Vote for Oak Furniture Land and Win £1500 to spend

Vote for Oak Furniture Land and Win £1500 to spend with them! 

So what would I buy if I won the £1500?

I would go for this lovely dining table set. Ours is in desperate need of replacing and I think this would be perfect for the four of us, but also big enough for when we have guest over with the extending option. I love the bench style, but still giving the option of sitting with support with the two end chairs (maybe a mum and dad chair).

Win £1500 with Oak Land Furniture

However, the do also do a gorgeous range of Nursery Furniture with lovely solid wood Cots, Changing tables and matching drawers and wardrobes. I’ve also spied a lovely range of office furniture, something that I aspire to have one day!

We are currently looking at options for our five year old daughter who unfortunately has a box room sized bedroom. We need something that will maximise the limited space that we have but also give her a little bit of room to play or set up her dollies.

All you have to do is VOTE for Oak Furniture Land in the Loved by Parents Awards (clickable link). You can also spread the word on Social Media.

The competition ends a midnight on the 28th July 2016 so there’s not a lot of time to waste.

Click here for the full list of Loved by Parents (LBP) Awards 2016. 

Good luck x

First year of school Over Already

First year of school over already!

Ooh I can’t believe that Isabelle has completed her first year of school already!

This was her on her first day with her brand new uniform, shiny shoes and a huge grin.

She’s come on leaps and bounds in her first year.

The school that she goes to are big on sensory play, outdoor play (come rain or shine) and imaginative play. She would come home completely covered in mud, paint, gloop or just general grubiness which are always a sign of a good day.

We stopped eating jacket potatoes at home as Isabelle would choose a jacket potato for her lunch every single day with a variation of topping between cheese or tuna and sweetcorn.

Isabelle absolutely adored her teacher who she is going to miss terribly. Miss Dyke has told her that she can still sit with her at lunch time when they go back. She might regret that come every lunch time!

Isabelle turned five the week that she started school so she was more than ready for it, and has soaked up every bit of learning from reading, singing, phonics and writing.

She constantly sings the jingles associated with phonics and is pretty good at spelling simple words on her own.

She enjoys reading the annoyingly repetitive books that they get sent home with and her descriptions of mini beasts is second to none.

We’ve met her new teacher who seems lovely, and she explained how the children are mixed with year 1 and year 2 and then separated into learning levels. She is going up with a group of her besets friends so I think she will absolutely fine.

Since starting school Isabelle has started playing teachers where she plays miss Dyke. We got her a white board which she props up, lines all her teddy’s up, puts on her high heels and adjusts her voice into teacher mode. She has a lanyard with a smiley face, sad face and listening ear which she uses when talking to ‘the children’. She takes the register and then does reading and writing with them. The naughty kid of the class (which I won’t name on the off chance that his parents read my blog) gets told off a lot and quite often ends up sitting on the stairs!

I feel quite sad that she’s going up to year 1. The reception and pre-school have their own self contained outdoor area with bikes, mud kitchen, sandpit, giant building bricks and veg patch. Going into year 1 will be more classroom based and they go into the BIG playground with all the older kids.

It seems like such a big step that Isabelle is more than ready for, but maybe I’m not quite ready yet.

The teen has now completed his first year of college, and we have to consider universities for next September with the application process this September which I’m sooooo not ready for. Boo hoo!!

I’m not going to dwell on it. I know they both have to grow up.

Here she was yesterday excitedly clutching her teacher present for the ‘bestest teacher in the world’ in Isabelle’s words!

We chose a lovely necklace made by a jeweller in Somerset with little shells on in, chosen because Isabelle thinks Miss Dyke is as beautiful as a mermaid! (We got this from the lovely Hyde and Seek Shop).


How to cope with the kids in the hot weather!

How to cope with the kids in the hot weather!


How to cope with the kids in hot weather

We moan when it’s raining!

We moan when it’s cold!

We moan when it’s cold and it’s raining!

Lets’s face it, whatever the weather us Brits LOVE to have a good old moan about it!

It’s no secret that I’m not a HOT day person. I don’t cope very well in the heat. I suffered with heat sickness as a child and really don’t cope very well. I’m irritable and ratty, and everything feels like such a chore in the sweltering heat!

You won’t find me sat at the side of the pool sunbathing!

You’re more likely to find me hiding away inside or tucked neatly under a huge sun umbrella with my VERY white legs.  On the subject of that, I do look odd in the summer with my tanned face, arms and feet and the rest of my body as white as can be. Ha ha!

Having kids and actually having to do stuff in the sun can be a chore.

Having a baby in the heat can be the pits when they constantly want to be carried and cuddled.

So what can you do to stay cool both in and out of the home?

At Home

  • Dress your baby or child appropriately at night – light clothing (cotton is best) such as a vest or short babygro and thin shorty pyjamas or nightie for older ones. A light cotton sheet instead of the usual bedding or sleeping bag may be better (especially if the room is over 25 degrees).
  • An hour or two before bedtime, have the windows and doors to the nursery or bedroom open to allow air to circulate through.
  • Air conditioning – Hmm yes I wish!
  • Have drinks available at all times so that little ones can drink throughout the day.
  • For older ones, freeze strawberries, raspberries and halved grapes and add to drinks instead of ice cubes which doubles up as a sneaky fruity treat.
  • I’ve never done this one personally, but I have heard that it’s a good idea to open your loft hatch which will allow further heat to go up through the house (as heat rises).
  • A quick luke warm or cool bath before bedtime to relieve clammy skin may help.
  • Make yourself a water spray by filling up a spray bottle (you can buy in most chemists) and keep in the fridge. Spray over the face at a good arms length for a gentle mist of cool water.
  • A thermometer in the room would be a good so that you can dress them appropriately.
  • Fill a bottle with water and freeze. Put this in the room which will cool the air – an ideal place would be in front of a fan.
  • As difficult as it is for all concerned, try and keep the bedtime routine as calm as possible as the more irritable the more hot you all get.

Out and About

  • Babies under six months should not be exposed to direct sunlight so using appropriate sun shades for your pram, car shades and ensuring that you sit in shaded areas are a must.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather. Cotton is always good for keeping cool so dressing as simple as possible on hot days makes it cooler for baby and less faff for mum and dad.
  • The sun is at it’s hottest between 11am – 3pm so trying to plan outdoor activities outside of this time would be good but not always avoidable. Have regular breaks from the direct sun which could tie in nicely with drink breaks.
  • Making sure that you apply suncream every day with several top ups during the day. I’m not going to preach on suncreams but even the once a day creams are said to lose there efficiency after 60 – 90 minutes so regular top ups should be done. The lowest recommended is factor 15 but we always use a higher factor than this.
  • Keeping cool can also be fun. Fill up a paddling pool, give them bottles, cups and a tea-set if they have one  and this will keep them happy and cool.
  • Buy a sunsuit which will also protect them from the sun for beach days and paddling pools.
  • Wearing a Sun Hat which has a wide brim with neck protection for added protection. There are various brands, some of which have UV and UVA filters. Having a wider brim gives them protection also for their faces, ears and necks which can be easily burnt. For good quality Baby Sun Hats pop over to our site where we have a great selection for just £5.00 each!!

Eating and Drinking

  • Breastfed babies may want to feed more often to avoid hydration.
  • Bottle-fed babies could be given additional boiled cooled water.
  • As above make sure that drinks are accessible throughout the day. We recently made Strawberry and Raspberry Lemonade which was a lovely treat.
  • For older babies and children you can also help by giving them ice cubes (actually very amusing for babies) and ice lollies which not only taste great but an additional way to get fluids into them (I will add some ice lolly recipes to the blog but to get  you started try the Blueberry Yoghurt Bites).
  • For babies over six months old and toddlers you could try freezing some of their favourite fruit which is also great for teething.
  • Both babies and children may eat less in the heat as do us adults so adapt food so that they eat little but often. Keep meals simple such as filled pittas, kebabs (meat, veg and fruit), dips, jacket potatoes, pizzas, salads, grilled meat which can be easily put together and can be picked at.

I’m no expert so these are the many things that we’ve googled over the seventeen years of parenting we’ve done so far.

If there is something that you think we’ve missed off or that is a fantastic tried and tested tip then either leave us a comment or drop us a mail at 


Strawberry and Raspberry Lemonade

Strawberry Lemonade Recipe

Strawberry & Raspberry Lemonade

This is the perfect recipe for my daughter as it involves Strawberries (she’s a total Fruit Bat) and fizzy drinks (what kid doesn’t).

Strawberry Lemonade Recipe

Difficulty Rating: Easy Squeezy and great to do with the little ones.

What you will need:

2 Cups of Strawberries (maybe a few extra as they get stolen)
1 Cup of Raspberries
1/2 a Cup of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
3/4 Cup of Caster Sugar
4 Cups of Water (Still or Sparkling)
1 Cup of water
Ice Cubes to Serve

Puree the strawberries and raspberries in a blender and put through a sieve to get rid of the little pips.

Put the cup of water and caster sugar in a pan and heat until the caster sugar melts and leave to cool until room temperature.

Once cooled, mix the strawberries, raspberries, lemon juice and 4 cups of water.

Chill in the fridge and serve with ice cubes.

The lemonade was perfect to have alongside dinner in the lovely sunshine and we’ve also put some into ice lolly trays as it made quite a bit.

Strawberry Lemonade Recipe



£5.00 Hat sale at

£5.00 Hat Sale for a limited time only.

How’s your summer so far?

£5.00 Hat Offer at

The sun has made a few appearances over the last few weeks, but nothing to write home about so far. However, on sunny days it is advisable to keep precious little heads covered to prevent sun burn and sun stroke.

The wide brimmed hats also give eyes and ears added protection as well as looking super cute.

Many of our Summer Hats are reversible and can be worn in and out of the water, perfect for beach days out with UV filters making them the perfect choice for your baby or toddler.

As well as the Summer Hats we have a selection of Slouchy Beanie Hats left from Rattletat and some beautiful Newborn Hats from GoumiKids.

I’m not going to tell you the end date of this offer so you’d better pop over to the site sharpish so that you don’t miss out.

Don’t forget to tell your friends about this offer so that they can get in on the action. 

Baby & Children’s Market Exeter 25.06.16

Baby and Childrens Market Exeter
Baby and Children’s Market – Saturday 25th June 2016

We’re really happy to say that we’re going to be at the next Baby and Children’s Market on Saturday 25th June 2016.

09.30 – 11.30am

St James High School, Summer Lane, Exeter, Devon, EX4 8NN

As well as local business’s like ours there will be lots of Mum’s and Dad’s selling pre-loved baby and children’s clothing, toys, books, games, prams and lots more.

At the last market I watched a Mum and Dad tag team. They had a list of what they wanted and one of them went up one side and the other did the other side, each checking in with the other as they whittled down their list.  They left laden down with all sorts of things for their new baby who had been transferred from the pram into a sling to make way for the things they’d bought!

If you come along, do pop over and say hello.

I have heard that there’s going to be a FREE ball pit for the littles to play in!

To keep up to date with the latest details go to the Baby & Children’s Market Exeter Facebook Page.


Win a copy of Lullaby Baby

How would you like to Win a copy of Lullaby Baby CD?

Lullaby Baby

Lullaby Baby is a collaboration between BAFTA award winning director and father of two, Dan Smith and UK based Singer-songwriter Martha Bean with a mixture of well known songs, Instrumentals and some new ones written by Martha Bean who is also the singer on the album.

Use the CD to create a calming environment as part of your bedtime routine

Isabelle is five now and although she is a very early riser, we have only really had an okay sleep pattern for nearly a year now.

Isabelle has been a terrible sleeper from the word go with many a night spent without a wink of sleep. We tried everything from rocking her, driving her around taking her out in her pram, but the second you put her down she would be awake and crying.

This wasn’t just at night, but during the day she didn’t like to be put down even for a second. Getting dressed to the sound of a screaming baby makes you move fast.

At the start I was more than happy to sit with her in my arms gazing into her eyes, but even the most adoring mum needs to have bathroom breaks, to eat and do other normal things without a baby in their arms.

I thought I’d solved my problem with the use of a baby sling, but I found this exacerbated my neck pain that I’d been suffering from for years previously.

My sanity was saved by humming!

As odd as it sounds it kept me level when I needed to put her down and she would scream so much that her little face would almost turn purple. I would hum songs that I liked or just the sound of the latest adverts. You may laugh but it kept me going.

As she got a little bit older (still very much a newborn) she was pacified by noises that I made and her eyes would follow me around the room. This was slightly easier, but she never gave me long.

As well as the humming keeping me sane, I think she became quite accustomed to the songs that I hummed and was more than content to stare up at me whilst I hummed away.

We moved on from humming to singing and she came to recognise simple songs such as Twinkle Twinkle and Row Row Row your Boat. As long as she could find me and hear me she would allow me to put her down just for a while to get things done such as prepare dinner or eat my lunch.

Most of the songs that I sung to her were songs I knew from my own childhood, and other newer ones were learnt from the Mother and Baby Groups that we attended.

Isabelle is five now and singing and listening to music plays a big part in her life. She loves to sing and dance, and loves to learn and listen to new songs, especially if they have actions with them.

We were sent a copy of Lullaby Baby to review and Isabelle was very eager to put the CD into her own CD player with microphone to sing along.  There were songs on the CD that we recognised straight away and a few that we hadn’t hear before. She was singing along merrily which I had recorded but on playing it back her microphone was omitting a pretty bad sound so I won’t subject you to that. I will try and catch her again, but she tends to show off in front of the camera which isn’t always so pleasant lol.

Isabelle had been a bit poorly and was off school a couple of weeks ago. We’d had a day of watching a bit of TV and her drifting in and out of sleep, but she needed to just lie down and rest so I put the CD on and she sat there and listened. She sang along a little bit, but then decided to curl up and hum along to the songs.

Here she is chillin and listening.

I think she really enjoyed it and it seemed to calm her down before bedtime which can be a testing time sometimes.

Lullaby Baby

We’ve listened to the CD quite a few times now and it’s really nice to put on when she’s doing something quiet like colouring or just before dinner.

This CD would have been great when she was a baby and I probably would have used it in the car as well.

You can download ‘Lullaby Baby’ on iTunes by searching for ‘Nursery Rhymes 123’ as well as other download sites.

Here’s a clip of ‘You are my Sunshine” on their YouTube channel or pop over to Spotify for a listen.

For your chance to Win a copy a copy of the Lullaby Baby CD fill in the Rafflecopter Form. Keep up to date by visiting or their Facebook Page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and don’t forget to pop over to for a spot of shopping x

*Please note that we were sent a copy of Lullaby Baby free of charge for the purpose of review. The writing of the post and opinion are that of my own. 

Free competitions at ThePrizeFinder

A Surreal Evening – University Talk

Which University

Last night I went to a College open event for a University Talk.

Ryan is just finishing his first year of college with the course being two years long. Come September 2016 it will be time to start applications for University.

Currently he wants to be a PE teacher, but given that he wouldn’t start until September 2017 he may have changed his mind by then.

Before going down the sport route he wanted to be a chef, but having completed his work experience where he washed dishes and was basically the general dogsbody, he thankfully realised that it wasn’t what he wanted to do.

Sport has been a big part of our lives. Ever since he could walk he had a ball in his hand, and he soon became a little Football Star and was given a contract to play for Exeter City Football Club and was regularly mentioned in the local newspaper. He has also had trials for Plymouth Argyle and his name has been bandied around the local football community.

Whilst he didn’t go any further towards professional football he still plays for a local under 18’s team and a mens team as well (yikes the first mini bus trip away was a bit of an eye opening).

At school, whatever sport he was playing he would come home with a letter asking if he could be put forward for trials etc which is fantastic, but as a parent going to training however many times a week plus matches it fills you with dread.

Okay so the point of this post was the moment last night during the University talks when I realised that in just over a year I could be losing my son to the big bad world. Off he will go with his suitcase, bedding and household goods. We’ll have to take him to do ‘a shop’ and then leave him wherever he choses to study and hope that he might come home for a visit once in a while or that he’ll find time to squeeze us into his schedule so we can visit him.

Sat in that hall with all the other parents with their kids all looking eager and hopeful at the prospect of cutting the umbilical cord to embark on a life of study, drinking, partying and pot noodles.

We came away with a  vast amount of information and a timetable of all the dates to work towards as far as applications, personal statements and results etc.

I feel sad already but excited that he’s going to have so much opportunity and things to look forward to. New experiences, new friends and a different environment.

Hopefully he will remember us from time to time x 

What’s the going rate for the Tooth Fairy these days?

What’s the going rate for the Tooth Fairy these days?

Isabelle at five has had two wobbly bottom teeth for the best part of three months with it becoming more imminent by the day for the past three weeks. It’s the bottom two in the middle and for the past few weeks she’s been able to push them so far forward with her tongue that they’ve been lying flat. So gross!

Last week was school photograph day so we assumed that either one or both would fall out just in time for that, as its obligatory that you have at least one school photograph where you either have a gap or adult teeth amongst baby teeth for a big toothy grin. I know that I have!

So with this looming over us we’ve been wondering what the going rate for the Tooth Fairy is these days.

I’ve recently read some ridiculous stories where children have been receiving insane amounts of money so clearly there is a Tooth Fairy with celebrity status in Fairyland possibly with bigger and more bling wings than the rest.

When I was a kid we used to get either 20p or 50p and we’re both grateful and thankful that we were able to go to the local sweet shop and spend our money on 1p and 2p mix-ups (probably not what the Tooth Fairy had intended it for).

Picking her up from school today she announced that her tooth had come out. On asking her teacher she looked a bit baffled at which point Isabelle starting to panic, but we were asked to ask one of the lunch time teachers who she had been with. Mrs James looked a bit worried when we asked her as she had no idea what had happened other than she’d wrapped it in some tissue and given it back to Isabelle.

Thankfully when we rummaged through her school bag there was a grubby bit of tissue with her prized first tooth inside. Phew!

What's the going rate for the Tooth Fairy these Days
First Toothy grin!


So our expectation from the Tooth Fairy is that she may leave a nice shiny £2 coin as it’s the coolest of coins in English money.

Isabelle was so excited at bedtime and had a million zillion questions:

Where do fairies live?
What time will the Tooth Fairy come?
What does she carry the coin in?
Will the pillow be too heavy for her to lift?
Shall I write her a letter?
Will she write me a letter?
What do they do with the teeth?
Do they take children’s teeth even in they’re rotten?

What's the going rate for the Tooth Fairy these Days

Umpteen questions about everything is pretty normal to us, and in fact flicking through the channels yesterday we watched an old episode of Outnumbered. The girl in that is our daughter!