Despite the utterly horrible and unpredictable weather we’ve had this week in Leicestershire we still managed to get out into the fresh air and have some fun.
Yesterday Beadzoid and I set off to our local common with our toddlers. They’ve recently opened a new play park there so I thought we could go and suss it out. The plan was that as long as there wasn’t a monsoon we would go and make the best of it.
There was no monsoon. It drizzled a bit, but that just made splashing in muddy puddles all the more fun.
posting ranting over on Mister Doctor Becky Mark today. Why don’t you pop over and have a read?
This is a review post. We were supplied with a Playfoam Combo 8-Pack for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.
We were lucky enough to be sent a Playfoam Combo 8-pack last week. I wasn’t entirely sure how this would live up to it’s blurb of ” a fantastic resource that’s the answer to a parent’s prayers as it does not stick to hands, clothes or the carpet!”
It really doesn’t though. It’s like magic. Tiny little sticky beads. You can see the sticky as you pull them apart and yet you’re left with no sticky residue on your hands or furniture. Magic I tell you!
Littlebit was immediately taken with the box of Playfoam, calling it cakes and naming all the colours. She played with the foam in the packaging for a good 5 minutes before realising it could be opened and a whole load more fun was contained within.
We squidged each colour individually and then started squidging them together. Littlebit loved the swirly patterns it made as we rolled it together. We made snakes and necklaces and balls.
Playfoam also offers longevity as it never dries out meaning it can be moulded again and again! We’ll see on this one but in just under a week of playing with it every day and leaving out on a shelf it certainly doesn’t show any signs of drying out. Playfoam also offers a non-toxic formula guaranteeing safe creative play! No preparation is needed, you just use it straight from the box.
You can win your own Playfoam Combo 8-Pack by entering Learning Resources (UK) Facebook competition. Competition closing date Friday 7th June 2013.
Today, 15th May 2013, is Kangaroo Care Awareness Day. This is a subject very close to my heart.
Kangaroo care is really important for all babies, but especially for those born prematurely. It teaches them to regulate their temperature, it comforts them and it stimulates them to grow. I know for a fact that while Littlebit was in Kangaroo Care with either me or her Daddy her heart-rate regulated and her SATS (oxygen levels) increased.
I hadn’t heard of Kangaroo Care before we had Littlebit and were thrown, head first, into the world of the neonatal unit. But the minute it was mentioned I read everything I could find on the subject. I’d never have passed up cuddles with my tiny new baby but to know that on top of making me feel like a real Mummy it could also have profound health benefits for my preemie was the icing on the cake.
I found it strange the first time we did Kangaroo Care. Being told my a neonatal nurse, strip Littlebit down to just her nappy and pop her down your top. What now? Put the tiny, delicate baby who has to be kept warm in an incubator, covered with wires and machines down my top? Really? But really, it works. The babies are so tiny they sit just nicely down there and nuzzle right in, even if you do need a lot of help to position all the wires and machines. It’s the best cuddle in the world. Especially the first time!
So, here’s my entry to The Gallery this week. Littlebit and me in Kangaroo Care. A perfectly peaceful and happy time within the madness that is the NICU.
Some of my favourite premature baby mummy bloggers have also blogged about their experiences with Kangaroo Care today, do pop over to Prem Meditations and Not Even a Bag of Sugar and take a look. Bliss also have a news article about the work they’re doing with Kangaroo Care too.
This is not a sponsored post. I received no payment to write this review. I was, however, invited to attend their soft launch this week and enjoyed a complimentary 2 course lunch. I have chosen to write about my experience though, this post was not in return for the delicious lunch.
Photo courtesy of @34WindsorSt
There’s a new restaurant in our lovely little village. 34 Windsor St is it’s address and its name! It used to be The Butlers House which was a nice, but very dated, eatery. The new look 34 Windsor St couldn’t be further removed from that.
On entering the restaurant with Beadzoid yesterday lunch time for their soft launch I was immediately struck by the decor. It’s beautifully furnished in grey, black and white and oh so very classy. Stunning fittings and the unique chandeliers really drew the eye. There’s a comfy lounge on the way in where I can see myself calling in for a cocktail from their extensive menu.
Photo courtesy of @34WindsorSt
The tables were laid for both lunch and afternoon tea (which I’ll mention now is priced at just £15.95 per person for a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade cakes and pastries) and the china they had laid is just gorgeous. We’re definitely heading back there for afternoon tea once they’re formally open to the public.
The staff were welcoming and attentive right from the get go, and although it was only their second day of service they were pretty much spot on.
Photo courtesy of @34WindsorSt
We were given the menus and left for just the right amount of time to peruse them all. And there’s a lot to look at: day menu (served 12-5pm), evening menu (6-9pm), vegetarian menu, desserts and a huge cheese board menu, afternoon tea (including a large selection of teas and coffees and individual cakes as well as the full afternoon tea) and Sunday brunch (11am-5pm).
I decided on Baked cheese mousse with wild mushrooms and asparagus (£5.95) to start…
and Creamed mussels in stout with sourdough (£8.95) for my main….
Absolutely delicious! And with those prices it’s very reasonable but felt and tasted really high-end.
Beadzoid is a bit harder to cater for, being vegan, but I’d pre-warned the chef and she was offered a choice of two starters and two mains specifically designed for her. Beadzoid opted for Polenta fries with an onion compote to start…
I have to say I did double take when they arrived at the table as they looked just like fish fingers, but they certainly didn’t taste so. They were sweet and tomatoey and slightly spicy. Thanks for letting me taste Beadzoid.
Then for her main she opted for a Butterbean cake on a bed of green beans, potatoes and various other green and vegan friendly tasties in a Pistachio oil drizzle. Beadzoid’s face said it all. It was lush, apparently. And she finished the meal feeling completely satiated, which is a rare occurence on a meal out as a vegan, so I’m told.
We followed all of this up with an Americano each. That was perfect too. Just the right strength, no nasties in the bottom of the cup and very cute sugar crystals served up in a tiny Mason like jar.
34 Windsor St is somewhere I know we’ll be visiting again. Even the dinner menu is reasonably priced for the sort of food you can expect (starting at £14.95 for a main course and £18.95 for an 8oz Frank Parker’s rump steak with triple cooked chips, bearnaise sauce and dressed watercress). The choice is fantastic and the food is divine. It’s a fabulous addition to our village.
On Saturday I attended BlogSummit Birmingham. A blogger get together, I’m not going to call it a conference as it’s so much more than that, organised by the lovely people at Tots100. I’ve attended blog events big and small and this is by far my favourite. It’s just so relaxed. There’s no pressure to go to the sessions if you want to just hang out, though I did, I packed as much “learning” in as I could. Mainly because Tots100 program in enough “down time” to catch up with blogger friends old and new, and the ones who you only know from their Twitter avatar!
I was lucky enough to hit it off with Zoe from My Mummy’s World at the meet up at New Street and we choose the same sessions to attend throughout the day so I had a buddy. Yay!
Oh, and the bit I forgot, the bit which makes this “get together” THE best. It’s free. Yep, totally and utterly free. Due to the hard work of the Tots100 and their fabulous sponsors, this year Argos, any old blogger can attend so long as they can get there. Awesome!
In the morning I attended sessions on SEO, paid content and links. I came away from the first session, led by Dave Sottimano from Distilled.net feeling like I definitely understood a lot more about the what / where / why and when of the monster that is Google and the right hoops we need to jump through with them.
I then moved onto a much more in depth SEO session with Judith Lewis. At the beginning Judith made it clear that this was an advanced session. She wasn’t wrong! I have copious notes and long words and tech speak to Google over the next week and try to understand. Nevertheless it was really interesting and I have a much better understanding of analytics, the right keywords to use and how to find them and how to create an SEO strategy now.
As ever, the venue – The Studio, was fabulous and the catering was brilliant. Cookies, cake, little bags of fruit and nuts. They even had breakfast for those who had missed it, on arrival. We weren’t going to go hungry!
After lunch I attended a session by the effervescent Cathy from NurtureStore on Pinterest and how you can pin to your advantage. I’d attended a similar session run by Cathy at Blog Camp Manchester last year, but I was very new to Pinterest then and this session took it to the next level. I’m off to find a PinScheduler now
One of the roles of the Tots100 is to connect bloggers and brands, which they do really well. So after yet another coffee break I attended the Brand Panel, which was a great session to go to to hear about opportunities to work with lots of brands, including the event sponsors Argos. I’ve already pinged off a few emails since being home. Fingers crossed.
I thought the day couldn’t get any better, but then everyone came back together for an inspiring talk from author Andy Cope, a teacher and trainer in positive psychology. This man is AMAZING!
I have heard enough motivational speakers to last me a life time but Andy, well, I’ve actually never felt so inspired to be my better self before.
Very briefly, he talked about happiness…
“Everything you’ve learned about happiness is a con. Happiness is portrayed as a pot of gold at the end of the emotional rainbow. It’s an end game; something we have to work for or pursue. At school we’re told that if we work hard we’ll get great grades and then we’ll be happy. Or we’ll be happy when we find our perfect partner. Or that happiness will arrive when we get a new job or hit our sales target.
What if the happiness pot of gold isn’t at the far end of the rainbow? What if it’s at our end? Right here, right now. And what if it’s the key to everything else in your life? What if it’s the happiest kids that get the best grades? What if being happy now means you’re more likely to attract your perfect partner or that dream job? And what if it’s the happiest and most upbeat sales person that gets the most sales?” Direct quote from Andy Cope.
Talk about floored!
I know all of this.
I know that I should live for the moment.
I know that I can choose how my day is going to go when I wake up every morning.
But wow! Like I say floored.
If you want to know more you’ll have to buy Andy’s book The Art of Being Brilliant. I have. I downloaded the sample on iBooks for my train ride home and bought the full book yesterday. I’m already nearly half way through it. It truly is “a pep talk in your pocket” and is a stark reminder of how I should be living.
So thanks Tots100 for another fabulous event and thanks for introducing me to such a life affirming and life changing speaker in Andy.
Sally from Who’s the Mummy and the creator of Tots100 welcoming us all
This is a review post. We were supplied with The Vampire Diaries Season 2 and 3 box sets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.
After being given the opportunity to review The Vampire Diaries Season 1 by Warner Bros last year I was over the moon when they then set me box sets for Season 2 and 3 as well. However, it’s taken me until now to get through them both. That’s a lot of viewing!
After really enjoying season 1 I had high hopes for these two, and I was not disappointed.
Season 2 - The season picks up immediately after the events of the season 1 ending and all the series regulars return, which I was very glad to see. This season focuses on the return of Elena’s doppelganger, Katherine. There are also werewolves introduced which is an interesting addition, a curse, and the arrival of the original vampires.
Stefan and Elena remain a couple throughout the season, but I was pleased that they managed to avoid being too annoyingly smoochy. It was a really good balance without being sickening.
My favourite character of the season was Caroline. She didn’t really “stick” with me for the first season but in making her a vampire in this season she quickly became my favourite.
There are lots of new characters and these additions really add to the mix. It’s a good ‘un and I was left excited to find out what was going to develop in season 3.
Season 3 – this series is pretty Klaus (an original vampire brother) oriented. Focusing on his origin, his relationships with his family and revealing more about the original family.
The season starts with Elena’s 18th birthday party, my favourite episode, where she spends pretty much the whole party searching for clues that might help her find Stefan.
I don’t want to give up any more in case I spoil your viewing. But let’s say, I wasn’t disappointed with season 3 either.
To be honest, I was expecting these two seasons to go downhill compared to the first. That’s what I tend to find happens more often than not. The first season is brilliant, the second is just OK and the third is dire. But not so with The Vampire Diaries I am pleased to say.
So, go buy your copies now. They’re available on Amazon and at all good retailers.
This is a review post. We were supplied with tools, a tool bag and rocket seeds by Seedlets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.
Last week I blogged about all the work I had been doing to get our garden safe and ready for the toddler to start gardening. This week, said gardening has commenced and what a lot of fun we’ve had!
When Littlebit returned from Playschool one day this week (thank goodness I chose to do this before the rain set in!) I’d laid out everything we needed to garden and an “invitation to play” for her.
First we planted. Well, Littlebit helped dig the holes and push the plants out of the pots and Mama planted them. I was a bit worried about breaking the delicate roots but she seemed to enjoy helping me with those bits. Next year she’ll be dextrous enough to do it all herself.
In Littlebit’s plot (right) so far we just have Strawberries, there are some edible flowers to join them soon too. I’m also planning to leave her some plant free space so she can just dig, dig, dig in her plot. In Mama’s plot (left) we have purple sprouting broccoli, tomatoes, wild strawberries and garlic.
Then we moved onto the seeds. Filling the propagator with soil and
carefully emptying the entire contents of 3 seed packets into them! You should plant maybe 3 seeds in each but the gentle shaking turned into toddler frenzy of “get them ALL out” so each section of the propagator has at least 20 seeds. Oh well, better chance they’ll take?
The simple fun of playing with mud and water was enough to get Littlebit involved. Whether or not anything grows… well we’ll see. Hopefully she’ll grow something she can be proud of and the process will be such a learning experience. We sowed carrot seed, basil seed and rocket seed.
The rocket seeds were kindly provided to us by Seedlets www.myseedlets.com along with the fab toolkit you can see above and left. The red and yellow tool bag and a plastic trowel, fork and shovel. Just Littlebit sized, perfect for digging and playing in the soil.
Seedlets, the brain-child of resident Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins, sell a great, quality range of gardening toys to help you grow your own food. It is all age appropriate, having three levels – beginner (this is what we’re using at the moment), intermediate and expert.
They also have a brilliant website resource which encourages kids to grow their own with the help of sunshine, rain and bugs. There are projects on the website, written by Chris, which you can all do together. There are videos and tips and plant facts, and there is even the ability to get in touch and let Chris know how you’re getting on!
Seedlets really bring the whole gardening experience to children from an early age, teaching them about science and nature in the process. Just the sort of thing we like at Mummypinkwellies.
I think we’ll definitely be popping to The Hand Picked Collection, retailers of the Seedlets range, to pick up some more stuff before the summer is out. I especially love the idea of the Insect Hotel. It’s all reasonably priced too, just £3.99 for the tool set pictured above. Compared to some of the garden centre prices I’ve seen recently I don’t think that’s bad!
Then came time to water. This was most definitely Littlebit’s favourite part of the whole experience. Refilling the watering can no less than 20 times and carrying it back, full, herself every time straining and struggling. Little Miss Independent.
She awoke gutted the next day as it was raining and she knew that meant no watering that day.
This is just the start of our gardening this year but I am really looking forward to her watching the seeds sprouting and the veg growing, and collecting our first harvest.
Oh and there’ll be lots of watering to be done!
I’m joining in to Coombe Mill’s Country Kids with this post again…