Saturday, 28 November 2015

Miles Kelly: The Brothers Grimm Collection

When it comes to buying for the boys at Christmas, I like to get a little bit of everything for them. A few toys, something to wear, some goodies and some books. Books are important to me as I think that every child should learn to read and enjoy using their imagination as they work their way through an exciting fairy tale. 

Miles Kelly are an independent children's book publishers with an ethos to create 'Children's books to inspire and share' trying to reach as many children as possible with their beautifully designed books for kids aged 3–12 years old.

To see just how magical their books are, Miles Kelly sent the boys The Brothers Grimm Collection, a set of 8 books that aim to entice young readers to explore the wonderful world made by storytellers the Brother Grimm, bursting with magic and enchantment to take children on a beautiful adventure as they work their way through the books.

Each book has a main story but also includes 3 other stories too so there are altogether 32 different stories to choose from. The 8 main stories in the books are:

Snow-white and the Seven Dwarfs
Hansel and Gretel
The Frog Prince
Sleeping Beauty
The Elves and the Shoemaker
Little Red Riding Hood

And also includes much loved favourites such as Rumpelstiltskin and The Magic Porridge Pot and some of the boys new loves, The Golden Bird, The Valiant Little Tailor and The Gnome just to name a few. 

The books are absolutely stunning, with a gleaming, glittery cover and illustrations which are so quirky, they fit with the stories perfectly. They are also a great way to help younger ones to follow the story by helping their imagination whilst looking at the pictures and hearing the words being read to them. 

Reading through the stories, it is great to see the boys light up with excitement and let their imaginations run wild with the though of little elves that help make shoes, a prince that turns into a frog and a princess who sleeps for 100 years because she has a curse put upon her. 

The stories are full of content and draw the children in but are still short enough to read before bedtime, we sometimes do 2 if the boys are content and setted enough to do so. Who doesn't love to go to sleep after a good book. Laying your head on the pillow and dreaming about the magic and enchantment that you have just read. 

I love that the boys are enjoying the books together. Thomas is an avid reader now and these books are suitable for children between 5-8 years so are suitable and perfect for him to read. Recently, he has been picking one of the books and settling down with Charlie to read him a tale. 

Whilst the boys get to delve into the charms of the story, Thomas is also picking up a whole host of new words into his reading vocabulary and slowly gaining more confidence with his reading. It has been great to see the classics reborn into new and beautifully designed books.

The collection of books are all sold separately, but you can also pick up this fabulous The Brothers Grimm Collection Bag which includes them all inside a beautifully decorated bag. Check out the Miles Kelly website for more information. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

KiddieCubes: The Closest To Fresh, Home Cooked Baby Food

When it comes to weaning, I'm sure that all us mums, and dads also, go into it thinking that we're definitely going to make our own purées, blend our own food and cook from scratch for our little bundles. But sometimes, the events of everyday life can stop this from happening and we have to decide on baby food that is pre-prepared

This is where it becomes a minefield of choosing the right food, at the right stage, with the best ingredients. Lets just say that this is something, after having 3 children, that I have given loads of thought to and have used a lot of brands over the years to find the ones that I use and recommend.

So of course, when I heard about KiddieCubes, I first thought it was actually a genius idea and wondered how no one had thought of it before, I then I wanted to let Joseph loose on them to see if they got his seal of approval. Well now we've had the chance to give them the once over and here is what we thought...

KiddieCubes are the brainchild of Issy Langly-Smith, a qualified nutritional therapist, keen cook, busy working mum of three. Creating 14 tasty dishes in her kitchen using only organic and wholesome ingredients which are suitable for babies aged from four months upwards.Carefully balanced meals which are natural, include no added sugar, no additives, low in natural sugars and are vitamin and protein rich, perfect for little ones who have lots of growing and playing to do.

Like we hear all the time about how vegetables should be frozen as soon as possible to lock in flavour and goodness, this is the same with the KiddieCubes baby food. After gentle cooking, they are immediately frozen to lock in all that goodness that has just been lovingly made. 

The flavours are made into age appropriate ranges too. From 4 month old, KiddieCubes come in a simpler range. Root vegetables and fruit purées are on the menu to help babies gently ease in to new flavours whilst also giving them nice flavours and goodness from the natural produce. From broccoli, courgette and sweet potato to mango, peach and apricot, there is still a lot of variety in these first stage cubes. 

Stage 2 is where it gets more exciting, from 7 month old babies can have a lot more choice and so the dishes get more adventurous to help little ones experience new textures, flavours and foods. Veggie dishes full of lentils butternut squash, parsnips, cauliflower, just to name a few are a great way to move on to this stage. followed by trying meats in the Hearty Chicken and Veg Hotpot and Very Veggie Lamb Casserole dishes. There are also breakfast options when onto stage 2 as well. A Creamy Porridge or Go Bananas Porridge are a great way to start the day.

What's more, they are super easy to prepare too. It takes around 90 seconds to defrost 2 KiddieCubes in the microwave or on the hob in a saucepan which I think is great. Just simply pop a couple in a bowl, stick them in the microwave for 40 seconds, then stir and heat for a further 30 seconds. Joseph is currently eating 3 cubes at a time and this takes 120 seconds in total to heat up.

Each re-sealable KiddieCubes pack contains 12 x 25g cubes (each cube is the equivalent to one heaped tablespoon) so you are in total control of portion size and wastage is kept to a minimum. I like this aspect as being a very frugal person, I used to get sick of wasting the rest of baby food jars when Joseph didn't want to eat it all and always cursed the fact that we wasted so much food. 

This comes in to play when trying to feed him fish dishes. He's still not an avid fish lover and so sometimes I would end up wasting a whole jar or pouch because he's decided that he doesn't want fish that day.

With the Creamy Leafy Fisherman’s Pie I am slowly easing Joseph into trying it by using only one cube at a time to give him that little bit of fishy goodness and mixing it up with a couple of veggie cubes too to fill him up. I think it's great that I am able to do this and change up the meals slightly. 

Kiddie Cubes are available nationwide through ASDA, Ocado, and in Cook stores. Visit the KiddieCubes website for more information. 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

A Rustic Christmas from The Christmas Boutique

I love Christmas. I mean I actually adore it. All the fuss and getting to spruce up the house with sparkly sparkles, wrapping presents, eating goodies, advent calendars, exciting Christmas eves, eating more goodies, opening presents, Christmas dinner and eating even more goodies. It's just amazing. 

I'm one of those people who loves to do everything, wrap presents all lovely and neat, create a masterpiece of a mantle in my living room, let the kids decorate the tree to then have to redo it all the way it like it once they're in bed. It is just so exciting. 

I am always collecting new items too for our house. Every year the kids make something handmade to add to our collection and I also scour shops and places online to find quirky new items. 

This year, as always, we are going along the red and colour scheme as I think those colours just encompass the love and warmth of Christmas. But we've gone with a different theme, a more rustic look and I think it works so much in giving a warm winter home that Christmassy twist. 

This year I've received some gorgeous rustic looking items from The Christmas Boutique. I've worked with them previously last year and had some truly beautiful items, which you can read about here, and so loved browsing their website to find Christmas decorations to suit this years theme. 

The first thing that caught my eye was the Antique Finish Advent Numbered Metal Lantern Set which is priced, on sale at the moment, at only £19.98. I had purposely looked for a candle set as I knew that these would look amazing on a cold winters evening, lighting up the room in all their glory. 

You can celebrate the weeks to Christmas with this set of 4 lanterns, made from an aged antique finish metal, each holder has been produced at different levels & detailed with a cut-out number. This is such a traditional way to count down the four weeks of advent as each Sunday an additional candle is lit. 

I love this as it is such a rest way of counting down to Christmas and the origin of the Advent suggest that each candle represents four things - Hope, Love, Joy and Peace which I find just so suitable for a loving family home. I mean just how stunning is the set itself and also the thought behind the Advent weeks.  

To coordinate with this, I chose the Star Shaped Christmas Twig Wreath with Red Berries and this comes in at £12.95. This simple and natural design is truly stunning. Made from dark wood twigs and red berries, the natural looking star is a rural Christmas decoration perfect to match our décor. I have it next to the lantern set to give it a gorgeous glow but it also has a little string attached so it can be hung on the wall, door or anywhere really.

To finish off our collection, we received 2 sets of these gorgeous Reindeer hanging decorations which come in pairs or either red or gold and are £3.99 per pair. These are totally super cute and sparkly and just gleam on the tree. 

The prancing reindeer's hang perfectly on the Christmas tree and are slightly bigger than other decorations so they stand out with glee in either the gold or red finish. I think they are so quirky, something different than the usual baubles and just look sublime when lit up next to the Christmas lights. 

For more info visit The Christmas Boutique website where you can also purchase these wonderful items and more including free delivery on everything.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Whisbear: The Humming Bear

I always think that getting to sleep is the hardest part of the night time routine, not forgetting the 4am wake up of course, as it's something that you usually can't change. If you can't sleep, you can't sleep, it's that simple. I find that babies struggle with this even more as they're not used to a routine whereby they have to try and get to sleep, usually opting for falling to sleep where ever their head lands. 

I was lucky at first as Joseph was a great sleeper to start with, that was until he started teething. I think once the pain come, he was kind of frightened to sleep as he understood that this was time time that he pain was more prominent. 

So when Whisbear got in touch telling me about a new bear on the market that will help babies to drift off to sleep, I just had to try it out. When it arrived in a beautiful soft, velour bag, I peered inside to find this miracle product. Inside was a super cute bear and a device which makes the magic happen. 

Whisbear makes it possible for you to soothe your baby easily. The shushing device emits white noise, a sound that the baby remembers from their foetal life, which soothes your baby into a deep sleep. 

The Whisbear operates for 40 minutes before gently fading off and in this time your baby should drift off. In the unfortunate event that your baby does wake in the night, the CRYsensor recognizes the cry of your awakening baby and will immediately respond with the calming sound for an additional 20 minutes before entering its standby mode. 

Not only is it said to be a perfect sleep aid but it is a sensory stimulation toy too as it has rustling ears and paws as well as long legs, sewn from colourful and contrasting fabrics to provide your baby with a lot of entertainment. The legs also are magnetic so can fasten around the cot frame and also to a pram handle, changing bag or a car seat for use whilst out and about. 

Joseph has taken to it like a duck to water, loving the sound that it emits and cuddling the Whisbear to sleep on an evening. I love the design and Joseph loves playing with it during the day which I think also helps with the settling at night as it is something that he can associate with.

The device does a great job of soothing Joseph and he does settle with it, not always sleeping but it does calm him down which is also great. I like the CRYsensor as it has helped to get rid of his 1am wake up by easing him back off to sleep without me having to feed him. 

It has been great trying the Whisbear with Joseph and I think that it has helped immensely with settling him down for sleep on a night, making him drift off to sleep and the white noise is soothing to him and then also does help when he wakes during the night. 

For more information, pop over to the Whisbear website.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Cheeky Chompers: Chewy & Co Chew Pack

When it comes to buying for Christmas, I find that babies are actually very hard to buy for. Having 3 children, I know all too well that I'll get those questions, what do they want, need, use etc and don't really know what to say. 

I find that babies outgrow toys too quick and clothing even more so. So have been looking around for items that will last and that most importantly, will actually be useful to a baby too. That's when I realised that Cheeky Chompers would be an ideal gift for a baby. 

Let me elaborate a little. Cheeky Chompers are a range of beautiful dribble bibs with a difference, they have a teether at the bottom of the bib so your baby will always have it with them for when the pain strikes. 

This ingenious idea was the brain child of both Amy and Julie who realised that teethers were always getting lost and dropped and came up with the simplest of ideas, to attach them to the baby, hence the Neckerchew being born. Sourcing the best fabrics and materials, the bibs are manufactured in the UK and have been tested for safety and quality to make sure that your baby is getting the best they can get whilst also being BPA and phthalates free.

Since the Neckerchew launched, Cheeky Chompers have branched out and created a variety of teething aids, blankets and comforters, including the Comfortchew and the brand spanking new Cheeky Blanket, all coming in matching designs which are adorable. 

To show off how amazing these products are, I was sent out a Chew Pack in the beautiful Chewy & Co design. The pack consists of a Neckerchew and a Comfortchew in a matching design, a variety of designs available. 

Lets start of with the original, the Neckerchew. Made with 3 super absorbent layers, the bib comes in one size but has two adjustable poppers so will fit a baby from around 2 months old to up to 2 years old. The little teething triangle is designed to let your child easily chomp on it whilst wearing the bib. 

The Comfortchew, much like the Neckerchew, has a teether attached for teething babies. In addition, it also has ribbon tags and an elasticated link for attaching to the baby’s wrist or even the cot bars or pram. 

The Chewy & Co design is a fun animal print with Chewy the hippo and friends on a light grey material. The Neckerchew has a winter white reverse which is super absorbent and the Comfortchew has a grey cuddle fleece on the reverse and coordinating red ribbons which just add a pop of colour to this subtle design.

Joseph has loved trying them out. The Neckerchew fits him great on the first popper which means that there's loads of room for growth until he even needs to move onto the looser popper so this will last for a while to come. We have used the Neckerchew when he has been teething bad as it means that no matter where he is, he has something to chomp on and get his gums into. 

The Comfortchew has been a godsend to have whilst out and about. I fasten the elasticated link around the pram and then he use it to snuggle up to, to play with the ribbons and uses the hippo teether to ease his teething pains whilst we are on the go.

I adore the design on the set, the Chewy & Co design is super cute and the fleece on the back of the Comfortchew is warm and soft making it a great, versatile item. Ideal for teething babies and even after all teeth are through, will be a great comfort to little ones as they grow older.

If you're struggling what to get a little one for Christmas and like the look of the Chew Pack, please visit the Cheeky Chompers website for more information or to purchase any of their lovely items.