Monday, 28 April 2014

A fun day at Hatton World, Warwick

Hatton World, Warwick is a great place for a family day out.  Its 'zones' - Hatton Adventure World and Hatton Shopping combine to provide something for everyone, as we found out during our day of great fun there!

First, the details:
  • Location: Hatton, Warwick. Postcode: CV35 8XA
  • Opening times: Open daily from 10am until 5.30pm
  • Food: cafĂ© and restaurant on site.  Outdoor picnic areas are spacious.  Restaurant serves decent, freshly cooked food (think lasagne and chips, fish and chips) and pre-packed sandwiches.  Kids' pick and mix lunch packs are available, with a good selection of sandwiches, treats, fruit and juices.
  • Cost: costs vary, but for a family of four, budget between £40 and £50 for entrance.  Under twos go free.  It makes sense to book online for a 10% discount.  Around £25 should buy lunch and drinks for a family of four.
  • Guarantee: Book online and you can take advantage of the rainy day guarantee.  If it rains and the programme's affected, you can email for a free return ticket. Great!

We went on a Friday.  The sky looked a bit grey, but it was the last day of the Easter holidays.  Come on kids - and off we go!

We live really close to Warwick so it wasn't far for us.  There's loads of free parking, and the entrance to the village isn't far from the car park.  Good job for us - it had started to rain!

Great indoor soft play, in zones for different ages

First stop - indoor soft play.  We sheltered out of the now torrential rain with a coffee and slice of cake, whilst watching the kids have loads of fun in the very big soft play area.  Our son LOVED the slides and spent a long time going up and down this one:


Baby girl and I hugely appreciated that the baby area was separate from the big kids' area.  There were three zones for her - soft play, sensory and her favourite the ball pit!

"Ba ba ba ba ba !".  Baby girl, aged one



Once the rain had subsided (slightly!), we headed outside to discover so much to do - indoor and out.  We stopped by the children's entertainment which our son thoroughly enjoyed.  The venue was a great size with plenty of seating, and a welcome pit stop in the warm.

"Mum.. he was really funny.." Our son, aged five and half

Next up a visit to see the animals.  This again was indoor, and a good job as the clouds were pouring again!  The goats had clearly worked out how to get the most food, and we were a bit worried they'd be able to jump over the fence.  Never fear though - they couldn't.



Next door were lots of gorgeous guinea pigs, and baby girl loved to watch them scurrying around their spacious pens.  And then the reptiles area...... ok, so not my favourite, but our son loved to see the miniature tortoises and lizards.  He left the area with an understanding of and respect for all the different types of creatures there are in the world.  Result!

Heading outside for lots of activities and play

We headed outside to a light drizzle, and our son spotted the JCB area straight away.  Off he darted to grab himself a tractor to drive around the track.  He particularly loved the ramps and beep beeped his way round the whole course lots of times.  Baby girl even got parked in the JCB area.

"Dad, Dad, look!  Coool!". Our son.



Baby girl and I set off to walk around the whole site and were met by the boys after a short while.  There was lots to see and loads of outdoor activities.  We particularly liked the outdoor games area - oversized ten pin bowling and snakes and ladders would be fab on warmer and sunnier days.  Our son had a go on the massive helter skelter and came out of the bottom with a big smile on his face.

He also had loads of fun on the Quacky Races - although we couldn't buy a duck on the day to have a proper race, presumably because of the weather. 


And despite the cold, he gave the gold mine a go, and rolled up his sleeves and got stuck in looking for gold. 

"Awww Mum, just one more go, I might find a ring".  Our son.



Lovely shops too

With the rain now torrential again, we headed off back to the car, with a quick purchase of fudge from the traditional sweet shop for the journey home.  I also had a quick look round the gorgeous home made cosmetics shop (the hand cream was divine) and cook shop.  All the shops at Hatton are independent, and had a lovely vibe.



We spent all day at Hatton, and arrived home very late afternoon.  There's so much to do on good weather days and bad.  We will definitely be back to try lots more of the outdoor activities during the next holiday.  Recommended!

You can find out more at www.hattonworld.com.

Thanks Hatton World for providing us with tickets and a lunch voucher.  All thoughts and words are my own.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Family life is...

Fishfingers, chips and beans.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Win tickets to The Baby Show in Birmingham with Chicco

Baby girl and I have loved being Chicco Happiness Testers for the last nine months or so.  We know first hand that over at Chicco it's all about creating smiles!

That's why we've got a treat for mums, dads and parents to be; we're offering the chance to win a pair of tickets to the next Baby Show which is on at the NEC in Birmingham between 16-18 May.

Chicco offers a fantastic range of travel systems, including the new Urban and Activ3, as well as the side-sleeping cot Next2Me, highchairs, travel highchairs, rockers, toys, and much much more. I've visited Chicco at the Baby Show before and know there will be some great deals at the show, so make sure you visit the very lovely Chicco team at stand J45.

If you want to find out more about the product range and see lots of lovely Chicco products being tested out by baby girl and I, and other real life mums and babies head over to www.chiccotestedforhappiness.co.uk.  You'll find reviews, photographs and videos from all of the Chicco Tested for Happiness mums.

To be in with a chance of winning two tickets to The Baby Show at the NEC 16-18 May, please complete the Rafflecopter below.  Don't forget to tweet every day for even more entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be shipped to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 21st April 2014 until 23:59 on 7th May 2014.
  • Entry is via one and/or more of the methods in Rafflecopter widget.
  • Winner(s) will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.  Winning entries will be checked and must be current at time of checking.
  • There is one prize.  The prize is two tickets to the Baby Show at the NEC Birmingham, 16-18th May 2014.  There is no alternative.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 9th May 2014 and asked to confirm their delivery address within 48 hours.  If no reply is received, a new winner may be chosen.
  • We'll do our utmost to get the prize to the winner within seven days, but can’t guarantee it.
  • Judge’s decision is final.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Family life is...

Thinking the sea of brightly coloured plastic on your living room floor isn't too bad, despite swearing before children that you would only ever 'do' wooden, educational toys.



Friday, 18 April 2014

Sockball - #WotW


Sockball [sok-ball]
Adjective, singular of sockballs

1. Single sock, rolled so tightly upon removal from foot that it creates a ball
2. Plural sockballs, when multiple socks are rolled into ball and placed in or near washing basket
3. Usually accompanied by sockfluff, all over the carpet
4. Mostly created by men
5. Sockballs usually discovered still rolled tightly and wet, after removing all other dry washing from tumbler

Idioms
6. I am going to kill you if you don't start unrolling your own sockballs before I do the washing!


The Reading Residence

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Reflections at the NEC restoration show

Last weekend we had a great day at the NEC restoration show.  Our car mad son has up-ed the car stakes, and is now playing 'guess the car'.  Nothing unusual about that you might say, except he's playing it by looking at a stripped back car chassis.

At two he could identify every make of car in a car park.  At three, it was every make and model.  And now, at five, it's the make and model from the chassis.  What next I wonder?

Anyway, if you like cars and are thinking about attending the restoration show at the NEC, I highly recommend it.  It's interesting, with loads of good cars to look at in all states of repair.  A major highlight for us was meeting Mike Brewer and Edd China from Wheeler Dealers.  We all like the show (our son chooses it over Cbeebies any day of the week) and they were top guys who both stopped to chat and have pictures taken...

This picture sums up the show perfectly for me.  This is a fully restored black Mustang, but all I can see is the reflection of our son taking the picture.  It was his car of the show and he wanted to capture it.


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Easy slow cooker Quorn sausage and bean casserole

Quorn sausages are really tasty, and it's so simple to pull together a really tasty slow cooker meal with them.

This delicious Quorn sausage and bean casserole take minutes to pull together, and is something the whole family will tuck into. It's delicious on cooler evenings - the hot paprika gives it a little kick to warm you up.

It works well if you substitute meat sausages too - our son loves it with good quality pork sausages!

Slow cooker Quorn sausage and bean casserole
Serves three-four people

Ingredients 
Six chilled or frozen Quorn sausages
Two large, or three smaller different coloured peppers cut into decent bite size chinks
One onion, diced
Two tins chopped tomatoes
One tin mixed bean salad
One vegetable stock cube
Two teaspoons hot smoked paprika
One teaspoon ground cumin



Put everything in the slow cooker and give it a good stir.






Cook on low for about six hours; you can get away with another hour or so if you're using frozen sausages, or cook on high for three or four hours.  Give it a stir half way through if you can.


I use a slotted spoon to serve this, to drain off some of the tomato juice.  I also serve it with homemade potato and sweet potato wedges.



Tuck in, yum!

I'd love to know what you think if you make this... did it work for you?

if you like this post, you might also like my slow cooker chickpea and spinach curry or slow cooker Quorn chilli.

Linking up with A Mummy Too for this post.

Link up your recipe of the week

Monday, 14 April 2014

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Skibz vanilla natural organic dribble bib review and giveaway

The idea behind skibz dribble bibs is really simple - funky bandana bibs that are absorbent and comfortable for babies and toddlers.  I find normal bibs, well, a bit normal really, and love the look of these!

Our pack of Skibz bibs came in really funky silver packaging.  It made us want to open it straight away!  Baby girl was lucky enough to be road testing the vanilla natural organic Skibz.  We also received a cow print bib for a competition (more of that later in this post!) product leaflet with care instructions and all the other gorgeous Skibz available... I can feel some shopping coming on!



The vanilla natural organic Skibz is so gorgeously soft.  It's made from bamboo with a cotton lining, and I love the Skibz logo embroidered in the front corner. 


Although it would have been fine to use straight from the packet, I gave it a quick wash and low tumble dry before baby girl first tried it.  This resulted in it feeling even softer and more cuddly... perfect for any baby or toddler.

The design of Skibz is so simple; they fasten in place with a popper.  This is essential for baby girl who quickly pulls off all velcro bibs, and the two sizes will make sure it's a good fit until she's about three. 


As well as the softness, we love how absorbent this bib is.  Baby girl's got a few teeth that seem to have been coming in for ages, and she gets very dribbly and chewy some days.  Skibz protects her clothes from getting wet, no matter how dribbly she is!


The trademark ruffles of this bandana bib happen naturally, and I think it looks great.  It's a really nice touch to an outfit and so much better than a boring flat bib (or mopping wet chins ALL the time!).  Baby girl wears it so comfortably too, and looks right at home in it.

This is a lovely Skibz dribble bib that's so soft and comfortable.  The bamboo and cotton make it a lovely combination of cuddly, absorbent and breathable  I'd highly recommend it for a baby boy or girl - it would be a great addition to any trendy young littlie's wardrobe.

You can find out more about Skibz, and see the whole bib range at www.skibz.com

COMPETITION

And if you'd like to win this funky cow print Skibz, enter using Rafflecopter below.  Don't forget to tweet every day for even more entries!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be shipped to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 10th April 2014 until 23:59 on 2nd May 2014.
  • Entry is via one and/or more of the methods in Rafflecopter widget.
  • Winner(s) will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.  Winning entries will be checked and must be current at time of checking.
  • There is one prize.  The prize is one skibz cow print bib as shown in the picture.  There is no alternative.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 9th May 2014 and asked to confirm their delivery address within 48 hours.  If no reply is received, a new winner may be chosen.
  • I'll do my utmost to get the prize to the winner within seven days, but can’t guarantee it.
  • Judge’s decision is final. 

Thank you Skibz for sending us our bib to review and providing this great competition prize free of charge.  All thoughts expressed in this post are my own.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Easy chicken teryaki quesadillas

I love to mix things up when I cook, and these chicken teryaki quesadillas really hit the spot!  Most of the ingredients I have knocking around in the fridge, but don't be afraid to swap them for similar ingredients for a slightly different effect.

Easy chicken teriyaki quesadillas
Serves 3-4 hungry people

Ingredients
  • Two chicken breasts (I always use free range)
  • One red pepper
  • One green pepper 
  • A bunch of spring onions
  • Eight tortilla wraps (one packet!)
  • 100g of Mexicana spicy cheese
  • Five tablespoons of chicken teriyaki sauce


Dice the chicken breasts into bite size pieces and coat in the teriyaki sauce. If you have time, leave to marinade in the fridge for an hour or two.

Wash and dice the red and green peppers and spring onions into bite size pieces and set aside.  Then, grate the cheese.

Fry off the chicken for eight to 10 minutes until nearly cooked through. Turn regularly to brown make sure they're evenly cooked.  Add the peppers and onions to the chicken.  Stir to coat in sauce and warm through.  After a couple of minutes and when the chicken is cooked, turn off the heat; the peppers and onions should remain firm.


Heat another (clean!) frying pan and add a tortilla wrap.  Turn after one minute and add a quarter of the chicken and stir fry mix to cover.  Top with 25g of grated cheese and then cover with another tortilla wrap.
Fry for two minutes, then turn the whole thing over (using a plate inserted into the frying pan and tipped over if it helps!) and fry again on the other side again for a minute or two until the wrap is slightly browned.

Repeat for the other three quesadillas, keeping those already complete warm in the oven if required.

I serve this with spicy Mexican rice, guacamole, soured cream and lime wedges if I have them.  Enjoy!


Linking up with a mummy too for this post.

Link up your recipe of the week

Friday, 4 April 2014

Curious - WotW


I don't know if it's because baby girl's moved into her big girl forward facing car seat, or the fact she's growing up (too fast!), but this week she's been curious about absolutely everything.  The felt tip box, the iPad, Mummy's purse, her brother's school reading diary, everything out of the front car windscreen.  You name it, she's been curious about everything!

Linking up with The Reading Residence for this post.

The Reading Residence

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Settling in at nursery - hints and tips

Baby girl's been going to nursery for about six weeks now.  Childcare is a very personal choice and although I am very happy with the (same) nursery we have chosen for our son and baby girl, I totally understand that this environment won't work for some families.

Having settled two children into nursery now, I've had different experiences.  I found it easy with our son, and harder with baby girl; so I thought I'd share some hints and tips about what worked and what didn't both times round. 

These are just my opinion... and I'm sure there are others out there too.  I'd love you to leave a comment if you have any others.

 
First thing's first, you have to be both committed to leaving your child and happy with your nursery choice.  Without either of these, the whole transition thing will be LOTS harder, and your child I'm sure, will know that your resolve is not fully there.

Get everything ready the night before.  Make sure nursery bag has a change of clothes, nappies, wipes, cream, sun hat, favourite cuddly etc the night before.  Try and remove as much stress as possible from the morning, to avoid stressing baby too.

Spend time at nursery with your baby.  I made the mistake of thinking that during the first settling in session I should leave quickly - it didn't work.  At all.  Spend time there and show your baby the toys and books, they will feel happier settling in for at least a little while, with you.

Could someone other than the primary care giver (in our case, me) drop your child off?  I'm not suggesting Dad's don't love their children just as much as Mum's, but sometimes they are less affected by crying (especially at 2am when they don't even wake up) and find it easier to walk away.  In our case, baby girl's Dad tends to be much quicker at handover and there's less time for baby girl to realise and get upset about being left.

If there's space on a wall to display one, take along a family picture of you with baby so that baby can see you all, even if you're not there.  They'll appreciate seeing it in the (at least initially) unfamiliar setting.



Hand baby over to someone, or something.  Before you leave, make sure they're engaged in an activity - eating breakfast, reading, anything.... there's nothing worse for parent or baby than a child sobbing over a gate watching you leave.

If you're feeling wobbly when you leave, take a deep breath and try and zoom out to the bigger picture.  Our son went to nursery full time for nearly four years.  He can't remember ever crying, falling over or being disciplined at nursery (and he definitely did all three!).  He smiles whenever he talks about it because he made some great friends, had loads of fun and learnt loads there.  Oh, and he got lots of coughs and colds out of the way before school too.  They won't remember this phase - I promise.

Enjoy your hot drink, adult conversation and going to the loo in private while they're at nursery.  And then, give them a massive hug when you see them again.  It's all good.

BiB2014familyNom

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

BritMums Live introductions


Name: Contrary to popular belief, my name's not "Muuuum", it's Cate.  Short for Catherine, but I've only ever been called Cate.

Blog: Here! Me add three - it charts our family life.

Twitter ID: @meaddthree

Height: On a good day, if I stand up very straight and you squint a bit, 5'6.

Hair: Well, I think the hairdresser calls it 'ash blonde 30 vol' :-)

Eyes: Blue. Will this get deep?


Is this your first blogging conference?

I recently went to the wonderful #MidsBlogMeet where I cut my blogging event teeth.  BritMums is my first big conference though.

Are you attending both days? 

The chance of a night away in a hotel, with a bed all to myself?  Of course I'm attending both days!

What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2014?

I can't wait to meet other bloggers, get some inspiration and stretch my marketing skills for a while.  Hopefully I'll get one or two new followers too.

What are you wearing?

Errr.... right now?  Oh, you mean at the event!  No idea, but it will be casual.

What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2014?


I'd love to meet some inspirational bloggers and hear about new ideas and directions in blogging.  I really hope I'll come away inspired!