Sunday, 27 October 2013

Long In the Tooth - #ORALBLoveYourGums Challenge

"Long in the tooth - means: old, aged

It is a 19th Century expression that comes from the barnyard. As a horse gets older, its gums move back and the teeth appear longer. This expression was eventually passed on to humans!" *

I've always known how important it is to look after your teeth but I have rested on my laurels a little bit. I always thought the danger lurking round the corner for teeth was decay, and for that reason I never missed the twice daily brush up. I have no fillings at the ripe old age of 37 and I've always been proud of that fact. But, and this is a big but, my gums are receding. And I hate it. I know all the things you're meant to do to get healthy gums and to prevent and slow down gum recession but I have to admit to being really rubbish at putting all my knowledge into practise. I always blame lack of time. I know bleeding gums are a sign of a problem and regular flossing will help to reduce the bleeding; however I always feel too tired at bedtime to do it and nowadays in the morning, my focus is on the kids teeth, rather than my own. I would never forgive myself if I couldn't look after their teeth.

I always remember my first ever visit to a dental hygienist over 15 years ago. She put the goggles on me and she attacked my mouth with such ferocity that there was a blood bath. I know she was doing it to show me the extent of my problems but what actually resulted was a real fear of using floss and I didn't revisit the hygienist for a few more years after that (I still kept up my dental check ups though). Although I have no fillings, I do have little cracks at the sides of my teeth where the gum has receded and they are now quite sensitive with cold food and if the tooth brush prods in certain places, it's not pleasant. I definitely believe that pregnancy accelerated my gum problems, apparently 1 in 2 women develop gum problems such as swollen and bleeding gums. 

I always try to instill in the kids the importance of brushing their teeth. They are still quite young to understand but I never forget being at primary school and being given a tooth brushing kit which included those red disclosing tablets. I loved using those, cleaning all the traces of the red dye from my teeth!  When I was in my teenage years I was also the lucky owner of train track braces, which meant I had to be even more careful about cleaning them with all the bits of metal stuck all over them! To think that I have taken so much care of them but they may drop out because I've not properly got in the nooks and crannies really upsets me. So with that in mind I started to use Oral B Pro Expert, which has been clinically proven to prevent and reduce gum problems in 4 weeks. I'm using it in the hope the claim is true and it works to pull my teeth back from the brink!  Writing this post has also reminded me that I need to get the whole family electric toothbrushes. The dentist recommended this a long time ago to me as it helps with the brushing action, stopping me from violently scrubbing them. I want to hang on to my own teeth for many more years, so it's about time I started following the advice from Oral B.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ #ORALBLoveYourGums Challenge sponsored by Oral-B, promoting healthy gums – something especially important for pregnant women. Get tips and advice on

* Quote above from Wiki Answers. 
I was sent a tube of Oral B pro expert to try

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Gorilla at The Polka Theatre - Review

I must be really late to the party as I've only just found Anthony Browne's book Gorilla. What a lovely story and what a great job The Polka Theatre has done bringing it to the stage! We saw it on Saturday and had such a lovely time. For anyone who doesn't know it's about a little girl who has a rather big obsession with Gorillas. She thinks about them every waking and (non waking) moment. On the eve her her birthday she goes to bed with just one wish, to get a REAL Gorilla for her birthday. Her disappointment when she opens her present in the middle of the night to find that it's a toy gorilla is very physical, she throws it across the room and returns back to sleep. Only to be woken, not too long after by her toy gorilla who is now fully grown and who offers to take her to the zoo. And there starts a wonderful moonlit night of friendship and adventure between Hannah and the Gorilla; where they share a trip to the zoo, a visit to the cinema and a birthday tea together where Hannah can choose whatever she likes from the menu in unlimited quantities.

I loved the relaxed nature of the show - it's in the very intimate Adventure Theatre at the Polka and the kids can sit on the carpet right in front of the action. There are a few benches towards the back that people can sit on but it's nice to feel a part of the show. It's a two person show and both actors also do the puppeteering and all set moving. They were both fantastically skilled and had a lovely chemistry. I asked Isla what she liked best and she said she liked it when the Gorilla grew big, which is actually when the parts of Hannah and the gorilla are played by the puppets. So even though Hannah and the Gorilla are small as puppets, she grasped that the Gorilla had grown.

We also loved the part when Hannah and the gorilla go to the zoo and they look out into the audience and make out that we're the gorillas! On each side of the set were the haunting faces of the Orangutan and Chimpanzee from the book, both looking so very sad. There is a great song, 'Cherry on Top' during the birthday meal that Hannah and the Gorilla have and you can listen and download it here Both of mine loved it. 

We couldn't fault this show at all, it stays completely faithful to the book and brings it to life just how I would expect it to. For us this is a must see and we're looking forward to returning to the Polka Theatre for more fabulous productions in the near future!

Gorilla is on at The Polka Theatre until February. The running time is 45 minutes and the recommended age is 2 - 5 year olds

We were given free tickets to see Gorilla in order to give this review but all views expressed are my own.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Our Spooky Halloween Party!

This weekend we had a Halloween party. I know it's early, but the kids didn't know any different. Except they do now, as I kept telling them, it's not ACTUALLY Halloween yet but we're just having a party. So now they realise it's still not Halloween and we have to keep all our spooky decorations up for another 10 days! Hmmm. I also got very carried away with the production of bats, ghosts, spiders and webs and the kids loved helping. So here's our Halloween party in photos. We invited a couple of friends and their kids and they had a blast!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Toddler Tantrums Are in Full Swing

Last weekend we decided to go on a bug and nature hunt at a local park. It's a park we haven't been to as a family before as it doesn't have a playground and generally that is the requirement for any park visit. It had been a pretty tantrum top heavy weekend and I was hoping that a stomp through the park on a gorgeous sunny day would blow away the cobwebs and I'd packed a little treat for each of the kids, a sponge snack called 'Barny'. We'd been sent a pack of both flavours, chocolate and milk and they had gone done very well indeed. They are individually foil wrapped so perfect for popping in your bag for a trip out. 

For our bug and nature hunt we took a magnifying glass, container to look at any creatures and also a basket to collect all our nature finds. The kids donned their wellies and Isla especially was really excited about having a rootle around in the hedges and logs that were lying around. Both of them are fascinated by the conkers at the moment, so we collected plenty of those and a few acorns. 

We also came across mushrooms growing and these amazing leaves that had gone all skeletal. I'll leave Isla to tell you what she found here in this video - I can't quite believe how South London she sounds - "Nature Fings"!

Anyway, it was all going swimmingly until Noah did a poo in his nappy, which coincided with us bumping into friends who had a new Golden Retriever Puppy. While I was chatting to our friends I was also trying to usher Noah over to OH to get the smell sorted out and I didn't see that the puppy had jumped up at Isla. She freaked out, was screaming hysterically and then Noah started screaming too and it was one of those moments when you just wish the ground could swallow you up. The puppy was just being friendly, nothing threatening at all but it was enough to terrify Isla and so that began the downward spiral of our lovely park visit. Even the munching of the Barny bear snack didn't turn things around. 

We tried to carry on with our bug hunt but everything had been thrown off kilter and Noah was ramping up to have another one of his 1 hour tantrums (I knew this because I'd experienced two of the most explosive ones the day before.) He was insisting that I picked him up and I was refusing as he is over 2 now, really heavy and my shoulder is really giving me a bit of pain lately. So he followed me through the park screaming and crying, then did all the usual irrational things that a 2 year does. He also does this awful spitty/ dribbling thing when he really goes for it. He'd brought his scooter to the park but then didn't want to scoot. So eventually I ended up carrying him and the scooter and then the major disappointment for Isla was that we decided to cut the park visit short and not go to the cafe, which looked so enticing with lots of outdoor tables. We were supposed to be having a lovely morning at the park and it had just gone tits up. 

About to Blow...
So there you have it, we tried to be Adventurers but the terrible two's cut our exploring time down. But we did manage to have some fun and we did talk about our finds. Not every family excursion is idyllic and I'd be lying to you all if I said it was. It's hard work at the moment with Noah's sudden outbursts, I've even found myself taking solace in a Barny bear snack!

This post is an entry for BritMums ‘Little Adventures Challenge’ in partnership with Barny, the bear-shaped snack providing a little discovery in every bite. Find out more about Barny here 

Lost My Name - Book Review

We review a few children's books on this blog, but I'm going to say that the two books that I have been sent most recently are the most gorgeous and enchanting books that the kids currently own. They are personalised books made by and I was lucky enough to get one made for Isla and Noah. They are both the perfect age for the books as Lost My Name say that they are for children between the ages of 2 and 6 years.

The premise of each story is that the little boy or girl in the story has lost his or her name and they go on a journey to find it, collecting letters along the way from all sorts of creatures, some we'd heard of, some we hadn't (the Nabarlek really appealed to Noah!) and finally the child has their name back and better than that - they see their name in a book, in actual print! Which they inevitably love. The whole concept of this book, finding the letters, has come at a very good time for Isla as she's just started in reception and in the last 3 weeks she has begun to sound out letters all the time. She loves it. 

Noah loves his book too, and as I mentioned the Nabarlek is his favourite creature in his book. He asks loads of questions throughout. The other good thing about having a book for each sibling is that we've got to see more creatures through them having different letters in their name, although they both have an Aardvark in their stories. And just because the 'Isla' book is about a girl and the 'Noah' book is about a boy, it makes no difference to the kids, they like to hear each others stories as they have different creatures to read about. I wondered what would happen when one name had two of the same letter and I got to find out when I ordered a book for my friends little girl. Her name had two 'I's' and there were two different illustrations for each I. This got me thinking that there must need to be so many different illustrations for all the letters - in fact I found out that there are over 150 illustrations to cover the 14000 different children's names in the 2011 census. Wow.

Another aspect of the books that I must mention is the ease with which they are made. You go to the site, you type in the name you want, you even get to see a preview of the books online and then you order. Simple! It states on the site that the books will be with you within 10 days and they are. They are a lovely big A4 size, giving the beautiful illustrations enough room on the page to really draw you in to the magical story. 

So there you have it. It's a wonderful concept, a personalised book made by an independent company who have funded everything themselves. I may well have been sent two free copies but I've since bought another copy as a birthday present as I believe the quality and the creativity of these books is unique and special enough to be a gift. I know some people will think £16.99 for a book?! But actually once you've owned one, you will see how individual these books are and the thought and care that has gone into making this whole project a reality. 

We were sent 2 books free of charge in order to review them. All words and opinions are my own.

Friday, 11 October 2013

We Are Polka Theatre Reviewers! First Up: Gorilla!

We've been very lucky to be asked to be reviewers of Polka Theatre productions! I haven't taken the children there before but I remember the theatre from when I was little (yes, a long time ago!) and I cannot wait to revisit. 

Our first review will be of 'Gorilla', and it sounds fabulous! 

Hannah loves gorillas, but she’s never seen a real one.

It’s the night before her birthday and something amazing
is about to happen...

When Hannah’s toy gorilla comes to life, dressed in her
father’s coat and hat, they embark on a thrilling, moonlit

Meet the world’s friendliest gorilla this winter as
we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the classic
award-winning picture book by former Children’s Laureate
Anthony Browne – brought to life with puppetry, music and
a giant sprinkling of Polka magic.

We'll be going along to see the show next weekend and we'll have a review on the blog to give you the low down on what we all thought. 

Check out the details and ticket info for Gorilla here:

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto #MiniMe

We love our Nescafe Dolce Gusto Melody Coffee machine. We got it 6 years ago as a wedding present and it's seen a fair bit of use. However when I saw this new coffee machine, the Mini Me, I really felt like I wanted to trade in my old one for this new one! My main motivation is that the Mini Me is so compact. In fact with the Mini Me it would be ideal to have one in the kitchen where our space is at a premium AND one in the bedroom for an immediate coffee infusion from the minute I open my weary eyelids in the morning! I love the design of it too, it's sleek and stroke-able. 

I got lucky and had New York Coffee artist Michael Breach do my portrait. I am now immortalised in coffee - which when you think about it is quite apt given that coffee is my daily saviour with young children.......

NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto are also running a competition next week to win a Mini Me machine so if you fancy trying your luck at winning one of these little beauties then go to their Facebook page: GOOD LUCK!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Moving Up to a Big Boy Bed

Lots of people ask the question "When does a baby move from a cot to a bed?" and I think the answer is really very dependent on the individual child. I remember when Isla moved from her cot to a toddler bed and it definitely signalled the end of babyhood, she was just past 2 years old. Seeing her in her new bed, she looked so small, yet so grown up at the same time. So the time came recently for Noah to leave his cot and make the leap to a toddler bed and it was again the end of his babyhood, also at 2 years old. But to me it was more than that as he is definitely my last baby and therefore the cot was packed up and given to a friend and I felt a lump in my throat. And so started a new chapter, of training him to not keep getting in and out of bed at bedtime. To be fair to him, he's not been too much a of terror for that, like his sister was. He knows he can get out whenever he wants but in the morning he prefers to sit up in bed and just yell "MUUUUMMMY" until I come running.

He was very pleased with his new bed and it seems like since he's been sleeping in it he's grown even more. He loves the little shelf on the side, for his water beaker and to put his trains that he insists on going up to bed with! The head end of the bed has side panels to help stop him from falling out, which is great while he gets used to sleeping in a bed with no bars. I love the storage boxes that slide under the bed - very useful for a room where the children share. The fact that it's Spiderman also makes it 100% big boy material, but that doesn't stop him from saying he's a baby every time I try to get him to start potty training......

We were sent the Spiderman Toddler Bed free of charge from in exchange for this post. All words are my own.