Sunday, 30 September 2012

Getting Ready For Our Butlins Holiday

So we're away this week at Butlins down in Bognor Regis thanks to being a Butlins Ambassador. We're so incredibly excited about it, we usually take the toddler every year and this year he's at the age where he's really going to appreciate it. So not only is this our yearly escape to Butlins but we've got the exciting task and reviewing it and taking the whole holiday and thinking if it would be something that we would recommend to you guys as a family holiday.

Of course from our previous Butlins holiday's we would happily recommend, our last one was a term time break last March where we stayed in the Ocean hotel. We spent our days dancing in the disco lift and watching shows such as Barney & Lazy Town. This time around we're trying out the new Wave hotel which has tripled our excitement. It really does sound like the perfect hotel for me & my family what with a games room to feed the mans gaming addiction, a kindle library to feed my reading addiction as well as a Soho coffee to keep me perky after any night feeds that may crop up during our stay. Though I would be fibbing if I wasn't looking forward to the daily housekeeping and premium dining, no cleaning or washing up for Mummy this week! Leaves me more time to have fun with the boys and possibly grab some 'me' time.

We've been browsing the website for the last few weeks, purposely I think to make us even more excited. We found the before you go section which is packed with advice and tips on how to prepare for your Butlins holiday as well as downloading a entertainment guide to what is going on during your stay. I was excited by the character welcome letter which enables you to input your child's details to have a personalised letter made for them from a Butlins character. I recently did it with Oli with a letter from Billy Bear. If he would of been older, I would of got it posted to him to really add to the excitement of our forthcoming Butlins holiday.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

An apology and a thank you!

Something has happened in the last couple of days which seems to of kicked a gear or two of mine. I've been on a blogging funk of late where I've not really been wanting to pours words into blog posts, I've wanted to but not. That will make sense to anyone who's been in a blogging funk before, with which I can see 75% of you nodding. I really do have so much I want to blog about though, especially baby/toddler related posts. My blog drafts seem to be a endless pit of blog tittles which are just lacking the actual post to go with it.

Ooo it's so shiny!

I went and won this shiny piece of glass last night at the MAD blog awards (a proper blog post to follow!) and it was like I was hit in the head with it. I suddenly felt guilty for not putting as much effort into my blog as I did back when I was pregnant and I want to apologize to you all my readers for that. I guess I have the excuse of a extra child to blame and but then I have the luxury of play school and nap times to take advantage of. My blog seems to be full of those *whispers* sponsored posts. Gotta build up that mortgage fund somehow. But still I was sad that my blog isn't going in the direction I want it to be. I'm off to Butlins this week so may not be blogging for the next week, it all depends on how exhausted I am after our fun days come the evening when the children are in bed to if I blog or not. Tuesday it's my birthday so no doubt I'll be spending it curled up with a glass or two of wine the husband.

Photo credit : Tots100.  Small person in photograph : priceless.

I will be writing up a full post about the MAD blog awards as soon as I've got my head around the actual fact that I won my category of best pregnancy blog and am over the shock. BIG thank you to all of you who read and filled out that form putting me forward to be a finalist and that voting for me again to actually win. You really do not know how much it meant to me to have those posts I wrote considered award worthy. My pregnancy wasn't pleasant, anyone who read my pregnancy posts know that. Blogging really was a fantastic outlet at the time and it was a brilliant way to document my 9months of pregnancy. I actually plan on printing out the posts I wrote about it to show Dylan one day in the future to prove to him what a little ratbag he was when I was carrying him, maybe this may be the new form of embarrassing material to show to their girlfriends come the future. Though will keep the embarrassing baby photos to flash around. 

Of course though without that gorgeous little boy in the photo above, I would not of been pregnant (though maybe I should be thanking the man someone around this point?) and not of been blogging about our pregnancy adventure together. So I want to thank him, I want to thank Dylan for joinong his amazing older brother Oli in helping me to fill this blog full of our everyday adventures in life.

Friday, 28 September 2012

The New Heinz FIVE Beanz

Apparently the best things come in five and if you've tried the new Heinz FIVE Beanz then you might just think that's true. We were asked if we wanted to try out the new Heinz FIVE Beanz along with a Tea For Grown Upz Package. Though of course Oli wasn't left out, he was treated to a Heinz Alphabetti Spaghetti-inspired meal. We were sent along with the beans a food shop which contained everything we needed to make a meal to go with our beans. Of course in our excitement at seeing steak we threw out our other dinner plans that evening to try out these new beanz and eat steak.

We very much enjoyed our Heinz themed meals, even the husband who at first was rather hesitate about eating a can of beans which actually had 5 different type of beans in it. I was quite excited about it and thought it a nice change from the usual tin of Heinz beans that often graces our plates. Ever since trying them I've been using them to brighten up my lunch, they've been making great jacket potato fillings as well as being chucked into a few sausage and bean casseroles. 

Heinz FIVE Beanz includes:

  1. Haricot – this much-loved bean is creamy white with a smooth, slightly nutty flavour. The Haricot bean originates from North America where they are known as the ‘navy bean’ and are also used in the nation’s favourite Heinz Beanz
  2. Red Kidney – known as the ‘chilli bean’ as these are often used in Chilli Con Carne, red kidney beans are sweet in flavour and packed full of protein 
  3. Borlotti – red and speckled these beans have a nutty flavour and are known as ‘cranberry beans’. They are very popular in Italian, Portuguese and Greek cooking and have a sweetish flavour with a smooth creamy texture 
  4. Pinto – popular in Spain and Mexico cooking, Pinto means ‘painted’ in Spanish. So-called because of its mottled colour (similar to that of a Pinto horse) these beans turn pink when cooked. 
  5. Cannellini – dubbed the white kidney bean these are used widely in Italian cooking. When cooked, they have a fluffy texture and a slightly nutty, mild flavour.

You can find the new Heinz Five Beanz in your local supermarket down your bean aisle. Have you tried them yet? 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Traditional vs Modern Dancewear

If you are about to send your kid to dance school or to join a local dance crew, you should research what type of clothing they will require to do their best during practice and at performances. The clothes your kids wear can play a big part in the freedom of movement that they have and the impressions they can create, so read on to find out more.

Traditional dancewear is the stuff of every young girl’s dream, and is there anything more iconic than the tutu? Most people imagine a classic pink or white ‘Swan Lake’ style tutu, but there are lots of different styles to choose from, and you can even opt for a flatter skirt style if you find this more wearable. 

Colours range greatly as well, so a group of dancers can create a uniform look by wearing the same colour, or allocate different character roles within a production by using different colour schemes.

Whilst traditional leotards and tutus are great for ballet dancers, more modern dance styles will require a completely different type of clothing. Ease of movement is essential, so leotards, leggings and cropped tops can all work well. If your body comes into contact with the floor (through spinning or sliding, for example) you might want long trousers and tops that cover your skin, yet are still light and breathable to allow you to move freely. 

Good shoes are also essential for many styles of modern dance. A split sole shoe is good for jazz or urban dance, as it allows the bridge of the foot to flex and bend easily whilst still providing cushioning and support for the ball and heel of the foot. 

Traditional ballet shoes are designed for flexibility of movement, and a good pair of soft ballet shoes is essential for regular practice. For those dancers who are able to dance ‘en pointe’, a pair of Bloch or Capezio shoes is essential. Pointe shoes are specifically designed to offer as much support and comfort as possible whilst still offering flexibility to the foot and ankle. Do bear in mind that pointe shoes do not usually come with ribbons, so these need to be purchased separately. 

When it comes to dancewear, neither traditional nor modern is necessarily better; instead, manufacturers focus on comfort, support and freedom of movement for each style of dance and every type of dancer. So let your kids shine!


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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Flu Season Is Upon Us

The many joys of being in such close proximity to other people especially your family is that when they have a cold, you'll more then likely to catch it. That's exactly what's been going on in our house, we've all taken it in turns to have a cold.

First up was Dylan, it was his first proper cold so it was sad for me to see him so full of it. All he wanted to do was be cuddled. Of course he got lots of that, he also wanted to sleep nowhere but curled up on my lap. The amount of nose fluid, aka snot was just unbelievable! Teamed up with the dribble from the teething and it was like a constant waterfall. Over the course of his cold, we both went through a rather a lot of wardrobe changes.

Oli took his turn next and I can tell he's starting to grasp the whole man flu concept as he really did take advantage of the whole 'parents waiting on the sick child' lark. Though to be fair when they're not very wreck, I would happily roll over to give them whatever they wanted and needed. In Oli's case it was endless episodes of Phineas & Ferb/The Adventures Of Abney & Teal/Scooby Doo/The Simpsons. Purple juice as he calls blackcurrant and toast with chocolate spread. He was pretty much him as he usually is but with a runny nose, two red eyes and the need to spend the whole day on the sofa wrapped in his blankie.

I came next with a sore throat, ear and muscle ache. I generally just felt rather rubbish and still do but am plodding through as I've learnt that with 2 little ones, you don't really get chance to think about being ill. Thankfully the husband is off for the next couple of weeks so I have a extra pair of hands to help wipe snot and dish out cuddles. He's not quite come down with it yet, he's got the sniffles and hopefully it just stays at that. I don't think I can deal with 'big man flu'.

Monday, 24 September 2012

His Mouth Belongs To Me

Carrying on from my when is the right time to wean blog post, I've been thinking about those that put pressure on us as parents to start feeding our children before either they or us are ready. It actually makes me quite angry the more I think about it.

My child's mouth belongs to me, I'm part of one half which made it and then carried it as it formed into the little mouth it is today. I'm the one who suffered that first week trying to feed him that colostrum whilst battling against his tongue tie which I didn't know about at the time. I'm the one that suffered with bleeding and cracked nipples as we tried to establish breastfeeding for the first time. I'm the one who carried on squeezing colostrum into a syringe whilst waiting for my milk to kick in. I'm the one who adjusted her wardrobe to make it more nursing friendly. I'm the one who has practically given up her social life to feed exclusively and on demand. I'm the one who wakes to feed and feeds him off to sleep. I'm the one emotionally attached because of this bond we had through breastfeeding.

So considering all that it really should be my decision and solely mine. I shouldn't have to be battling against what other people want or there own personal opinions and experiences about weaning babies.I really do consider his first experiences of food to be such a special time for us and want it to be when we're all ready. I'm wanting to go down the baby led weaning road along with some puree. So basically a mixture of whatever suits us and him, though I do the thought of him eating the same things as us at the table so this is why baby led weaning appeals to us. At the end of the day, he's our son and his feeding is no one's business but ours.

Avoiding accidents - simply safety with kids in the car

Keeping the kids buckled in and entertained during a car journey can be challenging; they have boundless energy, and need a safe, fun way to expend it during the ride. Having a few creative activities planned for the journey—or making up your own games along the way—can save you a lot of headaches while you’re in the car. Here are my favourite ideas:

Play a Game as a Group

This tip will probably take you back to your own childhood car rides, before the days of the digital age. “I spy with my little eye” is always a great game for the road, as the game will get all your passengers engaged. Other games of this nature include “20 questions,” “Name that Tune,” and “Scavenger Hunt,” in which you would print off a list of things you might see on your journey and have your kids check them off the list as you spot them along the way.

Give Them Gadgets

Of course, there’s no harm in embracing digital gadgets to keep kids entertained during the journey. In fact, keeping your child happy (and quiet) may be as simple as handing over your smart phone for a little gaming or letting him listen to kid-friendly music on your MP3 player. Younger children can play educational games on a LeapFrog LeapPad, while older kids can listen to audio books along the way. Just make sure your gadgets are properly charged before the trip!

Let Them Play and Create

This option requires some planning, but is especially useful on long car trips. Grab a few colouring books, crayons (no markers!), sticker books, and favourite toys for the ride. You can create a “work and play” station in the backseat simply by handing your kids a baking sheet, chopping board, or another flat surface on which they can spread out (and have easy access to) these playthings during the trip.

Don’t Forget about Snack Breaks

Everyone gets a little fussy when they’re hungry. For longer trips, plan a snack break during which your kids can nibble on sandwiches, fruits, chips/pretzels, and some water or juice. You may even want to pack a special goody bag filled with their favourite treats to reward good behaviour along the way.

Important Safety Tips

While it’s important to keep your kids entertained during your car trips, games, gadgets, and snacks should never compromise road safety. Always pull off the road before looking for toys, helping children with electronics, or distributing snacks. If you do get in an accident, exchange insurance and contact details with anyone involved in the wreck, collect evidence of any damages to your car, and file a report with the police and your insurance company. Injuries to passengers may not be evident right away; you’ll want to have well-documented evidence on your side in the unfortunate event that you need to make a brain injury claim or whiplash claim later on.

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Friday, 21 September 2012

Real Mums Deserve To Be Mum Of The Year

I've been thinking more about the Tesco Mum Of The Year Awards which I blogged about yesterday. I wondering how mums I knew that deserve a mum of the year and went I actually gave it a thought I realized I'm reading hundreds of blogs many started by bloggers with a story to tell, some who have been through some of the toughest things that no parent should have to face and some who are giving back to the world so much so that they've traveled half way around the world to do so.

You have Michelle from Mummy From The Heart, one of the loveliest bloggers that I know who's given up her time and leaving behind her three children to visit Ethopia. She's no celebrity, she's a real mum helping to raise awareness of extreme poverty in another country.

Visiting other countries you also have Sian from Mummy Tips who traveled to Niger and bought us back pohots, stories and a need to help in #ShareNiger. She is leading the way in social media led charity campaigns and showing the world that social media can make a difference in this world.

Roz from Life, Love and Lollipops is someone I've recently got to known in the real world. She is a Hodgkin's Lymphoma and Thyroid Cancer survivor. I've been working my way through her cancer blog and reading her journey to really understand what she went through. Going through something like that with a 8 month old is just unimaginable.

My dear friend Kerry from And Then All I Thought About Was You went through something no mother should ever go through, she lost her darling Rhianna Lily at 23 weeks. Kerry went through the nightmare of having to hear that bad news to having to deliver Rhianna and to the present day where she is fighting her local council to just simply give Rhianna's grave the respect she deserves.

There's Kara from Innocent Charms Chats who's little 3 year old boy Grayson has SWAN, syndromes without a name. Grayson has a undiagnosed genetic condition which effects his abilities in so many ways. She has worked so hard to raise awareness of this and even put all the hard work to raise money by creating a fun day in Grayson's name. Kara even shaved all of her hair off to raise funds as well as donating it to create a wig for children who have lost their hair due to cancer.

I have so much admiration for Annie from Mammasaurus at the same time as going through a personal thing herself, she made it her challenge to help out Clara from I Want My Mummy who had been given a council house not really fit for living in. Annie rallied up the troops (some other lovely bloggers) and made the trips to Clara's to help out as well as arrange for other people to help out.

Everywhere I look there are real mums who deserve this 'Mum Of The Year' title much more then any celebrity who's given it purely for their celebrity status. Your chance to nominate a Tesco Mum Of The Year ends tonight at 11.55pm, so if you know a mum who deserves to be Mum Of The Year then go and nominate now!

Mothercare Movix

Dylan's at the age where he's perfect to review prams which you can use right from birth. He was sent the Mothercare Movix to try out and give it a ride to see what we thought about it. Now the Movix comes in different packs and the ability to have different colours. The first and main section is the Mothercare Movix Base Pack which includes the chassis and the carrycot base and comes in a choice of two colours - dark grey or vanilla.

The second pack is Mothercare Movix Nesscity Pack which includes the large hood which has a covered viewing window, sun visor and optional ventilation. Carry cot apron. Cushioned seat pad. Comfy harness pads which attach securely to the harness and helps to keep the seat pad and cosytoes in position.A carrycot rain cover and pushchair rain cover. The different color choices are cherry pop, ebony, citrus punch, pebble and hazelnut.

And the third pack being the Mothercare Movix Comfort Pack. This includes the snug coocon style cosytoes which has a cosy fleece lining, the cosytoes have hidden magnets in the front which ensure that it can be neatly secured over the bumper bar. A matching changing bag which has lots of pockets and a changing mat. Again this comes in the the choice of colours of cherry pop, ebony, citrus punch, pebble and hazelnut.

For Dylan we picked the cherry pop as we thought a nice bright colour would look fab for the spring/summer season. Of course if we wanted a change of colour that's easily done by buying another one of the packs, I guess that's why Mothercare have created the Movix. Switching colours and having the ability to mix and match is not something I've come across on many prams. As he was still so young when we started to use the Movix, the carrycot was the option we went with so we put the pushchair chassis to one side until he hits 6 months.

When putting the pram together we came across a problem with the hood, our original hood wouldn't fit onto the carrycot so we had to get in contact with customer services who sent us a new one which did fit. Putting the actual pushchair up and a down was a breeze once we had got the hang of it, what did take a while to figure out was putting the carrycot together but then I guess it depends on your ability on how to read instructions to how simple this is for you. Putting the other accessories from all the packs were no problem at all, the carrycot apron zipped onto the carrycot with ease and the carrycot rain cover fits quite nicely into the basket underneath the pram with room to spare for other items.

The location and the way the basket is closed is ideal compared to some baskets I've been faced with on prams in the past. This basket is done up with a zip which is particularly handy when you're going up and down curbs and stops whatever is inside of it from jumping out. The basket is right underneath the carrycot which leave it not that noticeable to other people and lets you keep your items dry.

The carrycot is a decent size which should child out until they grow out of it. That was a previous issue for me with the toddler and his first pram as he grew out of it long before he ready to move on to the next stage. Though this could be just me giving birth to lanky boys. The hood which also transfers over to the pushchair, provides adequate enough shade for baby. Handling of of the pram is smooth enough, the tyres make going up and down curbs hassle free. The wheels are lockable which could be handy if you wanted to rock baby in a straight line back and forth. It has a break which is rather obvious to see and works in a simple push on/off way.
One of my favourite features to this pram for me is the fact you don't have to buy extra adaptors to add on a car seat. When you take the carrycot off the pram is already set up to add on the seat, all you have to do is just move the attachments which hold both the carrycot and the car seat to the right settings but this is simple to do by pushing down and placing in the right mode following the arrows.

When Dylan is older is can be transformed into a pushchair which has the bonus of being both forward and parent facing. I'm not a huge fan of the looks of the airflow pushchair seat but I can see this being a great feature in the summer when it comes to keeping baby cool and it can easily be wiped clean. I did sit the toddler in it to how much room he would have at the age of 3 and it seemed to room him nicely, so the Mothercare Movix really could see you through those newborn days to the toddler stage.

The husband dislikes it simply because he likes the height to our other pram, the fact that baby isn't close up by us. But then this is just another factor you take into account when buying a pram and if that's not something that bothers you then the Movix can be a fantastic pram for you. He does however like the adjustable four position handle with it's comfy grip and the ability to make it a easy to push pram.

I think the total price of £570 for all the packs is a great deal when you take into account the price of other prams which don't come with a foot muff and changing bag (with changing mat) which means this is often bought separately adding on extra expense. The fact that you get pretty much everything you need to see you through your whole pram experience for the next few years for that price is a bargain. Prices and colours are all correct at the time of posting.


Changing is seeing yourself morphing into a different person. Becoming someone you never thought you would become, finding yourself judging others when you've never done this before. Finding yourself judging other peoples personal opinions and actions out aloud, why am I suddenly doing this? This isn't me, I've always kept my mouth shut - why am I opening it now? I've always known everyone is different, especially parents. People don't agree that's life why I suddenly wanting everyone to be on the same path as me? Has my mind suddenly morphed into being God like over night? Who has given me the right to judge, I should look at my own life and it's flaws before judging other peoples.

Changing is keeping yourself away from that line the one between you and the one called depression. Reminding yourself that you don't really have anything to be depressed about if I was to really think about. Those panic attacks are coming out because you're letting them, I'm making myself stressed and filling my head with so much it fills ready to burst. Making that to do list so long that you end up just thinking about it more then actually doing it. I know my lack of organisation and uselessness is to blamed, maybe if I was to go about doing something about this I might actually succeed at something. Not giving into the panic attacks and the moment I feel that anxiety creeping up on me and the heart suddenly going, going the other way and dealing with it the right way not letting it overpower me.

Changing is taking a break and stepping into the real world. I love blogging, I really do. I love all the things that come along with it. The fantastic friendships I have made, the knowledge I have gained from reading other blogs, the opportunities I have had, the amazing products we get to review and most importantly this diary of my boys first years I now have. Have products such a iphone and ipad means I really do get to use all these social media platforms on the go. But instead on the go should mean, taking the time to blow raspberries at my boys and watching them. Just watching them interact with there toys and how there imaginations are taking them to other worlds. Changing is not saying "in the minute darling" but living for the now. Deleting those apps, shutting the laptop and knowing when to say enough even if it's just a week is changing.

Changing is remembering that I am me and you are you. I shouldn't want to be like anyone else, I'm unique. Why should I worry about how I look, what I write and what I do. I'm me and I shouldn't go changing for anyone but myself. No one get change what I need to change, I need to figure it all out but I know a good start is remember who I am.

I'm a mother, a wife but most importantly I'm me.

Cruising With The Family

It's not to late to think about fitting in another holiday or even your first holiday if you've not been anywhere yet this year. The kids will love getting away just as much as you will and it may just fill that gap in between now and Christmas time. How about doing something completely different to the usual holiday and make this one a Thomson cruise holiday? I know my toddler would find the very thought of holidaying on a big boat, one big adventure in itself.

There's plenty of cruise deals going on over on Thomson so no need to pay full price, browse the bargains and pick a cruise deal suitable for you and your family. You can pay child prices right up until the child is 16. I personally love the looks of the Highlights of the Mediterranean cruise, I got lost in dreamland just reading that cruise itinerary.

Not only was it the cruise itinerary that impressed me but browsing the different Thomson ships had me wanting to swap my sofa for one of the on board casinos Or even better, leaving the kids with the husband whilst I take advantage of the health club or reading room. I suppose if the tables were to be turned I would most likely find him on the sports deck where they have a entire deck dedicated to basketball, table tennis and football.

To keep the little ones entertained on board they're offered a variety of entertainment from team challenges to storytelling and mini discos. The kids are sure to find something to keep them occupied. When it comes to feeding those little mouths of theirs then you given the choice of child size portions and child friendly offers allowing you to save more money.

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Save With SmartSave

Doing things with the children really does not have to break the bank, finding the right deals and a bargain can help make activities as a family more affordable. If I'm ever going anywhere which charges a admission price I will hunt around to see if I can get grab myself some money off be it in the form of paying cheaper online or printing out discount vouchers. Why pay full price when the option is right there to pay less and leaving you to save those pennies for the gift shop.

Smartsave is a website which I've used before in the past when visiting a local attraction to grab us a fantastic 20% off the normal admission price. It's extra handy for us now that Oli has hit the age where he's starting to get charged child prices. Just simple search the website by region to see if they're offering a discount on your chosen attraction or is you've not got somewhere planned, why not just have a browse to see if anywhere takes your fancy. You can even sign up to the website to get more days out vouchers delivered straight to your inbox.

Would be great to use if you're considering some days in London, it's packed full of different London attractions with 20% off vouchers for you to use. We all know that London can be slightly more displeasing on the purse so saving money where possible is a must. Smartsave gives you a handy section for days out in London where you can search for attraction from 0-9/A-Z.

Too much choice? Why not check out The London Dungeon, great interactive history lesson for the children and guaranteed to entertain you too. You have a unique opportunity to go on the UK's first 5D ride incorporating a 3D ride, 4D special effects and 5D rider interactions with Victorian-style laser guns when a Victorian séance at one of the most haunted house in Victorian London goes horribly wrong. It's especially fascinating as it's a visual true story, everything you see has really happened. Take advantage of 20% off and click here to print your voucher.

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Thursday, 20 September 2012

Tesco Mum Of The Year Awards 2013

When you think of mum of the year what springs to mind? I'll tell you what springs to my mind when I think about mum of the year - undeserving celebrities. Women that have become mum of the year simply because of there celeb status. Now don't get me wrong some of them deserve it, especially those that give so much to our charities and communities. I do feel sometimes that I wish there was more of a story behind the reasoning of them becoming mum of the year.

Tesco Mum Of The Year Awards is completely different to those other mum of the year awards. This one is all about celebrating real mums, like me and you. Those of us who has gone beyond our normal daily tasks and have given to others be it emotional support to a friend in need or helping out complete strangers. Those mums that have really made a difference for the greater good, these are the mums that really do deserve to be honored and I'm sure you'll agree with me.

Why not say thank you and nominate an amazing mum that you know that deserves to be recognized for what they have done. They'll be awarded at a glitzy awards cermony at the rather lovely Savoy hotel where they will dine with celebrities. Not only that but also rewarded with a outfit to wear, a two night stay in London and goodie bag full of fantastic treats. What better way to say well done and thank you then all of that?

To nominate head over to this nomination form and let Tesco know who should win the Tesco Mum Of The Year Award. Why not let all your friends and family know about the nominations over on Facebook/Twitter? You never know, you might just nominate the same person doubling their chance to be recognized for what they've done. But be quick! Nomination's end at 11.55pm on the 21st September - that's tomorrow night!

Find out more head over to the Tesco Magazine Mum Of The Year Award website and to be kept up to date with all the goings on, why not follow them on twitter at and follow the hashtag

Boobs, Boobs & More Boobs!

It seems that I'm reading news stories about boobs on a daily basis lately, be it someone accidentally letting off a cheeky flash or another study about breastfeeding- boobs are EVERYWHERE. I don't know if I'm noticing it more since I started breastfeeding and developed a new found love for my own boobs but they certainly do seem to be a hot topic at the moment.

Of course I think the biggest boob story on everyone's lips right now is the
Kate Middleton topless photos.Some photographer took photos from a roadside whilst Kate and her husband Prince William were on a private holiday in France. I'm not sure on my views to this story, part of me thinks 'Kate, you took the risk now accept the consequences' and then other part of me thinks 'Kate you poor woman, you just don't get privacy anywhere - rip them to pieces'. A even bigger part of me though wonders if these photos would of still be taken if Kate was to of been breastfeeding her child? What then? Would that of been newsworthy, what headline would of been put to that?

Then you're got this '
No more page 3' story where there's a petition involved to stop The Sun's page 3 which features in it's newspaper obviously on page 3. They are not news worthy and the petition is asking that Dominic Mohan the editor of the newspaper to stop showing topless pictures of young women and conditioning his readers to view women a sex objects.

I got giggles from this daily fail article about
Rosie Huntingtons boobs, you can quite clearly tell it was published by a man. Like seriously, if I was to push my boobs together like Rosie is in the second photo I would cleavage that could give Katie Price a run for her money. There's so many factors which can change the look/size of your boobs, from padded bras to the way you stand. Why would it be so news worthy?

Hitting in the news in relation to breastfeeding is a study which says that
breastfeeding isn't the only cause of droopy boobs. Apparently what does contribute to those saggy, droopy or deflated boobs is alcohol, smoking, multiple pregnancies, body mass index and bra size. Has breastfeeding made my boobs saggy? Nope, if anything they've gone the total opposite and are perkier then mount Everest.

Monday, 17 September 2012


If you happen to own a small child then you're more then likely to of heard of Jungle Junction. I have a huge fan of it in my house and we don't even own the Disney channel (yes I consider this a parenting fail!) Thankfully we get it on demand on our TV and I discovered it when I was trying to find a program which was full of animals to help Oli with naming his animals. Well Flair have some fantastic new play sets coming out and to celebrate that we've been invited to host a Jungle Junction twitter party along with 14 other parent bloggers.

We've been sent a HUGE box of Jungle Junction toys so that Oli along with a few of his friends can play together, have a few games and eat some Jungle Junction themed food. We'll be tweeting and sharing photos over on our twitter account and using the hashtag .

For your chance to get involved, all you have to do is follow us on and follow the hashtag from Tuesday 18th September 4pm - 6pm. During that time they'll be tweeting about our parties and giving your Jungle Junction fans at home the chance to win with spot prizes, plus an overall party prize. Sounds like lots of fun! Blow up those balloons and get your party gear on because it's going to be a Jungle Junction bonanza!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Morrisons - Fuel Saver

Morrisons has just launched the UK’s first ever Fuel Saver scheme which will help shoppers slash their petrol and diesel bills. It is a new way of paying for items from across the high street which gives us customers much needed savings at the pump.

Over in the US similar schemes have proved rather popular and now Morrisons has joined up with 34 of the nation’s favourite high street brands (listed below the video) to bring Fuel Saver to the UK.

What you can save:

The typical saving using Fuel Saver is 6% for customers filling up a 60 litre car, for example:

  • Purchasing a bottle of fragrance from Boots for £30 leads to 3p-a-litre off fuel. On a typical 60-litre fill-up that’s a saving of £1.80 off the purchase price.

  • The purchase of a £500 oven from Homebase will lead to 50p-a-litre off fuel. On a typical 60-litre fill-up that’s a saving of £30 or 6% of the purchase price

Check out the fuel calculator below to see how much you could save on fuel at Morrisons.

This new way of paying for products will enable families and individuals to save much more than other payment methods. Leading credit cards pay a maximum of 1.25% cashback on purchases. In fact, customers can use their credit card to pay for their Fuel Saver gift cards and make an even bigger saving.

The fuel saver works by families using gift cards bought in Morrisons to pay for purchases on the high street. See the video below for more on this scheme.

Who is participating?

There will be 34 retailers taking part in the scheme including: Currys PC World, Itunes, Homebase, Next, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, BHS, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Topshop, Wallis, Outfit, Toys R Us, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Pizza Express, Halfords, Accessorise, Monsoon, Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Cineworld, Boots, New Look, JD Sports, H Samuel, Zizzi, Facebook, Spotify, Club Penguin, Spa Finder, Toni & Guy, Hotel Voucher Shop, National Book Tokens. Fuel Saver is a permanent scheme and begins on September 3rd.

Fuel Saver can be a great way for families and individuals looking to find a way of reducing high fuel prices. We as a family are always trying to find new frugal ways of living, so something like this Morrisons Fuel Saver scheme is right down our street. Plus we use both Morrisons for our food shopping, petrol and we shop at many of the participating shops listed.

We would either be clever about using the gift cards and use them as Christmas gifts for family and friends or use them to treat ourselves whilst benefiting from saving money on petrol at the same time.

How would you use the Fuel Saver scheme to save money on petrol?

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Weekend Fun with the Children

If you have run out of plans on how to keep your children from getting bored on a weekend, you might try taking them into the kitchen. Getting kids excited about making new things and cooking alongside you increases their interest in the food they eat. In fact, this also equips them with the knowledge to make good and sensible choices about food.

Weekdays are busy for children and parents, so weekends are just the right time to try out this activity. Here are a few fun things you can do with your children to get them interested about food and cooking.

¬ Try making popcorn balls. Even after all the stickiness on your hands with the popcorn and marsh mellow, this is real fun. You all might end up eating more than what you make eventually!

¬ Who doesn’t like applesauce? And it is even tastier when everyone has done their bit in making it. Get your children to peel, core and slice apples this weekend, and cook the sauce with them. In no time, the homemade applesauce will be a staple for every weekend.

¬ Children love their artwork. Be it their books, clothes or even their room walls, each one has their imprint on them. Give your children a way to exhibit their artistic side through cupcake decoration. Bake a fresh batch of cupcakes and arm the kids with different colours of icing and applicators. Work alongside while they display their creations with pride and glee.

¬ How about organising a baking afternoon the next Saturday. You could even invite your children’s friends to join in the fun. Try out different recipes of cakes and biscuits, while letting the children decide which one they’d prefer. If you can’t find any recipes of your own the
Anchor Dairy website has many to chose from. Let them measure and whip ingredients and see the delight on their faces as their cakes turn up. You could even conduct tasting sessions to decide which one tastes best!

When you witness the pride in their eyes on having successfully baked a cake or prepared a wholesome sandwich for brunch, you would know the experience is worth it. Guide and advise them while helping and teaching them, as they learn the art of cooking.

While they are in the kitchen, you could even give them some interesting information about the ingredients they work with. Help them lay the table for the whole family and when they prepare a dish or a whole meal, make sure it is treated like an occasion to celebrate. After all, children and cooking are two of life’s biggest pleasures.

This is a sponsored post

Whiskey Dummies and Other Old Wives Tales

When you become a parent, many people want to pass on their knowledge and wisdom to you in the form of old wives tales. Old wives tales are usually a traditional myth that can cause some confusion if you are becoming a parent for the first time.

Here are some quite common myths for you to look out for:

Eating bread crusts

One of the most common wives tales to consider is whether you agree to encourage your child to eat their break crusts. Some people suggest that eating your bread crusts gives you curly hair whilst others state that is makes you big and strong. Many studies have revealed that bread crusts contain high levels of antioxidants which are really good for you. Antioxidants help to prevent illness and disease; therefore, it is good if children can start eating crusts when they are young, fit and healthy!

Carrots Improve your Vision

The myth that carrots improve your vision came about during the second world war and has stuck with many parents ever since. Although there is no research to say this fact is true many parents believe that their children should eat carrots as they contain vitamin A which helps your eyes to stay healthy, whilst this vegetable will also help children to get to their essential 5-a-day!

An Apple a day keeps the Doctor away!

Another old wives tale suggests you should eat an apple a day which is said to stop you contracting any illnesses by helping your immune system and protecting your DNA. Whether your child has a glass of pure apple juice or one apple a day, it is sure to keep your child healthy.

Whiskey Dummies

Many mothers are also still using whiskey dummies which the traditional method that mothers used to use when their babies were teething generations ago. However, modern day mums have debated whether this method is safe and have questioned whether babies should even have a drop of alcohol placed into their mouth to prevent any teething problems.

This article was provided by Shower My Baby; specialists in decorations for the perfect baby shower.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Baby Safety

As a parent everything in your life changes the moment your baby is born or even the moment you start to think about conceiving. Your priorities change as well as your outlook on life, becoming a parent seems to replace the non-parent chip in your brain and replace it with one which is. Your heart changes and you suddenly give a big massive piece of it to this little person who you've never met before but oh how they take it and melt it. Protecting them becomes one of your main jobs as a parent, you cant help but to think about the evils of the world and sigh at the fact they're growing up in a world where evil happens but we've learnt that that's life. We count our blessings that we've bought our children into a environment where we have access to clean water and have the luxury of 3 meals a day.

I'll start this blog post with the fact I'm not the perfect parent before anyone thinks that I should so get off my high horse. Thought I do try to be, but then don't we all? There has been occasions where my child has has pizza for both lunch and tea, though do I score brownie points by adding that he had salad with it the second time around? He's gone a couple of nights without a bath because either I'm too exhausted to bath or he is. Much easier to sometimes just chuck him into bed and say that we'll have a bath the next morning. But stuff like that is ok, so I may give him the poops with having pizza twice in one day and messing up the good hygiene manners we're trying to teach him but I'm not putting his life in danger.

When it comes to the safety of my
boys I'm happy to admit that I do wrap them in cotton wool there safety is paramount to me. Now that Oli can do things for himself and is starting to become of his senses I am more lenient with things. But as a baby and a new mum I was as cautious as I could be when it came to anything and everything. I think when it comes to safety as a parent it becomes a brain game, you have to think and then think again. Always. I double check and triple check, I asses the situation in my head or even out aloud much to the annoyance of the husband to see if my children are safe. Be it strapping them in the car or keeping them safe in the car, my eyes and my brain are in non-stop mode helping to keep them safe.

Especially as a baby, they rely on you for everything and that means it's your job to keep them safe. When I read the articles a couple of weeks ago about how Bumbo have had to introduce safety straps to the product I was rather annoyed, annoyed for the company but especially annoyed for the children who's parents hadn't used the product in the safe manner. On the Bumbo is quite clearly states 'Warning, Never use on a raised surface, Never use as a car seat or bath seat, Designed for floor level use only, Never leave your baby unattended, As the seat is not designed to totally restrictive and may not prevent release of your baby in the event of vigorous movement.' I know that because I have Oli's old Bumbo right in front of me now which I've just started to use with Dylan. It goes back to using your brain, the seat obviously have straps so why put it on a table? If you want baby at the table then put then in a suitable highchair which comes with straps. I wont be needing to get these straps because I will be continuing to use the seat in the safe way which it was intended to be used. On the floor, under our supervision.

This morning I saw a article where a mother didn't strap her child in the pram, causing the baby to fall out of it. The mother blames the bumpy payments but actually she's the one at fault, the pram may of still tumbled over but would baby of gone flying out? I know as a mother it helps to blame other people, and I cant imagine the guilt she must be feeling and how horrible it is to have that horrid parent fail caught on camera to be splashed across newspapers. But then shouldn't that be even more of a reason to of made sure that her baby's safety was the number one priority of her day? I guess I'm really disgusted by this particular incident because she was still on the phone as her child was out of the pram, wouldn't you of casted your phone aside to rush to your child's aid, no matter who you were talking too?

So I'm kinda judging without knowing the facts or
actually being there but then that's where it sucks to have a paparazzi following. To us it looks quite clear what happened, guess she's now learnt her lesson and will make sure that her baby is strapped in at all times no matter how long he's in that pram and no matter where they are. Of course the mother says baby was strapped in and I quote 'the weight of his body popped the buckle open'. Would love to see the response from the pram brand on that so called safety fail if he was indeed strapped in like she said. Though from the pictures it looks like a blanket was over the straps, what do you think? Maybe she should swap for a Stokke Xplory which has a 5 point safety harness.

My own risk assessments as a parent sees me not using a sling because I'm terrified of not tying it right so I instead use a carrier. I freak about the thought of traveling on the London underground with Dylan in his pram so instead I avoid escalator's and stairs and instead will take a taxi. But then you may say he could still get into danger in a carrier or in that taxi but I take comfort in knowing that I've taken my own precautions in protecting my children. At the end of the day common sense really should come into play when it comes to babies, toddlers or even teenagers.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Seeing the summer through with Morrisons

Ok, so the school holidays may be coming to a end but I don't think we should see this as the end of Summer. I remember last year we still had some lovely weather at the beginning of October, I never thought I would be reaching for the BBQ at that time of the year. Morrisons have been helping to make the summer holidays more affordable with it's new savers range, recipes which you can make with the kids and a events calendar almost as long as much to do list, which is a rather long list!

I mentioned the M Savers events a few weeks ago which listed some dates where Morrisons were taking their summer play parks up and down the country. Did you managed to get along to your local event? Morrisons have put some photos up on their website in the summer event gallery. If not why no re-create some of the fun at home with these fun and affordable activities or ideas from Play England.

We've been making it our mission this summer to shop more on a budget and this has included purchasing more from the savers range. Especially items from the under £1 range, this is where we've found items for Oli's tea ranging from the 60p fish fingers to the 66p lasagne. Items like the 56p sausage have been fab in a sausage casserole and for a treat the 89p ice cream which has gone down a treat with a few bananas and sprinkles. I think with the weather due to be nice this weekend, we'll be having the lemon and honey whole roast chicken with salad.

If you are at a lost to what to make for tea one evening then why not check out all the recipes over on the Morrisons website or failing that, grab a blanket and have a go at some picnic treats.

TINY 3 Piece Travel Cutlery by TumTum

When VUPbaby heard we were going away for the week they asked us if we would like to try out the TINY 3 Piece Travel Cutlery by TumTum. Seeing as were going into a self catering apartment I was pretty sure they wouldn't cater cutlery wise for little mouths so would of had to take my own so these were just the perfect thing. Plus I'm kinda thankful for the emailing me as knowing me I would of probably of forgotten to of grabbed his cutlery.

The fab thing about the travel cutlery set is of course the handy little case it comes in, it keeps the cutlery clean enabling us to just pop it in a bag and use at the other end. I think that this is especially ideal if you're camping. The knife, fork & spoon are perfect for little hands, Oli is 3 and they are just the right size for him.
The great thing about the fork is the curve on it allowing him to double it up as a spoon, great for those little peas.

Our local pub rather stupidly don't supply children's cutlery, something which I think is a must when you have a children's menu. So I think on future trips there, we'll be popping the cutlery set in our bag. Doesn't matter if they are dirty once finished with as they can be popped back into the handy travel case to go home straight to the washing up pile.

Tum Tum have added some fun to the cutlery set by adding characters to each side where the child can mix and match. Oli find its rather funny and I have to admit it does add some colour to dinner time's. Maybe it can be used as a great tool for any little fussy eaters out there.

You can find VUPbaby on , , and .

Potty Training Post #127

OK slightly exaggeration, I may only blogged about it several times or so but it does seem to be a long drawn out of process. Like I said in the last post it probably wouldn't of been if I would have stuck with it when I was pregnant and if I wasn't such a wimp when it came to making the move into pants. Things are going fab but (always seems to a but in these potty training posts!) we took a step back which we're trying to fix. I managed to stop him using the potty by simply putting that away for Dylan's potty training days. But he stopped using the seat we have for him with the toilet and tried to stand up to do it. I wonder who he was trying to copy.

Well he hasn't got a very good aim and many times have I had to mop the bathroom. My bathroom is now my least favourite place to be, before my bath the other night I went through a can of air freshener. Strong disinfectant had been added to this weeks shopping list. Thankfully he's gone back to sitting after much begging and supervising from me. Lets hope he continues.

I also thought wearing pants outside the house was going fantastically until his cousins birthday party the other week. I had some parent come up to me asking if that was my child sat in the corner crying, it seems that he had forgotten to go to the toilet. I'm guessing it was all the distractions and I have noticed that before when wearing pants around the house that if he's distracted he'll forget to use the toilet. I've learnt that I'll have to keep asking the rather familiar words 'Do you need a wee?'

I will have this potty training business sussed by the time we do it the second time around!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Did you keep your baby's cord?

I did and I did with Oli's too, I still have it in his memory box waiting for me to put it into his scrap book. When I think about why I've kept them I guess the answer is that that part of me which is a hoarder wants to keep anything and everything related to them. As angry as I am with the hospital for putting my maiden name on Dylan's hospital tags I've still kept them because that's something that he wore and was from his first week.

I'm rather soppy with the fact that it was something that connected us and I like to be able to show that to the kids when they are older and show them this cord which connected us. Thought they probably wouldn't ask or even want to know at that age. I like the thought of having it as a keepsake and coming across it myself in years to come and being reminded of that physical connection we had when I was carrying them.

I know that some people would find that rather disgusting, after all it did have blood pumping through it and of course it still has that kinda colour to it. The husband finds it disgusting but then he's not a big fan of anything bodily related, I dread the day he has to deal with a nose bleed or a cut on the kids by himself. I guess if I myself was disgusted by the whole cord thing I could of just kept the clip around it but then I wasn't disgusted and I want it as a keepsake for the baby scrapbooks.

Did you keep your baby's cord?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Our last year together

So as I'm wondering around blogosphere I'm coming across blog posts full of photos of children either returning back to school or going to school for the first time. Even on my facebook I'm greeted with photos of children standing in school uniforms with big smiles on faces, my nephew being one of them who started school for the first time this week. It's made me think about I'll be in the same position next year as what many parents are this week with saying goodbye to their children at the school gates.

I have one more year left where we wont get in trouble if
we were to sneak off on holiday during term time or taking advantage of attractions being slightly quieter. Oli of course goes to pre-school, we started him there just after Christmas so that he would be settled in by the time Dylan arrived and so that I could have some me time before becoming a mother of 2. We also thought him starting it earlier would help with his speech problems, which we have seen a notable difference with. Thankfully the start of a new term with him now being 3 means free funding, whoop.

We'll soon be having our forms through from our local council though I'm pretty sure they're allowing us to do it online this year, where we pick our choice of school. We've not even given it a thought and I guess we'll probably wait until we move at the end of the year as our catchment area may change. Guess this means having to actually buy school uniform and actually maybe labelling his items, I'm pretty sure I might of used the wrong kind of marker for his pre-school stuff. It's been nice being able to chuck him into the first items of clothing we find in the mornings, next year I'll have to actually make sure his school uniform is available daily and actually take the ironing board out of its wrapper.

I'm relieved the holidays are over, they have gone quick though! Only seems like yesterday I was blogging about my dislike of the summer holidays. It means we can now go places and not have to queue for as long, the local soft play half's it admission price and shopping wont seem as chaotic. We're going to start making the most of term time holidays by visiting London for a few days at the end of the month and then taking a holiday to Butlins next month.

Have your kids returned to school/started for the first time or like Oli they have to wait until next year?

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