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.

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

 

Me&I Clothing Review

Last year I was lucky enough to spend a fabulous day at The Baby Show seeing lots of lovely products and meeting new companies. One of my favourite that I met that day was Me & I, who were showcasing their gorgeous Swedish design clothing. After the show, they were kind enough to send me a dress for Pumpkin and now (very overdue) I want to tell you what we thought of it.

The dress we were sent was a Red Singoalla with Rabbit in Pocket. This particular design isn’t available now, but there is a very cute blue panda version instead!

The dress is a terry tunic, with elasticated neck and sleeves. The dress is an A-line design that is very flattering and practical for a little’un!

We absolutely loved this over the summer. It was a great dress to wear when we went swimming, as it was very easy to get dressed back into after (getting a toddler dressed after swimming without getting everything soaking wet is a pretty tricky task!). It also came into its own on holiday, when it was a great option to chuck on over a swimming costume when we went to the beach. The style and terry fabric made it very practical for playing on the beach, and it was a dream to wash and dry ready to wear again.

The beauty of many of the products sold by Me&I is that they last a long time. Pumpkin was wearing this dress last summer, but the A-line shape means that now she has grown she can wear it with leggings or trousers, as a long-line top. With a long sleeved babygro or t-shirt underneath to cover the arms, she can really wear this all year round! Our dress has been washed many many times, but still looks as good as new which shows the quality!

There were some other great design features in the Me&I range which are worth pointing out. Trousers with double fabric at the knees (hard wearing), adjustable elasticated waists and sleeves designed to be rolled up if they are too long. All these are great for getting value for money. The dress we reviewed is sold for £23 which is a fair price when you consider we are getting a whole year of wear from it.

Me&I products are sold primarily through parties, where a representative will show the products and how to put them together. There are discounts available for party hosts if thats something you fancy! Alternatively you can shop directly with a representative by visiting the website and filling in a form to find your local rep.

We are big fans of the clothing ranges from Me&I and I’ll be looking at the new season range to pick up some more wardrobe staples.

Disclosure: We were sent a dress from Me&I for the purposes of this review. No payment was received and all opinions are our own. 

CBeebies The Album – Review

Pumpkin has just turned two, and one of her latest things is dancing. She loves to dance around to the radio, songs on the adverts, and to the theme tunes from her favourite TV shows. Music is also a great way to keep her entertained in the car, and she likes to sing along (translated into babble!) which is great when we are in the car.

We have a few CDs of nursery rhymes and kids tunes but to be honest they are all really irritating and I can’t stand listening to them! So when we were offered a chance to review the new CBeebies Album I couldn’t wait to play it for her.

We really enjoyed this album. The 2CD collection has 50 tracks from all the favourite CBeebies shows. Its great as they are all familiar to Pumpkin, and Mummy knows all the words too! The album is available from all the usual places and would be a perfect Christmas present for your little person!

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of the CBeebies album to review. 

Getting the Hang of Motherhood, Research by Munchkin

It’s hard to believe that Pumpkin will be 2 in just 5 weeks time. Yes I know it’s a cliche but the time has flown! That means I’ve been a Mummy for almost 2 years. So shouldn’t I be pretty good at it by now?

When I was pregnant, I went to NCT antenatal classes, read countless books and magazines on pregnancy and parenting. I tried to prepare myself for the arrival of my little bundle and thought that I knew what being a Mummy would be about.

But then she arrived. And she didn’t play by the rules! I rapidly learnt that I couldn’t rely on books and magazines to tell me how to raise her. I felt alone and overwhelmed by the responsibility I had for this little person. It was a steep learning curve, and one I’m still climbing!

I question my decisions as a mum every day. So I wasn’t surprised to hear the results of a new survey from Munchkin which found that it takes up to two years
to get the hang of motherhood. Here is what they say;

Feeling overwhelmed, nervous and scared are the overriding emotions today’s parents feel when they’ve had a baby. In a new survey of 2,000 UK parents by Munchkin to celebrate the launch of the new Click Lock™ range of cups, the international baby brand polled parents and confirmed it can take them up to two years s to get to grips with parenthood, with 58% of mothers fearing they would never get to grips with it. It’s not just mum worrying about herself either, with two thirds stating it takes dad a long time to adjust to their new role.

Even before the birth over half of respondents said they felt scared and just under half felt nervous about the impending arrival showing that this worry for parents starts long before baby is born.

The report showed that nearly two thirds of mums said that they didn’t feel they could confide in anyone if they didn’t feel it had all clicked into place with the most popular response stating that they thought it was something that everyone felt and they didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. If mums did turn to someone it was more than likely their own mum, with 5% asking their mother-in-law.

Top Ten things that mums felt had to be mastered before things clicked in to place
Being in a good routine
Knowing what to do when baby is crying
Not worried about dealing with baby in public
Not panicking when baby is poorly
Leaving the house with a spare change of clothes
Being able to change a nappy quickly
Having baby sleeping through the night
Leaving the house with milk/food and snacks
Always having a toy to entertain baby with
Being able to leave the house on time

But many parents admitted that their worry was a regret and that they should have enjoyed the experience more. Two thirds admitted they wished they has been more calm and relaxed and less worried.

Claire Rayner, Munchkin spokeswoman says “It’s expected that all new parents will feel emotional and overwhelmed after the birth of their child but it’s surprising that it takes up to 2 years for mums to feel that everything had clicked into place.

“It seems that mums feel that they need to have a number of tools in place before they feel fully confident in their role as a parent.”

“At Munchkin we develop products to make life easier for parents and our new range of Click Lock™ cups have a clear audible click when the cup is sealed so that on top of everything else mums have to worry about, spillages and leakage from our cups isn’t one of them.”

Sometimes things in life just click and this is never more true than with the brand new Click Lock™ Cup range from Munchkin! With over 20 years experience, Munchkin, the award-winning international baby brand , is thrilled to launch the brand new Click Lock™ cup range, one of the most innovative and exciting range of cups parents will find on the market today.

The Click Lock™ range features ‘ click’ to lock technology providing a leak proof guarantee, , so drop, throw or tip upside down, no liquid will come out. The cups could not be simpler to use, simply turn the lid until it ‘clicks’ in to place providing parents with an auditory reassurance that the cup is completely sealed. What’s more, the range, just like all Munchkin products, is fun, vibrant and practical, making parents lives that little bit easier .The Click Lock™ cup range starts at £3.99 and for more information log on to www.munchkin.eu.com.

Parents worldwide are choosing Munchkin products because they really do excite and delight, making life easier for today’s busy parents, and having sold over 55 million cups worldwide to date Munchkin know what makes a good cup!

Each item from Munchkin has been designed to excite and delight children whilst making parents lives easier and more enjoyable. The full collection includes a range of colourful and clever bathing, feeding and hygiene products. To see more of the fantastic range and for full stockist details log on to: www.munchkin.eu.com

Visit The Baby Show Earls Court this October

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be invited to The Baby Show and had such a great time that I knew I wanted to make the journey up to London again this October for the Earls Court Show. This one promises to be a great show as The Baby Show celebrates its 10th Birthday!

Running from Frirday 26th – Sunday 28th October 2012, the show is a must visit for mums to be and new mums, but don’t be put off if your children are a little older. There is lots to see and do for parents of toddlers (like me!). Pumpkin is almost 2 (eek!) but I know there  will be lots of toddler friendly products on display!

So what will you find at The Baby Show? Well first off is the shopping! I love getting the chance to see and try so many different brands, from the big names to some much smaller companies. There will be over 300 brands present at the show – thats a lot of shopping!

Also available are free changing facilities courtesy of nappy recycling experts Nappies2Go, a free Fisher-Price crèche (bookable in advance), Vtech Smart Play Zone packed with innovative toys to help development through play, a shopping drop off and collect by car service, so that you don’t have to lug your shopping around with you and for the first time you can take the stress out of shopping completely by booking a personal shopping experience with Baby Concierge! Now that sounds fun!

With leading brands such as Britax, Fisher Price, Mamas & Papas, Mothercare, M&S, Stokke, Superdrug, The Gro Company & Trunki in attendance, you really could tick off your whole shopping list in one day!

A who’s who of parenting experts including Professor Robert Winston (Child of our time), Annabel Karmel MBE (The Baby & Toddler Mealplanner), Claire Byam-Cook (celebrity breastfeeding expert) and Dr Julie Coultas (baby development expert). will be on hand to offer their knowledge with events taking place on the stage all weekend.

You can also expect daily fashion shows, The Face of the Baby Show competition, giveaways and of course, lots and lots of opportunity to shop.

The Baby Show, Earls Court 26th – 28th October 2012. Advance tickets cost £13.50 each (Friday) and £14.50 each (Saturday & Sunday) or £20 on the door. http://www.thebabyshow.co.uk/earlscourt

Hope to see you there!

Our first Library visit!

Last Friday Pumpkin and I had a bonus day together as she had only just recovered from a sickness bug and hadn’t quite been clear for 48 hours so couldn’t go to nursery. We thought we would make the most of it and do something we had been meaning to for a while – we went to the local Library.

Pumpkin loves books and so do most toddlers I know! We have a huge pile of books at home (some bought new, others from car boot sales, charity shops and gifts). But we still seem to get bored of our books. We read them so many times and then want to move onto the next! Borrowing from the library sounded like a great idea.

I checked out our local library website and saw that Friday afternoon was Under 5’s Story Time so off we went!

Pumpkin already had a library card of her own which we were given when we went to register her birth when she was 2 weeks old! It hadn’t been used though so when we arrived I asked the librarian about what Pumpkin could borrow. It turns out we can borrow up to 10 books on her card – that’s more than I could carry! Better still, there are no late fines on a children’s ticket so if we are a few days late with the books we won’t have to pay. And the lovely librarian assured me that they are well practiced at repairing books so not to worry if something got damaged in our care! How fab is that?

Pumpkin could not believe her eyes when she saw all the books on the shelves. I think she was a bit overwhelmed and was wondering how quickly she could pull them all off the shelves! I let her play while I selected some books for us to take home. I was really impressed by the selection.

Then it was Story Time. The librarian sat on the floor surrounded by cushions and beanbags and we sat down to listen as she read some library books to us. There was a range of stories and Pumpkin really enjoyed it, especially the audience participation bit! We lasted about 20 minutes of the 30 minute session which didn’t seem to bad for a 16 month old!

Our library has become super modern since I last visited and we were able to use the self service book check out system. Easy peasy and very quick!

The four books we borrowed have been read several times each day since Friday and Pumpkin loves to put them back into the canvas bag I have designated as our library bag! We will go back in a week or two and change them for another 4 books so she always has a changing supply of books. Of course there is no reason that we can’t borrow the same book again in a couple of months if she finds any favourites (I Won’t Bite by Rod Campbell springs to mind!).

I plan to build trips to the library into our schedule more often and hope that it will help to cement Pumpkins love of books and carry it on through her childhood.

Check out your local library for free events, information and a range of services (while I was there I managed to borrow an Energy Monitor for free as I saw a poster!).

Justin Fletcher – Hands Up… The Album Review

I don’t think anyone with a child under the age of 5 can possibly not know who Justin Fletcher is. For us and many other families he is a near daily fixture of our  CBeeebies viewing. Something Special is a firm favourite in this house and we also love Gigglebiz and Justin’s House too.

Well now Justin is releasing an album! The CD contains 20 tracks, a mixture of popular classics and a couple of brand new songs. Our favourites included Music Man, Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes, and the final track, the lovely soothing Justin’s Lullaby.

Pumpkin loved listening to this CD and even had a little dance. I’m not sure if she recognised the songs as they sounded much more lively sung by Justin than they do when we sing them at home or at toddler group, but she enjoyed it anyway!

I will be keeping this CD in the car as we have found singing is a great way to keep her entertained on car journeys.

Hands Up… The Album is available from 5th March.

When I Was A Kid Wooden Baby Walker Review and Vlog!!

When Paul from When I Was A Kid offered to send us a toy to review we jumped at the chance! I love wooden toys for their classic look and durability so I was really excited to see what we would receive!

When the postman brought us the Wooden Baby Walker with Blocks, I couldn’t hide my delight! This is exactly the kind of classic toy that I could see Pumpkin getting many hours of fun from.

Usually I open new toys while Pumpkin is asleep so I can get all the fiddly assembly bits done easily. But hubby was so keen to get going with the walker that he decided to get it out and assemble it for her to play with right away. I was pleasantly surprised with how quick and easy it was to put together. Just a couple of screws to assemble the handle, and screw it onto the base, and away you go!

The walker itself is strong, sturdy but easy to push. Its weighty enough that Pumpkin can use it to help her stand. She loves walking up and down the lounge with it, grinning from ear to ear as she feels so clever! The wheels are smooth and she has tested it on both the lounge carpet and kitchen lino and both work well.

My favourite feature of this toy is the 24 wooden blocks. I love the bright colours and rounded corners. Pumpkin loves unpacking them, spreading them across the room, and the satisfying noise they make when you bang them together! As she gets older I am sure she will enjoy building with them (and hopefully packing them away again!).

I thought I would leave you with my first attempt at a Vlog. Click play to Pumpkin playing with the walker and me chatting about it (cringe alert!!).

The Wooden Baby Walker with Blocks is available from When I Was A Kid for £37.50

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