Sunday, 5 July 2015

This Summer's Essentials!

How glorious has the weather been lately?! I had almost given up hope of the sun ever getting his hat on but have been pleasantly surprised. We have spent so much time in the garden lately I wanted to share some pictures and a couple of awesome products that we have been enjoying in the garden this Summer.

I will go from biggest to smallest for this one starting with a Bouncy Castle! The awesome people at ToyzWorld sent us a bouncy castle to try out for a week and Ted was made up. His little face when it arrived was priceless and along with friends and family he gave it a thorough test run!

We got to try out the Bebop Turret Castle with Ball Pit, it is suitable for children up to 6 years so Ted's GodSister Bella came over for a play one day and then my cousins had a go while they were over for a family BBQ. It is so quick to put up, I managed it completely on my own and once I had worked out I needed to tie one of the air holes to allow it to inflate with the electric blower we were good to go!

 
I am not going to lie it does come in quite a large box and a smaller one for the blower which was kept in our kitchen for the week we had it but if you have the space they are a great investment for a big family. It can cost £100 just to hire a castle of this size for the day so at £269.95 for your own to keep I really think this is a good deal.
 
The ball pit was a welcomed addition too, we used our own balls although most of the balls ended up on the castle itself after Ted and my cousins Harrison and Lilly were done with it!
 
We have been spending a lot more time in our garden with the warm weather and dinner picnics and baths in the paddling pool have become a regular thing. I reviewed for Bean Bag Bazaar last year when we were sent one of their giant outdoor/indoor bean bags which are amazing so when I was able to try out some of their new outdoor cushions I snapped up the chance.
 
 
I chose a set of 4 cushions, two in the Aqua which matches the beanbag we reviewed and two in a gorgeous Red and Geometric pattern. I fell in love with the pattern first as I have a bit of a thing for geometric print at the moment and thought the bright colours would liven up our normally quite drab back garden.
 
They are waterproof and durable, surprisingly not 'sweaty' which is often common with waterproof products. I love how comfy they are too and as you sit on them the excess air puffs out and they mould around your body. Ted plays with them all the time, stacking them up or using them to make his blanket dens that little more luxurious!
 
They were a big hit with my family at our garden party and I think they will see us through many a summer. They are £9.99 for the plain colours and £14.99 for the patterned ones.
 
Another few things we have been loving this Summer are Ted's Chad Valley Paddling pool which we were sent last year as part of our Summer round up but sadly the weather turned before we were able to use it. Many a bath has taken place outside this week and Ted is really enjoying cooling down in his pool in the evenings.
 
 
 
We also have been eating a lot healthier as part of my low calorie diet and despite a couple of weeks of junk we have integrate a lot healthier food into our diets. I am now using coconut oil in my cooking which is a hell of a lot better for us than other oils. I was sent a jar from Monkey Nutrition along with a packet of Psyllium Husk which I am yet to be brave enough to try but I will let you know when I do and what we think of it.
 

The coconut oil does have a coconut taste I am not going to pretend it doesn't and being a coconut fan it doesn't bother me. In fact I find it adds a nice element to curries and stir fry's but Joe doesn't like it at all. He has put his foot down and won't have it in his food no matter what the health benefits. I guess you can't please everyone!
 
I did make a delicious egg fried cauliflower 'rice' dish last week and used the coconut oil and it was so good! I will pop the recipe up when I get some time! If you are looking for vitamins, supplements or healthy ingredients to perk up your regular food then Monkey Nutrition is a great site.
 
I can't wait to enjoy a lot more of the Summer and hope the sun visits where you are too!
 
 

Braun Series 7 - 790cc-4 Review

Series 7 790cc-4

When it comes to facial hair my Joe is quite fortunate. His stubble grows quicker than you can say "5 o'clock shadow" but he absolutely hates having to shave. It is a real time consuming process and he gets so itchy afterwards that he puts it off which makes the whole process more difficult.

Pre-Shave
We were recently sent a new razor from the lovely people at Braun which was set to make shave day a whole lot easier!

Boasting more computer technology that NASA's Apollo 11 the Braun Series 7 Razor had a lot to live up to. When it arrived I wasn't disappointed in the packaging as Braun products always look super slick and the design work on the box was as expected.

Unboxing the 790cc - 4 we were surprised to find a box of blue liquid in the box. Although I had read a spec on the website I totally forgot it was self cleaning and comes with lubricant as part of the Clean and Renew System. We also realised our house doesn't have a razor port and had to pick up an adaptor but these are available quite cheap online so wasn't too much of a problem.

Joe was like a kid at Christmas when he opened the box and couldn't wait to try it out. Once the adapter arrived he was ready to give it a go. This was the first time he had used an electric razor as he has always been a bit wary of them but with the SensoFlex feature the razor glided over his face smoothly.

Where a normal razor tends to leave a small amount of stubble he found after using the Series 7 that he was smooth for a couple of days which is unheard of normally. One of the benefits of this razor is that it is able to detect the thickness of the stubble and manages its power to adapt to the hair type.

With up to 50minutes cordless shaving it needs charging once a week and charges in 1 hour which is brilliant and it comes with a protective travel pouch which is handy for the Summer.

Finished Results!

When finished shaving the razor gets put into the Clean and Renew system which kills 99.9% of bacteria, lubricates and cleans ready for the next shave. Joe loved how 'techy' this razor is and shaving has become more of a pampering session than a chore as it always has been.

This razor has quite a hefty price tag at £299.00 but when you think that it will be used a couple of times a week and basically takes care of itself it's a great investment. Joe currently spends about £10 a month on blades for his razors plus shaving foam and moisturiser which all adds up over a year! It is worth looking for discounts in Boots and Argos for the 7 Series too as they are often on offer.

To read more in depth techy stuff I will send you over to the experts at Braun.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Bottles at Bedtime and Potty Training - Includes a Penwizard Book Review!

Ted is now exactly 2 and a half years old. Being a December baby Ted's half year anniversaries roll round at about the same time as the crazy 'Christmas is coming' posts start circulating.

Two and a half seems to be the time when people think it is ok to offer their strong opinions about topics like drinking from bottles and potty training. "Ooh he still has a bottle? That might damage his teeth!" "When are you going to start potty training then?".

Now I know many of these comments are passed by friends and family with the majority of them meaning well but as his parents we know our son. We know when he is ready to move on to the next stage and when to sit back and let him find his own way.

Take weaning for example. I trusted my instinct, weaned Ted when I felt he was ready at 4 months, much to the HV's disapproval and look at him. He eats most things, rarely turning his nose up at vegetables and is a happy healthy child. He, according to the HV (again!), is overweight but...he is also overheight which funnily enough isn't considered when it comes to forming opinions. As I said though he is healthy, he doesn't have a big tummy full of rolls, he does have chunky toddler legs and hamster cheeks but he is active, eats a balanced diet and drinks sugar free drinks.

Ted still has a bottle at bed time. It helps him settle and as he doesn't have a dummy or suck his thumb we don't have an issue with it. He has semi-skimmed milk as recommended by the HV and actually for once I agree with this point. He 'should' be using a cup as he does in the day time but milk from a cup/sipper feels alien to him. His teeth are in great condition and if I ever thought the bottle was damaging his health we would reconsider our choice but at present he is fine with it and so are we.

Potty training. The second topic that gets mentioned to us on perhaps a weekly basis.

Ted is still in nappies (happies or pappies as he likes to put it). As it has been pointed out to me some children his age are potty trained. He is in size 5+ nappies with size 6 being the largest and he is heavy to lift onto changing units but he is still in nappies and we are ok with that at present.

Our reason for not potty training sooner isn't one of laziness or poor parenting. It is one of knowing our child. He cries when he doesn't have a nappy on and yes perhaps that is down to lack of 'nudiness' when he was smaller but he just gets distressed, asking for his 'pappy' to be back on.

We are gradually introducing more nappy free time and occasionally he will sit on the toilet but not...definitely not a potty! He hates the potty with a passion finding it a ridiculous concept that he would sit on something so low to the floor without his 'pappy' on!

So we continue to build his confidence by talking about going to the toilet, reading his special new book Pirate Ted's Potty (review below) and encouraging 'nudybum time' where possible. He will get there eventually and we do plan to introduce Pull Up's soon but at a pace Ted is comfortable with.

I have nearly always followed my instinct as a Mother when it comes to Ted, sometimes I have been wrong but mostly I have been right. He is a well behaved (mostly), sociable and clever little boy and I am positive one day soon both his nappy wearing and his night time bottles will become a thing of the past but it will be our decision when and nobody elses.


We love Penwizard and have worked with them in the past for my Mummy and Me Peppa Pig book. I love how interactive their books are and the personalised story and pictures are fantastic.

Pirate 'Ted's' Potty can be personalised for your child with their name and little character. There are also Princess Potty books in the same format but this is for girls and boys which I think is great.

Our book features Pirate Ted, a blonde haired cutie who is on an adventure from nappy to potty with the help of his Mummy. He decides that only babies wear nappies and he wants to be a big boy. From choosing the right potty and underpants through to finally braving a number two, little Pirate Ted is so pleased with himself it's adorable.

I have pointed out to Penwizard that they need to add the option to mention more than one person assisting potty training as Joe and I are equally as hands on when it comes to parenting as I am sure most parents are.

Our Ted loves reading the book with us and pointing out the pirate potty and pants with skull and crossbones. He has a chuckle to himself when the wee is in the potty and strangely thinks the poo is a sausage (I totally get what he means!). We have so much fun reading the book and I hope it will help us with our potty training journey!


What Ted Said - Dinkles, Water Fights and Best Friends

 
We have come to realise what having a chatty 2 year old is like. The constant questions, shouting, demanding, singing or general gibberish that comes out of Ted's tiny little mouth can be utterly exhausting but very funny at the same time!

This week...

Whilst I was mid-flow on the toilet Ted gasped and slapped his hand over his mouth...

"Mummy! Where's your Dinkle gone?!"

Needless to say it took me a few minutes to gain composure and wiping my tears away I calmly told him that Mummy is a girl and therefore I don't have a Dinkle. Ted responded, calmly..."Oh ok Mummy, you a girl!" and wandered off to play.


We have also had some rather adorable moments lately. He has learnt some new words from his friends at nursery and has been putting them to good use.

"Grandad? Is Uncle Jack your best friend?"

Whilst looking at Marcus Butler (YouTuber) over my shoulder...
 
"Mummy, that your Brother?"

In response to being asked to leave Nemo (his comforter) at home while he goes to nursery...

"But Mummy...Nemo loves me!"

After my Mum splashed him with water in the garden...
 
"Say Sorry Nana!"
 
He then threw a cup full of water in her boot, turned to me and said...

"Nana did splash me, tell 'him' time out!"
 
 
 
 
What have your little monkeys come out with lately?
 
 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Joe.

When I first peed on that stick and the cross displayed I was scared and overwhelmed. You took me in your arms and told me it would all be ok. You made me see all the adventure that lay ahead and saw that tiny poppy seed of a baby for who he would be one day. From that second he wasn't the only one who started growing.

We have had our battles and cried some tears but I am so proud of the man you are today. So proud of what fatherhood has done to you. You are a strong, hardworking, caring partner (ugh that word) and an incredible Daddy to Ted.

We love you so much and not a day goes by when I don't watch you with Ted and feel a little lump in my throat. I love you Joe and so does Ted, more than you could ever imagine!

See you when I get back from London xxx

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Screw You Mother Nature! - Pink Parcel Review

 

The 'Time of the Month' is not something I normally look forward to. I mean it isn't much fun is it ladies? However, I have come across a little neat brand that might make period pains that bit more bearable.

Pink Parcel are a unique subscription box service specially for women and girls during their periods. Designed to give you a bit of a lift when Mother Nature comes calling. They come with the essentials for getting through your week of...is hell a strong word? Plus some added extras to make you smile.

Working with some of the top named brands in women's health, beauty and treats, Pink Parcel's are sure to turn those PMS frowns upside down!

Some of the brands featured include Nivea, L'Occitane, Maybelline, Gousto, Paul Mitchell, Binky, MUA, Aero, TeaPigs and Café Rouge. There are so many more on the website too!

I was lucky enough to be sent a sample of the Pink Parcel for women and the Teen Parcel for girls. My sister is 15 now and I was keen to see what she thought of the concept.

My Parcel...

My small parcel was not pink on the outside which surprised me at first but a nice baby pink interior was there when I opened it up. The packaging is great with individual boxes set inside the large outer box which contained tampons in the size I requested from the website.

There was a little bag of tampons 'for now' and two boxes of extras for later. There was plenty to see me through my period although I wish I had selected the multi size tampons as I opted for one size and these aren't always suitable.


As well as the essentials there was also a selection of treats in the box to see you through the month In my months box there was...
  • Cute Duck Tissues
  • #LipGlam 100% Natural Lipbalm - (This is amazing by the way! Can be used on your cuticles, as a hair serum and several more uses.)
  • Kandula Tea Sample (I really didn't like this tea sadly!)
  • Doisy & Dam Chocolate - Coconut and Lime (This was very dark chocolate with a slight lime flavour)
  • Binky Eye Pencil - (Can't go wrong with a Kohl Liner)
  • BellaPierre Cosmetics - Glitter Eye Shadow in a Khaki colour. I am not a big fan of glitter but this was a full size sample in a basic colour and will go nicely in my makeup collection.
  • Paul Mitchell TeaTree hair treatment - This is going in the bathroom for when I need a pick me up!

I really think the beauty items were worth the money for the subscription but the tea sample and chocolate could have benefited from being more simple flavours. In my opinion most women would prefer some plain milk chocolate and a big mug of English breakfast tea when battling period pains and hormonal roller coasters!

The Teen Parcel

My younger sister tested this box for me and it was great to get her opinion. The Teen Parcel is pink with grey and white polka dots. The design is cute and funky and totally different to the adult box. I actually think I preferred the Teen Parcel gifts to the adult ones and the cute polka dot bag was much nicer than the plain black women's one.

Alongside the sanitary towels selected came the below treats...
  • Divine Chocolate bar - These are lush!
  • Cadburys Hot Chocolate Sachet - My sister loved this one.
  • StarGazer Eyeshadow
  • Duck Compact Mirror
  • Technic Nail Art Set
  • #LipGlam 100% Natural Lipbalm


The Teen Parcel was a really exciting treat for my sister who as a teenage girl at school finds periods a real struggle. It can be an awful time as a teenager and I think something like this for your daughter or sister who have just started their periods would make that settling in time a bit easier.

I could think of nothing better than snuggling up with my hot chocolate and chocolate bar whilst painting my nails and forgetting all about those awful period pains!

The Pink Parcel website has a big list of all the brands they work with and each months box is different.

***Spoilers***

For example this months box contains the below, I think they look fantastic especially as Nairn's are one of my favourite snack brands!


Overall I think the boxes are really good value for money. You may find some months you don't like one or two of the gifts but may love next months! I would perhaps tweak the ordering process to give users more control over the content, perhaps noting down their likes and dislikes to make the boxes that little bit more tailored.

That way you could choose between dark or milk chocolate and if you don't drink tea you can mention it. It also helps for allergy purposes too but these are all samples and I guess the brands pay to include their products each month which is what makes it appeal to their partners.


Have you ever tried Pink Parcel? I would love to hear what you think!
Let me know if you do decide to sign up too.