Wednesday, 19 December 2012

REVIEW: ParamountZone Popcorn Maker

I recently had the opportunity to review a popcorn maker from a brilliant gift website Paramount Zone. (with thanks to Fuel My Blog)

As a celiac (aka a poor unfortunate soul unable to eat gluten) popcorn is a popular snack in our home. We often grab for the ready made packets of popcorn but was extremely excited to be given the opportunity to put a popcorn machine to the test!

When the machine arrived I couldn't believe how compact it was. Perfect from a storage point of view as my cupboards are stuffed with pots, pans and other kitchen gadgets. Because its not huge it's also portable meaning that we'll be able to take it around to friends houses when we have gatherings and parties!

Unlike methods where you make popcorn in a pan you don't have to use oil. The machine uses hot air to pop the kernels. We was really impressed with this feature as it meant the popcorn wasn't greasy.

Also unlike microwave popcorn this popcorn maker evenly cooks the popcorn, no burning and almost every single kernel popped!!

Another impressive feature with this gadget is how super quick it is! It takes just 2 and a half minutes to create 17 cups of popcorn!!

Here's a further summary of what we thought:
• Nice and compact. Easy to store.
• Clear instructions and easy to use.

• Produces a non greasy (healthy sans butter) snack, suitable for celiacs.
• Great novelty factor for family film nights.
• Easy to clean.
• Good value for money (RRP: £24.99 but currently available for £12.99)
• Great gift idea suitable for most recipients.

• Possibly more of a novelty item. Potentially a kitchen gadget that will find its way to the back of the cupboards with all the others??
• The popcorn cartons are cardboard and won't last too long. BUT you can buy more from the Paramount Zone website for just £1.99 for 5)

At the moment (as new parents) date nights are pretty much on hold at the moment, so film nights are a common occurrence in our home as its a lovely way to spend some time together when the little one is (finally) in bed! And you can't have film night without popcorn (and now we really feel we're at the cinema with the authentic popcorn boxes that come with machine!!) Awesome!

Checkout ParamountZone's website. It is the perfect place to buy  Birthday and Christmas gifts! With FREE P&P and a brilliant filter to select the perfect gift the site is user friendly and makes finding a gift even for the most awkward person so much easier!!

I received this item free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Baby Arts and Crafts: Jesus in a footprint manger!

Today I have a Christmas craft project you can make with your little one!! And all you need is some card, poster paint, some tissue paper, a scrap of shiny gold paper and a metallic pen and you can make this Christmas card:

This card starts life by printing your little ones cutey footprint onto some card. Next using some brown tissue paper/card glue too strips to create the legs if the manger. Once you've done that glue some pieces of yellow tissue paper to create some straw. The baby Jesus was made from some scraps of card and brown tissue paper. Here's a close up:

Finally cut a large star out of gold paper and write a sentiment and draw some stars with a gold metallic pen.

A very inexpensive card with a lot if sentimental value!

REVIEW: Bibee Maternity and Breastfeeding Dress

Bibee Dresses

Throughout my pregnancy I struggled to find suitable clothes (especially for work) The thought of having Xander and starting to wear my usual clothes was something I looked forward to immensely! What I hadn't considered was the complication of finding suitable clothes for breastfeeding.

Up until now I have resorted to wearing baggy vests and my maternity tops, as although there are many breastfeeding tops of the market I find many of these unflattering and very casual.

When I came across Bibee Dresses on twitter I was excited by the whole concept of their designs! Finally a company that offer stylish designs for both the pregnant and breastfeeding mummy!!

I was lucky enough to meet the lovely folks from Bibee Dresses at The Baby Show at Earls Court: where they were launching their wonderful dresses:

And whilst there was offered the opportunity to review one of the dresses, bibs and long sleeve tops!! An offer i couldn't refuse! I opted for a navy dress, navy v lily pink bib and cream top.

What is a Bibee Dress?
There are different components to a Bibee Dress:
• The dress (which are available in black, navy or eggplant)
• The bibs (which are available in a range of plain or decorative designs and round or v neck)
• The long sleeve T-shirts (available in black or cream)

How to wear a Bibee dress:
1) Select your dress:

2)Team with a bib:

3)Add sleeves if you wish:

4)Mix and match!

5)Specially designed for breastfeeding here's how they work:

(All you have to do is undo three side buttons to release one side of the bib, you can then discreetly feed your baby. Buttons are on both sides allowing discrete and easy access to both breasts!)

The Bibee website is fantastic! It has an interactive feature where you're able to dress a model and see what different combinations of dresses, bibs and sleeves look like, ensuring you get the perfect look for you! Not only that there is extensive sizing guidance in there (which is something I know I was always concerned with during the pregnancy stage especially)

I've love wearing my Bibee Dress with boots to the mummy and baby groups we go to and I've received lots of compliments from all the other yummy mummy's and guess what I'll be wearing to an up and coming Christmas do (dressed up with heels, of course!)

Due to the insufficient range of breastfeeding clothes on the market prior to discovering Bibee Dress I have refrained from breastfeeding in public. Opting to express and bottle feed whilst out and about. However now having Bibee Dress in my wardrobe I think I'll be more brave second time around and would give public breastfeeding a go!

The great thing about Bibee Dresses is that you can wear them throughout your whole mummy experience from bump to baby! You can dress them up or dress them down, so they suit all sorts of occasions! It would have been perfect to have worn this to work whilst I was pregnant and equally ideal to wear to more formal occasions too! I wholeheartedly recommend Bibee Dresses to expectant and breast feeding mums!

I received the Bibee Dress free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

REVIEW: Give the gift of a clean house!

When I first became a mum I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of jobs around the house there was and how little time there actually is in any single day to do them! Pretty much everyone I spoke to gave me the same advice: cleaning can wait, just spend time with your baby.

Well, that's been my mantra for the past 4 months and I'm ashamed to say I have really neglected my house in that time! Of course i've kept tidy the visible bits of the house, it's all those little jobs that I've put to one side - cleaning inside the kitchen cupboards, scrubbing the lime scale off the shower cubicle. Every time I go to tackle one of these little jobs motherhood gets in the way and it gets put on the back burner for another day!

But today all that's changed! I have been given the exciting opportunity to review a Cleaning Gift Voucher (thanks to Fuel My Blog) The concepts simple, you buy a friend/ family member some vouchers from the website for a denomination of your choice and the recipient then selects a service from the site! (there's an extensive range of options from cleaning, oven cleaning, odd jobs)

I was given a £45 voucher and selected the option of a cleaner for 3 hours.

So today's the day! Instead of one cleaner arriving three turned up (2 trained cleaners and one who is undergoing training) and instead of doing three hours they're doing 90 minutes (which suits me fine as I'm off out Christmas shopping after they leave!) But lucky me I currently have one cleaner in my bathroom giving it a deep clean, one in my ensuite and another cleaning through my kitchen, including the cupboards!! All this being done whilst I'm playing with Xander and blogging!!! I could get use to this!

When the cleaners left I had a good look around my house and was pleasantly surprised by the high standard that the cleaners achieved in such a short period of time!!! I could never have achieved all of this in such a short space of time, I can start with a clean slate and keep up the cleanliness! Plus now my house is sparkling in time for Christmas!

The only minor criticism I have about the overall service is the language barrier that occurred between the cleaners and myself. It took a while to communicate with them and get across what I would like done. But all three cleaners were polite and hardworking!

If you ask any busy mum what they want for Christmas I would imagine most if not all would say TIME, give me TIME!! This is exactly what these vouchers offer! Although you'd have to be careful not to offend anyone by giving one of these vouchers as a gift!!

But you don't have to buy one of these vouchers as a gift, it's a perfect opportunity to arrange to have a cleaner as a one off in your own home without a weekly commitment.

I also think that one of these vouchers would be the perfect gift to give a mum to be at a baby shower! Those first few weeks are so insanely busy that a cleaner would be the perfect gift! I've already told hubby when I have baby number two I'm most definately buying the voucher for a cleaner 2 hours a week for 4 weeks to make those first few weeks a little more manageable!

You are able to purchase the vouchers directly from the Cleaning Gift Vouchers website. It's the perfet last minute gift as the voucher can instantly be emailed to you to print off and place in a card!

We received this voucher free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

REVIEW: My 1st Years Snowman

When Xander was born we received lots of wonderful gifts, but my favourite by far was two items from our good friends Andy and Suzanne:

These were purchased from a company called My 1st years. A website selling literally the most beautiful personalised gift items for little ones for all occasions.

Those of you who follow me on twitter (@craftythinker) will know that I'm absolutely obsessed with christmas! And keen to mark Xander's first Christmas with some super special presents, so I was delighted when My 1st Years offered to send one of their personalised cuddly snowmen for us to review!

It arrived (as all My 1st Years gifts) in a beautiful keepsake gift box:

And just look how gorgeous this snowman is:

He's super soft and really snuggly! His jumper has been personalised with Xander's name! With embroidered facial features there are no loose parts to be concerned with and perfectly safe for your little one to play with!! I can't wait to give this to Xander this Christmas and imagine he will become a regular visitor each Christmas in our house!!

My 1st Years slogan is 'Made with love' and anyone receiving a gift from My 1st years will understand why. Each item we've received from them has been beautifully made and so personal to the recipient which makes each item so unique! With each item beautifully packaged in a stunning gift box they make the most special gifts for little people!! There's still time to order for Christmas. Click here to access their website!

We received this item free of charge for the purpose of this review all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

REVIEW: Snow Boots From Tiny Feet Hampers

When Tiny Feet Hampers showed a pic of their super cute snow booties I instantly tweeted back asking what sizes they were available in and the price.

They instantly came back to me saying that you can buy them in sizes 6-12 month, 12-18 month and 18-24 month and available at the bargain price of £2.50 + £2.50 P&P! I was even more excited by the fact that Sarah from Tiny Feet Hampers offered to send us a pair free of charge to review!!

They arrived beautifully wrapped in polythene and gift ribbon:

With the super chilly weather these have been perfect for Xander to wear! They're beautifully made and look how super cute they are on:

Tiny Feet Hampers website is most definitely one you want saved in your favourites. The one stop shop for gift baskets for baby showers, new babies, christenings and birthdays! Get your orders in before the 19th December to ensure christmas delivery!!!

We received these booties free of charge for the purpose of this review. All views expressed are my own.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

REVIEW: Christmas Keepsake Box from Inspiration4U

Anyone who knows me will know that I'm completely sentimental. I keep absolutely everything: cards, gift tags, letters, postcards and pretty much everything else! Anything that has a memory attached I keep!

I already have a memory box for Xander where I have stored away his scan pics, new baby cards, hospital wristbands, newspapers from the day he was born, his first outfit, bits from the Olympics and lots of other bits which I'm sure he'll consider junk in years to come.

I was therefore delighted when Inspirations4u offered to send a Personalised Handmade First Christmas Memory Box to review for Xander:

I'm a massive fan of anything handmade and just think that the reindeer on this box is so cute!!

I love the personalised nature of this box. It makes it so special and perfect to store all Xander's first Christmas memorabilia. I've already popped his Memories Made letter from Santa in there for safe keeping!

I think one of these boxes would be the perfect christmas gift for a small baby. It's not to late to order in time for Christmas. You can order through their website and you'll have to email with the baby's name.

All Items are handmade to order so please allow up to 7 days for dispatch, Inspiration4u have informed me that as long as you get your order in before the 16th December it should be with you in time for Christmas!

We recieved this item free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

REVIEW: Slug and Snails Boy Tights

Slugs and Snails is the original boys tights company, set up by a mum who living on a chilly hill on the West Coast of Ireland recognised a gap in the market for a product that could keep little boys snug and warm. The result a complete range of tights in masculine fun designs and bright, bold colours!

The lovely folks at Slugs and Snails offered us a pair of Hampton design tights for us to wear and I couldn't wait to put Xander in them. Admittedly hubby was a little sceptical of the concept of boys in tights, but once he saw how fab they looked on he was won around!

The hampton design are baby blue with a fun sailboat design. We found the colours within the design made it very easy to match the tights up with tops we had in Xander's wardrobe.

I first put Xander in his tights when he was feeling unwell. I could tell straight away how comfy and warm he was. Exactly what you want for your little one, especially when feeling under the weather.

The other outcome I liked about these tights was the flexibility Xander had in them. After just a day of wearing them Xander became more aware of his feet and began to put his feet together and lift them up to play with them!!

To summarise - pros and cons:

Heres some of the pros of Slug and Snails boy tights (some identified by the company and some myself):
•No more lost or odd socks.
•Warm legs and snuggly toes.
•Flexible yarn and generous sizing allowing room for nappies and chubby legs
•Soft non-slip text on the soles, ideal for wooden or ceramic floors.
•Funky designs loved by little ones.
•Unlike many girls tights the design doesn't stop at the knee meaning you can wear them without trousers and you can easily couple the tights with a top/ jumper.
•The perfect potty training emergency outfit, just pop a pair in your bag and you have trousers and socks ready to wear with minimal fuss.
•Beautiful packaging ideal for gifts and baby showers.
•A possible stocking filler gift.
•Fair price, cheaper than most trousers.
•Nice and quick to select outfits for baby. Pair of tights and a top, hey presto! Perfect for when you're on the go!
•A warm but fairly thin layer which is perfect to put on baby underneath a chunky snow suit.
•Perfect if like Xander he was born in summer and friends and family brought clothes for the baby in larger sizes but they were summer designs (such a shorts/ romper suits) you can just pop a pair of tights on underneath)
•Unisex designs (although marketed for boys the designs could be ideal for parents keen not to dress their little one in the stereotypical colours/ designs.
•Ideal when babies are in the in-between stages of clothes (I.e when 0-3 month is too small and 3-6 month is too big, isn't that so annoying!)
•Some positive comments from some of the mums at Xander's baby group (two little boys there are regular tight wearers but their mums hadn't heard of Slugs and Snails and wore plain grey/ navy blue tights) they were delighted to discover they existed!

•We had a couple of comments from family members who were less keen on the concept of boys in tights. I guess it's a matter of personal preference.

However we're completely sold on these tights and will certainly be buying more pairs in the months and years to come!

We received these tights free of charge for the purpose of this review. Views expressed are my own.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Baby Arts and Crafts: Footprint Pears!

On a Friday we go to a baby group ran at our local SureStart centre called Sunbeams. It's absolutely fantastic!

Each of the babies get their own scrapbook and every week the staff organise a crafty project which involves printing their hands or feet! It's so cute and a lovely keepsake!

I'm going to try and take a pic of each project we do to share with you guys and give you some ideas of arts and crafts with your little one!

So the first project we did was 'A pair of pears':

Two baby footprints to make the pears. We cut out some leaves out of green paper and used some pens to draw on some stalks!

We accompanied these pears with this cute little poem:

Pears are green
Tasty and sweet,
Although not as nice
as this pair of feet!

Monday, 26 November 2012

REVIEW: FUN soap from Lush

With Christmas fast approaching I've been on the lookout for gifts for friends and family.

Lush ltd sent me some of their new FUN soap to review and I have to say it's a perfect stocking filler and lives up to his name - it certainly is fun!! I received a bar of Red Mandarin and Orange.

I have to say that this is was the best smelling parcel I have EVER received! Before I had even open the envelope the smell of oranges filled the room!

Lush FUN soap has a multitude of functions:
• Body soap
• Bubble bath
• Shampoo
• Washing clothes
• For fun - its simply like modelling dough!!

I absolutely LOVE having bubble baths and used the majority of my FUN bar as bubble bath - just a small amount ran under water made lots of gorgeous smelling bubbles!

Xander is still very little and doesn't get much of a say when it comes to baths but I can totally see that this product would be ideal to use with reluctant toddlers/ children during bath time making bathtime a fun time!

You can buy FUN from any Lush store or online from their website. It comes in five different colours/ fragrances. When I was in Basingstoke I couldn't resist visiting the Lush store and sniffing/playing with the other 'flavours' and recommend also the Green Lemon and Lime which is so tangy and fresh smelling!

For the the first year of sales of FUN, Lush will donate 10p from the sale of each bar into a FunD, to be given out in grants to projects providing fun and recreational activities for children living in challenging environments! An ideal project for everyday use and perfect for gifts for friends and family for Christmas! The staff in the Lush stores are super friendly why not pop in and have a play with FUN for yourself!

I received this item free of charge for the purpose of review. All views expressed are my own.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

REVIEW: Heat Holder Socks

How super chilly cold is it at the moment!? I'm one of those people who really feels the cold and end up wrapped up like the michelin man throughout the whole of winter. My feet especially get icy cold. When i was approached to review Heat Holder socks i jumped at the chance - my feet especially get super cold throughout the winter and i often wear more than one pair of socks to keep them warm! Heat Holder socks claim to be 'The Ultimate Thermal Sock' with the promise of 'No more cold feet' so i was very willing to put them to the test!

I was sent a pair of black extra long (knee high) heat holder socks to review:

It was clear before even putting them on that they are not your average pair of socks. They take up a fair amount of space in my teeny tiny sock drawer! There's a lot of sock for your money and they're so thick - they mean business!! They're not the kind of sock you can wear with a pair of pretty ballet pumps but absolutely PERFECT under a pair of winter boots!!

Now, as i said i'm the kind of person that really feels the cold. I have worn these out and about a few times now and can honestly say my feet have never been so toasty! This isn't really a suprise as they boast a 2.34 tog rating (5x warmer than a typical cotton sock)

Not only do they do a superb job in keeping your feet so warm but they're so comfy as well! The insides of the sock have been intensively brushed. The results in the sock being able to hold more warm air close to the skin, not only that super soft on your feet and toes!! Just like wearing a pair of warm fluffy slippers!!

Let's be honest, we often resort to buying socks at Christmas. If you go down this route, why not consider buying your friends and family some Heat Holders. There are mens, ladies and children products available in a whole array of colours. They're ideal for the chilly weather!!

I received these Heat Holder socks free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

My guest post: Our Baby Massage Experience

I've recently written a guest post over on Sarah's blog: Yummy Mummy in Training discussing our experiences of a baby massage course we completed at our local SureStart centre and the benefits of baby massage. Why not check it out:

Mummyconstant Gruffalo Trunki Competiton Entry!

I'm a HUGE fan of the Gruffalo! When I saw The Gruffalo and gruffalo chums set competition on mummyconstants blog I couldn't resist entering!

A very fun competition, the task is to create your own paragraph in true Julia Donaldson style, featuring the mouse meeting a new animal!!

I chose a weasel! And here's my entry:

A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.
A weasel saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.
He asked “Where are you going? ” to little brown mouse,
Come & have supper in my underground house.”
”It’s terribly kind of you, Weasel, but no -
I’m going to have lunch with a Gruffalo.”

”A Gruffalo? What’s a Gruffalo?”
“A Gruffalo! Why didn’t you know?
He has large slimy tongue and a big pot belly
And when he roars it wobbles like jelly.”
“Where are you meeting him?”
“Here, sit on this post,
And his favourite food is Weasel roast.”

”Weasel Roast! I’m off”. Weasel cried.
“Goodbye, little mouse,” he ran off to hide.
“Silly old Weasel! Doesn’t he know,
There’s no such thing as a Gruffalo?”

The closing date is the 7th december. I have my fingers crossed!!

REVIEW: Scoopmate

Ever tried to prepare a bottle of formula when bleary eyed and sleep deprived?! How many times have you lost count of how many scoops you've already popped into the prepared boiled water? Well scoopmate is an innovative little gadget to help you always get your baby's bottles right!

Heidi Products sent me a Soopmate to review shortly after i made the decision to combination feed Xander. I had underesteimated the time consuming nature of preparing formula bottles. Breastfeeding definately is an easier option in that respect - no preperation required! Scoopmate most definately has made the job a little more managable. Especially when getting the night bottles ready (by this stage i literally need matchsticks to keep my eyes open and need all the help i can get!)

Scoopmate is a levelling device which allows you to keep track of the number of scoops of formula you have placed into your baby's bottle.

This is how you use it:
ScoopMate Instructions
  1. Take a heaped scoop of milk formula using manufacturers scoop.
  2. Level off the scoop with your ScoopMate.
  3. Using your thumb, simply move the slider along 1 click to record that scoop.
  4. Place the formula into a bottle.
Using Scoopmate has become part of our everyday routine now. Since using it i haven't had to question whether i have put too much or too little formula into Xanders bottles (even on the most sleepless of nights!) and i haven't had to throw a single bottle away due to losing count. At just £4.99 it is a fab little gadget to have to make life a little easier. Scoopmate would also make a fab babyshower/ new baby gift - the new mum will most definately find it useful!

We received this scoopmate free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Poorly Baby and Mothers Instinct

Being a mummy is the most wonderful thing in the world! Every minute spent with your little one is precious and every smile and giggle heartwarming. There are so many pleasurable experiences of being a parent which makes it even harder when things aren't quite so rosy.

For the past couple of weeks Xander has been under the weather. Initially I thought it may have been just a cold ( and even blogged about it) we visited the doctors a couple of times and they just said the same. However he got progressively worse. When we woke up on Wednesday to discover him wheezing and seeing his little chest struggle to take breath we took him to the doctors. We was told that his cold had progressed into a chest infection and given some antibiotics.

For almost 24 hours we wrestled the medication into a wriggly baby not convinced that they were actually benefitting him in anyway. The next day I made another appointment to see the doctor as in my eyes he had not improved, if anything he'd worsened.

We saw a different doctor who subsequently dismissed that he has a chest infection. He said that before we could diagnose Xanders illness we needed to try and clear his stuffy nose. He sent us away with a prescription for saline solution and a review appointment booked in the the next day.

That takes us to yesterday. We visited the doctor who thoroughly examined Xander and confirmed his suspicions that Xander has bronchalitis. He referred him to the hospital calling ahead to the Childrens Ward to inform them of our arrival.

Hospital. That shocked me. Hospital is where you go if you're really sick. I don't want our baby to be really sick. I frantically called hubby who was at work and told him. He calmed me down and said It'll be fine. He asked me if I wanted him to come home from work (he's just started a new job) so I told him I'd on initially ask my sister to come with us but keep him updated. If needs be he can join us at the hospital.

Before setting off I rushed home. What if he has to stay in? What of we are there a long time? You would think from my packing that we only lived a 10 minute drive from the hospital and that we could go home at anytime to pick anything up! Three bags later (his nappy bag, one with spare bottles and milk, one with toys and clothes) we set off.

We parked up and went straight up to the children's ward. We was seen straight away and taken to a ward.
A doctor promptly saw Xander took his temperature, checked his oxygen levels, checked his throat, examined his chest and listened to him cough. She quickly diagnosed that he had bronchalitis.

The doctor informed me that bronchalitis is quite common especially in babies under six months old. 2/3rds of the beds in the children's ward are currently full with bronchalitis cases. In fact the baby in the cubicle just next to us had a baby with an identical cough and complaint to Xander's.

Fortunately he was well enough to come home with us, unfortunately there's no medication we can give him we just have to see it through. We've been given open access to the children's ward this weekend. If he gets any worse or we're concerned in any way we can go straight back there. So a quiet weekend and lots of mummy and baby snuggles for us. Hoping that he improves soon.

A word of advice for parents. You know your own children. You be the judge. Don't be fobbed off by a doctor if you're not convinced with what they say get a second or third opinion. I never really understood the term mothers instinct until this week, but it definitely does exist. Mum really does know best.

Friday, 16 November 2012

COMPETITION WINNERS: Fibregeek Handmade Winter Mittens

It's time to announce the winners of the beautifully handmade children's winter mittens!

The winner of the size 0-2 mittens is: Hannah Roberts

The winner of the pink 2-4 mittens is: CraftyGasHeadZo

The winner of the zebra print 2-4 mittens is: Lucinda Barton

Can the winners please contact me via email ( with your postal details and I'll get them sent out to you straight away!!

Congratulations to you all!! Hope you love these mittens as much as I do!

Thankyou once again to Mandy for providing these wonderful prizes. Don't forget to contact Mandy if you'd like any handmade clothes made for your little ones!

REVIEW: Stone Bridge Hair Accessories

I've started doing my Christmas shopping. Have you? If you're looking for Christmas gifts for women/ girls you may wish to visit the Stone Bridge hair accessories website.

Stone Bridge Hair Accessories ( specializes in handmade luxurious hair accessories ranging from hair bands to claws and clips.

Stone Bridge offer a wonderfully unique service to their customers. If you're unsure what hair accessories would be suitable for you (or the gift recipient) you can fill in their online form titled 'Tell Us More About Your Hair' and their hair consultant will recommend a few suitable accessories to choose from ensuring you purchase the correct item(s) for you!!

In order to select the items to send me to review I completed the online form, which asked me questions about my hair colour, texture etc and then received an email shortly after with five suggestions of hair accessories. I selected two headbands to review. These were:

1) Super Comfy Half Inch Headband in midnight blue:

This headband certainly lives up to its name and is extremely comfortable to wear. Most headband I've owned either make your ears ache or the combs dig into your head but not this one! It's French made and is of very high quality. Its very lightweight and you almost forget you're wearing it!! The midnight blue colour is beautifully elegant. The headband has been finished and polished by hand, there are no rough edges to catch on your hair. It is also available in a Pale Plum colour (which is most definitely on my wish list!)

2) Squares Link Headband (mosaic)

This headband is very delicate looking, despite it's width. This is because of the open cut out design. Again it's very lightweight. Despite its weight it still very effectively pulls back your hair and like the super comfy hair band doesn't apply any pressure behind the ears like other headbands I've owned before. This headband is also handmade and finished in France and its super shiny finish is a result of it being hand polished, meaning that there are no edges or sharp bits to catch and snag your hair, helping to keep your hair in smooth, healthy condition!

Although Stone Bridge Hair Accessories may seem expensive they're worth spending that little bit more on. They're beautifully made and superb quality. With their unique hair consultation feature you just knoew you're going to recieve a hair accessory that is a perfect match for you! They come beautifully wrapped and would make a lovely Christmas gift. I know I would be ecstatic if I were to receive a Stone Bridge Hair Accessory (or two!!) this Christmas! (hint, hint any friends or family reading my blog!) Check out their website today!

I received these headbands free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Xander's First Night In His Cot: Update

So last night Xander slept in his cot in his room for the first time:
Here's how our night went:
7pm: got Xander changed into his pj's, fed him, popped on his sleeping bag, carried him up to his room (awake but drowsy) and sat by his cot until he fell asleep which took all of two minutes! By this time it was approx 7.45pm
12am: Xander woke up crying. He was coughing a little (he's had a cold and can't quite shift the cough) I popped some vapour rub onto a muslin and tied it to his cot and also fed him 3oz of a bottle and he fell back asleep. All in all this took approx 5-10 mins.
2.45am: His coughing woke him up. I listened to him on the monitor for a little while. But he started getting ratty and so I went in. Discovered that he'd pooped. Changed his nappy, then gave him a feed and popped him back in his cot awake. He soothed himself back to sleep.
7.10am: He wakes up. First night done! Look at my cheeky boy so happy sleeping in his own bed:

It wasn't the perfect night, but on a positive note it wasn't any worse than it has been in previous evenings recently.

What helped?
• I was given some advice from my friend Steph (who is a 2nd time mummy who has a little boy just one week younger than Xander) regarding the routine. She suggested change for pjs, feed, then put on sleeping bag and then take to bed, read story/sing lullaby, then let baby fall asleep. It was a really manageable nighttime routine and hopefully he'll begin recognising the queues for bed within the next week.
• I realised he hasn't spent to much time in his room so yesterday afternoon we spent time up there. I showed him around and even laid him in his cot for a while.
• I got organised before I took him up . Prepared a changing station with nappies, wipes and fragrance bags. I also prepared a bottle of boiling water and some measured out formula milk to use as backup to breastfeeding milk.
I set up two plug in night-lights. One near his cot and one near the changing station. They're not very bright but I can at least see a little with them. This meant I didn't have to put in the main light and made a cosy atmosphere for Xander.
• I also checked and double checked the monitor in the afternoon. So I was reassured I'd be able to hear him ok in the night.

What hindered?
• I didn't consider that people may choose to have their fireworks night last night. Several houses nearby did and I think this may have resulted in Xander not having a deep sleep initially.
• Additional to the noise of the fireworks our neighbours also decided to be extremely noisy last night. I think they had a little gathering that went on until approx 2am. If the noise persists tonight I will have to go around and politely ask them to be quiet.
• Xander still has a cold/cough and this seems to get worse at night. I ended up rubbing vapour rub onto two muslins and weaving through the bars of his cot. This seemed to clear his airways a bit.
• Additional to the cough/ cold he's also showing early signs of teething.
• Me! I probably was a little impatient at times and over cautious. If I'd left him at 12am he probably would have drifted back to sleep himself. I need to trust the monitor and only intervene when he's distressed. (Thats if I want a full night through again!)

So we will try again tonight. All in all it wasn't a bad night. I actually feel like I got more sleep last night than any other recent night (which is something I desperately needed!) and hopefully Xander will begin to get use to his new environment very soon!! I will keep you posted on our progress!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Xander's First Night In His Cot (In His Nursery)

We had to do it, he was simply getting too big in his Moses basket. Throughout the night he was thrashing about and waking himself up. On top of that he was snoring loudly which was waking both myself and hubby up and us coming up to bed at different times meant we was unintentionally waking him.

In an ideal world i'd prefer to keep him in with us until he was six months but his cotbed is far too big for our room.

So tonight I started a new bedtime routine. 7pm changed into pj's, feed, put on his sleep bag, carried him upstairs, put him in his cot awake (but drowsy) and within two minutes he was sparko! Will report in the morning how his first night went! I have a feeling he'll have more sleep than me (I'm currently sleeping in the spare room on the same floor as his bedroom with the monitor switched on the loudest mode!) Sweet Dreams all!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

REVIEW: First Christmas Tree Decoration from The Little Pennant Company

I'm so excited about Xander's first Christmas fast approaching! I'm keen to make sure it is completely perfect and that this special day is well documented! He has his personalised Christmas stocking from Personalised Baby (click here to see review) and he now has a personalised handmade Christmas decoration courtesy of The Little Pennant Company:

As you're all probably aware I'm a complete lover of all items handmade and this tree decoration is no exception!! Isn't it beautiful?!

Elizabeths 1st Christmas tree decorations are available as either hearts or stars. They are made of linen and the wording is done in freehand machine embroidery and the edges are finished by hand in a blanket stitch. You can clearly see each stitch has been done with care and attention!

Most of what Elizabeth makes is to order. She provides a completely personal service for bespoke commissions allowing each customer to be involved in the design process. As a customer you will receive at least one progress photo. This means you'll know what you're getting and have a chance to make suggestions. This also reassures Elizabeth that she is creating exactly what the customer wants!

They are £12 each and £2 p&p. (1st class recorded delivery) The last date for ordering personalised Christmas gifts is the 25th November. You can view lots of examples of these decorations on The Little Pennants Company Facebook page.

The Little Pennant Company makes a whole range of other beautiful handmade items so check out the Facebook page to view the whole range! Elizabeth is always open to ideas so if you have a particular product in mind get in touch with her. To order send Elizabeth a message via her facebook page or email her:

I absolutely LOVE Xander's star and can't wait to hang it on the Christmas tree!!

We received this item free of charge for the purpose of the review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, 5 November 2012

REVIEW: CBeebies Music CD

Xander absolutely loves music and we often bop along to the radio or music from the tv. His little face lights up and he nods his head along to the rhythm - he's so cute!!

Over the last couple of weeks he started showing a little interest in the television and we have had the CBeebies channel on. There's a lot of singing on this channel which always gets Xander's attention.

So when when we was given the opportunity to review the new CBeebies album I knew Xander would love it!

There is a whole range of songs on this double CD album. Including all the theme tunes of the big CBeebies programmes such as In The Night Garden, Zingzillas and Rastamouse. It also includes several songs from the best programmes and also songs that the CBeebies presenters sing, including The Birthday Song and The Time Has Come To Say Goodnight.

We have had this CD on a lot! I don't like the idea of the television being on a lot and having this CD on makes the house less quiet and offers us a good level of entertainment! We have a dance around the sitting room to the songs. It's all good fun! Just look at him enjoying the tunes:

Xander's only 3 months at the moment. But I'm sure as he gets older he will engage with the CBeebies channel more and more and will recognise the songs and sing along!!

We received this CD free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own.

Milestone: Xander's First Roll

Proud Mummy Alert!!!

Excitingly Xander flipped over from his tummy to his back whilst in bed yesterday morning! I was taking photos of him at the time and got this pic mid-roll! (It's a shame I wasn't recording him)

I'm sure it was just a fluke (he's only just three months and going by what most websites say this most commonly occurs at approximately four months) but nethertheless it was a big moment in our house!! His little face afterwards was so cute! He seemed so shocked that he'd managed it, bless him!

I can't wait for him to do it again! Hopefully hubby will get to see him do it too. (Sadly he was at work and missed it) Now we need to be extra careful where we put him down! :)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

REVIEW: Tummy With Mummy

At 8 weeks old it was clear that Xander had very strong neck muscles and could hold his head up when being carried. However when lying down he was unable to lift his head. So when the folks at Tummy With Mummy kindly offered to send Xander one of their products to review I was delighted as I hoped this would help him to develop this skill.

Tummy With Mummy is a product which encourages babies to enjoy being on their tummies. I had tried lying Xander on a blanket with a long sausage like cushion but he really didn't enjoy this and had little patience with the position. So I was hoping that the Tummy With Mummy would make tummy time a lot more bearable for both him and us!

When the Tummy With Mummy arrived I was surprised how compact it was. This is great as if you have a baby you'll know they take up a lot of space with all their belongings. The compact nature of the product meant we could easily pack it up and take it to Xanders grandparents when we went to visit!

It was easy to construct. You simply unfold it and fasten zips along the sides and hey presto!

Initially when Xander started tummy time with Tummy With Mummy he couldn't lift his head and barely last a few minutes without screaming. However we ensured he had tummy time at least a few minutes everyday and slowly but surely he began to tolerate lying on his tummy and then just a few days ago for the first time Xander lifted his head!! I was so excited about him reaching this milestone and you could tell from his little face he was too!!

As well as using the product for tummy time it also has a seat feature which allows babies to sit upright! Straight away Xander loved this feature as it allowed him to look around and interact with others. Because It has high sides, a solid back and safety harness Xander felt very secure!

The Tummy With Mummy also allows babies to lie in a reclined position which has been perfect for doing our baby massage as Xander is slightly raised and means that I don't have to crouch down on the floor!

Tummy With Mummy retails at £59.99.
Its the perfect tool to assist you in introducing a tummy time routine to your little one. Tummy time is an important element of your baby's development. Not only does it increase baby's upper body strength but improves their motor skills and for this reason I urge you to consider purchasing the Tummy With Mummy.

We received this product for free for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own.