Support Cash for Kids’ Mission Christmas this year

The largest annual Christmas toy appeal in the UK, Mission Christmas is run by Cash for Kids and supported by Bauer Radio’s regional stations.

In 2015 the appeal generated upwards of £13 million in gifts and donations which were distributed to more than 300,000 disadvantaged kids across the UK.

With 1 in 3 children across the UK living in poverty this December, for many families Christmas is simply a luxury they can’t afford. This year’s Mission Christmas aims to beat last year’s fundraising total and help make sure it can help as many children as possible.

Supporters of the campaign can take their gifts to a number of drop-off points which you’ll find listed on each of the supporting radio station websites (click here to find your local station!), or any Wickes store.

National Lollipopper Day and Awards

29th November 2016 – Today marks the first National Lollipopper Day to celebrate the amazing Lollipop men and woman across the UK. To coincide with this special day, Churchill Insurance has announced the winners of its inaugural National Lollipopper Awards, honouring the hard working Lollipop men and women keeping children safe on the school run.

After a tough decision by Churchill’s expert judging panel; Alison Hammond, Churchie, Mike Bristow from road safety charity Brake, Emma Williams executive director at PTA UK and Carrie Longton co-founder of Mumsnet, the winners and highly commended shortlisted Lollipoppers have been announced.

Over and Above – The Winner of the award goes to Bettie Ealand from Tewkesbury CE Primary School in Gloucestershire. The highly commended Lollipoppers in the category were Patricia Lunney, Linda Robertson and Sarah Gabriel.

Bravest – The Winner of the award goes to Elaine Hockley from St. George’s Bickley CE Primary School in Bromley, London. The highly commended Lollipopper in the category was Samantha Martin.

Entertainer – The Winner of the award goes to Herbie Lloyd from Battling Brook Primary School in Hinckey, Leicester. The highly commended Lollipoppers in the category were Carole Stokes and Sharon Salter.

Kindest – The Winner of the award goes to Linda Robertson from Morley Newlands Academy in Leeds. The highly commended Lollipoppers in the category were Martin Smith and Carole Stokes.

Each of the four category winners received a bespoke Churchill Lollipopper Awards trophy to mark their achievement as well as a £500 holiday voucher to treat themselves to a well-deserved break during the upcoming school holidays.

On the winners, Alison Hammond said: “It’s been a difficult decision to choose the overall category winners, as we had such a fantastic response from parents and children all keen to celebrate their hardworking Lollipoppers. I wish we could reward all of them for the time and effort they put into keeping our children safe on the school run!”

The most prestigious title up for grabs was the Lollipopper of the Year, won by Carole Stokes from Barwell Infant School in Leicester. The celebrated Lollipopper was chosen from the shortlist of highly commended Lollipoppers. This week Alison Hammond and the school children of Barwell Infant School surprised Carole whilst at work.

To support Churchill’s Lollipopper campaign to to: www.churchill.com/lollipoppers/awards

SM tests… Aden by Aden+Anais muslins

A little while back aden+anais (the Rolls Royce of muslin) launched their aden by aden+anais range, which they openly admit consists of thinner, cheaper and smaller muslin squares.

As huge fans of the original a+a brand, we were intrigued to discover whether size is, in fact, everything when it comes to burping, swaddling and boob-covering…

Editor writes: when I found out about the aden line my first thoughts were ‘WTF?’ and ‘Why…?’ Who doesn’t love the luxury of their classic swaddles, which can cover one’s buggy as amply as they can cover one’s breasts? Amongst the million and one uses for a swaddle in our house would be a sofa blankie for watching TV, a teddy bear’s picnic blanket, a changing mat… Oh, and of course you could wrap the baby in one. 

So a+a opting not only to make a range that is smaller, thinner and cheaper seemed a bit like Chanel creating a range for Superdrug… And collaborating with Mickey and Minnie Mouse? My judgement was reserved. 

But if you saw the recent a+a classic Disney collab, with it’s exquisite Bambi, Pooh and Jungle Book designs, you’d rest assured that not only are the Mouse designs delightful, they are also as chic and delicate as you’d expect this brand to come up with and also actually resemble classic a+a designs (so that from a distance you wouldn’t know it was Disney at all.)

The blue and black Mickey designs include a mouse icon made from cornflower blue blossoms and geometric chevrons. It reminds me a little of the ‘rock star’ range from the classic designs. It’s really elegant. 

And as for the weave being thinner, whilst you might maybe notice the difference after 50 washes, when you rub one of the aden by a+a swaddles and compare the feel to the original, you’d have to have waaay more sensitive skin than my kids or I do to tell which is which. (Doing this test made me think of The Princess and the Pea, actually…)

img_20161010_140625_editThe size? Well, the original ones are 120x120cm and the aden range measures 112x112cm. So they obviously are smaller. Drape them both over a huge Silver Cross pram and you’ll notice the difference. Over a Bugaboo, not so much… Little one wants to tie one to the broom handle to make a flag? Your pre-school Pirate doesn’t care about the extra 8 cm one bit.

So let’s just say there is space in the world for both – and despite being very open about the ways in which they have ‘cut corners’ to create a more affordable product this is definitely one that deserves to be shown off as much as it’s luxe older sibling.

Lovely Little Things: Xmas Eve Boxes from ijustloveit.co.uk

Make Xmas Eve memories a family tradition with the help of these personalised wooden boxes from ijustloveit.co.uk 

How you fill it is up to you; maybe you keep the sellotape in there, for that last minute wrapping. Maybe the star for the Xmas tree (or spare bulbs for the fairy lights). In our home on Xmas Eve the King’s Singers Carol cd comes out (along with the sherry) and we hang the mistletoe…

Maybe you’ll take a family Polaroid on Xmas Eve and keep them in the box ’til your little ones leave home… Whatever you do, we think it’s a lovely idea and a beautiful keepsake.

Order now for Xmas, RRP £34.99

#BlackFriday Deals

Seemingly Black Friday is the new black. A few of our fave shopping sites have some awesome offers…

Get 30% of lovely merino childrenswear; great as base layers or winter pj’s (or on long haul flights) at Smalls with codes KIDFRIDAY or BABYFRIDAY.

Nothing says ‘punk all grown up’ like the gorgeous pieces at True Rocks – such as this rose gold pin. Get 30% off today with code: blackfriday

 

There’s 20% off the Black Friday collection at children’s boutique Me & Buddy – click here to view... We love this Kid + Kind sweatshirt…

 

Or there’s 40% off at Polarnopyret – grab this cute party dress for just £13.20!

 

 

 

Or check out the sample sale at Hill and Friends – not only are their bags half price but they are one of a kind too!

 

MiFold, the revolutionary new car seat which is smaller than an iPad

We were super-excited to hear about the launch of the mifold car booster seat – which you’ll be able to buy in John Lewis stores from December – which is set to change the way we view 4-12 year old car travel.

The seat – which folds down to handbag size (or indeed, your child’s rucksack) – means never having to illegally perch your child on your knee in a cab, never worrying about having to lug a carseat on a long haul flight and having the flexibility to pick up extra friends after school without having to rearrange your back seat.

mifold’s team of top designers, engineers and industry experts have together changed the way that a traditional booster seat works. Regular booster seats lift a child to be in the position of an adult, whereas mifold does the exact opposite by holding the seatbelt down. It’s that simple! With 3 belt guides, mifold adjusts the lap belt and shoulder strap to fit the child and accurately holds the seat belt on the hip bones and shoulder, offering the correct amount of restraint in case of impact. Taking less than 30 seconds to fit per child, mifold is safe, foldable and portable enabling parents and caregivers to use it in situations that current car seats on the market today are unable to accommodate.

With approval according to the European regulation R44.4, mifold meets the highest legal standards for child restraint systems, so parents can rest assured that their child will never have to travel without a car restraint again.

mifold will be available in the UK from John Lewis for £49.95 from the beginning of December 2016.

Should parents lie to children about Santa?

Ever had the debate about what to tell your kids about Santa? Does the magic of Xmas outweigh the creation and perpetuation of a myth? (In our house, just this morning our four year old was in tears because he was worried he’d be in the naughty list…)

Here’s an intellectual viewpoint – food for thought…

Shops are bursting with toys, mince pies are on the menu and radios are blasting out Christmas tunes – so it’s time for another festive favourite: lying to children.

Millions of parents convince their kids Father Christmas is real – but this lie may be damaging, according to psychologist Christopher Boyle and mental health researcher Kathy McKay.

They also suggest parents may not be motivated by purely creating magic for their children, but by a desire to return to the joy of childhood themselves.

Writing in the Lancet Psychiatry, they say children’s trust in their parents may be undermined by the Santa lie.

“If they are capable of lying about something so special and magical, can they be relied upon to continue as the guardians of wisdom and truth?” they write.

They also say idea of an all-seeing North Pole intelligence agency which judges every child as naughty or nice is – when considered as an adult – terrifying.

Professor Boyle, of the University of Exeter, says: “The morality of making children believe in such myths has to be questioned.

“All children will eventually find out they’ve been consistently lied to for years, and this might make them wonder what other lies they’ve been told.

“Whether it’s right to make children believe in Father Christmas is an interesting question, and it’s also interesting to ask whether lying in this way will affect children in ways that have not been considered.”

The authors accept that lying to children may sometimes be right.

“An adult comforting a child and telling them that their recently deceased pet will go to a special place (animal heaven) is arguably nicer than telling graphic truths about its imminent re-entry into the carbon cycle,” they write.

But the Father Christmas fantasy may not be purely for the children, according to the authors.

For adults, it’s a chance to go back to a time when they believed in magic.

Dr McKay, of the University of New England, Australia, says: “The persistence of fandom in stories like Harry Potter, Star Wars and Doctor Who well into adulthood demonstrates this desire to briefly re-enter childhood.

“Many people may yearn for a time when imagination was accepted and encouraged, which may not be the case in adult life.”

The essay concludes: “Might it be the case that the harshness of real life requires the creation of something better, something to believe in, something to hope for in the future or to return to a long-lost childhood a long time ago in a galaxy far far away?”

With thanks to University of Exeter

In Praise of… Wallpaper

Wallpaper. It used to be naff, then it was trendy. Then it was on the out again… Then – well – we stopped following design trends and fell in love with this lovely selection…

Murals Wallpaper have a wonderful nursery range, how chic is this blue forest?

 

 

Or make a feature wall with this silver roll from Utopia at Inspired wallpaper (it also comes in gold, for a super luxe look).

 

 

Graham and Brown have created the cheeky Loo Loo Blue design to give that downstairs powder room a little makeover.

 

 

 

Or give a little stargazer a treat with this midnight blue and gold design from Cole and Sons (which also comes in pink, grey and pastel blue).

Tommy’s launch premature baby app

Today is world prematurity day so fittingly Tommy’s have chosen it to launch their new app, which is free and aimed at parents of premies.

My premature baby is available on all devices (phones, tablets) by going to www.prematurityapp.org.

The app contains all the prematurity information from the Tommy’s book: Having a premature baby. This book was published in 2011 and has received a Highly Commended Award in the British Medical Association Patient Information Awards (2014).

In addition to providing all our information in an easily-searchable format, the app also has the following features:

  • a development diary – allowing parents to record events, thoughts and milestones
  • a feeding log – allowing parents to record times, type and amount of food given
  • ability to easily share information with family and friends on Facebook
  • ability to track the baby’s weight on a growth chart
  • ability to find other parents going though similar experiences on a map.

The app is web app and it functions on all devices: phones, tablets and desktop computers.

Support the ‘Give Me Space’ campaign for better family parking

How many times have you wondered – probably whilst driving ’round a multistorey with a car full of kids complaining about why they need to come shopping in the first place – why there just aren’t more parent and child parking spaces..?

Or maybe you’ve been parked in so close that you can neither get your toddler in their carseat via the passenger door nor the stroller into the boot..? Or unable to manouvre your bump into the driver’s seat because you can’t fully open the door?

The ‘Give Me Space’ campaign has been created to instigate positive change, after a frustrated mum decided enough was enough. Lisa Roberts, business owner and mum of two conducted a study of 2,000 parents, which has revealed that 90 percent of parents and caregivers share her frustrations with the current parking allocations, and 83 percent would like the government to introduce change.

The study has revealed that 90 percent of parents and caregivers have been forced to put their own, or their children’s safety at risk, due to the lack of parent and child spaces available in public places, such as supermarkets and leisure centres. The most shocking revelation, was that over half of all pregnant women claim to have been forced to apply excessive pressure on their unborn child, when trying to get back into their vehicle (52%).

When asked, 83 percent of the parents and caregivers that took part in the study said they would back the campaign to ask government to introduce new recommendations on parent and child spaces, similar to the recommendations set out for disabled parking spaces.

 

If this is something you feel strongly about also, join the campaign in the following ways:

  • Sign the petition for change here, and then share it on social media.
  • Support the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Channels using the hashtag #givemespace
  • Order your free car sticker pack and get them on your windows at givemespace.net

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