Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Quinny Zapp Extra

So we've had the Quinny Zapp Extra for over a month now and we've already blogged about becoming a QuinnyCaster and we've even blogged about opening the box. I thought I would do a update with how we've been getting on with the Quinny from the first time we used it to it's recent adventures.

Our first time using it we took it on a trip to the local shops, it lived up to all my expectations as a lightweight pram which was easy to push.

We took it to London with us a few weekends ago and it worked a treat on the streets on London, we were unsure which pram to take with us because of the amount of train/tube/escalator riding we were planning on doing. It took up barely any room on the tubes which was handy when it came to squeezing onto the last tube to go back home.

I have to admit before I actually became a QuinnyCaster I was really unsure about the shape of them, I didn't think the pram looked comfortable for children especially the foot bit. But after actually using it and seeing Oli in it with my own eyes I changed my mind. Oli as a toddler finds the pram comfortable to sit in and use, unlike other prams that we've used he can sit up straight in the Quinny.

Getting Oli to sleep in it was a breeze, the fact you can recline the backrest back is a big help. It meant he slept for longer and was perfectly comfortable. The huge sun shade which will be handy come summer was perfect for blocking him out from the rest of the world whilst he got some essential shuteye.

Monday, 29 November 2010

The battle of the school uniform

"Tuck that shirt in!"

"Adjust your tie!"

"Get those earrings out!"

"Those shoes are not appropriate!"

"Your hair is too short!"

Do these sound familiar to you too? From the moment I started secondary school to the day I left these were the kind of things I had barked at me each and ever day. I suppose I could of done the right thing and have never gone against any of these rules and it would of just made life easier, Come mid secondary school I did keep my shirt tucked in and had a school tie long enough to make Rapunzel proud.

Where should rules start and begin? Was the school that sent home 88 pupils for going against these kind of rules being over the top?

I remember a couple of weeks after starting secondary school my music teacher noticed a ring I was wearing. It was something my nan bought me just before she died and as a 11 year old who had been wearing it for a couple of years it felt really special to me. I was told I had to remove it or face exclusion, despite my pleas it had to be cut off. It was a tiny little ring, what harm would it of really done?

I still wonder that now that I've left my school years well behind me, I know the whole tucking the shirt in was just me rebelling and that I wouldn't of been nagged on a daily basis if I would of just kept it tucked it. I understand that but then it's issues like hair that I just don't understand. How does the way you wear your hair reflect the way your going to study?

Nickie had a hair issue with her son's school where they deemed his haircut offensive, her 11 year old son was causing offence to everyone by the way his hair was styled.

Part of me argures that we should stick to whatever strict rules the school set as it's good for later on in life but then the other part of me wonders if rules like 'no more then one set of earrings' and 'no extreme haircuts' are just plain silly?

Saturday, 27 November 2010


Myleene Klass has joined forces with Fairy to launch the latest campaign to encourage the whole nation to help grant the wishes of children and young people fighting life-threatening illnesses.

The Fairy and Make-A-Wish Foundation® partnership is now in its seventh year and aims to help make even more magical wishes come true for children across the country. Whether their wish is to take a ride in a helicopter, have their very own private playground built, or to have a bedroom makeover, the charity can make it happen.

According to research by Make-A-Wish, at any one time in the UK there are around 20,000 children and young people living with life-threatening illnesses. So far this year, Make-A-Wish’s wide network of supporters and dedicated volunteers have granted wishes for over 650 children and young people. Samuel and Ella are just two of the children who have had magical wishes come true thanks to the charity.

Five year-old Samuel lives with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and wanted to be a fireman for a day. Samuel and his family were picked up by a limousine and taken to a local fire station where he was kitted out with a fireman’s uniform and shown the duties of a real fire fighter. He was later presented with a certificate by the Watch Manager following an assault course test.

Eight year-old Ella lives with a Spinal Tumour and wished for a day of pampering so that she could take a break from her relentless trips to the hospital, which she has had to endure since the age of two. Ella and her family were whisked off to a hotel and spa where she was ‘beautified’ ahead of a truly magical horse-drawn carriage ride around the hotel’s stunning gardens. Ella is also being featured on special packs of Fairy this Christmas.

Wishes rely on the community support from people like the Watch Manager at the fire station that Samuel visited and the owner of the hotel where Ella stayed, to help grant wishes. By buying special packs of Fairy this winter you can also help to make the magical wishes of children, like Samuel and Ella, come true.

In support of the campaign, Myleene Klass commented: “I’m delighted to be involved in the Fairy and Make-A-Wish initiative to make wishes come true for seriously ill children and young people. I urge people to get involved and help Fairy make more wishes come true. I hope lots of people feel inspired by those who have already helped so many wishes become a reality for children across the country.”

Find out how you can get involved and how to donate over at http://www.make-a-wish.org.uk/

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The Great Christmas Cupcake Competition

When you get a email with the subject 'cupcakes' you always know its going to be a winner. I got sent some details about a cupcake competition going on over on the Tesco Real Food website called The Great Christmas Cupcake Competition.

The ideal is that you make/bake/cook/design and create your own Christmas cupcakes which you then upload to the competition's website along with a few words.

They kindly sent me a box full of cake stuff so that I could have a go at making my own Christmas cupcakes. They obviously have not seen my previous attempts at making cupcakes! I can make the actual cakes but when it comes to the icing and decoration I am a total fail.

Thankfully Tesco had shared some ideas on How to decorate your cakes and a recipe on how to make Cupcakes with vanilla frosting.

I was meant to make my cakes yesterday but totally forgot that I lent my cake tray out so cannot do mine until this evening. So keep a eye for my attempt at entering the competition. Fingers crossed they turn out something like this..

You have until Monday 29th November to add your entry. 2 lucky winners will get the chance to cook alongside a celebrity chef for the afternoon on Friday 10th December in London. There also 10 runner up prizes of a cupcake decorating kit.

As it's so gloomy outside why not stick some Christmas music on and go about making some Christmas cupcakes this weekend with the kids.

Happy Baking!

Monday, 22 November 2010

For Sale : Baby Walker

For Sale* - One Vtech First Steps Baby Walker

Year 2009, 2 owners, comes with built in phone, 20 miles, white with design, superb drive, yellow alloys, factory fitted body kit, in built music with adjustable volume, MOT expires 25/12/10, registration plate - 123OLI.

Slight mark on the body work from crash, no brakes, dead battery, no manual, no tax, sadly no inbuilt GPS.

Last night as I was just drifting off to sleep I heard this noise, my first thoughts were that it was just someone walking past the house and talking rather loudly. Then the sound started to sound like a cat being strangled, I was wetting myself at this point. I realised it was one of Oli's toys going off so quickly ran down to turn it off before it woke Oli up. It was Oli's baby walker and the batteries were dying hence the strangled cat sound.

I am currently taking batteries out of all his battery operated toys.**

Have you ever experienced toy malfunction which has scared the living daylights into you?

*Not actually for sale, it's going in the loft as soon as possible!
**The batteries can stay in, the toys can go!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

PayPal - Win A Year's Salary

Wouldn't it be nice not have to worry about money for a little while and just be able to enjoy life and the things in it without worrying about saving money for the next bill which is due to come through the door.

Paypal have launched a prize draw promotion which gives everyone who enters the chance of winning a year's salary of £40,000.

Now I know what I would do with £40,000... I would clear any debts that I have, would finish doing the house up and then buy a new car. The rest of it would be split into Oli's trust fund and used to get us through the next year or 2. I think those are quite sensible options, of course I will make a few rather silly purchases such as that rather expensive paid of shoes I've been eyeing up!

You could be in with a chance of winning £40,000 simply by buying anything using paypal. It's a weekly draw which takes place so the more you buy the more chance you get. This is great news for us because we plan on doing most of our Christmas shopping on ebay using our paypal account. Head over to paypal to see more details on how you could win.

It's not only ebay where you can use your paypal account to purchase items. Many shops now accept it as a form of payment. How about heading over to Toys R Us where you can purchase a Black & Decker Power Tool Workshop, Cupcake Girl Fold Out Cosmetic Set, Star Wars Darth Vader Helmet, Little Red Henry Vacuum Cleaner, Tomy Cinderalla Aquadraw and lots lots more simply by just using your paypal account and at the same time entering yourself into winning a year's salary of £40,000. Terms & Conditions.

How would you spend £40,000?

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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Christmas Trees & Toddlers

We all know Toddlers don't mix with many things, be it that biro pen you left lying around or that plate of cakes you didn't think he would see resulting in lots of crumbs.

But how about the Christmas Tree?

It's coming up to that time of the year where Tree's (do you do real or fake?) are either being bought or are coming down from the attic (where do you store yours?) ready to be put up and decorated. (when do you put yours up?)

But how do you keep it safe from your toddler who can be worse then a bull in a China shop at times and most importantly how do you keep you keep your toddler safe from it?

Try and teach them that the tree isn't to be touched, they need to learn that it's one of those items in life that isn't to be touched but admired, I suppose there's no better time then to learn that now.

This is more of a common sense one really, any breakable/sentimental put towards the top of the tree. We don't plan on putting any kind of glass ornaments on our tree until he's old enough to understand that Christmas Tree's are just to be looked at only. It's juts not worth him 'accidentally' bumping into the tree, smashing them and possibly hurting himself in the process. Last year we left off anything which was a choke able risk as he was in the 'lets put everything and anything in my mouth' stage.

Try a wide stand which should help any toppling over, I've even read about how some people tie it to something, that's where something like the curtain hooks could be handy I suppose. You could try to anchor it to the wall. Still got those round baby gates? Could always try blocking off the tree area with that guaranteeing the presents and the tree are safe from toddler hands.

Explore the tree on a daily basis if they are really interested in the tree, try to do a daily rearrange of the decorations. I plan on putting some Chocolates on our tree this year, not only do they have to survive my chocolate cravings but they also have to survive on chocolate crazy toddler. If this is something that draws him into the tree I will take them off and store-them-somewhere-safe-possible-my-belly. These may also not be a good idea with any animals such as cats that may want to snack on them and potentially pull the tree down. But it's ok to realise that once you've bought the chocolates! ;)

Supervise them at all times and do not leave them alone with the tree especially if your toddler is not the laid back kind and likes to cause destruction on a daily basis like mine is. It's just not worth the hassle of coming back from the toilet to find feet sticking out from under a tree and the cry of 'oopsie mummy'.

Failing all that and you've either given up on the second hour of having it up and ave decide before hand that it just wasn't worth the hassle, put it in a different room or try a small tree which can be put somewhere little hands cannot get to it.

Lastly and most importantly - try and get them to join in! Stick some Christmas music on, make some mince pies and have fun decorating the tree together. Lift them up at the end to put either the star or angel (or both!) on top of the tree and watch their face light up as you switch on the lights at the end.

Good luck and have fun!!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Do you bribe your child to read?

According to a report in the daily mail almost half of parents have to result to bribery to get there children to read, bribery methods including TV, the computer and sweets.

This kind of information actually scares me, as someone who has boarded the journey of Motherhood is this something I'm really going to be battling with when Oli (and any siblings that come along) hits reading age?

Am I going to have to bribe them to read homework books with chocolate and the promise of half hour on that games consoles but only if they sit and read for 20 minutes. I remember as a child I used to enjoy sitting down to read a book, you didn't have to bribe me at all. I flew through all my stage books at school and I was so proud of myself when I graduated onto the 'read any book' from the library because I had finished all the school issued ones.

Its amazing how in 10 years technology has become more & more part of our lives. As I look around I can see a Xbox which belongs to Daddy, he also countless more games consoles upstairs. A BT box which allows you to pause and record TV, Oli is currently using this to watch Waybuloo. I myself am sat on my laptop catching up on emails and checking my eBay. As much as I depend on technology myself I for for what it might do for my son's future and what kind of impact it will have on things like reading.

Is technology to be blamed for this need to bribe children, is the ever growing list of gadgets and game consoles taking the place of the book? I suppose it wont be long before I add reading books to my farewell cassette walkman post. I guess it will be up to me as his Mother and main influence in his life to make sure he doesn't get essential reading time mixed up with a hour's Nintendo ds game play.

Will the future for our kids be all about ebooks? Will our children be bringing home reading books on kindles?

Would love to know how you parents with older children tackle distractions such as TV and games consoles when it comes to reading and homework. Do you bribe your child to read?

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

You know you're a Mother when...

You know you're a Mother when...
You find kids DVDS amongst your sex in the city and other chick flicks.

You know you're a Mother when... You find the same happens with your Cd's

You know you're a Mother when... You find all these DVDs & Cd's all over the floor!

You know you're a Mother when... You find his ride on Thomas has been used to store your bits & bobs.

You know you're a Mother when... The walls are no longer white and crayon can be found in most places.

You know you're a Mother when... Your house isn't in the same condition it was before he came along.

You know you're a Mother when... You find clothes that are clean and were not put there by you in the washing machine.

You know you're a Mother when... You find stuff in your hand bag - it used to be dummies but now I find small size 6's in it.

You know you're a Mother when... You have to buy your partner yet another xbox headset because the child has got his hands on it.

You know you're a Mother when... You are being dragged into the kitchen for no reason at all.

Anything to add?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Cross dressing or harmless fun?

There's been some controversy about the mother who dressed her 5 year old son as a female character for a pre-school Halloween party over in America. The female character was Daphne from Scooby Doo. The mother has been branded a crazy loon for doing so and is now battling allegations of her son being gay.

I actually think a huge fuss has gathered over nothing. The child is 5, I doubt he even knows what gay/lesbian is, so why is he/his mum receiving remarks about her son being gay?? I'm pretty sure from the age of 3 upwards I used to dress my brothers in girls clothes, I even remember once that my brother actually left the house in one of my nurses dress up outfit. He even wore a bikini once for a party, did any of that mean he was gay? Not at all. If it was anything it was fun and was what my brother wanted to do.

Just like this 5 year old did. He wanted to dress up as a character he admired and respected. It was Halloween, isn't the whole point of it to wear outfits out of the ordinary? The Mother is a fellow blogger who blogs, her last post which defended her actions (not like she had any need to do) was at 41,799 comments last I looked. I hate to imagine how many of those comments are not very nice comments.

I would have no problem at all if at the age of 5 Oli turned round and wanted to wear a 'female character' outfit. If at the age of 14 he wants to wear female underwear and dresses then I may have a concern then. To me a young child dressing up as the opposite sex is harmless fun. My son much prefers programs like Dora & Peppa Pig over programs like Bob The Builder does this mean he has gay tendencies?? FFS just let the kids be kids!

Would you have a issue with your male child dressing as a female? Or how about your female child dressing as a male?

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Life is a rollercoaster

Life can be so hectic at times, I may only be a SAHM but life can really go at a fast pace where I just struggle to keep up with it.

Oli has changed so much over the last month. He's turning into such a cheeky little boy, his talking is getting much better and his current phrase is 'Daddy did it' which sounds about right. He's also became more hard work, his new thing is 'let's drag mummy everywhere especially into the kitchen' . I'm not allowed to sit down when Oli's around, I'm to be in the kitchen apparently!! Guess he's starting to tell me where I belong.

I've been feeling rather stressed out the last couple of weeks and feeling rather guilty about it. I managed to convince myself that I wasn't allowed to be stressed and feeling rundown. I kept telling myself that I don't have a job to attend or any major life commitment so I shouldn't feel the way I have been. I don't have the right to say I'm tired and fed up when I'm having a bad week because I can come and go when pleased, I always have those nap times where I get a couple of hours me time, but those couple of hours are over as soon as they begin.

Uni work has felt like a full time job on top of the full time job of Motherhood. Even my favourite hobby of blogging feels like it could become a full time job. Everything and anything has been making me feel tired, I just felt so run down and it made me loose the fun factor and I know being fed up and stressed out was effecting my mood.

I did do something about it this weekend, I surrounded myself with my closest friends and shopped on both the Friday & Saturday as much as the cards allowed me too. We also arranged a babysitter and hit the town for lots of drinking and dancing. I may be suffering slightly today due to all that drinking and dancing but a McDonald's lunch and naps on the sofa with Oli helped to sort that out. We spent this evening at a family gathering which involved lots of yummy chili, hot dogs and fireworks of which Oli wasn't so keen on.

I still feel like I have a million things to do and I just don't know where to begin, but at least I have a fun weekend to think back too and giggle about when I'm being dragged into the kitchen for the 100th time.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Should You Think Twice Before Taking Your Baby To A Firework Display This Year?

Guy Fawkes Night can be an exceptionally sensory experience for babies and young children. The lights, sights, colours, sounds and excitement make it an event worth celebrating. However, it is important to be extra careful about safety. Here are a few tips from Dr Lin Day, founder of Baby Sensory on how to make it a fun, safe occasion for your baby and the whole family.

Protect your baby's ears

Safety is paramount, so think about attending an organized display. Find a safe place and don't get too close to the fireworks. Loud noises above 80 dB can affect the development of hearing in babies and young children. Fireworks register at 140 dB, which is loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss. Earmuffs can effectively reduce dangerous levels of noise and can be used on babies as young as six weeks old. Unfortunately, there isn't any ear protection designed for newborn babies. It is never a good idea to use earplugs since these could damage the soft ear canal of a baby or young child. They could also become a potential choking hazard if they find their way to your baby's mouth.

Keep warm

Wrap your baby up in several layers of clothing, making sure that his or her hands, feet and head are well covered. A forward-facing sling carrier, or back pack, keeps your baby close to your body and provides warmth, safety and security. Putting your baby in a carrier also enables you to hold on to a mobile toddler or child, who may be inclined to walk off if unsupervised.

Be aware of toxic chemicals

Watching the bonfire can also be great fun, but it can pose a serious safety risk. Children are far more likely to get injured than adults, so safety and supervision are paramount. Sparks can fly out of the fire so fast that a baby's or child's eyelids may not have time to react. Even if emergency aid is immediate, damage to the eye could be permanent. Wood smoke contains over 200 chemicals, many of which are detrimental to health. Treated or painted wood smoke contains an even greater range of toxic compounds. The only way to prevent injury, and to protect children's health, is to keep them at a safe distance from the source of danger.

Dealing with fear and panic

Most children are mesmerised by fireworks, but if your baby or child becomes overwhelmed or frightened, offer plenty of reassurance. If this doesn't work, make a quick get-away. An alternative would be to watch the display from the car. If all goes well, the family can stand outside the car for a better view.

If you're celebrating at home

If you are thinking of celebrating Guy Fawkes Night at home, set the theme with Handel's 'Music for the Royal Fireworks' or Tchaikovsky's 1812 cannon overture. Use LED battery operated fairy lights to create a magical effect (the bulbs do not get hot, so there is no risk of injury). Serve hot soup or drinks to adults in glass-free flasks to reduce the risk of accidents, but keep alcohol out of the reach of small hands. Even a small amount left in a glass can be poisonous to a baby or small child.

Sparkler facts

Never give a sparkler to a child under five years of age. A sparkler reaches a temperature of about 2000oC, which is five times hotter than cooking oil. Older children should wear protective gloves, hold a sparkler at arm's length and be fully supervised at all times. Sparklers can stay hot after they have gone out, so plunge them into a bucket of water to keep children safe. If fireworks are to be used, avoid firecrackers, jumping jacks and spinners that can cause damage and injury. The best option for babies and children is to look at the display from an upstairs window.


If your baby or child is warm, wears earmuffs and keeps a safe distance from the bonfire and fireworks, then the celebrations will be stimulating, safe, fun and memorable for everyone.

These great safety tips were provided by

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Next Baby Competition - Update

I blogged the other day about Baby Competitions and it was no secret that I was hinting at the Next Baby Boutique Competition which is currently happening over on Next's facebook page.

The PR's dealing with have sent me a email in response to my blog post which I want to share with anyone who has entered the .

"We were incredibly excited about opening our modelling books up to a younger age group and to give Next customers the chance to choose the babies that they wanted to see modelling for Next. However as the competition has progressed it is undeniable that we have received a massive response but also faced some problems. We wanted to take this opportunity to let you know exactly what we are doing to address these issues:

1. Some entrants have reported receiving shockingly offensive messages via Private Message from other Facebook users. We cannot tolerate this type of behaviour and want to obliterate cyber bullying from our community. Where we find reports of this activity we are Private Messaging the entrant who reported each incident to ask for full information so that we offer legal support from Next to put a stop to this behaviour.

2. Several entrants have had their competition entries wrongly rejected by misinformed moderators and this caused huge upset to these entrants. We have issued a public apology to those concerned and the moderators responsible for this action are no longer employed by Next

3. We have received messages from parents who do not agree with the public voting system and would like us to choose our finalists. Although the public vote will decide the Top 24 babies (12 from each category) who’ll be invited to our photo-finish-final in early December, it will be a panel of judges from Next, Prima, Baby Expert and Urban Angels who decide the overall winners."

Monday, 1 November 2010

Farewell Cassette Walkman

So we bid farewell to the Sony Cassette walkman, another ancient bit of technology which faced extinction thanks to its cousin 'The mp3 player'.

I've never really been bothered before about stuff that I grew up with falling victim to the modern day and modern creations, but I am genuinely sad to see the end of the cassette walkman. I remember I use to often record songs from the radio on to cassette so that I could listen to them on-the-go. I remember my first cassette tape being Jason Donovan, oh how I played that tape over & over again!

It's got me thinking though about other things which have vanished over the years.

I dealt with the blow of the end of the megadrive quite well I think, but mainly because I still have one attached to our bedroom TV which permanently has Sonic stuck in. How anyone could ever get bored of Sonic is beyond me! Can you tell I was a 90s child?

Seriously.. what happened to toys falling out of the cereal box? I remember one day fighting over the cereal box with my brothers over who got the toy, the next minute we were fighting over who got to collect which token to send for the toy. We would end up having a token each and resulting in no toy at all.
I know they were most likely stopped because people could choke on them/small parts/the paint from the toy could rub off on the cereal etc.. but still.. wasn't it just fun to pour your cereal and have a toy pop out into your bowl!!

All I can say about these is THANK GOD they have gone. What were Bernard Matthews thinking when they bought these to our dinner tables. My mother use to torture me by giving these as a teatime meal, they were disgusting and of course my mother used to be burn them so they tasted even more rank. Thankfully Bernard Matthews discontinued them in 2005.

One of my favourite crazes that hit when I were at school were 'jelly shoes'. That mean mother of mine never bought me a pair but I did get passed down some from a cousin that she had outgrown, ok I missed wearing them when the craze was actually happening but I still got to experience those jelly heeled shoes. Looking at them now I'm not sure why they ever went out of fashion, they look so funky. Have to admit that they were not the comfiest of shoes to wear, they rubbed like crazy and when my feet got warm they would slip around but of course this was something you were willing to overlook for the sake of fashion.

I think I was the last of my generation to use these as a way to back up your computer work. At college we were introduced to USB sticks and had to save our work on these as the computers didn't even have slots for our floppy discs. I suppose it wont be long until USB sticks are replaced with something else, something tinier and more technical looking.

This pocket sized play set was my favourite thing to play with for years! Whilst my brothers were outside kicking the ball through the shed windows and causing other trouble that I somehow.always.got.the.blame.for, I would be curled up on my box (I had a huge box thing in my room as I was just over the stairs) playing with my Polly Pockets and really using my imagination to create little stories and scenes.
They were tiny, and that's what made them so different from the other toys I had such as my Barbies. I remember not long after I grew out of my 'Polly Pocket' stage they bought out a larger size version of the little figures, to me that just so wrong as part of the main attraction of the Polly Pockets was that is was a miniature play set. The boys had a version called Mighty Max.

If there's one program I wish to make a comeback it would be Dinosaurs, this program was just hilarious! Anyone who watched the Dinosaurs will of course be familiar with the phrase 'not the mama!' which was often screamed by Baby Sinclair. I would be one proud mama if I can get Oli to shout this at his Daddy. I often sit and watch repeats over on youtube along with goosebumps and other 90s programs that put today's TV to shame.

Is there anything you miss from your heyday that has vanished?

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