On the Move

NEW Blog home-  I am going SELF Hosted …Aka I am moving blogs.. not far just a little hop skip and a jump to here  Elliebearbabi.co.uk  has a nice ring to it doesn’t it! The blog movers have been in everything was packed up and moved and after a day or two everything has been sorted and unpacked! Yay,  all my posts from here are now on the new blog 🙂 Im revamping the new blog a little as i have more control over it now as its 100% mine!! So there is a new look to go with the new .co.uk . Lots of exciting things coming up more Christmas themed posts, a few fab guest spots and the odd cheeky review!

It is taking me a little getting used to but im excited  i feel like its a great move and I hope you will come read and check it out lovelies! I have so appreciated the support all of you have given me in taking the time to read and comment on my posts it really means alot!

I’d love to know what you think of the new blog? Come say hi 🙂

Vicki xXx

A Very Beebies Christmas

My Christmas Gift Wish list from the gorgeous Beebies baby store 

It is so hard to choose from the many fab products available on Beebies store from gorgeous clothing for little tots through to messy play and role play toys. With my imaginary budget of £100 I have complied my little Wish list , so grab a cuppa put your feet up and have a little read …

Wooden Number Puzzle and the Wooden Alphabet Puzzles would be first on my list. Priced at £6.99 each . These are perfect longterm toys. Toys Mini can enjoy from now right through to school age with the added plus of being educational!

Next on my list is a BundleBean GO! Pink, this is genius! It fits onto  all buggies, bike seats, rear facing car seats and front style baby carriers. Its waterproof and fleece lined to keep little one snuggly. This would be so perfect for Mini. We travel alot in the car as my family live 80 miles away and its hard to keep a blanket on her in her carseat as she kicks it off. This would keep her cosy and comfy all the way to nannies. Because it is so versatile it then could be popped onto her pram when we are out and about meaning less blankets to haul about with us! Its £29.99 and also comes in blue or black! (Black would be perfect baby shower gift if you weren’t sure if the little bump was blue or pink).

Next would be My Buggy Clip Buddy £7.99 I had one of these but broke it when transferring it from our old pram to new pram. I miss it alot. This is a mummy essential!!! It gives you freedom when out shopping, I have hung my shopping basket on it, you can hang shopping bags or changing bag/handbag etc from it to take the weight off your arms and gives you the freedom to push the pram two handed instead of the one handed as most mummys out and about end up doing after shopping. 

Next is the PurFlo SleepSac in Pink 12-18 months £34.95. I have admired PurFlo sleepsac’s from afar for a while now. They are the most anti-allergenic,anti-bacterial sleeping bags on the market at the moment. It is made with cotton and bamboo fabrics with natural antibacterial properties. The filling is made up of amicor which helps dispel dust mites. I have a thing about dust mites, they give me the creeps, that and they are linked to both asthma and eczema of which both run in the family. For me this would give me great comfort knowing im putting Mini into a cosy warm environmentally friendly and safe sleepsac each night. It has detachable sleeves which I think is super as now the winter is here its a bit nippy at night so the option of extra layer of warmth for Mini sounds great. Then in the summer simply remove the sleeves for the warmer nights, win win!

I’d buy a Messy Play apron £3.49 and Chunky Paint Pens £3.99 for some fun messy play! Mini loves a good painting sesh!

And finally with my last fiver I would buy her a My First Christmas Bauble £4.99 in Pink, to put up in her room and keep as a lovely keepsake to remind us of her very First (squeals so excited) Christmas!! 

That concludes my wishlist. Go and have a peek at the wonderful variety of gifts and general gorgeousness they have in stock at Beebies for Christmas and all year round and have a #averyBeebiesChristmas x

*My little entry into Win your Beebies Wishlist comp* want to enter check it out here.. good luck

Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/  come say hi 🙂 x

Mini’s midweek memories


Yay iv’e actually managed to post this Mid-week i think that deserves a high five!

This week we cracked out the paint again, i’m quite ashamed to say we paint very rarely . I keep forgetting about it and then sometimes it seems too messy now shes bigger and takes off at zero given notice towards furniture etc. Also we currently have carpet in most rooms, yes I hate hate hate the carpets but still I don’t want little hand prints over them. (Though it would look cute).

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I set up  a roll of paper in the kitchen on the floor, on top  of easy wipe childrens tablecloth. Mini wore an old baby grow and we put 3 splodges of paint down and off she set.  She had a ball of a time! I was hoping to do some Christmasey colours but we only have currently 3 paints green, purple and yellow. Now your going to tell me if id mixed them I could have got x number of other colours.. too complicated for my frazzled brain .. ( remember its week 4 of solo parenting).

2013-11-26 17.15.09The end picture is really summery colours, we are going to put up in her room on her little doodle wall once its dry.

I put her in a 6-9months baby grow to do this as it is too small for day to day use and I was going to wash it to put into a charity shop after (the paints are waterbased easy washed off). When I looked at the babygrow afterwards though its so cute all brightly coloured paint splats, so like the little sad sentimental mummy that I am i’m keeping it. It is going into her memory box with a few little pictures of her painting and her final masterpiece.

I’m planning some more  Christmasy crafts with her over the coming weeks keep ur eyes peeled!

Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/  

Christmas with Toddlers

*Guest Post*- by the lovely Rachel who blogs at Activities4kidz 

This will be my third Christmas as a mum. Harrison was only six months old the first year and although it was magical and we took him to see Santa, he didn’t really have any idea of what was going on. Last year, he was eighteen months old so knew something was different but we also had Alex, who was only seven weeks old. Being extremely sleep deprived meant that Christmas passed in a bit of a blur!

This year however, we have two ‘proper’ toddlers and I’m detemined that it is going to be really special. Harrison, who is now two and a half loves all the lights and decorations in the shops and points them out excitedly to Alex, who is thirteen months.
To get us in the festive spirit we have been listening to lots of cheesy Christmas tunes (can’t beat a bit of Wham!) and have made absolutely loads of decorations.
We’ve made:
Lollystick Christmas Trees
Santa socks
Handprint wreaths
Salt dough decorations
Paper plate trees
We’ve also made gingerbread scented play dough and we’re going to be doing a Christmas treasure box full of shiny ribbons and bows, tinsel, sparkly wrapping pape and ornaments. We’re making some peppermint scented snow to play with as well. I’ve just recieved a book with 100 Christmas activities to review on thye blog so pop over to activities4kidz.wordpress.com to see more of the things we do! We’re going to have a go at making the
 reindeer food as well!
Every year we have gone to see Santa at Melbicks Garden Centre ( http://www.g-l.co.uk/static/online-tickets-melbicks.html) and to the German Christmas Market in Birmingham City Centre to soak up the lights, sounds and smells of Christmas. Also on the list is the Jolly Mixture Christmas Party, (http://www.jolly-mixture.co.uk/) which is the playgroup we go to every week.
Christmas Eve will be full of visits to family and friends as usual, having a sherry and mince pie (or 3!) before the excitement of putting down the reindeer food for Rudolph and his friends, a mince pie and milk for Santa!
No doubt Christmas day will pass in a haze of excitement, wrapping paper, batterie and assembling the hundreds of toys the kids will no doubt get whilst consuming ridiculous amounts of food and drink. I can’t wait!!!!
Merry Christmas
Rach xx
Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/

Elf on the shelf

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I have read so much about “Elf on the shelf” recently both on twitter and lots of lovely blogs. The traditional elf on the shelf is an American idea. It became super popular in 2005 after a company marketed it and made elves with lots of accessories to go along with them. However “elf on shelves” have been made since 1950’s.

Mini is 11 months she will be 2 weeks short of a year old on Christmas day. Even though shes still very young for Christmas we are making it as spesh as possible. To begin with I though nah don’t fancy this elf on shelf malarky but as December has approached I reconsidered but then of course couldn’t get an elf. Well I could get an expensive elf but I didn’t fancy it, then I remembered I had ordered a gorgeous handmade “Gnome” from Emma Berry a few months back. Iv’e been up at my parents staying as hubbs is away with work but when I arrived home a parcel was waiting and inside my lovely Gnome! Hes gorgeous and even though hes a gnome we are using him as an “elf”  for our own 1st ever “Elf on the Shelf”

Let me Introduce to you “Merry Berry” our elf on the shelf 🙂

Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/

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Sitting ready and waiting for Mini in the morning …

A lovely little limerick….

Centre parcs poetry challenge. 

This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 November challenge. If I’m chosen, I would like to visit Longleat Forest” 🙂 

Centre parcs  nature expert and Conservation Ranger, Emma Tapp set out 5 tips to help “bring out the inner poet”, our fave tip was number 2.Play outside – “Despite the drop in temperature, it’s great to wrap up warm and get outside in the fresh air. The sound of the leaves crunching as you stroll through the park or play in the garden is bound to get you and your children inspired, so why not head outside for a brisk autumn stroll before setting to work on your poetic masterpiece?”

This was our fave tip as we love getting wrapped up in our hats, scarfs and gloves, getting Mini all cosy in the pram and heading out for walks with our little dog, to our local parks and forests!

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Our little shed in all its autumnal glory!

Our little shed in all its autumnal glory!

We live in lovely little Northern Ireland so it is only right that we submit a “Irish Limerick” style poem for this challenge. Irish Limericks are traditionally funny, nonsense riddley rhymes, perfect for little ones so here we go

Mini’s surprise..

Way up North on the Emerald Isle,

a little girl sits with a great big smile.

Surveying the countryside, all around her

she sits in her pram and begins to ponder!

Why have the leaves on the trees all gone golden?

Oh she exclaims is it because they’re all olden’?

Just like Granda, Nannie and old auntie Pat

the leaves colours have changed, though they haven’t got fat?!

They’re all yellow, red and golden

some are orange red and cream

The colours are so beautiful she thought

It’s like a lovely dream.

But wait look at that branch, that branch over there

she shouts whilst waving her little fingers wildly in the air.

Oh  mumma whats happened hes lost his long hair ?

Mini exclaimed with a look of despair!

Mini my dear, never you fear for

Winter is coming and Christmas is nearly here!

The little branch thought it was time to prepare

So he sped off into town in search of new hair!

Just like daddy hes had a little trip to the barbers chair

as hes going down later to visit the country fair!

Hes been practicing his dancing, with your cousin franscein

and the rest of his hair fell of whilst he was prancing!

Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/

Little lucky shamrock.. fingers crossed our poem meets the grade 🙂 or i’ll have a face on me like a lurgan spade 😉

Butterflies & Dragons.. traditional toys

Djeco Forest Animal Blocks 

Mini adores blocks and stacking cups, has done ever since she was first able to pick up a toy. Her first port of call when playing is always blocks, she loves them and can spend ages playing with two, one in each hand. She loves clashing them off one another, throwing them, shouting into them, holding them over her ears and “listening” to them(i’d love to know what they say to her because she always looks so amused 🙂 ) And occasionally she attempts to stack them but they are really just a mini stacked pile! Most of our blocks and stacking cups are plain colours and plastic. I have been searching for some different more colourful ones for ages but never came across any. That is until I spotted the  Djeco Forest Animal Blocks  from Butterflies and Dragons. The blocks come in sets of 10, they are beautifully illustrated and vibrantly coloured. Themed on “Forest animals” each box is illustrated on all four sides.

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One side has a number with the same amount of items example no. 10 and 10 buzzy bees. When stacked on top of each other or in a line they go from number 1-10. Perfect to begin to teach Mini numbers and number recognition in a fun way.  Another two sides both have brightly illustrated forest animal pictures such as a hedgehog, owl or bunny (we love bunnies in our house its our little theme in Mini’s room). The fourth side has a tree print which when stacked all in order one on top of the other makes a large forest tree.

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When stacked they are 86 cm/ 34 inches  in height. They must look super tall to Mini but that doesn’t stop her knocking them down! Mini absolutely loves these, they are so brightly coloured she sometimes just studies them. The bigger ones are just the right size when upside down for fitting in other toys/ballpit balls. Mini’s new thing is putting things in and out of baskets, boxes etc so when turned upside down these boxes are the perfect for her to fit her little treasures in. 2013-11-26 16.09.36

They are designed to help develop hand eye coordination, imaginative play and to encourage little ones to learn to talk through play. They also help develop spatial awareness. They are perfect for both a boy or girl which I love, as I like to get Mini toys that she can enjoy but also are “long-term” toys that can be kept and used by anyone in the family over the coming years. I know a lot of parents now are looking for non-gender sterotype toys and these fit the bill if that’s what your after! They are for 12months-4 years, (perfect Santa Family gift for a range of ages of Siblings). They are priced at £12.99 which is a bargain I think as the quality is really great. They come in a neat compact box with a little handle so handy for storing away in a cupboard or toy box.

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If you follow me on twitter or have read my Christmas Gift guide here you probably have noticed I adore Butterflies and Dragons  (where these blocks are from) and for good reason too! They have the most fantastic range of wooden and traditional toys on the market, ranging from small puzzles perfect for Christmas Stockings to large wooden kitchens and much more. Have a peek online at their great range, its a must for all Santa’s. I have a feeling Santa may have his eye on a few little items for stocking fillers for Mini!

*I was sent these blocks free of charge for review purposes however as usual all the pictures and opinions are 100% honest and my own.*

Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/

Reindeer Food

It’s officially Christmas! well in our house anyway, the decorations are up! Yes everything tree, gel gem window gels, knitted nativity, corner tree, stockings… you name it I have it up! Now Don’t judge me, I have it up because hubbs is still away working and only home weekends, I have a craft fair this weekend coming and the next few weeks are going to be busy. Also this is Mini’s first Christmas and even though we are not home a lot at the moment I still want to have the house Christmasey looking for her for when we are there.

Any how your thinking what has this got to do with Reindeer food, um nothing I just thought I’d tell you since it relates to all things Christmas. So onto reindeer food, I have saw little packets emblazoned with this slogan in the shops both recently and last year. I have even bought a few packets over the last few years for the little ones I used to mind. They are essentially packets of super expensive oats and glitter some costing £5 (yes really £5)! I decided hey Mini and I can make these for a quarter of that. This is the first Christmas crafty thing she’s ever done, shes nearly 11 months so probably wont remember but Iv’e taken loads of pictures to include in her (first) Christmas scrapbook.

Here’s our Recipe: Malt wheats, porridge oats, baby museli and pot of glitter, stir in a little magic and shake to bake!

I didn’t think there was any point in going out and buying loads of ingredients that are expensive and wasting money, unless you are going to use the things like oats etc. So we used what we had in the kitchen cupboards hence the Malted wheats, porridge and baby museli. But you could use cornflakes smashed up, shredded wheat, loops etc.

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I popped the malted wheats into a clear sandwich bag with a zipper popped onto the highchair tray in front of Mini gave her a stacking cup and her fave maraca and let her bash the malts to smithereens til her little heart was content. Mean while I got a pot of glitter (which I had for crafts £1.00 a pot but you can get multipacks of like 8 for £1.00 in poundland or supermarket craft aisles) and poured it into a another bag, added the oats, museli and gave it a little shake.

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I then helped Mini to pour the smashed wheats into the oaty glittery mix. This was lets say not a 100% smooth transfer! We ended up with glitter in our hair, all over our clothes, socks, vest, you name it was glitterfied, even doos our schnoodle was glittery for days!  Many due to Mini getting so excited and grabbing a handful and throwing it like confetti.

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After we had got what was left of the mix into one bag I gave it a little mix and wha-la done! Reindeer food. I had made up a few cellophane cones using cellophane I wrap my Elliebearbabi items in, the night before so I spooned some into each cone and tied with a little ribbon.

We had a small bowl left over so I let Mini do some messy oaty play for 10 mins, aka tip the oats on your head, throw them all over kitchen and put down your vest! She had such a fun time. We are going to use the Reindeer food on Christmas eve and maybe give the other cones to her cousins too!

Her little smiley happy glittery face made this first Christmas Craft so special.. just the beginning I hope of  many happy Christmas memories to come.

If you fancy doing this at home or to give as gifts here is the little poem we are including on our reindeer food tag!

Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/

Mini’s midweek memories

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An “out-take” from our little photo sesh

#week 3

Yes yet another Mini’s midweek memories that is rather later than midweek. I will manage to get it posted some week actually mid-week I swear.

Any how this week started off with a few cheesy holiday snaps! We popped on Mini’s “my first Christmas” pjs from George & a cute santa hat also from george for the photos.  Yes I dressed the dog up and yes he loved it 😉 ! No this wasnt just for a laugh, ok it was kind of for a laugh but also for our Christmas cards. I got a pack of cards that are little frames that you can pop your own photo into, so I decided to take some funny festive shots for them. The “outtake” photo’s are funnier than the posy shots, as Mini decided to try and strangle doo’s whilst laughing, she also decided to hit him on the head with a toy egg and I managed to get it as a sequence action shot including her shocked face when she hit him and her saying “ohh deer” afterwards. Cutest thing ever and doos has the patience of a doggy saint. Bless him he puts up with a lot.

2013-10-28 08.22.13 As the week has went on things have went down hill Mini’s got the cold, full on nose running, chesty cough, lost her voice cold! Cue very sad, tearful and slightly grumpy baby. So we have spent most of everyday since having “duvet days” basically me attempting to get Mini to rest, me failing to get Mini to rest, Mini wrecking the place, hiding under the duvet, climbing over the duvet, crying, giggling, sneezing, coughing and rubbing snot over everything in sight including me!

Sleep has been few and far between, not helped by the crazy wind, rain and hail battering the windows throughout the night, come on weather give me a break! I’m still soloing now week 3 so I am officially running on caffeine and teetering on the fine line between ready to laugh and or cry at any given moment so please don’t show me that sainsburys Christmas advert or ill be a blubbering mess within minutes (dont know what i’m on about have a peek at it below, go on try not and cry. Warms my heart 😉 )

Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/

Funky Monkeys – Review

2013-11-17 13.06.04The fabulous Rebecca from Rainbow Mummy Blog and I were offered the opportunity to review funky monkeys soft play cafe, a branch of indoor soft play areas based in Northern Ireland. I was super excited as I had heard great things about Funky monkeys, the Larne funky monkeys was named Netmums soft play runner up recently and I was so looking forward to bringing Mini to the Lurgan one for the first time. We decided to go on a Sunday as we wanted to go together and Rebecca’s lovely lad is at school during the week, so weekends suited us best.

Funky monkeys is for children under  the age of eight. The space is well designed with a small open plan reception with seating area, with a gate dividing it from the main area. The main space is well laid out, with “party rooms” on the right, then the larger “play frame” . In the middle is tables and chairs with two smaller soft sofa seating areas. The  separate baby play area is at the left of the space, close to the baby changing & toilet facilities. There is a small cafe attached to the reception which opens onto the seating area, serving a range of healthy eating options as well as tea and coffee.

The staff were really friendly, I wish I had asked what the ladies name was who was dealing with us but I didn’t, she was lovely though. She apologised that the baby changing room lock had recently broke meaning there was no lock at all just two holes in the door, which wasn’t ideal as the changing room is directly beside the seating area but that wasn’t her fault. We didn’t need to use the changing room during our visit so it was all good. The staff took our shoes gave us a little ticket to get them back at the end, explained how long we had to “play” (90 mins).

We took a little table close to the baby area, plonked down our bags and set off to play. This was the first time Mini had ever been, I didn’t know how she would react. She is a really active 10 month old  always on the go, she can stand up on her own and move about holding furniture etc so I was hopeful she would love it. To begin with she wasn’t quite sure what to make of everything, she sat just looking around, taking it all in.  Then set off and there was no stopping her.

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The area is Brilliant, there is a great variety of  brightly coloured play equipment. The floor is cushioned, perfect for little tots to clamber over,  lots of lovely soft number cubes that can be moved about. Soft flower domes Mini loved these, they are secured down so they wont tip if they are jumped on! She’s a little small to get on top of them despite her best efforts.

There’s a small coloured “log bridge”  which she attempted but then abandoned every time when she got to the middle as she couldn’t figure out how to go down the slope bless her.  There are squishy frog and monkey see-saws the frog is slightly smaller than the monkey one so we had a little go on it. She giggled her head off! I remember playing on something like this when I was small at the play area we went too, so was lovely to see her play with and have fun on something that I loved when I was little. 2013-11-17 13.41.02

There are two fisherprice bounce and spin zebra’s one at each end of the play area. Mini loved these, so much so I have a feeling one may have to be added to her Christmas or Birthday gift list. I thought she wouldn’t be able to hold on herself as she’s only little but I was wrong.  I popped her on and she bounced up and down, put her foot down and spun herself round and round. Each time I took her over to something else she always seemed drawn back eventually to it again. For a toy like this that is i’m sure used so often they are in fabulous condition!

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The walls are all padded too with soft cushion/mats so if you have a toppling toddler you don’t have to worry about bumped heads off the walls! The walls are decorated with lovely pictures, a little sing along frog song and interactive monkey, frog, banana large soft shape sorter.

The area is surrounded by a soft wall, the wall has a few interactive things on it like little beads, squishy shapes, and a shape that squeaks when pressed Mini loved these.

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A couple of times a few bigger children probably around 6-8 years old charged into the baby area, they seemed to be with a few families who had smaller babies too and Mini was nearly toppled a couple times. I have quick reflexes though and saved her from a little ninja jumping off a flower dome but Rebecca came to the rescue and nicely but firmly pointed out to one father that his bigger children shouldn’t be in a “baby area” incase they landed on a little one and he kindly asked his kids to go back to the big frame.

2013-11-17 13.55.58After a while we stopped for a little cuppa and the little ones had some juice. The break didn’t last long for me though as Mini was far too excited to be there to stop for long and just wanted to go straight back to play.

We ventured into the bottom of the bigger play area as it was much quieter by this stage as most of the children seemed to be at one party and had gone into a party room so we popped over to have a nosy. There are two areas perfect for bigger toddlers, Suzie’s house an imaginative kitchen play area and a little car track area with a number of cozy coupe cars. Mini loves blocks, stacking cups and things that make alot of noise when clashed together, so she was so pleased to find some lego and a drum in the play house!

I didn’t really get a good look at the larger play area beyond the bottom bit but  it looked to have a great variety of things to do including mini football pitch, twin wavy slide, horizontal rollers, dizzy discs, splat pads, sky glides, vertical rollers, v-net bridge, cargo net, spiders web, bash bags and more. So lots to keep the kids entertained. Pop over to Rebecca’s blog for more info on bigger play area.

Funky monkeys have great party packages  catering for small to large party groups, including play time, use of party rooms and food (food can also be arranged for the adults attending).Party prices can be found online.

The entry prices for use of play centre are fab for under 4’s- £4.50 for over 4’s- £4.95 for under 1’s is £1.00 or free if with an older sibling that is amazingly good value. There are also membership options.

To top it off funky monkeys also run Activities during the week between 11-11.30 including breakfast club, arts and crafts, cookery and musical movement.

All the play equipment is really well maintained, clean and in great condition. The staff were really friendly and approachable and because of the size of the centre even if you where sitting at one of the tables you would still be able to see where your little one was most of the time. It really has a lovely family friendly atmosphere and I would highly recommend it to any N.I mum. Mini and I will be heading back soon for sure hopefully get to the musical movement too!

*We were given free passes to Funky Monkeys play cafe and free tea&coffee/juice, for review purposes. However all the views and pictures in this post are honest and my own* We loved it!!

Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/