Thursday, 25 August 2011

Me, John Lewis and the Mad Blog Awards

Today, I had possibly the most amazing email EVER to drop in my mailbox.  It came from Sally Whittle the organiser of the MAD blog awards telling me I had been selected to have a personal shopper at my local John Lewis Store and £250 to spend on my outfit for the final. 

I can't tell you how blown away I am by this gesture.  For those who follow my blog and twitter stream you will already know that for the last eight or so years we have been living on a very tight budget.  We rarely have any spare cash for treats and I hardly ever pay full price for anything.   I can honestly say that blogging has been the only thing that has enabled my family and I to have all the wonderful experiences, toys and treats in the last 18 months.

Having such a wonderful treat to spend all on myself on NEW clothes is fantastic, although I am already pushing the thoughts of what I could spend that kind of money on for the family, firmly to the back of my head. 

I thought I would just pop over to the John Lewis website to browse some of their clothes and shoes to see what kind of outfit I might choose.

What do you think......

or maybe this ........

or this .......

and what about these ....

I promise to update this post with the outfit I actually choose  xx

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz / Humf DVD Giveaway





Maria Robertson
Lisa Troccoli
Nick and Katherine

Nicola Mather
Joanne Blunt

Please email me your address details to  Please note the dvd's will be sent to you direct from the PR company.  They have advised me that they will not send them out until the launch date which is the 19th September.  Please do contact me if you do not receive your DVD within a week of that date.


*******giveaway now closed ********

We were recently sent a copy of Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz to review.  On sale on DVD from 19th September 2011 from Warner Home Video priced £4.99 RRP.

The twins love all things Tom and Jerry and this DVD is no exception.

They're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz! Join Tom and Jerry as they soar over the rainbow and travel down the yellow brick road in Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz, an all-new animated retelling of the classic tale.

Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz features all the popular characters: Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Lion, the Wicked Witch of the West, the Wizard, the Munchkins.  Also all the classic songs, including Over the Rainbow.  The story is told including the antics of the cat and mouse duo as they get twisted up in a twister, go paw-to-paw against flying monkeys and storm the Wicked Witch's castle in a heroic attempt to get Dorothy and Toto (and themselves) safely back to Kansas. After all, there's no place like home!

 Not so impressed by Humf these days, the twins at six years old are far tooooo grown up to watch this lovely little chap.  Mummy on the other hand is not !  I love the Humf stories and used to really enjoy sitting down with the twins in their pre-school days to watch.  He is short and round and purple and cuddly. At three years old, Humf is full of wonder at the world and is always eager to explore the new things he sees around him and it’s this that forms the basis of his many delightful adventures with his best friends Loon and Wallace.

Whether you want some cuddle time on the sofa or some "free" time to cook, clean and generally run around the house, Humf and the Fluffy Thing is packed with 10  adventures and includes a bonus disc containing an additional 6 FREE episodes !.

Available to buy from 12th September 2011 priced £9.99 RRP Cert. U from Entertainment One.

Humf, narrated by leading British actress Caroline Quentin, can be seen everyday on Nick Jr where it has been entertaining young children and parents since 2009. The show currently ranks in Nick Jr’s Top 5 shows and following unprecedented consumer demand, the first Humf books and toys will launch this Autumn ensuring that Humf tops pre-schoolers wish lists this Christmas!

I have several copies of both DVD's to giveaway.  All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me which DVD you would prefer - Tom and Jerry or Humf.

For additional entries (not essential just increases your chances) leave one additional comment for each of the following :

Follow this blog

Follow and comment on Twitter HERE  

Follow and comment on Facebook  HERE

Giveaway ends on Tuesday 30th August at 8.00pm  - winner picked at random. and will be notified via twitter DM or Facebook Message.

DVD's will be sent direct from the PR company, name and address details of winner will be required.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Boys and Girls

I love to work my way through new followers on twitter looking for inspirational independent businesses.  Take a look at this bright and stylish site aptly named  "boys and girls" with clothes for babies, boys and girls designed for the urban lifestyle.

Some of my favourite pieces (also happen to be on sale at the moment )

Big star Hoodie was £24 now £16.80

Never have enough stripy tops was £14.00 now an amazing £4.20 !!!

Tattoo romper was £18.00 now £5.40 !

Girls or Boys Star tee shirt was £12 now £6.

If you are an independent business selling products for children, maybe running a sale or a special offer at the moment. Please feel free to comment and link up your website  below.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

ToysRus Giveaway

Many thanks to all who entered.  The winner picked at random by Milo is :



As part of this year's ToysRus Toyologists campaign, ToysRus have very kindly offered to supply additional toys for my giveaway's, saving me the expense of the postal costs I had last year.  For my first ToysRus giveaway I thought it might be nice to make the prize a bit like how it is for us receiving a box containing several items.  I  saved up the competition toys from my first three boxes .

If it's not too early for you to start thinking about Christmas, you might like to enter to win a bundle of toys to take the edge off all the expense.

First item :

Pirate snakes and ladders.  RRP £9.99  We had this last year, a great, classic family game.

2nd item :

Construction Knex Dinosaur Model set RRP £22.99

Third Item :

Jack and Jill game  RRP £9.99

To enter to win the bundle of toys above you will receive one entry for each of the following (absolutely no obligation to do all of them, just increases your chances of winning) xx  :

Follow this blog

Leave a comment below

Pop over to the ToysRus facebook page and like them HERE  lots of other toyologists running competitions

Follow me and comment on twitter HERE  

Follow me on facebook and comment HERE

Competition closes on Wednesday 24th August at 8pm
Winner picked at random and notified  via twitter or email.
Toys will be sent out direct from ToysRus - email and delivery address will be requested from the winner at time of notification.


Friday, 12 August 2011

McVitie's Jamaica Ginger Cake and Rustie Lee

Do you remember Rustie Lee ?  A wonderful, bubbly, funny lady from Birmingham with the most infectious laugh, all over our screens in the 1980's.  She went on to be involved with cookery.  Take a look at this fab sketch between her and Les Dawson, its a hard soul who doesn't laugh.

Rustie recently teamed up with McVitie’s to create a series of delicious recipes.  As part of her new range of delicious desserts using McVitie’s Jamaica Ginger Cake as the key ingredient,  she has devised a tasty alternative to chocolate truffles. You can watch Rustie create the truffles on Facebook, simply visit:

McVitie's also recently gave their Jamaica Ginger Cake a new  look, dont worry the receipe is the same, its just the packaging thats changed. To celebrate, McVitie's are giving away a dream holiday, you have only a few days left to take part.  Jamaica Ginger Cake Competition

Incase you hadn't guessed, yes, this is a sponsored post and I was paid (but I do love Jamaica Ginger Cake) : ) xx

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Five go adventuring - Elastoplaststories

All is quiet at home this week.  The three boys have gone to stay with Grandma and Grandpa in Cheshire, now while this means I get to have my bed all to myself (apart from the hubby), awake to the sound of bird song not boy screams, eat when and what I like and not have to constantly jump up to the demand of "mummy",  I was just a teeny bit nervous this morning when I rang my mother to be told they were all off on an adventure today!  Not to the ball park, which would be an adventure in anyone's book, no they were off on a "real" adventure.  Across the busy road and into the W.O.O.D.S to have a picnic !  

Like most people of my generation (growing up in the 70's)  yes, I did say the 70's I am soooo Retro you know.  We spent all of our Summers outdoors.  We weren't allowed inside, except to eat and then only on Sundays did we eat indoors at the table, once the meal was finished we were pushed back outside so that mum and dad could go and have "a lie down" !  

Come rain or shine we packed ourselves off with jam sandwiches, bottles of pop if it was near dad's payday and water if not and off we would trot.  To the woods, or the local farmers cornfield to run, make up elaborate stories, pretend we were from the famous five or those kids off the double deckers. 

We even made a den once in a sewer !! Can you imagine ! crawling the length of a pipeline underground to get to the storm drain  at the end where we would sit and scare each other with stories of ghosts and water rushing in and drowning us, with no thought that actually it could !  If my mum had known !!  We survived unharmed, save for the odd case of impetigo !

Maybe this is why I am so protective now of my own children. 

So when my mum told me she was taking my six year old twins on an adventure today my immediate reaction was to tell her not to let them out of her sight, make sure she went in the woods with them, watch what trees they tried to climb etc etc.

This afternoon an email pinging into my in box from the PR who cover elastoplast with this really topical video and subject.  Apart from the little girl running around in her pretty pink dress (not very adventurous attire if you ask me) its a good common sense message.  Take a look at the video (worth it just to lust after the gorgeous Nick Baker).

Interesting statistics.  85% of children are longing for more adventure in their lives and that over half 52% have never camped in their own back gardens ! (I am guilty of this one, always seems like such an effort when I know they will be in and out the house all night and finally return to their beds at 3 in the morning). 

"4 out of 5 parents agree that it's crucial for their children to experience adventure. However, concern for their kid's safety (55%), not having the skills and lacking the confidence (20%) to cope with new activities is holding parents back ".

Elastoplast are launching a new campaign Adventure4Kids

Where children can recreate their adventures and tell the stories behind their cuts and scrapes using an online interactive story-teller at   The best story will win a luxury 5 star family holiday to Greece.

For the first 1000 stories submitted on the website, Elastoplast will donate £5 to children's charity, Over The Wall (a charity which provides life-changing experiences and adventures for children with serious illnesses).

Take a moment to pop over and look at the website and maybe even get your children to join in.  Its a fab, easy to use interactive site.  When th twins get home safely from their adventures at Grandma's we are certainly going to have a go at winning that holiday !

This is not a sponsored post, I was not paid or incentivised in any way (I know shocking isn't it)  : )  xx

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Back to School

I thought if I wrote a post about back to school it might make the next few weeks move along a little !  Not that I haven't "enjoyed" having my little darlings home alone most of the summer holidays, but there really is a limit to how much you can entertain twin six year olds on a limited budget and without the use of a car.

Anyway, take a look at some of the great products I found from Independent Retailers.  No chance of them mixing up their bags, lunchboxes or stationery with this wonderful selection.

The Colouring bag is available from LeonandCoco  go take a peak, they have a great selection of handcrafted bags and backpacks all suitable for girls and boys to go back to school or nursery.

Cut down on the chance of loosing your pencil case at school. This great idea of a combined personalised pencil box and ruler lid should help. Available from GoodHeartGifts  they have a great selection of personalised items for back to school including lunchbags.

Gorgeous and affordable, PE, gym, ballet or you name it bags available from Missymoomoo  A wonderful selection of personalised and appliqued bags for boys and girls.

Seriously cool for when its cool ! How about this fantastic Lambswool pencil scarf ! Available from Saracarr

Looking for an ethical and reusable way to package their snacks ?  How about this great idea from Juicytots  the Ecosnackwrap.

If this coming school year means the start of school life for your child, take a look at this lovely Memory book.  Time really does fly once they start school. Store all their school firsts in one place.  Available from Copplestone and Brown

Please support Independent Retailers

Monday, 1 August 2011

School Shoes - Terra Plana Vivobarefoot kids - Update

Its not often I revisit an old post for an update, but I am so impressed by the Terra Plana Viobarefoot shoes we were sent for the twins, I had to give an update.

The twins scoot to school everyday and like many children I see, seem to think their shoes are an extension of the brake.  This takes its toll on their shoes.  When Jarvis wore his Viobare shoes for the first time, my immediate though was "these soft shoes won't last a week".  Take a look at the picture below.  Jarvis' shoes are still going strong.  Milo's on the other hand (which are not Terra Plana shoes) have about a week's wear left ! 

Lets face it, school shoes are vastly overpriced, but this brand has a serious amount of technology and research that has gone into making the shoes do exactly what they say they will.  They are worth every penny.

Jarvis' shoes on the left, Milo's on the right.  Picture taken before I cleaned them .

Please read the rest of the original post below.  I cannot recommend these shoes highly enough.

We were recently really lucky to be sent new shoes for the twins from Terra Plana Vivobarefoot  Not a brand I was familiar with although I don't know why.  Described as The original barefoot shoe, after seeing and feeling the twins Rooty style I think they might just take over from my current comfy shoes too !

Established in 2004 Vivobarefoot became pioneers of the barefoot movement (for runners)  by launching the first shoe with a patented ultra thin puncture resistant sole. This revolutionary footwear was created in collaboration with podiatrists and footwear specialists and has since evolved to include a children's range.  Read the Facts  Make sure you watch the video, its fab!

The twins shoes are stylish and look and feel ultra comfy.  They arrived boxed and packed in their own shoe bags (very Jimmy Choo) ! The boys couldn't wait to try them on and ran around the house in them shouting "I'm NEVER taking them off" !  They even wore them sock less, which as most mums to young children will know, shoes can be a constant source of " too tight" " too loose"  "they hurt" " etc etc.  Also available in half sizes which makes all the difference when buying shoes. 

Also available for girls, The Pally would be perfect for school, available in a selection of colours including black below.

They don't come cheap, but then considering all the technology and research that has gone into them I certainly think they are up there with the high street brands who make a small fortune off the back of "school shoes", make you wait for hours and hours in hot, crowded shops full of screaming babies and grumpy kids.  Retailing for £49 definitely makes them competitive and worth asking Grandma to pay those few extra pounds for ! 

Available to buy online unless you are lucky enough to live in London or Brighton.

I was not paid for this post and all views expressed are my own.  I did receive two pairs of shoes to review and keep .


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