Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (November 2016)

So here I am, late again, but not quite as late as last month!

To be honest November is a month I think I would rather forget – it seems like it has just been a month of never-ending illness for us. Gabe has had the worst of it (and has made sure the rest of us knew about it too) but this last week or so we’ve all had some sort of stomach bug, I had an awful cold as well and now both the boys are snotty too.

Barry spent almost a week in Germany for work too, leaving me to cope with poorly non-sleeping Gabe. At least we now live near enough to my parents that my mum could come and give me a hand one day so I wasn’t all on my own.

What with all the illness, and trying to get the painting finished in the kitchen, we didn’t really go anywhere further than the park in November so I didn’t manage to get our Me & Mine picture, and I didn’t really want another living room selfie.

Yesterday though, we actually got out and went to visit Jodrell Bank. Toby loves space and the planets and although he’s still a bit little to really understand most of the actual science he still had lots of fun playing with all the interactive exhibits.

So, November’s Me & Mine picture was actually taken in December, but only just. We actually asked someone to take the picture for us, which we never normally do, but I think it turned out pretty well.


You might notice that the picture above is a little bit blurry….that’s because I cropped it from this one…


That’s one hell of a telescope!

I’m really hoping that we’ve all got our winter illnesses out of the way now and we can have a happy and healthy Christmas! Please do come back at the end of the month to find out how we’ve got on, and to see our last Me & Mine family portrait of 2016.

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 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.


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.


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!


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.

**This post contains affiliate links

My Wild Ones // Dundee Science Centre

When my friend Donna from What the Redhead said told me she was coming on holiday to Scotland I was hoping she would be staying near enough that we could meet up and I could get to meet her lovely kids (and husband), and she could meet Toby and Gabe. Even though Scotland is a pretty big place luckily they weren’t staying too far away so we arranged to meet for a day out at the Dundee Science Centre.

Dundee is just under an hour’s drive from where we live, which isn’t too far but this was the first time I was taking both boys out for the day on my own. I made sure we had everything we needed, plus plenty of things we probably wouldn’t, and off we went.

Even though it’s not half term in most places near us the science centre was still quite busy. It’s not that big but there was plenty for the kids to look at and play with. Because it was quite small it also meant that I didn’t have to hang on to Toby too tightly, as long as I kept an eye on him he couldn’t go far.


It was lovely to meet Donna’s kids LP and LM, especially having read so much about them over the last few years.

LP and LM

We had lunch at the science centre and Toby was very well behaved, in fact he was really good all day. Gabe was being a bit of a monkey and wouldn’t drink hardly any of his milk (which meant he ended up crying on the way home because he was hungry), but apart from that he was generally happy to hang out in the buggy.

The one downside to taking the boys without Barry was that although there was quite a lot for Toby to look at and do (like these robots with handles to turn and buttons to push) I couldn’t really help explain things to him as much as I might have been able to if Barry was there.


It didn’t matter too much anyway as I think Toby’s two favourite things of the whole day were this thing that lit up and played different notes when you stood on the different sections…

sound and lights

…and running up and down this walkway!


Aside from Gabe crying on the way home as I’ve already mentioned we really did have a lovely day out and it’s made me realise that taking both kids out on my own is certainly possible, even if it’s not actually easy yet!

It was fantastic to see Donna and her lovely family too – I love it when blogging and the real world collide.