Thursday, November 26, 2015

Christmas Gift Guide For Kids 2015

Are you looking for that perfect gift for your little one but getting lost in the realms of brightly coloured plastic, Lego that gets stuck in your toes and noisy computer games? Well I've put together a few ideas that may hit the inspiration chord or at least give your a few ideas on which way to go when you're buying presents for your tiny ones this festive season.

For The Younger Ones

1. Blanket Backpack. If you have a child who is obsessed with carrying their blanket around with them then the Getting Personal customised blanket backpack may just be the perfect gift. Th backpack has a soft blanket inside the zip compartment so your little one can have their comforter wherever you go. As a great addition the backpack also doubles as a pillow for even more comfort on the go. Little J has been sent the monkey, personalised with his name on to try this Christmas and I'm sure it will be a hit. £39.99.

2. Lil Ocean Explorers. This lovely range from Little Tikes features ocean toys which help babies suitable for babies from crawling to walking is new this autumn. The Crawl N Pop Turtle from age 6 months upwards helps little ones learn about shapes and colours as they match shapes and follow the title as it walks and plays music, whilst Catch Me Crabbie has a motion sensor inside so whenever baby approaches Crabbie moves and plays music to encourage them to follow. All the Ocean Explorer range is the excellent quality you would expect from Little Tikes as well as being fun and educational. £11.99 - .£68.

3. Braun Thermometer. Maybe more a gift for you than your little one, a thermometer is a must-have for most parents to detect high temperatures fast and accurately. Braun's Thermoscan 7 has an age adjustment so you can detect a temperature suitable for your child's age. This is the number one thermometer used and endorsed by doctors around Europe so you can be sure you are using the best product there is out there. £33.84.  

Pre-School Toys

4. Silly Wheelie Mickey. Aimed at ages three and up, this fun toy from Fisher Price sees Mickey riding on a bike, performing stunts whilst singing along. What's great about this toy is that it is interactive and you can control his direction with just one touch as well as joining in with the songs. A lovely toy for Mickey Mouse fans. £39.99.

5. Dora & Perrito. The latest Dora doll from Fisher Price features her four-legged friend Perrito. This doll has tons to it, Perrito does lots of tricks, or gets them wrong, Dora talks to him and they walk together. You can adjust Dora's arm and watch Perrito respond to her commands and once he is fully trained he will then perform all his tricks in a show. Take at look at my video for more information. £29.99.

6. Pirate Island boxset. This self-contained box set from Casdon features an exciting pirate island where your child can let their imaginations run wild. A beautiful wooden set, once your child has finished playing it can all be boxed back up and kept together. It is a wonderful traditional toy that is sure to become a keepsake. £25.

7. UKick. Featured on Dragon's Den, UKick is a new craze which mixes elements on badminton, football and freestyle where you have to keep the it in the air using any parts of your body. Adopted by professional football clubs and schools across the UK, it is sure to be huge in the next few months. £11.49.


8. Og The Bog. We love board games in our house so any new games are always welcome. Og The Bog features an interesting creature who is sat on the toilet, and the aim of the game is you have to steal as many toilet rolls as possible before Og farts and blows the toilet to bits. It's a fun and fast game that will definitely have the kids in stitches, aimed at ages five and up. £22.99.

9. LeapTV. I'm really excited by this educational gaming system - my two love watching daddy play on his PlayStation but all the games are just too old for them. This system from LeapFrog is aimed at children aged 3-8 years old and has special controllers for small hands. There are over 100 games available for the LeapTV and the games adapt with your child and auto-adjust the levels for your child's ability. I'm sure my two are going to love this one! £45.

So there's just a few of my top toys for Christmas, hopefully they've given you a few ideas. Also head over to my Pinterest board for even more.

*I have been sent some of these in return for this post.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Vlogging: What I've Learnt

For the last few weeks I have been running a Your Youtube vlogging chat on Sunday evenings on twitter, where each week I set a topic, ask a few questions and a few of us get together and have a natter. It's a fun, friendly hour, some weeks are quieter than others, but there's a nice group of us who choose to learn from each other and support one another. So today I wanted to put together a bit of a round-up from the last few chats and what I've picked up from them so far.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pro Blogger Interview: Katy Pullinger

Welcome back to my fortnightly blogger series, where I interview today's top bloggers and ask those burning questions you would love to know the answer to. Hopefully these bloggers can help unlock some insights that will help us all grow our blogs and develop to a place we would all love to be. 

Today I am interviewing the lovely Katy Pullinger - one half of the vlogging team, Hey Mummy. Katy is a presenter on QVC and also creates videos for the UK YouTube community site Channel Mum, one of which was recently streamed live from Dream Toys featuring the top toys for Christmas this year.

You have a background in TV presenting, how did that first come about?

It was really a natural progression, I had always done drama, acting, singing and also worked as an intern in TV Production and it just made sense as all my interests could kind of come together. I went and did a short course in presenting, one where you walked away with a ready to go show reel and I was ready to send it out to people. I had heard that the shopping channel Bid TV were auditioning and so I sent my reel to them. I auditioned and got the job, 3 hours of live TV a day 5 days a week, exhausting but an amazing training ground for any aspiring presenter.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Your Youtube #48

Welcome back to Your Youtube, the linky to share your latest videos! A little announcement from me - I am thrilled to have been asked to be the new Britmums videos editor and will be sharing all my favourite videos every month.

Thanks to everyone who joined in last week, this week's video of the week is from Nadine at Juggle Mum who shared footage from the Segway Tour her and her family undertook whilst in the Costa Brava - it looks like a great way to see please whilst abroad!

Huge thanks to everyone who joined in with the YY chat last Sunday. It's lovely to talk about vlogging and share hints and tips. The chat is 8pm every Sunday so be sure to follow the hashtag #YourYoutube to join us this week!

Over to the linky - please link up no more than two videos. Ensure you watch and comment on the host video and the video before your own so that way we all get some likes and comments.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Preview of #HogwartsInTheSnow at the Harry Potter Studio Tour

I am so excited to write this post and I'm not going to beat about the bush - this place was fantastic! Probably one of the best trips of it's type I've been on in quite some time and well worth the three hour journey to get down there. It is of course the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Warner Brothers Studios in London.

When I first heard about this place at Britmums Live three years ago I really wanted to go - it sounded so great and whilst I wouldn't describe myself as a 'huge' Harry Potter fan, I've read all the books (first, of course) and seen all the films more than once. The story is such a classic, timeless tale and there is such magic about it all (no pun intended). Needless to say, when I visited for my first time last week I wasn't disappointed.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Top Toys For Christmas With Give As You Live

Yep, it's that time of year where we are officially allowed to say the C word - Christmas! Whilst I am definitely a summer girl, Christmas is my favourite time of year. I've always found it such a magical time, and I adore passing that magic onto my two. Not to mention Miss H's birthday is only a week before Christmas, making it that little bit more special to us.

I've recently discovered the Give As You Live site, which is quite special for a couple of reasons - it is an online price comparison site, helping you find the best price for your gifts, but it also donates 2.5% of your spendings to charity of your choice, or it's chosen charity of the month. So whilst you embrace in the Christmas spirit, others less fortunate can also benefit.

Recently all the 'top' toys for Christmas have been released and there's no doubt that they will be flying off the shelves already. So I've pulled together some things from the top list you can find from Give As You Live and give back whilst you shop.

So when you are shopping this Christmas, go through Give As You Live and make a difference whilst you shop.

*This post is brought to you in association with Give As You Live. Please support this fantastic store.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Modern Brush Calligraphy Workshop With Artsynibs

I have 'tried' my hand at calligraphy a couple of times recently, and by tried I mean I've copied some lettering from Pinterest using a Biro. With all these lovely fonts all over the web, I've been wanting to give them a try for quite some time, but my inexperience doesn't exactly add up to anything that remotely looks usable. So when I saw local Calligrapher, Joyce at Artsynibs was hosting a workshop in Manchester I asked her if I could come along.

Modern Brush Calligraphy Workshop

Monday, November 9, 2015

Giveaway with My Little Pony

Miss H has been a fan of the new My Little Pony's for quite a while, ever since we received the first DVD. I was keen to introduce her to a show I grew up with and it's lovely to watch her with her ponies just like I did as a child. Since the updated series was released years ago, it has seen a whole new popularity and more series' have come about since then, as well as toys and merchandise.

The latest DVD is Friendship Games, where the ponies compete in a long-standing competition of exciting events but in which magic is forbidden. Who will triumph? I am excited to offer one lucky reader a copy of this latest DVD, so follow the Gleam below if you would like to be in with a chance of winning.

My Little Pony DVD
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Pro Blogger Interviews: Ghostwriter Mummy

Welcome back to my fortnightly blogger series, where I interview today's top bloggers and ask those burning questions you would love to know the answer to. Hopefully these bloggers can help unlock some insights that will help us all grow our blogs and develop to a place we would all love to be.

Today's interview is with with Susanne from Ghostwriter Mummy. Susanne has been writing her parenting blog for five years and in that time has shared her very personal stories of birth trauma, Hyperemesis Gravidarum and IUGR. Susanne also supports a number of charities including the Lullaby Trust and the Maternity Matters Academy and has raised thousands for these causes close to her heart. By sharing her story, Susanne has helped numerous others in their own journeys and was this year nominated for Outstanding Contribution in the Mum and Dad Blogger Awards.

Your blog really seems to have taken off in the last year or so, what do you attribute this to?

When I started writing about my pregnancy with Elsie, I realised that I hadn't been writing much of what really mattered to me. I found writing about the HG, IUGR and hopes for her birth so cathartic, and without realising it I was going back to basics. So I think the only thing I did was write from the heart (I know that sounds corny) and I stopped worrying about stats etc. I wrote for me and it was nice to remember what that felt like.

You run your own business as well as blogging, how do you find the time to fit it in?

Haha. I get up early, and I actually work a lot from my phone whilst feeding Elsie. I type onto the pages app on my phone which syncs to my Mac, then I edit it when I get chance and add photos etc. I always proof read and probably leave it a day before I publish as there's always something I can change at the last minute. I'm not as prolific as other bloggers, but I do take my time over each post. I have no set schedule so they go up when I have a window of time.

What is your best advice for managing your time as a blogger?

Close all the tabs while you're working. I close Facebook, Twitter and my emails so that I can concentrate on one thing at a time. I set a timer on my phone too - so if I decide to spend thirty minutes on my blog, I spend only thirty minutes. It can always wait.

You support lots of different charities, how do you choose who to support when your time is so precious?

I support charities that support me, and charities that are close to my heart. Namely The Lullaby Trust, the Birth Trauma Association and MAMA Academy. All charities who have helped myself and others over the years, and I feel an affinity to them all. You cannot support every charity, no matter how much you would like to.

If you were to give advice to bloggers who are wanting to work with charities themselves but not sure in what way they can help, what would you say?

Approach them and ask if they would consider working with you on their next campaign. Write about them and their work and tag them in tweets. Support them and be vocal about it. They will appreciate the support and they will probably bite your hand off to work with you!

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Your Youtube #46

I really cannot believe we're up to week 46 on the linky! That's so close to a year it's crazy. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported it and continues to do so, we love to watch your videos!

A little bit of a congratulations to my YY partner, Sian, who is now the videos editor over at Tots 100 - a fantastic achievement and we look forward to seeing how it all develops!

For this week's video of the week it had to be from Lucy at Dear Beautiful who has shared a little birth video with us. Such an incredible and special moment to capture on camera, it's a beautiful video.

Over to the linky - as always please link up no more than two videos and make sure you watch, like and comment on the host video and AT LEAST one other. And don't forget to join in our YY chat on Sunday at 8pm!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Win With Ocean Florida

I'm really excited to be offering you a lovely giveaway from Ocean Florida, who are a fantastic company focusing on holidays to Florida in the USA. Not only do they cover Orlando and Disney, but various other cities in Florida including Miami, Fort Myers and the Gulf Coast.

To win simply watch the video below and follow the instructions. Good luck!

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Twelve Low Energy Play Ideas

12 low energy play idesas

In the last year I have posted quite a few play ideas on my blog for putting together fun things for your children that don't take all your time and energy. We all see perfect play set-ups, using the messiest of products and items that take up tons of storage space. However not all of us have the energy to either set up these ideas or clear them away at the end of it all. So here is a round up of some of the play ideas I've put together, as well as a few from my beloved Pinterest that have worked for me.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Simple Daily Habits To Ignite Your Passion For Blogging

I have been blogging for getting on for five years now, and in that time my frequency has been pretty hit and miss. From blogging daily around a year ago, I now blog two or three times a week. I have had periods of no blogging and there are often times I sit down to write and the words just do not come.

So today I thought I would put together a few ideas if you are in the same boat as me and not always feeling your blogging mojo. If nothing else I can refer back to these myself when I'm having an off day!

Print from Charm & Gumption

Friday, October 30, 2015

Being A Mum With Chronic Fatigue

When you say you have chronic fatigue a lot of people don't really understand what that means. Also referred to as M.E., chronic fatigue, or CFS, is a long-term condition that causes severe physical and mental tiredness, and often chronic pain, to a degree that it restricts everyday life. It affects around 250, 000 in the UK and 17 million worldwide.

What the new NHS staffing agreement means for you as a social worker

If you are a social worker, or considering it as a career, there are some new staffing agreements that you need to be aware of. As of 19th October, the NHS and public sector organisations will have one access point to temporary health workers including doctors, nurses, healthcare science services staff and health professionals. As a social worker, you'll be governed by the new rules, which demand all agency staff employed by NHS trusts in England must be hired through an NHS-approved national framework.


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