Personalised Bento Lunchboxes from Petit-Fernand – Review & Giveaway

As a primary school teacher and a parent I’m a big fan of personalisation – anything which makes it easier for children (or their teachers) to identify their property is a win.

Petit-Fernand offer a range of personalised bento-style lunch boxes with customisation options including colour, font and background images meaning you can perfectly tailor your child’s lunch box to suit their likes!

Ahead of our trip to France last month, we ordered Ben, Chloe and Amy new boxes featuring the limited edition nautical and Liberty prints (you’ll need to be quick if you want to order one as they aren’t available after 17th June but there’s new limited edition prints on the way and the standard range are super cute too!)

Petit-Fernand liberty print lunch box

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Fantasie Lingerie – The best bras for big boobs?

From my very first bra, I was always an M&S girl – getting regularly measured and fitted to ensure I was getting the right shape and support for my increasingly ample chest.  In my early to mid twenties I had a lovely pair of fairly full and perky 36DD breasts however, three breast fed babies down the line, with my forties staring my in the face, my boobs are not what they were – yes they’re still big but now they hang low, they lack any volume or fullness so in the wrong bra they just look sad.  This is unflattering, uncomfortable and just now how I want my boobs to be!  The beautiful balcony bras I used to love no longer fit properly – my boobs now tend to just sit in them, looking flat, rather than feeling shapely and supported.

In recent years, I have found my bra choices in M&S becoming increasingly limited – I know that a “full cup” style suits me best but all too often these are designed for older customers and just leave me feeling frumpy.  A couple of years ago, Mum bought me a gift voucher for Bravissimo for Christmas – somewhere I had always avoided shopping as I didn’t think my chest was “that big” and I had this misconception that Bravissimo was really expensive.  In reality I think that yes, Bravissimo do sell bras that are a little more expensive than M&S but they’re not ridiculous, and certainly not as expensive as I had thought they would be.  Regardless of cost, when I got my first bras from Bravissmo, friends actually commented on the difference proving that a correctly fitting, supportive bra can be a complete game changer.  I felt like I had my boobs back!

Through a mixture of trial and error and with the help of a great fitting at Bravissmo, I’ve learned that I suit a full cup style with side support which pushes up and forward to encourage the natural rounded shape that I miss.  Unfortunately a full cup isn’t seen as being the most youthful of styles and as such the colours and fabrics are not as modern as I would like – on my last trip to Bravissmo I found the full cup bras available in my size were really old-fashioned and matronly.  I actually ended up just buying the same bra as the one I was wearing and left feeling thoroughly frustrated that whilst I did have a lovely bra that fitted and supported my boobs – I just didn’t seem to have any choice in buying pretty patterns and colours.  I shouldn’t have to be stuck with boring old lady bras just because I wear a 40F! Read More »

Summer fun with Gazillion Bubbles

The appeal of playing with bubbles is universal.  I don’t care who you are, old or young, the pleasure of creating huge bubbles, watching them bob about in the air and popping them cannot be denied.

We took some of the Gazillion bubble range on holiday to France with us last week – this is a far cry from your Mum topping your bottle of bubbles up with Fairy liquid when you were a kid.  In our experience Gazillion bubble formula is perfect for making lots of big bubbles, not just one that pops pathetically on the wand but masses of bright, colourful bubbles!   The Gazillion bubble formula is non-toxic and non-staining making it perfect for indoor and outdoor use.

Giant bubbles with Gazillion

Children popping enormous bubbles

bubble popping fun

We took the Giant Incredi-buble wand down to the beach with us to make the most of the open space while we made some enormous bubbles using the specially formulated giant bubble solution.  We did find that because it was a little windy, we had to keep waiting for the breeze to drop to be able to make the best bubbles – it was a bit frustrating but totally worth it when we got those huge streams of bubbles!

Gazillion bubble wand on the beach

Stream of Gazillion giant bubbles on the beach

enormous Gazillion bubbles at the coast

Gazillion incredi-bubble wand

Enormous stream of Gazillion bubbles

bubble tunnel Gazillion

Little girl popping huge Gazillion bubbles on the beach

popping Gazillion bubbles

Back at the campsite we tried out the new Gazillion Crazy Wands (£3.99 a pack) – these photo-booth style wands made the kids giggle.  Ben had thought the bubbles might change according to the shape of the bubble wand but of course that’s not the case, the bubbles form a typical round bubble shape once you’ve blown them.  Blowing bubbles from the Gazillion Crazy Wands isn’t as easy as blowing bubbles from a standard bubble wand but for the novelty value they’re great fun!

Gazillion crazy wands

photo-booth style bubble wands from Gazillion

The Gazillion Bubbles Tornado Bubble Machine is the ultimate bubble machine, perfect for creating a storm of bubbles in seconds and ideal for parties!  It’s worth pointing out that batteries aren’t included – something I had failed to notice meaning we couldn’t use the machine on holiday in France – we’re now saving it for a family party next month instead!

Finally the 2L Gazillion Bubbles Premium Solution is an enormous bottle of bubble solution with a suitably large 7-in1 bubble wand.  You’re not going to run out of bubble solution in a hurry with this!

Gazillion Premium bubble solution

Gazillion Premium bubble solution makes lots of bubble to pop

little girl popping bubbles

*We were sent our Gazillion Bubble goodies free of charge for the purposes of review.  All thoughts and opinions remain our own*

Pressure Washing from Fantastic Services

There’s no doubt that pressure washing the drive is a satisfying job to do but it’s also messy and hard work.  The last time I did our drive I was pregnant with Ben so we’re talking somewhere in the region of nine years ago . . . I remember being surprised to discover that my drive wasn’t actually all one colour and in fact, underneath all the dirt and grime, there was a pattern of pink and grey block work!

Fast forward almost a decade and there was definitely no visible pattern on my drive – our block work has actually been completely relayed after several years of building work but it remained filthy.  At the front of the house it was just grubby from years of use and of course being a building site, whereas at the back of the house it was green and mossy.  This is an issue every year – I’ve tried weed killer, washing powder and scrubbing brushes, but it remains resolutely green & slippy.  We did borrow a pressure washer from my Dad a couple of years ago only to discover that our kitchen tap was a funny shape and we couldn’t attach the hose to it.  Our outside tap had been disconnected years before due to pure water pressure (though sorting this out is on Dave’s never-ending to do list!)  It’s one of those jobs that has just been left – it was too much hassle to actually sort it out and not really at the top of my priorities list.

I was more than happy to hand the task of pressure washing our drive to Fantastic Services – I actually asked them to do all the block work at the front of the house, down the side and also into the back as well as the concrete panels at the bottom of our fences.  I was particularly keen to have them clean these at the back of the house as my neighbour is very sloppy with his paint work and over the years has dripped white paint and fence stain down our side of the fence (literally every single time he paints) – which whilst annoying is easily rectified by painting over it however the concrete panels are a difference matter and the unsightly spillages really get my back up!!  My Dad had previously suggested that pressure washing should clean most of it off so I was excited to see what a difference the team at Fantastic Services could make.

Fantastic Services pressure washing - before

Fantastic Services pressure washing - before

Fantastic Services pressure washing - before

Fantastic Services pressure washing - before

Fantastic Services pressure washing - before

Fantastic Services pressure washing - before

Fantastic Services pressure washing - before

The guys from Fantastic Services arrived bob on 9am as booked and were quick to get started.  I showed them a choice of taps in our kitchen, utility and downstairs toilet but was told that they wouldn’t be able to use any of them – I panicked that the appointment had been a waste of time and that they wouldn’t be able to complete the job after all.  As it turned out, in the absence of an appropriate tap, they just pulled out the dishwasher and fastened their equipment on there instead!  Once they had their equipment set up I showed them what needed cleaning (as per my booking) and left them to it.  The service took 4 hours in total – 4 hours which I spent working quietly in the house,  4 hours where I didn’t have to get filthy or break my back cleaning my driveway!

Pressure washing requires no detergent, the cleaning is done purely through the force of water hitting your driveway – it’s a filthy job as the muck is lifted from your path or fences and moved towards a drain.  As such this means that in the process of cleaning your driveway or patio or whatever else you are cleaning, other things are likely to get dirty.  I’m pleased to say that as much as possible the team from Fantastic Services cleaned up after themselves – cleaning my windows, wiping down the front and back doors and anywhere else that had got covered in general filth as they were working.  That said, my fences, garage doors and walls were left with a fine coat of muck – this is something which is easily dealt with by brushing it once it was dry – something the guys from Fantastic Services wouldn’t have been able to do whilst it was still wet without just smearing it everywhere!  The lawn also ended up pretty dirty as a result of a slow drain but this will sort itself out.

I couldn’t believe the difference – my drive was once again pink and clean and those concrete fence panels?  Well they are by no means perfect but the difference is immense and I can’t stop looking out of the kitchen window at them!  If I’m honest now that everything has dried, I think there are bits that would benefit from another going over – particularly the bottom of the fences or the back of the house where it was especially dirty and difficult to drain but realistically there are 100 times better than they were before.  Unfortunately my garage doors have suffered at the hands of the pressure washer and some of the paint has been removed so they will have to be repainted this summer, some sections of fencing will also need re-staining where they’ve been caught by the water as you can see in the pictures.  Pressure washing block work does remove all the sand between the blocks so it’s important that once everything is dry, you replace this with kiln dried sand (it fills in the gaps, keeping the blocks stable but still allowing for drainage) – this is top of our to do list over the coming week while the weather is still good

The cost of the pressure washing service from Fantastic Services was  £138 and yes, I guess I could have invested that in a pressure washer and done it myself but honestly?  Having someone else do it was just so much easier.

*The pressure washing service from Fantastic Servies was provided free of charge as part of my ambassador role.  This post contains affiliate links which means if you do book a service I might earn a small discount off my next service at no extra cost to you*

Kona Sandals from Strive Footwear – Review

I’ve always found shoe shopping fairly challenging – I’ve got big feet – reasonably wide size 8s if you please.  Since having kids they’ve got worse, they’ve spread and my arches have collapsed which is probably due to the inordinate amount of time spent in flip flops during pregnancy when my ankles and feet were too swollen to fit into anything else!  I love the idea of heels and pretty details but always finding myself reverting to the same comfortable flats – which is why I now have three pairs of Saltwater sandals, some gorgeous Hotter pumps and a pair of Hotter pumps and the spend much of the rest of my time in my trainers.  I fear its a sign of age that I now go for comfort and support over everything else – I have no time for uncomfortable shoes, that said I still want to look and feel nice!

I was recently introduced to Strive footwear, a brand concentrating on women’s orthotic footwear – slippers, shoes and sandals which are designed using biomechanical footbed technology to support your feet.  I have a terrible habit for wearing very flat sandals which I don’t think is really doing my feet an awful lot of good in the long term so I was excited to see what Strive had to offer.  After spending quite a while browsing the site I eventually settled on a pair of metallic Trio sandals – sadly these didn’t fit.  The straps are not adjustable and I couldn’t get my feet into them.  Back to the drawing board!  Next on my wish list was a pair of Hotter pumps – I loved the contrast of the thick black elastic and thought they would lift my standard mum uniform of leggings nicely.  Unfortunately they didn’t have my size in stock (though I’ve noticed today that they’ve got them in again and I’m sorely tempted to order a pair!)  Eventually I settled on a pair of black and bronze Kona sandals (continuing the distinct metallic theme of my picks!) working on the basis that the adjustable straps would give me the best chance of a good fit!

Black and copper sandals from Strive footwear

Whilst I was right and the fully adjustable straps did allow for a completely customisable fit, my feet were too wide for the footbed.  Gutted.  Accepting that perhaps my feet are just too wide for Strive Footwear I decided to see how Mum would get on with my Kona sandals as they colour way is right up her street.

Mum loves shoe shopping just as much as I do . . . she struggles with fit and comfort – a broken ankle some years ago and a more recent hammer toe have just compounded the issue.  However, as I have mentioned already, the fact that all three straps on the Kona sandals are fully adjustable means she can really make sure they fit perfectly and, even better, they can be loosened off as the day goes on to accommodate for any swelling.  (Personally the effects of heat and a dodgy ankle mean this is something I have to consider too!)

Strive footwear - Kona sandals with adjustable straps

comfy summer sandals from Strive footwear

adjustable straps for customisable fit

sandals for all day wear from Strive

The Kona sandal is designed for all day wear with supportive footbed technology and a cushioned micro-fibre lining.  The contoured sole unit with BFT technology is a step up from the very flat sandals I tend to wear personally and means that the shoes will minimise se foot fatigue all while improving posture, balance and body alignment.  I’m all too familiar with the aches and pains that come with wearing too flat shoes all day!

Whilst I’m pretty gutted that these super comfy sandals are not going to be a part of my own summer wardrobe, I’m pleased to have been able to add something new to Mum’s!  (Dad actually said he prefers them to her Birks!)

*I received the Kona sandals from Strive Footwear free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and options remain my own (or Mum’s!)*

Ion8 pod – Review

With an ever increasing focus on the need to reduce plastic waste, as a family we are keen to eradicate as much single use plastic from our home as possible.  This is an ongoing process and, needless to say, we are learning as we go.  Of course one way to do this is to use reusable drinks bottles when we are out and about.  This is something I’ve previously been quite slack about, preferring to buy drinks as we need them over remembering to fill up and cart around enough bottles for the whole family.  However this is clearly wasteful – both in an environmental and financial sense.  As I say, we are learning as we go!

One of my biggest issues with carrying bottles around is that they tend to take up too much room in my bag and there is always the risk of them leaking.  The kids have bottles which they take to school (if they remember) and Dave & I both have Klean Kanteen bottles which we use for hot drinks – particularly when we’re camping or Dave uses his to take coffee to work.  But they are sizeable and fairly weighty – I certainly wouldn’t want to lug one around in my handbag all day.

We’ve recently been introduced to the Ion8 range -specifically the 100% leak proof kids water bottle, the Ion8 Pod.  The Ion8 Pod is a 350ml size making it ideal for children – fitting perfectly into school lunch boxes or backpacks.  Having to carry their bottles is probably the single biggest reason why my children often “forget” to take theirs or bring them home again from school.  If they were safely tucked inside their school bag this would be a different matter entirely!

Ion8 pod - kids leak proof drink bottle

My favourite design feature of the Ion8 Pod is that it is the same width as a standard soft drinks can which means it will fit all standard cup and can holders – a bit of a game changer in the car where lots of the other bottles we have tried just don’t fit comfortably (something I have previously tested by spilling hot chocolate all over the foot-well of my car whilst turning a corner . . . )  It is worth mentioning that the larger 500ml Ion8 Slim is also the same width so if you need a larger drink, you don’t have to compromise on being able to fit your bottle into a cup holder.

Whilst the Ion8 Pod is marketed as a kids’ water bottle, I think the smaller size makes it perfect for popping in your handbag when you’re out and about – you know I’m fully lusting after a navy one for myself right?  I’ve said before that I’m practically a camel and rarely drink enough so having a smaller sized bottle in my bag might finally solve this problem!

Little girl using reusable drink bottle

Little girl drinking from Ion8 Pod

All three kids love the Ion8 Pod – the easy to open flip top and the smooth liquid flow make it easy to drink from – there’s no need to worry about sucking or holding it at the right angle as can often be the case with some bottles. The lockable flip top lid means that the drink spout itself remains clean (as opposed to the kids’ current bottles which just have a twist up spout).  Thanks to the wide neck, the bottle is simple to fill – you can even pop ice in on a hot day which I know Ben will love for school!  The bottle is actually suitable for both hot and cold drinks which I must admit really surprised me – I don’t know that I would naturally use it for hotter drinks but it’s nice to know the option is there.  It might seem a little odd to talk about the texture of the bottle, but actually it makes quite a big difference, the soft feel makes it easy to hold and also just looks far nicer.  The carry strap is a bit of a bonus as carrying a drink bottle around in your hand is never going to be comfortable for long.  I was also pleased to discover that I can pop the ion8 drink bottle into the dishwasher (something which I can’t do with our Klean Kanteens annoyingly!)

Ion8 Pod lockable flip top lid opens with one hand

Ion8 Pod flip top lid and spout

Ion8 Pod carry strap makes the bottle easy to carry around

So all in we love the Ion8 Pod, my only problem with it is that we only have one!  I think I’d better invest in some more.

*We were sent the Ion8 Pod free of charge for the purposes of review.  All thoughts and opinions remain my own.  This post contains affiliate links*

 
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Reducing single use plastic waste with the Ion 8 Pod reusable drinks bottle

Taking Time Out at The Spa Hotel, Ribby Hall Village

You know how sometimes life just seems to be careering on at full pelt and there seems to be nothing you can do to slow it down?  Things are crazy busy for us the moment – well always if I’m honest – but it seems to be particularly hectic at the moment with pretty much all our weekends booked up from the start of March through to the summer holidays combined with the usual frenzy of after school activities and tight work deadlines.  And whilst I do love to be busy, and much of what we are doing is super exciting, it can sometimes all feel a bit too much.

Back in the middle of March I was invited to spend the day at The Spa Hotel, Ribby Hall Village with some blogger friends – this practically makes it work right?  Ribby Hall Village is about 45 miles from where we live but if I’m honest I don’t mind a bit of time on my own in the car so the drive really didn’t feel like much of a bind!  I arrived mid morning, was given a robe and flip flops and shown to the changing rooms where the lockers were explained to me.  There are no phones allowed in the spa which frankly is bliss – locking my phone away for a few hours and really switching off was exactly what the doctor ordered!

The Spa Hotel, Ribby Hall

The main purpose of our trip to Ribby Hall was to experience the Aqua Thermal Journey  – “an amazing journey, where mind and body are treated to all kinds of unique and tantalising treatments, varying in temperature to detoxify, relax and revitalise.”  Essentially this is a series of experiences – a mix of steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs – which gradual increase in temperature.  The idea being that alternating between increasingly hot and cold temperatures can “stimulate and and improve your circulation, relax aching muscles, cleanse and rejuvenate your skin, and boost your immune system, as well as feeling luxurious and invigorating.”  The website suggests that the Aqua Thermal Journey should take about two hours but it definitely took us longer – probably because we were chatting so much – and we ended up rushing the end of the journey as we had a booking for lunch in the The Orangery.  If I’m honest I think I could have merrily spent all day taking my time on working through the various steps of the Aqua Thermal Journey and lying on the very inviting loungers – which I actually didn’t get chance to do!

Because the idea of the Aqua Thermal Journey is that it steadily increases in temperature as you work your way through the journey, each step is numbered and a small explanation of the treatment and it’s purpose given outside the room.  Sally was thoroughly amused by my need to experience all of the steps in the recommended order, I couldn’t bring myself to miss any out or do them in a different order.  This is in part due to the fact I’m naturally someone who follows the rules but also because I wanted to make sure I was getting the full benefit!

Ribby Hall Aqua Thermal Journey

Following the Aqua Thermal Journey in order meant that yes I did tip a bucket of ice cold water over my head (or at least down my back) and whilst it was brutal, I actually did quite appreciate the intensity of it!  There was only one room which we all really struggled with – The Balinese Salt Inhalation Room is the hottest steam room at 49 degrees!  The salt infused vapour encourages detoxification and cleansing of the skin and lungs – which I loved in theory but actually just found really overwhelming – it made my eyes sting and I couldn’t settle into breathing comfortably so soon left to move onto the next step!

One of my favourite parts of the journey was sitting outside in the hot tub in the Zen Garden – it was a cold day, but bright and sunny so being able to sit in a steaming hot tub whilst looking out into the countryside was absolutely lovely!  (I did end up overheating a bit and having to get out but I think I had just sat in there for far too long!)

After experiencing the Aqua Thermal Journey we took ourselves off to The Orangery for a light lunch – I didn’t bother getting dressed as I had a treatment booked later in the day but I did feel a bit daft sitting in my swimming costume and robe as most of the other guests were fully clothed!  Lunch was delicious and the service, whilst lovely, was decidedly relaxed.  It was nice not to feel harassed or rushed but as Sarah had to get off to do the school run we could have done with things being served a little quicker!

I had quite a gap from the other girls living to my booked treatment but I can’t say that having to spend more time in the spa was any kind of hardship!  The only downside was that I had got muddled up with my times and ended up getting ready for my treatment a good half hour too early – time I could have spent in the pool or hot tub rather than hanging around in reception but that was my own fault for not checking my booking!

I’m a big fan of NEOM fragrances and use them at home, but hadn’t realised until I was browsing the Ribby Hall Spa website that they actually do treatments – it would be rude not to try one!  Having had a couple of facials fairly recently I decided to pick a body treatment – I think I could have happily chosen any of them but the NEOM Energise treatment stood out to me: “Using changes in temperature, speed-of-touch and different textures this treatment begins with the Neom Body Scrub with its potently invigorating oils of wild mint and mandarin. Your skin will be buffed head-to-toe, left feeling amazingly uplifted and ready to be enveloped in the NEOM energising cream clay wrap. Whilst you’re wrapped you’ll experience a 20 minute face and scalp massage plus specialist reflex foot massage techniques (and back massage for 90 minute treatment option).” 

Oh. My. Days.

It was amazing.

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like it!  The treatment started with a guided meditation which was played on a CD while the therapist started work.  Now this sounds a bit odd but it was actually lush, listening to the instructions and concentrating on my breathing helped me to really relax into the treatment making sure I got the best from it.  The products used smell heavenly (as you’d expect from NEOM) and the whole experience left me feel really relaxed, with beautifully soft skin.  I loved that this was a whole body treatment – not just a fancy scrub but a treatment from head to toe.  I would book it again in a heartbeat – and I’d also love to try some of the other NEOM treatments on offer!  I was only gutted that I hadn’t left myself time to chill out after the treatment and had to set off straight home!

Ribby Hall is certainly up there as one of the nicest spas I’ve visited.  That makes it sounds like I’ve been to loads – I haven’t – but I’ve certainly seen a fair range of quality and Ribby Hall sits nicely at the top end and I’m already planning a return trip with Dave!

*We were invited to experience the Aqua Thermal Journey free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain my own*

A sunny spring raincoat from Outdoorsupply

For some reason, even though I generally struggle to inject colour into my wardrobe, I have no problem with brightly coloured coats and this spring is no different.  After that glorious burst of sunshine last week I’ve banished my bulky winter coat to the back of my wardrobe and replaced it with the gorgeous Ilse Jacobsen raincoat in “Cyber Yellow” from Outdoorsupply.

Yellow raincoat from outdoorsupply

Of course we still can’t trust the British weather so making sure my new coat is waterproof is key when it comes to school runs and general adventuring!  This lightweight raincoat is made of 100% polyurethane, has a waterproof zip and is water repellent (up to 500m water pressure) – take that Manchester and heavy April showers!

Mum and daughters in Hebden Bridge

I absolutely love the bright, bold yellow colour – there was certainly no missing me on the school run today, though I do think it looks better if I’ve actually put a face of make up on rather than just rolled out of bed and off to school on a Monday morning!

bright yellow raincoat

The roomy sleeves feature poppers which allow you to fasten the cuffs more tightly – this is a real win for me as I hate sleeves flapping about and getting in my way but elasticated cuffs aren’t exactly stylish are they?  The poppers just make everything look really neat.  My only slight niggle is that the pockets are not very deep and the super smooth fabric makes me think that my phone probably isn’t all that safe in my pocket and I think it would slide out easily.

yellow raincoat from outdoorsupply

The lightweight fabric is easy to wear and keeps the wind out as well as the rain off.  I had worried that it might be a little sweaty to wear but thus far this hasn’t been an issue.  The two way zip is easy to fasten and there is room for a cardigan or jumper underneath on a cooler day – I think this coat is going to be a real win for festivals in the summer as well as a regular feature on the school run!

(If you like Amy and Chloe’s coats in the pictures you can read more about them here: Grass & Air Light Catcher Macs)

*I receveied my coat free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain my own*

Learning Personal Survival Skills During Swim Academy Pyjama Week

Each term, Puddle Ducks hold a Pyjama Week – and whilst getting in the pool in your PJs is a bit of a giggle and the lessons are all great fun this is also for a much more significant reason.  If you or your child were to accidentally fall in the pool or any other body of water for that matter, the chances are you are not going to be fully prepared – wearing your swimming costume, hat and goggles.  No, it’s far more likely that you will indeed be fully clothed and believe me this is a whole different ball game.  Being fully clothed in water is a strange experience and one which makes swimming very difficult – your clothes weigh you down, they make it harder to move through the water.  By swimming in our pyjamas several times a year, we are normalising this for our children hopefully removing some of the unfamiliarity should they ever find themselves in water unexpectedly.  Teaching them to swim in their clothes as part of a fun and familiar swimming lesson gives them a head start should the worst happen.

Now that Amy is in Swim Academy things have stepped up a gear and in our most recent Pyjama Week she was also taught skills to help her rescue someone else who is in trouble in the water.  Namely don’t get in yourself but go find help.  She was taught how to lie on her tummy and reach a long object (in this case a woggle but in real life more likely a rope or stick) out to the person in distress to give them something to hold on to.

The rest of the lesson focused on vital life saving skills such as being able to float, to jump in and turn immediately to reach for the side (or safety!), treading water and also how to swim normally in clothes without the hat and goggles she is used to her in Swim Academy lessons.

Puddle Ducks Swim Academy Pyjama Week - Swimming on woggles

Puddle Ducks Swim Academy Pyjama Week - swimming in PJs personal survival skills

Puddle Ducks Swim Academy Pyjama Week

Puddle Ducks Swim Academy Pyjama Week jumping in

Puddle Ducks Swim Academy Pyjama Week reaching for the side

Puddle Ducks Swim Academy Pyjama Week - learning to float

As you can see, Amy thought the whole experience was great fun but, sitting on the side, it was clear that everything Amy was being taught might just save her life in an emergency.  Although the focus of Pyjama Week is specifically on teaching personal survival skills, water safety is a significant feature of any Puddle Ducks or Swim Academy lesson and let’s face it, the main reason most of us send our children for swimming lessons.  Amy is constantly being taught things like reaching for the side, how to tread water or to roll onto her back and float – I’m not convinced Ben and Chloe have ever been taught anything like this in their local council lessons where the focus is . . . well actually I don’t know what the focus is but I guess that’s the point.  When I watch Amy in her Swim Academy lessons I can see exactly why she’s being taught everything she does – be it for personal survival or as a next step towards learning a common swimming stroke like breast stroke or even butterfly (Ben couldn’t believe Amy has already started to learn butterfly at 4 having only recently started to do it himself!)

Pyjama Week is just another reason that we flipping love Amy’s Swim Academy lessons with Puddle Ducks!

*Amy swims with Puddle Ducks Greater Manchester free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions and remain our own*

Grass & Air Light Catcher Mac – Review & Giveaway

Now that spring finally seems to have arrived, it’s time to pack away the big bulky winter coats and swap them out for something a bit lighter.  Of course the British weather can never be trusted so we’re still rocking a waterproof over here in Manchester as we face those April showers!

This spring my girls are wearing matching Grass & Air Light Catcher macs.  Now if you’ve not heard of Grass & Air before, they’re a Manchester based brand with a passion for getting kids outdoors whatever the weather . . . this is an ethos I can get on board with.

Grass & Air Light Catcher rain coats

Sisters wearing matching Grass & Air rain macs

The Light Catcher rain macs are a new addition to the Grass & Air range, similar to their “Rainster” but with a super cool twist – as well as being fully waterproof the Light Catcher macs feature a high tech reflective print which means in normal daylight it is barely visible but when the light hits it, it reveals a cool raincloud print!  In addition to the subtle reflective raincloud print the raincoats also feature reflective zip detailing.  This is a far cry from those reflective yellow arm bands we used to get from the road safety people as kids and I know for sure my Grandad would have flipping loved the idea of a reflective coat!  He was so safety conscious and I hated it, I thought it was boring and totally uncool – not words you could associate with the Grass & Air Light Catcher macs that’s for sure!  My kids have no idea that their rainclouds are actually a really clever safety feature, they just think it’s a bit of a novelty!

Grass & Air Light Catcher with reflective coral zip detail

Grass & Air branding

Of course during the spring and summer months the girls are not likely to be wearing their raincoats in the dark, they are long in bed before the sun sets now, however that doesn’t mean we don’t have plenty of grey, wet days ahead of us – this is Manchester after all!

One of the things that both girls really liked about their new raincoats is that aside from all the practical features I’ve just mentioned above, they’re actually really quite pretty.  The gathered waist detail and longer length made the coats feel grown up and almost dress-like and as such made them an instant win with my girls!

Grass & Air raincloud Light Catcher

Grass & Air longer style raincoat

As you can see from the pictures, both girls have plenty of growing room in their Grass & Air rain macs as well as room for a jumper underneath.  Because of the longer style, the nipped in waist and elasticated cuffs they can get away with their coats being a little big (yes, I am one of those Mums but, if I’m investing in outwear, I want to get as much wear as possible out of it and usually aim for two years!) Amy is wearing age 5-6 and Chloe 7-8 and I would say these are very much true to size – both girls are quite tall and as such are generally wearing a size above their actual ages of 4 and 6 anyway.

Grass & Air Light Catcher raincloud print

matching navy Grass & Air macs

I’m thrilled to be able to offer you the chance to win a Grass & Air Light Catcher mac in either the Raincloud print as pictured on Chloe and Amy or the shorter Lightening Bolt style.  Just complete the rafflecopter below, ensuring to do this accurately to avoid disqualification!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*We received the girls Grass & Air Light Catcher macs free of charge for the purpose of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*