According to the good old Daily Mail, the average mother ends up with a mere 17 minutes to herself a day and a frazzled 51 per cent of mums regularly go whole weeks without even a single minute relaxing on their own!

I’m very fortunate in that I have a self-employed, hands-on husband that does the lions share of the housework and is around the home a whole lot more than most dads, but child-free time is still rather elusive! So when ASDA Little Angels got in touch to ask if I’d like to join them for a spa day at Oulton Hall in Leeds I jumped at the chance!

The event started at 2pm and after two leisurely train journeys and a short trip in a taxi, I arrived at gorgeous Oulton Hall.

Oulton Hall LeedsOulton Hall LeedsOulton Hall Leeds

Oulton Hall Leeds

We were treated to a glass of champagne on arrival by the lovely PR team and settled down in the beautiful Repton Lounge ready to find out all about the Little Angels range.

For the past 5 years, I’ve been buying a leading brand of nappies and never even thought to try other brands out, as I always presumed they were superior, so I was intrigued to see if the presentation would change my mind. (Spoiler – it totally did and since the presentation, I’ve become a total convert and now don’t buy anything else!)

The presentation was brilliant; thorough, informative and interactive and at the end of it I was honestly blown away by the Little Angels brand. Not only are the nappies super soft to touch (we took part in a blind feel test and they were so much softer than the leading nappy brand which really surprised me), they also have a whole host of other brilliant features which I’ll detail below. In addition their range is vast and they are the only nappy brand that encompasses the whole spectrum of your nappy needs from birth through to bedtime pants going up to age 12.

Furthermore, in a recent Mother and Baby Magazine survey, Little Angels not only out-performed Pampers and Aldi Mamia in all categories, ranking highest in terms of value for money (they are priced at £3.75 per pack, or £10 for three packs which is brilliant value), overall quality and absorbency, they were also voted the preferred nappy brand.

ASDA Little Angels NappiesASDA Little Angels Nappies

The extensive ASDA Little Angels range includes the following:

ASDA Little Angels Newborn //

Available in sizes 0 to 3, the super soft Newborn range nappies come completely plain, without any ink printing on them. They have a time-to-change wetness indicator (the yellow line turns to blue indicating when it’s time to change your baby’s nappy) and sizes 0 to 2 have a cutaway section at the naval to protect the umbilical cord, keeping it clean and comfortable in those first few weeks. They also feature a handy size-up guide which helps show you when your baby is ready for the next size up, so no more second guessing!

ASDA Little Angels Nappies ASDA Little Angels Newborn With Dreamskin //

Available in sizes 0 to 3, these nappies feature all of the benefits of the Little Angels Newborn nappies above, including the time-to-change wetness indicator and the Little Angels size-up guide, but they also offer enhanced skin protection through the addition of Dreamskin® technology. These nappies are the first nappies to be enriched with the special Dreamskin® polymer which is clinically proven to soothe and protect skin. This polymer helps to regulate skin temperature and also helps to keep skin moisturised, making them ideal for newborn skin.

ASDA Little Angels Supreme Protection //

Available in sizes 3 to 6+, Little Angels Supreme Protection nappies are ASDA’s softest, most absorbent nappy and the ones I swear by for Phoebe. They provide superior comfort with up to 12 hours of dryness at night and by day, the super stretchy sides and secure elasticated back help prevent leaks and are ideal for active little ones that are always on the go .

ASDA Little Angels Comfort Dry //

Available in sizes 3 to 6+, ASDA Little Angels Comfort Dry are their biggest selling nappy and are proven to be as absorbent as the leading brands, with each nappy providing essential comfort and dryness at a very reasonable price. I also really like the fact that, like on the majority of ASDA Little Angels nappies, it’s easy to distinguish between the front and the back of the nappy by looking at the design. The fronts all feature the faces of animals and the backs feature the animals from behind.

ASDA Little Angels Nappies

ASDA Little Angels First Pants //

Available in sizes 4 to 6, ASDA Little Angels First Pants perform like nappies but pull up like pants, so they are perfect for helping your little one make the step up from baby nappies to grown-up pants. They’re wonderfully soft to keep your on-the-go toddler comfortable and they contain soft, absorbent gel beads, which absorb up to 30 times their own weight, keeping your toddler dry, with up to 12 hours dryness for protection day or night! They also have special aqua lock™ layers that help keep your little ones skin dry to reduce rashes and skin irritation, which is the last thing your toddler wants as they begin to gain their independence. They have super stretchy side panels as well as quick-release seams to make changing time a breeze and ASDA have just paired up with Peppa Pig to make the first pants that little bit more exciting!

ASDA Little Angels NappiesI’ve recently started putting Phoebs in these in the day and she absolutely loves them!

ASDA Little Angels Potty Training Pants //

Available in size 6, the Little Angels Potty Training Pants are carefully formulated to absorb slightly slower so your toddler can feel when they are wet and learn when they need to go to the toilet, whilst still protecting against leaks. They are available in different designs for boys and girls (see above right).

ASDA Little Angels Bedtime Pants //

Available in sizes M (4-7 years) and L (8-12 years) the ASDA Little Angels Bedtime Pants are suitable for children aged four to twelve who need a little reassurance during the night (or day). They pull up and down like normal underwear and feature discreet designs and flexible sides.

ASDA Little Angels Bed Mats //

ASDA Little Angels Bed Mats are made to the same exacting standards as the nappy range and are designed to protect your little one’s bed against accidents in the night. Featuring a plastic backed sheet, they are highly absorbent, soft and discreet. They can also be used for a whole host of other purposes including changing on-the-go, as a maternity mat and they also come in super handy when your child is poorly as they absorb so much better than a towel.

ASDA Little Angels Swim Pants //

Available in sizes XS, S and M, the ASDA Little Angels Swim Pants are super soft and secure for confidence in the water. The XS (3-8kg) is a tab-fastening nappy, making it easier to get on to smaller swimmers when they are lying down and both the small (6-11kg) and the medium (9-16kg) are pant style with quick release seams.

After finding out all about the Little Angels range we were then treated to a delicious afternoon tea before heading off to the Spa to make full use of their facilities. Charlotte from Write Like No-one’s Watching and I had a jolly old time lounging around in our robes and slippers making full use of the pool-side loungers and relaxation room before being whisked away for our massages and pedicures.

ASDA Little Angels NappiesASDA Little Angels NappiesASDA Little Angels NappiesOulton Hall SpaOulton Hall SpaOulton Hall SpaOulton Hall Spa

After our treatments we headed back to the Repton Lounge to say our goodbyes to the PR team and were kindly gifted a goody bag each filled with Little Angels nappies suitable for our little ones.

It was so lovely to fully relax and have a good old natter with the other bloggers at the event, but I was also really thankful to learn all about the Little Angels brand as I am now a total convert. Bearing in mind that you’ll change your little one 4500 times, on average, during their time in nappies, I just wish that I’d been aware of the brand nearly 5 years ago; I could have saved myself a fortune!!

A huge thank you to Myriad PR and ASDA Little Angels for inviting me, I had a wonderful day.

As a pair of early risers, both Jack and Phoebs are pretty au fait with all the early morning Cbeebies programmes but one of their favourite shows is the Teletubbies which relaunched this year with a brand new series.

Featuring the same loveable characters as the original series, Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, the new series has stayed true to the classic but has been brought ‘up-to-date’ with subtle updates and visual enhancements including Touch Screen Tummies, which broadcast live-action films shot from a child’s perspective, and new gadgets such as the Tubby Phone and the twirling, whirling Tubby Custard Ride.

As the show has been such a hit, to compliment this new series, Character Options released an exciting new range of toys including the brilliant Teletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-Noo that Phoebs was kindly sent to review recently.

Teletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-NooTeletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-NooTeletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-Noo

Suitable for ages 18 month+, the Teletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-Noo is the highlight of the new range and so far it’s gone down a storm with Phoebe (and Jack!).

In a nutshell, it’s a giant electronic activity centre with a whole host of features including a 6-piece shape sorter, a 3D Teletubbies character jigsaw to encourage problem solving and co-ordination and a number of buttons on the top that, when pressed, activate different Teletubbies speech and sound effects.

Teletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-NooTeletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-NooTeletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-NooTeletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-NooTeletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-Noo

Teletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-Noo

In addition, Noo-Noo has funny googly eyes and a spinning brush and it even picks up the magnetic custard splat AND makes custard slurping sound effects as it’s pulled along (just like on the show) which Phoebe finds hilarious!

Teletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-NooTeletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-NooTeletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-Noo

The Teletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-Noo is good quality, robust, bright and colourful and has definitely captured the attention of Phoebs.

At £49.99, the Teletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-Noo provides not only hours of fun, but also facilitates learning through play. It teaches cause and effect, develops hand-eye co-ordination and promotes spatial awareness, just to name a few!

For more information and to view the full range of Teletubbies toys visit the Character Options website.

Disclosure: We were kindly sent the Teletubbies Pull & Play Giant Noo-Noo for the purpose of this review, but all opinions and images are my own.

  • Zoe LSeptember 21, 2016 - 9:44 am

    That looks awesome, love the bright colours on it, definitely eye catching for the children.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca | AAUBlogSeptember 21, 2016 - 5:43 pm

    how fun. It looks bigger than I thought it would be. Love that it makes the slurpy custard noises like in the programme. My two would find that very amusing!ReplyCancel

  • Cardiff Mummy Says - CathrynSeptember 21, 2016 - 9:07 pm

    Sounds like great fun, my toddler loves the Teletubbies. It’s very odd seeing them second time around as I remember my little cousins watching them when they were babies. xReplyCancel

  • RachelSeptember 21, 2016 - 9:31 pm

    Looks like they had fun with it! I don’t think we’ve ever watched Teletubbies but one of my daughters friends was in it once!ReplyCancel

  • Kerry NorrisSeptember 21, 2016 - 10:28 pm

    My daughter has started getting in to teletubbies so she’d love this. Looks like there’s lots of different things to do on it too which is always a bonus xReplyCancel

  • Vikki HolnessSeptember 22, 2016 - 8:24 am

    Great review lovely! We recently reviewed this toy as well and the boys are absolutely obsessed with it. xxReplyCancel

  • Emma | TheMiniMesAndMeSeptember 22, 2016 - 8:59 am

    I remember watching this when I was little so it’s great to see little ones enjoying it now! xReplyCancel

Dear Jack,

I know it’s terribly clichéd, but time really does fly when you’re having fun. I can’t believe the time has come for you to head off to ‘big school’ for the first time tomorrow and I’m excited for you and totally over-emotional in equal measure!

It only feels like yesterday that you were wrapped up in my arms for the first time and your little black eyes were blinking back at me. I knew from that very moment what unconditional love meant. A love so fierce and powerful. A mother’s love.

Over the past 4 years (nearly 5!), I can honestly say you’ve been an absolute joy. We somehow totally avoided the terrible twos (and threes) and you really have been a ray of sunshine.

For nearly three years, it was just the two of us during the day when daddy was working. A little double act, we spent our time playing, crafting, baking and cuddling. We visited the park and soft play more times than I care to remember, spent hours at Pets at Home and Go Outdoors (you used to love pretending we were camping!) when the weather was inclement and we had a ball with your little buddies on numerous play dates. We read, we laughed, we sang and danced and you taught me how to be a better person and a good mother.

When Phoebs joined us 2 years ago, you amazed me with your acceptance of her and your protective big-brotherly love and I can’t thank you enough for making the transition from 1 to 2 so easy for daddy and I.

jack1

But tomorrow everything changes as you embark on a new adventure; your new adventure.

Your first day at big school.

In less than 12 hours, you’ll be joining your new classmates in your slightly oversized uniform that I’ve dutifully labelled and you’ll be starting a new chapter without me. I’m beyond excited for you as you set off on this huge independent adventure, but I’m also feeling incredibly sad, because I’ll really miss you and I know Phoebs will too.

I’m sad because tomorrow marks the end of an era; the carefree, spontaneous, unstructured chapter of our lives has come to an end.

I’m sad that you won’t need me as much as you do now.

I’m sad that I won’t know what you get up to every day; I’ll only know what you choose to tell me (which if it’s anything like your nursery days it will be “nothing”). 

I’m sad that I won’t be there to hold your hand and offer reassurance when you’re feeling unsure of your new surroundings and I’m sad that I won’t be there to kiss your cuts and grazes when you fall or help you if you fall out with your friends.

But I have to learn to let you go and I know that you’ll have a ball with your new little buddies learning, playing and growing so much in every way.

I’ll try and hold back my tears as you head off into your classroom tomorrow morning (but no doubt the tears will flow as soon as I turn on my heel back to the car, if not before!) and I’ll be there with the biggest smile on my face when I come to pick you up in the afternoon.

Jack William, you are handsome, kind, charming and loving and I couldn’t be more proud of you. Thank you for being you. I have cherished every moment of our time together and I will miss you so very very much.

Dream big little man, tomorrow you will move mountains.

xxx

Starting school

  • IngaSeptember 5, 2016 - 8:32 pm

    Awww Steph, so beautifully written, it made me tear up thinking of Isabella when she started last year and now she’s in Year 1. I’ll no doubt be joining you in tears as she sets off to her new classroom tomorrow!! Such a momentous moment for parents I think! Joshua will also be starting nursery too in next few weeks so times are changing for sure!! I hope you get through the morning ok! Hugs xReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabySeptember 5, 2016 - 8:34 pm

      Thanks so much lovely. It’s the anticipation that’s the killer isn’t it. He is more than ready, it’s me that’s not!!! I hope Isabella has a lovely first day back xxReplyCancel

      • IngaSeptember 5, 2016 - 8:45 pm

        I know, parents are the worse!! Thankfully at least Isabella looked back at me when she went in on the first day rather than just running off without a glance back haha!! Hope he has a great first day too!! xReplyCancel

  • Kara GuppySeptember 6, 2016 - 11:20 am

    Such a lovely post. Good luck on your school journey little man xxReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabySeptember 7, 2016 - 10:33 am

      Thanks Kara xReplyCancel

  • Vikki HolnessSeptember 6, 2016 - 12:36 pm

    Awww this is so beautifully written lovely, a wonderful tribute to your little boy. It’s such a bittersweet time for us mamas isn’t it? I had Riley start school and Harry start preschool today so for the first time in almost 5 years i have zero children at home. It feels strange and while i’m super excited for this new chapter in their lives i feel like a part of me is missing without them around! Hope Jack has a wonderful first day xxReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabySeptember 7, 2016 - 10:33 am

      Thanks Vikki, I hope your boys had a fab time too xReplyCancel

  • Dannii @ Hungry Healthy HappySeptember 7, 2016 - 10:29 am

    What a sweet post! I can’t believe that summer is over and it is back to school time though!ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabySeptember 7, 2016 - 10:34 am

      Thanks Dannii, It’s bonkers how quickly time flies isn’t it! xReplyCancel

  • Harriet @ Life With Mrs LeeSeptember 8, 2016 - 1:06 pm

    Oh this is so beautifully written, made me feel a little emotional. I so hope hes had a great first few days xxxReplyCancel

  • This Mama LifeSeptember 9, 2016 - 7:53 pm

    What a gorgeous post! These open letters for starting school are just so lovely and will be such treasured memories for the future. I really hope all went well :) xReplyCancel

  • GeorginaSeptember 9, 2016 - 8:23 pm

    Awww this is so beautiful! It’s so bittersweet isn’t it, I was a bag of emotions for our little girls first day at school but it’a so lovely to see them grow XXReplyCancel

  • JodieSeptember 10, 2016 - 5:58 am

    I hope everyThing went well with school. It’s such a big step.ReplyCancel

  • StephSeptember 15, 2016 - 10:48 pm

    This is beautifully written. I can’t believe that summer is over this quick!ReplyCancel

After a lovely two week break in Mallorca (hence the blogging hiatus), we have arrived home to slightly cooler climes and the realisation that Summer has, once again, whizzed by in the blink of an eye. Can you believe that tomorrow is the first of September and soon Summer will be making way for Autumn?!

Every season has its perks but I do love Autumn. There is just something about the clear blue skies, crisp mornings, beautiful trees and a crunchy carpet of leaves under my feet. A new season also means I need to dig out my warmer clothes and start to think about purchasing a few key items for my wardrobe to get me through this Autumn/Winter.

Thankfully I recently stumbled across Lyst, which is a brilliant fashion website that offers a unique shopping experience for every user. The app is super easy to use and allows you to follow your favourite brands, watch trends and create wish ‘lysts’ (for free) to help plan your wardrobe. Ingeniously, the more you use the platform, the more it learns about you and your shopping habits so you start to only see things you love!

Lyst

In addition to this tailored shopping experience, Lyst also alerts you when anything you’ve ‘lysted’ goes on sale or comes back in stock. Brilliant!

I’ve created a few lysts over the past few months but here’s the one I pulled together to give me inspiration for my Autumn/Winter wardrobe. A fair few of these items are out of my budget but the great thing about Lyst is that they feature brands that cater for every budget from high street favourites such as Topshop and Oasis, to top end designers such as Victoria Beckham and Balenciaga.

From my Lyst, here are my top five key items that I need for Autumn:

Lyst

1 // Women’s Black Double Breasted Jacket by Balmain

I’ve lusted after a jacket for ages and having spotted this beauty on a friend recently, I became smitten! Classic, tailored and incredibly chic, this is most definitely a worthwhile investment piece for the wardrobe.

2 // Women’s Moto Black Jamie Jeans by Topshop

I live in Topshop’s Jamie Jeans. Not only are they incredibly comfortable, they’re also high waisted which is ideal for eliminating the dreaded muffin top!

3 // Red Women’s Landen Dress by Étoile Isabel Marant

I adore the eye-catching print and this dress would be perfect for a christening I have coming up in a few weeks.

4 // Women’s Blue Asymmetric Ribbed Wool Jumper by Stella McCartney

I’m all about the chunky, oversized jumpers in Autumn and Winter and I love this bright blue number from Stella McCartney.

5 // Women’s Brown Ugg ‘camren’ Boot by Ugg

Comfortable and practical, these boots would be ideal for the school run.

Lyst is jam packed with gorgeous items and a whole host of inspiration to suit all tastes and budgets. So if you fancy whiling away a good few hours lusting over gorgeous threads, head on over to Lyst.co.uk now.

Disclosure: PR collaboration

  • Andrea WhiteSeptember 1, 2016 - 10:56 pm

    Hi Steph

    I love what you do regarding showcasing products. I have a range of cute baby shoes at http://www.hippofeet.com and I was wondering if you know of how we can promote them? I am a working mummy of twin 3 year old boys and am just trying to get some advice for my new company to push us in the right direction so that I can give them all of the wonderful things in the world.

    Your blog is very stylish informative.

    Kindest regards.

    Andrea WhiteReplyCancel

As parents, it can be challenging to come up with fun, challenging and rewarding life lessons and exercises. For those looking to teach their kids valuable lessons, it is worth starting your own vegetable garden and encouraging them to tend to the plants. Not only can this be a fun and fulfilling experience that you can share as a family, but it can also teach them several excellent skills and life lessons. Additionally, you can also save a tidy sum on your grocery shopping each month.

The Many Benefits

Growing vegetables is a terrific way to give your kids responsibility, educate them about science and nature, encourage them to work together and give them a love and understanding of the environment. In addition to this, tending to a vegetable garden can also get them outside and doing something which is physical, fun and productive. It can also teach them about sustainability and eating healthily; this should put them in good stead for the future. All of this can give your children self-confidence as they begin to see results and eat food which they have grown themselves.

Making-Money-Growing-Vegetables

Getting them Interested

These are just a few of the reasons why starting your own family vegetable garden is an excellent idea. Most children love being out in the garden and playing with the soil, but if they are struggling to be inspired there are a few ways to spike their interest. Firstly, you can prepare a plot of land for them and purchase the items you need, with specialists like Premier Polytunnels carrying plenty of equipment. You can then make the area look fun and interesting by adding a water feature, scarecrow and maybe even a worm farm. Finally, you can excite them by growing plants and vegetables that are interesting and colourful. A few examples include sunflowers, carrots, pumpkins and strawberries.

Best-Growing-Conditions-For-Sunflowers-Landscapers

An Ongoing Process

You can then get started and help them to dig, plant, water and tend to the plants. Their interest is sure to spike once you begin to see results, and they can then pick the vegetables when they are ready to eat and prepare them for use in a family dinner. They can also carry out weeding, composting and preparing the soil; these are all important tasks which will educate them about the environment.

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Encouraging your kids to grow their own vegetables can be incredibly valuable and worthwhile. It is a fun and healthy activity, plus it can teach them a tremendous amount about the world and develop many skills.