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“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney

29 Jun

Hi folks,

I hope you’re all safe & well. Hopefully we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel during this strange time. Pandemic parenting sure is a mine field. Homeschooling, trying to keep the little ones entertained & all the while, trying to shield them from all of the scariness.

Seth is now 4 yrs old & he’s currently at pre-school… well, not at the moment. He’s not been to school since lockdown began. So all of his recent learning has been here at home. A few weeks ago, we were sent the amazing Chameleon Reader.

I have been utterly blown away by this product. Seth calls it ‘The Magic Book Wand’. Seth has always loved books & has his own little book corner for reading in his bedroom with his own little corner sofa. We love reading together, but he’s at an age where he wants to be independent sometimes with his reading, but he hasn’t the reading ability yet to sit & fully read on his own. So this ‘magic book wand’ is perfect!

So… first of all… Whats in the Box?

  • Chameleon Reader Pen (batteries included)
  • 5,000+ Audio Stickers
  • 7 Audio Controls Book Mark
  • My Library Card
  • My Music Card
  • Card Album
  • USB Cable
  • User Guide

https://www.flickr.com/photos/156200586@N06/50049764163/in/dateposted-public/

First of all, I’d like to start by saying that this is so easy to use. This will work with ANY book & turn it into an audio book. So I can literally read books for Seth & record it for him. You simply choose a book… place a little chameleon on each page & record the audio of each page with a little tap.  Then, when your little one taps the sticker with their pen, the page will be read out…it really is MAGIC!

We started with The Gruffalo.

Seth’s reaction when he realises it’s me reading the story is just magical!

This clever little gadget will record up to 4 audio tracks per page. So 4 separate languages can be spoken which is ideal for bilingual children. The possibilities are endless.

The Chameleon Reader is great for getting the kids away from screens & is great for keeping them entertained while travelling. We’ve loved using it over lockdown, it’s been such a great learning aid.

Right now, Amazon have a great deal on, you can buy the whole starter pack for £89.99 with free one day delivery on Prime.

This would make such an amazing gift. I’m thinking of getting family members to record themselves reading books, as we don’t live near family. I think it’ll be lovely for Seth to be able to hear his favourite stories read out by his grandparents.

I hope you you’ve enjoyed this review. Click the bold text to be linked to websites for further reading & where to purchase.

Thank you as always for reading!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Play, Learn, Grow!

18 May

Hi folks,

I hope everyone is staying safe & staying positive. We’re all fine here… plodding on as best we can. I think one of the hardest aspects is keeping the kids occupied. Going out for a morning walk is great for burning off energy & then playing in the garden is also a massive help. But when the rain comes… it’s a whole different story.

We were sent some lovely toys from Best Learning who you can find on Amazon here.

Seth is 4 years old now. He’s really missing nursery right now. He’s missing all aspects of it… the structure… the learning & most of all; his friends. I’m not homeschooling as such, like I’m not setting out a full structured school day… but I am integrating learning into play. Seth loves to learn. The recent VE Day Celebrations have really piqued his interest in our little island & learning more about the UK as a whole. This i-Poster of the United Kingdom really did arrive just at the right time.

The i Poster has over 300 facts & questions about the UK. There’s also all sorts of different fun questions to test your knowledge in the quiz mode. There’s also a fantastic feature that will sing the national anthem too! As you can see from the photo above, we have ours hung up. Its in the front room as a permanent feature now. It really is a beautiful toy/ learning aid. Seth loves choosing an area of the UK & pressing it to find out facts.

We have a weekly phone call from Seth’s teacher & he has told her all about his talking map. The material is great – it wipes down easily if grubby fingers have touched it. It’s also super easy to use, simply touch the area you want to learn about & the map will come to life just like magic. Seth really thinks its magical.

Ted was sent the My Spin & Learn Steering Wheel. It’s the cutest little toy. Ted instantly took to this toy & its a one he will consistently choose to play with everyday. My favourite thing about this toy is the ’emotions’ feature. I’ve not come across many baby/toddler toys that touch on emotion. This is so lovely with a light up button referring to each emotion. It also incorporates light, shapes, sound, music & it also spins. Great for hand eye coordination. There’s so many elements to this toy that makes it different to other interactive toddler toys.

The wheel itself is the perfect size for little hands to hold & carry. It’s great for developing dexterity & motor function.

If you’re looking for some fun & educational toys to keep the little ones entertained – then Best Learning are a great place to start.

I hope you’ve all found this review helpful. Don’t forget to stay safe & stay positive!

Thank you as always for reading!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Staycation Isolation

1 Apr

Hi folks,

I hope you’re all doing okay. So much has changed & happened since my last blog post!!! How crazy is everything at the moment?

We’re very lucky, as both me & the hubster & the kids are all home safely together. Oh & we can’t forget Coco too. The hubs is now working from, so we’ve been self isolating for quite a while now. Seth has no idea about the virus really, I mean, he’s only 4 yr old, so we decided it was better to keep it from him. We didn’t want him feeling scared or worried. Our families don’t live close by, so it isn’t like he see’s family everyday. So in that respect… he’s not noticed any difference. He did ask about nursery… but we just said we are having extended holidays from school for Easter. He hasn’t even questioned it. And Ted, well, he’s only 17 month old… so he’s none the wiser too.

I’ve been focussing on keeping the boys entertained. It was easier last week, as the weather was so lovely! So we could get out in to the garden.

 

We’ve chalked our walk, we’ve played in the mud kitchen, picnicked in the garden etc… while the weather has been nice… we’ve been out breathing as much fresh air as possible.

To make this time as fun as possible, we’ve decorated the house for Easter, early. I just wanted to inject some fun & some colour around he place. We’ve also added rainbow colours to our windows too.

We’ve had so much fun crafting & making decorations. With Seth only being in preschool for half a day each day, I’ve decided not to make a home schooling timetable. I’m still encouraging learning & I’m constantly asking little maths questions etc… while we play, but I wanted to focus this time on fun & making memories rather than it more about school. It’s such a scary & uncertain time, so our focus is being fun, carefree & present. I’m making a photobook for the boys of this time… so in years to come they can revisit this time & see that even though things were scary… we tried our best to make it fun. Like a colourful, cheerful, Staycation.

We’ve had PizzaParty picnics, we’ve camped in the front room, we’ve excavated dinosaur eggs, we’ve had wildlife in our front room, we’ve painted etc… Seth keeps telling me this is the most fun holiday he’s ever had. I think he loves that his Daddy is home all the time & working in our office at home & isn’t going out to work. I think he’s loving the novelty of it all. The weirdest part is that he hasn’t asked to go out at all. He’ll ask to go in the garden, but he’s not asked for days out. I really thought he would have. But it’s like he’s so happy & content at home. This whole thing has made me realise though, just how much I actually go out. I’ve always gone out a lot & joined groups etc… with the boys. But since passing my test in December & buying a 2nd car, I’m out even more.

I’ve been trying each day to find a positive in this whole saga. So far… I’ve come up with so many. It’s also opened up my eyes to how much stuff I take for granted too. I have a new found respect for food. I mean, I waste very little food anyway, but now, I’m literally making sure that each thing is used & nothing is wasted.  Today I got an amazing Fruit & Veg delivery from a local market stall… everything is so colourful & looks & smells amazing. I’ve never been so excited to eat a salad for tea!

I’ve had some amazing video calls with family  friends too. The amount of giggles I’ve had is fab – considering the circumstances. I do feel that it’s brought people together.

I’m planning each week on Sunday & making a menu for things to make for tea.

Keeping organised is really helping me to get through this bizarre saga. I love meal planning & prepping… I find it really therapeutic. I’m in the process of making some strawberry yogurt… I can’t wait. The boys love fruit yogurt – so I’m on to a winner!

I do hope you’re all keeping safe, well & positive. I cannot wait for the massive celebrations to be had once this is all over!

Love, huggles, & much love,

Hayley xxx

Feeling Spicy

4 Mar

Hi folks,

Can not believe we are into March already. It’s been such a quick year already. My days seem to just fly over so fast, life moves so fast. Sometimes it feels a struggle to fit in family life, work & not to mention trying to cook from scratch every day.

I love homemade healthy food & when it’s quick & simple… even better! I don’t like plan food either… I like something with a little spice!

This week I’ve been creating some lovely, quick & easy meals, using my new fave ingredient!

On Monday I made a gorgeous Chilli in the Slow Cooker. The crushed chillies add just enough spice. Its the perfect staple to keep in your spices cupboard.

To make, I threw the following into the crock pot:
250g Lean Beef Mince
Chopped Celery
Diced Garlic
Diced Onion
Sliced Mixed Peppers
Chopped Mini Corns
Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
Tin of Kidney Beans
A good helping of Schwartz Chilli Flakes.

I left it to cook all day. I thickened with a little tomato purée before serving.

This Chilli was super yummy. Plus, it’s totally healthy as i didn’t use any added salts or oils. Perfect!

On Tuesday I made a delicious Moroccan inspired Lamb Stew.

I’ve thrown the following into the crock pot:
300g Diced Lamb
Diced Celery
Diced Onion
Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
Handful of Dried Apricots
Fresh Coriander
Mixed Peppers Sliced
1 Tin Chick Peas
Crushed Garlic
A good Sprinkle of Schwartz Crushed Chillies

Both meals were utterly delicious, healthy & so simply to make. Making your won sauces tastes so much fresher than using a premed jar of sauce. This little jar of spices has gone so far & i still have loads left! Well worth the money!
Tonight I’ve used the chillies as a seasoning. I sprinkled on a pork loin & grilled, then served alongside a baked potato & salad.
This little jar of spices is so versatile & a total must have for any ingredients cupboard.
It’s amazing how eating healthy really lifts your mood & makes you feel so much more positive. I’ve loved how easy these meals were to make.
I can’t to try more recipes!
Thanks so much as aways for reading & I hope you’ve found my review useful.
Love & Huggles,
Hayley xxx
Schwartz have sent me Crushed Chillies for review, but all views are my own

Chilly Days Out

16 Dec

Hi folks,

It might be feeling very chilly & wintry outside… but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying the great outdoors. Being a ‘boy mama’ means I spend a lot of time outside foraging under rocks for creepy crawlies & hunting through woods for Gruffalo’s & Bears.

We spend lots of time walking & exploring on a weekend. Even in the colder months, you’ll find us having a picnic all wrapped up.

We were sent some lovely ION8 Leakproof Water Bottles. Perfect for those days out!

The bottles we have are 350ml. Perfect size for children, but also it means you’re not logging around giant water bottles. These lovely bottles are 100% leak proof. They’d be ideal for packed lunches!

We have the lovely Lady Bug design & the orange.

Both bottles have a frosted kind of texture, making it perfect for grip while on the go. There’s also a great one touch button for opening & there’s also a little switch you can flick that will completely lock the bottle. So you can pop it in your bag with no fear of leaks! Perfect! No one wants a soggy handbag.

Both boys have found them easy to drink from. There’s even a little carry strap too!

The bottles are suitable for both cold & warm drinks.

You can find ION8 Leakproof on social media too!

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Give them a follow to keep up to date with new products & promotions!

Thank you so much as always for reading!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative posts – I have received gifting &/or compensation for featuring some of these items, but all opinions are my own.

Cosy and Christmassy

10 Dec

15 days until Christmas… eeeeeeck I’m too excited!!! I just live getting all of the gifts wrapped & the house all Christmassy & cosy.

This year, I’m going to be putting the boys Christmas gifts on their Just4Kids chairs. Their gifts are going to look so cute all displayed on them.

These lovely little chairs are the loose cover chairs from Just4Kidz.  These chairs are handmade right here in the UK. They comprise of a solid wooden frame, lovely comfy foam cushions & then covered in stunning fabric that is exclusive to Just4Kidz… so you will not find that print anywhere else. They print the fabrics themselves which I love. There are lots of lovely prints to choose from. Seth decided he liked the farmyard design best & Ted has the safari print. Both boys love animals & these prints compliment each other so well.

The chairs are super sturdy. I mean, Ted is only 13 month old & been climbing all over them. Being so well made, means they are quite literally built to last, and… the cover can easily be removed to hand wash too! I mean how amazing is that!? Perfect for grubby, sticky finger marks. These chairs are perfect for pre-school children all the way up to primary school age. They’re the perfect addition to any lounge, play room or children’s bedroom.

These chairs can be used for all sorts… reading corner… arm chair for watching TV with family… etc… Seth has been sat in it doing puzzles & drawing at times or it’s become the ‘doctors chair too’ lol. Ted just loves being able to get all snuggly on it. I think he loves having his own chair that’s small & comfy.

Even the box the chair arrived in was the cause of much excitement & fun!

These lovely little chairs were the first piece of children’s furniture that Just4Kidz designed & sold. Over the years they have sold tens of thousands. The photo’s really don’t do them justice… they’re chunky, comfy & so well made. For me though… one of the biggest selling points is that you can remove the fabric. We all know what it’s like trying to keep things clean with little ones running around. With every will in the world… it’s pretty impossible to keep those chubby little hands grime free for any length of time. If for any reason you damaged your fabric on the chair over the years… you can buy replacement covers. It really is a chair for life.

They also make the loose cover sofa. I love the little sofa. So perfect for siblings to cosy up on.

Just4Kidz make & sell a gorgeous selection of children furniture. If you head over to their website, you can browse their products. Another of my fave items is their fabulous bed in a bag. The perfect sleepover companion. This would be ideal for children sleeping over at their grandparents house, or at a friends sleepover etc… It’s also an extra bed for if you have an extra little one staying over. Again, there is a lovely selection of exclusive printed fabrics to choose from.

If you’re looking for that special gift this Christmas, I’m sure you’ll be able to find something perfect on their website.

You can find Just4Kids on Facebook & Instagram. Give them a Like & Follow to keep up to date with new items, news & competitions.

As always, thank you so much for reading. I really hope you’ve found this useful & that you have fun browsing all of those gorgeous handmade products over at Just4Kidz. They really are a lovely company with stunning products.

Love & huggles,

Hayley xxx

 

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative posts – I have received gifting &/or compensation for featuring some of these items, but all opinions are my own.

Planning Ahead for the New Year

9 Dec

Hi folks,

Well, we’re getting to that time of year when we’re starting to think about New Years resolutions, the goals we want to set & plans for the year ahead. And what better way to plan & stay on track, than with a lovely personalised note book.

You all know I absolutely adore the personalised planners from Personal Planner. So I thought, why not add to my collection with a stunning notebook. Perfect for jotting down important lists & writing down those all important targets.

I love that these books can be 100% customised. From the front cover to what the page layout is like. And… you can even get fancy leather covers too!!! I just love love love mine! It’s fab with all of its little pockets to keep important things in like receipts etc… in fact, mine is going to double up as travel organiser while we go on holiday over the festive season! Ideal for keeping booking documents & vouchers in! I’m just so excited!

Did you know that Personal Planner offer free delivery & they also do gift cards!!! In fact – you can have the gift cards emailed to you digitally, so they’re fab for those last minute Christmas gifts!!! So why not give the gift of organisation this Christmas!?

You’ll also find a massive selection of accessories too… pretty pens & stunning stickers.

Personal Planner make something for everyone, as you literally customise the planners, notebooks or wall planners to suit you. If you’ve always wanted that perfect planning companion – look no further!

And… I have a little discount gift just for you. Use discount code: SLEIGHRIDE for 10% off. Valid until 25th December.

And… I’ve also got an amazing give away too!!! I’ve got a gift card with a value of £39.90 to spend on anything from Personal Planner. To enter, head on over to my Facebook Page or Instagram Page!

Thank you so much for reading as always & MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative posts – I have received gifting &/or compensation for featuring some of these items, but all opinions are my own.

Parenting Win

19 Nov

Hi folks,

The last 13 month since seems to have flown by & Ted just seems to be hitting all of those first milestone so quickly. I sometimes wish I could just slow down time. Ted is very much a toddler now. He’s no longer my 8lb 4oz newborn baby. He started walking at 10month which still just totally blows me away, Seth walked at just turned 11month old & I thought that was super early.

When Seth made the transition from Bottle to Cup for his water… I remember it taking a little while for him to get used to it. However, with Ted, he has taken to it so well. So much so, that I didn’t even actually introduce him to a cup. He literally just picked up Seth’s 360 Cup one day & started to drink from it lol. So… after hearing this, the lovely folk at Nuby HQ sent Ted his very own 360 cups.

Ted started with the lovely Nuby Wonder Mini 360 Cup. These cups are fab, as they have the little handles on them, so they’re easy for little fingers to be able to grab hold of. I really didn’t have to try with this cup, in introducing it to Ted. He literally just picked it straight up & began using it. He grasped the ‘sucking’ technique so easily.

The 360 cups are super easy to clean too, as every single part comes apart for cleaning. They also come with a lid too, so they’re great for popping in your bag for on the go. You can also buy the replacement inner valve too.

The natural next step from this cup, is to move onto the maxi 360 cup with no handles.

This has been a piece of cake for Ted. He loves his ‘big boy’ cup. I think he feels more like his big brother when he’s using it. He has taken to it so well. These cups are suitable from 6 month. We have bypassed the traditional sippy cups really with Ted, & I think it’s better. This way, he is learning how to drink from more of a proper cup.

Another lovely product we’ve been using is the 3D Silicone Bib.

These bibs are fab! Well let’s face it… anything that cuts down on laundry is a lifesaver in my eyes. These bibs are so durable. And they wipe down so easily… & did I mention that they’re dishwasher safe too!!! The bib has a ‘catch all’ feature which catches all of those pesky flyaway foodie bits. And, while on the go, it easily rolls up to go back into your bag.

The silicone is soft & flexible with an adjustable fastening on the back for around the neck, making this a comfy bib for your little one to wear at mealtimes. It’s not stiff or ‘scratchy’ at all.

Nuby make some gorgeous bath time toys. Seth & Ted have both been having fun playing with the Astronaut Foam Mirror Set. It’s a cute toy as it clings & sticks to the side of the bath & on the tiles. And with the lovely mirror feature, they can see themselves, which Ted always thinks is great fun. Ted has chomped on this bath toy lots & it’s still in perfect condition. Durability is a must in our house lol.

With a Nuby product, you always know that you’re going to get good value for money & good quality products. Perfect for those little stocking fillers!

Thank you as always for reading & I hope you’ve found this review useful!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative posts – I have received gifting &/or compensation for featuring some of these items, but all opinions are my own.

“Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning” – Diane Ackerman

18 Nov

Hi folks,

Well, we’re now into my most favourite time of the year… CHRISTMAS!!!! Yes… it’s only November, but I don’t care! I’m in full on Christmas count down mode! I’ve put my tree up! I just literally couldn’t help myself!

So… since I’m throwing myself into all things Christmassy… I have a lovely little gift guide blog post for you. The boys have been playing with & reviewing some lovely toys from Hape.

As most of you know… Hape are one of our most favourite toy brands. You just cannot go wrong with good quality, vibrant, wooden toys. I’m such a big believer in learning through play. Apart from when Seth is at Pre-School… we play all day long.

Where to start? Lets start with the lovely Hape Number Peg Puzzle. Seth loves this puzzle. The pegs are easy to get a hold of & the pieces are lovely & vibrant. This is great for number recognition. Seth is doing so well with his numbers… but does get confused with his number 6 & number 9 at times. So playing with this puzzle has helped immensely.

This puzzle is just so well made & is a lovely size. This is recommended for 3yrs & over, so I’ve been careful to keep it out of Teds reach. He’s in that phase of shoving everything in his mouth to bite.

Ted utterly adores his  Pepe & Friends Push & Go Cat.

It has a clever internal mechanism that allows the toy to roll forward when the back is pushed down and released. So he’s had fun pressing it & watching it scoot across the wooden floor in the dining room. Ted just loves anything with wheels. He loves crawling around the floor pushing it around. It’s a lovely sturdy toy this one. If it can withstand some rough play & being thrown around by Ted.. then it can withstand anything lol.

Baby Einstein Colour Mixer. Both boys have LOVED playing with this toy. It’s such a gorgeous clever little toy this one. This lovely toy identifies colours and lights up as you experiment with different colour combinations with the beads. It flashes in a rainbow light show & plays music. You can also switch between music & spoken words which are in both English & French. It’s great as it introduces little ones to colours & helps to encourage motor skill development. 

The pictures really do not do this toy justice. It is absolutely stunning when you see it. In the box, it doesn’t look like much… but it really is a lovely toy. So many fun elements to it. It has kept both boys quiet. And again, it’s very sturdy & well made. So, perfect for little ones.

So, if you’re looking for some gifts & stocking fillers for the little ones – look no further. I’m always blown away with the quality & design of Hape.

Thank you so much for reading & hope you’ve fun this review useful!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

 

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative posts – I have received gifting &/or compensation for featuring some of these items, but all opinions are my own.

Love is in the Hair

21 Oct

Hi folks,

I do love this time of the year… autumn is firmly upon us… Halloween, Guy Fawkes & Christmas are just around the corner… eeeeeck!

However… with the cooler weather… comes the damp, rainy atmosphere. As a curly haired girl who tends to wear her hair straight… this can be an utter nightmare.

I dread washing my hair. I really do. It’s like a full on commitment. My hair is super thick, washing it, conditioning it… followed by half an hour of holding the hair dryer in place while I blow dry it. I always get so hot & bothered & I feel like the dryer just fry’s my hair. I actually read something really interesting about when you can tell your hairdryer is on its way out & all of the damage it can do to your luscious locks & the warning signs to watch out for. You can read the article from Which?, here. After reading this… it was so unbelievably clear… I needed a new dryer!

I am so completely in love with my new Shehair® Professional Hair Dryer 

Why… I hear you ask… It has a powerful 1800-2000W professional-strength motor with Homogeneous heat to minimalise damage, delivering a high pressure air flow for super-fast drying, while reducing frizz and flyaways to give a smooth salon-style finish. It’s actually true!!! Because my hair is naturally curly, when I blow dry, my hair seems to go so frizzy. But after only 9minutes with this fantastic dryer… my hair was fully dry & it was so much smoother!!! Yes… it wasn’t straight, however, it was so much more manageable & took time off the hair straightening side of things.

Variable power and temperature controls, allow you to tailor your blow-dry to your hair type, while a cool shot button helps lock your finished style in place with a blast of cold air… keeping your hair in Tip Top condition. This is the first time I’ve ever blow dried my hair & not been sweltering. Normally I’m bright red & so hot. But even though I used my new dryer on the hottest setting… it still feels cool. And… I couldn’t smell burning hair… now that’s always a plus!

Ergonomical balance and design makes it a breeze to use & comfortable to hold for both left & right-handed users. It’s so lightweight. It makes blow drying your own hair so much easier! You also get 3 attachments as standard too!

I simply cannot convey to you just how amazing this hair dryer is & how much time it’s saved me. I also feel like my hair feels nicerI don’t feel like it’s so scorched anymore. Since having Ted, my hair hasn’t been great… I feel like it’s not looking as glossy. But with the help of some thick, nourishing shampoo & conditioner, drinking plenty water & now my amazing new hair dryer & gold styler from SHE Hair... I really feel like it’s getting back to its glossy former glory. I haven’t dyed my hair in over 5yrs & try my best to keep it in tip top condition.

This week, SHE Hair are launching their new Platinum Range… I simply cannot wait to try those. They look utterly stunning. Perfect for gifts under the Christmas tree!!!

If you head over to the SHE Hair social media pagesyou’ll see that they’re currently running a competition to win yourself a new Hair Dryer!!!

Thank you so much as always for reading & I do hope that you’ve found this review useful!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative posts – I have received gifting &/or compensation for featuring some of these items, but all opinions are my own.