19 August 2019

KUTCU Campaign with McDonald’s Leven in Fife

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Monday morning saw me up bright and early and ready to start the day on a fantastic litter picking event with McDonald’s in Leven, Fife. Since 1982, McDonald’s has been collecting the litter that’s dropped in the local area around their restaurants and for the past 12 years they have been working with environment charities on bigger clean-up events across the UK. That’s why they decided to invite me along to take part in their local Keep Up The Clean Up Event to see exactly what it is they do.


As some of you will have seen from my recent social media posts I asked you all to vote on an area in Leven that you would like to see cleaned up and it was a unanimous decision to clean ‘The Beachfront’. I was so happy that this was chosen as not only is it good to keep the beach area clean for the community but it really helps the local wildlife and sea animals. As a side note did you know McDonald’s are testing paper straws in restaurants at the moment, helping to reduce the amount of plastic used which is another win for marine creatures. Over 80% of their packaging is now recyclable and they are committed to having 100% recyclable packaging by 2025. I think that’s a great aim to have for the future. The planet needs it and big companies taking the lead will help pave the way.


On the day of the litter pick I arrived at McDonald’s and was greeted by the lovely manager, Vickie, who introduced me to the team and got me set up ready to start picking the litter. We had our hi vis jackets on with bags and pickers at the ready and off we went. We headed straight to the beach front and got stuck in picking up any litter that we could find. Lots of members of the public approached us to ask what we were doing and also to commend us on such a humble task. We found a few unusual items on the beach including banana swimming trunks, a pair of trousers and a very broken umbrella. One little boy watched on as the umbrella was pulled from the water and declared “they’re saving the turtles!!!”. It was nice to see everyone was very happy with what the McDonald’s team were doing for their local community.


Further up the beach a little girl was so impressed with our efforts she made the team a McDonald’s stone to keep which was just lovely and very sweet of her to do so. It was great that children were taking note of what we were doing as I believe education from a young age is key on this topic and that’s why McDonald’s believe that recycling shouldn’t be a chore. They’ve made it easier for you in their stores to get recycling right. Since 2015 McDonald’s have installed recycling units in over 1,000 of its UK restaurants, so it’s easier to separate paper cups and plastics for recycling. The Leven McDonald’s is only 6 months old and has these recycling facilities so there’s no excuse not to get involved. My daughter loves helping to separate the recycling when we pop for lunch so I really like it.


The team of volunteers worked so hard on the day of the litter pick and half way through we had already collected 10 bags and by the end we had at least 18 bags collected! Everyone on the team was very dedicated and really enjoyed taking part. There was a lot of pride in what they were doing and they hoped that they could have the local community help out in future. A few people stopped us to ask to join in, a mother and her children and a retired couple, so it made the volunteers even more determined to make this a community event for the future.


The McDonald’s staff themselves do daily litter picks around their own restaurant to keep it clean and tidy and I can confirm it definitely was indeed super clean. Lots of McDonald’s restaurants up and down the country are taking part in this brilliant KUTCU campaign so be sure to look out for your local event and get along to join in. All are welcome.


This post is part of a paid project with McDonald’s UK and BritMums, promoting McDonald’s Keep Up the Clean Up campaign encouraging local communities to take action and work together to tackle litter in their area.

15 August 2019

Breastfeeding After A Spray Tan

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Having a beauty regime is ever popular these days and it certainly doesn’t have to stop when you have a baby but it’s always good to know what is safe or what to look out for and that’s why Tropicoco Salon in Glasgow have asked me to talk about breastfeeding after a spray tan. It’s a brilliant topic and I’m delighted to share some info on it for you all.

So as a beginner guide all the Tropicoco Salon tans are pregnancy safe which is great however the Vita Liberata tan is especially more so as it’s entirely fragrance free (the others are not). It’s worth noting that beauty, massage and hair treatments should be avoided in the first trimester though as no clinical testing has been undertaken in this area. Better safe than sorry I say. As well as this sunbeds should be avoided as some studies have shown links between UV rays and the suggestion of folic acid deficiency which can result in Spina Bifida for the baby.

When it comes to breastfeeding and spray tans it’s been advised that the rapid tan is best because you can wash off the ‘colour guide’ the same day that it is applied. Originally developed for individuals who cannot make it into the salon on a week day due to work or have childcare needs, the rapid tan sounds perfect for breastfeeding mothers. Depending on the colour of tan you receive you can wash it off within 1-2 hours. The darker the tan the longer you have to wait but 3-4 hours is the maximum. In case you are curious the colour guide is the added bronzer to allow spray tan therapists to see what they are doing during application.

Spray tans are derived from organic plant sources such as sugar beets and sugar canes and this is what reacts with the amino acids in the skin turning them brown. Rapid spray tans have a higher amount of sugars inside them, meaning they turn the surface layer of the skin brown in just one hour, getting darker as time goes on. So they still develop like a normal tan.

I think it’s great that you can wash the tan off so quickly, especially as a previous breastfeeding mother myself, as I would have hated to be feeding my daughter and get her poor little face covered in tan!! You may have seen a news article about someone having this happen to them a few years back, wee shame for the baby. Luckily it’s not harmful but I bet it took a while to fade. The quick washing time is also good as breastfed babies vary with their feeding times. If you’re baby is like my daughter she basically fed on demand but could wait a couple of hours for her next feed if I wasn’t around. Whereas having a 9 hour developing spray tan (that’s a normal spray tan) just wouldn’t cut it.

If for some reason you can’t do the rapid tan then it’s always best to bring some spare breast pads and sticky tape so you can keep your breasts tan free for baby. It’s good to have options and great that you can still have the tan you want and continue to breastfeed. For more information and treatments do check out the Tropicoco Salon website for details.

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own. 

14 August 2019

BRICKLIVE Ocean at Edinburgh Zoo

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The school Summer holidays are slowly coming to an end but that doesn’t mean the fun and exploring has to stop. We were invited along to Edinburgh Zoo recently to check out their amazing new BRICKLIVE Ocean animal sculptures and they’re absolutely fantastic. It’s a world exclusive display with over 30 life-sized sculptures made out of over one million Lego bricks, including a killer whale, a hammerhead shark, a giant squid, an octopus and much more.


It’s the first ever showing of BRICKLIVE Ocean, which is currently running until 17th September and is included in your entry ticket price so nothing extra to pay. These amazing sculptures form a trail around the Zoo featuring lots of interactive experiences, including a Lego brick pit and the chance to make Lego models, and telling the story of the threats faced by our magnificent marine life.


When you get your entry ticket from the Zoo’s reception you also get a lovely BRICKLIVE Ocean map so you can see where all the fabulous sculptures are located throughout the park. I really liked this as it helped to plan our day out and the kids got to pick which sculptutes they most definitely wanted to see.


As well as the BRICKLIVE Ocean event the Giant Pandas have a new habitat which is really nice to see and one of the Koala’s has a little joey at the moment. It’s so very cute and sweet and really worth a visit. The Rockhopper Penguin chicks are being born too so there’s loads of them bobbing around which is great as there’s a Rocky’s Road family trail on the BRICKLIVE Ocean map. You’ve to see if you can spot all 10 Rockhopper Lego penguins on the trail, great for the kids.


The family and I really enjoyed feeding the Lorikeets as well. This is new to the zoo and a brilliant experience not to be missed. The Lorikeets are a type of parrot who feed on the nectar of varies blossoms and soft fruits and you can buy a little pot of nectar for £1 from the keeper inside the enclosure. It’s like walking around in a bird aviary but you have your pot of nectar and if you hold it close to the Lorikeets they’ll start to eat from it. Highly recommend doing this as they’re cute little birds with lots of personality.


Logan loved the BRICKLIVE tent where there was a massive pit of Lego so lots of building going on there. You’ve to try and create a new creature, take a photo and email it to the zoo and you could win a prize. There’s also the chance to win a family pass to the zoo if you enter the competition on the bottom of the BRICKLIVE Ocean map. It’s worth a go I think.


I really liked seeing all the ocean animal sculptures and reading about them. It was fascinating to see how many people built each one, plus the hours taken and the amount of brick used. Some took 550hrs and thousands of bricks to complete. One of the little spider crabs took 1 person 100 hours and 7,000 bricks until it was finished. Totally amazing work, well done. I also liked that a fact was given on each ocean creature and a bar code to scan with your phone to see how you could help. Nice and interactive for adults and children.


So much has changed at the zoo since our last visit and we all had a great time. The play parks have been much improved, there’s different interactions and experiences to try and the whole family had such a lovely time. We even had lunch in the restaurant and the homemade pizza was amazing! The BRICKLIVE Ocean sculptures are beautiful and I’d recommend you pop along to see them before 17th September because after that they’ll be gone. Remember you can book your Edinburgh Zoo tickets online to save 10% off on the door tickets.

Our entry to the zoo was free in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

12 August 2019

Edinburgh International Book Festival - A Great Family Day Out

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The Edinburgh International Book Festival is now in full swing and opened it's doors on Saturday 10th August with some amazing shows lined up for all you book fans out there. The family and I were invited along to see what is was all about and it couldn't have been a nicer day for it.


The festival was open at 9.30am and we arrived just after to collect the tickets for our chosen shows. I booked up for Julia Donaldson & Catherine Rayner as Harlow loves the Gruffalo and I booked the hubby and Logan into Gruesome Greeks by Chae Strathie. Both shows were lovely and the authors were great. I was impressed by how much Julia Donaldson actually did and she also showed of her new book with illustrator Catherine Rayner - The Go-Away Bird.


Most authors are doing book signings after their shows and since we already had a few books signed by Julia Donaldson Logan wanted to buy Chae Strathie's books and have them signed. He was so happy and thanks to Chae for squeezing us in as Logan hates a queue (all you autism parents will know the feeling). This book signing was being held in The Garden Bookshop which is massive this year. Lots of space to move around and lots of books to see. It was lovely and also has a cafe bar available.


We settled down in the middle of the festival, after the book signing, where there were plenty of tables, chairs and benches to sit on and waited for the next show. We had some snacks and got ice cream as there was plenty of food and drinks stalls available. You can also bring your own picnic and just enjoy the atmosphere.


As well as the shows you can book to see there are free drop in activities for families to do and these differ for each day of the festival. On Saturday it was 50 Years of the Hungry Caterpillar with crafts and activities open from 11:00 to 16:30 in the Baillie Gifford Story Box. There's a lovely little play area for the children too which is really nice.


It was very very busy at the book festival but if you require any additional support they are more than happy to accommodate. Logan was able to stand in the assistance queue to get into a venue which was much smaller than the normal queue as you can imagine. This made all the difference to his experience and was much appreciated.


We popped along to the Harry Hill show which was brilliant. He was honestly so funny and his show was very interactive which was great. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. We had to leave the book festival a little earlier than planned as the kids were being a couple of pests but we really enjoyed our time there and would definitely go back. It's the first time I've ever been and so much better than I could have ever expected. There's a great family feel to it all with lots of children's authors, shows and characters dressed up from the books, there's even a dedicated family section on the book festivals website so check it out for more details. The festival runs until 26th August so definitely go along for a great day out.

I was gifted the show tickets in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

11 August 2019

Summer Holiday Fun at Blair Drummond Safari Park

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We've still got a week and a half left of the school summer holidays here in Fife and it'll feel like a life time if the kids start getting bored, so why not pop along to Blair Drummond Safari Park for the day and keep them occupied? That's what we did on Friday and even though it was a rainy day that didn't stop us from having fun.


When we arrived we did our usual of driving round to see the animals in the safari first. I was surprised that lots of animals were still out and about even with the rain. One of the rhino's was charging around the field, they're so big and fast! They always stop and give us a curious look and I'm never too sure if it's because we're in a big white 4x4 or if its because Harlow has such a loud high pitched voice ha ha. Poor rhino. And speaking of rhino's this week was Rhino Week at the park with talks and the chance to win a rhino encounter! How cool is that. Blair Drummond always have special events on throughout the year so keep checking their website for details. We also braved driving round the monkeys! My logic was they'd be more subdued due to the rain and wouldn't wreck the car. Some how we survived and the kids thought it was great.


After having a nose around the animals we parked up and headed to Victoria's Pizzeria (beside the sea lions) to grab some coffees and ice cream for the kids. It might have been tipping it down but that wasn't going to stop the kids enjoying ice cream. There was loads to choose from and it kept the kids happy. We then took our seats for the sea lion show at 12pm. There's usually 3 shows per day so plenty of opportunity to go along. We all love the sea lion show and little 4 year old Oscar knows how to impress the crowd. Harlow was so excited when he jumped up to touch the ball.


Next up was the play park. The kids had their waterproofs on so it didn't stop them for enjoying all the swings and play equipment at all. The smaller children's area is under a canopy anyway and the big kids wooden fort is dry when you go inside it which was perfect. The hubby pulled up a chair beside Harlow as she was happy playing in the sand and I joined Logan on the big fort. We then took the car and parked it beside the boat trips and jumped on to see Chimpanzee island. The boats leave regularly so you never have to wait long.


Lemur Land is just over the bridge from the boat trips so we walked in to see if we could spot any lemurs. Most were hiding but one brave little lemur was happy to have its photos taken with us which was really cute. It even had a big stretch and climbed around a bit, Harlow was so happy to see it. There's also some hogs, tortoises, mara and other creatures around Lemur Land so keep your eyes peeled for them.


By this point everyone was getting peckish so we headed back to the restaurant for some grub. There are several food outlets in the safari park as well as picnic and a dedicated BBQ area so you can pick and choose how and what you eat. We chose the restaurant for easiness and a bit of a treat for the kids. They serve a wide range of breakfast rolls, freshly prepared hot meals, sandwiches, salads, cakes, coffees and teas. The hubby had the fish and chips which he really enjoyed and the rest of us had mac and cheese. We're such creatures of habit but love it so much.


We decided to have another look around the animals in the safari stopping to look at the giraffes who had come out to feed. They're so beautiful and you get so close to them from the viewing platform. The rhino house is also under cover and you can get quite close to them as well. The weather had dried up by this point and more animals were out and about. The lions were right next to the track so we got an awesome view from the car window. They were so close you could touch them! Obviously don't do this as they will bite! We then drove on to see the camels and deer, who were happily grazing, before deciding to head home.


There's so much to do at the safari park we could have spent even longer there but the kids were getting tired so best to head whilst on a high note. Remember you can upgrade your ticket for a seasonal membership to Blair Drummond Safari Park which I think is ace because you can come and go as you please. A membership for 2 adults and 2 children costs £200 but a day ticket for the same costs £60 online and more on the door so after 4 visits you've saved yourself some pennies. Well worth looking into or even put it down on the Christmas wish list from Granny and Grandad.

I was gifted entry to the safari park in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

9 August 2019

I Believe in Unicorns - A Family Friendly Edinburgh Fringe Show

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If you're still looking for family friendly shows to visit at this years Edinburgh Festival Fringe then book up to see the fabulous I Believe in Unicorns. We were invited along to see what it was all about the other day and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. To start with the name of the show is just amazing isn't it!?


So what is the show about? Here's a quick description from Wizard Presents themselves: "Olivier Award-nominated Wizard Presents brings Morpurgo's treasured story to life, sparking imagination in both young and old. This intimate five-star show is set in a library full of books that hold more than stories within their pages. It is a tale of the power of books, and the bravery of a young boy called Tomas. Tomas hates reading and school, but his world is turned upside down the day he meets the Unicorn Lady..."


I Believe In Unicorns by Michael Morpurgo really is a magical tale. Set in a library surrounded by lovely books you'll be hooked from the get go. This show contains audience participation, but it's all lovely and nice, and has a theme of war in there as well but it's brilliant and moving. I was almost brought to tears at one point and even my son was so emotionally invested he speechlessly awaited the outcome of one scene. My 4 year old daughter loved it as well especially the kites.


The show is being held at the Pleasance Courtyard (venue 33) at 10.30am every day until 26th August (no shows on 14th or 19th August). Tickets range in price from £6.50 to £11 but you can check this out via the edfringe.com website. Aimed at ages 5+ I thought the storytelling was honestly fabulous and the props were amazing. I couldn't believe how many different items you could hide in books, the kids loved it.


I personally loved the show because it was all about the importance of books and reading. I'm lucky my kids really enjoy their books and bedtime stories so if you want to inspire your children to read more go and see this show. The Pleasance Courtyard is an easy venue to find as well with loads of food and drinks stalls plus kids crafts and other fab kids shows throughout the day. A lovely way to spend a day of the school holidays.

I was gifted our tickets in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 



5 August 2019

Review: Jump In Trampoline Park Edinburgh

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It was a bit rainy on Sunday so we headed to the Jump In Trampoline Park in Edinburgh to try it out. We'd been invited along with friends to see what they had to offer and the kids couldn't wait to bounce around with their chums. It was our first visit so we weren't sure what to expect but everyone was looking forward to it, even the adults!


Jump In Trampoline Park in Edinburgh is situated in East Lothian (just outside Musselburgh) and is only 5 minutes away from Fort Kinnaird in the Newhailes Industrial Estate. It's a massive building from the outside which told us there would probably be lots of fun to be had on the inside. As the Scottish summer holidays are in full swing the current opening hours are; Mon - Fri 10am to 7pm, Fri 10am to 9pm and Sat, Sun 10am to 7pm. It gives you plenty of time to entertain the kids (or the adults) and if the weather changes you always have options which is quite nice.


There are lots of different jumping options available at Jump In so I'd advise you to check out the website before you go but as a guide a 1 Hour Open Jump Session at peak time costs £10.60 for 5 years + and under 5's are £5 regardless of peak times at the moment. There's other options such as Toddler Time, Friday Night Takeover, Relaxed Sessions, Fitness Classes and Jump & Play (which include the use of the new soft play) but do check the website for all the details. It's worth noting that booking online will save you £2 as there's a £2 walk-in charge at the door. You will of course need to purchase some Jump In socks which are £2.50 each.


As well as the increased opening hours the fab new summer passes are now available and can be purchased for use up until 31st August 2019. Choose from £35 for five one-hour jump sessions or £60 for 10 one-hour jump sessions. And you can share the fun around as the passes can also be used by friends and family to enjoy Jump In together. I think this is great as normally you have to buy a pass for each person at some kids places but not Jump In. When you purchase the summer pass online you will be sent a unique code to use when booking, via the website or Contact Centre on 01926 356290. Visit: www.gojumpin.com and select Open Jump. Please do read the full terms and conditions. And jumpers will have no trouble cooling down with the Summer Fest special offer – when you buy three Slush drinks, there’s a free fourth one! (Valid throughout July and August).


When we arrived at Jump In we had to sign our waivers (these can be done online for quickness), collect our wristbands and socks and watch the 3 minute safety video before jumping on the trampolines. There's ample locker space to store your bags and shoes which are reusable with a £1 coin. There's plenty of seating beside the little cafe if anyone just wants to watch and more seating situated above the cafe so you can see the whole jumping arena.


The kids couldn't wait to get stuck in and bounce so we all jumped on to enjoy the fun. There's tons of trampolines for everyone and different areas to discover. There's the main jumping area, a dodgeball court, interactive wall to test your skills, battle beam, giant air bag, tumble track, twist ladder, drop slide and even a fancy new soft play which only opened at the end of June 2019. There really is tons to get involved in.


Everyone seemed to be having a ball and the kids had certain areas they really enjoyed. Harlow particularly liked the twist ladder where you had to climb up using your balance and ring the bell at the top. Logan really liked the battle beam where you knocked your opponents off into the foam pit. My friend's two girls loved bouncing around, the dodgeball court and investigating the soft play. The oldest even had a shot on the drop slide!! Very brave as it goes up really high. Of course the hubby had to try the drop slide as well didn't he ha ha. It was all good fun and we were treated to some slush drinks to quench our thirst. It's good to note there is water and cups available for free at the cafe if you get thirsty.


The whole venue looked very clean and tidy and we decided to treat ourselves to lunch after a whole 2 hours of mad jumping and exploring. We bought some pizzas and chips and they were so scrummy, the pizza looked and tasted homemade so I would highly recommend. We really all did have a fantastic day at the Jump In trampoline park in Edinburgh so if you're looking for something different to keep the kids occupied I'd suggest you get booked up and head along to have some fun.



This is a collaborative post. I was invited along to try out the venue in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

 

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