Plum sand and water table

I love Plum toys and so when I was given a chance to review one of their outdoor toys I jumped at the chance.

We’ve been working to transform our garden from a great big ole lump of concrete into something child-friendly and appealing to Arthur. I’ve been struggling under the weight of plastic toys which, to be fair, have their place, but I wanted something it little bit more – well you know, less colourful.

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So when our lovely wooden sand and picnic table arrived from Plum I was just so pleased. It’s gorgeous.

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Jonathan said it was very easy to put together and now it’s up and running feels sturdy and well-made. It’s a perfect miniature picnic table with enough room for four toddlers to comfortably sit round and eat. Then the fun really begins!

All you have to do is remove the two wooden slats in the middle and hey presto it’s a fab little sand and water table. As we’ve only just finished the garden we’ve not used it for sand yet – but as soon as we do I’ll bring you an update.TABLEeAT

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I know Arthur will love it as he’ll be able to sit down and play easily and he already loves the fact it transforms into something else. He also needs a little help to lift the top off so that’s a good thing and means there will be no rogue sand and water incidents that we don’t know about!

Priced at £89.99 is a lovely edition to our garden. It looks great, is well-made and I know Arthur’s going to have hours of fun with it this summer. I’ll be bringing you a few more garden updates throughout the year so you can see how our new toy is fitting in!

Lollibop – the UK’s biggest kids festival

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LolliBop, the UK’s biggest kids festival, has announced it’s most exciting line-up to date with CBeebies Superstar Justin Fletcher headlining on Saturday and Sunday and Mister Maker taking over the main stage on Friday.

We love Lollibop and were really sad we couldn’t go last year as Arthur was ill. But this year sounds bigger and better than ever and I’m so excited. Arthur loves Mr Maker and with such a beautiful setting comes some fantastic new experiences and enough to keep everyone entertained.

The event, this year, takes place at Hatfield House, August 15-17.
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There are the usual brilliant shows and stars making an appearance along side some amazing new stuff for small people. Including the Southbank Centre – a world-famous arts centre on the South Bank of the Thames, with art and activities inside and out that encourage everyone to become involved in the arts in new and creative ways. At the Lollibop version there will be music, dancing, fashion shows, DJs, Pirate school, den making and plenty of takeaway crafts.

In my experience the Lollibop team think of everything to make sure the day is a fantastic experience for all the family and I can’t wait!

Here’s a little taster of some of the other exciting stuff coming to Lollibop 2014…

The first ever Disney experience with the Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic present a silent disco.

Thomas & Friends with a bespoke interactive play experience created especially for LolliBop,
Chris & Pui with their Mini Roadshow,
Scooby-Doo! The Mystery of the Pyramid,
Cook and Line from Swashbuckle (Fri & Sat only)
Michaela Strachan’s Really Wild Adventures Show.

Tickets are on sale now priced £17.50pp www.lollibopfestival.co.uk facebook.com/lollibopfestival

Postman Pat goes show biz

AQARPUZLSUVUGBVVWe were asked to review the new Showbiz Pat toy and I have to say it was a surprise hit with Arthur!

He’s Postman Pat but not as you know it. Released to celebrate the new Postman Pat movie which opened nationwide on 23 May, he’s gone all Hollywood! In the film Pat is seduced by the bright lights of the big city, he auditions for a X-Factor-style singing competition, but finds that in his absence the post does not run smoothly. The new toy reflects this new direction for Pat! With a sparkly suit and microphone he sings a little song about sending letters and does a little dance to go along with it.

It’s only one song so it’s short and sweet so it’s not the sort of toy children can play with for a long time. But it made Arthur giggle and he did enjoy it for a while – even if I’d had enough of the song but the tenth time! Arthur danced along and sings and he seems to be quite fond of it. It’s very simple to use, you just press his hand so it’s easy for little people to use independently too.

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 As a funny toy to make children laugh with a recognisable character then it’s a nice thing to have. Showbiz Pat costd £29.99 and is aimed at children aged 3 and over.

Easy easy anytime biscuits.

These were the easiest lemon Easter biscuits ever. Granted they don’t have to be for Easter but it’s such a fool proof recipe I like to engineer the name to fit!
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100g butter
100g golden caster sugar
175g plain flour
1 egg yolk
Zest of one unwaxed lemon

Literally whiz it all together by hand or in a blender. Chill in cling film for half an hour and let the children loose with cutters and glitter. You can swap the lemon for any flavours you fancy. Cinnamon works well with raisins or a spoonful of cocoa.

We made rabbits, chicks and some everso Easter dog-shaped biscuits! Granted they might not look the best but they taste great and, what’s great is that the dough can take a great deal of pounding and prodding by little fingers and still comes out well.

Just a simple,’go to’ recipe for rainy afternoons and special day baking.

Camping bubbles and me time

So the boys went off camping last weekend. Big and little; matching rucksacks and a bundle of sausage rolls.

It was the first time they’d been on an overnight adventure together, in fact it was two nights, and what a fabulous time they had. I’m a fairweather (for that read utterly uninterested, would rather go for a spa) type camper. So when their ‘expedition was suggested I made sure my name was well and truly out of the equation.

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I fussed around making sure there was enough warm clothes packed – including some strange looking baby tights I forced Arthur to try on to see if they still fitted. They did so I packed them with instructions for them to be worn under trousers. Not sure why I felt 30 miles up the road was facing sub-zero temperatures but it made me feel better.

They had an amazing time, searching through sand dunes, watching seals and snuggling up by torch light to read stories of bear hunts and pirates. Arthur can’t believe he has his own sleeping bag and I love the fact he’s exploring a world that’s becoming closed to so many children. It was their little bubble and I’m so pleased they did it because it gave them a chance to get muddy, jump off rocks and other such things that would have left me a quivering wreck.

But…if I’m brutally honest, all that stuff is wonderful, yet the real reason I was so happy is that it gave me two indulgent days and nights alone in my house for copious pottering and other such pleasures. Oh bloody hell it was good. I ate steak and asparagus did a lot of very little, watched my secret and very guilty pleasure – Midsomer Murders and generally enjoyed my own company.

In fact, when they returned all boy-like and full of mud and washing I felt a little annoyed they had burst my little bubble.The towels and foisty (unworn) strange baby tights were thrown around while I twitched uncomfortably for a while.non_camping1

We’ve got loads planned together over Easter and I’m really looking forward to it all but when another boys-only trip was suggested in the summer I found myself more than a little excited and resisting the urge to pin him down for a date.

I guess we all need our bubbles – just so happens theirs is muddy and adventure packed and mine is filled with steak and wine and Midsomer murders.

#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More

Things we don’t think toddlers know. But they do.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. But here’s what I think these wily little people don’t want us to know they know.

  • That you do have to wear shoes, they know and they exploit this for hours of running round while you trail after them brandishing said shoes. They are not idiots, they know they’ll get cold/ wet feet.
  • That hitting the buttons on the washing machine/dishwasher etc does actually f*ck up the washing. Of course they know this. Sitting back and watching you scream is all part of their cunning plan.
  • That other children will eventually give their toys back. They just like to make sure you’re on edge during any kind play date.
  • When they repeatedly scream ‘mummy’ from the top of the stairs you will; A. eventually go upstairs and; B. attend to their every whim, be it a drink, story…you get the point.
  • That relentless twizzling will lead to a fall. But hey, it’s funny and it just means they can make you kiss whichever part of their body has been banged.
  • That food is the best bargaining tool they have. Inside they are laughing at our pathetic attempts to get them to eat random adult stuff. Maybe they’ll humour us, maybe not. This mental stronghold is their ultimate victory.
  • Teeth cleaning is not about clean teeth, it’s about signalling the start of bedtime. Or, in the morning it signals time to wear clothes – neither is an acceptable toddler pastime.
  • That lying on the floor in Sainsburys screaming and crying because you can’t have a can of deodorant/ Sharon fruit/tin of salmon will usually lead to a bag of chocolate buttons while sitting in the trolley lording it over quivering parents who have, quite possibly, also put a Sharon fruit in the trolley. Something you will, of course, refuse to eat once home.
  • That conversations about pooh and trumps are funny – no matter how hard you try to be the adult. Bottom stuff is just comical and toddlers know this – deal with it.

Don’t be fooled by the angelic small person standing before you. Be warned parents, these little people know and they are not afraid to use it.

*This post is based on qualitative research using several hours observing toddlers in their natural habitat. (Except the supermarket one which I read about on a desperate ‘parenting forum’ in the early hours of the morning and to which I added dramatic licence).

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

STEAMCLEAN cream for face, hands and body

I was sent a lovely little pot of sumptuous face and body cream to try out – lucky old me.
STEAMCREAM arrived in a cute little box and I opened it to reveal an even cuter tin.
The cream itself, named Envy, was beautifully scented with rose and jojoba oils and was light and moisturising.

imageSo why STEAMCLEAN I hear you cry? Well it’s a new concept where the fresh ingredients are mixed together using a shot of steam. I have to say the cream is extremely light, I presume because of this. It’s so easily absorbed and left my hands in particular very soft but not greasy.

I love the fact you can use the cream on your face, body and hands – there are not many products that do all that in one pot.

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The creams are all freshly handmade using delicious and natural ingredients and the stylish packaging is eye catching and adds a sense of indulgence too. At £12.95 for a small pot, it’s not cheap but it’s a fab little treat.

Hotel Chocolat Easter treats

There is always something decadent about Hotel Chocolat’s goodies and this year their  Easter treats are no exception.

When they asked if I’d like to review some of their delicious egginess – well Let’s just say I didn’t hesitate.

We were sent the Egg and Chips, which is a cute twist on the British Classic. I love the attention to detail and the fact each egg comes in a lovely bag complete with name tag – like I said. Decadent
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The white chocolate slab was delicious with loads of gorgeous vanilla bean running through. It was thick too, something I always look for in a Easter chocolate!

My favourite bits were the little chocolate chips. Filled with a rich liquid caramel they caused huge tension in our house. Rich crisp milk chocolate which simply melted in your mouth. Who was going to get the last one! Arthur loved them too and this Easter treat was perfect for small people too.

It’s difficult to fault gorgeous chocolate, original thinking and gorgeous packaging – so I won’t. Just to say it was the perfect Easter gift for any age. Not that it lasted til Easter in our house!

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