Winter Warmers – Time to Fill the Freezer

fed by ned

One of the NY resolutions I am determined to keep this year is to get a bit more organised.  In everything.  To remember to pack the goggles for the swimming lessons, leave extra time to get places, to find half an hour once a week to sit down and call friends afar and to clear my inbox of 138 emails that have been patiently waiting for my attention.  Rather than haul Little A and Little B round the supermarket I have also been trying to do the majority of my food shopping online.  Coming back to an empty fridge and freezer after a weekend away is not the most welcoming.  My freezer, however, is currently stocked with a rather nice little stash of scrumptious kids food which means I haven’t had to resort to the usual fish fingers and waffles recently.

Just before Christmas I had a delivery from a kind of elf.  Well the perfect elf if you have run out of time to batch cook for the freezer and want to give your Little Ones a change of scene from the usual frozen food aisle culprits.  Welcome Fed by Ned.  Organic, seasonal and homemade food aimed at the Littler market is just the ticket.  There are purees for teeny tots, and rougher textures for those over 7 months.  I rather tentatively put the Mild Salmon Curry in front of Little B and she wolfed the lot.  Certainly proved to me that I need to be more adventurous with her diet.  Fed by Ned is perfect to have in your freezer for when you forget that weekly shop and also a dream to pop in a cool bag to take with you for weekends away.

All in the detail:

Fed by Ned, click here for menu
Delivery is to your door and is free on orders over £50
Makes a wonderful present for anyone weaning their Little One
They deliver to: Islington, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, Wandsworth, Lambeth and the City of London.

Not in London then check out Kiddie Cubes for something similar but in cube form.

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Dive in – best in boys’ swimwear

trotters
So Little A starts ‘big boy school’ this September which means a whole new chapter will begin.  I can’t believe that he will trot out of the door clad in a uniform and be gone until half three.  As we will soon be having to take our holidays inline with the school holidays we have decided to do one last trip abroad ‘termtime’ with the Grandparents in tow.  March is the month and as we didn’t fancy Little B’s enthusiasm for running around on a long haul flight we have opted for Dubai in the hope that the easygoing time difference, sunshine and promise of swimming pools and beaches will be the perfect holiday for all.  Rather cleverly my parents are flying out separately from us (!) and so will arrive somewhat less frazzled than Team N.  Little A is beyond excited by the thought of a hot holiday with the Gramps and he has already been running around dictating what we should be packing.  One item going straight in the suitcase are his new swimmers.  Fresh in the shops for the season are these fab Lobster trunks.  They have a nice grown up look (like Daddy’s) and are quick drying from our swim test in the pool.  Little A is wearing age 4-5 and they are very roomy so should do for a couple of years.  I have also bought him a navy rash rest from Boden to go with it.  If you fancy something a bit lighter they also do a cool baby blue short with Flamingo print.

 

For Daddies…
As Mr N is not a fan of the matching father/son swimming trunk combo he is going to be picking up a new pair from Frescobol Carioca.  Their refreshing colour palate of prints and bold tones offers a refreshing alternative from the usual Vilbrequin fare.

All in the detail:

Boys Swim Shorts at Trotters, £29
Click here to view
They have a fully elasticated waist great for growing tummies

Boden rash vest, £16
Frescobol Carioca Swim Shorts, from £125

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On the road – best pitstops with kids

best service station on m6
So half term is upon us and for once we are staying put.  Mr N is in hospital this afternoon for a hernia op and so Little A and Little B will get to play doctors and nurses with a real patient all next week.  (It must be a testament to how tired I am that I am secretly hoping I will be able to have a nap on Mr N’s hospital bed this afternoon whilst he is in theatre!).  For those of you who are getting away from the Big Smoke and if any of you are Northbound and planning on taking in the sights (and traffic jams) on the M6 then there is a little secret stop-off you need to know about.  Travelling with children in the car is no picnic, even with todays gadgets and gizmos there are times when you need to stop and turf them out for some fresh air and about 2 mins off the M6 – junction 40 – lies the wonder that is Rheged.  For starters it looks like it has been dreamt up by children.  Part Hobbit warren mixed with Tellytubby Land, Rheged has a grass covered roof and an excellent outdoor Turrets and Tunnels playground.  Inside lies a soft play area, a pottery painting workshop, cafes, a restaurant, a great bookshop, gift shops and an excellent children’s toy shop (the buyer deserves a medal) stocking everything from Le Toy Van, Djeco, Janod through to clothes and shoes.  If that wasn’t quite enough Rheged also houses a IMAX style 3D cinema screen – currently showing wildlife documentaries and a host of kids films (Toy Story/Winnie the Pooh).  An excellent place to stop for lunch and a run around and there is a service station on site to fill up the motor too.


For those wanting more of a brief pitstop then it is also worth checking out Tebay Services, a mile north of Junction 38 on the M6.  Owned by the same family it has a similar vibe to Rheged but on a smaller scale.  There is a good restaurant serving local sourced and seasonal food that goes way beyond average motorway fare, a lovely Farm Shop perfect to pick up some nice bits for your trip, dedicated family loos, a kids play area and a sweet duck pond to visit.  Overall if you are headed far North then this the place to factor in a stop.

For other bits and pieces that make car journeys just a fraction easier read this blog post.

All in the detail:

Rheged Centre is in Cumbria and is a 2 minute drive off Junction 40,
on the M6

Postcode: CA11 0DQ
They have a good website with full cinema listings 
Definitely don’t miss out on the toy shop – perfect for all ages
Tebay Services (also signposted as Westmorland I think) is just a bit past Junction 38 on the M6.
Postcode: CA10 3SB
The same family behind Rheged and Tebay have also set up in Gloucester on the M5 so although I haven’t been, if you are passing I am sure it would be worth the stop.

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The Big Freeze – get your little ones wrapped up

jacket
I don’t know why but I always feel a little guilty putting the heating on at home during the day.  Back in my office days I am sure I would have complained if the office had been an icebox so I don’t really know why I try to soldier on through the chilly days of January with only early morning and late evening blasts of central heating.  Little A seems to run off an entirely different thermostat and throws off any socks and jumpers the moment he steps over the threshold, whilst I wrap myself and Little B up in layer upon layer. Leaving the house at the moment takes a good ten minutes longer as I try to wrestle various limbs into jumpers, coats, gloves and wellies.  One item that is worth shouting about is Little B’s new jacket by fab Danish brand Mini A Ture.  With only much older cousins and one younger, hand-me-downs can be rare in our household so I was really touched when a mum from the nursery gates offered us this little gem of a coat.  Its totally ingenious selling point is that it does up with a simple zip at the back.  Yes it might seem a little straightjacket-like to some but really it is much easier to get Little B in and out of and I don’t have to worry about her neck/chest getting cold.  When teamed with her trusty Olivier Baby & Kids bonnet she is toasty as can be.
back zip

All in the detail:

Baby Wen Jacket by Mini A Ture
They are Waterproof, windproof and use breathable materials and have a cosy fleece lining
Retails at £95 but lots can be found in online sales now for around £45
Sizes: from 9mths up to 3yrs
Machine Washable
We have the Misty Rose colour way which is a soft pink
Stockists:
Igloo Kids, click here to view
Natural baby Shower, click here to view

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In full bloom – a look ahead to S/S maternity wear

Juno

Happy New Year everyone! I cannot believe we are half way through January already. We had a great Christmas catching up with family and friends, and I was thrilled to hear news from friends who are expecting their own little ones this year.  If you are newly pregnant then you might be already panicking on how best to dress your bump for the year ahead. When I was pregnant with Little A we went to six weddings over the summer and it was a real struggle to find anything special to wear that didn’t look cheap and clingy.  If only Madderson London had been around then.  Their new Spring Summer Lookbook is the perfect escapism to leaf through on a dreary January afternoon and is full of fresh florals and detailed botanical prints, perfect to see you through the British summer season.  However, if procreation is not your agenda anytime soon then take a look at their chic Womenswear collection too.

All in the detail:

All by Madderson London
S/S collection available from 20th February
Click here to view

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Princess and the Pram Christmas Gift Guide

the girls

 

So you may well be organised and already have your presents wrapped under the tree, but just in case you are in need of some last minute inspiration have a look at my top picks for boys and girls this Christmas.

For the girls:

1. These pretty mouse slippers are perfect for little feet, Funky Feet Fashions, £18.50
2. Tea for four, Melamine pink heart tea set, Emma Bridgewater, £32.95
3. Great for Godchildren pressies, Hatley umbrella, £13
4. Love anything Maileg and a sweet gift to post, Baby Girl Matchbox Mouse, £10.95
5. Little B has this classic pram, Little White Company, £80
6. Perfect for toy storage, Cath Kidston suitcase, £25

boys

For the Boys:

1. This Spaceship was a big success for Little A’s birthday, by Hape, £62.99
2. Smartest Pjs around, by Royal Collection Trust, £14.95
3. Fun first watch with snap strap, Penguin Anisnap Watch, £10
4. Little A is mad about dragons so these Funky Feet slippers are perfect, £18.50
5. Chic toy for chic interiors, Vilac white car ride-on, £95
6. A wheely suitcase just like mummy and daddy, Robot case, £30

Gruesome but good:

If you have a 4yr old with a severe appreciation of toilet humour then these games are gross but worth the giggle:

Doggie Do Do, £17
Gooey Louie, £23
Shark Attack, £9.95

xxx

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Pretty Pottery – ramekins, pasta bowls & expresso cups

ibbi

If you are stuck for ideas for the ladies in your life this Christmas then have a look a my latest discovery, Ibbi and their gorgeous ceramics and textiles.  The two stylish ladies behind the brand, take great care in sourcing unusual and eclectic pieces that look just at home in both traditional and more contemporary settings.  Their pretty ramekins are great for dips this Christmas and are a very easy pressie to take to someone’s house that would certainly outlast flowers or a bottle of wine.  Also love their expresso cups (see main pic) and they sell fab baby playmats too that channel a sweet, boho vibe.

All in the detail:
All ceramics available at Ibbi
Click here to view
Ramekins from £11
Expresso Cup, £24
Most items are dishwasher/microwave safe
Baby playmates, £45

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Sleeping Beauties – gorgeous kids Pyjamas

 

Pixie Dixie

London is feeling abuzz.  Maybe its the carollers in Peter Jones, the Grotto on Sloane Square and the Albert Bridge all lit up but it’s definitely feeling rather alive.  These PJs by Pixie Dixie are just the ticket to celebrate London’s finest and you can get them adorned with Red buses, Black Cabs and Marching Guards.  Little A will be receiving a Guards set in his stocking and my gorgeous godson is going to look positively edible in the Red Bus piped pair.

All in the detail:

Pyjamas by Pixie Dixie
A British brand, they stock both boys and girls nightwear
All 100% cotton and fairly iron-free
Prices around £29
Sized 1 -10 years
Click here to view

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Festive Fashion – what Little A and Little B will be wearing

festive

Christmas really has taken on a whole new meaning since the littlies came along and with less than a month til the big day I am getting just as excited as they are.  The tree is up, the stockings adorn the fireplace and most importantly Pom Pom, our Elf on the Shelf, has taken up residence and is proving to be very handy indeed.  Whether it will mean Little A has to have years of therapy later as a consequence of having an all-seeing, Father Christmas spy in the house who knows, but for now his little face lights up every morning as he goes on the hunt to find him.

With all this festive feeling in the air, it is only natural that my thoughts have turned to what they will be wearing for The Big Day.  For Little B it is going to be a toss up between this super sweet smocked berry dress by John Lewis or this more traditional tartan number by Trotters.

For Little A, I headed to Pepa & Co for this lovely traditional checked blue and burgundy shirt.  It is really soft, versatile and is going to look great paired with his navy Zara cords and a chunky knit.  Pepa & Co do a lovely thick burgundy sweater that would also work well for the Big Day and beyond.

Now I just have to find a frock appropriate enough for Church, Lego building and champagne sipping.

All in the detail:

1. Berry Print Smock Dress, by John Lewis, £30
They also do a sweet red cardigan to complete look
2. Baby Arabella Dress, by Trotters, £39.99
I would team this with the Milo long-sleeved Body and their navy cardigan
3. Traditional check shirt, by Pepa & Co, £35
4. Boy’s knitted sweater, by Pepa & Co £48.00
For Pepa & Co it is worth giving them a call as they are super helpful on sizing advice/stock availability.

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Wheely good fun – bikes for toddlers

bike

Christmas is coming early in our house and my present is arriving next weekend and her name is Vita.  Her coat may be glossy and her saddle comfy, but sadly due to the confines of our London garden we will be stabling a shiny new bike rather than steed. Yes we are about to become the ‘family that bike’.  Mr N’s new wheels were picked up yesterday and Little B’s Hamax seat has been installed and so we will soon be ready to explore the city’s cycle paths with hopefully a few stops for Hot Chocolate along the way. This new found love of getting out and about is all down to Little A passing one of life’s milestones – being able to ride a bike all on his own. Whilst I would like to credit this feat with my amazing parenting skills it is in fact all down to his balance bike.

Father Christmas delivered one last year and 11 months later he has transitioned onto his first proper ‘big boy’ bike (courtesy of a cousin hand-me-down). With not a stabilizer in sight, he is now doing laps of the local park whilst giving me numerous heart attacks on the journey there as he bounces from one lamppost to the next. Forget scooting, walking behind your nearly 4 yr old cycling unaided is another terrifying part of parenthood. Only now though can I really appreciate quite how fabulous a balance bike is and if you are contemplating stabilizers vs. a balance bike then I would definitely opt for the latter. A year spent balancing his way to nursery on his, has meant the transition to learning how to peddle a real bike a simple and intuitive one. Now I just have to dust off my cycling skills in time for Vita to arrive.

All in the detail:

Our balance bike was a red Strider Balance bike
£85 from GLTC, click here to view
Little A is now riding around on a blue Ridgeback bike inherited from his
lovely cousins

It is obviously cheaper to attach stabilisers to a bike but definitely worth looking in charity shops or asking to borrow a balance bike as you only use them for about 18 months but it really does make the transition so much easier.
Don’t forget the helmet – Little A wears a punchy Union Jack one from Kiddimoto
Father C is kindly delivering me a Specialized Vita step-through bike

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