Monday, 8 January 2018

OUR 2017 HIGHLIGHTS!

I love looking back at all that we've done - I'm always surprised by how much we have squeezed in and this past year was no exception. New babies, days out, holidays, theatre trips...the list goes on! Here's our highlights of 2017..

NEW ARRIVALS


The absolute highlight of January, and actually the whole year was welcoming baby Erin into the world! 9lb on the dot and the spitting image of her big brother, my planned c-section went very smoothly and we were soon home getting used to being a family of 4. She slotted right in and it was hard to remember life without her - and we've been very lucky as she was such a good baby!


It's mad looking back at these photos from when she was a newborn, you do forget how small they are! Elliot has taken to big brother duties like a duck to water - he loves making her laugh and they have a lovely little bond. She's going to be walking soon I think so I might have trouble on my hands once they get up to mischief together!


DAYS OUT


We have had some lovely days out over the year including Gruffalo hunting at our local country park, spotting dinosaur bones on the Isle of Wight, taking in some fantastic scenery here in Dorset, pretending to be knights at Corfe Castle, dinosaur crazy golf, stomping round model villages pretending to be giants, paddling in the sea, climbing trees and so much more.


We are so lucky to live here in Dorset because there is so much to see and do!

LIVE SHOWS


I've always loved going to live shows and concerts and it's brilliant that Elliot enjoys this too, Erin has also demonstrated a love for music and dancing so I'm sure she will be coming along with us in the future!

This year we have been really fortunate to see lots of family friendly shows and these are definitely some of our top moments of 2017. We had the pleasure of seeing Andy Day and his band The Odd Socks twice this year. The first time was at Camp Bestival which despite the mud was a brilliant day out! It was also our first time seeing Andy the Odd Socks live - we've had the songs on repeat for ages now so it was great to experience them live.

Our second live Odd Socks show was in Richmond and was one of two special gigs to launch their album. We managed to nab seats right in the front row so we felt very special and Elliot absolutely loved the show. The highlight for him though was afterwards when we met the band, Andy remembered him and knew him by name and the band said they'd seen him on YouTube!!


Another highlight for Elliot was going to see Justin Fletcher's live show in Southampton. We've seen him before a few times and always had a great time, this was even better though as we had such good seats right near the front. Justin came down to the audience and Elliot was over the moon when he said hello to him! We also got to see Mister Maker in Bournemouth which was another fab show - and who doesn't love dancing to the shape song :)



HOLIDAYS


We had a big holiday this year and the four of us flew to Orlando for two weeks. I was slightly apprehensive about travelling such a long way with a 5 month old baby and at certain points I did wonder if I was crazy but I needn't have worried! Erin was absolutely fine on the 10 hour flight and she had a lovely time throughout the two weeks. Florida is one of our favourite holiday destinations, there is just so much to do, even if you don't visit the theme parks. We just did Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure which are our favourite parks. Elliot was chuffed because he was tall enough for lots of the rides (he was too short last time) and he became a bit of a daredevil!

Florida Memories
We also visited Clearwater Beach which holds fond memories for us - last we went there we didn't have kids so it was abit different this time round! We had a lovely evening strolling along the beach, watching the sunset. We also managed to see a launch at Kennedy Space Center which was a brilliant experience! There's still so much we want to experience in Florida so no doubt we'll visit again soon.

As well as our long haul holiday we also had a mini break to the Isle of Wight which was a bit of a spontaneous last minute idea. Well, as spontaneous as you can get with two children under 5! We only stayed for 2 days but managed to squeeze lots in including the highlight of the trip which was fossil hunting on the beach. Elliot was in his element and we even managed to find the famous dinosaur footprints which was amazing!


FUN WITH FRIENDS


We are very fortunate to have a lovely big group of close friends here where we live. Us Mums met at our local Under One's group when the babies were small and we have all stayed good friends since. Nowadays there are alot more of us with lots of siblings so it's always a crazy time if we all get together!

We've had some fantastic times together this year including the many birthday parties we've hosted. We also put on a mini sports day for the kids in the Summer Holidays which was fun - although it didn't quite go to plan when the weather wasn't on our side! Fortunately we were able to hire a local hall that very morning so we held it inside, everyone took part.....even the mums ;)


There is so much more that I didn't have room to include but needless to say, 2017 was a great one for us and I can't wait to see what 2018 holds!

What was your highlight of 2017?


The PramshedRun Jump Scrap
Mudpie Fridays

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

FAMILY FUN OVER CHRISTMAS 2017

Elliot broke up from school on the 15th December so Christmas holidays felt like quite a long two weeks stretching ahead of us. I wanted to make sure we squeezed lots of exciting things in and spent some quality family time together - we're all so busy these days! The dreaded sickness bug hit 3/4 of us at different points over the festive period but fortunately Christmas Day was germ free :)

Here's what we got up to:

Fresh air and Freedom

Despite the freezing weather we wrapped up warm and headed out to one of our favourite local attractions, Farmer Palmers Farm Park. It's a brilliant place to visit with the kids and we have annual passes so we visit alot. We met up with some friends and had a brilliant morning - and as you can see from the photos, it's never too chilly for a bit of fun outside!


We also visited another favourite of ours, Kingston Lacey which is a beautiful National Trust property nearby. The gardens were all illuminated for the festive period so we had a magical walk around just as it started to get dark.


The days between boxing day and New Years Eve were a bit of a blur and each day rolled into one, I didn't really have a clue what day it was! We did venture out for some fresh air though - much needed fresh air!

We met up with some friends and visited Arne, which is a local RSPB nature reserve - it was abit muddy in places but the kids had a great time jumping in icy puddles and ticking things off their nature checklists.


Meeting Father Christmas

We ended up meeting Santa three times in the days leading up to Christmas Day - turns out Erin was not a fan!!! She didn't scream the place down on the 3rd and final meeting so there's hope for next year ;)


Family Time

I'm not at all religious so Christmas for me means more about spending time with family and friends than anything else. We've not seen as much of them as we'd normally do due to the sickness bug thats flying around but we still had some fun times!


Happy New Year!

We spent the last day of 2017 having a nice lunch out and then onto the pantomime in Poole which was excellent. I never thought I'd be someone who enjoys pantos but having kids changes you!! 


Elliot is back to school tomorrow so I'm looking forward to getting back to normality and getting the house back to a tidy state - I have washing and toys coming out of my ears!

I hope you had a lovely Christmas - Wishing you all a Happy New Year xx

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

ENCHANTED NARNIA (GUNWHARF QUAYS PORTSMOUTH) - WIN A FAMILY TICKET!

Have you ever wanted to step through the wardrobe and find yourself in Narnia? Well now's your chance! An award winning immersive Christmas event has recently opened at Gunwharf Quays Portsmouth, in partnership with the South's leading radio station Wave 105 and entertainment specialists Secrets Beneath.

Based on the beloved classic series The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, visitors will be able to step through the wardrobe into the magical world of Narnia and journey through the snow on their quest to find Father Christmas.


The beloved characters of the Narnia series will entertain and delight as they usher guests through the magical world to the Enchanted Garden - then it’s on to meet with Father Christmas himself!

Enchanted Narnia uses stunning scenery, special effects, a host of enchanting characters and a
sprinkle of magic to create an immersive experience that will delight all who enter. Snow Business
International, who have supplied winter effects on all films within the Harry Potter series and The
Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe movies are also being brought in, to bring the Enchanted Forest
alive.


Tickets have been selling fast but if you fancy the chance to experience the magic yourself, we have one family ticket to giveaway - 2 adults and 2 children will be able to visit Enchanted Narnia from 27th - 31st December, time slot subject to availability.

Please follow the Rafflecopter details below to enter - closing date 20th December 2017.

For more information on Enchanted Narnia, check out the Facebook page or the website 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR KIDS 2017


Now I have children of my own, I find present buying a lot easier. I know what my kids like to play with and what they really really want for Christmas.... a yellow power ranger apparently!

If you need some ideas for kids gifts, look no further....


Andy & The Odd Socks Album - Who Invited This Lot?
Andy Day (him off CBeebies!) has his own band, The Odd Socks and they have created this brilliant album for kids of all ages. Featuring songs about dinosaurs, robots and ninja pigs amongst other things, this would make a fantastic stocking filler. It has literally been on repeat in our car since we got it!

Exploding Kittens Game - £29.99
This game may sound a bit extreme but it is suitable for the whole family and promises lots of fun!

Personalised Thomas the Tank Engine Book - Not on the High Street £29.95
If you are looking for something a little bit special and unique, this personalised Thomas book certainly fits the bill. A beautiful reproduction of the original Thomas the Tank Engine story, your child's name will feature on header of each page plus the front cover. You can also include a personal message at the start of the book.

The Creakers - Tom Fletcher
This magical story tells the tale of those creatures who lurk under your bed, hiding in the shadows. We really enjoyed Tom's debut novel, The Christmasaurus and I'm sure this second book is going to be equally as popular.

Rubik's Junior Kitten Puzzle - £9.99
Aimed at children from 3-9, this cute little kitten can be twisted to create a crazy mixed up animal and then easily solved. I could never solve the original Rubik's cube so I reckon I'd have more luck with this!

Lego Disney Princess Ariel & the Magic Spell - £25.00
Part of the Princess range, this set features Ursula's Grotto where Ariel can swim up and be transformed to reveal her human legs. Also featured is Ariel's cave plus the all important buildable crystal glove that contains her voice!

PJ Masks Headquarters - £44.99
One of the biggest sellers this Christmas, this is a must for any PJ Mask fans. Elliot LOVES PJ Masks and this was the top of his Christmas list!

Fisher Price Teach N Tag Movi - £39.99
With 360 degree mobility, Movi encourages children to get their minds and bodies moving while teaching them to follow directions and think about the world around them. We reviewed this great little toy a few months back and it has continued to be popular in our house!

How are you doing with your Christmas shopping?!



Thursday, 7 December 2017

THOMAS & FRIENDS MINIS MOTORISED RACEWAY - REVIEW

Elliot has been a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine for as long as I can remember. Over the years we have amassed countless different tracks and engines and the collection got so large that we had to move it into the garage! Elliot has often looked at the Thomas MINIS collection in the toy shop and was very excited when we were sent the Thomas & Friends MINIS Motorised Raceway to test out.


As soon as the parcel arrived Elliot wanted to play with it straight away so we had to drop everything and get the track set up. Fortunately this was quite easy and the instruction booklet was simple to follow, and luckily we had spare batteries in the garage - phew! With a few clicks, the track was good to go and Elliot couldn't wait to get racing.

The track comes with two engines, Thomas and James but it is also compatible with the rest of the MINIS collection which is handy.


The Motorised Raceway is lots of fun. The mini engines are taken up the steep vertical slope by the lift and as soon as they reach the top, they are off! There are three different routes to follow and these can be easily changed by moving the lever at the top.


The first path takes the engines down the waterfall track with a thrilling 360 degree loop before reaching the tunnel and beginning the steep journey up again.

The next route whizzes down the track which appears to be broken but the engines have no trouble jumping the gap!

The third path looks like it's heading nowhere as the MINIS roll off the edge and down a gravity defying track.

Cranky the Crane swings his arm and uses his hook to help any stranded engines!

This is a great set and has already had hours of play since it arrived. It is fast paced and thrilling and I like the fact that there are three different options. This keeps play exciting and inspires imaginations. It's great that all the MINIS collection is compatible - Elliot has already asked me for some more engines so he can race them all at once on the track!

SO FAST!

The Thomas & Friends MINIS Motorised Raceway (RRP £44.99) would make an excellent present for children 3+ and can be found at Smyths Toys


*Disclaimer: We received this product in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own

Monday, 27 November 2017

Joie Mimzy Snacker Highchair - Review

Back in the Summer, Erin turned 6 months old and her weaning journey began. We started off with a bumbo type seat with a tray and this worked fine for the first week or so but she very quickly grew too big and it was getting a bit cumbersome putting the seat on the table!

It was obvious that we needed a highchair so I began to look around to see what was on the market. There are SO many to choose from so it can be a bit overwhelming at first - how do you choose?! I liked the simplicity of the white Ikea ones but I wanted a highchair that I could fold up easily and keep out of the way when it wasn't in use. I always wanted it to be easy to clean! 

With those points in mind, I decided that the Joie Mimzy Snacker highchair would be perfect for our needs. I'm already familiar with the Joie brand as Elliot has one of their carseats and so I knew we would be getting a good quality item.



Key Features and What we liked!

  • 3 position seat recline. The highchair can be used from 6 months but of course not all babies are able to sit up unaided at that age. This means the reclining seat is perfect for those early weaning days when they need a bit of a support. We've had to use it for that purpose but it is very handy when your child falls asleep in their lunch! You can just pop the seat back and let them have a snooze. 
  • Very easy to fold. Some highchairs require a degree to fold down but this one is super easy and can even be done one handed. The handle is located in the middle of the seat and you just give it a little tug and the chair folds down. It can also be opened one handed which is a godsend if you are carrying a hungry, grumpy baby. Simply bring the back of the chair up and it clicks into place. 
  • Extremely compact in folded position. This is brilliant if you don't have a lot of room spare in your dining room and kitchen, and lets face it, not many of us do after having children!! The tray can be attached to the back of the chair and then the folded up using the handle in the middle. The highchair will then stand by itself which saves balancing it against the wall and risking it toppling over.
  • Large tray. The tray is nice and big and can be adjusted into three positions as your child grows bigger. It has a deep cup holder although Erin's drink tends to get launched over the side! The tray is easy to clean and easy to click into place. 
snack time = happy Erin!!

  • Large storage basket. This is really useful for storing your bibs and wipes but the only downside is, food does tend to end up in it too! 
  • Safe and secure. The highchair has a 5 point harness which is easy to adjust and makes it nice and safe for the child. The tray has a safety bit which goes between their legs which means they can't slip down through even if they aren't strapped in. 
  • Cute Designs. Our Mimzy Snacker has the alphabet pattern which features various different animals. I love the design and the pastel colours are eyecatching without being too bright. 
  • Price. The Mimzy Snacker retails at £49.95 and I think this is great value for the features that it offers. I really don't think there's any need to be spending hundreds on pounds on a highchair when this one does the job so well! 

What didn't we like?

As much as I love this highchair there are couple of little points that I'm not too keen on. Although the seat pad is easy to wipe clean, there are a few areas where crumbs seem to congregate! The handle to fold the chair is under a flap of material and I find this area is a bit tricky to clean as the food gets stuck right in the corners. The best thing I've found is to use the hoover and suck out any bigger bits and then use a wipe to get in the corners.

Also related to this issue are the straps. I have no idea why manufacturers make the straps white - yes they look nice when new but after about three days, they're stained with food despite multiple wipe downs!

Despite these little niggles, I do love this highchair and think it's brilliant value for money. We use it at least 4 times a day and I love that it folds down flat and is lightweight. It makes it nice and simple to move around the house as needed (breakfast in the kitchen, lunch in lounge etc!).


How did you decide what highchair to get? 

Thursday, 9 November 2017

LOGO DESIGN FOR BEGINNERS! - LOGOJOY REVIEW

I've had my blog for just over 3 years now and it has always been a hobby. I love writing about what we get up to as a family and it will be lovely to look back on when the kids are older. When I set it up, I used a free theme from blogger as my back ground and my logo was something I created in PicMonkey using some of my favourite photos and a particular font I liked.

As with most things, my blog has evolved over time and I'm now looking at updating my theme and logo to match our life right now. When the blog was set up, we only had Elliot but obviously now we have Erin too so I'd like to incorporate her as well as it looking more streamlined. 

The first thing I would like to update is my logo as this is obviously the first thing people see when they land on my page. Not having a clue about graphic design, I was recommended to try out Logojoy. Another blogger claimed they could create a logo in under 10 minutes so I was keen to see what they could do for a not-very-creative person like me! 

The first step is to enter your blog name - easy peasy! The next page brings up a grid of logos which were all created by Logojoy and you are asked to click on 5 that you like the look of. This gives the generator an idea of what you like. Next is colour combinations - you can skip this step but I chose blues and purples for mine. 





The next step is to pick up to five symbols for your logo. You can search for specific ones like family or parenting and then this will give you more options at the top such as children, kids, community etc. 



The next page will generate some logos for you featuring your business name and symbols if you decided to use any. Once you click on your favourite, it will give you the option of tweaking with the colours, font and layout. 



Once you have decided on your logo and purchased it, you have access to all the files you need such as PNG and JPG. 

I have to say, I was mega impressed with how simple it was to create a logo. As you can see from the picture above, my logo is alot different to my current blog header pic and I really like how clean and simple it looks.  I'm going to spend a bit of time tweaking it until I'm 100% happy but the logo above was created in under ten minutes so it is possible to knock something up in that little time! 

My logo was created using the Premium package ($65) but see here for more options. 










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