Tots To Teens Gift Guide

This year I have decided to bundle all the kids gifts into one as lets face it no one child likes something just because it is aimed at their age or gender so here are a few of my top pics for this christmas from tots to teens and everyone in between.

Matchstick Monkey – These super cute teethers are made of super soft material that has been made into an ergonomically designed teether suitable for each and every teething stage. Matchstick Monkey are the perfect size for little hands to grip and can easily be taken anywhere you wish.

Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Giftset – The gift of sleep is as enjoyable for us as it is the babies and this gorgeous set from Johnson’s comprising of a baby bath, baby wash, baby lotion and baby oil makes for a lovely gift.

Jo Jo Maman Bebe Christmas Dinner Set – This gorgeous set first caught my eye at an event in the summer and I real in love. The wooden set is a complete christmas dinner with a full turkey, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots and a delicious looking christmas pudding. I can’t wait for the boys to serve me my own christmas this year!

Robo Chameleon – I think this is going to be my favourite toy this year never mind the kids! This cute portable robot has an illuminated, colour changing body and a tongue that shoots out to catch its food. The remote control allows the chameleon to move in four different directions as well as moves his tail and eyes. He moves around with ease collecting his food and storing in his mouth ready for the next game.

Dash – Coding is a big thing for kids at the moment and Dash the robot is a great way to get kids interested in a super fun way.  This interactive, educational and customisable robot who is able to sense his environment, moves, glows, makes sounds and can even interact with other robots. All of these activities are easy to program for children aged 6+.

Ready2Robot – Ready2Robot is an brilliant battle set offering 10 hidden chambers, 40 battle weapons and 100’s of ways to customise your battles. This is going to keep my boys busy for more than a while this Christmas.

The Original Den Kit – I love being outdoors with the kids and anything that makes them want to explore the great outdoors is a big hit in my book. This brilliant Den Kit from Muddy Puddles provides them with everything they need for a brilliant outdoor adventure.

Inside the green haversack there is everything you need to build the perfect den anywhere you like including a camouflage tarpaulin, waterproof groundsheet, wooden mallet, a mug, a tube of super cool faceprint, a rope, 8 tent pegs and institutions to help you along the way. This really is a present that will keep on giving!

Kids Kanteen Sippy Bottle – If you have children like mine then being asked for a drink is continuous. Having a super cool bottle for themselves is a great way to get them to take charge of their own drink. The Kid Kanteen is designed for children from 6 months and the the stainless steel and sippy lid is the perfect way to get your little ones to start thinking about reusable drinks bottles.

Bundle Beds – In my eyes Bundle Beds are one of the best inventions I have come across for a long time! Instead of pulling out your old sleeping bag and trying to get comfy on the hard floor a Bundle Bed offers a fully self-contained bed complete with a self inflating mattress, built in luxury duvet and pillow in a slimline and easy to store design.

Never before have I had such a good nights sleep in a ‘put up’ bed and it makes for the perfect extra sleeping space for sleepovers, camping or just cosying up in front of the TV.

A Few Minutes Of Design – I love something a little different to the norm and this pack of colourful cards is sure to get those creative juices flowing , allowing you to grow skills in creativity, invention and design.

On each card you will find an activity that lasts for around 15 mins and can be anything from how to name a project to how to say it without words. It is a very different gift that will certainly challenge the little ones and keep the away from the screen this Christmas.

Venom Mini BMX  – Going with our love of the outdoors, this mini BMX from Skates.co.uk is just the thing to get them out and about and exploring. This Venom bike to only looks super cool but also offers high pressure tyres, tappered treadless forks, upgraded CNC dropouts an  brand new colour-way.

It the perfect BMX to get there passion for riding flowing.

Knitty Critters – Crochet is something that has certainly come back into the spotlight over the past few years and I love anything that opens up ways for the children to learn new skills. Geoffrey The Giraffe is perfect for those with intermediate skills and will give your child a real sense of accomplishment once they have finished.

LushLush products have made it into my kid and adult guide this year as I think they span absolute every age. I know they each and everyone of us in this house loves there products and Izzy especially loves to receive one of their gorgeous gift boxes at this time of year.

MiPac Rucksack – A new bag always goes down well in our house for Christmas and you can’t go wrong with one from MiPac. A favourite of mine this year has to be the Tatty Devine collaboration and I know they there are a lot of teens out there that would love to receive this.

Crate Creature Basher Figures And Moj Moj – Two little stocking fillers that come top of my list this year are the Moj Moj cute and squishy collectibles and the mini crate creatures basher figures that come in a little box that can be used as a target.

* I was gifted this products for the purpose of this guide.

Ergo Pouch Sleepsuit Giveaway

All of mine have been crazy sleepers in the sense that they can’t keep still in bed for more than a few minutes! From tiny babies it was always the relentless task of going into their rooms at night to cover them back up before they got woken by the cold.

This is where the discovery of baby sleeping bags with my youngest two was an absolute game changer and the ability to keep them warm all night was finally discovered!

As they grew though we still had the issue with missing bedcovers but a real lack of anything to use once they outgrew the sleeping bag stage.

However the clever people at ergoPouch have got this covered with their amazing Ergo Pouch Sleepsuit.

Ergo Pouch in fact start with baby swaddles and sleeping bags for little ones and then allow older children to progress to the sleep suit.

All their products are made with natural, skin friendly fibres that allow both temperature regulation and breathability which gives the child comfort and you peace of mind.

Oscar is probably on of my most wiggly little ones who also feels the cold terribly so trying out the sleep suit bag on him made for the perfect candidate.

The bag is easily converted into a suit from a bag allowing the child freedom to move around or the perfect way to move them from car to bed in one easy movement without having to fuss around.

Being avid campers this is also the perfect alternate to the traditional and somewhat uncomfortable sleeping bags we usually use for the children and we will be testing ours out at Camp Bestival in a few weeks time.

If this sounds like the perfect solution for your little ones then please feel free to enter my completion below to win one of your very own!

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‘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!

Win A Family Ticket To This Summer’s Wild Child Festival

For the past three years we have been huge fans of family festivals and I am so excited to be adding another one to our list this year as I become an ambassador for the Wild Child Festival in the leafy grounds of the Dulwich Estate in South London.

This brand new festival is going to be focusing on children’s entertainment and workshops for children aged 0-11 and runs over a three day period from Friday 17th August to Sunday 19th August 2018 and has been kept to only 500 families per day which makes for an intimate and less stressful experience…as lets face it children and queues never mix well!

For me festivals offer time together as a family away from the distractions of day to day life, time away from screens to really connect with each other, try new skills and experience new firsts.

The brain child behind this festival is Hayley Byfield who as a Mum and art producer who has worked on events at several large festivals over the past 20 years is the perfect person to create a festival that will be enjoyable for both the children as well as the adults.

I know all to well that festivals with little ones can be a daunting prospect so having the option to go along for the day to enjoy the festival vibes without the pressure of the camping element is a great way to go.

With over 11 art inspired zones there really is something to cater for all tastes. The Giggly Grove is set to be a giggle a minute with comedy acts aimed at children. The Magic Hollow is the place to go for all those aspiring magicians. The Wordy Wood will allows the children to slip away into a literary world. The Little Top is the place to perform all those circus skills. The Bop Along Ballroom is the perfect place to get those dancing shoes ready and practice those groovy moves. For any coding fans The Imagination Lab is the place to be. If funk, soul and jazz are more your thing then you need to make your way to the Harmony Hideout. For those of you with little ones the Babes In The Burrow with be a lovely little hideaway from the hustle and bustle of it all. I know a hit with us is going to be the Crafy Den where the children can take part in all kinds of crafts from festival crowns and dream catcher to water pistol painting and wacky weaving. Finally is the Play House where the kids can explore a dinosaur world, play games in the unicorn meadow an so much more!

We literally can’t wait to get along and experience this for ourselves and if you fancy coming along to join in the fun then take a look HERE to book your tickets or I am very pleased to say I have a competition running to win a family ticket that you can enter below!

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Giveaway Terms and Conditions

1. Giveaway is open to entrants worldwide. 2. No purchase necessary. 3. Ages 18 and over only.

4. Prize is a family ticket to Wild Child Festival in Dulwich.

5. A family ticket refers to 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children.

6. Tickets are for any day of the festival that the winners wish to attend. 7. Winner will be notified within 7 days of the random draw.

8. We will make all reasonable attempts to contact the winner; if after 3 attempts the winner still hasn’t claimed their prize, the promoter reserves the right to redraw.

9. Winner will need to confirm their festival attendance date with the promoter, within 72 hours of claiming their win.**

10. No last minute changes for number of guests or attendance date, unless authorised by the promoter. 11. No cash alternative, exchange, refund or resale.

12. Promoter reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value should circumstances make this necessary.

*collaborated post

What The Ladybird Heard At Rose Theatre Kingston:Review

We all have a favourite books from our childhood; one that brings back memories and even into our adult life can evoke feelings from times and places around that very story.

The beauty of finding your favourite book in this day and age is the fact that many of the classics are adapted for the big screen or stage, allowing you to enjoy the story in a completely different way.

A favourite in our house at the moment, especially with Frankie is What The Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson. Frankie first came across this fantastic book whilst covering it at school and was lucky enough to play a part in the school assembly that we all loved watching.

You can imagine his excitement when I told him we would be going to see the show on stage at the Rose Theatre in Kingston.

The Rose Theatre is a new discovery for us and we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived to the super friendly staff in a lovely bright and spacious reception that lead onto a cafe full of scrummy treats and a small play area that was perfect to keep restless fingers busy.

After a quick look around we made our way to our seats inside the theatre. It had a really laid back feel to it and the children were invited to grab a cushion and take a seat right in front of the stage or settle in their seats if they wanted. Actually as sad as this may seem the seats were a pretty big highlight for me as they were the usual retractable kind but came in a double seat which saved the continual chair banging throughout the show!

The colourful set had the whole audience of little people gazing at the stage with anticipation of the start. It wasn’t long before the lights dimmed and the charters took to the stage. The tale of the two cheeky robbers who were out to steal the farmers prized cow started to unfold and with the use of extremely clear props…my favourite was the goose made from a watering can, catchy tunes and bundles of audience participation the children were keeped engaged for the whole 55 mins which is no mean feat when there is such a young audience.

During the show the children were encouraged to join in with animal noises, sing and mimic the actions to songs and try to spot the elusive ladybird which seemed a favourite with them all. There was also plenty of slapstick style comedy thrown in which is always a hit with my lot!

The characters were warm and friendly and really drew the children in and made a great connection with them. Frankie took a real liking to the naughty robbers whilst Oscar was pretty taken with the jolly farmer.

At the end of the show we were lucky enough to be able to take to the stage for a chat with the characters and the children got to try their hand at using some of the amazing props.

Frankie was over the moon the meet his favourite character ‘Lanky Len’ and Izzy was in her element to get five minutes on stage as this is her absolute dream.

We had a fantastic afternoon and highly recommend this show as a half term treat for all the family.

Making The Most Of My Last Few Pre-School Months At Godstone Farm

To those of you who follow my blog regularly it will be of no surprise that I’m having a mini breakdown over Oscar going to school this September. After twenty years of ‘Mums and Toddlers’ groups, countless trips to the park and library visits you would have thought that shipping my last one off to school would be a welcome break but this is far from the way I’m feeling right now.

Due to this is have declared Wednesday as mine and Oscars day of fun. A whole day to ourselves doing things we love and building memories.

We kicked our first week off with a trip to Godstone Farm. I have visited this farm since I was a child myself and have many happy memories of trips here, but over the past few years our visits have become far less frequent and I was still egar to see what they had going on now.

We did the school run and arrived at the farm around 10am and were greeted by a gaggle of geese as we made our way to our first port of call – the animal handling area.

Oscar’s face lit up as he got to meet lots of cute chicks and fluffy bunnies, one of which he got the chance to hold.

After a good while of exploring and plenty of requests to take one home we made our way round to see the bigger animals.

I fell in love with the piglets and Oscar took a liking to the cheeky goats that he had great fun feeding with the super cool pulley system.

From here we hopped on board the tractor for a quick ride around the farm. It was lovely to get another perspective and it’s always so much fun when you’re bouncy around on four wheels!

It was time to stop for a bit of lunch and at Godstone Farm there are plenty of places to stop for a picnic if you have brought your own food along or a delightful tearoom where you can get delicious hot or cold food served by the super friendly staff.

It was the perfect pit stop for use to grab a coffee and of course no day out would be complete without a yummy ice cream!

Godstone Farm has much more to offer then just a visit to see the animals and we both throughly enjoyed hunting for dinosaurs on the Dino Trail.

Oscar tried his hand at palaeontology and excavated some dinosaurs bones, spotted lots of different dinosaurs and just a few times at the sound effects that set off as you pass.

If this wasn’t enough fun we then headed to the new Wiglet’s Play Village which is an amazing indoor space for little ones that is the perfect place for role play. There is a great construction area where Oscar donned his hard hat and built a fort, baked me a cake in the kitchen and tended to his pets in the vets.

There was also a completely separate area for babies, a train track table that Oscar loved and a foam ball area where they could shoot them around to their hearts content.

He had such a great time in there that we didn’t even get a chance to visit the Play Barn that is a much larger area with huge slides, climbing areas and rides ons to enjoy.

Farms trips to me though are definitely about the outdoor play and Godstone Farm has this by the bucketload!

There are areas all over the farm where they can climb aboard bikes and tractors and rush around as much as they like and a huge play area at the top of the farm which had just about everything a child could wish for.

Oscar played in sandpit for a good while before playing ‘Ninja Warrior’ on the slides and obstacle courses and finished off the day speeding down the sledge run that I have to admit I couldn’t resist a sneaky go on.

We had an absolutely amazing day at Godstone Farm and it really did make for the perfect term time trip. The farm was relatively quiet which is great for impatient little ones and something to keep them amused whatever the weather and whatever their likes.

This has certainly been added to our list of favourites and we will be back again very soon!

*We were asked along to Godstone Farm for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Cake Smash Time With Layrish Photography

I actually can’t believe its been a year since we welcomed Isla into the world and I became a Grandmother. I have to say that this time has passed even quicker than it did with my own children and because of that capturing and celebrating milestones is something of great importance to me.

When I was asked by Layrish Photography if we would like to take Isla along to a cake smash photoshoot to celebrate her first birthday both Alice and myself were extremely happy to go along.

Layrish Photography offer a whole range of photography sessions from weddings to birthday parties, cake smashes to family photoshoots and so much more. They take place at locations of your choice or for from the comfort of your own home.

Cake smashes are a relatively new concept to me and certainly something I was very happy to experience with Isla as a first for us both.

We were all made to feel at ease as soon as the session began and Isla was eased into the whole process by playing with some toys and chatting before the photography started.

With pretty balloons, bunting and bubbles to distract her attention the first few photos in her pretty dress were taken effortlessly before she became a little restless.
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What better distraction could there be though than a quick change of clothes and the most beautiful cake being placed in front of you!

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A little hesitant a first she poked and prodded around for a while and then dived in…face first!

Isla (27)

I wasn’t long before she got a real taste and was well away digging in with her hands and trusty wooden spoon.

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Once she was sufficiently covered head to toe in cake it was time to wrap up the session and of course sample some of the cake ourselves…I mean it would be rude not to!

If you like the look of this session then I couldn’t recommend it enough for an experience that will stick in our mind for years to come and amazing image to look back over time and time again.

In fact the whole package is finished off beautifully as Layrish Photography send over a stunning case that comes with a handful of images all ready and printed out for you that are tied together with a pretty bow and covered with confetti along with the memory stick continuing all your photos that you can do exactly what you want with.

This was also accompanied with a slideshow that includes live footage of the cake smash that actually bought a tear to my eye when we received it, it was certainly a really lovely and unexpected addition.

https://thejoyoffive.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/img_9206.mov

It will certainly be a day to remember for us and I couldn’t recommend it more.

*we were given this session in exchange for this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Bringing Back The Outdoors With Little Tikes

I am a big believer in the benefits of getting the kids outdoors. In this technology driven day and age a huge percentage of children have very little…if any time spent on outdoor play.

According to a government study more than one in nine children haven’t set foot in a park, woodland or beach in the past 12 months and a whopping 74% of children spend less than an hour outside in the fresh air.

The benefits to outdoor play are endless from increasing a child’s self confidence, building their fine and gross motor skills, boosting those all important serotonin levels to give them that feel good boost and so, so much more.

Little Tikes understand all to well the importance of this too and held an event at The Lookout in the centre of Hyde Park to show just how easy it is to get children excited and engaged about getting outside and having fun.

Luckily for us the sun was on our side for this event and I arrived with two super excited little boys who’s eyes lit up the moment they saw the huge array of brightly coloured, beautiful toys that Little tikes are so famous for.

For us Little Tikes have been a part of our family of the past twenty years. My eldest was bought a kitchen from them for her first birthday and since that moment we loved their hardy, eye catching toys that are certainly built to last and allow childrens imaginations to run wild through play which is so important.

The boys headed straight for the Cozy Coupes as they do whenever we come across one and were really pleased to see the truck version which is a little bigger than the original and has plenty of space in the back for them to carry around anything they wish.

From here they moved onto the playhouses and we were all really taken with the Build-A-House which allowed them to customise their own home with interchanging panels that can be attached with easy to use tools. Oscar was also pretty taken with the BBQ to and loved cooking up a storm for everyone.

After a break for lunch and a spot of face painting they got stuck into the water and sand play. I hadn’t realised that Little Tikes had such a extensive range when it came to this and the boys were literally spoilt for choice.

A big hit with both of them was the Turtle Sandbox that they happily sat in building sandcastles and creating forts with the Monster Dirt Digger. Frankie loved looking on at the Fun Zone Splash Face which was like a tug of war that ends with a splash of water in the face if you loose! Int believe that Mr confident – Frankie was to scared to give it a go.

I spent a good part of the day dodging the bucket full of water that fills and drops without warning in the Fun Zone Drop Zone. This great toy can actually be filled with balls instead of water and used for indoor play as well.

The boys love anything involving wheels and spent a good while winding round the beautiful pathways of The Lookout on the Fold’n Go 5 in 1 trike which has a a fabulous parent handle that allows you control of the steering for a super smooth ride and the Lean To Turn Scooters that give them a super easy ride allowing them to really build their confidence.

As the day drew to an end and I struggled to get the boys to leave it came to my attention that my boys who usually have the shortest concentration span ever had spent half a day through engaged, every muscle in their body used and their imaginations stretched to their limits; we certainly give the Little Tikes outdoor range a big huge thumbs up from us!

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Twelve

This week has been a bit of an emotional one with the realisation my youngest isn’t so little anymore and how all Frankie’s hard work has been paying off for him.

Frankie’s Eyesight Improves – Its been nearly a year now since Frankie first started wearing glasses and it has been more than a struggle at times. He isn’t to bad at keeping his glasses on but since he had to start wearing a patch on his left eye we have had nothing but problems.
There have been so many bribes and ultimatums to get him to wear it and it has actually cost us a small fortune in the money he has earned for keeping it on.
It has however been worth the pain as on this visit to the hospital his sight has made a huge improvement and I couldn’t be happier.

Home Styling Tips From The Experts – I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous event hosted by the lovely people at Amara. When it comes to home styling I tend to buy pieces that I like without much thought about how and were they are going to fit into the house.
A day of tips and tricks has helped me no end and I will be showcasing this next week with a post on everything I’ve learnt.

Oscar’s Last Dance Show – Realisation is setting in that my youngest will soon be starting primary school and I will no longer have a little ankle bitter nipping at my toes.
I sat and watched his final dance performance with a lump in my throat and a funny feeling in my tummy that in a few short months this stage of both our lives will be coming to an end.

Paper Plate Peacock Fan: #BostikBloggers

The theme for this months Bostik Bloggers challenge was birds and flight and to be honest it left me a little stumped for a while and everything that came into my head involved hand painting and I wasn’t feeling up for the mess that this always creates!

I then thought I could revolve the craft around one on my favourite birds…the majestic peacock and here’s how we got on.

Paper Plate Peacock Fan

What you will need:

Small paper plate
Blue foam sheet
Green crepe paper
Blue tissue paper
Yellow foam sheet
Blue feather
Two googley eyes
Wooden stick
Glue
Scissors
Sellotape

Firstly take the green crepe paper and cut around 14 small circles to cover the edge of the plate. Then take the blue tissue paper and cut a large circle to create the body and finally the blue foam and cut a smaller circle to make the head.

Once the circles are complete then the the yellow foam and cut a small triangle to make the beak and cut the top of the feather to make it a little shorter to be a good fit.

Next take the paper plate and put it onto the table with the back facing upwards and attach the wooden stick with a couple of pieces of sellotape.

Next take the green circles and cover the outer edge of the plate to form the feathers.

Once all the feathers are in place put the tissue paper circle at the bottom of the plate to make the body and then the foam circle above to create the head.

Now that the main part is complete glue the beak into the centre of the head with the eyes just above this and the feather in the centre of the head.

The last thing to do now is to cut small sections of the blue tissue paper and scrunch into little balls and attach them to the centre of the feathers with a little glue.

And there you have it, your very own peacock fan!