My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 8 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, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Now you're two, my Beastie Boo!

Beastie Boo, I can't believe,
Another year has passed.
I look at you and I can see,
You're growing pretty fast!

A year ago, I was here,
Mummy helped me write
A little rhyme that marked one year,
Since that busy, crazy night!

Now here I am, I'm writing again,
Some words from me to you.
Words with lots of love attached,
Today as you turn Two!

The year has been full of fun,
Of firsts and special days.
A year of learning who we are,
Establishing 'our ways'!

I've watched you grow and learn new things,
I've helped you learn to walk,
I've taught you lots of words I know,
And helped you learn to talk!

As you're not a baby now,
"A toddler" I think they say.
You can take your pick of my big girl toys,
And together we can play.


"I'll be doctor, you be patient,
Now lie for me real still ..."
"Ooh, let's play shops, you grab the trolley!
Bagsy, I'm behind the till"!

We laugh a lot, we she'd some tears,
We argue and we fight!
Have 'conflicts of opinions',
When you don't play my games right!

But when we play, it makes me smile,
Even though I sometimes moan.
For I know that having a sister is ace,
As now I'll never play alone!

When they said I was getting a sister,
It came as a bit of a blow!
But if I knew my sister would be as awesome as you,
I'd have pestered them ages ago!

Many Happy Returns my little sis,
Happy 2nd birthday to you!
And I love having you as my sister,
My Rosie Posie Beastie Boo!

Lots of love and kisses

Monday, 23 June 2014

Dear mummy ... No more BritMums!

Dear mummy,

Well here we are, it's Monday today,
The day after the weekend before.
I'm writing this letter, so you never forget,
I don't want you to go away any more!

The weekend was fun, but the weekend was long,
It seemed you were away like forever!
I'm telling you now, BritMums or not,
Don't do that again - no, not EVER!

We had lots of fun with daddy and nanna,
Playing with toys, games and stuff.
But you go away and leave me again,
I'm gonna flounce off in a huff!

I know you came home and slept with us here,
But that simply wasn't enough!
I know you had fun, and I'm happy for you,
Want to do it again ...? That's tough!

I sobbed all the way home from the station you know,
When we dropped you there ready for Day 2.
Bag on your shoulder, a skip in your step,
I just didn't know what to do!

Daddy just smiled and gave me a hug,
And he told me he's missing you too.
So even if you won't stay at home just for me,
Do it for daddy, Plum & Beastie Boo!

You drank (lots of) wine, you went to some talks,
It all sounds absolutely fine.
But you can listen to me, I'll talk to you mummy,
And daddy will bring you some wine!

See mummy what I am trying to say,
Is you don't need to go again next year.
All of those things we can give you at home,
Are you getting this loud and clear?! 

We missed you mummy, we missed you so much,
But I'm glad that you had a good time.
But don't go away, not ever again,
Not even for friends, talks and wine!

So you tell that BritMums, unless they can plan,
To hold Twenty-Fifteen really near.
Like just up the road sounds quite fair to me,
Or maybe you could cancel next year?

I feel very strongly about this whole thing,
My new hashtag, I think it could trend.
It could be real big, and I'm not scared to use it,
If you go for another weekend!

I know what I'm saying falls on deaf ears,
Maybe next year I'll feel better?
I know you have your ticket for Twenty-Fifteen,
In a year, expect another letter!

Love from Munchkin

Creating a special space with Stickerscape! *Giveaway*

"Our goal is to produce gorgeous, quality products that our customers absolutely love."

Guess what ...?
We looked at a new house last week!
Munch and Beastie are SO excited. Munch already started to vocally decorate, telling us who would sleep where, which colours we must choose for each room and exactly what areas of the house would be perfect for certain toys! 

Expensive Interior Designers ...?


Actually, we had already decided that we would be decorating the girls' room in neutral colours - probably white - to allow for passing trends and simple transformations! We had seen so many beautiful childrens' rooms on the internet and in magazines that had been cleverly converted into amazing, personal little 'worlds' using wall stickers, decals, pictures and other less permanent alternatives to paint, we knew we could create something special for them without having to get overalls and a pasting table out.

Then I discovered Stickerscape, and all of a sudden I was stuck for choice!

Stickerscape started at the end of 2012 by Jo and Mike, with the aim of designing and producing high quality wall stickers for children’s rooms. They proudly make all their products themselves here in the UK, which means you can be guaranteed that every order receives the care and attention it deserves. And the designs available in their shop are truly wonderful. There are so many to choose from, there is sure to be a sticker to suit everyone. Girls, boys, babies, stickers for walls, stickers for furniture and even some with the option to customise and personalise to suit!

Stickerscape's wall stickers are designed to give the appearance of painted wall murals without the need for any artistic skills, which is exactly what we have been looking for. Unlike other wall stickers, their products have no borders around the design and are made from a very thin material. Together, this means that once they are applied they give the appearance of a wall mural (as opposed to a wall sticker!). I really love this idea. Apart from the fact that borders can make the design look less effective, if any of you have a child like our Beastie Boo, she sees the edge of a sticker and is immediately compelled to start peeling! Hopefully, this neater, more professional looking design will deter this impulse as she sees it more as a 'picture' rather than a sticker!

Their designs have been created with the view of being able to quickly and affordably transform a blank canvas into any theme you wish. Whichever theme or design you choose the aim is to encourage your little one's imagination to run wild and have wonderful imaginative play fuelled by their surroundings They also offer a number of personalised designs which allow you to create truly unique d├ęcor for your child’s room.

Stickerscape have recently launched their brand new range of In The Night Garden wall art, and anyone who knows our Beastie Boo will know how crazy she is for Upsy Daisy and her friends from the magically enchanting CBeebies show. So when we move in the next few weeks, she will be so excited to discover that her little sleep & play space has been transformed into a little world of flowers, bouncing balls and her favourite characters! I can't wait to see what we can create for her! Munch has already picked out the ones that she believes Beastie will love the most ...!

... And seeing all of the wonderful Iggle Piggle sticker designs too, Munch insisted that Baby Plum couldn't possibly manage another day without some special wall art of his own!!

I actually don't think Munch left many designs out from the current In The Night Garden collection! I couldn't comment really, as I was finding it impossible to decide which ones I liked the best. They are all so eye catching and would look amazing on any child's wall!

At present, the collection features designs for Upsy Daisy and Iggle Piggle. However, keep an eye out as they are planning to extend the range soon to include stickers for Makka Pakka and other favourite characters from the show as well as stickers that will enable you to 'accessorise' your chosen designs to create magical scenes with trees, bridges and other popular features! And across the range the wall stickers are generally available in at least two sizes (sometimes three)

We can't wait to try some out!

In the meantime, whilst you wait for our review, how about a giveaway?
Would you like to try out some of Stickerscape's wonderful designs for yourself? There really is such a wonderfully vast selection available, you are bound to find something that you like!

Why not keep up to date with the latest designs, news and offers by liking Stickerscape's Facebook Page or following them on Twitter?

We have been given 2 fantastic prizes to offer to our readers from the lovely people at Stickerscape. The first being a £25 voucher to spend on whatever you like in their Shop, and the second being a regular sized wall sticker of your choice from their new In The Night Garden collection. Just complete the Rafflecopter steps below and 2 winners will be randomly selected within 48 hours of the competition closing! See below the Rafflecopter form for Terms & Conditions.

Good Luck!

What would you choose?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions
Competition open to UK residents who are 18+ years.
By entering this competition, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions listed below
The competition will close at 12.00am on Saturday, 19th July, 2014. No entries will be accepted after this time.
Two winners will be randomly selected from all correctly submitted entries collected. Failure to complete the ONE mandatory requirement (Blog Comment) will deem all your entries invalid and will result in your entries being removed from the selection list.
The prize has no cash alternative.
The selected winners will be notified of their win via email, Twitter and/or Facebook and have 3 days from being notified to claim their prize. Failure to do so will result in a new winner being randomly selected.
No negotiations or conversations regarding the selected winner will be entered into with other entrants.

No payment has been accepted for running this competition. I plan to review for Stickerscape in due course, but at the time of this competition going live, no payment of any kind has been made. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.

Friday, 20 June 2014

LolliBop are calling all Pirates and Princesses!

Splice the mainbrace and all hands on deck!

As excited ambassadors for this year's LolliBop Festival, aka LolliBloggers, we bring you some more Bopping news!

On Sunday 6th July, Lollibop, the big bash for little kids, will present Pirate and Princesses all aboard the Lolli-Rodger! Set sail on an amazing Pirate and Princess adventure down the Thames with fantastic children's entertainers Sharky & George. Follow the treasure map and learn the ropes to become the fiercest pirate on the seven seas or the most enchanting princess in the kingdom.

Ahoy me hearties! Come along to one of the two 90 minute sessions (11 - 12.30pm or 1 - 2.30pm) starting from Butlers Wharf all the way to Westminster Bridge and enjoy a relaxing drink along the river Thames whilst your little lads and lassies get stuck into treasure hunts, sword and wand decorating, tiara and pirate hat making, water bomb canon ball catapulting and a mini disco! The Lolli-Rodger is just a little taster of what's to come in August at Lollibop festival. Yo ho ho!

This pre festival event looks like so much fun, and I know for a fact Munch would not turn down the invitation to dress as a princess for a day and enjoy a boat trip with added fun activities on the River Thames!

Tickets for this lovely event are available from http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/36004CC9D9744B66 for just £10!

LolliBop takes place August 15-17 at Hatfield House. The line up includes Justin Fletcher, Mister Maker, Mr Bloom, Sam & Mark, Michaela Strachan, Lazy Town, Postman Pat, Chris & Pui, Scooby-Doo, Andy Day and Cook and Line from Swashbuckle. Other activities and interactive areas, include the Disney on Ice Silent Disco, Skylanders, Join in with Southbank, Thomas & Friends, Science Museum Live, Bear Grylls and Tottenham Hotspur Global Coaching Team.

Are you going to the LolliBop Festival this year? We'll be there!

Tickets for LolliBop can still be purchased from http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/36004CC9D9744B66 and all other information can be found at www.lollibopfestival.co.uk

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Inspirational Parents and Carers: Our nomination!

 #InspirationalParents with:

You may have heard that Kiddicare are currently running their Inspirational Parents Awards, in which we are all invited to nominate a parent or carer who we feel has been inspirational or left a lasting impression in some way in our lives. As soon as I heard that they were running this, I sat down with Munchkin to explain to her what it was all about. 

I asked her if she could think of someone who has looked after her and made a big difference in her life so far. We talked about everyone. Grandparents, friends, her nursery teachers, mummy and daddy, but I knew there was one person that she would end up saying was very special.

"She is the kindest and loveliest and I'm going to be sad when I don't see her any more"

As we were talking, I had to stop her bottom lip from trembling a couple of times as she started to recall all of the things that make this nomination so perfect. 

"She calls me Lily-Boo!! I like that!"

In January, 2013, a few months after her 3rd birthday, Munch started nursery. I had no need, nor desire, to send her into part time childcare until then. I was a stay at home mum (as I still am!) and made the decision to keep her in my care, solely, for as long as possible. We attended a number of sessions together at our local Children's Centre, so she was getting the benefits of the social interaction with other children regularly, and I felt this was the best choice for us. 

However, once she turned 3, I knew it was time to set her free amongst other children in a more independent setting. Without me. I wanted to allow her to find herself and to experience situations without me being there as the 'safety net' she had always known. We started looking at the local nurseries, and were so confused. There were so many! We visited a few with Munchkin, and she said she liked them all, although she resembled a baby rabbit caught in headlights as we passed through groups of playing children, sticking close to my side the whole time. Then, there was this one nursery. The last one we visited. Cherubs Firststeps it was called. It was quiet when we visited as it was quite late in the day, but the minute we walked through the door, something felt different. As the nursery manager greeted us with a chirpy tone and a friendly smile, Munchkin slipped her hand out of mine immediately. I then continued the remainder of the meeting and tour by myself, whilst Munch was busy introducing herself to the other children and accepting their invites to join in their games. 

This was it. This was the nursery we had to choose for her.
In fact, scrap that, Munch had already chosen!

Now, she is working her way through her final term at Cherubs, as she prepares to start full time primary school in September 2014. In July, she will finally 'graduate' as a Cherub and start her first year of formal education. She has anxieties about the transition, one of the biggest being leaving a certain person behind the gates of Cherubs Firststeps when she leaves in July. This person is our nomination for Kiddicare's #InspirationalParents campaign. Munch is going to miss a whole team of very very special individuals when she moves on to the next stage in her childhood, and if I could, I'd nominate every single one of them for the highest possible awards, but I can't, so it seems fitting that we nominate the person behind this phenomenal team. The person that brought this team together and therefore created a winning combination of wonderful people who work together to make Cherubs Firststeps the safe, fun, confidence building, nurturing place that it is today.

Gela being Gela at Cherubs' 2013 Nursery 'Graduation' Prom
Angela, or Gela as she is most commonly and affectionately known by the children, has been part of the nursery for the whole ten years it has been open, and she is, well ... Truly amazing. A loving mother of two beautiful children of her own, she faces the same challenges as all other parents in her day-to-day life, and probably stumbles across some new ones occasionally too, as many of us do, but that never fazes her. If I could honestly put into words how heartwarming (often even tear jerking!) it is to see Munchkin's excited, joyous reaction when she walks in to nursery and sees Gela there, I would. But it is beyond words. The burst of enthusiasm when Munch sees that Jela's car is parked outside the nursery gates puts an extra skip in her step as she realises she can't get through the doors quick enough, and the screams of "GELAAAA!!!!!" as she spots her across the room before she launches herself into her (often occupied) arms. Not once have I ever seen Jela dismiss this excitement or request that Munch wait whilst she finishes doing whatever she is doing. Those tasks don't matter for that moment. Everything stops momentarily for that cuddle. What better way to start the day for a little girl who would often rather stay at home and play with Beastie Boo, until she sees Jela and her wonderful team. 

It makes me smile when sometimes, we meet Gela on the way into nursery, and a group of children may be playing in the garden area at the front of the building. I can only compare the moment to a film star on the red carpet. The children pressing themselves up against the slatted wooden fence of the play area, little arms reaching through the posts as they call her name over and over, tripping over one another to get as close as possible so they get personally noticed by her. The atmosphere is electric. Simply magical! Those children are just so elated to see her. And that is not because her presence is a rare occurrence. Far from it. Unlike many nursery managers I have known, Jela is as 'hands on' as she can be with the children. She joins in their play, supervises their learning and sits with them at lunch. Many many mornings, as I am preparing her lunch for nursery, I will be pestered with Munchkin's orders of, "make sure you put an extra sandwich in there for Gela! Gela loves sandwiches!!" How can I refuse?! 

Then there is her relationship with the parents and carers of the children. She is friendly, enthusiastic, positive, full of humour, kind, understanding, familiar, but always professional. It is blatantly obvious to anyone that she loves her job. The tears she sheds as children leave to start full time school, the pride she shows at the achievements of the children and the sheer joy she emits when she is around them is the most comforting and reassuring thing a parent can witness. 

As Munchkin prepares with both excitement and anxiety to move into full time education at Primary School in 3 months time, she wonders what to expect. However, whatever nerves she may be feeling, whatever reservations she may have, Gela said something to her a couple of months ago that has definitely stayed with her. One small statement from Jela has made a huge impact on the way Munchkin feels about this new stage in her life, as I have heard it repeated by Munch almost every day since, and Gela probably has no idea these few words have made such a difference, but they really have ...

"You're so ready for big school now, Lily-Boo!" 

Yes sweetheart, yes you are. And it's with huge thanks and appreciation to Gela and her amazing team that you are!

So here it is, our nomination for Kiddicare's #InspirationalParentAwards. One person who is truly deserving of an award like this, but also one whom I am certain would be the most surprised at being nominated. So for one moment, she can stop being so humble, sit back and realise how much she is loved and appreciated for the wonderful things she does and the amazing things she and her team have done to help my little Cherub grow!

Thank you, Gela!
Love from Lily-Boo!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Jumping on the Britmums 2014 Wagon!

Well, this is a post I didn't think I would be writing this year, but here it is ...

This will be my first ever time attending Britmums Live, and I am really excited!

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the annual event, it's big ... it's very big!

"BritMums Live! is the UK’s biggest, two-day social media conference and blogger event, where lifestyle bloggers and social influencers gather to meet and socialise, network with brands, improve their skills, and fire their creativity."

And with special thanks to the lovely Mary Louise of Brandon Wagons, I will now be there this June!

Many of you won't have heard of the lovely Brandon Wagons yet. I hadn't until recently either. This is because they are a very new company, just waiting to burst into the lives of many little people and hoping to top many Christmas present lists for 2014!

Let me tell you a little about Brandon Wagons now ...

Brandon Wagons is the genius creation of the lovely Mary Louise who has a little girl just the same age as our Beastie Boo! Many of you have probably been there: that awkward age of nearly 2 years old where they want to walk everywhere, and refuse to admit that their little legs aren't quite at marathon level yet! But you need to take that pushchair, just in case. Anyway, without the pushchair, how else would we carry the million and one things that we need to remember on a day out! Said baggage sits, hangs and balances on your lifesaver that is the pushchair ... until it inevitably tips. Bags spill open on the floor, clothes, nappies, toys, snacks fall everywhere. And meanwhile, aforementioned toddler is trying to escape on foot as (s)he spots your moment of distraction and sees it as the perfect opportunity to make a dash for freedom ... Day out quickly turns from fun to an absolute nightmare! She therefore understands and has witnessed (many a time) the trembling lips, the puppy dog eyes and the explosive tantrums that often face us as parents when trying to convince said toddler to sit in a pushchair, especially when they are over-tired during or following an exciting day out!

Determined not to be beaten by these episodes, and certain that there was a solution out there to help all parents in these situations, Mary Louise created Brandon Wagons!

"Our wagon proved popular amongst children, gardeners, festival goers, DIY enthusiasts, photographers and even pet owners.Our wagon proved popular amongst children, gardeners, festival goers, DIY enthusiasts, photographers and even pet owners."

We have 3 beautiful children, we love gardening, me and the girls love festivals in the summer, The Man is a very keen photographer and The Pooch means we are pet owners. Ticking quite a few of those boxes already!

We hope we prove to be the perfect family to help Brandon Wagons shout from the rooftops about this wonderful product, with Britmums 2014 being just the beginning. With Munchkin and Beastie Boo being total lovers of the outdoors, Brandon Wagons, I know, would definitely be their chosen method of transport. We are ambassadors for London's LolliBop Festival again this year, and from our experience of previous years, I can honestly say these wagons would be ideal for both the kids and our baggage! 

"With a solid base and wide pneumatic tyres the wagon holds a capacity of up-to 150 kg."

And the possibilities are endless when it comes to customisation! Paint, bunting, flags, streamers ... How would you personalise yours?

We are so excited to be representing Brandon Wagons over the next few months! We couldn't think of a product more perfect for the events we have planned this Summer!

If you would like to know more about Brandon Wagons, submit your details here, and information will be delivered to your inbox!

For more about the lovely Brandon Wagons, stay tuned and watch this space!