Posted in product review

Teddo Play

Being a qualified HLTA (higher level teaching assistant) and a SEN support assistant for the past 12 years means a lot of the play I do with Ellie is very structured and has some element of learning to it. It’s never intentional but even she has learnt that Mummy plays school and Daddy plays with his imagination.

At the start of lockdown we were very lucky to win a set of cards from a small business called Teddo Play. I’d heard about them through another small business and really liked the look of their cards so was buzzing when I found out i’d won a set. I got to know the owner Keisha and learnt all about the foundations that started Teddo Play and how much really goes in to making a small business successful.

First of all what I really love about Teddo Play is that everything is made in the UK from the designing to the making of the cards, the box and everything inside! It’s very rare for a company to be completely made in one country.

Our giveaway prize was absolutely amazing. A box of learning cards based on Parents and their Young and contained 40 thick learning cards which has a high-definition photograph of the animal on the front and information on the back. For me, the first thing that stood out was the photograph choice rather than a cartoon image. This helps the child recognise the animals in real world scenarios. These specific cards can be used to teach new words, new links between parent and child and talk about the places that they live – as seen in the photograph. Ellie loved talking about the different animals, what their young was called and matching them to her toys.

Since then we have purchased 2 more sets from Teddo Play – Birds of Prey, Wild Animals, Insects and Farm Animals and a set of Imperfects, which is a mixture of each set in perfectly good condition just have slight imperfections. The Wild Animals set has the spelling of these animals on the reverse which I thought would be good to help Ellie with her reading and recognising the names of common animals she knows. We have used these to listen to the initial sound of the animals and then check the spelling to see if she’s got the correct sound.



We’ve had so much fun with our learning cards, Ellie asks to get them and we incorporate them in a lot of our play and learning. The quality of each card is to a very high standard and everything has been designed with children in mind. For young children they are big enough to be held and also wipeable! For older children they have detailed information, clear photographs and a font that is distraction free allowing the child to focus more on the information.

We have mixed our cards, used them to play matching games, sorting into animal where they live and differentiated between the types of animal they are. The ways to use the cards are limitless.


Keisha has spent months creating a new website, one that really shows off how wonderful her cards are and you can really see how others have used them too. The website is LIVE today with a special LIMITED EDITION set of cards which I can not wait to start using with Ellie, along with others I have my eye on too!

We are very fortunate to be affiliates for the Teddo Play brand and ask for any orders to be made through our very special link by doing so I will earn a commission on any order made.


You can see the wonderful Teddo Play cards in action over on our Instagram and at:
Teddo Play
Teddo Play Instagram
The following accounts are all brand reps for the amazing cards too and definitely worth checking out to see more ideas for play with the cards:
Raising My Sunshine
Reusable Family
Jaymi Leigh
Our Play Journey
Mancunian Mum
Mc Mama 2 Boys
Mrs Montie Makes
Winging Life At No 7
Paper Stories
Eat No Sleep Sparkle Repeat
Nic Balshaw
Play Ideas With Jess

As always, all opinions and views are my own.

Posted in days out, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, mummy blog, North Wales, parenting, parenting after loss, Uncategorized, Wales, Welsh Mountain Zoo, Zoo

Welsh Mountain Zoo

Whilst on holiday we chose to visit the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Conwy. The drive from Pensarn was easy along the A55 towards Llandudno the only problem we had was that the SATNAV took us to a private estate without the zoo grounds so we had to follow the signs to find the entrance, I must add this was really easy as the signs were clear.

We had ordered our tickets online the night before as they were slightly cheaper, 5% I think. I am glad we did because the kiosk to pay is on the way the car park which we hadn’t anticipated and meant I had to try and find the code on my emails whilst still in the car. I found this a very unusual way of paying as for me the kiosk was on the passenger side and I was lucky Hubby was in the car to talk to the member of staff. There was plenty of parking available which I liked and it was directly in the middle of the zoo which meant we didnt have to take everything with us unlike most places we have visited.

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The zoo itself was far bigger than I had expected and had a huge variety of animals. I had assumed it was slightly bigger than a farm but it was huge. We took the pushchair so that Ellie didnt have to walk everywhere. The zoo was great for pushchairs with plenty of ramps to get around.

Ellie spent the first 50 minutes obviously feeling very overwhelmed as she cried non-stop…again! Which meant she missed seeing the wallabies and the deer but after her initial meltdown she enjoyed looking at the other animals and running around. She had so much freedom as there is plenty of green space for her to explore. We spent a long time watching the cheeky penguins and the very noisy sea lions (which amazed me as ive never seen sea lions!) Ellie loved watching them swim under water and kept woofing at the sea lions 😂.

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We saw as many animals as we could but didnt get to see them all sadly. I was surprised at how many animals the Zoo had compared to other zoos I have been to and loved that you can get quite close to some of them.

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For me I loved the views, we were surrounded by beautiful hills and it made me feel so peaceful as did the Zoo Gardens which was surrounded by hardy and tropical plants giving the gardens a vibrant colour we strolled around letting Ellie explore a bit more to find two bears casually lying in their enclosure not too far away, spectacular!! Ive never seen a bear so close before.

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We took a small picnic so cant comment on the food however I did venture in to be nosey and the café looked very clean.

To finish our day Ellie raced off to the little woodland play area to let off any energy she had left, the smaller park was great for younger kids with swings, a see saw and a climbing area with slide.

The zoo was clean and easy to navigate which gave me peace of mind that Ellie was safe to wander around (even if sje wont let go of our hands when she is walking) and we had a lovely family day out.

Online price was £12.68 per adult and Ellie was free as she is under 3 so it wasnt an expensive day out at all and I felt it was worth the money for a nice family day out.

 

Posted in Chester Zoo, days out, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, rainbow baby, telford, Uncategorized, Zoo

Chester Zoo with a toddler.

On Tuesday we took a drive out to Chester Zoo, it’s just over an hours drive from Telford and we had pre-booked our tickets the night before. Tickets purchased online are actually cheaper than paying when you get there and can be purchased right up until 9:30 the morning you are planning your trip which I thought was pretty good. We had asked both our brothers if they wanted to come too so spent the day with them which Ellie loved. With my brother having Down Syndrome it also meant that as his carer for the day I got in for free (which we then halved the price of the ticket so he didn’t pay full adult), as a family with a disabled member I find it makes me want to visit more places when they allow for the carer or a discounted price for those with the special needs. I thought as his DS isn’t as obvious as others we might get questioned but they let us through without any hassle.

I have to say that for the entire journey it rained…no it didn’t rain it poured! I was seriously considering going home and wasting the money we had spent because the weather was so bad but knowing we had planned for bad weather and packed accordingly we knew the weather wasn’t going to stop us from enjoying Ellie’s first trip to the zoo.
Due to the weather and timing we were able to park on the main car park, which is FREE! I’d forgotten to bring any change with me so was grateful when we realised we didn’t need change for parking. We loaded up Ellie’s pushchair and made our way to the entrance, there was no need to queue as we’d already got our tickets so we went straight through, it didn’t seem to be very busy but i’m guessing that was because of the weather however it did stop raining and although it was dull, we were dry! The Zoo hires out buggy’s and other mobility services (wheelchairs being free too!) which if we hadn’t have taken our own we’d have needed as Ellie decided to nap half way through the day but after all the walking she did I’m not surprised!

Chester Zoo has such a special place in my heart, we go there at least once a year and I’ve been with a Jason bump and an Ellie bump which I guess is why I feel such a family connection whenever we go.

We were provided with a map (which I can never quite get my head around) and downloaded the free app to help us find our way. I found the app so useful as it had an interactive map that showed you where you are in the park at any time, it also had all the daily activities listed such as animals talks which if Ellie had been older we may have listened in on.

This was a great test to Ellie’s Tresspass Reins (click for my review) and they meant she was able to walk without us worrying about her wondering off. I must say taking a 17 month old to the Zoo was a tall order but the zoo is so spacious and well planned out that it didn’t feel overwhelming at all. I was a little bit worried that we were wasting our money on a day trip just for Ellie to see the animals but as she is so inquisitive she was quite happy just looking at the animals and walking was enough to make her happy.

We took our time visiting the animals and got to see all the ones we wanted to. At busier times certain animals were harder to see because of people crowding (the red ape realm, jaguar enclosure being the worst for getting a toddler to a window to see). Our first stop of the day was the elephants, I love their enclosure and since Jason died I have linked elephants (Dumbo in particular) to him so they were my favourite part of the day by far!

We saw one elephant feeding and a few baby elephants too which made my heart feel so much love. (Disclosure – I am not an animal person, I don’t want pets, I’m not keen on dogs and I don’t watch David Attenborough because I find him boring so to feel so much love for an elephant baffles me but I did.) We strolled off to find some other animals and was excited to show Ellie her favourite animal “Ra-Ra” that is a lion to you and me. I don’t think Ellie had realised that the lions were RaRa as she was more interested in the giant puddle near the lion enclosure and spent a good few minutes stomping and getting wet in the puddle. While walking around we encouraged Ellie to look at the animals we thought she might recognise and made the noises to help her associate them with her books and little toys.

I love that you can take your own picnic in to the Zoo, which for us meant it would be a much cheaper day out and I could pack Ellie’s lunch with her favourite fruit pouches and snacks. We were planning on buying ice creams but it was far too cold and now I regret it! There were plenty of places to buy food and drinks from dotted all over the park with quite a large variety too however as you could expect it wasn’t cheap, a small tray of chips and curry sauce was £2.50 where as it was around £7-£9 for a meal.

I was a bit nervous at having to change Ellie in public, we tend to avoid it as much as possible as she hates getting her nappy changed; however I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only was there plenty of baby changing facilities but they were in both male and female toilets! They were clean and spacious and made the change much easier…even if Ellie did cry throughout the whole thing and the other Mum’s in the toilet area gave me a look as we toddled out with tears down her face.

We eventually saw the Giraffes and the Congo Buffalos which I think were Ellie’s favourite animals of the day, I’m not sure why but she kept dragging us back to them. I loved the Orangutan and the monkeys and were so lucky that two came up close to the window and Ellie was able to get a good look at them. However, as mentioned before, the Red Ape Realm was quite busy so we didn’t get a great look at the Apes in there but that was to be expected.

Hubby was feeling brave and wanted to take Ellie in to the Fruit Bat Cave, as my brother is petrified I decided to stay with him while Hubby and my brother-in-law took her in. I was expecting them to come straight back out because she was screaming yet they took their time and Hubby says Ellie was constantly looking around. He did say it wasn’t as dark as it normally feels so they were able to see the bats a bit more clearly which I think helped. I still don’t think we’d have got my brother to walk through though!

Due to Ellie walking for most of the day we didn’t get to visit the whole 110 acres and I think in hindsight we could have used the Zoo’s monorail to get around more of the animals. There is also a water boat ride but Ellie’s not quite old enough for that yet so thought we’d give it a miss this time. I do wish we’d have gotten over to the Islands part as I think she would have loved the animals there but we will do that part first next time!

The whole day was mesmerising, from the moment we got there Ellie was so happy to be out in the fresh air, splashing in the puddles and conning Daddy out of money at the gift shop (already!! We spent £30 in there!) I was slightly disappointed that we couldn’t find the Dinosaur exhibit that we saw when I was pregnant with Ellie but we could tell there was lots going on to make the park ready for the Summer and I’m expecting we will be going back in the 6 week holidays for another visit! The sheer amount of animals you could see is enough to go back, from elephants and lions to sloth, bats and butterflies! There really is something for everyone and if the walking doesn’t tire the little ones then the play areas certainly will. I’d have loved to have let Ellie have a wander but they were busy with much older children and I was scared she’d get squashed!

Overall we had a lovely family day, making memories and although the admission price was still pricey (£21 each!) with the Carer being free and Ellie being under 2 we all got in for £43 which really wasn’t that bad! I would recommend it to anyone wanting to visit a clean and family friendly zoo.