Saturday, 28 September 2013

Early rider Lite balance bike

We got this bike for Nate for Christmas last year but he has only really been interested in it very recently.

It is a beautiful wooden balance bike. There are no pedals so no distractions from balancing. There are two settings for steering (restricted and unrestricted) we currently have it set to restricted although I think Nate would prefer it to be unrestricted as he spends more time picking the front wheel up to steer than anything else. The faux leather seat is height adjustable to can be raised so it lasts longer.

Nate loves his bike and is always asking to go out on it. He has dropped it a couple of times and there isn't a mark on the bike. I loved the look of this bike which is why I chose it in the first place and I'm glad I did as Nate as has stood on it, dropped it, I've been made to sit on it and its not got a mark on it.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Fast Internet?

As a somewhat techie person I have always tried to ensure we have a fast connection to the internet. We had big issues with a previous provider where all of a sudden the connection was dropping out every hour and they couldn't find out why.

We gave them several opportunities to sort the issue out but instead of dealing with it they blamed us for the issues at every opportunity. Firstly they were reluctant to send out an engineer, when they did they reported the engineer had said the fault was at our end. The engineer had said no such thing and actually went to the exchange found a fault at the exchange and asked them for permission to fix it and they told him no. When we told them we knew that the engineer had found no fault our end they said they needed to commission the fix and that will take some time. The engineer was happy to fix the issue there and then. 

That fix finally took place and we were still having issues; the drop outs stopped for a week and then came back with a vengeance and this is the straw that broke the camels' back. They blamed the drop outs on the fact we used Mac's (the drop outs were noted on the routers logs so not an issue with the software on our computers) so I offered to try one of the other computers on the network. Windows pc same issue, PS3 same issue, Linux partition same issue seeing a pattern? They said ahh you have a complex network that's what the issue is. No, we don't, we have two computers we use regularly but there is a redundant PC sitting in a corner that could be turned on that served two purposes for the test as it runs Windows and Ubuntu. 

This leads me to BT Infinity we ran from our previous provider to BT and also got Infinity. I really cannot complain we get a perfect connection and have had no drop outs (touch wood). Having just done a speed test we are getting 60mbps download speeds and 10mbps upload speeds, I'm always happy with these upload speeds after working at sites that have 0.7 mbps upload speeds but really good download speeds. We have an old style box (they recently brought out new routers) and love the fact it has a the admin and wifi password on a tab that is put inside the router. 

BT on the go, recently we were staying at a hotel and we could have paid £7 for a day for internet or log on to the BT hotspot. We chose the BT hotspot. Nate's dad has an app on his Android phone to log him in to BT hotspots and I'm always amazed at the places where there are hotspots. Most of our family use BT for internet and wouldn't change because we have always received good customer service when we have needed to talk to them (not that often).

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

me&i Nordic Collection

Me&I launched their new collection a couple of weeks ago in London. Nate and I were lucky enough to get the opportunity to go along and have a look and try some lovely Swedish food.

The children's collection uses lovely simple patterns and images, most of the clothes are unisex which I love. The jeans have double thickness knees which are perfect for little people who always seem to go through the knees of their clothes. Everything is practical from the double thickness knees to the ability to easily size up.

My favourite things in the children's range were the hamsters.

Nate enjoying the balloons

I love this little outfit with the Hamster on the bottom of the trousers matched with the bodysuit and hat which Nate is wearing.

Lovely simple imagery
Check out me&i's website for more details on their range.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Garden finds

We are having the decking in our back garden removed and we found a little friend.

It's a frog! Lucky had always been a bit wary of going outside when it had rained and we thought we'd heard a croak once or twice but never did we think there was a frog living under our decking. He's found a home up at Nate's nursery for a few days before they find him a new home. 

Monday, 23 September 2013

Baking Focaccia

This weekend I was looking at Kimberley's (from the Great British Bake Off) website and came across a recipe for Roast garlic and red onion focaccia and I had to try and make it.

As always Nate wanted in on the action so he helped knead it


Really kneading it now

Nate really enjoys baking so it was great to try something different from the bread we normally bake or biscuits. I cooked the red onion topping while Nate was kneading. I find getting the dough to the stage where it is starting to lose it's stickiness first before letting little fingers loose is best.


This was so lovely we will be making it again and it didn't last at all long. There was a little left for breakfast the next morning. 

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Breastfeeding a toddler

I've quietly breastfed Nate for the past 26 months and I've always worried about feeding him in public. That was until a few weeks ago when he wanted to be fed in a relatively quiet train carriage.

I see a cuddly baby, what do you see?

Then I realised how much you could see, in this case how little you can see. I get a weird view because I'm looking down so I see a lot. 

Strange how catching a glimpse of myself breastfeeding has made me feel less self conscious about it.

Friday, 20 September 2013

London travels with a toddler

Last week London Graphic Centre held a Moleskine event called Analog cloud, in which you choose items that mean something to you and then choose your favourite Moleskine items and this compiled your profile. When we arrived Nate happily spoke about the Moleskine event from last year in which we created a story out of stamps.

I'm a Wandering Seeker:

Nate is a Sketching Dandy:

This was great fun, choosing the items and seeing what your profile came out as. Nate loved being given his bookmark and was very decisive in what items he wanted. He happily came home and told daddy he was a Sketching Dandy.

While we were in London we decided to visit a few other shops and we had a snack and drink at the Roast + Conch, which is Hotel Chocolat's Cafe in Covent Garden. I had their Cocoa Infusion which I'd describe as a mixture of tea and hot chocolate. It's not as creamy as hot chocolate but I had it without milk and some chocolate spread on toast. 
Cocoa Infusion
Nate is loving chocolate milk at the minute so had soya hot chocolate. It wasn't the best place to take Nate with him being dairy free but they were accommodating and we will go back to try the food another time and get another Cocoa Infusion for me.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

DC Super Friends

This morning a package arrived for Nate, its the new DC Super Friends magazine which they sent for us to review.

DC Super Friends

A little bit of information regarding this new magazine is that it is aimed at the preschool market. (they state boys aged 2-5) Every issue will come with a free toy and this edition comes with two communicators with switching screens. The magazine goes on sale from tomorrow (19th September 2013) and details regarding the title can be found at Titan Magazines

Nate loves the free toys and the make a batmobile that appears inside. The story was enjoyable but  as comic fans we were expecting a comic strip and there is only one story in the magazine. Nate's excitement was dampened when he noticed there weren't any stickers, he loves his stickers and most magazines have stickers for his age group. 
I love the colouring in pages but think Nate would find most of the tasks quite hard so for him there isn't much for him to enjoy in the magazine but would think that 3-5 is probably a better estimate for the target ages. 

Story pages
We liked the magazine but can't see it being a regular purchase at the minute as Nate is far too young for most of the content. 

We were sent the magazine to review but all opinions are our own

Friday, 13 September 2013

Travelling by Train Age 2

Our strategies for travelling by train with Nate have changed over time. We travel by train often mainly it's a short 15 minute trip other times when we are visiting my family it's 2 hours on overground trains and underground.

A very content Nate

Recently I found play dough for £1 in Tiger. This is our favourite toy for train journeys as I'm not fussed it we mix it, loose it or make an amazing sculpture. It's £1 and has lasted us a month of train journeys money well spent. 

Me making a rose with the play dough

Comics, comics and more comics. We had several for our flight to Barbados. It's a brilliant way to pass time, choose an activity to do and stick to it. We read the stories first and then if Nate asks we put the stickers on. The reading of stories and stickers can easily last over half of our 2 hour journey. At present his favourite comics are Octonauts also his favourite TV show and In The Night Garden which is slightly odd as he very rarely watches the show but wants the comic. 

Books, if its been a particular train heavy month we sometimes exhaust our comic collection from that month. I tend to have a book with me however, Nate has his favourites at the minute it's How The Grinch Stole Christmas. 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Lucky 2001-2013

Yesterday we said goodbye to our dog. She hadn't been right for a couple of days and then her stomach bloated out and she felt very hot. Off to the vet we went, he said she was in pain but didn't know the cause so kept her in.

Overnight they loaded her with painkillers and antibiotics before taking her to X-ray and also giving her an ultrasound. She had a diaphragmatic hernia and had a lot of fluid around her lungs. I was given three choices: 
1) surgery
2)load her with more pain relief and pray
3) put her to sleep

As I was out at the time the vet called I phoned back to speak in depth with him. The type if hernia she had was common in animals who had been in a car accident but also can occur if they have a growth. She's just recently had a growth removed from her back. I was warned against surgery due to her age and the second option was more than likely delaying the inevitable. 

How do you explain to a just two year old the dog who has always been there is going? We took Nate to say goodbye. Lucky is going on holiday to become a star in the sky. Then my dad and Nanny stayed with Lucky while I took Nate outside to see the birds. Nate took Lucky's collar and put it around his arm. Then all of a sudden said "I don't want to see the birds I want Lucky!" "I want to see Lucky on holiday". On the way home he wanted to sit on my lap and then when we arrived he told me he didn't want to go in. 

I'm sure tomorrow he won't ask again but tonight he has been insistent that he wants to see her. Why wouldn't he? She was there when he came home from hospital, she was his target when he started moving, Lucky has always been here to him. 

We all miss you Lucky.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

BT Student Deal

I'm due back to University at the end of this month and as always with this time of year when you know you're going back to university I've started to look for student deals. I recently came across the BT Student Deal.

The BT Student Deal consists of:

  • Nine month subscription - perfect if you are planning on returning home for the summer. 
  • Two different subscriptions - Infinity (38MB £20 a month) or Broadband (16MB £16 a month)
  • Unlimited connection - how many papers have you downloaded for your dissertation? Or even that Netflix subscription.
  • BT SmartTalk App- This app allows you to call 0845, 0870, 0800 numbers for free from your mobile, if you're anything like me and most of the people I know you'll be thankful for this on the 100th call to student finance.
  • Unlimited access to BT WiFi - When we were staying in a hotel instead of paying extra for their WiFi we connected onto the BT hotspot. There are plenty of hotspots in and around London.

Check out BT's website for more information. I've chosen my favourite parts of the deal but this list does not contain all of the information

I was lucky enough to be chosen to be a BT Ambassador. They are providing a BT subscription for me to review.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

London's Southbank

Over the weekend we decided to wander around the Southbank being Nate's dads  favourite places in London. Over the weekend there is the lovely food market. Which has Churros for the dairy free option we have them without the chocolate sauce.

Nate woke up just as we walked past Beano Town which has been open since May and will close at the end of this week. There wasn't much to do for children as young as Nate however, he liked just climbing through the huge letters. 

I have no idea how he got through there

Outside of Beano Town there are two kennels. 

Gnasher time

For us Beano Town was the perfect place for Nate to run about and burn off some energy. Ready for us to continue walking along the Southbank. 

There was a stall that showed children and adults how to make pizzas and allowed them to get hands on and make their own pizza

Nate was a little small and barely could see above the table but he loved it. The lovely Vincent was amazing with the children, we watched as he spoke to the older children who came just after Nate and he was incredibly patient and humorous in how he explained why you do certain things.

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of his lovely pizza as it got a little burnt in the wood fired oven. I think we will be making pizzas at home after seeing how much he enjoyed choosing his toppings. 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Children's range at Uniqlo

This weekend Uniqlo launched theirchildren's  range in White city Stratford. We went along to have a look and ask a few questions. The range for older children is rather nice I always associate Uniqlo with their Heat Tech range so was very happy that they have included it in their children's range.

However, the babies range disappointed me, I don't particularly like overly patterned clothes for babies and the trousers were either leggings or overly fussy with pockets for a young baby. Then comes the next issue I had, there was a lovely furry hoody which I thought would be perfect for Nate at nursery but they didn't have any in his size. In fact there was very little in size 2-3. Most of the clothing range started at 3-4 even though they had XS listed as 2-3. 

When Nate is a little bigger I'll be there buying one of their down jackets (even if I would prefer a completely down jacket instead of poly/down as they stand) and he already has a few Heat Tech t-shirts to get him through winter. 

Nate enjoying having his picture taken

Monday, 2 September 2013

Butterfly exhibit

While we were in London we decided to take Nate to the Natural History Museum. When we arrived we saw there was a Butterfly exhibit, Nate saw the butterfly poster and immediately said "look butterfly".

Into the Butterfly exhibit we went for £4.50 (including a donation to the Museum) for us adults and Nate went free. It was hot inside the exhibit but there was lots to do for a slightly older child. Nate loved looking at the butterflies so long as they didn't fly too close to him, in which case he turned his head into whoever was carrying him.

On a table there was fruit laid out for the butterflies to eat which had various butterflies on. This was Nate's favourite part as there was a "butterfly with a monster eye" which he is still talking about.

Can you see the monster eye?

Within the exhibit there was lots of information regarding the three stages of the butterflies life cycle and examples of each as well to be spotted (especially the caterpillars).

We spent about 30 minutes in the exhibit and probably could have spent longer in there, although it is better suited for slightly older children as they had questions for children to answer and stamps to collect.