The Best Of British Summertime

This years summer has without a doubt been absolutely outstanding weatherise. We have had the opportunity to have so many outdoor adventures that have been blissfully sun drenched and have allowed us to to create some fabulous sun kissed memories.

Unfortunately though due to our perpetual bad luck the weather took more than a turn for the worst for our break at Camp Bestival when it brough us gale force winds and torrential rain. And then again when we had a week away in Chichester. Although it stayed warm…ish I could count on one hand how many times we saw the sun.

We filled our week with crabbing trips, cathedral visits, plenty of shopping, eating way to many fish and chips and spending hours at the penny slot machines. Paddling in the sea searching for fossils and cosying up to watch endless reruns of Mrs Doubtfire and Karate Kid.

But the day on Wittering beach really stuck in my mind. With my jacket tied up under my chin, makeshift barriers shielding us from the wind and towels on standby to ues as makeshift blankets I had a little giggle to myself at how typically British we all were.

Not one of those families on that beach was going to let the weather defeat them. They were going to see the day out with their sand filled sandwiches and flasks of hot tea, they were going to build sandcastles and search for sea shells and yes some of them were also going to face a dip in the sea.
And do you know what, they will all be talking about that day on the beach for years to come with fond memories and proudness of their grit and determination.

I myself look back fondly of trips to Devon as a child where we would be having car picnics to shelter from the rain and chattering teeth from the chill of the swimming pool, and do you know what I wouldn’t change those memories for the world and I hope my gang feel the same.

‘Tour De Trike’ With Little Tikes

Until recently I thought that we were passed the stage of trikes, but my mind since attending a fantastic event with Little Tikes when Oscar feel in love with their Pack n Go Trike.

So when we were asked to take part in the Little Tikes ‘Tour De Trike’ we absolutley jumped at the chance. We were send the Pack n Go Trike to try out and Oscar was keen to get out and about with it.

The Pack n Go Trike is new to Little Tikes and there are a whole host of features that I found so appealing.

The trike is suitable for ages 1-5 which makes it a great buy due to the years of usage you get from it. for little ones aged 1 – 1.5 the trike can be steered solely by the parents and the children can just enjoy the ride. Moving up to ages 1 – 1.5 the children can have a little more of a real of actually ring by using the pedals whilst being steered in the right direction. Finally little ones aged 2.5 – 5 can take the lead and ride the trike independently.

Although we are huge outdoor fans I find taking things such as trikes and scooters out with us a real faff and more often then not I talk the children out of it due to having a lack of space for everything in the car. The beauty of having the Pack n Go means that due to its unique folding design it can be folded down to half its size which makes it really easy to transport and store.

Although Oscar has reached the age where he is pretty good at riding when we are out and about he simply can’t be trusted to go it alone so we kept the handle on and headed out for our ‘Tour Le Trike’ to see if my fearcley independent child would be happy with this.

We mixed a little bit of shopping with a trip to the park and I can safely say it went really well. Oscar was more than happy to buckle up and pedal alone the road thinking he was in charge as he was peddling and steering the whole way and I still had the peace of mind he wasn’t going to be able to shoot off anywhere.

We explored the book shop, picked some flowers for his teachers and had a nosy around the shoe shop…well there had to be some perks for me.

The trike was easy to manuvoure both inside and outside due to its slim design and smooth steering.

After our shopping we stopped for and ice cream and coffee to refuel and then headed into the park. Oscar was also pretty taken with he handy drinks holder where he could stash his favourite drink.

Given the vast space in the park where there was no need for me to panic I asked Oscar is he would like to have a go on his own, but he was so taken with me helping him out when he fancied rising his legs he was more than happy to carry on as we had been.

Our tour saw us hit the High Street, navigate shop isles, cobbled streets and grassy turrsin and handled them all with no problem. look out ‘Tour De France’ Oscar is coming for you!

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Ten

Running behind with this series once again – but hey ‘better late than never’.

It was a pretty big one for me work wise and was a little hard to really concentrate on the smaller things when there were so many exciting things taking place, so this is exactly where I will start.

Working With Kids: By this I don’t mean having to go out of the house everyday and leave the kids, I am in fact lucky enough to take my little ones along with me for a large part of the work I do and this saw Izzy taking to the ice with some of the stars from Disney On Ice and little Oscar get a special screening of the new Peter Rabbit movie.
They always say never work with kids and animals and although it can be pretty stressful at times I am very grateful to be able to do just this.

Loving My City: A lot of my work takes me into London on a weekly basis and normally involves me flitting from one place to the next and not really stopping to take it all in. After the Peter Rabbit screening I had a few hours with Oscar and we took this chance to wander around town taking it all in; from the beautiful architecture to the eclectic groups of people.
London has so much to offer and I really need to slow down and make the most of it when I get the chance.

Oscar Writing His Name: This is a proud moment, mixed in with a little Mum guilt too if I’m honest.
The more children I have obviously the more limited my time is to spend with each of the children and with the older ones having homework to complete I sadly devote a lot of learning time to them a poor little Oscar gets a little left out.
So the other day whist he was writing his Grandad’s birthday card with Izzy, she came in showing me how well he had done with writing his name without any help from her.
I was over the moon that he had done it and a little guilty that there had been little input from me! So its a big thank you again to his fantastic nursery and a big kick up the bum for me to set some time aside to work with him.

Mr Men And Little Miss Tea Party With Mi-Pac

Our half term was pretty horrendous due to being housebound with coughs and colds for the majority of it. Thankfully though good health was restored just in time for us to attend the Mr Men and Little Miss Tea Party at Maggie And Rose in Kensington that had been put on to celebrate the launch of the fantastic new Mr Men and Little Miss range from Mi-Pac.

We arrived to rooms full to the brim with Mr Men themed activities from crafting to face painting, plenty of Mr Men books to settle down and read and the highlight of the day – the opportunity for the children to get their very own personalised illustration from Adam Hargreaves who has taken over from his infamous Father – Roger Hargreaves.

All worn out from all the fun the children settled to a scrumptious tea before taking a look at the brand new range of Mi-Pac bags that were a huge hit!

Mi-Pac wasn’t a brand I knew a lot about until today and I was massively impressed with not only the super cool new designs but the high quality make of the bags and their attention to detail.

The tough faux-leather of the multi character bag is perfect for my little ones as its perfect for my carefree children who are pretty reckless when it comes to looking after their bags, the adjustable, padded shoulder straps allow little ones to carry their bag with ease or the top carry handle is perfect for parents to take over when they’ve has enough!

My pre-teen was particularly drawn to the fact the bag had an internal pocket that is the perfect size for a laptop and a small front pocket to home all those little bits and pieces you need to get at quickly.

The cool and quirky new range is eye catching and fun as well as being super practical and has had people stop me to ask where they are from countless times already.

Take a look HERE for the full range they have available.

I have to say though my day was absolutely made when I was gifted my very own personalised Little Miss bag that has become a much cherished item from this amazing afternoon.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Three

Im a little bit late with this entry as life has got in the way and things have been sidelined. Last week was full of mundane tasks but I certainly have a few special moments to record.

Isla’s First Haircut: Being a grandparent is a completely new ball game to being a parent and one thing that I have found hard is bitting my tongue when Alice does things differently to I would. I have to hold myself back and remember all those times I got annoyed with my own mother for voicing her opinion so I told myself I wouldn’t be that fussing, interfering mother.
For months Isla’s hair has been growing out of control and I have wanted to take the scissors to it for so long.
Finally this week they decided it was time to be taken for her first haircut and I was so please to have been able to take her along for this experience.

Eyesight Improvement For Frankie: Last year Frankie was prescribed glasses and the vision in the right eye was a lot poorer than his left. The glasses alone hadn’t made any improvement so just over a month ago he was given a patch to wear for four hours everyday.
To be honest I thought we were going to have more trouble getting him to wear it then we have and apart from a few strops he’s been pretty good with it. This has paid off and he had improved by two lines on his sight test last week which was a big win for us.

Shopping With The Boys: Walking round the shops is somewhat of a distant memory for me since having children…well actually it’s only the last two that have put me off shopping with children for life.
All my shopping is done online and it wasn’t until we had a walk down Carnaby Street at the weekend that I realised now the boys are older they actually loved being able to walk around picking out things they like and trying the on.
They both certainly have and know their own minds when it comes to their style and Frankie was over the moon to be able to choose his first pair of ‘real’ trainers.

Tootsa MacGinty:Bold, Comfy and Perfect For Kids

‘I wanted to offer an alternative to the sea of pinks and blues, whilst also being practical, easy care, quality clothing. A unisex range which doesn’t limit a child and and lets a child be a child.’

These are the wise words of Tootsa MacGinty owner – Kate Pietrasik and are the exact thoughts that have run through my mind so many times whilst out shopping with my little ones.

As a mum of five I know how each and every child is so wonderfully different and not one of mine has fallen into a box that goes with those stereotypical tags that are in place when it comes to choosing clothing for girls and boys.

I have two little boys that have a huge love for pink and neither of my girls have been big fans of pink, frilly dresses so to find a brand that allows them to chose what they like without the worry of choosing something from ‘the wrong’ section is a breath of fresh air and this is exactly what Toota offer.

Their bold patterns and striking colours make this brand stand out from the crowd and the comfortable, wearable design and fit are perfect for active little ones.

My boys were lucky enough to be sent some items from Tootsa and they certainly put them through their paces.

The Newfoundland Lumberjack Jacket has been pretty much surgically attached to them since it arrived!

The bright checked print and cosy fluffy lining bring a more wearable addition to the usual denim jacket for this time of year and we have been stopped on more than one occasion to ask where they are from.

We love layering in this house as being on the go all the time and going from being cosy inside to hitting the great outdoors several times a day we need clothes to suit every eventuality.

Tootsa has a great collection of cosy sweatshirts to help with this. There is a whole host of different colours and patterns To choose from. The boys absolutely love their Toronto Sweatshirt covered in eskimos and totem poles that is perfect for this time of year.

Lastly we tried out their Classic Slimfit Jeans. This was a bit of a change for me as I always opt of super skinny jeans for all the children and I ordinarily don’t like the fit of any other styles, but I was very pleasantly surprised by these.

The looser fit that tapers in at the ankle was a great style and makes for a great wardrobe staple.

The thing that really draws me to Tootsa clothing though is their attention to detail and quality make in every piece.

From patches on the pockets to flashes of fabric in the turn-ups they have thought of everything to make for happy parents and happy kids alike!

* We were sent these items for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Gifts For Teens From Prezzybox.com

Teens and pre-teens are notoriously the hardest group of people to buy for, and for me it’s especially hard when it comes to little stocking fillers for Christmas morning.

Mine always have a stocking until well into their teens so that nobody is left out from that exciting treat of dipping into the long sock filled with goodies.

This year I have got together with prezzybox.com and managed to find some fun, affordable and quirky gifts for Izzy and Archie that I know they are going to absolutely love.

Izzy who is twelve loves anything pink, glittery or social media related and they had gifts aplenty to fit this.

The Iris The Unicorn Travel Mug which will be perfect for keeping warm in this freezing weather, a Neon Magic Hairbrush that is a super vibrant colour that fits perfectly inside her schoolbag and the one that I think is going to be a favourite is a Selfie Light that attaches to the back of your phone to create that perfect selfie.

Archie the moody teen who has just turned fifteen is now and has always been so hard to buy for. I love the fact that he rarely asks for gifts, but this is not much help when trying to get ready for Christmas.

However it only took a few minutes to find some gifts that were just perfect for him.

What teen doesnt love sweets! well mine certainly do and the tub of Personalised Retro Sweets is going to go down a storm I’m sure. Next up was a set of six Emoji Golf Balls that come in three different colours with a cool emoji on each ball. Lastly he was a real fan of the fidget spinner when the craze hit a few moths ago so I went one better with the Baffle Puzzle that is a little like a Rubik cube in a cylindrical shape.

Prezzybox.com not only caters for teens but for all different ages, genders and occasions and can be easily ordered from the comfort of your home to avoid that manic high street shopping. It’s the perfect site to stock up on different gifts at this time of year and there really is something for everyone.

* I was gifted these products for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Teaching Children To Give A Little This Christmas

With the media whirlwind that surrounds Christmas it can be very easy for children to get wrapped up in the commercialisation of it all and loose the true meaning.

It is very easy to get swept up in all the splender that surrounds Christmas and loose sight of the fact that this time of year is not a happy one for all of us.

Christmas is the perfect time to teach children the gift of giving and set them up with skills to show understanding and compassion for those less fortunate.

Something small such a helping out an elderly neighbour with odd jobs or simply a gift of their time is a simple way to give something back.

There are many ways to get the children involved and below I have listed a few charities local to me that offer a great way to do this:

  • Loveworks Christmas Appel Loveworks are a Reigate based charity that’s aim is to help the most vulnerable groups of people in the local area. Over Christmas they run a campaign where you can collect non perishable goods during November and drop off to your local Loveworks food bank in the first week of December.
  • Stripey Stork, Help Santa StorkStripey Stork is a charity created by a group of mums who wanted to make use of their unwanted baby and children’s items by giving them to people in need in the local community. Over the Christmas period they run a campaign called Help Santa’s Stork that allows you to either pick a brand new gift for a child either directly from Amazon or chosen by purchasing and dropping off at local collection points.
  • Give A Christmas Gift – Give A Christmas Gift campaign allows you but a gift from the list they have compiled and then drop your special gift off to several collection points that will then be distribute the collections amongst several local charities.

I hope this post has given you some food for thought and I would love to hear any ideas of charitable acts that you carry out with your little ones at this time of year.

Home Of Black Friday Pop-Up Experience With Amazon

Christmas is well on the way now and for many of us the worry of being able to get everyone their much longed for gifts is something that is hard to deal with.

Christmas is a truly magical time of year but the pressures of financing everything can make this happy time dampened by the pressure.

There are however ways around this with Black Friday being one of the best ways to save a fortune in the run up to Christmas.

Amazon are streets ahead when it comes to Black Friday and have taken things a step further this year with a super quirky pop-up experience in the heart of Soho Square to celebrate.

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch last night where we got the chance to see what is going to be on offer and listen to the thoughts behind Black Friday from retail expert – Clare Bailey.

Claire was explaining that for most of us over the years we have realised that giving money is a better option of gifting as the January sales start the minute Christmas finishes and all those gifts we have spend our hard earned money on are dramatically reduced.

However there is no thought or love behind gifting people with cash so being able to make huge savings before christmas is a great way to allow people to enjoy giving an actual gift.

The pop-up shop is a way of showcasing over 100 curated Black Friday deals with the addition of being able to try out games in their super cool games room, take part in games for your chance to win some great prizes and partake in workshops from Amazon Handmade Artisans, YouTube stars and TV chefs.

I had a wonderful evening meeting talented sellers from Amazon Marketplace such as the lovely Lavinia the owner of Lavolio who makes delicious and beautifully packaged handmade chocolates. And the guys behind Cozy Glow candles that would certainly give that well know candle male a run for their money!

They have such passion for their brand which makes their products so much more appealing.

One room in the shop was set up like a beauty salon where I was treated to a hair makeover from GHD and tried out some fabulously vibrant Max Factor lipstick that lasts for an amazing 24 hours.

The shop is open from 12.30-7.30 from Tuesday 21st November until Friday 24th November and is certainly worth a trip for a fantastically interactive shopping experience and some fantastic bargains.

Bobux:Comfort, Style, Made With Love

“we make shoes that are the best thing parents can do for their kids feet”

These are the words of the husband and wife mastermind behind the beautiful brand – Bobux.

For me choosing shoes for infants is a hugely important task with so many things to consider. Their delicate little feet need to be well protected, the shoe needs to be comfortable and easy to move around in and also look good.

Bobux have got this down to a tee and taken all these elements to create beautiful shoes that grow with your child.

My youngest two are super adventurous and certainly know their own minds when it comes to dressing so something that can withstand active boys whist appealing to their fashion needs is always a challenge.

Thankfully from the minute they started to scroll though the vast collection that Bobux have online their wish lists grew and grew and had to be whittled down to their favourites.

With the colder weather fast approaching we decided on a pair of boots for the both of them with Oscar going for the red Outback boot and Frankie and his quirky taste going for the silver Vault boot.

Both boots are made of super soft leather with zip fastenings and an elastic panel to the side making them really easy to get on and off.

We put the boots to the test with a walk around town and no complaint was made about sore or uncomfortable feet. So often within a few hours I have little ones moaning and groaning about shoes that rub or simply just don’t feel right.

The quality make and leather of this boots really shone through and made for an easy day for us all.

The simplistic design means they are perfect for everyday wear but can equally be dressed up for a special occasion.

They also lend themselves well to suiting both sexes.

As I said Frankie loves something alternative so the super cool silver was a big hit with him and the boldred of oscars boots really makes a statement.

The love and attention to detail really shines thoughin each pair of shoes and they arecertainly a brand we will be going back to time and time again.

*collaborated post