13 January 2019

My lovely luxury baby gift from Willow and Cole

There are some baby items you know you will hold on to. You know instantly you will save these items for your children's children, just because they are so beautiful and precious. Willow and Cole provide exactly these types of baby gifts. 

When Willow and Cole got in touch and asked me to review their baby gifts I could already picture myself handing over these treasures to my future little grand-darlings... And I'm really happy to be able to share the joy with you guys as they have provided one of their beautiful merino wool cashmere baby blankets to give away to one of my readers too!


baby in a cot with cashmere blanket



I loved how stylish and luxurious the baby gift sets Willow and Cole provide are. There were gorgeous little dresses, dungarees and cardigans for the fashion-conscious amongst us, and practical yet luxurious everyday items for us who just want to have a little extra beauty in our days. My lovely luxury baby gift included a cashmere cable knit baby blanket, an olivewood natural goat hair baby brush and Shelly the Sheep, the softest ever cuddly toy. 

I'm a firm believer in that in your everyday life you should use the best possible things you can. It is all about using items that work well, feel pleasant on your skin, are a joy to touch with your fingertips - it just makes your day so much better, these tiny little touches. An ordinary day can be made a little bit better by adding a bit of luxury in it, be that in fun things like taking care of your baby or mundane things like doing the laundry. We only live once, we might as well enjoy it and have fun doing it.



willow and cole gift box

cashmere baby blanket gift set

brushing babys hair

grey cashmere baby blanket

olivewood baby brush

mummy brushing baby's hair



It is pure joy using luxurious and beautiful items. I loved brushing my baby's hair using her new olivewood hair brush, pretty to behold and pleasant to touch. The bristles feel soft on the skin, so my baby loved the feel of it on her head. Her cashmere blanket was luxurious, soft and warm, and oh so pretty with the intricate cable knit pattern. Her little sheep was another high quality item, soft and cuddly and perfect for little hands to hold. 

What I loved about Willow and Cole was also the finishing touches. It's the little touches that make for a perfect gift. Seeing the beautiful gift box, having the anticipation of opening the bow and peeling away the silk paper to reveal the luxurious contents... It's so exciting opening a gift! Obviously the gift is for the baby, but as the parent you get the full benefit of opening and appreciating it, so it is nice to have that extra special little something.



baby in a cot with grey blanket



Anything from Willow and Cole would make for a very well-received gift I am sure, so if you ever are looking for that extra special something to give to a new baby, their baby gift sets will be a great place to start.

All in all, I loved my gift, or ha ha, my baby's gift. See, I like it so much I have pretty much appropriated it for myself! I personally love the feel of cashmere and merino wool on my skin, so I am sure if my baby could speak, she'd say "Me too!". These materials feel warm, soft and breathable and incredibly comfortable, and if I could, I'd wrap myself and my baby in them head to toe. 



What was the best baby gift you've ever received or given?



beige merino wool baby blanket


The gorgeous merino wool cashmere blanket Willow and Cole provided for this giveaway is another beautiful luxury item that any baby (and parent) will absolutely love. Soft and beautifully produced, it will keep one very lucky baby cozy and comfortable. Enter below, and lots of luck! UK entries, over 18 only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway



You might also like: From three to four! How our family is growing...  and 24 hours with a newborn baby



10 January 2019

My top picks from the Aldi Baby and Toddler Event

Me, I love a good bargain. After Christmas I quite enjoy having a look through the sales and seeing if there is anything decent that I need (or just purely want) at a good price. Speaking of bargains, whenever I go to Aldi I always check their middle aisle, aka the random aisle, for any weird and wonderful things on discount. I've bagged quite a few nice things in the past for the kids and myself!

In January these combine to a Aldi Baby and Toddler Event, where the middle aisle is filled with weird and wonderful items for the littlest ones in our family - in store from 10th January. Aldi sent us a few items to check out, and asked us to check the rest of the sales out. Alongside the very well thought-of Aldi Mamia nappies, wipes and baby food pouches, I've looked through the Specialbuy bargains for my other top picks!

aldi nappies and wipes


We are in the weaning stage now, so Annabel Karmel's Baby Weaning Book (£4.99) was something I'd be keen to get my hands on - I've had this from the library forever now so having my own copy would be great. We also really love Nuby's Silicone Animal Bibs, that are in a 2-pack (£3.49), and Food Flasks (£5.99).  

Speaking of Nuby, there are also loads of Nuby toys and teething products to choose from - I quite liked the look of Teether Socks (£4.99) and Pull Along Wooden Toys (£7.99). Bath books (£2.99) are popular toys in our house too, with the big one wanting to read them to the little one in bath! 


aldi baby products


When I go to the store I might pick up a few items to go alongside the Baby Bodysuits (£2.99) - like Baby Tights 2-pack (£2.79) and Baby socks (£2.49) as these things are always needed. As I am quite keen on cloth nappies I was really happy to see Bambino Mio reusable nappies for a very affordable price (nearly half price at £8.99!) so will pick one or two of them to add to our collection, alongside their washable and matching changing mat (£8.99). 

So those are my top picks - what baby items would you want to find in sales?


You might also like:  Book review - Easy Indian Supermeals for Babies, Toddlers and the Family




31 December 2018

Our year of family photographs in 2018

Usually at the end of the month I have shared a family photograph and written a bit about the month past. It is a great way of looking back, reflecting on what has been happening and actually having a reminder of our changing family. Having kids makes everything just so damn busy that you hardly have a chance to stop for a moment and appreciate the changing days. 

In December we didn't do much I suppose. I felt like the Grinch most of the month so we had very little in terms of Christmas prepping. We did get a tree, decorated it a week before Christmas, and also got loads of Christmas gifts for the girls. Santa was very generous this year, even if the big one later on reminisced that none of the gifts on her list made it under the tree. Oops. She loved her gifts she said, but thought maybe Santa couldn't read her letter as she wrote it with a thick black marker... 

Other than that we went to see Santa (of course), this year at Fortnum&Mason's, and us parents went to drink a few cocktails up at the Shard. It was lush. Such pretty photos I will be due to share at a later date in more detail. 


fortnum & mason santa family picture


So this year our December family photos were done with Santa. For whatever reason we just didn't manage to get in front of the camera as a family after this, so this will have to do. The earlier family photos are from various places - some just from home and out at the park, and some from around our London micro-adventures, like the Kensington Palace, Cutty Sark and Whipsnade Zoo. 

So here they are - starting from January!


family photo

family photo

easter blackboard art

family photo with baby clothes

family photo at hospital

family photo with baby

family at the beach

whipsnade zoo family photo

kensington palace family photo

cutty sark family photo

family in matching pyjamas

family with santa


This year we welcomed our baby number two to our lives, and it has been so strange that it feels like she has always been here. She just slotted in, perfectly. Despite the busy times a baby brings we managed to have quite a few micro-adventures here in London. A family trip here and there, and a couple of date nights too. We've been to London Zoo, Whipsnade Zoo, London Aquarium, Kensington Palace, Tower of London, Cutty Sark, V&A Museum of Childhood, The Shard, the opera, the theatre, and lots of local places. 

I have really been enjoying my maternity leave, I do not miss work at all, and even if I haven't managed to do as much of my maternity leave plans, I have felt like I have been able to rest and recuperate well. The last few months of my maternity leave will be busy having to prep all kinds of things home, at blog front, and for return to work! There are quite a lot of clearing I have to do at home, and probably my wardrobe needs a proper sorting and clearing out. I have also got to think a bit more what I want to do and achieve in my career - some sort of change is needed. 

Taking photos of my family every month for a year has been at times annoying, at times funny, and most of the time me having to nag at everyone to come in front of the camera for the five minutes it takes... That said, looking back at these photos I am glad I have been persevering with it, because just look at it - how fantastic is it to have a reminder of the times you have had with your loved ones!


How was your year 2018 and did you take any family photos?


You might also like: What happened in our lives in October 2018?



21 December 2018

The best last minute gift from Red Letter Days

I am sure I am not the only one who leaves buying presents until the last moment. There are always so many things to do, like school runs, tidying up, working, going to the gym, watching TV, scrolling social media (ha ha) and so on, until you realise that you are traipsing the shops the day before the big day and sweating profusely running form place to place because nothing is just quite right. 

Yep. Been there, done that.

Luckily, Red Letter Days has given me the ultimate last minute gift to give away to one of you guys and asked me to write a bit about the prize. The prize, their Days Out Together Gift Box is pretty much the easiest last minute gift ever, and offers a wide variety of choice. The Gift Box is worth £99.99 and you can choose from over 2,000 experiences across UK (and 100 in Europe too!). It can be delivered in a gift box, or alternatively, for the worst procrastinators amongst us who need it now and not later, you can print an instant eVoucher. A total life (or rather, party) saver!


red letter days site


I loved that the Days Out Together Gift Box is about experiences, and something you can share with a loved one. As an adult you tend to buy yourself most of the things you need, and realistically, there aren't a huge amount of things you want. Experiences, not things is a mantra repeated by more and more people. It is a real treat to do something out of the ordinary, to try something new, to see something exciting. And as much as a lovely treat a gift such as a luxurious shower gel set may be, it is the experiences that you will remember in the long run.  


phone on a tray


There are experiences across UK you can book with the Gift Box, but just in London there are already a huge amount of things to try. A kayak tour on Regents Canal with a qualified instructor, tickets to see the Wicked musical and a meal for two, or a three course meal on a jazz cruise are just a few small examples of what is on offer. Across the UK there were spa days, hotel stays, and outdoor experiences like Segway rides or quad bike rides, so there is something for everyone.



mac and red letter days website


We went for a visit to The Shard and a meal, and it was absolutely perfect. We loved our visit to The Shard, and booking it using the Red Letter Days voucher was simple and easy, exactly what you would want of a gift - everything taken care of!

So, if you are a serial procrastinator like I am, you should definitely keep in mind the experiences Gift Box by Red Letter Days can offer. It just might save your skin the next time you are in a tight party spot!

Enter the giveaway below, UK entries and over 18 only.

P.S. Don't miss my other giveaway for a luxury merino wool cashmere baby blanket from Willow and Cole!


What is your favourite last minute gift to give?





a Rafflecopter giveaway





17 December 2018

Christmas gift ideas girls aged 5-6 will love

I've got a five year old, so of course I wanted to do a gift guide for girls this age. They in a way are quite easy to buy for, and in a way not necessarily. Here are some ideas ranging from collectible toys to books, that will appeal to girls aged five to six. 

(Some links are affiliate - this means if you buy stuff through these links I get a small amount of money at no extra cost to you) 

A kids tablet

You might think that they are too young for a tablet, but we gave our daughter one last year and it has been one of the toys she still loves. So it is definitely one to recommend. 

You can get kids versions, and I really liked Kidicom Max. Everything is child friendly and appropriate. There are strict parental controls and all websites and videos have been pre-approved and suitable for small children. Kids can also use it to chat with their friends/family via a special app, which again is parent approved contacts only. I've also uploaded free games (CBeebies etc) on it. My daughter loves watching videos, sending picture and messages to us and her grandmother, and taking pictures with her tablet. A year on, it is still as fun as ever. My only gripes are the poor battery life, and it can be a bit slow sometimes. 

Collectible toys

They are all the rage at this age, and onwards. This year we got our hands on a new collectible toy called CryBabies - tiny little baby dolls dressed up as different animals. And they cry too. They come with multiple little accessories, in their little box houses which you can then use to house the doll and the said accessories. Very cute, and very popular with my daughter and her friends who have been over to play with them. 

cry babies toys


Num Noms are another popular collectible toy and we've had quite a few of these too - they are good fun even if as an adult I don't quite get them. Kids like to stack them and say they are "so cuuuuute!" ha ha. This year Boots sent us the Num Noms Glitter Lipgloss Truck to go under the tree, and it is quite good fun making the lipglosses. You do need adult supervision to mix them though. 


num noms toys



Character merchandise

So, this year PJ Masks seem to be the big thing at Early Years - all the kids are raging about the show. So, I've selected quite a few PJ Masks things to go under the tree. The night light Owlette was received very well, with my daughter saying "I didn't know I wanted to have one, but now that I have one, I love it". You can have these in other characters too, not just PJ Masks. 

Pyjamas are always a handy gift, and PJ Masks pyjamas are widely available. I bought ours from Sainsbury's, and I have seen versions in Matalan and Asda as well. 

And of course dress-up products are always a big hit at this age - this year I bought her an Owlette costume, which is very popular with girl PJ Masks fans. For dress-up the regular Disney Princess outfits are very popular too!

The Incredibles are very popular too, due to the film coming out earlier in the year. We have a few toys from this range under the tree too... 


night light

pyjamas

owlette costume


Make-up

This is a bit of a controversial one for girls this age... But in my experience they love it! There are plenty of nail polishes made specifically for kids, with no nasty chemicals and water soluble. Nailmatic is one example and Claire's do ones too

Also, just buying a very simple lip gloss (you can have these branded with all kinds of characters) or lip balm with a nice scent to them is perfectly enough to satisfy that girly interest in make-up, but not be over the top. Claire's have an amazing selection of Lip Smackers and other very cute lip balms and lip glosses little girls love! 

Lego

Lego is such a classic toy, and at around five kids start to be able to better follow the instructions and actually construct the Lego toys themselves. I would go for the Lego Juniors and Lego Friends for this age group, as these have simple but challenging enough models for kids in Early Years. For little girls, there are also Lego Princess models, drawing inspiration from Disney films. I didn't even know there were Lego like this until my daughter asked for one - for Christmas we got her an Ariel set.


lego princess set


Nice outfits

I covered jammies already, but a nice party dress is a great gift - and if it is under the tree in the morning, you could suggest they wear it for Christmas dinner and evening celebrations! We received the most gorgeous shimmery dress from Boots, Fearne Cotton collection, which has been a fab favourite worn to all Christmas parties so far. She also got a nice home outfit to wear from Boots Miniclub Christmas collection, another thumbs up for that one. 


red christmas outfit

sparkly dress


Books

You know the rhyme about the four gift rule for kids - a gift you want, a gift you need, a gift to wear and a gift to read... Well, a book is always a great gift at Christmas time be your age anything. For kids aged 5-6, their reading abilities vary a lot so do keep that in mind. Christmas books are nice to receive though, and Grinch is a classic!


Grinch book



What would you get girls aged five to six?

Great Christmas gift ideas for girls aged 5-6 - including electronics, books, toys and character merchandise.



You might also like: 9 best Christmas gift ideas for girls aged 4-5



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