17th November 2019

M&S CHRISTMAS BUYS

We popped into our local M&S to have a browse and shop the new Christmas collection – and there were so many lovely things for gifts, stocking fillers, or to decorate our homes. And if you like something, I’ve copied below all the links to shop!

Scented Jar Candles – £6 each – http://bit.ly/2pulP1y

Star Wars Bubble Bath – £9.50 – http://bit.ly/2MTpM7t

Alphabet Tea Towel – £5 – http://bit.ly/2Qxsu6l

Alphabet Glass – £5 – http://bit.ly/2pek5sI

Alphabet Candle – £5 – http://bit.ly/35aN6oK

Beautiful Butters and Handwash Duos – £5 –  http://bit.ly/2NSfSov

Mandarin, Clove and Cinnamon Lidded Jar – £10 – http://bit.ly/2ppqpxV

Christmas Parcel Crackers (x6) – £20 – http://bit.ly/2r40BYx

Disney Frozen Decoration Advent Calendar – £12.50 – http://bit.ly/2WfWsML

Disney Frozen Tree Decorations – £5 each – http://bit.ly/2qZqPLV

Disney Frozen Straw Tumbler – £4 – http://bit.ly/32QRec1

Disney Frozen Shaker Tumbler – £4 – http://bit.ly/35bypC1

Make Your Own Bath Fizzer – £9.50 – http://bit.ly/37fy0A6

Make Your Own Felt Decorations – £9.50 – http://bit.ly/32SGJ8i

Laugh on the Loo Book – £5 – http://bit.ly/2CS6Otm

Optical Illoosions Book – £5 – http://bit.ly/33Lf4qt

Little Christmas Puzzler Book – £4 – http://bit.ly/2NTN4Ma

The Little Word Puzzle Book – £4 – http://bit.ly/37czpYr

The Little Visual Puzzle Book – £4 – http://bit.ly/33VbieD

Puzzle Advent Calendar – £9.50 – http://bit.ly/2P6zaaG

Unicorn Hot Water Bottle – £22 – http://bit.ly/2CPpObQ

Giant Unicorn Cuddly Toy – £39.50 – http://bit.ly/2OfG4IE

Dinosaur Hot Water Bottle – £22 – http://bit.ly/2CPoUw7

Dinosaur Cuddly Toy – £14 – http://bit.ly/33WQUtx

Dog Mugs – £6 – http://bit.ly/35doJai

Cat Mugs – £6 – http://bit.ly/2rScQbj

Dog Walking Kit – £10 – http://bit.ly/2OkW1NO

Champagne Bottle Dog Toy – £6 – http://bit.ly/2CRm6i1

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20th May 2019

A review of Little Scribblers Busy Bags (plus 15% off everything)!

If you follow me over on social media, you will have heard me talk about Little Scribblers last week; the genius zip-up bags that each contain an activity to keep little people busy at home, while travelling, dining out, or simply when you have a spare moment to fill. And today, I wanted to tell you a little more…

Little Scribblers busy bags are designed to tie in with the National Curriculum Early Years (with support from both teachers and occupational therapists) – and each zip-up pouch contains an activity to educate, develop, and entertain little ones.

A fair few of packs focus on writing – and for those aimed at the youngest children, it’s about developing a pincer grip by working the small muscles in their hands so they can hold a pencil. This is achieved with fun, achievable tasks, such as threading a length of cord through the card, using tweezers, or by sorting pom poms into different containers.

When they are ready to hold a pen, they can move onto the pre-writing packs such as this fun ‘Ready, Set, GO’ road set. Mabel loved this set particularly – and seriously impressed me when she picked up the pen and managed to draw lines down the roads at the age of 2.5 years!

And when they have a strong enough foundation with these sets, they can move onto actual letter writing – but still with lots of fun! The glossy surface of the cards and wipe-off pen included in the pack means that the cards can be used over and over again and shared between siblings – just use the eraser on the lid to rub the pen away when you’ve finished.

But it isn’t just about writing… There are packs that focus on space recognition, sequencing, early numeracy skills and mathematics too. Whether it’s through creating patterns by linking together a chain, or by counting the number of holes in a giant button, or by filling in shapes with colourful tangrams, every pack is both educational, but very fun.

We took a selection of the packs to London on the train with us last week – and there was something to entertain all my children from aged 2 to aged 7. If you are heading away this summer, they’d be fantastic for keeping them busy on flights, trains, and long car journeys.

The instructions are brilliant too, taking both the parent and child through the cards, its different ways to play, and its benefits. This isn’t something I’ve seen frequently before in activities for children and I really appreciated the option of reading through before or during the children playing.

They are wonderful quality and affordable too – as an example, the pre-writing set with roads that Mabel draws on in the pictures above is just £8.50, which will be just £7.22 with your 15% discount!

 

Little Scribblers really does come very highly recommended by me. We’ve taken them everywhere since we received them a few weeks ago and I can already see the benefits, especially in the way Mabel is using and controlling a pen. I love the company, the ethos, and the price – and I’m very happy to pass on an exclusive 15% discount below.

To shop, head over to https://www.littlescribblers.world/shop/ and use the code Mabel15 for 15% off!

 

 

 



3rd May 2019

I review: BookBildr

Have you ever wished you could make your own book, adding your own text and illustrations? Whether it’s a story book for your children, a picture book for your parents, or a book for use in your business, there is a new website that allows us to do just that.

BookBildr is a new web service that makes it very easy for anyone to create picture books using drag and drop technology online. You can either order printed copies or download the book in PDF – and if you order the printed books, they will be bookshop quality.

With BookBildr you can choose whether to make hardback or softcover illustrated books, with hundreds of ready-made illustrations for your book (or simply upload your own). You can choose from the full set of Google fonts for your text, customise the background with colour or stretch out an illustration to use it as a background, and you can save the book design for later use if you are pushed for time.

After hearing about BookBildr, I went online to have a little play – and it is so easy to drag pictures, place text and choose colours. It’s really self-explanatory too, with clearly labelled options on the sidebar, so you can teach yourself how to use it in a matter of seconds.

I love the idea of writing down stories that grandparents always tell, as a gift for them. Or collating recipes that your mother cooks and you want to preserve. Or writing the story of a special holiday, the first few months of a baby’s life, or the love story of a couple celebrating a milestone anniversary. There are so many options – and knowing that will receive a book that is bookstore quality at the end is a real incentive to start building.

You can print any number of books from 1 upwards – and you only pay when you decide to print or download your copy. So why not have a go and see where it takes you?

Head over to http://www.bookbildr.com/ to give it a go!

 

 

Sponsored Post



2nd May 2019

5 Reasons Why I love Vertbaudet’s New Summer Collection

Have you discovered the brand Vertbaudet yet? The brand has been a favourite in France for over 40 years, but launched over here in the UK in 1997 – and now it’s available online, it’s easy to browse the online catalogue and pick out a few favourites for your little ones.

I logged on a few weeks ago and chose Mabel a few items for her wardrobe and bedroom – and when it arrived, I was so impressed I thought I’d share with you all. So without further ado, here’s why I love Vertbaudet’s New Summer Collection…

  1. The clothes are very stylish

I’m quite fussy when it comes to Mabel’s wardrobe – but there were so many pieces in the Vertbaudet summer collection that I wanted. From nautical stripes, to rainbow print, to zingy brights for summer days, to stylish denim (and lots more!)

 

 

 

 

This probably isn’t hugely surprising when it comes to French fashion, as it’s definitely the kind of thing I like to dress her in – and if you have the same taste in quite neutral pieces with splashes of bright colours, you’ll love the collection too.

 

  1. Affordability

Children grow so quickly and I don’t want to spend a lot on their clothes, only for them to be too short or too small when they next wear them. This is why I appreciate the price tags on Vertbaudet’s clothing, such as £7.50 for this dress and £6.50 for these T-Shirts.

 

  1. Beautiful furniture

But it isn’t just clothes for sale at Vertbaudet. The furniture for sale on the website is just as stylish and affordbale. Mabel has a sweet little table, complete with matching chairs – and I love the fact it’s very practical, but also neutral and stylish too.

I’d buy this furniture for their bedrooms and playrooms, but also for areas I’d usually want to keep a bit more adult in design, such as the living room.

  1. High Quality

I’ve been really impressed with the quality of both clothes and furniture. Everything wears well, is soft against skin, and washes well too. Sometimes more affordable options for children come with a drop in quality, but this definitely isn’t the case with Vertbaudet. The summer pyjamas in the picture below are so soft; perfect for warm summer evenings!

 

  1. Clever designs

The baby, children and maternity ranges offer clever details and practical solutions such as, clothing to help your little one’s dress themselves, 3-in-1 parka’s, reversible dresses, perfect fit trousers (with different hip sizes), and nursing tops (for discreet feeding).

I was so impressed when Mabel’s mac arrived and it had a zip-in padded lining, which will take it from being a warm coat in winter, to a thin waterproof for use in summer when the heavens open.

All in all, I’m very impressed with everything at Vertbaudet – and I’d definitely recommend a quick browse.

Link > www.vertbaudet.co.uk/  

 

Items were gifted for the purpose of this review



28th April 2019

Life is better when it’s reliable

Sponsored Post

There are lots of things that need to be reliable to keep life ticking on smoothly, especially in our house. My husband remembering our anniversary… The washing machine not giving up half-way through a load… The car starting on frosty mornings… The babysitter turning up at the time she promises… I could go on!

And the internet. Honestly, that one is probably right up there at the top of the list of things that need to be reliable for me. If it goes down, or slows down, or buffers frequently, or fails to connect, or is even just a bit hit and miss, I can’t get my work done. Or my workouts done. Or my messages sent. Or my phone calls connected. Or my kids entertained while I try and cook the dinner! And if my husband can’t connect to the office when he gets home from work, that won’t be good news.

That is exactly why we are trialling TalkTalk’s Fibre Broadband – and I wanted to tell you about what reliability means to me.

TalkTalk’s new Wi-Fi Hub offers customers its most reliable Wi-Fi signal yet– and believe me, we’ve been through a few.

In fact, it’s smart enough that it can tell which phones or laptops need more signal and will send the internet that way. The kids love playing with this – my eldest has been studying black holes at school, so they’ve been running around the house trying to find a ‘black hole’ where the internet can’t find them. So far, they’ve had absolutely no luck!

Clever stuff. And reliable stuff. And that is exactly why I trust TalkTalk.

To find out more about TalkTalk’s reliable Fibre Broadband, visit www.talktalk.co.uk/shop/broadband/fibre



21st April 2019

What does ‘Fairness’ mean to you?

Sponsored Post

We all try to do our bit to make the world a little fairer for everyone, but some things are easier than others.

To my children, ‘fairness’ is ensuring that they are each given the same amount of pocket money every week, have exactly the same number of grapes in their bowl when it comes to snack time or are given the same amount of time playing on their consoles as their sibling.

To my husband, it means that the price we find for our summer holiday on the internet will be the price we have to pay when we rock up to Normandy – without suddenly finding out that the electricity, the water, and in fact the air that we breathe will cost extra. It just means that those ice creams on the beach and a few fizzy drinks won’t put us over budget.

To me, it means that my husband will get back at the time he promises after I’ve had a long day with the kids – and if he doesn’t, he picks up his phone to let me know.

And when it comes to signing up to an internet provider, fairness means that the terms won’t change before the ink is even dry. Best of all, TalkTalk guarantees no mid-contract broadband price rises across all its plans.

Not only is the price fixed and guaranteed for the terms of our contract, but TalkTalk’s ‘Great Connection Guarantee’ allows 30 days to make sure its Fibre Broadband package is right for us – and if it isn’t, we can simply leave or move to a different plan.

And, just like my children expect life to be fair when it comes to equal pocket money distribution, I expect fairness from the utility providers I choose for my home – and that is exactly why I value TalkTalk.

To find out more about TalkTalk’s fairer Fibre Broadband,  visit www.talktalk.co.uk/shop/broadband/fibre

 



14th April 2019

Why we are loving our TalkTalk Fibre Broadband

Sponsored Post

Like most families, we use the internet all the time at home, so before swapping to TalkTalk’s Fibre Broadband, I did a lot of research about whether it was the right provider for us. I need to be sure that if we’re going to make a change to our family’s lifestyle, it’s got to be right for everyone…

Firstly – and probably most importantly (although the kids wouldn’t agree) – I need the internet because I work from home. From sending emails, to uploading social media posts and managing my accounts, to researching which book I want to read next – even putting in a last-minute school uniform order – it’s imperative that I have ongoing access to the internet.

My husband needs the internet for work too – because when he’s not in the office, the nature of his job means he still needs to be able to get online at any moment. Wherever he goes, his laptop comes too. It’s like our fourth child.

The children use the internet both for fun – and to help them do research for their homework on ancient Greece or how exactly Black Holes were created in space (even if they don’t always find the answers!)

 

And we all use the internet to stay in touch with the people we love, via video calls, emails, and text conversations all the time. Just the other day I video-called my Mum and the whole family piled in to say hi.

So why does TalkTalk Fibre Broadband tick all these boxes for us?

In a nutshell, we have chosen TalkTalk Fibre Broadband because it’s fair for all of us.

‘The Great Connection Guarantee’ gives us 30 days to try out TalkTalk Fibre Broadband to make sure it is the right package for us.

It is also reliable. Very reliable. TalkTalk’s new Wi-Fi Hub offers customers its fastest, strongest and most reliable Wi-Fi signal yet. We’ve tested the signal from every corner of the house (my husband even used his laptop from the attic to see if it would work) and we didn’t lose connection once.

And finally, it is affordable. In fact, TalkTalk is the first provider to guarantee no broadband price rises for the entire length of our contract – and that is reassuring to know. Especially when there are so many broadband providers out there that know that even if they get someone to sign up on a cheaper plan, they can sap more money from their customers by sneaky price rises!

To find out more about TalkTalk’s award-winning, faster, and fairer Fibre Broadband, visit www.talktalk.co.uk/shop/broadband/fibre

 



27th February 2019

Currently Loving… February 2019

It’s been a while since I’ve put together a ‘Currently Loving’ blog post, but all this beautiful sunny weather has got me in the mood for browsing online for spring wardrobes for the kids (and a few little treats for me!)

So here is February’s selection, just scraping in at the end of the month! I hope you enjoy it – and fingers crossed the sunshine stays for a little while longer!

1. Minomug. I’ve made a pact to use reusable coffee cups in 2019 – and Minomug is the perfect brand to help, with their pastel-pretty cups sold in packs of three (one for my bag, one for the cupboard at home, and one for the car). They are drip-proof, leak-proof, shatterproof, dishwasher-friendly, microwave-friendly durable, lightweight, insulating, odour free (unlike stainless steel thermos cups, which can affect the taste), and made from BPA free, biodegradable plastic. They cost £34.99 for all three, making each cup less than £12. Shop here.

2. Jellycat. I love the long legged soft animals by Jellycat, especially this gorgeous green frog (£11). I can imagine him sat on a nursery shelf to add a touch of fun and a pop of colour. He’s available in a few different sizes and you can shop here

3. Monica Vinader. I was lucky enough to be gifted a long, rose gold chain from Monica Vinader for Christmas – and what I love about it is that you can buy pendants individually to change the way you wear it every day. These initial pendants are top of my wish list (£85 each) – and of course, I would like S, W and M to wear stacked together. Shop here.

4. Boden. I’m in love with the whole spring collection for kids from Boden – and these duck wellies (£24) are just adorable for little girls and boys. I can imagine Mabel wearing them with jeans and knitwear, as she splashes in puddles on family walks. Shop here.

5. La Redoute. These unisex denim dungarees (£18) come in sizes up to 3 years old. I’d dress Mabel in them with long-sleeved nautical tops for spring and lightweight pastel-coloured blouses when the weather heats up. They look comfortable and stylish, which is a winner for me. Shop here.

6. Antebies. If you like your children to sleep in the softest organic cotton, preferably in soft colours and stylish designs, Antebies is for you. It’s a sustainable brand that deserves lots of lovely attention – and there are already so many gorgeous designs on my wish-list (from £5.90). Shop here.

7.Sweet Love Press at Etsy. I spotted this bespoke rainbow print while browsing at Etsy a few days ago (from £18.50) – and immediately wanted to treat Mabel to one for her bedroom. This company offer so many lovely designs at low prices, so it’s well worth heading over for a browse. Shop here.

8. L’Occitane. The new Shea Baby range at L’Occitane (from £18) is perfect for caring for the skin of the tiniest little people, with lots of nourishing ingredients and gentle textures. We’ve been trying the ‘Cuddles and Bubbles Foaming Cream’ and ‘Lovely and Gentle Moisturising Milk’ at home – and both get a big tick from both me and Mabel. Shop here.

9. Sweet Pea Pantry. The lovely company Sweet Pea Pantry were kind enough to donate boxes to the goody bags at my book launch for ‘From Mum With Love’ a few weeks ago. They make a range of healthy baking kits (£2.75 each), which you only need to add a few ingredients to (such as eggs, oil, and water) – and having already tried the Carrot Muffins, I can personally vouch for the tastiness when they come out of the oven! Each box has a vegan option too. Shop here

10. UK Lingerie. There aren’t many options for browsing and buying lingerie online, so was pleased to hear about UK Lingerie. There are literally hundreds of styles available on the website, so if you have a specific type you like (I personally prefer wireless bras, which usually makes the options a bit limited when shopping online) there will be so many different colours, styles, and price points. My order arrived this year and I’m really impressed at the quality. Shop here.

11. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I listened to this book as an audiobook last month – and whilst I only usually listen when I’m in the car, I just couldn’t stop with this book and listened late into the night. I just loved it. Talking as an author, it was just so beautifully written and imagined – but as a reader, it was the best story I have in a very long time. If you haven’t treated yourself yet, make sure you buy it (£3.99). Shop here.

12. Babiators. Babiators make sunglasses for babies, toddlers, and children (from 0-2 years, to 6+ years) – and their summer styles this year are fantastic. I’m torn between ‘Think Pink’ and ‘Totally Turquoise’ (£22.50). I can’t wait to see my children wearing them this summer. Shop here.

13. Converse. I’ve always dressed my kids in Converse shoes in the spring and summer months – and I’m especially partial to a velcro pair, as it means they can pull them on quickly and easily. This season, the dinosaur collection has won my heart – and these All Stars are my top pick (£29.99). Shop here.

14. Two Farmers. This company also donated to the goody bags at my book launch – and having tasted the hand-cooked crisps, I had to tell you about them. Founders Sean and Mark met one night for a pint of local beer and a packet of crisps – and that night, they hatched out a plan of how to honour and celebrate the Hertfordshire countryside and the potatoes they grew there. Two Farmers was born – and you can find out all about it and shop here.

15. Love Roo. With Easter around the corner, I couldn’t resist including a bunny bonnet from one of my favourite handmade brands. The floppy ears on this Love Roo bonnet are lined with Liberty print floral fabric for a pop of spring prettiness. Shop here.

 

 

Written in collaboration with Minomug and UK Lingerie

Contains some affiliate links



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.



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