Lottie and Dottie Sow Carrots – a book review

We are big fans of the Orion Books Early Readers as you already now.  Monkey may only be 4 years old, but they are entertaining, short stories and he loves listening as I read them to him.  We will be busy growing our own fruit and veg again this year, and recently visited our local garden centre to stock up on seeds.  It’s great when you can relate a book to real life.  This happened with Lottie and Dottie Sow Carrots.

Lottie and Dottie Sow Carrots

Lottie and Dottie are sisters who love gardening, its Spring and they are trying to decide what to grow this year.  Their Mum takes them to their local garden centre, and the sisters go off in search of seeds.

The book is written by Claire Burgess and has amusing illustrations from Marijke van Veldhoven.

Lottie lets her little sister choose, there are so many seeds to choose from.  She had the same dilemma as Monkey did!  He went for the pictures and choose a large selection for us to grow.  But Lottie has a very small garden and needs to pick one thing to grow.

Lottie and Dottie Sow Carrots

I love the fact that Lottie and Dottie Sow Carrots shows us that carrots are available in all shapes and sizes.  They are also Monkey’s favourite vegetables, so he was really pleased when Dottie picked them too.

Lottie and Dottie Sow Carrots is a great Early Reader for any green fingered young child.  It deals with making sure you plant in a non-stony area, watering and patience to ensure you get a great crop of carrots.  It’s so relevant to what we’ll be doing in the garden shortly.  We can follow Lottie and Dottie as we grow our own carrots.

There’s even a handy guide to growing carrots at the back of the book.  Another great read for £4.99.

disclaimer:  we were sent this item in exchange for an honest review

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Where are My Lambs? – a book review

With a name like Mary you can just imagine what I went through at school. What with Mary Christmas, how does your garden grow? and where are your lambs?  You had to have a sense of humour!  But actually I do love lambs, a sign of Spring, and Monkey loves anything to do with farms.  So I knew he’d love our latest Orion Books Early Reader – Where are My Lambs?

Where are My Lambs

Where are My Lambs? is written by Francesca Simon and illustrated by Emily Bolam. This book is part of a series, introducing young children to the animals from Potter’s Barn.  As this was Monkey’s first introduction to the series he loved looking at the map at the front of the book, which shows you the layout of the farm.  Far Away Field has a tractor in it, I had a happy son!

There are also a few pages at the start of Where are My Lambs? which introduce us to the various animals who live at Potter’s Barn, including Mother Sheep and her lambs Tilly and Tam.

The lambs don’t want to come in when their mother calls them.  They decide to hide from her and so the game of hide and seek begins.  With lots of rhyming text, we follow Mother Sheep as she tries to find her naughty lambs.  Where can they be?

Where are My Lambs?

Where are My Lambs?  gave us lots of new words to discuss.  She thinks she’s found the lambs, but instead find a saddle.  So Monkey and I talked about what a saddle is used for and which animal wears it.  Not a sheep Mummy!

Finally Mother Sheep and her lambs are reunited.  At the end of Where are My Lambs? are some observation pages to make sure that young readers are understanding the story and taking it all in.  Although a 4 year old Monkey isn’t reading for himself yet, it was still a good exercise in testing his concentration.

Another great Early Reader, available for £4.99.

disclaimer:  we were sent this item for the purpose of review, our comments remain our own honest opinions

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Seeing Peppa Pig

We had an action packed Easter holidays with lots of days out, meeting up with friends and generally having fun.  I’d kept one activity secret, mainly because I wasn’t sure how well it would go down!  I’d booked tickets for Monkey to go to the theatre.  We were off to see Peppa Pig’s Big Splash at the Riverside Theatre in Aylesbury.  One of our NCT group had already booked tickets a while back, and I’d been toying with the idea for some time.  It was on over the holiday’s – I booked it, row D – this could go badly wrong!! Monkey in a packed theatre, at the front, lots of noise.  But I knew that Peppa and her friends were not life-size, it might be ok.  So the day before the show, I revealed my secret.  Monkey would be seeing Peppa Pig. Will Daddy Pig be there too Mummy?  Yes, I think so.

I showed Monkey the Peppa Pig Live website so he could see what the show would look like.  There won’t be anything scary,  you will just be seeing Peppa Pig and her friends.  It will be fun, oh, and your friends E and J are going too!  He seemed excited, phew, maybe this would be ok.

I drove to Aylesbury, parked the car just around the corner from the theatre and we ate our lunch quickly.  Then we were off, Monkey would be seeing Peppa Pig and he was still excited.  It was our first visit to the Riverside Theatre, and really to Aylesbury.  It’s somewhere I drive through to get to somewhere else really.  Our tickets included free souvenir programmes for the show, we picked these up (I gave mine to E later) and Monkey bought Mr Dinosaur with some Easter money he’d been given.  I thought Mr Dinosaur might come in handy if Monkey got scared or anxious.

We found our seats, wow, we really were very close to the stage.  This could go horribly wrong.  Seeing Peppa Pig could be a disaster.  But Monkey was still excited, impatient to see Daddy Pig for some reason.  Where is he Mummy?  Is there going to be a big screen?  No we’ll be seeing Peppa Pig on the stage Monkey.  A bit like when we saw Andy and Mike last year.

seeing Peppa PigI’d made sure we got to the Theatre early, so Monkey could get used to his surroundings before all the seats started to fill up.  He was a bit unsure to start with, but was soon looking forward to seeing Peppa Pig.  He got to say hello to his friends E and J and then it was time for the show to start.  I kept my fingers crossed as the curtains went back, at least we were near the exit if it all went horribly wrong!

What on earth was I worried about??  He loved seeing Peppa Pig and all her friends.  Every time he saw George and his Mr Dinosaur, Monkey just roared with his own Mr Dinosaur.  He joined in, called out when he was meant to and sang along to the Bing Bong song.  It was going well, wow, what a relief.

Seeing Peppa PigMonkey wasn’t quite so impressed with the interval.  Where have they gone Mummy?  I want to see Peppa!! Don’t worry, they just need a drink, they will all be back soon.  Are you enjoying seeing Peppa Pig?  Yes, Mummy, this is fun.  Can I help mend the school roof?  Maybe, we’ll see.

Before we knew it the curtain was up for the second half of the show.  I really think the use of puppets was a great idea.  I wasn’t sure how it would work as the puppeteers were so clearly visible, but the kids all loved it.  Much better than adult life-size costumes, which must seem enormous to little children.  I know that would have totally freaked Monkey out.

Seeing Peppa PigMonkey was doing really well, right up until the Big Splash!  Being in row D wasn’t such a good idea at that point!  But he sat on my lap and I calmed him down, it’s only a bit of water Monkey.  By the end of the show he was happy again, seeing Peppa Pig had gone down well.  We both survived the experience!

Would you like to go to the Theatre again Monkey?  Yes please Mummy!  Phew, the right result.  I really can recommend Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, especially for more timid children.  Our trip to the Theatre had been a success, seeing Peppa Pig was a highlight of the school holidays.

Now to convince Monkey that the Cinema really isn’t a scary place. I wonder whether Postman Pat the Movie can help with his next step up the bravery ladder?

Ethans Escapades

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Organix Goodies Banana Soft Oaty Bars – a review

Organix Goodies Banana Soft Oay BarsYou may remember that we reviewed a range of Organix goodies last year.  I’ve been a big fan of the brand since I started weaning Monkey in 2010, and he still loves the Goodies range of snack, especially the Organic Oaty Bars.  I was really looking forward to seeing what he’d make of the new Organix Goodies Banana Soft Oaty Bars.

Organix Goodies Banana Soft Oaty BarsAs with the other Oaty Bar flavours, the Banana bars come on boxes of 6 x 30g bars and are aimed at children from 12 months upwards.  The ‘no junk promise’ means the bars are full of whoegrain oats, the organic fruit juice concentrate contains no added processed sugars or any other unnecessary additives.

Organix Goodies Banana Soft Oaty Bars

These Organix Goodies Banana Soft Oaty Bars organic oats, raisins, apple juice and dried bananas.  As banana is Monkey’s favourite fruit, I just knew these bars would be a big hit.

Organix Goodies Banana Soft Oaty Bars

Needless to say, they haven’t touched the sides!  One very happy Monkey.

The Organix Goodies Banana Soft Oaty Bars are such a great size for a lunch or snack box and I’ve always got one in my handbag when we’re out and about.  Priced around £2.49 for a box of 6 bars, you can find them in all of the main supermarkets.  They get a big thumbs up from Monkey.


You might also like to know that you and your children can have fun with special Little Explorer Adventure packs of Organix Goodies products this summer!  You can also see them at family festivals across the UK and they will be stopping at a local supermarket near you.

You can catch the Goodies explore tour at the River Cottage Food Fair, Kent County Show, The 3 Foot People Festival, Festival on the Farm and The Big Feastival (dates and locations below). There is also the chance for mums and dads to request a visit for the chance to get the Goodies explore tour to pop up at their little ones birthday party, local village fete or special event.

River Cottage Food Festival, Dorset 24-26th May 2014
The 3 Foot People Festival, Essex 24th–26th
Kent County Show 11th–13th
Festival on the Farm, Norfolk 26th July 2014
The Big Feastival, Oxfordshire 29th

The Goodies explore tour will travel the country between May and September and will feature a range of fun activities for little explorers:

Interactive game to encourage toddlers to explore the wonders of nature.  Ideas for exploring the world of grow your own. Inspiring ways to get fussy eaters to explore the taste, texture, shape and colour of food.  A chance for frantic scribblers and doodlers to explore their creative side on chalkboards.  A free Goodies explorer bag for every little explorer to take home.

Look out for the special Goodies on pack promotion on selected foods in store from mid June 2014 where you can claim an explorers’ pack – full of fun and imaginative activities for parents to do with their toddler.  Each pack contains a wall chart and stickers to record and reward their adventures, a special explorer badge, seeds to grow their own food and much more. You can find out more here.

disclaimer:  we were sent the item mentioned in exchange for an honest review.

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Pride of Oven Pride Blogger Challenge 3 #OvenPride

Pride of Oven Pride Blogger Challenge 3So with Easter upon us, it was time for our Pride of Oven Pride Blogger Challenge 3.  For this challenge we were sent some lovely goodies from Lakeland and given a voucher to buy some ingredients.

Pride of Oven Pride Blogger Challenge 3

We had two tasks for our Pride of Oven Pride Blogger Challenge 3, the first was to make some Easter Eggs.  Monkey was very excited, he loved it when we made chocolates at Christmas.

We decided to start with the milk chocolate and melted two packets in a bowl over simmering water.  We had some colourful sprinkles in the cupboard and I suggested to Monkey that he sprinkled some into the Easter Egg moulds before we poured in the chocolate.  I wasn’t sure if it would work, but he liked the idea. We poured the melted chocolate into the moulds and then placed the mould in the fridge for an hour.  Then it was time to check how the first part of our Pride of Oven Pride Blogger Challenge 3 had gone.  A success it seems!

Pride of Oven Pride Blogger Challenge 3

The second part of the Pride of Oven Pride Blogger Challenge 3 was to make Hot Cross Buns.  I was a little apprehensive about this challenge.  It was definitely out of my comfort zone.  I used a recipe from BBC Good Food and purchased my ingredients.  I didn’t include the Lemon Zest as I’m not a citrus fan.

Pride of Oven Pride Blogger Challenge 3

Then I just followed the recipe, as I had no idea what I was doing!  Making these Hot Cross Buns was rather time-consuming, as with making bread, there is a lot of waiting for the yeast to do its job.  You need to set aside over 2 hours for the preparation.  But, I was interested to see if I could do it.  I was rather happy with the results.  My Hot Cross Buns were a rather unconventional shape, but not bad for a first attempt.  They even tasted good!

Pride of Oven Pride Blogger Challenge 3

We had great fun with the Pride of Oven Pride Blogger Challenge 3 as you can see.

Happy Easter Everyone :)

disclaimer:  as mentioned above, we were provided with the items to make the Easter Eggs and given a voucher to cover the costs of ingredients for the Hot Cross Buns.

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Silent Sunday My Sunday Photo 200414

Silent Sunday My Sunday Photo 200414


Posted in Family Life | 30 Comments

Project 365 – Week 15 and 16

Joining in with TheBoyAndMe and her linky 365 Project  A Photo A Day, Every Day, For A Year!  Project 365 – Week 15 and 16 Days 96 –109 .

Sunday 6th April – Day 96

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16

We planted some sunflower seeds recently and our first shoots have come through – Monkey is in the lead!

Monday 7th April – Day 97

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16

We’d planned to meet friends at Blenheim Palace but the weather wasn’t great so we went for a play date instead.  Monkey was really looking forward to seeing his friend B.  Then off to his swimming lessons.  A different teacher today, he enjoyed himself.

Tuesday 8th April – Day 98

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16

A lazy morning at home with a big engineering job underway!  We then headed off to friends for some Easter Nest making, lunch and an Easter Egg hunt.  A lovely day all round.  I went to the cinema with friends to see Noah – it was ok, nothing special.

Wednesday 9th April – Day 99

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16

We drove down to Wiltshire to see Monkey’s godmum and her daughter, for the day.  We popped out for lunch and Monkey was fascinated by the peacock displaying his beautiful feathers.

Thursday 10th April – Day 100

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16We drove up to Derbyshire to spend the day with my best friend.  After lunch we went for a lovely walk along an old railway track.  Another lovely day out in the countryside.

Friday 11th April – Day 101

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16

I found two days of driving really tiring and so decided we’d have a quiet day at home.  After a morning of play we decided it was time to make some Easter goodies in the afternoon. They tasted good!!  My swimming lesson went well.  I did some backstroke from letting go from the side – amazing.  Struggled with breathing but learnt to swim breast stroke slower so hopefully I can do a length soon without dying!  No lesson next week though.

Saturday 12th April – Day 102

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16

My birthday, Monkey and I went to Waddesdon Manor for a few hours and we had to have cake didn’t we! Daddy P and I had a chinese takeaway in the evening and watched Rush on DVD.  Love that film so much.

Sunday 13th April – Day 103

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16

I got to pick where we went for the day. In the morning we headed off to Sudeley Castle, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit.  It didn’t disappoint.  Then after lunch we headed to Snowshill Manor.  Monkey loved it – they had a Paws and Poo trail – need I say more!

Monday 14th April – Day 104

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16

A bit of Daddy time before swimming lessons.  Back to the normal teacher who Monkey doesn’t seem to like so much!

Tuesday 15th April – Day 105

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16

We went to see Peppa Pig’s Big Splash in Aylesbury.  We were in the 4th row and I was really nervous about how Monkey would cope with it.  A full theatre, being near to the front, puppets, noise and so on.  He was brilliant.  He absolutely loved it, right up and until he got splashed when Daddy Pig jumped in the puddle!  Another step forward on the bravery front.  I went out for the evening with an old friend for a curry.  Girls night out – mad a lovely change for me.

Wednesday 16th April – Day 106

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16

We spent the morning at Stowe Gardens and were treated to seeing two baby squirrels having fun on a tree trunk.  We watched them for ages.  After a lovely few hours walking in the grounds we met some friends in town and went to Pizza Express for dinner.  The boys loved it.

Thursday 17th April – Day 107

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16

We webcammed Granny and Gramps and I spoke to our Doctor to see what can be done about Monkey’s suspected colour blind issue.  We’re convinced he cannot recognise Green and thinks it is Red.  Then it was time to take part in an Oven Pride challenge – making hot cross buns for the first time.  I was quite pleased with the end result, although the process takes ages!

Friday 18th April – Day 108

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16

We met our NCT group at Blenheim Palace for the annual Easter Egg challenge.  It was the first time that we’d all been there to do it together, normally one family is missing.  Unfortunately Monkey didn’t want to stay with his friends, so after we’d solved the challenge, claimed his eggs, it was time for a ride on the train!

Saturday 19th April – Day 109

Project 365 - Week 15 and 16

A bit of craft time with pipe cleaners, we then made some really cute 3D mosaic Easter animals.  Watched qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix and smelt the Beef Goulash aroma coming from the slow cooker!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

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A birthday at Waddesdon Manor

Last Saturday was my birthday, not one I’ve been looking forward to really!  In my head I’m still in my mid twenties, unfortunately the mirror tells a different tale.  Having seen so many great blog posts about adventures are various National Trust properties I’d decided that it was time to re-join and have been waiting for some weeks for our membership pack to arrive.  As half term arrived and still nothing arrived in the post, a quick tweet and a few emails later, a really helpful member of staff emailed me a couple of temporary passes.  So last Saturday so Monkey and I spend a birthday at Waddesdon Manor.

Before Monkey arrived, Waddesdon Manor was a regular haunt for Daddy P and I on a Sunday afternoon.  I love the feel of the place, reminiscent of a French Chateau.  We’d taken Monkey when he was really little, but had let our membership expire when I decided not to return to work.

A birthday at Waddesdon Manor

So it was lovely to spend a birthday at Waddesdon Manor with a 4 year old Monkey.  Lots of places to explore, lots of fun to be had.  You can visit the house, I have done before, but decided that with Monkey in tow, the grounds would be a much better idea.

There were flowers to investigate, fountains to admire, an aviary to spot exotic birds in, tractors to discover (Waddesdon was a big hit), before running off to find the adventure playground. We stopped for a drink and a piece of cake – it was a birthday at Waddesdon Manor after all!

Then we were off to explore the Nature Trail, a new discovery, and somewhere I can see us revisiting a lot over the coming months.  As you all know, we love mini beasts here!

We spent a birthday at Waddesdon Manor having a few adventures, exploring and just being outdoors, having fun.  Daddy P was finishing work early in the afternoon so we decided to leave a few of the walks for another day, and headed home.

It was lovely to be back at Waddesdon Manor, I’d forgotten how much I liked it.  It was also really nice to see it through Monkey’s eyes.  He really loved the nature trail and the adventure playground (who would have thought I’d ever type that!!).

Our trip out, blew away the cobwebs, see you soon Waddesdon Manor, we will be back!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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London Pet Show 2014 – giveaway

London Pet Show 2014 All aboard for the London Pet Show 2014 which will be held on 17th-18th May at Earls Court One in London. This is a must for any pet lover out there.  Watch the SuperDogs Live competition hosted by Ben Fogle or see Rabbits Show Jumping!

London Pet Show 2014 London Pet Show 2014

All pets are catered for at the London Pet Show 2014, whether it be dogs, cats, reptiles, ponies or gold-fish.  You might also get to see Steve Backshall as he introduces a number of more exotic animals to the London Pet Show 2014.

London Pet Show 2014Zoflora will be sponsoring World of Cats at the London Pet Show 2014.  If you visit their stand at the show, (C332) you’ll be able to pick up a free Zoflora sample, have a cartoon character made of your beloved pet and get some handy tips for keeping your home clean and smelling fresh!

The lovely team at Zoflora are generously offering one of my readers the chance to win a family ticket to the London Pet Show 2014 (worth £54), plus a lovely goodie bag of products from Zoflora, Addis and Sarah Smiths!

London Pet Show 2014The prize bundle will consist of: 3 x Zoflora fragrances (to be determined by Zoflora),  1 x Zoflora canvas bag, 1 x pen, 1 x Addis Superdry Plus Mop, 1 x spill kit and 1 x Sarah Smith Ecowipes, plus 1 x London Pet Show 2014 Family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children (worth £54) Please note travel is not included. The ticket can be used on either Saturday 17th May or Sunday 18th May.

For a chance to win this great prize complete the rafflecopter below – good luck!


Terms and conditions:

(Please note that all entries will be checked against comments for validation).

Only the first step of the Rafflecopter is mandatory, all other steps are optional.  Only one entry per person is allowed (however, you can tweet with the bonus click entry daily as well to increase your chances).

This giveaway is for UK residents only.

Once the Rafflecopter picks a winner, I will check if the winner has done what was requested and I will contact them. If the winner has not responded with full contact details by 11th May, then we cannot guarantee the LPS tickets to be delivered on time.

The giveaway will close on 4th May 2014 at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Didriksons will be keeping Monkey dry

Didriksons will be keeping Monkey dry

Monkey is a typical boy, sees a muddy puddle and he’s got to jump in it!  We love exploring nature and going on adventures and having reliable waterproof clothing is vital.  We’re really pleased that Didriksons will be keeping Monkey dry from now on.

Didriksons will be keeping Monkey dryDidriksons will be keeping Monkey dry with his lovely new Pirin Kids set in Coal Black.  He thinks he looks like a Fireman now, so it’s gone down rather well!

Monkey has been putting his new waterproofs to the test over the last few weeks.  Admittedly, as we’ve actually had good weather, the trousers haven’t been needed.  But looking at the weather forecast for the rest of Easter, they might soon be invaluable.

Didriksons is a Swedish company, started in 1913 by Julius and Hanna Didrikson manufacturing oil garments.  They’ve been going from strength to strength ever since and now produce outdoor clothing for all the family.

As regular readers know, I used to work in Export Sales, and am still in contact with friends I made through work.  One such friend in Sweden, saw a photo of Monkey on Facebook wearing his new Didriksons jacket and commented ….

Can strongly recommend Didrikson, our kids have had their clothes since they were 1 year and have never been disappointed.

I’d already been really impressed with the quality of the clothing, and to hear those words from my friend S, who has been using Didriksons for over 10 years, only reinforced my opinion.

Didriksons will be keeping Monkey dry as the Pirin Kids Set is made with the Didriksons STORMsystem which offers 100% true waterproofness, is windproof and breathable.

All our products with STORMsystem are made to withstand the harshest weather conditions and will keep you dry from the outside elements.

The hood is adjustable and detachable and when detached the fastenings fold neatly inside the collar of the coat.  There are great reflective strips on the coat, front and back as well as on the trousers.  I love the fact that the trousers have a fleece lined elasticated waistband for comfort.  The cuffs, hem and trouser waist are all adjustable, there are glove hooks and a hidden inside coat pocket (AKA stick storage facility!).

Monkey loves his new waterproofs, we ordered the 110 size, which has come up quite large on him at the moment.  But Didriksons have this great way of extending the life of their waterproof suits for children with their exclusive ‘Extend Size’.  They appreciate how quickly kids grow!  Inside the coat sleeves and trouser legs are removable seams which extend the size of the garments.  A great idea!

Didriksons will be keeping Monkey dry DSCN2062

This suit is priced at around £80, which I think makes for a great investment.  It is going to last, it’s well made, Monkey feels comfortable in it and wants to wear it!  The ‘Extend Size’ gives us even longer use.  Didriksons will be keeping Monkey dry for some time to come and we’ll be doing a follow-up review later in the year.  Watch this space!

To find your nearest stockist, just check out the Didriksons website.

disclaimer:  we were sent this item for the purpose of review, our comments remain our own honest opinions.

Family Fever
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