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Not now, Bernard is written by David Mckee. It is widely available from all good bookshops, priced around £4.99 and of course your local library. It is oftern read in school as well as home.
First published in 1980, this book has been around for a long time now and has stood the test of time.
The story is about a child (Bernard) who is being 'ignored' by his parents, who gets eaten by a monster, the monster moves into his house and is 'ignored' by the parents just like Bernard.
This book has several strengths. It appeals to children from probably 2 years up to 5 / 6 years. The graphics are very bright and colourful with a good monster. The writing is quite simple so children can join in with the reading. It's not too long a story so parents won't get too fed up with beign asked to read it again. older children can appreciate the humour, as can parents.
Younger children may get a bit scared by monsters but this book will show that monsters aren't all scary.
It's not one of my all time favourite books but I do enjoy reading it. I'd borrow a copy first and see if your child likes it before splashing out.
Zoggs Seal dive sticks are used by many children to add fun to their swimming sessions. The main aim is to increased children's confidence going underwater to retrieve these sticks. Yes, when I was young we had to dive for bricks so these are a much welcome improvement.
What are they?
In the pack you get four different coloured sticks (red, green, yellow and purple). They have a head of a seal wearing goggles. They are weighted so when you throw them in the pool they will sink to bottom and stand upright ready for a child to pick up and collect. They aren't too heavy so are easy to pop in your swimming bag and will be ok for children to collect. They are made of plastic. The main stick is not slippy so easy to get hold of.
Who are they for?
The age says 3+ (as do most children's toys) but my little one as enjoyed playing with them since he could walk. He likes throwing them in the shallow water (up to his knees) then going to collect them. Great for older children to dive in and collect. Widely used in swimming lessons.
Price and availability
I got mine for £9.99 from Tesco but are widely available (including Amazon). One tip is lots of children have these so you may want to mark yours to distinguish them from others.
I would imagine they are good for hoildays and leisure pools but some pools might not allow toys so check before buying for your child to take to their local pool. At £10 they are not cheap but they are durable and would have good resale value on ebay I would imagine.
If your child loves swimming I would definately recommend them.
This was the high chair I bought for my child after weighing up the pros and cons of all the chairs. I used it from first solids at 5 ½ months through until 21 months when we moved him into a booster seat at our table.
Would I buy it again - yes!
Overall , assembly is quite easy. We bought our chair from Mothercare for around the £50 mark. Some people will be turned off by the colour of the chair (blue) but we had a boy so it was ok.
Things to consider
Size of chair - It's quite a bulky chair so is probably best if you have got a bit of room to spare. We never bothered folding it up and left it out permanently, but it doesn't fold flat like some - but it can be folded for storage. It's now in our attic. I didn't find it too hard to fold. The height of the chair was good for us as it nestled up to our table quite well. Some chairs move up and down but I don't think that is a feature that is really worth paying extra for.
Features - Features I liked about this chair included the basket underneath. This is where we stored all his bibs, wipes, mats etc. It can collect discarded food. The chair has adjustable reins that you are advised to use but we didn't bother after the first couple of weeks as he sat quite safely in it. The chair reclines which I never used as he had good head control when we started solids. The padded seat is very nice and make child comfy but is a nuisance to clean if baby is a messy eater. Fortunately mine was quite a clean eater so it was never an issue. I just put the hoover over is every now and then. The removable table is good and can move in towards child depending on the size of child tummy!
Others - It's quite a sturdy chair so wouldn't get knocked over easily.
High chairs are subject to personal preference so go and have a good look in Mothercare and see what you fancy but don't get sold on too many fancy features.
Mars celebrations are a modern favourite in the Christmas (and all year round!) chocolate for a present market. Ten years or so ago if you wanted a small box of chocolates or a tin at Christmas you had the choice of Roses or Quality street for wrapped chocolates. Now you have a much larger choice.
Available in large tins (now a plastic tub) of 855 g or smaller 420 g box. They are very widley available. Tins can be found for £5 around Christmas.
What's in them
This Christmas we got....
My personal favourite is the Snickers and the worse is definately Bounty!
You get about 5/6 of each type in the 420g box.
I like the selection you get and each is a good mouthful sized piece. You can have as few or as many as you want without having to eat a full sized Mars or Snickers. Each is foil-sealed for freshness so they have a good shelf (not that such things matter in our house!) but they won't unwrap themselves in the box.
Of course they're not very good for you - based on a quick calculation - around 50 calories a chocolate and yes too many will probably give you spots!
Given the choice between Celebrations, Roses, Quality Street and Miniture Heroes, I think I would probably choose Celebrations as there is more to everyones taste in the box. However they are probably not viewed as posh so don't take them to a dinner party!
Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Skimmed Milk Powder, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Vegetable Fat, Milk Fat, Peanuts, Lactose, Desiccated Coconut, Demineralised Whey Powder, Hydrogenated Vegetable Fat, Emulsifiers (E442, Soya Lecithin, E471), Barley Malt Extract, Fat Reduced Cocoa, Salt, Humectant (Glycerol), Egg White, Hydrolysed Milk Protein, Wheat Flour, Flavouring, Raising Agents (E500, E501, E341).
Milk Chocolate (Milk Solids 14%).
Minimum and Cocoa Solids 25% Minimum.
Contains Barley Malt Extract, Wheat Flour, Egg whites, Milk, Lactose, Milk Fat, Milk Powder, Milk Proteins, Milk Solids, Whey Powder, Hazelnut, Peanuts & Soya Lecithins
nutrient per 100g
Energy kCal 506 kCal
Energy kJ 2,123 kJ
Protein 5.7 g
Carbohydrate 60.6 g
of which sugars 54.8 g
Fat 26.8 g
of which saturates 16.1 g
Fibre 1.3 g
Sodium 0.2 g
With the increased concern over Swine Flu and the value of hand cleanliness, hand gels seem to have become very popular over the last year. Previously only found in hospitals and with people who need to regular clean their hands, almost everyone now seems to possess some.
If you are going to wash your hands properly with soap and warm water and have nice clean towels handy then you probably don't need hand gel. However gel is an easy way to keep your hands clean.
On the bottle it claims to kill 99.9% of all known germs (what happens when we meet the 0.1% germ?!). It also claims to have moisturisers added to keep your hands soft and smooth. I assume that would be essential given the main ingredient is alcohol.
The gel is dispensed by a push down plunger. You apply a small amount to your hands and rub all over them. It disappears quite quickly. The odour is ok - not fantastic, not awful. There is no sticky feeling left. All in all very easy to use. Once opened it has a shelf life of 24 months.
The main disadvantage with this product is it's not portable. The big bottle means it's best for the kitchen or your office desk. You would probably need to buy another smaller product for your bag.
This product is widely available and costs just under £2 for 500ml.
Thomas - Surprise Action Playset
My little boy was 21 months when we got him this for Christmas and he really liked it. It was a toy he could play with on his own without too much help from an adult once it had been set up.
We bought it in the Mothercare sale for £15.99 (full price £29.99) and it is suitable for 18 months onwards.
It is billed as an ideal first playset for Thomas fans (probably before they move on to the wooden railway).
It is basically a plastic, figure of 8 track with additional features. It is magnetic so when the child pushes Thomas around, various things happen. There is a level crossing with barriers that go up and down, a railway bridge that Thomas can go over or opens to push him through and a signal that goes up and down. There is a also a hopper that will drop cargo into the truck as Thomas pulls it around. A station takes two AA batteries and will make the signal flash red and green as Thomas approaches. The Thomas theme tune can also be played.
Thankfully it is very easy to assemble for adults and is quite durable. It isn't too big either (I'm guessing about 50 cms long and 30 cms wide) so children can easily reach across it. My little boy is happy pushing Thomas around the track, which he stays on quite well. He can play without the lights as all the magnetic bits work.
Well worth what we paid for it but not the full price. Good idea for any little Thomas fan.
My little boy (19 months) loves this book!
Overall this book is a classic for children. It follows the familiar rhyming style of the Ahlbergs and many other childrens books which makes it very easy for adults to read and enables young children to join in with the 'reading'.
The book is set during the second world war and folllows a day in the life of a baby. The baby lives in a terraced house in London with mum, dad, gran and his two sisters. The illustrations are very detailed and enable older children to look at the inside of a war time house.
The story starts in the morning with baby waking up and continues throughout the day until baby goes to bed.
There are holes in the book which peep onto the next part of the story and your child can join in with the word 'Peepo!'
My boy likes looking and naming items he can see in the pictures and joining in with Peepo.
I would definately recommend it from the age of 16 months onwards. Older children can enjoy the book for it's historical interest.
Available from all good book shops. I got mine in Waterstones.
Pamporovo - In Summer!!
Most people visit this resort in winter for the skiing and snowboarding. However we like to be different so we went in August to see what the area had to offer. It's a great place to go as prices are cheap and it's outside of the Euro zone.
Friends had bought an apartment in the next village of Stoykite which is close to the new ski lift and offer us the use whenever we fancied it.
Flights into to Sofia (via Easyjet) late at night saw us and our 17 month old decide to spend the night in a Sofia airport hotel. Next morning we collected our hire car and set off after lunch.
For a summer trip car hire is essential. Public transport around the area is poor. Bulgarian roads are not for the faint hearted and speed limits only seem to apply to us. You need your wits about you. It took us about 4 hours to drive up into the Rhodope Mountains. The route goes via Plovdiv and Bachkovo monastery (where we explored on the way back).
Pamporovo in summer
.... Is closed! While the major hotels are open and some of the restaurants are the town appeared to be sleeping. It's best of avoid it and stick to the other areas of the mountains.
Highlights of the Area
We went with our toddler so maybe looking for different things. We enjoyed
1. Shiroka Laka - a traditional Bulgarian village
2. The food - really good and cheap
3. The beer - as above
4. Smolyan - a traditional mountain town
5. Walking in the mountains - lots of walks along well laid out tracks
6. Picnics by the rivers and streams
7. A walks up the Devin gorge
8. The Trigrad Gorge (We didn't go in the caves)
9. Beautiful views
10. The chair lift up to the TV tower
Anybody who has been on a summer holiday to Austria or Switzerland will have some idea of what to expect. While it's not as high and you have to be prepared to be more independent in terms of making your own itinerary it's worth taking a look at.
This stuff is a life saver!!!! Every new mum who intends to breast feed should have it in their maternity bag when they go to the hospital. It cost £10 for a tube but you will probably only need one tube.
If it wasn't for this product I would never have been able to get breast feeding started. I fed for 9 months before my baby self weaned. Most of my friends who gave up was mainly because of really sore nipples. It's much better than the nipple shields you can buy.
I did my research prior to birth and found this product was rated by lots of mums. I got mine from Mothercare. It's a really thick waxy ointment like vaseline but no real smell.
I had it packed in my hospital bag and it was an essential. After two days of a newborn sucking (almost constantly it seemed) I was cracked and sore and bleeding. I put a little bit on and tried the fresh air and breast milk treatment but the only thing that really worked was slathering tons of this stuff on (and a good breast feeding counsellor). It took a 3 weeks+ to get them all healed up.
It's not harmful to baby so it doesn't have to be washed off. The only down side was because it is like vaseline I couldn't get it out of one of my tops and it left marks.
Have it in your bag - you'll wish you had. £10 is nothing compared to how much you might spend on formula if breast feeding doesn't work.
This is a small zoo / animal centre with soft play and outdoor play situated in the North Lakes not too far from Keswick and Cockermouth. For those of you who know the area it is situated next to Bassenthwaite Lake and Armathwaite Hall Hotel. It may actually be owned by them as it was their name that came up on our credit card receipt.
We just followed the brown signs on the A66 after we had gone past Keswick. It was quite hard to spot the entrance as the sign had got knocked and we (like other cars we spotted) missed the entrance. Car parking was ok and not too far to walk to the entrance.
10 am to 5.30 daily. Last admission is 5 pm. We got there on a Saturday at 11.30 ish and the car park wasn't too full.
Adults: £ 7.25, Child 3-14: £5.25, under 3's free.
I think it's quite pricey but I'm still getting used to admission fees to these sorts of places as my child is only 15 months. However we went to Folly Farm in Wales which was only 50 p more and had far more to do there.
As a small zoo it's got zebra, mandrills, gibbons, lynx, meerkats, vultures, eagles, red pandas, otters, monkeys, wild boar plus small animals like guinea pigs plus some snakes and reptiles.
There is a soft play zone which is quite ok but a poor outdoor play area which could do with expanding for a wider range of ages.
There is a small gift shop and a small cafe. There are quite a number of picnic benches for you to eat your packed lunch.
They have a range of displays and talks throughout the day. We quite enjoyed the falconry display.
It worked well for my family. With a small child it was just big enough for him and had enough animals without him getting over excited. He also liked the ball pool in the soft play. I think the price is quite steep for what you get (compared to Folly Farm in Wales). I don't know how much children above the age of 8 would be impressed by it.
I would think twice about driving a really long way for it but if you are in the area for a holiday or day out it might be worth checking it out as it does have a greater range of animals then the average pigs, sheep and cows.
Wow - This place is really great! If you have a family - definately go.
I spent many years laughing at the name of this place before I had children but once the pitter patter of tiny feet hit our house we started looking at our days out through different eyes. The sort of places we had turned our noses up now found us beating down their doors, desperate to get in.
I really like this attraction and hope I can do it justice in the review but if anything I write puts you off please read another review and be persuaded to go.
What is it?
It is a farm / park situated in an absolutely gorgeous valley in the Forest of Bowland. Chipping is the nearest village. The River Hodder flows through the park and there are lovely woods to walk in. It can be found by following the brown signs in the area.
Wild boars (and baby boarlets) are the main attraction but there are also other animals which include deer, goats, lambs, llamas and cows.
Children (under 2 FREE) £3.50
Family ticket (2 adults & up to 2 children) £14.00
Tractor + Trailer Rides per person £1.00
What to do there
The park itself is lovely to walk around in itself and see the animals in their pens. There is a range of walks which the more active people can do. There is a real emphasis on feeding the small animals and there are regular lamb feeding sessions. There are also regular chick stroking opportunities.
There are really good play area for children and an area to drive little tractors. There are plenty of picnic benches and a cafe selling what looked like quite good food and ice cream.
For thrill seekers there is a tractor which pulls wheeled barrels behind it. For the more mundane there is a tractor and trailer ride. Both of which are extra.
There is a small gift shop and a small selection of wild boar meat. I felt they could have done a bit more on the produce side.
Apparently they cater for birthday parties as well.
I really liked it. We live about an hour's drive and would definately go back again. Probably best to go on a nice day as the majority is outdoors.
'That's not my tractor' is another book in the Usborne touchy-feely books 'That's not my ...'series. These books are loved by many children and my little boy (15 months) is no exception. I chose this book for boy as he seemed to be showing an interest in tractors and I thought it would be at his level as some older books about tractors appear to have a lot of technical vocabulary in them.
Each book follows the same format. 4 pages of 'That's not my tractor' following by an explanation of why and a sensory element to touch.
Page 1 - It's trailer is too rough - has a sandpaper trailer.
Page 2 - It's funnel is too smooth - has a glossy black funnel
Page 3 - It's wheels are too squashy - has black soft wheels
Page 4 - It's seat is too scratchy - has a rough red seat
Then a final page with 'That's my tractor. It's headlights are so shiny'. (sorry hope I haven't spoiled the ending!).
Each page has simple graphics.
The white mouse is still here for keen eyes to spot.
Like all the other books in the series it is a hardwearing book, with pages that are easy for little hands to turn. The emphasis is on developing simple vocabulary related to the item (tractor in this case) and descriptive language.
The books are quite expensive full price (£4.99) but can easily be picked up cheaper (which we did via Amazon) or borrowed from your library. If your child is quite into the subject matter they will get quite a lot of enjoyment out of them. Otherwise they may lose interest in the format.
This book was chosen by my husband for our son (aged 15 months). He wanted to buy it full price (£4.99) but being the money saving scrooge I am I persuaded him to go home and buy it cheaper on Amazon. He thought he would like it as he's into his (real) trains.
The book is a lovely simple format which is repeated throughout the 'That's not my .. series'. There are approximately 6 trains, 5 are negative 'That's not my train' and the last one is positive 'That's my train'. Each one has a descriptive sentence about a feature of the train e.g 'It's windows are too shiny'. The pictures are simple and uncluttered in bright colours. There is a toucy element to each picture. Children will enjoy looking at the pictures or exploring the touch elements. For train fans out there the book has a range of different engine including older steam and more modern engines. My little one enjoys shaking his head at the negative pictures. For cunning eyes there is also the white mouse to spot on each page. The books are good for developing key vocabulary words and due to the format being predictable I imagine older toddlers could be encouraged to 'read' the book.
The books are a nice size for smaller hands and the pages are thick and can be turned independently. Being a hard book it survives well under the pressure inflicted on it by my little one.
My son does like the book and we have a couple in the series. I wouldn't buy too many of the series as I imagine it could get quite repetitive (for the parents mainly!)
This toy was given to my little boy (10 months) as a Christmas present. I thought he might like it as he had the Fisher price Little People Bus and quite enjoyed playing with that.
It cost the person involved £15 so it wasn't very cheap but I thought it could be worth it. She bought it from Boots but they also have it in ToysRus.
Some slight assembly is required but not much, it just a wing to clip on. It's more complicated to extract it form the packaging. It is about 30 cm long and 20 cm high. It has a little handle on the top so the child could carry it.
There is a pilot (female!) which sit at the front. When you push her down there you hear a song or a message from the pilot (3 AA batteries). In the main body of the plane there are tow more little people and a luggage crate. The plane is open top and there is a door on the side. There are wheels (small) on the bottom. The plane has a face on the front and when you move the plane the pilot moves up and down.
Sorry - it's a thumbs down in our house. He doesn't really play with it (yet) and he's now 15 months. Unlike the bus it's really tricky to get the people in and out of the plane. It doesn't move as well as the bus - i.e. if you push it doesn't really go very far. It's not really captured his imagination. May be he will like it as he gets older and he can play more imaginatively with it.
Wouldn't recommend it for younger children.
We bought this for my little boy when he was 9 months. We didn't pay the full £15 pound asking price as I think it was offer at Mothercare at the time.
My husband chose it after my little boy seemed to like it in the shop.
What is it?
A spinning ball on a base that has all the letters of the alphabet with an animal associated with the letter. You spin the ball and you get to hear letter names and animal sounds. There are three modes. One says the letter names, another says the name of the animal and sound and another one sings a song and makes the sound. It's very sturdy and will take a lot of use. It runs on batteries.
My view is my little boy likes spinning it but I'm not that keen.
The pictures of the animal are small.
The noise isn't an accurate reflection of sound that the animal makes.
The choice of animals is strange e.g. needle fish for 'n' - I had to look it up on wikipedia!
They use letter names rather than the phonic sounds of the letters.
The song is annoying.
In my opinion it's another of these 'educational' toys that prey on parents fears that children need to be learning something from their toys but the toys are educationally not very sound and don't really inspire children's play or learning.
I personally wouldn't recommend it if you were looking for a toy as a present.