Spring Half Term Fashion Fun with Joules

Spring term is whistling by at school and nursery and my thoughts are turning to half term and planning some fun to keep us all busy during their week off. Hopefully the weather will be kind and we'll be able to get outside and play in the fresh air.

Both LM and Bud seem to be growing out of their clothes and I'm in the midst of a huge sort out for their wardrobes. LM seems to have short arms on everything while Bud's trousers and jeans are starting to show rather more ankle than he should. This means that they both needs a few new items so I've been browsing a few of my favourite websites to make a little shopping list.

We love Joules and I find their children's clothes to be stylish, well fitted and really hard wearing. I've found a few key pieces that I think I may well pick up for Bud and LM's Spring wardrobe. It can be a tricky time of year with changeable weather so I always find layers to be the best way to keep them warm. Joules are great at layering.

Here's what I've found for LM:

I love this 'Messy Hair, Don't Care' t-shirt. Slogan tees seem to be everywhere at the moment. I'm not usually a huge fan, especially of those that try to be funny. This is something of a catchphrase in our house though as LM often resembles a little scarecrow after a busy day. This t-shirt is cream with bright pink writing and will look fab with jeggings, a denim skirt or a pair of leggings - so versatile. For girls with neater hair there's a great grey marl 'Don't Grow Up, It's a Trap' slogan too.

Joules Spring Fashion for children Messy Hair Don't Care Girls T-shirt Grey Stars Sweatshirt Top

I'm a big fan of Joules' sweatshirts for an extra snuggly layer. New for spring is a lovely grey marl print with sparkly stars all over it. It would be the perfect cover up to keep LM warm on chilly Spring days. I find them especially good for car journeys as they are thin enough to keep her safe in her car seat. The funnel zip neck makes it easy to get on and off and it's available in a bright neon, candy pink stripe for those who prefer something brighter.

I often struggle for clothes for Bud now he's wearing age 6-7. Lots of ranges put this age group into older boys which means a more muted palette and a more grown up style than I want for my five year old but I can always rely on Joules for age appropriate, bright, functional clothes.

As always Joules have some great boys' t-shirts for Spring. I really like their range of applique t-shirts and this season showcases the current trend for all things space perfectly. From the front it's a plain blue t-shirt with a small orange space adventurer badge, from the back your little boy is a rocket man! If space isn't your thing then there's a Surf Shark or Pirate Shark too.

Joules Spring Fashion for children Boys Space Rocket Pack t-shirt

Bud recently decided he isn't overly keen on hoodies so I've been looking at crew neck sweatshirts as an alternative to these. Joules have two new for Spring, one in blue tones and this grey marl and red raglan sleeve version. These sweatsshirts are made from a new waffle fabric for added texture. The two colour ways will go with everything in Bud's wardrobe and the raglan sleeves will look great under a gilet on those days when Spring is really in the air.

Joules Spring Fashion for children Boys Grey Marl Red Sweatshirt

Are you a fan of Joules? Do you have your eye on anything in their current collection?

In Collaboration with Joules

Our Weaning Adventure with the HiPP Organic #WeanTeam

Weaning is something that I've always approached with trepidation. It's a time that is really exciting balanced with a good amount of anxiety about how well your baby will take to it, and concerns around allergies and their approach to food. Parents have so many mental questions as they approach those important first tastes -

  • Will your child enjoy food?
  • How much to give?
  • When to begin weaning?
  • When to introduce different foods and textures?
  • Will your baby be allergic to any of the ingredients?

As Little E is my third baby I'm quite experienced with weaning but I find that the feelings don't fade. Every baby is different and every weaning experience is different. With all three of my children I have used a mixture of baby led weaning and spoon feeding and it's been really successful with both Bud and LM. I've adopted the same approach with Little E and we're doing well so far. 

I've always used a mixture of homemade food and shop bought but only really trust a couple of brands. One of these, that I've bought since Bud began weaning, is HiPP Organic and that's why I'm delighted that Little E and I will be working with them as #WeanTeam members throughout 2016. 

HiPP Organic #WeanTeam

A few weeks ago Little E and I (with Ian and LM too) went to Birmingham to meet the rest of the WeanTeam and the lovely HiPP Organic ladies. We had a full introduction to the brand and had the chance to meet the people we will be working with over the coming year. As well as some tasty food for the grown ups, the little ones had some yummy HiPP treats to try and we had the opportunity to speak to Helen Gardiner, HiPP's nutritionist who will be helping us along our weaning journey. It was also a lovely opportunity to meet up with a few of the bloggers who I spoke to a lot during my pregnancy, and introduce the babies to each other. Little E and Isla from My Mummy's World were so sweet together.

HiPP Organic #WeanTeam

We had a lovely time at the event but I think Little E found it rather tiring by the end!

 HiPP Organic #WeanTeam

Although I'm familiar with HiPP as a brand and know how well it meets our needs, I was surprised to see the full extent of the range and to hear the history of the company. They are family run and were founded in Germany in 1899 by Joseph Hipp after his wife needed support nursing their twins. Over four generations the company has expanded further and came to the UK in 1999. There are now 150 products in the UK HiPP range for all stages of weaning, including cereals, jars, pouches, pots and tray meals. The brand is fully committed to offering 100% organic products, with organic fruit and vegetables grown on dedicated organic farrms.

 HiPP Organic #WeanTeam

We've been sent a fantastic range of HiPP products, alongside some treats to help out along our weaning way. 

 HiPP Organic #WeanTeam

Little E has been trying HiPP porridge, jar, fruit pots and pouches over the past few weeks and I'll be telling you more about the products in future Wean Team posts. 

 HiPP Organic #WeanTeam

I'm really looking forward to documenting Little E's journey into food over the coming year, with the support of HiPP of course.

Teletubbies Toys are Here - Review

Last week I shared an exciting Christmas delivery with you. We received an intriguing large white box which was covered in stickers featuring the Teletubbies characters.

Teletubbies toys secret delivery

LM loves the Teletubbies. She was introduced to the old series a while ago and was super excited to see them arrive with an all new series on cBeebies last year. Back in the late 90s when Teletubbies were brand new, their toys were the source of lots of parental panic at Christmas when the four characters were the 'must have' toy so we were very interested to see what their updated range was like.

New Teletubbies Range of Toys

We received six toys from the range and have been trying them out over the past couple of weeks. LM has been my chief tester for the toys as she's such a fan but Little E got in on the act too.

First up the plush toys. 

New Teletubbies Plush Toy Reviews

We received two small plush teddy versions of the Teletubbies - Dipsy (green) and Tinky Winky (purple) in our case. These are really sweet tlittle teddies. The plush fabric is beautifully soft and the Teletubbies faces are made from a fine flocked fabric to make them look really accurate. They measure around six inches tall which is a lovely size for both toddles and are very detailed. I love the polka dot finish on the Teletubbies' feet. LM very quickly decided that Little E 'needs to look after Dipsy' and he can regularly be found snuggling up with him. The toys are priced at £6:99 which seems spot on for this sort of toy. I think we may well be looking to add Po and Laa-Laa to our collection.

Small Teletubbies Plush toy in Dipsy

The larger of the three plush figures is a nine inch talking figure,we received Laa Laa, LM's favourite character (because she's yellow!). Just like the smaller plushies, Laa-Laa has all of the detail you would expect and beautifully soft plush fabric. She has quite a range of phrases which you will hear when you push her tummy, she also giggles which LM and Little E find hilarious. The lovely softness of Laa-Laa makes her very cuddly and I can often find LM snuggling up with her. She does take her to bed too so you often hear Laa-Laa phrases coming from LM's room. They aren't loud enought to wake her thankfully!These are priced at an RRP of £9:99 which, again, seems to be good value for a toy of this type.

Teletubbies Large Plush Talking Laa-Laa

Next up is one of the collectible figures range. We received Po, complete with his scooter and helmet. These are priced at £3:99 so the perfect price for pocket money or treats. The figure is fully moulded and suitable for children aged 18 months and over. The packet describes it as 'Collection 1' so I think that this range may be renewed over time. He's a fun. bright little character which LM has incorporated into her small world play. He's visited her toy castle and dolls house so far and has been very popular with LM. I can see these being very popular with little ones wanting to collect the range. 

Small Po Collection 1 Teletubbies moulded plastic figure

The fifth toy we received is the Teletubbies Tickle and Glow Laa-Laa (RRP £14:99) This is a six inch tall moulded plastic figure which lights up and makes sounds when you tickle her chest. 

Teletubbies Tickle and Glow Laa-Laa

This one took a bit of getting used to when playing as LM automatically touched the screen showing all four Teletubbies on Laa-Laa' tummy to make her talk. This doesn't work, you need to press the chest area. When you press this area she will giggle, talk and her tummy screen will light up. The toy requires 3xAAA batteries (not supplied) to get her going and you will need a small screwdriver to undo the panel to pop the batteries in. Laa-Laa' arms move and she' stands on her own too. I'm always pleased to see an on/off switch on battery powered toys and this has one on her back. This range is available in Laa-laa and Po and is suitable for 18m+.

Teletubbies Tickle and Glow Laa-Laa

I've saved LM's favourite toy in the range until last. She really loves a toy phone so I was delighted to see the Teletubbies' take on this when we opened our parcel of toys. This is the Teletubbies Tubby Phone (RRP £9:99) and is something quite new. 

Teletubbies Tubby Phone toy

Upon opening the packaging you are met with a mirrored rectsangular phone with four buttons. Press one of the buttons and the Teletubby of the corresponding colour will appear in a corner of the screen with accompanying phrases and sounds. The buttons will also light up once pressed. Each button has the shape of each antenna too, which adds to helping your child recognise each character.

Teletubbies Tubby Phone toy

LM is really taken with this phone. She really enjoys pressing the buttons to make the teletubbies appear and looking at herself in the mirrored panel on the phone. She presses the buttons and says which character will appear as she does so. If you leave the phone alone, after a while one of the teletubbies will 'call' and your child can then answer the phone.

Teletubbies Tubby Phone toy

The Tubby Phone requires three LR44 batteries (included) and you can access the battery panel using a small screwdriver when they need replacing. It's a solidly built toy (with the bonus of an on/off switch to save battery life) and is suitable for children on 18 months upwards. LM really loves it and I would say she has played with it every day since it arrived. 

We've been really pleased with the range of Teletubbies toys. They are good qality, well made toys at reasonable prices and are a great way for fans of the show like my LM to play with the characters at home. All of the toys we received are suitable for children of 18 months and upwards which makes them very accessible to the age group that the show is aimed at, I'm sure Little E will be very interested in them when he is big enough too.

To find out more about the collection of Teletubbies toys please visit the Character Online Teletubbies page.

A Secret Christmas Delivery

On Christmas Eve we received a rather secret delivery, not from Father Christmas, but from a courier with a very exciting box. It contained some top secret toys from Character Options that we're going to be telling you about very soon.

Do you remember the Teletubbies? They were huge in the 90s when my little cousin was a big fan. I still remember panicked parrents trying to secure the toys as Christmas approached and they were that year's must have. LM and Bud were introduced to the old version of the show a while ago, via Netflix and YouTube and LM was delighted to see them reappear on cBeebies in 2015.

A Secret Christmas Delivery from Teletubbies

Next Monday (11th January) I'm going to be unveiling the contents of this very exciting parcel and showing the brand new Teletubbies range of toys to you. We're very excited. Check back then to see what we think!

Have you been watching the new series? Who is your favourite character?

A Secret Christmas Delivery from Teletubbies

A Potty Training Journey Through 2015 with HUGGIES® Pull-Ups®

2015 has been the year of potty training for LM and it's been something of an adventure. We've been HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® ambassadors this year which has helped us terrifically in her potty training journey. It has been, for the most part, successful. She is definitely potty trained in the daytime but night time is still ongoing. It has been a surprising and rewarding experience with LM, far different to that with her big brother. As our time as HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® ambassadors comes to an end I thought I would look back over the past few months and share a few of the tactics that worked well for us.

 HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® ambassadors potty training journey

1. Using HUGGIES® Pull-Ups®

As ambassadors we've, obviously, used HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® as an essential part of our potty training journey. When we became ambassadors LM was very resistant to potty training and wouldn't entertain the idea of wearing knickers at all. We switched immediately to the pull up pants and straight away there was a difference in her. She loved that she could pull them up and down and could have a wee on the potty or toilet if she wanted to, but had the security of the absorbent learning liner in the Pull-Ups® in case she couldn't hold on or had an accident. Having the Disney® graphics on the pull up pants was great and LM loved choosing between Minnie and Cinderella.

Having disposable potty training pants available to use was much needed as we had Little E newly born at the time LM started potty training. I didn't want to add any further laundry into the mix so not having to deal with wet clothes from LM when she was taking those first tentative steps into potty training was perfect.

As I mentioned earlier, LM is not dry at night and isn't really showing any signs of readiness for bedtime potty training. She is wet every morning but we will continue to use the night time HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® as she's accustomed to them now and finds them comfortable and easy to wear. If she does need a wee during the night she can go to the toilet and pull her Pull Up down before going back to bed.

 HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® ambassadors potty training journey

2. Try the Toilet if the Potty is Refused

LM would not entertain the potty at home so we got a toddler seat for our toilet and she went on that instead. I found this really handy as I didn't have to train her to use the potty and then the toilet, going straight to the toilet meant we cut out that interim step. She did use our My Carry Potty when out and about if she needed to but was also happy to use public toilets if we could reach one in time.

3. Staying Calm and Relaxed

The most stressful part of parenting I have experienced so far was when I potty trained Bud. It was a long and drawn out process and I found that I was continuously stressed out about accidents and the length of time it took. On reflection, I didn't wait until he was showing any of the 8 Signs of Readiness, I decided when he would train rather than deciding together, This led to potty training taking around six months to complete and included several bouts of tears, mine as well as Bud's. With LM I waited until she was ready, yes, it would have been lovely to have had her potty trained before Little E arrived, but it was much easier when she was ready.

 HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® ambassadors potty training journey

4. Go For It

Don't be afraid to incorporate potty training into normal life. I know so many people who try to stay at home with children who are finding their feet with going to the toilet. We have had days out, shopping trips and various times away from home in LM's early days of potty training. If it's convenient it is very handy to have a portable potty ( I can wholeheartedly recommend My Carry Potty), She understood that our My Carry Potty was for if she needed it when we were out and she loved carrying her cute ladybird around. Now she's been trained for a couple of months we no longer need to take the My Carry Potty around with us but it was invaluable in the early weeks. Obviously the benefit of using HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® is that you don't have the endless wet clothing of the early days of potty training, when LM moved on to wearing underwear from the pull ups we had got past the time of frequent accidents.

It's been so helpful to work with HUGGIES® over the past months and they have helped us terrifically with advice and reassurance on LM's journey from nappies to daytime dryness. I think night time dryness is some way away for LM but I'm so happy to continue using the HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® Night Time until she starts to show that she is ready to go without them.

As our time working with HUGGIES® comes to an end, LM is about to set out on a brand new and big adventure. She starts nursery for five mornings each week from next week. It will be time for her to learn and play and spend time away from me and her little brother. Having her potty trained before starting nursery was a big hurdle to cross and I'm so pleased she is there. I'm so looking forward to seeing what my funny, strong willed, clever little girl makes of the next stage of her journey.

 HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® ambassadors potty training journey

If you're looking for help with potty training then please check out pottytraining.co,uk, it's packed with expert help and advice and you can request a free sample of HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® to try them out with your little ones. In around two years, when potty training starts again for me, with Little E, it will be my first port of call.

Christmas Shopping at The Works

The Works is one of those stores that we call into every time we go shopping. Bud loves browsing the books, craft kits and other items on sale and I know that their bargain prizes are pocket money or weekend treat friendly.

It's in the run up to Christmas that they really come into their own however, with a massive range of offers and items to suit even the hardest to buy for. I've often picked up books on some of my family's more obscure interests in there, as well as catering for the more mainstream 'must have' interests of my children.

The Works always have a range of offers on and their '2 for £10' one is great. Recently The Works sent me a range of products from this section to showcase how well it caters for everyone.

We received the following items:

The Works My First Toolbox Set

My First Toolbox

This is a great one for young toddlers and includes five plastic tools and a board book. It's 5+ because of the tools and I think Bud would love to find this under the Christmas tree. It's perfect for dressing up and the enclosed tools are a nice addition to the story. The handy resealable box and carry handle are great for taking it along with your child and I'm sure Bud will be adding a few of his treasures inside the box.

The Works My Fairy Musical Box

My Fairy Musical Box

This is the most perfect gift for LM who has been asking for a 'jewel box' since seeing one of Bud's friends' with one. I've looked at them in other shops and they have been much more expensive than this version which is perfect for my three year old. She will love putting all of her trinkets inside and winding up the key to play the music and make the fairy dance.

Dolly Peg Fairies and Princesses

I'm a little in love with this set. I'm allowed to make them myself, right? In reality this gift would be perfect as a birthday gift for one of Bud's classmates. It's gorgeous and allows girls to make dolly peg fairies and princesses and includes everything you might need to do so. It's beautifully presented and I think it would get any little girl excited at the sight, especially one who loves to craft.

Book and Plush Toy Sets - Muddy Paws and Thank You For Being My Friend

We actually have the Muddy Paws set already so we know what an excellent gift these make for young children. Incorporating a gorgeous plush character and a story about them into one box is a great idea and it really appeals. LM loves her Muddy Paws set and will often go and get her Muddy Paws teddy and sit and 'read' the book with him. I think we'll be passing on this new set to our little niece, while the 'Thank You For Being My Friend' set will  be perfect for Little E.

The Works Noisy Dinosaurs Book

Noisy Dinosaurs

At first glance I thought that this book might be a little young for Bud but I know that he'll be able to read it himself now so that will definitely appeal. He's just started to enjoy reading to his little Sister and baby Brother so this book will be perfect for them to share. The story incorporates 18 different sounds which will get children roaring along with the dinosaurs! It's a hard wearing, large board book and I think LM will love it just as much as Bud.

The Works website currently has over 160 items in the 2 for £10 range with items for all ages and interests. I was in there at the weekend and picked up a couple more (including an awesome more 'grown up' Dinosaurs book for Bud). Make sure you check out the additional offers in store and online too, including 3 children's books for £10, 4 for 10 on art supplies and 10 for £10 on Kids' books!

There's still time to order for pre-Christmas delivery. I guarantee that there's something for everyone! Visit The Works to find out more.

Visit the Snowkissed Bratz Photobooth and Win!

Calling all Bratz fan!  The Bratz Snowkissed Photo Booth is on tour around the UK and this weekend it will visit the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

Bratz Snowkissed Photo Booth Trafford Centre

Grab your bestie, your favourite accessories and strike a pose… the famous Bratz® photobooth is back by popular demand, with an all-new festive theme, and is visiting intu Trafford Centre this weekend! Visit intu Trafford Centre this Saturday, 5th December to join in the fun.

Perfect for getting in the Christmas spirit, the Snowkissed themed photo booth comes equipped with lots of winter themed Bratz props including skis, fur hats and festive accessories for added fun. It’s free and you and all of your friends will receive a copy of your picture to take home with you.

Head to Facebook.com/BratzUK and tag yourself in your picture for a chance to win great Bratz prizes including a hamper of Snowkissed goodies.

The Snowkissed Bratz dolls are the new release in a range. Whether it’s skiing or sleighing, everyone loves to play in the snow including the Bratz girls. Cloe, Yasmin and Jade come ready to hit the slopes in stylish snow gear including an après ski outfit. Accessories include hot cocoa mug and sticker sheets to customise their snowboards, sledges or skis. The #SnowKissed collection is perfect for kids creative side as all the girls ski equipment can be customised for that perfect snow look. 

Bratz Snowkissed dolls

To celebrate the visit of the the Snowkissed Bratz Photobooth to intu Trafford Centre this weekend I've teamed up with Bratz to give one of my readers the chance to win their own Snowkissed Bratz doll. 

To enter the giveaway simply complete the Gleam widget below. Please read the terms and conditions. Delivery before Christmas cannot be guaranteed.

Snowkissed Bratz Doll