22nd February 2019

Keep your family safe with Fairy Non Bio Pods and their child-lock system

Sponsored by Fairy

Having another inquisitive toddler in the house has reminded me just how adventurous these little people can be. Mabel managed to climb into her highchair this week by pulling it up to the sofa and using it as a step. I mean, seriously?! That is why I am all for cupboard locks, high shelves, and trying to grow a set of eyes in the back of my head at the moment – and that is also why the new child-lock system on the packaging of Fairy Non Bio Pods is a big relief.

Fairy know that little people can be inquisitive – and they have made their new packaging easy for adults to get inside (simply push the tabs together at the same time to lift the lid) but really quite impossible for children. And when you replace the lid, you just need to make sure you hear the click to ensure the child-lock is back in place – and it’ll be safe to store away until next time (see below video for child-lock instructions).

I’ve always used Fairy Non-Bio for my laundry as I’ve got quite sensitive skin – and when the children came along, I stuck with them. I’ve always been impressed – and when I noticed the new child-lock safety feature on the packaging, the product got an even bigger tick.

 

So what are the rules? Always keep children away from the washing machine drum and open packs when you are loading the laundry – and once you’ve finished and closed the packaging with a click, make sure you store it up high, out of reach, and behind a closed cupboard.

Safety should always come first – so why not make a New Year’s Resolution to make your laundry process extra safe for the whole family in 2019? Fairy Non-Bio Pods, with their child-lock system, are a great place to start.



21st February 2019

How to survive stay-at-home rainy days with the kids

Rainy day? Keeping kids inside the whole day isn’t easy – so how do we entertain them? Here are a few ideas to keep them entertained (and you sane!)

 

Host a movie afternoon

Pop the popcorn, grab the cushions and blankets, and settle down for the afternoon with a good movie. On platforms like Chili, there are hundreds of children’s movies that you can choose from. And for added fun, why not make your movie afternoon themed? Pick Frozen and you could bake Frozen-themed treats, colour snowmen, and get crafty with some icy-themed crafts.

 

Play games

Some of my favourite memories as a child involved playing games, with everyone laughing and just having a good time. You can play hide and seek, pull out the board games, get into a game of charades, or break out whichever games your kids love!

 

Get baking                                                   

It is always said that the kitchen is the heart of the home and so on rainy days, it is only natural to gravitate towards the kitchen at some point. You can have fun making a fun meal together (breakfast for dinner, anyone?), or whipping up some treats.

 

Read a story

Story time is a classic. You can huddle all together and take turns reading your favourite story. It’s a great way for your kids to use their imaginations – and who knows what sort of fun activities the story may lead you into?

 

Get crafty

A craft project is a great option for when you are stuck inside but you still want to do something. You can all use your imaginations and come up with something you want to create… perhaps a birdhouse that you can set out when the weather takes a turn?

Processed with VSCO with s1 preset

 

Indoor treasure hunt

An indoor treasure hunt is a fun way for your kids to use up some of their pent-up energy from being stuck inside. If you have one child, you can set up the treasure hunt that you both can do together. And if you have a couple little ones, you can have fun taking turns who plans the treasure hunt and who sets out on it.

 

What are some of your favourite things to do with your kids on rainy days?

 

In collaboration with Emily Jones



14th February 2019

Spotlight on: Laundryheap; the 24 Hour Laundry and Dry Cleaning Service available in 9 cities worldwide (including London, Dubai, Manchester, Birmingham and Coventry)

Sponsored Post

As parents, our lives couldn’t be busy. If we stay at home, our time is taken up with school and nursery drops, being a taxi driver for after-school classes, seemingly endless birthday parties to attend, and trying to squeeze in the household chores around it all. And if we are working parents, there are even less hours in the day to get things done – and this is why I love the idea of the company Laundryheap, who will pick up laundry from your front door shortly after you book a service online (or through the app) and will deliver it back within 24 hours, freshly washed, and ready to sort into drawers and wardrobes.

 

Laundryheap also cater for dry cleaning and ironing, ticking those off your ‘to do’ list too. Collection and delivery is free – and you can track the driver in real-time so you know when they will be arriving. Once your laundry has been picked up, you will be kept up to date with status notifications – and if you have any questions, the company offers live chat support.

 

 

Laundryheap is available in the following locations:

 

United Kingdom: London, Manchester, Birmingham & Coventry

U.A.E: Dubai & Sharjah

Ireland: Dublin

Netherlands: Amsterdam, Haarlem

 

Price wise, a standard, tumble-dried laundry-service is £14.95 in UK prices (60 AED in the UAE), with dry-cleaning and ironed laundry from £2 per item (4 AED in the UAE). Larger items, such as bedding and upholstery are priced per item, usually around the £8 mark (18 AED in the UAE).

 

Whether you use Laundryheap regularly or save it for the times you are very pushed for time (or from those times when you don’t have a washing machine at home), it should definitely be added to your bookmarks bar.

 

Head to www.laundryheap.co.uk or download the app.



5th February 2019

A family holiday to Italy: three regions on our travel wish-list

Going on a family holiday is something that takes a lot of planning and financial budgeting throughout the year – but ultimately, it’s well worth it for the memories that will stay with you and your children forever.

When it comes to destinations, Italy is always top of my wish list – and there are three regions that have made our family travel wish-list.

Sicily

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, has a beautiful climate, and offers a unique landscape with numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites scattered throughout. It has an active volcano called Mount Etna and plenty of beaches for the kids to enjoy. There are also three main airports on the island so getting there is completely manageable, which is a major plus for travelling with kids. It is highly recommended to check out the Sicily villa rentals available through tools like Wishsicily for example. This kind of accommodation is perfect for a family holiday: you can really shift into relax mode in a peaceful and private villa, while avoiding separate rooms and noisy neighbours. For a trip to Sicily, trying local foods including fresh seafood is a must, as well as thinking up activities everyone wants to do beforehand so you can make the most out of the time there.

 

Umbria

Umbria is in central Italy and is often referred to as Italy’s green heart. It is bordered neither from a coastline or a border of a neighbouring country, making it the only the region to be so. Umbria has pristine countryside, delicious food and far fewer tourists than other parts of Italy. If you and your family are looking for a relaxing holiday surrounded by beauty, this region should definitely be on your list. You can spend your time visiting hilltop and Medieval towns and enjoying the beauty of nature.

 

Liguria

I have always dreamt of a holiday on the Italian Riviera – and Liguria is the place on our wish-list. A region in northwest Italy, it has a Mediterranean coastline. Liguria is well known, especially for Cinque Terre, the five colourful fishing villages that look like they are straight from a postcard. As a family, you can hop between the five villages by boat, go snorkelling and swimming in the open sea. If you want more energy of urban life, you can head to the city of Genoa, where you can visit the maritime museum ‘Galata Museo del Mare’ and explore the colourful port city.

 

Italy is the perfect place to travel with family and kids for so many reasons. Family is traditionally an important value in the Italian culture and it truly shows, even for and to visitors. The people are friendly, the food will make even the pickiest of eaters excited to eat, and there is plenty to do for people of all ages. Whether you want the sea, mountains, or countryside, big cities or small, relaxation or adventure, you can have whatever type of holiday you are looking for in Italy. And, you will all remember it forever.

post written in collaboration with Emily Jones



10th December 2018

Making Toothbrushing Fun With Aquafresh

Sponsored by Aquafresh

There are certain brands that stay with you throughout the stages of parenthood – and for me, Aquafresh is one of those brands. Aquafresh Milk Teeth Toothpaste was the first toothpaste I purchased when my eldest Stanley got his first teeth back in 2012 (those same teeth that are now falling out quicker than the tooth fairy can flutter her wings!)  – and it’s the brand I have chosen for Stanley, Wilfred and Mabel’s toothpaste and toothbrushes ever since.

Mabel has 16 milk teeth in her mouth now (I think we’re just waiting for those pesky back molars!) – and as milk teeth have enamel that is thinner and more delicate than adult teeth, extra care is needed to keep those teeth healthy. Aquafresh Milk Teeth Toothpaste (for ages 0-2 years) can be used as soon as your baby’s first tooth emerges, as it’s tough on decay, but with low abrasivity, making it kind to little teeth.

 

Mabel is pretty good at letting me brush her teeth (and having a go herself!) But anything that can keep her attention throughout the process is a big help. I have always sung a song while brushing their teeth (remember that song in the film Grease, when Jan sings at the sleepover? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFAwSqK3SdQ) That’s what I’ve always sung – and it seems to keep them happy enough while I’m brushing to get a really good clean of the teeth!

I recently found out about another way to keep them focused on tooth brushing for a full two minutes – and that’s the Aquafresh Brush Time app! After downloading the free app, you can start it when it’s time for teeth brushing (with different settings for different children) – and Captain Aquafresh and the Nurdles will sing and dance while your little ones brush! The app has a timer that counts down the recommended two minutes – and it also tells the child (and parent!) when it’s time to swap sides.

 

 

 

So what did we think? I didn’t think I’d ever use an app for tooth brushing, but I honestly think it can help – whether for older children like Stanley (who now brush their teeth themselves and I worry aren’t doing it for long enough or covering every surface) or for younger children like Mabel (who are so easily distracted and can clamp their mouth shut). It’s definitely worth downloading and having a go!

Download the Aquafresh Brush Time app here. Available on Apple or Android



30th November 2018

5 Ideas for children that love craft

My children are all quite creative and love nothing better than cutting, sticking, painting, and drawing – but whilst this is lovely and I always encourage it, I’m a bit sick of the clutter that ends up on our dining table…. So, I’ve put together some ideas for parents of crafty children on getting organised and minimising the mess. So here goes…

  1. Craft Drawers

I recently organised all of our craft things into drawers – and it has made a huge difference. Not only do the boys know where to get things when they want them, they also know exactly where to put them away when they have finished (or that’s the idea!) I got this set from Amazon, which is £49.99.

  1. Little Brian Paint Sticks

Mabel loves painting – but sometimes, I just can’t bring myself to deal with the mess that results from a few minutes of fun. That’s why I love Little Brian Paint Sticks, which are just like glue sticks but with colourful paint instead. No mess and lots of fun. I get them from Amazon here.

  1. Cabin Beds

The dream is for each of the children to have their own desks in the future, where they can get creative and store their own stationary – and when I spotted these cabin beds from Room to Grow, they were immediately added to my wish-list.

  1. Baker Ross

It can be really expensive to buy craft supplies for children (especially when they move through each activity in a few minutes), so I was happy to discover Baker Ross recently. This website has lots of fun craft packs (such as ‘colour in’ monster keyrings, penguin bauble making kits, and bumper packs of stickers) starting at just £1.99. Perfect for rainy days. Check it out here.

  1. JoJo Coveralls

I’ve had too many paint / glitter / glue disasters to risk letting them craft without an apron – and these coveralls from JoJo are perfect, as they can slide over any outfit in seconds. If your child likes to dress up, you could even take a look at these coveralls from Ace Work Gear.

Written in collaboration with Room to Grow



29th November 2018

Currently Loving – Christmas 2018

With December nearly here, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – and right on cue, here’s my ‘Currently Loving’ selection for the festive season!

The selection includes quite a few items from the Mum of Boys & Mabel gift guide, with quite a few discount codes still valid (all detailed below). I’d like to very quickly say a big thank you to the brands that worked with me on this year’s campaign and to every one of you that clicked and shopped links. 

So without further ado, here is what I am coveting, shopping, clicking, and enjoying this month…

1. Soggy Rabbit Illustrations. What better gift can there be than an illustration of your child’s much-loved cuddly toy – or your much-loved pet? Soggy Rabbit are currently offering 15% off all orders with the code MUMOFBOYSANDMABEL (valid to Dec 31st). And whilst the order date for Christmas delivery has now passed, you can pick up gift vouchers (or order for delivery after Christmas) at www.soggyrabbit.com

2. Paper Christmas by Emily Dawe. This really very beautiful book features 16 crafty paper projects for Christmas, including homemade bunting, wrapping paper, and decorations. Work on projects alongside a crafty child (Stanley, aged six, loves it!) – or have some fun on your own. Buy it at Amazon here – https://amzn.to/2TXDBog

3. First Wonder Boxes. First Wonder monthly subscription boxes are suitable for 4-8 year olds and have a different educational theme each month (not that they know it’s educational!) From dinosaurs, to outer space, to colours, to bodies, to bugs, each box contains activities, toys, stationary, things to build, games, and much more. This year, the company are offering a ‘Christmas Gift Subscription’ for the first time, which offers amazing savings up to 30% off the usual price at www.firstwonderbox.co.uk/gift/

4. Crafty Mama. Headed up by the very talented Charlotte, this online store makes dinosaur tails that attach around waists with velcro, beanbags in a range of very cool fabrics (I love the new dinosaur print!), butterfly wings to flutter in, and much more. Shop at www.craftymamastore.com

5. HUSH. I wish I could afford to buy the entire season’s collection from HUSH, but alas, adding this simple, chic star necklace to my wish list will have to do. Shop at https://www.hush-uk.com

6. Print My Smile. I am so happy to discover the personalised gifts from Print My Smile – from personalised notebook, to small initial mugs for the children, to calendars. Everything is very beautifully designed and very affordable – and you can take a further 20% off everything on the website with the code MUMOFBOYSANDMABEL (valid until Sunday 2nd December)!! Shop at  www.printmysmile.com

7. Esme Grace. Take your pick of beautiful winter hats, bonnets, and bibs from the hand-crocheted selection – and then choose the colours of the wool and extra details, like pom poms,. Everything is totally bespoke – and very high quality in terms of material and expertise. Shop at http://bit.ly/2QZwlqd

8. Lots of Lowe Designs. I discovered these stylish personalised prints last year – and promptly ordered an A4 Christmas Jumper Print (named with each family member). I just love it – and it’s something I know I’m going to get out with the decorations every Christmas! You can use the code MUMOFBOYSANDMABEL to snap up a 15% discount this Christmas, plus free shipping for all orders!  Shop at http://bit.ly/2RfkIeI 

9. Blueberry Boo Kids. I am the biggest fan of this clothing company, especially their personalised tops, hoodies and dresses. You can use an exclusive 15% discount on everything online at the moment too, with the code MOBAM15 (valid until 5th December, when they will close orders for Christmas, so be quick!) Shop at www.blueberrybookids.co.uk

10. Katie’s Little Book Bags. With Christmas Party bags starting at just £1.30 each and containing four items (yes, really!), this company offers the most amazing bargains for those looking to save a few pounds this Christmas. From activity bundles to keep the kids entertained at Christmas lunch, to Christmas Eve Bags, to Advent Book Bundles, and much more, you can shop at  http://bit.ly/2PUiVPv

11. Snuggle Bums. If you’re looking to treat your little people to beautiful, handmade gifts this Christmas, look no further than Snuggle Bums UK! This mama-run company (by the talented Kelly) offers a packed product range of tag blankets, personalised bunting, shopping trolley covers, baby bibs and much more! Everything is bright, impeccably made, and affordable (prices start at just £6). Shop at http://bit.ly/2PPSx9C

12. Simply Concrete. I never realised that concrete could create items quite so beautiful but I urge you to check out @simplyconcrete.ni on Instagram. I have some a set of coasters from the brand, painted with rose gold and I love them! If you want to order, be quick, as her order books close Friday 30th November for Christmas. Shop via Instagram here  –https://www.instagram.com/simplyconcrete.ni

13. Oliver Bonas. I’m a sucker for anything dinosaur themed – and this Christmas decoration from Oliver Bonas is ticking all the right boxes. Shop at www.oliverbonas.com 

14. The English Beagle. I just adore the new range of tablemats and puzzles at The English Beagle, which challenge children to find items hidden in the picture. The perfect way to keep them busy at Christmas lunch!  The company are offering 20% off all purchases on the website until the 20th December with the code XMAS18 – Shop here > www.theenglishbeagle.com

15. Oliver Bonas. I’ve got my eyes on these chic gold earrings, to bring a bit of glitz to my outfits over the festive season. Shop at www.oliverbonas.com 

16. My Busy Bots. Along with their brilliant busy bags filled with games and activities to keep children busy in quiet moments over the festive season, My Busy Bots have come up with a christmas range of gifts / stocking fillers to amaze and delight them!  And to help out that little bit more before Christmas, the company are offering 10% off everything on the website with the code XMAS10 – shop at www.mybusybots.com

17. The White Company. Of all the Christmas jumpers I have spotted this year for children, I think this is my favourite. It’s from The White Company and you can shop at www.thewhitecompany.com

18. Cotton & Bloom. Cotton and Bloom are a big favourite in my house for their fun, fashionable clothing. From glittery Santa tees, to personalised baby onesies, to matching Mama/Child sweatshirts, to birthday tops, to brother / sister tees – and much more! The prices are brilliant too. You can shop at www.cottonandbloom.com

 

This feature contains some affiliate links



25th October 2018

Stanley and Wilfred visit Drusillas Park for Shriek Week!

 

We always enjoy visiting Drusillas Park as a family – so I had their Halloween ‘Shriek Week’ (which is taking place this week, until Sunday 28th) in my diary for a while. But alas, like a lot of working mums, I just couldn’t make it work as I was too busy with work – so my parents very kindly offered to take the boys today.

They had such a brilliant day, but I am told that the highlights of the day were…

1) The interactive ‘Shriek Week’ areas, which included the Maze (with its very own spooky mummy’s roaming around!) and the Witch’s House. Once they’d been suitably scared in the maze, they went up to the platform and watched from the platform and spent a long time watching other children running away!


 

 

2) The spooky decorations all around the park – pumpkins, cobwebs, skeletons, and bats! My parents said they had made a real effort – and a lot of children had come in fancy dress to really get into the spirit.

3) The rides! Drusillas is the closest my children have got to a real theme park – and it’s always one of their highlights of their visit. The Flying Cheetahs, the Hippopotobus, the Safari Express Train – and all the rides in Hello Kitty Land.

4) Visiting the animals – always part of our day when we go to Drusillas and extra special in Shriek Week! The boys loved how the mouse house had been transformed for Halloween and my Dad was impressed by how the animals experts bought the theme into a talk about blood-sucking bats!

Drusillas is always fun to visit – and Shriek Week will be taking place at the park until Sunday. For more information, head to https://www.drusillas.co.uk/halloween-activities-in-east-sussex

And if you want to know what they have planned for Christmas, head to https://www.drusillas.co.uk/christmas-events

 

Thank you to Drusillas for providing tickets for my parents and boys to visit today,so that I could write this review. Thanks Mum and Dad for taking the boys and for taking the photos! 



Currently Loving – October 2018

It’s October and the kids are off on half-term, so I am going to keep this introduction brief – but I will just say that this really is my favourite time of the year and think there’s been some kind of serious mistake with the weather. Maybe someone switched the wrong switch up there? But I’m not complaining; it’s great – and it’s making me look forward to the cold, cosy months ahead (and Christmas, of course, if I am allowed to utter the word…) I hope you enjoy my selection this month – and I will be back with another pick in November.

  1. Next. This coral sweatshirt (from £8) is in the boys’ autumn collection at Next, although it would work very well for either gender. The perfect way to brighten up an outfit! Shop here.

 

  1. Next. Also at Next, I’ve fallen in love with these sand coloured boots for the boys, complete with their very own lion! There’s also khaki and black dinosaurs in the collection (from £23). Shop here.

 

  1. Blueberry Boo Kids. How cool are the new ‘Maker’ enamel pin badges from Blueberry Boo Kids (£7.50)?! Available in Boys and Girls, they’d look great worn on a plain-coloured sweatshirt or jumper – or pinned onto a winter scarf. Shop here.

 

  1. Trilogy Skincare. I used to swear by Trilogy products when I was a beauty journalist – and it was a real joy to rediscover them recently. I love the gentle, botanical ingredients (including lashings of rosehip oil) – and my skin seems to love them too. Shop here.

 

  1. Oliver Bonas. I’d fill my entire house with nothing but Oliver Bonas if I could, so I’m always quick to click onto their new collections when they launch – and this Tiger Scented Candle (Bergamot and Rose) has definitely caught my eye (£23). I’d burn the candle and then use the tiger to keep trinkets on my dressing table. Shop here.

 

  1. Marks & Spencer. M&S has launched lots of initial gift items for Christmas – and this mug in an ‘L’ will definitely be on my wish-list (£6). Shop here.

 

  1. Not on the Highstreet. If I was lucky enough to own one of these personalised embroidered hoop signs by Make & Mend, I’d prop it up on the fireplace when I decorated for Christmas – and then I’d pull it out every year and do the same (£38). Shop here.

 

  1. Alcatel. You will have heard me talk about the Alcatel 3V over recent weeks – and having tried it out, I still can’t believe it has a price tag under £100. It has a crystal-clear 6-inch screen, a really very good 12 megapixel camera, and some fab features like facial recognition unlocking. It’s really user-friendly and comes in a choice of black or gold. Such a bargain for a high quality smartphone! Shop here.

 

  1. Marks & Spencer. I can’t get enough of leopard print dresses – and this pink number would be so versatile, dressed up with heels or down with tights, boots and knitwear (£49.50). Shop here.

 

  1. Boden. I adore these supersoft leather baby shoes, available in hot pink, tan, or navy (£24). I wish they’d been around when Mabel was taking her first steps! Shop here.

 

  1. Jellycat. I spotted this octopus while browsing recently and fell in love (£20)! Such a unique, but very sweet soft toy to have sitting on a nursery shelf. And SO soft too! Shop here.

 

  1. From Mum With Love. I can’t write a ‘Currently Loving’ in the month my very own book goes into pre-order and not mention it – so here is a quick plug for my very first novel! It’s all about a mum, living in London, who decides to start a blog – and the roller-coaster of events that follow. You can pre-order it for just £1 on digital download here (and it will be available in February). Pre-order here.

 

  1. Stories For Kids That Dare To Be Different. You may have heard me mention ‘Stories for Boys That Dare To Be Different’ a while ago – and this book is the second in the series. It’s just very, very wonderful and every child should get the chance to read it (at time of writing, reduced to £13, from £20). Shop here.

 

  1. Pop Reads. Each of these books is based on a different song – with the lyrics beautifully illustrated inside. They are perfect for parents that want to pass on a love of music to their children – I have ‘Perfect Day’ and ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day’ on my wish-list for the kids! Get your hands on the books (from £7) and accompanying soundtracks by supporting the Kickstarter here.

 

  1. Oliver Bonas. It’s nearly time for wrapping up warm in scarves – and this rainbow / leopard print beauty from Oliver Bonas is top of my ‘to buy’ list (£28)! Shop here.

 

Written in collaboration with Alcatel Mobile

Some links included are affiliate

 



21st October 2018

Enter the ‘Monster Mash’ Design Competition with Print My Smile!

I could not be more excited to tell you about the ‘Monster Mash Competition’ with Print My Smile, which is now open for your children to enter over the half-term holidays and Halloween (closing date Nov 2nd). I will be on the judging panel for the competition and can’t wait to see the designs start coming in!

To enter, you just need to click onto the Print My Smile website (scroll to the bottom of this blog post for the clickable link) and show your children how to use the easy design tools to create their very own scary monster! It’s very simple to use – both my 4 and 6-year old managed it on their own very easily and enjoyed every second!

This video will show you how to do it!

There are some seriously cool prizes up for grabs too:

1st Place: A collection of Print My Smile products featuring the winning monster design, including a child’s mug, A4 framed poster, chocolate card, and notebook. They will also win a cool VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch, pre-loaded with a monster detector game they will love! Finally, the winning child will become a product designer overnight, with their design printed on a range of children’s mugs and notebooks (all profits going to a charity fund).

2 runners-up prizes: The two runners-up will also get their designs sent to them on a mug, A4 framed poster, chocolate card, and notebook, along with the VTech Smartwatch.

Every single child that enters will get their own A5 poster printed for FREE (the first 250 entries will have it posted, whilst everyone else will get a PDF to print at home). Posters will be delivered to every child within 5 days.

But that’s not all, because you won’t just be putting a smile on your child’s face by taking part in this competition, but you’ll also be supporting charity too. Print My Smile will donate £1 to charity for every household that enters, split between Bliss and Born Too Soon (up to a total of £1000).

Each child in your household can enter and receive their poster (one entry per child – so if you have three children, you can enter three times and get a poster for each child). The competition is open to children aged up to 16 years old and a parent/guardian must register on the Print My Smile website in order for their child to enter the competition.

 

Have fun creating your monsters – and I can’t wait to see your designs!

Start creating your monster at the Print My Smile Entry Page here – www.printmysmile.com/p/1293/monster-mash-competition