Pasta for the whole family! with #PrezzoLaFamiglia

You know how much you really love your family when you’re willing to share one big bowl of pasta with all of them. Only if you are pasta fanatics as we are, of course. So are you ready for the challenge? We were! 1 bowl of pasta, 4 people, including a starving after school 5-year-old little girl and a bottomless tummy 1-year-old baby boy. May the hunger games begin…

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OK, yeah, that’s a bit too dramatic, but last Friday we had a really good time being able to try the new #PrezzoLaFamiglia dishes. Basically, you’ve got 4 options to choose from: Penne Arrabiata, Spaghetti Bolognese, Spaghetti Carbonara or Penne Alla Rusticana. I always like to try new things but every time I do my expectations are not met.

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Here we are! Ready for the challenge 😀

So on this occasion, we thought we would go for a safe option, especially since we were with the kids, and choose a Bolognese or a Carbonara. But then we decided to check with the waitress, who we must say was very friendly throughout the whole night, and asked for the Rusticana. We hadn’t tried that one before.

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We definitely picked right this time! Everyone loved it. Our little J was amazed by the size of the bowl and we actually got a few looks from other people in the Restaurant. They probably thought we were quite hungry or quite stingy…lol -a bit of both maybe!-

It worked out really well cause choosing a kids meal for each one of our children is usually a waste of money, and making them share one sometimes it doesn’t fit right; so with #PrezzoLaFamiglia we were able to fill us up, grown-ups and little ones.

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Two happy toddlers loving their pasta!

For a second I thought we would all make a mess sharing 1 big bowl of pasta but luckily for us, only our 1-year-old was responsible for any food waste. We love when you can eat out with the kids at a pleasantly and child-friendly environment. We’re happy we visited the Prezzo Restaurant at Manchester Media City. Right just outside the restaurant area, you’ve got those lovely views and gardens where our little ones had a lovely time running up and down, burning that big bowl of pasta. And obviously, us, chasing them after, burning a few calories too.

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The only survivor…haha

When we got home that night J was saying her prayer before going to bed and said how grateful she was for going out and playing with mummy and daddy. At the end, for me, that’s all that really matters. 🙂

*This post is an entry for the Britmums #PrezzoLaFamiglia Challenge, sponsored by Prezzo *

No more scratches! Our Baby Nails #Review and #Giveaway

Time flies and it’s been quite a while since we told you about our little man’s adventures. Oh well, he has a very hectic life, you know, between daily rock picking, messy eating and a new sense of independence thanks to his recently acquired skill of walking and almost “running” around he barely has much time for looking after his appearance…

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That’s why when the team behind Baby Nails approached us we thought it would be a really good try on our family. The idea is quite simple. You don’t need to chase them around or entertain them so you can trim their nails. You just need your thumb and let the rest do its magic. I was quite intrigued about this product since I’m not used to file my children’s nails but it seemed so easy that I wanted to give it a go.

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Little E is 16 months old now. I’ve been trimming his nails since he was a newborn baby so switching to this technique was a bit tricky for us. I would recommend that the earlier you start the better it will be and more relaxing. As I said, it’s quite simple to use since you just need to stick one of the files on the thumb holder and you’re completely hands-free to either bottle him or breastfeed him, as is in our case. The files are quite soft so they didn’t hurt his delicate skin.

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Our little boy is a curious explorer so as soon as he noticed I was using something new he wanted to try it for himself! That really is “hands-free” actually it turned out to be “mum-free”! lol but after a couple of times I got to persuade him that mummy would probably do a better job than him, at least for now ;).

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One of the other things that I like compared to trimming is that after using Baby Nails the nails are quite straight and smooth without too much hassle, something that doesn’t happen when I use baby scissors. Also, since we have a 5 year old that loves pampering herself, we’ve used them a couple of times for some mummy-daughter time. That way she doesn’t need to use grown-up files, which didn’t end up too well the last time she tried.

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Baby Nails team are being quite generous and wanted 5 of our readers to experience first-hand this unique baby nail care accessory. So, don’t hesitate and enter the competition. One of this cute packs could be yours, with files from newborn up to 6 months+.

5 Free Baby Nails – Hands free baby nails care

*We have been given a pack of Baby Nails for the purpose of this review but opinions have been honest and our own.

A family visit to Dogsy Ma Bone at Touchstones Rochdale

Our family blog has given us many opportunities so far that would have been unnoticed to us otherwise. This post is a great example of this. Even though we are not that far away from Rochdale we had never planned a visit to that city before, until we were approached by the Liverpool Biennial team. This time we were kindly invited to attend the launch of the exhibition of Dogsy Ma Bone, the production from Marvin Gaye Chetwynd.

We were quite surprised and in all honesty I had to google the artist and the show, but we are always opened to new family experiences that help us get closer to different activities.

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As they explain it very well on their website “In 2016, Chetwynd worked with 78 young people from Liverpool to create a new film and performance, using the city as a backdrop to the action. Originally commissioned for Liverpool Biennial 2016, the work is inspired by Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera (1928) and Betty Boop’s A Song A Day (1936).”

Well, we explained to our little ones a bit more about it and told them we were going to see a little show made by kids and for kids. Our 5 year old’s first reaction was “I want to be part too!” haha, as usual, she likes being the star of the show everywhere we go. 😉 Anyway, she finally understood.

When we got there we still had a bit of time to walk around the museum and see other galleries. It is quite well thought for families, since facilities, access for prams and children area are in to easy access. Staff were quite friendly too, must say.

So before the performance started, the organisers explained to us the hows and the why. They said it was definitely a great opportunity for Rochdale to boost youth’s creativity and talent. Then we met Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, the creator of this production, Dogsy Ma Bone.

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Finally a group of youth came out all dressed up in very peculiar fancy clothes. It has a purpose behind all, and if you watch the screening you will learn why they dress like that. They tell the story through the songs. All of them were sung live. Their voices and talent were amazing. Even our 1 year old was paying attention to them, which is really hard to happen.

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For kids, it is something they can enjoy since the rhythm of the music keeps them entertained and there are some props there too. For adults, you can read between the lines and understand a bit more of today’s society’s biggest issues since there is a clear message that comes across with the story of Dogsy Ma Bone.

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Anyway, Touchstones is a great museum, Dogsy Ma Bone is a good family activity and we were greatly surprised by Rochdale town centre and surroundings, which it seemed beautiful to us. So you might want to take advantage of the coming bank holidays or another day and plan a visit there. Dogsy Ma Bone will be there until July, so you’ve got plenty of time!

Our first ever experience getting kids into golf

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to the “Get Kids into Golf” event organised by OnlineGolf, the online golf shop for all golf products and news. We were quite excited to attend since our only experience with golf was crazy golf, and even that we haven’t played it very often!

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The activity was aimed to all children 3 years and above so our little J, who’s 5 years old, took full advantage of it. For our little boy, who is one year old was more just about chasing the balls around.

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We got there on time and met with other families. The place had been set up quite nicely and it was indoors, so the bad weather didn’t affect us at all. They organised us all into groups so the little ones could walk around every station and try a different exercise, guided by professional golf players and instructors.

In the beginning it was a bit tricky cause J is left handed so having to turn around and hold the club properly was a whole new thing -yep, we learnt that word at the event! we used to call it “stick” lol-

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In a fun and entertaining way they used every opportunity to teach the children the right terminology. So we also learnt that an “ace” was a hole in one or a “hook” when the ball curves to the left (they called it “captain hook” so the children would remember it) but it has actually helped me to remember it myself! haha and a “slice” (called it “pizza-slice”) when the ball curves to the right.

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By the way, position is so important! At the end, after enjoying a nice lunch, they gave us some free time to play all the games again, this time, grown-ups could participate too. I thought I would be able to do it, cause, honestly in my mind seemed quite easy…but apparently my body and the club don’t get along too well! I was terrible!!

One of the instructors performed a nice trick show, that all children loved. I would say that that was one of our little one’s favourite part.

You can watch the video of the event created by OnlineGolf here.

So why you should get kids into golf? Here’s one of the main top 5 reasons:

“Your kid will learn important life lessons! Playing golf your kid will experience highs and lows, from the first hole-in-one or birdie to a misplaced shot in a bunker. Golf will teach your kid that though we can’t always win, we always have another shot in life and skill comes with practice.”

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Our children are such a great example of this, with perseverance and a good attitude they can achieve whatever they want, and as in golf, we can’t always win, but we will always have another shot.

 

Reading with Fonics – App #Review and #Giveaway

Moving to a new country is a fascinating experience. Moving to a new country with your kids is a whole new world. Our 5 year old started this year what they call in UK “Reception”, the first year of her Primary adventure. Behind we left all those fears from the very first day of school, those tears from not only hers but mummy’s also… She is embracing every day and developing in all areas so well. We couldn’t feel happier for her, to be honest.

Although there is one thing we thought it would be our stumbling block, not being native English speakers ourselves, and that is PHONICS. In our languages, Spanish and Portuguese, kids learn to read and write using different methods, not by sounding the letters out; so we knew that we had to share that pathway with her and learn how to read the phonics along with her.

One of our many attempts has been through play scenarios, like the one we created on this video where she pretends to be the teacher and we are the students.

It works great for us cause she has fun at the same time she reviews the sounds.

But now that she is getting to another level and needs to recognise also consonant and vowel digraphs…you know, those two letters that make one sound… (I looked that up in Google! 😛 haha) things get harder and you need more resources. Luckily for us not too long ago we were approached by the people behind the app Read with Fonics.

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As they state on their website “Readwithfonics.com is a website based online reading program designed by a teacher to help children learn to read in a more fun and engaging way. Play fun phonics games and systematically learn the 44 phonetic sounds of the English language. By turning phonics lessons into phonics games, students stay engaged longer with a higher level of concentration than traditional resources.”

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This translated into the words of our 5 year old is ” I love the green little monster! it’s so cute!”green alien

So this green little alien helps the child to go through the different stages. I was quite surprised when she first tried it out cause I thought it would be more simple but she really needs to pay attention, which is good because it helps her to be focused on what she is doing.

Read with fonics app

I like it when a kids app is educational at the same time than entertaining. It can be quite hard sometimes to find a safe “screen option” for your little one but I think Read with Fonics will be one of our resources to turn to specially during this Easter break. We cannot allow 2 weeks full of YouTube Videos! so we better fill out her time with the good stuff.

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Read with Fonics also gave us the opportunity to offer our readers a giveaway with 2 winners that will have full access to all the stages. So don’t miss it out and enter the competition. It’s quite easy and you will have many chances to win!

Read with Fonics Giveaway

*We were given full access to the app for the purpose of this review but opinions have been honest and our own.

moscow-state-circus-review-feature

We are going to the Circus! – The Moscow State Circus #Review

What a great start of our half term holidays we had on Saturday visiting the Moscow State Circus at Event City in Manchester. We were kindly invited to review the show. It was a fun family experience indeed.

It had been ages since I went to the circus. Actually, my mum who is visiting us from Barcelona, told me that the first time they took me I was only one year old, just the same age as our little boy now. On Saturday morning we went to the box office to collect the tickets.  We were assigned the Grandstand area, which gave us a good view of the stage. But I would say, if possible, get the VIP ringside seats, you will be just in front and have more chances to engage with the artists.

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Our 5 year old was super excited! We didn’t know what to expect since we had never been in a circus in UK before, but it definitely exceeded our expectations. We got there 45 minutes before the show since our seats weren’t numbered. Our day had been full of things from very early in the morning so we kind of had to rush a bit to get to Event City. Luckily for us this is quite local and we had no problem finding it. They also have parking available, if not right next to it, at intu Trafford Centre, the Barton Square area. We decided to leave the pushchair inside the car, but we could have actually taken it with us since they have a space where you can leave them.

Before the show starts you have some time to hang out at the cafeteria and get some snacks.  We had some popcorn and a couple of drinks for 8 pounds. J wanted us to buy some cotton candy but we thought that was going to be too much “excitement” for her! You know the show is soon to start cause it gets crowded and people start to line up. When they let you in you feel like sardines in a can but once you go inside it clears out and you are able to get the most convenient seats for you.

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Finally we got them! at the top, right in front of the stage. Our little J had a crisis of “OMG I Ccircus quoteAN’T SEE ANYTHING!!” she started crying and we had to change seats with her I can’t recall how many times… the truth is that she could see the stage perfectly but for some reason she just panicked. All that went away when the clown entered the stage. She loved it! Definitely her favourite one of all the artists.  She loved it so much that at the end of the show she told us she wanted to marry him. Oh well, another one to add to her long list of candidates! haha…

 

The performances were outstanding. All of us, adults and children, were amazed at all the things they could do. They challenged gravity in the most creative ways. It was all well thought and organised cause in between you would always have little acts with the clown who would make sure that everyone had a good laugh. The best parts were when he would be looking for volunteers to go up to the stage with him and do something. So get ready, if you go, you could be the next one playing clowns! lol

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We had a 20 minutes break in the middle of the show, which is good for the little ones cause the show lasts for about a couple of hours. Little E needed to have a nappy change so Sam took him to the baby changing area, which was right outside in some facilities they had arranged for families. They were clean and well looked after, so that’s a plus if you go with children.

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The second half of the show will leave you with the mouths opened for sure. Everyone was in awe and we can definitely say the artists deserved the final big applause they received from all the audience. My favourite part was the woman who did all sorts of acrobatics inside a sphere representing like she was up in the moon, with “Hijo de la Luna” (Son of the Moon) a Mecano’s song, playing in the background. I love that Spanish group from the 90’s and that’s a beautiful song. As soon as J heard it she turned around and said to me “Mum! That’s Spanish! Probably that girl (the artist) speaks Spanish!” haha…so cute. I was happy she could recognise one of the 3 languages she speaks.

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We can definitely say that the Moscow State Circus was a great family experience. Everyone enjoyed themselves. My recommendation if you have young children is to get the early session so they don’t feel that tired at the end. But even our 1 year old loved it! He clapped along with everyone and danced on his seat with the music. Our 5 year old wanted to meet the clown, but we had to leave that for another occasion. As for us, adults, can say that we were quite surprised and astonished with the show. You enjoy 2 hours of performances but if you think about it -can you imagine how many hours of training they must go through?!- That is just a prove to me that nothing is impossible if we work hard enough to achieve it. Just like they did! The Moscow State Circus.

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“Moscow, Moscow Join us for a casatchok, We’ll be dancing ’round the clock, Ha ha ha ha ha Hey!”

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You are still on time to see them! They will be at Event City, Manchester, until Sunday 26th February. Visit their website to choose the best option to buy the tickets.

**Tickets were given to us for the purpose of this review but all our opinions are genuine and our own.

 

Goldilocks and the three bears with Northern Ballet #fdMiniCritic Review

Last weekend we had the amazing opportunity to experience our first live ballet watching the Northern Ballet play Goldilocks and the three bears.

First Direct, sponsors of the Northern Ballet, helped us be completely ready for the event by sending to us a special box full of lovely items so we could have our own picnic at home just as Goldilocks!  When J saw everything that was in it she got super excited! So we did enjoyed a great meal at home and talked about the story we were going to see later on.

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J’s first thoughts after reading that tale to her were:

-Mummy! I don’t think Goldilocks is behaving too good…you cannot go into other people’s houses and steal their food!

Haha…oh well…at least she knows that that is something you’re not supposed to do..

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So we finished our tasty lunch and got in the car and drove all the way up to Leeds, to the Stanley and Audrey Theatre, first time for us, by the way. As soon as we arrived we joined the Craft activities that they held in one of the rooms where you could make your own goldilocks or bear mask.

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This little bear had a snout too..just went missing at some point.

J decided she wanted to try goldilocks while E became a little cutie bear. The atmosphere was busy, full of parents and kids running around, everyone seemed quite excited, our little ones blended quite well.  As soon as we went into the theatre our little princess got more than excited and started literally jumping off her seat! Then the lights on the stage turned on and the three bears’ kitchen was there. J turned out to me and yelled:

-Look mummy! They have a table and food just like in the story!! I am so so excited!

The three bears appeared and the small orchestra started playing the music in the background. I must say that we were all quite surprised seeing how well the dancers interpreted the story and no words were necessary to put emotion and entertainment to this well-known tale.

During the show our little princess made up her mind and decided which one was her favourite character of all, she said:

-I love the little bear, mummy! I think I wanna marry him.. 🙂

Yes, our cutie is such a romantic girl that anytime she likes someone she wants to “marry” that person, so so far she’s already been iron man’s wife, captain america’s, a friend of ours, a famous singer…oh! yeah, and a power ranger… and now we can add little bear to the list. I know someone will have a lot of work to do when she grows up!

Anyway, after the show was over we had the opportunity to visit the backstage and see all the bibs and bobs that made the play possible. A lot of hard work, uncountable hours and plenty of creativity are done behind the curtains. See all these pictures!

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Did you know all the items are stuck to each other so nothing falls off when transporting!

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Too heavy for these #fdMiniCritics!

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He is not Goldilocks…promise! lol (just the kind technician that showed us around)

We were quite pleased with all the experience and went off with a happy 5 year old and a tired 8 months old baby boy. She loved it and of course, since she knew she was going to be a #fdMiniCritic, took the role very seriously and wrote her own notes!

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I’ve just helped “translating” all that in to this post, but on this occasion she’s been our special reviewer for the event! 😉

You can read not only our #fdminicritic review but the other families too here!

*We were sent out  the picnic box and invited to attend the event for the purpose of this review but opinions have been genuine and our own.

 

Have you got sunshine in your pocket? Trolls #MovieReview

If you’ve been reading us for a while you already know that we are movie and series lovers! So we’ve thought on sharing some of our love for movies with you on our #moviereview posts!

Better than talking just about the movie we want to share with you what we’ve learnt from it, cause you know, there’s always a life lesson that you can put into practise if you watch and listen carefully to it. Just like we did for Alice through the looking glass movie.

Oh by the way, our little disclaimer here, we haven’t been “lucky” enough for anyone to give us free tickets to the cinema so our review is just for the pleasure of it, and hopefully you will find it useful too.  If, by any chance, we would be invited to review something we will add our usual disclaimer 😉

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So…which movie have we chosen this time? If you’ve got little ones and have a sticky memory for soundtracks you already guessed it..yep, Trolls, the last animation movie from Dreamworks. I’m not going to spoil you with any details, but you can expect lots of cool songs, old and new, good sense of humour for little ones AND grown-ups and very colourful, energetic characters. It is one of those films that everyone can enjoy.

What did we learn from the trolls?

These little cute creatures live in the forest in a state of never ending happiness, while the Bergens are these grumpy beings that don’t know how to be happy until they find out that if they eat a troll they will experience “true happiness”.

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In the beginning of this week I was thinking about this post, about how I was going to tell you how to be happy, cause you know, I was feeling happy myself, and thought yeah! maybe this will help someone…OK now I know that I am the one that needed this post the most. For various reasons I felt more than justified to feel as “grumpy” or even as sad as the Bergens. Thinking to myself, oh, if hubby had another type of job, or oh! if I could have someone to help me with the house chores, or If I could feel less tired… I didn’t realise then I was looking for my “troll” to experience “true happiness” Thinking that if I only had “that thing” I would be able to know what happiness feels like.

If you see the movie, you will understand that the trolls don’t live on a state of never ending happiness, they live on a state of never ending good attitude. The way how we react to things, how we face the challenges of life will make us find sunshine in our pockets, or empty dirty pockets. It is up to us. I can say that as for today, I have been able to find sunshine, while watching my kids laugh, and me laughing with them, while getting excited with hubby watching one of the last episodes of a series we are hooked at or just appreciating that I no longer have back pain any more.

There is sunshine in your pockets, you can’t stop the feeling, so just dance dance dance…

Just like our little J at this kids flashmob:

(created by Z-arts during half term holidays, at Manchester Printworks. )

 

**If you’ve liked this post don’t forget to give us a shout on our Facebook Page, or tweet us a Hi! OR even get a little bit nosier and sneak on our Instagram 😀

 

kidloland

Playing with Kidloland app – Review and Giveaway

Having a 5 year old who has such a creative mind and wild spirit makes it hard to entertain, if on top of that, we add an 8 months old baby boy whose curiosity takes him to the most dangerous places, such as plugs, sharp corners or bed edges, then finding something that can get them both distracted for a while is a definite success!

That’s why when we were approached by the Kidloland team giving us the chance to review their app we said YES right away. 🙂 This Nursery Rhyme, Songs, Games and Activities app, for those of you that haven’t heard about it before, is a 0-5 years old kids app that has more than 95 classic nursery rhymes, ABC phonics, 45 stories of all sorts, more than 300 educational activities, 24 toddler and baby games, among many other surprises…

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At home we are very conscious and careful of how much time in front of a screen we allow the kids to be. We’ve learnt that from past mistakes, must admit. Not only that but on my mobile phone J knows she can only have 2 apps installed. We learnt that as well from making the mistake in the past of downloading anything she wanted and ended up with an addicted undecided toddler! So I told her some nice people gave us this app for her to try and play with it. You know why I know she loved it? Because she hasn’t asked for another one, and it’s been on my phone 3 weeks in a row, that is a complete success for us! She is not that much into Rhymes, but enjoys much more the Games and Activities. Every once in a while she practices the phonics, which is great because she just started Reception at school.

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The baby boy, who is 8 months old,  is more into whatever the big sister is doing, but the bright colours, fun characters and lovely songs definitely get his attention too. I can play the “Read me a story” option and he will be entertained for a while, basically until he decides he can “eat” the phone and starts putting it in his mouth! He also loves dancing along with the rhymes. He’s got some interesting moves must say.. haha

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Anyway, we loved the app! everyone is happy, us as parents, too, because we can feel safe that they’re not watching anything inappropriate or not recommended for their age. As I said J hasn’t changed it for another one yet, so there you go, a win win situation 🙂

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If you’d like to download the app you can find it on the following links:

What are your favourite kids apps? Have you tried Kidloland yet? What are your thoughts?
** We were given a 6 months subscription for us to be able to try and review the app but opinions have been genuine and my own.

********************************* Giveaway *********************************

As part of this review Kidloland is giving away FREE 3 months subscription to 3 lucky winners!
(Subscription details: £3.99/ month , £18.99/ 6 months , £29.99/ year)
You can enter the competition here:

Kidloland app 3 months free subscription Giveaway

Good luck!! 🙂

Family Fever
bepanthen review

Time for Bed! #BepanthenBedtimeChallenge Review

Having a bedtime routine is important for everyone, but if you have two children under 5 years of age is just fundamental. I think that since our 5 year old started school full time we are actually getting better on that. We are being more consistent and follow some patterns that work for us. Previous to bedtime they have a bath, after that they eat their dinner and then I let the older one play for a little bit until is bed time. We have actually got to help our little girl to sleep all through the night! but we’ll tell you how on a different post later on.

Now we wanted to share with you our experience with Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment as an entry for #BepanthenBedtimeChallenge (sponsored by Bepanthen. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/Bepanthen or www.bepanthen.co.uk)

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I’ll have to be honest with you, I am terrible at being constant on putting creams and lotions to my baby but I am lucky enough that he doesn’t get nappy rash that often. I thought this time I would give it a try and follow the guidelines everyday for his bedtime routine during 2 weeks. First couples of days didn’t notice any difference. One day for example, he went to bed with a nappy rash and in the morning it was gone although not completely clear. So I decided to keep using it to see if it would really make a difference. The second week I started to notice that his bottom seemed better and I didn’t need to use any other lotions during the day. In my opinion, that is the asset of this nappy cream barrier, that if I use it as part of his bedtime routine on a daily basis I don’t need to put anything else on him during the day and I have a “happy nappy-rash-free baby” most of the time! 🙂

Have you tried Bepanthen before? What is your bedtime routine like? Tell us what works for you!