2012 | Modern Mummy

Saturday, 29 December 2012

A Modern Mummy Christmas

Well Father Christmas has been and gone and its all over for another year! We had an absolutely lovely first Christmas all together in our new house. 

 ....We got to watch Daisy play a sheep in her nursery nativity play....



.... I was a cruel mama and dressed my girlies up in matching Christmas jumpers....


.... Himself and  I got super excited wrapping all the girls pressie's on Christmas Eve....


 .... and pretending to be Father Christmas and Rudolph!

  
THIS was my favourite present!


And our Christmas lunch was divine


Wishing you all a very Happy New Year ~ see you in 2013 xoxox
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Friday, 21 December 2012

Make Your Own Christmas Cards with the Kids

Nothing quite says 'Merry Christmas' like a homemade card and Daisy and I spent a morning last week making some for our friends and family.

I'm a bit of a geek and love to collect bits and pieces to use in crafting sessions (we have no less than eight drawers full of stuff saved up at the moment!). It's a crime to throw anything away when it comes to crafting; almost everything has a use! From toilet rolls to pieces of ribbon and scraps of material and old birthday cards - if you're keen to get crafting with your small people I would whole heartedly recommend keeping a drawer full of odds and ends to get out on a rainy day. 





To make our cards we used (clockwise from top): coloured pens and pencils, glitter, sellotape, snowflake stamps and punchers, old Christmas tags, sweet wrappers, normal A4 computer paper, card and envelopes (of course!), felt, wool, ribbons, PVA glue and pipe cleaners

The snowflake puncher and stamp both came from Hobbycraft (there are lots of different sizes available here) as did the pre-folded cards and envelopes, the pipe cleaners, the wool and the felt. The glitter and glue came from good old Poundland (its fabulous for cheap and cheerful crafty stuff) and the sweet wrappers, ribbons and old Christmas tags were things we had lying around.

Making Christmas cards is so much fun ~ its a great way to spend a few hours with the kids, especially if you have a bit of festive music playing in the background and lots of mince pies to keep your energy levels up!


We made a COMPLETE MESS but had awesome fun in the process!



And the finished products didn't turn out too bad either!


Top left: This card was made by sticking a square of felt onto the card, covering the felt with glue and sticking a star shaped tag onto it and then sprinkling glitter all over it. The excess glitter was shaken off (and saved to reuse! ~ never waste anything when crafting!!) and the star was peeled off. Voila!

Top right: This was Daisy's creation. Glue was squeezed onto the card in a zig zag shape (you could do ANYTHING) and all different colours of glitter were sprinkled over it to leave a rainbow zig zag effect. The sweet wrappers and wool were added later.

Bottom left: A purple sweet wrapper was glued onto the card and glitter added as a border. The snowflake shapes were the off-cuts of the card on the bottom right.

Bottom right: A square of felt was stuck to the card (again, this could have been a sweet wrapper or a piece of coloured paper) and wool used to make a border. Glitter was also added to the border. Then snowflake shapes from the puncher were glued on.

This is our entry to Moneysupermarket.com's Christmas Card Craft Off competition. If you've been getting crafty this Christmas you can enter the competition here - they have categories for both adult and child entries.
xoxox
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Monday, 17 December 2012

The Motherhood

This is the most amazing video I have ever seen. So amazing I'm not going to say anything more about it.

Enjoy! xoxox


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Christmas Pyjamas ~ The Essential Gift!

You may have noticed I've been tweeting about Christmas traditions a fair bit recently. That's because, since starting my own family, I have been keen for us to have lots of our own. 

This year, for the first time ever, we chopped down our own Christmas tree at an event the National Trust hold every December (you can read all about it here). We had such a lovely day that we have decided to do it every year on what will officially be known as Christmas Tree Day (original, non?!) and which will involve choosing and chopping down our tree and having a winter picnic together before heading home to decorate the house!

We've also carried on some traditions from our childhoods, such as declaring Christmas Day the only day of the year you are allowed to eat chocolate before breakfast, getting super dressed up for lunch and, one of my favourites, buying eachother pyjamas as a gift every year!

Yes, PYJAMAS! When I think of Christmas presents, I always think of PJs. I have been given a pair every year for as long as I can remember. And every year, as soon as Christmas lunch is over, I have changed out of my party frock and into my new jammies and got comfy on the sofa, ready for an evening of silly games and festive telly with my family.

This year Christmas came early for me and Joe Browns sent me THE MOST AMAZING ONESIE (and slippers!) I HAVE EVER SEEN!

Check me out!

I don't think I have ever felt so cosy!

The Warming Onesie comes in a very festive red and white and in three different sizes.

The Furry Trim Slipper Boots are ankle length so easy to slip on and off, they are lined with super soft fur and also come in three sizes.

Priced at £34.99 and £14.99 respectively, these would make fantastic Christmas presents for friends and family alike and it's not too late to order from Joe Browns either! Give the high street a miss and buy some pressies online - Joe Browns sell heaps of gorgeous lounge wear (as well as other clothes and gifts for the home) and orders placed by 3pm on Tuesday 18th December will be received in time for Christmas. 

Happy shopping! xoxox
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Sunday, 16 December 2012

MaterniCare Pre & Post Natal Nourishing Cream: A Review

Just after having Evie I was sent out a new 'wonder cream' to review. It is called MaterniCare and has been developed by pregnancy skincare specialists to help take care of your skin during and after pregnancy.

Here's a little fact for you. Did you know that your skin stretches an average of TWO SQUARE FEET when you're pregnant? And then it returns back to normal in a few short months. Wow. That's a lot of strain for your skin to be under ~ it's no wonder that so many of us develop stretch marks in the process.

Ah stretch marks. Or tiger stripes as I prefer to call them. In actual fact it is a massive 75% of us that get them during pregnancy - on our bellies, boobs, hips, bums, pretty much anywhere and everywhere. But what causes them?

They appear when collagen tears below the skin ~ which happens as we get older, or lose or gain weight rapidly ~ basically when our skin loses its elasticity. Moisturising the skin helps to keep it strong, smooth and supple and supposedly stops stretch marks appearing.

MaterniCare, which contains a unique blend of plant oils and essential vitamins (including the all important pro-vitamin B5), claims to help prevent the appearance of stretch marks, relieve the itchy dryness that can affect us during pregnancy and also helps to keep our skin soft and resilient.

Although the science behind the cause of stretch marks and the benefits of this cream both sound perfectly logical to me, I am personally of the opinion that stretchmarks are hereditary and, as such, no amount of preventative moisturising will help if you are predisposed to getting them. I used a certain well known brand religiously when pregnant with Daisy, spending hundreds of pounds in the process, yet I still have a tummy covered in tiger stripes!

I DO however think that there are some products out there that help reduce the appearance of these marks and MaterniCare is one of them. In just a few short weeks my stretch marks have already started to fade - so much quicker than after I had Daisy - and my body has enjoyed the pampering sessions it has been receiving twice daily too!

The cream itself is rich and luxurious and smells clean and fresh. It isn't greasy and, at £14.99 for a 200ml tube, is much more affordable than a lot of other products on the market at the moment.

It is available at all good chemists and online from Forum Health here. It gets a big thumbs up from me xoxox
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Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas Lights Giveaway: The WINNER!


Thank you to everyone that took part in my Notcutts Christmas Lights giveaway

Rafflecopter has now worked its magic and the winner of a set of these magical twinkly lights, worth £29.99, is.......

{drumroll please}

VICKY HALL-NEWMAN!

Vicky, please will you contact me with your address details so that I can arrange for Notcutts to send them to you. Well done! :) 

Merry Christmas everyone xoxox 
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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Parsnip Crisps: The Ultimate Festive Nibble!




I love parsnip crisps. 

I love the sweet, buttery, slightly spicy taste of parsnips however they're cooked but the crisp texture of them when they're cooked this way makes them melt-in-your-mouth DIVINE. PLUS they are a vegetable so scoffing hundreds of these little niblets all contributes towards your five a day! Yes REALLY.

You can buy packets of parsnip crisps in the shops quite readily these days (mixed root vegetable crisps are even easier to find, with most big brands selling a variety) but nothing beats the taste, and smell, of a warm, crunchy, peppery homemade bowl of these little beauties - and they are so easy to make it's almost a crime to buy the ready cooked ones.

What you need.
A vegetable peeler
A mixing bowl
A baking tray and sheet of greaseproof paper

Ingredients.
Parsnips! Hundreds of them! (On a serious note, two parsnips will make a regular packet of crisps worth)
Olive oil.
Salt & pepper.


 

What to do.
Pre-heat the oven to 200degrees.
Peel your parsnips, then use your vegetable peeler to slice super thin ribbons.
Place them in a mixing bowl, drizzle olive oil over them, sprinkle with black pepper and use your hands to make sure all the parsnips are evenly coated.
Spread out onto a piece of greaseproof paper on baking sheet; try and make sure they are all separate so that they crisp up easier.
Bake for twenty-ish minutes - give them a shuffle once or twice during the cooking time. You'll know when they're done as they'll be golden brown and look like crisps!
Pat the excess oil off of the cooked crisps with a bit of kitchen roll and add salt to taste.
Enjoy a few while they're still hot - then serve at your festive drinks party alongside lots of delicious mulled wine and cider! xoxox
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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Make Christmas Decorations with the Kids


So the school holidays are nearly upon us and soon we are all going to have to come up with things to keep the kids entertained. Nothing could be simpler than these super-cute Christmas tree decorations.

All you need is:



3x lolly sticks
Green paper
Goggly eyes, sequins and/or pom poms (you can buy big mixed bags of these in *ahem* Poundland)
Ribbon/curling ribbon/string
Glue

To make them you just need to glue the three lolly sticks into a triangle shape with the two top corners overlapping to look like antlers.
Cut holly leaf shapes out of the green paper and stick on one corner with berries made from sequins or pom poms.
Stick goggly eyes and another pom pom on to make the reindeer face.
Add a length of ribbon at the top to enable the decoration to be hung from the Christmas tree.

Ta dah!!

How adorable are they?!

This really is an extra easy craft project that even pre-schoolers will be able to do with the supervision of adults/older children. Have fun making them! xoxox
 

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The Quickest and Simplest Mince Pie Recipe for Busy Mamas

I have always been a big believer of cooking from scratch. Not only do I find the whole baking / meal preparation ritual incredibly therapeutic (I even find watching cookery programmes relaxing!) but I also like to know what is going into the meals and treats I am making. 

Since having Evie five weeks ago, I've had next to no time to do any baking. In fact the recipe I'm about to post is the very first time I've baked since her arrival. This is very unlike me, especially at this time of year, when I love to make lots of festive nibbles to offer friends and family when they drop by. I have, however, found the time to watch a fair few cookery programmes (mainly during the night feeds!). 

Those of you that follow me on Twitter will know I'm a massive fan of The Great British Bake Off (I have all three series Sky+ed!) and I am a fan of Ruth Clemens, a contestant from the first series, in particular. She has a fantastic baking blog called The Pink Whisk, that I read regularly (have a read of it yourself here) which is packed full of brilliant recipes. She also has a number of videos on YouTube (her tutorial on how to make Christmas Biscuits, which are divine, can be seen here).

So now I am a proud mama of two I have slowly come to the realisation that if I want to carry on with my baking while my girlies are small, it might be time for me to take a few short cuts.

I'm not talking bashing mince pies from Sainsbury's gently with a rolling pin before passing them off as my own at the school Christmas party a la Kate Reddy in Allison Pearson's book 'I Don't Know How She Does It'. Like I said, I ENJOY baking and when you take pleasure in doing something, you will always find the time to do it.



I just feel the time is right to cut a few corners. At last I am just going to accept it. And so I bring you The Quickest & Simplest Mince Pie Recipe for Busy Mamas, where the ingredient list might include ready made pastry and shop bought mincemeat ~ but the finished product really is homemade!

This recipe makes twelve mince pies.

What You Need.
Muffin/yorkshire pudding tray
Rolling pin.
Pastry cutters.

Ingredients.
Mincemeat. I actually made mine myself when I was pregnant and the recipe I used can be found here. However it is perfectly fine to use shop bought stuff - I will be doing this next year! Just make sure its the best quality you can get - you don't need much, a 400g jar is more than enough.
Ready made short crust pastry.
Sugar for dusting (any is fine - most would recommend caster or icing sugar but I prefer the crunchy texture of granulated).
An egg (for eggwash).
Butter (to grease tin).



What To Do. 
Pre-heat your oven to 200degrees.
Grease your yorkshire pudding tin.
Roll out your ready made pastry so that its super thin (2mm ish).
Use a pastry cutter (or the base of a mug like I did!) to cut out the bottoms of your pies and line the tin with them. Prick each base with a fork so the pastry doesn't rise.
Add a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat to each pie.
Use a smaller cutter for the tops. At madam's request we used a bell shaped one. Place the top of the pies on top of the mincemeat. If you are sealing your pies (use milk to do this) then prick the pastry with a fork again. 
Cover with eggwash and dust with sugar.
Put into the oven for 20mins ish (you will know when they are done - they will be golden brown and look and smell AMAZING!)



The downside of cooking is usually the washing up, however I am a bit of a geek and I actually quite enjoy that too! Persil's Warm Spice Washing Up Liquid makes the whole experience even MORE enjoyable as it smells just like mulled wine. We're talking orange and cinnamon and ginger and cloves. So even if you're not mulling wine or baking mince pies, your house can still smell beautiful and Christmassy!

This post has been sponsored by Persil.

xoxox
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Sunday, 9 December 2012

Christmas Tree Day!

Saturday was Christmas Tree Day for the Modern Mummy household! Hurray!

We usually put our tree and decorations up on the 1st December but this year we held out until the 8th so that we could chop down our own, and hopefully start a new family tradition of doing so every Christmas.

We visited Witley Common (just down the road from us in the Surrey Hills) and helped the National Trust clear scrub and pine trees - and as a 'thank you' were allowed to pick out and chop down a Christmas tree of our own to take home. We loved the idea of doing this - it meant we could spend some quality family time together in the great outdoors, help our local community and the environment (clearance helps to conserve the heathland's rare habitat for its special wildlife) - and get a tree at the same time. Perfect, non?



We picked a gorgeous, huuuuuge tree and a teeny tiny one for Daisy's bedroom and had great fun chopping it down and carrying it through the woods to our car!


If you live nearby and would like to join the National Trust for this Christmas tree event, they will be clearing the scrub again next Saturday (15th December) in between 11am and 3pm. You can drop in anytime and stay as long as you like and ready cut trees are also available for a donation. 


After tying the tree to our car and taking it home we then had the fun of decorating it (and the rest of the house!).

We just l-o-v-e Christmas and have been gagging to get all our festive bunting and ornaments out in our new house. The front room is still a work in progress but we are getting there, and now that the tree is up and the lights are twinkling it really does feel like home!







I just love the view of the tree from outside, the twinkly white lights look so pretty and make the room look super cosy.

Which brings me onto a lovely Christmassy giveaway!

We've teamed up with Notcutts, the family-owned garden centres, and have a set of warm white LED cone lights worth £29.99 up for grabs! All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

There are five ways to take part (which means a grand total of five entries per person!). You can leave a comment below, follow me and Notcutts on Twitter, like Modern Mummy on Facebook and tweet about the competition too. The competition closes at midnight on 14th December 2012 and the winner will be announced on here, on Facebook and on Twitter on 15th December. This competition is open to UK residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions
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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Garden Games Wigwam: A Review


She may be obsessed with pink and dressing up as a princess but, believe it or not, my Daisy Moobags is actually a bit of a tom boy.

She loves nothing more than splashing about in muddy puddles, climbing trees and making dens - so when Garden Games asked us to review one of their play tents I knew we would have one uber excited little girl on our hands.

The lucky thing was allowed to choose the tent she wanted from this fabulous collection and, rather surprisingly, seeing as there was a fairy princess tent on offer, she opted for the super cool native American wigwam (which was secretly my favourite too!)




The wigwam is 1.2m tall and has a diameter of approximately 1.4m which makes it perfect for indoor use as well as outdoor. The height makes it feel spacious while the diameter means it doesn't take up much floor space. It was easy to assemble - I did it myself! - and the six wooden poles holding it together makes it feel really solid and robust. The decorative textile cover is strong and tough - perfect for your little savages to run in and out of and generally cause trouble! - and it will protect them from the elements when the weather isn't too favourable which, lets face it, is most of the time!

The wigwam is recommended for ages 1 and above and is a brilliant play tent that will keep your little people occupied for hours on end - and for many years to come.

This would make a perfect Christmas present and is currently for sale at the fabulous price of £49.99. xoxox
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Lollipop Lane Stroller Giveaway: The WINNER!


 

 Thank you to everyone that took part in my Lollipop Lane stroller giveaway!

Rafflecopter has now worked its magic and the winner of one of these fabulous strollers is.......

{drumroll please}

PAULA FAZEKAS!

Paula, please will you contact me with your address details and choice of stroller so that I can arrange for Lollipop Lane to send it to you. Well done :) xoxox
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Saturday, 1 December 2012

Twickenham Green Christmas Fayre

 
It's the first of December! Which can only mean one thing....

Fifteen days to go until the very first Twickenham Green Christmas Fayre!

Yes that's right, on Sunday 16th December, at 4pm, Twickenham Green will be transformed into a winter wonderland for the first time EVER - and I for one am very excited!

Local residents, the Friends of Twickenham Green, and Arthur's Restaurant have all got together to hold a festive community event which looks set to be fabulous.

Snow? Check.

Reindeer? Check.

Carol singing? Check.

Father Christmas? Check.

A 17ft Christmas tree? Check!

Yes there really is going to be guaranteed snow. And real life reindeer! The Salvation Army will be getting you all in the festive spirit by singing carols and Father Christmas will be there to find out what presents you're all hoping for this year (but only if you've been good). 

But that's not all! There will be children's rides, food stalls, a beer tent and a fantastic raffle with heaps of brilliant prizes, including rugby tickets, a champagne meal for two at Arthur's, bouncy castle hire and real ale boxes!

And the icing on the cake? (or should that be the angel on the tree!) Local celebrity resident Rob Brydon will be switching the Christmas lights on at 5.45pm.

It's going to be an absolutely wonderful evening ~ hopefully the first of many festive events on The Green ~ and I hope lots of you can make it!

Merry Christmas! xoxox


For more information, and to show your support, please follow the organisers on Twitter here.
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Friday, 30 November 2012

The Modern Mummy Christmas Gift Guide



IT'S THE FIRST OF DECEMBER TOMORROW! Eeeeeeeee I can hardly believe it!

I love everything about Christmas; the decorations, the food, the vino (ahem), the spending-quality-time-with-friends-and-family, the crappy Crimbo movies on TV all day every day and most of all the SHOPPING!

I love buying presents for other people. Thinking really hard and finding that perfect gift is really important to me, as is spending my money at small, independent businesses instead of the huge money grabbing chains that are trying to take over the world.

Which is why I've put together this Christmas Gift Guide. It's a collection of ideas for presents and stocking fillers from some of my favourite small, independent online stores. Companies where the quality is out of this world and customer service is faultless - which is what shopping should be all about! 

And the best bit? Because they are all owned and run by such lovely, lovely people, they are offering a special Modern Mummy festive discount just for you!

Poco Nido
Poco Nido, makers of fabulous clothes, shoes and wellies for kids (you can see my review of their Owl Wellies here), was set up by Catherine - a footwear designer with fourteen years' experience and also a proud mum of two. Her aim? To create quality and super cool clothing for kids that won't break the bank.  



Blue & red cat wellies, sizes 4-10, £20.00.
Poco Nido are offering Modern Mummy readers 15% off purchases and free Christmas giftwrap using the code '7SWANS'. Discount code valid up until 24th December 2012.

Little Genius Crafts
Little Genius Crafts is a very small and very new company that came up with a brilliant idea. No mess crafts for kids! Michelle sells fun, creative and educational, no mess craft kits for young children (age 3+). Each beautiful kit has been hand-made and contains everything you need to make a collage - the Christmas collage (pictured) comes with:
  • An A4 strong card background to the collage;
  • Two sheets of double layered card shapes waiting to be peeled off and put on the collage; and
  • A bag of fun and educational facts about Christmas.
The best bit is that the kits are nice and compact and tucked inside a box that has a width and height of only 5mm more than an A4 sheet of paper and it is just 10mm deep - so its easy to take with you when you are on the move and have small people to keep entertained!




Michelle is currently offering £1 off craft kits, which usually retail at £8.99. To buy a kit at this discounted rate simply insert the code 0RQWTESP at the 'shopping cart summary'. If you wish to buy a kit as a gift she will write a personalised message to it's recipient (and save you paying postage twice!).

Slugs & Snails
Slugs & Snails are a small, family run business selling tights for boys! Boys, by nature, are busy, bold and robust and tights allow your child the freedom to bend and move freely and in a way that conventional leg wear just doesn’t allow.
Slugs & Snails tights are more than just tights. Their designs (unlike girl’s tights) don’t stop at the knee, which means that they can be worn with or without trousers. Each pair is made of soft, breathable combed cotton and comes with anti-slip soles to give grip to busy little feet. A pair would make a perfect stocking filler and will keep little legs extra cosy and warm this winter!



High Flyer tights, available in sizes 0-6months to 3-4years, from €12.99
Slugs & Snails are offering Modern Mummy readers free shipping with the code Freeship (which will save you €3.50 on your order!). Valid until Christmas Eve.

Dot & Co
Dot&Co was founded by Annie Coherton, who had worked in the fashion industry for over 9 years and saw a gap in the market for a new brand of organic babywear. Annie wanted to sell fun and colourful clothes instead of the usual array of neutral shades and conventional designs.
Dot&Co garments are practical, functional and fun. For example, the reversible trousers can be worn twice before washing.  In this day in age where we are all tightening our belts, this provides a cost effective solution whilst maintaining the brand’s exciting style. In addition, the integral mitts featured on each babygrow prevent little ones from accidentally scratching their faces, whilst keeping their hands nice and warm.
You all know I'm passionate about organic food and drink - and I am now a big fan of organic clothes. Why? Because organic cotton is a softer, natural material that is more comfortable against babies' skin.  Quality is a given, and without the use of pesticides, you can have every confidence that you are contributing to a greener way of living.  All of Dot & Co's garments are certified by the Soil Association.

Raspberry stripe babygrow, available in sizes 0-3months to 12-18months, £19.00
Dot & Co are offering Modern Mummy readers 20% off all online purchases this weekend only (30th November - 3rd December 2012) using the code MODERNMUMMY.

KyNa Boutique
Another fabulous organic clothes store is KyNa Boutique which stocks fabulous brands such as Ava & Luc, Green Baby and OrganicZOO.
These designers have all been tried and tested so you can rest assured that not only do they look great, they are kind to your child's skin.
Having young children is tough, it's more than a full time job and getting them to try on clothes when you're out shopping is something that all parents dread. KyNa Boutique offers free UK delivery and free returns too - so you can place an order and have your purchases in a day or two and then anything that doesn't fit or doesn't look right on your child you can send back using the prepaid returns label. Brilliant.

Every child needs a pair of pyjamas for Christmas! These Ava & Luc dog print pyjamas are a gorgeous heritage blue - perfect for little boys - and cost £22. 

KyNa Boutique are offering Modern Mummy readers a 10% discount using the code MODERNMUMMY. This offer runs from 30th November to 7th December 2012. 

Scamp Personalised Baby Gifts
Super clever and crafty sisters Stacey and Jennifer set up Scamp at the beginning of 2010 after it proved difficult to find lovely, unusual and affordable items for their children's bedrooms. They sell absolutely beautiful handmade babygrows, blankets and bibs, cushions and nursery wall art ~ all of which make perfect Christmas presents for the small people in your life!



Available for £10.00 are these gorgeous personalised wooden Christmas decorations which are the perfect gift for a very special (or hard to buy for!) someone! Ideal as a keepsake to celebrate baby's first Christmas or a fabulous (and unique) gift for your little one's teacher.
The wooden decorations are laser cut into an angel or reindeer shape and then have a number of different personalised options available to be added on top. Both the angel and reindeer decoration have a very jolly red gingham ribbon tied onto it so it can be hung up straight onto the tree or on the mantlepiece.
Scamp Baby Gifts are offering Modern Mummy readers 15% off all purchases using the code MODERN15. This offer is available until 15 December 2012, which is the last date for placing personalised orders that are guaranteed to be received before Christmas.

Livie&Luca
Livie & Luca was formed in 2005 when friends, all new mums, compared notes and discovered there weren't any shoes on the market with the modern designs, flexible soles and affordable prices they craved. Deciding to create their own shoes, Livie & Luca was born, with the fitting tagline "Adorable shoes for adorable feet."
Their shoes certainly are adorable; made from brightly coloured leathers and in bold designs incorporating eco-friendly practices wherever possible they make the ultimate Christmas party shoe and there is something to suit everybody!

Pio Pio Rose shoes, sizes 3 - 9, £34.99

Livie & Luca are offering Modern Mummy readers 15% off using the code 'MODERNMUMMY'. (Code valid from today until 24 December 2012).  

Morgan & Pink
And now for something completely different!
Us mamas need a special Christmas treat too - and what could be more lovely than some gorgeous jewellery, hand made in the UK using sterling silver, semi precious stones, freshwater pearls and beautiful glass beads. Perfect, and affordable, presents for friends, family, teachers - or even a gift for yourself!


Inspired by Joan Aiken's story 'A Necklace of Raindrops', these earrings were created to look like beautiful droplets of water. The drops are made from clear glass, which catch the light beautifully, and they hang from fine sterling silver chain. The hooks are also sterling silver.
Available here for £20.00 - and all jewellery comes gift wrapped!

Morgan & Pink are offering Modern Mummy readers a 10% discount for the period 1st to 15th December, using the code MMM10. 


So what are you waiting for!? Eight fabulous shops, eight fabulous gift ideas and eight very generous discount codes! Happy shopping xoxox


DISCLAIMER:
This is NOT a sponsored post and I was not given any products in exchange for a review. This post was written for free, to help promote small independent businesses that I love.
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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Christmas with Jokers' Masquerade

The Christmas preparations are well and truly under way in the Modern Mummy household. Although we haven't got our tree up just yet (we're off to Witley Common to chop down our own next week! How exciting!) I have written our Christmas cards, had beautiful hand crocheted stockings made for the girls, been visiting Christmas fairs galore and have got the decorations out of the loft ready to adorn the house!

Daisy has a part in her nursery nativity play and has been skipping round the house singing songs I don't recognise about 'little baby boys' and there 'not being enough room in the house' - which I presume is her practising for the big event and I have downloaded the Rat Pack Christmas album to add to my festive music collection and have been singing along to that as I potter around the house.

I've even made (and eaten) my first batch of mince pies! (Recipe coming soon!)

Today we have felt extra-super-Christmassy though as not only have we hung our first string of twinkly Christmas lights in the kitchen and spent the morning cutting out snowflakes to stick on our windows, our friends at Jokers' Masquerade also sent Daisy a brilliant Christmas Star Fairy outfit, which she has been wearing all day!

They have heaps of kids Christmas fancy dress options - including this adorable snowman outfit and this gingerbread man costume which I think is AMAZING - but the Star Fairy Outfit is Daisy's perfect fancy dress outfit and she adores it.



Made from 100% polyester (a mum's best friend when it comes to fancy dress, due to its durability and the fact it is wipe clean!), this costume includes a shimmering white dress with a gold netted overlay and comes with a pair of fairy wings and a gold headband with an attached star!



Not only is this costume fantastic for festive fancy dress parties and dressing up games at home - it would also be perfect for use in a school nativity play if you're a busy mama and don't have the time to make a costume yourself. It is a bargain at £18.99 and the Jokers' Masquerade delivery options mean that any of their costumes could be with you the very next day if necessary!

Check out the rest of their Christmas outfits for kids here ~ and for grown ups too here!

Jokers' Masquerade are also on Twitter and Facebook..... follow them or become a fan to be the first to hear about their fabulous special offers! xoxox



DISCLAIMER
We were sent a Star Fairy Costume by Jokers' Masquerade for the purpose of this review.
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Win a FABULOUS Lollipop Lane Stroller!


Last Monday Lollipop Lane launched a brand new range of fabulous strollers - you can see my review of the Carnaby here.

Today I am super excited to announce that I have been given one of these brilliant (and gorgeous!) Acti-Cruise strollers, worth £95, to giveaway!

Lightweight and easy to fold and manoeuvre AND stylish, comfortable and suitable from birth to three years; these strollers are perfect for style conscious parents (and kiddiewinks) and come complete with heaps of  brilliant features and in four gorgeous designs. The winner can choose from the Harbour, Mariposa, Domino or Carnaby models and the stroller will be sent direct from Lollipop Lane.

Don't say I never give you anything!!

Now for the boring stuff....

Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget below and there are six ways to take part (which means a grand total of six entries per person!). You can leave a comment below, follow me and Lollipop Lane on Twitter, like us both on Facebook and tweet about the competition too. The competition closes at midnight on 6th December 2012 and the winner will be announced on here, on Facebook and on Twitter on 7th December. This competition is open to UK residents only.

Good luck! xoxox


a Rafflecopter giveaway ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions
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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Evie's Birth Story


My little Evie Pie is almost a month old now! She has fitted in with our family so perfectly that it feels as if she's been here forever and we are all so completely and utterly head over heels in love with her

One of my very first blog posts on Modern Mummy was Daisy's birth story (you can read it here) so I thought I would write Evie's while it's still fresh in my mind. It was not dissimilar to my labour with Daisy (both involved inductions and super fast second stages) but this time round it was SERIOUSLY HARD WORK. Menfolk, stop reading now!

~

After a very quick labour with Daisy (1hr 39mins from start to finish!) I spent a lot of my pregnancy with Evie worrying about the same thing happening again when I was on my own or just with Daisy. Our move to the country didn't help matters as it meant Himself's work and both of our families would be over forty miles away should I need them - and I had The Fear that I would end up giving birth at home with Daisy as a midwife before anyone could get to me!

Oh how wrong I was!

I was admitted to hospital at 38+6 - firstly because my little monkey hadn't been moving as much as normal, secondly because I was REALLY suffering with my SPD and needed to rest up and also due to the midwives at the DAU thinking I might have excessive amniotic fluid. I was given two options - to have a scan to check my fluid levels and return to the DAU for monitoring every other day until bambino arrived, or to be induced.

I chose the latter because I thought that having a planned labour would stop me panicking about me being on my own and I went home to get my hospital bag and to pack Daisy off to Granny & Grandads expecting to be induced later that afternoon and sent home with a brand new baby the following morning. Hahahahahaha.

I went back to the hospital and got comfy on my bed in the ante-natal ward but because the labour ward was jam packed and there were no rooms available was told I would be given my first prostin pessary the following morning. (They didn't want me going into labour and not having anywhere to go!).

So the following morning I was examined (cervix closed and unfavourable, grrr), monitored for an hour and then given the first prostin. Note my use of the word 'first'. Oh yes. There were many, many more!

Needless to say, the first pessary had no effect whatsoever. Twelve hours later, as I prepared to spend my second night in hospital, I was examined (still no change) and my induction was attempted for a second time.

Those of you that have had babies before will know that 'examinations' aren't particularly pleasant. Neither are sweeps or stretches. (Men if you are still reading this when I specifically told you not to, you are going to have to google those terms to find out more). Those of you that have been induced before will know that the prostin drug/hormone/whatever it is (I've heard something horrible involving the words 'pig' and 'semen' and am too scared to research further) leaves your bits and pieces feeling completely and utterly bruised - as they are effectively attempting to dissolve your cervix.

The following three days (and nights - yes thats right, I was in hospital for FOUR NIGHTS before I went into labour) left me feeling completely and utterly violated. I had no less than FOUR pessaries and all the internals that come with them!

The second pessary left me with period and back pains and had me bouncing on the birthing ball.

The third pessary (on Hallowe'en night) had me full on contracting every four minutes (I was up to 70% on the TOCO machine) - then I took some codeine to take the edge off it, fell asleep and woke up feeling spritely and with no contractions whatsoever.

The FOURTH pessary had me wailing on the ante natal ward, the midwives trying to get me a room on the labour ward (which was fully booked again) and ended up involving a shot of pethidine which was quite possibly the most amazing thing EVER after three nights on a communal ward with women panting and groaning and mooing and snoring and generally keeping me up and with me feeling particularly emotional about not having seen my beloved Daisy Moo for so long. But it knocked me out and again the contractions stopped.

So the plan changed. 

The following morning (early, early - before the other pregnant women of Guildford could go into labour and fill up all the delivery rooms yet again) I would be taken to the delivery ward, have my waters broken and stay there until my little bugger made her grand entrance into the world. I almost didn't believe it would happen.

So at dawns crack the next day, woken by the panting and groaning and mooing of the women on the beds around me, I had a shower, washed my hair and EVERYTHING and returned to my bed to find a midwife waiting to take me to the labour ward!

My cervix was favourable this time and my waters were broken. Ouch! I was told to walk around to get things going so Himself and I went up and down the stairs, grabbed a Costa, came back - and still nothing.

Next up - The Synto Drip. 

And we were off!

The synto is increased gradually and being the hard nut that I am I managed to get up to level 16 of 20 before being declared in full blown labour. The gas and air came out, the TOCO readings were off the scale, I suddenly felt the need to push - and within 1hr 30mins little Evie Eskimo was born! Her official labour time beat her big sister's by 9minutes!

After 4 long days and nights of early labour, an hour of BLOODY PAINFUL contractions and thirty minutes of pushing, my 8lb chunky monkey, Evie Joan Bluebell, was delivered straight onto my tummy and started feeding straight away.

My parents brought Daisy to meet her teeny, tiny baby sister, then Himself took them all home and I spent the night just looking at my gorgeous, chubby new daughter (as you do!) before being discharged the following day. It was hard work but she was sooooo worth the wait!

And now we are all home and settling into life as a family of four!

xoxox


 

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Friday, 23 November 2012

Pink Lining Changing Bags: A Review

Oh Pink Lining! I do love you.

Daisy is the proud owner of one of their 'Little Lady' overnight bags (which we reviewed here) and this week it was my turn to be sent a pressie from the lovely Pink Lining team!

Have yourself a wee looky at my gorgeous new Apple Tree Queensdale Tote changing bag. Isn't it divine?  


When Daisy was small I was kind to Himself and opted for a plain black changing bag that he wouldn't be embarrassed to carry around. But I think he only actually took it out (without me) about twice and I was lumbered with the bloody horrible, boring thing. I'd see all my mama friends out with their gorgeous bags and promised myself that next time I would opt for the prettiest, girliest changing bag I could find.

Pink Lining changing bags are perfect for girlie girls. Famous for their signature Yummy Mummy design, they now have a huge range of shapes and patterns available and I am now the proud owner of a Queensdale Tote in the apple tree design.

The Queensdale Tote is the Ultimate Changing Bag and I absolutely LOVE it.



The first thing you notice is it's size. There's no denying it is huge! This bag is perfect for long days out or for mums of more than one. You can fit heaps in it. It has lots of super handy compartments for different things including two thermo-insulated bottle pockets (which keeps bottles warm for up to three hours), a mobile phone pocket, a zipped compartment for valuables and two large pockets which are perfect for nappies and wipes. There are also two easily accessible pockets on the outside and the main body of the bag has ample room for muslins, changes of clothes, and those mummy essentials like your purse, your sunglasses and a filofax (if you're old-school like me and still carry one around!).

These bags also come with a handy detachable mirror, a key/dummy fob on a long ribbon, a pen loop, a padded Pink Lining cupcake print changing mat and a zip-up wet bag (meant for putting old wet wipes and dirty clothes in but which holds a packet of wipes, a couple of nappies and some nappy sacks perfectly - so you can whip that out and take it to the baby change instead of taking the whole bag if you want to).The straps can be changed to hang/be clipped onto different buggy handles or carried on your shoulder and the bag's exterior is entirely waterproof and wipe clean.

Needless to say, I absolutely adore this bag and would recommend it to anyone who, like me, likes to be prepared and carry a lot of stuff round! The different designs available are feminine and beautiful and there is a colour scheme to compliment every buggy out there!

The Queensdale Tote retails at £79 and is available direct from the Pink Lining website here. Other styles start from £39.

xoxox



DISCLAIMER:
I am a member of BritMums and I follow their 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 feel free to contact me here.

 
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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Make Your Own Christmas Jumper

Last year I published this post on how to Make Your Own Christmas Wreath. To date it has been my most viewed blog post - with people reading it on an almost daily basis throughout the past year!

With Christmas 2012 only a little over a month away, I thought it was time I wrote another crafty DIY post - and this time I wanted to give you some ideas about how to make your own novelty Christmas jumper!





I do love a Christmas jumper.

I love chunky knits and fair isle patterns and have a fair few in my wardrobe, but last year I was invited to a Christmas jumper party and decided to go all out with a creation of my own.

I bought a cheap baggy jumper (with pockets) from Primark (a bargain at £12!), some battery operated fairy lights from Poundland and a whole heap of crafty stuff from Hobbicraft and got cracking.

I opted for a Christmas tree theme and stitched (badly) a green felt tree (in red felt bucket) onto the front of the jumper. I decorated it with silver and gold glittery pipe cleaners as tinsel and a gold star parcel label on the top of the tree (I glued all these on - using UHU) and also cut out snowflakes from white felt and made pom poms out of wool for a 'snowy' backdrop. Other ideas I had was to sew tiny baubles onto the tree (for sale in Paperchase) or to use one of the Innnocent smoothie woollie hats (there was an angel one in circulation last year) as a Christmas fairy. The piece de resistance was the fairy lights which I poked through the chunky knit from the inside on each point of the Christmas tree. The battery pack then went into the pocket. 

I literally CANNOT WAIT to crack this bad boy out at Christmas and am contemplating making some for the rest of the family this year. I think you lot should give making one a go too! Snowmen, reindeer, Christmas puddings, robins.... these are but a few of the designs you could come up with!

If you do get all festive and creative and make one PLEASE email/tweet me a picture!  I would love to see them! xoxox



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Monday, 19 November 2012

The Secret is Out!


 
I know a secret, I KNOW A SECRET!

I've wanted to tell you all for SO LONG, and it has been SO HARD keeping my big gossipy mouth shut, but I have been sworn to complete and utter secrecy.... until now!

I'm so excited to FINALLY be able to announce that Lollipop Lane, the UK's largest independent nursery brand (and one of my own favourites!), have today launched a brand spanking new range of strollers - and we were lucky enough to be chosen to review one of them.



The Acti-Cruise Stroller comes in four uber stylish designs; Harbour, Mariposa, Domino and Carnaby - the latter being the stroller Evie and I are now the proud owners of! 

The Acti-Cruise Stroller is suitable from birth to 36months (or 15kg) and is a really high tech design with heaps of brilliant features ~ including a five-point harness for extra safety, a huuuuuge shopping basket (and an extra zipped compartment in the canopy which is perfect for easily accessible keys and phone) and - the BEST BIT in my opinion - a removable cup holder, perfect for cappuccinos on the go on days when you feel like a sleep deprived zombie!


The stroller is super lightweight (only 6.9kg) and folds away easily - I have even mastered the art of doing it one handed which I have never been able to do with other strollers. It reclines to an almost fully horizontal position and has a padded seat liner, two qualities that are great when the stroller is being used for a baby, and the window in the canopy means you can see your little passenger all the time without having to stop walking to peer around the front of the buggy. 




These strollers have an aluminium chassis which makes them extra hardy and durable so, as well as being great for newborns, they will last forever and see you through until your small person is ready to walk by him or herself. The aluminium is super lightweight which means the buggy is really easy to steer, even one-handed, which is brilliant when you have another little hand to hold, and it is extra sturdy - it doesn't tip up even when the handles are laden with shopping bags (I had one on each handle, and my changing bag across both and it still remained upright after I took Evie out).

Other fabulous features include:
  • A removable arm rest
  • An adjustable foot rest
  • Rear wheels with suspension and link brake, front wheels with swivel and directional suspension and non-puncture, foam filled wheels
  • Foldable canopy with front shade visor  
  • A reversible (and machine washable) padded seat liner (bold print one side, plain colour the other) 

And the price tag? An incredibly reasonable £95.00! How good is that!

We seriously love our stroller and are so glad to have been part of the launch. If you are looking for one at the moment, definitely take a look at the gorgeous Lollipop Lane range. They are available direct from the Lollipop Lane website here.  

If you place an order for a stroller before 31st January 2013 you can claim a free Treacle and Bubble luxury fleece blanket worth £14.99 - just add the item to your basket and use the code LBPlolly at checkout. Happy shopping! xoxox
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