Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Bambino Mio Swaddle Blankets

A few weeks ago Elsie was sent a set of Bambino Mio's swaddle blankets. Now I am already a Bambino Mio fan and regularly use their fabulous nappies on Zach and so I was intrigued to see how good their non nappy products were! The Bambino Mio swaddle blankets are basically giant muslins and I love muslins! They have so many uses, fold up small and are easily washed and dried. What's not to love? 

The great thing about these are the size. I first used them as swaddle blankets but Elsie soon wanted her freedom and didn't want to be swaddled any more but I found she loved to sleep on top of her swaddle blanket. So I always leave one on top of the sheet in her bedside cot and silly as it sounds she gets upset if it isn't there as it has become a comfort to her. I also use one as a sheet in her pushchair carrycot as they are so easy to clean and dry between uses. I find it incredibly handy to have one of these swaddle blankets in my change bag in case of any emergencies. It can be used as an extra blanket in the pushchair when it's chilly, or best of all if your baby gets a runny nose or is sick at all it is great for mopping up anything and can be quickly rewashed. I could talk about all the different uses it could have but that would be one huge blog post and I'm sure you get the gist. 

I love the patterns on the swaddle blankets the pink stars on white is truly beautiful and it is also available in blue stars. I would love to see it available in  few different colours though. I thought maybe black stars on grey or something something similar would be really cool and gender neutral! 

The price per pack is £16.99 and for that you get two large swaddle blankets. Each blanket is 120cm x 120cm in size. I definitely think the Bambino Mio swaddle blankets would make an excellent thoughtful gift for a new baby or even a baby shower gift for a pregnant lady. I would be pleased to have received them myself. They even have regular special offers so you might get a great deal when buying them. If you subscribe to the newsletter on their website you will get these offers straight to your inbox.

The Bambino Mio swaddle blankets can be found on the website HERE along with all of their other fantastic products. I would seriously recommend having a browse!

I received the item featured free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Teacher Gifts: Homemade Rose Flavoured Chocolate Buttons

Deciding on a gift for teachers can be so much hard work. I decided that it would be nice to make something special with Gracie to say thanks. We have made a Rose flavoured chocolate button with a violet crystal topping. As they look and taste so good I thought I would share with you. Best of all they take only 20 minutes to make!

100g milk chocolate
1/2 tsp rose water
1/4 tsp sunflower oil
Violet Crystals

1. Break up the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Gently stir until the chocolate is fully melted.
2. Remove from heat and stir in half a teaspoon of rose water and quarter of a teaspoon of sunflower oil. 
3. Line some baking trays with non stick baking paper. I used three as my trays are only small ( I also used a small amount of tape to hold the paper in place as the chocolate drops are not heavy).
4. Using a teaspoon, drop small amounts of the chocolate mixture onto the baking trays being careful to try and make them small and round in size.
5. When the buttons are starting to set scatter a pinch of violet crystals over the top of each of the buttons then leave to set in a cool dry place.

The recipe is easy enough to get the kids involved, particularly in breaking up the chocolate, stirring and sprinkling on the violet crystals. Let them help you check on them and taste them while you wait to package them up. I waited around 4 hours before packing them up.

I bought some cute little glass jars, you can get a set of four for just £1.50 in Ikea ours are from Tesco but are exactly the same but are £1 each. (I've stocked up in Ikea for family presents). To decorate we then made little tags using coloured card, writing the teachers and teaching assistants names on each and a little message saying 'Merry Christmas love from Gracie' on the back and tied it round the jar using a cute grey wool string. Alternatively, you could package them into a presentation box which would be just as nice.

So there you have it, a nice and easy idea for homemade gifts for teachers, friends and family. You could even experiment with different types of chocolate and flavourings. I have a dark chocolate, a dairy free chocolate and a chocolate orange version planned to make over the next week.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Hape Farm Animals Block Puzzle

Zach was recently sent the Hape farm animals block puzzle to try out. Zach loves wooden puzzles. He doesn't like anything too fiddly as he gets easily frustrated when he struggles to put anything together. The Hape farm animals block puzzle makes things a lot easier for toddlers. With just 9 blocks to put together it really does keep things simple. However each block has a different piece of a puzzle on each of it's six sides meaning there are six different puzzles to put together. Each of the puzzles is a picture of a well known farm animal and the pictures have different background colours so you can teach your child to look out for the colour coding to help them to create their picture.

I love how the puzzle incorporates different learning skills such as problem solving (by learning how to put the picture together), they can also help to teach the names of animals and the noises they make (sometimes children take in discussions about these things much better when they are playing), even physical skills are learnt simply by them figuring out how to put it together in place or stacking them upwards to create the picture.

Of course it's not all about learning! Blocks are great for building towers and all sorts. There are many possibilities when using the Hape farm animals block puzzle to have hours of fun either independently or as a family. 

The Hape farm animals block puzzle has a recommended age of 24 months+ but I would honestly say that it could be used by even younger children. The puzzle is priced at £9.99 on Amazon here making it the perfect stocking filler or gift for Christmas.

I received the item featured free of charge  for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, 12 December 2014

The First Nativity

This week Gracie had her first nativity. It is something I have looked forward to since before she was even born. I had always imagined watching my kids grow up. Attending every school concert or performance and finally this week I got to attend the first one. I know for the next 14 years or so I will see plenty of their performances and I can't imagine ever missing one.

The build up is great. For weeks Gracie has been coming home singing the different concert songs her favourites being 'Away in a manger' and 'Christmas Pudding'. The nursery class do a concert on their own separate from the other year groups and we were all amazed at how well they did! For a bunch of three and four year olds they were brilliant! All singing, playing instruments and doing the actions, there was only one to cry because he got shy. They all sat quietly and joined in with the story of Jesus being told by a local Vicar. It was absolutely lovely to watch! 

Gracie was an elf. It was no traditional nativity but the songs all fitted nicely! She looked so proud of herself on stage and kept giving us huge smiles when she saw us all watching her. It was seriously one of the cutest things I have ever seen in my life and I can't wait for the next one!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Phillips Spiderman 2 in 1 Nightlight & Projector

Zach is a huge Spider-Man fan! He loves the films, loves to dress as him and even had a Spider-man themed birthday this year.  Any Spider-Man themed gifts are definitely a winner in this house. Philips have a range of Spider-Man lights perfect for a child's bedroom. We were sent the Spider-man projector to try out. 

The Spider-man projector is both a nightlight and projector in one. It comes with three small discs containing different shots of Spider-Man in action. Your child can then project the images of Spider-Man onto the ceiling in a dark room. When they are done they can also switch it to the nightlight setting to give out a comforting glow.

Zach loves being able to watch Spider-Man on his bedroom ceiling at night before I switch the nightlight on. The picture is fantastically clear and there are plenty of different pictures to look at on the three separate discs. The whole projector is easy for a child to use independently. With a simple switch to change from nightlight to projector and the disc is easily turned by a child to change picture.

The Phillips Spiderman nighlight and projector would be a great addition to any little boys bedroom and I would say suitable from around 12 months as long as they are supervised. It is battery operated so no need to worry about loose wires around the room. It would be a great prop for making up Spiderman bedtime stories.

As you can see it does still work in the daytime, it's just not quite as effective. Not that that bothers Zach at all, I regularly find him pointing it at the walls to try and catch Spiderman. I am so impressed with the Spiderman projector that I am on the hunt for the Frozen version for Gracie, although I haven't been lucky enough to find it in stock anywhere yet!

You can buy the Spiderman nightlight and projector on Amazon here for just £19.99. 

We were sent the item featured free of charge for the purpose of this review but all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The School Run Featuring The Trunki ToddlePak

Being a mum of three under four it would be so easy to get stressed over the school run each morning. Gracie started Nursery in September just after Elsie arrived and it was a struggle to begin with as I was still recovering from my C-Section. Zach was not even two yet and all of a sudden was having to walk everywhere whilst Elsie took the pushchair. Now that things have settled it has certainly become more manageable. Some days I decide to babywear with Elsie and put Zach in the pushchair but I like to let Zach have a bit of freedom most days. It can be a struggle controlling him near roads though whilst pushing the pushchair and also keeping an eye on Gracie. So I've been trying to come up with ways to make the school run more fun for him but with a bit of added safety!

I spotted the Trunki Toddlepak back at The Baby Show Olympia and discussed with them how I thought they would be great for the school run. Depending on whether Zach would like being restrained that is! And so this is how we have been trying it out. 

Zach loves foxes, apart from Pandas, they are his favourite animals. He likes to wear his 'fox' to go out. So I let him. I attach the harness but hold it loosely whilst holding his hand, walking along nicely to avoid him feeling like he's on a lead. Then when he wants to walk ahead I let him and call him to wait if he goes to far to avoid me pulling at him or vice versa. Walking nicely gets boring though and Zach has a lot of energy. We have come to an agreement that when it rains he can jump in puddles on the way to school (encouraging him to find the next one to speed him up!) and back but when it's dry he walks nice until we have Gracie (otherwise we would never get there on time!) then once we've got her we take a slow walk home and he can explore as much as he wants. There is a small field on the way home that he likes to run around and a great little adventurous area we found next to a car park with steep little hills for him to run up and down. So just before he gets to these I unhook the harness and just leave the fox on and he has so much fun playing. 

By turning the school run into a kind of game for him we have made it so much easier and with smiles and laughter rather than temper tantrums. I also find a stress free school run really makes a difference to my day too and motivates me to get on with everything I need to do. 

So thanks Trunki for that extra bit of help from the Toddlepak!

The Toddlepak costs £17.99 and is available to buy here

We were sent the Trunki Toddlepak free of charge for the purpose of this post but all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Baby's First Christmas Gift Guide

I know it can be difficult to buy for a babies first Christmas. I am finding it especially difficult this year with Elsie. I do however have a few really great ideas here and a few of these items are wrapped and ready for Elsie, the rest are cute items she already has.

Book/Soft Toy Set

We have a few of these cute sets now and the kids love them. I have always read to my kids even before they understood what I was doing. These cuddly toys are great for when they are little and they can cuddle them whilst you calmly read them a story. They are also good as they get older and start to recognise that the character in the story is the same as their toy. This book is great for teaching them to count as they get older and familiarising them with numbers in a fun way.

Photobox Soft Baby Photo Book

It's difficult to do this picture justice in a photograph but this is by far the best first Christmas present any of my children will ever get! The quality of the 'Soft Baby Photobook' is fantastic and I love how I could make the photo book into a short story of our family for Elsie to enjoy. She can look at the pictures and we can read the words to her as she gets older. Then even when she is a lot older it is something we can really treasure as it really is special. The eight page photo book costs £30.99 . You can also buy 4 page, 12 page and 16 page books. I however thought the eight was just perfect! The soft books are even safe to wash and Iron if they need freshening up. Also Photobox always have fantastic offers on their website so it is always a great place to look for photo gifts.

Of course all babies need blankets. They make great presents especially for those under six months (the hardest age to buy for!). Personalisation makes that blanket that bit more special. I love this blanket of Elsie's (Personalised white cable knit blanket) and it certainly draws attention. I've had many people question where the lovely blanket is from whilst out and about. It is great quality and would make a lovely memorable gift. The blanket costs £25 and although the colour you see is unisex there are a few choices of colour for the personalisation which is a lovely added touch. This blanket can be found on the My 1st years website along with lots of other fabulous personalised gifts.

Me to You

I love the me 2 you range of gifts especially the baby items. How cute is this 'My 1st Christmas' hat and rattle?! Elsie has already been getting her use out of the hat for the festive season and the rattle has been put away in her Stocking for Christmas. She loves rattles, the noises are very stimulating for babies and I especially think that soft ones are fab for younger babies. Rattles in particular are magic in our house. Elsie can go from screaming one minute to fixated and smiling at a rattle. Definitely a must have item for all babies! This hat and rattle set costs £10 and is available at Amazon and other retailers. (You can see photo's of the hat in action on my Instagram page).

Marks & Spencer

This Christmas jumper dress and tight set was actually sent to me to review for the Mumii website but I love it so much I thought I would give it a mention here too! The quality is amazing. It is lovely and soft but also thick to keep her warm in this nasty weather. The sizing is great and it is very reasonably priced at £15 for the set. It comes in sizes 0-3 months to 18-24 months and so would be a great gift for a first Christmas. The dress is available to buy here

A few of the items featured were sent to me free of charge however all opinions are my own.