Birthday Bank Holiday Fun

Our Bank holiday celebrations started on Thursday when we celebrated Thomas' 4th Birthday. I cannot believe that my little boy is 4 year old. It seems like 2 minutes ago that we were bringing him home from the hospital, watching him crawl for the first time, take his first steps, say his first word, bring his little brother into the world and now 4... yes 4 years old. 

We started off celebrating by opening Thomas' presents. He mostly got money this year as his toy box is overloaded with toys and he has a mountain of clothing so we decided to ask for money so he could choose his own things. 

He also got this gorgeous monkey which is really cute. That was until we took him out of the box and he started giggling at us and then let out a huge trump. Yeah, it is funny, but after the 50th time, gets a bit annoying hahahaha *parp*

Thomas was lucky as he got 2 birthday cakes this year. We bought one specifically for nursery, so he could take it and share between all his friends at school. And the cake for home which was personally made for him, from Baker Days. Our review of the cake is here.

We bought him 2 pairs of trainers which no doubt he will ruin scraping his feet on the floor whilst riding his scooter and we also got him a trampoline. Thomas has been asking for a trampoline for ages now and so we thought we would surprise him with one. 

After purchasing an 8ft one, we kept it in the box until the day before his birthday when we built it up. I must admit, the instructions were a bit confusing but after a while we got into our flow and got it together. Although, it still did take a good hour and half to get together. Thomas enjoyed having his first jump on it though. 

We had been planning for ages, trying to think about what we could do for Thomas' birthday. In the end, we decided on a barbecue. As family members were working on the Thursday, we had it on Saturday instead, luckily this was ideal as the weather was lovely. 

Now, I have to say that I am a barbecue virgin. I have never done a barbecue before and so this did make it hard at first. I couldn't get it to light. Charcoal and fire-lighters on, but no, it wasn't lighting. After getting mad, and a few expletives too, it eventually staying lit and we enjoyed some yummy marinated pork and chicken and then sausages and burgers too.

Unfortunately for me, after being stood at the barbecue cooking for so long, I was left with my back so burnt that it is still hurting now. As you can see in the picture, and no, that isn't a white bra strap, that is my bare skin, red raw.

Although, I may have had a painful time afterwards, it was all worth it to see Thomas and Charlie have such a good day. They loved seeing their family and having a play in the trampoline and swimming pool, having water fights and just running about tiring themselves out. 

With us having a long weekend, with the bank holiday and all, we decided to make the most of having a car, and we went to Ilkley park. This is a good 50 minutes away from us but it was
great to have a nice drive out there. Lovely weather and a nice big park meant we had a fantastic day.

Thomas enjoyed playing with his cousin, Adam, whilst Charlie slept in his pram. The see-saw was a huge favourite for the boys and also the climbing frame shaped like a truck, all the boys seemed to be flocking to this one.

There were 3 different slides around the park and swings too so Thomas was never bored. There was even a huge sandpit. Wriggling sand between my toes, I imagined sitting on the beach in Spain, yes, this is the life.

Charlie woke to have a go on a little car and Thomas on the bike and we ended our day by watching daddy and uncle Gareth play on the sea-saw, yes, boys will be boys! I think I should contact a media agency to get the word out there and for companies to start making park toys for adults.

After enjoying fish and chips at a restaurant, we were on our way home.

This has been the best Birthday and bank holiday weekend we have had, great fun and family times.

How did you enjoy the long bank holiday weekend?

Life in a Break Down


Baker Days Letterbox Cake

If someone offers to let you review cake, there isn't many times I would turn it down and so when Baker Days offered us a cake for Thomas' birthday, we jumped on them and screamed yes at the tops of our voices. 

Baker Days make a range of cakes including a 'LetterBox Cake' which is small enough to fit through the letterbox and so perfect for busy parents who want a personalised cake for their child but don't have time to wait in for it. 

Their website is easy to use. After choosing an occasion, you pick the cake design and size. You are then given the opportunity to personalise the cake with names, messages or photos. Sponge cake is the standard cake within the price, but for a little extra you can choose carrot, fruit, double chocolate chip and even a gluten & wheat free cake instead. 

After the initial contact from Baker Days, I emailed them with what Thomas likes and they sent us a copy of what the cake would look like, a cute dinosaur and the words 'Thomas is 4, Have a Snappy Birthday' scrawled across it, I knew Thomas would love it and couldn't wait for him to see it and give it a try. 

I was sceptical at whether a cake could be thrown  put through the letterbox without being damaged but was pleased to see that it came in a tin which fit the cake in it perfectly, stopping it from being damaged. Also in the package was some a couple of balloons, candles and a cute little pack of sweets which I thought is a very thoughtful extra in the package. 

On the website it says that this cake should get between 3-4 servings yet we got 5 good sized slices out of it, one each and an extra sneaky slice for Thomas, and could have possibly got 6 at a squeeze. 

I must admit that I was dreading tasting the cake. I thought to myself that a cake which has been stuck in the post will probably not be that great but no, it was lovely. A very nice moist sponge cake which all of us enjoyed thoroughly. 

Thomas loved the fact that it was made just for him and had his name on it and I think that this is a fantastic product. Great as a present for loved ones who live far away maybe or just as a surprise treat for young ones. 

Prices of the cake start at £14.99 including delivery.
You can find Baker Days on Facebook and Twitter.

- I was sent this product/s to review but all thoughts and experience are my own honest opinions


Munching Munchkin Competition

As you already know, we are big fans of the Munchkin range. The full collection includes a range of colourful and clever bathing, feeding and hygiene products. We have reviewed their:

Click -Lock cups - here
Bath toys - here 
Feeding range - here

Each item from Munchkin has been designed to excite and delight children whilst making parents lives easier and more enjoyable and as you can see by the pictures, we had great fun trying out all the products and doing the reviews. 

We especially loved the feeding range and for that reason, the fab people over at Munchkin have allowed us to give a bundle of their feeding range

The prize bundle will consist of:

- A Fresh Food Feeder
- 5pk Multi-coloured Feeding Plates
- 6 Multi-coloured Forks & Spoons
- A Snack Catcher
- 6 Soft Tip Spoons
- 4pk Stack-A-Bowls

When it comes to feeding your little one, there is only one range on mum's minds right now and that's Munchkin so get entering for your chance to win.

Please remember to check the T&C's at the bottom of the Rafflecopter application and our full terms here. This giveaway is open to the UK only and any entries left that do not follow the mandatory entry will be disqualified. After the mandatory entry, the Rafflecopter form will then open a round of optional extras you do not have to enter any of these but these will give you extra entries into the competition.

And please, if you are commenting on the blog as 'anonymous' can you please write your name in the comment otherwise I cannot count your entry.

To see more of the fantastic range and for full stockist details log on to the Munchkin Website or like the Munchkin Facebook page here.


Never Again...

Charlie's 20 week scan
Never again will I get to see a babies silhouette on a scan photograph. 

Never again will get that first kick and feel so proud.

Never again will I get kicked at 3am and scream at my tummy to go to sleep.

Never again will I get that feeling when I see my baby for the first time.

Never again will I see a first tooth, a first roll, a first crawl, a first step, a first word...

Never again will I get that sensation, just after giving birth, where I feel empty inside... but wait, I do... I feel so empty. No baby, but not in a good way. I'm not getting to meet my baby and it just dawned on me how gutted I actually am.  

Why me? Why us? I've had 2 perfect little boys so why not another now? What's wrong with me? Will I ever get over it?

I know you'll probably think I'm been over dramatic, well I wasn't that far, but in fact, when you think about it, I would have been going for a scan this week. I would now be nearly 12 weeks gone. 3 months into my pregnancy. 

Getting used to being a family of five but no... not any more... 


All work, No Rest, No Play

Now don't get me wrong, I love being a mum. It's the thing I am most proud of in my life. The feeling of knowing that I brought those 2 boys into this world fills me with overwhelming pleasure. 

When they learnt to crawl, walk, and talk, I have this little voice in my head saying 'I taught them that', and no, before you say anything, I'm not crazy. I may talk to myself but doesn't everyone? Oh, no. It's just me then!

Seriously though, I sometimes look back on the day we've just come to end of and think to myself that I've done nothing for or by myself in that whole day. Everything was either with the children or for them. That sometimes does make me sad. 

I'm not saying that I wished they weren't here, but I think a bit of space is good for us and our children. Even they need to get out and meet new friends, socialize (no, I don't mean popping down the pub for a pint, I mean playing with other children) and interact to gain their own experiences and learn from other children too.

I realised that I haven't actually been out for over 2 years and even then we had Thomas with us and left after an hour so he didn't get bored. 

Now this probably doesn't come as a shock to parents reading this as I'm sure we're all in the same boat but I've decided to try and change a little.
I need to get out more. Even if it's just a quick coffee with a friend  or getting Simon to look after the boys whilst I don my hot pants to go out with the girls. I think sometimes mummies need to think about themselves too. 

I know that this probably wont end up happening though. I say it and would love to get out for a bit but I hate leaving the boys. Even though I know they'll be fine, I'm still apprehensive when having to leave them (I hated leaving Thomas at my mums whilst I was in labour with Charlie). 

How do I leave them without feeling guilty? What do you think? Do you go out without your children? Am I just being selfish?

-This is a sponsored post although everything wrote about in this post is my own writing and experiences

Life in a Break Down

Banana for Breakfast anyone?

As the saying goes 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away' but did you actually know that apples aren't the best fruit for you. Bananas are!

Bananas contain three natural sugars, sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fibre. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy which is why sports people eat it at intervals. Research has even proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a 90 minute workout so no wonder the banana is the number one fruit for athletes.

But bananas aren't just for energy, they can also help prevent illnesses and conditions. 

Bananas contain tryptophan, a protein that the body converts to serotonin which is known to make you relax, improve your mood and make you feel happier in yourself and research has shown that this helps combat depression.

The high in iron content in bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood. This helps with cases of anaemia.

Bananas are high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat high blood pressure.

Want to know the best way to cure hangover? Make a banana milkshake and sweeten it with honey. The banana has a calming effect on the stomach and the honey tops up your blood sugar levels.

So you see, a banana is not just an amazing fruit but it's also a great help for illnesses. So when you compare it to an apple, it has 4 times the protein, twice the carbohydrate and 5 times the vitamin A and iron. 

So maybe its time to change that well known phrase to, 'A BANANA a day keeps the doctor away!'


Dreaming of Captain Redbeard

This post has been written in conjunction with bed makers Warren Evans for National Share a Story Month. This is our bedtime story. 

Dreaming of Captain Redbeard
Thomas had a great imagination, always day dreaming about pirates and the skulduggery they get up to. He explained to his mum that one day he would be just like his friend, Captain Redbeard and would go on lots of adventures, saving princesses and collecting huge amounts of treasure. 

“Maybe Thomas, but for now you need your sleep. Even pirates can’t save the world if they’re tired” Mum explained. So Thomas jumped into bed and got his head down for a restful night ahead. 

Low and behold, Thomas even dreamt about pirates. Thud, thud, thud! Out in the garden someone was banging around. “Who could that be?” thought Thomas. 

"Five steps from the swing and eight steps from the slide," growled Captain Redbeard in Thomas's dream one night. "Thar be our treasure! Argh." 

So the next day when Thomas woke up he couldn't wait to get out into the garden to find his treasure. Following exactly where Captain Redbeard had said, five steps from the swing and eight steps from the slide, and there it was. No X marking the spot but Thomas knew he was in the right place. Thomas began to dig. He dug and dug and dug until the hole was deep and the mud was piled high.

Thomas kept digging. The hole got deeper and the mud pile got higher. 

He dug until the hole was extremely deep and the mud pile was as high as it could ever be. 

He sighed. "I'm just too tired and I can't dig any more." Throwing down his spade in a huff. Then he noticed something in the ground... 

Oh, it was only one of Sam’s dog toys. “After all that digging all I have now is a silly dog toy and a big hole to fill back in with mud” groaned Thomas. 

He shouted "Captain Redbeard lied to me, there is no treasure here" 

But when Thomas' mum came out, she was impressed. “Well done Thomas, that’s the exact spot where we are putting the pond. Thank you for digging the hole for me” 

“But wait” she exclaimed!… “What is that stuck to Sam’s dog toy?” 

Thomas looked down with a grin on his face when he noticed it was a £5 note. 

“Well you can keep that for being a good boy and digging the hole for me” said mum. 

Captain Redbeard was right, there was treasure in the garden. I can't wait to see him again tonight to see what else we can find!

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Nākd Chocolovers Mixed Case

After everything I've been through the past month, I've decided that now will be the best time to lose weight. I don't mind exercising and even eating healthy lunches and dinners are fine with me. The one thing that is my downfall is chocolate. I could eat chocolate till it is coming out of my ears, I just love it. Some when it comes to snacking I don't usually go for cereal bars because I like yummy chocolatey goodness. 

So when I was asked to review some bars from Natural Balanced Foods, straight away I went for the Nākd Chocolovers Mixed Case of cereal bars. The mixed case contains 18 bars in it, six of each flavour and is priced at £14.99. The three flavours are Cocoa Orange, Cocoa Delight and Cocoa Mint.

Nākd bars are a great way to eat nutritious and healthy food but still getting that great satisfying taste. The bars are made from natural ingredients such as fruits and nuts with no added sugars or hidden extras. 

Nākd Cocoa Delight
The Nākd Cocoa Delight is the perfect choice if you want a melt-in-the-mouth, yummy yet healthy bar. It tastes like a very rich cocoa with cashew nuts. You also get essences of raisins and dates but the chocolate flavour is the most in the forefront. I was surprised to learnt that this bar is only 135 calories as with it being so chocolatey, I assumed it would be very calorific. 

Nākd Cocoa Orange
The Nākd Cocoa Orange bar has a refreshingly orangey flavour and is one of the best sellers. It is very sweet and the orange flavouring does stand out loads but also I get the dates coming through a lot on these bars too. Although I do love the fact that they are all natural and have such a great taste to say they don't contain much, I do find these a little too strong for my taste but my husband, Simon, loves them so it worked out quite well. 

Nākd Cocoa Mint
Like the other bars, the Nākd Cocoa Mint bars contain minimal ingredients with a yummy natural mint flavour. I love this flavour, it is very refreshing and zingy which is complimented by the cocoa. This is my favourite bar as you can hardly taste the dates or raisins so to me, it's like a yummy snack rather than part of my diet.

Natural Balanced Foods say "We always use as few ingredients as possible in our bars, and we prefer not to bake them, so that all the moisture stays locked in."

Not only are the bars incredibly healthy and full of goodness but they are also gluten fee, wheat free, dairy free and have no added sugar. They are also vegan & vegetarian friendly and one of your 5 a day!

So what are you waiting for? Get Nākd today!

- I was sent this product/s to review but all thoughts and experience are my own honest opinions


Scrub-A-Dub-Dub, No Hands In The Tub

There are many products that I have loved reviewing over the past year. Some expensive, big and bulky and some small, light and inexpensive. But since it's now been a year that I have been writing this blog, sharing our memories and my thoughts on all the products, I thought I'd write once more about the product that we get most use out of. That is used every day, a few times a day and that I now couldn't live without it.

Our Dishmatic!

Yes, it's a sponge on a stick. But no, it isn't just that. 

I have a phobia (weirdo alert!!!) of dirty water. I hate touching it and don't like putting my hands in the water whilst washing up. For years I have washed up with the tap running, wasting loads of water, so that I didn't need to touch the dirty water from the pots but since finding out about Dishmatic, I now don't need to. 

Dishmatic is a hollowed out tube that you fill with washing up liquid and then slot a sponge on the end. No having to prod my hands into murky water, cringing as I do it as now the sponge easily goes in whilst I keep my hands away from it holding the handle. 

Not only that but other attachments can be added to it instead of a sponge. You can purchase brush heads which are great for scrubbing oven dishes after lazy tired mummy has left the pots overnight and it has all stuck on hard. The steel scourers are fantastic for cleaning out the oven and grill. No more nearly feeding myself to the oven trying to reach right to the back because now the Dishmatic is here to give me extra reach. Then also, depending on what you are cleaning, the sponges come in different varieties. Soft, heavy duty and extra heavy duty which you can swap and change to suit what you are cleaning. 

I know this sounds stupid, but this was one item which I thought I would get bored of using after a while, but I haven't! It makes cleaning so much easier. Even cleaning the pram becomes simple as I don't need loads of accessories to do the job, just different attachments to clean each bit. 

You can check out my fist review of the dishmatic here which I wrote last August.

The only one thing I am gutted about is getting replacement attachments. Yes, you can buy them all over but with having little children, long journeys to the big supermarkets can get hectic so we don't do them that often. We will usually go to our local small ASDA which, yes, does sell (sometimes) the white soft sponges but none of the others and so when we do venture to the superstores we have to stock up. This can be hard when on a budget and having screams kids wanting sweets and treats.

I wish I had a never ending supply of the attachments so I can just easily get on with my cleaning with my one item wonder. The soft sponges and heavy duty ones, the scourers are all items I use everyday and I hate it when we run out and I have to go back to an old fashioned regular sponge.

What is the one item you couldn't live without? Have you tried Dishmatic? If not, why not?


Munchkin Bath Toys

Both Thomas and Charlie love being in the bath. Usually it takes me ages to get them to get out once they're in and that's thanks to Munchkins bath toys.

We were lucky to be sent 3 items from the Munchkin bath range. They were:

Shampoo Rinser
The one part of getting a bath my boys hate is getting there hair washed. Thanks to Munchkin that's no longer a problem. You see, the Munchkin jug is flexible which means that when usually the water will run out all over the boys faces, now the jug flexes into the forehead and the water just rinses off the back of the head.
It's large, easy grip handle means that us, the parents, have more control whilst rinsing hair and the fact that is has a very large water capacity means that fewer rinses are needed.

Turtle Shower
I love this toy because not only is it fun for the boys but it also teaches them how to shower. Many times I have had Charlie screaming when I've had to shower him down but now that he's using this as a toy and thinks it is funny, he has kind of got used to the shower doing the same thing. 
The turtle sticks to the bath (or tiles) with 2 suckers and then there is a tube coming from the base with a fish attached. It is this fish that sucks up the water from the bath which then comes out of the adjustable head of the turtle. It really is a great toy and both boys enjoy it splashing them and even lay under it to rinse their hair off.
The shower button was very easy to press, even Charlie could do it and it was great to see both boys enjoying water splashing onto them.

Wonder Waterway
This is a pack of three toys which can either be connected together to make one big toy or left separate. The star has beads inside it and water drips from its base, the penguin has a spiral slide and the fish has a spinning wheel, when connected together the water allows all of the insides to work at the same time. Charlie especially loves these.

Each of the characters had their own bright and bold colours which stood out lovely and joined together made them even more fun. 

You can buy the bath range in Asda, Tesco, Boots and many more store including online too.
Check out the Munchkin website here or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

If you want to check out our other Munchkin reviews then click here for the feeding range and here for the click lock cups.

- I was sent this product/s to review but all thoughts and experience are my own honest opinions


Mornflake Porridge and Granola

Having a variety of different cereals in our household is needed. The kids get bored and wanting a change all the time so different flavours and textures help keep them interested in their food.

Mornflake have some truly scrumptious cereals and porridges in their range. From berry oat flakes and nutty muesli to chocolaty squares and Golden Syrup Oats 2 Go. Mornflake have been milling oats in the South Cheshire countryside since 1675, making them the longest established miller of oats and cereal in the UK. After 15 generations, they are still managed by descendants of the original miller, William Lea and still work with Mother Nature to make sure they are protecting the environment and also the oats that aren't suitable for humans consumption provides food for animals.

We were sent 4 different cereals and porridges to try out and this is what we thought about them.

Their Golden Syrup Porridge is fantastic to give the boys a filling breakfast full of goodness which also has a yummy sweet taste too. For young children, porridge can be a little plain and sugar would need to be added to give it sweetness. Now that isn't need as Oats 2 go now come with a Golden Syrup flavour in their sachets.

The best part is that with Mornflake porridges there is no messing about having to measure everything out. The sachet is a pre-measured amount suitable for a good sized breakfast and when you rip the top off the sachet, you can then pour milk into the wrapper to the fill line and then add that to the porridge. So everything is set out for you, no mess, no fuss. I cooked the porridge in the microwave for 2 minutes giving it a little stir half way through.

For grown ups, there is the Superfast Oats. Mornflake Superfast Oats are bursting with pure, natural wholegrain goodness, the perfect choice for a healthy lifestyle. Each oat is cut into three before being rolled meaning the oatflakes absorb the milk quicker making them cook superfast, perfect for a smooth & creamy porridge.

Each portion of the Superfast Oats was just perfect and kept my husband, Simon and I, full till lunchtime and even beyond that sometimes.

I loved the Nuts & Seeds Oatbran Granola. Made from hazelnuts, almonds and honey it is yummy and so satisfying to taste although for my taste buds it can be a little too sweet to have everyday. It is packed in a resealable pouch so you can keep your cereal fresher for longer.

Last up is the Very Berry Oatbran Muesli which has strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, apricots and dates mixed with oatbran to give a nice fruity kick to your morning. I found this muesli really refreshing to wake up to and it really did help me to wake up happy. Like the Nuts and Seeds Oatbran Granola, this muesli is packed in a resealable pouch so you can keep your cereal fresher for longer.

The Mornflake range is available to buy from Sainsbury's, Ocado and Tesco as well as at some independent store and online. 

You can follow Mornflake on Facebook and on Twitter.


Miscarriage, Is Someone To Blame?

In excitement I did 6 tests
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that we have had a tough few weeks. After finding out that I was pregnant on the 5th April, I went on to have a miscarriage on the 23rd. This was such a shocking and upsetting time, as you'd imagine but doubly worse for my family. 

You see, the day I found out I was expecting another baby, my oldest sister had a miscarriage. So in 2 weeks, 2 babies had turned to angels which was a hard time for our whole family. 

Not only that, but my sister found something out that actually explained why she had been loosing so many babies. Something, that shocked not only her but also the nurses who treated her. 

I'll start at the beginning. 

My sister has 4 children. She was married to her first husband for 10 years but then they went their separate ways. After remarrying and deciding that they would like a baby together, they got to trying to conceive. Straight away she fell pregnant but after a month, she lost the baby. 

Not one for giving up, my sister tried again but again, miscarried the baby. So 2 month ago she purchased ovulation tests, pregnancy supplements, all sorts to give her body a helping hand but then again, the baby just wasn't sticky enough to stay and she lost the baby. 

Whilst in hospital being scanned to confirm the loss, a nurse just happened to mention that she needed to have an Anti D injection before leaving. My sister was stumped, what was an Anti D injection? She said the nurse looked stunned and ran off to check the notes to realise that my sister is Rhesus negative and should have had the Anti D injection during every pregnancy.

For anyone who doesn't know what and Anti D injection is, it is and injection that women with Rhesus Negative (known as RhD Negative) blood are given after giving birth to a baby. If you are RhD negative but your baby has inherited a Rhesus positive status from their dad, then your blood and your baby's blood could be incompatible. If your blood then comes into contact with your baby's, you will develop antibodies that fight against your baby's blood.

Once these antibodies are created, they never leave your blood system so if you have a second pregnancy where your baby is rhesus positive, these antibodies can cross the placenta and attack and destroy the baby's blood cells causing rhesus disease. Rhesus disease can cause anaemia, but also in serious cases can cause miscarriage.

The Anti D injection stops your body from producing the antibodies which fight against the baby's blood therefore stopping any reaction. 

At the moment, my sister is waiting for tests to see if this is the reason why she has been having the miscarriages. If this is the case then she has a good chance of bringing a Leo Claims medical negligence claim against the hospital which for the 7 pregnancies she has had, have never once offered her, or explained that she needs this injection even though they knew that she was Rhesus Negative. 

I know this is a really sad time for her because if she finds out that her body has, in fact, developed these antibodies, there is likely to be no chance that she could have a successful pregnancy again unless the baby was to have Rhesus Negative blood too.

-This is a sponsored post although everything wrote about in this post is my own writing and family experiences