Friday, 31 October 2014

I Always Choose Quorn

I am a big fan of Quorn and I have managed to convince Daddy, big J and little J to try some of the range and they do like like some of the products. I am not a vegetarian but I have mentioned it before that I'm just not a big fan of meat. I like dishes that include meat such as lasagne and casserole so I love the fact I can use Quorn products and they taste just as nice.

These are probably the most popular products we buy. We use the mince for lasagne and spaghetti bolognese, sausages as part of a meal or maybe a casserole and the chicken pieces in a curry.

Now I am not the greatest cook so when I make a lasagne I will use sauces in a jar such as ragu or dolmio.

Our Quorn Lasagne is extremely easy to make. I brown the Quorn mince for 5-8 minutes first in the frying pan using a spray of fry light first. Then I add the Dolmio Lasagne sauce and stir for a further 5 minutes.

Then I scoop some Quorn Mince into my lasagne dish and add some Lasagne Pasta sheets on top. Add some Creamy Lasagne White Sauce and repeat until you have used all you mince.
 
When you get to the last layer sprinkle on some cheese.

Put in the oven for 40 mins on 180. I usually pre heat for 10 mins and switch off after 30 minutes.
 
Our Quorn Lasagne will feed all four of us for Dinner and I usually reheat the rest the next day for little J's lunch and sometimes we can get another lunch too.

Quorn is a great tasting range, perfect for if you're trying to eat healthier as part of an active lifestyle, watching your weight or if you want some meal free meal inspiration. 

Have you tried Quorn? What do you think?
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Thursday, 30 October 2014

8 weeks and counting.

I actually can't believe its just 8 weeks to Christmas.
Time will go so so quickly and I know this list will get bigger but for now here is my Christmas to do this

My Christmas To Do List

1. Buy a Christmas tree
2. Try to convince daddy that blue lights in the window are not as nice as multi coloured flashing ones.
3. Make a list of all the Christmassy movies I want to watch.
4. Visit Disneyland Paris.
5. Start thinking of ideas for presents for family.
6. Go late night Christmas shopping.
7. Make a start on wrapping presents.
8. Make my Christmas songs cd for the car.
9. Buy a new Christmas tree decoration.
10. Put up our Christmas decorations up.
Have you made a Christmas To Do List yet?
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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

VELUX & Disney Dream Collection

I often think to myself that if I could I would have a Disney house. A house just filled with Disney items. If you read my blog you know I am just Disney mad and although my collection of Disney items and memorabilia is expanding all the time there is just so much out there to choose from. I don't think it will ever end. You can literally get a Disney version of everything and I love it. 

Whether you want to decorate your house with Disney wallpaper, Disney bedding or Disney furniture it's out there to buy. Today I spotted something I haven't seen before and I'm a little excited. Disney has teamed up with VELUX to create a Disney & VELUX Dream Blind Collection 

There are 12 exciting designs to choose from and although I love Mickey, Minnie, Bambi and Winnie the Pooh I would have to choose a Princess blind. I had a browse through the collection and they are so lovely. I don't think Daddy would be happy with a princess blind on our bedroom window but I know little J would love a Mickey one. 

Each VELUX & Disney Dream Collection blackout blind design is unique and tailored specifically to the size and shape of the window. The fact that it's a blackout blind is perfect for daytime naps. Little J doesn't like sleeping with the light shining through so this would be great for his room.

It's important to note that no harmful chemicals are used while creating the VELUX & Disney blind. Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 material testing goes far beyond existing national legislation for health protection.

After reading about the blind I clicked on the link to configure my dream blind and it was really simple to use. I chose my window type and window size. There is a guide to help with this if required. Once that was done, it brought up the options for the design. On the right hand side it generated the price, based on what I asked for.

I am so impressed with the blinds and I will definitely consider one for little J's room. Which one would you choose?




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#Win a Personalised 5L Beer Keg Competition

I am so excited about this competition. As you will already know I absolutely love unique gifts and I just love the prize that I have on offer. I have teamed with Personalised Bottles to offer one lucky winner the chance to win a Personalised 5L Beer Keg

Personalised Bottles are the only online retailer to sell personalised beer kegs so this will be such a great gift for someone. I have someone here who would love to own one of these so maybe he might get lucky and Father Christmas might put one in his stocking.

The ale is a light amber ale with a floral aroma and a subtle bitter finish. 4% ABV and 5L in size.

The keg can be personalised by adding a message and a photograph to make it as unique as you wish.

If you are not lucky enough to be the winner you can buy online for just £39.99 by clicking the link below. 

I have a special 10% discount off any item so if you would like to buy please use mummonk

To view many more personalised gifts you can click HERE to view their sister website Caledonian Hampers
So to enter all you need to do is answer this easy peasy question.

How much is the keg worth?
A) £9.99
B) £24.99
C) £39.99

Write your answer as a comment and once you have done that lots more options will open up for you to get some extra entries.

GOOD LUCK

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Preparing for Bonfire Night

This year we are preparing for bonfire night early with Zhoodz, House of Fraser and Heatholders. Every bonfire night we buy our own fireworks and visit my mum and dad. We do our own firework display in the garden. The past few years we have been really lucky and had no rain, it's been cold but dry.

I'm hoping this year will be the same. Little J will be able to watch them this year. Last year he was to young so had no idea what was going on, his eyes did light up though when he saw all the colours.

While Daddy has been browsing at what fireworks to buy I have been looking at clothes as I like my monkeys to be wrapped up warm.

Big J hates clothes shopping he loves new clothes he just doesn't enjoy the trying on part. We have just bought some lovely tracksuit pants for big J from Nike and a lovely gillet too so he will be wearing that. He just needs a long sleeved tee or jumper to go underneath. We were sent a lovely hoodie recently from zhoodz

I have to be honest and say that I hadn't heard of zhoodz before but I am so glad I checked them out. Its new and unique and the first of its kind. They have designed a range of clothing that lets you be seen day or night. Not only does the collection of hoodies, tees and sweatshirts come with cool designs they have enhanced visibility colours and reflective designs. Perfect high visibility piece of clothing for night time. 

During the day those skulls cannot be seen but as soon as night time comes the light off a camera, or a cars headlight will reflect and the skull becomes visible.

Reasonably priced, washes great and big J absolutely loves it.

I have been browsing the House of Fraser website to try and find a nice suitable outfit for little J to wear. 

There is so much choice for both boys and girls. I used the filter to select boys age 2 and it still came up with over 1,000 options eek! 

I filtered again to jumpers and I found the perfect one. Made by Howick and priced at just £24.00, it is so cute and perfect to fit in with little J's style. It has a very wintery feel with a snowflake pattern but I know will keep him warm on bonfire night and throughout the cold months. I chose blue but it also comes in a lovely dark red colour too.

I wanted to team the jumper with some nice jeans. Jeans are perfect for winter months. They are so thick and warm and I always think they are great for little ones who are still in prams. 

I found these from Pumpkin Patch And they are currently priced at £22. The have a lovely soft feel and the have elastic at the bottom of each leg which is perfect to keep little J's leg brace in place. 

I was really please with the outfit I chose. As soon as it arrived I tried it on little J to make sure they both fitted. I ordered 2-3 in the jumper and it is quite a generous 2-3 so he will have plenty of wear and the jeans were a 2 and again a nice fit. 

He looks so grown up.

Daddy isn't getting a new outfit for bonfire night he is too old...haha but he will still be warm. You all know already we are big fans of Heat Holders. We have tried the socks and a gorgeous throw blanket and now Daddy is trying out the thermal underwear.

They are perfect for the coming winter months and Daddy has used them already. Brilliant for wearing underneath his football shirt when he goes the match - sitting still for 90 mins he is usually freezing but he's been nice and toasty.

Heat Holders have a wide range of items to buy now. I love the leggings and tights so lots of variety to choose from to help keep you warm.

So when Daddy is setting off fireworks and my two monkeys are enjoying the display I will be sat inside watching from the window. I absolutely hate Fireworks night. I wont even hold a sparkler I am that scared. So no need for me to buy nice clothes or thermal underwear because I will be indoors in the warm with a cup of tea.

* we were gifted the above items. Our opinions and thoughts are our own*
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Happy Angelversary Baby Rosie

I just wanted to a write a little post today to say Happy Angelversary to Baby Rosie.
 
It was 4 years ago today I lost by second baby daughter.
 
I will be thinking of you today and always.
 
Miss you forever
 
Mummy
 
xxxx
 
 
JustGiving
 
 
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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Dr Oetker Spooky Ghost Cake Pops Recipe

Have you checked out my Dr Oetker Competition

you can win some fantastic Dr Oetker baking goodies and if you are a fan of baking then I have a very spooky recipe for you.


SPOOKY GHOST CAKE POPS

Preparation time: 2 hours plus cooling and chilling

Cooking time: 40 minutes plus 10 minutes to melt 2 lots of chocolate

Ingredients:

For the cake balls:

120g Dr. Oetker 72% Cocoa Extra Dark Fine Cooks Chocolate
150g soft unsalted butter at room temp
200g Light Muscovado Sugar
3 medium free range eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp Dr. Oetker Madagascan Vanilla extract
125g Plain Flour

For the cake pops:

2 X 100g bags of Dr. Oetker White Chocolate Chips melted for sticking the balls onto the sticks & coating the cake pops
Teaspoon of vegetable oil

To decorate the ghosts:

1 x  pack of Dr. Oetker White Regal Ice
Icing sugar for rolling out
Dr. Oetker White Designer Icing for sticking the regal ice to the cake pops
Dr. Oetker Jet Black Gel Food Colour.

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F, gas mark 1). Grease and line an 18cm (7 inch) square cake tin
  2. To make the fudge brownie mix melt the extra dark chocolate in a microwave on medium power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time until melted,  or in a heat proof bowl on a gentle heat over a bain marie. Leave to cool.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with paddle attachment or electric hand beater for approx. 2 minutes until pale and fluffy. If you haven’t got an electric mixer you can do this with a wooden spoon in a bowl .
  4. TIP: if you are in a rush or the butter is quite cold, the addition of a couple of tablespoons of boiling water at this stage, beaten on slow until mixed will speed up this process.
  5. Add your eggs on a slow speed about a third at a time, mixing until combined.
  6. Add your cooled chocolate stirring continuously.  Add the vanilla Extract and stir. On slow speed mix in the flour until just combined. Do not over beat. Alternatively fold in by hand.
  7. Pour the mix into your cake tin and bake for approx 40 mins. Check it with a sharp knife or metal skewer. You want this to be slightly under baked, so the knife should come out pasty, with a nice paste on the knife.
  8. Leave to cool, then turn out into a bowl and crumble with your hands to fine fudgy crumb.
  9. To make the cake balls, take a handful of fudge cake mix and squeeze together tightly - you are aiming for little balls about the size of a large walnut, approx. 30g each. If the mixture is dry, the addition of a little chocolate or vanilla butter cream will help the mixture stick
  10. Once you have all of your balls ready, dip the end of your stick into the melted chocolate chips  and push the stick into each ball, about half way in. Hold the ball to stop it splitting open when the stick goes in
  11. Once all the cake pops are ready, refrigerate them for 1-2 hours before dipping them, or pop into the freezer for 30 mins, so the balls are firm enough to hold when dipping in the coating
  12. To coat the cake pops melt Dr. Oetker Fine Cooks White Chocolate on low power in a microwave bowl until just melted -  stirring occasionally or over a bain marie on a gentle heat
  13. Plunge each cake pop into the chocolate coating until completely covered. Tap the cake pop gently on the side of the bowl to shake off the excess. Once all are covered, dip each cake pop again
  14. To decorate the ghosts roll out half the white regal icing into a large rectangle using plenty of icing sugar and a large plastic rolling pin. Roll fairly thinly – 2 to 3mm thick. Squeeze a little Dr. Oetker White Designer Icing onto the tops of the cake pops or brush with some melted white chocolate, to aid sticking of the sugar paste
  15. Using a cake cutter or small bowl, cut out circles of regal icing and place on each of the pops, smoothing down with your fingers to create the white sheet effect. Allow a little wavy movement by using your fingers to create smooth
Don't forget to enter my competition HERE to win some Dr Oetker Baking Items

*I was sent the ingredients to try out this recipe*
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Friday, 24 October 2014

Flashback Friday 24/10/14


Daddy and little J (age 7) waiting at Finch Farm to get some Everton Player autographs
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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Baby Steps

I actually cannot believe that I am writing this but oh my goodness it feels great that I am. Little J walked 8 steps alone yesterday and I am beaming with pride. A very special moment for us and especially for little J.

Over the past few weeks he has started to stand alone and has also walked lots more than he ever could, while holding on to something.

Last weekend I took him down to the waterfront for a walk and he walked all the way along holding on to the railings. It did take us nearly one hour including little breaks but he loved every minute.

He has a clam shell leg brace which is like a shin pad but it fits all the way around his leg. This is to protect his tibia from breaking and also helps to relieve pressure of his other bone.

Since he has had it fitted he seems lots more confident and along with his special shoes or any wide toe fitting shoes (like the ones in the photo) I think there is no stopping him now.

We had a feeling he may just surprise us and walk alone so we had the video camera ready on the table to point and shoot when we thought the moment would come, but he caught us off guard - the cheeky monkey.

I did manage to capture little bits on my phone but since then he hasn't walked as many steps alone.
 
He tends to do it more when his big brother is around.

I will try and get some footage of him tonight and post it but until then I am one very happy mummy.

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Energy Drinks - Do our kids really need them?

I remember when I was little, me and my mum walked to the chemist to buy a bottle of lucozade for a relative who was sick in hospital. When we got to the hospital I remember seeing the brown cabinets next to the hospital beds on the ward and pretty much every one of them all had a bottle of Lucozade on top. 

How did it go from being available in just chemists and giving to loved ones when sick to being available for our kids to buy in every shop.

I am not a fan of energy drinks at all. Whenever we are in a shop and big J asks for a lucozade or something similar I say no. I don't like them and although this causes quite a lot of arguments between me and big J I am sticking to my opinion on this one and I won't be budged.

Big J does some sporting activities in school and he does play football on our local astro turf pitches but for me that is not enough for him to need a full bottle of an energy drink. He tells me that the footballers drink it, but the footballers train or play football probably 7 days a week, he doesn't
An average bottle or can of energy drinks can have up to 14 times more caffeine than a can of cola. That's like drinking over 7 cups of coffee in one go. I wouldn't drink that much in one go so why would I let me child?

It isn't just Lucozade that bothers me. Actually Lucozade isn't the worst one it's drinks like Monster and a Relentless. They do display warning saying high caffeine, but shops still sell them to youngsters? Why?

Like everything it's down to choice. You are either happy to let your child drink an energy drink because it's cool and their peers do or like me you put up with the arguments and sulking knowing that you have done the right thing.

Do you agree with youngsters drinking energy drinks? 

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

#Win a Barry M Loud Mouth Lip Gloss


Are you a lover of lipgloss? If so you will love my competition. I have a Barry M Loud Mouth Extreme Lip Colour to giveaway in the colour SCREAMER 

All you have to do is answer the following question as a blog comment. 
Q: what is the name of the colour of the lip gloss I am giving away?
Remember you must leave the answer as a blog comment to be entered in to the draw. 

GOOD LUCK 
Barry M Lip Gloss Competition
Terms and Conditions

Competition closes on Wednesday 5th November 2014 at 11:59PM
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 step 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 28 days. If no response a new winner will be chosen.
The prize is a Barry M Loud Mouth Extreme Lip Colour In Screamer
There is no cash alternative.
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Bitesized Belters from Sugarpoke

We are big fans of Sugarpoke already and recently we were sent a treat to try from their letterbox range. Bitesized Belters are exactly how they sound. Bitesize treats that are just so yummy. Like I mentioned they are letterbox friendly so no need to worry about waiting for the postman to arrive.

Included in the Bitesized Belters are
2 x Lemony Snacket
The shortbread snacks are bake with a layer of lemon curd. I am not a fan of anything lemon flavour really so it was up to Daddy and little J to try these and they loved them. I did have a little nibble on one just out of curiosity and they were full of flavour.
2 x Billionaires Bite 
Very similar to a millionaires shortbread. Chocolate, shortbread and caramel in one little bitesize package, delicious. We actually buy something similar from Costa and I have to say Billionaires Bites are tastier.
2 x Honeyjack Bite
Flapjack with honeycomb and chocolate squiggles. I scoffed these before anyone had a chance to have a try...oops. What can I say? Very tasty. 
2 x Fruitjack Bite
A five fruit flapjack with sunflowers seeds. Again I enjoyed BOTH of these with a cup of tea. I sound really greedy, don't I? Oh well they were tasty and Mummy doesn't share when it comes to flapjacks.
Currently priced at just £7.99 including a lovely card and first class delivery.

Little J tucking in.
As many will know I love christmas so I did have a peek to see if there is any christmas goodies yet. I did spot this and as soon as I spot anymore I will keep you all informed.

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Monday, 20 October 2014

A Perfect Partnership

Last week I was invited to attend a very special launch event. I have never attended anything like this before so I was a little nervous but I travelled to Manchester and I am so glad I did. I arrived at the headquarters of PZ Cussons, the brand behind the mother and baby brand Mum & Me and was accompanied by a few fellow bloggers. The reason we had been invited was to celebrate the partnership between Pz Cussons and The Royal College of Midwives and Wellbeing of Women.

A nationwide search was made to find just one midwife who would receive financial support of £60,000 to enable the midwife to study for PhD.

Kerry Evans was chosen and we got to meet her and her manager too. Both ladies were absolutely lovely and friendly. 

They have both been on this journey together and you could see just how proud she was of Kerry. 

Kerry who has now been a midwife for 10 years told us how it was the care she had received during her first pregnancy that had inspired her to start midwifery training. 

Kerry will be focusing on how midwives can support mums who are anxious in their pregnancy. I can relate to this in so many ways because I know that I just breezed through my first pregnancy with big J. I was so young and naive and I really didn't think about anything other that 'what was next to buy for the baby' I was nervous about giving birth but I didn't have anything to compare to so I just went with it. 

Having a miscarriage, made my other pregnancies so much more nervous and I would panic at every little thing. Its nice to know you have a caring midwife there to help and talk you through these tough times.

After speaking to Kerry we had a very short presentation about the partnership and the grant offered to Kerry. I think Mum & Me is a perfect brand to team up with this amazing opportunity. 

Once the presentation had finished we were left to enjoy some afternoon tea and talk to Kerry about her journey. 

I have to share a photo of the cake cart. Wow, it was amazing. Everything looked so yummy.

I enjoyed some tea, sandwiches and cake.
 
Once we talked to Kerry we also spoke about the Mum & Me range. There was just so many products I was unaware of. Our local tesco must only stock 1/3 of the available products. 

My eye was drawn to the Baby Snuffles because little J has always got a runny nose. I was lucky to be able to take some home and give little J a nice bath. The smell was lovely not to over powering.
I had a really lovely time at the event and I wish Kerry the best of luck.

*I was invited to the above event and received a lovely bag of goodies*
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Saturday, 18 October 2014

A Walk Along The Pier

We visit Southport lots of times during the year and it is always a nice day out. We went over the weekend and although the weather is changing the pier was still lovely for an afternoon stroll

This was the first time little J had tried out his new pram we bought and we had only just got to the start of the pier before he fell asleep

Sometimes its nice to go on family days out that don't cost lots of money and today was supposed to be one of those days but we gave big J £4 to spend on the games while little J took a nap. He had a go on a motorbike game and because he came 1st he won a free go.

He spent the rest of his money trying to win a minion and he did.

Looking very proud of his win.

Just starting to walk along the pier


If you look closely you can see Blackpool tower in the distance


A game of pool at the end of the pier.

Little J wakes.

Watching Daddy and his brother play pool. Big J won.

 

Enjoy an ice cream

 Trying so hard to walk, bless him. He is getting better.


Heading back after a lovely afternoon stroll.

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Friday, 17 October 2014

October Degustabox Delivered

I think you will all know by now that I am a big fan of Degustabox and I know I will continue to enjoy the surprise of opening the box each month to see what is inside. I think over the months the boxes have become bigger and better and with the new Degustabox Fridge vouchers too it really is great value for money.
 

So in this month there were a few familiar brands that I knew of or we had received in previous boxes.

Kents Kitchen - Meal Kits
Three steps in three simple pots to make a delicious meal in under 20 minutes. We haven't tried this yet but it looks great.

Blue Dragon - Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce
I absolutely love Sweet Chilli dipping sauce and although I hadn't heard of this one before its now my favourite. Its so tasty and I love it with prawn crackers.

Special K - BBQ Cracker Crisps
I am not a fan of crisps, I much prefer chocolate but I have tried something similar to these before and they are very tasty. Daddy and big J aren't too fussed on these but at 60% less fat than the average packet of crisps they get a thumbs up from me.

Get Buzzing - All Natural Bars
I've actually just ate this as I have been typing. It was delicious. For me it had more of a buttery flavour than a nutty flavour and it was very filling.

Enhance
Again there are a few different products in the supermarket like this but this isn't one we have tried before. I do love the idea of it, being able to have a nice juice on the go when your out and about.

Solo - Marshmallow
We were sent a toasted fudge version of this and it was so yummy. I have to admit I am not actually sure how you are supposed to eat it but we just grabbed a spoon and tucked in.

Bear - Bear Paws
We have had these before in a Degustabox I think and they are perfect for little J. A nice and juicy fruit snack in paw prints shapes.

Brioche Pasquier - Sliced Brioche Loaf
We are big fans of Brioche Pasquier and it is a regular on our shopping list but mainly the croissants and Brioches, we haven't tried the loaf before. I wasn't sure whether it was to be toasted or just used as bread so we tried both. It didn't have much of a flavour to it but little J liked it.
 
Jelly Belly - Jelly Beans
I love the handy size of this bag. Sometimes the Jelly Belly packets are really big but this is ideal for a snack.
 
Bear - Alphabites
Again we have tried these before but unfortunately we are not to keen on them although I usually give these to my mum so they are not wasted.
 
If you fancy giving Degustabox a try then make sure you visit their website and enter my special code which will give you a £3.00 discount
 
WAOQG
 
 
 
*we were sent a Degustabox to try - all thoughts above are our own*
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Flashback Friday - Welcome To The World

This weeks Flashback Friday is of little J. This is just hours after he was born.

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Tesco Loves Toddler Range

Little J has been trying out some of the Tesco Loves Toddler Range recently. When it arrived I was drawn to the bright colours and animal pictures. Very cute and very appealing to toddlers.

We were sent a variety of items including
Easy Scoop Plate

This for me was just a perfect design for little J. The rim around the edge meant he could push his food towards the side using the cutlery set (see below) and scoop it up. We had very little mess to which was a bonus.
Easy Hold Cutlery

Little J still uses a plastic spoon and we hadn't introduced a fork yet but I let him have a go at the both of these and they were great. They are quite light but with a nice chunky easy to grip handle. He can feed himself with a spoon already but he hasn't mastered the fork yet.. but he will in time.
Easy Grip Sipper

Little J has used a bottle like this before and if I am honest we had to stop because it would leak everywhere if he tipped it or left it on the side. This however is different as it has a valve inside which prevents spills so perfect for my little J who likes to tip the bottle upside down.

Snack Box

Again this is another that is perfect for us. I actually have so many boxes but I use them all the time. They are just perfect for days out or a visit to friends and family. The box isn't to big either so great for just a sandwich or snack. It will hold the cutlery set too.
Catch It All Bib

We have something very similar to this already but its made of material (like an apron) rather than plastic. The design is so cute and bright but for little J I thought it was a little too young. He also really doesn't like anything round his neck while he is eating we have to hold him down to get his bib on. He wasn't keen on the plastic feel around his neck.
Finished off using some Tesco Loves Toddler Apple scented wipes.
As you will see from the photographs the Tesco Loves Toddler Range comes in variety of colours and designs.
You can view more details around each product by visiting HERE


*we were sent the selection of tesco loves toddler range for a review. All thoughts above are our own*
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