31 October 2015

Win a Stunning Initial Necklace from Grace & Valour

I have been a fan Grace & Valour for a while now and have worked with them a lot in the past, showing off their range of stylish covetable jewellery made by designer in chief Rachel, who has 20 years of design experience, and according to the site, is a 'serial collector of jewels, curator of quotes and general lover of quirkiness'. Well who doesn't love a bit of quirkiness I say!

Grace & Valour is named to reflect Rachel’s belief that you need both a spot of bravery and some good grace to overcome life’s trials and tribulations & keep smiling. The site offers best quality jewellery made with great care in the design studio on the family farm in deepest Rutland.

There are some beautiful accessories to complement the jewellery collections, scarves, bags and purses that are luxurious and designed with style in mind. 

I follow Grace & Valour over all of my social media accounts and have see this new website being built and grow into the beautiful site it is today. And to celebrate the fact that the site is now live in all its glory, Rachel is letting me give one of her very special pieces away to one of my readers. 

The Alphabet Girls is a range of Sterling Silver 16" necklaces with a very pretty and tactile pendant emblazoned with the initial of your choosing on the front. The modern disc design is complemented by the lovely curly font of the initial and the necklaces arrive on a beautiful individually designed backing card. 

So, how can you win? You just have to simply enter via the Rafflecopter form below. 

Please remember to check our full T&C's here. This giveaway is open to the UK only and any entries left that do not follow the required entries will be disqualified. After any mandatory entries, others will open up to give you extra entries. You do not have to enter by all methods but these will give you extra entries into the competition if you do. 

And please, if you are commenting on the blog as 'anonymous' can you please write your name in the comment otherwise I cannot count your entry.

Ends midnight 15th November 2015

30 October 2015

The Story Of Three Babies

When you find out you're pregnant with your first child, it is a magical moment, a moment when you imagine all the things that you'll get to do whilst being pregnant, get scared about the birth and dream about seeing your baby for the first time. After the first pregnancy, you know what to expect and so other pregnancies become easier and usually a lot lazier too. 

Here are a few of the things that I think change as you have more children. Do you recognise any of these?

Maternity Clothes
1st baby: You start wearing maternity clothes as soon as you show a sign of any bump at all, even if it's really just a big lunch that has bloated you. *no, that is obviously a baby bump!*
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible, holding off the tent style maternity wear.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes. I even continued to wear my maternity clothing after the birth, just because I was so used to them and they are super comfy. Who cares if they are unflattering, I'm covered in baby sick (or other bodily fluids) 90% of the time anyway.

Baby Clothes
1st baby: You pre-wash all the newborn clothing, sometimes twice, as soon as you buy them and a week before you're due just to make sure they're clean. You then colour co-ordinate and fold them neatly, and in order, in the baby's set of drawers.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that your first babies clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains, and then buy only the necessities that you really, really need for this baby.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, right? And I might as well keep him in his babygrow since onesies are all the rage these days. I'm a style concious mum don't ya know?!

Getting Ready For The Birth
1st baby: You practice your breathing every day, visit the antenatal ward, birthing rooms and go to every appointment and class to make sure you're ready for the birth.
2nd baby: You don't bother doing anything because you remember that last time that the breathing didn't do a thing and you know where the hospital is anyway, right?!
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month of pregnancy. I already knew that I would be having an epidural in my third pregnancy as I suffer with high blood pressure in labour and so couldn't wait for it to take the pain away. Unfortunately, Joseph decided to fly out and there was no time at all to have it done.

Crying Baby
1st baby: At the first sign of distress, no actually not even distress, at the first frown or slight noise you pick up your baby and go through the stages of 'does he need feeding, changing, is he tired, etc etc, until something works'
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when his cries threaten to wake your first born child.
3rd baby: You teach your older children how to wind up his favourite musical toy and plus, they say that letting babies cry is a good way to make them learn, controlled crying and all that!

Changing Nappies
1st baby: You change your baby's nappy every hour, whether they need it or not and apply nappy rash cream each time. 
2nd baby: You change their nappy every two to three hours, if needed, usually when they have a bottle.
3rd baby: You try to change their nappy before others point it out and complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees, which ever comes first. 

Baby Activities
1st baby: You take your newborn to Baby Massage, Baby Story Hour and swimming at least twice a week to let him 'socialise' with other babies. 
2nd baby: You take them to Baby Story Hour as it gives you a break from reading the books for a change. 
3rd baby: You take them to the supermarket and on the school run, they can socialise at the school gates anyway!

At Home With Your Baby
1st baby: You spend most of your days just gazing at your baby, wondering what he is dreaming about. 
2nd baby: You spend most of your day watching to be sure your older children aren't poking or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend most of your day hiding from your children *usually with one of their chocolate bars for company*

Of course, with all my children, I adore and am thankful for them, but after your first, you get to know what you need to do and aren't as cautious as you once were about every little thing actually making it much more of a relaxing, enjoyable experience to have. Can you relate to any of these experiences?

- This post was previously published in April 2015 but I have shared it again due to it still been relevant and one of my favourite fun posts

29 October 2015

Ketchup TV Subscription Giveaway

If your children are anything like mine, they will watch non stop cartoons but are always interrupted by pesky adverts which show the latest toys and then I'm nagged as they just have to have them. I know it's a ploy to get kids wanting those toys, but it's so annoying. That's why I love Ketchup TV.

Ketchup TV is an app aimed at children and is available to download from Google Play and the Apple App Store as well as through Samsung Smart TV's. Showing all the the family favourites, from Postman Pat and In The Night Garden to Dinosaur Train, Ben and Holly, Bob the Builder and loads more.

The app is aimed at kids between 2-6 at the moment and subscription is £2.29 a month. This is on a month by month basis so you can cancel at any time. You can trial the service for 30 days for free as I have 50 codes to give away to my readers. 

How to get your hands on a free trial
All you need to do, to try Ketchup TV for 30 days, absolutely free, is send a tweet saying…

'I want a Free 30 day trial watching @Ketchuptv_uk through the 
@Yorkshire_Mummy giveaway'

or click the Tweet button which will do it for you

Tweet: I want a Free 30 day trial watching @Ketchuptv_uk through the @Yorkshire_Mummy giveaway

And make sure to follow me so that I can DM you your code through straight away. It's that simple. The first 50 people to do so will get a code and will get to try Ketchup TV for a full month. So what are you waiting for, get Tweeting now!

Terms and Conditions
This post is written on behalf of Ketchup TV, who are responsible for the giveaway. Ketchup TV is owned by Video On Demand 365 Ltd, a privately owned company that was founded in 2012. Full terms of use can be found on their website here. Codes will be issued to the first 50 people who send a tweet, one code per individual.
There is no cash alternative to the prize.
Automated and bulk entries will be disqualified.
Competition is governed by the laws of England.

26 October 2015

Shortbread 3D Dinosaur Biscuits Recipe

I love baking and now I have children, I love nothing more than showing them how to bake and getting them involved in all aspects of it. We do a lot of biscuits as the boys love the rolling out and cookie cutting parts as 'it's like playdoh' according to them but biscuits get boring. The shapes are boring, round, stars, fingers, whatever we cut, they're just flat biscuits. 

So when we got a chance to try out the amazing 3D Dinosaur Cookie Cutters from the National History Museum Shop I knew that the boys would them. Getting to create their favourite dinosaurs and build them together, who doesn't like playing with their food anyway! 

We received both the 3D Triceratops cookie-cutter and the 3D Stegosaurus cookie-cutter although there are 4 to collect in total. Each set comes in 3 parts. Two bigger bits which form the body and then a smaller part which you have to use twice to create the legs, to hold the dinosaurs up. The set even comes with a recipe card so you can create ginger biscuits if you like. Today we decided on shortbread biscuits though (maybe I'd ran out of ginger!).

So to create my Shortbread Dinosaur Biscuits, you will need:

150g Plain Flour
100g Butter
50g Sugar
Pinch of salt
3D Dinosaur Cookie Cutter 

Preheat oven to 180C
Put butter, flour and sugar in the mixing bowl with the salt
Mix together with your hands so that the mixture looks a bit like breadcrumbs
Use your hands to squeeze the mixture together till it's doughy
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to around 3mm thickness
Cut out the shapes using your cookie cutters (remember to do the legs twice)
Place on a baking tray and leave in oven for around 20 minutes or until they are golden brown
Then let the biscuits cool on a cooling tray for 10 minutes before assembling

Using the cookie cutters was super easy but, as you are using them for a 3D object, you need to make sure to roll the dough out as small as possible so that the slots will fit together. I found that around 3mm in thickness is best.

Assembling the shortbread is quite easy to be honest. You put the 2 bigger parts side by side so that the slots match up and then push the legs into said slots which creates your dinosaur friends.  

And there you have it, roarsome 3D dinosaurs that are sure to make any child love baking. Thomas and Charlie both enjoyed baking with the 3D Dinosaur Cookie Cutters and I think they're great as they get kids interested in baking and teach a valuable life lesson in cooking and creating your own thing. 

What's more, you could even get creative afterwards with some icing to make them look even more realistic using different colours and edible extras for a truly amazing biscuit!

25 October 2015

I'm From Yorkshire!

You're probably reading this thinking 'Well isn't this a stupid title for a post. We know you're from Yorkshire, it's in your name' but no, I'm talking about the fab company that is I'm From Yorkshire and am here to talk about the great items that they offer for us Yorkshire folk.

There you will find a wide range of Yorkshire themed products, specialising in t-shirts that any Yorkshire person would be proud to wear and ranging in gifts of mugs and phone cases to prints and maps. 

After having a look around their site, I realised just how proud I am to be a Yorkie and couldn't wait to work with them on this post, getting to talk all things Yorkshire and showing off some of their products at the same time. 

So, what did I choose?

First up is the cute Lil Miss. Flippin Eck T-Shirt which I find just adorable. I love the Mr Men and Li'l Miss series so this was one of my favourites and more importantly, you don't realise just how often I use the phrase 'flipping eck' on a daily basis. 

Made from 100% soft cotton, produced in Yorkshire with an high quality A3 print across the chest. Not only does the print show off some Yorkshire words but it is fun and funky and a perfect head turner. Great in the wash and irons well too. 

Secondly, I went for a Tek Lass Outta Yorkshire Phone Case which comes in various sizes to fit iPhones and iPads. I went for a iPhone 5s case so it would fit my phone. With the option of going for a lighter, stylish cover which is white, or a heavy duty protector cover which is black, I went for the protector as I knew that it would come in handy for the amount of times I have dropped the damn thing. 

I love this case as it is thick and so protective, and whenever I get my phone out, I can show off the fact that I'm from Yorkshire with the slogan that is emblazoned on the back. It states 'Tha c'n tek lass outta Yorkshire but tha' can't tek Yorkshire outta t'lass'. Which I'm sure you all understand but it's shown off in my Yorkshire dialect, exactly how I would say it. 

Lastly, I chose a gift for my hubby, a Yorkshire Lad Mug which has a similar logo to a certain famous type of tea bags, but with Yorkshire Lad as the tagline instead. This white ceramic high quality mug shows off my county with pride every time I make my husband a brew and he's used it ever since it arrived.

If you are from Yorkshire or know a Yorkie then a products from I'm From Yorkshire would be the perfect, quirky gift this coming Christmas. Take a look and see what you like...

23 October 2015

How Much Sleep Do You Get Per Night?

I have a vendetta against sleep. It doesn't like me and, at the moment, I don't like it either. I have always had a bad sleep pattern, never able to get a full nights sleep due to insomnia and over the years have tried many ways of helping but it just doesn't seem to work for me. 

It's hard, very hard to function on only a few hours sleep and having children has only made it worse as now, not only do I struggle to sleep, but I am also up with the children or peeing for England whilst pregnant!

It is recommended that adults should get between 7-8 hours sleep per night and this would work well for me as I go to bed around 11pm and wake at 7.20am to get the kids up for school. That's a whole 8 hours and 20 minutes of sleepy goodness. But it doesn't work that way. I will regularly go to bed but not actually get to sleep till way past 1am as my brain just will not shut off. Then getting up with Joseph for a night feed, this cuts off a lot of the time I am actually sleeping per night. 

Using a fitness band, it collected information and at the end of the month, I was averaging around 5 hours of sleep per night, not good!

According to this infographic by Mattress Next Day, a staggering 61% of employed people think they don't get enough sleep, 59% from day time jobs such as mine. Whereas people who work rotating shifts are worse off with 71% of them not getting enough sleep. I guess that's down to the constant routine change!

Over 1/5th of people who took the survey say they suffer with a sleep disorder, the most common of the disorders is insomnia which affects 49% of them. Insomnia is horrible, I hate it. Sitting in bed, shattered and wanting to sleep but not being able to, it's draining. 

Apart from sleep disorders though, there are many other factors that stop people from getting a full nights sleep. Stress is the biggest with 51% of people being affected by this. There's also bathroom breaks, children, heat and snoring partners, they all affect how much sleep we get. I know they do for me anyway!

Of course, avoiding caffeine and food before bed can help, and even though I assumed exercise would help to make you feel tired, it actually helps to wake you up by getting active so this shouldn't be done at night either. Long warm baths are great to help ease off to a peaceful night and sleeping pills can work but should be the last resort. 

When it comes to the boys, I think sleep is so important. Children cannot function properly if they haven't had enough sleep and setting a routine is important, even at a young age, to get them used to sleeping and getting enough of those zzz's. 

Joseph is still at the napping during the day stage so his sleep is different but Thomas and Charlie both go to bed at 8pm and wake at 7.20am for school. I believe this is well enough sleep for little ones and it will decline slightly as they get older and need less sleep. 

It is worrying to see all the stats and realise that the majority of people have problems with sleeping and that even children are suffering the same too. Maybe as a society, we need to look at our sleep patterns and make sure that, from a young age, we teach our children a good sleeping manner so that they're more likely to sleep better in adulthood too. 

21 October 2015

Why I Decided To Formula Feed My Children

Deciding on what is right for your child is hard work. No matter what your decision is, you'll have someone telling you it's wrong, leaving you feeling like a failure as a parent. Especially when it comes to deciding how you'll feed your baby.

For me, I chose to bottle feed. Being really honest, it wasn't even a hard decision. I didn't feel comfortable with the thought of breastfeeding my child in public and knew that if I felt stressed then my baby would sense that and struggle to feed. People would say that's a selfish decision but let me explain. 

My health visitor pushed me in to trying when I'd given birth to Thomas. I didn't want to and I didn't need to, but she pushed and pushed until I just decided to do it. But I hated it. I hated that I had to be at home whenever I wanted to feed my baby as I wasn't comfortable with others being around me. I would hide upstairs if anyone came to the house and my baby needed feeding. 

It was horrendous. I felt pressurised and then I got stressed, upset and depressed. Thomas stopped latching properly and wouldn't take my breast milk, losing weight at his next check up. I felt like a failure, that my son wouldn't take the one thing that my body made for him.

And then I realised, why was I doing this to make my health visitor happy? My baby and myself were all that mattered. As long as he had milk in his tummy (be it formula or breast milk) then he was happy and I knew that I'd feel a lot happier if I wasn't constantly stressed about feeding. 

So I changed to formula and it went down a treat. Thomas loved his new milk and even drank better. I think this was down to the fact that I was now feeding him comfortably and stress free so he was happier. It was like a weight had lifted.

But the health visitor then came round and told me that I was wrong to stop, that I was not giving him the best in life and that it was basically, all my fault if anything ever was to happen to him. I felt scared, had I just gave my son a bad start in life by choosing formula over breast milk?

No I wasn't. Thomas was fine. He flourished. Came on greatly. Got all his milestones, in fact was really forward with some things like walking at 10 month old.

Then I realised, the health visitor was wrong. It didn't matter how I fed him, all that mattered was that he was fed. Be it formula or breast milk, as long as he had a full tummy, I was doing right by my child.

So when Charlie, and then Joseph, came round, I decided to stay formula feeding as that was what I was comfortable with. And you know what, it was fine!

Babies are getting fed one way or another and that's all that matters surely...

20 October 2015

Caboodle Bags Stride In To Yorkshire

When searching for a changing bag, you have to envisage everything that will go inside it as one point or another and make your decision based on that. When you have a baby and all their diva demands you need everything bar he kitchen sink in there... well I have 3 kids so sometimes the kitchen sink would be nice too!

Over the years I have had many changing bags. Stylish, designer, and really expensive, but would you believe that I've actually managed to find a bag that holds everything that I could have ever imagined I would need whilst out with my brood, and it costs just £40. 

Yes, I know, I didn't believe it could be possible either but after over 6 years of using changing bags, I came across Caboodle Bags and their gorgeous Fun & Funky Baby Changing Bag which has changed the way I pack for our days out. 

I would usually have a changing bag, a tote bag and then maybe even one of the kids backpacks too. That way everything would be to hand when I wanted it. But that's a thing of the past now I have a Caboodle bag. Let me explain why...

The Fun & Funky baby changing bag is a quirky and unique designer bag without the price tag and is larger than most changing bags, 42cm wide x 33.5cm high x 16.5cm deep, without the added extra weight that you'd expect. This extra space isn't just wasted on a deep inner though where everything gets lost into the abyss that is the bottom of a bag, it's been cleverly thought out and has so many pockets to store things that you'll be left wondering whether the designer has some sort of pocket fetish. 

Lets first of all start with the outside because, as all us mums know, the look and style of the bag is up there with practicality when it comes to finding a bag. The bag is made from oil cloth which means that not only is it waterproof which is such an important feature for a changing bag which will more than likely be hung over the pram handles, but it is also wipeable. This is a genius idea. Do you realise how many times I have had a material changing bag that has been stained within the first week. Let's just say that all changing bags should be wipeable, no one wants a poo-stained bag!

As you can see, I went for the Grey Stars design. This was down to the fact that I thought it would look beautiful at the side of Joseph's Cosatto Ooba pram and I was not wrong. Because it is grey, it will more than likely suit any pram and the design is so subtle that it's not garish and is instead, a thing of beauty. Finished off with a bright green zipper at the top, just to give a funky wink. 

Then the pockets start. 2 outer pockets, one at each end of the bag which have magnetic clasp fastenings. As a mum of 3, let's just say that I know what I'm talking about when I say that this is a must for changing bags. It means that there is always some to hand for when your toddler is having a melt down. Be it a drink, a toy or even a sneaky chocolate bar to bribe them to calm down, whatever works, but these pockets are essentials for me!

Inside we go where you'll find a smart geometric patterned fabric which is great for hiding any little marks or spillages that have happened. The five, yes 5, internal pockets give a multitude of ways to hold all the small baby items you will need without taking up much needed space in the bag itself.   

Just the basics of what goes in my bag!
Not only is the Caboodle Bag a wonder in it's own right, but it also comes with extras to give it that 5 star rating when it comes to changing bags. It has a wipe clean changing mat, a grubby stuff bag for when a poonami strikes and an insulated bottle bag which is big enough to keep both Joseph's food and bottle warm. 

I love it. I love the size, the design, the fact that it's wipe clean, it has so many pockets that it holds everything I need and I also love it as the Yorkshire-person inside me is beaming as Caboodle has announced that they are now stocked in store at Paul Stride which is a famous store in the heart of York. High five Yorkshire Folk!

Anyway, now it's your turn to get to use the marvellous Caboodle bag as they are giving one of my lovely blog readers the chance to win your very own. For your chance to win a Caboodle Bag, just enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

Please remember to check our full T&C's here. This giveaway is open to the UK only and any entries left that do not follow the required entries will be disqualified. After any mandatory entries, others will open up to give you extra entries. You do not have to enter by all methods but these will give you extra entries into the competition if you do. 

And please, if you are commenting on the blog as 'anonymous' can you please write your name in the comment otherwise I cannot count your entry.

Ends midnight 8th November 2015

19 October 2015

Mum Tries | Marco Tozzi Brogue Chelsea Boots

I love boots. It's one of the reasons that winter is my favourite season, because I get to search out and purchase some more lovely new boots for myself.

I could scour the internet for hours, looking for a new pair of boots that will work for this season. That are warm and comfortable but look good too. That's when I came across the Mastershoe-MyShu website and fell in love with so many pairs that I found. 

It is hard, very hard to whittle down to one pair when you have a boot addiction. Should I go warm and fluffy, should I go hard-wearing, ankle boots or knee-length, surely a girl should have more than one option?!

Not the best photography skills I have to admit!
I eventually settled on a pair of Marco Tozzi Chelsea boots which have brogue detailing and look superb. Now I must admit that I'm not normally a fan of brogues but I think because the detailing is on boots, it works quite well. 

The boots come in 2 colours, Tobacco and Muscat. I decided on Muscat because I thought it was a cowboy kind of colour that would work well with denim and, well any other clothing I decide to wear, they look like they would fit quite well. 

So, how are the boots made. The uppers are made from a synthetic leather and with a darkened toe with brogue detailing to the front and sides. They feature elastic gussets to the sides which allows you to put them on and remove them with ease as well as giving you secure fit whilst on. The outer is complete with a small heel which is solid and gives durability and so much grip.

Inside is where all the magic happens though, the pièce de résistance as they say, as the cushioned footbed inside offers comfort for all day long wear and makes you feel as though you're walking on memory-foam. 

I love them, I love, love, love them. Such beauty, total comfort and look great with almost any outfit. What's more, they're under £40 too, such a bargain for a great set of boots. I might just have to stretch to getting the other pair too.

18 October 2015

Don't Let The Sparks Fly: Fireworks & Safety

We are approaching that time of year again. The time when people let of fireworks non-stop for the whole month, culminating in one mega bang-fest on November the 5th, Bonfire Night. 

I heard about Pryers Solicitors who have been doing some research into fireworks safety recently and I was astounded to see how many injuries were caused by fireworks. Surely after all these years of using them, people should know how to be safe around them and to do things properly, I mean they're not toys after all. 

The most common injuries are to the hands (31% of reported injuries) as you'd expect as this is when people don't hold them properly to light the fireworks but shockingly, 10% of injuries have been caused to the head. How scary is that to think that people are really risking their lives to have some exploding lights to look at.

Photo by Liz Noffsinger from freedigitalphotos.net
I must admit, I hate this time of year. No one seems to realise that fireworks are for Bonfire Night and should only be let off then, instead they are set off every night for the whole of October, waking up my children in the process and scaring all the dogs on the street. Cue Whistling, banging fireworks, barking dogs and crying babies, it's a nightmare. 

But I hate it more-so because I do not like fireworks. Well, I don't like rockets or the multishot-barrage fireworks as, even though I know they're coming, they make me jump and frighten me. I can just about handle a Roman Candle and sparklers. 

You can click through to see this infographic about fireworks and all the information it holds to help you be prepared for when Bonfire Night hits. Like, did you know that most firework injuries are cause at family parties but 1% have occurred in a car and 3% inside. I mean, how stupid are people who are setting fireworks off in enclosed spaces. 

Photo by Liz Noffsinger from freedigitalphotos.net
Make sure, if you are going to a fireworks party, or will be setting some off, that you follow these safety tips:
  • Do not carry fireworks in your pockets
  • Never relight fireworks
  • Put used fireworks into a metal bucket filled with cold water
  • Make sure to buy fireworks from a proper company
  • Always supervise children
  • Be aware of animals close by
  • And never, NEVER, throw fireworks!
But most importantly, make sure you are safe out there. It may not be you that does anything wrong but remember that not everyone else are sensible so just be weary. The best place to view fireworks is at an organised display who will have had training and know exactly what to do in an emergency... Just stay safe!

17 October 2015

Little Dandies Handprinted Personalised Dinosaur Top

Little Dandies is a children's clothing company based in Yorkshire, that was founded by two sisters, Nat and Lu. After both having children, they realised how boring clothing for their boys were, sick of the 'baby blue and naff motifs' on babygrows and that was when they thought up Little Dandies as they wanted to inject some colour and quirkiness back into children's fashion. 

The sisters have years of experience working in both the design industry and with children. Nat qualifying with a First class degree in Children’s illustration and going on to become a primary school teacher. Whereas Lu has a First class degree in Fashion Marketing and has worked as a fashion designer from high street retailers to high end fashion.

Using the method of screen printing, Little Dandies have created a range of clothing that have quirky colours and funky animal prints that are all hand printed in the UK and British manufacturers too where possible as they try to keep the brand as environmentally friendly as possible. 

As a fellow Yorkshire-person and being someone who loves to promote anything Yorkshire based as I adore the fact that I am from this beautiful part of the country, I obviously snatched their hand off when they asked if Joseph would like have one of their tops for me to review and write about. 

A few days later, the beautiful Handprinted Personalised Dinosaur Top arrived and it was even more bright and stand-out-ish than I thought it would be. 

This 100% cotton aqua blue t-shirt has long dark green sleeves and navy blue cuff and neck lines. Hand printed with a dinosaur and his own little top hat on the front with Joseph's name also printed underneath to make it his own special, personalised top. 

Joseph is 8 month old and this top is sized at 6-12 month and fits him fine. Even though he is big for his age, it still has a lot of growth room in it and will fit him for a while to come. 

I love the writing, the font that has been used to print it on is beautiful and so quirky. Not just a boring bold text but something different that stands out as a lovely design. The brightness of the green dinosaur with his own little top hat to accompany him is so cute and perfect for any growing little boy. 

The colours, all of them. From the vivid blue and green of the actual top itself to the printed imagine, they are all bold and bright and just ooze vintage, bespoke design. It's something that, once he's outgrown, I can keep for Joseph as a memento of when he was little. 

Even now, after a few washes, the t-shirt is still bright, in shape and looking like new which is great as, as a mum of 3 messy boys, the quality and longevity of clothing is important. 

Having a range of tops, babygrows and pyjamas in al different animal designs. I would say that in the future, there is scope to add more to the range. More long sleeved tops as winter is arriving, bigger sizes in the babygrows and more styles in the pyjamas. But I guess the range can grow as the business does. 

More information or to see the beautiful designs, you can visit the Little Dandies website where you can also purchase the clothing for your own little ones. 

16 October 2015

Christmas Toys For The Littlest In The Family

When it comes to Christmas, I find that buying for babies is so hard. You want to buy toys that they can use and play with easily but also that will last and not be outgrown too quickly whilst also helping to start the education process and broadening the imagination. 

That's why I love wooden toys as they never go out of date. I've found many wooden toys at House of Fraser and have loads on my shopping list waiting for my husband to take his sweaty paws off the credit card.

There are so many to pick from and even if your child outgrows them, they'll last years so will still be in perfect condition if you have any more children or donate them to a charity shop for another child to love. 

Anything that can help young children's development such as ring stacker's and shaper sorters are great for little ones as not only are they bright, bold and fun but they help with learning too.

I've seen this amazing range of Hamleys kids toys which are all wooden. From the beautiful Rainbow Stacker to the Hammer Ball Games. I also love the Pull Along Mum & Baby Owl as it is so cute and Joseph will love pulling it around the room now he is crawling. 

Then it comes to electrical toys. All babies love toys that light up and sing. Vtech have a huge range of toys that I have on the wishlist for Joseph when Christmas arrives. 

The First Steps Plus is at the top of the list because not only is it fun, engaging and musical, but it is a walker and will help when Joseph starts to take his first steps, helping to support him and aid in his walking ability. 

We are a family of readers in our family and so musical books are great for little learners. This cute Musical Rhymes Book plays music and sings rhymes whilst also helps little ones to learn instrument names, sounds and colours. 

And of course, no baby shopping list is complete without that added addition of a Tiny Touch Remote Control which has been designed for imitative play whilst also playing melodies and has remote sound effects. 

These are all on the list to collect for Joseph this Christmas. What else do you think would be perfect for a little one?

15 October 2015

Breaking The Taboo Around Miscarriage

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and yet, unless you have suffered the horrendous pain of losing a baby, you probably didn't even know this day existed. 

In this day and age where everything is shared online, from last weeks dinner menu to peoples deepest and darkest secrets, yet miscarriage is something that just isn't talked about. It's like we are ashamed, like talking about it is bad, but I don't get why. 

I remember after suffering this tragedy, people would look at me differently. Someone would ask how far I was and when I replied that I had miscarried, they would change the subject, not wanting to talk about this thing that happens to so many women, and their partners too. 

But us women are left with unanswered questions. Why did it happen, how did it happen, will it happen again. And no one tells us these answers as it's something that we don't talk about. We are left feeling alone, and scared, and have no one to turn to when actually, it's happened to more people than you think. 

Losing a child is one of the most hardest things that I will ever have had to go through. It's horrendous. Those moments of having your child inside you turning to nothing. It's draining, it's hard not only on your body but your mind too. 

Was it my fault? Did I do something wrong?

No one was there to hold me together and say that everything was going to be okay. No one was there to explain that it wasn't my fault, that I had done nothing wrong and I was left just to get on with things. There, it's happened, now get over it and get on with your life. 

Then I felt guilty. I had spent all this time mourning a baby that I had never met when I should have been focusing on the 2 that I had. I was a bad mum, I didn't deserve my children... I was doing them a disservice by being selfish and thinking about myself. 

I think people don't realise just how hard a miscarriage hits. You don't just 'get over it', you can't just 'try again'.  It was a baby. A child, A person growing inside of me. I felt him moving, growing, taking a hold on life. We had plans.

We had plans...

Today is Baby Loss Awareness Day where we remember all the babies who have touched our lives - however briefly that was for. The global 'Wave of Light' will be at 7pm whereby we remember our lost babies by lighting a candle in their memory.

Photo by 9comeback from freedigitalphotos.net

12 October 2015

What's Inside Paddy's Bathroom?

Since having Joseph, I have learnt the importance of bath products for children that are kind to the skin. He has eczema that flares up when using some bath products and so I've searched to find ones that are great for his sensitive skin but will still make bath times fun. 

Paddy's Bathroom are the new bath products on the block. The brainchild of Paul Lindley, the creator of Ella's Kitchen the organic baby food, who believes in making bath time super fun for young kids and stress-free for parents. 

All of the products have been clinically tested and found to be safe, kind and mild for skin, and suitable for sensitive skin whilst the shampoo is safe and tear free for eyes. All formulations are dermatologically tested and paediatrician approved.

N.B. Ignore the state of our bathroom as we await a new one being fitted!
So, to give it a try, we were sent out the full range of Paddy's Bathroom products. 

Bubbly Stuff Bubble Bath
This is a rich, thick kids' bubble bath that is gentle and kind to skin, made with as much natural + organic stuff as possible (63% organic + 98% natural!) to leave your skin feeling soft and clean. With a scent of tangy tangerine fragrance is 100% natural. 

Squirty Stuff Hair + Body Wash
Squirty Stuff is a great foaming body wash that is made from 73% organic and 98% natural products. Coming in two scents, juicy pineapples and squishy mangoes to leave your children's skin soft, clean and with a great smell. 

The Squirty Stuff have a whizzy cap which creates the foam as it comes out. You just simply pull it till it clicks open and then squeeze the bottle in short bursts to get blobs of foamy loveliness. 

Foamy Stuff Hair + Body Wash
Like Squirty Stuff, it is 73% organic and 98% natural but smells like rosy apples. You just pump the top until foaminess arrives into the palm of your hands with the lovely scent to boost.  

Stuff for Shiny Hair Shampoo
The Stuff for Shiny Hair is great because it foams up so well. Making it fun for children to wash their own hair, getting to play as they wash. The squeezy lemons smell is 100% natural and 56% organic making hair silky, clean and shiny. 

Stuff for Soft Hair Conditioner
The Stuff for Soft Hair is a super gentle everyday conditioner that is tear free so great for little ones who are scared of using bath products. Made from 83% organic and 98% natural stuff, to leave hair soft and shiny. With 100% natural squeaky clean lemons fragrance to give a yummy clean. 

Stuff for Hands Hand Wash
Paddy's Bathroom Stuff for Hands is an amazing foaming hand wash that makes hand washing for kids much more fun as they can play with the bubbles whilst washing their hands. With 73% organic and 98% natural stuff and again,  a lemon scent to keep hands squeaky clean. 

Our Thoughts
The boys love baths anyway, always splashing around and enjoying bubble baths, but Paddy's Bathroom have made it even more fun. Now, when it comes to the actual getting a wash part, they still get to play with bubbles and even spike up their hair with it, keeping my mind at ease knowing that it is gentle on the skin. 

I think, the fact that each of the products are fun, bubbly and engaging for children, means that they like them more. What's more, they are easy to open and squirt so my children can now do it all themselves and even use the Squirty Stuff to foam each other before getting a wash and cleaning themselves. 

Overall, this has to be one of my favourite children's bath product rages to date. Not only have Paddy's Bathroom been made with organic, natural stuff but they have been tested to make sure they are great for sensitive skin whilst still giving a thorough clean. Which is all great but is topped off by the fact that they are fun, foamy and fruity, perfect for kids to play whilst they wash. 

What's more, Paddy's Bathroom run a Drop Buy Drop programme whereby to help those who need it most. With every product that is sold, they give 50 US cents towards clean water initiatives that help families in Africa, currently helping to provide water filters to some of the poorest families in Rwanda. 

Each Paddy's Bathroom product has a code etched onto it so you can pop to their website and see exactly how you have helped make water clean.

So not only are your children getting fun and bubbly products for bath time that are natural and organic, but when you purchase them, you are helping other children too...

11 October 2015

Support This Movember And Help To Escape Cancer

We're getting to that time of year again. When the month before Christmas changes name, from November to Movember. This is because November is Prostate and Testicular cancer month. Over the course of the month, you will most likely see moustached men about all in the name of cancer awareness amongst men. 

Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in men in the UK. It is estimated that 1 in 8 men in the UK will be effected by prostate cancer at some point in their lives. Most occurrences are between the ages of 25 and 49 and at this age, the most common male cancer is testicular. 

There are many ways in identifying that something may be wrong and needing a check up, some of which are shown in the infographic below. 

I think Movember is amazing in that it tries to get male cancer out there in the open, hoping to raise awareness and also show men how important it is to check themselves and seek help if anything feels or looks different than usual. 

Discount Supplements, health and supplements supplier online, are supporting the ESCAPE cancer movement and asking people to take the 30/30 challenge. To move for 30 minutes for 30 days!

To help with this, they have given me a prize bundle to give away on my blog, for one person to win and be able to join in with the 30/30 challenge if they wish to. The pack includes:
  • a Discount Supplements shaker / water bottle
  • a pair or Discount Supplements sweat bands for your wrists
  • a Vktech Bluetooth Smart Wristband Watch Pedometer to record your steps, distance, calories, monitors your sleep and can set reminders to drink more, exercise more or wake up! 
  • Comes in a choice of 5 colours!

For you chance to win this prize bundle, just enter via the Rafflecopter form below...

Please remember to check our full T&C's here. This giveaway is open to the UK only and any entries left that do not follow the required entries will be disqualified. After any mandatory entries, others will open up to give you extra entries. You do not have to enter by all methods but these will give you extra entries into the competition if you do. 

And please, if you are commenting on the blog as 'anonymous' can you please write your name in the comment otherwise I cannot count your entry.

Ends midnight 31st October 2015

8 October 2015

Why Aren't We Teaching Our Children How To Mange Money

School is supposed to be the place where children learn everything they will need to know about life. From maths and basic English to how to bake, sew and even the birds and the bees. But one thing that is lacking, one thing that should be at the top of the list, is how to manage money, and how debt management is so important. 

I sit back and think about how lucky I am that I haven't had to take out loans, had to borrow money, got myself into debt, but then realise that I'm wrong. This house I live in, this place I call home is not actually ours until that last mortgage payment is paid and then it fell into place that actually, that is one big debt that will take us years to pay off.

And not just that. Debt isn't just ordering a games console from a catalogue and paying it off monthly with an extortionate interest rate, it's those student loans that you have to take out when going to university. This now means that all higher education student will finish their degree's in thousands of pounds of debt, before they even start on their adult life's journey. 

I saw a report that My Voucher Codes had conducted whereby it said that 70% of 15 to 18-year-olds will leave school ‘dangerously unprepared’ for the financial responsibility they will have to undertake, including taking out loans or managing budgets.

Photo by Serge Bertasius Photography from www.freedigitalphotos.net
According to the survey, the amount owed by households is now topping £173bn as Britain is seeing a high record of families battling debt within the household. People who haven't learned how to organise their money, how to save, even down to budgeting.  

The study, which I found in the Independent, reveals that Students are not receiving enough debt management education and expert warn that the country runs the very real risk of storing up long-term problems for the economy as a result of this.

When you grow up, have a family, have children, you don't want to be starting out this life in debt, not knowing how to get out, causing stress and just making life miserable. And even students themselves know this also as 50 per cent of 586 students aged 18 to 21 said schools should do more to educate about how to manage money and also debt management for helping with those student loans and mortgages. 

Photo by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee from www.freedigitalphotos.net
Surely, in a day and age whereby personal loans are so easy to come by, where everything is so extortionate in price and where you can't leave eduction without already owing money, we should be doing more. The government should be doing more. There should be some sort of education to show people how to manage their finances and what to do when it all becomes too much. 

This shouldn't be done in just higher education though. It should start out young. I already teach my children about money and how important it is. They know that if they see an amazing toy that they just have to have, then they need to save themselves. I give them pocket money and make them fully aware that once it's gone, it's gone, so they can either choose to spend it straight away or save till they have enough for that amazing toy. 

So surely we should all play a part in teaching the younger generations how to manage money properly. From parents and right through school, it should be top of the agenda to help us get out of this debt crisis we are currently in. 

7 October 2015

Who is the Best Ever James Bond

It's that time of year again, just before Christmas, which means that any time now the James Bond season will be starting on the film channels and we'll get to bask in the glory of our favourite MI5 agent, 007.

Every year without fail, you get to watch the whole set of iconic films, never in the original order I might add, that see James Bond take on the most evil men on the planet and of course, come out triumphant with a beautiful woman dangling from his arm. 

When it comes to the old Bond, James Bond, there is a shift in gear every few years when a new actor is brought in to play the much loved character and that gives the whole nation cause to argue over who should be the next Bond and, more importantly, who is the best James Bond.

Well, in a survey commissioned by Great British Bingo, as you can most probably imagine, Sean Connery has topped to poll with an outstanding 40.12% of the votes. and not surprisingly George Lazenby was right at the bottom with only 2.20% of the votes which I guess is down to the fact that he only ever made one Bond film. 

In fact, when looking at the people who took part in the survey, it was only persons aged between 35-44 that didn't think Sean Connery (33.33% of the votes) was the best and instead went for Daniel Craig with 41.18% of the votes going to him. 

In a way, I am actually surprised by this. Not about Sean Connery coming top, I know just how much people loved him as Bond, but that George Lazenby came bottom. Although he did do only one film, I think George was a fantastic Bond, probably one of the bests there were. 

For me, my favourite actor to play James Bond was Pierce Brosnan. I think he juts oozed style, sophistication and had a mysterious aura about him which was perfect for that of an MI5 agent. I think he fit the bill perfectly even down to his tone of voice and the faces he'd pull during scenes. 

During the poll, Pierce Brosnan came third overall with a poor 11.58% of the votes and coming way down in 6th in the 45-54 aged category with a score of only 1.61%. Women did seem to prefer him though staying third in the table for female votes of 4th in the male votes category. 

I was going to end this post with an important question, who was the best James Bond ever in your opinion... but I'm not. 

The question is, now Daniel Craig has officially retired as 007, who do you want to play the new James Bond. I've heard so many names thrown about, Damien Lewis, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba to name a few. But Tom Hardy... Tom 'Oh My Gosh He's Hot' Hardy is my favourite!

Who do you think the next James Bond should be?