July 2011 | Modern Mummy

Friday, 29 July 2011

The Wooden Toy Shop: John Crane Easel: A Review

I absolutely adore traditional wooden toys. I love their simplicity and the craftsmanship required to make them. They also makes me reminisce about my childhood. One of my earliest memories is of being at play school, where they had an entire (kids sized) kitchen, with units, utensils and food all made out of wood. I went back to visit recently and was gobsmacked when I realised they still had the very same toys! They were almost thirty years old and still looked great and worked perfectly!

When The Wooden Toy Shop contacted me and asked if Daisy and I would like to review one of their toys, I was very excited (on her behalf of course....). But it was so hard to choose which product to review! The different pieces of Pintoy Classic kitchen equipment are goooorgeous, as is the entire Play Food range. I also fell in love with the beautiful wooden dolls houses (defo a contender for Daisy's 2nd birthday present) and wanted E V E R Y T H I N G  in the art and creativity department!

After browsing the website for well over an hour, I eventually chose the John Crane Easel, a two sided easel with a paper roll and chalk board. Daisy loves anything crafty and creative and is fascinated by my easel and paints so I had been thinking about getting her a miniature version for a while.

Our easel arrived super quickly and was very well packaged. Putting it together was easy peasy - I managed to do it all by myself in less than five minutes (which really is saying something; just ask Himself!) and I didn't even need to look at the instructions! I was really impressed with the quality of the easel; it's really chunky and sturdy and easily folds away for storage.

Daisy actually squealed with delight when she saw it and spent the best part of three hours chalking her masterpieces on the black board, wiping them off and starting again. THREE HOURS! Never before has a toy held her attention for so long! I managed to empty the laundry bin, hoover the entire house AND prep the evening's dinner without interruption. Amazing!

The John Crane Easel is available from The Wooden Toy Shop here and retails at a very, very reasonable £38.79.

I will definitely be making more purchases from The Wooden Toyshop and recommend that you take a look at their toys and furniture too!

Here are a few snaps of my budding artist in action.....

The Wooden Toy Shop can also be found on Twitter and Facebook xox
I am a member of BritMums and I follow British Mummy Blogger guidelines when I review products and services. In this instance I did not receive monetary payment, however I did receive the item under review for free. I am entirely honest in my reviews and will always discuss the good, the bad and the ugly. If you would like me to review a product for you, please contact me on katyearley 17 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Touro by Hitachi: A Review

Today was the UK launch of Touro by Hitachi and, to mark the occasion, Daisy and I were invited to The Soho Hotel for a big screen viewing of ET and a lunch of radioactive beef burgers and popping candy ice cream!

Daisy looking cool on SWTrains with her Minnie sunglasses, courtesy of Disney

It was an exciting day for madam.... she had her first train ride, her first trip on the underground (not so fun for me pushing the buggy; it's been so long since my commuting days, I had forgotten about all the stairs and escalators!) and her first time at the cinema.

We arrived at The Soho Hotel in time to take part in some science experiments with The Science Boffins and for some face painting, courtsey of Bedazzled Parties. I was also lucky enough to meet a lovely fellow mummy blogger - Lauren from Spud & Spike! Then came lunch and a rare viewing of ET in the very plush screening room where Daisy and I sat together on a cow hide sofa! We were also told all about the Touro (and given a Touro Mobile Pro for keeps!). 

Making slime!


The Touro is a new external storage facility made by Hitachi that provides two levels of data protection. Not only can all your files be stored on the very sleek and stylish mobile drive, which holds a massive 500GB of data; they also have automatic cloud back up and can be accessed from anywhere, at any time through the good old internet. So if you want, or need, access to large files while you are out and about (like moi), or you're a dab hand at losing things (also like moi) then this device is perfect for you! I'm very excited about using mine and taking advantage of the new cloud technology.

The Touro is available from Amazon here.

Massive thanks to Hitachi for a brilliant day! xox

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

MAM UK: A Review

MAM UK recently sent Daisy some goodies - lucky girl!

They are a local company, based in Teddington, a fact that I adore (I am a big advocate of supporting local businesses) and they sell some brilliant baby / todder products online.

They very kindly sent Daisy a shiny new toothbrush and a new drinking cup, both of which have gone down a treat in the Modern Mummy household.....

First up; The Cup. Daisy was sent the 330ml Sports Cup (for kids aged 12 months +) in pink. She loved the colour straight away; I was more impressed with it's size (no sniggering at the back!). We've got to the point now where madam demolishes a 6oz cup of water or juice in one go so whenever we are out and about I have to pack two juice cups. Problem solved!

Being the geek that I am, I looked at the accompanying 'instructions' and noticed that the sports spout claimed to be spill-proof. I wasn't sure if this would be the case as none of the other 'no-spill' cups we've ever bought have done as they're supposed to. However I can confirm after a full day of shaking said cup and holding it upside down (and letting Daisy do the same, much to her delight) that this is in fact truly a spill-proof cup. Hurrah!

The cup retails at £5.99 and is available from the MAM online shop here.

Now onto the toothbrush.

Despite her scowl in this photograph, Madam actually loves brushing her teeth so getting a new toothbrush was pretty exciting!

The brush (called First Brush) is available in lovely bright colours (green, pink or blue) and is suitable from 6 months + (or from the arrival of your baby's first tooth). It has a round head with soft bristles as well as a tongue cleaner / gum massager at the other end. The chunky handle is easy to hold and it is generally a lot nicer to look at compared to all the other toothbrushes available on the market at the moment. Daisy is very impressed that she, Mummy and Daddy now all have different coloured toothbrushes (she and I both had pink until now!).

The First Brush is available online here for the bargain price of £3.05.

If, like me, you hadn't heard of MAM before, I would thoroughly recommend taking a look at their website. There are hundreds of other products available for babies and children of other ages too. I LOVE the Bibetta Roll 'n' Go Changing Mat in pink flowers!


I am a member of BritMums and I follow British Mummy Blogger guidelines when I review products and services. In this instance I did not receive monetary payment, however I did receive the items under review for free. I am entirely honest in my reviews and will always discuss the good, the bad and the ugly. If you would like me to review a product for you, please contact me on katyearley 17 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Totsdance, Twickenham: A Review

When I gave up work to be a stay at home mum, I decided that I wanted to start doing a regular activity with Daisy. Something fun that we could both take part in. So for the last eight weeks we have been going to Totsdance; a dance class for 18 month - 4 year olds which is held at Twickenham Methodist Chuch Hall.

Last Monday was the last session of the term and we really missed it today. It's brilliant. Truly.

I chose a dance class for Daisy because she is full of energy and I thought it might be a good way to wear her out fun for her. I didn't just want a chance to spend some quality time with her; I also wanted her to socialise with other children her age.

It's not a strict, prim and proper dance class - it's fun and very relaxed. There are no tutus or tights. The music is contemporary (and loud!) and makes you the children want to move. In our class there was an equal mix of girls and boys. All in all I think its a fantastic introduction to dance.

The sessions last a little over half an hour, which is the perfect length of time to keep a toddler amused. They start with a warm up - a few dance routines that remain the same each week - and then each week has a different theme with different music and play equipment. Adults join in OF COURSE and I have to admit it's a bloody good work out if you're brave enough to give it your all!

The classes are great as they not only teach children to enjoy music and dancing; they also teach them how to listen and respond to instructions, and share and play with other children - skills they will need when they go to nursery and school.

Totsdance is held on a Monday morning at 10.00am and costs £60 a term (12 sessions) with a half term break in the middle. Classes are also held in Cobham, Hersham and Walton and are available for older children and adults too.

For more information take a look at their website here, or contact the lovely Sarah Dekker on 07966 502557 if you are interested in the Twickenham Totsdance classes specifically.

We are all signed up for the Autumn term.... hopefully see some of you there! xoxox

This is not a sponsored post, and no freebies/monetary payment were received in exchange for writing this post. These are my honest views on a course I paid for in full, really enjoyed and would thoroughly recommend.

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Emma Bridgewater Collector's Day

I've just got back from Stoke. My first ever trip. Spending five hours at the Emma Bridgewater factory was well worth the eight hours of driving it took to get there and back. Seriously.

My friend and I set off from a grey and chilly London at 5am this morning. Yes you read that right. 5AM THIS MORNING! The things I'll do for pretty pottery and a bit of cake.

After three hours in the car and a quick pitstop at Starbucks in Beaconsfield en route (GRANDE, SKINNY, SUGAR FREE HAZELNUT CAPPU WITH AN EXTRA SHOT PLEASE!) we parked up and registered at the factory.

Our day went a little something like this:

8.30am: Registration
9.00am: Shopping - Part 1
9.30am: Bacon butties and tea
10.00am: The Factory Tour
11.30am: Shopping - Part 2
1.00pm: Lunch and talk by Matthew Rice
2.00pm: Shopping - Part 3
2.30pm: Off home

There was also the Queen of Tarts tart making competition, the Beautiful Bantams Show, quilt making and a raffle, which of course I didn't win because I never win anything ever.

It was A C E to be able to meet up with lots of my collector friends, buy some gorgeous samples (no studio specials for me unfortunately; Himself would not have been impressed) and have a factory tour to discover how the pottery is made. We also had a delicious breakfast and lunch, lots of cups of tea and a very sneaky peak at some new, upcoming designs. The highlight of my day was when I met Matthew Rice! *drooooool* *big cheesy grin* The poor man couldn't get away once I'd started talking at him.

Soooo..... let's get down to the important stuff! I bought (drum roll please!) a six pint Black Toast jug, a polka 'Good Dog' bowl for Percival, two egg cups (one a special - polka chicks, and the other egg & feather), a starry skies cereal bowl, a polka sugar bowl, a Royal Wedding mug, a new 'Retro' tea towel (which I'm going to frame and hang in the kitchen) and a copy of the EB Bible by Steven Jenkins which Matthew Rice signed for me!

New designs include casserole dishes, mixing bowls and salt cellars and there will also be new shapes in the popular Sampler pattern. There is also a second mince pie plate design doing the rounds and a new polka design, featuring the polka pattern inside items block coloured in pastel blues, greens and yellows.

I honestly had such a fantastic day; all the staff at the Factory were fabulous, the food was delicious, Matthew Rice's talk was hilarious. I already can't wait to go back next year!

Here are a few photos from the day.... xoxox


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Chessington World of Adventures

Daisy and I have just come back from Chessington World of Adventures! It was a bit of an impromptu day out; I thought madam deserved a treat after an early morning dash to A&E yesterday (my poorly Moo had a fall and needed her eyebrow glued! Awful, awful, awful) plus we've had a week of staying at home and attempting to house train Percival.

I found a bargain Mother & Toddler entry voucher here - £13.50 for both (normal price for adults is £37.20 and it's £27.00 for children over 1m tall but under 12 years of age) - which gave us access to the zoo, sea world and all the rides (yes there were a few that we could go on! ---- more on that later!)

The zoo wasn't massive (no lions or tigers or bears - oh my!) but it did have monkeys, birds, ostriches, zebras, meercats and a few others. The best bit was the monkey walkthrough - where you could walk amongst lots of gorgeous yellow squirrel monkeys! Daisy loved it and was fascinated by one mummy monkey that was giving her baby monkey a piggy back!

There was also a petting 'zoo' - with pigs, goats, chickens and guinea pigs. My fearless child went straight up to them all and said hello! The chickens were her favourites.

The sea life centre was also good, albeit a bit retro - with a sea tunnel and a touching tank where you could touch some of the fishes. Daisy loved the Nemo fish and some bright yellow ones - they also had sharks and pirahnas and sting rays.

After a bite to eat we had a wander around the rides and attempted a go on The Bubbleworks. It didn't go down too well! The carousel afterwards cheered her up a bit, and a cake helped too.

The day was definitely worth paying £13.50 for, although my honest opinion was that the park and sea life centre were both rather dated. I think if I'd paid full price for a family of five I would have left a bit disappointed.

Here are a few photos of our day xoxox


Sunday, 10 July 2011

Friday, 8 July 2011

An award nomination?! Meeee?

I'm very very very excited to announce that I have been shortlisted for Blogger of the Year in the Loved by Parents Awards 2011!

I'm up against some very tough competition - also shortlisted are:

Kerry Farrow - http://www.multiplemummy.blogspot.com/
Sian To - http://www.mummy-tips.com/
Louisa - http://www.everythingisedible.com/
Nomita Vaish-Taylor - www.ebabee.co.uk/ebabeelikes
Fiona Cambouropoulos - http://www.coombehill.blogspot.com/
Catherine Warrilow - http://www.babygenie.co.uk/
Wendy Mcdonald - http://www.insidethewendyhouse.blogspot.com/
Dean Beaumont -
Maja Pawinska Sims - http://www.pinchypants.wordpress.com/

I am now in my tenth month of blogging and I really hope you all enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it.

To vote in the Loved by Parents Awards, click here. xox

Thursday, 7 July 2011

A girl can never have too much Emma Bridgewater...

My sale goodies just arrived! H U R R A H!

I was going to save up all my pennies to spend in the Factory shop (I'm off to Stoke for one of the Collector's Days next week - 8 more sleeps, eeeeeeeee!) but couldn't resist putting in a cheeky online order too, especially with the further reductions, the free P&P, the Mumsnet 10% discount code (MNET - works on sale stuff too) and the 6 for 5 mugs offer.

Today saw the arrival of six new half pint mugs, four cereal bowls (I've never bought EB cereal bowls before!) and a teatowel which I'm going to frame and hang in the kitchen.

I really need a dresser now. It's a crime to keep all this beautiful pottery behind closed cupboard doors!

Head over to their website and treat yourself! I won't tell anyone ;) x
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