Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Little L is 29 months old

It's so strange to hear others talking about your child's development or new milestones, not that it happened recently but it seems that I don't notice L's changes as we are together 24/7.

L is certainly developed a very dominant personality, she is active, sociable, a little bit shy with new male friends of ours or strangers, she is cheeky and knows that with me can get away with anything. Seems like my husband and I swapped personalities- I am the loyal one and he is authoritative, strict one. 

L found a new hobby- watching Youtube videos for kids, she would watch chocolate surprise eggs unwrapping, nursery rhymes or learning colours which helped her (in a way) with pronouncing and saying colours correctly in English and with me she is learning how to say things in Russian. To someone new or to someone who doesn't know her the way I do she may sound strange with mixing words or not pronouncing them correctly, but I would know straightaway what she means and says.

Don't want to jinx it but I think L is less stroppy when she needs to go in a stroller or needs to walk, she certainly shows more interest in walking then being in my arms when we go to/from nursery and to shopping centre. We just need to work on that a little bit more and hopefully I can brave long walks with her, this would be just lovely!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Christmas gift guide: Bathing Bunnies hooded towel review and giveaway

When L was newborn my mum brought large offcut of towelling fabric for me to cut into large strips. Since then I have been using this fabric to catch L's sick instead of musling cloths, used to put towelling strips on a sofa when L was playing next to me (hygiene reasons) and of course used to dry L after bath. 
As L is getting older I thought it would be the right time to introduce her to a cute toddler towel, courtesy of Bathing Bunnies

"Bathing Bunnies prides itself on designing and manufacturing high quality, luxurious towelling gift products for babies and children. Our range includes baby and toddler towels, bath robes, bibs and bath mitts".

Bathing Bunnies toddler range offers a great range of animal and novelty characters featured on bath towels or robes. I have opted for bunny toddler hooded towel in pink (£27.49). The towel arrived nicely and neatly presented with a cute, freckled bunny being a centrepience of this package. 

From just a simple touch I could tell that Bathing Bunnies hooded towel will absorb water well (made of 100% cotton velour terry towelling material) we just needed to wait till L's next bath time session to test this in practice. 

But firstly I wanted to see L's reaction when we both unwrap the "present" (that's how I call every new item L gets). L was absolutely delighted with the bunny character, perfect features with big floppy ears, big eyes, freckles and even a bow, what more can a little girl wish try it on of course!
L absolutely loved the hood, which she called "a hat" and after every wash she would insist on putting her bunny hat on and would wrap herself in the towel as the size of it allows to do so. I am not quite sure about the exact measurement but the hood covers the head very well, both sides of the towel are wings alike and give enough "coverage" for the little grown body to feel wrapped up warm. 
Bathing Bunnies products can certainly make a great Christmas present for a special little one/s. For that special occasion Bathing Bunnies are offering embroidered personalisation for up to 9 letter for additional £8 and a gift box £3.50. 

Fancy winning Bathing Bunnies Giraffe toddler towel? All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below (the competition ends on 12 December 12am):

a Rafflecopter giveaway Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Repurposed old chest of drawers into toy storage with Rust-Oleum

Few weeks ago I have started my new upcycling project (the first one you can find here) in collaboration with Rust-Oleum

This time I was repurpusing our old mdf chest of drawers which was taking up the space in the corner. As its a dark effect laminate mdf I thought that it might be a little bit problematic to paint but decided to give it a go first to see if I'm right. Prior to painting I have took all drawers out and put newspaper underneath the chest of drawers to avoid any marks on the carpet. Once I started using gloss paint I did notice that it didn't "settle" on the mdf and seemed very runny and watery. 

Rust-Oleum spray primer saved the day and made a brilliant base for the main painting job. To use the primer you need to thoroughly shake the can, direct it towards the area you want to spray (make sure you do it from a distance and maybe with a face mask on) spray back and forth or up and down.

Tip: To avoid runny effect from primer try to hold the spray with a bit of a distance and do not stop on my point, you have to move your hand whilst spray and only stop moving primer away from the object.

Once spray painting was done I have left it to stand for few minutes (primer dries literally in seconds) and then proceeded to paint with chalky finish paint in white and hessian. I wasn't quite sure how hessian will turn out to be on chest of drawers hence decided to experiment and see how it behaves on top of the white paint and without. The difference in colour wasn't too drastic but it seemed it looked much better and just the way I imagined in my head.

For painting I have used paint brush at first and then for corners only but eventually opted for mini paint roller for the rest of the chest of drawers as works much faster. 

As it was my first time using chalk paint I have tested it on the areas I have spray painted and the areas I didn't, it is less runny on the areas free from primer and applies smoothly on the areas which were spray painted before. You can see the difference between chalk and gloss paint straightaway, chalk paint is more matty and settles quickly on the surface where as gloss paint may need to be re-applied. 

Whilst the paint was drying I had to do some manly jobs to make our chest of drawers more of a shelving unit. For that I needed a little hammer, nails, runners taken our of drawers. 
Taking runners of drawers may seem as a very difficult job but with the help from my mini hammer it was done withing seconds (to take runners from the drawers I had to slightly rip sides apart trying to release the runner), the most difficult job was to saw long shelf I had from a different unit to the size of L's new toy storage unit.

When I had 2 large runners detached from it's drawers I have nailed them down ( I used 6 nails and hammer) to the bottom of the unit creating a space at the bottom, by doing that it means that any item left in the chest of drawers if lifted will remain  on a "shelf" rather than being on a floor as without it chest of drawers has hollow bottom. 

Once the bottom of the unit was secured with nails and shelf was "cut" to fit chest of drawers I have screwed back (to the left and right side of the unit with 2 screws for each side) 2 large plastic inserts which in previous life were holding drawer in its place. By doing so I have created a new space for the shelf to go in and make it a complete storage unit. 
And here it is my daughter's new storage unit, which she likes a lot, by the way!
I won't lie I had to go through numerous pictures to find something similar to what I wanted but the result is slightly different to what I have achieved but nonetheless a very exciting and sturdy project!

As I have finished the project it seems very easy to do and write it all up as I have done it in few attempts and knew what I wanted or were doing it on a spot, but if you do have any question please do get in touch!

Disclaimer: I was provided with Rust-Oleum products for the purpose of these updates. All opinions are honest and my own.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

L's progress at the nursery

L has been attending nursery for 2 months now, seems not long but it does feel like it's been a long time ago. We had ups and downs,  I had my concerns but I think now I finally realised that it is the best place to be for L.

If you may recall I have been in few nurseries prior to picking the one and only and some of them were a definite "no-no" where as others had room for improvement but not enough for me to go with them. When L started nursery I expected everything to go smoothly, knowing that she is such an outgoing kid she would blend it straightaway, but I didn't realise that leaving her there would be upsetting.

I remember the first weeks weeks being a bit of hell, I was calling nursery to check on L and they would call me straight after lunch saying that she is not well, not eating, sleeping or just nor being herself. I could never imagine how many bugs you can pick up form nursery, even now 2 months later and numerous viral infections, cold, under the weather days, L still has runny nose every so often.

My husband didn't really take part in "selection process" hence he has lots of doubts and cannot wait to express them at parents evening. He doesn't like the price,  he doesn't like that every week nursery tend to lose our things, he doesn't like that L is ill all the time, there are so many arguments against this place that sometimes I just have to shut my ears and it only makes me doubt  if I made the right choice.
I do know it is the best place for L, she is fed, looked after, sleeps, finally did her first wee in the potty there yesterday, she is happy! During the first few weeks I saw tears every time I dropped off and picked up L from nursery where as now she goes a little quiet or would go to see her new friends and will be jumping around not noticing me when I'm there to pick her up.

Of course I am too concerned about her constant colds, missing things, potty training issues but seeing L smile there and being able to eat someone else's food with and without help is a great achievement for a fussy eater.

It would be nice of course if nursery had a proper log of what L has learned throughout the day, and other things she was up to but I think I will keep this one till parents evening. 

Monday, 21 November 2016

Christmas gift guide: Aroma Home products

Aroma Home has a great variety of products- from aroma scented hot water bottles to novelty slippers and much more.

"Aroma Home Ltd design and manufacture an innovative range of novelty gift items, personal body warmers and fun slippers".

We were kindly provided with Soothing You microwaveable back warmer suitable for men or women suffering with back problems and a cosy mini hot water bottle and slippers gift set (£19.99) for her.

I am very thankful for being offered the opportunity to review and feature the back warmer, simply because my husband has been struggling with frequent back problems for quite some time now and we found that using hot and cold compress can be a little fiddly when you don't have right "equipment".

The first thing you notice is how beautifully the back warmer is presented and looks (available in sky blue or lilac).

There are instructions on the reverse of the box, but it is self explanatory regarding the heating procedures. The back warmer strap is a very comfortable soft material (velvet) and is very easy to fit with velcro within, allowing simple adjustments regardless of size (although it fits up to 44” waist).
It takes approx 2 minutes to heat the internal inserts and they simply require refitting into the allocated compartment on the strap, then push the velcro together and you are done.

You can immediately feel the gentle warmth soothing your back as well as lavender aroma gives that relaxing feeling too. I personally had to flatten the inserts better to avoid any pressure from the pads as they are bulky and weigh a bit, so may need adjustments based on preference. 

The weight of the strap is not too heavy and therefore allows you to continue doing things around the house without knowing a belt is strapped around your waist!

The fact that the heat retention is good and that the warmer can be reused are excellent features making it a great treat for yourself or a nice and thoughtful gift.

Mini hot water bottle and slippers is another great gift for any female in your family. 

"A great gift combination for those who like to get cosy. Both the soft grey or pink slippers and soft grey or pink hot water bottle are in the same matching cable knit. The combination of soothing warmth and cosy fleece lined slippers is perfect for helping you drift into a restful sleep or simply for snuggling up with on a sofa".

Even though it is called mini bottle it seems sufficient enough to keep you warm, save to say that you will be warm not just from warm water inside the bottle but also from a cable knit bottle cover, which provides additional heat and insulation. 

The gift set may look a little simple from the pictures but it does look much better "in person" and will certainly keep you or your loved one warm during those dark, dull days and nights. 

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review and feature. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Review: Noddy's remote control car from Spinmaster

Couple of weeks ago my darling L has received new Noddy remote control car (£23.99) to test. I remember seeing something Noddy related online but haven't actually read a book or watched cartoon. For those who don't know who Noddy is, it's a book character who lives in Toyland and up for an adventure or challenge.

Noddy remote control car is a toddler friendly toy as suitable from 2 years old. Noddy itself is made of rubber material and permanently attached to the car's seat where as the car and remote control are made of plastic. From what I have seen online Noddy and car called Revs look very similar to book characters.

Now to the main features:
- the car and remote control are both battery operated (require 7 AAA batteries which are not included)
- car's headlight will light up if the button at the back of the car is pressed
- remote control has 2 musical buttons (backwards and forward) suitable for little hands to press
L only needed few attempts to understand that she needs to press one button at a time. Once one of the buttons is pressed the toy makes engine or horn alike noises. I would have never thought that remote control car can be suitable for toddlers but with it's easy to press buttons it makes operating a car a doddle. Noggy (that's how L calls Noddy) has been thoroughly tested by L and thankfully survived it all. 
We couldn't find any faults with the toy, it seems very durable, fun to play with and I like it's lively, bright colours. The only downside for us as parents was the amount of batteries required, I managed to find 7 AAA batteries but it would be so much better if at at least 3 or 4 of them were already included.
Apart from batteries and for those who can't afford to invest Noddy by itself makes a great toy, L likes playing with it, pretending that she is helping Noddy to drive his red and yellow vehicle and by placing new characters onto the back seat of the car. I wonder what adventures lie ahead for Noddy and L..

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Battle with the weight: update 8

Since I have started women' only gym I have kept myself motivated as kept looking at the wall of fame. Those ladies and their results do show what you can achieve if you work hard. 
I have been to the gym twice a week and started to notice flatter tummy which is a great progress, but since L and I caught viral infection it got harder to keep up. All I want is to eat lots of random food, non stop. 
I might have had too many daily Caesar and Aldi salads, illness and not being able to cook which clearly de-motivate me. I need to give myself a push and all will be back on its place.

Next diet starts on Monday... :-)

Monday, 14 November 2016

Christmas gift guide: Baby Annabell doll

For quite some time I was rejecting the idea of buying L an interactive doll purely because she had a basic one and secondly I thought that it might be a little bit too early for her. When L hit potty training stage I thought it the perfect time to try out Baby Annabell doll (£36.99)who will be helping L to master potty training at home or at nursery.

Little Baby Annabell is very realistic looking, even though it has the soft body it can fall asleep, cry, go on a potty, babble and much more.
Before L got her hands on the doll I wanted to have a little play myself which was a good decision as it saved us some real tears due to L's anticipation. Baby Annabell doll is dressed in a fleecy, baby pink romper and a hat that comes off easily, it also comes with bottle, dummy, bib, nappy and cute pendant.

Batteries are not included, to bring Baby Annabell to life you would need 3 AA batteries. Once batteries are in and the switch is turned to "On" little doll starts to babble and giggle every now and then. As the doll comes with instructions it makes it easier to understand how to respond to her noises and needs. 

What to expect from Baby Annabell: little interactive doll will make cute babbling noises, as well as cry and fall asleep, it will close and open it's eyes when given a dummy or a bottle as well as move her mouth/lips (you may also hear her inner mechanism working), it will yawn and make loud sleeping noises, will fall asleep when lying horizontally and rocked back and forth, can wet the nappy (re-usable) or do a wee in the potty.
L seems caring when playing with Baby Annabell (and that's how she calls her too) but does need my help when wants to feed the doll or put her on a potty.

What mummy likes: the noises that come from the doll are not loud enough to annoy a parent and the doll will cease making any noises if not played with for a while, which means there won't be any sudden noises in the middle of the night! It's great for imaginative role play and helps develop good, caring qualities.

What L likes: playing and looking after the doll and repeating what mummy does on a daily basis- offers the bottle, gives dummy, changes nappy, goes on a potty.

I did notice that sometimes the doll doesn't understand that she is offered a dummy or a bottle and to make sure she respond you need to firmly (but not too much) push any of these 2 accessories in her mouth. 
To make Baby Annabell cry with real tears or go on a potty you would need to fill her up with water, you cannot use anything else apart from clean, pure water. Once the bottle is in doll's mouth squeeze the bottle allowing the water to go down "inner tube". Before placing the doll on a potty take the romper off and press pink heart (you will feel the button under the fabric) which will release the water from the back of the doll. This is something that makes L impatient as you do have to press the button few times to release all of the water but I try to do it myself.

Space for improvement: I would have liked it even more if it didn't have soft, fabric body for practical reasons so that L can do whatever she likes with it. 

Baby Annabell is not parent proof as I have noticed that it will babble or cry even though the dummy is still in the mouth or her eyes are closed and she is laughing away. It maybe of course my batteries, but for an innocent, young child not knowing all parenting hacks it's a great basic interactive doll which will make any boy/girl happy for Christmas or birthday!

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Christmas re-imagined at LaplandUK

"This Christmas, hopes and dreams know no bounds as big and small folk are welcomed to travel along secret pathways, uncover the hidden Elven village and help Father Christmas’s Elves make toys for the children of the world.

Tucked away in the heart of The Crown Estate in Ascot, LaplandUK, the ‘secret in the forest’, will open its magical door to Lapland this November. Elf Passports are waiting for children personally invited by Father Christmas to be stamped along a 3.5 hour mystical immersive journey where small folk make toys, decorate gingerbread with Mother Christmas, go ice skating, meet huskies and reindeer, write letters at the Elves post office and finally enjoy a personalised meeting with Father Christmas in his snowy woodland home.
Now in its 9th year, pioneering LaplandUK has redefined what it means to visit Father Christmas in the UK, employing Hollywood set designers and West End performers to deliver an award winning and immersive theatrical experience.

For founders Mike and Alison Battle the premise is simple:

“When we began LaplandUK in 2007 we were parents to four young boys and wanted to create a truly magical experience that reflected the value we placed in our children’s fleeting belief in Father Christmas. Nine years on the ambition remains the same and we are thrilled the public shares our values with this subject and that families will enjoy the magic of Christmas at LaplandUK”
The event has enchanted over 300,000 visitors and received national and international acclaim. Celebrities and royals alike including Sir Elton John & family, Victoria & David Beckham and the royal grandchildren have all fallen under the spell of the magic of LaplandUK".

Monday, 7 November 2016

Christmas gift guide- VQ Mini Retro DAB radio and giveaway

When I was little I remember my mum getting ready to work whilst listening to DAB radio, I have followed this tradition until moved to the UK as physically couldn't take everything with me. I may not be a night club goer or a follower of recent charts but I do love to listen to music, new and old dance hits are my main choices. 
Few months ago I started to notice lots of advertisement for colourful yet retro designed VQ DAB radios which caught my eye straight away.

"No matter how you look at it we’re British to the core, VQ is a British owned and managed business. We take our inspiration from the fusion of iconic British sound and style. And all our DAB+ radios and Bluetooth speakers are born in Britain with British designers and high quality British components.

VQ DAB+ radios and Bluetooth speakers are crafted to match your style and let you express yourself through colour and design".

When VQ offered to review one of the models I didn't know that it will be a love from the first sight! Mini Retro DAB Radio  (£59.99) looks sleek in deep purple colour (originally wrapped in a dust bag), incredibly easy to use and makes a great centrepiece in any room.
When you first power up the radio it starts auto scan for radio stations available, for those who are too excited to wait you can also carry out the search manually by accessing the "menu".
Once you have found your favourite radio stations you can save them (up to 30 presets ) by pressing and holding "star" button and choosing the right present. To play saved stations you need to press "star" button once and then "arrow" buttons indicating left or right depending where in the list your favourite station is.

What's very interesting as well the radio sets up date and time automatically too, no need to faff about with buttons, it's all done for you! The signal and quality was very consistent in almost every room apart from kitchen when I had to use aerial attached to the Mini Retro.

Now to my favourite feature- bluetooth, I had a little bit of the "blonde moment" when tried to pair up the devices for the first time, but then eventually I remembered that I need not only to choose "bluetooth mode" via "mode" button on Retro Mini but to select the device I want to pair on my phone too. When this was done it was a matter of seconds until my new funky radio was playing my favourite tunes. You can be in any room in your house with your phone or other smart device and change the music or volume on Mini Retro.
Other features:
- clear, rich sound ( you will not hear any glitches or any other background noises apart from the tune itself)
- alarm
- personalising sound ("MyEQ")
- recalling presents saved
- can be powered into mains or with 4 AAbatteries (not included)
- telescopic aerial at the back of the Retro Mini 
- headphones, Aux-in and USB ports
- up to 15 hours of on the go entertainment 
- comfortable little handle for easy transportation from room to room
- can be connected to smartphone, MP-3 player or tablet via Bluetooth or Aux-in
 the smallest VQ DAB radio (224 x 147 x 105 mm)
- dimmed display
- premium leatherette wrap in a variety of colours (19 to be precise) to choose from
- you can mute the radio by pressing "play/pause" button
- easy to read and understand quick start guide

VQ Mini Retro DAB Radio is a very clever and useful device, suitable for any generation or gender and will make a perfect Christmas or birthday present!

Fancy winning yourself or your loved one one the the stylish VQ Mini Retro DAB Radios?  All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below (the competition ends on 9 December 12am):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The post in written in collaboration with guest poster- my other half.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Little L is 28 months old

My darling L is getting older every months and this is something I need to get the grips with. 
L started nursery in September and since then she had her ups and downs. I was a little bit worried that her personality may change from sociable, open little girl to shy and quiet, but I was so wrong which I'm happy about.

We didn't get up to much last month as L was/is ill most of the time but I do hope when she gets better she will be her usual adventurous, cheeky self!

Lots of talking, not long sentences but trying to make sense of words, repeating words no matter if they are in English or Russian, counting, saying colours coming a long nicely! Even though L talks to us properly, sometimes she still makes baby babble noises which is incredibly cute.

I keep thinking if I should take her to another baby ballet trial lesson, but not sure that she is ready yet, as toddlers need to listen to instructions and be able to do what they are told to, which is something we are working on at the moment.

I can't wait till proper winter and Christmas as L understands and remember things properly now it would be lovely to make our own traditions and have some fun with snow, if we get the chance.

Lets see what the next month brings!