Wednesday 16 September 2015

Autumn Crafts with Baker Ross

As you know from previous posts, we are part of the Baker Ross Bloggers Network, and we get to try out lots of their brilliant craft kits. Elliot gets very excited everytime he sees a box arrive because he knows that something fun will be inside!!

Our most recent box of goodies included lots of seasonal items. There is so much going on at this time of year with Halloween, the Rugby World Cup, Bonfire Night to name a few and the craft items we were sent reflected this colourful time of year.

Eagle eyed Elliot spotted the toys straight away! We had a selection of spooky skull whistles and little squeezy hedgehogs that lit up when bounced. I had no idea that Baker Ross sold little toys like this but they are perfect for party bags. I am throwing a 'spooky'party for Elliot's birthday in November so I will definitely be ordering some of these little items for the party bags. Maybe it's just my child but he loves all these plasticy toys - he has a drawer just full of them!

Our first make was the spooky bat bucket kits. I love the Baker Ross craft kits because they're always nice and simple and really fun for Elliot to get involved in. These ones were right up his street because he loves anything spooky!! Everything we needed was in the kit so we got started right away. Obviously he needed a bit of help with the fiddly bits but the finished result was pretty good. 

We then moved onto the hedgehog leaf decoration kits - these were a very simple idea but very effective! It was so easy to stick the leaves onto the hedgehog and I loved the Autumnal colours. Again, this kit came with everything we needed so it's perfect for a quick crafty activity.

Elliot was still enjoying our morning of making so we decided to try out the glitter stickers too. We've had sticker packs from Baker Ross before and they are brilliant - the bag is stuffed full of stickers! This one was no exception, lots and lots of different stickers and great Halloween colours too! We used a piece of card from our craft box in a nice dark blue which we thought looked like the night sky and Elliot had a great time peeling and sticking. We have tons of stickers left too!

As you can see, these craft sets are perfect for pre-schoolers and perfect for Mums who aren't very me!!

We had a great time getting crafty and still have the Rugby finger puppets and Rocket stained glass effect decorations to make....we are saving them for our next rainy day!

All the above items that we have reviewed cost under a fiver which is an absolute bargain. 

Check out the Baker Ross website for lots more craft ideas

Family Fever

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Rainy Days = Movie Days

Now Summer has all but gone the evenings are drawing in, the temperature has got cooler and the weather has been a lot wetter!

We've had quite few rainy days recently and these have been perfect for snuggling up on the sofa with a film. Elliot can't quite sit through a whole film yet but he tends to watch the start, play for a bit in the middle and come back to watch the end.

Here's my essentials for a lazy afternoon watching a film!

Classic family films - These are some of my favourites and they never seem to get boring! Hocus Pocus is so brilliant and I can't wait to sit down with Elliot and watch it. He loves anything spooky so think he might like this!
Wonderful Pistachios* - I like to have a selection of snacks when watching a film and these are a brilliant healthier alternative to a bowl of salty peanuts. I actually like the fact it takes longer to eat them too as you have to open each one, means I don't eat too many! My favourite is the Salt & Pepper flavour but also available are sweet chilli, roasted & salted and roasted & no salt.
Whittard Hot Chocolates - I love hot chocolate and I think Whittard do the best flavours! A perfect drink for snuggling up with.
Popcorn Maker £29.99 Amazon - It wouldn't be a film day without popcorn and you can't beat freshly popped stuff! If you eat popcorn regularly then it's definitely worth investing in your own popcorn maker as the kernals are so cheap and you can get some amazing flavours to add on. It's so quick to make too!
Encona Sweet Chilli Sauce* - Perfect for dipping your crisps into, this is a great sauce which isn't too spicy.
Fleecy Fox Blanket £15 Littlewoods - I don't know what it is about rainy days but it just makes me want to get my pjs on and get under a duvet!! This lovely fleecy fox blanket will keep your toes snug whilst you're watching the film
Corkers Crisps* - You may not have heard of Corkers Crisps but they are some of the tastiest I have ever tried, and a perfect choice for film snacks! With a variety of flavours including 'Pork sausage and English mustard' and 'Gresham Duck and Hoisin Sauce' these are a bit different to your standard bag of crisps.

As I sit here typing this, it has started to rain so that's my cue to go and get into my pjs and stick a film on!

*Disclaimer - some of the items were provided to me for the purpose of this guide


Sunday 13 September 2015

Baker Days Letterbox Cake and Giveaway!

Cake is one of my favourite things in life so when Baker Days contacted me to see if we'd like to review a cake, it was a tough decision!!!

Baker Days are a UK company based on the edge of Sherwood Forest. They create personalised cakes of all sizes, for every occasion. And not just your standard sponge cake either - they have a variety of different cake options such as chocolate chip, fruit, gluten and dairy free. You can upload your photo to appear on the cake or choose from their huge selection of designs. If you prefer cupcakes then even these can be personalised!

One of the most unique things Baker Days offer is a Letterbox Cake - a cake that actually fits through your letterbox! I was intrigued to see how this would work - would it arrive in bits?! Would it be in a big box with loads of padding?! (I actually made the mistake of telling Elliot we would be getting a cake through the post and he got very excited every time the postman arrived!)

When my parcel arrived and I opened the box (which fit through our letterbox perfectly!), I found a lovely little gift tin which contained the cutest little cake I have ever seen. Not only did it smell amazing but it looked brilliant!

 I asked Baker Days to design me a cake for Elliot as he was starting pre-school and I was really pleased with how it looked. The photos don't do it justice but the image on the cake came out brilliantly.

The letterbox cake is 5" which is enough for 3-4 portions of cake. I wondered how the cake would stay put on the way to us but the icing is stuck down to the board which keeps it secure. Along with the cake and the lovely tin, there was a little package containing balloons, candles and a blower - perfect for your own mini party!

Elliot was itching to "eat his own face" so we lit the candles and he spent ages tooting on his blower before we tucked into the cake. It tasted just as good as it looked and smelt and I have to say it didn't hang around long. The cakes can be kept up to two weeks but who keeps cake for that long?! ;)

The Letterbox cakes start from £14.99 which may sound a little pricy but I think if you wanted to send something a bit special and a bit different then it would be a perfect choice. And who doesn't love cake!

Baker Days are offering one lucky person their very own Letterbox cake - see below for details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run for one week and will end on 20th September at Midnight. UK entrants only please....good luck!

Family Fever

My Week in Pictures 13/09/15

This week has been a busy one for us and the days have just flown by. Autumn is creeping in but we've had some boiling hot days this week so we've actually been able to get out and make the most of the sunshine!

Here's what we got up to...

Top Row:
- We spent the day at the Dorset County Show (blog post coming soon!) and I just love this pic of Elliot and his Daddy looking all smily in the sunshine!
- In the last few weeks I've noticed Elliot's scribbles have started to look like actual people, I love it how the legs and arms all come out of the head!
- Big day for Elliot, first session at pre-school. He was excited, I was emotional!

Middle Row:
- It was a long walk home from pre-school so we had a lazy afternoon watching films in our pyjamas. Here's Elliot watching the Gruffalo's child, whilst sat in his Gruffalo dressing gown
- Tuesday was boiling so we went to our local park where they have a great paddling pool. Elliot couldn't wait to get in but it was SO cold, my ankles felt numb after a little paddle!

Bottom Row:
- Before hitting the park we met up with some friends at one of the local libraries. This library has had a refurbishment in the last few years and it's amazing now, so many lovely books and puzzles. There's even a cafe which sells cake - books and cake, whats not to love!
- Whilst Elliot was at his 2nd pre-school session I went to a cafe and had some breakfast. Felt very odd to be sat on my own without somebody wanting to share my sausage sandwich or slurp my milkshake! When you become a parent you get so used to never having anytime to yourself so it's a bit weird when you actually have time to relax!!
- I left the boys at home on Friday night and met up with some old friends for some drinks. We all met when we worked at Barclays in the mid 00's. We don't catch up as often as we'd like because everyone is so busy and doing different things but it's so much fun when we do manage to go out! In the olden days we used to hit the town most Friday nights afterwork and be out til the early hours drinking and dancing. Bit different these days, there were far less empty glasses on the table and I was tucked up in bed by Midnight ;)

Mami 2 Five

Friday 11 September 2015

Flying Long Haul with a Toddler

We will be flying to Florida in a few weeks time and aside from the excitement, I'm a little nervous about the 10 hour flight with a toddler! We've flown with Elliot before (last year) but he was under 2 then and sat on our laps. It was also only a 4 hour flight and he slept most of the way. I think this flight may be a little different!

We are flying to Florida with Virgin so we know there will be plenty of things to watch on the seat-back TV but I have a bag of tricks that will hopefully keep Elliot entertained for most of the journey...


The most important items for a long journey - sticker books! I've packed three but I might add to this, they are just such a great thing for entertaining kids. Elliot likes the ones such as the Usborne ones where you have to stick the right items within the right scenery. 

"Let's Play Diggers" book - these magnet books are great for travelling and it's a bit more exciting than a standard book which will get read once or twice and then forgotten about! 

"The Rabbit who wants to fall asleep" - I've heard lots of things about this book so I had to buy to see if it actually worked. I tried it once and it failed spectacularly - Elliot was more interested in leaping off the sofa! We may need to take drastic measures to get Elliot to nap on the plane so I'm willing to give it another go...

iPad and Headphones

I'll be loading the iPad up with various CBeebies programmes which I'll remember to download a few days before we leave (not on the morning we're due to leave!) and I've also got a couple of albums on standby on my iPod which Elliot likes to listen to in the car. The headphones are a real novelty for him so I'm hoping we can whack on some bedtime stories and he'll doze off ;)


It's a bit tricky with games because Elliot isn't quite 3 yet so alot of games are far too complicated or he just loses interest quickly. I picked up dinosaur top trumps and thought although he's too young to play properly, he might enjoy looking at the pictures of the dinosaurs!

"100 Things for little children to do on a journey" - Picked this up from Amazon and thought out of 100 things, there will hopefully be a few that Elliot enjoys!

Activity Flash Cards - Elliot loves to learn and these flash cards are wipe clean which means we can use them again and again. 


10 hours is a long time and I'll be packing enough snacks to tide us over until the next mealtime. Nothing that can melt or will get messy but healthier things such as Bear Paws, biscuits and oaty bars. Humzingers are a perfect snack for taking with us - individually wrapped with no added sugar and they also count as 1 of your 5 a day. 

Cartons of juice - I'm going to try and time one of these with take-off so it will stop Elliot's ears from popping. 

Arty Fun

Play Doh might seem like a crazy thing to take on a plane but we can get at least half an hour of entetainment from these little pots! I've packed a couple of cutters too but I'm sure we'll end up making multi-coloured sausages.

Crayons - an obvious choice but looking at all this stuff I realise I haven't packed a colouring book, doh!


If all else fails, I have three of these bad boys to break out!! A plastic egg containing a little packet of jelly beans, some stickers and some kind of plastic tat - Elliot loves them! 

What are you essentials for keeping little ones amused on long journeys? 

You Baby Me MummyMy Bored Toddler
Binky LinkyA Cornish Mum

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Wicked Wednesdays - 2/9/2015

I've not linked up to Wicked Wednesdays in over a year but I have a photo I just needed to share and it fits perfectly with the wicked theme!! Wicked Wednesday is a linky run by the ever so funny Emma at Brummy Mummy of 2 and she encourages readers to link up their pics of  "real" family life...because life isn't always what it seems on Instagram ;)

Small boy - CHECK
Big stick - CHECK
Unsuspecting sleeping family member - CHECK!


Tuesday 8 September 2015

Brewers Fayre Weymouth - Review

I love finding family friendly places to eat so I was quite excited when we were invited to review the Brewers Fayre pub in Weymouth. I used to go to the local Brewers Fayre with my family years ago and have fond memories of my sisters playing in the Charlie Chalk play area. I hadn't actually been to a Brewers Fayre pub for years so I was looking forward to seeing how things had progressed.

Brewers Fayre have recently had a bit of a makeover and all their play areas have been refurbished to incorporate the Dennis the Mennis theme. The pics on the website looked great so we couldn't wait to see for ourselves.

After a lovely afternoon exploring the nearby country park, we had a table booked for 5pm. We were shown to our table straight away and Elliot was given a colouring sheet and some crayons. We decided to sit by the play area entrance as we knew Elliot would be in there as fast as he could! "Play at Brewers Fayre" is a Dennis the Menace themed play area with a large softplay zone, grabber machines (where you win everytime!), a quiet area where Dennis was being shown on the tv, a counter which served drinks and snacks and most importantly plenty of staff on hand to supervise the playarea. The cost was £3 for 90mins which isn't too bad atall - if it means Elliot is entertained whilst we are waiting for food then I'd probably pay double that!

Elliot zoomed off to play whilst my husband and I took a look at the menu. There is lots to choose from on the menu including a hot chef's counter which has a different theme each day. All the prices for food are very reasonable and there seems to be lots of offers including a great daytime value menu featuring 2 main meals for £10. Unlike other pubs, this offer is on until 6.30pm which is perfect for an inexpensive midweek dinner treat if you don't fancy cooking!

The kids menu is also very good value with 2 courses for £4.49. Theres loads to choose from so even the fussiest of children will find something they like and whats great is you can change the sides to suit. We picked Spaghetti Beano-ese for Elliot with garlic bread and peas.

Within about 10 minutes of ordering, our food appeared.  Great for us, not so great for Elliot who didn't want to come out of the play area! I had scampi, chips and mushy peas whilst my husband had a mixed grill. All the food was hot and cooked well - my husband didn't leave one crumb on his plate so I took this to mean he enjoyed it!! Elliot took a bit of coaxing but he was soon devouring his spaghetti with gusto.

The dessert menu looked amazing so we had to squeeze a pudding in. Elliot chose ice-cream, I had a chocolate chip cookie sundae and Paul had a knickerbocker glory sundae. All very good however we did have a little incident with Elliot's ice-cream...he dropped it on the floor!!!! There were lots of tears, and lots of melted ice-cream on the floor but the staff were great and a replacement was brought out within minutes, phew!

Pudding, round 2!

We had a great meal at the Brewers Fayre and were very impressed with the play area. It's quite rare to find a pub with a decent play area these days and this one ticked all the boxes. It was also very clean which is so important when you have small children. I liked the fact the room was supervised and it was great for Elliot to have the chance play whilst we were waiting for the food.

We'll definitely return to a Brewers Fayre in the future now we know what to expect!

*Disclaimer:  We were provided with a voucher to use towards our meal but I have been 100% honest with my review

MummascribblesSuper Busy Mum

Monday 7 September 2015

An afternoon in Weymouth

Weekends for us are family time and we try to get out and do something, especially when the weather is nice! This weekend we decided to go for a drive down to Weymouth in the afternoon - there was a bit of a chill in the air but most importantly it was dry!!

Weymouth is a busy seaside town situated a little further down the coast from Poole where we live. There is lots to see and do but we decided to visit Lodmoor Country Park which we've never been to before.

There is plenty of parking at the Country Park and it's free after 6pm so we only needed to put a couple of hours on as we arrived late afternoon.

We headed straight to Leisureranch which is a small area containing go-karts, a giant slide, and various other rides. Elliot was a bit small to go on the slide so he went on the little cars..

We headed over to the country park and followed the short walk around the events green. We spotted a little train going round so Elliot couldn't wait to go on that! It felt very Autumnal with crisp leaves on the ground and lots of blackberries in the hedges. Well there were a lot less blackberries by the time Elliot and my husband had finished foraging!

Once we'd finished our walk we jumped on the little train, it wasn't the quickest of trips but Elliot loved it, especially the tunnel!

We'd like to visit the country park another day because there was lots we didn't get to do like the Sealife Centre, Pirate Adventure Mini Golf, an RSPB nature reserve and Sandworld.

We were a little early for our 5pm reservation the the Brewers Fayre pub (review coming soon!) so we crossed the road and spent some time on the beach. It was very pebbly and nothing like the golden sands of the beach further on round by the town but there was something quite relaxing about watching the waves lap the shore whilst the boys skimmed stones into the water! I did risk dipping my toe in the sea but it was FREEZING!!!

How did you spend your weekend?

MummascribblesZenas Suitcase

NSAuk Travel Centre Delux - Review

When Elliot was a baby we stayed away from home a few times and used to lug around our heavy, bulky travel cot - if only we'd known about this product then!

The NSAuk Travel Centre Delux is three products in one - a travel cot, a sun shade and a play tent. The travel centre is available in two sizes - the standard one, suitable for ages 0-2 and the delux version, suitable for 0-4 which is what we were sent.

The travel centre comes with a self inflating mattress and a soft fleecy sleep mat, all this fits in the zip up bag. Very lightweight and portable this makes it a great product to take away on holiday or to the beach.   Ours is a lovely ocean blue colour but other colours include yellow, red and khaki.

The travel centre promises to pop up within seconds and it certainly did! I took it out of the bag and it was secured by a large elastic band. Once this has been taken off the tent literally pops up and opens - so so fast and easy! The mattress that comes with it is self inflating too so another few seconds and you're good to go. For added safety the mattress fits into a zipped compartment underneath the tent so there's no chance of a child getting underneath. The sleep mat has velcro on the underside to attach to the floor of the tent.

The tent has zippable windows flaps on each side, both of these can be rolled up and secured to the top. Fine mesh ensures no bugs can get in - this is also zippable from the inside and outside.

Travel Cot

This is a brilliant alternative to the standard travel cots which are usually bulky and not very big. Elliot is almost 3 and quite tall but he is far too big for a travel cot now - not only is it just not very comfortable for him but bordering on unsafe as he wants to climb out! I can see that he would have no issues sleeping in this - there is plenty of room and I bet he'd find it more exciting than a travel cot. The mattress is quite comfortable and actually much better than some of the flimsy ones that can be found in travel cots. For added safety the mattress fits into a zipped compartment underneath the tent so there's no chance of a child getting underneath. The

If we were to go camping next year I would simply pop up this up in our tent so he had his own space. The tent does come with ground pegs so you could actually pop it up and use outside if you wanted.

Plenty of room for Steve the orangutan too!  

Sun Shelter

There's never much shelter on the beach and it's not always practical to lug around a big umbrella so this would be perfect for a day trip to the beach. It could also be popped in your suitcase if you're going on holiday - at 2.7kg (including accessories) it won't weigh you down too much. The tent offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of 35 so provides great cover for your little ones.

We actually used the tent in the garden when my friend's bought their baby round and it gave perfect protection against the sun.

Play Tent

As soon as we popped this up, Elliot wanted to get in and play - I lost count of how many times he zipped himself in!! Our tent has been in the garage for the past few weeks as we have moved house but I got the tent out today as we had an afternoon at home. Elliot was a bit grumpy as he was tired but as soon as he saw the tent pop up he got so excited and it kept him amused for ages! He sat in there with the iPad and his teddies and was having a great time! 

Final Thoughts...

The deluxe travel centre retails at £79.99 from Safe Tots which is more expensive than a standard pop up tent / sun shade but I think the fact it is multi-functional makes it value for money.  The fact you can use it indoors or outdoors is brilliant and I love how lightweight and portable the travel centre is. This could be hung over the buggy handles on a day out and not be a hindrance. 

The only downside of the travel centre is getting it back in the bag!! There are instructions and my husband managed it fine but I struggled....maybe I just need a bit of practise!

For more information and to purchase, please visit the Safe Tots website here

Disclaimer: We received this product for the purpose of this honest review. All views are my own

Family FeverEverything Mummy

Gro Anywhere Blind - Review

Elliot has always been a great sleeper most of the time but through out the Summer it was becoming a bit of a struggle to get him down at night time. Even if we put him to bed at 8pm, it could take over an hour some nights for him to settle because it was so light in his bedroom and he didn't think it was bedtime! The wake-ups were getting earlier and earlier too. He has a Gro-clock so he understands it not morning time yet as the sun isn't out on his clock but that didn't stop him from waking up mega early and shouting "mummmmmy! Is it morning yet!!!?"

We moved house a few weeks ago and I soon realised that Elliot's bedroom got the last of the sunshine before it set. And it was bright!! I actually thought I'd left the light on one night when putting him to bed because it was so bright in his room. The curtains did nothing to block out the sunshine so we were again struggling to get him to go to sleep.

Excuse the curtains, we haven't put Elliot's new ones up yet!

Gro Company to the rescue! We were offered one of their lovely products to review and I knew immediately that we'd like to test out the Gro Anywhere blind. I'd heard great things about it so we were excited to to see for ourselves.

What is a Gro-Anywhere Blind?

The Gro-Anywhere blind is a portable black out blind which fits any window up to 130cm x 198cm. It features a cute stars and moon design and can be handily folded away into the travel bag. It attaches to the glass using suction cups and has velcro fastening to adjust to your window size.

What did we think?

The blind is made from good quality black out material and I love the stars and moon design. When the blind is packed away in the travel bag, it is fairly light and could easily be popped in your suitcase to take away on holiday. 

The blind is very easy to attach to the window with the suction cups, I just made sure I made them a bit wet before sticking to the glass. Not too wet though otherwise they won't stick at all! Elliot's window isn't massive so I used the velcro to make the blind fit perfectly. I didn't do it on the bottom too, I just folded it under and this seemed to work fine.

Once the blind was in place, I was dubious to how well it would work but I closed the curtains and the room was pitch black - AMAZING!!!!! There were some teeny cracks of light at the sides but once the curtains were shut, it did it's job perfectly. The blind stayed put until morning and then it was really easy to un-suction it from the window. Because I'd already adjusted the size using the velcro, it was really quick to stick back up the next night. 

Did it work?

In a word, yes! A pitch black room combined with less naps has made one tired little boy and we've had no issues with putting him to bed at 7pm. Before if I'd tried to put him to bed that early, I would spend the next hour going into his room and trying to coax him into sleeping! Now because his room is so dark, he just accepts it's bedtime and we don't hear a peep out of him! The mornings have been much better too - he sleeps until his body tells him he's had enough sleep, not when he gets woken up by the sun beaming through his room. This morning he didn't wake up until 8am and his room was still lovely and dark! 

Would we recommend this product?

Absolutely, 100% yes! It has made such a difference to our bedtimes and I am so impressed with how well it blacks out the room. The blind costs £29.99 which is great value considering it has bought us a few "lie-ins"! (8am is definitely a lie in when you have kids!)

Disclaimer: We received this product for the purpose of this honest review. All views are my own

Family Fever
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