Thursday, 31 October 2013

A Very Halloween

Halloween has crept upon us once a again. That one time of year it is acceptable to look as sightly as humanly possible. In-fact the scarier the better right!?

Now Leo is getting older I have enjoyed planning activities that we can do together, and tomorrow we will be carving pumpkins and eating sweet treats, and maybe even cooking up some screaming cupcakes.

Leo has a Halloween costume that he will be donning while we partake in our special day, and may even wear it out and about. He will be ever so excited to see the jack-o-lanterns all lit up when we place them out on our front doorstep to welcome the neighborhood's trick and treaters.

We have a selection of sweeties that we will be handing out during the trick or treating hours... I may even let Leo help me answer the front door. His reaction may be treat enough...

I have actually been having a browse on Very.co.uk on the run up to Halloween, on the hunt for fun ideas to help make the day that extra bit spooky. They have a lovely range of children's fancy dress which was great inspiration for Leo's costume. 

Leo will be dressed as a creepy crawly spider.
(Pictures to follow...)



What are your plans for Halloween?

DisclaimerThis featured post was brought to you in association with Very




Saturday, 26 October 2013

#CLOCKSGOBACK – WHAT WILL YOU DO?


#CLOCKSGOBACK – WHAT WILL YOU DO?

It’s official, the clocks go back on Sunday 27th October at 2am. We all get an extra hour… but how will you utilise the extra time? Will you be staying in bed, smugly snuggling further under the duvet? Or will you be hopping out of bed to perk up those pecks and do a spot of exercise? Or will you be giving your time to a worth-while charity or cause?

Whatever you may be doing, Warren Evans wants you to share it with them as part of their national Clocks Go Back Week. Just post ‘when the #clocksgoback…’ on the Warren Evans Facebook competition post on their timeline and you will be entered to win a handmade double bed and a luxuriously comfortable mattress! Visit https://www.warrenevans.com/blog/ to find out more.

The winner will be announced on Monday 28th October on the Warren Evans timeline. T&Cs apply.

Disclaimer: This is a featured post

Friday, 25 October 2013

Can you ever really be ready?


There is so much to think about when you welcome a new baby into the world, what nappies will you be using? Will you bottle feed or breastfeed? Do you have enough babygrows? Will you cope with the lack of sleep? Will you know how to soothe your baby when they just want a cry?

Having a baby really is a mind field of questions, but then of course after the immediate queries you may have had about pregnancy and birth, there is a whole new battlefield to take on...

As soon as I had Leo I was in-undated with phone calls and emails about life insurance. Did I have one in place and did I want to hear about their latest super duper policy? On one occasion when Leo was a few weeks old I popped into the post office only for the lady behind the desk to quiz me on my life insurance policy, and to think I had only gone in to post a letter.

I was taken by surprise by all of this, as before I had given birth this was not a topic of conversation with anyone. Then all of a sudden it was all anyone wished to talk about...

It may surprise you how much money your newborn baby will be gifted in those first weeks, when everyone wants to come and cuddle your beautiful bundle. I know I was shocked when Leo's piggy bank started to overflow from all of the love and generosity that had been bestowed upon him. 

So among the madness of having a newborn baby to nurture, my mind pondered bank accounts, and where would be the best place to safely place Leo's money, so that one day it was there for when he needed it. I actually discussed the best options with Leo's Granddad, as he knows how to find the best ISAs online and all about the best interest accounts. Ultimately he knew how to help us do our best best for Leo's money. 

We discussed the current savings accounts for children, and even the option of opening up a cash ISA in my own name to store Leo's pennies for him. We had no desire to withdraw any of Leo's money once it was safely stored away, as our view was that this money was for him once he came of age.  

For me when I was pregnant I hadn't thought ahead this far. My mind pondered the typical new parent routine, and I wondered if I had enough baby clothes for my growing bump... Not once while I was pregnant did bank accounts and life insurance come into my mind.

But then never did I once consider that at 5 months old my little boy would have his very own passport.. 

Being a parent really is a whole new ball game.
Can you ever really be 100% ready?

Disclaimer: This is a featured post.




Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Bally the Tiger ShamZee Review

I have very recently told you all about our Purple Monkey CuddleUpPet, and now I am going to be telling you about another rather exciting item that we have been reviewing over the last couple of weeks. Again it is something that I had never come across before, but it is definitely popular among the kids.

You see Leo has been trying out a ShamZee. And in case you are wondering what on earth a ShamZee is, let me join up those dot's for you...

Meet Bally, the Tiger ShamZee who has descended into our lives and EATEN Leo's pillow. Yes this cheeky chappy has opened his big wide mouth and swallowed Leo's pillow in one gigantic gulp. That ladies and gentleman is what makes ShamZee's our pillow friends.


Leo gave me no time to spare in introducing Bally to Leo's pillow. In comparison to any other pillow case he has had in the past or could even imagine having... Bally is the coolest pillow case ever. If Leo had those words in his vocabulary then I know he would be the first to tell you this.

To put your ShamZee on your pillow, it is simply a case of popping open the velcro mouth and popping your pillow into their expectant mouths. Leo swears down that once the pillow was in Bally's mouth that he let out a big satisfied burp.. I think Leo was letting his imagination run wild with him again.

Bally has quickly become Leo's favourite pillow case. He is bright soft and comfortable to lay your head. The feet at the bottom haven't interfered with Leo getting comfortable like I originally thought they may, and have nicely slipped under the actual pillow out of the way. 


ShamZee's are machine washable (you will be very pleased to hear) and Bally has already taken his first trip through the machine, as Leo is a clumsy boy with his milk bottle. Bally has come out of the wash as good as new and is already back on Leo's bed.

ShamZee's would be a great idea for kid's going to a sleep over, or to maybe help encourage their nap times!? Either way they are never going to loose their pillow again.

As you can see from the above photo, Leo hasn't just left Bally in his cot... Oh no. Bally comes downstairs to play with Leo as he goes about his day. ShamZee's don't have to stay in bed all day!

ShamZee's retail at £19.99, and for this price I would like to see that the pillow is included in the cost, but at the time of writing this review, you have to provide the pillow separately.

To find out more information about Snuggle Pets and help with your kids bed time routine head over to www.UKMums.tv for its Snuggle Pets takeover from 11th to 24th November 2013.

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

The Purple Monkey CuddleUpPet Review


What is a CuddleUpPet I hear you ask? 

It is certainly not something I had come across before having a child of my own, but along with all of the other knowledge I have acquired since Leo burst into my life, CuddleUpPets are now very much known to me...

CuddleUpPet's are soft blankets with puppet heads and they come in a variety of different styles so your little one can have a friendly companion for bedtime or even when you are globetrotting around the world. 

I have recently been sent the Purple Monkey to have a cuddle up with, I say I but I do mean Leo...


Leo already has a favourite blanket, so our poor monkey friend didn't really stand a chance with Leo. But luckily for me, my younger sister Alice happily stepped up to fill Leo's shoes and she told me exactly what she thought of our new CuddleUpPet.

'The blanket is really soft and nice to snuggle up with. I have taken it to bed with me and it has kept me lovely and warm now the nights are getting colder. I have been showing Leo the Monkey puppet and he always giggles as I try and eat his hands with the Monkey's mouth. I like how big the blanket is as it allows me to wrap myself up inside it. The material the blanket is made from is not incredibly thick but as it is so soft it still keeps you really warm'.
Alice - Almost 12...

I have also given the Purple Monkey a cuddle, and had a play with the very charismatic puppet. I found the blanket warm, but agreed with Alice on the fact that it is not incredibly thick. To be honest though this is why it is so easy to transport with you on your travels, you wouldn't want to be carting around a duvet would you? 

If you keep the box you can actually fold your CuddleUpPet back up and store him (or her) away in the box until you next need it, which gives you an idea of how easy it is to fold back up. I like how cheeky the monkey actually looks, and it is very easy to use as a puppet. Leo had some wonderful chuckles as we paraded around the room trying to catch up with him. It is a standing game even now.

CuddleUpPets retail at £19.99 and would make a perfect Christmas gift this festive season.


To find out more information about Snuggle Pets and help with your kids bed time routine head over to www.UKMums.tv for its Snuggle Pets takeover from 11th to 24th November 2013.

Disclaimer: I was sent the Purple Monkey CuddleUpPet for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and have been formed with our personal experience with this product.






Monday, 21 October 2013

The annual clear out


Each year I like to go through everything I have accumulated over the course of the year, this is especially true around Christmas and Birthday's when I have to clear out the old and un-used in replacement for the new to come in.

I am currently sorting through Leo's older toys, there are so many things that he no longer plays with and with Christmas not that far away I am using my initiative to get one step ahead. My mission is to sort Leo's playroom and still have some time to spare before Santa's work shop explodes in it's place.

It's not just toys that seem to creep up out of nowhere in this house, it is a whole manner of things, clothes that Leo has outgrown, CDs, DVDs and now even Blu-Rays. All things that will be descending upon the house in December. Although I like to keep all of my music, as I do re-visit old CD's from time to time, DVDs and Blu-Rays on the other hand are things that I only watch a once or twice, as there is only so many times you can watch the same film. Unless your name is Leo...Then apparently it is more than fitting to watch the same film over and over again.

I have put a stop to actually purchasing any more DVDs for me as I have such a wide selection of On Demand titles to watch, so the only films I tend to purchase these days are for Leo. For the masses of films that we do currently own I have been having a look at selling them on MusicMagpie.

MusicMagpie let's you trade in all sorts, so it is the perfect place for me to shift some of the things I no longer need or want. You just need to enter what it is you wish to sell or even just scan the barcode if you have a webcam or a smart phone to hand.

I think at this time of year we are all gearing ourselves up for a busy festive season, so this annual clear out is essential so that there is room to start all again for next year.

Do you have an annual clear out?

Disclaimer: In collaboration with MusicMagpie




Friday, 18 October 2013

These Autumn Days


The leaves that were only a vibrant Green a few short weeks ago, have mellowed and crisped taking on their golden coluring for Autumn. Slowly the golden leaves have relinquished their hold on the tree and floated down to the woodland below. 

Autumn has rolled around again.

Leo loves any excuse to get out and about, and now he is at the perfect age to do just that. I walked him down to the local nature reserve today, a place I used to play as a child. I would be running around there in my welly's rain or shine, and as the reserve backs on to my parents house, I was given the freedom that any young child desires.


My time was spent building dens up high in trees, or among the clearing of a bush and even now those memories are clear in my mind. Once upon a time I was a ample tree climber, a tom boy through and through. On occasion I had to be hosed down with a hose pipe in the middle of winter due to falling in a few mud baths on my adventures... I re-call a less than impressed Mother not letting me come back into the house until every shred of mud had been washed away.

Suffice to say it was a little cold...

With Leo proudly sporting his wellington boots we opened up the garden gate and peered into the now overgrown nature reserve. The paths I had once walked were grown over with relentless nettles and the entire space I had once known like the back of my hand looked like a completely different world. Leo walked around triumphantly, and gladly let me pick him up and run down that rather steep hill that I had once done with ease. Today I was a little skeptical as to whether it was a good idea or not, but luckily even in wedge boots I managed to pull it off.


Leo saw no fear at all and giggled the whole way down, the bumpier the better.

Leo proudly held my hand as we walked around the nature reserve, and smiled as he found that Autumn had not yet diminished all of the Blackberries. Stealthily Leo took ample supplies from the Blackberry bush, and streaked the berries around his lips leaving that dark mustache as a tell tale sign that he had been munching them. His main mission after this was to hunt down the remaining Blackberries that were hanging around the place.

Although the old pond where I used to catch Newts and Tadpoles has long since dried up and grown over, some of the trees I used to climb have got old and blown over in the wind, there are still some land marks of my childhood around the place. A tree I occasionally used to climb is still standing tall, and as I showed my curious 2 year old, he seemed incredibly excited to have a climb for himself. He tried his darnedest but admittedly did take a few tumbles, but he got into the crook he had aimed for eventually. 

A very triumphant moment for him and a very proud Mummy moment for me!


Feeling a little bit of my childhood returning to me, in my wedge heels I climbed up past Leo balancing my iPhone in the sides of my jeggings, and hanging my big camera on a branch...All the while willing myself not to fall. When I perched myself a few branches higher than Leo, he wanted me to lift him up with me... I took this as my time to act my age and not my shoe size and climbed back down to his level.

I forsee future tree climbing experiences in our future...



After our very lovely stroll around the Autumn woodland, my mind pondered how we were going to get back up the hill again. The slippy, muddy hill that may prove a little difficult if Leo decided he wished for me to carry him. But my little champ climbed all the way back up with complete ease.

What a superstar!



Here is Leo's Autumn Adventure in the woods.
The very first of many..





  

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The Perfect Catch

Life is all about firsts, and these first few years of Leo's life has been first for many things. 

Each day Leo does something else that makes me so incredibly proud, and sometimes things you don't expect them to do for the longest time.. they just happen right before your eyes.

I can remember the day Leo started walking as though it was just yesterday, he caught me completely off guard and just took to those feet of his. He literally just got up and walked, within hours he was trying to play football. 

Running before you can really walk springs to mind...

But then that is just Leo all over, he always has been hands on and wants to be involved in everything that goes on. 

But tonight he caught me off guard once again.

Tonight Leo caught a ball that was thrown to him!
For the VERY first time!

I was in the kitchen at Granny's house when I heard a round of applause. I ran in to see what my little man had achieved and was greeted with lots of proud faces. Granny explained that Leo had successfully caught a ball that had been thrown in his direction.

My mind pondered the fact it could have been a fluke, but Leo successfully went on to catch the ball time and time again. Of course he had his moments where he wasn't so successful (Just like his Mumma...) but at 27 months old, I think this is a fantastic achievement.


You will notice in the video that Leo is wearing his shiny Red Wellington Boots.. He wears them everywhere at present as they are his all time favourite foot wear...

I think it is safe to say that Leo is going to be a keen sportsman as he grows, and this is one more super achievement to add to his bulging list of achievements.

What age did your little one catch a ball for the first time?


The Adventures Of The Easywalker June Continue...


We have been using the Easywalker June for a year now, and I have say that I still love it as much as I ever did. What I consistently love about the June is just how compact it is, after using other pushchairs after the June, I have found a new appreciation for just how compact it is. I can comfortable fit the June in my car and it takes up minimal room, and this for me is a very important factor.

In this adventure I will be telling you all about our trip to the beach, but if you wanted to see the June in the snowy conditions of last year then you can view those images here.

The June has accompanied me many places and even very almost appeared in the Daily Mail after we visited an event last year. Imogen Thomas was having her photo taken just in front of where I had parked my June. So THAT right there is my June's claim to fame!


Back in May my family visited Devon for a weeks break, I took the June along as my choice of pushchair because I had been waiting for a chance to take it to the beach. I wanted to see just how well the June would cope with the sandy terrain, so that is exactly what I did.

Walking down the sea front was as easy as it ever was, the June drove beautifully with a very excited Leo at the helm. As we walked closer to the beach the more sand we encountered on the path, this didn't effect the June in the slightest and we carried on our merry way.


I decided to walk the June down onto the beach just to see if the wheels could cope with such a high volume of sand. As the sand got deeper I started to notice that it was slowly but surely getting harder to push, until I could no longer move it any more. 

This beach had deep sand in places and this is where we struggled taking the June. For the most part though the June handled incredibly well, but I do think that it would probably do better on a pebbled beach rather than such a sandy one like the one we frequented.

Leo is now 27 months old and I still find the June light and easy to steer. It is everything that I need in a pushchair as I have the freedom to go where I please without having to really consider whether or not the wheels can hack it or not. Because the wheels really can hack it.


Back in August we had a little mishap with the wheels... I made the mistake of asking Luke to put some air in all four of them so that they were ready for a trip to Legoland. But Luke somehow managed to put to much air in the wheels which caused one of them to go bang. So make sure you read the instructions before you decide to get a little bit too carried away with the air like Luke did....

The June is now back on the road with a new wheel and is set to go on many more adventures. I am passing the June over to my friend Lucy at Mummy Speaks Aloud to try out with her girls. Lucy will be sharing her personal experiences with the June so that she can give you all a second review. This second review will be an interesting comparison as Lucy has a 2 year old, and a baby under one.


In the June's absence I will be putting Easywalker's latest stroller through it's paces. I am very excited to be trying out the new Easywalker Mini, and I will be sharing our latest and greatest adventures right here on the blog.

Keep your eyes pealed for the full review and see where we end up as we get to know the very smart, and very savvy Easywalker Mini.




Snowflake the White Gorilla DVD Review & GIveaway

Leo is at an age now where he is actually appreciating films on the television. Now the weather is turning colder, and at times when there is nothing but rain falling from the skies... We like to cuddle up on the sofa, light the fire and close the curtains on this dismal weather.. With a film of Leo's choosing of course...

We were recently sent 'Snowflake, the White Gorilla' on DVD, and a few weeks ago while Leo was a poorly boy, we cuddled up together ready for our at home cinema experience. In typical Leo style he played his face to start with, he has become accustomed to watching one film over and over again, and I was just pleased to not know the story-line off by heart..

'Snowflake, the White Gorilla' is about a very special Gorilla. Snowflake is the only White Gorilla in the entire world, and for that reason she has been made to feel like she is a miss fit and that she quite simply doesn't belong. Snowflake was born into the wild, but is soon brought into captivity and is actually gifted to a young girl named Wendy. Wendy's Dad works at the local zoo and he has taken Snowflake in until she is big enough to be introduced to the Gorilla enclosure at the zoo. 

In this time frame where Snowflake lives with Wendy and her family, she becomes very close with Wendy, and when the time comes to send Snowflake to the zoo neither of them wish to leave one another.

When Snowflake is left with the other Gorilla's she soon begins to feel incredibly self concious about how different she looks to them, but despite being so very un-popular with her own kind, she is the zoo's number one main attraction. Snowflake would give anything to be just like the other Gorilla's and so sets off on a journey to the circus, where she plans on seeing a witch who can help her blend in with the rest of them...

I personally thought that this story highlights important issues that children do come across each and every day, and shows why we shouldn't judge people by how they look. Values that I do want to in-still in Leo.

Leo loved the film from start to finish and despite feeling poorly, he still managed to showcase that beautiful smile of his. 

From an adults perspective I noticed that the sound was out of sync with the characters actually speaking pretty quickly, but this wasn't enough to ruin the film for me. The main thing is that Leo enjoyed it and demanded to watch it again after the credits rolled around.

Now if you have a little one who would like to watch this film, I have an exciting opportunity for one reader to win a copy on DVD.

All you have to do is enter using the Raffle copter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:
Please only enter this giveaway if you live within the United Kingdom. A winner willl be chosen at random on the condition they have completed the entry form honestly.Once a winner had been chosen you will be contacted via email, if you do not respond within 48 hours another winner will be picked at random and the original winner's notification will not be valid. 


Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Most Shiny Red Wellington Boots


There was once a young boy called Leo who had the most shiny red wellies in the land. 
They were so shiny and so red that once his eyes fell upon them, they just had to be his.
But these wellies were not just any wellies...
Leo's shiny red wellington boots had a very special character embellished on either foot.

Lightning McQueen.

This is why they were the most precious treasure in Leo's shoe cupboard. 
Why all of a sudden they were his favourite.

Leo very quickly decided that these wellies would be the only footwear he would wear.
He would wear them while he was inside the house with his pajamas..
Or even after just getting out of the bath...
He would wear them religiously day in and out, 
even when he was just kicking back and watching some television.

Leo's Mummy knew that there was no way that he would wear any other shoes for the foreseeable future, and she just counted her lucky stars that he wasn't wearing them to bed!
When asked if Leo would like his shiny red wellington boots off, he replied with a simple 'NO!' and when he finally did want them off... they were the very first things he would want on in a morning. Even before his clothes.

Leo loved the freedom the wellington boots gave him.
They let him jump in puddles without the usual disconcerting look from Mumma.
They let him run around outside in the mud.
They had LIGHTNING MCQUEEN on them!

Leo's Mummy know that they will be the shoe choice for tomorrow. 
So she best have them ready to hop straight on his expectant feet.


Pampers & UNICEF team up for their 8th consecutive year!


Last year I told you all about Pampers and their fantastic partnership with UNICEF. This year is the Eighth consecutive year that they have joined forces in a mission to fight against Maternal and Newborn Tetanus (MNT).

What is MNT?

MNT mainly affects Mother’s and babies living in Africa and Southern and Easten Asia, really in any areas where the women have little or no access to health care. It is mainly such an issue due to inadequate immunisation services, a lack of hygienic places to give birth with many women giving birth at home on the floor, or on the side of a river bank. The after care services after having a baby are another cause with the improper cutting of the umbilical cord which can lead to infection.

MNT is a swift and painful disease with the power to kill. It killed 59,000 newborn babies back in 2008 alone. Once the disease is contracted, the fatality rate is pretty high (up to 100%) if hospital care and treatment is not sought.

As parents we all want the best start for our babies, and the fact of the matter is MNT is preventable! In fact with the right vaccinations MNT can become a thing of the past. Pampers have already helped rid MNT in 10 of the world's poorest countries: to eliminate MNT in ten of the world’s poorest countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Myanmar, Senegal, Tanzania, Timor Leste and Uganda.

But there is still lot's of women and babies who need our help, and that is precisely why Pampers and UNICEF have teamed up for their 8th year.

Earlier this month Pampers invited myself and other parents along to support them in their campaign to help make every parents wish of a healthy start for their children a reality. I was so looking forward to attending and hearing all about how Pampers and UNICEF have helped parents and babies in the last year. Unfortunately not long after arriving in London Leo became poorly, so we had to hop in a taxi and catch the next train home again. 

I still wanted to tell you all about the latest campaign as it is a subject very close to my heart, and it is so easy for you to get involved and help. 

1 Pack = 1 Vaccine 

During October – December 2013, you can help Pampers® and UNICEF protect women of child-
bearing age and pregnant women in the developing world against MNT. For each Pampers® - UNICEF pack purchased, Pampers® will donate for example the cost of one tetanus vaccine to support in the fight against MNT. 

1 View = 1 Life-Saving Vaccine / 1 Share = 1 Life-Saving Vaccine

During October – December 2013, you can help Pampers® and UNICEF protect women of child-
bearing age and pregnant women in the developing world against tetanus. For each view of our films on http://www.youtube.com/user/Pampers Pampers® tetanus vaccine to support UNICEF in the fight against MNT. Each film depicts what a healthy start to life can bring, through the eyes of children.

Leo and I are avid Pampers fans already, so even if you are not usually using them, why not for just a few months in order to support this life saving campaign? 

I wish I could have shown my face at the event and heard Emma Bunton speak so passionately about the work she has been doing with Pampers and UNICEF, but unfortunately that day was not the day for Leo and I to meet our favourite Spice Girl.



So let's get our little one's in Pampers and support this campaign with everything we have got. Lets give these parents and babies the support and chances that we take fore-granted. Lets help make a difference!


Friday, 11 October 2013

In Your Own Sweet Time


I have said before how Leo still seems a lot younger, more baby like than other toddlers his age. He still seems to need me in ways that other children have surpassed, and this is something that I am clutching to for as long as he will let me.

Leo is one of those toddlers who says things, but he definitely seems to have his own little language going on. For instance... Lightning McQueen is known as 'Da da da' but regardless of it sounding nothing like the actual name, I always know what he is babbling on about. It is a consistent word he uses to describe the lovable red car off of Disney's Cars. For the longest time anything that Leo considered was hot, was known as 'Oosh', and although he still uses this word, he has added 'hot' and 'fire' into his vocabulary.

A week or so ago I noticed that Leo had stopped saying 'Yeah' and replaced it with 'Yes'. It was just a sudden switch for every answer that he replied to. The way he pronounces it is just so endearing, so lovely to hear.

Among all of the words that everyone would understand, there are still quite a few words that Leo seems to make up as he goes along, but for the most part we have a perfect understanding. 

We haven't really had any counting or 'ABC's' coming out of his mouth just yet, but I am always counting and discussing colours with him. In fact one of Leo's favourite things to count are the wheels on the car, but instead of saying 'Four' he says 'more'.

 Apparently my persistence is paying off though... Yesterday Leo was lay cuddled up in my lap when all of a sudden he looked me in the eyes and said 'Mumma, Blanket TWO!' 

Leo was telling me that he has two comfort blankets, and he is absolutely right. Leo does have two blankets, one of two blankets that he takes everywhere we go. 

So now when I ask 'Leo, how many blankets do you have?' he replies very clearly, and very matter of factly 'Two'.

Leo has demonstrated an understanding for such a long time, and even though he is not as developed in the vocabulary department as some 2 year olds, he is taking everything in. He is putting the pieces of the puzzle together and I am hearing more and more new words coming out of his mouth as the days pass. 

Patience is a virtue and I have all the patience in the world when it comes to teaching my little guy. He will do everything, but just like his Mumma, he will do it in his own good sweet time.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The Mummy Phase


Right now Leo only seems to have eyes for one person, and that person is me. 

At 27 months old, Leo is much more than my blue eyed boy. He is the one and only person who can always put a smile on my face, and he is ultimately my very best friend.

There is no one who can make me giggle the way this little man does, his mischievous attitude and his outlook on everyday life is so refreshing. Even when Leo runs into my room and exclaims...'Mumma POP!' as he lets rip... Even this reduces me to fits of the giggles.  

Or even when I have put Leo to bed, tucked him up and wished him sweet dreams... Walked back downstairs and turned on his baby monitor to hear 'Mumma!' 'NA NA NEE NA NA' - At once the child in me has come out to play and I am talking back down the monitor to him. You would have thought that this may wind him up and he would be far to excited to go to sleep... But Leo talks to me for a little while before going off to sleep with no problems at all.

As he has gotten older we have got to know each other in a whole new way, he has the most amazing personality that truly shines. I adore having a this front row seat watching him grow up and leave his mark on this big wide world we live in... Even if that mark can sometimes be a big old ink stamp on the wall... Yes thank you very much for that extra scrubbing Leo Matthew!

The Mummy phase is what life is all about at the moment. 
I am getting the very best of my little guy. 


It involves endless cuddles and even big fat un-expected kisses! Who knew that sometimes kisses can hurt? I guess it depends just how fast and un-expected that kiss really is...

Each night when I get in from work it is not un-common for me to have a to do list as long as my arm...The cat is yowling at me because he is ready for his dinner... But before I can do anything Leo is getting himself comfortably sat on the sofa. He pats the seat next to him and says 'Mumma, pillow'. This is Leo telling me to sit down next to him, get his blanket and his milk... To turn on Cars or Tinkerbell on the television, and pop a pillow on my lap so that he can lie down and go to 'bed' as he puts it. Leo wastes no time in snuggling down and placing his head on the pillow, he let's me tuck him in and we have a cuddle for as long as he stays there. 

Nothing beats this quiet time of night, and I love that Leo is so cuddly (even if it is all on his terms).

The Mummy phase extends into everything we do. When Leo is hurt or poorly only Mumma will do, bedtimes, pushing the trolley or the pushchair? Yup they are all Mummy jobs and if he catches anyone else trying to take over those positions... Well brace yourself for a telling off!

Long may the Mummy phase continue.

I love being the centre of everything Leo needs and wants.

My little blue eyed boy, and my very best friend.



Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Hexbug: Nano V2 Gravity Loop Set Review



Up until recently Hexbug's were one of those toy phases that I had merely heard about in passing conversation. It was only at the Christmas in July event that I actually discovered the wondrous ways of what fun they can actually be, and just how clever these little robotic toys actually are.

We had a sample in our goodie bag from the Christmas event so that we could have a sneak peak into what these little bugs are all about, and I have to say that they went down a storm with both the toddler and the cat! Unfortunately this Hexbug went missing on that very same night after the cat carried him off somewhere for him to never be seen again... I have a sneaky suspicion that he is somewhere in the kitchen, but where is beyond me.


While at Christmas in July I was given a preview into the new V2 Hexbug's, these bug's are a step up from the originals as they can now climb! Yes, the robot bugs can now actually climb up tubes, upside down and back out of the tube again.

With Christmas coming up I am sure these new V2 bugs are going to be cropping up on many boy's and girl's bulging Christmas letters to Santa Clause, so I am going to share my personal experience with the new Hexbug: Nano V2 Gravity Loop Set so that you can find out all there is to know about these robotic creatures.

You can purchase additional Hexbug's to go alongside the sets, and we were lucky enough to be sent another Christmas Hexbug identical to the one that got carried away by the cat. We have been a bit more precious about playing with the Hexbug's this time around, now we now that the cat is also a big fan.

I have to start with saying that Hexbug are for children aged 3 and up, so although Leo adores these bugs, and is more than happy to just watch them run around, up and over... I haven't reviewed them with him. I have actually tried them out with his 4 year old cousin so that I can give you a first hand account from the targeted age range.

What is included with the Nano V2 Gravity Loop Set?

- 1 Nano V2 Bug
- 1 Straight Tube
- 4 Curved Tubes
- 1 Hex Cell Base (removable walls and gates)
- 2 Curved Tracks


Leo's cousin who will be given the nickname of Bam for the purpose of this review was very pleased to be my tester for this product, he has never played with a Hexbug before so this was a real experience for him. Bam was sat right next to me during the set up process that takes no more than five minutes and before long he had switched the Hex Bug on and set it down in his habitat for him to explore. What I thought was really great in the initial set up was that the battery was included in the initial price and was already in the bug so that Bam could play straight away. All to often these days batteries are not included in the pack, and if you don't realise this before you get the toy home, you can be left with one very disappointed child. For me the included battery was a really nice touch, and I know that Bam was very grateful to be able to get playing straight away.

Bam has been telling me just how much fun the set is and every time we see him he has been telling me all about what his bug has been getting up to. Bam loves it when the Hexbug disappears up the tube and comes out of the other side. I have to say that this is my favourite bit to this toy, I think it is rather amazing that this robot bug can actually climb up, turn upside down and make his way back down to continue scarpering around the habitat.


The V2 Bug has the ability to climb because of a very simple addition, would you believe that by adding in 'feelers' similar to the legs, on the back of the bug it can now vibrate up the tube while the back 'feelers' bounce off the walls allowing them to climb. I find it all incredibly clever, and cannot believe just how much technology is crammed into one Hexbug. 

Hexbug have provided a really detailed 'How It works' section, and here is a little snippet to explain how the bug gets around.

'How it works. The motor inside the Nano rotates a counterweight that causes forces up and down. The down force causes the legs to bend and the Nano moves forward. The up force causes the creature to hop lifting the front legs off the ground and allowing the legs to unbend. This up and down movement repeats several hundred times per second causing the Nano to move forward. The Nano creature's ability to flip over by itself is due to the rotating forces caused by the motor and the unique internal and external chassis design (and a little magic).' 

The Nano V2 Gravity Loop Set

The Nano V2 Gravity Loops Set is a really good starter set for a child who has never had a Hexbug before. It comes with everything you need to give the Hexbug space to dart around and show off it's true capabilities. I think it is a great size (and Bam has agreed with me on this). The Hex Cell gives provides a flat confined space where the Hexbug is free to run around and change direction. This is assisted by the cell dividers that you can move around to persuade the Hexbug where you want him to go. There is an additional piece of circular track that let's the Hexbug go out of the initial Hex Cell and loop back in again, and then when he is ready to really show off he will disappear up and over the tube.


The sides of the Hex Cell have white plastic doors that you can open and close to either keep the Hexbug confined to the Cell, or to let him escape into the great unknown. Of course this gives you the opportunity to add to the set as you collect more bugs and track.

For Bam this set has been perfect as it has given him a lot more than a starter set would, and it has provided a perfect confined space for him to let the Hexbug run free. On the odd occasions the Hexbug has escaped we have seen just how quick these bugs can move and quickly swiped him back up.


What do we think?

From a child's perspective, or from Bam's in this case I really cannot see what is not to love about a Hexbug? I know I as a child (or even now come to think of it) would have absolutely adored something like this. I can definitely see the new Hexbug V2 Sets being a very big hit this Christmas, and with a variety of different set's available there really is something for every budget. Whether you are looking for a stocking filler or main Christmas gift there really is something for every Hexbug lover, old and new.

In terms of the age range of 3+ for Hexbug's I would say this is a great guideline to go by when purchasing for little one's due to the small parts. Leo of course has had a play with these bugs while playing with his Cousin Bam, but he has always been supervised at all times to ensure that he doesn't have a silly moment with any of the equipment. Leo has always been very good at not putting things in his mouth, and absolutely loves it when Bam lets him help out.

From a parents perspective I think Hexbug's are fascinating to watch, they have a proper little scuttle that makes them comparable to Cockroaches. In fact Granny thinks they look so much like Cockroaches that she is a little un-nerved by them! I have seen just how much entertainment value Hexbug's bring to the table and the V2 Gravity Loops Set has definitely kept Bam out of his Mother's hair while he has been busy separating the original Hexbug from the V2 Hexbug. They do seem to get in each others way occasionally, especially as the original Hexbug doesn't have the capability to climb, so he is restricted to scarpering around the Hex Cell as the V2 shows off going upside down. 

What really stands out to me with these set's is that you can keep building them up. I have noticed with the V2 Gravity Loop Set that there is the opportunity to add in extra track and join up different sets to make one big one. This is good to know as we can now get Bam additional Hexbug set's for Birthday's and Christmas, as it is a toy that he will get so much play value out of... and let's face it he is going to want more Hexbug's sooner or later to add to all of the fun and games.

For me personally I would certainly recommend looking into a set such as this one because there is not much in the price difference and you are definitely getting that little bit more for your money. The Hexbug V2 Gravity Loop Set retails at £17.78 on Amazon with FREE UK delivery, and I have to say that this is a great price for what is included in this set and definitely provides value for money.


GIVEAWAY TIME

Following on from my Hex Bug review I am very excited to announce that I have a Nano V2 Orbit Set to giveaway to one lucky reader! All you have to do in order to be in with a chance of winning this set (just in time for Christmas I hasten to add!) is fill in the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

Please only enter this giveaway if you live within the United Kingdom. A winner willl be chosen at random on the condition they have completed the entry form honestly.Once a winner had been chosen you will be contacted via email, if you do not respond within 48 hours another winner will be picked at random and the original winner's notification will not be valid.

Disclaimer: I was sent the Hexbug Nano: V2 Gravity Loop for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.



The P&G Everyday Effect


A year ago in July I found myself back in the world of work after taking 13 months off for maternity leave. I have spoken on many occasions about how I felt about returning to work, scared, anxious, excited, nervous, worried and guilty just to name a few of those feelings that were rushing through my body like a tsunami.

I know I cannot be the only parent in the world who has felt a mass array of different emotions about the return to work. For me it felt like it was the end of an era, that special year where I had only my beautiful boy to spend my days with. Everything else was just a million miles away, but it is surprising how quickly the time can fly when you are neck deep in nappies and the real world is anticipating your return.

Going back to work presents you with a whole new set of things to feel guilty about, the milestones you may miss. The smiles and laughs that are poised for someone else, the general day to day life that you have built together is turned up side down and given a vigorous shake.

 Were you worried about going back to work after having children? Around 85% of mums have come forward to feeling like this, they felt nervous about their return to work. But a few simple acts can make all the difference to that first day back in the office…

Almost a third of mums said that a new hairstyle gave them more confidence when returning to work, whilst another 30% thought the same about new clothes. Even something as small as having an early night made a quarter of the mums we spoke to feel better about the day ahead.

P&G think that by doing ordinary things, we can make a difference to our own and the lives of those around us. P&G calls the impact of these seemingly ordinary moments the “Everyday Effect”.


So, to try and make a little difference in your day, P&G would like to treat one lucky reader a selection of P&G goodies so that you can enjoy a bit of the Everyday Effect too!

Here is what you will find in your P&G goodie selection.



To be in with a chance of winning this P&G Goodie selection all you need to do is follow the Rafflecopter form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck, and if you are returning to work soon. Enjoy!



Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Our application to become Center Parcs Family Bloggers for 2014


I have never had the pleasure of visiting Center Parcs but I would love for this to change in 2014. I have always heard such fabulous feedback from friends and family who have visited. They have told me about all of the exciting activities there are to do, and I can just in-vision myself relaxing on my very first spa day... A girl can dream right? A spa day is one of those things right up there with winning the lottery!

Leo is at an age now where he is taking in everything that we do together, he loves holidays and heading off on new adventures...Especially if there is a trip to the waterfront on the cards.

A trip to Center Parcs for us would be nothing short of an adventure. Leo's wide eyes and curiosity make daily occurrences magical. Swimming for Leo is the kind of things dreams are made of, add in a few slides and you have a dream come true for a 2 year old. 

Since this blog was conceived back in 2011 I have shared Leo's entire life with you. From that very first giggle to his very first steps, he has grown up on social media and I have loved sharing our daily lives with anyone and everyone who reads. If we are chosen to be family bloggers for Center Parcs it will come as no surprise to any of you to know that we will be tweeting/instagramming/YouTubing and Facebooking are way through our adventures in the great outdoors. 

I have been having a sneak peak at the Center Parcs website, and Woburn Forest in particular. There is so much for a under 3 year old to take part in. What really stood out for me was the Teddy Bear's Picnic and the messy play. If you have seen the mud pies that Leo and I cooked up together you will see that he will be right at home in that session. 

Why do I want to become a 2014 Family Blogger for Center Parcs?

I would love nothing more than to take my little monster on the adventure holiday of his dreams, watch him beam as he splashes about in the pool, and runs around in all of the wide open space. It would be lovely to get away as a family for a few days and just enjoy one another's company before retreating back to reality....

Here is our video entry to becoming 2014 Family Bloggers. A video that shows just how far Leo has come, how much mischief he creates on a daily basis and why we would love to go and create new memories, new adventures at Center Parcs.






Room to Breathe

It really does only seem 5 minutes since I had an avid crawler on my hands, I can remember thinking how I could just not let him out of my sight for a single second. Leo would just be into absolutely everything if I didn't keep him in my direct gaze. I did wonder when the time would come that I didn't need to be with him 100% of the time, when he would be able to play with his toys without needing me in his direct proximity. 

There were times that he did manage to sneak away, and on one occasion I found him taking a bath in the dog's bowl at Nanny's house... Or when he

Back then I couldn't foresee a time that this would be the case, but without really consciously knowing it... Over time it has just happened. I don't remember a certain day dawning that I decided to reward Leo with more space in between us... It just happened. 

Friday, 4 October 2013

27 Months Old


Another month has come and gone, adding precious moments and memories to your 27 months with us. 

It seems that you just come into your own that little bit more with each fleeting month, a new piece of the jigsaw comes together and slots into place. 

Even over the last couple of weeks I can see changes in you that were not there before. Simple things like you suddenly saying 'Yes' instead of 'Yeah'. That has only happened over the last couple of days, and although I do not know what has prompted the sudden change around, the pronunciation of the word 'Yes' just sounds perfect. The 's' on the end is perfectly formed and is elongated by you hissing like a snake. 

You are still so stuck in your 'Mummy's Boy Phase' and all you really want is a cuddle from me. I love that you have this special bond with me. You provide kisses on demand almost any time I cheekily ask, and you have even spontaneously planted them, right out of the blue. I know because my bottom lip is still recovering from the impact. 

But it was a very lovely thought.


You were poorly the other day little man, right in the middle of London. After only arriving an hour prior. All you really wanted at that moment in time was for me to pick you up, stick you into your car seat and drive you back home again. All you kept on saying to me was 'Mumma Car!' but unfortunately we had to hop in a taxi and head back to Paddington Train Station... Where we had to wait a little while for the next train home. Boy was I worried that you may throw up on some poor unsuspecting stranger. Luckily... Even though you were a little bit poorly on the train, for the most part you slept all cuddled up on my chest. 

By that evening you were sporting that famous smile of yours once again.


And to think that this was the day that you very ALMOST met a real life Spice Girl. Baby Spice or Emma Bunton to be precise. 

This month your Uncle Matty has flown off on a really big adventure. He has moved himself off to Australia for 2 years, maybe more. He is currently touring Thailand and no doubt causing mischief and mayhem where ever he goes. You said your goodbye's to him on Sunday but only really understand that he is going on a airplane just like you did. And you are also very aware that he is going to the beach... This definetly turned your face sour as you are longing to go back and play in the surf again.

To fill up the rainy Autumn days that have suddenly been bestowed upon us we have taken to doing some fun projects in doors. Just this week we cooked up a storm in the kitchen together... You helped me bake some Mickey Mouse Cookies. You were such a good little helper with your wooden spoon, but completely refused to get your hands dirty when it came to kneading the cookie dough together.

 So little man, here you are at 27 months. You are becoming such a big boy these days, and you know this already because I am constantly telling you. You nod in agreement and say 'Yes' because you really are growing up.