Aping Around and Other Stories!

Aping Around and Other Stories!

March 8th, 8:13
http://adserver.adtech.de/?adlink|3.0|311|1072359|1|16|AdId%3D6699352;BnId%3D1;link%3Dhttp://www.askamum.co.uk(They love my blog, ooo-errr how exciting!) 

We’ve had a bit of a blurred week really. Nothing much has happened and I seem to have spent the entire time organising the weekend for Florence… I’ve been invited to come to a retreat on the Isle of Wight to review their ‘baby moon’ package – I know, lucky me! We could take Florence with us but we decided that because she’s already done one night with her Gram and with the birth of her brother or sister looming when I may have to be in hospital, who knows, it might be an idea to leave her. It does obviously also mean that Jonny and I get to have some time away together on our own which will be lovely too. So, in typical non straight forward style from me I have organised for my Mum to come to London and pick her up, take her back to Norwich where she will stay for one night, then she’ll go to Jonny’s parents for the second night and back to my Mum for the third before my Mum brings her back on the train on Monday… I guess it would have been easier for my Mum to come stay at ours and then I wouldn’t have had to make arrangements for the cat as well but I don’t ever seem to choose the easiest option and have a friend coming round daily to feed the little fella! I’ve been preparing her by talking about going away to Gram’s and Granny and Papa’s without Mummy and Daddy and I think she does understand because when we went to see my Dad this weekend just gone she said ‘Am I going to see Granddad on my own or are you coming Mummy?’ I hope so anyway and I hope she doesn’t get too upset… Three nights is a long time really! (I hope I don’t get too upset either!) I guess we’re doing it for all the reasons I said above but also because it’s bound to be at least another 2 years before I feel able to go away child free again! I know she’ll have a whale of a time too! Grandparents just spoil her rotten so why wouldn’t she! She had a great time visiting my dad and her Aunty Phoebe and we saw the most amazing rainbow which she thought was absolutely fantastic! I tried to get a picture but it really doesn’t do it justice!

Florence with my Dad and my sister Phoebe.

Despite the rain, sunshine and cold not being able to decide who will win we’ve been really enjoying being outdoors more again recently. I’d got really bored of the constant bad weather as I do love to be doing outdoor activities, drinking up the fresh air and feeling fit so I’d been investigating new things to do this year when I came across something really fab called ‘Go Ape’. ‘Go Ape’ is a forest tree top adventure (exactly as it sounds believe me) and they have bases all over the UK. The premise is that you turn up to a forest and ‘Go Ape’ near you, strap on your safety gear and harnesses, have a fully comprehensive safety guide and training session then spend 3 hours swinging through tree tops! It’s totally something that would be up my street and ordinarily I’d be the first one onto the zip wire but being nearly 7 months pregnant I thought it probably best to take Jonny, my sister and my brother in law while I watched and took notes. Unfortunately Phoebe, my 11 year old sister, was poorly on the day and couldn’t make it. She was really upset as it’s been something she’s had her eye on doing for quite some time and lots of her friends had been and recommended it to her. So, off us adults went to Thetford forest (our venue choice) and Jonny and my brother in law got fully stuck in! They were in a group mixed with women and men of all different ages and a couple of children too (Over 10s can do it if they are over 1.4m tall and accompanied by an adult).

Getting prepared.

I listened in to the safety instructions and it was good to hear the guides taking things so seriously and covering everything comprehensibly. They didn’t leave any stones unturned and were really encouraging and helpful as well as letting everyone know that they would be on hand throughout the course (which they were) to help with anything along the way. Then the course and the fun began. Florence, my sister in law, nephew and I followed for a little way and watched them complete the beginning of the course where it was really fun to see them leaping through trees on zip wires and into nets which they then had to climb in order to move onto the next part of the course. It did all look quite physically challenging and in my pregnant state there’d have been no way I could have managed it but it was great to see that it wasn’t all super fit types doing it either! The boys said afterwards that some people were really quick and some a bit slower but that morale was really great and no one minded waiting for others, they all helped each other out and the guides were there every step of the way, as promised, too. Apparently at one point one of the girls got into a bit of difficulty but was encouraged and managed to finish the part of the course she had got stuck on. My brother in law climbs regularly but Jonny has never done anything like it before and he had a brilliant time and was more than capable of the challenges. They said that as long as you’re fit enough to climb the rope ladders then you’ll be fine and they had great fun! We went to meet them at the end of the course and watched their beaming faces as they zipped along the final wire. (The wires were the best bit according to my husband). Just take a look at their faces!

In the forest

The finishing line!

So, although children are welcome, I think we can firmly say after our experience that this is also one for the Dads too! Our boys came away exhilarated and I was just a little bit jealous to be honest (even though I’d had a lovely time in the forest) so I think we’ll have to go back! But what is there to do if you’re under ten or just don’t fancy swinging through the trees but still want the forest experience? Well, more than you’d think actually. Apart from the 2 – 3 hour tree top adventure as reviewed, Swinley Forest and Bracknell offer a ‘Tree Top Juniors’ experience for the over 4s and the sites also offer a Segway Experience and Biking. At the site we visited (Thetford) there was a fantastic little play ground built on sand for tiny ones and Florence and my nephew had a fabulous time climbing, building and swinging there! We loved it and it can easily be made into a day for the whole family from Grandparents to babies! On a sunny day why not take a picnic; you couldn’t want for a better setting than under trees with sunshine dappling through the leaves!

My nephew and Florence on the swing just before she screamed to get off – always hated swings!

That’s better, back on the ground on the ‘slug’ as she named him!

Lovely little house in the play ground!

Go Ape’ is based at different sites all over the UK. The Treetop Forest Adventure is priced at £30 for ‘Gorillas’ (18+) and £20 for ‘Baboons’ (10 – 17) For more information on this, the Segway Experience, Biking, Treetop Junior and all things ‘Go Ape’ please see their website www.goape.co.uk. They also offer corporate events and stag and hen parties. Call 0845 643 9314 to book.


This is the last week you can enter my fantastic competition for one family to WIN themselves a ticket to the CBeebies Live! Reach for the Stars tour! If you would like to be in with a chance of being the lucky kin then don’t delay, get entering today! (and if you’re not lucky this time, don’t worry because there’s still time to book your tickets to see the show – details of how under the competition!)

Win Family Fun at CBeebies Live! this Easter

CBeebies fans will not want to miss this! We’ve got 1 family ticket for you to see CBeebies Live! brand new arena spectacular, Reach to the Stars, at Wembley Arena, London on Sunday 1 April at 11 am! A family ticket is for 4 people, minimum 1 adult.

A host of the biggest stars from Britain’s most popular children’s channel CBeebies are coming out to play in this new arena tour. Robbie Rotten is determined to show that he is the biggest star on CBeebies! His dastardly plan involves the capture of the other CBeebies characters and it’s up to the audience to work with PC Plum and the rest of the Stars of CBeebies to find out what has happened and set them free.

Mike the Knight, Justin Fletcher MBE, Phil Gallagher, Mister Maker, Postman Pat with Jess the Cat and the ZingZillas will be joined by CBeebies presenters Andy Day, Katy Ashworth and Andrew Agnew in this all-action show that will tour nine cities around the UK in Easter 2012. Combining big screen video footage and live performance, a host of CBeebies favourites including Mr Tumble, Squiglet and the stars of LazyTown will join in the fun, interacting with the audience for an incredible live experience.

CBeebies Live! is at Wembley Arena, London on Sat 31 March to Sun 1 April, 5 performances only. For further information please go to www.cbeebieslive.com No cash alternatives, accommodation or travel are provided in this competition. The tickets are non-transferable.

Q:        Who plans to capture the CBeebies Live! characters?

To enter just send you answer, name and address to [email protected] with ‘CBeebies’ in the subject line by midnight on March 14th. Entries will be put into a hat and drawn at random on 15th March.

And as I said above there’s still plenty of time to buy your tickets for the CBeebies Live! Reach to the Stars tour and ensure that you don’t miss out on the extravaganza! Tickets are now on sale (for more information about the show visit the website www.CBeebiesLive.com) With Children’s tickets from £12.50 and family tickets (for 4 people) from £50 (subject to booking fee) it’s a really affordable treat for the whole family!

And us ‘CBeebies’ fans are in for another treat because not only is there the ensemble show but guess who will be back on the stage for another fantastic year! Take a look below and be the first to get your tickets now!





Staged event of the award-winning CBeebies children’s TV show


Top-selling children’s show announces new 2012 tour

24 May – 22 July & 18 August – 23 September


Tickets on sale Friday 9 March

BOX OFFICE: 0333 300 0023




Top-selling children’s show, IN THE NIGHT GARDEN LIVE, is back by popular demand with a new 2012 tour. The smash-hit show brings the world of In the Night Garden to the stage with children able to see their favourite CBeebies’ stars Iggelpiggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka and friends up close.


Already over 250,000 people have enjoyed the hugely popular show since it launched in 2010. Producer Andrew Collier commented: “In the Night Garden Live is now firmly established as a great summer family day out. We’re delighted to be touring this summer giving even more children the chance to meet their favourite characters.”


IN THE NIGHT GARDEN LIVE takes place in its own all-weather, purpose-built inflatable showdome with many family-friendly facilities. This site-specific structure proved to be a huge hit with children and parents on its previous tours and will be travelling to the 02; Richmond Park; Brent Cross; Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Canon Hill Park in Birmingham this summer.


On stage are full-sized costumes, enchanting music, magical puppets and spectacular panoramic projections, creating an immersive theatrical experience to make audiences feel they are actually entering the magical world of the TV show In the Night Garden.


IN THE NIGHT GARDEN LIVE is written by celebrated creator and composer of In the Night Garden, Andrew Davenport and directed by acclaimed choreographer and director, Will Tuckett.


This spectacular musical theatre experience for the whole family is produced by Minor Entertainment under licence from Ragdoll Worldwide. The 2012 tour dates are 24 May to 22 July and 18 August to 23 September. Tickets go on sale on Friday 9 March.

We can’t wait to go and see CBeebies Live, what a treat for Florence and her friend Loulou who will be joining us. My best friend is Loulou’s Mum so it’ll be a treat for me too as I don’t often get to see her and I know the girls will absolutely love it! Speaking of treats we are trying to get Florence to sleep in her own bed all night and use the ‘big girl’s toilet’ more; treats seem to be the way forward for both. I have to say she’s doing brilliantly well at the sleeping and we’ve now had two nights where she’s gone right through on her own without waking up at all! Usually she wakes and comes into us between 2 and 4 but I can live with that as it’s such an improvement on just a few weeks ago when she’d only ever slept in our bed! The toilet training is a little harder it seems. Sometimes she remembers to tell me and sometimes she doesn’t, we are trying to encourage her but don’t want to force the issue. Day times are better than night obviously but we still haven’t managed to go nappy free yet. She’s very interested in wearing pants so we are trying her with pull ups from time to time. She feels more grown up in them and I think it encourages her to ask to go to the toilet. The only thing is that they are not as well gripped as a normal nappy and leakages do happen which is especially bad news at night. We have, in light of this new step we are preparing to take, been trying out a new waterproof bed sheet, but it’s no ordinary bed sheet that’s for sure!

We have been trialling the ‘B.Sensible’ water resistant fitted child’s sheet for a cot/toddler bed and I can report that so far so good! It’s really been good and I can see it being even better in the future when we finally manage to start nights without any other form of protection. So what is it and why is it so different from other sheets? Well, they say their revolutionary bedding provides solutions to many sleeping issues such as leaking nappies & bed wetting and that the waterproof breathable sheets not only protect your mattress but care for your child’s skin. We found that there’s simply no need to have a plastic undersheet for the waterproofing is built into the actual sheet which makes it comfortable for a start! There’s nothing like a rustling of plastic underneath you for disrupting sleep and with this sheet it completely eliminates that aspect. The top side which touches the little ones’ skin is soft and feels like any other ordinary but decent quality sheet and the underside has a waterproof lining but it doesn’t crinkle and crackle and you wouldn’t know it was there unless you looked. The material is not only breathable but also heat regulating and I do think this is superb for little ones, especially those who are not yet old enough to tell you how they are feeling. We’ve had a few leakages and it’s not gone through to the mattress at all, yet it’s not stayed super wet on top meaning it’s truly comfortable for Florence. It really is a great idea and were it not so expensive we’d be in the market for buying another one. It’s not that we don’t think it’s worth the money exactly it’s just that we really couldn’t afford to outlay the sort of money it costs for one sheet so unfortunately we will just be doing a bit more washing than we would if we could justify spending the money on another ‘B.Sensible’ sheet. It’s a shame because if it was just a little less expensive it’d be the perfect product!

100% natural Tencel thermo-regulating fabric

The latest-generation breathable membrane naturally that is virtually undetectable.

Dermofresh waterproofing system

Naturally provides a barrier against bacteria and mites

Hypoallergenic clinically proven to be suitable for those with sensitive skin, eczema, asthma & rhinitis.

Totally eco-friendly manufacturing process.

B.Sensible’ for babies range comes in Moses: 80×50, Cot: 60×120, Cot Bed: 70×140, and Single Sheet 2’6, 3’0, 3’6 24 and is made in many colours including White, Sky Blue, Pink, Lemon, Arran. The sheet we tested is the ‘water resistant fitted child’s sheet for a cot/toddler bed 70 x 140, RRP £23.50. For more information see www.bsensible.net.


I’m honestly feeling great this week. Not many aches and pains, I seem to have slowed down after the last growth spurt and am now used to the extra bumpage and getting around easily. I feel like I’ve got loads more energy too so I’m certain the Iron and Vitamin D tablets are doing their job. Much as I’m going to miss Florence (and I am believe me), I’m super excited about visiting the Isle of Wight retreat at the weekend and not only having a rest and indulgence on the ‘baby moon’ side of things but taking in all the information at the antenatal classes which are running. I haven’t been offered anything on the NHS this time round and last time my classes were utter rubbish with only one good thing coming out of them and that’s my friendship with another Mum. I’m not saying all NHS classes are awful because I helped my midwife out with some she was taking after I had had Florence and they were much better than the ones I had, I guess it’s down to who you get taking them but mine were just not any good at all. Hopefully this time I’ll be able to learn a bit more about how to cope and what to do cause I really went in blind last time and although I was lucky and had a good birth it could have been handy to have been equipped with more knowledge.

I’ve been wearing less bulky items as the weather hots up and although it’s not yet hot enough to wear summer things (good job as I don’t have any that will fit – my shopping was not entirely successful it has to be said) it’s definitely been nice enough to wear lighter weight clothes. My ‘Pregnancy Product of the Week’ therefore has to be my Blue Print Jersey Tunic from ‘Crave Maternity’. I love it because it’s empire line works well over tights, jeans or leggings making it wearable in different weather conditions and even though it’s jersey material it doesn’t cling in all the wrong places! It’s super flattering and if I’m honest my friends are probably sick of seeing me in it and think I haven’t got any other clothes… It’s just so comfy and looks great with everything though so I kind of can’t help myself! I’ve washed it loads and it comes up looking great, definitely one I’ll be able to keep for another pregnancy but then that’s true of all my ‘Crave Maternity’ clothes. Last time I had a number of items from other retailers which just wore really badly and what a waste of money when you can’t save it for the next pregnancy! This one’s a real winner!

Blue Print Jersey Tunic by ‘Crave Maternity’ is made of 95% Viscose and 5% Elastane, is machine washable and comes in UK sizes 8 – 20. RRP £60 (currently on offer at £45 do hurry)! For more information on this and all their products including their super brilliant rental collection please see their website www.cravematernity.co.uk. They currently have an offer of 15% off when you spend £60 or more during March using the code MARCH15P.

As I said last week, I’m on the home stretch now and it’s time to do all my last minute preparations before the baby comes. Last time I was completely organised but didn’t have a baby shower and since, having been to other people’s, it’s made me really think about having one this time instead! It’s not for gifts or anything mercenary like that, I just think it’d be nice to have some time with my friends before I won’t be able to meet easily with them for  a couple of months again! I don’t think I really appreciated how little free time I would have once the baby came when I had Florence but this time I know only too well that I will be a milk machine for months and I think it’d be great to have a get together before all that starts. Of course I haven’t got any time or energy to start organising parties and haven’t got any money to pay anyone else to do it for me… Or so I thought! I heard about these guys who do bespoke ‘Baby Showers’; all the organising is taken care of at a very reasonable price indeed! They come to you or a venue of your choice, bring everything with them and all you have to do is enjoy the time with your pals! Sounds great doesn’t it… Take a look:

Your perfect baby shower

Introducing Before Baby:

Experts in baby shower planning and hosting

Before Baby is the expert in helping mums-to-be to create their most cherished memories at exclusive and exceptional baby showers, planned and hosted by specialist baby-loving consultants.  Starting at just £14.99 per person, the fun, indulgent and elegant, baby showers from Before Baby have become a celebrity favourite, and offer yummy mummies the choice between seven luxurious packages that are sure to cater to all needs. Most recently enjoyed by Michelle Heaton before the arrival of baby Faith, the packages available include:

Spa Shower

Girls Playground

Midsummer Tea

Pretty in Pink

Little Boy Blue

Midweek Mini

All Before Baby packages give an intimate and lavish way of celebrating a new arrival and provide experiences that are as unique and special as mum-to-be. All include a choice of traditional and novel baby shower games, prizes and gift favours, delicious food and drink, music and decorations along with invitations and a gift registry service, all delivered in the location of your choice. Whether you wish to stay within the intimacy of your own home or celebrate in another venue of your choice, Before Baby have the unrivalled experience to plan your special day so it is more perfect than you could ever have imagined. 

What’s more, Before Baby have an online mother and baby Boutique offering a range of beautiful gifts and essentials for baby and mum-to-be including gift sets, maternity wear, toys and comforters, sleepwear and bedding, skincare and a selection of organic and fair-trade products.  The innovative and best selling own brand range comprises natural skincare, formulated with mum in mind and a selection of organic and fair-trade products.   The Boutique offers stress and hassle free shopping for all as well as providing guests with perfect gift ideas to shower mum-to-be with!

Founder of Before Baby and mum of one Chrystal De’Gale set up the company while she was on maternity leave and now runs the business full-time, providing the very best baby showers to mums-to-be all in London and the South East of the UK.

Before Baby is a firm favourite with celebrities including singer Michelle Heaton who held a ‘Pretty in Pink’ baby shower to celebrate with her friends and family. Michelle emailed about her special day with Before Baby; ‘I wanted to thank you all personally for the most amazing evening. You threw me the most beautiful, fun and pink – lol – baby shower ever.  All of my friends and family had the best time. You were professional, sensitive to me and my guests needs and privacy, fun and creative with the party games, and I have to say the cupcakes were the best cupcakes I have ever tasted…more please!’

So whether it’s a day of perfect pampering or a traditional afternoon tea, our exclusive baby shower packages promise mum-to-be and her guests a day of cherished memories, helping celebrate your special new arrival in style!

Beautiful baby showers from Before Baby are start from £14.99.  For more information and booking details, see www.beforebaby.co.uk.

Definitely something to think about and hopefully I’ll have one myself and then I can let you all know how it went! So until next week when I should be pampered and rested and… Eeeeek, 33 weeks pregnant (how’d that happen)?!

(All opinions and words, apart from those in green, are my own. I have not been paid for this article although I did receive some products to keep after I had reviewed them.)