Category Archives: Shopping

Christmas Gifts: Three of the best Baby Walkers for all budgets

If you’ve got a baby in the house getting ready to toddle, a baby walker can be a great way to get them moving with confidence. When the boy was toddling he was given a baby walker which really got him woddling along nicely, and the look on his face as he learned to get around was priceless.

I’ve picked out three of my favourite baby walkers to suit budgets big and small from Online4Baby. They are one the UK’s leading suppliers of baby and toddler products, with a wide-ranging catalogue from buggies to baby monitors and of course baby walkers and ride ons.

Top of the range is the 4Baby Deluxe Car Baby Walker & Rocker. This eye catching racing car style baby walker features adjustable height positions and a removable musical play tray.  Available in red or blue this is just the thing to get those little legs moving!

Christmas Gifts: Three of the best Baby Walkers for all budgets

The 4Baby Deluxe Car Baby Walker & Rocker is £89.95 from Online4Baby.

A great mid-range baby walker is this My Child Walk n Rock Musical Baby Walker & Rocker, priced at just £42.95. This height adjustable Walk n Rock includes an electronic interactive play tray with lights, sounds and music to keep baby entertained. 

Christmas Gifts: Three of the best Baby Walkers for all budgets

I think baby walkers like this are great. They encourage little ones to get moving and are also little activity centres. We had one very similar to this and he loved being in it.

My final pick is the Chicco Baby Steps 2 in 1 Activity Walker, available from Online4Baby at a bargain £17.95. The walker is designed to help your baby safely stand up and take their first steps to independence. When your little one starts walking, it plays a tune, when they stop, so does the music which can really help to encourage your little one to take a few extra steps. 

Christmas Gifts: Three of the best Baby Walkers for all budgets

There are some really great baby walkers on the market these days, all designed to be lots of fun to use and to get your little nipper zooming about with confidence. These three picks from the range of baby walkers and ride ons from Online4Baby would make an excellent Christmas gift for your woddling toddler.

= This is a collaborative post =

Review: Exclusive new Pip Ahoy pyjamas

When I was a little girl nightwear was really boring and generic. It was plain or patterned nighties or pyjamas and that was about it. I think my little brother had a slightly better deal. By the time he arrived “character pyjamas” were just about available in the shops. No self respecting little boy would be seen at bedtime without his Spider-Man pjs.

My boy is no exception. He loves his character pjs and likes to just wear them to hang out around the house in, as well as for snuggling up in bed. The latest addition to his PJ collection is a lovely pair of Pip Ahoy pyjamas. These pjs are available in 59 out of the 88 Toys R Us stores across the UK. They are priced at £9.99. The Pip Ahoy pyjamas come in sizes sizes 2-3, 3-4, 4-5 and 5-6.pip ahoy pyjamasThe boy is a big fan of Pip Ahoy and couldn’t wait to get into his pyjamas. The short sleeved pj top is a familiar picture of Pip and all of his friends from Salty Cove. The bottoms are a lovely blue with a Pip Ahoy badge on the hip. I really like the PJ bottoms as they are a skinny leg PJ which is a style I much prefer on my boy.

 

A photo posted by HodgePodgeDays (@hodgepodgedays) on


They were really comfortable and he snuggled down to sleep in them with no problem. They were easy for him to pull up and down when he went to the loo in the night and he looks so cool in them.

He’s had them a few weeks now and they’ve been in and out of the wash a few times and they still look as good as the first day he wore them, they’re great quality, well made and the colours are still vibrant. These Pip Ahoy pyjamas are a must for any Pip Ahoy fan who dreams of having adventures down at Salty Cove.

Note: We were sent these Pip Ahoy pyjamas for review purposes. All opinions are our own.

Vintage Writers’ Essentials from IWM Shop

This month I’m starting an online food history course with the University of Reading, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time so I’m excited to be taking the plunge. Naturally I’m preparing for it in the best way I know how, not by reading relevant texts and getting up to speed, but by buying notebooks and stationery. This week I’ve picked up a few writers’ essentials which should see me though work and study over the next few months.

The Imperial War Museum Shop is one of my favourite places to find vintage style stationery and homeware and they’ve really come up trumps with this beautiful notebook.

Writers' Essentials

This lovely large leather bound journal is similar to the notebooks soldiers will have carried with them during the first and second world wars. It is stunning, the pages are hand stitched inside the leather cover and there is a band of leather to wrap around it to keep it all together.

The natural paper is thick and speckled, so it looks really authentic and almost handmade. The notebook has a real vintage feel about it too, just having it on my desk makes me feel happy. It’s beautiful and I know when I take this out to meetings or lectures to make notes that it will turn a lot of heads.

The large leather bound journal measures 15.5cm x 11cm and costs £20. It is a real statement piece of stationery and I’m very much in love with mine.

Writers' Essentials

It’s almost impossible for me to do any work without a brew by my side, and I couldn’t resist this mug with one of my favourite non-swears on it. Blimey is something I say quite a lot (and get ribbed for). I’ve always said it, but since becoming a mum I’ve toned down my “effing and jeffing” a bit and I’m all about the blimey and the crikey these days.

Writers' Essentials

There are two different versions of the non-sweary mug, Blimey and Crikey. Either would have suited me well. These porcelain mugs are the standard size for a proper cuppa and cost £9 each – perfect for fans of retro non-swears like me!

Writers' Essentials

I’ve got a few more bits to buy before my course starts, not least my text books, but I’m loving my vintage style writers’ essentials. I always think if you’ve got nice things to work with, then work seems like less of a chore and more of a pleasure.

You can find lots more vintage and retro stationery, books and other goodies on the IWM website.

Note: I was sent these writers’ essentials in return for a review, all images and opinions are my own.

Review: Dust and Things Personalised Gifts

My two boys are an adventurous pair, always going off together for some father and son bonding. I have often thought it would be a good idea for them to keep some kind of record of the things they’ve done and places they’ve visited. So when I spied the Personalised Adventure Box from Dust and Things I thought it would be the perfect way for them to store the memories they’d made together.

Working from their family workshop in Wales, Dust and Things make design-led, personalised gifts for all kinds of occasions. With a unique selection of beautiful personalised gifts including chopping boards and cheese boards, jewellery, slate, coasters, photo fames and much more. They have lots of designs to choose from in each category, but the adventure box really caught my eye. 

IMG_6305

It’s easy to order, you just choose the size of box you want (I went for box 1 which was the smallest box and measures 28.5cm x 18cm x 13.5cm). The wooden box includes a lift up lid secured with vintage style latch and fixings. There are spaces on the online order page where you can add your personalised wording, in my case “Daddy & Benjamin”. On the bottom of the box I had the words “Love from Mummy xx” engraved too.

dust and things

The box arrived very quickly and was well packaged; wrapped in bubble wrap and in a sturdy box. They offer free worldwide delivery too, which is excellent. I was delighted with the adventure box and I knew the boys would love it too. It would make a lovely gift for Daddy’s birthday and extra special with the promise of an adventure to get their keepsake box of magical memories started.

dust and things

The box has a simple, almost rustic look and seems sturdy and well made. It’s plenty big enough to store all the postcards, photographs, train tickets and little trinkets they might find on their adventures. The simplicity of the design and it being a lovely neutral light wood is something I really liked, and it looks great on our shelf, ready to be filled with treasures, or looked through wistfully at a later date. 

The personalised adventure box costs £29.95 with free delivery. I think that’s excellent value for a hand made gift of this quality, especially as it’s something which will be loved, used and appreciated for many years to come.

dust and things

And I was right. The boys did really love it. I guess the adventure starts here….

For more information or to browse the extensive selection of personalised gifts from Dust and Things, visit their website.

Review: The Snug Anti Allergy Duvet from Sleepy People

In the UK Allergy Awareness Week 2016 is on the 25th April – 1st May. It seems a fitting time of the year to focus on allergies, as the hay fever season has begun and is making life a misery for thousands of sufferers. Although I thankfully don’t suffer with hay fever, I do have a few allergies which I need to be careful of, including a dust allergy which can make me especially miserable. Because I’ve extra cautious about dust, I was looking forward to trying out my Snug Cotton Anti Allergy Duvet from Sleepy People and seeing how I got on with it.

Sleepy People are an online bedding retailer based in the UK. They offer a range of products including anti-allergy items. The duvet I chose, the Anti Allergy Duvet from Snug has an anti allergy treatment which is designed to protect you against dust mites, odour causing bacteria & mould residue.

Anti Allergy Duvet

The duvet comes packaged in a thin fabric bag which I guess you could use to pack it away if you were swapping duvets mid year for a warmer or colder tog.

The Snug Anti Allergy Duvet has a 100% pure cotton cover and is filled with anti allergy polyester hollowfibre. It has a tog of 10.5 which is kind of mid range, neither too warm, or too light and ideal for me all year round I suspect. In the summer I tend to sleep on top of the covers anyway and I don’t like to be too warm, even in winter.

Anti Allergy Duvet

The small boy helped me make the bed. He loved how soft it was and said that it felt like a cloud. My old duvet was about 5 years old and had lost its pillowiness so I take his point. Once we’d made my bed up I loved how it looked, my old skinny duvet now looked mean in comparison, now my bed looked like a comfy hotel bed.Anti Allergy Duvet

That night I got into bed and snuggled down, I do believe there are few joys in life greater than clean, fresh bedding. Add a brand new duvet or pillow to that and you’re in the best bed in the world.

I’ve used my new Anti Allergy Duvet for a little under a week. I can’t hand on heart swear that it’s made a difference, but previously I was waking up every morning with a bunged up nose and a sore throat, but so far I’ve woken up feeling fine every morning. I’d not considered that I might be waking up feeling awful because of my dust allergy. Plus it’s super-comfy!

The Snug Anti Allergy Duvet from Sleepy People is currently priced at £29.99 and whilst you can pick up a cheap duvet for around half that, I think that given my dust allergy situation and the fact that I’m waking up feeling normal each morning makes that a good investment. Given the amount of time each year I spend hugging my duvet and snuggling under it, it’s probably worth investing in something a little nicer, like this one.

Note: I was sent the Snug Anti Allergy Duvet from Sleepy People for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own. 

Funny Flowcharts: Which Phone Case Are You?

Last week hubs took delivery of a new iPhone 6. Almost immediately it slipped out of his hands, took part in a comedy juggling routine and ended up (thankfully) on an especially fluffy rug. He’s been a bit more careful since and straight away starting Googling iPhone 6 cases. A wise move indeed.

I found this funny flowchart online to help you choose the right phone case for your phone. I have the very sensible “wallet case” but this funny flowchart tells me that I should really have the “food case”, party because I do get very, very hangry! But which phone case are you?

phone case

You can download this infographic here.

= In collaboration with tech21 =

The No Fuss Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I think this year it’s really crept up on us, I feel wholly unprepared and will spend the next few days with my boy making little cards and gifts. Handmade presents from little ones always go down well, but I can’t help but feel if I presented a homemade pasta necklace to someone as a gift it might raise an eyebrow or two, so off to the (online) shops I must go!

Here are some of my favourite things right now, so this list can also double as a shopping list for any relatives who fancy treating me (hint)…

Olverum Bath Oil – I recently encountered this little bottle of herbal scented joy. This is an invigorating and relaxing bath oil which contains Siberian fir, lavender, eucalyptus, lemon, rosemary, lime and geranium. A little goes a long way and it leaves my (sensitive and hard to please) skin feeling really soft and fragrant and I feel wonderfully relaxed and renewed afterwards. I love this bath oil and I’ll be sad when I eventually run out! Olverum Bath Oil is sold in Harvey Nichols and is available online too.Mother's Day Gift GuideDrop Dead Chocolates – we love these chocolates. There’s something to suit all tastes and budgets. They’re a bit special, not available in the shops and probably the best chocolates I’ve ever had. I love the macarons and their salted caramel chocolates are beyond amazing. They’re letter-box friendly so they’re perfect and convenient if you need a speedy delivery.

Nelson’s Arnicare Arnica Bath & Massage Balm – as the owner of a particularly achy back I use this a lot. You can use it as a bath oil, but I think it is rather excellent to massage in. On the rare occasion I get a massage at home, this is perfect for the job. The balm is made with Arnica combined with evening primrose, sweet almond oil, lavender and grapefruit. It’s not heavily scented, but fragrant enough to relax you. The oil sinks in beautifully and leaves no residue, I love this for soothing aches and pains and it’s excellent value for money too. 

Mother's Day Gift Guide

I’ve recently joined a craft group, so these days I’m never happier than when I’m folding bits of paper, painting plant pots or sticking and glueing. I loved making these tissue paper flowers from Baker Ross, and they look so pretty too. You can read my full write up here, but I’m itching to get my hands on another pack of them. A carefully chosen selection of craft goodies is my idea of Mother’s Day heaven right now!

Mother's Day crafts

And last, but by no means least, if money is tight or inspiration is low, you can print off the voucher below and slip it into her card, you will have to make her breakfast in bed, so make sure you don’t burn the toast!

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Happy Mother’s Day!

Present Ideas for Men – A Funky Sock Subscription

I’m not saying the men in my life are spoilt, but most of the time I genuinely have no idea what to buy them for Christmas and birthdays, let alone Father’s Day. Father’s Day this year has come and gone, after weeks of racking my brain I stumbled across the Henry J Socks sock subscription service. It seemed like a particularly fun gift idea for the man (men) who have everything they need in life. Plus I am sick of the sight of OHs holey socks!

There were a number of options to choose from, from one pair a month for three months, right up to three pairs a month for 12 months. I opted for three pairs a month for six months, which works out at £13.74 per month. Each month my Husband and my Dad will be sent three funky pairs of socks, you just choose your preferred sock style – hooped, plain, heel & toe or random and they get posted to them each month.

present ideas for men

My Dad’s first delivery arrived just in time for Father’s Day, as you can see in the picture above, each pair is individually wrapped in tissue paper and delivery is free.

present ideas for men

They each received three really funky pairs of socks – exactly to their taste. My own personal favourites are the purple and orange spotted ones.

present ideas for men

They were both delighted with their sock subscription and said the socks were very comfortable. They both really like the idea of getting three fresh pairs of socks each month – which I’m hoping means that three pairs of holey old socks will be put in the bin each month.

I think it’s a nice fun idea for a present and one which will be appreciated long after Father’s Day, or whatever occasion you’re buying for. The socks are nicely presented and will be a nice monthly treat for them both, plus I can see me “borrowing” the occasional pair of really funky socks.

For more information about the Henry J Socks Subscription Service, visit their website.

Note: We were given a six month subscription to Henry J Socks for review purposes, all images and opinions are our own.

Review: Wicked Uncle – Online Toy Shop

When it comes to buying presents for children online I want things to be as quick, easy and budget friendly as possible. Wicked Uncle are an online toy shop who source the very best, quirky, interesting and funky toys, games and presents from across the globe. They gave us £40 to spend in the shop to see what we thought about Wicked Uncle.

Firstly, choosing what we wanted to buy from Wicked Uncle was a pretty simple affair. You can search by gender and age, which before I looked properly made me fear for a massive pink/blue split. My fears dissipated when I noticed that you could search by category of toy too, so if you want a construction toy for a girl – no problem, and better still it wasn’t pink and fluffy.

I wanted a nice fun game for the boy which would improve his hand/eye co-ordination. We chose a magnetic fishing game, where you use wooden rods with magnets to catch the fish. We also enjoy cooking together so I decided to get him a flowerpot bread baking kit for us to make together and as a little present we got him an animal torch and projector.

Wicked Uncle

Our order arrived within a couple of days and was well packed and in good condition. I know bubble wrap and those big bubble pockets do stop everything from being bashed about, but I do prefer to see packaging which can be easily recycled. I know from their website that Wicked Uncle try to do their bit in terms of recycling and the environment, so perhaps this is something for the future.

Wicked Uncle

I unpacked the box and I was really pleased with what I had chosen – now we needed to put it to the test! I put the flowerpot bread baking kit to one side, ready for a rainy afternoon, but we immediately ripped open the fishing game…

Wicked Uncle

Which judging from his face he was pretty excited to try. It is suitable for ages 3+ and the boy is 4 and a half. People do think that something marked 3+ will likely be too young for a 4 year old, but generally that’s not the case. It usually means that it’s been safety tested for that age and above. As it happens it was perfect for the small boy. He soon got the hang of it and spent a happy hour or so catching wooden fish with his Grandad and me. He has played with it every day since too.

The following day we had an afternoon in and decided to do some baking. We made a cake and while that was in the oven we set to work making the flowerpot bread. It’s worth reading the instructions well in advance of starting this, as you need to ‘season’ the flowerpots in the oven beforehand, which does take a bit of time, especially if you have an excited four year old asking when he can make the bread.

We enjoyed kneading the bread which was “a bit like playdough” and he told me he’d made bread at school too. All good stuff. We liked waiting for the bread to rise and seeing how much bigger they’d got in a warm corner of the kitchen. Once baked we left them to cool for a little while and then ate them still warm with lashings of butter! We even managed to save some for Daddy when he got home from work.

Wicked Uncle offer a gift wrapping service and include a personalised message card as standard in your delivery, or you can upgrade this to a greetings card for a few extra pounds. Standard delivery is currently £2.95 which I think is good value.

Wicked Uncle had the kind of toys we wanted to buy, things a little bit different and a little bit interesting and at a reasonable price. I think we chose a good range of things to keep the boy occupied and entertained and he’s definitely loved them so far. It’s a nice, easy website to browse and you can narrow down your search quickly, which is good news for busy present buyers.

Wicked Uncle have a fondness for terrible, cheesy jokes and good customer service, for me I just really like their selection of toys which are fun and a bit different and I liked how quickly they arrived. You can’t really ask for more than that can you?

Note: Wicked Uncle gave me £40 to spend on toys and games in return for this honest review. All images and opinions are our own.

I wore a dress last night and didn’t die

I wore a dress last night and didn’t die. I haven’t worn a dress since *counts on fingers* pretty much primary school. I am not a girlie girl, I live in jeggings and t-shirts and am very happy thank you very much. However, I was invited to a swanky do and I needed to wear something I’d not had to sponge the stains off, something a lady might wear. So stand by people, I’m writing a fashion blog post. This may never happen again so savour the moment!

Not being accustomed to frock buying, I enlisted the virtual support of my friend Daisy, she’d recommended ASDA as a decent place to buy nice dresses which were comfortable and more importantly pretty cheap. I was going to a fancy do where I needed to cover up a bit but still look moderately bang tidy.

With her help I chose a lovely maxi dress from ASDA, it cost me just £18. As you can see from this hasty and rather unflattering snap taken by hubs (and I’m stood in front of a pile of socks which are waiting to be balled up), the dress is sleeveless which wouldn’t do, so I bought a large scarf from Primark (£3) to wear as a wrap, the wrap is artfully strewn on the bed beside me. I’m a total pro at this fashion blogging lark!

posh dress

Yes, I’m a rubbish model, don’t judge me 🙂

The dress had a very flattering and quite respectable neckline, perfect for the occasion. I teamed my posh dress with a necklace, also from ASDA which cost me £6 but I really like it and think I’ll wear it again and again. I added a pair of pearl (ish) earrings I’d had tucked away (not pictured).

posh dress

Probably my favourite thing was my Primark envelope clutch bag which cost £4, someone (a man) helpfully pointed out that it looked like an ipad carrying case, and yes my ipad does fit and no I won’t be using it for that. The bag had a slight rock chick edge to it which I liked, making the outfit fractionally more me (blundering, ageing indie kid).

posh dress

I rarely wear make up, so made a special effort for the night, one big thing I did was paint my nails. I bite my nails so decided the week before to paint them to stop me nibbling, it worked and although my nails were short, they didn’t look terrible. I am a big fan of the Barry M Gelly Hi Shine nail varnishes (£3.99 each), I have a lovely blue one, but I treated myself to a slightly more respectable colour, this is Papaya, which is a nice bright coral colour, perfect for the summer.

posh dress

So that was my look. I managed to survive an evening in a dress, I didn’t disgrace myself and I didn’t chuck my dinner down my front. I’m calling all that a win. I just need another occasion to wear my posh dress to now!