November 19, 2014
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Do you play outdoors?

Hey guys, Britax recently commissioned some research on family time which revealed (perhaps shockingly) that exploring outside with our families has dropped by a third in just one generation. Apparently more than 60% of parents questioned admitted that most of their family time was spent indoors.

Do you try to make time to go outdoors? We’re out pretty much all the time in the warmer months, but how about those colder ones? I’ve recently introduced Tia to leaf kicking/jumping/collecting and she’s always enjoyed splashing in puddles. We don’t enjoy picnics in the colder months and the park visits definitely get shorter but I do try to make a point of getting out and about with Tia as much as I can. We don our hats and gloves and try to make the best of each season.

What’s your favourite season to go outdoors and play in? Do you agree with the market reaserch? Find out more about it here.

FAMILIES EXPLORING THE GREAT OUTDOORS HAS DROPPED BY A THIRD IN ONE GENERATION

· British parents say getting outdoors as a family is ‘stressful’
· Report reveals the more children you have, the less time you spend outside
· Parents are nervous about their children’s safety while outdoors

The UK’s families are a nation of home nesters as new research reveals that 60 per cent of parents prefer to spend quality time with their children at home rather than going out together. The Family Time report*, commissioned by child mobility experts, Britax, explores family lifestyles and adventures in the UK and shows that families are spending 33 per cent less time outdoors than they did in their own childhoods.

Whilst 65 per cent of the 2,000 parents surveyed agree that family time outside is fun, almost one in five (18%) families labelled it as ‘stressful’ with a further 41 per cent worrying about their children’s safety when they are outdoors.

With the dark evenings and winter gales now in full swing, the unpredictable British weather is a key factor for families staying at home for over 50 per cent of parents (54%). Other challenges to family outdoor freedom include:

· High costs: 63 per cent say the cost of family days out limit quality time together out of the home
· Time: 35 per cent say the time it takes to prepare and leave the house with children is a deterrent
· Equipment: Almost a quarter (25%) cite the amount of equipment needed (pushchairs, changing bags, bottles etc) as a de-motivator to heading outside
· Housework: Balancing household chores and family life is a major factor for 27 per cent of parents
· Tantrums: 22 per cent say the fear of their children throwing tantrums in public tends to keep them inside for family time

Despite the deterrents, 61 per cent of parents still recognise that getting out with their children is important in terms of building memories with their family, with activities like family holidays (47%), days out with the family (15%) and playing outdoors with friends (25%) topping the list of the best memories from their own childhoods.

Family life specialist Dr Pat Spungin comments: “Whilst spending quality time at home together is still incredibly valuable for any family, powerful life long memories can be made by discovering new things together outdoors.

“But it’s not always easy. This research shows how families feel the odds are really against them when it comes to getting outdoors, but there are some really simple steps that parents can take to make the process much simpler and more stress free. Whilst excursions and theme parks can be expensive, don’t underestimate the value of simply taking a walk out in the park with the children. You’ll all get some fresh air and will have lots of fun in the process.”

Dr Pat Spungin has created a series of expert tips at http://babyonboard.britax.co.uk/en designed to help minimise the stress of getting out together as a family.

More children, more challenges…

The Family Time report shows a direct correlation in the number of children in a family and the amount of time spent together outside. Whilst 40 per cent of families with one child say they try to go out to the park together each weekend, this decreases to 33 per cent for families with three children. Over half (56%) of parents with three children said they rarely try something new at the weekends and prefer to stay at home.

The probability of watching TV together as a family also increases with the number of children in the family. Only one out of five (20%) families with one child watch TV all together at the weekends versus 30 per cent for a two child family and 38 per cent for three children – almost double the amount of one child families.

The report found that families in East Anglia dedicate the most amount of time outdoors together, followed by Wales and the North West. Northern Ireland was revealed as the region that spends the least amount of time outdoors as a family.**

“We believe that becoming a parent is really about becoming yourself and that every family has the right to live their life to the full” comments Amy Voller, Brand Director EMEA from Britax. “We understand how challenging this can be for modern families however so are committed to making travelling and exploring with children as easy, safe and as stress free as possible. That’s why we will always go far beyond what’s required and won’t stop until we’ve achieved the safest travel solutions for outdoor family adventures.”

Genesis crafty bakery delights.

November 14, 2014 by admin | 0 comments

A little while ago I was kindly offered cake for review. I jumped at the chance obviously, who turns down down free cake for “ahem” taste testing.
I received a bundle of scones and scotch pancakes, all handmade in a family run bakery, this is run by no less than six brothers. The six bakers bake pancakes, scones, bread, cakes and rolls all are handcrafted in their bakery because apparently they taste better that way. Let’s try them then and I’ll let you know.

My bundle included plain, blueberry and chocolate pancakes, cheese and fruit scones. I love scones and they’re not something that I’ve ever been able to make myself (yet, I will one day) so buying ready made ones is something I do. I love nothing more than a scone either plain or fruity topped with lashings of jam and cream.

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The fruit ones were lovely toasted then topped with jam, I had no cream in but they didn’t “need” it. They had a nice flavour and the fruit meant they were lovely and moist. The cheese ones unfortunately were a lot drier, they were right at the end of the expiry date though so that could be why? They still had a good flavour, the cheese really came through.

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The blueberry ones were by far my favourite, the chocolate ones were ok as a treat (Tia loved these ones best)! The plain ones were lovely topped with golden syrup or perfect if you like your pancakes not too sweet. I would totally recommend these if you enjoy nice scotch pancakes without having to make them. They’re much nicer then others I’ve tried in the past, bigger too! No one likes tiny pancakes do they?

Genesis crafty is stocked in all the large supermarkets and many other shops including costcutter and spar. The blueberry and chocolate pancakes are already on my shopping list, what will you try first?

November 12, 2014
by admin
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Sexy door sexy door.

Sexy door zoo lane…

Now most of you will be thinking “what the actual…” I’m hoping some of you will be laughing as you know the words are in fact sixty four, sixty four and not sexy door which seems to be what Tia sings.
For ages she would just sing “sexy door” with no zoo bit afterwards leaving me very baffled as to where she had heard such a thing haha!

Other things she says that make me laugh include

Cu-cu-mumber. This will never get old, good old cucumber.

Blick. She’s been watching a programme that teaches you how to write letters, she’s often found with a crayon and paper singing “down and BLICK”
She means flick of course.

How she’s calls her car seat her pushchair. It doesn’t matter how many times we correct her, she’s adamant!

When she asks for toast, she actually means bread on its own. If she wants toast I get “put toast in there” whilst pointing in the direction of the toaster.

How she calls her happy land, appy land. Makes me smile every time.

What do your little ones say that make you smile?

November 10, 2014
by admin
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It’s nearly Christmas!

I know it’s only November, and the beginning at that! But I’m ever so excited for Christmas this year, and it’s because Tia’s a year older. She’s already feeding off of my excitement, she’s asked to see christmas a few times haha!
I’ll be making her a Christmas Eve box this year for the first time as she’s old enough to get it now. She’s got some gorgeous new christmas pjs from KyNa boutique going inside, some new Christmas books, slippers and I’ll pop some treats in like popcorn and raisons (her favourite)!

I’ve already made quite a start on my shopping this year, Tia’s basically finished now. I just need to pick up a few bits for her stocking and Im still waiting for her new frozen slippers which are being handmade by a WHAM.
I know what most people will be receiving from us this year so it’s just a case of going out and getting it all.

I’m also super excited for Tia to meet Father Christmas this year, she’s done it the last two years but not really understood, Im hoping she doesn’t freak out! I’m thinking about taking her to marsh farm, the christmas workshop looks so good. I’m just worried that it will be super busy, but then I guess all the good places will be.

We bought out first dinning room table this year, it’s only a fold away one but it’s all mine! I’ve ordered my very own christmas table cloth, runner and matching napkins and placemats. I’m looking forward to dressing my table, I’ve even bought Christmas themed salt and pepper pots haha!

Is anyone else getting excited about Christmas?

November 6, 2014
by admin
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A day trip to Brighton.

Yesterday me and my Tia went on a little road trip to meet up with an old friend of mine, the gorgeous Kitty. The plan was to hang out in our favourite tea room and gossip, and we did just that! If you ever plan on visiting Brighton and enjoy cake (assuming anyone dislikes)? Do visit the mock turtle. I parked at Kittys house and we rode the bus into town, Tia had never been on a bus before and she was massively excited. Especially when I told her that when we need to get off, we ring a bell. She couldn’t wait to ring the bell, then as soon as we departed she wanted to get on another bus.

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Set in the heart of Brighton, just of off the seafront. The mock turtle is a gem, serving any kind of cake you could wish for. Soup too if you fancy it, and trust me it’s good! I’m a cream tea kind of gal, In fact I’m not sure I’ve ever had anything else from there, and I’ve been visiting for the best part of seven years now! I adore how everything is served on blue and white willow crockery, and how the cakes are laid out like a village fair. I always feel at home there, but do watch out as it can get crazy busy.

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After our sweet lunch we headed out to the hustle and bustle of the shopping lanes. I discovered a Jojo maman bebe and just had to go and take a peak at their amazing range. I love looking online, but you can’t beat looking in the flesh. I left with a swanky new pair of wellies for Tia and she left with her colouring that she had done whilst I was shopping. Awesome shop, I’ll be back soon!

Before we knew it, it was getting darker and it was time to start thinking about heading home. Trying to get out of Brighton was a nightmare at rush hour, even more so I think as everyone was heading in my direction to go to lewis where they hold a massive bonfire event every year.
Me and Tia had a lovely time, she excitably told me about meeting Kitty at bedtime and how she had cake for lunch. We’ll be back soon I promise!
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November 5, 2014
by admin
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The perfect party dress?

Tia has had her fair share of beautiful party dresses. But her latest one from appleby designs has to be one of the prettiest. It’s an Elsa inspired dress (and if you’ve no idea who that is you most likely don’t have a daughter) that is hand made to order. It arrived wrapped in tissue paper, Tia couldn’t wait to open her parcel up. IMG_1547.PNG

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The Elsa dress *is made from 100% cotton in a perfect sparkly ice blue colour. Tia knew who inspired the dress straight away and she’s only two! The Elsa dress also come with a detachable sash which finishes the dress off perfectly, I was able to wrap this around Tia several times before tying into a bow to finish. The Elsa dress is fully lined and has a beautiful full skirt, perfect for twirling around in. Tia recently wore hers to her friends birthday party and nearly stole the birthday girls limelight! She was able to bounce on the bouncy castle perfectly in it, she even had a “ride” on her uncles motorbike!

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The smallest size this dress comes in is a 2-3 years which is what we have. It’s a bit too big on the top half but not unwearable. It just showed her vest underneath which was then covered with her cardigan. But it’s worth mentioning that although Tia is two, she has a very slight build. She’s just gone into 18-24 month clothes.
I’ve ordered a few handmade dresses for Tia and this is really well made. The Elsa dress washed really well and dried quickly due to it being 100% cotton. Tia’s has asked almost daily if she’s going to another party as she wants to wear it all the time. So yes, for us this is the perfect party dress. It’s sparkly, twirly, well made, and maybe most importantly for me unique. I could pretty much guarantee that if we went to a frozen party she would be the only one wearing this dress, because of this she stands out from the crowd. It really is a beautiful dress, and not highly flammable and crazy easy to tear like the fancy dress types.

So if you’re looking for a Elsa dress with a difference, pop over to to their facbook page for details on how to order. Prices start from £34 for tunic style dresses, £45 for the full dresses. Use the discount code BLOG at the checkout for a cheeky 10% off for all my readers.

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October 31, 2014
by admin
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October roundup.

I cannot believe it’s November tomorrow! How crazy is that? It’s still pretty warm I think, not winter like at all yet which I can see changing soon.

I’ve had a few little bits and pieces sent to me this month that I wanted to tell you all about, and I thought a roundup post would be a fab way of showing them off.

First up was an amazing pack sent from Rachels organics showing of their new amazing divine pot range. I received two chocolate pots and two vanilla, both were honestly amazing! I’ve bought the chocolate ones since, a clear winner for me. I love how the pots are actually glass, so easy for me to recycle or reuse at home as candle holders. I was also send some amazing treats to enjoy a “divine moment” including bath bombs, bed socks, some candles, a hand stamped personalised spoon and this amazing bottle of prosecco. You can buy the divine range in Sainsburys, Waitrose and Ocardo down the yogurt aisle for around £2 for a pack of two.

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The next product I want to mention is go ahead, low fat snack range. I was kindly gifted a selection of yummy products to try.

I received chocolate thins, a thin chocolate biscuit filled with sultanas and orange fruitiness. These are so good, not what I expected for a low fat treat! Each slice contains just 72kcl, perfect for a guilt free treat. RRP £1.99
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Next up were yogurt breaks in strawberry flavour. A crispy biscuit filled with a strawberry filling and then topped with a yogurt coating.
These weren’t for me at all, I only like yogurt wet in a pot and a spoon! My husband and toddler loved them though. These were 73kcal a slice, so a bit more than the chocolate ones. RRP £1.99
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The fruit bakes range are golden baked bars, filled with fruity filling. I received apple and I loved them. I actually hid the pack from the other so I didn’t have to share them lol! Each bar contains a portion of fruit and contains 133kcal. RRP £1.99
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Last but not least were the crispy slices. A fruity filling in a biscuit so light you can take it anywhere. I received the raspberry ones, they’re really nice. You get three biscuits in a pack, and like the rest of the range are packaged perfectly to be able to pack in a lunch for work or school. These are only 57kcal each and also retail for £1.99.
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Those clever people over at Aveeno have brought out a book aimed at children to help explain dry skin conditions.
The book is about a girl called Ellie and her pet gecko Eddie. It shows different ways that skin can become dry and uncomfortable and I think, helps to normalise it. My brother suffered with eczema horribly when younger and didn’t really understand why he had to have special bath oils, creams and lotions. A book like this would have helped explain in a fun way, it gets a big tick from me. It’s bright and easy to read, Aveeno teamed up with acclaimed children’s author Penelope Harper to create a series of books that follow the adventures of Ellie and Eddie. The books are aimed at helping parents ad children alike manage and address the difficulties of having dry, eczema-prone skin.
We are a family of dry skin sufferers, mine is mainly my face, Tia all over if bathed too often and Michael really suffers with dry skin down his legs. The Aveeno range is the best I’ve ever found for easing and soothing dry skin. You can buy Aveeno in pharmacies, it’s also available on prescription if recommended by the doctor.
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That’s the end of my round up for this month, I can’t believe that when my next one goes live it will be a few weeks before Christmas! Man I’m so excited, are you?

October 22, 2014
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Getting ready for winter with the new Braun NTF3000 thermometer.

At the beginning of this month, me and Tia were invited to a very special event from Braun showcasing two new products. The IRT6520 ear thermometer and the NTF3000 no touch forehead thermometer.
Me and Tia traveled into London to the event which had a guest appearance from one of Tia’s idols, Dr Ranj Singh himself.

We were very kindly gifted a thermometer of choice, I decided on the new NFT3000 no touch forehead model. Tia’s never been a fan of me sticking anything in her ear, especially when she’s feeling poorly. It took a doctor nearly five minutes to test Tia’s temperature once (with a Braun model that should take seconds) in the end I had to basically pin her head down. It was traumatic for all involved so thank you Braun, for coming up with a no touch model.

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The new No touch + forehead thermometer has two modes of use, you can use it by directly touching the forehead or, by holding it a distance of 5cm away from the forehead.

With our new no touch + forehead thermometer I can check Tia’s temperature when she’s sleeping and in less than two seconds. It has a no sound mode, so no chance of waking her up. It has a simple colour coded display to make reading the results both easy and quickly. Two things you want when accessing a poorly baby, also being touch free helps to limit the risk of spreading germs, and eliminating the possibility of cross contamination in the family.

We tested out a demo model at the event, and Tia thought it a very funny game. A stark difference to how she normally reacts when I check her temperature. She wanted to check mine afterwards so I’ll have to kept it away in the medicine cupboard, it will end up in her toy box if I’m not careful!

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Braun’s new No touch + forehead thermometer features a ultra sensitive sensor, which captures twice as much radiated heat than traditional thermometers using an innovative optical system. The patented proximity sensor helps you to guide the thermometer onto your child’s forehead, at the correct distance of 5cm. This is very clever technology. Or witchcraft!
Either way as a mother, I’m super impressed!

The NFT3000 is suitable from birth and costs £52.99 from Boots, Asda and all good baby retailers.

Here’s Dr Ranj’s top tips on managing fever,

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1) make sure you know how to check temperature accurately and get your child used to it too. Making it into a fun game can make the process easier, especially if they’re not feeling well. Likewise, if your child gets upset when having their temperature checked, think about using a no touch model.

Hydration

2) Babies will often feed more when they are hot, both for comfort and to stay hydrated. You may find that they feed less but more often.

3) For children that have been weaned, offer them cool drinks or ice-lollies when they are bothered by fever. This is a great way to help them feel comfortable.

Keeping cool

4) If your child is not, reduce the number of layers they are wearing to help them cool down. This applies to both babies and older children.

5) Babies primarily lose heat through their heads, so when they are hot make sure their head is uncovered.

6) Older children will loss heat through sweating and so ensure they have regular drinks when they have a fever, to keep them hydrated.

7) At night when your child goes to bed, cover them in a single sheet, rather than a duvet. For babies, the sheet should come up to their armpits and not cover their heads.

8) Make sure that the room your child is in is a normal temperature (around 18 degrees), so turn down the heating or open some windows. However, it shouldn’t be so cold that it’s uncomfortable.

9) Do not use tepid sponging to cool your child down. This isn’t very effective and may actually be counter-productive.

Medication

10) There are medicines that can help to reduce your child’s temperature, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. Make sure you always follow the dosage instructions, or check with a healthcare professional if you are unsure.

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11) Know when to seek further help. You should keep a close eye on your child when the thermometer reads elevated (yellow) and seek medical advice if it reads high (red), or if they have any other worrying signs (such as rash, floppiness, breathing difficulties, fits or signs or dehydration).

12) Any child with a fever that lasts more than 5 days should be checked by a healthcare professional.

I hope these tips will help you, I had no idea that using a cool sponge was bad. But after Dr Ranj explaining why it made perfect sense, cooling down a child too quickly can make them worse.

*disclosure* All photos were provided by the event organisers and I’ve used them with permission. My own camera (iPhone) fell down the loo just after arriving lol! Thank you for inviting us to the event, we had a lovely time.

October 21, 2014
by admin
4 Comments

JNY organic mushroom dress

Tia has been wearing a new dress from one of, if not my all time favourite children’s clothing shop Kyna boutique It’s from a brand called JNY which was new to me, deciding which print to order was very hard, I want the whole collection! As with everything from KyNa, this is made from organic cotton and is of a very high quality. The JNY Mushroom tunic dress has brightly coloured mushrooms which seem to “pop” out from the black background, this dress is anything but boring.

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This dress* has been worn many times since it arrived and consequently has been washed a fair bit. I’m happy to be able to say that the dress is still a vivid black and the colours still pop. I had visions when i unpacked the dress that it would be grey after a few washes. The JNY mushroom dress is described as a tunic style dress and has a really lovely shape, and the bright red seams finish the dress off perfectly.

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The dress does up with a simple popper at the neck, no faffing about with buttons which gives it high brownie points from this parent of a wriggly toddler who is hell-bent on not wearing clothes. The JNY mushroom dress came beautifully packaged in white tissue with a hand written note from the owner of KyNa boutique. I’ve ordered from KyNa boutiqe a fair few times and I just love the personal touches that make you known you’re a valued customer.

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If you’ve never heard of Kyna before, do please go pay them a visit. They’re a very helpful company who have a good social media presence. I have an exclusive discount code for my readers to give you an amazing 15% off using the code MTJAMB at the checkout stage, but be quick. This exclusive offer ends this Sunday (26th)