Make and Move Minibeasts – Review & Giveaway

I knew as soon as I saw Make and Move Minibeasts I knew that this was going to be one for Ben.  He loves building and creating things and has recently discovered the joy of Origami – don’t get me wrong he’s not a Japanese paper master by any stretch but he loves being able to follow the instructions and create a 3D model out of paper.

Make and Move Minibeasts

Make and Move Minibeasts by Sato Hisao contains twelve paper puppets for you to press out and play with.  The models are all ready to make so don’t need any cutting or sticking – no scissors or glue required (hurrah!).

The book is set out so that the simplest model (a grasshopper) comes first meaning you can steadily build your skills and confidence as you work your way through to the trickiest ( a stag beetle).

The first half of the book comprises of clear, colourful, step by step instructions on how to make each model with the second half of the book being made from a thin card and holding each of the models. It is bound in such a way as to ensure the whole book doesn’t just fall apart the first time you try to use it – though if your child is anything like Ben they will just want to build the full set of 12 minibeasts as soon as they can!

Make and Move Minibeasts - press out parts

Make and Move Minibeasts - clear instructions

Make and Move Minibeasts - fold to make

The book is aimed at age 6+ making it ideal for upper KS1 studying minibeasts as a topic this summer term!  Because the diagrams are supported with written instructions you might find you need to support younger children with this.  Ben is 7 and a half and had no trouble whatsoever with following the instructions and making the first few models in the book.  I’m sure his experience of LEGO building probably had something to do with that!

We found the models to be of really good quality, Ben was able to press the parts out without damaging them and put them together to creat surprisingly sturdy minibeasts with moving parts.

Make and Move Minibeasts - grasshopper & spider models

Ben loves the Make and Move Minibeats so much he’s decided he’s going to buy himself Make and Move Robots too!

If you’d like to enter to win a copy of Make and Move Minibeasts just complete the Rafflecopter below.  Please take care to do this accurately to avoid disqualification. 

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* We were provided with a copy of Make and Move Minibeasts free of charge for the purposes of review.  All thoughts and opinions remain my own*

Pia Jewellery Rose Quartz – Giveaway

Rose Gold – it’s everywhere isn’t it?!  Everywhere and gorgeous!  The soft pink hue makes a change from the silver or gold we’ve worn for years and is almost universally flattering.

This month, in celebration of Mother’s Day, I’m excited to be able to give you the chance to win not one but three pieces of jewellery from Pia Jewellery.  Each piece is made from 9ct rose gold-plated sterling silver & rose quartz and can be worn individually or as a matching set.

Faceted Quartz Pendant – £39.00

Pia Jewellery Faceted Quartz Pendant - £39.00

Faceted Rose Quartz Drop Earrings – £35.00

Pia Jewellery Faceted Rose Quartz Drop EarringsFaceted Rose Quartz Ring – £35.00

Pia Jewellery Faceted Rose Quartz Ring

Aren’t they gorgeous? Which is your favourite? I must admit I think I like the ring best!  If you’d like to enter to win this rose quartz set worth over £100 then just enter using the rafflecopter below ensuring to complete the entry options accurately to avoid disqualification.

*This prize will not be delivered in time for Mother’s Day*

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Draw & Discover books – Review & Giveaway

Draw & Discover - having a go

At the moment Chloe is super keen on anything to do with drawing and colouring in.  She’s suddenly discovered a real love of it and will spend huge amounts of time carefully choosing her colours and doing her work to the very best of her ability (and getting suitably cross with herself if she makes a mistake.)  The latest offering from best selling children’s author & illustrator Yasmeen Ismail, “Draw & Discover” activity books are aimed at inquisitive children age 4-7 and I was sure they would appeal to Chloe.

Draw & Discover

Due for release at the start of February, the Draw and Discover series features two books “Push, Pull, Empty, Full” and “Inside, Outside, Upside Down” – each book features simple text and instructions to guide children on an adventure through 30 fun colour and drawing activities.

As it turns out the Draw & Discover books are a hit with both Ben and Chloe.  I love that they give both structure and freedom – sometimes a blank piece of paper to write or draw on can be a bit daunting.  The Draw & Discover series gives you some guidance to get you going but your only limit after that is your own imagination!  (Or in my case a complete lack of artistic talent!)

Draw & Discover

Draw & Discover - having a go

If you’d like to enter to win the Draw & Discover books please complete as many of the Rafflecopter options as you would like, ensuring to do this accurately to avoid disqualification.

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*We were sent the Draw & Discover books free of charge for the purposes of review.  All thoughts and opinions remain our own*

ergoPouch sleep suit – Giveaway

I was always a fan of sleeping bags for my three when they were little – knowing they were safely tucked up and cosy without there being any risk of them disappearing under blankets or waking up cold after kicking their covers off was always key.  Of course it’s over seven years since I first started using baby sleeping bags and the market has grown enormously, there’s so much choice now and so many things to consider.  I was recently introduced to award-winning Australian brand ergoPouch who sent me one of their gorgeous ergoPouch Sleep Swaddles for my friend Molly to try with her beautiful baby girl.  As you can see, Rain isn’t a massive fan of having her arms tucked into her Sleep Swaddle – but of course all babies are different and swaddling isn’t for everyone.  Rain much prefers a more typical sleeping bag where she has the freedom to move her arms – thankfully the Sleep Swaddle also offers this option thanks to the clever poppers on the arms.

ergoPouch sleep swaddle

ergoPouch sleep swaddle arms

Once you’ve passed the swaddling stage, the ergoPouch Sleep Suit is a safe way to keep baby warm without the need for extra blankets.  You can use the Sleep Suit in the cot as a sleeping bag, then convert into legs using the zippers, making the transition from cot to pram or car an easy one.  Perfect for little walkers.  The 3.5 TOG Sleep Suit is designed for winter temperatures and is made with an organic cotton sheeting outer layer and 100% cotton filling.  It also has long cotton fleece sleeves and fold over mitts for warmth.  (It’s also available in 2.5 tog)

ergoPouch sleep suit

I’m excited to be able to giveaway an ergoPouch Sleep Suit to one of you lovely lot this winter!  Subject to availability the lucky winner will be able to choose which tog and pattern they receive. Just complete the Rafflecopter below ensuring to complete your entries accurately to avoid disqualification.

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My Baby & Me by Sam Faiers – Giveaway

Sam Faiers Cover

As a blogger I know that people love to read about real life parenting – about other people’s experiences be it similar to their own or a completely different view point.  We love to know what’s going on in other people’s lives – sometimes to make us feel better about what’s going on in our own or other times just to escape from reality for a bit.

Sam Faiers of Towie fame documented her pregnancy and birth in a one-off show on ITVBe called “The Baby Diaries” which went on to become the channel’s most watched programme ever!  She has since stared in a six-part series about her life as a new mum: “The Mummy Diaries”.

Alongside sharing her life family life on TV, Sam Faiers has also written a book (how does she find the time?!) called “My Baby & Me” charting “the highs and lows of her first year as a mum” which was published in hardback at the end of last month.

Written in a chatty, no-nonsense style, Sam opens up about what life as a new mum has been life for her – the good bits and the not so good.  She is keen to share her story rather than advise, pointing out “I’m not saying it’s the right way, it’s jut my way . . . !

Sam Faiers - My Baby & Me
My Baby & Me, 29th of December, Blink Publishing

If you’d like to win a copy of Sam Faiers “My Baby & Me” – then just complete the entry options in the rafflecopter below, ensuring to do this accurately to avoid disqualification. (UK only)
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Buttonbag Christmas Craft Kits – Review & Giveaway

Little Button Bag - Make your own advent calendar case

If, like me, you love the idea of being all crafty and pinterest-worthy – but when it comes to the crunch you just don’t have the skills. . . then Buttonbag will be right up your street. . . With a whole array of gorgeous Christmas crafts all prepared for you this festive season, you can earn your pinterest points without getting your glue gun in a twist!

I’ve always loved the idea of a reusable advent calendar, you know the ones you fill yourself each Christmas with different bits and bobs?   As someone who is pretty fond a good tradition, the idea of a handmade advent calendar which can be pulled out year after year is really appealing.

The Buttonbag Advent Calendar Craft Kit comes in an adorable little suitcase – which seems to me to be ideal to keep your finished advent calendar in to store away each year, however I know I’m going to have to keep it safe from Amy who has something of a penchant for little bags and suitcases!

A Button Bag Craft Kit - Make your own advent calendar

Inside the kit is everything you will need to make your own advent calendar including a backing sheet for your advent calendar which is all marked up for you, pre-cut felt squares for the pockets and sticky-back felt for the numbers and personalisation.  No measuring or complicated cutting out required. (I’m fairly sure we can all cope with cutting out the number and letter templates right?)

Contents of Buttonbag advent calendar craft kit

You do need to be able to hand-stitch around the edges of the pockets (no sewing machine required) and as this is done with embroidery thread, the stitches themselves will just add to the decoration.  I’m pretty sure even the most ham-fisted of us could manage a few stitches in a straight line . . .

Buttonbag advent calendar kit felt pockets ready to stitch

Now I have yet put our advent calendar together but I’m led to believe it will only take a couple of evenings if you put your mind to it.  Of course I’m likely to find myself doing this right at the end of November because let’s be honest, there’s nothing like the pressure of a deadline.

Buttonbag advent calendar

If you’d like to win a Buttonbag Advent Calendar Kit along with a pair of Christmas Decoration Kits (worth a total of £28 then please enter using the Rafflecopter below – ensuring to complete your entries accurately to avoid disqualification.  This giveaway is running for over a week to allow for the winner to be drawn and the prize to be sent out as quickly as possible!

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*We were sent our own Buttonbag kit free of charge for the purposes of this review. All thoughts and opinions remain our own*

Oxford Children’s Books Christmas Titles – Review & Giveaway

Books make such a great gift – especially for children who may well end up overwhelmed with exciting toys this Christmas.  This Christmas, Oxford Children’s Books have a fantastic selection of festive picture book titles ready to solve your gift giving dilemmas!

Christmas Picture Books - Oxford University Press

Greatest Animal Stories, chosen by Michael Morpurgo (£12.99)

I am completely in love with this collection of animal stories chosen by award-winning children’s writer and former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo.  It’s beautifully illustrated and the stories are the perfect length for a bedtime story or for Ben to read to himself.  This is the sort of book I could imagine keeping in my classroom to dip into just before home time!

Inside "Greatest Animal Stories" - Morpurgo

Winnie and Wilbur Meet Santa, by Valerie Thomas illustrated by Korky Paul (£12.99)

I loved Winnie the Witch as a child so I was excited to see what Chloe thought of this book!  (According to the sleeve, Winnie & Wilbur have been delighting readers since 1987 . . . I feel old).

The festive pictures are busy and exciting with plenty of things to look at and discuss as Winnie and Wilbur come to the rescue of Santa who is, rather predictably, stuck up the chimney!  The special pop-up at the end of the story is a lovely surprise too!

Inside "Winnie and Wilbur meet Santa"

Walking in a Winter Wonderland written by Richard B Smith, illustrated by Tim Hopgood (£12.99)

We all know Peggy Lee’s iconic song “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”, you can hardly get through a December day without it ringing through your ears at some point.  This book brings the song lyrics to life with the most gorgeous illustrations.  I defy you to read this book out loud without breaking into song (and just in case you need a little music to accompany your singalong, the book comes with it’s very one Walking in a Winter Wonderland CD)

Walking in a Winter Wonderland CD

Inside "Walking in a Winter Wonderland"

The Mouse That Cancelled Christmas by Madeleine Cook illustrated by Samara Hardy (£6.99)

This paperback offering is the perfect festive bedtime story, with super cute illustrations, a little bit of counting and plenty of humour all with a nod to the seasonal traditions which make Christmas Christmas!

Inside "The Mouse that Cancelled Christmas"

A Dot in the Snow by Corrinne Averiss illustrated by Fiona Woodcock (£11.99) 

From the outset my girls were drawn to the glitter on the front cover of this story – I don’t blame them, who can resist a bit of festive glitter?  This book is not so much Christmas-themed as Winter-themed which I really liked as, much as I love Christmas, you can only read them for a few weeks of the year (or at least we do – I think it keeps it special that way)

Inside "A Dot in the Snow"

If you’d like to win the full collection of books detailed above, please enter using the Rafflecopter below – ensuring to complete the entry options accurately to avoid disqualification.  (The giveaway finishes at the end of November to give the promoter the very best chance of getting these books to the winner in time for Christmas but of course we can’t promise anything!)

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*We were sent this selection of books free of charge for the purposes of review.  All thoughts and opinions remain our own. This post contains affiliate links*

Sleep Tight All Night Teddy – Review

Amy sleeping

I’m grateful that for the most part, all three children have always been pretty good sleepers.  They have all had a fairly fixed bedtime routine from a very young age (Ben was in fact just 5 weeks old) and I’m sure that has played a big part in their ability to go to sleep without too much fuss each night.  Amy didn’t sleep through regularly till she was about 15 months old but having to share a bedroom with Mummy & Daddy was definitely a factor in this!

Ben has always been a bit of an early riser.  We tried the ever popular Gro Clock with him but for a number of reasons it wasn’t really a big hit and in the end he just learned to play quietly in his room until it was time to get up.  Chloe on the other hand loves a good lie in, I often have to wake her for school and she has been known to sleep in till 9am on occasion

Mostly Amy sleeps well but can be disturbed by Daddy getting ready for work in the morning (at 5.30am . . . ) and thinks it is time to get up.  Usually I can go in and tell her that it’s still night time and she will try to go back to sleep – this is of course easier as the mornings are getting darker as obviously “dark = night time” right?  Last week she woke up at about 5am, nothing to do with Dave as he was still in bed, and told me quite clearly that she didn’t want to be asleep any more and that her eyes wouldn’t stay shut.  I’m sure you can imagine that I told her quite clearly that it was the middle of the night (slight exaggeration there) and that she really must go back to sleep.  I can’t tell you how glad I was that she did indeed manage to shut her eyes and drop off!

Sleep Tight Teddy Bear

Sleep Tight All Night Teddy from Golden Bear Toys is designed to help your child to understand when to sleep and when to get up – which means in theory I shouldn’t have to get up and tell Amy to go back to sleep as the teddy should be able to do the job for me!

Sleep Tight All Night Teddy features a timer which allows you to specify how long your child should be asleep – either a full night or just a quick afternoon snooze.  Amy is pretty good at having a sleep in the afternoon and generally has to be woken in time for the school run so we’ve stuck to using Sleep Tight All Night Teddy for night time sleeping.

Amy sleeping

In it’s simplest terms Sleep Tight All Night Teddy features a glowing light in his tummy which shows up red for “stay in bed” and green for “get up and go” – Amy had this sussed without me even explaining it to her.  She saw the pictures on the box and told me quite clearly what the lights meant – off to a good start there then!  Although red for stop and green to go is a pretty obvious choice of lights and one which we all understand, there’s actually a good dose of science behind it – green wave lengths are thought to be be beneficial during daylight hours helping to boost attention and reaction times (where can I get me some green lights?!) however it is most disruptive at night as it reduces the amount of melatonin in the body and affects your ability to fall asleep.  Red light is the least upsetting to your body clock and melatonin production therefore is the best choice for night time!

green light

Sleep Tight All Night Teddy - red light

Sleep Tight All Night Teddy’s tummy doesn’t glow all night – just for a short time after you’ve given his tummy a squeeze which means that if you wake up in the night (or after the pre-set wake up time is reached) and give him a cuddle, he will soon tell you if it’s time to get up or not.  I would have liked to have been able to set a regular wake up time however it’s necessary to set an allotted number of sleeping hours each night at bedtime which I fear could become a little tiresome.

Alongside the clever tummy light, Sleep Tight All Night Teddy also makes a range of “soothing sounds” to help your child fall asleep or “fun character phrases” for day time play.  These come with the option to mute or alter the volume according to your child’s needs / preferences.  As Amy is almost three and goes to sleep pretty well, we haven’t used the “soothing sounds” – I must admit I don’t think they sound very soothing but I’m a 36 yr old woman and white noise has never been my bag.  I know lots of parents have had great success with white noise so it’s definitely worth a try!

Hero Attax – Marvel Topps Trading Cards

New Hero Attax tin

As you know over the last few months Ben & Finley have been collecting Force Attax Extra Topps Trading Cards while their little sisters Chloe & Erin have been building up a collection of Shopkins Topps Trading Cards.

Over the bank holiday weekend we had a BBQ at Finley’s house so I thought it would be a good opportunity to introduce the boys to a new set of Topps Trading cards – and from the smiles on their faces and the excited noises as they opened their packs, it’s safe to say I had saved the best till last.

New Hero Attax tins

pack of Hero Attax cards

Ben and Finn (much like their Dads) are big Marvel fans – in fact Ben has an enormous Marvel mural on his bedroom and both boys have an array of superhero costumes between them.  As they already know a lot about Marvel it meant that opening the packs of cards and sorting through them was all the more exciting for them as they found special holographic cards or their favourite characters.  They were both keen to show the cards to their Dads and ask questions about characters they hadn’t come across before – with 200 cards to collect there’s plenty for them to learn!

holographic Hero Attax card

sorting Hero Attax cards

Hero Attax character card

Hero Attax Marvel character

Since starting their new Hero Attax collection, they boys have spent a morning together at their childminder who tells me they were thoroughly engaged in their cards for quite a while, organising them, comparing them, swapping them and playing a “top trumps” style game with them.

Hero Attax boys playing

At just £1 for a packet of cards (available in Martins, McColls, One Stop, Asda, WHSmith, Tesco and Sainsburys) they make for a great treat or incentive which won’t break the bank!  (The promise of more Topps trading cards certainly gets more jobs done around the house without any complaining)

For your chance to win a selection of goodies to get your Hero Attax collection off on the right foot, just complete the Rafflecopter below.  Please ensure you complete your entries accurately to avoid disqualification.

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Back to School with Letts – Giveaway

Much as I don’t really want to admit it to myself, we are well and truly in the throes of August, which means that September and “Back to School” is on the horizon.  Although we’ve been off school for five weeks now, it feels like it’s gone so quickly and I can hardly believe we only have a couple of weeks of summer left.

I picked up a pen yesterday to fill in a form and felt like I’d forgotten how to write properly as it had been that long – a feeling I have had every September – both as a child and now as a teacher myself!  Any teacher will tell you that there is often noticeable “summer learning loss”, that at the start of a new school year children will take a little while to remember things they had learned and to get going again.

Letts Back to School prize

Letts have some fabulous engaging and motivating learning books available to help your child to get their brain back on track and ready to learn again!  All of the books are designed to support the national curriculum so that you know they are reinforcing what your child is being taught at school.

The website is easy to navigate and you can browse their range of books by age group.  What’s more they are offering a 30% discount on all books until 30 September 2016 when you use code BACK30 at www.lettsrevision.co.uk.

To help get your child ready for Back to School, I’m giving away a bundle of Letts books tailored to your child age worth £50!  Just complete as many of the Rafflecopter options as you would like, ensuring to do this accurately to avoid disqualification.
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