Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Joules...A family favourite

I have been buying Joules products for a few years now.  I remember visiting the original Joules shop in Market Harborough, where it all began!  I have always loved the style and quality, they wash amazingly well time and time again.

I also like the fact this brand was the brain child of a father, who loved the country style but was fed up of the greens and browns and fuddy-duddy image countrywear had.  He managed to keep the country look alive but add pops of colour and funky prints to create a really unique lively brand whilst still being practical and outdoorsy.

I was recently approached by Joules to review their new Pink Pony Lunchbag and seeing as Belle now has pack lunches I knew she would be thrilled with this horse print one.

The outside speaks for itself I think!

The inside of this lunchbag is the best bit though (in my opinion).  It is spacious, has a wipe clean insulated lining, a detachable Velcro compartment and also comes with a plastic container. Even the inside of the flap has a pocket for tissues, cutlery or whatever you chose.

Off to the stables with her pony lunchbag!

As is usually the case with Joules products I think this will last for a while.  At a price point of £14.95 it is superb value for money.  I would have one of these for myself, maybe the Praline Garden version, it's super sweet.  Belle has been using this for a few weeks now and she loves it and I am able to fit so much in for her, including a drink bottle.  

The only slight thing I would change if I could would be to have a plastic/oilcloth coating over the outside/external material.  Saying that, I have managed to wipe it down when it got a few marks on it and we have taken it out on a wet muddy day. 

Whilst we are on the subject of Joules....

I have done a mini haul for you of some of our current purchases

Happy Post!

For Boo

For Belle

For Mummy

Repping Stamford with Burghley!

 Mr Y also has a couple of tops but they were in the wash so I couldn't take any pictures for you. 

Do you like Joules clothing? I love that they are branching out into homewares too.
It has grown in popularity at an alarming rate and I hope it continues to do so whilst keeping the quality.

Belle last year with her little Joules boots and top

I received the above lunchbag from Joules to review but as always all opinions are my own :-)

Monday, 20 January 2014

A Vintage Christmas

2014 is upon us and the Christmas festivities of 2013 are but a distant memory.

With a house move and lots of new things going on I have not blogged a lot, but I do keep my instagram up to date so please do pop along and follow me there, my username is MummysShoes.  It was a reader over there that made me want to post, she said she missed my blog posts.  It made me rather happy, I don't get many comments anymore (just tweets!!) but it would seem that is not a reflection on my readership. So thank you Kirsty for your comment :-)

So much has been going on but for now I will just share some pictures of the end of 2013 with you.  Our Christmas.  I hope you all had a lovely one and please do comment if you have time, even if it's just something you would like to see/hear about in future or simply introduce yourself.  It makes me smile :-)

Picking the tree!

A Vintage Shabby Chic Christmas Theme 
Or as Mr Y put it..."Why are there fairy wings and roses on the tree?"

Our little angel in her school nativity

The advent pixies!

Belle attended her first ever school disco and danced the night away!

Snowman and Snowdog Christmas Cake

'Twas the night before Christmas...

Opening their Christmas PJs on Christmas Eve

I received some rather gorgeous Emma Bridgewater!

 We spent a lovely Christmas Day at my parents house

To end the year we invited all of Belle's class over for a New Years Eve party! 
I needed a sit down afterwards!

A wonderful end to a wonderful year!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Happy First Birthday Our Darling Boy

At the weekend we celebrated our little boy turning 1!

This year has really flown and so much has happened!  I'm not sure how he went from this...

To this...

We had a lovely day with family and friends popping in to see him.

We hadn't planned a party but a lot of people had said they wanted to see him so we told people to simply pop in whenever they want.

He is a very lucky boy.

He lasted all day without a nap and was passed from pillar to post, which he of course loved! All that in spite of having a horrible cold.

The toppers for his cake took far longer then they should have but it felt good making it all from scratch.

I also made a ruffle cake and will do a tutorial on this soon as it was good fun.

Button cupcakes for our little button...

Apr├Ęs blowing out the candles

Soapy Jopey we love you so so much.

You slotted into our family like a missing jigsaw piece and brought so much life and laughter.

You smile at everyone you meet and your giggle is contagious!

You and your sister have an amazing relationship, although she does like to hide your dummies, she loves you so much.  You watch her and try to copy her already. She reads you stories and she sure knows how to make you laugh!

When daddy comes home from work you charge up to the front door at such a speed, you light up his life!  You light up all our lives.

Happy First Birthday!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Guilt and Blogging

I set up this blog without a single thought of it 'growing'.  It was solely a way to document the first years of my daughters life and to write about those precious times.  I completely disregarded the fact that people (other than family and friends) could read it.

But alas, it did grow, and some amazing/unusual opportunities came with it.

Since Boo came bounding into our life I haven't put aside much time to blog.  There have been ample opportunities (I have over 30 draft posts half written) my 30th, holidays, moving house, new schools, milestones etc etc.  Everyday has been filled with some activity and every evening has been spent having quality time with the family or working on my business.  This blog has become an old hobby that I just pick up whenever I fancy it.  Which is what it should be some would say.

Tonight I was going to pop on some pictures.  Hubby has just left for his martial arts class, both kids are in the land of nod and I am sitting down with a cup of tea and the tv on in the background.

I wasn't able to do it.

Images of the people, specifically children, affected by the chemical weapons attack in Damascus brought me to tears.  All of a sudden posting some pictures of my pretty little life seemed an almost nasty thing to do.  Hell, me crying feels like a self indulgent thing to do so blogging certainly does!

This is nothing new. 

I have been battling with this for years.  I think about the hundreds of children that have been killed in Afghanistan and the poor mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers around the world who don't even have a meal to look forward to. How insignificant would a bloody "mummy blog" or "parenting blog" (for those who care to debate the difference) be to them?

I know my intentions are good and I know this blog is for me, my little memory book and my creative side manifesting itself.  I also know I have made some 'real life' friends through the blogging community but I also can't shake the guilt I feel when I post.

This does NOT mean I am judging anyone else, this is simply about me and my guilt.  It is the same reason I don't drink.  I have lots of very close friends and family who drink, they have amazing hearts.  Our lives are very personal journeys.  

I tell myself I am helping other mum's...Not on any significant scale! There is a ton of information out there on weaning, breastfeeding and what products to buy for our privileged children.

I tell myself I am creating a lovely memory book for my children...Perhaps yes...but I want them to grow up knowing what suffering there is in this world, what injustice there is.  Pretty pictures of their life on a blog isn't going to help that is it!?

I tell myself I will carry on, with the intention of turning this into something good, beneficial.  I will post more about current affairs and I will do more charity posts. 

So here I am again, not wanting to post anything to my blog and wanting to help others in this world but not knowing where to start.  We give Zakat each year and I am blessed to be surrounded by friends and family who are very aware of what goes on in this world and the politics behind it and so I give money accordingly.  Mummy's Shoes seems to contradict the deep me, the growing me.

As Belle is getting older (4 going on 14) I also worry about her and the whole social media world.  I see the dangers and it scares me.  I have to lead by example.  I spend so much time reading and trying to be a good mother and endeavor to bring up a strong, confident, compassionate and patient girl.  I try to never raise my voice and I take time to listen and answer her questions, so naturally I question the affect of my "blogging".

So...where to from here?

Friday, 9 August 2013

Eid Mubarak!

Yesterday we celebrated Eid!  

Belle has been very excited this year and curious too about why we celebrate Eid and why we fast during Ramadan.

The weather was really good to us so we headed to my brother's to have a picnic.  

It was a really lovely day and my mum and dad came along to join us too, armed with a few treats.

Look at Belle here two years ago on Eid.  Where has the time gone?

I have a million posts in my drafts at the moment and I keep meaning to blog more.  I will, honestly, very soon.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Monday, 29 July 2013

A weaning great time!

I can not quite believe that we have gone through the whole weaning process again.  It seems two seconds since we were doing this with Belle.  I even wrote about it on this very blog.

We started Spike on solids a week before he was 6 months old.  Some people start sooner but the recommended age is 6 months and he was very happy on just milk until then so we decided to wait.  In true Mummy's Shoes household style he woofed down his first puree (Pear) and could not get enough!  We did a mixture of baby led weaning and puree. It is what we did for Belle too.

Big sister getting in on the weaning action

Rice crackers - A definite favourite snack...he would eat these all day long if I let him!

Corn on the cob - No teeth at this stage but that didn't stop him!

Aside from a few Ella's Kitchen Pouches (love those things, all natural ingredients) I stocked up the freezer with lots of home made purees.  I took a lot of the recipes from the same books I used with Belle...Annabel Karmel's Top 100 baby purees and the complete baby and toddler meal planner book.
We were sent a fantastic new weaning range from OXO tot to try out.  I can tell you the spoons and training cup are the best I have ever come across.  I was already a fan of OXO storage pots anyway so I had high hopes for this range and it didn't let me down.  

Above is Spike at 7 months old using his OXO sippy cup.  This cup is fantastic as it has three different stages and can be transformed into a training cup as well as a normal cup.

These baby food freezer blocks are great and have measurement markings on the sides

I find Spike a little more stressful then I did his sister, when it comes to feeding.  Belle would suck and gum all her food very well and she was quite delicate with her food.  Where-as Spike seems to like to jam his mouth full with as much food as is humanly possible.  This results in a LOT of gagging!  It took me a while to realise when he was choking and when it was just his gagging reflex (which is much further forward on babies then an adults is).  I still (he is now 10 months old) panic a few times a week and I am hoping he will get better now his two bottom teeth have come through or I may just go grey!

We have been very lucky with both of our babies as there is no food they have refused.  Spike will happily gnaw on a gherkin or a raw onion.  I think introducing these tastes early is a good thing.  Belle still loves so many foods and is a magnificent eater!

So all in all weaning went well.  I just hope Spike calms down on the choking soon so I can have more confidence in giving him large chunks of food.  Did anyone else have a baby like this?

Disclaimer:  We were sent the OXO items for the purpose of review however all opinions, words and photos are my own.

Monday, 1 July 2013

A trip to Hamleys where they reveal the TOP toys for Christmas 2013

It may only be June but last week we ate mince pies, sat under a Christmas tree and played with LOTS of toys!

Belle and I were on a press trip to Hamleys where they revealed their predictions for the Top Ten must have toys for Christmas 2013.  Belle was impressed with a lot of the choices but I shall keep you in suspense a little longer by first sharing some snaps from the day...

Train Station...One of the highlights of the day for Belle!

Belle loved this Hollywood Pedal Car, featured as one of Hamleys "Exceptional Eight" gifts for Christmas RRP £250

Hello Kitty Heaven in Hamleys!

A quick visit to the baby section for Spike

In Hamleys Party Room
These 'Zelfs' (shown on Top Middle and Bottom Left) were one of Belle's favourite things and featured as one of Hamleys 'recommended toys' for Christmas.  They are very similar to Trolls.  RRP £9
I also have my eye on the Limited Edition Tutu (Top Right) by Luvley.  Made with Swarovski RRP £250

Another find of the day which I am going to have to get for baby Spike is the new F1 Lotus Trunki RRP £65

One very happy girl full of Christmas spirit en route home!
Thanks for having us Hamleys!

And without further ado I give you Hamleys Top 10 Toys for Christmas 2013!

(From Top Left to Right) 
VIP Pets £14 - These little pets all have their own unique characters, from a bohemian nature lover to Lady Gigi, a famous party planner
Doc McStuffins Doctor's Bag £26 - Let your little one become Doc McStuffin who 'fixes' toys with her glittery doctor's bag.
Teska Puppy £75 - A robotic puppy that responds to your voice, gestures, lights and sound. Teska can bark, cry, whimper and you can even teach Teska tricks!
LeapPad Ultra £125 - The LeapPad Ultra is tougher than ever and practically an iPad for kids now. Play, write and draw on the 7" hi-res screen and capture the world with both front and back cameras and video recorders.
The Lion Chi Temple £125 - From an Eagle drone fighter to the rotating tower canon, Lego doesn't get much better than this! 

(From Top left to right)
Monster High 13 Wishes Dolls £23 each - With the Monster High DVD "13 Wishes" due for release later this year these "freakishly fabulous dolls" are set to be a big seller!  
Robo Fish £14 - Already one of the fastest selling toys of all time, there are now eight different Robo fish to collect.  This fish, once placed in water, really does act like a real fish!  
Sulley Monster Mask £40 - Not only can you look like Monster University's Sulley but this mask is truly child powered - you control the facial movements! 
Chasin Cheeky £26 - Try to toss rings onto the tail of Chasin' Cheeky as he moves and be the first to grab the banana. 
Furby Boom £75 - Furby Boom, coming soon! A top seller last year and set to be the same this year but exactly what we can expect is still Top Secret so keep your eyes peeled!