Saturday, 30 August 2014

Pushchair Etiquette

Please forgive my rant, I'm so cross at the rudeness I've encountered whilst on holiday in a European theme park that I had to put pen to paper (well finger to ipad!) 

This is my Termite in her pushchair ...

You see that, there's four people this picture FOUR! That's right my Theme Park friends, there is a person in that there wheeled contraption! 

She is One year old and likes to look around and chat and enjoy the world SHE IS A PERSON, she is too small to use her legs yet so this is her transport, her safe space this is her little oasis in the crazy world. 

You may not, move, push , kick, shove, lean on or step over her pushchair. You may not balance your  belongings on it or step on it. You absolutely CAN NOT pass hot food or drinks over it, for that matter don't pass any thing over it. If you do and you drop something on my child you will have to face my wrath, and believe me it will not be nice. More importantly imagine the horrific injury that could occur from a spilled cup of coffee, do you want that on your conscience?

I would hope that basic human decency means you would not consider doing any of the above mentioned things to a person using a wheelchair? So why why would you consider this acceptable behaviour towards a child? Is it because she can't object? Well I can, and this is my official, it's out there in the world, objection!!! 

Please please have some respect because I swear on all that I hold dear the next person to invade my daughters space and risk her health may well be 'accidentally' hit in the ankles! 

Car Seat Chin Wag

Today I have a brilliant guest post from the lovely Fiona over at Mamas Little Baby Loves, I asked Fiona to write this for me as she is the most research orientated person Ive ever met, really truly you should see the work she puts into choosing a baby bag never mind a car seat,,,,

When my lovely pallywally Karen asked me to write a guest post for her, and suggested one on child car seats I jumped at the chance. I think Karen was hoping for one of my fun filled witty posts with some rib tickling self depreciation thrown in for good measure. No luck Karen. You want a post about car seats and there is nothing funny about car seats (well maybe that one time when both my sons tried to get in the same car seat and laughed so much that one wee’d on the other...but that’s another story...).

Ok, so here it is, buckle up for a bumpy ride (get it?!) because I’m gonna open a great big can of car seat whoopass on your errmmm ass, starting right now. Firstly, you need to know - for all intense purposes – I know nothing. I’m not an expert, or a professional, I’ve been blessed with a few ounces of common sense and a fanatical desire to keep my children safe – THIS is my driving force, and it should be yours too! If you need specific advice (and let me tell you – if you want to buy a car seat or if your child sits in a car seat – you DO) then seek advice from someone who actually knows, and doesn’t just like the sound of their own voice – like me.

Here are some of my own top tips when it comes to child car seats.

Do Some Research.

HELLO??! This is your childs life at stake here! If you were forced to throw your baby off the top of a multi-storey car park, and you had the capacity to choose between "no parachute", "a shit parachute" and a "really good parachute"... you’d check out which was which, and (unless you’re a weirdo and I can’t help you there) you’d pick "the really good parachute". It’s the same with car seats - there’s loads of them, and they are all different. Check what size car seat you need (you need to KNOW your child’s weight and height , age barely comes into it), decide what you want from the car seat, and then compare ones that will do the job. Don’t be lazy – just look it up and don’t be afraid to ask questions - there are qualified people out there who can help you, like Kat at the Child Seat Safety Place, who are both independent and passionate about car seat safety.

Know your own car

Ok, so you’ve done your research into what type of seat you want to buy. Major important fact coming up here...NOT ALL CAR SEATS FIT ALL CARS. Shocker huh? You need to do a bit of matchy matchy game here. You need to check your cars manual – it will have a piccy in it showing you which of the seats in the car you can put a child car seat on. It WILL be in there somewhere, if not, you ask your car manufacturer directly. Job number two – Check the car compatibility list for the child car seat you want to buy. You can usually download these from manufacturer’s websites, and the shop you buy from should have a copy. Lastly, you need to get the car seat into the car before you buy it, or be open to returning the seat if it doesn’t fit well . You need to do all this for every car and every seat within those cars that you want to use the seat in. Don’t just buy one and assume it’s all good, you need to be sure it’s a good fit, especially if you’re squeezing it in next to other seats, which brings me onto ...

"Trust no one". Well, maybe "Don’t trust Everyone".

Here’s a shocker for you – people who sell car seats don’t always know what they’re going on about. They want to sell one, any one will do. They want your money and figure once it’s sold to you, it’s your car seat and your responsibility. I’ll throw the lovely shop people a bone here though – car seats are all different; its like the first day of school when the teacher says "Bear with me while I learn all your names, I’ve got to remember 42 but you’ve only got to remember one", so just make sure YOU know how to fit the one YOU chose. When we bought my eldest’s Group 1 car seat, we went to Mamas&Papas to get one, I’m a canny lass and had loads of questions ready to ask about it, answers were a bit slapdash, the lady said some things I knew to be incorrect, we tried it in our car, she made a meal out of fitting it in and strapping my son in. I was already sure that this was the seat for us though so we watched carefully and bought it anyway, thinking her shite demo might be nerves. When I got home I rewatched the fitting video for the seat, I went out and looked at our seat, I watched it again, and looked at the seat. Our seat was fitted wrong. We had driven our child home in a seat that might have cost him his life. Did you read that that? Our baby boy, our first born, our most precious cargo, was put at risk...and hers the nub - no, he was NOT put at risk by the shop employee ... but BY US – WE. DIDN’T. CHECK. But we learned quick – and have learnt many times since, don’t trust anyone to show you how to fit your seat, read the manual, watch the manufacturers youtube video, then visit the expert.

I’m a spoil sport

Here’s one you’re going to love...Don’t buy a second hand car seat. It’s not worth it. You don’t know the history of that seat. We were recently in a car was a very slow one where we were rolling along in traffic and someone rolled into the back of us. All of us were fine and the child car seats looked undamaged. When we called our insurance (the bumper sadly was not fine) they insisted the kids car seats were replaced too. This is because car seats are designed to break in a crash, the car seat takes the force of the impact instead of the child. And even if you can’t see any damage on the outside, it doesn’t mean it’s not damaged on the inside...and that will be something you can’t tell when buying second hand.

Get it checked

Okay, this is a biggie, I know it’s a pain, I know you don’t wanna, but honestly if you can do, get the seat checked by a professional. This is not a policeman or a fireman, it’s not a shop that sells car seats, and it’s not the man up the road who’s had 7 kids and 10 cars so ‘knows his stuff’. It’s someone approved, someone qualified, someone whose been accredited, someone whose passion is car seat safety. An example would be theGood Egg Car Seat Safety team. This is an In car child seat Safety Initiative that (along with loads of other super useful car seat related stuff) provide free Car Seat Clinics – you just turn up, and get your seat checked. Clinics are run all over the country, usually at handy places like supermarkets and shopping centres. No excuses. Get it done. Don’t care how clever you are and how sure you are your seat is fitted right, just get it checked eh?

Extended Rear Facing

Ok, I’m not gonna go off on a mission about this one here, but let me tell you this – your child is 5 times less likely to be seriously injured or killed if they are in a rear facing seat (VTI Sweden). In Sweden (where children must rear face by law until 4 years) between 2006-2007 not one single child under 6yrs died in a car accident – in the UK for the same time period we lost 21 (ok ok I know we have a larger population than Sweden but not THAT much larger). You know, even if it was just a tiny chance that they would be safer rear facing I would do it, why would I not? Not enough money? Cancel the Sky subscription (shock horror!), they can’t see where they’re going? They can see where they’ve been, I can’t see them? Get a mirror. Because one thing is for sure - if the worst did ever happen and you crashed, you’d want to know you did everything in your power to keep your child as safe as possible wouldn’t you? When you know better, you should do better. Go on youtube and look at crash test comparisons rear facing vs. forward facing and you’ll scare the bejesus out of yourself. I watched when I was pregnant, and I sobbed my heart out...over the fate of the crash test dummies. I daren’t click on the "true life stories" that are on imagination is enough.

Fit the child in the seat correctly.

Okay people, you’ve done all the shizzle getting the right car seat and fitting it correctly (big pat on back!), then you just shove your kid in and wander off. The car seat can only help save your child’s life if your child is actually secured correctly in it. This means straps tightened, I don’t mean give a little tug on the end and when your child whines "it’s too tighttttt muummmyyy" you slacken it back off. I mean fit the strap right; it shows you how in your instruction manual, read it (even if you’ve fitted a harness in other seats) because each seat is different. You need to check the height of the shoulder straps as well as the tension. The headrest needs to be correctly adjusted too – this is vital, especially in a side impact. When you put your kid in the seat take off any coats or padded clothing. In a crash your child’s body will be thrown against the straps and any fluffy jackets will be squeezed flat, meaning a load of slack will be introduced to the harness right at the time when slack is the last thing you need. This might be a ball ache in winter but take a blanket, or strap your child in and then put their arms into their coat sleeves so their coat is on backwards.

Enjoy the ride.

I’m well aware I sound like a preachy judgy moaning minnie mother in this post, and I don’t care, if just one parent reads this and decides to check their own car seat, or do some more research before purchasing their next seat then I will moan the whole dodahday. I just really want you mums and dads to be fully armed when it comes to buying, fitting and using your child car seats, when you know better, you can do better.

Well Fiona has certainly given me plenty to think about and Im going to look into having our seats checked for correct fitting, because weve always relied on a certain shop who will remian nameless, but the sell car seats!



Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Boy Proof His Wardrobe

When you’ve got a boy or two in your family, you’re also guaranteed to have a washing machine that never seems to get an hour off. No sooner does he get changed into a fresh set of clothes then spilt drinks, mud, grass stains and bits of dinner start doing their worst again. And all that’s before you consider the hammering he gives his clothes when skidding across the grass, getting his trousers snagged on trees and falling off his skateboard. Here’s how to make sure the clothes you buy him can take everything he throws at them.


Shorts and Trousers


Whether they’re crawling through a bush looking for a lost ball, letting their imagination run free building a new Lego creation or just chilling out in front of the TV, boys tend to spend a lot of time on their knees, so it’s not surprising that the knee area of their trousers is prone to wearing out. Buy him hardwearing jeans and joggers and consider opting for reinforced knees so his trousers can live another day as a hand-me down for his little brother. In the summer, unless it’s unusually cold and rainy, shorts are the best option as the knee problem is taken out of the equation and you’ll only have a messed-up bottom area to sort out when it’s time to throw them in the wash.




After knees, elbows can be the next problem for boys’ clothes. In the summer pick him up some cheap bright T-shirts. Whether he’s into Mickey Mouse, Spiderman or Despicable Me, there are loads of fun, great value options out there. When it comes to long-sleeved tees and shirts, again look for reinforced elbows to make his top last as long as it fits him. Also, think twice before going for light colours – that crisp white T-shirt may set off his suntan perfectly but it won’t look so cool when it’s covered in splodges of chocolate ice-cream.




Plastic clogs to throw on and go, a pair of trainers and some machine-washable Velcro-strapped summer sandals are all he needs to take him through the long summer holiday. When it’s time to go back to school, remember boys’ school shoes have to put up with the tough demands of footie games and rough’n’tumble in the playground, so make sure they’re a good fit and built to last. Thesegreat boys’ school shoes will take him from work to play and back again. And don’t forget every boy needs a pair of wellies to chuck on when it’s raining so he doesn’t soak his shoes on his wet walks and adventures.


When you’ve got boys, you just have to roll with it and expect a daily laundry challenge. But with so many good quality, great value boyswear options around in the shops and supermarkets these days, keeping your boy clean and presentable looking doesn’t need to be a battle you’re always destined to be on the losing side of!

****this is a collaborative post****

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Proud as Punch

A really quick post and rather overdue but I wanted to share with you all that my brilliant husband came top of his class in his Bachelor of Science in Architectural Technology with a First Class Honours Degree, a course accredited by CIAT and CIOB.
We had a lovely day celebrating his success and watching him get his scroll. He has worked really hard (obviously aided by his brilliant wife) to support us and gain amazing results in his acedemic work whilst ensuring family time doesn't suffer!

The kids really enjoyed seeing him all dressed in his cap and gown and listening as we explained what university was and how they could do the same when they were older.
Most of his classmates are heading straight to work and are all busy searching for construction jobs in the UK Spartacus however is fortunate enough to be self employed and is taking this opportunity to continue with his studies, moving on to a Masters Degree.
Good luck to all of his alumni and we will keep you updated of his Masters progression.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Happy 1st Birthday Termite

This time last year you were making your way into the world, in the most amazing birthing experience I could have hoped for. 
About 20 minutes old in this picture!
Its been pretty much the same since, you are an amazing and happy baby. So very typically a 'third child' in that you fit in perfectly. So long as you know daddy or I are close then you are happy. You have grown into a happy inquisitive little person and we hear 'whats this' all day long. We also hear how happy you are from everyone we meet, you are such a smiley girl.

I cant explain to you how you have impacted our lives, mostly because when I think about it my words get jumbled and it never sounds quite as it should! First of all you have completed our family, things feel just perfect with you around and your Sister and Brother love you so much. I feel like you have made me a better mother, as soppy and romantic as that sounds, you have had a relaxing effect on me. I no longer sweat the small stuff, and despite our massively hectic lives I feel more efficient than ever since becoming a Mum to 3! (some of the people I write for may disagree when they think about missed deadlines and work submitted with second to spare! Sorry to you folk if you are reading this)

In the past year I've heard a few comments quite regularly

  • You've got your hands full!
  • You'll not be having any more though?
  • Are you mad?
  • You're brave!
  • Will you have another?

Let me tell you, yes I have my hands full, but no more than a mum to 1 or 2, but my life is full as well, full of love, laughter and fun (with a boat load of mess to boot).

I would have another half a dozen babies if they all turned out like you and your siblings because you are a joy to be with. 

And yes I'm crazy! Crazy about being a mum and I love every mad minute of it.

You have given me so much, the home birth I wanted, which by the way was so wonderful I just want to keep having more babies because of it! You have overcome lots of breast feeding barriers and you have fed longer than both your brother and sister. You make me proud every day, and your smile melts my heart and makes any stress seem insignificant, I can't believe how lucky I am, but I really cant believe how fast this year has flown and I could cry to think how quickly you have moved through babyhood, and whilst I look forward to the brilliant milestones we will meet together in this coming year, I will miss baby cuddles and the heavily dependant stage a lot.

Termite, to paraphrase a cheesy movie line. you complete us. Thankyou for a brilliant   year

Happy Birthday and Lots of Love from Mammy

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Raising Awareness for MND with The Ice Bucket Challenge

This is a charity that has meaning to me, I won't go into details because I don't want to make this about anything other than raising money and awareness.
So here's my ice bucket video....

How to donate:
Visit the Just Giving page
Text ICED55 followed by an amount (such as £5) to 70070
Call 01604 611860 referencing the 'Ice Bucket Challenge'
Why is this so important?
How does it work?
Grab a bucket of ice-cold water and pour it over your head in exchange for a text donation to the MND Association. Film it and then share it via your social media using #icebucketchallenge and #MND.

Friday, 22 August 2014

The 'C' Word - Budgets and Bargains

Ssssh (I'm about to use the C word) don't tell anyone I told you but... its less than 18 weeks to Christmas! I know right? Have you started buying yet, do you have a budget, are you, like many of us, finding things tight at the moment?

I'm most certainly feeling the pinch but Ive been making a bit of extra cash selling on ebay and selling pages. We have lots of stuff that is no longer used and yet just sits unloved in the attic, my bag and shoe collection to start A relic of the days when my expandable cash (ah expendable cash how I miss thee) was spent on frivolous items. I rarely wear fancy heels now, in fact I'm not even sure I can walk in heels anymore! So Ive been happy to sell them to people who will love them and give them the use they deserve. (me emotional about a shoe collection? No! Well maybe just a tad)

So here are my tips for safe, happy and productive selling

  • Take lots of pictures - People are more confident to bid on  or buy something they can have a good look at, so snap from all angles and in good light against a clear plain background (no pile of laundry please)
  • Be Honest - List any faults or marks so that the buyer is totally clear what they are getting.
  • Be descriptive- Mention ways to use the item or benefits to having it. One thing I learned during my Travel Agent Training is to paint a picture, 'this bag looks great with Jeans and a Tee or dressed up for dinner, its so versatile'. It may sound cheesy but it really works
  • Always use PayPal -They protect buyers and sellers and hep resolve any issues after the sale.
  • A reliable Courier is  important - I really cant stress how easy it is to book and use a good courier and how stress free it is to know you have someone looking after your parcel properly.! You know it will get where it is supposed to be and get there safely. So do your research before you book that delivery slot.

Selling those unused items can be stress free and really lucrative if you follow these simple steps. 

Happy Selling

***This is a collaborative Post***

Fishy Friends- How We chose The Right Pet For Us

-I'm almost positive that Ive introduced you all to our fish Nermi, but if not here he is....

He was called Nermi because my son couldn't say Nemo at the time and always referred to the famous movie  fish as Nermi and it just stuck

We chose a goldfish after much discussion, I believe children learn a lot from caring for a pet and think all children should have one, Spartacus thinks its too much work and we have enough to care for with the children! Spartacus made a valid point that we travel a lot and so would need something that wouldn't be affected by this. It was decided Goldfish are low maintenance, fairly cheap and easy to care for.

And so family monkey feet became the proud owners of Raisin, Banarnia and Nermi. 

Sadly Raisin died almost immediately but Banarnia stayed with us a good couple of years and Nermi is still going strong. We love having him around and quite often treat him to a new plant or ornament.   

The kids regularly update him about thier day and activities when they come home and we have to have a rota of who feeds him! Best of all with one of these Auto Feeders we know he has his food every day while we are away

If you are considering a family pet I would highly recommend a Goldfish they are much more fun than you imagine and easy to care for too.

***This is a Collaorative Post***

Monday, 18 August 2014

The Magic Number

How do you know? Is there a feeling or do you have to be cold and calculating and figure out your finances? No I'm not talking about a new car or job I'm talking about babies!

I'm blessed, and I really feel do feel that way, with three beautiful healthy babies, sadly at 37 I'm also *cough* pushing forty (ssshhh). So my decision to have or not t have another needs to be soon.

Would four be too many, too much financial strain, would they lack attention? What about university costs and holidays and Christmases?  Would my poor patient loving hard working husband be put under too much pressure to provide financially and emotionally. 

Or am I right to think that four has always been my ideal, that of course we will cope, we have a strong and happy marriage a big enough house and car. I love being a mum and I'm hoping I do an ok job?! Kids don't need to be lavished with expensive gifts and mine aren't, we shop pre loved and we buy bargains and in bulk to save money. 

But then there's the health issues am I too old are we risking health problems for me and baby, if there where any disabilities or long term health problems would I be able to properly devote my time to all of the children, is it fair to take the risk? 

There are so many questions to answer before we make our choice. What is your perfect number? 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Equip+ Waterless Wash Review

When the Equip+ team asked if I'd like to review some of thier products I kind of thought 'mmmm sounds like an outdoorsy type of thing to me' but then I got to thinking about how handy this idea of waterless washing is. So what's it all about then? Well.....

What They Say



EQUIP is a 'waterless wash'.  We recognize that not all of us can shower easily, and sometimes we’re not in a place where traditional bathing options are even available. 

So we have developed a range of large pre-moistened wipes, wash mitts, protective wipes and a truly innovative shampoo cap;all designed for any situation.  From taking care of young children or elderly relatives, to feeling fresh again in a crowded tent at a music festival, EQUIP waterless wash solutions are totally portable and totally reliable. It's good to be EQUIP'd


We’re going to let you in on a little secret: you don’t need water to clean your hair. Seriously. Which is just great news for anyone who has spent hours in the queue for a broken shower at a festival, or someone having difficulty showering but wanting clean and fresh hair.

Our waterless wash shampoo cap is really easy to use.  Cover all your locks with the cap, and massage your head for a couple of minutes to release the shampoo and conditioner.   This action cleanses the hair and scalp.  No rinsing required.  Just towel dry your hair and style to finish.  Simple and effective for all ages.

The cap can also be microwaved so it is nice and warm - simply pop the unopened pack into the microwave (750W) for 10 - 15 seconds (check temperature before using - microwave times vary).


Because staying healthy challenges come in all shapes and sizes, we’ve devised a range of pre-moistened waterless protective hygiene wipes, designed for your mostintimate places. Specially formulated with Canadian Willow Herb, an anti-itch ingredient, EQUIP waterless wash wipes work to protect skin integrity and maintain well-being. 6-in-1 action to cleanse, moisturise and protect. Large size for effective coverage.  Clinically tested and safe for skin.


Why are they oversized? So they can help get more of you cleaner, quicker! The large surface area makes it easier to get around your body for a soothing, just showered feeling.

With a blend of coconut extract, aloe vera and Karanja nut… hmmm, quite luxurious, wouldn’t you say? And because they’re grown-up wipes, it means you use fewer sheets. Dermatologically tested and pH balanced, so they’re mild and kind to skin.


EQUIPpre-moistened Wash Mitts are super-thick, strong and excellent for those hard to reachplaces.Specifically formulated to cleanse and moisturize and leave you with that fresh, just showered feeling.Ideal when caring for oneself and others.Dermatologically tested and pH balanced so they’re mild and kind to skin.

What We Say

We gave all the products a try but we were most intrigued with the Shampoo Cap The packaging is nice and the instructions are easy to follow. I set to with the Shampoo Cap. This was my hair before...

During ...

You just pop on the cap and massage until your hair is saturated and for about 3 minutes, the pop it off towel dry and you are done. It was quite refreshing and getting into the festival spirit of sharing, I also got Spartacus to give it a shot, and their was enough moisture to wash his hair as well!

And After...

It was really easy to use,  I have mixed feelings on this one, my head felt refreshed afterward and there's a nice scent but my hair wasn't 'go out with it down' clean. I wonder if maybe I didn't towel enough moisture off because my hair felt like it had a residue on it still. Spartacus however had better results so maybe longer hair just needs a bit longer in the cap. We've tried out the shower glove which is really good, fresh and easy to use and would be handy to keep in a bag if you have a long day or day to night transition to get through.

Now I'm not a camping fan, I've slept outdoors in a tent once. That was on a beach in Goa, the 'tent' had a carpet and two wooden beds and a proper loo and shower! Yet still I didn't sleep for fear of tropical spiders biting me! But if you do go camping these are great, and to be honest they'd be a festival goers best friend. The gloves are easy to use and left me fresher than before use and the large wipes are great, lots of cleaning power and they really are biiiiig!

These products have loads of potential applications, I personally think they'd be great for long haul flights, I remember traveling to South Africa and NEEDING to freshen up and change clothes at the stop over, these would have been great to have. If you find yourself in need of bed rest or unable to get in the bath then these are a great short term solution.

With an RRP of between £2.29 and £3.69 they offer value for money for camping, festivals and travelling.

You can connect with The Equip+ team on Twitter and Facebook or purchase your supplies on their website. They are also running a giveaway for a selection of product, simply enter via the rafflecopter below

a Rafflecopter giveaway <

Monday, 11 August 2014

Preparing For The Holidays With e-outdoor and Free Summer HuntActivity Sheet

Family monkeyfeet are off on our travels again soon, this time to mainland Spain. Last time we went we had a mixed old bag weather wise with quite a few days of rain, so I'm going fully prepared this time with both warm and wet weather clothes and comfy shoes as we will be doing A LOT of walking.Thankfully Ive found all the outdoor stuff we will need from e-outdoor.


They have a range of outdoor gear, clothes, bags and walking shoes and boots for kids and grown ups and such a cute range of wee rucksacks I'm not sure which one I will choose for Termite. With brands like North Face, Barbour and Weird fish theres no shortage of holiday goodies for Spartacus and I and to keep the kids entertained they have even created this free downloadable 'summer hunt' sheet which you can also print off from here. Its full of facts and activities to do while you go out and about, along ith puzzles and pictures, I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

You can connect with e-outdoor on Facebook and Twitter

This post was written in colaboration with e-outdoor