Sunday, 30 June 2013

Pinterest competition round up

I love entering competitions, and sometimes I'm lucky enough to win them!  I only ever enter competitions with prizes I'd love as a treat for myself, family or friends and usually try creative competitions to give my brain cells a workout and increase my chances of winning.

So I've been looking around for Pinterest competitions at the moment.  Although I've been on Pinterest for a while, I've only ever used it every now and again.  I thought I'd try some competitions on there lately.  Here's a round up of current Pinterest competitions I know of (and would love to win!):

Boden - pin your packing list

Nissan Micra #Micraattitude
  • Win a goody bag containing Beats Sol HD Headphones, a Cowshed Gorgeous Cow Duo Set, Nails Inc Beauty Club Collection and a £15 iTunes Voucher
  • Ends 21st July 2013
  • Get Pinning and show us how you take on the day driving your Nissan Micra with style, intelligence and confidence!
  • More information and link to terms and conditions

Dunelm Mill - pin it to win it

Liz Earle - Beautifully You
  • Day with LE make up team, three runners up make-up goody bags
  • Ends 7th July
  • Create a Pinterest board with a make-up 'look' including three pins from LE 'beautifully you' board
  • More info and link to Ts and Cs

You can follow me on Pinterest, and I'd love to hear of any other Pinterest competitions you know of, or see your boards if you enter.  Please leave me a comment.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Cuddledry apron towel review

I was recently lucky enough to win a Cuddledry bath set competition from the lovely people at Today's Child Magazine and Cuddledry

I saw the Cuddledry apron towel at the NEC Babyshow a few years ago and liked the look of it, but never took the plunge to buy one for our son, so I was delighted to win this and couldn't wait to try it out with our daughter.  The prize was made up of a Cuddledry apron towel, cuddlemit and cuddleduck.

When I took the apron towel out of its package, I was really surprised by the quality and softness of the towel.  As recommended in the instructions, I washed the towel before first use.  I then dried it mostly on the line outside (yes, it was one of the few warm days this year!), but finished it in the tumbler to soften it up.

It's made up of two separate layers; the brown layer is really silky soft and cuddly, like a teddy bear.  The towelling layer (that goes next to baby's skin) is unbleached cream colour and is a good quality very soft towelling material. 

The towel measures 112cm x 74cm, and it has a hood to cover baby's head in the bottom corner.  The top of the towel has a 'collar' with two press-stud attachments so it accommodates different sized heads and necks and can be worn.  The label states it's washable at 40 degrees.  The package states the towel is made up of unbleached cotton (35%) and natural bamboo fibre (56%) and base layer polyester (9%).

The idea is that you wear the towel which stretches from your neck down to mid-thigh, bath baby and then lift them onto your chest and lift up the towel over them to cover them immediately, whilst still supporting them.  This saves moving a slippery wet baby across the bathroom, while they inevitably get cold and start crying.

So baby girl was bathed, and I lifted her onto the towel on my chest.  No tears.  Success!  I covered her up quickly and easily and snuggled her into me while I moved across the bathroom to her change mat. 

To keep her in the towel I had to lean over her change mat to lie her down, and then unfastened the studs to 'release' her.  Still no tears!  The towel was big enough to wrap her in it completely and with a quick rub, she was dry.  The package states the towel is 'highly absorbent and fast drying', and it really is!

We really love the towel, and I wish I'd had one when my son and daughter were both newborns; I think it'd be a lovely way to hold them close so they feel safe and warm when they're so little.  The towel will last for ages too, as it's big enough to use as a good sized bath towel without wearing it as an apron when they grow up.

I really recommend Cuddledry - it's much more than 'just a towel' and I loved it from the first time of using.  The gift set I won would make a really lovely and special new baby gift.  I wonder if Kate and Wills will get one?!

Disclaimer: this product was free as a competition prize.  Today's Child Magazine and Cuddledry were both unaware of my intention to blog at the time of entering and winning this competition.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

What have you learned as a parent?

Our son starts school in September, and all of a sudden it seems like he's very grown up.  So I've been mulling over the last nearly five years and all the milestones and achievements, both his and ours as parents.  We've learned a lot....

Patience - always short on this one, but I have found levels of patience I wouldn't have known were possible before becoming a parent.  I still haven't got loads of it though!

No shame - yes, I've had to deal with tantrums in supermarkets, a stubborn toddler that yells 'no' just when I needed him to do as he's told.  Four years ago it bothered me.  Now, as Catherine Tate would say 'do I look bovvered?'

There is no normal - well, there is normal, but it isn't what used to be normal, and therefore it doesn't really feel normal.  Eventually though, it does.  Sort of.

You can function on less than six hours sleep.  For a long time.  I have learned this the hard way over the last four months since our daughter was born.  Oh the luxury of day time sleeps when it was just our son!

Don't criticise until you know the facts.  I used to tut at parents with screaming children, sigh on aeroplanes when I saw a child walking on and grimace at parents bribing their children with sweets.  I am now that stressed parent and realise that sometimes you just do what you have to do. 

There is very little in a child's life that can't be improved with pick and mix.

I'd love to hear what you've learned - please leave a comment or link to your blog.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Funny family sayings

A Twitter post earlier about funny things children say made me laugh, so I've been thinking about funny and unique sayings from my childhood days and unique things my kids say all day. 

When I was growing up, my Dad made up the fictitious 'Charlie Farnsbarns' who was to blame for everything that went wrong in our house, or anything that couldn't be explained.  If the keys got lost, Charlie Farnsbarns had moved them.  If I didn't understand something, it was because Charlie Farnsbarns had jumbled it up.  I remember being mystified on a Devon caravan holiday that Charlie Farnsbarns had locked the site gate so we couldn't get it - how did he know we were going?!  It took me a long time to figure out that old Charlie didn't actually exist!

And in our family now, my son thinks one Weetabix is a Weetabic.  Sometimes when he gets home from nursery he has supper (usually breakfast cereal) and he refuses to believe that the meal is called anything other than breakfast.  So he always has breakfast just before he goes to bed!  Other funny sayings that are unique to us are:
  • The opposite of little is lottle.  Sometimes we get a lottle sad when things don't go our way.
  • Weaning foods are mush.  Not purees or smooth food.  Mush. 
  • All motorways are the M69.  Who knows why, they just are.
I'd love to hear funny things your children say or believe, or sayings that are unique to your family.  Do you have any?

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Baby playtime - idea one, brightly coloured fabric play

Having a baby in the house after getting used to a boisterous toddler and now four year old has brought back many memories of the challenge of playtime activities with a littlie who can't sit up or concentrate for very long.  So I thought, I can't be the only person who struggles to think of ways to engage and develop a new baby! 

So, as our daughter's now three months old, when I pick up new play time activities or ideas, I'll post them on this blog to hopefully inspire others.  I'd also love to hear your ideas too!  Please leave a comment or link to your blog so we can share.

Idea one: brightly coloured fabric play
  • Set up time: a couple of minutes
  • Play time: between five and 10 minutes
  • Cost: free if you have the fabric
  • Equipment required: lightweight silk/cotton/polyester scarves or fabric that contain different colours
The idea is that baby lies on the floor, you sit very close by.  It could also work on a change mat or table.  Choose a time when baby is awake and alert (obviously!).  With your lightweight summer scarves cover baby lightly with them for a short time and remove them to an animated "there you are".  Show baby the colours and textures, describing them as you do.  Lift the fabrics to quickly cover your face and play very quick peekaboo, to help baby learn that even when they can't see you, you are there!  You can also lay the scarves on the floor and practice tummy time so baby can actively see what's there. 

For an older baby who's sitting up, you can also practice waving the fabric like a flag and rolling it up to create patterns on the floor.

I've done this with our daughter before, and will post a pic in the next couple of days to show her enjoying it.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

What makes my Dad great?

I read about a great competition over on Rachael Jess' blog to win an Osiris Chrono watch.  It's being run by @johnlewisretail 's PR team and would make a great prize for a special Dad this Father's Day!

To enter, you need to write a blog entry on what makes your Dad great, explain the competition and link to your entry on Rachael's page.  Rachael will send over all the entries to the PR company, and the winner will be chosen at random by the PR company on 13th June.

So here's my entry about what makes my Dad great:

I'll start off with his 'classic' car collection.  In my lifetime we've had Maestros, Morris Minors, Talbot Sunbeams and a red Cavalier that was his pride and joy back in the day.  One of my funniest childhood memories is when my brother 'disappeared' into the footwell of our brown and wooden Mini Clubman because he was so embarrassed to be seen in it!  My Dad shamelessly loved all of his old 'heaps' (as we called them), and now I realise, I love that he worked so hard to buy those beat up old cars so we could get around.  It's only now in retirement that he's treated himself to a half decent BMW. 

Despite the rubbish old cars, Dad was always happy to taxi me around before I could drive myself.  I don't remember him ever complaining despite the 8am lift to step aerobics on a Sunday (ouch, sorry Dad!), or late nights where I probably smelt like I hadn't been 'on the soft drinks all night'!

And of course, there's the ever helpful Bank of Dad.  We didn't have loads when I was little, but we never went without.  And even now, despite being a working professional and Mum of two, Bank of Dad still occasionally steps in so I can treat myself (or in fact, my son can treat himself to an ice cream!).

I'll end with the best thing about my Dad right now: how much he dotes on his two grandkids, my son and daughter.  It's lovely to see him cuddling and playing scalextric with them :-)

Let me know if you enter the competition, I'd love to read your entries too!