Ode to CBeebies!
- April 1st, 9:37
The sun has been out in London which makes everything feel better I always think. It brightens up the light but it also brightens everyone’s mood; I just love a bit of summery weather! My friends and I have been taking the little ones out to the park more, having picnics and generally just enjoying being outside. I’m so very lucky with the Mummy friends I have met while living in London. We call ourselves the Mummies of the Stone (Leytonstone) and I’ve honestly met such a great group of women, I’m so grateful for their friendship! I’ve spoken before about the cliques and Mumzillas I’ve come across! My area, like every area I’m sure, is littered with unpleasant Mummies, where there’s women there’ll be bitchiness, also Mummies who just want to boss you around and give you their boring parenting opinions all day long be it on breast feeding, how to discipline children or whatever else they think they’re best at but I have managed to find the most gorgeous group of women I could have hoped for. I knew no one in my locality when I had Florence but met them all at SureStart groups and we forged good friendships that I would be lost without. It’s lovely that most of us have had, or in my case, are about to have our second babies now and those of us who were back at work are once again out and about daily. Summer is on its way so let the picnics and coffees commence! Thank you to my lovely Mummy friends for being there, I can’t wait to spend another beautiful Leytonstone summer in your company!
Summer has already started! This week we enjoyed a picnic and play at Victoria Park in East London which has the most amazing children’s area!
We also were very spoilt this week and got invited to come and see the CBeebies Live! Reach to the Stars tour which we enjoyed so much! I have literally nothing bad I could say about the show itself, the venue was brilliant, there was no hard sell on merchandise and it was filled to the brim with smiling happy faces! I’ve written a poem about our visit to the tour, hope you enjoy it:
We came and we saw the most wonderful show, with Mike the Knight, Maker and Katy you know!
The CBeebies stars were out in force, there was Andy, Postman Pat and Jess of course!
Let’s not forget PC Plumb, Squiglet and the rest! Our favourites were ZingZilla’s, definitely the BEST!
Or am I forgetting a certain someone? Someone with many faces? Someone who’s fun?
Oh how could I, how could I?! He MADE the show?! Oh Justin, Oh Mr Tumble, we love you oh so!
But what did we do when Robbie Rotten ran out! That rascal, that fiend! We booed! ‘STOP’! We did shout!
He captured all our friends and took them away, we felt sad but we knew it would come good anyway!
One by one they were taken and along the way, we saw sea creatures, horses, farms, HOORAY!
The costumes were fantastic, the elephant was amazing! We loved the sea anemone and the star fish was crazy!
The lighting, the sound, the songs and the dancing! The clapping, the bubbles, the stamping and laughing!
In the end all the stars were freed and united and Rotten was sorry, his wrongs he righted!
We cheered and we clapped, it was quite a parade, the audience left with memories that won’t fade!
We only wish we could go again! CBeebies Live! Our day you have made!
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, its tour dates and venues please 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!
Going to the theatre is a great thing for us to do right now because when the new baby is born who knows when the next opportunity will be? I hope I’m at ease enough to still keep out and about just as much but the theatre might be a challenge with a new born, we’ll see! Obviously we’ve been preparing for the new arrival to our family and we may not have started buying baby clothes or getting the car seat cleaned just yet but we have been on the ball when it comes to preparing Florence with at least the practical side of things; being out and about is very important to us so travelling and our modes of transport has been of great concern to me. You all know how much I love my ‘Bugaboo’ so you’ll understand that I just can’t imagine saying goodbye to my little khaki ‘Bugaboo Bee’! I know it must sound like I’m sponsored by ‘Bugaboo’ but I do just genuinely love them and can’t sing their praises enough. My ‘Bugaboo Bee’ pushes so easily and is an absolute godsend in London, it’s nippy and small and perfect for my lifestyle. I’m really looking forward to trying out the ‘Bugaboo Donkey’ as I hear it that just because it’s a double it doesn’t compromise on any of the ‘Bugaboo’ plus points like the way it pushes or fitting through doorways but for now I’ve been trying out the ‘Buggy Board’ (which is compatible with the whole ‘Bugaboo’ range) on my Bee!
I was interested to see how Florence would cope on a buggy board and suspected it might be a bit of a disaster. I thought it might get in the way of me walking and envisaged her hopping off it and running off at every opportunity but I have instead been pleasantly surprised with how well it works for us. Firstly it’s extremely easy to attach to the buggy. It comes with adapters, just like the other accessories, to fit the style of ‘Bugaboo’ you have and is so easy to fit even I managed it. I left it in the box for a couple of weeks waiting for Jonny to get round to doing it, got tired of waiting and decided to do it myself! I thought I’d probably botch it up but there’s no way you could, it’s very, very easy thankfully! Secondly we tried it out to see how well Florence took to it and I have to say from the very first time she hopped on, she loved it! The board literally took no time to get used to at all, she just loved it! I’ve got my buggy facing forward at the moment meaning there’s less room at the back and thought it might be uncomfortable until the baby is born and I have the seat facing me but there’s actually plenty of room and having the hood at the back provided her with a little head rest when she was feeling a bit tired. She did actually fall asleep standing up the very first time my Mum and I went out to try the board, that’s how comfortable she was! She was so sweet! I intend to take a sling with me for her and one for the baby so that I can chop and change who I carry, when Florence is on the board and who goes in the buggy; should mean if Florence does want a nap she can do it without having to stand up poor thing!
So ever since that day all she wants to do is be on the board and it’s a bit of a job to convince her to actually sit in the seat truth be told! Like I said though I do want to chop and change with slings and the board as sometimes it’ll be better I think to be able to do that. In this case what happens to the board I hear you thinking? Well, rather niftily, it folds upwards and rests against the back of the seat with the pull of a cord. If then you find that the wheel sticks out too far to accommodate your bag which might be hanging over the handle bar, you’ll find it easily pushes on and off with the touch of a button and stores neatly in the under buggy basket. It really couldn’t be easier. I actually don’t bother taking the wheel off now as you just kind of get used to it and walking behind the buggy a tiny bit further out in general. Of course when the board is down and in use with a child on it you walk a little further out than you would otherwise but being totally truthful I haven’t noticed this fact making the difference I thought it might. I’d suspected it would be harder if you weren’t very tall like me but it didn’t make a difference. I’d also thought I’d no longer be able to have my bag over the handlebars or carry shopping on the clip I have for that purpose but again I was surprised. It really just adapts and so do you, buggy board goes down, bag goes on, child hops up and holds the sides of the handlebars and shopping can sit behind them hanging on a clip. Perfecto! Occasionally I walk a tiny bit to the side, to negotiate round things etc, and have to push one handed. This would be a problem with a buggy which pushed less well but as I’ve said before, you could push any ‘Bugaboo’ with one finger, even spin it round, so it’s not a problem at all! The other great plus point is that it gives Florence a sense of freedom without meaning she wants to walk all the time which can slow me down if I’m in a hurry. She’s at the age where she doesn’t want to be stuffed in her buggy seat all the time and wants to walk but this isn’t always ideal. Having the buggy board option is a really great compromise for her and she doesn’t even realise that it is one! I started off by attaching her to the buggy frame with her reins but actually she doesn’t try and get off the board so I tend not to do that unless we’re on a busy road or something now. Yet another great product from ‘Bugaboo’, one I wouldn’t want to be without and until I can try out the double, a very easy way of not having to compromise! Love it!
For more information on the wheeled board and other ‘Bugaboo’ products please see their website www.bugaboo.com. Bugaboo is sold at many stockists in the UK including ‘John Lewis’ (www.johnlewis.com) where it is priced at £59.95. The board will support a standing child up to 18kg (40lbs) and is Compatible with the Chameleon, Bee, Frog, Gecko and Donkey.‘When you choose a ‘Bugaboo’ product to help you on your way, something else good happens as well – as ‘Bugaboo’ contributes 1 % of its total revenue to The Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. This means more women and children living with HIV in Africa will get the medicine they need to lead a more normal, active and hopeful life.’
Florence enjoying her first ride on the board with my Mum who is 5ft 2 in the driving seat!
The wheeled board by ‘Bugaboo’.
EXCITING SUMMER ACCESSORIES OUT NOW FOR BUGABOO LOVERS
For those of you lucky ones with a baby in a Bugaboo this summer it’s worth noting that they have just released this years special summer accessories! What have they got?
BREEZY SUN CANOPY AND SUNSHADE – For extra ventilation on those summer days try the sunshade which not only does a brilliant job of protecting your little one by reflecting the sun with it’s silver fabric and providing an SPF 50+ but it looks totally fashion forward and stylish too (What else would you expect from Bugaboo)!
BUGABOO PARASOL – A friend of mine from Brazil says that you can’t go anywhere without seeing colourful Bugaboo parasols adorning Bugaboos all over Brasilia! Urrr, hello, London is just as cool as any place with beaches, sunshine and carnival?! Make sure you don’t go out this summer without accessorising your Bugaboo (whichever model) with a gorgeous coloured parasol which will provide your baby with shade and an SPF 50+!
SEAT LINER – Where would we be in the winter without our Bugaboo foot muffs? Well don’t worry because they have something just as fantastico for the summer! The seat liner is there to keep baby cool, wick away moisture and provide extra comfort! Also looks pretty swish! Made with bamboo charcoal twill fabric it’s super soft and the blue for summer is extra vibrant and eye catching!
ORGANIZER – Compatible with all Bugaboo models who’d be without it this summer?! Water repellent and made with super strong canvas this is a bag Daddy won’t mind being seen out with! Big enough to store everything you need but compact enough to not notice the extra baggage! Just superb!
For more information on any of the summer accessories which can be tailored to whichever model of Bugaboo you own please see www.bugaboo.com.
Easter is nearly here!
We’re really big on Easter in our house, any excuse to have a bit of a celebration and one which includes chocolate is always more welcome than any other! So what will be doing to celebrate? Well, we’ll be having an Easter Egg hunt in my Mum’s garden with some friends as last year it went down so well! Looking back at this picture I can see how much Florence has grown in a year, you don’t notice it until you look back. She had such a lovely time and I can’t wait to do another hunt!
Last year we had lots of chocolate and it all proved a bit too much really! This year we’re going to be collecting just a select few things and perhaps doing a bit of craft stuff too! We’ve been lucky enough to try out this super range from Nestle and being the stickler for thoroughness that I am, I have been dedicatedly trying them all out just to make sure they’re all good enough! I’m so good aren’t I! It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it! My nephew is going to be getting the Milkybar Barn with the gorgeous cow who comes with it and for Florence I think the Smarites Hen House will be perfect! She loves Smarties and will be thrilled! Then we’ll be searching for Smarties Chicks (which have mini Smarties inside) and Aero Lambs which are deliciously minty, to put in our Easter Baskets with everyone getting either a Milky Bar Cow or a Smarties Chicken at the end of the hunt! Lovely
Nestle Smarties Chick (65p) Nestle Aero Lamb (65p) Nestle Milkybar Barn (£4.99)
Nestle Milkybar Hollow Cow (£2.03) Nestle Smarties Hen House (£4.99)
Nestle Smarties Chicken (£2.55)
We’ll also be decorating our own eggs from Asda to give to Daddy and Gram! We haven’t done them yet but we’re super excited about it and they smell and look delicious! You get a solid milk chocolate shape which is HUGE, some white icing and chocolate decorations with hundreds and thousands! It’s part of Asda’s Chosen By You Range so I knew they’d be fantastic before they arrived as they come with such a great recommendation and naturally they were right! What a fun treat for Florence, the only hard part will be trying to make sure she doesn’t eat them as she’s going along so that we do actually have something to give to Daddy and Gram!
Decorate Your Own Egg is £3.00 at Asda
If the chocolate doesn’t make it we will at least be able to give them the cards we will be making! Florence absolutely loves decorating cards with stickers and embellishments so this pack from Asda is absolutely perfect! It comes with cute sheep and eggs as well as other little bits like feathers to stick onto pre folded cards! Minimal mess, maximum effect and Florence will be just as thrilled with her crafty work as her Grandparents will be when they receive her home made cards to wish them a Happy Easter!
Make Your Own Easter Cards are £2.00 at Asda
And now to the part when I myself will have to become a bit crafty so fingers crossed I won’t make an absolute hash of it! Pictures of all of the above to come in a future post but I suspect the pictures of this next item (once I’ve been let loose on it of course) may prove the funniest! Florence loves dressing up, maybe cause she’s a girl or perhaps it’s her age, I don’t know but she loves nothing more than a sparkly outfit and a bit of make up and she’s always super pleased to have her face painted! Whether or not she’ll be as delighted once I’ve been the one doing the painting remains to be seen but I know we’ll have fun giving it a go! This gorgeous set comes from Asda and as with the other products (and indeed most things at Asda it has to be said) it’s incredibly good value for money. It comes with 4 colour pots, applicators and 4 crayons to do detailing! We’ll try very hard to copy the bunny on the picture!
Easter Face Paints are £2.00 at Asda
There’s absolutely masses in the Easter range at Asda this year and all at really affordable prices. Try out these ones like us or opt for one of the other great options like Make Your Own Easter Bonnet, £2.00 or one of their Easter Craft kits all at around £2.00. Check out all that’s on offer on the website www.asda.com.
Before we go up to Norfolk we’re going to visit ‘Willows Farm Village’ in St Albans for the day for a special Easter treat! Not only will we get to visit the farm, always a favourite activity for Florence, but we will also be able to enjoy the activities they have on offer as part of their Easter Eggstravaganza which is running from 31st March – 15th April. Farmers Anna and Andrew have been in touch with their friend the Easter Bunny who will be visiting the farm and inviting children to join in with things such as the Bunny Hop and the Easter Egg Hunt they are holding in their special Easter Garden. There’ll be a Bunny Hunt, chocolate treats and plenty of real bunnies to spot as well; that’s not forgetting the indoor and out door play areas, puppet shows and story times which are also available for children to enjoy on their visit! Sounds brilliant and we can’t wait! We’ll bring you news when we’ve been but we can only imagine it will be a full and fun filled day!
For more information about Willows Farm Village call 0870 129 9718 or visit www.willowsfarmvillage.com
Now I go from farms to swamps because we had an absolutely brilliant time when we went to see Shrek The Musical recently and I can’t wait to write my review for a future post. I so wish I could go again and if I could have done I’d have made myself win my own competition but alas that just wouldn’t have been fair so I am to announce the lucky winner who is:
Sarah Laycock of Fleet, Hants
Well done to her, they will get to enjoy a superb show with the best finale I have EVER seen! If you weren’t lucky enough to win tickets don’t fear because they have a brilliant new family ticket with a special price which means going to the theatre for a treat doesn’t have to be as pricey as you might think!
Come and join the cast of ‘Shrek’ for yourself and see stars such as Richard Blackwood playing Donkey and Kimberley Walsh who plays Princess Fiona do their thing! SHREK THE MUSICAL is even more fun and family-friendly in 2012, with new family pricing! A family ticket is now available for Wednesday and Thursday evening performances (excluding school holiday periods but including summer); which means that a family of four (including at least two under 16’s) can see Shrek The Musical for the fairytale price of £99 for the Upper Circle or £150 for best available seats, making the adventure much more affordable.
Family tickets can be booked via the website, www.ShrekTheMusical.co.uk,in
person from the box office, or by phoning: 0844 871 8810.
I’ve got bags, bags, bags on my mind at the moment. When I was at the pregnancy retreat a couple of weeks ago, expert midwife Nikki Khan advised me that even though I’m planning a home birth, I really do need to have a hospital bag organised just in case… I obviously ended up needing one last time so I really do know that I have to be prepared. She also told me that really and truly I ought to have a bag for me, one for the baby and one for Florence (just in case she has to come with us if it all happens quickly and her Grandparents haven’t made it down in time) and that they should all look different so that I can get other people to find things in them easily without getting them muddled! I’ve got a few different options and I don’t want to choose a bag that will be used now and then be useless afterwards, what’s the point in that? A great bag I’ve tried in the past has to be the Pacapod as it has so many storage areas and really does make travelling easier. The best feature for me was the fact that one side has two pods which can be removed and separately attached to the buggy handles using Velcro straps leaving more room in the bag! My friends at www.bizziebaby.com who are dedicated to bringing the best reviews from all over the baby market place and beyond along with Pacapod recently carried out some research into travelling with children and why 90% of parents would like to be more organised. Here are their results:
Research shows 90% of parents want to be more organised when travelling
The holiday season is fast approaching and research conducted by PacaPod*baby changing bags, reveals that parents are stressed-out when it comes travelling with babies and small children. Top of their list of concerns are keeping the kids entertained 84%, flying 60% and organising the baby gear 56% – above all else 90% say they want to be more organised.
Despite the age of globe trotting, affordable flights and improved choices for family travel 60% of parents are still concerned about flying. Parents called for small improvements to make the experience less daunting with 96% suggesting complimentary activity packs could be issued and 84% would like to see buggies for hire at airports.
The independent research was commissioned by PacaPod, the UK’s ‘go-to’ baby travel bag and illustrates the brands commitment to understanding the issues parent face when travelling. Organised along with BizzieBaby website 320 parents were asked about their travel experiences.
A whopping 86% of parents believe that the key to a successful holiday with little ones is to be prepared and organised – but the research shows that this is a case of ‘easier said than done’. Parents are overwhelmed about the quantity of baby equipment they need to pack – 48%, while 51% are stressed about what to pack and 56% are confused about what’s really essential.
Travel writer, columnist and author of ‘Tales from a Travelling Mum’ has these words of advice “As parents we worry endlessly but from my experience, gained throughout five years of travel with my daughter via plane, train, bus and campervan, these worries are often unfounded. A little organisation, a few travel games, parent interaction, plenty of snacks and friendly locals often keep little ones smiling and when it comes to meltdowns – they happen! A new country may be different to your own, but children are universal. What you forget, you can source!” www.alicegriffin.co.uk
Thankfully pioneering nursery brands like PacaPod have come up with creative solutions to help families get the most out of their travels and their intelligently designed baby bags are all about ‘making life easier’. Providing stressed-out parents with a unique, award winning baby changing bag each PacaPod contains a hidden ‘baby organisation system’ which contains two detachable little pods for feeding and changing items, plus separate parent pockets to keep everything for mum, dad, baby and tot in just the right place https://www.pacapod.com/
Stockists: www.pacapod.com John Lewis, Mothercare and a wide range of leading nursery outlets.
Other key research findings
100% of parents feel the key to a successful family holiday is when the kids are happy; 86% to be organised and prepared and 45% believe it’s all down to a sense of humour!
90% of parents use books/colouring and stickers to keep children entertained; 69% opt for traditional games such as I spy and 54% take a portable DVD/games consoles.
96% of parents would choose a travel bag that helped them to stay organised/in control.
48% parents with small children worry about annoying other travellers on a flight.
54% parents found it stressful finding essential items on the move/under pressure.
When we were at ‘The Baby Show’ recently we were, as ever on the lookout for products to travel with as well as everything else new and innovative in the market place! We were lucky and were given some really great products to review too. Some of them were from ‘MAM’ who make bottles, dummies, teethers, breast pumps, oh their list goes on and on and their products are also really good for taking out and about with you, they all look really good but are small and handy too! We got given lots of dummies, a mini teether and an anti colic bottle which I will review and tell you about once the baby is born but for now I must mention the terrific toothbrush that came in one of our bags. It’s a ‘MAM First Brush’ and we’ve been using it ever since the show. We actually have used these brushes before and I have to say they’re really good! Florence, like me, is a tooth brush chewer so they don’t always last her that long but these ones stay working really well much longer than most! Because the handle is short it means Florence can brush her own teeth well and the head is small with really soft bristles, perfect for a little person’s teeth! Being BPA free as with all of ‘Mam’ products is also a real plus!
You can pick them up in lots of high street retailers including Mothercare where they retail at just £3.50, www.mothercare.com and for more information on ‘Mam’ products see their website www.mambaby.com.
MY PREGNANCY DIARY WEEK 35
As I sit writing this with my poorly swollen feet in a bowl of cold water I am starting to concede that perhaps I am doing far too much! Today I have been out and about in London having left the house with Florence at 7am. I’ve been for two very lovely meals out for promotions (more about both will be divulged soon), stupidly shopped on Oxford Street during the lunch time peak, visited Coram’s Field’s and all it offers from the sandpit to the farm (If you haven’t been it’s awesome) and endured two rather frenetic tube journeys either side of the rush hour day… By this point in my pregnancy with Florence I was off work (having been told I was to be made redundant and taken up gardening leave ) with little to do and rest was something which became boring. This time round I barely could tell you what rest means. I’m trying to forge a writing career, make some money for our growing family and on top of it all I have a lively toddler to entertain. This pregnancy is a whole different ball game and although I know I should be resting I guess I just can’t right now, such is life! I am tired though and starting to feel my 35 weeks… People say I don’t look very big but I feel it and with the heat it’s even more tiring…Still, swollen feet isn’t too bad when you consider what fun we’ve had today! So pushing the buggy up the hill at our station was harder than usual, walking home was a slow affair and I now have to sit with my feet in an old washing up bowl… Who cares, I’m living London life and if I’m 35 weeks pregnant with it that’s just the way it has to be!
My midwife has been and measured me and said my bump, although I feel huge is actually measuring two weeks smaller than expected. I’m not overly worried as she was very reassuring. She wasn’t my usual midwife and she was much more abrupt than the lady I know but she was extremely efficient and is booking me in for an emergency (although not that emergency as it might not be till the end of next week) scan. She said from feeling with her hands it feels as though everything is fine and that the baby is almost certainly within the expected size but that my stomach muscles are strong and keeping my bump small. I’m not too worried as I know that was the case with Florence but it’ll be nice to have the scan and have it confirmed. Florence was only 6lb 5oz so I’m probably carrying another little one but hopefully it’ll be big enough to still mean I can have a home birth – although the closer I get, I have to admit, I’m starting to feel like maybe I should opt for a birthing centre instead?! Not sure…
Me at 35 weeks pregnant!
My ‘Pregnancy Products of the Week’ has gotta be my new multifunctional Nursing Top Before and After from ‘Boob’. I’m obviously coming up to the end of my pregnancy now and knowing only too well what life is like with a nursing baby, I know that any clothes I buy from now on are going to have to take me through to the next stage as well and be super practical to get access in and out of for the baby! This top is great because it has ruched sides to accommodate a big bump but which also will hide a bit of a tum afterwards. There’s also loads of spare length at the bottom which can be pulled up to hide a bit more or pulled down even to make into a bit of a dress over leggings (which is how I’ve been wearing it)! It does have long sleeves which could be a bit impractical for summer but it actually looks really great with them rolled up too and the material is very light so I don’t think a long sleeve will prove a problem in the sun! The best bit about it is the discreet panel which you just wouldn’t notice at all; it can be lifted up for access to the boobs! Brilliant idea and much better than pulling tops down and ruining them or worse still, having to pull your top up and expose your tummy which definitely won’t be in a fit state to be exposed just after a baby has popped out of it (unless you’re Victoria Beckham of course and I most certainly am not – I smile for a start)! As with all the products from ‘Boob’ that I have tried I’m very impressed with this one and will be wearing it often both before and after the baby is born! That’s what I like, something with multiple functions which isn’t redundant after a short time proving good value for money!
Nursing Top Before and After by ‘Boob’ is priced at £59.00, and comes in UK sizes of 4/6 – 18, 14 different colours (I tried ‘Eggplant’ and is made from soft knitted stretch fabric consisting of 95% lyocell and 5% elastane. It is machine washable, 40° C. For more information on the entire ‘Boob’ range please see http://shop.boobdesign.com/
So, until next week when I’ll be, gulp, 36 weeks and nearly full term! Hope you all have a fantastic Easter!
(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.)