Saturday 28 February 2015

BuyTshirtsOnline - T-Shirt Design Kit Review

We were very fortunate this week to receive a package from which contained a t-shirt design kit for us to try out.

I thought that Buytshirtsonline just sold wholesale t-shirts to workplaces so I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered they offered kits like this!

What's included
- White Fruit of the Loom t-shirt
- Fabric paints
- Dinosaur iron on transfer
- Instructions

They offer all kinds of transfers including Superheroes and Frozen but I chose dinosaurs because Elliot is really really into his dinos at the moment! The transfer was really good quality and Elliot loved the fact it was a fierce t-rex!

The t-shirt was really soft and great quality. I opted for a size 3-4 because I wasn't sure on the sizing but it does seem pretty true to size which is great as it means Elliot has a bit of growing room in it yet :)

I cut out the transfer leaving a 5mm edge and placed it face down onto the tshirt. The instructions said to iron onto it for 60-90 seconds but it took a little longer than this, around 3-4 minutes. After leaving it to cool, I pulled off the back paper and the transfer was complete - it looked really good!

Elliot was itching to get involved at this point so he told me what he wanted on his t-shirt (stars and spiders!) and I made a start with the fabric paints. The paints were a little bit gloopy but once I'd got used to how to apply it, it was fine. Elliot helped me with the spiders but he supervised most of it ;)

I left the t-shirt hanging up to dry overnight and the next morning it was all dry. The paint was quite puffy which gave it a really cool 3d effect. Elliot loved his t-shirt and couldn't wait to try it on!

These kits would be perfect for parties or just something to keep your kids quiet for a few hours on a rainy day!

*Disclaimer: I received the kit for the purpose of this honest review. All views are my own

Family Fever

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Dermocare WWF Ocean Life & Safari Plasters Review

You might think that plasters are one of life necessities and abit boring but Dermocare have launched some pretty cool wildlife themed plasters that will brighten up your first aid kit!

There are two different types to choose from; Ocean Life or Safari and overall there are 9 different designs in each box. The plasters come in 3 different sizes and are completely waterproof, hypoallergenic & latex free, gentle on skin and most importantly easy to remove!

By purchasing these plasters you are also supporting the work of WWF - find out more HERE

Elliot couldn't wait to get his mitts on these as soon as he spotted the colourful boxes and he spent ages looking at all the different designs. (His faves were the tiger and shark!)

We had no cuts to test the plasters out on but Elliot decided he wanted to try them out anyway, and Kermit wanted to get in on it too ;)

They were easy to use and didn't leave any sticky residue on the skin. I love the colourful designs and I think these were really appeal to kids. I will be putting these safely in my first aid box so Elliot can't use them as stickers!

*Disclaimer: I received the plasters for the purpose of this 100% honest review. All views are my own

Super Busy Mum
Family Fever

Sunday 22 February 2015

Docrafts Boys Activity Bag Review

On rainy days Play doh, colouring or cake baking is my usual go-to activity for when we're bored of playing or watching CBeebies. I've always fancied giving arts & crafts a go but with a 2 year old it's hard to know where to start! Recently Docrafts sent us an exciting activity bag, filled to the brim with crafty stuff for us to try.

Boys goody bag from do crafts

Our goody bag contained:
- funky foam
- Googly eyes
- a make your own doggy keyring kit
- mini pompoms
- glittery pipecleaners
- feathers
- draw and make your own jigsaw
- 3 lots of stickers
- packet of foam hands and feet
- Space cadet activity pack

We decided to make an alien picture which was featured on a leaflet in the bag. For lots more inspiration, take a look at the crafting community on the Docrafts website!

Elliot was really keen to get involved and he was fascinated with the glue!! Obviously I had to do all the cutting but he loved sticking all the foam down and seeing his alien take shape.

The finished result was pretty impressive, even for craft beginners like us!!

These activity packs are only £9.95 which I think is excellent value considering there is so much stuff in there. Elliot thoroughly enjoyed himself and couldn't wait to show his Daddy so it's safe to say we have the crafting bug and no doubt I'll be buying more craft supplies for home!

*Disclaimer: I received the goody bag for the purpose of this honest review. All views are my own

Mami 2 Five

Friday 20 February 2015

First Cinema Experiences with Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots

Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots

Elliot LOVES Peppa Pig and actually I don't mind watching it, sometimes it's even quite funny. (Or maybe I need to get out more?!) He goes into the "Peppa Trance" whilst watching it and it's always a good option to put on if I need Elliot to sit down whilst I cook dinner.

As soon as I heard there was going to be a special 10 year celebratory episode being shown at the cinema I knew I'd be getting tickets for us. I thought it would be a good introduction to the cinema without him having to sit through a 2 hour film. Because lets face it, what toddler will sit still and quiet for 2 hours?!!

The storyline won't be winning any Oscars. (Mrs Duck nicks Peppa's boots!) I won't give away the ending but lets just say there's muddly puddles a plenty, some songs, Mr Potato, Daddy pig explaining science and magic and Mrs Rabbit doing what she does best!!

The new feature length episode is nestled between some old favourite episodes and exciting, I hadn't seen one of them before!!!Woo! (Yep ok, I definitely need to get out more....) The best one is the one where Mrs Rabbit gets an award from the Queen  - who'd have thought one likes to jump in muddy puddles?!

The only downside of the cinematic experience is the Channel 5 Milkshake presenters who chat in between the episodes. I thought CBeebies presenters were happy, this lot are on another scale! I found them a bit annoying and it reminded me why we don't have Milkshake on in the mornings....

So, did we enjoy it? Yes we did, Elliot behaved very well and he was transfixed! He got a bit fidgety in the middle but nothing another snack didn't fix ;)  He loved the massive screen and it was cute to see how excited he got when he heard the Peppa Pig credits start!

Waiting for Peppa Pig to start
Waiting for the pig! 

Binky Linky

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Life Before and After Kids

Comparing Life Before and After Children

People tell you that your life will change once you've had a baby and I didn't really believe that. I assumed I'd be able to carry on as before just with a little person in tow! How wrong was I?!!!! Here's a few things that might sound familiar if you're a parent:

Staying up Late

Before Kids - At weekends we'd think nothing of staying up til 3am watching films, sometimes we'd even stay out til 3am!!! 
After Kids - I'm lucky to make it past 9pm before I'm snoring on the sofa. If we watch a film it has to go on as soon as Elliot is in bed otherwise it'll finish too late and I might fall asleep. Well I say might...I mean I will definitely fall asleep! Don't remember the last time we watched a film and I made it to the end :/

Lie Ins

Before Kids - Following on from our late night movie sessions we'd usually sleep in til gone 11am. Never had breakfast at the weekend, it was just lunch when we finally got up!
After Kids - there is no such thing as a lie in once you have a baby! 7am and I am woken up by a little voice shouting "Mummy! Get up time now!". And these days I'm always up for breakfast...

Disposable Income

Before Kids - I'd think nothing of going into town on my lunchbreak for a bit of shopping. A new top? Why not! Some make up and posh toiletries? Go on then! And we'd go to the cinema at least once a week..
After Kids - Usually gets spent on crappy kids magazines, kinder eggs and softplay entrance...not in that order!

Food Shopping

Before Kids - A leisurely stroll round Tesco followed by a drink in the cafe with time to read the papers
After Kids - Parking miles away from the entrance so we don't have to walk past the bloody Bob the Builder sit on digger. Being bombarded with "Mummy, want that! Mummy buy that!". Not leaving the trolley parked up too close to the shelves otherwise everything gets touched "ooh whats that Mummy". Finding things in my trolley that I most definitely did not put in there...and I'll give you three guesses who did! 


Before Kids - My iPod was never far away and the radio was always on in the car, I knew who was number one and what was current. 
After Kids - My iPod is mainly used for keeping Elliot amused in the car, it features a play list of songs including Bob the Builder, CBeebies albums and the Frog Song. I have no idea about current music and don't recognise any songs if I listen to Radio 1!

Going out for Dinner

Before Kids - Picking somewhere nice depending on what we fancied eating
After kids - Picking somewhere that is child friendly and offers decent kids meals, freebies like stickers and crayons also a bonus. Somewhere that won't mind if we make a mess, or a noise, or a bad smell!! 

Leaving the House

Before Kids - Pick up bag and go. 
After Kids - Catch toddler who is running around "like a cheetah Mummy!", rugby tackle him to change his bum, pin him down to get shoes and coat on, make sure changing bag is restocked and contains snacks, put my shoes on, notice toddler has taken off his coat and jumper, re-dress toddler, find keys, stop toddler from bringing every single dinosaur he owns with him, open front door, "Done a poo Mummy!".....Arghhhhhhhhh!!

What parts of your life have changed dramatically since having children?

Super Busy Mum

Zenas Suitcase

Monday 16 February 2015

Mealtime Meltdowns!

Compared to some horror stories I hear from frazzled mums, we have got off quite lightly so far with the "terrible twos". Elliot is quite happy and laid back and thankfully we haven't had to deal with too many toddler tantrums. That's not to say he is an angel!!

Recently we seem to have entered a phase where mealtimes are a bit of a challenge. Breakfast is ok as long as I rotate the cereral and don't let him get bored of something! He used to love the Bear Alphabites but he had them everyday for a while and in the end he refused point blank to eat breakfast and so I had to switch things up a bit. At the moment we are rotating mini chocolate weetabix and porridge, with the occasional slice of toast. Yoghurts and fruit are a popular choice but he'd eat yoghurts all day long if I let him!

Lunchtimes are a bit hit or miss. He won't really eat sandwiches and prefers to just pick the filling out! He doesn't seem to be a big fan of bread unless it's a french stick and then he'll quite happily sit and eat a few slices. Usually I just do a plate with lots of different things so he can pick - things like little sausages, babybels, cherry tomatoes, breadsticks, houmous. Dairylea dippers are also good if all else fails!

Teatime is the real challenge at the moment. Occasionally he'll demolish everything on his plate but recently he has been taking one or two bites and then saying "finished! pudding!". One night he didn't even take a bite and just said "no, pudding!". It's so frustrating because its usually food I know he likes, and even more frustrating when I've spent ages in the kitchen making a nice family meal for him to just have a couple of bites! We've had to get a bit tough on him because I don't want him thinking that he can just get a nice pudding without eating his main meal properly. (By pudding I mean a yoghurt or fruit)  If he doesn't at least try and eat it we've been saying no to pudding which he has not been too impressed about! The other day I made lovely homemade burgers and sweet potato chips - I couldn't wait to munch it but the only thing he ate was the cheese on top of the burger!! We tried bribery, tried being nice, tried getting stern, tried making him laugh, tried "here comes the aeroplane!" but he would not budge. There were tears (that was just me hah!), there was a lot of "I want puddddinggggggg!!" and thumping on his tray but we stood our ground and in the end he ended up on the naughty spot until he calmed down. And he still didn't bloody eat a thing!! Needless to say he was really hungry the next morning and then followed one of those rare days where he ate everything we gave him, even sandwiches!

Anyone else going through the mealtime meltdown phase?!

Sunday 15 February 2015

A Taste of Spring

January and February are my least favourite months of the year. It's cold, it's usually wet and the balmy Summer months seem a long way off!

But today was bright and most importantly dry so we decided to visit our local country park which is just a 10 minute stroll from our house. We are so lucky to have this right on our doorstep!

Elliot had his first experience of "Pooh sticks" and he was fascinated watching the stick travelling down the stream. We had to keep a close eye on him though, he would have been in the water given half the chance!

We were all wrapped up in our winter coats and scarves but actually when the sun came out it was really warm. We let Elliot run off and play in the Walled Garden whilst we sat in the sunshine and it felt more like May! We even sat outside and had our lunch which was nice. And quite unusual for February!

Upton Country Park has over 100 acres of parkland and woodland so we had plenty of space to stretch our legs and for Elliot to explore! We followed the Woodland Play Trail which has lots of things to climb and jump on and excellent views across the bay to Poole. And most importantly we found lots of muddy puddles for a certain little Peppa fan to jump in....lets just say his trousers went straight into the washing bin when we got home!

It was lovely to have such a sunny February day - it really does feel like Spring is on it's way!

Did you manage to get out and enjoy the sunshine today?

Everything Mummy

Thursday 12 February 2015

How Not to Bake Cakes!

I've already admitted that I'm not very good at cooking and that extends to baking too. In fact, the only thing I can make really well is tiffin cake and that doesn't even need cooking so that says it all really!!

I recently bought some dinosaur cake moulds from Tesco after admiring some tasty looking dinosaur cakes on pinterest. But sadly my dinosaur cakes turned out a bit crap....I should have let Elliot get on with it himself, he might have had a better result!!

It took a while for us to get going - Elliot found some chocolate in the baking cupboard and thought he'd have a nibble on that before doing anything else. And then he decided to play drums with his spoons on the bowl! And then when we finally got to the mixing stage he just wanted to eat the cake mix!! "Elliot eat that mummy!" . And then he was so intent on licking the spoon that he fell off the chair.....arghh...

We had high hopes as the dinosaurs went into the oven and the smell that came wafting out of the kitchen as they cooked smelt good. But sadly, they came out looking quite different from the immaculate dinos I'd found on Pinterest.....

Impressive eh!! Even Elliot looked a bit underwhelmed when I showed him. I thought maybe I could salvage the bake by decorating them nicely but Elliot then said he wanted red dinosaurs so I made up a sickly pink butter cream concoction. Hmm, how to decorate a mishapen, overweight dinosaur cake...

Please share your baking fails so I don't feel so bad ;) 

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Post Comment Love

Trendy Tot Thursday - sponsored by The Gruffalo!

Today's outfit could pretty much be sponsored by Sainsburys!! Everything you can see in the pic, plus his tshirt underneath was bought there. It is my favourite place to buy little boys clothes, everything is such great quality and it is even better when they have their 25% discount offers! And as you can tell, we love the Gruffalo :)

The coat is great because it's not too bulky. I prefer to layer him up underneath rather than have it get too hot with a big thick winter coat - the only thing I would change is make is slightly longer as his bum is always on show!!

The trousers are perfect for a day at the farm like we had today, they don't show the dirt too much and they also tuck into his wellies. I struggle getting his wellies on with jeans!

Monday 9 February 2015

Old El Paso Review

Lets start by saying that I'm not a very good cook! I can rustle up something edible but I lack imagination. My husband can go to the fridge and pick out random items and create something amazing but I just don't have that skill! When Old El Paso contacted me and asked if I'd like to review some items I jumped at the chance! Mexican is a favourite in our household and it was about time we graduated from fajitas :)

We were sent sweetcorn relish, cool sour cream topping, tortillas, roasted tomato and pepper fajita mix, original beef taco mix and guacamole mix.  (The taco kit and the nachos I bought to go with our mexican feast)

We decided to give the taco mix a go and it really couldn't have been easier. I just cooked the mince up with some peppers and added the spice mix with a bit of water. It smelt really good and I couldn't wait to try it! 

I served up the beef with the soft tacos - I've always struggled eating the crunchy tacos (I make far too much mess!) so these were great and really tasty. The corn relish and the sour cream topping were both really nice and made a welcome change to mayonnaise which is what I usually squirt on top! I was planning on trying the guacamole mix too but the advacados I bought were rock hard and definitely not ripe enough to mash up. Will save this for another time! 

We had the fajitas a couple of days later and it was good to try something a little different to the smoky bbq ones that we usually have. The packet mix said medium spice but I like the fact you can make them to your taste by just adding as much spice mix as you like. We like a bit of a spice so I used the whole packet and it was really nice, although Elliot did say "bit spicy mummy!".....didn't stop him gobbling his fajita up though! 

The Old El Paso mix kits are really handy if you're after a quick dinner. I don't usually have alot of time in the week to make a big meal from scratch so these are a godsend! 

What's your favourite Mexican dish? 

Disclaimer: I received the items in the first picture for the purpose of this honest review. All views are my own...and the food really was tasty! 

Saturday 7 February 2015

National Storytelling Week 2015

You may not know it but this week was National Storytelling Week! Having a bit of a bookworm for a son I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about some of his favourite books. And he has a lot to choose from!

These are just a selection of his current favourites.....I say current because you know how fickle toddlers can be!

Add caption
The Gruffalo - Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
It will come as no surprise to you to see The Gruffalo in amongst these favourites! Our first copy got ruined because we read it so much so I bought Elliot a shiny new copy which celebrates Gruffalo's 15 year anniversary.

If you haven't heard of the Gruffalo (where have you been?!) then it tells the story of a little mouse who goes in search of a nut to eat but comes face to face with a fox, a snake and an owl who want to eat him! He manages to outwit them by making up a story about the fearsome Gruffalo....and well I won't ruin the ending! Elliot love love loves this story and he can practically recite it off by heart now. He loves it when I tell the story using different voices (our Gruffalo sounds a bit piraty but thats my Dorset accent coming through....!) and he joins in with all the animal noises. His fox noise is hilarious!! I'm not surprised this book is so popular because it's such a lovely story and very well written, the author's rhymes are very clever!

Charlie Cook's Favourite Book - Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
Another classic from the Gruffalo author, this one tells the story of Charlie Cook who is reading his favourite book about a pirate, but the pirate is reading a book about Goldilocks, who is reading a book about a knight.....etc etc. It's basically a book within a book within a book and so on! There's lots to look at and Elliot never gets bored of me reading this to him.

Monkey Puzzle - Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
This one is a about a little monkey who has lost his mummy and tries to find her with a well meaning butterfly who isn't actually very helpful! I think we've read this a lot too because Elliot joins in when I'm reading....his favourite line is "no no no, that's not my mum!"

Room on the Broom - Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
Sorry, another one from Julia Donaldson!! This is a funny story about a witch who manages to lose her hat, her bow and her wand. They are found by a dog, bird and frog and they all ask to ride on her broom....which is fine until it snaps in half! As if this wasn't enough drama for her, she also has to avoid being eaten by a greedy dragon with a liking for witch and chips. The illustrations really bring this story to life and Elliot loves joining in with the "buzz off.....thats my witch!" line :)

Dinosaurs Love Underpants - Claire Freedman & Ben Cort
If you ever wondered why dinosaurs became extint then look no further! Elliot was drawn to this book because of the dinosaurs but it's actually a really funny story, complete with bright colourful illustrations. There's a few books in this "pants" series but this is our favourite...and who doesn't want to see pictures of dinosaurs wearing frilly bloomers!

Dinosaur Roar - Paul Stickland & Henrietta Stickland
This is a book about opposites and features lines such as "Dinosaur Roar! Dinosaur Squeak...". There aren't many words but the pictures more than make up for it and it's great fun doing voices to match the dinosaurs!

 The Tickle Book and The Bedtime Book - Ian Whybrow & Axel Scheffler
We spotted these books in Tesco and noticed they were illustrated by the same man who does all the Julia Donaldson books that we love. They are great fun and each page features lots of rhymes, tabs to look under, things to pull out. The story in each book is a bit bonkers but that just adds to the fun!

What books do your children like to read again and again? 

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Mami 2 Five

Tuesday 3 February 2015

First Snow Day!

We live on the South Coast and we don't get snow very often. When we do get snow, its usually no more than a few centimetres and gone as soon as the sun comes out! The last time it snowed Elliot was only a few weeks old so we didn't go outside, I remember spending the day in my pyjamas drinking hot chocolate ;)

I might have been tempting fate but I recently purchased a snowsuit for Elliot and a sledge, just in case! Well, how excited were we to wake up to the garden covered in snow - yesssss, the snowsuit would get at least one wear this year!!! Elliot couldn't believe his eyes and kept asking if we could build a snowman, and he also said he saw a polar bear in the ok!
After a quick breakfast we wrapped up warm and went outside to have a play - it was pretty chilly! We built the worlds smallest snowman and threw a few snowballs, and Elliot had a bounce on the snow filled trampoline which he thought was fun. And then we went to Costa for a well earned hot chocolate :)

That's enough snow for me, roll on Summer!

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Sunday 1 February 2015

Braving the cold at The New Forest Wildlife Park

Despite the chilly weather conditions we decided to venture out of Dorset and visit The New Forest Wildlife Park which is located as the name suggests in the beautiful surroundings of the New Forest.

We paid £10.50 per adult and Elliot was free as he is under 3. This is really good value when you compare to other wildlife parks in the area. There was plenty of parking when we arrived and the Woodland Restaurant looked very inviting as we approached the entrance! More on that later...

Our first animal encounter was in the shape of an otter and it was fun to watch him jumping in and out of the water. Elliot loved it because the otter kept coming right up close to the glass so he got a great view of him! The park has several different types of otter, many of which are rescue otters.

The park is wheelchair and buggy friendly but we did have to jump over a few big muddy puddles yesterday so wellies are definitely a good idea! (That Peppa Pig has a lot to answer for!!)

The park has different keeper talks throughout the day and we were in time to catch the giant otters being fed. The park was really quiet so we were able to chat to the keeper and he was very informative, telling us about how fussy one of the otters is. Apparently he's a real fan of trout and will turn his nose up at other fish that is offered to him! We also met two smaller otters who just couldn't wait for their dinner, one was trying to bury under his enclosure to get to the fish and the other was climbing the fence and making a really loud squeaky noise, you could almost hear him saying "I'm hungry!! Feed me now!"

The wildlife park has two types of deer and we met a couple of the Fallow Deer who were roaming around in the deer encounter area. Elliot automatically said they were bambi's! We also saw lots of different varieties of owl, including my favourite the Barn Owl.

Next up was a creature that I definitely didn't expect to see in the New Forest - bison! One of them was stood right next to the fence scratching his head on a tree and it was pretty amazing to see him up close. Elliot however was not a fan! He refused to go near it and just hid behind my back!!

If adventure playgrounds are your thing then you will have loads of fun swinging and climbing in the "Go Wild" play area. Elliot was a little young for this section (aimed at kids 6+) but we did have a laugh watching Daddy on the zip wire...and then falling off the zip wire haha! Fortunately for Elliot there was a mini Go Wild playarea for little 'uns which had plenty of things to keep him busy - he loved playing in the sandpit with the buckets and spades!

We were lucky enough to catch the Lynx keeper talk and it was interesting to hear that a reintroduction to the UK is being considered. I've never seen one up close before and their ears are amazing!

We also saw some "big black pigs" (wild boars!) and Elliot really liked watching these, especially the one who had an itchy back and kept rubbing it on a tree!

Sadly we didn't spot any wolves in the Wolf enclosure (or werewolves as Elliot calls them) but we did see lots of other creatures including wallaby, ram, polecat, badgers and a fox!

On our way to the toddler playground we spotted 'Bug -ingham Palace' , a bug hotel which kids can help build. Elliot loved picking up sticks and finding holes to poke them into. Dread to think what was lurking inside!

Our day ended with lunch in the Woodland restuarant where the boys tucked into jacket spuds and a yummy panini for me. Everything was reasonably priced and freshly made. Managed to resist the cream teas!

A quick stop in the gift shop for a rubber rat (Elliot had the pick of the animals and he wanted a rat?!) and we were on our way to Dorset.

We really enjoyed visiting the park and will definitely return in the warmer weather when the Butterfly House is open. We liked the fact it wasn't busy and there was lots of space for an excited toddler to run about! Perhaps next time my husband won't be so quick to go on the zip wire though ;)

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