I the love the concept behind these beautiful necklaces by Mary Steratore, a former archeologist, who gave up her career to pursue her love of fine art.
‘B.U’ stands for be you – something that I think is so important for all young girls and women to understand and own. As any regular reader will know, I only have boys, but if I had a daughter I would make it my mission to impress upon her that she is beautiful and wonderful in her own way and that she needs to be herself and not change for boyfriends, friends or anything else (of course I do this for the boys, but I think young girls are subjected to more peer and media pressure).
Each delicate piece is designed in Rome, Italy and has a personal symbolic meaning that is detailed on a message card in the designer gift box that comes with it. Messages such as ‘Be the change’ are not only inspirational but sentimental between two loved ones. The jewellery is handcrafted from sterling silver and features gemstones and gold highlight.
To see more about this stunning range, or to order one for your daughter, visit the Sheva Jewellery site here.
This is a truly incredible product and something that I honestly believe should replace EVERY fish tank in every preschool or school to encourage children to learn about ecosystems and the importance of growing our own food.
When our kids are little most of us feel that it is really important for them to get in the garden and learn about planting and growing their own food (see my post about the wonderful in the koop if you are interested in growing food with your tinkers) but as they get older this desire to encourage them to grow themselves seems to dwindle off as we focus on helping them through school, exams and into potential careers as they grow.
Well, this product is just the ticket for all ages. The double decker design means that the plants purify the water for the fish to live in whilst the fish offers nutrition for the plants via its waste. Older children will learn about the fertilisation of the plants from the fish and how that works as an ecosystem (something they will cover in biology and science at school), younger children will enjoy planting and growing the herbs and plants such as basil, and everyone loves to look at fish! Whats more – if you aren’t a fan of cleaning out the fish tank – you don’t have to with this one – it’s self cleaning because of the plants.
Its inspiring right? You can find out more here.
Um, how cute?
Sometimes cute can be a bit cliché but not here, oh no, these are just down right cute. These little booties made from eco-friendly felted wool by Kyrgyz artisans, are exclusive to uncommon goods.com and are the idea gift for a new baby or for a mama to be.
There are different styles to suit all tastes and the natural wool is dyed, spun and felted before being stitched – all completely by hand!
All I can say is I will be needing a pair for baby when he/she arrives!
You can read more about them here.
Sometimes it can seem like everything in your home has gone from being stylish and cool to being a haven for a Disney fanatics convention – nothing wrong with that, but it is nice to retain some of your previous style, even when it comes down to something as simple as table wear.
I think that Lässig 4kids dish sets combine the best of both worlds. They have fun and brightly coloured patterns and characters that will make even the hardest to please kids smile, however they have been done so stylishly that Mama will be happy too.
You can check out the full range here.
P.s – they do some lovely bags too!
I love this idea – what a great alternative to chocolate and sweets this Easter, after all the kids are going to get enough chocolate from Grandparents and other family members! I’m always looking for things that I can add to the boys Easter baskets without having to spend a fortune, and if I can make them – all the better!
So here’s what you will need:
- 2 cups Flour
- 1 cup salt
- 4 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
- 2 packages of unsweetened Orange Kool-Aid (or orange colouring)
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Plastic cone shaped bags – these are usually used for icing and you can get them in any food store or cake shop.
- Green curling ribbon to tie.
So mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar with the orange Kool-Aid (this will give it a wonderful scent of oranges, but if you don’t have any or can’t get any near you, then use the food colouring) together in a saucepan, then add the water and oil stiring together over a medium heat to form a dough. Once that is done, let it cool down a bit until you can knead it, then knead until totally smooth.
Add the now orange playdoh to the plastic bags, this forms the main part of your ‘carrot’. Tie with green curling ribbon.
I hope you enjoy making these, they are really easy to do and look great!
Every child loves stories, and they all love to hear about themselves in stories don’t they? So when I came across the fantastic personalised books from Unique Editions I jumped at the chance to get a book for Reuben.
There range is wonderful, the books are just so well illustrated and absolutely lovely. With such a wide range I really struggled to choose a book for Roo, but I did eventually settle on Travel the World… with Reuben by Estelle Rose – I just loved the idea of Reuben travelling around the world from page to page and sitting reading the book with him teaching him about all the places he is visiting.
The ordering process for these books is so thorough too. They make sure that you get the very best picture and that you are happy with your selection before anything goes to print – something a lot of companies don’t do.
Not only can you have singular books but you can choose from baby books, family books and friend/siblings books. You can even choose from different languages or opt for an e-book. I will be ordering a book for Toby in a few months time when he is really more into sitting down and looking at books without trying to pull the pages. I am also considering ordering a few books for Roo in French and who knows maybe we’ll go for something as a family?!
You can check out Unique Editions and their wonderful range of personalised books, including their personalised gifts section, here.
This is a really interesting topic for me, especially now we are hitting the name books and trying to decide what to call our third child. It’s no easy feat to decide your child’s name – we spent hours upon hours discussing (arguing) about it, and we only came to a decision once the boys were born.
I was sent an article by my mother in law (you can read it here) about the impact that names can have on a child’s future and I didn’t find it surprising to know that over the last 70 years researchers have been trying to gauge how names have impacted the careers, social experiences and lives in general of the bearer. What I did find surprising was that just about everything seemed to be influenced by name, from children with A/B names grading higher in exams than those with D/E names (statistically relevant or just coincidence?) or that employers in the US, according to a study undertaken in 2003, have been more likely to employ someone if they have a traditionally ‘white’ name as opposed to a traditionally ‘black’ name… isn’t a name just a name?
I have come up against this name prejudice myself, certain names I have liked I have been told by friends or even family, wouldn’t suit my baby because they are ‘black’ names, ‘too common’, ‘too random’ or even ‘it’s a bit posh/wet/wimpy/flouncy’. Where do we get off as a society judging people by a name – don’t we preach to our kids not to judge a book by the cover? And isn’t a name like the cover of a book, it’s the person behind it that matters?
I can understand name associations – we all have associations, and when we are discussing (arguing about) names I always thank my lucky stars neither of us are teachers. It’s normal to say things like, ‘I’m not keen on that name because it reminds me of a child who bullied me at school’ or ‘It’s an ex partners name and I have bad memories’. To me, that is a plausible reason to not want to use a particular name, but did you know that a study conducted at Oxford university between 2008 – 2013 showed that the correlation of the first names between students in attendance and the general population of the same age bracket didn’t match up. Girls with the name Eleanor, Anna or Katherine were far more likely to attend than girls named Stacey, Kayleigh or Jade, and for boys Peter, Simon and Richard were in high attendance in comparison to Connor, Reece or Shane. The conclusion was that Eleanor is a more popular name amongst the higher classes of society than Jade, and that the opportunities that were presented to those different classes were not equal – but I find it upsetting that names are associated with class as well as everything else. I wondered what position does Reuben or Tobias lie in – maybe we should try to mimic classic names that are associated with higher social standings in order to secure a foot in the door for our kids? Scary huh?
I also read in the article that we are starting to value individualism as a society more, meaning that we are trying to choose names that aren’t so popular, I’ve been guilty of this too, but does it show that we are more focused on what other people name their children than we should be?
So what do you think, is a name everything? Would you think differently about a child if they were called Blasé as opposed to George? Do you think that some parents are down right cruel with their kids names or is it simply a matter of taste?
Let’s be honest here in not-so-sunny England the spring and summer collections are often a little ambitious, sadly the changing of the seasons over here doesn’t mean that we can just ditch the cardigans and jumpers in favour of spaghetti straps and shorts.
This is what I love about Tootsa Macginty, it is practical fashion for all year round. There are jumpers and cardigans in the range are thinner than in winter but still warm enough to ward off those chilly breezes later on in the evening, as well as shorts and vest tops for hotter days. I love the collection – the bright, fun unisex colours and the funky patterns that makes even the glummest spring day seem bright!
You can kick start your children’s spring/summer wardrobes by getting hold of some of the brilliant Tootsa Macginty range here.
As a newly pregnant woman, my mind is already beginning to turn towards maternity clothes and I won’t lie, I get very excited at the thought of purchasing a new wardrobe and pieces that will compliment my new shape. That being said, it is also a little bit daunting – after years of dressing your body and knowing what suits and what doesn’t, your body is suddenly different and totally foreign to you in a matter of months!
Enter the new eStylist service from the brilliant Isabella Oliver.
With over 10 years experience in dressing pregnant women these are the guys who know what they are talking about. Their stylists are on hand to discuss all of your pregnancy wardrobe worries and can help you with everything from what pieces will suit your lifestyle and give you comfort throughout your pregnancy, how to style for an occasion (something I desperately needed when I was pregnant with Toby because we had several big occasions and I hate to admit I managed to style myself as more bloated whale than blossoming mother to be more than once!), they can even help you with choosing a wardrobe for comfortable and easy nursing to help you look and feel stylish post baby.
I love the fact that the service is totally catered to your needs, if you would like to have a video call with a stylist that is available, or if it would suit your needs more to work via email with questions and worries that need answers, such as ‘What top would suit me for breastfeeding as I am quite large chested but don’t like low neck lines’ or ‘How can I hide my post baby belly and nurse comfortably (that would be my question!)’ – Isabella Oliver is on hand to help. You can even make appointments between 10am to 7.30pm Monday to Saturday.
The best thing about this fabulous service? It’s free.
If you want to get yourself some advice about your pregnancy and post baby wardrobe then you can visit them Isabella Oliver site here.
P.s – there is never a better time to make an appointment with the wonderful new SS14 line from Isabella Oliver on sale now. You can check out the full new range here.
Every year we give my In laws an easter gift or card from the boys – it is never anything impressive or bought, but just homemade and from the heart.
One of the things I love to do is use handprints and footprints to make little gifts and cards, after all those little feet will grow so quickly and I will miss them so very much, I want to have lots of things to remember just how tiny they were. So this year for Easter we will be making a couple of cards using our hand and foot prints and then decorating them to make them look like chicks and bunnies – cute right!?
To make a little card you need -
- White and pink paint for a bunny
- Yellow and orange paint for a chick
- A4 sheet of Coloured card – think spring!
- Goggly eyes
- Black felt tip
- Glue stick
Take your card and fold it in half – this will give you a line so you won’t have half of your bunny or chick on the wrong side! Place the folded card on the floor and get your little one to put their hand (bunny) or foot (chick) in the appropriate paint (white for a bunny or yellow for a chick) or if you want to minimise the mess you can paint your child’s hand or foot and then get them to stand or push their hand onto the card. Wipe off their hands and feet and use the contrasting paint (pink for a bunny or orange for a chick) to add inner ears to the bunny and wings to the chick.
Once we get round to this time of year the sun is beginning to shine and the weather is drying up, so I will usually do any painting outside in our painting clothes (I don’t use bibs – we have designated painting clothes, easier to pop in the washing machine and a good way to ensure that nice clothes don’t get spoiled if the bib is ripped or pulled) so mess is no problem for me and the kids will usually have a play while we leave the paintings or crafts to dry in the sunshine and fresh air.
Once the paintings are dry add the definition to the animals with a black felt tip pen – I have to say I do this part myself, if I give the felt tip to the boys they will just draw over the picture and doodle, and although there is nothing wrong with that, I want the picture to look like something! Let the kids stick the goggly eyes on – 1 for the chick, 2 for the bunny – leave to set and then fill in with whatever message you want!
This is so easy to do, and you could even make one for your little ones teachers.
I love these little play shoes from Playtoes!
So cute and such a good idea for a baby who has just started to find their feet (is there anything cuter than when they first realise they have feet?!). Anyone who has a child over the age of 3 months will be able to tell you that during that phase of exploration, babies are obsessed with their feet, and have a flexibility that would make the ballerinas at the Royal Ballet School envious. So if we all know this, why is there so little out there to encourage babies to reach and explore their feet?
Well, good news – now there’s playtoes!
Essentially, this is the toy that will go everywhere with you and your baby, without fear of losing it or dropping it on the floor – because baby is wearing it! The shoes come in pink or blue and both have the cutest little details on to keep baby entertained. They rattle, crinkle, and have moveable parts – come on, whats not to love! The soles are black and white to stimulate baby’s vision, which is said to promote cognitive development.
I’m so impressed by these wonderful little shoes that I have teamed up with Playtoes to offer you the chance to win a pair!
All you have to do is comment below and tell me who you would like to win these for – is it a friend’s baby? Maybe your own little one who’s obsessed with their feet and pulling off their socks all the time?
You have until 25th April to win these little shoes, and you can also enter on Facebook, twitter or instagram.
Good luck all! You can buy a pair of Playtoes for yourself from their website here.
Plan toys are, well, I can’t even think what would surmise them.
Fantastic. Philanthropic. Ingenious. All of the above.
They were the first company in the world to produce toys from rubber wood, after their founder decided there had to be a better way to use all of the wood that was just being burnt after use in his native country. They are now a 100% sustainable company. Totally sustainable – something that is so hard to achieve!
In 2010 Plan Toys developed PlanWood, a totally new concept – essentially it is made from sawdust and left over wood particles from the process of manufacturing toys in factories. This company literally waste nothing, and because of their frugal efforts, the world saw the first toys made from PlanWood.
PlanWood is totally waterproof, it can even be left in the bath for days on end and doesn’t deteriorate. Plan toys are the only company is the world that also use soy or water based inks to dye their products and only 1% eco-friendly glue in their PlanWood. Everthing is sustainable and they have even built their own factories and power plants, which provide also provide power for the local community for free. Pretty special, right?
The boys absolutely love their submarine, it is great fun! Reuben spent forever filling it up with water and then emptying it out, over and over again! The colours are vibrant and fun – something I love about these bath toys, but because they are wooden and well made they look attractive enough that I’m not twitching every time they are left out in the bathroom after we’ve had a play!
You can find out more about these bath toys, and the rest of the wonderful Plan toys range from greatgizmos.com.
This is a problem that so many people face, in fact a friend recently requested I feature some kind of solution on the blog because her daughter was frequently taking her arms out of her 5 point harness in the car, which of course is really dangerous in a collision (but you try explaining that to a 2 year old!).
This really is the only way forward and should, in my oh-so-humble opinion, be sold with every single 5 point harness car seat, possibly even included in the design of them – but its not, so if you do have the above problem this one is for you.
The 5 point plus anti escape system works in a very unique way because it sits behind and to the side of the child, unlike a conventional ‘safety’ clip with sits across the chest and is proven to cause more harm than good in an accident, putting unnecessary strain on the vital organs.
So how does it work? You can see in the picture that it creates a barrier to the gap where children will normal slot their arms to get under and out using ‘wings’ that come around and click over the harness straps. There is no physical way, no matter how small your child is, for them to slip their arms out – which means it can be used in every, yes every, type of car seat. Right from birth! Ingenious. The other important thing to mention is that it doesn’t affect the buckle at all, which is vital, because in a serious collision if a safety official (such as a firefighter) needed to cut your child out of their seat they wouldn’t find several barriers which slows them down.
To find out more and watch them videos of how this truly fantastic product works you need to visit their site, which you can do here.
Ok, its definitely getting warmer (come on, the more we say it England, the more likely it is that it will happen!) and we are all dashing out to the shops who are stocking up on the usual summer garden fare – bouncy castles, paddling pools, garden tool sets etc.
But what about your grumpy teen (or even tween) who wants to do something sooo much cooler this summer? How about trying your very own slacklining kit?
What the devil is slacklining? Well, soon-to-be-super-cool-knowledgeable-mamas, slacklining is the art of balancing on a flat line of webbing that is anchored between two points – a little bit like tightrope walking, but because of the webbing this is a little bit more springy.
You can now buy your own kits for your garden so that your kids can walk the plank, balance in funky ways and just generally have fun! I think this is a brilliant idea for a Mama with slightly older kids – its gets them outdoors, having fun, instead of stuck inside behind a PS4 or watching movies. With the recent craze of parkour and free running still being a huge favourite with tweens and teens too, this is sure to be a hit.
I love Mavericks slacklines, their products are fun and funky but they have so much information about slacklining – how to enjoy it safely, set it up at home, the list goes on and on.
Now, if you are worried about the trees that would normally serve as an anchor point for slacklining, have no fear. You can buy tree safety products to go along side your kit or read Mavericks slacklines advice about treeless anchoring here.
If you want to find out more about slacklining or get your own kit, then visit Mavericks slack lines here.
Australian based Stuck on you were the first label making company for kids to dominate the market in 1995, why – because they are awesome!
Name labels are something that we all have to use for our kids, right from when they first start nursery, so I think it is important to share when we find a really great manufacturer! Stuck on you products come in such a variety of choices that there really is something to suit everyone. They are tough. They are durable. They don’t scratch or smudge and they don’t wash off. A little bit like red wine on the carpet, when it’s in, it’s in.
What I love the most about Stuck on you is the different styles and types of products that they cater for, especially the right and left labels for your shoes and the design it yourself labels that have enough room to add allergy information or addresses.
You can check out the brilliant Stuck on you website here.
Matkins are super stylish portable table mat and napkin accessory holder and I am in love with them!
The Matkin is 100% cotton on one side with a highly stain-resistant, BPA, PVC, and phthalate free material on the other side so you know you or your family will have a safe, and most importantly, clean surface to eat on when you go out – because let’s face it, a lot of places are taking grubby to a whole new level nowadays!
Not only does this roll up as a quick and easy to use placemat, but there is also a super adorable matching minikin (napkin) to go with the matkin, and a brilliant poppet pocket which is perfect for putting utensils or a little treat if you send the kids to school with this in their lunch box. You could even put a little love note in, which we all know as Mums is going to be really embarrassing for our kids – so do it!
Each Matkin ties up with little ribbons that have complimenting beads on – I told you they were cute!
I think these are a must have for the upcoming picnic season and would be perfect for Mamas who want something that will roll up really easily in their bag for those day trips out.
Find out more about them on the Matkins website here.
Oh how I have fallen for this brand! Cake lingerie recently sent me over a new maternity/nursing bra set to test out and I couldn’t be more thrilled with it.
The brand is based in Australia and has such a wide range of maternity/nursing underwear to suit all shapes, sizes and preferences. Personally, I prefer to have something underwired – I just don’t feel I get the support I need when I don’t have it. Generally speaking the majority of high street stores won’t offer underwire support for maternity bras because wires can cause damage to the soft breast tissue and damage the milk ducts, but Cake lingerie offer a soft and flexible wire bra that is not only supportive but really beautiful and comfy.
All three in one – pretty impressive already right!?
The bra that I am using is the Dark Chocolate Bra, which does have their soft flexible wire and it is fantastic. The bandwidth at the back has 6 hooks instead of the usual 3, which means it will grow with me throughout my pregnancy and then will tighten again as I go back to my pre-pregnancy shape. The top of the cup is stretchy so it will also grow with me, but it is super soft and so comfortable.
I was so excited when the package arrived, these are the perfect gift for someone expecting or nursing – the packaging is just lovely and it makes you feel special and attractive – not only that there is a really handy booklet in every pack to help you ensure you have the right size and style for your stage of pregnancy, body shape and needs.
I can’t recommend Cake Lingerie enough if you are expecting or if you have just had a baby and are nursing, you can check out their full range here.
Now that I am expecting I wanted to start a pregnancy diary to share with everyone the ups and downs of my pregnancy! Little things are often so important during this special time, I want a place to write them all down and share them with you all – I promise to be honest and truthful!
I am 6 weeks pregnant at the moment! My clothes are beginning to feel a little bit snugger than before and I am constantly hungry! I could eat pretty much anything, anytime. So far I haven’t been suffering with any morning sickness, although I have felt really tired on an afternoon, then much more awake again in the late evening.
I am so happy and excited, I feel like I am in a blissful state of wonder that we are being blessed again with another beautiful life! Baby is roughly the size of a lentil – my little lentil. We have been talking to Reuben about the fact that we are having a baby and it will be another little brother or sister for him, he said he was very happy but he would rather have a truck! I’m pretty sure he’s going to be extremely disappointed when I don’t present him with a brilliant red truck in nine months time…
P.s – You can read these anytime by clicking on the category The Pregnancy Diaries.
I have been testing out these excellent drinks from Water Baby and they are just what the doctor ordered. So far in my pregnancy I haven’t been feeling queasy, but I have been quite tired. These drinks have been really refreshing and given me just the boost I’ve needed!
Getting serious, folic acid is extremely important during pregnancy (specifically in the first 12 weeks) but of course we all know that it can be nigh on impossible to take tablets when suffering with morning sickness which is the most common in the early stages of pregnancy. This drink is the perfect solution, it can be sipped throughout the day and will provide you with your 400mg of folic acid, while hydrating you – especially if you are vomiting.
Hopefully the sickness won’t get too bad for me with this pregnancy, it was less of an issue with Toby than it was with Reuben, so hopefully it will something I can avoid this time completely! If I do have any problems the Water Baby ‘Calm lemon and ginger’ flavour is perfect for morning sickness – ginger is known to aid sickness so it is something I will be relying on!
At the moment my favourite flavour is Cranberry, closely followed by citrus – they are delicious!
You can find out so much more about Water Baby and folic acid in take during early pregnancy here. You’ll also be able to find out where to order your supply from.
P.s – Folic acid is also extremely beneficial for arthritis and bad joint pain, so if you suffer with that this could be ideal for you.
Well, its official both of the boys have chicken pox! Reuben is covered in spots and Toby is getting more and more as we speak after waking up with his ‘king pin’ this morning.
Fortunately for me, both boys are dealing with it really well, despite being a little bit clingier than usual, it has been more a case of bad tempers/grumpiness and poor sleeping over the last few days (which we now understand but chalked up to testing boundaries at the time!). Toby has suffered the worst with vomiting and diarrhoea before the spots arrived, which you can’t really do anything about other than keep them hydrated.
Unfortunately both boys have been graced with quite a few spots on their faces (Reuben has an especially nasty spot on his chin and one in his hair line) so we have been using a few preventative measures to try and help them to cope with the chicken pox and avoid any lasting scars. I thought I would share them with you (please always remember to consult your doctor, I’m not a specialist – these are things that worked for my kids)
- Calamine lotion - this is to be dabbed all over the spots. It acts as a barrier and soothes the spots – Roo thought it was hilarious when I was dabbing calamine all over his spots and it did seem to help his itching.
- Allergy relief medication for kids – this was something that the doctor told me to use when I called for some advice because of the big spot on Roo’s chin and forehead. It takes away the itchiness of your child’s spots and helps them to stop scratching. We used an own brand liquid as the boys are too young to take tablets easily. This was so helpful for Reuben when he first started.
- Bio oil! That little bottle of bio oil that you have left over from your pregnant days is back in business! I was advised that once all of the spots have scabbed over bio oil is a fantastic way to ensure that they don’t scar and heel well. As Reuben has managed to pick the scab on his chin a few times this is something we will be applying in abundance!
- Don’t push them to wear their clothes. For the first few hours when Reuben’s spots all showed up he flatly refused to wear anything – pants, tops, trousers – you name it, he refused it. I just rolled with it and let him stay nude-y rude-y, we’re in the house and the house was warm. I would advise against pushing the subject, the clothes may irritate the skin and cause the child to scratch more, which is what we ultimately want to avoid!
- Baking soda baths! I mentioned these baths in my post about treating really sore nappy rash (you can read it here) and they are great for chicken pox too! They really seem to take them sting out of any scabs or the itch out of the spots. We had two a day while the spots were sore or scabby and it was great.
- Finally socks over hands at nighttime will help to stop your child from scratching in their sleep. I’m pretty sure this is how Roo managed to make the scab on his chin so sore, and I have to admit he did pull off the socks, but I did manage to get them back on after he’d fallen asleep.
I hope a few of these tips help you if you are suffering with chicken pox in your house! If you have any tips of your own I’d love to hear them!