Saturday, 30 August 2014

Little J's New Bedtime Pal - Sweet Dreams with Squidge

This post really does bring back memories for me. I've mentioned it before but when Big J was little he loved CBeebies. Tweenies, Teletubbies, Balamory and Mr Tumble.
 
When that time of day came that CBeebies was going to bed Big J would cry his little heart out. As soon as the goodnight song would come on his lip would quiver and the tears would flow. If we turned the TV off before the song started he would still cry and it was probably worse.
 
This week little J received a CBeebies Sweet Dreams with Squidge. It is so soft and cuddly and it plays the CBeebies Goodnight song. It brought back a lot of memories.
 
I knew little J would love it straight away because he just loves anything he can cuddle, press, lights up and makes noises.

Once we showed little J how to start the song (by pressing the star at the bottom) he can easily switch the music on, press it again and the song stops.

As well as singing the song Sweet Dreams with Squidge lights up too.

Little J had slept with Squidge the night before and wouldn't put him down so he joined us for breakfast.

The squidge is really soft so little J decided to snuggle up while watching Mike The Knight.


The lights on squidge are soft and will stay on for the song but once the song finishes they go off. If you want to hear the song again or see the lights you will have to press the star again.

We leave squidge in the cot overnight and every morning we have been awoken to the song. Its our new alarm clock. I find myself singing it throughout the day too.

The squidge is suitable from 10 months +  and is 23cm tall.

He is super soft and wears a lovely blue night cap.

Press the star to activate the Cbeebies night time tune

Lights glow softly whilst the song is playing.

RRP is £19.99 and is made by Golden Bear Toys who have a Cbeebies range.

If you would like to own a squidge of your own - click HERE to enter my competition to win a Sweet Dreams with Squidge.
 
 
 

Friday, 29 August 2014

NINKY NONK Musical Activity Train

Since a recent visit to Cbeebies Land in Alton Towers little J absolutely loves In The Night Garden. I had heard of it before but we had never watched the programme. 
 
Little and big J got to meet Igglepiggle and little J instantly became a fan

He has a few toys now including an Igglepiggle taggy which he loves and takes to bed with him every night. 
 
Probably his favourite toy at the moment is his NINKY NONK musical activity train. He loves it and has played with it every day since it arrived.
 
The train is like five toys in one because each carriage can be removed from the others so you can play with which ever toy you want or all five. When attached together the NINKY NONK activity train is 78cms long.
Included is 
 
Ninky Nonk Musical Pull Along Engine
 

This is little J's favourite. The Musical Pull Along Engine from In the Night Garden, is perfect for little J. He loves anything that makes a noise, lights up or sings and this does all 3.

There are 3 buttons on the NINKY NONK engine and each one when pressed plays the characters theme tune. Little J keeps pressing them over and over again. There is another button shaped as a yellow star and this is perfect for bedtime. When you press it the NINKY NONK lights up and plays a lullaby.
 
The NINKY NONK also has a yellow cord attached and when pulled plays a tune. Little J isn't walking just yet but he will whizz  it across the floor.

Tombliboo's Spinning Shape Sorter

Little J really likes this part of the train, and I actually do to. The shape sorter comes with three blocks which are different colours, shapes and has characters featured on them.
 
Once little J had sorted the blocks I showed him that you can press down on the plunger and the carriage spins.
 
He will sit and spin it over and over. I have to admit its weirdly addictive.
 
To release the shapes you just lift up the carriage and they fall out.
 
Upsy Daisy's Stacking Blocks Carriage
 
The next part of the train is a stacker. Little J isn't too fussed on this part of the train. The carriage features two Harhoo blocks that you can use to stack alone or you can stack on top of the carriage. They need to be stacked and clipped down to stay in place and little J just finds this a little to hard and gives up but I'm sure in time with practice he'll master it.
 
There is a little peek a boo door which he enjoys opening and closing and opening and closing.... and the lids rattles too which he seems to enjoy playing with.
 
 
 Pop-up Igglepiggle 
 
This is really simple but very enjoyable. You just press down on the button and Igglepiggle will pop up and then you push him back down again and he squeaks. This fits in one hand so perfect for keeping little J entertained in the car or while he's sat waiting for his lunch.
 
and 
 
Peek-a-Boo Carriage

 


Again this is only a small toy so can easily fit in the hand. You open the doors and inside are Pontipines and Wottingers. Little J likes opening the door but not as much as pressing the button on the roof which has a clicking sound.
 


Overall little J loves the NINKY NONK Musical Activity Train. The fact that it is 5 toys in one is really appealing as I know how easy it is for little ones to become bored quite quickly. The train has lots of activities to do on each and when put together its a great pull along too.

 

Its very bright and colourful and if your little one isn't a fan of In The Night Garden already I'm sure they will be after playing with this. I often find myself singing along to the songs.
 
You can view more information on In The Night Garden HERE and you can buy the NINKY NONK Musical activity train HERE
 
Does your little one like In The Night Garden?
 

 
 
*we were sent the Ninky Nonk Activity Train for the purpose of this review. All thoughts are our own*

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Club Penguin is taken over by Frozen

If you didn't know already we love everything Disney and always have. This week Big J got to play on his favourite online game Club Penguin while it was taken over by Frozen.
 
If you haven't heard of Club Penguin I will be shocked. Its an online community where you can decorate igloos, collect puffles and make friends all wrapped up in one cute Disney package for kids. If you haven't heard of Frozen, what planet have you been living on?
 

Big J is already a member of Club Penguin and has a penguin, a lovely igloo and tons of puffles. He has been a member for years and has built up his profile and he loves it. There are lots of things to do on club penguin, play games, go shopping or chatting to other members.
 
Every month they will introduce a new party and you can hit the shops and buy new furniture, clothes, accessories etc on that theme. I remember one year big J decorated his igloo for Halloween.
 
There is always something new to do on Club Penguin which is great to keep the kids entertained.
 
Since 21st August the Club Penguin Island has been transformed into the Kingdom of Arendelle and will continue until 3rd September.
 
So far Big J has created his own snowman puffle which is so cute. He bought an Olaf costume for his penguin and if you enter his igloo you will be greeted with the instrumental version of Let It Go.
 
There are other activities to join in with too.
 
Members can join a quest for magical snowflakes around the island and collect special rewards.
 
Help thaw the island from its frozen state
 
Get your very own ice palace igloo to decorate, and listen to a special performance of let it go in Elsa's Ice Palace.
 
Freeze all the party rooms with snowballs.
 
Dress up your penguin as Elsa
 
or Anna
 
There is lots going on and big j has really enjoyed it so far. He is waiting for the Ice Palace to open which will bring lots more things to do to.
 
Club Penguin is the number one children's online world across the globe. 220 million penguins have been created in 190 countries since it began in 2005. Club penguin can be played all over the world and in six languages.
 
I have always had peace of mind that Big J is safe on Club Penguin, it is known for its commitment in providing a safe online experience but still remains lots of fun.
 
 Club Penguin membership can be bought online from as little as £2.50 per month for 12 months and you can view all the details by visiting Club Penguin
 
Does your little one play Club Penguin?
 
 
 
*we were given a one month subscription to join in with the Frozen party. Thought above are our own*

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Looking Back At The First Day Of School

I can't believe that the summer holidays is almost at an end. Where did the time go? I have always loved the summer holidays, spending time with my monkeys is the best and I miss big J when he is in school. 
 
 This time last year he was just starting senior school and I remember thinking that time really does fly and it only felt like yesterday he was starting reception.
 
When we applied for Big J to attend the local school it was such a long wait to receive the letter to say he had been accepted. We opened the envelope and read the top line 'We are pleased to say....' We were so happy but I cried at the same time but they were happy tears. It was the same with senior school too although we found out by email at almost 1am. I had stayed up, little J was only weeks old at the time and I wanted to scream when I read he had been accepted.. but I didn't want to wake him up.
 
The first day of school is such a big deal and we did lots of preparation. Buying the uniform was an experience. Seeing my little one in a school uniform for the first time brought me to tears...again. He stood in the changing room wearing the full uniform and tie and looked older. He had changed from my baby to a boy in just a change of clothes.
 
We have just done this years school uniform shopping and it's so expensive. His school has it's own shop to buy the uniform from and you have to buy everything from there. I miss just popping to the local supermarket, such as George at Asda to pick up white shirts and grey trousers. You can literally buy everything there and they even offer the 100 day guarantee. So if you are not satisfied with your George Clothing you can return it within 100 days with proof of purchase for an exchange or refund.
 
Once his uniform was bought it was time to visit the school, this was so overwhelming. This was were our little one would spend over 6 hours every day. All the teachers are so lovely and I knew big J would be safe and happy there, and he was.
 
Its hard letting go and leaving your little one with someone else for so long each day but if they are happy and having a great time it does give you that peace of mind.
 
We will be going through it all again in a few years with little J, I am hoping this time I will be a little more prepared and know what to expect but with such a big gap between my two monkeys I think I will be exactly the same.
 
 
*post in collaboration with George at Asda*

Our Stay at The Ramada London North

You may have already read here that Ramada London North gave us a room for the night before our day out at Lollibop.
 
We had travelled for almost 4 hours from being away for the week so we were exhausted and were looking forward to a nice sleep to recharge our batteries.
 
We rang on the way to make sure that we had the correct postcode and also that there would be a travel cot in the room when we got there.
 
When we were almost 5 minutes away from the hotel the Sat Nat took us through a housing estate which I knew couldn't be right as the Ramada London North is situated at a Welcome Break, off the M1. We followed the sat nav anyway and ended up approaching the hotel from the back which we shouldn't have as it looked like a private road but it was too late to turn round. Oops.
 
The car park at the hotel was free of charge which was a nice surprise as usually London hotels charge. On arrival we checked in and the reception staff were lovely and pleasant.
 
Our room was on the ground floor to the left and we had the last room so we were on the end.
 
We were so tired after the journey and just wanted to get our heads down. There was no cot in the room so that was a little disappointing after we had rang to confirm. 
 
The room itself was very big and had a huge queen sized bed. Unfortunately Big J's bed was a roll out bed so he was pretty much on the floor. It wasn't too bad because it was quite warm but it could be quite cold down there in the winter. 
 
Once little J's cot arrived he snuggled in and fell asleep.
 
There was a TV in the room and free wifi which was great for us all to catch up as our internet had been quite limited the week before.
 
There was only 1 plug socket (2 including the TV) in the room so we took it in turns to charge our phones.
 
The bathroom was really clean and spacious. Big J had a bath which is unusual for him he normally grabs a quick shower.
 
When we arrived I had noticed a nice bar and restaurant to the left of the reception but we were too tired and little J had fell asleep so Daddy popped out to get drinks to bring back the room.
  
The hotel faces a motorway and backs onto train tracks so I'm not sure which is noisier but we were at the back and the high speed trains were whizzing past through the night. They are so fast and so loud. I didn't hear them much after midnight but after 6am they became more frequent again. I cant imagine the front of the hotel being this noisy so if you are planning a trip maybe ask for motorway facing.
 
Big J looked nice and cosy in his bed in the morning and despite the noise of the trains managed to get a good nights sleep.

Little J woke quite early and decided to wake big J up too by playing with the phone and crawling all over him.

Our bed was so comfortable and we got a good nights sleep too. Breakfast is served in the hotel (at an extra charge). We didn't get breakfast but when we walked past it looked and smelt delicious.

I was really pleased with the hotel and there was no complaints from us. The cot was brought to the room within 20 minutes which was great and staff that we met were very friendly.

I was unsure how I would feel about staying at a services but it didn't really feel like that because the hotel is set back. Its quite a large hotel too with its own large car park so I didn't really think about it being so close to a service station.

We do visit London and the surrounding areas many times a year and I would definitely stay in the hotel again and also recommend it to family and friends. According to the website central London is just 10 miles away so a perfect base for visits to the capital.

To find out more about the Ramada London North visit the website.

Have you stayed at a Ramada before? How did you find it?
 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Testing out the Motorola Moto G

Daddy loves anything electronic so when we were asked to try out the Motorola Moto G I knew this was a job for Daddy. Daddy has been trying it out and has written the post below.

We had been offered the chance to try out the new range of Motorola smartphone, the Moto G running the latest version of the Android Kit Kat software.  In our house we our mainly apple users, however we do have a Samsung Galaxy S3 running android. With the Moto G being much cheaper to buy than the Samsung offering, I expected the G to be much less powerful in terms of operating specs than the Samsung.

The G is a nice looking phone. It is thinner than the iphone and more rounded like the Galaxy. It has a sharp resolution (which is actually better then the iPhone 5s) and just a small bezel at the side of the screen. It has basic powering features, including power and volume buttons, charger socket and 
headphone socket. 


The speed at which the android os loads up is a surprise and the phone is ready to use in seconds. Anyone who has owned an android based phone before will know immediately how to use the phone as it's stock android rather than overlayed like the Samsung.  Clearly as Motorola is a google owned company the stock software also includes the google play store and a number of google apps. 


The phone operates very quickly and has no problem running a number of apps at the same time, allowing quick switches between Apps. This is down to the quad core processor in the Moto G. The speed of the processor is 1.2ghz which means some longer loading times for more advanced games and apps, but once loaded, no issues. 

The camera that comes with the mot of is 5mp - more than sufficient to take some good pics, but there are phones out there with better these days. 

In summary for a pay as you go phone, which you can now get for a RRP of £119 this is excellent value. The specs and processing speed alone justify the price tag.  I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of the phone and will consider a Motorola for my next phone, the only downside would be the camera. However for the latest version of android you would be hard pushed to find a better deal. 

For more information visit Motorola

 
*we were provided with a Motorola Moto G for one week to try and test, all thoughts above are our own*

Chang to get the season started.

As the football season has just begun the boys have gone football mad well Everton mad to be precise. Both Daddy and big J are big Everton Fans and have just purchased the new kits and Daddy has been enjoying the Everton sponsor Chang beer.
 
 Chang is a Thai beer that became so popular for its unique quality it became the number one selling Thai beer in its home country.
Due to the popularity of the brand Chang was exported to other countries worldwide and became the sponsor for the football club Everton.
Daddy is a fan of Chang and has had a pint when watching Everton play at home. It is available to buy within the Goodison Park on match days and can also be found in supermarkets to enjoy at home.

Chang is recognised by its Elephant symbols, in fact Chang actually means Elephant in Thai.
 
The Elephant represents superior strength and mental capacity and the two white elephants on the bottle symbolise happiness, harmony and prosperity.
 
Chang have created a Beertails this summer and you can view below my favourite of the recipes perfect for end of summer BBQs
 
 The Grain and Grape

 

30ml Chang Beer syrup (see below)
25ml gin
25ml Muscat dessert wine
Two dashes of orange blossom water
Garnish: Lemon zest

Method: Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass and serve in a chilled 5½ oz coupette
 
Chang syrup recipe
 
1 bottle of Chang Beer
150g palm sugar

Method: Reduce the Chang Beer to 250ml on a high heat and add the sugar.
 
If you fancy having a try at a delicious Thai recipe to go with your beertail you can view Chang Beer's Thai food guide at www.changbeer.com
 
 
*we were sent chang to try - any thoughts above are our own*

Monday, 25 August 2014

Monkey Wellbeing

As most of you know little J spends most of his time in and out of hospitals and he has done since he was born. Whether its attending appointments or visiting specialists, it sometimes feels like a second home.

He has already had one 'failed' operation to try and correct his toe and will be due another in the next few months.

I am hoping by the time he is older all these appointments will have stopped and he wont be able to remember just how much time he spent see doctors and nurses.

The one thing that does upset me is just how many children you see around the hospital. Some just with cuts and bruises but others who look really sick and look like they have been in there for a while.

Its so sad and it must be very scary for a child to be in hospital, especially if its their first time. Lots of machines, gadgets and bleeping noises.

I recently came across Monkey Wellbeing and I just fell in love with the idea and asked Helen if she would write a post for me, explaining all about Monkey Wellbeing so that I could share it with my readers.

I’m very pleased to have been asked to guest post by Michelle (Mummy 2 Monkeys) to tell you all a bit about a new member of our family.

 ‘Monkey’ started out as a friend for my own little girl Josephine, when she required a serious operation to her lungs at 18 months old. As a parent this was a very traumatic time and I wanted to help Josephine understand what was going to happen. 

 We found there was very little out there in the way of helpful explanatory information appropriate for such a young child, so, I wrote a realistic storybook called ‘Monkey Goes to Hospital’ using photos of the hospital to show Josephine who she would meet and what she might see and hear along the way.

 We prepared Josephine as best we could with role play, adoctor’s kit and my handwritten story. 

The doctors at the hospital treating Josephine were amazed how well she coped with the procedure, and how well she recovered afterwards. They were very impressed with the storybook and asked if we could produce more of the books for other children visiting the hospital.

My husband enlisted our friend Alex and they walked 100 miles to raise money to produce 10,000 copies. Another friend then helped design the layout of the story book and there we have it – an edited version of the first book was born - “Monkey has an Operation” was ready to help other children like Josephine.

 Monkey has just grown and grown and grown; he now has a whole range of resources called ‘Monkey Wellbeing’ which includes storybooks, a puppet and activities to help parents explain difficult topics to their young children.

Upcoming storybooks cover issues such as bereavement, emotional health and wellbeing and when relatives go to hospital.  Monkey can walk hand in hand with children through their life experiences to explain things in a realistic and understandable way, and ultimately helping them through, support and guidance to parents as well as their little ones.

 Some of our achievements to date include; Monkey's NHS Explorer primary school resource pack (Monkeys Guide to Healthy Living and NHS Services) being produced and sent to every primary and special school in England, coming runner up at the 2012 PENNA (Patient Experience National Network Awards) awards with this resource pack, and having 5 hospitals now either using or piloting the Monkey resources within their paediatric wards, in preoperative packs or in the Emergency Department.

 I’ve had the opportunity to work with some unbelievably fantastic people along the way and I’m just so glad Monkey is now helping so many children around the country. It is wonderful that something so positive has come out of something that was so scary and negative.

 If you are interested in finding any further information about Monkey and the resources please visit www.monkeywellbeing.com

Love 
Helen, 
Monkey’s Mum

I am hoping that little J will benefit from Monkey Wellbeing next time we visit the hospital and I will continue to use then on our many visits in the future.

Just want to finish by saying a big thanks to Helen for writing such a lovely post.

Friday, 22 August 2014

#Win Matt Hatter Chronicles 3D Heroes and Villains Puzzle #Competition

image copyright - 2014 Platinum Films /Dream Mills Inc. All rights reserved.

Matt Hatter Chronicles is an adventure comedy series on Nickelodeon and CITV. Very popular amongst children aged 6-9 and If you have a fan at home you will be happy to know I have an amazing prize to be won.



Matt Hatter Chronicles 3D puzzles from Tactic Games have an awesome 3D effect which can be seen through the 3D glasses included.

image copyright - 2014 Platinum Films /Dream Mills Inc. All rights reserved.


 Mummy 2 Monkeys is giving you the chance to win a Matt Hatter Chronicles 3D Heroes and Villains 200 piece puzzle in my competition below. Just answer the simple question and complete the entry form.

Don't worry if you are not the lucky winner you can purchase from Argos or Amazon and for more info visit Tactic.

Matt Hatter Chronicles  
 
Best of Luck
 
*Terms and Conditions*
 
 Competition closes on Saturday 30th August 2014 at 12AM
 Entrants must have a valid UK address
 Bulk, third party or any other entries using automated software will be disqualified
 All entrants and entries are checked and verified.
 All entrants must follow the mandatory steps and answer the question as a blog comment.
1 lucky winner will be chosen at random by the Gleam application.
 Mummy2Monkeys will contact the lucky winner within 1 day of the competition closing
 The winner must respond within 7 days. I
f no response a new winner will be chosen.
 The prize is 1 x Matt Hatter Chronicles 3D Puzzle
 There is no cash alternative. It will be the responsibility of the representative of the named company above to issue the prize.
The winner must consent to their name and details being passed on to the representative so their prize can be distributed.
 This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
 
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