Sunday 28 September 2014

Mum Annoyances - Number One!

Before having Elliot I was very easy going and it would take a lot to wind me up. Nowadays, I'm still pretty easy going but there's a few things that really do make me angry as a mum, and the more they happen the more irritated I become! So at the top of my list is...


The parent/child parking bays are alot bigger than a normal spot and this is SO important when trying to get a carseat or toddler out of the car. Our cars are getting bigger these days and a normal space just doesn't give you enough space to open the door wide if you have someone parked next to you. 
These spots are usually located near the doors to the supermarket which is a bonus but not a necessity, I'd quite happily park further away in a wider spot if I knew I wasn't going to get jammed in! Unfortunately due to their close proximity to the doors, some people who don't have young children in the car seem to think they can park there if they can't be bothered to walk 5 steps further from the normal parking spots!  

It's not just people without children though, I've seen families pull into the spaces with kids around 10/11 or even worse teenagers and they think this is ok! Surely if a child is old enough to get in and out of his seat and exit the car on his own then a extra wide parking spot is not needed. 

Some mums think that if they park in the spots but then leave their husband and kid in the car then this is also fine - surely this defeats the object of having to park there in the first place! I saw a lady just yesterday who pulled into the only parent/child spot in the carpark. She got out, locked the car and went to use the cash point. Meanwhile, we had to squeeze into a little tiny space and try and manoeuvre a wriggling toddler out without bashing the car next to us! I must admit, it did make me very angry and I actually went up to the woman and asked her if she knew the parent/child spots were for people with children!! She looked mighty annoyed that I'd questioned her and said actually her child was sat in the car. Er ok, and you needed that space why?! (I know why, because she was a lazy so&so who wanted to get to the cash point fast!) 

On another occasion at my local Sainsburys, we pulled into the carpark but all the parent/child spots were taken. At the time, Elliot was only very young and we were having to get the carseat out each time so a parking spot with more room was very useful. After we parked in a normal spot, we noticed that there was a lady parked up in the parent/child bays and she didn't have any kids in the car, she was just sat there reading the paper.  My dad was with me and he's not one to mince his words or stay quiet and he knocked on her window and asked her what she was playing at! She replied that she was due to pick her grandchild up shortly from the nearly school and that was why she had parked in that particular spot. And basically as she was picking up "a child" it gave her every right to park there!! My dad quickly put her in her place and funnily enough she moved her car!! 

Apparently Asda can issue a £50 Parking Charge Notice if someone is found misusing the parent/child spots but I don't know how strict they are about this. The wardens are never around when you want them to be!! 

Would you confront someone if they were parked in the parent/child bay and didn't have kids? (I normally hate confrontation but I wouldn't hesitate to say something these days!)

U, me and the kids
Life with Baby Kicks

Monday 22 September 2014

The Chris and Pui Show!

A few months ago I discovered that Chris and Pui from Show Me Show Me on CBeebies were coming to Bournemouth for a live show. I was a bit concerned Elliot might be a bit young and wouldn't sit still but I booked tickets anyway and couldn't believe my luck when I managed to get seats right in the front row!

Elliot is a big fan of Show Me Show Me and his favourite bits are "Show me your groovy moves!" and wiggling his ten little worms. (I apologies if you've never seen Show Me Show Me, you're probably wondering what on earth I'm talking about!!) We actually got to meet Chris and Pui in August when we went to Lollibop (read about it here) but we didn't see their live show so I was looking forward to seeing it in Bournemouth. 

I have to admit that when we got to the Pavilion in Bournemouth, I was slightly excited about our front row seats!! I've never managed front row for anything!! Elliot was very excited about sitting in a big boys seat although we nearly lost him on one occasion because the seat flipped back up taking him with it ;) 

When the show started Elliot was mesmerised. He spent ages just waving at Chris and Pui! He couldn't quite see over the stage from his seat so he spent most of the time on our laps but he was having a whale of a time waving his arms in the air and jigging around! The show features all the characters from Show Me Show Me such as Teddington and Old Macdonald and there were ALOT of songs squeezed in. They sung "If you're happy and you know it..." and when it came for the audience to sing "We Are!!!!" , Elliot sat there taking it all in and decided to shout "We Are!" about two minutes later haha! His current favourite singalong tune for the car is "music man" so he was very excited to hear that too. 

The show ran for about an hour in total, plus a short interval and this was just the right length so the little ones didn't get too bored. I'm actually surprised it held Elliot's attention for so long because he never normally sits still for 5 minutes but that just goes to show how much he enjoyed it! 

After the show we loitered in the foyer for a bit and Chris and Pui came out to meet their little fans. They had signed photos for the kids again (like at Lollibop) and I just think this is so nice, Elliot was really chuffed with his new picture! He had his picture taken again with them and I'm pleased to say he didn't look half as scared as he was in his previous Chris and Pui pic! The funniest thing was when we were leaving the Pavilion, Chris was stood talking to a lady and Elliot decided to shout "BYEEEEEEE CHRIS!!!!!!!!" - he's such a funny little boy! 
Elliot spotting Pui!! 

Chris and Pui are performing at lots of venues around the UK and I'd highly recommend this show if your little ones are as CBeebies mad as mine!

Lots of fun at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park!

I've been meaning to take Elliot to Longleat for a little while now so when I realised I could swap some Tesco vouchers for a free ticket, it seemed like a perfect opportunity! To buy a standard ticket on the day would normally cost over £30 so £8.50 worth of Tesco clubcard vouchers is a real bargain. Once you purchase your ticket you are given a code to redeem on the Longleat website, this can be redeemed up until midnight the day before you want to visit. This was very useful for us as we were constantly checking the weather to see if we'd be rained on or not! Forecasts gave showers so we thought we'd chance it :)

On the way to Longleat, we did briefly wonder if we should have stayed at home because the weather was pretty bad!! On the way there we had thick fog and drizzle so not the best driving conditions. Luckily once we'd arrived it did clear up and we needn't have worried! 

The last time I visited Longleat was way back before I was married (12+ years ago!) so things have moved on alot since then with lots more to see and do. The park is split into two with the Safari Park featuring all the big names like lions, tigers, giraffes, even an elephant. The other section, the Adventure Park is where you'll find all the smaller attractions like the meercats, the giftshops, Postman Pat Village and loads more. 

As we visited on a weekday, the park was lovely and quiet, It was great to be able to take our time and not feel rushed - especially important with toddlers who work on their own time scale!!

We began our day at Jungle Kingdom and it was brilliant to see the animals close up. Loved the little monkeys in the Monkey Temple! Lots of creatures to see here including prickly porcupines, rainbow lorikeets, ferrets and chipmunks. Jungle Kingdom is also home to the most dangerous animals in the park - hippos! We hopped on the boat which took us on a lovely cruise round the lake - unfortunately the hippos were no where to be seen but who can blame them with the weather we had. Bet they were tucked up nicely in their mud bed! We cruised past Gorilla Island where we spotted Nico who is a very elderly silverback gorilla. He's got all the mod cons on his island including satellite tv!! We also spotted a couple more gorillas relaxing outside their lakeside home, Gorilla Colony. As the boat travelled round the lake we were joined by some hungry sealions. You can purchase a pot of fish onboard for £1 to feed the sealions although we didn't do this - Elliot would probably tried to eat the fish!!

Next up was Penguin Island where you can walk amongst the penguins in a fancy new outdoor walk-through. The toddlers thought this was great and I don't think they could quite believe their eyes that penguins were stood right next to them!! You can also watch the penguins swimming in their subterranean cave - we didn't linger in here as it was a bit too stinky!!

The kids were getting a bit hungry by this point so we decided to find somewhere to have some lunch. There are quite a few eateries at Longleat but we had a packed lunch, the tricky bit was finding somewhere dry to eat! We sat down on our buggy covers in the end but I think some under cover picnic seating is needed here. 

After lunch we went to say hello to the meercats and my friend was very very excited about this!! They have a special walkway where the path leads right through their enclosure. The meetcats have lots of space to run around and it's funny to see them dashing right in front of you across the path! Elliot and his friend Maddison loved the meercats and I think they would have smuggled one out if they'd had the chance!!  

Next it was time to visit the Safari Park which we were very excited about. I wasn't however too keen on the idea of driving my car around - I'm not sure my husband would have forgiven me if I'd taken the car through the monkey bit!!!

Fortunately Longleat have this covered and if you do want to leave the park with your windscreen wipers intact then you can go on the Safari Bus! It's £4 per person (3+) and it takes you right round the safari taking around an hour and a half. It's very popular so I would recommend booking your ticket as soon as you get to Longleat otherwise you might not get a seat.

We had seats on the upper level of the bus and we had great views across the park. First stop was the African Village where you come face to face with the giraffes. There's plenty of viewing platforms and you are literally a few metres away from these beautiful creatures. Also at the African Village you can see zebras and lemurs. We only had a short time here so didn't get to see the lemurs up close but they have an impressive walkthrough where you can wander amongst them.

The safari bus then drove on through the park and we saw the keepers replenishing the giraffes food....the giraffes also noticed this because they all started to amble across the grass towards them! The monkeys were up next and they were so cheeky! There was a car behind our bus and within minutes his car was covered in monkeys and they were having a whale of a time pulling things off the car!!

Unfortunately Elliot started to flag at this point and before I knew it, he was sound asleep on my shoulder - what a pity, he was about to sleep through the best part of the safari, the big cats! Longleat is home to several lion prides and it was amazing to see them up close. The lion cubs are very very cute!

I'd be here forever if I wrote about all the animals we spotted on the safari tour but highlights included the rhinos, bongoes, camels (what a strange looking animal!), wolves and the majestic tigers. We were also lucky enough to spot Anne the elephant venturing out of her enclosure. Anne is a rescue elephant and was very badly treated at her previous home, a circus. Longleat have taken great care to look after Anne and are building her an amazing new £1.2million home at the moment.

We had just enough time for a quick ice cream stop and a look round Postman Pat's village before the obligatory gift shop visit!

We had such a lovely day at Longleat but there was still lots of things we didn't have time to see - we will definitely be visiting again and hopefully Elliot might be able to see the big cats ;)

Monday 8 September 2014

Tappy Fun :)

A few months ago Elliot went through a little phase of hating the bath.  Normally he absolutely loves bathtimes, and he spends the whole time splashing, pouring, jumping, floating, blowing bubbles etc etc. Then all of a sudden one night he decided that he definitely didn't want to get in and he definitely didn't want to have his hair washed. It was became a real battle trying to keep him in long enough to wash - he would literally try and climb out whilst crying!

We needed a distraction for bath times and I happened to stumble across Tappy - the world's first combined tap guard and bath toy!

Tappy has an easy to fit velcro strap that just pops around the tap, it's so easy you can do it one handed which is very useful if you have a wriggling child in the other hand! It's made from neoprene so is naturally insulating to prevent burns from the hot tap. And it also means you can bung it in the washing machine to stop it getting all mouldy. 

Elliot was fascinated by Tappy when he first saw him and we had no tears or tantrums because he was distracted! He enjoyed watching the water trickle through his tentacles and he liked pouring water into his mouth. Elliot is really into his counting now and I like the fact Tappy's tentacles are numbered from 1-10, this encourages counting practise in the bath! The number are all different coloured too so this is another great way of getting your child used to colours. 

I'm always a bit worried about Elliot banging his head on the tap but the octopus is nice and padded so it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if he did headbutt the taps! 

I really like Tappy, he has been a great distraction and it has definitely helped bathtimes in our house. Elliot is back to his crazy ways in the bath and our biggest problem now is stopping him from splashing all the water out!! 

Monday 1 September 2014

Mini Milestones - big boy bed!

Last night was the end of an era in our house - Elliot spent his first night in a bed!

I've been wondering for a little while now whether it was time for Elliot to move into a big boys bed. He's a great little sleeper and goes to bed without fuss, and usually sleeps straight through the night. His cot was quite low and he never managed to climb out, but he'd often try and climb in if he was tired! Some people said I was crazy for wanting to move him into a bed when he was sleeping so well already but he is almost 2 and there's no time like the present!

A few weeks ago I started looking into toddler beds and someone suggested just buying a single bed and using bumpers so he wouldn't fall out - great tip, I didn't even consider this! Being that you would need to buy a single bed at some point eventually then it doesn't make any sense to spend a fortune on a toddler bed that will only get used for a short period of time. I actually forgot that our cot converts into a cotbed - the spare parts were stored at my parents so we completely forgot that this was an option!

My husband converted the cot last night and when Elliot saw his "new" bed he was SO excited! He kept running into his room and giggling to himself! He also loved the fact he could get on and off himself, perfect height for a toddler. When bedtime rolled around last night I was slightly worried that everything might go pear shaped but Elliot was so tired from a busy weekend that he actually got into bed earlier than normal. He put his head straight down on the pillow, gave his Ducky a cuddle and that was it!! We checked on him when we went to bed and he was fast asleep. The next thing I know it's 7am and he's awake! We actually put a stair gate on his bedroom door to stop any night time visits and I don't think he was too impressed with this but overall, he did really well! Same again tonight please Elliot :)

Brilliant blog posts on
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