfortunately the thunderstorms hit when we were just minutes away so we didn't make it there. I am determined to go back as soon as the weather picks up again! Although as you can see it didn't put a damper on Zach's day!




 This was a great challenge for me and has pointed out lots of places of interest in my city and has shown me having the kids and a pushchair doesn't actually limit what I do.

Disclaimer
We were sent the Maxi Cosi Loola free of charge for the purpose of our reviews. All opinions are my own.

panel of mums

Review: Snuggledown Side Sleeper Pillow

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

 For people who sleep on their side it is very important that their pillow provides adequate support for their neck and shoulder. The side sleeper pillow is deep filled and features a special box wall construction for ultimate support. This is the Snuggledown side sleeper pillow and here is what I thought;


I've always slept on my side and have never found the perfect pillow for me. They are always too soft or too firm or lose shape too quick costing you a fortune to keep replacing them. Obviously being a mum I don't get much sleep so what little chance to sleep I get is precious. That is why I was so excited to be trying this product for myself. In fact the day it was delivered the kids had just gone down for naps and I shamelessly left the housework, popped out the pillow and had a nap myself on the sofa! Oh my, I was so surprised at how amazing the pillow felt to rest my head on. I love the feel of a new pillow anyway but this was something else. I slept so easy on it and could have cuddled up to it all day if the kids hadn't woken up.

I have been using the side sleeper pillow for a good few weeks now and I have to say it is still in great shape, it is still very comfy to sleep on and I'm quite sure I've been falling asleep much faster at nights although I could also blame that on my return to work. Whichever it is I can honestly say since receiving the pillow I am much more rested and I never suffer with neck or shoulder pains in the mornings. For that reason I would definitely recommend this product to anyone that mostly sleeps on their side. It is so much more than your average pillow and as soon as we move house I'm on strict orders from Andy to buy him one too.

The Snuggledown side sleeper pillow is available to buy at both Littlewoods and Very.co.uk for £15. Which I think is a bargain price. You can find out the latest news and information about the Snuggledown products on their website http://www.snuggledown.co.uk/ or you can find them on Facebook Snuggledown or on twitter @SnuggledownUK

Disclaimer
We were sent the item above free of charge for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are my own

family life

Proud Mummy Moment: First Steps

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Three days ago Zach turned 10 months old. Yeah that doesn't sound so exciting but what he did on that day is the exciting part. We went to visit my Grandma who the kids adore and the first thing I did was stand Zach up on the floor and he just toddled over to his Grandma with no thoughts about what he was doing. It was only three or four steps but they were his first steps!




I was at work the day Gracie took her first steps so was so excited to see Zach's first steps. I cannot believe how quick he has suddenly grown up and he really is like a little man. Gracie didn't stand independently or walk until 18 months so it has been a shock having such a fearless baby who is so active. I can't leave him alone at the minute without him sneaking up the stairs, climbing up the furniture or using Gracie's chairs to try and get on the windowsill. It amazes me how different the two of them are.

It is times like this when you realise just how amazing your life is thanks to the little people in your life, I am so so proud of my two babies and I am loving watching them grow up (although it is happening way to fast for my liking!)

AEG

Guest Review: AEG UltraCaptic Vacuum Cleaner

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


 
AEG Ultracaptic Ucanimal
 
A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to be asked to take a look at the brand new AEG UltraCaptic vacuum cleaner and with a house as busy as ours I knew that this stylish vacuum cleaner would definitely be put through its cleaning paces. Now if you’re anything like me then the first thing you’ll consider when buying any household appliance is what you’re going to get for your pennies but with a long list of features it certainly seems that the AEG UltraCaptic ticks all the boxes.

AEG UltraCaptic Vacuum Cleaner
 
I have to admit that if you saw my house on a bad day you wouldn't believe that only three of us lived here. We seem to make enough mess to be worthy of an army troop and as I’m a little bit of a clean freak all I ever seem to do it tidy up after my messy boys, so a vacuum cleaner which is powerful, adaptable and easy to manoeuvre is a definite must. Luckily for us the very stylish UltraCaptic vacuum cleaner comes with three different nozzles allowing it to be used on any floor type and believe me we have a fair few in this house. From tiles in the kitchen and laminate in the front room to lino in the bathroom and carpets in two out of the three bedrooms, the UltraCaptic certainly has a lot to tackle here.
AEG UltraCaptic Ucanimal
The UltraCaptics chunky Turbo nozzle works extremely well on both long haired carpets and households with malting pets.However I personally found it perfect at sucking up the extensive amount of hair that seems to malt from my own head on a daily basis! The slim line Parketto nozzle is an absolute dream to use on laminate, wooden and lino floors and seems to pick up every last speck of dust and dirt leaving my floors beautifully clean which is something a normal nozzle never seems to do.
UltraCaptic Ucanimal Nozzles
 
The UltraCaptics Silent AeroPro Silent nozzle is brilliant for general cleaning as it can be easily switched between hard and carpeted floor settings at the click of a button and thanks to the low level of noise it emits it's ideal for using once the little man is sleeping. These three nozzles combined with the UltraCaptics fab AeroPro 3-in-1 tool, telescopic pole and AeroPro Ergo handle ensures that this this funky vacuum cleaner is brilliant at sprucing up any type of surface and does so with ease whilst the long power cable, soft chunky rubber handle and soft rubber wheels make manoeuvring the UltraCaptic a very easy task indeed. Another fab feature of the UltraCaptic is it's HEPA 13 allergy filter which traps even the smallest particles and lets nothing escape apart from fresh air making the UltraCaptic an ideal vacuum cleaner for allergy sufferers . Whilst Ithink that all of these features are brilliant my absolute favourite feature has to be the UltraCaptics super easy emptying system. Now at some point we've all experienced a face full of dust when trying to empty a bag less vacuum haven’t we? Well the very cool Compact, Remove and Go emptying system prevents those dust clouds from attacking – check it out below.

  AEG UltraCaptic Compact and Go Feature

The UltraCaptic is by far the best vacuum cleaner I have owned and at present the only minor niggle I've found is it's 6.9kg weight which whilst it isn't an issue for us it won't be ideal for some buyers. I’ve been using the AEG UltraCaptic Ucanimal for a few weeks now and I have been bowled over with both its funky style and it's brilliant functionality and in my personal opinion it really is a brilliant cylinder vacuum cleaner and certainly one which I will be recommending to my friends and family . Priced at around £299 the AEG UltraCaptic is at the higher end of the price market but as they say you get what you pay for and this stylish vacuum cleaner is certainly worthy the pennies.

A guest review from Nicola at www.monstersfunhouse.com

panel of mums

Review: Slumberdown Travel Pillow

Friday, July 26, 2013

Being a member of the Slumberdown Panel of Mums, I get the fantastic job of trying out all their fab products! A few weeks ago I was sent a travel pillow to try out. Unfortunately it didn't arrive in time for our trip to Pleasurewood Hills as it would have been perfect for such a long journey. Typically it turned up the next day!

The pillow is made from memory foam, which anyone who has ever used memory foam products will know is very very comfy. I have used the travel pillow a few times now. Not for overly long journeys as I haven't had chance to travel very far since I've had it, but have done a few slightly longer than average journeys with it. I've found that it is so much more comfy than the old beaded ones we used to use years ago when going on holidays. You don't have to worry about it going mishaped which can be a pain when you've just got comfy and you have to try rearrange it back to a comfortable position. You can really feel how supportive it is for your neck.

Gracie also loves it, although I wouldn't let her use it in a car as obviously it would alter her position in her carseat and wouldn't want to risk her being in a dangerous position but I've caught her a few times cuddled up with it on the sofa. That and she loves playing with it sticking it on her head? She amazes me sometimes! Obviously, If you have an older child who uses a booster seat or even a teenager then the travel pillow will be perfectly suitable for those long trips, especially now the summer holidays have come around.

 

The Slumberdown Travel pillow is perfect for both adults and older children and is currently available at Tesco now in their WOW deals in both red and black for just £5 from 29th July- 7th August 2013. It will then retail at £10.

You can view the full range of Slumberdown products on their website. You can also find them on twitter @SlumberdownUK

Disclaimer
We were sent the item above free of charge for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are my own

Loola

Maxi Cosi Loola Unpacking Party

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Party? Who said party? Yes thats right we had a pushchair unpacking party! Last week it was revealed that we had been chosen as Maxi-Cosi reporters. The very popular Maxi-Cosi Loola pushchair has undergone a makeover and we have the task of testing it out!


Our first task was to have an 'unpacking party' unlike most people this is genuinely one of my favourite parts about getting a new pushchair. Although I am one of those people who follows the instruction manual religiously as I hate making mistakes. There was not much organising when it came to our unpacking party as I was just way to impatient and just HAD to build it right away! We did find some party food, a party isn't a party without cake, biscuits and crisps!


We waited until Zach's nap time then me and my pest assistant Gracie unboxed and began to build. I really wanted to video it but with just me and a two year old present that proved impossible so we had to stick with good old fashioned photos. As you can see it looks like there are lots of parts but in reality most of these parts are the little extras; raincover, carseat adapters and baby cocoon all came as extras and the pushchair came in just four seperate pieces. The chassis came complete with the wheels already attached which was great as they can be pretty fiddly at times! The seat unit came seperate to that and can be put on either parent facing or world facing. Then the last two bits to attach were the hood and the bumper bar which both just slotted into their allocated slots. All in all it took maybe 10 minutes to build which I reckon is a great time, I have spent many hours before building baby products so 10 minutes is nothing.



With this heat I haven't had chance to open up and use the raincover but definitely will try it out before I come to the end of my testing. I love the baby cocoon it looks so easy to use, we received the Graphic Crystal design to match our pushchair. I couldn't be happier with the colour Loola we received, it is definitely one of the most stylish pushchairs we've ever used. The carseat adapters are so easy to use, there is no need to take everything apart like some pushchairs, you just simply remove the seat unit and slot the adapters in where you have removed the seat unit. Your carseat (if one of the compatable carseats) will then easily slot on top of the adapters for use as a travel system.




I was very surprised to find the pushchair can be folded with the seat unit attached and is actually very small folding! There is something about the words travel system that make me think huge pushchair and I instantly worry about fitting it in the car or storing it in the house so the Loola has proved to be a very pleasant surprise. I have to say though I struggled to open it back up after folding parent facing the first few times but have mastered it now and feel quite silly for struggling with it. The fact that it can be built with a two year old insisting on helping is amazing she got really involved as you can probably see in the pictures although she did try and stick the parasol clip in any available hole she could find on the chassis, thankfully she didn't manage to break anything. She also got the priviledge of being the first to try it out, she looks huge in it but I hadn't had a fiddle around to alter the harness or recline the seat for her so you will have to wait and see how suitable it is size wise for them both.

So that is how our unpacking and building went. Look out for our next challenge, I'm not sure what it will be yet but all will be revealed to us later on today...


Disclaimer
We were sent the Maxi Cosi Loola free of charge for the purpose of our reviews. All opinions are my own.

Why is there so much pressure on mums to look good

Monday, July 22, 2013

Being back at work has reminded me of the huge pressure on women to look their best after having children. It's a kind of pressure people don't even realise. If you go into work feeling ill or looking pale it must be symptoms of another pregnancy. It couldn't possibly just be a virus or tiredness from being up all hours with a baby.

Well I have really tried my hardest to not look like a zombie at work I get up early make my hair tidy and put make up over the bags I've gained under my eyes. I wear baggy work shirts to hide the awful shaped belly I have since having two c-sections and usually before I leave for work, I think 'I don't look too bad'. This is a feeling I don't get very often, I am very paranoid about my body and worry about what other people see when they look at me. Well on Friday after I'd had a break to have my breakfast I was walking back to my department to get on with my work when I was approached by a woman who single handedly knocked the last bit of confidence left out of me.

You know when you know someone is going to say something offensive? She looked right at my belly and just said 'You expecting again?' she said it with a sly smile on her face like she knew she was saying something she shouldn't especially as it is someone who I have rarely ever spoken to and wouldn't consider a friend. I thought it was so rude, I could never ask a question like that to someone I barely know. In fact I wouldn't say it to someone I do.

It makes me so angry that women could treat one another like that. Not everyone bounces back into a size 8 within weeks of giving birth, the majority of women probably don't get their pre pregnancy bodies back ever regardless of how hard they try. Mums have enough pressure on them with bringing up children, running homes and for some creating a work-home balance. There are just not enough hours in the day sometimes to worry about how you look. I know most days I'm lucky to have five minutes to brush my teeth and stick my hair in a bobble!

Family Days Out

Review: Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park

Monday, July 22, 2013

The other weekend we travelled down to Lowestoft in Suffolk to visit Pleasurewood Hills theme park to celebrate their 30th birthday. To be honest as I live quite far away from there I had never heard of Pleasurewood Hills but after looking at the website I was excited to go and visit. We definitely had great timing with all this sunshine!



Unfortunately it was further away than we originally thought so was around three and a half hours away meaning we didn't get there until 1.30pm when we had hoped to get there a lot earlier! We left Zach with his Nanna thankfully, meaning we didn't have to worry about him getting hot and bothered and I substituted him for my not so little brother so there was always two adults free to go on a ride with one to stay with Gracie. We got stuck straight in and me and my brother went straight on the Jolly Roger ride, I'm surprised he persuaded me really as I've always avoided these rides at any theme park! I actually wasn't scared once I was on it though and lived to tell the tale. Then we went to Timber Falls (the log flume) I hadnt even thought that Gracie couldn't go on this though so I looked after her while we watched Daddy and Uncle Lee have a go on the boats. Although I didn't get a go I could see it was a good one and Daddy and Uncle Lee came off soaking wet and laughing at each other!


We then decided to find something for Gracie until we passed Hobs Pit! This is Pleasurewood Hills' newest attraction. It opened this year and has been classified a 12A ride making it one of the scariest rides in the UK! I was so nervous to go on this ride especially seeing people change their minds leaving the queue in tears before even entering! But I knew you would all want to hear about it. Me and Lee went on this one and as we entered there was just darkness we had to walk and couldnt see where we were going, I had to push him in front of me and hold his tshirt to find my way. Of course you get the usual people jumping out scaring the life out of you then eventually we made it to the cart. Each cart fits four passengers we were at the back. The cart went through a mine shaft with eerie scenes inside. We were laughing as we kept expecting something scary then while we were talking a head popped out of nowhere and shouted boo which we weren't expecting and we almost flew out the cart we jumped so high which then made us laugh just in time for our photo. I really wish I had got a copy of the picture it was so funny! It was a great ride and definitely lived up to the hype.

We then spent a while in the Kiddie Zone where me and Gracie tried to go on all the rides. She loved the pirate ship, the elephant ride,and the helicopter ride. She really wanted to go on the teacups but was just slightly under the 1 metre mark so wasn't allowed on. Her favourite ride was the carousel though which I thought she would be too little for but she loved it and we had to drag her away from it by bribing her with dinner.


At 3pm we went to the Sea Lion show we got good seats by the front so Gracie could see as it was her first ever Sea Lion show. I was actually expecting her to be scared as she has a massive fear of animals but she had so much fun. It was a clever little show and got lots of audience members involved which is always important. We were far enough away for Gracie to not be scared but close enough for her to watch them properly. She helped me take lots of pictures of them and waved and clapped all the way through.




Daddy and Lee went on a few more rides and they really enjoyed the rollercoaster Wipe Out and again there was an amazing photo of them on that but I didn't have the money to buy it at the time! Me and Gracie took a walk down to the pedalo's as she would have loved them but unfortunately they weren't available that day which was disappointing.

Pleasurewood Hills is your typical seaside theme park. It has an equal proportion of adult rides and kiddy rides, we loved the Sea Lion show and they also have a few other shows that we missed thanks to our bad timing such as; the parrot show and the Sean Alexander illusionist show which looks amazing! They also have Laser Labrinth, a laser adventure for an additional fee. There are so many things to do there for people of all ages. We would definitely go again but probably only if we were in a nearby area, a 7 hour round trip was a bit much with a toddler.
We go to Great Yarmouth for holidays sometimes which is very close by so will definitely be returning some day. I would definitely make a whole day of it next time and would recommend it to anyone nearby as it is a lovely park and is constantly improving.

Disclaimer 
We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review but all views and opinions are my own 

Babyface

Review: Beautiful Bedding with Babyface UK

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm delighted to say Gracie and Zach were recently chosen to be testers for the luxury children's bedding at Babyface UK. Until now Gracie has had Peppa Pig bedding that has seen better days and as she is outgrowing Peppa Pig I had been wondering what we are going to do with her new bedroom when we move house. With Zach I just hadn't got round to buying him bedding, he has a navy and red transport themed bedroom and we'll be decorating his new room the same so I just knew I wanted them colours in his bedding. Here is what we were sent:





  • Flower garden cushion £22
  • Pink gingham cot bed duvet cover set £30
  • Boats cotbed quilt £50
  • Boys bunting £13.50
The first thing I noticed straight away was the fantastic quality of the products. They feel and look so luxurious I was jealous that they weren't for my bedroom!


Gracie was very excited about her new bedding and especially her new pretty cushion so she came upstairs to 'help' me make her bed. It's amazing how just a duvet set and cushion can really transform the look of a room. It looks so grown up and Gracie has been taking any visitors upstairs to show them her new 'big girl bed'. The products may not be the cheapest but they are the best quality I have ever owned. They are so pretty and girly and wash lovely which can be a problem with cheaper lower quality bedding. The Flower garden cushion comes with the cushion pad and the cover is fully removable making it easy to wash. The little details on the cushion are fantastic. It is hand quilted with embroidered and appliqued flower detailing and fastens on the back using small tie ribbons which I think is a lovely touch. I love that the pink gingham duvet set goes with anything and can never really be outgrown.


Like I said before Zach's cot has kind of been neglected all he had was a fitted sheet and I would just use blankets to put over him but now that he is getting bigger he needs a nice quilt for his bed. His boats cotbed quilt has the same quilted look as Gracie's flower garden cushion and I love how they both look and feel. I also like how the quilt is not too big and bulky which is perfect for a baby in a cotbed. It's thick enough to keep warm in the colder weather but not so thick that they can't still be used in the summer. I think the sail boat design is fab too it's another design that will last years without being outgrown or looking 'babyish'. Zach seems to like it too he's been having much longer naps now in his cot in the daytime giving me some peace and quiet! The bunting is great too it's a lovely accessory perfect for finishing off a babies nursery. We placed ours on the wall above Zach's cot and as you can see in the picture it goes perfectly with the rest of the room.

I now love the finishing touches to Zach's room and know exactly what I'm going to do with Gracie's new bedroom when we move, shes having a flower fairy garden theme! I would recommend the products at Babyface to everyone they are just amazing. You can see the full ranges at http://www.babyface.uk.com/ 

Disclaimer
We were sent the products featured free of charge for review but all views and opinions are my own.

Britax

All you need to know about the new 'i-size' carseat safety regulations

Monday, July 15, 2013

I'm one of them people that worries about car safety regulations and with so many places having conflicting opinions it can get confusing so this information sent to me by Britax might help clear up a few things about the new safety regulations....



Confused by car seats?  Mark Bennett, car seat safety expert from BRITAX explains the new regulation called ‘i-Size’ that all parents should know about

To put simply, i-Size is a new regulation for child car seats that will make it easier for parents to choose and install the right seat, making travelling safer for children.  
One of the most significant changes parents need to be aware of, is how long a child should remain in a rearward facing car seat.  Under existing laws, parents could switch their baby from their rearward facing Group 0/0+ seat into a forward facing Group 1 seat when they reached 9kg or approximately nine months.
The new i-Size regulation means parents will have to keep their baby rearward facing until they are at least 15 months old and the move will be based on the size and age of the child rather than weight.  The new length and age classification will help make it easier for parents to check that their child is ready to be moved to the next stage car seat.
The new regulation is also about the reinforcement of ISOFIX seats use, which are easier to fit correctly and safely than those secured with the car seat belt.  Only a third of belted seats are fitted correctly which can have serious implications in the event of a crash*.   Side impact collisions are one of the most severe types of collisions on the roads** and for car seats to adhere to the new regulations they must pass the newly introduced side impact safety standards.

Why is this regulation coming into force?  Well there are a number of reasons, but in a nutshell, parents are too keen to move their babies forward facing on the premise they believe their child will be happier facing forwards rather than waiting until they have actually outgrown the seat.  Parents are also unaware babies are much safer rearward facing in the event of a collision.
Below 13kg a baby’s neck is not yet that strong and keeping your baby rearward facing for as long as possible (up to at least 15 months) will help protect their vulnerable neck in a frontal crash situation.
So much research evidence has built up on this from crash testing that the EU has introduced this new regulation to keep babies rearward facing until 15 months. BRITAX has accompanied and strongly supported the development of i-Size right from the very beginning.

So how does it affect you?  As soon as i-Size approved car seats are on the market parents will be able to choose between a seat that abides by the older ECE R44/04 regulation or i-Size. The current ECE R44/04 regulation is not replaced by i-Size, and instead will continue in tandem until 2018. The introduction of i-Size simply means that consumers now have an extra option when buying a car seat for their baby/toddler.

When should you change to forward facing?
Here are some guidelines on switching:
Don't do it just because your baby's feet are pushed against the car's back seat.
Wait until your baby is closer to, or ideally at, the maximum age (15 months) for her rearward facing seat than the minimum weight (9kg) for the front facing seat.
BUT do move them if their head is protruding over the top of the Group 0/0+ seat. If they outgrow the seat in height but have not reached the minimum weight for a Group 1 seat, you should then invest in a combination Group 0+ & 1 seat. That is simply the safest option.
You can already consider purchasing a combination Group 0+ & 1 seat as your baby’s first car seat from birth. DUALFIX and MAX-FIX from BRITAX will allow your child to travel rearward facing until they reach 18kg

What is the current law when it comes to car seat safety?
The law requires all children to travel in an appropriate child restraint until they reach 135 cm tall or their 12th birthday (UK, NL, DEN) or 150 cm tall or their 12th birthday (GER, AU, CH, IT, CZ) – whichever comes first. It is the driver's responsibility to ensure this is the case.
Under the existing laws, parents could switch their baby from their rearward facing Group 0&0+ seat into a forward facing one when they reach 9kg (around nine months old).
Now the new regulations, called ‘i-Size’, have come into force mid-July 2013, parents that purchase a child car seat approved under i-Size will have to keep their baby in a rearward facing seat until they are 15 months.
There will be no change to the overall law about child seats being compulsory to the age of 12 or 135 cm/150 cm tall.

*Farid Bendjellal, 6th International Conference on Protection of Children in Cars – Munich 2008
**Casimir “Child Car Passenger Fatalities – European Figures and In-Depth Study”; Alan Kirk; Loughborough University, UK; Conference:  Protection of children in cars, Muncih, 2011

Bizzy the Butterfly

Review Bizzy Butterfly Audiobook

Monday, July 15, 2013

Gracie loves books and stories but had never had an audiobook until now. We were sent a copy of Emily Longmore's first audiobook Bizzy the butterfly and the creepy coordinating caterpillar. At first we were sent a copy to download but my computer is awfully old and couldn't cope with trying to copy it to a disc for me so Emily sent us an audiobook disc that made things a lot easier for us! The disc came lovingly packed with some stickers, two Bizzy the butterfly inspired recipe cards, a leaflet about Bizzy the butterfly and the upcoming audiobooks and of course the audiobook itself and it was all lovingly wrapped in pretty ribbon with a felt strawberry on top. I thought this was a lovely touch and it got Gracie very excited.


Bizzy the butterfly stories are aimed at babies and toddlers. The audiobook has music throughout in the background whilst the story is narrated. What I like is that it isn't just a story. There is the soft background music, little songs that your child can pick up easily and join in with and it is spoken as if the narrator is actually talking directly to your child. There are easy questions to help children feel like they are a part of it, one being 'have you ever seen a butterfly?' Gracie loves listening to it in the car and now knows when the questions are being asked and has her answers ready to 'talk to the lady'. I think it is really cute watching her feel so involved in a story rather than just listening to me all the time. She has also learnt the words to the Bizzy the butterfly song and sings it everytime it is on. Another thing I like about the audiobook is the use of the music, it is so emotive and is used to create tension at the perfect times so your child knows something really exciting is about to happen. It is such a lovable story, Gracie has really fell in love with Bizzy the butterfly, she is always asking to listen to it and keeps telling everyone about her butterfly CD.

'Bizzy the butterfly and the creepy crawly co-operating caterpillar' is the first title in a series of different stories about the adventures of Bizzy the butterfly and friends. The audiobook is available to download for £1.50 which I think is a fantastic price! Also the second title 'Bizzy the butterfly and the over the log frog' is also available to download now. Although if like me you don't have a very trusty pc you can buy the CD version for £3 and it is definitely worth it. Not only is it great for your own children the CD would be a great gift for any friends with children. I will definitely be buying more when the new ones are available Gracie would love to find a new Bizzy CD in her stocking this christmas.

Bizzy even has a fantastic website with a make and play section, with colouring pictures to print off and colour and other activities. There is a baking with Bizzy section showing you how to make yummy Bizzy the butterfly inspired cakes. There is even a Bizzy the butterfly shop where you can buy Bizzy the butterfly clothing.

You can buy the CD or download the audiobooks as well as find out more information from http://www.bizzythebutterfly.co.uk/  or you can follow Bizzy on Twitter or Facebook for the latest news.

Disclaimer
We were sent the item free of charge for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are my own.



BabyBag

Lin & Leo BabyBag challenge 2: Style It Up!

Monday, July 15, 2013

This has proved to be a hard challenge for me as I hate being centre of attention but the latest challenge from Lin & Leo was a style challenge with all the focus being entirely on me, showing off my personal style with some of my favourite outfits complete with my Lin & Leo Babybag! Now I'm not an uber stylish person, I own some nice clothes but I dress for comfort now since being a parent and throw on any old thing most days. With this nice weather though I've been making the most of wearing dresses and skirts here is a selection of my favourite outfits worn with the beautiful BabyBag;

The Maxi
My biggest wardrobe staple for the summer is the maxi dress I have about six altogether but this is one of my favourites. I love how a good maxi dress hides all your lumps and bumps and makes you feel good about yourself without hiding under baggy tops and leggings. The colours of the dress in no way match the bag but I think it really brightens up the outfit without clashing.


The Sundress
This is one of my oldest sundresses. I don't look quite as good in it as I used to pre pregnancies! It is black with yellow flowers and green leaves and shouldn't look good with turquoise but I think the bag goes really well?!








The Playsuit

I really like this playsuit until I put it on. They are not practical at all are they? Having to strip to go for a wee, especially when in charge of two little ones and it is difficult to get a minutes peace to go for a toilet trip without needing to manouvre yourself out of a playsuit. Having said that it is a great way to wear shorts and avoid the muffin top look which I am definitely rocking after two csections. And yes that is a baseball cap I'm wearing which I am sure are most definitely not fashionable anymore but my poor head got very burnt in the sun this week so the hat gave my head a break to avoid skin flakes in my hair! Again I think the bag looks great as usual!

The Casual Look




This wasn't this week, In fact this photo was taken on the morning I travelled to BritMums Live. I'd chosen a dress to wear for the first day although it was cold in the morning so I stuck on my trusty hoody to travel in and my comfiest shoes. If you look carefully I'm wearing my Teething Bling turquoise pendant and bangle which match the bag perfectly! I even have my nails painted the same colour as my accessories!

I love that even though I chose a bright colour BabyBag it looks great with any outfit no matter the colour. I did think I'd have problems with it clashing with everything before I got it but I'm definitely happy with my turquoise bag!

If you keep an eye out on the blog, I will have challenge number 3 coming up later in the week and I'm really excited for this one!

Disclaimer
I was sent the Lin & Leo BabyBag free of charge for the purpose of my reviews. All views and opinions are my own.




















abbey home media

Review: Cloudbabies- Wide Awake Sun

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

As you may have noticed we are huge Cbeebies fans in our house. We have been sent a copy of Cloudbabies new DVD to review. I was excited for this DVD as it is one that both kids can watch. It's not very often Zach sits still but he loves to copy his big sister and it's nice to have something relevant to the both of them to review.


Gracie was very excited when she saw the DVD arrive she loves watching Cloudbabies on Cbeebies but it isn't on very often and when it is, it seems to be the same two episodes repeated every time. She asked to watch it straight away so we popped it on and it kept them quiet and entertained for a while. Gracie watched almost all of it and Zach sat still for about 25 minutes which must be a record! The DVD contains six episodes and runs for around 60 minutes so is lovely for a nice peaceful hour after a hectic morning of playing.


Cloudbabies is about four characters, who are of course babies that live on a cloud and look after the sky. The Cloud babies; Baba Pink, Baba Blue, Baba Yellow and Baba Green live with Bobo White who is a sky imp in a house on a big fluffy cloud. They have skyhorsies that transport them around the skies to take care of the Sun, Moon, Rainbow, Fuffa Cloud and Little Star. The aim of the show is to introduce children to learning about day and night and all about the sun, moon, rainbows and stars. It is a lovely show even for children too young to understand the concept of day and night. The show is full of bright colours and softly spoken characters and has a nice lullaby like theme tune.

I would definitely recommend this DVD for parents looking for something nice and light to entertain children for a small amount of time (of course it is not good for children to watch TV or DVD's all day). The Cloudbabies Wide Awake Sun is out now and is available from most good DVD stockists.

Disclaimer
We were sent this DVD free of charge for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are my own.

family life

Back to work

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Yesterday I went back to work after having almost a year off! For weeks I had been dreading it, not wanting to leave the kids and wanting to stay at home where I don't have to speak to people face to face! I think I have got myself into a position where I am so used to not having adult conversation unless its through social media which is silly as I can say anything here on my blog and don't really know who is reading it yet struggle to know what to say to people in real life.


Anyway I am now back to working part time and had my first shift yesterday. I have to say I really enjoyed it! It was nice to get out and do something different. I'm now back on a department that I worked on before having kids which is much busier than where I worked before and is a more active role I get to move about and am on my feet for the whole shift rather than sitting around waiting for customers. I really enjoy keeping busy and I was being told what needed doing next and what they wanted me to do, when at home I feel like all I do is tell people what to do.

I don't know what all the fuss was about. The time flew by and even though it was hard work I considered it to be a break, a bit of me time and the kids got to spend some time alone with Daddy. 

I'm happy to be a working mummy again!

Disney

Review: Monsters University Soundtrack

Friday, July 05, 2013


Now I remember being 10 years old when the original Monsters Inc was released and me and my brother loved it! Fast forward thirteen years (yes it was really that long ago!) and it's a film I still enjoy but this time I'm watching it with my own kids. Gracie loves monsters Inc and I even taught her to try and say mike wasowski like boo does in the film which is so cute! It is one of our household favourites and I was so excited when I heard about the release of Monsters University. We are yet to see the film, we'll be watching that next time Daddy has a day off work, but we have been reviewing the soundtrack and here is what we think:


We've got the soundtrack as a download on Play MPE Which is great as I can use the app on my iPad or iPhone to access it for Gracie to listen to wherever we are. The film soundtrack actually only has one song with words to it which is the last track on the album the rest being just  musical compositions by the legendary Randy Newman. Although the music has no words it still captures the attention of everyone that listens as it is so emotive with a great use of tension in the tracks to set the scene. You can see the similarity to the music in the original monsters Inc film too. There is a mix of high and low tempo tracks which helps them not all sound the same! If the music is anything to go by I'd say the film is going to be pretty amazing. Gracie's favourite track is Roar which features Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia, you can tell what Daddy listens to in the cait is a very upbeat tune and a great song to do crazy dancing to (we do a lot of this at home). I think this is a great soundtrack and I think Gracie will appreciate it even more once she has seen the film and can place the music she recognises within the film. 

The soundtrack is available now for digital download only. It is definitely worth buying if you have a monsters fan! 


Disclaimer
We received a free download of the soundtrack for the purpose of this review but all views and opinions are my own

abbey home media

Review: Mister Maker Watch & Make Vol. 5 DVD

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Gracie loves CBeebies and one of her favourites at the moment is Mister Maker. She loves watching the kids doing crafts so was thrilled when his new DVD dropped through the letterbox. I like to know that when she is watching the telly she is watching something that encourages her to be creative and since she has started watching Mister Maker she has been more motivated to play crafts rather than just watch telly or play with toys.




The DVD runs for approximately 95 minutes and has over 20 different easy makes for kids. One of my favourite things about the show is how it encourages children to use materials around them meaning you don't have to run around the shops buying expensive bits and bobs to get creative. Gracie has learnt to save straws, toilet roll tubes and tissue paper amongst other bits to keep in her 'doodle draw'. Whenever Zach is napping or sitting still long enough for us to do something she grabs her box of supplies and will happily play making things with a glue stick and whatever materials she can find! It's great for when you forget someone's birthday and need a card in a rush a homemade card by a toddler is always appreciated more than a shop bought card.

I have to say Mister Maker is one of the main reasons Gracie remembers her shapes correctly. She loves the shape song and now associates the right names with the right shapes when she used to get a but muddled.

I would definitely recommend this DVD to parents looking for creative inspiration for their children. There are so many great ideas that you wouldn't think of trying until you see them done step by step. It is also great for teaching children to play independently with craft materials. The DVD is available from most good DVD stockists.

Disclaimer
We were sent this DVD free of charge for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are my own.

#MSMbignightin

Money Supermarket's 'Big Night In'

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Money Supermarket have challenged a lot of bloggers to prove how you can have a fantastic night in without breaking the bank. It costs so much to go out these days with everything getting more and more expensive. I would say on an average night out I would spend £40- £50 including drinks, taxis etc. so since having kids going out has become a rarity. Money Supermarket have given us £50 to take part in this 'Big Night In' challenge to spend on whatever we like.

I was very happy to get this opportunity as we are on a very tight budget at the moment with preparing to move house and it has been a long time since me and Andy got the opportunity to have a nice night in. This is what we got from Tesco with our £50:

  • DVD boxset Sherlock Holmes 1&2- £11
  • DVD Silver Linings Playbook- £7
  • Tesco Family Meal Deal, Dinner, Side and Dessert- £6
  • Tub of Wall's Ice Cream- £1.40
  • Toffee Popcorn- 84p
  • Dairy Milk Oreo- £1
  • Milkybar- 80p
  • Cheese Savouries- 99p
  • Tango Orange- 99p
  • TOTAL £30.02

As we had spent less than we thought on our Big Night In shopping I then ordered the Pointless board game from Amazon.co.uk for £15.22 bringing our Total to £45.24.


We chose Monday to be our 'Big Night In'. Firstly Andy Stuck the dinner in the oven while I put Zach to bed. Then while dinner was cooking we got out the Pointless board game out and played for around 45 minutes. It's been a very long time since I have played a proper board game and we really enjoyed it! It was nice to do something a bit different and its something we can get back out when we have guests.

Then dinner was ready and it was yummy! We had Cottage Pie with Roast Potatoes and it was lovely to sit down just the two of us and eat a nice meal together. For dessert we chose warm sticky toffee pudding with ice cream on the side and it was as delicious as it looks!

Once we had eaten dinner I let Andy choose which film to watch. We had bought a few as you never know what you're gonna fancy watching on the night and all three films were ones we had wanted to see. He chose Sherlock Holmes and well I wasn't complaining at watching two hours of Robert Downey Jr! The film was fab and we had a good tuck into the snacks we bought but had lots left over thanks to being stuffed from dinner. Zach woke up midway through the film so I thought we'd have to switch off but before I knew it he was fast asleep on my chest meaning I got nice baby cuddles and Andy had fallen asleep next to us. He can never stay awake through a whole film!

We had a lovely night and really enjoyed ourselves. We even had enough snacks left over to have another movie night with another of the DVD's the next day. It has definitely shown us that we can organise a night in on a small budget. To be honest we could have spent a lot less than £50 and I would much rather a Big Night In than a night out anyday.

Disclaimer
This is our entry  into the Money Supermarket 'Big Night In' challenge competition. The £50 was given to us for this challenge. You can see the competition and terms and conditions here http://www.moneysupermarket.com/home-insurance/competitions/big-night-in/

Lin & Leo Babybag Challenge One: Family Outing

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

We were recently chosen to be testers for the beautiful Lin & Leo Babybag. The bag is available in four different colours; red, turquoise, black and tan. I chose turquoise and it is just gorgeous as you will see in the photo below. As testers we will be set challenges to ensure we put the bag to the test thoroughly. Our first challenge was simply to take it out on a family outing and see how it copes with carrying all the family's essentials.



I decided it would be perfect to use the bag for our day out at Warwick Castle with Mike the Knight. We were heading out for a whole day 10am-5pm to Warwick Castle with both kiddies so obviously needed to take lots of stuff with us. I managed to use just the Lin & Leo bag and a lunchbox seperate for our sandwiches. The bag carried a mixture of all our belongings for the day including nappies, wipes, Lin & Leo foldable change mat, change of clothes for Zach, baby shoes, two bottles, my diary, purse, keys, phone, camera amongst other little bits. It's surprising how much you can fit in such a small tidy looking bag, the size is so deceiving!


The bag didn't even feel heavy considering how much was inside and when it wasn't hanging on the pushchair I wore it on my shoulder using the shoulder strap which is very comfy. I am always impressed when you can take a baby out of a pushchair without the bag making it tip backwards and I am able to do this with the babybag. I also like to be able to hold a baby and a bag without the bag being too bulky and awkward to move around which was especially important at Warwick Castle as most of the buildings have lots of steps meaning you had to leave your pushchair outside. The bag got a massive thumbs up for this as I didn't struggle once climbing the towers carrying Zach and the babybag which was very impressive.




I really do love this bag and how stylish it is. Everytime I go out with the bag I get comments on it and even on our family day out I had a few people ask about it. The bag retails at £175 which might sound a lot for a change bag but you really are buying quality. So if you are looking for a good quality change bag I would definitely recommend it.

If you are not sure yet and would like to see more, keep an eye on the blog as challenge number two will be coming shortly.

Disclaimer
I was sent the Lin & Leo BabyBag free of charge for the purpose of my reviews. All views and opinions are my own.


Family Days Out

Warwick Castle with Mike The Knight!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

While I was away the other week I received a very exciting email inviting us to meet Mike the Knight at Warwick Castle, of course I had to say yes! Warwick Castle is very close to us to travel to and I remember visiting regularly while I was growing up. I hadn't taken either of the kids yet and Gracie is at that age where she gets so excited over princesses and castles and anything to do with fairy tales. She also absolutely loves Mike The Knight!



Well we were quite lucky this Saturday that Daddy had the day off work so we got to have a fun day out together just the four of us and we even got a full day of sunshine! I think I was just as excited as Gracie. Daddy had never been before so I got to show them my favourite parts of the castle grounds. The first place we headed was the Princess Tower. I had never been in the princess Tower before so didn't know what to expect. Gracie loved following around who she thought was a real life Princess and got to dress up as a princess herself for a photograph. Unfortunately I didn't get a copy as they were quite expensive and you weren't allowed to take your own photos inside. Although I did get a quick blurry snap on my phone of the printed photo they showed us. Gracie had fun though and we will never forget seeing how excited she was.


Next we headed to the area near the entrance where all the Mike the Knight fun games and activities were. We saw some fantastic Mike The Knight inspired sandcastles there and made a few of our own. After making sandcastles we headed off for a yummy lunch before finally getting to meet Mike the knight! We were near the front of the queue to see Mike and it was lovely seeing Gracie so happy. She was waving her Mike the Knight flag around ready to show him and waved frantically at him when he was walking over. Now Gracie has always been scared if big 3D characters but when it was her turn she ran over and gave him a massive cuddle. It was so cute but silly Daddy didn't get a picture as he was in shock we did get some lovely pictures of her posing with him though. She then blew him big kisses and took her postcard off Mikes helper and walked away a very happy little girl!

Mike the knight was at the castle to celebrate the launch of the new second series of his hit Cbeebies television show. He also has a new DVD 'Be a Knight, Do it Right!' which is due to be released on 29th July.

Warwick Castle is a great day out for all the family, another of our favourites from the day was the Warwick Warriors display which happens just once daily. The Warwick Warriors show is where two knights take centre stage in the courtyard arena for a battle using authentic weapons such as swords, pole arms and the axe. I was really looking forward to having a tour of the stately rooms with the history team but unfortunately when I turned up it was closed for the afternoon as there was a wedding inside which was quite disappointing as if I'd have known I could have planned that for earlier in the day! it should definitely be signposted for visitors so they don't miss out. There are so many interesting stories about Warwick Castle mainly surrounding 'The Kingmaker' Earl of Warwick, Richard Neville. I'd have loved to hear all about it from the experts.

There are so many other things there we didn't get to do, not through anyones fault but there is just so much to do. We'd love to go back and see the rest of the grounds, we didn't get as far as the boat house and trebuchet or the mill and engine house. Also with having a pushchair we didnt manage to climb the towers which I have never actually done and next time it would be nice to spend more time in the gardens too.



If you missed the fun last weekend, it's not too late to go and visit Mike The Knight at Warwick Castle. He'll be visiting again this weekend Saturday 6th July & Sunday 7th July and I would definitely reccommend going! You can save money by pre booking tickets on the Warwick castle website.http://www.warwick-castle.com/

Disclaimer
We were given free tickets for this event for the purpose of this review but all views are my own.

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