Mambo play centre, Cardiff

After Mondays experience at a local play centre, yesterday we decided to pay Mambo’s a visit.

Mambo’s has only been open a few weeks but I’ve already heard some good reviews from friends, my inner child couldn’t wait to go!

Mambo is situated 5 minutes from Cardiff city centre and is easy to get to with plenty of parking available on site.

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Upon entering there are ‘rules of play’ posters next to the desk, where you need to sign in and pay.
I like these rules of play posters, it tells parents and their children, what’s acceptable behaviour and what’s not.
As Willow is under 12 months old, we didn’t need to pay for her and parents go free, bonus! To get to the play area, a staff member needs to open a little picket fence that’s magnetically locked, great security to stop little ones escaping.

Once inside, we could see all the different areas clearly defined, baby, toddler, party area ect. We choose a table, took off our shoes and made our way over to the baby area, which consists of soft play shapes. I think it would have been nice to have a little ball pit for the babies even though there is one in the toddler area.
One thing that I love about Mambo’s is the ‘rules’ signs, there was one on the baby area…..

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And one on the toddler area…..

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Not once did I see a child in the wrong area and Willow was safe to explore the soft play. Friends have even told me that staff do enforce the rules and they make sure all children play in the right zones.

One thing I did find odd, Mambo’s has carpet tiles. Whilst we were there, we saw staff cleaning with a hand held Hoover several times. Although the carpet was very clean, I can’t help but to think that in a few months times, it won’t be as nice. But it did feel nice to walk on!

After Willow had a little play, we decided to order some lunch. They have a decent menu available and they are competitively priced.

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I ordered a latte, hot chocolate, baked potato with beans, tuna melt panini and a child’s meal, burger and mash, it came to £14 odd.

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Please excuse the drinks pictures, I ate all the yummy cream off my hot chocolate before I remembered to take the picture!

All of the plates, cutlery, high chair ect were spotless, there were staff members constantly cleaning and they were easily identified as they had ‘STAFF’ written on their t-shirts. A staff member was never far away, there were plenty of them and they also engaged in conversation with us.

I do think that they need to update their website and social media with real pictures of their play centre, even though the artist impression pictures are pretty accurate, it’s nice to see the real thing before you visit. At the moment, their website says ‘Real images will be available shortly’.

Overall, we had a very pleasant experience. I will be telling friends about Mambo’s and would most definitely recommend to others. We’ll be back!

 

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Children’s play centre

On Monday we attended a relatives birthday party at a local children’s play centre, all was well until we took Willow to play in the baby and toddler area.

I don’t begrudge any parents having five minutes peace with a cuppa, but please, supervise your children. Don’t use a play centre as child care and don’t let them run riot whilst you use the time to gossip with friends. It spoils the experience for others and I very much doubt we will be returning any time soon.

Every play centre we have visited, have designated areas for certain ages and activities. These areas need to be enforced by the staff to avoid little ones getting injured. Boys kicking a ball about next to the baby and toddler is dangerous, what annoys me more, is that there’s a special enclosed area for ball games, that they chose to ignore. The ball got kicked at my head and narrowly missed Willow.

The baby and toddler area is for 0-3 year olds, I’d imaging it’s more or less the same age limit for most play centres. One little boy, older than three (he was wearing a school uniform) was in the baby and toddler area and was throwing the soft play blocks about, he held one above Willow head, ready to drop it, Simon gave him the death stare, he soon moved. Another child shoved Willow out of his way.

I’m shocked that parents allow their children to ‘play’ like this and even more shocked that the staff don’t enforce the designated areas.

Children’s play centres aren’t the cheapest places to visit, for the amount they charge, I’d at least want a safe environment for my child to play in.
This afternoon we will be visiting a new play centre that has recently opened, it’s about 15 minutes drive away but I’ve heard some good reviews, watch this space!

1 down, 13 to go – 14 things for 2014

Cross number 10 off the list, Willow is in her own room! She’s been in her own room for a week and has also been sleeping 12 hour nights! Willow has always been pretty much a good sleeper but not quite 12 hours, I realise I have now probably jinxed myself!

I think we must have been waking her up, either Simon snoring or the quilt rustling (no funny business) we have a feather quilt.

We are finally getting her into a proper routine, she’s in bed between 8pm-8.30pm and fingers crossed, it seems to be working.

I’m surprised it has been so easy, I was prepared for a very unhappy baby that would be up most of the night.

I soooooo hope I haven’t jinxed us, I’m enjoying my full nights sleep hahahahaha!

I wonder what will be crossed off the list next? Probably the cake smash as I wanted to do it pretty close to her 1st birthday. I bought some ‘W’ props from hobby craft that were in the sale. They will need to be decorated but I’m still not sure on the colour scheme for the shoot yet. I will also need to sort a backdrop and an outfit. I need to quickly improve my photography skills as well, they ain’t so great at the moment!

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Cute Cute Boutique

Cute Cute Boutique was set up by full time mum, Magda. When she couldn’t find matching accessories for her little girls outfits, Magda decided to make her own headband and soon after, Cute Cute Boutique was formed.

As Willow’s hair is quite long, we tend to clip it back with little hair clips. When the opportunity came up to review a headband, I had to apply.

I must admit, it did take a while to arrive, but for a handmade item from a WAHM (work at home mum) I really didn’t mind the wait.

It arrived in a jiffy envelope and was beautify wrapped in black tissue paper with a Cute Cute Boutique sticker.

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Upon opening the tissue paper, the baby headband was attached to a very professional looking Cute Cute Boutique card.

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I didn’t know what headband I was going to receive but I was pleased with what arrived. It’s a nice, simple design that’s suitable for everyday use. The headband is very well made and the attention to detail is superb. Even the back of the head band has ‘Cute Cute’.

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Little boys aren’t forgotten about, Magda makes little bow ties as well!

There’s lots to choose from, everyday wear headbands, party wear, bows, flowers and more. Even better, Magda takes custom orders. If you have special requirements, I’m sure she would do her best to accommodate you.

One of my ’14 things for 2014′ is to do a cake smash photo shoot. I will need props and accessories. I might order a custom headband especially for the shoot.

If you are unsure what size to buy, there’s a size guide on the site.

I think Willow looks super cute with her new headband, what do you think?

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* I was sent this product for review purposes and I have given my honest opinion.

14 things for 2014

After having a blogging break over the festive period, I’m back with a post about 14 things I would like to achieve for 2014. Call it what you will, resolutions, bucket list, wish list ect

1. Holiday

We haven’t been on holiday in over 2 years, nearly 3 years if we holiday in the second half of the year. We normally go on ‘city break’ type holidays (Las Vegas is a favourite destination) but I’m not sure if a city break will be suitable with a 1-year-old. We are still undecided as to whether or not stay in the UK or holiday abroad, but we will have a break away somewhere.

2. Cake smash

When Willow was 13 days old, we had a cute new-born photo shoot. A very sweet photo shoot with pictures of her in a teacup, a basket, with cute little probs. For her first birthday I want to do a cake smash shoot. It’s something that’s made its way over from America, and they look like so much messy fun! I’ve been in contact with some local photographers but unfortunately, none of them are doing cake smash shoots yet. So, I’m going to attempt my own! Yesterday I bought a brand new camera for better blog pictures (I will do a mini review in a few days). I will need to sort out a backdrop, baby outfit, props and most importantly…….CAKE!

Cute baby pictures may not be to everyone’s taste, but I love them.

3. Pay a lump off the mortgage

Pretty simple really, we’d love to pay a lump off the mortgage and chip away at the years. Who wants to be paying a mortgage at 60 years old? not us!

4. Make the conservatory a usable room

When we bought this house, one of the selling points was the conservatory. In the summer, it’s lovely but at the moment it’s freezing. I’d love to use it as a play room but it’s just too cold, especially for a little one. We are thinking of solar panels to help heat the conservatory. At the moment the space is being used as storage, I’d like to furnish this area, table and chairs, rug, soft furnishings ect

5. Solar Panels

We are going to have to put a lot of research into solar panels as they are so expensive and the feed in tariff isn’t as good as it used to be. We’d love to be able to heat our own home and minimise our bills if we could.

6. New job

I’ve wanted a new job for a few years now, but when you have bills to pay you can’t afford to be out of work. I’d love a new job, I think the time has come to move on. I’m not too fussy about what I do, I’m not career driven but as long as enjoy my work, I’m all good. Hopefully by the end of the year, fingers crossed!

7. Competitions

A few years ago I used to enter competitions and I did win a few things.

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Baby toy set

Theatre tickets

Concert tickets

perfume

Make-up, plus lots more!

I’ve set up a new email account in preparation and I’m on day 3 of comping. I can spend hours a day entering competitions but there are tools available to make entering competition easier. I’m going to try to keep it as a hobby, I don’t want to get bored and it becomes a chore. The prizes are a bonus, if I win that is! I have set myself a comping challenge, to win £2014 worth of prizes in 2014.

8. Lose weight

I bet millions of other people will have the same idea at this time of the year. Willow is now 10 months old and I now feel ready to lose the excess baby weight. I’ve got 2 stone to get back to my pre baby weight, plus I’d like to lose  little more. I just need to get rid of the Christmas chocolates first……

9. YouTube channel for vblogging

I’d like to expand my blog and have a YouTube channel to review products. Hopefully, I could gain more followers but I worry about how I would come across on camera. Anyone have any vblog tips? get in touch!

10. Get Willow into her own room

At 10 months old, Willow is still in with us. Not because I have attachment issues but because we live in a 3 storey house. Willow is normally such a good sleeper with the exception of teething – like now! I don’t want to be up and down stairs, several times in the early hours. At the moment I think we have the top 4 teeth coming through, I hope they hurry up! Once they have come through, she will be going into her own room.

11. New blog site

I wanted to see how I got along with blogging before forking out money on a new blog design. I am enjoying my blogging journey and I now want a more professional looking blog. I feel a more professional looking blog would bring more opportunities my way.

12. Learn a new craft or skill

I’m always on the look out to learn something new. I have a very wide range of interests and I’d like to try new things. It could be something crafty or some kind of skill that could benefit my blog.

13. More date nights with my Husband

I’m sure Gran and Grandad would babysit for us so we could go out for a meal. Even though we are a family, It’s still nice to spend time as a couple. I think we would aim to go out maybe once a month.

14. Sort out moving boxes

We moved into our house 15 months ago and we still have boxes that need sorting out. They are in our bedroom and they are taking up too much room. They are full of collectible toys. We don’t have any storage room for them, so, it looks like they will have to be sold.

 

There you go, that’s my list, my 14 things that I want to accomplish over the next 12 months. Hopefully I will be able to achieve it all, even if I managed half, it’s a start. I will update along the way with what I’ve managed.

I know there’s a few bloggers doing ’14 things for 2014′. I’m interested to see how everyone’s lists compare and how adventurous they are. I hope they all mange to achieve what they set out to do and look forward to reading about the updates!

November Nonabox

You may or may not have read my previous post on October’s Nonabox, I was so pleased with it and I couldn’t wait for my November’s box to arrive.

I signed up for a three month subscription and this box will sadly be my last. Every box has turned up late, and they are getting shipped out later and later in the month (we are now two days away from December).

Because October’s box was so good, I couldn’t wait to open this box but I was slightly disappointed……

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At this point, I’m fit to burst with excitement because I can’t wait to see what’s inside.

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The first item is a JoJo Maman Bebe changing mat clutch, it’s valued at £15. It’s very well made and made with a wipe clean material but I can’t help thinking that it’s a bit of a pointless item, I just don’t get it! It’s a clutch bag that has a changing mat inside, ok, as separate items yes but why put them together? There’s no room inside the bag for anything else, you may fit in a single nappy and a travel pack of wipes but that’s it. Plus, most parent already have a changing bag with mat inside.

20131128-034148 pm.jpg Here we have two Christmas books, a Fireman Sam book and a Mr Men book, both priced at £2.99 each. I don’t feel like these are age appropriate, the Fireman Sam book is 3+. I think I will put them away and bring them back out next Christmas.

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Next up, is the Plum stage 1 porridge. Although I like the Plum products for Willow, we are past stage 1 and this will go unused.

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JoJo Maman Bebe Henry rabbit comforter
This comforter was the one thing that we really liked, Willow tried to grab it straight away! It’s perfect for little hands, super soft and cuddly. I think it’s reasonably priced at £9 but I’ve just been on the JoJo Maman Bebe site and they no longer stock this item. I thought the Nonabox was a way to try new and exciting products, not products that have been discontinued?

We also had 2 x 7 ml sachets, one of Humphrey’s Corner baby bath and one baby shampoo. We’ve just used the bubble bath, it smells rather nice and bubbles up really well considering it was only 7ml. I would definitely consider buying these in the future, especially as they are organic, vegan, cruelty free and are mild on babies sensitive skin.

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JoJo Maman Bebe pocket high chair retails at £14. It may come in handy, it may not but I will put it in the changing bag just incase.

Nonabox say that their boxes are tailored to suit but I don’t think this is the case as they are sending out goods that aren’t age appropriate. Looking at their facebook page, a lot of people feel the same. Two out of the three boxes have been amazing but I could help but feel let down by this months box. It did have the value in products, but the main product it useless to me and a few other products were not age appropriate.