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Craft for Kids: Sand Pictures

Sand picture
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Sand picture
(C) MilkChic. All rights reserved

We had great fun this week with a Sand Art Kit from Kids Bee Happy.

First impressions were great – I love colour, and the kit came 2 pictures and a veritable rainbow of coloured sands in 20 little squeezy vials. Each kit has one simple design and one more advanced one, so perfect for siblings to do together.

I’m pretty easy going where mess is concerned, and I’ll always go for fun over clean, but sand play is usually a daytime activity for us. On this occasion, as small one was beside herself with excitement, I prepared for carnage and agreed to let her have a go before bedtime.

But look at this….

Concentration you could hear!

The kits are brilliantly designed for minimum mess. You peel off one section of the picture at a time, pick a colour, sprinkle the sand, tap off the excess onto paper and start again with the next bit. Obviously it needs a little supervision – mostly stopping them putting all the sand on one section… but it works really well and the results are fantastic.

It’s nice to get a craft kit made by people who understand kids (and parents). There are 2 plastic sticks for parents or older kids to lift the edges of the stickers, so no frustration from trying to do it with fingernails… and no frustration when you lose one either. There was no disappointment from running out of materials halfway through – even after completing both pictures, there was plenty of sand left. Plastic sleeves are included to display the final artwork without mess or damage. They even thought of adhesive hooks to hang them up with!

What I thought was particularly clever is that the pictures can be a simple, or as complicated as your child wants them to be. They can be done in stages for younger children, or be an all day activity for older ones.

We got a bit adventurous, and played with drizzling different colours into some of the larger areas with great results. Older kids (and parents) could have fun making all sorts of intricate designs.

Psychedelic islands and carrot trees!

These sets aren’t cheap at £8.99 for a set of 2, but having tried them, I would definitely buy them again as they are good value for money. Even after finishing both pictures and getting rather enthusiastic, we had loads of sand left for some slightly messier play on our own, and we got a bit creative with the multicoloured excess sand from our pictures too, which I’ve saved.

The verdict: We LOVED this kit! Anything that manages to keep a 2 year old enthralled for over an hour, while making me feel like super-mummy for doing craft before bedtime is worth it’s weight in gold! Kids Bee Happy also do sand painting for kids parties and events, which sounds like a fantastic way to keep everyone occupied.

Disclosure: I did not get paid for this post but I did receive a product sample to test and keep. I follow the Britmums Blogging with Integrity Guidelines – I always write honest and truthful reviews and disclose any perks I receive!

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Pourty: The Potty That Pours

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Image: Pourty
We started potty training in earnest a couple of months ago and I’ve been amazed at how much you can spend on a potty. They come in a mind boggling array of styles and I’ve never really understood what they all offered over and above our basic Poundland potty.

So when I was offered a multi-award winning Pourty potty to trial, I jumped at the chance. This is what we thought…

First Impressions:
It came in purple!!! Not just pink and blue… PURPLE!!! I realise this is a small consideration in the scheme of things, but….

The potty itself looked, albeit with much more attractive curves, very similar in shape and style to our cheap traditional potty. I might not have looked at it twice in the shops without something to compare it to, but up close it was clearly a lot sturdier. Small one took an instant liking to it and insisted on sitting on it straight away.

Design – Spot the Difference:
Potty comparison
Comparison with a basic potty

The Pourty is larger than the traditional potty and the seat is higher off the ground, which is great for small one, who has long legs. The back of the potty is also higher, giving more back support, and the sides are wider. They seem small differences, but it’s definitely a more comfortable place to sit.


Generally, the build quality, as you would expect, is a lot better. For a 2.5 stone toddler, that’s a nice to have… However when you’ve been relegated to sitting on the potty as many times as I have while said toddler sits on the “big girl toilet”, you begin to appreciate a potty designer who understands the plight of an (ahem…) 9.5ish stone mummy and caters for a slightly larger load.

The 2 big differences that set this design apart are the high front which helps avoid spillage while in use, and the fact that it is designed to be easily emptied, with a pouring duct at the back of the potty and a handle at the front.

The Pourty in use:
Comfortable seating for even
long-legged toddlers!

I’ve been waiting ages to write this review as, while small one is happy to sit on the potty or toilet when she doesn’t need to go, actually getting her to do something is a whole different matter. We are getting a few successes now, and I’ve finally had the chance to trial the easy-pour features – which do what they say on the tin really! It’s easy to clean by just swishing water through, and the handle is really well placed so you can carry a full potty one-handed without unbalancing it. Which leaves your other hand free to catch the toddler who is trying to run at top speed away from you before you have a chance to wipe them.


As an added bonus, the higher seating position means small one can reach a little table to draw or do jigsaws if I am struggling to keep her on the potty, and the more comfortable seat means I don’t get pins and needles when she decides to be a big girl on the toilet.

It’s such a great, simple design that you have to wonder why someone didn’t think of it sooner. The features and clever shape are well worth paying for, unlike some of the more “decorative” potties at twice the price.

The Final Verdict:
If you’re buying a potty and price really is your most important consideration, by all means stick with the basic potty, but buy really basic (I recommend Poundland) as there really is no difference between the £1 version and the £5 version.

If you have just a little more cash to spare and want to make potty training more comfortable for your child, and the associated cleaning up easier on yourself, ignore the frilly princess potty and the singing potty and try one of these instead. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
The Pourty potty retails at around £9.99 and is currently available in white, blue, pink and purple.


Disclosure: I did not get paid for this post but I did receive a product sample to test and keep. I follow the Britmums Blogging with Integrity Guidelines – I always write honest and truthful reviews and disclose any perks I receive!
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MilkChic on Safari

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Hyundai i40 Tourer
As you might have seen from my Silent Sunday, we spent the day at Longleat last weekend courtesy of Hyundai, who gave us the chance to test drive their new i40 Tourer at the park – an offer too good to miss!
We arrived at the park and instantly felt rather posh as we bypassed the main entrance and followed the Hyundai flags to our own private reception.
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The test drive wasn’t until 1pm, so we had time for a look around the rest of the park first. We started off with the maze, which left everyone grinning, me most of all, as thanks to the supportive hedges, it was the longest walk “sans pushchair” I’ve managed since small one was born.

A quick lunch, and it was back to the Hyundai hub to collect our car. We were very lucky to trial a Premium model, which had all modcons including a panoramic sunroof!
We have a Ford Fiesta (mine since my pre-baby days), which we plan to upgrade to a family car eventually, and Mr MilkChic drives a series of smallish lease cars so the i40 was a step up in size from what we are used to. Ever practical, we particularly liked the large boot and fold down back seats and I loved the adjustability on the front seats, something I know I miss out on in my current car. Apparently the i40 is very fuel efficient, achieving around 65 mpg, and had CO2 emissions so low that you pay minimal car tax, so it’s definitely one to think about for us. Mr MilkChic’s only minor niggle was that the steering column occasionally rubbed his foot as he turned the wheel.
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All rights reserved.

The safari was spectacular, with small one in complete awe of the giraffes even before a close up of one leaning into the sunroof made us all gasp.

Small one managed to see lions, tigers, an elephant and wolves, as well as some stripy beasts we now know are Kenyan Bongos before she drifted off for her afternoon nap. There was a panic when we thought she was going to miss the lions we had promised her for days, but we managed to keep her awake by topical application of “water juice” and sugary biscuits (she is not normally allowed them, so the sugary high is that much more intense – worth remembering!)
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After the safari, we had a look at the bat cave, the mirror maze and the main house. I was rather proud of the girls – the curly one (11) was as keen to see inside of the house as I was, and the small one (2) was very well behaved and asked lots of questions about the people in the pictures.

I was impressed by how child friendly Longleat is compared to other similar attractions. The food outlets offer a great range of fresh food that you might actually feel happy feeding to a young child instead of the usual plastic burger and nuggets menu. We took a homemade picnic – the prices are still astronomical… but it was nice to know that the option was there. Both male and female toilets offered a baby changing space, and the toilets in the ladies all had hinged toddler seats that just flipped down. We had to leave our pushchair a few times, but each one had a buggy park immediately outside, and the house even offered hip seats so you could carry small children more easily and reins for toddlers if you wanted them.
We had an amazing day and hope to go back soon. Many thanks to Hyundai for their hospitality.
We received free tickets to Longleat as part of a Hyundai test drive offer. This post gives my own honest opinions and I did not receive any payment for this post.
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Clean hands… hands free!

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Potty training is a slow and painful process at the moment. There is definite progress – small one has spent the last week largely knickerless except for naps and bedtime and she hasn’t had any accidents…. But then she hasn’t had many successes either! It proves she has admirable control, but I don’t know how we are going to get past the fact she would rather wait and go in a nappy.

 

handwashFor now, we are doing everything we can to make it a fun process so I was excited to be offered the chance to test a Dettol No-Touch Hand Wash System as a novel way of encouraging small one to wash her hands.

The handwash system is a small battery-operated liquid soap dispenser that works like the ones in nice public loos – you just wave your hands underneath and a measure of soap comes out.

First Impressions:

I am a fan of the Dettol brand – it’s full of childhood nostalgia for me, and their Mission for Health gives it the feelgood factor, supporting things like Save the Children’s Eat Sleep, Learn & Play campaign. So, I was sorry my first thought was that this product was probably a bit of a gimmick. Nothing wrong with that if it encourages personal hygiene in the small one (and the rest of the household…) but we tend to use cheap unscented bar soap in the bathroom and I haven’t felt desperate for an upgrade.

That aside, one of the things that I liked when I read the product description, was that for once the scent choices didn’t make me want to run and hide. In fact, the fresh sounding Hydrating Cucumber Splash and Cleansing Green Tea & Ginger options really appealed. I react very badly to strong perfumes and small one has had bouts of urticaria, so we are very picky about scent in our household and it’s unusual to be tempted away from the safety of fragrance free.

The dispenser came with a refill pack of the Aloe Vera and Vitamin E scented soap, which had a pleasant, light fragrance, a creamy texture and didn’t cause any problems with either mine or my daughter’s skin, so a good start.

Looks:

The design is simple and fairly inoffensive, although it does look a little more at home in the kitchen than in the bathroom. It looks a little like a travel kettle – small, sleek and silver. Being picky, I would have preferred it in a plain white or a more “plasticky” colour.

Setting it up:

It was easy to set up – just click the refill into place, switch it on and go! It takes 4 AA batteries, which are included in the starter pack.

Using it:

The dispenser works incredibly well. Just wave your hand under the nozzle to activate satisfying whirring as a perfectly measured glob of soap drops onto your palm. The on/off switch is a useful feature with younger children (although you must remember not to wave your hands underneath the nozzle as you switch off if you don’t want to have to wash your hands again…).


Having used it for a couple of weeks now, I’m a complete convert. It has saved me a lot of cleaning – we don’t have soap scum collecting all over the flat surfaces of the sink where the bars have started to go soggy, and it doesn’t seem to get clogged and grubby like normal pump action liquid soap bottles. You can also get pretty much all of the soap out without resorting to techniques usually reserved for glass ketchup bottles.


The kids love it, and there has definitely been a lot more hand washing going on. Despite this, we haven’t gone through the soap as fast as I expected, thanks to the measured doses.


The verdict:

 

The dispenser generated a lot of excitement from the children.

Small one (age 2) has taken us to the bathroom to wash her hands more times than she has actually sat on the potty.  Curly one (age 11) was beside herself, actually bringing a couple of friends to see it, which I take as a positive… The lumpy one (age 18) was obviously too cool to get excited about it, but amused himself trying to convince Curly’s friends that it was a toothpaste dispenser. Luckily, they had “seen it on the telly”, so didn’t fall for it.


My Mum has been quietly coveting our soap gadget and, although she felt the dispenser a little bit of a luxury, I suspect she may end up with one as she is a keen gardener and the hands free element for washing muddy hands really appeals.


Mr MilkChic and I rather like it too. It’s one of those surprisingly great products that we never knew we needed and we will definitely be buying another refill. In fact, if we could get a white version, we may end up with one for the kitchen AND the bathroom.


Dettol No-Touch Hand Wash System (250ml) is available at RRP £9.99 which includes dispensing base, one refill and x4 AA batteries. Five varieties of refills (250ml) are available at RRP £2.99 each.

Disclosure: I did not get paid for this post but I did receive a product sample to test and keep. I follow the Britmums Blogging with Integrity Guidelines – I always write honest and truthful reviews and disclose any perks I receive!

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Tights Please!

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kids tights
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I got all excited a few weeks back when I saw that Tightsplease were looking for reviewers for their kids tights.

I’m a big fan of tights – I discovered very early on that they are far more practical than socks, which either fall off or get pulled off within minutes of getting them on, wasting valuable playing time. I’m such a big fan that, should I have another baby in the future, they will be wearing tights regardless of their sex!

Two pairs of tights dropped onto our doorstep on Monday and small one was very excited (she knows just what to do with parcels now).

It was when she pulled them out of the packaging and ran around the house with them before insisting that I put them on that I realised… it’s August!!

I must admit I panicked. This is the first time I have reviewed a product that I haven’t paid for myself. While I certainly wouldn’t ever promise to write a positive review, it is common courtesy when a PR sends you a sample to write a review honestly and quickly.

Luckily, the weather is never boring here, and a day later I gratefully woke up to grey skies and a chill in the air – perfect tights weather!

So what can I tell you?

Wola Childrens Tights

The tights I received were Wola Children’s Cotton Tights in Khaki (2-3yrs) and Wola Baby Cotton Tights in Peach (18-24m).

First impressions: It was lovely to see a choice of colours and not just pink. I have to be honest – the peach didn’t really float my boat, although there is a benefit to neutral shades as it means that you always have one pair of tights to match any outfit. The khaki was unusual but lovely. It’s a colour that looks good with brights and jewel coloured clothes (especially purple), and I can see it working with a lot of outfits this autumn.

Quality: The tights were lovely and soft with a smooth knit. I really appreciated the heel and foot shaping, which you don’t tend to get on cheaper tights and which makes a big difference once they start to walk as it makes the tights fit better into their shoes. It’s also nice to see cotton tights rather than man made fibres.

(c) MilkChic. All rights reserved.

Fit: Sizing is generous. Small one has only just turned 2, but is both tall and chunky for her age so I didn’t really expect the 18-24m pair to fit at all. They were actually still a wearable size for her, although the feet were a little short on her size 6.5 feet. The age 2-3 pair were a good length with room for growth but thanks to the added elastane, not so baggy as to look ridiculous.

Durability: Small ones tights get a lot of hard wear and these obviously haven’t experienced that yet, but they came through the first wash with flying colours – no runs despite the dark colour, they didn’t shrink and they still had a nice texture.

Price: These tights are priced at £3.50 a pair. They are not the cheapest option (Primark sell 3 pairs for £3.50), but are a similar price to M&S or Mothercare and I do think the quality is excellent. These ones might actually live long enough to get handed down unlike most of ours, which are often crispy and shrunken after a couple of months.

If like me, you didn’t even know Tightsplease sold kids tights, do take a look at their full range. They ship worldwide, and are available in a range of colours and sizes from newborn through to teens.

Disclosure: I did not get paid for this post but I did receive 2 pairs of tights for free. I follow the Britmums Blogging with Integrity Guidelines and always write as truthfully as possible about a product or company and disclose any perks I receive!

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