In the night garden live (London 02)

For the 3rd year in a row the weekend just gone we headed of to see In the night garden live. This year we headed off to London again this time the showdome we went to was situated near the 02. This was a bit of an easier location for us to get to than Richmond like last year, however they will still be doing a show again there mid June.

Like the previous years  there are a choice of two shows; the Ninky Nonk show where Iggle Piggle loses his blanket and the the Pinky Ponk Show where Makka Pakka washes faces. This year we chose to see the Pinky Ponk show again because timewise that show was the most ideal for us.




In the night garden live takes place in its own all-weather, purpose-built inflatable Showdome with many family-friendly facilities. This dome is a huge hit with children and parents and its theatrical experience makes audiences feel they are actually entering the magical world of In the night garden. 

Each year we have gone we have been impressed with the facilities in the showdome. From microwaves to heat up milk to a changing area that has a good amount of space its so family friendly making it a less stressful experiance.



The experience of the show is magical from the starry night theme at the beginning of the show to the puppets and full sized versions of Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka.

Blake was so excited jumping around while waiting for the show to start and once it did he was shouting out who each character was, as they came on the stage. He loved the bubbles and was trying to catch them and even once the show was finished was clapping and shouting out yay!



After the show there is the opportunity to meet either Iggle Piggle or Upsy Daisy for £15 per character. This year we didn't do this Because of needing to get home. I think it would be a great idea to start doing an opportunity to meet Makka Pakka as well as the other two main characters.

In the foyer there are plenty of souvenirs starting at as little as £5 so there is bound to be something you can find that your little one would want. There is also a goody bag that you can purchase in advance for £29 which on the day cost £39 with goodies worth over £60. We found the goodie bag this year had great items included however we already had most of the items so chose to purchase a cuddly Makka Pakka for Blake instead which he adores.

If you fancy seeing In the night garden live this summer check out the website for more information.


Review: Hape Dynamo Dominoes

Blake loves to build things and has many toys such as blocks, mega blocks and lego duplo to play with. We love to spend time together building towers, airports, cars etc so when I was asked if I would like to review the Dynamo Dominoes set from Hape I thought it would be a fun set to play with together one weekend.




Inside the box there are 107 pieces, 100 which are of bright and colourful domino pieces the rest of the set is made up of a bridge, bell, rail and assorted tricks. I was a bit worried about if it would be complicated to build with so many pieces, however as you can build different trails you have no need use all of the dominoes unless you want to.

The set is aimed at children 3 years and over and we had lots of fun building different domino trails together. Blake loved seeing the dominoes tumbling down shouting "ready, steady, go!!"before he knocked them over, he was so proud of himself building different fun trails. The peices are a great size and ideal for small hands.




The set is great for learning too  as its helps children to develop their fine motor skills along with problem solving skills. Because you can build different trails this also helps with aiding children's imagination and is a toy that can be played with others so encourages turn taking and spending time with friends.

We love the different little tricks as a way of keeping children entertained for longer. As usual with Hape toys they are of the highest quality and child safe. Overall this is a great toy that not only children will love but adults too.

DVD Review: Early Man

With today being bank holiday and the fact that its also half term the all new film from the creaters of Wallance and Gromit, Shaun the sheep  and chicken run being released is perfect timing. 

Early Man is a fun film to suit all ages so suitable for the whole family. Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of how plucky caveman Dug along with sidekick wild boar Hognob unites his tribe against the mighty Bronze Age in a battle to beat them at their own football game.



The story goes back in time and shows how football was invented from a chance moment when a hot meteorite fell from the sky and landed on the hands of a caveman who tried to get rid of it and kicked it away. With giggles and laugh out loud moments along the way this is a great family friendly film and definitely sure to be popular amongst children and adults.

Characters are voiced by some great names such as Eddie Redmaye (Dug), Nick Park himself (Hognob), Masie Williams (Goona) and Tom Hiddleston (Lord Nooth)

We love the idea behind the story and I especially loved Goona as a character who's mission is to get women's football recognised. Dug and Hognob are also loveable characters who love to make us laugh. Tom Hiddleston is absolutely brilliant and almost unrecognisable in his French accent as the ridiculously pompous Lord Nooth, governor of the Bronze Age town.

Available on both DVD and Blueray from today (28th May) 


Sleep well with feather and down

For me sleep over the last 6 months or so has been awful. I've felt like I had tried most things until last week my GP put me on sleeping tablets to help me out. It's reccomended to not take them for more than 4 nights in a row as I could get addicted to them. So this is where Feather and Down come in with their great range of products.

On the night's I won't be taking the sleeping tablets I'm going to be using some of their products to help me relax and hopefully eventually drift off.


I'm not new to the Feather and Down range as i' ve used a range of products from the sleepy gift set they do and am a huge fan of their products.

On the 28th May Feather and Down will be releasing 4 new products to their successful brand and I've been given the chance to try out 2 of the new products and share my thoughts with you.

First of all the 2 new products I have been sent are extensions to their bestsellers. The sleep spray and bath essence now come in an all new scent, helping to encourage a restful night's sleep. These products contain the delicate fragrance of Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Tea Tree essentials oils that re renowned for their ‘soothing, cooling and ‘breathe well’ properties.’ All products are also blended with Lavender and Chamomile essential oils to encourage relaxation. 

The new scent is gorgeous and perfect for helping me to relax and settle before bed. This is definitely going to be my new go to scent before bed and certainly ideal for those nights when I have a cold to help with a blocked nose.


One of the other new items to the Feather and Down collection is that they now sell a travel set. This is a welcome addition to their range of products so you can still get a great nights sleep when you are away. The travel set includes the orginal pillow spray a mini melting shower cream, the brand new relaxing roller ball and a mini sleep butter. 

Last of the new items from Feather and Down is the perfect partners set. The perfect partners set contains the all new relaxing roller ball and a mini sized pillow spray ideal for fitting in your luggage. 


I'm very excited about the new additions and anything that helps me to get a good nights sleep is a must!



May Little Loves





May has been a really good month for us filled with lots of fun. We've had lots of sunshine and we went to the May fair in our town which was busy but fun. Blake's loved picking daisys whenever we've been out especially on the way to and from pre-school. Stuart and I had an afternoon/evening out where my mum looked after Blake and stayed the night. 

Anyway onto my monthly little loves for May! 




Read

I'll still be doing a monthly what I've read post with more detail so I'll  be keeping what I've read brief in this post.

Read this if you want to be Instagram famous
A handy book when it comes to knowing more about Instagram and how to use your account to make the most of it.

The Muse By Jessie Burton
I read this one as part of the bloggers book nook book club where the theme for May was about historical fiction. This book was the only one in my TBR pile that I felt fit in with that theme.

The Breakdown by B.A.Paris
If you loved the fist book Behind closed doors you will love this one.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Jodi is one of my favourite authors and I wish I had read this sooner. Definitely my favourite book I've read this month and I love how Jodi writes about such difficult topics.

Currently reading: 
The woman in cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
After being introduced to Ruth Ware by another blogger last month with the book in a dark, dark wood. I had to read more of her books so I purchased this one and another that I had found in a local charity shop. I'm hoping to finish this before the end of the month.





Watched

Santa Clarita Diet
I ended up binging through the 2 seasons quickly as I loved it so much. 

Love
A romantic comedy which features a rebellious Mickey and good-natured Gus navigate the thrills and agonies of modern relationships in this Netflix original. I'm currently getting through series 3.

Goodbye Christopher Robin
British biographical drama film about the lives of Winnie-the-Pooh creator A. A. Milne and his family, especially his son Christopher Robin. 

Early Man
An animated comedy about cave men. The DVD isn't released until Monday (28th May) however I got a copy before the release date to watch.

Tim Vine Sunset Milk Idiot
Stuart and I had a date for a meal out and then we headed to see Tim Vine at Milton Keynes theatre. It was a great show and we really enjoyed it.

Heard

 I've not actually listened to much music this month other than a friend playing Abba in the car when she's picked me up before going out. I've also not listened to any pod casts this needs to change in June.



Made
Re,Cycle, Me craft
We were sent this set and Blake and I had such fun making the above robot. 

Rainbow shortbread cookies
I actually never got around to taking a photo of how these turned out. They are from one of them mixes where we just had to add butter and then cook. 

Wore

I actually forgotten to take any photos for this section! We've mainly been living in summer clothes as the weather most of the time has been so nice. 

And lastly...

We are off to London tomorrow to take Blake to see In the night garden live for the 3rd year running. Blake's got more excited each year we have gone so I'm looking forward to seeing him so happy tomorrow. This time we are seeing the show at the showdome which will be near the 02. 

I'm not attention seeking

Even though I've written a few posts now on mental health I still find it extremely hard to talk about. It's always encouraged by mental health professionals that talking about it is a good thing. However there is that worry of being seen as attention seeking by people who have never experienced mental health issues and just don't understand. 

Because of that a lot of people including myself feel like we are being a burden and end up pushing our loved ones away. This means I find it hard to ask for help when I need to.

Yesterday I went to see my GP as I have found things have been getting too much for me mental health wise recently. I've got into unhealthy habits of over eating and not being able to sleep. My anxiety has been sky high causing me to feel sweaty and panicky. Depression has left me with moments tearfulness, amongst other things. On top of this I'm not sleeping well and during the day I feel so physically exhausted. 




Yes it was hard for me to open up about how I am feeling, however I'm so glad that I have. Now I've had changes to my medication and have been given sleeping tablets to help me out too. Hopefully this will have a positive affect.

Talking about mental health is good for many reasons:

- You can get the help and support you need
- Reduces stigma 
- Raises awareness
- Saves lives. 

So when I share on my blog about mental health I'm not attention seeking and its certainly not a weakness. I want to be open and honest so that if someone reading my posts are feeling the way I do that opening up is not attention seeking and no matter how hard it is seeking help is such an important thing to do. 


Summer wishlist with Spartoo

I'm so excited for the summer especially with going on holiday in June. I'm hoping that the week we have away will be filled with sunshine. With this in mind I've compiled a wishlist of a few summer fashion items from Spartoo.
All the items I have picked are from the women's section however they also cater for men and children with a wide selection of clothing and accessories.


Vero Mods | £25.99
 Maxi dresses are my favourite thing to wear during the summer months. The dress above is very similar to maxi dress I already own but not as bright. I tend to find navy suits me well and I adore the floral print.

The maxi dress below is different from any maxi dress I've had and I really love its bright colours. I think this dress is the perfect summer look with not only the bright colours but the wrap style bust area looks flattering.





Desigual £65.99

Having a great bag to carry things around during the summer is ideal.  I love the look of the casual Superdry beach bag for lazy days on the beach. It's a great size for fitting in all your beach essentials.



The Guess Trudy Satchuel is fashionable and practical bag for daily use and looks great when you are dressed up or down. It comes in 5 different colours too so that you can choose one that suits your taste.
Superdry £34.39
Guess Trudy Satchel  £135

I love to have a good selection of comfortable shoes during the summer. Even though I rarely wear heels these stunning colbalt blue Moony mood sandles have made it to my wishlist. They would go perfectly with the Desigual maxi dress.

The second pair of shoes are these stunning Ralph Lauren ones. Admittedly they cost more than I ususlly spend on a pair of sandles however they remind me of a similar pair I own which are so comfy and go with everything.




Moony Moon £17.59


Ralph Lauren £71.99

What are your summer fashion essentials? Have you ever purchased anything from Spartoo? 

Book Nook: Time Machine

This month, for Blogger Book Nook it is all about historical fiction.Histrioical fiction is within my top 3 favourite genre's so I was excited to pick a book to fit in with the prompt. Some of my favourite historical fiction include books such as The book thief and All the light we cannot see to name a few.


 1.If you could time travel either to the past or the future, which would you pick and why?
Definitely has to be the past. I'd love to be able to visit some of the places mentioned in books I've read. This way I could see them for myself rather than rely on what my imagination comes up with. This also applies to situations as well as the places featured in historical fiction.


2.Historical novels aren’t always accurate in their details - is this something that bothers you? Why / why not?
Yes and no. Most of the time it doesn't really bother me as of course I'm reading fiction. Other times I like that some of the information to be accurate. I think it really depends on the book I am reading and what the storyline is about.


3.Is there one specific historical era that especially interests you? What novels set in that time would you recommend?
It has to be around the war time as I love reading the experiences of what it was like during them times. It also makes me feel thankful for what life is like for us today compared to back then. My favourite has to be book theif I liked the film too.

 4.Which historical figure (fictional or real!) would you most like to have dinner with?
This is a tough one and a question I'll have to come back to at some point.

5. Do you find historical fiction an appealing genre? Why / why not?
Yes however It does depend on the era and the story I tend to enjoy books based in the 1900's.

The Muse By Jessie Burton

First of all this is the first book I've read by Jessie Burton as I've yet to read her first book The Miniaturist. 

On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn't know she had, she remains a mystery - no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . 


I had high hopes for this book as it sounded a great read for historical fiction however I was disappointed. The book goes between the story of Odelle in 1967 and Olive in 1936 which I liked the idea of. Unfortunately I struggled to get into it as I found it a slow starter. I did get into the story eventually however as much as it was an ok book it's definitely not one I'll be reading again. I think it's a book that seems to have mixed views, so if you have given it a read I'd love to know your thoughts.

The Blurt Foundation: Pot luck Buddy Box

Other than scheduled a guestposts you may have noticed that I've been quiet the past week. This is because I had chosen to take a little break and focus on self care.  It was a spur of the moment decision and I'm glad I've taken some time out from writing and am now back to it.

Not long ago I came across The Blurt Foundation who are a amazing charity who work to increase awareness and understanding of depression. Their website is a great place to find advice, support and resources.

They also have a fab little shop where you can purchase products such as books, crafts, stationery, prints etc to help support the charity and help with you/ a friend's self care journey.

They also sell a wonderful subscription box which you can either buy as a one off or as a rolling monthly subscription. I recently purchased a pot luck box from them as a one off treat to myself and wanted to share its contents with my readers. 

This week happens to be Mental Health awareness week so this post is certainly a great time to share with you. 



The Buddy box was created for anyone who could benefit from a boost, a pick me up or a dollop of self care. It's a box filled with thoughtful and mood boosting treats . All the items included in the box are intended to make you feel good: helping you de-stress, find calm, feel pampered, relax, get creative, or simply have fun.

Each month the Buddy box contains 5 quality products that vary month to month and kept secret so when your box arrives the surprise is part of the experiance. There is also an option of the Buddy box lite which contains 3 items instead of 5 which can also be purchased as a one off or as a rolling monthly subscription.

You can also purchase some of the previous boxes and occasionally you can get your hands on a pot luck box which contains 6 items. They sell out very quickly and so if you want to get your hands on a pot luck one like I have you have to  be quick.


So what did I get in my pot luck buddy box? 


- Clipper Calomine tea
- A pocket box
- Yankee Candle in Sea Breeze
-  One Step at a time iron in badge
- sticky notes
- unplug A4 Print
- C'est la vie: The French art of letting go book 

I can see myself using nearly all the items in this box which is great as when it comes to surprise boxes they can be a bit of a risk. 





What do you think about the Buddy box? Is it something you would consider purchasing? 

Flying with a baby- Everything you need to know!

*Guestpost by Hayley Stainton 

I have learned a lot in my first year as a mum! Most new parents quickly come to terms with everyday aspect such as which tog sleeping bag is best, which first foods to introduce or how amazing the jumperoo is! But when it comes to travelling many find it quite daunting. So I’ve compiled my list of top tips telling you everything you need to know for your first flight with baby in tow!




  1. Think about travelling times


If your baby is small enough to sleep on the go at any time of day. But once baby has established their routine you probably want to avoid disrupting that too much if you can. A baby who is over-tired can be a real nightmare (trust me I know!), so avoid flights that are super early in the morning- a 6am flight will mean arriving at the airport around 4am and depending on your journey time to the airport waking up might have to take place a couple of hours or more before that. Such an early start will disrupt anyone’s body clock, baby or not.


Night flights are generally a good bet as baby can sleep and is less likely to get restless and want to play, although this does depend on the length of the flight. A 10pm-4am flight to Dubai might not be ideal but an 8pm-8am flight from London to Mexico could work perfectly.


  1. Consider baby’s ears


Changes in altitude are likely to affect your precious one’s little ears, especially if their sinuses are blocked. It is a good idea to encourage baby to be sucking something during take-off and landing to avoid this where possible. This can be by breastfeeding, bottle feeding, using a dummy or sucking a thumb. We have always given Isla a dummy and have never had any problems.


  1. Reserve a bassinet


Having a bassinet can be a lifesaver, especially if you have a night flight. If baby won’t sleep in it it is also a great place to keep all of those baby things you brought with you- toys, blankets, bottles etc. Bare in mind that there are weight restrictions, so this is generally for the younger babies only. An added bonus of getting a bassinette seat is that these are often ‘chargeable’ seats as you tend to get a little extra leg room, the down side, however, is that whoever you are travelling with might be seated separately.


  1. Buy your milk and nappies in advance and collect at the airport


OK so you’ve already sacrificed a pair of shoes for baby’s favourite ‘blanky’, but where are you going to fit in those pots of formula and nappies?! These are seriously bulky items that will take up lots of room in your luggage. It might cost slightly more than you would usually pay but it is super handy to be able to reserve your baby bits online and then to collect them airside at the airport.


  1. Buy some ready-made formula


On my first flight after I had stopped breastfeeding I was nervous at the prospect of being without my perfect-prep machine so I opted to order some ready-made formula for the flight instead. OK so this wasn’t warm, but luckily my daughter isn’t too fussy about this. It was super handy that I could order to collect at the airport as it meant I didn’t have to worry about liquid restrictions at security and it was much easier to use than formula when in a confined space with a baby who decides she wants her milk NOW. Seriously, can you imagine entertaining a hungry baby onboard an aircraft for half an hour while waiting for boiling water to cool down?!  


  1. Take the baby carrier


They might tell you that your stroller will be returned to you at the aircraft door in London Gatwick, but when you arrive at the tiny Spanish airport in Murcia this could be a different story… there have been multiple occasions when I have expected to retrieve the stroller only to find that it has been taken to the baggage belt. Some airports have long distances to walk and long lines at immigration so having a baby carrier is a lifesaver.

So that’s it, my top tips for flying with a baby. For more on travelling with a baby you can visit my blog Lifeasabutterfly.  

Hooked On Books With Kathleen Jowitt

Hi Everyone welcome to another instalment of Hooked on books. I'll still be featuring my hooked on books posts on a Wednesday however today  is a special feature as its in collaboration with Kathleen on her blog book tour. 


A Spoke in the Wheel

The first thing I saw was the wheelchair.
The first thing she saw was the doper.

Ben Goddard is an embarrassment – as a cyclist, as an athlete, as a human being. And he knows it.
Now that he’s been exposed by a positive drugs test, his race wins and his work with disabled children mean nothing. He quits professional cycling in a hurry, sticks a pin in a map, and sets out to build a new life in a town where nobody knows who he is or what he’s done.
But when the first person he meets turns out to be a cycling fan, he finds out that it’s not going to be quite as easy as that.
Besides, Polly’s not just a cycling fan, she’s a former medical student with a chronic illness and strong opinions. Particularly when it comes to Ben Goddard…





Kathleen Jowitt was born in Winchester, UK, and grew up deep in the Welsh Marches and, subsequently, on the Isle of Wight. After completing her undergraduate degree in English Literature at the University of Exeter she moved to Guildford and found herself working for a major trade union. She now lives in Cambridge, works in London, and writes on the train.
Her first novel, Speak Its Name, was the first self-published book ever to be shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize.



What book(s) are you currently reading?
At the moment I'm re-reading Heavy Ice by Ankaret Wells. I picked it up for the IndieAthon challenge back in March, but it's 700 pages so I'm still going! I've also got The Right Thing by Judy Astley on the go.

What book is next on your “to be read” list?
I found Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy under the sofa this morning, and remembered how much I wanted to read it, so that's probably the one! But I've also got the new Ann Leckie book, Provenance, which I'm keen to read.

What is your favourite genre to read?
That's a tough one! I enjoy all sorts of things: anything from sci-fi to school stories to spy thrillers. If you were going to maroon me on a desert island with only one genre, it would have to be 20th century crime. I can remember whodunnit in almost every Agatha Christie, but I still like re-reading them.

Who are some of your favourite authors?
Daphne du Maurier, Dorothy L. Sayers, Alexandre Dumas, Ursula Le Guin, Ben Aaronovitch, Hilary McKay... I have lots!

What are your top 5 favourite books?
The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) is definitely on the list – it's so long, and packed full of different plot lines and scenery, that I can pick it up when I'm feeling down or despairing and be certain that by the time I've got to the end of it things will have changed. Then there's The Prisoner of Zenda (Anthony Hope), which I have adored ever since my father read it to me when I was little.

Moving into the twentieth century, E. M. Delafield's Diary of a Provincial Lady and Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm are both hilariously funny.

And the last one I'm going to choose is The Summer House Loon by Anne Fine. It's only a little book, but I love it.

This list has probably changed since the last time I made it! Narrowing it down to five is really difficult.

Paperback vs digital books - which do you prefer and why?

I read both. It depends on where I happen to be and what the book is. If it's 500 pages or more, and I'm trying to read on the train, then I'll put it on the Kobo.

If I'm at home, reading in bed or in an armchair, and the book's light enough to hold up comfortably (or if I've forgotten to charge the e-reader!) then I'll probably read a paperback.

What was your favourite book or series of books as a child?
I loved the Swallows and Amazons series and many of Noel Streatfeild's books, particularly Ballet Shoes and Apple Bough.

Do you ever cheat and skip to the end of a book? Why do you do it?

I do sometimes. If I'm not really enjoying the book but am still curious as to how it ends, I might satisfy my curiosity and then give up. And I'm not great at dealing with suspense, so sometimes I spoil myself to relieve the suspense and then go back – this happened just the other day with Apple Tree Yard.

 Do you hang on to your books once you've read them? Or do you prefer to pass them on to a charity shop / a friend?

If I'm confident that I'll be able to pick them up again then I'm quite laid back about passing them on. Of course, with books that were given to me as presents I don't let them out of my hands so easily. Similarly, there are some that I'm collecting in a particular edition, and of course I hang on to those.

The books that I do get rid of go to friends, or the book swap shelf at work, or charity shops. I'm also a member of BookCrossing.com and have sent my fair share of books on by that route.

Do you read one book at a time or do you have multiples on the go?

I usually have three or four on the go at the time – one beside my bed, one in my handbag, one on the e-reader, one that I started reading and then forgot about... and so on! They tend to be quite different genres – I get mixed up otherwise.

Describe your ideal reading nook

Bookshelves! I never seem to have enough bookshelves, so I'd have them from floor to ceiling on all the walls. And I'd have a big window to let plenty of natural light in, with long curtains to keep it warm at night. Perhaps a wood-burning stove for the same reasons, with a comfortable sofa and an Anglepoise lamp. I've always wanted one.

You can find Kathleen over on: