Thursday 30 January 2014

Three great things to do This Year

It may be the month when we all feel like hibernating, but by getting out and making just a little effort, it could turn into the month that passes in a whirlwind of fun and activity. Here are some of our ideas for ways you can make these next few months a little more enjoyable.

Image source/ credit:  www. flickr. com/photos/philandpam/

Spend more time in the kitchen – if your life is normally a routine of microwave meals and processed snacks, a new year could be a great opportunity to do some real cooking. Even if it’s just one new recipe a week, check out the healthy options, get yourself into the local grocery, butchers or farm shop instead of the supermarket and take the time to make something from scratch. You’ll build up your confidence, eat more healthily and feel you’ve made a real investment in your life for 2014. If you’re feeling really brave, invite people to an informal dinner or buffet and then resolve to make everything yourself.

Throw a party – if you didn’t have a party or see all your friends over the festive period, now is a great time to entertain. Everyone’s feeling a bit low after Christmas, no-one’s calendar is full and lots of people are ready for a catch-up and a new-year boost. Make sure you cater for all those people who have made New Year’s resolutions about food and drink, but most of all, get all the people you love together and give them a reason to have some fun. It can even be an opportunity to dress up, be it with a stylish dress or afreshly ironed men’s shirt, to give a sense of occasion to your party and help fight the winter blues.

Refresh your outdoor wardrobe – if you’d like to be more active, but your wardrobe is letting you down, make the most of the sales and replace the old with the new. Invest in dedicated  men’s trousers for walking, choose from a range of bright, bold ladies’ waterproof jackets, get yourself a heavy cotton polo t-shirt for layering, or invest insome cotton traders women’s’ trousers that are both comfortable and flattering. Once you’re kitted out, you can spend some weekends exploring instead of being boring!

Whatever you choose, make sure 2014 is at a flying start. You’ll have more get-up-and-go, you’ll feel ready for the year ahead and you won’t be stuck in a rut, wondering how to manage the rest of the winter. Before you know it, the days will be longer, the temperatures higher and there will be even more opportunities to do something different.

Disclaimer: This is a featured post

Tuesday 28 January 2014

The 2007 Floods

This January has been a bit of a wash out to say the least, we have seen rain, rain and more rain. Living closely to the River Avon we have seen the water rising and the local businesses looking a little bit worried, because when the Avon floods.. It really floods. It was only back in July 2007 that the riverside town in which I live was badly affected by severe flooding. Cars were abandoned and the town was cut off by water, people were being rescued by helicopters and boats.. It really was one very wet July.

Looking back I can remember how the town rallied together and brought out the sandbags, They were pulling out all the stops on their mission to kit themselves against the natural elements.

Direct Line have put together an infographic to help protect us against flooding. They are giving us a step by step guideline on how to prepare the house in line with severe weather protection.

The 8 steps take you through the initial response from simply keeping an eye on the news to suss out the weather warnings, right up sand bags and ventilation bricks. In the situation where floods are a risk it is always best to be on the safe side. Looking back to the 2007 floods it took many of the residents a long time to get back on their feet. 

Would you know what to do in the event of a flood?

Disclaimer: This featured post was brought to you in association with Direct Line

Monday 27 January 2014

The LeapPad Ultra Review

Just before Christmas when we were all getting ready to welcome the man in red himself, Leo was sent the LeapPad Ultra to have a play with. The LeapPad Ultra is the latest tablet device from LeapFrog and follows on from the LeapPad 2. Noticeable improvements are seen in the high resolution screen which is now 7". The entire tablet now seems to feel less like a toy, and more like a grown up tablet with the built in resilience that means it is prepared for excitable kids.

A great upgrade from the LeapPad 2 is that the Ultra now has it's own built in rechargeable battery. A battery that provides a whopping 9 hours of life. We have had other tablets in the past that required batteries and it meant that we would often go without it when the house had been sucked dry of each and every battery. So this rechargeable battery is a real bonus and one that I really like.

The LeapPad Ultra is geared towards aiding children learn and keep them entertained at the same time. I am all for anything that can do both of these things at the same time. As a parent you can even log in to the LeapPad Learning Path to see how your little one is excelling. I think for us this is something that will come into play when Leo is a bit bigger, for now he is more than happy just enjoying the novelty.

Leo loves anything like this that resembles Mummy and Daddy's iPad's, so I knew that this would be a welcomed addition. Of course as soon as the LeapPad was spotted it had to be brought out to have a play with straight away. One of the first things Leo did was have a play with the drawing app that is included, this is a firm favourite and is great while we are out and about in the car. It gives him something to do and keep him distracted if we are travelling a distance where he may get bored.

The LeapPad Ultra comes with 11 apps pre-loaded:

- Pet
- Pet Chat
- Art Studio
- Photo Fun
- Music
- Notepad
- Clock
- Calander
- Calculator 
- Bookshelf
- Voice Memo

The 11 apps definitely give kids something to get started with straight away, and with Leo being younger he was more than happy to just have a play with the Art Studio. As I knew we were expecting a LeapPad I did invest in the Cars 2 cartridge for Leo to have a play with, it is definetly something that he is going to grow into but for now it does seem a little advanced for him. Leo is 2 and the LeapPad is aimed for kids 4+, but I think whether your child is ready for one or not comes down to the parent, they will grow into it at some point even if not right away.

The LeapPad connects to the WiFi using LeapSearch, this means that everything your child views on their tablet is completely child friendly. We have used it to browse the App Centre to see what else they have available. There is a wide libary of different Apps that you can invest in, but as Leo is still getting to grips with the Apps on the tablet it seems silly to overload it with lots of Apps that won't get used right away. So we are taking it slowly and will add to it when the time is right.

These days kids love to take photos, I know that I have found some rather strange ones on my phone from when a certain toddler has decided to get creative! On the LeapPad Leo has his very own front and back camera, he also has 8GB of space to store his creations. Once the photos have been captured Leo can then even play around with the images on the Photo Fun App, these aspects right now are Leo's favourites, he does need a bit of help navigating around it but I know he will figure it all out with time.

There are so many great features with the LeapPad Ultra, ones that will continue to become apparent as Leo gets to know the tablet better. Within the Ultra he has his very own MP3 player that we will be adding his favourite tunes to as the time goes on. There is a built in motion sensor for games he may play and so much more to keep him enjoying the possibilities of the Ultra.

From a parent's perspective setting the LeapPad Ultra up was really easy, I simply followed the on screen instructions and set up Leo's profile. Getting a photo of Leo for his profile was tricky as he kept wondering off, but we got there in the end. The one thing that I do think let's the Ultra down that I have experienced with other models on the market is just how slowly it takes to load things. I think when it comes to kids and keeping their attention on what they are doing, the faster something can load the better. I would like to see the time between clicking on something and the time it takes to open it become much faster, but for aside from that I do really like the new LeapPad Ultra.

The LeapPad Ultra retails at £119.99 but if you have a look online you will find a number of different prices that beat this price. Amazon currently have it on sale for £86.99 at the point of writing this review.  It is not a fortune but definitely something that I will be looking to add to the home insurance at some point.

Over all I like the LeapFrog Ultra and all of the features it boosts, I am especially pleased with the rechargeable battery and the new big screen.

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

Friday 24 January 2014

The One Where Leo Says 'Love You'

As bedtime descends each evening at 7pm, we prepare to put Leo to bed.
He's washed and ready to take the walk up those stairs to get all snuggled under his sheets.
Blanket in hand, milk in the other and all ready to get into his grown up bed.
I sit on his bed as I do every night and we talk about the day that is now coming to an end.
We talk about what he did and what he may be doing tomorrow, 
I give him a kiss and he pretends to take my nose, 
while I cusp my thumb in such a way and steal his nose away.
We giggle and savour the moment before the littlest house member turns in for the night.

I give him one last kiss, and one last nose snuggle before I get up to leave his bed.
I tell him I love him just like I do every night.
As usual I hang by his door, wondering if tonight may be the night that he says it back.
Then out of no where when I was just about to leave...
Leo says 'Love you'.

I smile and turn around to go and give him a big squeeze! 
I say 'Love you' again and he repeats it again and again!
All be it with his bottle firmly in his mouth, but he was saying it none the less.
I give Leo one final kiss and tuck him back into bed, 
I head downstairs with the baby monitor where I tell him I love him once again.
Then over the baby monitor Leo say's 'Love you' and goes straight off to sleep.

Another sign that perseverance and providing the time and space will bring Leo on in leaps and bounds.

Today I love you.
Tomorrow or some day soon... The rest will come.

Wednesday 22 January 2014

30 Months Old

You turned 30 months old on the 27th December 2013, and in this month alone it saw you go through so many transitions. Life seemed to speed up that little bit more, if that is even possible? and you continued to blossom right before my eyes.

At 2 and a half years old you were modelling the world in your own special way, and your world was growing all of the time. You spent Christmas with everyone who loves you and for the first time, joined in with gift opening and the magic of the whole day.

The NewYear saw you starting nursery and being thrown into a whole new ball game. You were so excited at the prospect of attending big boy school and we all knew that we were going to start seeing a really big change in you over the coming months.

Your first session went really well and if you had it your way I think you would love to go more than just once a week. Waking up this morning I told you it was time to go to Granny’s and your reply was simple and precise ‘No! School!’.

You were saying more to me all the time, and despite everything that had been said atyour 2 and a half year check. I could see you coming along at your own pace. You were learning new words and starting to put more together. Your understanding has always been impeccable but as you continued to learn, it was all coming on in leaps and bounds.

It was in January that we decided to take the side on your cot down and turn it into the cot bed. The first 3 nights you slept in it as though there had been no change at all, but on the fourth night you took your first tumble (and so far only tumble) out of your big boy bed. I heard the bang and then your cries of ‘Mumma! Bed!’ and ran in to pick you up, and of course tuck you back in again.

I was so impressed with how you handled the change to your sleeping arrangements, and we only decided that now was time to make the switch because you were suddenly trying to climb out of your cot. I worried that you may fall and hurt yourself, so the decision was made to say goodbye to your cot sleeping days.

You have been so pleased with yourself over your climbing escapades, and you giggle whenever we talk about you cheekily climbing out of the travel cot at Granny’s house. In fact you beam with pride!

Having you sleeping in a bed these days instead of the cot that you have always been in is strange. Although I have known for the longest time that you are not a baby any more, making this transition has made you seem even more grown up.

You have taken to your bed so well and once I put you to bed that is where you stay. It was only on that very first night that you got up and out of bed once, now you only get out in the morning, and even then it is very rarely. You would much rather me come in and get you for a cuddle.

I feel very privileged to have such a well behaved little man, granted you have your moments but for the most part you are such a star. I did wonder if you would play up when we finally moved you into a bed, but you have been absolutely amazing. I can simply tuck you in at night and know that you will go off to sleep. You wont turn into a little monster and get up to play in your room or even attempt to run around the house. You know that when you go to bed, you go to sleep.

I guess it is the fact you are now sleeping in a bed and starting nursery that makes me really question where my baby has gone. They are 2 really big milestones within a very short space of time…But I can’t help thinking how you are more than ready for a new challenge.

We began to give you more freedom and in a sense more responsibility. I guess you could even say we were more trusting? Instead of your beaker we were giving you your big boy juice in a cup with no lid. You were doing so well with it and had very few spillages, and you just enjoyed being like Mummy and Daddy. You would now ask for your ‘big boy juice’ over anything else…Even over a bottle of milk!

This was another big transition that we began to introduce to you. Milk and blanket had been removed from the day to day routine and were now more or less for bedtimes and naptimes only. You asked for them both on occasion but I told you that if you wanted them, you would have to go for your naptime in bed. Cheekily you went upstairs telling me you wanted to go to bed.. Only to drink your milk and come back down stairs again! But I figured that you were still gaining an understanding of when you could have your two favourite items.

We were even venturing out without your blanket AND without your milk bottle! I was really pleased with how well you were taking this change as I expected more resistance when the time came. We were taking it day by day just to see what tomorrow might bring, but so far we were doing really well.

You were now even beginning to show an interest in your potty. For the longest time you have point blank refused to have anything to do with it. We have left you to it as we didn’t want to force you into anything that you simply were not ready for. All of a sudden one night you just sat on it. I don’t know what changed for you? But something must have as you even sat on it the right way around! Right now there has been no potty action in terms of any pee’s or poo’s… But we are getting there and I know that when you are ready they will happen.

Right now we are just so pleased with everything else you are doing, the rest will come in time.

You have achieved so much in the last month.
My little but grown up gorgeous boy.

I wonder what the next month will hold for you?

Only time will tell…

Are We Reliant On The Internet?

In today’s digital age we rely heavily on the internet through our work and our play, we are connected by our phones, our computers and our tablets almost anywhere that we go. If we aren’t connected by our 3G phone signal we may have found a hot spot to quickly check our emails, or pulled up at a service station along the motorway to catch a working break.

It really is that simple because the internet is now very accessible to absolutely everybody who has a Wi-Fi enabled device.

VirginMedia have posed a very interesting question to parent bloggers about the importance of internet access for their everyday lives, and how different life might be without it?

This got me thinking about how regularly I actually use the internet and just how important it actually is to me as an active blogger. The answer of course is that without it… I wouldn’t be able to update this here blog and document Leo’s journey the way that I do.

I do use the internet regularly on the laptop in an evening when Leo is tucked up in bed, But even when I am not on the laptop, my phone is connected all of the time. It means that no matter where I am I will always be connected to the world wide web (unless of course there is no phone signal…).

I can remember a time when to be able to access the internet you had to dial up each and every time you wished to use it, and even then it would dominate the entire phone line the whole time you were logged on, meaning that no one could reach anyone else on the phone while it was connected. It just goes to show how the times have changed and now not only can you receive phone calls while online, you can access it on many different kinds of devices from anywhere within your home. Hands up if you are guilty to using your iPad… In the bath!?

I guess it goes to show that I am pretty dependent upon the internet as I use it to fuel my hobby. Without internet access I couldn’t manage my blog or add new content to it. I wouldn’t be able to read the many blogs that I do, or socialise with so many different people scattered around the globe.

The internet has opened up so many possibilities to everyone who uses it, we can find out what the news is and we can even discuss our opinions on the news in online forums with likeminded people (or even the not so likeminded people…). We can have a free video conversation with friends and family via Skype anywhere in the world, whereas before the internet we would have had to settle for a phone call and a hefty phone bill…

The more I think about how much importance the internet holds to our everyday lives, the more I realise that it has given us so much freedom and opportunity and we would definitely miss it if it was to ever go away.

So I now ask you this question..

What are your views on the importance of internet access for your everyday lives, and how different would your life be without it?

Disclaimer: This is a featured post

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Hopes for Snow

This winter has been pretty mild as far as winters go. It is only in recent days that I have found myself having to scrape the ice off the car and have a thorough de-frost before I can actually drive off to work in the morning. Leo is loving this sudden drop in temperature, and with his thick coat on he has even been helping me scrape the car in the morning before we whiz off up the road to see Granny.

I for one am really hoping that we see some snow over the next couple of months, Leo is now at an age where I know that he is going to love the experience. This year if we are lucky enough to get some of the white stuff, we can even build are very first snowman together. In anticipation of Jack Frost clicking his finger and rewarding us with some coveted snow, I have even invested in a sledge over the last few days. 

Last year when the snow did finally come I suddenly realised the absence of the sledge I thought we had stored away. Turns out that it had disappeared and couldn't be found for love nor money. Sledges are one of those items that you don't give a single thought about until it snows and when it does you suddenly realise the lack of stock available. If you can make it to the shops and find one.. They will be sold out within minutes, and it is then that you kick yourself for not buying one in advance.

So on Friday in the mild weather that January had shared with us, I slung a sledge under one arm and purchased it in advance, and in high anticipation that snow would come and greet us before winter was over.

This month was predicted to be the wettest January on record,  Jessica Bridge a PR and Communications Executive  for Ladbrokes recently commented 'The odds are falling as quick as the rain and it looks like January's downpours will enter the record books!'

Disclaimer: In Association with Ladbrokes

Monday 20 January 2014

The First Day at Nursery

Monday 20th January saw Leo heading out on an entirely new adventure. An adventure that he would be experiencing alone for the first time without me stood firmly by his side.

It was his very first day at nursery school.

After visiting the nursery only just over a week ago, we quickly got him enrolled as soon as we were offered a place. Leo had loved the initial visits so much that he hadn't wanted to leave, so today when Leo awoke in such high spirits and excitement to be able to return to nursery, I knew he was going to have a great time.

We got ready in record time and Leo even co-operated in putting his socks on, handing me his actual feet instead of his hands as he usually does for a giggle.
I got as much breakfast inside of Leo as I could and had already prepared his Thomas rucksack with everything that he would need the night before. 

We hopped in the car and my happy little man talked of nothing but school the entire way there. Arriving in the car park we couldn't go anywhere until Leo had his rucksack firmly on his shoulders, and then he was ready for anything, including his first day of nursery.

Leo held my hand tentatively as we waited for the school gates to open, and when they did we walked proudly across the playground and up to the nursery. There on the board outside were all of the children's names that would be in attendance at Leo's very first session, everybody else's had a little photograph of themselves on, Leo's simply had his name on this occasion, but we found it and went to stick it on his coat peg.

Together Leo and I hung up his coat and his Thomas bag, only taking out the fruit snack we had brought with us to place in the fruit bowl. Then the door to the nursery opened and we were welcomed in, and that is when Leo simply ran inside and took himself off among the toys and the other children.

I knew there and then that my happy go lucky toddler was going to be more than happy on his new adventure. And very soon he would have a vast set of new friends, he was never going to be going it alone. 

Plus there were so many different toy trains for Leo to find...

The 3 hours passed quickly, and very soon I was back picking him up again. I stood at the doorway and peered through. I could see Leo sat quietly at one of the tables with a helper. They were building blocks together and Leo looked blissfully content and of course ready for a nap.

I stood there until Leo spotted me, and that was when he began to cry. He was ready to come home with me. 3 hours was the perfect amount of time for Leo. I walked over to him and gave him a big cuddle and told him that it was time to come home now. Leo happily let me scoop him up in my arms and carry him out.

I was talking with the nursery helpers and they were all so pleased with how his first session had gone, he had played completely happily from 9:00am when I dropped him off right through to 11:00am when he suddenly realised that I had gone. I had even given him a cuddle and said goodbye before I went and he had been absolutely fine. I am guessing it was around 11:00am that he began to get tired. The nursery staff were great in comforting him and giving him cuddles, and by the time I arrived at 12:00pm he was absolutely fine.

They said that he got involved in everything, played and socialized, especially loving the play house and kitchen. I bet he has been making lot's of pretend cups of tea for everybody today! 

Today's just the beginning of Leo's latest adventure, and I know that he is going to suddenly blossom before my eyes over the next couple of months.

Not long after getting home... He wanted to go back to school!
I think next week is going to be highly coveted by my 2 and a half year old.

And you know what? The little boy who up until recently has taken his bottle of milk and comfort blanket absolutely everywhere... Today left them both at home and started a whole new adventure without them.

The Easywalker Mini Review

Easywalker are a brand that I highly recommend. I have tried out a number of their products over the last year and really loved the service that I have received and of course the product its self. You may have already seen my thoughts on the Easywalker June and the Easywalker Duo?  

Over recent months I have been trying out the new Mini stroller. The Mini stroller was born when Easywalker teamed up with Mini and produced this one of a kind pushchair. In true Mini style Easywalker have provided us with a number of different colour ways to reflect the vibrance of the Mini, and it is suffice to say that they are sure to turn the heads of passers by.

Available Colour Packs:

- Union Jack
- Chilli red
- Black Jack
- Laser Blue

The Easywalker Mini as a stroller is suitable for babies from the age of 6 months, but you can also purchase a pram cot separately which opens up the Mini to newborn babies. If I do go on to have anymore children, I will definitely be investing in the pram cot to go with my Mini. The Mini stroller will see your little one through until the buggy days are far behind you, the weight it can hold is up to 30kg which is around the ages of 7-9 years old! Not that you should probably need it into those ages, but if your child is a bit bigger then it is great to know that they won't be outgrowing it in the near future.

I have been road testing the Mini in the Union Jack colour way, it is bright and really fun to look at. I first saw it at the Baby Show back in May and instantly fell in love with it. Of course as soon as it arrived I had to get it all set up and take it out instantly for a joy ride.

What’s in the box?

In the Easywalker Mini box you will find:

- Pushchair Chasis
- Wheels x 4
- Rain cover
- Bumper Bar
- Instructions

You will have a separate box with your colour pack inside.
In this box you will find:

- Hood with extendable canopy
- Seat cover
- 5 point harness with attached belt padding

Setting up the Easywalker Mini

The Mini is relatively easy to get up and running, and is very similar to the assembly of the June. The seat unit comes attached to the chassis as standard, so all you need to do is un-clip the travel lock on the side in order to open out the pushchair. Extend the handle out and put it on its side so that you can attach the wheels, the wheels simply click into place.

The most work for the set-up of the Mini is actually located on the seat unit its self. You need to insert your chosen colour pack seat padding. Thread the 5 point harness and thread the hood onto the zip while getting the hinges to click into place. It was the hood that actually slowed my progress down, but I managed to get the Mini up and running pretty quickly and was ready to get it out on the open road.

Initial Impressions of the Easywalker Mini

I had incredibly high expectations for the Mini, partly because I have loved using the June so much and I knew that this new model had a few more luxuries included.

So what did I think now I had the Mini stood right in front of me? I was really impressed. I loved how it looked, and I was really pleased with the leather handlebar with the Mini logo pride of place in the centre. The Union Jack colour pack for me was the ultimate colour way, and it certainly looked the part against the black frame and white wheel rims.

There are many similarities between the June and the new Mini, and Easywalker seem to have kept everything that I loved about the June and just made it even better.

Putting the Easywalker Mini To The Test

The Easywalker Mini has all the aspects that I love on a off roading pushchair and the size and ease of an urban pushchair. For me it is the whole package. It gives me the freedom to leave the pavements behind and take a short cut across the field without any issues of the wheels getting stuck, and it also lets me nip off around the shopping centre. The size is one of the aspects that really amazes me about this pushchair, it does everything that a full size pushchair should, but is nowhere near as big as other models I have used over the years.

I can fit the Mini down the centre of a train which is a real bonus, if I am heading off anywhere and want to change carriages without actually getting off the train. If I need to collapse the Mini I can do so easily and store it away at the back of the train or with all of the luggage.

The size of the Mini means that it fits in the boot space of many smaller cars including my Peugeot 206 (and of course the boot of the Mini).

Here is a list of cars that the Mini will comfortably fit in:

The Mini is a very sturdy pushchair and when in use I have never felt that it didn't stand up to expectations, the frame is well constructed and you can really feel this in it's everyday use. The suspension is fantastic, just ask Leo as he doesn't seem to realise just how shocking my pram driving still is even 2 years later... And that is down to the Mini.

The Mini is equipped with four suspension and shock absorbing, all terrain wheels. This is why the ride is such a smooth one despite the terrain you are traveling along. These wheels are firm favorites with me as it just means that the Mini takes everything in it's stride.

The leather handle bar is a feature that I really like on the Mini, it makes pushing this pushchair even more like driving a Mini car. The handlebar can be extended or lowered using the clips on either side of the Mini stroller, it caters for both Luke and myself and he likes that he can get the height that he needs out of the Mini.

The comfort hasn't just been thought out for the parents however, the seat unit sits Leo comfortably with the option of having him reclined if he does fall asleep while we are out and about. The lever for the recline is actually situated under the front of the seat unit, it simply requires you to squeeze it and push backwards and it will slide into position.

The Mini logo is embossed on the leather handlebar and has been included in the branding process, if you are looking into this pushchair because of the Mini connection then you really won't be disappointed. While I have been out and about with this stroller it really has turned heads with it's vibrant colours and jet black frame, and people have definitely recognised the Mini connection. While I was travelling on a train with Leo in the Mini, a young couple who had no children were admiring it. It started off as the young lady spotting it and pointing it out to her partner, I heard them talking about how nice it was... and then I heard the man tell his partner that there was no way they were having a baby!

The hood is another great feature on this stroller, you can heighten or lower the hood depending on the babies height or where the sun is currently positioned in the sky. I like to have this flexibility to be able to solve Leo's discomfort if the sun is glaring in his eyes, it is simply a case of  lowering the hood and popping out the sun visor.

The brakes on the Mini are so simple to use, it is a kick on kick off brake that you can use with ease. This means even if you are wearing your flip flops in the height of the summer, you will be able to use this brake with no problem at all. Heck I could even do this in heels if I was brave enough!

The shopping basket is a reasonable size, it's not the biggest but I have always managed to get everything that I need inside. The changing bag sits comfortably on the handle of the stroller so I don't need to worry about storing that in the basket anyway. It is big enough to fit a few bags of shopping in the bottom (of course depending on what you buy).

Collapsing/Erecting the Easywalker Mini

Now opening the Mini up is a really simple task, and only requires you to un-lock the transport lock and pull up the handle so that you can lock it into the open position.

Closing the Mini is something that I sometimes find a really simple task, and others I just can’t get it to co-operate with me. Firstly you need to recline the seat unit, then you need to squeeze the buttons on either side of the frame. Wait until you hear a ‘click’ and then you can collapse the pushchair down. Once the pushchair is collapsed you just need to do up the travel lock.


Over all I really love the Easywalker Mini, it is everything that I need in a stroller. From a practical point of view it's the actual size and weight of the Mini (even with my 2 year old in it) to being able to fit it in my car that score the Mini big brownie points. From a materialistic point of view I love just how it looks, there are so many different ways you can have your Mini looking as you can invest in different colour packs as you go on.

The Easywalker Mini retails at £609.99 and is at the higher spectrum of the stroller market, but I can quite honestly say that the product you receive for your money is fantastic. The quality and materials used to complete the Mini are second to none, I personally love this stroller and it really is my pushchair of choice.

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

Wednesday 15 January 2014

The In The Night Garden Story Case Review

Somewhere along the way Leo fell head over heels for In The Night Garden, and in doing so I began to see an influx of toys from the show accumulating around the house. All of the plush toys seemed to stow away to his cot, and these days he won’t sleep without both of his Makka Pakka plush toys, his Iggle Piggle and of course Upsy Daisy…

Earlier this year I even took Leo along to the live show, and after seeing his face light up when he saw his heroes on the stage it is definitely something we will do again.

This month as KD Mumbassadors our task was really exciting, it was to have a play with the KD In The Night Garden Story Case. This case is an exciting way to get your little one’s learning as they play with their favourite characters. The book incorporates Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka and friends in a 4 different games.

Each of the games teaches you something new, from different colours, sounds and numbers. You can change the game you are playing by simply adjusting the arrow over each of the different images on the right hand side of the case. Each game asks the child a different type of question and then allows them to respond with one of the four colour keys that surround the circumference of the story case.

There are 4 pages in this book, 2 of which that are static. One at the front and one at the back. Each of the pages are illustrated with images of the characters and scenery from the ever popular television show.

I found that there were a good selection of different games for Leo to play, but at this moment in time he is quite content to just point out what he sees while he is looking, and of course pressing any of the buttons. What would be nice to see on this toy is a free play option that just lets the child press the buttons to hear different sounds/tunes from the show. I think this would make the toy an even more attractive buy.

What I really like about all of the KD range and not just the In The Night Garden Play Case is that they always promote play and learning. I think this is such an important mixture that really does encourage learning. The play environment is the perfect place to establish this, so I rest assured knowing that Leo has toys that give him that extra support and enjoyment.

The InThe Night Garden Story Case retails at £18.99 on Amazon. This is the cheapest I found it online and think this is a great price.

Disclaimer: I was sent the In The Night Garden Story Case as a KD Mumbassador for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Leo's Off to Nursury

Leo always has been an independent little guy,
Pursuing everything in his own time and always reaching 
the milestone when he is ready.

Since Leo’s 2 and a half year check I have been looking into options and ways that I can socialise him a little bit more. One of the ideas that we discussed with the health visitor was the possibility of sending Leo to nursery. I liked the idea of this as nursery is an environment that would be completely new to Leo, lots of children, teachers and somewhere that Mummy wouldn’t be following him. A scenario that see’s Leo being even more independent than ever before, having to make himself understood to a wider audience…and not just Mummy.

Last Thursday I took one very excited Leo to view the nursery that we were considering. The short car ride to the village school that I used to attend as a child saw Leo’s excitement building. He was throwing his hands above his head and shouting ‘School! Yeah!’ as we went, and I couldn’t help but smile at just how excited Leo was about it all.

Pulling up into the car park Leo was eager to get out, he even insisted on wearing his Thomas ruck sack. He knows that big kids take a bag with them to school so he wanted to be just like them.

Putting Leo’s empty ruck sack onto his back, he held my hand as we walked into the school. We signed in and were escorted around the school that was still so very familiar to me. The nursery is situated in the very heart of the school on the field, right by the playground that all of the big kids play in. Being so integrated with the school (the school that Leo will one day attend) they get so much space to use.

On the front of the nursery is a board with all of the children’s names on, in the morning when the children arrive they have to pick their names (or if they can’t read find their sticker on their name) and take it inside to put on their coat hook, where they will then hang all of their belongings. We were lead into the nursery and that is when Leo simply let go of my hand and went straight off to play. No hesitation what so ever, he just let go and walked off to play. As I was talking with the nursery teacher, he hung his head out of the play kitchen window waving and shouting ‘Mumma!’.

With Leo playing so contently it gave me a great opportunity to hear all about the things Leo would be getting up to if he did get a place at this nursery. We both already loved it so I was really hoping that a space would come up sooner rather than later.

Inside the nursery there is a arts and craft section that has everything you could possibly imagine! It is open to the children throughout the day for them to go in and create whatever their heart desires! There’s a playhouse full of everything Leo loves and I know that he will be making everyone countless imaginary cups of tea! There’s a book corner and a quiet corner and oh so many toys.

Outside they have a mud kitchen where they can create endless muddy delights, of course this requires full forest school gear! There’s a play house, balance bikes and so much more.

The staff structure the day and keep note of everything that the children do. Leo will have a folder that holds all of his milestones and achievements with photos of him achieving them. It will allow me to see exactly what he gets up to while he is at nursery and to also keep for him when he is older.

What I was really impressed with was that the nursery are now required to carry out their own 2 and a half year check assessment. This will be done before Leo turns 3, and in an environment that is much better suited to making these observations. They will be able to see first-hand how Leo socialises and conducts himself, and I feel so much better knowing that they will KNOW him and exactly what he is and isn’t capable of.

Leo absolutely loved his visit to nursery, and he was instantly at ease and playing happily. It was getting him to leave and come home with me that was the issue! He really did not want to come back home with me at all, he was absolutely loving the nursery.

Thankfully a little later on Thursday afternoon… I got a call to say that Leo had a place at nursery and he can start as early as next Monday! So now I simply need to pop back in this week and get him all registered ready to start next Monday.

Leo will be going once a week for the morning session and from September I will be looking to put him in for longer.

I know that I am going to start to see a real change in him, and I know that he is going to absolutely love being such a big boy.