Thursday, 31 May 2012

The yellow boy

Blake, aged two, for a few days was starting to creep me out a bit in the "I see dead people" kind of way!

He kept talking about the yellow boy, and would say things like the yellow boy is upset, sad, scared, hiding and in my bed!

It was a bit puzzling when Blake would stop playing, gaze into an empty corner, have a one sided conversation and then say " the yellow boy is sad, mummy"

This started when we were holidaying in Wales and staying in a hundred year old cottage!

Hubby figured it out and we later confirmed the yellow boy was nothing more than Bart Simpson! ... I hope!

Emma in Bromley xx

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Adventures of Grandpa Tidlo - Where in the World are the Grand Parents!

We were sent a grandad to look after for the summer of 2012, from the John Crane Tidlo collection.

This isn't any ordinary grandpa, he fits in your pocket! He's very cute, with wooly grey hair, a wooden top head and relaxed grandpa clothing.

But don't let grandpa's size fool you! He can get up to some amazing adventures...

Grandpa did a spot of wing walking on Blake's colourful bi plane bookcase (incidentally, we bought this from John Crane just after Blake was born!) Grandpa still has plenty of thrill seeking left in him! - he's a bit of a dare devil, this one!

Grandpa Tidlo did a spot of bi plane wing walking!

We took grandpa tidlo with us on our day out to the Natural History Museum in London where he was almost eaten by a hippo! He had a great time, but had to be held tightly by Blake (aged 2) when we went to see the dinosaurs as Grandpa got a bit scared! Grandpa also enjoyed a spot of tea and cake in the museum's cafe!

Grandpa Tidlo almost got eaten by a Hippo at the Natural History Museum!

Where in the world are the grand parents?

I'll update this post with more adventures of Grandpa Tidlo soon!!!

Emma in Bromley xx

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Britmums Carnival

Welcome to the Brit mums carnival on Tuesday 29th May 2012 - it's my first one!
The other weekend I was Godmother to my niece Alice at her Christening, I've celebrated my daughter, Maegan's Christening and last weekend I was fairy Godmother again to my niece Millie at her Christening! - yup that was 3 Christenings in a row...and who said Christening your babies wasn't the "done thing" anymore!

Which is why I decided to set the theme as Chrsitenings, Celebrations and Cake! - and also because my carnival falls just before jubilee weekend!

Helen at Actually Mummy talks about the edible book festival and her two amazing cake entries which I would love to have tasted - and introduced me to something new - edible silver shimmer spray - my new best friend! Shame I didn't know about the festival, I could have entered the hungry caterpillar cake I made for my little boy's first birthday!

Maggy at Red Ted Art shares a yummy recipe for heart shaped red velvet whoopie pies which I've added to my "must try" cake list! I love how involved her little one gets in creating these!

also on the subject of recipes - how delish do Ali's chocolate and walnut brownies look, and easy to make! - I might have a go for my jubilee celebration tea party!

CJ over at a mummy's view has used her pinterest inspirations to compile a great post full of "flying the flag" themed jubilee celebration collections for kids, women, men, party supplies and fancy dress!

Nadine at Juggle Mum celebrates being a BIB Video finalist with an interesting photo to have created on a school run! Congrats and good luck xx

Louise at run faster mummy shares with us the Queen's visit to Bromley on her Jubilee Celebration Tour!

Maggy at life at the zoo shares an awesomely easy "death by chocolate" cake recipe!

Denise at pilates and health looks at why babies cry a lot and reveals the remedy - hint* it's surprisingly not cake related!!

Marianne shares her recipe for jubilee celebration biscuits with photos of the most beautiful little girls all decorating their biscuits!

I'm absolutely loving mamacook's celebration patriotic pavlova - I haven't made meringue in years! - I think I'd go all out twee though and do a flag pattern!

And Liz has shared her blooming marvellous photos of the flower displays she spotted in Sloane street in celebration of Chelsea flower show.

Elaine's science party tea was full of bottle rockets, slime, soap monsters, honeycomb, volcanoes, balloon hovercrafts, ice-cream in a bag, pop fountains and awesome cake complete with an indoor firework!

Ms expat shares her story and thoughts on having her little one christened and contemplating godparents for baby 2. Her little tiger had two cakes!!!

Are children's parties becoming a battle of the mums? Should we go back to 80's style parties where everyone isn't a winner? I think so!

Emma did an amazing starwars Lego themed party for her little boy - great ideas - love the chocolate Lego bricks!
I am both a starwars and Lego fan - fancy making some lightsaber cupcakes!

Emma finds her water wings by joining a water aerobics class where she's the youngest by at least 20 years and *possibly gets filmed by a weird granny perv!

The next carnival after mine is at on the 12th June don't forget to check the Schedule to find out where future Britmums carnivals are being held!

Thank you to everyone for taking part!
If you have a post you'd like to add, please email or tweet the link to me - @beachpebble

Monday, 28 May 2012

Why I wont use Rafflecopter

I've been asked why I don't use rafflecopter a few times as I openly state that I do not and will not run rafflecopter comps on my blog.

These are my own personal reasons.

For me, it stems from my previous career (online marketing manager) and its one of those "cloak and dagger" tools - it stores and collects people's data without any independent RC login requirements or options for people to opt out besides just not using the tool at all. You can see this in the way it interacts with your cookies and remembers your email address or facebook data when you visit a new site with a rafflecopter.

It also doesn't recognise if someone has different email addresses for different things - for example I have 10 different email addresses, I use different ones for my blog, facebook and twitter etc so when I take part in a rafflecopter that has these different steps - it either wont let me over ride with a different email or it doesn't recognise my 3 steps as the same person and therefore forfeits me from the prize draw. The majority of parent bloggers use different email addresses for their blogs and social tools -  this is just good standard from a professional point of view.

There seems to be confusion over rafflecopters use-ability for iPhone/ iPad, safari and mac users - personally, I don't see it's compatible as I have been unable to complete all steps for some rafflecopter competitions via iPhone, safari or mac entry - it allows some steps but not all and again forfeits that person from the prize draw. I'm really not sure why it does this, perhaps it interferes with the page scripts but I've heard many different reasons - even down to rafflecopter blaming the blogger!

I also find that Rafflecopter is unreliable, the system is often down or gets stuck on constant refresh.

It's also very confusing for first timers or people who aren't computer savvy and it doesn't have a way of showing people if their entry is definitely in there if they revisit, or just want to check details at a later date such as entry date etc...

Currently it's a free app, but they may plan to charge in the future. I'm not currently making money from my blog and would not be in a position to foot the bill of something I had become "attached" to!

Perhaps my biggest reason - it's not a UK product, or even a European one, therefore it's exempt from UK and EU data protection - which I deem serious, particularly when it comes to other peoples data - and particularly with regard to those parents who log on via Facebook or other social media.

Emma in Bromley x

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Stuff every dad should know review and giveaway

Hardback book cover for stuff every dad should know by Brett Cohen, published by Quirk BooksWith father's day on the horizon, I was pleased to review "stuff every dad should know" by Brett Cohen, quirk books and I have THREE copies to giveaway to my lucky readers!

Like "stuff every mom should know"
It's a pocket sized hard back book with an easy to navigate layout with each area of childhood covered for dad tips!

This is a comprehensive resource for any father or dad-to-be, and takes them through everything they will ever need to know about dealing with children. With advice and instruction on how to hold a new-born baby, introducing them to solid foods, potty training and changing nappies, the Birds and The Bees Talk, household chores, playing with kids, keeping them occupied on long journeys, what to carry in your ‘Daddy rucksack’, read to them, get rid of monsters under the bed, to teaching them to ride a bike, dealing with their school teachers, teaching them to drive, and even meeting your child’s in-laws, this is full of practical advice, guidance, tips, hints, techniques, for fathers, and a must-have for any Dad! Written in an informal, informative fashion, Stuff Every Dad Should Know is sure to engage and interest dads and dads-to-be (and mums and mums-to-be), and any book that shows you how to child-proof your house, build the perfect sandcastle, has five no-fail jokes, and helps you deal with kids who won’t eat must be worth having!

The book is chaptered into different areas, Baby Stuff, Little Kid Stuff, Big Kid Stuff, Teen Stuff and Beyond, it offers lots of "dad humour" views on parenting as well as useful tips and pointers!

a glimpse at the drawing and instructions for building a sandcastle in the book stuff every dad should knowI particularly liked the "how to photograph your child" section and "how to rid a room of monsters" - monster repellant spray recipe included!
The book is full of "dad humour" from a jokes section to "male humour: what is and is not funny" including toilet humour! and most importantly - building sandcastles!

Available from amazon with an rrp of £6.99

The Giveaway

To be in with a chance of winning one of three copies, all you need to do is tell me why the "dad" in your life deserves one! - answer in the comments section below please! - make sure you include a way for me to contact you if you win such as twitter id or email address.

For bonus entries:
1. Please tweet this comp including @beachpebble.
2. Google plus this comp
3. Pin this comp on pinterest
4. Like my Facebook page
5. Follow on GFC

Let me know in a separate comment for each bonus entry (max 6 entries)

Open to UK addresses only.

Prizes being sent directly from the PR agent.

Competition closes on Monday 4th June 2012 at 12noon.

Winners picked using

Emma in Bromley xx

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Raa raa toys: Hufftys train review

Blake opening Raa Raa the noisy lion's Huffty's train toy set My little people are very lucky! We were recently sent a huffty's train to review from raa raa the noisy lion toy collection!

It features a smart spot system so the train can recognise which character is on board and interact with, or as, that friend!

Huffty's train comes with Huffty the elephant and two carriages.

Easy to push along and full of great sound effects - Blake (aged 2) loves the choo choo sounds!

Raa raa the noisy lion and friends riding Huffty's toy train set

"Raa Raa and his friends can enjoy a ride in the carriages. The innovative interactive ‘Smart Spot System’ will recognise all of Raa Raa's friends - so collect them all to activate over 15 sounds and phrases!"

Both Blake (almost three) and Maegan (almost 1) have enjoyed playing with this set and Blake has hinted at some more "friends" to ride on the train for his upcoming birthday!

clever carriage links mean the train stays together during play

Blake likes that the carriages easily click and stay together - he gets frustrated with other train toys which don't stay locked together during play.

Keep up to date with Raa Raa and the new toy collection on Facebook
- Stockists include ToysRUs, Smyths, and Amazon with a recommended price of £16.99 

Maegan enjoyed the easy push along movement of Huffty's train-

Emma in Bromley xx

Monday, 21 May 2012

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Numberjacks shape japer irresponsible tv!

There are a few cbeebies cartoons which I feel offer a bit of educational entertainment for my almost 3 year old - Lingo Show, numtums and alphablocks are big hits - however, there's often a cartoon on at about the same time called numberjacks - the first few times my son watched it, everything was fine and I approved but then on one episode there was a character called the shape japer - since seeing it he was instantly terrified, my son now regularly has nightmares about it and instead of pretend monsters, his imagination is terrified of the shape japer.

The menacing shape changing character is accompanied by disturbing music!

whilst I accept it's totally my responsibility to monitor the cartoons my son watches - I'd just like to state that including such a scary character in a toddler/ preschooler aimed cartoon is in my opinion absolutely irresponsible tv!

As the shape japer is a regular, we no longer watch numberjacks in our house - I can't risk exposing my two year old to the trauma the shape japer causes!

Cbeebies, I'm surprised you allow a terrifying character on your channel and to the fcukwit who created the shape japer - your mum would be ashamed of you for terrifying so many tots! - seriously! Who the heck approved the shape japer for toddler viewing?

I'm struggling to wipe shape japer from Blake's mind! We've been through that shape japer was pretend and not real and isn't going to "make Blake big" or bite him with its pointy teeth! Shape japer is a daily battle at the mo!

It's left me feeling a bit disappointed with numberjacks - a cartoon I'd previously felt was trustworthy and educational. Anyone else feel characters such as the shape japer should not be in cartoons aimed at our toddlers?

More importantly - how can I stop the nightmares and terrifying effect this has had on my little boy?!

Emma in Bromley xx

Friday, 18 May 2012

The day is here - charity single from monkey music

Monkey Music are releasing a charity single for Nordoff Robbins and
celebrating our forthcoming summer of sport. All monkey music groups
across the UK are involved and the pre school children will be learning

The Day is Here Little Monkeys Sing for Charity

Monkey Music the UK’s premium music group for pre-school children
recorded a special charity song to celebrate an amazing summer of sport.
Performed by young children, aged 7, 8 and 9, and written especially for
Monkey Music, the Anthem, 'The Day is Here!', tells the exciting story
a running race.

‘The Day is Here’ will not only provide a fun sporting interlude during
Monkey Music classes across the UK but also, by selling it online to the
families and friends of Monkey Music’s 10,000 children, Monkey Music
aims to raise much needed funds for music therapy charity, Nordoff

Nordoff Robbins is a national specialist music charity, delivering
50,000 music therapy sessions a year to a broad range of people in schools,
hospitals and care homes across the UK. Their qualified music therapists
specifically help people with a range of challenges including autism,
dementia, mental health problems, stroke, brain injury, learning
difficulties, depression and in some cases clients have threatening or
terminal illness, such as cancer.

Angie Coates, Founder of Monkey Music, said;

“Both Monkey Music and Nordoff Robbins offer children fresh
and life changing experiences through music. We believe that by working
together we can raise awareness of the benefits of music for everyone.
It’s lovely to use 2012 and the summer of sport to engage the very
youngest of children in the excitement of sport and the joy of music.”

Jo Carter, Director of Fundraising; Communications Nordoff Robbins

“We are delighted to be working with Monkey Music, to be sharing our
mutual believe in the power of music and to help raise funds to continue
transforming the lives of vulnerable children and adults across the UK.
a charity we rely entirely on voluntary donations, so the Monkey Music
song released this summer is a great way to raise funds and awareness.”

What’s next?

Monkey Music classes will learn ‘The Day is Here’ during their Monkey
Music classes over the coming weeks. Then, from the end of May the ‘The
Day is Here’ will be officially released and available to buy online
all profits going to charity.

the single is launched on the 18th May. more info can be found on the Monkey
Music Website

. You can also download the single from there too! 

Emma in Bromley xx

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Baby Massage and Yoga in Keston, Bromley

I recently heard from Marney Lawson about her new Baby Massage and Yoga classes, next course due to start on Tuesday 12th June 2012 - I'm a fan of baby yoga and massage so I'm more than happy to share with you the details of her courses....

Baby Massage & Yoga Movements
At The Yoga Barn with Marney Lawson
Tuesdays 10:30am-11:30am
I studied with Peter Walker, who is Britain's leading expert in developmental baby massage and the founder of the Active Birth Centre in London. I have over 12 years of experience teaching Baby Massage & Yoga Movements to parents and caregivers. My classes will enhance your baby’s health and development, providing them with a strong back and flexible hips, which are essential for good posture. It will help relieve symptoms such as wind, colic, constipation and sleeplessness.
babies from 6 weeks - any non-crawling age
The techniques are simple, effective and enjoyable and will enhance the bond between you and your baby.
Oil, instructions, relaxation cd and discount voucher for a ‘mum’ massage are included in the course fee.
Please bring a waterproof changing mat and a towel.
Classes are held at The Yoga Barn in Keston, Bromley, Kent.
The barn is a warm, peaceful and tranquil place, 
perfect for you and your baby.
Each course consists of 5 classes and costs £60.
Please call, Marney on 07887801208 or alternatively go to where you can book your classes in advance.

Emma in Bromley xx

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Queen visits Bromley 15th may 2012

I was rather excited to take my little people to see the Queen yesterday on her visit to Bromley!

The first task was getting everyone up, dressed and out of the house in time to get to the town centre, then we faced the problem of getting there - all of the buses had been diverted and I was keen to avoid taking the pram so doing the 45min walk was also out of the question. We decided to walk to Grove Park station and take the shuttle train to Bromley North.

When we got to Bromley North, the main entrance was blocked off and it soon became clear why! - There were so many people it was crazy! - I was aiming to get to the high street so I could meet with friends but there was no way to get across the railings or the sea of people - we were stuck!

Someone had a fog horn type thing which scared the life out of my two year old - poor Blake just burst into tears! Blake was already soaked as he had managed to grab a spot of puddle jumping on the way to the station and Maegan was fast asleep in the sling all cuddled up close! You would never have guessed it was May - it was wet and freezing - both little people had winter coats and hats on! it felt more like december!

Whilst waiting, we saw two bits of entertainment - a unicycle juggler and a balloon modelling lady! (no sign of live music, carnival or birds of prey displays I had expected though!)

See our video of the crowds, look out for me, Maegan and great nanna Eira and Blake having a run about in the quietest spot we could find!

Grandma and Great Nanna Eira joined us in the cold and we luckily didn't have to wait long to the Queen!

I had been expecting to see the Queen on foot - I felt the whole affair was OTT given we got a split second glimps as she passed by in her car...

See our video of the actual Queen and Duke!

As soon as she passed by, about a gazillion people stampeded towards the high street - I contemplated doing the same, but with a tired, scared and grumpy two year old, I didn't think it was fair!

Bromley North station was full of school children trying to dive onto the trains so my Mother in Law kindly got us all in a taxi home.

Please read my friend, Louise's blog for her much better glimps of the Queen through a bush from the High Street where we were supposed to have been!

Emma in Bromley x

Juniors Pantry founder Kate Finch cooks up a Cheats Roast

I recently reviewed Junior's Pantry children's meals and thought I'd share a recipe with you from Junior's Pantry founder Kate Finch.

'Cheats Roast'- a recipe by Kate Finch.

My family would happily have a roast every day of the week! I don’t fancy the time or the cost involved in that, so this is my mid week alternative – still a roast of sorts which keeps them happy, which is quick and pretty economical which works for me too!!!

What you need:

600g each of pork chops and ribs - you can of course vary the ratio

600g of new potatoes

400g parsnips

3 eating apples – Cox’s work well

2 large lemons

Handful of fresh “woody” herbs – sage is great, rosemary works well too

4 tablespoons of rapeseed or olive oil

What you do:

If the chops are large, cut them in half lengthways and divide the ribs into chunks (2-3 ribs) cut between the bones.

Take the juice from the 2 lemons, the olive oil and the herbs and mix together in a bowl, with a little seasoning.

If you have time to marinade the pork in this yummy mixture for an hour or so, then great. If that is a step too far on a Wednesday night then don’t worry!

Scrub and halve the new potatoes, unless they are tiny, in which case keep them whole. Peel and quarter the parsnips. Quarter and core the apples.

Put all the pork chops and ribs, the potatoes, the parsnips and the apples in a good sized roasting tin and pour the lemon, oil and herb mixture over. Give it all a good toss around to make sure the meat and veggies are covered in the juice, oil and herbs.

Pop into the oven, at 220°C/425°F for 45 mins to an hour. Jumble the contents of the dish around a couple of times during the cooking, just to make sure nothing sticks. When the meat and veg are roasted and golden brown, you are ready to serve up a tasty plate of roast pork and vegetables, with the lemon and herb juices poured on top with a lovely big dollop of apple sauce on the side.

You can of course vary the veg depending on what you have, and what the preferences of your family are – we often have carrots, sweet potato and pears, and I sometimes try to sneak a few leeks in too.

Enough to feed a gaggle of hungry children, or a family of 4!

Like on Facebook
Follow on Twitter @juniorspantry

Emma in Bromley xx

Monday, 14 May 2012

Britmums carnival

Must be over a year ago, I put my name down to host a Britmums carnival!

I'd completely forgotten it was my turn (I've been a bit preoccupied with cake lately!) until I received an email from a fellow blogger to see if I'd be setting a theme!

I'm happy to say that I will indeed be hosting a Brit mums carnival on Tuesday 29th May 2012 - it's my first one! yey!

Last weekend I was Godmother to my niece Alice at her Christening, I've spent the week mostly flapping my arms around as I prepare for my daughter's christening yesterday (I made a lot of pink cake!) and next weekend I will be fairy Godmother again to my niece Millie at her Christening! - yup that's 3 Christenings in a row...

Which is why I decided to set the theme as Chrsitenings, Celebrations and Cake! - I'm not terribly strict so if you have something else you'd like to submit - that's welcome too :)

The rules:
"This is how it works: every two weeks a different parent blogger “hosts” the carnival. Bloggers submit posts from the past month.
The rules are one post per blogger and it must be something written in the past four weeks. No commerical or sponsored posts."

Please send entries to me at

The next carnival after mine is at on the 12th June don't forget to check the Schedule to find out where future Britmums carnivals are being held!
Emma in Bromley xx

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Happy 9th birthday, Madeleine McCann

Today is Madeleine McCann's 9th Birthday.

To remind us all of Madeleine, a new age progressed photo has been released to show what Madeleine might look like aged 9.

Madeleine has been missing since 2007 and I live in hope that one day she will show up, alive and well after being with a loving family all this time. I hope, today she has enjoyed cuddles, cake and gifts.

There have been many unconfirmed sightings of Madeleine worldwide since she went missing just before her 4th Birthday whilst on holiday in Portugal but unfortunately her whereabouts are still a mystery.

For more information on Madeleine you can visit the Find Madeleine official website and to report any sightings or information please contact your local police force immediately and Operation Grange on 
0207 321 9251 (in the UK) / 
+44 207 321 9251 (non-UK) Or OR Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111 or


Emma in Bromley x

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Organic children bath and shower

I'm passionate about organic and paraben free - so I was delighted to be sent Green People's Organic Children Citrus and Aloe Vera bath and shower to review,

Green People are already on my radar as I'm a fan of their organic children suncream, and their SPF face cream for me but I hadn't previously tried this shower cream.

I really love the citrus scent - its subtle, zingy and fresh - I love fruity smells and it's full of skin kind ingredients!

The ingredients make this a moisturising bath product and it didn't irritate sensitive skin - infact it boasts to be "Suitable for people who may be prone to eczema and psoriasis"

My little people love how many bubbles this bath and shower product can produce! - use sparingly!
Cleans well - I didn't even need to scrub Blake - boy aged almost 3 - I read somewhere that boy = noise with dirt on it, or Maegan - girl - 10months and likes to rub buttery toast in her hair!

It's got a creamy consistency if using as shower gel instead of bubble bath.

Simple, pure, kind, organic skin care for babies and children - "This natural body wash is made without SLS/SLES, Parabens, phthalates and artificial fragrances to bring you the purest shower gel that nature can offer" suitable for vegans / vegetarians.

Green People's Organic Children collection includes gorgeous gift hampers, baby lotions, bath products, nappy balm and trial size bottles to name just a few elements of their great collect - including no scent products too!
£7.75 for a lasting 200ml recyclable tube.

Emma in Bromley xx