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

18:41 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

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

 HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® ambassadors potty training journey

1. Using HUGGIES® Pull-Ups®

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

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

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

 HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® ambassadors potty training journey

2. Try the Toilet if the Potty is Refused

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

3. Staying Calm and Relaxed

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

 HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® ambassadors potty training journey

4. Go For It

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

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

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

 HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® ambassadors potty training journey

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

Christmas Shopping at The Works

13:13 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

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

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

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

We received the following items:

The Works My First Toolbox Set

My First Toolbox

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

The Works My Fairy Musical Box

My Fairy Musical Box

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

Dolly Peg Fairies and Princesses

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

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

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

The Works Noisy Dinosaurs Book

Noisy Dinosaurs

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

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

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

Visit the Snowkissed Bratz Photobooth and Win!

10:40 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

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

Bratz Snowkissed Photo Booth Trafford Centre

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

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

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

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

Bratz Snowkissed dolls

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

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

Snowkissed Bratz Doll

Cosatto Spring/Summer 2016 Preview

20:27 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I've been very lucky over the past few years to have the opportunity to take an early look at everything Cosatto will have on offer for the coming season. Last Friday Little E and I went to see what our local nursery company have in store for Spring/Summer 2016. I'm not allowed to share some of the exciting news with you but I think pushchair fans will be very happy in early 2016.

Cosatto Spring Summer Preview 2016 featuring Wonder. Fly, Yo! 2, Giggle 2, To and Fro, Woop, 3Sixti, Noodle Supa, Waffle and all new patterns including Go Brightly, Go Lightly 2

So, what's new for Cosatto? First up, the wheels.

The Giggle 2 travel system is unchanged but is available in two new prints and I think we're going to be seeing both of them around a lot in the forthcoming months. Go Brightly is a bold, bright, unisex colour burst pattern which made me smile as soon as I saw it. The colour palette used is slightly more muted than on the likes of Pixelate but the print, both on the outside and liner of the seat, carrycot and infant carrier, are striking and guaranteed to brighten up the rainiest of days.

Go Lightly 2 sees the return of the bow! I loved the original Go Lightly with it's navy and white colourway and bright red bow and it was incredibly popular on the streets too. Go Lightly 2 sees an echo of it's forerunner but brought bang up to date. With the same starburst style print as seen on Go Brightly, this time in monochrome black and white and a bright pink bow, I predict that the Go Lightly 2 is going to be everywhere soon with lots of little girls travelling in pink, black and white style. The addition of polka dot detailing on the inside of the hood and outside of the carrycot offers an attractive contrast. It's so stylish and lovely for little girls.

Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System in Go Brighly and Go Lightly 2

Secondly we have a brand new travel system - the Fly - which is available in two patterns - Fox Tales and Pixelate. The Fly is an innovative new design which really stands out with it's brightly coloured frame around the chassis. Parent facing when used with a brand new infant carrier (coming soon), the Fly offers a convenient,one handed fold and a multi-position recline. The ratchet mechanism to sit the seat back up is one that is so easy to use and something I haven't seen before. The spacious basket, extendable hood and ability to use with an infant carrier will make this a perfect pushchair for use when out and about in the car. Fox Tales is a gorgeous new print which is so on trend at the moment and really reminds me of the Scandinavian prints I love for my children's clothes. Pixelate is a very popular Cosatto print at the moment and the Fly sees this on a new set of wheels.

Cosatto Fly lightweight travel system in Fox Tales with Hold Infant Carrier

The Woop was new earlier in 2015 but the preview was a great opportunity to get up close to it. It has been met with success and award wins for it's innovative design. This three-wheeler with a seat unit which converts to carrycot and can be parent or forward facing also takes the Hold car seat. There is a new colourway for Spring/Summer 2015 which incorporates the very popular fruity Cosatto prints in a funky unisex blue and red Appleseed design. The existing three designs are still available.

Cosatto Woop travel system in Appleseed

The To & Fro was another new set of wheels for 2015 but one I've not had the chance to see 'in real life' yet. I was really surprised by the demo we saw. To & Fro allows all the capability of a travel system with the ease of use, small fold and light weight of an umbrella fold stroller. It's the only parent facing lightweight stroller which takes a car seat that I can think of (off the top of my head) and the quirky reversible design feature makes it seem like you have a new pushchair when you convert from parent to world facing. With the To & Fro Duo offering all of the flexibility of the single To & Fro but in a side by side double this would make a great option for those with a newborn and a larger toddler. 

Cosatto To and Fro and Duo Lightweight travel system

The ever popular Yo! has been updated with the launch of the Yo! 2. I loved our Yo! Pear Drop and was sad when we got rid of it a few months ago, it served us so well as LM's main stroller and it was tough enough for the rigours of the school run. That said every pushchair I've had has had niggles so I was delighted to see that those I found with my Yo! have been fixed. The brake has been changed to a one step operation and they have added a bumper bar. With an innovative new footrest and reflective rear wheels I can see the Yo! 2 being just as popular as it's predecessor. 

Cosatto Yo!2 lightweight umbrella fold stroller

We were also able to take a look at new prints for the Supa and Supa Dupa lightweight strollers; the ChaCha which also launched earlier this year, the new Shuffle tandem double and the exciting new things which are top secret for now! Check out Cosatto.com for more information on all of these.

Cosatto Lightweight Strollers Supa, Supa Dupa and ChaCha

You might have heard about Wonder which has been Cosatto's huge launch of 2015. The preview event allowed me to get my hands on it for the first time and I'm so impressed. It's a high end travel system which harks back to the carriage built prams of my baby days, with a very modern Cosatto twist of course. We got a close look at Hepburn (my favourite), Kew and Bonbon and the thought and design that has been put into the range is clear. Being able to try out Hepburn and experience the familiar, carriage-built 'bounce' was fantastic. I'm definitely a fan. 

Cosatto Wonder Travel System in Hepburn

There are no new highchair models but all three ranges see new prints added. The Waffle launched early in 2015 and two new prints are added to expand the range of designs available in this 'grow with me', foldable highchair. Pippy (a bright green apple print) and Heidi (a girly floral) are added to the existing Pitter Patter and Strudel designs. The 3Sixti range sees the addition of Hapi Apples 2 (an update to the very popular Hapi Apples highchair), Chopsticks (a fantastic sushi print) and Milkshake (a cool milk bottles design). There are a few little tweaks to the design of the 3Sixti to include  printed trays. Our old favourite - the Noodle Supa sees two new prints too - Kokeshi Smile (a cute Kawaii doll print which is up there amongst my favourite EVER Cosatto prints) and Chopsticks (the same fabulous sushi print seen on the 3Sixti).

New Cosatto highchair patterns 3Sixti Noodle Supa Waffle Chopsticks Hapi Apple 2 Kokeshi Smile

The Cosatto car seat world has a big announcement too but I'm going to put all of that news into a separate post. It will definitely be worth the wait!

I attended the event as a guest of Cosatto

Sleep versus Cuddles

14:34 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

With three children under six years old the importance of sleep to me is obvious but it's all too easy to not invest the effort in seeking this most precious commodity. We see at the benefits of a good night's sleep and then often don't really put enough effort into getting one, whether intentionally or due to other commitments we may have.  I wonder if there are any physical things we can do to increase our sleep time and the quality of sleep such as investing in new bedroom furniture? Does your sleeping position actually matter? 

The benefits of sleep are clear. It is good for your health and appearance, boosts your immune system and helps your mind process the day. It is free and when you you're asleep you can avoid speeding tickets, parking tickets, bad weather, rubbish TV and all of the other irritants of waking life. Too much sleep and you can become groggy and severely restrict the actual time that you have to get things done. 

There are so many sleep positions that you may find yourself in, many of which are named, like ‘The Classic Spoon’, ‘The Chase’ and Nuzzling’. These all relate to sleeping with your partner (if you have one) and they may be willing to be close to you or seek space away from you. Before you consult a marriage counsellor if your partner is far away from you this could simply be a sign that:they are not sleeping well at the moment or that they value sleep over physical contact or intimacy at that point in time. Tiredness and a good night's sleep definitely beats snuggling up while we sleep in our house! 

What does your sleeping position say about your relationship? If an uncomfortable bed is proving to be the stumbling block then BedStar have a range of solutions available – maybe you want to sleep apart but your bed is that saggy in the middle that gravity always forces you together. As a rule of thumb the more children you have the greater you sleep apart as the space in the middle is quickly filled with your children as mini bed invaders sieze every opportunity to snuggle up with Mummy and Daddy . Tired parents can easily fall into the trap of letting them sleep in the middle as ‘anything for an easy life', or share their bed willingly if they choose to co-sleep, especially when they children are small. 

The solution could be a better bed for you, or a more exciting bed for your child, such as a bunk bed or character based one. Long lasting couples will intuitively balance the need for intimacy with the need to sleep as well as the extra factor of the sprawling limbs of your children. Good luck and sweet dreams!

Written by Amy Brown

Dreaming of a House Move

12:18 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I love where we live, it's close to family and convenient for shopping in our local town, Bud's school and has excellent transport links into Manchester and Bolton. We have playgrounds and a country park in easy walking distance and the local library is less than 200 metres away, in terms of proximity to everything a young family needs we have everything. We probably sacrificed a little in terms of our actual house to live where we do and I've recently started to think about the possibility of moving. It would be lovely for Bud and Little E to not have to share a bedroom and for us all to have a little more space and I'd love a more period property with character and original features.

Looking at property websites is something of a hobby of mine, I always take the opportunity to have a little nosy at the photos of properties which I see for sale when I'm out and about and recently saw a gorgeous house that would be perfect for our family of five. It's a late Victorian three storey terrace with four bedroooms and two reception rooms that would finally offer us a little more space to live in. We'd have to sacrifice our lovely garden and my dream of adding a conservatory out there as it's outdoor space is more limited, but I'd love to live in a house like that.

The house we've been looking at needs work. As the daughter of a plasterer, I'm always keen to use local tradesmen and companies whenever we need work doing. There are a few big jobs needed in the house that I keep looking at. My daydreaming about it has extended to looking at companies that I'd love to hire to carry out the work. My most hated feature in our current home is the windows. They are white UPVC with fake leading in them. If we decide not to move replacing our windows is high on our list of priorities. The windows in dream house are beautiful but clearly in need of replacement. I'd want to replace like with like so I've been looking for a company locally who install timber sash windows.

Timber Sash Windows from Reddish Joinery

Reddish Joinery are based in Reddish, near Stockport, with two showrooms in Sale and Warrington (just down the road from us).They offer a huge range of bespoke windows, doors, conservatories, orangeries and roof  trims. Their range includes UPVC windows but it's their Timber Sash windows that catch my eye. They'd be the perfect addition to the Victorian property of my dreams, they are double glazed to keep your home quiet and cozy so there's no sacrifice of comfort over them being appropriate for the period of the home. As things stand at the moment I'm more likely to be checking out their range of UPVC windows to replace those in our current home. Reddish Joinery have been around for almost fifty years so it's safe to say that they are experienced and established in their field. I'm definitely adding them to my mental list for my dream home.

Do you love where you live? What's next on your list of home improvements?

Disney on Ice Comes to Liverpool's Echo Arena in 2016

08:35 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

A few weeks ago we went to see this year's version of Disney on Ice and had a wonderful time. LM and Bud enjoyed it immensely and even Little E was mesmerised by the ice skating versions of Toy Story 3, The Little Mermaid, Cars and Frozen that we saw. It was our first experience of the show and provided the perfect family night out. That's why I'm delighted to be bringing you news of Disney on Ice's return to the North-West next year when Disney On Ice presents Silver Anniversary Celebration arrives at Liverpool's Echo Arena from Wednesday 16 March to Sunday 20 March for 9 magical performances.

Disney on Ice Comes to Liverpool's Echo Arena in 2016

The skating spectacular will take the audience to four far away lands as they join tour guides Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck to  visit the magical worlds of Disney’s The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Peter Pan. You'll then be whisked away to the wintry wonderland of the number one animated feature film of all-time, Disney’s Frozen.

Disney on Ice Comes to Liverpool's Echo Arena in 2016

The arena will be filled with music and magic in every scene as you discover four unique landscapes filled with boisterous pirates, Caribbean beats and tender moments. Audiences will explore the African Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa; voyage deep under the sea to Ariel’s mystical underwater kingdom; and tour London with Peter Pan and Wendy before flying to Neverland to join Tinker Bell.  Plus, travel to Arendelle for an extraordinary adventure with royal sisters Anna and Elsa, rugged mountain man Kristoff and everyone’s favorite huggable snowman, Olaf.

Disney on Ice Comes to Liverpool's Echo Arena in 2016

With a princess-crazy LM and Bud super excited to see The Lion King we are really looking forward to seeing Disney On Ice presents Silver Anniversary Celebration in March. It promises to be another evening of Disney on Ice magic with entertainment for the whole family. Will you be there?

TO BOOK TICKETS CALL THE ECHO ARENA BOX OFFICE ON 0844 8000 400 or Group bookings are available from TicketQuarter Groups on 0844 561 7672
Personal callers can purchase their tickets from TicketQuarter, Queen Square Liverpool visit www.echoarena.com/www.disneyonice.co.uk

Lonely Planet Kids Books - Review and Giveaway

13:55 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I've been a fan of Lonely Planet travel books for a long time, almost as long as I've been planning trips and, even today, their guide books are the first I reach for when visiting a new destination. Their mixture of genuine, honest experience of a place with all the facts and figures you need to know makes them a must-have in my book.

Lonely Planet Kids Books - Review and Giveaway

Bud was recently sent four books from their range of children's books to take a look at and we've very much enjoyed taking a look at them together. I'm pleased to see that the same quality of writing and reporting in the guidebook range is carried over to their junior collection and Bud has loved having some more grown up books to read and learn from.

Here's what Bud thought:

I thought I'd share Mum's perspective. As a Geography graduate I've always enjoyed exploring the world through books like atlases so I thought I would share my view on each (in the order that Bud covers them in the video).

The Travel Book - this is the sort of book I would have adored as a youngster. It's a hardback book which is gloriously illustrated and packed with interesting facts and figures about the countries of the world. It includes photos of landmarks. famous people, flags and lots more information. This is the sort of book that children can dip in and out of, perhaps to support a project at school, or to learn more about somewhere they have seen on TV or read about elsewhere. It really takes me back to the way I learned as a child - through looking things up in books instead of going immediately to Wikipedia. I'd say it's perfect for children of age 7+ to explore alone but Bud and I have loved reading it together since it arrived.

How to be an International Spy - this is the book that Bud has engaged with least since he arrived. It's simply too old for him but I've had a good look through it and it's a fascinating read. It's packed with stories of espionage and all the different techniques used by spies. There are lots of different activities included and it really is a comprehensive basic guide to spying. I think Bud will love this when he's around 9 so it's going to be back up on the shelf until then. He simply doesn't understand enough of the basics of what a spy is and why people spy to get anything from the book at the moment. My 12 year old nephew was looking at this book when he was round the other day and he really enjoyed  it. It's a good read, with really engaging content, for older children.

Adventures Around the Globe - Bud loved this one, as I expected him to. He's a fan of sticker and activity books but we're usually stuck buying those character books which he's getting a little old for. This is a more grown up take on that style of book with full colour illustrations, colouring pages, stickers and puzzles. I loved it just as much as Bud. I think this would be a great book to keep children entertained on flights or long journeys, especially if their destination is featured in the book. I'm almost tempted to get the colouring pencils out and 'help' Bud with the colouring in. I'd say this one is perfect for Bud's age and above, 5+.

Lonely Planet Kids Books - Review and Giveaway

You Rule! - I thought that Bud would find this similar to the Spy book but he surprised me. We do try to expose him to the news carefully and to explain what is going on in the world in a gentle way. He's recently been asking about the refugee crisis and so has become quite familiar with the idea that there are wars and some people belong to one country and others to a different one, and some people can't stay in their country so move away. This book is subtitled 'create your own country' and we've been looking at it together. It's been really interesting to hear what Bud would do if he was in charge and, while a lot of the text goes over his head as it's geared towards older children, he is learning from it and is very interested when we look at it together.

Click through to view the full range of Lonely Planet Kids Books, the range is excellent and there's something for every child from age three and above. I can see a couple of the 'Adventures in...' sticker books making it on to Bud's Christmas List.

I've teamed up with Lonely Planet to offer one of my lucky readers the chance to win a fantastic bundle of their kids books. Whether a holiday treat or an extra gift (we can't guarantee delivery before Christmas) they are bound to delight your children. To enter the giveaway 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. 

Lonely Planet Kids Books

The Power of Music - Deeper Sleeper with Sealy UK

14:33 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I love music. It's been a big part of my life since childhood and, while I don't have the same amount of time to keep on top of all of the latest releases and hang on websites trying to score tickets to my favourites' gigs, or attend the gig even, I still listen to music everyday.

I've long been aware of the mood-changing potential of music. Whether it's an energising track to get your feet moving more quickly when out for a run, one of your favourite tracks which transports you to a happy place by hearing just a few notes, or a romantic track to create a mood on date night, music has power. This month's treat from the Sealy UK Deeper Sleep Panel focuses on the power of music to relax and calm, and help you get ready for a good night's sleep.

Getting to sleep has been an issue for me since I was a teenager and I've often used music to help with this. Back in the day it was drifting off with John Peel's dulcet tones and musical selection to soothe me to sleep. Obviously sharing a bed with Ian means that it's difficult for me to use music or radio in the same way as it could disturb him. In actuality he sleeps like a sedated elephant so it wouldn't be that difficult. Sealy UK have sent me a nifty gadget this month to make it easy for me to drift off with a little music.

The Power of Music - Deeper Sleeper with Sealy UK Sound Asleep Speaker Pillow

It's super simple to use the speaker pillow and you don't need headphones. Simply plug your phone or MP3 player into the lead attached to the pillow, use the volume controls on your device, place your head on the pillow and off you go.

When this pillow arrived I was sceptical. I couldn't understand how it works - there's a speaker inside but you can't feel it at all. The pillow is very comfortable to place your head upon. It really works. I can play music or the radio through it and neither my partner nor our littlest son who is still sleeping in our room are disturbed. It's brilliant!

The Power of Music - Deeper Sleeper with Sealy UK Sound Asleep Speaker Pillow

The only downside to this pillow is that it can't be machine washed. You can sponge it and air dry it though so I can't imagine that it will be too much of an issue. The lead is quite long so you can place your device quite far away if you don't like sleeping with your phone near your head, like me.

I've been using this pillow every night for the past couple of weeks and it is helping me to drop off to sleep. I'm so surprised that it works but it definitely does. Listening to music is my favourite way to relax and clear my mind at bedtime so I'm delighted to have it.

This month's Deeper Sleeper delivery has been inspired. I'll be back next month to try another sleep solution.

I am a member of the Sealy UK Deeper Sleeper Panel and was sent this pillow to try this month

What LM Wore - Bobux Splash Boots

14:32 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We love Bobux shoes and, even though Bud's feet are now too big for them (sob!), LM's aren't and we both love their range of colours and styles which offer something different to many of the high street chains.

What LM Wore - Bobux Splash Boots in Brick

LM really needed a pair of sturdy winter boots to keep her warm and dry over the next few months. It rains a lot where we live so a pair of waterproof boots for puddle jumping is a must when you don't want to wear your wellies. We chose the Bobux Splash Boots in Brick as we wanted a pair of boots that combined practicality with looking great on display, with leggings or tights tucked into them.

What LM Wore - Bobux Splash Boots in Brick

The boots are exactly the same high quality that we have come to expect from Bobux. The leather used is their innovative splashtex™ leather technology which makes them waterproof, hardwearing and cosy. I love the tweed effect, herringbone wool effect lining which is super soft against LM's legs and feet.

What LM Wore - Bobux Splash Boots in Brick

There are lots of little design features which we have come to expect from Bobux - the little loops on the sides to make them easy to get on and off, the subtle Bobux branding on the sides and the great quality, flexible sole combine to make this a great pair of boots. We love the cheery brick red colour and it goes with so many of LM's outfits. There's nothing better to brighten up a wintry day than a bright red pair of boots.

What LM Wore - Bobux Splash Boots in Brick

Bobux shoes and boots are designed to offer support and flexibility to a growing foot and I'm really confident that LM is comfortable in them. She asks to wear them and can actually get them on and off herself by zipping and unzipping the boots, a little bit of added independence that she loves.

What LM Wore - Bobux Splash Boots in Brick

LM has now been wearing her boots for a few weeks and they've coped well with everything that our Autumn has thrown at them so far. She's loved stomping through puddles and kicking through the leaves, jumping, walking and scooting; the boots have been wiped clean several times, which has made them look as good as new.

What LM Wore - Bobux Splash Boots in Brick

I'd wholeheartedly recommend these Bobux boots. They are another fantastic pair of shoes and I'm sure LM will get much more wear from them this Winter, she has a little growing room in there although they fit well. They are stylish, practical and perfect to keep your little ones warm and dry.

Bobux Splash Boots are available from Bobux UK and various independent retailers, Follow Bobux on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with all of their news too!

We received the boots for review purposes.

We're going on an adventure

Transformers Prime – Beasthunters: The Complete Season Three Box Set on DVD - Review and Giveaway

22:05 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Bud is really starting to enjoy the more grown up adventure animated series recently and a new favourite is Transformers Prime - Beast Hunters. We've just received the Complete Season Three box set so he has thirteen episodes to watch now!

Transformers Prime – Beasthunters: The Complete Season Three Box Set on DVD - Review and Giveaway

Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters – The Complete Season Three smashes its way onto shelves from today, 9th November.

Explosive action lands with an almighty crash this winter when you can take home all thirteen episodes of Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters – The Complete Season Three including all the unmissable exhilaration of Battle for Darkmount, Race for Salvation and the full length movie Predacons Rising. 

Transformers Prime – Beasthunters: The Complete Season Three Box Set on DVD - Review and Giveaway

Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters – Battle for Darkmount:
This explosive season begins immediately following the shocking cliffhanger of the monstrous war on earth between the Autobots and Decepticons. An heroic Optimus Prime sacrificed his own safety to ensure the escape of his army, but the Autobot base has been thrown into ruin. Now the only chance of survival is for the Autobots and humans to work together to defeat a common foe, protect their homelands and overthrow Megatron’s tyrannous regime once and for all.

Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters – Race for Salvation:
In this volume, the Decepticons battle the Autobots for control of fossilized Predacon bones. The Decepticons plan to use the bones to clone a nation of savage Predacons and unleash fear and terror onto the earth. Will the Autobots be able to defeat their arch rivals in time and save our planet?

Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters – Predacons Rising
The Autobots hit a whole army of problems when Megatron and his Decepticons destroy their base, scattering the team and when Shockwave becomes the brand new Decepticon weapon will it prove too much for the Autobots to face?With one more powerful weapon against them is this the time that Optimus Prime and the gang will fail to save the Autobots? Will this be the end for planet Earth?

The DVD box set weighs in at a huge 338 minutes in length, that's over five hours of Transformers Prime - Beasthunters action! Bud has loved what he's watched so far and I can see this DVD being viewed regularly in our house from now on.

Transformers Prime – Beasthunters: The Complete Season Three Box Set on DVD is out now and available from all usual stockists, including Amazon.

I've teamed up with Hasbro Studios to give away a copy of the DVD Box Set to one of my lucky readers. To enter the giveaway 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.

Transformers Prime – Beasthunters: The Complete Season Three Box Set on DVD

Win Amazing Prizes with Halfords for Black Friday

13:23 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

With Christmas fast approaching and Black Friday and Cyber Monday three weeks away, my thoughts have definitely turned to making sure that we are all set for Christmas. If I get the chance to I enjoy entering a few competitions in the run up to Christmas to see if I can add a few prizes to the present pot. I've spotted a fantastic giveaway over at Halfords to really help to build excitement for their Black Friday offers, with over £1500 prizes on offer it would be guaranteed to make Christmas much easier for the lucky winner.

Win Amazing Prizes with Halfords for Black Friday

There are three prize bundles available and they include bikes, tool sets, sat navs, car stereos and more. It's really easy to enter the giveaway, click on the image above for your chance to win. It's really simple to enter, just click through to the Black Friday giveaway, select your answer and fill out your details.

While you're on the Halfords website why not check out their range of offers available? On Black Friday last year they had great discounts on a range of brands including TomTom, Garmin and Autoglym. These could be the perfect gift for those car or gadget lovers. Cycling lovers won't be disappointed either with offers across Apollo and Carrera bikes, accessories and fitness equipment. 

You'll find a range of offers on the Halfords website and in store over the coming weeks. Head over to Halfords and enter the giveaway today.

In collaboration with Halfords

On Angel's Wings - DVD Review and Giveaway

17:12 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

New from Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, for Christmas, is On Angel's Wings. We caught this when it aired on TV last year so were delighted to be offered the chance to watch it again on DVD ready for this Christmas.


On Angel's Wings is a magical reimagining of the nativity story, adapted from the book by Michael Morpurgo (War Horse, Private Peaceful) and from the executive producer of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman and Father Christmas.

Featuring some amazing voice talent from Sir Michael Gambon, Juliet Stevenson, Dominic Cooper, Colin McFarlane and Maya Gerber,

On Angel's Wings - DVD Review and Giveaway

The story begins on a present day Christmas night. Rachel is eight and for the first time she is allowed to join her brothers and sister to visit their Grandfather Amos, as he carries out his annual ritual of a night in the hills, where he worked as a young shepherd boy.

Grandfather is delighted to see the children and a special bond is established between himself and Rachel. Like her, he was the youngest and was always getting in the way, struggling to do things better, fighting to be believed in. He tells them how she reminds him of a magical night and proceeds to recount how he was flown by the Angel Gabriel to become the first visitor to the newly-born Christ child, the Virgin Mary and Joseph.

The animation is beautiful and the story provides the perfect way to remember the real story of Christmas. We watched it and were left feeling really festive and excited. We'd recommend the DVD for families to share and think it would be the perfect film to watch on Christmas Eve,

On Angel's Wings - DVD Review and Giveaway

On Angel's Wings is out now on DVD and digital download and is available from all usual stockists, including Amazon.

I've teamed up with Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment to offer one of my readers the chance to win a copy of the DVD for their family. To enter the giveaway 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.

On Angel's Wings DVD Giveaway

Christmas 2015 with Red Rose Mummy

Click here to see all of our Christmas posts including gift ideas, fun and giveaways!

Steffi Love by Pixie Lott: Magical Dreams - Magical Mermaid Giveaway

23:40 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I have another fantastic giveaway for you today. Pixie Lott has teamed up with Simba Toys to create her own collection of Steffi Love dolls - the Magical Dreams range, based around all the wonderful and magical moments that Pixie herself has dreamt of!

Steffi Love by Pixie Lott: Magical Dreams - Magical Mermaid Giveaway

The new range includes four dolls themed around fairies, princesses and mermaids and we will be bringing you a review of some of them soon, but today I am giving one of my lucky readers the chance to enchant a little girl by winning one of the brand new Magical Mermaid dolls from the range. 

Steffi Love by Pixie Lott: Magical Dreams - Magical Mermaid Giveaway

Go on a mystical underwater adventure with the Magical Mermaid Steffi Love Doll. With this 29cm Steffi Love Doll you can even take your adventures on land as this magical mermaid can transform into a doll and then back again into a mermaid! Included in the pack is a hairbrush so you can brush her long, luxurious red hair and the doll also comes complete with two cute little pet merbabies!

With a price range of £3:99 - £12:99 the Steffi Love by Pixie Lott: Magical Dreams collection is bound to be on many Christmas lists this year. Each doll comes complete with a VIP invite code from Steffi and Pixie Lott, which you can use to unlock secret videos and fun games online at www.steffilove.co.uk.

Steffi Love by Pixie Lott: Magical Dreams - Magical Mermaid Giveaway

For your chance to win your own Magical Mermaid Steffi Love doll 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.

If you'd like to purchase a Steffi Doll then check out the House of Fraser range of Action Figures and Dolls.

Steffi Love Magical Mermaids Giveaway

Christmas 2015 with Red Rose Mummy

Click here to see all of our Christmas posts including gift ideas, fun and giveaways!