Thursday, 29 January 2015

Thule | Sapling Elite Child Carrier

Today I'm going to talk about one of my favourite brands i've come across since i've started blogging, when it comes to products, I find that there are only a few that really really impress me, the same goes for brands too, the more I love a brand, the more passionate and the more I can write about them, that's exactly the way I feel about Thule, you might have seen my previous posts last year introducing you to the brand and a few other bits too, all of which you can see below!

Active with Kids

I've also selected my top 6 products below!

Today's post is specifically aimed at one of their latest products, the Sapling Elite Child Carrier! Thule as a brand always have active families in mind, and that's exactly what you can expect from this. Thule has fused together passionate outdoor enthusiasts, their accomplished Swedish engineering team and seasoned industry experts to create a global team that can design and build backpacks that truly raise the bar. With Spring & Summer coming up very soon, you might be thinking about getting out and about with the family more, whether it's little local walks or even proper family hikes, the Thule Sapling will be just what you will be wishing for, especially with little ones under the age of 3!

Since 1942, Thule has been helping outdoor enthusiasts transport their gear safely, easily and in style. Now they've gone and outdone themselves yet again by creating innovative and technical backpacks! And of course they are developed with the same goal in mind: helping people live an active life. Thule know exactly what is needed for active families and their products, the perfect fit, ease of use, safety tested, premium quality and contemporary styling too! Everything you could imagine needing, they've created for you.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

“Over the last 3 years we have leveraged our internal design and development skills combined with that of some of the most experienced independent backpack design experts in the field to create a completely new product family of Technical Backpacks.” says Magnus Welander, CEO of Thule Group.

The result of all this hard work is the creation of the outstanding Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier. This backpack carries your precious cargo safely and comfortably on the trail. It’s also effortless to change the carrier between parents, as you can make simple torso and waist belt adjustments in a matter of seconds. The daypack features a plush, height-adjustable cockpit to keep your child comfortable during a long day on the trail, while the roomy hip belt protects all your essentials close at hand, eliminating the need to put down the carrier to reach for those all-important snacks and toys. With a focus on safety and comfort, carrying your precious cargo just got a whole lot easier!

The Thule Sapling series comes with 25 years warranty and will be available from selected UK hiking shops February/March!

Visit Thule for more info!


Thinking About Getting a Puppy?

I think there comes a time when a lot of families think about getting a puppy, usually the decision is based on the little ones being super enthusiastic and promising they'll look after it! I've been trying to convince Ben for about a year to let us get a pet for Abbie, he's not the biggest animal lover in the world so I think it's going to take a bit more convincing before he's even tempted, but I think Abbie would love it when she's a little bit older and can take him or her for walks and things!

But as with all pets, it is a massive decision and one that needs lots of talking about. Yes they are super cute and adorable but there are various things that need to be taken into account too, the last thing you want is to realise it was the wrong decision and then be put in the predicament on possibly giving it up! We already hear far too much about dogs and other pets being abandoned when their owners don’t want them, so it's definitely something we personally, would want to avoid!

With that in mind, here are a few things to take into account for those considering getting a new puppy..

Puppy-proof your house 
Just like when you have a child, it’s important to make your house safe for your puppy. Get a child gate to keep your puppy to one room of the house to start with, until it becomes a little more house trained, you should also remove anything small that your puppy could chew and choke on, as well as any cords or cables they could either chew through or get tangled up in (they really are like having babies all over again aren't they!)

You might also want to remove anything breakable or valuable from that room, or at least move it out of reach. 

Find a good vet 
You’re going to need to take your puppy to the vet a few times at least. Even if they’re in perfect health they will still need inoculations and such, so have a search for local vets in the area and choose one that you like. Speak to friends and family to see if they have any recommendations or pop in and see whether you like the look of the place. 

Pet insurance 
This might not be something that immediately occurs to you, but pet insurance is absolutely vital and can end up saving you a fortune in the long run. Should the worst happen and your dog becomes ill or gets injured then vet bills can be extremely expensive, and so pet insurance can help cover those costs! Growing up I think every animal we had had to go to the vets at least one, even if it's just for certain injections and being flea'd, the price all adds up! Money Supermarket can help you learn more about this and find some cheap quotes  we used it for our contents insurance and car bits and found everything much cheaper so it's worth shopping around!

Do your homework 
It’s important you know as much as possible about your puppy before you bring it home. Learn about that breed in particular – does it have any common health complaints? How big will it get? How good natured is it around children? You also need to learn about how and when you need to treat your dog for certain things, such as fleas. Your vet will help out with this, but it can pay to do some research beforehand and even stock up on supplies. This flea spray from Vet medic, for instance, will come in handy at some point! 

Get them microchipped 
Again, you can speak to your vet about this but it is definitely worth getting your puppy microchipped. Hundreds, if not thousands, of dogs are lost every year and microchipping can help them get recovered. Collars and tags are also important, but having a microchip just helps that little bit more. You can learn more about that here.


Monday, 26 January 2015

Butlins | Bognor Regis | What to do!

Hello all!

Today I have my third and final post of the Butlins Ambassador review for our holiday in December! If you missed my others you can check them out below! I decided to leave the best till last (although it was a toughie between this and the food), but this definitely has the biggest variety in what to do! So here we go...

Just outside of our hotel was a gorgeous little play area which Abbie absolutely loved! There were 2 baby swings, a giant swing, criss cross tunnels, water pumping area, climbing frame with slide and a fun little maze style seating area too! Everything was really safe and well built, the perfect little play area if you ask me!

Carrying on outside now, we have the Sir Billy's Fairground area, a proper old school fair with carousels, helter skelter, bumper cars, candy floss stands, hook a duck and so much more! It takes me straight back to my childhood! Although Abbie is pretty much too small to go on anything, she was happy just to run around looking at all the lights and seeing everyone else on the rides! 

The other side of the pavilion is a little wooden play area, split into 2 sections, one for the littler kids and one for the older ones, Abbie instantly loved it as she could climb, slide and could see everything around her too! 

Inside the Pavillion now - where pretty much everything takes place, from the soft play area to arcades, it's like a tardis, you don't realise just how much you can fit into one place! Growing up in Southend I was always around arcades and 2p machines, so I was in my element reliving that with Abbie playing with her tub of coins too! She took interest in the hockey table, the Peppa Pig grabby machine and of course the Teletubby ride!

As we were there just before Christmas, everything was decorated beautifully, with Christmas trees everywhere, lots of colourful lights and of course fake snow and snowmen!

A little hidden gem inside the Pavillion is this sweet soft play for the littler ones, split into 2 sections, soft play and ball park and Arts & Crafts on the other side with tables, paints, pens and lots of fun creative things for them to keep busy with! This was one of Abbie's favourite places, we arrived just as it opened and therefore ended up being the only people there for the first 20 minutes, so little Abbie had roam of the place, the green slide in particular was her favourite and being thrown into the ball pool too! 

Around the edges are toys for babies, rockers, bouncers, walkers, books, shapes, rattles and loads more things, they've really thought of every age when it comes to this area, it's all super colourful, a little worn around the edges, but a great place for the kids to really let off some steam!

I'd recommend getting there as early as possible (I think it opens at 8am), as when we walked past at around 2pm, it was absolutely chocker block! Could you imagine the mayhem! Ha ha.

Inside the Pavillion again there's a big soft play area for your little ones, in all honesty I was pretty disappointed with both the organisation and size of the toddler area! Abbie loves soft play and loves the whole climbing, playing in the ball pool part, however all the big fun bits were separated into a height restricted area that is probably suitable for over 5's height wise! The only part Abbie was allowed in had the bigger kids running up and down the slides and causing a bit of havoc! The area was small and really didn't have enough for Abbie to really do without getting a little bored, she seemed to enjoy herself and obviously dragged me up the steps with her which I loved, she ran around with the other kids and kept screaming when they did which was pretty cute! 

Understandably the soft play area was pretty packed but I do think there should have been a limit on the amount of children allowed as unless you got there early, it was chocker! Abbie would've loved the ladders, tunnels and ball palls in the bigger kids section but I guess she's gonna need to do some growing before that will happen!

Overall she did have fun though and happily played in there for a good 45 minutes each time, I just didn't feel happy leaving her by herself when the bigger kids were in there, I look forward to going back in a few years so she can experience the whole thing! Still, we didn't hear any complaints from Abbie who ran around like a crazy woman, she even cried when it was time to go so that's always a good sign!

I've saved the best thing till last now, the Skyline Show, throughout the day there are shows on which your little ones can sit and watch, there's even a cafe next to it so they can play on the staging area whilst you can enjoy a nice cuppa or bite to eat! Abbie is at the age where she just doesn't sit still for any longer than about 30 seconds if we're lucky, but one evening when we'd finished our dinner, we popped in and saw everyone having a 'Confetti Party' lots of the grown ups and bigger kids were throwing the after show confetti up in the air and there were loads of kids just dancing in it and having loads of fun! As soon as someone else through a new pile of the stuff, Abbie was there underneath it, watching her little face light up was so magical, she really really loved it and we ended up staying there for a good hour just enjoying watching her having so much fun! 

There was so much to do and so little time but below is a complete list of everything you will find at Butlins to prepare yourself before your stay :).

Splash Waterworld
Football Coaching
Live Shows
Play Areas
Adventure Golf
Beach Sports
Messy Time

Character Shows

 We couldn't quite believe how much there is to do, whether you have a toddler or a teenager, there really is something for everyone and no-one will ever be bored! 

Our overall experience of Butlins is easily a 5/5! There were a few things that weren't quite up to scratch but nothing that even came close to ruining our stay, the food was fab, the staff were wonderful, accommodation was great and it was definitely the perfect place for our first family holiday! We now cannot wait for our Summer trip to Butlins Minehead where we will be sharing our experience with you then!

Visit the Butlins website to get started on booking your perfect break :)



10 Old Fashioned Activities that Beat the Internet

The internet is a great invention. You’re reading this on the internet. The last time you communicated to a good friend was probably via the internet or some sort of technology. It keeps us up to date, entertains us and makes it easier for us to stay in touch. However, there are some things that the internet cannot replicate to their full glory, sometimes just meeting up with friends for a cuppa or a bite to lunch is all you need and definitely is something we are probably a bit guilty of taking advantage of! Below are a few ways to snap out of the technology and get out and about, when was the last time you did any of these?

Board Games 
Growing up this was one of my favourite things to do, we have about 30 different games upstairs that Ben & I used to play (we obviously had too much free time!) Ha. This is such a great way of getting a bunch of friends or family together for the evening, chilling out with a takeaway, some competitive board games and just enjoying some time away from the computer or off your phones!

Developing Photographs 
We are all guilty of taking loads of photos on our phones or on swanky DSLR cameras, which there is nothing wrong with, it's easier, and we all want an easier life but the fun of developing photos is such a childhood flashback, and the quality is actually amazing nowadays too!  When was the last time you printed off a really nice picture of you and the family and hung it on your wall? Going along to a photography studio such as the ones ran by Venture and getting some really nice professional pictures taken of you and you’re loved ones and even wrap them up for upcoming family birthdays coming up, they'll love it! :)

Hand Writing Letters 
While it is great to keep in touch via email and social media with friends around the world, there’s something a lot more special about receiving a hand-written letter. By hand writing a letter you are showing someone you have spent more time and effort to reach out to them and they will probably do the same back too! Ive had quite a few pen pals in my time, and the excitement of knowing a letter was on it's way was just so much more fun than waiting for an instant email!

Going to the Theatre 
A night at the theatre sitting with real people watching real actors performing their art live holds a certain magic which cannot be fully replicated through a monitor or LCD screen. You can also enjoy an interval ice cream (or two) as well. I saw quite a few shows when I was younger too and I fell in love, I can't wait to take Abbie along to see if she loves it just as much as I do!

Creating 3D Art 
There are a variety of ways of being creative using the internet, but there is added satisfaction in creating something tangible that you can touch and hang on your wall or put on a mantel piece. 

The Cinema
I don't even remember the last time I did this, it used to be one of my favourite things to do as well! Every year for our anniversary Ben & I would choose a different movie theatre to go to and watch one of the new releases at the time, we'd load up on popcorn and pick n mix (anyone else hungry yet?), and just spend quality time together, the trailers are always good at getting everyone talking and sharing their opinions, and once the film has finished, you then talk about for the entire journey home, I think we're gonna have to make more of an effort this year to go and see some movies!

A Long Walk 
There’s no substitute for a long walk in the countryside (or even in a city) to clear your head and allow you to get some exercise. We tend to do this everyday and it's always refreshing and good for the little ones too!


Saturday, 24 January 2015

A Wintery Walk

After a very early wake up call from this little monkey at 5am, we decided to pop out nice and early for a little wintery walk as we had a few extra hours to burn than usual! We headed out not really planning on anywhere in particular, but ended up stopping in a lovely village we've not been to in a few years actually! We parked up and wandered over to the little park nearby, it was bloody freezing, muddy and icy but does any of that matter to a 2 year old? Of course not! We had good fun on the giant slide, zip wire and huge swing before heading off for a little walk further into the village, where we grabbed a couple of sausage rolls to munch on on our way round! Bliss!

I don't think it matters what time of day you visit the village, it's always so beautiful and picturesque, with canal boats along the banks, friendly locals saying hello as they walk past and the smell of fresh bread from the bakeries, it's definitely a slice of heaven! We were just leaving as everything was opening so unfortunately couldn't stop for anything, but next time we've made the pledge to definitely order a cream tea, yum!

Abbie's outfit
Jeans: Debenhams
Boots: Sainsbury's
Hat, Snood & Coat: Zara
Gloves: M&CO (which are one size fits all...as you can see, Abbie's fingers don't fit in them at all!) ha

That moment when your toddler has better hair than you...<3

What are you all up to this weekend?



Friday, 23 January 2015

Winter Activities For The little Ones!

When it's cold and miserable outside, you probably just wanna stay in and do absolutely nothing for the day, myself included. But when you have little ones you then have the joyous job of finding things to do that will a) be fun and b) keep them worn out for bedtime! 

The truth is, kids don't care what the weather is doing, whether it's brilliant sunshine, pouring with rain or knee deep in snow, they'll more than likely want to be outside anyway! So below I have come up with some ideas to keep them busy and to keep yourself sane, come rain or shine, there's always so much you can do, whatever age! 

Get Baking
What better way to warm up and feel cosy than with a spot of baking! Whether you're a budding chef or just a beginner, there are thousands upon thousands of recipes online you'll be able to follow, whether you like fairy cakes, muffins, granola bars or even bread, the little ones will love getting involved and mixing the ingredients together, and they get the most important job of all...licking the bowl! Below I have added some of my current pinned or bookmarked recipes ready to try over the next few months! Yummy!

Go For A Walk
This is the thing we do with Abbie, pretty much every single day we go out in a little adventure, even if it's just to the local park, the fresh air does everyone the world of good and she loves being outdoors! You could create a list of things for them to find on their adventure e.g. Pinecone, conker, daisy, mushrooms! This will give them something to aim for keep them occupied and involved, before they have time to complain about their legs hurting you would've finished your walk! If they're a little older, say 4+, maybe give them a disposable camera and let them take pictures of their finds too! If it's been a particularly wet night or morning, make a big thing out of jumping in all the puddles too, my god do kids LOVE this, as long as they're dressed in some kind of waterproof clothing and their wellies, they're good to go! they will stay dry but also wear themselves out too!

Scrap booking
Using the point above too, collect bits and bobs from around the walk to add to their very own scrapbook, leaves, sticks and then develop all the photos they have taken and let them get creative! Colourful pens, glitter, glue, paint! The messier the better! You could even give the book a name, like Our Little Adventure..It's a great thing to keep for memories and they'll get super excited to get started! This is where disposable cameras come in too, let them choose their favourite photos to add to the book and allow them to decorate it however they wish, I cannot wait to do this with Abbie this year! 
Why not make one for yourself too?


Create a den!
Hands up who has done this in their childhood (waves hand high in the air!) It was so much fun creating your own "secret" hideaway using whatever you have in your house, sheets, towels, pillows, duvets, you name it! Tying one end of a blanket to your bed and stretching it over to the wardrobe and tying it around the handle! Ahhh the memories! Let them be inventive, whilst giving them pointers and little ideas too, it doesn't have to look pretty or neat, if your child likes it, mission accomplished! You could even use fairy lights for extra decoration! Oh and don't be surprised if they want to sleep in there for the next few weeks either! :)

Try setting up your own campsite in the garden, pitch the tent, get some snuggly blankets and pillows, some lanterns, books and teddies and yummy snacks and there you have it! Tell stories to them or create your own stories together, have some hot chocolates with marshmallows and enjoy the cosyness! Or if they're at the age of being "too cool" doing it with mummy and daddy, get them to choose a friend or two to come over and join in, it doesn't mean they have to stay out there all night though ha, but they can come in and go to bed watching a movie or something!



Thursday, 22 January 2015

Butlins - Bognor Regis | Food

Hello all!
Firstly, what do you all think of my new layout? I really fancied a change and wanted something completely different too! I'm still tweaking bits at the moment but hopefully you all like it :)

Today I have part 2 of our little family break away to Butlins! If you missed the first part, just click here to read about our accommodation and the gorgeous view!
Included in our break was the Premium Dining plan which meant Breakfast and dinner were included in the price, and we had the opportunity to either it in any of the 2 buffet style restaurants or we would be given vouchers up to a certain value for any of the other restaurants on the site! These include The Diner, Turner's, The Deck Restaurant, South Coast Restaurant, Kaleidscope, Beachcomber Inn, Papa John's & Burger King, as well as a few little cafe's and bars too!

We decided to pop over to The Deck for dinner on the first night, we'd heard good things about it before we came so thought a quick and easy buffet style would be better for us as we were all knackered! The staff were lovely and showed us where everything was and explained everything to us in detail, all with a smile on their face too which made us feel a bit more relaxed after a long car journey!

 I was actually a little disappointed with the options if i'm honest, there were signs telling you what was available such as Pasta, pizza etc, however there wasn't actually any pasta or pizza to be seen and most of the sections were foodless! We arrived at 5pm so maybe we were a little early but expected a bit more of variety really. Luckily I wasn't very hungry so I grabbed Abbie some sausages, chips and beans which she absolutely loved and I nicked a few of her chips! Ben on the other hand was in heaven with the options and had a bit of everything!

Aside from the lack of options for the main course, I can't fault the variety of fruit and desserts! I loaded Abbie up with watermelon slices and apple which again she loved and Ben treated himself to Jelly and cream, a rice krispie cake and some chocolate cake too! All of which he enjoyed! :)

For breakfast we ate at the Shoreline Restaurant just downstairs from our room, mainly for convenience but also because they had everything we could possibly need and more to ensure we were nice and full up and ready to start our day! Both times we turned up there was a little queue but we were warned about this on one of our welcome leaflets so we didn't mind at all, plus the longest we had to wait was about 90 seconds anyway! 

As we were on holiday we decided to treat ourselves to a full english breakfast and it was probably one of the best i've eaten! Such a big choice of food was available, with vegetarian sausages, pork sausages, bacon, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, hash browns baked beans (Heinz), mushrooms and toast! I think we had a serving of everything each! If a full english isn't your cuppa tea, there are lots of other options including pancakes, croissants, pain au chocolates, a wide range of fruits, yoghurts, cereals and a selection of cakes too! Literally everything you could possibly need, and something each member of the family will enjoy (including any fussy eaters too!). 

What I love as well is you can specially order poached eggs, salmon and other alternatives at no extra cost, the staff are always happy to accommodate anything for you! Talking of staff, they were always so friendly and smiley and were always helping us to pick up everything Abbie dropped, they cleared our plates away within a few minutes. We ended up eating here on 2 mornings it was so yummy!

We headed over to The Diner for the second night to try out their 50's style menu! After being on a diet for 3 months we really wanted to kinda go all out and treat ourselves to some yummy food, the menu is huge and has something for everyone, from giant burgers (and I mean GIANT), hotdogs, pasta, popcorn chicken, BBQ ribs, Nacho's wraps, Salads and lots LOTS more! We had both planned on having desserts as the amazing sundaes kept catching our eyes! However we were so full from our main that we couldn't possibly fit in another bite (next time, next time!).

I am in love with the decor at The Diner, i'm a bit of a retro lover and this was so warm and welcoming, with disco lights floating around the room as well and the occasional song from one of the lovely waitresses too, Abbie loved the whole atmosphere and even had a little boogie with the other kids after her meal!

I chose the Classic Beef Burger which is;

A prime 6oz British beef burger topped with crisp lettuce, sliced beef tomato and gherkins! I then decided to add a topper to mine and went for the BBQ sauce and Montery Jack Cheese, mmmm! 

The burger came with a good amount of fries and some homemade coleslaw too, I can honestly say this was probably the BEST buger I have ever eaten, it was juicy, seasoned well, filling and a generous portion, the chips were only lightly salted which is much much nicer and I was pleasantly surprised by the coleslaw, it tasted so fresh and even tempted me to find out the recipe!

Ben went for the New York Slick Hotdog
"A thicker smoky Krakaeur sausage topped with crispy bacon, BBQ sauce and aged cheddar cheese sauce!"

 Although looking at the picture it doesn't look as appetising as the burger, Ben said it was easily the best hotdog he'd eaten too, the photo doesn't actually do it any justice when it comes to size, it was a good 3/4 foot long! Again this was served in a yummy Brioche bun with a bed of crispy fries! So so delicious!

After dinner we had a nice long walk around and couldn't resist the freshly made doughnuts at one of the outdoor stalls! I haven't had these since I lived in Essex about 14 years ago so I was excited to have them again! They were so naughty but so delicious, I could've easily gone back for another 10! Haha.

For our final night we decided to pop over to Papa Johns! We haven't ever tried their pizzas so thought this was be a great time to try it! I just want to apologise for the crappy pictures now, it was pretty dark in the restaurant and I had to use the flash (bleugh!), but you can see the food clearly still!

I chose a medium Chicken BBQ pizza, and was a little surprised how small it was but that just made it easier to eat the whole thing ;) muaha. Service was a little slower here but it was crazy busy so to be expected, we waited a good 20 minutes for our food, but when it arrived it was definitely worth the wait! Everything tasted yummy, the pizzas were soft and fresh and both Ben & I enjoyed a whole pizza to ourselves!

Although there wasn't a kids menu online or on the Butlins website, inside the restuarant there is a little one for them to have a look through! None of it really appealed to us for Abbie so we ordered her the Chicken with asparagus and sun blushed tomatoes pasta from the main menu and she literally ate 3/4 of it! But it was absolutely delicious anyway and I'd happily order that again for her or for myself! I liked how they used different pasta's too as opposed to the usual wheat penne!

Overall we were really impressed with the food options here, aside from the first night the food was fab quality and so delicious! Something for everyone, even the fussy eaters! Next time I think we will have to have desserts too ;)

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