Gumigem - The Pipsqueak Bubba Beads - A Review

23:39 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Back in the mists of time when I was a tiny girl like Little Miss, one of my Aunts named me Pipsqueak and it stuck. Said Aunt still calls me that, and several other members of my family too. When Gumigem offered me my choice of their fab teething necklaces for review and I spotted the name of these on their site I knew I had to choose them! They couldn't have arrived at a more timely moment, Little Miss is cutting her first teeth and will chew on anything that gets near enough to her mouth.

Gumigem is a UK based company run by a family, producing silicone jewellery. Their products are designed to be worn by mums who have babies who like to grab their jewellery and put it in their mouths. It is soft and flexible and BPA free.Bud was never into grabbing jewellery but Little Miss definitely is. I simply haven't been able to wear very much apart from a couple of other pieces of Gumigem jewellery that I picked up when I met their team at The Baby Show in May. These are pendants and bangles, I had no idea that Gumigem made beads too so was excited to try the Bubba Beads.

Gumigem Bubba Beads Pipsqueak

All Gumigem items now arrive in their own zip pouch, which is perfect for storing them when not in use. This enables the silicone to stay clean. The Bubba Beads are available in nine colours and are described as ideal for twins who might fight over a single pendant. Each necklace has seventeen beads which are arranged in groups of four broken up by single beads. The Pipsqueak beads that I received are a deep red colour with a marbled effect on a black string, with the usual Gumigem safety clasp. I've found that they have fitted right into my wardrobe and are a great colour to coordinate well with it.

Baby girl playing with the Gumigem Bubba Beads Pipsqueak

Little Miss has enjoyed chomping on the Bubba Beads a great deal. I think they offer her an interesting sensory experience as well as being safe for her to put in her mouth and she has enjoyed exploring them with both of her hands and her mouth. Even though she bites hard on the beads there are no sign of wear and tear on them whatsoever so I'm confident. Obviously, these aren't a toy and you should never leave your child alone to play with a Gumigem necklace but Little Miss does enjoy it when I take off the necklace so she can play with it a little more easily.

Modelling the Gumigem Bubba Beads Pipsqueak

I think I'll continue to wear the Gumigem Bubba beads even when Little Miss no longer chews on them They are a striking, attractive piece of jewellery and, at an RRP of £16:95 are an excellent price for a piece of jewellery AND a teething aid (excuse the squinting face - very bright sunlight on modelling day!)

Disclaimer: I received this item free of charge for the purpose of an open and honest review.

Cheese and Paprika Straws with Help From OXO Good Grips

22:58 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

When OXO Good Grips challenged me to come up with a weaning recipe using two utensils from their extensive Good Grips range, I had to get my thinking cap on. I've used a mixture of baby led weaning and spoon feeding with my two children, to good effect and I decided I would share one of their favourite finger food recipes. OXO sent me their Silicon Pastry Brush and their new 4 Piece Mini Measuring Beaker Set to help me out.

OXO Good Grips Pastry Brush and Measuring Cups

I've been making my Cheese and Paprika Straws since Bud was about seven months old.. They were the perfect finger food for baby led weaning as they really don't contain anything nasty. You can use any hard cheese in the fridge and it's a great way to use up those small pieces of cheese that you sometimes get left with. I've always added Paprika to mine for extra flavour and colour but you can omit it if you choose.

I had a mini assistant who helped me bake the cheese straws today.

50g Hard Cheese (I generally use Medium or Mature Cheddar), grated
50g Unsalted Butter, softened
100g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon of Paprika
1 egg, beaten
50ml water

1. Preheat your oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6 and grease a baking sheet.

2. Cut the butter into pieces and rub it through the flour until it resembles the texture of breadcrumbs. Add the Cheese and Paprika and mix.

Cheese and Paprika Straws Mixing

3. Make a well in the dry mixture and pour the beaten egg into it. Using a wooden spoon combine all the ingredients into a dough. If you are struggling to form the dough then gradually add the water until it comes together (generally this takes less than 20ml of water).

Cheese and Paprika Straws Stirring the Egg

4. Flour your surface then knead your dough gently. Take a plum sized piece of dough and roll into a sausage shape between your palms, repeat until all the dough is used. This mixture generally makes around 8 straws but you can double, or treble the quantities to make more.

5. Brush the straws with a little beaten egg (I just use what is left in the bowl after beating) and sprinkle the straws with a little extra grated cheese if you have it. Bake for ten minutes until they are just starting to turn golden brown.

Cheese and Paprika Straws Finished

I was really pleased with the OXO products that I tried. The Silicone Pastry Brush was a fantastic replacement of my old one which had nylon bristles which have melted and gone funny looking. The bristles have two textures which enables you to cover your baking easily and efficiently. The bristles are made of silicone so the brush washes really well and isn't at risk of melting like nylon. It's heat resistant up to 315C (handy for spreading butter in a hot pan) and can be washed in the dishwasher too.

The measuring cups are so cute! A set of four, they stack inside each other. The measurements given are 60ml, 30ml, 1 Tbsp and 1 Tsp. I really struggle with accuracy for spoon measurement and generally use measuring spoons but I prefer these little cups as their funnel shape makes them easy to fill, and to pour. If I had one complaint it would be that the 60ml cup only has increments of 20ml on it so there isn't a line for 50ml. This is a measurement I use rather a lot and I think I'd generally have to use two cups to make sure I had it accurately in future (fill the 60ml cup then empty 10ml into the 30ml cup! They all have a silicone base which means that they stand firm on your work surface and all are dishwasher proof too.

Bud and Little Miss loved tasting the results of mine and Bud's efforts. These are a great snack during weaning and going forward, they don't flake like many cheese straws so would make a good lunchbox food too.

Bud and Little Miss enjoying their cheese straws

Disclaimer: I was sent the products free of charge and challenged to use them to make a weaning recipe. blogbadge photo badge_zpsf0b88074.jpg

The Gallery Week 155: Pets

09:14 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We've recently become the (not so) proud owners of two fish. Bud, in the infinite wisdom that being three years old affords, has named them Frank and Pank. We aren't sure which is which at the moment. My brother gave the fish to us, we didn't really want pets and I can't say they have changed our lives in any way, I just have a little less kitchen work surface available.

It has started us thinking about the possibility of getting a more interesting pet in the future. Bud seems to be losing his completely unfounded fear of dogs and we would really love one at some point. I can't deal with a crawling baby and a new dog though so it won't be for a while. I've always had pet dogs and have had some wonderful companion throughout my life, from Suzy, my first dog who looked just like Spit the Dog from Tiswas (showing my age there), to Rosie,  a gorgeous Miniature Schnauzer  and then Buffy, a daft Bearded Collie who died when Bud was a baby. She was a brilliant dog, we all miss her still. I hate the idea of my children growing up without a furry best friend, I think a dog is definitely in our future.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Give Boring Car Seats the Elbow! POW!

18:22 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Are you and your children tired of boring car seats? 
Sick of grey, drab fabrics?


Do you want to brighten up your back seat and entertain your children?

Are you looking for a Stage 1-2-3 Car Seat for your little super hero?

Kids Embrace have zoomed to the rescue with their super-duper Batman Car Seat! This 1-2-3 stage seat has an integral harness and high back booster to keep your child safe from the age of 9 months to 12 years. With side impact protection, and a height adjustable back rest you know that your child will be both comfortable and secure in the seat. The best bit, from your mini superhero's point of view is that there are two cup holders and a fantastic cape too!

Kids Embrace Batman Car Seat

The Kids Embrace Batman Car Seat.
Are your mini heroes super enough?

The  Kids Embrace Batman Car Seat is available from Halfords, Smyths Toys and Toys R Us.

Disclaimer: This is my entry into a blog competition to win the car seat, I have received a small gift for taking part.

Name Sudocrem's New Kangaroo and Win!

12:25 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Sudocrem have a brand new mascot to promote their new Sudocrem Care and Protect nappy rash ointment. This offers triple protection against the causes of nappy rash and is formulated with Grape Seed, Vitamin E and Vitamin B5 to protect your baby until their next nappy change.

Sudocrem are asking their Facebook fans to come up with a name for their new kangaroo mascot, they have chosen a kangaroo as their pouches care and protect their joeys, just like Sudocrem mums do.

If you'd like to suggest a name for the kangaroo simply visit the Sudocrem Facebook page and click on 'Win a Cottage Holiday'. Two favourite names will be chosen and the people who suggest them will win a £1000 cottage holiday. These names will be put forward to the public vote and everyone who chooses their favourite name will have the chance to win a family Merlin pass.

I'm off to enter my suggestion now!

Disclaimer: I received a gift for promoting this competition

Giveaway - Win 5 Pairs of Tickets to the Creative Stitches & Hobbycrafts Show Manchester

11:59 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The Creative Stitches and Hobbycraft Show hits Manchester's EventCity from 12th -14th September and I have teamed up with them to give away FIVE pairs of tickets to my readers!

Creative Stitches & Hobbycrafts Show Manchester

The show will feature more than 150 exhibitors and offer both inspiration and the latest craft supplies. I'm looking forward to seeing a display of costumes from 'My Fair Lady' which have been created by Jasper Conran and Philip Treacy. I love costume so I will be making a bee line for that display. Other attractions include the world's first life size Knitted Garden and a full programme of workshops, demonstrations and talks. For more information check out the ICHF website.

Creative Stitches & Hobbycrafts Show Manchester

The Creative Stitches and Hobbycraft show takes place at Eventcity Manchester from Thursday 12th - Saturday 14th September. Tickets are £9 for adults (£7 booked in advance) and £8 for seniors (£6 in advance). Children are free when accompanying an adult with a valid ticket or £3 otherwise. For more information or to book tickets please visit  Alternatively, phone the Ticket Hotline on 01425 277988.

For a chance to win one of the five pairs of tickets I have available please complete the Rafflecopter widget below.

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Janod My Own DIY Barrel - A Toad Test

16:59 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We are Toad Testers for The Toadstool which means we get to try out toys and share them with our readers. Obviously trying out toys is lots of fun and we're very pleased to share our latest review, the Janod My Own DIY Barrel, with you. Janod is a favourite toy brand of ours, we love their range of wooden toys, puzzles and games.

 Janod My Own DIY Barrel from The Toadstool Toys

The Janod My Own DIY Barrel is a rectangular box (not actually a barrel, the packaging seems to have moved on since it was named) which contains 45 pieces of wooden construction kit. There are wooden strips with varying numbers of holes, discs, screws and bolts, in addition to a screwdriver and spanner to help you put your models together. If you imagine a construction toy like Meccano, made in wood with larger pieces for smaller hands, you have exactly the idea.

 Janod My Own DIY Barrel from The Toadstool Toys Box Contents

The box is well constructed, complete with carrying handle so all of the pieces just pop back inside for effective storage. It's really high quality and I would have no concerns about it deteriorating over time, a pet hate of mine is those toys with lots of pieces like this, where the box just doesn't stand up to the job of being opened and closed, put away and got out again, over a period of years. I have no concerns about this one.

Each component is crafted to the highest standard and constructed from a mix of Rubberwood, Birch and MDF. I've been over every piece and have no concerns at all about splinters or the pieces deteriorating, they are really high quality.The colour palette used is quite muted but this allows the quality of the wood to shine through, it is a much more attractive set than similar plastic toys I have seen and has no risk of pieces breaking or snapping.

 Janod My Own DIY Barrel from The Toadstool Toys

Bud is three and I thought that this would be the perfect toy for him and his Daddy to share and I was right. If I get this toy out for him on his own at the moment he isn't so interested but, when his Daddy plays with him he really loves it. The  Janod My Own DIY Barrel encourages hand eye coordination, role play and imaginative play and as soon as we get the box out I see two heads bent over the construction of a new toy. If I get the toy out when Bud is playing alone he quickly wanders off to do something else, I think he will engage more on his own with it when he is a bit older. We had two older children round a little while ago, aged 5 and 7 and they played with this for ages, having called many other of Bud's toys 'for babies' or 'too young' so I'm sure we will get years of enjoyment from this toy. His 10 year old cousin will even play with this, and he's used to much more elaborate construction toys.

 Janod My Own DIY Barrel from The Toadstool Toys Close Up

The Janod box has three clear photos of suggested constructions - two motorbikes and an aeroplane - and these have been constructed many times now, as well as a variety of our own ideas and creations too. I would love it if the barrel came supplied with a booklet of construction ideas, to give more ideas for next steps but, similarly, it's good to encourage children's own ideas too as the pieces and tools provided offer a blank canvas for creativity and imagination. Bud will make simple shapes if left alone but really enjoys making more complex structures with Daddy's help. Bud has some outlandish requests for his Daddy and I so enjoy watching them struggle over requests like 'make a helicopter Daddy!', sometimes 45 pieces isn't quite enough!

Janod My Own DIY Barrel from The Toadstool Toys Constructions

We're really enjoying playing with the  Janod My Own DIY Barrel and I feel like it will give Bud (and Little Miss when she is older) years of enjoyment in the future. It is a high quality toy with exactly the level of production I associate with Janod. I'm looking forward to seeing him play differently with this toy as he gets old, it really will grow with my children and present new play opportunities and challenges as they get bigger.

The  Janod My Own DIY Barrel is available from The Toadstool for the bargain price of £17:50 at the moment. I think this would make the perfect gift for a child aged four to six, or for a younger child in a family that enjoys construction toys. 

Disclaimer: We were sent this toy for review purposes, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Giveaway - Win a Copy of Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men

16:51 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

My nephew and niece are both big readers and a series of books that have recently engaged their attention is  that featuring Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant. The books tell the adventures of Skulduggery Pleasant, a 400 year old skeleton detective and his young assistant Valkyrie Cain.

Skuldugery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men is the eighth book in the series and the follow up to 2012's Kingdom of the Wicked.
War has finally come. 
But it's not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it's a war between Sanctuaries. For too long, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they're going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making. 
But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.
I'm told that the Skulduggery Pleasant books are absolutely brilliant and this next installment is being eagerly awaited by my nephew, prior to release on August 29th but I'm very excited to be able to offer one of my readers the chance to win a copy of the book. To enter complete the Rafflecopter widget below.

If you aren't lucky enough to win the book you can pre-order a copy with Amazon or the usual retailers.

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Ozeri Curva Artisan Glasses - A Review

14:41 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Ever since I bought my Tassimo coffee machine a few weeks ago I've been on the hunt for some stylish glasses to use with it. I suppose I've been hankering for some continental style coffee glasses rather than my boring collection of mugs. When I was offered the chance to review some Artisan Curva Glasses from Ozeri I knew that they might be exactly what I was looking for.

Ozeri Curva Artisan Glasses Box

Ozeri Curva glasses are handmade, double walled, thermo glasses so can be used for both hot and cold drinks. Each glass is handmade so no two will be exactly the same and they hold 8oz (approximately 225mls). They are constructed so they are double skinned, the glasses seem to fold inside themselves to offer space for the liquid to sit in. This means that your hands don't get too hot or cold when you are drinking from them. It also means that you don't get condensation forming on the outside of the glass.

Ozeri Curva Artisan Handmade Glasses - Empty Glass

The glasses are a classic tumbler shape and are really tactile and a pleasure to hold and to drink from. They are made from heat and shatter resistant borosilicate glass and arrive packaged beautifully in a sturdy cardboard box. They are also dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe.

I've tried a variety of drinks in the glasses now, they are great for hot coffee as much as they are for an icy cold drink, straight from the freezer. You can clearly see the condensation inside the Espresso glass, this stays inside the glass, not on your hands. Not only is drinking from them enjoyable but the way your drink appears 'suspended' in the glass it very visually attactive, making them great to use when you have guests you want to impress.

Ozeri Curva Artisan Glasses are available from Amazon, priced at £24:95 which I think represents good value for money for a 'grown up' drinking tumbler, or a lovely gift.

Disclaimer: I received the glasses for the purpose of an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Giveaway - Win a Family Ticket to the Ice Age event at Blackpool Tower Ballroom

22:31 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The series of Blackpool Tower Ballroom Summer character events reaches the final week on Thursday 29th August when Sid and Scrat will be there to meet their young fans.

Each event ticket includes entry into a big tea party with a lunchbox for children attending, and party games too. Your ticket is also valid for 90 days for entry into a performance of the Blackpool Tower Circus, in addition to entry into an evening Big Family Party Night.

Visit the Blackpool Tower Website to purchase tickets.

I'm pleased to be able to offer a family ticket for admission in to the Ice Age event to meet Sid and Scrat. To enter simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below.

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Holiday Games Guide from Villa Plus

21:40 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I'm pleased to share a fab holiday games guide that has been put together by Villa Plus - the online villa booking company. They have consulted with a few bloggers to come up with a few great ideas to while away time at home in the school holidays, especially if it's bad weather and you can't get to play outside. There are some top tips in there, including one from me.

Villa Plus Holiday Games Guide

To have a look at the ideas, or to download your own copy click through to the Villa Plus Holiday Games Guide.

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to share this content, I'm doing so because I'm in it!

Super Styling with Debenhams School Uniform

09:36 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Bud and I have been set a challenge by Debenhams to style a piece of their school uniform range. School uniform isn't compulsory for Bud when he starts nursery next month but we've decided that it represents an easier and cheaper option for us so he will be wearing it. I also think it will make him used to wearing uniform ready for when he starts Reception in a year. I browsed the Debenhams School Uniform selection and chose black faux fur hooded school uniform coat for Bud. I think this will keep him warm and dry on the morning nursery run. Debenhams have an excellent range of school uniform and I was pleased to see that it some items are available from age 18 months upwards - perfect for those tiny children who may look too little to be going to school or nursery but need uniform nonetheless.

Debenhams black faux fur hooded school uniform coat

I asked Bud to do a picture of how he would like to look in his school uniform. He's slightly obsessed by superheros at the moment so his reply was that he was going to be a superhero! This made me smile a little and reminded me of the boys I went to school with wearing their coats like capes by just putting the hoods over their heads. This coat would be perfect for that, wouldn't it? 

Bud got busy with the glue, stickers and glitter and this is his masterpiece. I'm not quite sure how he fits into the picture but this is, apparently his superhero collage. He is only three after all!

Bud's Superhero Collage

This is our entry into the Debenhams School Uniform Challenge

Ingenious Ingenio from Tefal

01:17 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Last month I had a lovely day out in London, hosted by Tefal for the Innovation Panel that I am a proud member of. I've already shared the Tefal Optigrill with you and this week I'm bringing you the Tefal Ingenio range of cookware.

Ingenio has 20 million fans across the world who have been able to buy the range for many years but it has never been possible to buy the cookware in the UK until now. I'm sure a few of my readers are now thinking, 'what's so special, aren't they just pans?' Well, the simple answer is no. The Ingenio range offers you a complete cookware solution. These pans can go from freezer and fridge, on to the hob, into the oven, on to the table and then into the dishwasher without any decanting into bowls, plastic containers or serving dishes. These aren't just pans, they are storage, tableware, bakeware and freezerware. The simple way they do this is by taking off the handle!' Remember all those times when you've turned pan handles away from the edge of your hob to remove temptation from little hands? Think about the pile of pans you have on your work surface or in your cupboard, and the space they take up. Think about the difference in space that removing those handles would make. That's what Tefal have done. It's simple, it's ingenious, it's Ingenio!

We were treated to a full demonstration of the range at our Panel event and we saw the ease with which the handle is attached and removed. In addition to the pans, of all sizes, and handles the range includes glass lids, plastic lids and a variety of other accessories. I have weak wrists which means that draining pasta or potatoes can be a real struggle for me. Imagine a colander which you can attach your Ingenio handle to, to make dealing with a hot pan, hot food and hot water a much more easy process. There is also a steamer insert, and a grill tray, both of which allow you to increase the functionality of your Ingenio pans in an easy,seamless way. Each handle can hold up to 10kgs and is guaranteed for ten years.

Tefal Ingenio Cookware Product Demonstration

It goes without saying that the Tefal Ingenio range includes all of the features that make all Tefal cookware great, it includes the Thermospot and fantastic non-stick coating with the usual lifetime guarantee. The Ingenio range is available in two style, one suitable for use on all types of hob, including induction and the other with a stylish enamel coating. They are oven-proof to 240 degrees, fridge and freezer proof (using the plastic lids to seal) and all items are dishwasher proof too.

I received the basic Ingenio set at our London event, which includes a saucepan, two frying pans and a handle and I've been enjoying trying them out. I'm delighted by how much space they save on my work surface and I'm thinking I need a shopping trip soon to buy some of the stackable glass lids, and possibly the colander, to make the most of the set I have. The large frying pan has been the one I've used the most and being able to pop it in to the oven to complete the cooking of a Spanish Omelette without any concerns has been a revelation.

Tefal Innovation Panellist
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Tefal Innovation Panel and received a set of pans in order to share the range with you. All opinions are open and honest.

Bubbaroo Joey Swag - A Review

00:09 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We're big fans of the baby sleeping bag in our house and, as both of my babies were above the minimum weight to wear one, they have been wearing them since just after their births. When Little Miss and I were offered the opportunity to review a Joey Swag from the new to the UK, Australian brand Bubbaroo, we were so pleased. Unfortunately the Joey Swag's arrival coincided with a prolonged period of what I've been led to believe is called 'Summer' so it was a while before we were able to use it.

Bubbaroo Joey Swag Sleeping Bag in Box

Bubbaroo make sleeping bags which are:
  • Safe and functional
  • Incredibly stylish
  • Without gaudy colour and print
  • Made from high quality materials, like luxurious bedding
  • Suitable for use in a pram or car seat, with slots to feed a harness through

Bubbaroo Joey Swag Sleeping Bag Cherry StripeThe Joey Swag is available in either Colour (Delicate Pink, Mystic Blue, Mocha and White with Stone Binding) or Stripe (Cherry Stripe or Denim Stripe). Little Miss received the Cherry Stripe Joey Sway which features deep pink stripes on a white background, with Bubbaroo branding on the binding tape around the edges. Very elegant and stylish with no 'cute' characters to be seen! 

There are four weights of Joey Swag available - Lightweight, Mediumweight, Heavyweight and Extra Heavyweight. Each sleeping bag is supplied with a handy hanging guide to place in your babies room which tells you how to dress your baby in each weight of sleeping bag for each temperature. Our sleeping bag is heavyweight but it's refreshing to see that the sleeping bag doesn't actually feel very heavy at all. The bamboo fabric construction means that your baby feels warm and snuggly without feeling like they are wearing a duvet! They are available in three sizes - 0-6 months, 6-18 months and 18-36 months. We received the 6-18 months Joey Swag which has plenty of growing room for Little Miss, it will fit her for a long time to come.

Bubbaroo Joey Swag Sleeping Bag Features

I've examined the Joey Swag really carefully and I'm really impressed by the quality of the construction, there aren't any uncomfortable seams or corners to impede upon the quality of your child's sleep at all. The fabric feels beautifully soft and the sleeping bag has washed brilliantly. I've now washed and dried it twice and it really is as good as new. The advice is to keep the zips closed during washing and I think this means that the sleeping bag retains it's shape well.

Little Miss in her Bubbaroo Joey Swag Sleeping Bag
So what does Little Miss think? Well, we stopped using sleeping bags with her for a while as she was having really restless nights. She moves around an awful lot in her sleep and I think the sleeping bags were causing her to feel uncomfortable. Since we received the Joey Swag and her room temperature dropped enough for her to use it, we have had no problems with her wearing it downstairs when she gets ready for bed. However, when she gets to bed she cries and makes it clear that she doesn't want to wear the sleeping bag. This is no criticism of the Joey Swag, I simply have a little girl who is very stubborn and knows her own mind. I'm hoping that, by encouraging her to wear it while she is awake, or for daytime naps, I can get her wearing a sleeping bag to bed again as I much prefer her to be in one, for safe sleeping reasons and because I know she can't kick it off and be lying in the cold.

This is a really high quality sleeping bag, soft, comfortable, easy to use and with the added convenience of being able to feed car seat or pram harnesses through it for the easy transfer of a sleeping baby. I always think that sleeping bags are an excellent gift for a new baby and the lovely presentation of the Joey Swag really reinforces that.

Disclaimer: We were sent the Bubbaroo Joey Swag in exchange for an open and honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own

Monday 12/8/13 - Sunday 18/8/13 Days 285 - 291 of Project 365

23:06 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We've had a dull week this week barring one exciting day for me and Bud and this has coincided with my phone's screen being broken meaning that I'm not using it to take photos very often, and me losing my Project 365 mojo along the way. This is the first week that I've really struggled, which isn't too bad considering I'm really in the final strait now. We've all had colds and the weather has been awful. My selection of photos for this week doesn't inspire me at all so I thought we'd have a black and white week!

Monday #285 Fish - These are our new arrivals, we've actually had them for a few week after my Brother announced that he had bought his niece and nephew a fish each. I wasn't overly excited to receive them but Bud seems to like them and they are now a feature in our kitchen.

Tuesday #286 Nap I - The first of two sleeping photos this week, a sure symbol of my lack of inspiration! a sleeping Little Miss.

Wednesday #287 iPad - Bud and I had a lovely day out at cBeebies today where we saw the launch of their new Playtime App. Bud was soon a dab hand with the iPad mini and the new games he was playing. This isn't the photo I wanted to use today, I'm not allowed to show you that one yet!

Thursday #288 Nap II - The teething has been taking it's toll this week and Little Miss has been sleeping rather a lot. She seems to be like her Dad and take refuge in sleep when she's feeling under the weather, this morning she fell back to sleep straight after breakfast, before she was even dressed!

Friday #289 Breakfast? - My girl really, really loves her food. She's a fantastic eater and I'm yet to find anything she won't eat! She's so funny in the morning when I put her in her highchair in the morning as she shouts at me until I fill the tray with her breakfast.

Saturday #290 Profile - A quiet moment with my girl when I was getting her ready for bed. Bud and his Daddy were on Explorer Scout camp this weekend, Bud's first time away with them, so we were missing him and Little Miss was quite unsettled, I think she was looking for her big brother when it was time for her bedtime story.

Sunday #291 Returning - My boy returned from camp grubby, tired and in need of a bath but he had a wonderful time. I don't think he missed me and his sister at all. I do find it hard to be away from him but I know he had a wonderful time, he's growing up very quickly at the moment!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Thomas & Friends: King of the Railway - A Review

10:00 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Thomas the Tank Engine is something I have become very familiar with over the last year or so as Bud developed a real interest in the little blue engine. We now have DVDs, books and trains everywhere in our house! When we heard that Thomas was set to star in a brand new adventure - King of the Railway - we were excited to see what the Steam Team were up to now.

King of the Railway - Thomas the Tank Engine's New Adventure - A Review

Thomas, Percy and James are delighted to be chosen to assist in the rebuilding of Ulfstead Castle on the Island of Sodor and are joined by two new engines, Millie and Stephen. Meanwhile Spencer and Gordon are surprised to meet two new locomotives - Connor and Caitlin - who might be able to travel more quickly than they can. When Stephen disappears, it's an emergency and the other engines have to set out to rescue him!

Bud and I have loved watching King of the Railway. He's just getting to the age where a film can hold his attention and he will watch the whole of it. As soon as it finished he started talking about what had happened and hasn't really stopped since. He has shared an in depth account of the story line with his Daddy and his Grandma and it's clear how well he followed the story from his ability to recount the events. He's also been re-enacting some of the story with his trains and Harvey and Rosie have been standing in for Stephen and Millie. I suspect we might be adding the Trackmaster versions of the new engines to his Christmas list so we can add them to his collection.

The film itself is action packed and perfect for any little Thomas fan. It features three very catchy new songs and Bud was dancing around the lounge to one of them this afternoon. As well as featuring in the film you can view these with singalong words as special features on the disc. The other special feature is a 'guess who' game which has jigsaw puzzles which gradually build over time and allow children to guess which of the new engines is shown.

Thomas & Friends: King of the Railway is released on DVD on Monday 2nd September and is available in all usual stockists including Amazon UK where you can pre-order it at the moment. It will also be shown in Vue Cinemas from Friday 23rd August. 

Why not have a look at the trailer for a sneak peek at the film?

Disclaimer: We were sent the DVD free in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway - Win Jack the Giant Slayer on Blu Ray

17:51 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Warner Bros are delighted to announce the DVD and Blu Ray arrival of Jack the Giant Slayer.

Starring Nicholas Hoult as Jack the film shows his fight against the Giants who are striving to reclaim their lost lands. Jack fights for land, the love of a princess and the opportunity to become legendary himself. Jack the Giant Slayer is directed by Bryan Singer (X Men, Superman Returns) and also stars Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones) and Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge!).

To celebrate the release Warner Bros have come up with a terrific blog app which I can share with you. With moving GIFs, a Giant Soundboard and an interactive quiz which will tell you exactly how brave you are there is lots to keep every fan of the film interested.

I'm delighted to be able to offer one of my lucky readers the chance to win their very own copy of Jack the Giant Slayer on Blu Ray. To enter simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below.

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cBeebies Celebrates an #AppyBirthday

19:57 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Yesterday Bud and I left Little Miss with Grandma and headed over to MediaCity in Salford Quays for a very exciting day out with cBeebies. We were there to see an exciting new product which I can share with you today. cBeebies has launched their very first app - Playtime -  for their young fans and their parents. We got to try it out and it is brilliant!

Cat from cBeebies introduces the Playtime App

The App launches today and is available free of charge for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire devices. Straight away I was really pleased about this, as the owner of a Kindle Fire I'm often frustrated by the speed that many apps make their way to the Amazon App Store. The App is stand alone, so it won't eat into your data allowance, and completely free. No nasty surprises from toddlers pressing the wrong button for in-app purchases here.

cBeeebies Playtime on the iPod Touch

Playtime features four different games showcasing some of the most popular cBeebies characters. Bud was genuinely excited to see the featured characters, they were some of his favourites. The games are as follows:

Tree Fu Tom Chuckleberry Chase - Children cast a spell with Tom then chase the Mushas through Treetopolis to catch the escaping Chuckleberries and save the day. This can be played by tapping with a finger or by moving your device to the direction you want Tom to fly in. I actually quite struggled with this but Bud took to it quite quickly. He says that this is his favourite game on offer.

Octonauts Cadet Training - Join Captain Barnacle and the crew as they attempt to explore, rescue and protect four different sea creatures. You travel underwater pressing a series of shape buttons to advance and are then met with your chosen character. These are rescued in a variety of fun and different ways. The shape buttons didn't hold Bud's attention for very long, although he did concentrate more when he took the iPad Mini off to play alone, without me breathing down his neck! This game shares interesting facts about each sea creature that you rescue to add to the interest level.

Something Special Paint Pop - It wouldn't be a cBeebies app if it didn't feature Mr Tumble and he and Fisherman Tumble and Aunt Polly are represented in this game. Children pop paint bubbles to decorate a series of blank items. cBeebies have worked hard to make this game accessible to all children and it can be customised to suit age and ability levels, including those of children with additional needs. This was a big hit with Bud and he very quickly started to play at the faster speed when he picked up a device which had been set harder.

Alphablocks Word Magic - This was the game that held both mine and Bud's attention for longest yesterday. I'm already a fan of the Alphablocks and always very interested to see them as I'm told they are very good for understanding Phonics. This is the way that children are taught to read now using the sounds of letters as building blocks. I love the Alphablocks because they all look different and, even to a child who only recognises the letters of his own name, he can be helped to identify other letters by describing the Alphablock who represents it. The game requires children to spell out simple three letter CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words by dragging the Alphablocks in the correct order. As soon as you tap the Alphablock you hear the phonic sound of the letter so I think there is a real learning opportunity with this particular game, Bud started to 'learn' the phonic sounds quite quickly while he was playing and I can see us playing this game rather a lot in the future.

Bud using the cBeeebies Playtime App

Everytime your child performs well at a game they receive a resounding 'well done' and are invited to choose a cBeebies bug to mark their success, they can choose up to three for each game. It is possible to create up to four different profiles for your children on the app and each profile can be personalised with your child's individual balloon avatar. There is a special section for grown ups which shows how you can support your children in how they play with the app and which areas of learning are being developed through their play.

I really like this app, especially the Alphablocks game. I think, at the moment, it is a little limited as there are only four games and these will probably become familiar to Bud quite quickly. The plan is to continuously develop the app and add new games (I'd like new words for the Alphablocks) as time goes on. I think if that is managed successfully then it will be a really great resource for parents of cBeebies fans to keep them entertained, and learning.

Disclaimer: I attended the product launch as the guest of cBeebies, I have not been asked to write this post but I really wanted to share this fab, free app with you!

Vertbaudet Boy's Slim Cut Jeans - A Review and Guest Post

16:19 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I'm turning over my blog to the my best blogging friend today, the lovely Jenny from The Brick Castle. If you aren't familiar with her blog which shares her life with her rather large, and always entertaining family, then you are missing out and you should really head over there. Recently I received a fab pair of jeans for Bud to review from Vertbaudet but his chunky pins wouldn't fit into the very skinny fit jeans that were sent. I knew Jenny's boy #4 would be the perfect size for them so Jenny has agreed to review them for me as a guest post.


Vertbaudet have a huge range of trousers for boys and girls, and these Slim-Fit jeans in the colour 'coated charcoal' are from a selection of slim-cut jeans. I have quite a problem with my slender little man finding trousers that stay up and fit well, and I'm delighted with these because they fit perfectly.

They have a good amount of stretch and even though they're slim-fit, they aren't overly tight in the leg. 

The detailing is lovely including green stitching around the waistband, 5 good sized pockets and a really neat press stud fastening at the front. 

These jeans also have adjustable elastic inside the waistband, so if you still have a problem with fit, you can tighten them to suit. 

I've washed and dried these trousers twice with no loss of elasticity, colour or shape - they're every bit as good as they were before they'd been worn. 

I think these are a great pair of jeans for a slim young man. They're proper jeans, not childish or half-hearted and my 4 year old feels very grown up wearing them. He's delighted with them and so am I.

Jumping for joy in his Vertbaudet boy's slim cut fit jeans

The Vertbaudet Boy's Slim-Cut Jeans - Slim Fit are available in 2 colours and in sizes from 2 years to 14 years. They cost £19 to £25 depending on size.