Food for thought – nutritious nosh for kids

PPWe are all too aware that 2016 is the year of eating clean and whilst I sift lovingly through my Deliciously Ella book, I still on occasion (and with an empty fridge) rely on giving the kids mass produced frozen rubbish from my freezer.  Hypocritical indeed. Help is at hand though for the lucky folks living in London, as last week I met with 2 lovely young ladies set out to change the face of convenience kids’ food.  Yes you can buy meals specifically made for kids from Waitrose etc. but you will also be buying into food that has been handled on a mass scale and produced in factories.  Instead the ladies behind Piccolo Plates offer a service providing super fresh kids’ food all hand-cooked in their kitchen in West London.

pp1Not all children like the idea of a quinoa risotto and I like Piccolo Plates approach when it comes to their menu as all the dishes are reassuringly familiar (cottage pie etc.) but with stacks of hidden veg and full of nutrients.

Not only will it alleviate the guilt that you haven’t been to the shops, but it also means you won’t be feeding your Little Ones the synthetic fish fingers and waffle combo you so often resort too.  At £5 per dish they serve 2 kids (you can just about squeeze 3 portions if needed).  Free delivery and they currently deliver across London.  Perfect if you have friends visiting for the weekend, want to stock up the freezer or for those weeks when you have been flat out working and would prefer to spend any free time constructing Lego whilst dressed up as Elsa rather than hovering over the stove.

pp2

All in the detail:
Fresh dishes for children all by Piccolo Plates
£5 per dish (serves 2)
Current menu: Cottage Pie, Chicken and Pesto Nuggets, Fish Pie, Salmon & Cod Goujons, Veggie Shepherds Pie and Butternut Squash, Pea and Lentil Stew
Order via their website using their forms and they will then send you an invoice.
Click here to find out more
Click here to order
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In the frame – DIY framing

framesIf you have ever been lucky enough to receive a piece of art or a print for your Little One’s nursery it can be quite a shock to realise it costs a fair bit to get it professionally framed.  With this in mind thought I would share my find… The Frame Company.  With a whole range of frames and mounts to choose from, you can generally get what you want for under £15 for standard sized frames.  They arrive by post and then you simply pop your artwork in and voila its framed and on your wall in no time.  Most are also available on Amazon and quite a few qualify for Prime delivery.  I love the duck egg blue frames, rustic pink and shabby chic grey – see above – but they do the classics too.  Great if you want to make a pressie extra special by framing it before you deliver it.

All in the detail:
All by The Frame Company
I buy mine on Amazon Prime for speedy delivery
All frames made in the UK
So many sizes to choose from ranging 6×4 up to A2 and beyond
Click here to view more

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Love is all around you – Valentine’s Day

V DAY

It’s around the corner and I’m delighted it lands on a weekend.  Can’t help but notice how the day has evolved since the arrival of the Littlies…

Valentine’s Day pre babies – flowers, cocktails, dinner in a new hotspot and maybe a spot of theatre.
Valentine’s Day post babies – a homemade card, M&S dinner for 2, a new Boxset and a leisurely bath once the kids are in bed. Rock on.

For Me:
An oldie but a goody, it’s hard to beat this gorgeous Moroccan Rose scented bath oil by REN, £30
Click here to view more
For Little B:
Nothing better than cashmere cuddles on Valentine’s Day in this ‘Love’ knit by Olivier Baby and Kids (also available in blue), from £58
Click here to view more

If you do want to get a bit more romantic these gorgeous notecards by the wonderful Cellandia are perfect to write your sweet nothings on.  Great to hide in your hubby’s luggage on away trips or under pillows. £3 click here to view more.

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Tartan Togs – The Diana Collection

Tartan

Sometimes I catch myself looking at Little B and realising that the baby of the family is no longer…a baby.  Although I love listening to her language develop and seeing her growth of character there are occasions when I wish I could freeze time so she could stay little forever.  Never more so than when I clapped eyes on the new baby collection from go-to maternity label Seraphine.

Sadly Little B at 2 and a half is too big but for any out there with babes aged 0-18mths then have a look at the super cute collection of dresses, rompers, coats and accessories.   Even better 12 percent of the sales will be donated to support the charity, The Diana Award which recognises young people who are working to transform their communities and the lives of those around them.  My top picks are the tartan dresses and the romper with tartan pocket (see above).  The pale blue and pink tartan is the Diana Pastel Tartan which was woven in Scotland in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and is the perfect colour palette to transition from Winter into Spring Summer.

Now if only I could find some Alice in Wonderland shrinking potion for Little B…

All in the detail:

All The Diana Collection by Seraphine
Click here to view
Collection aged 0-18mths
Accessories start at £15
Dress featured above, £89
Romper, £69

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The Tantrum Tamer – The Reward Box

reward box

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and had great fun lining up the carrots for Santa’s reindeer on the 24th.  Little A (aged 5) seemed to be the perfect age for all festive goings-on and Little B has had us in stitches all Christmas with her ever evolving vocabulary and new penchant for fancy dress.   Something we have become aware of, however, is the appearance of the toddler tantrum.  Our meek, quiet two year old has developed a rather fiery streak and the world can seemingly end if I happen to serve her supper on a blue plate rather than a pink one.  Little A finds this all rather funny but when his sister hits the floor for some serious theatrics I find myself desperately trying to remember how I got through this stage the first time round.

Help is at hand though as Father Christmas ever so kindly brought us a Fairy Reward Box. A tangible take on a reward chart, the Fairy Reward Box is a lovely painted wooden house that you can ‘post’ up to twenty special star tokens into.  You (or the fairies) can then replace the tokens with a small reward as and when your child reaches their goals.  As we are in the midst of woeful potty training this could not have come at a better time and is newly installed above our loo!

Star tokens

For the boys out there (or the tomboy girls) there is a fab blue Pirate Chest Reward Box and you can also buy sticker personalisation kits to modify yours or distinguish sibling ones.

Here are some top tips to get the best out of your Reward Box:

For Toddlers (18mths -3yrs)
For very young children rewards need to be kept immediate and obvious.  We recommenced that their Reward Box is kept somewhere accessible (the kitchen / playroom or near the loo for potty training). Throughout the day the box can be referred to and tokens can be awarded and immediately posted.

The act of receiving a token and posting it into the box will be a treat in itself.

An achievable target ( between 5 and 10 tokens) should be set each day and at the end of each day you can incorporate the counting of the tokens and remembering what they were received for (re-enforcing messages around what is good behaviour) into their bedtime routine.

The box can also be used to target specific behavioural goals / achievements  – such as being kind, potty training, getting undressed and dressed and staying in bed until a certain time.

If the target has been reached for the day you can then swap the tokens for a small reward overnight (when the fairies are awake).  Rewards can be small gestures – a sticker, small sweet, crayon, raisins, play doh cutter etc or a promise voucher of a trip to the park/library.

For Pre-Schoolers – 3 to 5 years

For slightly older children the use of their Reward Box can be adapted to start to encourage more advanced behavioural goals and to develop their imagination.

You can set out 3-6 key areas of focus (goals) for that week – making their bed, using their manners, brushing their teeth well, sharing their toys. These goals should be clearly explained and discussed with your child so they understand how they can achieve them.  At the beginning of the week we also recommend picking a prize / reward together which they are working towards for the the week (a family trip to the park, a movie night together, a trip to the bakery to choose a treat).  As they get older you can also ask your child to start to make a choice over their rewards (for example would they prefer a small sweet treat each day they have achieved their goal or would they rather save their tokens for a larger prize at the end of the week?  This can help to develop a child’s sense of decision making as well as introducing the concept of saving.

The general recommendation is you should aim to give  2-4 tokens per day, rewarding the areas where they have done well and focusing on how they can do better tomorrow for the ones where they have not earned a token.

This is also a key age for developing your child’s imagination so you may chose to introduce an element of ‘magic’ by saying the ‘Good Behavious’ ‘fairies’ or ‘pirates’ will be visiting while they sleep to exchange their tokens for a their treat or little voucher for their reward.

When the children get older the chests/houses can also work as money boxes.

 

At the moment there is currently 30% off online when you use the Coupon SAVE so take a peek and lets hope 2016 gets off to a good tantrum free start!

All in the detail:

The Reward Box is available in two designs, The Fairy and The Pirate
Each comes with a slot in the top to post coins/stars 
All arrive in a cardboard gift box and come with a drawstring organza bag with 20 wooden silver stars
£35 (but £24.50 if you use the current offer code)
Click here to view more

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Wishing you a very Merry Christmas

xmas stocking

The year has gone by in a flash and I can’t believe it’s only 5 more sleeps til the Big Day. 2015 has been a year of big highs and sadly big lows as there are loved ones who are no longer with us.  Nothing makes Christmas more emotive than missing absent loved ones and thats why we should be so thankful for the family and friends in our lives and to make sure we tell them so.

And a little round up of the PATP year…
Best Hotel for Families:
At Easter we headed to Dubai for our last holiday, outside of school term times, and we stayed at the very family friendly Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf.  We booked a room in one for their Arabian Summerhouses and the kids slept on a sofa bed in the same room.  As the hotel is part of the larger Madinat Jumeriah hotel you can use all the main hotel’s facilities as well as enjoying a pool just for the dozen or so people staying at your Summerhouse.  Set amongst manicured gardens and waterways you take an Abra boat to breakfast each morning which was definitely one of Little A’s trip highlights.  You have the beach, a souk style shopping mall, kids pool (excellent for toddlers with sprinklers and ankle deep water) and numerous restaurants to choose from.  You also get free access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark next door which is incredible for kids and fun for the adults too (if you are brave enough try the Jumeriah Scream!). The time difference makes Dubai pretty good on the jet lag front and we had wall to wall sunshine whilst we were there.
Best Family Holidays:
Villa in Campanet, Majorca with friends. Key ingredients: Huge pool, beer and pizza in the local village square, catching first fish out at sea and wine o’clock once the kids were in bed.
Road tripping in North Carolina.  Key ingredients: Sunshine, laughter, Red solo cups (like in the films!), Tweetsie Railroad, Linville wanderings, dinner at Artisanal and catching up with old friends.
Holidaying in Cornwall’s Constantine Bay. Key ingredients: Rain/Hail/Sunshine, sandy sandwiches, buckets and spades, St Petrocs and everything else that makes a British holiday so British.
Best kid’s day trip:
Hands down this goes to the Sadler Well’s production of The Snowman.  Just as enjoyable for parent and is it for child this was a real winner.  Staged at the Peacock Theatre you need to book early in order to secure tickets but it really is magical.  Sadly Little B missed out as think you have to be 3yrs plus to have the concentration for it.  Second place goes to Legoland.  We went when most schools had gone back so it was gloriously quiet which I think is probably why it was such a success.  Make sure you book online in advance as it certainly isn’t cheap and you can get a discount for earlybird booking.
Little A’s moment of 2015:
Definitely has to be starting big school.  Gone was my lunch partner of the last four years and instead I found myself dropping him off in badly name-taped uniform at the school gates.  He has loved every minute (bar the food being a little too ‘grown-up’) and I can’t believe how much he has matured having had just one term under his belt.
 
Little B’s moment of 2015:  
Mastering the art of language (just!) and also learning to ride the micro-scooter with speed.
 
My highlights: 
A new niece joining the family, gorgeous godchildren christenings and my father receiving a CBE.
New Year’s resolution:

Not to ‘graze’ on my mobile during the day

For those taking Little Ones to visit relatives for Christmas:
Kiddicubes – to take the hassle out of weaning when staying at someonelse’s house.
Dream Tubes – we are using these inflatable bed guard sheets so Little B doesn’t hit the deck at Grannie’s house.
Phil and Ted’s Lobster Highchair – clips onto most dining table so your Little One can join the fun without the need for a full highchair
Cheap and Easy Games to play this Christmas:
Teddy Night Safari – all your need is a stack of cuddlies and a torch.  Hide soft toys around the house and then set off with your Little Ones just before bed with a torch to spot and collect toys on the way to bed.
Treasure Hunt – all you need it some card and sellotape.  Simply wrap tape around card sticky side up and then set off around the garden/park/woods and find natural treasures to stick onto it. Works well with leaves, seeds etc.
Tabletop Memory Game – all you need is a napkin and the table set for lunch.  Cover items up on a table with the napkin and then remove one whilst the children are not looking. You then remove the napkin and see if they can guess what is missing. Great to keep them occupied for 5 mins until lunch hits the table.

Thank you for taking the time to read all my musings and hope some of it was helpful!

Enjoy the Christmas Break.

Princess xxx

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Christmas List – The Littlest Ones

babies

 

Saving the Littlest ones until last, here is my round up of what to buy babes this Christmas.

For babies:

  1. This is a toy that just keeps on giving. Children of all ages seem to drawn to this lights and sounds table by ELC whenever ever they come to visit and just as a I think I should get rid of it, I find Little A (nearly 5) and his pal playing with it.  Put simply its a ball table with chutes/spinners and even a toy hammer to hit the balls through holes.  As its cyber Monday you can snap one of these up today for only £36 which if you apply my well tested shopeconomics (and you have yours for 4 years like mine) its is well worth the £9 per year! Comes with 8 balls and thankfully there is a button for loud or quiet sounds and even one to turn the music off when it is all too much!
  2. Little B received one of these this year and it looks stunning on her bed.  The beautiful embroidery on these SarahK Designs pillowcases can be personalised with your name or date of choice.  They are also a great size gift to pop in the post.  If monogramming isn’t your thing then look at there lovely pillowcases that feature animals instead – I love the bunnies one. Prices vary.
  3. This little fellow in his lettuce is a big hit in our house and so much so I have just bought one for my godson’s first birthday. Pressies for under 1s can be tricky but puppets seem to be a big hit with babies and this is no exception.  This lovely rabbit can pop out of his cabbage, wave his paws and if you look carefully you might find a caterpillar, butterfly and ladybird (finger puppets) hiding amongst the leaves. £29.99
  4. My favourite item in Little B’s wardrobe at the moment is her Waddler knit. With a fab Pierot collar any Little One would be very lucky to find one of these under the tree. This blue number is £35 online today.
  5. Little A has the pjs in this print but couldn’t resist blogging about the baby guardsman version. Perfect for your little soldier and made from 100% soft cotton to boot. Baby sleep suits only £12.50 (the pjs version are a little more and come in older sizes).

Other present ideas worth a mention:

Christmas Stockings for babies under 1 might seem a little futile but if you are headed down that route then it is a nice idea to put items in it that are useful for you too.  We love this top to toe wash by Little Butterfly London.  If you don’t know about their skincare then do check it out as it is all organic-certified, hypoallergenic and dermatologist approved so perfect for newborn skin or those with sensitive, dry or eczema-prone skin. £21.50

Muslins also make excellent stocking fillers – our favourites are these gorgeous, generously sized ones from Marloe London.  Perfect for baby and then perfect for you as they make great scarves or sarongs when you get past the newborn stage.

To keep tiny feet toasty this winter I love these lovely soft baby slippers by Funky Feet Fashions.  They do lots of different animals and they are really easy to get on and off. They come in nice boxes too. £18.99

 

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Christmas List – The Boys

The Boys

As it was Ladies first last week, now its time for The Boys.  This year in our house it is all about graduating from Duplo to the heady heights of Lego and entering the world of Playmobil.  As both things seem destined to break my hoover and pierce the soles of my feet, I am investing in a play table for Little A’s bedroom.  After lots of research we are plucking for the Melissa & Doug one.  Most importantly it has a lip that runs around the table so you can keep all the teeny tiny bits and pieces up off the floor.  It also has a dual sided top and I have great plans to stick lego plates on one side so you can build straight onto the table.  (Check out YouTube for lots of films on how to do it).  With a bit of room under the table for some storage boxes I am hoping this might be the answer to a tidy bedroom.  Its worth noting it’s pretty large so definitely check your measurements but its currently under £90 on Amazon.

For The Boys:

  1. Every year I like to order one of these personalised rugby shirts.  Little A wears his throughout the year and they are made from lovely, thick 100% cotton.  We opt for the plain white with either red or navy lettering. Simply colours, £19.95
  2. This year Little A is really into games and in a moment of nostalgia we have ordered Screwball Scramble.  Essentially it’s an assault course for a small metal ball and as it is only for 1 player I am hoping it might keep him quiet for enough time to get the Christmas veggies on the go. Another plus point is that for once no batteries are required!
  3. Little A has a thing for crocodiles and especially trying to pretend ‘snap’ at my ankles.  Couldn’t resist getting him Roald Dahl’s The Enormous Crocodile and accompanying hand puppet.  No doubt the Gramps will be chased around the sitting room with this on Christmas Day which will no doubt provide sport for all. About £20 for both on Amazon.
  4. Little A loves to feel like a grown up and one of the big things he is desperate to learn is how to tell the time. What better way to get encourage interest than with a cool new watch. These ones by Anisnap are great as they simply ‘snap’ around the wrist so no tricksome buckles to master. Available at John Lewis, £10
  5. Coming from a family fairly addicted to Land Rovers this remote control mini Defender had to be on the Xmas list.  Easy to manoeuvre and with working headlights this tiny version of a true British classic is going to be a super treat under the tree. Available at Qwerkity, £24.99

Other present ideas worth a mention:

When Daddy is on duty in the morning I will often find the three of them curled up, not watching some Pixar classic but instead some unsuitable sport for toddlers such as bull riding or monster machine showdowns.  Now Little A has seemingly developed a thirst for watching large vehicles jumping tyres and the like he is rather spoilingly being given this plastic fantastic gem by his aunt and uncle.  The Bigfoot Arena Rocker Track Playset promises big things which I hope it will deliver.  You get 11ft of track to assemble in different configurations and you can drive the Big Foot truck on and off the track with different speed modes.  I fear the ‘bigger boy’ in our house will enjoy this too! Smyth Toys, £39.99

Even though he might be growing out of them slightly, Little A loves his Herve Tullet book so much I have bought the sequel Mix It Up to peep out of his stocking.  If you haven’t read these you should, they are very clever engaging books perfect for children aged 2-6.  Won’t ruin the surprises that lie within but it is a great gadget-free book with no lights or music to entertain – you only need to use your imagination. Mix it Up by Herve Tullet, £9.99 on Amazon

For bigger boys/girls check out Immerse Virtual Reality Headsets.  A gadget compatible with most smartphones. Around £2o on Amazon

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Christmas List – The Girls

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 12.52.10

I normally do my Christmas shopping lists later, but this year in an effort to be organised the plastic is being flexed and presents are beginning to be wrapped.

For the girls:

  1. Pjs make excellent gifts for Godchildren as they are practical, you can have fun choosing them and the parents will be delighted to have a non-toy gift under the tree.  Look no further than The Pyjama House.  Lovely Pjs and Nighties- we like the thick brushed cotton ones.  You can also buy matching parent/child sets so you can be wonderfully cheesy in your own home with no one else to judge! From £20
  2. Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day – this is gift of a book and I have purchased one for one of my Goddaughters.  Set to the backdrop of London and the V & A and with illustrations of classic London shop facades (never too young to introduce them to Liberty!) and full of museum adventures. I hope the mummies/daddies will enjoy reading this one just as much. £10.99 for hardcover
  3. A clever twist on the russian doll these super cute Stacking Animals are as lovely to play with as they are to have on display in their bedrooms. £18.50
  4. At a party the other day and spotted one of Little A’s friends wearing these dazzling beauties.  The perfect party shoes with neon laces and glitter galore what more is there to love.  Marks and Sparks has also delivered a refreshing price tag too.
    £14-£16
  5. A friend kindly bought us some of these when they came to stay and they would make fab stocking fillers.  Drop a tablet in the bath and watch as it fizzes around and changes the colour of the bath water.  Most importantly they don’t contain any Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulphates or Parabens and don’t stain the bath or skin either. Try mixing 2 tablets to create different colours.  A winner to jazz up Bathtime. By Mini-U, £1.95 for a pack of 9

Other present ideas worth a mention:

There is a rather charming wooden dolls house by George at Asda for only £30, click here to view.
I have ordered matching bloomers for Little B and her cousins from Pipkin, check out the Vintage pink pair. Click here to view, £20.
Little B is being introduced to the world of Sylvanian families this year (I don’t know who is more excited me or her).  If she is a very good girl then Father C will be delivering this Seaside Cruiser under the tree. Click here to view, £36
It is also worth having a little look back at past posts – Waddler, Dotty Dungarees, Bernie & the Beanpole for lovely gift ideas.

Christmas Lists for The Boys and the Babies will be out next week x

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Nice Knits – Kids’ knitwear label Waddler

Waddler

So my collar addiction appears to continue and Little B’s latest addition is perhaps the finest in her ever expanding wardrobe.  Soft, cosy and made with baby Alpaca wool what more could you ask for in a jumper this Christmas.  Onesies are available for the little ones and if you are looking for a more masculine look they do wonderful cardigans and pullovers for boys.  Each piece is hand knitted in Bolivia and the Waddler ethos is to give back as much as possible, so you can feel confident that your purchase will also make a difference to those that have made it.

See below for some of my faves…

Waddler

 

All in the detail:

All clothing by Waddler
Made from organic Alpaca wool
Little B has the Pierrot Jumper in cream
From £54-64
Click here to view

 

 

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