Happy New Year!

The monkeys, Mr Monkey and I would like to wish all our readers a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. We really do hope 2014 is a good one for you all!

2013 has been a mixed one for us. Mostly good, with some fab memories but a few lows.

The year started with me hurting my back and being pretty much out of action for the 1st two weeks of January. Then before the end of the month little monkey turned 2. I really can't quite believe he will soon be 3!
Mr monkey turned the big 40 in March and we did several things as a family to celebrate, this included a family picnic, which we actually had in May, so that the weather was better! We watched him drive a Aston Martin around Brands Hatch and of course we got him a cake and other birthday treats.
At the very end of March I started the blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed doing something for me that is also for the monkeys. I have learned a lot and met some fantastic and truly inspirational people. Here's hoping the blog continues to move onwards and upwards.

In April I took the monkeys on a long weekend to Haven Holidays in Somerset. Although cold, we had a lovely time and the monkeys loved that Nanny came too!
Mr Monkey started his Gym Instructor and Personal Trainer qualifications. These are to add to his Pilates and Sports Massage qualifications. We are very proud of him.
April also saw us taking little monkey for the 1st of several check ups at the hospital for his very mild hearing loss!

May saw big monkey turn 5 and to celebrate we all went to Lego Land Windsor for the day. Next time we would love to take them to stay in the Lego themed hotel.
During the summer we were fortunate enough to have fab weather and were able to spend a lot of time visiting Nanny and Grandad on their boat, which was on the Thames in Surrey and Berkshire. The monkeys love the boat and we had great fun visiting lots of fab places.

July started with Mr monkey and I going to watch Bon Jovi at Hyde Park....a great gig but very hot!!
It also saw me celebrating my birthday on the boat in the sun at Windsor! I had a fab day.
In August we all watched Mr monkey speed around Brands Hatch in an Aston Martin....one of his 40th Birthday gifts from his family. The monkeys loved it.
In September big monkey started in year 1 and little monkey started going to Preschool......my babies are growing too fast! They both settled in far better than I could have imagined. I also had the privilege of attending the Mad Blog Awards in Kensington after winning a 'golden ticket' to the event. it was an amazing evening and one I will never forget.
October saw us struggling with big monkeys behaviour at home but his school really helped us to turn his behaviour around...thankfully. It was pretty stressful and a huge strain on the Mr and I! I'm so pleased we all came through the other side! Mr monkey went to big monkeys parents evening this month too and we were so pleased to hear he is doing fabulously at school.

November and December was spent buying gifts and getting prepared for Christmas! December is when we also had confirmation that little monkey will be fitted with Grommets. They should really improve his speech, which is already a lot better than it was before he started Preschool.
We had a great Christmas and look forward to 2014. I shall endeavor to lose some weight and spend more time on me. I'm going to BritMums in June and want to continue with the blog. Mr monkey hopes to continue to build his business and train more people. The monkeys will no doubt continue to be monkeys but do you know what, they are our monkeys and we wouldn't want them any other way! 

Sadly our family lost 2 special Ladies this year. They will always remain in our hearts and be remembered frequently.

I hope you can join us in the New Year

The Monkeys Christmas!

We hope you all had a lovely Christmas? Unfortunately we had a family bereavement just before Christmas so it was one with mixed emotions. The week leading up to Christmas Day was a bit of a nightmare to be honest! Little monkey ended up in A&E late one night as his temperature was over 40c and he was vomiting. He had earlier been diagnosed with an ear infection and the three things combined made him a right sorry state. After 3hrs we were seen and sent home and thankfully he made a quick recovery. Our Christmas food shop wasn't delivered when expected and I abandoned an appointment I had at the orthopedic department of the hospital for my knees! All of that didn't stop the monkeys having a fab time though and of course we made it as normal as possible for them.
Christmas Eve was spent baking Christmas biscuits, reading Christmas stories and leaving food and treats out for Santa and the reindeer!
Then the fun began! Presents galore, happy smiles, lots of thanks and play, play, play.
Big monkey was keen to unwrap his gifts with gusto but little monkey was a bit bewildered and was very slow to open all his gifts.
Luckily we didn't get the very early wake up call we had been expecting. I think just after 6am and then 6.45am for little monkey was pretty good really!
Big monkey seemed to know things had been up and down as he was especially kind and thoughtful and thanked us much more frequently than normal on opening his presents. Bless him.
This year we ate our Christmas dinner out at a restaurant for the 1st time ever. It was lovely and so good to be able to just play with the monkeys instead of preparing the dinner and spending time clearing it all away afterwards. We have booked to go there again next Christmas! On the whole the monkeys were very well behaved there and of course they enjoyed themselves too.
Our evening was spent settling the monkeys who were by then very tired and then relaxing in front of the television. 

We would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. Here's hoping 2014 brings you everything you want it too.


Update on Little Monkey.

As you may remember reading here and here, little monkey has been having regular hearing tests as he has glue ear. Just about a week before Christmas I took him for another appointment at the ENT department at our local hospital to have his ears checked and he does still have the glue ear. The consultant has therefore decided that little monkey will be fitted with grommets. He is now on the waiting list and it should be done within 12 weeks. I'm happy with the decision as I really think the grommets will help with his speech development and I'd like him to have the opportunity to reach his full potential as opposed to just doing his best to hear and talk.
He was a superstar at the appointment and so too were the hospital staff. I really cannot fault their treatment so far. We waited less than 5 minutes to be seen and the audiologist took us straight into the consultants room for his decision based on little monkeys results after his ears were checked. They were very good with little monkey and made sure I was involved in the decision making and kept fully aware of what little monkey would be going through. As a treat for being such a superstar little monkey was treated to some chocolate from the M&S at the hospital and he loved watching the buses coming and going on the way back to the car park. Our appointment was a resounding success.
We now await his operation date. I will keep you updated.


Parragon Book Buddies - Christmas Activity Book - Review

November's book buddies book was sent to us for the monkeys to enjoy in the lead up to Christmas. The 'Christmas Activity' book came with a Christmas tree shaped rubber attached to it and had 4 tiny 'bauble' rubbers within the tree itself. The book was full of activities for the monkeys to get stuck into.....big monkey especially loved it! He is very keen to draw and colour in at the moment and the activity book allowed him to do just that. There were also puzzles to complete, 'dot to dot' drawings to create and lots more! All very festive and ideal to fill in those hours spent waiting for the big day to arrive.

 This page was entitled 'Pretty Paper' and the description asked for colourful and patterned paper
Shaped like a house and full of colourful pictures and pages this activity book was ideal for big monkey to sit and work through. There was even a page where he could write to Father Christmas.
This joke made us chuckle....Why are Christmas trees bad at knitting? They keep dropping their needles!'

 Here big monkey was creating his own baubles to add to the tree
I wonder how many other children enjoyed this activity book in the run up to Christmas? Parragon Books can be found here.

*We were sent this activity book to review as a Parragon Book Buddies member. All thoughts and opinions are my own*


Park Play, Boxing Day!

Hey all, I hope you've had a fab Christmas? I have a full Christmas post still to come but just wanted to do a quick post about our family trip to the park on Boxing day. I have been known to brave the crowds early in the morning for the traditional Boxing Day sales, but this year I had a lie in until gone 8am! Our morning was spent watching Boxing Day films on TV, then we decided a trip to the park was in order so that big monkey could ride his new bike. He ended up taking his new scooter as the tyres on his bike would not stay inflated. Little monkey took his ever faithful Smart Trike. He loves to push it as opposed to ride it! 
The monkeys had lots of fun on our quick outing and of course the football made an appearance too! They ran around, played football, used the climbing frame, swung on the swing, jumped in muddy puddles, rolled about in the mud and generally did what boys monkeys do!
It was good to get some fresh air to be honest and they love nothing more than being outdoors at the park. Luckily we have lots of them nearby.

Needless to say, on our return home their trousers and coats went into the washing machine. Once we had all warmed up again, the monkeys resumed play with their new toys and later we had family over for tea. A typical Boxing Day for us and often just as good as Christmas Day I tend to think.
I'd love to hear what you did on Boxing Day?
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


What I love about Christmas!

What I love about Christmas would ultimately be everything!! Since I was young I have always loved Christmas. It's the season to be jolly, spend quality time with family and friends, give those you love gifts, and hopefully get some too! Also to visit Santa, decorate the tree, eat lots of food.....I could go on and on!
Christmas was always made to feel special when I was a child and now that I'm a parent myself, my husband and I are keen to ensure that's how our children feel about it. Luckily when we met, he felt the same as me about Christmas.
In no particular order theses are the things I love about Christmas!

Buying presents for loved ones
I love giving and like to put a lot of thought into the gifts I buy. It gives me real pleasure to get what I know family and friends will love. This especially applies to the monkeys. I tend to say each year that I'm cutting back, but I just can't! They get way too much...but if you can't spoil your children at Christmas, when can you?! 

Visiting Santa
We love to take the monkeys to visit Santa. To chat with him about what they would like for Christmas, how they have been and what they are hoping Christmas will be like. Over the years since the monkeys came along, we have seen Santa on a steam train, at the zoo, at a local stately home, in the garden center and at the shopping center. Big monkey used to be terrified of him but now happily sits and speaks for himself and his little brother! 
What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than Meeting the man himself - This tip from Nick Oot, Center Parcs Winter Wonderland Expert has inspired me the most. Taking the kids to see Santa has to be one of the most important things in the lead up to the big day.
Decorating the tree
We currently have a 6ft very realistic artificial tree, It cost a lot of money several years ago and is still looking fab. I love decorating it. Now the monkeys join in and big monkey especially does a fab job of hanging the decorations on it. Daddy is in charge of the lights. Each year we help the monkeys to choose a new Christmas tree decoration each. This has become our new family tradition.

Tracking Santa
Even before the monkeys were born, with my juvenile mind I would be getting excited about where in the world Santa was delivery his presents. So once Norad Tracks Santa came along I would sit at the computer and track him. This is something I now do with the monkeys and will continue to do (probably forever!)
Eating Roast Turkey and all the trimmings
I LOVE roast dinner and Christmas would not be Christmas without a roast Turkey dinner. This year we are eating out and I have ordered the traditional roast, with all the trimmings.
Wrapping the presents
I find it really quite exciting to wrap the presents and make them all look wonderful, whilst being in the know about what surprises the recipients will be getting! I used to cheat as a child and hunt for my presents. Something the monkeys have yet to do. Usually I wrap in one sitting with something festive on the TV. 
Watching my eldest in his school Christmas production
Big monkey is in year one at school and I find myself sitting there with pride watching him in his school Christmas production, whilst he is looking out in the audience for Daddy and I. I cannot watch without shedding a tear of pride and happiness that he is taking part and is so proud to do so.
Watching the children open their presents
Nothing beats seeing the monkeys open their presents excitedly on Christmas morning. It has to be one of the most precious things to behold, seeing their faces light up in bewilderment at what Santa has delivered. I'm a huge kid and LOVE this part of Christmas day which starts very early in our house!
Boxing Day Dinner
Second to traditional Christmas Day dinner is cold turkey, hot mashed potato, salad and pickles. Yum! 
Advent Calendars
The monkeys get so eager to open their advent calendars each morning. They are bought for them by their Grandparents each year. I used to enjoy getting one too until they came along. Perhaps I should get my own!
Annual Seasonal TV Programes
You know it's nearly Christmas when shows like Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor come on. I'm a sucker for such TV and watching them in the run up to Christmas!
Spending time with my family
Ultimately THE most important thing about MY Christmas. Quality time with my husband and the monkeys, making memories and carrying on traditions set years ago with our parents and grandparents.
Did I say I love Christmas!! Above are a small selection of photo's that depict part of our Christmas. I hope you like them. 

Merry Christmas

*This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 December challenge. If I’m chosen, I would like to visit Elvedon Forest.* 


Thomas and Friends Amazing ABC - Egmont Book Review

Little monkey (and sometimes big monkey) are huge fan of trains, especially Thomas the Tank Engine. Little monkey lives and breathes trains, so I was pleased to accept the Thomas and Friends Amazing ABC book by Egmont to review. Chuff through the pages to see what delights Thomas and friends have in store.
As you can see the book is bright and colourful. Thomas' face is a hologram on the front cover.
 Lift the telephone receiver and turn the dial to find out who is calling the controller.
Emily comes out to play. Hello Emily.
'J' is for jigsaw, the page is miss-matched if you open the jigsaw to see what's inside!
And pull the tab to get Thomas down the quarry!
Percy stands up to attention and dashes off quick.
Hey, look. It's Thomas, he has been hiding.
Turn the wheel to see what 'W' is for!
Open the pages to see the delights that this magical book has to offer.
Now here is big monkey exploring what's inside!

Each page inside this lovely hardback book has something for little people to explore. Made of sturdy card pages, it is ideal for Thomas fans. A hit with big monkey and little monkey too, this would make a great Christmas present for Thomas fans aged 3 years and over. 
You can follow Egmont on Twitter, they also have a Facebook page. 

*We were sent this book by Egmont to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own*


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