About Me

About me

My name is Nik and I am Mum to two small boys called Sam and Oliver and partner to the long suffering Ali and we are based in Devon, England.

My blog is about my journey though life, the highs, the lows and all the fun and messy bits in-between.

It is a personal blog that is written by me and only features my opinions. I do work on behalf of businesses and companies, writing posts and reviews but I will only give you my honest thoughts, if I love it or hate it I will tell you.

If you would like to get in touch with me or my mini monsters please contact me at
themummymonster1@gmail.com





Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Bath Time

Making bath time fun.
My boys are so different when it comes to the bath, My oldest Sam absolutely loves it, he would spend hours in there if he could, however my youngest Oliver only tolerates it if you promise not to wash his hair. If you mention hair he will lose the plot and will scrabble to get out of the bath, so Ali and I have been looking at ways to make bath time more fun.
1. Empty Bottles
The first option was to keep all the empty bottles we used, once they had been cleaned out, we gave them to the boys. Well they learnt how to fill them, laughed at the bubbles they created and smiled at the waterfalls they poured. It was brilliant, until Sam poured water over Oliver's head and that was game over for Oliver!! doh!!
However, the next night, Oliver choose the bottles again to go into the bath. Whooo Hooo :)

My kids just absolutely love empty bottles! We’ve spent money on bath toys before, but they always choose to play with empties! Especially if they have pumps or dispensers on them. They make their own ‘potions’! Victoria from Https://www.lyliarose.com


A simple plastic jug from the pound shop. Hours of fun. Maybe they're easily pleased https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/fd4/1/16/1f606.png😆 Erica Knight from Www.theincidentalparent.com


We made “waterfalls” by pouring bath water into the bath using an empty shampoo bottle. Although mine are 2 and 4. Éva Katona from Https://www.captainbobcat.com




2. Bathing Together
Until the boys say they don't want to share a bath, they will continue to do so and so far they love it. Sam loves to show his brother how to do things like placing your head under the water and coming up covered in bubbles. This is something that Sam has only just found the confidence in to do himself but Oliver is loving trying to copy his big brother.

Unfortunately Sam has also taught Oliver its fun to "perp" (fart) in the bath and Oliver amazingly now seems to save them up until he gets in!! The joy of young children and their love of wind!!

For my boys at the moment (4 months and 2 years) they have the most fun when they're bathed together. There are always lots of giggles from both of them and I get drenched from all the splashing. Leah from  www.homefamilylife.co.uk

3. Bubble Machine
Oliver loves bubbles. Whenever you stop blowing them, he bounces up and down and shouts "more!" So I decided to decided to dig out the bubble machine. (Don't worry its battery operated not electric)

The boys really enjoyed watching the bathroom fill up with bubbles. The bubbles popped as they hit the shower or the side of the bath. They popped them themselves and laughed as more and more kept coming. It was tricky to keep them from standing up and I kept having to turn off the machine to wipe eyes after the bubble mixture got in them or just to let the room empty of bubbles.

This is definitely an activity we will repeat :)

4. Glow Sticks


This is one of our favourites!! Bathing in the dark with just glow sticks for light. I am not talking expensive ones but the packet from the pound shop.

Once we have cracked the glow sticks and got the boys in, we turn off the lights and close the blind and the light from the sticks glows through the water.

The boys experiment by placing the sticks in different bottles and watching what happens to the light.

They also make bracelets and necklaces or headbands with them. Once the boys have finished playing with them, the like them to be hung from their lampshades in the bedrooms as they go off to sleep.

5. Waterproof light
On suggestion from several Parenting bloggers I purchased a bath disco light. Well my goodness, the boys were so excited and loved it.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B015N34UW2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I also took their advice and stuck it to the side of the bath and didn't place it directly in the water as I understand a lot of them are failing after getting them wet for the first time. Ours is still going strong, thankfully.

Once stuck to the side of the bath, I pulled the blind so it went dark in the bathroom. I switched the light on and the colour explosion started. Both boys loved it. The light spread across the water and created a disco atmosphere. I put the cd player on outside the bathroom and the dancing and singing commenced.



We have underwater colour changing lights that suction onto the side of the bath Rebecca-Helen from @theeverydaymummy
Turn off the lights and have a disco bath. There is a cheap bath/ water light you can buy on eBay Jemma Goulds from https://thimbleandtwig.com/
Other ideas that were suggested are:
Bath paint and crayons work well for us at bath time. Plus they wash off. Jade Brenner from Https://www.jadeslongjourney.co.uk

Amy has always been obsessed with bath bombs, bath salts and everything else that adds some oomph to a plain bath. Lush has been her favourite shop since she was 2. She loves it! Carolin Mader from http://www.mummyalarm.co.uk
Water pistols. It can mean you get slightly wet too, but the kids love it! Pete Chatfield from www.householdmoneysaving.com
Mine love the face puzzles where you add facial features to make different faces - they’ve loved them for years!! Emma Maslin from Https://themoneywhisperer.co.uk
We use the moulding clay from Lush or bath bombs. We've made our own bath bombs too, it's so much fun! Kelly Allen from www.kellyallenwriter.com


Bath letter and numbers. My son has endless fun rearranging the letters into different words. It can keep him entertained for ages! Polly Basak from  www.ourseasidebaby.com 
Jelly bath... lush do some gorgeous bath bombs that turn jelly like and fun soap so you can make models. My son loves playing with the 'sleep' jelly.. anything that combines fun with natural ingredients and sends kids off into a relaxed slumber is a winner for me! Melanie Cossins from Www.cossinsmusicschool.co.uk/blog
Bubble bars from lush or other shops, they draw on tiles like crayons but if u break a bit off and put in a sieve and run water through it it’s bubble bath too! Vicki Louise Hurrell from
Www.Mummaandhermonsters.Com



Saturday, 12 May 2018

Living Coasts Torquay

The Living Coast - Torquay



Living Coasts is an innovative coastal zoo and aquarium where you can take a journey around the coasts of the world and see amazing animals in naturalistic habitats. www.livingcoasts.org.uk

Sometimes I think we forget what we have available to us on our door step, so when I saw the advert for a half price entry for locals to Living Coasts in Torquay we jumped at the chance to go and take a look around.

I think the last time we visited was when was quite young. He certainly doesn't remember it.

When we headed up the entrance slope we were greeted by the first tank. The tank looked empty until we looked up and saw a Puffin looking back down us as he was taking a swim.



We then headed out to the next stage where we happened to time it just right to see the penguins being fed. I have to say I always forget the smell that goes with penguins, I am pleased that they are outside so the smell wasn't too over powering.


 
Oliver loved one of the penguins who was particularly vocal. I think they had their own conversation as he would reply and then laugh. It was great to watch.
 

After the penguins, we headed up to  the sandy bay to see the wader birds and otters. I love watching otters playing but it was nap time when we arrived :( apparently they had recently had an operation so I may forgive them for not playing.


 

We started to head down the slope to the seals. Now if anyone believes in reincarnation, then you need to come back as a grey fur seal!! I have never seen such a lazy animal. Even when in the water it was snoozing!! lol Sounds perfect to me. :)

 


Next was the aquarium so we headed inside. I have to say we skipped the soft play area as it was busy but if we were on a quieter day we probably would have stopped. We did stop at the sand though. I think our boys have forgotten we actually live near the beach and have a sand pit at home. Within moments Sam had his shoes and socks off and was bossing everyone around.



With boys entertained by the sand I headed off to look at the seahorses. I love seahorses, they are so peaceful and the fact that the Dad gives birth is all good in my books.



Oliver soon found a tunnel to go through under a fish tank which was all fun until he hit his head. Sam headed around the corner and found a climbing wall.





We headed out through the last few tanks and finally came out in the gift shop where the obligatory magnet was purchased.



In summary, the animals were in clean and fairly large enclosures which were lovely to see. There were lots of different animals, fish and birds to see and it is a great way to spend a few hours in Torquay. I am pleased the weather was kind to us as I am sure we would have rushed passed lots of the enclosures and missed things otherwise.











Saturday, 5 May 2018

Personalised Parties

Recently I made contact with a company called Personalised Parties as I had seen their products online and thought they would fit perfectly with Oliver’s joint christening and birthday party. I was over the moon when they agreed to work with me.
I excitedly looked through their website https://www.personalisedparties.com/ keen to see what would suit our needs. I spoke to a lovely lady and explained who would be attending the party and the different ages that would be in attendance. I was advised that the Milestone Pack would probably be best.
I headed to the milestone part of the website and looked through the themes on offer. They ranged from first years, woodland and nautical. I eventually decided on the woodland theme as I have to say I fell in love with the hedgehog on the products. https://www.personalisedparties.com/our-themes/milestones/woodland/personalised-milestone-woodland-party-pack.html  it helps that Oliver knows the sign for hedgehog and that would please him on the day.
 
 
Once I had chosen my theme, it was time to decide what I would actually need. The range of products is huge and included:
Party Pack for eight children
Invites
Thank-you cards
Wrapping Paper
Plastic Place settings
Posters
Height Charts
Notepads
Ceramic Mugs
Chocolate bars
Tote bags
Cushions
Beanbags
 
Told you the range was big!!
 
Eventually I chose the party pack which retails at £29.99. The pack included:
x8 PERSONALISED WOODLAND PARTY PLATES for a magical meal.
x8 WOODLAND PARTY CUPS WITH WRAPS for rustic refreshments.
x8 PERSONALISED WOODLAND PARTY BOXES for storing woodland finds.
x8 WOODLAND PARTY HATS to dress for adventure
x8 WOODLAND PARTY MASKS for foxy guests.
x16 PERSONALISED FOOD FLAGS x8 each of two different flag designs; perfect for planting in party food.
.
And the best bit is, as the company name suggests I was able to personalise all the items. I was able to add a name of up to 21 characters long. I was also able to add Oliver’s birthday age. It was becoming very real that my baby was turning two years old!!
 
I had ten children confirmed to attend the party so I had to order two packs. Once ordered, I was informed that there would be a ten day delivery due to the personalisation of the products. No worries as I had ordered in plenty of time. J
Eventually my box arrived. I excitedly opened the box and was initially disappointed as I thought that my cups hadn’t been printed. This is where I should have read the small print!! The cups are white with printed wraps, that you simply assemble and then slide over the cup. Doh!! That will teach me to not read everything!! I quickly assembled the wraps and they fitted easily onto the cups to create a really cute item.
I delved deeper into the box and started to pull out all the items. I was very struck by the quality of the products, they were really sturdy. I first put together the boxes which were easy due to the numbers printed on the bottom. They also stayed together as previous boxes that I had purchased seem to come up in the middle.
I moved onto the plates. The plates are hand stamped and had a few creases but I felt this added to the charm of them.
I finally pulled out the hats and fox masks. The fox masks had pre punched holes where you had to thread the included elastic through and tie it. I used the cocktail sticks to push the holes through but I have to admit it was quite a fiddly job. This also had to be done with the party hats. For security I did put a piece of tape inside the hats to ensure that they didn’t come apart.
With everything assembled on the day of the party, I set up the buffet table and laid out the plates and cups. I wrote on the labels to show what everything was and then made up the party boxes.
 
Oliver was very excited to see everything set up. The Christening went without a hitch and then everyone headed back to my Parents house for the after party and Oliver’s birthday party.
People’s initial comments were about the personalised party ware and the show stopper cake that we had had made.
I can’t talk about the christening without mentioning the cake, it was incredible. I gave Georgina, the cake maker a brief of making a Thomas the Tank Engine Cake and my goodness did she meet the brief. Oliver was amazed by the cake; he kept coming back to it saying “choo choo”
The cake not only looked fab but tasted great. The sponge was so light and the buttercream wasn’t sweet at all. If anyone, locally, is after a cake, I can definitely recommend “Cakes with Character.” Check out our cake and others on her Facebook page “cakes with character.devon”
 
 
 
Anyway, back to the party ware, the children were allowed to choose first and were all chuffed to have different plates to all the adults. Parents filling their children’s plates commented how sturdy the plates were and I was asked twice where the pack was from. It was going down a storm. Yay!!
However the boxes gave the biggest impact. The children eagerly waited for the party boxes and were so excited when they opened up the personalised boxes. The items went down a treat.
As you can see from the photos my godchildren Jago and Scarlett certainly gave them the thumbs up. J
 
 
Oliver was still giving the thumbs up to the party hat the next day at breakfast time.
 
 
So my overall opinion of the Personalised Parties Milestone Party Pack is that it is fab. Yes it is a bit fiddly to put everything together, especially the elastic but actually the end result is great and worth the few minutes of putting everything together. Would I order the set again? I think I would but I would wait until it was a particularly special birthday and when the party would be small enough to fit one pack.
 
#Disclosure. In return for this honest review I was given two Personalised Party Milestone packs. The thoughts and opinions in the review are completely my own.
 

 



Tuesday, 1 May 2018

The Old English Company Competition

The Old English Company Competition


Right own up, who doesn’t love a competition?

 

I will totally own up to loving entering them. I am not sure what it is,  but the thought of winning something and getting something for free gives me a buzz and I am always a little bit gutted when I don’t win!! I am a bit picky though and will only enter for things I actually want but I know people are a bit compulsive and will enter anything if it is free.

 

However over the years I have won a few things, things like tickets to events, products and even a potty. I didn’t have any children at the time but it has certainly come in useful since I have.

 

So when The Old English Company contacted me to tell me about their new competitions I jumped at the chance to share it with you.

 

The Old English Company is offering the chance to win a set of Enamel Pins.

 

So I thought I would check out the website and see what pins were available https://oldenglishprints.com/collections/enamel-pins and my goodness I fell in love with some of them.

 

Check out my favourites below:

 

The first is the Whaley Love You Enamel Pin


 

Something really took my fancy with this pin. I think I would give it to my son Sam, we share a similar sense of humour.

 






 

My second pin would be:

The No Sleep Gang Heart Pin



I would wear this on a morning after where Oliver has kept me up all night. It might make my colleagues at work aware that they should avoid me until I have had a can of coke and woken up a bit!! Lol

 



My third pin would be:

The Mama Bear Pin


 

I am a proud Mama bear of my two bear cubs and I love to tell people, this would tell people who don’t even ask J Don’t mess with me or boys!! lol

 


 

So what would you choice be?

 

To be in with a chance of winning a set of Enamel pins from the Old English Company, check out the T&C’s on this link:


 

You will then need to email your favourite pin designs from the entire range on the website to hello@oldenglishcompany.com.

 

A winner will be picked on 30th May 2018

 

Good Luck

 

Nik

#ad #theoldenglishcompany #competition #themummymonster #inittowinit #enamelpins #mamabear #win

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