Little Pink Teacup

Little Pink Teacup: November 2013

Thursday, 28 November 2013

All Budget Gift Guide for Under Fives

Whether you're shopping for your own children or someone else's, it's fair to say you probably have a budget in your head. Nobody walks into a shop or logs online with no idea of how much they'd like to spend. With that in mind, today I'd like to show you my pick of Christmas gifts for the under-fives for all budgets!

Under ones.



I'm not going to lie...there's nothing cuter than a little girl in a frilly tutu. Hands up, I can't resist a bit of frothiness! Itsy Bits have lots of lovely things on offer but these are by far my favourites! They're also running some great Christmas promotions at the moment making them even more the best-value tutu boutique online!

Super-sweet little chair that grows with your baby, a safe space for tummy time before evolving into a sitting space for toddlers.

Such a simple but genius idea. I love it and I want one oh-so-bad! A gigantic, squishy play mat big enough to fit all the family on, fully-washable and lasts for years! I love the pattern also. Just don't forget to grab yourself a double duvet to pop inside!

1-3.


Moo's had one of these since she turned one, she loves it and still gets a lot of enjoyment out of it now! They come on a variety of sizes also to suit different ages/body types!

Who doesn't love a trampoline?! And it's a Giraffe!!

Chop chop! Brilliant fun and it comes with all the parts, a definite for any transport made boy or girl!! £100 well spent I think.

3+

Such a cutie! I love the beautiful faces and how you can personalise them. This is a really unique and attractive gift, one that I doubt you'd find under the tree from anyone else!

We bought Moo one of these for her birthday and she adores it. It's fun and educational and gets her off of our iPads! You can buy games, once again, in different age groups to ensure they are age-appropriate and keep your child's attention.

You probably already know that I love a traditional toy and the rocking horse is the king of them. These offerings are beautifully crafted with stunning fabrics. They will last you many, many years and many, many children! A great investment.

Clare

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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Something She's Not


The other night I was up with Bear and catching up on my telly...as I do.

It was the return of Glee last week, one of the more lighter-hearted programmes that I regularly watch though this week something was said that really got to me.

Two characters were talking about a third, a slightly older woman who was the 'perfect girl'. Sweet, gorgeous and neatly dressed in colourful clothing. Essentially, a 'typical' girl.

And then they found out her ex-boyfriend was taking her to a Nine Inch Nails concert. Suddenly, the image was shattered and not because of the boyfriend. They then accused her of pretending to be something that she wasn't.

This got to me. It's something I deal with often, believe it or not.

You see, you wouldn't know it to look at me, but I like my music heavy. Heavy and loud. But why would you know that from looking at me? Why should I conform to what society says that someone with my taste in music should look like? I don't like that look. I like to wear plain clothes and I don't consider myself any worse a person than the next working mum with two little ones. 

I guess you could say that I was a bit sensitive to the topic but why not? I like fashion, I like my high heels, I like the way I look, I wouldn't want to dye my hair an unnatural colour and cover myself in piercings just so that people know by looking at me that I like alternative music. 

It always comes as a surprise when people I know over-hear my iPod or scroll through my Spotify to put on some tunes and I really don't get why. Once someone went as far as to say to me that they felt 'lied' to. Why? Why does anyone care? Does it really make me that bad a person?

Rant over.

Clare

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Monday, 25 November 2013

Save the Blow Dry


Please be warned, I hadn't had much sleep when I took the following photographs. You have been warned.

Hair is my nemesis.

More specifically, my hair.

It is thick, curly, frizzy and generally a bit of a natural mess. I straiten is (normally) every day for work or socialising. I straiten my hair so much that even some of the people closest to me don't know what my natural hair looks like. Now, some people love curls...I do, on other people...on me I have to blow dry, straiten and style my moo or else a nervous twitch develops.

So you can imagine the daily dice with frizz that is showering...

I don't use a regular shower cap as I find them crinkly and unhelpful. I usually get the same results from tying my hair into a scruffy top-knot and being extra careful! I can't wash my hair every day...firstly because with my thickness it would cost me an absolute fortune in shampoo, but secondly because it does it NO favours what-so-ever. So imagine my joy and intrigue when I came across Save the Blow Dry, a revolutionary new shower cap that has two layers to combat frizz and eradicate moisture.



So here I am, giving this bad boy a whirl...

Before.


During.


After.

I found it surprisingly comfortable and generous in size, had I still had my long hair, I think I still could've to it all in! As you can see, when whipped it off my hair was a bit of a dragged-through-bush mess, yes, but it had been stuffed into a shower cap, what could one expect? It was, however, unaffected by the heat and humidity of my shower! Hooray!

I'm so happy that I've discovered this product, it could really save me a lot of time when getting ready to go out in evenings or even in the mornings when I return to work next year. No longer will I have to adhere to my strict shower, make-up hair routine, working around my husband (who takes forever in the bathroom in a morning) and my children (who are a juggling act of timing all on their own)!

Here are my pros and cons...

Pros.
- Attractive; it's got a lovely, retro-esque bow-design on the outer layer.
- Frizz-risk-reducing.
- Multi-purpose; if you turn it inside out, you can use it over a hair mask or treatment!
- Nice and big to fit all your long, thick locks in!

Cons.
- When I wore it inside out, for some reason, the elastic cut into my forehead and I found it a but painful to wear for the time I needed to have the mask on!

So there we have it! My new best shower friend!

You can snap up a Save the Blow Dry of your very own and have humidity-free hair for £14.95

Clare

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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Toujours Wipes


never spend a lot of money on baby wipes. Or toilet paper. I really begrudge it and why not? They're super useful, yes but there's not much to them. I usually buy the one up from basic (as I find the economy lines very thin and not very useful at all). Own-brand wipes normally come in at around 89p for around 60.

I didn't go into Lidl that day to specifically buy wipes, I went in for a mooch, I just happened to need some wipes. They had some packs of Huggies wipes at £1 each or they had their own brand 'Toujour'. I'd used the nappies before as my husband's Nan keeps packs of them in her house (she has that many great-grandchildren) and I've never had a problem with them; they fit and absorb really well and even the design is more attractive than some of the regular supermarkets.

The Toujour wipes were 79p for 80, a big, thick packet. I bought two to try (I'm not very fussy over things like this, a baby wipe is a baby wipe).

The wipes are fantastic quality, really thick and very moist (but not soaking). They're large and go and long, long way...I was certainly grateful to have them when faced with one of Bear's dreaded 'poonamis'. Nothing poos quite like a breast-fed baby, that's for sure! 

They're faintly embossed with cute little teddy bears and the packaging is bright yet simple. Here are my pros and cons:

Pros.
- Moist.
- Thick.
- Great price.
- Large quantity in package.

Cons.
- Lidl don't deliver! As a non-driver, I have to rely on my husband (who hates any kind of shopping, be it food or clothing) or my mother-in-law to hitch a lift so I can't have a continuous supply of these bargain beauties like I would prefer. That really is the only thing I can fault them on.



Seriously, if you live near a Lidl and you go through baby wipes at the speed of knots like we do in this household then get yourself there and snap up some of these, you won't be disappointed!

Clare

P.s. They also have super bargain out panettone. £3 for a massive one, 99p for an individual one. Go! Go now!

Please note that I purchased these wipes with my own money and was not compensated in any way for this review.

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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Grandparents


Grandparents are brilliant, right?

Well, the truth is I don't really know, having never had proper, first-hand experience. All of mine were sadly long out of the picture, one way or another, before I was even born. I did have one great-grandmother (just named Grandmother) for the younger years of my childhood and I often think of her. I remember her fondly and always look whenever I pass her house (which isn't often but it's en route o my parent's place so more than I would otherwise). 

I'm grateful that my children don't have this problem; my children have a Grandma, a Nanny, a Grandpa and a Grandpa Mike as well as two great-grandmothers in (NanNan and Nana). They also have another set of grandparents but the situation there is...complex.

Grandparents (and great-grandparents) are the best thing since sliced bread; they tell stories, make things, have endless answers to all of life's questions and seem to have an infinite amount of patience when mine has run out.

Without my children's grandparents, I wouldn't be able to work, I wouldn't have access to a garden, Moo wouldn't know the excitement and love of receiving a letter every week, or that there is life outside of Eastbourne! Without grandparents, I'd never get out of the house it seems!

But above all these things, above the presents and trips that I can't afford because my money is tied up in paying for child-life essentials, above all the noisy toys and over-stimulation...I know that I have many people there if something should ever happen to us. To catch our children should we ever cease to be their parents, through illness or death. We are well insured, I know that money won't be a problem, but who cares about money, it's love they'll need.

Knowing that if we go, they will have a home that is filled with as much love as they have now floods me with a sense of relief. I think of how hard it must've been for my Dad raising me and not ever having someone to take me out to the park for a couple of hours to give him a break. Honestly, how the man is still sane is beyond me.

I never knew my grandparents, I wish that I had...if you're lucky enough to still have yours, please make sure that they know how much they mean to you.

I secretly hold an excited little part of myself in my heart, waiting for the day I have a grandchild...but I'm in now hurry yet. My babies are still very much babies.

Clare

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Bad Day


Sunday sucked. I went against my instincts, caused myself no–end of stress and wasted time and money on a journey I didn't need to take.

Bear had been poorly for a few days, a cold we had ALL caught from his sister, and on Sunday morning, I was struggling to console him with it. All he had as a cough and a runny nose, I knew it was nothing but I think being sat there on my own, which is rare for me, made me doubt myself.

I know there will be people reading this that will be thinking what the big deal is? That they're on their own with two, three, even four children from 8-6 whilst their husband works, but I'm not used to that as my husband works a handful of hours of the day out of the house and the rest he does from home. I suppose the fact that my husband is never far is my safety net.

On Saturday and Sunday this weekend he was running classes in the morning and then birthday parties in the afternoon, so was gone for hours.

So I called 111 and asked their advice. Because of Bear's age (ten weeks), they referred me to the out of hours clinic at the hospital and told me to head down. I had a problem. I don't drive and though the hospital isn't far, it's too far for Moo to walk...but I had no one to watch her as my mother-in-law was in hospital and her mother was away in Jersey. I couldn't get ahold of my husband who was working, and I ended up calling another relative.

It was hard, stressful work...only to be told what I knew all along; he was fine, it's viral and will clear on it's own. I could've saved myself taxi fare, our relative's day and myself a lot of stress if I had just gone with my instincts but I felt vulnerable with them on my own...for the first time I felt like I wasn't capable. It's one thing to be late or unorganised, another to be useless and out of depth over something so simple.

I've got to work on my crisis control and remember to follow my instincts.

Clare 

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Monday, 18 November 2013

#youreinvited



Uhm...I don't wish to alarm anyone but it's less than six weeks until Christmas. Did you catch that? LESS THAN SIX WEEKS!

So with tins of biscuits and more bath-time-gift-sets than you can shake a stick at (where does that saying even come from?) filling the shops, I'm sat here quietly smug that I finished my Christmas shopping ages ago. In fact, all I have left to buy is Moo and Bear's festive outfits...yknow, their super smart, best-behaviour-no-moo-get-off-the-table clothes that say 'Its Christmas, I'm cute, take a photo and give me chocolate'.

My first (and often only) stop is always Monsoon because their elegant, sleek designs and soft palette are just what I think is appropriate for a big family christmas dinner at your Grandmother's (well, my husband's). I have always found Monsoon clothing to be spot on for what I want when dressing my children; rich, attractive colouring with flattering cuts that allow plenty of movement and child-like behaviour without taking away from the biggest fact of all; they're children. No matter what time of year I shop there, their collection is always fashionable but age appropriate with top-quality fabrics and craftsmanship.

This Christmas is no exception and I'm already biting my nails in nervous anticipation over what I'll pick for my snoozy baby and girly-but-spacially-unaware toddler.


I love the Poppy Shift dress (far left) and I know Moo would too. I'm also head over heels in love with the Velvet Beaded Estella dress which the little girl is wearing at the beginning of the new Monsoon Christmas ad (it's also available in navy which is possibly even more stunning). 

I can have all three, right?

Take a look at the beautiful new television ad below, the imaginative (and incredibly brave, I wouldn't let children in my office) people at Monsoon turned their working space into a 'winter wonderland' for their children to explore, play and get down with the festive spirit, showing the beautiful party-wear range which you can shop here.


Fancy having a go at winning a cool Christmas wardrobe worth £200? Send in your festive party wear look to competitions@monsoon.co.uk then pop on over to their Facebook to vote for the winner!

Do you think I'll fit in that poppy dress...? If I hold my breath?

Clare
Please note this is a sponsored post. Sponsored by Spreaditfast.com

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Friday, 15 November 2013

Take Care of You


'Person or dragon, tiny or tall. Sometimes we stumble and sometimes we fall. Everyone gets hurt sometimes.'

Yes, the wonderfully poignant line above comes from the ever-charming Disney cartoon 'Doc McStuffins', a television show aimed at pre-schoolers about a little girl who is a doctor to toys. I learn a lot from Doc and her little gang of stuffed comrades, but today I want to talk about something that even I needed reminding; how to take care of myself.

Any parent will know that when you have a baby, you lose your marbles a bit and forget things. When it's a subsequent child, double that confusion and general uselessness! As I've mentioned on here before I have become slow, unorganised and my life has been thrown into chaos. Utter chaos. Where before my kitchen was spotless, my daughter's room tidy and my laundry neatly folded, I now forget to have a shower on occasion. 

But it's so much worse than this.mif you follow me on Twitter then you might've seen that I was recently quite unwell. From dehydration and exhaustion. Yes, the latter is to be expected with a breast-fed newborn who feeds loads, but the former? Well yes...you guessed it. I was forgetting to drink. I was so wrapped up in looking after my two little angels, showing them off, keeping up with my friends (most of which have one if any children) that I was forgetting to look after myself. It took me over a week to get my fluid levels back up to where they should be and the headaches and dizziness to stop. A one point it was so bad, I fell down the stairs at 5am with Bear in my arms. Both of us were unharmed for the most part; I sprained my ankle and knee...Bear thought it was great fun!

I'm twenty-seven years old, how can I forget to drink? Everyone asked me how I could possibly of just not been drinking? I really don't have a valid reason. My children just became too important for me to look after myself properly.

But that's the problem. My children are my world, I would literally do anything for them, like any other parent, but what use to them am I if I'm so unwell I can't do anything for them? If I can't play or read to them or even bend down to give them a bath?

That's why, taking care of yourself when you're pregnant, a new mother or an old hand at parenting, is so, so important. You are not neglecting your children by taking 'me' time. You're doing them a favour. I needed to learn the hard way that in order to put my children first, I had to come a close second!

Take care of you!

Clare

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Thursday, 14 November 2013

I'm lovin' it A/W13



Bababababaaaaaaaah I'm lovin' it...

Yes! I thought it was high time I had a little round-up of what I've been loving so far this season!



Kitsch jewellery.
Just before I had Bear, my husband bought me a selection of jewellery from Designosaur, including this perspex Allasaurus necklace which re-kindled my love of over-sized, statement necklaces which I like to wet with the boring, basic tops I have to wear for breast feeding.





Matte make-up.
I know it's been around for years but I do love matte-effect. I've always been partial to a matt eye shadow but it's only recently I've started to like it in lipstick and nails and with them now on the high street, it doesn't break the bank to get on board and bring a bit more 'grown-up' style to my collection. After all, I am hurtling towards 30...


Bargain boots.
A couple of weeks ago I picked up a super-cute and on-trend pair of black ankle boots from Primark for £15. Now, they won't last forever but they're warm, water-proof and look great with jeans or tights. Bargain!


Festive scents.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...and Yankee are known for doing great Christmas smells! I want to fill my house with them...which I'm sure my husband will be totes on board with...



Hot chocolate.
If you don't love hot chocolate, I'm afraid we cannot be friends. As much as I dislike Starbucks for multiple reasons, they do do a great seasonal novelty drink! The current favourite; salted caramel hot chocolate.



Navy nails.
Navy is the new red! It's a great way to wear dark nails for those not wanting to wear black. I find it a more sophisticated edge than flat onyx.



All things magical and fairy tale.
My step-mum has me totally hooked on 'Once Upon a Time' as well as a little trip we have coming up to France to see Disney at Christmas next month, I am WELL in the mood for a bit of pixie dust...

Clare

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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Christmas Wishlist #2


Ooh, Christmas is getting close! Exciting stuff! Time for another wishlist, me thinks!


Melting Logo Necklace £7.95 Ebay
Vintage Steamer Trunk Various eBay

Clare

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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

My Favourite Place


Just a bit of photo-heavy, positivity today.

What's your favourite place on earth?


Mine's Paris.

I adore so much about it; the architecture, the atmosphere, the style...the smell! The shutters on the apartment windows in the middle of a busy street are quaint and endearing, the view from landmarks breathtaking and the history is almost daunting in it's complexity.




I love Montmartre, the home of the Moulin Rouge, with it's narrow streets, teensy Cafes and steep hills. The climb up to the Sacre Coeur from the 'red windmill' is heavy going but oh so worth it for the view alone and by evening you can see the whole city stretched out before you, glittering romantically.


Not forgetting Disneyland of course, a place to be carefree and magical with or without children. The world is a dark and scary place but inside those walls fiction reigns supreme.



Yes, I think I'm in love. It will forever remind me of my husband, and our first 'proper, non mini-break' holiday together.


What's your favourite place on earth? 

Clare

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Sunday, 10 November 2013

Flamingos and Dominoes



If you pop by here semi-regularly, then you'll know that I'm a sucker for design. Colourful, unique and quirky patterns and fabrics are like cat nip to me. I love them. I can't resist them and it's because of this that I stumbled upon Flamingos and Dominoes.

Flamingos and Dominoes is the brainchild of Helen, a mummy and independent designer, that make beautiful, colourful and unisex clothes for children from baby to four-years. There are currently three collections in their shop; 'Alphabet', 'Horsey Horsey' and 'Zebra Spots', all of which are made in the UK.


We were lucky enough to receive a little baby vest to try in the 'Horsey Horsey' print. I'm quite fond of our equine friends, and these particular ones, in blue and pink, look like old-fashioned rocking horses. I love the kitsch, retro-esque, screen-style print and the vivid colour.



The cotton is incredibly soft to touch which is ideal for babies delicate skin. The label looks as if it might be rough against skin, but it's not and Bear seemed utterly unbothered by it. The size seen is 3-6m, Bear is approximately 12lbs at two months (chunky boy), so as you can see it is very roomy with lots of space to grow.

I found the item washed really well with no shrinkage or colour-run, and dried very quickly on the line. The poppers at the bottom were easy to clasp shut and remained so throughout wear.

Here are my pros and cons...


Pros.
- Good quality fabric with attractive design.
- Washing instructions printed directly onto the inside of the garment so if you are the type who cuts the tags out, you'll still have them to reference.
- Washes beautifully at both 40 and 30 degrees.

Cons.
- Although the print is unisex, the pink horses are brighter than the blue, making them stand out more which to me personally makes me think more feminine that unisex, but that's a personal thing.

You can buy the Horsey Horsey Short Sleeve Babygrow for £24 from Flaminos and Dominoes, I would make a great new baby gift, you can even get a beautiful, reusable, castle-shaped gift box to wrap it in (£4).

Clare

Please note this item was provided for the purpose of review, however all opinions and thoughts are my own.


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Saturday, 9 November 2013

Alternative Uses for Household Products




I love a multi-use product. Something that has more than one purpose is both time and money saving which are two big, fat yeses in my book when it comes to life.

Sometimes though you find something that's fantastic at something that it really wasn't designed for; bonus! Here are a few that I've come across over time...

Egg whites.
Aside from making meringue, leftover egg whites make a great face mask! Whip it up and slap it on for super-soft skin!

Hair conditioner.
This is a new one but a big favourite for me as with hair like mine, I always have conditioner in my house. Run out of shave gel (always)? Sooth on some conditioner to your legs and shave away! It's kind on your skin, does the job just as well and creates much less mess!

Cider vinegar.
Kills head lice without the need for chemicals.

Baby wipe.
Or face wipe, allow to dry out on a radiator, they make the best dusters ever!

Silicone ice cube tray.
Great for early weaning! Make lots of veg and fruit purrees, divide into the trays and freeze. They're now ready to be defrosted in the microwave, already pre-portioned! As your baby grows and starts exploring new tastes, you can mix and match different flavour combinations like apple and pear, potato and sweet potato or why not a sweet and savoury combo?

Baby oil.
What can this product not do?! Aside from moisturising skin, it's great at gently removing make-up AND place a drop on wet nail polish for super speedy drying (no joke, it works)! 

Colander.
If you're making anything with a skewer or a lolly stick (cake pops, kebabs, fruit lollies etc) then use a colander to hold them all upright. much cheaper than buying a purpose-build stand.

Brown sugar.
A few granules are fab for relieving constipation in young babies. Also toss some with baby oil (there is is again) or a mashed up banana for a natural but gentle exfoliant.

Let me know if you have any handy tips and tricks for making the most out of your household items!

Clare

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