#VLOGSTARS // June Favourites

I’m linking up for another #VLOGSTARS video and this month’s theme was June favourites. I’ve watched a few of these favourites videos on YouTube but most of them seem to be about beauty products…and if I’m honest I don’t really use any make up or skin care products (maybe I should start?)

Anyway, here’s my June Favourites – watch to the end if you want to see me trying to get my foot high enough to get it into the shot!

If you enjoyed this vlog then you can also see last month’s #VLOGSTARS video here.

Linking up with Colette at We’re going on an adventure and Katy at What Katy Said


June favourites #VLOGSTARS

Ten family blogs I love

So I’ve been blogging here at Toby Goes Bananas for getting on for four years now. I started writing in 2013 when Toby was a few months old, and since then I have read a lot of other parenting blogs too. Some of them I’ve been reading since before Toby was born, others I have discovered more recently. Anyway, I thought it would be nice to share some of my favourite parenting and family blogs with you too…

Ten family blogs I love

What the Redhead Said

Donna’s blog was one of the very first parenting blogs that I started reading. Read more

Remembering Childhood // Pass the Prosecco Please

It’s that time of week when another blogger is going to be sharing their childhood memories. This week’s Remembering Childhood comes from Lisa from Pass the Prosecco Please.

Pass the Prosecco Please

Which decade were you born in?

I was born in the 80s.

What is your earliest memory? How old were you?

My earliest memory is being in the South of France age 3. I can remember sitting on a green turtle potty in St Tropez!

What was your favourite toy at 5 years old? At 10?

At age 5 I loved my teddies, I used to love cuddling up to them and I also loved toy cars, I was a true tomboy. I was much the same age 10 except I got a GameBoy (retro right?) for my birthday and Super Mario 6 Gold Coins was my life.

Do you still have any toys from your childhood?

Read more

Celebrating 35 years of Dear Zoo with Milly & Flynn

Did you know it has been 35 years since the children’s classic Dear Zoo was published? Of course I’ve heard of the book but somehow I’ve never actually read it! However, that didn’t stop me being keen for Toby and Gabe to try out some Dear Zoo toys from the lovely Milly & Flynn.

We tried some lovely wooden Peppa Pig toys from Milly & Flynn back in November so I knew before we even got them that these Dear Zoo toys would be great quality too. We were sent a wooden shape sorter, and a lift the flap puzzle for the boys to play with and as you can see Gabe couldn’t wait to get his hands on them!

Dear Zoo shape sorter and puzzle from Milly and Flynn

We’ve got a couple of different shape sorters and Gabe has just recently worked out how to use them. Read more

Living Arrows 25/52 (2017)

I can’t believe how fast time is flying at the moment – the last week seems to have disappeared in a blur of interviews, didn’t get the job moping, playing out, trips to the park and then this weekend saw Toby at two birthday parties!

Both of this week’s Living Arrows pictures are just iPhone photos that I managed to grab this week. Gabe’s picture was taken one afternoon after his nap. We went out on the street to play on scooters – after Gabe enjoyed having a go on Toby’s scooter with the seat on a few weeks ago we got him one of his own. The helmet is far too big but I don’t think he’s going to be doing any high speed falls just yet!

Gabe playing on his scooter in a helmet that is far too bigAnd Toby’s picture was taken at one of the birthday parties – I think he was enjoying his lunch!

Toby enjoying his lunch at a birthday party

Until next week then – which I can’t believe is going to be week 26 and we’ll be half way through the year already!


Living Arrows

How to survive a preschool birthday party

Although Toby has been going to nursery since he was 13 months old he has only ever been to one birthday party…until the last couple of weeks. Last weekend was his first soft play party, today we went to a bouncy play centre and tomorrow it’s Princesses and Superheroes in the local community centre! Toby has been having a great time with his friends but as a parent, how do I survive a preschool birthday party??

Because the boys go to private nursery there hasn’t been any dropping of or picking up a the school gates and so I haven’t really got to know any of the other parents. I did meet a few at the induction meeting for Toby’s new primary school that I went to a few weeks ago. All three of the children who are having these parties are going to the same school as Toby in September so I thought it would be good for him to go, and also an opportunity to get to know some of the school mums and dads that I’ll be sharing the school gate with for the next seven years!

Toby enjoying a preschool birthday party buffet

Last week though was quite a struggle for me (Toby had a great time!) as all the other parents seemed to know each other and I found it difficult to try and make conversation. So in an effort to make this weekend a bit less uncomfortable I did what any mum would do in 2017 and I took to Facebook to ask some of my fellow bloggers what their top tips were for surviving a preschool birthday party, and here’s what they had to say.

There are some great suggestions to make it a bit more bearable…

Lots of coffee to nurse! (And maybe my kindle)

Stacey, Stacey in the Sticks

Chat to the other parents, you might have something in common even if it’s just hate for party bag gifts!

Jen, Just Average Jen

Use it as an excuse to chat to the other mums, it’s nice to get to know them away from the (pre)school gates! Oh and bribe your child to behave. Of course.

Fran, Whinge Whinge Wine

Ask the host if there’s anything you can do to help – dish out juice/hand out coffee/round up the kids for the cake – all good ice breakers.

Samantha, North East Family Fun

Can’t argue with you. It’s tough! Short of gluing a satanic smile on my face, I often struggle with preschool parties. Remembering that most of the other parents feel the same way provides some comfort. Good luck!

Alex, Dad F.C.

We offer to be the designated photographers usually (granted we are pros) but it usually keeps us busy and the parents all want to see the pictures afterwards. Obviously you need to check with the host that all parents are happy for their kid to be photographed but we have yet to have an issue. And it means you can get pictures of birthday kids parents with them which they might not get if they had to take photos at the party. Also if its in a play centre you’ll find me in the middle of the jungle gym or on a slide, I’m a big kid at heart!!

Chantele, Two Hearts One Roof

Wait until he starts school the parties really ramp up! It’s a great chance to see your child interacting with their friends. Plus it’s not always easy to chat to parents in the school playground. So, this is a chance to get to know them. I hate making small talk, but I really push myself and now parties are a bit easier as I can have a coffee and a chat.

Laura, Dear Bear and Beany

Fake it until you make it. Act like you are absolutely comfortable, ask the other parents questions about their kids then act like their reply (and their kid) is fascinating after a few you don’t need to act and hopefully someone will ask you something back.
Like the advice those dating gurus give but thankfully you only have to see this lot for a couple of hours every few weeks as opposed to make a life with them.

Caroline, Sprog on the Tyne

Don’t turn up late like we always do! If you’re early you can grab the best seats either in the middle of everyone so you don’t look like a lemon without a seat or if you prefer the seats on their own so you don’t have to mingle!

Heidi, Southern Mummy

A few people suggested taking something with you to do so you can look busy…

I’d just do some work on my phone if I didn’t know anyone and no one seemed interested in talking . I’ve been to a lot like this now. Now my daughter is in school there’s a party every other week!

Victoria, Lylia Rose

Take some work with you, then if it does get cliquey you can look very busy!

Victoria, Mummy Times Two

And there were quite a few people who suggested the best way to get through preschool birthday parties is just to remember they stop almost as soon as they’ve started…

Remember it doesn’t last forever! For the first couple of years at school/nursery Charlie had so many parties but they soon tail off. There is light at the end of a sweaty tunnel!

Beth, Twinderelmo

There is an age for a magic ‘drop and run’, usually at 5, when you can go home or sit in a cafe nearby. Lots of parents actually encourage it as parties with all the parents can get so stressful when they get to school and start doing bigger parties so think, ‘it’s not forever’ to help get you through.

Louise, Pink Pear Bear

Once they’re older they’re great because it’s 2 hours of free babysitting – yes I’m the mother who drops and runs! Also, if you see toys on offer stock up for presents.

Jenny, Midwife and Life

And of course there’s always the option to just not bother!

I avoid kids parties as much as humanly possible! Oh no, turns out we have plans that day…

Nyomi, nomipalony

Or if it gets really desperate…

A hip flask!

Aby, You Baby Me Mummy

Actually yesterday’s party was much better for me that last week’s – there weren’t quite as many people there so I found it a bit easier to chat to the other parents. One more to go this afternoon and then I think that might be it until the school parties start. We’re only having a party for family and close friends for Toby so at least I don’t have to endure a preschool birthday party as a host!

Do you have any other top tips for surviving a preschool birthday party? Please do leave me a comment and let me know if you have.

How to survive a preschool birthday party


Siblings // Toby and Gabe in June (2017)

It’s been a month since I last wrote a Siblings update and to be honest since last month things are much the same with Toby and Gabe. They still bicker and argue all the time but they are starting to play together, or at least in peace, a lot more too.

I’m just going to share a few pictures that I’ve taken over the last month. I’m still loving putting the boys in matching clothes when ever I can get away with it (it’s always just matching prints rather than completely identical outfits though) and I love this pineapple print from Maxomorra that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

Toby and Gabe in matching pineapple print clothes

These robots are Maxomorra too and this picture was when we were at my mum and dad’s house on my birthday. I think this is one of my favourite ever pictures of Toby and Gabe Read more

73 Questions in 7 meals

Way back in March I was tagged by Lynette at Reclusive Fox to answer Vogue’s 73 Questions. Well, I’ve finally got round to doing it! Rather than just sit in front of the camera to ask and answer the questions myself I roped Barry in to help. And to hopefully make it a bit more interesting I decided to film it over seven nights while I was eating my tea!

So if you want to hear my answers to the 73 questions, and see what I ate for a week then please do have a watch below. And yes, one of the meals was turkey dinosaurs and chips – don’t judge me!

Read more

Introducing Shake That Weight // Giveaway

Here we go again… Yes, I am once again attempting to lose some weight. Having had two babies in the last four years, and pretty much not had a full night’s sleep in all that time I am currently about two and a half stone more than I would like to be. I know I need to change my eating habits and my attitude to food if I am ever going to lose weight and keep it off but with so much to lose I would like a bit of a kick start first. And so when Shake That Weight got in touch and asked if I would like to try their products I was happy to give it a try.

Shake That Weight is a meal replacement diet, and although I am familiar with this kind of diet and have tried them before they all work a little differently. There is a tool on the Shake That Weight website which enables you to put in your height, weight and exercise levels and they will recommend which of their plans would work best for you.

Shake That Weight Products

The tool recommended the Woman Plan for me, which is a Total Food Replacement plan. This means four Shake That Weight products a day and no ‘conventional’ food. Read more

Remembering Childhood // Cuteness & Chaos

It’s that time of week when another blogger is going to be sharing their childhood memories. This week’s Remembering Childhood comes from Skye at Cuteness & Chaos.

Which decade were you born in?


What is your earliest memory? How old were you?

Visiting our family home in South Africa while it was still being built. I was two years old.

What was your favourite toy at 5 years old? At 10?

I can’t remember age-specific toys, but I remember that I loved my etch-a-sketch and Barbie dolls.

Skye from Cuteness & Chaos, aged 4

Do you still have any toys from your childhood?

Read more