Little Squirrels Play Forest, Norwich

Quite often when we take a trip into Norwich Erin gets really bored being stuck in her pushchair for most of the time. When a new sensory play business called Little Squrrels Play Forest opened up in Castle Mall I was excited to try it out.

Little Squirrels Play Forest, Norwich

The great thing about Little Squirrels is the location. As it is situated in one of Norwich’s shopping centres parking isn’t a problem at all. It is also extremely easy to get to if you don’t drive, like me, and you have to get a bus or the train.

Little Squirrels is aimed at children from 6 weeks old to 6 years. There is something for everyone including an under 2s area. This place is really like nowhere else I have been before and it’s fantastic.

Instead of your normal, average soft play Little Squirrels offers somewhere safe and secure for children to explore and discover their senses. There are different sections laid out and loads for the children to do. For younger children there is a light room with ropes, mirrors and colourful lights. There have been reading areas with soft cushions, artificial grass a play farm laid out, a shop and a dressing up area, just to name a few.

Now that Little Squirrels has been open a little while they have started to introduce regular themes sessions like messy play and story time. I have taken Erin to messy play before and it was fantastic. She got to play with spaghetti, corn flour with water, glitter, water tables and much more. I am definitely not one of those parents that don’t like their child to get messy. In fact, I encourage it so Little Squirrels was perfect for us.

I have been to Little Squirrels a few times now and both me and Erin love it there. The staff are always super friendly and there is always someone in the play area engaging with the children and keeping an eye on everyone. It is also fantastic for when we’re out shopping. Erin does get bored so when this happens we can pop in here for an hour or before we go home so she can stretch her legs.

Little Squirrels regularly update their Facebook Page about upcoming events and times.

Little Squirrels Prices from £5

 

Sharing is caring!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr

My Name Tags Review

Erin and I are out and about at least 3 days a week normally. We go swimming and to local playgroups as well as soft play etc. Obviously we take a fair amount of ‘stuff’ with us including Erin’s cups/ bottle and her little fox changing bag. Things get put down, picked up and moved and I wanted to do something to make it easier to find Erin’s things again. My Name Tags offer personalised stickers and iron-ons for exactly this!

There are a couple of different options of different products available. You can choose from colour or black and white stickers or iron-on name tags and there are also Hello Kitty tags or Mr Men & Little Miss tags. I decided to go for a Mr Men & Little Miss design because, well, they’re fun aren’t they? These cost £13.95 + £1.00 P&P for 56x Stickers or iron-ons.

My Name Tags

The stickers came in a normal envelope inside a plastic wallet which explains how to use them.

My Name Tags advise that if you’re using these stickers on a clothes label to not wash them for 24 hours. This makes sure the label is well and truly stuck!

We haven’t had the need to use our stickers on clothes yet as Erin doesn’t start nursery until January. However, we’ve used them on various other items that we take out with us on a daily basis.

I have found these stickers to be so useful on Erin’s cups. Some of her friends have the same cups as her and the children are always reaching for each other’s. This stops any confusion between the parents and I can find Erin’s cup easily.

Erin’s cups get washed daily and these stickers have really withstood the washing. They still look fantastic and there is no peeling or fading anywhere yet.

I am so impressed with My Name Tags. We have some labels left over and they’re going to come in so handy when Erin starts nursery in January as she needs to take a set of things with her.

Disclaimer: We received items for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

Save

Sharing is caring!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr

Second babies and sterilisation

Let’s get this straight… I am not pregnant with our second! This post is actually going to be about not having second babies but going for sterilisation instead.

*This post talks about sex. If you’re not comfortable with that (Mum) I won’t be offended if you don’t carry on reading.

sterilisation

A couple of my friends have either recently found out they are expecting their second child or like one friend, due pretty soon! I am absolutely thrilled for them all and so excited for when the new babies are born. However, this is also my worst nightmare. I cannot imagine anything worse than having another baby or being pregnant again. Just the thought of it makes me worry and panic a bit.

I’ve written recently about having Post Natal Depression and my fear of being pregnant has a lot to do with this. Even though I’d had two surgeries and had a lot of trouble walking after Erin’s birth, I went to the doctor only a week after being home to have my implant put back in. I thought that would be enough for me. I thought it would put my mind at ease.

It didn’t. AT ALL.

My fear of getting pregnant again is so bad that it has majorly affected mine and John’s sex life. As in we don’t have sex. Ever. I know this is such a personal thing to discuss and I wouldn’t normally but I feel like it’s something so important to this post. I am so terrified of an accident happening that I don’t want to have sex at all anymore. My fear far outweighs any desire I might have.

Erin is nearly 15 months old now and after admitting to myself that I have PND I knew it was time to do something about the other problems I had going on. John is the most patient man in the universe and would never, ever dream of pressuring me about sex. He completely understands why I feel the way that I do but I also know that it’s just not right. I don’t want to feel like I do and I don’t want to not want to have sex with my husband.

The only way that I feel like I can feel more relaxed about everything is to do something permanent. Sterilisation. I know without a doubt that this is something I want. I never really wanted more than 1 child anyway and Erin’s birth scared me so much and I have so many issues because of it that I just couldn’t do it again. John is also willing to have a vasectomy as well. I know this may sound like overkill but I really can’t/ won’t take any chances. I’m not sure I would feel comfortable enough.

I have a doctor’s appointment this morning to start discussing this and to see whether or not they’ll let me have it done. I know it’s big decision to make but I know it’s the best thing for me, my marriage and our family.

Do you have any experience with sterilisation, either male or female? I’d love to hear from you.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Sharing is caring!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr

Big Game Hunters Sandpit Review

With spring just around the corner we have been trying to get in the mood for some nice weather. We’ve been spring cleaning and getting the garden ready. Last year Erin wasn’t walking so barely even went out in the garden. This year is completely different. She loves exploring and running around. We’ve recently been trying out a sandpit from Big Game Hunters.

Ordering from Big Game Hunters was really easy and I loved how easy the website was to navigate. Products are clearly set out in different sections so you can easily find what you need. Delivery is also super quick which is amazing. If you place an order before 12pm then it is dispatched the very same day. Orders under £150 have a £4.95 delivery charge which, considering the size of some items, isn’t bad at all.

Big Game Hunters have got a really good range of sandpits so picking one took quite some time. In the end, we went for the Square Wooden Sandpit which costs £89.99. The reason we chose this one was because the lid turns into seats!

When the sandpit arrived with UK Mail it came very well packaged and all pieces included. The sandpit comes with all fixtures and, as described on the website, ‘extensive instructions’. Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear that the instructions are far from extensive. In fact, they’re super confusing.

sandpitUpdate: Big Game Hunters have advised me that we unfortunately received an old copy of the instructions. They do now have updated instructions which are clearer and more detailed.

As we unpacked the components, we also realised that some were labeled and some were not. This obviously doesn’t make building something very easy. We had to guess and hope that some bits went together. After you manage to get all of the pieces sorted out you need a big space to put this together. The sandpit is 1.2m square so it’s pretty big. We built ours in our dining room at 10pm so we couldn’t do it outside. We really should have but we had to do it while Erin was in bed.

sandpit

sandpit

As I said before, the instructions really are not very clear and we ended up putting the lid/ seats on back to front and upside down! The sandpit was supposed to take 2 hours to build between 2 people. It took us 4 hours as we had to completely re-do bits over and over again until we figured out how they should be. Clearer pictures and a bit more of a written explanation could have solved this confusion easily.

sandpit

sandpit

sandpit

So, 4 hours later this is what we ended up with. Some of it was a bit wonky. Some bits had a couple of extra holes in places but it was a really nice looking sandpit!

When we took the sandpit outside we had to attach the geo-textile underlay cover to the inside. This makes it so the sand isn’t touching the grass so it doesn’t get muddy or too damp from the ground. The instructions don’t mention this bit at all though so it’s a bit of guess work. In order to attach the material, you have to screw in four pieces of wood, one on each side. We initially put these too high so the lid didn’t actually close. Obviously, we changed their position.

sandpit

The sandpit doesn’t come with the sand needed to fill it so I ordered some from Argos. I bought 4 bags of 15kg sand with the hopes that it would be enough. I think I could do with another bag or 2 just to hide the black material inside but that’s just me being picky. Argos also had a deal on some toys so I got a sandpit set! Erin hadn’t really played in sand too much before we got the sandpit but she took to it straight away!

As you can see from earlier pictures, the sandpit does have gaps in the lid. This obviously isn’t weather-proof. Luckily, this sandpit does comes with a cover. A bit of advice though; it’s worth weighting it down somehow if the wind is really strong! Speaking of the lid, the rope handles make it easy to pull open and close again. It’s so easy that my dog has actually managed to do it himself. I was a bit shocked!! However, they don’t collapse when being used and they’re lovely and comfortable for Erin!

Overall, this is a fantastic sandpit. The wood is good quality and it’s already treated so there’s no need for you to do that. It’s a shame that it was so annoying to put together but I can overlook that really. Erin has already had so much fun so I know we’ll be getting a lot of use out of this.

Disclaimer: We were sent an item for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

Save

Save

Save

Sharing is caring!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr

Meal Plan Monday: This week’s Dinners

Welcome to Meal Plan Monday, our weekly feature where we talk all things Meal Plan.

Meal plan MondayAfter having a couple of really tough weeks with a lot going on at home and changes happening we still haven’t really gotten back into planning. Erin was super ill last week with conjunctivitis and a throat, ear and chest infection. I had laryngitis. It was also my birthday. We were mega busy.

So, this week to get back into meal planning I thought I’d start with dinners and this is what we’re having this week.

Monday – Carbonara and garlic bread

Tuesday – sausages, hash browns, beans, toast

Wednesday – beef stew

Thursday – Jacket potato

Friday – chicken burgers and curly fries

Saturday – Day out in Cambridge (restaurant meal)

Sunday – Roast Chicken

It’s a pretty basic dinner plan but we’re trying to clear out the freezers and cupboards so this will get rid of quite a lot.

We’re always looking for guest posts on meal planning, whether it’s something that works for you or not. Get in touch if you’d like to feature! linzeeloulabelle@gmail.com

Save

Sharing is caring!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr

Desert Island Discs

My good friend Katy from Katykicker.com recently posted about what songs she couldn’t live without; her Desert Island Discs! She asked me to do the same and share with you 8 of my favourite songs.

desert island discs

1. Clair De Lune – Claude Debussy

This is one of the most beautiful pieces of music and I have loved it for years. My mum plays piano and I keep asking her to learn to play it for me but she never does. I don’t really know why either any more. I could listen to this over and over again for hours and not get bored.

2. etta james – at last

This was the song that John and I had our first dance to. I had always planned for it being this song because the words were so perfect for us. Our first dance was incredibly cringy though and I hated every single second of it! We didn’t have the traditional wedding so our dance was at a reception party when we got back into the country.

3. frozen – let it go

I honestly can’t believe I’m adding this one to the list. During my time working as a soft play manager I refused to watch Frozen because of how many birthday cakes with this theme we did. But, when I was pregnant with Erin she loved this song. My sister bought us the DVD and Erin kicked the whole time. Then, when I was in labour and Erin stopped moving we had to play this to get her going again! This song makes me think of Erin now.

4. David Bowie – dance magic dance

5. The Little Mermaid – Under The Sea

Okay, so if you’re stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere you’re going to want songs to cheer you up, right? Well, what better than a singing crab with a funny voice to do that. Also, you could probably find things to make your own instruments out of to sing along to it.

6. Christina Aguilera – The Voice Within

Save

7. Jennifer Hudson – And I am Telling you I’m not going

I think Dreamgirls is one of my favourite musicals ever and Jennifer Hudson’s voice is amazing. Okay, Beyonce had a pretty big and amazing song too but this one if by far my favourite. Jennifer Hudson’s voice gives me goosebumps. I’m super excited to go and see this in London next month!

8. The Human League – Don’t You Want Me

I honestly can’t believe I managed to get through 8 songs without picking at least 1 from a boyband. My husband would probably say I have the worse taste in music but I like to think my taste is really eclectic. Would you have picked any from my list?

I now tag: Helen from All The Beautiful Things and Hannah from Budding Smiles!

Save

Save

Sharing is caring!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr

Storytime Saturday: The Perfect Guest

Storytime Saturday a weekly blog feature showcasing any new books we’ve been reading with Erin, reviewing picture books and talking about our monthly library haul! Basically, Storytime Saturday is all about books! This week we’re talking about The Perfect Guest by Paula Metcalf. It was published by Walker Books on 2nd February 2017.

The Perfect Guest

Walter is really a very neat and tidy dog. His house is his pride and joy and he gets quite nervous when guests come round… When his best friend Pansy asks to stay, though, Walter is so excited! She’s just a teeny weeny squirrel after all, how much trouble can she possibly be?! But when Pansy tries her very best to be helpful things just seem to keep going wrong! Nothing – from Walter’s trousers to his curtains to his beloved brand-new teapot – is safe from accident-prone Pansy! Is she turning out to be the worst guest there ever was?

The Perfect GuestWalter the dog is very proud of his house. He loves everything to be neat and tidy and he especially loves his teapot. When his friend Pansy comes for a visit Walter is very happy but things go disastrously wrong!

Oh this is such a cute book! I loved Walter the dog and his very particular ways. He is a bit like me in a lot of respects. I like things to be a very particular way and get a bit put out sometimes when things don’t go to plan. My husband on the other hand is the complete opposite can be a bit destructive where ever he goes. Somehow, we manage to live in peace a lot of the time.

The Perfect Guest is a story of two friends who are very different getting along no matter what. While the story and illustrations are really fun and funny, they also help to teach children a really important lesson. The book teaches that although things may not go perfectly there is always a silver lining somewhere and to look on the brighter side of things!

Disclaimer: We were sent this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

Save

Save

Sharing is caring!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr

Viraltag – social media scheduler

I have spent ages trying to find my perfect scheduler for social media. I have tried a few different ones now and it seems that some are good for one thing but not others. I don’t have the time or energy for switching between accounts and platforms though.  Luckily, I was introduced recently to Viraltag.

viraltag

What Viraltag does

In basic terms, Viraltag can schedule social media posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. It also works with Tumblr and Linkedin but I don’t use them, or understand them actually!

Pricing

Most of the best social media schedulers require some kind of payment and Viraltag is no different. Their pricing plans are mostly clearly described. However, their blogger plan doesn’t seem to be shown well enough. It is a lot cheaper than other plans so I guess this is why. If you scroll all the way down the ‘pricing’ page you’ll find a question about blogger prices. Follow the link and you’ll find out more!

Starting up

Viraltag is super easy to set up. You can connect whichever accounts you like within a couple of minutes.

viraltag

Scheduling Posts

This is obviously what Viraltag is all about. To schedule a post you click on the big + on the left hand side. From here you can upload an image from a selection of places or you can skip the picture if you want to.

viraltag

The uploader allows you to pick which social media account you want to post to at the top and you can also add in text and hashtags. Putting a source link at the bottom will add in a shortened link to your post!

Once you’re done you can either schedule for a specific time or if you ‘add to queue’ the post will be added to your personalised post schedule! If you want to schedule the same post for multiple times then you can go into bulk editor by cloning the post. Here, you can change times, accounts posted to and even the caption on each individual post!

Photo editor

One of the coolest features of Viraltag is the built in photo editor. On each post you can enhance, change and make your photos all fancy pants! You can have the same photo look a bit different each time it’s posted if you really want to! This saves having to alter your original photo and there are loads of options!

Overall

I am honestly so in love with Viraltag. I signed up to a free 14 day trial to see if I liked it or not but I’ll definitely be sticking with it now. It makes life so much easier and scheduling my posts and pins an absolute breeze!

If you want to sign up using this link I’ll get a referral fee and you’ll get $15 credit too!*

Save

Save

Sharing is caring!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr

Simply Swim Review

Erin and I LOVE swimming. We’re lucky that with her new swimming lessons she gets a free membership which means she can swim as much as she likes during public sessions. Sometimes between me and John, we can take Erin swimming 3-4 times a week. Drying our costumes and towels is time consuming and not always possible in time for swimming the next day. Luckily, we were able to order some new swimwear from Simply Swim recently!

simply swim

Picking your new swimwear and ordering is really nice and easy with Simply Swim. The website is laid out really well, with categories along the top of the website. I could navigate easily between women’s and children’s swimwear and I could also choose to look at specific brands instead. I loved how easy it was to find what I wanted.

simply swim

I chose two very different items for Erin. The first is the Splash About UV All In One (Apple Daisy). We have has Splash About products in the past for Erin and I’ve always been impressed with the quality. We got this in size 12-24m which cost £22.99. Erin is 14 months old now and it fits really well. However, there is still plenty of room for growth.

simply swim

simply swim

simply swim

The second swimming costume I got for Erin was the   Splash About Tots Girls Swimming Costume (Tutti Frutti). We’re going to Centre Parcs on holiday in October where the pool is a bit warmer than what we’re used to. I wanted something for Erin that didn’t have quite as much coverage as what she’s used to and a bit more fun for while we’re away! I love the cute design and that it kind of matches the other costume! This was only £8.99 in the sale!

simply swim

For me I went for something quite plain! I wanted something simple that didn’t stand out a lot. My other swimming costume is navy with white spots and shows a fair amount of cleavage so I wanted something that covered me up more.

simply swim

Image from the Simply Swim website

The Zoggs Coogee Sonicback costs £17. Unfortunately, I don’t love my own costume as much as I love Erin’s. However, this is no fault of Zoggs or Simply Swim. My other costume has a lot of support around the bust but this one doesn’t. Although the fit is lovely, there is really no proper support in the bust area and somehow, it makes my boobs look small and flat. They’re not at all! Before getting in the pool for the first time I felt really self-conscious. Luckily, the costume wears really well and is better in the water than I imagined.

Even though my own costume is not exactly what I would have picked in a shop, I do like wearing it. It dries a lot faster than my other costume and it’s comfortable to wear.

I really enjoyed my experience of shopping on the Simply Swim website. There is so much choice for everyone and loads of designs too. I’ll definitely be ordering again when we need something new!

Disclaimer: We received items from simplyswim.com for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

Save

Save

Save

Sharing is caring!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr

Ella’s Kitchen Toddler Trays

It’s no secret that Erin likes her food. Since we started her weaning journey at 4 months she’s done amazingly well most of the time. Yes, she has her ups and downs, especially when she’s teething but generally, she does fine! Erin is also really good at trying new things. When Ella’s Kitchen sent us their toddler trays range to try, I didn’t know which to pick first!

toddler trays

The toddler meal range includes family favourites such as beef stew and chicken curry in the perfect portion size for little ones with growing appetites. These tasty grown up meals are bursting with organic and veggie goodness and also come in a handy microwavable packs, perfect for hungry toddlers on the go!

The full range includes deeeelicious dishes such as:
Bolognese Bake
Chicken Curry
Chicken Paella
Beef Stew
Veggie Moussaka
Pork Stew

We started off with the chicken curry with rice and creamy coconut. Erin has liked other versions of chicken curry so I thought we’d be safe with this one.

toddler trays

Upon opening the tray (which was actually quite difficult) I noticed that this food was completely different to others aimed at 12m+. Other toddler meals have been a bit thicker in consistency with a handful of lumps here. This one was full of texture and lumps of different sizes.

toddler trays

As you can see from Erin’s face in the picture above, she was not impressed to start off with. She had a very ‘Mum, what the hell is this?’ kind of look on her face. However, after a bowl change, splitting the meal in two and a couple of extra spoons we were ready to go.

toddler trays I have to say, it did take quite a few attempts before Erin was happy to eat this food. She was really unsure about the texture and wanted to investigate it properly before eating it. This meant getting her hands in the bowl, feeling what she was eating and then trying some herself. We’re not afraid of mess in this house and Erin is welcome to get stuck in properly if that’s what she wants.

toddler trays

Once Erin got used to this new kind of chicken curry she scooped it up quickly and ate it well! The bowls were pretty clean by the end of this meal time but she wasn’t so clean! Erin was covered but she did end up eating the majority of what I gave her so I was really happy!   toddler trays

Poor Jackson didn’t really get a look in and he waited so patiently. I think he was actually a bit confused about what Erin was doing with her food actually. toddler trays

So, Ella’s Kitchen Chicken Curry ended up with a very messy Erin with food in her hair and needing a bath afterwards. However, she seemed to really enjoy her meal!

Since trying this particular flavour Erin has tried one tray from each flavour in the range. She has eaten them all really well and not refused any of them! Erin really likes food with a bit more flavour than some other brands offer which is why I think she got on so well with Ella’s Kitchen. At the moment, one tray does Erin for 2 meals so they’re great value for money.

Disclaimer: We were sent products for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

Save

Sharing is caring!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr