Friday, 29 May 2015

Days out: Bluestone National Park Part 2 #bluestoneblogger

On our second day at Bluestone we took L to a softplay (presumably for kids over 5) at the Adventure Centre. We gently bounced her up and down on the front section of a bouncy castle or played for a bit in a ball pool. Whilst she enjoyed both for a couple of minutes, it was difficult to encourage her to enjoy the experience. 
Having said that we had a lovely time playing "crazy" golf (until my golf ball flew towards someone seating on the sofa) and putting L's name on the Lego board.
Tip: if you have a little one with you and no relatives to hand a baby carrier could be your saviour if you want to play mini golf, shootout or air hockey.

We wanted to explore Circus Zone room which is another soft play room for under 5's, but at that time there was a baby sensory class and we were advised to wait, but as L is on a strict sleeping routine we couldn't wait too long and opted to follow a nature trail instead (we had a choice of 2: steep one and pushchair accessible one).
I didn't pre-booked any classes such as messy play and sensory class, as L can sleep from 30 minutes to several hours and as it's hard to guess when she will be ready to do things we had to miss on the opportunity, but opted to go for a long walk and to enjoy the fresh air.
Few months before our visit I have looked at the activities that I can book online, and at first I thought that navigation was a bit difficult, I was going back and forth trying to find free and paid activities for babies but in the end (30 minutes later) I got the hang of it.
On a third day we decided to venture outside of Bluestone, we went to Folly Farm, which is a fairly local zoo/farm, which is a great day out and I would also recommend visiting Tenby, which is 15 minutes continuation from Folly Farm. 
We did both Folly Farm and Tenby in one afternoon. I did not know much about Tenby beach, but the sand and view across the sea was lovely.

Tip: prepare to pay 5p for a single carrier bag if shopping in Wales or if buying fish and chips and want them wrapped.

The second venture away from Bluestone was to Pembroke docks, which was on the day 4. 
We decided to eat out at the local Marston's pub Y Cerrig Glas (postcode SA72 6JY) as we particularly enjoy their BBQ chicken & ribs and had gift vouchers. What a nice place to eat! Newly opened restaurant, nicely decorated, clean, has an activity corner/play area for kids, which L loved. 
She has spent few minutes playing with bead mazes whilst we were waiting for our order. After a quick meal we headed towards Asda which is just across the road (postcode SA72 6DA). 
Similarly to Tenby we just loved the view across the docks!

Even though we didn't do many activities we thoroughly enjoyed water park, (a lot of) walking and finding new trails or places to see at Bluestone. 

Blue Lagoon water park
We were really looking forward to swimming as it was L's first time. Changing rooms had a very comfy baby changing tables, which I liked a lot and looked like L was comfy sitting on it. I must admit I have never been to a water park before and expected a proper swimming pool with lanes, how little did I know that water park is so much more than just a swimming pool! 
We absolutely loved the wave machine, bubbles in the shallow pool for younger children and the lazy river! The only negative was the warmth of the water, I didn't think it was warm enough, thankfully L had a baby warmer on.

Tip: bring some bath toys with you to entertain your little one in the water and towels. It helped L to feel comfortable in the shallow pool and kept her occupied for a while.
The Bluestone village looks slightly different to the rest of the resort, different coloured cottages ans shops, play ground, the milk machine (I have never seen one before!) and the information centre where you can pick up maps or book an activity for yourself or your little one.
The lake is close by to the village centre and a very peaceful place with cute little ducklings floating with mum and dad.

Walking vs Buggy
Generally Bluestone is not so big and we thought that it was quite accessible without a buggy, you can also use a free shuttle bus but we haven't seen many people using the provided service and it seemed that it wasn't frequent anyway. 
The only 2 steep hills were on the way to the village and the path to Camp Smokey and the rest was walkable.

- Even though Bluestone is a car free resort it would be nice to see more road directions i.e. one way road, dead end, exit (that one was very confusing) as we thought that signs are not clear or obvious. We have noticed too many land rovers driven by staff members, it would be ideal to see them driving buggy.

- I have felt a little bit uncomfortable when was changing L in the ladies room at the Adventure Centre. Facilities were open for everyone to see us, it is not discreet and the lady behind me could clearly see L's private parts. Also the fact that the changing facilities were in the ladies room make it less appealing for male gay couple.

- Trail stones/pebbles were my worst nightmare, pushing a pushchair was at times impossible (Camp Smokey trail, Lake path) and I wish there were less of them as they were more of an obstacle.

- I was really happy with the location of our lodge, with L waking up from any noise, it was an ideal, quiet area far enough from hassle and bustle of the village. It would be great to see an option to book an accommodation in a specific area by choosing the lodge on the map, that way you stay in control of your own holiday. 

Disclaimer: We were offered a 4 night stay at Bluestone National Park for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Fast Diet Kitchen Summer Campaign

I have battled with my weight since I was 14-16 years old. During the winter months I was enjoying my food and didn't care much about extra weight as it was nicely hidden behind the layers of clothes. But come spring and I hate myself and my body and regret about all those deserts, sandwiches and snacks I have eaten.

During my pregnancy I decided that I need to keep fit for myself and my baby. I was walking on a treadmill every day, swimming once a week and every weekend went for a long walk in the park. 
After I gave birth (nearly a year ago) I had the flattest belly I have had in ages!! 

I liked to look at myself in the mirror, to hear compliments how great I look. It didn't last long, lack of spare time, constant hunger as I'm breastfeeding, and weekly Domino's meant that I have put on extra weight. 

I don't like the way I look now, I hate clothes shopping as I don't like what I see in the mirror or can't find an item of clothing that will hide lumps and bumps or even look good on me!
But as summer is upon us and my 30th birthday is in 8 months, I am determined to lose weight, to keep fit, to feel myself again! 

With a little help from Fast Diet Kitchen I am starting a 6 week 5:2 Diet plan: 

On 31 may Fast Diet Kitchen is launching a 6 week on-line specialist Summer Ready campaign.
I will post weekly weight loss updates to keep track of my new journey as a way of supporting those who take part in the challenge. I hope the diet plan will work for me, fingers crossed!

Sign up to a free 6-week on-line specialist program here, alternatively follow Fast Diet Kitchen via Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: I was provided with 3 weeks worth of fasting meals for the purpose of my weekly updates. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Review: My Shiny Shop bambi dummy clip by Käthe Kruse

We have introduced L to a dummy when she was 4 weeks old. I didn't want to do it earlier as I was worried that she will have nipple confusion. Since then we had 2 different dummies, the spare one was always in a dummy box if we are out and about and the original one was either in L's mouth or lost somewhere. We have a clip which we use daily but it tends to be hiding somewhere with dummy all the time, if we have dummy then we can't find the clip or if we have a clip we always lose it!
I wanted a bright dummy, the one that can be easily found and easily secured on an item of clothing! 

I came across My Shiny Shop and just loved the variety of cute items for kids.

We specialise in stylish wardrobe essentials, beautiful gifts and decorative room accessories for babies and children up to 10. We stock great brands from all around the globe. Some brands are entirely new to the UK. I found that there are some incredible brands out there that few people know about. I started my journey to bring these products into the UK spotlight. So you know what you're buying is not just beautiful and well-made, it's also unique!

I have opted for bambi dummy clip (£11) by Käthe Kruse (German company that has produced dolls, toys and fashion for children for over 100 years), which looks quite cute and neutral, could suit a boy or a girl.  
Bambi dummy clip is made from cotton with a super soft felt bambi at the front. The clip itself is wooden and is the heaviest part of the set, velcro closure at the bottom of the "chain" is used to secure the dummy.
When attaching the clip it feels a bit flimsy comparing to the other clip we have but it does stay on the clothes securely and attaches easily. L has never try to pull the clip off the clothes or tried to detach the velco part. It is bright enough which makes it easier to find the clip, as well as it could be a nice little toy if you forgot to bring any when out and about.

Bambi dummy clip by Käthe Kruse clip is ideal for making sure your baby doesn't lose or drop the dummy when you are out. If you like this particular design, you may also like heart& antlers or a hedgehog dummy clip from My Shiny Shop.

Disclaimer: I was sent the above items for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Review: Nom Nom Kids weaning pouches

On average every week I buy 10 jars, 10 fruity pouches, pack of 4 fruit pots and a box of porridge. Buying baby food can be quite expensive, so to cut the costs down and to introduce more homemade food, I decided to do my own fruit pouches. 
I came across Nom Nom Kids reusable pouches and when Suzanne-the founder offered me to review the starter set (£20) I jumped at a chance.

Nom Nom Kids reusable pouches for weaning babies & kids on the go. Fill them with home made or bought purees, smoothies, yogurts & baby food and enjoy time and again. Simply fill the pouch, eat and then clean before reusing them. For kids of all ages, from weaning babies to school children. The Nom Nom Kids Pouch has a fun design to encourage kids to eat from them. They are Freezer safe, Dishwasher safe and BPA free.

Nom Nom kids weaning kit includes:
10 reusable pouches
15 caps
non-permanent pen
recipe card

Before using the kit for the first time I have washed pouches in the warm water. 

To fill the pouch:
- Blow into the spout to fully open the pouch, put the cap on
- Pull the side tabs apart
- Hold the pouch or put it on a side and fill it as far as the top of the window on the back of the pouch (each pouch holds 130ml/4.5oz)
- Seal the zip lock
- Write on the back of the pouch with a non-permanent pen
- Freeze or keep in the fridge for up to 2-3 days
I have cooked few fruity purees which were handy when we were out and about in Pembrokeshire. As L is a fussy eater it will take a while for her to adjust to my home cooking but at least I try!

The pouches have proved to be easy to clean and durable. You can buy a plastic spoon which can fit on the spout but I just let L do the job and squeeze the contents in the mouth. 

If you don't know where to start Nom Nom Kids website has some handy recipes which were tried and tested on Suzanne's little ones!

Disclaimer: I was sent the above kit for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Recipe: Organix Almond Porridge with fresh fruit

I can't say I'm a big fan of porridge myself but I do eat oat porridge everyday. I've heard that french people say it's good for your skin. Since L was ready for few meals a day our normal breakfast consists of fruit or multigrain porridge, fromage frais and fruit if L is happy to have more food.

What is your little one having for breakfast?
Organix is celebrating breakfast this month to help inspire mums to get a great start to the day with their little ones. 

Porridge is a wonderful real food breakfast. Good quality whole oats are super sustaining to keep Goldilocks and your little bear full up till lunch. The almonds provide a great source of protein and healthy fat, whilst also giving a natural creaminess. This natural creaminess means you can make the porridge with water rather than milk for a dairy-free version.

The seeds are powerhouses of nutrition – as it is from the seed that fruit and plants grow – so they are packed full of potential nutrition. When we eat the seed we get this densely packed nutrition that would have become a plant. Therefore we don’t need many, just a light sprinkle.
Why not add a dollop of Greek yogurt for extra decadence.

All you need is:
50g porridge oats
50g ground almonds
1tsp cinnamon
250ml water or milk of your choice

Optional toppings:
Drizzle of maple syrup
Sprinkle of pumpkin seeds (12mths +)
Sprinkle of sunflower seeds (12mths +)
Large hand full of fresh strawberries (or whatever fruit is in season)
Dollop of Greek yogurt

All you do is:
1. Measure out the oats and almonds and tip both into a saucepan. Top tip: a ¼ measuring cup holds 50g of porridge and it’s much easier to use this each morning rather than weighing it out every day. If you don’t have a proper ¼ measuring cup, any receptacle will do that holds the right amount.
2. Add the cinnamon and water (or milk), stir and cook over a medium/low heat, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes until nice and thick.
3. Meanwhile chop the strawberries into bite size pieces – smaller for babies.
4. Pour cooked porridge into bowls then add any or all of the optional toppings. Set the toppings out on the breakfast table for kids to help themselves to – encouraging them to get creative with the decorative toppings (a couple of strawberries and a few seeds can make a great porridge face or an abstract piece of art)!

You can join in with the fun at #babiesbreakfastclub or on the Organix Facebook page. For more on Organix baby cereals, weaning advice, breakfast recipes, and to download your free copy of the Organix Little Book of Weaning please visit 

Monday, 18 May 2015

Evening reads: Shoutykid book "How Harry Riddles Mega-Massively Broke the School" giveaway #9

Little L is a little book warm, she is too small to read, but she likes to flick through the pages of her board books or likes to listen when I read. L likes colourful books, likes to discover new materials, animals or sounds with with touch and feel or lift the flap books.
When I have received Shoutykid books- How Harry Riddles Made a Mega-Amazing Zombie Movie (£5.99) and How Harry Riddles Mega-Massively Broke the School (£6.99), L didn't let go of them for good 10 minutes, she liked it's bright cover a lot. 
Shoutykid books are written in an e-mail, forum chats and letter format, mainly addressed to Harry's (main character) cousin Charley.
Shoutykid books are very easy to read and quick, even though I'm an adult I giggled few times whilst reading the books to L. And I'm sure that boys or girls similar age will find that it is easy to relate to Harry and his life troubles.

Without giving away too much information, here is an example of Harry's writing:
For those who are intrigued you can read more book reviews or even purchase one here, alternatively HarperCollins have kindly offered one of my readers the opportunity to win second Shoutykid book, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below  (the competition starts on 18 May 12am and ends on 1 June 12am):

a Rafflecopter giveaway    
Lookout for book 3 in August 2015!

Disclaimer: I was sent the above items for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Days out: Bluestone National Park Part 1 #bluestoneblogger

Prior to our trip my husband and I agreed on a plan, which entailed a self catering/self sufficient stay at Bluestone, without the need for dining out or purchasing food from any onsite shops/restaurants. It was an only option we had as in-laws who originally were suppose to travel with us had to change their plans.

I would recommend our plan to anyone who wants to self cater as it proved costly to eat out.

So we set off, armed with our snacks, meal items and almost half of the house content in the car.. a fairly straightforward 3 ½ hour trip to Bluestone.

Tip: If you prefer to travel light you can stock up at Tesco Extra (postcode SA31 3AX ) which is just 30 minutes away from Bluestone.

Upon our arrival (just before 4-30pm) we had to wait in a small queue for a check in, which was swift and easy as I have pre-registered online (this option was offered in one of the Bluestone e-mails I have received prior to the stay). I can't comment on how the process of check in would go if I didn't pre-register but I assume that friendly staff would try to do their best to make it as quick as possible. 
We were given few leaflets about things to do in Bluestone, a map with our lodge circled and a car hanger which we had to leave in the car. It took me ages to find the circle on a map given to us, and as I thought that there is only one lodge called Ramsey I was totally puzzled by the map, 15 minutes later we found out that all roads at Bluestone are one way and finally found our lodge. 
Upon checking other Bluestone maps our lodge was on the left side where as on the map we were given at a check in the lodge was at the top.

Tip: if you are travelling to Bluestone for the first time make sure you understand the directions to the lodge and ask staff to point out where the circle is.

We stayed in a detached Ramsey luxury lodge along Augustus Way. My first impressions were detached- excellent, lodge- exciting, upside down living-what?! 
Ramsey is an "upside down living" lodge, which sleeps up to 4 people. I have never experienced that before and it took a little getting used to.
A lovely open plan kitchen and dining room awaited us (once we stopped complimenting the already fitted stair gates). There was a high chair already there for us.
The lodge also had two big bedrooms, one with 2 single beds and the other- double room. There was a cot already set up for L to sleep in and she took to it well.

We unloaded the car, my husband took it to the car park straight away, there is no rush in returning the car to the car park though but it needs to be left there before midnight on Monday.
Once we were ready to go for a walk it started to rain, but I thought that it shouldn't stop us as normally we would go out no matter what the weather is like, so off we went for a stroll towards Blue Lagoon water park to find out how to register.
Tip: to save yourself some time on the day when you plan to go for a walk bring your key cards to register in advance. The water park opens at 10 am to public but bloggers can access it from 9 am. You can also park your stroller/pushchair on the right hand side (behind the door which leads to stairs).
We ventured a lot around the beautiful grounds of Bluestone, enjoying the nature trail the most, which takes you past Camp Smokey and continues on to the Adventure centre.
The view on the way back to our lodge was breath taking, a beautiful hill backdrop in the distance and lovely greenery dotted around the national park, quite special!

Disclaimer: We were offered a 4 night stay at Bluestone National Park for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

What I've learnt about weaning with L

I must say that my husband and I were looking forward to introducing solids, for us weaning meant a little bit less stress as for the first 5 months of L's life we were relying on breast milk and at times I wasn't convinced that I have enough supply. I am not saying L was starving or didn't have enough but comparing to other babies she was always smaller, now I know that I shouldn't compare her to others as all babies are different. 

Prior to weaning I did a small research about puree feeding  (spoon fed) and baby led weaning. 29 years ago weaning recommendations were completely different as far as I know my mum was adding a little bit of mashed apple in my diet when I was only 4 months old, solids were thoroughly mashed and meaty purees were introduced at 8-9 months. From what I can remember I loved fruit pots a lot, and I wanted L to try them as well. 

Having said that I was a little bit intrigued about baby led weaning, which simply means that baby feeds themselves. 

Initially your baby might only touch and play with the the food, before moving on to licking, tasting and finally eating some. When offering foods such as rice and cereals you can give your baby a spoon, but they will probably start eating it with their fingers first, before mastering the use of a spoon. Be warned, this can be a messy process, so you might want to invest in a messy mat and some bibs first!

My mother in law gave me few leaflets and books to read about introducing solids, but I have picked an old-fashioned method of introducing 4-5 types of veg for a week, then the same with certain fruits, then dairy and then meat.

Things didn't go to plan as L was constipated most of the time, I had to adjust the diet and to introduce Lactolose into our lives.

At around 6- 7 months we had a weigh in with a health visitor who advised that L should eat what we eat as apparently after 6 months they can eat everything! And if I'm worried about her choking I can do First Aid course. I didn't say it out loud but I wouldn't give my daughter the same food which some days consists of takeaways, fast food, ready meals and value products. When I said this to my husband he said that we should then share tonight's pizza with L, which is obviously a joke but proves a point that some parents might actually consider giving junk food as health visitor gave a permission to do so.

I don't think that baby led weaning works for every baby, some are just not ready for it. Why would I want to waste my money on a product which will be mashed in her hands, wiped all over her face, hands and highchair and not even being put in her mouth once? Why would I watch my child do it over and over again (they advise that you should offer the same food around 20-25 times), mind you she wouldn't even consider eating this food or she would be choking every time she tries? To me it looks like she is still hungry, feeding times drags for hours if I can simply mash the food I cooked or buy a jar and feed her in less then 5 minutes knowing that she is happy and full? Simply, it's not for me or L. She was clearly not ready to feed herself or eat food without it being mashed. 

L was extremely fussy when it comes to eating, she liked (still does sometimes) purees, particular fruit pots, meaty jars and would spit the lumpy bits or choke on them. 

Now L is 10 months old and I can see that she is more accepting, more interested in proper food. She likes rice, jacket potatoes, spaghetti, drinks from a cup or a sippy cup, eating bananas, mangoes, toast and is still a big fan of particular meaty jars. She wouldn't eat pureed food with bits in it but she will happily eat the same food what we eat, but obviously we pick and choose what she can have.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't consider baby led weaning I'm just trying to say that it didn't work for us as I felt it was more of choir than enjoyment from both parties. 

Don't force your baby to do something they are not ready to do just because it's trendy or someone else's kid can do it. Babies are all different and maybe yours is just not ready for it.

I want to think of baby led weaning as a way of baby telling you when they are ready for certain food and not parents forcing them to eat.

Do you agree or disagree?

Monday, 11 May 2015

Review: ShadeMe baby sun shade

Before L was born I had a list (one of many) of what what me need to buy, parasol was one of the items as I thought we would need one during summer. In the end we didn't buy one firstly we didn't really need in the end and secondly after seeing different sun shades I thought that parasol won't shade my little one in the way I want. 

I wanted something universal that can be used during day light and for our evening walks. I here you ask why evening walks? Just couple of months ago L started to be very sensitive to outdoor lights, we used a large shrug for a while to cover the hood but as we had more sunny days we needed a permanent solution.

Shade Me kindly offered to review baby sun shade (£25) for which I'm very grateful! 

Shade Me Ltd is a brand new company set up by three experts in the Sun Protection market. Our aim is to develop and sell products that help parents to protect their children from the harmful rays of the sun. 

Baby sun shade is a universal pram shade that will fit most prams, car seats, pushchairs. 

How to fit: the sun shade has 2 elasticated straps (depending on the size of a pushchair/car seat you can adjust the length), bottom one is a a double strap which clips under the carry cot base or under the base of your pushchair/car seat. It is a little bit awkward to do it on your own so I have asked my husband to hold from one side and pass the other end of the clip. The second strap fixes at the top of the pushchair.

The amount of shade your baby will have depends on the ShadeMe position i.e. at the top of your pushchair's hood or at the bottom. Due to it's stretchy material you can pull the sun shade at any time when you feel your baby needs more shade or you can easily roll it slightly to allow more light. 

I haven't tried this one yet myself but the flexible wire allows the shade to be rolled up into the integral pocket on the top for easy storage. Having said that I would use the pocket as storage for notes/change, if it was the other way around.
I am quite impressed with the sun shade, it is not only protecting my baby from sun's harsh rays (it is made of UV fabrics, it achieves a 50+), it works as an additional hood extension, allows to maintain your baby's sleeping routine when out and about.

The latter is a very important factor for me, we have blackouts at home for when L naps but I wanted to repeat the same environment for her when we are out an about. All I have to do is stretch the pushchair hood and a sun shade as far as it can go, it will give enough shade and block most of the light which helps L to relax and switch off.

We have also used it on a rainy day, it is not waterproof and I don't recommend to use it on a rainy day (rain cover will be needed) but if it's spitting it will give enough protection.

Overall, it is a great must-have product for home or away.

Disclaimer: I was sent the above items for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Review: Kiddilicious wafers

Weaning is a very messy business, sometimes I have to clean highchair, floor, L, L's clothes and even myself. Sometimes I have to do the same when L is snacking, until recently! 

Kiddilicious have kindly offered to review wafers, which come in 3 different flavours- blueberry, banana and carrot.
We understand that first tastes are more intense for little ones which is why our rice wafers, with their subtle fruit or vegetable flavours, are ideal for developing taste buds.
We have received few packs (each pack had 2 wafers inside) of each flavour. 
I am really surprised but L liked all the flavours, including carrot one. I have tried the wafers myself, they are very light, dissolve easily in a mouth and very easy to break in case your little one want to have just a half of the wafer.
Wafers leave less mess than a usual rice cake and don't leave any marks on clothing at all.

If you look at the ingredients content you will find that they have contain sugar and salt, which is not ideal.
Having said that as L is a big fan of Kiddilicious wafers I have bought 3 boxes for when we are out and about (each includes 10 twin packs) which were on offer in Tesco at £1,50, usual price £2.
I always have a pack with me in a bag or in my pocket as it seems to sooth and occupy L when is is a bit fussy.

If you are not worried about wafers containing sugar and salt please consider buying them as they are suitable for babies from 6 months and gluten free.

Disclaimer: I was sent the above items for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.