Cashmirino is a company specialising in pure cashmere children’s clothes. They cater for babies (upto 18months), children (upto 8 years), juniors (upto 14 years) and now also Dads.
They have some really lovely things! I know my boys would like to wear the hooded cardigans; they look so soft and comfy as well as smart. I couldn’t resist having a look through the baby range too, especially as one of my best friends is expecting at the moment.
It would probably be at the top end of most people’s budget but for special occasions or special gifts where you feel like splashing out a little bit, it could be ideal.
Cashmirino have asked me to share their new SS13 Look book with you! So have a look below 🙂
#CookWithPyrex Twitter Party 10 June 10.30 – 11.30am
Pyrex is a trademark of Corning Inc, used by permission
We have some exciting news to share! After Our first party with SA Fruit, we are getting ready to host our 2nd Twitter party! This time, sponsored by Pyrex.
On Monday 10th June from 10.30-11.30am, we will be getting together on Twitter to chat about cooking convenient but healthy family meals, sharing tips and ideas, and of course giving the opportunity to win plenty of prizes!
We would love to see you all at the Twitter party! June 10th, 10.30-11.30am – Don’t forget! 😉
Competition Terms & Conditions:
1. Open to UK residents only.
2. There are four prizes to be won, each consisting of £25 worth of the Summer Pyrex collection.
3. Each of the four prizes will be won by someone participating in the #cookwithPyrex Twitter party and tweeting using the hashtag between 10:30 and 11:30 am on Monday 10th June.
4. Winners will be chosen at random from all qualifying tweets.
5. Winners will be chosen by @etspeaksfrom, @redrosemummy,@TheBrickCastle and @theplayroomblog.
7. The Pyrex prizes will be sent direct from the PR company, winner’s details will be passed on to them for prize fulfillment.
8. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
9. Winners will be notified via Twitter DM, you must be following one of the following Twitter accounts to be notified – @etspeaksfrom, @redrosemummy,@TheBrickCastle and @theplayroomblog.
10. Please kindly follow our sponsor @PyrexUK too. Thank you.
Recently on Playfest we had a session on Junk Modelling. It’s not something we do all the time but the children always really enjoy it and it gave me a push to let them do it a bit more often.
We were joined by the lovely Maggy Woodly from Red Ted Art, who came to share some of her ideas with us and give us some inspiration. A week or so before that I won her new book on twitter, which I was very happy about and as you can see so was my little boy!
I have to say, none of our projects turn out looking as good as they do in the book! I’m just telling myself it’s more about the “process” and the kids enjoyment, rather than the finished results. We will keep trying!
Here’s some pics of my boys in action, creating some “masterpieces” out of our junk packaging!
Here we have a space themed rattle/shaker made by my 4 year old out of a giant lolipop packet, filled with some pulses, decorated with paint and sparkles, and fixed together with decorative star tape – tada!!
This is our rocket. It’s made out of an old chocolate milk container, covered in tissue paper and foil and painted. This is still up on the shelf in their playroom, 4yr old is very proud of it!
I think this one was a boat 🙂
More junk modelling play, with the younger 2 they were just really exploring the materials rather than having a project in mind.
Here’s some ideas of materials you can put aside to use
Any form of cardboard, cereal boxes, packaging, shoe boxes. Really big boxes can be used to make giant models which can be played in
Any form of tubes – kitchen rolls, toilet rolls
Foil sweet wrappers, or tin foil
Plastic bottles, drinks bottles, fairy liquid etc
Tubs from butter or yoghurts
Bits of felt
Junk play is good for hand eye coordination, fine motor skills – using skills like cutting with scissors, gluing and painting – and of course for developing the imagination. Their creations have the potential to become anything they wish! I love seeing the sense of pride and achievement in what they have made.
Pyrex is a brand name I have always known and trusted. I still have some of their glass cookware which I bought when I was newly married (which is 8 years now – time flies!) and that is still going strong but I was really excited when they sent us some of their other products to try out, and I hope you will be excited to hear about them too.
Pyrex kindly sent us the following Pyrex Cookware items to try out:
We were sent this in deep red and it looks great! It is something that you can easily cook in and then bring it out to serve at the table as it looks so appealing. It is a natural stoneware item and it feels such good quality, strong and well made with a nice solid feel to it.
This is from the Impressions range which is based on a vintage feel. As well as white and red, it comes in an ocean blue which sounds lovely. I really like the brightly coloured stoneware, to give a cheerful look in the kitchen.
I first tried out this roaster with a marinated baby chicken. It just fitted inside perfectly and came out delicious. Due to the high quality stoneware, the roaster keeps it heat for longer so its good for slow cooking. I left the chicken in the oven for quite long on a low gas mark, and it came out with much better results than with my normal method of roasting it on a baking tray using foil.
This stoneware could also be used for cooking so many different things like stuffed roast peppers, a big lasagne, or even for deserts a big apple crumble.
It was really easy to clean too, none of the food stuck to it or got burnt on in the oven.
The next item I tried out was the from the Pyrex Classic Glassware – Iconic Kitchen Essentials range. This is the most similar one to the Pyrex I already had, and I would agree it is a real classic as it can be used for so many things and has been loved through the generations! I remember my mum and grandma also baking in glassware like this.
This Pyrex range is made of Borosilicate Glass whereas cheaper brands may be made of Soda Lime Glass. The Borosilicate can withstand temperatures from -40°C upto 300°C and is able to safely go from the fridge to the oven, without any risks. This higher level of safety is obviously reassuring with young children around! Being able to withstand such a range of temperatures means that you are fine to cook food in advance, freeze it, then defrost it and bake in the oven. You can also marinade something in the fridge in advance, then put it straight into the oven when you are ready, without any concerns. I often do use mine straight from the fridge to the oven as that’s handy when you want to get most of the preparation work done earlier in the day.
Yesterday I cooked macaroni cheese in this glass Pyrex, as a quick and easy dinner for the children. I find these classic Pyrex really handy for any type of oven baked dinners. They are ideal for anything like shepherds pie, fish pie, or moussaka. I’ve also used these for desserts in the past, and I even serve salads in them sometimes as its such a versatile item it can be used to serve pretty much anything! These come with a lid which is really handy too.
This is much shallower than the other glass ware item and is really ideal for any kind of flan or tart. I used this to make a simple trifle, which my 4 year old helped with.
As with the previous item, it is resistant to the same wide range of heat. This range is all totally dishwasher safe too, and stain resistant, which should make it really long lasting and looking good for years.
What’s different about this range is that you can even use it to cook food by steaming it in the microwave! The lid is a unique design with an air valve, which can be open to allow you to cook or reheat the food, and closed to keep the container totally leak proof and air proof.
The bottom part of the container is made of the borosilicate glass and is fine to go in the oven, of course not with the lid. This makes it much more versatile than Tupperware, but it can still be used to freeze and store food for batch cooking. It makes it easy to cook, freeze, defrost and eat so easily all with the same one container! I can see how this is really handy, and maybe it will help me to finally get organised and do some batch cooking in advance. I keep telling myself I need to do batch cooking and meal planning!
I have to say, I am really impressed with all the Pyrex ranges – although I expected no less as I know Pyrex is a very good and reliable brand. There is a reason it’s been a household name for so many years, and that is because it’s such good quality. I was never aware of how much variety they have available though! I always tended to think of Pyrex just as the classic glassware, but the stoneware and multifunctional ranges are brilliant too.
You can find loads of recipes on the Pyrex website too, to help you out if you are lacking in a bit of inspiration about what to cook. Have a look here!
As members of the Little Tiger Parents Panel we are sometimes sent books to review. This is another we were sent recently:
Dirty Bertie is a picture book for children around 3-5 years old. I had heard of this character before, but thought it was for slightly older children. When I looked on the Little Tiger website, I realised there are also chapter books of Dirtie Bertie, so if the children enjoy this then they can stick with the character as they get older.
First thing I have to point out with this book, as you can probably tell from the cover – It is pretty gross. It focuses on dirty habits, and all those yucky and gross things that young children sometimes seem to find so hilarious. It is all about Bertie, a little boy with so many bad habits. He eats food off the floor, picks his nose, wees on the flower beds, plays with worms, and many more. Eventually he learns to stop most of his habits, but he still keeps the final bad habit of picking his nose.
Personally, these are not all topics which I like reading about. I am a bit squeamish and I don’t think I would have bought this book for my son myself BUT he did really enjoy it and find it funny. He had a look at the back of the book at the other available books shown, and spotted the other Dirty Bertie book for the same age group – “Pooh! Is that you, Bertie” and said he would also like to read that one. So from my 4 year old’s perspective, it’s a funny and enjoyable book. He does tend to really like stories about people being bad or doing naughty things, as he finds that really funny. There is repetition throughout the book with a catchphrase of “No Bertie! That’s dirty, Bertie!” which children can quickly pick up and learn to anticipate throughout the book.
As members of the Little Tiger Press parents panel, we are sometimes sent books to review. My children love reading new books, so they are always excited to see what we get.
The first book we got this month was:
Follow Me on the Farm (count with me)
This is an A4 size book with pull out sections on each page. It is all about counting, while exploring the farm and all the animals on it. It is really bright and colourful and the illustrations all have a cute and friendly style to them.
The book is written in rhyme throughout, so it flows easily when reading aloud. The buzzy bee character is shown on each flap, encouraging the child to recognise where to lift and pull each flap, which is a good idea as sometimes with other books mine have tried lifting from the wrong side and ended up ripping things if its not clear!
Because each page is so thick, due to having the large flaps folded up inside each page, the book only covers numbers up to 5, so I would say it is most suited to the preschool age. It is a little young for my 4 year old although he did still enjoy it, but ideal for my 3 year old and 21 month old.
As mentioned, the flaps are really big – they are almost full page size – this makes it easy for younger ones to handle them and lift them up by themselves. The flaps are fully illustrated on both sides, and when you pull them out it gives the impression of the animal turning to follow the bee in the opposite direction, which is a good effect.
The pages are slightly glossy and thicker than normal paper, again to make it more difficult for little ones to accidently rip it. So you would be quite safe letting a younger toddler explore this book by themselves for a few minutes, without the risk that when you come back the whole book will be shredded!
Throughout the book, the buzzy bee is encouraging all the animals to follow him and come along, and on the last page we find out what it is he wanted to show them all – 5 newborn puppies! Which is quite sweet.
It’s a very nice book if you are encouraging your child to pick up counting and numbers, or if they have an interest in farm animals. It is very nicely done and kept my children’s attention.
Little Tiger Press also have another book in the same range which is Follow Me in the Jungle (what can I see) which covers learning about different actions, rather than counting.
When travelling with children, gadgets like tablets can be really useful to keep them entertained but they don’t always come cheap so it can be a lot to splash out on!
Moneysupermarket are looking for cheaper alternatives that will do the job but at a much more appealing price, and have recruited 200 bloggers to test out more affordable versions of the 5 most packed holiday tech items to find out which ones are the best buys!
We were given the chance to try out this 7″ LélikTec ® Android budget tablet in white. The RRP is only £59.99 and it is currently selling on Amazon for only £41, which is ridiculously cheap! So I wondered how much it would really be able to do.
So far I have been pretty pleased with it, and for keeping the children entertained it is ideal especially at this price!
7″ is a smaller screen than the original iPads but a similar size to the iPad mini or the Samsung galaxy tab 2. It’s a very small and compact size to fit into a bag but being that bit larger than a smart phone screen. It makes it easier for young children to use and handle when playing games, and enables them to see easier and more clearly when watching videos.
The tablet comes with Google Play store where you can download loads of apps. There are plenty suitable for children and lots and lots which are free. I have not even put my credit card details into our tablet, as I will be letting the children play with it I don’t want to risk any accidental purchases and there are so many free games available that I see no need.
So far we downloaded Youtube, Candycrush, Car racing games, Lego game, a bubble game, Cake Maker game, Sketchpad games and the Croods game. Later on I will add more. I find adding new games a few at a time keeps their attention as once they are bored of one, there is always something new!
There is also a web browser which works fine and the pages loaded up fairly quickly. We easily connected it to our wifi. The tablet is enabled for 3G but I am not sure how this will work without a contract. When travelling you could easily connect it to publically provided wifi in hotels or service stations, and while in the car allow the children to play games or watch videos that are already downloaded onto the tablet. Of course having the internet permanantly enabled on the tablet wherever we go, would have been my children’s preference but I would not be happy with them watching too much Youtube over 3G anyway as it can get very expensive as it uses up so much data so quickly.
I was not able to get the flash games to load up properly on the cbeebies website, but this is a problem I have had with other tablets. It told me I need to update the software, then when I click it came up with something for apple, whereas this is on the android system – so I just left it.
When using the touch screen, the response time is fine. It is not as quick as an iPad but I have not noticed a massive amount of difference between this and our other Android tablet, the Samsung Galaxy 2.
The tablet also has a camera which is easy for the children to use. It comes in a small box with the charger and instructions booklet, and I found it keeps its charge for a fairly decent length of time. The specs say battery life is 3 hours but this would be with constant use, when it is left on the side it will keep charge for the rest of the day.
My husband, who is more of a gadget connoisseur than me, felt that the build quality was not the best but from my point of view, I’m more amazed that you can get a brand new working tablet for 40 quid! For my needs of just keeping the children entertained with some games, it is brilliant value.
A cheaper budget tablet like this could also be an option to consider for parents thinking of buying the children’s tablets, as those games are very expensive but there are so many free games for android so in the end it may work out very good value.
This is a great playset, suitable for age 12 months upwards. It’s quite large and contains 2 firefighters, 1 fire engine, 1 cord as a water hose, 1 cat, 1 ladder, 1 fire hydrant, and 6 more game counters – including fire pieces which show the fire on one side, and the ash on the other side for when the fire has been extinguished!
All the pieces are packed inside the box which opens out to show the fire station, with its door and the inside decor shown with loads of detail. The play pieces are all made of solid wood. The box/fire station is made of thick cardboard, which is still pretty strong and makes it lighter for the child to carry around. My younger boys enjoyed carrying it around by the carry handle!
I love the way that the set packs up into a self contained box, so it could be taken out if you are visiting friends or relatives who don’t have children so you need something to keep the kids occupied and entertained while you are visiting. You only have to grab the box and it’s all in there, which is so handy.
I found all 3 of my boys (aged 1, 3 and 4) enjoyed this play set and were able to play with it together, although there was some inevitable bickering about who gets to have a turn with the fire engine, as that is everyone’s favourite piece!
For one child playing alone, I think this is a really good quiet time activity, as its something calm that they can sit at a table and play, and really get engrossed in their own stories. I like to see my children doing this, to build up their concentration and to make a change from running round and making a lot of noise!
Another feature I really liked was that Haba have included a little booklet giving ideas of games which can be played using the set. This all encourage listening and concentration, to help build language development. There are some stories which you can read out and encourage your child to act along to it by moving the play pieces around as the story unfolds. There are also questions to ask to your child about details on the fire station, to practise their observation and conversation skills. All this expands the set further from just the obvious play ideas, and helps to give more educational value so it’s great that all these ideas are included.
If you want to see the set in action, have a look at the video below. My 3 boys all taking their turn at enjoying the “Fire” play set in the garden.
There is also a Farm themed play set in this format by Haba. I hope they bring more on all different themes, as it is a great product.
We will be getting together and taking about the new range of Haba toys (including fire set) in Playfest at 8.30pm on Tues 21st (twitter) and Thurs 23rd May (facebook) – Why not join us!
I am so happy to have another great give-away to share with you in time for Father’s Day, this time from La Jewellery.
For those who may not be familiar with La Jewellery, they are a British Ethical jewellery company, specialising in recycled Silver or recycled Brass jewellery. They believe in keeping all of their business as green as possible; all their packaging is 100% recycled and all their silver and metal sourcing is carefully considered to make sure it is all ethically done.
There is a wide range of women’s jewellery that you can choose from, but as it is Father’s Day coming up – It’s time to treat the Dads!
So here is the prize I am able to share with you today: A really unique and lovely pair of recycled brass cuff links reading “I love my Dad.” This would be a fantastic gift for any child to present to their Dad on Father’s Day and I’m sure he would be proud to wear it. I love the look of them, they have such a nice personal message but at the same time they are subtle and professional – very stylish.
The cufflinks retail for around £30 but to try your luck at winning a pair then enter via the rafflecopter below. The first option is mandatory so please answer the question there and then you are free to go on and complete as many options as you like for more entries. Please do check the t&cs 🙂
This Tuesday, May 14th is the first annual Apraxia Awareness Day. This has been set up by CASANA (American organisation) to promote awareness about Childhood Apraxia of Speech.
Here in the UK, it is more often referred to as Verbal Dyspraxia or Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (DVD) but it the same disorder and whatever country we are in, it’s important to raise awareness!
My second child has Verbal Dyspraxia (alongside other conditions). It’s not a condition that many people seem to be very aware of unless they have a child or know somebody who is affected by it. Verbal Dyspraxia is a speech disorder, not a speech delay. It is not something that children will just grow out of – it requires frequent and targeted speech therapy. This is something that not everyone is always aware of, and sometimes dangerous advice is thrown around by well meaning friends or relatives – “such and such didn’t speak til 7 years old then just started talking in sentence” “they will all do it in their own time” etc as if to say just leave it. For a child with verbal dyspraxia you can not just leave it.
With my son, his communication is already affected by his Autism and by having verbal dyspraxia on top of that, it makes it even harder for him. Children with DVD have difficulties in producing the sounds, so any words that they attempt to say can be really unclear. This is because of difficulty planning and producing the precise, highly refined and specific series of movements of the tongue, lips, jaw, and palate that are necessary to produce clear, intelligible speech. Naturally this makes it so hard for them to make themselves understood and can be so frustrating for the child (and the parent, when you really do want to understand what your child wants to tell you but you just can not!)
Think how irritating and difficult it would be to go through life not being able to express yourself to others and make yourself understood. This is what our children go through and the Apraxia Awareness day has been brought about the recognise their struggle.
My little boy is amazing he is always smiling and he is so friendly even without speech, he manages to win people’s hearts without any words, but as he gets older it is more and more difficult for him as the gap between him and his peers widens. He is now 3 and a half and in nursery, but he is not able to tell me at all what he has been doing during the day. The other day after coming out from nursery he saw some of his classmates, he pointed to them eagerly to show me, but not able to say anything. It’s the first time he ever showed me an interest in the other children like that, so I was so pleased to see this. Then he ran up to them but he isn’t able to say anything, and they didn’t want to play with him because he can not talk and interact like them. It breaks my heart to see.
Speech is such a major thing we rely on day to day, our main method of connecting with any other human being. To grow up without speech is such a disadvantage, effecting every part of a child’s life from their ability to make friendships, access education, and develop their independence. It’s something many of us just take for granted.
For a child with a speech disorder every new word or sound they say is a milestone and a big achievement! My little boy has improved massively from where he was, although he still has a long way to go, and we have a lot more work to do. I am really proud of him and the determination he puts in to keep on trying to communicate in whatever ways he can. One of the things that has really helped his communication is signing (using signalong) which I really recommend and will do a separate post on in the future!
If you want to read more in depth information about this condition click here, for a very thorough and useful article by Pam Williams of the Nuffield Centre. You can also look at Afasic a UK charity for speech disorders, which can give more info and support, and Dyspraxia Foundation which covers all forms of Dyspraxia.
Guest post from Dave at YourCub.com Do you love to play with your children? I know I do. But many of the toys that my preschooler likes to play with will only keep me engaged for a few minutes. You’ll find that the more educational and creative the task or the toy, the longer we […]
We all need a little help keeping our kids busy during this stay-at-home period, and Bing has plenty to offer to help out families with this. As well as over 100 episodes available on iPlayer, Emmy award-winning and BAFTA nominated family favourite Bing offers pre-school children and families multiple ways to keep busy and entertained during this […]
Activity and images provided by WAHACA AT HOME Make your own Piñata Looking for the perfect way to stop your kids smashing up the house? Here’s our step by step guide to making your own Piñata. STEP 1: Assemble your equipment You’ll need flour water newspaper balloons string scissors glue paint tissue paper and lots of […]
Right now we are in unprecedented times, with households across the UK going into our second month of ‘lockdown’ due to the Corona Virus outbreak. This break from the norm can be quite stressful for children – we don’t know when this situation is going to end, when we will see our families and friends […]
In case you’re in need of extra inspiration to fill these days during the lock down, here’s a quick list from Muddy Puddles who have shared some simple ideas that will help make the most of this time… Muddy Puddles is offering NHS and other health service workers 40% off on top of their online […]
Playing with your child helps with their confidence, development and overall wellbeing. Many parents make the mistake of trying to take the control of how their child plays. However, you should let them experiment with unstructured play, which allows them to go at their own pace and usually revolves around their interests at that moment. […]
Entertaining children is one of the toughest tasks. In order to maintain their full attention, they have to be mentally and physically engaged, but the task can’t be too challenging from the get-go. Initiating entertainment and maintaining entertainment is a challenge, no doubt, but it can be done. In a time where instant gratification is […]