Tuesday, 30 November 2010

On the 1st Day of Christmas Next gave to me....

.....Some Stunning Boots that are Over the Knee!

So today is the 1st day of Advent! I always loved having my advent calendar as a child, infact I still do! My mum would do a special hanging advent calendar with fabric pockets and we would get a little present each day, which me and my brothers would take turns in opening.

This year we have one for BB which Grams has put together, it is so lovely.

www.Next.co.uk

I must tell you this is a sponsored post...Next are doing 'The 12 Days of Christmas' in pictures and contacted me to see if I would like to help promote it.  I love the pictures they have designed (see Day 1 'Partridge in a Pear Tree' above) So it was a complete and utter coincidence that I also got a lovely early present today too...these gorgeous over the knee boots from Next. Thanks Mum, I LOVE them!
Next have some fantastic Gift Ideas this year for Christmas and they also stock some John Crane Toys, which I love!

SO if you still need to buy some Christmas Gifts for family and friends then pop over to the Next Christmas Shop by clicking HERE

A great gift for all the Family: Kodak Photo Books

Last year was BB's first Christmas and most of my family had asked for pictures of her.  I wanted to do something a bit more personal so I had photo books made up of the first year of her life to give as presents and also had a couple of calendars done too.

Although this is a sponsored post I honestly can not recommend Kodak Photo Books enough and I am using them this year too, to help document our family's year.  We take so many pictures and they always end up sitting on our computers for months so having them all put together in a cute little photo book is just perfect!

Kodak’s Photo Book

The Kodak gallery is really easy to use, you login and then you can upload, manage, share and create photo gifts online. The online gallery allows you to share photos and projects through Facebook and email instantly. On Kodak Gallery, you can personalise the perfect photo book, card or gift and it really is so simple.

With the Photo Books you can choose from lots of different book sizes, colours and designs.  And of course they can be for anything, although I have used them to document my daughters first year you could also do one for your wedding album, holiday photo book, baby book, wedding guest book, or a coffee table picture book. And of course they would make the perfect Christmas gift for family and friends.

If you want to create one of these beautiful photo books then we have a great discount code below for you:

Exclusive Handpicked Media: Get 2 Kodak Photo Books for the price of 1 with voucher code 2FOR1PHOTOBOOKS

Terms and Conditions: Valid until 31.01.11 on www.kodakgallery.co.uk Maximum of 1 free Photo Book per customer, voucher code can only be used once. Offer is valid on all Photo Book types (excluding the mini book).



Kodak also have a great competition for one winner to become Kodak's 'Photo Book Family'

This competition is running across ten parenting sites, and one overall winner from all of the sites will become Kodak’s ‘Photo Book Family’.

The ‘Photo Book Family’ will win a Kodak Pocket Video Camera and £50 worth of Kodak Gallery credit.
  • To enter: Send in your best family photo to Kodak.Xmas@ketchumpleon.com, and Kodak will select the winner.
  • Winner requirements: The winner will be required to supply Kodak with footage of their family compiling their Photo Book within 28 days of receiving the prize. Kodak are happy to liaise directly with the winner once they have been chosen, to clarify what elements they could include in their video diary.
• Competition dates: Starts Dec 1st – Ends Dec 12th
Email address to send entries to: Kodak.Xmas@ketchumpleon.com.  This email address will be live from Wednesday Dec 1st and entrants need to send their full name, address and family photo to this address to enter. One entry per person, open to UK residents aged 18 or over.
 
*Sponsored Post

Monday, 29 November 2010

Orchard Toys Review and Giveaway

Ever since we went to New Mummy's Toyologist party I have been a big fan of Orchard Toys.  They do a great range of children's educational games and puzzles, the illustrations are lovely and the colours are bright and bold. 

BB has the Old McDonald Lotto game and she LOVES it.

I really can't rave about it enough. When we first got it BB was a bit young to play it properly (16/17 months) so she would sit there for ages just matching up the cards to the boards.  It was fantastic for her learning and brushing up on all the different animal names.

Hubby or I would tell her to find an animal and she would search for it and place it on the correct picture on the board.

So anyway we were over the moon when Orchard Toys gave us some more of their collection to review and giveaway to one of you lucky readers too, just in time for Christmas!

FlashCards

I have been meaning to get BB some flashcards for a while now as I had heard very good things about them.

These one's are really lovely and bigger than the average flashcards. Although they are meant for age 3+ we use just the pictures at the moment and BB loves them.

At the moment we point to a picture and BB will tell us what it is. On the other side they have just the word written so when she is ready we can use this side for letter recognition too and finally to help her spell. I really recommend getting these, they will last your child for years!

Shopping List Game

I had heard very good things about this game and it is one of Orchard Toys all time best sellers.

It is for 2 players or more and the aim is to be the first to fill your trolley with all of the items on your shopping list. This game is essentially a memory game and so it is really good for children and also good for learning all the food names etc.

Available to buy here and you can also read all the glowing reviews too!

Giveaway
So if you want the perfect stocking filler for your little one we are giving away 2 double sided puzzles to one reader. One Little Bus Puzzle and one Little Tractor Puzzle

 There are a few designs available of these double sided puzzles. As well as the little bus shown here we also have the tractor puzzle to give away.

These are great and BB loves how one side has people and the other side has animals on the bus, she finds it really funny. These are very cute puzzles and would make a great little gift or stocking filler for your little one this Christmas.

To Enter
1) Leave a comment below saying you would like to win and add a contact eg twitter ID so I can get in touch should you be the winner
2) Follow this blog
3) For an extra entry tweet about the competition (on twitter!) mentioning @mummysshoes so I can add your extra entry to the spreadsheet

Simple!

Terms and Conditions:

• This competition will run from the 29th of November to the 7th of December
• The winners will be chosen at random and announced on this page on Wednesday 8th of December
• Competition is open to residents of the UK only
• Prize is non-refundable and no cash alternative is available


The Winner is....

Number 12....

@susankmann

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Silent Sunday: Snow Fun



Silent Sunday

Holidays and The Park Inn by Radisson Competition


Play 4 Park Inn

Play 4 Park Inn


Park Inn Hotels are running a great competition with a chance to win some great prizes at the moment, including a week in Tunisia.

But this is no ordinary competition. Tied in with an online game of “4 in a row”, you can log in an entry to the competition every time you play – win or lose. Pass your lunchtime, coffee break, or any spare moment trying to beat the hotel manager at his own game and be in with a chance of winning some fab stuff.

Hubby and I are trying to decide what to do for holidays next year. We were going to go alone to the Maldives, Mauritius or St Lucia after our wedding reception but when we came to looking at brochures we began to feel a bit selfish and we weren't sure if we could spend 1 week - 10 days away from BB. SO we think we have decided to get a nice private villa with a pool somewhere a bit closer to home such as Italy or the South of France and take BB with us. She has never been on a plane so we don't want to risk a long haul flight just yet!  We can always do our exotic holiday next year when she is a bit older, without the guilt.

Anyway back to the competition...The prizes? Two winners weekly receive an iPad and a £250 voucher (respectively) for Park Inn Hotels, which can be used at over 200 hotels in 16 countries (also valid in Radisson Blu and Hotel Missoni, and includes the UK), and can be used at the restaurant, bar, or simply on your room.

Each participant will also be entered into a final draw for one week's stay at Park Inn Manchester, Park Inn Berlin, or Park Inn Ulysse Resort (in Djerba, Tunisia) plus a £300 giftcard.

I played the game myself and it is simple and doesn't take long.

The competition runs until the 18th of December and entrants must be at least 18 years of age. Full terms and conditions can be found on their site here



Sponsored Post
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Friday, 26 November 2010

Selfridges; Santa's Grotto and Wallis and Gromit

We were lucky enough to be invited to a fantastic PR event at Selfridges on Sunday to visit the Santa Express and see Royal Mail’s limited edition Wallace and Gromit stamps.

We decided we would take the train as BB has never been on one and also decided to do the Tube with her too.  She didn't like the train at first, even though she had been shouting "toot toot" all morning. But after a couple minutes she was fine and it was a very pleasant journey.  She was also amazing on the London Underground too.

We arrived at Selfridges a little early and so BB and I stood in the entrance waiting for the doors to open whilst hubby ran across the road to Starbucks to grab me a Chai Latte.  Whilst he was gone crowds began to build and before we knew it BB was surrounded by 'fans'. I call them fans because there were about 15 people around her taking pictures! 

It was very bizarre, I'm not sure who they thought we were! One lady was over on holiday from Dubai and she was snapping away with her iphone camera, whilst BB was hiding behind her hands. Then there were a group of 6 girls also here on holiday from Japan and they were circled around BB doing the same.  Hubby came back with my chai and wondered what was going on! One lady came over and put the hood of her Pushchair up and said 'there that's better' with a smile.
The window displays use the theme of 'play'

I digress, so after a rather funny half an hour the doors opened and we went to Frankie's Restaurant on the lower floor for a late breakfast put on for us writers, journalists etc. Then the lovely Melanie came over and told us we could go to the Santa Express whenever we were ready. 

Getting ready for Breakfast

The Santa Express train itself was nice and simple, we sat on a carriage and it took us around a room with lots of things to see, finally stopping at some wooden cabins where some elves greeted us and told BB she could go inside to see Father Christmas.
We went inside and there was the old man sitting in a big red chair.  He said hello to BB and she looked curiously at him as he spoke. We then sat next to him and he asked her what she wanted for Christmas etc, she was getting a bit shy so he mentioned that they both had black boots on and she seemed to like that! :-) He gave her a book, we had a picture done and we were on our way. It was nicely done and I would definitely recommend a visit.

My favourite window display...Sylvanian Families trailer park!


The original print is much better quality!

After BB had seen santa we headed over to the Wallis and Gromit area, which features loads of Wallace and Gromit fun.  Royal Mail have just launched their new Christmas stamps which this year feature the loveable pair! 

There are five stamps showing Wallace and Gromit singing carols, posting their Christmas cards, decorating the tree, opening Christmas presents and carrying a Christmas pud. You can buy the stamps in Selfridges, on the Royal Mail website or from your local Post Office

In the same area Selfridges also have a special photo booth where you can take a picture with your family, and have them printed on special stamps, called Smilers.  They are great for adding a personal touch to Christmas cards etc. 

Royal Mail have also launched the site WallaceandGromitStamps.com where you can create yourself in a Wallace and Gromit-style character and share them via email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. And they have a fab competition on there too.

We had a really lovely family day out and loved being surrounded by all the Christmas decorations! 

BB was an angel and slept all the way home!

Result = a very worn out BB

Thank you to Royal Mail and Selfridges for such a great day!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Royal Mail Winnie the Pooh Special Issue Stamps

I remember as a child mum would always get us the special issue stamps from Royal Mail, in their lovely presentation pack. I still have them today.

So when I was sent the Winnie the Pooh special issue pack a pang of nostalgia rushed through me. It has been years since I have collected them and the presentation is still the same. It is most definitely something I will collect for BB now too.



The Winnie-the-Pooh stamp collection celebrates the enduring popularity and love of the honey loving bear, famously created by A.A. Milne for his son, Christopher Robin.  Royal Mail has issued a total of 10 stamps using the E.H. Shepard book illustrations from the original Pooh stories and they are just adorable, don't you think!

You can buy them online on the Royal Mail website here or pop into your local Post Office and buy them over the counter.
 
We have also been lucky enough to get the Wallace and Gromit Christmas Special Issue stamps too, which I will write about tomorrow...they are brilliant!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

We're dreaming of a White Christmas

Apparently by the end of the week we are going to have snow! Eeek best get Baby Belle a SnowSuit.

Here are some white Christmas Gift ideas for you....

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Simplify Your Christmas; It's the little things that count

I love Christmas for so many reasons. It brings back such great memories of having all the family together, having a real giggle and it is just as amazing now with Baby Belle here to join us all. We all lead such busy lives it seems that Christmas is just the ultimate excuse for some warm and cosy family time.

When I look back on all the years it isn't the expensive presents I remember but the time itself and the people who made it special.  So I thought I'd share with you some ways to make Christmas fun without the expenditure.

1) Games - OK it is cheesy and typical but they are FUN and more often then not we end up in fits of giggles. Some of our favourites are charades and cranium.

2) Walks - There is nothing like a good old fashioned walk on Christmas day to help you appreciate everything you have, especially if it is snowing outside, it adds to that festive feeling!

3) HomeMade - One of the consequences of living in America as a child is my craft making addiction. But it is not a bad thing. I love making gifts and homemade cards are so nice to recieve as they take time and effort.

4) Cook - I often make the neighbours chocolate truffles or cookies. They are cheap to make and they are always appreciated...who doesn't like truffles and cookies right?

5) All in the words - Why not write a close relative or friend a letter or poem or even a song if you are musically inclined.

Something which I came across the other week which I absolutely love the idea of are ethical gifts from the Oxfam Unwrapped range...these are people who really need gifts this Christmas. I have added an example below but there are many things you could buy for example for £11 your money could buy a chicken for a family in developing countries. Or for £9 you could help maintain a safe water supply or set up a school or village for the first time, or restore the supply after an emergency.
Product: Protect Women

Worldwide, thousands of women and men are breaking the silence on domestic violence. This gift helps them speak out – supporting everything from radio shows and protests, to petitions and street theatre. Whatever it takes to bring change to their communities. This only costs £30...do a good dead this Christmas.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

London School of Coffee

On Friday hubby and I set off for The London School of Coffee for a morning of Barista Training thanks to the lovely Make Mine Milk team.

We were greeted by a wonderful breakfast and lots of lovely people including the wonderful Sinead and George from Make Mine Milk and fellow bloggers Mummys Busy World,  Metropolitan Mum, Babes About Town, Family Affairs and Other Matters and The Coffee Lady.




We started off with a short introduction to coffee by our trainer for the day, Daisy Rolo, who was so lovely.  We got to do some 'cupping' which is a coffee tasting technique and allows you to determine taste, flavor, fragrance, and aroma. You have to SLURP (technical term!?!) the coffee really fast through your teeth so it sprays to the back of your mouth, it was highly amusing. 

After the cupping we were shown how to make the perfect Cappuccino and Latte and it wasn't as easy as it looked. Here are two of our videos, don't laugh they were our first attempts and we vastly improved by the end of the session, honest!



Visit our YouTube Channel here


Visit our YouTube Channel here


Things we learnt:

•Coffee botany, Arabica and Robusta beans, processing and preparation

•Roasting coffee, freshness, storage and life-span

•Correct procedures of using grinders and espresso machines

•How to set the grinder, dose and pull a shot of espresso

•Troubleshooting, how to spot bad coffee by appearance, smell and taste

•Milk steaming, how to make micro-foam - the silky, shiny milk that tastes wonderful

It was such a fun day and I highly recommend it to anyone, they offer lots of courses and you can even hire the place for team days and events, which we are already planning on doing!

We also learnt a lot about Milk at the end of the session and I will write a seperate post on this very soon as I took away some really useful information and I had some real misconceptions about it too. All the milk talk really left me wanting a big glass of ice cold milk so that is exactly what I asked for on the train home that evening, while hubby was STILL on the coffee!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Stella McCartney Kids Launches

I remember last year being a bit excited when I heard the news GAP had teamed up with Stella McCartney to launch a range of childrenswear. We searched high and low for the cute tutu for Baby Belle. 

Well we have some even more amazing news for you fashion loving mummys out there...Stella McCartney launched her first kids’ collection last week!

Stella McCartney Kids can be found at http://www.stellamccartneykids.com/.  The fun and modern styles for boys and girls, aged newborn to 12 years, will be available to ship in up to 200 countries.

Stella McCartney comments: "I wanted this first collection to include basic pieces that are comfortable and that address a child’s needs, without sacrificing the fun and carefree elements."


Photo Credit Stella McCartney Kids


Each piece from the Stella McCartney Kids collection which also includes styles that have been adapted and shrunken from the main line; has been given a child's first name.
This Lee Military Jacket is one of my favourites from the range so far, teamed with...


...these Nina Skinny Jeans. They scream Baby Belle!

The website is fun and interactive and has a very colourful playful look to it. There is also a section on there called Playground where kids can have fun and explore various features like downloading wallpapers or partcipate in a drawing game. You can also 'create a look' by uploading a picture of your child and creating an outfit from different trousers and garments. 

They have also released an iPhone application which includes special features such as a mechanical drawing game and the ability to instantly shop and browse the designer’s collections through the online store.

Monday, 15 November 2010

A warm feeling for a cold Monday: John Lewis Christmas 2010

John Lewis Christmas adverts always do it don't they?

I instantly go back to my childhood and that warm cosy excitement of Christmas eve. I can't wait to see Baby Belle's face this year, she already loves the lights and decorations and her favourite book at the moment is 'the night before Christmas' by Tony Mitton.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Review: The Dream Town Range

With Christmas on the way I had to tell you about this gorgeous range of toys and playhouses.

Baby Belle has the Puppy Lane Cottage, the Garden with Nutmeg the Bunny and the Dream Town Kitchen with Pip the Mouse. The Dream Town range are so cute and they do so many wonderful things for girls and boys.


1) This is the Dream Town Puppy Lane Cottage with Candyfloss the Puppy . This 'lives' at Grams house and every Friday Baby Belle spends ages playing in it.  I personally really like the look of it, a lot of the time girls playhouses are very 'pink' and not the sort of thing you would want on display all the time but this is very nicely done.

It is lightweight and easy to put together and BB loves the stable design door and the letter box the most at the moment as she is going through a bit of a 'postman' phase :-)

The fact it comes with a puppy and his own little kennel, collar, tag, lead, brush, bowl and biscuit was also a bonus as BB loves dogs!


2) Dream Town Kitchen with Pip the Mouse This set we keep in BB's playroom at home as she loves it so much.  She is a bit too small for a big kitchen set yet and so this really was perfect for her.  It is great value for money and is actually made out of cardboard, which you wouldn't know to look at it.

The oven doors open as does the washing machine and there is a little hole in the side where the mouse lives.  At first this was BB's favourite part but now she loves making dinner for us with her pots and pans and pretend food.

She will spend ages pretend playing with this and is definitely the best buy of the lot!


3) Dream Town Garden and Nutmeg the Bunny

BB has had hours of fun with this set. It includes Nutmeg the bunny, a fabric garden with fence panels, pick-your-own lettuce and daisies, watering can, trowel, flower pot with a flower in and a carrot for Nutmeg

It is really lovely and it folds up quite small which is great for storage too. BB's favourite game is to pretend the bunny is eating all the flowers and then tells it off and gives the bunny the carrot instead!
I really do recommend this range, they are really nicely made and the colours and details are lovely too.

You can visit the Dream Town Club – http://www.dreamtown.co.uk/ – for games, downloads and competitions.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Win a luxury Christmas Hamper






With Christmas just over 6 weeks away we have a wonderful prize up for grabs here at Mummy’s Shoes.  Feast your eyes on this gorgeous ‘Christmas Joy’ Hamper. You can choose to keep it for yourself or it would make a wonderful gift for someone.

This hamper has been supplied courtesy of HamperGifts, who provide a wide range of Christmas hampers, chocolate gifts, and food hampers

This specific hamper includes an outstanding collection of Gourmet Christmas Foods.

It is crammed with Christmas Favouries including an award-winning Strawberry Jam, Rosemary & Thyme Cashews, Christmas Pudding, a Gold medal-winning Apricot & Cinnamon Compote, Scottish Border Pie, Trout Pate and a wealth of other treats. If you want to see what other goodies are included in this please visit this link where there is a complete list of contents. I love the handmade sea grass & wood basket that it comes in the most!


To enter:

a) Follow this blog (via google friend connect on the right or RSS feed)


b) Leave a comment below in the ‘comments’ section with your name and a way to contact you (eg twitter id)


c) (optional) For an extra entry please tweet this competition on twitter using @mummysshoes in the description so I can record your entry or share it on facebook (you can find us at www.facebook.com/mummysshoes)


Terms and Conditions:


• This competition will run from the 10th of November to the 1st of December

• The winners will be chosen at random and announced on this page on Friday 3rd of December

• Competition is open to residents of the UK only (full delivery terms can be found here)

• Prize is non-refundable and no cash alternative is available


Update...The Winner is:

@mamummyblog



Congratulations! It is nice to find a new blog too.
Please contact me with delivery details and I will pass it on to HamperGifts


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

This Week Carly Loves....TeaCup Persian Cats

We have a new love in the Mummy's Shoes Household.

Hubby is half Persian and that means BB is a quarter and sooo there would be no better addition to our family than a Teacup Persian Cat, they are the cutest things and they never grow much bigger than a teacup! 

And so the search begins.....


Taking a toddler to the Theatre: BB's first trip

On Saturday me, hubby, grams and papa took BB to her first live show.

It was none other than 'Show me Show me' with Chris and Pui (did you know they even have a fan site!) Crazy.

Anyway I was Umming and Ahhing a few days before the show, at only 19 months I thought perhaps BB was a bit young for a 1.5hr show and she might be a bit overwhelmed with a theatre of 500 people, not to mention being on the front row with these 'people from inside our telly' in her face.

We all decided we would give it a go, we had the tickets afterall.

I packed a bag with snacks and her favourite toys, with the view to keeping her quiet and content and Grams (who is well practised in keeping children amused on long haul flights, namely me and my 3 brothers) had also brought along some of BB's favourite snacks and some lovely stickers etc.

When hubby and I arrived at the venue BB wasn't phased in the slightest by all the people, she ran up to Grams and Papa with cuddles.  It was noticeable that she was the youngest there so I still felt a tiny bit anxious but I knew that if she was scared we could always just leave and all go for a bite to eat.

Well goodness me, was I wrong? She loved it! She sat on her own chair for a lot of the time and now and then climbed onto one of our laps. Not once did we hear a moan or cry and she wasn't scared at all, even though we were practically on the stage, with how close our seats were. Chris and Pui 'spoke' to her a few times as she had brought along her favourite toy which resembles one of the characters 'miss mouse'.

BB at half time waiting for the curtains to open again

Highlights of the show for BB (judging by her reaction) were the characters incy wincy, twinkle star and the hey diddle diddle cow. I had heard mixed reviews about the show before going but I honestly thought it was very good. The stage/set could have been improved and they could have started the show with the normal counting rhyme they use on the tv show but aside from that it was funny and very entertaining for the children and adults alike!

The highlight of the show for me however was hubby being picked out of the crowd (well OK I did nominate him) and serenaded by Chris and Pui with 'You Are My Sunshine'...he had to stand up and bow to the whole theatre...I was crying with laughter, especially because he is not the sort of person to put himself forward for anything like that!

It was a really lovely day and we were so proud of our little baby belle. We all came out smiling and I'm sorry to say (as it makes for a boring story) it was a VERY happy ending :-)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Cybermummy 2011 Meet and Greet

Breaking news: Cybermummy 2011 has been announced and tickets are on sale!

For those unsure of who is who and who will be there on the big day I am hosting a 'meet and greet' just like last year. It is really helpful to put blog names to faces. So if you want to join in simply write a short bio about yourself and/or put a picture of yourself on your blog and then link to your post below.

So Hi *waves* I'm Carly and here is my meet and greet:

Name: Carly Yeganeh

Blog: Mummy's Shoes

Twitter ID: @MummysShoes

Height: 5ft 5 (when without heels)

Hair: Long Blonde

Eyes: Greeny Bluey Grey

Likes: Persian Food, Olives, Cheese, Chocolate, actually food in general (but not Bacon I'm afraid @cosmicgirlie) Family, Gardening, Shabby Chic, Dance, Cath Kidston, Monsoon, Karen Millen, Bohemian style, Sunny Days

Dislikes:  The Daily Mail, Big Brother Culture and mean people


Wordless Wednesday: Halloween in Pictures

Cakes for the Office

Yummy Cakes


Hard at work Pumpkin Carving



Hubby HAD to do the company logo didn't he! I did the Bat. I didn't get any pictures of the enormous pumpkin!

Me and BB having fun with face paints


Princess Belle
(who was supposed to be a cat but took a dislike to her mask and outfit)

*I will try and add a few more pics soon as the rest are with my parents