Bluestone: The Lodge

As I said yesterday, our lodge at Bluestone was worthy of a post all to itself. I was going to try and do a video tour, but I never got round to it before all our junk was unpacked, so you’ll have to have a photo tour.

We stayed in a beautiful Grassholme lodge, in the Presali View area of the park. This was a five minute walk from the long stay car park (Bluestone is a car free zone), and five minutes from the village, so a perfect position. We were quite high up so had beautiful views over the park, and we were tucked away in a little corner, so had extra privacy.

The lodge sleeps eight people, so is really spacious. There are four bedrooms and three bathrooms, including one en-suite. The living area, dining area and kitchen were all open plan, which is especially useful when you have three kids to watch, and it was equipped with everything you need for a self catering break.

The view of lodge of  from the road
Our lodge and private patio
Our lodge and private patio
The front door
The front door

The front door was operated by a wireless key card, which of course Harrison loved to open! It opened up into a very spacious porch area, which was perfect for the pushchair, scooters, coats and shoes. Just outside the front door is a bike rack – you can hire bikes and trailers for around £10 a day.

The downstairs twin bedroom

To the right of the porch area at the end of the corridor was the downstairs twin bedroom. Like all the bedrooms, it had more than enough storage space for clothes. We used this room to keep the kids toys in.

More than enough storage space

All bed linen and towels were included, although there is no bedding for the travel cot.

Lovely big windows and views
Lovely big windows and views

Next to the bedroom was the downstairs bathroom/wet room, which was huge. It was literally twice the size of our bathroom at home and was lovely.


Each of the bathrooms had soap, toilet rolls and heated towel rails, which were great for drying off our swimming costumes!

To the right of the porch was the large open plan living area. There were three squashy leather sofas, a coffee table and a large flatscreen TV with Freeview and a DVD player.




There was a large dining table that would comfortably sit 8, and a high chair was provided for babies.


The kitchen was large and modern, with everything you need – a large electric cooker, double sink, microwave, bread bin, cafetiere, 4 slice toaster, kettle, and all the plates, cups, saucepans and cutlery you would need. There is even a dishwasher! A small starter pack of three dishwasher tablets, mini washing up liquid, black bag and dish cloth was provided – we did have to go and buy some more washing up liquid from the shop.



The stairs were directly off the living room, and the upstairs landing overlooked the lounge, so it was great for keeping an eye on the kids. What makes Bluestone so fab is little touches such as stairgates at the top and bottom of the stairs to make it really family friendly.



The boys loved having a little window in their bedroom which overlooked the living area!

The first room upstairs was a twin bedroom, again with plenty of storage space.


Next to this was another bathroom, which I enjoyed my lovely deep bubble bath in. All the showers were really powerful – I could have spent hours in them!

The upstairs bathroom

Further along the corridor was the third twin room, which is where Harrison and Alex slept.

The third twin bedroom

At the far end of the corridor was the double room, with huge ensuite. There was plenty of room for the travel cot which was provided. We also had balcony doors overlooking the park.

The double bedroom
The double bedroom
The ensuite
The ensuite

The absolute highlight of the lodge for me was the private patio area, which had beautiful views over the park, especially in the evening. The doors came off the living room, and the boys spent a lot of time with their diggers out there. We sat out there to eat most nights, and had a BBQ out there. It was lovely to sit and have a coffee in the morning out there, and blog out there on the evening (the park has free wifi everywhere – always a massive bonus!)

Morning coffee outside
Morning coffee outside
Now that is what you call a view!

Come back tomorrow to see what we got up to on day two of our holiday at Bluestone!

*We were invited for a 4 night stay at Bluestone in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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5 Ways To Keep Your Bridesmaids Happy

When you choose your bridesmaids, you are choosing some of the most important ladies in your life to play a vital role in your wedding day. It’s a big deal, and you definitely need to keep your bridesmaids happy! Here are five ways to keep them sweet:

Let them have a say in their bridesmaids dresses

By all means, make them stick to the colour scheme. You don’t want five bridesmaids turning up in completely clashing colours, but remember everyone has different body shapes, and not every style will suit every bridesmaid. This infographic from Coast gives you some ideas for dresses to complement all your bridesmaids, regardless of their body shape.

Photo Credit: Brooke Anderson
Photo Credit: Brooke Anderson

Remember they have a life outside of your wedding

Your wedding day is important to your bridesmaids (hopefully!) but remember they have lives away from your wedding plans. It’s all too easy to become a bridezilla and forget they have jobs, families and other commitments. Arrange dress fittings and other appointments for when it is convenient for them.

Make them feel special

They are investing a lot of time and, and possibly money into your wedding – make them feel like the VIP that they are. Let them bring a plus one with them, include them in your wedding programs and buy their drinks are all ways of making them feel special.

Keep them in the loop

Don’t assume they know what you expect of them. If you want them to do something, let them know (nicely!), and give them plenty of notice, whether it’s helping to organise wedding favours or your hen night.

Say thankyou

You don’t need to spend a fortune, but buy (or make!) something meaningful or personal. Jewelry, a gift card or vouchers for their favourite shop or restaurant are lovely ways to show them you appreciate their hard work!

What are your tips for making bridesmaids feel special?








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Bluestone: Our First Day & First Impressions

Last week, we had the opportunity to spend five days at Bluestone National Park Resort. To us, this was so much more than a review. It was a much needed break, and our very first holiday as a family. I took far too many photos and have too much to write about to put it all in one blog post, so over the next few days I will be sharing our thoughts and experiences of the park, and what we got up to. In this post, I’m going to give you a rundown of what Bluestone is, where it is, and our first impressions.


Bluestone is a 5* rated holiday park set in the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, close to Tenby. It spans 500 acres and has almost 300 luxury lodges, cottages and studio apartments, with another 60 lodges being built this summer.


On site there is a huge water park, called the Blue Lagoon, which is free for residents to use. There is also an indoor adventure centre, soft play room, spa, walking and cycle routes, and a  village with shops, pubs, bakery, restaurant and play area. Around all this is acres of grass where playing and fun is very much encouraged!


The park also offers plenty of organised activities, such as pond dipping, treasure hunts, messy play etc. These are all additionally priced, and we chose not to do any of them – organised activities aren’t really our thing, and we knew we wanted to make the most of the surrounding area. However, if the weather wasn’t great, these would be brilliant for keeping the kids amused.

We arrived at the park just before 10am after a leisurely four hour drive from Birmingham. We were able to park the car in the long stay car park and use the facilities before checking into the lodge at 4.30pm. Other than unloading and loading the car at check in and check out, cars aren’t allowed on the site. We were lucky to have a lodge in the Presali View area, which was a five minute walk from the car park and five minutes from the village centre. If you had accommodation in one of the further areas you would probably want to consider hiring one of the golf buggies for around £80 a week – there is an awful lot of walking and lots of hills!

We went over to the Adventure Centre, which was heaven for Harrison and Alex. It’s a huge indoor adventure playground, bouncy castle, soft play area and mini golf course where you could easily spend hours. There are big squashy sofas to sit and relax on whist the kids burn off some energy. Upstairs there is the Circus Zone – a soft play room which all three boys loved.







We grabbed some brunch in the Wildwood Cafe which overlooks the playground. It was really lovely in there, with a tree house and den for the kids to play in, and twinkly fairy lights. The whole cafe is situated around a magical 20ft tree. It cost just under £30 for all five of us to have an all you can eat breakfast buffet, which had cooked breakfast items, fruit, yoghurt, cereal, pastries, hot drinks and juices.


After brunch, we went back to the car and dug out the bag with our swimming stuff and towels, and headed up to the Blue Lagoon water park. This huge park features a wave machine, a lazy river, two flumes, bubble pools, a toddler and baby pool, loungers and a poolside snack bar. I didn’t get any photos inside, but it was fab! The kids, who have only gone swimming a couple of times absolutely loved it. We took it in turns in taking them around the river, and I was so proud of them all – Harrison loved the big waves, Alex was happy on his tummy kicking his arms and legs in a swimming motion, and Ben almost dozed off in the bubble pool in the baby area. The only downside was because of ratios, we couldn’t all go in the main part together – one of us had to stay with two of the kids in the baby pool whilst the other one took one of the kids into the big pool. It was a little annoying, but I totally understand the safety reasoning behind it.


Once we were all dried off and dressed, we took a wander down to the village, admiring the absolutely stunning views along the way. We needed to pick up some bits and pieces so we could have a drink when we checked into the lodge. We expected the shop to be expensive, but it wasn’t, and had everything we needed. We even managed to buy a pack of dummies and avoid disaster after losing the only one we brought with us!




At 4.30pm, we got back to the car and joined the queue of cars checking into the lodges. You’ll have to wait and see what we thought of our lodge tomorrow – it’s worth a whole post of it’s own!

Alex had napped in the car, so he was full of beans and excited to explore the lodge. Harrison had only dozed once since 4.30am, so we made him a little bed on the sofa. He went to sleep at 5pm, and only waking up briefly to put his pjs on and go the bedroom. Graham popped back down to the village with Alex to get something for dinner. Bluestone is self catering. We ummed and ahhed about stopping off at a supermarket on the way down and picking up some bits, but decided to wait and see what was available at the park. He brought back a Chinese takeaway meal in a box, which was reasonably priced. We sat outside on the patio and enjoyed our meal whilst admiring the views!




Once the kids were all tucked up in bed, I ran myself a lovely deep bubble bath in one of the 3 bathrooms. Pure heaven!



We’d been up since 3am, so by 9.15 we were in bed asleep! Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing lots of photos of the lodge with you.


* We were invited to Bluestone for 4 nights in return for an honest and unbiased review.


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Benjamin’s 7 Month Update


I nearly missed this one – it has came around so quickly!!

This last month has been a HUGE month in terms of development for Ben. We had a couple of really unsettled weeks, and then suddenly, not one, but two teeth appeared. Harrison and Alex were nine and ten months old before they had any signs of a tooth, so I certainly wasn’t expecting two of them this early! Since they’ve popped through, he has generally been more settled and a lot happier.

Another big thing this month is that he is now crawling – and is getting around the house so quickly. Just a few minutes before I started writing this, I couldn’t see him – he had crawled down the gap between the sofa and dresser. No stopping him now!


All this extra energy that he is burning off means that he is sometimes sleeping through the night. He’s not in bed with us anymore, as we got round to putting the big cot up. He goes to sleep around 7.30, and generally sleeps through until around 6am. Even then, he has a bottle and will go back to sleep for half an hour or so. It’s not every night, but it’s happening more and more. He has to have a sleeping bag on in his cot because he is such a fidget – even in his sleep he is up on his knees trying to crawl around the cot!


He’s really beginning to show an interest in everything around him, reaching out to grab things (my phone and hair being his favourites!) and laughing at his brothers. He recently noticed our cat, and has started to try and chase him.


Weaning is going brilliantly, much more smoothly than it did with Harrison and Alex. There doesn’t seem to be much he doesn’t like, apart from sausages. On holiday he had noodles and loved them, and yesterday even ate half a pickled onion. I don’t think he is going to be a fussy eater in the slightest!


He is certainly not a little baby anymore!!



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Five Awesome Child-Rearing Hacks Every Parent Should Know About!


Photo Credit: Petras Gagilas

Nobody every said that having children was easy, and indeed after a seemingly endless series of midnight wake-ups, temper tantrums, messy playtimes and inevitable boo-boos, many parents will find themselves asking for some shred of help. Don’t despair though; there are loads of ways a parent’s life can be made easier – here are five of our favourites!

Cargo Pants

If you’re bored of lugging around a carry-all that weighs a tonne and has an innate ability to crash in to passers-by, try passing some of the effort on to a pair of cargo trousers! With a million different pockets at your disposal, you’ll be able to easily compartmentalise every item required – just make sure to wear a belt!


Sometimes the old “do your homework or you won’t get any sweeties” routine just isn’t enough to incentivise the kids. Instead, try rewarding them, which can be as simple as changing a bedtime routine! Give them promises like “whoever finishes their homework first gets the top bunk!” If you need a bunk bed, Bedstar has a great range online that will suit all budgets.


Kids don’t like healthy food. It’s a simple fact that scores of parents are well aware of, and one that can often prove agonising at mealtimes. There’s a great way to make sure your kids get their fruits, vegetables and smoothies though; put sprinkles on them! Colourful and indicative of, let’s face it, far more fun and exciting ice cream, this tip can work wonders, improving children’s diets and making the parenting job a little easier in the process.


From personal experience, I can tell you that shoe shopping with three young boys in tow can be a very, very tedious experience. Pangs of boredom, wishes to exit the leathery store and go somewhere far more interesting; it’s understandable, but there’s a hack you can use to get around the problem if the tiresome prospect of a shoe-shopping is just too much to bear. Get some paper, trace around your kids’ feet, cut out the feet and go to the shoe shop alone. Chances are your kids will be perfectly happy with the shoes that they’re given, and the shoes will fit perfectly!

Shampoo Holders

Drive-thru is a fun treat kids love, but can quickly become a drag when food scraps begin falling everywhere and drinks are spilled. To counter this before it even occurs, get a shampoo holder (they look like this) and the problem of spillages will be solved!

Do you know of any great parenting hacks we haven’t touched upon? Let us know what they are in the comments section!



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Summer Ready Legs

When I was 14 or 15, a friend and I bought a really cheap home waxing kit, and had a go at waxing our legs. I can still remember the excruciating pain now – and stupidly we put the wax on both legs before removing it, so once we had stopped screaming from the pain on one leg, we had no choice to do the other one. Fail.

That experience put me off waxing my legs, and for years I’ve stuck to shaving. Although I’m quite fair, they still need doing every couple of days and I really can’t be bothered sometimes. However, a couple of weeks ago, Veet very kindly sent me an ‘Easywax Electric Roll On Kit’ to try. It did sit in the bedroom for a few days – I was too nervous to try it!


We then had an email offering us a break at Bluestone, and I knew we would be spending time in a swimming pool, and with the weather forecast good, I’d be wearing 3/4 lengths and skirts.The last thing I wanted to be doing was faffing about with shaving my legs, so I manned up and used the kit.



In the kit you get a self heating device, electric cable, wax refill, 12 non-woven strips, 4 Veet Perfect Finish Wipes and an instruction manual.

It was simple to use. You place the wax refill in the device, plug it in and leave to heat up for around 25 minutes. One it is warm and soft, you roll it onto your legs. That was the nice part. You then lay the non-woven strips on to, and pull. I’m not going to lie – it hurt! However, it was much less painful than the naff cold wax strips I’ve used in the past. To do my other leg, I did call Graham through – holding the skin taut and pulling the strip at the same time was a little tricky, and that made it slightly less painful.

My legs were a little red and sensitive for an hour or two afterwards, but this soon went, leaving me with lovely smooth and soft legs – I think this is down to the shea butter in the wax. The product says the effect should last for up to 28 days. I’m on day 7 and still haven’t needed to shave them. So far, so good!

The cost of the product is £29.99, and refills cost around a tenner. If you’re lazy like me and can’t be bothered with faffing with razors every couple of days, this is perfect.


*I was sent this product free of charge in return for an honest and unbiased review. 

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Things I Miss From LBC (Life Before Children)

I adore my kids, I really do. I wouldn’t be without them for the world. But that doesn’t stop me occasionally missing my life from before they turned it completely upside down. Here are some of the things I took for granted in my life before children:


I can count on one hand the number of full nights sleep I have had since Harrison was born. Even on the very rare nights that they all sleep through, I wake up because I am so used to it. I used to be a deep sleeper – I could sleep through anything. Now, I can wake up at the slightest cough or murmur. We are really lucky none of the boys have ever been particularly early wakers – 7am is the norm but they have been known to sleep in until 9am sometimes. For that I am eternally grateful, but gone are the 10am Sunday lie in’s for a few years!


In LBC, if I wanted to go out, I could just grab my handbag, jump in the car and be off. Now, I have to get three sets of shoes and coats on, make sure I have bottles, drinks, snacks, toys, nappies, baby wipes and the kitchen sink. Then it’s get them to the car, which is usually half way down the road and strap them into various car seats. A ten minute walk to the shops takes anything up to an hour.

Inappropriate Music

I love rap and hip-hop music. The problem is about 85% of is it totally inappropriate to listen to around kids because of the bad language or content. I’m not particularly precious about the children listening to something like ‘Gangnam Style’ (their favourite song!) – someone I know won’t let their children listen to it because it has the word ‘sexy’ in, but I certainly won’t listen to Eminem or the like around them. I also miss being able to absolutely blast music when in the car!

Being able to go to the toilet or shower in peace

I know everyone says this, but it is so true. I usually have an audience when doing either. If I lock the door, I have banging and whinging. The odd time I think I about having a nice relaxing bath all I hear is ‘muuuuuuum’. I also miss having baths where I don’t have to share them with various boats and other toys.

Being able to drink

I’m not a huge drinker, but I do like the odd heavy night here and there. Well, I did. I have been hungover twice since being a parent, and that was HELL. I’m pretty sure they know you feel like death so play up even more than usual. It is so not worth it anymore!

What do you miss most about life before children?

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Awesome Ideas For A Day Out With The Kids

With the summer now very much arrived, I thought it would be a good time to book some days out. It’s the last chance we will get to enjoy the cheaper off-season fares before my eldest goes to school, so I am definitely planning for before the term finishes! Anyway, here are some ideas to give you a little inspiration:

Image Source: Arlane Hunter


You really can’t go wrong with a day out at the zoo – there’s so much to see and do for the kids. Although it can get expensive for one-off trips, many find that getting a season ticket is a good move. It gives you access all year round, and it pays for itself after a couple of visits. Watch out for the younger children, however. While the older kids will love running around for hours on end, it might be a little unfair to keep the littlest in their buggies all day. A few playground options will give them a chance for a crawl or a toddle.

Theme Parks

A theme park trip is a great way to spend a day, as long as you choose one that can facilitate all of your children’s’ ages. Again, they are an expensive occasion so it might be worth saving up for a few months beforehand, so that you ease the immediate burden. This is a trip out we will be making before the schools finish because the pain of queuing up is just too great in peak season. There are usually plenty of rides for all ages at the major theme parks, and as long as there’s a couple – or more – adults around, it should go smoothly.

The Big Smoke

A day out in London can be tricky when you are loaded down with buggies,  bottles, and nappies, but it can be done with some canny planning. Museums are a great place to start – any kid will just love the dinosaurs in the Natural History Museum, for example. And there’s also the chance of taking them to see a big show, too. One thing I would say about London is that everything is incredibly busy. It’s not a place where you want your little ones walking off, so if it worries you too much,  would leave it until they are a little older. Or go before they are out of their pushchairs!


One of the great things about British summer is the enormous amount of festivals that go on. It seems there is one in almost every town, so it’s a great excuse to travel out for the day – and most of them are free! I’m looking forward to taking the kids to a musical festival when they are older, but for now I think I’ll warm them up with a children’s version. Visit Britain have an excellent list of kiddies festivals on their website, so check it out and see if anything’s going on near you.

Enjoy the weather and get out there for a day out!








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Kingsbury Water Park

Now that we finally have a car, we are making the most of the half decent weather we have had lately, and taken the kids on a few days out. One of these was to Kingsbury Water Park.

We spent a lot of time at Kingsbury a couple of summers ago because it is such a fab day out, so as soon as we got the car, we knew that was one of the first places we were going to go. We loaded the scooters and kids into the car and off we went.

The park is a little bit in the middle of nowhere, so you do need to drive there. Car parking is just £3.50 for the entire day, and if you have taken a picnic, there is nothing else to pay, making it a very cheap day out.

The first thing we did when we got there was go on the miniature railway. Harrison loved this when we went before, so we couldn’t wait to take him on it now he is older. Alex was Ben’s age when we last went, so it was pretty much a new experience to him. The railway is free for under 2’s, and just £2 return each for everyone else. It runs for a two kilometre stretch through the park, and is a brilliant experience. We loved watching out for the gnomes and alligators by the side of the track. Harrison had the chance to wave the flag to let the driver know he could leave the station!

PicMonkey Collage

By this point, it was almost lunchtime so we headed to the tearooms by the entrance to the park. Usually, we would take a picnic but we decided to have a treat and have something from there, which is hindsight was a bit of a mistake – it was rammed. We managed to get a seat, but our food took almost 45 minutes to come. The prices are okay – you always expect to pay more in places like this! I had a cream tea, Graham had a hot pork  baguette and the kids had little lunch boxes which came with half a ham sandwich, a yoghurt, a chocolate bar, lollipop and a carton of ribena.

After lunch, we bough a bag of the duck food from the gift shop and went and fed the ducks and geese. Kingsbury Water Park has fifteen lakes and ponds, so there are ducks everywhere!

PicMonkey Collage

A bit further into the park there was an area set up with bouncy castles and slides. The boys love bouncy castles, so we paid for them to have twenty minutes on there. Harrison loved the slide, Alex screamed when he got off, which surprised us. Usually Alex is the fearless one out of the two of them!

PicMonkey Collage

We then had a wander through the park. It is absolutely massive so we probably didn’t even manage half of it! We walked through the woods, down little trails, and had a quick stop at the jet ski shed for a coffee and to watch the jet skis in action.

PicMonkey Collage

The nice thing about Kingsbury is that even if it is really busy (as it was when we went), it is so big that it never feels busy or crowded. The play area, which we made a very fleeting visit to just before we left gets busy, but everywhere else is so lovely and peaceful – it’s easy to forget you’re right by Tamworth!

If you are looking for a cheap day out in the summer, I definitely recommend Kingsbury Water Park.

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A Quick Catch Up and Weigh In

Other than a couple of sponsored posts and reviews, I’ve been really quiet on the blog this week, so I thought I’d just do a quick post to let you know what’s been happening!

Last week was Harrison’s 4th birthday. We didn’t do much on the day as he had school, and wasn’t feeling too brilliant. We bought him a scooter and a trampoline for the garden, and the rest of my family bought him a water and sand tray. From his other nanny and great nanny he had money, which he very carefully spent on some new trucks, and his best friend Luke bought him a Spiderman backpack. On Friday evening, we had a little tea party at my mum’s house, with a Minion cake!




We were hoping to go out over the weekend and make the most of the nice weather, but early hours of Saturday I woke up with the worst sore throat I have ever experienced. It was absolute agony to eat, drink or talk. On top of that I had a really high temperature, and spent the day either shivering under or sweating on top of a quilt on the sofa in and out of sleep. Sunday was even worse – I ended up hallucinating (as I quite often do when poorly). Monday morning I went straight to the doctors, and ended up with a ten day course of antibiotics for tonsillitis. I even needed it in liquid form rather than tablets as it was too painful to swallow.  I still felt incredibly unwell, and spent most of the day in bed – thank god Graham is around to help! Luckily, by Wednesday afternoon I started to feel human, and managed to have something to eat for the first time since Friday night. This brings me on to this week’s weigh in…


I was expecting a huge loss as I didn’t eat anything for five days, and just drank gallons of ice cold lemonade and chocolate Friji milkshakes (so nice on a sore throat!). Even now that I feel pretty much fine, my appetite hasn’t really come back. Not a bad thing I guess!

I had been worried about not being well enough for Harrison’s first school trip on Friday. I had been picked as one of the parent helpers and I was really looking forward to it. It was to Ash End Farm (which we took Harrison and Alex to last year – you can read the review here). We each had responsibility for three children, our own and two others. The kids had chance to feed the goats, hold baby chicks, bottle feed a baby lamb and pick a freshly aid egg, before going off to eat our packed lunches in one of the barns. After lunch we went to the playground to burn off some energy before heading home with a coach full of tired kids – and adults!

The most exciting thing to have happened this week is an email from Bluestone National Park Resort offering us a four night stay next week. This is an opportunity we certainly couldn’t turn down, so we of course said yes. We now have a weekend of manic washing and packing to do, but we are SO excited – our first family holiday! I of course will be sharing the experience with you lot though!

So, that’s what’s been happening this week. Expect the next week or so to be a little patchy on the blog. Normality will resume very soon!


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Are Your Tyres Safe?

After 16 long months we finally have a car! It is nothing fancy – a Vauxhall Zafira – but it is perfect for a family of five.

Although I do tend to leave the job to Graham, I am pretty good at making sure the cars I have owned (three in ten years of driving) are safe and roadworthy. It’s even more important now that it carries the most precious cargo of all – my kids.

One thing that was drummed into me by my driving instructor and by my dad was the importance of tyre safety.  It’s such a simple thing to check and keep an eye on, but can be so dangerous if ignored. They are the only link between the road and your car, and at any one point only a small part of that tyre actually touches the road, making it imperative that they are in tip top condition at all times. Here are a few things to look out for:

Tyre Tread Depth

The legal tyre tread depth for car tyres is 1.6mm across 75% of the tyre. This is the minimum. The deeper tread depth you have, the more grip you will have when driving.  The best way of checking is with a tyre tread depth gauge, but if you don’t have one to hand, slot a 20p piece between of the main grooves of the tyre. If you can see the outer ring of the coin, you probably don’t have the minimum tread depth, and you need to get them checked. Take them to a car tyre specialist – Point – S can help you choose the best tyres for your car. You can check out the complete range of tyres online along with booking an appointment with your local Point S depot.

Tyre Pressure

This needs to be checked every couple of weeks and before any long journeys. It reduces premature wearing of your tyres, and reduces the risk of you losing control of your vehicle. It should be checked when tyres are cold (around two hours after using the car). You can find the correct pressure in your car’s user manual and on a label on or inside the door frame of the car.

Wheel Alignment

Sometimes, wheels become misaligned, which makes the car harder to handle and compromises safety. If your tyres have hit any solid objects such as bollards, kerbs or potholes, or they are wearing unevenly, it is probably best to get them checked.

Don’t leave them until they are illegal (each tyre carries a £2500 fine and 3 points on your license!) or even worse, until they are unsafe to get them checked out. Check them regularly, and if you’re not sure, ask a specialist. Better to be safe than sorry!

Image Source: Dean Hochman
Image Source: Dean Hochman




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Top Tips for Buying a New Mattress for Kids

It’s an exciting time moving from a toddler bed to a big kids bed – it’s an excuse for new pillow cases and duvet sets, but most importantly, a new mattress. It’s not something we think about very often, but when buying mattresses for children, there are a few things we should consider.

Think about what you as an adult, like in a mattress. We tend to test the mattress that we are thinking about purchasing for firmness, softness, price, and overall comfort. We need to think about these things and more when it comes to kids mattresses.

As a starting point I found a great selection of different types of mattress to buy online at Cut Price Mattresses. To help make the buying decision more easier, consider these tips for mattress shopping for your kids.

The Mattress Material

Take some time to understand exactly what materials are used inside of the mattress. Some mattresses have springs, some more softer material. Some cheaper mattress material contains polyvinyl chloride, something you REALLY do not want your child sleeping on each night!

Growing Into the Mattress

We don’t tend to buy mattresses very often so bear in mind that your child may be sleeping on this new mattress well into their teens. Not only should the mattress be comfortable for them today, you have to consider that the mattress needs to be big enough to allow them to sleep comfortably as a young adult.

Purchasing a New Mattress

Just like you shouldn’t use a second hand mattress in a cot or a moses basket with a newborn, you shouldn’t use a second hand mattress for older kids. Some things are best bought new, and mattresses are one of these things. A new mattress comes with warranties and guarantees against faults and damage. Used mattresses usually contain mold, bacteria, mites, dead skin and residue from other people’s bodily fluids. Would you want to sleep on that? Thought not…

Your Child’s Opinion

While it might be difficult to get a straight answer from your child at this age, try to get them to lie down on the mattress long enough to get a real sense of whether or not they find it comfortable. Ask them to lie on a couple of different mattresses and give you their opinion as to which feels better. If the mattress is too soft or too hard, let them express to you in their words so you decide which one is better for them. If they are undecided, go for the firmer mattress. The firmer mattress will better support their bones as they are forming and still growing.


It might feel daunting to buy a brand new mattress for your children today, but if you follow these four simple tips you should be able to make a great decision that will allow your child to make that smooth transition to their very own big kids bed.

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Chicco Nappies


Having two children in nappies full time and one in them at night still, nappies is something I think I know quite a lot about, so when Chicco asked us if we wanted to review some of their nappies ahead of the official launch on June 15th, we were more than up for the challenge!

We were sent two packs of the size three nappies for Benjamin. Immediately I was struck by the bright colourful packaging!

Chicco Nappies

Now, we aren’t nappy snobs – in fact our favourite brand is one of the supermarket brands, so I was interested to see how the Chicco ones, which start at £4.49 for size ones, would stand up against them.

To begin with, the did seem a little thin compared to the ones we usually use, so I was a little concerned about how absorbent they would be. Turns out this wasn’t a problem at all. It contained all of his wees, even after a full night wearing one. It has all the absorbency without the bulkiness. So far, so good.


They felt incredibly soft inside, which for any baby is a bonus, but Ben does seem to be slightly prone to nappy rash, but he hasn’t had it at all since using these. They fit him perfectly, and the velcro fastenings are nice and stretchy – and actually stick unlike some brands of nappies that we have tried!


Overall, I am definitely pleased with these nappies, and would have no hesitation in picking up a pack of these when I’m out and about. At the moment, they are exclusively available at Boots.



*We were sent two packs of nappies in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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The ten people you will always find on the bus

Photo Credit: Chris @ Captured by Chrissyguit



1. The Legspreaders

These are usually smartly dressed blokes. Apparently their family jewels are so big they need to open his legs as wide as possible, squashing his fellow passengers against the window.

2. The Seat Hogger

Usually a woman. Seems to think that their handbag and shopping deserves a seat all to themselves, whilst you stand up and hang on for dear life. Huffs and gives filthy looks if you dare ask them if you can sit down.

3. The Huffer

If asked to move over, or god forbid they have to move to let someone in a wheelchair or with a pushchair on, they huff and puff. Huffs and puffs if children make any sort of noise. Huffs and puffs at being stuck in traffic.

4. The ‘Twirlies’

These are the little old ladies and men with OAP passes. They can be found hobbling onto a bus at 9.28am asking if they are ‘too early’.

5. The Idiot Without Headphones

Usually listening to hard core gangsta rap or drum and bass. Mistakenly believes that the whole bus wants to hear it as well.

6. The Stander-Upper

There can be a bus full of empty seats but they always stand up right at the front, getting in everyone’s way, or stands next to you hitting you with their oversized backpack.

7. The Blocker

Very closely related to the stander-upper and huffer. Tends to stand on or at the bottom of the stairs, or right by the door, blocking everyones way. Huffs and gives dirty looks when asked to move.

8. The Smoker

Sits upstairs at the back of the bus and completely ignores all the no-smoking signs.

9. The Faffer

Stands at the bus stop for half an hour, then waits until they are on the bus to dig out their purse and count out the fare in pennies.

10. The Ignorant B*****d

Hides behind newspaper or mobile phone, pretending not to see any elderly/disabled/pregnant women have got on.


Which of these have you encountered?





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Happy 4th Birthday Harrison

Today, at 4.16pm, Harrison will turn four. It sounds like an absolute cliche, but those four years have gone so fast. It only seems like weeks ago since he made his entrance into the world as a scrawny, rather blue, 6lb baby! You can read his birth story here.

Harrison Baby

At the time, it didn’t feel like it, especially when he went through a bit of a colicky stage, but he really was an easy baby. He started sleeping through when he was about six or seven months old – he was always more than happy to sleep in his moses basket or cot, although he did enjoy a sneaky cuddle with daddy in bed.

Harrison has always been an early mover. He sat up unaided at five months, crawled at six months and started cruising round the furniture at seven months. He took his first very wobbly steps on April 24th 2012 when he was ten months old. He waited until we were all (great nanny, nanny and grandad, uncles and us!) gathered at my nan’s house for her birthday, and took a couple of steps. He waited until the day of his first birthday party to start walking properly – standing up, making sure all eyes were on him, and then toddled off down the room. He’s always been a show off!

Harrison toddler

Harrison became a big brother at the grand old age of sixteen months, and again at three years old. He’s always taken the role very seriously, looking after and playing with his baby brothers. There’s never been any jealousy, just pure love. He and Alex bicker a bit now, but they are still best friends most of the time! The one moment that will always remain in my head was not long after we weaned Alex – Harrison, just a little toddler still wearing a bib himself, sat and fed him. It was one of those heart-melting moments I will never forget!

Harrison and Alex

Harrison has always been Mr Independent – as soon as we walked through the doors at playgroups he would be off playing and making new friends. We started taking him to Baby Butterflies at our local Sure Start centre when he was just 12 weeks old. There he (and I!) made some fantastic friends – Anaya and William – who we still see sometimes now. When he was nine months old, I had to go back to work. For a few months Grandad looked after him, and then he started to go to a childminders. There were rarely any tears when I dropped him off!

When Harrison started at nursery last September, he went straight through the doors without so much as a glance back in my direction. He has always loved going to school, and has thrived so much whilst being there. Every day he comes home singing new songs and surprising us with the new things he has learned. He’s off to reception in September, and even though he will be one of the youngest, I’m not worried one little bit.

Harrison school

Like most little boys his age, Harrison is obsessed with vehicles – cars, bikes, trains, diggers & planes. We have a huge box full of these, and they’re definitely the most played with toys. He has an amazing imagination though, and loves playing ‘Policeymen’ or doctors, using just a notebook and pen as props. He, like me, is obsessed with notebooks, and has about fifteen of them lying around the house, full of his scribbles and drawing. Thankfully, the Peppa Pig and Night Garden stage is over, with The Simpsons, Traffic Cops and NCIS (I kid you not!) being his favourite tv programs. He loves watching films – the current favourite being Monster House.

I can’t wait to see what the next year brings for Harrison. He’s growing up so quickly, and becoming such a kind, clever, funny and drop dead gorgeous little boy, with his unruly mop of blonde hair and his big blue eyes. He has his first school trip coming up (next week!), his first day at full time school. He’ll be learning to ride his bike without stabilisers, start football coaching. He’ll learn to read and write and discover all sorts of amazing things.


Happy birthday Harrison – we love you xxx

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Bundled With Love

Bundled with Love

Every so often a business comes along that has such a simple, but such a clever idea behind it. Bundled with Love is one of them.

Kids clothes are ridiculously expensive when you consider the extremely short time they are in them. I’ve just packed away Benjamin’s 3-6 month clothes, and was really sad to pack away a pair of dungarees that we bought for him – he literally wore them once! Most of Alex and Benjamin’s wardrobes are hand me downs from Harrison, and a lot of his clothes are from Facebook sites, charity shops and carboots. The problem with buying second hand clothes is searching and watching out for suitable clothes, faffing about arranging to collect them – and then getting them home to realise some of them are a bit tatty or naff. If only someone could do the sourcing of decent second hand clothes for you, and deliver them straight to your door!

Well, that’s exactly what Bundled With Love does. The ladies – both mums themselves – source good quality, second hand (or ‘pre-cuddled’, which sounds much nicer!) clothes, sorts them into age/season/occasion appropriate bundles, launders and irons them, and delivers them straight to your door.

With bundles of maternity wear, newborns, tots and toddlers, there is something for all mums of little ones. There are even ‘due date’ bundles – perfect for taking the stress out of packing your labour bag!

We had a bundle for Benjamin, who is in 6-9 month clothes. In our box we had:

  • A soft book
  • 5 Sleepsuits
  • A pair of soft crawler shoes
  • A shirt
  • 3 T-shirts
  • 4 Pairs of Jeans/Joggers
  • 6 Vests
  • 5 Pairs of Socks
  • 2 Hoodies/Cardigans
  • A coat
  • 2 Rompers


All this for £39.99 plus £3.50 delivery! The clothes were spotlessly clean, and nothing was in anything but perfect condition. I think Benjamin looks pretty damn cute in one of the outfits!



You can follow Bundled With Love on  Facebook and Twitter.


*We were sent one of these bundles in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Create The Perfect Family Vacation Without Breaking The Bank

Is planning your holiday starting to give you a migraine? If it is your first time planning a holiday with your kids, I have got some advice for you. But first we should think about where you want to go and how much you are going to spend. Once you have got that sorted, we can start to think about how to make your holiday truly special. So, how much will you spend? We suggest around two-three thousand, but you can still have a fantastic vacation for a lot less. Let me show you how.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:  the photography muse You Can Stay At Home


You Can Stay At Home

I am completely serious about this. You can have a brilliant summer without going anywhere. This is especially true if you have younger kids. Younger children will not remember their holidays that well. Think about the holidays you went to before you were five. I would guess anything you can remember is from videos you saw of it. So, what is the point taking them somewhere they will not remember. Do yourself a favour and put in more money when they were older. Instead, turn your garden into a fun filled destination for them. If it is hot weather fill the paddling pool and lay down the slip and slide. Buy them some water guns and let them wild. They will have a fantastic time and will only cost around one hundred pounds for everything. Or, get creative. Lay down some paper and let them make a mess with paints, brushes and their hands. Trust me, they will love it and you will too!

 You Can Plan Ahead

Holidays are cheaper if you book in advance. So, rather than thinking about this year now, think about next year. You can book cheap airfares and hotels by getting ahead of the crowds. If you are certain of your plans, this is a great option because it will reduce the cost significantly. You can also take matters into your own hands by using a website to choose the perfect activities for your family. If you are going abroad, for the best family vacations in Vail and Beaver Creek go to There is plenty of outdoor fun to be had and the best part is you decide what you do. Websites like this just help you along the way.

You Can Still Do The Classics

If you book in advance the cost of a full family ticket to Disney world is slashed by about a third of the cost. You can save money by booking on their site and setting everything up through them. Stay in a disney hotel and get your food for free. It may not be this year but other times the offer will be back on for kids to go free. Wait for the deals. Another piece of advice. You can book a company that will pick you up from the Disney hotel and take you to and from Universal Studios. You will never have to deal with the scary American highways. On average if you book a year ahead you can do Disney World for less than £3000 for two or three people.

I hope this advice helps you and you enjoy the summer sun with your loved ones wherever you are, at home or away.

*This is a guest post


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Serenata Hamper Review and Competition

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Serenata got in touch with me a couple of weeks ago and asked me whether I wanted to review something off their website. Of course, I said yes, but then had the mammoth task of choosing something from their website! Serenata are best known for their flowers, but they also do a huge range of hampers, chocolates and wines. Being a huge chocolate fan, I chose the Chocolate Hamper, priced at £39.99.

Seranta Chocolate Hamper

In the beautiful wicker hamper was a box of twelve very luxurious Belgian chocolates, each one incredibly rich and very, very delicious. We also had a bag of salted caramel fudge, salted toffee truffles, white chocolate covered strawberries, yogurt covered peanuts and raisins and dark chocolate brazil nuts. Everything was absolutely gorgeous – making it the perfect gift for someone!

I’ve teamed up with Serenata to offer you the chance to win a hamper or gift of your choice worth up to £40.

To enter:

  • Fill in the Rafflecopter widget below to verify your entries. For more information on using Rafflecopter, please click here
  • Complete the mandatory entry first. Answer the question – comments that do not answer the question will not be counted! Comments may not appear immediately due to moderation.
  • You can come back and enter every day via Twitter and Facebook.
  • The closing date is 7th July 2015.
  • All terms and conditions can be found here.

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Good luck!

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Auburn Black T-Shirt Review and Giveaway

I love supporting small businesses, so when Auburn Black got in touch and asked us if we wanted to review some t-shirts for the boys, we definitely couldn’t say no.

Auburn Black is a family run custom clothing company, who pride themselves on creating unique designs on top quality fabrics. You can choose from a range of exclusive designs, or they can custom make one to your specification. I told them about Harrison and Alex’s new obsession with superheroes, and just a few days later these fabulously bright and funky t-shirts arrived!

Auburn Black

Of course, the kids couldn’t wait to try then on, and ended up wearing them to bed that night because we couldn’t get them to take them off – a big thumbs up from Harrison and Alex!

Auburn Black

The t-shirts are ‘Fruit of the Loom’, which are known for their excellent quality. We did order them a size bigger – both kids are in the middle of a growth spurt and we wanted to make sure they actually had chance to wear them!

The main test with clothes is whether they wash well. The answer is yes. They’ve been worn a couple of times and so have been in the wash two or three times and there is no shrinkage or loss of shape. With kids t-shirts starting at just £4.99, and adults from £7.99, I think these are absolutely fantastic value.

Auburn Black are offering you the chance to win not one, but THREE t-shirts, in either adult or children’s sizes. To enter:

  • Fill in the Rafflecopter widget below to verify your entries
  • For more information on how to use Rafflecopter, please click here.
  • Compete the mandatory entry first – answer the question. Comments that do not answer the question will not be counted! Comments may not appear immediately due to moderation.
  • You can come back and enter every day via Twitter and Facebook.
  • The closing date is 6th July 2015.
  • Full terms and conditions can be found here.

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Good luck!


*We were sent these tshirts in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Benjamin’s Consultant Check Up

A couple of weeks ago, Benjamin had his first follow on appointment with his consultant. This was to talk about his illness at Christmas and his nuclear kidney scan.

He had to be weighed (16lbs!) and the nurses attempted to get his blood pressure, but the little monkey didn’t want to play ball. We then went through to see the registrar consultant that we will see over the next few years.

I did expect to be told that this was our final appointment, so was a little disheartened to find out he would need checkups every four months for the next three years or so. However, I am glad that after everything that happened, they’re keeping a close eye on him.

Basically, his one kidney is working a little bit harder than the other (41%-59%). This is within the normal remit for kidneys, and as there does not appear to be any scarring on his kidneys, they’re not too concerned.

One thing that may be an issue in the future is kidney reflux. This isn’t too serious, but means the valves which drain urine from the kidneys to the bladder don’t work properly, so urine can flow back out of the bladder and up towards the kidneys – this can lead to an increased risk of UTI’s, which is what made him poorly in the first place. Because of this, we will need to monitor him for any signs of a water infection – any unexplainable fevers etc mean we need to get a urine sample (we have plenty of pots and bags!) and a visit to the doctors or hospital. He also needs to be kept completely hydrated, more so than most children, and any signs of constipation need to be treated immediately.

He will need to see the consultant every four months until he is three or four, and will possibly need more scans on his kidneys to make sure there is no damage that isn’t showing up.

Apart from that, they’re very pleased with how he is doing, and they reminded us just how lucky we have been with him!

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Weigh In: Week Four

Yesterday saw my fourth weigh in. I weighed myself mid week, and it showed a loss of 3lb, so was looking forward to a nice big loss this week, so was a little disappointed to see just 1.5lb gone. I’m not going to be doing a mid-week weigh in next week. Still, its a loss, and that’s better than nothing! However, (and this may be way too much information!) I do struggle to go to the loo regularly, and I’m not entirely sure this is helping. Last week, I had been to the loo before I weighed in, this week I didn’t, and I know that can make a difference.

I’m going to keep a food diary for the next couple of weeks and try a few different things, to see if I can find a way of increasing my weight loss. I do eat quite a lot of carbs, so I am wondering whether that is slowing me down, even though I am sticking to calorie limits.

I’m replacing some of my meals with veggie options, which I have discovered I really like – everyone had sausage and mash for tea the other night, and I had veggie sausages with baked potatoes. They were half the calories and absolutely delicious! I’ve also discovered a new love for cherry tomatoes. I’ve never liked tomatoes before, but I’ve found myself really liking them now, and are only about 3 calories each, so are perfect for snacking on!!

Lost: 10.5lb

To go: 67.5lb

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Cordless Blind Review and Giveaway

Now that the nights are lighter, getting the boys to go to sleep has become a bit of a nightmare – a problem I’m sure many parents can relate to. The obvious solution is a blackout blind, but I am so paranoid about them – you read about so many tragic accidents involving blind cords. Cordless blinds were something I’d never even thought of until Order Blinds gave us the opportunity to review one of theirs!

We ordered one of the spring loaded cordless roller blinds in blackout navy. Each blind comes made to measure – you input the measurements into a form on the website, where you are then given a quote. The blinds start at £31 – we have a huge window and it came to £56, which I think is brilliant value for money.

Considering it was made to measure, delivery was really quick. It only took Graham about ten minutes to fit, and it looks great! I can’t get a photo that does the blind justice because of the size of the bedroom (and the rest of the room isn’t quite finished!)

Photo from

The spring loaded system is lovely and smooth, and most importantly, safe! The small pull is not long enough for any child to hurt themselves with.

I’ve teamed up with Order Blinds to offer you guys the chance to win a £50 voucher to spend on a blind.

To enter:

    • Fill in the Rafflecopter widget below to verify your entries
    • Answer the question – comments that do not answer the question will not be counted! Comments may not appear immediately due to moderation.
    • You can come back and enter every day via Twitter and Facebook.
    • For more information on how to use the Rafflecopter widget, please read my guide here.
    • The closing date for this competition is 3rd July 2015.
    • All terms and conditions can be found here.

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Good Luck!

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Hair Loss After Pregnancy

Until I was about five or six, I had really straggly, fine, ‘rats tail’ hair. I then had it cut into a bob and it really thickened up. In fact, for most of my adult life I’ve hated my hair because it was too thick and had a mind of it’s own most of the time.

Until I had the kids.

Like most women, my hair appeared even thicker during pregnancy, but then four or five months after giving birth it started coming out in handfuls. It stopped after a couple of months, but after having Alex it never seemed to regain it’s thickness, remaining thin, lank and lifeless. A couple of months ago the post childbirth hair loss started, and it’s still coming out in handfuls.

Everywhere we looked there were strands of my hair – all over the pillows, clothes, wrapped around Ben’s hands. It was everywhere, and it was gross. I dreaded washing my hair because it would completely clog up the plug hole, and if there is one thing that is guaranteed to make me feel sick, it was getting our big handfuls of wet hair! Having Harrison at nursery means twice weekly head lice checks which was a nightmare – you can imagine how much of my hair came out after using one of those fine toothed combs! I ended up having it cut a couple of weeks ago in an attempt to thicken it up and reduce the hair that we found everywhere. It definitely looks thicker, but is still very fine compared to how it used to be, and it’s so brittle!!

Hair loss
This is my hair before it is straightened – as you can see it’s very fine, frizzy and flyaway.

When I was asked if I wanted to try a six month course of Nourkrin Post Pregnancy hair supplements, I couldn’t say no – I want my nice thick hair back! Nourkrin are supplements which have been scientifically formulated to help maintain a normal hair growth cycle in post pregnant women. I need to take these once a day with water after food. These are available from Boots for £29.99 for a one month supply.


I’ll be using these for six months, and will give you an update in a couple of months to let you know how I’m getting on.

*I have been sent a six month supply of these supplements in return for honest and unbiased feedback.

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Lovely Things #1

This is a new linky that I’m joining in, hosted by Laura at Laura’s Lovely Blog. I have to say a huge thankyou to Laura, who has given me so much support and encouragement with my weight loss on my blog and on Twitter – so she definitely is one of my ‘lovely things’! At the beginning of each month, I will round up some of the lovely things we’ve had, seen or done in the previous month.


I lost 9lb through Slim-Fast and calorie counting. I’ve still got a long, long way to go but I am damn proud of myself, especially as we had lots going on towards the end of the month.


We reviewed this gorgeous book, which I know is something we will treasure forever. Harrison loved taking it into school and showing it off!


Benjamin turned six months and celebrated his half birthday by sitting up completely unaided!


My sister in law got married to her partner on bank holiday Sunday. It was a really magical day, and a lovely weekend away for us as a family.


Finally, we took the boys to the seaside for the first time. Watching their faces as they jumped in the waves and made sand castles was amazing!


Lovely Things

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5 Ways to Entertain Kids in the Garden


5 Ways to Entertain Kids in the Garden

Living in inner city Birmingham means open green space is in short supply, so we spend a lot of time in the back garden. It’s not the best garden in the world – we’ve got a patch of grass and a yard area, but it means the kids can get outside in the fresh air. Here are my top five ways to entertain kids in the garden:

1) Messy Play and Painting Outdoors

Sometimes, we take the paints and a roll of lining paper (about £2 from Wilkos!) and paint using our hands, feet, bums, knees and elbows!


We’ve also used some natural materials, such as dandelions to paint with!

wpid-photogrid_1397228155120_wm.jpg(Image taken from my old blog)

2. Bug Hunting

We LOVE bug hunting! We use a simple sheet with pictures of various bugs that they might find in the garden. Harrison sometimes uses his kiddy camera to take (very blurry!) photos of the insects.

3. Water Play

We have a fab plastic paddling pool which we’ve put boats, sea shells and pebbles in for a real sensory experience, but a bowl of water and cups and jugs from the kitchen will do just as well! We’ve done some great water play activities based around books that we have read.


4. Bird and Butterfly Feeders

This year, as we do not have our beautiful butterfly tree anymore, we will be making butterfly feeders to encourage them to visit the garden. To do this, we will spread mashed banana onto a paper plate and hang it off the tree. We will also make some bird feeders by covering a toilet roll holder with peanut butter and roll it in bird seeds.

5. Free Play

We have plenty of outdoor toys – a playhouse, slides, seesaws, cars – and sometimes it is just nice to let them go outside and use their imagination. They play policemen, hide and seek, houses, or just chase each other round. That’s the best fun of all!



*This is my entry into Walton’s blogger competition to win a wooden playhouse. If you’d like to enter please visit Twin Mummy and Daddy for the details.


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