The Power of Fragrance - Deeper Sleeper With Sealy UK

I've recently been approached to join the Sealy UK Deeper Sleeper Panel and this just might be the perfect opportunity for me. I've struggled with episodes of bad sleep since I was about fourteen years old. As soon as there is something on my mind the insomnia begins, I struggle to get to sleep horribly. There is nothing more frustrating than being the only person awake in a house of four other sleeping people.Little E now sleeps through most of the time. I've never had a problem with night feeds (there are some advantages to the years of broken sleep) but I do rather resent being awake with a snoring baby beside me.

The Power of Fragrance - Deeper Sleeper With Sealy UK

I've now joined the Deeper Sleeper Panel and Sealy UK are sending me a parcel each month to see if they can help me to improve my sleep. This month's parcel was themed around fragrance and essential oils and I received the following items:
  • Babyblooms Relaxation Candle
  • Tisserand Sweet Dreams Roller Ball
  • Jacob Hooy Lavender Incense Sticks
  • Mohdoh Mouldable Aromatic Dough
The Power of Fragrance - Deeper Sleeper With Sealy UK

Babyblooms are a company I am familiar with from their gorgeous baby products. It's a really simply, classically designed candle with a a neat lid to keep it tidy,, It is fragranced with geranium, orange, lavender and ylang ylang and this combines to form a delicate floral scent which was actually quite addictive. I kept smelling it when it wasn't lit and I found the scent to be even stronger. It was lighter when the candle was lit.

I've been using Tisserand aromatherapy products for many years and their roller balls are one of the most convenient ways to use them. The Sweet Dreams range is a blend of Sandalwood, Cedar and Lavender which you dot on your pulse points. I loved the fragrance of it and found it really relaxing to smell it on my wrists as I fell asleep. I've got into the habit of using it at bedtime every night. I'm not sure if it is actually helping me to sleep but I do find the fragrance calming and centring.

I've been a fan of incense sticks since my teen years when my Dad used to complain about me burning them in my bedroom but I haven't used them for some time. I loved the familiar ritual of finding a holder and lighting the incense stick and the lavender fragrance was really pleasant. The only thing with this was that I was a little worried about burning the incense around the children but it waited until they were in bed. The fragrance was quite gentle but Lavender is one of my favourite scents and I loved the aroma.

My favourite of all the products was one that was completely new to me - Mohdoh Mouldable Aromatic Dough. Objectively I thought that this was a  little silly but I was really impressed when I began using it. It's presented in a plastic jar and you get a hit of the lavender scent when you open the jar. You can then take out the dough and play with it in your hands. I always find myself reaching for the children's playdough when they have it out and it's that simple, automatic action to roll it in your hands and between your fingertips. As you do this the dough's aroma is released further and it's really lovely. Playing with the dough is relaxing in itself and the fragrance adds to the experience. I've even found myself reaching for it when I've been having stressful days for a few moments of calm and peace. 

I'm not sure if the products have helped me to sleep better but I know that they have helped me to relax both at bedtime and at other times of day. I've always been affected positively by fragrance and am a firm believer in aromatherapy and the power of scents and this month's Deeper Sleeper parcel has really allowed me to reconnect with that as it's something I have not had chance to think about much recently. It's made me think about fragrance in my home and I will be purchasing more of the Mohdoh for myself and as a gift for friends. I've realised that taking a few seconds to apply the rollerball or play with the Mohdoh is great for my stress levels throughout my day, not just when I go to bed.

My Little Pony: Spooktacular Tales on DVD - Review and Giveaway

LM has recently discovered My Little Pony and she's mad about the ponies in the range. Just in time for Halloween there is a brand new DVD featuring her favourites and we received a copy recently for her to take a look at. My Little Pony: Spooktacular Tales is released on Monday 5th October and features six 'scary' episodes from the first two seasons of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

The episodes included are as follows:
  • Boast Busters (ep 6, season 1)
  • Stare Master (ep 17, season 1)
  • Luna Eclipsed (ep 4, season 2)
  • A Dog and Pony Show (ep 19, season 1)
  • The Mysterious Mare Do Well (ep 8, season 2)
  • A Canterlot Wedding Part 2 (ep 26, season 2)

Gather around the camp fire for six mysterious tales, as adventures unfold in this special new collection featuring series favourites Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. Equestria is aglow with all the fun that Nightmare Night brings, including pumpkins, costumes, candy and friends. With everything from a giant bear monster in the Everfree Forest to the mischievous Diamond Dogs up to no good, the herd have a lot to contend with. Even Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie and Spike come together for some ghostly escapades, but Princess Cadance gets into a spot of bother
when Queen Chrysalis conjures up a devious plan…

My Little Pony: Spooktacular Tales is available from all usual stockists including Amazon.

I've teamed up with Hasbro Studios to give away a copy of the DVD to one of my lucky readers. Hopefully it will arrive in time to be the perfect half term Halloween treat for a little My Little Pony fan. To enter the giveaway please complete the Gleam widget below, the blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entries.

My Little Pony Spooktacular Tales DVD

Once Upon a Time with Peppa Pig Storytime

About twelve months ago our Peppa Pig toys were in the recycling bag waiting to go to the charity shop but LM pulled them out and began playing with them and they earned a reprieve. Since then she's had a birthday and Christmas and we've added to her collection and she plays with them every single day.

A couple of weeks ago we received a very exciting box, with Peppa Pig written all over it, something she was very quick to spot, we opened it to reveal four exciting boxes.

Story Time Castle Playset (£19:99)

Once Upon a Time with Peppa Pig Story Time Castle Playset

This is a double-sided, free-standing playset which means that two children can play with it at the same time. It's a castle gatehouse, complete with working portcullis, a small 'George and the Beanstalk' figure, and a crate of magic beans. There are some lovely features including the flag and George and Dinosaur pennants and George can climb on the different platforms inside the castle. We would have liked it if the drawbridge had moved in addition to the portcullis.

Pumpkin Carriage (£14:99)

Once Upon a Time with Peppa Pig Pumpkin Carriage

I think that this was our favourite. The Pumpkin Carriage is a bright orange Pumpkin with wheels that cause the three seats inside it to rotate a it is pushed along. It arrives with a chauffeur Peppa and you can fill the seats with your figures from other sets. It's a really nicely built carriage and the movement is an interesting feature. The roof of the pumpkin flips open for easy access to the seats and will unclip instead of breaking off if it is dropped or banged. The seats work well for the figures and we haven't had too many falling out.

Storytime Tea Party Playset (£14:99)

Once Upon a Time with Peppa Pig Storytime Tea Party Playset

This is a lovely little playset incorporate Peppa Bo Peep Peppa, Fairy Suzy and Prince Pedro alongside a table, tea pot, jelly and three chairs. Again the chairs sit the characters well although we did have to balance Pedro's chair more carefully as his tended to fall over more often. This is the perfect set to play with using the castle playset, or in an existing Peppa Pig playset.

Story Time Figure Pack (£9:99)

Once Upon a Time with Peppa Pig Storytime Figure Pack

This set incorporates four of the most popular Peppa Pig characters and you get Swan Princess Peppa, Medieval Danny, Woodland Candy and Woodland Rebecca, you also receive a 'Once Upon a Time' story book (it doesn't open). These are great to use with the other playsets, as extra passengers in the Pumpkin Carriage, for example. It's nice to see all of the different outfits too.

Bud and LM have both played with these sets extensively since they arrived with us and they've been incorporated very quickly into LM's Peppa Pig world. We all really like this new range and it's really refreshing to see all of the different costumes and different characters available with the sets. We have Peppa three times across these different playsets but she is wearing a different outfit each time, we love that as it means you don't get repeats as you do with the main range (I've lost count of the number of Peppa in her red dress figures that we own!)

Playing with Once Upon a Time with Peppa Pig Storytime

I can see this range being very popular with little Peppa Pig fans this Christmas. There is so much scope for imaginative play with familiar characters and I loved that you can incorporate fairy tales into the play too. LM, especially, has really taken to the toys and I think we may well be adding to her collection at Christmas.

We received the toys for review purposes.

Introducing HoopaDoo: A Gender Neutral Toy Which Grows With Your Baby

As babies and toddlers grow and develop so quickly, so does their toy collection. This can be a challenge for parents who can start drowning in cuddly toys and plastic shapes in their own living room! It’s especially bad for parents with more than one young child – wouldn’t it be great if toys could grow and develop with our children, rather than having to buy a whole new range of activities for each developmental stage?

Introducing HoopaDoo: A Gender Neutral Toy Which Grows With  Your Baby

A revolutionary new stacker toy may be the answer we’ve been looking for. HoopaDoo is unique as it grows with your child from 6 months to preschool. It’s also educational and fun, and can help toddlers develop through their early years in addition to being used for storytelling. Children can progress onto the four different levels of play – Novice (6-12 months) Amateur (12-18 months) Pro
(18-24 months) and Master (2-4+ years).

A revolutionary new stacker toy may be the answer we’ve been looking for. HoopaDoo is unique as it grows with your child from 6 months to preschool. It’s also educational and fun, and can help toddlers develop through their early years in addition to being used for storytelling. Children can progress onto the four different levels of play – Novice (6-12 months) Amateur (12-18 months) Pro  (18-24 months) and Master (2-4+ years).

The versatile toy has deliberately been designed as a gender neutral toy, to appeal to both boys and girls aged from 6 months – 4+. This makes it a brilliant toy to pass down the family, or a fantastic educational addition to toy collections at preschools, playgroups or children’s hospital wards.

What is HoopaDoo?

The toy, developed by Mooshkie Moo, consists of nine colourful stacker shapes, a stacking base and nine double-sided story cards. The stackers offer different textures which offer a sensory experience, and can be used for babies to help teething, right through to tactile development as a toddler.

Introducing HoopaDoo: A Gender Neutral Toy Which Grows With  Your Baby

Each story card responds to a stacker shape, which opens possibilities for identifying and matching shapes, spelling and storytelling. For older children, each card asks a question so HoopaDoo can eventually help in developing reading skills and problem solving. Additionally, the toy is easy to transport as it has a lid which can be placed on top of the stacker base to keep everything neat and organised. It’s a parent’s best friend!

Growing With Your Child
6-12 monthsThe different stackers – such as the fish, the wheel, turtle and star, are safe for grasping, bashing and biting and will help develop your little one’s fingers.

12-18 months
At this stage your child will be using their own mind to stack the shape on the stacking base, developing their hand-eye coordination. HoopaDoo can also help tots remember names and colours.

18-24 monthsAt the Pro stage, HoopaDoo can really help kids learn about the world around them. They will be able to match the stackers to the story cards, learn about shapes and count the points on the star.

2-4 yearsHoopaDoo is now a staple part of playtime and helps your child learn as they play. It can support them in learning to read and spell, as they attempt to read the story cards and solve the problems, and can be used in group storytelling sessions.

Introducing HoopaDoo: A Gender Neutral Toy Which Grows With Your Baby

The HoopaDoo toy is set to hit the shelves in 2016 – but you can pre-order yours now for a cheaper price on Kickstarter.

Itty Bittys from Hallmark - Review and Giveaway

Brand new to the UK this October are the Itty Bittys from Hallmark, a range of small soft toys which have been taking the USA and Australia by storm since their launch a couple of years ago. The collectable plush toys are modelled on some of the most iconic film and television characters from the last century and it's so much fun to see your favourite characters in tiny, plush form. The toys have become so popular that sought after editions have been selling on eBay for up to £100, considering they will sell here for £6 that is some demand!

Itty Bittys from Hallmark Launch in the UK

We received a parcel of Itty Bittys from Hallmark and we've all been delighted with them. They measure about four inches in height and are packed with beans in their base which allows them to stand up on their own. You can feel the beans and, actually, whenever I hold an Itty Bitty in my hand I find myself touching the beans, it's quite tactile and relaxing. The plush fabric is beautifully soft which adds to how lovely they feel to hold. Their size makes them perfect to hold in your hand.

Itty Bittys from Hallmark Launch in the UK

Itty Bittys will launch in the UK with Batman from DC Comics the first on to shelves. Never has the Dark Knight been so cute. He arrived in our parcel with Superman and I can envisage a few Batman Vs Superman battles in our house ahead of the big film release next year. There is  a Peanuts range (we were sent Snoopy) and Wizard of Oz set on the way, and I'm fairly sure a Christmas range too as we have a little Santa and Rudolph. All of the figures are beautifully detailed, each with their own Itty Bitty label, and so much fun to play with.

Itty Bittys from Hallmark Launch in the UK

LM and Bud have been delighted with the Itty Bittys and have each claimed their favourites - LM loves Superman while Bud has adopted Batman. My favourite is Snoopy so everyone is happy. I'm sure Santa and Rudolph will enjoy being on display in our home over Christmas. The US Itty Bitty range has over 80 characters so I'm looking forward to seeing how the range expands in UK stores. There is so much potential for different characters to be included! I'm sure these are going to be very popular and I'm already planning to purchase at least one more for Bud and LM, how cute will they look peeking out of a stocking on Christmas morning? At £6 per figure they are good value and I can imagine people will love collecting them.

Itty Bittys from Hallmark Launch in the UK

I've teamed up with Hallmark to offer one of my readers the chance to win an Itty Bitty bundle for themselves (contents to be confirmed). To win please complete the Gleam widget below, the blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entry options, please read the terms and conditions.

Itty Bitty Bundle

Win a Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Bag

Regular readers might remember us reviewing the brand new Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Bag a few weeks ago. LM loved this toy and it's one that has been in regular use ever since it arrived, whether using it to check on her soft toys, to see if they are healthy, or on the rest of the family too!

Win a Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Bag Giveaway

The neat blue medical case has gone with LM on countless outings, allowing her to be ready for any eventuality or animal emergency. The vet tools are great for little hands and super stylish with their green glitter.

This is a really lovely role play toy and I'm sure that it will be on a lot of children's Christmas lists this year so I'm delighted to have one to give away to one of my readers. Be quick though as this giveaway will only run for one week and then your chance will be gone.

To meet one of the new characters from the Doc McStuffins Pet Vet episodes please watch the video below:

To enter the giveaway simply complete the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entry options. Please read the terms and conditions.

Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Bag

Cloggs Sorel Slimshortie Women's Boots

I've been on the lookout for a solid pair of winter boots for some time so, when the people at Cloggs got in touch to ask if I'd like to choose a pair of shoes from their range, I knew which section to start my search in. Cloggs have a fantastic range of boots and, while my heart went after some gorgeous patterned Dr Martens I eventually chose the Sorel Slimshortie boots in black.

Cloggs Sorel Slimshortie Women's Boots

If you're unfamiliar with Sorel then you probably won't know that they are renowned as a Canadian manufacturer of hardwearing boots which are perfect for use in bad weather, especially the snow! They have a fantastic range of long lace-up snow boots but I decided to go for a shorter, pull on style in Slimshortie.

These boots look like they are a fashion ankle boot but this belies the thought and quality of them. They are a really sturdy, heavy duty boot which will really help to keep the weather out this Winter. The boots are made from waterproof leather and oiled suede with a webbed strap and buckle detail which wraps around the side of the ankle. The toes of the boots are reinforced with rubber so they aren't going to scuff if I catch my toes on the pushchair (this happens rather too often!)

The sole is amazing. It's made from vulcanised rubber and grips brilliantly. I'm looking forward to trying it out in the ice this Winter and I'm sure I will enjoy the confidence that the extra grip offers me when I'm pushing the pram on the school run.

Cloggs Sorel Slimshortie Women's Boots

I really like the small heel which gives me a little lift but is still really comfortable. An added feature of the boots is the in-built arch support. This is really important to me as I have high arches and really notice the difference when I have extra support in this area.

I've now been wearing these boots for a few weeks and they've come into their own on the rainy school run. I can stomp through puddles to my heart's content without any leakage or water damage to the boots. I've owned a range of different expensive hiking boots over the years and, in terms of protection against the weather, none have stood up to the weather as well as the Sorel boots have. I guess the Canadians really know about boots!

The boots sit just above my ankle in height which is actually a very flattering length, I've worn them with leggings and jeans tucked in to them, tights and jeans worn over the boots and all look great. I can see myself wearing them a lot with thick black tights and skirts or dresses this winter as a change from trousers.

Cloggs really do have an incredible range of shoes and boots on their site and many of them are available at a discount The Sorel Slimshorties boots are currently £35 off their usual price at £84 which I think is an excellent price. I can see these boots lasting all the way through this Winter and a few more to come.

Check out the Cloggs range of brands and shoes available, they offer free delivery until 9pm and often have offers available. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

I was supplied with the boots for review purposes.