Wednesday 26 April 2017

Pampers Introduce Their New Premature P3 Nappy

Approximately 60,000 babies are born prematurely each year in the UK - that's 1 in 11 births - and my eldest child, C, was one of them. As a parent of a premature baby I became aware of how difficult it was to find clothing that was of a suitable size, however I had never realised that this same problem would apply to nappies, especially for parents of babies who were born at an earlier stage than C was. Luckily now, the people at Pampers have considered this and have taken action.

I had a relatively normal pregnancy with him, everything seemed to be going well except for swelling in the later stages. I assumed that it was just down to me being heavily pregnant and you always heard stories of mothers to be talking about how swollen their ankles had gotten. Neither myself, nor the people around me, noticed how bad my swelling actually was. It wasn't until I reached 33 weeks that I temporarily lost my vision and that scared me into seeking help. I was admitted straight away and C had to be delivered via emergency Caesarean section that evening - I was suffering with severe pre-eclampsia.

We were lucky and C was a great size for his gestation. Of course, I was terrified that his lungs weren't developed enough or that he would get sick but he was born crying and went from strength to strength and surprised us all. He spent his first weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit inside an incubator. He wasn't allowed to wear any clothes, only a nappy, and I remember feeling really sad and guilty seeing him hooked up to so many different monitors that were constantly making noises. It didn't help that I didn't know what they meant. I can still vividly hear those beeps to this day.

No one expects to have a premature baby so we were obviously very unprepared. Everything I had at home were either newborn sized or 0-3 months and they absolutely drowned him. The hospital provided Pampers micro nappies (for babies 2-5lb) for C to wear, as you can see in the photographs in this blog post. These were the smallest available size and they were still a bit loose on him. We actually had to fold the top down as you can see below. C weighed 4lbs 10.5oz which was quite good for a preemie. Smaller babies would have had to wear nappies that had been cut or folded which obviously wouldn't be as comfortable or may even have hindered their leg and hip development, but what else can you do in that situation when nothing else fits?

The healthy development of all babies (even the tinest ones) is something that Pampers are committed to. For the last three years, Pampers have been developing the Preemie Protection Range Size P3. This nappy is designed specifically to meet the needs of the tiniest little fighters, even smaller than C! It's three sizes smaller than a regular newborn nappy and is suitable for babies weighing as little as 1.8lb (800g). It even fits in the palm of your hand. We had issues with regular newborn nappies being a little big on C so on a smaller baby it could be too wide and may cause discomfort. Due to the better fit of these new P3 nappies, it would be easier for the babies to sleep, move and receive medical care.

Pampers will be donating 3 million of these nappies to Neonatal Units in hospitals all across the UK meaning that every premature baby will have access to nappies designed for their needs. They have also partnered with Bliss, the UK's largest premature baby charity. I hold Bliss very close to my heart as they provided us with little pack of leaflets and samples when we eventually got to bring C home. I also write about them every year on World Prematurity Day.

Pampers would love to see photos of your little ones supporting these tiny little fighters. All you have to do is share a photograph of your child or children with a clenched fist to celebrate the amazing fighting spirit that these tiny babies have. For every photograph shared on social media with the hashtag #powerofbabies, Pampers will donate £1 to Bliss.

I can't wait to see your pictures!

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Pampers.

Bob the Builder Dig This DVD - Review & Giveaway

Bob the Builder is back like you've never seen him before!

I was very familiar with the original run of Bob the Builder back in the early 2000's as my now 15 year old sister was a toddler then and was always watching the show. Fast forward 17 years and now my four year old son C enjoys the show just as much. He watches milkshake! every morning before preschool and so he fell in love with the show instantly.

I have to admit that I didn't pay much attention to the reboot until we received a copy of the new DVD, Dig This, to review. The first thing that I noticed was that the animation has changed in a fantastic way. The characters look more 3D-like and less blocky. I do miss Neil Morrissey as the voice of Bob but Lee Ingleby makes a great replacement.

The Dig This DVD contains seven fun filled episodes:
  • Dig This
  • Saffi's Treehouse
  • Out of the Woods
  • Stormy Weather
  • Bear Mountain
  • Bentley's Bones
  • Home on the Range
Throughout these episodes, Bob and his team are constructing projects using a foundation of determination and working together. I loved that although the animation has changed, the original characters are all still there. Bob works with his business partner Wendy, apprentice Leo and his range of machines such as Scoop. Lofty, Dizzy and Roley - all names which brought back memories to me!

The run of episodes show the team tackling any project or problem handed to them, whether it be something small like fixing a roof to building an entire skyscraper. They show the trials and tribulations plus all fun in finally getting the job done.

C is a massive fan of machinery like the ones in Bob the Builder - his favourites are diggers and excavators. The fact that he was able to see them working whilst watching this DVD meant that it really captured his attention. He asked me a lot of questions from what each characters name was to what they were doing and why they were doing it. I definitely think is a great DVD for any current Bob the Builder fan or fans of diggers like my son!

Bob the Builder Dig This DVD has been released via Abbey Home Media and is currently available to buy now from all good retailers.

Want to win a copy of Bob the Builder Dig This for your little one? Just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck! 

Don't know how to use Rafflecopter? Check out Di Coke's easy peasy tutorial.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • The giveaway will run from April 26th until May 7th
  • One winner will win one copy of Bob the Builder Dig This on DVD
  • Open to entrants aged 18+
  • UK residents only
  • One entry per person
  • No automated entries
    (We received a copy of the DVD for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)
Thursday 20 April 2017

What I Won - February 2017

February was a much better month than January was, win-wise. I spent a lot more time entering instead of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and also taking the time to search for my own giveaways, especially on Instagram.

So without further ado, here's what I won in February!

1) KidzCoins (RRP £8.99) from KidzCoins
I won these in a Twitter retweet giveaway and I forgot to take a photograph of them - apologies! They are little coins designed to be given to children and they can trade them for screen. C does like using the iPad so I thought they would be great for him.
2) Father/Son tops (RRP £14.99) from Pieridae Gifts
I absolutely love this! I am a sucker for anything matching. Chris is a little less than impressed but I don't care, they're adorable!
3) Shampoo (RRP £28.00) from Emerald Street
This was a web entry and I love prizes that are handy!
4) Cordial (RRP £3.99) from Subscription Street
This was a simple Instagram comment win. The company. Elderbrook, do a cordial subscription (something that I'd never seen before!). This flavour of mango, passion fruit and goji berry is delicious!
5) Football (RRP £14.95) from Walkers
I won this in the Walkers Snap & Share giveaway. If you haven't seen it yet, you need to get your hands on a promotional bag and take a photograph with it then share on the Walkers social media pages with #WalkersUnited. There are footballs, PS4s and match tickets up for grabs. C will love his football!
6) Beauty hamper (RRP £127.09) from MediCare Pharmacy
 I won this in a like, comment and share giveaway from a local pharmacy group. It was a lovely treat for myself and Chris. I did have to pick it up and have my photograph taken which was a little embarrassing - I always hate that bit!
7) Lamb & Bear leggings (RRP £16.00) from Boo, Roo and Tigger Too
 I absolutely love putting E in handmade clothing so I was thrilled to win these, especially since they were made by a fellow blogger - Lamb and Bear.
8) Personalised t-shirt (RRP £10.00) from Embroidery Queens
 I absolutely love this! I have so many items of personalised clothing for E that she definitely won't forget her name in a hurry. It's so cute!
9) Wall hanging (RRP £28.00) from It's OK Kid
I expected this to be small but it's huge! I have yet to hang it in C's room but it will fit well and I'm sure he'll love it.

10) Nails (RRP £31.96) from Elegant Touch
This was a win from an Instagram comment on Elegant Touch's page. You had to tag a friend and both of you won. I tagged my sister as she is forever getting her nails done so I thought they'd be good inbetween appointments.

11) Jumper (RRP £10.25) from Trendeo
Trendeo run loads of clothing and accessory giveaways on Twitter so when I saw the gorgeous black batwing jumper, I had to enter as it was so me. Absolutely thrilled to have won!
12) Avengers hooded towel (RRP £7.99) from QD Stores
 C is obsessed with Marvel and DC, he even has a Captain America school bag. I won this in a Twitter giveaway and he is thrilled to bits with it.
15) Mother's Day card (RRP £3.75) from Rude & Crude
16) Fred's Box (RRP £16.50) from What the Redhead Said
 I have seen so many blog reviews about these boxes that I followed Fred's Box on social media. I then saw blog competitions pop up and was lucky enough to win one! C is four and a half and absolutely loves LEGO. The fact that these are superhero/villain related means that they are perfect for him! Deadpool is his favourite.
17) Tote bag from Willoughby Book Club
I have always been a big reader so this bag suits me perfectly. This was an Instagram win where you just had to comment with your favourite book.
18) Infinity scarf (RRP £5.00) from Sam's Stitches
This was another Instagram win! I love that it is handmade and the colour is perfect for E.

19) Personalised Kitkat 
 KitKat had a promotion running where you had to input the codes inside the wrapper of promotional KitKats. They had lots to giveaway and I got mine personalised for Chris.

So, in February 2017 I won 19 prizes worth a total of £327.46. You can read my wins for February 2016, 2015 and 2014 here. It seems that 2016 is winning in the value stakes!

Have you won anything nice lately?
Friday 14 April 2017

The Entertainer's Easter Unboxing Event #TheEntertainerUnboxed

Last week I wrote a post on The Entertainer's Easter unboxing event which would be happening all this week. C had preschool on Monday and Tuesday so we were only free to attend Wednesday's unboxing. I was keeping up to date with the #TheEntertainerUnboxed hashtag on Twitter so I did see the other toys that had been unboxed previously and felt pretty up to speed. 

We arrived at our local Entertainer store (CastleCourt, Belfast) at 9am. I was aware that the actual unboxing would be taking place around 10am but because my past visits to The Entertainer had been flying ones, I was happy enough to have a look around at what they had to offer. The children's birthdays are both in September so they were running around telling me which toys they wanted to add to their "birthday list."

I must make a point of saying that they staff were all so lovely. Kayleigh, Jennifer, Lindsey and James were the staff members that we encountered and they all went above and beyond to make it an enjoyable experience for the children. As we were there so early and the shop was relatively empty (understandable at 9am on a Wednesday morning), Kayleigh very kindly invited C and E to have a play with the two toys that were unboxed on Monday and Tuesday; Little Tikes My First Flyer RC Helicopter and a NERF gun. Both of these were very well received by C and he had lots of fun having the freedom of playing with them in the store. E much preferred the toy animals that were on display - something which I'm not surprised about at all.

By this point, C had noticed the wrapped box complete with bow at the front of the store - Wednesday's unboxing gift! His excitement built a little by this point but we still had a little while to wait until it was time for the big reveal. We took this opportunity to browse the rest of the store that we didn't get to see earlier, then James let C have a go at driving an RC car around. He was giggling away to himself and having an absolute blast ramming it into things and knocking them over.

When it was time to unbox, the children dove right in and couldn't wait to see what was inside - it was a Wobbleez Dalmatian! They each had a little go at "walking" it around the floor. I think they really enjoyed the fact that they were able to have the toys opened and out of their packaging and they did surprise me as they didn't ask if they could take them home!

I let C and E choose a toy each to buy and getting to walk up the little steps at the front of the tills and scan their items was just the icing on the cake. C loves doing this sort of thing at the self serve checkouts at the supermarkets as it makes him feel very grown up and involved.

C is the type of child who can either be very shy around new people and not speak much to them at all or he can instantly feel comfortable with you and tell you his life story. It was definitely the latter when it came Kayleigh and Jennifer especially. When they were choosing what to purchase, C actually told Jennifer that she was "the loveliest lady" and told me on the way home that he had hearts in his eyes for her because he loved her. I definitely think he will making me bring him back to The Entertainer a lot! E also discovered that they had a mutual love of Disney Princesses so that makes her a winner in her book.

#TheEntertainerUnboxed event concludes tomorrow (15th April) and I would definitely urge you all to get down to your local store to get involved. If you share your photographs on Twitter using the hashtag, you will be in with a chance of winning the entire set of unboxing toys!

In addition to this, there is a fantastic Buy One Get One Free offer with lots of great brands such as My Little Pony and Star Wars. You can always stock up for Christmas (it's never too early to mention the C word when you have children)!

(We have been compensated for this post/attending the event. All thoughts and opinions remain my own and have not been influenced by this.)

Sunday 9 April 2017

Bigjigs Medieval Train Set - Review #PlayPatrol

We were so excited to recently become a part of the Bigjigs Play Patrol, meaning that we will have the opportunity to review some toys from the Bigjigs Rail range. This could not be more perfect for C as he's very much a typical boy who has adored trains since he was a baby. Since his little sister E has grown up, she loves playing trains with her big brother too.

The first set that we received was the Medieval Train Set and honestly, it's as though Bigjigs knew how much C loves this type of thing. He actually requested to dress up as a knight for Halloween last year. As you can imagine, he was delighted and instantly asked to play with the knight figures.

The Medieval Train Set contains 46 pieces in total which looked a little scary in the box and instruction sheet but I was able to put it together in less than five minutes. The castle is the main feature with a train track that runs through it and lots of figures of people, trees, a target and well.

The attention to detail in the set is fantastic. The Queen's colours are blue and the King's are red and there are even blue and red banners for the front of the castle and matching stands. Each person is painted front and back which I thought was a lovely touch as you can see all the detail in their clothing.

C is a massive fan of role-playing so his favourite thing to do is to have the jester make the King and Queen laugh or have the knight rescue the gold from the train which is being protected by a scary dragon. The set helps children with dexterity, imagination, creativity, co-ordination, problem solving and cause and effect. The thing C struggles with most is getting the train around the entire track whilst the three carriages are connected by the magnets. He tends to go a bit fast when he's excited which means the wheels don't always stay in the right place - he's getting there though! 

I've been observing both C and E playing with the Medieval Train Set together and it is just so lovely to watch. They really enjoy creating scenarios for the characters together and coming up with new ways to play. The chunky wooden pieces are very well made and smooth so they are perfect for little hands to play with. My two can also be quite rough with playtime so I always look for toys that will last. I'm pleased to say that the set has withstood the force that C and E have exerted on it - even the thinner, castle pieces - definitely a plus when you have young children! 

The Bigjigs Medieval Train Set is suitable for children aged 3+ (although I have been letting E aged 2.5 play with it when supervised) and it retails at £42.99.

You can find out more at the Bigjigs website or you can keep up to date on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

(We received this item as part of our role as Bigjigs Play Patrol bloggers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 

Friday 7 April 2017

Come Join #TheEntertainerUnboxed Event this Easter!

Easter is on the horizon and school's have either broken up already or will be doing so soon (C's preschool doesn't break up until Tuesday!). Either way, that means us parents have over a week of keeping the children busy and entertained.

From Monday 10th to Saturday 15th (with the exception of Good Friday), The Entertainer stores nationwide will be hosting an Easter Unboxing Event. I'm sure you're all very familiar with the popular YouTube unboxing videos - my two children are obsessed with them! - so from 10am each day, your child will be able to see an actual unboxing in front of their very eyes as well as play with well-known products including the latest toys for this Spring.

In addition to this, throughout the events over the five days, five lucky customers who take photographs at the event and share them on Twitter using the #TheEntertainerUnboxed hashtag will be in with a chance of winning the full set of unboxing toys worth £100!

The Entertainer will also be running an exclusive Buy One Get One Free offer over selected lines such as Lego, Barbie, Marvel, Star Wars and My Little Pony. I definitely think my purse will be a bit lighter afterwards!

We will be attending the event at Belfast's Castlecourt Shopping Centre store on Wednesday 12th so please do let me know if you're also attending this FREE event - I'd love to meet you! If you are unable to attend, I'll be sharing my day on my social media accounts so be sure to give me a follow.

For more information about The Entertainer's unboxing event, as well as the Terms and Conditions for the competition, just visit the website.

Monday 3 April 2017

Dolmio #ThankGoodness Family Bolognese Challenge

As a busy mum of two, I like to save time where I can. I won't lie, sometimes during the week, my kids can be partial to an "oven dinner" to make life easier. These are great for one off's but they aren't what I want my children eating every day. In a bid to get my family eating healthy midweek meals that are also quick to prepare, we joined up to take part in the Dolmio #ThankGoodness challenge.

We received a delivery of ingredients to get us started. I have always been a fan of the taste of Dolmio Bolognese jars as my mum used them when I lived at home. Since I moved out, I don't make bolognese as much as I'd like to. If I am making a sauce, especially for my children, I'd prefer to make them from scratch so I know exactly what ingredients are inside. Before I made a start on my family meal, I took a closer look at the Dolmio jar label. Did you know that in each jar there are at least 10 juicy diced tomatoes, a dollop of tomato purée, half an onion, a tablespoon of sunflower, a couple of cloves of garlic, a handful of herbs such as basil, a teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, two teaspoons of added beet sugar for taste, a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of water and nothing else? Absolutely no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or sweeteners, just 100% natural ingredients.

As my delivery contained wholemeal spaghetti, of course spaghetti bolognese was going to be the first thing on my list. We also received a whole range of vegetables. My children, especially four year old C, aren't huge fans of vegetables so I thought spaghetti bolognese would be a great way to hide them and make sure they are getting all of the goodness without knowing.

Firstly, I chopped up courgette, carrots, mushrooms, aubergine, onion and peppers as finely as possible. This probably took the majority of my time and that wasn't even very long at all. Whilst chopping, I browned the mince then added the 500g jar of Dolmio Bolognese sauce followed by my chopped vegetables. I took some garlic granules and extra mixed herbs from my cupboard and added a dash of those too, alongside a pinch of salt and pepper. I then made up my spaghetti as per the packet instructions. By this point, the bolognese scent was filling up the house and I could not wait to tuck in.

My four year old a is a very fussy eater and did take a little bit of bribing. He totally surprised me and actually tried it which is a massive feat for him considering we have to fight with him almost every dinner time anyway! Two year old E, on the other hand, could not get hers into her mouth fast enough and asked for more. Chris and I agreed that it was a delicious meal and completely cleared our plates. Neither child queried the vegetables in the sauce and Chris even had to ask if I'd actually used the mushrooms because he couldn't taste them (he isn't a mushroom fan).

As we only had two adults and two little ones to feed, we had a lot of bolognese left over. I decided to pop it in lunchbox and keep it in the fridge for the following day where we used it in jacket potatoes. This means that we got two full, nutritious family meals in under a hours prep! 

In the days to follow, Chris and I both mentioned that we'd love to make it again as it tasted so great and was really filling so I have definitely added Dolmio to my shopping list and will be making bolognese more often. 

Do you use Dolmio sauces? Are you surprised by the ingredients inside the jars?

This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio.