Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Next Kids SS14 Preview

During the Easter holidays, Daisy and I were invited up to Next HQ in Leicester for a sneak peak of the SS14 kids collections that are due to hit the shops at the end of this month.

Armed with magazines and coffee (me) and colouring books and sweets (Daisy), we headed up on the noisy carriage (!! - sorry fellow travellers) of the 8.34am train from Kings Cross with fellow bloggers Kylie from Memoir Mode, Ruth from RocknRoller Baby and Bex from The Mummy Adventure and their broods.

The fun continued after we arrived at Next's Head Office. There were hundreds of toys and arts & crafts stations set up to keep the kids entertained (as well as fresh fruit, pastries and juices to stop those little tummies rumbling) so that us parents could have a good old browse around their mock shop.

I love Next clothes for children. I always think they have a huge selection with items to suit everyone and I think they do boy's clothes particularly well. This season I'm loving:

These gorgeous playsuits - grown up sizes please!

Slogan tees - a complete bargain at £4.50 each, 2 for £8 or 3 for £12!

Boyswear. Next do it brilliantly. Vintage tees? Check. Hawaiian shirts? Check.

Festival chic - I can't wait for this Summer!
After we'd checked out the new lines (and had an even sneakier peak at what's to come for AW14) we all jumped on a minibus and headed to local Italian restaurant Cini for a spot of lunch. 

Usually a fine dining restaurant, I don't think the staff quite knew what had hit them when around forty parent bloggers and their families descended upon them - but the service, the food - and the wine! - were excellent and the kids even got to go into the kitchen to help make pizzas!

We had a smashing day - we LOVE the new kids' collections! Huge thanks to Next for inviting us xo

Our Favourite Children's CDs

You might have noticed on Twitter and Instagram that my DARLING husband bought me a car just before the long Easter weekend. YES! A CAR!!!! Brownie points to him for sure.

It's nothing flash, just a little third-hand runaround, but it's an absolute treat for us girls as we've been car-less since we moved out of London due to Himself needing our only set of wheels to get to work, and him working all. the. bloody. time. 

As lovely as Haslemere is, it is AMAZING to be able to get out of it whenever we want - and we spent the weekend at local garden centres, visiting friends and family, and we even squeezed in a day trip to the coast. YAY!

With every new car comes new driving music. Gone are the days of me blasting songs from the Top 40 out of the windows - these days it's more important to keep the little passengers entertained - so I decided to let Daisy choose the soundtrack to our road trips.*

*I may live to regret this.

These are her current top three albums!

Magic Belles Magic Music
Yes our favourite fluttery fairies have released their very first album and it's made up of seven super tracks. The music is aimed at girls aged three to seven and has positive, fun lyrics and catchy tunes that are just perfect for music fans that have outgrown nursery rhymes. Daisy adores the Magic Belles website (where kids can play games and read stories) and she is a fully fledged member of the Flutterbud Club too, which is a free online resource for kid friendly recipes and arts and crafts. The album is currently available to download on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and Spotify and is currently £4.74 on iTunes.

Frozen Soundtrack
Ah yes. The Frozen soundtrack. Of course this is in the car. It has been on repeat since we first bought the album earlier this year and both girls sing along to every song at the top of their voices. I might join in too. *looks shifty*
It's available on CD and as a download from all good retailers. My CD was £7 from Tesco.
PS have you seen this clip from YouTube? It's SO me and Himself! I love the little girl sat in the back of the car completely ignoring her parents! She's like 'oh they're singing AGAIN!'

Radio Go! Go! Go!
I think this is the girls no.1 at the moment, especially after seeing the live show on Monday. It has ten ridiculously catchy tracks that sound a bit S Club 7-y, but for youngsters. I can't deny I regularly find myself singing along to it.... my favourite song is Holiday Bay, Daisy loves 'My Picture of the World' and 'Hey There Sleepyhead' sends Evie to sleep every time!
Again, this album is available as either a download or on CD at an RRP of £7.99.

Enjoy, parents! And please don't blame me when you can't get these songs out of your head! xo

DISCLAIMER: We were sent promo copies of Magic Belles Magic Music and Radio Go! Go! Go! but bought Frozen ourselves.

Micro Scooters, Balance Bikes & Bank Holiday Sunshine

There's absolutely no doubt about it; Micro Scooters are the only type of scooters to be seen on.

I know Mums that have bought their children cheaper alternatives only for them to fall apart, or get neglected because they're difficult to use. Micro Scooters might be a bit more expensive than other brands but they really are brilliant. They're safe, they're sturdy (the micro has two wheels at the front for stability), they are extremely durable (Daisy has used hers daily for eighteen months and it's still in perfect working order) and, most importantly to me, they make long walks a hell of a lot easier for parents - and more fun for kids! 

I knew we would have to get one for Evie at some point, and that day came when she scooted across the living room perfectly on her big sister's mini micro. She was fifteen months old at the time - and I was majorly impressed (Daisy only mastered the art of scooting just after she turned three!)

It just so happened that Micro Scooter had asked us if we'd like to review the pink mini micro 3 in 1 for them so of course we said yes please!  It's the same scooter as Daisy's (which we know and love) but with the seat and O-bar handle. With these added extras the scooter can be used as a ride on to start with (it's suitable for children aged twelve months plus) - then the seat can be removed and it can be used as a small scooter, and finally the O-bar handle can be replaced by the T-bar (which is also included in the set). All in all, this scooter is suitable for ages 1-5 (although I know six and seven year olds that still use theirs) so it's well worth it's £79.95 price tag. 

Evie absolutely adores it and has so much fun trying to keep up with her big sister, both at home and at the park. We had such a wonderful bank holiday weekend scooting in the sunshine! I have a sneaking suspicion that it won't be long before the seat comes off and madam will be zooming around like Daisy!

At the same time, we were also asked us if the girls would like to give the new Micro Balance Bike a whirl. It's for children aged two and up, so Evie isn't quite strong enough to hold it up yet - but Daisy certainly is and she's a big, big fan.

It's lightweight and, with it's adjustable saddle, grows with your child - and can be shared amongst siblings (so long as they don't mind, of course). The wheels are also puncture and mark free so they can be used indoors as well as outside and I find them super easy to wipe down to alternate between the two. The bike isn't quite as easy to transport around as a scooter but it does fit into my notoriously tiny old style Mercedes A-class boot which is brilliant. A bigger bike most definitely wouldn't.

Balance bikes are a great way to help build co-ordination and balance skills ahead of learning to ride a proper bicycle and these ones retail at £99.95 - a perfect price for a perfect first bike.xo

DISCLAIMER: We were sent a mini micro scooter and a micro g-bike for the purpose of this review. All thoughts are my own.