30 November 2015

Bepanthen: Caring For Sensitive Baby Skin

Over the years, I have used a plethora of lotions and potions for the boys. For Joseph though I have had to be more careful with what we use. He has really sensitive skin and eczema on his face which flares up if I use a cream that has any sort of fragrance in it. 

Although he has suffered with his skin everywhere else, Joseph hasn't been too bad with nappy rash. That was until he started teething, and now it's a nightmare. I don't know how the gums and teething pain is connected to a babies bottom, but for some reason, as soon as those pesky teeth start pushing through, nappy rash starts, and can become painful for the little one who is already suffering. 

With all this in mind and the fact that Joseph has inherited my very, very sensitive skin, we have to be very careful about what we use on it. One brand which I have always loved and stock up on to use daily is Bepanthen

To celebrate the fact that Bepanthen now comes in a handy flip-top tube, they kindly sent us a box of goodies which stated that we would receive some Bepanthen to trial and also a 'gorgeous selection of fun treats for you and toys for baby' and boy was I surprised when the box arrived.

How marvellous was this box of treats that had been sent to us. I wasn't expecting anything near as beautiful as this and as a mum of 3, I admit that my hormones are still playing up and I may have got something in my eye (okay, I cried!). 

Along with the Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment and Baby Moisturiser was an adorable set of Bepanthen friends and then an absolutely stunning blanket from The White Company for Joseph to snuggle in to. Goodies for me, as a busy mum who needs to relax once in a while, was a large candle, again from The White Company which just has an aura of Christmas about it, and then some hot chocolate and marshmallows from Whittards. This amazing box of goodies has made me so honoured that I have such a great job and am so thankful to the people at Bepanthen for making my day, well making my whole week actually!

And so, along we go to chatting about Bepanthen and the miracle cream it is. Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment forms a long lasting barrier to protect the sensitive skin. Now packaged with a flip top cap instead of a screw-off one so can be used one handed whilst trying to hold down the wriggly one!

The breathable transparent layer contains no perfumes, colours, antiseptics or preservatives and is clinically proven to protect from the causes of nappy rash. When applied, the pro-vitamin B5 contained within the ointment gently aids the natural skin recovery, keeping the skin smooth and moisturised. 

It has been a godsend these past few months, helping to ease the pain of nappy rash and gently cooling the area, leaving the skin soft and helping it to heal. A must have product that I take everywhere with me, just in case it's needed whilst out and about.

The Bepanthen Baby Moisturiser is a new one on us and something I haven't tried before. Joseph gets horribly dry skin as well as eczema and so it was a great time to give it a go on his skin. I always try to keep his skin shielded from harsh chemicals to stop it from getting irritated and so it was nice to read that Bepanthen includes no alcohol, colours, fragrances, parabens and other preservatives, lanolin or paraffin. 

So after each bath, we don't bathe Joseph too often as water is one factor of drying skin out, I would let him dry naturally in his towel and then would gently massage the Bepanthen Baby Moisturiser in to his skin. As it contains pro vitamin B5, it deeply moisturises his skin leaving him with soft, smooth and nourished skin. 

Bepanthen is something I recommend to all new mums and have even added it to my nieces hamper that I've been collecting for when her little bundle arrives. They are a brand that I trust to take care of my babies skin and will continue to do so for the foreseeable. 

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 the fabulous The Brothers Grimm Collection Bag which includes them all inside a beautifully decorated bag. Check out the Miles Kelly website for more information. 

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

13 November 2015

My 6 Top Tips For Weaning

Weaning is one of the hardest and yet most fun parts of bringing up a baby. Teaching them how to eat, try new foods and help them grow into a lover of the variety of foods there are about. 

It is hard though, working out how to start off, which way you will feed, baby-led or spoon-led, what to feed, when to try different foods, there is so many decisions, and even though Joseph is my third child, it hasn't been any more easier than with the other boys. 

I thought today, as part of our Vital Baby #WeaningWarriors role, that I would give my top tips to help when it comes to weaning. I follow these 6 tips and, so far, Joseph is enjoying his journey into solid food. So, here are my 6 top tips for weaning...

Be Prepared
This is the main one. When you are planning to wean, get prepared. Don't just start when you haven't got everything sorted. You need to be persistent and cannot be stopping and starting with weaning because you aren't fully prepared. Stock up on jars and pouches if you are using ready made baby foods and make sure you have all the utensils to hand. The Vital Baby Feeding Kit Bundle gives you everything you will need for the weaning process. And if your're weaning above a brand new cream carpet, make sure you have a blanket or towel down to protect it!

Let Your Baby Set The Pace
All children are different and learn at their own pace so it's important to follow your babies natural pace and not rush them. Responsive feeding is key here. Learn the signs of when your baby has had enough and don't push it. Like adults, sometimes babies just aren't as hungry as other times and so might not eat the same amount all the time. 

Teething Doesn't Have To Be A Pain
Teething is a hard time for babies and parents too. Not settling at night, the pains they get, and the fact that it will more than likely put your baby of his food as it hurts to eat. I've found the foods such as tubes yoghurt's are great for teething babies as it's cooling and you can even put them in the freezer for a little while so your baby can grind their gums against it.  

Finger Foods Are Key
When your baby had mastered chewing and is a little pro at munching their way through foods, make sure to offer finger foods as the next step as this will teach them how to handle food properly and eventually manage to get it to their own mouth so they can feed themselves. Steamed carrots and broccoli are great to start with, following on to other veg and sandwiches and toast when they're ready. 

Trial And Error
Weaning is all about trial and error. Keep trying different food and you'll eventually start to learn what your baby does and doesn't like. If your baby turns his nose up at something then just try something else and then come back to it a different day. 

But most of all...

Make It Fun
If you get stressed as your baby hasn't eaten something, then so will he. Finger foods are great for fun feeding time because I find that if I make it fun, sounds and all, popping a carrot into my mouth and pulling faces will make Joseph do the same whilst chuckling away this will help your baby develop a healthy relationship with food. 

So there you have it, my 6 tips for weaning. Do you have any other tips to add?

8 November 2015

Joseph's Milestones: 9 Months Old

I know everyone always says that the baby stage goes really fast, but it is true. In just 3 short months Joseph will be 1 year old and no longer 'zero' as Thomas puts it. I cannot fathom how quick this time has passed, it feels like yesterday that I was bringing him home and writing how Joseph came in to this world as a teeny tiny little baby.

Joseph is always on the go, never wanting to sit still and is starting to outgrow his Jumperoo, his once much loved toy, as he is wanting to be constantly moving and climbing. He can now sit unaided, crawl with ease and has started trying to pull himself up on furniture, standing for a few seconds before toppling over. 

With 4 teeth fully through and another 2 on the way, Joseph is enjoying a varied diet, loving trying new foods and textures all the time. He will often have homemade mashed foods, mostly what we are having and sometimes will eat solids like breads, pittas, pizzas and veg, getting his little chompers chewing. 

Having three meals a day, snacks and then a couple of bottles still. Joseph will go down to bed around 8.30pm and then wake for a bottle at 11pm before going back to sleep until 6am which isn't that bad really. 

As a regular Hulk baby,Joseph now weighs 18lb 15oz and has been comfortably in his 9-12 month clothing for the past 6 weeks and is wearing them well, still shoeless as I hate restricting babies feet, but will sometimes opt for soft sole shoes if we're outdoors for long periods. 

Joseph has definitely found his voice now and is always 'talking' to anyone and everyone and even has an angry growl for is he isn't getting his own way. He is currently going through the stage whereby he hates to be away from me and so cries if I leave the room meaning that it is hard work at the moment to get anything done as I've constantly got a baby round my legs. 

It is so strange when I look back. The past few months, since I wrote Joseph's 6 month update, I have noticed so many changes in him and his personality has changed so much. The bond between him and his big brothers is so strong. I see his face light up when they enter the room and he will constantly be trying to climb onto them or play with their toys with them. It is adorable to see this bond growing everyday. 

Shortly Joseph will be attending his 8-10 month check up which will confirm that he is currently passing all his milestones and so that's it for now. I'll be back in 3 month with, I can't believe I'm saying this, his 1 year update!

5 November 2015

Rockin' Baby Clothing

When it comes to babywearing, I'm sure everyone has heard of Rockin' Baby. Their gorgeous slings and pouches for little ones stand out a mile with beautiful designs and their You Buy, We Give: Mother to Mother policy just shows how super ethical they are. With the purchase of every product they will donate the same product to a mum in need whilst educating her on the importance it holds in her baby’s life. Helping women and children in need in Haiti and Kenya. 

Well now they are back but this time with a beautiful, brand new range of baby and children's clothing again are donating clothing to children in need to match how many they have sold. It really is a great way to show just how much they care about those in need all around the world.

It also means that for every purchase you make, you know that you are also helping a child in need. Not a bad way to spend your day, sopping for your children and helping out another at the same time. I guess that's what they call guilt free shopping. 

To show just how beautiful this range of clothing is, Rockin' Baby have sent me out some of their items to show off here on the blog and check out the quality for myself. For this, the boys got to put in their very own fashion show with the help of the great outdoors, autumn leaves and berry trees. 

For both Thomas and Charlie, they received the beautiful Hunter Bear Stripe Twofer from the Woodland Wonderland clothing range. The adorable hand-drawn style bear looks stunning and stands out so much against the classic breton stripe background and coordinating long sleeves. 

The material, whilst being very thick and durable, is also very soft making it feel good on children's skin. The thickness is great for this colder weather and hugs to the child, keeping them snuggly warm whilst they play outdoors in style.

I love the stripy pattern as it isn't proper solid stripes as you'd expect. They're jagged and slightly odd to give a funky look and the super cute bear print is a gorgeous way to add a bit of childish fun into the mix. 

Then moving on to Joseph who received a gorgeous clothing set from the baby range. The rocket-tastic Rollin’ Space Print Tee and the matching Crawlin’ Space Print Pants are from the adorable Space range of clothing from Rockin' Baby and truly are out of this world!.

Made from 100% cotton, this beautiful space themed set are super soft and great for little crawlers with the stretchy fabric which glides easily along the floor as Joseph crawls. The navy backgrounds works perfectly with the lighter blue rockets, spaceships and stars and the grey cuffs just further coordinate to make a great combo set. 

The tee is long sleeved so great for the colder weather and also helps to protect his little elbows from carpet burns as the material in thick and so, so soft. I would say my only qualm is that the lap over collar might be great for getting over his head easily but can loosen off over the day time and become a little baggy towards the end of the day, but I think that's more to do with the fact that Joseph is currently at the stretching and climbing stage and is constantly pulling on his top. 

Fitting wise, the clothing for older boys is very generous indeed so Charlie, who is 4 was wearing size 3-4 years and Thomas, who is 6 is donning 5-6 years. The range of babies is probably about right for sizings and so Joseph was wearing his normal size.

The boys have loved posing for this beautiful range of clothing from Rockin' Baby and I have thoroughly enjoyed writing about a lovely, ethical company. Pop over to the Rockin' Baby website for more information or to purchase any of these clothing items.

4 November 2015

Black Friday at Halfords: Win Upto £1500 of Goodies

It's official, Christmas is just around the corner. This is the time of year where we all run around like headless chickens, trying to find everything that is on our wishlists as we prepare for the festive season. Trying to search out the best offers and deals from retailers and this is the time of the year that Black Friday hits, giving us bargain lovers even more incentive to stock up on those amazing deals. 

This years Black Friday hits Halfords on the 27th November with Cyber Monday on the 30th November 2015. There will be loads of their best offers and deals online and in-store over both days from loads of the major brands so you can bag a bargain or two. 

What's more, you can bag yourself an even better treat right now by entering Halfords Black Friday competition where you could win 1 of 3 fantastic Black Friday gadgets and goodies bundles worth up to £1500. With prizes including bikes, sat navs, car stereos, tool sets and more, this is one competition you definitely don't want to miss out on. How amazing is that!

1st Prize Black Friday bundle of gadgets & goodies worth over £1,500

2nd Prize Black Friday bundle of gadgets & goodies worth over £750

3rd prize Black Friday bundle of gadgets & goodies worth over £400

For your chance to win one of the fabulous prize bundles, all you have to do is to sign up to the Halfords VIP mailing list here and answer the super simple question 'What date does Black Friday fall on this year?' (Clue: the answer is in this post!).

So, what are you waiting for, get entering right now for your chance to win one of the 3 prize bundles and get yourself a massive helping hand with the Christmas present organising. Good Luck!

The competition is being run by Halford who will be responsible for picking the winner. You can read all the terms & conditions on their site.

2 November 2015

Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries: The Importance of Teaching Children to Cycle

When it comes to all the milestones we go through when growing up, learning to ride a bike is up there with learning to play a musical instrument and learning how to swim. They are life lessons. Cycling teaches discipline, perseverance, balance, all things that children need to develop whilst growing up. 

Being from a large family, I learnt how to ride at quite a young age as my siblings showed me how, as well as being taught by my parents too and so, when it came to the time that we had to teach Thomas, I knew that it would take dedication and a lot of practise to get rid of those pesky stabilisers. 

For Thomas, he has now been riding his bike for just over a year and recently upgraded to a bigger 16" bike which is much better for his size. We took our time with teaching him the different stages, not wanting to push him too hard but trying every day so that he would get used to it.

First of all, learning to balance comes first. Starting with holding the back of the bike whilst Thomas peddled, slowly loosening my grip so that he was given more of the reign of how the bike balanced. Eventually leading up to letting go of the back whilst he was peddling and lastly, the balance you need to actually starting off the bike on your own. 

Once you've hit all the stages, that's it, your child will be off, there will be no stopping them. I love cycling and so does my husband so I guess it was kind of inevitable that the boys would learn to cycle with us. 

That's not always the case though. Not everyone has a bike, which is a shame, and so that's where the Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries comes in. 

The Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries project is part of the legacy of le Tour de France’s visit to the county, and has been helping to create a cycling legacy for all generations and all abilities. 

There are Donation Stations located all around the county, and more Libraries will be opening across Yorkshire over the coming months. At these Donation Stations, people are encouraged to amnesty their old bikes at the designated donation stations in the county, including York, Bradford and Sheffield.

All donated bikes are being repaired and reconditioned for use at a Bike Library, to ensure all children across Yorkshire have access to a bicycle.These will make up the Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries and be available to individuals, local enterprises and community groups to borrow for free, so more people, young and old, can enjoy the benefits of cycling.

Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries is a 3 year joint project, which started at the end of 2014, with Welcome to Yorkshire’s cycling initiative, Cycle Yorkshire and the aim is to make cycling more accessible in Yorkshire by providing communities with bike libraries.

Where you can find Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries:
  • Streetbikes CIC, Huddersfield
  • BeCycling, Bradford
  • Bradford Trident
  • Yorkshire Children’s Centre, Huddersfield
  • Get Cycling, York
  • Club Doncaster, Doncaster
  • ReVolution
  • Fearnville Centre, Leeds
Each Bike Library is unique and all have different activities going on. From cycling activities, guided cycle rides, safety lessons, and Get Cycling in York has a growing fleet of specially adapted bicycles designed to make cycling a real possibility for everyone. They currently run a series of events at special need schools across Yorkshire.

I love this. I love how, even if your child has a bike, you can pop along and loan one from the Bike Library for yourself so that you can cycle together. Or for parents who can not afford to buy a new bike, they can teach their child to ride and help them gain confidence in doing so. 

It's great to see that there is somewhere to champion how great cycling is and hopefully, the love that we had for le Tour de Yorkshire will be around for a long time yet!

Winter Shoe Wishlist For The Boys In My Life

When it comes to winter, buying footwear that is not only comfortable but is warm too is paramount. No one likes having cold feet and so shoes need to be thick, padded and extra cosy to keep those little toes toasty warm. 

I've been looking around for the boys lately and have sorted out a wishlist of footwear that I would love to get them for the upcoming cold weather. Obviously, these comprise of boots, as boots keep not only the feet warm but the ankles too. 

I always find that Wellington boots are, although waterproof, are cold and quite uncomfortable to wear so instead, I opt for ankle boots for the boys. My favourite boots brand is UGG and luckily these also do a range of boys boots that are perfect for the winter. 

After much searching, I found that my favourite online shoe company, and one that has featured on my blog many times in the past, Daniel Footwear are UGG Australia Authorised Retailers and so I got to looking for the best Kids UGG boots that I could find for the boys. 

So lets start...

For Thomas I knew that he would want black as then they are perfect for school too for him to show off. These beautiful UGG Maple black leather boots are ideal for him as they are made with waterproof leather so are great for when the rain hits. The durable and thick sole will protect against the snow and the thick and fluffy real sheepskin insole will keeps his feet warm. They also come with an optional set of laces that come in orange and black to give a funky twist to them. 

When it comes to Charlie, I picked the gorgeous UGG Orin brown suede boots which are crafted from oiled suede and a cushioned plaid collar. Charlie struggles with his laces and so, although these have a lace up fastening, they also come with the added ease of a zip fastening so he can slip them on and off with ease. 

Now I couldn't leave Joseph out. I don't agree with putting shoes on babies as they aren't great for foot development and I prefer to let little feet be free. But with the winter weather brewing, I knew that he would need something to keep his tootsies warm. Soft soled shoes are best for babies and so I chose these super cute UGG Erin grey baby boots which are lined with 17mm twinface sheepskin and have a Velcro strap on the outside that is adjustable to fit easily. 

I love boots, as I have spoken about many times, and so making sure that my children all have a quality pair of durable boots is important to me. They need to look and feel good whist also having a thick sole and a good grip too.

Are you ready for the winter weather, have you got your winter shoe collection sorted yet?