Thursday, 23 August 2012

Favourite Toy

So I came across the Toys R Us Toyologists 2012 application form and thought it would be such a fun thing to be involved with! Part of the application is a review of your child's favourite toy so I thought I would share my review on here too for everyone!

Our two year old Jake has a small myriad of toys and he plays with most of them on a regular basis. I decided to ask him, very unsure as to what he would answer what his favourite is. Thats the thing with a two year old you never know whether they don't understand what you are asking or if they are deliberately choosing to sabotage their answer to throw you off their trail. His sentence of the month this month is "Its got wheels on it" so it made sense that his answer was "trains". He has been lucky enough to have been given for Christmas and Birthday's a huge amount of track and trains all wooden made by Brio, Big Jigs and a few other companies thrown in.

















So what we love about the trains and track its so fun to build with and the possibilities of what your track looks like are never ending. The trains we have are wooden and they connect with magnets so you can build huge trains which remind me of the American freight trains which have you sitting at the railroad crossing for 20 minutes whilst the 100 cars train goes by!

It would be wrong not to tell you but the trains and track are not only Jake's favourite toy but its also mine as well. I could spend hours sitting around the table carefully and cleverly putting together different track, figuring out how best to connect it to ensure it endures the heavy handed outbursts of a two year old, has all the favourite parts in reach of little fingers and that as a track is fully operational.


What I love about the track is that all the different wooden track brands (the two big ones being Brio and Big Jigs) are interchangeable so you don't have to be concerned when relatives buy things about whether they will fit or not. Its incredibly hard wearing and despite being played with everyday all year round you wouldn't be able to tell, unlike some of the other toys that we have which look like they have seen better days. The downside to the track from a mum's perspective is that it comes with lots of small fiddely bits that you have to be careful don't go in the mouths of younger siblings, and you need lots of track and trains to build with if you want to do more than a simple loop and its quite bulky and heavy to store.

One of the things Jake loves are all the extra bridges and parts you can now get that make noise when you go over or through them, and I have been very impressed with just how much extra stuff there is to go with the track from bridges and engine sheds through to trains that carry cars and a crane that can pick up freight! As lovely as it is to play with some of the bigger items are pricy particularly if you buy Brio who most people know about. However if you build up gradually like we have its not so bad and because so many different companies create engines and track that work with it you have a great choice too!

So to conclude the trains and track get my vote too for being the favourite and you can have lots of children working on the same track at different points so its great family toy. A great pick by Jake if you ask me!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Next Mummy Stylist Blogger Competition


This post is part of the Mummy Stylist Blogger posts for Next with Blog All Baby Advice. As all of you know already I love Next, it's my best friend helping me out of tight spots with clothes and presents on a regular basis. As I write this I have a next kids clothes order winging its way to me, as I realised this afternoon that my 11 week old had some how (without me noticing) managing to outgrow all of his clothes! They have a great choice at the moment of children's clothes and if you order before 9pm you can have most things delivered the following day, even specifying a delivery preference such as after 1pm or between 10am - 2pm which when you are balancing toddler groups and feeds is a great thing!

Today I have styled a maternity outfit from my Next favourites and having been pregnant not so long ago I know the importance of wearing something you feel great in but that doesn't cost you the earth and is stylish and comfy. 


I have put together two basics looks, the first is an evening out look. I picked the Indigo Woven dress as its a classic black colour, which will slim you - something we all want to look when we are pregnant! It will look great for an evening out with the right jewellery and shoes, and you can also dress it down for those summery days ahead too. The dress will be one of your key items during pregnancy keeping you cool and stylish and yet making you feel feminine and pretty. The beautiful detail on the neckline of this dress will also draw the eye away from your bump, as lets face it sometimes you want people to look at you rather than your bump. One of my biggest hates when I was pregnant was that random strangers feel that they have the right to touch your bump, which lets face it is plain weird. Hopefully this dress will make you feel gorgeous and melt away those awkward moments!

The DKNY bracelet and the Boutique Catherine Drop earrings are very stylish and I was surprised at how lovely Next's jewellery collection was as this is not something I would usually think about Next for. To compliment the jewels I really like these silver jewel toe thong sandals, very practical as they are flat so perfect for Mummy's like me who have a toddler to chase around whilst being pregnant. They also will look great with the Indigo Woven dress or with your more casual everyday look. 

For the casual look I picked out clothes that I thought would work really well for the summer coming up. I actually own a pair of the Linen blend trousers like the ones above and they are lovely and comfy to wear as well as cool. They key to maternity dressing is to buy some key pieces that will work in a variety of situations and these trousers are a must as a staple! They also could be dressed up for work and come in black, navy and white as well as in petite, regular and longer length. For myself Next was one of the only places I could get a shorter length trouser that would actually fit. With the tie around the waist band these trousers will also be perfect for wearing in the first few weeks after giving birth too, because lets face it as much as we would love to fit back in our normal trousers only a small percentage of women actually do straight away. 

I paired the trousers with a cream navy floral bow top which I thought was very pretty for the summer along with a rib edge to edge cardigan. A cardigan that doesn't fasten at the front is perfect for any pregnant lady and you can carry it forward into your non maternity wardrobe too. With my choices I wanted to show you that with a few key pieces you can dress for almost any occasion without having to break the bank doing so! I know that when I was pregnant I spent a few evenings in my pajamas whilst I was washing my favourite maternity outfit so I could wear it again the following day. 

In my swim and sun section I wanted to show you this fab pink floral tankini which will look great on the beach or by the pool. I did swimming lessons with my toddler pretty much right up until I gave birth and I found it much easier to wear a tankini than a swimming costume. The tankini is also long in the body and has a rouched side that can be tightened or loosened off to give your more room and to stop your tummy from showing. Sometimes you just need a comfy T-shirt to wear when you are away or for the every day, and Next have lots of T-shirt 3 packs like the one on my mood board. Three pretty tops for a very good price! 

Finally what would a summery outfit be without a pair of brown rimless sunglasses and a gorgeous colour block tote bag! I love this bag! The great thing about a lovely bag like this is that it can become the perfect beauty to hide all of the unsightly things you don't want people to see but you have to carry as a mum! Accessories are also a great way to add sparkle and colour to your outfits and if you pick neutral bases they really brighten up your look. Changing your accessories can also change your look dramatically and hide the fact that you have worn the same outfit 3 times that week because it looks so different each time. 

In total it all only comes to 415.50 and many of the items you can carry forward out of your maternity wardrobe too, which I think is a bit of a bargain as you have something to wear both smart, casually, out for coffee, or on the beach! 

If I won the 500 giftcard I would use it in part to replenish my wardrobe as between pregnancy pounds and the holes our old washing machine put in my clothes my clothing selection is looking somewhat slim. I have had my eye on this navy floral sleeveless shirt dress for a while which would be perfect for breast feeding in because of the buttons down the front (FYI). I would also be picking out some lovely new clothes for my two ever growing boys and I would love to get them some little matching outfits while they will still allow me to do some styling for them!

I hope I have shown you that you can still be stylish when pregnant and you don't have to spend a fortune to achieve your look. Remember accessories are great when you are pregnant and beyond in changing your look day to day! 



Monday, 18 June 2012

Sunglasses

Sunglasses have become this tricky area in my life. For some reason (maybe it's because I am getting older) in the last few years my eyes have become more sensitive, and the need to wear sunglasses even when it doesn't seem that sunny is great. My problem is I have a small head in fact I reckon my two year old son's head isn't much smaller as I can get his bike helmet on my head! This means that when I go for sunglasses most look ridiculously oversized on my face a bit like when you wear your mums heels around the house when you were 4!

I have come to the conclusion that my only option is to go for children's glasses which fit much better, however if you have ever looked at the children's glasses on offer most have pretty little flowers in diamantes on the lenses or just look like they belong to a child! This is where SmartBuyGlasses Uk comes into play as they stock designer sunglasses, and designer child sunglasses, in fact beautiful sunglasses at a very good price. I love this pair by Ray Ban.


As you can see they are very stylish as well as very functional! I love that they are Fuchsia with violet lenses, and above all they do not look like a child's pair! Love, love, love!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Great Garden Moments

I wanted to tell you about my favourite garden moment as part of the Great Garden Moments Competition for Furniture Village. We love having a garden. After having lived in an apartment for the last 3 years with a concrete jungle patio area, it's lovely to have a garden to play and grow in, and its something that we do a lot! In fact my son often begs me to go out and water the plants!

There is something very magical about a garden to a two year old, whether it's the freedom to run around and glug in the fresh air, spot aeroplanes and birds, search for ladybirds or help with the planting, watering and growing. It brings excitement and lots of fun.

Last September at the tail end of summer my son had great fun everyday when we stayed with my parents, picking the tomatoes off their tomato plant and learning the difference between the green and red ones and when we could pick and eat them. I really enjoyed watching him laugh and munch down his prize picks with tomato pips stuck on his chin.

This year we have our own garden so along with some other things we have planted some strawberry and tomato plants with lots of help from our green fingered two year old. It's really lovely to see him learning how to plant and allow him to get really mucky in the process. He is also very attached to the watering can and I love to sit out and watch him watering the plants and checking them to see how they have grown since he last looked. I can't wait to see his face when he sees the fruit once it grows!

As you can see from the pictures we planted the strawberries in pots and the tomato plants in grow bags as we live in a rental house and its easier to move them if we have to move! I want to encourage you that whatever garden space you have you can do something with it that encourages little growers!

The garden brings so much fun for us as a family and is a special place where we laugh, play and eat together and I would encourage every family to enjoy their gardens and the time you get to spend in it together. We regularly BBQ and eat in the garden, and we often just nip out to BBQ are chicken kebabs for dinner too. I also love that it's a great tool for learning and there is always something to do or see the possibilities are endless and that's exactly what you need when you have a busy toddler to entertain!

Just a few ideas to get you going: 

1. Sunflowers are a great start to learning about growing flowers and they are amazing when they flower and grow really tall! 
 2. Tomatoes and Strawberries are great fruit plants to start with and it's great when your kids can eat what they have tended! 
 3. Ladybirds, bugs, butterfly's, birds all these animals are usually your garden and are great fun to look for. 
4. Little tool kits are great for small fingers and stop them trying to use yours or lift a watering can twice their size! 
5. Big grassy areas are great for building tents using your garden hairs to hold it up 
6. You can get great chalks that are perfect fr using outside on concrete slabs (just make sure you ask whoevers house it s first!) 
7. Be imaginative with your garden adventures and enjoy!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Dreams - Design a spiffing bedroom fit for the queen!

So for the dreams bed competition I asked my son to design a bedroom fit for the Queen, as he is only 2 his drawing is still a whirlpool of imagination so I decided to get him to talk about what his room would look like and pick out pictures. This is what he came up with;



His thinking behind his room was that whatever he liked a queen would too! He is currently obsessed with tents and at bedtime he regularly asks me if we can build a tent instead of going to bed! The lion in the picture is the toy he takes to bed with him (and everywhere else obsessively) so he told me "Lenny too". So here you have it, a room fit for a Queen from the imagination of a two year old!


Sunday, 20 May 2012

So let's talk Next

So let's talk Next

As a mum of now 2 boys Next is my new best friend. Since my second son was born in March, I have had my hands full looking after a new baby and chasing a toddler around, so not much time to shop all. First disaster was discovering that all of the sleep suits I  already had were too small as this baby was much bigger than my first! Quick look at next before 9pm and hey presto come the following day I have 3 new suits awaiting on my doorstep - you really can't get better than this! Since then Next have saved my bacon on several occasions including flowers for mothers day. I really can't fault their ordering and delivery process either and I find that it's nearly always the same courrier so you can get to know them and let them know what to do with your parcels if your not in (i.e which neighbour is always in).

As we are in May and it's only getting warmer I wanted to look at fashion pieces that reflected the warm bright summer sun for the whole family! Fashion can be a bit of a mindfield for a newbie trying to keep up with all of the latest trends, so my motto is to "keep it simple and clean". You will see this reflected in my choices below, as keeping it simple means you don't make fashion mistakes or clashes!


As you can see I picked for myself the navy floral sleeveless shirt dress as I thought it was very pretty and summery, it has the potential to be dressed up or down dependent on the situation. The floral pattern brings out the summer colours without overpowering the dress, and the shape would flatter a pear or hourglass shape which is perfect for me as I have bigs hips that I like to hide! I have acessorized the dress with silver jewel toe thong sandals as being a mum heels aren't always practical to chase a toddler down the street, so this is a great compromise. They will also work well with a variety of outfits including jeans and chinos. No outfit would be complete without some jewellery and a matching handbag, so I chose the filagree bracelet and this amazing bag which has plenty of room (in my case to hid nappies) without having to compromise on fashion. I have to confess that although I love fashion, it's not a natural talent to pair and match and I am always slightly daunted by my sister who could make a sack look like it just came hot off the catwalk! So be encouraged if you are like me, that you can make fashion work and next are a great place to start because of the way they organize their website into collections and they tell you what the trends are, for example they have a great section on how to wear the scarf pattern prints this season brings.

I wanted to also dress the three men in my life as they also reflect my style. For my husband he likes to wear shirts and be in that smart casual realm so the grey, white and red stripe shirt and grey herringbone trousers would be a very good look for him, I also think it compliments my dress without looking too matchy. Some couples can pull off the whole matching thing, we are not that couple!

I have two boys, my eldest being 2 and I picked the ticking stripe roll hem jeans and embellished top for him. He actually owns these jeans already and they look great on him as they are quite skinny around the ankles and so elongate him (he is quite short so looking a bit taller is never a bad thing). The top is part of the official Olympic range and my son looks great in a collar as it again balances the smart casual look. Its a win win situation as he likes to be comfy and I like him to look presentable and this top does both (it also comes in red if you are concerned about grass stains).  For my youngest being under 3 months the choices are different so I picked out the denim dungarees with the stripy bodysuit for underneath. This again is an item that my son already owns and I love the bright colours of it! I get extremely fed up of pale blue, creams and whites on new baby boys so it's refreshing to see that next have fully embraced colour and vibrancy in their collections.

If you get a chance take a look at the tropical trend fashion bright wedges. These are awesome and something of a guilty pleasure, need I say anymore!

As you can see with the help of next you can catch the summer trends and feel confident that you look the part and like me still be a mum too!

This blog post is part of the next blogger competition run by Glitz & grime and if I won the competition I would look to update my wardrobe, as having lived in the states for the last few years my clothes no longer quite fit the climate, and I don't think my shape will ever be quite the same again after child birth and there is nothing worse than trying to squeeze into clothes that don't fit! No doubt it would also include some things for my three men as particularly the younger two grow so quickly there is always a need for new clothes!