Soft Play Survival

I am not a huge fan of soft play centres, they are often a breeding ground for germs (which Luca always seems to pick up) but the same could be said for his nursery, and he loves them both equally, so who I am to ruin the boy’s fun??

However, it seems as though people have cottoned on to my irrational fear of soft play centres and decided that every child’s birthday, parents’ coffee morning and wherever all the fun seems to happen is now at these brightly-coloured, padded centres of chaos.

So after attending a party, pretty much every week, it seems that ‘soft play’ often translates to ‘hard and fast Hell on earth’ with the occasional glimpse of ‘cute, quiet toddler area’.

The Hell part being a load of sugar-filled, lippy, pre-teen lunatics throwing everything they can find into the toddler area, leaving the little ones terrified and crying. Some of whom are probably sat in a patch of their own vomit that hasn’t been noticed/cleaned up. That does happen, trust me!

Or, if you are lucky enough, you’re left babysitting two toddlers that are bawling their eyes out as their parents have gone AWOL/outside for a cig. Or worse still, you lose sight of your own child for a second and panic sets in. Are they hurt? Have they p*ssed themselves? That sort of thing, when actually they are probably stood right beside you.

Do you have a visual?

 

  But of course there is always the cute in everything involving toddlers. The cute being, your child and his/her best friend are playing nicely, holding hands down the slide and jumping into a little ball pit (that is monitored properly by staff members who are helpful). This then allows you to take that adorable pic of your child to post to Instagram (cue hashtag #toocute). Yes, I know, I use that a lot!

So how do I otherwise survive this hell that my son seems to find so magical and exciting? Here are my tips:

No 1. Tag team – ensure you have someone with you, (a partner, a mum you are friends with) to ensure you always ‘have a visual’.

No 2. Make sure your phone has plenty of data and a full battery. You may need to look busy and pretend to work or something, rather than making small talk if you’re having one of those days. That and if your kid is going mental or wants to cry as it’s time to leave, so a blast of Paw Patrol on your phone and instant calm.

No 3. Always have a small bribe to hand, you never know when you may need to lure your child out of the maze of Hell or calm them down when they have smashed their face into a slide/post/mat/another child.

No 4. Feed yourself before you go. Both you and your child will be too hyper to eat. You, because of the caffeine you’ll be downing whilst you’re trapped for 2 hours. Your child, because they will be tearing around like a crazed maniac, fuelled by Haribos and some other kids’ Ribena they’ve swiped from a nearby table.

No 5. Dress your child in bright/distinctive clothing, that way if they go into the ‘crazy alien maze’ you have half a chance of finding them!

No 6. Take a spare pair of your kids’ socks. They always seem to lose a sock or two in the ball pit. Sometimes, with all the excitement, they may also p*ss themselves… so yeah, take a spare set of clothes too.

No 7. Don’t wear heels. Totally frowned upon by other mums and useless when you have to chase a toddler across a room when they’ve spotted a packet of Quavers that they’ve claimed as their own.

No 8. ..and as an extension of number 6, wear nice socks yourself. There is always a chance you may have to go in for a rescue op.

No 9. Antibacterial hand gel is your best friend. For some reason, the soft play centres I have recently visited have toilets akin to a medieval dungeon, which don’t seem to have hot water.

No 10. Always take cash. Always. The majority of these places don’t accept cards. Any attempts at using your plastic as payment will have staff recoil in horror at your futuristic ways and cause a rip in the space-time continuum, bringing down the entire universe as we know it. Oh, unless you want to spend over £10. Which is fine.

#toocute

 

Christmas at Chatsworth with Mr Toad

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Christmas with Mr Toad at Chatsworth House

7 November 2015 – 3 January 2016 (closed 24, 25, 26 December & 1 January)

 My family and I were kindly invited to attend Christmas with Mr Toad at Chatsworth House last month, which meant we were also fortunate enough to be there whilst the Christmas Market was taking place too!

  It was a cold, crisp morning and a beautiful rainbow appeared over the grounds of Chatsworth upon our arrival. The grounds were stunning and we were able to see all the animals freely roaming the estate.

  We arrived around 9.45am which meant we were able to avoid queues in the grounds and in the car park. This also gave us to chance to explore the Christmas Market and so we perused a few of the stalls, grabbed a coffee and then headed off to the house to meet Mr Toad.
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My son was very excited as we told him to keep his eyes peeled for Mr Toad and his friends. We were also advised by the Chatsworth staff to keep an eye out for toy badgers which were hiding around the house (we had to count the number of them hidden in each room, which my son loved).

As soon as we entered the house, we were in awe of the amazing decorations. There were SO many Christmas trees around the route of the Mr Toad tour.

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As previously mentioned, we were also on the look out for the hidden badgers, but we actually stumbled upon THE Mr Badger -whom my son immediately ran up to and chatted away with.  

 The tour took us around the house, up the stairs and to a dressing-up room, on to Mr Toad sleeping (snoring in bed) and Mr Mole taking a bath. I can’t tell you how stunning the house is, we have never visited it before and it absolutely took our breath away. From the incredible artwork on the ceilings to the amazing windows and statues around the house.


Once we had counted the badgers, we arrived at the end of the tour where children could write a wish on a tag and place it on the wishing tree, which was really quite sweet.

On your way out of the tour you enter the Orangery where the gift shop is. The gift shop gives you the opportunity to buy some Wind in Willows goodies (which we did, we bought the book and CD) along with Chatsworth farm merchandise and some lovely jewellery, books etc. Some great gifts for ages.

It was a little cold outside so we had a short wander around the gardens and then some lunch in the restaurant. After lunch we headed up to the farmyard and play area. This place is amazing, there is lots of fun to be had for all ages. The farm was brilliant as it gave us all an opportunity to stroke a sheep, see the piglets feeding from their mother and we played on the small tractor track, which my son thoroughly enjoyed with pointing out all the chickens on the park.

In summary, we had an amazing day out, in particular the tour of the house and the Mr Toad experience. The farmyard and playground was a huge surprise, I didn’t even know it was there at the back of the house, it was SO much fun. Everyone needs to experience the house tour at Christmas, when it is at its most magical.

We also returned to the house and the Christmas market the week after and it was very busy, too busy to actually get round to see anything and the car park was very difficult to get out of. The restaurant queuing system is the only other negative as, when you have a toddler and pensioner in tow, it’s a little bit difficult to stand and wait for so long – so I am glad we visited when we did.

Book tickets and prices

Christmas at Chatsworth – November/December/January 2015-2016

Full Events Calendar

*Please note my family and I were sent tickets to visit the house for the purpose of this review, but all views are my own*

Toddler Phase No 17: Nightmares and Car Farts 

When my son was born I was informed of a number of ‘milestones’ and ‘phases’ to look out for.

The obvious ones were when my wobbly little snot-monster took his first steps, or his first full sleep through the night (nope, can’t remember that one), his first tooth cutting through and his first wee in a potty. But nowhere in these glossy, cheery parenting magazines do they tell you about toddler night terrors?!!!’ I’ll also tell you all about the car farts later (yes, I know, you can’t wait!)   IMG_0861So these nightmares have been occurring with my son over the past couple of months and it makes me so sad to see my little boy upset like this, that and the fact that yet again he isn’t sleeping through – so it’s not nice for us all. So of course you start to question, why? Is it something he’s seen and I’ve not shielded him from? Why is he thinking nasty thoughts? What do these nightmares mean?

The majority of the time my son can’t remember the nightmares but there have been a few that were rather unpleasant, like when he woke screaming and shouting, “Mummy someone is sat on my chest!”. I remember going into his room at 3am, feeling torn between ‘I must protect my son’ and ‘I’m sh*itting myself – what the feck is in there?!?’

So I usually try to settle my son with a cuddle and a cup of milk, which normally does the trick. But sometimes he gets that upset that he has to come into my bed. Fortunately these nightmares seem to have subsided now, just in time to be replaced with a never-ending dry/croupy cough. But who needs sleep, eh?

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Anyway, after one rare occasion where I had a little more sleep than usual, I suddenly thought rationally about this and I have come to the conclusion that it is just his little imagination fired up with questions and queries that get lost in translation. That this is just ANOTHER one of these bloody phases the little tykes go through and that you have to say strong and calm for them. You can secretly sh*t yourself on the inside (by all means) but they definitely need you to be their calm in the storm.

So, back to the car farts….Why are they SO God damn funny and why do they smell SO much more potent when you are travelling in your car? How the heck can a three year old deliver such a potent parp that it almost makes me physically gag whilst driving?!! It’s simply because he’s turning into a boy, that’s why, and boys are generally gross will always find farts funny. That and he eats lots of beans. That might have something to do with it.

        So what has (made up) Phase No 17 taught me?

  • 1. If your child’s night terror is monster-related, try spraying the room with a water spray, labelled ‘monster spray’, to help settle your child. This one works quite well.
  • 2. Never underestimate the power of your child’s fart. If they let go in a car, it can often make your eyes water so always have your window slightly ajar, even in the winter. Stay vigilant.
  • 3. Toddler morning breath is also SO RANK. I’m sure many of you are already aware of this, but during a night terror, when you go in for a cuddle and kiss, it seems to be amplified! Maybe it’s more potent because it’s mixed with ‘fear breath’ (which is a whole new blog-post), I don’t know but, nevertheless, one to watch out for! 

Double, ‘Bubble’, Toil and Trouble – Halloween with Cravendale

Britmums and Cravendale have set the nation a new challenge, a #MilkDrinkersMilk challenge to be exact, and we have gladly accepted.

I wanted to share our milk-drinking experience with you all and what better time to do it than #Halloween.

Since a straw was first placed between my son’s lips, he has always had to the urge to blow bubbles in any drink that would allow it. What kids doesn’t love bubbles, eh? I’m fairly sure every toddler in the world loves bubbles, so why not blow some into a cup of deliciously creamy, calcium-enriched Cravendale? My son calls this, ‘Bubble Milk’. It is his favourite game and he can’t wait to show his friends, and anyone that will watch, his bubble-blowing technique in milk. I have even had reports that his friends at nursery have started to do it too – he’s such a trend setter!

So it’s Halloween, we are carving the pumpkins and my son laughs and says, “hubble, bubble, toy and trouble” very cute and he’d obviously picked this up from a Halloween Peppa Pig or Sponge Bob Squarepants. *corrects child with full witch chant from Macbeth and carries on scoffing whatever I could get my hands on from the trick or treat tub* So I ask my son if he wants a snack or anything, baring in mind he’s been eating sweets, toffee apples and crisps all day, and he asks for milk from his ‘sippy jar’. His sippy is basically Mummy’s ‘sippy jar’ (don’t laugh, I don’t drink a lot). He loves his milk in this jar, whether cold or warm, and he will drink huge amounts of Cravendale in this and blow enormous bubbles.  

  He then proceeded to share this fab game (and my drinking jar) with every trick-or-treater that came to our door! They loved it. Hopefully they didn’t notice the margarita and cocktails references on the jar and they just focused on my sons ‘bubble milk’ face.

Why not try this game with your little one, I’d love to see your child’s ‘bubble milk’ face. Post on social media with the #bubblemilkface or better still #cravendalebubblemilkface

*This post is an entry for Britmums #MilkDrinkersDrink Linky Challenge Sponsored by Cravendale*

Potty Training: Same sh*t different day

My son is just over 3 years old now and has finally passed potty training with a flying colours. I am not going to lie to you, it has been hard work. I was told that some children complete potty training anywhere between 18 months and 2years, and some a little later at 2-3years old, but at no point did I imagine it was going to take so long …and with SO much laundry!

We were advised by our friends that summer would be the best time to attempt potty training with our son, that way if [see when] he has an accident, we could dry clothes, bedding, furniture, plant pots and our pets outside in the sunshine. YES, toddler wee gets everywhere, trust me!!!!    So we bought all the training books, 4 potties with various cartoon characters on and enough underwear to fill a small island.

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Stage 2 involved leaving our son to roam the house naked, strategically placing a potty at every toy station in the house and repeating the same sentences, ‘do you need a wee?’, ‘do you need a poo?’ every three seconds for fear of an epic accident. In the beginning, my son hated the potty, he didn’t want to go anywhere near it and then he used the old, ‘I want a pink one’ line, rather than the red Mickey Mouse, the white Frozen, or the blue Thomas the Tank engine potty we had already bought him. He was definitely protesting and was much more comfortable with his current arrangement of letting go in his nappy.

Stage 3 was to sit our son on the potty for prolonged periods of time whilst watching TV to see if this distraction helped. Yes it helped in so much as he sat and watched TV but as for weeing in the potty, that was done on the floor, rug, sofa, bed and anywhere else he felt inclined to do it. Stage 4. The summer passed with epic failures (usually in public), so we decided it wasn’t the right time for Luca, he had no interest in the potty whatsoever. Actually that’s not quite true, he liked putting it on his head or placing a cushion on it and having a little snooze. But then out of the blue, as if by some divine intervention, he started to tell me when he needed to go. Half the battle was his tiny little mind understanding that he had a full bladder and that a full bladder means that big boys need to wee in a potty.

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There were a few hiccups along the way where he didn’t quite make it, he’d say ‘wee’ when he meant ‘poo’, he’d wee in the bath and we’d laugh and then he’d poo in the bath and we wouldn’t laugh …that sort of thing.

We liaised with nursery to ensure they were mirroring what we were attempting at home in order to support our son. Having one toddler to potty train is tough but think of all the little accidents childcare workers have to deal with every day… I take my hat off to them!

So what did we learn? My son is very independent, he is very strong-willed and will do things in his own time (don’t know where he gets that from?) But it’s okay, every child’s development stage is different. There is no point in planning or stressing about it, your child will let you know when they are ready, so don’t force it!

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If they are not quite ready, give them a little break and you will be surprised at the outcome.

Chatsworth Country Fair 2015 – Our Family Day Out

chatsworthChatsworth Country Fair

Dates: Friday 4, Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 September 2015

My family and I decided to attend the Country Fair on the Sunday which meant we were able to meet John Torode, the celebrity chef demonstrating in the Aga Rangemaster Cookery Theatre that day. As many of my readers know, I am a huge foodie, so given the opportunity to meet John and sample the delights Derbyshire had to offer pleased me immensely!

 We were also very excited about the other advertised events that day, including the daredevil stunts, spectacular displays of agility and legendary horse-riding skills of  the impressive Ukrainian Cossack Stunt Team, one of three brand new acts making their debut at Chatsworth Country Fair this year.

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We arrived just before the gates opened around 8.45am and to my son’s delight, we were able to see the hot air balloons that had taken off that morning. It was a cold, crisp morning so we all wrapped up, ready to explore…..

“My chopper awaits!”

             We started the day with an ice-cream, of course. And yes, it was probably around 09.00am but hey, as an owner of a toddler, we all know 09.00am is a perfectly legitimate lunchtime!IMG_0590IMG_0593

  We had a lovely walk around the fairground whilst it was still quiet – the old fashioned helter skelter was amazing and my son loved it – although not enough to brave a slide down. We purchased a program on site to ensure we knew what time the shows and demonstrations were on, and also to scope where we could escape for a cheeky glass of bubbly and a spot of lunch. We definitely needed the program as the site was huge. I never knew the grounds were that vast.

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  There were over 200 trade stands to peruse. The food village (my favourite area) was packed with delicious locally sourced produce, lots of yummy samples to try and a tipple or two of your favourite drinks; such as speciality ciders, slow gin, wines and champagnes. I was in heaven!IMG_9783
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The Chef demonstrations were scheduled at set times throughout the day and the tent was very busy, with fans of John Torode waiting to get some expert tips. You were then able to meet John at his book signing, in a small queue just a short walk away from the tent.


The whole day was packed with everything for the whole family. Whether you’re a bike or car fanatic, a keen gardener or an art collector, the whole site had everything for you to admire (and indeed purchase) should you wish.

There were lots of activities for all ages such as, archery, zorbing and crafting. I had to practically drag my son off the bouncy castle and the little car rides available around the site. The weather improved dramatically and was a glorious sunny day, so more ice-cream and ice lollies were required, obviously!

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There was even chance to rest our legs and eat a bit of lunch on the grounds. Even though the site was extremely busy around the trade stalls and main events stage, you could still find areas in which to relax and take in the beautiful scenery that surrounds Chatsworth. 

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     The sun was beginning to set so we had a little walk to find somewhere to take in the view and await the Red Arrows. Chatsworth is even more beautiful in this light. I can’t tell you how much I have fallen in love with this place.

What can I say??! The Red Arrows were unbelievable. Just look at these stunning pictures below. They were taken on my iPhone, so not the best quality, but I hope you can imagine what it was actually like looking at these displays as they sore through the sky above our heads. I was in awe of them. My son was also over the moon to see them and for the duration of the journey home continued to make aeroplane noises, telling me, ‘” I am a Red Arrow!”

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    I have to admit, I didn’t really know what to expect with the Red Arrows, and if I’m honest, I didn’t really have any expectation or any particular interest in seeing some planes flying around – but boy was I wrong! The display absolutely blew me away. I would have been more than happy to pay the asking price ten times over, if only to see the Red Arrows.

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If given the chance, I would have attended the whole weekend, as CBeebies’ Katy Ashworth was there on the Friday (my son is a huge fan), and Mary Berry whom I love, was there on the Saturday. There was so much to do as family, and even though we were there from 9am – 7pm we still felt as though we hadn’t seen everything. We wanted to try zorbing, archery and witness a few of the main stage events, but some of this proved difficult when we had a tired toddler in tow.

Should you wish to attend the show next year (I most definitely will) then the dates have already been announced for:

September 2nd – September 4th 2016

… so go ahead and mark it down in your diary!

Because my family and I had such an amazing time at the Chatsworth Country Fair, we thought we’d check out what’s happening at the house over the coming months. Here’s my pick of the best events that I will most definitely be attending.

Beyond Limits – Sotherby’s Exhibition at Chatsworth House – September/October 2015

Chatsworth House – Fire and Fireworks – October/November 2015

Christmas at Chatsworth – November/December/January 2015

Full Events Calendar

*Please note my family and I were sent tickets for the fair for the purpose of this review, but all views are my own*

A Healthy Family and a Tidy Home

As many of my readers will already know, we like to keep a tidy house. My hubby more so, in fact you could say he has a rather ‘OCD’ approach when it comes to cleaning. Yep, he loves it.

So being the clean-freaks we are, I have to say we appreciate a good antibacterial wipe or spray in our household and my hubby actually breaks out in a cold sweat if we run out of them. He has even posted a pic of me holding some Dettol wipes on Twitter, with the caption ‘hello my precious’. Yes, we’re those people. I’m sorry.  

As many new parents will testify, you are bombarded with information regarding how to keep your house ‘germ free’, especially when around a new baby – as we know their delicate little tummies don’t need to be subjected to any nasty bugs.

Dummies, food and anything else your little one has chewed is often dropped on the floor, kicked under the sofa and then fished back out again …to chew some more. Your baby’s highchair is smeared in food, the nappy mat and changing station may have also been smeared with a wide range of nasties too. So what do we do? We reach for the antibacterial wipes and spray for our lives!   Cleanliness (and hygiene) are so important in this early stage of a babies’ life – the last thing you want is a dirty house around something so small and susceptible to picking up germ-related bugs.

Toddlers are equally as vulnerable when it comes to infection and we have experienced this first hand, ever since our son started nursery. He has had a whole array of viruses, skin complaints and 24 hour illnesses… and I’m guessing some may have been passed via changing mats, coughs, sneezes and drool-soaked objects. All we can do is to try our best to prevent the spread of disease by ensuring a relatively structured hygiene regime is adhered to at home.

So these simple steps are what our family try to stick to:

  • Wash hands thoroughly before mealtimes (Remember to rub hands together for at least 30 seconds, ensuring total coverage with lather, and not forgetting nails and thumbs) 
  • Wash hands thoroughly after a trip to the loo
  • Wash hands thoroughly after a nappy change and wipe down changing mats using antibacterial wipes 
  • Before and after meals, wipe the dining table and toddler booster seat with an antibacterial wipe
  • Before and after meal preparation, wipe kitchen worktop area with an antibacterial wipe The process of washing hands has suddenly become appealing to our son, since we found this new, funky ‘no contact’ hand dispenser. He finds this a fascinating little gizmo, so we have no problem with the hand-washing regime at present.

Using Dettol Hand Wash every day not only provides your skin with a delicate care and fresh fragrance, it also kills 99.9% of bacteria & removes viruses. For more information please visit this link: Dettol Handwash – Hand Hygiene      What did we do before antibacterial wipes? We now have packs of these all over the house.

 As mentioned above, it’s not just the changing mat which gets wiped after every use. We wipe the bathroom, kitchen and sinks – plus the wooden flooring, which is my son’s favourite place to practice writing the alphabet!. So the knowledge that these Antibacterial surface wipes kill 99.9% of bacteria & viruses, remove 90% of allergens and contain no bleach is a great reassurance for us neurotic parents.     I know some of you may think that a typical family cleaning regime might be a clinical existence – almost over the top? After all, it can be argued that children should be exposed to certain germs to ensure they build up their immunity.

But trust me, my family and I have fought off enough infection during our lifetime so the reassurance that I have done my best to ensure I keep a tidy home gives me peace of mind.

Besides, wiping surfaces certainly keeps my hubby out of trouble 🙂

For more information about Dettol and their product range then visit their website at Dettol or why not get involved with Dettol and their Mission For Health on their Facebook Page.

If you would like a chance to win the following Dettol products then please add your favourite cleaning tip on the comments section below or you can find the competition over on my Facebook or Twitter site.  

UK Entrants only and winner to be announced 16/08/15.
*I was sent the following for purpose of this review, all views are my own; 1x Dettol Power and Pure Kitchen Trigger Spray (Oxygen Splash),1x Dettol Power and Pure Bathroom Wipes, 1x Dettol No-Touch Antibacterial Hand Wash with E45 Softness (New product) and 1x Dettol Antibacterial Surface Cleanser*

To My Son, Luca.

Dear Luca

My expectations for my 3 year old son’s future constantly play on my mind. If I could write to you in the future, Luca, I hope that:

You are finally out of nappies and you have made some lifelong friends at primary school. You move onto secondary school, apply that intelligent little mind of yours and gain excellent GCSEs.

You decide to go to university like your Dad and pass with a first class honours. Perhaps you have a few girlfriends and break a few hearts (but no sex please as you’re still my little boy).

You choose the career you want to succeed in and, in doing so, meet the women of your dreams and you marry, overlooking the ocean somewhere tropical.

You have 3 children and I’m delighted to become a grandparent and want to share as much precious time with my grandchildren as possible.

However, you may only make a couple of friends at school, some of whom you’ll never see after leaving. Puberty hits you hard and you rebel at secondary school, a girlfriend /boyfriend confuses your head and you lose all focus on your grades and education.

You decide university isn’t for you and you go straight into employment. It’s hard work, manual labour, but you enjoy it. You work with some great lads and you share some amazing travelling experiences with them.

You return and train as a builder and eventually set up your own business to which you are very successful. The business takes in toll on life and as you hit my age, you still haven’t met ‘the one’. You haven’t had children and we don’t have any grandchildren to spoil and cuddle.

I suppose my point is that, as your parents, we will always worry and want the best for you. I don’t think it matters whether you are 3 or 33, my instinct will always be to protect and nurture you.

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I can’t live your life for you so you must choose your own path in life. And whether you wish to become a doctor, a lawyer, a pirate or a builder, as long as you are happy, healthy and loved then that is all that matters.

Penwizard – Personalised Potty Training Book

So we have attempted to potty train my son, Luca, and there was some resistance. Luca will be 3 years old in August and we have attempted a few pull-up nappy days, as have his nursery. So far, has just about managed one potty ‘wee-wee’ but always informed us when needing a number two. Now, however, he seems to have regressed and suddenly we are back to square one again. So I took to social media to seek advice from fellow mums and noticed this fab, personalised potty training book from Penwizard that would enable my son to follow some simple, colourful pictures and words – which is also designed in a fun and engaging way for him to understand.

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Luca wasn’t quite grasping the concept
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“Is this a seat, Mummy?”

Penwizard offer potty training books which are personalised for your child, from their Pirate Pete & Princess Polly range. You can choose from Pirate, Princess or Prince. We opted for the Pirate book as Luca is a huge fan – he loves dressing up as a pirate.

Pirate Luca

There is an online creator where you fill in the following details: gender, name, hair colour, skin colour, glasses and a personal message. You can also choose who will help your child, I opted for ‘Mummy’. RRP hardback £14.99 – multiple delivery options available, UK standard P&P from £2.50.

We sat and read the book together at least 4-5 times and Luca loved choosing a potty with Mummy from the ‘pirate store’ and couldn’t stop laughing at ‘what the potty shouldn’t be used for’ within the story. I read the following, “Is it a funny hat?” and he would say, “Noooooo Mummy” and then, “Is it a toy boat?” and Luca would say again, “Noooo Mummy” and at this point he was giggling his little head off. It continued, “A very useful storage box?” and without reading or any prompt, Luca said, “It’s for wee wee’s and poo poo’s Mummy”. He also loved being able to choose his own pants from a selection of colours/patterns. We then practiced pulling Luca’s pants up and down as stated in the book. The character has a little accident on the floor but is still praised by Mummy. By the end of the book the character is able to wee and finally does a poo in the potty and he feels very grown up. IMG_8519 Unfortunately Luca still hasn’t fully made friends with his potty yet but I do think this book is definitely creating fun and happy thoughts of wearing big boy pants, using his potty and ditching those stinky wet nappies.  He hasn’t yet been confident enough to use the potty but I do believe that, if we read this fab little book every night, we’ll get there in no time. This book has also been promoted to Luca’s bedtime read so it must be good, because not many make it to this exclusive collection! For more information on the Penwizard Potty Training Book and many more personalised books, you can find details at:

Penwizard Twitter

Penwizard Facebook

Penwizard Website   

*We received a copy of this book for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

Alphabet Cards – The Appealing Rabbit

As most of you may already know, my son, Luca, is obsessed with letters and numbers and has been from a very early age. He was able to recite the alphabet from 18 months and can competently count from 1-100, so he is a very clever little boy for his age (3 in August).

Following on from his love of all things ‘alphabet’, Luca has now now started reading and writing so anything that would help aid his learning and development, but is also fun, is something we are keen to try. So last month were contacted by The Appealing Rabbit regarding their Alphabet Cards, I was excited to see how Luca would react when the parcel arrived. As you can tell, a certain someone was very excited an wouldn’t let me get a look in! In fact, I wasn’t allowed to get him changed until I’d played ‘the alphabet game’ with him.

The deck of colourful letter cards comes with a dry wipe (write on/wipe off) marker pen. This enables your child to trace the letters of the alphabet and then be able to wipe off immediately and practice again.

As you can see below, the cards are very colourful and very engaging – each one features a beautifully designed and creative letter with objects that promote the correct letter formation. All cards are write on, wipe off, making them reusable.

Within the pack there is also a score card which allows your child to gain/log points for correctly tracing over the letter on the card, which is fab.     The letters are also great fun to use as a spelling game, like scrabble. Luca spelled out the word, ‘joy’.

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For the next hour, I didn’t hear a peep out of my son, which is something close to a miracle. He was just lay on the floor with his cards and pen – and was thoroughly enjoying himself, tracing out all of the letters.

He told me his favourite letter was ‘G’ as it had a water slide on the picture. He had fun tracing the movement of the letter down the water slide. It occurred to me that, even if your child isn’t as obsessive with numbers as mine, this would be a great way to get them interested in their ABCs.

IMG_8275-0 Luca is getting a lot of practice now and his drawing of letters (shaping and forming) is coming along nicely. This ‘N’ definitely earned him a point on the score card.

The RRP for this product is £9.90 but if you purchase multiple packs then there is a significant discount. If I was searching for an educational game – whether this would be for my son or as a gift – I would probably search for gifts under £10.00 so this price is definitely set at an affordable cost.

In summary, we love this Alphabet Card Game and we think the concept is great, educational but also retaining the fun and imaginative element of learning. The illustrations are amazing too and I bet they would look great on a canvas/wooden blocks/toy box to spell out your child’s name.

An immaculate and magical little game.

For more information about Alphabet Cards, visit: The Appealing Rabbit and you can also view this lovely little intro over on YouTube: The Appealing Rabbit You Tube Intro Film 

We were sent The Appealing Rabbit Alphabet Card Game to review. All views are my own.