5 Great Things About My June

5 Great Things About My June

I can’t believe it’s June already! May has been a very busy and exciting month. We had lots of time with Daddy at home and we all had a holiday. The kids went off to their grandparents and we took a trip to Alton Towers.

June is looking much, much quieter thankfully.

1. Trip To London
We have family coming to visit from Italy and the only way to get everyone together is to meet in Central London. Not ideal with 4 small children but with my parents help and 2 slings we can hopefully do it without pushchairs and without losing any children!

2. Parents Evening
It’s introduction evening at B’s new school. We’ll get the opportunity to meet his teacher and the new headteacher plus order his uniform. I’ve been warned to take my tissues as they show a tearjerker of a video!

3. First School Visit
Following on from parents evening, B has his first visit to his new school to meet his new classmates. He’s very excited!

4. A Catch Up With My Bestie
We’ve known each other since we were 2 and used to live just 10 doors apart but since I moved from London and we both had kids, we don’t get to spend as much time together. Our catch ups usually involve lots of wine and chatting (plus the odd husband moan). I miss her so much but I know she’s always on the end of the phone if I need her.

5. Tour Of Cambridgeshire Cycle Race
Although a massive inconvenience to us if we want to travel anywhere, the cycle race is coming through our village. We thought the boys would like to go and watch all the cyclists coming through and see what’s going on. It’s not very often something like this comes to our sleepy village.

Interview With My 4 Year Old

Interview With My 4 Year Old

image

I thought I would interview my biggest boy and ask him a few questions about Mummy. These answers are exactly what he said! No prompting involved.

What makes you happy?
My sisters. They make me smile.

What does Mummy always say to you?
Love you lots

How old is Mummy?
21 (the boy can stay!)

How tall is Mummy?
(Stretches arms out really wide) 20m

What makes Mummy happy?
Kisses

What is Mummy really good at?
Reaching for things

What is Mummy’s job?
Work in a boring old office (very true!)

What do you and Mummy do together?
Play all day long

Where is Mummy’s favourite place?
Here (home) on your own

What does Mummy do when you’re not at home?
Sit down and put on the tv. Just relax

What’s Mummy’s favourite food?
Salmon

What does Mummy like about Daddy?
He’s really big and really strong

What’s your favourite thing to do with Mummy?
Making things and getting messy

Where is Mummy’s favourite place to go?
To the park with me

Well that was a small insight into my 4 year old. He makes me out to be very boring but all is forgiven as he thinks I’m 21!

Do your little people come out with any gems when asked questions like this?

Alton Towers Hotel and Splash Landings

Alton Towers Hotel and Splash Landings

A few of you may have heard that I had a big birthday recently (I haven’t been banging on about it at all!). To celebrate the fact that I was turning 30, the Mr decided to treat me to an overnighter at Alton Towers in Staffordshire.

I am a rollercoaster junkie. I could go on them over and over again and I would just not get bored. This was part of the reason he chose Alton Towers and also due to the fact that last time we went, I was 5 weeks post c-section and joyriding Postman Pats van was about as extreme as I got!

The drive from Cambridgeshire takes about 2 and a half hours so we decided to stay over and try out the Alton Towers Hotel and Splash Landings Water Park while we were there.

We had an incredibly wet drive and arrived at the hotel just after lunch. We quickly checked in, got our water park tickets and dropped our bags with the porter before heading over to the Splash Landing Hotel where the water park is located.

Thankfully, both hotels are linked by a covered walkway otherwise we would have been soaked before even getting close to a swimming pool!

On first sight, the water park was smaller than we thought it would be. With several children’s areas plus 7 water slides, a water coaster, both an indoor and outdoor pool plus heated jacuzzi type pools, a lot gets packed into a tight space.

image

image

I took a few photos of the water park after it had closed as it didn’t seem right to be taking them while the pool was open.

image

The outside pool which was being enjoyed by a cheeky duck after closing!

After scanning our tickets at the turnstiles you go directly into the changing rooms. They have a selection of different sized cubicles for singles, doubles or families. There are plenty of lockers, which take a 20p piece, and were more than big enough for both our belongings.

The water park is a very short walk from the changing rooms and upon entering you are immediately hit by the heat! On such a chilly day outside, we could have been forgiven for thinking we were in the Caribbean!

The pool water was also amazingly warm. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to getting in swimming pools and will try my hardest to keep my body parts out for as long as possible! Here, I was able to enter the water straight away without the sharp intake of breath!

We spent several hours trying out the various slides (all in the interest of research). The Mr is a huge water slide fan and spent much longer doing them than me. I much preferred cooking myself in the outside hot tub!

The slides were certainly extreme enough for me. As I mentioned in a previous post (One Lovely Blog Award), I am terrified of water so don’t go expecting anything along the lines of a Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon water park.

We are definitely getting old as mid afternoon we had a break from the water while we had tea and a cake!

The choice of food here is fairly limited and definitely priced accordingly! Our 2 hot drinks and 2 muffins came to £7. If you were looking for something more substantial, they had sandwiches, pies and paninis on offer with an ice cream parlour next door.

We spent a few more hours in the pool before deciding to retreat to our hotel and check out our room.

We had room 263 which was just being the reception desk and along the busy main corridor.

image

It was a really good size with a double bed, a single and a pull out second single. We thought we could easily get all 6 of us in here while the twins are still in a cot!

image

The bathroom was compact with a shower hiding just behind the door. The sink, as you can see, had its uses! That’s my birthday drinks waiting to be consumed. The Mr contacted the hotel to ask if they could do anything to help make our stay more special. They offered him a birthday package of 6 Bud beers, a birthday cake and a few balloons for the amazing price of just £35! Needless to say, we took our own!

After the exertion of the water park we were starving so headed on over to Flambos buffet restaurant in Splash Landings for dinner. Thankfully, we had reserved a table when we checked in as they were turning people away.

There’s a good choice of restaurants across the 3 hotels with buffets, a la carte and a pizzeria available. We chose the buffet restaurant as for £19.95 per person all you can eat, we thought it was quite good value. We certainly got our money’s worth! The food was really tasty and I was impressed that they had an entire section for vegetarian food.

All hotels have evening entertainment ranging from discos to pub quizzes. We were going to give the quiz a go (we love a good pub quiz) but could hardly keep ourselves awake! Knowing we had a busy day tomorrow, we admitted defeat and headed off to bed!

Given where our room was located, we were worried it might be quite noisy but we both managed to get a great nights sleep. Even though we had no children with us, we were still up and raring to go by 7! It’s true what they say about never sleeping the same once you’ve had children!

The cost of our room also included a buffet breakfast. We headed down to the Secret Garden restaurant on the bottom floor of the hotel. It was the first chance we’d had to look round the hotel and it’s pretty cool.

image

image

The breakfast was good and certainly set us up for the day. There was plenty of choice from hot to cold food. There’s nothing quite like a full cooked breakfast before you get hurled around on rollercoasters.

This is a great hotel and was definitely worth the money we paid for it. I’m not sure I’d have been so happy if we’d paid full price for the room though. I’m hoping we can bring the kids back one day but with the biggest boy starting school in September, I’m not sure we’ll be able to afford it or have the patience for the school holiday queues!

Mummascribbles
My Travel Monkey
Mami 2 Five
A Sunny Afternoon – Van Hage, Amwell

A Sunny Afternoon – Van Hage, Amwell

Our boys are having a mini holiday at their Grandparents while we go away to celebrate my 30th birthday. This meant we had to take the kids to the in-laws to deliver them safely into their care.

Usually, we get to their house and don’t really do too much but, as the weather was so lovely, we decided to head off to the local garden centre. Van Hages is not your average garden centre (although they do sell some really amazing stuff). They have a fantastic pets corner and a miniature railway.

The boys loved looking at the animals and trying to convince Daddy that we need a pet. I need no convincing (as if 4 children isn’t enough!).

They have a huge array of animals including goats, sheep, rabbits, birds and some strange exotic named creatures!

image

image

image

After a visit to the animals we headed over to the miniature railway. Run by the East Herts Miniature Railway, this ride on train goes on a journey around a small section of the garden centre. A ride is £1 for anybody over 2 years old which I thought was really good value for money.

image

The boys had a ride with their Grumps who didn’t complain when we suggested he take the kids on! The boys were so excited about their train ride.

image

We were only there just over an hour but could quite easily have spent much longer. It’s definitely a great place to go to pass a few hours without spending huge amounts of money.

Weaning Decisions – Meat Or No Meat?

Weaning Decisions – Meat Or No Meat?

I’m a vegetarian (or ‘pain in the arse’ as my husband lovingly refers to me). I have been since I saw a horrific video about how food gets on to our plates at school aged 10. Possibly not the best video to show a bunch of impressionable 10 year olds but, that’s not the point of this post!

G is a true cave man and would eat just meat and only meat all day long! He’s only made happier by being able to cook his mountain of meat on the barbecue which doesn’t happen very often due to the great British weather!

Whether our children eat meat is something we are quite often asked and probably something G was worried about when I started weaning our eldest.

Everyone seems really shocked that our children all eat meat. It wasn’t even a conversation that G and myself had as it got closer to weaning time. Our children will be meat eaters until they are old enough to make their own informed choice.

It’s not up to me to push my beliefs onto my children. Eventually they will be old enough to decide what they want to do and we will both support their decision (although Daddy has threatened to have any vegetarian children banished!).

It also doesn’t make me a half-baked vegetarian as I am so often accused! I eat rabbit food to save the animals but I am not a pushy animal rights activist who thinks meat eaters are evil. I can still be a vegetarian but live amongst meat eaters.

I’m sure everybody thought it was a fad when I gave up meat and, as awful as this sounds, that is probably what I will think if any of mine go vegetarian. I will support them none the less and, they can join me with my bean casserole for dinner but, I bet they miss bacon within a week!

Outdoor Crafts – Photos Of Summer

Outdoor Crafts – Photos Of Summer

We spent some time in the beautiful sunshine today. After a few games of hide and seek plus, some climbing of trees, we decided to collect some leaves to do some craft with.

image

We did some leaf rubbing. This totally blew the boys minds! They were amazed that I created a copy of the leaf with a crayon. It’s been absolutely years since I’ve done this but it was still excellent fun.

We also drew around the outline of the leaf with every intention of making a colourful picture but B decided to let Spiderman in on the action!

image

The boys loved searching for the best leaves and I think a scavenger hunt may be a great idea for them in the next few weeks.

Nabi 2 Tablet Review

Nabi 2 Tablet Review

Our boys love their technology and were both very keen to play on our mobile phones when they were smaller. After several ‘incidents’ involving our phones, think wiped contacts and random calls, we decided to purchase a tablet for them.

The Nabi 2, made by Fuhu Inc, is designed to be a robust tablet that grows with your children. B has had his over 2 years and O received his 6months ago.

image

Firstly, the geeky stuff courtesy of the Mr. The Nabi 2 has a 7″ multi-touch capacitive touch screen boasting a moderate 1024 x 600 pixel resolution. The brain of the operation is a NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 mobile processor with quad-core CPU and 5th battery-save core supplemented by a reasonable low 1gb RAM. It has 8gb of on board storage, which after Android 4.3 is installed only allows for 4gb of space for apps. But, there is a microSD slot for adding an extra 32gb of storage although this can not be used for apps.

image

There is a front facing 2MP camera for the selfie loving child and a reasonable 3,850 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Charging the battery is done with a thin single pin socket which is known for bending and causes charging issues. This is an issue Fuhu is aware of and were offering free replacement charging cables but only.if you live in the US.

The tablet itself is quite heavy at nearly 600g and has a red bumper which has saved ours on many occasions. It also has a rear face that allows for alphabet tiles to be clipped to the back so you can personalise your tablet. My 2 love nothing better than rearranging their letters into incomprehensible english!

image

The hardware is reasonable and very well placed for its price. The processor, surprisingly, seems to struggle and is sluggish. But other than that, the battery lasts 5 or 6 hours comfortably and the addition of a microSD slot is fantastic.

The Android software installed is a special version which is heavily customised by Fuhu Inc. It features 2 modes, mummy/daddy mode and Nabi mode. Mummy/daddy mode operates justs like standard android. It has Google Play for all the apps, Chrome browser, email, Hangouts etc. Here, you are able set up multiple kids accounts. 

image

The Nabi software offer some specific apps which enable the parent to set chores and reward your child with silver coins (which parents need to purchase) that can be saved to buy apps.

image

This idea behind the Nabi mode is to stop the little ones accessing the things parents wouldn’t want them to or making in app purchases. All well and good, but somehow B was able to buy £80 worth of gold coins without us knowing. Fortunately, Fuhu were pretty good and refunded the money when we explained what had happened, but it did take 21 days for the money to be credited back to our account. We still have no idea how he managed to do it! The child is surely a genius.

Fuhu are also trying keeping up with the rollout of Android by releasing regular updates. Unfortunately, these are released to the US long before anywhere else. Those of us outside the US are treated a little bit like second rate citizens.

We have had a fairly serious problem with O’s Nabi 2. It keeps freezing and the only way to unfreeze it is to completely restart by holding the power button for 10seconds. This is pretty frustrating for a 2 year old who has no patience.

After support from Fuhu’s very active Facebook group, we were passed to the higher level support and it was agreed the unit is faulty. But, due to the lack of receipt (Nabi was given as a gift) and proximity to a Smyth’s toys store (best part of 100mile journey), Fuhu agreed they would replace it under warranty as long as I can get the tablet to them in California, USA. The cost is quite prohibiting to do this and we have yet to send it back.

In conclusion, Fuhu have made a great attempt at making a kid safe tablet. They have not got it all perfect but, at the cost when we first got the Nabi, it was fantastic value.

If you asked us a year ago we would have recommended this to anyone looking for a kid safe tablet. But, having had issues with the customer services, the slow rollout of updates plus, the old spec hardware, I would now recommend other tablets in favour of the Nabi, especially if you’re outside of the US.

The Nabi faces stiff competition from the likes of the Tesco Hudl2, which we have since purchased and found to be as good, if not better for children.

Family Fever
Everything Mummy