Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Review // Muddy Puddles 'Puddle Pac-A-Mac'

Emilia's love of the outdoors is one of the things I love most about her. It doesn't matter what the weather is like as she loves nothing more than a trip to the park, a doggy walk or an outing to the countryside!  
I'm a firm believer in the saying that there's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong gear so we were super excited to be sent a Muddy Puddles "Puddle Pac-A-Mac" recently for Emilia to review*!

I'm relatively new to Muddy Puddles but they are a company who specialise in wonderfully designed outdoor clothing for children. In their words, their vision "is to inspire kids to get outdoors so they will have amazing memories, better concentration, bigger imaginations and healthier bodies".
The "Puddle Pac-A-Mac" priced at £20 is one of their best selling products and amazingly, comes in eight different designs. After much deliberating, I opted for the red spot design which offers a nice modern twist on a traditional polka dot pattern.

The jacket has a lovely shape to it and when it arrived I was impressed at how lightweight it was and the incredible quality of the fabric and stitching. The jacket features a full length, yank proof zip that fastens fully to the top of the neck. Additionally, all seams have been taped and sealed and the hood is elasticated which will help keep little heads covered and dry! It's definitely going to be an item that can withstand our unpredictable British weather!  

Emilia is of average size for her age (almost 2!) and currently wears a mix of 18-24 month and 2-3 year old clothing. I ordered the jacket in the 2-3 year size so that she would get the most use out of it over the next year or so (all parents do this, right?!).
The fit is lovely on her and as it's nice and roomy, it'll be great in the autumn too with a fleece or a jumper worn underneath it! Admittedly, the sleeves are a little long but the cuffs are nicely elasticated meaning we just roll them up a bit and they stay put.

Emilia has worn the jacket a few times now and always seems super comfortable in it. She's quite the fan of splashing in muddy puddles so it's good to know that the fabric is easily wipe-able and fully machine washable! Waterproof clothing can be difficult to look after so I love that this jacket is so easy to care for.
The fabric is breathable so Emilia hasn't been too hot or sticky when she has worn it. It's also super soft so it's still comfortable to wear when she just has a t-shirt on underneath.

The pac-a-mac is perfect for throwing in your bag on summer days or days out. It's so lightweight, you won't notice it's there! Amazingly, the whole thing folds up into one of the pockets too (no separate bag, yay!) and once folded you'll find a secure carabiner clip so you can clip it to your bag or whatever you like. I love this idea!
It's so small that i'll definitely be keeping the jacket in my rucksack ready for those sudden downpours we so frequently see!

Muddy Puddles Pac-A-Macs" are priced at £20.00 which I think is really good for a product of such lovely quality. It's definitely going to be a super handy item that we'll keep using until Emilia is too big for it! It's so versatile and provides a stylish top layer when the weather isn't so sunny!

As an end-note, Muddy Puddles asked me to rate the Puddle Pac-A-Mac on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being excellent and 1 being poor) looking at the criteria below. Here are my scores.... 

* I was sent this item to review but all words are my own

Monday, 29 June 2015

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Review // Worlds Apart 'My First Deluxe ReadyBed'

I might have mentioned it once or twice but we're off to Disneyland in a few months, I'm so insanely excited but nervous at the same time as it will be Emilia's first time abroad. When we made the booking recently, I'll admit that a big worry of mine was where she would sleep whilst we are away. She's at that funny in-between stage at the moment where she's fully outgrown her travel cot (which she loves!) but the move to a hotel single bed would be a bit much for her!

I asked around on twitter and I was pointed in the direction to the amazing range of ReadyBeds from Worlds Apart. At first glance it looked like these would be the solution to my worries! A brilliant all-in-one solution for holidays and sleepovers consisting of pillow, inflatable mattress and duvet. We were absolutely thrilled to receive one to try out well in advance of our holiday*. Plenty of time for Emilia to get used to it!

There are so many designs to choose from on the website including well loved TV characters such as Peppa Pig, Disney Princesses and Doc McStuffins. After much deliberating though, I opted for the "My First Deluxe ReadyBed" which is the high spec version of the product complete with integral soft 100% cotton waffle cover and extra depth mattress as I want my little lady to be as cosy as possible!

The ReadyBed arrived within a few days and I was so impressed at by how small the box was! The deflated bed rolls up into it's own little bag complete with handy carry handle which will make easy work of  transporting the bed. The instructions are super simple to follow too though it's all very self-explanatory. It's just a case of laying it out flat and inserting the pump into the nozzle at the back of the bed.

The battery operated pump is amazing but I must point out though that batteries are not included so make sure you stock up on them before you go off on holiday! Once the pump is inserted and switched on it literally takes about a minute to fully inflate the bed. As it's an all in one product, once you've inflated it you're ready to go!

As we've used the bed quite a few times now, I wanted to share my first thoughts on it!

Emilia is one of those kids who will only nap in her cot or sometimes maybe in her stroller if we're having a day out and she's absolutely exhausted. I was a little nervous about how she'd react to the ReadyBed but once we had inflated it for the first time in our bedroom, she seemed to know exactly what it was and climbed right in!

Over the next day we made sure we told her that it was a bed and that it was a place to relax and get cosy. Imagine our surprise the following day when she climbed in, tucked herself in with the duvet and promptly took her nap in it! I was absolutely thrilled that she felt comfortable enough to sleep somewhere so different. She's actually taken quite a few naps in there now and I couldn't be happier!

I think she loves being able to get in and out of it herself and as the duvet is mostly attached to the bed, she's in no danger of losing covers whilst she's asleep and getting cold. She's also quite fond of grabbing a book or two to read whilst she's in there and often will wake up from a nap pointing out all the little pictures from the story print scene that lines the mattress of the bed.

I'm a huge fan of the deep bed head that wraps around the sides which will no doubt prevent tumbles in the night. It also provides a nice little space for Emilia to have her favourite pillow (a standard cot bed pillow from The White Company) which fits within the space absolutely perfectly.
I'm also surprised by how sturdy the bed is, especially as it's super lightweight and obviously filled with air! Emilia is quite a fussy sleeper and moves around a lot but we've pushed one side up against the wall and the bed seems to stay put with ease.

The duvet cover is a soft and cosy 100% cotton waffle fabric. It's just right for summer but I imagine it will need an extra blanket when the weather gets colder. We're going away mid autumn so I'll be packing a little something extra to keep Emilia warm at night!
In addition, the whole cover is also easily removed should you need to wash it and comes with a handy safety zip to ensure child safety. The zip can easily be undone with a paper-clip or a bobby pin. I've not had to wash it as of yet but this is a super thoughtful feature!

We've been using the ReadyBed once every so often to get Emilia used to it and keep it as a special treat. She really looks forward to her naps in there now and has asked to sleep in it a few times!

Amazingly, the bed is just as easy to deflate as it is to put up. Just unscrew the valve at the back and push the flap in so all the air escapes. Once it is flat it's just a case of rolling it up into it's own bag which has it's own velcro fastening and carry handle. It's so perfect for travelling!

I'm so thrilled to have been given the chance to try out the ReadyBed. It's really put my mind at ease when it comes to thoughts of where (and if!) Emilia will sleep when we are on holiday. I can't wait to take it with us and try it out at night. It's also going to be great at Christmas or on sleepovers, I love how portable it is and it's just so easy to use!
I promise to write up an update once we've used the ReadyBed at night and let you know how we've got on!

You can find out more about the huge range of ReadyBeds by visiting the Worlds Apart website. They even do adult sized ones which would be amazing for festivals and camping trips! This particular ReadyBed can be purchased from JoJo Maman Bebe, just follow this link here to be taken to the page!

* I was sent this product to try out but all words are my own.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Days Out // Sundown Adventureland

On Friday we decided to go on a completely impromptu day trip to Sundown Adventureland, a unique theme park near Retford exclusively designed for children under 10 years old. Sundown is somewhere I've not visited since I was little but I do remember it fondly so it was great to visit it again and see how it has changed!

We had a really wonderful day out and it was lovely to take Emilia to a theme park where we didn't have to worry about ride height restrictions or over enthusiastic teenagers or adults!
The weather was a bit grey and chilly but it didn't stop us having fun. We spent the day going at Emilia's pace, letting her choose what she wanted to do and not rushing to see everything before we left (there's so much to do!).

The theming of Sundown is bonkers to say the least, but this is absolutely perfect for children's imaginations! From those famous monkey swings to an Angry Birds themed outdoor park, there really is a bit of everything. We loved the 'Lollipoppet Castle' which features a puppet show, bubbles that are pumped into the sky, crazy music and heaps of little buildings to explore, all of which are scented like different sweets!

As well as seemingly countless playgrounds and soft play centres, there are numerous rides for children to enjoy too. I'm pretty sure that Emilia' favourite was the 'Santa's Sleigh Ride' (just right for June, eh?!) which was complete with countless Christmas trees, dancing snowmen and more tinsel than you could shake a stick at. Not gonna lie, we went on that ride quite a few times!

Emilia had such a fun day that I'm sure it won't be long before we take her for another trip soon! Here are a few photos and a little video from our day....  

Yankee Candle // Out Of Africa Votive Happiness Boxes

I've been on the lookout for some summer candle scents to have around the house and the brand new Out of Africa collection from Yankee Candle seems to fit the bill perfectly! The official launch for this range isn't until July 2015 so I'm super excited to share the 'Votive Happiness' box* with you today which contains one of each of the new scents in votive size.

The collection consists of four exotic fragrances that evoke the imaginations and spirit of the African continent. They are all absolutely delicious! Scents of musk, orchid and amber are ever so prominent, just right for warm summer or early autumn days. 

Here's a brief overview of the fragrances:

Serengeti Sunset 
Celebrating the haunting beauty of the African sky, Serengeti Sunset is an inviting blend of fruit, citrus, lotus flower and amber scents.

Kilimanjaro Stars 
Kilimanjaro Stars depicts nightfall on the ice-covered peak of Africa’s famous mountain and alludes to crisp, clear mountain air laced with cool mint and earthy patchouli.

Madagascan Orchid 
Beguiling and alluring, Madagascan Orchid offers a nod to the exotic perfume of this rare African orchid

Egyptian Musk 
Egyptian Musk is a captivating musk enriched with hints of vanilla bean and cedarwood. 

I'm a real fan of the Egyptian Musk, I'd definitely say that it is my favourite from the collection. It's a scent that's probably a little bit out of my comfort zone when it comes to candles but I really enjoyed burning it. It has a superb throw and the fragrance is completely irresistible! 
Kilimanjaro Stars comes a close second too as anything containing patchouli always gets a thumbs up from me. They really are all beautiful though and I'd love to have a go at lighting some of the scents together. I imagine that Madagascan Orchid and Serengeti Sunset would burn perfectly alongside each other!   

I'm a huge fan of Yankee Candle votive candles as they are the perfect way to sample new fragrances before committing to a more expensive full size product. They are also amazing to burn if you don't have heaps of time and want that instant burst of fragrance! I like to light mine on their own but you can also use them for fragrance layering by burning different scents at the same time. 

The Out of Africa Votive Happiness boxes are available to buy exclusively from the Yankee Candle website and retail for £6.99 per box. As they are available in a limited number, grab yours quick before they disappear! 

What Yankee Candle scents have you been burning recently? 

* I was sent this product to review but all words are my own!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Living With Less // Change

Less is more. A saying that has recently become so close to my heart. My mission to de-clutter our house has evolved into a complete lifestyle change and I'm really, really enjoying it! Of course, I still have a long way to go but honestly, I'm in no rush. Taking my time helps me to evaluate what is important and not make any hasty decisions that I might later regret!

I've been making a few notes on some of the super positive changes that I have seen in my life now that we live with less. Honestly, these are all true. I wanted to share some of these changes on my blog, if only to inspire me to keep going!

Here we go....

Confidence.  To do what I want, to follow my own rules, to discover who I am (as a mum too!).

The realisation that my worth is more than my possessions. More than the house I live in, the car we own, the job I have, the things I own & the clothes I wear.

The understanding that living with less doesn't mean going without. It's getting that balance, keeping hold of and elevating what is important! 

Less stress. Less anxiety (a big one for me). 

Spending time with people who matter. 

More energy. More time. 

Abilitiy to get shit done, fuss free(!).   

New interests. New direction. 

Renewed enthusiasm for live music and for my music collection (my passion!)

Doing new things. Visiting new places.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Win a Blackpool 'Big Ticket' for a family of four!

If you asked me what I love most about Blackpool, I wouldn't know where to start. I've been holidaying there since I was little, it holds such an extraordinary place in my heart. 
A perfect mix of childhood nostalgia, countless attractions, an ever changing entertainment program, beautiful award-winning beaches, amazing places to eat and a huge amount of regeneration in recent years always keeps me coming back for more.

You might have seen the #BlackpoolsBack hashtag floating around on twitter or the collection of stunning TV adverts for the resort over the past year or so. The campaign has been set up to underline the multi-million-pound investment and regeneration in the town and is a reminder that the resort is home to an unrivalled concentration of world-class family attractions. No matter what the weather or time of year, Blackpool is an absolutely marvellous place to visit for a holiday! 

You might remember last year I wrote a guide to my Top 50 things to do in Blackpool. There is so much to see and do that I could quite probably up the count to my top 100..... we'll see how it goes!

On our most recent trips we have made use of the "Big Ticket" which gains you entry to seven of the big attractions for a set price. It's an amazing and effortless way to visit some of the best things to do in Blackpool and without a doubt there is something on the ticket for all the family to enjoy! From treading the glass SkyWalk 380 feet above the coast at the top of the Blackpool Tower Eye to joining famous clowns Mooky and Mr. Boo at the Tower Circus below, stepping into the glittering world of fame and celebrity at Madame Tussauds and much, much more!

I'm super passionate about Blackpool as a holiday destination so I'm excited to announce this competition for one lucky reader to win a Blackpool "Big Ticket" for a family of four. Such an amazing prize and entering couldn't be easier, just follow the instructions in the box below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The winner will be picked at random on 10th July 2015 and will be notified via email so please ensure you provide a working email address! I must also add that the lucky winner will need to claim the tickets by the end of 2015. 

Good luck! 

Over the next few weeks I'll be writing about some of our recent visits to the Big Ticket attractions to coincide with this competition! In the meantime though you can find out more about what is included by clicking here. Also, why not take a look at the Blackpool Resort Pass which includes tickets for even more attractions including the Pleasure Beach, Sandcastle Waterpark and Blackpool Zoo!