Friday, 26 May 2017

An open letter to my son after the Manchester Attack

James,

I seem to forget sometimes how much you have grown, and just how much you hear not just from us but from your friends at school! Your so aware and often wise beyond your years I need to give you a little more credit as I still think of you as my baby when I try to shield you from the world and all its problems.

Yesterday you asked me, you asked me about the attacks that had happened and you told me you heard it was a nail bomb and you looked confused.

You asked me why someone would do this and you asked about people being killed. I could tell you had so many questions and I was scared, because I wasn't sure I would have all the answers for you.

I can't tell you why these people do these things as most of us adults are unable to really grasp that concept either. I can't tell you why they chose the place they did or why these chose a bomb.

I can tell you though the names of those who were so tragically killed, I can show you their pictures and tell you they were loved. I can tell you about the heart break their families will feel and I can tell you its ok to feel sad for all these people too.

But most of all I want to tell you not to be scared, don't let them win! Never let them dull your smile, your sense of adventure of your freedom. Never let these vile terrorists make you change who you are or how you feel.

I came to give you extra cuddles once you were asleep last night, fast asleep cuddled up to your book and teddy peaceful and care free just as you should be. I shed a tear for those poor families tonight who have lost someone, who are still looking for someone or who came so close to losing someone in those horrific attacks yesterday. I realise just how little I take these moments for granted and my heart aches for all those families who won't be able to kiss their loved ones tonight.

The world can seem to ugly, so cruel but James please don't forget there is so much good! There was so much good that happened after those attacks yesterday and when you see all these bad things happening I want you to look for the good, there is always good!

Strangers opened there homes, their cars and there hearts to those caught up in the attacks with no judging, no prejudice just the love to help those who needed it. The paramedics and police who rushed to the scene to be with those who needed them. The people who raised money after the attacks to support those who needed it and the police who are out on our street in force just days after trying to keep us safe.

I can't predict what the world will be like when your all grown up James and I can't promise that this won't happen again. I can promise though that I will do everything I can do to keep you safe, to show you love, happiness and all the good in the world.



xXx

Friday, 19 May 2017

Little Giggles Soft Play - A totally unique soft play experience

Both Evelyn and James love soft play and it can be a great way to let them burn off some of that built up energy especially on wet rainy days. However soft plays do seem to all be quite similar and its easy to feel like if you've been to one you've been to them all! But that's where Little Giggles soft play centre are breaking the mould with their fun, sensory soft play experience!



Little Giggles soft play is based in Yate (just across the road from the main shopping centre and bus station) and is aiming to break the perceptions of your typical soft play centres with their new centre which has a strong focus on development through light and movement play. Nearly all the equipment within Little Giggles has a moving or light up element to it giving a great sensory feel as well as providing lots of stimulation, fun and excitement for the kids.


Little Giggles is on the upper level of a new development in Yate (stairs and lift to entrance) and we have been so excited to go try it out (me as well as Evelyn of course!). There is tons of parking so we didn't need to worry about that and upon entering we were greeted by several friendly staff members all clearly visible by their fun vibrant uniforms. Payment was quick and easy and off we went to enjoy the centre.

Within the soft play centre there is the main soft play area as well as a large seating area with tables and chairs and a café serving hot food such as jacket potatoes and panini's as well as cakes, soft drinks and coffee/tea.

Evelyn's eyes lit up at the sight of the soft play and it really is something totally different to your typical soft play centres. Gone is the dingy multi level, outdated soft play apparatus its all about the funky, clean and vibrant equipment here and the lights certainly do catch your eye. Evelyn loved the fact that lots of the items moved without having to ask me to push her (she likes to be independent!).

(The spinning Dolphins were a big hit!)

(as were these little "peanuts" that went around but backwards!)

It really feels like each piece of equipment has been carefully thought out here at Little Giggles with everything having a light, sound or touch element rather than just being something to climb. Something we had never seen at a soft play before was this water table! Its such a fantastic idea and can be jumped on, led on or just to jiggle about on, there are plastic fish and seaweed as well as lights concealed within and its such a great idea. Evelyn loved trying to catch all the fish!


Even the slides had an extra element with the one below having cascading lights and the larger slide (seen in the background here) has a "bubble wrap" feel with giant plastic air pockets all the way down the slide!


I was a big fan of the layout too as all the tables face the main soft play area and the whole area is visible from the seating area so those with slightly older children who prefer to head in alone can still keep watch on your little ones. We didn't eat any hot food in the café today as we went straight from the morning school run but the food did smell delicious as we were leaving just before lunch. We can also vouch that the cookies and millionaires shortbread slice was scrumptious and I would say the prices were quite fair at around £4.50 for 2 cold drinks and 2 cakes.

Little Giggles is for children age 0-8 with children under 9 unable to play however I would definitely say the soft play would be more suit to ages 1-5 as James is 7 and I'm not sure he would be as entertained as Evelyn was.

Prices for entry in to the soft play may seem a little more expensive than your "average" soft play but this definitely is NOT your average soft play and so the prices do reflect how much thought and effort has gone to making this soft play as great as it is. There is also no time limit to play (unless the centre gets very busy when they may inforce a 2 hour play limit) so we felt whilst it was a little more expensive it was most definitely worth it.

If you are planning on visiting regularly there is also the option of becoming a member too which brings down the prices of each visit for the entire year!

If you are thinking of visiting Little Giggles soft play do it! You won't regret it and I am certain both you and the kids will want to return, soft play just won't be the same for us again as Little Giggles have certainly set the bar high and we will certainly be back... very soon!

(The balloon chamber had Evelyn in fits of giggles as the balloons bounced around the windy room whilst she tried to catch them all!)

Do you think Little Giggles is somewhere your kids would love too?

xXx


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Parenthood - The things they don't tell you!

Becoming a parent can be such a special time, meeting your baby for the first time and all those magical moments our family and friends tell us to look forward to.

However most parents will be aware that whilst they moments are very special there are so many more moments that make you stop and think... "well they didn't tell me about this!". I have been speaking to some other mums about these hilarious parenting moments to share with you all and here are some of those moments we have all "enjoyed" since becoming parents.


- You will never pee alone ever again, need the toilet in a public place? Then you best be about ready to be exposed to a restroom full of women waiting to use your cubicle as your toddler tried to escape whilst you sit on the loo! Trying to keep the door closed with one foot without peeing on yourself as you balance on the edge of the toilet seat growling your child's name through your teeth so nobody outside can hear you!


- Playdates will very rarely contain actual "play" think more along the lines of becoming a duplo referee. Stalking your child around the cramped soft play grabbing their socks as they fling them at you as they run. Trying to hold some sort of conversation through the soft play ball pit with another mum about how little sleep you've had whilst never actually purchasing that coffee you swore you would get when you first walked in!


- Toddlers can be gross like really gross - " Today I picked a broken Pom bear out of my 1 year olds butt crack. I have no idea how it got there. I wish someone would have warned me about how gross some days are!" - Abbie from www.mamawilkos.com


- Kids certainly don't mince their words! - I wish someone told me how straight forward talking kids are! Many of times my girls have said something about someone aloud and it's REALLY embarassing! Never mind about being super confident, not giving a damn what others think... my middle doesn't care if someone sees her scratching her bum in public! Beth from www.life-as-mum.co.uk


- The poo! Oh yes ALL the poo! - I wish someone had warned me I would end up stepping on poo. With no shoes on. Or socks. More than once. Laura from Www.mumoam.co.uk


So next time I walk past Mothercare and feel my ovaries twitching at the teeny tiny sleep suits and baby booties, I will switch my mind to the less glamorous (but totally hilarious) side of parenting I think we often forget and remind myself exactly why we chose to stop at 2 kids!  

Do you have any funny parenthood tales to tell that you have since discovered after having kids?  I would love to hear them in the comments below!

xXx

Sunday, 14 May 2017

May Madness Giveaway!

Can you believe we are in May already? This year seems to be zooming by but I have to admit I'm glad its almost summer (lets just hope we get lots of sun!). Evelyn is a bit older this year and I can't wait to have lots of days out with her and James over the summer holidays.

Today I have a fantastic giveaway to share with you all! The chance to win not 1 but 2 Fire Tablets (a kids one and an adults one!). Perfect for keeping the kids entertained on long journeys or for just catching up social media whilst you sunbathe in the garden. Check out the giveaway below and enter for your chance to win.

Once again a whole host of amazing bloggers have teamed up to offer you the chance to win a great prize (something we couldn't do individually), but who are this group of amazing people; well check them out:





Joining forces together has meant we can bring you the chance to win not only a Fire HD 8 Tablet (8gb) but a Fire Kids Edition Tablet (in pink or blue) alongside some accessories (think screen protector and a case for the Fire HD 8). Now that's going to make for one lucky winner!

So how can you be in with a chance of winning? Well all you need to do is let us know:

What do you have planned for this summer? Anything exciting?

The only mandatory entry is to answer the above question, all following entries are optional. However, we would, of course, love it if you could give the bloggers behind this giveaway some support. Full T&C can be found within the Rafflecopter widget.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good Luck everyone!!


xXx

Summer style with JD Williams **REVIEW**

Since becoming a mum my style has most definitely changed, its no longer just about what looks good but what's practical too!

But just because I need practical clothes doesn't mean I don't want to look nice and summer is my favourite season for fashion as Maxi dresses are my favourite and I love all the summer styles that have been appearing online.

They are comfy, look great and are practical for most occasions including chasing after the kids! I love how they can be dressed up for an evening or down for the beach and there are so many designs out there now you can be as colourful as you want.

I recently discovered JD Williams who are an online store for women's fashion with an emphasis on contemporary women's clothing, ranging from sizes 12-32. I was offered the chance to choose a few summer pieces in order to share my top summer style tips with you so here is what I chose!

I went for this beautiful Joe Browns Printed Maxi Dress as the deep blue colour immediately caught my eye and I thought the pattern was really pretty. Its floor length and the straps are chunky enough that I could wear my normal bra underneath with no issues. The dress also comes with a detachable belt which was great for defining your waist which can often get lost on long dresses.


I teamed it with these Heavenly soles sandals. I felt the blue diamante detail tied in nicely with the colour in the dress and I was immediately sold by the claim of them having supreme underfoot comfort! I spend a lot of my day on my feet chasing around an energetic toddler so a sandal that's looks pretty and can provide me with comfort has to be a winner, right?


My top fashion tips out there this summer would be -

- Choose clothes you are comfortable in and that allow you to move, like the maxi dress. It means you can still look good and chase the kids around too!

- Bold colour or patterns. Don't be afraid to add some colour to your wardrobe this summer and if big brights aren't your thing add some colour in with your shoes or accessories.

- I am also loving the floaty, dreamy dresses and tunics this summer. They look great and won't leave you feeling too hot in the sun.

Do you have any summer favourites from the JD Williams website or any top fashion tips for this summer season? I would love to hear about them below!

xXx



** I received these items of clothing in exchange for this post, I was not paid. All opinions are my own**



Sunday, 7 May 2017

Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo **REVIEW**

Last week we headed off for a short break at Bluestone Wales and I really wanted to explore a little and find a day our for the kids whilst we were there, that's when I came across Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo!

Searching their website and discovering they had been given the Best Day Out in Wales award I knew this place was going to be good but I definitely wasn't prepared for just how good!

Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo has over 750 animals for you to visit and you can also get up close to furry and feathery farmyard friends in the farmyard barn. If you want more than animals though, no worries as Folly Farm has over 16 different rides in their vintage themed fairground, as well as 8 outdoor adventure and play area's. With this in mind Folly Farm really does have something to keep every member of the family happy.


Folly Farm is clearly sign posted as you approach so finding it was simple, the parking is actually in a car park across the road which we hadn't realised initially. However there is actually an underpass directly from the car park to the entrance of the park so no need to cross any dangerous roads and it meant there was a huge amount of parking available.

At the entrance we were handed a map and wrist bands for the kids, they were the kind you get at swimming (the tough paper kind with a sticky tab) which had space for you to write parents name and contact number in case your little ones got lost. I love this idea and love that it comes free and standard for all admissions in to the park.

Upon entering we were immediately met with the The Jolly Barn full of farm animals of all kinds from turkeys to donkeys and everything in between. Right by the entrance we found a big board which listed all the "meet and greet" type events they had going on in the barn throughout the day which was a good idea as it meant we saw it straight away and could remember any that the kids really wanted to do.


We ended up meeting the bunnies and the sheep (sheep are Evelyn's favourite!) at various times in the day and the kids loved it. The staff who ran these were really friendly and were full of information and answers to all the kids questions which was fantastic. The barn where these take park is near the entrance though so best to keep track of the time so you can make it back in time if you want to see something in particular.


We moved on from the barn and came to the Vintage themed fairground which is indoors so usable in all weather. I have to admit I was a bit dubious of this as I'm not a fan of having to spend loads of extra money on a day out but I was really impressed by this one. You pay for the rides in tokens with each token costing 50p, yep that's right just 50p!! and most rides were only 1 token with the maximum being 2 tokens. I was thrilled that the rides were so cheap and it meant the kids got to go on all the rides they wanted without it costing a fortune.




After the fairground we headed outside for lunch and decided to bring our own picnic. There are plenty of picnic benches dotted around, lots of them with some great views of the animals too which I loved.

As we were eating lunch the kids had spied the giraffes and so off we walked ran to see the giraffes and we couldn't believe just how close we could get to these magical animals. We were so lucky that they were right by the fence but Folly Farm also have a viewing platform that goes over the giraffe enclosure meaning wherever they are you get a great view of them.



We also saw penguins, rhinos, flamingos, reindeer, hogs, meerkats, lions and so many more animals during our visit there were just so many to see at the turn of every corner. We have been to lots of zoo's but felt this place offered the most amount of animals to see. The enclosures for the animals looked great too, nice big open spaces, clean enclosures and plenty to keep the animals happy and entertained which is always a good thing to see in places like this. Its very clear that Folly Farm really care about each and every animal in their park.





One of the things we kept commenting on at Folly Farm was just how clean it was! Honestly it was so clean even in the barn area, we didn't see any litter or mess our whole visit which made the whole visit more enjoyable. We also loved how the park is set out as its set out in a way that you can't really miss anything as long as you follow it round.

Prices for Folly Farm are really good -

Adult£13.95
Child (3-15 years)£11.95
Toddler (2 years)
£4.95

The above price gets you entry in to the park, all the animals and adventure area's as well as a tractor/trailer ride which takes you around the fields of the farm opposite the car park area. We found this was a lovely way to end our day and the recording that played as you travel around was really informative for us and the kids. It told us all about the animals on the farm as we drove past them in the fields.


If you are thinking of paying a visit to Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo I would thoroughly recommend it, I would also recommend getting there at opening time as there is just so much to do you really do need the whole day to fit it all in!

Have you ever been to Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo before?

xXx


**We received free entry in to Folly Farm for the purpose of this review, all opinions are my own**