Friday, 30 October 2015

New Disney Tsum Tsum range review*

One thing that Ava is completely obsessed with is unboxing videos on YouTube. I can't remember how this all started but she is seriously mad about them and given the chance she would sit for hours on end watching other people unbox toys and play with them! So when we were asked if we would like to unbox some goodies from the new Disney Tsum Tsum range there is no way that I could say no!


Tsum Tsum are the new Japanese craze that are swiftly making their way into the UK. They're stackable cuddly toys in the form of recognisable Disney characters but they have a very cute, Japanese look to them. The range has now expanded to include squishy toys, puzzles and even "make your own bracelet" sets. We were sent some of the new stackable, squishy toys aswell as the toyshop playset. All of the Tsum Tsum characters are collectable and there are even some rare, gold ones to collect!



I didn't tell Ava about the video and new toys until the day so she was extremely excited as you can imagine. I've included a video of the unboxing below.


The new range is released tomorrow (31st October 2015) and you can find them in The Entertainer stores or on their website.

Does your child enjoy the unboxing videos on YouTube? Have you heard of the Tsum Tsum range?

*We were sent the items free of charge in exchange for a review. All thoughts are 100% my own as usual.
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Vicks Sweetdreams cool mist humidifier with projector review *



We were recently sent the Vicks Sweetdreams Cool Mist Humidifier with Projector to review, perfect timing as it happens as little Miss Ava "I don't like wearing coats" has got herself a cough and a snotty nose.

I'm sure that other parents will agree that there is nothing worse than when your child is ill, if Ava has a cough in the night I just cannot settle. In the past she has coughed so much that she's been sick so I am always completely paranoid, therefore when she does have a cough I barely sleep!

So when this arrived on our doorstep I thought that my prayers had been answered, and I wasn't disappointed! The humidifier is designed to temporarily relieve your little one of their coughs and colds and the projector creates a soothing & peaceful atmosphere.



I have to admit that I'm not the best with instructions and upon getting the humidifier out of the box I was slightly apprehensive about even being able to switch it on, but I needn't have worried. The instructions are very clear and comprehensive and I had it up and running in no time.

The humidifier can be used with or without the scented Vicks VapoPads but I found it slightly more effective with one in (there is room for two scented pads), although this is probably due to the fact that the rosemary & lavender scented pad smells gorgeous! The pads also come in menthol and both aromas provide up to eight hours of decongesting vapors. Each humidifier comes with two free VapoPads.



The humidifier can contain up to 3.8 litres of water in it's translucent tank-which is very handy as you can see how much water you have left- and therefore it can be used continually for up to 24 hours! The humidifier is extremely safe as it projects nothing but cool air and is quiet, always a bonus!

It also has a lovely projector which makes it all the more special and a bit brilliant. This can be switched on & off and although she's almost four, Ava loved it. You can choose between stars, safari scenes or the sea. Very cool!



Now on to the clever part, the humidifier can help regulate your household's moisture levels between 40-60% meaning that their is less chance for flu viruses to survive on surfaces or in the air, it also uses ultrasonic technology which enables the humidifier to produce extra fine particles of water which are able to land further down the respiratory tract, which brings that much needed extra relief to your child.

We have been so impressed with the Vicks Sweetdreams Cool Mist Humidifier. It really has stopped me from being so anxious every time that Ava has a cough and has lead us all to have a good night's sleep! It's also very easy to clean and store which saves so much hassle.

You can get the Vicks Sweetdreams Cool Mist Humidifier from Amazon for £54.99

*We were sent the Vicks Sweetdreams Cool Mist Humidifier free of charge for review purposes but as usual thoughts are 100% my own
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Monday, 26 October 2015

A reality check




I am someone who, no matter how hard I try, will always compare myself to others. Be it my blog, my body shape, my mothering skills, even the way my hair looks in a hat. As ridiculous as it is, I just can't seem to help myself.

I know first hand that life isn't all sunshine and rainbows and although I love blogging, I really do, it's ignited this insecure flame in me that was never there before. I just cannot seem to stop comparing myself to others.

Today the Tots100 charts scores were released, usually it's not something that holds much weight with me, I just busy myself with my own thing but this time I was intrigued, having not checked it for a few months. Granted I'd taken a little break with my blogging, but lately I've really been putting the effort in, commenting on other blogs, chatting on Twitter, taking part in linkies. My blog views are up by 1,000 this month alone so I was a little excited to see if anything had changed, but no my score had dropped by 28 bringing me to my lowest ever score of 1,899! How could it be?! I'm not ashamed to say that I was a little gutted, like the wind had been taken out of my sails a little and for the first time in a while I've thought wow, this blogging business is hard! There are so many big players out there how on earth does a little fish like me get noticed. How do I get the opportunities like everyone else, when will I catch a break?

But then I realised that everyone has been where I am at some point or another & everyone has their daily struggles. I may look at their Instagram feeds and their blogs and think that these people have it all but no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors, look at me, I wrote a blog post about how lovely Ava is at the moment and she was a little witch this evening!

I guess I need to give myself a bit of a reality check, good things come to those who wait and it just means that I need to push and work a little harder. I'll carry on doing what I'm doing, because I do love it, I'll keep admiring the big blogging fish and celebrating their successes as usual, I'll just try not to take much notice of my Tots100 score again.
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Friday, 23 October 2015

#HiddenGems of Birmingham*

Although not a #HiddenGem exactly I wanted to share with you somewhere we love to visit when we go to Birmingham, Brindley Place.



Brindley Place is a hub of activity and plays host to a number of well known bars, restaurants & cafés, all at the edge of the canal. It's such a lovely, scenic location. 

We have been to the National Sea Life Centre a couple of times which doesn't have a café but with it's central location in Brindley Place that really isn't a problem, the number of eateries leaves you spoilt for choice!



On our last visit my brother, Ava and I ate at Pitcher & Piano, I've been there before but only for drinks and I was intrigued to see what their menu had to offer. First impressions were very good, the décor was modern and inviting and a quick scour of the menu showed tasty looking meals at good value, including a children's meal for £5 which included a drink.



As it was before 12.00pm their breakfast menu was still on, much to my delight, so I chose their Eggs Benedict with shredded Wiltshire ham, my brother chose the P&P club sandwich and I picked the cheese & Heinz beans on toast for Ava.

My brother being the typical student that he is, wanted a cocktail, at £7.95 I thought these were really reasonably priced, I chose a non-alcoholic cocktail and mine was £3.95, it was delicious.



Our bill came to £29 which considering the quality of the food and the service we received was great value. From a parents point of view I found Pitcher & Piano to be very child-friendly. Their is a wide selection on the children's menu and Ava was given some colouring while we waited for our food.

Overall I was very impressed with Pitcher & Piano and Brindley Place as a whole. Brindley Place is a short walk from the Bullring and I would recommend a visit next time you're in Birmingham, you could always stay over with the huge selection of Travelodge hotels to choose from in Birmingham. You can also see the clever interactive map of Birmingham here.

*Collaboration post


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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

A little Ava update & an interview with a 3 year old

I've realised that it's been a while since I've written a post about Ava, about her as a person as opposed to a day out or an outfit. Slap on the wrist for me!

Ava is now 3 and a half, I still can't quite get my head around the fact that Ava will be 4 in March and subsequently going to school next September, school! Where has the time gone? The new Facebook timehop is killing me softly, popping up memories of my little baby with fluffy, soft hair that stuck on end like a toilet brush.

There is no denying that Ava has her moments, like us all, she has the particular knack of waking super early even when I can tell she is still tired, that does drive me crackers. But on the whole, honestly, she's a joy! I know I'm probably meant to say that she is a little horror but, sorry to sound smug, she isn't. That's not to say that we haven't been through it, we've experienced the terrible two's and the threenager mood swings (and shockingly all lived to tell the tale) but lately she seems a lot more grown up.

I can trust her, as much as you can trust a 3 & a half year old, and know that she's not the type of child to root through my make up bag and smear lipstick over the wall or rip pages out of her books. She always says please & thank you (something that I insist on) and generally does as she's told. I don't think that this is solely a refection of me as mother. I think I do an ok job but won't be winning any prizes for my patience or creative play any time soon. She's surrounded by so much love and I think this has helped hugely in shaping her behaviour and her confidence.

I feel very lucky that Ava is as she is, I know that I've moaned about her in the past, moaned about my parenting skills and how hard it can be but I really do love it. I feel like being a mother is what I was meant to do and having a child as easy as Ava just makes it even better.

I've probably just completely jinxed it now and she's going to turn into a monster!



Here's a little Ava interview update:

1. What is something mummy always says to you? "Don't hit"
2. What makes you happy? "Cuddles!"
3. What makes you sad? "When you're cross"
4. What makes you laugh? "Pulling faces"
5. How old are you? "Three"
6. How old is Mommy? "Four"
7. How old is Daddy? "Six"
8. What is your favorite thing to do? "Play hide & seek"
9. Who is your best friend? "Mummy"
10. What do you want to be when you grow up? "A vet"
11. What are you really good at? "Helping people"
12. What are you not very good at? "Drawing pictures"
13. What is your favorite food? "Weetabix"
14. What is your favorite song? "Lion King- I just can't wait to be king"
15. What do you want for your birthday this year? "Play doh"
16. What is your favorite animal? "Lion King!"
17. What is love? "Cuddle"
18. What does daddy do for work? "The post"
19. Where do you live? "In a house"
20. Where is your favorite place to go? "The library"

What are your little ones favourite things to do at the moment? Have you ever done an interview with your little one? I'd love to see them!
Mummy and Monkeys
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National Sea Life Centre- Octonauts Training Academy*



On Saturday Ava and I were invited to the National Sea Life Centre once again, this time to check out the Octonauts Training Academy which is running from 18th October to 7th November.



This gives your little explorers the chance to discover different areas of the Sea Life Centre whilst helping the Octonauts on their special missions. Ava is a big fan of Cbeebies and is familiar with the characters. It's a great way to explore the Sea Life Centre and as a parent you get to experience it through your children's eyes.

Once you've completed the sticker sheet your child is rewarded with a certificate and a medal, which Ava wore proudly around her neck for the rest of the day.

The day was extra special for us as we got to share the experience with my little brother who is at Birmingham University. Ava was so excited that her Uncle Huw would be there and it was lovely seeing them together.



My brother hasn't been before so it was fun exploring with him. I find marine life so fascinating and there are such weird and wonderful creatures on show.


Ava was trying to rush us through each section to get to the walk way which is her favourite. She loves spotting the sharks and the sea turtles.



We loved the 4d cinema and watched 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, although Ava did jump a little when she was squirted by water!




The National Sea Life Centre is one of our favourite days out, it's a great place to take your children to educate them about life under the sea. For more information about the Octonauts Training Academy you can visit their website.

*We were invited to the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham free of charge but thoughts are 100% my own


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Would I cope with two?





Last Friday night Nath and I had our hands full, our 8 month old nephew Cole came to stay for the first time. I can't deny that I was slightly nervous, Cole has never stayed over before, is currently teething and is a light sleeper. Would he be inconsolable in the night with his teeth? Would he sleep through the night? Would he sleep at all? Would anyone sleep?!

My sister-in-law has always been amazing with Ava, she's one of Ava's favourite people and Nath and I wanted to return the favour with Cole. I guess this was kind of a test run for myself, a faint idea of what life would be like with two children. Like any mother I often doubt my capabilities, I'm not a very patient person and do sometimes let things get on top of me, I struggled with baby blues following Ava's birth and am not someone who copes well with little to no sleep. I do wonder whether having another baby would put added pressure on our family, we're very lucky that Ava is a- most of the time- very well behaved little girl. She sleeps well, generally does as she's told and is polite and kind. What if we have another and it's a monster who doesn't sleep and behaves terribly?! I worry that the dynamics of our happy family would be put into jeopardy.

On the flip side, I'm broody as anything. I crave newborn cuddles and soft babygros. I've had two brothers and growing up we were very close. I want that for Ava. I want someone that she can share memories with, someone to play with, a friend for life. She adores Cole and has always been fantastic with him, I know she'd be a wonderful big sister.

But would I cope? Would I love another as much as I love my little girl?

Despite my worries Friday night went brilliantly. Cole was lovely and he was full of smiles for me in the morning (I'm sure he would have slept past 6am had Ava not woken him up). I think having a trial with two has made my mind up in a way. I knew I always wanted more than one baby but now I'm sure.


Let's Talk Mommy
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Friday, 16 October 2015

Personalised Beauty set in a box review from My 1st Years*




Ava is a typical girly girl. Every time we visit my nan, Ava asks to go into her bedroom and rifles though her makeup bag. Smearing Clarins cream onto her face and using my nan's perfume as if it were an air freshener! Unfortunately for her I'm not as relaxed with my make up bag so when My 1st Years asked if Ava would like to review their Personalised Beauty Set in a Box it couldn't have come at a better time.



To say that Ava was excited is an understatement. She's very much into role-play at the moment and we had to pretend that we were getting ready to go to a party. It's amazing what they conjure up in their little minds.



The play set really is beautiful, it comes in a red carry tin adorned with your child's name and comes complete with a gorgeous set of beauty bits. It includes: a hairbrush, a mirror, a lipstick, a nail varnish, a hair dryer, a bracelet & a pair of scissors, all of which are wooden. They are all incredibly well made and so sweet. My personal favourites were the wooden lipstick and hair dryer, which comes complete with a plug!



This set would make the perfect gift for any little girl, it's so different from anything I have ever seen, And it will also keep them out of your own make up bag, which can't be a bad thing!



The Personalised Beauty Set in a Box retails at £30 and can be found on the My 1st Years website

What do you think of the My 1st Years Beauty Set in a Box? Do you know a little girl who would enjoy it?

*We were sent the Personalised Beauty Set in a Box free of charge in exchange for an honest review. Thoughts are, as ever, 100% my own.
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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Children's bedroom ideas*

After moving into our own home in May one of my first priorities was Ava's bedroom. She picked the colour herself-lilac- and the décor is very much a girly one, adorned with white furniture and bunting (room tour coming soon).

Ava's recently moved from a cot bed to a 3/4 bed which was given to us by my dad as it had never been used. She is sleeping so much better but the bed does take up a lot of space in her room. I see it as a temporary measure as I'm still on the hunt for the perfect bed, once our budget allows. I've been looking at the children's beds from Room to Grow as they have such an amazing, varied selection.



I love the Solitaire midsleeper with the pull out desk and chest, it would be perfect from when she starts school and the extra storage would be ideal. Not to mention that it would colour coordinate well into her white furnished room and give us the all important extra space.

They do some brilliantly fun, themed beds too this Wild West teepee bed is amazing and I love the London bus bunk bed.


I think it's so important to create a fun atmosphere in your child's room. A haven where they can play, relax, study and of course- sleep!

I can't wait to put my ideas for Ava's room into action.

*Post in association with Room to Grow- I was compensated for this post but thoughts are 100% my own
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Monday, 12 October 2015

Ella's Kitchen Kids' Snacks review*



Ava and I have always been huge fans of Ella's Kitchen so when we were offered the chance to review their new range aimed at 3-5 year olds we couldn't wait to give them a go.





The new range comprises of the Smooshy Snacks, whose packaging reminds me of the original Ella's Kitchen pouches and the Fruity bars.

The Smooshy snacks are smoothies which come in 4 different flavour combos, strawberry & beetroot, apple & cucumber, mango & pumpkin and orange & carrot. Honestly, Ava wasn't too keen on these at first, she decided that she didn't like the orange & carrot or the strawberry & beetroot (it's worth noting that she has been super fussy since our holiday), however after trying the apple & cucumber she decided that she did like them after all. Especially the mango & pumpkin which she said was her favourite. Win!




The fruity bars remind me of the Nakd bars that I love so much, smooshed up fruit with rice krispies and oats. What's not to love? Especially with delicious fruit combos like coconut & pineapple, mango & raspberry and banana & raisin. Ava surprised me with these, I was all set to nab them for myself  but she loved them (gutted)! I concur that they are bloomimg lovely, coconut & pineapple being my favourite.



These are brilliant as an after-school snack or something to take out with you, they are organic,low in sugar and one of your little ones 5 a day. I love the colourful, fun packaging and the pop out superhero masks are brilliant.



The new Ella's Kitchen Kids' Snacks can be found in Sainsburys and retail at £3.49 for 4 Smooshy Snacks and £2.50 for 5 fruity bars.

*We were sent these items free of charge in exchange for an honest review. As usual, thoughts are 100% my own.
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Thursday, 8 October 2015

Frozen Banana Ghost lollies recipe

Now I think calling this a "recipe" is a bit of a stretch as you only need 3 "ingredients" and some lolly sticks (which I picked up in Wilkos for £1), I think it's fair to say that this is more of a craft activity.



Anyway, the Frozen, banana ghost lollies are super easy & fun to make, perfect for toddlers. And there's relatively no mess either! Not to mention they're an ideal snack if you're having a Halloween get together.



This recipe makes 4 lollies.

You will need:
2 bananas
100g white, baking chocolate
raisins to decorate
lolly sticks

Method:

-Start by melting your chocolate, the microwave is quickest.Use short blasts and stir inbetween, set aside for later

-Peel your bananas and cut in half

-Insert the lolly sticks into the bottom of each cut banana

- Grab a pastry brush, dunk into the melted chocolate and paint on to your bananas



-Give your ghosts eyes and a mouth using the raisins

Place your lollies onto a baking try and freeze for 4 hours and you're done.

The simplest craft I have ever done. Ava loved painting the bananas with chocolate, they taste good too!




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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Ava wears- Pink & leopard print

I haven't done an "Ava wears" post for a while so I thought it was about time I did one.

During our trip to Powis Castle last week I managed to snap a few photos. Although I love putting Ava in a dress she can usually be found in leggings, a cosy jumper and some pumps, just like her mama!








I love Ava's soft, pink jumper, I always think that pink suits her so much. This jumper is from Zara. Her leggings are just standard black, Primark leggings and cost £2.50 for 2 pairs! Bargain.

My favourite part of the outfit are the Gap pumps, I've actually been looking for a pair for myself! I think they really jazz up her outfit.

What do you think of Ava's outfit?
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Monday, 5 October 2015

Braun ThermoScan, ear thermometer review*

Although we are currently experiencing a glorious Indian Summer, flu season is just around the corner so there couldn't be a better time for me to share my thoughts on the new Braun ThermoScan ear thermometer.



Braun claim to be the number 1 brand among doctors and I can see why. The new ThermoScan thermometer is Braun's most accurate yet. Not only does it have a unique pre-warmed tip which ensure a precise reading it also has an Age Precision colour-coded display. You simply select the appropriate age setting, take your child's temperature and the thermometer will glow red, yellow or green to give you a better understanding of your child's temperature. For a novice like me it's great as I wouldn't have the slightest idea what temperature to expect from Ava.



It also features a unique positioning system which beeps and lights up once you've inserted the thermometer correctly, a night light feature which enables you to take a temperature even in the dark, 21 disposable lens filters and it stores the last 9 temperatures which is ideal if you've been taking your child's temperature all day.



Honestly I'm not one for gadgets, the last thermometer I had, and have since lost,was a bog standard "pop under the arm" model. I love how easy to use this one is. It comes with a quick start guide and is fitted with batteries so it is ready to use as soon as you open it. The simplicity of it is perfect for me as I hate reading instructions, especially long-winded, complicated ones.



When Ava was a newborn I was always so paranoid about her being ill and not knowing whether she had a fever or not, so this is brilliant for putting my mind at rest.



As you can see I've luckily got a very well little girl on my hands at the moment but I'll feel a lot more confident next time that she is ill knowing that I have the ThermoScan as a back up.


The Braun ThermoScan ear thermometer retails at £49.99*, it's now going to be an essential part of my mummy medical kit. You can find it here: http://www.brauntherms.com/our-products/thermoscan-7/

*I was sent the Braun ThermoScan ear thermometer free of charge in return for an honest review. As usual thoughts are 100% my own

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