Double the Monkey Business

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Science Adventure Activity Book Review

The boys are learning all about space this term at school.  They are absolutely loving it.  Every day I find…

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#parentingscoop Mummy’s Diary

#parentingscoop Mummy’s Diary

This month I am really excited to have the lovely Katie from Mummy’s Diary on the blog.  She is taking part in our #parentingscoop series and will be sharing her pregnancy and parenting journey with you.

Mummy's Diary

Over you to you Katie:

Tell us about when you are not in mummy mode

When I am not in mummy mode, I generally feel like I don’t know what to do with myself! I think you get so used to running around after little ones, that when I’m on my own I just don’t know what to do.

I have dropped the kids to school and I have time to myself! Usually, I end up doing household chores or sometimes I will relax in the garden enjoying the sunshine.

If my husband isn’t working we do sometimes go out for breakfast or we spend time sorting the garden out. I love drawing and have recently taken this up again and am hoping to spend more time on this.

Tell us about your pregnancy/pregnancies

On our first pregnancy went really well. I suffered no morning sickness or any issues. We kind of just assumed everything would be ok. You don’t expect to be one of the stories you hear about when they pick up a problem.

But at our scan we were just expecting to find out whether we were having a boy or girl. But, this is actually the anomaly scan and they picked up that our daughter had a suspected duplex kidney.

We had no idea what this was we’d never heard of it before and we were scared. Once our daughter was born she was put on antibiotics and awaited an operation when she was older. She’s now nearly 5 and you’d never know anything was ever wrong with her.

My second pregnancy again went really well and with no sickness. We were always going to be wary of our sons scan and we were right to be as he too had a suspected duplex kidney.

We couldn’t even contemplate going through all of the tests, scans and operation again with our second baby, we were heartbroken!

Luckily a follow up scan showed he actually has a horseshoe kidney which is one large kidney where the two haven’t split. Thankfully, he won’t need any treatment but does have some scans just to check its all still okay.

Where did you give birth?  Did you have any complications?

I gave birth at our local hospital. I had decided in my birth plan that I wanted a natural water birth with no drugs and minimal intervention.

Rob ran me a nice hot bath but as soon I got in there I wanted to get out. I couldn’t stand it. I felt trapped and I had no room to move to make myself comfortable. Rob called the labour ward and we went to the hospital. As my waters hadn’t yet broken I received another sweep and was sent home at 4cm.

About an hour later Rob rang the labour ward again and explained that I really couldn’t bear the contractions any longer. So, reluctantly they called us back in.

I was given pethidine and Rob was sent home.

No sooner had he put his foot through the front door his mobile rang. It was the midwives calling him to return to the hospital as soon as he could.

It was now the early hours of the morning and the midwives were surprised at how quick my labour was progressing. I was already at 10cm and ready to push!

I also ended up having gas and air and an epidural. So, my birth plan went straight out the window!

As there were concerns with our girls kidney, I remember there being a lot of people in the room and toing and froing which really made us feel stressed.

My girls heart rate kept dipping and they couldn’t get a trace on her. As soon as she was born they whisked her off onto a special table to check her over. Luckily she was fine.

At 09:17 on the 8th October 2012 – ten days late – our beautiful daughter entered the world (hand first – the midwives said she was testing the weather!).

She was perfect, I couldn’t look at her long enough. She had a mop of thick dark hair and big bright blue eyes.

My sons labour was much different to my daughters.

A few days before he arrived, I had really bad back ache and thought I was in labour early hours of the morning but the pain soon went.

The next day then I had diarrhea. And eventually while we were out shopping a few days later, I suddenly felt strange and a had a dull achy pain in my tummy and back. Turns out my son was back to back. We headed home and my contractions had started.

We left for the hospital straight away and I was surprised to find I was already fully dilated. In a calm environment five hours later – and ten days – early my son was born.  He was placed straight on to my chest and my husband cut his cord which he hadn’t been able to do with my daughter.

Two days later then we brought him home to meet his big sister.

What were the first few weeks like with a newborn?

I wouldn’t call them scary, but there is definitely a lot to learn. No matter how much you research or google things before hand, you really can never be fully prepared for their arrival.

I remember saying that our baby was nocturnal as she seemed to sleep all day and was awake all night. The house was a mess. You cant really get any sort of organisation going as babies have so much stuff and we really had no room.

I remember being too scared to take her outside for a good few weeks in case she caught a bug. I just wanted to wrap her in cotton wool. With the second it was a lot easier and calmer and you do find yourself not being as strict with yourself as you are with your first.

Do you have any advice for new parents?

All I can say is you will received so much advice from friends and family, and people telling you what to do or your not doing certain things right or the way that they did it with their baby. And to that I say, ignore them! You will find out what works for you and you will know what is best for your baby.

I was told I was spoiling my baby by carrying and holding her too much and that I was making a rod for my own back by doing this and that I’d be stuck with a clingy baby because of this.

Well all I can say to this is they were wrong, and what adult do you know is clingy to their parents because they weren’t put down as a baby? Exactly none. You will find your own rhythm and trust your instincts.

What is your favourite thing about being a parent?

My favourite thing about parenting really is watching them experience new things, develop and learn new things. I was so excited when they learnt to count to five, or when they could put their socks on by themselves!

I know it seems silly, but we’re teaching our children to be independent and be their own person. It’s amazing watching them finding their own way in the world.

What is your funniest parenting story?

This has to be the time when I took my daughter shopping. She must have been about 3 years old, and whilst we were in the shopping centre she told me she needed a wee. So we found the toilets and we had to queue.

My daughter then told me she needed a poo, and then rather loudly asked: “Mummy do you need a poo?” in front of rather a lot of people who all started giggling!

Mummy's Diary

Thanks you so much for joining us Katie!  Thank you for sharing your story with us and talking about your pregnancy journey.  

You can find Katie from Mummy’s Diary being social here, pop over and say hi:





If you would like to take part in #parentingscoop then leave me a comment below, or email  We would love to have you on the blog.


Make your own Calm Down Jar

Make your own Calm Down Jar

One of the things that I have noticed is how tired the boys are now they are at school.  The long days, coupled with learning new things constantly, takes its toll.

One of the knock on effects we have found at home is the boys not always being able to control their emotions.  Tiredness and annoying brothers are a dramatic mix!

So, at the weekend, after yet another argument over a single piece of lego, I had had enough.  I sat the boys down and said we need to find a way to ensure we always use kind words.

I had seen people make a calm down jar on Pinterest (of course!), and suggested to the boys that we maybe make some.

Then when they are feeling cross with each other, or us, they can sit down with these bottles until they are able to talk through what their problems.

I am going to be honest, at first I wasn’t exactly sure it would work. However, I am pleased to report it works a treat.  L even asked for his bottle last night, sat with it for a few moments, then told me what the problem was.  It was all sorted out without any cross words or raised voices. What a relief!

Calm Down Jar – What you need…

  • one clear plastic bottle
  • glitter
  • food colouring
  • glitter glue
  • warm water
  • tape

How to make a calm down bottle

Fill the bottle half way with warm water.  Then add some glitter glue.

Once done add 2 or 3 drops of food colouring.  Don’t put too much in, you just want to colour the water and still be able to see the glitter.

Then add the glitter.

Screw the top on the bottle and secure with some tape, just to make sure it doesn’t leak.

Calm Down Jar

Top Tips

I think one of the reasons this works, is because it was the boys decision to make these bottles.  We discussed why we were going to make them and when we will be using them.  I then let them make the bottles and pick out the colours.

I think this really helped with getting their buy in!

Why not try making a calm down jar at home.  Please let me know how you get on in the comments.



Chocolate Egg Surprise maker review

Chocolate Egg Surprise maker review

When I was at the Blogon Conference in September, I came across the Chocolate Egg Surprise Maker.  This fab product looked like something which the kids would love.  They love chocolate, as do I!

When the box arrived it didn’t take them long to work out that this had something to do with chocolate.  And, they bugged me for days to break open the box and get started!  Unfortunately for them they are at school now, so they had to wait for the weekend.

Chocolate Egg Surprise Maker

How does the Chocolate Egg Surprise Maker work?

So inside the box you get everything you need, you just need to buy the chocolate.  The idea is that you melt the chocolate in the bags provided.  I just put them in a mug of hot water, it soon did the trick.

Then you cut open the bag and attach it to the syringe.  The plastic egg mould is slotted into place, as is the syringe and you gently squeeze the melted chocolate into the mould.

Once done, you pop the mould out, stick it in the fridge and wait for it to set.  You then open the mould and pop out the chocolate egg.

The fun part of all of this is that you can add little surprises to the inside of the egg mould, so it can make a really fun present for someone.

The chocolate egg surprise maker is suitable for ages 6+.  But that is not to say that younger kids wouldn’t enjoy this also, they would just need some guidance and support.

What did we think?

The boys absolutely loved this and it didn’t take them long to scoff the lot afterwards.  It took some persuading to even let me take a photo!

I would say that you need to be careful with the type of chocolate.  We tried a few things – galaxy chocolate is an example – which didn’t quite work. However we then switched to cooking chocolate which worked an absolute treat.

The boys are five so they needed a bit of support in doing the fiddly bits. However, they really enjoyed squeezing the chocolate into the egg moulds.  You could hear their squeals of delight at the other end of the street!

Where can you buy this?

You can purchase the Chocolate Egg Surprise Maker from the usual suppliers, including Argos and Amazon for £19.99.  So, another fun idea for a Christmas pressie!

Disclaimer: We were gifted this Chocolate Egg Surprise Maker in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts are our own.


Dancing Paddington Review and Giveaway

Dancing Paddington Review and Giveaway

Fancy your chances with our Dancing Paddington giveaway?

Last week we kicked off half term with a trip to the cinema.  Before the film started we caught a glimpse of the Paddington 2 trailer, which comes to the cinema in November.

The boys loved the first movie and have asked repeatedly if we can go to the cinema to see the follow up!

It is out on the 10th November, for those that have any Paddington fans at home.

dancing paddington

So, you can imagine the excitement when a little pal was delivered last week!  Our very own Dancing Paddington, complete with dancing moves!

As it turns out it was the first day of the school holidays, so this was a welcome addition to brighten up our planned pj day! The boys absolutely adore him and he was been joining in with all their games since.

The bear itself is very plush and cuddly. Which is surprising as he is a dancing bear, so has mechanisms inside to help him dance. His fur is very soft and you cant help but love the adorable little face.

He comes with a hat (of course!) and a jacket.  The jacket is reversible, so can be his normal blue or he can get into the holiday spirit with a calypso style attire.

To make paddington spring into action, you just press his paws.  On the right, it starts the music and you see paddington spring into dancing action.

On the left paw, he says a series of 5 things:

“Hello, my name is paddington”

“I’m a very rare sort of bear”

“Good afternoon, I am from darkest Peru”

“It’s nice being a bear, especially a bear called paddington”

“Marmalade sandwiches are my favourite”

To make Paddington work, he needs 3AA batteries.  These are included, but when you need to change them it is super easy, you can find the latch on the sole of his foot.

Dancing Paddington is available to buy at most good retailers, including Smyths and Argos.

You can have your own Dancing Paddington for just £29.99, however if you fancy your chances of winning this lovable little guy then join in my giveaway using the Gleam form below.


Dancing Paddington

Terms and Conditions

  • One winner will be selected at random via Gleam to receive one Dancing Paddington, there will be no cash alternative offered and the prize will be sent directly from the supplier.
  •  This competition opens on 31/10/2017 and closes on 21/11/2017 at 11:59pm.
  • All entries must be made via Gleam.
  • UK entrants, aged 18+ ONLY
  • The Winner will be notified via email, and will have 14 days to respond. If after 14 days there has been no response then a new winner will be chosen.

*Disclaimer: We were sent this Paddington Dancing Bear in return for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.