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Lamaze was my go-to toy brand when the children were babies, so I’m over the moon to be collaborating with them on a brilliant new competition for you guys, my lovely readers.

Lamaze is the top trusted brand for infant toys and their toys inspire daily discoveries that encourage baby to grow and develop in two ways – through independent and shared play. Each toy comes with a unique feature that can be activated by parents to create delightful surprises and bonding moments with baby, while the multiple colours, textures and sounds allow baby to explore and learn on their own.

I’ve teamed up with Tomy and Lamaze to offer three lucky winners the complete Freddie the Firefly™ Collection in celebration of the brand’s new look that has been revealed today on the new Lamaze Facebook page.

The brand’s new look will support Lamaze’s vision to ‘spark little triumphs and create moments of wonder’ and will appeal to consumers through new packaging and positioning.

The new Facebook page is a space to celebrate your baby’s moments of joy, to share experiences and tips with other parents, and of course enjoy giveaways and some plain old fun! Fans of the new Lamaze Facebook page will be treated to top tips from Coleen Rooney, the Lamaze brand ambassador and Lamaze will also be recruiting official toy testers every month to review products from the new collection. Visit the Lamaze Facebook page for more information.

lamaze

Each of my three lucky winners will receive the complete Freddie the Firefly™ Collection which includes: Freddie the Firefly™ Clip‘n’ Go, Freddie Rattle, High Chair Toy and the 3-in-1 Gym.

For your chance to win, comment on this blog post answering the following question AND fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

What is Lamaze’s vision?

A: To spark little triumphs for babies.

B: To make preschoolers giggle.

C: To create innovative toys for toddlers.

Full Ts&Cs are below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions:

  1. Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding anyone professionally associated with Hello Baby Blog, Lamaze or Tomy.
  2. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
  3. The prize draw starts at 12am on 29th July 2016 and closes at 12am on 28th August 2016.
  4. Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post and filling in the Rafflecopter widget. Entrants can gain bonus entries by visiting Hello Baby on facebook, following @hellobabyblog on Twitter, tweeting about the giveaway, following Hello Baby on instagram, following Hello Baby Blog on pinterest, following @lamazetoys on Twitter, visiting LamazeUK on Facebook and then completing the Rafflecopter widget featured in this post.
  5. The names of the winners will be published on this website within 14 days of the competition closing.
  6. Hello Baby Blog’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
  7. By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.
  8. Hello Baby Blog reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.
  9. Once the three winners have been selected at random using Rafflecopter, I will inform Lamaze of the winners’ names and addresses and they will then send on the prizes. I’m sure this won’t happen but I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post or arriving late.
  • Jacqui MatthewsJuly 29, 2016 - 7:54 pm

    I think the answer is A. To spark little triumphs for babies . My little boy loves his Yo Ho Horace toy I’m sure he’d love these!ReplyCancel

  • Skye StevensonJuly 29, 2016 - 8:13 pm

    A. To spark little triumphs for babies.ReplyCancel

  • Helen DickinsonJuly 30, 2016 - 1:56 am

    The answer is: A: To spark little triumphs for babies.ReplyCancel

  • Tracy NixonJuly 30, 2016 - 4:45 am

    A: To spark little triumphs for babies.ReplyCancel

  • Aileen GreevesJuly 30, 2016 - 7:44 am

    Lamaze’s vision is ‘to spark little triumphs for babies’, answer ‘A’.ReplyCancel

  • Kim StylesJuly 30, 2016 - 7:51 am

    A: To spark little triumphs for babies.ReplyCancel

  • Rosie ParsonsJuly 30, 2016 - 8:40 am

    Answer is A!ReplyCancel

  • Newcastle Family LifeJuly 30, 2016 - 10:42 am

    A – To spark little triumphs for babiesReplyCancel

Once the school holidays roll around, you may panic at the thought of having to keep your little ones entertained. To help you make sure that each day is filled with fun, here are five foolproof ways to ensure your kids are happy and amused during the school break.

1 //  Go to the cinema

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Heading to your local cinema with your brood in tow is a no-brainer when it comes to keeping your children entertained during the school holidays. To ensure you don’t splash too much cash on your trips to the flicks, it pays to look out for great deals. For example, the Odeon cinema at Liverpool ONE has a kids’ club that runs on Saturday and Sunday mornings, offering discounted tickets for your little ones. To learn more about this, you can visit the website www.liverpool-one.com or contact your local Odeon.

2 // Visit a theme park

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For the ultimate day out, you could take your clan to a theme park. Between hanging upside down on rollercoasters and chowing down on candyfloss and ice cream, your kids are guaranteed to have the time of their lives. What’s more, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to kick back, relax and make memories with your family that will last a lifetime. We took Jack to Alton Towers last week and he had an absolute blast.

3 // Organise a picnic

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Image credit

If the weather is warm and sunny, why not pack a picnic and take your brood to the local park for some al fresco dining? Simply fill your cooler bag with your kids’ most loved treats and snacks, grab a blanket and head out to your favourite spot. You could even pack some fun activities to keep your youngsters occupied after they’ve finished eating, such as as a football or a frisbee disc.

4 // Attend a swimming class
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Taking your little ones along to a swimming class is a great way to keep them occupied during the school break. Not only will they have miles of fun splashing around in the water, but your youngsters will be getting some exercise too. So whether you decide to sit and watch or you choose to join in on the action, heading down to your local swimming pool is a sure fire way to keep your kids entertained.

5 // Get baking

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If the weather forces you and your brood to stay indoors, you could make the most of it and get baking. Getting your kids involved while you rustle up some tasty treats in the kitchen can keep them occupied for hours. From heading to the supermarket for supplies, to mixing the ingredients together, to finally doing a taste test, baking is fun, productive and keeps your little ones’ hands busy.

Disclosure: PR collaboration

Whilst the weather has taken a glorious turn for the better (please stay a little longer sunshine, we’ve missed you!), I thought I’d share an outfit post dedicated to pretty dresses that are ideal for your summer wardrobe.

When I’m not donning my usual ripped jeans/T combo, I do love wearing a good maxi dress for summer as not only are they airy, versatile and most importantly flattering, nothing else screams ‘summer’ quite as much as a pretty maxi does. I’ve also started to bare my legs a bit more this year (my least favourite feature of mine!) and have bought a number of above-the-knee dresses to throw into the mix too.

Before we ventured to France at the beginning of June, I searched high and low for the best dresses to add to my summer wardrobe, so I thought I’d share some of my favourites finds with you…

dresses

1 // Cutwork Bardot Dress, Topshop, £32

Bare shoulders remain a firm favourite for Summer and this cutwork bardot dress is just the ticket. With a relaxed silhouette, it’s easy to wear and is the ideal dress for day-to-night styling.

2 // Trapeze Maxi Dress, JD Williams, £35

Not only is this a super flattering shape, this brightly coloured trapeze maxi dress is ideal for portraying that chic nonchalant vibe.

3 // Jungle Print Slip Dress, Topshop, £32 (currently £10 in the sale, bargain!)

With its dainty double cross-strap detailing to the back and a plunging v-neckline, this dress would look amazing with some killer heels for a chic finish.

4 // Khaki Print Layer Top Maxi Dress, JD Williams, £29

As I mentioned earlier, I think maxi dresses are perfect for summer, especially if you want to cover yourself up a bit. This Layer Top maxi is ideal as it’s lightweight, flattering and most importantly gorgeous to look at.

5 // Oversized dress, Zara, £12.99

This v-neck dress is an absolute steal. I adore the casual, oversized look and with it’s short drop sleeves, this dress would be ideal for those that aren’t that keen on the tops of their arms.

6 // Palm Print Shirt Dress, Topshop, £39

I love this pretty palm print shift dress and I wore it to death on holiday. It’s loose fitting, yet shapely and has a pretty delicate twist detail to the sleeve.

I also stumbled across these beauties that would complement any of the dresses above:

shoes

1 // Michael Kors Plate Thong Gold Leather Sandals, £110 (currently £89.99 in the sale) – I’ve been a fan of Michael Kors bags for a while now but Michael Kors shoes are relatively new to me, but how pretty are these gold sandals! Incredibly versatile, they can be dressed up or dressed down, and are the perfect sandals to take on your summer holiday.

2 // Steve Madden Cretee Sm Gladiator Ankle Sandals, £65 – I’ve had a huge obsession with Steve Madden sandals since visiting Las Vegas a good few years ago and buying a pair or two. They are super comfy and wear really well too.

3 // Slim Havaianas, £24 – Slim Havaianas are my go-to flip flops for day-to-day wear.

Do you prefer maxi dresses for the summer? Are any of these dresses on your hitlist too?

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

  • Vikki HolnessJuly 27, 2016 - 9:14 am

    Some gorgeous picks here lovely, although that layered maxi dress from JD Williams is definitely my favourite. I love anything with layers that hides the mumtum and that print is perfect for summer xxReplyCancel

  • Dannii @ Hungry Healthy HappyJuly 27, 2016 - 11:29 am

    I am wearing lots of these kinds of dresses, as I am 6 months pregnant. I will keep and eye out for these.ReplyCancel

  • Jenna RichardsJuly 27, 2016 - 1:15 pm

    I tend not to wear maxi dresses because even though I love the style, I’m very short and they often end up swamping me.

    Love some of these dresses – particularly 2, 3 and 5.ReplyCancel

  • Zoe FordeJuly 27, 2016 - 3:11 pm

    You’ve picked some lovely but brave prints! I’m one of those people who likes to shy away in block colours, but these are excellent finds. Maybe I should be brave this year?ReplyCancel

  • Laura - dear bear and beanyJuly 27, 2016 - 5:39 pm

    I love a maxi dress, they are so comfy and easy to wear. Lovely choices xReplyCancel

  • GeorginaJuly 27, 2016 - 9:40 pm

    Some gorgeous picks! I LOVE the striped Zara dress… I’m always looking to cover my arms/mum tum! Must go hunt for this dress now, thank you for sharing! xxReplyCancel

  • Laura (Mummy Lala)July 28, 2016 - 12:39 pm

    Oooh I do love a good summer dress! My favourite has to be the blue Topshop dress, such a gorgeous colour.

    Laura xReplyCancel

smartrike

Following on from the highly successful ‘swapyourstroller’ campaign last year, SmarTrike recently launched their latest campaign ‘#smartDiscoveries’ designed to inspire families to discover the fun of the great outdoors.

#smartDiscoveries explores the unique child’s-eye-view little ones have of the world around them from the seat of their trike, whether this is in the city, the countryside or the seaside. This engaging campaign encourages parents to share photos and videos of their little ones’ fun adventures and what they can see while riding around on their smarTrike. Whether it be the birds in the trees, the pretty flowers around them or a doggie walking past, this campaign emphasises how the smarTrike offers little ones a truly fantastic view of the world around them.

Over the next few months I’ll share our #smartDiscoveries with you both here on the blog and on my social media channels (facebook / twitter / instagram) so don’t forget to follow to keep up to date.

Additionally, if your little one is fond of their smarTrike join in the fun and share your little one’s #smartDiscoveries on facebook to be in with the chance of winning an annual family membership to the National Trust.

(Alternatively if you are in the market for a fab new trike, read the review of our brilliant smarTrike Dream 4-in-1 trike click here.)

Since I started this blog a couple of years ago, I’ve been really fortunate to work with a whole host of lovely brands and this year really is no exception. At the beginning of the year I received a very exciting email from Leapfrog asking me to be one of their ambassadors for 2016 and I am over the moon.

For those of you not familiar with Leapfrog, they are a brand that are renowned for their award-winning educational toys and games and are right up my street. I’m a huge fan of toys that are not only fun but those, that through the power of play, will also educate our little ones.

As part of our Leapfrog ambassadorship this year, we’ll be bringing you news of Leapfrog’s brilliant products and we are very excited that we get the opportunity to put a number of Leapfrog’s educational toys and games to the test and share our reviews with you.

LeapPad Platinum

Jack was recently send the LeapPad Platinum to put through its paces and after reading rave reviews about it from fellow bloggers, I was very intrigued to see the Platinum in action first-hand.

Children’s tablets have evolved enormously in the past few years and although the LeapPad Platinum is no competition to the likes of the iPad Mini in the style stakes, it offers a robust design with a shatter-safe screen and wraparound rubber bumper, which is invaluable when in the hands of a heavy-handed little person!

LeapPad Platinum

Available in green or purple, the LeapPad Platinum is aimed at children aged between 3 and 9. It’s the first children’s tablet that Jack has played with and he loves it, as do I! I could waffle on and on about how brilliant I think the LeapPad Platinum is, but to keep it more concise I have highlighted the main features below:

Build:

In terms of specifications, the LeapPad Platinum boasts a powerful punch. It has a respectable 1 GHz processor and a 7-inch capacitive screen with the best resolution to date (1024 x 600) on a LeapPad tablet that delivers big, crisp, sharp graphics. The screen is a touch screen so can be controlled with a finger or the nifty soft-ended stylus and there is a directional pad and home button on the front which makes it super easy for little ones to navigate.

LeapPad Platinum

Battery life:

The built-in rechargeable battery last around five hours. This is slightly less than its predecessor, the LeapPad 3, but is long enough to get you through most car journeys and short haul flights.

Robust Parent Controls

The LeapPad Platinum allows parents to create user profiles for their children enabling parents to take control over how your little one utilises the LeapPad.

LeapPad Platinum

LeapPad Platinum

You can limit access to certain apps, disable the wi-fi and even set time restrictions. Ingeniously time limits can also be set each time the tablet is turned on if you only want your little one to play with it for an hour, for example. A countdown timer lets them know how much longer they have left.

These robust parental controls offer peace of mind that your little ones can play safely and only access what you want them to access.

LeapPad PlatinumLeapPad Platinum

Apps and Games

The LeapPad Platinum comes pre-loaded with a plethora of apps and games to entertain your children including a PhotoFun app that lets them add funny filters to the photos they have taken themselves on the LeapPad’s 2-megapixel camera, a music app where they can listen to pre-loaded songs and a pet chat app that lets your child send pre-approved messages to their friends who also own a LeapPad.

LeapPad Platinum

In addition to the pre-loaded apps and games, there are over 800 available as paid downloads in the LeapFrog App Centre. You can also go ‘old-school’ and purchase cartridge games for your LeapPad Platinum, and these have been a huge hit with Jack.

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Jack’s firm favourite cartridge at the moment is Disney-Pixars Monsters University (problem solving based), but he also really loves his Jake and the Never Land Pirates game (mathematics based) and his Octonauts game (Science based).

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Children can also browse the App Centre and add apps and games to a ‘wishlist’ for their parent’s to (hopefully!) buy them. This feature isn’t much use to Jack, as at 4 years old he likes the look of everything, but is a handy feature for older children who understand exactly what they are adding to the list.

Internet browser

The LeapPad Platinum has a safe, protected web browser that gives children access to pre-approved content that has been curated just for kids, such as child-appropriate viral videos and information about dinosaurs for example. It’s no google, but it’s great for your children to have a delve around the internet without worrying about what they might come across.

Imagicards

Each LeapPad Platinum comes with 6 bonus LeapFrog Imagicards that are ultimately used to interact with games on the screen. This augmented reality feature is great fun, especially for younger children, and really does enhance the learning experience through spelling, puzzles and problem solving.

LeapPad Platinum

LeapPad PlatinumLeapPad Platinum

Using the LeapPad’s camera to simply take a photo of the card, it suddenly (and magically in children’s eyes) brings the card to life. Jack loves playing with the Paw Patrol Imagicards, as not only do the characters pop up on the screen when he photographs them, he also has to find the right card to be scanned into the game, as the cards are used to unlock the gameplay. Your little one can even take ‘selfies’ with their favourite characters!

In Summary

As a parent, I’m always trying to discourage my two from too much ‘screen time’, as I’d rather they play outside / be active / get crafty etc. However there are (many) times when Andy and I rely on electronic devices to entertain Jack and Phoebs and much to my delight, the LeapPad Platinum is always Jack’s first request.

At £79.99 (you can buy it on Amazon here), I think the LeapPad Platinum is excellent value for money and the ‘free’ apps and games pre-loaded will entertain your little ones for a good while. However, if you would like to buy additional apps and games, they can feel quite pricey compared to iOS offerings for example, but knowing that they are educational, quality and advert free most definitely makes up for it.

The LeapPad Platinum is educational, safe, secure, robust and most importantly fun, and in my opinion, you can’t ask for anything more in your child’s first tablet.

Disclosure: We were very kindly sent the LeapPad Platinum free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own and I’d still rave about it even if i’d paid for it!

  • TanitaJuly 15, 2016 - 8:10 pm

    The leapPad platinum looks amazing and very educational. sophia is going into year one in September and I can see her definitely loving the leapPad. Fantastic review XReplyCancel

  • LoriJuly 15, 2016 - 8:26 pm

    I feel like a mean mummy as i still haven’t really let F use any sort of gaming, app, tech learning tool and he’s 5….this does look good though and has reminded me to get the leapfrog pen out and try and hook it up to our world map xReplyCancel

  • Rebecca | AAUBlogJuly 19, 2016 - 2:11 pm

    this sounds perfect, really nice size too. We need to get something like this to get my son away from the iPad!ReplyCancel

  • Fozia SJuly 19, 2016 - 3:51 pm

    Oh this looks great. I got a couple of Leapfrog products for my eldest when she was younger, but haven’t yet for my youngest. May consider getting this.ReplyCancel

  • JodieJuly 20, 2016 - 6:56 am

    I love this! The leapfrog items are always really durable too which is brilliant for kids.ReplyCancel

  • Janine DolanJuly 20, 2016 - 11:56 am

    I am in the middle of purchasing a new tablet for my sons birthday but I’m still not quite sure which one. I want one where you can download movies too. The extra things you can get with the leap pad might be expensive but it’s very educational and probably something my son would love.ReplyCancel

  • This Mama LifeJuly 20, 2016 - 1:08 pm

    LeapFrog are such a great brand! We only have the reading bits at the moment but will definitely look into a LeapPad as well! This one looks fab :) xReplyCancel

  • StephanieJuly 20, 2016 - 8:54 pm

    My kids do love their tablets, these look a great tablet too. Robust and safe.ReplyCancel

  • Mrs HJuly 20, 2016 - 10:49 pm

    It looks like Leapfrog have thought of everything with the Leapfrog Platinum. I really like the sound of all the parental controls. As controlling what Little Miss H has access to is always a concern of mine. I also think that it is great that you can add time restrictions. I am sure Little Miss H would adore this. Great review. Hugs Lucy xxxxReplyCancel

  • Sarah HPJuly 21, 2016 - 8:40 am

    This product looks excellent! I think all of my kids would enjoy playing with this and it looks very well designed for parental peace of mind. The cards look very cool too.ReplyCancel

  • CharlotteJuly 21, 2016 - 8:11 pm

    This looks great! My daughter smashed my iPad screen so I am all for children’s tablets! xxReplyCancel

  • Fritha StricklandJuly 27, 2016 - 8:39 am

    Wilf has the older version of this! I love how robust they are! xReplyCancel