Saturday, 31 August 2013

Days Out Guide: Banham Zoo with a baby

Hi guys,
In the latest of our series of fun days out with Wilbur, today we took him to Banham Zoo in Norfolk. He's almost nine months old now, and he really enjoyed his day! At Banham zoo you can see a lot of traditional zoo animals, such as zebras, tigers, giraffes and penguins. However these didn't excite the little man too much - the walls to the enclosure were too high for him to see any animals from his pram, and often when we got him out of his pram for a closer look they were too far away from him to see anyway. What Wilbur really enjoyed were the enclosures where you could interact with the animals: he loved the farm barn and stroked the donkeys, rabbits and goats without fear (in fact he cried when we took him away from the goats, and I suspect he would have stayed there all day) He also loved the zoo mascot Tony the Tiger, who sought him out for a cuddle, and the seals, who jumped out of the water so close to the little man it made him gasp with delight!
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We arrived and the zoo at 10.30am and left at 2pm, having felt that we had seen and done everything. As well as visiting each of the animal enclosures we had also seen the penguins being fed and enjoyed the Bird of Prey display (definitely a highlight of the day, this is a great show). However £17.60 each for just 3 and a half hours of fun seemed a little expensive to us: at half that price it would have been a great day out, but we felt we had been overcharged. If you're not counting the pennies though, it is a fun way to spend half a day.  photo babyzoo3_zpsa5b60292.jpg  photo babyzoo4_zps4acba158.jpg
Top Tips for enjoying your day at the zoo:

1. The food in the zoo isn't especially good: a southern fried chicken joint and a fairly expensive cafe offering traditional British food (pies, roast beef, jacket potatoes etc). However there are loads of really lovely places to stop for a picnic. We took our own food and were definitely glad we did, not from a financial point of view but because our lunch looked so much nicer!

2. Take a padlock for your pram. The train around the park, walk through Lemur experience and reptile enclosure were all inaccesible to buggies, requiring you to leave your pram in an unsupervised buggy bay outside. Call me paranoid, but I just wouldn't have felt safe leaving an £800 pram unattended unless it was padlocked up!

3. Don't miss the giraffes! Wilbur wasn't bothered by them, but Mike and I thought they were the highlight of the day! You can talk across the top of their enclosure, seeing a giraffes eye view of the world and coming face to face with these beautiful docile beasts. Lovely!

To find out more visit the Banham Zoo website.

Love Tor x

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Wilbur Reviews: The Joules Little Nipper Short Suit

Hello everyone,
Mummy was sent this lovely short suit from Joules to review, but she said because I'm the one that's wearing it, I should probably review it myself. When we first opened the packet the thing I liked most was the Joules label. I love chewing labels, and this one was lovely and thick and colourful: there's still enough cardboard left to chew now!  photo wilburjoulesreview1_zps7a7deef5.jpg
Then I noticed the brightly coloured dinosaur. I really like dinos, and this one feels soft and has a nice kind face. In fact, the whole suit felt really soft because the cotton is gentle against my skin and even the waistband of the shorts, which is normally the thing that is most uncomfortable for me, was made of the soft cotton too. When I was rolling around on the carpet chasing my toys nothing dug in or bothered me. And the size was perfect too: I'm seven months old now (I'm growing up fast!) and this suit is a size 6-9 months.
Mummy laughed when she saw the words on the T shirt, but I didn't really understand, because I can't read! But I think it has something to do with the noises that dinosaurs make when they got cross, like mummy does when I pull her hair.
 photo wilburjoulesreview2_zps1d389c9f.jpg The colours of the T shirt are as bright as they look in the photograph. The red is really eye catching. I like to wear bright colours because it means people stop to look at me and tell me how handsome I am, and I just love smiling at strangers! So overall, this is a good short suit for me. And there are lots of other boys clothes items on their website to check out too! Now I have learnt to clap my hands, I think I'll clap so you know how much I like it!

Wilbur xx

Mummy's note: This two piece set is available from Joules instore and online and cost £24.95. However we received this for the purpose of this review. It also comes in blue and orange with a crab design on it. Here's the link if you want a dino suit of your own. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Fabulous Summer Fashion Finds From Matalan

Hi guys,
We've seen a glimpse of summer this week - and I like it! Wilbur isn't too sure though: he gets hot and bothered very easily, and on more than one occasion I've had to remove his shirt and trousers, and push him around in his pram wearing nothing but his vest.

With this in mind, I've been shopping around for some trendy summer clothes for Wilbur: but I don't want to spend too much money, when the British summer is so damn short! I suspect if I buy high summer outfits, they won't be worn more than once or twice. And we aren't taking our summer holiday until October, so I'll need a bigger size for his holiday wardrobe. So I checked out Matalan.
 photo matalanboys_zpsabe4eeba.png Boys printed polo T shirt, £4
Stripe short and T shirt set, £7
Dungarees and top set, £10
Yellow chino shorts, £12
Boy Genius T shirt, £2
Geometric print shirt, £5
Canvas slip on shoes, £3

What do you think? Have you shopped for children's clothing at Matalan, and did you like it? And (that all important mummy question) if you have bought it, how did it wash?!

Love Tor x

Monday, 27 May 2013

Days Out Guide: Dinosaur Adventure, Weston Park

Hi guys,
It's a sunny bank holiday Monday, so obviously we joined the thongs of thousand of other parents to take Wilbur for a day out. We chose the Dinosaur Adventure Park in Weston Park, Norfolk (A short 20-30 minute drive from Norwich).

Entry cost £10.95 each for Mike and I, and (because he was under 3) Wilbur was free. We also spent £6.99 on a dinosaur for Wilbur in the gift shop, and that was it! Total day out - £28.89

We didn't buy any junk food/drinks because the dino park has a well-publicised indoor and outdoor picnic area, so we packed our own lunch and ate it outside in the sunshine. Which was much nicer than a soggy theme park burger, and cheaper too!
 photo dinoadventure1_zps0ef3b891.jpg
As you entered the park you were given an information book and a guide to the days events. There was a stamp collecting page inside each info book that was a really nice touch, and a great way to organise your trip. You had to collect 8 stamps from various attractions around the park, and you could then exchange your stamped sheet for a dinosaur medal: your reward for completing the task! We did this for Wilbur, but we got really competitive about hunting for all the stamping stations!
 photo dinoadventure2_zps0321269c.jpg  photo dinoadventure3_zpsd6244aca.jpg
I loved the dinosaur walks: lovely scenic nature walks with dinosaurs peering out from every corner. There were plaques so you could read about each dino, awesome photo opportunities, and even rangers stations so you could report back what you'd seen. Every part of the park was buggy accessible (which is obviously the path we took) but if you were buggy free you could climb over rickety rackety bridges, and clamber through the forest right up to the life sized T Rex!

The highlight of the day for Wilbur was the petting zoo: after looking at the goats, wallabies, pigs and tortoises, he held a guinea pig and a rabbit. He really loved the soft guinea pigs fur, and couldn't stop laughing as he stroked him. Which of course meant that seeing him so happy was the highlight of our day too!

There was a huge indoor soft play area and great outdoor adventure park too (for mums of older kids, I've heard this is the highlight of the day). At 6 months old, Wilbur was too young for these, but we can't wait to take him back next year and chase him up and down all of the giant slides! There was also a dinosaur themed obstacle course for the over eights, dinosaur themed crazy golf, and Raptor Racing (go kart fun!) . In fact there was so much to do I can't list it all: and we couldn't get everything done in our day!

There was so much to do for kids of all ages (from baby to early teen) and it was definitely a full day out that I would heartily recommend to other mums.

Visit the Dinosaur Adventure website to find out more.

Love Tor x

Monday, 11 March 2013

Wilbur: The mini gangster rapper!

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Hi guys,
Never has the fact that these little people we bring into the world have their own personalities been more obvious. Because even now, at three months old, it's very clear that Wilbur has his own musical tastes. And they are very very different from my own.

Not for my boy the tales of Incy Wincy Spider. He has no interest in the bears going over the mountain. Nope, the only music that can raise a smile and a laugh from my little boy is gangster rap. True story.

It started one day when he wouldn't sleep and as I was rocking him I started to sing R Kelly's Ignition (Remix). It was the 'bounce bounce bounce' part that got stuck in my head, because that's exactly what I was doing! Wilbur immediately perked up and started laughing. That song quickly became his favourite, and a guaranteed way to raise a smile. On it's own, this could be a one off. So his Dad and I decided to try an experiment.

Last night we had the first of what we have decided to call 'gangster rap hours'. We played Wilbur all of the rap we could think of: Usher's Yeah. Coolio's Gangster's Paradise (a real favourite). Even the thong song: we don't have much knowledge of rap, and it was all we could think of! He kicked his legs, he smiled, bounced and giggled. Then we tried playing our favourite songs: some Nirvana. Michael Jackson. These were met with a stony face and complete silence. During Smells like Teen Spirit he actually cried. And this from a boy who's parents will only listen to bands who play their own instruments: where does it come from?!

He's already his own person with his own tastes. My baby knows what he likes and it's songs about guns, expensive Champagne, and misogyny!

Wilbur's not exactly a gangster rappers name. But it doesn't look like it's going to stop him rolling with his homies.....

Love Tor xx

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Can you stop growing up now, please?

Hi guys,
Today was a momentous occasion worthy of breaking out the 'good' camera and snapping away frantically: today was the first time Wilbur wore a 3-6 month old outfit. He's officially outgrown his 0-3 month romper suits, which are leaving his legs scrunched and uncomfortable. He may be slight, but he has seriously long legs: he's going to be long and lean like his daddy! photo wilburandmummy_zps29f0d234.png
This joins a long list of firsts I've experienced over the past 12 weeks: his first smile, his first giggle. The first time he held a rattle and shook it: all. by. himself!!! It might not seem like a big deal to anyone else but to me each of these firsts is a massive occasion. His achievements make my day: but can I also admit that they make me a little sad because he is growing up FAR too fast!

Wilbur isn't a newborn anymore. He hasn't been one for a while if I'm honest, and he lost his newborn looks weeks ago. Now he has a proper, inquisitive little boy's face. He won't even let me hold him lying down like a baby any more (unless i'm feeding him) He likes to be sat up and watching the world go by: everything is fascinating to him.

I love my brand new Wilbur: he laughs when I smile, and is the only person in the world who truly appreciates my singing. I'm looking forward to a summer spent pushing him on the swings in the park, and introducing him to the joy of food for the first time.

But I wouldn't mind if time stopped for a little while, instead of flashing by in the blink of an eye. I want him to be my newborn baby boy for just a little bit longer...

Love Tor x

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Baby Boy's fashion bargain of the week!

Hi guys,
Yesterday I popped to the city to pick up a few bits and bobs, and whilst I was there I just couldn't resist a little shopping for the baby. This cute (slightly hipster, but I like that!) T-shirt is from Peacocks for just £3. Bargain! I especially loved the bowtie embellishment. Wilbur will be wearing this with his grey chinos and Converse for a very simple and easy but cool Spring look.  photo peacockstee_zps46a7784b.jpg
Peacocks might not necessarily be a place you'd think to look for baby clothes, but they have a really nice range that they're promoting quite heavily at the moment: lots of lovely romper suits, and a couple of lovely raincoats that would be perfect for the approaching April showers! Definitely worth checking out if there's a Peacocks store near you.

Their baby range covers sizes from newborn to 18 months.

Love Tor x

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Friday, 8 February 2013

The misery of Mastitis

Hi guys,
Wilbur had spent the past couple of days with a cold, so when I started feeling tired and achey, I assumed I'd caught his sniffle. Very quickly I started to feel worse and worse: shivers, chills, aching all over, the worst headache. So I took us both to bed. Then when I woke up my right breast was swollen and sore: it felt like I'd been punched in the boob! That's when I realised I had mastitis.

Two hours later (my doctor is amazingly efficient and always fits us in) I had been given antibiotics and sent home to rest. I couldn't believe how quickly it had come on. Thankfully, today I am starting to feel a lot better, but it's been a pretty miserable 48 hours!

Here are a few of the tricks I tried to ease the pain (thanks to my mum and Doctor Google) that seemed to help me feel better faster, and at the very least make me feel like I was doing something proactive to help myself:

1. A long hot bath with hot compresses. I jumped in the bath and placed a roasting hot flannel over my boob. The heat helped to ease the pain, but also encouraged let down, meaning some of the milk the baby wasn't drinking was released: hopefully helping to unclog everything!

2. Keep feeding. This is the most painful of all the tips, but apparently the most essential. If you don't keep feeding from the affected boob then the blockage will only get worse, you will get more engorged, and the pain will keep getting worse. So yes. Grit your teeth and feed your baby! But as my doctor said, still feed from the other boob too, or you'll end up with mastitis in that boob as well!

3. If you can bear to touch it, massage the sore part of the breast gently.

4. Take something to ease the pain. Ibuprofen and paracetamol are both safe to take whilst breastfeeding (Aspirin is NOT) so take something to help with the other symptoms: if you can get rid of that headache, then you're one step closer to feeling human again!

Have you suffered with the horrible pain of mastitis? How long did it take until you felt back to normal again? And do you have any other tips to have to help with the pain? They'll all be gratefully received!

Love Tor x

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Limited edition Peter Rabbit collection at babyGap

Hi guys,
To celebrate the 110th anniversary of Peter Rabbit, babyGap have brought out a limited edition collection inspired by the stories. I love every single piece of the collection, both for boys and girls: great colours, lovely prints, and a quintessentially English feel characterise the whole collection. Once you see it, I defy anyone not to want it!
 photo peterrabbit1_zps1a8c3f84.png  photo peterrabbit3_zpsb228a0fc.png photo peterrabbit2_zps4a6e0ece.png
As soon as I saw the collection in my local Gap store I picked up the knitted Peter Rabbit hat for the little man: he's worn it every day since, and it is officially my new favourite hat for him! I then thought about it and went back for the Peter Rabbit face knitted jumper and the rabbit printed polo shirt.

My favourite piece from the whole collection though is the knitted Jemima Puddleduck hat: it's almost enough to make me wish I had a little girl! I also really like the vibrant blue boys shawl collared cardigan: this could well be my next purchase for Wilbur!

Have you seen the Peter Rabbit collection yet? Any purchases? I'd love to know what you think of it!

Love Tor x

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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Baby brand lust: Little Marc Jacobs

Hi guys,
I love buying little designer clothes for Wilbur: much like my own wardrobe, his is mostly high street, but with a smattering of designer sprinkled on top! So far, he has a velour Armani babygro, Dior fur lined boots, a Stella McCartney checked shirt and bunny print top. And last week when I was in Westfield London, I picked him up a long sleeved Tshirt, and a fully lined romper suit and matching hat by Little Marc Jacobs:
 photo littlemarc1_zps6ad83602.jpg  photo littlemarc2_zps395e8cd6.jpg Marc Jacobs is one of my favourite designers and I didn't even know he made chidren's clothes, so you can imagine how excited I was! I was even more excited to pick these up for half price: I paid £17 for the Tshirt and £37.50 for the gift set.

You can buy Little Marc Jacobs online here.

Do you buy designer clothes you your little ones? Or do you think they're a waste of money? My logically brain knows that they are, but when I see them all small and cute I just can't resist!

Love Tor x

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Saturday, 26 January 2013

Boys like fashion too: Polarn O Pyret

Hi guys,
I love fashion, and when I found out I was pregnant I immediately envisaged buying frilly tutus and little pink shoes. Then I found out I was having a boy. Now I love my boy very much (and wouldn't swap him for the world) but it is hard to find cool outfits for tiny chaps. In any kids clothes shops the girls section is twice as big as the boys section. A lot of the big fashion designers have girls and baby collections but don't make clothes for boys at all. Basically boys are limited to a restrictive diet or jeans or cords and comedy logo T shirts. Not exciting at all!

So I thought I would share my journey into dressing my baby boy fashionably and whenever I find a shop I like, an outfit he looks particularly dapper in, or a really good baby boys clothing sale I would post it up here! First up is Polarn O Pyret.

Simple, stylish, Swedish designs. Great colours, great patterns, great prices. Basically I am completely addicted to Polarn O Pyret for all of Wilbur's basics. Here are my picks of the very best baby boys clothes they have to offer:
 photo pop_zpse96ad103.png mini sports bodysuit, £14.50
moose print trousers, £14.50
moose print beanie hat, £4
P.O.P champs baby sweater, £16.50
Classic leather moccasins, £12
Striped newborn all in one, £22

Any tips for dressing a baby boy to share? Any cool shops you think I should check out? I'd love to hear what you think!

Love Tor x

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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Tips: How to take great photos of your baby

Hi guys,
Since we had Wilbur I have become obsessed with taking pictures of him. I use my camera to document his every move. Now I've only been doing this motherhood thing for six weeks, so I definitely can't claim to be an expert at that (can anyone?) but what I do know a thing or two about, since taking them for blogs for several years, is taking a good (amateur) photo. So that's going to be the first of my monthly tips posts: how to take great photos of your baby:
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- Find a good angle
Because they can't sit up/support their own heads it can be hard to find a flattering angle when photographing your baby. Try lying them on their sides, capturing them when they're asleep (so much easier as they won't move!) or lying them on the ground so you can snap them from above. Another tip is to take their photo whilst they're lying in someone's arms: that way your assistant can use their arms to prop your baby up and angle them in the most flattering way.

- Don't forget the parts that make up the whole
Struggling to take a good whole-body shot of your baby? Focus instead on the adorable details: take photos of their tiny hands, feet, a close up of their face. You'll find it much easier than trying to fit all of them into your frame, and you'll be glad you documented those details when your baby gets bigger.

- Black and white is your flattering friend
Blotches, bruises, odd lumps and bumps. Childbirth is hard on babies, and the legacy of that often shows on their bodies for the first few weeks: and it doesn't photograph well! If you take a lovely photo but it shows your baby's blotchy skin or red marks then just remove the colour. A black and white photo is always so much more flattering.
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- Snap, snap, snap!
Always have your camera to hand and don't stop taking photos. To get that one photo where your baby is smiling/staring straight at you/not drooling you might have to take 100 bad photos in the same three minute period. Just keep clicking and your more likely to find the perfect photo in your set.

- Pick your moment
You will very quickly learn your baby's routine: the hours where they want to play, the minutes where they want to sleep, the long stretches where all they want to do is cry. So pick your moment. Don't try to get a good snap of your little one when they're screaming or being fussy: it's not likely to happen. Instead incorporate your photoshoot into play time. Make it part of the game and you're guaranteed to get some really great shots!

Do you have any extra tips on how to take great photos of your baby? I'd love if you could share them, I want my pictures to be as good as possible!

Love Tor x

My home: Creating the perfect nursery

Hi guys,
I've already posted about Wilbur's nursery over on the Fabfrocks at home site, but I'm cross-posting it here, because this post focuses more on the practicalities of his nursery, rather than the 'oooh doesn't it look pretty' stuff!
The shelving unit, cot, and wardrobe are all from good ol' Ikea. We just changed the knobs on the wardrobe door to make it look a little more unique. I heartily recommend the Ikea furniture: it's affordable, multifunctional, and because it's slightly smaller than standard-sized nursery furniture, it's perfect if you're short on space.
I chose a circus theme for the nursery. I wanted something child-friendly, but the practical forward thinker in me also wanted something that would grow with the baby so I wouldn't be redecorating the room every year.

The vintage circus posters (which we talked about here) are all from eBay. The cushions on the sofa are from Cath Kidston, Etsy, and Little Joules. Cath Kidston does a vintage circus print fabric that I absolutely fell in love with. So I made some bunting using it, and then enlisted my much craftier mum to make all the other soft furnishings in the room using the fabric: She made the cotton bags hanging from the wardrobe doors, the huge sofa throw, and the quilt on the end of the baby's cot. She even used the circus print fabric to trim his little towels: now that's attention to detail!

Do you have a theme in your nursery? How did you decorate, and do you have any decorating tips to share?

Love Tor xx