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Theraline Mamma Pads Review
Baby, Breastfeeding, Reviews

Theraline Mamma Pads {Review}

Theraline Mamma Pads Review:

There were a few things that took me by surprise when it came to breastfeeding. In particular, just how messy it could be. My boobs have leaked milk since I was about 22 weeks pregnant and now that I’m a little over 3 months into our breastfeeding journey, it’s still something I have to deal with daily.

In the early days, before my milk supply had regulated (I’m talking the first 8-9 weeks or so postpartum), I would often wake up in a puddle of my own breast milk. I wore a bra and breast pads at night but they’d quickly become saturated and soggy. If I’m honest, after a while it started to get me down. I often thought ‘there must be another way’. I couldn’t believe, in this day and age, this should still be a problem for breastfeeding mamas. As it turns out, there is indeed, another way…

I recently heard about Theraline’s Mamma Pads – ‘smart’ nursing pads that don’t collect leaking breast milk, but instead stop the leakage from happening in the first place. Hallelujah! The slim and discrete silicone pads temporarily shut off your milk ducts by gently pressing in the nipples.

Once the pads are removed the milk ducts open again and your milk can flow normally for the next feed. Mamma Pads will adapt to every breast shape.

These clever little pads sounded far too good to be true so I was very pleased when Theraline kindly offered to send me a pair to review. Here’s what I thought:

What I loved about the Theraline Mamma Pads:

I think it’s great that these pads don’t collect leaking milk, but instead stop your breasts from leaking in the first place. It’s so, so clever. It means I feel cleaner and there’s no milky wet patches on my clothes (which I personally find quite embarrassing when out in public).

They are so easy to put on and once they’re on I didn’t notice them. They don’t crease up or fall out of your bra like regular breast pads do. (You would not believe the amount of times I’ve had to scoop up my regular breast pads off the floor of a coffee shop!)

They’re more discrete than regular breast pads. (This means on those rare occasions that you get to go ‘out, out’ you won’t be limited as to what you can wear!)

Theraline Mamma Pads Review

I don’t have to wear a bra to use them. (Great if, like me, you prefer to sleep without a bra on.)

They’re easy to clean – just rinse them with soapy water and leave to dry.

… And that leads me on to my next point – they’re reusable (for around 150+ uses) so they’re cost efficient and better for the environment. :)

What I wasn’t so keen on:

The fact that they are ‘virtually invisible’ is both a blessing an a curse. After removing one of the pads during the night to feed Elowen, I’d end up losing it somewhere in the bed covers. Being half asleep at 3am and in the dark made it impossible to find it again until the morning. (I had the same problem with nipple shields in the early weeks of breastfeeding.)

The ‘sticky’ adhesive side of the pad often ends up collecting hair and fluff which, whilst it doesn’t affect their use, is quite annoying.

The pads (and ultimately my boobs) end up a little smelly if I’ve worn them all day.

You have to leave them to air dry after washing (by using a towel or similar to dry them you’d end up wiping off the thin layer of adhesive). This means that during that drying time you’d either have to go sans pads (risky), use regular nursing pads or invest in a second set of Mamma Pads. To be fair. at around £15 a set, they’re very good value. I’m planning to buy a second set for myself.

Final thoughts:

These are such clever, little pads and I only wish I had known about them sooner. Whilst they’re not perfect, I certainly prefer them to conventional breast pads for the reasons I’ve listed above. If you’re a pregnant or breastfeeding/expressing mama then I certainly recommend giving these pads a try. Best of all, if you’re not completely happy with them, Theraline will give you a full refund. You’ve nothing to lose! :)

You can buy them here*:

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* This post contains an affiliate link.

Food, Lifestyle, Reviews

HelloFresh Family Recipe Box Review

I recently had a very exciting e-mail drop into my inbox, asking me if my family and I would like to trial and review HelloFresh boxes for two weeks. For each week of those two weeks a box would be delivered to my home, complete with dinner recipe cards and all the ingredients needed to make the meals. Anyone who is in charge of meal planning and food shopping in their household will understand my excitement – it’s a total grind and a job I was very happy to avoid for a fortnight.

There are 3 types of HelloFresh boxes available – Classic, Veggie and Family. I selected to have the Family boxes as they are tailored to be more ‘child friendly’. Would the meals appeal to my fussy two-year-old? Time would tell!

I was given a choice of 3 days in which my delivery could take place so I chose Thursdays (as we tend to eat more together as a family over the weekends). I was also given the option to leave a note for the courier, such as a place to leave the box in the event that I’m not at home when it arrives.

Both of my boxes arrived just before midday. Each box contained recipe cards and ingredients for four meals. The items in the box are packed with cold packs to keep the chilled items (meat, dairy products etc.) fresh.

The first thing that struck me when I opened the box was just how much was in there. Everything was accounted for, right down to the herbs & spices. Secondly, I was blown away by how good quality everything looked, the meat in particular looked far nicer than our usual supermarket-bought meats. I was also pleased to see the new potatoes were locally sourced from Suffolk! At this point I was really hoping it was all going to taste as good as it looked.

box contents

Pictured above is every item that came in our first HelloFresh box. The only things we had to supply ourselves was cooking oil/spray and water.

The meals included in our first box were the following:

  • Garlicky Courgette Chicken Gratin with Roasted New Potatoes
  • Beef and Chorizo Burgers with Red Onion Marmalade
  • Jamie’s Sausage Gnocchi with Broccoli and Tomato
  • Stir-Fried Chinese Chilli Beef

And here’s what we thought of them…

Meal 1

I think this was possibly my favourite meal overall. The chicken was brilliant quality (although 4 large chicken breasts was probably too much for the 3 of us). I had never thought to roast new potatoes before but they came out lovely and crisp. Spinach isn’t something I tend to eat as I find it a bit boring. However, the Honey and Orange salad dressing that was supplied in the box to dress the spinach was divine so I scoffed the lot! I cooked this meal (Stephen and I took turns) and it took exactly the amount of time the recipe card said (35 mins). This was a tasty, quick and easy meal which I will definitely be making again in the future.

meal 2

We love a good burger in this house so we had high hopes for these Beef and Chorizo burgers. The recipe we was fairly straightforward but I did find it hard to grill the meat as the burgers do fall apart a bit. It also took quite a bit longer to cook the meat than the 4 minutes each side that was instructed on the recipe card. All in all, it was still a quick dinner and very tasty.

meal 3

None of us had ever tried gnocchi before and to be honest we weren’t entirely sure what it was. (FYI gnocchi are small Italian dumplings made from potato, semolina or flour.) I’m a big fan of Jamie Oliver’s recipes so I was still excited to try this meal. There was quite a bit of prep involved with this recipe (mostly chopping veg) and it did take us closer to 40/50 mins to make (recipe card says 30 mins). It was well worth the wait though – this meal was full of flavour and I’m already looking forward to using gnocchi again. Oh an my fussy two-year-old? She was asking for “more, more, more!”

meal 4

I felt this meal was a little faffy for a stir-fry – the ones we usually make at home take a lot less than 30 minutes to make. The beef was brilliant quality but we couldn’t really get it to ‘crisp up’ like it was supposed to have done. It was an OK meal but nothing to write home about. Jasmine also found this recipe a little too spicy.

My final thoughts on our first HelloFresh box: 

I really enjoyed trying out new recipes and eating ingredients I had never eaten before. I looked forward to our evening meals and eating together as a family. Aside from the stir fry – they all went down well with our little lady. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my toddler’s clean plate! I couldn’t wait to see what was going to be in our next box…

second box

The meals from our second box were:

  • Lebanese Lamb Tortillas with Minted Tzatziki and Toasted Almonds
  • Speedy Vietnamese Steak Stir-Fry
  • Pan Fried Pork Medallions with Tarragon and Potatoes
  • Chicken and Romanesco Pasta Bake with Bacon and Courgette

Here’s what we thought of them…

Lamb 2

We had my mother-in-law stay over for the weekend and I decided to make this as a lunch for us all. This meal had quite a lot of prep involved but made a nice midday meal for the 4 of us (3 adults and 1 child) – there was plenty to go round. I didn’t bother with the almonds in this recipe as neither hubby or myself are that keen on them. The mince was lovely although I am used to buying reduced fat/extra lean mince from the supermarket. I feel like an extra side would have been nice with this meal, although I’m not entirely sure what… some couscous perhaps?

pork

This meal was by far the biggest ‘surprise’. My husband pulled a face when I showed him the recipe card. “I won’t like that, I’m not that keen on pork and I hate tarragon”. Oh! Although it’s definitely not the type of meal we’d choose to cook, I was a little more open-minded and was looking forward to trying something a bit different. Despite his initial reaction, hubby offered to cook the meal for us and within in minutes he was was starting to change his mind as the sauce smelled so good whilst it was cooking. I thought the meal looked quite fancy when it was placed in front of me, I don’t think it would look out of place in a classy restaurant! But the truth is in the eating…. the mother-in-law gave it “11 out of 10!” and the rest of us agreed. This meal has been added to the “must cook again” list!

steak2

After being a bit disappointed with the last HelloFresh beef stir-fry I had my reservations about this one. I needn’t have worried though because this stir-fry was GORGEOUS. The steak was tender and the sauce was full of flavour. The toddler didn’t have this meal with us as we had it on a nursery day (she has a big dinner there) so I can’t say if she would’ve eaten it or not. But it was an absolute win with the adults of the family!

pasta bake

I’m not sure that I’d ever even heard of Romanesco before, let alone cooked with it. It’s a strange looking vegetable that is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. It turns out that it’s pretty tasty too. I’m a big fan of pasta bakes and make them regularly but tend to stick to making the same old ones. This dish felt like proper comfort food and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. There was even quite a bit leftover so I had it for lunch the next day.

My final thoughts on our second HelloFresh Box:

I was glad to see that the quality of produce supplied in this box was just as high in standard as the first time around. The meat, in particular, was second to none. Again, there wasn’t a single meal that I didn’t like and I actually now have a few new favourite meals! The toddler enjoyed all of the meals that she ate with us which is kind of a big deal seeing as mealtimes are often a bit of a battle.

What we weren’t so keen on: 

  • It was often difficult to know which order we were best off cooking our meals in, in order to make the most of the fresh ingredients. The spinach (from the first box) did have an “eat me first” sticker on it but after that we had to go by eye and decide what would keep best in the fridge and what would need eating first.
  • I never thought I would say this but… there was too much food. We’re a small family – two adults and a two-year-old (who, as I mentioned earlier, doesn’t eat an evening meal with us every night) and therefore the quantities supplied for each meal was more than we could actually eat, which is a real shame. I have, however, noticed that you can order the Classic HelloFresh boxes for 2 or 3 people so perhaps that would be better suited to our family/lifestyle.
  • Recipe timings: more often than not the meals took quite a bit longer to prepare and cook than it said it would on the recipe card. Although, I often find this is the case when you’re making something new for the first time.
  • We have a very well stocked kitchen cupboard so it felt a little silly at times to be using sachets of ketchup or balsamic vinegar when we have whole bottles of the stuff to hand. I appreciate that not everybody has a cupboard full of condiments, though.

What we loved:

  • The high quality of the meat products – it was far better than the meat we usually buy at the supermarket.
  • Seeing locally sourced veggies in our boxes!
  • Not having to do as much grocery shopping or meal planning – I loved having that time back to do other things.
  • Enjoying cooking again – hubby and I both love cooking but due to having such busy lives we often end up making the same meals for dinner week in, week out. Having our HelloFresh boxes delivered seems to have renewed our love for cooking food and trying new ingredients.
  • Seeing the toddler’s ‘happy plate’ – I’m so pleased that our two-year-old enjoyed the food. You can tell the recipes have been well thought out in terms of supplying ingredients/meals that the whole family can enjoy.

In conclusion: 

We have loved trialing the HelloFresh Family boxes and I would urge anybody who has ever considered trying them to give it a go – you’ll not be disappointed. The Family box, which is available from £37.95, is enough food for 2 adults and 2 children which I think is very reasonable, especially considering the fantastic quality of the ingredients. Unfortunately, as we are only a family of 3, we ended up not being able to eat all of our meals and so we would’ve been paying for food that would end up being thrown away. Personally, I think the Family Box would be better suited to a family of two adults and two older children.

It’s worth noting that if you subscribe to the HelloFresh boxes you can check out the forthcoming meals for the next week and if you don’t fancy them, you can pause your subscription. I think this is a great idea. I don’t like fish so being able to pass up on recipe boxes containing fish meals makes a subscription more appealing to me – there’d be nothing worse than paying for food you would never eat in a million years!

If you’re stuck in a rut with meal planning – then I would encourage you to try the HelloFresh boxes (there’s normally a good offer available on your first box). It will give you plenty of inspiration and bring a bit more joy back into dinner times.

Check out the HelloFresh website to find out more about their subscription options and have a look at the recipes.

Are you currently stuck in a meal planning rut?

Do you think your family would enjoy the HelloFresh boxes?

**I was sent two HelloFresh Family boxes over a two week period for the purpose of this review. All photographs and opinions in this blog post are my own. **

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Family Fever
Friends of Sylvanian Families, Reviews

Sylvanian Families Convertible Car {Review}

I have a bit of a confession to make… and this may shock you: until last week, at the ripe old age of 29, I had never, ever played with any Sylvanian Families toys. I had, of course, heard of the toys and I know that they’re pretty iconic. I also know that if you mention Sylvanian Families to a lot people around my age, they will speak fondly of their Sylvanian figure collection from their childhood. But they were never something I had as a child. So, I have a lot of catching up to do, right?

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I was recently asked if myself and Jasmine would like to be part of the ‘Friends of Sylvanian Families’ review team. We’ll get to try out some fab Sylvanian Families products over the coming months and let you know what we think of them here on the blog. I thought it would be a great opportunity to finally get my hands on these much-loved toys and see what all of the fuss is about. Not only that, I wanted to have something that Jasmine and I could play with together in order to create some of her own childhood memories to fondly look back on in years to come. Maybe her own children will play with her collection of Sylvanian Families one day? The thought of that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

Anyway, on with the review…

What’s the product we’re reviewing?

The Sylvanian Families Converitable car.

car with own stickers

It’s recommended for ages 3+ (Jasmine is almost 28 months but she only plays with the toy whilst supervised).

How much does the product cost?

I’ve seen it for sale on various websites including Argos and Amazon at prices ranging from £11.99-£16.99.

First impressions: 

I’ll be honest, I was initially a little disappointed that the car didn’t come with any character figures but any disappointment I had quickly dissolved as soon as Jasmine got her hands on the nifty, orange convertible.  She took to ‘brrruming’ it up and down the coffee table immediately – making the cutest little car sound effects. I could just tell this toy was going to be a hit with my little lady.

The car came with it’s own vehicle number plate stickers… but after getting a label maker for my birthday (don’t judge), I couldn’t help but make some personalised number plate stickers for Jasmine’s Sylvanian rabbit family’s sweet new ride.

What we liked most about the product?

Jasmine enjoyed popping her Sylvanian rabbit family in and out of the seats (at one point, squeezing all four of them inside the car – pretty sure that’s some illegal driving right there!)

She also enjoyed opening and closing the soft-top roof. Initially I was worried that she might break it as she can be quite heavy-handed with her toys and the roof’s latch looked a little delicate. But I’m happy to report that she’s played with it lots and it still remains perfectly in tact.

jasmine syl car

What we weren’t so keen on?

Jasmine does need a little help hooking the soft-top roof onto it’s latch but as I mentioned earlier, she is younger than the recommended age for this toy and I suspect when she’s a bit older and her dexterity improves this won’t be such a problem.

It is a shame that no character figures come with this toy but given that it’s a pretty reasonable price it’s not such a big deal.

Final thoughts?

This toy would make a great addition to any Sylvanian Families collection – I understand that you can also use this car to tow both the caravan and trailer toys (sold separately).

Jasmine has certainly enjoyed zooming her rabbit figures around the house in it. And despite her rough ‘n’ tumble play style (toddlers, eh?!) – it looks just good as it did when we pulled it out of the box.

beep beep

Watching Jasmine enjoy small world and imaginative play has been an absolute delight and we already can’t wait to see what our next delivery brings!

We were sent this product in exchange for an honest review – however, all opinions are my own. 

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Family Fever
Baby, Parenting, Reviews, Toddler

A Moony Nappies Review and Giveaway

We were recently asked if we would like to try out and review some Japanese nappies. I raised an eyebrow too when I read the e-mail but curiosity got the better me and so I said “sure, send some my way!” For the best part of two years, we have tried a lot of different nappies in order to find the ‘right’ ones. I never would’ve thought it before becoming a mum – but’s pretty hard to find the perfect nappy for your little one. You want them to right fit, you want them to be able to keep your baby/toddler dry and comfortable and you don’t want to spend a fortune on them. It doesn’t seem a lot to ask when I write it down. Could these international pants, named ‘Moony’, be our answer?

A Moony Nappies Review and Giveaway

We were sent a pack of 38 Moony pull-up style pants in a size suitable for toddlers who weigh 12-17kg. They were the pack designed for girls, which basically meant they were pink. Personally, I don’t particularly care if Jasmine’s nappies are pink, blue, orange or green and I’m fairly confident she doesn’t either – seems silly to genderise nappies but hey-ho, some people like that kinda thing. Both the ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ designs have Disney’s Winnie The Pooh images depicted on them so essentially as far as I’m aware, aside from the colours, they are the same design.

A Moony Nappies Review and Giveaway

Fit: This is probably one of the things I’ve been most impressed with when it comes to the Moony Nappies. Despite them looking almost identical (in shape) to Pampers Baby Dry Pants (which is what we currently use) – they seemed to fit Jasmine so much better. They’re a bit more streamlined around her upper thighs and don’t tend to bunch up around the crotch like I find the Pampers do. They are made of a soft material and have plenty of stretch in them around the waist and legs.

Here’s a picture of both the Moony Nappies and Pampers Baby Dry Pants side-by-side for comparison.

A Moony Nappies Review and Giveaway

Day-time use: I generally change Jasmine’s nappy every 4-5 hours during the daytime. The Moony nappies have been absolutely fine. They keep their shape, absorb liquid well and are easy to remove. I gently tear the sides apart and pull the nappy off, roll it up and use the sticky tab to keep it in place before disposing of it. One of the things I’ve noticed about the Moony pants is that they don’t have that horrible chemical smell that some other nappies do. They also have a wetness indicator strip that runs down the outside of the center of the nappy which is quite handy.

A Moony nappies review and giveaway

Night-time use: We’ve really struggled recently to keep Jasmine dry at night. She’s a heavy wetter which often leads to her nappy leaking in the early hours of the morning. We’ve had to ditch using pull-up style nappies overnight as they often were the worst culprits so I was almost reluctant to try to Moony nappies overnight.

It turns out that I needn’t have worried because since using the Moony nappies for bed times, we’ve had no soggy pyjamas in the morning!

Price: This, unfortunately, is the biggest draw-back for me. The price of a 38 pack is £22.50 (on Amazon at time of writing this post) which is very expensive. Usually I can get two large packs of branded nappies for less than that. Although I am really impressed with the quality of the Moony nappies, and I think they are by far some of the best nappies we’ve ever tried, I couldn’t justify paying double for them – which is a real shame.

Bottom line: These nappies are a great for both day and night use. They’re good quality and are well designed. Sadly, the cost of the packs is their downfall.

To find out more about Japanese Nappies check out their website here and the online shop here.

I’m also giving my readers a chance to win a pack of Japanese nappies (in a size of their choice). Just enter using the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

  • All entries will be checked and verified
  • The competition closes at midnight on the 31st March 2016
  • There will be one winner chosen at random.
  • The prize x1 packet of Japanese nappies
  • UK entrants only
  • The nappies will be dispatched by Japanese nappies– blogger assumes no responsibility for delivery.

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Days Out, Family, Reviews, Toddler

Hollow Trees Farm Review

Last week we visited Hollow Trees Farm in Suffolk. Even though the farm is only about 40 minutes drive from where we live, we had never visited before – and I’m absolutely kicking myself about that!

We paid £5.00 entry for the farm trail (it cost £2.50 per adult and Jasmine was free as she’s under two). We also paid an extra 50p for a bag of animal feed. Gotta be done, right? Considering how much there was to see and do on the farm trail, I think the entry fee is very reasonable.

We decided to leave our pushchair at home, however, the trail is wheelchair and buggy friendly. Some parts of the trail were quite muddy (due to the rather soggy December week that preceded our visit). The muddy puddles were great for splashing in but I was quite glad we’d left our buggy at home.

Hollow Trees Farm Review

There was a great selection of animals to meet including pigs, cattle, chickens, alpaca, goats and horses! What I loved most about the trail was that you could really get up close and personal with the animals. And with my bag of feed in hand, I made a lot of friends!

Hollow Trees Farm Review

Not only were there lots of friendly animals to meet on our way round the trail but there was also a lot of other things to see and do – including tyre swings, wellie boot throwing and a giant wooden chair (great photo op!)

Hollow Trees Farm Review

Before heading to the Hollow Trees Farm shop/cafe for lunch we stopped off at ‘The Beach’. Inside a marquee was a huge sandpit with buckets and spades. It’s the last thing I expected to see at our visit to the farm but was a lovely addition to our day out. I thought Jasmine might never leave that sand pit and it was only with the promise of lunch that we managed to coax her away!

Hollow Trees Farm Review

The farm shop was filled with a wonderful array of fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods and of course, meat. We had a quick look around but by this point we were pretty hungry so we waited for a table at the cafe. It’s not a huge place and was quite busy so we had to wait a little while for a table. Once we were seated, I was massively impressed by the menu. There was a huge variety of meals tailored to young children – why don’t more places do this? Usually when we go for a day out somewhere the children’s menu consists of a long list of things ‘with chips’.

For Jasmine we ordered the hummus and pitta bread which also came with cucumber dippers, cheese puffs and a fromage frais yogurt. Stephen had a cheese and ham panini and I had a jacket potato with beef bolognese. The service was quick, staff were friendly and the food was lovely.

What we liked about Hollow Trees Farm:

Being able to get very close to the animals and feed them.

The wellie throwing!

Plenty of hand washing stations.

The size of the trail – it’s a perfect walking distance for young toddlers.

Being able to sit on the old tractors (Jasmine’s tractor obsessed so this was right up her street!)

Hollow Trees Farm Review

What we didn’t like so much:

The ‘Fox Slide’ in the ‘Pogals pit’ play area wasn’t very, erm, slidey? I went down with Jasmine on my lap as she was too scared to go down by herself and I had to bum-shuffle the whole way down. The child that went down before us got stuck half way!

And that’s about it – we loved everything else!

Other things you might like to know:

  • If it’s been raining recently then make sure you take your wellies as the farm trail gets pretty muddy!
  • The farm has a large onsite car park which free to use.
  • There’s plenty of benches around if you want to take a picnic. We will definitely go back for a picnic in the summer!

I couldn’t resist making a little video of our visit to Hollow Trees so here it is for you to enjoy:

Opening times: 

Monday – Saturday: 9am – 4.30pm last entry at 3.30pm
Sundays and Bank Holidays: 9.30am – 4.00pm last entry at 3pm

Please check out the Hollow Trees Farm website for up-to-date opening times and entry prices.

Nobody asked me to write this review but we enjoyed our time at Hollows Farm so much, I just had to rave about it on my blog. I’m already looking forward to our next visit!

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Baby, Reviews, Toddler

Mega Bloks First Builders {Review}

Now that winter has arrived, I’ve been trying to organise a good supply of indoor activities to do with Jasmine for the days when it’s too wet and cold to go outside. We were recently sent a bag of Mega Bloks First Builders to review and I can see them getting a lot of use over the next few months as they keep Jasmine entertained for ages.

The First Builders bags contains 60 bright building blocks in primary colours. The blocks are designed for 1-5 year olds, meaning they are perfect for small hands. They come in their own eco-friendly carry bag which means they’re great for taking on holiday or over to nan’s house.

Here’s a few ways we have played/could play with the Mega Bloks First Builders…

Imaginative Play/Small World Play:

It’s in the last few months that we’ve really noticed Jasmine’s imagination coming to life and the Mega Bloks are great for encouraging imaginative play. Within just a few minutes we can create a plane or a train, a house or a horse – the list is endless. Lately we’ve enjoyed making barns for Jasmine’s farm animal toys. Don’t they look happy?!

IMG_0262

Stacking: 

Currently, Jasmine’s favourite activity to do is stacking – and she’s getting pretty good at it too. The chunky Mega Bloks are the perfect size and shape for Jasmine to be able to stack the blocks herself. I love toys that help children to practice their hand-eye coordination skills.

Colour sorting: 

When Jasmine begins to learn the concept of colours the Mega Bloks will come in handy to help teach her the names of different colours and do simple shape sorting exercises like this…

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Tidying up: 

It’s sound funny but Jasmine loves to take the blocks out of their bag and put them back again, just as much as anything else. I always think it’s good to encourage her to tidy up after herself when she’s been playing with her toys. Using the carry case Jasmine gathers up all of her blocks when she’s finished playing with them and tidies them away nicely… for a about 2 minutes until she decides she wants to tip them all back out and start again!

Mega Bloks First Builders bags retail at around £10-15 and can be purchased from many shops including Argos and The Entertainer. They would a make great Christmas gift for the toddler in your life. The blocks are incredibly versatile and will last a long time – they are great quality and have plenty of playtime longevity!

What would you and your toddler build/do with Mega Bloks First Builders?

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Baby, Parenting, Reviews, Toddler

My First Forever Friends Bedtime Lightshow {Review}

In the past, I have often struggled to think of the perfect gift to buy for a new baby. Buying tiny clothes is always fun but I know that new parents and parents-to-be often end up being bought so many newborn clothes that it’s impossible for them to all to be worn before baby outgrows them. It seems such a waste. But now? Now I think I’ve found the perfect gift to take to a baby shower – one that is useful, yet cute. It’s a gift that is long lasting, multi-sensory and can even be personalised. And this perfect gift comes in the form of the My First Forever Friends Bedtime Lightshow.

We were sent the Bedtime Lightshow Bear a few weeks ago to review and I was surprised that Jasmine took to it as much as she did. Not because it didn’t look like a nice toy but because as far as soft toys are concerned, Jasmine only really had eyes for Bunny. She has lots of soft toys – bazillions of them (give or take) but from the moment we took the Lightshow Bear out if his packaging, it has become a firm favourite. I’m not sure how Bunny feels about that, though?!

This incredibly soft-to-the-touch bear can, at the touch of a button, project a starry lightshow onto the walls and ceiling of your child’s nursery – glowing in 3 different calming colours consecutively. It has two different musical tunes – Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Brahms Lullaby. We have used other light up toys in the past and the projector aspect of them has always been a bit underwhelming but with the LightShow Bear I was impressed with the brightness and clarity of the moon and stars shining on the walls.

Jasmine is at an age (19 months) where she is able to control the bear’s functions herself by pressing the buttons – which is both a good and bad thing. It means that if she wakes in the night she can turn the music and lights on herself and, feeling comforted as a result, can often settle herself back to sleep again. Of course, this also means that we have been woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ coming from the room next door. Still, I’d much prefer that than the sound of a crying toddler and there’s plenty of worse things to hear in the middle of the night! Obviously, if you’re using this bear with a newborn or a younger baby this wouldn’t be much of an issue anyway. Using the ‘up’ and ‘down’ arrow buttons you also have the option to control the volume of the music too.

One part of the bear, that we’ve not yet utilised, is the photo holder which is located on one of the Bear’s feet. I think this is such a lovely way to personalise it, especially when giving it as a gift. Perhaps you could use it to house a photo of an older sibling or granny and granddad.

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Is there anything I’d change about the Lightshow Bear? Well, yes – I’d love there to be a bigger selection of music as a choice of just two pieces of music feels fairly limited. Although, I imagine that using the same piece of music to settle baby each night would help establish a comforting sleep routine, which I guess is the point.

Despite that one niggle, I think this is the perfect first gift for any new baby in your life and I’ll certainly be buying this Bear as a gift in the future. It sure beats a babygrow that will probably never get worn!

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The My First Forever Friends Bedtime Lightshow is available to purchase here. It’s currently on offer for £23.99.

It requires x3 AA batteries (included).

It’s suitable from birth.

Height: 25cm (Sitting)

Does the My First Forever Friends range remind you of your own childhood? It does me!

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Family Fever
We were kindly sent the My First Forever Friends Bedtime Bear by Golden Bear Toys for the purpose of the review. However, all opinions on my own – my daughter and I genuinely love it! :)
Baby, Parenting, Reviews

Bathtime with Johnsons & Johnsons {Review}

I started going to Baby Massage classes with Jasmine when she was just a few weeks old. I wanted to do something together that would help us to bond but also allow me to learn some skills that I could use at home, on a day-to-day basis. At 9 weeks old, I began introducing massage into Jasmine’s bedtime routine  as I knew one of the benefits of massage was that it could help babies to sleep for longer and more deeply. 17 months on and I genuinely believe that having such structured bedtime routine, which included massage, was a huge factor in getting Jasmine to sleep so well from early on.

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Not only was was massage good for us in terms of helping with sleep but I always felt like it brought us closer together. I looked forward to those few minutes every night where our total focus would be on each other. I loved hearing Jasmine’s happy gurgles and feeling connected by our eye contact. I would often sing or talk to Jasmine too as it just felt like the best way to end our day.

Johnson’s and Johnson’s have created products that are suitable for using on newborn skin. I always begin our bedtime routine with a bath – this was a surefire way to get Jasmine in a relaxed mood, particularly when she was a newborn. Even as a toddler, we use the bath as a tool to calm her down before it’s time to go to bed. We have always used JOHNSON’S® TOP-TO-TOE® Baby Bath which is gentle on skin and PH Balanced. It leaves Jasmine’s skin feeling super soft and as the name suggests it can be used all over the body, including baby’s hair. The best thing about this product, for me, is that it doesn’t irritate Jasmine’s eyes. We’ve used other shampoos in the past and they have always resulted in Jasmine’s eyes being red and itchy after use. However, JOHNSON’S® TOP-TO-TOE® Baby Bath promises ‘no more tears’ ensuring bath times are much happier and of course, more relaxing.

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After bath time, I would dry Jasmine and then lay her on top of a clean towel. I’d pour a small amount of JOHNSON’S® Baby Oil into my hands (a little goes a long way) and gently work it into Jasmine’s skin. Using slow and gentle strokes I’d spend just a few moments on each part of the body, in order not to over-stimulate her. JOHNSON’S® Baby Oil claims to lock in moisture and I certainly find that Jasmine’s skin feels just as smooth and soft the day after using the oil, as it does whilst I’m applying it.

If you would like to incorporate massage into your and your baby’s day then check out the video below to find out how:

Admittedly, now Jasmine is older and er, more wriggly we I don’t give her a massage as much as I used to. But every now and again, I’ll give her a foot massage or hand massage before bed as I enjoy the connection it gives us. I would encourage all new mums and dads to make time for baby massage. We benefited from it so much in the early days and I will always treasure those calm and relaxed moments we shared together.

Do you incorporate baby massage into your daily routine? 

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I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses, and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.

This is a Netmum’s sponsored review.To find out more click the button:

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Baby, Reviews, Toddler

Fisher-Price Dance & Move BeatBo Review

Over the last month or so, we’ve been lucky enough to try out and review the new Fisher-Price Dance & Move BeatBo toy. This baby toy is suitable from ages 9 months+. BeatBo is cute looking rabbit/alien type character who has three different modes:

  1. ‘Dance N Move’ – Plays music and sounds.
  2. ‘Learning and Games’
  3. ‘Sing Along’ using a recording button.

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It has an on/off switch (which I think is vital for all toys with sounds – and it’s surprising how many don’t have one!) and two volume settings.

Here’s a little video of me running through the features (I even did a bit of singing!) ;) –

What we loved: 

BeatBo requires 4AA batteries, which were supplied – hurrah!

It’s definitely a ‘grower’, meaning whilst Jasmine enjoys playing the toy now, she will get even more use/pleasure out of it as she gets older and understands how to play the learning games and activities.

The variety of sounds/music is huge. We’d had the toy for about a week before I’d felt like I’d heard all of the music/phrases. Normally I want to chuck noisy toys out the window within minutes of taking it out of the packaging – this certainly wasn’t the case with BeatBo.

It’s pretty robust – still intact, despite being thrown around by the ears/antenna by my toddler.

BeatBo’s light up belly – pressing it gives you even more sounds and music. Also, it just looks pretty cool and creates an instant disco for your little one!

What we didn’t like quite so much: 

Because Beatbo ‘dances’ he sounds quite mechanical when he moves, which is often louder than the music/sounds coming from the speaker.

The recording function, I feel, could be a bit better. The playback of recorded sound gets a bit lost in the music and  ends up sounding a bit strange. Also, at 17-months-old, Jasmine doesn’t really understand how this all works which is fine, but she ends up pressing the record button constantly which can be a tad annoying.

Final thoughts: 

I really like the Dance and Move BeatBo and he’s currently one of Jasmine’s favourite toys. She loves to boogie so it was always going to be a winner with us. As I mentioned above, there a couple things I feel could be improved upon but on the whole the BeatBo is a good ‘grower’ toy. It’s a toy that your child will enjoy for quite a long time, getting more out of it as they get older, and I think that justifies the £34.99 price tag.

Click here to buy the Fisher-Price BeatBo.

 

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Motherhood, Parenting, Reviews, Toddler

It takes a village… {Jasmine starts nursery}

Do you know what’s funny? Every time I’ve attempted to write this blog post, I’ve immediately started trying to justify my decision to send Jasmine to nursery.  A decision that doesn’t effect anybody else but her, me and her dad. And yet, I feel somewhat defensive about it, like I should have to explain myself to everybody.

Perhaps part of the reason for my defensiveness is that I feel a tad guilty about it. Because that’s what us mums do, isn’t it? We make decisions for our children, in the hope that they are in their best interests, and then proceed to feel guilty about them. Regardless of the outcome.

Tomorrow Jasmine starts nursery. She’ll be going for two mornings a week for the foreseeable future. I’m both incredibly excited for her, and extremely nervous. I know she’ll be fine – she’s never been particularly phased by new faces and places. But it’s still going to be a big adjustment for us both.

However, I think it’s really important for Jasmine to get that social interaction. Living away from our family and friends means that she doesn’t spend time with other children and adults very often. Aside from the odd toddler group now and again, it’s just me and her 24 hours a day. I don’t think that’s particularly healthy for either of us. There’s an African proverb that I strongly agree with: “It takes a village to raise a child”. I think nursery is going to be as close as we get to a ‘village’ until we’re in a position where we can move closer to our families.

Not only will her time at nursery be beneficial for Jasmine, but also for me. Hence the ‘mum guilt’ I suppose. I’m looking forward to having a few hours a week to myself to do other things besides being ‘just be a mum’. Because lately, that’s what I’ve felt like – ‘just a mum’, as if there are no other parts of my personality. I’ve forgotten who I am and what other things I enjoy doing. I’ve become of  ‘Mumbot’, an automaton who wakes up – changes nappies, makes food, does washing, cleans the house and then goes to bed at night to do all it over again the next day. I’m looking forward to mixing things up a bit.

And would you look at that! Despite my best efforts I still ended up trying to justify my decision to the internet. It was bound to happen, wasn’t it?

I’m off to pack up Jasmine’s little rucksack for her big day tomorrow.

And, when the inevitable guilt creeps in, I’ll repeat over and over “It takes a village… It takes a village…”

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Jasmine’s beautiful, personalised ‘ditsy print’ rucksack was kindly sent to us by the lovely folk at My1stYears. It will be perfect for taking her belongings to nursery, is small enough for her to carry herself (which she loves to do) and has adjustable straps. As well as the zipped main compartment of the rucksack, there is also a front zipped pocket too – ideal for carrying around Bunny! The text can be personalised in a range of different colours. It’s such a gorgeous little bag. The only downside? It makes her look so grown up! *sob*

rucksack

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The Twinkle Diaries
Family Fever
Everything Mummy