Category Archives: Shopping

Review: CarGoSeat a booster seat & suitcase for kids

AD – we were sent a CarGoSeat for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

With the holiday season upon us, we’ve been busy planning a summer of gadding about. Sure, we won’t be flying off on a world tour anytime soon, but we have a couple of short breaks booked which we hope to go on. The first of which is a trip to Ribby Hall in Lancashire, which seems the perfect time to put our new CarGoSeat through its paces.

Review: CarGoSeat a booster seat & suitcase for kids

The CarGoSeat is a great new car seat which combines a group 3 booster seat with a suitcase. The CarGoSeats have 10L of storage capacity, which is great for kids who want to pack their own case for a getaway. The case itself is lightweight which means kids can easily wheel it along with them on their travels.

The CarGoSeat is fully tested to the highest EU safety regulations (ECE R44/04 regulation safety standards) and has been rigorously crash tested. It also comes with a 12 month warranty. It is available in a range of colours, blue, green, purple or pink. We went for the blue which was popular with the boy; and it’s just the thing to take some books and toys away in for our little holidays this summer. It costs £49.99 and would be a good thing to have to save on car seat hire on holidays abroad.

Review: CarGoSeat a booster seat & suitcase for kids

It is really easy to fit and if you open the case there is an instruction booklet if you get stuck. It’s really well designed and you can tuck the seat-belts away inside the case when you’re using it as a suitcase. The seat is padded and comfortable and is suitable for children who are 125cm or taller and weigh 22-36kg. The seat pad is washable and the rest of the CarGoSeat is made of plastic; so it’s great for wiping down any spills you get in transit.

Review: CarGoSeat a booster seat & suitcase for kids

What I liked about this is it’s well built but lightweight; so it’s ideal as a spare booster seat if we are taking extra kids out for the day. I thought it was excellent value for money. The boy was thrilled and wanted to start packing for our next getaway (in a month, he’s excited).

We really liked the CarGoSeat. It’s ideal for short breaks and getaways. My son is really excited about having his own luggage; and he thought the seat was comfortable and pretty cool too. I liked the bright colour and how lightweight it was. I feel a bit more ready for my holiday now, just need to pack some suncream!

Review: CarGoSeat a booster seat & suitcase for kids

For more information about the CarGoSeat or to buy your own, visit their website.

Remembering the good times with My-Picture.co.uk

During these long lockdown days we’ve been trying to slow down a bit and spend more time together as a family. Naturally my camera has been working overtime. Whilst some families have been making scrapbooks or time capsules, I have been taking lots of photos and squirrelling away some of his drawings to make into a photo book of our time in lockdown together.

Remembering the good times with My-Picture.co.uk

This really feels like a once in a lifetime situation, and I hope it is. Despite all the fun we’ve had together, there’s a lot of stress too. My boy has had three months off school and that’s the longest he’s been at home since he was a tiny baby. We have tried to make the most of that extra time together. We’ve camped in the garden and done all kinds of crafts and fun things together. We have the makings of a brilliant photo book and some new canvas prints for around the place too.

I have an idea to take photos of some of his drawings and make them into a big photo collage for the kitchen; which I think will look fab. I’ve discovered My-Picture.co.uk which is a website which prints all kinds of photo gifts, from canvas prints, to mugs and cushions, and you can even get a custom face mask which is just the thing if you’re venturing out again and need to do so safely and importantly, fashionably.

Remembering the good times with My-Picture.co.uk

Over the years I’ve become the family photographer, documenting all of our fun times and first times; our holidays and adventures. Never did I think I would be documenting three months or more of working and studying from home. There have been a lot of things I’d like to forget; but the gift of being at home full time with my son is one I want to remember forever; not to mention all the good times and fun times we’ve had together.

It’s been really helpful to be able to order prints and photo gifts to send to family who we haven’t been able to see for a while too.

Remembering the good times with My-Picture.co.uk

Whether you’re making a scrapbook, a time capsule or like me, putting together a photo book; these are times we need to make the most of and times we need to remember forever. It’s been a real gift to be able to slow down and spend time with my boy. I’m so glad I’ve been able to capture and remember those times on camera. Memories, good memories which will stay with us forever.

HODGEPODGE10– Using this code you will be able to get an additional 10% off all purchases from the www.my-picture.co.uk website.

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Five things you could get your Dad for Father’s Day

Dad’s are easy to buy for aren’t they? A snazzy pair of socks and some beer and they’re happy. But surely we can do a bit better than that? Dad’s are brilliant and if you can’t treat them on Father’s Day, when can you? I’ve got a few nice ideas for things that aren’t socks to give your dad this Father’s Day.

If Dad is a fan of Star Wars, then he might like everyone’s favourite wingman, Chewbacca as a present. Posh Paws have recently released their Chewbacca range, featuring lots of our favourite characters from Star Wars.

Star Wars Toys: Posh Paws Chewbacca Collection

If Star Wars isn’t this thing, then Hallmark have a really huge selection of Itty Bittys to choose from. Last year the boy painted a Superman mug for his Dad and we put a Superman Itty Bitty in it. They’ve got Marvel Itty Bittys, as well as  Disney, Star Wars, DC Comics, Super Hero Girls, The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Wizard of Oz, Peanuts and Wedding itty bittys.

Five things you could get your Dad for Father's Day

We got one of these brilliant MANCUNIAN t-shirts for my other half last year. It was by far his favourite present of the year. From The Manchester Bee Company, this t-shirt is just £15 and is about the coolest thing a Manc can wear. They also have loads of other Manchester Bee themed gifts and t-shirts for Proper Mancs.

Five things you could get your Dad for Father's Day

We love making memories, so a Merlin Annual Pass would make fora brilliant Father’s Day present. Whether you fancy the thrills and spills of Alton Towers or Chessington World of Adventures. Or if you love a bit of LEGOLAND or spending time at a SEA LIFE Centre, the Merlin Annual Pass is just the thing to help you and your family make memories.

Merlin Annual Pass launches its BIG January sale

If your Dad is more of a foodie, what about a nice hamper? A foodie treat always goes down well in our house. This hamper from hamper.com is a lovely celebration of Australian food and drink, it was a real Father’s Day treat for my better half. Plus it’s just the thing to get delivered if you’re not going to see Dad on Father’s Day.

Father's Day Gifts: A hamper fit for a barbecue king!

Lastly, don’t forget to buy your Dad a card. Hallmark have some lovely Father’s Day cards this year, something for every Dad, whatever he’s interested in. Personally the boy has plumped for the card with the badge on, because cards with badges are the best kind of cards!

Five things you could get your Dad for Father's Day

What will you be buying the Dads in your life for Father’s Day? Have you got any exciting ideas planned? 

Father’s Day Gifts: A hamper fit for a barbecue king!

With Father’s Day being in June, it’s a bit of a tradition for us to mark the occasion with a barbecue in the sunshine. The whole family come together, grill some meat, eat huge salads and just hang out together. It’s a lovely relaxed way to spend the day in celebration of the Dads in the family. This year, in a nod to family tradition I’ve ordered an Australian Indulgence hamper for my other half.

The Australian Indulgence hamper is described as “the ultimate hamper for Aussie food lovers”; or just a great thing to bring along to a barbecue. The hamper includes all the things you’d associate with Australia – a jar of Vegemite, a packet of Tim Tams, some Australian Red and White Wine, Bundaberg drinks, a Cherry Ripe bar, Arnotts barbecue shapes, caramelised onion chutney, and of course a bottle of barbecue Sauce.

Father's Day Gifts: A hamper fit for a barbecue king!

The hamper comes in an open wicker gift basket which is a handy thing to have once you’ve finished all the goodies inside. Delivery was free and you can choose next or named day delivery too. I always like it when I can choose the delivery date. You can add a gift message too.

We’ve ordered ours early and it’s been put away ready for Father’s Day. The boy will be making a nice gift card of his own to go with it and I need to pop to the butchers and order some sausages; but otherwise that’s Father’s Day pretty much sorted in one lovely hamper!

The products in this Australian Indulgence Hamper are really recognisable; especially if you’ve been brought up on a TV diet of Home and Away and Neighbours.

Father's Day Gifts: A hamper fit for a barbecue king!

We’ve had a few different hampers before, what I liked about this was it was most definitely a hamper and not just a cardboard box of stuff. Everything was well chosen and I know he will really enjoy the contents. My other half literally has everything he could ever want or need. These days we tend to buy food and drink gifts for him and this really hits the mark.

This hamper cost £79 but hamper.com have a really good range of Father”s Day hampers from £25 and to suit all kinds of tastes. Personally I’d be very happy with the whisky and cheese hamper, but I guess I’ll have to drop some hints closer to my birthday.

I know this Australian Indulgence Hamper will go down a storm at our Father’s Day barbecue; with wine and Tim Tams for pudding how could it not?

What are you doing for Father’s Day? What kid of hamper would your Dad enjoy?

Disclosure: We were sent this hamper for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Treads School Shoes – Are they indestructible?

I’m not sure what my 7 year old son does with his school shoes. Within a day or two of wearing them, they are usually scuffed and fraying. I constantly despair that I spend around £50 a time on something which within 48 hours of first wear look like they’ve been run over by a truck. Treads are a new kind of shoe. They come with a one year guarantee and are said to be indestructible. But can they cope with the treatment my son routinely dishes out to his footwear?

We chose the Madrid style, which is the style of show he usually wears for school. They have velcro straps to fasten them and are comfortable, trainer style shoes, but smart enough to pass a uniform inspection. They are £45 (but are currently just £35 – a bargain!).

Treads School Shoes - Are they indestructible?

These Madrid school shoes are designed for active children. They’re made with soft permair leather and the tough, durable sole is moulded to the upper, so no glue. They have reinforced heels, reinforced seams, they’re scuff proof and have a shock absorbing insole. They appear to be very well-made. My son tends to wear the toes of his shoes quicker than anything else, so it was good to see that the toe area has been reinforced.

Treads School Shoes - Are they indestructible?

These school shoes are fitted with ‘dual fit’ technology which means there is a padded and shaped insole inside which you can remove if you need a wider fit for the shoe. I think this is a great idea, I know the width of my son’s feet seems to change each time we get him measured.

Treads School Shoes - Are they indestructible?

Treads currently have eight different styles of shoe to choose from and the Madrid style we have chosen are perfect for my son. They’re easy to get on and have the easy velcro strap fastener, so he can have them on and be off running within a moment.

The Treads school shoes arrived during the Easter holidays; so although he’s not worn them to school yet, he has worn them for several days to break them in. He’s worn them to an adventure playground and to a local farm; so I feel he’s given them a good work out.

He’s told me that they’re very comfortable, or in his words “like my slippers”. The soles have really good grips and he’s walked over slippy surfaces at the farm in them with no problems. The adventure playground was full of things he could and should have scuffed them on; but apart from some mud splatters they look as good as new.

I am absolutely delighted with them. We’ve tried rough, tough “indestructible” shoes before from leading brands; but they’ve all come home after a few days looking battered and bruised. I have incredibly high hopes for these Treads school shoes. I think, I really really do think these might actually be genuinely indestructible. Even if they’re not, they do have a one year guarantee.

There are several different styles of school shoes on the Treads website, with a girls range planned for next year. If your children have a habit of destroying their school shoes; then I’d say it was well worth having a look at TREADS to see if they are the answer.

Treads School Shoes - Are they indestructible?

Disclosure: We were sent a pair of Treads school shoes for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Chocolate-Free Alternative Easter Gifts for Kids

When I was a child (about a million years ago) we got one chocolate Easter Egg at Easter, if we were lucky. These days my son gets so many chocolate eggs that it takes him weeks to eat his way through them all. A couple of years ago we decided that we would just get him one egg and one or two little Easter Gifts on the side.

Don’t get me wrong, Easter in our house is mostly about giving, receiving and hunting for chocolate eggs. At Easter he gets more chocolate than he can cope with, so giving him something different as Easter gifts makes sense. I’ve picked out some simple and inexpensive ideas for alternative Easter gifts for kids.

What's on in Manchester this Easter?

Hatching Dinosaur Eggs

You can get these absolutely everywhere these days and they’re really fun to hatch. Soak your dino egg in water for 24-48 hours and the egg will crack open and a dinosaur will emerge. We’ve had cheap ones from the pound shop and more expensive ones for around £5. The quality of the dino figure was MUCH better in the £5 egg, so choose wisely. A cracking little Easter present!

LEGO Easter Bunny Hut 5005249

For LEGO fans, what better gift than the new LEGO Seasonal Iconic Easter Minifigure (5005249). Every Easter LEGO brings out a seasonal collectible minifigure and this year’s Easter Bunny is super-cute! This highly sought after LEGO collectible will probably be snapped up quickly, so if you see it, buy it. I believe it is currently available in Sainsbury’s for £4, but will probably sell out fast!

Easter Craft Kits

Easter is a time which is ripe for crafting. There are so many Easter and spring themed crafts you can do with the kids, but we like to buy a couple of Easter Craft Kits and do a few different crafty things over the Easter break. Baker Ross make lots of really colourful and fun craft kits, they usually contain everything you need to make the craft so they’re easy to throw on the table and do with no lengthy set up. We always add a craft kit or two to his Easter bag of goodies.

Tiddlytubbies Board Book

Say eh-oh to the Tiddlytubbies in this bright and colourful board storybook for toddlers! The Teletubbies love to visit their friends the Tiddlytubbies. Now you can visit them too in a storybook that’s ideal for reading and sharing together, not to mention, a really lovely chocolate-free gift for woddlers and toddlers!

Chocolate-Free Alternative Easter Gifts for Kids

The Teletubbies are a great way to introduce little ones to early learning concepts such as colours, counting and numbers. The colourful world of Teletubby land is especially designed to capture little imaginations. These books are perfect for babies and toddlers aged 1+, cost just £4.99 and are widely available.

Playmobil Easter Eggs

Playmobil have really upped their game this Easter. They’ve been making eggs for a number of years now, but this year the range seems to be bigger and brighter than ever. Choose from Dragon Warrior; Kite Surfer; Queen Moonbeam; Tightrope Walker; Vet with Foals; Fairies with Magic Cauldron; Girl with Dino Egg and many, many more! They cost around £6.99 and are a great alternative to standard Easter Eggs.

Easter Treats - Make and Melt Chocolate Egg Heads

Choc On Choc Make and Melt Chocolate Egg Heads kit

Ok, I did promise you a chocolate-free list of alternative Easter gifts, but I had to include this one. The Choc On Choc Make and Melt Chocolate Egg Heads kit contains everything you will need to make and decorate some chocolate eggs. We reviewed it a few weeks ago and whilst everything didn’t go entirely to plan, it was the most fun. It combined three of our favourite things – cooking, crafting and eating chocolate. The kit costs £12 and is a brilliant way to spend an afternoon with the kids. There may be fights over who gets to lick the spoon though!

Cool Customised T-Shirts?

What about a cool customised t-shirt? Printsome are a small company who specialise in printing t-shirts. You could get one of your child’s drawings printed onto a t-shirt, or a photo of their cat, or anything your wild and wonderful imagination can come up with. These t-shirts are also great for groups or to wear for parties. How about matching t-shirts for the whole family this Easter?

What do you think of my alternative Easter gifts? What, if anything will you be giving the kids this Easter?
This blog post contains affiliate links.

Five Gorgeous Unicorn Gifts for under £10

If 2017 could be defined by a mythical creature, it would be the unicorn. This noble beast is so popular this year that I know Father Christmas will be stuffing his stockings with these magical horned horses. Everyone is into unicorns right? Right. So whether you’re buying for a small unicorn loving child, or the unicorn-crazy woman you got in the office Secret Santa, I’ve picked out five gorgeous unicorn gifts for under a tenner. You can’t say fairer than that!

Five Gorgeous Unicorn Gifts for under £10Unicorn Gifts – One

This unicorn badge set (£7.50) contains not one, not two but three stylish unicorn badges. These are made with embroidery thread, stitched in bright colours and come with a gold badge pin. Pin them to your bag, coat or jumper, however you wear them you’ll make a real splash!

Unicorn Gifts – Two

For the girl (or boy) who thinks they have everything, it turns out they don’t. What they really need is a unicorn tape dispenser (£10) which comes complete with a roll of rainbow sticky tape. We’ve reached peak unicorn and I’m happy here.

Unicorn Gifts – Three

If a unicorn tape dispenser isn’t enough (what is wrong with you?), then the matching unicorn rainbow pencil set (£10) must surely hit the spot. Together these make up the unicorn stationery dream team. Don’t they? They must, surely.

Unicorn Gifts – Four

If you’re getting ready for a night out and you’re not wearing unicorn nail varnish (£7) are you even ready? This unicorn nail polish is full of rainbow sparkles confetti and promises give your nails the unicorn magic they need. All nails need unicorn magic don’t they?

Unicorn Gifts – Five

Lastly, if you’re taking notes in a meeting and you need people to respect you for the unicorn lover that you are, then you need this unicorn pencil and topper (£3.95). This cute white unicorn pencil topper complete with golden horn, fluffy pink tail and mane. Using this will ensure your work stands out while you scribble, sketch and scribe.

 

Please note these unicorn gifts are also suitable for children, but do you really want to share them?

Unusually beautiful gifts from Uncommon Goods

With the nights drawing in, my thoughts are turning towards Christmas. I’m determined to be more organised this year and start my shopping early. I don’t have many people to buy for, but I like to buy the lucky few interesting things which have been carefully chosen. I’m always on the look out for something which is unique, which is why I did a little cheer when I stumbled upon the Uncommon Goods website.

Uncommon Goods stock a gorgeous range of unique handmade goods. It’s a place where beautiful handmade products are sold; a bit like a lovely craft market, but online and all in one place. They’re based in America, but they’ve recently started selling their wares in the UK too. This is something which pleases me. I like to think that my family and friends are special and unique people and they deserve special and unique gifts too.

Unusually beautiful gifts from Uncommon Goods

I adore (I really do adore) this Solar System Necklace. It’s beautiful enough as a piece of jewellery, but I love that it represents the sun and nine planets (including Pluto). Handmade in Maryland, USA, this is a really unique and eye-catching piece of jewellery. Costing £40.78, this is part of a wider collection of planet themed necklaces, earrings and cuff-links which would make really unique and interesting gifts for Christmas.

Unusually beautiful gifts from Uncommon Goods

My heart did a little melt when I saw these Baby Fortune Cookie Booties. Aren’t they adorable? They’re just £21.50 and handmade from extra-plush fleece with floor-gripping soles. Each little slipper curls back into a delectable cookie shape when not in use. These are perfect for my friend’s little baby on her first Christmas. Oh my heart. 

There are so many lovely gifts for the menfolk in my life. Take these Mathematical Glasses; they’re really fun and perfect for my brother who is a Maths Teacher. These glasses are so beautifully decorated, I know he will love them. They’re just £28.06 and incredibly unique, I can’t resist. 

Unusually beautiful gifts from Uncommon Goods

There are so many lovely, lovely things on the Uncommon Goods website. It’s well worth taking a look to see what interesting things you can find for your family and friends this Christmas.

This is a collaborative post.

Review: Cinematic Lightbox from Home Treats UK

Are you even a blogger if you don’t have a lightbox? If you’re on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, you can’t have failed to see beautiful photographs featuring a cinematic lightbox. They have been incredibly popular for a few years now and that popularity shows no sign of waning. Lightboxes used to be quite expensive, but they’ve come down in price quite a lot and now you can pick them up for under £15.

I was sent a lightbox to review from Home Treats UK. Home Treats UK are a luxury homeware company that sell a range of furniture as well as fun, novelty bits and pieces as well.

Review: Cinematic Lightbox from Home Treats UK

The A4 sized cinematic lightbox comes with 120 black letters, numbers & symbols included and is housed in a black plastic case. The box has mounting holes if you want to hang it on the wall, I think most people like them to be free-standing, so they can move them about and put them in different places and situations to photograph or dress a room.

The lightbox is battery operated and uses six AA batteries to power the white LEDs inside the box. The boxes are easy to personalise and you can change your message as often as you want. Use them for special occasions or for displaying a quote, or leave a love note for your partner. Sometimes it’s just nice to see your name in lights!

The cinematic lightbox from Home Treats UK costs just £11.79 which is an excellent price. I’m impressed with the amount of letters, numbers and symbols which come with it too, enough to play about with. I like that it comes with an apostrophe and other punctuation marks, as well as stars, hearts and balloon symbols.

If you’re looking for a lightbox to spruce up your home, or make your Instagram feed more interesting, then the Home Treats UK lightbox could tick all of those boxes.

Review: Cinematic Lightbox from Home Treats UK.

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I went along to the opening of the new Silentnight flagship showroom at Barton Square in the intu Trafford Centre near Manchester. Sleeping or thinking about sleeping is one of my favourite things to do, I was keen to have a look around and have a bounce on some of their beds.

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

The new store is home to Silentnight’s award-winning products, with more than 30 beds and mattresses showcased across two floors. On display is the Silentnight Signature Collection, featuring a choice of comfort options including the brand’s award-winning eco comfort products, its exclusive Geltex technology and a premium naturals range. There is also a wide selection of sleep accessories including Silentnight duvets, pillows and bedding.

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

The mezzanine floor showcases “Studio by Silentnight”, a collection of contemporary bedframes and cleverly rolled and boxed mattresses. The new Silentnight flagship showroom has everything you need to help your family get a good night’s sleep; from cot and children’s mattresses, through to premium adult mattresses. Not forgetting a new range of stylish sprung pet beds.

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

Silentnight also offer sleep consultations with one of their in-store sleep experts. Where you can try out a range of different mattress styles to find out what works for you, all with the guidance from an in-house sleep expert. The sleep consultations are bookable in advance and there is no hard sell. I spoke to sleep expert and Retail Support Executive, Tim Higgins who gave me the run down on how to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

Sleep expert and Retail Support Executive, Tim Higgins

Tim’s tips for sleep filled nights –

  • Start winding down for bed in the early evening
  • Make your room as dark as possible, close curtains and blinds
  • Declutter your room, make it only for sleeping
  • Open a window or put a fan on, you sleep better in a slightly cooler room
  • Blue lights from alarm clocks are terrible for disturbing sleep, remove them from your bedroom or cover them up
  • Don’t sleep with your phone or tablet in the room

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

The new Silentnight flagship showroom was opened by star of Location, Location, Location Phil Spencer, who I managed to grab for a quick chat.

I asked Phil for some tips on selling your home, other than trying to keep your house neat and tidy. He said, “most of us move home when we run out of space. When you run out of space it’s usually really obvious. Make it look like you’ve got plenty of room, not too many personal items, clean the windows, maximise the light and don’t over-stuff cupboards because people will open them.”

Phil travels a lot when he’s filming and has a fairly fixed bedtime routine when he’s travelling. He told me “The filming day is quite intense and afterwards I want to have some peace and quiet. I answer emails, order room service, watch some telly. Then I’ll phone home and go to bed as early as I can. I always travel with ear-plugs and an eye mask, I like it to be really dark and quiet when I’m trying to sleep.”

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

He was as lovely as he seems on TV. He has inspired me to declutter my bedroom and sort out my cupboards! Phil is currently filming the next series of Location, Location, Location.

If you’re thinking of buying a new bed or mattress then I think it’s worth visiting the new Silentnight flagship showroom. With so many different mattresses and beds to try; plus sleep-experts who won’t give you the hard sell and lots of discounts in-store; it’s a good place to find out what you want and what you need to get a good night’s sleep.

The new Silentnight showroom is open now at Barton Square in the intu Trafford Centre. For more information about the new showroom visit www.silentnight.co.uk/

With thanks to Jen Dixon at http://www.mymummyspennies.com/ for her company and for taking the picture of Phil and me.