My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin! I am 4 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Dear Mrs O ...

Dear Mrs O, as the new term begins,
I felt I should write you a letter.
I'm not really sure what I want it to say,
But writing stuff makes me feel better!

September of the year 2014,
Has no real importance to some.
But here, there are emotions all over the place,
Some which are leaving me quite numb.

Monday the 8th is a very big day,
It's the day that I bring you my Munch!
She'll stay with you all by herself for some time,
And I'll leave her with you until lunch.

I'm feeling a little bit nervous now,
Between excitement and dread I feel torn.
I knew I would struggle, but never this much,
As i get ready to share my first born!

Munch and I have always been close,
A mummy's girl right from the start.
We have always done everything together you see,
She's our original 'Mini Me' Hart!

Whenever she's sick or full of a cold,
If she falls and grazes her knee ...
At times when she's sad and just needs a hug,
She always comes straight to me!

Days when she's tired and just wants to chill,
On those mornings following a bad night.
She knows we can curl up and watch some TV,
Or read a book until she's feeling alright.

Now what will happen if she's feeling sad?
Will you promise to notice her tears?
Will you be there to lift her when she falls down?
Will you hug her to soothe any fears?

I know she's excited, I know she is scared,
Anxious and quite worried too.
I smile and tell her she's going to be fine,
Because I know that is totally true.

But it's hard to keep smiling and urging her on,
Some tell me to stop being a fool.
We grew so comfortable in the safety net,
That we lived in with nursery school.

So uniform is bought and new shoes are clean,
She's told me how she wants her hair!
She's written her holiday diary,
Ready to take in and share.

Mrs O, please will you promise,
To take our Munch under your wing?
Will you care for her just like I do?
Do you have my number so you can ring?

Will you hug her if she feels frightened?
Will you laugh with her when she's a clown?
Will you stop her when she takes jokes a little too far,
And know how to calm her right down?

I know now's the time to loosen my grip,
To untangle the old apron strings.
The first step to letting her find her own way,
And helping her spread her wings.

I'm finding it hard to let go here, you see,
My feelings are all in a whirl!
I'm handing you something so precious to me,
As I hand you my big baby girl!

She grew fond of you on the very first day,
When she met you on her trial session.
When you showed all the apprehensive parents and kids,
How we could await our child's great progression.

I know that she will have fun with you,
I'm sure you will see she's alright.
Please send her home to me in one beautiful piece,
So I can hug her and kiss her goodnight?!

So I think what I am trying to say,
As I bring this note to the punch ...
Is please take care of our big baby girl,
And enjoy sharing our special Munch!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Our day at Sky Studios, London

Recently, Munch and I took a trip to The O2 in London to check out the Sky Studios experience

"Get into pole position and race on your favourite Formula 1® track, take a swing for Ryder Cup glory on the world-famous course at Gleneagles, and sprint for the finish in the Team Sky Time Trial on our Pinarello bikes in our interactive sports simulators."

Sky Studios is a free attraction, situated just inside the main entrance of the O2 in London. Before our visit, I was a little concerned that Munch may be a little young to really appreciate the experience, but knowing how much she loves to exercise her have a go attitude, coupled with her massive love for London, I thought she would certainly like to try.

So we arrived at the O2, and once Munch was done gasping in fascination at the Up at the O2 roof walk and telling me we needed to try out the O2 Emirates Airline, we made our way through the main doors. The Sky Studios is visible from the doors, with its bright lights and larger than life promotional images adorning the walls, it's difficult not to be drawn in. If we weren't there to experience the Studios for ourselves on the day, we definitely would have taken some time to go see what it was all about. 

On our approach to the main desk, we were greeted by a friendly member of staff who immediately invited us in and began to brief us on what we could expect to find inside, whilst reminding us that everything was free!

Split across 3 floors, Sky Studios has a variety of activities to suit all sorts o people!

Our first stop:
Interactive Photo Booths!

Here, there are 3 small booths which are furnished with an adjustable stool, a small touch-screen console and a large screen on the wall. Munch sat down on the stool and was able to use the touch pad quite easily (and she is short!) She was able to scroll through the vast choice of pre-loaded photos until she found one she liked. The choice is very wide too, from photos of the England Rugby Team to scenes from the popular Monsters Inc, visitors are invited to find a picture that they like, and position themselves to allow the camera on the wall screen to place their face within their chosen scene! Once the photo is taken, and displayed upon the large screen, the touch pad will ask if you are happy with your photograph. Once you are, you can use your Sky Pass (which should be handed to you as you enter this area) to scan the touch pad when prompted and you photograph will be saved. Instead of then visiting a kiosk where you have the option of purchasing your photographs at an extortionate rate, you take your Sky Pass home with you, visit the website and tap in the code on the card. Your photographs are waiting for you in your own private area of Sky's website, and from here. you can download, print, share, whatever you'd like to do with them.

Munch had 2 goes at the Interactive Photo Booth during our visit! Once with help from me, and once completely independently, just to show how simple it really is!

And these were the photographs Munch managed to create ...

Next, we made our way to the Sky Sports Challenge Zone. 

Here, there was lots to see and to look at, and many opportunities for Munch to ask questions. Since the London Olympics in 2012, she has started to show quite an interest in sport and sporting events. She likes to watch the football when she notices it is on the television, and enjoyed watching the events in the recent Commonwealth Games, so seeing pictures of sporting heroes and screens displaying various sports related facts and statistics got her very intrigued and excited. In this area, there was only the one attraction she was unable to participate in, and this was the Team Sky Time Trial.

This attraction is restricted to adult visitors only (18+) for health and safety reasons. And with the best will in the world, she wasn't reaching those pedals! We watched others try their skill at the challenge though, and Munch laughed at the Sky representative assigned to this area as he jumped around singing motivational songs to the riders and cheering them on in an over enthusiastic fashion! He was certainly entertaining!

However, whilst in this area, Munch did participate in all other challenges that were there!

One thing that really impressed me about the staff at Sky Studios, and in particular the staff in the Challenge Zone, was how accommodating they were to Munch. She was, by far, the youngest (and shortest!) visitor there when we went, but not once was she turned away for being too short or too young. She was assisted with the pedal on the F1 racing, she was shown how to hold the golf club in her Gleneagles experience and the staff member at the 60 second Batak Challenge turned it into a team game where Munch would hit the bottom lights and the rep would hit the higher ones. Not at any point was she made to feel different or that she was an inconvenience, and this made us both really happy!

Next, we entered the News Zone. This was probably Munch's favourite attraction at Sky Studios!

Here, visitors have the opportunity to experience 5 minutes in the seat of a Sky News reader - literally! Complete with TV camera, cameraman and auto cue, here you can read the news and have it recorded for you to keep forever! The experience is very authentic, as we entered the glass walled room. Munch couldn't wait to jump in the seat and get reporting!

One problem ...

... Munch can't read yet!

Yet another thing that didn't bother her. She just sang a beautiful rendition of Twinkle Twinkle instead! And the staff member / cameraman made her feel extremely special!

Finally, we made our way back to the entrance of the Sky Studios where there were three more attractions that we hadn't stopped at when we arrived. At the front of the Studios is a replica of Sky's Soccer AM Car Park Game and The Game Changers Change Your Aim Basketball Hoop Challenge. Munch loved giving both challenges a go, and was once again fully supported by the staff and didn't allow her size to cause an issue!

And to finish off nicely, there was one more Green Screen opportunity. Munch could have her photo taken with players from her choice of Premiership Football team, so naturally, she opted for West Ham to make her Grandpa smile!

We really did have a wonderful day out at the Sky Studios, and would recommend it to anyone thinking of a visit to the O2 in London. As mentioned before, the whole experience is free, and not only is it great fun, it is also a great opportunity to get the family active in an enjoyable way, and something you can do together. We saw families, we saw groups of young adults, we saw couples, so the experience is suitable for all sorts! The minimum recommended age is around 6 years, and I agree this is an ideal guide. Munch had a fantastic time.

We both did!

Sky Studios can be located at The O2, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0DX. It is free to visit and there is no need to book.

Opening hours are: 
O2 arena event days: 12-8pm.
O2 arena non-event days: 12-6pm.
Bank and school holidays: 11am-7pm.

More information can be found at https://rewards.sky.com/home/sky-at-the-o2/sky-studios/ 

I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I have been paid expenses and supplied with a product sample for this review but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.

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Friday, 8 August 2014

Tell me, mummy ... How do aeroplanes stay in the sky?

Week 4 of our linky, Tell me, mummy ...?, and she keeps them coming!
Every day, Munch asks hundreds of questions! Ok, so I can't provide answers for every single one, I mean, how am I supposed to know who let the chicken out near the road, or why he wanted to cross it in the first place?! Some of her questions are pretty random. But they're questions all the same, and it shows that our little girls is developing a true sense of curiosity and intrigue, and she is no longer accepting everything she sees at face value. An answer of "it just is" is no longer sufficient for her, and she needs to know WHY all of the time.

Hence the birth of Tell me, mummy ...?

This week, she has shown a particular interest in aeroplanes. We've been seeing a lot of them this week. Of course, it's the summer holiday season, and the warm weather we have been having means the sky is particularly clear and the planes are easily visible. We're not a million miles away from the nearest airport either, so activity in the sky is quite regular during the day.

"How do aeroplanes stay in the sky, mummy?"

It has always fascinated me, how something as huge and heavy as a Boeing 747 can leave the runway and take to the sky with such ease and grace! Munch has never been on a plane. I didn't for the first time until I was 15 years old, when I flew to Florida with my family. However, she gets very excited when she sees one in the sky, especially if it is flying low or if we are out in the car and see one coming in to land, catching it as it disappears behind the trees.

What was really bothering Munch about aeroplanes was the fact that they seem to defy everything she has learned recently about gravity. We talked about her confusion a little more ...

"Birds stay in the sky because they flap their wings. That takes them higher and higher. But planes don't have wings that flap. If a bird just opened his wings and jumped out of a tree, he would fall if he didn't flap them!"

I really like the fact that she is using what she knows about other things that fly and relating it to this current problem. I wanted to answer this one the best I could, so I remembered my dad explaining it to me when we were sitting on that Florida-bound plane, cruising through the clouds.

"In the air, there are 'plates', almost like invisible shelves in the sky. Aeroplanes position their wings so they 'sit' on these shelves and this keeps them in the sky, cruising at a consistent height. Although a plane doesn't 'flap' its wings like a bird, parts of the wings do change angle to allow the plane to travel upwards, downwards and to change direction."

She was particularly interested in the idea of the wings of a plane having parts that moved around in the air, which meant we spent the next 30 minutes looking at pictures of different aeroplane wings! Google, you were my friend that day!!

Whilst doing that, I looked up a proper explanation as to how aeroplanes stay in the air ...

"Four forces keep an airplane in the sky. They are lift, weight, thrust and drag.

Lift pushes the airplane up. The way air moves around the wings gives the airplane lift. The shape of the wings helps with lift, too.

Weight is the force that pulls the airplane toward Earth. Airplanes are built so that their weight is spread from front to back. This keeps the airplane balanced.

Thrust is the force that moves the airplane forward. Engines give thrust to airplanes. Sometimes an engine turns a propeller. Sometimes it is a jet engine. It doesn't matter as long as air keeps going over the wings.

Drag slows the airplane. You can feel drag when you walk against a strong wind. Airplanes are designed to let air pass around them with less drag.

An airplane flies when all four forces work together. But, most airplanes need one more thing: They need a pilot to fly them!"

This week's explanation has been taken from NASA.

I'm not entirely sure if my explanation was close or not?!! What do you think ...?

Well, that was Week 4 of our new linky, "Tell me, Mummy", done. We would love for you to join in and share the big, difficult, embarrassing questions that your little ones have asked you. Did you offer an answer? We're you left speechless? Did your quest for a response lead you to some amazing resources that you'd like to share with others? Whatever it is, if it relates to one of the millions of questions our children ask us, it has a place here! Just enter yourself on the linky and grab the badge code below to add to the bottom of your post! For a more detailed explanation of what Tell me, mummy is all about, take a look here.

Tell me mummy

See you next week!

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Summer of Steffi!

Introducing Steffi Love ... 
The Real Life Doll!

Anyone that knows Munchkin will know she is a girly girl through and through. From the inside out, she is pink, sparkly and soft, and when she falls and grazes her knees, she bleeds glitter! She loves dolls, she loves dancing and she loves wearing pretty clothes. So you can probably understand how excited she was when she heard about Steffi Love!

Most people know exactly who Steffi Love is. For those who don’t she is a fashion doll loved by millions of girls around the world. Now 21 years old Steffi has since sold more than 200 million dolls globally. First introduced to the UK in the 1990s millions of Steffi dolls have been loved by British children and she is currently in the top ten of the most popular dolls for girls. 

This year is a milestone for Steffi – for the first time ever she will become a real life girl. Former X-Factor contestant, pop singer, fashionista and lead vocalist of hit girl band The Dolly Rockers Sophie King has been chosen to play the role of Steffi Love. Sophie has the perfect mix of looks, personality and sparkle to bring to life one of the world’s best-loved dolls. She’s a natural! 

This summer will also see the launch of the first ever Steffi Love single! A perfect summer pop song ‘Real Good Time’ has been written and produced by non other than Ray Hedges – the creative talent behind 7 number one UK singles with acts such as Boyzone and B*Witched and more than 60 top 20 hits around the world. During his career Ray has worked with Take That, Tom Jones, Bryan Adams, Boy George, Liberty X and Dizzee Rascal to name but a few. Fancy a look? The first single is now available for public viewing and will be released tomorrow! Here's a snippet ...


Munch has been dancing around to this ... a lot! It's catchy, it's happy and it is quite clearly appealing to its young audience! I keep hearing,

"I'm going to dance to it again, mummy, but first I need my pink sparkly shoes ... my tutu ... my tiara ... my bracelets ... my PINK THINGS!!"

If you like the sound of it, you can see the whole video and listen to the full single over on You Tube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skEtWqUAENE

Ray has also crafted 4 more singles for Steffi that will be released every month to the end of the year and will be available to buy from iTunes. 

So sit back and watch this space. You’ll soon be seeing Steffi EVERYWHERE. It’s going to be the summer of Steffi Love!

No payment has been received for publishing this post. We are looking forward to reviewing a doll in due course, but at the time of this post going live, nothing has been received. Thoughts are our own!

Tell me, mummy ... Why do I get dizzy when I twirl?

Week 3 of our new linky already! I'm getting closer and closer to the point at which I will have to stop calling it 'new'! I am really pleased I started this series of posts. Not only is it celebrating the fact that our kids are curious about the world, but it has made me more conscious of, and probably more responsive to, the questions that Munchkin asks me every day!

Munch spends a lot of her time trying to entertain Beastie Boo and Plum. She's at her happiest when she is making them laugh, and every smile, every giggle, every excited squeal from them encourages her to do more! The other day, she was dancing around in front of Baby Plum as he rolled around on the lounge floor, watching her every move. Then Beastie joined in. I swiftly removed Plum from the floor (anyone that knows Beastie will understand my reasoning for this!!) and within seconds, I had 2 little girls spinning round and round the room, laughing uncontrollably as they bumped into each other and landed on their bums in a disorientated state!

"Mummy, can you feel that ...? The floor is wobbly!"

Then, whilst laying flat on her back on the floor, slightly breathless and staring at the ceiling, Munch says:

"Why do I get dizzy when I twirl, mummy?"

A feeling of relief washed over me. A question that I can answer ... I think! I vaguely remember that Science lesson at school with Mrs Thomas! So I cast my mind back to find the best answer to present to this curious 4 year old who was waiting for a response ...

"Your brain has lots of liquid in it, and that liquid tells your brain whether you are standing upright, laying down, spinning around or if you're upside down. The liquid moves with your head. When you spin around and then stop spinning, it takes a few seconds for the liquid in your head to stop swirling round, so your brain thinks you are still twirling around, and this makes you feel dizzy."

At this point, she sits up and starts tipping her head from side to side, announcing that she can hear the liquid moving around in her head. Then she starts to worry that if she ever bangs her head, she might make a hole and all the liquid would spill out! It all started to get a little weird! Whilst Munch was laying there, contemplating the worst that could happen to this fluid in her head, Beastie was still twirling around the room with squeals of "weeeeeeeeeeeee!!", oblivious to Munch's new found knowledge!

I asked her what she thought caused dizziness, and she said:

"I thought, when I spin really fast, I make the floor go wobbly!"

So she thought, when she felt dizzy, so did everyone else. It was completely new to her, this knowledge that when she spins around, she is the only one that feels dizzy.

This is what the experts say ... 

"When we spin, our brain receives mixed messages. The endolymph slowly begins to move in the same direction we are spinning. As time goes by, the endolymph catches up to the rate of speed we are spinning and no longer stimulates the hair-like nerve cells. This causes our brain to quickly adapt to the nerve signals. However, when we stop spinning, the endolymph continues to move and stimulates hair cells in the opposite direction.

These hair cells send wrong messages to the brain making it think that the head is still spinning although it actually has stopped. As a result of this inaccurate signal, we experience dizziness. Eventually, the endolymph stops moving and no more signals are sent to the brain. The brain interprets that the spinning motion has ceased and the dizziness disappears."

This week's information was taken from Cool Quiz.

"I don't think I will make myself dizzy any more, mummy. If I do it too much, the liquid might keep on spinning, and I'll walk around all wobbly forever!!"

I assured her this wouldn't happen! Not sure she believes me right now! Beastie doesn't seem to care though. She didn't stop spinning around like a mini Tasmanian devil the whole time! 

Week 3 of our new linky, "Tell me, Mummy", done. We would love for you to join in and share the big, difficult, embarrassing questions that your little ones have asked you. Did you offer an answer? We're you left speechless? Did your quest for a response lead you to some amazing resources that you'd like to share with others? Whatever it is, if it relates to one of the millions of questions our children ask us, it has a place here! Just enter yourself on the linky and grab the badge code below to add to the bottom of your post! For a more detailed explanation of what Tell me, mummy is all about, take a look here.

Tell me mummy

See you next week!

Monday, 28 July 2014

LolliBopping with the Vita Coco Kids Beach Club!

Vita Coco Kids is inviting festival loving families at LolliBop 2014 to take part in some games at their pop up beach club! Kids and parents alike are invited to join in the fun at the hourly sandcastle building contests, or try their hand at the coconut shy for a chance to win some nutty prizes!

If chilling out on the beach is more your style there’s also a colouring and activity area to let your creativity flow and plenty of deck chairs for parents and kiddies to put their feet up beneath the palm trees and enjoy a moment of calm. The Vita Coco Kids bike will also be on hand giving festival goers a helping hand with healthy hydration, for big and little monkeys alike.

Vita Coco Kids is made from young coconut water blended with natural fruit flavourings and spring water with no added colourings or preservatives, making it a natural source of hydration for children. 

Munchkin and Beastie Boo love their fruity drinks, and I do try to make sure they have a good balance of fruit drinks and water every day. However, in this warm weather, it is often difficult to be so strict on everything they drink, as the most important thing is they drink something. I was therefore really pleased to discover Vita Coco Kids drinks, as with these, we manage to tick both the 'Tasty' and 'Healthy' boxes!

Well, during the week, a surprise package arrived for Munch and Beastie. Always excited to receive a parcel, they couldn't wait to crack that crate open!!

They have now had the chance to try both of these appealing flavours, and both have gone down a treat! Even Munch, who will swear blind that she DOES NOT like any drink containing blackcurrant, asked for another carton when she had finished her apple & blackcurrant drink!

With around 20 percent less sugar and less calories than other leading UK chilled kids’ drinks, it is the healthier beverage option for your children when you’re at a festival. Available in two mouth-watering flavours, classic Apple & Blackcurrant and tropical Mango & Pineapple, these little cartons of goodness are also bursting with naturally occurring potassium that helps keep your little ones energised and hydrated on hot summer days. 

Munch and Beastie are both very active little girls, constantly on the move whether we are in or outdoors. Therefore, I like to know that the fluids they are drinking is actually keeping them properly hydrated!

Vita Coco Kids is available in a 4x180ml pack from a number of stores, including Waitrose, Ocado, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda, Amazon, Holland & Barrett, Tesco, Yo! Sushi, Wholefoods Market, Planet Organic and leading independent retailers, and retails (RRP) from £2.99 for a pack (4 cartons)

For activities that are shore to please, make sure you stop by the Vita Coco Kids Beach Club...just no monkey business!

I am promoting this information as an official ambassador for The LolliBop Festival. I received a complimentary pack of Vita Coco Kids drinks, but have not received any other form of payment for the promotion of the product. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

River Island teams with LolliBop!

Go Customise Crazy with River Island's Design Den!

Munch loves fashion. She really, really does. She loves to wear nice clothes, and every day she will request that she wears something pretty. Ok, so 'pretty' will often involve wearing tutus, princess dresses and tiaras, but for reasons of practicality, a nice dress or skirt and top ensemble will usually be sufficient! As long as it is pink or purple!

However, her love of clothes doesn't stop at wanting to strut around in perfect pairings of girly dresses and shoes, or at dressing her dolls in sparkles and pearls. She also likes to combine her passion for lovely clothes with her love of colour and drawing and is often found doodling pictures of herself, and me, in gorgeous fantasy outfits! And some of them are pretty unique, let me tell you! She has even gone as far as saying that after big school, she will go to big big school to be better at drawing, and then she will go to big big big school and learn how to draw real dresses. Do I have a budding Fashion Designer here ...? Maybe. But she also wants to be a Ballerina, a Chef, a Footballer and to work in Toys R Us when she is older, so she may be a little short on spare time!

When I told her that she will have the chance to design and make some real clothing at LolliBop this year, she was very excited! I went on to explain ...

River Island is pleased to announce that they are the official fashion partner for this year's LolliBop Festival, taking place at Hatfield House from 15th-17th August. The three day event is the UK's only festival where all the entertainment is for children!

Due to the huge success last year, River Island is hosting the fun and fashionable 'Design Den' for the second time round where festival goers will have the chance to transform into designers for the day and customise their very own shirt!

How does it work?

The Design Den will host craft stations for various age groups and the little ones have an allocated time slot to create their masterpiece! Afterwards, they can take to the River Island runway to strike a pose and show off their designs on the catwalk.

The youngsters need to make sure they have those cheeky grins at the ready as each child will receive a photo of the fabulous moment to take home too.

Visitors will also be able to shop the latest kidswear and accessories range from the River Island Summer collection at an exclusive pop up shop!

The River Island Baby and Kidswear range for ages 0-12 years is available at www.riverisland.com and in selected stores both in the UK and internationally.

There really is so much to see at The LolliBop Festival, and regrettably we didn't make it to the River Island Design Den last year, but we will be making it a priority this year! She loves to design, she loves to wear and she loves to pose, so I know she is going to love River Island's Design Den!

For the full line up and ticket details see www.lollibopfestival.co.uk
Keep up to date with the latest news and announcements from LolliBop HQ by following the lovely team on Facebook and Twitter!

I am promoting this information as an official ambassador for The LolliBop Festival. I will receive complimentary tickets to the festival, but have not received any other form of payment for the promotion of the event. All thoughts and opinions are our own.