This month has been a lovely month for opportunities for photographs. Lily has been a lot more keen to pose with me too. We managed to get a lovely selfie just before we went to a christening party where Lily has her pretty dress on and me mine and we both are feeling happy and great. Maybe Lily is the same as me and doesn't want to get her photograph taken unless she is dressed up. Another great picture we managed to get was when we went to the baby show together. Lily was such a good girl on the day and it made me so proud that the brands just loved her. Im hoping she is as happy to have her photograph taken with me in October. Here are this months photographs.
We love our books so much that I have decided we are going to do a monthly activity where we do something that has been inspired by the books we have been reading.
This month I decided to do a crafty idea inspired from one of our favourite stories. Dustbin Dad. The story is about a dad that literally eats anything, even peoples left overs. One day he accidentally eats something meant for the cat and actually turns into a cat. Its a really funny story that we love.
I thought that something we could do as an activity would be to make plates of food out of different materials. Lily really loves sticking and so this is the perfect way to be creative.
For this activity I got some paper plates, some coloured foam pieces, some tissue paper, coloured sticks, and cotton wool. I am sure that there are other things you can use to create the idea of different foods but these were my choices. Then you will need a decent stick of glue to get everything stuck down.
The first thing we used was the cotton wool which I said to Lily "Lets make mash potatoes" Lily thought it was great that they looked like mash. Lily is getting better at understanding where to stick things down now and so understood when I told her that she needed to stick all the cotton wool toggether so it looked like a pile of mash would on a plate.
I then asked Lily what colour carrots was. She replied with "orange". So I got her lots of orange sticks out that she could place down and these became our carrots. These were a little trickier to stick down and I had to help Lily a little bit.
Next up we used the green tissue paper to make peas. I again asked Lily what colour peas are. It's always great to make an activity extra educational by asking questions throughout. I showed Lily how to squish them up into a little ball so then they looked like peas. She did a really good job at this and then stuck them down onto the plate.
After this I cut out a round shape that could be meat. You can be extra creative with this part depending how good you are, or your child may be able to do this themselves if they are old enough. The foams are a great resource to use for this as they make what ever you are sticking down a little more 3d and stand out on your plate. After Lily popped the glue on and stuck down what was the meat. We had finished out dinner plate.
Lily was super impressed with her plate of food! It was such a fun but easy activity to do and you can be as creative as you want and make all sorta of meals for the plates. Lily actually made a few more after this all by herself and did a great job.
She then turned it into a role play activity by giving out her plates of food to her teddies and pretending to eat the food herself.
What would you make for your crafty plate of food?
Last Sunday I attended Blog On Xmas, my first ever blogging conference. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but as I am quite used to events I wasn't nervous just VERY excited. Blog On this year was held at Hotel Football Manchester, which is literally across from Old Trafford Stadium.
That Sunday morning I set off with my suitcase. I was greeted by a confused bus driver when I said "Return to Manchester please" as with the size of my suitcase I looked like I was going traveling for a month. But I explained that I was off to a Blogging conference and that we were told to expect a suitcase full of goodies. (They wern't wrong, my suitcase was full of goodies but we will get to that part at the end) As much as I love a free goodie, I didn't attend Blog On just for that. My main reason for going was to attend the brilliant sessions and learn a little more about blogging. So when we sat there for the welcome talk, I got out of my bag my notebook which has a front cover that I felt expressed exactly who I wanted to be at this convention. The cover reads, Today Be Creative, Be Kind, Be Inspired, Be you.
After a warm friendly welcome and a funny opening speech that had everyone in stitches I was ready to attend my first session. There are so many sessions happening on the day at blog on and there were always 3 sessions happening at different times. They all sounded so good and I really couldn't make up my mind which ones to attend. A few times on the day I decided just at the last moment which session I would attend.
Here is all about the sessions I attended. Live Media Pack Building The first session I attended was about building a media pack. I already had a media pack but I was curious if I could improve on it. The session was so helpful and the first thing I learn't was that my media pack was basic. I never thought about using pictures on it, logo's or linking video's to it. We were shown how best we could make one using a free website called Canva. I have not had the chance to make mine yet but I keep thinking about how I want it to look and so even though i was happy with my old media pack Im now even happier now I know I can improve upon it. I left this session feeling ready to feel confident that the media pack I would now send to PR's would be a good one. Monetisation I was originally going to be attending the Instagram session but last moment I decided that I knew more about Instagram than I did about monetisation. In fact I was pretty clueless about monetisation. I was so glad I did attend this session as I learn't so much. My notebook has nearly 3 pages of notes written down and ever since this session I have felt so much more active with ways I can be better at promoting my blog and ways I can try and make some money out of my blog. Some ideas were such simple ones like posting your blog posts into groups and in places where thought provoking discussions were being held such as the loose women page. Not only that but this session made me realise that I probably should be putting in a lot more effort with other things than just writing my blog posts. It is only 4 days since blog on and i'm already seeing results from the brilliant advice I received that day. Blog Life Balance I didn't take as many notes in this session as the others as for me this was a more thought provoking session more than anything. I did learn about some great apps that could help me save a little time, though I have yet to try these. The first question to the session was How big do you want to be? Hobby, Secondary or main source of income. Im not quite sure I am ready for blogging to be my main job but I definitely want it to be more of a job than a hobbie. That being said my main problem with blog life balance is having people take me seriously enough to be able to put the time in to make it something more than a hobbie. Lets just say that this session I came out with some real big thoughts on how I could possibly manage my time more. I also knew that I wanted to take the blog more seriously and I also want other people to do the same. How to help your audience find you Im not sure who I mostly write for, myself or my audience but I think with blogging it is a really good thing to have a balance of it being for both. That being said I don't really think I spend enough time making sure that my blog posts get out to the right audience. In this session I learn't lots about how important words and phrases can be in a blog post to make sure that when people are searching for you, they find you. But one of the best points made in this session is that its a really good idea to write about things that interest you and your social circles. For me I feel I have been lacking in writing about subjects such as photography. Its a subject i'm really passionate about and so it should be something that I write about and share with my many photographer friends. I really do see how this could be a true fact that your circles are important when it comes to what you write about as lately I wrote about a local play cafe and it ended up getting into my popular posts. So I guess that from this session I learnt that to help your audience find you, you need to know your audience. Comps 101 The last session I attended was comps 101. I mostly attended this session after being into entering competitions for the last couple of years and so being a big fan of all the advice Di Coke has to give. This session gave tips on where to host your competitions and the best ways to find people to enter them. I must admit I knew most of the things told in this session but learnt I may have to brush up on my terms and conditions in future ones.
What else is at Blog On? But Blog on wasn't all learning learning learning and there was lots of more fun to be had down where all the brand tents were. It was really great to meet brands and try out some of their fabulous new toys. It did make me feel like a big kid at Christmas all over again. There was also a secret santa, giant elves walking around behaving badly and the most wonderful Gringe that made me feel like Jim Carrey himself was in the room. The brands were handing out goodies for us to try and some of these will be featured on my instagram and Twitter time lines.
At the end of the day, none of us left empty handed and got to take home an amazing goodie bag full of things to try.
Blog On Xmas did not fail to meet my excited expectations and I can't wait to head back next year. Have you ever been to a blogging convention? Which session would you love to attend?
Only yesterday I was looking out of my window and thought to myself, "Wow, its dark already and its only 7pm". It doesn't seem two moments since I was looking out at 9pm and it was still daylight outside. So when dusk hits and it starts to get darker and colder, indoors is usually somewhere I will be heading.
I'm not complaining though, as for me that means I get to go and be all snuggly inside and a early night is on the call with a hot drink and a nice book in bed. But one thing that is a must when it suddenly becomes autumn is to make sure that the bed i'm getting into is much warmer and more snug than the one I would have gotten into at summer time. This is when creating an Autumn look in the bedroom is important to me.
There are so many ways you can make your bedroom and bed feel much more cosy. I usually start by getting some nice new sheets for the bed and my duvet. Really the first thing I should concider is the thickness of the duvet but I straight away think about colours and how I can make my room feel warmer by using golds, reds and browns. I think sometimes the power of the mind can have a great effect on if we feel hot and cold and just seeing warm colours can really help with this.
But if your mind isn't working in that way and the colours aren't making you warm enough. You can always think of getting a nice throw to match. These look really nice on your bed and even if you don't use them through out the night, I think they give your bedroom a much cosier feeling.
The last thing you can do to put the finishing touches to your bedroom is change up the cushions around your room. If you are anything like me then you will not able to resist throwing a cushion or two onto the bed. The great thing about cushions is that as well as them coming in lots of different shapes and sizes they also come with lots of designs. You can buy many designs for your throw cushions to suit your theme and keep some variety to the room by changing them often. You can find nice colours like golds, browns and reds and you can also find designs that may have pictures on them that remind you of certain seasons. I found some lovely Autumn cushion covers from the Yorkshire Linen Shop.
Using textiles is the first way to be well on your way to helping create the perfect autumn bedroom that you can sit back in and relax.
What kind of things do you like to add to your bedroom to give them an autumn feel?
One thing that I always find as a parent is that you never have enough storage. In my house we are forever tripping over toys, and forever trying to find a place for new ones. But there is a solution. Songmics make the perfect storage unit for storing all your child's items and we were lucky enough to be sent one to review. The fact that the unit is a DIY kit might be enough to put off any parent with a million and one things to do. Well don't let them 3 letters put you off. It is so easy and simple to put together and it can be up and ready to be used within about half an hour. All the pieces come separate and come with fixings and a hammer so you just slot the pieces together. With the amount of building toys parents have to do, this is a doddle! The cubes are made from a high quality plastic sheet and do feel really strong and stable. You can also attach them to the wall if you are worried about them falling down onto your child.
The great thing about the storage cubes are that you can build them up how ever you like. You could use all 9 at once in one place. Or you could use 6 in one place and then 3 in another. You could make it 2 cubes high, you could make it 4 cubes high. It is the perfect solution if you don't have much space and want lots of storage in different places. We put it together as one big piece with 3 along and 3 high. I must admit, they are a lot bigger than I thought they would be. Silly me didn't actually read the measurements and so expected them to be a lot smaller. But seen as you can make them into what ever shape you want to, we can make them fit into our home.
I really love the design to this storage unit. The fact it is pink matches Lily's bedroom which we shall be putting it in later when we have re arranged her room. But I do always love things like this being in neutral colours such as yellows, greens, reds so it can match a variety of rooms. My favourite thing about the design though is the characters on it. They are so cute and colourful and really child friendly. The doors are also great. They easily open and close and have a hole as the handle. Really easy for Lily to open and no danger of trapped little fingers.
You can store so many things in these, and they are so big that you can fit a lot of items. Though there is a maximum loading capacity of 10K. You can see from the photograph below how much you can fit inside these. You could store - Clothes - Books - Toys - Teddy Bears - Blankets - Towels - Shoes We are going to be using our cubes to store clothing and shoes. I actually think it will hold more clothing than Lily's set of drawers currently do and so that is brilliant!
You can buy this from the Songmics store on Amazon. I am sometimes am a little sceptical about buying from Amazon but I can assure you that this company is selling some quality items! You will not be disappointed with the storage cube and especially as it only costs £33.99. It really is the perfect storage solution. What would you store in your cube? Songmics are letting me give away one storage cube to one winner. Enter below on the Gleam app for your chance to win. Win a Songmics Interlocking Storage Cube
This October get ready to enjoy a fantastic shopping experience at the UK’s leading pregnancy and parenting event of the year. The Baby Show with MadeForMums will be taking place from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd October, at Olympia, London. Find everything you need for bump, baby and you - with amazing offers all in one place, for three days only!
The show is a great way to get hands on and try before you buy. Brand and product experts will be available to tell you everything you need to know, so it’s a great opportunity to compare products and find the right fit for you. Over 200 exhibitors will be showcasing their latest and best products with the likes of Mothercare, iCandy, Tommee Tippee, Peg Perego, VTech, Chicco, Stokke and Britax! There will also be independent brands that you won’t find on the high street. And once you’ve shopped until you’ve dropped, don’t worry about all the carrying as you can take advantage of the free Emma’s Diary Collect-By-Car service where you can drop off all your purchases and continue until you’ve got a carful.
There will be an amazing line up of speakers on The Baby Show Stage with MadeForMums including renowned experts from the world of birth, breastfeeding, sleep and nutrition!
It really is a must-attend show for mums and dads-to-be, parents, friends and family members.
The Baby Show at Olympia, London is open from Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd October from 10am until 5.30pm each day. Standard on the door tickets are £20 and children under 14 go free! For more information please visit www.thebabyshow.co.uk.
We’ve team up with The Baby Show to give away a pair of tickets worth £20 each!
Ever since attending sand parks and going to the beach on holiday, Lily has just been obsessed with playing with sand. Its now something she is asking to do at home and so we were lucky enough to get offered to review this Sandy Lagoon Waterpark toy from Little Tikes.
I am about as excited as Lily about this toy. Just look at it. For a sand and water play toy it is just amazing.
It is quite large at 82cm by 76cm but when put together it offers so much for play.
It has 2 sides to it. One for water play and one for sand play. The sand play section comes with a lid. In the middle there is 2 water slides and at the water side there is a diving board and a dump bucket to pour and dump water into. Then at the sand side there is a sand spinner that you pour the sand onto.
It also comes with a 2 in one rake and shovel and a little cup for pouring.
Another added bonus to this water park is that it comes with 2 characters for play. The characters also have a dingy to float around the water in and can slide down the slides by pressing a button at the back.
All the items are so colourful and so child friendly and made with a real sturdy plastic. The side with the water also has a plug so you can drain away the water when you have finished.
We put this toy toggether for Lily the night before so then she would be able to play with it the next day. I got my partner to put it together and it did take some time, so I would recommend not doing it in front of your eager child. There were some parts that were easy to put together though. Like the legs that just slot in.
When Lily got home from nursery I got it out for her to play with. She was so excited! We poured some sand into the sand area and some water into the water area. It holds quite a lot of water and sand and so at this point I didn't fill it fully with water and we need to go out and buy some more sand. I only bought a small bag.
Lily got stuck in with playing with it straight away. She was using the scoop to scoop and pour the sand and would pour it into the spinner section. Unfortunately the spinner didn't seem loose enough and wouldn't spin around and we had to do this our selfs with our hands. Which was a shame as Lily said "its not working". It worked when we used wet sand though and so it does seem to need a lot of weight to spin.
Lily really loved the water area which was quite a surprise to me. Usually she enjoys playing with the sand more but she was really enjoying scooping and pouring the water with the cup. She loved the dump bucket and filled it up and loved pouring it over the characters heads. But her favourite thing to do was make the characters slide down the slide. She got so much enjoyment out of seeing them go splash!
I really love how much it does remind me of going to a water park. Its great for a sand and water toy to have a theme to it.
I can really see Lily having hours of fun with this for years to come. Really hoping for a dry autumn so we can get our coats on and play out with it. You can buy the Sandy Lagoon Waterpark from the Little Tikes Website at a price of £69.99.
Does your child love sand and water play? What would there favourite feature be of the Sandy Lagoon Waterpark?
Sticking is something that Lily has loved doing for quite a while now. But she has really improved lately and is now understanding how to create a nice picture from sticking. Last week we decided to do some pictures using lots of random bits of cut outs. I used coloured paper, magazine cut outs, old wrapping paper and we used some stickers to. Lily is getting really good at placing the glue on the paper and then sticking the cut outs down in that place with the glue. In the past she would put the glue down and then try and place the cut out in a compleatly different area. She is also starting to not over lay pieces and spread them out on the paper and also making sure that the gaps are filled. Lily really enjoyed this activity and ended up making a really good picture that is now proudly displayed on the fridge. Sticking is the perfect activity to learn hand and eye-coordination and master fine motor skills. Here are a few pictures of Lily sticking and her finished piece.
Lily's only recently discovered her love for Disney and therefor her love for Minnie and Micky mouse. Minnie mouse is often her go to teddy that she spends most nights cuddling up to and so I knew that she was going to love the Minnie mouse Happy Helpers House that we were getting sent from IMC Toys to review. I was just as excited for this toy as I was to give it to Lily. On the box it looked amazing!
But as soon as I opened it, my heart dropped a little at how much construction was needed to put it together. My partner (who happened to be the one who got given the job to build it) laughed and said that you may need to be a qualified construction worker to build it. It really did take some time to put together and my partner who IS NOT a construction worker did manage to do it in the end. But I would recommend putting it together when your child is not around as it does take some time. The second thing to take time is the amount of stickers that need to be stuck on. I did this job and it took me ages BUT it did look amazing when finished.
The next morning I gave it to Lily and she was amazed at it. The first thing she said was "its so pretty" and she is right, the house really is pretty. It also has so many play options. There is the bedroom that comes with 2 beds. A living room with Tv and sofa, a kitchen with opening drawer and stove top, and an office room on the bottom floor with 2 office tables. The main doors open up and close and then there is the lift that needs 2 AAA batteries to make it light up and make noise when a character is placed inside.
It also comes with wardrobe, and vanity table and over 20 accessories. Then of corse it wouldn't be much of a play house with out some characters. So there is a Minnie and Daisy duck included. Both of these characters bend so they can sit on the chairs that are in the house.
Lily has really enjoyed playing with this toy. Her favourite thing to do was put them in the lift and make them go upstairs to bed. This toy leads to your child using such imagination when playing with the characters. Lily had some full on conversations happening with the figures.
If your child is a disney fan then I would really recommend this toy for them. You can buy the Minnie Mouse Happy Helpers House at Amazon, Argos and many other stores for £49.99. Is your child a disney fan? Would they love the Minnie Mouse Happy Helpers House?
It's the start of Autumn, one of my favourite seasons. I can already feel the weather getting cooler. But that means that soon to come will be the crunchy colourful leaves and it will be time to get out and go for some nice long Autumn walks. So I thought it would be great to make a list of all those clothing essentials for Children that are going to be perfect for Autumn time.
1. A Nice Warm Jumper/Cardigan If your anything like me, the first thought of cold weather and Im super excited to get into a nice warm jumper. The thought of getting to pick out Lily some super cute jumpers really excites me. You also may be like me and your child still have lots of wear in some t-shirts and so a nice fasten up cardigan would be perfect to put on over the top of them to keep them warm.You have plenty of choice of styles from half buttoned up cardigans to hoodies. This one from Esprit is perfect as it is fully buttoned at the front, is made from a soft fleece, has cute little pockets and a hood which is perfect for those Autumn walks. 2. A Warm Coat Usually a warm coat is something that lasts quite a while, also something that is needed for quite a while. Lily is starting to grow out of hers and so I shall be looking into getting a new one for her soon. Something I definetly will be thinking about is how waterproof the coat is. It rains a lot here and its very easy to get caught out in it. Lily also loves having pockets in her coat, she loves to collect things on her outings and pop them into her pockets. 3. Hat, Gloves and Scarf These may be something you use nearer the end of Autumn but that all depends on where you live. Living in Lancashire you find that we get a lot of cold days in autumn and there may be days where it can get really cold. I love nothing more than a brisk cold walk on the beach in autumn and a hat is definetly needed to protect the ears of our little ones. I usually buy a variety of hats, you can start with something a little thinner and then by the end of Autumn start using a nice thick one. Gloves are great for days out collecting things, after a while of carrying a bucket and picking up things like leaves, little fingers are sure to get cold. Then scarfs, there are so many varieties now, from long scarfs, short scarfs, snoods, bandana scarfs. As well as providing warmth, these are also the perfect Autumn accessory to make any kids outfit look stylish. 4. Thicker Pyjamas As the days get colder, so will the nights. Its time to put away all those cute short Pyjamas and opt for some ones that are long sleeved and long legged. You could also add extra blankets to help keep your child warm at night but I find that Lily kicks her blankets off so much that some warmer Pyjamas are essential. 5. Warmer Footwear Wether it be for long walks, muddy walks, or even a day out to the shops, warmer footwear is now going to be something i'm looking at. I feel like Lily's summer sandals hardly got worn and so i'm feeling like I still want to put her in them, but looks like I need to ditch them and replacement with a pair of warm trainers, boots or even wellies for the wet days. It looks like I better get shopping soon! What Essentials will you be buying for Autumn?
Are you ready to see the most adorable toys ever? Lily And I got sent these Tinsy Winsy Weeny Tot dolls and they are just so cute!
They are tiny realistic looking baby dolls that are the perfect size to fit in your child's hands, AND there are 15 of them to collect. We got sent 2 dolls and a pram accessory pack which also includes a doll.
Lily really loves her babies so she was so excited to see them, and couldn't wait to get them opened. The individual dolls come in little cots, so when you take off the plastic lid and take the baby out you are left with a cardboard cot. This is a really nice touch and adds a extra element of play. As soon as Lily held the babies in her hands the first thing she said was "Awww So Cute!" Thats exactly what they are. Really cute. The expressions on the face are so life like although the eyes to me do look a little funny. But there is a lot of detail in the face. There outfits they come in are really sweet too. The 2 dolls that we got both had little pram suits on that were both really soft and full of detail.
As you undress your doll you find that it has a soft huggable body. When the pram suits are off you can see that the babies have such tiny hands and feet but with such detail to them. These babies are made really well and are a treasure to hold in your hand. One more tiny detail that has been added is that they all have hospital bands on there wrists which has their individual name on and date of birth. Its such a beautiful little detail to be added.
We then opened the pram accessory set. This set also came with a doll inside, so now Lily had 3 dolls and was very impressed. The pram itself is really nice. Its made with a really decent quality of plastic and the carry cot can be lifted on and off the pram, just like your can with a real pram. The handle moves so you can push the pram or carry it and it also comes with a hood that can be pulled forward. This set really encourages your child to use their imagination. Lily just loved pushing the baby around the house in the pram and telling the baby to go to sleep.
Other extra's the pram comes with is a changing bag with has a nappy and changing matt with it. Though Lily has been using the changing matt as a blanket as that is what it seemed like it was. Its great that she can use her imagination and use the changing matt as both. The nappy is really easy to put on the baby when you have taken its pram suit off. Lily has really enjoyed playing with this toy over the last week and its great for her to have a toy she really enjoys. She loves playing 'mummy' and this set gives her a really good opportunity to become that role.
The Tinsy Winsy Weeny Dolls retail at £7.99 each and the first collection is a special edition so I would recommend snapping them up while you can. The Pram Play Set is retailed at £14.99 and you can also buy a bedtime pack which comes with bed which includes working drawers and a lovely mobile. I am very tempted to buy her this set for her birthday as over all I think these are just such wonderful toys and she really enjoys them. These toys are aimed at children aged 3 to 7 years old and are available at Smyths Toy Superstores. Would your child enjoy a toy like this?