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Kids’ Footwear | New Balance Trainers / Sneakers / Sneaks.

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A few years ago we lived and worked in East London. We saw a lot of trends, styles, brands, come and go. But it was practically overnight that I spotted guys wearing NEW BALANCE trainers; and I’m not gonna lie, I was like “how are they even making a come back?!”. As a kid, New Balance were always a trainer that I saw as being fit for purpose, like for playing Tennis in or something else sporty!

A few more weeks went by, seeing more and more colours of sneaks popping up; and then I saw a pair of Bordeaux Red (my favourite wine no less) New Balance 574’s in the window of Albam, Spitalfields. I fell in love. I wanted them for myself, even though they were Men’s. I knew right then that my opinion on New Balance had been overturned, forever. And rightly so.

Fast forward 5 years and my almost 4 year old is loving life in his very own pair of All-Black 574’s.

For those who don’t perhaps know, Eli was born with several medical conditions – Talipes, Torticollis and Hypermobility. From before he was even born, Eli endured some pretty intense tests, scans, physio and corrective treatments (Ponseti method). He came out the other side meeting the milestones that all his pals met, at the same age (and some he hit even sooner than anticipated!). While, on the outset Eli looks ‘fixed’, you can’t help but notice just how clumsy he can be, how off-balance he can be and how crazily flexible he can be! He’s super-active and he never did learn to *just* walk – he quite literally got up one day and RAN. Eli also doesn’t sleep well – never has – since being a newborn. We sometimes excuse his lack of sleep with, “he just doesn’t want to miss out”, “he’s being a typical toddler”. But the older he’s getting, the more convinced we are that it could well be his conditions waking him and giving him jip. He’s commented recently on his feet and knee’s being sore. We were told that it’s likely he could grow up with Migraines and will get early onset Arthritis due to the flexibility of his joints. (We have his next check-up with his consultant in June).

When Eli did start running walking we struggled to find suitable footwear that supported him fully, that would aid against relapse and would keep him upright. With this all in mind, I wanted to highlight how good these trainers are for his feet; and his balance (no pun intended). They’re a great fit for him, just narrow enough. They tie quite tightly, with no rubbing at any points. They keep him more sturdy than any other footwear he has, yet they’re really lightweight. They’ve worn exceptionally well and actually still look brand new. Eli has commented that they’re “my comfy adventure shoes”. And I think that says it all! He’s really happy with them – he runs like the wind in them – and looks pretty cool too.

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I ordered Eli’s 574’s from OFFICE and had them delivered within the week to Berlin. They have a massive range of Kids’ New Balance styles, in loads of wicked colours. There are also velcro versions for smaller feet… or for feet that love untying those shoe laces! You can shop the full range online here.

 

MM.

 

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Happy (post) Halloween!

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As previously mentioned, at Halloween Mr Eli is ALWAYS going to be a Mr Skellington (complete with Converse!). Here he is in his second year of skellyton-ness! This year his outfit is actually pyjama’s from Gap KIDS: Glow in the dark skeleton sleep set. It’s sold out at the minute, but always comes back in stock.

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We love this little Skeleton Boy SO MUCH! 

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Flying Mr Skellington!

After Mr Skellington Eli had his bath, Daddy asked if Eli could indeed go to bed in his skeleton outfit pyjamas. Who are we to decline a skeleton of his threads? So Mr Skellington did indeed go to bed suited and booted! He was a little confused at his outfit when he woke up I think…

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Please do share what your little ones dressed as this Halloween!

 

MM.

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CUSTOMER SERVICE | Kiddicare, Lakeside.

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I just HAD to write a blog post on the customer service we received on a recent trip to Kiddicare, Lakeside.

So let’s start at the beginning…

We decided that we REALLY, REALLY needed to get Eli is new car seat after massively outgrowing his old one a little while ago. The weather was pretty bleak on our journey to Kiddicare, so when we arrived and were greeted with (Starbucks) hot chocolate at the door, it was more than welcome! Such a nice touch.

We headed straight over the to vast car seat section of the superstore. A friend of ours had recommended the Maxi Cosi, Axiss car seat – but it had been priced at £225 previously on Amazon, so we had disregarded that one.

As fans of Maxi Cosi however, we started looking at cheaper models. We found a great one for £120… but it didn’t swivel. After struggling with our old car seat and pulling our necks/backs trying to get Eli into the damn thing without banging his head in the process, I wanted one that swivelled! So we looked at the Maxi Cosi Axiss anyway – it was priced at £160 in Kiddicare. Quite a saving! We checked out how much it would be on Amazon, and couldn’t believe the price had dropped to £113!!! Even better. We couldn’t believe it. We went to the Car Seat fitting desk to ask some questions about this model. They told us that this particular car seat only fits 20% of cars; and they test each car seat fits your car, for you. We thought this was a great service.

I mentioned the price difference… and then noticed that they had signs around the store that said “Price Match Guarantee”. I, cheekily, thought I’d ask the lady at the front desk if they would indeed price match with the Amazon price. She was so lovely and said that yes, indeed they would! As long as the item on Amazon was sold by Amazon, and not a private seller. We ACTUALLY couldn’t believe it.

So then we had the car seat fitted into our car – it was pouring down at this point and the two lovely assistants had smiles on their faces and nothing but positivity about them. The car seat fitted like a glove! Again, we couldn’t believe it.  Out of 20% of cars! PERFECT – LET’S BUY IT! We got to the car seat desk again to have our receipt for collection printed out. The car seat we’d ordered was the LAST ONE IN STOCK. Unbelievable.

So with that, we dashed to the till to pay. The lady at the till, again, was so lovely and polite. It makes such a difference to have a smile and a ‘hello’, doesn’t it? Another assistant sorted out the price match while some other items were put through the till for us. They then said, “So the car seat will be £99 today, is that ok?”. EXCUSE ME WHAT? WHO THE WHAT NOW?

This is where it gets RIDICULOUS. When Kiddicare do a price match, not only do they match that price – but they then extend the discount to a further 25%. How amazing is that? The car seat that we really wanted, that was £225 RRP was just sold to us for more than half the price! We felt like we’d committed a crime as we walked out the doors, with the same lovely assistant who had tested the car seat.

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She again fitted the car seat for us, for the drive home. She showed us how everything worked. All this in the pouring rain! Then she took the card board box away to recycle for us. So polite and patient, she didn’t rush or cut any corners. Just simple good manners and being good at her job. She strived to go the extra mile to make sure we were comfortable and confident with the car seat. You REALLY don’t get service like we received anywhere (apart from maybe John Lewis), and that’s such a great shame.

We can’t thank Kiddicare Lakeside, enough for their help that day – or the huge saving! It meant that we could have our first date night in a very long time 🙂 So there you go, always head to your local Kiddicare store or shop online at Kiddicare.com and get a price match where you can. We’re certainly customers for LIFE.

MM.

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What Eli Wore | Denim Dungarees Day.

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What Eli Wore:
Mini Club Denim Dunagree Set – £16.00, Boots.com
Classic Converse Low-Tops in Black – £24.99, Office KIDS.

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Before we even knew we were having a boy, we decided that we wanted a happy little ‘un wearing denim dungaree’s, stripes and Converse. At 14 months old, this has FINALLY happened! And Mr Eli looks wicked!

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I love Boots.com for Boy’s clothes. Even better that you get your Advantage Points – or even better still, you can spend your Advantage Points and get FREE clothes! Amazing.

Today Mr Eli wears the Denim Dungaree set – with stripey poppered vest, featuring super cute elbow patches. These dungarees are just great, really hardwearing and are lined with jersey so are lovely and soft on your little one’s legs too. Clever people at Boots Mini Club also made sure that nappy change-time is a breeze (in theory nappy change would be a breeze… if only I could keep him still!) with popper fastenings to the legs. I love the little turn up too, I always give Eli the Shoreditch Roll Up anyway, but the bottoms often roll back down – so it’s nice that this one stays put!

As always, Mr Eli is rocking his Converse sneaks.

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The only thing is, these dungarees appeared to make my baby look like an actual toddler… he’s no longer a baby, I know. But still. Boo 🙁 He does look really grown up in this outfit – I’m sure it made him even more mischievous than usual too!

MM.

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My favourite cosy jumpers, online now!

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BRRR! It’s getting chilly out there!  Here are my favourite cosy jumpers for your little boy (or girl!), that are available online, NOW!

#1 – Tootsa MacGinty New Forest Jacquard Jumper, Blue – £40.00 From JohnLewis.com
#2 – John Lewis Baby Moose Fair Isle Jumper, Blue – £15.00. From JohnLewis.com
#3 – Retro Cosy Jumper, £22.00 – £24.00. From Boden.com
#4 – Knitted sweater with buttons at the side, £15.99. From Zara.com
#5 – Cable crew neck jumper, £11.00 – £12.00. From Next.co.uk
#6 – John Lewis Baby Bear Jumper, Grey – £15.00. From JohnLewis.com
#7 – Black patterned crew neck, £13.00 – £14.00. From Next.co.uk
#8 – Cosy hotch potch top – #16.00 – £18.00. From Boden.co.uk
#9 – Tootsa MacGinty Cloud Knit Jumper – £34.00. From JohnLewis.com
#10 – Knitted stripe jumper – £5.99. From H&M.com
#11 – Fisherman style jumper, £13.00 – £14.00. From Next.co.uk
#12 – Marled sweater, reduced from £14.95 to £11.99. From Gap.com

 

MM.

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BRAND IN FOCUS | Little Bird, by Jools Oliver at Mothercare.

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We’re HUGE fan’s of the Oliver’s in our house. Most food I cook, on a daily basis, is a recipe derived from one of our many Jamie Oliver cookbooks.

When I heard about Jools, Jamie’s better  other half, designing the Little Bird collection for Mothercare I just KNEW it was going to be amazing. (I’ve been meaning to write this one for a while!) I’ve always loved the quirky, cool and relaxed way Jools dresses her beautiful 3 girls and little boy. The Little Bird collection is reminiscent of just that – the fun, but trendy, way Jools dresses her own children – plus some harping back to the 1970’s and her own childhood memories for good measure too.

I thought I’d share my favourite Boy’s pieces from the latest collection for A/W 13.  Albeit, Jools has cleverly made some of the pieces unisex – so great if you do have more than one child, the clothing can be passed on and around.

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Little Bird by Jools, Long Sleeved Graphic Print T-Shirt, £7.00 – £8.00
We do have a penchant for 70’s design and interiors. Have to say, we’ve not yet really dressed Mr Eli is anything 70’s related as yet. Aside from his Converse, Fred Perry, dinosaur print tee’s,  oxford shirts and skinny jeans. Things like that just look like modern-day as fashion’s are always revived like that. But I LOVE this 1974 long sleeve tee. Lovely and bright and will go with everything.

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird by Jools, Desert Boots, £16.00.
These mock suede boots are just amazing – such a classic style. Just like what Daddy wears! You can choose between the red or yellow laces – which is great for outfit matching. Wear these boots with chino’s or jeans for a comfortable, smart or casual look.

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird by Jools, Dark Wash Jeans, £10.00 – £11.00.
A lovely pair of unisex jeans in a nice dark denim colourway. I’ve seen Buddy Oliver sporting these and he looks super cool. These dark wash jeans feature a classic design which can be worn in many seasons to come. They have a mock leather back pocket patch and contrasting stitching inside. Team with colourful tees and shirts for a cool and casual look.

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird By Jools Brown Cord Trousers, £10.00
A MUST for the 70’s wardrobe – the humble brown corduroy trouser. These soft cord trousers have a straight leg, so perfect for Mr Eli keeping that skinny-fit silhouette going. These trousers will look incredible with Eli’s classic Converse Low-Tops and a bright print top – or with a smart shirt tucked in!

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird by Jools Socks- 5 Pack, £6.00 – £6.50.
How cute are these socks? Love the way they’ve been displayed in the campaign imagery too. You can’t go wrong with a bright and playful pair to jazz up an outfit. They’re great value in a pack of 5, to be washed and worn during the week. Each pair has contrasting toe and heel colours and ‘Little Bird’ stitched onto the bottom.

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird by Jools Cool Pyjamas, £12.00.
Saving the best till last… I love, love, LOVE these pyjama’s. They’re so, well, COOL! With Eli wearing his Boots & Bar on a nighttime, we have to cut holes into his baby grow’s so that we can fit the bar through. It makes it a little easier for us if we need to remove the bar – and I think it makes it a little bit more comfortable for him too. I’m thinking now might be the time to switch baby grow’s for PJ’s! No more messing about with cutting holes into lovely baby grow’s, that can’t be used again. But my oh my, how adorable does the little chap in the campaign shot look here? Love the styling!

MM.

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Want To Know More?
The Little Bird clothing range from Jools Oliver has been developed to reflect the unique and modern approach to motherhood that Jools enjoys with her wonderful family. From gorgeous newborn baby clothes to stylish and fun boys and girls clothes, this exciting clothing range is easily mixed and matched, the Little Bird range really is great value for money.

Inspired by Jools’ own childhood memories of growing up in the Seventies, this boutique collection is not about short-lived trends, but an eclectic mix of iconic, timeless pieces, that every child between six months to five years will want to wear.

You pick, they mix!

Loved by Jools, designed to be mixed and matched by you and your brood.

Don’t Forget…
Take a look at the rest of the fantastic Little Bird by Jools collection, exclusive to Mothercare.

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What Eli Wore | The #MrandMrsSpinks wedding.

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What Eli Wore:
Heritage waistcoat, shirt and tie set – £21, Next.
Heritage formal trouser – £13, Next.
Classic Converse Low-Tops in Black – £24.99, Office KIDS.

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Our very dear friends, Camilla and Tom, got married last month. It was an honour for OH and I to be their witnesses. So it was only right that Mr Eli got dressed up smart-as-a-carrot for the very special event! We went to a few shops for his outfit – but this one from Next was just perfect. In fact, it was ridiculously perfect! <Scroll down>
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For half of the day Eli didn’t wear his waistcoat. It was a massive struggle to get any clothes on him – he’s such a wriggler (and SO strong now!). We did eventually get the waistcoat on him for the meal however. I did look for a smashing pair of brogues for Eli to go with his Heritage suit – again to match his Daddy. But alas, I could not find any in his size. He’s the first size in infant Converse now, so this was their first outing! He looked wicked!

The shirt that comes with this set is great – it has a stiffened button-down collar, like an adult size! I particularly liked the grown up grid print. The Heritage suit is a cotton blend with fine tweed effect print. The trousers are adjustable which is really handy. The suit is quite hardwearing; something you always need to think about with toddlers, especially as Eli spent a lot of his time crawling around! The waistcoat has a lovely pocket square detail – good job it was stitched in, Eli would have had it straight out!
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Mr Eli and his Daddy’s had matching tie’s!

These two ties were purchased almost a year apart – AND in two (very) different shops! Eli’s mini-me tie comes as part of the Heritage set from Next, while OH’s tie was from AllSaints; which he purchased for a wedding last year at River Cottage.
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Mr Eli was such a good boy during the ceremony and meal; and had a wonderful time playing with the other children in the creche.

This Heritage suit from Next is perfect for weddings, christenings, birthday’s – any special occasion you can think of really! Mr Eli received lots of compliments about how smart he looked. A definite must-buy!

The Heritage set from Next is available to purchase online, here. This suit is available as separates, 3 months – 6 years. Prices do vary depending on the size.

MM.

 

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REVIEW: Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest.

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Location: Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest.

Length of stay: Monday-Friday, May 2013.

Lodge: New Executive Lodge, 653 (Cedar).

Number of people: 6 Adults, 2 Children, 2 Infants.

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Back in May we went on our first family holiday to Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest. There was a total of 10 of us going so stayed in one of the New Executive Lodge’s, 653 in Cedar to be precise. We were overwhelmed by just how cool the lodge was when we pulled up outside it! My OH’s family have been visiting several Center Parc’s locations since OH was VERY young. But they all confirmed that this was “the very best lodge we’ve ever stayed in!” as soon as we were through the door.

Once inside the door there is space for coats and shoes; plus space for 2 (large) prams to fit in nicely. There was also a huge broom cupboard to house all our suitcases and umbrellas, plus additional bedding, hoover, dustpan and brush, iron, ironing board etc.  There was a dining table to seat 8 plus we had 2 high chairs brought to the lodge in advance. The highchairs were the same as the ones we found right across Center Parcs in the restaurants and places. This meant we didn’t have to figure out how to use a new highchair every time we went somewhere new, but it also meant that Eli knew it was dinner time as he recognised the highchair. This really helped with consistency. The highchairs are all easy clean, but the tray cannot be removed, or even moved closer to your little one. So there was quite a lot of space between Eli and his tray. He managed ok though. We had maid service who replenished bedding and towels and cleaned the lodge daily.

SO! A little look around Lodge 653…

There were 2 double bedrooms and 2 twin bedrooms. We were brought 2 good size cots for the baba’s too. Albeit, we had been told by friends to take our own cot bedding as this is not provided.

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Bedroom’s were very nice sizes, lots of space for a cot. Not a lot of hangers in the wardrobe though! But we made-do. Would have to mention here that the bedding was atrociously LOUD! Never ever tried sleeping in anything like it! The bed was really comfy but the duvet sounded like crisp packets, every time you BREATHED! Huge let down as it looked wonderful! After the first night we ended up taking taking the sheets off the duvet and slept in those instead. Would recommend taking your own sheets/blankets.

Each bedroom has it’s own en-suite, which is absolutely perfect when sharing with so many people! We had an amazing shower in ours. Upstairs, there were also two balconies off the bedrooms, complete with bistro set, overlooking the woodland. The living room was just lovely, huge ‘L’ shaped sofa, that I fell asleep on every night. It was just so comfy! We also had an open fire, which marked my first experience with a real indoor fire! OH led the log-burning ceremony every night. We weren’t blessed with good weather for the duration of our stay (in true British fashion!) so the wood burner was well-used! The kitchen was really spacious, with ton’s of cupboards and two fridges, an oven, hob, microwave and even a dishwasher! You are provided with a tiny amount of washing liquid, so best to take your own too. There was also a really nice breakfast bar, that the kids loved sitting at!

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We had a great patio with dining set and BBQ – we also had regular visits from the local wildlife too! We were lucky enough to have a Lodge with not only it’s own Games Room (PERFECT for the kids and Grandad!) that had a Pool table, huge TV with PS3 and a ton of board games; but we also had our own Sauna! Bliss!

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Eli is such a water baby it’s untrue – he LOVES his swimming. The Sub-Tropical Paradise was amazing. Loads of slides and play areas for children of all ages! We’ve never seen Eli happier than when he was splashing about in the baby pool. He absolutely loved it! OH and I also frequented the Rapids and new water slide. We had a particularly wonderful moment, when we were all in the outdoor pool and it began raining so so ferociously. The water in the outdoor pool was steaming hot and the rain droplets were ice cold. Very memorable and VERY refreshing! This may also have contributed to the Post-CP cold we all had! oops….

I’d also point out that you cannot take a pram or buggy into the swimming area. Eli will only sleep in his pram so this was a huge downside for us, plus our iCandy Strawberry was not cheap! We did however purchase a padlock and locked our pram in the outdoor buggy park. We purchased the padlock for £3 at the Bike Hire shed. I keep the padlock in Eli’s changing bag now, incase we’re ever faced with a similar situation anywhere else. There are ‘cots’ (more like play pens!) for your children but we struggled to get Eli to sleep in one. Could have been that it was so warm and noisy in the Dome too.

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The food was great at every restaurant we visited. The staff at all restaurants really went out of their way to accomodate us, it was an absolute pleasure to eat out! I can really recommend the French Onion soup from Cafe Rouge – I had it twice, it was so good! Equally, their English Breakfast went down a storm as we prepared for the big drive home on our last day. The ribs at Huck’s American Diner were melt in the mouth, just so tasty. I’d also recommend the Indian take away. BEST Indian take away I think we’ve ever had. Very low-cost too!

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Mid-week, OH and I indulged on our first night out since welllllll before Eli arrived. We had a few drinks at the Lodge and then went onto Strada. The manager even brought over a glass of Prosecco as it was almost my birthday! Such a lovely touch. Our table overlooked the Dome, which was just incredible by night with all the trees and tropical plants lit up in the dark. We then went onto Cafe Rouge for a glass of red outside, under a heater. It was so so lovely to catch up with OH and have a proper date night. It was long overdue. We then went for a few cocktails and to the ‘adult disco’. We thoroughly enjoyed dancing to the horrendously cheesy (mostly 90s) music, it was great fun!

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We all had an amazing time at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest and would go back in a heartbeat. There is a TON of stuff to do, especially if you have a family. There’s also a spa, if you’re in the mood for some R & R. Center Parcs is great if you’re thinking about planning a family break, I seriously cannot recommend it enough!

I have just noted a few things that might come in handy if you’re going to visit a Center Parcs soon…

– Take your own food and drink. The Parc Market is a little bit more expensive than your usual supermarket. You can easily add £1-£2 on the price of what you would pay at home. But, of course, the Parc Market is great if you do forget something – it’s VERY well stocked.

– Take washing up liquid, especially if you’re still washing umpteen bottles like us!

– Take your own cot bedding.

– Likewise, take your own bedding if you don’t want to be disturbed by the crispy sheets provided!

– Be prepared to leave your pram/buggy outside in the Buggy Park. If you have an expensive pram, take a padlock with you so you’re not worrying the entire time about leaving it!

– Would really recommend the Dine In service. The Indian take away was just amazing. SO authentic, so tasty. Very affordable.

– Aside from the take away service, you must book all restaurants and any other activities you’d like to do on your trip. You also need to hand over a £5 deposit, per person, for every single restaurant reservation. This came out quite costly when we booked all our meals all at the same time. The deposit is deducted from your meal however, Bare this in mind if you want to dine out or partake in any activities. At Sherwood Forest, you make your reservations at the desk by the Bowling alley.

– At this particular location, we found that the Family changing cubicles were very few, so had to wait quite a while for one to become available. They were hit-and-miss on size too. We struggled at times with Eli; the changing ‘area’ for babies is made from quite a hard, evasive material, almost like concrete, so not particularly comfortable or easy on the eye. This definitely upset Eli, he didn’t like the cold concrete or the look of it, I don’t think! The entire changing experience wasn’t great, the lockers by the Family changing were miles away from the showers and were also quite far from the pool entrance. The changing area is a MAZE.

MM.

I was not endorsed for this review in any way. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

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Boots.com Baby Event!

Boots.com baby event
Click here to shop at Boots.com >>>

Just found out that there’s a special Boots.com Baby Event happening – SAVE £15 when you spend £60! Plus, remember you get those double parenting points on your advantage card!

Perfect for stocking up on all your baby essentials – or perhaps you’re pregnant? Stock up on EVERYTHING before your baba arrives from the comfort of your sofa!

Terms:
– Discount applied at checkout.
– Only 1 discount applied per transaction. 
– Online across 1000’s of products. 
– Excludes infant milk under 6 months.

Click here to shop at Boots.com >>>  

Let me know what you purchase!

MM.

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Halloween costumes for kids.

It’s almost Halloween! The first dess-up occasion for Eli this year. EXCITED. Eli is going to be dressed up as a Skeleton. I had bought his skeleton baby-gro from Mothercare a while ago; to be honest, I’d love for him to just wear it as an everyday-outfit, but thought we should probably save it for Halloween first!


Click here to purchase>> Skeleton babygro, £8.00, Mothercare.

 

Here are my other favourite Halloween costumes from around the web>>

Click here to purchase>> Vampire mask and cape, £10, John Lewis.


Click here to purchase>> Pumpkin Tutu outfit, £7.00, Asda.

Click here to purchase>> Lil Spitfire outfit, £15.99, Angels Fancy Dress.

Click here to purchase>> ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Baby spider outfit, £12, Marks and Spencer.

Click here to purchase>> Witch outfit, £12, John Lewis.

Click to purchase>> Gruffalo Outfit, £20, John Lewis.