Vita Coco Kids

This week we were lucky enough to test out some delicious drinks from Vita Coco Kids

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They come in two flavours, Apple and Blackcurrant, and Mango and Pineapple. Now, at first I was sceptical that my oh so fussy children would like a coconut water based drink. But oh my word, do these children love them!

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My supply of them is rapidly dwindling, as the 3 year old asks for them constantly. I don’t actually mind, as they don’t have any baddies in them, and in this weather, it’s nice to have a change to water!

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Not only do they make a delicious drink, they are also fantastic frozen! I popped a couple in the freezer overnight. In the morning, I cut the top off, and they make great lolly ices.

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The 3 year old struggled keeping his popped up at a level he could easily eat from, so I tipped his in to a cup and let it melt a bit further. Hey presto, the boy had a slushie drink!

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They are our new go-to picnic drink. We put them in to our cool bag frozen, and by lunch time they are perfect!

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The Dogs Doodahs

Why do people have to have birthdays every single year? My nephew turned 18 last week, and expected ANOTHER card!

Luckily, The Dogs Doodahs were on hand to help out.

Most of my family live many miles away, so I often order their cards online. Saves a trip to the shops to buy a card, and then a trip again to post it. Especially when you have erm, forgotten and need to send a card pronto.

Their website was really straightforward. You can search using keywords, or using drop down boxes. The cards are really easy to personalise. One of my bugbears in life is wanting to have an age and a name or title. Shop bought cards usually only allow for one or the other.

So I chose my card, and swapped the name for his real one. I don’t think he would appreciate the wrong name again. (Sorry!) I actually left the inside blank this time, because I would be seeing him on his actual birthday, and my 4 year old liked writing it herself.

I added the card to the basket, and registered for an account. This was really quick and simple.

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So then I waited. I ordered on the Sunday, and I received an email notification on the Monday that my card had been dispatched. And hey presto, Postie delivered the next day! Now obviously this part relies on Royal Mail and whether or not you have previously had to chase your postie down the street. I think mine is afraid of the mad woman now, so my deliveries are always prompt.

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The card itself didn’t disappoint. I have had issues with another site sending me cards with uncapitalised names. It was good quality, and well finished.

The pricing was really good, but they also sell non personalised cards for 79p-99p. Perfect for all budgets!

Now I just need them to start selling Elsa themed cards for the 4 year olds birthday in September!

And invent a catchy jingle! I am available for jingle writing 😉

Mister Maker Cake Kits

We were lucky enough to receive a Mister Maker cake kit this week. Combining the kids love of CBeebies and making cakes was always going to be a winner!

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The contents made it obvious that it was going to be easy. 3 rolls of icing, a bag of cake mix, and some cake cases. The back of the box also has really clear instructions for the less artistic (i.e. me). Oh, and one of the first things I noticed on the box was that they were suitable for vegetarians. There is nothing worse than slaving over a cake mix only to find you can’t even eat them!

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So actually making the cakes is really easy. 1 egg and 7 teaspoons of water. Add 2 eager children, and stir.

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Once the cakes are baked (ten-ish minutes), the fun begins. The four year old decided to follow the instructions to make a caterpillar, and the three year made the bear with help from me. The best bit about only having three colours is having to mix the colours to get the right colour. It was actually far easier than I thought though, and the icing is far more pliant than I had anticipated. They did get a bit bored after one animal each, and freestyled. The four year old used biscuit cutters, and the three year old made a lovely mix of marbled colour and plonked it about 2 inches thick on top of his cakes. The icing was very generous, so they didn’t have to fight over it either.

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And these are our finished cakes…

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And although it might sound messy, it was just a bit of icing sugar where the icing was rolled out to clean up. And of course, the bowl to lick!

A fantastic product, will definitely buy again. Would love to see some new designs and colours as well!

Center Parcs Challenge July

Center Parcs have teamed up with Tots100 this month, and challenged bloggers to make their own Lolly Ices.

I was particularly inspired by a tip from Deb Rogerson who says “Make multi-coloured ice lollies”

Now, every parent of small children has one of these lurking in their kitchen cupboard, don’t they?

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And I bet they have made healthy fruit filled lolly ices, lemonade filled lolly ices, and funny looking ones that didn’t quite turn out right, but ate them anyway.

We decided to do something different with our moulds. We wanted bright and colourful, but ours aren’t for eating. Ours are for painting.

I half filled the mould with paint, and then I topped up with water. They needed a good stir to get them to mix, so I got the 4 year old busy. And them we left them in the freezer overnight.

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The next morning, they were frozen solid, and even running them under warm water didn’t release them. So we just left them on the side for half an hour. But they were finally worth the wait!

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They were so easy for the kids to use, and even though they were dressed in their painting clothes, the lolly ice handles helped keep them clean. It was a great way of mixing paint colours without pots of water and a million different brushes.

Kids verdict: FUN!

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This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 July challenge. If I’m chosen, I would like to visit Whinfell Forest

Knowsley Safari Park

We were lucky enough to visit Knowsley Safari Park last week as VIPS, instead of the annual pass holders that we normally are. And what a fantastic day!

We started off with a guided VIP tour of the park. In this Land Rover Defender which was rather cool.

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We must have driven this route twenty times in the last year, and every time it’s different. And on a VIP tour, it’s even better. Our lovely guide certainly knew her stuff, and put us at ease. Before we went, I was worried that we would slip up and show that we can’t actually identify half of the animals. Or that one of the kids would shout out one of the made up names that we have given to the unidentified animals. So we learnt all the names, but alas! I have forgotten most of them again. But I do have some great photos of peckers and geggers etc.

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One of the animals that people always talk about are the lions. These are just magnificent close up. And when they are in a playful mood, the are amazing to watch. On the VIP tour, we drove across the cut through road, and got really close.

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And possibly the most famous (and funny) of all the animals are the monkeys. We haven’t driven through since the windscreen wiper incident of 2012. So the kids were very excited to drive through and watch the monkeys getting up to mischief. And the very very cute baby monkeys.

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One of the most surprising things was the gentleness of the rhinos. A few months ago, one charged slightly in our direction, and I have never been so frightened in my whole life. But they obviously recognise the KSP car, and this one came right up to us, and was nuzzling the car!

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When we had finished our tour, we had the chance to go behind the scenes and feed the meerkats. The kids were very excited to see the food (worms, biscuits and fruit) and even more excited when the meerkats tried to nibble their Dads toes! We learnt some cool things about meerkats, and it was great when the public came over to watch!

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Knowsley Safari Park has two giraffes, and they also have a viewing platform to get up close. They a truly amazing animals, and are just breathtaking to see them so close!

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If you get bored of all the animals (doubtful), then there is also a good little funfair. Tickets are £2 each (accompanying adults go free) and the unlimited wristbands are £10 each, or £8 for annual pass holders. £16 for the four of us isn’t bad, when you consider we can easily spend 2 hours in this part!

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A fun filled, fantastic day!

Tigercubhideout

Four year olds can be quite cute sometimes. I said sometimes. My four year old is rather loving, and very family orientated. Apart from when little brothers are annoying.

So when I asked her to draw her dream house, I wasn’t surprised one jot.

“This is me and Daddy, playing in the garden. He is singing, so I have to put my hand over his mouth”

“You Mummy, are inside singing Let It Go” (she has a point)

“George is in the living room playing with his toys, waiting for me to come and play with him” (read boss him about)

“And my cousins are all upstairs playing, and we are going to have a barbecue when they come down”

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My two would be thrilled to win a #tigercubhideout from Tiger Sheds and not only would they invite all their family round, I am sure all their friends would be paying us a visit too!

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Ice Cream Farm

We had the pleasure of winning some delicious ice creams at the Cheshire Ice Cream Farm last week, and I think I am hooked!

What a huge dilemma, my two favourite flavours next to each other. Cherry cola and bubblegum. Bubblegum won. It was really hard for the kids to choose as well, the phrase “like a kid in a sweet shop” comes to mind!

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Now, the ice cream farm isn’t just about the ice cream, they have so much more. We had also won entry to the soft play, which was fabulous. I would have loved to take photos, but as every area was full of children for the whole hour we were there, I didn’t feel it appropriate. I did manage to get a cheeky shot of my toes enjoying my favourite wavy slide though. Kids verdict – fun!

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Coming out of the playbarn, you come across some little animals. These are right up the 3 year olds street, he loves ickle animals. Rabbits, guinea pigs, baby chicks etc. And then just beyond them are some bigger animals. Miniature ponies, pigs, goats, even peacocks. I think I fell in love with the miniature ponies, these are just super cute.

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After seeing the animals, there are plenty of playground areas to let off steam (and chance for me to have another sneaky ice cream). They are wooden, and really encourage the kids to climb and be active. I was rather impressed with the monkey like skills my two showed!

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We also played a round of crazy golf, which my two have never done before. We decided to just let the two kids play, because I would have whooped the husband at it, and that wouldn’t be fair for the kids to see. They particularly enjoyed the hole where you aim for the cows mouth, and the ball comes out of its bum. Par for the course when you have 3 and 4 year olds though.

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We then made our way to the gift shop. Normally, you would expect these places to be overpriced, but we were pleasantly surprised! These two were £1.25 each…

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Which left money for a present for me too!

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Thank you Cheshire Ice Cream Farm!