Hey Doodle!

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Being mum to a two year old is exhausting. Eliza is currently in to everything and flits from one activity to the next in the blink of an eye, so when you come across something that keeps her sat in a chair for more than five minutes you know it’s something special.

We were recently gifted this erasable silicone story book from a brand called Hey Doodle, who I admit, I had never heard of before. From their website:

“HeyDoodle is a range of sustainable and educational wipe-clean silicone activity mats aimed at children aged 2 to 7. Featuring a new type of canvas, HeyDoodle offers parents, grandparents and kids a limitless and reusable drawing platform. Each mat contains hours of fun in colouring, tracing, and doodling and then hours more by simply using a damp cloth to reset the canvas. Perfect for all forms of travel, cafes & restaurants, hotel and waiting rooms, office receptions – anywhere you need to entertain kids in a fun and educational way”.

Eliza loves colouring (usually for 30 seconds at a time) so I knew this would be a hit with her, but I didn’t anticipate how much of a hit! She lasted a good twenty minutes at the table colouring the book and exploring the story; she would have gone longer if I hadn’t have been dinner time!

I was a little bit sceptical about how easy it would be to erase her efforts ready to start again, but all I needed was a damp cloth and it wiped away effortlessly. This was also true for the pen that found its way on to the table!

We used this again the next day when we went out for dinner, we knew we’d have a bit of a wait and we didn’t really want to resort to letting Eliza play with our phones. Again, Hey Doodle was the perfect solution, keeping her occupied, and as space was limited we kept it folded up so she could just do one page at a time.

With Christmas rapidly approaching, both Bob and I agree that Hey Doodle makes for the perfect gift- we are going to get Eliza one of their placemats for her santa sack, and as our friend’s little ones grow up they will also be getting sets from the brand!

The set we were gifted is this one, it costs £24.99 and is beautifully packaged and 100% something we will use over and over again for years to come.

Nice one Hey Doodle, I may finally get to drink a cup of tea in peace!

Xmas 2021 Jewellery Gifts that Won’t Break the Bank*

Photo by Arteum.ro on Unsplash

Christmas is right around the corner and depending on what happens next we could be looking at another lockdown or at least a socially-distanced holiday. But whatever happens you might be looking for something special that won’t break the bank. Jewellery and accessories are the perfect answer as they indicate thoughtfulness and will last a long time if looked after.

Precious Metals and Gemstones

Most intricate jewellery is made from precious metals or precious gemstones. Gold, silver and platinum are standard for modern-day pieces. These metals are typically accompanied by stones like diamond and ruby. Whatever the piece, the most beautiful designs work best when paired correctly. For example, a stunning and deep sapphire ring is best offset by understated white gold. As with pairing anything, the trick is to let each material complement each other rather than one overpowering the other. 

Pandora Charm Bracelets

Pandora jewellery is of exceptional quality for a high street retail chain. One of the flagship products, the charm bracelet, is desired because you can add charms. Charms are small trinkets that usually signify something like a heart for Valentine’s Day. Because of this, charms are highly collectable, and prices range from relatively cheap into the hundreds. But because each charm means something, they are gifts that keep giving as they make the perfect gift for someone who enjoys their designs and wants to create a unique collection.

Designer Watches

You might think designer watches are expensive and therefore out of your price range as a Xmas gift. While watch prices can reach astronomical proportions, you can pick up quality designs for less than the price of a new pair of shoes. Of course, Rolex and Patek Phillipe are out of most people’s price range. Still, Amazon and other online retailers offer Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, and Michael Kors watches at reasonable prices. These watches aren’t part of any exceptional range and won’t appreciate in value, but they are beautiful gifts for almost anyone.

Meaningful Jewellery

There is an endless number of jewellery designs from which you can choose. Yet, there are also some exceptional designs with meaning. Irish Claddagh rings are a good example, as are birthstone rings. Further to the design, the metals and stones hold special meaning. Jewellery like this makes fantastic gifts for someone as they are more personalized than standard designs. Of course, you can also purchase jewellery with religious significance such as a silver and gold crucifix for Catholics, gold Star of David for the Jewish or Islamic MashAllah praise earrings.

Trending Fragrance

Not actual jewellery, yet an excellent accompanying gift is fragrances. Fragrances are highly collectable, and trends increased over the festive period. Delicate perfumes make beautiful gifts with rings and necklaces for loved ones. And a musky scent with a designer watch will put a smile on the face of most men. Fragrances can become expensive, yet some of the most popular include Chanel No.5 and J’Adore by Christain Dior. However, at the moment, the highest trending designer fragrance for young women is Good Girl by Carolina Herrera and Tom Ford Noir for the guys.

The Perfect Gift for Mum’s to Be from Natural Birthing Company*

It’s been very quiet around here of late, right? Perhaps more so than ever before…
You see, I had all these grand plans to use the start of my maternity leave to plan and schedule content, and then keep it up whilst baby naps. What actually happened was I managed three days of maternity leave before my daughter decided to show up, with a short, sharp three hour labour. We’re now 6 weeks in and it turns out she is one of those babies who refuses daytime sleep (but I forgive her because she is great at night!).

So this post was actually supposed to be a product review, however due to aforementioned speedy (and shock) labour I never actually got a chance to even get my hospital bag out of the car, let alone use what was in it until long after the event! So in the spirit of Christmas I’m here to tell you THE most perfect gift you can give to anyone expecting a baby, the Mamas Moments Birthing Essentials Gift Pack from Natural Birthing Company.

Gifted Product

I was genuinely really excited to have this packed in my hospital bag, and having given them a little try since I can say with confidence that these would make a wonderful gift for any expectant mother (or a present to yourself if you are the expectant mother).

For £20 you get a lovely little pouch containing four products:

Cool It Mama (Cooling Body Spritz) to help calm and revitalise you (and your birth partner) during labour. I actually found this quite useful post-birth on the ward as we had to stay in overnight. It was BOILING on the ward and I was exhausted yet to afraid to sleep lest my brand new human needed me. This spray really did make me feel a little bit more human and a little less like I was about to melt.

Relax and Breathe (Calming Massage Oil) this is supposed to help ease any feelings of discomfort and is a good way to get your birth partner involved during labour. It certainly smells good! Had my labour been slower I think a massage with this would have done me the world of good, if for no other reason than to keep me grounded and stop me tensing up so much in my back and shoulders!

Bottoms Up (Soothing Bottom Spray) I am not exaggerating when I say this spray saved me in the two weeks post-birth. I tore, and grazed, and had stitches and nobody warns you about just how painful recovery from birth can be, even from a “normal” vaginal delivery. Going for a wee felt like torture but one thing (the only thing) that really eased that pain was spritzing this on a maternity pad as well as direct on the skin. I got through so much of this and cannot recommend it enough- that and a jug so you can pour warm water “down there” when you pee; it took me a few days to believe this could help, trust me, it does and you should do it!

Sleep Mama (Relaxing Pillow Mist) this is another lovely post-birth product and one I use on the rare nights when I struggle to drift off- rare as these days my eyes are shut before my head hits the pillow but I still enjoy the soothing scent of lavender and other essential oils for a calming sleep experience.

You can find this gift set, and the other products from Natural Birthing Company in Boots and Holland and Barrett as well as from various online retailers such as Amazon and Feel Unique.

This might be the only Christmas gift-guide/gift idea I post this year, but damn it’s a good ‘un!

Safety First this Christmas

Once upon a time my first Christmas related blog content would have been gift guides; back in the days where I managed to post regularly I was churning them out one after another. Recently my priorities have definitely shifted, now I’m a Mum (more on that at some point) there is a notable shift in my attention; I’m all about the safety first element, fun comes second.

It seems I’m not alone in this, I recently received an email which shows that Mums are prioritising checking electrics over christmas present shopping and prepping the all important festive feast. I thought it made for an interesting read so I’m sharing it with you guys too…

“With the announcement of 20,000 electrical fires damaging homes in 2021* almost 40% of mums state they have learnt how to check for faulty electrics this year with 19% already booked in their electrical testing ahead of Christmas – a new poll has revealed.

When asked what they prioritised when it comes to keeping their homes safe from hazards, a staggering 38% cited checking their electrics as top of their list of safety measures at home. Hexo Electrical Testing commissioned the poll to gauge consumer attitudes on keeping their home electrics healthy and safe. 

Within the poll, 44% per cent of mums are most concerned with having enough food in for Christmas and 44 per cent want to make sure that they have cleaned the house before the guests arrive.

Terrified, TV personality, Louise Thompson recounts the horrors of being woken up to a house fire in her London home this month. The former Made in Chelsea star announced to social media fans that she and her family had to evacuate their home in the early hours, due to an electrical fire that was started by a faulty wine fridge.

Michael Evans from Hexo Electrical Testing, states: “It’s great to see homeowners having a greater understanding of electrics in the home. Having accidents in the home can happen any time and as we rely increasingly on electrical goods and gadgets to enhance especially during Christmas, regular electrical testing is a quick win to ensure your family and your home is kept safe from potential dangers.”

Gas safety was higher on the agenda, with 35 per cent of those asked making conscious efforts to ensure their connections and appliances were safe.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors ranked higher on the list of priorities to check, with 24 per cent of respondents believing these to be the key to alleviating home hazards.

Spokesperson from Hexo Electricals continued: “We would suggest a check every five years to ensure that your electrical systems are healthy and in full working order. That way, we can pick up any issues before they cause a problem in the home.”

A staggering 19% were unaware of any electric hazards in the home, such as risk of shock from damaged sockets or fire hazards from loose connections.

“We would urge people to be particularly vigilant in the lead-up to Christmas, when greater demands are placed on our electrical systems thanks to the increase in Christmas lights, cooking and even having additional people staying in our homes.”

Encouragingly, 27 per cent will check their fire and carbon monoxide alarms in the run-up to Christmas. 

Tenants: Know Your Rights

The poll also showed up that those living in rented accommodation did not fully understand their rights and the responsibilities of landlords to maintain safe standards when it came to their electrics.

44 per cent of respondents did not know that landlords have a duty of care to check electrics in their properties every five years.

Insight continues; “This is a key part of a landlord’s job – to make sure that their tenants are in receipt of safe systems. A five-year check is a legal requirement so if you think your home is due, get in touch with your landlord as soon as possible.” 

Advice For Checking Electrics at Christmas: 

Check for damaged wires and cables.

Keep cables and wires properly stored, and away from children.

Unplug devices and appliances to repair, adjust or clean.

Don’t overload plug sockets.

Allow air to circulate around electric appliances – don’t block vents.

For more information, visit https://hexoelectricaltesting.co.uk

Fellow parents, have you found your priorities changed? I knew that I would feel differently once baby arrived, but I wasn’t prepared for quite how big that shift would be!

Donate a Charity Gift Pack with Thumbs Up

It’s fair to say 2020 has been an exceptionally tough year for everyone, so this Christmas it feels more important than ever to spread some cheer as far as physically possible.
In the spirit of giving and making sure as many people feel cared for this festive season, gifts retailer Thumbs Up have partnered with Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Salvation Army to launch the 2020 Charity Gifting Appeal.

Thumbs up are aiming to donate 2000 gifts to those who otherwise may not receive anything at all this Christmas.
Each package is worth £30, and Thumbs Up are just asking for a donation of £5 to cover postage and packaging for each gift- a small price to pay for putting a huge smile on someone’s face this year.

There are 4 different gift packs to choose from; Teen Girls 12-17, Teen Boys 12-17, Male 18+ and Female 18+.
Head to the Thumbs Up website to make your choice and your donation and help spread some Christmas Cheer.