Category Archives: Reviews

‘Good Bubble’ Bathtime range – a poetic review

The Georgeous has reached that age, the grand old age of two and half. The age at which playing with his toys is everything. Not a moment can be spared for anything else. Eating, bathing, getting ready to go out to his favourite phonics class. It’s all a distraction in his mind, to drive him away from his precious toys.

We have found a way to draw him away for a  few vital minutes to allow us to occasionally leave the house and to stop for mealtimes. Bath time however is a struggle. He actually loves a bath. It’s a place where he has another array of toys which he can only play with at bath time. Once he is in there he loves it and needs convincing to get out. So when I was invited to review some fun and friendly bathtime products by https://www.goodbubble.co.uk/ I couldn’t resist.

 

A bath said mum with a tired old sigh,

A bath for whom? Said mini Sir, not I!

Indeed mini sir, a bath for you,

To rid you of smells like sweat and like poo.

But I don’t want a bath, said mini Sir.

I want to play with my cars first.

But this is a new bath, explained mama dear,

With bubbles of cloudberry to clean out those ears.

And magical hair wash containing fruits of the dragon

To clean and detangle, what’s the worst that could happen?

And as surely was promised, the cloud bubbles grew,

Mama scooped them all up and gently she blew.

The cloud bubbles floated, as soft as they are,

Whilst mini Sir squealed in delight, forgetting all about cars.

His hair was then washed with the fruits of the dragon,

As mama reached for the comb, would you believe what had happened!

The tangles were gone and good fun had been had.

With “Good Bubble” products, bath time isn’t so bad.

Silicone, paraben and PEG free,

No artificial colours or nasties you see.

With ingredients sourced from mostly natural sources,

It’s not tested on creatures likes rabbits, or horses.

Vegan friendly and  great value too.

Pop down to your local store and buy a few.

We’d like to thank Good Bubble for letting us try and review,

So we could share their fabulousness with all of you.

All opinions included are simply our own.

They make mini Sir happy to bathe instead of to moan.

Until next time…….

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Illumibowl Motion activated toilet night light review

*This post is our honest review of the Illumibowl toilet night light. I was provided with this product in return for this review. All opinions are my own.*

Those that know me, know that I like to be nothing if not unique. Add to this the fact that I am most definitely a lover of toilet talk, and you get the perfect accompaniment between product and reviewer. I’ve grown up with Dad’s farting at the dinner table and somehow the conversation always turns to poo. At my last job, I was well known throughout the department for choosing poo as my favourite topic of conversation.

I came across the Illumibowl on Facebook after seeing an advert. The pictures showed me everything I needed to know. When I saw the opportunity come up to review this fabulous item, I couldn’t wait to get started.

Illumibowl

Having a 2.5 year old, I’m still woken at least once in the night to comfort him. This in turn usually awakens my bladder also. Up until now, I’ve always just peed in the dark to try and avoid waking myself up too much. Well not anymore!

Now when I make my night time visit to the loo, I am greeted by an array of eight colours. Glowing warmly from my toilet bowl, it feels little strange when I take a seat and still have a glow coming out from the seat edges. It’s a welcome glow, a “you didn’t just walk in here blind” glow.

My cat’s litter tray is also on the entrance to bathroom. One of my cats has issues with his poos and can sometimes carry them out of the tray. I have been known to step in these in the dark and get back into bed with my foot carrying some cat poop. Hopefully this is the end to this yukky practice.

The illumibowl fits easily onto the edge of your toilet bowl in much the same way as a toilet freshener. The only difference being that the box part stays on the outside. With the slim arm sitting on the inside holding the light, and lighting up your toilet bowl when you enter the room. The Illumibowl is sensor activated so you have to fit it facing the bathroom entrance to get the best from it. The arm is adequate at holding the device securely to the toilet bowl. The light will only activate when it is dark. It is powered by three AAA batteries.

Unfortunately for us, our toilet faces the bathroom door. This means I’ve had to fit it at the front of the toilet. Not a problem for me. My husband worries that it will quickly get pee on the light. You can easily clean the Illumibowl with a damp cloth, as per the instructions.

The light settings can be easily set to one favourite colour or rotate between red, orange, blue, green, a lighter shade of blue,purple, dark pink and light pink. I think my favourites are the pinks, blues and green. 

Illumibowl

Now for the company themselves. Any company that makes a product to prettify your toilet bowl has got to be pretty cool right?! It appears from there website that they are also working on a complementing product in America called the Illumisink. You guessed it, Illumisink lights up the tap where the water comes out. After all, we all know it’s good hygiene to wash our hands after using the loo. What a fab duo.

If you would like to order an Illumibowl motion-activated toilet night light, visit their website here https://illumibowl.co.uk/ Whilst visiting their website, I’d recommend also checking out their fab potty training tips and my personal favourite, potty humour. There are some great jokes on toilet humour. The potty training tips are very timely as we just entering that stage with George.

Our overall household opinion is;

Me: This is such a fabulous product that I have to try and stop myself getting so excited that I wake up too much. It’s like a mini gentle disco whilst I pee.

Hubbie: He’s just worried he’s gonna piss on it. But it’s not the company’s fault our toilet is located where it is (his words).

George: (He’s not likely to see it until winter as he is sound asleep by the time it gets dark due to the time of year.) But I know this will be invaluable once he starts properly potty training and getting up in the night to use the loo. Hubs may actually find me and George hosting our own bathroom disco in the middle of the night.

Cats: They are probably thinking what the f***, but it lights up their bathroom experience too, so it’s win win.

My advice. Buy one. You won’t regret it. Give your friends and family toilet envy.

Everyone soooo knows what they are getting for Christmas from me now

Until next time…..

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Ponies, Pub friends and Peppa Pig – A New Forest Holiday.

We have recently returned from a 4 night holiday to the New Forest. If I were to summarise our experience in short then ponies, pub friends and Peppa Pig are just a few of the things that made our stay there wonderful.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Oh great! Another mummy review about a holiday I couldn’t give a shit about!” But after regularly updating my personal Facebook page and also posting photos on instagram, I had lots of questions coming from people. They wanted to know what I thought of places we visited, where we were, so even if there is a small minority want to read this crap, then my possibly arthritic fingers have ached for nothing. (Big cheesy grin and a thumbs up from me.)

Our decision to book a break in the New Forest stemmed from a desire to take George (now 2 and half years) to Peppa Pig world before he completely lost interest in it altogether. If I’m honest I was feeling pretty hyperactive about it myself.

The New Forest really doesn’t describe itself very well. It’s actually a really, really old forest, decades in fact. But what it isn’t telling you is that it is one of the largest unenclosed pasture lands in the south east. Largest what what of a where now? Well basically it means that once you cross that cattle grid, it’s hello free roaming animals! Nothing can prepare you for the surreal beauty of this place!

Being my typical research freak self, I began looking for places to stay late last year and stumbled across an adventure packed holiday camp called Sandyballs. I checked that this wasn’t some sort of swingers camp, (have I ever told you about the time my 18 year old self and hubs accidentally found ourselves on the nudist beach at Brighton!)After confirming that everyone would be fully clothed and no car keys would be swapped, I subscribed to their mailing list.

Sidenote: I have no problem with swinging if that’s your chocolate cake. Each to their own. I just wouldn’t book that type of resort for a toddler friendly holiday. Let’s still be friends yeah.

new forest ponies

Just before New Years, they had a flash sale offering 15% off of the booking price. As a result, I managed to book us a comfort caravan on the site for £207 for 4 nights. When looking at hotels in the local area that offer 2 nights at Peppa Pig world (Paultons Park) and one night in their hotel, it equated to almost the same price and you would still be 18-30 miles away from the theme park!

Although the Sandyballs booking didn’t include the Peppa Pig tickets, these are £27.25 if purchased in advance online. Saving £4.50 per person the day and once purchased the ticket is open ended so can be used once on almost any date until the end of October 2017.

Our booking included a 4 night stay in a two bed caravan, sleeping 4 people. The caravan came equipped with central heating in all rooms, microwave and a decent size lounge television with built in DVD player.  It had other things but these are the things that are important to me and the night time milk monster. For a full inventory, check the Sandyballs website. (Link further down, cheeky way to force you to keep reading methinks).

In my own opinion and with relatively high expectations I found the accommodation clean and comfortable, aside from the mattresses on the beds! These were very soft if i’m being polite, completely knackered and in need of an update if I’m being honest. On one of the singles you had to fight not to roll off one side.  Outside you have a single parking space directly next to your caravan, some were a very short walk to a small parking area. If you have ever been to Centreparcs though then this is a luxury you will possibly appreciate. You also have a picnic table and barbeque. All service charges and linen are included in the price. As well as use of the leisure facilities. I’m not going to waffle on about everything in lots of detail because their website does that all for me.

All you need to know is, I loved it, hubs loved it, George said he loved it. Although at the time he was going through some weird “I can’t believe you’ve driven me 2 hours up the road and called it a holiday anxiety”. He spent the week insisting hubs carried him everywhere like some sort of Egyptian ruler and told me to “go away, I don’t want you”. To be fair though, when we took a walk through the forest it had random strange headstones and felt eerie. So perhaps it was haunted and George was in fact possessed for the week.

new forest comfort caravan

My overall opinion is that is was clean, friendly, welcoming and somewhere we would most definitely recommend.

Onsite you have a convenience store. The prices are relatively reasonable and not massively increased. Genuinely! I’d say everything was marked up by about 50p more than the supermarkets but that’s to be expected. There are a few local supermarkets such as Tesco express and Waitrose just a short drive away though.

There is an amusements arcade with a good selection of old and new style arcade games and penny drop machines. Next door to this is an unsupervised soft play area for younger children and toddlers. We didn’t get around to trying this unfortunately, but it looked pretty cool. As did the huge park play area which again we sadly didn’t get around to trying. But there wouldn’t be a reason to go back if we had exhausted everything so every cloud and all that.

sandyballs amusement arcade

Across the road from our caravan we had an access path to the forest. This was an active walk up and down hills and with access to the river. A toddler could manage it though. Sandyballs appear to own this part of the forest as there are many signs for their activities such as clay shooting and pond dipping. They have such a huge array of activities. We didn’t actually book any except cycle hire. There really is so much to do for every age. Checkout their website here, Sandyballs to see all they have to offer. It has our seal of approval.

Anyone that knows me, knows I believe that life is too short and the world is too vast to return to the same place twice. But on  rare occasions I will. I believe Sandyballs has so much to offer that we would both love to return for maybe a 7 day stay and hire a lodge with a hot tub.

It’s also worth noting that we went just out of season in the last week of March so there is more on offer during peak times. There wasn’t much in the way of evening entertainment. Onsite there is a restaurant, The Forest table, offering Italian cuisine. We had a fry up breakfast here one morning and it was delicious. This restaurant appeared calmer of an evening and less suitable for the likes of a noisy toddler and his Blaze and the Monster machines car tearing it up and down the table.

We chose to dine at the Woodside Inn one night and stopped by a second night for dessert and drinks. The Woodside Inn is both dog and child friendly. This reminded me of the scene in the film Titanic. Whilst the more refined classes were enjoying fine dining in the upper decks or in this case The Forest Table. We were herded together, dogs and rowdy children into the pub the Woodside Inn, to do some irish dancing on the tables. Clearly this is just a figment of my imagination but it did make me chuckle.

We absolutely loved it at the Woodside inn. The food was lush and portion sizes were sufficient. We attended the pub quiz curry night on the wednesday and there was a good mix of pensioners, 50 somethings and thirty something families in attendance. The banter was good and the quiz was very well organised. Needless to say our confidence wasn’t much help as we came close to bottom.

The staff everywhere were very friendly and always made an effort to interact with George, who was at times struggling to adjust to the excitement of being on holiday and was being very clingy and temperamental.

The swimming pool area was nice but it wasn’t all singing and dancing, no slides or alike. There are two small triangular splash pools for toddlers, either side of the steps to the main pool. As it was March, we couldn’t try the outside pool as it is closed off peak. I absolutely loved having some much needed chill time in the Jacuzzi and Spa, pummelling my sore muscles after a crazy bike ride. Whilst still being able to seeing hibs and little one play together in the splash pool.

new forest mountain biking

Ah yes, the bike ride. Hubs and I haven’t ridden bikes in just over two years. Having hired from  the onsite cycle centre, who provided us with a route map of varying difficulties, we set off. It was George’s first time on the back of a bike in a special childs seat. We were apprehensive as to whether he would enjoy it, but he really did.

Our chosen cycle route took us down the road before entering the forest. Once in the forest, we encountered many ponies. You are advised not to approach or touch them, but they approached us so it seemed rude not to. They simply wanted a little scratch and then they were on their way again, munching through the forest. At one point a grey pony crossed the path ahead, specifically to stand in my way. I asked him if he was trying to tell me not to continue that route and he simply looked at me and walked off. Leaving me dumbfounded. Needless to say he wasn’t wasn’t warning me about any dangers ahead. Maybe about the small stream we had to ride across that I ended up getting a sodden foot in, but I’m here to tell the tale.

The ponies were just totally surreal. As soon as you cross the cattle grid there are ponies galore, with the odd cow and donkey. It was just awe-inspiring.

Until next time…..

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Flying With A Baby

Happy Birthday to Me – bakerdays letterbox cake review

This post is focused on our bakerdays letterbox cake review. I was gifted this wonderfully unique cake, in return for my honest review. To found out what makes this cake unique read more here.

I have received many things through my letterbox in the 10 years we have lived here. (Is it just me or does that sound like the rudest innuendo ever!) Ahem, anyway, my trusty letterbox has, over the years seen nasty council tax bills, charity clothing bags prompting me to have a clear out, and leaflets encouraging me to purchase multiple conservatories, pizzas or garden pruning services.

This month probably saw the letterbox receive one of the best things yet! An amazingly well packed, gorgeously designed and delectably tasting birthday cake pour moi! This cake was ordered by myself, for myself as a delectable birthday treat.

Now, I say I received it through my letterbox because that is how it was intended to be delivered. However, my letterbox had other ideas! Resulting in a little trip the following day to the sorting office to collect said cake. Simple enough one would think, but with a toddler suffering with wingebagitis I dread every attempt to leave the house at the moment.

After collecting the cake, and cursing the postman under my breathe, I decided to try posting it through my letterbox myself. After all, the packing states “I fit through the letterbox”. Now, I’ve always considered my letterbox to be of an average size but the arrival of this cake has revealed something that I must now hold my hands up to. Yes, I must admit, I have a smaller than average letterbox!

bakerdays letterbox cake review

I’m nothing but determined so I kept the cake packaged up through my birthday until I could visit my sisters house. On arriving, I tried to post the cake through her letterbox. It took a bit of manoeuvring (probably more than the postman could be bothered with), but it went through the letterbox. So I can confirm that bakerdays letterbox cake does fit through some letterboxes.

So enough talk of letterboxes. If your mind is as full of innuendo as mine, then all this letterbox talk is completely off the subject.

Back to the cake. Bakerdays offer a very extensive catalogue of designs, sizes and flavours to choose from. The letterbox cake can also be personalised with photos and messages.

Quote from Bakerdays: – “bakerdays is a Personalised Celebration Cake Specialist, providing quality personalised cakes for all occasions. The delicious range of recipes and sizes are available for delivery 6 days a week, and if you order before 2pm, bakerdays can deliver the very next day!”

Imagine ordering one for someone you care for and sending it as a surprise for an occasion be it Birthday, Anniversary, valentines or just because you love them. Either way it will £14.99 well received no doubt. Place your orders here at www.bakerdays.com

I placed an order for the Union Jack Crown Cake in rich chocolate chip flavour. Customised with a picture of my toddler self with the words, “Happy Birthday to Me”. I was impressed with the finished result and it is by far the most personalised cake I’ve ever had.

bakerdays letterbox cake review

The cake, as already mentioned, arrived in a letterbox size box. Inside of this was a pretty tin with air holes, assumably to maintain the cakes freshness. I opened the tin to find the cake wrapped in perforated cellophane.  There was a tab removal system with precise instructions on how to remove the cake without causing damage. For the cake to have withstood the hustle and bustle of the royal mail system, it would have been a huge shame if I destroyed it  at the final hurdle. A thoughtful touch I felt was the addition of  a party streamer, two candles, a balloon and a gift card.

Now for my favourite part, the tasting. The cake was moist and there was a gooeyness to on the base, presumably to hold the cake to the board securely. I kindly chose to share the cake with my mum and two of my three sisters. They all agreed the cake tasted great.

bakerdays letterbox cake review

On reflection, the bakerdays letterbox cake is an excellent concept. I would recommend bakerdays despite my expectations not being met by the cake not fitting through my letterbox.

Was I completely satisfied with the bakerdays letterbox cake? Overall I was happy but it would have been great if it arrived via my letterbox as intended. The cake quality and design was perfect though.

Would I order a bakerdays letterbox cake for a friend or family member? I would consider it.

Do I think the cake is good value for money? Being the thrifty, frugal stay at home mama that I am, I don’t think I could justify spending just under £15 on a 5″ cake. Maybe in the future, if my situation changes.

Checkout bakerdays social media sites here.

http://www.facebook.com/bakerdays/

Until next time…..

 

A review of Everyman cinema – Beauty and the Beast 2017 #KCACOLS

This post is a review of  Everyman cinema, detailing the experience we had watching Beauty and the Beast, 2017. Please note there will be NO spoilers from the film, so please feel free to read on without hesitation.

Visiting the cinema is something I haven’t done in several years.  To celebrate my birthday, (I totally believe in Birthdays by the way!) I thought it was ideal to try out our new Everyman cinema. I know so many people who claim birthdays are ” just another day”. Not so in my books! Each birthday is a celebration of making it through another year. So many people don’t make it through no choice of their own. To my mind, life is a gift to be celebrated. So I asked my darling mum to have George for several hours. Allowing myself and hubs to have some quality time together.

Our local area has recently received the marvellous addition of an Everyman cinema. If you haven’t heard of Everyman , they are a cinema chain offering a luxury cinema experience. For our film of choice I decided a romantic rendezvous with the hubs wouldn’t be complete without a romantic fairytale ala Beauty and the Beast.

On arrival we approached the desk and informed the lone girl at the counter that we had booked to see the 13:45 viewing online. After determining we were there to see Beauty and the Beast, her interaction with us ceased. I had to ask her for guidance, explaining that we hadn’t been before. It would have been helpful to have been asked if we had visited before and explain how things work.

As we made our way to the main atrium, a selection of boutique styled seating and tables confronted us, along with a bar and several people sitting eating. A quick stop off at the loo revealed all the soap dispensers had ran out. The member of staff I informed was very apologetic and this was rectified when I visited the loos again before we left the cinema. We took a seat in the atrium and began to peruse the menu.

Having done my research, (I’m a stickler for research!) I knew you could order food to have brought to your seat in the screening. Again though, being a total newbie I didn’t know how you went about arranging this.

The barman simply asked for our order so I asked how we arrange for the food to be delivered to our seats. He said he would give us our drinks now and the food would be delivered to our seats. (The film wasn’t due to start for half an hour so in hindsight we should’ve asked for the food there and then). The menu has a choice of pizza, garlic bread, nachos, chips, burgers and hotdogs. With sundaes, brownies and then typical sweets and popcorn for afters. Drinks were varied with upmarket soft drinks, wines, beers, cocktails, coke floats and milkshakes.

We ordered an orange and ginger fentimans for hubs and a chambord royale cocktail for me. We ordered fries with cheese each. Then I ordered a sundae and hubs ordered a brownie. After moseying about for a while with our drinks, we saw ourself to the screening room. You don’t need your tickets checking, unless you want assistance to your seat.

everyman cinema review

After settling down in our comfy, spacious two seater sofa, complete with cuddle cushions, we waited for our food. As we waited for the the trailers to begin, a waitress appeared with my ice cream sun

World Book Day – A review of Harold Huxley and Friends by Emma R McNally

World Book Day is upon us so what better time to tell you all about an author I met at the local Christmas Fayre at the end of last year.

Emma R McNally is the Essex based author and illustrator of Harold Huxley and friends. Her books are aimed at children aged between 3 and 7 years but we have enjoyed reading them to a two year old George. She’s such a lovely, smiley, friendly lady, and we spent time at the fayre chatting to her and her partner before purchasing 4 books from her series. All of which she kindly signed for us.

World book day
To start with, let me tell you about the books. We chose 3 of the Harold Huxley rhyming picture books. Book 2, Dragons can fly! Book 4, The snow creatures’ secret. And Book 5, the magical beeley bugs. Each book follow Harold the ‘househog’ , and his best friend Lamb. We follow them on their amazing adventures, encountering dragons, magical flower colouring bugs and snow creatures.

Both my husband and I love reading these rhyming books as they can almost turn into a song. They are also a great way to help George’s learning as we often get him to repeat the last word of the rhyme and the next time we read the book, see if he can remember what it is before we say it. He usually astounds us. The books feel very personal as you know Emma has been fully involved by both writing and illustrating the stories.

World book day
Finally, the fourth book we purchased was ‘The Cloudosaurus Rex’. George being a dinosaur fan led us towards this title. Emma categorises this book as a rhyming picture book with actions. It’s all about the Cloudosaurus, who lives in the sky. His mood that day determines what weather we will have. The book has a repeating theme on each page, directing the reader to follow certain actions;

“Stand on one leg and close one eye.

Tilt your head and look to the sky.

Can you see him? what is his mood?

Should we wear sandals or a snuggly snood?”

it’s a pleasure to watch George enjoying taking part in these actions. As the rhyme continues we have even found a way of incorporating the cat into it by giving her a little scratchy rub on the head as we say snood.

World book day

Most notably Emma has recently announced that she is releasing two new titles aiming to be published in time for Easter 2017. To keep up to date with everything going on in the world of Emma and her books, visit The Adventures of Harold Huxley

It may seem like this review is rather discreet in the information I am giving regarding the books, but I wouldn’t like to spoil the stories for you.

Overall, I feel these will be a part of our reading favs for a while to come, as George ages and learns to read himself. The layout of the books is perfect and the text is large and easy to follow. The pictures have a hand-drawn quality about them and make the story easy for little ones to follow. George particularly enjoyed looking for the hidden spider on each page of the ‘Dragons can Fly’ book.

World book day

I can certainly recommend them. If you purchase them via the website (link above) Emma will send you a personalised signed copy.

Have a wonderful World book day, hopefully discovering new books for you and your little one to enjoy.

Until next time…..

Box set addiction guide

You wanna get yourself a box set addiction, I’m your gal. Ok I may not watch all the current trending shows but when it comes to a boxset I am one committed lady! I honestly feel like you haven’t lived until you’ve got yourself a box set addiction. Here’s my list of recommendations.

Years back, we’re talking VHS here, myself and childhood sweetheart hubster used to spend hours in my bedroom as late teens. Probably worrying our mothers sick with their overactive imaginations, we actually spent a good majority watching box sets.

television box set addiction

Only fools and horses

A classic! I really don’t need to say too much about this do I? I mean where have you been if you haven’t watched this! And it never gets old. Ok, me and hubs can point out a lot of things that aren’t so politically correct these days but aside from that, this is classic British comedy. Please may it continue.

Vicar of Dibley

Should I be embarrassed of this one? The friendly female vicar who has to convince her parish she is worthy of the position. I own them all and hubs and I in our younger days used to watch them on repeat during dinner times. They never failed to make us laugh. Dawn French as the vicar plays the type of person I hope I have become. Forgiving, patient, and able to see the good in all.

Men Behaving Badly

Late nights spent in tears of laughter watching this together. Two guys, two gals living in the flat above and below each other. It’s obnoxious, hilarious and you so wouldn’t want it to be your life but it’s great comedy.

Friends

We still watch these on repeat now. Non offensive they even provide a great background when guests are visiting. 6 friends sharing life together. Although again, if you needed to read what it is about then you truly have been living like a recluse. I used to love having chats about which “friend” we felt we was. FYI I’m mostly phoebe but with a hint of Monica but only hubs see the Monica side of me.

Peep Show
My maternity leave was the start of this particular obsession. A hard going pregnancy and a strenuous job left me starting maternity leave at 7 months pregnant. Enter Peep Show box set addiction. I convinced myself that the baby couldn’t come until I had finished every last hilariously weird episode. Suitably apt for my mind.

Peaky Blinders

Skip to May 2016, and Peaky Blinders. Seeing series three was starting and featuring Tom Hardy (my newest person to swoon over after years of Leonardo-Di-Caprio addiction), anyway, I digress. So with series three’s imminent arrival on BBC one, and my mum having raved about it, I was desperate to get in on the action. I visited my local library and requested to have the DVD sent from another library for me to loan. Both series were on a waiting list.
Queue the moment when hubby made me love him even more by subscribing to Netflix. In less than a few weeks we had watched two full series of Peaky Blinders. I was starting to develop a brummie accent and even threatening to ‘cut’ anyone that upset me or mine (laughs madly). The box set addiction had begun. But as series 3 drew to a close, I quickly found I needed something to fill my time. After all, it’s not like I have a toddler is it! (Winks slyly, gosh I’m struggling to write these days without featured emojis).

The Walking Dead

Seeing that Season 7 was due to start in around 6 weeks of The Walking Dead, I felt compelled to jump on the bandwagon. Luckily Sky had all the series box sets 1-6. With sixteen episodes per season, the house fell into disarray. Every nap time and bedtime I crammed in as much as I could. Nothing else mattered! As Season 7 began on Sky, I was up to speed and happily joined in with everyone else. A bonus to this was my zombie phobia was pretty much cured and I was safe to browse social media without seeing spoilers.

The Crown

So here we here. 2017. My newest and highly recommended boxset (as are all of the above) has to be The Crown. Matt smith is easy on the eye and Clare Foy is just perfection at playing her royal highness The Queen. It certainly gives you a wonderful insight into the little known life of the Royal Family. They have always fascinated me and I’ve always said I would love to be a fly on the wall of Buckingham Palace.

television box set addiction

So there we have it! What are your favourites? I need recommendations to line up as my next addiction. I really don’t think I’m a Game of Thrones sort of girl and as much as I’d love to watch American Horror Story, I really can’t deal with the supernatural. Answers on a….comments box please. Although you can pretend it’s a virtual postcard.

For more in depth info on all the box sets mentioned I would recommend IMDb .

Until next time………

Our first family holiday – Butlins Bognor Regis October 2016

So our first family holiday to Butlins has now happened! We’ve taken George on several holidays since his birth. However, these have all included other members of mine or hubbies family. Mums, dads, nans, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles.

I have found since having George that group holidays are hard work. You would expect that they would be easier and more relaxed as the babysitting duties can be shared. This hasn’t ever happened though and to be perfectly honest I’ve never wanted it to.

I’ve just spent 30 years holidaying by myself and 16 of those with hubby and I as a couple. I love the notion of having child friendly holidays now that we are parents. Doing all the silly activities we haven’t done since we ourself were children.  Overall, since I became a mum I find myself becoming exasperated with trying to fit in with everyone else’s requirements.Butlins

Imagine my extreme excitement when myself and hubby booked a tots week to Butlins, Bognor Regis. Our first holiday as just the three of us, just a few weeks shy of George’s second birthday. It also included Thomas and Friends as the live show, which I knew he would love. (One of the reasons I booked this specific week.)

Butlins

We arrived at Butlins on a Monday and was greeted with a friendly reception team. They directed us towards our children’s themed hotel room. The corridor leading to the room was carpeted with fish pools and life saving rings printed onto the carpet. Your entrance and exit to the elevator was via a ‘walk the plank’ effect vinyl flooring. Each room had a pirate ship steering wheel and navigation board as well as a large octopus cushion and octopus feet sofa.

George’s bedroom was a double bunk room complete with porthole effect lights as well as a soothing soft coloured night light built into the shelf above the wardrobe. The room also had a small flat screen TV. The ship/sea theme continued throughout the room with smart captions on the drawers and a fishy poem with pictures printed on the the bath area wall. We were impressed. It was clean, comfortable for us and exciting and novel for George.

Butlins

After unpacking our luggage we decided to go on a quick walk around the Butlins site to check out the facilities. We had been previously but not for three years and hadn’t stayed during a tots week before. As we walked around we made a note of all the shows and activity timings that we would be interested in throughout the week. George was running around at high speed in complete awe of everything on offer, including the huge expanse of amusement arcades.

We did note however that there were quite a few older people without children, as well as a very large group of adults with carers. Many had a mental disability or cognitive disorder or down syndrome and it was apparent they needed an intense level of care. Their family didn’t appear to be with them, they all had a minimum of one to one care. I thought it strange they was on a tots week but mentally and emotionally many of them were behaving as children do so thought this may be why. We also couldn’t find anywhere advertising the live Thomas show.

Butlins
Arriving back at our hotel reception we were informed that it wasn’t Just For Tots week and it wasn’t the Thomas live show week. Feeling deflated, we got the reception staff to check for us. One call to the manager later and we were informed that it wasn’t our mistake. The website clearly had sold us a Just for Tots weeks but it wasn’t in fact on until the end of the month.

The manager gave us complimentary tickets to a 3D Dino babies cinema experience to the value of £10 but given we had spent £262 on a break that was meant to be specifically aimed at toddlers we were less than impressed but felt helpless as really there was nothing anyone could do. Seeing George’s excitement continuing to build and the amazing  smile he had on his face helped us to realise that in the grand scheme of things it didn’t matter. He was completely oblivious to what could have been.

We chose to plough head on into our week of fun, despite the fact I couldn’t shake the feeling of disappointment. Having informed all our friends and family of our plans to commemorate George turning two, I felt a bit foolish realising it wasn’t going to fully be the experience we had hoped. A quick Facebook update to friends and family helped alleviate this. I also sent a tweet to Butlins to vent my disappointment, along with a screenshot of the misleading website booking.

Butlins

Hubby, aware of how easily my mood shifts (we suspect I’m suffering a mild bout of depression) tried to boost my spirits by pointing out continually how happy and unaware George was. We threw ourselves into making it as memorable week as possible for us all. Clapping, singing, dancing and just generally being as silly and enthusiastic as the entertainment team on site as we went.

George fell absolutely head over heels with the two star characters featured at Butlins, Billy Bear and his girlfriend Bonnie Bear. We watched and got involved in so many shows, we really did have a blast and the shows are really high quality.

Unlike other holiday camps there are regular children’s shows and activities from 10am through to late at night including puppet shows, putting Billy Bear to bed, and live shows of their favourite TV characters. This week features angelina ballerina, bob the builder and fireman sam.

Butlins

The biggest negative of the week was the overall customer service we experienced at some of the onsite food establishments and bowling alley. In the first day alone we walked out from the Papa Johns after being seated but no service. Three places couldn’t make the cocktails I requested from the menu. This was due to lack of ingredients or “technical difficulties” as I was told.

One restaurant charged us £22 per adult for an all you can eat buffet. They failed to tell us they were closing no more than 10 minutes after we arrived. Realising they were clearing the food away whilst we were eating our dinner, we quickly grabbed deserts mid way through our dinner. The waitresses also didn’t ask if you were finished before they cleared your plate. They made George cry when we visited for breakfast as they removed his food before he had finished. After complaining to management they couldn’t offer any compensation or refund.

We also visited the bike hire to enquire if we George was suitable to sit on the front of a family bike, which he was. We left saying we would return the following day as we had a show scheduled. Returning the following day we found they only had two bikes which wasn’t available. They recommended booking these in advance but had failed to mention this the previous day. This is probably common sense to some, but we didn’t realise and wasn’t informed.

When we visited the bowling alley it appeared to be un-manned for quite a period of time. It was a huge effort just to try to track someone down to enable us to book a game. Overall though we had a fabulous week. George fell in love with the place and we are considering returning next year.
Butlins

I would recommend it as a concept but I’m eager to try one of their other resorts.  And I can’t reiterate enough that the shoreline hotel staff and all the entertainment crew were incredibly friendly and welcoming. I will say that had we not frequented any of the restaurants then this may have been a rave review.

I’ve now tried a mid week break, and an adults only weekend. I am eager to try a just for tots week. This would be something I’d have ticked off my list by now had the booking website been clearer. I would recommend booking over the telephone as the website is quite evidently poor.
The week couldn’t have ended better than with George vomiting on the way home. All over the car. Something I wasn’t expecting as it’s only the third time in his life he’s ever been sick. I hadn’t experienced the previous two times as they happened at nursery. Thankfully we had a car full of spare clothes and towels. But I have a car seat to deep clean now! Oh the joys of going on holiday! (She’s says gleefully)

Until next time……..

Edit: April 2017 – and we have had contact with Butlins and all issues explained and resolved.

  • Butlins believe their website booking system to be clear and easy to navigate. I however must have had difficulty understanding it and actually booked a mid week break. I never booked a Just for Tots week so this was as much my error as theirs. As for the hotel staff corroborating this. The guest solutions team have stated it’s unlikely they understood it as they don’t regularly use it.

My screenshot above is supposedly inaccurate and this one gives a better impression of how to guarantee you are selecting a “Just for Tots” break.

Butlins

  • The Butlins guest solutions team are unable to help with the disappointing restaurant establishment experience. This is due to the fact our holiday was over 6 months ago. The staff now will have undoubtedly changed. I have been assured all staff receive training and Butlins have received positive feedback since my time there.
  • As for why my query wasn’t resolved sooner. I was sent a feedback survey and tweeted an guest solutions email back in October when I raised my concerns. Returning the feedback survey, I didn’t realise it states that Butlins will not respond. Believing I had sent my concerns, I didn’t respond to the guest services email. I was oblivious to the fact that had I contact the email instead then this would have been resolved sooner.
  • To summarise, Butlins have kindly offered me a price drop guarantee and the best discounts for rebooking. I am in liaison with them for some dates for a Just for Tots week. This is a kind goodwill gesture and one I am happy with.
  • I can recommend Butlins and will return myself. My contact with guest services has alleviated some of my worries about returning and experiencing the same issues. I am not a complaining type so I was genuinely disappointed at the time.

Butlins

Plutonium Sox

This is my church – football from a woman fans perspective

I’ve been a fan and regular season ticket holder of my ‘local team’ (despite relocating 30 miles away) for at least 14 years. Given this, I feel I just about qualify enough to be able to give my perspective of the wonderful game. 


Now please don’t mistake me for a fan of all football. Unless hubby is playing or its my beloved team then I am more or less clueless. Or rather I don’t give a shit! I’m happy to also admit that despite spending almost every Saturday for the past 14 years watching the mighty Daggers, I am still often none the wiser as to what is going on. Often spending most of the games unashamedly admiring the players and not for their footwork. But my favourite football match pastime is to actually watch the fans. I love nothing more than a bit of people watching. Something my son seems to have inherited, the telltale sign being we regularly frequent toddler play places only for him to want to sit and watch what everyone else is doing and comment on it, rather than participating himself. 

Please don’t get the impression I’m some pathetic woman that doesn’t know what she’s talking about when it comes to football. I don’t always feel confident enough to argue my case with hubby, but I like to think (and many silently agree I’m sure) that I view the game clearer than most of my fellow fans of the male variety. And why is this? Well for starters I refuse to accept the pair of rose tinted glasses invisibly offered to me at the entrance gate. I see the game for what it is and not what I believe it is. 


Week after week I listen to these silly boys…… yes boys, as soon as they enter those gates they checkout from manhood and revert to being eleven year old boys again! …..So I listen to these silly boys goading the lino and the referee…. 

Sorry let’s pause for a moment. If you are reading this and have no clue what these terms are then sorry this is not a “How to understand what happens at a football match” post. Maybe you should opt out of reading this post if that’s the case. 

(Fellow bloggers shudder in horror!)

“Did you see? She just told readers to stop reading her post!”

Anyways getting back to what I was saying….these silly boys, wearing their rose tinted glasses, standing there telling the lino’s and the ref and the bloody players how to do their jobs! Yeah, yeah I get that because you paid your entrance fee you feel it gives you the right to do this but no! You are paying to spectate! You wouldn’t pay for a plumber and then stand there screaming that he’s unplugging your blocked drain incorrectly. Or pay to watch a show where you don’t think much of the acting so you decide to start screaming that they should be acting in a different manner! So who agreed this is what should be acceptable at a football match? And it’s not just friendly advice, you actually believe you are experts on the matter. Though your fickleness fails you as I am there watching you taunting a player….
“You’re supposed to jump! That’s why it’s called a header” “Shoot!” “Chase it!” “Oh your crap!”
Only for me to find you minutes later clapping and cheering the same player as he celebrates the goal he just scored! I have no words (places head in hands).

I actually wanted to be a female footballer but my body let me down. Despite knowing what I should be doing and understanding the game, I couldn’t get my body to be any good at it. I remember trying out for the after school girls football club. The tutor, exasperated by my lack of skill, decided to try me in goal. I was pretty good in that I saved the goals, but usually with my face. Ending up laying flat on my back with everyone cheering around me, my face throbbing from the ball I’d just saved. No I’m much safer in the terraces sadly. 

My beloved George was equally content in his first year at football matches. Snoozing, having his milk and clapping along whilst people watching during the 90 minutes. This was when we paid extra to be in the seated area of course.  As the new season approached along with George’s impending second birthday, we decided to take advantage of the special offer for standing terrace tickets. Taking George to his first terrace game, we stood at the far end so he had his own play space and escape from the crowds if he so wished. Within 5 minutes the first chants and goads began. I hadn’t quite realised how aggressive these men can sound to a young toddler and being a hot day we thought his ear defenders would make him too sweaty so had left those at home. After 10 minutes of trying to move him away from the noise and him still being completely inconsolable, I left and haven’t returned with George since.  Hence why he now stays at Nanny’s house whilst me and hubby have some quality couple time, at a grubby football ground, surrounded by smelly shouty men (rolls eyes, yes I’m an easy to please date). George’s preference of sitting in the quieter, pricier seated area of the stadium just goes to prove he has inherited mummy’s expensive taste. 

So getting back to he wonderful game, if you are one of the poor souls I get chatting to over there (mainly because my husband doesn’t talk during the game, fabulous date I know) then you will know that players tend to become my favourite if they have an obvious haircut/colour. This allows me to identify them easier. I knew our team backwards and forward years ago but having missed a few seasons due to George’s arrival I now struggle to get to grip with who’s who. Why won’t they just stand still for 5 minutes! (Laughs whilst all the ‘fans’ shake their heads in dismay). Football matches are great places to learn about Geographical facts too. For instance, I recently discovered that Wrexham is in fact in Wales! I mean I would have never have guessed. Places like Maesteg, Caernarfon, Aberystwyth….they all sound Welsh. Wrexham! Well it just doesn’t does it! Sorry. 

There’s no knowing how much longer I’ll continue to be a season ticket holder but what is always a given is that I shall always be a Dagger. I’ve been there through promotions, relagations, cup ties and end of season fancy dress piss ups. It’s a part of mine and hubbies history together and something we will always speak fondly of together no matter who plays for us, who owns us, who stands next to us or puts us down. They are our team and nothing will ever change that. 

What love do you and your partner share? Are you footie fans? Would love to hear. 

Until next time…….