Date Expectations

If you’ve ever wondered if when you were born has any impact on what you do with your life, then take a look at the fun infographic below. It would seem that budding J.K.Rowlings are more likely to be born in September and October.

Date Expectations
This fun ‘due dates’ infographic called Date Expectations was born during a coffee break in the BlossomMotherAndChild offices when they were chatting about babies’ due dates and noticed that quite a few famous people shared the same birthday. Did you know, for example, that Elvis has the same birthday as David Bowie? And Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were also born on the same day!

Check it out – the more you look into it, the more fascinating it becomes!

 

Win a Personalised FROZEN Book

Personalised Frozen BookWe have a Personalised Frozen Book up for grabs in our latest Blog / Twitter Competition!

Frozen is huge and we all know it. There’s probably not a parent out there with children of a certain age who haven’t heard of Frozen. And the song ‘Let It Go’ is an ‘earworm‘ that refuses to go away!

So we know that lots of you will want to win this prize for your little Frozen fan!

PersonalisedBooks.co.uk who are providing the prize sell a variety of books all of which can be personalised throughout with names and other details. Whether it’s an educational book to help your child learn to spell or a fun Disney story, they’ll love seeing their names throughout the story.

personalised nursery rhymesWe all know that a good book will not only encourage your children to read but will make reading it with them much more fun. When a book is made personal and a child’s name appears throughout the story line and he/she is involved in the adventure, they will love to read it and it will become one of their favourite books.

So if you’d like to Win a Personalised Frozen Book from PersonalisedBooks.co.uk which will be personalised with your little one’s name, then Enter Below …..

 

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Personalised Word Art

personalised word art from Illustrate My NameI’m going to rave about something now and everyone is going to assume that this is a paid-for post, but it’s not – I promise you!

Illustrate My Name is a company I came across recently when looking for a unique piece of personalised word art for one of my children’s birthdays. I’d seen the company advertising personalised baby gifts and christening gifts and wondered if they covered all ages and all celebrations. Turns out they do – yay!

Illustrate My Name

In other words, you could be looking for a unique gift for a 21st birthday or a New Illustarte My Name personalised jarBaby, a Wedding or a Christmas present and you’d be able to find it at Illustrate My Name. Whatever you choose to have made, it will be very individual, tasteful and timeless and even more unbelievable it won’t break the bank. Or at least from my experience it won’t anyway.

Now I’m not going to share a pic of the framed print that I actually bought as the words and sentiments are very much my daughter’s and for her walls (her friends and family) only. Suffice to say, it’s perfect and she loves it! In fact her sisters love it personalised christmas cardsso much that they want one too so I can see that I’ll be returning to Illustrate My  Name regularly when I’m on the hunt for ‘different gifts’!

I love Illustrate My Name and can genuinely recommend them – great gifts, easy to order from, reasonable prices, excellent service and top quality results! What’s not to like?

What Makes Children So Messy?

children messy handsMud. Sand. Baked Beans. Paint. You name it – if it’s within easy reach and you’re not looking, chances are your little one will have it spread all over the place in seconds. That’s because little kids are inquisitive to learn and desperate to do things for themselves.

Kids want to touch, taste, smell, listen and look at everything and anything and their minds are expanding and developing at a rate of knots. Kids are hungry for information but they’re not exactly top of the class in hand-eye coordination, and their fear levels can be pretty non-existent at times. Which, besides making life extremely fun, can also make it incredibly messy. And, when you’re trying to keep up with everything else that life throws at you, this doesn’t always make for stress-free parenting. Still, there are things you can do to help limit the destruction and keep your house standing…

Isolate the fun

A happy kid is one who can run, jump, and let’s face it, be allowed to go a little bit crazy sometimes. A happy parent is one who doesn’t have to deal with the chaos of this happening all over the house. But going out all the time can be expensive, so if you’ve got a big enough space, it’s a great idea to ‘zone off’ an area of your house where the kids can have a little more freedom. Maybe that’s a section of the dining room, or it could be a patch of garden that you give them as their own. Whatever it is, if you’ve got a handle on it, keeping it contained will be much easier – and cleaning afterwards much quicker.

Get clean clever

According to an article by the Daily Mail, we spend nearly five hours every week cleaning our homes. That’s five hours that could be spent with our feet up, enjoyimessy children bakingng a good film, or indulging in a date night with our partner. We know which we’d prefer! So with this in mind, it makes total sense to get clean clever and invest in something that is versatile, practical, and that delivers outstanding results.

Steam cleaners seem to be the way to go and there are quite a few out there. The Karcher steam cleaner is one which makes light work of household chores. It delivers a deep-down clean that’s chemical-free and effortless. Using nothing but water it can get into all those nooks and crannies in your kitchens and bathrooms, blitzing grease and grime off tiles, and getting rid of everyday dirt from wood and stone floors.

messy child washingThis natty bit of kit is revolutionising the way we clean our homes because it makes the majority of other cleaning tools redundant. And it’s all down to steam that kills 99.9% of bacteria. So that makes it doubly-great in homes with children because not only does it get rid of those nasty germs, but it also uses no harmful chemicals, making it ideal for the allergy sufferers among us.

Plus, as any time-strapped parent knows, it’s all about cleaning quick and thoroughly, and steam cleaners (as put to the test by Mumsnetters) do just that.

One thing’s for sure, children are messy and there’s no changing that. It is, however, possible to change your cleaning habits and reclaim those five hours a week for yourself.

Hire Expectations – Maternity Wear Rental

Hire ExpectationsYou’re pregnant! Having a baby is a wonderful time in any woman’s life but it can also be a daunting time. Added to all the physical changes in your body is the problem what to wear for the last 6 months when the bump gets bigger! I absolutely understand that many of you don’t really want to spend a small fortune on specialised maternity clothes that only last for such a short time.

I would recommend a selection of items that are your ‘must haves’ for this time which you can easily pick up from any of our great high street stores. All the garments I have selected will keep you looking modern and fresh during your pregnancy;

How To Style Your Bump!

Remember one thing…..your body needs structure to give it shape, wearing baggy will only make the area appear larger than it is – it’s all about the shape & style.

  • Don’t shy away from bold colours & print when you are pregnant
  • Maxi dresses are super for any mum to be and will continue to work for you after the baby is born, use them for daytime and evening looks.
  • A longer length jacket will accommodate your bump. Any single breasted or boyfriend blazer jacket with a low cut neckline will give the illusion of a longer, slimmer body
  • The empire line will work brilliantly both in tops and dresses. It will be tight under the bust then drapes over your tummy
  • Do buy a couple of pieces with an elasticated waist – these will not only bring you comfort but will look super teamed with an empire line tunic

As an Award Winning Fashion stylist, I wanted to be able to take the worry away from pregnant ladies and offer them the opportunity to look amazing for occasions such as Birthdays, Christmas, Christenings and other major events……..Hire Expectations was born in May!

Hire Expectations is where you can rent both Maternity & Breastfeeding dresses perfect for special occasions! So why buy when you can rent?

  • Hire a dress for 5 or 10 days
  • Choose a back-up size for free
  • Dresses available in sizes 6 to 16
  • We take care of the cleaning

We stock fabulous brands such as Isabella Oliver, Keungzai, Crave, Butter by Nadia, Sweet Belly Couture and Picchu.

by

Lisa Talbot of www.hireexpectations.co.uk

THIS IS A SPONSORED POST

Plum Interactive Kitchens

Snowdrop interactive kicthenCooking Up Fun With Plum! Find out more about the must-have toy this Christmas

Stuck for ideas and not sure what to get your little one this Christmas? Well we’ve been speaking to Plum, who told us about their new range of interactive kitchens. Plum’s amazing new and unique Interactive Kitchen Range is the first of its kind and adds so much more play value. Listen to popcorn popping, see the delicious food cooking and watch the delight in your child’s eyes as they have fun cooking up a treat in the kitchen. Completely unique, they are certainly a must-buy!

What makes these kitchens so special? Plum’s new Interactive Kitchen Range perfectly blends tradition with modern technology to inspire your child’s imagination even further. Simply by inserting a tablet device into the kitchen’s secure compartment and downloading the free Plum app, the beautifully crafted wooden kitchen transforms into a fully interactive toy with lights, sounds, cooking ideas and animated fun.

Plum Interactive Kitchens

caraway interactive kitchen appPlum has spent years developing and researching this interactive kitchen range to make sure it is packed full of features that children will want to play with time and time again. Offering more than a sprinkle of imaginative play, it is jam-packed with lots of traditional key role play features that inspire the imagination – knobs that click and turn, taps that twist, removable sinks that can be filled with water, cupboards and even real chalkboards. Supplied with wooden accessories including pots, pans and cooking utensils, so little chefs can get cooking straight away! It really is packed full of features that mean your mini master-chefs can have hours of imaginative play fun.

The Plum app enhances the fun experience with mouth-watering graphics of food cooking and the exciting sounds such as popcorn popping. The compartment Plum logoadapts using four adjustable arms to hold the majority of tablet devices securely, turning play interactive. Children can select their food type from popcorn, chicken, cake and even baked beans, turn the dial to select the correct time and then watch and listen as their food cooks (or burns)! After they’ve removed the food from the microwave, children are able to enhance the experience by cleaning up the mess they may have made before they’re able to move on and cook another delicious dish.

It’s easy to see why children and parents are sizzling with excitement over this new range.

Watch this video and see it in action yourself – Nigella and Heston, watch out, there are new cookery kids on the block!

Starting from £99.99, Plum interactive kitchens are available in three designs and can be bought from Argos, Amazon, Tesco, The Entertainer, direct from Plum and from all major toy stores. For more information visit www.plumproducts.com/app/kitchen  and follow Plum on Facebook to join the fun.

This is a Sponsored Feature.

Blogger Laura’s Family Loved Camp Bestival

Camp Bestival …… from pre school to Old Skool!

Camp Bestival 2014It would appear that the so-called mini family festivals we enjoyed last year had been building up and preparing us for this year’s biggie – Camp Bestival.  Camp Bestival bills itself as the ‘Greatest Family Show on earth’and this pretty much summed it up for us.

Now one thing I should warn readers of is that I am most definitely NOT a camper.  If there’s another option going I will usually be the first to take it so I knew this would be an interesting experience, and with two toddlers even more so!  Anxiously studying the weather time and time again in the lead up to the festival, we packed everything we could squeeze into the car with us to cover every eventuality.  A long journey down to Lulworth Castle in Dorset on the Thursday and then it was all go to set about finding the flattest square of grass (on the rolling hills) to set up our temporary home.

As non-campers we own little to no camping equipment so after some research on the Camp Bestival website, we preordered a tent and all the essentials Camp Bestivalthrough Halfords to collect on arrival.  This was a fab idea that I cannot recommend enough.   The service meant we didn’t have to lug the equipment from the car all the way to the campsite, the tent, mattresses and sleeping bags were very reasonably priced making it good value for money (and equipment we can now use time and time again) and they had experts and equipment on hand in case you needed any advice or recommendations etc.

While hubby set up the tent the kids and I sat back and soaked up the atmosphere.  The first thing I noticed was the number of children, it is a family friendly festival but I never imagined there would be so many children, way outnumbering the adults.  The campsite was very clean and on first appearances seemed well organised with a good set up.

fun at Camp BestivalThe festival officially starts on the Friday running through to late Sunday so Thursday is all about settling in and gearing up for the madness ahead.  The 3-day festival takes a similar itinerary for each of the days – set across the beautifully manicured grounds of the Lulworth Castle, the festival is comprised of a mix of stages with acts, interactive areas and food stands.

Camp Bestival

First up I’ll mention the stage entertainment – the main stages are where the headline acts perform.  During the day headliners were artists such as Mr Tumble and Ben and Holly whereas during the evenings it was more of an adult environment with acts such as Sophie Ellis Bexter, Sinead O’Connor and Basement Jaxx.  The volume varied greatly depending on where you were standing which is perfect if parents are worried about smaller children, and far from my concerns of pushing and shoving in a mosh pit stylee, it was very civilised with families setting up plankets, enjoying picnics between acts and kids running about freely.

The lower meadow is predominantly aimed at kids and was the Mason’s haven for the weekend. Marquees and tents adorn the field filled with every possible craft activity you can imagine which alternated each day meaning you could Camp Bestivalreturn to the same tent and find a whole new range of activities.  Grace and Noah really enjoyed making flags for the parade, painting in Art Town and building towers with the Duplo.  Centred around a bandstand, various bands performed with inspiration from across the globe while roving music and dance acts would sporadically start morris dancing or jigging round a maypole which was fascinating to just stop in your tracks and watch.  There was also a number of rides to enjoy including a grand Victorian carousel, helter skelter slide and of course a Big Wheel which were all chargeable for parents and children and a bit of the hefty side for my liking.

As the theme of Camp Bestival for 2014 was ‘Circus’a separate field was dedicated to this.  From diablos, hula hoops, unicycles etc, parents and kids could try their hand at circus acts.  Older kids wanting to take it a bit further could get one on one tuition with trained professionals on things such as elevated hoops which looked a lot of fun.

One thing I love about festivals is the food.  Long gone are the burger vans and Camp Bestivalgreasy meals, it’s all about the local produce and quality.  A foodies heaven, the organic local food stands, exotic dishes and good quality family faves were in abundance.  Anyone that knows me knows how much I adore garlic so the garlic stand was a daily stop off for a garlic bread or garlic chilli (I am hungry thinking about it as I type!) I also have to give kudos to the Saucy Chips’chilli cheese fries (very calorific I know!) however I think many of the passers by were tantalised by all of the fantastic smells and adorning sights of the curries, mac and cheese, fish finger sandwiches, chocolate brownies…..you name it, it was there.  There was a good variety of food for adults and children with many stands offering child-sized portions and even some pop up restaurants set up especially for children.

The biggest question since my return has been about the facilities.  As a novice camper, being in unfamiliar surroundings was a big concern beforehand.  A potty proved to be useful but surprisingly not essential. Toilets are either portals – very clean and well kept, or long drop/composting toilets in adult and mini child sizes – also reasonably clean.  While Grace got in a panic about being able to view the waste in the long drops, older children seemed to enjoy the novelty of flushing their contents down with wood chippings.  For a little luxury there were the When Nature Calls posh toilets and at £2 a pop they guaranteed a clean Lauras Familyafter each use.  For washing we took along our flexibath for the kids and filled it with warmed water while the general shower facilities were very clean and again not half as unpleasant as expected.  Had the weather have been against us I am not sure they would have kept as clean but we were pretty lucky with the weather, something I am so thankful for.

We had an amazing fun filled weekend and there’s far too much for me to round up in this review so i’ll keep the best of the rest limited to a couple of key word sentences to hopefully provide you with a lasting flavour of our fantastic and exhausting long weekend.  Storytelling in the woods, bouncy castles, pom pom making, Laura Mvula, fireworks, massages, jousting, fancy dress, cocktails, big bear balloon disco, sun bathing, choirs….

For further information on Camp Bestival, visit www.campbestival.net.  Early bird tickets are on sale for 2015 with the following costs:

Adult Weekend Ticket (inc camping) £195

Children under 4 are free, children aged 5-10 £20, 11-14 £88 and 15-17 £113

by
Mum to 2 Under 3 and just finished maternity leave, Laura is a journalist and Mum. She enjoys reviewing products with her children, exploring new trends and more importantly, life as a mummy. ‘Continuously trying to get a ‘grip’ of motherhood and back to a size 10!’

Some more Laura Loves …….

Elmer Competition

Elmer prizesTheBabyWebsite has some fab Elmer The Elephant Goodies on offer in our new Elmer Competition!

Elmer the adorable patchwork elephant, written and illustrated by the popular children’s author and artist David McKee, unbelievably has its 25th Anniversary at Andersen Press this summer. Elmer books have sold over 7 million copies all around the world and to this day Elmer is one of the most widely read children’s books in the UK. As part of the 25th Anniversary celebrations, Andersen Press has published a signed limited anniversary edition of the original Elmer story and a brand new hardback story book, Elmer and the Monster.

Elmer the ElephantSo, to celebrate, TheBabyWebsite is offering you the chance to win both the new hardback Elmer and the Monster book, the original Elmer book, as well as a fab Elmer children’s apron, an Elmer Learn the Alphabet poster and Elmer 25th Anniversary tote bag! What a prize!

We’d love you to tell your friends about this competition and share it on social media. It’s #elmer25 !

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning our new Elmer Competition, then enter below!

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We have plenty MORE COMPETITIONS for you to enter!

Win a BABY Born Interactive Doll from Zapf Creation

Baby BORN Interactive DollOk, so we’ve got a BABY Born® Interactive Doll from Zapf Creation up for grabs here in our latest Competition.

It may only be August but lots of you out there are already squirrelling bits and bobs away for Christmas so this could be a useful addition to your Christmas presents hoard.

BABY Born Interactive Doll

It’s impossible not to sound sexist here but it’s true that an awful lot of little girls will love ‘playing mummy’ with the BABY born® Interactive doll. Zapf Creation have added loads of new accessories too so there’s plenty of ways to keep everything ‘fresh’! The BABY Born Interactive doll is the only one in the UK that has eight life-like functions so you can guarantee your little ones will love it. Even better, the doll doesn’t need any batteries.

So if you’d like to Win one of these fab BABY Born dolls, enter on the Rafflecopter form below!

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The Cost Of Raising A Child

Caitlin

Caitlin – our guinea-pig

Ok, so Natwest have created an interactive calculator which maps out the cost of raising a child in this wondrous time. The first, most important thing to say to anyone out there considering using it is this: for the love of God don’t go on it before you have kids. For me, weighted down with hundreds of my own children (well, it seems like that sometimes) the calculator was an interesting and useful tool; for anyone who uses it in order to see whether they can afford kids it will be nightmarish! Here’s one example: with a weekly spend on food of around £40 the average couple will end up spending £18,783.90p by the time your beautiful, yet costly child is nine.

18 grand in 9 years, you might say with a slight whistle, that’s not so bad. But then you see that the calculator has many other fields to explore. Childcare (massive), nappies (more than you think), clothing (shocking), books (necessary), toys (don’t talk to me about toys), pocket money (sigh), furniture (keep ’em in a box!) and that’s before your kids turn 13 and you have transport and technology. I’m a teacher on a good-ish wage, but still nearly all of the kids in my class have better phones than me, and who paid for those do you think!

Being curious types we decided to see how true this cost of raising a child malarkey all was and started with the basics. £40 for food for a week is the average and so we wanted to test this. Using Caitlin (our 4 year old daughter on the verge of Primary and with an appetite for croissants like you would not believe) and Harry (5, going on 6 in body, going on 13 in attitude) as our test models we duly went to our local shop with 4 crisp tenners apiece in our wallet and hope in our hearts.

Harry

Harry

Working on the principle of 3 meals and 2 snacks a day (with occasional mini-snacks in the case of Harry who will regularly wander into the kitchen now and bellow ‘A basket of grapes please!’) we divided the food-groups into categories: fruit, vegetables, cereals, mains, snacks. Caitlin loves a croissant but the one thing having kids does is impress upon you how you can never, ever take anything for granted. She will eat them all week until the one day when Harry has wiped out all the weetabix and then announce, ‘Weetabix for breakfast please!’

‘What about a nice croissant?’

‘No. I hate croissants now.’

So, breakfast. On this particular week we bought croissants, eggs (nice weekend treat) and the usual suspects in the cereal line. Of these, the croissants, were the most pricey – coming in at around 35p each though eggs and toast came in a close second. Buying in bulk (3 for 2 offers on cereals for instance) means the shop is cheaper and you have the added bonus of never having any room on top of your kitchen cupboards.

Lunch this week would feature some regulars: fruit, squeezy drinks / fruit, sandwich fillers, crisps. Ours like a bit of variety in terms of crispage and so we get Wotsits and the perennial favourite Pom Bears. Again, bulk buying is great for anything other than actually being able to open a cupboard without drowning in rustling plastic, so this is what we do. Innocent make some lovely squeezy things that not only get some goodness into the kids but which also distract them as they continually fail to get into the packet. Also, fruit plays a big role here and although berries (blue, straw, rasp) are seemingly more expensive than your single pieces like bananas or apples these are worth it for the share-factor. Bread for sandwiches and then fillers like ham, cheese, mackerel or humous push the price of this meal up to around £3 per kid, by far and away the most expensive meal of the day as it happens. Tasty mind.

Our main meal at dinner has more variety day by day, but as we eat together we all have the same thing. On this particular week we have at various points pasta, salmon, chops, sausages, escalopes, all teamed with mash or chips (other than with the paella which the kids would probably love but which would be bloody disgusting. Actually, that’s probably why they’d love it!). Vegetables include peas, broccoli or carrots and then there is usually a meal or three featuring salad or a nice cheese sauce. The cost for this meal comes in surprisingly cheaply for all of us, and Caitlin’s would be set at around a maximum of £1.55, this most expensive meal being lasagne, chips and salad.

Two snacks in the day, around 11am and 3pm, would feature fruit again, maybe mackerel with breadsticks, crispy snacks or even a bit of toast. This would be relatively pricey for what it is as both kids can demolish a punnet of grapes in less time than the average piranha school takes on a medium-sized guinea pig. Many’s the time when Sarah has bolted up the stairs waving an empty bowl of plastic at me, yelling, ‘You gave them the whole punnet!! Are you insane!!!!’

Caitlin & Harry together

Caitlin & Harry together

All of this included meant that the days’ food came in for Caitlin and Harry at somewhere between £4.30p and (our old nemesis paella again) £5.75. Were this highest price the average then £40 would actually be pretty spot on, but in actual fact this week’s shop for Caitlin came in at £34.55, which, it has to be said, gave us a nice surprise.

This was a fascinating little experiment and we were quite impressed at the general accuracy of the Natwest calculator. I’m sure there have been times when our weekly shop has come in over this week’s price as I know that Sarah has spent years analysing shopping bills and lists, deliberately seeking out bulk buys or weekly deals. And so I guess that a £40 average is fairly accurate, all of which means that the rest of their categories are probably spot on too. Interesting for parents and, as I have already stated, absolutely terrifying for anyone about to start out on a family. All the same, do it! Start a family and hang the cost, you might as well. After all, what else would you spend your £18,783.90p on?

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