31 August 2015

Review: Oskar & Ellen Castle Toy

Imaginative play is such an awesome thing to encourage in children and to be honest they do it so well without any help, however there are some pretty cool toys out there that can aid their imagination and get their creative juices flowing. So when oskar&ellen got in touch to see if I'd like to review one of their products I couldn't resist.

A little bit about oskar&ellen first: "We believe every parent is picky about what his or her child plays with. Who wouldn’t be? We all want products that are useful, adorable, safe and creative. oskar&ellen AB is a family-run company based in Stockholm with the aim to provide an innovative and fun range of soft fabric toys to encourage a child’s imagination through role-play. We are known for our high quality products, individually made with unrivaled attention to detail."

Harlow was lucky enough to receive the oskar&ellen Castle to review. It's a beautiful soft toy medieval castle which is sort of shaped like a handbag, well it does have two handles so could always double as a handbag for little ones. The castle has a cute drawbridge at the front which fastens with velcro so can be opened and closed with ease. There are two towers on this castle which can come in either pink or green and they can be removed if desired. Again velcro helps secure these towers to the castle. It's worth noting that the castle comes with it's very own net bag which makes it great for tidying away and taking out and about with you. No more lost parts! The set also includes a prince, a princess, a white horse, a dragon, a witch, and a treasure chest.

The whole product is handmade, as are all oskar&ellen toys, which means they are hand sewn using sewing machines by three manufacturers/sewing studios in Manila, Philippines. These sewing studios were chosen more than 14 years ago by the founder of oskar&ellen, Petra Jinglov. Today they still work with the same studios. I find this fascinating and very charming to know that this brand has built good relations with its toy manufacturers. Brands like this with a lovely back story always appeal to me.

Although Harlow is still a baby I feel exposing her to role playing toys at a young age will hopefully be quite beneficial. She really did take a keen interest in this castle toy with the treasure chest being her favourite. I helped her play and tell stories with the little people which she thought was quite funny. Her big brother, Logan, was also on hand to help her and show her how to play with the witch being the bad guy and the princess needing to be saved by the prince on his beautiful white horse. It was very cute to watch, even our French Bulldog was trying to get in on the action at one point! I'm hoping this will become one of Harlow's favourite toys as she grows older.

I never realised what a big range and variety of toys oskar&ellen actually have on their website. There's tons of lovely play sets along with storage bags, song bags, bunting, quilts, yearly calendar, height charts, medals, world map, the list goes on. I definitely urge you to have a look on their website, the products are super cute so be prepared. This castle set that Harlow received retails for £26.99 and can be purchased online from a number of online retailers including Born Gifted. Or if you're close enough you can purchase from Liberty in London.

Overall this is a lovely product to help grow your child's imagination and role playing skills. It's well made and would make an excellent gift. I'd be more than happy to receive these sets as presents for Harlow, they're beautiful. Pricing is fair compared to other brands of the same level and these toys are a great little talking piece too.

Mummy's rating - 10/10
Harlow's rating - 8/10

Please visit www.oskarellen.com for more products and information. You can also see what they get up to on Facebook so why not pop over and say hello!

I was sent this product in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

30 August 2015

Bargains of The Week - w/c 24.08.15

The school summer holidays this year have totally thrown me off my blogging harmony with trips here there and everywhere with the family, we've never stopped! Now that Logan's back at school it seems we're back into some kind of a routine as well which is lovely so I'm finally catching up on some posts I've been meaning to write for a while. One of which is another Bargains of The Week. Here's what I have purchased recently.

It's NERF or Nothing!
You've probably all seen the NERF adverts and if you have a young boy or girl who's into shooting things (their Dad) or superhero action then like me you've probably been hounded for some sort of NERF gun. Step in the NERF N-Strike Mega Thunderbow Blaster at your service. It's a different take on the NERF guns but is sure to keep the kids happy and at only £11.00 compared to £29.99 it's keeping me pretty happy too. It's now safely stocked away for Birthday or Christmas.

Start Them Young
Kids are never too young to start learning about money and counting, so when I spotted this cute little Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Piggy Bank on Amazon I had to purchase for Harlow. I'll keep it stashed away for either Christmas or her birthday in January. At £8.99 down from £18.99 it was a steal.

Books Galore
I love a good children's book and it's a weakness when I see a great book sale going on, I just have to buy something for the kids. This time the good book sale was in Dobbies Garden Centre of all places. My friend and I popped in for a tea and cake and thought we'd browse around the store whilst there. Glad we did! I picked up pull-the-tab Times Tables Book for £2.99 down from £5.99, handy since my son's in Primary 2 and they'll be starting to look at times tables. The Usborne Baby's very first touchy-feely Colours Play Book £3.99 down from £7.99. I also spotted another Usborne bargain for Logan which was the Dinosaur Activity Pack which contains 4 books and 100 stickers. That was £4.99 down from £12.99. Last but not least a very cool book with lots of interesting drawings which I hope Logan will enjoy - Alienography 2: Tips for Tiny Tyrants. This book was a steal at £2.99 reduced from £14.99.

So that's it for this week and if you have a Dobbies Garden Centre near you then I suggest nipping down for a nosy around as not only did they have books for sale in my local store but they had racks of random stuff and also lots of expensive plants reduced right down.

As always I'd love to hear if you've managed to pick up any bargains this week?

Silent Sunday 30.08.15


29 August 2015

Giveaway: Win 6 Boxes of Tick Tock Tea & 2 Mugs

Well it's about time for another great giveaway for you lot, my lovely readers, and this time there's some fab Tick Tock teas and two mugs to be won! I love a good cuppa myself and Tick Tock have 6 different varieties to choose from. Luckily for you all you can win a box of each, hurrah!

Here's a little bit about Tick Tock tea: "At Tick Tock, we’ve been growers and producers of Rooibos tea for a long time, over a hundred years, but we’re still a family concern, now in the fourth generation. In fact, we’re proud to point out that it was our Grandfather Benjamin Ginsberg who first perfected the brew in 1903. A tea pioneer, he was the first to use traditional tea making techniques to cure the wild Rooibos plant and bring out the best of its natural flavours."

So to be in with a chance of winning simply enter via the rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

28 August 2015

Baby Led Weaning - our journey so far

When Harlow was born the last thing on my mind was how she would be eating when she was 6 months old. I was more concerned if I would still be able to breastfeed again or not! As the weeks went by and breastfeeding become established, like second nature again, it was time for me to start thinking about how Harlow would wean. With Logan I did the whole puree weaning from 6 months onwards and I always found it hard having to cart food around with me or to try and find something he'd like and enjoy eating etc. If I could I wanted to avoid that stress this time around and that's when I thought about trying baby led weaning. I was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing but my friend had tried it and sworn by it so I was determined to give it a go.

Yummy ice cream
What does baby led weaning actually mean though? Well simply put it means letting your child feed themselves right from the very start of weaning. Recent research shows babies start to reach for food from around 6 months old and in accordance with NHS guidelines babies don't need anything but breast milk or formula milk for the first 6 months of their lives. Waiting until babies are 6 months old before introducing solids also means that it gives their digestive system time to develop fully so it can cope with solid foods. Another advantage of waiting is that they can feed themselves, yay! You can eat your dinner in peace, well almost. Basically you don't have to do any purees or mashing the food up, just give your baby smaller sized handful portions of what you're eating and away you go.

Now that's a juicy strawberry
As Harlow was approaching the 6 month mark I spoke to my health visitors about doing the whole baby led weaning thing and they were very encouraging. I had a quick run down from them and received a little leaflet but they did say I'd probably be better chatting to my friend about it all since she went through it with her first and was very experienced so that's what I did. I asked questions here and there but mainly I got stuck in straight away and just before Harlow reached 6 months (a week before) I caved in and gave her a slice of toast with butter for breakfast. Maybe not the best food to start off with but she eyeballed the hell out of my toast, hence Mummy guilt set in which ended in me giving her a piece, and you know what - she loved it! From that very first mouthful she has loved food ever since and eats with gusto whatever is put in front of her, hurrah!

"More Rice Krispies please Mummy."
I'm surprised at the amount of different foods my baby girl will happily eat but it's so refreshing to watch. She's eaten things like; yogurt, raisins, salmon, tuna mayo, olives, grapes, lasagne, garlic bread, houmous, peas, pizza, scones, chicken curry, ice cream and berries, rice, cereals the list is endless. Whatever I'm having she'll happily have a piece as well and let me tell you it makes life so much easier. When we're out and about I can just pick something from a cafe/ restaurant menu and literally give her a helping from my plate.

Juicy peach - she loves her fruit
The only down side to baby led weaning, well it's not really a down side but I can see how it would put people off, is that your baby makes lots of gagging noises as they get used to eating and having food in their mouth. To some people the gagging noises sound like your baby is choking and it does make you feel super nervous and paranoid at first but if you can get over this then baby led weaning is a winner. To put your mind at ease there's no greater risk of your baby choking doing baby led weaning, they're ready to eat solids at 6 months and the noises they make are just them getting used to moving the food around in their mouth.

It's a messy old business this baby led weaning lark
We're really enjoying the baby led weaning journey so far and yes it's super messy but with practice your baby will get better. Just remember to let them feed themselves, even with spoons! Pre-load the spoon for them and away they go. As you can see from the photo above Harlow loves a yogurt or two!

A Cornish Mum

27 August 2015

Review: Orchard Toys Big Alphabet Jigsaw

My son has never really been a fan of jigsaws, I'm not exactly sure why? Sometimes I think it may have something to do with him being autistic and his ability to locate the correct pieces and then put them together. Fine motor skills can often be an issue and putting together a puzzle often leaves poor Logan feeling deflated. However when Orchard Toys asked if I'd like to review their Big Alphabet Jigsaw I thought, why not! This jigsaw will have some structure to it so may just be a winner for him.

First here's a little bit about Orchard Toys: "Orchard Toys started off on a kitchen table over 40 years ago, and although we are recognised now as a leading manufacturer of educational games and puzzles around the world, we still design, produce and pack all our products from a small market town in Norfolk. Apart from some of the Sales team, all our staff work together in the same building."

The Big Alphabet Jigsaw has 26 moderately sized pieces which are easy for little hands to hold and manipulate as they see fit. Recommended for ages 3-6 this jigsaw helps your child learn the alphabet in a fun and colourful way. It helps to promote discussion through questions such as "How many hats are there?" or "What colour are the lemons?". Included in the box there's also a full sized poster of the jigsaw which can be used to hang on a wall in your child's room or if you're lucky enough to have a play room then hang it in there as a learning reference. The box itself is very sturdy so sure to last a good while. There's a plastic handle on the top of the box which makes it great for carrying on your travels. This jigsaw retails for £9.75 and can be purchased directly from the Orchard Toys website.

So what did Logan and I think? Well it took a little bit of encouraging to get Logan to come over and join in the jigsaw building, but once he noticed it was the alphabet he was in for the kill straight away. He knows the alphabet and because this jigsaw has structure i.e. A,B,C he was very happy to build it all on his own, even saying at one point "Mummy stop helping me! I know how to do this because I know the alphabet." I was more than happy to let him get on with it and simply asked prompting question such as "What comes after H now?" or "My goodness, look at the size of that Octopus! Which letter do you think O comes after?" This seemed to work really well for us and even though Logan's 5 (almost 6) he quit enjoyed building this jigsaw and having a chat with me about it.

I really like this jigsaw because it's bright, colourful and very eye catching for children. The pictures are clear and the pieces are a perfect size for 3-6 year olds. Each piece has an individual letter on it too making it easier to identify and add to the puzzle. I'm sure this will become a firm favourite and when Logan's finished with it I'll be keeping it aside for Harlow when she's a bit bigger.

Overall a lovely jigsaw which will last the test of time (and children) and one which I'd definitely recommend to family and friends. I feel the pricing reflects the quality of this product and if you spend over £19.99 on the Orchard Toys website there's free delivery to be had up and down the UK. Age wise this jigsaw is spot on and even at 5 years old Logan loved it and found great happiness being able to find the pieces and build it himself.

Mummy's rating - 10/10
Logan's rating 10/10

Please visit www.orchardtoys.com for more products and information. You can see what they get up to on Facebook and Twitter so why not pop over and say hello! You might have also noticed that I'm now an Official Toy Tester for Orchard Toys so watch out for more exciting reviews coming soon.

I was sent the Big Alphabet Jigsaw puzzle in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

25 August 2015

A Trip to Edinburgh with Premier Inn

As a family we love having little trips out and about and since it's all happening through in Edinburgh, as it's festival season, we thought it would be lovely to spend some time in the big city. Luckily for us the family and I were recently invited through to Edinburgh to stay at one of Premier Inn's lovely hotels. We were booked into the Edinburgh Leigh Waterfront Premier Inn hotel last Friday night, which is around 15 minutes from the city centre by car, and we had a stroll around and some dinner when we arrived.

The room we received was a family room and it really did have plenty of space for the four of us. The other half and I had the double bed, which was very comfy, and Logan had the sofa bed which you can see him sitting on in the photos above. The sofa bed was pretty comfy too and Logan thought it was great getting to sleep beside everyone in the one big room. Premier Inn were more than happy to provide us with a travel cot for Harlow however I brought my own one along. After checking in and having a look round our room we decided it would be best to get everyone fed before the kids started to get tired.

We popped into the Brewers Fayre next door which is practically attached to the Premier Inn and where you also get breakfast. It was closest so easiest for us and they had a soft play so Logan ran around in there whilst we had dinner. The food was tasty and reasonably priced however the soft play was very noisy and Logan got a bit grumpy. It was just too much for him. After dinner we grabbed some ice cream and went for a little walk along the harbour since it was a lovely evening. That didn't last long however as Logan was getting tired and wanted to get back to the awesome room we were all sleeping in.

In the morning we checked out and had a tasty breakfast in the Brewers Fayre, our breakfast was included with the room and you could basically have whatever you wanted. There was the full cooked breakfast with everything from sausages, eggs, hash brown, bacon etc to fruits, yogurts, cereals, toast, crumpets... the list goes on. I was actually quite impressed with breakfast and we arrived before 9am and it wasn't that busy for a Saturday morning, plenty of seats and space to move around. This Premier Inn really was lovely and perfect for a night or two away with the kids. I don't have any complaints or issues that need addressing, it really was a nice stay for us.

On Saturday morning a group of us bloggers were invited along to attend an Improv Workshop. I really wasn't sure what to expect but I've done quite a few corporate team building events at work before so went along with an open mind. The ladies running the workshop, Jen and Ginny, were lovely and put everyone at ease. It really was quite good fun and I laughed lots, especially at myself! I had to pretend I was on a space hopper! In my maxi dress as well! It wasn't a pretty sight.

After the workshop had finished I headed into the city centre to meet up with the other half and the kids again. We nipped into Rox to view some amazing new Hublot time pieces that have just been released. If you're ever in Edinburgh then please do visit Rox on George Street, they're a friendly bunch.

We spent so long in Rox that we were then running a little late as there was a kids shows at The Underbelly in George Square that we had tickets to. In the end we jumped in a taxi which took us up. It only cost around £6 so money well spent to get there on time and get a seat as the Udderbelly was packed out. The kids show we saw was The Scarecrows' Wedding by Julia Donaldson, lovely show for the kids by the way. Also Logan got his photo taken on a cow, needless to say he was a happy boy.

The family and I were invited through to Edinburgh by Premier Inn to stay at one of their hotels for a night, and for myself to attend the Improv Workshop.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

23 August 2015

Silent Sunday 23.08.15


18 August 2015

Review: Nibbling Jewellery

When your baby starts to get older and a bit more mobile, there tends to be a lot of grabbing, pinching and chewing on things they just shouldn't be. This normally includes your lovely jewellery and necklaces seem to be one of the main points of focus. They're just too tempting for little hands and before you know it your lovely necklace will be in pieces or worse, it could end up in your babies mouth as a choking risk! So when Nibbling got in touch to see if I'd like to try their lovely baby safe jewellery for stylish mums I happily agreed.

Here's a quick bit about Nibbling first: "Nibbling is a London based company, owned by Canadian born entrepreneur and fashion designer Emily Sunderland Sutter. Emily is a dedicated mum, blessed with three beautiful children, all of which are under four years old. Her own inner child is an artist and she holds a degree in fine arts from Canada and attended College LaSalle Montreal and Central Saint Martin. After a stint in the fashion world as a designer and merchandiser, she has now turned her energy to her bliss, children and jewellery. Nibbling designs are playful, versatile and colourful – a reflection of Emily’s personality and creative background."

So Nibbling provide beautiful baby safe jewellery for mums to wear without the fear of them getting ruined or baby hurting themselves. Nibbling do a wide range of fantastic pieces from necklaces, bracelets, teethers, dummy clips and even Mini's so your little girl (or boy) can be just like you. The Nibbling range is made with 100% food grade silicone, which is very similar to dummy's and baby bottles, so is soft enough for baby to chew without hurting their gums.

I received a gorgeous blue Primrose style necklace to review from Nibbling and it really was love at first sight. The first thing I noticed was the colour of the necklace and how vibrant and playful it seemed. Then I noticed the cute detail of the packaging, it's perfect and well thought out - a little handbag shaped popper bag for somewhere to store your necklace when not wearing. Lastly I was delighted with how easy this necklace is to pop on. I literally throw it over my head in a rush each morning however it does have a little break away clasp that you can also use. Another thing I was quite pleased about was that included with this necklace was a hand written note from Emily herself. It's so nice to see things like that from companies these days.

What does Harlow think? I hear you say, well she loves it just as much as I do. When I'm wearing it it's the first thing she grabs instead of my hair, hurray! When I'm breastfeeding her it's something she can hold onto and pinch instead of my delicate boob skin. What makes it even better is that the silicone Nibbling use is non toxic and free from: BPA, Phthalates, heavy metals such as Lead and Arsenic, and all necklaces have a breakaway clasp for added safety. Harlow's never managed to pull this necklace from my neck though, no matter how hard she tries. Nibbling necklaces are also tested at independent labs in the US and EU and meet or exceed product safety standards.

These necklaces are good for mum as well as baby as there's just such a wide variety to choose from. They're all very eye catching and fashionable so add that little something extra to your outfit. One thing I did notice was that after Harlow had been chewing and slavering all over the necklace for a while a little bit of dye came out. I think it may have been from the string rather than the silicone. It's nothing major and didn't stain clothing or anything but it was just something I noticed. Maybe after I give it a little wash this won't happen. Speak of washing Nibbling necklaces and bracelets are easily cleaned with normal dish soap & water. It's good to know they are also heat-resistant; safe for the dishwasher, microwave & freezer. I love the freezer idea especially when you have a teething baby on your hands.

The blue Primrose necklace I received costs £24 to buy however some necklaces cost as little as £16 to purchase with bracelets only £12. It's all very affordable and will have you buying lots of different colours and styles for various outfits.

Overall fabulous jewellery which is safe for baby and doesn't irritate mums skin either. Pricing is very reasonable for what you get and these pieces really are fun to wear. I'd definitely recommend to family and friends.

Mummy's rating - 9/10
Harlow's rating - 10/10

Please visit www.nibbling.co.uk for more products and information. You can also see what Nibbling get up to on Facebook and Twitter so why not pop over and say hello.

I was sent the blue Primrose necklace in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Family Fever

16 August 2015

Summer Holiday Fun in Scotland

Kids in Fife have been on their holidays for a good few weeks now and as parents it might feel like you're starting to run out of things to do especially when the weather's a bit rubbish. I feel your pain, it doesn't seem like we've had much of a summer so far this year in Scotland. In light of this I've put together a little list of things to do in and around Fife (where I live) with your little ones. Hopefully some of my ideas will give you inspiration on keeping your kids busy and out of mischief until they go back to school/ nursery. If anything it might give you some ideas for future use.

Soft Plays
When the weather's rubbish we all love a good soft play session so here's a list of a few we frequent during the rainy days.

Wee Kingdom - Cupar
Noah's Ark - Perth
Wonder World - Falkirk/ Kirkcaldy
Bongos - Glenrothes
Snappy Play - Carnegie Leisure Centre, Dunfermline

The Wee Kingdom and Snappy Play are small soft plays, Bongos is medium sized, Noah's Ark and Wonder World in Kirkcaldy are quite big and Wonder World in Falkirk is massive! Plenty to take your pick from.

Indoor Activities
Again when the weather's not at it's best there's always some good indoor visitors attraction to go and see.

Olympia Swimming Pool - Dundee
There's lots of good swimming pools but the Olympia in Dundee seems to be the one we visit the most. It's clean, tidy and is the perfect temperature for the whole family. They have a purpose built toddler pool which is nice and warm with a little water play park in it. There's the big pool which is basically a huge wave pool and also has a rapid river running just beside it. It's fast by the way! If you're little one is into flumes then this swimming pool has four. Three are suitable for kids that can't swim yet and two of them kids can go down with an adult so no disappointed faces or tantrums.

National Museum of Scotland - Edinburgh
The National Museum of Scotland is actually free to enter. It has lots of interactive objects and things for kids to do. You'll be kept busy here for at least a couple of hours.

Dundee Science Centre - Dundee
This is a great little science museum which is very interactive for the kids and depending on what time of year you go they always have different activities on. We went when they were doing a dino dig so Logan could pretend to dig up some dinosaur bones.

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions - Edinburgh
I haven't managed to drag the family to see this attraction yet although we do have vouchers to use for it so must go soon. It's quite a tall building and you have to go up and round stairs so not suitable for prams/ buggies etc. If you've got really young kids then put them in a baby carrier so you have your hands free for the older ones.

Dynamic Earth - Edinburgh
Travel back in time at this visitors attraction and discover how the Earth was made. Great fun for the kids, Logan really enjoyed himself here.

Deep Sea World - North Queensferry
See what lives under the sea, you may even spot a few sharks! We've not been to Deep Sea World for a little while but I did write a review on it a few years ago. You can have a read here: Deep Sea World Review.

Glasgow Science Centre - Glasgow
It was another blogger who recommended this place to us and thank goodness she did as it's fab. Thanks Susan K Mann, it's a brilliant place to visit with 3 floors of interactive joy. Kids of all ages will love this place.

Outdoor Activities
If you happen to get a nice day or the weather's dry at least then you should check out these lovely places.

Edinburgh Zoo - Edinburgh
A lovely well kept zoo with plenty to do and see. As well as the animals they currently have some robotic dinosaurs roaming around the grounds! There's also plenty of places to have a picnic and there's a kids play park to keep little ones entertained whilst you eat.

The Scottish Deer Centre - Cupar
If you want to hand feed deer then this is the place for you. There's lots of different species to see, just buy a bag of deer food and off you go. The Scottish Deer Centre also have a play park for the kids and they do a lovely bird of prey display at certain times throughout the day.

Muddy Boots Farm - Cupar
Bouncy pillows, tractor rides, grass sledging, tasty lunch, soft play! What more could you ask for in a children's attraction. This is one place sure to keep the kids busy and asking to go back.

Cairnie Fruit Farm - Cupar
Similar to Muddy Boots however Cairnie Fruit Farm has a giant maze for you to chase the family round plus some awesome pick your own fruit areas. Strawberries, grapes, raspberries and even gooseberries! Haven't had those since I was in primary school. There's also a kids zip slid, sunken trampolines, grass sledging, bouncy pillow, hay bales to climb and a slide to go down. They have a nice cafe and gift shop too. So much to do and feel free to take a picnic.

Blair Drummond Safari Park - Stirling
We haven't managed to make it here yet but I'm told it's an awesome day out with tons of animals to see, a big park, fairground rides and even a sea lion show! I'll definitely be making a point of organising a family day out here soon.

Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre - Comrie
A lovely little wildlife centre with lots of different animals to see. There's a hatchery so you can touch and hold the baby chicks, a soft play in case it rains, a massive play park/ picnic area, cafe/gift shop and plenty of little toy tractors to ride around on. Great fun for all ages and you can take the dog.

The Kelpies/The Helix - Falkirk
The Kelpies are basically 30 metre high horse head sculptures and something you definitely have to take the family to see. They're in the Helix park which also have a nice big play park and pond in the opposite direction from The Kelpies. This is a great place to visit on a sunny day and you can spend hours here.

Walk The Forth Road Bridge - Fife/Edinburgh
Another one for the good weather is walking the Forth Road Bridge. You can park the car on the South side of the bridge for free and walk from there. You get some amazing views from the bridge and it's also good exercise.

Burntisland Summer Fairground - Burntisland
Fun for all ages at the Burntisland Shows with the caterpillar ride, fun houses, bouncy castles, tea cups, waltzers, catch a duck, bingo etc. Something different for the little ones and a chance to spend a few hours having fun.

That's all the attractions and places I can currently think of that we've visited as a family or are going to visit in the very near future. If there's any places in Fife or Scotland that you really like visiting with the family then please do let me know as we're always looking for new fun places to go.

13 August 2015

Review: Freida's Pantry Feeding Food Bars

Breastfeeding often takes you on a challenging yet rewarding journey and sometimes along the way you may need a bit of a help and a boost with your milk supply. Some women are lucky enough that their bodies cope fine and produce all that their baby needs, whilst others struggle and this can sometimes be due to stress and other factors going on. It's hard to know when you can't see inside your body! That's why when Freida's Pantry got in touch to see if I'd like to try their Feeding Food Bar I happily agreed. If anything it could only help towards boosting my milk hopefully.

Freida's Pantry was created by one mum, although two more mum's have joined the gang. Here's her story: "After I suffered a traumatic birth with my youngest son, I was left with a number of health complications and I only managed to eat around 800 calories a day. This ultra-low diet was under a THIRD of the calories new mums normally need to breastfeed, recover from birth and replenish their energy levels. Medical staff warned me I could be in hospital for some time and said I may need to top up breastfeeding with formula milk. 
But I knew otherwise! As I lay weak in the hospital bed, my mother brought in homemade supplies of our traditional family post-birth recipe. And thanks to its natural goodness, I soon felt strong again and had abundant milk supply, so my son and I were discharged in just a couple of days." It's a lovely story and it's very heartwarming to hear how one mother overcame her difficulties and managed to breastfeeding her baby boy.

Freida's Feeding Food bars are a natural approach to help towards boosting your milk supply. They're healthy homemade muesli with plant based ingredients and basically contain a mixture of nuts, seeds and oats. These provide a host of important nutrients for both mother and baby; including omegas 3 & 6 and natural proteins which are vital for a strong and healthy body. The bars also contain fennel seeds which are often said to be a 'galactalogue', a substance which can increase milk supply and may be of particular use for breastfeeding women.

The bars themselves are quite tasty although when you first open the packet you can plainly smell the fennel. I'm not a huge fan of fennel so this did put me off a little at first but after having a taste it's actually quite yummy. The fennel isn't overpowering but the bar does taste a bit on the aniseed side. The bar has a soft flapjack consistency so is easy to eat and chew without issue and it doesn't dry your mouth out. They're the perfect size for a quick snack on the go and for keeping in your handbag.

Does this product increase milk supply? Well it's hard to tell. I already have quite a balanced diet as such however it's not perfect which I'm sure resonates with a few mums. Who can keep a perfect diet when you're running around after kids!? I'm unfortunately not that organised but that's when these bars come in handy. A healthy snack just when you need it. Whether this product helps to increase milk supply or not can't really be proven as it would have to depend on the individual using them. However if it helped the mother who started the company and it has plenty of tasty nutrients and natural foods which are said to help a breastfeeding mother then hopefully these do help. They definitely won't do any hard that's for sure.

Freida's Feeding Food bars (£1.35) are only recommended for after you have given birth as it's not advised to eat fennel when pregnant. For pregnant women or those trying to conceive there is another new bar called Freida's Fertile Food bar.

Overall a tasty healthy bar that's handy to have in the handbag/ changing bag. If you're looking to enhance your milk supply then these are worth a try. Pricing is more on the high end side however you'll be paying for what you get - lots of healthy ingredients.

Mummy's rating - 7/10

Please visit www.freidapantry.com for more products and information. You can also see what Freida's Pantry gets up to on Facebook and Twitter so why not pop over and say hello.

I was sent a few bars to try in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

10 August 2015

Harlow's 7 Month Update

Well I can't quite believe Harlow has reached the grand old age of 7 months! Even harder to believe I've actually managed to write a blog post in time for it! I have tried with previous months but with the recent school holidays and trying to keep everyone happy and occupied, blogging has taken a bit of a back seat again. It's fine though as I did promise myself I'd blog when I wanted to and accept opportunities when I fancied, so trying my hardest to stick to that.

There's a lot happening in the life of little Harlow and because she has a big brother who needs to be kept busy, life has pretty much been full on. With the school holidays we've been here, there and everywhere, and we even managed to squeeze in a week away in the sun to Fuerteventura. Harlow really enjoyed her first trip abroad and was actually quite well behaved on the plane, there and back. She didn't even seem to mind the heat so much either whilst we were out there which was a weight off my mind.

Harlow has also started weaning and I decided to go for baby led weaning this time round instead of the purees I did with Logan. I'm happy to say baby led weaning is so much easier and since Harlow is an eating machine it fits her well. She basically eats whatever we're eating and has tried and loved lots of different foods from strawberries, raspberries, garlic bread, curry, lasagne, cheesy pasta, pizza and olives to melon, rice krispies, porridge and steak! There really isn't much she can't have. Yes baby led weaning is very messy but they do get better with practice.

I'm still breastfeeding at the moment and plan to keep doing so until Harlow is at least a year old. I have to go back to work next year so we'll see what happens then. As for sleeping, well what sleep!! I think she's managed to sleep straight through from 11pm to 7am twice in her little life and that's it. She's always waking up for a midnight snack, haha. She'll go to bed around 7pm then wake up around 10pm for a little feed then again at 1.30am and then a good few times after that. I normally lose track of time as I'm so knackered.

Harlow has been rocketing through her milestones recently with learning to sit up on her own, crawling around and recently grabbing onto large items and lifting herself up to stand. It's scary how fast she's learning! Her big brother was never this fast so I'm sure she'll be trying to walk in no time. It's harder for her since we have wooden floors as she tends to slip so I may need to get a rug or something so she's not sliding around as much.

Her favourite thing to do at the moment is put everything in her mouth. Be it toys, Daddy's hand or her big brother's toes (yuk!) nothing escapes her greedy little grip. Since she's a second child she's had to go everywhere and do everything so much sooner than with when Logan did anything. She's been swimming lots, went to soft play lots, had plenty of play dates with friends and even had a few trips into Edinburgh. We never seem to stop but she's very nosy so loves getting to see lots of different people and places.

There's still no teeth yet but then Logan never got his till around 9 months old so plenty of time still. I'm not in a rush for her to get them either to be honest since we're still breastfeeding and I would hate for her to bite!

Who knows what the next few months will hold but I can't wait to find out.

7 August 2015

Edinburgh Foodies Festival 2015

This year the other half and I were invited along to the Edinburgh Foodies Festival, and what a brilliant day we had. The sun was shining, people were happy, chatty and smiling and everyone loved baby Harlow and Tulli the French Bulldog! It was the perfect day out for us. Logan stayed at his granny's house though as it's not really his cup of tea but he had plenty of fun going to play parks and to visit his great granny Hannah on the bus.

Having a great day out!
The Foodies Festival is basically a mass gathering of all the tasty food and drink you could want all in the one place. If you're passionate about the finer things in life then this festival is definitely for you. It happens every year when the Edinburgh Festival starts in August and this year it's being held from 7th-9th August at Inverleith Park. It's child and dog friendly so feel free to bring the family along. Children under 12 go free when accompanied by an adult. Dogs are to be kept on a short lead but as long as they're not diving at people for their grub I'm sure they'll be fine. In fact the other half and I saw quite a few dogs from tiny Chihuahua's to a massive Saint Bernard, and our own dog (Tulli the French Bulldog) was shown a lot of love at the festival. One lady bumped into us at least 4 or 5 times just to get close to Tulli, haha!

Tulli waiting patiently to get her ticket.
Anyway the Foodies Festival is fabulous with lots of stalls giving away tons of tasty free samples from shortbread, fudge and chutney to gin, liqueurs and ciders. As well as the free samples you can also buy most of the products you can taste. The other half and I came home with a bounty of yummy treats from our day out so you won't be disappointed.

Goodies we bought from the Festival.
We were lucky enough to receive tickets to the VIP tent where you can sit and chill with a glass of free bubbly as well as receiving a lovely little goody bag and getting dibs on some of the shows available to watch. There's a few different tents dotted around where you can watch chefs preparing delicious dishes, have some beer tasting sessions or if you're like me and like to try something a bit different then you can always go along to the talk about Beekeeping with Brian Pool. It was a great and interesting talk, Brian is a lovely man and knows so much about bees, the other half and I found it really insightful.

Breastfeeding & watching Brian Pool's Beekeeping talk.
All in all we had a lovely day and spent from 11.30am to 3.30pm travelling round to have a look and see at all the scrummy food and drink on offer. We could have stayed longer as there was plenty to see but we needed to get back home to pick up our other dog from the vets.

The other half not sure which shortbread to choose. Too much choice!
So if you haven't made any plans for this weekend yet then get yourself down to the Foodies Festival at Inverleith Park, Edinburgh. You can buy tickets there at the door or online and collect when you get there (2 for £14 if you quote FOODIESFEST). The festival opens at 10am tomorrow and Sunday. Have fun!

Harlow & Tulli enjoying the VIP Tent.

The other half and I were given VIP tickets to attend this event. All opinions are my own and completely honest.

5 August 2015

Review: The Old Street Barber Co Beard Oil

As some of you may know my other half, Kevin, has a bit of a beard thing going on and he has quite the little following over on Instagram. He's often asked to review products and become a brand ambassador, so when he was approached by The Old Street Barber Co to review one of their beard oils he couldn't refuse. I've offered Kevin the use of my blog to share his review so this is one for the bearded men out there, and I know there's quite a few of you! Who knows, this may even become a regular thing...

It's now over to me, Kevin, and my review of The Old Street Barber Co Beard Oil. As Laura has mentioned I was recently approached and couldn't refuse. I love a good beard oil and without them my beard would be rather wild and out of control, not a bad thing I hear you say however it's nice to look groomed and stylish at times, especially when attending events.

I was sent a bottle of the Peppermint & Lemon Peel Beard Oil to sample and note that it has been classed as a beard conditioning oil. The Beard Oil on Amazon arrived perfectly packaged however the bottle had leaked slightly in transit. It wasn't much and it was well packaged so never leaked through Amazon's cardboard box and I've been assured this has never happened before so fingers crossed just a one off. When I dried the bottle off there was no further leakage which I was pleased with. I've had beard oils in the past and once the bottle leaks it normally continues to do so which then creates a sticky mess. This bottle didn't do that thankfully.

The Old Street Barber Co detail this oil as being made for all types of beards, long or short. They claim is tames and conditions your beard leaving it soft with a manly shine with a pleasant yet none overwhelming fragrance and I have to agree. My beard does smell fresh, looks groomed and has a lovely sheen when I've used this beard oil. One thing I've found though is that I tend to have to use quite a bit of the oil to get the desired effect I want, compared to some other oils I've tried on the market. The smell is amazing though and Laura always comments on how minty fresh the beard is. Top marks there as I wouldn't want the beard to smell like the last thing I've eaten!

I've been road testing this beard oil for a good couple of weeks now and I'm pretty happy with it. Apart from having to use a bit more than what I'm used to there's not much I can fault it on. You get 30ml in a bottle and it's still going strong after daily use for the past few weeks. The bottle that the beard oil comes in is modern and stylish with a pump dispenser and lid making it extremely easy to use and keep clean. Like I said previously, no sticky messes here.

The Old Street Barber Co are proud to say their beard oil is manufactured here in the UK with 100% natural ingredients, and that is great considering what normally goes into some cosmetic products these days. I would say this beard oil is expensive compared to others on the market. It currently retails for £30.00 for 30ml but is on offer on Amazon for £20.00 at the moment. If you want a luxury product with natural ingredients you usually have to pay more for it though.

Overall I really like this beard oil. It's not greasy, smells fresh and the bottle it comes in is perfect. Yes it's a little more expensive than other brands but you get what you pay for and I'd quite happily purchase and use again.

Daddy's rating - 7.5/10

Please visit www.theoldstreetbarber.co for more products and information. You can also see what they get up to on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so why not pop over and say hello.

I was sent a bottle of the Peppermint & Lemon Peel Beard Oil in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

1 August 2015

Review: The Story Mouse App


Bed time stories are a chance to wind down in our house and relax before it's time to nod off to dream land. Logan does love his bedtime stories, as you probably all know by now, and normally has at least three before he'll accept it's time to sleep. We've recently been away abroad for a little holiday so when The Story Mouse agreed to let us review their app on Logan's iPad, I was very pleased.

Here is a little bit about The Story Mouse first of all: "Here at Story Mouse Towers, we love telling stories! From Goldilocks & the Three Bears to Snow White, you’ll find the world’s best-loved children’s tales here. There’s lots to choose from too. The Story Mouse app contains a library of thirty virtual books, while Bertie the Guinea Pig is a new character who’s exclusive to The Story Mouse. Also, there’s Bertie’s ABC, our first educational app and now The Story Mouse for Schools, a collection of thirty six stories for teachers too."

To download The Story Mouse app is simple. Type 'The Story Mouse' in the App Store search facility and it'll bring up a few different story mouse apps to choose from. I received a code to download the 36 stories for schools just so Logan had all the books to review. Once the app is downloaded you can then start to load your stories. You get two free stories in the normal app and can purchase more stories as you wish for your child at a cost of £1.49 each. The Story Mouse app is available for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, so you can take the library wherever you go.

There's two options when you want to read a story in the app. You can either have the “Read it to me” mode, the pages turn automatically as the narrator tells the story. Or, choose “Read it myself” to turn the voice off and turn the pages at your own pace. In the “Read it to me” mode, phrases are highlighted as the stories are read, making the text easy to follow for young readers. Each story is brought to life by narrators who are all professional broadcasters from radio or television. They've been chosen to read the stories for their unique engaging voices and I have to say when listening to the stories being read aloud even I was entranced never mind Logan. Along side the text are fun and interesting pictures to help tell the story. These pictures have been designed by The Story Mouse's own illustrators.

So what did Logan and I think? Well we both loved the app. There were so many different and interesting stories to choose from that Logan had at least two every night on holiday. Whilst I was getting Harlow ready for bed Logan could select the story he wanted and press "Read it to me". It was great, he could relax and enjoy the story whilst I got other things done. As most parents know going on holiday with kids is always full on so those 5-10 minutes of rest for Logan were perfect for me to get other things done.

The stories are really easy to listen to and the narrators voices are engaging as well as calming which helped Logan settle for bed. As you can imagine being on holiday was an exciting time got him so this really helped calm him at the end of the day. He would also pick up his iPad and select a story when he wanted some time away from the sun and pool and kept him occupied for a little while.

Putting The Story Mouse app on the iPad also meant I didn't have to drag lots of heavy books away with us in the suitcase meaning we could take other things or not be over weight and have to pay more! A lot of the stories are classics as well such as The Three Little Pigs and Snow White so they never get old. Logan has listened to them loads but still loves them two weeks on and since he's quite repetitive anyway I can't see him getting bored any time soon.

Overall I'd definitely say this is one app worth investing in for your little ones, even the younger kids say 3-4 who have iPads would probably benefit from this app. It's value for money as well compared to other apps on the market and it'll stay in your gadget for as long as you want it to. No more lugging books around on holiday or in the car. It's convenient and although I would never turn away from proper paper books and story telling this app has it's place in the market and we'll continue to use it when we need it.

Mummy's rating - 10/10
Logan's rating - 10/10

Please visit www.thestorymouse.com for more information. You can also see what they get up to on Facebook and Twitter so why not pop over and say hello.

I was allowed to download The Story Mouse app for free in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


The Breastest News Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Baby Blog Designed by Ipietoon | All Image Presented by Online Journal