Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Visiting Geronimo family festival at Tatton Park

What a wonderful day we had a Geronimo festival yesterday!

"It doesn’t matter if you’re two or 12, there is something for everyone at Geronimo Festival. Whether your kids are adrenaline junkies or craft-mad, animal enthusiasts or music lovers, the North’s biggest family festival boasts a jam-packed line up of live 
shows and amazing experiences for the whole family to enjoy".

We were so excited to go, firstly because it's the 1st family festival we were visiting and secondly even though I restrict L's TV watching time, she is a huge fan of CBeebies characters.Before travelling I have read different reviews mainly for the purpose of finding out about parking at Tatton Park as was a little bit worried that due to the size of the event there might be queues and I didn't want to miss any activities. We were setting off just after 7am with the idea that it will take us about 2 hours to drive. In the end it only took 1 hour 45 mins in total to get to Tatton Park, pleasantly surprised!

Once we arrived to Tatton park we were greeted by the staff who showed us the way to the car park, where to drive to pay for parking (£6) and followed us up to the actual parking space. I would like to mention that the parking and entrance to the Geronimo 2016 festival was seamless, without any hiccups at all.

The first thing to note is that Tatton park is massive, we have never been to Cheshire or Tatton Park, so it was quite an experience. We were really overwhelmed by the amount of activities that were going on. At the information desk we picked up the times for the main activities of the day and the venue map and off we went to investigate. 

TipDon't ignore the stand with pens/markers, as a precaution parents were asked to write a telephone number on a child's wristband in case they were lost. 

The first zone we have visited was "3ft and under", just the right place to be with little babies and toddlers. Due to it's size and the amount of parents with kids and pushchairs parked in this zone I wasn't sure if it's the right place to stay. Having said that we did come back a few times when it was less busier to investigate and take part in few activities.

There was a tent for nursing and changing, tents with a soft play section, baby ballet, which you could visit throughout the day, Tumble Tots, story telling etc etc. Some activities seemed similar to one another but nonetheless were a great fun.    

Tip: want to try it all?! come prepared and early, have a plan of action

Next we went to Circus zone, to the right of it you can park a stroller queue up for the performance and that's what we did. The waiting wasn't long and we were given good seats not far from the exit in case we need to escape without being noticed. I think it was a highlight of the day for us. We were so lost when we just arrived to the park but great performance and entertainment made our day.

We saw funny clowns, pretty ladies dancing, and a "Guest star" from Britain's Got Talent 2016- "a bendy archer" Orissa Kelly. 

After that we decided to take a break and have a quick lunch with the usual picnic goodies we brought with us: quiche, sausage rolls & sandwiches. Whilst we were sitting on a grass and enjoying our snacks we were watching the entertainment on the stage, first up was "baby ballet" which was my number 1 thing to see on the day followed by Andy Day, Mr. Bloom, Swashbuckle & the great Justin Fletcher!

Andy's morning show was unfortunately cut short due to mic issues, felt sorry for him as he carried on rapping about different dinosaurs for a short while even without any speaker sound.

After that Mr Bloom took to stage, he did a short repertoire of his usual show songs about veggies.

For those that wished to buy food at the festival, there was plenty of food on offer ranging from hot dogs, pizzas, Indian or the classic fish & chips- all of it was reasonably priced. 
Closer to the exit I have also spotted a designated area for BBQ, for those who are visiting just the park or want to stay away from hassle and bustle it's a place to relax and enjoy freshly cooked meats and veggies.

Between each of the acts on the Geronistage, we visited different stalls ranging from story time and soft play to face painting. 

Crafts zone was one of the most popular areas amongst fairground rides zone. The latter wasn't something we wanted to do as there were people constantly queuing to go on a carousel, so we opted for some painting fun instead. L and daddy queued for a free face painting and I waited in the queue for a pretty henna tattoo. 

Whilst waiting in the crafts zone I have looked around to see what else what was going on, I have noticed a cookery area, a zone where you can make flower chains, paint and create a card or a message and do other crafty things. 

We haven't stayed much in Arena zone neither we visited Woodlands and Library zones but these are definitely on my to do list for the next year! 

As my husband got a little bit tired we left him to relax on one of the benches opposite the stage and L and I visited harp session and watched the show of the Thelmo Parole- street performer and clown, who made lots of adults laugh out loud.

When L eventually fell asleep I decided to go for a little stroll around the venue.  Just when I was about to queue for a walking balloon I spotted a stall just outside Information tent where lovely staff members were giving away free carton juice and sun cream for kids, and that's not all, in just less than 5 minutes I was an owner of a pretty flower made of balloons for free as well!

Tip: Leave your family/other half with your little one, go for a small stroll, that way you may spot something you haven't seen before.

Once I have collected my goodies, I followed the crowd and noticed few more activities not far from massive My Little Pony bus: stalls with honey to taste and buy, bubbles, charities, Tell tails (wearable animal tails for adults and kids), walking balloons (they were a hit), teepees and colourful hammocks to relax, a singing puppet playing different instruments, play area for kids closer to the woodlands, bouncy slide, walking puppets- birds, giraffe and hippo, ladies dressed as a horse wearing springy shoes and tails!

The star of the show was quite clearly Justin Fletcher (aka Mr Tumble).  He received a rapturous reception from the crowd.. no surprise as he was excellent and very entertaining.. clear star of the show!  He did a quick cameo dance and then sang his trademark "Hello Hello.." song.

One good point was that the shows were repeated (so Andy, Swashbucklers & Mr Bloom appeared twice on the stage). This meant we could do most of the visiting stalls etc in the morning/early afternoon and still be able to see the fun guys on the stage.. which was our 'sort of' plan!

Tip: don't put too much pressure on yourself, if you feel overwhelmed by all the activities, there is always a next time!

Disclaimer: We were invited to visit Tatton Park/Geronimo festival as a part of the ambassador programme. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

The post in written in collaboration with guest poster- my other half.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Treat your Tastebuds at the North’s Biggest Family Festival- Geronimo

"Returning to Tatton Park over the weekend of 29th- 30th May Geronimo is the family festival you won’t want to miss! Geronimo has announced a tasty line up of food vendors for both weekends, guaranteed to satisfy everyone’s taste buds - both young and old.

Calling all burger fans! The Burger pride themselves on producing high quality gourmet burgers and triple cooked chips at a reasonable price. With personal touches including making their own ketchup, roasting and pureeing the garlic for their mayonnaise and caramelising their onions to a rich sweet golden colour to extract every ounce of flavour, burger aficionados will not be disappointed!

Duke’s Pizza’s are made on site straight out of a 1972 Dodge Tradesman – and cooked to perfection in a traditional wood fired oven in under 2 minutes. What else would you expect from Geronimo?

Poffertjesking is an authentic Dutch company who bake delicious Dutch mini pancakes, Belgian waffles and crazy milkshakes. With mouthwatering toppings including Oreo, Cadbury fudge, Nutella and the classic lemon and sugar, there’s no better place to get a taste of the Netherlands!

For something a little healthier, Nourish aims to provide both adults and children with a nutritious alternative. With meals made fresh every day from Yorkshire free range meat and locally sourced ingredients, Nourish’s menu lists every ingredient included in each dish, and no salt or sugar is added to any of their food. Nourish will be serving food from their brand new children’s menu at Geronimo, including Italian meatballs, sweet potato mash with homemade chipotle beans and mozzarella, wholewheat flatbreads, fresh fruit smoothies and more.

For those who enjoy trying new flavours, Mezani Grill will be offering something a little different – bringing a taste of Kenyan street food to Geronimo!

For lovers of the Mediterranean diet, Castaway Kitchen will be serving the best in Mediterranean street food – with flatbreads filled to bursting with a range of meat, vegetarian and vegan delights combined with the freshest salad of tomatoes, red onion, lettuce and Tzatziki, all locally sourced from the best local suppliers.

The Fabulous Fish Finger Company sells gourmet fish finger sandwiches with a focus on fantastic quality products. With the majority of ingredients sourced locally and ethically, with accompanying home-made sauces including wasabi mayonnaise and tartare and soft doughy bread made by local bakers, Solly the Seagull’s kids boxes are perfect for families.

Sno Fro is the home of authentic Hawaiian shave ice – perfect for sunny afternoons. Unlike a shushi, Sno Fro is made of finely shaved ice with an exotic choice of flavours and collected in a pretty flower cup - loved by the whole family.

Staying on the drinks theme, smoothie mania will be offering a wide range of juices and smoothies with no added sugar, no syrups and 100% fruit – and not a carton in sight! Gluten free and diary free, all smoothies are made in front of you, great for your five a day!

Geronimo is aimed at families with children aged between 2 and 12 years old. Tickets are priced at £25.00 p.p. for a one-day ticket with under 2’s going free. Visit www.geronimofest.com for more information".

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Enjoy May Half Term with Roald Dahl at Tatton Park

"Treat the kids to something gloriumptious this May Half Term with a host of tremendous activities taking place at Tatton Park. The fun includes a brand new scrumptious menu in the Stables Restaurant, Phizz-Wizzing trails in the parkland, mansion, gardens and farm and Cover to Cover, a fascinating exhibition of Roald Dahl book covers from around the world.

Take the family on an adventure with themed Phizz-Wizzing Trails, running until 2nd of October. Dodge the gamekeepers in the Danny the Champion of the World trail in the gardens. Find Fantastic Mr. Fox at the Farm before the farmers do and go deep into the Parkland where you’ll find The Enormous Crocodile lurking.

Inside the mansion, enter the curious world of Matilda by following the mischief-making trail. Dress up and take part in the fun family activity room.

Visit the very special, Cover to Cover: Roald Dahl Around the World exhibition, which showcases a fascinating selection of book jackets from across the world and throughout time, until 30 October.

Featuring 50 famous Roald Dahl covers and loaned from the collection at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Buckinghamshire (www.roalddahl.com/museum), the exhibition includes a choice of covers which are visually very different and in a number of languages including French, Arabic, Mandarin and Japanese.

The book covers also feature artwork from famous illustrators across the globe, from the iconic Quentin Blake to Jill Bennett, Nancy Exholm Burkert and Emma Chichester Clark.

Tatton Park staff are also getting involved by showcasing their own books that have been passed down to generations over the years.

Little ones can also grab a gloriously scrumptious bite at the Stables. From grabbable grub lunch boxes full of tasty treats to scrummy mains and heavenly sweet treats, the all new children’s menu is completely inspired by Roald Dahl and is the perfect way to fill up after a day of fun".

For more information about Roald Dahl’s Tremendous Adventures see www.tattonpark.org.uk/roalddahl

For more information about Roald Dahl 100 see http://www.roalddahl.com/roalddahl100

Monday, 23 May 2016

Review: personalised Peppa Pig "My Grandpa" book by Penwizard

It's so interesting to watch how L's and her grandad's bond grows, they like to play together, mess around and generally L's grandad will allow her to do everything she wants. 

Penwizard have offered us to review their hardback personalised Peppa Pig "My Grandpa" book (£14.99) as it's a great keepsake and a book to read with a beloved grandpa!

"Penwizard Personalised Books produce a range of unique customised books where you can star in the pictures and words of your own story alongside your favourite TV characters including Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly, In the Night Garden and The Snowman and the Snowdog".

It is very easy to personalise and order the book from the website:

- add up to 2 characters
- select his/her gender
- personalise by adding your child's full name and a personal message which will be printed on a first page
- create the character similar to your child by picking facial features
- personalised you grandpa by adding different facial features including beard, moustache and sideburn
- preview the cover once finished

The book was delivered within 3 working days and arrived in a cardboard envelop smelling lovely! I put the book on a fireplace as I wanted L to notice it in her own time, when L saw the book she started to point out and say "pig, pig". 

As I want the book to last for longer and survive till Father's day L reads the book with me or under my supervision. 

"In this personalised Peppa Pig book, your child and their Grandpa star alongside Peppa and Grandpa Pig as they list all the things they love about and love doing with their Grandpas. Be it Grandpa's love for building fun things to play with, extra special days out or even just having a little nap on the sofa, there's something for every Grandpa! You may include up to two children, who will star equally alongside their Grandpa in this adorable square hardback personalised book".

You can't pick the activities mentioned in the book but they are spot on and very similar to what L and her drandpa get up to. 
Peppa pig and personalised characters look as they were on the Penwizard website, all colours and features look identical to online and TV series. 
The laminate hardback cover and 16 full colour pages are of a great quality, the size of the book 17.5cm x 17.5cm allows you to take this lovely book with you on a little journey and keep it safe in a changing bag or a pushchair pocket (if you have one of course). 

If you would like to treat your grandpa to a lovely personalised book for Father's day or other occasion Penwizard  have kindly provided a 20% discount code (BLOGGER20) on all orders until 30 June 2016. Terms and conditions are as follows: Discount code not valid in conjunction with any other offers or voucher codes. Not valid on stationery items. Valid until midnight 30th June 2016.

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

Friday, 20 May 2016

Changing the story of language learning for British children

As you may already know little L is a bilingual toddler, we try to encourage Russian as it's my mother tongue and we would like her to speak fluently in both English and Russian. When I came across One Third Stories and their idea of language learning for kids I thought that it would be particularly interesting and useful for L and kids like her.

"Language learning is something that as Brits we struggle with from an early age. We’ve heard again and again that we aren’t good enough, we don’t need to learn a different language and frankly it’s just not that entertaining.

Language learning is flawed, especially in English-speaking countries like the UK. Despite the fact that it is compulsory in primary schools at Key Stage 2 in 2014, almost 60% of schools don’t have a specialist teacher capable of teaching them (BritishCouncil Report, page 54). It is, therefore, hardly surprising that around two thirds of adults in the UK regret their poor language education and wish that they could speak another language (BritishCouncil Report 2). 

Jonny Pryn and Alex Somervell are close friends, yet represent opposite ends of the language learning spectrum. Jonny, grew up in the UK failing to learn French, “it wasn’t for lack of trying, but I started off with a French teacher with a cockney accent and most of the resources available were either boring or didn’t help me learn very well”. Alex on the other hand grew up bilingual in Paraguay, South America. “English and Spanish came naturally to me, and having working in language education in the UK something really needs to change”.

They recently founded One Third Stories while at university, with the aim to revolutionise change language learning for children. The way they do so is through stories that start in English and end in a different language, by gradually introducing words in the foreign language using their innovative Clockwork Methodology®. It represents the first book of it’s kind, and is designed to make learning a language as simple as reading a story.

“Our Clockwork Methodology is inspired by Anthony Burgess’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’, a dystopian hyper violent novel I read while studying Linguistics at University,” said Jonny. Strange inspiration for a children’s book, however Jonny found there were words in a made up Russian dialect that he could actually understand. “Jonny came to me, being one of his only friends who could speak languages and we started working on the concept,” said Alex.

The pair have tried out various prototypes with over a thousand children, parents and teachers that have helped validate the methodology and give them the confidence do it full-time. One Third Stories has launched on Kickstarter to offer everyone the chance to learn a language through various products including a large hardback version of the story, audiobooks, apps and even the chance for you to become one of the characters in the story.

“Our mission is to inspire a new generation of multilingual children, and we’re looking for help in making this dream a reality,” said Alex. “We’re hoping we can hit our target of £10,000 to order the first print run and produce the app”, said Jonny".

Let's wish Jonny and Alex all the best with the project! 

"Further details can be found on the One Third Stories website www.onethirdstories.com or by following them on twitter @onethirdstories and Facebook".  

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Battle with the weight: update 2

Since my last update I haven't been on a treadmill for over 2 weeks due to the pulled muscle. I have googled my symptoms and it looks like a sprinters trauma so I had to relax and take it easy. 
I felt very guilty for not being able to run as I enjoyed it and it kept me motivated, so once I felt better and could walk without feeling pain I went on my treadmill just to find out that the "awkward", sore muscle pain is still there, but this time I decided not to stop but the moment I feel sore to hold on to the bar which actually helped a lot.

I didn't weigh myself not to get upset, but have treated myself to some new clothes, they are still in size 18 but they look pretty and I feel confident wearing them.

This week I feel a lot more hungrier than before, some days I still eat the half of my normal portion and others will eat the whole portion. Still no sweets, no bread, no pasta, I can't explain it but for the first time in a very long time I managed to blank all "bad" habits, I can watch someone eating a tasty dessert but it won't bother me at all! 

I look in the mirror every single day and search for changes, there are so minor and the progress is very slow but I know that I'm getting there. I have to do my best to keep fit and eat less and I will look slimmer!

Have you made any progress this week?

Monday, 16 May 2016

Roald Dahl’s Tremendous Adventures at Tatton Park

The most gloriumptious things are set to happen in 2016 as Tatton Park embarks on a magical journey celebrating 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl, The World’s number 1 storyteller.

Working closely with the Roald Dahl Literary Estate and legendary illustrator Quentin Blake, the year-long programme of events at Tatton Park is just one of a host of activities taking place throughout 2016 as part of Roald Dahl 100. 

Included in the birthday celebrations is the Imagine Children’s Festival at London’s Southbank Centre in February, the launch of a new David Austin rose named in Roald Dahl’s honour at the Chelsea Flower Show in May and City of the Unexpected - a birthday weekend celebration in his home city of Cardiff in September.

Amongst the jam-packed year of surprises at Tatton Park are the most imaginative trails for children. From May to the end of September you’ll be invited to join DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD in the Gardens, FANTASTIC MR FOX at the Farm and MATILDA in the Mansion….and out in the Parkland THE ENORMOUS CROCODILE will be lurking.

Expect to be entertained as Illyria outdoor theatre puts on a grand performance of DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD in the spectacular outdoor setting of the Old Hall. Outdoor cinema comes to Tatton’s beautiful Parkland with a late summer evening screening of WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY starring the legendary Gene Wilder. And there will be plenty of invitations to settle down and listen in as Roald Dahl’s extraordinary storytelling weaves its way through the park throughout the year.

In September Tatton will be joining many others in a worldwide celebration of Roald Dahl's 100th year with a scrumdiddlyumptious picnic day. A Frightsome Halloween will be full of witchy mischief and the Christmas Mansion will be packed full with Roald Dahl’s unique imagination, his beloved characters and unforgettable stories.
The Mansion will be hosting a unique opportunity to see a magnificent display of Roald Dahl book covers from around the world and throughout time. His books have been published over 200 million times and in over 50 languages.

Roald Dahl’s ability to make people imagine is the inspiration for a number of children's interactive and creative sessions taking place throughout the year …. make a kite with Danny, conjure up your own magical potions with George or simply get creative and write your own magical tales.

Visitors will be able to discover the most gloriously yummy treats in Tatton’s Stableyard. Inspired by Roald Dahl a fun children’s menu includes scrummy boodley pods and tasty piggerley porkers and the shops will be packed full of extraordinary things to buy.

Throughout the year’s activity visitors will be able to enjoy many of Quentin Blake’s iconic illustrations from Roald Dahl’s stories.

“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men” (CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY)…………So prepare yourself for one the most memorable and fantabulous outings of the year!

Full list of activity and events can be found on the website tattonpark.org.uk/RoaldDahl

Normal opening times and prices apply

*Additional charges and opening arrangements apply to this event

Friday, 13 May 2016

My Little Pony and Clangers announced for Geronimo family festival

"Back on the festival scene, bigger and better Geronimo has announced brand new additions to an already jam-packed line up of live shows and amazing experiences for the whole family to enjoy.

Returning to Tatton Park over the weekend of 29th- 30th May, Geronimo is the family festival you won’t want to miss! And if you haven’t booked your tickets already, now is the time as Geronimo is proud to announce that My Little Pony, the Clangers and Tumble Tots will all be making an appearance!

Joining the already exciting programme of event lined up for both venues, the top rating BAFTA award winning TV show Clangers will be whistling hello at Geronimo this summer, entertaining families with storytelling throughout the weekend.

The new series of Clangers launched on the BBC in 2015 and immediately hit No1 in the UK’s top Children’s programmes. Narrated by Michael Palin, today’s stop-motion animated series retains the magic and charm that made the original so popular.

The hit series follows the adventures of Major, Mother, Small, Tiny and Granny Clanger, who live on a little blue planet with holes topped with metal dustbin lids, which flip shut with a 'Clang!’ Look out for Small Clanger or Tiny Clanger at Geronimo – and don’t forget to whistle hello!

Little ones can also discover the magic of friendship on board the My Little Pony Friendship Bus when it parks up at Geronimo over both weekends.

Kids can get a pony makeover at the Rarity’s Manhattan Makeover Station before heading to the Pony Passport Photo Booth to create their very own passport. For more fun and games the top deck is home to Rainbow Dash’s Cloudsdale Colouring Station, Fluttershy’s Crystal Empire Entertainment, plus Pinkie Pie’s Ponyville Play Station.

Tumble Tots will also be making an appearance in the 3ft and Under Zone for a second year, with taster sessions for children from walking to 5 years old (bookable upon arrival at Geronimo). Each 15-minute taster session will give children a fun and challenging experience on specially designed colourful, wooden and foam play equipment. Ben and Holly and Peppa Pig will also be joining Tumble Tots in their marquee over both weekends on selected days.

New for 2016 is the Arena Zone, an extravaganza of live displays featuring the White Helmets – the UK’s no.1 military motorbike display team bringing a spectacular display of trick riding to Geronimo. Watch our sheepdog show with a difference, we haven’t got any sheep so we had to use geese instead! Or check out the owls in the falconry show – on horseback, what else would you expect at Geronimo? For history fans, watch the Knights of the Royal Order as they carry out a live joust, or check out a local band of
cowboys showing off their horse handling skills.

With zip wires, tree climbing and parkour sessions for adventure seekers, an old fashioned helter skelter, carousel and steam powered swing chairs for kids and adults who are still kids at heart and Justin Fletcher, Mr Bloom, Alex Winters and Katy Ashworth for all CBeebies fans, there’s something for all ages. For all fans of roller-skating, a roller rink will be setting up home at Geronimo – so get your skates on and book a ticket!

Geronimo is aimed at families with children aged between 2 and 12 years old. Tickets are priced at £25.00 p.p. for a one-day ticket with under 2’s going free. Visit www.geronimofest.com for more information".

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Webbs, Wychbold's brand new Pets and Aquatics Department

The last time we have visited Webbs garden centre was just before Christmas, my husband, L and I had lots of fun on the ice rink and in the Santa's Grotto, but there seems to be another reason why we should visit the garden centre- a brand new pets and aquatics department!

"Award winning garden centre, Webbs, Wychbold, has opened it's brand new Pets and Aquatics Department.

The new department expands the pet offering at the family run centre, providing bespoke products and expert knowledge to pet owners. In fact, the staff are so keen to ensure everything is top quality they have even been testing the food for themselves. The
production and manufacturing of the premium quality dog foods that will be sold in the new department is similar to that used for human food! These foods not only taste wonderful, but are reported to be the closest to nature an animal can get, helping to keep your dog as fit as a fiddle.

Official opening took place on Saturday 16th April, the garden centre invited families of all ages, and their pets, to join in the fun. The new department will feature everything you need to ensure the extra special member of your family is cared for better than ever before, including the exciting arrival of top local vets practice, MacArthur Barstow & Gibbs, who will be ready and equipped to care for visiting animals, whenever they may be feeling ‘ruff’.

With purpose built consulting rooms at Webbs, it is proud to be able to offer a committed team of vets and nurses to help a range of species.

These new vets, combined with the knowledge and expertise of the well trained staff at Webbs, offer the best pet advice and are sure to answer any pet related questions which customers may have.

Ed Webb, Executive Chairman of Webbs Garden Centre’s, said: “Our new Pets and Aquatics department at our Wychbold store is testament to the hard work of our team. They really do go above and beyond for all of our customers, even the four legged variety! We are always looking to provide the best possible shopping experience here at Webbs and we hope these changes demonstrate that.”

Monday, 9 May 2016

Review: Kiddilicious crunchy nibbles

L is a very fussy eater and I always try to find something new to see if I can push it a little bit further.  
For the past couple of weeks we have been trying Kiddilicious crunchy peas and sweetcorn nibbles and crunchy grape nibbles suitable from 12 months (£0.60p. individual pack in selected supermarkets- Asda, Tesco, Boots).

We have started with crunchy peas and sweetcorn as it's something L would never consider eating. 

"Peas and sweetcorn freeze dried into melt-in-your-mouth nibbles
We take tasty, colourful peas and sweetcorn and then simply take out the water to give a light, melty texture that dissolves easily in the mouth. 100% veggies with absolutely nothing else added".

 I didn't know what I expected to see, I guess that they will look completely different, that L would be so confused by what it is that would enjoy eating it. But in reality crunchy peas and sweetcorn were a dryer, smaller,lighter in colour and texture version of sweetcorn and peas as we know them, which put L off from wanting to taste them at all. She has tried to nibble on sweetcorn but peas completely put her off. We had several attempts and only one successful, but I guess the more I try the more accepting she could be.

With crunchy grapes though we had a completely different reaction. 

"Grapes freeze dried into melt-in-your-mouth slices
We take tasty, colourful grapes and then simply take out the water to give a light, melty texture that dissolves easily in the mouth. 100% fruit with absolutely nothing else added".
At first she wasn't sure what it was and played with it scattering dried grapes on the kitchen floor, the next day L was hungrier and more adventurous and had few grapes at a time. To make it easier for toddlers to crunch on grapes without chocking Kiddilicous pre-cut grapes into halves which is a great help. As always I have tried crunchy grapes myself, I personally would add them to a yogurt or similar but L didn't mind them as they were.

Even thought 1 pack is deemed to be used at once I have noticed that L prefers to have a little bit and leaves the rest for another day, which is a little bit impractical if you are on the go as the contents will go everywhere, that's the only downside I have found.

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

Friday, 6 May 2016

Rave-A-Roo indoor family music festival tickets giveaway

"RAVE-A-ROO returns to Ministry of Sound! 

Following a hugely successful inaugural event in February, Rave-A-Roo is back with six new dates announced for London’s Ministry of Sound.

Confirmed dates are Saturday May 28, Saturday June 4, Sunday June 5, Saturday June 18, Sunday June 19 and Saturday July 2.

Imagine an indoor festival vibe with a focus on the whole family partying together and getting their rave on….and you have Rave-A-Roo; a new clubbing mash-up of festival fun for all the family. Expect live Djs, incredible hosts, spectacular light shows, stage performances, confetti mayhem finale, a UV tattoo station, the disco ball games, neon crafts, funky soft play, baby glow toys and special guests.

Plus kids TV stars Go!Go!Go! (as seen daily on Nick Jr.) with an all new electro show in the Rave-A-Roo Main Room. Go!Go!Go! have enjoyed touring around the UK and Asia in 2015 following their last sell out shows at the Shepherds Bush Empire.

Said event co-founder, Jenny Kane: “After a sold out first event we’re delighted to be back at Ministry of Sound with six new dates. At Rave-A-Roo kids can be themselves, dance, let loose, create, watch or just chill. From babes in arms to grandparents, everyone is invited to join in the madcap fun."
For a time-out from the dance floor, and for the little ones who can’t go quite as hard, mini party animals can catch their breath in the Glow Chill Room- plus a bespoke area for babies- whilst parents watch their little faces light up.

With a fully licensed bar (and tea, coffee and snacks), spotless surroundings, a convenient onsite buggy park, baby changing with handy supplies, professional security, carefully monitored sound levels and beautifully lit rooms, Rave-A-Roo offers a unique and safe environment for families.

Rave-A-Roo is proudly sponsored by LilGadgets. 
Sessions are 12pm to 2pm and 3pm to 5pm.

Tickets are priced £10.00 (earlybird), £12.50 (advanced) and £15.00 (on the door). Babes-in-Arms go free (but must have a ticket).

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.rave-a-roo.com


I have one family pass (up to four people) to give away to one lucky family. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below (the competition ends on 25 May 12am):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition for 1 x family ticket (2 x adults, 2 x children) 
If a party size is bigger then additional tickets can be purchased from: http://www.rave-a-roo.com/tickets
The competition is for any session of their choice. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Little L is 22 months

L has changed so much, she is like a sponge taking all in and then converts it into her own baby babble mixed language.

We have been doing some activities outside the house as I feel that she needs to interact with other kids now more so than she was younger. It is a little bit difficult as times as I don't know old rhymes, I speak Russian with her only so when we are around English speaking I feel embarrassed for speaking Russian but it's the only way she will learn my mother tongue.

She repeats words she hears, not all of them but the ones she picks are mainly English but I do understand her more now, so does she.

Still not very good with food, few days we had when L had a 
small nibble and nothing more, the constipation she has from time to time doesn't help either but Lactolose is always handy.

I have been planning her 2nd birthday party for ages- party theme, party favours, decorations etc, but I have stopped myself from spending any money as we are expecting only close family and friends so there is no need really for splashing out, plus no one pays attention!

Potty training is hit and miss, I should introduce it more during the day but sometimes just forget about it and only do potty time before bed. Yesterday evening we had another wee and I'm very happy about our little progress.

Tooth brushing seems to be hit and miss too, we had few weeks where L wouldn't make any noise and happily accept my helping hand but for the past few weeks it was a nightmare. 

L's personality is ever changing, few weeks ago L would be outgoing and sharing toys, this and last week she would hold my hand and want me to take her to places and people, I have also heard that she is asking daddy where's mummy gone or keep talking about me if I'm upstairs.
She wants other kids' toys, wants it all now, we had few tantrums with sitting on the floor and not wanting to go into the pushchair, but I'm used to it now. I will always explain to L if she was wrong and praise if she was good, better take that Reward box out.

Clothing wise L still fits in 18-24, some odd bits size 9-12 months can fit her too if they are stretchy and I have started to buy lots of dresses for 2-3, I don't even know why, sometimes dresses are so not practical, but pretty! 

Monday, 2 May 2016

Review: #TweetABeat Bratz Remix doll Cloe

The moment I saw Bratz dolls TV advert for the first time I knew that I would have to have it for L when she is older. I have always favoured Yasmine but when we have received Cloe Remix (£12.99)  to review I have completely changed my mind.
Remix range introduces well loved Cloe, Yasmine, Jade and Sasha who are best friends with completely different music preferences but looking stylish as ever!

"Cloe really likes to dance about to the latest and greatest sounds as this Bratz Remix doll is a bit of a diva #PopPrincess
Yasmin is a much more chilled lady, and likes to relax to acoustic covers, which she connects to her inner vibe through medication #LyricalSoul
Sasha is a bit of a funky kid, and loves boogie-ing to her dance remixes #LiveOutLoud
Jade is keen on getting out and about, because she loves to keep moving, so her music has to be high energy electro-pop to keep her going! #Roar!"

Our chosen Bratz Remix doll Cloe is a #PopPrincess and she loves to listen to her favourite songs using the funky accessories included: smartphone and headphones with removable pig ears, but that's not all if Cloe's hair get messy whilst dancing you can always brush them with a lip-shaped pink hairbrush supplied as well. 

Even thought it says that Bratz dolls are suitable from 5 years of age I have spotted many toddlers L's age with similar toys. Once L saw the box and the doll inside she wanted me to open it straight away, and the wait was well worth it, since then it's one of her favourite dolls to play. As Cloe comes with a small smartphone I decided to put it somewhere safe as it does look a little bit small for L to play with and it can get lost easily, but we did try it for a bit and it perfectly fits and stays in Cloe's hand. 

Cloe's outfit deserves a special mention as it looks very girly, maybe even suitable for a festival. She wears a blue crop top with a lips print and a pink tutu skirt (I'm a big fan of tutu skirts so does L) with light brown boots.

If you were to compare Bratz Remix dolls with another doll brand you can certainly see the difference:
- Bratz dolls are made of vynil
- Cloe's head/face seems slightly bigger with very pretty facial features
-  her hair seems very thick and are of uneven length at the front (even though there are less hair attached at the bottom) with some white highlights
- you can take the boots from her legs but her leg will remain footless, having said that it seems that they may be swapped with a different set of shoes
- you cannot bend her arms but they are quite flexible even though only stay in one position
- the head turns 180 degrees
- you can change Cloe's outfit
- you can bend Cloe's knees backwards, forwards, from side to side
- you can style Cloe hair with a brush provided 
- Cloe's ears are already pierced

We have also been challenged by Bratz to answer some music related questions:

•What song makes you happy?  L and I like upbeat songs, ones that will makes us happy 

•What song makes you feel confident? A song I know how to dance to and L feels confident regardless, she just needs to like a tune

•What song makes you want to dance? Any upbeat song really, L loves one of our smatphone's ring tone, she even created her own dance move

•What song makes you want to sing? I like "Let it go" and L will make up her own songs

•What song reminds you of your favourite people? A love song, and Justine Timberlake "Mirrors" as it the first song we have heard at the hospital on the day when L was born.

I really like the range as you can pick not just a pretty doll for your child but you can educate him/her about different ethnic groups. Cloe Remix seems quite durable as well, L tests her toys in a little bit aggressive manner some times, as it stands Cloe survived. Hopefully many more years of fun with our own Cloe from Bratz Remix range. 

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