Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Portable North Pole

Christmas is just over a week away and Christmas here is not complete without the lovely video from the Portable North Pole. In the past we have always gone for the free video as Nate was too young to really understand it, although he has always enjoyed it. This year we were offered the chance to review it by receiving the premium service.

The first difference I noticed from the free version was the amount of personalisation which was lovely, for those with siblings there was the option of adding names to the book. There was also the option to upload up to five pictures, there was a spot for uploading a picture of your house.

As part of the premium video package, I could also download the video which is perfect for us as Nate has a habit of asking to watch things especially when there is no internet connection. I have two videos downloaded both the classic which was perfect as a before bed treat and the premium which is slightly longer at 5 minutes 12 seconds over the 2 minutes 22 seconds of the free version. Under the premium video options there are three different videos to choose from, at the minute Nate has only seen the Secret Places one where you see the elves working.

This year PNP also bought out an app which has a children's corner, where there is an advent calendar and the ability for the children to view their videos. Nate has particularly enjoyed the advent calendar as each day gives you a different activity of course his favourite activities are the noisy ones.

To receive 20% off a purchase at Portable North Pole use this code: BLG20BKP.

After seeing the difference between the premium service and the free, next year we will be using the premium as the older Nate gets the more he enjoys the PNP videos.

disclaimer: I was given the premium package in return for this review.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Maker faire Elephant and Castle

In November there was a make faire at UAL, a maker faire is predominately a geeky fair with lots of electronics about. I have a bit of an interest in the computing specifically ways of controlling computers. 

However, yesterday we went for Nate's enjoyment. The first thing we came across was Bare Conductive. They use conductive paint to make circuits on cards and more recently have created a board that you can programme to do a whole host of things. One of the projects they had on show was a guitar.

The next was Primo, who make the cubetto robot. I was hoping to see this is action and was not disappointed. Nate happily played with it and wanted to solve the problems that were thrown at him. They use arrows to show which way the cube will travel in, meaning that it is suitable for young children. However, I'd suggest playing on the floor so when they get the arrows the wrong way around, the robot won't fall off the surface. 

The last thing that had Nate playing until he was forced to stop was Electro Dough. Electro dough uses home made play doh to create electric circuits. We really enjoyed putting as many leds in the dough as the battery could light. It was surprising how I only had to explain to once to Nate that the LED's legs had to be in two different balls to create a circuit. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Lush favourites

I have always been a Lush fan and now it seems Nate is a fan. Nate has his own special way of choosing which bath bomb he wants. He gives each bath bomb a sniff and the one he wants he kisses. 

As part of our Christmas tradition, Nate is given a bath product (normally a bath bomb) in his Christmas Eve present. 

This year he caught a sneaky peek at the bath bombs and asked nicely if he could have the Santa one. 

It looks good enough to eat. 

With the spring range just out I can't wait to see which one he choses as his favourite. 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Advent Calendar biscuits

Last year I made Nate an Advent calendar and I've been thinking about what to put in this years one. The stickers and a chocolate went down well last year.

While looking around for ideas, I came across the Mason Cash, advent biscuit cutter and moulds in Lakeland. I decided to buy it and so we spent this weekend making the biscuits to test it out. 

Everything you need except ingredients is in the box. There are five different recipes within the box, with a Christmas theme. 

At first I rolled the dough out a little too thick and so wasn't going to have enough dough for 24 biscuits. 

The biscuit cutter is perfect for little hands with its handle, none of the dough got stuck in the cutter which is sometimes a worry with the enclosed cutters.

Making the chocolate. 

The finished biscuits were lovely, we made the cinnamon shortbread biscuits and were nearly all eaten as soon as the chocolate had set on top of them. 

Tomy boon Glo

Recently Nate has started to be a afraid of the dark and with my love of all things gadgets I've been looking for a nightlight.

I found the glo, which looks lovely on a bed side table, or even on the floor next to a cot bed. Where this nightlight is different from others is it has three removable balls. The stems in which these balls sit change colour or can be a static colour. 


The balls that sit in the stem glow in the dark for about half an hour after they are removed, this was something that wasn't very clear when I was looking at the website. It said they don't get hot and there are no electrics in the balls but not that they were glow in the dark. The idea of removable balls I think is great as it allowed Nate to take one into bed with him and to hold unto until he fell asleep. However, there is the potential of them to get lost, I haven't found out if you can buy them separately but it would be a good idea if you could.  

Some of the colours it cycles through are brighter than others but for Nate the colours are bright enough. There is also the option of setting it to a static colour so if you would just like the bright white light or the red light then you can. 

This is of the balls glowing in a completely dark room. So when the night light goes off and it's just the balls glowing there is still a bit of light being produced. 

Nate really loves this nightlight and he especially loves the balls being removeable as it means he can hold on to the glowing ball and explore under the covers or under the bed, while he searches for aliens.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Potty training regression

After weeks of minimal accidents at home, Nate has had four in the last 24 hours. Even with me asking he's denying he needs to go and then seconds later says I've wet myself. Sometimes it's because he's watching/playing/interested in something and doesn't want to stop. Other times he just doesn't want to go for a poo and so refuses to completely empty his bladder and then within minutes wets himself.
I'm frustrated. Not with him really but changing clothes at 4am, stripping the bed and a screaming three year old all mixed in with him not sleeping through the night (no not ever) is ever so slightly too much. 

This soon shall pass.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Dry like me review

While we have been potty training, as it has been lead by Nate we have been trying not to interfere with his desire to be in big boy pants and so when the opportunity arose to try a product that sits in his pants I jumped at the chance.

If you are looking for something that catches everything for a non-potty trained child, this is not the product for you. If you are looking for something that supports your child on the road to becoming potty trained this is perfect. We have used both the early potty training pads and the normal pads. The normal pad will deal with a little leak, in Nate's case sometimes I think he forgets or gets distracted for a moment and will come to me saying he's wet himself but he's dry other than the pad being slightly damp and then he'll finish his wee on the toilet. For me this is perfect as I don't want him to feel like he's in nappies and therefore can be lazy when we are out nor do I want to traipse around three changes of clothes just in case not to mention three sets of wet pants and trousers.

The pads give Nate the freedom to choose the pants he wants to wear on any given day but still having that little protection in case he has an accident. Nate will happily get the pad out and put it in his pants as well.

The pads with a little pocket to keep them in if there is nowhere to dispose of them.

In Nate's favourite Spiderman pants.

Disclaimer: We were sent some to review although had already purchased the early training pads previously

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Days Out - Gorilla Perfume

I am a bit of a fan of Lush (understatement alert) so when they launched Gorilla Perfumes in 2010 without knowing what they were launching I signed up to go along. That first launch of perfumes was amazing, each room being dedicated to a perfume and the rooms were set up in such a way as to complement the perfume or tell a story.

The last week Gorilla Perfume has launched another set of Perfumes this is their 3rd Volume and the gallery was called Gorilla Perfume presents : Death, Decay & Renewal. I visited twice, once with Nate and another time without. Both times were enjoyable, although this time I didn't feel as immersed in most of the scents, there were props for all but the first time I missed a couple of perfumes without searching for them. To keep Nate entertained there was a comic with each page telling a story about each of the perfumes, this was used for us at least as a way of smelling each of the perfumes as you sprayed the page that related to the perfume. 

On the day I went with Nate the three sisters (3 of the perfumes) were missing but on the second visit they were there. I'm glad I went back as Sarie was by far my favourite perfume.


Three of the perfumes were not for sale (not including the 3 sisters), these were Mycellium, Cyanide and Dead Meadow. Cyanide was another favourite for me, it smelt of marzipan to begin with and then settled down to a slight almondy smell with a floral undertone. 

Dear John and Dad's Garden Honey and Camomile

Kerbside Violet

Dead Meadow

The Three Sisters

The exhibition was a lovely way to spend an hour or so and the shop contained a few of the original perfumes which had been repackaged. The layout really worked although it wasn't as good as the original or the second exhibition it didn't stop me or Nate from enjoying our time.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Potty training

A little while ago, I wrote a post about potty training and asked how to do it. Well recently Nate decided to do it by himself. He just started to take himself to toilet at nursery and put himself on the potty at home.

After a week of him taking himself to the toilet at nursery we decided to try him in big boy pants. Most of his pants have a character on the front so I explain we've got to try to keep them dry which he seems to understand and he will tell me at bedtime or toilet visits that Buzz or Spider-Man is still dry.

At nursery he's having the odd accident where he hasn't got himself to the toilet in time or has missed the toilet (he was sitting) and hit his clothes instead. We've had one accident overnight since he's asked to not wear a nappy over night. For four weeks in, we're very happy especially as it has been done to Nate's schedule.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Huggies Little Swimmers

On Tuesday, Nate and myself made our way to Wimbledon for an event held by Huggies Little Swimmers, from North West London on no less than three trains. Nate loved all of the changes although he was a little disappointed that the last train wasn't a "blue one".

We got to the venue which was a beautiful house with lovely grounds and of course a swimming pool. I was handed a name badge and a coffee. Nate who is always a little shy to begin with started to warm up and talk to people. 

Soon Nate realised there was a back garden and somehow managed to encourage Izzy (photographer) to go on an adventure outside and look at the ponds. Thank you, Izzy! He came back and I had to go on the same exploration and than he encouraged Little Pip and her mum to do the same. 

It soon came time to get into the pool. 

We tried out the Hygiene Mat which I wish we'd had when Nate first started swimming, and as long time users of Huggies Little Swimmers, Nate knew the drill for getting into his Little Swimmers. We started taking Nate to swimming lessons from 9 weeks old as its an important skill that lasts a lifetime, and we are glad we did as he is so confident around water.

We all got into the pool and had great fun taking part in a session suitable for 14week olds all the way up to nearly 3 year olds by Swimming Nature. Little Pip and Nate then got the opportunity to wear the lovely flowery swim hat that appears in the Little Swimmers advert. 

After swimming we were treated to a lovely lunch and a massage for the adults. 

As we left Nate noticed my name badge and asked what it said. I read "Lou & Nate" and he replied "that's half of Louise, mummy, Lou is half of Louise"

Thank you to everyone from Tuesday we had a great time and I loved the geeky chat about nappy chassis'.

The Allergy Show 2014

This weekend was the weekend of the allergy show. This year it linked up with the back pain show, v delicious(vegetarian) and Love Organic.

Brands worth mentioning:
Rebel Kitchen
Secret sausages

As always we had a visit to the Pudology stand and found out our local Tesco stocks them by the Gü desserts. Then I had a little try of the Rebel Kitchens milk, Nate doesn't share his flavoured milk. The adult mylks were lovely especially the matcha green tea. 

The biggest complaint about the show this year was the lack of a show guide and what seemed like less space to walk around and signs for things but with no clear signs for where they would be occurring. 

Monday, 7 July 2014

Samsung Showcase

A few weeks ago, we attended a showcase of Samsung’s new fridge. This was a lovely event which was held at the Violin Factory with lovely food.
Looking at the fridge, which is an American style side by side fridge perfect for a family. The fridge has a showcase door which enables you to just have access to the things stored in the door of a fridge, which keeps the fridge nice and cool. It was great to hear how the fridge had been designed to contain multiple different milks etc… as a family who for a little while were all drinking different milks (cows milk, oat milk and coconut milk) it was a struggle to find them all space in our fridge. 

There is also a drawer designed in the showcase door for children to have easy access so you can encourage them to have healthy snacks.

To round off this fridge there is a freezer with Ice maker and water dispenser. Having measured our fridge at home this is slightly deeper so would only work in a bigger kitchen.

 Looking at the fridge from afar.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Ella's Kitchen Weeney Restaurant

Today Nate and I were lucky enough to go to Ella's Kitchen's weeney restaurant. Nate was one of the oldest children there but it didn't stop him enjoying himself. This was a little adventure for us as we had to travel up on to London on the train and I managed to lose a memory card (found now) on the journey. 

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the restaurant were the decorations, sorry rubbish phone pics coming up as I didn't have my camera at this point. There were lovely child friendly decorations with lovely low fence to keep the babies in the play area, it didn't keep Nate in as he easily climbed over it. In the play area there was music playing, the music was about veg and fruit and then soft food toys, shakers, a tunnel and the best bit for me were the plants. There were plants for sniffing so lovely smelly herbs like sage, rosemary and citrus fruits like lemons. 

Here is Nate empty all of the fruit and veg from their baskets
Nate having a look at the smelly section, he took a particular interest in the lemon and lime.

The choppy fruit and veg which could happily have kept Nate entertained for hours

Nate was also introduced to a whole aubergine, we often cook with lots of different vegetables but I have never thought about showing Nate the whole vegetable or letting him explore it before it was cooked. Nate has not stopped talking about aubergines since leaving, I'll have to get him to help me cook next time we are making something with aubergines

After we'd spent a little time in the play area we were encouraged to move to the restaurant area. On the tables there were numbered red boxes, under the lid there were tablets for the babies/toddlers to order their own dinner. I really loved this idea.

You had to choose the age that was most appropriate for your child.

 Then pick your main course by choosing  a picture that appealed to you. After you had picked your main course you chose your dessert by the same process. The pictures were really engaging and illustrated exactly what they were going to receive. I would quite like an adult experience at this restaurant. 

There were also nibbles from the new snack range which went down a treat with Nate, his favourite were the tomato and fennel seed crackers and he quite enjoyed the apple and cinnamon nibbles.

Fish bowl activity

This is an activity Nate came back from nursery with as he'd say down to do it as I arrived. Nursery happily put enough fish, water and seaweed in a bag for us to take home. As soon as we got home we unpacked it and got to work. 

We don't have glue sticks like nursery has, not to self invest in pva glue and some glue sticks. 

Nate happily applied the glue everywhere on the plate, on the paper, on me and himself. 

Nate's finished work. 
Materials needed:
Glue (lots of it)
Paper plate
Yellow paper cut into the shape of a fish. (Any colour will do)
Blue tissue paper torn for the water
Green plastic, green paper will do. 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Toilet habits

I've been away for a long time, I promise to be better in a month's time at least. At the minute there are hundreds of deadlines and people to please. On to the topic of this post:

Nate has been half potty trained for a while, he goes to poo on the toilet. We've had one or two accidents in the last year but mostly he goes on the toilet. However, he will only go once a week. At roughly the same time every week we have this performance where he will be in tears over going to toilet. He is refusing to go to wee on the toilet and I think it is linked to going to poo and the 'pain' he associates with it.

Tonight we have just had all the tears, the begging to make it stop and it made me think. There must be someone else going through the same, or gone through the same. What are you doing to make it more bearable? We've tried prescribed laxatives (days of stomach pain and no sleep), prune juice (how do you get a 2 year old to drink enough of it?) massaging (used to work). If it wasn't for the tears, I wouldn't be too concerned about the weekly nature of the poo, especially as the doctors aren't at all concerned.

Oh and any suggestions on how to get a little boy fully potty trained would be happily welcomed as well.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Peace of Cake London

Recently we decided on an impromptu trip to Selfridges when we arrived it was Nate's normal snack time but we had nothing for him to snack on. Off we set to find something suitable for him to nibble on, as we were out with his godmother it had to be something nice. Nate's godmother found these lovely biscuits by Peace of Cake they are not only dairy free but also gluten free. 


They were so lovely that even the non dairy-free/gluten-free among us loved them and didn't notice a difference. It was also great to find something that Nate can eat without me having to carry a bag full of safe goodies with me. 

Monday, 24 February 2014

RAF Museum

One of Nate's Christmas presents was a LeapPad he loves the camera functionality so much we have to go places to take pictures. This week as he cousin was on half term we decided to go to the RAF Museum and take some pictures.


There are lots of interesting aircraft to take pictures of an even play in. Nate wandered around happily taking pictures of everything, although he did have his favourites. There is a lovely play area in the RAF Museum as well, which Nate happily put down his LeapPad to have a play on. It's great watching him wander around deciding what he wants to take a picture of and then playing with the images on the photo editing software on the leap pad. There is a lovely picture of him which he has mirrored himself and put a little crown on his head.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Waterlogged runs.

Some of my runs have been very interesting with all of the rain we have been having. I quite enjoy running around our local Nature Reserve as it gives me the opportunity to look at what our local river is doing. Last week on one of my runs I was confronted with this:


 The path was underwater, I didn't run through it. I'm not sure my shoes would have coped with it and running with soaking wet feet in the cold isn't something I would have found enjoyable.

Down there is normally a path, our dog used to love running up these steps. At the minute it is back to being a path, not a path I'd use at the minute due to being waterlogged but not under a foot of water either.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Frank bars

I've been a little quiet here for a while as real life got in the way a bit. I'm back now though. We were recently sent some Frank Bars, they are gluten, nut and dairy free. Perfect for Nate, so as soon as they arrived we had to try one. Nate chose the Chocolate and Oat to try and we happily shared this, the other flavours I haven't been so lucky with. These are perfect snacks for a little person and a great post run snack.


Frank Bars come in five flavours: Chocolate and Oat, Double Chocolate, Chocolate and Orange, Chocolate and Strawberry and Chocolate and Blueberry. Of the little nibble I have been allowed of the other bars, my favourites are Double Chocolate and Chocolate and Orange. These bars are yummy treats for anyone not just those with allergies.


All of the bars have a lovely coconutty flavour from the coconut cream used, we love coconut especially as it is our most used milk alternative. All of the bars except the Oat and Chocolate contain EnergySmart and 4g of Protein, perfect for a pre-run snack.

At the minute Frank bars are on special offer on Ocado, buy 4 get the 5th free. Look on their website to see their other stockists:

Disclaimer: We were sent the bars free to try but all opinions are my own.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Chinese New Year

Today is Chinese New Year, we are now in the year of the Horse. Nate came home with a lovely red envelope and a special coin that a friend had made him from nursery. They each made a coin for a friend and decorated them especially for Chinese New Year. I thought it was a lovely idea that they were making them for each other, although I don't know if they knew who they were making their coins for.

I don't normally look at horoscopes or zodiac signs but I saw the Chinese Zodiac signs and had a quick look at Nate's (rabbit) and was very interested. Rabbits are shy, discreet, prudent & honest. Luckiest sign Now Nate's a little young to decide whether these are character traits of his but they are interesting to read.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Week 4 Done!

I've been a little quiet here, but I haven't given up running. I started Week 4 last week, which consists of two 1/4mile runs and two 1/2mile runs with 220 yards of walking and an interval of 1/4mile of walking. After finding the previous weeks doable this week has been by far the hardest with the last 200 yards of running feeling very difficult. As the week progressed this got easier but the last 200 yards remained the hardest and I have needed the rest day whereas before I've not felt like I've needed the rest day

Statistics for the week

Run 1:
Distance: 2.0miles
Overall Pace:12:42 min/mile

Run 2:
Distance: 2 miles
Time: 25:36
Overall Pace: 12:49 min/mile

Run 3:
Distance: 2 miles
Time: 26:45
Overall Pace: 13:11 min/mile

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Cooking together - pizza and apple crumble

Nate's favourite thing to do at the moment is to be involved in cooking. At nursery he has been practising cutting fruit and veg, and his fingers are never too far away from the chopping board if we are cooking.

We decided to make Apple Crumble, Nate had great fun helping me to peel the apples and then chopping them up into small pieces. After they had been cut up small he put all of the apple in a dish and we then covered it with our special crumble mix (75g of dairy free spread, 100g of flour, 50g of muscovado sugar and a teaspoon of ginger rubbed together) we then sprinkled a couple of tablespoons of oats on top. Nate really enjoyed this Apple Crumble and has been asking to make it again everyday.

We then made pizza, normally I make a pizza dough and make the pizza's myself but we decided to let Nate put whatever he wanted on his pizza so it would be his own creation and to encourage him to eat more. 

He started out by putting loads of courgettes on his pizza. So many we encouraged him to take a few off and put a few of the other things we had to put on the pizza's.

Nate's finished pizza contained courgette's, mushroom's, peas, sweetcorn and bacon on it. I also made some dough balls out of the leftover dough. Nate strangely ate all of the toppings on his pizza but not the pizza base. However, he enjoyed begin involved in the cooking process now to think up other meals we can make together. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Pudding First

Yesterday when Nate got home after nursery he wanted some of his special chocolate yoghurt, and after being woken at 3am for the day by him I didn't want a meltdown/argument. He had his yoghurt while I finished cooking dinner and came in with a beautiful smile and asked for more. Thankfully as dinner was now ready it was a lot easier to say no as there was an alternative ready and waiting and surprisingly he sat down and ate his dinner without any arguments.

After he'd finished his last piece of chicken, he piped up with "what's for pudding?" Surprisingly he accepted that he'd had pudding first happily. Wow! A stress free dinner and he had it the wrong way around completely. I bet lightening doesn't strike twice.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Running week 3 run 2

I was up early this morning to go out on my run and as I got to the front door I was tempted to just go back to bed. It was so cold I had to force myself with the promise of a hot chocolate on my return. A positive to it being frosty is the frost made my running route look very pretty. Within a few minutes my fingers felt numb but everywhere else was warm so I had to alternate which hand held on to my water bottle.

The 400 yard stretches are getting easier and I almost feel like I could do another repetition of both runs before heading in. I'm a quarter of the way through the program and I'm feeling a lot better for going out running but I'm still a bit apprehensive about the 5k. I should just stick to small goals, so let's finish Week 3 first and worry about Week 9 when it arrives.

Time -14:22 min
Distance-1.1 miles
Pace - 12:33 min/mile

Emeli Sandé - Our Version of Events

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Running week 3 run 1

You may have noticed that I'm on week 3 but I'm only in my second week of running. Instead of running three times a week like the C25k suggests I have been running every other day which means last week I ran 4 times and this week 3 times.

Today is the start of a slightly different run. Instead of running for a set time, I ran for a set distance. I thought I'd struggle with the distance as I have mainly been running for roughly 250yards and this now jumps to 400yards. The distances were as follows 200 yards of running 200 yards of walking and then 400 yards of running and 400 yards of walking both were then repeated. The first 400 yard run was a bit of a struggle in as much I hadn't found the right pace. After that first 400 yard run, it felt like the run was over very quickly and it was as I was only out running for under 15 minutes. 

Distance- 1.1miles
Pace-13.02 min/miles

So Amazing Luther Vandross Tribute

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Running Week 2 Complete

I have just run my third run of week 2. Todays run was harder than the last two for some reason, it could be due to the fact my thighs are still hurting or it could be I just didn't find my 'zone' today. I felt a lot more out of breath for most of my runs then I have previously.

Today I decided to go back to the park and try a different route in which I had to cross two roads, I think I might avoid that route again as although there were no cars today it could mean waiting for cars to go past and therefore disrupt the run. I decided on the park due to the rain we had last night which would probably have meant the Nature Reserve would be very muddy and some of the paths I have been using would most likely be very difficult/impossible to use. However, I had the same issue with the park as huge sections of the path had huge puddles meaning either running through big puddles or trying to avoid them.

Although it wasn't a great run I could have happily continued running. Small victories.

Distance- 1.5miles

So Amazing Luther Vandross Tribute- Various Artists

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Krabby Patties

Nate is a bit of a Spongebob fan, and previously he had seen and had some sweetie Krabby Patties. However, I don't like him having too many of them but he wants his Krabby Patties, I have no idea why.

The loved Krabby Patty sweet

For a long time I've been promising we will make some, I planned on making them slightly differently to how I did in the end.

I made a cake batter, enough to make 12 cupcakes. I then split the mixture in half and Nate filled 6 cupcake cases with the plain batter, while he did that I split the mixture in half and one of those halves in half again. You should have three bowls of batter not including the mixture now in the cupcake cases with the smaller two bowls of batter I coloured one red and one green and the bigger bowl I put a little of both red and green, to make brown. I filled the cup cake cases with the rest of the mixtures and then baked them.

Finished Krabby Patties

Nate had great fun putting them together and I had planned on making some 'special sauce' but he was adamant they should be no special sauce. 

Nate putting them together