I always thought walking boots were a bit pointless unless you were the sort of person that spent all weekend climbing massive hills with a flask of tea and a dog in tow. I was wrong.
There’s nothing worse than having cold, wet feet when you’re out for a walk – be that a big old stomp up a hill, a meander down the coast or even just an afternoon in the park with the kids. I’ve had a few pairs of walking boots in recent years and whilst I’ve totally been able to see the benefits of them in terms of providing my feet with support and protection, I’ve never loved them. My first pair were fairly traditional boots – big and clumpy. They rather reminded me of Dave’s safety boots at work. They did the trick but I never particularly enjoyed wearing them. Last year I swapped them for a pair of walking shoes which were more trainer-like in shape and style. They were much lighter and easier to wear but I still found them a bit cumbersome and not very attractive! I have a bit of a weak ankle which tends to swell randomly and doesn’t cope well with uneven ground – this meant that when I was wearing the walking shoes for festivals etc and spending the whole day treading uneven paths, I missed the ankle support a boot would give.
When I was offered the opportunity to try a pair of Keen walking shoes for Chloe and I, I was excited to see if I might finally find “the ones” . . .
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There is no denying that autumn is well and truly here now – October seems to have brought with it much colder temperatures and damp days. The leaves are definitely starting to turn and we’re starting to think about needing to wrap up a little more on the school run – I pulled a blanket scarf out for the first time yesterday and the kids have started digging out last year’s gloves to see if they can find a pair (they can’t . . ) and trying on last year’s coats to see what still fits!
Chloe and Amy have recently received some gorgeous new outerwear from Muddy Puddles. I first came across Muddy Puddles about eight years ago when we invested in a whole class set of Bib & Brace overalls for Early Years and promptly went off to order one for Ben who was then just a toddler. The Bib & Brace overalls were passed down through all three children and then on to another family to make use of them too! A few years ago we tried out some Muddy Puddles Puddlefleece trousers for Ben, and again they’ve been passed down through all three children and now Amy wears them every now and again.
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Have you discovered EatWell-UK yet? If you’re looking for something a bit different to serve, shape or store your little one’s lunch and snacks then you need to pop over and check them out. Stocking a wide range of goodies from Yumbox lunch boxes to LunchPunch sandwich cutters from a more exciting packed lunch to Montii water bottles in a variety of sizes or beautiful planners to help you organise your family life.
My children are all on school dinners so much as I love all the exciting bits and bobs for packed lunches, they aren’t things which would get much use in our household at the moment. The Montii water bottles on the other hand? I knew they would be a hit for us an promptly ordered five new ones plus extra sports caps for Dave & I.
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We’ve been using My Nametags for about three years now – from labelling up school uniform and coats, to drinks bottles and reading bags or even precious cuddly toys. We use personalised labels from My Nametags on pretty much everything. The labels survive the dishwasher and washing machine time after time – usually I can get through a full school year without having to relabel more than the occasional t shirt! And they are so much quicker and easier to apply than the more traditional sew or iron-on labels. I can get a whole new set of school uniform labelled up in a matter of minutes which means when we do end up buying new bits and bobs through the school year, I can just grab the labels out, stick one on and send them out the door. No bother.
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Hands up who pretty much gave up on trying to keep their house clean and tidy over the summer holidays? I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s not like my house was filthy, but tidying up & keeping everywhere clean when you have three kids at home for six weeks is like playing darts with spaghetti – it just feels completely pointless. I reached a point where I decided I was better off just trying to keep on top of it as best I could but trying not to worry about it till September when I would have the space and time to give everywhere a proper going over. I think possibly the biggest stroke of genius was booking the guys from Fantastic Services in for a full house clean the day after the kids went back to school and I would, without a shadow of a doubt, plan to do this again each September now!
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Written by Penny Alexander and Becky Goddard-Hill, Create Your Own Happy is a beautifully illustrated activity book with a nod to self-help. Aiming to empower children with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to boost not only their own happiness and self esteem but that of those around them as well.
As the old saying goes,
“Tell me and I will forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”
It’s all well and good telling our kids what they can do to be happy or to improve their self esteem but Becky and Penny’s book gives them practical activities and solutions to encourage them to get out there and do it themselves, as well as telling them why it works, thus developing lifelong tools to support their own mental well-being. Read More »
As you know Amy has been swimming with Puddle Ducks and, more recently Swim Academy for nearly three years now. In that time she has blossomed from a not quite 2yr old who was really unsettled by the water and clung to her Mummy for dear life to an almost 5yr old who happily gets into the pool without me for her Swim Academy lessons each week. Watching her confidence grow has been amazing – it hasn’t been an easy journey at times, in fact I there were points where I questioned if Amy would ever actually choose to put her face under the water. There’s been times where it felt like we were taking one step forward and two steps back and then other times where the leaps forward have been sudden and huge – learning to swim has been a huge journey for our little girl, a journey which is of course by no means complete.
Swimming for pleasure as a family has not really been something we’ve done before – for a long time this was down to ratios – many pools insist on one adult per child for under 5s which meant it just wasn’t possible for us, in fact when we went to Splash Landings a few years back we had to take friends so we would be allowed in! Of course the fact that Amy didn’t especially love swimming meant that it wasn’t really worth the hassle either – we tended to feel that we were doing our duty in sending everyone to swimming lessons (the big two have been having local council swimming lessons since they were 3yrs old) but swimming for fun wasn’t really fun! Read More »
*This post is in collaboration with Snapfish*
Obviously you all know I love a good photograph. Capturing precious memories to be looked back on in years to come is one of my favourite things to do – be it the big milestones, the exciting trips or the ordinary day to day moments in between. I have something ridiculous like 400GB of photos on my hard drive, some 44500 images . . . (I think I maybe need to go through and have a bit of a tidy up as you can guarantee that plenty of those will be about 10 versions of the same photo!)
But, what good is 44500 images on my laptop where only I can see them? I share lots of them on instagram or on my blog, and we do have quite a lot of framed images around the house but this summer Snapfish wanted me to do more with my photos. Snapfish offer a wide range of products which can be personalised with your photos and text to make something really special. From a £2.99 fridge magnet through to a £49.99 personalised beach towel, you will find a gift to suit your budget! (I say gift, I’ve totally just ordered things for myself!)
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Molly Brown London is a British brand selling beautiful, modern children’s jewellery. This isn’t jewellery to give a baby for their christening or as a special baby shower gift, only for it to be put away and never to be seen again this is jewellery to be enjoyed and worn. Molly Brown London believe that their jewellery should represent good quality British luxury. Neither too young nor too grown up in design, their simple, sophisticated pieces grow with their owners making them the perfect gift for any occasion.
“A love of jewellery can be inspired at any age and hopefully indulged for a lifetime.”
Founder Erica Illingworth
For Chloe’s 7th birthday, I chose the Molly Brown London Honey Bee necklace. Made from sterling silver and 9ct gold vermeil, this cute little honey bee instantly caught my eye when I was browsing the site. I think in part due to Manchester’s traditional connections with the bee but also because it was something a little different, something a little quirky. (In fairness, the Molly Brown London collection of children’s necklaces is far from twee and traditional). I adore the way the dainty bee sits just up her neck rather than dangling straight in front of her as a traditional pendent would.
One of the things I love most about the Molly Brown London jewellery range is that it is all designed to grow with your child – so the 16″ sterling silver chain on Chloe’s necklace has two places to fasten it, one which fits perfectly now, leaving a pretty little chain detail at the back (with the paw print hallmark) or another position to extend it out for when she’s bigger. I would previously not have wanted to invest in jewellery for a young child for fear of them quickly outgrowing it and it not being worn, however knowing that this beautiful necklace can be worn for special occasion after special occasion brings the old “cost per wear” down quite considerably!
As you can see, Chloe loves her new Molly Brown London necklace, and we’ll definitely be bearing them in mind next time we need a special present!
*We were sent Chloe’s Molly Brown London necklace free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*
When we were kids, entertainment on long car journeys can be summed up by games of I spy and a Winnie the Pooh CD on repeat . . . Thankfully things have moved on a bit these days and all three kids use their tablets on longer car journeys to watch films, play games and listen to music. However, much as my parents endured hour upon hour of Winnie the Pooh on a long drive down to the South of France, I have no desire to listen to the blip blip of whatever game Ben is playing or the Bing theme tune on repeat . . . If you’re on your tablet in the car, then you need your headphones on thanks kids!
Of course children’s headphones are often quite bulky – I remember the very first pair we got for Ben when he had a portable DVD player (and I’m talking about seven years ago when I was commuting to Leeds daily) were so big that he struggled to get his head securely in the headrest of his car seat – which aside from being uncomfortable is actually just not safe! Since then they’ve all had a couple of pairs of headphones each and they’re not as bulky as they used to be but they can still be quite uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time in a car seat.
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