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

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

Bluestone National Park Resort with a toddler and a preschooler // An in depth review

At the beginning of last month we were invited to stay at Bluestone National Park resort in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The last time we went on holiday was when we went to Center Parcs last May so we were well overdue a break away! So we loaded up the car, packed up the kids and set off on our mammoth drive to Wales.

This is going to be quite a long and in depth review of our stay so if you haven’t got the time to read it all now then you can watch this little video of our stay instead…

Getting there

The journey was relatively stress-free, even though it took us seven and a half hours to get there! We were coming from the north west, it takes about 15 minutes to get on the M6 at Preston from where we live and then we were off. We decided to stick to the motorways even though it would make our journey a bit longer, just because you never know when you might need to stop with two small children and we wanted the convenience of stopping at motorway services. Read more

What’s in my changing bag? // Pacapod Oban

I know some people love having lots of different changing bags but I’ve only ever had two…that is until I was sent a lovely Pacapod Oban in mocha to try out.

Pacapod Oban Mocha

The main design feature of all the Pacapod bags are the detachable ‘pods’ that they come with. The Pacapod Oban has a changer pod and a feeder pod which fit neatly inside. The pods can be unclipped from the main bag and used separately – it also means you can make extra space in the main bag if you need it.

Pacapod feeding and changing pods

The changer pod includes a folding changing mat and a small wet bag. Read more

Learning to scoot with the SmarTrike T1 Scooter

At three and a half Toby has had his fair share of wheeled transport. We got him a SmarTrike 4 in 1 trike for his first birthday, a sit on scooter for his second birthday, a balance bike for his third birthday… If I’m honest the second two haven’t seen much use – although Toby was full of enthusiasm he never really lasted more than ten minutes before he got fed up. I’ve seen lots of other kids his age who seem to be pros on a scooter so when we were given the chance to try the T1 scooter from SmarTrike I thought it would be a great opportunity for him to give it a try.

Just a boy and his SmarTrike Scooter

The added bonus of the T1 scooter is that is actually suitable from 15 months. With the addition of seat and adjustable handlebars it can be used as a ride on for younger children before removing the seat for scooting when your child is bigger. The scooter has two front wheels making it very stable for beginners too. Read more

Review: Peppa Pig wooden toys from Milly & Flynn

I have a confession to make  – I have never seen an episode of Peppa Pig, and neither have my kids. Not in my presence anyway, but at about 20 months Toby did start calling all pigs Peppa so I’m guessing she might have made an appearance at nursery somewhere along the line. Anyway, when I was asked if we would like to review some Peppa Pig wooden toys from Milly & Flynn my initial reaction was to say no. But then I had a look at the range and realised they were just some really nice wooden toys that happened to have Peppa Pig on them and there was really no reason for the boys not to play with them.

peppa-pig-wooden-toys-from-milly-flynn

Milly & Flynn have a variety of different Peppa Pig toys; we were sent the Magnetic Play Set (RRP £12), the Peppa Pig Push-Along (RRP £15) and the Skittles Set (RRP £20). My theory was that Toby and Gabe would both be able to play with the skittles, the magnetic play set would be great for Toby and newly-walking Gabe would enjoy the push-along. Of course things don’t always work out the way you plan!

toby-playing-with-the-peppa-pig-skittles-set

We set up the skittles but I think Toby managed one shot before Gabe decided it was much more fun to knock them over himself.

gabe-playing-with-the-skittles-set-in-his-own-way

He then carried them off to the other side of the room and that was the end of that game! Gabe has had a lot of fun with the skittles though. He likes banging them together, or practising standing them up – which is trickier than it sounds when you’re only 15 months old.

gabe-really-loves-the-peppa-pig-skittles

The Magnetic Play Set is fab for Toby. He’s only just started to make up stories when he’s playing, and this double sided board with lots of pieces really helps him use his imagination. Here he was telling me a story about the purple dinosaur who was playing football in the park.

toby-telling-a-story-with-the-peppa-pig-magnetic-play-set

There are plenty of magnetic pieces to put on the board – enough that Toby and Gabe even managed to play together for a little bit without arguing!

toby-and-gabe-almost-playing-together-with-the-peppa-pig-magnetic-play-set

The last item we were sent was the Peppa Pig Push-Along. Gabe has only just started walking, so walking and pushing is a skill he is still working on but he definitely enjoys it and the push-along is just the right size for him.gabe-figuring-out-the-peppa-pig-push-along

All the wooden toys that we have been trying out are lovely – they are really well made, and sturdy enough to cope with my not so gentle boys playing with them. There are more wooden toys available from Milly & Flynn – in the Peppa Pig range and they also have a Dear Zoo range.

I’m sure we’ll get plenty of use out of our new Peppa Pig toys for months, and even years to come. And you never know, one of these days Gabe might even let us have a proper game of skittles!!

 

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

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Review: Messy goes to Okido // Talking Messy Monster

If you have ever met a three year old you will know they are full of questions. Toby’s thirst for knowledge is just non-stop – at the moment he’s a bit fixated on what things are made of (walls, feet, cereal…) and how things work. We try and answer as many questions as we can but sometimes it’s nice to have a helping hand and that’s where programmes like Messy goes to Okido can come in useful!

messy-goes-to-okido-on-cbeebies

Messy goes to Okido is a science show about Messy and his friends who find out something different about the world around us in every episode – it covers all sorts of things from electricity and magnets to thunderstorms and volcanoes. Toby loves watching Messy and has picked up all sorts from the programme.

The CBeebies TV show started life as Okido magazine; an arts and science magazine aimed at 3-8 year olds full of different activities, experiments and stories.

large-talking-messy-monster

Recently Toby was lucky enough to be sent a copy of the magazine and a Large Talking Messy Monster soft toy. The magazine is great and has a lot of really interesting activities but I think it will be another year or two before Toby can really appreciate it.

messy-goes-to-okido

He loves his talking Messy Monster though – especially because when he presses his tummy it comes out with all Messy’s catchphrases like ‘let’s skidoodle okidoodle’ or ‘balla balla boom boom’ (these will probably mean more to you if you’ve seen the programme). And even though Gabe doesn’t really know anything about the TV programme he loves listening to Messy talk too!

talking-messy-monster

The Large Talking Messy Monster has an RRP of £14.99 and is available from all the usual retailers.

 

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured product in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

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What Toby Wore // Rockin’ Baby

Back in April we were sent some lovely clothes for Toby and Gabe from the Rockin’ Baby Spring/ Summer collection so when they launched the Autumn/ Winter collection and asked if would like to feature something I jumped at the chance.

Toby is very happy with his new Rockin' Baby coat

This time Toby was sent this brilliant Bug Print rain mac. I love the colours of this coat – mustard is one of my absolute favourites at the moment. The bug print is fabulous – it met with Toby’s approval too which is more important now he’s three and has plenty of his own opinions about his clothes!

Rockin' Baby rain mac

Bug Print rain mac

We decided to head out into the garden for a photoshoot and to see if we could have our own mini-beast adventure.

Toby looking for mini beasts in his Rockin' Baby bug print rain mac

The Rockin' Baby bug print rain mac is great for exploring

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exploring-the-garden-in-the-rockin-baby-rain-mac

Toby is wearing age 4-5 and I would say it’s pretty true to size – it fits him well and he is a big three year old. The rain mac is really well made – it’s fully fleece lined, even the sleeves, which I really like.

cosy-fleece-lining-in-the-rockin-baby-bug-print-rain-mac

the-rockin-baby-rain-mac-is-perfect-for-garden-adventures

The seams are all bound to make them really comfy, and the hood is a sensible size and stays up easily. I can’t comment on the waterproof-ness of the rain mac as we haven’t had any rain since we got it but it certainly kept Toby toasty out in the garden. We haven’t used our garden much since we moved but Toby really enjoyed exploring – even if we didn’t actually find any mini-beasts! He did have a go at practising his ‘feelers out, what’s about?’ pose from the CBeebies Mini-Beast Adventure programme.

feelers-out-whats-about

The really great thing about all Rockin’ Baby clothing is that for every item that is bought another is given to a child in China or West Africa. You can find out more about Rockin’ Baby’s child-to-child giving here.

Toby loves his new bug print rain mac and so do I – I’m actually very tempted to get him the matching wellies too!

toby-keeping-warm-in-the-last-of-the-sunlight-in-his-new-bug-print-coat

We also have one Rockin’ Baby Blue Stripe rain mac in age 3-4 to give away.

rockin-baby-blue-stripe-rain-mac

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**Disclosure: We were sent the featured clothing for the purposes of this post but all opinions are my own.

Linking up with Hannah for Funky Kid Friday

Review: Milly & Flynn books

Toby loves books and we have loads but there are always room for some more on our shelves so we were very happy to receive some new ones from new pre-school retailer Milly & Flynn.

milly & flynn books

We were sent four books from their range; Bigger and Bigger Wheels; My Astronaut Adventure; Little Sliders Shapes and Flippety Flaps In the Garden.

I loved how all the books have something a bit different about them. Toby loved peeking through the holes in My Astronaut Adventure and sliding the tabs in the Shapes book.

my-astronaut-adventure

The Flippety Flaps book is a perfect size for Gabe’s little hands and is robust enough to withstand his sometimes less than gentle play!

flippety-flaps-in-the-garden

Both boys love the Bigger and Bigger Wheels book – Toby really enjoyed the story and looking at all the pictures. I think Gabe mostly just enjoyed the different sized pages but at that age anything that is easy for them to handle and turn the pages is great.

bigger-bigger-bigger-wheels

There are lots of different titles available from the same ranges as the ones we received, as well as lots of others. Milly & Flynn also sell a range of toys and games – I’ve got my eye on some of the jigsaws for Toby for Christmas!

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

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Review: Piccolo baby food pouches

Gabe’s weaning journey so far has been quite up and down. Anytime he’s ill or teething he seems to go off his food but I can usually tempt him with a puree pouch when he doesn’t want anything else. So when the lovely people at Piccolo got in touch to ask if we wanted to try some of their new baby food pouches we were happy to give them a try.

piccolo-new-flavours

Piccolo products are produced with the idea of Mediterranean Goodness at heart. The flavours of the pouches reflect that too, for example; apple and apricot with a pinch of cinnamon, peach and apple with a hint of basil, spring greens with a hint of mint or squash, red pepper and chickpea with a hint of rosemary to name a few.

Gabe was certainly keen to get his hands on the pouches when they first arrived!

gabe-cant-wait-to-get-his-hands-on-the-piccolo-pouches

Gabe is at an age now where he can suck straight from the pouch which is really handy, especially when we’re out and about. It’s hard to tell really but he does seem to like most of the Piccolo pouches. The only thing I will say is that these pouches are quite runny compared to some of the other brands we use. I think this took Gabe by surprise a bit when he first tried them because he managed to squeeze it all over himself!

gabe-enjoyed-trying-the-piccolo-squash-red-pepper-and-chickpea-pouch

To be honest Gabe is a little bit past the puree stage but these Piccolo pouches have been great for adding to Weetabix and porridge and we found a great use for them with Toby.

making-peach-and-apple-ice-lollies

One pouch is the perfect amount to fill our ice lolly mould. Toby loves them and thinks he’s getting a big treat and I’m happy knowing everything he’s eating is good for him!

piccolo-ice-lollies-ready-for-the-freezer

At the moment Piccolo only produce Stage 1 baby food pouches but they are always developing new products. They are releasing some new flavours soon too which we were also sent to try; mango, pear & kale with a dash of yogurt; banana, strawberry & peach with a hint of mint; sweet potato, beetroot, apple & pear and raspberry & apple with soaked oats. Some of the flavours may seem a bit out there to us as adults but Gabe seems to like them!

Piccolo pouches are currently available from Amazon, Ocado, Booths, Waitrose and a few other retailers. You can find out where to buy them near you on the Piccolo website here.

 

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

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