Sunday, 4 September 2011

I have moved!

As from today I am leaving my beloved blogspot to become self hosted! If you would like to have a nosey at my new home please come and say hello at www.mummyandthebeastie.co.uk

See you there!!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Potties and willies

We are at that stage where I would say we are on the 'cusp' of potty training. Beastie will be two and a half next month and so far everywhere I have read it states that this is around the age you can expect a boy to be ready.  Now it's a always an interesting one, I hate to go by what people call the norm and I know that all children develop in their own ways.

Where Beastie was super quick at rolling over, sitting up and being confident on his feet, he is still getting there with his speech and the latest being the potty issue. Not that I have made it an issue (by the way) as I know that is a massive no no, what I have noticed is how people are starting to comment. I have from time to time throughout Beastie's life become sensitive over people's comments on various milestones and I actually avoid parents now that constantly compare. Why can't they just be happy with their child's progress rather than trying to compete? no one likes bragging and those sorts of people never take it well when their child may be the one lagging behind.

So a long while back I began to prepare for the impending training and bought a potty and rather hastily I might add, some really cute pants. The potty was placed in the bathroom and was generally greeted with much disgust, we had a few occasions where it was sat on but more often than not it was kicked away.

It soon became apparent that the toilet was in fact what Beastie referred to as the potty and soon enough I bought a children's training seat and a book called Potty Training for Boys. I started to read this book yesterday and instantly thought it doable with the fact you don't need to set aside a few days to stay indoors. The book claims to offer step by step guidance through the next few weeks, geared more towards working Mums who can't take a few days off to dedicate themselves fully to the training. It reads well and I will stick with it for now although there are some statements that have annoyed me already...yes we're calling it a willy.

I have been careful not to rush Beastie and bow to pressure from other people, I do firmly believe that forcing the issue will make matters more difficult and that choosing the right time is crucial. This is the part that worries me. Last week the nursery manager casually came up to me to ask 'we were wondering what was happening with potty training?'. To which I flatly told her he was not ready yet. I was slightly irked that she had asked in the way she had, as they so often do with matters, as well as feeling that when the training does start that I would have the sense to mention it them. She also didn't confirm any particular cues that had brought her to this conclusion.

I have written before about the nursery manager and her ways of dealing with situations, she tries to be tactful but always manages to come across the opposite. Yesterday I was particularly amused when a parent walked into the nursery after me and said to her 'it always stinks of poo when you walk in!'. It doesn't in my opinion but I really wished it was me that had said it, she simply didn't know what to say and I could see it ruffled her feathers.

The potty has been relegated to the airing cupboard, it gathers less dust there. As for the toilet seat, I give it the thumbs up. Beastie has accomplished putting it on the loo, pulling up his little step and hopping on, dangling his legs for a while before putting them all back where they started from. I realise I need a lot of patience here and will need to wait for a present in the toilet, we just never seem to get one. Just confirmation it's squished up his backside and obvious squatting accompanied with denial. To all of you that have finished your training or are in the process, we are about to jump on board...wish us luck.




Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Listography - Guilty Pleasures

It's been a long while since I have joined in with this linky from Kate Takes Five, mainly due to the fact I have been absent from my blog and twitter! So this weeks topic seemed appealing and after staring at the wall pondering for a while I have come up with my list of guilty pleasures...

1. One Tree Hill



I have watched this series since the beginning and years later it is still running. I am not sure what I will do when they finally decide to axe it because the characters are getting a bit too old! My husband used to moan at me for watching it and is now converted, hooked in fact and is the first one to suggest we watch an episode. That is his biggest guilty pleasure, I'm a girl and can get away with it.


2. The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE)


Now this has been a recent one as it hasn't been around so long. It's car crash tv and reality tv at it's best/worst. I initially boycotted the series, not understanding what all the fuss was about until I eventually succumbed and the rest is history. With this show you can just indulge yourself in the fact you don't have to really think and their shenanigans are always likely to make you snigger. The fact they all giggle when arguing because they are on camera is funny enough for me! This is the flip side One Tree Hill where people are mainly do gooders and have morals. I have posted about it before here.


3.  Burger King Bacon Double Cheeseburger



Now I am not a major fan of fast food and I would say I rarely have it. However whenever I do go somewhere with a Burger King (as my town doesn't have one) I always want to get a bacon double cheeseburger *mmmm*. Even when I eat one and think, every time, that the cheese takes like the plastic film in comes packaged in, I still enjoy it. Luckily for my figure we don't pass one too often.

4. Hot baths

Now I wish this was my bath, sadly it's not

I am a shower person mainly but when I have a bath I like it piping hot. Usually I will want a bath when I have aches and pains so the hotter the better. A bath is not a proper bath to me without it being a struggle to get into. I know it's not good for me when my skin goes bright pink and occasionally I have been known to go and have a lie down afterwards. Self inflicted I know...

5. Browsing in bookshops



Now this one took me ages to think up, ages. I was thinking through all the foods I like and anything else that might interest me, if I am ever lucky enough to have the time...then I remember bookshops. Time permitting (and preferably) alone I could happily browse around looking at all the books I might like to buy, in some dreamworld where a) I have the money and b) I have the time to read them. I love the smell of new books and the guilty aspect is I feel so cheeky when I stand looking at a book for more than a few moments without buying it. Silly I know as countless people do it.

See what everyone else's guilty pleasures are over at Kate Takes Five...


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Monday, 15 August 2011

VTech InnoTab Launch

Last week I was given the opportunity to attend the launch of VTech's latest gadget, the InnoTab, dubbed the 'new iPad for kids'. I thought this new release would be a fantastic replacement in the quest for winning back our iPad. Considering it has been adopted by Beastie and you might agree, is a rather expensive toy for a 2 year to monopolise because of his obsession with Mr Tumble. What is great about the InnoTab is that as well as entertaining our little ones it is designed to teach them at the same time and provide developmental benefits.

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Aimed at 4-9 year olds the InnoTab is a multi-media learning handheld combining educational games, creative activities and e-books on a multi-functional touch screen tablet. Children can develop core skills in reading, spelling, maths, logic and creativity with the many included activities such as an e-reader, art studio, interactive globe, video player and photo viewer. The Kidizoom from VTech is compatible with the tablet which is a great feature for budding photographers. It features a 5 inch LCD touch screen and g-sensor for fun game play. Parents can also download additional games and learning apps from their computer to add to the tablet.

The event was held at the lovely Covent Garden Hotel and I got the chance to meet up with some fellow bloggers such as Not Yet a Yummy Mummy, Multiple Mummy, Mummy..Mummy..Mum!, Seasider in the City, Super Amazing Mum and Bloggomy, all of whom I have met before and some of them a few times now. It was great to finally meet the woman behind The Crazy Kitchen, she's just as you would imagine! That's good Helen, by the way.

When we arrived we were treated to drinks and a lovely lunch of delicious canapĂ©s followed by chocolate brownies. Then it was into the red leather seated screening room to see what the Innotab had to offer with a  live demonstration and then a change to ask further questions about the function of the tablet such as the battery life and the colours available, as we all know this is important to children! The range currently has blue rubber edges but you will be able to purchase pink ones from Argos in September.


The demonstration

Answering any questions

Hanna showing her Mum (The Crazy Kitchen) how to work it

Helen (The Crazy Kitchen) looking very animated...

Kerry (Multiple Mummy) having a go

A very helpful 9 year old boy showing us all how it works

Emma having a go



The retails price for the InnoTab is £79.99. You can purchase Apps online from £2.99 and also software cartridges for £24.99 with some very popular characters, as shown below.

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It requires 4 x AA batteries (so rechargeable would be best here) and you can also buy an AC adaptor to power it as well as in car adapters.

It was a great day out in London and a fantastic opportunity to see the prototype and I can't wait for Beastie to finally get a go himself!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Gallery - Water

I love Water, maybe as my star sign is Cancer and I am naturally supposed to be a water baby. I do however have my fears in the sea, being out too deep, worrying about what lies beneath and what might grab me but I still go in all the same and have braved some situations in the sea. This jellyfish was one of hundreds when snorkelling in the sea in Egypt. I was very brave and calm...




I have a few pictures that sum up what I love about water, that it can be great fun. This was my first holiday with my husband (then boyfriend) and his first meeting with my parents! It turned out to be a fantastic holiday and one where we enjoyed lots of laughs.









Unfortunately I don't have a photo of my Mum enduring her ride in the ring down several slides. We were so amazed that we managed to convince her to have a go 'as it would be fun' that we didn't stop to think that she might end up traumatised by it. She had an awful time, almost falling through the ring several times and randomly grabbing at strangers. It was so funny though, sorry Mum!

The funniest part of the day however was when my Dad suddenly felt he was too old to go round a water park when we were about to pay at the entrance. So after being unable to persuade them, my husband and I went to go and get changed. We were really put out and disappointed in them only to be surprised when they suddenly appeared by our lockers with beaming smiles. They had had a change of heart and the woman behind the kiosk had given them the pensioner rate which was substantially less than we had paid. Never mind the fact they weren't old enough to qualify and had felt too old just moments before, it's amazing what a discount can do!

You can take a look at all the other entries over at Sticky Fingers...


Sunday, 7 August 2011

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Play Day in Richmond Park





On Wednesday I had the pleasure in attending one of the National Play Days sponsored by Savlon and hosted by Donna from Not Yet a Yummy Mummy. Donna organised the day perfectly, even though she will deny this and it was lovely to meet up with a couple of her friends along with Bianca from Richmond Mummy and Sarah from Sarah's Superfluous Thoughts. We couldn't have asked for a more glorious day and having never visited Richmond Park before I was amazed by the sheer size and beauty of it. What a wonderful part of the country it is to live in and even more so when you live close by (like Donna and Bianca).

I blogged previously about the Play Day here and we basically wanted to just have some outdoor fun with our children. The children had various toys to keep them amused including a tent and tunnel, a ball pit, balls, a dolls buggy (a massive hit), various inflatable toys, crayons and most importantly each other! They happily played with all that was provided but what was lovely to see was how they all played in harmony and were happy to just wander round looking at the surroundings. We were also quite set back from the adjacent road so it was an extremely safe environment for them.

We all enjoyed a picnic lunch whilst enjoying the great outdoors. We all discussed how easy it is for people to visit their local park and make use of the amenities. The parking in Richmond Park is free and that makes it perfect for a low cost family day out. There are so many places you visit nowadays that charge extortionate rates, making family fun that little bit harder to achieve. They say the best things in life are free and I have to agree. It has certainly encouraged me to make the most of the great outdoors this summer and enjoy what nature has to offer.

Here are a few pictures rounding up the day, I was shattered when I eventually got home (mainly due to the heat) but it was a great day and I came home armed with lots of Savlon goodies!


Not Yet a Yummy Mummy showing off her bump whilst using her new Flipcam


Richmond Mummy and her beautiful daughter

Beastie enjoying the ball pit

William and Beastie - Firm friends on their first meeting

The 'bag' we all wanted from Pink Lining

Part of the many wildlife roaming around

Time out in the tent 'just us boys


Friday, 29 July 2011

Trunki Yondi




I was delighted to visit the Trunki stand at Christmas in July and chat with them about their exciting products. I am already a fan of their suitcases, such an ingenious design and there seems to be endless options for a ride on. Children really are spoilt for choice!

The lovely people at Trunki sent a Yondi for Beastie to try out. This is a comfy head hugger and travel chum in one. It is designed so that you can help your child get the most out of nap time with this unique shaped pillow that can be squeezed just like their favourite cuddly. They range from XSmall to Large, so cater for children of all ages.

We were given the Small size for 1-4 years old which is recommended for children travelling in a forward facing child seat.
They are double sided for summer and winter use, one side is furry and the other is just material. The circular pillow at the top is designed to stop sleepy heads from rolling, whilst the neck support prevents heads falling forwards. Finally there are magnets at the bottom that keep the two parts together providing support for little chins!

This product is ideal for everyday use, you don't need to be going on holiday or travelling far to put this invention to good use. I know that I have turned round many a time on a short journey to see my son has fallen asleep (as they generally do) with his head slumped to the side.

I noticed them for the first time in Sainsbury's last week along with their entire range and thought they were very reasonably priced at £12.50.

Beastie demonstrates how to use one (sort of) on one car journey. We haven't been on a long journey since we have had it and I know it will be invaluable when we do. I also know it will be great on a flight, so it will be put to good use then, if nothing else by me!

If you are interested in finding out more about the Yondi range and all the other fantastic products Trunki offer then take a look here.







Nb. I was kindly sent a Yondi to review. I have shared the experience and expressed views that are entirely my own.

Monday, 25 July 2011

MUMenTUM - Thinking Slimmer 2 weeks on



It has been two weeks now since I started my Thinking Slimmer journey. Where has the time gone? In a weeks time I will have completed the required twenty one days. I have honestly found it so easy to listen to the slimpod every night, seeing as it only last for ten minutes, there really is not excuse not to listen to it. Even at half past midnight at the weekend I was plugging in my earphones.

I will admit a couple of nights I have thought it won't harm to give it a miss, with the usual excuse being it's late. However as I have got into bed I have realised that ten minutes won't make much difference and continued the course.

Now as for weight loss, I haven't lost any. I am not sure the reason why, whether it is because it is not working on me or whether I am one of those people where it will take time. I strongly suspect it's the latter, why would it be any different, it's me! What I have noticed is that I have changed my attitude with food slightly. Nothing significant like a burning desire to crunch on raw celery or my mouth watering over the thought of broccoli for dinner, hell will freeze over before that happens. There have been more subtle changes being that I am eating less rubbish, we have biscuits to hand and yet I choose not to eat them. I also do occasionally savour the taste of what I am eating, my subconscious clearly has tapped into that nugget of information ingrained by Trevor.

What I also think is important with the slimpod is the need to keep listening to it. What keeps me focused is the fact I have come so far already and it would be a shame to let the routine slip at this point. If I don't succeed in losing any weight then I won't deem it ineffective. If I can change my attitude to food alone then even if I am not slimmer I will at least be Thinking Healthier. The process might take a little longer before I reap any benefits but I am by no means disheartened. I didn't think the journey would be that straight forward, for me at least.

In seven days I will be moving onto the bonus slimpod, designed to keep the weight off and maintain the thought processes learnt. Maybe some more changes will occur throughout this week and I will have more to tell you next week...

Friday, 22 July 2011

Introducing a guest post from Lilly Von Pink

I applied to join in with the BritMums guest post match up and was paired with the very lovely Lilly Von Pink. I think you will agree Lilly is inspirational running three businesses whilst being a Mum. What a stylish lady to boot!

Lilly Von Pink blogs at www.lillyvonpink.blogspot.com. She is a 27 year old married Mummy of one who set up her own business back in 2008 so she could be a stay at home Mum and bring up her son. Here is her story and some hints on how to do the same. Over to you Lilly...

A Vintage Mumpreneur


In February 2008 I had my son Dylan and was enjoying being at home with him on my maternity leave and the thought of going back to work was so far from my mind.

But we all know how quickly it ends and I made the decision to leave, I had been toying with the idea of starting my own business as I have always made my own clothes and been a crafter. So I decided to just do it and the hours and distance were too much so I took a part time job while I worked out my next move and to keep the money coming in.

So my first move was working out what my business was going to be, so I went with something I was into and worked around my skills. I'm really into the 1950's vintage rockabilly look and one of my main skills is seeing and jewellery design so Lilly Von Pink was born. I have always made stuff for myself and my boy so I used that as my starting point.



Important steps:

When I started my first step was making prototypes of my designs and see what worked and what changes could be made.

*Tip - Give them to family and friends to test and give you feedback

Second start small, I sold my items on the likes of Ebay, Etsy and Folksy (the last two are perfect for hand made goods).

Next test the market: I used the likes of Facebook to see how people reacted to my products and maybe a few sales.

Now it's time to get serious and seek advice.

  • Draw up a business plan
  • Look at www.businesslink.gov.uk for help and advice with aspects of business
  • Check out the local council (there's a lot of funding for women and business)

I received help from the Prince's Trust (they have an age limit) and my local council runs a course to help you build business plans and have lots of contacts for you to use when setting up all for free.

  • Meet with the bank and open a business account
  • Sort a book keeping method out (important for filing taxes)
  • Register with HM Revenue and Customs as self employed
  • And the fun part , picking your business came about from my vintage persona, being I am my own brand and I am my business.
  • Three years on I now have three businesses which are evolving all the time, there has been many ups and downs and lessons learnt along the way but I couldn't be happier.



A wiggle and a wink
Love

Lilly Von Pink x

Lilly's Links

Pin up & rockabilly inspired goods for the glamour girl in us all

Retro and rockabilly clothing for your little hell Kats & Kittens

Vintage Pamper Parties for glamorous girls

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Play Day 3rd August




Did you know Wednesday 3rd of August 2011 is the National Day for Play? The idea behind Play Day is, that according to recent findings, we don't take our children to play outside as much as we used to when we were younger.

Savlon undertook some research about outdoor play which revealed some shocking results:

  • 42% of children have never made a daisy chain
  • 32% have never climbed a tree
  • a quarter of children have never rolled down a hill
  • a third of children have never played hopscotch
  • 1 in 10 children have never ridden a bike

These really are such sad statistics and a sign of our times now. Times have changed so much from when  we were small but that is no reason not to get out there and enjoy these simple childhood adventures. I think these figures should be a reminder to everyone to get outdoors, even just for a little while.

You can look here to see what is going on in your local area or for more information on how to host your own event visit Play Day. The venue or size of the event doesn't matter, it's simply about encouraging children to experience and enjoy outdoor play. Events are already being planned up and down the country, from Jubilee style street parties to backyard play dates.


I am teaming up with Not Yet a Yummy Mummy to host a Play Day in Richmond Park. So if you live local (or not so local like me) and would like to join us then feel to tweet us @mummyandbeastie and @NotYetaYummyMum or you can email us at mummyandbeastie@live.co.uk and notyetayummymummy@gmail.com. 

We would love to see you and your little ones, the more the merrier!


Monday, 18 July 2011

Bob's Big Build Event



I heard about this event today and will be so thrilled if we are lucky enough to receive some tickets. It will certainly be a day jam packed with activities and one to remember.

If your little ones love Bob the Builder then this fun extravaganza is not to be missed! Register now to get building with Bob this August Bank Holiday. The event is at the O2 Live Quarter in London on Saturday the 27th of August and is FREE for families to attend. There will be nine different activity zones to make for a perfect family day out.

The day will include activities such as digging for dinosaurs, building soft brick walls and whizzing around a scooter track to name but a few. Any boys (or girls) dream!

There will also be the opportunity to see Bob's new feature length DVD special 'The Big Dino Dig' as well as a live Bob the Builder theatrical show. Bob himself will also be making an appearance along with Wendy to meet their eager fans.

To register you need to visit www.bobthebuilder.com/bigbuild. Tickets to the event are limited so you need to register early to avoid disappointment.

Good luck and maybe we will see you there (if we're lucky)...