Category Archives: kids

Chocolate free Easter for the littlies

Not all little people are old enough or enjoy chocolate so family and friends are often stumped at Easter about what to give instead.

Here is my round up on the web’s best chocolate free gifts to give this easter to make any child happy, regardless of age.

CuteHeads is a line of adorable, comfy clothing that both parents and children will love. It can sometimes be a challenge, getting your little one dressed in the morning. We aim to make it as simple as possible by giving your child options he or she can easily ask for. When you hear your little one say, ‘Mom, I want to wear the lion today,’ then we know we’ve done our job. We aim to help you give your child the independence to dress him or herself while looking as cute as can be.

Here is my top 2 gifts from Cuteheads,

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Gorgeous organic cotton dog paw top knot head band, $12

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Gorgeous rabbit print organic nappy covers, $20

Born on Bowery, Inc. was established in 2013 with a simple mission of handcrafting beautiful clothing and accessories for children. We debuted with a collection for girls, ages 2 – 6, and plan to offer infant apparel in the near future.
Each piece is handmade in New York City, with special attention paid to garment construction. We employ couture finishes, where possible, to ensure the highest quality and longevity, since we hope each piece will be worn many times, shared with siblings, and become a treasured part in your child’s wardrobe.
Beautiful fabrics, prints and trims inspire us, and we do our best to make each collection special. We produce garments in limited editions, so you are guaranteed to always find new and fresh designs. Many pieces we make are one-of-a-kind, because we like the idea that your child, and your child alone, will be wearing it.
Here is my top 2 from this gorgeous little boutique,
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These gorgeous little jewelled barrettes are adorable, $12
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I love their little skirts with their funky fabrics and pom pom trim, $86
For beautiful British made clothing and accessories check out Millimanu , all of the garments in this season’s collection are designed and made here in the UK using only the finest natural fabrics. It also allows us to use the skills of talented craftsman and specialist manufacturers here in the UK, while reducing the environmental footprint of each product. With this in mind, we try to source responsibly and are working hard towards ensuring all of the materials we use are produced, fairly, ethically, sustainably and close to home so they positively benefit local economies as well as the environment.
My top 2 are just to die for!
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These beautiful customised friendship bracelets, £29
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The gorgeous Buster Bunny, £19 with proceeds going to children’s charity Kids Company to support vulnerable and hungry children in Britain.
The home of beautiful British gifts, Two Ducks.Many of the gifts we offer are not widely found on the high street and are lovingly handmade by talented artisans working from small studios and workshops.

All our products offer the same high quality and exceptional design that demonstrate the huge range of creative talent that exists in this country.

We believe that a good gift should say something about the giver as well as the receiver and that your home, family and friends deserve nothing less than the best of British.

Here is my top 2 gifts,

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This gorgeous handmade oak pull along duck, £18
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I love these adorable little egg cups made from sustainable solid oak, £12.50
I hope you love my Easter egg free round up. Which will you choose for the little people in your life this Easter?

 

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Love From! Magazine Review

Every little girl loves a magazine, and to be frank we have tried them all over the years. My girls being the crafty magpies they are always go for the ones with the freebies stuck to the front but who am I kidding they are always a little naff.

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However the new Love From! magazine for girls ages 4-6 is something a little special. In each issue you receive two magazines, one purely craft based with colouring in etc and one more education based with stories and puzzles all nestled together with a bumper craft kit with stickers and stationary. This type of thing is right up our alley and was happily received by all of my girls, even our eldest who’s 10!

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What makes this magazine stand out from the crowd is that each issue concentrates on one specific character and everything you receive is factored around that. This makes purchasing a little more exciting in my opinion and scraps that whole, ‘ this issue is no different from the last’ problem you find with most children’s magazines.

Issues are released every four weeks and you can find out all about them here , issues are priced just £3.25 which compared to the competition is definitely a bargain!

What magazines do your little ones love to read?

Im off now to stick fairies on to ALL OF THE THINGS!

* We received a copy of the magazine for free but all opinions are my own*

WauWaa and Frugi – Review

Frugi logo new

If you have never heard of Frugi, you can find out about their amazing organic children’s clothing here . And if like me, you have and know how simply amazing they are then you can check out there range now available at WauWaa .

When I was asked to road test an item from Frugi’s new range I almost squealed with excitement! I didn’t  for fear of the pooch going postal and licking me half to death but I could barely contain said excitement. Ive had a few Frugi pieces for the girls over the years but only ever bought them second hand so this was a real treat!

I choose the super stylish Camper Van Dress and I can hear you all now screaming, “Why isn’t this in my size?!” Well sadly it isn’t… YET! But you can still ogle that little lady of yours in this stylish number and barely feel duped.

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My little lady simply could not wait to get it on ( as you can see from the chocolate stained face and bruised shins!) and has had to be prised out of it every time it requires washing. Who can blame her tho when its a beautiful fit, looks amazing and feels divine on the skin!

I simply adore the packaging it comes in, makes the whole experience that little bit more magical, who doesn’t love cute packaging! And the label is gorgeous, a work of art if you ask me. I simply adore brands that take that little bit of thought on their packaging for children’s clothes, it makes everyone feel spoilt.

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We have had this dress for almost a week now and its been worn almost every day and washed and dried on the radiator. It hasn’t lost its shape and neither has any of the colours bled, it hasn’t shrunk and with each wash it still looks as glorious as the day we received it.

I genuinely don’t have one bad thing to say about the cute little camper van dress or Frugi. For the £27 this dress retails at if I had gone out and bought it I would still be over the moon. It’s very rare to buy something this soft  that will continue to hold its shape after the abuse the 4 year old puts it through along with the continuous washing and drying in doors.

And for the boys, check out this bad boy . This has to be the greatest tshirt I have EVER seen!

Check Frugi out now, available at WauWaa as a permanent brand. Which will you choose?

*The Camper Van dress was sent to me free of charge, all opinions are my own*

Kids Bee Happy Sand Art – Review

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I have to admit it, I have crafty kids, I don’t know if this is entirely my doing or not but any opportunity to A) make a mess or B) create something wonderful and they are there!
When I was given the opportunity to review some of the Kids Bee Happy Sand Art I was over the moon! The girls have been trying new things, the Moshi Monster Hamma Beads where a roaring success and I crossed my fingers this would be too.
Being slightly neurotic with OCD about mess, yeah I know I have a cat, dog and 3 kids and its always a mess but hey i dream of an immaculate home! I was a little worried about hoovering up sand from every nook and cranny of my tiny kitchen but i have to admit there was barely a mess at all much to the girls disappointment .
Being able to peel off small sections as you go gives even the youngest of children the skill not to randomly sprinkle sand on every surface in view and makes for a very lovely and precise finish. Even Emma who has some special needs found the kits easy peasy and having such a beautiful finished picture really made her day.
My girls LOVED making these and their little smiling faces prove just that..
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 Emma age 7 with her finished Snowman picture.
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Zoe aged 4 with her wild Alien picture.
With the wide range of coloured sand provided you can really make some special and unique pictures as you can see from Zoe’s finished picture. The larger sticky areas once peeled off really allowed for her to go with her imagination and create this multicoloured landscape.
They loved the little plastic wallets that you can slip your finished art work into to keep them in tip top condition. They grace the playroom walls and its regularly a point of conversation, especially ” Muuummm when can we do these again?” That alone says it all about these wonderful kits.
If you would like to try them yourself you can find a massive range here at http://sandartcrafts.co.uk
My girls give them a massive thumbs up and thats OK with me!
L x

Project Wild Thing

As a mum of 3 that home educates i think I’m fair in saying that as a mum whatever your situation you are time strapped, there’s an endless tirade of cooking, cleaning, tidying, making and unmaking appointments, food shopping, pet care, bath time, homework (i think you get the point!) So where do you fit in the time to just simply down tools, act like the child you really are and get outside, and get dirty?
Well that’s the point, something has to give! We as families cannot go on with using technology to replace the sheer wonderousness of outdoor play, yes its scary allowing our little angles (when they aren’t trying to murder each other that is!) to go outside alone, or even to have our eyes taken off them for 30 secs, i get it i really do, having a child manage to get out of your house and wander off down the street is enough to put the fear of god in you, i don’t think i actually breathed for the whole 3mins it took me to find her! But this cotton wool world we have all created out of our own insecurities is taking away the one thing children yearn the most and that’s the ability to learn from their surroundings, there is really only so many times you can play angry birds after all!

So anyway after receiving a Little Dish email i discovered this new project, Project Wild Thing, and this is what they do..

Project Wild Thing is a film led movement to get more kids (and their folks!) outside and reconnecting with nature. The film is an ambitious, feature-length documentary that takes a funny and revealing look at a complex issue, the increasingly disparate connection between children and nature.
And Project Wild Thing is much more than a film, this is a growing movement of organisations and individuals who care deeply about the need for nature connected, free-range, roaming and outdoor playing kids in the 21st century. Hundreds of people have already committed huge amounts of time, energy, resources and money to help get the project where it is today. Which is really just the beginning.
The journey started in late 2010 with film-makers Green Lions exploring a film approach to an emerging issue coined ‘nature deficit disorder’ in kids. A collaboration formed with the National Trust who were also looking at the issue and through the Britdoc Foundation support for the development of the film and movement has gathered along the way from RSPBPlay EnglandPlay ScotlandPlay WalesNHS Sustainable Development UnitTFTWoodland TrustsAMV BBDO and Arla foods.
In summer 2012 Greenlions formed a collaboration with Good for Nothing, helping co-create the foundation of David Bond’s nature marketing program, this was supported by generous contributions from the Do LecturesTYF AdventuresEden Project and Al Kennedy.
In the autumn of 2012 the Natural Childhood Summit hosted by the National Trust brought together hundreds of organisations to explore the challenges and issues more widely and collaboratively.
Project Wild Thing emerged and thousands of people have pledged to support the project a year before the film has launched. A Kickstarter campaign raised further funding from hundreds of awesome individuals around the world to finish the film production.
In January 2013 Swarm Partnership came on board with support from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and The Wild Network was hatched. The network is an open, growing collaborative group of organisations big and small seeking to tackle the many issues raised in the film and champion the wonders of being outside. An advisory group was established with the WildLife Trusts currently heading that up.
Phew!
Project Wild Thing and The Wild Network is a people powered movement, it’s success will be down to the actions and the energy of this growing community.
If you want nature, wildness and free-range living for kids and adults to exist alongside an increasingly industrialised and technological society then join us and get involved in making that happen.
See you on the outside.
 
So sign up https://projectwildthing.com and pledge as little as 10 mins per day where you swap screen time for outside time and enjoy what nature has to offer yourself and your children. Nothing combats those stress levels than a lovely walk through the park or a dog walk to the local lake or even as simply as walking home from school instead of taking the bus or car… whatever gets you all out of the house and enjoying each other if we don’t make the change, who will?!!

Get the kids warm and snuggly this season with Next

 
With the turn in the weather, it is now time to bring out the Winter wardrobe! This is no excuse for frumpy jumpers and oversized coats.. Dress your little one fashionably this season, and take your pick from the new collection of Winter coats and jazzy jumpers at Next!
 
 
 

Keep it casual with their collection of cosy jumpers for him or her! I absolutely LOVE this cute cotton patterned jumper for him (3 months- 6 years, £13-14 http://www.next.co.uk/x522838s8#854104×52). Team it with a shirt underneath for the ultimate preppy look, or simply wear it on it’s own. 



For her I also LOVE this striped Sweater (3-16 years, £16-22,http://www.next.co.uk/g742738s1#884774g74 ). Style it with a pair of black skinny jeans for a cool monochrome look.



Who says warm can’t look good! This Navy and Tan Stripe Coat with cute bow detail is the perfect item to keep her warm, whilst still looking adorably smart (3-16 years, £32-38http://www.next.co.uk/g749744s1#870819g74). 

However, if you don’t quite think it’s coat season yet, try their selection of Gilets, perfect to go over virtually any outfit! I especially love this Cream Faux Fur Gilet (3-16 years, £26-32,http://www.next.co.uk/G49428s6#877155G49), which will look fab over a cute dress and a pair of tights! 



Don’t worry, there’s a great selection of Gilets for boys too that come in all different colours! This Navy Gilet (3-16 years, £16-21,http://www.next.co.uk/g492520s6#854386g49) is one of my favourites! Throw it on with a pair of jeans and a sweater for the perfect Autumnal look!

I love Gilets! What would you pair yours with?

Reasons My Kid is Crying Competition and Review

If you haven’t heard of Greg Pembroke’s blog, Reason’s my Son is Crying you are missing out, it is seriously laugh a minute and as a parent you can relate with the images as you are probably witnessing one as you scroll through his blog page.
And now the good people at Boxtree have turned this internet phenomemom into a hardback book, so everyone can have a good old chortle into their tea on a rainy afternoon while the mini people are having a nap/terrorising the dog/planning an escape route/crying because its a Sunday!

Here’s a little more about it…

REASONS MY KID IS CRYING
Greg Pembroke Published by Boxtree on 10 Oct 2013;
£9.99 hardback
THE BOOK OF THE MOST POPULAR TUMBLR PAGE, REASONS MY SON IS CRYING.
It all started when busy father Greg Pembroke posted a few pictures online of his three- year-old son, mid-tantrum, alongside the reason his son was crying:
He had broken his bit of cheese in half. 


Within a week the blog had featured on countless news, radio and television websites around the world, including The Daily Mail, Buzzfeed,
ABC News, Yahoo, MSN, The Huffington Post, USA Today, Good Morning America and The Today Show.
This book collects together photos sent to Greg from parents across the globe, documenting the many, completely logical reasons why small children cry. (‘I let him play on the grass’ . . . ‘We told him the pig says “oink”’ . . . ‘The neighbour’s dog isn’t outside’).
Together, they are both a fond portrait of the universal, baffling logic of toddlers – and a reminder for burned- out parents everywhere that they are not alone.

Greg Pembroke lives in Rochester, New York with his wife and two young sons. He divides his time between working as a radio advertising copywriter, and looking after his sons at home.

http://reasonsmysoniscrying.tumblr.com/ 

As a coffee table book it seriously is laugh a minute, all the images are large and bright and you cant help but chuckle along on each page for the weird reasons that toddlers suddenly have a melt down.

I suspect that many if not all of you will relate to at least one reason per page, i know i did! However don’t expect any details about the people who submitted the images or about Greg himself, apart from a few lines on the inner page, however i suspect that’s the whole point.
The book has clear ‘chapters’ under headings like ‘ Domestic Bliss’ and Sibling Rivalry’ to categorise the images into easily found areas if you just have to show you friend/mother/neighbour the funniest thing you ever did see!
All in all its a delightful book that’s a real eye opener to those that have long since forgotten what its like to share your home with a toddler or those who are yet to reach those delightful years.

Now you have the chance to WIN this book with our very own ‘Reason’s My Kid is Crying’ Comp! 
Simply follow and RT this comp on twitter any time today sat 16th nov 2013. You will then be placed into a draw to win this book and a xmas book bundle. Ends 9pm tonight, Winner announced Sunday
good luck guys!!

Star Paws Sticker Book Series – A Review

Brand new titles in the amazing STAR PAWS sticker book series!
STAR PAWS is back, and it’s better than ever! This brilliantly funny, silly and utterly addictive sticker book series is taking the world by storm! Perfect for all ages, all animal lovers, and anyone with a sense of humour! STAR PAWS is packed with over 250 stickers and more daft jokes than you can count, for dressing your animals up ready for fashion shows, medieval battles, festive fun or even a mission to the moon!
 
Get ready for work everyone! It’s time to pick some exciting careers and dress up a whole host of animals in STAR PAWS: AMAZING JOBS. There are plenty of outfits to choose from, including doctor, gardener, spaceman, film director, dentist, pop star and wrestler – you’ll be completely spoilt for choice!
 
ISBN 9781447241461
 £3.99 | PB | Age 3+



Step into a medieval world of chivalry, heraldry, dramatic battles and revolting peasants with STAR PAWS: KNIGHTS. Meet and dress the dashing Sir Arthur Sixpence and join the Knights of the Hound Table as they joust and feast and attend Knight School! Design shields for the brave, apply pustules to the poor and enjoy dressing up dogs, cats, guinea pigs and rabbits in some truly amazing medieval outfits!      
 

ISBN 9781447236924
£3.99 PB Age 3+
 
 
 
 
 
 Enjoy the complete retail experience, animal dress-up style, in the fabulous STAR PAWS: SHOPPING! Choose hats in Bears Accessories, help out in the changing rooms, become a stylist, a beautician, or simply shop until you drop! There’s so much to try on and so much to buy – everything from smelly perfumes and crazy fingernails to nice new pants.
 
ISBN 9781447241478                                                                                                                                                       
£3.99 | PB | Age 3+           
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
There are presents to wrap, feasts to prepare, snowballs to throw, halls to ‘deck’ and Christmas jumpers galore!
Help spread some Christmas cheer with bells, bows, snow-white beards and jazzy winter knitwear. And look out for the mistletoe…!
The PUURFECT Christmas gift for anyone and everyone!
ISBN 9781447236917
£3.99 | PB | Age 3+    
 
 
 
 
 
I had never heard of Star Paws before I was asked to review it and i have a sticker book addict in Emma. She usually goes for the really expensive ones by Osborne from Waterstones and she simply adores them, well i say adores as she has defiantly found a new love in these gorgeous sticker books.
They are fun and easy to do for all ages, my youngest is 4 and had THE best time with her Amazing Jobs book and even our eldest at 9 with the Shopping book really enjoyed it.
They are fun and educational all at the same time whilst allowing the child to use its own imagination to create something that sparks interest in them and we all know how hard that is right now with TV and computers dominating their life.
The images are delightful and if you are a bit of an animal lover like myself, you will spend as much time just admiring the pictures inside 😉 .
They are of excellent quality and well worth the £3.99 retail price and i think these will be taking the place of our regular Osborne sticker book as they get the thumbs up from me as well as all three of my daughters!
We have squirrelled away the Knights book for a family member for Christmas, I know he is going to be delighted with it! But ssshhhh don’t tell the kids or I’ll have a riot on my hands!
I’m seriously looking forward to getting my hands on the Pirate and Super Hero’s ones!!      
 
L xx                                                                                             




My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish – A Guest Post Review

My eldest is a avid reader and, like me, will literally read anything. When she was asked to review the big summer reads by Macmillan Children’s Books she was so excited so couldn’t wait to get started.
The first book that caught her eye was My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara and heres what she had to say about it…

Age Group: I would say 8-12, I’m 9 and i loved it!
Characters: There were pretty good but there is quite a few so at times it was a bit confusing.
Why I liked it: It was really funny and I laughed a lot!
If there is a sequel i would read it, I would also try the other authors books as they might be funny too.
What I didn’t like: Just to many characters for me, sorry.
Illustrations: They where really good so I would of liked to have seen more.
It was stuffed full of comedy, it even has a funny like flip cartoon on all the pages, so it makes me laugh even when I’m not reading it.

I would recommend this to my friends and anyone else that likes to read, it took me less than a day as it really caught my imagination as it was really funny. If I was stuck for something else to read I would read it again.
Thank you for reading

Elissa

If, like me, you have never heard of it here’s a little about it to wet your appetite,

SYNOPSIS

Finding Nemo meets Shaun of the Dead – two laugh-out-loud stories about an evil big brother, a best friend to the rescue and one big fat zombie goldfish! ‘Sami was still holding the goldfish. “Swishy little fishy,” she whispered, over and over. Frankie stared at her with his big, bulging, glowing eyes. Suddenly a little light bulb went on . . . Frankie was a Big Fat Zombie Goldfish and somehow he’d hypnotized my best friend’s sister!’ Tom’s big brother is an Evil Scientist who wants to experiment on Tom’s new goldfish, Frankie. Can Tom save his fish from being dunked in radioactive gunge? Er, no. In an act of desperation Tom zaps Frankie with a battery, bringing him back to life! But there’s something weird about the new Frankie – he’s now a zombie goldfish with hypnotic powers, and he wants revenge . . . Tom has a difficult choice to make – save his evil brother, or save his fishy friend?

Parents and Pocket Money – Are we cutting back?

PARENTS’ POCKETS GETTING TIGHTER
Quarterly Pocket Money Index highlights decreases in pocket money
The results of the latest quarterly Pocket Money Index (PMI) have indicated that pocket money has decreased for children aged 3 to 13. 
The PMI, which reveals the habits of families across the UK, has identified that average pocket money now stands at £3.74 per week, compared to £3.81 last quarter.
The Index data is compiled by pocket money website, Roosterbank.com, from a sample of 1000 members during Q2 (1 April – 1 July 2013).
6 – 9 year olds have lost the most, with average pocket money for this age group down from £3.48 to £3.15.
The data shows that even the Tooth Fairy has tightened her pockets – the amount given per tooth has decreased by 14.7% (from £1.70 per tooth to £1.45).
Day to day jobs have also seen reduced pay, with hoovering dropping 20% to an average £1.08 each time and gardening down 8% (£3.23 to £2.96).
It also appears mum and dad have strayed away from stashing cash down the sofa. The average amount found around the house has shrunk by 69% to just £0.82 (from £2.67).
Roosterbank suggests the decrease in pocket money could be attributed to the uncertainty in fuel prices and the arrival of winter fuel bills from the cold winter period.
Financial pressures of upcoming summer holidays may also mean less disposable income for parents.
Whilst rewards for individual jobs have decreased, parents are getting cannier, choosing instead to pay out for chores lumped together. Kids putting their hand to general household cleaning are getting rewarded with an average pay out of £2.42 each time.
The sunshine has meant mum and dad are also more keen on a clean car – raising pay from £1.17 to a giant £4.25 on average (up 263%). 
But the Easter and half term periods took their toll on parents’ pockets. Lucky older brothers and sisters received an average of £9.10 per time for looking after younger siblings – the best paying pocket money job according to the PMI. 
Despite receiving reduced pocket money, children are still spending:
  • Apps have overtaken books as the most popular product to buy with pocket money, with Minecraft in at number one
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the most popular book bought with pocket money
  • The most popular DVD bought with pocket money is Rise of the Guardians
  • The average spend on a mobile top-up has dropped by 39% (to £4) while kids are spending an average of 50% more on magazines
  • Skylanders Giants is the most popular video game purchase – it clearly has staying power remaining at the top of the list for 6 months running
Ben Edwards, CEO of Roosterbank comments, “The latest Pocket Money Index shows that whilst parents’ pockets are being squeezed, rewarding children is still important to them. Children are also doing their bit in the household to help mum and dad while earning some extra pennies, either via day to day activities like cleaning, or simply by looking after younger siblings during the holiday periods”.
“Pocket money doesn’t need to be expensive. Small amounts given regularly and managed in a fun, easy way will make a difference to every child’s attitude to money. Structured pocket money routines, linked to tasks and goals, will result in children having a better appreciation of the value of money and saving.”
The Roosterbank Pocket Money Index (PMI) is a snapshot of how families manage pocket money and is distributed on a quarterly basis. The PMI measures pocket money averages, spending and saving habits and age and gender breakdowns.