Saturday, 29 November 2014

I Was A Mother And Baby Magazine Award Tester

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen that I was a product tester for the recent Mother And Baby magazine's annual award's. Which awards the best baby products around and covers everything from Pram's and Highchairs to nappies and baby foods. And I know as a mum I do often opt to buy things that have won awards from Mother And Baby magazine as I know it means other mums love the product so it must be pretty good. And I am an avid Mother And Baby magazine reader as it has been my magazine of choice for the last three years with having my youngest children so close together, in fact I even read it 12 years ago when I was pregnant with Chloe!

Anyway back at the start of the year I was browsing Facebook one day when I seen an announcement from Mother And Baby Magazines Facebook page saying they were looking for parents to be testers in the 2014 awards. So on a whim I filled in the application form and applied , I never in a million years thought that I would get picked as I had never reviewed anything in my life as it was before I even set my blog up.

Mother And Baby Retweeted me

Anyway a few weeks later I received an e-mail from Mother And Baby asking if I would be interested in testing out some products for them with a group of friends who had children of a similar age to Sophia but I would need somewhere to store the products I would be testing. At this point I had no idea what product I would be testing. I replied saying yes that would be fine and then I received another e-mail a week or so later saying that I had been selected to test highchairs and I would be testing three for a couple of weeks with my friends and then we would have to fill in some (a lot) of  questions about each product after we had tested them.

And in May three highchairs arrived, a one which will remain nameless - simply because I don't want people to think badly of them that they wanted the highchair back when everyone else let me keep them. A Nuna Zazz, and a Stokke Tripp Trapp. I have to be honest and tell you I fell in love with the Tripp Trapp, it is amazing that it will last from birth to adulthood. So we tested the highchairs out and then filled in the questions about the products. And I packed all the highchairs away to be sent back as I never in a million years thought I would be able to keep them , but I only had to send one back and was aloud to keep the Tripp Trapp and Nuna Zazz - yay!

And I thought that was the end of it but I then received an e-mail asking if I would like to test some more highchairs and of course I said yes as it had been great fun trying new products. This time we were sent the Munchkin Booster Seat, Knuma 4-in1 Connect, Graco Duo Diner, Joie Mimzy Snacker and Kiddicare Munch. We were meant to be sent another highchair but that somehow got lost by the courier. So we tested them out for a couple of weeks and filled in the questions back in early august just days before baby Jacob was born.

And I was aloud to keep all the highchairs, I couldn't possibly keep them all so I gave some to the people who helped me test them and I kept the Graco for Sophia as she loves it. The Tripp Trapp I kept for Jacob and the Munchkin has gone to granddads house. I also kept the Knuma as I love it and the Nuna Zazz as the other half loved that one. I know I am crazy having four highchairs when I only have two babies. But since testing so many different highchairs I now love highchairs and I know what I like and what I don't like about them. I really am becoming a bit of a highchair expert - yes I know I am a geek.

We tested the highchairs in May and July but the results were only announced this week and I was eagerly awaiting the results on twitter as I had no idea which highchair would win as there were also ones shortlisted that I never tested. And I had a few favourites so I was not entirely sure which would win and the winner was the Graco Duo Diner, which was Sophia's favourite highchair, she really loves it and it is the one she took a shine to out of all the ones we tested.

Now that I have a house full of highchairs I am planning on doing some blog posts reviewing the highchairs I have as before I took part in this I had no idea at all about highchairs and Sophia's old one was a John Lewis one and it was rather rubbish if i'm honest. So it will be nice to pass on what I have learnt about highchairs to any other parents out there who are planning on buying a one and also have no idea what to look for. As there have been so many times recently I have wanted to tell people which is the best as I have tested so many, but I couldn't as I had to keep my involvement in the awards quiet on social media until all the results were in and the awards announced.

I have loved being a tester for the Mother And Baby magazine awards and I have learnt so much , I think that it has made me a better reviewer on my blog as I now know what is expected in a review and what the brand is looking for in a review and also what us mums and dads are looking for in a review too. If anyone fancies being a reviewer next year I would recommend applying , its lots of fun, you get to try some great products and you learn a lot. Don't just do it hoping you will get freebies though as I never in a million years thought I would get to keep one highchair never mind nearly all of them, as it really does depend what you are testing if you are testing a high value item the chances are you will have to send it back. But if you see the advert next year I say go for it just apply and be yourself and you never know you might be lucky and get chosen just like I did.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Berry Clever

Since becoming a mum I seem to really really love lists. Lists are the only way I can seem to be organised now I am a mum of three, as I am always forgetting something. I love lists so much I even have lists of my lists , my iPhone is full of lists I even have a notebook full of them. I also sometimes spend ages trying to find out what baby and children products are good or not so good . As I don't want to be going out and spending a fortune on a pram to find out actually it is rather rubbish. And I normally end up spending ages searching online for review's.

So imagine my utter delight when I came across the website Berry Clever it is a website that is full of lists of baby and children products all grouped together nicely. And the best part of these lists is that next to each product there is real mum review telling you if the product is meh ( bad) or love (good) and also a quick review of what mums thought, Genius! And if you sign up you can leave your own reviews on products you love or hate to help other parents out too. There is even a pet section for all those pet lovers out there.

So what is Berry Clever I hear you say. Well Berry Clever is a fairly new website that was set up by two mums  Emma and Kristi to make shopping a bit less daunting for us new mums . As there is so many baby and children products out there it really is hard to find out a.) what products we actually do need and b.) what products are actually any good.

When you visit Berry Clever all the products are grouped together so they are super easy to find and the website is so quick and easy to use. You just look up the product or the kind of product you are after and then look to see what mums are rating or hating. People can also make lists of say for example 'must have newborn products' and they will have a list of newborn products that they think are essential, super helpful.

And it is not just baby products that are on Berry Clever there is also book's and toys for older children too. There is everything from prams and cots to medicines and bedtime stories. Everything that us mums use and need with honest reviews from normal mums just like you and me. So if you are expecting a baby, have a baby , or have children and are a bit stuck on what christmas presents to buy them ( that would be me) or maybe you are a pet owner or you just fancy checking out a new site then go on over and check out Berry Clever for yourself. It is free and so quick and simple to join and you can see what products are recommended or even better love or meh your own products so mums like me no longer have to spend hours trawling the internet looking to see what reviews that pram we have are eye on has. Oh and also to give me some ideas of what toys my children would like for Christmas. Go on go and check out for yourself as I predict that it will soon become your go to baby and children shopping site as it has certainly became mine.

  Lindsay x

* Disclosure : I am working in Partnership with Berry Clever.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Review: Dr Brown's Baby Bottle's

Anyone who read's my blog or follows me on twitter will know that Jacob has been one rather unsettled baby as he has been suffering from colic since he was two week's old. Any parent who has had a baby who suffers from colic will know just how hard work it can be as your baby just screams in pain for hours on end every day. It is so horrible to watch your tiny little newborn baby screaming in pain and if you are like me you often end up in tears yourself due to feeling sorry for them and down to sheer exhaustion as you spend hours trying all sorts of different things to settle them. It also ruined those first precious few weeks with him as all he done was cry , I felt like I could not fully enjoy him as he was such an unhappy little man.

I tried everything to get rid of his colic, we went to see the doctor who said it was normal for babies to cry a lot. The health visitor said he may just have a underdeveloped digestive system due to him being born a little early and this may be causing him colic. We tried winding him , walking around the room with him, pushing him in his pram, taking him out the car, using infacol and massaging his tummy ( don't do this unless you have been shown how to properly) the list of thing's we tried was endless.

And then someone mentioned Dr Brown's to us, a bottle that has been specially designed to help with colic. So we went out and brought a one to use on a evening when Jacob was the most unsettled to see if this would help him. And his colic definitely started to improve and we seen a drastic reduction in Jacobs screaming episodes. So imagine my delight when Dr Brown's sent us some more bottles to try out.

Dr Brown's were first designed in 1996 by a doctor to help prevent trapped wind in babies due to there special internal vent system ( blue tube in the bottle) and they have rapidly grown into a well known globally recognised brand that parents have grown to know and love.

Dr Brown's say that

" We offer a complete feeding system for happier babies, one that includes the only fully vented vacuum free feeding bottle. Widely recognised by parents and health professionals as the most effective way of preventing colic symptoms caused by regular bottles and teats. Dr Brown's feeding system offers your baby the opportunity for a more comfortable feed.
Dedicated to promoting good health in mothers and their babies, Dr Brown's goal is to provide the best technology-driven products available. Whether your baby is fed on expressed breast milk or infant formula, you will be amazed by the results."

So what were my first impressions of Dr Brown's ? As I mentioned I had previously went out and brought a single bottle to try out myself on Jacob and was impressed with its effectiveness in helping with his colic symptoms. I was then sent the Dr Brown's natural flow 240 ml twin pack bottles to try out. The first thing I noticed about Dr Brown's is the size of the bottle as it is taller then the bottles we had previously been using and at first I was a little worried it would not fit in are steriliser, but they fitted in no problem at all. Also I would make sure that you read the instructions before using these bottles as I did not and I shook the bottle when I made it up to mix the formula up and due to the vent hot milk came pouring out the bottle all over. But if I had read the instructions then I would have knowing not to do this and to stir the formula instead. Also when it came to assembling the bottle I was a little daunted at first due to all the extra parts but I need not have been as it was so simple and quick to put all the parts together.

What did Jacob think of them? At first he was a little unsure of the teat as it was a different shape to the one's he was use to and he is a really fussy baby and only takes certain dummy's and bottle teats, but after a few attempts he stopped fusing and drank from the teat. Jacob is a really hungry greedy baby and he sucks really hard on the teats and with his normal bottles the teat kept collapsing on him but they have never collapsed once while using Dr Brown's. They are also really easy to hold for us parents. Jacob has also been being sick a lot less while using these bottles as beforehand he was a really sickly baby. He has also been a lot more settled after feeds and is bringing wind up more easily and not screaming in pain for hours anymore.

Did they help with his colic? I have definitely noticed a huge difference in Jacob the last few week's and he rarely screams in pain anymore. He seemed to calm down more or less as soon as we started using Dr Brown's as he was not gulping his feeds down as fast as he was beforehand. We have also noticed that he was not as sick as normal while using these bottles.

Good point's
  • They really do help when a baby is suffering with colic.
  • The teat does not collapse when baby is sucking
  • Milk flow is natural and satisfying for baby
  • Easy to use
  • Fit in steriliser
Bad point's
  • When the bottle come's out the steriliser it is hard to see the numbers to fill the water to as they are pale imprints in the bottle rather then the black print I was use to
  • Are a little bit fiddlier then regular bottles to assemble.
Would I recommend ? 

Yes I would do as if you have a baby who suffers with colic or trapped wind then these bottles really do work at helping them. I have heard a few other parents from Jacobs baby group mention that they also use these bottles and recommend them. I also know of parents who have brought these bottles to use with there newborn baby from birth. If you have been using a regular baby bottle then you may find these a little fiddly at first but after you have used them once or twice you get use to them and they are very simple and quick to assemble and use. I would also advise people to read the instructions before using so they don't do things wrong and end up covered in hot milk like I did. Overall these bottles really have helped with Jacobs colic and he is a much more settled and happier baby since using them. The bottles are also really well made and we have been using them for a few weeks now and they have sterilised really well and still look brand new . So thank you Dr Brown's for helping my little boy combat nasty colic and let us finally see what a happy little boy we have now he is no longer screaming all the time in pain from trapped wind. I would give Dr Brown's 8/10

You can find out more about Dr Brown's by visiting there website or following them on Twitter or Facebook. You can buy Dr Brown's bottles at most baby retailers such as Boots , Mothercare, Babies r us and John Lewis.

* Disclosure: I was sent two Dr Brown's bottles for the purpose of this review, however all views are my own.

We're going on an adventure

Monday, 24 November 2014

My Interview With Myleene Klass

As you may know I recently attended the Mothercare Team Valley Gateshead grand re-opening as one of there VIP bloggers along with Hannah from Mums day's , you can read all about the fabulous new look Mothercare store here. The store was re-opened by celebrity and fashion designer Myleene Klass as she designs her award winning Babyk nursery and fashion range for Mothercare.

Myleene has a reputation for being really lovely and one of the few celebrities who are down to earth and normal , you never hear of her having any diva demands or getting kicked out of nightclubs. In fact she is mostly photographed on the school run or out and about with her two adorable young daughters.

So when I was asked by Mothercare if I would like the opportunity to interview her I was a little hesitant at first as 1. I am fairly new to blogging 2 I have never interview anyone before in my life, never mind a celebrity! 3. I had no idea at all what to ask her 4. I was a little bit nervous at the prospect as I had no idea what to expect and had visions of her agent putting a stop to any questions I may ask.

But I need not have worried at all as I was free to ask her whatever I wanted.The first thing I noticed about her was just how gorgeous she was and the second was just how friendly she was greeting everyone who entered the store especially the children and she was happy to get photographed and mingle with the shoppers. I had asked my Facebook friends and also other bloggers on Twitter and in Facebook groups what I should ask Myleene and here is how I got on ......

Rather cheekily one of the first things I asked Myleene was if she had heard of Mama Academy which is a new UK based charity set up to try and reduce the still birth rate here in the UK , please do go and check out there website and see what good work they do. And I recently became a one of there blogging ambassador and you can read about why I am here. Anyway I cheekily asked her if she had heard about them and told them a little about the charity and she told me to give the details to her assistant which I gladly did.

When it came to my turn to interview Myleene my baby son Jacob decided that it was time to be fed so with baby in my arms I began my interview , and Myleene greeted me by asking if I would like to find somewhere to sit to feed baby as I was interviewing her in store surrounded by her beautiful range of children clothing. She also asked about Jacob and could not believe my chunky little monkey was only two months old and she happily chatted about her own children Ava and Hero throughout the interview. It really was just like talking to any other mum. So here is what I asked Myleene

Q 1.) My friend Faye wanted to know where you got the pink dress you were photographed in at the Mothercare Solihul store opening recently? 

One word Littlewoods.

Q 2.)How do you manage to juggle being a mum and working while still looking so glam?

(Laughs) Well I have a very good make-up artist. No it is hard I am not going to lie, it is a constant juggling act. It is so unbelievably tiring , take yesterday for example I done the school run then I was on a photo shoot , I had a meeting ,then I had to travel. But as a mumma you just get on with it and do it as you are constantly multi tasking when you have children.

Q 3.) You have been designing clothes for Mothercare since 2008, how did that come about?

When I was pregnant with Ava I wanted to buy her a little black dress but I could not find a one anywhere. The shops were all full of pink and lemon, So I approached Mothercare and pitched to them my idea and I thought they would turn me down as everyone was saying why did I want to dress babies up in black it was morbid like they were going to a funeral. But Mothercare agreed and the clothing range was a success and it just grew from there.

Q 4.) Do your daughters wear and have any say in your clothing range?

Ava and Hero always wear BabyK , even some of the boys stuff. Apart from school uniform they are not photographed in anything else. They will sometime say make a dress with something on , like one year they wanted a dress made of feathers so they could fly. So I made a feathery dress and it was a sell out, it was the best selling item in the collection and we kept running out of stock.

Q 5.) What has been your inspiration for your current range?

Fifty's , I love the fifty's vintage look.

Q 6.) What is your one favourite item from the collection?

I love them all , how can I chose just one. For the boys it would have to be the peacoat ( she points to the coat and I have to confess it is really nice and stylish perfect for a little boy to wear in winter) For a girl I would chose the floral dress as it took age's to source this fabric and I love all the details on it like the bow on the front. It is a very girly dress but it is still edgy with the pink flowers and the black background.

Q 7.) Do you design all the pieces yourself?

Yes , I could tell you what fabric every item is made from and where it was sourced. Obviously I do have help as I would never be able to do it all on my own, I have a design team who I meet with regularly. They will help me with things such as if any clothing items would be banned In certain countries. I even went into my daughters school and I talked about designing , about the fabrics and where they come from.

Q 8.) Have you ever thought of designing a maternity wear range?

It is something I have thought about in the past, but to be honest when I was pregnant I just brought clothes in bigger sizes and I only really wore maternity clothes right at the end of my pregnancies. And maternity clothing can be expensive when you are wearing it for such a short space of time. It is not where I am at the moment and I have no plans to design a maternity range anytime soon.

Q 9.) A few mums have mentioned that they love your girl range but will you be expanding your boy range. 

 I have just found out I have won an award for my boys range which I am incredibly proud of as I put so much effort into my boys range. I make sure the items are stylish and practical and I make sure that they have attention to detail, like the jeans I design they are not just a pair of jeans I make sure they look nice, fit well and I add leather detailing to the pocket. My range may not be for everyone but that will always be the case, it sells well and I am happy with it.
( All you mums out there her boys range is really nice , there was also just as many boy clothes as girls displayed in store. I cant wait until Jacob is old enough to wear it as there really was so many lovely boy pieces)

Q 10.) My friend Karen wanted to know will you be releasing anymore classical music?

Music is always a huge part of mine and my daughters life and it always will be. I am still involved in music but at the moment I have no urge to release a album, it is incredibly hard work with long hours with touring and promoting and I can't do that as a mum and its not where I am at in life right now. But never say never as with classical music it never gets old it will always be there and I can go back to it later in life if I want to ,I don't have to be young dancing on stage like Gaga.

Q 11.)  What was your best and worst baby buys when your daughters were small.

Worst would have been gripe water as I brought it but never used it and never knew what to do with it as I never had colicky babies. But everyone said it was a must buy item when I was pregnant so I got some. Oh and baby monitors as they always lost signal when I was moving around the house.
Best buy would have to a travel highchair, as I travelled a lot when Ava was small and we ate out a lot and I never had to worry or ask if there would be a highchair available as I could just put her in it anywhere we went and she was happy.

Q 12.) Apart from being a mum what do you enjoy most designing, modelling, presenting or music?

All of them as they are all my job and as a mum we juggle so many roles everyday. And not just one job defines who I am they are all so important to me and such a big part of my life. That's not a cop out, I just love them all.

Interviewing Myleene really was just like talking to any other mum she was so friendly and very chatty. She always kept mentioning her daughters and asking about my children and she was brilliant with every child she came into contact with in the store. She really is as nice as everybody says and what I noticed was yes she may be a celebrity but she is just a working mum with two small children she clearly adores and she is just like all of us working mums out there constantly juggling work and her home life, just looking a bit more glamorous then the rest of us.

Special  thanks to my friends Karen, Faye, Victoria, Stacey and Carly and also Emily from Jai from and also Kate for providing me with some great questions to ask Myleene.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Review: Funky Giraffe Personalised Bibs

People often ask me what baby items I could not live without and top of my list is bibs. Jacob is such a sickly and dribbly baby that he has to wear a bib all the time and I have found that the ones that I brought from the shops before he was born are just not up to the job , as his dribble and sick quickly seeps through them onto his clothes making them wet and I have to change his clothing several times a day as his little chest gets damp.

So when Funky Giraffe asked if I would like to review there bibs I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try a new company out and also to see if I could find a bib that actually worked.

Funky Giraffe is an online baby shop that predominantly sells baby bibs but also sells some other products such as hats, scratch mittens and socks. And they stock an absolutely huge selection of trendy bandana style bibs there really is so many to choose from and a design to suit every mum and baby out there.

We were asked if we would like to review there new personalised range , and you all know that I am a sucker for anything personalised for my children. As I have two little ones 17 month old Sophia and 3 month old Jacob I was able to select them a bib each. As the bibs are personalised you get to design the bib yourself which is really easy to do, you just visit the Funky Giraffe website click on personalised then you pick which colour you would like I opted for pink for Sophia and green for Jacob. Then you get a choice of different personalisation options you can add a image from the ones available or design your own idea completely. You then add text such as the child's name in a colour, font and size that you want. Then once you are done you preview the bib and if you are happy you place your order its as simple as that.

When the bibs arrived I was really impressed they felt so soft and you could tell they are made to a high quality, they have a fleecy backing to help keep baby nice and dry - perfect for a dribbly baby like Jacob. There is two poppers on the back of the bib to fasten it so that you can adjust the size of the bib. Sophia's bib has a big S on and her name and Jacobs has his name and date of birth on which will make a lovely keep sake to keep in his baby keepsake box. And the bibs looked exactly like the ones that I had designed.

We have been using the bibs for a few weeks now and they have been washed a few times and they still look like new they have not faded or gone funny in the wash like some bibs do. And they really have helped stop Jacob getting so damp when he dribbles. I really love these bibs as they look really nice with babies little outfits. We have even been asked by people where we got them from as they are so much nicer then bibs available to buy in the shops.

I would highly recommend Funky Giraffe to anyone and I will certainly be buying more as you can buy five selected bibs for only £11.25 - a real bargain. Personalised bibs start at £5 and would make a lovely keepsake or would be great for a special occasion such as a birthday. They are delivered by first class Royal mail and mine just fitted through the letterbox so I didn't have to wait in for the delivery. Postage is free on all orders over £7 within the UK.

They also have a lovely range of Christmas bibs which I am planning on buying each of my children for Christmas and I will also be taking advantage of there five bibs for £11.25 offer for Jacob as they look great, keep him dry and with a baby you really can never have to many bibs. The only hard part will be choosing some as they are all so lovely I want them all. Why not go and have a look for yourself at 

* Disclosure : I was sent two free bibs from Funky Giraffe for the purpose of this review, however all views are my own.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

A Monthly Treat With Teen Parcel

If you are a man then this post is probably not for you as it is all about that time of the month but if you are a parent to a tween or teenage daughter then please do read on as I have just discovered the perfect product for them, the Teen Parcel.

So what is a Teen Parcel you are probably wondering, well it is a monthly subscription box (you all know I really love subscription boxes) aimed at teenage girls and is packed with everything they will need for that time of the month. Yep its a period box, it comes packed with pads or tampons whichever you select when you sign up and also in the box is a special little box of treats to try and cheer the teen in your life up a little bit.

I remember when I was younger and I started my periods I was eleven years old and I was actually on a aeroplane thirty thousand feet up in the air on my way to a fortnight in the sun with my family- perfect timing mother nature! I was scared and rather embarrassed and it kind of ruined the start of my holiday. Luckily my mum was really understanding and helpful , but looking back it was still a rather tough time dealing with my changing body and periods is one of them things young girls normally get a bit embarrassed about.

Now my oldest daughter Chloe is twelve and in secondary school she has had all the talks about periods and puberty, and I have brought her books so she can learn about things herself. And in the last few months she has changed from my lovely sweet (well sometimes sweet) daughter into a huffy stroppy teenager in the making. Yep puberty has hit , her body is changing along with her attitude and she is one big walking huffy hormone. So when I heard about Teen Parcel I thought this would be perfect for her.

The box arrived and it was discretely packaged in a white wrapper and when you unwrapped it there was a lovely pink box. Inside the box there was two boxes of Tampax tampons and also a discreet black drawstring bag to store them in. Perfect for hiding in a school bag. And then a treat box, and to be honest this was all Chloe was interested in. Inside the treat box there was a bag of Harribo sweets, a chocolate flavoured tea bag, a bracelet , Binky nail varnish and some clean & clear skincare items. Perfect products to cheer a teen up .

So what did Chloe think of the box? She was not very impressed with the tampons and said urgh when she seen them, but I think that's more to do with her age and she might appreciate them in a few years. But like I said if you take a subscription out you specify if you would prefer tampons or pads. The treat box she loved, the Harribo were eating instantly, the tea was drank and she said it tasted of caramel and she wants me to buy more. The bracelet has been added to her vast jewellery collection, The skincare products have been tested out and she has declared she loves them but the thing she loved the most is the Binky (from made in Chelsea) nail varnish as Chloe is a huge nail varnish fan , there was also a voucher in the parcel for 10% off the Binky London website.

What did I think? I think that these parcels are really good as I remember starting my periods and how rubbish it was and I think receiving a parcel like this through the post would have really cheered me up and would be something a teenage girl would really look forward to each month as it is a little treat for them.

You can check out Teen Parcel yourself on there website, if you want to find out more and you can order your first box for only £5.95 including delivery and then they cost £9.99 per month after that including delivery. They are packed with your chosen brand of either tampons or pads and each month you will get a different selection of treats that will include a sweet treat, a drink and some beauty goodies. And when you sign up you tell them when your daughters period is due and the box will arrive a few days beforehand each month so that she is prepared for when mother nature pays her monthly visit.

I think that soon I will be taking out a subscription to Teen Parcel for Chloe as they are brilliant idea, great value and it will be a nice little treat for her once a month to make her smile. Thank you Teen Parcel my daughter loved the parcel she was sent.

* Disclosure : This is a sponsored post, however all thoughts and opinions are mine and my daughters own.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

My Baby Is Twelve - A Letter To Chloe

My oldest child Chloe turned twelve a few week's ago, I know I am such a bad blogger not getting around to writing this until now, but lately life has just been so busy being a mum of three. Anyway as it was her birthday I thought that I would write her a little post as I do not write about her much on my blog as she is in secondary school and I don't want to write much about her in case she gets embarrassed or her friends find my blog and read it. So here is a little letter to her now that she is twelve.

Dear Chloe

I can not believe that you are now twelve year's old, almost a teenager! I still remember the day that you were born like it was yesterday and it does not seem that long ago since you were my little baby girl. Even though you are growing up and you are almost as tall as me now you will always be my baby girl and even though you now have a brother and a sister I still love you as much as I always did, in fact I love you more and more every day.
So much has happened in your twelve years of life, you turned one and had a tea party and a Winnie the pooh cake. Aged two you were potty trained by your second birthday and you had another tea party for your birthday and got a bike, sadly when you were two you lost your nana ( my mum) who loved you so much, more then you could ever know as you were her world. Aged three you started nursery and you loved it so much. Aged four you had a big party at soft play with all your friends and we went to Disneyland Paris which you loved. Aged five you started big school and made lots of friends and were Lazy town mad, we went to see them and you went dressed as Stephanie with a bright pink wig on. Aged six you were Disney princess and Barbie mad and that's all you wanted for christmas. Aged seven we had lots of lovely days out and we started going to music concerts together as mammy use to treat you when I got paid from work. Aged eight we went to Scarbrough and you met Lee for the first time and he soon became like a dad to you. Aged nine we went on holiday and you found out you were going to be a big sister and were so excited. Aged ten you became a big sister to Sophia and loved her as soon as you seen her and you also went back to Disneyland Paris with the school. Aged eleven you went to Spain and you left primary school and started secondary school and you also became a big sister again to your little brother Jacob.
I remember so much of your childhood and we have so many lovely photos to look back on in years to come, in a way I wish I had of started blogging sooner so that I could have recorded your childhood for you to look back on and so you could see how much I loved you and remember all the good times we have had over the years.
And now you are twelve and we had a lovely time celebrating your birthday, it was the first year you have never asked for toys instead you wanted perfume, hair straighteners, and jewellery. There was no soft play party to organise either as you are a big girl now so we went to Frankie and Benny's (your favourite) on your birthday for tea and you also had a giant cupcake cake. Then the next day you went for a Indian meal with your granddad , then on the Saturday you went to get your nails painted and then to Frankie and Benny's (again) with your friends.
You have changed so much this year, you have got so much taller and you no longer play with toys anymore you prefer to paint your nails and watch videos of Zoella on You Tube. You go to and from school on your own and sometimes you go out places with your friends. I know you get sick of me nagging you to be safe when you are out but it is only because I love and care about you so much. I worry more about you now that you are older then I did when you were small. Yes I nag you to do your homework, tidy your bedroom and tell you off for being cheeky. But that's what us mums are here for to try and guide you through life and I only do it because I care and want what is best for you.
I hope that you have a fantastic year and enjoy every moment of being twelve years old, I am so proud to call you my daughter and I love you lots and I don't want you to ever forget that.

Love You Lot's
Mum xxx

Review: Degustabox

As I keep mentioning all the time since I started blogging and joined twitter at the start of the year I have discovered so many amazing new company's . Well I recently discovered another company Degustabox a monthly food subscription box service, I love food and I love subscription boxes so I was rather excited when I heard about this, and I was even more excited when I was offered a one to review as I had been planning on buying a one as they looked rather good.

Degustabox is as I mentioned a monthly food and drink subscription box service which means that you pay just £12.99 per month including delivery and a box of surprise food and drink items will be delivered to your door- amazing! What I love about subscription boxes is the surprise element to them as when you receive and open your box you have no idea at all what is inside and it is a great way to try out and discover new products that you may never have tried or heard of before.

We received are very first Degustabox last week and here is what was inside.
  • One Kent's Kitchen jalfrezi meal kit RRP £2.50. I have never tried these before but they look really good as you just add meat and vegetables and it makes an authentic curry. My other half and oldest daughter Chloe both love curry so this is sure to be a hit.
  • Two bottles of Blue Dragon sweet chilli sauce RRP £1.39 each. The other half loves sweet chilli and we actually buy this sauce a lot and use it for dipping or to add to stirfry so he was pleased with this.
  • One packet of Special K barbecue flavour crisps RRP £1.29 . As I am trying to lose some baby weight these were perfect as i love crisps and these are healthier then normal crisps although my one year old ate a lot of these as she loved them, again this is a product that we actually do buy .
    One Enhancer drink RRP £2.49. You add this to water to give it a fruity taste, as soon as my oldest daughter seen this she took it and put it in her school bag so she can add it to her bottles of water at school at lunch time, so this was a big hit with her and i will be buying this again.
  • One Get Buzzing flapjack bar RRP £1.30 . The other half loves flapjacks and is always buying them so he had this and said it was really nice.
  • One Solo Marshmallow Crème RRP £1.99  This is an American product we have never tried before but we love American foods and drinks in are house and Chloe already has eye on this. 
  • One packet of Bear Paws fruit snacks RRP £0.55 The girls loved these and i liked the fact they are a more healthy snack for children as they are made of pure fruit, i will be buying these again.
  • One packet of Jelly Belly jelly beans RRP £2.50 We have had these before and we all loved these and i am sure we will be buying these again.
  • One loaf of Brioche Pasquier sliced Brioche bread RRP £1.69 I have never tried this before and it is not something i would have brought but we all really enjoyed it especially the children so i will be buying this again when I go shopping. 
  • One packet of Brioche Pasquier pain au lait RRP £1.60 Everyone loves pain au lait and these were demolished straight away as they were so soft and yummy.
  • One bar of  Dr Oetker dark chocolate RRP £2.49 I keep meaning to do more baking so this will come in perfect for making a chocolate cake with.
  • Three sachets of Dr Oetker coco powder RRP £1.89 again i will use this when baking soon.

We also received a voucher to get four pack of Benecol greek style yogurts and we received a sample box of Bear Alphabites cereal.

Good Point's
  • I loved the surprise element of not knowing what was in the box
  • There was a great selection of products and a good mix of savoury and sweet items
  • Everything was from well knowing brands
  • The box was not full of samples it was full of proper sized products
  • We will use everything in the box
  • Everything had a long sell by date on them
  •  Free delivery
  • Amazing value
Bad Point's

None at all ,are products arrived quickly and in perfect condition, everything had a long shelf life so everything was fresh and we will use everything in the box and it is such amazing value i really can not fault this box in anyway.

My Verdict

This was my first Degustabox and i really am very impressed there was so many items in the box and it is amazing value as the contents are worth more then double what you pay for the box. Everything in the box is products that we have or will use and they are well knowing brands some of which i buy anyway, and it was really nice being able to try some things that i would not normally buy and that we will now definitely be buying in the future. I will definitely be buying more Degustabox myself and i really do highly recommend them. I will be doing some cooking with the things i received in my box so keep an eye out for a recipe or two soon. I gave Degustabox a 10/10

You can buy your own Degustabox from there website where you will be sent between 9 to 14 surprise food and drink products each month for just £12.99 including delivery. And you can cancel your subscription at any time as long as you cancel before the 10th of the month. If you place an order before the 20th of the month you will receive your box at the end of that month and if you place your order after the 21st of the month you will receive your box by the 8th of the following month. You can also follow Degustabox on Facebook and Twitter and see for yourself just how many people love these boxes as i am not the only one who is seriously impressed with them. So if you fancy buying a one to try out yourself I have a discount code that gives you £3 off your first order which is L10JM meaning you will pay just £9.99 for a box full of treats just in time for Christmas or to give to someone as a Christmas gift.

Disclosure: I was sent this Degustabox free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all views are my own.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Review: Jellycat Soft Toy

As you can imagine being a mum of three I have brought a lot of toys over the years and we have a ton of soft toys in are house, mostly off my oldest daughter who use to love them and has built up quiet a collection over the years. But one make of soft toy we have never had is Jellycat. To be honest I only heard of Jellycat a year or so ago when I seen them out shopping and I instantly fell in love with there cute and quirky designs.

Jellycat was established in London in 1999 and now has a huge range of animal soft toys that are so cute and different from Bashful Bunnies and Fabulous Fillies to Frederick Frog and Larry Lizards, some even come with super cute little outfits there really is a Jellycat to suit every one.

So imagine my delight when I was  when my children were recently sent a Jellycat to review from Bella Kidz. We did not know which Jellycat we would be receiving as there really is a lot of them available, So I was excited to see which one we would get. When it arrived it was in a lovely little drawstring bag and inside the bag was the very beautiful and oh so soft and snuggly Bella Bunny Night Time which costs £20, Sophia my youngest daughter fell in love with her the minute she clapped eyes on her ( and secretly so did I)

Bella Bunny comes in little pale pink and white striped cotton button up pyjamas and they are just so adorable. She is white and so so soft and has lovely long floppy ears and is just the right size for children to hold and cuddle up to. She is nice and soft and snuggly and has a squishy bum filled with beads that Sophia loves to squish. Sophia also loves taking the Pyjamas off the bunny as they can be removed and put on again easily, perfect for teaching children how to start dressing themselves.

What I noticed about Bella bunny is that compared to other soft toys she feels more luxurious and very well made, you can tell that this bunny will last along time. Which is good as Sophia loves her so much I am sure that they will be lifelong friends. And because Bella Bunny is wearing pyjamas she makes the perfect bedtime companion too. She is already a much loved toy in are household as she is just so perfect for small children due to her perfect size, her super soft fur and her oh so adorable little pyjamas.

I am now a huge Jellycat fan and I will definitely be buying some more Jellycats in the future in fact I am already planning on buying my 3 month old son a comforter one for Christmas and my new baby niece or nephew a one when they are born early next year as I think that these would make such a lovely gift that can be treasured forever.

Disclosure: I was sent this Jellycat toy for the purpose of this review , however all views are my own .

Family Fever

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Review: Lapland Mailroom Letter From Santa Claus

Now that it is half way through November I think that it is safe to mention the c word CHRISTMAS. I love Christmas it really is the most wonderful time of the year, I have always loved Christmas who doesn't like receiving gifts, eating there own body weight in chocolates, watching films, Christmas dinner and spending time with family? I love it all and most of my treasured childhood memories are of Christmas time and spending time with my family. Now I am a parent myself I love Christmas even more so as watching your children get excited is truly priceless.

Every family has Christmas traditions and I am sure that the most popular one is without a doubt sending Santa Claus a Christmas letter asking him for longed for gifts. I remember writing letters to Santa Claus myself as a small child and I was always disappointed that I never got a one back of him. When I became a mum i use to write my oldest daughter Chloe a letter from Santa myself but as she got older and stopped believing in Santa Claus *sob* she realised that I had just wrote the letter myself.

Now I also have two younger children Sophia who is 17 months and Jacob who is 3 month's I want to make every Christmas extra special for my children. So when I was asked if I would like to review a personalised letter from the Lapland Mailroom I thought this would be such a lovely idea.

The Lapland Mailroom is run by a husband and wife team Paul and Nicola and is based in the UK and there website is so easy to use. When you visit the site it is really festive looking, and there is a choice of four letters to choose from there is a baby's first Christmas one which I got for Jacob and then a choice of three other letters so if you have more then one child you can get them all slightly different letters, which I think is a brilliant idea.

Ordering the letter is so easy you just chose one of the four letter options available and then you click personalise my letter where you select if you want the letter to be off Santa Claus or Father Christmas. You then add the child's name, gender, age, which city they live in, child's best friend, a gift they want for Christmas and also what they left out for Santa and the Reindeer's last year. All of these things make the letter more believable for children. You also have the option of including an activity pack in with the letter for an extra pound. The activity pack contains a Christmas card, Santa stop here sign, door hanger, Christmas tree decoration and a Elf activity sheet all for your child to colour in themselves and is a nice Christmas activity to get them in the festive spirit.

When the letter's arrived they come in a white envelope similar to letters us parents receive through the post but they have Lapland post marks on and are addressed to the child making them so believable. The letter inside the envelope are really lovely they are on nice thick paper and are so lovely presented and they really do look like they have been sent from the big man in red himself. Obviously my children are a bit young to appreciate and understand the letter themselves but a older child would really believe and find these letters so magical and will enjoy colouring in the activity pack.

We are planning on keeping these letters and putting them in Sophia and Jacobs Christmas eve boxes and I am sure that Sophia will have lots of fun trying to colour in the activity pack. We love these letters so much that I will be putting them away safe in there keepsake boxes so that we can keep them forever and look back on them in years to come. I will definitely be ordering these letters again next year as they are so lovely and I think that they will now become a one of are Christmas traditions and they are so much better then the rather rubbish letters I use to write to Chloe years ago, if only I had of discovered these letters a few years ago then maybe she might still believe in Santa Claus as they really are so lovely.

Would I recommend these letters to others? Yes I would as they are really nice and so easy to order .
You can order your own letter from they cost £6.95 including postage or £7.95 if you include an activity pack in with the letter. And if you order soon you will also get a free nice child certificate in with your letter which is worth £2.95. Letters will start to leave the mailroom from the 1st of December and you can even choose a next day delivery option if you order before 2pm. The last ordering dates for UK deliveries at present is the 20th December. But be quick before Santa and his elves get to busy as I am sure that any child will be so excited to receive a one of these letters through the post.

Disclosure : I was sent two free letters from the Lapland Mailroom for the purpose of this review, however all views are my own.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Mothercare - Team Valley Re-opening Event And A Tommee Tippee Giveaway *Closed*

As a mum of three i have spent a lot of time in Mothercare over the year's, I have brought all of my baby things there from pram's and cots to baby baths and baby clothes, Mothercare sells it all. I even remember visiting Mothercare as a small child with my mum many year's ago when it use to be in Newcastle's Eldon square. Mothercare is a shop that i have grown up with and a shop as a family with small children we genuinely love.

Mothercare have got a new CEO Mark Newton-Jones and they are having a bit of a company revamp at the moment and one of the things they have been doing is redesigning some of there stores and the huge Team Valley Gateshead store was one of the first to get a makeover.

So imagine my utter delight when i got an invite from the ever so lovely people at Mothercare to attend the official re-opening of the Team Valley store as one of there VIP bloggers! Oh and i would also get the chance to interview Myleene Klass who designs award winning children fashion range Babyk for Mothercare as she would be officially re-opening the store with CEO Mark Newton-Jones. Amazing!

I have only visited the Team Valley store once before as we are lucky and had two stores close to where we live one at the Silverlink and the now closed Kingston park store. When i visited the Team Valley store a few years ago it was rather bland and a bit dated if i am honest, and i was not expecting much of a difference i thought they might have rearranged the store a bit and maybe give it a lick of paint but oh how wrong i was!

The grand re-opening was at 10am and typically when leaving home with a baby and toddler in tow i was running late and then got stuck in traffic. But with just moments to spare we made it to the store just before 10 am and there was already a big line of mums and babies outside. As i was one of the VIP bloggers i got to sneak to the front of the line and enter the store before it was official opened to the public (sorry mums waiting outside in the cold)

All the staff were inside the store ready to greet the waiting customers as CEO Mark Newton-Jones addressed them and thanked them for all there hard work in transforming the store. And trust me what a transformation it is, it is such a huge store at 32.000 square feet and is the largest in the region and since the refurbishment it is so bright and spacious and well laid out- top marks to whoever designed it.

At exactly 10am the utterly gorgeous and ever so friendly Myleene Klass walked towards the front of the store where she and Mark cut the red ribbon over the entrance of the store as flashbulbs went of from the numerous photographers present. Myleene and Mark and the Mothercare staff then greeted all the customers as they came through the door , with Myleene crouching down to say hello to all the children - you can tell she is a mum, the children loved her. And the first 50 people through the door received a really lovely limited edition Edward bear and we were also kindly given a one for the children. We also kindly received a gift voucher to spend in store which after seeing the Babyk range i just had to spend on buying Sophia two gorgeous dresses.

Then it was time to explore the store and do some shopping. When entering the store on the left there is a huge pram display i have never seen so many prams and as a pramaholic i was in heaven! And on the right there was a rather impressive clothing section that stocks not only Mothercare baby clothes and award winning BabyK but also brands such as Mama and Papas , Joules, Polarn o Pyret and Converse. There was also a Clark's children shoe section too.

There is a nursery area stocking every nursery item you could possibly need including the new BabyK nursery range and a section at the back of the store where there was a huge range of well displayed Tommee Tippee products. We are huge Tommee Tippee fans in are house and not just because we live literally a five minute walk from Tommee Tippee head quarters but because there products are fabulous. I spoke to the really lovely and friendly Sarah from Tommee Tippee who showed me some of the exclusive Tommee Tippee products that you can only buy in Mothercare , such as the coloured nappy bins ( pink or blue) which were only £15.50 in store - bargain! and the oh so cute gingerbread Christmas bottle range ( they have a super cute storybook telling you about the range which you can check out) and which they have very kindly offered one of my readers to win - so get entering that rafflecopter below, i only wish i could enter myself as i am a little bit in love them.

The thing that i noticed in the store was just how well designed it is for us mums with prams, the aisles are wide so no bumping into things and it is so easy to navigate your way around the store with big clearly labelled signs hanging from the ceiling showing where each department is. There is a large lift in the centre of the store which can easily fit 2-3 prams in and takes you upstairs where there is a big early learning centre department full of fantastic toys. All the toys were nicely grouped together with baby toys at one end and older children toys at the other and even a little book corner with seating and proper bookshelf's and i could not resist buying Sophia some Happyland toys to add to her collection for Christmas.

And the best bits upstairs were Angelica's cafe , perfect for relaxing with a coffee and a cake after all the shopping you are sure to do in store. And there is a Jellybug's soft play area so your children can burn off some energy. And if you visit between now and Christmas there is a really lovely Santa grotto where children can visit Santa and his elf and receive a gift for just £4.50. I even noticed a baby bond baby ultrasound clinic upstairs too.There is toilet facilities downstairs near the entrance and what i liked about these was that there was a feeding room - no more feeding baby in the baby change! and there was male and female toilets that both had baby changing facilities in so dad can take baby to get changed too!

Overall i really loved the new look store and i have been telling everyone i know to go visit as there is just so many lovely things and with the addition of the cafe and soft play it is somewhere that you will enjoy shopping and want to keep returning too, i know that i will be returning as it is only a 20 minute drive from where i live. So if you are expecting a baby or you have a young child and live in the North east go pay the new Mothercare Team Valley a visit and i guarantee you will love it and are bound to find lots of great things to buy.

Make sure you keep an eye out for my exclusive interview with the lovely Myleene Klass and don't forget to enter the competition below to win the Tommee Tippee gift set just in time for Christmas.

One person can win a Tommee Tippee Gingerbread christmas gift set which contains two bottles and two soothers. The winner can pick the gift set in either pink or blue and it will be sent to them direct from Tommee Tippee . Open to Uk entrants only. Winner will be notified by e-mail after the closing date, the winner will have one week to claim the prize before another winner will be chosen at random 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Why I Am A Mama Academy Blogging Ambassador

As you all know i recently had my third baby who is now almost three months old. And while i was pregnant i suffered some problems with my blood pressure and had to have regular growth scans. Thankfully i received amazing care at Newcastle RVI hospital and had customised  GAP  ( Perinatal institutes growth assessment protocol) growth charts in my file to accurately measure my baby's growth throughout pregnancy which showed some problems with my baby's growth and development and i ended up being induced before my due date. I am now a very proud mummy to a healthy little boy. The GAP charts take into account things such as mums height, weight and the weight of any previous babies and then they can customise the chart so that it can help plot babies growth more accurately instead of using a normal standard chart.

I was very shocked to learn that not all hospital trusts have these customised growth charts in place for expecting mums, and i dread to think what could have happened if i had not of  been treated with them during my pregnancy as at least one third of stillbirths are related to growth restriction.

This is where Mama Academy play a huge part in trying to reduce the stillbirth rate here in the UK as we shockingly have one of the worst stillbirth rates in the developed world. Mama Academy is a registered UK charity who work alongside the Royal college of midwives. There aim is to equip expectant mums and also health care professionals with vital knowledge so that every baby has the best chance of arriving safe and healthy and no parents has to unnecessarily go through the heartache of suffering a stillbirth. They aim to do this by.
  • Raising awareness of baby loss.
  • Educating expectant mums on health in pregnancy, complications and how to reduce the risks of stillbirth.
  • Assisting health care professionals by keeping them up to date with the latest practises, guidelines and research to help provide consistent maternity care. 
Mama Academy's main campaign is Made To Measure which is a campaign that aims to reduce the number of stillbirths in the UK by implementing Perinatal institutes growth assessment protocol which is the customised growth charts that i was lucky enough to have in my pregnancy , as these charts would as they did in my case pick up if there was a problem with baby's growth.

Mama Academy have also very recently launched Wellbeing wallets which is a handy folder for expectant mums to keep there hospital files/ letters in and is full of useful information to help educate mums to be on having a healthy positive pregnancy. You may have seen them advertised recently by Dr Ranj (off Cbeebies) and they are available to buy direct from the Mama Academy shop for just £2 including P&P which is such fantastic value.

I really feel that Mama Academy do such fantastic work and i was very honoured to be asked last week if i would like to be a one of there blogging ambassador and of course i had to say yes as without the GAP growth charts my little boy may not have been here and i think that every NHS trust should implement them so growth restrictions can easily be detected and no parent has to lose a child due to this. And i also love the Mama Academy message of promoting happy healthy positive pregnancy's and educating parents to be and health professionals to help try and reduce the stillbirth rate here in the UK.

If you are expecting a baby then please do go and check out the fantastic Mama Academy website and even if you are not expecting then please check them out as they are a fantastic charity and deserve a lot more recognition . And i look forward to working with them in the future and helping spread there message in anyway i can.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Angel Delight Moments

If like me you grew up in the 80's and 90's then I am sure that if someone said to you "Angel Delight" then it would instantly remind you of your childhood. It certainly makes me think fondly of my childhood, my mum always used to have a few packets stocked in the kitchen cupboards and myself and my brother often had it as a dessert after school. We use to fight over whether we would have strawberry flavour (my favourite) or chocolate (my brothers favourite)

I have not had Angel delight for years, so when I was sent some new Bubblegum flavour, which is available to buy at Tesco's, I thought that it would be the perfect chance to introduce my youngest daughter to Angel Delight and also to reminisce about my childhood. As childhood memories are so precious to me since losing my mum at a young age, anything that reminds me of happy memories of times I shared with her are to be treasured.

bubblegum angel delight

Monday, 3 November 2014

Book Review : Falling By Emma Kavanagh

Any of my regular readers will know I love to read as I often mention my love for reading in my posts. But inevitably since becoming a mum of three and having a tweenager, a toddler and a baby to look after some days, I don't even have time to brush my hair never mind sit down and read a book. 

However when I was recently sent the book Falling to review that soon changed. As soon as the book dropped through the letterbox I had a quick read of the first few pages to see what the book was about and that was it, I was hooked. I literally could not put this book down and read it within a day, I was reading it while my baby was asleep on me, I read it in the bath. I even stayed up late at night to finish reading it, and as anyone with a new baby will tell you staying up late is often a thing of the past as sleep is so precious when you are shattered off sleepless nights with a baby. 

Falling paperback book by Emma Kavanagh