Messy Me Messy Mat

Now that Erin is over a year old he has started to change how she plays and how she eats. There have been many days where Jackson has got a decent meal because Erin has flung her food on the wooden floor in the dining room. Mealtimes can definitely be really messy now and I need an easier way of cleaning up.

Messy Mat

Messy Me offer a whole range of products which are designed for your children to get messy! We were lucky enough to try out their Messy Mat. The mat is available is various colours and costs £24.

We have a Tuff Tray and we’re just beginning to get into messy play in preparation for Erin going to nursery. The Messy Mat doesn’t cover the whole of the underneath  (90cm x 120cm) of the Tuff Tray but it is great for using on one half. Erin doesn’t use the whole tray yet so this is perfect at the moment. messy mat

messy matThe Messy Mat is made from oilcloth so can be wiped clean. This makes cleaning up after a messy play session super easy. You can either shake any mess off or wipe into one pile and then pop in the bin!

The mat really comes in useful for lots of different things though. As we have a big fluffy dog, his fur does get everywhere. Sometimes we have a picnic lunch in the living room and I don’t want Erin eating with dog hair around her food. We use this mat quite often for somewhere to sit. I know we’ll be using this to take to the park in the summer! If we end up with spills they’ll be no trouble to clean up.

Something else I love is that other items are available in the same colours and design. We have the grey stars design and I would love for Erin to have a matching apron or tunic for when she starts painting!

Messy Mat

I really love our Messy Mat. The price is really reasonable as the product is of such high quality and can be used for so many things.

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

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Nuby SureGrip Miracle Mat & Section Plate

As a Nuby UK brand rep we love trying out different and new products. Sometimes we get one product in particular that we absolutely love. Just recently we’ve been trying something new with Erin at meal times and we’ve been using the Nuby SureGrip Miracle Mat.

Nuby SureGrip Miracle Mat

We have had a different suction mat in the past but it’s really big and takes up a lot of space. This one has a much better design because it’s compact and easy to take anywhere with you. The size of the Nuby SureGrip Miracle Mat is perfect as it means we can take it away with us but it’s also perfect for normal meal times.

As a suction mat, this aspect is one of the most important to me. Erin loves to try to move anything that is put in front of her and we’ve had many meals flung across the room because they were in a normal bowl or on a normal plate. This suction mat does wok really well and it does stay put. However, I have found that we have to press down around the edges really hard to make sure it sticks. This may be due to the table we use it on though.

Something else I love about the mat is the size of the two different compartments. They make portion sizes much easier to sort out and they’re also great for separating different kinds of food. Erin finds feeding herself much easier when we’re using this mat. The sides of each compartment means that she can scoop the food up with her fingers if she needs to or she can use cutlery which she is starting to do.

The Nuby SureGrip Miracle Mat is both dishwasher and microwave safe and also oven safe as well! You can actually use this one in a fan assisted oven for up to 30 minutes (180 degrees max).

The Nuby SureGrip Miracle Mat costs £7.99.

Disclaimer: We were sent this product as part of our role as a Nuby UK Brand Rep. All opinions are our own.

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For Aisha Stage 3 Pouches

Since we started weaning with Erin at 4 months old she has loved food. So far we have only discovered one food that she will not eat and that is sprouts. Unlike me, Erin seems to love foods with stronger flavours. One of her absolute favourite meals is the For Aisha Jamaican Jerk Chicken. However, now that Erin is nearly 14 months old, she needs more food in a meal and something with a bit more too it. For Aisha now have a range of Stage 3 Pouches and Erin was lucky enough to try them out.

Something that annoys the hell out of me about baby food pouches is the screw top caps on some of them. I know they’re supposed to be easy to open but I’m weak and I struggle some times. Luckily, these pouches tear open at the top. However, this does also mean that babies can’t really feed themselves with them.

I actually really liked the look of the Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry. Some baby foods look absolutely disgusting but I think that this range looks a lot more like real food.

Erin loved the Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry from the very first mouthful. Sometimes she can be a bit funny with new foods and it takes a few mouthfuls for her to decide but not with this one! After each spoonful she opened her mouth for some more and we couldn’t feed her fast enough.

As you can see, Erin didn’t leave any of this! I actually think she could have eaten some more too if it had been there. I think next time we’ll team this with some naan bread as well.

The Stage 3 Pouches currently come in three different flavours, Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry, Green Bean and Lamb Curry and Rainbow Quinoa.

Stage 3 Pouches

For Aisha Stage 3 Pouches are suitable for babies aged 10 months+. This range is all gluten free, dairy free, soya free, egg free, nut free as well as being low in salt, containing no added sugars, preservatives or artificial additives.

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

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Storytime Saturday: I Am Bear

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 I am Bear by Ben Bailey Smith and Sav Akyuz. It was published by Walker Books on 5th January 2017.

If there’s trouble, one thing is certain: Bear was there. In (and out) of his outrageous purple outfit, Bear can do anything – steal honey from the bees, do magic tricks, steal doughnuts from a police officer, and annoy a certain pesky squirrel. This hilarious picture book debut of actor Ben Bailey Smith (aka rapper Doc Brown) and artist Sav Akyuz will keep young mischief-makers in stitches.

bear

Normally, I read books to Erin that are not aimed at children her age. She’s nearly 14 months old but I tend to read her picture books aimed at 3 year olds or older. She does have board books but she likes to eat those. I read her older books because she finds them more exciting and more colourful. As picture books go, this is one aimed at children closer to Erin’s age.

The bear in this book is an extremely mischievous bear. I loved him! He’s big and purple and doesn’t like to wear clothes. He likes to play games and get up to no good but have fun at the same time. I really loved reading about such a naughty bear. It made this a fun book for me as well.

The language used throughout the whole book is really nice and simple, which is why I say it is aimed at children close to Erin’s age. There is quite a lot of rhyming and it is fairly fast paced. The bright and bold illustrations fit perfectly.

Erin really enjoyed picking out the bear on each page and she giggled as we were reading. I loved watching her face as we turned the pages. I think this one will be a favourite for quite some time.

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

Mr Lee’s Noodles

John works in an office where they’re not allowed a kettle or a microwave. This makes his lunches lacking in imagination and he tends to have a lot of the same; sandwiches or pasta. That’s all well and good in the summer but in the winter when it’s freezing, you want something warm and filling for lunch, not a cold sandwich. When Mr Lee’s Noodles got in touch to see if we wanted to try their range, I immediately said yes.

noodles

John has tried each of the six flavours available but for this review, we’ll be talking about the Dragon Fire Mushroom pot.

preparation

Mr Lee’s Noodles are extremely easy to prepare and cook, something important when you’re in a bit of a rush.

The metal lid needs to be partially pulled off and then boiling water poured into the cup up to the ridge line. Then, give everything inside a good stir, push the lid back down and leave for 3 minutes. The noodles are then ready to eat!

visual

We first prepared the noodles in the pot as the pot directs you to. We then also served up in a dish seeing as we were at home! I think the noodles looked a hell of a lot more appetizing in a dish but that’s really only because you could see everything there was to eat!

noodles

taste

The Dragon Fire Mushroom flavour is the hottest available in the range. This is indicated by the 3 chilli’s on the front of the pot and it does state that it is hot. John likes something with a bit of heat but I don’t think he was prepared for this one. After maybe 5 mouthfuls, he asked for a cup of milk to help cool his mouth down a bit.

overall

One pot is more than enough for a really filling meal. As you can see from the pictures, there is a lot more than you would imagine there to be!

At £2.99 a pot (available in packs of 6) these are not cheap. However, compared to a Super Noodle or equivalent, the quality is a million times better. The noodles are also Gluten Free which is amazing and there are child friendly flavours such as Tai Chi Chicken and Shaolin Monk Vegetables available.

Have you tried Mr Lee’s Noodles yet? What did you think?

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

Ella’s Kitchen Toddler Snacks

We’re really lucky in that Erin isn’t really very fussy when it comes to food. She started weaning at 4 months due to reflux and just generally being hungry and it has been pretty much plain sailing from then on. I’m sure she is with a lot of children of her age (13 months) who absolutely love snacks! When Ella’s Kitchen sent Erin some of their toddler snacks to try, she dived right in!

toddler snacks

Carrot + lentil crunchy sticks

I was a bit worried that Erin wouldn’t  be that bothered with the Carrot + Lentil Crunchy Sticks. In the past she hasn’t liked other carrot flavoured sticks from a different brand. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case with these. Maybe it was the difference in texture and shape as these are a lot thinner.

cheese + leek crunchy wheels

Erin had never had anything in a wheel shape before and she ended up being fascinated by them. It was really funny to watch. She kept poking a finger in each hole and I had to show her that she could eat them to start with.

Parnsip + poppyseed savoury biccies

I think out of all four snacks that Erin has been trying, these are her favourite. I’m not surprised though really. She has a special love for parsnips! The first time we gave her these we were on our way home from looking around the nursery she’ll be going to in January! I’m glad we didn’t give her them while we were there though. She ended up a massive mess, not that I mind really. Erin ended up with a mouth full of biccies, munching away happily but sort of dribbling them at the same time. As much as she loves them, they’re now an at home only snack!

Raspberries + peach crunchy rings

Before trying these, I don’t think Erin has ever had any fruit flavoured snacks like this before. She has a sweet tooth though, just like me and her Dad so I wasn’t really surprised when she nearly ate the whole of one bag in one go. As you can see from the picture below, Erin was more than happy to help herself to the packet and she was content munching through the rings while chilling on the couch!

toddler snacks

So, as you can see, Erin loved all of these Ella’s Kitchen snacks. Yes, she has a favourite but she’s still really happy whichever she has. Does your child have a favourite and have you tried any of these flavours yet?

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

Indra Celtic Tree Of Life Leather Journal

It is no secret that I love stationery and I am a massive fan of having a journal. I’m always writing down lists or notes of some kind or another and I love to have one to hand at all times. I believe that you can never have enough journals and notebooks and the one I’m about to talk about is absolutely stunning!

journal

Paper High offer Fair Trade leather journals that are made by a family business in Rajasthan, India. We were kindly offered the Indra Celtic Tree of Life Leather Journal to review.

The journal is completely had made and the detail in the leather cover is just amazing. This particular journal has a Tree of Life design and you can tell that a lot of effort has gone into making this.

The leather cover is a sort of reddish brown colour and is incredibly soft! As the detail has been done so well, you can feel every ridge, dent and impression in the material.

The paper is made from recycled cotton so it is not as smooth as you would probably be used to. It certainly isn’t the same as paper in a journal bought from a high street shop. The paper is known as  khadda, kaddi or khaddi and it comes from there being so much left over material from the garment industry in India. I really love that the paper is made from something that would otherwise go to waste. It’s always good to reduce waste and this is a fantastic way of using up the left over cotton!

This is the kind of journal not to be wasted on random shopping lists. This is a journal for detailing something important or amazing. I’m thinking of using mine to write letters to my daughter in for when she’s older! I know I would have loved to have been given something like this myself!

This journal costs £17.95 and it is worth every penny. The quality is fantastic and the detail is superb.

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

Storytime Saturday: Also an Octopus

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 Also an Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Benji Davies. It was published by Walker Books on 5th January 2017.

octopus

 

From Benji Davies, the illustrator of The Storm Whale and Grandad’s Island, comes a metafictive story about … how to build a story! First, a story needs a character. So why not a ukulele-playing octopus? And since this is a story, the octopus has to want something – maybe it dreams of travelling to faraway galaxies in a purple spaceship. But every character needs an obstacle to overcome, and when the octopus sets out to build its own spaceship out of glue, umbrellas, glitter and waffles … well, he doesn’t have much luck. Could there be another character that could help? Debut author Maggie Tokuda-Hall sets up a funny, smart and warm-hearted story all about storytelling, then hands the baton to imaginative readers, who will be more than prepared to take it away.

octopus

Oh what a wonderful book this is. It amazes me how people come up with such good ideas for children’s books. The premise for this one is so super simple but it works so well.

Always an Octopus starts off with nothing. I mean nothing. As in blank white page nothing. This is how all stories start out though, which is the whole point. Always an Octopus helps to teach children how to construct a story and what they need to make one up. After the blank beginning you need characters! You need something that happens, a problem, a resolution. You need an ending.

The book is so bright and colourful, with pages and illustrations being mostly blue, purple and yellow. The characters and story are just as bright and interesting and it each page will be sure to capture any child’s eye, and hopefully their imagination.

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

Tommee Tippee Essentials

Just before Christmas we were sent a fantastic selection of products by Tommee Tippee. January was a very busy month and it took us a little while to try some of these out. Here’s what we thought:

Tommee Tippee

 

first cutlery set

I was a bit apprehensive about letting Erin use this set. Even though she has been trying to feed herself with normal weaning spoons for quite a while she has never had a proper set of cutlery and these have a really different feel to them, and they’re heavier than she’s used to. However, she’s taken to them a lot  better than I thought she would. She isn’t able to really use them properly yet but she knows what she’s supposed to do!

easy scoop bowls

Since we started weaning at 4 months we have been using the same bowls. They were great to start with but they do only hold quite small portions. Erin is a bit of a gannet at times and needs a bowl that holds more. The Tommee Tippee easy scoop bowls are really well designed and come in bright colours, which I love.

Tommee Tippee

Snack n Go Pot

So Erin doesn’t do very well if something isn’t either nailed down or stuck down. If we give her a bag of anything, they end up all over the floor in 2 seconds flat. She is a monster. The Snack n Go Pot is amazing! The pot has a silicone lid with slits cut into it, meaning you can put your hand in and get whatever is inside. However, if you shake the pot around nothing will come out. Perfect for little children like Erin who shake and throw things as much as they can.

We have been big fans of Tommee Tippee since we started bottle feeding Erin. We have never been let down by the quality of the products and that is no exception for those mentioned here. We haven’t managed to try the cup yet because Erin is a very picky little girl and will only use a straw cup at the moment. I do love that it came with filters though as we only give Erin filtered water anyway.

We received these products for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own. 

Storytime Saturday: A Child of Books

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 A Child of Books by by Sam Winston and Oliver Jeffers (Published by Walker Books on 1st September 2016).

a child of books

I am a Child of Books. I come from a world of stories, And upon my imagination, I float.

In this inspiring, lyrical tale about the rewards of reading and sharing stories, a little girl sails her raft “across a sea of words” to arrive at the house of a small boy. There she invites him to come away with her on an adventure. Guided by his new friend, the boy unlocks his imagination and a lifetime of magic lies ahead of him. But who will be next?

Forget the kids, this is a book for adults as well. More so, it’s a book for book lovers and story enthusiasts.

A Child of Books doesn’t really have a story to it, which makes it a bit strange. However, what it does do is explain the magic of reading a book. The girl in the book explains all the things that can happen through reading, like going on an adventure, discover fairy tales or go into space. The whole point of the book is to make other books and stories seem really exciting!

The illustrations are what really make this book for me though.

books

As you can see, the words of other stories make up the illustrations. I love how inventive this book is, using the actual words from other books to get the point across. I think this is why adults will be able to appreciate this book a bit more than children will.

However, I still think this is a lovey one for slightly older children, especially if you’re trying to get them into reading a bit more.

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