Friday, 30 October 2015

How to Carve a Pumpkin

How-to-carve-a-pumpkin-Pumpkin-carved-with-Tinkerbell-lit-up
Tinkerbell
There's lots of time to practice carving pumpkins and this only takes about an hour.
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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Wow Toys Play Time Friends - Review

I was given a Wow Toy in a goody bag at a recent bloggers meet up. Being a newish granny I am completely out of the loop in toys and so I hadn't heard of Wow Toys.

On the pack it states that it is suitable for 18+months, well Bear is only 13 months so I thought I would have a peak inside without him.

Firstly there is nothing on the pack to say it's a Wow Toy. Usually brands splash their name all over.

On the front of the packet it stated "one figure and activity card inside" "2 individual characters to collect!"

So imagine my delight when I opened it and there were 2 figures! They are so cute too.

Picture of packet front with Father Christmas and a Reindeer


Picture of packet back with Father Christmas and a Rudolf

Picture of packet front with Father Christmas and a Rudolf with the figurines beside it


The figurines are really lovely. Wow Toys have thought of safety especially with young children choking so have their figures with their arms out and thumbs up! How cute is that? Father Christmas even has parcels in his sack.


Father Christmas and Rudolf figurines
The figurines are about 6 cm high and adorable.




The back of Father Christmas figurine showing presents in his sack

They are made from tough plastic and I would think they would withstand lots of playing and chewing. Their toys are described as having no PVC, toxic paint or small parts and no batteries required.

The pack has an activity card. In mine was a small card, a little creased, with colouring in on one side and dot-to-dot on the other.



Picture of the card with colouring in and dot-to-dot activity

I loved this toy and will save it for Bear when he's just a little older. I think these would be excellent to help with the development of a child's imagination.

My only disappointment was I couldn't find the Playtime Friends toys on-line. Wow Toys do sell via independent toy shops and their website has a search facility to find your local shop, so maybe they would stock them.

The bigger toys and play sets are stocked by some of the major on-line stores and a list of these is also on their website.

Searching for this toy I found that they also sold advent calendars, suitable from 1+ year and each calender has 24 themed toys. What a great idea instead of chocolate! They cost just under £25 so that's about £1 per toy. If the quality is similar to the sample I was given then I think that is excellent value.

I know a very lucky Bear who may be getting one this year. The decision now is...

Should I buy the Town, Farmyard or the Wonderland advent calendar? 


*I received this as a PR sample with no obligation to review. All opinions are honest and my own.



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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Baby Friendly Finger Food Recipe - 7. Eggy Bread (or French Toast)

Baby-Friendly-Finger-Food-Recipe-eggy-bread-french-toast

When we think of finger foods for babies we sometimes forget the really easy old favourites and French toast, or eggy bread as we always call it is one of these.
Most of you will know how to make this as it is super easy, but for those who do not I have included instructions with pictures.

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Sunday, 25 October 2015

Squeeze Please Reusable Pouch - Review

Bear is becoming a bit of a fussy eater. He likes to throw his food on the floor rather than eat it and he loves eating bits of unidentified stuff off the floor.

I wistfully think "If only I could make the stuff and make it nutritious and healthy!"

So I have been trying to find ways of getting him to eat more, especially fruit, and one of these was smoothies. He loves them but they won't go through his sippy cup and any other way ends up being so messy. Hands in cups, cups flung across the room, you get the picture...total nightmare.

Toddler in highchair with empty cup and contents on his face and bib
Bear looking pleased with himself despite the mess

Then one day, when he was being particularly fussy, I gave him a pouch of pears, pears, pears. He ate it straight from the pouch! I thought pouches would be great for smoothies and looked for reusable pouches. I decided on the Squeeze Please Reusable Pouch. They were exactly what I was looking for and had good reviews too. I bought mine from Amazon and they cost £10 for a pack of 3.

The Squeeze Please reusable pouch was larger than I expected, the size is clearly described on the website but I'm not so good at imagining 28 x 15.4 x 1.4 cm! The size isn't a bad thing though. Great for little hands and space for us to help with a squeeze or to roll it up to get the last drop. They hold about 200 ml.

Squeeze Please pouches

Bear loves yoghurt and he can eat a whole one from this pouch in seconds, with no wastage. Using a spoon and bowl takes ages and he gets most of it in his hair, on his hands, his bib or his face.

They have a large hole in the spout so bits can easily go through but this does mean that if he squeezes when its not in his mouth it would go everywhere!

spout with penny next to it to show size
Large spout about 8mm across

Squeeze Please describe the pouches as reusable, portable, convenient and safe.

Reusable 


The pouches are zipper-sealed at the bottom so they can be filled with anything squishy like smoothies, yoghurt's and homemade purées without leaking. Even when we squeezed the pouch none came out the bottom. When filling they do not stay open without squeezing the sides so if using thick foods like yoghurt it takes it two to fill, one to hold and one to spoon the food in. I'm still looking for something that would support the pouch whilst squeezing the sides.


pouch being held open with hand
Pouch needs to be squeezed open to fill. Showing zipper seal.



Portable


Just like ready filled pouches these are easy to take out when travelling or for older children for lunch boxes. They are quite flat and use up less space than jars and cans. They are lighter to carry too. After use the pouches lie flat and can be rolled or folded.


Convenient


The pouches are easy to clean. I washed them with soapy water and a babies bottle brush. I also tried putting them in the dishwasher on the top tray without rinsing first. They came out clean with just one small speck of fruit from the yoghurt inside. I'm happy to wash by hand but would recommend if putting in the dishwasher, to give a quick rinse first. These pouches are also freezer safe.


Safe 


They are described as BPA-free, PVC-free, Lead-free, and Phthalate-free. They have a large choke-free cap too.


Toddler in high chair feeding from pouch with a hand helping
Bear enjoying his yoghurt with a helping hand from Grandad


I haven't tried any other reusable pouches so can't compare but I am very happy with these and compared to pre-filled pouches they are good value for money. They are ideal for smoothies and yoghurt. For younger babies they would be great for homemade purées too.






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Friday, 23 October 2015

Why Are "Kids Meals" So Unhealthy and Boring?

When eating out why are children's menus always sausages, burgers, chicken nuggets or fish fingers? These are great if homemade with quality ingredients, I make sausages and burgers for Bear, but they are boring and unhealthy when someone has just taken the food from a packet and served them with peas and chips. And they charge £££. I'm not a cook but surely they could do the same as the adult meal but child sized?
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Thursday, 22 October 2015

A Cardiff Garden in October

I love summer. I love the sun and the warmth. This summer in Cardiff has been cold and wet but the Autumn! It has been beautiful, sunshine and dry. Ok some days have been a bit chilly but the sunshine, it's been glorious.

The trees are changing colour, the spiders are weaving their webs. The shadows are getting longer as the sun is lower in the sky and the nights are drawing in. This is the last of the warm sunny days in Cardiff until the spring. November brings dark evenings, rain and cold.

Many of the summer flowers are are still putting on a fabulous show, The hydrangeas are at their most beautiful and I'm going to try drying some. I accidentally dried one last year by putting it in water and forgetting to top it up, it lasted all winter. I hope it works again this year.




stones piled on a stick with autumn leaves around it
Beach stones with holes in threaded onto a metal stick.



shadows on house wall
Shadows are getting longer






spiders web on fence
Spiders web


Oak leaves on grass
Oak leaves on the grass




Acer leaves red and pink
Maple is looking glorious




Red and green leaves of Virginia Creeper
Virginia Creeper almost all red


Virginia creeper and path covered in leaves
Virginia Creeper tumbling over the wall 





log with fungus
Log in log pile with Fungii

Passion flower
Passion flower still in full bloom

Clerodendrum bungei - Glory Flower

red snapdragon
Snapdragon



yellow rose
Rose in full bloom
Yellow rose buds
Promise of more to come

blue sky no clouds with airplane
Beautiful blue sky no clouds, only a plane

oak tree
Oak going yellow and orange before the leaves turn brown and fall

2 pink Hydrangea flowers hanging upside down in the sun on brickwall
Hydrangea flowers cut ready to dry

2 pink Hydrangea flowers hanging upside down inside house on wall
Even if they do not dry they look beautiful

pink hydrangea flower in vase with water
In a vase hoping it will dry slowly
What is your favourite month?
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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

A Day Out at RSPB Newport Wetlands

While the weather is still sunny and mild we are trying to get out at least once a week with Bear. He is only one so lots of outdoor places are not really for him. He's happy in the local park but we like visiting different places. Not too far, so he doesn't get bored in the car, but far enough so it's a different view.

picture of tall grass and low building
The visitor centre surrounded by the wetlands

This week we decided on Newport Wetlands, a RSPB nature reserve. It is free to park and to get in. They have a visitor center with a little cafe and shop.


Newport wetlands sign

The wetlands are on the Severn Estuary near the village of Nash, and the power station. The views across the estuary are lovely. There are cycle routes and paths suitable for buggy's. There are also "off road" green paths only suitable for walking.

Bear can only just walk so we stayed on the finished paths and walked to the light house. It is only a short walk and with stopping to see the birds and navigating the wonderful wobbly bridge it only takes about 20 minutes each way.


birds on river with grasses in front
River with lots of ducks and other water birds

path leading away towards lighthouse in distance
Gravel path leading to lighthouse
wobbly bouncy bridge with lighthouse
Wibbly, wobbly bridge through wetlands. Its great fun!

warning sign of stickman drowning
Danger sign. Person drowning.


Picture of white lighthouse
East Usk Lighthouse

Baby in buggy next to Wales Coastal Path waymarker sign
Wales Coast Path runs through the wetlands


Path marker, carved wooden bird
Path marker

View of estuary from wetlands path
View across the estuary


Gravel path and zig zag path for buggys and wheelchairs
Zig Zag path down, or up, hill


We stopped for lunch in the little cafe. The choice of food was limited, great for a coffee and cake but not a lot of choice for a toddler. We had Welsh rarebit and tuna melt with coffee. The coffee was lovely but I wouldn't eat there again. It was expensive and the food was just OK. The cafe looked a bit unloved and needs a bit of TLC. 

Baby sat in highchair waiting for food
Where's my lunch?

View through picture window in cafe
View through picture window in Cafe

There are huge picture windows giving great views over the wetlands and the ducks that were feeding in the pond. On my next visit I would take a packed lunch and eat outside on one of the many picnic tables or benches.
After lunch we walked back to the car via the playground. It's a great playground  with lots of different equipment. Swings, climbing frames and a death slide!

Bear loved the swings, the bouncy ducks, the big red balls and the slide. He didn't want to leave. We also had 2 ducks follow us around, they were really friendly and one had a damaged wing so I am sure they are residents.

Picture of playground with play equipment
Playground with death slide

Lighthouse climbing frame
Fantastic climbing frame

Baby on play equipment
Bear on bouncy duck looking at ducks

Baby in buggy with 2 ducks and red ball
Ducks following Bear

Baby sat on red ball with a duck by his feet
Bear sat on ball, duck watching.

Baby on swing
Bear on swing

Minibeast Mansion. Logs and wood made into a frame
Lots of educational areas-Minibeast mansion

Baby in buggy with a water reed
Going home with stick

 The RSPB wetlands are a fantastic place for a visit. There are lots of events throughout the year. We used to go there a lot with our bikes, now we will visit lots with our grandson. The Wales Coast Path runs through the wetlands. It is 870 miles long so if you fancy a longer walk.....






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