29/10/2013

A Warm and Snuggly Giveaway!

Now, who gets cold feet? Personally I don't but the Mr does and I know plenty of people who do! So, for those who do I have a giveaway.......Heat Holder Socks! The socks are made from advanced insulating yarn, they have a long looped thermal pile and a soft brushed inner. Thermal socks with a 2.34 tog rating to keep cold tootsies lovely and warm, that are available for men, women and children.

3 lucky winners can each win 1 pair and the winners can specify  the gender and size they would like (as long as stock is available).....we don't want anyone to be disappointed. I'm sure with the current weather we are experiencing, these will come in very useful!

To be in with a chance of winning, just complete the rafflecopter form below.
Good Luck everyone!
*I have received no payment or compensation for this post*
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

27/10/2013

Silent Sunday



OneDad3Girls

25/10/2013

Last of the Autumn Sunshine Adventures?

What fab weather we had yesterday. It's almost the end of British Summer time and it was such a lovely autumn day. Whilst big monkey was at school we decided to make the most of the weather and take little monkey on an autumn adventure at one of our favourite local haunts. I made sure I captured the sun shining amongst the trees and the different colours on the trees. The sky was such a contrast to the green's oranges and yellows! 
 
I'm sure you will agree the photo's really do capture what a beautiful autumn day it was. The park had just enough people in it, strolling with their dogs, or like us, just making the most of the weather, to be pleasant without being crowded. Little monkey was feeling out of sorts so didn't want to play on the fort but he was happy to wander around, amongst the acorns that had fallen off the tree's. He rustled through the fallen leaves and would have jumped in a few muddy puddles, but refuses to wear his wellies! The duck pond was quiet, so we popped there and another little boy's mum gave little monkey some duck feed. He loved throwing that into the water for them. Cake and coffee was on the cards too.....my hot chocolate was delicious! We even sat outside. It really was a pleasant few hours and just what the doctor ordered to clear the head and catch the last of the sun on our faces. 
We have missed linking up with Country Kids the last few weeks, but now the half term is upon us hopefully we can do a few more outdoor activities with the monkeys.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Truprint-Review and Giveway

Each year since we've had the monkeys I have been keen to give the grandparents a Calendar with photo's of the monkeys on, from the past year, for Christmas. Whether they want them or not this has become a bit of a tradition. So when Truprint asked if I'd like to review some of their calendars I was keen to try them out.

Truprint have been in the business of photo printing for 30 years now and have seen things develop, from customers using film to photo merchandise made from photo's on Instragram, Facebook and the like. I remember sending off film to them to be developed, something my own mum had done too! Truprint use trained staff and the latest technology to ensure you have great prints and a great service.

There are several types of calendar available to personalise at Truprint and each one has a set of themes to choose from too. The website is very easy to navigate and the upload of photo's is straightforward too. I have found this an issue on other sites before but encountered no problems making my calendars and running through the design and order process.
I opted for the following types of calendar....
5" x 11.5" Kitchen Calendar
There are 9 themes, with a number of different back grounds per theme. We opted for the Modern theme. 
Signature Desk Calendar
This desk calendar can be made from one of 18 different themes. Again they each have a number of backgrounds. This time we chose the Nautical theme.
11" x 8.5" Classic Wall Calendar
There are a massive 38 different themes for this calendar type. We chose the Chalkboard Art theme.

All the calendars are just what we were after and have come out brilliantly. The classic one can be personalised with dates to remember. Each date you want to add has a photo of your choice on it. I particularly liked this feature. There are spaces to edit text, so that text can be added to some images on each calendar too. The quality of the calendars is what you would expect from a company dedicated to photo printing and I had no issues what so ever getting them designed and ordered. The delivery time was quick too. As an added bonus I was also given credit to design and order some coasters, which are backed with cork and really do look good. 
I have to say I'm delighted with the calenders, the coasters and the smooth transaction on the website. Truprint can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

* We were given credit to order these products for review purposes. All opinions and thought are my own*

Giveaway
Now for the exciting part! Truprint have been very kind and generous and I have a giveaway for 15 Kitchen Calendars plus free delivery to 15 lucky readers. The RRP of each calendar is £9.99. The calendar will make a great Christmas present, I'm sure you'll agree. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning, is complete the Rafflecopter form below.  

T&C apply:
15 Winners will be drawn randomly by Rafflecopter via Random.org.  
Winners will be emailed with a unique code to order their calendar and have it delivered free from Truprint.  
The giveaway is open to UK residents only.


Good Luck everyone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

24/10/2013

Raising Awareness of A Charity Raffle for Cancer Research UK and Bliss


Emily, a fellow blogger from Our IVF Journey is embarking on a Charity fund raising mission to raise monkey for Cancer Research UK and Bliss. In 2014 her and her husband, who are parents to twin girls will be taking part in a number of events to raise money, including a skydive! Neither of them have done anything like it before, so to say they are nervous is an understatement. They are hoping to raise £2000 for each charity, but need your help!
Our IVF Journey: All the fun of living life with twins
So this year they are running a Fabulous Charity Raffle.
The prize's on offer total a whopping £500+ and for only £1 per ticket you can take part and help to raise funds for these two fab causes or simply donate what you can. Click the Charity Raffle link above for a full list of the prizes on offer and ways to buy the tickets or donate.
I'm sure you'll agree they are doing a fab job helping to raise funds and hopefully you'll join me in wishing them every success in the raffle, next years skydive and any further events they organise or take part in.
Have you ever taken part in a skydive for charity? Or would you? I'm not sure I would be brave enough!

Good Luck to them x

23/10/2013

The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round.........

Round and Round, Round and Round. The wheels on the bus go round and round, all day long!
This is little monkeys favourite song at the moment and it's so trilling to hear him sing along to it, ask me to sing it to him and sing it together! 
Until recently he didn't sing or have a huge amount of speech BUT lately his speech has come on in leaps and bounds. It's so sweet to hear him sing....music to my ears! He giggles and sings alone when I sing to him and it just melts my heart. I had forgotten how sweet 2 year old's can be.
I'm pretty sure going to Preschool has helped bring out his words so much more and as you know buses are one of little monkeys most favourite things. So I suppose it was only time before he would sing about buses as well as look for buses, and play with buses. I love my little monkey, he rocks :)
Here is little monkey and some of the buses we have seen. He loves his bus t'shirt



Ethans Escapades

19/10/2013

Bundlebean Go-Review

Mum Emily Goodall decided she had too many baby blankets, footmuffs, raincovers etc, so she came up with the idea of a 'one does all compact, waterproof cover'. I've had my eye on the multi-award winning Bundlebean Go pretty much since they were 1st launched but kinda felt they might not be quite what we wanted. Since then though I've heard nothing but great things so was pleased to be offered one for review! I was given a choice of design and went for the red stars one. We are big fans of stars in our house, so I was excited to see it in the flesh when it arrived promptly, after agreeing on the design. The stars are a very very pale pink but totally unisex I would say.
The Bundlebean Go is a 5 in 1 travel cover. Ideal for car seats, pushchairs, bike seats, over slings and carriers and as a playmat or picnic blanket. It is packaged in a clear plastic carry pouch that the bundlebean is rolled into, so it's pretty compact! I must say I did struggle to get it out of the pouch but there's no doubt a knack to it. One side is fleece and the other a waterproof nylon. There is a big pocket on the front for little hands to go in and of course the Bundlebean logo on the pocket.
It rolls neatly for storage or as you can see above, just folds flat. Two zips can be pulled to create an elasticated edge around the bottom of the bundlebean, so that it can be secured under the bottom of the carseat or pushchair etc. I found this pretty useful using it on our pushchair! The packaging shows how the straps can be fastened onto whatever it is used on for extra security. 
I'm really surprised at how long the Bundlebean Go is. Little monkey is 3 at the end of January yet there is plenty of room under the cover for him in our pushchair. I secured the bottom of it under the bottom of the pushchair but you can in fact leave their little feet dangling out so muddy boots etc don't soil it. We've yet to use the bundlebean in the rain but I really can't see why it wouldn't help to keep little monkey dry.
I think this cover really can help to shield little ones from the elements and it's useful it has so many uses. I should have got one sooner! Nevertheless we shall be putting it to good use, even once little monkey no longer uses his pushchair. It will make a lovely picnic blanket next summer. I'm even going to use it indoors.
The RRP of the Bundlebean Go starts at £29.99, This design retails at £32.99. Bundlebean have a Facebook and Twitter account, why not take a look.
 
*We were gifted this for review purposes. All opinions and views are my own*


18/10/2013

Life Can Be So Cruel!

Why is life so unfair at times? Nice people do nice things and yet often it's the not so nice people that get on in life! Those that deserve the best often don't get it and those that don't do. People who back stab and manipulate work their way up in the world and those that are kind and helpful stay where they are. 
It just doesn't make sense. I had some very sad news yesterday about a lad I worked with and it wasn't nice. He didn't deserve what happened and neither do lots of people who are taken ill or have their lives cut short. 
The world works in mysterious ways and the more I think about it and the older I get, the more I truly believe you should live life they way you want to, and do the things you set your heart on! Life is too short and too precious not to go out and do what you feel you need to! This is the motto I will be telling my two monkeys as they grow up. I want them to get on and do everything they want to, be it travel, have a career, have a family....whatever they choose. 
Just remember, you never know what's around the corner so please live life to the full and most of all have fun! You deserve to.

16/10/2013

Year One Parents Evening-Mummy Couldn't go!

Today has been eventful! Little monkey went to Preschool and on his return I had my hair done by my good friend and hairdresser Helen. After she had gone home, whilst little monkey was napping, I had a call. Big monkey was unwell at school and they asked me to collect him, which of course I did! Whilst there though, I caught my finger on the school gate, thinking I had got a blood blister. No....a big bruise and swollen finger! How, I don't know. It still hurts now.
Luckily after getting home and having some TLC, big monkey is much improved, but he only improved after Daddy went off to the school parents evening alone, whilst I stayed home looking after the monkeys and feeling a little under the weather myself! Typical hey!
All was great though, as on his return Daddy had fab news! Big monkey is doing very well at school and his teacher is very pleased with him. He is working well, is well behaved, doing extremely well with numeracy and steadily with literacy. 
His teacher had asked that he ask for help more when needed, as he tends to be quiet. She has given us and he rest of the parents in the class, a list of resources to help our little ones. We are so pleased with the school and the way he has settled in there. He seems to really enjoy learning and thrives on doing well.
A big high five monkey! We love you xx
Ethans Escapades

15/10/2013

A Special Holiday!

Six years, four months ago Mr Monkey and I got married. We had a fabulous day and two days later flew out to Kenya for our honeymoon. It was amazing. We spent five nights in the Masai Mara on safari, a week on the coast in Mombasa and then two nights in the Shimba Valley in a tree house, where we slept under the stars. 
This photo is the view form our tree house......incredible! It was certainly a honeymoon to remember for many reasons!
What's the story? is a linky hosted by PODcast. This is my story behind the photo. If I had my time again there is nothing I would change about my groom, our wedding day and our honeymoon. I was sad it was all over and would have happily done it all over again.

14/10/2013

All About Me

Gina from Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies decided it would be good to find out a bit more about each other after her daughters school sent home a booklet called All About Me. So the deal is, you answer the questions and then tag 5 other bloggers into the Meme so that they too can take part if they wish, and everyone gets to know something more about those taking part. The lovely Jane from Ethans Escapades tagged me...thank you Jane.

Here's my contribution:

First off tell us your name and what you do (nice easy one there)…
I'm Jo Laybourn, wife to my husband Mark whom I've known since 2005 and mummy to our two sons, who are 5 and 2.5 yrs old. I also work 16 hrs a week with children with disabilities, something I have done in one capacity or another since leaving college at 18. I started blogging back in March, so count myself as a juggler also, amongst many other things!

I live at home with 
Mark and the boys. 

My favourite thing to do is… 
Spend time with my family. I'm close to my family and a home bird at heart.

My favourite thing to eat is… 
A full roast dinner with all the trimmings. Preferably one cooked by my parents!

When I get cross I… 
Cry! Not usually straight away, but often in the end, out of frustration. 

Sometimes I worry because… 
I'm a worrier! I used to worry about anything and everything, but funnily enough, less so now I'm happily married and have the boys! I do worry about them growing up in the big wide world, but I worry less than ever before! Maybe I just worry about different things now?!

My favourite book is… 
Anything by female Irish authors....Sheila O'Flanagan being one of them. I've not read a book since having our eldest son though, as baby magazines then Facebook took over.

My favourite toy is (easy now)…
My iPhone 4s! I love it and it's glued to me all the time. I would never have any other phone now!

I dislike… 
Lots of things! Crime, people who are nasty, rain, the depths of winter, benefit fraud, bank charges, not having more money....the list goes on! ;)

When I grow up I want to be… 
A mum, so I'm there already! Being a mum and having the joy of my own children is ultimately what I've always wanted. I'd like to write children's stories but it's a dream that will remain a dream....Its good to have dreams, right??
There, now you know a bit more about me. I'm going to invite the following friends and bloggers to join in the Meme and let them share their details with you too.

Welcome Clare from Emmys Mummy
AK from My Buggy Junction
Kate from Family Fever
Colette from We're Going On An Adventure 
Chantelle from Mama Mummy Mum.










13/10/2013

It's The Small Things.......

Yesterday I promised the monkeys a bus ride. Pretty normal thing to do but not when your youngest monkey LOVES buses. He would ride in one or sit and watch them all day if he could. We even have to look for them whilst out in the car and look out of his bedroom window to find some. Telling the monkeys yesterday morning what we were doing was met with squeals of delight.

So, we drove to get Nana (who often joins us on an outing a few Saturdays a month), then we went to one of two Park and Rides near us. I'd never been to one locally before, but the transition from car to bus was smooth and the journey into town, leaving the car parked, was only £2.50 for the four of us. Little monkey sat perfectly still on the ride, he was so happy bless him! Even the other passengers commented on his excitement, when he kept saying "bus, bus". How sad that we all enjoyed our little bus ride into town! We even went through the University Campus which I've never seen before.

So, we get to town very smoothly, with buggy in tow for little monkey and had a wonder around. Little monkey just wanted to see the other buses about town and get back on the bus to have another ride. Instead we went to the toy shop for a very small treat for each of them, popped into a couple of other shops, then later made our way back to the Park and Ride bus stop.

This time the bus was neigh on empty and both monkeys had a pick of the seats. Once again, the ride was smooth and straight forward, with the bus lanes making it much quicker than driving in the car. The driver waved as we disembarked, which made little monkeys day. Finally, a stop at our local MacDonalds for a lunch time treat, then we dropped Nana home. I'm sure as a child, I rode on a bus or two but I really can't remember. It's funny how the small, inexpensive things we do with our children, often give them the most pleasure.

I'd love to know what you did this weekend?

Silent Sunday

OneDad3Girls

12/10/2013

Pom Bear-Halloween Review

The monkeys are fans of Pom Bears. They are so easily digested and are a great snack for small children to munch on (and us adults enjoy them too of course!) Cooked in Sunflower oil, which is naturally low in fat, they are cooked in a nut-free factory and are approved by the Vegetarian Society, so what's not to love?

For Halloween Pom Bears have a Limited Edition Pickled Onion Flavour. A flavour I personally love, so when we were asked if we would like to try some, of course I said yes! (On behalf of the monkeys of course)! They arrived with spooky Halloween decoration in the packaging and the monkeys were keen to try the  flavour. I had a sneaky packet too, for review purposes you see. The flavour is fairly subtle so great for young taste buds and the monkeys finished their packets, so they must of liked them. I know I did!
There are lots of other flavours to try but these ones were a hit with the monkeys and are great for spooky Halloween parties that will no doubt be plentiful in the coming weeks.


*These crisps were sent to me free of charge for reviewing purposes, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.*
**Image from www.talkingretail.com 

10/10/2013

Something To Celebrate

After a few really horrid weeks where big monkeys behaviour was awful (at home), and there were other stresses to deal with, it's really nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Little monkey has settled into Preschool really well and even wants to go there on days he isn't meant to. His speech is coming on in leap and bounds and it's so lovely to hear him sing along with us or to the TV when he hears a song he recognises. I have sung 'Hush Little Baby' to him since he was a newborn and for a long time now he has asked me to sing it at bedtime each night. Now, when I do, he joins in! So cute......He also love watching 'Dinosaur Train' on the TV and sings the theme tune to that too!
Big monkey is working really hard on his behaviour at home at the moment and I'm thrilled to say we have had no acts of aggression form him for nearly two weeks now. I credit the help and support from school and from the school nurse for helping us to help him. We are working with reward charts and stickers for positive behaviour and each day is happier and more refreshing in our household. It really has changed things for the better. The negativity was getting to Mr monkey and I and making for a really tough time, but now things seem so much better.
Once again I'm really enjoying being a mummy and re-discovering the delights the monkeys give us.

I'd love to hear if there's something to celebrate in your household, however small it may be!
SuperBusyMum

06/10/2013

Coming At Ya Center Parcs!

The monkeys love nothing more than being in the great outdoors, and we love it too! It really means a lot to us to spend time together as a family doing things we all love. Running, jumping, swinging and sliding (just like monkeys do)! We also like to stay away from home, seeing new places and spending quality time together. Doing things somewhere different, creating magical memories for the monkeys to look back on.

The last time we were at Center Parcs big monkey was a bump in my tummy and Mr monkey and I were there helping to celebrate his sisters 40th birthday with all the family! How we'd love to share the magic of Elveden Forest with the monkeys and watch them ride through the tree's, swim in the pool and play golf with daddy!
This is our entry into the Tots100 and Center Parcs Family Bloggers competition.....I hope you like it! Personally I love it, (but then I would do!)

*This is our entry into the Center Parcs Family Blogger competition 2013/14*

Silent Sunday

OneDad3Girls

03/10/2013

Conker Capers

"Conkers is a traditional children's game in Britain and Ireland played using the seeds of Horse Chestnut trees—the name 'conker' is also applied to the seed and to the tree itself. The game is played by two players, each with a conker threaded onto a piece of string: they take turns striking each others conker until one breaks."

The monkeys have been learning how to play conkers with daddy! (Well big monkey has, anyway!) They have enjoyed hunting for the conkers and now it's daddy's mission to teach them both in time, how to play the traditional game. I used to play it too and remember my brother and dad playing. They used to use shoe laces. Little monkey is a little too young to play properly at the moment but of course he had to have a go, he and big monkey thought it was fun. There were no winners during this contest, just good old fun and something new learned.
And did you know, if you keep a bowl of conkers indoors, they keep the spiders away!
Have you and the children played conkers this season yet? Who won?

*Quote by Wilkipedia

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

02/10/2013

Short, Back and Sides

Today the monkeys had a much needed haircut. Luckily big monkey enjoys having his done and has been having his hair cut regularly since he was about 18 months old. One of our close friends is a hairdresser, so 90% of the time she has cut his hair. He always sits very still and is well behaved. The monkeys know her well and she is used to cutting children's hair so does a good job of making them feel comfortable.
Little monkey has obviously not had too many haircuts at only 2.5 years old but has had about 4 now and with each cut his hair has grown back a little thicker. He screamed and screamed the 1st time Helen cut his hair, so it was abandoned as a bad job, but with each subsequent time he has been happier for her to cut it, and today saw the best cut so far! He sat on my lap and she cut it as quickly as she could with the promise of a biscuit as a reward. What a good boy he was. He looks so grown up with a decent haircut and no longer my baby with baby fine hair. It's a sad feeling but also one of pride that he is growing up and becoming a little boy.

Do your children like having their haircuts? Did you as a child or now even as an adult? I'd love to know.

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