The Trunki PaddlePak – A Review and Giveaway

We were offered the chance to review a Trunki PaddlePak of our choice and after browsing their website chose Kaito, the Killer whale. The Trunki PaddlePak is a water resistant back pack which is the perfect thing for children that are out and about on their daily adventures and not so daily adventures.

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When Little Z was about 1, he would scream his head off and not go in the pool at all, clinging to his Daddy like a little koala bear. I remember sitting cross legged with him in the extremely shallow end of the children’s pool where he would instead play with his bucket and spade and tip out water happily.

When Little Z was about 1 and a half he got a bit more brave and would venture in, a bit tentatively at first, and then enjoy splashing us. He still didn’t like to be too adventurous but at least he was in the water and enjoying it and that’s the main thing. Over time we got him arm bands and cool shorts and cool tops and he now enjoys going more and more. We are at the “lets try to encourage him to get his face wet stage”.

So reviewing a Kaito PaddlePak was ideal to carry all his swim stuff, and arm bands, and sandals, and all the other stuff he insists on taking!

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First Impressions of the PaddlePak

The recommended age for the PaddlePak is around age 5. With Little Z being nearly 4 we thought it would still be suitable for him and we were right. Little Z immediately loved it and wanted to wear it everywhere including in his car seat, which obviously isn’t possible. It made us chuckle a bit to see him looking like he was carrying a slightly biggish whale on his back and the black colour is ideal for our little mucky pup who would gladly roll about and tumble about on the floor ALL the time. Its definitely a good test of durability. It also wipes clean very easily which is another much needed feature on anything for a small child.

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The Kaito whale PaddlePak is quite a spacious rucksack and has a 10 litre capacity. (Others hold 7.5 litres) I’m not sure we would ever use the totality of it. So far, we’ve used it to mostly carry snacks, drinks, a damp towel and wet swim clothes. The inner lining is water resistant feels of a good quality. It has a unique roll top with a clasp that clips together. Little Z can’t quite do it on his own but I do like it like that right now. Else he’d be spilling out the contents repeatedly showing all the contents off when the mood took him. The tail has a little zipped pocket on the inside and a mesh pocket on one side.

The PaddlePak has 3 fins, as it should for a whale! One on each side and a bigger black one on its back. One of may favourite little touches is it’s white teeth and pink tongue poking out from the top. It has adjustable straps and a Trunki grip to hold those cool little shades that little people wear. Its a really nice bag for little swimmers and those that could do with something water resistant. Even when Little Z isn’t going for a swim he loves taking snacks and drinks in his (which he has a knack for spilling!) so it is perfect for us. The fact that its so durable and easily cleaned makes it less likely to need putting in the washing machine too often.

The Giveaway….

Trunki are kindly giving away one PaddlePak of your choice to one lucky winner. All you have to do to enter is the following:

Visit the Trunki website and leave a comment below to say which PaddlePak you would like. That’s It!

For additional entries, follow the links in the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway is only open to UK entrants and the giveaway will close on the 15th October at 11pm. A winner will be chosen at random after this date.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/trunki-paddlepak-5#sthash.XRNImddi.dpuf

The Lies We Tell – AKA Excellent Parenting Advice

As parents there are numerous times during the day you will be presented with moments where excellent parenting needs to kick in. The need to instil lessons that will stay with our children for a lifetime. The importance of teaching right from wrong. The little principles we should be ingraining into their little impressionable minds. There are also times when it is essential to stand firm and explain why your child can’t do something that’s not good for them.

It is possible that, as parents, we start to use little white lies. Ones that are essential at that point in time for the well being of their future. For example….

On explaining the importance of good healthy diet.
Little Z: Mummy can we get chips from Old McDonalds
Me: Ummm…Maybe not today…
Little Z: But whyyyyyy?
Me: Because its closed.
Little Z: But whyy?
Me: Err….Because some naughty little boy broke it and now he’s going to get in trouble from his mummy so its not going to open again.
Little Z: ………Ok then.

On encouraging child to eat 3 square meals a day every day…
Little Z: I don’t like my fishfingers
Me: Ok I’m going to give them to Daddy
Little Z: No I want them…
Me: Oh I don’t know…Don’t tell Daddy then
Little Z: Ok, shall I make them disappear in my mouth?
Me: Good plan!

On getting child to sit in a car seat at appropriate speed to go to the supermarket (i.e. less than 10 minutes)
Little Z: But I want to look at the horn / random thing on the floor, leaves / mushroom / the neighbours
Me: Pleeeeease get in the car seat, we’re going to be late!
Little Z: But I’m smelling the flowers…you smell Mummy.
Me: Ok you smell the flowers and I’ll go to Aunty P’s house
Little Z: I coming! *Rushes into car seat*

On explaining to child about why noisy toys and the appropriate volume to play them at within the house.
Little Z: Where’s my (extra loud) keyboard, car, drum set, recorder
Me: Ummm….
Little Z: But I need to play my (extra loud) toy / flute / car / drums
Me: I think the hairdryer took it….
Little Z: Oh ok….Shall we go out?
Me: Yes!

Of course it is entirely plausible that the lies we tell transform, exponentially, from little white lies into huge fantastical lies. Colourful stories spun on the spur of the moment. It is probably at this stage parenting advice may need to be reviewed. Slightly.


The Little Things (Loud n Proud)

Sometimes thinking of proud moments doesn’t come too easily. It’s a lot simpler when your child is a baby. They have milestones that they will hopefully reach around the time the books and all the baby blurb tell you. They are big happy very obvious milestones. They will sit up unaided. They will start crawling super fast across the room and make it hard for you to watch them. Then they’ll pull themselves up and before you know it they’re racing about causing toddler havoc pressing all the buttons they can find on your TV all at once.

When they become a small child aged 3 you need to pay closer attention to the milestones. They’re not always big bang and they reach those heights in different ways and at different speeds. Each little person seems to show flairs for some things more than others and, as a parent I guess it becomes our job to watch and harness and encourage the talent.

Watching Little Z over the last months I’ve noticed he loves languages and has a bit of an affinity for them. He enjoys watching Peppa Pig in Spanish (Don’t ask why, I have no idea) and through “Dowa the Esplowa”, he’s learned to count to 10 in Spanish. Being Asian and tri-lingual its something the Other half and I always had a mutual agreement about. We’d teach him all the languages we speak. I have to say we’ve been pretty crap at doing this as we only speak in English at home and mostly to our parents too. Until very recently Little Z thought speaking any Asian words was absolutely hilarious and would regularly say it mockingly back to us any time we attempted to use anything other than English. Recently though he’s taken an interest and thankfully the Grandparents are trying to instil at least the basics into him so he has some understanding of “his background”. It seems to be working and, whilst he still thinks its the funniest thing ever to speak different languages, he can now say a handful of sentences in 2 other languages besides English.

So maybe he’ll be a translator when he grows up. Or maybe he’ll just find it hilarious forever and keep proclaiming “he said a funny word!” through his laughter. Hopefully not. Obviously!

Loud n Proud is a linky all about your little and big proud moments, whether its about you or your family. All new and old, small and big posts welcome. Just grab the badge and use the linky tools below. The linky is open till Sunday night.

Next week your friendly host will be Suzanne from 3 Children and It

Not My Year Off



A Day Out to Edinburgh Zoo

In our excellent vague planning on our drive up to Edinburgh we had decided to do a big out to Edinburgh Zoo so that Little Z would have at least one very child centric day out. What we didn’t realise at the time was that about 95% of Edinburgh was child friendly and that he was going to love pretty much everything we did. The castle, the walks through all the parks and gardens, the running up the Scot Monument and the wandering around the historic mile, as well as the very modern Princes street. The only thing we didn’t dare attempt with a three year old is Arthurs Seat. We hadn’t really looked into it properly and weren’t sure if there was a very easy path for a small child to run up. And then once he was at the top we weren’t very sure if he would stay relatively static in one place. So Edinburgh Zoo was going to be his big one. As well as the hubby’s if he’s completely honest.

Edinburgh Zoo is located about a 10 minute bus journey from Princes street and we piled onto a wifi friendly bus (everything happened to be very wifi friendly!), and made our way there. It was a quiet week day so the queues were non existent and we were in almost straight away. We’d been really looking forward to seeing the pandas and I’d known Tian Tian was due any day now but not kept up to date with it all and assumed she had given birth. Unfortunately we found out that she was about 8 days overdue at the time and the signs weren’t looking too good for her. It was lovely to see most of the zoo staff could tell you exactly how old she ws (11 years old) and that they were all still holding out hope that she’d have a little cub, especially after her miscarriage the previous year. Sadly, to date I’m not sure anything has been announced so I think its not going to be her year this year. I was surprised to find that Pandas enter oestrus (mating season) for 2 to 4 days a year. THAT’S IT!!!! So Mr Panda needs to really turn on the charm and the chocolates and the Barry White music or else its another year gone. Here’s hoping she has a much better year next year. So I didn’t get to see her but I did walk away extremely knowledgeable about Panda birth and breeding.

One of my favourite things to see was the Penguin rocks enclosure. They have a large number that happily flap and waddle and swim all day long and even do a daily parade outside of their enclosed area. We all dutifully lined up and, apparently, they will gladly swipe at handbag handles so we were told to keep them well out of the way. After a lot of excitement we watched the penguins come up to the door and then suddenly have a change of heart and take a running dive straight back into the pool. So we didn’t get our parade either but it was a lot of fun to see them waddle out to the gate in a group and take a nosey peek outside. Its also lovely that their keepers don’t force them to do anything they don’t want to. The penguins are much much in control and decide whether they want to put on a show that day.

The zoo was one of the best we’d been too and I realised I’d never seen a one horned Rhinoceros in the flesh before visiting there. Little Z kept insisting it was a “horsey” really loudly no matter how much we corrected him, and I swear I caught a glimpse of a cheeky smile from him hinting he was winding us up. With the Zoo being so vast with all its hills and walks he enjoyed giving his little legs a workout and pretty much ran around non stop picking up every perfect looking golden leaf from the floor. We spent a lot of time waiting for him to select his latest one from from the ground. His most favourite bit had to be seeing the Meerkats. He stills doesn’t quite get that Meerkats are not named Alexandser or Oleg, or that they don’t really wear clothes, so he spends a few minutes confused about why they’re running about in the nude. He was pleased to see them in their birthday suits nonetheless.

I was really impressed with the selection of animals and wildlife they hold. We saw everything from very large looking sea eagles to rhinos to a very big lion enclosure and its evident they are committed to giving their animals a good home. It’s a place that would take most of the day to get around. My one recommendation would be to take lots of snacks for little ones (and big ones). Most of their cafes and shops were shut so we resorted to buying a lot of cake from the coffee stand that we did find. We left with two very happy boys and talk of coming back again, next time to definitely definitely see the Pandas. Hopefully.

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Dearest Little Z at 3 years and 9 months

Hello Little Z,

So you’re 3 years and 9 months old and back to pre-school again. You’ve moved up a group now and its strange to see some of the children have disappeared and joined the big world of primary schools. The ultra smiley and huggy boy that would hug absolutely everyone as they entered the building has gone too. You really liked him even if you didn’t admit it. I wonder if he’s now hugging teachers at his new school. You’re definitely a lot more confident this year and the key workers have commented on how you don’t shut up. So I know for certain you like it there.

Can you believe it’ll be your uncles wedding next month? The way you two squabble is like having two little children to look after. You absolutely love all the shopping that’s been going on and love coming on all the countless trips to organise everything. You’ve gotten so used to going out on different trips that you’ve been talking in your sleep at 3am asking where we’re all going today. You’re not liking routine too much right now but I think we can all do with a slight bit of routine back again.

You are still going going strong with all your stories and ask for them all the time. Your favourite books right now are the Fearsome Beastie and Jampires. You like the latter so much you’ve started eating jam sandwiches. I’m definitely not complaining but jam sandwiches at 8pm are probably not the best idea.

We have just come back from Edinburgh and we all loved it lots. I was a bit nervous about driving 3 to 4 hours up to Scotland and the risk of you needing a wee within seconds (and a wet car seat!) but you were brilliant and its been a bit of a mini milestone; confidence in long journeys. You loved it so much on holiday, besides being slightly confused why “holiday” didn’t involve an aeroplane, and kept trying to talk to random strangers. The people of Edinburgh were really friendly and lots asked your name and where you were from. You’d then suddenly shut up and shyly try to hide behind us all until they held up their hand to indicate the universal sign of a high 5.

Really strangely you loved the bagpipe players so much you stood watching one for about 5 minutes on one occasion and wouldn’t move. Or blink. We kept trying to persuade you to move on but didn’t want to cause a scene by scooping you up under our arm pits. The bagpipe player looked really pleased to have a little fan for so long. You were also captivated by the “lady with the accordion” and asked to go find her a few days after we’d seen her. She was pretty good I have to admit and had played the Game of Thrones theme tune as one of her songs. Edinburgh is a lot of fun for children and you loved the zoo and the Camera Obscura, a place filled with the art of mirrors and illusions, so much fun for everyone. You loved darting about the maze of mirrors till you ran straight into some mirrors, several times. You eventually stopped and held my hand for the rest of the way.

You weren’t that interested in the spectacular views, preferring instead to run like the wind and then stop suddenly to admire something. You did climb the 287 steps of the Scot Monument though. It got so narrow at the top we could feel the walls brush against us on either side. We met an American couple who loved chatting to you. You eventually tried to sing Twinkle Twinkle to them in the Rosslyn Chapel and we kept trying to shush you during the tour guides narrative of the construction. They were on a 3 week tour of a lot of Scotland and it sounded amazing. Maybe one day we could do that too.

Until next time….MMwah!

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Edinburgh Z

Super Busy Mum

A Trip To Edinburgh

Edinburgh has always been on my list of places to visit but we’ve never quite made it up North. I always find all trips booked come at the worst of time and the best of times. There’s always something else that needs to be done before you go but, when you do eventually hit the road, its the nicest feeling putting everything behind you (or at least on pause) for a few days. I was mainly looking forward to taking a million photos of all the old buildings and history that encompasses and makes up Edinburgh. I never realised it would be SO child and family friendly and we spent our days running from museum to historic monument taking it all in.

Edinburgh is all beauty and stairs. A city built with an amazingly careful eye with all its winding streets and beautiful structures erected perfectly on the steepest of hills. You could be in a place and look out the window on one side to look out straight onto the pavement. Then walk across the room and look out and find that you were two storeys up on another. Flights of stone steps tie all the hills and buildings together and give your calves the biggest power workout you could have in a few days. For a bustling busy city it has a lovely balance of young city culture as well as a calmness you could raise your family in. We saw children on a daily basis in droves walking to or from school and I found myself dreaming, wanting to buy a holiday house there with my cousins who had come up a couple of days after us. I probably should have about 8 to 10 dream houses dotted about in different countries by now. :)

We happened to be there at what felt like a very historic time. With the Scottish referendum vote happening on the 18th every conversation overheard was about the Yes / No vote. There was numerous TV debate teams dotted about and marches during the Saturday. All very peaceful from what we witnessed but absolutely huge and it made you wonder how something of that scale could be organised so quickly.

Little Z was in running heaven. Running up cobbled streets, running up flights of stairs and transfixed by every bagpipe player he saw. He asked for one a couple of times saying he “needed” it and we managed to distract him with promises of “maybe later”. Edinburgh Zoo was a particular favourite of his, which probably deserves its own post, and we could have spent the entire day there wandering about admiring all the animals. Our own favourites were the Scot Monument with its 287 steps ascending up a spiral staircase, the amazing views and the castle which overlooks the whole city and just wandering around the maze of streets and alleys and flights of stairs that would lead out to yet another beautiful and enigmatic part of the city. Unfortunately we didn’t make it up Arthur’s Seat as we weren’t sure whether it would be doable with a 3 year old (and if we did whether he would stay relatively still and not want to leg it over the side of the cliffs). So that’s something we’ll have to go back for. We made a pit stop to Rosslyn Chapel on the way home mainly as I wanted to see where the Da Vinci code had been filmed and found myself walking away learning about all the mysteries of this unique church.

We already have plans to go back and maybe venture a bit more North to see the rest of Scotland. Maybe next time we’ll be taking our passports with us.

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall



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