Monday, 30 November 2015

Born Gifted toddler gift guide & giveaway

The little man is officially a toddler now and finding gifts for him has become much harder. I usually opt for wooden toys where possible, I find them much more robust and able to withstand my less than delicate little monster/man.

Born Gifted stock a great range of fun, age appropriate toys for children. From babies to big kids, from Paddington to Star Wars, there's something for everyone and something to suit every budget.

I've put together some of my favourite toddler products which would make great Christmas gifts for the little people in your life.

I love the Zebra Rocker. It's made from high grade plywood and solid beech which makes it sturdy and perfect for toddlers. It's suitable for ages 12 months and up and would make a great gift from grandparents. 

The Carousel Spinner reminds me of something similar from my own child hood. It's a very traditional type of toy and again very sturdy.

The Sorting truck is an ideal educational toy. It's perfect for learning to count and learn colours. It's made from wood

I love the bright colours of the Rainbow Lion shape sorter. It comes with 6 different shape which can be slotted into the holes. It helps with cognitive and fine motor skill development. 

The little man is completely obsessed with Peter Rabbit and trains so the Peter Rabbit Puzzle train would make a lovely Christmas gift for him. It cam be pulled along and the carriages taken apart and put back together.

The brightly coloured Magnetic rocket comes in six wooden pieces that are brightly painted in non-toxic paint. Each piece contains a magnet which means the pieces are easily put back together. It would make a great stocking filler for a toddler who likes to build. 

One of my blog readers also has the chance to win a Janod magnetic rocket in time for Christmas. To enter, complete the rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions 
  • A winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter 
  • The winner will be notified via email and Twitter (if you leave your handle) 
  • ALL entries are checked and if any of your entries are found to be fake ALL of your entries will be disqualified. 
  • Fake entries/automated entries will be disqualified. 
  • You will have 28 days to respond to the winning notification, if you don't a new winner will be chosen.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

The homemade craft revival

Programs like the Great British Bake Off and Kirstie Allsop's Home Made Home have brought the revival of more traditional home making crafts back into the public eye. People are opting for slower paced hobbies and crafts such as baking, sewing and jam making with a recent rise in people wanting to learn more traditional skills, particularly those that can be used in their own homes.

I love making and crafting myself. I love to turn off the TV and Project Life (a form of scrap booking), I find it quite therapeutic and a relaxing task. I also love this time of yearm the run up to Christmas means I can sit down with the little man and make a mess/crafts.
A survey has recently been commission by Baytree Interiors which asked 1,000 UK residents a range of questions about learning new skills and their interior style preferences. Not surprisingly the findings showed that more a more traditional way of living was becoming more popular with people steering away from modern interiors, opting for more traditional interiors such as shabby chic bedrooms and rustic upcycled furniture.
When asked about the hobbies they'd like to try, 31% of the survey participants chose baking as their favourite hobby, with 21% wishing to learn sewing and 12% said that they wanted to brew their own alcohol. 

It's all well and good wanting to learn new skills, but how do you actually learn? 43%  of people said they'd attempt to learn their new skill by using online resources and 29% saying they'd learn from others.  I think the internet is a fantastic way of learning new skills. There are so many helpful tutorials on places like YouTube and Vimeo that can easily be followed and repeated if necessary. It's great for those of us that no longer have older relatives who can pass down their skills.
The survey by Baytree Interiors shows that people are embracing more traditional lifestyles, learning skills that can be used in their homes and in turn creating a slower paced life. Crafting and home skills can be quite therapeutic, allowing those taking part to relax, move away from technology and even work together as a family to make beautiful things that can be handed down over the years.

Do you have any crafting skills?

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Sudocrem Care & Protect Baby Changing Room Awards

Having to change a nappy when you're out and about is never fun and sadly it's often made worse by inadequate facilities or poor quality baby changing rooms. 
This year Ashton Kutcher has highlighted that 'Dad's change nappies too'. With some baby change facilities located in womens toilets only, it can be a struggle for Dad to even find somewhere to change the nappy. It seems Dad's across the UK agreed with him, and have responded to Ashton Kutchers campaign to improve baby changing facilities. 
Sudocrem, famous for their brilliant nappy rash ointments have come up with the The Sudocrem Care & Protect Baby Changing Room Awards.  The awards are in their third year and allow the public to vote for their favourite baby changing room facilities, whilst encouraging retailers to improve their own. 

This years awards sees new category, Best Service Station as well as Best Retailer and Best Independent Retailer. Some of the most terrible baby changing rooms I've seen have been in service stations so I do hope that the new category encourages services stations to up the standards a little. 

Last year say Sainsbury's in Wandsworth crowed the winner and received a special certificate allowing them to display the Sudocrem Care & Protect Baby Changing Room logo. Everyone who nominates their favourite changing facilities will be entered to win a stay at family friendly hotel, Knoll House in Dorset, so it's defiantely worth checking out the website for details on how to vote.

Entries will be judged by Nick Wilki, CEO of NCT,  and Sudocrem. The closing date for entries is 13th of December 2015 and the winners will be announced in the first week of January 2016.


Friday, 27 November 2015

Toddlebike 2 review

The little man has been testing out the Toddlebike 2 for the last couple of weeks, prior to it's launch today. 

The Toddlebike 2 is a pre balance bike created by the super talented Jo Hockley, who has filled the gap between baby ride-on toys, and toys for older children such as bikes or scooters. It's suitable for toddlers who can walk confidently and is probably the little mans most favourite possession. It comes EVERYWHERE with us, but because it's so light, I really don't mind. 
The Toddlebike 2 weighs 0.8 kg which is around three times light than most balance bikes on the market. It's so light that the little man can quite easily carry it along himself, something he loves to do, almost as much as riding it. 

The bike is light enough to tuck under your arm, put underneath the pushchair or even hang over the top of your change bag. 
The Toddlebike 2 is ideal for promoting independent riding and gives little people their first proper taste of being on a 'bike'. 
The wheels are quite narrow so I wasn't too sure the little man would be able to keep his balance, but I needn't have worried, he was on it in a flash and was able to scoot across the room far too quickly/quickly after about ten minutes. He'd extremely confident on the Toddlebike 2, he's able to move very fast and likes trying out stunts!
It can be used both indoor and out, and because of it's simple design it's easily rinsed down which means dirt isn't transported into your house. It's also waterproof and weather proof so a good wash won't do it any harm. 
The Toddlebike 2 is available in three bright colours - midnight blue, pinky pink and racing red and costs a very reasonable £23.95 which includes free delivery. Although the cost is minimum the Toddlebike 2 still comes with a 3 year guarantee which I think is fantastic, it shows how confident Jo is, in her product. 
The Toddlebike 2 is TUV and CE certified and made within the EU. It's made using durable plastic and the axles are made from steel, meaning despite it's light frame it's very robust and sturdy. 

I think the Toddlebike 2 would make the perfect Christmas gift for a toddler ready to try out their very first 'big' bike. The design and quality is exceptional and I think the price is great, and best still, the little man loves it. 

So many people have commented in the little mans Toddlebike2 while we've been out and about, so clearly it appeals to others, not just us. 

*We were sent the Toddle bike for review purposes. Opinions are our own*

Win £25 to spend at Toad Diaries

TOAD® diaries offer great quality diaries that can be personalised to your own requirements and can even be backdated if necessary. I've featured them before and was really impressed with options available, the robust designs and the super speedy delivery.
TOAD® diaries are kindly offering one of my blog readers the chance to win £25 credit to use across their site.
To enter please complete the rafflecopter form below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions 
  • A winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter 
  • The winner will be notified via email and Twitter (if you leave your handle) 
  • ALL entries are checked and if any of your entries are found to be fake ALL of your entries will be disqualified. 
  • Fake entries/automated entries will be disqualified. 
  • You will have 28 days to respond to the winning notification, if you don't a new winner will be chosen. 
  • The prize will be sent directly from the company

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Organix Christmas selection box giveaway

We've loved Organix products right from the early days of weaning. Their 'No Junk Promise' is great as it reassures parents that the ingredients are organic and there are no nasty unnecessary extras added.

Organix have launched a fab Christmas selection box which is a great stocking filler for toddlers, and much healthier than chocolate.
Each selection box contains a variety of five delicious Organix Goodies snacks, including a pack of mini gingerbread men biscuits, a pack of alphabet biscuits, a raspberry and apple soft oaty bar, an apple and orange soft oaty bar and a pack of mini cheese crackers.

When the box is empty you can even sit and create a pretty winter wonderland scene with your little person.

You can buy the Organix selection boxes in store at Boots and online at Ocado and Organix, but be quick, they're expected to sell out.

Two of my blog readers can win a selection box each. To enter you need to complete the rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions 
  • A winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter 
  • The winner will be notified via email and Twitter (if you leave your handle) 
  • ALL entries are checked and if any of your entries are found to be fake ALL of your entries will be disqualified. 
  • Fake entries/automated entries will be disqualified. 
  • You will have 2 days to respond to the winning notification, if you don't a new winner will be chosen (the deadline is short due to the short stock of the product and to ensure the winner receives item before Christmas)
  • The prize will be sent directly from the company.

Baby Shopping - How to save money on essentials

When you're about to welcome a new member to the family you will need to start shopping for all necessary things. It can turn out to be a very expensive time, making a great impact on your family budget. To avoid spending too much, or even getting into debt, you should follow the simple tips below. Not only will you be able to shop for your impending bundle of joy, you should be able to save some cash along the way. 

Do research before shopping

Before any shopping, no matter what, you should sit down with your significant other and do some research. Take some time to find the best deal for your family money wise, shop around and find the best deals and check out reviews and feedback.  Make a list of things you need and the shops that stock them at the cheapest price. It might seem like a lot of work, but you can use various online services and compare prices easily. 

Buy second hand items

You can get fantastic quality children stuff at your local charity shop or car boot sale. Don't be afraid to purchase baby clothing or essential furniture. Your baby is only going to use it for a short period of time, as did the previous owner. This works particularly well with clothing since children tend to grow out of clothes rapidly. Ask your friends if they want to sell things too, or swap things around with friends. You will save a lot of money compared to buying brand new. 
Use coupons and discount codes

If you still want to get new baby things then at least make an attempt to save money with coupons and discount codes. There are thousands of them both in newspapers, online and even in your Bounty packs. Nordstrom online coupons from are worth trying out, you might just find a huge discount on one of your essential baby items.
Ask for gifts

Of course, the best way to get all you need for a newborn baby can be asking for donations. Ask proud grandparents to contribute with their gifts. Throwing a baby shower usually means you will be gifted lots of baby items too. If you don't think it's too rude you couple always ask friends an family to give money rather than gifts, which would enable you to but the last few things you need. 
Question everything

And the last tip for today, is to ask yourself“do we need it?” Baby items can be really cute, and your heart may rule your heard with purchases. It's always best to question where it's practical and whether you really need it when you're looking to save money. 

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Voluspar Clove Pomander candle review & giveaway

I, like many, have a slight scented candle obsession. I love how candles can completely change the atmosphere of a room, creating a cosy corner and giving off a warm relaxing glow. Scented candles are my favourite, I love how the scent drifts through the house, encapsulating those inside and lingering long after the flame has died.
I was recently introduced to Voluspar, a company established way back in 1999 in a kitchen! They sell a huge range of beautiful scented candles and defusers which have become firm favourites with celebrities across the globe.

I was kindly sent a Clove Pomander double wick glass embossed luxury candle from the Vermeil collection to take a closer look at. The candle looks absolutely stunning, set in a beautiful glass jar with an ornate glass lid, visually it's fantastic and looks right at home in my living room.
The scent isn't too obvious before the flame is lit, but as soon as the flame starts to burn the smell drifts round the house and is quite intense. It has a cosy Christmas feel, with notes of red clove, bergamot and nutmeg. I think the scent is perfect for the festive season, and will definitely be burning during our Christmas dinner,  

The double wick glass candle costs £30 which is slightly more than I'd usually pay for a candle but the scent is fab and with a burn time of around 60 hours I do think the price is quite reasonable. 
The flame burns brightly and clean as the candle is made with creamy coconut wax and the wick is made from cotton. All Voluspar candles contain no phthalates, no parabens, no sulfates. 
Voluspar products are not tested on animals and are safe and sustainable, making them a great gift for anyone. 
Once you've burnt away your Voluspar candle the glass jar can be used as a trinket box. It will be a beautiful dressing table addition and make up for the sad fact my pretty candle has gone. 

I really like the Clove Pomander Voluspar candle I was sent, it looks beautiful and smells even better. It's a wonderful addition to my home this winter.

If you'd like to win your own, please enter the rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions 
  • A winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter 
  • The winner will be notified via email and Twitter (if you leave your handle) 
  • ALL entries are checked and if any of your entries are found to be fake ALL of your entries will be disqualified. 
  • Fake entries/automated entries will be disqualified. 
  • You will have 28 days to respond to the winning notification, if you don't a new winner will be chosen. 
  • The prize will be sent directly from the company.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

LOVEThESIGN stocking fillers for kids

Christmas is getting closer and there are so many great gifts out there for children. I've put together some from from LOVEThESIGN that would fit perfectly at the end of the bed on Christmas morning.

1) Tattoo Monster Hands by London company NPW (£10), these are a great way to get children to use their imaginations.

2) Midi Rabbit doll by Anne-Claire Petit (£29) beautifully crocheted by hand using organic cotton.

3) Plane, boat and car baby spoon by Donkey (£13.29), for children 3 years and over - a fun way to encourage children to eat.

4) Tree, Aero, Dog and Cat Totem by Studio Roof (£16 - £26), a creative and 3D model/puzzle, made from colourful recycled cardboard.

5) Noughts & crosses Tik atak by Les Jouets libres (£15) is another great eco - friendly Christmas stocking gift. The stickers are printed on eco friendly materials, and can be stored in an organic cotton pouch.

6) I-Wood iphone by Donkey (£14). Is a life size smartphone for children that they can also write and draw on.

7) People of the World torum by Studio Roof (£17), includes 12 figures that beautifully embraces a multicultural world. 

8) Finger puppets by Londji (£15), role playing for children are great ways for them to learn communication skills.

9) Around My Planet puzzle by Londji (£23). Puzzles are also very beneficial for a child development, there is a good article if you would like to read further here.

10) La Romantica wooden car by TobeUs (£35). Wood instead of plastic is always a great option, especially as this toy car can be painted over and over again.

11) Box Family by Londji (£21). Made of recycled cardboard, the Box Family fit into one another perfectly just like Russian dolls. Don’t forget to check out the LOVEThESIGN LovePromo section here.

Izabela Peters Christmas products

As it's the third week in November I feel it's more acceptable to start discussing Christmas. I'm starting to plan my Christmas dinner table, buy new decorations and pick up pretty Christmas things for my little man. I came across Izabela Peters on Twitter. A British company who sell homemade products for the home, children and even pets. They have a fantastic range of products including aprons, children's Teepee's and their beautiful personalised Christmas items. The little man was kindly sent a couple of their Christmas items so Mammy has somewhere to put his presents on Christmas morning

Unwrapping the pretty package from Izabela Peters was super exciting, I could see the beautiful red Stewart tartan material poking out and the quality was instantly noticeable.
I absolutely love the beautiful Christmas sack, it comes personalised with a name of your choice and is available in three different sizes, with prices starting at just £14.99. 
The material is a soft cotton blend which feels strong and sturdy, it definitely looks like it will last for years to come, Christmas after Christmas. It's machine washable should it need it and has a drawstring top to ensure no presents escape. 
It's a truly beautiful gift for any child and would make a wonderful 'First Christmas' gift for a baby. It makes me think of proper Christmas mornings, being sat in front of an open coal fire when I was younger, being surrounded by piles and piles of beautifully wrapped gifts,  
In addition to the tartan sack we were also kindly sent a personalised Christmas stocking which is as equally as well made. The stockings are made from the finest Irish linen and are lined with soft cotton. As you can see from the pictures they're a good size, certainly big enough to hold a few smaller presents, or a lump of coal, depending on how good your child has been!
There are a choice of designs and colours available including reindeer, penguins and rather cute bunny rabbits. You can buy the stockings in two different sizes and personalisation is at no extra cost.

I'm so impressed with the stunning products from Izabela Peters, the products are very well made and I love the fact they're handmade in the UK using environmentally friendly techniques.  They're a must for any little persons fire place, and I can't wait to see the little mans face on Christmas morning when he finds his presents tucked away inside.

*We were sent the products for review purposes*