If any of you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I have a wheat intolerance. While this is manageable (but annoying) when you make most of your own food, it can be hit and miss when you buy ready made.

So I was delighted to try out a personalise, gluten free cake from Baker Days.

It arrived in a neat package and also in its own tin inside – I’m sure this will get re-used. Also with some balloons as we got a baby boy design. If you’ve ever posted or received wedding/birthday cake slices in the post you’ll be delighted how well this arrives.

But the big test with gluten free is taste! A lot of things can taste like cardboard but not this; light, fresh and delicious. And as I’m breast feeding I can claim I need it all.

Have a look at their site: http://www.bakerdays.com

Note: I have not been paid for this post.

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At the time of writing, I was 20 weeks pregnant with my third child. I admittedly have maternity jeans left over from my first two pregnancies but I have always struggled getting the right fit with jeans, so when JoJo Maman Bebe asked me to review their jeans, I jumped at the chance.

I have just got to the stage of coming out of normal jeans, with bump just starting to get too big. I can manage in my normal jeans (which are a little loose normally), until lunchtime but food and baby just means I have no room left. I never have very big bumps so this post will be the first of a few to review how the jeans progress as the pregnancy continues.

The bootleg jeans are a full over the bump elastic version, although slightly different from ones I have had previously as the panel over the bump is material with a small band of elastic at the top.

Previously I have had full bump panel jeans which are a full panel of elastic and I find this not so good as the elastic either rolls back down the bump, expands too much and falls down, or is just too tight that it is uncomfy. So I was pleasantly surprised at the small band of elastic at the top and comfy material panel as these problems are eliminated.

The jeans are a fantastic fit round the bump and bum, without any saggyness. A big must and very comfy. My only couple of negative comments is that firstly they are too long (something I find with all jeans) and I will have to get them shortened, and secondly the legs are too wide and flared. They are bootleg jeans, so not skinny, but I tend to find all maternity jeans have very wide legs which do not help with the slimming looking aspect. I am beginning to think it is a common side effect of pregnancy to have increasing widening legs, that I must be very lucky not to suffer with. I must admit I am not the norm when it comes to pregnancies and tend to lost weight rather than gain much. I end up with a nice neat bump, so I must thank my genes for that. I’m sure I will appreciate it when I pile back on all the weight after baby’s birth again.

The jeans are a nice dark blue and I would certainly recommend to anyone during pregnancy for a fantastic comfy stylish fit, and will certainly see me through the whole of this pregnancy.

http://www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk/pp+maternity+jeans

Picture below taken the morning of my C-section.

Note: I have not been paid to promote these jeans.

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Sometimes we eat all the bananas. Sometimes we don’t. And as none of us in our house can stand them when they start to go brown and icky, we make banana bread.

It’s a really simple recipe (which I’ll get round to updating when not stuck to no 3) and the bread can be frozen when it’s cooked. I actually like it when it’s matured for a couple of days too. My hubby likes to stick a slice in the microwave for a minute and have it with ice cream.

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(A little late in posting this…)

Having two munchkins and a third on the way, I thought it was about time we had some family traditions at Christmas. I saw something on Twitter about the Christmas Eve elves and thought we should do it.

Basically, the elves visit at the start of December and watch on our little people to make sure they’re behaving and stay on Santa’s good list. We moved them around the house every few nights by way of saying they’d been out to see Santa. I’m not sure Oliver believed us.

I also made some sacks for the Elves with my new sewing machine.

We hung them out on the night of the 23rd so the elves would give us all some presents:

- new pyjamas. With “magic elf thread” so they would help us all sleep on Christmas eve and not stay up all night saying, “has he been?”. We had a 50% success rate there.

- DVDs to watch in the day in our new pyjamas

- New slippers for mummy and daddy.

We used green tissue paper so it was all different to the wrapping paper from Santa. The kids loved it. It was quite sweet and made for a lot of fun.

We also painted a plain white plate and left the elves some milk and biscuits to say thank you.

It made the whole Christmas period feel a bit longer and a bit more special. I’ll just have to sew another bag for next year when no. 3 arrives.

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We went to see Madagascar Live at the Bournemouth International Centre. It’s a brand new stage show set largely to the story of the first Madagascar film where Alex the Lion and friends break out of the New York Central Park Zoo and end up in the titular island of Madagascar.

On entering the show the kids were asked to pick up Lemur glasses. They were quite funny to look at and Oliver decided to keep his on for much of the show. The show itself was bright, funny, engaging and largely to the script of the film which now having watched it approximately 57 times, is quite familiar to most of the audience. The staging and shifting between the zoo, the subway, the ship and the island was handled well and the children never seemed to lose interest. There were more songs than the film, although I quite missed Marty and Alex’s rendition of New York, New York – maybe it was just to expensive to get the rights too?

The costumes and characters were great fun. Marty the Zebra was full of energy and very close to Chris Rock’s mannerisms and tone of voice from the film. We never found out if he was black with white stripes or white with black stripes. Alex the Lion was entertaining but I think they missed a trick by using an actual roar rather than him just shouting roar in the zoo. Also, the side on paw movement wasn’t there. Melman on stilts was funny and Gloria entertaining – they’d brought forward their romantic relationship from previous films and it didn’t feel out of place.

The penguins were great fun and largely followed the same content as in the films and also made use of moving about the audience when planning some of their missions.

The kids got very excited when the monkey came on but my husband was a little disappointed they didn’t utter the dialogue lines about throwing poo.

But the star of the show was King Julian and his sidekick, Maurice. Brilliantly funny and camp in the film, it was matched with added energy for the live show here. Even in the final, extra rendition of I like to move it, wandering through the audience. I think he said to Issy, who’d been boogying the whole way through the show, “Oh yes, I love it. You’ve been practising!”.

It was a terrific show and great entertainment.

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We were sent a copy of Justin Fletcher’s new album ‘Hands Up’ to review.  Ollie, aged 3, is a big fan of Justin’s, and having seen him perform his single ‘Hands Up’ live at The Capitol Theatre, Horsham, on his live tour, we were very excited to hear the rest of the album.

The album includes original nursery rhymes but accompanied by a more modern dance beat, and added with Justin’s usual comedic character and affectations provides big appeal to children and parents alike.  Well known songs include ‘The Hokey Cokey’, ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ and ‘The Wheels on the Bus’. There are also new songs, including ‘Hands Up’, ‘The Sailor’s Lament’ and ‘Justin’s Lullaby’.

The album is a big hit with Ollie who has been dancing round the living room to it ever since it arrived.  Even his 10 month old baby sister was busy shaking away with her maracas, and Ollie also managed to get nanny dancing around too.

We really hope there will be a DVD to accompany the CD as Ollie has been dancing to the ‘Hands Up’ video ever since its release and now does a fantastic Justin impression.

It would also be great if Justin continued to produce singles like ‘Hands Up’ as it is fantastic to have children’s music with a more dance like beat.  Not only does it make it easier for parents, who will undoubtedly have to listen to it constantly, but will wear out many energetic children and make those very boring long car journeys far more interesting. Further, if you are feeling energetic yourselves, it provides a fantastic workout for parents!

Justin Fletcher’s new album ‘Hands Up’ is released on 5th March 2012.

Disclosure: We were given a copy Justin’s album to review, and all opinions are honest and my own.

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Olly the Little White Van kindly sent us a copy of his first series dvd to review.

Olly the Little White Van is a 52 part children’s programme on CITV.  It airs weekdays at 9:45 am (double bill), and 1 pm.  The first series consists of thirteen 5-minute episodes.

Olly’s target audience is preschoolers, with the aim of spreading the message that helping others is good.

We have our own Ollie (aged 3) and his little sister Issy (aged 7 mths).  A lot of children’s programmes that suit our Ollie are generally too old for Issy.  But it was so lovely to see them both watching and enjoying Olly together.  They were busy singing along to all the songs and having a good dance.

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Justin Fletcher, a big favourite in our house, provides the voice for Olly.  Justin suits the part of Olly perfectly with his fun loving, cheery, helpful nature.  Olly, like most white vans, is always running around doing useful work.  Its great to see that although Olly doesn’t always get things right, he is always thoughtful and tries his best.  As a parent this is a great message and the show portrays it well.

The website (www.ollythelittlewhitevan.co.uk) has great games to play, and is easy enough for my 3 year old to navigate around.  We have also had great fun making festive Christmas Cards.

Our only negative comment is that the episodes are a bit too short, and finish just as my two were getting into them.  The DVD we were sent also did not have a ‘play all’ function, which would be very useful.

The second series of 13 episodes will be released in January 2012, with toys and games going on sale in Easter 2012.

Olly is great programme with a fantastic message for kids.  We can’t wait for the second series in January 2012.

Disclosure: We were given a DVD of the first series to review, and all opinions are honest and my own.

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