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Tag: kids

Reinforcing the Bedtime Routine with the Baby Born Bath Wash Basin

Reinforcing the Bedtime Routine with the Baby Born Bath Wash Basin

*We were gifted Baby Born products for the purpose of this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

 

Every parent knows how important it is to get their kids into a good bedtime routine. When you’ve had a busy day, getting the offspring settled down and ready for bed easily is essential. A bedtime that doesn’t go to plan is stressful for everyone involved and will probably mean the quality of sleep everyone’s about to get will be poor. So this week, we’ve teamed up with Baby Born, to help teach our littles the importance of a good bedtime routine.

To help reinforce a good bedtime routine in our home, Baby Born sent over their Bath Wash Basin. It’s a lovely product that comes with a basin and tap that pumps real water, a rubber duck, toothbrush, cup and light up mirror. The mirror also plays fun sound effects. The basin has allowed our girls to ‘teach‘ their Baby Born dolls how they get themselves ready for bed. It makes the bedtime routine fun and it takes the kids minds off of the fact that it’s nearing the end of the day!

Our bedtime routine –

Our girls know when it’s time to begin getting ready for bed, as we head off upstairs for a bath. They get their teeth brushed whilst we’re up there too and since they got their basin, that’s their favourite thing to do with their dolls. The mini tooth-brush and mug are great for their imaginations. You can hear them telling their dolls just how important it to keep their teeth nice and clean!

They both love that the sink has real running water too. Their faces lit up when they realised they could actually wash their dolls, just like they do before bed. All of this is accompanied by the brushing and washing sound effects and the fabulous light up vanity mirror. The littlest is a huge fan of the lights and does a little jig to the Baby Born music!

Baby Born leading the way –

I think that this product is a great way to get the littles to understand their bedtime routine better. Allowing them to look after and go through their own bedtime routine with their dolls, helps to reinforce the positive aspects of a healthy regime and a good nights rest. When the girls’ get their pyjamas on after getting themselves clean and ready, so does their little doll. There’s no better way to get the kids so involved in creating the ideal bedtime routine!

 

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Baby Annabell RC Baby Walker – Review

Baby Annabell RC Baby Walker – Review

*We were gifted the Baby Annabell Walker for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

 

Not so long ago we were asked to celebrate friendship with Baby Annabell, a project that both of our girls loved taking part in. So when we were asked to review the Baby Annabell RC, I immediately thought it would be a great addition to our Baby Annabell collection. I wasn’t wrong! Our girls and myself have had a lot of fun with this product, it’s brought many hours of fun and laughter to our house.

What’s in the box?

The Baby Annabell RC Baby Walker is a remote-controlled walker that lets you take your Baby Annabell doll on an extra special adventure. The remote allows you to move the walker forwards, backwards and to the left and right. It fits Baby Annabell dolls up to 43cm and is super sturdy, so that your Baby Annabell doesn’t fall out en route!

The walker does need to be assembled, but this takes less than five minutes and is easy to do. Pop in the batteries and you’re away. The design is a cute lamb, with a beaded toy on the front to make it even more realistic. There are sound effects and there’s even a horn that toots to let people know you’re coming through!

What did we think?

As will all Baby Annabell products, this walker is of really good build quality. With two mini drivers, our walker has had numerous crashes and it has stood up to each one exceptionally well! Having said that, the controls are very simple to use and our three year old has mastered manoeuvring the walker with ease.

When the walker hasn’t been in use for a while, it also conserves battery life by timing out. As you can imagine, we get through a lot of batteries with all of the kids toys in this house. So anything that save a few pennies on more batteries is a bonus.

Overall, we are very impressed with the Baby Annabell RC Walker. It’s fun for the girls to drive Baby Annabell around and it’s lovely to hear their laughs as they move her from one room to another. It’s an excellent addition to any Baby Annabell collection. Presenting your littles with this product will leave you in their good books for plenty of time to come!

 

 

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Crate Creatures Surprise & Bashers – Review

Crate Creatures Surprise & Bashers – Review

*We were gifted our Crate Creatures Surprise products for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

 

Recently we were sent a Crate Creatures Surprise and Crate Creatures Basher for our girls to test out. They love a toy review, so they were very excited to find out what was in the box. Both Crate Creatures are bright, colourful and a little bit gruesome. They make an array of noises and had our girls suitably amused!

Crate Creatures Surprise – What does it do?

We were sent BLIZZ, the ice monster from the land of blizzards. He arrived inside a crate, secured by a chain and a padlock, just to make sure he couldn’t escape! There’s a crowbar attached to the side of the crate to help you break your creature out.

The girls loved this element of the product, it’s great that you can put your creature back into the crate and break him out as many times a you like.

BLIZZ makes 45 sounds, including chomping noises when you feed him his ice lolly and when you pull his tongue. You can even record you own voice and have BLIZZ repeat your words in his monster tones. When you press his tail, he flaps his arms and makes a super noisy scene!

Crate Creatures Bashers – What does it do?

Bashers are mini versions of the Crate Creatures Surprise. They are robust and you can turn their crate into a target, just to test this out! They crash into the goal and make an lots of monster noises, just like BLIZZ. Bashers are great for taking out and about too, as they fit perfectly into your pocket.

Overall, our Crate Creatures Surprise and Basher went down a treat with the girls. The best thing about them is that they’re not a one trick pony. They have a lot of fun features that keep the littles entertained for ages. Their favourite feature? That has to be the voice recorder in BLIZZ, they’ve had so much fun making their monster rattle!

 

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Five of the Best Days Out in Derbyshire with Kids

Five of the Best Days Out in Derbyshire with Kids

As a Derbyshire girl, I love nothing more than heading out into the countryside. I’m so lucky to live in such a beautiful place and over the years I’ve come across some amazing places to visit. I know that life with children can be a little hectic and that getting out into the fresh air can often be a massive help, to blow the cobwebs away. So I’ve put together some of the best days out in Derbyshire with kids. Where possible I’ve added the best eateries too, a day out isn’t made without a good bit of grub to go with it!

Eyam –

The Plague Village and one of my favourite days out! Eyam is packed with history, education, fun and food. There’s a museum and visitor centre, as well as plaques dotted throughout the village to give you a good insight into Eyam’s colourful history. Some of the stories will stick with you for a long time after you’ve read them. There’s a great park for the kids, a football pitch and miles of walks to tire everyone out.

Our go to eaterie is Eyam Tea Rooms. It’s a lovely little tea room offering hot and cold food, accompanied by a warm welcome and excellent customer service. There are other places to grab a bite too, this is just our personal favourite!

Must see:

  • St. Lawrence Church, Eyam.
  • Eyam Hall – unfortunately no longer a National Trust property, but still worth a look nonetheless.
  • Mompesson’s Well – a short drive out of Eyam, but has history that is sure to pull at your heartstrings!

 

Hardwick Estate –

National Trust Hardwick Estate has something for everyone, especially the kids. It’s stable yard is always full of outdoors toys and activities and the gardens offer hours of exploration for the littles. There’s often a trail for them to complete, I can recommend the Easter trail with chocolate reward! There’s a trail inside the Hall too, giving the kids an insight into the history of the estate and Bess of Hardwick, as well as the Hall’s final occupant Duchess Evelyn.

Also on site is Hardwick Old Hall, which is an English Heritage property but is also free for National Trust members. This offers miles of views over the estate and its well worth climbing the seemingly endless steps to get to the top! Hardwick is also the home of Stainsby Mill, a working Victorian flour mill. This property has kids trails, flour grinding and also sells freshly ground flour.

Hardwick has a gift shop, second-hand bookshop and restaurant which serves a scrummy beetroot and chocolate cake. It serves breakfast and lunches too, I can vouch for both options, as well as the coffee!

Must see:

  • Lady Spencers Walk – tree swings, den making, tree climbing and so much more.
  • Fairy doors – can your littles find them?
  • The ponds and ice house – perfect for a walk and a picnic.

 

Carsington Water –

With a restaurant on site, as well numerous indoor and outdoor activities, once you get to Carsington you won’t have to leave for hours. Carsington has an interactive visitor centre, which the kids will love. It has a bird hide, huge playground, bike hire and water sports. It has its own ‘beach’ perfect for the kids to explore and a monument at the top of a spiral incline, when you get to the top the view is fabulous. Carsington is all about outdoor fun and it takes some beating!

Must see:

  • Playground – with a suitable area for every age group.
  • Visitor centre – packed with interactive activities, making your trip fun and educational.

 

Bakewell –

Bakewell is, in my opinion, one of the most picturesque towns in Derbyshire. With the River Wye running through it, it has walks to suit all abilities. Gift shops are around every corner and for those who love a sweet treat, you can even get your hands on a tradition bakewell tart! There’s a huge playing field with football ground, play area and tennis tables. You won’t go hungry in Bakewell either, there are fish and chip shops, oriental and Indian takeaways and pub lunches galore.

Must see:

  • Bakewell cattle market – every other Monday and a real treat to see.
  • Market day – every Monday morning.
  • Fish – look into the water as you walk down the river, you’ll see huge fish making their way along the bottom.

 

Chatsworth House –

Arguably the grandest house in Derbyshire, Chatsworth House is packed with history, food and activities for all. Not the cheapest day out, but if you make a full day of it you’re bound to get your moneys worth. The gardens are huge and during the summer months, the kids can paddle in the shallow falls. There’s also a farm shop, cafe and garden centre a short drive from the house, we are regular visitors to the farm shop cafe – they do a mean breakfast!

Must see:

  • Chatsworth Animal Farm – also has an adventure playground.
  • The maze – found in the gardens, this maze is a lot fun for everyone.
  • Chatsworth at Christmas – an amazing sight, these are the BEST decorations I have ever seen!

 

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How to Find the Right School for your Children

How to Find the Right School for your Children

When our eldest daughter started school, I dreaded it. It wasn’t even full-time education, just her pre-school nursery placement that meant she was out of my care for fifteen hours during the week. They were 15 hours that I’d never had to leave her before though and not only that, I would be leaving her with someone I knew very little about. As a parent, I don’t think it’s easy to hand your child over at any point never mind to a stranger, but as far as school is concerned it’s the standard thing to do.

As it happened, we were lucky and found a school that both Hubs and I were comfortable with. It wasn’t an easy task though and I know it caused both of us a headache or two. Maybe we over thought it, but in our house education is paramount. However, it has to be an education in the right environment that supports both parent and child to the nth degree.

Here’s how to find the right school for your children;

Do your research – 

The first step to finding the right school for you and your children is to research all of the school in your local area. Education may seem pretty standard, but you’d be surprised how different schools can be. They all offer a different approach to education, some you will agree with and some you won’t. Find out what kind of school interests you most, that way you’ll be able to make an informed decision on where you’d like to visit.

Look around as many schools as you have time to visit – 

Once you have a list of all of the schools you are interested in, make time to visit as many as you can. If I were you, I’d visit them all. You’ll never get a full picture of a school unless you wander around when the kids are in their lessons. You get to see how the teachers work, what kind of interventions are used and how well the kids respond in their learning environment.

Talk to every member of staff – 

Talking to every staff member can help you gain a better understanding of what they offer as a school. You’ll get a good idea of their level of knowledge and you’ll be able to make a judgement on their enthusiasm for the job. You’ll never get someone who is completely on the ball all of the time, but you’ll get an insight into their teaching style and whether you like it or not.

Look round the whole school, not just the nursery area – 

Once your child is settled into nursery, it’s probably safe to assume they’ll be in that school for a while as they go through the year groups. For this reason, it’s good to check out the whole school, not just the pre-school area, before to make a decision. If the upper school isn’t right for you as a family, you’ll know you need to look elsewhere.

Trust your instinct –

There’s nothing more reliable than parental instinct when it comes to making important life decisions for your family. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. You’ll know if you need to move on to the next school.

Let them go – 

As hard as it may seem, once you have found the right place, it’s time to let them go. You’ll probably cry and feel like you’ve lost a huge part of you for a while, but school is an amazing developmental stage. Your kids will come home with snippets from their day that will make your heart happy!

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The Worst Things you can Say to a Stay at Home Mum

The Worst Things you can Say to a Stay at Home Mum

Skipping back a few hundred blog posts, for those of you that don’t know. In 2015 I gave up my business to become a stay at home mum. It was always my intention and I didn’t hesitate to hang up my scissors once our eldest was born. There have been a few ups and downs since then, sometimes I want to work, as well as bring up our girls. I go around in circles on a regular basis, trying to work out what the best plan of action is. I suppose though, even as a blogger which very few people accept as ‘work’ – I beg to differ by the way – I am first and foremost a stay at home mum.

Ever since becoming a parent and homemaker I have come across many different reactions. Some would love to be in my position, some think I’m lazy and some think my husband must be some sort of millionaire – he’s not I can assure you.  There have been comments that I’ve laughed at and others that have cut me a little bit. You see no one really knows another person’s situation, so even though comments aren’t made maliciously they sometimes come across that way.

So just in case you were wondering, here are the worst things you can say to a stay at home mum;

‘You don’t do anything during the week do you?’ – 

This was one that really got to me. It was assumed that because I still have one child at home full-time that I can’t possibly be doing anything during the week. Actually I do a hell of a lot. Once I’ve watched Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women that is.

‘I wish I didn’t have to go to work’ – 

This often comes with being told I’m really lucky and that I don’t realise how good my situation is. I do realise that this isn’t an option for everyone, but I don’t think that makes me lucky. It’s just our situation and it works for us. It has its downfalls too, just like being a working parent does. It’s all swings and roundabouts.

‘It must be so nice to have a lie-in each day’ – 

I haven’t had a lie in since 2015.

‘You still have time to make your mark’ – 

These exact words were kindly spouted in my direction, by an ageing professional. With. No. Kids. Need I say more?

‘When will you go back to work? – 

Well actually I do work. I earn a decent wage, from home, whilst looking after my children.

‘I would hate to look after kids all day’ – 

I’m not going to tell you every single day is a walk in the park, because it’s not. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to berate another person’s long-term situation, especially when your main point is that all they do is ‘look after kids all day‘. Just doesn’t seem like a nice thing to say, does it?

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Kids VS. Parents Games Night Challenge with Little Tikes

Kids VS. Parents Games Night Challenge with Little Tikes

*This post was written in collaboration with Little Tikes. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

 

Now that our girls are well and truly growing up, we have a lot of family fun with board games. Hubs and I love to play all of the traditional board games with the girls, so when we were asked by Little Tikes  if we wanted to take part in a games night challenge, we couldn’t wait!

Little Tikes have a new range of super fun games out, ideal for kids aged 5 plus. They’re the kind of games that are that so much fun to play, the girls have no idea how much they’re learning whilst playing. So to kick of our Kids VS. Parents Games Night Challenge, Little Tikes sent us their Crazy Toaster and Hot Hoops games. As well, a music voucher and a Just Eat voucher to keep up the energy of the competitors!

Crazy Toaster – This is a pop up toaster game that will have you and your littles giggling all night! Slices of toast pop high out the toaster and you have to try to catch the flying pieces in your pans. If you catch them and they match the toast on your plate, they’re yours to keep. This game is fun, energetic and can be played for hours, but be warned – it’s not as easy as it looks!

Hot Hoops – This is a head to head challenge game and it’s perfect if you needs deciding points on your games nights! It’s fast paced and is bound to bring out the competitive streak in the whole family. The best thing about this games is that it’s compact and east to take on your travels.

 

Our family games night –

 

We had so much fun on our family games night, but unfortunately the parents did not come out on top! The kids of the house had scores well above ours and it was our eldest who was victorious and took the medal! We had such a great evening thanks to Little Tikes, their new games range is a lot of fun for both adults and children. Now all we need is a rematch to knock the kids off of their winning spot!

 

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Five Things being a School Run Mum has Taught Me

Five Things being a School Run Mum has Taught Me

I’ve had the joy of being a school run mum for a few months now. The novelty is wearing off and I’ve begun to countdown each term, eager for the holidays to start. It’s not because I don’t like school, we are very pro-education over here. It’s that the school run can become a bit of a bind! It’s a rat race, with everyone believing that they’re in more of a rush than the next person.

The good thing about the school run is meeting people on your wavelength. There will be at least one other mum, or dad, that you really get on with. You’ll laugh and cry with them as your children go through school and they will be your school run ally. Other than that, the school run is a real eye opener. So much so that if you did stand-up comedy for a living, you’d have fresh material for life!

Here are five things that being a school run mum has taught me;

Parents will KILL for a parking space –

Yes I drive to school, but in my defence we do live a couple of miles away. With a two and three year old to transport, walking each and every day is not an option. I’ve learnt though, that if you’re going to be driving to school then you need to be prepared to stand your ground.

People park their cars anywhere and everywhere and they get really shirty if you get in their way. The working parents are the worst, they want the space closest to school, so they can run in and run out in double-quick time. I understand they have to turn into work, but being a few minutes late is probably something they ought to have made their peace with when they had kids.

Kids are all sweetness and light until you get them out of the school gates. Then they turn into ‘hangry‘ monsters –

My kid is always happy at school. She’ll walk out with her friends talking and behaving like an angel. As soon as she gets into the car the ‘hangry’ monster appears. She wants food NOW and will be grumpy until she gets it. Why do parents always get cracked with the ‘hangry’ stick?

You’ll come across so may different types of parents. Remember though, you’re all knackered and you’re all stressed –

You’ll meet parents you like and parents you don’t. You’ll meet the ones whose kids you don’t mind your kids mixing with and you’ll meet ones you’d prefer they didn’t. What you shouldn’t over look though is that all of these parents are most likely knackered and completely stressed out, just like you are. Don’t judge a book by its cover and all that.

Hold back on the smug when your kids goes into school meltdown free. Your time will come. Believe me –

When our eldest started her school placement she went in like a dream. I would see the parents with screamy kids looking fraught as they tried to get their little one to go and play. I’ll be honest I felt a little smug, mine was doing so well, we had no trouble. Oh the naivety! Of course once she’d settle in and got her feet well and truly under the table, our angel daughter felt comfortable enough to wail at the top of her lungs one morning as I tried to leave. Not so smug now hey?!

Play dates are a thing. Deal with it –

I was so inexperienced at school mum life until recently, that I honestly never realised that I would have to schedule play dates into my already brimming diary. It wouldn’t be so intrusive if I dropped the kids off and picked them up tired and ready for sleep, but at their tender ages I have to stay with them. Now I’m all for being sociable, but I find squeezing work into my day hard enough as is it, never mind when I have to leave my own four walls for hours. Yes the kids love it and yes it’s good for them, but I won’t half been pleased when they can head off and see their friends without me!

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Poopsie Surprise Unicorn Review

Poopsie Surprise Unicorn Review

*We were gifted the Poopsie Surprise Unicorn for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

A sure-fire way to make my kids happy is to make slime with them, they absolutely love the stuff. Throw in a unicorn and they just wouldn’t be able to contain their excitement. I know this because recently we reviewed the Poopsie Surprise Unicorn and I’m sure they thought all of their Christmases had come at once. It would seem that slime and unicorns are the perfect combination!

The Poopsie Surprise Unicorn is available at Smyths, The Entertainer and Argos, it’s RRP is £49.99.

 

The Review –

Now as a parent, you can imagine that slime isn’t one of my favourite things! My kids however love it and the Poopsie Surprise Unicorn was no exception. You have to feed the unicorn all of the slime ingredients, using the tools provided. Once the unicorn is full of ‘food’, you put it on the toilet to poop out the slime. Now you understand why my kids love it so much, hey?!

The slime instructions are really easy to follow, and the girls thought feeding the unicorn was great fun. The littlest loved the brightly coloured mane of the unicorn and uses it as a toy, even when it’s not making slime! This set comes with glitter that you can add to the slime, making the ‘poop’ fit for the most glamorous of unicorns! You don’t just get one set of ingredients either, so the kids can make slime until their little hearts are content.

Overall, my girls just loved their Poopsie Surprise Unicorn. They laughed and giggled all the way through making their slime and I’m pretty sure it’s their new favourite toy. If you’re in need of some Christmas inspiration this year then I couldn’t recommend this product enough, it’ll get you some serious brownie points with the littles!

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NOROVIRUS – Surviving Illness as a Parent

NOROVIRUS – Surviving Illness as a Parent

This week has been totally awful for everyone in our house. Within three days of the Biggest going back to school, we had been struck down by an array of germs. Bringing with them a virus or three that would last the entire week. At first it was just a cold and as much as I can’t stand them, it wasn’t as bad as what was just around the corner. With a cold we can curl up in front of the TV and feel sorry for ourselves for a couple of days. Which we did. When Norovirus hit though, it turned into a whole different story.

Sickness is never fun –

After having two HG pregnancies I honestly find even the slightest bit of nausea traumatic, never mind actually being sick. So just as I felt like I was recovering from the cold and happened to wake up one the next morning feeling slightly off colour, panic really set in. I knew I wasn’t pregnant, so there and then I had to resolve myself to the fact that I would spend the next couple of days with my head firmly glued to the toilet bowl. Joy.

Luckily Hubs was off for the first day, so I could freely alternate between the bathroom and the bedroom. Leaving behind the aroma of bleach, desperate to rid the place of germs so no-one else would catch them. It’s really difficult to explain to toddlers why you feel so rough though. I didn’t do the school run for an entire week and felt so guilty for ‘leaving them to it’. Between them, his Lordship and my parents managed to keep things afloat without me. For some reason, as parents we believe that we aren’t allowed to be ill, as the world will obviously stop turning. If this week has taught me anything though, it’s that it’s OK to take some time out when you need to. Things will be just fine, in fact the kids will probably enjoy the novelty of the situation!

When everyone else gets sick –

After a couple of days I thought I’d be on the mend, the dreaded Norovirus had other ideas though. Not only did it decide to linger with me for days on end, it also decided to infect Hubs and the Biggest. No. Fun. At. All. The last few days have seen Hubs attempt to keep the contents of his stomach down, as he hates being sick more than I do. They’ve witnessed the Biggest projectile vomit on the way home from school, right in front of the neighbours gate – whilst she was stood there. They’ve also endured more acoustics in the bathroom department than I care to remember.

I wish I could give you a very definite answer to how to survive illness as a parent. The truth is, I don’t think there is one. All you have to do is power through, or sleep through it. It’ll pass – one way or the other! 

 

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