Review: Earth Friendly Baby

19:48 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We are big fans of natural skincare products in our house and I always try to choose products with no nasty ingredients in for Bud's shower. We don't actually have a bath in our house (a source of great pain to me as I love a good soak) but Bud loves his showers and happily stands under the water and potters about in the tray with his toys. Our current favourite shower gel is Earth Friendly Baby's Organic Mandarin Body Wash so I was really pleased to be asked if we wanted to try out their Organic Lavender Shampoo and Body Wash and Organic Lavender Body Lotion.

I'm a big fan of Lavender, I always find the fragrance really centring and relaxing. It is meant to have sleep-inducing qualities so I used these products for Bud's bedtime showers. The Body Wash was thick and I only needed a little squeezed on a sponge to generate enough lather to wash Bud all over. I always prefer a product which I can use for hair washing as well as body washing when I am dealing with a showering toddler so I used this to wash his hair too. The results were great. His hair was soft and smelled lovely when it dried. The lid for the bottle clicks open allowing you to squeeze the gel out and shut it, it was great not to have to worry about unscrewing the cap. I was pleased that the product wasn't purple like so many Lavender products are - you don't need purple colouring to know that something is Lavender fragranced!

Bud is a very wriggly young man and not at all keen on massage so we have to turn applying baby lotion into a bit of a game. The bottle of body lotion has a pump top which is great as it can be used with one hand, again great when you are chasing a small boy around. The cream has a nice consistency, slightly runny but not so much that there is a risk of spilling it. I only needed 3 or 4 pumps to give me enough cream for Bud. He likes to rub in the cream himself and this was very quick to absorb so really easy for him to do. Again, the product isn't coloured purple, in fact the only lavender coloured part of these products is the trim on the labels. After the body wash and the body lotion I was left with a beautifully scented boy who seemed to sleep well afterwards too!

The Shampoo and Body Wash retails for around £3:99, while the Body Lotion sells for around £4:99. I don't think this is too much to pay for effective products which gently care for your children's skin and we will certainly be sticking with this range as our baby toiletries of choice. 
A beautifully scented boy, fresh from the shower.

Earth Friendly Baby products are all natural, biodegradable and use plant derived materials where possible. They don't contain SLS or Parabens and are suitable for vegetarians. None of their products are tested on animals. Currently, the Earth Friendly Baby range of products are available from selected Waitrose, John Lewis, Sainbury's, Boots & leading independent baby stores, health stores and selected pharmacies. 

We were sent the two products for the purpose of this review. The thoughts and opinions contained within this post are all my own.

Listography - 5 Cartoon Characters From Your Youth

00:02 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

This week's Listography over at Kate Takes 5 asks for 5 cartoon characters from your youth. I was a big fan of cartoons  in my youth and have been thinking about which were my favourites

1. Mysterious Cities of Gold
So many people deny all knowledge of this show, I guess not many people watched it, but I loved it. The main story was a quest through South America and it had a really good mix of history, adventure and science-fiction. It was, apparently (I've been Googling) a Japanese-French production and the characters' mouths never moved in time with the dialogue track but it was really good, and had a fantastic theme tune.

2. The Magic Roundabout
The original, not that abominable film they made a few years ago. I remember this being shown just before the news in the evenings. I really loved the characters and, when they were brought back and shown on The Big Breakfast in the 90s, they were a real craze for me and my friends. Another French cartoon, there seems to be a theme here.

3. Willo the Wisp

Kenneth Williams and a bizarre story of some very strange creatures who lived in the forest together. I was very small when this was on, it used to be on before the news when the aforementioned Magic Roundabout wasn't. My favourite character was Evil Edna, the TV with legs, and I must confess that we had a strange little old lady who lived next door-but one to my home who was called Edna, you can guess what we nicknamed her...

4. Dangermouse
I'm sure lots of people have chosen Dangermouse as one of their 5. It was mouse and his rodent-y sidekick Penfold leading a James Bond-type existence saving the world from Baron Greenback, a rather large toad. David Jason was the brilliant voice of the show and really made it perfect.

5. The Trap Door
All together now... 'Don't you open that trap door! You're a fool if you dare...' This was a clay-mation series voiced by Willie Rushton. Each episode featured the central character, Berk, carrying out the instructions of the Thing Upstairs. Inevitably this would lead to the Trap Door being opened, a monster escaping, and chaos ensuing! It was brilliant. We bought the complete Trap Door on DVD a while ago and I can't wait to share it with Bud. He'll probably think it is old-fashioned nonsense though.

Which cartoons did you love when you were small?


Review: Big Game Hunters Wigwam

00:28 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Recently Bud has really started to love his blanket and has been getting a bit creative with it. It generally lives on the sofa but he has been dragging it from there on to his toy box and getting underneath it. He also crawls underneath his highchair and shouts 'beep' which I assume means 'peep-oh'  and his Daddy and I have been starting to think that he will enjoy building dens when he is bigger. Red Rose Daddy is especially pleased about this as this was one of his favourite activities when he was small.

Last Summer we bought Bud a play tent - one of those that pops up but he wasn't interested in it in the slightest and it has remained in the cupboard ever since - so, when we were sent a wigwam to play with I wondered what he would make of it. I was so surprised. As soon as we started to unpack it he was so excited! He was trying to climb under the canvas before it was in place and generally getting in the way until it was built.

The wigwam was easy to put together but I wouldn't have been able to do it on my own although I think Red Rose Daddy probably could have. The frame of the wigwam is made up of six solid wooden poles which come in two parts and are fixed together using a plastic adapter. The poles then feed through loops on the inside of the canvas and are secured at the base of the poles by pockets in the canvas. You then gather the poles together and tie the top of the canvas cover together at the top of the wigwam. When the cover is in place you feed a cord through the pre-drilled holes in each post, alternating with a wooden spacer ball, to secure the top of the wigwam. Once complete it should look something like this

Review: Big Game Hunters Wigwam

I think we actually had our base a bit too wide as the door wouldn't fasten. It has 3 velcro strips to close the door which is great for when you are having secret meetings in your tent! As soon as the wigwam was up Bud was delighted with it. He dragged his cushion in, and his book and sat quietly looking at it for what felt like ages. Far longer than he usually sits still anyway!

Review: Big Game Hunters Wigwam

The only problem I have found with our wigwam is that it is rather large so we won't be able to keep it assembled inside for very long. It stands about 6 feet tall and the base is about 4 feet in diameter - room enough for Bud to lie down in. I so wish we had a playroom so we could keep it up through the winter and he could get his lovely new den set up properly. We do have a large back garden and I'm confident that we will be making the most of our wigwam next Summer. It really is excellent quality. The poles are solid and robust and the canvas cover is beautifully sewn and decorated with really bright, simple animals. Bud was especially excited by the rabbits on there as they are one of his new favourites. 

Review: Big Game Hunters Wigwam

Big Game Hunters have a range of wigwams and playtents for sale on their website, as well as a great range of outdoor games, trampolines and sandpits. This wigwam sells for £49:99 but I think it will provide an awful lot of entertainment and fun over the next few years and is well worth the price.

I was sent the wigwam to review but the opinions contained within it are all my own thoughts and words. 

CLOSED Win a Family Ticket for the Merlin Attractions in Blackpool

11:40 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We are big fans of Blackpool in our family and both Red Rose Daddy and I have fond memories of spending a lot of time there as we grew up. In fact our first weekend away as a couple was spent there. There are many ways to spend a day out in Blackpool but I feel the Tower entertainment complex is the number one family attraction. It is the rule in our family that the first person to spot the Tower on the horizon wins a prize, of course it is always the littlest person who wins!
Merlin Entertainments have now taken over 7 of the attractions in Blackpool  which means you can buy one ticket which covers the following attractions:-
  • Blackpool Tower Eye
  • Blackpool Tower Dungeon
  • Blackpool Tower Circus
  • Blackpool Dance at Blackpool Tower Ballroom 
  • Jungle Jim's 
  • Madame Tussaud's Blackpool
  • Sea Life Blackpool

A family ticket to visit all of these attractions would usually cost £37 if you book online at the moment but, thanks to the lovely people at Merlin I have a family ticket for all seven attractions to give away. The ticket is valid until 31/12/12 so you have plenty of time to visit all the attractions.
To enter please follow the steps below:-

Mix Tape Monday #4

00:55 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

So, we're now at week #4 on Boo and Me's Mix Tape Monday link up. I must admit I am so enjoying this linky. I love thinking about my choice each week and reading everyone else's posts.

The theme for week 4 is: A song from the best gig you have been to.

I love live music and I think I actually need it. If I don't have a gig booked I start to get a bit antsy and worried. I've been to see a band every month this year, since June and I've loved every single gig. I'm a firm believer that my best gig was always the most recent one and, as I went to a gig this Friday (yes, just two days ago!) I am going to share a song from that. This video was taken at the gig where I was in attendance, Manchester Academy on 25th November 2011. It was an amazing night and The Vaccines were incredible. 

And, because that video is a bit poor in quality and jumpy, here is one of their videos of, I think my favourite song of theirs. Enjoy.

So, what was the best gig you have ever been to?

Silent Sunday

22:49 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I'd Like to Thank...

00:20 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

...The Diary of a Lagos Mum and At Least Daddy Can Cook for giving me my first Blog award! Have you noticed how I say 'first' there because, obviously, I'm going to win lots more awards for these ramblings!

Thank you lovely ladies! As usual with nice things like this there are a few conditions attached.
1. I must tell you seven things that you don't know about me.
2. I must pass this on to 15 other bloggers.

Well, I'm relatively new at all this so there is lots you don't know about me, so here goes!

1. I'm insanely broody. Bud is now 19months old and I'm so ready to have another this space!

2. I've had over 20 different jobs. A lot of this is down to the amount of time I've spent temping but an awful lot of my jobs have lasted under 6 months. The worst was working in Burger King when I was a teenager, I lasted three weeks. The best was working on the Audio Visual counter in Boots (remember when Boots sold CDs?) when I was a teenager (at the same time as the Burger King job). I loved it. Can you tell I'm really not incredibly career minded?

3. I went to an independent school. It wasn't a public school like Roedean or Cheltenham Ladies' College but the vast majority of girls there did have parents who were paying for them to attend. I was on a full assisted place as my parents could never have afforded to send me there otherwise. I loved it and wouldn't hesitate to send Bud there (it has two single sex schools on the same campus) if we could afford it or he could achieve a scholarship.

4. I am something of a geek. I mainly love Doctor Who and anything involving Joss Whedon but I'm a sucker for anything sci-fi.

5. I have a degree in Geography. Just. It was Third Class and I wish I had never bothered.

6. I can spend an amazing amount of time in art galleries and museums and I don't mind going alone. I do drag Bud to an unfeasible amount of exhibitions - he may well be the best 'read' toddler around. I genuinely find peace in looking at beautiful things and, if I don't get to Manchester Art Gallery every couple of months I get a bit twitchy. I swear Bud will start to think their pre-Raphaelite paintings are family portraits at this rate.

7. I don't have a passport at the moment. I lost mine a couple of years ago and haven't got around to replacing it yet. This irks me because it means that I can't be whisked off to Paris at the drop of a hat. I realise this is highly unlikely to happen but I can dream! Bud doesn't have a passport either. I need to sort this out soon.

So, 15 bloggers eh?

I'm not sure I know 15 other bloggers and I am fairly sure those that I do know will have been tagged already so don't feel obliged to complete this!

Here goes:-
1. Coombe Mill
2. The Boy and Me
3. The Crazy Kitchen
4. Spud and Spike
5. The Brink of Bedlam
6. Actually Mummy
7. A Mothers Ramblings
8. Gadget Mum
9. Dragons and Fairy Dust
10. Would Like to be a Yummy Mummy
11. Milkpetal (if you have time before baby arrives!)
12. I May Not Be Your Mom But I Can Be Your Friend
13. At HomeWith Mrs M
14. The Blog Up North
15. The Five F's

Good luck!

All Aboard the Santa Special from York

23:24 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Last Saturday Red Rose Daddy, Bud and I went to York for the day. I used to live in this beautiful city so I was very pleased to have the opportunity to revisit some old haunts and show the city off to my little family.

We had been invited to go and meet Santa at the National Railway Museum so this was our first port of call. We parked in the museum car park and set off to explore. It really is a fascinating place and, because it is a national museum you can visit it for free.
There are lots of historic trains, including the Mallard (fastest steam train ever) and a model of Stephenson's Rocket. They also have an exhibition featuring the Flying Scotsman (the route passes through York), a Japanese Bullet Train and a number of Royal Trains. Bud's favourite part of the museum was actually the viewing platform which allows you to look out over the very busy York Railway station and see the moving trains arriving and departing. Bud was incredibly excited by this and his Daddy and I have decided that we need to take a family train journey very soon so he can experience these trains up close.

We were booked on the Santa Express at 12:45pm and were advised to arrive early to enjoy the grotto as part of the whole experience. The grotto was a platform in the Station Hall which had been converted with various wagons and train carriages stacked high with Christmas presents and decorations. We meandered through this and took quite a few photos of Bud. Here was where he found his other favourite part of the day - a pedal train which he immediately climbed on to. I'm not sure if he should have been on it or not but it was clearly a toy and not an antique so we let him play for a little while. You can see how much he was enjoying it here.
We also found a beautifully decorated Christmas tree which Bud was fascinated by. He attempted to remove all the baubles he could reach within about 12 seconds so that doesn't bode very well for our Christmas tree this year!
Anyway, we spent so much time prising Bud away from the decorations that we suddenly realised that the train was due to leave so we had to hurry to catch it. Thankfully we weren't the last to board. The Santa Express was a steam train named Teddy pulling two carriages, the first was empty but we quickly climbed onto the second.

It was rather full, with other bloggers and their families. I recognised quite a few from the blogs that I read but was a bit too shy to say hello. There were cushions and blankets supplied so everyone could get cosy and ready for our story.
We set off on our train ride and, very quickly the train broke down! Oh no! Our storyteller quickly got all the children involved helping to fix the train, by hammering, using the screwdriver and then singing 'Jingle Bells'. After a couple of rousing renditions of Jingle Bells our very special guest arrived - Santa! I am pleased to say he was a very authentic Father Christmas, the best I have seen 'in real life' for quite some time. He was very round (OH and I were trying to decide if it was padding or not) and very jolly. All the children were invited up to come and meet Santa and receive their present. The children were all impeccably behaved and queued beautifully to wait to have their moment with Santa. There was an opportunity to have their photo with Santa too. As predicted by his Daddy and I, Bud did not want to meet Father Christmas and wanted to stay as far away from him as possible. We did manage to get a photo of him (and me) in the same shot though
As you can see, both Santa and his assistant were really friendly and smiley. You can see Bud doing his little nervous twitch here, this was as close as he was going to Santa. He was clinging on with his knees with grim determination! The present we are holding is not the present we took home as I quickly realised that we had received an age 3-6 gift. As Bud is only 19months I asked if we could swap it for the 0-3 present and they were happy to do this. When we opened his gift we were really pleased. He got a 'Hickory Dickory Dock' jigsaw and book set. The jigsaw is a little advanced for him yet as it contains 20 pieces but he enjoyed completing it with his Uncle on Sunday and we have done it a few more times with him since. I will be putting it away for a little while though because we may lose pieces if we leave it in the toy box at the moment. The toys generally seemed really good but I did notice that some of the 3-6 year olds were getting Winnie-the-Pooh books which I thought would probably have been more appropriate to the 0-3 age group. The train journey isn't especially long, just a few hundred metres each way but the whole experience is perfectly timed for their audience I think.

The tickets for the Santa Express cost £7:50 for children and £5 for adults. Included in this is entry to the grotto, the short train ride and story and the visit from Santa. Adults also get a mince pie and hot drink in the restaurant while children get a candy cane. The mince pies were really lovely with a crumble topping and the coffee was rocket fuel which was more than welcome as Bud hadn't had the best night's sleep the night before. As we hadn't had lunch we also ordered some potato wedges to share but Bud loved them and so his Daddy and I didn't get much of a look in!
After exploring the museum some more we decided to have a trip into York and boarded the road train to do this. The road train costs £2 for adults and £1 for children (under 3s are free) and gets you from the museum up to the Minster in no time at all. Bud really enjoyed this little train and was gripping tightly on to his present throughout our journey. Just a bit of advanced warning, if you have a pushchair you will need to fold it up to use the road train.

We had a lovely walk around York and I showed the boys my old front door on Goodramgate (right in the centre of the city) and after a drink in my old local and a wander around the shops we headed home after a really lovely day.

The Santa Express will be operating 8 times a day, every weekend from now until Christmas, and every day between 17th and 23rd December. To book places contact their website or call 0844 815 3139.

We received free tickets for the Santa Express and free parking for our visit to the NRM. The thoughts and opinions contained in this post are all my own.

And the Winner of the Family Ticket for the UK Dungeons is...

18:56 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The winner is Melissa Hall

Please e mail me on before 11:59PM on Saturday 26th November to claim your prize.

Thank you to everyone who entered.

Websites that I Can't Live Without

21:42 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I've been tagged in this meme by the lovely Fiona over at Coombe Mill (If you haven't visited her wondeful blog I suggest that you stop reading this and go over there and have a look. Be warned, however, I can't be held responsible for any holiday bookings that may arise from that course of action!). Emma, at Mummy Musings started this and asked the question - which five websites can you not live without? I'll talk you through the first five websites that I open up every morning when the laptop is switched on.

1. Gmail
I have two Gmail accounts, a personal one and one connected to my blog. I really enjoy the functionality of Gmail and it gives me everything I want from an e mail program. I especially like that I can access one account from the other which makes life really easy.

2. Twitter
Well, I have to check my mentions don't I? Seriously though. I really enjoy using Twitter and, for a former Facebook addict, I have been completely converted. I enjoy the conversational aspect to Twitter, and the intelligent conversation that I can find there. I think it is a crucial support to my blog too.

3. Red Rose Mummy
My blog may be less than 2 months old but I am enjoying writing so much. I love receiving comments on my posts and thinking about what my next post will be. This is definitely a creative outlet for me and a way to communicate as myself rather than just as Bud's Mummy. Since losing my job I feel like I spend all my time talking to a toddler - blogging allows me to talk to adults.

4. Google
Where would we be without it? As someone posted on Facebook the other day, no-one ever says 'hang on, just let me Yahoo that', do they? I'm the type of person who can't let a question go unanswered, a born researcher so I use Google all the time. It may be a bit tragic but I really enjoy it when they have their special search boxes for different events and anniversaries - I think I'm a bit of a Google geek really.

5. Facebook
A few months ago this would have been number 2 on the list but I'm getting really weary of it lately. I hate the changes to the news feed and how difficult it is to keep up with people now. I have all my closest friends and family in a list and just check that rather than my main news feed these days. I have a page for my blog but find that Twitter is a much more successful support to it. It is still really invaluable for sharing photos of Bud with friends and family who live further away and for keeping up with their news too but the days of Facebook being an essential to me are passed.

So, I know a lot of people have done this already so I'm going to tag

Mix Tape Monday #3

00:33 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The theme for the third week of Boo and Me's link up is Songs that you listen to when you’ve got that lovin’ feelin’.

A few songs come to mind for this category. The first is 'You Do Something to Me ' by Paul Weller but Boo and Me features that in her excellent slideshow of choices. The second is a song that reminds me of the passion of first 'true love', when I was in sixth form and at university and is a song that never fails to strike that particular chord within me. I give you the amazing Portishead...enjoy.

Which song gets you in the mood?

Competition: Win Toys R Us Vouchers with Sudocrem

22:42 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Sudocrem is a staple for an awful lot of mums who rely on it to keep their little ones' bottoms free from any nasty nappy rash. In our house it is also used on any other kind of skin irritation or abrasion and it really helps to heal the soreness.

In preparation for an exciting, but very secret, new product to be launched in Spring 2012, Sudocrem have unveiled new Twitter and Facebook pages, along with this little character
as their new product's mascot. Clearly he or she is a Moose but sadly he (or she) doesn't have a name yet.

Sudocrem would like you to name their new Moose and they have launched a competition for you to help them with this. You can enter by liking their new Facebook page and entering your suggested name for the Moose. The competition closes on 17th December 2011 and the winner will be chosen and announced on 20th December 2011. The winner will receive £500 of Toys R Us vouchers and a personalised, handmade Santa Sack worth £150.

So, what do you think this Moose's name is? Dave, Henry, Fred, Jim? Jane, Helen, Amanda, Delilah? If you can do better than these then head on over to Facebook now for your chance to win.

Listography - Top 5 Gadgets

19:13 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

This weeks Listography prompt over at Kate Takes 5 asks for your Top 5 gadgets. A gadget is defined as:-
1. a small mechanical device or appliance
2. any object that is interesting for its ingenuity or novelty rather than for its practical use

I'm quite a gadget girl and I don't know where I would be without them. I use so many on a daily basis and here are my absolute top 5.

1. My Digital Camera
I have something of a love-hate relationship with my current camera. I love that it allows me to capture Bud's life in great detail and seldom does a day go by without me taking at least one photo but I am frustrated by my current camera as it just isn't up to the job I need it for. I think I'm ready for a DSLR but it will be a while before my bank balance allows that particular upgrade. Anyway, the current camera allows me to take photos like these
so I suppose I should stop complaining about it.

2. My Mobile Phone
Yet another love-hate relationship. My phone is my lifeline and essential to me, I never leave the house without it. When I think back to my teenage years of standing around waiting for friends who were always late and I think how easy it is to text or call people and keep them informed now I just shudder. I could never go back to not having a mobile. My current phone is a Blackberry Curve. I got it because it was free on a cheap contract and the data services (which I am meant to have included) have never worked in they way they are meant to. I'm rather tired of complaining to Virgin Mobile about it now so I'm sticking it out until I can upgrade to an Android phone which should solve the problems.

3. The Laptop
This is another one that provides a lifeline to me. It is the way in which I keep up with people all over the world. I can share my photos with friends who have never met Bud and family members who live further afield can see him every week and watch him grow. Since I started this blog my laptop has become even more important as a tool for me to express myself and keep my sanity. It is on all the time when I'm up, no, I'm not on it all that time, but I like being able to pick it up, check my email, read twitter, upload a few photos etc etc whenever I need to.

4. My Kindle
When I first heard about eBook readers I was fairly confident that I would never own one. 'It won't feel like a proper book'... 'It won't smell like a proper book'... 'I won't like holding it'... and many more comments were uttered by my lips. One day my friend brought his Kindle with him when he came to see us and I had a look at it. From that point onward I knew I had to have one and within a few weeks I had cashed in all my Amazon vouchers and had one in my hands. It has changed the way I read and, as a busy mum, has allowed me the opportunity to read more often. I can't lose my page or forget where I'm up to and I can carry around 5000+ books in my handbag which means that I always have something to read. I love my Kindle.

5. The Electric Kettle
I think it is fairly self explanatory but where would most of these gadgets be if I couldn't sit down without a cup of Coffee or Tea to accompany them. An electric kettle means I can have boiling hot water at the press of a button within a couple of minutes. Very simple but imagine a hundred years ago - they would probably think this was amazing. The simple pleasures are often the best. Our kettle has a broken lid at the moment and it is taking longer to boil. I'm really noticing a difference - I think we need a new one and soon.

If you'd like to write your own list of your Top 5 Gadgets you can link up with Kate here
. This week there is also a chance to win a bundle of great gadget accessories with iLuv.


Silent Sunday

11:40 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Review: Baby Sing Christmas

00:30 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I really love Christmas and it has become an even more special time of year since Bud's arrival. I especially love creating our new Christmas traditions as a family and am anticipating Bud taking more interest in Christmas this year than he did as an 8 month old in his first Christmas.

I have blogged before about my love of music and part of the whole Christmas experience for me is hearing those songs in the shops and on the radio. They always make me smile and I do get a little excited when I hear them for the first time in the build up, even if it is in October. I'm a big fan of Christmas carols and attending the carol service at our family church is an important part of Christmas to me. Bud is really interested in music and loves to dance. He has even started to sing along in his cute little way so I was really pleased to be sent the new CD 'Baby Sing Christmas' for us to have a listen to.
We took Bud to see Santa today and decided that playing this CD in the car was a good idea to get us in a festive mood on the way to York. Red Rose Daddy wasn't too impressed with this choice as he was thinking this CD would be like the Nursery Rhymes CDs that Bud loves and that he would be singing the songs all day.

We were really pleasantly surprised. I was expecting a cBeebies-esque CD with lots of voices singing very poppy, baby-friendly versions of our favourite Christmas songs, what we got was a CD full of songs simply sung to an acoustic guitar accompaniment, if pushed I would say that they were Jazz arrangements but don't be put off if you don't like Jazz as the influence is quite gentle. There are 18 tracks on the album in total (the final 5 are repeated tracks with different arrangements and additional voices) and it includes a wide range of traditional Christmas songs with everything from Jingle Bells to Away in a Manger.

The whole family really enjoyed this CD. Bud listened to it quite intently and clapped along with a number of the tracks. I think 'Here Comes Santa Claus' was his favourite. Both Red Rose Daddy and I agreed that we would be happy to play this CD in the run up to Christmas, whether there were babies present or not and that we thought it would be a really good alternative to 'The Best Christmas Album...etc..etc' which are usually those played in the shops. We will definitely be playing this in our house on Christmas Day.

'Baby Sing Christmas' is available from Music for Baby, priced at £10, and you can hear snippets from the CD here too.  There are 7 other CDs in the range so check them out even if you aren't looking for a Christmas CD.

I received this CD free of charge but the opinions contained in my review are all my own.

Saturday is Caption Day

19:00 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Grumpy Little boy on a sledge

Firstly, excuse the mess in the background.

Secondly, I know I'm a bit late with this but Saturday is Caption Day over at Mammasaurus' blog, just click on the badge to have a look at the link-up.

What do you think Bud is thinking here?

Children in Need 2011

22:10 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Today is Children in Need
Bud is showing his spots.
To donate call 0345 33 22 33 or visit their website.
This is a terrific cause and every penny raised goes towards helping children in the UK.
Donate what you can, if you can.

Music as Therapy

21:36 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I have been tagged by Mummy Mummy Mum to complete Mammywoo's Music as Therapy meme. I was really pleased to be tagged as I've seen lots of other posts in response to this.

Music has always been a therapy for me but I lost touch with it while I was pregnant with Bud and then in his first year. In 2011 I have been determined to get back listening to music and enjoying it live and I am so pleased that I've managed to fit in five gigs so far this year, with two more booked for November and December.

I was around 13 when I really started to take an interest in non-bubblegum pop and I feel that, musically, my teen years were amazing and hard to beat. I turned 13 in 1990 so had the wonderful indie music of the 90s as the soundtrack to my formative years and I still love this music now. It was the music that got me through my angst-ridden teens into university and out the other side. 

1. My first song is actually not one from the 90s, or even an indie track but it reminds me of being pregnant with Bud. I know Bublé  is talking about a woman in these lyrics but they spoke to me when I was waiting to meet my baby

But somehow I know that it'll all turn out.
And you'll make me work so we can work to work it out.
And I promise you, kid, I'll give so much more than I get.
I just haven't met you yet.

They say all's fair.
In love and war.
But I won't need to fight it.
We'll get it right and, 
We'll be united.

And I know that we can be so amazing.
And being in your life is gonna change me.
And now I can see every single possibility, mmmm.

And someday I know it'll all turn out.
And I'll work to work it out.
Promise you, kid, I'll give more than I get, 
Than I get, than I get, than I get.

2. Back to the 90s for this one. I've spoken before about my love for the Irish band Ash. I went to see them live a few weeks ago in Manchester and it was one of the best gigs I have ever been to. It was amazing. This song is one that always makes me feel better and, no matter how bad I feel, it takes me to a time and a place where I was really, really happy. 

And these are days you often say
There’s nothing that we can’t do
Beneath a canopy of stars
I’d shed blood for you
The north star in the firmament
You shine the most bright
I’ve seen you draped in an electric veil
Shrouded in celestial light

We made our connection
A full on chemical reaction
Brought by dark divine intervention
Yeah, you are a shining light
A constellation once seen
Over Royal David’s city
An epiphany you burn so pretty
Yeah, you are a shining light
Yeah, you light up my life
Yeah, you are a shining light
Yeah, you light up my life

3. I love Ben Folds and his music, so many of his tracks have the power to reduce me to tears where others are really uplifting. This song spoke to me when I was at university and meeting so many people who were trying to reinvent themselves, be 'cool' and impress everyone they were meeting. It still reminds me to keep it real now and picks me up if I ever feel a bit out of it - especially when I have to go into a group of strangers for any reason and reminds me that everyone else is usually feeling just the same way.
I feel like a quote out of context
with holding the rest
so I can be for you what you want to see

I got the gestures and sounds
got the timing down
it's uncanny, yeah, you'd think it was me

do you think I should take a class
to lose my southern accent
did i make me up
or make the face till it stuck
I do the best imitation of myself

the problem with you speech
you gave me was fine
I liked the theories about my little stage
and I swore I was listenin'
but I started drifting around the part about me acting my age

now if its all the same
I've people to entertain
I juggle one-handed
do some magic tricks and
the best imitation of myself

maybe i'm thinking myself in a hole,
who I am when I ought to know
straighten up
now time to go
fool somebody else
fool somebody else

I've absolutely loved this meme. Just thinking about those songs that always make me feel better made me feel happier after a sniffly, tired, achey day. Music definitely is my therapy and thanks to Mammywoo for creating this meme and Mummy Mummy Mum for tagging me. 

I'm tagging:-

Listography - Top 5 Random Things I Like

15:56 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

This weeks Listography prompt over at Kate Takes 5 asks the Top 5 Random Things that I Like.

Be warned though, this can't be 'I Like Chocolate', think more like 'I Like Chocolate with my Chips'.

The Top 5 Randoms:-
1. I love chocolate and salt together. I have even been known to eat chocolate and ready salted crisps at the same time. Thankfully Lindt have now launched a bar with a 'hint of sea salt' so I am very happy!

2. I have to have the TV volume number as a division of 5. If my OH turns it up to 67 I have to get up and then either turn it down to 65 or turn it up to 70.

3. I love being by myself. Obviously I love being with Red Rose Daddy and Bud,and friends and family too but I need time by myself every week for my sanity. An hour will do.

4. I have a serious Lush problem. I've curbed it quite a lot since I had Bud but I still have a massive stash of bath ballistics and soap. I live in a house without a bath so the ballistics stash is reducing very slowly!

5. We don't have many night feeds now Bud is growing up but I absolutely loved those 3am feeds when he was tiny. Just sitting in a quiet house, on a quiet street and feeling like we were the only people in the world who were awake was lovely.

To join in, post your 5 and then go on over to Kate Takes 5 to link up.


Mix Tape Monday #2

00:12 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The theme for the second week of Boo and Me's new link up is your guilty pleasure.

I keep it well hidden but I'm a big musicals fan and I especially love a lot of the American musicals like Rent and Wicked. The songs from these two musicals especially are definitely my guilty pleasures.

I bring you

What's your musical guilty pleasure?

Silent Sunday

22:56 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The Street Where We Live...

23:36 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Recently I have been thinking about how lucky I am to live where I live. It may not be the 'best' of areas but it is OK and I have everything on my doorstep.

I live in a small town close to Bolton in the North-West and I don't drive. I have my reasons for that (they are probably another post) but a main reason is that I don't really need to. Within a 10 minute push from my front door I have Tesco and ASDA, a small town centre which includes a pharmacy, greengrocer, Dorothy Perkins (for fashion emergencies!), every takeaway you could wish for (apart from Thai but I don't often have an inkling for that), the doctor's surgery, dentist, Post fact everything you need to function on a day-to-day basis. For more exotic needs we have a main bus route on the road at the end of our street which will get me to Bolton in about 15 minutes and to Manchester in 45 minutes (off-peak). Bud loves going on the bus, mainly because he gets to charm all the old ladies who usually think he is a girl. Red Rose Daddy has a car and drives us, pretty much, wherever we need to go when he isn't working so we have the best of both worlds.

Red Rose Daddy's Parents live two streets away and his brother and his family, and his uncle and his family live in our street! My Parents and Brother live about two miles away. Yes, it is close but it works. We are a tight knit family and Bud loves being able to see the rest of the family so much.

The most important thing, for me, is what Bud gets out of where we live. We have a lovely public library at the end of the road (less than 300m from our front door) where we get to go and look at the books as often as we want to. This is next door to the Church where our weekly toddler group is held. Across the road from there is a lovely playground which we make great use of, either on the swings or kicking the football around. 5-10 minutes walk in the opposite direction from our front door gets us here...
This is a lovely country park made up of three old mill lodges and a visitor's centre which puts on lots of activities in the school holidays. During half-time you could make your own broomstick, for example. It has lots and lots of ducks and Canada Geese and, as Bud's favourite thing in the world at the moment is our feathered friends (anything with wings is described as a duck and greeted with a chorus of 'wack, wack, wack' now) we are spending a lot of time there. It also has a well used, well equipped play park with a truly terrifying slide that Red Rose Daddy insists it is fine to let Bud slide down on his own. 
(Scary slide, Mummy much more scared than Bud)

So, in order to fulfil my child's greatest wish at the moment we have a five minute walk. We can go everyday if we want to. It may not be the greatest area in the world but it is home, and we are lucky to have a lovely home with everything we need nearby and the opportunity to get outdoors to see wildlife (ducks!) and breathe fresh air whenever we want to.
(Gratuitous waterfowl shot to make Bud happy)

I am linking this post to the lovely Coombe Mill Blog's 'Country Kids' link-up, I know Bud loves being outdoors more than anything and I hope this will continue until he is fully grown!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Saturday is Caption Day

10:37 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Little Boy with a Butternut Squash

This is my first time taking part in Mammasaurus' link up.

Just post a photo and everyone can comment with their caption. Submit yours to the link up and use #satcap if you post on Twitter.

A Very Special Parcel

09:56 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Last week I was incredibly lucky to be announced as the winner of Positive Luxury's October competition.

The prize was a Mulberry Pully Push Lock Tote worth a staggering £899. I love handbags but, barring a lottery win making money no object, I would never be able to afford an item like this.

It arrived this morning.
Exciting box!

Dust bag

It is beautiful. I love it. I probably won't use it everyday but I am going to use it and enjoy it as often as I can. It is really roomy and will keep all my bits together. I think I'm going to avoid using it as a changing bag though, it will be a nappy and baby wipe free zone! The quality and feel of the bag is incredible, I really feel that it will last forever. If I ever have a daughter I am fairly sure that I'd be able to use this bag for 50 years and then leave it to her.

Thanks to Positive Luxury for selecting me as the winner and for the opportunity to own such an amazing item.

And the Winner of the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Family Pass is...

00:15 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The winner is @chocolateonemse

Please e mail me on before 11:59PM on Saturday 12th November to claim your prize.

Thank you to everyone who entered.

Changing Times

22:56 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The blog prompt over on BritMums this week asks what changes you have gone through this year and how they have made a difference in your life.

This prompt really got me thinking about the year our little family has been through and, whilst I know many people have been through a lot worse, it has been stressful. We've been saying virtually all year that we'd quite like 2011 to be over with now please!

Red Rose Daddy and I have been on something of a whirlwind since we met. It was just over three years ago and in that time I have moved back to my hometown to be near him, we got pregnant, bought a house and had Bud. As so many people have said, we haven't wasted any time! As Bud was born when we had only been together for 18 months, 2011 has been a year without anticipating one of those major life events. Things were supposed to settle down and we were looking forward to a much quieter year.

2011 opened with Red Rose Daddy taking voluntary redundancy. I was still on maternity leave so things were tight for a while. It was a while before he found work and he is still only on a temporary contract there.  It was lovely for him to have some time at home with Bud but it was an anxious and stressful time for us all.

In March Red Rose Daddy nipped to the supermarket for some milk and another car drove into the side of ours. The damage wasn't serious but the car was hit exactly where Bud would have been if he had been in the car and we were so relieved that he had gone to the supermarket on his own that night.

Within a couple of weeks of the New Year my Mum was hospitalised with a suspected heart attack. In the end it turned out to be an issue with her blood pressure but it was really terrifying to get that phone call telling me she had been rushed to hospital. She recovered quickly, thank goodness.

In February my lovely little nephew was born which was a high point. He is growing into a hilarious little boy with the most gorgeous blonde spiky mohican haircut. Unfortunately since then my Brother (his Daddy) and his girlfriend have been having all kinds of problems and their relationship has broken down. My nephews and their Dad are now living with my Mum and Dad and have had a year of upset and upheaval.

I was all set to return to work part-time in April. I was lucky because Red Rose Daddy's redundancy meant that we could afford for me to take the few extra months of unpaid maternity leave and I loved being able to stay with Bud until he was 13 months old but, 10 days before my return to work I was called into a meeting and found out that unless new contracts were awarded to us our project would close in July and we would be made redundant. We didn't get the contracts. We decided that I would go back full-time for the 4 months left and Bud was looked after by his Grandmother. I really would be hard pushed to think of another person I would rather leave him with so, again, I could see that I was lucky having childcare I could trust implicitly but I hated being away from Bud for so long. I was made redundant at the end of July and since then I have been a stay at home Mum. I have had a job, of some description or another, since I was 13 years old and have struggled to work out where I fit into the world now. I love being at home with my son and we have so much fun together but, financially, we have taken quite a hit so nice holidays and other luxuries are going to be put on the back burner for a little while. Starting this blog has been good therapy for me as it has given me an outlet to just be me, as I was at work.

The last few weeks have seen my 89 year old Grandmother have a serious fall and break her hip. She is still convalescing now. Obviously any accident at her age is really worrying, thankfully she is on the mend now and should be back in her own home soon.

So 2011 has not been a fun year for us all. We have had highlights - the aforementioned new nephew, a lovely holiday in Northumberland and, just last weekend, a terrific relaxing weekend in the Lake District to celebrate Bud's Aunt's birthday but we all feel a little downtrodden by this year and are hoping for better in 2012. New year, new start!

This post was written in response to the BritMums Blog Prompt. 

Britmums and the Kodak Big App Challenge

13:36 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Kodak and BritMums have teamed up to promote a new online app which will feature lots of projects to use your special photos for different crafts and activities. Kodak have cheaper printer ink than many brands so you can get printing out those photos.

The Big App is an online tool which can be used to print out a large image by printing out several sheets of A4 paper (up to 16!) for displaying on the wall.

I have two photos that I have been thinking about using this technique on. We have a large wall in our kitchen and I think we need something striking to display. 

The first photo is a close up of a honey bee on one of the sunflowers in our back garden last Summer. I love this shot as it was completely spontaneous and really reminds me of enjoying our first Summer in the garden with Bud.

Sunflower and bee

The second photo is one I took recently on a day out with our niece and nephew and really sums up the fun Bud has with them.

See-saw fun

The Big App is really simple to use, you upload your photo into the App and then choose how many pages you would like your image to cover

The Big App Screenshot

You then create a PDF which you can then use to print out the large image for your wall. If you'd like to have a look at how it works there is a portfolio on The Big App website.

Kodak and BritMums are running a competition to win fab Kodak prizes so, if you feel like checking out the App for yourself then do so and share your project  on their link up for a chance to win.