Tuesday 28 March 2017

Gruffalo Spotting at Moors Valley Country Park, Dorset

You wouldn't think that going Gruffalo spotting was your typical Mother's Day treat but this is what we got up to! The sun was shining and Spring had most definitely sprung so we packed up a picnic and headed over to Moors Valley Country Park, a lovely big country park on the Dorset/Hampshire border.

I had recently heard about the new Gruffalo Spotter app and Moors Valley Country Park was one of the 26 parks in the Country that the app worked at. It's something completely different and something I've not tried out before but the augmented reality app brings the Gruffalo characters to life.

We arrived at the park nice and early and made our way to the Visitors Centre to pick up our Gruffalo Spotters kit. This was £3 and contains activity and fact cards, magnifying glass, ruler, pencil and an evidence bag to store all your bits and bobs you may pick up on your Gruffalo adventure! The app can still be used without the kit but it might be fun for slightly older kids to fill in as they make their way round the trail. In hindsight we probably wouldn't have bothered with the kit as Elliot was more interested in looking for the actual clues in the forest and not what was in the bag!

Moors Valley have wooden Gruffalo sculptures so of course we had to go and see these first - I wonder if they are true to size?!

The Gruffalo trail began and I immediately noticed that it took visitors along a different route to where we would normally go - we saw parts of the forest we'd never seen before! We followed the clues along the way until we eventually found the mouse. This is where we tested out the app - I pointed my phone at the Mouse footprint sign and all of a sudden we could see the Mouse on the screen! It's really clever and Elliot loved it. At the end you're able to take a photo - we tried to get Elliot to hold his hand up so it looked like he was petting the mouse...not sure it worked very well though hah!

We had a lovely stroll through the forest following the clues but we did take a bit of a detour at lunchtime. We headed up to the lookout point - it was a bit steep pushing the buggy up but worth it at the top for the views and the fact it was so quiet! We had our first picnic of the year - it was so warm and almost felt like Summer.

We rejoined the Gruffalo trail and found the remaining characters. Unfortunately my phone decided to die just as we got to the snake! It's a great app but totally drained my battery. We managed to watch the animation on someone else's phone but what a pity we couldn't get a picture of Elliot and the Gruffalo!

The trail takes you back to the start of the forest but we decided to go the other way and continue walking as it was such a nice day. We ended up at the railway station which was perfect as Elliot was starting to flag....but his tired legs were soon forgotten when we got an ice lolly!

The railway is always a winner with children and you can ride the little steam trains around the park. This weekend they were offering "driver for a fiver" and collecting for charity so my husband took Elliot to have a go at driving a train. I thought he looked the part!!

We ended our visit with a quick stop in the adventure playgrounds - you could spend hours in here, there are so many things to play on. There's a separate play area for little ones but Elliot loves the big slide in the bigger play section!

We always have a brilliant time at Moors Valley Country Park and this time was no exception. I loved the Gruffalo Spotter app and we can't wait to return in the Easter Holidays to do it again!

Sunday 19 March 2017

Neutral 0% - Baby Products for Sensitive Skin - Review

We were recently introduced to a brand new product range called Neutral 0%  which has just been launched in the UK and is specifically designed for those with sensitive skin.

I don't have sensitive skin but I do have a new baby and luckily for us the range includes baby products which are just perfect for baby's soft, delicate skin.

Neutral 0% were first launched in Denmark and they have been working with the Danish Asthma and Allergy Association for over 25 years to develop clean mild products for sensitive skin. A complete product range including home, baby and skin products is now available to UK shoppers via their website.

Erin is only 7 weeks old and she has very dry skin which is very common in newborn babies. I've been reluctant to use too many products on her as some baby body washes can actually be quite harsh on delicate skin but I was intrigued to see if the Neutral Baby Bath & Wash gel would improve the dryness.

The Bath & Wash gel (250ml £7.49) is a mild product which contains 0% perfume or colourants. We only needed to use a small amount for it to create a decent amount of bubbles and when used on Erin's skin it was really easy to lather up. It left her skin feeling lovely and soft and in the week we have been using the product her dry skin does appear to be clearing up.

Chilling out at bath time!

Much like the Bath & Wash gel, the shampoo (250ml £6.99) contains 0% perfume or colourants. I was really pleased to be using such a gentle product on Erin's hair as she's actually lost most of her hair on top since she was born and I don't want to encourage any further hairloss....she already looks like she'd been taking hair style tips from Terry Nutkins ;) The shampoo left her (remaining) hair feeling really soft and silky.

Our last product to try out was the baby wipes. Like most parents, I get through a ton of wipes - I wipe bums, clean mucky faces, clean off dried baby milk from the sofa, remove my make up with them...the list goes on! I've even been known to clean the mud off my boots with a wipe after a particularly wet and muddy visit to the farm! Would the Neutral baby wipes stand the test? My first thoughts were that the wipes were quite dry and not as moist as our usual brand. But they were very soft and perfect for little bums as they contained no nasties. Erin has had a bit of nappy rash since she was born so these wipes are perfect for her sensitive skin and I feel good knowing that the wipes reduce the risk of skin irritation.

The Neutral 0% range can only be found online at the moment but one great option from their website is a subscription service so you never need to run out of those important wipes! You can pay for a monthly delivery and the longer your subscription, the less money you pay. If you have children you are always going to be using wipes so I think this is such a great idea!

If you have sensitive skin, why not check out the Neutral 0% website - look out for offers including bundle buys and free delivery over £25.

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

Friday 17 March 2017

Thomas & Friends TrackMaster Demolition at the Docks - Review

Thomas the Tank Engine is one of those beloved characters who we have all grown up with - I remember sitting down to watch it when I was at first school...we're talking almost 30 years ago ;)

It's amazing to think that the Thomas brand is still going strong and loved by boys and girls around the world. Elliot is typical of kids his age, train crazy and Thomas has been a constant in our lives since he was born!

We were recently sent the Thomas and Friends Trackmaster Demolition at the Docks set and Elliot couldn't wait to check it out...in fact dinner had to be put on hold while I set it up for him!

The set includes:
- Motorised Thomas (screwdriver and batteries needed!)
- Cranky the Crane
- Trackmaster track
- Dock warehouse

The track was very easy to put together, Elliot did need a bit of help initially to get the bits in the right order but the instructions were easy to follow. Once we'd popped some batteries in Thomas, it was time to go! Elliot made sure the warehouse was in it's correct spot and then he swung the cargo on Cranky's hook to knock it down - all whilst Thomas was making his way around the track, getting closer and closer to the wreckage. But not to worry, Thomas just speeds right on through!

What I love about the Trackmaster sets are that they can all be connected up so this would be a great addition to any little train buffs collection. However I do think children might get a little bored of the repetition of this on it's own. It's very quick for Thomas to get around the track and through the wreckage once Cranky has knocked over the warehouse so it may only hold their attention for a short while.

Elliot did enjoy playing with this though and he is looking forward to getting the rest of his Trackmaster sets out so we can connect it all up. He did bring some of his trains down so he had multiple engines running at once but new Thomas was much faster than his old Thomas ;)

The Thomas and Friends Trackmaster - Demolition at the Docks set (RRP £24.99) is suitable for age 3+ and can be purchased from Smyths Toys website

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

Thursday 9 March 2017

Imaginext DC Super Friends Arkham Asylum - Review

Like most kids his age, Elliot is a huge fan of superheroes and Batman seems to be flavour of the month at the moment. In fact, I recently asked Elliot what he wanted to be when he grows up and his response was "Batman!" :)

When we were offered the chance to test out the Imaginext Arkham Asylum, he couldn't have been more excited! Everyday he waited patiently for the postman and I'd get asked a thousand times a day "will my new Batman toy be here today?!!".

The Imaginext range is made by Fisher Price and is designed to inspire imagination and develop skills. It features a large variety of popular characters which will be easily recognised by children and a whole host of different themes.

The Arkham Asylum

So if you're Batman and you've managed to round up all the baddies, where do you put them? In the Arkham Asylum of course!

The Asylum contains four prison cells which can be opened and closed by placing Batman in the Power Pad in the control centre.

There is another Power Pad on top of the Asylum and placing Batman in this reveals a disk launcher, hidden behind the Bat signal. The playset comes with three disks which can be fired from the launcher - perfect for aiming at those baddies!

The playset comes with a Batman but any of the Imaginext figures can be used to work the Power Pads - great for mixing and matching your superheroes!

What did we think? 

As suspected, this was a big hit with Elliot! He was a little disappointed that the set didn't come with any baddies to put in jail and he said "Batman hasn't got anyone to play with!" but aside from that he had loads of fun playing with it. He immediately went and found his Batman figures that he already had and these were used in his game - although at one point they did look like they'd taken over the asylum!

The disk launcher proved really popular and Elliot loved the fact it was hidden behind the Bat signal and then popped out when Batman controlled the Power Pad. The launcher was really simple for him to use and he soon got the hang of shooting out the 3 disks in quick succession!

I think it's a great way of firing up the child's imagination - Elliot has already been making up scenarios with his baddies and Batman coming in to save the day and throwing the villains into jail! He has really enjoyed playing with it and has already started nagging me for some more Imaginext figures...!

The Arkham Asylum is suitable for children 3+ and has a RRP of £36.99. It can be purchased from Smyths Toys here

Saturday 4 March 2017

Baby Erin - 5 Weeks Old

It doesn't seem 5 minutes since she was born but Erin is 5 weeks old now, the last few weeks have just gone so so fast. How is it March already?! I thought it would be nice to do some updates on how Erin is doing and how we're getting on as a family of 4. Even if no-one reads them it'll be nice to look back on ;)


Erin is formula fed and we have just increased her milk to 5oz which she has every 4 hours or so. I'm not strict on routine so if shes sleepy and it goes past 4 hours I won't wake her, she'll soon tell me if shes hungry! And likewise sometimes it can be less than 4 hours but we generally go with the flow - sometimes she'll guzzle the entire bottle in one go but sometimes she has a bit, then comes back to it 20 minutes later. 

I have to say I am finding the guidelines for formula prep a bit different to when Elliot was a baby. With him I used to pre-fill the bottles in the morning using cooled boiled water and just add the formula as and when we needed, and he always took the milk at room temperature. Apparently now the water has to be a certain temperature to kill the bacteria so I've been relying on my perfect prep machine to make bottles on demand. But I'm still wondering the best way to do bottles if I'm out and about for the day.  I've been using the Cow & Gate pre-made bottles which are really handy but expensive so I need to figure out a routine for milk prep! 


Touchwood we aren't doing too bad with sleep! Erin will have a bottle around midnight and we're usually still up so one of us will do that before bed. And then she goes straight down until her next feeds at 4 and 8ish. Sometimes I struggle to stay awake when I'm doing the 4am feed but I catch up on Facebook or play candy Crush to keep my eyes open! 

We don't have a bedtime routine yet and to be honest I can't really remember how we got into a routine when Elliot was a baby so this will be something that sorts itself out over the coming weeks. At the moment Erin has her milk in the evening and will sleep on one of us or in her moses basket while we watch tv - I haven't got a monitor set up on her crib yet so I don't really want to put her in our bedroom whilst we are in the other room. 

Erin's favourite sleeping position - on Mummy!

Erin has plenty of naps in the daytime and really likes snoozing in her carseat, either when I'm out walking with the pram or in the car. We've just bought another buggy too and she slept for hours in that last week! 


Erin is so much more alert now when she's awake and she has really started to look at things. She is fascinated by looking outside so sometimes I sit her in her bouncer when I'm getting things done and she is mesmerised by the trees. She recognises my voice now if I call her and her eyes will follow me if I put her down! 

One of my favourite milestones happened this week - smiles!! I've been looking forward to this as it's so lovely when you get something back from them and she has definitely started giving us smiles. I thought it might be wind at first but there's a real difference between windy smiles and real smiles! I now can't wait til she starts giggling :) 

We went to the baby clinic last week to get Erin weighed and she was 9lb 6oz - she still seems so dinky though compared to Elliot. When he was 5 weeks old he was already about 13lb so he was much much bigger! She is starting to fit her clothes better now and the 0-3 sleepsuits aren't as baggy. 

Out and About

I'm back behind the wheel now after a few weeks break after my c-section so it's been nice to get out and about again! We went to our first baby class this week and I had a bit of deja vu as it was the same class I attended with Elliot! It's my local under ones and the lady who runs it is absolutely lovely and so I couldn't wait to go back. As predicted, Erin slept most of the time we were there but she did wake up for the singing! 

Dressed all pretty for her first Under One's :)
We went for a little trip to our local Morrison's this week as I wanted to look at the baby clothes and Erin was cooed over by several older ladies. It did make me laugh though as two of them asked how old she was and when I said 5 weeks, they couldn't believe I was out! "Oh, 5 weeks! You should be at home!". Is this a generation thing?! Did new Mums not leave the house in the olden days?! One lady did say I looked very well and fit though so I'll take that ;) 

Big Brother Elliot

Elliot is still loving having a baby sister and is so sweet with Erin. He just wants to kiss and cuddle her all the time and the other day he said "she's got sparkles in her eyes!" - cute!! He pops her dummy back in if she's crying but there's not a chance in hell he'll go near her if she's done a poo ;)

How Many Outfits?!

Erin spends the majority of her life in sleepsuits as they are comfy and easy to put on but she also has so many nice little outfits that I try and put her in at least once. I am finding it a bit weird dressing her in girly outfits though! I'm so not girly and I've spent the last 4 years dressing a boy who loves nothing more than wearing jeans and a tshirt so it's been odd getting her in a dress! Here's just a few of her outfits she's worn recently: 

What about me?

I've been feeling really well actually and my c-section scar isn't giving me any problems. I still have to be a bit careful when I hoover but generally I'm back doing everything I did before. 

Erin has just slotted into our lives and routines so I have been out meeting friends and doing my shopping as normal, albeit with a pram in tow! I'm also back at choir which is amazing, I really really missed it in the 4 weeks I didn't go. I'm lucky that my husband is very hands on so he has no issues in dealing with two children while I swan off to choir every wednesday evening ;) 

 I've had it quite easy over the last few weeks because my husband has been working from home and has been taking Elliot to pre-school in the mornings so I've not had to rush around too much. He's back at work next week though so I'm sure it's going to be a struggle getting everyone ready to get out of the house for 830am - gulp! 
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