Category Archives: Features

How to Valentine like a parent…

What’s more romantic than red roses and scented candles on V Day? Well, if you’ve got young children, basically ANYTHING  without thorns or a naked flame…

Stuck for a gift that says ‘You’re the Best (even with sick in your hair)’?

We’re loving MuthaHood Goods’ Love Pin – which costs £6.25 and will be treasured on the label of our school run jacket for a long time. (And it even comes with a card, if you forgot to buy one!)

Or how about showing your beloved how much you care with a Marloe London unicorn charm? Because it’s made from solid, dependable brass – yet it is also a unicorn!

Or – for that super cheesy statement – how about one of Wyke Farms’ limited edition heart-shaped cheeses?

At very least, as a loving gesture when you’re a parent, a coffee in bed goes a long way towards showing appreciation.

Many Happy Valentines, you deserve them.

Competition: Win a My Fairy Garden kit

With the My Fairy Garden range, children can imagine, create, nurture and grow their own fairy garden. My Fairy Garden is a collectable range that encourages interaction with nature through play. The kits offer children a delightful experience of imaginative open-ended play whilst discovering the magic of growing real plants. There are cute little flowerpot fairy homes, fairy doors to place in your house to allow fairies to enter and Fairy Tale stories to encourage children’s imaginations.
You can WIN your very own My Fairy Garden simply by RTing our message on Twitter and following @MyFairyGardenUK.
Winner will be announced on 23rd February 2018, UK entrants only, no cash alternative. 
Details of Prize:

My Fairy Garden: Your fairy will love to live in the enchanted cottage and grow her own living garden using the grass seeds provided. This kit contains everything you need to make your fairy and her mouse friend feel at home; just add imagination and a little sprinkling of the fairy dust included! 

  • Follow the 8-page colour illustrated activity guide to learn how to construct the enchanted fairy cottage.
  • Grass seeds are provided to create a beautiful living garden for your fairy and her mouse companion.
  • The kit comes with a shell water feature, washing line, mushroom, plastic flowers and gravel for a path.
  • Add more features by making your own garden furniture out of recycled materials.
  • Just one of the collectable my fairy garden kits available from Interplay.
  • My Fairy Garden is available from toy retailers, supermarkets, department stores, homeware/garden stores and online, RRP £14.99.

New Disney collection from aden+anais launches tomorrow!

If – like us – you adore aden+anais for their supersoft muslins and quirky, chic designs, you’ll know that they previously collaborated with Disney (we’ve seen Pooh, Jungle Book and Bambi all beautifully represented on swaddles, bibs and blankets).

Well “drum roll please” – from tomorrow you’ll be able to order from their brand new Disney collection which includes some CLASSICS: 101 Dalmatians, Lion King and one we had almost forgotten about but well worth revisiting, Aristocats!

As usual, the aden+anais design team haven’t gone overboard with colours and strong graphics – the line drawing format is delightful and elegant – but still captures the magic of the Disney characters.

The pieces from these collections are not only practical, hardwearing and will be well loved by your children right now, but we think they will also become keepsakes to pass down to grandchildren (even if they are used and washed a thousand times…)

Order online from aden+anais website. 

 

BabyBjorn celebrates the launch of its new carrier with A Love Manifesto

There’s a new version of the One and One Air Carrier from BabyBjörn – and with it comes a manifesto.

What’s new?

  • The head support is higher and designed with a fully adjustable buckle, which gives both newborns and older babies greater neck support.
  • The seat area now has an even wider maximum position with fully adjustable settings for the perfect position for your little one.
  • There is less fabric between you and your baby which enhances the dreamy bonding experience and breathability of babywearing; you will be able to see and feel that your baby is sitting in a natural position, with their back in a “C” curve.
  • The padding in the shoulder straps is brand new, to offer even more weight distribution across your shoulders and back, for hours of comfy carrying
  • The mesh used in the Baby Carrier One Air is made from a new patented fabric that’s been specifically developed to be even more breathable and feel extra soft against your baby’s delicate skin.

And the manifesto?

A LOVE MANIFESTO

* Trust yourself

* Create your own rules

* Invent your own parenting

BabyBjörn have seen that unrealistic expectations and demands put a lot of pressure on soon-to-be and new ‘millennial mums’ particularly. Many women go to the internet for help and find themselves the target of negative comments and harsh criticism for their parenting style. BabyBjorn believe that being a parent is not a competition and should be about what is real.

BabyBjörn want to put things into perspective by empowering new mums and dads to have faith in their own instincts, set their own standards and develop their own unique parenting style. The one thing that all parents have in common is the love they have for their children.

 Let’s support this, one and all! 

BabyBjörn Baby Carrier One, available in: Black, Denim Grey/Dark Grey, Classic Denim/midnight blue, Grey/Powder Pink. RRP: £139.99 BabyBjörn Baby Carrier One Air, Mesh available in: Black, Anthracite, Navy blue, Silver, and Frost Green. RRP: £159.99

Shop at https://www.babybjorn.co.uk

Celebrate National Handwriting Day with Stabilo

Editor writes: “I love handwriting. Cursive, loopy… the sort like mine that looks like a seismograph reading… Not so much my middle child, who would rather wield a tennis racket than a pen. But we had never really thought about improving the engagement with the pen. Well – other than ‘Do you want to try the red one now darling?’

If you have a preschooler struggling to get to the starting line, Stabilo’s EasyGraph pencils are well worth a look as they have lovely ergonomic indentations to help little hands grip in the right places.

For slightly bigger ones who want a ‘grown-up pen’ but break every biro you lend them by putting too much pressure on the nib, the left or right-handed EasyOriginal rollerballs are wonderful.

There is lots of helpful handwriting support on Stabilo’s Pen License webpage also.”

Back To School Doesn’t Mean Boring: Crafts for the Classroom

Arts and crafts are not only relaxing and enjoyable activities, but they also promote personal expression, reflection and development. But the curriculum art lessons that take place in schools often don’t do enough to explore these benefits and tend to set work for children to copy, therefore bypassing the opportunity for students to explore, interpret and create their own ideas. You may be pleasantly surprised by how many curriculum subjects can use crafting.

Biology

The frequency of diagrams in teaching biology makes it a great subject to use crafts in. Making and examining models of the various parts of the body, cells and other organisms: 3D sculptures of the brain are fun to construct before using them to revise the functions of the different lobes; a marble-run-style model of the digestive system with ‘food’ to travel through it will help students to learn the internal organs and their jobs. A class activity can be made of it, with each group constructing one organ before joining them all together as a complete working digestive system.

Classical Art

Picasso once said, ‘every child is an artist – the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up,’ and teaching students how to take inspiration from others’ work and interpret through their own personal filters is an important step in retaining artistic skills. When learning about the work of classic artists such as Monet and Klimt, discuss the ways in which colours and shapes are used to express emotions and ideas, and encourage children to take this emotive approach to their own work.

Astronomy

The characteristics of the planets are fun to demonstrate practically: try making Russian doll-style models that depict the various layers of each planet, with labels explaining their names and functions. A group task can be made of examining the constellations: dissect a map of the night sky and give each pupil or group a section to replicate with small holes in dark paper. These can then be joined together and stuck over classroom windows to give the illusion of stargazing, all while learning about the patterns of the stars.

Culture

The cultures of the world offer a bounty of creative influences which not only educate children on the diversity of the world but also provide plenty of opportunity for artistic interpretation. Most cultures can be distinguished by particular styles and features, which make them well-suited to interpretive reworking. Investigate and discuss the styles and distinguishing features of a particular culture, and set children the task of using these styles to produce their own design. Ask them how they would design a costume that represents that culture, or how they would decorate a room in a similar style.

There are many other ways of combining the benefits of crafting with the existing curriculum, but the essence of what art can bring to the learning process is the most important thing. It is about allowing exploration and interpretation in subjects that otherwise are quite rigid in their structure.

For more inspiration visit The Crafty Classroom or explore Educational Crafts on Pinterest.

Guest Article By Charlotte Baldwin, Operations Manager at IQ Cards.

IQ Cards are a fundraising company that provide schools and establishments with the necessary tools to fundraise via selling high-quality and unique gifts designed by pupils. As part of the established on-demand print and digital solutions provider, The IQ Digital House ensures that all requirements and products are produced to the highest standards, delivered on time and at great value prices. Several of the IQ cards team are mothers and PTA members themselves appreciating and understanding school protocols extremely well. They are an approved supplier for PTA UK. For more information please visit: http://www.iqcards.co.uk/

Marmite reveal the most loved and hated Xmas gifts…

MARIGOLDS, UNDERWEAR FROM A BOSS AND DEAD PLANTS: THE MOST LOVED AND HATED CHRISTMAS PRESENTS EVER ACCORDING TO MARMITE

  • Spare a thought for those who received breast firming cream and slimming pants – Marmite unveil the nation’s most LOVED and HATED ‘gift gaffes’ at Christmas
  • Brits accept on average three gifts they hate EVERY Christmas
  • A third of us confess to cheekily buying ‘grudge gifts’, with bosses, exes and the mother-in-law most likely to receive a shoddy gift
  • Personalised gifts most LOVED, seven in ten feeling that something with their name on would show thought and consideration

They say it is the thought that counts when giving and receiving gifts, but these hilarious presents might just change your mind on that.

A pair of marigolds, underwear from a boss, anti-cellulite cream and EVEN BOTOX are just some of the most HATED Christmas presents to have been received by Brits.

With less than three weeks to go until Christmas, the nation’s most LOVED and HATED breakfast spread, Marmite, are looking back at some of the UK’s worst ‘gift gaffes’. According to 1,500 respondents, men and women accept on average three gifts they hate EVERY Christmas.

Last year, one poor soul was given a tax disc holder, another unwrapped breast firming cream from their gran and an unlucky individual was given a bag of cat litter.

One in four said they can’t remember the last time someone gave them a present they actually LOVED – with mums and colleagues named and shamed as the most likely to give a poor present.

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom. When it comes to gifts Brits would LOVE to receive, seven in ten felt that something with their name on would show thought and consideration – and most likely not to end up in the bin.

When it comes to our reaction when presented with a disappointing gift, 24 percent said they see the funny side, saying receiving rubbish presents gave them something to laugh about. Some of us just won’t let it slide, with a whopping third admitting to falling out with their other halves due to the terrible gift attempt.

There is no need to let a present go to waste according to an over a third of us (35 percent), who admitted to re-gifting to others. A quarter of Brits who get landed with a rubbish present like to exchange it for something else but 34 percent give it straight to the charity shop.

When it comes to who we are gifting, a third of us confessed to cheekily buying ‘grudge gifts’ with little thought for people who we are not fond of. Bosses and colleagues who were pulled out of the office Secret Santa were most likely to be on the receiving end of a shoddy present. Followed in second place, exes (on behalf of the children of course).

A philosophical 83 percent said they were in agreement that it was the thought that counts but a materialistic 17 percent said it was all about the cost and extravagance of the presents you receive.

Shannon Lennon-Smith, spokesperson for Marmite said: “There is nothing worse than having to pretend that you love a present that you really hate. For a fail-safe gift, something personalised will let the recipient know that they were in your thoughts. For Marmite fans, our personalised jars make the perfect present and can be conveniently purchased online.”

Give the gift of a personalised 250g glass jar of Marmite at social.marmite.co.uk for £4.99. Orders to be placed by 15th December for guaranteed Christmas delivery.

Andy & the Odd Socks ‘All Together at Christmas Time’ – single out now

Andy & The Odd Socks have just revealed their very own Christmas single ‘All Together (at Christmas time)’ which will be released on 1st December 2017 with an unabashed desire to be a bit different and reach No.2 in the UK charts instead of No.1!

In Andy’s own words ‘Every pop star always wants to be No.1 don’t they? Well, I am happy to announce that we would love to reach No.2 instead in the charts this Christmas.’

Andy Day is a huge presence in most young children’s lives appearing regularly on children’s TV with his big hair and personality to match. If this wasn’t enough the kid’s TV icon has only gone and formed a band, Andy and The Odd Socks with some other massive personalities (aka The Odd Socks; Moxy, Rio, Blu and Random Keith) with a collection of fist-pumping and toe-tapping rock pop songs on his debut album ‘Who Invited This Lot?’ that FINALLY allows parents to throw away those annoying nursery rhyme CD’s and fill their car journeys with enjoyable positive music, that delivers empowering messages to young children.

‘Who Invited This Lot?’ is released this Friday 24th November 2017 via Universal and will no doubt be a very welcome stocking-filler in most households this Christmas.

Personally booked by Emily Eavis, Andy and the Odd Socks played their debut gig at Glastonbury this summer (not a bad place to start!) unleashing dinosaurs with footballs, a groovy hoover and a ninja pig to a hugely receptive audience (oh
and the kids loved it too!) The hugely talented band play live wherever they go and have already garnered high profile fans from the likes of Ferne Cotton and her husband Jessie Wood both seen rocking out with their kids at a recent London showcase.  Aimed at primary school kids Andy and The Odd Socks are all hugely individual and entertaining characters whose message to children is simple. In one of the band’s best-known songs ‘Unique’ Andy sings about ‘being proud of who you are be accepting of one another.’

Unsurprisingly Andy and The Oddsocks recently caught the attention of the Anti-Bullying Alliance the UK’s leading anti-bullying charity (*All Different, All Equal*) who asked Andy to be their patron. This alliance spurred Andy on to instigate his very own hugely successful Odd Socks Day which launched nationwide last Monday 13th November and will now feature as an annual national UK event. Odd Socks Day inspired hundreds of schools to wear their odd socks to school in a public celebration of individuality with a voluntary donation to the Anti-Bullying Alliance charity if possible. Up and down the whole of the UK, children were singing the song ‘Unique’ in classrooms and assemblies and posting their hundreds of videos and pictures online to celebrate Odd Socks Day. Victoria Beckham even posted a photo of her daughter Harper Beckham wearing her odd socks to school on Monday whilst Andy went off to talk about being an Odd Sock on Channel 5 News AND in The House of Lords.

Independence Market: home delivered meals your kids will devour – honest!

If you’re a parent, Independence Market might very well be the greatest discovery you’ll have this week.

It’s a London based food delivery service that will bring delicious comfort food to your door which simply requires warming up and serving.

The menu consists of the sort of dishes that you wish you had time to create for your family. You know, when you wish you had time to trawl the farmers’ market and the fishmongers, whip up a batch of butter from organic milk, peruse one of Nigel Slater’s cookbooks and fire up the Aga. Yeah, I know – right?!

Even more incredible: the price of a main course is pretty much the same as a supermarket ready meal!

There are mains, sides and kids’ dishes (but honestly, your children will demolish the ‘adult’ range anyway) – the choice currently includes meat pie, seafood chowder and meatballs, but it changes weekly.

You can order in the morning for same day delivery, or bulk order and stock up the freezer.

Most of the dishes just need to be popped in the oven or microwave (they come in eco-friendly, disposable oven dishes) – the most ‘cooking’ you might need to do would be to add the provided knob of butter or dash of glaze to a side dish of veg. (Brilliant for those of us who find Hello Fresh a bit too much like hard work…)

BEST NEWS EVER: Slick Mummy readers can get a huge 50% off their first order – just go online, order and use the discount code: Slickmummy. 

#You’rewelcome

 

20 More Sleeps…

It might well be the most wonderful time of the year, but it starts to get a bit draining when your kids wake up at 4am every night clamouring ‘Has Santa been yet?’

Our secret to Silent Nights? Well – we have a few tricks…

As the nights get colder, a lovely warm sleeping bag works wonders with babies. As long as it is one they can’t wriggle out of, don’t wake up in a sweat in – and – should it need to go in the wash, it won’t take a fortnight to dry. MORI’s organic cotton and bamboo one has underarm poppers that won’t budge, is soft and breathable and will be perfectly fine in the tumble dryer on low.

Beau and Rooster PJ’s were designed by three dads. And you can really tell. From the hip and very unisex designs (my own sons went straight for the pink leopard print) to the extendable cuffs (to cater for growth spurts) to the tag-free, snag-free comfort fit that’s like a second skin.

Ollie the Owl is a sleep trainer (a la Ewan the Sheep) who doubles as a comforting pal and nightlight. Make by the Gro Company, Ollie has a cry-sensor which (thank goodness) you can adjust the volume on with a choice of four soothing lullabies and sounds.

Norkid’s onsie sleeping bags for big kids are THE ONLY solution for cover kickers. Essentially, an adapted, wearable duvet they come in a whole menagerie of animal designs including lions, hippos and panthers. Choose from a lighter or thicker filling, depending on room temperature. PS these are also brilliant for camping trips and sleepovers…

Sleep in heavenly peace.