25 April 2019

What I've been checking out at the Aldi Baby and Toddler event

Oooh, it is time for another bargain hunting trip! Aldi, the purveyor of food and random products on it's centre aisle, has their popular Baby and Toddler event on again. I was asked to check it out and go buy my favourite things from the sale - here are my top picks! (And if you order stuff and want to save £5 - use this link! You get £5 and I get £5 using this)

It's a very popular event for people stocking up on nappies and wipes, and I got some of these too. I've used them before and thought the quality was great. There are lots of baby sleepsuits and vests as well at very inexpensive prices. 

In addition to these standard items, I quite liked the other selection too - there were so many relevant things for summertime and camping, and there were reusable baby products with Bambino Mio available again. 

Last time there were Bambino Mio reusable nappies - this time Bambino Mio potty training pants and Bambino Mio swimming trunks.  I think it is brilliant that a big event like this is used to generate a bit buzz for reusable nappy products - and they might pop on the radar of people who have never even heard of products like this. I actually knew and my first-born baby five years ago used reusable nappies nearly from birth, but reusable potty training pants - I've only discovered about a month ago that these exist... Anyway, I'm off to check the stores for the potty training pants this weekend, I hope there are some left as they are seeming quite popular! 

As we are going camping, I liked the look of the light-weight travel cot and the baby travel chair. Both very handy for camping, and to be honest, for many kinds of family travel this summer. As these are items that don't get that much use on a day to day basis I'm quite happy to find them a bit cheaper!

Few other items I thought were pretty handy - toddler backpack reins (saved my sanity many times with my older kid), a reward meal time tray (maybe this will be the key to a better eating child this time!), a pushchair stroller clip, and storage baskets. Now, let's see what's our local store offering us this time!

And if you are ordering stuff online and want to save £5 - use this link! You get £5 and I get £5 using this!

Have you been to shop to Aldi and did you check out this store event too?

You might also like: My top picks from Aldi Baby and Toddler Event January 2019

18 April 2019

What we thought of the Paradise Wildlife Park

During February half-term we were invited to review Paradise Wildlife Park, a family-run animal park in Broxbourne in Hertfordshire. It's quite unique, with a compact zoo, a huge play park for kids and a dinosaur park, with animatronic dinosaurs. Our daughter had been to Paradise Wildlife Park with her school a year before and was very excited to return - she had had an amazing time there. 

And amazing time we had again. We came after midday as I thought having a half a day would be more than enough, but there were so many things to do and see, we could have been there the entire day. 

mum and daughter at paradise wildlife park entrance

What attractions does Paradise Wildlife Park have?

In the rather compact zoo, there were plenty of animals to see and we spent several hours there. In many cases you could get quite up close and personal with them, such as in the Australian enclosure where wallabies roamed free. There were many family favourite animals, such as meerkats, otters, penguins and of course the big cats - lions, tigers and snow leopards. The white tiger, who unfortunately was out on a holiday when we visited, is one of the stars of the zoo and well worth a visit to see it. 

There was a huge outdoors play park for the kids to run around in and blow steam out. There were lots of structures to climb in, such as a pirate ship, fire engine and a tree house and slides. There was everything you would have in a big park - just on a grander and more outrageous scale. My daughter was ecstatic. In case of bad weather there is also an indoors soft play area, although we didn't have a chance to try this out. 

In addition there were also the animatronic dinosaur park, a crazy golf area, and a small train, none of which we had time to experience. I've heard good things about the dinosaurs though, apparently kids really love seeing them!

What is Paradise Wildlife Park like for families?

Accessibility at Paradise Wildlife Park was superb. We had a pram with us, but we were able to go and view all the attractions, including the tree top views of the big cats. At the play park there were specially adapted play equipment for children with mobility issues, so you could go on with your wheelchair. I thought it was fantastic that all kids are included in the fun, and families with babies will find it easy to move around the area too. 

There were a few eateries around the Park, and lots of snack booths. If you bring a picnic, there were lots of picnic tables dotted all across the Park, which was fantastic. Plenty of places to eat in, whether you bring your food in or not. We ate our picnic lunch underneath a tree, checking out the Red Panda climbing in it - such a fun experience. There are some small indoor picnic areas too, and the Speedway Museum if you need to eat indoors. 

I think the Paradise Wildlife Park was fantastic for families - there were lots of and a good variety of animals to see, animatronic dinosaurs to see as well, a huge play park which is great for kids, indoor play area for bad weather, a train, and so on.  Bathrooms are clean and roomy, and easily located. It felt like everything to do with kids had been thought through.

What was out favourite animal experience?

We loved seeing the animals - our favourite experiences were with the big cats. We got to see the lions feeding, which was quite a sight. The snow leopard was very adorable, and the tree top views of the big cats were great. 

There were great viewing points for many animals, including the meerkats, where kids could crawl into this structure inside their pen and see them quite close up. Otters were absolutely adorable too, and we spent a long time watching their antics, digging and playing. We spent a good deal of time seeing the monkeys in their houses and also a wide variety of bugs and other creepy crawlies. We didn't feed any of the animals around the park, but you can buy a bag of animal food for £1 - I think farm animals could be fed at least.

How did we find Paradise Wildlife Park  overall?

Overall we thought the Paradise Wildlife Park was great. So much to do and see, I was a bit annoyed we had reserved just half a day for visiting. We could easily have spent the entire day there and not get bored for one moment! One thing to pay attention to - the dinosaur park and the train close a bit early, so don't be like us and miss out because you leave them to the end of the day! 

Overall I thought it was a fantastic place for families with kids in different age ranges. There were plenty of things for the younger kids to do and a fantastic play structures for them to run around in, and older kids would likely really enjoy the talks and feeds and dinosaurs. All the facilities for families were there, including good bathrooms and picnic areas, and animals were well cared for. Some enclosures looked a bit small (like the penguins) but there are works undergoing to improve the animal facilities. 

We had a great time and would love to go back - this time we would pack a lunch, go straight in the morning and plan to spend the whole day exploring all the areas!

(I did note that they do Mother's Day deals, where mums go free on Mother's Day so am keeping that in mind for future years...)

You might also like: London with toddlers: London ZSL Zoo and What is London Zoo Land of the Lions like

5 April 2019

How to make a fun non-chocolate Easter Egg hunt?

I find Easter time is just filled with chocolate. I didn't think you'd ever hear these words out of my mouth, but it's too much chocolate. So I decided that for our Easter egg hunt, there would be none. It would be totally chocolate-free. Here are my tips on what to include and how to make a non-chocolate Easter egg hunt a success - and links to products would might like to try (affiliate). I've previously done also non-chocolate Easter baskets so check my ideas here!

My original worry was that my daughter would be disappointed with not having chocolate eggs, but this could not have been further from the truth. When we first did this for our then four year old, I asked her what did she think of the Easter Bunny not bringing chocolate. She said the toys were much more fun and that it was "The best Easter ever!". You might want to try this too if you find you already have too much chocolate (from well-meaning friends and family) or if there are allergies in your house - or if you just fancy a change!

empty chick easter eggs

What you need are empty plastic Easter eggs and lots of tiny items to fill them with. Before you go out shopping a little pro tip here - check what you already have back home. Kids have so many tiny little toys and kiddy jewellery forgotten at the bottom of their drawers... I found this was a great chance to re-introduce some of those forgotten little toys and get a bit of joy out of them before they end up in the bin.

Anyway, for the other stuff you might like here are my tips. 

You need:

Empty Easter eggs - I bought mine from Paperchase and this year they have slightly different eggs. You can find similar ones on Amazon too. I prefer the eggs to be decorated somehow and have cute patters - to look like little chicks for example. If you are not fussed though, most supermarkets stock plain plastic re-fillable eggs, which are quite affordable! These help in keeping the items dry and easier to find.

I've also liked wooden Easter Egg hunt signs - they stay good for years so you can reuse them again and again. 

Remember to save the plastic eggs as you can reuse them the following year for another Easter egg hunt!

Stickers - Kids love stickers right? These are handy as you can buy a multipack of stickers and divide them across eggs, or a few sheets and cut them into smaller sheets. Bunny stickers and easter stickers work well.

Hairclips and other accessories - If you've got girls these are great things to include in the Easter Egg hunt. Cute and practical. I included a variety of bunny themed hair accessories, and you can often find Easter themed accessories around Easter too.

Links to products if you are from USEaster chick eggsGolden Easter eggs;  Wooden Easter egg hunt sign kitEaster foam stickersEaster sticker sheetsBunny hair ties and Bunny hair clips

easter egg fillings stickers hair clips toys

Small decorations - At Easter time you can find these tiny little fluffy chicks and bunnies that are used as decorations and in crafts. They are great to include as they are small and very cute, so kids love them.

Keychains - I found primary school kids have this thing about keychains. It seems to be very trendy now to decorate your bag with different kinds of keychains, so these Easter themed ones and bunnies were a great success.

Healthy snacks - Why not include some tasty snacks for the kids? Raisins, dried fruits, fruit rolls etc. My kid especially loves Bear Nibbles, much to the chagrin of my wallet.

Links to products if you are from US: Easter mini chicksBunny key chainBear Nibbles

easter egg hunt non chocolate ideas

Right, I'm not gonna kid you as this will be more expensive an Egg hunt than if you just bought little chocolate eggs... But you can bring down the costs by buying stickers and those small craft decorations, both are cheap and plentiful and you can divide one pack across several eggs! You could also hoover around the kids rooms to find any old discarded tat they love but have forgotten at the bottom of their drawers - you know there are plenty of those things - and re-introduce them!

And if you are thinking of Easter baskets for your kids, check my ideas for non-chocolate Easter baskets!

What else would you include in a non-chocolate Easter Egg hunt?

Top tips and ideas on how to stage a non-chocolate Easter Egg hunt for kids - ideas and links for products to buy kids would love to get.

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