Tag Archives: Toys

“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.

Creativity, Imagination and Learning Through Play

26 Apr

 

Hi folks,

It’s definitely no secret that we’re big Hape fans in this house. I very much follow the mantra of ‘Learning through play’. I try to make each day as fun as possible for my boys. I am very lucky in that I get to stay at home with my boys, so I make it my duty to try & teach them as much as possible, in a fun, creative way.

Seth starts pre-school on Monday… eeeeeck! I’ve tried so hard to make sure he knows his alphabet & his numbers before starting. Along with recognising his name & other words. Our lovely bundle of Hape goodies came at just the most perfect time.

So… what did we receive?

ABC Magnetic Letters

Seth has had so much fun using these gorgeous letters. There is a mix of upper & lower case letters. They also come in a gorgeous little drawstring bag that will keep them neat & tidy. The edges are all beautifully rounded & smooth – perfect for little hands to use. They are also beautifully coloured.

We’ve had so much fun trying to get the alphabet in the right order & also spelling out words. They’re such a good teaching tool.

ABC Wooden Blocks

Seth is such a huge fan of building blocks. Like all Hape toys, the quality & finish on these lovely little blocks is stunning. Just like the magnetic letters, these blocks come in a lovely little drawstring bag. The bag makes it so easy to pop into your handbag for taking over to the Grandparents house etc… to keep your little ones entertained for on the go.

These blocks are multicoloured & feature letters, words & pictures. So not only can you build, but you can also make up stories & work on your alphabet & spelling too.

Clown Stacker

The Clown Stacker has been such a huge hit with Seth & Ted. Seth has been having so much fun trying to teach Ted colours. He’s been trying to tell him how it stacks up too. It’s so super cute to watch them bond over a toy.

This toy is fab for hand eye coordination.

Ted has had fun batting it about with its wobbly bottom.

We’ve had fun stacking it from biggest to smaller & smallest to biggest. This toy is great for colour recognition & also sorting & recognising patterns.

Baby Bugs Books

Books are so important for a childs development. The earlier you can introduce books, the better in my eyes. This gorgeous little bug book is perfect for those early introductions. It gives them their first experience of having to turn the pages.

The illustrations are so bright & colourful. Ted loves looking through it. It’s also lovely size for chubby little hands to manage.

You’ll also be glad to know that its 100% safe to chew too… Thats good where Ted is concerned lol.

Like I’ve said in the past, wooden toys seem to have that unique, timeless, charm. We are never disappointment with Hape Toys… bright, colourful & safe. They’re the perfect addition to any toy box, bedroom, nursery or playroom.

As always, thank you so much for reading & I hope you’ve found this review useful.

I’ve got some interesting blog posts coming up… so keep a look out for those!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Toilet Training is a Developmental Process… Not a Race

21 Jan

Hi folks,

Wowzers… what a week! So, last week marked the start of ‘potty training’. Obviously this whole chapter is new to me. Seth is 2yr & 10month old. We decided to begin potty training since Seth has been dry on a night now since before Ted was born. Plus we know he’s more than capable & his speech is really good. He’s great at communicating etc… So, last Monday I went full throttle & took him out of pull-ups. Monday was great… only a few accidents with some success on the potty. Not the big toilet as he decided he didn’t like it… even though we have a child seat & a step etc… Tuesday was even better! We had a wee & poop on the potty – great! I’ve never been so excited to see poo in all my life!!! Wednesday though however… what an utter nightmare. Seth was anxious & just had accident after accident. I need to add that during this time, not once has he asked for the potty. It’s all relied on me asking him like every half hour. Thursday was a little better. We had a successful wee on the potty. But then… midmorning Seth decided to pull his pants down, shout big poo & what followed can only be described as the start to the Eastenders theme tune… you know the one… well that’s how it sounded as Seth proceeded to squat over the carpet. Looking for the positive in this scenario… it was firm so easily lifted from said carpet with no mess left behind. How I’m not sat rocking in a corner clutching a bottle of gin I’ll never know! lol. Sorry for the description… but if you’re a parent… you know what it’s like.

After that… it’s just kinda gone downhill really. Over the weekend Seth had some nightmares about the potty. I just cannot stand to see my little boy upset. So, against peoples advice, I’ve popped him back into training pants. Being so active on social media, people love to give you their opinion. But when it comes to potty training (I’m no guru) I really do think… Mother knows best… Just call me ‘Mother Gothel’ lol. The change in Seth today has been amazing! Seth has never actually told me when he needs the loo… yet today he has told me when he needs a wee & a poo! Now if that’s not progress then I don’t what is. So rather than being full on & constantly asking him… I’m letting him tell me. He’s totally controlling his bladder & telling me each time he needs it. I think it’s also having a positive effect on him as he feels more in control. No terrible tantrums & no crying… that’s got to be healthier & nicer. No one wants this process to be a battle ground. I’m going with the mantra of… slow & steady wins the race.

Some things I’ve found that have helped; Seth adores the Kandoo Wipes in the little dispenser. He loves pressing the button for when you need the wipes to wipe his bum. I’ve never seen anyone do a yoga pose quite like Seth during bum wiping, whilst he’s shouting “wipe me I’m a mess’… it’s a good job I love him lol. He cracks me up. I got the dispenser from Ocado for around £4. Seth has also loved the magnetic reward chart that I bought from Home Bargains for £2.99. Green Stars for a wee & pink for a poop. He also needs his quillow next to him too each time he sits on the potty. I think he just needs to feel safe & secure. It’s a whole world to him.

I’ve made sure he gets plenty praise, even if he doesn’t do anything on the potty… just sitting on it I’m telling he’s clever. When he has an accident, it’s a case of “oh well, next we’ll try to get it in the potty”. There’s no point being too negative or shouting. It’ll only enforce fear. So overall… it’s been a tough week in some ways… yet I’ve personally learnt a lot. I think it’s made me take a step back & view things more from Seth’s point of view. Again though, I’m no guru, far from it. These are just things that have worked for us.

It feels like such a busy time here at the moment. The invitations arrived for Ted’s Christening.

They’re absolutely gorgeous, I paid extra for the gold lined envelopes. I can’t show you all a pic, as I’ve only just posted them today. Almost £19 to send. So with what they cost to make & then the postage to send them out… it’s come to almost £100. But, he’s worth it. And we did the same for Seth, so it’s only fair we do the same for Ted.

He’s such a gorgeous little pudding. I can’t believe he’s almost 13week old. I’ve bought him a gorgeous outfit from the Heritage Collection at Mothercare for the big day. I’ve seen a few things in Next that I’ll get for Seth. Then it’s just us parents who need an outfit. But, as a parent you always come last. The way it should be.

And, when you’re a parent there’s always less time to get ready on a morning as you’re running round after everyone else. That’s why I love my 3 weekly visit to get my nails done.

I get a gel polish. I keep my nails super short, but since Ted has been born, my nails have been very weak. I’ve started taking Seven Seas Hair, Skin & Nails vitamins. They’re already making a difference I feel. My nails are feeling stronger. Last week I also had a consultation for microblading!!!! I’m far too excited!

I always wear make up. I love doing my make up, but it also gives me more confidence. But, I am very self conscious of my eyebrows. I painstakingly paint them on every day with wax & powder… I use BrowZing from Benefit. But because my eyebrows are so ‘made up’ I then have to do a full face of make up really to fit with them if that makes sense. Some days it’d just be nice to be able to wear less make up & be a little more natural. So for me… microblading is the answer. I’m lucky enough to know an amazing lady who does some amazing beauty treatments. She also does my nails. So of course she’s the one doing my eyebrows too. I have my first sitting this week. Then I’ll have a top up in 6 week time.

So, I’ve had the shape & size mapped, I’ve had the dye/colour match done & all of the health & safety allergy tests. I can’t wait to have full, natural looking eyebrows with hair strokes!!! I’m a victim of the over plucked 90s brow… but not for much longer. Eeeeck… so stay tuned for the results. I’ll be blogging about my full brow journey… Glad brows to Beautiful Brows… or something along those lines lol.

Along with new brows… I’ve gotten myself a new shiny iPhone XR in red. I LOVE it!!!

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Love love love it! Even better when you get a good contract deal that is cheaper than you were paying for your old iPhone! But, as it’s a bit bigger than my old iPhone 6s… I’ve had to sell my beloved Vivienne Westwood pouch. I don’t get on well with phone cases really,  I much prefer a pouch I can put my phone in to stop it getting scratched in my bag etc… I decided to treat myself to a customised Lucrin leather iPhone pouch. I do love a monogram.

Of course I went with the red to match my phone.

Ooooh, something I’ve tried this week is non-sulphate shampoo. Being a natural curly haired girl, my hair can be so high maintenance. It’s very long & super thick. Even thicker since having the boys. I don’t always want to fully straighten my hair, but when it’s left to dry naturally I fall victim to the dreaded frizz. I’ve been reading up on the Curly Girl Method (CGM) online. That’s when I first really took notice of non-sulphate shampoo’s. Palmers make a shampoo & conditioner in Coconut Oil & Olive Oil.

Apparently, the more you use it, the better it makes your hair each time. I’ve only used the coconut one so far & that’s only been once. And I have to say that my hair isn’t frizzy at all. It’s way more manageable already. So I’m really excited to see the results 6 month down the line. I’m really just looking for all of those little beauty hacks to make my life easier & getting ready on a morning quicker. It won’t be long until I’m doing a school run… eeeeck. So getting ready really needs to be as simplified as possible.

Since we’ve all not been well & then with beginning the dreaded toilet training… We’ve literally spent a whole week at home which is different for us. But, it’s actually been nice. We’ve played, decorated cardboard boxes (I mean who doesn’t love a box lol) & had lots of cuddles.

All in all… it’s been a positive week really, even though toilet training is pretty stressful. I mean… on day 2 I booked another holiday lol. Nothing extravagant… a week at Haven in Blackpool. I’m so excited… it’s been years since I’ve been to Blackpool. Seth loves a Haven holiday & I’m sure Ted will too. Hopefully the weather will be nice & we can get down on the beach. If not, then we have the facilities on site as well everything else Blackpool has to offer.

I’m very much looking forward to a nice chilled out weekend.

Seth has football practice, then a birthday party. Apart from that… it’ll be a cosy family time for us. Ted has his 12week jabs this coming Friday… so that’s another very good reason to make sure it’s a quiet one for us.

Well, I think that’s about it really for this little update. Thanks for reading!!!

Oh & for any potty training parents out there… hang in there… we got this!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

 

 

Festive Gift Ideas for Little Ones

9 Dec

Hi folks,

Me & the boys have been having fun the last few weeks playing with & testing some beautiful toys from Hape.

If you’re not familiar with Hape; they are the world’s largest producer of wooden toys. I always think wooden toys have a certain charm. They create that warm, fuzzy nostalgic feeling. And with such a well known brand – you know you’re always going to get good quality, well made products.

We were sent such a lovely collection… so here’s a little rundown & insight into what we have been having fun with;

This looks super cute & simply perfect in Ted’s nursery. It was really easy to assemble – no tools required & I did this one all on my own. It attaches to the cot really easily & is adjustable in height. The colours are beautiful, perfect & eye catching for little developing brains. It also winds up to play a lullaby. The quality is stunning. The music box is a wind up function, so requires no batteries. This mobile would make any little one a perfect Christmas gift as it’s suitable from birth. This would also make a stunning baby shower gift too.

 

My First Xylophone & Piano

We’re big fans of music in this house. Seth has gone to a music based group class from being 12 weeks old. Music is such an important part of development I think. Seth is now 2 years & 8 month old. He’s been having so much fun making music for his little brother. As well as an xylophone, there is a little piano which is made of removable wooden coloured shapes which also doubles as a shape sorter. This toy as a whole helps to develop shape, colour & sound recognition. I love the compact design of this toy. It won’t take up too much room in a toy box. It’d be great for popping in a bag to take over to the grandparents house when they’re babysitting 🙂 Perfect little parcel for any little folk for under the tree this Christmas.

 

Grow With Me Rocking Horse

I cannot begin to tell you how stunning this rocking horse is. Whenever I think of a traditional toy/play room, the first thing that pops into my head is a traditional wooden rocking horse. This is a perfect update on that traditional horse. The backrest has a lovely padded finish & you can even fix a wooden safety guard for younger children.

Ted is going to love it when he is a wee bit bigger.

Seth adores it as you can see in the above pics. It’s so study & strong. All of the edges are beautifully finished off… so smooth, so there aren’t any worries of finding sharpe bits. If you’re stuck on what to buy as that main big gift from Santa, then this would make a stunning main gift. It’s the perfect addition to any nursery, bedroom or play room.

The robust sturdy design of this rocking horse will withstand even the most boisterous of toddlers… Seth is a tad heavy handed at times & this horsey has remained in perfect shape.

 

Battery Powered Engine Set

What a stunning little set this is. The train set is battery powered & each carriage connects via magnets. There are also little trees & even a crane to bring your railway to life… the magnet on the crane lifts the cargo from each carriage. Each train carriage is brightly coloured & beautifully made – simply perfect for little hands. The track itself fits together like a little jigsaw, perfect for developing hand-eye coordination, creativity and sparks imagination. Seth LOVES this train set so much. Any child would adore this engine set.

Hape really do make some lovely things, they’d make any little one a beautiful gift or stocking filler. Hape offer a range of toys to suit all budgets.

Thanks so much as always for reading & happy shopping!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

 

Scorching Summer

3 Aug

Morning folks,

Wow… what a heatwave! I mean I know we’ve had some freak hail storms & some heavy down pours… but I think they’ve most definitely been needed. Our lawns have been so scorched from all this red hot weather. But, we have been out & about having so much fun in the sun – while staying safe of course… lots of sun block, hats & staying hydrated. And what better way than to use some of our new Nuby goodies!

As most of you know, Seth has started his football training with our fabulous local academy. He’s been staying on trend & hydrated with his new Super Slurp Blue Shark Cup The pop out spout is great for on the go slurping. It’s also bite proof which is great for any little ones still teething… we all know how bite happy they can be bless them. The bottle itself is super durable too made from crystal clear tritan from Eastman. So… don’t worry if it gets dropped or thrown in a tantrum.

One of our all time favourite cups is the classic 360° cup. From day one of Seth transitioning from bottles to cups, it’s been our favourite. He utterly adores his new Tritan Wonder No Spill 360° Cup with Car Design. It’s great for popping into your bag for on the go as it comes with a little lid to pop on the top. We don’t go anywhere without a trusty Nuby Cup… especially in this weather.

Here’s Seth enjoying a spot of still flavoured water at his Music Bugs Class. These cups are so easy to drink from for little ones, & they’re great for gearing them up to using a proper cup.

So… who says bath toys have to stay indoors? Not us! We’ve been playing with the new Robo Spinner Bath Toy in the garden. He’s been in the paddling pool & the water table. It’s so easy to clean too – so there’s no problem from going from pool to bath! And as with all Nuby products… he’s super durable & well made – so nasty sharp bits!

I hope you’re all having a fabulous Summer so far!

Love & Huggles & stay safe in this heat!

Hayley & Seth xxx

Stunning Storage Solutions

13 May

Hi folks,

A few weeks ago Seth received the most beautiful custom handmade toy box from The Traditional Toy Box Company

As you can see from the photo above – these toy boxes are so beautifully made. The quality is stunning. They’re also fully customisable which is great for finding that perfect toy box to suit any room & any colour scheme.

As most of you will know, Seth has not long just turned 2 years old. It’s always a bit of a worry with toddlers that they can be a tad too ‘heavy handed’. Before our beautiful toy box arrived I did worry in case it wouldn’t be sturdy enough to withstand Seth on a daily basis lol. Well I can honestly say that I needn’t have worried. The boxes are so solid – they actually weigh quite a lot. Which is great as it shows just how high a quality the whole thing is. The fittings & hinges are also really strong & of good quality – they seem really durable. Which is fantastic since Seth is in & out of the box every other minute lol.

As you can see from the above pics – the toy box does hold a LOT of toys. It’s great for literally throwing toys in at the end of the day, then once that lids down – the room is nice & tidy again.

But it’s also fun to dig around in the toy box & to drag everything out on to the floor too apparently lol.

The top of the box is padded & covered in lovely fabric – which is also customisable. With it being strong & then padded – it makes a lovely little seat. In fact… Seth’s been having fun making little displays on top of it haha.

This stunning Traditional Toy Box would make such an amazing addition to any nursery, bedroom, play room or lounge. I don’t think the photos convey just how beautiful it is. Everyone who has seen it in the flesh has said just how gorgeous it is.

This would make a stunning baby shower gift… you could fill it with so many goodies. Perfect for that collection at work when no one knows what to buy. Or, why not start planning for Christmas in advance. Any child would be delighted with such a beautiful gift. This toy box is big enough to be shared too, so if you have more than one child… this could be a lovely communal toy box. When our little bundle of joy arrives in October, I’m sure him or her will love our communal toy box.

You can also purchase memory boxes too. Perfect for keeping all of those treasured keepsakes safe. Weddings, Births, Christenings etc… What a fantastic thoughtful gift.

Right now, The Traditional Toy Box Company are offering a massive 35% discount! But be quick as this is for a limited time only. Use code: EXCLUSIVE50OFF

If by the time you’re reading this, the fabulous 35% offer has ended… fear not! Simply add coupon code: ixxypoco10 for 10% off.

There is also the opportunity to pay using an interest free payment plan along with a small deposit. Simply head on over to their website for more info.

To keep up to date with news, new designs & offers, you can follow The Traditional Toy Box Company on Facebook & Instagram.

Thank you so much as always for reading & I hope you’ve enjoyed the review!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Teething Troubles

22 Jan

Hi folks,

We all know one of the toughest things to go through with your little one is teething. It’s one of those things when you feel completely helpless. Seth has been struggling off & on for a while now with his back teeth. Well… that was until our lovely package from Gummee arrived!

This Molar Mallet is fantastic & it certainly gets the seal of approval from Seth!

The shape of it allows it to reach back corners of the mouth that other traditional teethers just don’t reach. It’s also got a little bell inside too that Seth likes to shake around like a musical instrument. It’s so cleverly made. When you drop it on the floor it even stays upright! Amazing! Utterly fantastic for when you’re out & about.

The circular guard around the middle also prevents it from being shoved into the mouth too far.

If you head on over to their website – you will find lots of fun & colourful teethers in all sorts of shapes & sizes. You will literally find something on their to help your little one through this tough time. I wish I’d discovered Gummee when Seth was very first teething.

Seth is a tough cookie to please at times – but he just took to the Molar Mallet instantly. He’s been chomping on it morning, noon & night. I don’t know how he’d have gotten through the last 2 weeks without it. He’s cut 2 back teeth this last fortnight bless him.

If you’re looking for a baby shower gift – I’d definitely recommend Gummee… useful presents are always much appreciated & a teether would be very much welcomed. It’s probably one of the toughest things as you can’t really do much to help.

Well, I shall go as I have lots of things to be getting on with… #MumLife… our daily tasks & chores are just never ending! But we wouldn’t have it any other way would we 🙂

Thank you so much as always for reading!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx