Our competition to give away £60 worth of the very cool Funky Legs kit from Monkey McCoy finishes tomorrow.
To enter, please answer the first three questions in the Rafflecopter box below. You will then be able to generate more entries by completing the other, optional, entry options. The closing date is tomorrow, Friday 24th May 2013 and only entries received on or before that date can be included. The winner will be the first entry, chosen randomly, with the correct answer. Good luck!
We are thrilled to be giving away a £100 MiniWardrobe voucher to one very lucky winner in our latest competition.
MiniWardrobe is a new marketplace for childrenswear and gifts that seeks to redress the unfairness that is currently so prevalent in the clothing industry by effectively linking manufacturers and designers of childrenswear and gifts directly to their target consumers.
To enter, please answer the first three questions in the Rafflecopter box below. You will then be able to generate more entries by completing the other, optional, entry options. The closing date for this competition is Wednesday 27th June 2013 and only entries received on or before that date can be included. The winner will be the first entry, chosen randomly, with the correct answer. Good luck!
Isn’t it brilliant? Spotted over on Meenymineymo, it comes in black or white, and you can choose black pink or white letter colour too.
Frankly I rather think I need one of these hanging on the back of my own kitchen door…
The Queen of Kitchen personalised apron can be yours for a muffin over £17 from Meenymineymo.
We’ve reviewed Sunuva clothing before – and we’ve never yet been disappointed. In fact, one of the girl’s favourite tops is still last summers Kaftan (with her sprouting so much leg it’s not really long enough for a dress now…). So when a new parcel arrived in the post there was a little excited flapping (and no, not just by the squeaky 6yr old, either).
And just look what was inside! The MOST perfectly gorgeous 100% cotton summer dress. It’s pretty enough to be carried off at a party, but cool and practical enough to be at home on the beach too.
Naturally, with the loose style it’ll stay cool on the hottest of days – I can imagine this is a dress that’ll barely be washed before it’s back on again when we head to the heat of France this summer.
The utterly brilliant blue (Look no pink! Huzzah!) paisley print is fresh and summery, and the detailing of the lace trim on the flutter sleeves (and on the hem too) step it out from the average sundress into something that feels properly special when it’s on.
With all that light material, naturally there’s a lot of ‘lift’ – I could barely keep the girl from constantly spinning, she adores the way it bells around her as she turns. It’s SUCH a pretty and comfy dress (never underestimate how important the Comfort Factor is when you’re 6) that’s seen pretty constant use since it moved in. It’s spent days in the garden playing French Cricket with older brothers, and on cooler days it has trekked the fields with the dog, worn just as happily over a pair of jeans.
Rather brilliantly for a such an ageless and classic style, the dress is available in ages 1-12yrs (I know – how sensible is that?), and prices start at £45. You can nab yourself a Girls Blue Paisley Flutter Dress straight from Sunuva (make sure you check out their stunning boys wear range too!).
A very long time ago now, the husband and I were in a spot of financial bother. Neither of us earned very much, debts were managed rather than paid off… and then one of us lost our job… and so things began to spiral.
Having debt and money worries is a sickeningly heavy weight that darkens every waking thought. It’s an eternal thumbscrew, a metal lid on your brain that sits too tight and squeezes every thought. There’s much talk currently about ‘in the current financial climate’.. well that’s rubbish. There have always been people with debt and money worries. Maybe it’s a little more universal currently – or maybe people are just more open about it. I genuinely think it has become a little more socially acceptable to say “d’you know what? I just can’t afford it”.
I know when it happened to us we felt… embarrassed. Degraded. Worthless.
In fact, for a while we simply tried ignoring the threatening clouds of doom.
But eventually, we really had to get a grip.
Not in a manage-your-outgoings kind of way. Oh no, we were way past that. We were down the lane and round the corner at the ringing-the-debt-collection-department-and-asking-politely-for-terms-and-please-not-to-send-the-bailiffs-round point.
And it was HARD to know what to do. How to make it better. The bank didn’t want to provide free advice on covering other people’s debts, and the CAB simply advised us to either move back home with a parent, or bankrupt ourselves.
But we were young, bright and independent – we wanted none of either of those options.
So we figured out we simply had to go it alone, work it out, be patient, make a plan and stick to it, and have faith in ourselves that we’d come right in the end.
Being refused credit to just rent a TV (remember those days?) turned out to be a pretty public low point – but an essential one. It was only then that we even heard about Credit Scoring, about how to find out what our Credit Score was, and what we could do to start fixing it. Of course, there was no email back then – everything was done by licking a stamp and posting it in a real live post box and waiting 3 weeks for your reply.
Eventually, we did work our way out – there’s no magic answers, you’re in the wrong place if that’s what you’re looking for. Talk to anyone who has scrambled out of the debt pit and they’ll say the solution is quite simple. Hard work, determination, and sacrifice. It was a long, tedious and VERY painful learning curve – and along the way I learned more about the way ‘credit’ works in the UK than I ever thought I would need (or want) to know.
Of course, these days things are VERY different. Having a poor credit score doesn’t mean you’re a shameful person – nor does it mean you are unworthy of help – or impossible to help either. Of course, there are plenty of shonky companies who will gladly ‘help you out’ – whilst fleecing you and quickly changing your debt into a gaping chasm of despair.
But there are others – who will genuinely and responsibly provide the steps you need to stand on to rebuild your financial credibility. There is plenty of information out there on what you need to do if you have bad credit, and finding out the all important answers to the two burning questions (a – “what do I do now?” and b – “how do I do it?”) is easier than ever, thanks to the interwebs.
Glancing at the calendar last night, I couldn’t believe that half term is only two weeks away. How did that happen? Of course, it’s a long summer term to follow before they break up, but you and I both know that those last weeks disappear in a flash, and the summer holidays will be upon us.
Now. No looking out of the window and sniggering (or crying…) – the sun WILL shine. Think positive.
I’m currently in the throes of holiday-booking myself (late, I know, but we’ll be f-ii-i-ine… *crosses fingers*). Thankfully, I’m not going to be breaking the bank to get a nice place within shouting distance of some sunshine, sea and sand.
As everyone knows, we’re big fans of self-catering, and for us HomeAway always has the answer. Waterfront cottages in Cornwall and family villas with pools in Ibiza – loads of choice, flexible options and pretty much something for every budget.
Here’s a pick of some top beach spots to whisk your family off to this year…
France – Farmhouse in Brittany
This charming farmhouse is just 100m from the beautiful beaches and dunes of St Marguerite. The fabulous property is suitable for up to six guests and has an enclosed south facing garden and terrace which is perfect for al fresco dining. St Marguerite is a renowned for amazing beaches and is an area of outstanding natural beauty with breathtaking sea views. Prices start from €220 per week.
Spain – Apartment in La Duquesa
This two bedroom modern apartment is based in the Mikonos Playa Complex. As well as having great living accommodation and a pool, it is close to gorgeous beaches and a fantastic marina making it the perfect place for a family holiday in the sun complete with buckets and spades. Prices start from £300 per week.
Bulgaria – Villa by the Black Sea
This spacious four bedroom holiday villa in Varna, Bulgaria sleeps eight making it perfect for a great family holiday. The villa is located on a quiet, purpose-built complex and the open-plan ground floor with dining area and kitchen, has a light and airy feel. There is a double bedroom on the ground floor and two more upstairs that open out onto a balcony with fabulous views. With two shared pools and local shops and bars close by, this is a great villa at a fantastic price, starting at £450 a week.
England – Sun Valley holiday park
Anyone wanting to stay on home shores will love this two bedroom apartment set in a listed building in the beautiful grounds of the Sun Valley holiday in St Austell. Booking includes the use of an indoor heated pool, indoor and outdoor play facilities and access to a restaurant and bar so there is plenty to do if the sun doesn’t shine. St Austell is the perfect base for discovering fishing villages, beaches and ports as well as the Eden project, Lost Gardens of Heligan and Truro. Prices start from £300 per property per week
Turkey – Villa Istanbul
This large private villa has its own swimming pool, lush tropical gardens and is located in a peaceful corner of Daylan close to the sea and gorgeous sandy beaches. It has a large lounge, kitchen with doors to the terrace as well as three bedrooms, two bathrooms and plenty of living space all decorated with a modern Turkish feel. The lush gardens and gorgeous pool are outstanding and definitely make this villa a winner. Prices start at just £241 a week.
Croatia – Apartment Daisy
A two bedroom property, ideal for families and couples looking for a peaceful beach break. The communal swimming pool and sunbathing terrace are surrounded by olive groves and there are stunning sea and mountain views. The beach is close by where guests can hire small boats to explore the coastline or have fun on the main beach of Supetar. Balmy evenings can be enjoyed in the centre’s cobbled streets that boast art, jewellery and clothing shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. Prices start at €420 per week.
Italy – Holiday Apartment in Ischia
This 2 bedroom apartment is just a few steps from the port of Ischia, and is surrounded by the greenery of a large garden and the scent of the flowers of orange blossoms. From the spacious terraces your views can stretch from the beauties of the Bay of Naples to the famous Aragonese Castle, with easy access to amazing beaches just 200m away. Prices from £296 a week.
We were happy to take part in the launch of the new Walkers Hoops and Crosses baked snacks. Let’s face it – snack times are endless with four children in the house, and anything that gets more nutrients into them is fine by me.
So – the box of sample arrived, and was eagerly opened. A seriously cut cheeky monkey was instantly appropriated by the 6yr old, and the 11yr old grabbed the bag of snacks. I went to get my camera, to return to a guilty faced boy just dropping an empty packet into the bin.
“Ohhh… did you need to photograph them?”
Cue irritated parent muttering out variations on ‘bloody-snack-snaffling-pre-teens’.
He did, however, like them. A lot.
“Oh they were seriously nice. No, really, they were. Delicious. I loved them. Are there any more?”
So the next trip to the supermarket I picked up a six-pack (currently on offer at our local Co op at £1 for six. Yes! £1!!). Upon my return, I shouted to the empty kitchen, and to the house at large where rthe 5 members of my family were scattered that the Hoops and Crosses were off limits, and that I was heading straight back out to walk the dog.
Upon my return, I immediately noticed the multipack’s defences had been breached.
Surely they wouldn’t have…
Five packets GONE.
(Honestly, you’d think I never fed them.)
Thankfully, one packet remained. I popped it quickly out of sight in a cunning hiding place (the crisp storage bag under the stairs) and determined to photograph the youngest child with it tomorrow.
Around 8 that evening, I entered the living room, just as the teen was leaving it. Hiding something rustley behind his back. Decidedly shifty look in his eye. I opened my mouth, and his brain moved fast.
“Oh, those new snack thingies, the Hoops and Crosses? They’re LOVELY. Really REALLY nice. Do you think we could try the other flavours too? I quite fancy the Salt & Vinegar ones…” He sailed casually over to the bin and flipped the lid. I saw a flash of yellow fall behind him.
“You just ate the last pack, didn’t you?”
“well, um… I was STARVING, and I knew we were supposed to be reviewing them, so I thought I’d, y’know, help out. Do the job properly…”
He had the sense to stop talking at that point. Probably noticing the murderous look in my eye.
“They are VERY nice!” He finished lamely. Then he scarpered.
Next trip to the Co op revealed they had sold out. And the next.
Finally I was successful in snatching the last multipack from the shelf – only we were headed out on a picnic, and all six packs were eaten on a hill top before a nosy game of French Cricket. And we were naturally without a camera.
They were right though. They ARE really nice. A bit similar-ish in taste to Monster Munch.
And so, the deadline of the review draws near, and I have still failed to snatch a photo of them in action, so to speak. It’s a bit like trying to photograph a snow leopard – blink and you miss them.
But actually – that’s as good a review as I could ever give them. Nothing that disappears that fast can be considered ‘not tasty’ in this house. And in all seriousness (don’t tell the children this bit) I don’t really mind too much. They’re a baked snack, so contain nowhere near as much fat as normal crisps. They contain 56% wholegrain, too – which is always a good thing for them. AND they’re gluten free, so the husband can eat them without risking his insides too.
When I saw the Anna Nook dresses, I was a little bit blown away. Here, at last, was the old-fashioned loveliness it is increasingly hard to find for my daughter. So when I had the chance for Pink to own one of her own – well naturally, how could I refuse.
The idea is simple – there is but one style of dress (they call it the Nanook) which is a simple and classic pinafore. They’re made in a gorgeous Noil Silk – which is actually thick, heavy and nubbed, and feels more akin to a bamboo material than any silk I’ve ever met.
No two dresses are ever the same! Using the blank dress as a template, all the embellishments are added by hand for each order; and the style, design, and colours of those simply depend on your requests, the whim of the dressmaker, and the basket of vintage oddments she has at her disposal.
Just trust them – they will select stunning fabrics, embroidery threads, buttons, lace, ribbons and vintage appliques to create your dress perfect. Just look how Pink’s turned out – and my instructions were dead simple. Mummy does NOT like pink, and the 6yr old will potentially refuse to wear it if it does not contain pink. No pressure then.
Just look how it turned out for us…
The dress hasn’t been kept-for-best, either. Of course it has been used for family dinners (with a LARGE strategic napkin!) and special visits, but it has also walked in the fields skipped in the woods, and lolled on the sofa watching Spongebob. Washed on a cool wash and hung to dry, it’s a doddle to look after and keep beautiful, too. Though I’d make sure it’s not involved in any Spaghetti Incidents if I were you.
To order your very own Anna Nook creation (I can’t think of anything more perfect for a summer party, a wedding – or simply the prettiest of lovely dresses to spin around a park in ) just visit the Annnook website and let them know what you’re after. Prices start at £28, and they come in ages 1-6yrs.
We are giving away a Bubble stroller from Petite Star to one lucky winner in this competition.
It takes less than two seconds to flip between forward and parent facing with the Bubble from Petite Star. No need to remove anything, no need to add anything, just flip and go. New Bubble is the ONLY umbrella fold buggy that flips between forward and parent facing. And it does it in less than two seconds, simply squeeze the handle and the stroller seat changes direction – genius!
So now for the first time parents can enjoy all the benefits of a lightweight umbrella fold buggy and choose to have their baby parent facing for reassuring eye contact or forward facing to watch the world go by. The ingenious patented ‘flip and go’ mechanism allows Bubble to fold quickly and simply in either direction, and the soft padded reclining seat is suitable from birth in both directions too.
Head-hugger, chest pads, comfy reclining seat, raincover and basket are all included in the price and the canopy has a hidden layer that can be pulled down for extra shade too – perfect!
To enter, please answer the first three questions in the Rafflecopter box below. You will then be able to generate more entries by completing the other, optional, entry options. The closing date for this competition is Monday 24th June 2013 and only entries received on or before that date can be included. The winner will be the first entry, chosen randomly, with the correct answer. Good luck!
I. Need. These.
Imagine a small pair of giggling feet flashing past you, encased in these. Just… *happy*
Spotted over on Little Stomper, they’re by Livie & Luca so you know they’ll be perfectly designed for small delicate feet. ‘Petal’ in pretty patent leather is Livie & Luca’s all-purpose spring and summer sandal, and we can see them as at home at the park with a pair of shorts as with a swishy dress at a summer wedding.
So twinkle your toes over to the fably Little Stomper, and snap up some yellow Petal shoes for some small feet near you (from a teeny tiny size 3 right up to a gernormous size 12 my 6yr old would love to flash her ankles in) – £38 for all sizes.
It can be so tricky to find boys clothes which are as exciting and fun as the huge girls ranges – so when a lovely Twitterer (thank you @NCooperAbs )pointed me to Wild Things Dresses Etsy shop I was pleased to see some truly beeyootiful dresses – but may have actually squeaked aloud when I saw some of the boys shirts.
Would you just LOOK at this little thing of beauty! Isn’t it brilliantly awesome? Look at those boys and girls zooming around in their 50′s retro rocket ships (also loving the little contrast yoke detail).
If you meander over to Wild Things Dresses, this snappy little Rocket Boy shirt can be on a small person near you (available in ages 6mths-6yrs) for a rocket under £37.
Can’t you just imagine snoozing with Big and Little Nut Brown Hare every night? All wrapped up in their gentle cosy goodness?
Just love love LOVE this set!
The softness of the colours fitting perfectly with the book most parents know off by heart by the time their child is two (come on, join in… “I love you all the way up to my toes!”).
Spotted over on the new-and-most-brilliant Don’t Tell Tales, the 100% cotton (except the trim) cot quilt and bumper set can be yours for £70.