Wednesday, 29 February 2012

CubbyKit Review

When I heard about CubbyKit I thought that it was such a great idea, I was thrilled to be offered a sample one for Kit to try out. Check out their video to be as enchanted as we were.

Kit was hugely excited by the large box that arrived, addressed to him. A CubbyKit would normally come with three themed activities, age appropriate to your child. In the box is everything that you need to do the activities.

The activities that we received were part of the 'Outer Space' theme from the 3-4 year olds box. We set about making a rocket picture.

We had lots of fun creating our picture and Kit was very proud of the outcome. With an extra bit of paper there would have been enough to create a second picture if he had wanted. The instructions came with links to other activities on the CubbyKit blog and also external space-related links, which meant there was the guidance to extend the activity into a real learning opportunity. Our second activity was a Constellation Wall Chart, which Kit was less engaged with, but I think that was more to do with his age (he isn't quite 3). This even created an educational wall chart that your child could look at and learn from. The third activity, which we didn't receive, would have been a kit to make your own playdough martians.

At £19.99 a month I personally couldn't afford to pay out to receive this treat, and it does feel a bit pricey. That said, if I had more than one child I think that the box could probably spread for more enjoyment and it would be more worth the money. If you're a busy Mum or Dad and don't have the time to plan your own activities, it is a great way to engage your kids with creativity, without having to trail the shops for craft supplies.

Disclaimer: We were sent a CubbyKit free of charge for the purpose of the review.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Trendy Toddler Tuesday

As Kit was feeling has got more opinionated about what he should wear recently I thought I might start joining in with Mummy's Busy World's 'Trendy Toddler Tuesday'. I'm not sure that my son's style is 'trendy' but it is increasingly more him!

I'd picked him up some sunglasses from John Lewis yesterday, which he is now in love with, although it wasn't that sunny today!

The fleece is also John Lewis (a gift from Nanny and Grandad) and the gillet is Green Baby. He is wearing a very grubby pair of Gap chinos too but he wasn't really standing still for photos (until he fell asleep on the bus!).

I'm hoping to remember to join in most weeks now, although Kit's wardrobe (or what he will wear of it) isn't that vast so we'll see.


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

23 Questions - I got double-tagged!

I've been tagged twice in very similar things so I'm cheating and joining them together. I'm skipping part of one of them so I'm just answering all the questions and setting some more. Hope that's ok.
Jennifer's Little World's 12 questions:

1) What is the opening line to your favourite novel?
'Once when I was six years old I saw a beautiful picture in a book about the primeval forest called True Stories.' (Although I'm not sure it counts as a novel.)

2) Which film makes you cry?
I nearly cried at Toy Story 3 when I saw it last week, but I managed to pull myself together! Life is Beautiful guarantees tears.

3) Twitter or Facebook?
Both for different reasons. Probably swaying more towards twitter, when my phones app for it is working!

4) Do you hoover under the sofa?
I can't lift my sofa (it's a daybed) so no.

5) If you were to come back as an animal, what would it be?
A cat. I need to catch up on some sleep!

6) If you had to move to another country, where would you go?
France. Or maybe Japan, but I really don't speak Japanese, whereas I can survive on my French!

7) Marmite - love it or hate it?
Love it. Mmm
8) Disney or Dreamworks?
Disney. I actually wake up in bed with Buzz Lightyear most mornings these days!
9) What is your favourite holiday destination?
At the moment my parents house in Worthing! I'm just applying for our passports though and we are off to France in the summer, probably France!

10) What is your earliest memory?
My mum doing up the toggles on my duffle coat. No idea how old I was or anything else about it though.

11) Would you wear your pajamas to the supermarket?
I did when I was a student and we used to go at 3am for kicks! I might now, but I would cover the fact I was wearing them by pulling jeans over the top and a coat or something. I can't imagine I time I would be able to though.
12) What would you say to your 16 year old self?
You don't really want to become a Dr, don't take those A-levels!

Emma in Bromley's 11 questions ...

1. How long have you blogged for?
Since July last year, so nearly 8 months now. Although I had a previous blog I wrote two posts on and noone read either of them!

2. If I held a blogging event, would you come?
Yes I would. Are you planning one? :)

3. Do you pinterest ?
I have a pinterest account. Actually I pined something yesterday, it was only my third pin though and I've had the account for quite some time. I've not got into the habit yet!

4. What's missing from your kitchen?
A freezer!

5. What theme are you doing for your child's party this year?
I don't think there will be a theme. It will be a picnic in the garden. Picnic is probably the closest to a theme I'll acheive. :)

6. Have you given anything up for lent?
Nope. I'm not religious. Although we did have pancakes and will be hunting for eggs we're doing so in a Spring festivity and tradition type of way rather than out of religious celebration.

7. Have you thought of an invention?
Lots, but I'm not telling anyone because they might steal my ideas!! (Honest)

8. If you were to have an actual hour to yourself - what would you do (no housework allowed!)
Whenever I do have an actual hour to myself I normally do housework!! If I was forced to do something that wasn't housework I'd probably spend it at the allotment and actually make some progress myself rather than my dad doing it all.

9. What was the last book you read?
The Hunger Games trilogy. It has scarred me for life.

10. If your 2 year old was imagining monsters - what would you do?
My 2 year old does imagine monsters. We scare them away, if scaring them away shouting at them stops working and he is genuinely scared then I will engage the help of the Certificate of Death that I purchased from the Monster Supplies shop at the Ministry of Stories and the monster will pass away! I wish I could still imagine those types of monsters so I don't want to take that away from Kit, so long as it isn't really distressing him.

11. Do you believe in aliens, ghosts or vampires!?
I used to think that I saw ghosts in my bedroom when I was younger. I'm not sure if I really believe in them though. Aliens and Vampires, probably not - although if I met a Cullen I would be happy to join up - I'm a vegetarian anyhow so I could cope with surviving on 'tofu' for the rest of my life! (Twilight geeking - sorry)

So my questions for you...

When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?
If you could be a Disney character who would you be?
What's your favourite colour?
How do you like your eggs in the morning?
Sleep or chocolate?
What is your favourite film?
What song is the soundtrack to your life right now?
Do you eat breakfast every morning?
What was the last thing that you grew?
What is your favourite word?
Can you touch your nose with your tongue?

I am tagging...

@2starsandaswirl @domesticgoddesque @smilinglikesuns @butwhymummywhy @The_EmilyB @iheartmuthahood @blubirdsunshine @MelkshamMum

If you've already been tagged, or don't want to take part I won't be offended. If anyone else wants to join in let me know. :)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


I mentioned in my listography list that I love craft magazines. Well, one of the magazines that I love is Mollie Makes. This month, in honour of pancake day, they had a pattern for making your own felt pancakes and frying pan.

Well I saw them and I thought, I have to make that for Kit for pancake day. So I stayed up until the early hours last night sewing Kit some play pancakes! I literally only made one of these pancakes, and then I improvised a different kind of pancake, because I really needed to get some sleep! Kit already has wooden frying pan so he didn't need one anyhow. Needless to say, Kit is on an anti-pancake crusade today so isn't in the slightest bit interested in playing with them!

We did of course make actual pancakes this afternoon. Kit enjoyed stirring the batter. We used this recipe, for American style pancakes, as I don't like the regular style ones. I was quite happy with the result as I'm definitely not a natural pancake maker! In Kit's anti-pancake stance (he normally love pancakes) he kept saying that the pancakes wouldn't fit in his tummy so he didn't eat much. I'm guessing that his cold is bothering him a bit more than he is letting on!

Happy pancake day everyone.

The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt

If you are looking for an alternative type of Easter egg hunt for the kids this year, while raising money for charity, and where the prize is a little more spectacular than a creme egg, then read on.

This extrordinary egg hunt is also seeking to raise up to £2 million for leading children’s charity, Action for Children, and Elephant Family, the UK’s biggest funder for the endangered Asian elephant.

So how do you join in?

Today over 200 giant eggs have been hidden in secret locations throughout central London in what is set to be the worlds biggest Easter egg hunt! ‘The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt’ will see members of the public racing to find the giant eggs, which have been exclusively designed, embellished and decorated by some of the world’s leading artists, architects, jewellers and designers including Mulberry, Sir Ridley Scott, Zandra Rhodes, Diane Von Furstenberg, Marc Quinn, Bruce Oldfield, the Chapman Brothers, Theo Fennell, William Curley, Candy and Candy, Zaha Hadid, Bompas and Parr and Polly Morgan. 

You are invited to join in for the chance to win the world’s most extraordinary prize, the Diamond Jubilee Egg, a fabulous creation valued at over £100,000. Crafted with precisely 500 grams of rose gold, the design is a one-of-a-kind, based on Fabergé’s much loved Matelassé jewellery collection.
It features 60 gemstones – one for each year of Her Majesty The Queen’s reign – set in the pleats of its quilted rose gold surface and comprising diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires.

To enter to win the prize, and raise money for the charities at the same time, hunters need to locate the unique SMS keyword displayed on each of the eggs and text the keyword to a dedicated text number, 80001 (1). For each keyword participants text in, they will be entered into the prize draw. The more
eggs they find, the more chances to win and the winning entry will be drawn at random.

As part of the hunt, members of the public are also invited to take part in The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt Photo Competition, in conjunction with the World Photography Organisation. A selection of the best photographs submitted will go on display at Somerset House within the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition from the 27th of April to the 20th of May 2012.

We're really looking forward to joining in. Let us know if you're joining in too. :)

(1) It costs £3 to enter the hunt, plus 25p per additional egg code collected, plus standard network rate for each text. For 25p, the charities combined (Elephant Family and Action for Children) will receive at least 10.3p, depending on network provider. For £3 the charities combined (Elephant Family and Action for Children) will receive at least £1.72 of the cost of the premium message depending on the network provider. For full terms and conditions please visit

Monday, 20 February 2012

Listography - Top 5 things that make me happy

I thought I'd join in with Kate Take 5's listography, because I'm feeling in a happy mood. She is asking people to post up 5 things that make them happy. So here is my list...

1. Kit's smile. The worlds most infectious smile.
2. Homemade egg McMuffins (AKA poached egg in a toasted muffin!)
3. Growing and making things.
4. Craft magazines - dreaming of what I could make if I had more time!
5. The imaginary dinosaur that apparently resides in my flat. And grrawwrring at him to get him to go!

Why not pop over to Kate's blog and read the other entries, or post your own.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Netmums Single Parents Week

It's 'single parents week' over on Netmums this week, they are trying to #explodethemyth around the stereotyping of what single parents are like. I wanted to join in because it is obviously a cause close to my heart. So this is the single parent myth vs me!

Myth 'Single mums are feckless teenagers who just have a baby to get a council flat.'
Well I've just celebrated my 30th birthday and my son is 2 years and 7 months, the maths isn't that difficult! :) I don't live in a council flat, I rent the cheapest 2-bed (although I'm still unsure Kit's 'bedroom' will actually fit a full-size bed) flat that I could find, privately through a letting agent, and I really struggled to find anywhere who would take me because of my relationship status (despite having a guarantor and a big deposit to offer), I was perceived as too much of a risk! When I got pregnant I had been looking for a place to buy with my son's dad for quite a while.

Myth: 'Single mums are lazy scroungers, taking benefits from the tax payer.'
I do receive benefits. I also work 21 hours (3 days) a week, I intend to work more once Kit starts school. I get child tax credit which pays toward Kit's childminding fees, I also get some housing benefit. This is because I earn below the income thresholds, if you were in a couple and earnt below the thresholds then you would receive the same benefits and actually I received some tax credits when I was with Kit's dad. I've paid taxes my whole life. About 6 years ago I had 3 jobs, one full-time, two part-time, all at the same time - I've worked since I was 14! I'm also currently studying part-time too.

Myth: 'Children from single parents families come from broken homes.'
If our home was broken when we split, for me it was fixed when I became single. I don't think Kit ever felt his home was broken, it just moved from one property to another. I was broken from the relationship that me and his dad had, I'd tried to fix it, and it hadn't worked out - life is like that some of the time. How broken would it be to have carried on and had my son's primary care-giver broken? There is nothing in my life that I feel needs fixing (apart from maybe the freezer!). There are a lot of things I now strive to acheive. I want to be the best role model to my son I ever could and to provide for him in every way (probably the same as any other mum). The home that he has consists of so much more than who lives in his house, friends and family are his home and he does still have a dad who loves him, he just doesn't live in the same house as him or see him as much as other kids might see theirs!

Myth: 'Children from single parent families are more likely to have drink and drug problems, turn to crime and do less well in school'.
Only the future will tell really. Kit hasn't started school yet, if he had a drink or drug problem at his age that would truely be bad parenting! As for crime, well he likes to tell people off a lot, I wouldn't be surprised if he became a police officer!

When people meet my son one of the most common comments they make is how happy he seems. That's what I think is important, happiness. Parenting 'alone' is not easy, but I don't know many married parents that consider bringing up a child a 'walk in the park' so to speak.

I'm not complaining, this is the beautiful, happy little boy I get to kiss goodnight each night, much as I might moan every now and then, I wouldn't swap the life I have with him for the world.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

I got a Snog!*

This is the only snog that I got his valentines! It was pretty tasty!

Technically it wasn't a Valentines snog though, as I had it last night!

I did have an impromtu date though, with Kit. I told Kit it was valentines day today and asked him who he loved, he replied 'I love mummy'. That was good enough for me to offer him a treat! Kit likes a good trip to a cafe, so we decided to go out for brunch. The food was good (eggy bread for him, a chip butty for me - classy!), but he wasn't impressed that he wasn't allowed to take one of the heart-shaped balloons!

We spent the next half hour in the real love of Kit's life, the Disney Store. I'm a bit in awe of it myself, I'm amazed by just how much is going on in the store, it makes my head spin. I'm not entirely comfortable with the fact that I have essentially sat Kit down to watch a series of adverts, but I do like the fact that Kit actually will sit down for a prolonged period of time, and if you've met him you'll know that is pretty much a miracle!

The highlight of my day was this conversation though

Kit: You're a princess Mummy
Me: Thanks
Kit: No I'm a princess. I'm going to turn you into a frog. You a frog, mummy. Say 'ribbit'.
Me: 'Ribbit'?!?
Kit: Good. Now you a horse

I'm not sure what fairytales he has been reading!

*This isn't a sponsored post, I love Snogs. So much so I bought the cookbook to learn how to make my own, but I don't actually have a freezer!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


So I'm a bit late posting about the weekends snow! Due to cake-eating festivities we didn't spend much of the day outside, but we watched from the warmth of the flat while my neighbours in the flat below built an awesome snowman and we did take the opportunity of company to have a big snowball fight in the garden.

Once suitably covered in snow we went back in and warmed ourselves up with hot chocolate with marshmallows. Yum.

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Great Birthday Bake-Off

I struggle a bit with getting out these days! It's generally frowned upon to turn up to a bar with a toddler in tow, and I'm very, very rarely alone! My friends had suggested that it wouldn't be right to let an apparently important turning of age go past uncelebrated so I comprimised a night out on the town for afternoon tea at my flat. I offered my friends the opportunity to take part in 'The Great Birthday Bake-Off', my cunning ploy to get to eat lots of cake under the guise of a competition!

It worked. I was graced with an abundence of beautiful and scrummy cakes.

We started with cookies and cupcakes (I made the cupcakes), most of the cookies were eaten by Kit when my back was turned! Followed by giant scones with jam and clotted cream (which we ate so quickly I didn't take a photo), the cheesecake (which Kit also kept pinching when my back was turned!) and chocolate refridgerator cake. At this point we all began to feel a bit sick. So the beautifully decorated victoria sponge didn't get eaten (until me and Kit got back from work this evening - yum!).

So basically we spent most of Sunday afternoon eating cake and watching Toy Story 3 (as demanded by the small child). I know how to through a good party!! At least the cake was good, I think I'm still on a sugar high! Tastiest ever birthday. Thanks everyone. :)

Friday, 3 February 2012

Happy birthday to you, squashed tomatoes and stew, you look like a monkey, and you live in a zoo!

So I turned 30 yesterday. I'm choosing to celebrate firstly by re-living my childhood and secondly by eating a lot of cake. Here's how I re-lived my childhood, more about the cake next week! :)

When I was at school there was probably not much more exciting than going to the zoo, I used to really look forward to trips to Drusillas and to Marwell Zoo. I followed the stereotype of an animal-obsessed girl, including a line in pets (I'm not very good at keeping hamsters or goldfish alive, don't ask me to pet-sit), horse-riding lessons (I became a master in falling off - in fact so much so they used me to help break-in the newly broken-in horses to riding in a school!), membership to the RSPCA and a large Sylvanian Family collection. Well Kit's not been to a proper zoo yet, and London has one, so to celebrate my turn of the decades we dragged Nanny and Grandad there!

Being that we are in a bit of a big freeze at the moment it was quite quiet at the zoo! We weren't sure what the animals would be doing but figured that at least the penguins would be having a good time. It's marginally cheaper to head to London Zoo in the winter (which is a benefit as it is pricey - we used National Rail 2 for 1 tickets too, and Kit is under 3 so was still free anyhow).

Kit already thinks he is a tiger, and in a bid to move him out of his grumpiest mood ever (just what I wanted to wake up to on my birthday) I bought him a mask on the way in, it seemed to do the trick!

We came to the gorillas first, and I think Kit would have happily stayed watching them for hours, we had to come back to them again because he wanted to see them more! (I thought they looked really miserable - I think they probably missed having room to run around outside given the cold!).

Walking further in Kit surprised me by suggesting, when I said shall we go in and see the frogs, 'can we see the snakes?' Baring in mind he had made it clear earlier in the morning that he didn't want to see a giraffe because they were 'scary' I thought snakes were a strange choice of animal to want to visit! (We really wanted to head in there to get out of the cold for a bit!!)

Having warmed up a bit, and seen some pretty scary creatures (I don't like snakes - I blame my Dad for randomly bringing home one from work once, which escaped in our kitchen), we headed towards the penguins. They were happy to see us!

We warmed up again after the penguins with hot chocolate in the cafe and then went on search of some lions and tigers and well, no bears but 'oh my' anyhow! Kit wanted to find his tiger friends.

Kit was getting frustrated that the tigers weren't responding when he kept saying 'hello' and despite his attempt at 'grrawh'-ing at them (after a suggestion that they might not understand non-tiger language). He turned to get his tiger mask, in what I guess was a last ditch attempt to get the tigers to talk to him, but as he walked away to the buggy so did the tigers so we'll never know if the mask could have got him accepted!

We pottered around other sections of the zoo, ensuring that Kit did get to see some pigs (as he was very clear that he would have rather gone to a farmyard on the way to the zoo). A lot of the animals weren't out, but you could see them in their inside enclosures (there were even hippos in a hot-tub!). Honestly, if we went again I would be tempted to do the winter season again because of the price-drop and it was quiet so there wasn't really the worry about fighting to see the animals or queueing.

We had fun, and at the bus-stop on the way back Kit asked if we could go again tomorrow. So it must have been a good day.


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