Competition – Win a CALAFANT Horse and Carriage Set with #AsobiAmbassadors

 

I am very excited to have been asked to join the #AsobiAmbassadors team as a guest blogger for August. This month the Ambassadors team are reviewing products from CALAFANT and we chose to review the Horse Drawn Carriage kit.IMG_3820CALAFANT is made from 100% recyclable cardboard and the pre-cut, pre-punched pieces slot together easily so that children can create their own masterpieces! They are easy to build, fun to decorate and strong to play with. The kit contained all the pieces to assemble the horse and carriage, and a set of 6 felt tip pens for decorating the finished item.

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As patience isn’t L’s strong point at the moment(!) I decided to assemble the pieces before I gave it to her. I’m glad I did as at just 3 the assembly would have been too fiddly for her. It was quite simple to understand and only took me 2 minutes to do and for an older child I’m sure it would be fine. I found that all the pieces fitted together perfectly and the finished model was strong and sturdy.IMG_3824

When L saw the horse and carriage she was thrilled with it and couldn’t wait to get started on the decoration. She enjoyed using the included colouring pens on it, and later went to get her own crayons and pencils so she could add more colours to it!

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I didn’t guide her at all with the decoration, and the end result is a bright colourful model which she has been enjoying using for imaginative play. Cinderella has made several trips to the ball in the carriage, and L’s favourite toy rabbit has enjoyed being the driver!

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There are a whole range of designs to choose from, from simple vehicles to whole palaces and castles which look like they would offer hours of fun for older kids. We were really impressed by how sturdy the pieces are and the finished product stands up to lots of playing.

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Having sampled what CALAFANT has to offer, I’d highly recommend these kits and plan to buy some as presents for Birthdays and Christmas. I know L would like to tackle one of the larger models too – the castle is next on her wish list!

Kind Toys are offering a 20% discount off all CALAFANT products throughout September using discount code CALAFANT at the checkout so please go and have a look at the other great products available.

COMPETITION

I’m very excited to be able to offer one lucky reader their very own CALAFANT Horse Drawn Carriage Kit. To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter below.

You MUST leave a comment and follow @Asobi_Toys on Twitter (compulsory entries), you can also gain extra entries as shown in the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

T&C’s: This competition is open to over 18s and UK entrants only. The winner will be randomly picked by Rafflecopter after the closing date 18th September 2014. I will contact the winner by email or Twitter and will allow 7 days for a reply. If I do not hear anything within this time period I reserve the right to redraw a winner. Hello From Jo’s decision is final.

asobi_Ambassadors_logo

For more reviews of Asobi products and more chances to win why not check out posts from A Mummy TooSusan K Mann, Innocent Charms Chat, Red Rose Mummy, Real Housewife of Suffolk County and Lilinha Angel’s World.

Sew Lomax Baby Range Review

It’s now just over 4 weeks until baby is scheduled to make his entrance into the world, and my thoughts are turning to the practical items that make life with a new baby easier and more enjoyable. As a second time mum the top of my list was muslins. Before L came along I didn’t really think they would be high on my list of useful items, but pretty quickly I came to realise that they had a multitude of uses, from mopping faces, lining cold change mats, comforters to sun shades and light blankets!

SewLomax-Logo_www.picandmiximages.co.uk

I was offered a pack of Sew Lomax Large Muslins to review and jumped at the chance. Each muslin is a whopping 100cm x 100cm and made from soft 100% cotton. They come in three colour choices, pink, blue and green and all feature some gorgeous Sew Lomax designs.

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Each pack contains one safety pin print, one dummy print and one plain white with an embroidered safety pin in the corner.  The set was beautifully boxed and would make a very welcome practical gift for a new mum. I chose to receive the green as I am trying to avoid having everything blue! Its a gorgeous colour and would be perfect for anyone who is expecting a surprise. The large set retails at £26 which I think is a fair price for the quality and size of these muslins. I can’t wait to use them on baby, and think they will make lovely comforters and swaddles for him. A small set of muslins is also available for £12.50 which has three 50cm square muslins in the same design.

SEWLOMAX_Lifestyle-8_www.picandmixmages.co.u

The new range of baby essentials from Sew Lomax also includes dribble bibs and towel and flannel sets, all of which feature the same cute designs.

Emma Lomax has been taking the fashion and beauty world by storm for the last two years with her ethically produced collection of stylish wash bags & accessories and this Summer she introduced her highly anticipated baby range! Her debut collection of must-have essentials consists of beautifully designed and ethically produced muslins, dribble bibs and now baby bath time towel and flannel sets.

You can view the full debut baby collection at www.sewlomax.com

SEWLOMAX_Pink-Dribble-Bib-Set_www.picandmixmages.co.uk

Disclosure: I was sent a pack of large muslins for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own

Preparing for Number 2

So it turns out that preparation for baby number 2 is about a million miles away from preparing for number 1! I’m 35 weeks now, so just 5 weeks left to go until my due date, but my preparation is nowhere near where it was at this stage last time.

Hospital Bag

I haven’t given my hospital bag any thought at all. I can’t remember what I took last time, let alone whether I used it all. I’ll be off to have a look at some other bloggers posts on the subject to start to put my list together and then get on and put it together.

These are a couple of useful posts on hospital bag essentials which I’ve saved to read.

Edspire, Unique and Chic, Oh So Gawjess

Nursery

So up until a month ago the nursery was also known as the junk room. You know the one, after you move house, where all the junk you don’t know what to do with goes in. It was a mammoth task one weekend to get it organised and cleared. Which we did. But then we started buying things for bump and its got full again! It feels too soon to take everything out of boxes but its looking a mess again. I need to rearrange things so that the clothes I’ve bought can be sorted and put away properly. I need to see what I’ve got so I can see what (if anything) I still need to buy.

Names

Baby number 2 is a boy and we are really struggling with names. I think that boys names are harder than girls and we seem to be having a lot more debates about names this time than last. We have 2 possibles now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with something completely different by the time baby arrives.

Equipment

We have moved house twice since L was born and what with the miscarriages we suffered and the very real possibility that we were going to stop at one baby, we didn’t keep much of the baby stuff from last time. I sold our pushchairs, bouncers, seats, high chair, play mats and much more at my favourite nearly new sales and baby markets. Which means we need to start again this time. I’ve managed to buy quite a bit second hand or with vouchers which has been great. Doubling up Tesco Clubcard points to spend at Tesco Direct has been fantastic for some of the bigger items.

So all in all, with just 5 weeks to go I’m not feeling terribly prepared. I also need to organise the house a bit, and fill the freezer with batch cooked food, oh and buy a present for L to give to the baby, and for baby to give to her.

Watch this space for updates!

Linking up to…

Mother's Always Right

Day out at Graves Park and Animal Farm

One of the best things about moving to a new area is the excitement of exploring your new surroundings. We have now been in Derbyshire for 2 months, and alongside the unpacking, sorting and meeting new people (well attempts to!), we have set aside lots of time for exploring and days out. This beautiful sunny patch we have had recently has been amazing for us as we have truly been able to enjoy all that Derbyshire and the Peak District has to offer!

Last week Little Lady and I decided we fancied a trip out and so we headed to a place close by that I had been told about – Graves Park in Sheffield. Its to the SW of the city so very handy for us. The journey only took us 15 minutes from Chesterfield which was great. When we got there we parked in the car park (40p per hour so very reasonable) and headed in to explore.

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First we went to the Animal Farm which was free to get into which I thought was brilliant! We popped into the Visitors Centre and Shop and picked up a cup of animal feed for £1 and headed off to meet the animals.

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LL is getting very brave when we go to farms and loves to feed the animals. She has learned to keep her hand flat and thinks its funny when the animals tickle her hand or dribble on her!! (Luckily there were lots of hand washing stations dotted around the farm!). She doesn’t seem to mind how big the animals are and gets quite annoyed when one tries to take over and stop the smaller animals from getting a share!

 

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Of course there she was just as excited to meet the small animals too – rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks, chickens and chinchillas were among those we spotted. The hatchery was a highlight too and we saw some brand new baby chicks fresh from their eggs.

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After a walk around the yard we headed down to the paddocks in search of sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys and deer. LL was carefully rationing the feed so we didn’t run out too fast – much to the disgust of some of the sheep who would have eaten the lot!
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Back into the Barn and we found some young goats who came to play with us. Then it was off to see the baby piglets, some were tiny, only a couple of weeks old.
IMG_3251Another firm favourite with LL was the tractor in the yard which she could sit on and pretend to drive. She spent ages telling me about her journey around the farm, to feed the animals with the hay in her tractor.

IMG_3287After we had fully explored the farm we were feeling hungry so headed across the park towards the play ground and cafe. I wished I’d brought a picnic with us as it was a lovely day and there were lots of benches around the farm to enjoy your food but we hadn’t been that organised.

The cafe (on the other side of the park) was basic but reasonable and we both enjoyed our sandwiches. Once our energy levels were back up it was off to the park! There was a great range of play equipment for all ages and she had a great time!

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Finally we wore ourselves out and headed back to the car – via one last walk through the farm yard. By this time it was close to 3pm and we had managed to be there for over 3 hours. The only cost is the car parking at 40p per hour (and lunch but next time we would take a picnic). Such a great, cheap day out and somewhere I will definitely be returning to!

Linking up:

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

My Maternity Wardrobe

I’m trying to build a capsule maternity wardrobe this time around. Full of things that can be worn together and mixed and matched. As I’m not working this time its mostly casual things that I need. I thought today I would show you some of the basics that I have got already. I have really struggled to find maternity clothes instore anywhere this time around. When I was pregnant 4 years ago I was able to buy some stuff in store but now I keep being told I need to order online in most High St stores which I don’t enjoy doing so much. A large branch of H&M is the only place I have found so far to buy instore. I haven’t managed to get to a Mothercare, JoJo Maman Bébé or Mamas and Papas so far this pregnancy but I will soon. Oh and someone told me that Kiddicare do maternity clothes so that’s somewhere else I can try!

So what am I wearing lately…

More or less as soon as my 12 week scan was done and I knew everything was going well, I dug out the maternity jeans I’d kept from my previous pregnancy. A combination of an existing tummy and the baby meant that fastening myself into my normal jeans was getting pretty uncomfortable. I had passed on most of my previous maternity clothes to friends and family a long time ago, but a few key pieces I kept. They are all denim and all from JoJo Maman Bébé.

Mid Wash Bootleg Maternity Jeans – £29.00

Mid Wash Bootleg Maternity Jeans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firstly a pair of Bootcut Jeans. These are a real wardrobe staple and can be worn with most of my tops. I love the dark colour of these and the bump support is fantastic and very comfortable. I wondered whether having worn them for a previous pregnancy I would have stretched the elastic too far to wear early in this pregnancy, but it seems to have gone back to its original size and is sitting very nicely supporting my still fairly small bump.

Cropped Denim Maternity Jeans – £29.00

Cropped Denim Maternity Jeans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With baby due in September, I’m hoping for some nice weather over the summer so these Cropped Denim Jeans are another staple. These don’t have the full elasticated bump support, but instead have elasticated panels in each side which allows the bump to be supported and sit comfortably above. This is a much more comfortable style when the weather is warm as it stops the bump from getting too hot (Seeing as I am always hot in pregnancy this is a Very Good Thing!!).

Again the denim is lovely and soft and these cropped jeans go with most tops in my wardrobe. When the weather is picks up again, I’ll be living in these!

Mid Wash Pleated Maternity Denim Skirt- £29.00 

Mid Wash Pleated Maternity Denim Skirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My last staple from JoJo Maman Bébé is a Pleated Maternity Denim Skirt. This has been a great item to wear in both pregnancies and I have worn it in summer with a strappy top and flip flops, and in winter with thick tights and long boots. Another staple that can be dressed up or down and for all seasons. Again this skirt has the elasticated support which covers the bump and again, its so comfortable. The skirt has a pleat in it and is very flattering, its also a practical length which doesn’t cause me any issues when running around after a toddler!

I wore these three pieces throughout my first pregnancy, and now they are perfect for wearing through this one too. I pretty much live in denim at the moment!

For tops, I had a very successful trip to H&M in Westfield Shopping Centre in Derby a few weeks ago and this is what I picked up.

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From left to right.

I loved this MAMA Cotton Blouse – £12.99 so much that I got it in both colours, pink and blue. Its a cute little blouse for summer with a checked pattern and short puff sleeves. Its quite thin so best suited to a lovely warm day although I have also worn the pink one with a jacket over the top for a day out which looked nice too.

I picked this long sleeved top up as I thought it would be a great basic to wear when its not so warm. I can’t find it on the website but think it was around £12.99. Its a navy and white striped top which is shaped around the bump giving a lovely shape to the top. I think I’ll keep wearing this through the summer as its not too thick and there are always days that you want to keep a little more covered up!

The pink MAMA Jersey top £9.99 is another lovely basic. Its gathered around the bump and has a nice button detail on the neckline. The only thing with this top is I have to be careful as if the buttons come undone it can be a bit too revealing! Again this is a lovely thin top for the warmer weather but I’ve been wearing it with a navy cardigan while the weather has been a bit cooler. On the right is a navy and white polka dot round necked t-shirt (again I can’t find this on the internet) which looks really nice with denim and gives a lovely shape to my bump.

I’m sure my maternity shopping spree with continue over the next few weeks and I’ll be back to show you some more Smile If you have any tips on where to shop for maternity clothes please leave me a comment or tweet me @hellofromjoblog

 

Mother's Always Right

Pregnancy Update – Week 23

Pregnancy Update

Week 23

This was a tough week and I’m really starting to feel pregnant and big and awkward! I’ve been having trouble sleeping – either too hot, or pins and needles or just not able to get comfortable. I’ve been trying to use a pillow to get comfortable but its not really working well. I used to have a pregnancy pillow and think I may need to invest in something similar again. Any recommendations? Something that can be used when baby arrives for feeding would be good so I get some good use out of it!

I’ve also been poorly this week. We had visitors over the Bank Holiday weekend which was really lovely, but the brought a sickness bug with them! Neither hubby or Little Lady caught it so I think maybe I’m more susceptible  while pregnant as usually I have a cast iron stomach! I wasn’t actually sick during my first trimester (just a constant feeling of nausea) so this was my first bought of sickness this pregnancy. I had one awful night where I was up every couple of hours. The strangest sensation was feeling the baby moving while I was being sick! I think he wondered what on earth was going on. It must have been quite a roller coaster for him in there! I had 2 days where I couldn’t really eat anything which I was a little worried about but am now feeling much better. Yesterday I managed small meals and today I feel much closer to normal. The thing I noticed the most was my complete lack of energy over those couple of days. It felt worse than I would normally expect with a stomach bug. I guess thats down to the baby still taking what it needed, leaving me with no reserves!

We are away for the weekend this week – going back to Devon (where we recently moved away from) to see some friends and stay with family. So that will be another busy weekend. Then we have guests staying here for a few days so no time for much rest! I need to make sure the house is clean and tidy before we go away, and change the spare bedding etc so there is plenty to do but I’m struggling to get the energy together to do it. I think little and often is the answer!

I’m almost out of all of my pre pregnancy clothes now, only a couple of tops still fit me. I have some maternity clothes from H&M which I got a month or so ago and will need to get a few more now I think to last me. Sounds like a good excuse for a shopping trip!

Infacol Colic Support Centre

When you first have a baby there is a huge steep learning curve. You have to develop a whole new vocabulary. Words such as weaning, winding and colic are all suddenly thrown about and you feel like you need a dictionary! When your newborn is crying inconsolably its very hard as a first time mum especially to know whether its perfectly normal or a possible sign of colic. I remember being told about Infacol, and advised that it may be something to try.

Colic affects one in four babies and is often associated with crying fits lasting for three hours or more, often during late afternoon or evening. Its a very distressing condition for mum and baby, especially because any attempts to soothe and comfort the baby may not work.

Colic is listed in the top three concerns of new mums according to a Bounty Research Poll so Infacol, Britain’s number one selling colic remedy, have launched the Virtual Colic Clinic app to help. It offers 24/7 support  with video answers to questions about colic and can be accessed through smartphones, tablets and desktops. The information can be found at www.ColicHelp.co.uk.

Infacol’s Expert Midwife Nikki Khan says ‘Infacol want to give new mums and dads someone to turn to when in need of this extra support and guidance, at any time of day or night’. The Virtual Colic Clinic app follows the success of the ‘Is It Colic?’ web app which helps to identify whether a baby has colic through 10 simple yes/no questions.

As I prepare for the arrival of my second baby later in the year I’ll be bookmarking www.colichelp.co.uk for help if I suspect colic.

I was sent a goody bag by Infacol in return for sharing this information with you. 

Pregnancy Update – 22 weeks

Pregnancy Update

Week 22

How can I be over half way through this pregnancy already?? Its crazy how quickly time is flying, and its a stark contrast to my first which seemed to move so slowly. I guess that’s the difference between sitting at a desk all day thinking about the pregnancy and chasing around after a 3 year old! There isn’t really much time to think about it :)

I’ve not had much time to take things easy this time around. In addition to being SAHM to Little Lady (3.5) we have recently moved house, and area, 200 miles from Devon to Derbyshire. When I told my midwife she rolled her eyes and said pregnant women are advised to avoid stress, err I don’t think I’ve managed that! Things have settled down though and life is fairly calm at the moment!

We had our 20 week scan last Friday, a little later than planned as we moved right when it was due. I did find out which team we are on this time, but will keep that a secret a little while longer as there are a few people in the real world who I haven’t told yet! Everything was good, and baby was moving around and showing its moves for us :)

Physically, I have a bit more energy now than I have for a while (am sure this is related to the move being over too!) and I’m not feeling too bad. I have started waking each night though, as I’m feeling uncomfortable. I’ve tried using a pillow for some support and this is helping a bit but I may need to look at maternity pillows which are designed for the job as I remember that this only gets worse as I get bigger. I also need to do some shopping for maternity nightwear and underwear, as my normal things are no longer comfortable. I expect this will help with the sleep thing too. I can’t really remember where I bought this sort of stuff from last time so need to shop around and see what I can find!

Little Lady is starting to understand a bit more now as well. She came to the scan and we’ve been talking about that a bit which has helped. She is looking forward to being a big sister, and is taking an interest in babies when we are out and about which is nice. She doesn’t believe that we know the gender though, and keeps telling us we have to wait and see when its born. I’m hoping to get her potty trained at night soon so that is well out of the way before baby arrives.

I’m feeling lots of movement now which is lovely and very reassuring. Its mainly when I sit quietly in the evenings or at the computer but sometimes I’ve felt a flutter while I’m out. I can’t wait until the movements get a bit stronger and more regular. I think it will be lovely when they can be felt from outside and Little Lady can feel them too!

Born Gifted – Fathers Day Gift Ideas

Back before Easter I was planning to compile and post a gift guide of ideas for Easter gifts and I spoke with Born Gifted, who had a great range of ideas. They offered to send me a copy of their Personalised Easter Bunny book which I gratefully received. Unfortunately the house move then took over and with over a month with no internet access I was unable to do the gift guide and feature the book. I can say though, that L loved the book, as did I. The story is lovely, and the personalisation on each page, and in some illustrations, was a huge hit!

So when Born Gifted contacted me recently with some Fathers Day gift ideas I was happy to share them. The thing that impressed me most about the selection was that there is really something for every budget. I particularly love this Personalised Owl Family Crystal Block for £19.99 and the Personalised Hardback A5 Notebook £13.99. Either of those would go down well as a Fathers Day gift here!

Many of the items in the range can be personalised which is a lovely touch for a gift to or from a child. I know L loves to see her name on things. Born Gifted also offer free UK delivery on all items which is brilliant!

While browsing the site I saw a couple of presents which would be lovely for a Christening I’m going to later in the year. Born Gifted really is a one stop shop for all gift occasions. Why not have a look?

Almondella Review – Monthly Box for Pregnancy and Baby

Ever since I found out I was pregnant again, I’ve been lusting over some fabulous baby products. A combination of not knowing whether a second baby was a possibility for us, and a house move/relocation had led me to selling lots of our baby bits on eBay, Facebook selling sites and through Nearly New sales. I figured that if I was lucky enough to find myself pregnant again I would have fun buying things again. And it would give me an excuse to try some different things this time! 

When I heard about Almondella gift boxes I was excited to try one, as I knew it would give me a chance to receive some unusual and gorgeous products. Almondella were kind enough to send me a box to review.

Launched 2 years ago Almondella is already a huge success across most of Europe and has now arrived here is the UK!  This exciting gifting concept is set to change the way new parents go about discovering inspirational new brands for themselves and their baby.

Whether you are a new mum yourself or looking for the perfect gift for an expectant loved one, trying to find that special something isn’t always easy. With so much choice and new brands coming along all the time it can be very overwhelming to know which brands to trust and which products to choose from. That’s where Almondella comes in. Almondella have done all the hard work for you, scouring the whole of Europe to seek out the most stylish and practical products from all the best designers before carefully hand-picking the most thoughtful gifts tailored to your baby’s age and delivering them direct to your door each month in a beautifully wrapped box.

 

So what was in my box?

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The box I was sent was a Grooming and Bathing themed box. As I don’t know the sex of the baby it was unisex. Contained inside were 5 products designed to make grooming and bathing baby easier and more stylish!

The contents were a hooded towel (excellent quality, thick and soft, and a gorgeous aqua colour), baby nail scissors with a rounded tip, natural hair brush (lovely feel and great for baby’s cradle cap prone scalps), a pot of Organic Baby Salve (perfect for soothing dry skin and from a lovely Cornwall based company) and a sweet pair of leggings (loved the raven design, and the cute cuff detail on the ankles).

Almondella have created 36 baby boxes with the most beautiful selection of care products, toys & clothing each of which has been thoughtfully put together to take you through all your baby’s developmental milestones.

Each box contains up to 5 products and has a retail saving of up to 50%

Almondella boxes make the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one, especially if they are living abroad. The boxes can be delivered anywhere in Europe completely free of charge.

You simply need to pick a subscription of 1, 3 or 6 months, tell Almondella the baby’s gender and age, or mother’s due date, and then sit back and wait for your Almondella box to be delivered.

Subscriptions start from £37 a month. You can even do a trial box for just £12.

I was delighted with the selection of products I received. An Almondella box would make a great gift for a mum to be or new mum, or a lovely treat for yourself and baby.

I made a quick video of me unboxing my Almondella box if you want to see the products in more detail.

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