Folly Tower adventures with Schleich Farm World Toys

 

Today we decided to go for a walk up to the Folly tower and see the cows and take in the beautiful views. The ankle biters love going on adventures to the mountain. This was the perfect opportunity for them to take the Schleich Farm World toys we were asked to review.

We were sent the new starter set which includes a donkey, cow, rooster and a lamb. Archie and Frankie were so excited to play with these. They both knew exactly what the animals were when we got them out of the box. The animals were of really high quality and solidly made , they are definitely made to last.

We had a little play at home and built a barn with some blocks for the animals to shelter in. Archie and Frankie were so excited to put the animals in to the barn and were happy playing and using role play skills and their imagination which kept them entertained long enough for mummy to have a hot cup of tea.

                       

They really enjoyed taking the animals up to the mountain and creating memories with them. Frankie set them up on a pedestal and was doing her best animal noises. Archie then took them for an explore on to the grass and found some fab mole holes for the farm friends to play in and get muddy. He told me they would need a bath when we got home.

         

Archie wanted to show the real cows his toy cow , he said it was a “baby cow” Both Archie and Frankie really enjoyed playing with these and it really helped their imaginative role play skills. We are so excited to get some more of the Schleich Farm World toys to add to our collection. The ankle biters have already been telling me which ones they want next when we took a look at the full collection on the Schleich website.

I was sent a Schleich Farm World starter pack in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

Easter mini egg chocolate tray bake

Easter Tray Bake

I love a tray bake recipe they are so simple and easy to make , especially when you have two toddlers “helping” I decided to make a chocolate one with mini eggs to get some practice in for Easter.  I loved how colourful this cake was.

Ingredients

  • 6oz/170g of butter unsalted
  • 6oz /170g caster sugar
  • 4oz/115g self-raising flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2oz/ 55g cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt

For the frosting

  • 3oz/85g of butter unsalted
  • 6.5oz/185g icing sugar
  • 2oz/55g milk chocolate

For decoration –

  • Melted white chocolate
  • Micro mini eggs
  • Chocolate sprinkles

Method

Preheat the oven to 190c/170c fan or gas mark 5. Grease  a square baking tin.

Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and mix until creamy.

Sieve the cocoa, flour and salt into a bowl and add the eggs. Stirring all the time you should have a smooth thick batter.

Put the mixture into the tins and spread using a knife. Put into the oven and bake for 25 mins. Take out and leave to cool.

Now to make the buttercream melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl over simmering water on the stove. Leave to cool but make sure the chocolate stays in liquid form. Put the butter into a bowl and add the icing sugar and mix.

When the cake has totally cooled spread the buttercream on.

Melt the white chocolate again in the microwave or on the stove.  I just used a spoon and quickly splattered it over the cake in a diagonal motion.

Sprinkle the chocolate sprinkles on and micro mini eggs.

Grab a cuppa and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Old school sprinkles cake – Dairy free recipe

Old school sprinkles cake

I love this cake , my mum used to take me to the bakery in the village after school and I would always choose this. It is the absolute best comfort food served with hot custard.

I love to re-create this with the ankle biters. We make it dairy free so Frankie can enjoy it too.

Ingredients

225g/80z of Self – raising flour

225g/8oz Vitalite spread (at room temperature) or you can use butter if you prefer

225g/8oz Caster sugar

4 Eggs

1 Tea spoon of baking powder

225g/80z Icing sugar

2-3 Tablespoons of cold water

Sprinkles of your choice

Method – so simple

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / gas mark 4
  2. Measure all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl
  3. Mix all of the ingredients using an electric whisk or wooden spoon
  4. Pour the mixture into either a square tin or loaf tin
  5. Place them in the oven till golden brown 15-25 minutes
  6. Cool before icing
  7. Mix the icing sugar and water together , when the cake is cooled smother on top of the cake and cover in sprinkles
  8. Wait until the kids are napping , grab a cuppa and LARGE slice of cake

Loneliness in motherhood , because yes it is a thing

When I first moved back home to Wales we lived in Abergavenny. I was in a brand new town and was also a brand new Mum. Even though I had my beautiful boy and was also pregnant with Frankie by the time he was 6 months old it was probably the loneliest time of my life.

Some may say how can you feel lonely when you have a baby as all of your focus should be on them. Or you shouldn’t feel lonely , it’s selfish as you have your baby and that should be enough to stop you feeling lonely. But feeling lonely as a mum is a thing. Yes you love the bones of your baby and they are the centre of your universe , but you still exist too and need other human interaction and friends.

When we moved to Abergavenny I literally didn’t know one single person there. Archie was 10 weeks old and I was a first time mum still trying to find my feet. I was desperate to meet some other mummy friends and fantasised about going for coffee and play dates and chatting to loads of other Mums at playgroups. Isn’t this what being a stay at home mum involved? Yes in a perfect idealistic world it probably did.

Archie basically hated sleep so I was very sleep deprived and always up at the crack of dawn. Most days James would leave the house by 6.30 am and would not be home until around 6pm. This was such a long time to go without talking or interacting with another adult , some days I would literally see no one. I did start to feel really isolated and lonely.

I decided to join a local baby group. I was so excited and off I went with high expectations. It was awful I hated it!  I had never felt so awkward in my whole life. I’m a really sociable and outgoing person and always have been , not afraid to chat and say hello.

There were a few Mums at the group they all seemed to know each other so I sat myself down amongst them in the circle. I attempted to start a conversation with the woman next to me but she near on blanked me , just nodded and literally put her back to me and started chatting to the other Mums. I will never forget that it made me feel so low , I actually cried when I got out of there.

I continued to go to this group because it was good for Archie and seeing him smile and enjoy the music was enough to keep me going back. I will never forget how long those days were. Looking back I think I was definitely low and not myself in those early days. Being alone most days , sleep deprivation not having anyone to relate to really did contribute to that. I was never diagnosed with post natal depression but only now can I admit that I probably was suffering with it but thankfully managed to pull myself out of it.

I was so lucky that when we moved I found the most beautiful mother and tots group and have definitely made friends for life. Could not have asked for a more down to earth group of mummies. They make me laugh daily and never get bored with talking about tantrums , poo and sick.

I love my babies so much and they are my world , but they can’t chat about fashion and have a glass of vino with me. You do need friends when you are a mum and people you can relate to and count on to keep you going . When you are having a really crappy day its amazing even to just pop a text to your friend who just gets it. Being able to share with them that you’ve just stepped in shit because you’re trying to potty train your two-year old but he isn’t quite getting the grasp of it.

Whenever I see that mum who was me 3 years ago wanting to have a coffee and chat I always make time and be as welcoming as I can. Because loneliness as a mum is most definitely a thing.

 

 

Dairy Free Valentines baking with Auntie Mo’s

I was recently asked if I would like to try a new range of dairy and egg free cookie and brownie mixes by a new business called Auntie Mo’s. We love to get our bake on so I gladly agreed.

Auntie Mo’s are a Sunderland based business who produce dairy and egg free cookie mixes , brownie mixes and pancake mixes which are also suitable for vegans. Maria (Auntie Mo) makes these mixes dairy free as her nephew Alex had a severe milk and egg allergy.

I was so excited about this as we find it really hard to find cookie or cake mixes that are dairy free for Frankie as she has cows milk protein allergy and lactose intolerance. We were sent a lovely package with soft and gooey double chocolate brownie mix , chocolate chip cookie mix and oat and raisin cookie mix.

The packaging is so classy and perfect for a gift , you can either get a jar with the mix in which makes a fab gift ,  or the other option is a brown kraft pouch.

We decided to bake the mixes for Valentines day as a surprise for Daddy and so we could all have a taste of course.

Gooey double chocolate chip brownies –

                               

These were actually amazing , so easy to make too. We just had to mix 125ml water and 125ml of oil and whisk until it emulsified then add to the brownie mix and cook at 180 degrees for 25-30 mins. The house smelt so good whilst these were cooking.

So time was up ,  the brownies were cooled and they definitely got our seal of approval. They had a lovely gooey centre with a perfectly crisp top.  You would never think they didn’t contain dairy or eggs , they had a beautifully rich taste.  We all enjoyed these and what a treat they were.

     

Chocolate chip cookies / oat and raisin cookies

These were a massive hit with the ankle biters. It was the first time Frankie had ever tried a cookie. With her being cows milk protein allergic and lactose intolerant there are no cookies / mixes out there you can buy from the supermarket that she can actually have. Being a busy mum of two toddlers its fab to have the mixes already made up. Such a fantastic rainy day activity or when we just fancy treat to open the cupboard and have freshly baked cookies within 20 minutes.

Again super easy to make just add vegetable spread (we used Vitalite) and water and mix until it was emulsified. We then stired in the mix until it formed a dough . We used a table-spoon and scooped out balls of the mix on to greaseproof paper. We made sure we left a big enough gap between them to have room to grow as they cooked.

        

Within 15 minutes we had cookies. The ankle biters were so excited they could hardly wait for them to cool down! These definitely have our seal of approval. Frankie kept saying mmm delicious after every mouthful. James and I loved the oat and raisin and the tots loved the chocolate being the choco addicts they are, both mixes were equally yum. Now Frankie keeps asking me for “more cookies mummy”

            

The website has a wide variety of cookie and brownie mixes and have now introduced pancakes mixes which we will definitely be purchasing in time for pancake day. You can also find Aunite Mo’s on Facebook and Twitter. They are now our go to cookie mix fav’s.

I was sent these cookie and brownie mixes in return for an honest review , all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

My online mummy squad

Over three and a half years ago I joined a baby centre January 2014 birth group. Little did I know the ladies I met on this group would be such a huge and influential part of my life. These ladies are my motherhood sisters. I have been through two pregnancies , births and every developmental milestone that my babies have gone through. We have celebrated three years of our gorgeous babies birthdays together and the younger siblings that have followed.

I speak to these ladies every day in some shape or form. We share our highs and lows without judgement.  They are my go to ladies with just about everything. There is always one of us there day or night to help celebrate or a shoulder to cry on or talk things over.

If one of us is hurt or upset we all are and we are on the hunt for who has caused it , a big group of angry mummies on the warpath – scary. We never get bored of listening to each others problems and someone always has a solution to almost every problem shared. I have learnt so much about being a mum from these women and they have made me the mummy I am today. These special ladies always rally around when someone is in need or going through a mummy meltdown.

We are all going through the same thing whether it be terrible twos ,  the threenager stage , potty training , sleep deprivation – you name it we’ve been there.

I always feel any negatives I have about being a mummy are made normal by these gorgeous women.  I love this as if I didn’t have them to talk things over I would just sit here thinking what an awful mum I was for not enjoying weaning or feel pathetic for crying because my three year old wont stop screaming at me every time I say no to something. Instead one of you will say yeah my little one is being a complete demon child today or man I hate potty training.

You ladies were there with me during my labour step by step with both babies from the moment my waters went. Some of us were in labour together , spurring each other on and had babies born just hours apart. You were number one on Facebook to see the precious first pictures of my babies. I came to you as soon as I got that positive test with Frankie ,  of course everyone else had to wait till the 12 week scan to find out but you knew as soon as I did.

We share everything , no such thing as over sharing in this group. We know each other inside out and can read each other like a book. If someone is down we know , if someone is pregnant we know. Nothing gets past us.

During the early days of motherhood the mummies kept me going through night feeds , winding and poonamis. Always there for a chat at 3am , 4,30 am and to share a coffee with at 8am. Some days when I was finding it impossible to get through on 2 hours sleep I had my own personal cheerleaders cheering me on to get to that finish line called bedtime and wine.

You will always be a part of my life no matter how big our babies get. I know I can always be 100 percent raw and honest with you ladies , with no judgement just kindness. You are and always will be my first port of call for support and encouragement. Thank you for being my motherhood sisters ,  always and loving me and my babies the way you do my online mummy squad.

Lianne xx

 

Organyc – Organic cotton mother and baby range

Organyc Mother and Baby organic range

I was asked to review the Organyc mother and baby range which included baby wipes , organic cotton squares and menstrual pads. As me and the tots all have eczema prone and sensitive skin I’m always on the look our for organic and natural products for us all to try and see if they agree with us.

Organyc is a range of organic and natural feminine and baby care from sanitary and maternity wear to beauty and baby care. All products are made using organic cotton wool to give softness, comfort and breathable products. Organyc products do not contain parabens, synthetic ingredients, perfumes, or SAP.

Organyc baby cotton wipes

Organyc baby cotton wipes these were a pack of 60 organic baby wipes. They are dermatologically tested , Ethyl and Alcohol free and free of chlorine , parabens and SLS. This was fab as we all have sensitive skin and tend to have an eczema flare up with some baby wipes. I used the wipes on both tots and also myself to remove make up , there was no skin irritation or flare up. The wipes were soft but also durable enough to give the tots hands a good scrub after eating. I would defiantly use these in the future.

Organyc baby organic cotton squares

The Organyc baby organic cotton squares were a fab size and really soft. I tend to still use cotton wool squares to give the tots a face wash in the morning and to get the sleepy dust out of their eyes. They had a cute teddy and hippo embossed design which they loved. I also used some to take my make up off and found them so soft and loved the size , as some cotton wool pads can be small and you end up using loads.

Organyc menstrual pads

The Organyc menstrual pads are made with organic cotton. You can really feel the difference they are really soft. They were also well packaged. They didn’t have any plastic or synthetic materials in them which I find myself allergic to usually. They were still very absorbent and ultra thin. I will be switching to this brand as I really could feel a difference with the 100 percent organic cotton.

I received these products in return for an honest review all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Getting our craft on with Children’s Art Galleries

 

 

I was recently asked to review Children’s art galleries. Children’s art galleries is an online subscription where you have access to a website to upload your children’s art work.

I think this idea is just fab , we have so much art work dotted around the house and in folders as we just cant bare to part with it. Archie started nursery 3 weeks ago and we have around 30 pieces of art already ! The galleries are also open so Nanny , Bampy and Auntie Lou Lou can look at the ankle biters master pieces.

Archie and Frankie were sent a lovely arts and crafts “get busy” box each to help with their creations. It contained paper , pens , paint markers , glue , chalk and loads of lovely crafty bits. They were thrilled with them. There were some instructions to help with their first piece of artwork which was “this is how I feel today”

We took the boxes on holiday with us to Bluestone National Park they were perfect for a rainy afternoon. Both Archie and Frankie said they felt happy as they were having fun on holiday so the theme for their art work was happy.

Frankie’s “Happy” art work on the website  

Archie’s “Happy” art work on the website

The website is very user friendly and you can also share your children’s art work across social media. Soon there is going to be an added option of printing all work in to a book to purchase and keep. There are unlimited uploads and you own the copyright of the children’s art work. Prices start from £3 for the year which is so reasonable. The site is totally safe as there is no option for anyone to make contact with the children though the site.

I was given a subscription to Children’s art galleries in return for an honest review. All  thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

bakerdays letterbox cake

I was recently asked to review a bakerdays letterbox cake , how incredible a whole cake that fits through your letter box , who was I to refuse?

The cake came in a box that did actually fit through my letterbox , I wasn’t in at the time so it as a lovely surprise to come home to. When I opened up the cake it was so well packaged and all in tact. It came in a lovely little tin which it fitted in to securely , a card and a cute little packet of love hearts.

I chose the dairy free cake so Frankie could have some , even though it was for James. Lets face it we are not getting past the ankle biters with cake they can smell it a mile off.

The cakes come in a wide variety of flavours which include –

  • Vanilla Sponge
  • Dairy free
  • Chocolate
  • Fruit cake
  • Red velvet
  • Gluten and wheat free

There really is something for everyone.

I chose the cute Nutella I’m nuts about you design personalised with James’s name on it There were so many designs to choose from and for so many occasions.

The cake was only 5″ and we all had a slice each with enough left for the next days treat.

Such a fab valentines Day present , which design would you choose ? Head on over to bakerdays to take a look , you can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

I will definitely be using bakedays for future gifts and occasions.

As you can see it got Frankie’s deal of approval 🙂

I was sent a bakerdays letterbox cake in return for an honest review

 

Our stay at Bluestone National Park – A break from the norm

Our stay at Bluestone National Park

We were so excited to be asked to go and review a four night stay at Bluestone from Monday to Friday. It was so lovely to get away as we were all feeling a little worn out after a long January so a little holiday was overdue.

Bluestone is nestled in the stunning Bluestone national park. The resort had a variety of accommodation that catered for all. This included lodges , cottages and studio lodges. There was a village centre which had an array of restaurants , shops , a village hall outdoor play area and a lake. There were various nature trails for walks and adventures. There was also the blue lagoon water park and the adventure centre with soft play.  Plenty of activities were also available for children including messy play , shows and much more. The well being spa was perfect for any mummies or daddies wanting to relax.

We stayed in a Gateholm Lodge on Templars Court which was a two storey detached lodge with upside down living. It had three bedrooms and slept up to six persons. The double room was en suite with a bath and shower , we then had a separate bathroom with a shower. There were also two twin bedrooms. We had a travel cot for Frankie and a bed guard and baby gate were delivered for Archie’s room. There were also baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs.

The kitchen and lounge were upstairs with open plan living. The kitchen was so well equipped and everything had been thought of. There were two high chairs and a dining room table to eat at. The lounge area had two sofas a coffee table and a TV with a Blu-ray player. The views out of the French doors and windows were amazing. Archie and Frankie loved seeing all the bunnies hopping around outside.

 

                                

The resort itself is just fantastic and the facilities for little ones are out of this world. We arrived and checked in before 4.30 to make use of the facilities. We parked up and headed over to the adventure centre. We had a coffee and snack in the Tree Top restaurant which was magical. We then went to the adventure centre soft play downstairs , the tots played on the bouncy castle and had a run around they were in awe. We decided to check out the circus room , this was fantastic and more suitable for their age. We ended up staying in there for around two hours as Archie and Frankie were contently playing , we loved the chilled vibe in there.

                                             

It was then time to go the lodge and get settled. We were so impressed with how spotless and well equipped the lodge was. The heating had been switched on so it was lovely and cosy.  Archie and Frankie were so excited they ran around exploring every room squealing with excitement. They chose their bedroom’s and we headed upstairs to cook dinner that we had bought from the well stocked village shop. Then it was early nights all round to be fresh and rested for the day ahead.

Tuesday morning we headed to the nearby Tenby town and beach. The town and beach are just stunning. It rained on and off but Archie and Frankie had their snow suits and we had loads of caves to shelter in and explore. We had so much fun looking for shells and pebbles. We then had lunch in the town and headed back to Bluestone.  We spent the afternoon in the Circus room as the kids absolutely loved it there.

           

Wednesday we decided to check out the blue lagoon , it was so impressive. There was a main pool , a small toddler pool with fountains and a shallow play area with hula hoops , balls , inflatables and much more to keep the littles entertained. The ankle biters loved the wave machine and water sprays in the main pool , the water was so lovely and warm. We then headed to the lazy river and ventured outside , even though the weather was cold it was lovely and toasty.

 

             

After swimming we decided to hire a buggy which was so much fun. Archie and Frankie were giggling and wowing the whole time. It was such a fab way of getting around. We decided to check the play park out which was lovely and just right for toddlers. It was then time for a coffee stop , we decided to try the Ty Coffi cafe. Such a beautiful variety of teas, coffees and cakes total yum and well needed mummy fuel.

The village shop was fab and so well stocked for all of your essentials and treats. We found some yummy dairy free cakes made by a local bakery. Frankie has cows milk protein allergy so it was fab for her to be able to enjoy a treat. We may have found some wine too 🙂

Wednesday evening we tried the fish and chips van for dinner. So much choice and freshly cooked to order. Very much enjoyed by all.

Bluestone was our favourite holiday so far with the ankle biters. There was so much to do indoors and outdoors and the way the cater for children really is special. We will definitely be visiting again.

I was given a complimentary stay in return for an honest review.