14 February 2017

Review: mifold - The Grab-and-Go Booster Seat

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With the new laws for children’s car seats fast approaching (March 2017) it’s time we did a small bit of reading to make sure we keep our kids safe on car journeys. The current law states that all children must use the correct seat when travelling in a car until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall. The new regulations coming into force will mean that backless booster seats will only be approved for older children. By older children that means children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg. To give you an idea my son is 7 and about 127cm in height. I’m not entirely sure of his current weight but he’s strong and sturdy so definitely more than 3st 6lbs (22kg). He currently has a backless booster seat which is ok and correct under law but I often feel it’s not safe enough.


Step in mifold. It’s the grab-and-go booster seat with your child’s safety firmly in mind. Here’s a little bit from mifold’s inventor, Jon: “Car safety is important to us and we wanted to make sure that the kids always had the correct car seat, but we often found that booster seats were not available; especially when we were carpooling with other families. So, I thought, if I could make a booster that was really small and really tough, that could easily be taken everywhere, then our children would always be safe, no matter whose car they are in.”

Jon and his company have definitely achieved what they set out to do as the mifold may be small but it is mighty. It’s the most advanced, compact and portable booster seat on the market to date and fills a gap especially for older children. As I said above my son comfortably fits into the law of using a normal backless booster seat but he’s getting older and well booster seats aren’t really cool are they. Of course coolness doesn’t have a scratch on safety when you’re a parent but when there’s an alternative that’s just as safe you’ll do anything to keep your child happy. The mifold is just as safe as regular booster seats (if not safer) and meets the highest standards for child restraint systems and is approved by the European regulation R44.4. The mifold measures in at 25cm x 12cm x 4cm and when in the car and being used you can hardly notice it. I found it very easy to use and had Logan strapped in and ready to go in under 45 seconds.


So how does it work? You unfold the mifold (colour side down), adjust the side arms width to suit your child (Logan is on the middle size), adjust the shoulder strap to required length. When you’re child is sitting on the mifold you simply clip in the seat belt making sure the lap belt part is inserted into the both lap belt guides at either side. The clip the mifold shoulder strap onto the chest seat belt to hold it on the shoulder. Sounds a bit boggling when written down but when you’ve done it once it’s simple to do again and again. Plus unlike a normal booster seat which raises the child up to the seat belt, the mifold brings the seat belt to the child providing optimum safety because the lap belt is away from the tummy and the chest belt is away from the neck.


I kept Logan in a high backed child car seat until he was around 4 because I just didn’t think a seat belt and booster seat were safe enough when he was little. I’d rather have a clunky car seat than a child with serious tummy and neck injuries. The mifold ticks all the boxes for older children though because, as I've just described, it brings the seat belt to your child ensuring their safety in the event of an accident.

As well as being safe the mifold is compact making it the perfect booster seat to keep in the car or take on your travels. At 750g the mifold weighs the same as a small bottle of water and is shaped so that it can fit inside a backpack comfortably. It’s fab for giving to grandparents if they have the kids and if you’re taking an extra child or two in your car there’s lots of space when using the mifold. Big booster seats often can’t sit side by side in the car but having the mifold means that 3 kids could sit side by side in comfort. Another perk is if you travel a lot and need a booster seat with you for your child. We used to holiday a lot in Fuerteventura and their child car seat laws are similar to the UK so when getting a taxi Logan would have to sit in a car seat. Sometimes there wouldn’t be one available or the ones that were didn’t look too fantastic. I don’t need to worry anymore now that I have the mifold, I only wish it had been invented sooner!



Logan really liked his very own mifold and he received the Lime Green colour which matches our car so he was very pleased about that. The only thing he complained about was not being able to see out of the window as well  as he could with his other booster however I’d rather he was safe than getting a good view. There’s six different colours to choose from and even a designer carry bag if you want one. The mifold retails at £49.95 which I think is majorly cheap to ensure your child’s comfort and safety in a car. Plus with the whole compact portable aspect it’s worth it’s weight in gold.

I was sent a mifold free of charge in return for an honest review.

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8 February 2017

Winter Walkies with Chuckit! Dog Toys & Friends

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Having a family pet is amazing especially if you've got a loyal canine or two like myself. They give so much unconditional love which is just as well as this time of year is a dread for when walkies come around. It's so dark, cold and wet so you'll forgive me if I don't really fancy wrapping up and taking my pooches for a chilly damp walk. Of course your pups need out and about though. They need to stretch their legs, sniff the trees and roam the fields. It's their bit of fun and probably what they look forward to most (apart from food) each day. Luckily for my girls, and me, to make these winter walks that bit more bearable the lovely people from Chuckit! sent us a hamper of exciting toys and treats.


The girls received a Max Glow Zipflight, a Max Glow Erratic Ball, Ultra Ball 2 pack, a Max Glow Pro 18, fluff & spruce ditch the itch shampoo and orbiloc dog safety light. I wasn't sure who was more excited when this hamper arrived, the kids or the dogs, but we all couldn't wait to test everything out.


As you might have guessed from the names of some of the products there's a glow in the dark element to them. Perfect for winter walk and play. The Max Glow Erratic Ball glows in the dark brilliantly and does as its name suggests - acts erratic. It's super bouncy, rubbery and has quite a funny shape with different angles which enables it to spring around when thrown. Great fun for the girls as they never know what it's going to do or where it's going to land. It's a size medium and really easy to spot in the dark.


My dogs love to chase a good ball and they weren't disappointed with the Ultra Ball 2 pack. They're sturdy rubbery medium sized balls with major bounce and the ability to float if you're dog likes jumping in rivers. I personally like them because they're harder for my Staffordshire Bull Terrier to destroy, in fact they're still intact. If it was a tennis ball it would be in the bin by now. These balls are handily compatible with the Max Glow Pro 18 which is a throwing stick but that comes with it's own Chuckit! medium sized tennis ball.


The Max Glow Pro 18 is a super sturdy ball throwing stick which is also glow in the dark. The ball it comes with isn't, however the Erratic Ball is compatible so you can use that for dark night walks. Near us we have a wide open field which the girls can run around in so it's perfect for using there. The Max Glow Pro 18 has been designed with the dog owner in mind as it's comfy to hold for extended periods and has a grip handle so no 'oops' throwing of the stick. Even if you did you'd find it again as it glows in the dark or it's bright orange so easy to find in day light as well.


Chuckit! make some awesome flying toys and the Max Glow Zipflight is no exception. It glows in the dark, can float, easy to clean, is soft and light weight making it fly pretty far and both the dogs and kids loved this toy. We received a size medium which is perfect for my Staffie and Frenchie.


Another important dog walking tool to have at this time of year is a light for your dog. I've had light up collars before but never a safety light. The orbiloc dog safety light has a dual purpose though as it can be used for your dog or yourself. It's a lightweight LED light visible up to 5km away and is 100% water proof. It's got replaceable batteries but you'll get 100hrs out of the original ones. How great is that.


Last but not least and not forgetting the lovely ditch the itch shampoo by fluff & spruce. It contains aloe vera and is perfect for my Staffie as she has a life long skin condition which makes her very itchy to the point where she bleeds. It's very sad so anything to help her skin is fabulous.

So there you have it, a bunch of exciting dog toys and products which the whole family loved and there wasn't a problem with any of them. They all seem very durable and have stood the thrashings of my dogs quite well with no damage as yet.

I was sent this hamper of dog products in return for an honest review. 

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6 February 2017

Celebrating 2 Years of Breastfeeding

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Well I never really thought I’d be writing this post. I stopped breastfeeding my son when he was around 13 months old. I was going back to work full time and it just seemed right for us. He didn’t bother one little bit and I was quite happy. When my daughter was born I thought I would probably follow the same path and give up breastfeeding not long after her first birthday. How wrong was I!

It turns out that little missy chops quite enjoys breastfeeding, a lot more than her brother it would seem, and she’s in no rush to give up any time soon even when she’s recently turned two. She’s more aware now of breastfeeding because she’s a bit older, than her brother was when I stopped with him, so she will happily climb onto my lap and proceed to yank my top up for the boob. Fine if I’m at home but not so fab when I’m in a public place.

I do still enjoy breastfeeding miss madam but now that she has a full set of gnashers it has become rather painful. I’ve managed to cut her feeding right down to once a day, maybe twice if she’s particularly persistent and it is mainly at night right before her bed time. This feed doesn’t last any longer than 30 minutes, sometimes it’s as quick as 10, however she likes to feed her own special way which normally means yanking at my breasts with her sharp fingernails and clamping my nipples between her teeth. Not the most enjoyable of experiences but once she starts to relax and lull into sleep it’s not so bad. Well unless she forgets she’s feeding then her jaw starts to shut!


Loads of people keep asking me when I’m going to stop. It’s quite irritating actually as they’re more interested in when I’m stopping than actually congratulating me on managing to breastfeeding my baby for 2 full years! I think it goes to show how much of a stigma still surrounds breastfeeding a baby past the 6 months stage. People assume that I’m going to be turning up at the school gates and whipping my boobs out for my 5 year old to feed on but I won’t be. Even if I did it would be my choice and no one else’s business.

Anyway back to the positive. There are many benefits to long term breastfeeding and giving your child nutrients is one of them. Quite a lot of people believe that there’s no nutritional value in continued breastfeeding past a year but it’s just not the case. Your child will still benefit from protein, calcium, fat, vitamin A, and other nutrients in breast milk. It also strengthens your child’s immune system so less chance of them getting ill with things like ear infections and upper respiratory infections. It reminds me when my daughter was a baby and she had a cold which blocked her sinuses giving her a burst ear drum. I breastfed her throughout this and I really believe the action of breastfeeding and the milk itself helped her to heal quickly and not catch any infections. She never seemed to be in any pain either as I would have guessed a burst ear drum to be quite painful.

Look at those teeth!!
So here I am still breastfeeding with no idea really when I’m going to stop. I’m glad I’ve cut it right down to once a day and this doesn’t seem to bother her one bit thankfully. Maybe one day she’ll eventually give up her beloved boobs!

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29 January 2017

My Sunday Photo - 29.01.17

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Photalife

Sunday Snap

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26 January 2017

Family Trip to Cameron Lodges

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It’s definitely a busy time of year over the festive period and although the kids are excited with their new presents I often find there’s a lag between Christmas and going back to school. It’s almost as if time has stopped and you don’t know who you are, where you are or what you’re meant to be doing with yourself. Add to that a couple of kids who like to annoy each other just when you want some peace and you have a recipe for disaster. Hence why I booked the family up for a few nights stay at the lovely Cameron Lodges on the bonny banks of Loch Lomond.


I had noticed a few bloggers got the opportunity to stay at one of the lovely lodges on the Cameron House Hotel estate so to give us a break and something to do I thought what better way to start the new year than with a little trip. It’s only about 2 hours from our house so not much of a car journey really. I had looked over the photos online, and of course from bloggers who had stayed, and the lodges looked amazing. I made sure to book a refurbished lodge quite close to the hotel as I like a bit of luxury and Logan hates walking too far.


The estate itself is quite big but the lodges aren’t too far from the hotel. We had one which was a 5 minute walk away and that was perfect. It was also a short walk to the Boat House restaurant however if it’s bad weather the concierge can pick you up and take you down in one of the hotel’s cars. I thought this was really handy and it saved us a walk one night when Harlow fell asleep on her Daddy in the hotel.


The lodge we had was semi-detached and was stunning. It had a massive open plan living, dining and kitchen area upstairs with a bathroom and downstairs was two lovely big bedrooms both with ensuites. The master bedrooms ensuite had a huge bath in it as well. We never used the bathrooms much though because they only had underfloor heating and this took a while to kick in so they were quite chilly. Also you have to pay for your own electricity which I wasn’t too keen on. In the end for the 3 nights we were there it cost £33 and that was me switching lights off and turning heating down etc when we weren’t using it.


Staying in the lodge meant we could use the hotels facilities and luckily for us they have a lovely children’s pool complete with slide and a small paddling pool for tots. There is also a bigger pool beside this one which is sometimes adults only, understandable because if I was there with just the other half I’d want some child free time too. The changing rooms for getting ready were massive, plenty of lockers, but freezing when you came out of the pool. Luckily you’re given massive complimentary fluffy white towels to use so I wrapped Harlow up and she literally didn’t move, wee soul.


The Boat House restaurant and the Great Socts Bar (within the hotel) were both really child friendly and provided highchairs on request. The food was delicious and I couldn’t fault it. My only niggle was the price but then what do you expect for 5 star luxury. All in all it was a brilliant little trip away and I’d love to go back just as a couple for a relaxing break.

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24 January 2017

Easy After School Dinner with Birds Eye

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I don’t know about you but trying to fit in healthy meals for the kids when you’re working, or generally busy with after school clubs etc, can be exhausting. I like to cook the kids something healthy ish but something that is quick and won’t take hours to prepare or actually cook. Step in Birds Eye. They’ve recently launched some tasty Gluten Free Fish Fingers to the market which are perfect to get the omega oils down the kids necks without a fight.

I’m lucky enough to be able to work part time and it definitely benefits my family, but on the days I do work I have to travel and getting stuck in traffic is the difference between a freshly prepared meal and a ping meal. I always feel guilty about the ping meals though as I never feel they live up to much. I’m more reassured by the Birds Eye gluten free fish fingers however because it’s fish and full of good stuff. My son loves fish too so fish fingers are always a winner. I normally heat up some Birds Eye peas as well to get some greens in the little monsters.


You get 12 fish fingers in a packet and I tend to put them all on to cook as Logan eats loads and any leftovers can be put into a sandwich. They only take 12-15 minutes to cook under the grill which is perfect when you’ve got some pretty hungry mouths to feed as soon as you step in the door. You can of course cook them in the oven but I feel they get just that little bit extra crispy under the grill.

Whilst perusing the Birds Eye goodies I noticed they had a bag of frozen veg (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peas) so decided to give that a go to see how tasty it was. On the bag it said boil for 2 and a half minutes, and that's all it took to cook which was great.

So what did we think of the actual fish fingers, peas and veg? Well the fish fingers went down a storm with everyone eating them up. Logan was even asking for seconds. I thought the peas were really tasty and so did the other half but the kids didn't touch them much. They're not massive pea fans though. The frozen veg was well received and it had actually kept most of it's freshness. I say most as the carrots were ok but I prefer cutting and cooking my own. Overall though a lovely quick healthy meal which everyone enjoyed and I wasn't running around like a headless chicken. Win win!


I was sent some Birds Eye vouchers to purchase and write an honest review of these products. All opinions are my own.

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22 January 2017

My Sunday Photo - 22.01.17

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Photalife

Sunday Snap

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