Monday, 29 October 2012

The second scan

We have just been for our second scan - the anomaly scan. It's a funny mixture as it is a serious scan, with lots to check and lots of measurements to take. On the one hand every little measurement makes you more and more nervous, and on the other you are so excited to see your little baby, and for us to find out the gender. We took my mum with us time which I was so pleased about as she was so excited and said she was really honoured to be there. My mum does so much for me so that meant a lot to me. Mum said it was the most beautiful baby ever, with such gorgeous feet, I had to keep trying hard to keep my belly still and not laugh too much.

To a lot of people's horror we wanted to find out the sex again. So do you want to know??

Squiggle is going (touch wood) to have a baby brother! I really would be happy either way but I'm just so happy now I know and extra excited as I'm picturing everything. Squiggle refuses to accept it is a boy as she had decided otherwise, but my inkling was right! Although my pregnancy has been similar in so many ways, my tummy and shape just felt different.

The scan has put my mind at rest in many ways, and raised new worries in other (like the large head)... but all in all a happy and special day!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Roll on the fun – Hello Kitty Tri-Skates

What you need for roller fun...

A sense of adventure, no fear and a need for speed...
Check!! My daughter always wants to go on every ride at the fair, and is the child in the supermarket shouting "faster mummy, faster" while I puff round with the trolley. These are perfect for her.

Just a little bit of balance...
We are slightly lacking in this department – one of my little ones favourite games being 'let's fall over'. So naturally I had to wonder if the skates are the best idea?! I say you only need a little balance as they are really very sturdy and balanced themselves. These Tri-Skates are recommended for ages 3+ so I guess you'll know when your little one is ready for them, we are holding hands at the moment but still having lots of fun.

3 wheels!
Tri-Skates as you might have guessed have 3 wheels but they look like your modern day inline skates. I had never seen nor heard of them before but they are very, very cool!!! I had no idea you could get such great looking skates for this age group. They absolutely look the real deal. They work a bit like stabilisers, as your child gets used the skating you can transform them into inline skates which is a great idea.

My daughter has lots of older cousins she looks up to so these are perfect for making her feel like she has the real deal and is rolling with the big girls! They are comfy, easily adjustable and sturdy and look really good. 

Disco wheels!
I still remember my first pair of roller skates (blue velvet with a rainbow in the side), hopefully these will be one to remember too. They are for foot sizes 5-8 which is quite a good range but a bit of a shame for us as at just approaching 3 my daughter is already a size 8 (taking after her mummy) so they may not last her as long as I would have hoped. I don't think there are any other size option but they fit really well now and she will enjoy them while it lasts!

You can transform the wheels to create 2 wheeled inline skates!
They make such a great, special Christmas gift – I love Christmas pressies that you all get to play together with over the holiday season and these zoom into that category. I think this winter we are going to be out on the street, finding our wheels and having lots of fun!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Pick it up!

This weeks gallery theme is just perfect for us! My little girl absolutely loves books and everyone knows it. She has loved them from a young age, my husband and I were shocked when we spotted her still only one reciting back to herself 'going on a bear hunt'. It's funny as she would never do that now, instead when she pretends to read books now she makes up her own stories which actually is even more amazing! I love hearing her imagination at work.

When it comes to my daughter - when you get that worrying silence and you wonder off to see what mischief is occurring - 9 times out of 10 she is just sat with a pile of books. She goes into her own world and is completely engrossed.

Word of warning... never start a book with her and don't finish it . This will lead to lots of tears. Also don't expect her to move, answer you or hurry out the door while she is pretending to read. It is much easier to let her carry on and just lift her up and put her somewhere else. She won't even notice.

Hence this photo from our holiday to Loch Lommond, she had been happily 'reading' on the bench... so rather than attempt to remove the book - up and off she goes and everyone is happy!!

This is our entry into this weeks gallery , head over to the sticky fingers blog and check out the others.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Scout My Own LapPup Review

Meet Scout – the LapPup (yes a genius name indeed)! This is a great little toy with plenty of fun engaging features. We already love Scout as we have a funny, cuddly, singing version of him and so were pleased to try out his very own laptop (or LapPup).

My daughter just loves having the perfect opportunity to copy me and daddy and say "I'm just going on my computer", she has been in her element testing out the LapPup. Scout is really lovely for younger children who enjoy the lights, all the sounds, and the easy to push buttons. He is nice and lightweight and easy for little hands to grab onto. When you give him a shake he also makes a good rattling noise. As children get older they can learn from the shapes and the colours as they interact with the toy in different ways.

My daughter loved the songs he played and have fun dancing around to them. Our favourite feature however had to be that when you close the lid Scout plays peekaboo with you, every little ones favourite game! A lovely little toy in my opinion and great choice if you are stuck for present ideas for curious little ones.

We are passing him on to our 9 month old friend who found the lap-pup lots of fun and very engaging.

You'll be surprised my almost 3 year old gave it up when you watch the video and see how much fun she was having testing it out!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Our epic dinostraw

Thanks to Britmums we have received our very own set of Cravendale Epic Straws to play with... whoever came up with this promotion is a genius, they are so much fun!!

Our set came with instructions which Squiggle and I had lots of fun building together, she was very good at finding all the parts I needed and actually found it pretty easy to attach them together herself.

You can feel the concentration!
We were both very impressed with the finished result and she absolutely loved drinking her milk though them. It took a while to get to it but she thought it was so funny and we loved how the straws are transparent so you can see the milk making it's way round.
You can do it...

...did it!
We had two sets which meant once we had build the second construction we could have races. Since we gave up baby milk bottles at night there has been a sudden drop in the amount she drinks, this was a great way of getting the good stuff in her – she drank a lot!!

The next challenge was to come up with our own epic invention, so guess what Squiggle wanted to make... yep, a really tall diplodocus. Hmmmm was my first thought, but I don't think we did too badly. What do you think of our very own dino-straw??!!

Epic dinostraw
We have had a great time, I'd really recommend getting a set, if you want to find out more visit and happy slurping!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Tots 100 Home Decor Challenge

Tots 100 have teamed up with to run an amazing competition where you can win £2,500 home makeover. There are 3 categories into which you can enter and I am very excitedly entering the home decor challenge!

The room in our house I would love to make over is our spare room / computer room / storage cupboard / washroom /... you get the idea!

The embarrassing 'now' shot

I am very excited to be expecting my second baby next year which means Squiggle will be vacating the little nursery and moving on up on the world to the bigger room. I have no idea what I am going to do with all the 'stuff' we are currently keeping in there, if only we had a garage!

My little girl loves her little room but as she gets bigger she may as well have the space so I want to make it an easy and fun transition for her. With all the changes that will be happening, the last thing I want her to feel is that the baby is turfing her out of her lovely room and into the boring one! She in fact lovingly calls it the messy room – oh dear.

I would love the chance to make this into a beautiful, fun space for her. If I could, this is what I would do - step into my dream room bubble...

If you would like to see my chosen products in more detail, visit my pinterest board here.

If you would like to see my dream image bigger, try opening this small image in a new window, sorry that's the limit of my blogger skills!

I'd love to hear what you think of my ideas, good luck if you have entered too, it's been so much fun planning this post! painting and decorating

Talking Cloudbabies Baba Blue Review

Our favourite giraffe Geoffrey had sent us a talking Cloudbabies Talking Baba Blue to love and review. I thought this toy might be aimed at younger age groups but my daughter is hanging on to him and there's no chance of her passing him on to one of her little friends!!

Baba is going to look after elephant at night!
I haven't really seen a lot of Cloudbabies on the television but Squiggle knew who he was instantly. He has a lovely little face and then a cuddly body, perfect for snuggling up to in bed. He's easy to squeeze and when you do squish his little tummy he says a variety of 12 phrases. He is very easy to use and so is perfect for little ones, my little girl was quite smitten which you'll see from our video!

Somebody loves him!
If you know any little Cloudbabies fans then I imagine this would be a great gift and a much loved toy. I remember when Squiggle was younger she had a squeezable talking toy from a certain other popular CBeebies programme and she loved him to tatters!!

You can collect the other colours and it looks as though they also do glowing versions of the characters which I imagine would make lovely night-time companions!

A big hit in our house, I might have to sit down and watch an episode with my new friend Baba blue now!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Dyson ball vacuum cleaner toy review

This week my little girl has been helping me with the vacuuming with her very own Dyson. Lucky her, I am yet to get one of my own! Believe it or not she now has two, her cousins passed down a cylinder toy Dyson (which is fantastic) and then Geoffery kindly sent us this upright version to review.

It is very realistic looking and well made, I don't think it would break any time soon. It also makes a great Dyson sound so they feel like they really have their own mini version and are really helping with the housework! You can set it to suction mode or have the little balls swirl around inside which is great fun for little ones!

Having its own real life suction is such a great idea for play that we couldn't help be a little bit disappointed when we put it to the test. I can't help but compare it to the other Dyson toy she has which has similar features and is really fantastic. It could be just our model but this one doesn't really seem to have any suction. I know as it is for little ones it can't really be very strong but this is much weaker than I expected. My daughter tried for ages to suck up a bit of paper in the end became frustrated and gave up. On the Dyson she already had she absolutely loves sucking up the bits and then removing them from the compartment herself... and then, of course, starting all over again.

The compartment on the back of this vacuum is really tricky to remove and she can't do it by herself which is such a shame as this is her favourite part of the game! Maybe as she gets older she'll get the hang of it but I even found it fiddly.

She has also found just turning it on a little confusing to start off with. There is a big red button on the front which is perfect but then you still have to use the more adult style switch on the back to select suction or pretend mode. This doesn't make sense to me, toys should be designed so that little ones can play with them all by themselves if they want to. The overall result is that she hasn't played with it as much as I expected.

I think it could be simplified and aimed at younger children as from my experience it is aged around 1 to 2 years that my little girl wanted to roll play such games and do everything mummy did!

Having said that she says she loves it and when I have been vacuuming she's been having a go too - and there's no denying it looks fantastic and just like a real life Dyson!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Hello Kitty Pretty Pushchair Toyologist review - so easy to push and play!

Last Christmas I spent a long time choosing my daughter's first pram – like choosing a real pram I felt there was a lot to consider. I was pleased with my choice except one thing, she found it really difficult to turn and a year later still does really.

This is where the Hello Kitty pushchair steps up to the mark. I am so impressed with the swivel action on the front wheels, it is the easiest pushchair for a little one to manoeuvre... I wish my buggy was as easy to push!

It seems well made, no problems so far and is pretty easy to fold flat so you can store it away neatly (very important in our house).

It has some little straps and a bar across the front so little ones can play easily at sitting their toys in. It is a plastic clasp so maybe not suitable for children much younger than the recommended age if you don't want pinched little fingers. My little girl who is going on 3 loves the clasp though as it is more realistic and wants to learn to do all these things.

It's a nice girlie design and pattern – extra cute with a little felt flower on the hood. The other great feature is that they can easily push the seat back to recline it, and with that and the hood down they can get their toys off to sleep. It also has a bottom compartment for storing dolly's essentials, or if you're my daughter, for storing leaves and conkers you have collected out on your walk.

It feels quite sturdy, here is my little girl zooming along with it. If you are wondering what's happened to her doll, in typical Squiggle style she insisted on taking her dinosaur for a walk instead. She then insisted he preferred to sit underneath where he would find it much bumpier... like a trampoline.

Hey it's her pushchair!
And we love it!

The 'Hello Kitty Pretty Kitty Pushchair' will be available in Toys R Us for Christmas.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Mummy and Squiggle visit the midwife

Yesterday I was so happy and proud of my little girl. I suddenly remembered I had a midwife appointment so Squiggle and I rushed off to it together. She was such a good little girl (not in the sit quietly in the corner type of way) but in the have a chat chat chat about everything kind of way. Sometimes I just feel so proud of her and how much personality she has. Everything seems ok (touch wood) and I heard the heartbeat for the first time, it was a really special moment to share with my daughter who said she could hear the baby. It was a totally different experience from the first time around, but just as special for all different reasons. :)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Pregnancy = some crazy old dreams!

With my second pregnancy have come a whole new set of weird and wonderful dreams. I know it's said that telling people your dreams is the most boring thing in the world, but I feel the need to write them down!

The strangest I had last pregnancy was my tummy stretching and stretching until my baby popped out. She told me she was fine but could I please eat some more peanut butter. Although some people swear "no nuts when you're pregnant", I decided to take the advice of my unborn child and had some the next morning!

I've had a few this time around but the strangest came last night and was so unsettling... In the dream I was at a routine appointment when I spotted I could see a scan of my baby, it was perfect, but it was in my arm. They took the heartbeat and it confirmed it was growing in my arm. I was quite upset but apparently the baby was going to be fine, I just needed my arm to be amputated to deliver it. Surprisingly I was pretty ok with this but I was just fuming that it was my right arm as I am hopeless with my left!

I woke up pretty confused and stressed out, does it mean anything?? Probably that I am slightly nuts whilst pregnant. The previous one I had, I met my child briefly and they had amazing glittering gold eyes which I just stared into. This also panicked me when I woke up, I keep worrying they mean there is something wrong.

I would love to hear if anyone else had had just as strange dreams? Please it will make me feel better, I've even taken to googling them - not healthy!!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

My new badge

I have some news, we are expecting another baby! I am now about 18 weeks and starting to look pretty round! I've been completely paranoid about sharing my news as I don't want to jinx anything. I'm excited though and can't really hold it in (the news,not the baby) much longer.

I thought I'd be a lot cooler this time but I'm still worrying about everything. Apparently according to my husband they are all things I worried about the first time around but I seem to have forgotten! There just seems so much that can go wrong and so many decisions to make, it can be overwhelming.

I was lucky again with not having a lot of sickness, I was just ridiculously tired. It's meant my blog has slipped over the last few months as I've been too zonked to keep up but I'm hoping to get going again now I have some energy back. The toyologists reviews are keeping me busy and getting me back in the swing of things!

So what do you think of my new badge? It's for my commute to work and I am so embarrassed about wearing it! I chickened out completely last time but I do find it quite horrible standing in the tube at the moment so I'm giving it a go! Would you wear one?

Don't laugh at me if you see me (but do feel free to offer me your seat)!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Lunch box Ideas with Leftovers

A sponsored guest post:

As a family we tend to cook mostly on Saturdays and Sundays. That often means that if we don’t eat everything, there’ll be left overs in the fridge Monday morning. I’ve now got into the discipline of using whatever is left over to fill the kids’ lunch boxes. Having had a stuffed pepper and steak dinner on Saturday, I found myself on Sunday evening with two red peppers and some carrots in the fridge. We had some pitta breads and dips on Sunday evening and there were four pitta breads left over.
I went for pitta bread carrot and red pepper wraps with cream cheese (I always have light cream cheese in the fridge!) I washed and dried the peppers and then cut them into thin strips, making sure all the seeds were removed. I then washed and peeled the carrots and cut these into small thin pieces, about the size of a baby’s finger. Making sure that I didn’t over-fill the pitta bread, I placed pepper and carrot in the wrap and added the light cream. I then completed the lunch boxes by adding a low fat yoghurt and a pear. Off they went to school, and I was pleased to see that later that afternoon they came trotting back to the house with their lunch boxes empty. Clearly the fridge leftover makeover worked!
Another favourite with my kids is making a tasty salad in a plastic bowl that I seal with clear cellophane and pop into their lunch boxes. Depending on what is leftover in the fridge, you can make this with turkey, tuna or chicken. Cut the meat into small pieces and then add sliced celery, some walnuts and raisins. Mix them altogether with a low fat mayonnaise. Pop the sealed bowls in the lunchboxes along with an apple and a couple of crackers with a low fat cheese slice or two. Hey presto!

Finally- what to do with that leftover potato salad? Here’s what you can do to give the kids a really tasty lunchbox special: Add some tinned tuna, balsamic vinegar, a little corn-starch and some chopped parsley (or other herb that the kids like). Mix it all together in a bowl and then spread out into fritters.  Fry in a little vegetable oil. They can then be put into a plastic bag and kept in the fridge until the morning. Put them in the kids’ lunchboxes next morning along with their favourite low fat dip or salad cream, and remind them to heat them up in the school’s microwave for a tasty and nutritious lunch.
The secret is really just to be inventive when coming across leftovers in your fridge. And don’t call them leftovers! That can be off-putting for the kids. I call mine “second helpings”.
Good luck! Some more creative ideas here!

As if by AniMagic – Ruby the Glamour Pet Review

So here's what I had the other day from my toddler...

Well I thought I had a good few years before the dog pestering happened. I explained it would be too lonely while mummy was at work and she was playing at Granny's.

Later that week I told her we were going to get a big box of toys to play with and we had to test them to see if they were good for other boys and girls to play with. This was her response...

Well luckily for me (and her) Geoffrey did not disappoint and there was indeed a perfect little puppy. I was pretty certain she was going to be completely delighted with her Ani-Magic Glamour Pet pup Ruby, and she was... and still is!

Ruby the puppy is just perfect for little girly girls who love animals. Perfect for me too as I don't have to take her for walks or worry about her eating the furniture.

She is:
Pretty on the eye
Very very soft and always ready for a cuddle (and a kiss)
Happy to let you dress her up with her reversible coat
Even happier to have her hair styled
Very well behaved in the car
Doesn't jump up at visitors
Only prone to very lady like little barks

She never:
Whimpers while you are trying to eat your lunch
Wants a walk
Sheds hair on the furniture
Complicates holiday plans (fits very nicely in a backpack)

My favourite thing about Ruby is just how soft she is. My daughter fell in love with her instantly and loves using the brush to do her hair and adding the little clips which come with it.

Day Coat / Night Coat (for that added glamour)

Ruby had batteries included which just about made my day and she comes with some sound effects. When you brush her hair she is designed to bark and when you press her close to your face to make a kissing noise. These kind of work but we found we had to press quite hard rather than just using the brush or snuggling up.

This little pup has brought my daughter a lot of joy and is perfect for little girls who love to play at taking care of animals. Ruby is a little patch of pink and glitter I just couldn't say no to having in the house!

Ruby will be available soon from Toys R Us.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Hello Kitty Sweet Treat Food Bar Review

Our family is full of girls (so far) and if there's one thing the little girls in our family love it's playing food shops. My daughter has 5 girl cousins ranging from 2 to 13 and when they are all over this is what tends to be the first game of choice (followed by schools and a dance show!) The minute we saw the Hello Kitty Sweet Treats Food Bar box it screamed girl heaven and my little girly girl was very excited!

We couldn't wait to open it, but I have to admit my heart sunk slightly when we did... there is a bit of assembly to do which is fine but there are stickers to stick on everything. This may not be a problem for everyone but it's always nicer when things are ready to go (mummy got a little stressed trying to stick things in a straight line).

Time to get sticking!
Once assembled it is full of delicious treats to make and pretend to sell and little ones will have lots of fun - maybe not a toy to promote healthy eating mind! There are a wide range of sweet treats – macaroons, chocolate, donuts and ice cream (oh if only they were real). It also comes with some great accessories – a sauce bottle, serving utensils and a grater.

Ta Dah!!
From mummy's point of view I love how compact it all is. A lot of food toys I have been put off buying as we just don't have the space. As all the parts are small this doesn't take up much room, it doesn't really pack away though and would be great if you could fold it up!

The smallness of it all is also attractive to my daughter as she just loves little tiny things. Now all her tiny animals and toys she has collected have a wonderful sweet shop to visit to help complete her play world!

It is robust and well made but I did have a couple of niggles with it. The foods selection doesn't really relate to any shop my daughter would visit in real life. The idea of the ice cream is great and she loved it but she was looking for a cone to put it in. They do give you some takeaway boxes but they are hard to put together and a bit small for the food. I don't think my little one has ever had ice cream in a box so just seemed an odd choice! I wish they had provided a couple of plastic cones and a couple of bags for selling the snacks and donuts, or maybe some little plates. We have some little plastic plates so we've been using those to play. There is a sign / menu which stands up which is a great idea but they have only provided a small amount of paper. Easily replaced but a bigger pad would have been nice!

I'm pretty certain most little girls (like mine) will really feel the wow factor when they see this toy – especially as it's Hello Kitty. There are just a few little things I would love to change/add to make it perfect so my daughter could get the most out of her role play games with it. Having said that she has been having lots of fun playing with the donut fryer, pretending she's at the fair and catering for her toys birthday parties.

Duplo Read & Build Review

Well I absolutely love this, I think it is such a fab idea! Basically the Read & Build set comes with a story book and enough Duplo bricks to be able to make the characters in the story. The set we received to review was 'Busy Farm' and the book is a simple rhyming farm story about a rooster waking up the farm and then falling asleep himself. From the packaging it looks like you can get other sets with different stories and I'm sure it would be lovely to collect a few but we really enjoyed this one.

Each page has a part of the story about one of the animals and a simple illustrative picture of how to make that animal from the bricks. They are just very simple (3 or 4 chunky bricks each) but great for little ones to get the idea of following instructions themselves. This is the part that made my little one pleased as punch, she could do it ALL BY HERSELF!!

At nearly 3 years old (and an experienced Duplo player) I expected my little girl to find it a bit too basic but she loved it. She always loves pretending to follow instructions (or constructions as she calls them) but this time she could actually do it. She was holding the pieces up to the book to check them and was really proud of herself when she made the animals. They were a bit back to front the first few times but that doesn't matter!

Although aimed at slightly younger children she enjoyed the story, and once she built the animals they were busy making all their sounds and reenacting the story.

It would be fantastic if they also did a slightly older version of this, I'm going to have to check as I would buy it for her for Christmas in a flash! I would say this set would make a perfect stocking filler for a one or early two year old. It's a great first step into the wonderful world of Lego.

The Duplo will be available at Toys R Is soon hurray!!