Thursday, 30 June 2011

School's Out For Summer!

The summer holidays have started here today and so begin the manic 6 or 7 weeks of chaos, price rises and bored children. Well at least that is how I remember my school holidays. The first couple of weeks I was delighted to be free from school, enjoying late nights and late rises but towards the end of the holidays I was itching to get back to school to see my friends. Of course 2 weeks in I was ready for the October half term...!

For me the summer holidays aren’t going to impact our routine much. Wee Z only goes to nursery for 2 mornings a week so he won’t be missing out on much. Husband and I work around each other so we don’t have to worry about childcare and I’ll be avoiding soft play centres until the schools are back in. Instead, if the weather improves here, we’ll be spending time at the park or even in our back garden which has the luxury of complete privacy and space for the kids to play. We also live near the beach so we will definitely take advantage of a few visits there.

Next week Husband and I are both on holiday and GG has invited us all to her chalet up north for a few days. My niece and nephew are going too so the kids will have some other children to play with and there is a swimming pool and a kids club so I’m sure we’ll have lots of fun.
We thought about going away somewhere; sometimes it is just as expensive to stay in the UK as it is to go abroad but we decided to wait until September when the schools are back and the weather is a bit cooler for the kids. We’re going to Fuerteventura which I’m really looking forward to as it will be our first family holiday abroad.

I’m already looking at holidays for next year and I’m looking into planning our first trip to Disneyland for when the kids are a bit older. Holidays are so expensive nowadays so I definitely think it helps to plan well ahead so you can start saving. We won’t go away every year but I definitely want the kids to enjoy the holidays I enjoyed when I was younger. Where is everyone else away to this year? Are you staying local or heading abroad or somewhere else in the UK? Feel free to leave me some recommendations!
Wee Z on his first holiday to Portugal


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The Gallery - My Weekend

I couldn't make it to Cybermummy at the weekend so instead I did what I love to do best.

Bake.


This cake was baked for my girl friends and I to enjoy over at a friends house on Saturday. That was my first girls night in in a long time and although I was off the booze, I had a great time. We enjoyed some great conversation and some delicious snacks. The cake was finished off in no time at all.

I came home at about 12.30am to find Husband and his friends playing poker. I decided to sit in for him and showed them all how to play poker by whipping their bums beating them all with a three of kind! Unfortunately there was no money changing hands during the game!


I am a bit sad to have missed Cybermummy, especially after reading all the post going around from those who were there but I had a really fantastic weekend with my friends and my family. Shame it rained!

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is My Weekend. Go check out the other entries!


Sunday, 26 June 2011

He's Grown So Fast

Today I decided to clear out all of Wee Z's baby clothes and get them ready to be passed on to a baby who will get some wear out of them. We had kept them incase Miss C had been a boy and then kept them a bit longer incase we decided to have another baby. However, with no new baby in the plan at the moment, the bags and bags of clothes are just gathering dust in the loft.

So tiny!
As I emptied the bags and pulled out tiny outfit after tiny outfit I couldn't quite believe that 4 years ago, my Wee Z would have been wearing these clothes. Wee Z held the outfits up against him (he wouldn't let me take a picture though!) and said "Wow look how much my tummy has grown!"

Wee Z used to fit in that tiny outfit!
It always makes me feel a bit broody when I go through all our baby things. I did it back in December when my sister told us she was having a girl and I sent Bella and Pops home with a car full of clothes and goodies for Miss Baby K. Pulling out babygro after babygro, I can still smell that baby smell on them. It tugs at my heart.

And then a faint smell of milky sick. That's enough to keep my broodiness at bay.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Chocolate Fudge Brownies - Delicious

I love chocolate brownies and they are really easy to make. As soon as they come out of the oven I have to eat some because they are so yummy and gooey when hot and one with a scoop of vanilla ice cream makes a really tasty pudding.


We made some chocolate fudge brownies recently to share with the family but I don't think they made it out the door. Here's the recipe - you'll soon see why!

Ingredients

100g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
75g dark muscovado sugar
125g dark chocolate (70% cocoa at least)
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
100g plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 Fudges chopped up - We used Cadburys Fudges


Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. Lightly grease and line a 20cm shallow square tine. Place the butter, sugars, dark chocolate and golden syrup in a heavy based saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the mixture is well blended and smooth. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Beat together the eggs and vanilla essence. Whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and fold it into the chocolate mixture using a metal spoon or spatula. Throw in about half of the fudge pieces and the pour the mixture into your tin. Level it out and then gently place pieces of fudge through the mixture.


Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the top is crisp and the edge of the cake is beginning to shrink away from the tin. The inside of the cake should be lovely and gooey. Leave it to cool (if you can wait) and then cut into squares. If you are feeling greedy then it will make about 9 squares or you can make mini squares to pass around your friends, family and neighbours.



Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Gallery - Saves Washing Up


The theme this week is 3 Word Gallery. I've gone with "Saves Washing Up" which is what we were doing with the whisks last week when we made Daddy a Father's Day cake. I thought licking the whipped cream off the whisk would be much safer than licking the bowl with the raw cake mix in. Miss C enjoyed it anyway!





Tuesday, 21 June 2011

I Love a Surprise Package

Last week I came home from work, opened the fridge and found a metal box inside. It was addressed to Wee Z and Miss C and, curiously, I opened it up to find lots of lovely goodies from Innocent.


At the beginning of the year, they launched their new orange juice and apple juice in lovely carafes but had feedback from Mumsnet users that they like to dilute juice for their children. In the box, which Wee Z has decided to call his lunchbox, Innocent had sent us some of their brand new juice drink for kids. It contains pure fruit juice with a splash of natural spring water and is really yummy! And they count as 1 of your 5-a-day!


On the Innocent website just now, you can play their brand new game Orange Harvest. There are plenty of prizes to be won including a breakfast hamper filled with Innocent goodies. I'm pretty rubbish at it but go and try it out for yourself and see if you can do any better than my measly score of 2!

Thank you again to the lovely people at Innocent for our lovely box of goodies. I do love surprises!


Monday, 20 June 2011

The One Where Miss C is Corrupted

I'm walking through the supermarket pushing Miss C in the trolley and concentrating on not forgetting anything on my shopping list when Miss C says "Mummy, bla bla bla (insert toddler jibberish here) Winkie"

I try not to look at her or react to what she has just said for I don't want to encourage her to continue to say that dreaded word. That word is Winkie. Of course, ignoring her only makes her say it again and this time louder. I really don't want people to cotton on to what she is saying so I say "Who is stinky?"

"NO Mummy, Winkieeeeee! Mummy Winkie, Mummy Winkie!"

I hurry down the aisle praying that no one has heard my beautiful blond haired, blue eyed, butter wouldn't melt faced angel uttering the word that her brother has managed to teach her; the one that has taken her from being this little darling to a mischievous toddler.

That evening I tucked Miss C into her bed and Wee Z lay beside her whilst we read their favourite book, The Gruffalo. They both know it so well that when it comes to the little mouse telling the fox, the owl and the snake what the Gruffalo's favourite food is they say it themselves. We were on to the snake so I read "and his favourite food is..." to which Miss C turned and looked me straight in the eye with her most serious face and said "Poo Poo!"

Wee Z fell off the bed in fits of giggles whilst I hid my face in the book trying not to laugh. My 2 year old daughter has been well and truly corrupted.



Thursday, 16 June 2011

Baby's First Day Out

This month's Tots 100 Blog Hop is asking us all about our "Baby's First Day Out". My two are, sadly, no longer babies but I can still recall their first adventures outside of my four walls like it was yesterday and they couldn't have been more different!

Wee Z was born on a Friday and we didn't get out of the hospital until Monday. After a few days in the house and the week in hospital (I was induced) I was ready for some fresh air. My skin was looking a bit grey and I think if I looked directly at sunlight, my eyes burned a bit. Typical of June here, the weather was rubbish one day and then glorious the next. On the first sunny day after we came home we decided to go and visit one our friends who lives just over the road. We popped Wee Z in his baby seat then, after much struggling, got the baby seat in the pram and walked round to their house. I was a bit unsure what Wee Z should be wearing; I didn't want him to overheat or be cold so we opted for a little baby vest and some trousers and a blanket over him. I'm pretty sure I forgot his jumper but I did remember his changing bag so we were doing OK. It was nice to be out in the sunshine with my new baby and Husband and it felt like we were a proper little family.

Wee Z on his first day out
Whilst Wee Z's first day out was very peaceful, Miss C's was quite the opposite. Bad timing on our part meant that we were due to have Miss C somewhere around the same time Wee Z turned 2. I was a bit worried that she might arrive during his actual birthday party with visions of small children screaming as my waters broke and "Caution Wet Floor" signs being erected all around me as Miss C made her way into the world. Luckily she decided she was going to be a guest at the party and was born on the Thursday before his party which was on the Sunday. I left hospital on Friday afternoon and tried to relax at home but really it was spent making sure presents were wrapped, paper plates and napkins were bought and cakes were prepared.

Saturday was Miss C's official first day out. As soon as she'd finished her mammoth feed we fled the house, threw everything we needed in the car, strapped 2 children in their respective car seats and headed to town. I'm pretty sure my top was stained with sick and my hair was questionable as the bed head look but I needed to get a nursing bra fitted and I needed to pick up Wee Z's cake. We arrived at our local Mothercare and I grabbed an assistant to measure me. In tiredness I put the bra on inside out which we laughed about. We had decided not to bring Miss C's big pram and Husband had her in the baby carrier. She was so tiny her little legs just poked out the leg holes and her head was buried inside the carrier somewhere. Husband bumped into one of his friends who didn't even realise he had Miss C on him until Husband pointed her out. "How old is she?" he asked. "Two days old, just!" "Wow, and you're out already!" We picked up the cake, I bumped into a work friend who said "I didn't know you were pregnant!" "I'm not, I've just given birth!" I replied and made a dash back to the car to head back home.

Miss C napping at Wee Z's birthday party - lucky girl
By the time Sunday came round I was knackered. Thankfully it was a joint party for Wee Z and Wee J so Mama N had prepared most of the food and decorated the room. I'm lucky to have such good friends and family who all helped get everything ready. Miss C slept for the whole party, oblivious to her busy social life at the age of only 3 days old, allowing me some quality time with Wee Z and his guests. Wee Z had a great day and I was really happy he had enjoyed himself.

I was even happier to get home and put my feet up with a huge slice of birthday cake!


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Gallery - Dads

We're celebrating Daddy in this weeks Gallery theme as it's Father's Day on Sunday.

Daddy is great at giving cuddles and great to cuddle too.


Daddy is also good at keeping us safe, especially when we're dangling over the pond fence where the ducks and swans are waiting for their bread.



Daddy is also very strong so he's excellent to use as a method of transportation when our legs get tired.


Daddy likes to be silly and play with us even when it comes to dressing up.


Daddy is the best daddy in the whole world. 


Go check out all the other great Dads in this weeks Gallery!


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

What's your toddlers eating typology?

Weaning is one of the milestones that every baby reaches and is probably one of the most anxious times and experiences for a parent. It definitely was for me! I was dreading weaning Wee Z because I had no idea what I was doing. How much was he supposed to eat? How often? How quickly should he take new foods? How quickly should I introduce 3 meals? Snacks? It was a confusing time to say the least.

Wee Z was weaned at 16 weeks on simple purees of fruit and vegetables. I gradually increased his number of meals over a 2 month period so by the time he was 8 months old he was eating 3 meals a day. He seemed to enjoy his food, eating fish with potatoes or chicken and rice as well as weetabix with fruit mixed through it for breakfast. I was really happy with his diet and impressed with his eagerness to try new foods.
What a messy Wee Z!

By the time Wee Z turned 1 he had an excellent diet and had completely cut out his milk feeds. He didn’t like drinking cow’s milk but would drink plenty of water and loved yogurts and cheese so I wasn’t worried about his calcium intake. Then, at around a year and a half, Wee Z decided he was going to be fussy. He wouldn’t eat anything except for cheese sandwiches, cereal and yogurts. I was so worried that he wasn’t getting the nutrition he needed and at one point we were seriously considering supplementing him with vitamins. It seems though that I’m not the only parent out there worried about their child’s diet.

New research reveals nine out of ten UK parents admit they’re not confident they know what their toddler’s healthy diet should consist of. Two fifths go further by admitting they’re not convinced their child has a healthy balanced diet, receiving all the nutrients they require. The research, conducted by SMA Nutrition to identify toddlers eating habits, confirms Government statistics highlighting that just one in ten toddlers achieve their recommended intake of vitamins and minerals required for healthy growth and development.  Iron and vitamin D are two of the key nutrients toddlers may be deficient in. SMA Nutrition has teamed up with Eileen Hayes, parenting and behaviour expert who comments:
“Almost all parents know only too well that moment when a lovingly prepared meal is completely rejected by their toddler. It is important to realise that all children have certain preferences and it can take many times trying new foods before a toddler will accept it.’
Through this research they have come up with some Toddler Typologies to try and help parents understand their toddlers eating habits. Do your kids fall in with any of these typologies?

  • Mini Munchers: Toddlers who will do anything to avoid eating at the table, preferring to snack or graze their way through the day
  • Contrary Kid: These toddlers can be unpredictable when it comes to their ever changing mealtime likes and dislikes
  • Foodie Fan: They’re happy to try new foods and have a somewhat sophisticated palate for their years.  
  • Stubborn Stompers: Rather smart or headstrong toddlers who know exactly what foods they do and don’t like without even tasting them
I’d say Wee Z is definitely a Stubborn Stomper however he does seem to be getting better at eating different foods. Just last week he tried a baked bean which usually he would have refused. Apparently one in ten parents in the research said that their toddler was a Stubborn Stomper which surprised me as I thought it would have been more.

Miss C was weaned at 6 months through the Baby Led Weaning approach and she is definitely a Foodie Fan. She loves her grub and loves nothing more than tucking in to whatever is on offer. She was gobbling down Daddy’s chicken Tikka and rice on Saturday. Around 47% of parents that took part in the research said their toddler was a Foodie Fan.
Yum, lasagna make up Miss C!

Parenting and behaviour expert Eileen’s Hayes provides her top 5 tips to happy toddler mealtimes:  
  1. Don’t make a battle over food - try to be laid-back and let your child’s appetite control the amount they eat
  2. Offer a new food alongside some favourites - it can take more than 10 times trying a new food, before they get to like it
  3. Think about how the food looks - a smiley face pizza for example, and also about the texture. A child might enjoy a raw carrot, but not like them cooked
  4. Try to sit and eat with your child so it becomes an enjoyable family occasion, and they can learn from watching you eat
  5. As they get older let your child help prepare the meal as this can make them much more interested
Some interesting tips and some of which we already adopt in our household. Eating as a family is really important to me and even though Husband or I aren’t always there together, whoever is with the children eats with them. I still put vegetables on Wee Z’s plate even though I know he won’t eat them so at least he has the choice of trying them and Wee Z loves to help me cook when it is safe for him to do so. Trying to be laid back can be tough as I know I worry about them not eating as much as I’d like them too but I’m learning to trust that they know their own bellies!  


Sunday, 12 June 2011

Family Dining at Frankie & Benny's

We try to go out for a family meal once a month. If Husband and I ever go out for a meal then I love to try somewhere new so long as it comes with a great recommendation however when we eat out with the kids we tend to stick with the tried and tested; we know the food is good, the kids will eat something and it doesn't cost too much.

Voucher Codes.co.uk are searching for the UK's favourite family friendly restaurant and have asked a few parent bloggers to try out some of the top nationwide restaurants, score the experience and from their findings they will crown an overall winning restaurant. The Fuss-Free Dining report will be featured in their online lifestyle magazine, Most Wanted which offers the very latest on the worlds of fashion, food, home, sport, technology, beauty and much more.

We were asked to take part and from the choice list of restaurants we decided to go with Frankie & Benny's. We'd never been before but had heard mixed reviews of the New York Italian restaurant. There are about 5 F&Bs near us and we decided to go to the one in the city centre last Sunday and went for a late lunch. From the outside it looked quite empty but as we got closer we could see loads of families and Wee Z and Miss C were pointing out the balloons. We were greeted and seated straightaway.


We had been given some scoring cards as part of our review; an adult one and a child one. Each scoring card has 5 categories with a rating of 1 (not good) to 5 (excellent). With the results of these scoring cards, Voucher Codes.co.uk and Most Wanted will determine the results for the favourite family restaurant.

Range of choice for kids - 4

F&Bs have their own kids menu and I noticed the usual meals of sausage and mash, pizza and spag bol but they also had omelet or chicken pasta on offer and a selection of organic baby foods too. Wee Z and Miss C immediately decided they wanted pizza. We were fairly pleased with what was on offer for our kids and also noticed that there was a selection of meals for older children too. We ordered a side of beans for Miss C which are included in the price of their meals. When their pizza arrived I was shocked by the size of them. To be honest I'd been expecting a 6 inch pizza and one from a frozen food store at that but these pizzas were 10 inch freshly made cheese and tomato pizzas. Husband and I couldn't resist taking a piece or 2 for ourselves and blimey, it was delicious. If I'd known the portions were going to be that generous, I'd have split a pizza between them. They clearly enjoyed them though, as they polished off the lot. For dessert the kids had chocolate ice cream and our waiter brought them some chocolate buttons too so they were very happy!



Quality of food - 5

The sign of a good menu for me is when it takes me awhile to decide what I want. Plenty of choice is what I like. Husband ordered grilled tiger prawns to start and a mixed grill for his mains and I ordered from their specials menu the buffalo chicken wings to start and the Cajun chicken calzone for mains. The food took a little while to come out but they were busy and the food made up for its lateness in taste. The chickens wings were spicy and delicious. Starter portion size was good. I got 4 chicken wings and Husband got 4 prawns however I'd hoped for a bigger side salad than the 2 small slices of celery that came with my wings. The main courses were impressive! My calzone again had a questionable side salad but Husband's mixed grill looked really good with plenty of meat, chips and veggies. Taste wise, faultless. We ordered the cinnamon waffles to share for dessert and I can honestly say it was one of the nicest things I have ever eaten...I really didn't want to share.

Husband's Mixed Grill

Value for money - 5

For the children we paid £3.95 for them each which got them their main course including side dishes, a dessert and refillable drinks. I chose from the specials menu which was any 2 courses for £9.95 or make it 3 for an extra £1.95. The specials menu is available all day Sunday - Friday. Husband's starter was £5.95 and his main was £18.95, a bit more but we both felt that we got what we paid for. The prices and offers seem to be in line with most other chain restaurants but the food was really tasty.

Cajun Chicken Calzone

Entertainment on offer - 3

The music playing in the background really set the tone of the restaurant. There were hits from the 50s right through to the 80s and Husband and I were swaying along when a song from Dirty Dancing came on. A few times the lights dimmed and the chords of "Happy Birthday" would strike up and a waiter would go passed with a cake hiding behind a menu and everyone would stop, watch and clap when the song finished. Wee Z thought this was great and decided he wanted to have his birthday at F&Bs

These were the nicest waffles ever!

Friendliness of service - 5

Our waiter was great. He was patient with my decision making and happy to cater to our needs. When I forgot to order Miss C's beans he was happy to make sure they were ordered and even offered to bring the kids food as soon as it was ready without me having to ask. Looking around the restaurant, all the staff were smiling and happy even when they weren't serving anyone. If we needed anything they came straight away and as we were leaving, our waiter made sure Wee Z and Miss C got a balloon each. He waited whilst we got our jackets and bags together instead of running off as soon as we'd paid.

Wee Z had a scoring card of his own and he drew some happy faces on his for his thoughts on the day.


Having never been to Frankie & Benny's before, we've not stopped talking about our meal last weekend. The food was delicious, the kids had a great time and there were lots of families there. We're definitely going back again!

We were given £75 to spend on our meal for taking part in the Fuss Free Dining report.




Thursday, 9 June 2011

Breastfeeding - My Final Chapter

I'm done. I've hung up my nursing bras and I’m thinking about burning them, not in a feminist sort of way, just as a symbol of the end of my breastfeeding journey with Miss C.

Am I sad we've stopped? Not really. I thought I would be but I was ready and Miss C was ready and we just had to do it. She’s 2 and has had a good run at breastfeeding and I've enjoyed the bond we've shared during that time but it was getting to the stage where she’d soon be asking “which side Mummy?” I don’t judge anyone for wanting to continue breastfeeding for as long as they wish but for me...it was time!
Miss C has been absolutely fine with stopping which I guess has made it easier for me to stop too. I think if she’d been really upset then I’d have felt guilty. Husband has been getting her ready for her bath and bed and has been reading books to her in bed to get her settled and so far she’s gone straight to sleep. Of course, I’ve stayed out the way so she doesn't “remember” she’s not getting her milk!

I’m glad I’ve been able to breastfeed Miss C as I did an awfully hard time trying to breastfeed Wee Z. I was determined second time round to trust my instincts and give it my best shot and although it was a hard and demanding job with plenty of perseverance, it paid off. I'm proud of myself!
I have to say though, I've missed my underwire!



Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Honestly...Men!

Men are such simple creatures. It doesn't take much for them to be amused. It usually involves doing something rude.



Thursday, 2 June 2011

The After Party - Miss C turned 2

This has been a tiresome week to say the least. We've celebrated 2 birthdays this week, Miss C turning 2 on Saturday and Wee Z turning 4 on Wednesday. The house is lined with new toys and clothes. The recycling bin is overflowing with paper and cardboard. I'm exhausted!

Saturday. We woke up to the sound of rain sadly, Husband and I sleeping on the inflatable bed whilst Bella and Pops slept in our bed. I had 30 guests coming to the house for lunch and cake and I was really hoping Mr Sunshine might make an appearance so we could enjoy the garden and the kids could play outside. To be fair, the rain didn't stop them playing outside, with us having to shout them all in when it started really hammering down.


I spent all of Friday afternoon preparing lunch of Chicken Tikka, Chilli Con Carne and vegetable lasagna. In the evening, Bella and I made marshmallow top hats which always go down a storm at a party.

Saturday morning, Miss C awoke to everyone saying "happy birthday" and hugging her, much to her confusion, just wanting her breakfast really. Wee Z bounded into the living room and discovered all her presents so with every intention to eat then unwrap, this was quickly discarded as Miss C ran into the living room shouting "PEASANTS" and started ripping wrapping paper and neatly placed bows off. Her favourite present seems to have been her Peppa Pig kitchen from Bella and Pops followed closely by her shopping trolley and tea set from us.


In the afternoon, friends and family started to arrive and we had a lovely lunch together, 30 of us piled in across my kitchen and living room and we sang "Happy Birthday" to Miss C who managed to blow her candles out all by herself. I think she had a fantastic day and really enjoyed turning 2! I really enjoyed the cake!

The day didn't end there for us though. I want to congratulate my MIL and her new husband who celebrated their wedding on the same day. Husband and I attended the evening reception but after a quick bite of the buffet, we made a sharp exit home to bed. Not without some cake though!



Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Mamas & Papas Review

Mamas & Papas is one of those names so widely recognised amongst the parenting world for their pushchairs, nursery and maternity range so when I was offered the opportunity to do a review of one of their products I immediately said yes.

I am a Mamas & Papas pushchair owner; the Luna buggy. A few of my friends have Mamas & Papas prams and car seats and our cot for Miss C was from Mamas & Papas so I know how well made their stuff is. I was given £50 to spend on their site with the stipulation being I had to choose something from their travel or maternity range to review. I decided to go for a new raincover for the Luna as the current one was in tatters. It was about a year old and, like most raincovers, didn't seem to be standing the test against the terrible rain and wind we've been having.

I used the search box on their site, typed in "Luna Raincover" and the site brought up all the Luna prams but not one match for the raincover I needed. I then did a general raincover search and the site brought up 3 raincovers; the Combination, the Pliko and the Infant Carrier. I ruled out the Infant Carrier but was torn between the Combination and the Pliko. Unfortunately it wasn't clear which raincover was for which pram type however it did say on the site that all Mamas & Papas raincovers are designed to fit all their prams, so I ordered the one that looked like it would fit my pram the best. It arrived within a few days however it was clear straightaway that the Combination was not designed to fit my pram.

Their customer care team called me within a few days and told me that the Luna raincover could be ordered as a spare part however there doesn't seem to be anywhere on their website which would allow you to order spares yourself, which is a bit of pain really. Anyway, they were happy to send me the correct raincover for the pram and again, it arrived within a few days.


The correct raincover for my Luna fitted perfectly. What I had noticed about my old raincover was the plastic seemed really flimsy so I didn't think it would end up being durable, which it wasn't. Instantly I can see a difference in the quality of the new one. The linings seem to be much stronger and it attaches purely with Velcro; much better than those popper buttons that can be a bit fiddly - not ideal when it's pouring with rain. It covers the full pram properly so both Miss C and the fabric on the pram are kept dry.

Side Velcro fastening so the full pram is kept dry
What I liked about the Combination raincover was it came in it's own carry bag, which the Luna raincover doesn't. Having a carry bag or case for a raincover would be quite handy for storing it under the pram or in the cupboard when you don't need it. This may save it from being worn so quickly. The Combination also had a zip across the middle of the raincover which would be great on any raincover for simple opening and closing if you were going in and out of shops instead of lifting the full raincover off and faffing about tucking it all in.

Overall I'm happy with the raincover and I hope the improvements they seem to have made to their raincovers against my old one, will make this one more durable. Raincovers are a necessity but with prices starting at around £30, you'd hope they would last the length of time you use your pram for.

This is a review post. I received the raincover for the purposes of a review. This is an entirely impartial review of a product offered by Mamas and Papas.


The Gallery - I'm Grateful for...

...Life.

Such a simple word, but so much meaning and power behind it. It's something I think a lot of us take for granted. We are quick to moan about things going wrong in life, often thinking our troubles are the worst in the world and not anybody else could have it more worse off than we could.


New life brings current life together in such rejoice and happiness. A new life, full of innocence, freshness, excitement.


On the other end of that spectrum is when life is lost. Sometimes it takes losing a life to truly appreciate how precious and how short life can be.


I'm Grateful for Life. Go check out the other entries to The Gallery this week, which has been inspired by a truly inspirational woman; Chris. Chris is currently in Mozambique along with a team of people trying to raise awareness for a campaign by Save the Children. At the moment 1 in 5 children don't receive any vaccinations and because of this millions are dying from preventable diseases. On June 13th, the Global Vaccination Summit will take place and Chris and the teams' aim is to get more funding into essential vaccinations for children all over the world. There is an online petition which you can sign to help get their point across. I've signed it and if you can, please sign it too.




Letter to my 4 year old - Happy Birthday

Dear Wee Z,

I can't quite believe that you are 4 years old today. Four years ago I became a mother and with that came the huge responsibility of raising a newborn you. I hope I've done a good job so far and I'm so grateful that you came into my life, our lives, that day.


Everyday you amaze me with how much you know. You are reading and writing and love nothing more than looking at books or puzzles with numbers or letters in them. You are truly a human sponge!

You love to play with your sister, most of the time, and love showing her how to do things and teaching her things. She dotes on you, shouting for you in the morning and showing you all the tricks she's learning.

You know your own mind and know what you want which can make you a stubborn child but I'm sure will stand you in good stead in later years to truly go out there and make something of yourself. I know you will make us so proud when you start school next year; you are already showing you have the makings of becoming someone really, really amazing.

You are caring and thoughtful, always making sure we're all OK and asking if we "slept well". You love to help me with baking or cooking and you are always asking to help Daddy wash the car.

I hope you have a wonderful birthday today. You've been waiting to be 4 for about 6 months now and I wonder how long it will be before you are wishing you were 5. I for one will not be wishing your life away as you are growing up far too fast.


Happy birthday my little prince. We love you lots xxx+o


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