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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Our day our at Bristol Zoo **REVIEW**

We are always on the look out for fun, family friendly days out and living a short drive away from Bristol city centre means Bristol zoo has become a one of our favourites!

So when we were recently invited along to Bristol Zoo Gardens to enjoy a day out this weekend we couldn't wait to go back. The kids were super excited too!


Bristol Zoo gardens is situated in the Clifton area of Bristol quite close to the Clifton suspension bridge and is easily accessible by car, bus and train. Bristol Zoo is the fifth oldest zoo in the world and first opened its doors to the public on Monday 11 July 1836. Since then it has helped save over 175 species from extinction!


One of the reasons we love Bristol Zoo is because from the moment you walk through after purchasing your ticket there are animals to see and things to do. There is such a variation of animals here too, everything from flamingos and monkeys to lions and seahorses.
Here are just some of the animals we have seen today...






There are plenty of viewing area's for the animals too with most of the enclosures featuring large sheets of clear plastic/glass so the view to the animals in not obstructed by heavy fences etc. There are also several viewing platforms for certain areas such as seal and penguin coast and gorilla island so even when busy you can still get a good view of the animals.

Both James and Evelyn loved venturing in the underwater tunnels to see the penguins and seals happily swimming around and I have to admit its pretty amazing to see! There are several "tunnels" you can walk through whilst the penguins and seals swim around and above and its here you can really capturing just how beautiful (and large!) these animals really are. The port holes dotted around these tunnels provide perfect viewing for toddlers and young children too.




During our visit it was also great to see the zoo involved in so many conservation projects and seeing these dwarf crocodile eggs being lovingly cared for in the reptile house was fab!


Its not just about the animals at Bristol Zoo though! There are some beautiful gardens you can wander around in with benches to sit at and take in the beauty of them. There is also a maze for the kids, a large park area and a splash zone where children can take of their shoes and splash around in. Also dotted around the zoo you will find "challenges" and facts for the kids to take part in. These including timing how long you can stand on one leg like a flamingo, can you run as fast as a cheetah and check out your wing span on a chart in comparison to an eagle!


If you are planning on having lunch at Bristol Zoo there are several options. There is a cafe situated within Bristol Zoo which sells an array of cafe style food including a packed lunch style childrens box. There is also a new "bbq" style grill situated just outside this cafe selling delicious smelling hot dogs and burgers (it really does small amazing). We found the prices in these quite expensive though e/specially if you have come as a family as it would soon add us (around £5 for a hotdog/burger from the grill). We opted to take our own packed lunch and there are lots of places you can eat included a large grass area in which an animal encounters show often begins around lunch time which is fab for the kids!

Bristol Zoo definitely gets a big thumbs up from us. Its a fantastic day out that all of the family can enjoy. There is always something to see, something to learn and something to do, whether its animals you want to see, some thrill seeking on the high wire or learning about endangered species and how we can help Bristol Zoo has it covered. Our photos above only cover a small portion of whats to offer at Bristol Zoo gardens and it really is worth checkout it out for yourself.

Tickets are priced at around £14.45 for an adult and £9.35 for a child with under 2's going free! Don't forget though if you book online you can receive 15% off these prices! You can book tickets online here.

Have you ever been to Bristol Zoo Gardens? What was your favourite bit?

xXx


**I was not paid for this post, We were given a family ticket in return for an honest review. 
All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and written by me. **


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Eve Mattress **REVIEW**

Evelyn has recently moved from her cot in to a bed and so began the hunt for a suitable bed for her and James as we had decided on bunk beds, but more importantly a new mattress.

I had been doing quite a lot of research on different mattresses online, after all she is going to be spending (Hopefully) a good chunk of the night in her bed and being so little I didn't want anything that was going to hurt or damage her posture or growing bones. This was when the lovely people at Eve Mattresses offered us one of their luxury mattresses to try with Evelyn.

After having a read on their website about the mattresses I was really excited for it to arrive, in fact I was a little jealous they sounded so comfy!


Eve mattresses are designed and manufactured in the UK and to keep costs to a minimum are only sold online to cut down the high retail costs! When you purchase your mattress online it will be delivered to your door rolled in a box. I had never seen this before and was worried this would damage the mattress in some way. However when the mattress arrived it was indeed rolled inside the box and I had been told that the mattress would need to be left to lay flat for around 12-24 hours. It looked quite flat inside the box however as soon as I broke the vacuum pack seal it started rising immediately! It was clear the rolling of the mattress has caused no damage to it at all and actually made it a much easier and convenient way to deliver our mattress!

I loved the simple, stylish and clean design of the mattress with its white top and bottom and vibrant yellow side panels it really pops and stands out.


You can really tell this is a luxury brand from the stylish finish to the thickness of the mattress (its huge compared to a standard mattress!). When you lay on the mattress it is extremely comfortable its like sleeping on a very supportive cloud! The foam is soft enough that it molds around your body yet firm enough to offer enough support.

Eve mattress only sell one type of mattress so they can offer the best price and quality and there is no going around in circles trying to work out which mattress is for you. An Eve mattress is made up of...

High Density Base Layer - 18cm of ultra resilient base foam provide the foundation base layer of the mattress, supporting the layers above.

Breathable Comfort Layer - 3cm of cooling foam which offers 30% more breath-ability than a more traditional memory foam. This layer features open air technology that encourages air flow within the mattress.

New Generation Memory Foam - 4cm of responsive memory foam make the 3rd layer within the mattress. This provides balanced comfort, relieving pressure on joints and encourages ease of movement throughout the night. 

The Cover - Completing the mattress is the stylish white and yellow knitted cover. Made from a two way stretch fabric the cover provides a delicate soft surface accentuating the new generation memory foam below it. 



It may be coincidence or it may be the mattress but im taking no chances! Evelyn has slept amazingly since being in her big girl bed with her Eve Mattress and I can't blame her. I had led with her several times during naps or story time and returning to my old mattress just doesn't feel the same. I may have to invest in a Eve sleep mattress for myself!

Buying a mattress is a big decision but I can hand on heart highly recommend Eve their no nonsense easy to navigate website makes finding the right mattress for you simple. You know that the price you are paying doesn't include any high retail costs and you are left with a mattress that makes going to bed that big more enjoyable each night for a great price. 

Still not sure if an Eve mattress is for you? Well Eve Mattress offer a 100 night trial of there mattresses so you can try it out before fully committing. If you do decide to purchase one each Eve mattress comes with a 10 year guarantee! 

Check out the Eve Mattress website here - www.evemattress.co.uk.

xXx

**I was not paid for this post, I was sent this item in return for an honest review. 

All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and written by me. **

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Coping with an Age Gap!

There is an almost 5 year age gap between James and Evelyn with James being the oldest at 6 and a half and Evelyn almost 2. 

I didn't plan to have such an age gap in fact I didn't really plan at all. I fell pregnant with James when I was just 18 and whilst unexpected I now wouldn't change him for the world! Being so young made me realise I didn't want to rush in to having more kids just because of an age gap. I wanted to wait until I was ready, until I felt ready to make that big leap in to becoming a mum of 2. 

It took us quite a while to conceive Evelyn when we finally decided we were ready, which also widened the gap between them and when she eventually came along it was the summer before James was due to start Primary school. 


Of course with James being a little older it was nice that he could understand a little more about the fact he was going to become a big brother and he was so excited to meet his new baby sister. I worried the whole time I was pregnant though about him feeling pushed out, it had been just him for so long how would he feel about sharing me. 

When Evelyn came along James was amazing with her, he couldn't wait to meet her and was so gentle and protective over her whenever he was around. You could just tell how proud he was at being a big brother which did make me feel much better about the situation. We also always made sure we made some time that he have one on one time with just us when Evelyn was in bed so he knew he still had our attention too which definitely helped. 


I am not going to lie though having the age gap is tough especially now at this sort of age. Evelyn is at an age where she wants to be involved in everything everyone else is doing, mostly her brother! Whereas James wants a bit of Independence he is much older and doesn't want to play the baby games that Evelyn is able to do. As a parent its trying to waiver on that thin line between encouraging them to play together and letting them have their own time and space. 

For example we went to a soft play a few days ago, this posed another problem. The soft play centres James likes are huge, high and pretty dangerous for Evelyn, of course they have baby sections but Evelyn doesn't want to be in those if James isn't. However the soft play's that are suitable for Evelyn are much to babyish for James who then bores easily in them. Such a simple thing such as soft play becomes a nightmare of feeling like someone if missing out, its toughie but we have managed to find a few places that meet in the middle and keep them both happy. 


James is also at school now and with school comes after school clubs including swimming clubs and Beaver scouts. I do feel for Evelyn a little and she often gets carted along to these as her dad is at work and I have to take James. As there is such an age gap none of these clubs are suitable for Evelyn which means she is often bored and spends more time than I would like her to in the pushchair whilst we watch or wait around for James. 

Of course there are perks to the age gap too. As James is older is easier to explain to him about why we have to do things. He helps play with Evelyn so I can do the washing up and watching him be so protective over her is so beautiful. Evelyn dotes on her big brother which is so wonderful and I think this is partly because hes that bit older than her and she looks up to him. 

I have found there doesn't seem to be as much arguing between them either. Perhaps because the toys Evelyn has James doesn't want and the toys James has Evelyn doesn't know how to use! I am certain the arguing with come later though and of course they do still argue usually over food or bed time! 

People ask would I change the age gap and my simply answer is no! Yes its hard, really hard sometimes actually but I definitely didn't feel ready for another when James was younger and I am glad I didn't push myself to have another just for a small age gap. I think for me I feel it would have been even harder with 2 when I wasn't mentally prepared for another child than it is with a bigger age gap. 

Whilst there are tough days there are amazing days too though! James is adorable with his sister when they are getting on and watching him teach her and her intently listening fills me with pride. Knowing that she has a brother that little bit older to guide her through the world with that little bit of extra knowledge behind him makes me love them both a little more. 


When people ask the question "whats the best age gap?" my answer is there is no "perfect" age gap. With any age gap will come hard days and situations as well as positives. You just have to do what feels right for you and your family. 

xXx

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Easter Bonnets and Family Time.

Firstly I hope you have all had a lovely Easter!

Sorry the blog has been a little quiet over Easter but we took advantage of some much needed family time to just chill out with James home from school and Frank home from work for a whole week over Easter!

James had his Easter bonnet parade at school on his last day before they broke up for the Easter holidays here he is with his bonnet me and him made together, the tree idea was all his!


He also took his Easter bonnet along to a Easter egg hunt we took part in a few days later at our local park. He actually won a prize in their little Easter bonnet parade and here he is collecting his prize from the Mayor!

(Thank you Viccy for capturing this photo!)

We also spent time with both our families over Easter as well as some chill out time at home. We did make the big decision that Evelyn is going to move from her cot to her bed and went out and ordered bunk beds for her and James. Keep an eye out on the blog as I will be sharing their room makeover here once it is finished!

Today was the last day we have together until Frank returns to work tomorrow so we decided to go bowling (James is always asking to go!). He loved it and was actually pretty good!


We finished today off with a meal out at a local family restaurant near us called The Fox. Both James and Evelyn were really well behaved and it was a lovely end to our family time. Of course James is still of school for another week and a half yet so I still have lots of days to fill but it was nice to spend some time together as a family of 4 without all the interruptions and ciaos of school and work.

I hope you have all had a lovely Easter and are surviving the school holidays with as little stress as possible.

xXx

Thursday, 24 March 2016

MyKidEcoRoom - Kids bedroom makeover wishlist!

When we moved house I was 7 months pregnant and decorating was the last thing on my mind!

Unfortunately this meant the walls in the kids rooms were painted white and furniture was placed in there for practicality rather than looking good. However now we have been here for almost 2 years and Evelyn and James are both growing up we have decided to made their bedroom a lovely space to be in rather than "just a bedroom".

I got online and started looking for inspiration when I discovered the website MyKidEcoRoom.



MyKidEcoRoom is a beautiful website dedicated to offering exclusive eco-friendly furniture for baby's and children. The website features a wide range of children's bedrooms and baby's nursery furniture and accessories with sleek lines and contempory design there really is something to suit all tastes. 

Whether its a classic solid wood look, modern sleek lines or bright bursts of colour you are looking for you will find it at MyKidEcoRoom! 

There were so many great items on the website I fell in love with lots of the pieces and compiled a wishlist of all the things I would get from the MyKidEcoRoom to create a dream bedroom for James and Evelyn. Here are my top wishlist items.





Bow Bunk Bed in white - Since James and Evelyn are sharing a room a bunk bed is the best option for us as it creates more room in the bedroom. I love that this one also provides space for extra storage underneath as we all know you can never have to much storage when kids are involved! 

Cargo Desk in white - Now that James is at school and receiving regular homework I wanted him to have his own little space to go to work and do his homework. This desk provides him the perfect space to do that and has a storage space to store all his things in. I love the added extra of the fun chalkboard painted door for that quirky touch. 

Pop Desk Chair in green - A desk wouldn't be complete without a chair and this funky green provides a fantastic pop of colour!

Altea shelf in Charcoal grey - How adorable are these cloud shape inspired shelves? I would love to have a few of these charcoal grey ones dotted around the room for all of James LEGO bits and pieces so he could display them properly. They are also available in an array of colours including pinks and purples. 

Snug Rug in Grey - This rug looks so cosy and snugly I could just about dive in to it right now! I would love a nice rug in the room to provide a cosy place for James and Evelyn to play or sit and read and this rug totally fits the breif. Its also available in a lovely deep red and cream. 

Planet Wardrobe in white and grey - I hold my hands up and admit I just can't resist buying clothes for the kids, they are just so cute aren't they!? So a good solid sturdy wardrobe is a must and I love the modern and clean design of this Planet wardrobe. The soft close doors are a fantastic added bonus especially as Evelyn would be in the bedroom and it gives me piece of mind about her fingers getting trapped. Inside features 2 fixed shelves and ample hanging space for all of their clothing. 

Loft Pouf Floor Cushion - I mentioned above that I wanted a space for James and Evelyn to relax in the bedroom and these large floor cushions would be perfect for that. Measuring 70 X 70cm there is plenty of space for any child to chill out with a book on one of these soft cushions. 

White Swan Toy Box - Evelyn has lots of soft toys and teddies so I would definitely want something like this beautiful classic toy box in their bedroom. I adore the clean lines and classic look of this one and its large enough to fit a good amount of toys inside!

So there you have it our MyKidEcoRoom wishlist, do you like any of our choices? As you can see we have gone for quite a monochrome look with pops of colour which I would probably add more off through bedding and a few pictures on the wall. 

MyKidEcoRoom really do have so much to offer it is definitely worth checking it out if you are thinking of redecorating or renewing some of your childs furniture. 

xXx

Gro-To-Bed bedding **REVIEW**

It only seems like yesterday I was moving Evelyn from her tiny crib into a cot yet now its time for her to move from her cot to a "big bed". 

If I am totally honest its a move I have would have happily put off for as long as I could as I remember the constant struggle of trying to get James to stay in his bed, I was sure I was going to face again with Evelyn. However she has started to attempt to escape the cot and as she is quite tall I fear once she works out how to get over she will be straight out the cot and could really hurt herself.

We were recently contacted by The Gro Company who offered us a Gro-To-Bed set to review and as we were just thinking of moving Evelyn in to a single bed this seemed like the perfect opportunity and we couldn't wait to try it out. 



The bedding is easy to fit on the bed with the base sheet being fitted around the mattress, it also has a large strap which runs around the bottom of the mattress which holds it in place even if your little one likes to wriggle at night! 

The pillow case is attached to the fitted sheet and you simply slide your child's normal pillow inside the pillow case. I loved this idea as it meant the pillow didn't slip of the bed and stayed securely in place all night. I would have liked it if the pillow case was removable like the duvet cover (read below) just for ease of washing, sometimes Evelyn spills milk or dribbles on her pillowcase and with the bedding design it would mean changing the whole sheet and pillowcase as its all attached. However the pro's of the pillow not slipping definitely outweigh this for us. 



The bedding set also includes a single size duvet cover too which can be used with any standard size single duvet. You just pop the duvet inside the cover as you would do any other duvet cover, however this one has the added extra of zips! Once you have placed your duvet inside you will find 2 zips, one side of the zips runs along the base sheet the other on the duvet cover. You simply zip these up and when your child snuggles down in to the duvet they can no long roll out the sides of the bed as the zips create almost a tube inside the bed that keeps your child secure. It also means the duvet can't roll off the bed or become twisted and tangled around your child.  


Evelyn is a complete wriggler in bed and you will never find her laying the same way you placed her in fact she constantly moves throughout the night, it was one of our main worries about putting her in a single bed. This is why we were so excited when we heard about the Gro-To-Bed bedding! 

Overall we loved the Gro-To-Bed set, the designs available are very cute and they really do work. The sets are easy to use and place on the bed and super soft against babies skin. Evelyn's pillow and duvet have stayed in place every night and we have all slept a little sounder knowing she is safer now that she can't really roll out.


The Gro-To-Bed set is priced at £49.99 for a cot bed size or £59.99 for a single bed size. I know at first glace the price does seem steep but I since trying it I can honestly say it is worth every £! Firstly for that price you are getting a whole bed set including pillow case, base sheet and duvet cover (although the set does not include the actual pillow or duvet). Each item is 100% premium cotton so fantastic quality too.

xXx


**I was not paid for this post, I was sent this item in return for an honest review. 
All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and written by me. **

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Invisible Mum

When I first fell pregnant I was just 18, it certainly wasn't a planned pregnancy and I was in full time work and living the life of any other 18 year old.

Of course when I fell pregnant those boozy nights out with friends stopped and as my growing bump grew and became ever tired I seemed to slip further and further away from my friends. Being just 19 throughout most of my pregnancy meant none of my friends had any children yet, in fact I think it may have been the furthest thing from their mind!

As my pregnancy progressed I began feeling more and more lonely and when I finally finished work for maternity leave, my last point of daily contact to other adults, to my friends ended. At the time I buried my head in to preparing for the arrival of my newborn, setting up a home that we had not long moved in too and nurturing my growing bump. I had convinced myself that once baby was here I would be able to get out more, see friends more and all would return to normal.

This was totally naive from my point and not the case at all. Of course when baby first arrived people came, they wanted to meet baby and offered advice and help and reassured me they would be there if I needed anything. As most mums will know after that initial"new baby rush" of visitors they begin to thin out, people return to their normal lives and you are left alone trying to adapt to having a new baby and becoming a mum.

I was scared, I felt alone and whilst I had my husband he was at work a lot of the time and the friends I thought would stick around had pretty much forgotten about us. I knew that whilst I could still stay in contact with my old friends they were now leading a different lifestyle to me, following a different path to me and my baby.

I had read and seen all of those stories about mum groups and meeting for coffees and play dates, mums nights out and this amazing support network which I assumed would just happen, it doesn't! Attending mum and baby groups is of course a great way to start in making new friends but these can be daunting and scary too and it doesn't just happen. I suffered with post-natal depression with my first baby which made going to groups even harder, a lot of days I didn't want to leave the house and when I did I just didn't have the confidence to throw myself into groups and conversations to make friends.

I quickly got disheartened when I would see groups of mums together and would feel I didn't really fit and its hard to feel confident especially when you are juggling a newborn and still finding your feet as a parent. It took time but I soon realised it was better just to be myself rather than trying to be the friend I thought everyone wanted to be. I took time away from others to become confident in my parenting and in myself and then went back to groups with a new attitude. Most people who attend these groups are just like you they join them to make friends, they probably have questions and worries just like you. Be yourself and relax us mums need to stick together on what can already be a very lonely journey.

I have been so lucky this second time round in that I have found some lovely friends who are parents themselves and it really does make all the difference. Knowing I have friends to turn to who know exactly what I am rambling on about when I talk about no sleep, cleaning wotsits from the carpet and the colour of poo and not think i have gone mad!

Being a parent is tough and its not all plain sailing and play dates, its hard but there is a light at the end of the tunnel we just have to want to see it. Don't put to much pressure on yourself to make friends just be yourself, those who are worth being friends with will accept you for exactly who you are sleep deprived rants and all.


Did you find it difficult to make friends when you first became a mum? Any tips or advice for new mums?

xXx