Friday, 25 September 2015

Freya Is One

12 months ago - after a day of food shopping, stream paddling and a cheeky McDonald's tea with D,I felt a familiar twinge which would change all of our lives forever (and without doubt for the better!)

Just over 24 hours later, little legs, Miss Freya Pearl Robinson came into the world and you were pure perfection! 

You have been an absolute joy ever since, never ending smiles, cheeky giggles and a twinkle in your eye which I know means life around you will never be boring

You adore your big sister and she loves you more than anything in the world

You love animals, especially cats and tigers.

If there's music you'll dance, you'll literally groove to anything! 

You love to talk, your first word was cat and you've now moved on to Tiger, Dada, hiya, (ba)nana, bye and yum!

You love a cuddle, you can literally be lulled into a sleepy coma by kissing those beautiful soft baby cheeks

You've just started walking, although you still prefer to crawl and you can't resist climbing on everything

You're a little water baby and love to swim. Every lesson amazes me and I can't believe how brave and clever you are

You have never ending energy, you're fearless and full of fun

You love to read and your favourite books are Dear Zoo Thats not my Tiger and Fox's Socks

You are obsessed with the remote control, have been known to lick my shoes, and if the toilet seat is up - somethings going in! 

Tigers, bananas, swings, Mummy, Dadddy and Daisy - You have without doubt bought us ridiculous joy, laughter and love with a sprinkling of exhaustion and a bucket full of chaos but I quite simply wouldn't change a thing. 

My beautiful, blue eyed, little legged monkey, I love you more than I will ever be able to say

Happy Birthday baby girl!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

CBeebies Land Alton Towers Resorts. A Review

Ever since they opened CBeebies land at Alton Towers Resorts I've wanted to visit, with Daisy at the time and now with both Girls. Daisy is still a big CBeebies fan, her current fave is Mr Bloom and Freya has recently discovered the delights of in the night garden. 

I'm been on maternity leave this summer and with my return to work looming and Daisy starting nursery in September I wanted to make an effort to make the most of our time together, taking lots of trips, visiting new places and of course sharing the good bad and ugly here on the blog

So when we were given the chance to visit CBeebies land we jumped at the chance, it would be the perfect last big day out for us as a family before the routines of work, school and childcare start.

Getting there and In

We arrived fairly early as we were on our way home from Visiting family in Cheshire so had no queues to deal with and headed straight in. Our first stop was to pick up a double buggy for the girls. Daisy normally uses a buggy board if she gets tired but we felt with the amount of walking we were likely to be doing she might like to have a sit down every now and then. It was actually one of the best £10 I've spent, the girls loved sitting together in the buggy and it meant we could take advantage of the rest of Alton Towers and have a good walk around. 

First Impressions

When you go through the main Alton Towers entry gates you can't miss CBeebiesland. The fabulous bright entry signs attracted the girls straight away and Daisy was very excited to be greeted by some of Mr Blooms garden helpers, The Mr Bloom attraction was definitely top of her visit list. We started by just taking a walk around and I have to say first impressions were great, the attractions are really high spec with great attention to detail. The kids loved walking round recognising all the characters and there were lots of staff around on hand to help if needed. The general vibe was really friendly and clearly aimed at the kids having a memorable day. 

We discovered the Big Fun Showtime area, which is a fantastic open space with picnic benches, toilets, refreshment cabin and a live stage. The Zingzillas were doing a show so we stayed and watched that and afterwards the girls had a chance to meet the legend himself Mr Iggle Piggle - job done! Freya is a massive fan of Mr Piggle but i must admit did seem a little concerned at having him so close, maybe she was star struck ;)


Rides / Attractions

We'd heard that the In the Night Garden ride was particularly popular and as Freya has recently become a big fan we thought we'd head there first in an attempt to avoid the crowds. The queue was substantial but not too bad and we were on within about 10-15 minutes. The girls loved the boat ride around the Night Garden, Freya recognised some of her favourite characters and despite apparently being too old for Iggle and his friends Daisy loved spotting them as we traveled around. Getting off the ride however was less tranquil, Freya it seems wasn't ready to leave the Night Garden. Cue mini toddler tantrum! 

We then headed for the Postman Pat ride but sadly it wasn't working at the time so went over to the Tree Foo Tom ride. The girls struggled a bit with the queue this time as it took about 30 minutes but once we were on they loved it and the little monorail gave us the perfect opportunity to grab a birds eye view of the park. 

The girls were starting to get a bit tetchy by now so we headed for some lunch. After eating Freya needed a nap so we took the opportunity to have a wander round Alton Towers and go on a couple of the bigger rides. This was where the double buggy really came into its own as Freya slept in the carrier and Daisy was able to relax for an hour or two. 

We then headed back to CBeebies land and went on a few more rides. The queues were a bit better by now (probably helped along by the on and off rain)

Finally then headed off to the highly anticipated Mr Blooms Nursery, Daisy loves Mr Bloom and despite being disappointed that he wasn't there in person she LOVED the interactive show and it really finished the day off perfectly for her. The 'tiddlers' had to find vegetables in the gardens to feed the compostarium, they met the Veges and helped ..... It was fab.

Last stop was the gift shop where Freya set her heart on probably the most expensive toy in the shop, a lullaby Makka Pakka. Seriously, saying no to that girl's enormous big blue eyes is a tough one and one step too far for a weary Mr R who crumbled and handed over the cash! 

On the way back we stumbled into the ..... again for a final ice cream and bottle of milk for Freya while we sang along to another Zingzillas show - perfect


Going on a day out with a baby and toddler you're always on the lookout for decent facilities and those within CBeebies didn't disappoint. Clean toilets, good changing facilities and plenty of places for both healthy and naughty food snacks. 

All in all we expected to have a great time and we weren't disappointed by our day at CBeebies land. The rides were great, attention to detail really high standard and I can only imagine it must be pretty amazing for those dinky girls we dragged along with us. Yes the queues are long but that's to expected of the big theme parks especially in the Summer Holidays.


Get there early as you will need a full day - there's loads to see and as most of the rides and attractions have queues getting round takes much longer than you think.

Talking of queues be prepared with snacks, drinks and things to entertain the little ones. Mine found some of the longer queues a struggle so something to eat or drink passed the time. 

Even if your toddler / pre schooler is a regular walker consider the buggy hire, the park is large and you'll have so much more freedom if your not dragging a tired grumpy toddler around. It was also a great place to store coats / bags etc

Head to the In the night Garden ride early as the queues for that got bigger and bigger as the day went on

If like me you have incredibly cute, persuasive children, best keep clear of the gift shops!

We were invited to CBeebies land for the purposes of this review but al words and opinions are my own. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

CBeebies Land at Alton Towers

If like us you're trying to fit as much fun into your summer as possible and have a toddler in your possession then a trip to CBeebies land feels like an absolute must! 

I'm returning to work in September and although when I go back it'll only be part time I'm trying to fit as much into my remaining time with the girls as possible and I thought i would try to blog about some of our trips and activities to share our fun and hopefully give  other summer holiday crazed parents some ideas of what to do with the kids.

For those of you who haven't heard of CBeebies land (how?) it's a part of Alton Towers in Staffordshire and is aimed at pre schoolers as the attractions are all themed around their favourite characters and shows. 

This summer CBeebies land at Alton Towers are celebrating summer with some fantastic opportunities to meet some of your kids fave characters. They are also running a competition where you can win some ace prizes if you tweet a pic of your children with the favourite character. 

This event is running now and until the end of August and would be a great way to round off the summer hols. The can be found in the CBeebies interactive land as well as making special guest appearances in the Cbeebies photo studio. Have a look below at the dates for the remainder of the month.....

15th - 21st August - Mim-Mim

22nd - 30th August - Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy

For more information on the events and on visiting CBeebies visit their website

We're visiting next month and I can't wait to see D and Fs faces when we arrive. Daisy is a big fan of pretty much every CBeebies character and Freya has developed that unmissable love for a certain Mr Iggle Piggle. Secretly I can't wait either! 

We'll be posting a full review on our visit so keep an eye out for an unimaginable number of photos of Freya literally losing it at the In The Night Garden attractions. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Eating Out With The Smalls - Carluccios, St Albans

I've been on maternity leave this summer and have therefore had the luxury of being a stay at home mum to my girls. This has meant lots of outings, picnics and the occasional meal out. I absolutely love eating out and we've always tried to ensure the girls grow up comfortable in a restaurant environment as well as knowing how to behave when eating out. The transition from eating out as a couple to eating out with our first child took some getting used to, in the early days it was fine as she just slept but as soon as bedtime routines / weaning and toddlerdom hit things became very very different. When number two came along last year it was a complete game changer - we still eat out but I'm not going to lie it can be exhausting, the girls eat well but the continual task of keeping them amused, picking up dropped cutlery/napkins/crayons and repetitive toilet trips don't exactly make for the most relaxing of experiences. However what can make a difference is the restaurant itself, the staff, their kids food choices and accessibility. If a restaurant or cafe gets its right it can be the difference between me enjoying a family meal out, feeling pretty normal and in control or me leaving having hardly eaten a thing and vowing to stop off for a much needed bottle of wine on the way home!

So with this in mind I've decided to do a series of posts on eating out with kids (in particular in my case with a toddler and baby) obviously to give you this insight I'll have to subject myself to many a meal out, tasting delicious foods at my leisure but don't forget it all in the name of blogging!

The first I wanted to do was after a lunchtime meal at Carluccios in St Albans. We've visited Carluccios a while back when living in London and when Daisy was a baby so I knew the adult food was delicious but hadn't been with both the girls and with them both eating off the menu. When we arrived for lunch we were given a lovely warm welcome and shown to a large table with plenty of room for a highchair. The restaurant has a safe to store buggies so we were able to relax with plenty of space around us. Freya's highchair was the usual wooden affair both most importantly was clean with working straps!

I was given a menu and the children were given a sealed envelope. This contained their menu, a booklet to colour in, a postcard to colour and a  paid of glasses to colour and make. Having something to colour as part of the kids menu isn't a new thing as we know, it's done in pretty much every family restaurant but I was impressed with this one, the fact the kids had to open to envelope to find out what was inside was great and there was a real variety of bits and bobs to keep them entertained.

Fabulous Carluccios Specs, Pat Butcher ear rings (models own)

We ordered some olives and bread and the girls were given some breadsticks while we had a look at the menu and decided on what to eat. I have to give a shout out to the bread selection we were given it was amazing as were the olives although as usual I barely got a looking with Daisy my little olive fiend. The kids menu contains a decent variety of pasta meals as well as chicken and a toasty. We were also told that they can order from the main menu and a small plate will be made up which I think is a great idea. We went for Macaroni cheese for Freya and Pasta and Meatballs for Daisy. I opted for a goats cheese salad from the main menu.

The restaurant was pretty busy with lots and families so I didn't at any point feel self conscious with 2 rather noisy little runs at the table. Probably due to the fact they were busy we did have a bit of a wait to order our mains which normally I would't mind but with kids can be hard so I had to ask the waitress as she passed if we could order.

When the food arrived it looked great, we were warned the kids meals were a little hot so the waiter bought out side plates to put some on to cool which was thoughtful. Carluccios also provide small cutlery for the kids which I liked - it's the little things! The food was great and the girls tucked in, they then both had a fruit salad for pudding which looked delicious.

You can tell she's mine, wanted to take a pic of her pudding!

All in all as a mum on her own with a baby and toddler the experience was pretty relaxed and dare I say it enjoyable. Yes I had to pick up Freya's water cup up 746 times but that's standard and yes we had to all visit the toilet just at the mains arrived because that the only time Daisy ever needs a wee but I can handle all that if I get to enjoy a meal without the need to order wine! I never felt rushed by the staff de spite the restaurant being busy and our waitress Izabella was an absolute star. So friendly and really chatty with the girls. Looking back Carluccios don't do anything crazy special but they just make sure that the children aren't a second thought, good menu, plenty of highchairs, kids entertainment and a relaxed environment - works for me!

We were invited to Carluccios for lunch for the purposes of this review but all opinions and words are my own. 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Moozels Babygrow - A Review

Now babies are cute we all know that but a baby dressed up is just ridiculously cute. So you can imagine I was pretty happy when Moozels Sent F a brilliant Cowboy romper to try out and review. 

Since having the girls I've been amazed by the extent to which toys, games and books push gender stereotypes. When D was a baby we promised ourselves our house wouldn't become a sea of pink plastic but over the years it's been inevitable and now with F I don't expect things to change anytime soon.

So when the romper arrived I loved the fact that it wasn't a standard 'girly' outfit. Girls can be Cowboys too - check out Jessie in Toy Story! 

The Romper is really well made, great attention to detail and if anything a little generous on sizing. Fs a little lacking in the long leg department so it was a little large to start with but for me generous sizing is never a bad thing! The Romper also washed really well which was a very pleasant surprise, no fading or shrinkage. From a comfort point of view F seemed happy and to be honest it just looks like a regular baby grow albeit a super awesome one. 

Moozels has a brilliant range of baby grows, Hoodies and accessories all of which add a bit of fun to everyday kids outfits. The baby grows are 100% cotton and come in sizes 3-6 months up to 18-24 months. Moozels are a new brand and I am sure they are going to be a huge success, I for one will be keeping an eye on their range as it grows 

We were sent the Moozels Babygrow for the purposes of this review but all opinions and words are my own

Friday, 31 July 2015

Camping with the Small People

We've had 2 lovely holidays this year, one to the fabulous Bluestone National Park and most recently a week in beautiful Cornwall. In both cases we had fantastic accommodation, everything we needed to hand, ensure bathrooms, hot water, comfy beds and in Cornwall our own pool!

So with all that in mind I can only guess our latest booking is the result of lack of sleep / a breakdown / too much wine? Probably all of the above but hey it's booked now and in the middle of August we will be taking the toddler and 10 month old camping! Yup you heard me CAMPING! 

Before you think I've completely lost it I must confess this is a Eurotent ready pitched affair but I'm still getting a tad jittery about the trip, what do I need, will the girls sleep, what if it's freezing / raining? 

I know a few of my readers have been camping with kids, either as holidays or at festivals so please, please, please shower me with your tips, hints and general positive vibes. I want to love camping with the kids and would love to take them to a festival one day but this is our baby steps first attempt to see how this wimpy, far too comfortable in hotels, middle class couple cope! 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

9 Months update

So when I was pregnant with F I remember making promises to myself I would do regular updates on her growing up on the blog, marking milestones, achievements blah blah blah......

Well she's now 9.5 months, it's been many months since my last update and this has happened. (Yeah I know it's not a heartfelt diary entry but no one told me that looking after a 3 year old and a baby is like putting myself through a spin cycle on a daily basis, I'm shattered!) 
  • She's now pretty much eating what we do and loved fruit, corn on the cob and peanut butter. She's also developed a mean sweeper for when she's decided she's had enough!
  • She's crawling! Crikey no one prepares you for this one 2nd time round. It's pure chaos in my house right now. Unlike D who in hindsight was a piece of cake, F is into everything especially is D happens to have it.
  • She said her first words. We've been doing the Dada, Baba sounds for a while now and possibly a hiya but after spending a couple of days at a friends house who had a cat, we finally had our first proper word. Cat, cat everything is cat!
  • She's cruising. Yep crawling is so last week we want to walk now and we've been scaling the furniture and waddling around with the walker, she's not going to be long.........
  • Cleaning. Freya has decided she loves cleaning things, nothing pleases her more than a wet wipe to clean the house with, keeps her amused for ages!
  • Pointing. F loves to point. Fact
  • Kissing, there's nothing like a baby kiss, full open mouth, slobbery tongue kiss and we're get them by the bucket load
  • We've got teeth, admittedly only 3 and a bit but blimey she knows how to use them! 
  • Dancing. If there's music she'll dance! It really doesn't matter what the music is but that  chubby little booty starts bouncing around the room at the slightest sound of a beat. 
  • She's a proper little water baby. F is amazing in her swimming lessons and loves being in the water. we didn't do swimming lessons with D as we could't afford them at the time and I seeing the difference it makes with F I really regret it. That said D is only 3 so we've decided to get her going with lessons as well. 
  • She's like Velcro! Yep with all the amazing developments we've also hit the bugger that is separation anxiety. I can't leave the room, attempt to leave the room, even think about leaving the room without the quivering bottom lip and sad sobs following me, hanging on to my trouser legs and if Im really lucky leaving a delicious slug trail down my clean black jeans!
The best bit of watching little miss mischief grow up though is watching her become so close to D, They adore each other and literally no one can make F laugh like her big sister does, it's amazing! She wants D as soon as she wakes up and D goes straight to her for morning kisses and cuddles. I can already see glimpses of the trouble they are going to cause me over the next 20 or so years, definitely a devilish duo! 

So 9.5 months in I'm a knackered, sleep deprived loon but I'm totally in love. My girls rock!