Monday, 29 September 2014

Toddler meals with Tesco Loves Toddler feeding range

Toddler girl's always had a great appetite and loves trying to feed herself.  I've always encouraged her to do this - it's great to see her becoming more independent.

The new Tesco Loves Toddler feeding range is perfect for her - the whole range is designed for toddlers growing in independence but who still need a bit of a helping hand to minimise the mess at meal times.  Anything that helps her manage by herself is always good with me!

Tesco Loves Toddler has really thought about the design of this range.  I love the ladybird design, which is bright, colourful and perfect for a boy or girl.  Other designs in the range are monkey, bee and hippo - all are wonderfully colourful.

The vibrant catch it all bib is designed with toddler girl in mind!  It's soft plastic and is easy to get on and very difficult to pull off (as toddler girl loves to do with all bibs).  With four settings round the neck, it will fit at least until self feeding is less messy.  The scoop at the bottom is great for younger toddlers and has two height settings.  The whole thing is wipe cleanable or dishwasher safe, which means no stains and totally hygienic - perfect.

Toddler girl and I both think the plate is brilliant.  Measuring 17.5cm across and somewhere between a bowl and a plate, it's deep enough for food to be pushed onto the fork or spoon using the side of the plate.  This means there are no spillages over the side, and definitely no frustrated abandoning of the cutlery because it takes too long.  Toddler girl managed to get her pasta on her spoon perfectly.  I love that it can be used in the microwave for reheating food and it's dishwasher safe too.

The cutlery is super easy for toddler girl to hold - the curved handles mean no slipping of hands, and they are a great chunky size for her.  Both the spoon and fork are nicely rounded - no sharp edges for delicate mouths here.

This spouted cup is a lovely addition to the range and looks great in yellow.  The cup holds around 300ml which is enough for even the thirstiest toddler.  It's designed like a sports bottle and has a removable valve - when in place means it becomes a no spill sippy cup.  We removed it as toddler girl prefers to drink from free flowing cups.  When travelling this means I need to remember to keep it upright!

The handle is again chunky and the perfect size for little hands.  Toddler girls loves to hold it and drink independently.

The whole range is made from easily cleanable plastic and can be put in the dishwasher on the top rack.  Our set has been through a few times now and is showing absolutely no signs of fading.  The white of the cup lid holder is still white!

This is a really thoughtfully designed and wonderfully co-ordinated set.  It's so bright and cheerful that it's bound to make mealtimes fun as well as easy for all toddlers and parents.  We love the whole range and with an RRP of between £1 and £3 per item it is all great value.  It gets a definite thumbs up from us!

The range includes an easy scoop bowl, easy scoop plate, easy hold cutlery, easy grip sipper, snack box, catch it all bib and soother and holder.  You can find out more on the Tesco Loves Baby site.

Family Fever

Disclaimer: we were sent this set for the purposes of this review.  All thoughts as ever, are my own.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Bedtime notes - My Sunday Photo

I caught our son writing in bed the other night, when he should've been asleep. I was about to tell him off, when he said he was writing me a note before he turned his light off.

I couldn't even begin to tell him he should've been asleep.  His note is now on my bedside table.  I'm not sure I'll ever be able to part with it.


Friday, 26 September 2014

Organic kids' clothes from KyNa Boutique and competition [now closed]

Brightly coloured children's clothes are essential in this house, I love to dress my two in funky clothes.  Toddler girl's wardrobe is full of gorgeous organic clothes from the rather lovely KyNa Boutique.

KyNa is an online clothes store for kids, specialising in organic clothes.  The clothes are gorgeous, delivery is free and the customer service excellent.  You can see from toddler girl's wardrobe that I'm a repeat customer!

I love all toddler girl's clothes, but especially the Maxomorra flowery top and trousers, and this owl hoody from JNY Designs which is just the perfect weight for this autumnal time of year.  Toddler girl always looks so comfortable in it, I wish they did adult sizes!

With brands like Maxomorra, NOSH Organics, Oh Baby London and Slugs and Snails, I always know the quality of the clothes will be top notch as well as looking great.  Free delivery and returns is an added bonus, although I've never yet returned anything!

You can find KyNa Boutique online at, and follow the lovely Jen on Twitter @KyNaBoutique.

I've teamed up with KyNa to offer one lucky reader a £40 voucher to spend on organic clothes of their choice from the site.  I wish I could enter - I would have no trouble spending this!  Please complete the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: KyNa and I have teamed up to offer this joint prize, I have received nothing in return for this post.

  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be shipped to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 26th September 2014 until 23:59 on 9th October 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 a £40 gift voucher to spend at KyNa Boutique.  There is no cash alternative.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 17th October 2014 and asked to confirm their email 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 14 days, but can’t guarantee it.
  • The winner's name, as registered when logged into Rafflecopter will be displayed after the end of the competition.
  • Judge’s decision is final.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Air - #WotW

Maybe it's the cooler feel of September, or a clear out of the house with the windows open.  It could be cycling on the school run, feeling the air rushing against me, or possibly because I'm recovering from a cold and appreciating being able to breath easily.

Whatever it is, this week I have loved the cooler autumn air.  My favourite time of year.

Have you been outside this week?

The Reading Residence

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Tesco baby event - you can win a car!

Until 22nd September 2014, Tesco is running a Baby and Toddler event with discounts and offers on loads of essential products.  Pampers nappies are on BOGOF, so we are off this afternoon to stock up!

I just has a good look online, and found the Chicco Happy Snack Highchair reduced from £61.50 to just £37.  We're a massive fan of Chicco products and this is an absolute bargain.  It looks like stock's limited so good luck if you manage to get one!

As part of this event, Tesco has also teamed up with Peugeot to offer a brilliant competition.  One very lucky winner will receive a brilliant family car - a Peugeot 2008 Crossover.  What a fantastic prize - even better because it includes road tax and 12 months of Peugeot Assistance.

You can enter the free prize draw in two ways (quick though, it ends 11.59pm on Monday 22nd Sept 2014!):

I would love to know what bargains you find in the Tesco baby event, and if you enter the competition. Definitely let me know if you win!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Tired days, sleepless nights - a haiku

Days awake, busy
Night time again, please sleep through.
Hoping rest comes soon.

Don't you just love haikus?  The pattern of syllables, beating, reassuring, succinct in their brevity.

This one sums up my week perfectly.

I'd love to hear about yours.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Hosting #childcarehour tonight 8-9pm

I'm very excited to be hosting #childcarehour tonight (that's Tuesday 16th September) from 8-9pm on Twitter.

Founded by the lovely Michelle @blueyandbaloo, it's an hour dedicated to tips and conversation about childcare, parenting and education. We have parents and professionals join in, and the conversation is always busy!

Drop me a tweet if you'll be joining, or if you have anything you'd like to share or talk about.  I'd absolutely love to hear from you.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Recovery position, disaster week

The last week has been horrid.  We all expect days or weeks when things go wrong, but I'm not sure everything going wrong all at the same time is usual.

First thing, everyone's ok.  And that, as they say, is the most important thing.

But the little things all piled up on me.  Work was a catastrophe.  Everything I did, or didn't say or do, went wrong.  Home was a disaster.  I said the wrong thing to the wrong person, more than once.  Pressed the wrong button.  Toddler girl wasn't sleeping.  At all.  As a result I was exhausted, which only compounded the problem.

I lost motivation with absolutely everything.  Ever felt like that?  It's difficult to recover from quickly, but I knew I needed to.  So here's how I continue to try and get some va va voom back...

I slept like no other at the weekend.  Finally, finally toddler girl slept for an extended period.  Husband took both kids swimming on Saturday morning and I stayed in bed until 10am.  10am!

Switch off
Work has the capacity to fill my brain and drain it of everything else.  Faced with a few difficult problems, I switched off from it for a couple of days.  No email checking, no thinking about it.  I parked it in the 'think about it on Monday' space to give me some perspective.  It helped.

It took a quiet evening talking with husband to reboot.  Who do I work for?  Actually our family.  Rebooting made me realise what I was doing all this for.  Which helps.

A plan
I've hatched a plan for a day off when the kids are being looked after.  This small thing, which is a few weeks away, is enough to get me through the next few busy weeks.

So all in, I feel better.  Not perfect, but better.  Perspective helps a lot.

How was your week?  I'd love to know how you get through when everything seems to go wrong.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

What is it with washing machines?

So far this week I have found the following in our washing machine:

  • One jar cajun spice
  • One small ball
  • One jar Chinese five spice
  • Half a breadstick
  • Two limes.

Is this a new cooking technique?  I doubt it!

You don't need to be a detective to work out the culprit. 

Guilty as charged!

Toddler girl is currently obsessed with our washing machine, or specifically, putting things in our washing machine.  Why?!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Win tickets to The Baby Show, London Olympia 24-26 October

The Baby Show is a great day out if you're expecting or have young children. I've been to the Baby Show at the NEC a few times, and love to see what's new as well as catch up with some of my favourite brands.

The Baby Show returns to London Olympia between 24 and 26 October and I have a pair of tickets to giveaway for your choice of day. All you have to do is complete the Rafflecopter below and keep your fingers crossed!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you're not lucky enough to win tickets, you can purchase discounted tickets (Friday £11.95, Saturday/Sunday £12.95) by entering the code BLOG at the following link:

Let me know if you go!


  • You must be resident in the UK to enter.
  • Competition runs from 8th September 2014 until 23:59 on 15th September 2014.
  • Entry is via one and/or more of the methods in Rafflecopter widget.
  • Winner(s) will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.  The winning entry will be checked and must be current at time of checking.
  • There is one prize.  The prize is two tickets to The Baby Show London Olympia 24-26 October.  The winner can choose which day to attend.  The winner will receive a code to redeem online and must print their tickets.  There is no cash alternative.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 22nd September 2014 and asked to re-confirm their email address.  If no reply is received within 48 hours, a new winner may be chosen.
  • The winner's name, as registered when logged into Rafflecopter will be displayed after the end of the competition.
  • Judge’s decision is final.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Early morning park fun

We're really lucky to have a few great parks close to our house.  Toddler girl was up early this morning and the sun was shining so off we went to the park.  She loves the slide and this big swing, and happily sat there swinging around for a good five minutes.

As we were out early, I really noticed the changing season too.  It was warm, but there was dew on the ground and a slight chill in the air.  We definitely needed our fleeces on.  Next weekend I'll take our son, I noticed conkers on the trees and he will love trying to get them.


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 5 September 2014

Label #WotW

This week's word of the week is:

Like many parents, I spent an hour or two labelling school uniform on Monday.  There was something strangely therapeutic about it.  Perhaps because I knew the rhythm of autumn days was very close again.

In a really positive way I also spent some time in our son's school, seeing his classroom, and talking to his teachers on Wednesday.  It's good sometimes to make sure he hasn't been labelled in a certain way.

Have you labelled anything this week?

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Back to school with a long exhale

I feel like doing a long exhale...... the summer holidays are over and our son is back at school.

I have loved these holidays with him, his longest time off since he was born really.  Nursery and full time working parents meant he's never had an extended break. 

All holiday he's been brilliant, well behaved, polite and caring with his sister.  But six weeks has taken its toll and my energy and bank balance as well as my inspiration of things to do has run dry.

He wanted to go back, and was so pleased to see his friends again this morning.  I was so proud of him as he walked in to his new classroom, tall and smart, and didn't look back at me once.

Lots of parents would hate that, but I think it's great.  He's happy and secure at school, and knows I'll be there if he needs me.  And this morning, he didn't.

So it's with relief really that the school wheels start turning again.  We can all get back into a routine, and the days, once again become predictable.

It reminds me of a song.  To everything - turn, turn, turn.  There is a season - turn, turn, turn. And a time to every purpose, under heaven.  I'm not religious, but this is so fitting right now.

How was your summer?

Monday, 1 September 2014

Pedal powered fun with a Kettler Nitro Extreme go kart - a review

"Hurry up with the photo Mum, I want to do another lap!" Our son, age five.

Our son loves cars more than almost anything in the world, and he's had his own go kart since he was about three.  He's loved all his Kettcars, and needed absolutely no persuasion to try out the Kettler Nitro Extreme go kart.

After 50 years making go-karts, the Nitro Extreme go kart is still one of Kettler's best sellers.  It's really easy to see why.  It's top notch quality, skilfully engineered, looks great and is absolutely begging to be taken out and ridden.

The go kart comes flat packed for easy transporting.  Most of the hard work is done for you, so it's just a case of assembling the steering and seat.  The instructions are very clear, and it can easily be done in about 20 minutes by one person.

The go kart weighs around 22kg (that's about 48lbs in old money) and is very solidly built.  This makes it weighty and sturdy enough when being driven fast, but still light enough for me to be able to handle.

It measures 115cm from front to back, 70cm wide and 70cm from the ground to the highest point.  It's suitable from around age five to 10.  Our son is very tall and nearly six, so he's on the second of the five clip-adjustable seat settings (no screwdriver required - great!).  There's plenty of room in the seat adjusts, so I'm sure it will fit him for a good few years.

As you'd expect from Kettler, the German engineering and attention to detail on the Nitro Extreme go kart is fantastic.  The number one on the front is clearly there because anyone who drives it is a number one driver!  Our son thinks the black slide-on 'suspension' is real; it's a really good detail which really adds to the overall look.

The seat has a foam strip in the middle, which helps to gives the driver a comfortable ride.  A really nice touch is the seat molding for comfort and to help stop the driver sliding out on tight bends.   I love the embossed Kettler logo on the back of the seat, which is also somehow reassuring as our son whizzes off into the distance.

We all love the black and yellow which is understated but still very cool.  The Nitro Extreme sticker on the main part of the body adds a nice streak of colour and our son thinks the reflective stickers on the rear of the go kart look great as they change colour when light reflects on them.


The Kettler logo in yellow on the steering wheel is a nice touch too, and is a real sign of the attention to detail throughout the go kart.

"Mum, look at the wheels, they're like Dad's car!"

Our son absolutely loves the wheels and pedals on this go kart.  I'll explain why!

The wheels are made from rubber, and have proper tyre tread.  This is great for a few reasons.  They're quiet, for when you're out of the house at 7am on a Sunday (sorry neighbours), they have fantastic grip for those "whoa, what a great skid that was" moments, and with a wheel size of 12.7cm/5" and overall diameter of 25.4cm/10" they're great for really gripping the pavement to make the go kart go faster whilst keeping stability.

Which brings me on to the pedals.  Our son thinks he loves the pedals, which are a great size for his feet and in a great position for pedalling.  But actually, he loves the torque and traction the go kart has which come from his pedalling combined with the grippy tyres. At low speeds he can pedal easily to gain momentum, and at higher speeds the pedals are still under his control.  The torque is strongest at low speeds, but it still has plenty of go in it as it gets faster too!

"Look at my three point turn!"

The handling on this go kart is great too.  At low and fast speeds the steering is very responsive, and goes exactly where our son wants it to.  As well as three point turns, he loves to skid using the handbrake while he's moving along.  I think we'll have a rally driver on our hands one day!  The neutral and first gear make him feel grown up, and are useful if you need to wheel it along freely by hand.

We absolutely love this go kart, and I'd recommend it to any parent with a young child.  It's so well made and really brilliant fun.  It's great for getting out and about in, really encourages children to exercise with all that pedalling and most of all have a great time.  You can see our son driving it in this short video.  He never stops smiling when he's in it, so it's a definite thumbs up from us.

The Kettler Nitro Extreme go kart has a recommended retail price of £249.  In my opinion you won't find a better quality or handling go kart.  Kettler go karts last for years and hold their second hand value - although if you're like us, you won't be able to part with them.  Here's our son's collection, waiting for toddler girl!

Back: red, black and white Kettler Spa, ages 3-5.  Middle: yellow and black retro Kettcar, picked up from eBay.  Front: black Kettler Nitro Extreme, ages 5-10.

Family Fever

Disclaimer: we were sent a Kettler Nitro Extreme go kart for the purposes of this review.  All thoughts, as ever, are  my own (and in this case, my family's).