My girls always get excited when a parcel arrives from Little Dish and this time was no different. We were sent one of the new vegetarian meals: Mini Cheese Ravioli in a Tomato and Veg Sauce and a new and improved Fish Pie with Salmon and Pollock to try.
Usually I do cook for my children but I'm more than happy to give them a Little Dish meal as I know they are made with 100% natural ingredients and no added salt. Every recipe is made in partnership with a nutritionist, and is taste tested by a team of tiny tasters before its let out of the kitchen. They work with the best suppliers they can find so you can feel good about what you're feeding your children. You can't complain at that.
We decided to try the new one first. Being vegetarian myself I was pleased to be able to have a little taste too and can report back it was quite tasty.
Mini ravioli with a 3 cheese filling in a tomato and mixed vegetable sauce topped with a sprinkling of grated mild Cheddar cheese. The sauce contains chunks of vegetables to help your little one develop a taste for healthy grown-up textures, while also providing them with 2 of their 5 a day.
I was a bit worried at first as Rosie (who eats just about anything) turned her nose up refusing to touch it. She couldn't tell me why except she didn't like the look of it. Once I managed to coax her into trying a little bit though she decided it was delicious and gobbled the lot even asking for more (children)! Daisy despite teething and being off her food, demolished hers too.
Now being lunch time I shared this meal between my two little ones and served with chopped tomatoes, cucumber and grapes. Usually this would be more than enough as Little Dish meals are usually too big for one of mine but this time it wasn't. Either the portion size was smaller or my girls appetites have got bigger. Had it been for their evening meal, they would have definitley needed a whole meal each.
We haven't tried the fishy one yet. We are saving it for a day when I'm not about. I really don't like the smell of fish (one whiff and I vomit) but my girls love it. Therefore it's a treat for them and makes up for me being out. I'm sure they will love it though.
Little Dish meals as usual get a big thumbs up from my girls.
Apart from the occasional diet Coke/ Pepsi Max I'm not usually a huge fizzy drinks person but when I met the lovely ladies from Sodastream at Bitmums and they introduced me to sodastream cocktails I knew I needed wanted one. Luckily for me I was sent one to review and it now has pride of place on the kitchen side. Unlike the retro version this new improved version looks sleek and modern and I love it.
We were sent various drinks to try and work our way through them we have. Remember cream soda?…delicious, my favourite. I've even had a coke float remember them?
As the girls are still so young they had never had fizzy drinks before. Sodastream have new kids natural flavours though, including apple and blackcurrant ones which I let them try. They've had a few over the Summer, with mixed reactions but then they are still a bit young. Poppy thought they were delicious and very funny whilst Rosie was fascinated by them. She said “yummy” but waited for all the bubbles to go before proceeding to drink hers which made me smile.
I'm sure in a few years they will get more use out of it….
…but until then the Sodastream is all mine haha. Now it does just make the loveliest sparkling water and refreshing soft drinks but the cocktails are the best. From gin & tonic, vodka & elderflower to Margaritas, Husband and I had great fun experimenting this Summer! A definite talking point at parties and barbecues too.
Husband is especially impressed as he never had one as a child but envied his friends who did.
Rarely do we find toys that keep all three of our girls (aged 1,3 and 5) entertained day after day but recently we have and I couldn't wait to share them with you all.
You see we have been sent two Minnie Mouse toys from the new Fisher price range and they are fantastic.
First there's the Cheerin' Minnie. Press a button on her shoe and she sings and dances whist waving her Pom poms. Suitable from 2+ she will appeal to all ages:
Personally I thought she would get annoying but so far she hasn't, she's very cute. Even Daisy aged 1 quickly picked up how to make her start and she has quickly become her favourite toy:
She has been manhandled by Daisy, picked up by her arm and head and is still going strong. She seems pretty well made and resilient. You would hope so though as at just under £50 this toy is not cheap. Look at their faces though, they love it!
As you can see the steps fold away, Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse are included complete with suit cases. The chairs come out and theres a little food trolley and tv too. The pieces are all chunky, great for little hands and then everything stores inside the jet too once they've finished playing. Perfect.
The one thing I really love about this toy is how well my big girls play with it together. They decide where they are going (Spain, Africa, America etc) and then they create the most amazing stories. I love listening to them play and their imaginations running wild but sadly I am not allowed to join in with this one (“you're too big” is what I'm told).
First thing in the morning after breakfast it is played with and straight after school they can't wait to get it out. At around £35 I would say its probably one of the better toys in terms of value for money and would not hesitate to recommend.
These Minnie Mouse toys were a huge success in this house and I can see they will be enjoyed for a longtime yet. A huge thumbs up from us and a big thank you too.
They are available from a wide variety of stockists including Amazon and Toys R Us.
Following on from my recent review of our 4 night mid week Summer break last month I promised a separate review for the accommodation. I found my review was getting a bit long and although the holiday itself was fantastic, I did have a few niggles I needed to share.
First impressions were great. The apartment itself had a cosy feel to it and felt perfect for us five girls. Minutes after we arrived there was a knock at the door, it was housekeeping checking we were ok and bringing treats for my birthday. Chocolates, biscuits and balloons, a lovely touch and we suddenly felt as though we were on holiday:
Overall the gold apartments are lovely. They are clean, modern and have everything you need for your stay. Three bedrooms: one of which is a double, two twins, a reasonable sized open plan kitchen/ diner (complete with microwave, kettle, dishwasher and everything else you would expect) and living space with TV. The daily room service and lovely arrangements of towels really gives you that holiday feel too:
The only downside was the one very tiny bathroom….it really was tiny you can see the floor space in this photo:
Luckily I was only sharing it with my Mum and 3 little ones but had my Husband and Dad come too it would have been a nightmare. As it was with only a shower to wash the girls with, we were forever flooding the bathroom and as you can see there's not much floor space to manoeuvre around.
Having previously stayed in a four bedroom gold apartment, I would advise if there's more than two adults on your trip to consider opting for that one to make you more comfortable. There's a whole lot more extra space and 3 bathrooms (still no bath though).
See my previous review:
Another niggle is the wifi/ Internet access. In this day and age and especially for families with young children who go to bed reasonably early, wifi really should be free. You do get 15 minutes a day free or can pay £15 per device for a 3-4 night stay but personally I think it's a bit steep and should just be included.
Also a word of warning. On your last day check out is at 10am but the cleaners may come in earlier and move all your stuff. Don't leave your valuables out.
My Mum had to leave on Thursday evening so I loaded up most of our belongings before she left to make life easier for myself in the morning. Juggling 3 kids is difficult enough without managing bags too. I decided to go via the car on the way to breakfast to drop my camera bag off though and am so glad I did.
After a leisurely, delicious breakfast we arrived back at our room just after 9.30am. I was very organised and had planned to pick up the last of our bits, change Daisy's nappy & heat a bottle of milk for her and make sure they all used the toilet before leaving the room before 10am. What we found instead though was the door wide open and all our belongings shoved in the hall (thank goodness the big camera bag was in the car). The beds had all been remade, the toilet rolls had all been removed and the microwave plate was in the dishwasher….. nightmare!
I did complain at reception that I felt as though I was being kicked out but was assured that I wasn't. However, this was not a good way to end what was a really lovely break. Having never experienced this before at Butlins or anywhere else I wasn't happy and would hate to think this was common practice. It really shouldn't be.
Overall our family have enjoyed Butlins for short breaks and can recommend the gold accommodation. The three bedroom apartments have a cosy feel to them but with three little ones, we personally prefer the space and layout of the four bedroom apartments. Next time I would make sure my belongings were all packed up in the car before going to breakfast though.
I received 4 nights stay in a three bedroom gold apartment as part of my role as a Butlins Ambassador. However, all views and opinions are honest ones reflecting the views of my family & I.
Regular readers will know that story time and books are a very enjoyable part of daily life in this house.
With Daddy away alot at the moment and Poppy being being able to read, our routine has changed slightly. Poppy's now reads her school book straight after dinner and then after bath time (once they are all in their pjs) we pile onto Poppys big girls bed for story time with me. Depending on the time and book they pick we might get through 1,3 or even 5 stories before the clock turns to 7pm and they all jump into their beds.
Because we spend every night in Poppy's Room I have decided to make a cosy reading corner in there. It's work in progress, at the moment. I am going to make a lovely pink cushion cover for the chair and have a picture to put on the wall but this new book case is just perfect. Its the Tidy Books Open Facing Bookcase in Pink Finish – lowercase letters. It was sent to us by Room To Grow, a gorgeous site with so many beautiful and useful room ideas.
The bookcase is well made and sturdy. It looks great, takes up little floor space and fit's lots of books in it too. I love the fact that it's very slim meaning when we next move house it would even fit in the smallest room:
The girls are thrilled. They love being able to see the book covers rather than just the titles and I love that they don't have to pull every book out to get to the ones they want
We love the letters on the front too. Rosie knows her alphabet but doesn't yet recognise each letter so big Sister Poppy immediatley set about teaching her….a real bonus! As they all get older the letters can easily be removed making it suitable for an older girls room too.
It was pretty easy to put together once I realised which bit was which but the instructions could have been a little bit clearer. I like it when the pieces of wood have the corresponding letter or number printed on them making it obvious which bit is which but maybe that's just me.
Poppy may have only just recently turned five but she is reading as well as a 7 year old and enjoys a huge range of books. Some of her current favourites are SuperWorm, the Princess Poppy stories and Enid Blyton Amelia Jane box set. We've also recently introuced them to Roald Dahl and have The Witches, George's Marvellous Medicine, The Enormous Crocoldile and Fantastic Mr Fox. All brilliant books which we all enjoy.
All the girls absolutely love their new story corner and bookcase. In fact Poppy loves her room so much she often disappears and I sneak upstairs to find her in her bed or snuggled in the chair quietly reading to herself. It's lovely.
And when Poppy is at school… Little Miss likes to relax in there too:
This is going to be a well loved and used piece of furniture and we can't recommend enough.
Rulers and biodegradable pens made from corn on the cob, a pencil case made from a car tyre, a notebook made of recycled leather and coloured pencils made from recycled CD cases…..Have you ever heard of such things?
Well we get through a lot of stationary in this house so jumped at the chance to review a fabulous box of stationary from memo etc. Many of the products were made from recycled materials and it arrived just in time for the start of the new school year….perfect.
We started testing them straight away – designing covers for the girls new lunch boxes. Poppy tried out the pens, Rosie the pencils. Since then, I've been using the pens daily to write in Poppy's reading diary and we now have notebooks for everything.
Much needed stationary that's environmentally friendly too, What's not to like? We think these products are genius and give them a big thumbs up.
Disclaimer: I received this box of stationary in return for a review but all words and opinions are my own.