Tuesday 23 December 2014

We've moved!!! And Happy Festive Times to one and all!

Some of you may (or may not!) know we moved last week, Friday to be precise! That is why I've been quiet on the old blogging front. We also won't have internet until the 29th (arrgghh) so I'm relying on 3G.
The move didn't go as well as we hoped, it's been very stressful and to cut a story down we aren't actually in the house properly (I'll go into that in a post).
I just want to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and say thank you for reading my blog! Have a good one!!!

Monday 15 December 2014

Parragon Book Buddy Review-Baa Baa Black Sheep

If you're still looking for toddler gifts or stocking fillers this is an adorable little book! We received Baa Baa Black Sheep by Little Learners for our November book as part of the Parragon Book Buddy programme.
Complete with finger puppet through the centre, the book tells the well known nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep. The finger puppet adds that 'something extra' to really engage with your little one.
Eliot has been a big fan, he's still not completely sure how the sheep moves which is very sweet. He has also enjoyed showering Baa Baa Black Sheep with some sloppy kisses! The illustrations are lovely and feature the different characters from the rhyme.
The big plus point for me is that it's a hard, sturdy book. Eliot loves flicking through books but often accidently (or purposely) rips pages. Obviously this book is safe from any toddler tearing! So we can read it together or Eliot can flick through it as and when he wants without the worry of any pages being torn.
The size of the book is ideal for popping in change bags to keep tots entertained on the go, which we've done with Eliot. It has been a great distraction when out and about and Eliot is bored or beginning to get cranky. 
You can purchase from Amazon here.
Giving Baa Baa black sheep a kiss!
* We received this book in exchange for our honest opinion.

Wimsey's Restaurant Parsons Green- Guest Post

For the first time ever, I am handing over to my other half to write a post! All of the photo's were also taken by him. He is a still and landscape photographer with his own 'quirky' photography site Meet Petty Photography.
But first a few words from me!
On Thursday we were lucky to have a rare date night, we ventured to Wimsey’s restaurant on the New Kings Road. Prior to our date I had a flick through the menu online and noticed a cat design on the header. Being a cat lover I was instantly intrigued and wanted to find where the inspiration came from!
Now over to the OH!

I have an adventurous side when it comes to food and I particularly like all types of Game. I've always found it hard to locate a restaurant in London which has a menu that permits such delicacies, so I was very excited to discover Wimsey's, on the New Kings Road in Parsons Green.
Wimsey's is a seasonal restaurant that promises...

'quality food, expertly cooked, from the very best ingridients we can find which, where possible will be British'
'Our menus will vary with the seasons and there will be special dishes each week to reflect what is on offer in the markets'
The Cat Design Lucinda mentioned!
 In spite of my love for a good meal, I normally take my time in a restaurant choosing what to have. But looking through Wimsey’s menu online, I made my mind up straight away. I had my eye on the starters of Pigeon, Rabbit and quail. The mains of Pheasant, and Goose  struck my attention immediately.
The restaurant itself is within an easy walking distance from Parsons Green tube and close to a number of bars if you fancy a pre or after dinner drink. On arrival, the name of the restaurant was bright and bold over the sparkling Christmas tree, which was a warm addition to the outside.
The staff on entry were extremely pleasant and welcomed us with the gesture of taking our coats. Rather than escorting you to a random table which to me never makes sense, Wimsey's would much rather have you decide where to sit. We opted for the table by the window which allowed a good view of the main area of the restaurant and it's interesting collection of wall art.

The drinks menu offered a large selection of wines, ports and sherrys, champagne, cocktails, digestifs and an unusual mix of soft drinks such as Victorian Lemonade and Wild English Elderflower. It was a bottle of the Italian Sergio sparkling wine we choose, with an accompaniment  of sparkling water.
We engaged in pleasant conversation with the owner of the restaurant, Gwyn who told us about the name of the restaurant and the key features of the food. Wimsey's is named after the family cat, a character who had been in their lives for nineteen years. This delighted Lucinda and myself, (having felines of our own) it was nice to hear a touching story behind the name.

To start I had the pan roasted breast of Sussex quail, with pickled wild mushrooms and truffle & port sauce. Lucinda opted for the poached and rolled Dingley Dell ham hock with homemade piccalilli and toasted sour dough.
The food arrived promptly, and was attractively presented in a not so overcrowded way and looked marvellous under the suitably lit lights and twinkles of the Christmas tree.
Sussex Quail

Poached & Rolled Ham Hock
The main body of the quail was pan roasted to perfection and being drizzled in a zany truffle and port sauce, it gave a rich fruity accompaniment to the tender quail. An added bonus were the wings which were crispy coated and provided crunchy side to an already well received starter.
Lucinda also enjoyed her starter of ham hock and was a big fan of the homemade piccalilli. It became clear how much work goes into the dishes when we were told the ham hock dish takes twenty four hours to prepare!

For the main, I choose the pan roasted Essex Goose accompanied with braised red cabbage and pan gravy. I also chose a side of champ potatoes. Lucinda chose the Butter Roast Breast of chicken served with a herb mash and cream mushrooms. Gwyn recommended the brussel sprouts with chesnuts and redcurrants.
The Goose

Champ Potatoes

Lucinda's Chicken

Brussels, Chesnuts & Redcurrants
When the main arrived I was impressed at the sizable portion of goose served to me and was eager to tuck in! I found it succulent and juicy, I really did enjoy devouring it! Lucinda found her chicken to be an impressive dish too and described the chicken as one of the most tender pieces she has ever eaten. Of course I sampled some myself and was in agreement, the mushroom cream was so rich and creamy.
My side of champ potatoes made the perfect partner with my goose. I wasn't overly keen on the sprouts with chestnuts and redcurrants but that was down to personal taste, Lucinda enjoyed the twist from plain Brussel sprouts.

I'm not really one for dessert so I shared Lucinda's choice of chocolate & orange fondant served with cinnamon ice cream. Now this was a dessert Lucinda couldn't wait to sample. We were both impressed to hear that all the ice cream served at Wimsey's is homemade. I opted for a tipple instead, the Glayva Whiskey Liqueur.

 As soon as Lucinda broke open the fondant, the gooey centre was clear to see and in Lucinda's words both the fondant and cinnamon ice cream were 'exquisite'.
We were also given a cheeky glass of Wimsey's festive cocktail, the Christmas Mojito. It was fantastic, refreshing with a 'merry' twist of spiced rum and ginger beer.

Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Wimsey's. The quality of the food and the preparation that is put in to each dish, is reflected in the prices. But when you are getting high quality, carefully selected ingredients this has to be expected.
If it's a fine dining experience you are striving for in London, definitely book a table at Wimesey's!

The kitchen in action...

Can you see the steam?

See our experience...

 *Disclaimer. We were given a complimentary meal in return for our honest review
Family Fever

Sunday 14 December 2014

Toddler Stocking Fillers

Last year I bought a few things to fill Eliot's first ever stocking but then I became stuck for ideas. After a few tweets using the good old pbloggers hashtag I got some inspiration. Here's the post from last year if you fancy seeing what Eliot received in his first Christmas stocking.This year I've found it easier now Eliot is a toddler, and I actually ran out of space in this years stocking. I could have bought a few more bits! I filmed a little video (complete with festive tunes!) of what is going in Mr E's stocking this year which you can watch clicking here. Thank you for checking it out (if you do) and don't forget to like/subscribe, it is the festive season after all! ;)

My Sunday Photo 14/12/14

We had a rare date night reviewing Wimsey's restaurant and tried out their 'Christmas mojito' which was delicious!


Friday 12 December 2014

Alternative Gifts For Toddlers

When I think about all the lovely gifts Eliot has received since he was born, they have mainly been toys, clothes and books. So, I thought I'd do a bit of an alternative gift guide for toddlers this festive season!

First up is the Organix Goodies Christmas selection box, suitable for toddlers over 12 months. Eliot and I are both fans of the Organix Goodies range and this is a perfect gift/stocking filler if you want to go for a healthier option of sweet treats. With Organix's 'No Junk promise', you can be confident you are gifting something that is far more healthier than the usual chocolate pressies on offer. All Organix products are organic, have no added salt, processed sugars, colours or flavours.
Not only is this selection box full of snacks free from 'nasties', you can also turn the box into a Goodies Winter farm scene!
It contains...
·         Organix Goodies Organic Raspberry & Apple Fruit Moos

·         Organix Goodies Organic Blackcurrant & Apple Fruit Stars

·         Organix Goodies Organic Mini Gingerbread Men

·         Organix Goodies Organic Alphabet Biscuits

·         Organix Goodies Organic Raspberry & Apple Soft Oaty Bar

The Organix Goodies selection box is priced at £2.99 and available from Asda, Boots and Ocado.

Next up is the Toddler feeding set from OXO Tot. I just think this is a great alternative gift for tots who are usually overloaded with toys. I believe a high quality feeding set is required for little ones learning to self feed and the OXO Tot set speaks volumes.
The set contains...

 ·         Fork & Spoon

·         Plate
 ·         Bowl with lid
 I've reviewed this set, you can read more about it here.

Personally I don't think you can go wrong with a personalised wooden gift and I adore this personalised box set of puzzles from Ace catalogue. I recently came across Ace Catalogue and discovered their range of personalised gifts. I think puzzles are great as they can be educational as well as helping develop fine motor skills. The bright colours are appealing but my personal fave is the hand puzzle. When teaching I've come across many children who are still confused about their right and left, I think it's ideal for helping establish that knowledge from an early age. 

Last but by all means not least is the Munchkin Bubble Blower. The reason I've added this to my gift guide is simple. Eliot loves bubbles, Eliot loves bath time. It's a win win product for us! This is definitely on my list to buy once we're all moved and settled. It looks like great fun and of course fantastic for a bit of sensory play.
What toddler gifts are on your list?
* I have not been paid to feature any of this products. I received a Organix Goodies selection box in return for featuring it and I previously received the OXO Tot set in return for a review.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Saturday 6 December 2014

A Festive Haul

I think I must be mad, we're moving on the 19th December, still have lots of packing to do etc, etc. But I still can't help buying things (more objects to pack), whether it's something for our new home or another cute gift for Eliot as I can't resist it. I bought a few things from a catalogue called Ace which I hadn't come across before, Primark and Asda. Most of the things I bought are festive or gift ideas. If you fancy having a nose to see what I've been buying you can watch my video here.

What have you been buying this festive season?

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Eliot's 17 Month Update

Dressing up on Halloween
Mummy is a week late on getting this post published due to being busy and unwell!
Well, what can I say about you this month?! Walking is not an option for you, you must run everywhere and that means frequent falling over and bumps. Although you seem to be used to it now and only cry if it's a bad fall/bump.
You have two words which seem to be an obsession 'ire' (fire) and tractor. Grandad pointed out the flame on his gas cooker and you picked fire up from there. You hate fireworks, interestingly it seems to be the way they look and not the loud bangs. You call them fire and you would get really upset if we tried to put you in your highchair (next to the kitchen window) as this is where you first saw those fireworks. Every vehicle seems to be a tractor. When a lorry drives past you yell tractor and you will point actual tractors out on clothing and other items.
You are still happy sitting and flicking through books and you are very keen on the Argos and Asda Gift catalogues, safe to say they're missing a few pages!
One thing that has really improved this month is that you're much more chilled out when it's time to change your nappy. This is a BIG relief as it was an extremely difficult task.
We are getting ready to move home which is exciting but also stressful and busy as there is so much to do!

You've been a real pickle with eating this month and have refused lots of foods. Mummy has learnt a bit of a naughty trick though, if I put Peppa Pig on to distract you I can usually get a few mouthfuls in!

Messy Play with cornflour
We haven't had you weighed but  you have definitely put on weight!
You are wearing mostly 18-24 month sized clothes. Some shops sizes seem to come up smaller so you require size 2-3 which seems crazy! I took you to get your feet measured again and they have grown although one appears to be a six and the other a six and a half. Mummy was advised to take you back in a couple of weeks as your current shoes still have a bit of room in them.
Sometimes you've missed a nap in the day, usually because we've been out and not at home for you to sleep in your cot. You get very cranky when you haven't napped so it's much better when you do! In your cot you can sleep for two hours or longer.
As usual there has been the odd  night when you have woken up unsettled but you usually go back to sleep ok.
Love this picture with your big cousin Ella
Your Likes/Dislikes
Your like and dislikes are pretty much the same as last month but here are a few new ones...
  • You like flicking through catalogues
  • You like saying (shouting) 'ire'
  • You HATE fireworks, they upset you, a  lot!

    Your next update will be due Boxing day after celebrating Christmas, where has the year gone?!

Monday 1 December 2014

Sassy Bloom Box Review

 I recently had the opportunity to review a Sassy Bloom Box, if you haven't heard of Sassy Bloom it's a monthly subscription box suitable from the third trimester of pregnancy right through until your tot is two. Each box has a minimum RRP value of £40.  Each box is 'handpicked by age, stage of development and gender'.
I'd never tried any subscription boxes before Sassy Bloom, I'd been tempted by both beauty and baby related boxes but never got round to trying any out.
How Sassy Bloom started has a very touching story behind it. The co-owner Hollie was rushed to hospital at 29 weeks pregnant and diagnosed with a rare heart and lung disease. Whilst in hospital Hollie's friends visited with a box a gifts which became the start of the inspiration. You can read more here.

I was super excited to receive our Sassy Bloom box, if you haven't seen it already you can watch the un-boxing here.

 The first item that came out of the box was a push along shape sorter bus from a brand called Fun Time. I'd been on the look out for a shape sorter toy for Eliot so this was perfect timing! Especially as it's a bus and has wheels, Eliot is obsessed with vehicles so I knew he would be drawn to playing with it.
He's not able to push the shapes through the shape holes yet but there is a flap at the back to get the shapes out which he opens and closes and puts the shapes or various other objects in. So the shape sorter bus gets a big thumbs up from Eliot!

Next out of the box was this musical cow by A-Z. As soon as I pressed the button, I knew this would be a hit with Eliot. The lights flashed and the music played loudly, he likes making things happen himself and it had wheels! Unfortunately the toy was a bit grubby and therefore needed a wipe over before I gave it to Eliot. As I suspected the musical cow went down a treat, Eliot kept pressing the button to get the lights and music on. It wasn't long before it started to sound distorted and eventually it played continually until the battery ran out. Obviously it was a bit disappointing, I emailed Sassy Bloom to let them know. They responded swiftly, apologised and said they would get a replacement sent out. If you read my blog regularly you will know we are moving and things have been a bit stressful, meaning the replacement toy went to the back of my mind. I was emailed by Sassy Bloom at the end of last week and was reminded that we still hadn't received a replacement. The delay in receiving the replacement toy was disappointing. The musical animal toy was no longer available so we were sent a replacement toy this week.

The first bead maze from Melissa and Douglas was the replacement toy. As soon as I took it out of the packaging Eliot was eager to get hold of it and sat down to play with it for a short while. Personally I really like these types of toys, being made from wood makes it a winner and it's ideal for helping develop fine motor skills. Another plus point is that it has four suction cups on the base which make it an ideal highchair toy.

 I was really pleased when I saw this wooden mini xylophone from Janod, musical instruments are another item I've had on my list for Eliot. To begin  with Eliot was interested in holding the beaters and bashing the  xxylophone but it's not a go to toy for him. I think he'll be more interested in this when he's a little older. One thing I will say is that it is excellent quality, very strong and sturdy.

 When I saw a book included in the box I was very happy indeed. I'm keen for Eliot to develop a love for books and right now he's very in to books. He will sit down by himself and flick through pages, at bedtime he usually listens to a short story happily. This is a lovely story, one that Eliot can enjoy for years to come.  Personally I think a hard book would have been a better option to send as paperbacks can be very easily torn by toddlers!

These lunch bag ice packs are great. We haven't used them yet as I haven't packed any lunch boxes but I know they will come in very handy in the future. There are two in the pack which is helpful if you have more than one lunch box to pack or to have a spare. I love the dinosaur design, Eliot has a dinosaur lunch bag so these will fit in nicely.

I am a big Tommee Tippee fan having used a lot of their products since Eliot was born. I've used disposable bibs but hadn't tried out the Tommee Tippee ones. Hands down disposable bibs are amazing. They're perfect for holidays, when your out and about or as a back up at home. We went through many bibs when Eliot was younger thanks to reflux. The pouch for catching food (or reflux sick) is a great and exactly what is needed to save clothes! Eliot did pull these off when we put them on him, so depending on your tot they are probably better suited to younger babies.
Overall I was really impressed with our Sassy Bloom box, I loved the fact that we were introduced to brands we haven't come across before and really recommend trying them out. They have some fab offers on at the moment and you can get £10 off with the code Teacher2.
Have you tried a Sassy Bloom Box?
*We were sent a Sassy Bloom box in exchange for our honest opinion

Family Fever

Sunday 30 November 2014

My Sunday Photo 30/11/14

On Friday Billie Faiers launched her 'The Signature Collection' pram range with My Babiie and I was invited along to interview her. You can read it here if you fancy it.


Saturday 29 November 2014

The Signature Range - Interview With Billie Faiers

When an email landed in my inbox asking if I'd like to interview Billie Faiers at the launch of her Signature Range with My Babiie, I of course said yes. What mum doesn't like to scope out the latest set of wheels for tots?!
Billie teamed up with My Babiie to produce a range that reflected her personality and her 'passion for cutting edge design'. As a new mum herself Bille strove for high quality products, as parents we all want the best for our children but they also needed to look stylish, which I certainly think they do!
I was most surprised by the prices of the range, I expected the starting price to be over £100 but prices start at £59.99 which I think is excellent value, especially as the pushchairs have features you would pay extra for with other brands.
What Billie said about her range in the press release...

"Designing my own range and working with the team at My Babiie to create ‘The Signature Range’ has been a dream come true. I've had so much input and created products that I'm really proud of and products that I wanted to use – I love them!
“Before Nelly arrived I wanted to make sure she had the best of everything as all new mums do and I soon realised that it doesn't always have to come with a high price point. I've created a range that people can use again and again - I'm keeping hold of all my items as I would love more children and I will be able to use it again soon as it would be great to give Nelly a little brother or sister – I really want to have another soon so the children are close in age."

 I was a bit nervous about interviewing Billie especially when I realised it was not behind the scenes as I thought but on the shop floor. It was fine though, Billie was lovely, very friendly and came across exactly how she does on TV. Below are the questions I asked about her range.
What gave you inspiration for your designs?
Billie said that she worked closely with the team at My Babiie to incorporate the things she loved. As a fan of Chanel she pointed out the quilted design on her cream pushchair. She wanted them to look great and not be gender specific.
If you had to pick one, what would your favourite design be?
This was an easy answer for Billie, pointing to the cream stroller again she exclaimed that was her favourite. I told her I loved the look of it too but it wouldn't be practical for Mr E as he is a messy little chap.
Are there any plans to create more baby products?
Billie said there were definitely plans in the pipeline for more baby products and that they were looking to expand the range at My Babiie.
And last but not least...
What one tip would you give mum's to be?
Billie thought long and hard about the answer to this one and exclaimed it was hard as there are soooo many things she could say. But her tip would be definitely buy a cot mobile, she said her daughter Nelly absolutely loved the fisher price one they had. Billie exclaimed Nelly would stare at it for ages and it would comfort her.
So there we have it, I probably could of squeezed in a couple of more questions but I could hear Eliot having a meltdown somewhere in the background and at the moment they are pretty bad so I wrapped up with a photo.

You can watch my vlog here http://youtu.be/-POJ2fARQDA
Looking very un-glam next to Billie
 What do you think of The Signature Range?
Thank you so much for stopping by! I appreciate comments and read all of them!