Wednesday, 30 April 2014

WIN a 16GB Kindle Fire HDX 7" Tablet & Amazon Gift Card!


Are you ready to win? Do you want the newest technology and some money to buy apps and books and other special treats? Well look no further. Because when it rains, it pours, and our April Showers have brought you some AWESOME May Flowers in the form of a HUGE giveaway! We're giving one lucky winner their very own 16GB Kindle Fire HDX 7" Tablet (ARV: $229) PLUS a $100 Amazon Gift Card! That's $329 worth of prizes, and all you have to do is enter below.

This giveaway is brought to you by your host:

A Mother Thing

And your Amazing Co-Hosts:

No Holding Back


Diamond in the Rough


We're Far From Normal


Epic Mommy Adventures


My Balanced Plate


Look By Liz Lewis


Great Contradictions


Inspiration for Moms


In the Playroom


The Life and Times of the Working Mum


To enter, simply add your entries to the RaffleCopter form below. The giveaway will run from May 1st –May 15th, 2014. One winner will be drawn on or after the end date, and the winner will have 24 hours to respond via email with their address. This contest is open WORLD WIDE and can be won by anyone who is 18 years or older. Void where prohibited. All entries will be verified to ensure fairness. Please read the Ts and Cs for further information.

The One Where We Go For An Eye Test


Back in January I told you all about Leo’s Two and half year check. It was an experience that I really didn't enjoy and came away feeling incredibly rubbish about. Our health visitor turned the entire appointment into a complete song and dance, she insisted on seeing Leo two months later so that she could follow up and check on his progress.

During the appointment she decided that Leo had a squint and was going to be booking a separate appointment for him, that would come through a few weeks later. She wanted to get Leo seen as soon as possible so that treatment could commence if needed, she didn't want him waiting around if he did have one. We got to the end of March and I still had not received the promised appointment through and there had been complete radio silence from our health visitor.

I tried to call her myself on numerous occasions and finally left her a voice mail asking her to give me a call back. I wanted to discuss Leo and get the follow up that she had advised, and also get Leo’s appointment for his eye sorted just to air on the side of caution.


I never did get a call back from our health visitor, and this has gone on to annoy me further. However the date I left the voice mail obviously spurred her into finally booking Leo’s eye exam, even though she still didn't call me back. A week later I received a letter from the surgery with a date to take Leo in, and ironically the letter was dated 27th March 2014, the day I called and left the message.

I can’t help feeling really let down by our health visitor, what if Leo had actually had a squint? What if she had prolonged the necessary treatment? What if Leo had been a child who had other problems? What if he was being abused? Would she still have been so slack?

On Wednesday 23rd March I took Leo along to have his eyes examined. We walked into the room and Leo instantly spied a Thomas train. We took our seats and the lady we were visiting got Leo to co-operate with her tests. She shone a little light in his eyes and got him to follow it with his eyes. She used toys to get his attention and was really fantastic with him.

The doctor asked me what I thought, and I personally knew that Leo did not have a squint, but not being a professional I wanted to make sure that my gut feeling was right. My thoughts were confirmed seconds later and she agreed that Leo’s eyes were perfectly fine.


The appointment lasted no longer than 10 minutes, we were in and out. Leo had been fantastic and I was really pleased with the doctor that we had seen.

The health visitor still hasn't followed up with us, she hasn't contacted us to arrange for Leo to come in as promised. The appointment that she wanted to schedule with us was for Leo to come back in and repeat his check-up. Then if she still wasn't happy, she was going to refer Leo for speech therapy. Since January Leo has come on in leaps and bounds, and I want her to see this. I do think he would benefit from speech therapy, and I want her to pull her finger out and do what she promised.

The health visitor has booked us in for a hearing test on Wednesday 7th May, this is something I personally asked for during the check up in January. I wanted to rule out Glue Ear and make sure he was hearing everything as he should. The health visitor told me that this would happen if he was referred, and that it wouldn't be happening now. But all of a sudden we have an appointment through… I am pleased just to get it checked and ticked off, as Leo can quite obviously hear everything but it’s just nice to confirm.


As for our health visitor, I have lost a lot of faith in her. She hasn't followed through with her promises, she hasn't communicated with us and she hasn't been efficient. From now on I will be doing everything through nursery. They will be doing their own check with him in the next few months. I feel they are in a better position to tell me what he will benefit from as they know him and see him in a setting he is familiar and comfortable in.


We will be getting Leo’s hearing checked and my gut instinct is telling me that he will fly through it. My personal opinion is that Leo has just been slower in talking than other kids his age, and as expected, he is getting there in his own time.




Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Family holiday thoughts


When I take a leisurely walk around town I cannot help but peer into the travel agents window, I eye up all of the deals and think how nice it would be to just stroll in and book a last minute getaway. It was only yesterday I felt my bank card jingle when I came across a fantastic deal to jet away to Turkey on an all-inclusive break, in a 4 star hotel. Priced at only £399 per person I was incredibly tempted, but deep down I knew the money that I was thinking of is being saved away for a house deposit…

So I pushed the thoughts of sunny holidays out of my mind…

For now anyway.

We don’t currently have any plans for a family holiday this year, but I am hoping this will change in due course. I would love nothing more than to whisk Leo away to blue skies, days at the beach chasing the surf and building sand castles for a week or two. Watching his face beam from all of the excitement, and just having chance to relax away from the hustle and bustle that comes with everyday life.

Of course taking our family of 3 away on holiday means we have to hunt out the best family friendly resorts and hotels. We have to take a number of things into consideration before booking a holiday… Flight durations, transfer time to the hotel, the actual hotel, and even the resort we would be staying in. If we are going to go all inclusive we need to have an idea of what the food is like, especially having such a fussy eater on our hands in the form of Leo.

Before I ever book anything I always hunt out reviews on TripAdvisor, so I can find out what other guests thought of their visit. I can find out everything, even the bits that they wouldn’t publicise on their website. This is an essential bit of research for me, before parting with any money and committing ourselves to the unknown. Another site I have found incredibly helpful is Away with the kids. They are essentially a directory for family holidays, and they feature the UK, Ireland, Scilly, Channel Islands and even abroad. You can put in the details of where you wish to go, whether you want to go glamping or stay in a hotel and they will pull up a list of places that suit your needs.

In a day and age where information is so easily accessed via the internet, we really do have the world at our feet. We can look into the hotel we wish to stay in, we can find out other people’s experiences on the same holiday… We have all of the tools to make an informed decision.

As a parent who has to make a number of informed decisions before we decide to travel, I love having so many opportunities to do my research before committing.

Disclaimer: This is a featured post


Monday, 28 April 2014

It Looks Like We Are Moving!


In the 17 months that I have been living in my privately rented home, I have always been aware that things could change in an instant. This home we live in isn't really ours, we could be asked to leave at any time. Over the time we have lived here we have done little things to make this house feel like our home, but I have always been aware that this house wouldn't be our forever home.  I resisted the temptation to decorate, I didn't do anything with the garden but I did put our family photos up and made it ours in other ways.

This home we have made for ourselves could be gone in the blink of an eye, and that is the reality of the situation. Over the weekend I found out that we had been served notice. The owner actually took the time to write a personal letter, and dropped it a door down from us to Luke’s Dad’s house.

The letter prompted Luke’s Dad to knock on our door, he was concerned and wanted to let me know right away. He looked worried and serious all at the same time as he handed me the letter and told me about the news. At first I was really confused, I thought it was a joke. I thought our letting agency had sent the letter to him, and that really baffled me. It turns out that Luke’s Dad actually knows our landlord to a certain extent, and they knew that his son was renting their house. All I can think is that they thought the news would come better from a family member.


The letter gave genuine reasons for them having to serve notice. Their son is going through financial difficulty, and is having to sell the family home. His parents, our landlords are helping him. Giving him a place to stay with his children. They are doing what any parent would do for their child. I know that I would if I had the means to do so, I would do everything I possibly could to make sure Leo was ok.

The news wasn’t shocking or a scenario I had never thought it about, it was just un-expected. It is something I have always thought out, it has always been a possibility and not an ‘if’ but a ‘when’. I really do appreciate our landlords taking the time to let us know about the situation ahead of the agency, it meant that I could spend Saturday night looking at housing options. It gave me chance to get my head around our situation. It also meant that when the agency called me at work today, I knew what they were going to say. It meant that I didn't feel my heart lurch and break down in the office. It meant I was prepared.

The thought of packing up our entire lives in boxes is a scary thought, I don’t know where to begin with it at all. How do you go about packing  up a whole house? We have 2 months, right up until July 1st to vacate the house and find a new home for our little family. In terms of moving though, there isn’t very much on the local renting market at the moment and the rentals are much more expensive than what we currently pay.


I have told Leo that we need to find ourselves a new home, and he’s adamant that he is staying put. We seem to have reached a compromise now that he realises that we can take his car bed with him! A new home for us needs to have space, lots of space. A room dedicated for toys, a garden to play, nice sized bedrooms.

The next few weeks are all about finding our new home, and getting our bums into gear. Having spoken to the agency today it seems that if we get ourselves out before the 1st July, then the landlord may let us out early. This would be really great for us as I expect we will be moving out by the end of May or some point in June. The sooner the better.


Right now it feels like we have so much to sort that the sooner we have a property sorted the better. 


Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Little Tikes Lean To Turn Scooter


We welcome any excuse to get outside, especially now the weather is taking a turn for the better. Leo was recently asked whether he would like to take the new Little Tikes Lean to Turn Scooter for a test drive, and of course he was more than happy to oblige. It is not as though he needs an excuse to go and play outside!

The Lean to Turn Scooter is a brand new addition to the popular Little Tikes range, and being a big fan of the brand already, we already had high hopes for the scooter. When the scooter arrived, I had one excited toddler join me for the grand un-boxing ceremony. As soon as we opened up the box and we came face to face with a luscious lime green and black scooter, I was impressed with the overall look. The bright colour against the jet black frame really does make this scooter look really smart, and Leo couldn’t wait for me to assemble it so he could get outside for a ride.

Assembly couldn’t have been easier, it simply needed the handle bar fitting into place. The Allen Keys were provided within the box, so in no less than 5 minutes we had a completed Lean to Turn Scooter in front of us, and ready to be played with.


Leo has been able to scoot since just before his 2nd birthday, so I knew that he was going to have absolutely no problem getting to grips with what he had to do. This particular model is suitable for children from the age of 18 months old, and I do think that the earlier you introduce a scooter, the sooner they will get the hang of it. My nephew is 16 months old, and because he has been having a play with Leo’s scooter, and has watched Leo scooting around, he is already on the way to being able to scoot!

With the Lean to Turn Scooter ready to get outside, Leo wasted absolutely no time at all. Leo took the scooter out to the front of the house so that he could make use of Granny’s lovely long winding drive. He scooted around the cars, down the drive and back up again before repeating the process. He smiled, laughed and laughed some more and was scooting like an absolute superstar!

I noticed that Leo was taking a few tumbles when he leaned too far to the left or right. Doing this caused the scooter topple. Each time it happened he picked himself up as though nothing had happened and he carried on his merry way.  I put this down to it being a ‘lean to turn’ scooter, and figured he just needs to get used to the overall turning using his weight. As Leo has had a different model of scooter before this, that again uses body movement to steer, and he can do this perfectly, I think he is still just adjusting to having a new scooter.


We have been using the Lean to Turn Scooter for a few weeks now and it is still as popular as ever. It is used on a daily basis and he has even taken to riding it from the house to the car each morning when I have to take him up to Granny’s house before work.

The scooter features a 3 wheel base which is essential for toddlers learning to scoot. It definetly gives me peace of mind when I see Leo whizzing around here, there and just about everywhere. I think it is a good thing that they don’t have to worry about balancing 2 wheels yet, learning to scoot and change direction is enough for starters. The rest can come later on. There is an easy-touch safety brake on the back of the scooter, but Leo hasn’t quite realised what it’s for just yet. Leo stops himself by putting his foot down on the floor, and although we have discussed the fact that the brake would stop him… He hasn’t really listened.

The handle bars have soft rubber grips, the base of the scooter is nice and wide, wide enough to put both feet on. Over all a really great little scooter, perfect for toddlers just starting out on their own sets of wheels.


There are a selection of different colours available:
Red
Green
Blue
Pink

I really do think that the Little Tikes Lean to Turn Scooter is a great addition, it would make a great present for a 2nd birthday gift, or a toddler ready to take those first steps towards learning to scoot. With a price tag of £29.99 and the confidence you get with buying a Little Tikes product, I really do think that this is a great scooter. It looks great and handles really well.



Disclaimer: We were sent the Little Tikes Lean to Turn Scooter for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.


Saturday, 26 April 2014

34 Months Old


With another month notched onto the hands of time, you are now a sassy 34 month old. Toddlerhood is the name of the game and you have the rules all figured out.

Your 34th month has seen you settle into nursery completely, on your last session before Easter you had trotted off before I could even kiss you goodbye. You didn’t even notice me slip away, as you were playing so contently. In comparison to earlier weeks this was a breakthrough, and I hoped that the 2 weeks off wouldn’t jeopardise the progress that we had made.

We had a bit of feedback from nursery…Not that I would actually call it constructive feedback. It was more of a very apparent observation. Things I already knew about you. What I was hoping for was to hear how you socialised with your fellow nursery friends, what you got up to during the hours that you were with them. We do have an upcoming parents evening at the end of June so I will be able to have a proper sit down the with nursery leaders, but I will be asking for further feedback before then.


When I come to pick you up you are always sat beautifully with all of the other children on the carpet. You have to stay sat there until they call your name, and when they do call your name you know that I am here to collect you. You run at me and give me the biggest cuddle. I always love coming to collect you from nursery for this very reason!

They have been spoiling you rotten on the last couple of occasions and have been bringing out cupcakes. Lots of the children are having birthdays, so you have been reaping in the goodies! Granddad asked you where his cake was the other day, and the reply you gave him actually shocked me! I have absolutely no idea where you have picked this up.. My only thoughts are that it is nursery! Your reply was no other than ‘in my bum!’. Granddad and I both shot each other a look, and asked each other if we had just heard the same thing… Which we had!

With all of the birthdays going on at school, lot’s of your friends are now turning 3. So all of a sudden you are no longer two, as you are utterly convinced you are 3. In fact whenever I tell you how old you are… You tell me that you are 3!


In terms of naps you are still having your daily afternoon nap, when we are not out and about during this time! Given the opportunity though and you are more than happy to take a snooze for an hour or so. You are still loving your car bed, and from the moment you go to bed at night, until you get up in the morning you stay put. These days when you awake in the morning and you know Mummy and Daddy are still sleeping, you will quietly get up and sneak through to find us. The first thing you will do is give me a great big kiss on the lips before climbing into bed beside me. I can’t pin point exactly when you started doing this, but my morning usually starts with a big kiss from you!


At 34 months old you are still a complete and utter Mummy’s boy. When I pick you up from Granny’s you want to go to ‘Mummy’s house’. You want me to snuggle up with on the sofa to watch your new Frozen DVD, and you want me to tuck you in at night to read you a bedtime story. At bed time we are currently working our way through the collection of Harry’s Bucketful of Dinosaurs, which you are loving. I have been altering Harry’s name to Leo, which seems to be going down a treat with you!

Dinosaurs are fast becoming another love of yours, and if I am honest it makes a great change to Lightning McQueen and Planes! I have been sitting and watching you play with your growing collection of cars, planes and trains. It is wonderful watching you act out different scenarios and having a real game of make believe. What puts a real big smile on my face was watching you rein act the part of Planes where Dusty fly’s through the train tunnel. You make all of the right noises in all of the right places, and it is clear to see just how into the game you are!

Your talking is coming on no end all of the time, you are switching out words that you used to say for certain things and in their place using the real words. Lightning McQueen was always a word that you wouldn’t say but now say it as clear as day. All of a sudden this month you decided that you could say it, and that was it! You always had your own names for your Aunty Alice and Uncle Chris, Aiya and Cha. But even though they will always be Aiya and Cha, you do call them by their real names, and you are even calling Alice, Ali now!


You are getting to grips with all of your colours and can tell me exactly what colour my car is when asked. You know that Granny’s car is Black and that both Daddy and Granddad have White cars.  When we are out and about, I ask you what colour the vehicles we pass are, and you will answer as we go.

You surprised me the other day when we heard the familiar music of the ice-cream truck, by telling me exactly what it was. I had no idea that you even knew about the existence of ice cream trucks, and can’t help wondering how you do know. You just giggle and tell me all about the ice-cream! How you know is still a mystery to me…But I can hazard a guess that it is something to do with your Aunt and Uncle!

The other weekend we picked up a second hand climbing frame for you, something for you to use in the garden at home. It was a bargain at £50 and we knew that you were going to absolutely LOVE it. So once Daddy worked out how it all went back together, you were free to climb all over it. You took to it straight away and wanted to see Jack from next door. You wanted to talk to him and show him your climbing frame!


These days as soon as we pull the car up outside the house you are wanting to see Jack. You tell me ‘I see Jack!’ over and over until I open the back door and you escape into the garden!

A big step forward in your 34th month was using the potty for the first time! After having the potty out for over a year, you decided now was the time to use it. We are still taking baby steps and potty training is not yet in full force… But we are getting there. Now I just need to convince you that pants are not the devils work!

So little man we are moving into your 35th month. One month closer to your 3rd birthday!

Where oh where is the time going?




Friday, 25 April 2014

Time


Life is fast paced and at times relentless, time is one of those luxuries that flashes before our eyes. One moment we have all the time in the world, and in the next instance we are left wondering where those hours, days and weeks have gone. Since Leo came along I have found it a lot harder to keep track of time, sometimes it feels like there are not enough hours in the day. Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that Leo arrived into our lives, but the reality is that the world has kept on turning, and the hands of time have kept moving us along.

I have never really been one to wear a watch, and more often than not rely on my phone to provide me with the time at any one moment. It is something that works for me, well.. Until my phone runs out of battery and I have to rely on there being a clock in the vicinity. Even my car has let me down on the time front, and I now need to remember how to re-program it to get at least a rough estimate of the real time of day...I often think that life would be that little bit easier if I did succumb to the idea of having my own personal watch. A means to keeping a watchful eye on the time when all other means of modern technology let me down. 

I think part of the reason I have never really had my own watch is because I can never decide on a style. There are so many different designs, that I find it really hard to find a unique design that I would want to wear each and everyday. For me I would prefer a watch that was pretty and looked more like a bracelet than your everyday watch. I like pretty pieces of jewelry so I would definitely want something beautiful and sparkly. 

Although having such an active lifestyle these days, and by active I do mean chasing a 2 year old around. I also mean the added hazards of wearing anything that I would rather not got splatted with food, or just generally being introduced to my toddler. In the wake of Leo's arrival I very quickly found all of my jewelry had retired to my jewelry box, and it stayed there collecting dust until very recently. It is only now that I am daring to wear my favourite pieces again... 


In celebration of my beautiful trinkets coming out of storage, I have actually been having a browse over at The Watch Hut, and come across a watch that I really like. It's the DKNY Stone Set Ladies Watch and is absolutely beautiful. I am still having a browse but so far this happens to be my personal favourite... And if I do decide to end the days of time just running away with me.. Then this watch is the number one contender for the job at hand. 

  • Disclaimer: This is a featured post





Thursday, 24 April 2014

Black Cheese On Toast


Children are impressionable little people. They watch our every move and mimic everything we do through make believe games and dreams. Leo has watched me in the kitchen on many occasions, and he absolutely loves to help me while I am cooking his breakfast or preparing the evening meal. 
While getting Leo's breakfast ready he will insist on popping the bread in the toaster and pushing the button down. While preparing him some sliced apple he will grab a butter knife to assist me, everything that I do is watched and mimicked by my toddler.

Arriving at Granny's yesterday to pick Leo up and take him home for some dinner, I found him sat on his own in the lounge watching some television. I thought nothing of it, Granny was upstairs and she shouted down to say that she would be down in a moment, and I was guessing my siblings (Leo's Aunt and Uncle) were in their rooms. 

Leo was really pleased to see me, he ran and gave me a big cuddle and I asked him what he would like to do now that the weekend had rolled around for us. 5 minutes or so later Leo took me by the hand and started talking excitedly to me about cheese on toast. 'Mummy! Cheese on toast! Hot cheese on toast!'. While still holding my hand and talking about his love for cheese on toast... He lead me out of the lounge and towards the kitchen. 

The kitchen door was closed, and as I opened it I was met with a room full of smoke. I began looking for the source and soon found myself at the toaster where a chair had been pulled up to. I pulled the very smokey, charcoal black piece of toast from the toaster. I instantly thought that my brother or sister had put the toast on and then abandoned it, forgetting that they had put it on. After I had made sure that the smoke wasn't the result of a fire, I cracked open the door and called upstairs. 


No one knew anything about the mystery piece of toast, and then it hit me. The more I looked at the kitchen scene, the more it began to make sense in my mind. Leo had been telling me about cheese on toast, and he was the one who lead me to the kitchen, where a chair had been pulled up to the work surface. Leo was trying to tell me about his not so triumphant attempt at making cheese on toast...

It turns out that Granny had asked my brother and sister to keep on eye on Leo for 5 minutes, to which they both agreed. One after the other they had left him to his own devices, and Leo had decided to try his hand at making toast for the first time. He pushed the chair from the table across the tiled floor to the work surface. Pulled some bread out of the bread bin and stuck it in the toaster. Thankfully he didn't hurt himself, and the outcome was a positive one. It is suffice to say that I was far from impressed with my brother and sister last night and I really hope they see just how dangerous this was. 

Leo on the other hand was really pleased with himself, upon seeing the toast he declared 'Black cheese on toast'. It just goes to show it really does just take minutes for kids to think up a thought and put it into action.  He saw no danger in what he was doing, and took the opportunity to assert his independence. 

Leo even showed me exactly how he pushed the chair over to the work surface and put the toast on. I have made him promise that he will leave the cooking to the grown ups from now on, and don't think he is on his way to becoming a world class chef anytime soon....


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Imaginext Fire Station Review


We absolutely adore Fisher-Price in our house, they are a brand that we personally chose for Leo when he was too young to make those choices. The play mat, the swing and some of his very first toys, were Fisher-Price. As Leo has grown we have added many more to his collection, and very recently when we were asked if Leo would like to try out the Imaginext Fire Station, we leapt at the chance.

Leo is almost 3 and is loving everything emergency service related, when we are out in the car he loves coming across a fire engine, police car or ambulance with their sirens blaring. There have been a few instances where he has almost demanded that I follow them, and gets very irate should another vehicle block the emergency service vehicle from his sight. I had already foreseen just how excited Leo would be at the prospect of having a play fire station to play with, and the arrival of the Imaginext set only confirmed my expectations.



The Imaginext Fire Station comes pretty much assembled and is just a case of..

1 – Restraining the toddler long enough for you to get all the bits and pieces out of the pack.

2 – Popping in the accessories, like the water pump, flag and hook onto the fire station.

3 – Letting your imagination run wild!

Assembly is always an aspect that I consider when purchasing a new toy, it usually falls into one of two categories. Is it something I can assemble myself… Or will I need Luke to do it? Thankfully the Fire Station is so easy, I wouldn’t really say it needed assembling. As soon as it was all out of the box, Leo was free to speed the fire engine around and put out as many fires as he pleased. He marched the little firemen up the fire escapes into the fire station, he swung them from the hook (for reasons only he will know).  He put the water into the water pump and pressed the button launching it across the room. In fact he was so engrossed in his game that he didn’t even say goodbye to me as I went back to work from my lunch break.


Granny advised that he played all afternoon with his fire station, and the truck that had its sirens on more than off (it even came with batteries so it was ready to rock and roll).

When the time came for me to take Leo home, I found him clutching the fire station in his arms. He was worried that I would forget to bring it home with us. Since the arrival of the Imaginext Fire Station Leo has not stopped playing with it. He absolutely loves it. Leo has always loved imaginative games, so this is the perfect toy to really get his creative juices flowing.

It has been so lovely watching Leo dream up games, and acting them out with the firemen, the fire engine and of course the station itself. When putting out a fire you hear Leo making the nose for the water as he spurts it out of the hose, and onto the burning building. He has balanced the fire-fighter’s in the lift on the back of the truck…And when they have fallen out quickly called an ambulance to come and pick them up! It is a toy that he can use his imagination with completely, he can make absolutely anything happen and I think this is precisely why it is such a big hit.


In an age where everything is going digital, and where kids toys have so much technology, it does really make me appreciate the simple toys just like this one, that just allow kids to be kids.

From a parent’s perspective I think this is a great addition to the toy collection, nothing beats sitting down on the sofa and watching Leo play out his games right in front of me. Hearing him play so happily and just making the rules up as he goes along. The quality of the toy it’s self is great, it’s sturdy and made for little hands. I adore all of the detail that has gone into it, and on the right hand side you have a fireman’s pole that the firemen can actually use! My favourite bit of this set has to be that it comes with everything you need to play straight away. There are 3 firemen included, the fire engine with working lights and sounds, the station and the accessories. I have found in the past with some sets that you have to purchase everything individually, so it is a real bonus that everything comes in the one set. There are so many different aspects that keep Leo interested, and of course playing for hours.


The Imaginext Fire Station retails at £50.00, and when I first saw the price tag I have to admit that I thought it was a little steep. Having actually seen the play value that is to be had with this set, the quality and of course having everything included, I now think that you would end up paying more, either buying a cheaper version and it breaking… or buying one that doesn’t include all of the accessories that are included in this set.

Amazon currently have the Imaginext Fire Station for sale at £47.99, at the point of writing this review.

Leo adores it and I love watching his imagination come to life. This is a toy that is going to continue to be very well played with, and as Leo continues to grow I am guessing that games will too.





Disclaimer: We were sent the Imaginext Fire Station for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are completely honest and my own.


Five reasons for your kids to play football


Today, the range of sports and activities that kids can get into is huge, but there’s a lot to be said for choosing a traditional team sport like football. Here we list five reasons why 2014 is a great year to get your children started playing the ‘beautiful game’.

1. It’s a World Cup year, which means there will be football mania in the media leading up to the World Cup in Brazil. If your children are learning how to play a sport that’s going to dominate the TV and internet for the next few months, they’ll feel much more a part of what’s going on. Betfair has the host nation Brazil as the favourite team to win the title with odds of 3/1, with Argentina as second favourites at 9/2. If you’re feeling patriotic and want to back England, they’re more of an outsider on Betfair at 33/1.

2. Football is a great sport for learning skills such as kicking and dribbling a ball, passing to other players and the skills you learn in football will improve hand-eye coordination in general.

3. Playing a team sport teaches children about the importance of team work, the fact that you have to work together to win the match. It can also help kids understand that it’s not just winning that counts, and that the fun of taking part is just as important.

4. Going to football practice will mean meeting a whole host of new friends. Even if your child is a little shy and reserved, if you can persuade them to try out a team sport like football, they will get to meet new people and make friends. Social skills can really be developed through team sports. 

5. Football is good old-fashioned exercise. If you have children who prefer sitting on the sofa and playing games on the tablet to spending time in the great outdoors, putting in a weekly exercise fix will be really good for their health. Having to run around for an hour will use up excess energy, encourage their appetites and should mean they get better sleep too.

There are lots of local football training sessions that you can take your kids to for a try-out. Football is often a sport played in PE lessons throughout their school years too. Give your kids the chance to try out this fun and skill-building game.

Disclaimer: This is an editorial post

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A Trip To The Farm


Each year since Leo was a baby, we have taken a trip to the Cotswold Farm Park. I absolutely love seeing the difference that comes around in the space of a year. Each year new doors open to Leo, new opportunities that he was too small to understand or appreciate during the last time we visited.

This year Leo is 2 months shy of turning 3 years old, and can be a real cheeky little guy. The whole ride there, Leo was so excited at the prospect of giving the lambs a bottle, in fact it was all he would talk about. Arriving early Leo had a lot of time to think about feeding is baby sheep, or Timmy as he likes to refer to them as. When the lady came to open the gate I was pretty sure Leo would have already scaled it and been deep within the farm… But luckily we kept Leo on the right side of the fence until the gates were opened up.

Being the Easter holidays we were among a big crowd of farm goers, who had all seized the good weather to pay a visit to the Cotswold Farm Park. I do much prefer to visit during term time when all of the older kids are at school, you get to see so much more and have a much more hands on experience. Going with Leo who has no concept of waiting in line, this suits us and everyone else for that matter, much better.


You know those days where toddlers are nothing but trouble? Our trip to the farm was one of those days! From entering the park to the time we went home, Leo had a bee in his bonnet. I put this down to it being so incredibly busy, Leo thought everybody who spoke, were directing conversation towards him. In matter of fact those conversations were between other people’s families… but of course Leo and this bee in his bonnet had lots to say. One man said ‘Come on kids! Let’s go and feed the lambs!’ and the next thing I know.. Leo is piping up and saying ‘NO! I FEED THEM!’. This pretty much sums up how Leo reacted to people generally that day… Moody little monkey!

Our first point of call was of course to the play areas, Leo is at an age where he is just drawn to these places. You can’t possibly walk past them… You have to bypass all of the animals and go for a play. Leo could have quite happily spent his entire day just within the play areas if we had given him half the chance. After prising Leo out of the first play area… He discovered the electronic tractors. He was over the moon, he was still under the advised height to play, but you trying explaining that to a toddler who wants to drive a tractor! Keeping him off the tractors was quite simply not going to happen. Before it got really busy this wasn’t such a problem, he could make the tractors move by putting his foot on the accelerator, but steering was his downfall. Leo bumped into walls and needed pulling out, he caused traffic jams when other little children refused to go around him…It was wall to wall mayhem for my little farmer.


Of course Leo thought it was hilarious that he was causing such a palaver, the more traffic that came to a standstill the better. We very, very quickly got Leo away from the tractors as  my toddler along with his road rage were just going to get us into trouble!

Leaving the play areas behind we ventured into my favourite part of the farm park, the area where all of the baby animals are housed. They have all sorts from lambs, kids and piglets, to baby chicks and rabbits. It is a great hour to get really hands on with the animals, and also the area where Leo’s wish to feed a lamb was to come true.

We grabbed a spot in line near the very front, and Leo was having a great time patting the baby goat as we waited. He got so engrossed with what he was doing, that he seemed to think that he was the only one who was allowed to stroke the animals. I caught my mischievous 2 year old shooing other little hands away from the goat. I had to explain to Leo that the animals were there for everybody’s enjoyment and he had to be kind to the other people who wished to get involved. Luckily the bottles were now being brought out, so Leo was very soon feeding the sheep as he had been promised.


Leo’s mood didn't improve much even when we moved on into the next part of the farm, the only smile that spurred across that beautiful face of his was when he was climbing hay bales! Leo and his Aunty were watching the milking session that was being put on when Leo decided to stumble and take a little fall. Hearing Alice scream I ran over to see her pulling Leo back up, he had fallen down one of the hay bales… But thought the whole experience was fantastic. I on the other hand had my heart firmly in my throat…


Moving quickly away from the hay bales we thought it best to make our way to the bouncy pillows, it was apparent that Leo had lots of energy that needed to be let off. Along the way we came across the zip wire…. Of course Leo wanted to have a go. I explained to my dare devil toddler that he was too little to ride alone.. But Mummy would take him on. Because obviously.. That was the safer option. Right?

We took our place in the line, and we waited patiently. Leo took this opportunity to growl at a man and his children who were talking about how it was their turn next… Being a stickler for the rules Leo growled ‘NO! MY TURN!!’ at them. I once again apologized for Leo’s waspy behavior and hoped they would just ignore his bad tempered ladybird attitude!


So it was now our turn to ride the zip wire. I sat on the seat and placed Leo on my lap, I got him to hold on and made sure he was safely on. Then… I pushed off. We quickly began to pick up speed. We went faster… and faster.. Until I thought ‘Oh dear! We are going to bump at the end!’. And with that thought we went *BUMP*!


Our combined weight had hurtled us down the zip wire at a speed no one else had picked up! Had I seen what was going to happen to us before I considered taking Leo on… I probably would have thought twice! The bump at the end of the zip wire swung us upwards, and we were pretty much upside down by the time the swing had reached it’s peak. All I could think about was falling off and taking Leo with me. It really was an ‘oh sugar moment’. 


As luck would have it I managed to keep us both on the swing. We came to a stop and we both dropped to the floor, and do you know what the toddler said? He said 'MORE! AGAIN!' There was not an ounce of fear in his voice at all. Just pure excitement!

Obviously... I didn't really fancy going for a second ride!

The rest of our time at the farm was spent on the swings and of course the bouncy pillows, a toddlers introduction to Bounce Inc! After a whole lot of bouncing fun we decided it best to take my tired, grumpy two year old home. The general public had endured more than their fair share of Leo's attitude for one day!





Disclaimer: This is a featured post

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Football Mad? This Could Be For You...


Football mad? Have a child who is?

well...

If you are 12 to 14 years of age, enter the Football for Friendship competition and you could be in with the chance to become an internationally-known junior sports journalist!

The winner will fly to Lisbon to represent the UK against finalists from 15 other European countries in the quest to be crowned Europe's Best Young Sports Journalist.

To enter just click on the link below and follow the on-screen instructions:

Remember the deadline for entries is Friday, 18th April.


Disclaimer: I have not been compensated for sharing this post.