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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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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

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. 

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.

Bump Watch – the first 12 weeks

I suspected I was pregnant towards the end of January, when I was just 4/5 weeks but waited another 10 days before I took the test. I was certain that it would be +ve though, as I had all the symptoms I’d had previously. Sore breasts, a queasy feeling, tiredness and a funny metallic taste in my mouth (not really sure what that one is about but I’ve had it for all previous pregnancies!).

I called my GP surgery to request an appointment with the midwife, and to get a call back from my GP. After previous investigations into my recurrent miscarriages, he had told me he would refer me for an early ‘reassurance scan’ for my next pregnancy. He agreed to make the referral and 48 hours later I got a phone call with an appointment for when I was 8+5 (by dates).

When the day came, I was feeling very nervous. It wasn’t possible for hubby to come with me for the scan – he had to stay home with the 3 year old, so I went alone. I had tried to prepare myself for bad news but was feeling hopeful. As soon as I went in for the ultrasound I felt terrified but it only took seconds to find the baby and a strong heartbeat. I was so relieved. Although things could still go wrong this was a very good sign. The baby measured a couple of days ahead of my dates and was strong.

The next few weeks passed quickly as we are also busy planning a house move and there was lots going on. Before we knew it, Tuesday was here and it was scan day! Again the nerves hit. The scan was great and immediately we could see a very active, strong baby. What a relief! Our due date was brought forward 4 days to 24th September which meant I was 12+6 at the scan.

I plan to blog a bump watch every week or two through this pregnancy so that I have a record to look back on when the little one arrives :)

The Reason For My Silence…

I think of my blog as a place to share nice things. Days out, cute photos, fun activities we have tried and adventures of everyday life. So when life gets tricky, the urge to write stops. That has been the case on and off over the last 18 months, life got tricky and I didn’t feel I wanted to share the details. The truth is, that we were trying for a second child – and nature was fighting against us. We suffered from what my GP described as Recurrent Miscarriage. I may talk about it in more detail soon, but not today.

Because today we are celebrating. This week we went for a 12 week scan and are delighted to announce that we are expecting a baby in September!

So 2014 is shaping up to be a pretty big year, with a new baby and The Big Move. And I’m looking forward to blogging my way through it all!

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All Change

Well it’s been forever since I last blogged here. I’ve had real writers block caused in the main by the fact that we had lots going on but I couldn’t make it public yet. My blog is no longer a place where I can write anonymously – real life friends and family read here and I would hate for them to discover something here that I hadn’t told them in real life.

So what’s been happening? Well 1st things 1st, 2013 was a terrible year for us personally. We suffered miscarriage after miscarriage and by the end of the year I was focused on coming to terms with the fact that a second child may not be a reality for us. I think I’m close to accepting that now. We aren’t giving up, and will likely have a couple more tries this year, but it’s important for my sanity that I don’t put too much pressure on this. If one child is what we are meant to have, we are blessed to have her already.

But the bigger news is something else entirely. Husband has been working away from home more and more over the last year and finally we have decided enough is enough. We have decided to move across the country to be closer to his work so he doesn’t need to stay away so much. We will be moving from Devon to Derbyshire and couldn’t be more excited! It’s a big move but the right time for us as we should be settled before we need to apply for a school place for L for Sep 2015.

We made the final decision over Christmas, then put our house on the market a couple of weeks ago. And yesterday we accepted an offer on it. Our buyers would like to move in April so that gives us just a few months left here. We spent the weekend in Derbyshire looking at houses, and yesterday had our offer accepted on a lovely house near a good school.

Everything is happening very quickly now, I just hope it all goes smoothly!

Only problem is now I need to think of a new blog name! Hmm any ideas?

Our Christmas Wishlist from Beebies Baby Store

Can you believe its only just over 2 weeks until Christmas? I certainly can’t! My Christmas shopping is going quite well. Just a couple of awkward people left to finish off (everyone has a couple of those don’t they?). I’ve been doing a lot of shopping with smaller shops this Christmas, whether locally, on Facebook or online. One store that I have recently found is Beebies Baby Store. Ami from Beebies has asked bloggers to put together their Christmas Wishlist from her website and one lucky winner will win the contents of their list. I was spoiled for choice, so here is what I chose…

Highchair

This gorgeous High Chair (£49.99) would be a huge hit with L this year. I love the styling and it would look gorgeous in our playroom. I can see hours of fun feeding dolly in this.

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We have some lovely play food, but this Icecream Sundae Set (£26.99) is something a bit different. Its also L’s favourite food so would definitely become a favourite!

rainy dayI’ve seen these Rainy Day Boxes (£13.48) before and they seem like a great idea. I’d hide this away and pull it out when we needed some entertainment on a wet day.

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These Chunky Paint Pens (£3.99) are great for helping little hands to be creative. These would make a fun winter activity with a little less mess than paint and brushes.

As you can see, we found lots of ideas on the Beebies website :) Why not pop over and have a look?

Disclosure: This post in my entry into the Beebies Baby Store Win Your Wishlist Competition

 

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