Sunday, 11 January 2015

Back to school and a little more.....



So, the children are back to school after the Christmas break. How does that make you feel? A little sad or secretly relieved? I'm a mixture of the two I guess. They wanted another week and if I'm honest, so did I. I love having them home but usually by the end of the holidays I'm ready for a break and they are itching to get back to their friends and a 'normal routine'. That said, I hate the school run with a passion - roll on Summer!

My children are all very different when it come to lunches. One has a hot dinner every day, one has to have a pack lunch, and the other one likes to pick and choose depending on what is on the menu at school (she' a bright one, that one!)

She tends to have a packed lunch at least once a week. This usually coincides with the school having fish on the menu as she's never been very keen. I must admit to struggling when it come to choosing what to fill her lunch box with; I try not to give in to her  sudden 'fussiness' but worry that if I don't give her things that she loves, she might not eat anything at all.

Luckily, she does love her fruit and veg so crudities and fruit salads feature regularly, but I do still worry that she isn't getting enough vitamins; even when he has a school dinner because if I'm not there, I don't know what he's eaten or what's been scraped into the bin.



Last week,  we were introduced to A Little More; a range of essential vitamin-enriched drinks designed especially for children. These drinks are 300ml sports cap bottles of natural fruit flavoured spring water; enough to provide a daily top-up of vital vitamins and minerals.

These provide a perfect solution to my vitamin woes; whether my daughter opts for a hot meal or a packed lunch, she can bring a bottle of water to school to drink during the school day. 

The drinks contain no added sugar and each is naturally flavoured with orange, apple or mango & passion fruit. They are suitable for children ages 3 and over and the convenient spot style bottles are perfect for lunch boxes, picnics or just as a daily treat.

The range includes A Little More Vitamin C, A Little More Multivitamins and A Little More Vitamin D....clever idea, huh?

Now, if I can just convince Little One that fish is amazing.... then I'll be reaaaaally happy.

 

Some Children's Christmas Reads From Parragon Books



Over the next few days, I am going to share with you some things that myself and the children got up to over the Christmas break. Unfortunately gastroenteritis plagued us just after Christmas, so we were housebound for much of the remainder of the holidays.

It wasn't all doom and gloom though, it meant the little ones got to enjoy some craft time and we read some fabulous books including two activity books that had been sent to us by Parragon Books.

The first one got Daddy involved as he has a thing for planes and kites, etc. Professor Murphy Games Sets Glider is absolutely fantastic and would make a brilliant gift for children aged 8 plus or even a novelty gift for an adult!

"Inside, you'll find a step-by-step book and everything you need to build a stunt glider with an incredible 60cm wingspan! Great outdoor fun for ages 8+, build, throw, fly, loop and glide!"
 The glider is somewhat impressive when built but sadly only lasted one day as we (foolishly) took it outside on a very windy day. At just £5.99 though, it is fantastic value!

The girls love stickers... I am often found covered in the things as my lovely little ladies insist I need 'decorating' - I try not to be offended by this!

Parragon's Christmas 2000 Stickers book was absolutely perfect for them to share, especially on a rainy (or sicky) day when they need something to keep them busy indoors.

"Pull on your hat, coat and mittens and get ready for some frosty fun in the North Pole! There are festive doodles, icy puzzles, merry mazes and much more. Then take your pick from 2000 stickers to complete the scenes, or to decorate your own festive cards, letters or drawings!"

This lovely activity book is packed full of puzzles, story scenes and.... of course.... 2000 stickers - hours of fun for just £4!!

We love it so much we are on the look out for more titles, such as 2000 Princess stickers (£8) and 2000 super scary stickers (£4). These are perfect as gifts; particularly as a present if your child has been invited to a friends party or just to keep at home for those days that you are stuck indoors and need to keep the dreaded boredom at bay.


Saturday, 10 January 2015

NEW Oilatum Daily Junior Cleansers Range - review and a giveaway



Just before Christmas, I received a lovely surprise in the post from our friend at Oilatum - a lovely box full of products from the NEW Oilatum Daily Junior Cleansers Range and some bath-time treats for Baby Girl.

We've been using these in her bath for a few weeks now, and we love them! Let me tell you a little bit about them, what we thought and then there might be a little giveaway if you get to the end of the post! ;)

Oilatum are helping to put the giggles back into bath-time with the launch of new cleansers as part of their growing Daily Junior range. Thee products have been developed with dermatologists to soothe and protect young skin against dryness.

All my children have suffered with some degree of skin dryness and/or Eczema, so finding suitable products that I can trust is a must. We have many favourite products in our bathroom and lots of them are my Oilatum. As I've probably mentioned before, I've used OIlatum products for the best part of 15 years, so it's definitely a brand I  trust.

44% of parents surveyed in 2012, said that their child has had a dry skin condition, making dry skin a common worry for many parents. This is due to the delicate skin of babies and children; it's far more delicate than adult skin and therefore more susceptible to dryness.

Oilatum, skin specialists in dry skin, have launched an exciting new range of gentle cleansers, especially tailored for young dry skin. These products complement Oilatium Daily Junior Moisturising Lotion which we tested out earlier in the year.

We love bubbly baths!

Baby Girl, like many children, LOVES a bubble bath, but it can be difficult to find a product that doesn't irritate her skin. Well, I've found one in the form of Oilatum Daily Junior Bath Foam!

It's actually that lovely that I'm tempted to use it myself!! Couples with Oilatum's other Daily Junior products, our new Munchkin bath toys and some super-soft fluffy towels that I bought in the sales; our bath-times are sorted! Happy, bubbly fun with smooth, moisturised skin - perfect!

What's so different about these products?

The new Oilatum Daily Junior Cleansers range is free from potentially irritating ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate, which can aggravate dry skin. The new Oilatum products respect the natural moisture barrier of young, delicate skin and helps to prevent further dryness. They are so gentle, you can use them on newborn skin every day if you wish!

We love soothed skin!

We've been using Oilatum Daily Junior Bath Foam, Daily Junior Shampoo, Junior Head to Toe Wash and Oilatium Daily Junior Moisturising Lotion for the past few weeks and we are really impressed with the range.

Baby Girl's skin has been soothed and well hydrated, even in the fold of her arms and back of her knees - both of which can flare up quite regularly. The products are all colour-free and pH balanced and as they are designed to use everyday, I don't need to worry about when I bathe her, or whether I use product in the bath or just plain water (not something I like doing as I find this quite drying in itself.)

The shampoo leaves Baby Girl's hair lovely and soft and shiny, and I have noticed an improvement  in the condition of her scalp too.

Big thumbs up from us!!

WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN!
WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN!

To be in with a chance of winning some Oilatum products for your own little one (plus a few goodies thrown in for bath-time fun), simply answer the following question in comments below and complete the Rafflecopter widget to verify your entry.


 This competition is open to those in UK Mainland only.
The winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter.
There is 1 prize consisting of 4 Oilatum Daily Junior products, plus some bath goodies (prizes may differ from shown).
The prize will be sent to the winner within 28 days of the closing date.
The winners are final and no correspondence will be looked into.
All accepted tasks must be completed correctly, or the entry will not be counted. I do check before finalising a winner.
A cookie may be placed on your computer when using this site.
This competition will run until midnight on 22nd January 2015.
If the winner does not respond within 7 days, the winner may be redrawn.
Your name and email may be used for mailing list purposes by the sponsor.
I retain the right to alter or withdraw the giveaway if required. This may mean the prize offered or the closing date. 
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.






Sunday, 4 January 2015

Boxing Day Marmalade Breakfast Scones



You may remember before I went on my jollys, that I mentioned Orange Marmalade Breakfast Scones in my latest Degustabox review post.

Well, I thought I'd share what they actually are! I used the most amazing Bonne Maman Coarse Orange Marmalade from the December box and the scones themselves are super easy to make.


Simply add 2-3 tablespoons of the Bonne Maman Coarse Orange Marmalade to your favourite basic scone mixture. You might find that you'll need less milk, or even a little more flour so I didn't add the milk until I'd mixed the marmalade through.

You can even heat a little in a pan and glaze the tops if you want a really orangey flavour.

 I like Delia's recipe here... I do  like adding Cream of Tartar to mine. And my trusty, ever fail recipe is this one from the lovely Jam and Clotted Cream.

The result is a beautifully flavoured and textured scone that it lovely for Boxing day brunch, and rather splendid spread with a dollop of Christmas cream and a little more marmalade...mmmm!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Pokémon Omega Ruby for 3DS #review


No matter how old by children get, they still love the Pokémon video games. X and Y were a huge hit and the newly released Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire titles are firmly on their Christmas wishlists.

We were recently asked by Nintendo if we would like to preview Pokémon Omega Ruby and I have to say, my eldest children seemed to be rather engrossed!


They have enjoyed most of the Pokémon games across various consoles, so they are hard to impress! ;)

With enhanced graphics and new content, whether it's your first Pokemon adventure or you are a more accomplished battler, you are going to love the new Pokémon Omega Ruby!

Can you become a master trainer?  Capture, train and battle Pokémon and maybe you will be victorious!

Another great game for Nintendo 3DS/2Ds players! 

Thumbs up from us!


Image belongs to Nintendo

Winter Degustabox review



Regular readers will know just how much I LOVE Degustabox - my latest box arrived a little earlier than usual due to the Christmas festivities and I am delighted with the contents.

Here's what was in my box:


The Chia Co  Oats +Chia (£1.70) 
You may remember I reviewed Chia pods and Oats a while back and they recieved mixed reactions from the kids. The Oats+Chia were our favourites, so it was nice to have another sachet to try. 

They are wholegrain oats and chia blended with the finest quality fruits and coconut oil. You simply add water to them to create a quick and healthy breakfast which is perfect in the chilly weather.

Pukka Herbs (£2.39)
I'm looking forward to trying this after the over-indulgence of Christmas. pring clean your spirit with nature's finest fairly-traded clean green herbs. Apparently "One sip and you're ready to sparkle"... sound good!

Kent's Kitchen Meal Kit (£2.50)
This is fast becoming one of my favourite items to keep in the store cupboard. I've tried a kit before, but not this variety so I'm really excited to give it a go! The kits make creating a home cooked, flavourful and wholesome meal a piece of cake (well, not cake....but you know what I mean!) 

The 3 pots contains all natural ingredients and you would need to add is fish, meat and/or veg  to rustle up a fantastic meal in just 20 minutes.

Bahlsen biscuits (2 x £1.79)
One of the boxes pictured above is actually empty. Before I even had time to snap the contents, my children were merrily chomping their way through their favourite biscuits.....ever. We also received a box of caramel Choco Leibniz which oooooooze with a delicious caramel..... Mmmmmm!

Eisberg alcohol free wine (£3.49) 
I used to drink this when I was pregnant on special occasions. It's one of the very few alcohol free wines that I like. If you don't drink, will be driving or just don't want to drink....give this a try.

Frylight Infuse Chilli (£2)
Frylight is a favourite must-have product of fellow Slimming World members so the new Infuse range makes my heart skip a beat. This makes cooking with chilli an absolute doddle. No chopping required! Just increase the sprays to increase the flavour!

PopChips (£1.79)
I've not tried these yet as I've saved them for visitors over the festive period. They are popped with heat instead of being bakes or fried, resulting in a naturally delicious crisp with all the flavour but less than half the fat of regular crisps. We have the barbeque flavour which I'm sure will be a hit with my guests!

Gloworm (4 x £1.50)
I absolutely love these "ingeniously different" drinks by Gloworm. The first premium mixer of it's kind, specifically blended to compliment a selection of spirits. The 4 flavours are: Raspberry & Orris for Vodka, Cucumber & Apple for Gin, Pear, Spice & Lime for Rum and Ginger & Lemongrass for Bourbon.

Bonne Maman Coarse Orange Marmalade (£2.30)
Look out for a recipe for our Boxing day Orange Breakfast Scones using this delicious marmalade coming soon on the blog. It's fresh, zingy  and fabulously textured....Mmmmm perfection!

Find out more from Degustabox on social media - Facebook and Twitter

Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal for 3DS #review


Today we have another little game review for you. This time it's Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal for Nintendo 3DS and it's a fantastic game for gamers of all ages (7+).

I've loved Sonic games since I had an old Master System back in the day and I must admit to getting a little giddy when I know there's a new title being released. Lucky for me, my son is also a big Sonic fan, so we get to play games together. 


We have one or two Sonic games for the DS, but this is the first Sonic title we have played on the 3DS. We both love it! It's simple to play in that it follows the usual gameplay that Sonic fans know and love, yet it provides a good challenge! Absolutely fantastic!

The graphics are spot on, and the story makes the game exciting for players of all ages. It's up to the Sonic team to rescue Amy of the evil clutches of villain, Lyric. Sonic, Knuckles, Tails and new character, Sticks have to work together in order to save Amy.

It's not too late to get this for your Sonic Fan's stockings - happy gaming!!


*We were sent a code for review purposes. Opinions are our own, honest thoughts. All images belong to Nintendo UK.

Friday, 19 December 2014

My Higgidy pie... in the making!



You may remember the Higgidy Recipe Hunt that took place over the past few months... Well, I was flabbergasted that my recipe idea was shortlisted ....and then I only went and blooming won!!!

I still can't believe it....thank you SO much to everyone that voted for Pulled Pork and Sweet Potato!! It will be sold in Sainsburys in February, so do keep an eye out for it.

I thought I'd give you this little update because the lovely ladies at Higgidy sent me thee photo's of the pies creation. Obviously, it needs that Higgidy magic and we all know and love, and I can't WAIT to see the pie on sale next year!

TOO EXCITED!!!

Have a look at these.... I may have squealed a bit when I saw them!!



I'm starving now!!! ;)

Thursday, 18 December 2014

New Lottie Animation Delivers Positive Message to Girls


If you are still looking for the perfect gift for your little girl, may I suggest looking at the dolls available from Lottie?

As a mum to 3 girls, I do worry about how they see themselves and this is why I am proud to support the work that Lottie does in order to empower young girls.

Arklu, the company behind Lottie, the childlike fashion doll that aims to empower young children through play, has released a new stop-motion animation that takes the hammer to limiting stereotypes, challenges toxic beauty ideals and celebrates everything a girl can be, sending a resounding message that ‘Every Girl’s a Superhero’.


The video opens with three hard-hitting messages that inspire girls to #BeBold, #BeBrave, #BeYou, before launching into a series of girls taking part in adventurous escapades under the watchful aegis of Super Lottie.  Each scene depicts how girl’s don’t require super-powers to be a superhero, but how acts of kindness, bravery, overcoming challenges, breaking boundaries, and remaining true to oneself are all superhero qualities.


Lucie Follett, Co-founder and Creative Director of Arklu explains: “We wanted to create something really inspiring, upbeat, fun and positive, targeted towards children, but also demonstrates in a light-hearted manner how we’re working to ‘bury’ the toxic beauty standards that pervade society and have such negative implications for girls.

“We want girls to see the full range of possibilities open to them, and girls being supportive of one and other in their interests and activities, however diverse those choices might be. We hope this video inspires girls to express their adventurous spirit and originality”.
 

The stop-motion features Arklu’s forthcoming dolls of science: ‘Stargazer Lottie’ doll which is a collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), and ‘Fossil Hunter’ Lottie doll which is a collaboration with TrowelBlazers, an international team of scientists dedicated to highlighting the contributions of women to archaeology, geology, and palaeontology. Stargazer and Fossil Hunter Lottie dolls will launch in 2015.

View the stop-motion animation by visiting: http://youtu.be/TnLaTXMfrhA

Fantastic bath toys that make THE BEST stocking fillers for babies and toddlers




You probably know by now how much I love Munchkin products but this time I am singing the praises of their incredible bath toys. We were first introduced to the range back in March when we attended a fun breakfast event, and I think we now own most of the range!

Munchkin bath toys are bright, colourful, engaging, and best of all fun. The affordable toys come in all shapes, sizes and characters, ensuring there is something for every little one, no matter what age they are.

They also make perfect stocking fillers - I have always included a bath toy in my children's stocking when they were little and Baby Girl is no exception.

Some parents love bath time, some find it stressful. I have been on both teams over the years but what I have learnt is that if bath time is fun, then it's fun for everyone... mum and dad included. That's why I love bath toys so much-  they bring the fun factor to the bath time routine, which can become monotonous! They distract grumpy toddlers, help them to wind down after a super and switch the focus from the water to the toy if the child doesn't like bath time. Some of the toys are specially designed to build water confidence, so thee are the perfect choice if you have a little one that is a bit nervous of the bath.  Plus, it's a opportunity to play one to one with your toddler, sometime Daddy often misses out on when he is at work all day.

Here are some great gift ideas that will make bath time, the best time this Christmas!

One of Baby Girl's favourite toys at the Munchkin launch was this super-cute Bath Shape Sorter (£9.99)


Have you ever seen a shape sorter that floats before? No, me neither... but this adorable turtle does, bringing classic pattern play into the water. Little One plays with hers everyday in and out of the bath.


Is come with five brightly coloured shapes that allow the child to sort, scoop, pour and strain. It's a fantastic set to encourage little ones and will help them to identify shapes and colours. This is suitable from 12 month + and Baby Girl still loves hers at the age of 2!

Baby Girl is 'ball' mad, so she loves these Float & Play Bath Bubbles (£4.99. They float in the water and each 'bubble' contains a little toy that will  rattle, bobble,shine and spin. They are the perfect size for babies hands to hold and they help to teach hand-eye coordination as babies learn to reach, grasp and jiggle the bubbles. These are suitable from 3 months, so they are ideal for baby's very 1st stocking!
 

How cute are these swimming bath bugs (£5.99)?! Simply pull the tail and watch as the wings spin and these adorable little bugs dart and swim in the water! 


These are the perfect bath buddies for any child, but particular if they are unsure of the water as these have been designed to help build water confidence.


My favourite bath toys (for baby Girl, not me...ahem) are bath squirts. We have loads from cupcakes to fish, so we can have themed bath times if we want to! We love the 5 Sea Squirts (£5.99) as they are just SO cute!


They are the ideal size for little hands and to hold and squeeze, while providing endless bath time fun for little bathers. They help to develop motor skills whilst brightening up any bath time. Say hello to dolphin, octopus, pelican, sea turtle and crab!



Not just for bath time, thee fun characters are perfect for water play out of the bath and we use ours for themed activities indoors and out (we had ours in the sand pit during the summer!)

My children have all gone through a phase of loving critters and creepy crawlies, and caterpillars always rate highly, especially since we hatched our own butterfly family earlier in the year. We love playing with Caterpillar Spillers (£3.99)  at bath time followed by story time with our The Hungry Caterpillar book.

 First of all, I can't get over how affordable these are - I mean, all Munchkin products are exceptional in value, but I really expected these to cost more than a mere £3.99!

The set  includes seven coloured bath cup that connect together to create a friendly and fun caterpillar friend! 


The brightly coloured cups are numbered 1-7 to help learning and counting; making this the perfect toy to educate and entertain young children at bath time.


The cups can be used to stack towers or nest inside each other for compact storage.  These are suitable from 9 months +.


Assist this Undersea Explorer (£5.99) as he sets off on his adventure beneath the sea. Will be find a shipwreck with hidden treasure? Or perhaps he will find a beautiful mermaid as he explores the coral reefs.

We love how this toy encourages the imagination - Little One also loves to play with this in her bath and I am always blown away by the stories she comes up with.


This fun little submarine is ideal for babies aged 12 months and up and I'm sure they would be delighted to find this in their stocking this Christmas.

It created bubbles once submerged and the cabin spins with the submarine rotates. Lightweight and the perfect size for tiny hands, this exciting bath toy can help to develop fine motor skills and teaches cause and effect.

 There is nothing better than a shower of water when playing in the bath so these stackable 3 -pack of Pour & Strain Whales (£2.99) are great for providing endless fun! Ideal for use in or our of the bath, little ones will love to scoop and watch as they create their own water showers!

My girls use these to wash their dollies hair!


You know that hidden treasure I mentioned? Well, it seems that our Undersea Explorer hit the jackpot! My beautiful mermaids love to play with this pretty Sea Sparkle Bath Gems set (£5.99) - isn't it gorgeous!?


The three smaller gems float and rattle and also fit tidily inside the beautiful seashell case when not in use. The seashell case also floats for added bath time fun, whilst aiding shape and colour recognition.


Last but certainly not least, we have a very regal looking frog coming to play with us in the Magic Lily Pad Stacker (£5.99).


We love this clever toy that creates some magic at bath time - it stacks, it squirts, it strains! It even changes colour! This five piece play set includes four stacking cups and one frog water squirter  which all magically reveal secret images when submerged in warm water.


The squirting frog toy also transforms into an enchanted prince when a crown appears on his head! See... I told you he looked regal!!!
'Freddie' the frog having a shower!
This is such a brilliant toy! They all are - we highly recommend them all and as they are available in a multitude of stores, including Asda, Tesco, Boots, Morrisons, Kiddicare, Mothercare, Toys R Us, Argos and many more - you still have plenty of time to get these ready for Santa!



*Review samples
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