The Alphabet Project - C is for Cathedral

09:00 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I had the pleasure of a day in London on Tuesday. Two lovely events and the company of some wonderful fellow bloggers was the perfect recipe for a good, if long, day out.

I've been struggling for inspiration for my 'C is for' photo this week then I remembered this unusual view I took of St Paul's Cathedral from my evening event on Tuesday. I was able to visit the Grange St Paul's, our Britmums Hotel and this view was seen from their top floor terrace. I love St Paul's, it's a real symbol of London and the walk across the Millennium Bridge from Tate Modern, dominated by the Cathedral is one of my favourite in London. It's years since I last went inside. I must make the time on a future visit.

C is for Cathedral.

C is for Cathedral #TheAlpabetProject

Practice Your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Moves with Flair

15:49 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Bud is increasingly becoming a fan of the heroes in a half shell that I remember from my childhood - the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - so when Flair offered to send us some of their brand new range of role play Turtles toys we were very excited. We received a Leonardo themed set - A Soft Foam Leonardo Katana Sword, a Turtles Combat Shell, and a Leonardo Ninja Practice Pal.

Practice Your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Moves with Flair

First up the Leonardo Katana Sword, this is made from soft foam and allows your Ninja to train safely. The sword is quite rigid and around a metre in length. It will hurt if your child hits you with some force but shouldn't cause any serious damage! The foam is coloured to give the exact detail of Leonardo's favoured weapon, the Katana and definitely looks the part. It is light and easy to carry and Bud has found it easy to 'wield'. Due to the length of the sword I'd say it is definitely an outdoor toy, as I think there are likely to be problems in more confined spaces! It has an RRP of £19:99 and is recommended for children age 4+.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Leonardo Soft Foam Katana Sword

Next up we have the Turtles Combat Shell, this is a dressing up item which allows your child to wear a turtle shell just like one of their favourite characters. This is made of hard olive green plastic  with brown webbed adjustable straps to fit around the shoulders and a thicker waist band which fastens with velcro. The shell was very easy to fit. Your child simply places their arms through each shoulder strap and then it is fastened at the waist. Bud found it really easy to put on himself and Little Miss, who was entranced by the shell as soon as she saw it, manages to put it on one shoulder too! 

The shell has a handle on the under side of the shell which allows it to be carried or used as a shield. The back of the shell has typical turtle shell detailing and features the back part of the turtle's utility belts too. This means that there are two loops which allow for the weapon to be stored and carried in there. Obviously, as Leonardo only has one sword you only need to use one loop but having both allows for the shell to be used to be those turtles who carry two weapons. It's worth pointing out that the holders have sprung covers inside them which need to be pushed down in order to place the weapon inside. Bud really struggled to do this on his own and needed help when placing his sword on his shell. I think an older child, perhaps seven or eight would be able to manage it by themselves. This same sprung cover means that it can be tricky to pull the sword from the holder too. It isn't a quick draw at all but at least it means that you are unlikely to lose any of your weapons by them falling off the shell. Again the shell is recommended for age 4 and above, and has an RRP of £19:99

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Combat Shell Dress Up

The Combat Shell and Leonardo Katana Sword are a fantastic duo and offer a really simple way for your child to dress up and role play as their favourite turtle without needing to put on a full costume, or get changed. Bud loves to wear his, and him being able to put the shell on by himself is a definite bonus - fancy dress costumes can be tricky - and he can often be found in the garden practising his 'turtles moves'. At £39:98 for both items, they aren't inexpensive but both are excellent quality and would make a great gift for a mini Turtles fan, you would only need to buy the shell once but, of course, all of the turtles' weapons sets are available in the soft foam range so you can match your choice to your child's favourite character.

Bud playing with his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Combat Shell and Leonardo Katana Sword

The third item in our parcel is definitely my favourite. The Leonardo Ninja Practice Pal is a soft figurine standing 16 inches tall. Modelled to look like each of the turtles your child can choose their favourite. He isn't just a figurine though. If you tap him on his chest he will make one of more than ten (I've counted around fifteen) different phrases. These range from noises like 'awww' and punching sounds, to longer phrases like 'this is gonna be epic', 'prepare to dish out the mighty wrath of justice!' and, of course, 'Turtle Power!' 

Leonardo Ninja Practice Pal Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Flair

The fact that he is a 'Ninja Practice Pal' means that the figurine is meant to be thrown around. He's soft but he's tough and enjoys cuddles just as much as Ninja training. I've found it interesting how my two have responded to him. Bud sees him as a battle opponent and loves to throw him around and hit him with the Katana sword, and basically making him say 'ow' whereas LM will spend ages talking to him and laughing when she presses his chest and he 'talks' to her.  I think some people may be concerned that this toy may encourage violence (in having to 'hit' the toy to make him talk) but Bud knows he doesn't hit anyone else and, sometimes, having an outlet where it is OK to hit something and to get a satisfying response can be a good thing for a child in an angry mood!

The detail on the Ninja Practice Pal is really good. He does look like a soft, mini version of Leonardo and it's good to see his trademark grin and blue bandana in place. I'm happy to say the latter is firmly affixed so there is no chance of losing it. He is powered by three AG13 batteries which are included. To activate him simply pull the plastic tag out of the battery compartment and he will start to talk. His battery pack is in a velcro pocket on the figurine's back which also forms the voice pack too. The toy is also suitable for age 4 and over.

Leonardo is hugely popular in our house and not just with the children, there have been a good few adults reliving their childhood turtle fan days by playing with him too! At £34:99 it is a more expensive toy than many in the Turtles range but he is beautifully soft, great for fighting and cuddling and has been played with every day since his arrival in our house. We would definitely recommend him.

And, just in case you were wondering, these toys definitely aren't just for boys. Little Miss loves them too, as she is only little we have been heavily supervising her while wearing them but she loves all three of these toys just as much as her big brother. I can see them continuing to be popular in our house for many years to come. Check out how much fun it is!

If you're a Turtles fan why not check out our review of the Turtle Battle Shell Figures?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys are available from Flair and all good toy retailers.

Disclosure: We received the toys in exchange for an honest review.
We're going on an adventure

My Sunday Photo - 25/5/2014

22:28 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We had a day out to Lancaster today and I have lots of lovely images of our day that I will share with you in a post but this one really sums up my cheeky monkey at the moment. She very much enjoyed her ice lolly!


Scruffs Vintage Speaker Hoodie

16:54 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Every so often Ian gets a little grumpy that he doesn't get the chance to feature on my blog so, when the people at Scruffs got in touch to ask if we would like to review anything from their new range of workwear I knew that it would be the perfect opportunity for him to get involved.

Scruffs is famous for it's extensive range of safety footwear and workwear but this has now started to take a more fashionable slant and Ian received their Vintage Speaker Hoodie in grey. He's a huge fan of hoodies and often throws one on after his runs (he runs around 30 miles a week), as well as wearing one with jeans at the weekend.  The Vintage Speaker Hoodie isn't your ordinary hoodie though, it has hidden headphones and speakers which allow you to listen to music conveniently on the go.

Scruffs Workwear Vintage Speaker Hoodie

The hoodie works by having a lead,, headphones and speakers contained within it. The jack is found inside a pocket, you simply unzip this to plug your phone or MP3 player in. The lead then travels up through the inside of the hoodie to a control switch on the inside of the zip which allows you to toggle betwen the headphones (inside the bottom of the hood) and the speakers (inside the hood at ear level). You can also choose microphone to allow you to use it as a hands free kit.

Scruffs Workwear Vintage Speaker Hoodie

But what about washing the hoodie? Well the beauty of this is that the whole system is 100% machine washable. You don't have to worry about removing the lead, switch, microphone, headphones or speakers. Simply wash as normal. Genius!

Ian has been wearing this hoodie as often as he can since he received it. It's 80% cotton / 20% polyester mix so it's really soft and keeps you warm when you need it to. I've borrowed it and it was really cozy to wear. The vintage design is quite understated but the blue and white design ,and blue lining to the hood offers a lovely pop of colour against the grey.

Scruffs Workwear Vintage Speaker Hoodie

The hoodie's RRP is £59:99 which is expensive, but the washable audio system and quality of the item makes it well worth the money for a man who will make good use of it, as Ian does. We both think it's great and I can see him wearing it often.

We received the hoodie in exchange for an honest review

Get Ready To Party In Liverpool

15:48 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

These days Liverpool’s as famous for the high-octane glamour of its residents as it is for football, the Mersey and the Beatles. If you’re planning a night out in this exuberantly stylish city, a touch of lip-gloss and your favourite heels with your skinny jeans just won’t cut it. Get a good night’s sleep in a good budget hotel like the Liverpool Travelodge and spend the day pampering and preening before you hit the town for your big Saturday night out.

Ever since Coleen Rooney was papped out and about in her rollers, the sight of girls in curlers out shopping in Liverpool on a Saturday afternoon has been a common sight. The Blonde Moments salon offers a rollers and go service. If you don’t fancy spending the day in rollers, make sure you pack your curling tongs as Liverpool girls like their hair big and bouncy.

Liverpool’s so famous for its good grooming that it even has an eyebrow style named after it – the dramatic Scouse brow. Even if you don’t want to emulate this signature WAG look, Liverpool’s a great place to get your eyebrows sorted. If you’ve never tried threading before, check out Blink in Harvey Nichols. And if you really want to get into the Liverpool vibe, you can go for an eyelash extension too.

The orange look isn’t in any more, and we all know that sunbeds are a wrinkle-inducing health hazard, so if you plan to make like a local and get your pins out on your big night out in Liverpool, start your tanning regime before you hit town. Pick up a good body scrub and a gradual self-tanning lotion to give yourself a natural, healthy glow. 

Nail Polish from

Naked nails aren’t an option for a night out in Liverpool. If you’ve got time before you leave, invest in a shellac manicure for a flawless, chip-free look. Otherwise pop into one of Liverpool’s many nail bars to get your hands sorted before you go out. And if you’re planning to break out your on-trend strappy sandals on your night out, now’s the time to get your tootsies pampered with a pedicure.

There’s nothing like a brand new dress to get you in the mood for a night out, and if you’re in the market for something glam to go out in, you’ve come to the right place. The fantastic Liverpool One shopping centre has all the high street names including Whistles, Urban Outfitters Topshop and John Lewis (check out the fab beauty hall for an instant makeover). Metquarter is the place to head for a touch of luxury with brands like Jo Malone, Kurt Geiger and Armani Exchange. 

Cocktails from

Now you’re ready to paint the town red, there’s no shortage of fantastic places to show off your new Liverpool look. For the ultimate Liverpool cocktail experience check out Santa Chupitos in the Seel Street area and the Baltic Triangle area is the place to dance the night away.

Guest Post Collaboration

The Alphabet Project - B is for Bricks

07:00 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I took this photo a few days ago on the walk back from nursery. Bud has been enjoying the Tots100 walk to school scavenger hunt and, on this occasion we were looking for triangles. I snapped this with my phone and I'm actually absurdly pleased with it. I love the lines going out of the shot to the side and the triangles and shadows add a little detail to set it apart. I'm quite liking the opportunity to take photos 'not of people' on this project. I'm not saying I won't have faces in my Alphabet Project photos but I'm quite happy without them at the moment.

B is for Bricks The Alphabet Project

I'm linking up with the Alphabet Project over at PODCast Dove

Morning Stories with BelVita

22:25 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I am simply not a morning person, I'm virtually inhuman until I get my first cup of coffee and that means breakfast is often rejected as I can't face it. Obviously having small children means that 'just five minutes more' is no longer an option and I have to greet the day far more quickly than I usually do. My children are both good sleepers and I have to wake them up every morning, that hardly seems fair!

Two sleeping children - my morning view

Breakfast in our house is usually a rushed affair. On weekdays I have to get both children up, and ensure one of them is fed, washed and dressed and ready for nursery school. I have to admit that, on more occasions than I like to admit LM does the nursery run in PJs but she's in her pushchair with a blanket so no-one else sees. The boy's breakfast varies but there is always fruit in there - usually grapes and strawberries - with cereal or brioche to accompany it, and always a small glass of orange juice. Little Miss will have the same, before or after the nursery run,. Of course feeding two little one and getting out in time to walk the twenty minutes to nursery in time to deliver Bud by 8:45 means that I don't have time to eat breakfast, even if I wanted to. It's a much better use of time to get something when I get home from nursery.

I'm usually home around 9am, in time for my second cup of coffee and something to eat. Far too often I reach for toast, or even the biscuit barrel. I eat on the hoof, in between getting LM ready for the day, checking emails and planning our day. LM plays while I get on the laptop to write a blog post or attack my social media platforms, and in time I'm ready for another cup of coffee and maybe another biscuit!

BelVita Breakfast Biscuits

I was recently sent some of the BelVita breakfast biscuits range to try. We had three flavours - Milk & Cereals, Fruit & Fibre and Cocoa Biscuit Yoghurt Crunch. I was expecting the latter to be my favourite but I was pleasantly surprised by the Milk & Cereals flavour. I liked the smooth texture and taste very much. All of the BelVita range contain five wholegrains and promise to keep you going for four hours. I've actually found this to be true. On the mornings when I've grabbed a pack of the biscuits in the morning I've definitely found my 11am trips to the biscuit barrel more infrequent! I love that the biscuits arrive wrapped four together (two for the yoghurt crunch), it makes it really easy to pop one into my pocket or bag and is especially good for Wednesday mornings when I go straight from nursery to our toddler group. They are an incredibly convenient way to eat breakfast on the go.

This post is an entry for #MorningStories Linky Challenge sponsored bbelVita Breakfast. Learn more at

Moroccan Chicken Bites and Accompaniments

17:50 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

This is a really simple recipe that I've been meaning to share with you all for some time. I've cooked our own chicken bites for quite a while but, recently, have been feeling a need to mix them up a little bit! I've been sent a few things recently that I knew would make the perfect combination to mix up our easy chicken meal, and give it some added flavour.

Easy Moroccan Chicken Bites
Serves 4

You will need:
200g cornflakes, crushed
2 tsps of Steenbergs Ras al-Hanut Spice Blend*
1 egg, lightly whisked
3 Chicken Fillets, cut into bite sized pieces

To serve:
Wraps or flatbreads
Mayonnaire or Tahini
Cherry Tomatoes

1. Mix the crushed cornflakes and Ras al-Hanut in a small bowl.

2. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg and then in the spiced cornflake mixture, ensuring that they are fully coated.

Moroccan Chicken Bites Preparation

3. Place on a baking tray. Metal is fine but ensure you grease it to avoid your chicken bites sticking.

4. Cook in the oven at 180 degrees for 15 minute.

5. Serve in wraps or flatbreads topped with cherry tomatoes and with salad accompaniment.

Moroccan Chicken Bites Serving Suggestion

I've been using the Pyrex Multipurpose Glass Baking Sheet* and I've found it works perfectly with no need to grease it. It doesn't discolour in the way metal can either. It measures 32x26cm so it's easy to get enough food for my family on there. It's also guaranteed for ten years, like all Pyrex glassware, you won't have to keep buying a replacement for this baking sheet.

Pyrex Multipurpose Glass Baking Sheet

More refined palates might enjoy mixing some of Steenbergs Harissa with Rose Spice Blend with natural yoghurt for a really authentic flavour. We were eating with the children so I'll save that for a more grown up meal.

Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauces

A popular accompaniment in our house to my Chicken Bites, Moroccan or not, is Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauces*. We've been trying these out lately and the smokey, barbecue flavour, with a kick, has been working great for both dipping and marinading meat. We've had Full Flavour Smokey, Hot Pepper and Extra Hot Habanero to try and there really is a sauce for every palate. Bud loves Full Flavour Smokey while Ian chooses Hot Pepper and I like a little of the Extra Hot Habanero. 

* PR Samples

Mixtape Monday - 19/05/2014

16:56 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

My aim this week is to share a song that has been released this century. Easier said than done when the last gig I attended was nearly three years ago and featured a nineties band, playing a nineties album in it's nineties entirety. Hmmm. I was seeing a lot of gigs in that time though and I was very lucky to see The Vaccines in quite a small venue when they were on the cusp of becoming huge on the back of their awesome first album. It's so sunny this week and this song shouts Summer to me. This video sums up the Summers of my youth too. Love it.

Clara Unravelled

Catch Phrase from Drumond Park - Review and Giveaway

14:42 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Catch Phrase is one of those shows that I remember so clearly from my childhood. Guessing along with the contestants on a Sunday evening and watching them being told to 'say what you see' was a lot of fun. When Drumond Park invited us to take a look at their board game version of Catch Phrase I was really intrigued to see how it converted into an 'at home' format and thought it would be great for a weekend away with the extended family.

Catchphrase from Drumond Park board gaame

Upon opening the Catch Phrase box it seems like there are lots of component parts and that the game is quite complicated. I'd definitely recommend taking time to read the instructions before you start to play. The game set up is very clever, there is no board as such but you get a cardboard grid with squares to uncover the bonus board and a standing Mr Chips to hold the cards for one of the rounds. It's actually very clever and feels completely in keeping with the show.

The instructions for play are quite straightforward. Play is broken down into three rounds and one player is designated as the host and takes charge of the Catch Phrase cards. 

The first round sees players guess cards individually, if they guess their catch phrase correctly they can take a guess of the bonus board. This sees a large card placed inside the cardboard 'bonus board' and the numbers removed one by one in order. Each guesser has 15 seconds to guess the correct phrase, before play passes to the next player. If you guess your card correctly you get £100 (paid in paper money), guess the bonus board correctly and you get £300.

Catch Phrase from Drumond Park board game

In the second round all players take part. The host puts five different cards on to Mr Chips, and all of the players compete to guess first. The winner of each card gets £200.

The final round is Super Catch Phrase. You have a board with six spaces upon it. One-sided cards are laid on each space and turned over one by one. Each card is turned over and players all guess to see who can answer correctly quickest. The first row pays £300, second £400 and third £500. The host is supplied with a special red envelope which will reveal the answer to them only.

Catch Phrase from Drumond Park board game

When all rounds are played the next player becomes the host. The end of the game comes when every player has hosted and winnings have been counted. The winner is the one with the most money. Catch Phrase is suitable for 2-4 players aged 8+.

We thoroughly enjoyed Catch Phrase, especially when we played as two teams instead of individually. We also played a few games where one person hosted and we declared a winner after three rounds. I always like a game that can be adapted for the people who are playing, or the time available, and this is definitely one.

This is a great family board game and is a welcome addition to our games shelf. I can see us playing it a great deal. It would be fab if expansion packs of cards could be purchased as, with any game of this type, there are a limited number of cards so the same people playing will start to recognise the answer after a few games. It completely captures the spirit of the television show and was a highly enjoyable game to play.

Catch Phrase from Drumond Park has an RRP of £19:99 and is available from Amazon and all usual stockists. 

I've teamed up with Drumond Park to offer one of my readers the chance to win Catch Phrase. Please enter by completing the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a variety of additional entries. Please read the terms and conditions.

Catch Phrase from Drumond Park
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We're going on an adventure

My Sunday Photo 17/05/2014

00:05 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Yesterday we visited the Sea Life Centre in Manchester to watch my Brother in Law and niece do the Sea Trek. They both did brilliantly and it was really fun to  watch them walk around in the big tank. I took this photo when we were waiting for the Sea Trek to start and it shows Ernie, the large turtle in there.


I'm going to Britmums Live 2014

22:16 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I've been blogging for over two and a half years now but Britmums Live 2014 will be my first time at *the* national conference for the parent blogging community. In 2012 I was very pregnant, and sick, and couldn't face the trip. In 2013 I had a nine month old, breastfeeding Little Miss who was too big to take with me but too little to leave behind. I bought my ticket for this year on the day of release last year. I was determined 2014 would be my year to attend!

I'm travelling down with my two blogging besties, my Jens - The Brick Castle and MyMummysPennies and looking forward to spending time with them and other blogger friends over the weekend. Two nights child-free will be strange but very pleasant!

Name: Pippa
Twitter ID@RedRoseMummy
Height: 5'5 1/2" (the half is important)
Hair: Collar bone length, dark brown. I'll need to dye the grey away before then!
Eyes: Dark brown, with glasses.
Is this your first blogging conference? My first Britmums Live, but I've attended BlogFest, Blog On twice, BlogCamp and BlogSummit so I'm fairly experienced.
Are you attending both days? Of course! I'm excited for the whole event, and two nights with the girls in a gorgeous hotel.
What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2014? Spending precious time with some of my best blogging friends, celebrating a year with a very special group of them. Representing my fabulous sponsor and, hopefully, time to chat with people I know online face to face for the first time. 

What are you wearing? I'll almost certainly have Fitflops on my feet. Clothing will probably involve a dress or tunic and leggings. 
What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2014? I've been to a fair few blogging conferences now so learning something isn't my highest priority, I'm hoping to be inspired by the amazing people I am proud to share this community with.
Do you have any tips to pass on to others who may not have been before? Don't be afraid to approach people. Tweet if you want to meet up with people, it was difficult enough to find people I wanted to see at BlogCamp and Britmums Live is about five times bigger! Pack snacks and a bottle of water, and painkillers. Even if you don't need them someone else probably will. Relax and enjoy it... and say hello to me!

Serenata Hampers - Review and Giveaway

17:14 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Hampers are a lovely way of sending a gift, for any occasion and it's always nice to receive a box of carefully selected gifts too. Serenata Hampers offer a wide selection of gifts through their site, from flowers to new baby, picnic to chocolate, I think there is definitely something available for everyone!

We were sent the Sweet Rag Doll Gift Box to try out recently. When making my selection this item really stood out as, in addition to a range of yummy sweets and chocolates you are also sent a beautiful rag doll to keep once the sweet treats have all been eaten. Retailing at £29:99 (although currently reduced to £23:99) the gift box includes a dolly, box of lime sherbet, box of jelly babies, a milk chocolate lollipop and a bar of white chocolate.

Serenata Hampers Sweet Rag Doll Gift Box

Little Miss adored the rag doll on sight and she has been a popular playmate ever since her arrival. She is around 25cm tall with a bright, removable dress and long woolly hair. Ours was left outside in the rain and got very muddy and she has survived a visit to the washing machine well. I'm always so pleased when a dolly can be washed.

Serenata Hampers Sweet Rag Doll Gift Box

The sweets are lime sherbet and jelly babies. Both were tasty and fun reminder of the sweets of our youth. The jelly babies were especially popular with the children and disappeared very quickly! Both are presented in cute little cardboard houses which makes the hamper look pretty too. The white chocolate bar had milk chocolate jazzies embedded upon it, so tasty! The chocolate lolly was a big treat for Bud and he loved biting off the chocolate beans.

Eating white chocolate from the Serenata Hampers Sweet Rag Doll Gift Box

I think this would make a lovely gift for a child, or group of children. The rag doll is a really lovely focus for the gift and I can see the arrival of the blue Serenata hamper box bringing a smile to any little one's face.

I've teamed up with Serenata to offer one of my readers the chance to win their choice of gift, priced at up to £25.  To enter please complete the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entries. Please read the terms and conditions.

Serenata Hampers
Win competitions at 

The Alphabet Project - A is for Allsorts

22:15 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The lovely Charley who blogs over at PODcast has created a new linky which will allow us bloggers to photograph our way through the alphabet. I've been thinking about this project today and I've decided to try and work on my photography a little using this project. Knowing which letter will be coming each week will allow me to be a little more thoughtful about what I post. Hopefully it will allow me to try and improve my editing skills a little too.

Today I give you A for Allsorts, these are a favourite sweet treat of mine, I love liquorice and I thought it would make an interesting project and a good one to practice those little editing touches too.

A is for Allsorts

Bobux Step Up Ice-Cap Trainers

09:30 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Regular readers will know that I am delighted that Bobux will be my sponsor for Britmums Live next month and I'm so pleased to be representing a company that I trust with my children's feet! Bud received a pair of Everest Boots a little while ago and I'm happy to say that they are serving him really well and still in excellent condition, despite the biking, scooting and playing football he does in them daily!

When Bobux got in touch recently to offer Little Miss a pair of their brand new Ice-Cap trainers I was rather excited. At 20 months LM is still in size 3 shoes and this can be really limiting when I'm looking for funky alternatives to the standard fare offered on the high street. I'm limited to dedicated shoe retailers as most of the stores that sell shoes alongside clothes start at size 4. This can make choice small, especially for more casual shoes.

Bobux Ice-Cap Step Up Trainers Colour Range i-walk Casual

The Ice Cap trainer is a brand new style for Bobux and is available in both the i-walk (sizes 3.5-11, for confident walkers) and Step Up (sizes 2-5, for first walkers) ranges. Although Little Miss has been walking for around six months I thought that the Step Up trainers would be a better fit for her than the i-walk shoes and we received them in size 3.5.

The shoes feature Bobux' brand new splashtex™ leather. The splashtex™ leather on the toe provides added protection from dirt and water and offers robust protection for active toddlers. The Step Up Ice-Cap casual trainer (RRP £32) with its splashtex™ leather on the toe is available in a range of lollipop colours for boys and girls - red, cobalt, lipstick, blossom and biscuit.

Bobux Ice-Cap Step Up Trainers Close Up i-walk

We chose red for LM's shoes and straight out of the box she loved them. She really loves shoes and can often be found playing with them instead of toys, she can be a strange little thing! The red and white shoes contrast really well and offer a bowling-style look, really retro and very funky. They aren't a typical 'trainer' but are the perfect casual shoe for an active toddler. The leather is beautifully soft and they are so easy to fit. The laces are decorative and the shoe is secured using the velcro band. The sole is super flexible, with the customary Bobux design that we love Bud was delighted that Little Miss now has shoes 'just like mine Mummy'. The splashtex™ leather offers a shiny finish to the toe area and, despite it being white, it hasn't marked or scuffed since she has started to wear them. They look as good as new even though she has worn them every day for the last week.

Bobux Ice-Cap Red Step Up Trainers Being Worn

The shoes have an RRP of £32 which I think is reasonable. Shoes are something that I refuse to skimp on as foot health in children is so important. They are excellent quality and I know that LM is wearing a pair of shoes that have been designed for growing feet and to ensure her comfort. I love the range of colours available and that these shoes are truly unisex. The red suits her personality, and wardrobe brilliantly, and it's clear to see that she loves them simply by how she walks around in them. Another Bobux hit in our house.

Disclosure: We received the shoes in exchange for this review.
We're going on an adventure

Mix Tape Monday - 12/5/2014

23:44 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I don't know if it's the crazy weather - defnitely April showers in May - or a touch of illness today but this song has been in my head all day long. Yes, it's another nineties one. I really should share something more recent at some point but my musical tastes are rooted there. This reminds me of road trips in a certain boyfriend's car when we would blast this album. I was never as much of a Garbage fan as he was but this one evokes many memories.

Clara Unravelled

Bank Holiday Barbecue Fun as a Morrisons Mum

22:31 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

There are several branches of Morrisons in my home town but we don't often manage to get there to shop. It simply isn't the nearest large supermarket to our home so we tend to opt for a more convenient option. When Britmums offered us the opportunity to try out Morrisons for our May Day bank holiday shop I was intrigued to see if it would make us rethink our choices.

Morrisons Mum Bank Holiday Barbecue #MorrisonsMum
From 1st May 2014 Morrisons have announced a range of reductions throughout their stores, all tagged with the 'I'm Cheaper' branding. This is in conjunction with  a huge television and media advertising campaign. If you see one of the yellow and green 'I'm Cheaper' signs then you know you are paying less than you would have done before in Morrisons.

We always have a barbecue for friends and family on May Day bank holiday, it is part of our getting the garden ready for Summer and is a brilliant way to use the day off and connect with everyone. We love to use our garden in this way and, of course, food is a major part of this. We usually spend around a £100 for food and drink at our party so I was interested to see how the pricing would match up against this by using Morrisons instead.

We visited the largest Morrisons in our town to carry out our shop and, from the instant we arrived you couldn't fail to miss the 'I'm cheaper' promotion. There were posters and banners everywhere! I'm always impressed by the fresh produce in Morrison's and this visit was no exception. There was a fab 3 for £1:49 offer on produce which enabled oranges, celery and cherry tomatoes to be bought. Perfect for BBQ salads and snacks for the children.

Morrisons Mum Bank Holiday Barbecue #MorrisonsMum

When we arrived at the butchery department I was really pleased to see a 3 for £10 offer on packs of meat which were perfect for the barbecue. We picked up six different packs - including diced chicken breast, three different types of speciality burger, peppered beefsteaks and beef kebabs. We added in a couple of packs of speciality sausages, again on offer at 2 for £5.

One of the things that always impresses me at Morrisons is the cheese selection, I was really pleased to see three different types of Halloumi, great on the barbecue, I always seem to spend so much time looking at the wrapped cheeses and usually come out with something to try. This time it was a yummy Shropshire Blue.

Morrisons Mum Bank Holiday Barbecue #MorrisonsMum

The rest of our barbecue shopping included bread rolls, salad items, ice cream and some beer and cider. I added a bottle of Prosecco too, I discovered Morrisons Prosecco a while ago and really liked it. It's a great price and a really lovely drink. Our store carries the Nutmeg range and I am always tempted when I see the range, I find the clothes to be excellent quality and really great prices and Bud needed a few things so we selected two pairs of coloured jeans, a tee and some vests for Little Miss.

In total we spent £110 but this included snacks for weekend lunches, ingredients for lasagne, the clothes and all of our barbecue food. I think it was cheaper than our usual shop, by a few pounds.

Simple Barbecue Food Ideas:

When we host a barbecue we generally have around 14 people to feed, family and friends. Tastes range from quite reserved to more adventurous palates so I generally try to keep things simple but offer a range of dishes to keep everyone happy. 

The first thing to remember is, if you are planning kebabs, to get the skewers soaking in water for at least a few hours before the barbecue, we forgot this time and ended up with quite a few charred skewers. I invariably make kebabs for my guests as they are always popular and offer a way of grilling veggies in addition to the meat overload. 

Morrisons Mum Bank Holiday Barbecue #MorrisonsMum

As we bought some really great quality meat from Morrisons I didn't have much preparation to do. I used the diced chicken breast to make kebabs with pepper, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms ready to pop on to the grill. 

We used a small baking tray for the Halloumi, just sliced it and left it to bubble away. This was immensely popular with our guests and I think we will definitely be purchasing it for future barbecues. I noticed that Morrisons sell a chili Halloumi, I bet that would be fantastic on the barbecue!

I think good salads always make a barbecue and I used rocket, mozzarella and tomato and red pepper to make our version of a tricolore salad. I dressed it really simply with a garlic infused olive oil and it tasted great.

Morrisons Mum Bank Holiday Barbecue #MorrisonsMum

We had fourteen people at our barbecue and I worked out that the food and drink for them cost £79:52. This means that the cost per head was £5:68. Working it out it is around the average amount we pay but I did find the quality of the produce to be really excellent and we did buy a few more luxury items to try as we were using the vouchers. The Morrisons produce was great quality and really good value for money. We will be back more regularly in future.

Disclosure: I received £80 of vouchers to spend at Morrison in exchange for this post.

My Sunday Photo 11/5/14

13:00 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The Elizabeth Tower Big Ben London

I had a day in London on Friday with some time to myself so I played tourist and wandered. I will never get tired of this view of Big Ben which you get as you step out of Westminster tube station, it's such a simple shot. Point camera upwards and click.


Win a Pair of Tickets to The Baby Show at the NEC Birmingham

23:15 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I'm a regular visitor to The Baby Show and I love the opportunity to meet up with brands and other bloggers, and to see what's new in the world of baby and toddler products. The Baby Show comes to the NEC in Birmingham from 16th to the 18th May and I will be attending next week.

At the show, experts in all things baby-related will be on hand to offer tips and insight across a wide variety of pregnancy and child development topics. Along with providing invaluable advice, they’ll be discussing techniques to help reassure and guide parents through the early years of parenting. Experts include:

  • Professor Robert Winston – The much loved professor, medical doctor and BBC presenter will be providing tips and advice on baby development. 
  • Clare Byam-Cook – Retired nurse, midwife and breastfeeding expert, Clare will speak on breastfeeding, how it works and what to do if it goes wrong. Clare’s expertise has been called upon by a host of high profile celebrities including: Kate Winslet, Lily Allen and Helena Bonham Carter.
  • Annabel Karmel –The leading baby nutritionist and best-selling author will discuss nutrition during pregnancy and the myths and truths of feeding. 
  • Jo Tantum – Baby sleep expert, best known for her ability to get any baby sleeping 12 hours through the night, will share her sleepytime secrets. 
  • The Natal Family - From birth workshops to baby colic, potty training to sleepless nights, dads role at birth to preparing a sibling for a new arrival, The Natal Family offers support for all stages of pregnancy and parenthood. 
  • Xaviera Plas Plooij – Daughter of authors Dr. Frans and Dr. Hetty who wrote the worldwide bestseller ‘The Wonder Weeks’, Xaviera will be discussing the 10 major, predictable, age-linked changes – or leaps – each baby goes through during the first 20 months of their lives and how to use this research to aid in baby development.

The Baby Show makes shopping easy for parents and parents-to-be, who are encouraged to use the essential facilities provided to ensure a stress free day. Areas include:
  • Emma’s Diary ‘Shop & Drop’ and ‘Collect by Car’ service, available throughout the weekend. Visitors can drop off all shopping bags for some hands-free shopping time and either collect before leaving or head to the car hands free and drive around to pick up their 
  • The Baby Show Crèche 
  • tommee tippee Feeding Area 
  • Dedicated Changing Area
If you are looking to buy tickets for the show then you can click here to book and use the code SPR to buy tickets for £11:95 instead of £20 each.

I've teamed up with The Baby Show to offer one of my readers the opportunity to win a pair of tickets to the show. To enter please complete the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entry options. Please read the terms and conditions.

Win competitions at 

Little Miss Hug

14:39 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The Mr Men and Little Miss books are a treasured part of so many childhoods. the vast range of Roger Hargreaves' creations means that everyone, big or small can find one of the characters to identify with. With over 200 million books sold worldwide, and a Mr Men or Little Miss book sold every 2.5 seconds I bet one of the books can be found on the bookshelves of most homes.

Little Miss Hug Roger Hargreaves Mr Men

The latest addition to the Little Miss series, the 35th book, is launched today. Little Miss Hug is the first new book in the series since Little Miss Princess in 2011 and tells the story of the cheeky pink character who loves hugs and wears a big red bow in her hair. Little Miss Hug's story sees her interacting with all of her Little Miss and Mister Men friends but, what happens when she comes across a character who doesn't enjoy hugs? You'll have to read the book to find out!

Little Miss Hug

We have a few Mister Men and Little Miss books at home and always enjoy the stories and how they focus on what make each character special.  Bud and Little Miss have really enjoyed this story, especially as it includes so many of their other Mr Men and Little Miss favourites, it's a lovely bedtime story read.With an RRP of £2:99 they are a real pocket money treat and can be bought at Amazon and in all good retailers. It is published by Egmont.

Little Miss Hug AR App

Little Miss Hug is the first book in the series to include an AR app which can be downloaded from and features a 3D Little Miss Hug for children to interact with. It can be used in conjunction with both the book cover and the Mr Men and Little Miss magazine pages and also includes a fun video story and interactive game!

Disclosure: We received a copy of the book in exchange for this review

Damson Lane    MamaMummyMum