Friday 27 September 2013

Toddler on The Farm

Some things just get more and more fun as little ones grow up.
Things that you may have done time and time before... 
But slowly and surely with each time you visit that place, or play that same game.
Something changes.
Something new happens that allow those new memories to be created.

We are no stranger to the Cotswold Farm Park, it is right on our door step and we visit time and time again. Each time we go Leo is that little bit older, and on this occasion he has well and truly loved each experience that came across his path.

Just looking back at our past visits has shown me just how much my little guy has grown and changed, especially since that very first visit back in March 2012. 5 months after Leo's first visit we were back again for my Birthday, but you can see such a change in him even then, the fact he is walking is just one of those big changes. And then of course there was our visit back in April of this year, when Leo was just 21 months old. 

Watching Leo take control and run around the farm was lovely to behold. He had been most excited about seeing his Timmy Sheep again or 'Baa' as he is formally known. With Autumn upon us the park was quiet apart from the odd school trip or two, and we made the most of getting such a hands on experience with all of the animals. 

Leo had the opportunity to feed the younger animals a bottle or two, and as he gave the baby Timmy his milk his face lit up. That smile couldn't have been any more prominent if he had tried, and as I held on to Leo and the bottle so that the hungry Sheep didn't steal the bottle off him, I couldn't help but smile. It is safe to say that feeding Timmy his milk was the absolute highlight of his day.

We did have a little sad face at one point though, with all of the school trips going around they were given priority. So when Leo expressed an interest in holding a baby chick he was completely over looked because of all the school children. There was a lady assigned to hand out the chicks to the guests but Leo simply merged into the background, and he got rather upset when he couldn't understand why he hadn't been given that opportunity. In true Leo form though he had very soon got the spot light shining firmly back on his shoulders. He wasn't taking no for an answer and ran up right past all of those school children and very almost took a chick for himself, this quick act on his part got the attention of the lady who had been so pre-occupied moments before... and Leo got his baby chick.

Leo was finally big enough to enjoy the sit and ride tractors, although he couldn't work out the pedal to make it go on this occasion, he was more than happy for me to kneel down and put my hand on the accelerator. I can confirm that steering for him as well as accelerating is as hard as it looks..

As usual though we had such a great day out on the farm, and I look forward to our next adventure in the great outdoors.

Here is our visit in pictures...

I just had to share some of our older photos from the farm with this post, because I have just been flicking through them... And just look what a little dot my little guy once was. Amazing how over 4 visits to our country retreat, so much has changed as he has grown.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Win Tickets to The Olympia Baby Show

As a Britax Mumbassador I have been asked to share a rather super giveaway with you all. A pair of tickets that will gain one of my lucky readers and a friend, entry to the Olympia Baby Show this October.

The show is taking place from the 25th -27th October at Kensington Olympia, The Baby Show is the UK’s leading pregnancy and parenting event. There will be hundreds of stands, which will feature anything and everything baby and toddler-focused – from quirky new inventions to showcases from all your favourite nursery brands.

There will also be hourly guest speakers including sleep expert Jo Tantum, feeding and nutrition expert Annabel Karmel, and parenting guru Sir Robert Winston. With giveaways and special offers galore, make sure you don’t miss out!

To celebrate BRITAX’s continued involvement with the Baby Show, I’m really excited to be able to give away a pair of tickets to the next Baby Show in October! BRITAX’s stall will be stocked with all the latest BRITAX and BOB products including DUALFIX, XTENSAFIX, KIDFIX XP SICT and the B-MOTION 4, with experts on hand to explain the latest technology and take you through all the car seats and strollers on offer.

The tickets entitle you and a friend to full access at the Kensington Olympia Baby Show on a day of your choice. Little ones get free entry so they’re more than welcome to come along too!
Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter! T&Cs apply.

Please only apply if you are a resident of the United Kingdom. Tickets cannot be exchanged for cash. The winner will be contacted via email when the giveaway comes to a close, and a response to claim the tickets is required within 48 hours. If no response if provided another winner will be picked at random and the initial draw will be void.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Win competitions at

Tuesday 24 September 2013


Back in August I was invited along to LEGOLAND Windsor with Leo so that we could share our thoughts on the park, and what it has to offer a family with a toddler in tow. I decided to go along and spend my birthday there, but from the word 'Go' the whole day was against me.

Upon arrival at the train station to start our journey, one of the wheels on my pushchair went *BANG* - just as the train was about to depart. Being on the wrong side of the platform to leave the pushchair, I had to cart it with me on the train and all of the way to LEGOLAND... Not the greatest of starts. On our journey there Leo started to go down with a bug, and very soon was coming out in a dotty red rash. He began to cry and that was how the rest of the train journey was spent...

I was optimistic that Leo's spirits may pick up once we had arrived at Legoland and he saw all of the exciting rides that he could have a go on. It didn't seem right to just hop on the first train back home again, so we persisted and really hoped for the best... Even though I had no pushchair now for my poorly boy who just wanted to go to sleep.

Upon arrival at LEGOLAND we collected our tickets and explained how are journey had been anything but perfect. The lady behind the booth was so understanding and even took in my pushchair for me to save me carting it around all day, along with a toddler who just wanted a cuddle. She directed us to where we could hire one for the day and bid us farewell. She will never know just how grateful I was for her taking my pushchair into the office for me, it really wasn't going to be practical me carting it around all day. 

We tried to hire a LEGOLAND pushchair but unfortunately they had all been rented out by the time we got there, we had arrived later than we had planned after a hectic morning, and it was of course right in the midst of the Summer Holidays. I carried my poorly 2 year old in my arms, and in some instances he decided he was happy enough to walk, but for the most part he was in my arms. 

It was August 8th and it would seem that Legoland was a very popular choice with the perfect sunny weather beating down, the lines for every ride were far to long to even contend waiting in with a poorly baby, but in those rare fleeting moments where Leo had a smile on his face, we did have a go on one or two rides. On any ordinary day I know that Leo would have absolutely had the time of his life, but he was just so under the weather that all he really wanted was to be at home tucked up in my arms with his eyes closed.

Looking around the park I could see just how much fun everyone was having, the kids with big Cheshire cat smiles fixed firmly upon their faces. For everyone else this was the perfect day, and if Leo had been well and his usual self we would have been there with even bigger smiles. 

The park is modern and bright, there is plenty for all ages to do and I would not think twice about going back in the future. In fact now all of the kid's have gone back to school I would absolutely love to take Leo back now that the sparkle has returned to his beautiful blue eyes. I know that Leo would have such a great time experiencing all of these rides for the very first time. There was so much for toddlers to do from Duplo Valley with the water park (which would have been perfect on the day we visited!) to rides perfect for my little toddler.

So although we traveled and spent a few hours in Legoland my time was spent looking after my poorly little guy, and wondering how on earth I was going to get Leo and the pushchair back home again... I am sorry it is not a full review of all the exciting things that we just couldn't do on this occasion but I really needed to get Leo home and dosed up with calpol. 

With the worries in my mind about how I was going to get the pushchair home, I enquired with the lovely lady at Guest Services as to whether it would be possible to leave it and arrange a collection. I was so relieved when she said this would be fine, and so we made our way back home again without the pushchair. 

It is safe to say that I was completely exhausted by the end of the day, carrying a 2 year old around as well as a heavy bag is quite draining. It is no wonder that I felt like I was coming down with the flu the next day after those aches had stiffened up over night! 

I do have some advice for those of you who may be thinking of going to LEGOLAND in the future though... 

- Try and go out of School holidays to ensure you don't have to line up for rides too long.
- Get there early if you are wanting to hire a Legoland Pushchiar.
- Take a picnic as once in the park the food is quite pricey.
- Find out which rides you would really like to go on ahead of time and find out where they are on the map.
- Take advantage of the Q Bot System on the park and book in time slots for those rides you are really wanting to ride on.
- Get there early if you wish to rent a pushchair.
- Make sure that all members of your party are well and not coming down with a viral infection...
- Have a great time!

I would just like to thank the lady at LEGOLAND who helped me out with my pushchair situation and took it in for me. If I had that to cart around with me all day, and then back home again I think I would probably have hidden in the corner and cried.

Thank you for understanding :)

Disclaimer: I was provided tickets to LEGOLAND in exchange for a review. Unfortunately Leo was poorly so we didn't get to experience the park enough to review all aspects. All views and opinions are completely honest and my own. 

Sunday 22 September 2013

The me&i Nordic Collection

Being a big fan of me&i I was very pleased to be invited along to see the new designs for the coming season. Leo has a few of the me&i tops and I have always loved the quality and vibrance of the designs.

me&iare a Swedish company that were founded back in 2004 by Susan Engvall and Helene Nyrell. Back in those early days the company was actually run from their own homes around the kitchen table. Susan and Helene found the inspiration to dream up me&i when they were left far from impressed by the current selection of clothes on today’s market.

At this time of year when you step into a high street store the same old colours stare back at you. I often wonder where all of the vibrant colours are hiding, but it swings in round about’s and it seems that the bright colours are reserved for the Summer months and don’t want to come out and play for Autumn and Winter.

Well that is true unless you manage to take a look at the me&i collections. Vibrant colours and eye catching patterns is what they do. Just because the sun isn’t shining it doesn’t mean you have to dress that way!

The new Nordic collection for women and children stays true to the me&i roots, bright colours, funky fresh designs and a great variety of choice. I was looking forward to having a look at the women’s wear as I have never had the opportunity to see or try any on first hand. There were a number of items from this collection that I absolutely loved, the casual trousers that could be compared to leggings but offered a much thicker material in comparison,  and the very bright patterned flowery tunic top really stood out to me.

As with the children’s clothes, you could feel the quality in each item. Quality plays a big part for me when purchasing new clothes, as I like to know that they will with stand the washing machine and live to tell the tale. I have always experienced great results with my me&i clothing, they have always kept their fantastic bright colours and never bobbled.

Bright colours and quality are the aim of me&i’s game and are set to shock Autumn back into Summer, let’s face it we all need some more colours in our wardrobes at this time of year!

The children’s collection is best known to me as we have a number of items for Leo, and I was very pleased to see that they had kept on some of my favourite colours for the new line. My all-time favourite colour to see on Leo is the Turquoise Blue. It is bright, vibrant and just looks very visually pleasing. For the Autumn/Winter collection the shirt has been re-designed with a Police Car design and long sleeves. As expected the same level of quality remains, and is soft to the touch as always.

I have been really impressed with the new collection and I am so pleased that I got to go along and have a first hand look at this seasons new range. 

If you haven’t heard of me&i from my past reviews, then you can find those here, and here. You can also check out the website to see the collection for yourself.

Before I left the event I was provided with a goodie bag full of information on the new range, and also given the chance to pick a brand new hat for Leo. I chose the very vibrant Turquoise Blue Police style hat for my Blue eyed boy. Now I just have to persuade him to wear it.

me&i are always on the look out for fashion savvy representatives to showcase their clothing line to friends and family through fun get togethers. If this is something that would interest you and you would like to get involved you can find more information here.

Disclaimer: I was invited along to the me&i event for the launch of their new seasons collection. I was provided with a goodie bag and treated to a very tasty lunch. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own. 

Saturday 21 September 2013

The Right Here & Now

The right here and right now is pretty amazing.

Leo really has blossomed into my very best friend, each new day he goes on to surprise me that little bit more.

He is just about to turn 27 months old, and this age right here and now has highlighted just how big, just how grown up he has become. There is much more we can do together as a team. Things that a year ago were just out of our grasp, they are now things that we can and will be doing.

Just yesterday we visited Drayton Manor with a very good friend of ours, and I spent most of my day laughing along with my 2 year old. We visited Thomas Land where Leo was big enough for pretty much every ride in that area, and in true Leo style he was more than happy to give everything a go.

He was so brave and fearless, and I absolutely loved him walking hand in hand with me as we strutted from ride to ride. Leo didn't even flinch when we hopped on his very first roller-coaster and sped off around the track. I didn't even pay attention to what was coming next on the track, I couldn't peel my eyes off Leo, I didn't want to miss a single reaction on that face of his that flickers with each feeling he experiences. His entire face tells a story from every one second to the next.

As we were sat there on that roller-coaster I couldn't help but notice that I was actually on a ROLLER-COASTER with my BABY. My little guy was sat right by my side as I roared with laughter and this moment for me signifies just how far he has come. Just how far both of us have come.

I am un-knowingly pulling away at the cotton wool I once wrapped him so tightly in, I am accepting that he is growing up. I can see that a new door has opened to a exciting new chapter where we can have a real day out at a theme park, and have the best time imaginable. 

Riding that roller-coaster together is the start of an entire new relationship with my main man. 

My very best friend.

Friday 20 September 2013

The Easywalker Duo Review

Over the last year I have been using the Easywalker June and even now it is my favourite to use. I find Easywalker such a super company, they have always been so quick to help me out if I have any questions or need assistance. Above all else Easywalker offer high quality products to parents, whether they are after a single stroller or a double. 

Of course for me personally I only have the need for a single, and the June has for filled this requirement perfectly. With this said though, my Mum found herself in need of a double pushchair when Leo's little cousin joined him at Granny's house, when his Mum went back to work after her maternity leave.

I had never really had a look at the double pushchair range on the market before this, but with a list of requirements in mind I began having a look online to see what was out there. My Mum actually suffers with Rheumatoid Arthritis so this was something I had to take into account while on the hunt for a double stroller that she would be able to use with the boys.   

Easywalker very kindly sent my Mum the Easywalker Duo in Berry Red to try out, I was very excited to see how this stood up to the June and see how she got on with it.

The Duo is an all terrain pushchair with big air filled wheels that really can take you anywhere and everywhere. It is strong and sturdy and surprisingly higher than any other pushchair that I have ever come across. It comes in 4 different colours, so if the Berry Red is a little bit too bright for you then why not take a look at:

- Ocean Blue
- Coal Black
- Olive Green 

What's in the box?

- Pushchair Frame - with the two seats already attached
- Bumper Bar
- Instruction Manual

The Duo arrived in a big cardboard box, very well packaged to ensure safe delivery. I found the set up relatively straight forward as the seats come attached to the frame so all I really had to do was to attach the wheels and open up the pushchair it's self. 

On first set up I soon realised that there was a problem with one of the buttons that is used to attach the front wheel. The first button had pulled down perfectly and allowed me to simply attach the wheel, but the second button was jammed and there was nothing I could do in order to pull it back out in order to attach the second front wheel. Instead of forcing the jammed button I contacted Easywalker, sent in a photo of my problem and also a little video just to demonstrate what the actual issue was. 

In true Easywalker style I was replied to straight away and the Duo was re-called and a new one issued in it's place. I truly cannot fault the customer service that I received and how I was looked after, it was really efficient and fast.

A new Duo arrived within that same week and in no time at all I had it all set up and ready to go, the new Duo was exactly how it should be and I know that these things can happen every now and again. Ultimately it is how the customer and the problem is looked after that makes the experience, and Easywalker really do look after their customers.

First Impressions

The Duo is actually quite heavy when it is all folded up, and I did wonder how I would manage to get it in and out of my Mum's 4x4 as it is quite a weight to lift into her high boot. I knew there and then that my Mum would struggle with the weight of the pushchair when collapsed. When the Duo is erect and ready to hit the road it is a completely different scenario, it is really light and easy to push around, perfect for my Mum when she was out and about with both of the boys. 

I think it is the wheels and the great suspension that make this heavy double a dream to push around. Even with both boys in the seat their weight is distributed and you wouldn't even know they are in there. Leo is 2 years old and his cousin is just about to turn one, so they are not the littlest of boys anymore.

I love how the Duo looks, it is a very smart pushchair and the big wheels open up a wealth of off road destinations that you can journey too. Air filled wheels are one of my biggest loves on a pushchair and are perfect if you like to go out of your typical urban setting. Visiting the park and trekking across grassy terrain is made a doddle and you experience no resistance as you bumble along. 

The quality in this pushchair is apparent from the offset and is sure to turn many heads on your travels. 

I thought it was easy to put up and down, there is a red button on the right hand side of the Duo that you need to push down, and then you need to push the two clips in order to be able to collapse the pushchair and do up the travel safety clip. As I mentioned above, the Duo is bulky when folded and definitely not the lightest of pushchairs. But to get such a versatile pushchair that has the ability to go to all of these different locations that your average double pushchair would flounder, I really think that it is worth it for these features.

Out and about

Going out and about with two little ones can be a mission in it's self so you really want something that can comfortably sit them both. I absolutely love how much room there is in the Duo seats, especially for Leo as he is really getting big these days. Although Leo is putting on size and becoming a proper little boy, he does still rely heavily on being in a pushchair, so Granny definitely needs a double for when Leo get's tired and of course just to keep him where he is supposed to be. Both Leo and his cousin have so much room in the Duo and even though they are sat right next to each other, they have enough distance to not actively bother each other.

Granny does struggle to put the Duo in and out of the car due to her Arthritis, so this is something I tend to do before I go to work if I know she is going to be using it that day. Putting it in and out of the high boot even for me is a mission because of the weight of it, and dropping it on your feet can leave you with a bit of a bruise (I found this out the hard way). Luckily we don't live too far from town, and it can be a nice walk in the right weather so Granny has mainly taken to walking into the town centre with the Duo and taking the grandkids down to the park to feed the ducks.

If you have a big car with a very roomy boot then you should be able to fit the Duo in, Granny has a Rexton 4x4 and it does fit in the boot with no problems at all. 

We have found that we can fit the Easywalker Duo through our front door into the family home, and it can even sit in the hallway when not in use. It fits through most doorways and hasn't stopped Granny darting around the shops.

I am really impressed with how easy it is to get around with the Duo, and with just how much space the kid's both have at the same time. When the pushchair is up and in use it is so easy to navigate and cruise around, it is even easy to push one handed, and I even struggle with that with my Easywalker June. You defiantly forget about how heavy it is when it is collapsed.

The Duo comfortably and safely transports two children, and is such a practical choice for parents of twins or children of multiple ages. You can add on a carry cot or even two. You can use one travel cot and one seat unit. There is a travel solution for every parent of to two little ones, and I know that Granny is really pleased with the Duo for both of her Grandchildren.   

The seat units have 7 recline positions 

One big positive to having a double pushchair has to be having two shopping baskets. I know when I am out and about I often wish I had more space to store things, especially when I have an over filling changing bag it is nice too be able to overload into the shopping basket. Having two gives you so much extra space and is space that has been constructively used to give us practical storage. 

The baskets are generous in size and have zips at the very front in order to extend them further. I have found that we can fit everything that we need for both boys inside them and still have easy access to everything while out and about. Having the two baskets has even given Granny the chance to leave the changing bag at home on occasion depending upon where they are going.

The breaks are so simple to click on and off no matter what shoes you are wearing. I love the simple ease of using these breaks as they click on as soon as you push the pedal and straight back off again when you kick it back up.

Both of the hoods on the Duo are reasonable in size and have an extra extendable sun canopy that you can just flick out when you need it. When you don't need the extra sun canopy you can simply tuck it back under the hood so that it is out of the way.

Putting the Duo Up & Down

As for the folding and un-folding of this pushchair, it really is easy.

To put it up all you need to do is unlock the travel clip and open up the frame by pulling on the handle.

To put it down you need to push up the black buttons on either side of the frame, and then push down the red button on the right hand side of the pushchair. Then by pushing the frame down it will collapse.

Our Over All Thoughts

Over all we really love our Duo, we find it practical and comfortable for the two wriggle monsters. We adore how sturdy and sound it is. It looks great and has been a real head turner as Granny has taken it out and about. Lot's of people have stopped her to compliment her on her big red wheels and asked all about what brand of pushchair it is. It is safe to say that those who weren't familiar with Easywalker, know all about them know!

I am so impressed that such a big all terrain pushchair can be so light and easy to maneuver. I would highly recommend the Duo for new parents expecting twins or are expecting their second child when they will still need a pushchair.

You can find out more information on the Easywalker Duo via the official website.

If you are looking to purchase the Duo, Pramworld currently have it on sale for £599.00 with free delivery at the point of writing this review.

I will leave you with the video we have put together for the Duo that demonstrates a few of my favourite features.

Disclaimer: I was sent the Easywalker Duo for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own (and Granny's of course).

Tuesday 17 September 2013

iCandy Turns 80 Years Old

I was recently invited along to a very prestigious party. A party to celebrate iCandy’s 80 years within the design and nursery sectors. 80 years is such a big achievement and I am sure you will agree that it is definitely something to be proud of, and proud iCandy are. Their pride shines out from each and every product they release into the market place, and their new 2014 models definitely schmooze pride along with the un-deniable quality that we all expect.

I have always loved the iCandy range, so being invited along to see the brand new designs was a very exciting moment!

I was amongst the likes of VIP guests Emilia Fox, Jodie Kidd, Jasmine Guinness and Imogen Thomas. The evening gave me chance to leave my Mummy clothes at home, along with the nappy bag. Swap in my everyday attire for a glitzy dress and some fancy shoes and go and mingle with lot’s of exciting people. iCandy pulled out all the stops for this historic celebration and a red carpet lined the way into One Marylebone where the atmosphere was electric in anticipation of the night ahead.

I soon found myself with a glass of champagne in hand and a canapĂ© in the other, as I stood eyeing up the selection of new pushchairs on display. iCandy is famous for it’s single footprint double pushchair, and having now seen one up close and personal I can certainly see why it is so desirable. Doubles are renowned for being big and bulky, and iCandy have provided a travel solution that completely re-writes your expectations of a double pushchair.

Over 300 guests descended upon One Marylebone to witness the un-veiling of the new collection and celebrate iCandy’s Birthday. It was also a party to mark the beginning of a very special relationship between iCandy and The Lullaby Trust. A cheque of £5,000 was presented to the Lullaby Trust who provide specialist support for bereaved families and anyone affected by the sudden death of an infant. The Lullaby Trust perform research and educate parents on how best to keep their babies safe during sleep.

I personally think that this new relationship is a perfect match, and I am so pleased to see such an active input into such a crucial cause. As parent’s the work that Lullaby Trust does is close to everyone’s hearts.

iCandy presented guests with a very visual cat walk show, complete with grass runway, trees and nature inspired displays. The show kicked off with a set by Whinnie Williams before the iCandy’s Managing Director Martin Boyle stepped on stage to announce the official partnership between iCandy and the Lullaby Trust, and even taught me a thing or two about the prestigious nursery company. Did you know that iCandy was named after Candy…the family pet dog!?

As the evening progressed, the moment everyone had been waiting for descended upon us. An entourage of models strutted down the cat walk one after the other with next seasons up and coming pushchair designs. Vibrant colours shone out against the vibrant white of the models attire, and the audience’s attention was captivated.

We were given a sneak peak into the new debut luxury bags collection, that have been designed by ex-Mulberry designer Janet Collin.

The finale of the show had been reserved for the up and coming design ‘The Raspberry’. It is already tipped to be the new iconic pushchair with it’s release in 2014. I have to say that it looks beautiful, and is a completely new design to iCandy in comparison to anything else they have ever released into the market.

 As if the evening had not been splendid enough, guests were treated to tasty cupcakes from no one other than Fiona Cairns, the baker who baked the wedding cake for the Royal Wedding back in 2011.

I managed to sneak a Royal cupcake back home for Leo, who very much enjoyed it. I was hoping that it would be enough to get me back in his good books for leaving him over night, but I needn’t have worried. I was immediately accepted back into his coveted trusted circle.

iCandy are all geared up to continue to wow parents for 2014, and I am so pleased that I got to witness such a special evening with the team.

Happy 80th Birthday to the iCandy team and I continue to look forward to seeing what else is tucked up their sleeves. 

Disclaimer: I was invited along to the birthday bash and was very excited to share their birthday news with you all. This post includes a featured link.

The JCB Fun Phonics Review

Leo and I have very recently been crowned with a very exciting new title, a role that we are so very excited to take on. We have teamed up with KD UK (formally Inspiration Works) and become part of their new Mumbassadors programme. Our new role is to share our experiences with their products and let you know our honest thoughts and opinions as parents so that you can find honest reviews of the items you are looking to purchase.

With Christmas coming around faster every year, and with less than 100 sleeps to go until Christmas 2013, I hope that our opinions help with Santa’s Christmas grafting!

Our first task as KD UK Mumbassadors is to tell you all about the JCB Fun Phonics. A circular toy with a cut out handle that you can either sit with on your lap or play with on the floor, all the while making lots of great sounds with all of the 26 keys. The aim of the game is to promote learning of new words, the alphabet and letters, in all there are 8 different games to be played which can be achieved by simply turning the pointer over to the new setting.

Leo was really pleased when he was presented with the Fun Phonics, and immediately took it off into the corner to sit and make lots of noise with. He started pointing out the JCBs and telling me ‘tractor’, which of course I expected because he absolutely adores all forms of transportation.

Leo has enjoyed playing with the Fun Phonics, and can independently change the settings himself as it is easy to turn. At present Leo is using it more as a musical instrument, he loves pressing all the buttons and isn’t playing the built in games just yet, but at 2 years old I don’t expect him to be reciting the alphabet word for word or reading the dictionary to me. I do like that Leo is being exposed to these essential life skills in a fun, easy to learn way, and I know that as time goes on this toy is going to really help him in his learning’s.

The JCB Fun Phonics is part of the My First JCB range, which offers a great selection of products from clothes, pre-school toys to Ride-ons and Bikes. As a parent what I personally really liked about this toy was the clear tone of voice that is used to communicate with the children. The volume of the voice is just right and can be heard amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but is not too loud to cause a headache (I know this is what you really wanted to know!).

The colours used for the Fun Phonics in-keep with the JCB Yellow and the multi coloured buttons scattered over the circular plate resemble a multitude of tasty Smarties (before they took all the artificial additives out!) The buttons are en-cased by stickers with all sorts of different images, such as a quad bike, cone and many other industrial items.

The carry handle makes it really easy for little one’s to carry around with them, and it is light enough for toddler hands to handle.

The JCB Fun Phonics is recommended for children form the age of 3 years plus, around the age that many children will be joining in nursery sessions and taking their learning to the next level. So while at the moment Leo is not actively using the Fun Phonics for the desired purpose, he is still loving the bright colours, the clear voice over used to communicate the words the bright design of this pre-school toy.

I can see that just by Leo playing with this toy it is going to help him widen his vocabulary and teach him, without Leo being consciously aware of the fact. Leo loves anything to do with transport, so this is a great way to sit him down with an educational toy.

I do think that this is a great little toy for children learning their letters and ABCs, especially when they take that big step into school. It is definitely a toy that we will be using as Leo continues to grow and learn, as it is such a great learning aid for a child, and not just because it has a JCB on it.

Although…. Leo may tell you otherwise.

The JCB Fun Phonics is currently on offer at Asda at the point of writing this review in their 2 for £20.00 toy deal.

Disclaimer: I was sent the JCB Fun Phonics for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Monday 16 September 2013

Perran Sands Holiday Park

Perran sands holiday park, cornwall

With more and more of us looking to holiday a little closer to home, our eyes are setting sights on the British coasts and what they have to offer. This summer has been the perfect opportunity to hop in the car and drive, the climate has reflected similar to those abroad and provided the perfect chance to see what the sunny UK has hidden away.

 Just a short drive from Newquay lies Perran Sands Holiday Park; one of Britain’s favourite holiday resorts. And with fantastic access to some of Cornwall’s best beaches and surfing hotspots, you’d be hard pushed to find a better location for your next holiday.

About Perran Sands
Perran Sands Holiday Park couldn’t be closer to the beach unless it was on it; with direct access to the beach over the sand dunes, you can be at the large sandy bay within minutes of leaving your caravan. And because holidays in Cornwall attract a wide range of people, Perran Sands offers a wide variety of accommodation to suit every family and every budget.

If you’re looking for something more unusual than tents and static caravans, why not try glamping? This new trend to hit the camping world has taken the UK’s top holiday hotspots by storm and now you can enjoy it at Haven too. Save yourself the hassle of pitching your own tent by staying in a pre-assembled supertent that sleeps up to six people.

And for a truly luxurious camping experience, stay in one of Perran Sands’ yurts – a round, wooden canvas tent that comes fully equipped with a grill and a fridge freezer. They sleep up to eight people but book fast because they sell out quickly.

Why choose Perran Sands
Have we already mentioned Perran Sands’ fantastic location? Lying right at the heart of Cornwall’s surfing scene, the minute you arrive you’ll know you’re in one of the UK’s most vibrant holiday destinations. Popular with both the young and the old, and if you like it here that much you can even buy your own caravan. With caravans for sale that suit a wide range of families and budgets, it’s easy to find the right one for you. What’s more, to give you that extra bit of help financing your holiday home, Haven offers affordable finance packages and the possibility of renting out your caravan when you’re not using it. This will help you to generate extra income to cover your holiday home’s running costs.

Things to do in Cornwall
Cornwall is one of the nation’s favourite places to visit so you’ll never be short of something to do there. And while the scenery alone is a sight to behold, if you’re looking for something a little more exciting a trip to Flambards Theme Park is a must. Ride the Skyraker 001, the only drop twisting tower ride in the country and explore the big ride zone, which will be loved by thrill seekers the world over.

But Flambards isn’t just for big kids; take your little ones to Ferdi’s Funland where they can enjoy the classic teacup ride, the pirate ship and take a ride on the animal express.

And for a timeless day out that generations of families have enjoyed, spend a day at Land’s End. Just one hour from the Perran Sands holiday village, Land’s End is the most south-westerly point of mainland Britain and its beautiful, rugged scenery is not to be missed. Complete your holiday with a family photo at the famous Land’s End signpost. Who knows, one day your children may even go back with their own children and have a photo taken there too.

Disclaimer: This is a featured post.

Saturday 14 September 2013

26 Month's Old

So all of a sudden you are 26 months old 
(and 18 days at the point of writing this.)
Or depending how you wish to look at it...

115 weeks or 810 days.
Or 19440 hours..
Or 1166400 minutes..
or even...69984000 seconds...

My point is, you are growing up. 
Right before my very eyes.
I haven't thought of your age in months for a while. 
When every anyone asks how old you are my reply is that you are two. 
But I think it is important to remember that you are still a relatively young two.

All of a sudden you are your very own little person with a very distinct personality. 
You tell me all about what you are wanting and how you would like to spend the day ahead.
Ever since your holiday and your very first bus ride, you have been telling me how you want to go on another adventure. But that adventure MUST involve either a train ride, or a bus.

Anywhere you go where we cross paths with a big red bus, you play your face. You want a ride and you want a ride there and then. Who knew that your perfect day out would consist of hopping on a bus?

All of your latest and greatest words seem to have everything to do with transport. You tell me 'Car', 'Choo' 'Wheels' and 'Bus'. 'Choo' of course means train, and maybe for anyone else they may look at you side ways wondering what on earth you are talking about... But those closet to you know exactly what you mean.

You seem to be coming out with new things all of the time these days, some things I know that you certainly haven't picked up at home. Take your first outburst of 'Oh My God' that sprung unexpectedly out of your mouth in front of Granny back in August as she filmed you on your balance bike. I think that has come from the boy next door as he exclaims it frequently as Tigger decides to hop into their garden. It just shows that you are taking in absolutely everything that you hear. Every little thing we think you may not have actually heard. 

You are an all seeing all knowing little guy.

If you do something you shouldn't and I say 'Oh...Leo' you have taken to saying 'Oh... Mumma' back to me. Of course this is dependent on who has frustrated you, you can differ your feelings in this manner to Granny, Dadda or even baby Josh! 

I noticed a few weeks back that you were using your plastic drill in a very strange way, it looked like you were performing stealth moves as you criss crossed around the room, slightly slumped as though you were an under cover secret agent. You looked as though you were pretending your drill was actually a gun! It didn't take me long to piece together the information... You have been sneaking into your Uncle Chris's room to play Xbox... and apparently Call of Duty....

What is really putting a smile on my face these days is everything that you are remembering. You recognise places that you have been. You remember things within those places and cannot wait to go back and tell me all about them. 

You are going through a complete and utter Mummy phase at present, wanting to be with me all the time and saying 'no' when I tell you I have to go to work. You are fine after I do go to work, but when I come back you attach yourself like a lippet and don't want me to put you down again. It's like you know that very soon I have to head back to the office again.  

Your love of vehicles streams right into what you are liking to watch on the television, although you are still loving Timmy Sheep and Mike the Knight... Disney Pixar Car's has stormed into the house and you seem to watch it most days. In fact I have sat and watched it with you so frequently now that I have even found myself wondering how Tow Mator even wrote that letter to Lightning McQueen? Funnily enough... They don't show you this in the film, because how on earth could they get a car to hold a pen!?

All the toys you are playing with at present have wheels! You are just smitten with cars, trucks, busses and trains. You are found each and every day with your favourite cars in hand, pushing them around the television stand or putting them down ramps, all the while perfecting your car noises as they hurtle around.

As for naps you are still so reliant on at least one a day. We seem to be mainly down to one sleep around 11am but you can sleep for hours on end, and if you don't get this nap then we are in for it when dinner time strikes. You don't handle being tired very well at all, and usually will refuse dinner and just head straight to sleep. 

You are at an age now where I can explain why we cannot watch Timmy on the television again, or go and feed the ducks just yet... Because they have 'gone to bed to go to sleep'. This is an explanation you seem to accept and understand. You like to tell me how all these different things have gone to 'bed'...But when you say it little man it really comes across as 'dead'. Which admittedly can be a little awkward when you decide to point at strangers....Thankfully you don't have your drill at this point!

So Leo, this is you at 26 months old. All of the things that have stood out for me at this point in your life. I like to keep everything noted so I can look back at what you liked doing and what you didn't like doing. Everything you do, every little milestone is going to be remembered. Every little thing that may otherwise be forgotten, like your love for trains and bus's, or how you played your face for Disney Car shoes....not forgetting how you had already started taking your shoes off before I had even checked for your size on the rack!

And of course... This means I will never forget any of your latest 'tricks'. So Leo feast your eyes on your latest favourite party gimmick, and please remember that you grunt like a pig at the same time.

My little prince charming hey?

Monday 9 September 2013

I Remember....

I can remember lying with you in that hospital bed on that very first night. I watched you sleep and took in every little detail of the little life I had just welcomed into the world. 

It was just you and me as visiting hours had now been and gone, it was well into the night and I still couldn't take my eyes off you. 

I still remember how my mind was racing, racing with thoughts to what the future would bring. 

Wondering what you would grow up to be?

How you would change over the first couple of years and what those very first words would be to come out of your gummy mouth.

Would you like all of the food that you tried or become a little fussy monster?

Would you be a Mummy's boy or one of the boy's with Daddy? 

Two years have passed and I have seen you grow and change right before my eyes. Every day brings a new adventure that we take on together. 

You make me laugh like no one else can and we truly our a special team.

Your a Mummy's boy through and through, and I think I always knew you would be from the very start.

Even now I still sit and watch you dream. I let my mind run away with all of those future moments that we will experience together, those milestones you will surpass. 

I wonder what the next two years will bring? 

What your next new word will be? 

It is hard to believe that in two years time you will be four years old.

But even then I will sneak in to watch you dream your dreams, and I will keep wondering what the future will bring.

Beyond Group 1 - What Next?

Beyond Group 1, What Next?  Mark Bennett, Car Seat Safety Expert from BRITAX explains that as children move to a Group 2/3 stage car seat, safety whilst travelling should remain a key priority.

With many children starting school this week or next, parents up and down the country are bracing themselves for the years of school runs ahead.  Whilst a new uniform, new shoes and school bag may seem like your child’s number one priority, you need to ensure that little ones get to school safely and on time. 

It may feel that only yesterday you were buying your first car seat for your newborn and then just when you were getting to grips with Group 1, the next stage car seat will sneak up on you, around about the time they will be finishing pre-school.  Whilst your little one may appear to be a strong big boy or girl as they reach the age of four, keeping them safe whilst travelling is still top priority. 

Mark Bennett explains, ‘As your child moves into a new phase of their life with school, it is a good time to do a ‘health check’ on your travel safety.  Many parents are still unaware that it is required by law for children to travel in a car seat until they are 135cm tall or 12 years old – whichever comes first - so the final Group 2-3 stage car seats will see your child from the age of four all the way until they are 12 years of age.

At the age of four or 15 kg, children are old enough to move to an adult seat belt but this doesn’t mean they don’t need protection.  Many parents believe children will be safe on a booster cushion, a small platform that lifts them up on the seat, however these are not safe as they do not have the all important side impact protection of deep side wings and a protective headrest.’

In fact, car seat safety technology for children aged 4 years plus has advanced so much that a new era of car seat travel for stage 2-3 has been born with BRITAX setting new safety standards in the industry.  The arrival of the new KIDFIX XP SICT features the latest technology for keeping your child safer than ever.  The new seat features an innovative XP-PAD, a cushioned seat belt pad, which works in the event of a collision by taking the energy of crash forces away from the child’s chest area and supports their neck as the chin hits the compressed cushion, should the child’s head jolts forward.  This reduces high neck loads by up to 30% in comparison to a normal 3-point seat belt.
Side impact protection is a key priority for BRITAX as side impact collisions are one of the most frequent and dangerous types of collisions on the roads*.   BRITAX has developed energy management cushions known as Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT) which offers superior side impact protection.  The new flexible SICT cushion is on both sides of the KIDFIX XP SICT, but only needs to be activated on the side closest to the door, ensuring space and comfort on the side of the seat for additional passengers.  These ground breaking cushions work to absorb the forces of a side collision before they reach your child, making these seats the safest Group 2-3 seat currently offered by BRITAX.

To find out more about the new KIDFIX XP SICT, visit

Mark Bennett has compiled some FAQ’s to help parents understand the final Group 2-3 car seat stage.

Q.  What is a booster cushion?  If they are sold why are they not safe?
A.  At BRITAX, we’re always striving to ensure that we offer the maximum protection for your children as they develop.  With recent research showing that side collisions are one of the most frequent and fatal types of crashes on the roads*, BRITAX decided to stop selling booster cushions.  Booster cushions are better than no car seat, however they offer no side impact protection.  BRITAX recommend a BRITAX ‘highback’ booster, which offers deep protective side wings and head support.  These work to absorb crash forces in the event of a collision whilst protecting the child’s head.

The reason they are still sold is because EU safety standards don’t currently test for side collisions, but here at BRITAX, we do to ensure children are protected from every angle of impact. 

Q.  How do I know when my little one is ready to move to Group 2-3?
A. You should move your little one from a Group 1 to a Group 2-3 seat when they reach the weight limit of 18kg, or if their eye-line is higher than the seat’s highest point – whichever comes first.  This is usually at the age of four years. Alternatively, you can extend the time your child can enjoy the safety of a five point harness to 25kg by using the new BRITAX XTENSAFIX.

Q.  Can I buy an XP-PAD to add to my old Group 2-3 seat?
A. No.  The XP-PAD is integrated into the KIDFIX XP SICT.

Q.   What actually is the current law when it comes to car seat safety for 4 + year olds?
It is required by law for children to travel in a car seat until they are 135cm tall or approximately 12 years old whichever comes first.

Q. How do you fit a Group 2-3 car seat?
A Group 2-3 car seat can be fitted by ISOFIT, where the child safety seat is attached to the vehicle body with connectors in the same way as ISOFIX.  It is classified as ISOFIT rather than ISOFIX as the child is secured by means of the adult 3-point seatbelt. ISOFIX is a term used in Group 0+/1 where the child is secured by means of a five point harness, and the car seat is fitted to the ISOFIX connections points.

Q. How do I know which is the best Group 2-3 seat for my family?
Every family is unique and has different considerations and practicalities to consider when choosing a seat.  To help simplify the process, BRITAX has created a unique online tool that assists a parent to identify the right seat for their child and their car.  For each seat, Fit FinderTM will also inform the users what seat positions are approved in the vehicle and the appropriate fitting method.  You can view the latest Fit FinderTM here

* Casimir “Child Car Passenger Fatalities – European Figures and In-Depth Study”; Alan Kirk; Loughborough University, UK; Conference:  Protection of children in cars, Munich, 2011

Disclaimer: I am sharing this as a Britax Mumbassadar and because I think it answers a lot of questions that I have asked. I have not been paid or compensated for this post.