Wednesday 26 November 2014

Celebrating Firsts with Pampers and UNICEF

Sometimes we take our babies firsts for granted.....first smile, first laugh, first steps. But not all parents are lucky enough to witness these important milestones. In some of the World's poorest countries, babies are at risk of catching maternal and newborn tetanus because they do not have the funds for the vaccination.

Since 2006, Pampers and UNICEF have funded an amazing 300 million vaccines, eliminating maternal and newborn tetanus in 15 countries. That's another 5 countries since their campaign last year!

Every time you buy a packet of Pampers, one vaccine is funded. Every time someone reads this blog post, Pampers will donate the cost of 3 vaccines to UNICEF!! And just by watching the video below, you will be adding another vaccine to the campaign:

Elliot has just turned 2 and it doesn't seem 5 minutes since we were celebrating some of his firsts. Here's some of his most memorable!

First cuddle!
First time meeting Nanny and Grandad
First bath! (He really really didn't like it!!!)
First Christmas (5 weeks old)
First festival / celebrity spot!!
Don't forget to share this post so Pampers can donate the cost of another 3 vaccines to UNICEF - every single vaccine helps!!


Monday 24 November 2014

Winter Warmers with Quorn

We are a family of meat eaters in this household and it's unusual for us to have a day when we don't have any meat, whether that be ham in our sandwiches or Elliot's absolute favourite - sausages!

I was invited by Quorn to test out some of their products and rustle up one of their Winter Warmer recipes. With the weather turning colder I thought that a hearty cottage pie would be a perfect Sunday teatime meal, and something the whole family would enjoy.

Using the Quorn Meat Free Mince I followed the step by step instructions on the website to make a cottage pie. My cooking can be a bit hit or miss but the recipe was very simple, even for someone like me! The mince can be used straight from the freezer and all the other ingredients for the cottage pie were things you'd probably already have in your cupboard so this makes it a great no fuss recipe which can be prepared in a very short time. Quorn mince takes less time to cook than meaty mince too so it's even easier to whip up a quick meal!

I served the cottage pie with additional veg and garlic bread (mm!) and I have to say, it was just as tasty as a meaty cottage pie. Quorn mince is a healthy source of protein and is low in saturated fat - ideal for providing your family with a healthy balanced diet.

I did mean to take lots of nice photographs to accompany my blog but sadly we were too busy munching our cottage pie and I only remembered when the plates were clear, doh! This is what the professional's cottage pie looked like....much prettier than my version thats for sure!

I shall definitely be buying Quorn again and who knows, I might try another recipe from the website!

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Hosting a Gruffalo themed birthday party!

I've blogged about the Gruffalo before but my family LOVE him! It was the first book I bought Elliot and our little obsession has grown from there really. Not a day goes by when we don't either read the book or watch the film, and Elliot can usually be found wearing some kind of Gruffalo tshirt!

We decided to throw a party for Elliot's 2nd birthday and having seen lots of cool ideas on Pinterest, I decided to theme it around the Gruffalo story. Pinterest is brilliant for party ideas and I wasted many an evening looking at pictures of other Gruffalo parties!

The official Gruffalo website has lots of ideas for parties and even have invitations you can print out and customise but I decided to buy some ready made invites from Amazon which were really cute.

Food is always important at any party and I wanted the buffet to be Gruffalo themed too. Obviously we weren't going to be eating roasted fox or scrambled snake (tasty!) but I chose things that with a little imagination could pass as their Gruffalo counterparts! I made a big list of the foods we would be having and basically matched it up to an item from the story - for instance, roasted fox became chicken dippers and poisonous warts were green grapes! I downloaded Gruffalo character pictures from the internet and stuck each one to a little bit of card which had the food name written on it. They weren't as fancy as some of the food labels I'd seen on Pinterest but they did the job and they actually looked pretty good on the day!

For the birthday cake I found some amazing creations but to be honest, I didn't really want to pay out £50+ for something that would get chopped up and put in party bags! In the end my mum found a really nice personalised Gruffalo cake topper on Etsy and she bought a large plain cake from Asda to stick it on. She added a Gruffalo ribbon and chocolate fingers round the edge and it looked really nice, and worked out much much cheaper than the ones I originally looked at.

At the last minute we decided it might be fun to hire a Gruffalo costume out to meet Elliot and his friends and we managed to find a UK based company who did costume hire by post. The costume itself was really well made and looked very authentic, not like some of the homemde Gruffalo's I've seen online!! The company is called Fairy Godmother and their website is definitely worth a visit if you're in need of a Gruffalo costume! We did give Elliot a sneak preview of the Gruffalo (or my husband!) and his reaction was so funny, I really wished I'd recorded it! He gasped and put his hands to his face and you could tell he literally couldn't believe his eyes! He did say he was a bit scared but couldn't wait to tell his Grandparents that he'd seen the Gruffalo! 

Every Gruffalo needs a cave so we managed to put together a very last minute creation that consisted of our gazebo, some camouflage netting and a couple of cheap Christmas trees! We did intend to collect lots of leaves to go in there but the weather has been pretty grotty recently and the leaves were just too soggy. We positioned the "cave" next to the door to another room so my husband could pop in there and change and come out as the Gruffalo! 

The party went so well and Elliot and his friends looked very cute dressed up in their Gruffalo outfits. We had a prize for the best costume and Elliot's little friend Willow won this - she was wearing a homemade owl costume made by her mummy and she looked brilliant! 

Here's a selection of pics from the party :) 

Elliot, me, Mum, Dad and my sisters Sarah and Laura :)

Our IVF Journey: All the fun of living life with twins
The Little Life of Ickle Pickle

Comfy and Stylish - Hotter Shoes: Review

If you're a parent you know that when you're running around after your little ones, comfortable shoes are a must. I can normally be found in a pair of beaten up converse trainers - very comfortable and great for being on the go all the time but not very stylish!

Recently I was invited to my local Hotter store in Bournemouth to have a nosy at their shoes and to find a pair to fall in love with. Previously I hadn't heard of the Hotter brand and my immediate thought was "Eeeek, shoes - will they have something for me?" . It's not that I don't like shoes but when you have big wide size 8s, trainers are just easier! And I don't do heels, most definitely not! But I took a look at their website and was pleasantly surprised. Lots of styles and yippee, lots of styles in a wide fitting!

Hotter Shoes have been designing and making footwear since 1959 and they actually started out making slippers. Nowadays they still make slippers but they also have a wide range of shoes and boots for both men and women. All their shoes are made with the secret comfort concept and each pair includes cushioning, flexibility, lightness and wiggle room for toes. And the soles are filled with millions of air bubbles - sounds comfy!

At Hotter Bournemouth the first thing that I noticed was how knowledgeable and friendly the staff were. They were very enthusiastic about the Hotter brand and suggested shoes for me to try on based on what I was looking for. I don't normally get the luxury of trying on lots of shoes (toddlers + shopping = stress!) so it was lovely to be able to take my time and try on styles I wouldn't normally go for.

The range of boots was gorgeous and I wanted to take them all home but I immediately took a shine to the Pixie . I tried a pair on and it was like wearing really really comfortable slippers - and with a faux fur lining I knew my feet would be lovely and snug.

Tearing myself away from the boots, I decided to try a pair of the Periwinkle Wedges on. I do own a couple of pairs of pumps that go well with jeans but I thought these would be ideal for a night out as they have a bit of a heel and look really pretty. I was really surprised once they were on my feet because they were so comfortable and even a heel-aphobe like me would be able to walk in them!

So I was torn - should I go for the boots that were comfy and stylish? Or the wedges that were sooo pretty but a bit out of my comfort zone? I debated for ages but of course I went for the boots!!!! The wedges were lovely but I didn't feel I would get enough wear out of them and I knew that the boots would become a staple item in my wardrobe throughout the cold winter months.

The lovely Pixie boots 

I'm really pleased that I've been introduced to Hotter Shoes and I will definitely be returning when I need / want a new pair of shoes!

Hotter are offering £10 off every style plus FREE UK delivery at the moment so check out their website:

Disclaimer: I received a free pair of boots for the purpose of this honest review. All views are my own

Thursday 13 November 2014

Trendy Tot Thursday

It's that time of week again when I look back at Elliot's outfits and pick our favourite. Just checked my pictures and they are mostly of Elliot wearing pyjamas so that's what we are featuring this week! Here is our favourite:


Gruffalo's Child Pyjamas - TU @ Sainsburys

You might not have guessed but we are Gruffalo mad in this house and every time I visit Sainsbury's I just have to buy another Gruffalo related outfit! The quality of these pj's is really good, much like all the stuff we buy from Sainsbury's and the sizing pretty spot on. Elliot is dressing up as the Gruffalo's child for his birthday party so he loved these! Within minutes of getting them on, Elliot was stomping around the house roaring! 

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Learning to swim the Turtle Tots way!

Even before Elliot was born I had already decided to take him to baby swimming classes and looked into lots of different options in my local area. A friend of mine recommended Turtle Tots so we signed up for the new term when Elliot was 4 months old. I think it's really important that children can swim, and especially for us living so close to the sea!

Trying out his new neoprene nappy for size!

I must admit to feeling very nervous when we got into the pool that first time but I needn't have worried, the instructor Caroline immediately put us all to ease and it was nice to be in the company of other mums with similar age babies. 

From that very first lesson Elliot took to swimming like a duck to water (or should that be turtle to water?!) and it was obvious how much he enjoyed it. The classes feature lots of singing and prompts to get your baby used to getting his face wet. After a few lessons the babies have their first underwater swim which is amazing - Elliot wasn't phased at all and came up smiling! Even now when he swims underwater he will come up with a big smile on his face! 

All babies that swim at Turtle Tots have the chance to do an underwater photo shoot and I was very excited about this. Elliot's photo turned out brilliantly as you can see below!

As the lessons progress, the babies use items such as woggles to encourage them to keep themselves afloat. At first Elliot wasn't really a fan of these and every time the woggles came out, he would just topple headfirst into the water (whilst laughing!) rather than stay afloat! He still likes to dive headfirst into the water but he has now kind of mastered holding onto his woggle and using his feet to kick him along! 

Turtle Tots has given Elliot so much confidence in the water and I never dreamt that he'd be jumping into the pool from the side at such a young age! We recently went on holiday to Cyprus and Elliot spent most of the holiday in the pool and whizzing down the waterslides. We had so many comments about how confident he was and how brave he was going down the slides on his own! 

We are now on Toddler Level 2 and it is amazing to watch our little turtles being more independent in the water. Caroline has recently introduced Swimfin floats which attach round the torso and enables the toddler to master the art of kicking, paddling and keeping afloat! These have been a big hit in our lessons and Elliot really enjoys splashing in from the side wearing his fin!

Joining up to Turtle Tots was probably the best thing I did after Elliot was born and the absolute joy on his face when we get in the pool every week reminds me why we are still coming along and loving it! 

Making us laugh!
Swimming to Mummy
yikes, excuse the make up free face!


Saturday 8 November 2014

Lunch for 3 at Giraffe

You may have heard of the Giraffe restaurant chain but you might not know that Tesco bought the company for £48.6m last year. Since then Tesco have been converting some of their cafes into Giraffe restaurants and their aim is to create a compelling retail destination where customers can meet, eat and drink as well as shop. 

We were lucky enough to try out the new Giraffe restaurant at Tesco Extra, Bournemouth last week before it opens to the public and we were really impressed! My first impression was that it was very family friendly and we couldn't have received a warmer welcome. Elliot was given a balloon, crayons and activity sheet and even a cute little plastic giraffe! The decor was a world away from the standard fare of the old Tesco cafes but that was definitely a good thing. It was bright and colourful with lots of tables and smartly dressed staff. And lots of highchairs!!

There was lots of choice on the menu and after lots of deliberation I went for "The Giraffe" burger (no giraffes were harmed, it was beef!) and my husband chose the Piri-Piri Chicken. The kids menu was equally as tasty looking and featured favourites such as burgers and hotdogs but lots of healthy options too. We went for the grilled chicken breast with salad and sweet potato fries for Elliot....mmmm!

The restaurant was quite busy but our food didn't take long to arrive - always good when you're dining with a not very patient toddler! My burger looked amazing and tasted even better - easily one of the nicest burgers I've had in a long time. Best bit though was the sweet potato fries - you ahve to pay extra for these rather than standard fries but it's definitely worth it, they are SOOOOO good! Could have eaten more! The piri-piri chicken looked really tasty and Paul said it was equally as good as Nandos. Elliot's meal was a good size for a kids meal and he couldn't wait to dig in, no complaints from him! 

Moving onto desserts, Paul had the Steamed Lemon & Blueberry pudding whilst I went for the Banoffee pie. I did mean to take a photo but unfortunately we were far too busy munching to be thinking about snapping a pic! Elliot's pudding was mango sorbet and he ate it all! 

We were really impressed by Giraffe and the quality of the food. It's great that they are so family friendly and cater so well for little ones. I do think that some Tesco customers may be put off dining here if they are used to the prices of the old cafes but I hope they give it a try. Our favourite family restaurant is usually Frankie and Benny's but we will definitely be returning to Giraffe instead next time we decide to eat out.
Iced Tea!

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Fireworks for the toddlers

This week Elliot attended his first ever firework display at the ripe old age of almost 2. And he loved it!!

There were a lot of displays on in the area but most were abit too late for Elliot but we heard about one at a local school that started at 5.30pm and thought this would be perfect. He'd be home in time for bed! 
All ready to go!

It was a great atmosphere once we got there - they had a massive bonfire, a band, a bar (good for the dads!) and a BBQ. The only downside were no sparklers allowed (dammit, I was looking forward to the sparklers!!) and the COWPATS!! I stupidly assumed we be on the school field but no, we were in an actual field next to the school. Once that usually has cows in! I lost track of how many I slipped on! Fine if you're wearing wellies but not so good with converse ;)

We met up with some friends of ours and the kids had massive glow stick thingys that looked a bit like a multicoloured lightsaber - much safer than sparklers! We had some drinks and burgers and waited patiently for the fireworks. 

Photo courtesy of my friend Rachel! 

I was a bit worried that Elliot would hate the noises but I needn't have been worried, he was mesmerised! Even the massive big bangs didn't bother him. 

Definitely a resounding success and we might even find another display to go to next weekend!

If you like reading my blog, why not like my Facebook page

Mami 2 Five
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...