Reviews

Bath Book and Bed #BathBookBed

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Me and Matilda are taking part in the ‘Bath, Book and Bed’ campaign which encourages stories at bed time to help little ones sleep. Matilda has never been a great sleeper but we have always had a good bedtime routine as it seems the best way to settle her.

In association with parenting expert Jo Frost and the Booktrust our pack arrived with :

  • Peppa Pig toothpaste
  • Peppa Pig toothbrushes
  • Peppa Pig Bubbles
  • Tips book
  • 3 Books  : Quiet By Kate Alizadeh, Goodnight Everyone By Chris Haughton, and Dave’s Cave By Frann Preston Gannon.

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This all arrived on the morning Matilda and Daddy were due at the dentist, so the toothpaste and brushes were a great start. This is the first thing we do when we go up to bed in the evening. Often has involved making funny faces or noises like Arrrhhh like a pirate to get her to open wide, but I’m lucky as Matilda likes it and we have never had much fussing over brushing.

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Then snuggle for story time in her room. Sometimes me however often in the week it is Dad that likes to take her to bed. Matilda was certainly given the right name. Like her namesake Roald Dahl’s – Matilda she loves a story. Her imagination never fails to surprise me!

We have a big collection of books and go to our library once a week. So we have something new to read. We often find bedtime is the best for stories as she’ll sit and listen (well mostly), plus helps her wind down.

We loved Quiet! by Kate Alizadeh. We had lots of fun with all the noises and sounds that are featured in the book. A good list of other bedtime books can be found here: http://www.booktrust.org.uk/books/children/booklists/444/

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The Booklet “Bath, Book, Bed: Simple steps to a better night’s sleep’ by Jo Frost featuring Daddy Pig. Has some great tips on a good bedtime routine. Some you may and thought of or just needed reminding about other maybe not. Download the booklet here,

https://fileserver.booktrust.org.uk/usr/resources/1564/dp-bath-bed-book-page-16pp-final.pdf

Book Trust are also hosting two events with Jo and Daddy Pig at intu Trafford Centre on Thursday, 27 April and intu Lakeside on Friday, 28 April. Details via the website below.

I love the idea of this campaign more as a reminder that sometimes a good routine is all it takes for a happier child in the morning. Plus promotes some good bonding time with your little ones no matter what ages.

#BathBookBed – www.booktrust.org.uk/bathbookbed

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Mid-week Meals – Old El Paso

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Fancy livening up your mid-week meals with a little Mexican Fiesta in your own home. Yesterday was no only Halloween but the start of the Mexican holiday “Day of the Dead” or Dia de Muertos. For them it is a time to remember those that  are sadly no longer with us, but rather than a time for mourning, it is a celebration of their lives.

I was given the opportunity to try out some products from the Old El Paso range with the idea of creating meals that are quick and easy for week days when time is even more precious. Being a Mum of a nearly two year old with a hubby that has different hours each week I still find it difficult to come up with alternatives for dinner.

We try to stay clear of ready meals but kits like this mean you can have a quick meal and still add fresh ingredients. We made a couple of meals taking less and than half an hour each.

Smoky BBQ Chicken Fajita – fry off thin strips of chicken, add an onion and pepper to the Old El Paso sauce. Then pour it all into the wraps, it really is that simple.

Their Stand-n-Stuff kits come with little boats, like tacos however soft like wraps. They can be filled with almost anything you like.The kits come with 8 soft tacos, a seasoning and a salsa. We filled ours with minced beef, peppers, red onion, topped with lettuce, tomatoes and grated cheese.

Check out the Old El Paso website for lots of interesting ideas and recipes  – www.oldelpaso.co.uk. Many of the sauces come in varying strengths too so you can choose how daring you want to go!

  • I was given these products to test and review and give an honest opinion.

Parcelgenie

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Forgot someone’s Birthday, someone in need of a little pick-me-up or want to send something different rather than a card? Even if you are out and about? Then try the Parcelgenie App, with most gifts under a fiver the app allows you to send a little gift from tea-lights to chocolate owls.

Just choose a gift, send by text to your friend or family member. Once they reply, their gift will be sent straight to their door! You can even change the text on the message to suit what your gift is for or make it more personal to whom you are sending it too.

I sent a gift to a friend for her birthday and another to my brother who has helped us out a few times with Matilda recently. The App is really easy to use. The first time you use it you have to verify who you are which I got confused about, but once you are in, it is all really straight forward.

Sweet Treats

Retro Present

Now you can also send gift with just a text. The new text service, means you no longer even need the App to send a gift. It makes Parcelgenie accessible to a lot more people, even those without smartphones can use it. At the moment First-time users of the texting service will automatically get 50% off on their first go. See how it works here Parcelgenie Txt Service.

To get the App click here Parcelgenie.

Disclaimer : I was given to free codes to test and review Parcel Genie and give my honest option.

Sherwood Forest and the Merry Radfords

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Just before Matilda’s first birthday late last year, I was so pleased to get a call to say I had won a stay at Sherwood Pines Forest Park, Nottinghamshire. The perfect way to have our first family breakaway. Sherwood Pines is made up of  82 cabins, surrounded by a pine forest. With a shop, cafe and other bookable activities.

Myself and Jamie had twice been to Centre Parcs at Longleat, Forest Holidays has no pool and the site is much smaller, unlike Centre Parcs,however this does mean it is much easier to explore…with a little one!

We arrived on a Friday just before 4pm, our cabin was not quite ready so we got a few extra things from the shop and explored the area around the retreat. Dotted around the site are dens, fairy doors, a play area, bird houses, and a bug hotel. We then walked a short distance through the trees to our cabin.

We were given a Golden Cabin and opted for a 1 bedroom so that we could have Matilda with us in the travel cot. The cabin had an little hall (for your muddy boots), an open plan dining / kitchen area (fully equipped), large patio doors overlooking the forest, log fire and an outside decked area for BBQ’s complete with Hot tub. Upstairs was the bath and shower room and the bedroom, that had a skylight with a magnificent view of the trees.

We were lucky enough to have some extras included in our prize, two continental breakfast packs and a meat pack. Which can be pre ordered and left in your cabin. Pretty useful for us as we do not drive therefore could not do a “big shop” on the way. The onsite shop although small,stocked quite a lot of items at convenience shop prices.

On the Saturday myself and Jamie had an in-cabin Spa treatment experience. Three hours of treatments (we split between the two of us so one could look after muchkin) where the therapist comes to you. Jamie opted for a deep tissue massage and me back, face and foot treatments. The lady from My Personal Sanctuary was really relaxed and chatty, perfect for us as we are not used to such indulgence!

The day after, Matilda became a “Young Explorer”. Guided by a Forest Ranger, we went for a short walk into the forest, we started by collecting “bug food” (bits of bark, pine cones, moss) then it came to collecting the bugs from under logs into our bug pots. All the time the Forest ranger was pointing out other wildlife, plants and their homes. Finally we all made our bug hotels and released the insects / creatures we  collected back into the forest where they belong. We then retreated from the rain into the cafe to paint bugs and pine cones. Although Matilda was quite young for this she really enjoyed it….she got quite messy!

A short walk from the site is the Forestry Commission activity centre with bike hire, walks and Go Ape centre. Unfortunately we did not have any more time to spare, so missed out.

Alas Monday came too soon and with our muddy boots packed we headed home. We all had an amazing first holiday, Matilda had so much fun. I would highly recommend Forest Holidays for families who want something quieter, more relaxed than some other holiday resorts in UK.

FunKids Radio – Radio for small ones

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Fun Kids   Have you got a little telly addict in your house? Have you thought about radio?

Matilda loves her Bing and Raa Raa on CBeebies, BUT I do not like her watching too much of the telly. I think she learns a limited amount from it and sometimes ends up just hypnotised by the screen. When she does watch it, I like to do a running commentary for her,telling her what is going on plus getting her to copy the actions on screen. This way I feel like she is learning too. In this house we listen to more music than watch telly anyways..

I was really pleased to find out about FunKids Radio, a Radio station for Kids. The programs are mostly designed for slightly older children (7-12 year olds,) but the station also has Fun Kids “junior” , shows for pre-school children. These shows are linked to the CBeebies channel.

With nursery rhymes, story times and even readings from Disney films (Loved hearing the Lion king) it makes for an interesting listen. I was surprised how engaged Matilda was and how she joined in the same as with watching the TV. Matilda particularly loved the animal hour because the songs featured “quacking” ducks and “ooh oohs” from Monkeys.

You can listen online to the shows here : http://www.funkidslive.com, me and Matilda will certainly be listening in some more.

Port Lympne – Wild Animal park

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Last weekend we went to Port Lympne Wild animal park. We were managing to get Matilda to say “To the Zoo” before we went.  In fact Port Lympne is not a traditional Zoo but a mini safari on our own door step in Kent. Jamie, and I, just about remember coming here as children….. however a lot has changed since then!

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Port Lympne is run by the Aspinall Foundation. John Aspinall started his famous animal collection in 1957 when he bought Howletts Wild Animal Park (Howletts being its sister park also in Kent). Now the Aspinall Foundation is an internationally renowned animal conservation charity that works in conjunction with the two parks.

Matilda’s Nan nan and Gan-dad came with us, collecting us by car early morning.Once inside Base Camp we decided to do the main Safari  first, before going anywhere else in the park. We piled onto a very big truck, strapped ourselves in  with daddy grasping hold of Matilda tightly in his lap. Off we went finding Daffs (Giraffes), Elles (Elephants) and Rhinos. It was a very bumpy ride but this was all part of the experience,even having to wait for a Giraffe to cross the road (there is a joke in there somewhere!).

We decided to walk around the rest of the Zoo, which was divided into zones. We saw Matilda’s favourite animals, Baboons along the “Primate Trail” and Lions in “Carnivore Territory”.There are plenty of shops for food and drink and toilets for all important wee stops. There is also a fun play area which is good for when your own little animals need to let off steam and monkey around…. The set up of the Zoo makes it easy to spend the whole day there!

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Port Lympne also now has a number of accommodation options. From a hotel, to glamping experiences overlooking the animals, and Pods..think of them as posh beach huts set in forest.

I think we all enjoyed this trip as much as Matilda, we hope to plan another visit in the future and to stay in one of the new accommodation experiences on site for the true Jungle VIP experience

Childs Farm Brand Ambassador

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Today I received a box of goodies to try and a few samples to give out to my friends from the lovely people at Childs Farm who make Baby/Kids bath and toiletries.

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I came across Child Farm products because Jamie won a top-to-toesie kit in a competition, using a bath picture of Matilda. Childs Farm loved the picture so much they asked if they could use as a profile picture. I was pretty chuffed with that. So when a newsletter came asking for Brand Ambassadors I signed up.

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I have to say I have been more than impressed with the products. What will hit you first is the smell, with organic sweet orange and tangerine in many of the products the fragrance is smelt throughout the whole house. Although everyone loves that “baby smell” that you often get with bath / toiletries for little ones, these are refreshingly different. I guarantee you will want to use it on yourselves!

All products have undergone clinical trials and can make the following claims:
• Suitable for eczema prone skin
• Dermatologically tested and approved
• Paediatrician approved
• Suitable for newborns and upwards
Containing NO parabens, SLS’s, mineral oils or artificial colours.

Matilda does not have eczema as such, however does suffer from some dry patches and seems to have particularity sensitive skin therefore I have gone through a few different products. Childs Farm are my favourite, their products are so mild yet cleans and smells great. Matilda’s dry patches have all but gone since using the lotion and Hair & body wash for dirty rascals (fab name too) . 

The Child Farm packaging comes with their own brand of cartoon animals and characters, they even have there own cartoon on Cartoonito  (Sky 619, Virgin 706).

I cannot wait to hand out the samples to my friends and work more with the brand!

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