Our Family Picnic for Daddy's 40th!

Daddy monkey turned the big 40 earlier this year! I wanted to arrange a number of different things for him to celebrate the occasion so organised a family picnic at a local park. Seeing as his birthday was back in March though I had to owe him the picnic for the warmer, sunnier weather!!
So the family were all invited this Sunday last and I kept my fingers crossed for a dry day and warmer weather than we have recently had! 
Daddy monkeys whole family were invited and it was lovely to see them all there bar one who had to work, we had a great day and the sun shone brightly. The monkeys loved catching up with their cousins and seeing their aunts, uncles and grandparents.

We had lots of fun during the day, playing games and the monkeys went exploring and climbing. The women of the family sat chatting and sunning themselves and we all had a good old catch up! Things got too much for little monkey at one point and one of his cousins managed to get him off to sleep in his pushchair. He'll do anything for her.

Sun hats, suncream and the sun tent were the order of the day with the fab weather I had ordered!! The monkeys had a really good day and daddy monkey was chuffed everyone got to spend the day together. He still has outstanding birthday celebrations....I think he is milking this turning 40 lark personally! ;-)


Inspect A Gadget - Review

This review is for moneysupermarket.com and their Inspect A Gadget Competition.
Moneysupermarket.com are trying to see if cheaper travel accessories live up to the more expensive brand names. So they gifted me the funds to buy an inexpensive gadget from a list of five, which our family have been testing a little while. We decided we would like to review the 7" Essentials Portable DVD Player as we felt it most suits our family and were considering buying one for the monkeys anyway. This model is from Currys and is a steal at £49.99.
What's in the box?

As you can see in the photo, there is the DVD player, instruction manual, remote control, mains adapter, car power adapter and a quick start guide. The remote comes supplied with a 3V lithium battery.
  • 7" Screen size
  • Built in rechargeable battery with up to 2 hours battery life
  • Plays - DVD + R, DVD - R, DVD + RW, DVD - RW, CD - R & CD - RW
  • Leads to connect to a TV
The system is really easy to set up and navigate. The quick start guide is easy to follow and within minutes the portable DVD player is ready to go! We started out by setting the DVD player up to watch portably. The On/Off switch is on the side of the player and just slides across. All the functions are straight forward and easy to navigate. We have been very impressed with it so far! 
The picture quality is great for a cheaper end model and I would recommend getting one to anyone that is looking for an inexpensive portable DVD player. The sound is fine too and there are many functions yet to try, so it has lots of features despite being under £50. 

If we were to use a portable DVD player in the car we would personally prefer to get one with dual screens that attach to the back of the head rest, which this obviously does not but we would use this out and about, say in a cafe to keep the monkeys amused and it's ideal for times when they want to watch different things at the same time!
We have yet to take it out in the car and use the car charger and haven't yet used it via our television with the leads supplied but I doubt very much there will be a problem doing so. 
We are very impressed with our 'cheaper travel accessory' 
Thanks to moneysupermarket.com and their Inspect A Gadget Competion.


Lindam Funpack Harness and Safety Sunblock Shade x 2 - Review

We have been lucky enough to be sent some Lindam products to review so set to work testing them out.

Funpack Harness
This is really cute and the perfect size for a toddler to carry on their back. It easily holds a drinks cup, a snack and a toy. Little monkey wasn't keen to wear it on his back but we will continue to encourage him to so this. He did however like holding onto the little handle at the top of the rucksack and carrying it like a big boy.
The funpack  is fully adjustable to suit children from 6 months to 4 yrs and the has a tether strap which is attached at the bottom of the backpack and can be removed. This is the bit of the funpack that as a mummy I most like as it means I can attach it to the funpack and keep a hold of little monkey safe in the knowledge he can't go off too far! It's a really good sized backpack and can be wiped clean. With it's bright colours it can be seen easily too! As soon as little monkey complies I will add more photo's of the funpack in action.

Safety Sunblock Shade x 2
We have a Seat Lean which has shallow windows so have to use the roller type window shades as other types are too big. The monkeys broke the last ones we had so when these arrived from Lindam I was very pleased to try them out! These vinyl shades protect from glare and UV rays. They are fitted to the car windows with suction cups and are very easy to install and use. 

These sunblock shades have a 2 step release button, which is easy to operate. Push and release to adjust and push and hold to roll up. One of the blinds has stayed exactly where we put it but the one where little monkey sits keeps falling off. He keeps touching it and the window most likely needs a good clean so that the suction cups stay fast but overall they are just what we need. 
These ones come with a patented white hot heat alert spot at the bottom of the blind. The word 'HOT' appears in the red spot which also turns white should the car be too hot. An added safely feature which I really like.
Now I just need to ensure little monkey keeps his hands to himself and we should have two monkeys who no longer moan when the sun gets in their eyes!! 
You can see more from Lindam by liking their Facebook
page or following them on Twitter.

* We were sent these products free of charge for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own * 


Kiddicare Enfield Blogger Event

Kiddicare Enfield opened it's doors 2 days ago and today little monkey and I attended a bloggers event there. It's a well known fact I love all things baby and especially pushchairs, which they have in abundance, so we were very excited to be invited by Kiddicare PR and accepted the invite immediately. Enfield is about 45 minutes from us around the M25. We appear to be right in the middle of this new store and another (newish) Kiddicare store at Lakeside Thurrock. What on earth will I do with two relatively close to us!!! Little monkey slept on the way there so he was bright and happy when we arrived at the store.
On being greeted by our hosts for the day, little monkey and I were invited to the Kiddicare cafe for complimentary drinks whist the other bloggers arrived.
After everyone arrived we were split into two groups and ours was given a tour of the store. Kiddicare Enfield, like all the other stores is 'divided' into sections for ease of browsing and shopping, with clearly named labels hanging from the ceiling so shoppers can quickly see which part of the store they need.

Everything for baby and toddler plus preschooler is under one roof and there are lots of staff on hand to answer questions, help find things and generally assist shoppers. There are plenty of car seats to choose from plus a free car fitting service, lots of toys and also large outdoor toys on display to play in, loads of cots, cot beds and toddler beds plus bedding and nursery furniture. A huge pushchair section with a path for test driving them and all the pushchair accessories you can think of! They even have a pushchair repair and service center. Kiddicare do their own range of affordable clothing for babies and tots which looked bright and cheerful and great value for money. There is a large selection of highchairs and feeding accessories plus nappies, toiletries and other bathtime products, all set out well with plenty of space for parents to push their children in pushchairs with ease around the store.

After our store tour it was time for lunch. The cafe has a large community table for occasions such as today and we were invited to have lunch on Kiddicare. The menu was pretty varied and babies and children are fully catered for! Little monkey had a lunchbox full of goodies to eat and I opted for a Panini. There were plenty of highchairs available and sofa's for those that want a more casual pit stop. Right next to the cafe is an enclosed play area for children that has clear windows so parents can have a drink or a bite to eat whilst being able to watch their little ones.

There is an enclosed area for nursing mums and the toilets and baby changing facilities are well thought out and suitable for parents and children to use together with plenty of room for pushchairs too. Kiddicare offer a baby gift list service amongst other services including their V.I.P (very important baby) personal shopping service. There is also an events room that can be hired out for parties, that is used for community groups and functions daily. After a lovely lunch and much chatter we were invited in there today to watch children's entertainer  Captain Fantastic. The children loved his show but little monkey was a little shy!

After the show we were invited to have a stroll around the store and given a 10% off voucher to redeem against any purchases we made today. We were also handed a fab goody bag to take away. This is what was in it!

Little monkey and I would like to thank the lovely PR at Kiddicare and their colleagues for today. It was a great opportunity to spend the day with other mummy bloggers and see the latest store.

Take a look at the Kiddicare website or follow them on Twitter and like their Facebook page.


The Pushchair 'Addict' in Me!

OK so some people will know I like my pushchairs! I've had a few! Well about 17 in total in fact, in the last 5 years.....eek!

Just for fun I thought I would add photo's of some! I would have more pushchairs but little monkey is coming up to two and a half years soon, so my pushchair days are numbered. 

Currently I have two and yes I do keep looking at more! Whatever will I do when little monkey no longer needs or uses one?!

The Silver Cross Linear Freeway was my first pram for our eldest monkey and is the one I had the longest. The Silver Cross Pop on the left is one of two Pops I've had. The other was a Poppy red Pop Sport. The Quinny Zapp Xtra came in very handy with little monkey on Pre-School runs with big monkey!
For a short time when little monkey was born we had the Baby Jogger City Mini Double (until big monkey no longer napped in the day). Then we tried the Bugaboo Bee Plus and I bought but did not use the Maclaren XT (whoops!)

We also had the Maxi Cosi Noa, a great holiday buggy, the fab Maxi Cosi Mura 3 and the 1st of two Britax B-Agiles! 

Then the Baby Jogger City Mini GT, a brief encounter with the Babystart Ria 3 wheeler and the Maxi Cosi Mila!

We now have the Sand Britax B-Agile and the Quinny Zapp. They both suit our current needs perfectly. The Maclaren Volo I had briefly but did not use and we have also had another Zapp in the past and a Bruin 'Love My Bear' stroller.

The pushchairs that were not used were only not used, as at the time of owning them I had no need for them.....yes I told you I'm a bit of an addict!!  I can honestly say I have loved all of the pushchairs we have owned, some more than others but each had their own appeal.

Answers on a postcard for my next obsession!  


Munchkin Disney Baby Toddler Dining Set and Flip Straw Cup plus additional Toddler Fork and Spoon Set -Review

We have been lucky enough to be sent some Munchkin products from their range to review.

A big box arrived one afternoon, which was very exciting as we weren't sure what we would be sent, so we were thrilled to open the box and see a number of products, all brightly coloured and very suitable for our monkeys, especially the smallest one. The Lindam products are in a separate review.

Munchkin Disney Baby Toddler Dining Set
This arrived in the usual cardboard and plastic packaging that I personally always find quite hard to get into! On getting into the packaging I showed little monkey his new plate and he looked delighted with it. It's nice and colourful and catches the eye with the Monsters Inc bright colours on it. It is also divided into three sections. The set comprises a bowl, spoon and fork. All in green and blue and very eye catching.
Littlest monkey seemed to really enjoy using his new plate and spoon, both the ideal size for a 2 year old. The set is suitable from 12 months and is BPA Free, the bowl is square for helping to scoop food from and the plate has a grippy base. He used the bowl for his favourite chocolate treat. The spoon and fork have curved handles and are an ideal size for him. All items are top rack dishwasher safe. As you can see from the photos the Toddler Dining Set is a hit.

Munchkin Disney Baby Flip Straw Cup
This cup is suitable from 12 months and takes 9ozs of fluid. Is 100% leak free according to the packaging, has a click lock lid and a soft, flexible spill proof straw. It is also top rack dishwasher safe.
I'm pleased to say we have to fully agree with it being 100% leak proof as I did the shake and turn upside down test and nothing escaped! There was no leakage from the straw either when flipped up and turned upside down. Littlest monkey asked for squash so I gave him some in this lovely Monsters Inc cup which matches the Toddler Dining Set. He was really pleased to use it and has no problem unlocking the straw by flipping it up himself. The click lock system from my point of view is a great idea as you know the lid is secure. The cup is a great size for toddlers and judging by monkeys response to it, he finds it easy to use and hold. It's an ideal size for him.

Toddler Fork and Spoon Set
This little set also arrived in the box and like the spoon and fork from the Toddler Set it has curved easy grip handles and is the perfect size for little hands. These are also BPA free and suitable from 12 months. The spotty design is colourful and vibrant.  
As a rule, at the minute little monkey prefers to use just a spoon but we are encouraging him to use a fork as well, so he will have a nice choice now. We shall add a bit more when smallest monkey has had more use out of all these great products.

Personally my favourite product is the Flip Straw Cup, but we love it all. You can find the above products on the Munchkin website. Alternatively follow their Twitter profile and Facebook page.

* We were sent these products free of charge for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own *


Daddy Daycare!

Daddy was in charge of the monkeys yesterday as I had to work. I gave him strict instructions to take lots of photo's as I wanted to share with you what they get up to while the cats away!

Firstly I was working from 1.45 to 9.30 pm and only work when daddy can have the boys as we can't afford childcare. 
Biggest monkey had birthday money to spend, so before I left for work I suggested they go into town once I'd left so that they could choose something he could buy.

Daddy and the two monkeys went into The Entertainer and there the boys chose something each they could buy, one a remote control car and the other a cricket set! So with those in tow, they then set off to the park to play with their purchases.....
Eating lunch and racing to the car

Unfortunately when they got to the park it started raining so eventually rain stopped play as they all got rather wet! Instead they came home and daddy cooked tea. The boys love pasta so they ate that and watched some of the cup final from the kitchen table. Daddy and the monkeys then had fun playing before bed. They go to bed about 6.30 usually but he let them stay up a bit and by the time I got home they were sound asleep and the house was very tidy!
Demonstrating his new cricket bat and having tea together

It's nice to go to work most of the time but I really miss them when I'm there!! He does a good job though does daddy, so I know they are always in good hands.

Silent Sunday


Biggest Monkeys Birthday Treat at Legoland Windsor

Our eldest Monkey has been asking to go to Legoland for sometime now so coming up to his 5th Birthday we gave him the choice of a party or a day there
You guessed it he chose Legoland!

We decided not to go for the 2 for 1 day with overnight accommodation at Legoland this time round as our youngest monkey is only 2 and I felt he would get more out of going two consecutive days when he is older. So yesterday we drove there for the day. We left at approximately 07.30 and arrived soon after 09.00. The park doesn't open until 10.00 but we queued for tickets and went into the park before then, went to guest services then joined the masses waiting for the barriers to go up at 10.00.
This weekend was 'Star Wars Days' (something that just happened to be on the same weekend we chose to go not something we specifically chose to go and see). So as you can imagine there were lots of visitors dressed up in character and of course all the Star Wars cast in full costume.
I mentioned earlier guest services. Well we were told to go there to let them know it was monkeys birthday treat so that his name could be flashed up on the digital information displays throughout the day....an added bonus. He was also given a birthday badge to wear and so many of the Legoland staff wished him a happy birthday. It really made the day more special.
One of the first attractions we visited was the Miniland and it was one of the best parts of the day. Our youngest monkey could not be dragged away from there! He loved it, especially the trains and buses going around the various towns, cities and counties! The construction of Miniland was amazing and there was very minute detail of some of the worlds more famous landmarks.
We were disappointed to see the Duplo Valley area was still under part construction, to be opened only in a few weeks time but it gives us a good excuse to go back there again as our littlest monkey would have loved it! However we had a fab day. The boys both enjoyed the Pirate Show held throughout the day. We managed to get a good viewing spot for the 13.00 show and all the children and families watching it had a great time.....it was lots of fun.
In hindsight we should have taken a picnic for our day out but didn't as it was big monkey's birthday treat but as with all theme parks the food and drink was expensive. Still the boys ate well and I had taken snacks for them so they didn't go hungry.
Another favourite part of the day was the children's adventure play area 'Pirate Training Camp'. Daddy went on there with the two monkey's and they all had a ball. 
The weather was great and I'm not sure if it was because of the Star Wars themed weekend but Legoland stayed open until 19.00 instead of 18.00 yesterday much to the boys delight as it meant they could steal a little extra time on some of the rides! Big monkey chose to get his drivers license on the 'L Drivers' course (suitable for 3-5yrs) and he and daddy went on the 'Fire Academy' fire truck ride again too.
We left Legoland after going into one of the many Lego gift shops happy but tired and with aching feet but very pleased to have spent the day there celebrating big monkeys 5th birthday! Big monkey was asleep in the car within 15 minutes of leaving there and little monkey was too tired to happily let us put his PJ's on once we got home!


Biggest Little Monkey Turns Five!

I cannot believe the last five years have flown by so quickly! Our 1st monkey was born early at 38.2 weeks on a Friday evening at 7.49pm. He soon settled into life at home with my husband and I and it quickly felt like we have always had him!
Being our 1st born the first year went fairly quickly (but not as quick as it did with our 2nd born) and he was soon walking and talking and basically hasn't stopped since!! His speech was very well developed by the time he was two and he was keen to explore everything and soak up new things like a sponge! Then came the terrible two's at the age of three and regular sessions in Pre-school. He really came into his own in his 2nd year there at age 4 and it seems like only yesterday we were helping him get to know his new school....foundation stage at infants. Now he has been there since September 2012 and is into his last term before going into year one!
Our eldest monkey is a great big brother to his little brother and they have a fab close relationship but for some reason he wants to be older and bigger every day and cannot wait until the day he goes into year 1, then turns 7 (so that he can tell us what he has done at school) and even go to senior school!! He even wants his baby teeth to fall out!

Now I'm thinking five is a good age and oh to be that age again!

He has been counting down the days for weeks now and started by asking how many more sleeps but now just counts them down himself! Excited is an understatement ;-)

So here we are May 2nd 2013.

Big little Monkey woke at 5am today! Boy, we were tired but hey, it's not everyday you turn 5! He opened some presents before school then played with them and took sweets in for his class to share. He did so well with gifts, friends and family have been so generous as always. After school monkey played with his presents again and opened some cards the postman delivered. His little friend he has known from birth came to tea and the two of them loved blowing out his candles on his cake and giggling at the smoke. 
He has gone to bed one very very tired but happy boy who is looking towards his birthday treat at the weekend! And you know what?......he asked me how many sleeps until his next birthday and told me he will be 6! That's my Boy ;-)

I feel a little sad he is growing up so fast.


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