Saturday, 30 June 2012

Review - Coolfans!

Son 1 is a very picky eater. It wasn't always that way, he used to be a great eater when he was younger, these pictures are testament to that fact...

Sumo Baby
However now he is 4 it's like someone has taken his 1 year old self and simply stretched him out, I now struggle to get trousers to fit his tiny waist, I sometimes wonder if he's suffering from some sort of toddler eating disorder. I'm trying desperately to encourage him to eat, and always looking out for things that might appeal to his inquisitive nature.

I cannot remember what this meal was but it was not mush as appears in this pic!
I think I have found something that might help, at least for the short term, Coolfans! This is basically a very safe fan (no fingers etc can be maimed) that can be placed over food to cool it down. In my book it therefore has two uses, the actual use of it (which is to cool food) and the novelty and fun factor: what is this fan doing on my food? It has definitely encouraged my boy to sit at the table, and also actually cools his food down nice and quickly. I can see it being useful in restaurants where you don't have the luxury of being able to call your child to the table after their meal has been cooling a while. You might get some strange looks but then if you have small children with you, you are likely to be getting  "looks" anyway! Or is that just us? There is also the point made on the website that it's actually more hygienic to use a fan to cool your food than blow on it (though I'm constantly kissing and cuddling my children so they get my germs anyway!). There are four cool characters to choose from but my son chose Dixie as his favourite colour is pink.

I would definitely recommend this, and at £9.99 is a really good buy, especially if you have children that need a bit of encouragement when it comes to food. I was also surprised at how safe the fan is, my son was very keen to put his fingers (and nose!) in it's way to see what happened and suffered no adverse effects at all (I tested it myself first).

You can visit Coolfans here or also visit them on facebook for more information.

I received no financial incentive to write this review however I did receive a Coolfan for free.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Sponsored Video – Organix Goodies!

Son 2 has always been a bit of a funny eater, not a fussy eater, but just plain funny. For example he has never been one to allow others to spoon feed him, he has to feed himself, no matter what. That is one reason he loves finger food and snacky, picnic food, as this allows him to do his own thing, be independent and have a really good look at what he is eating.

One of the ranges he does like is the Organix Goodies range, as they have so many lovely finger foods available. He loves the ginger bread men and the carrot sticks as he sees it as a treat, although in actual fact the stuff is pretty healthy and doesn’t contain the additives and the like you would see in other “snack” style food. I’ve actually bought the cereal bars for this weekend for when we go camping as they might come in useful when we realise we have forgotten milk, cereal, bread and other essential items.

Organix have a “no junk” promise when it comes to their “Goodies” snacks (and all their stuff thinking about it), they are suitable from 12 months and contain no additives, processed sugars or added salts. Also available in the range are: Organic Biscuits, Organic Dried Fruit and Organic Savouries such as spicy tomato stars.  To compliment the range there is also a choice of Organic  drinks and also some squeezy pouches filled with fruit to help your toddler with their five a day.

Give it a try, great for holidays for when you are far from shops and your child needs a filling and nutritious snack!
This post was sponsored by Organix but opinions are all my own.

A Very Cutesy Thrifty Thursday with Lelli Kelly, Baby Mu, Lola Myers AND Wedding Favours!

Thursday is rolling round again as quick as a flash, so it's time for me to showcase some lovely bargains I've noticed on the internet lately.

First of all I'm going to give some credit to my lovely neighbour Jemma who I live vicariously through since she is on maternity leave and I am not. She spotted this complete BARGAIN in Charles Clinkard on Lelli Kelly shoes some of which are half price at £26.50. You might argue that this is quite a lot to spend on shoes even at full price, which as a thrifty mum I would of course agree! Still I thought this might be useful to someone.
Lelli Kelly Shoes £26.50.
I've become a bit of a fan of the #yorkshirehour networking event on twitter every Wednesday at 8pm. It's a fantastic way to make new contacts and see what's going on in the Yorkshire area (though admittedly not useful for everyone!). Anyway, through this I've made contact with the lovely Claire at BabyMu who sell the most fabulous range of products, from leather baby shoes to pyjamas to beautiful nursery stuff (I have no affiliation with this site I just like their stuff!),
Anyway, Claire has offered Pret-A-Mummy readers 10% off the Baby Mu-vers shoes (see above) and a free gift with all purchases if you say you came from my blog! Use code pret10 for the discount (until 7th July).

Another lovely contact I've made through the networking event is the oh-so-pretty girlswear shop Lola Myer who sell the most adorable clothes, sort of vintage, but not. I love this pretty and summery dress called Charlotte Louise which is pretty reasonable at £14.99.
Lola Myer Dress £14.99
In a completely different vein, I also wanted to show you these fab value wedding favours. We went to a wedding last week that had something similar around the wine glasses so it reminded me of these little beauties, I also think they would make a great keepsake for Grandma/Auntie (you can get any name). They seem to be 99p each, bargain!
Wedding Favours
That's all for now, do let me know if you see any great bargains on your travels!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Welcome to Yurtshire!

Being an indoorsy sort of person, preferring the town to the city infinitely, I was surprisingly interested recently to hear some very girly friends of mine describing the virtues of "glamping". To the uninitiated (and by that I mean my parents), glamping is camping with all the trimmings: lovely interiors, proper beds and general luxury you wouldn't expect from a tent. 

In a few days I am going to find out for myself, as the lovely Tom from Yorkshire Yurts has kindly invited (alright I invited myself) us to try out glamping for real! In this case it is more accurately called Yurting, as we will be staying in a huge Yurt in a field in Markington, North Yorkshire.  Yurts, "originating in the high mountain steppes of central Asia, yurts are one of the oldest shelter structures known to man. The evolution of the yurt almost certainly began in prehistoric times with a tipi like structure covered in animal skins." Back to nature, sounds right up my street.

Better than any hotel in the land
Naturally my first concern was what the Yurt would actually include, outside toilets are not top on my priority list so I was a bit worried about this. Anyway here is the list:

Eating and Drinking

– Gas stove, barbeque, pots, pans, crockery, cutlery, kettle, tea, cool box.


– Private solar shower bag (outside the yurt), wash bowl and water jug (Within the yurt), 100% cotton towels, shared hot gas shower and shared wood burning hot tub.


– Double bed, 1 x double futon, 1 x single futon, 1 x single foot stool futon, duvets and pillows, additional rugs, Luxury Egyptian cotton sheets.


– Coat hanger/ wardrobe, foot stool storage, 6 x directors chairs, table.


– Each yurt has a private compost/sawdust toilet (outside the yurt). Hand cleaning gel.


– Torches, lanterns and candles.


– Wood burning stove (indoors and off peak months only) Fire pit (outdoors) logs and firewood in the area.
Each yurt is also equipped with fire extinguisher and fire blanket.
It sounds perfect. Best of all I think our boys will absolutely love it. They have never been camping before and  this will be a nice easing in for them.  I love the idea of the hot tub and fire pit, though not sure what it means by "wood fired". The other thing is, what on earth do people cook when they are camping? I was thinking of taking a couple of those Innocent pot things to heat through for me and hubby but would quite like to give the boys more than just beans, any ideas?
I'm looking forward to getting back to nature and having a night in the open air with my family. I love the idea of sitting by the fire while the boys sleep and getting up the next morning to lovely fresh air and countryside (despite my city tendencies, everyone needs a change sometime don't they?!). Best of all I won't have to compromise on my womanly fear of basic accommodation, as these yurts are anything but. 
"Our handcrafted yurts all have steam bent ash beams and a unique round top solid oak door. The chic interiors are both rustic and cosy. Furnished with a double bed and both a double and single futon means the yurts are ideal for either a couple on a romantic getaway or a group of friends or family just wanting to get away from it all."
Visit for more information on Yurt holidays, great for families, prices start from £175 for a weekend (off peak) based on two sharing, from £20 for additional guests.
I will report back after our adventure and let you, dear reader, know how it goes.

Monday, 25 June 2012

A chicken pox tinged "what I do all day".

A few days ago, after over a week of being mum to the most miserable baby for miles around, I noticed a few spots on my 16 month old child's face. At first I put it down to extra energetic garden ramblings, possibly through some sort of slightly prickled plant, but when I got him ready for a bath that evening, my fears were confirmed; chicken pox. It's amazing how quickly it takes hold, even after only a few hours they are literally everywhere, from head to toe, in places you never knew spots could exist. The poor boy even has spots inside his mouth and on his tongue. 

So like the good mother I am, I headed down to the local baby clinic on Thursday to get his diagnosis confirmed. Now, in hindsight, this was a stupid thing to do, but all the GPs were on strike and I wanted to be sure it was the pox rather than rabies, yellow fever, bubonic plague or some other common virus. I was greeted at the door of the clinic as I can imagine a leper would have been treated circa 1205AD.  "You can't come in here", chimed the health visitor glowering at me furiously, "this is a WELL child clinic." I resisted the urge to question why anyone with a well child would take them to a clinic and said, "I just want someone to confirm he has chicken pox and the GPs are on strike. "They will see emergencies" the wise one snapped before slamming the door in mine and my baby's spotty face.  I trudged with the leperous one over to the doctors only to be greeted by a slightly warmer but still, noticeably perturbed receptionist who offered me an appointment but said I would have to wait in the car. I glanced outside and noticed the rainfall heavier than Niagara Falls and she relented and said I could wait in an unused GPs room.  I was quite familiar with that particular GP as my older son had vomitted all over her Karen Millen shift dress only a few months earlier. 

Anyway, Son 2 ransacked the room for ten minutes while I sat fuming about my encounter with the HV and rehearsing what I SHOULD have said. Long story short, he has chicken pox. I don't really know why I bothered going to be honest.
Poor leperous one

Anyway, following the popularity of my What I do all day post, I thought I would let you have a snippet of my typical chicken pox day.

3am - awoken to screaming, akin to murderous crime scene. Go to Son 2's room. Try to console him, get whacked in the chops and kicked in the ear. Lay on the bed staring at him for five minutes. Get him some milk, go back to bed.
5am - more screaming, yelling and general anger. Go to Son 2's room to find him scratching furiously. Trim his nails, get more milk.
6am - the screaming is increasing. Get up, pick up Son 2 and put on cbeebies, it hasn't quite started, feel depressed about this fact for several reasons.
6.30 - the screaming ceases, do a little dance (in my head). Try to avoid getting whacked in the eye by Postman Pat's van.
7am - Son 1 wakes up and comes in complaining about the noise, he has a headache, wants peace and quiet. He slams the door and stomps off back to bed. I feel envious.
7.25 - Son 2 starts cuddling me, very unusual for him, then I realise he is using me as a human scratching post for his chicken pox spots. Apply some very expensive gel the chemist assured me was "the best", Son 2 coos with relief, then feel guilty for a moment about thinking chemist was money grabbing maniac.

That's all for's making me depressed.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Win Win Win! Lovely Palmers Cocoa Butter Goodies!

A few weeks ago when I attended Cybher, I was lucky enough to be the recipient of a load of Palmers Cocoa Butter Goodies which as a thrifty mummy, was pretty happy to receive. I've always been a fan of Palmers and have used their cocoa butter moisturiser since I was a teenager. The smell is divine and it's also really kind on your skin.

Now, you, my lovely readers can also win your own goodies, on offer is:

1 x Palmer’s Swivel Stick SPF 30
1 x Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lotion
1 x Palmer’s Skin Therapy Oil
1 x Palmer’s Body Scrub
1 x Palmer’s Cocoa Body Butte

You can win these lovely goodies, all you have to do is:

  • Comment on this post leaving your name and email (or twitter handle is fine)
For extra entries:
  • Follow my blog by email - top right of this page.
  • Join my blog - again on the right.
  • Follow Palmers and Pret-a-Mummy on twitter.
  • Like Pret-A-Mummy and Palmers on facebook.
  • Use the buttons below to tweet, like, share, google+ etc.
Most importantly, don't forget to say in your comment which ones you have done, and PLEASE leave your email address (or twitter handle) too so I can contact you if you win.

Competition ends Sunday 8th July, UK residents only.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Having children helped my career!

I have a friend who is just about to go back to work after having a baby. "The dread has set in", she whispered, "how am I going to leave my beautiful boy to go back to work?" Other friends report similar problems, dread and fear at the thought of going back to work. Partly as a result of not wanting to be parted from their child and also I think, as a result of not enjoying their jobs and hating what they do.

Another friend has no option of going back to work, she says, "I'm a freelance criminal solicitor. Thanks to Lord Carter, government reforms re legal aid and my own tax bill, back to work would mean I'd be in debt (nursery fees for 4 days at nursery in London equals a month in Spain!) I am lucky to have a husband who can keep us afloat for the next  years, and the plan is to have a couple more kids asap. I'll go back when they're at school as this makes financial sense. More importantly, I get to use my brain again! Jokes aside, motherhood is incredibly important, but so is having something you can call your own, and the financial independence. That means work".

This is something I've really struggled with over the past six months, trying desperately to balance motherhood with work (see my post ). Working in a 9-5 job(and the rest) is extremely difficult when you have children, for both parents. It's a long day for a child to be in childcare and doesn't stop when your child starts school as you still have to organise before and after school care. That isn't even taking into account the costs that my friend mentioned above. Does it pay to go back to work? I know some people that are working at a loss after paying childcare, just to stay in the job market until their child goes to school when their childcare costs will be reduced. Other parents are opting to have only one child or wait 4-5 years before planning another child. Going back to my point about hating your job, it seems to have become completely normalised to hate what you do all day, living for the weekend and just trudging on in misery day after day. Life is so short, work really doesn't have to be like that. 

I've made some big changes in my life over the past six months, and a lot of it is thanks to the contacts I've made through writing this blog. Because I love writing so much I've come to realise that if you really love doing something, then it doesn't seem like work. Your life feels lighter and easier, you are happier in every way, loving what you do affects every aspect of your personality. So I've set my sights on becoming a freelance writer and blogger. Thanks to having children and writing this blog, doors have been opened to me that I never knew existed. I no longer have any tolerance for people who say they hate their jobs, it's down to you to make of it what you can, or find a way to get out and do something you love. If you do something you love then you will find a way to make money from it.

For me, I've been able to find paying writing jobs working for websites, writing content and articles. Twitter has been a great way of making contacts and looking for shoutouts. I've also been able to make money through the Yahoo contributors network. Best of all, I've now got a job blogging for an educational website and managing their social media. These things haven't come instantly, and I've had to do a lot of free writing along the way.

So having children has allowed me to move on with my career,into an area where I can work from home, be there to pick my children up from school and drop them off, take days off to deal with chickenpox when I need to without reference to anyone else or an unsympathetic boss. It has also given me loads of material to write about and access to people and websites who want to hear what I've got to say. The highlight a few weeks ago was seeing my writing in The Times. I got there, in the end.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Weekend on a shoestring

Coming back from holiday is always a downer, made even worse when you look at your bank balance (or in my case, it gets texted to you, how cruel is that!). We have decided to have a super frugal month in an attempt to redress the balance, and I've been thinking of ways that we can still eat well and enjoy ourselves without spending any money.

One of my first ploys is to eat everything in the freezer. I've lost count of the times I've put some nice steak or sea bass in the freezer only to discover it lurking there years later looking decidedly frostbitten. So this weekend this is how things are looking. Notice the "whoopsie" discount stickers on some of the items, we sometimes buy things like this and whack them straight in the freezer, a good thing to do with bread as well if you see it discounted.
We are going to eat you.

I'm going to have a good look in my store cupboards as well and see what's there. Here are my ideas for store cupboard meals
Mother Hubboard
1. Tuna and sweetcorn can easily be combined with some mayo and pasta for a great pasta lunch (add some garlic bread from the freezer) together with some dried parsley.
2. Fly some onion and garlic, add tinned kidney beans and baked beans and some chilli powder. Serve with rice or baked potato.
3. If you've got some frozen fish, it might not work well defrosted and pan fried at this stage, but would work well as a fish pie. Cook in some milk, drain the milk and make a parsley sauce from it (fry butter, add a tablespoon of plain flour, mix, then slowly add 300ml of milk and some dried parsley), put the fish in the bottom of a dish with some frozen peas/sweetcorn, top with mashed potato and cheese.

In terms of what to do in the day, have a look at what's free in your area. Walks in the park, splashing in puddles, blackberry picking, walks in the forest, or just playing in the garden and having a picnic together are all cheap or free things to do that kids really enjoy and mean you spend time together as a family.

Every month why not try having one weekend where you spend no money at all. It will make a massive difference to your bank account at the end of the month with very little effort required!

What are your money saving tips?

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Do Bloggers Have Big Egos... a question my husband often asks. He doesn't *get* blogging at all, but then he doesn't understand why people use facebook either. I guess he isn't as nosy interested in other people as I am. Thing is, blogging is essentially writing about yourself, so I suppose you would have to think you are pretty interesting to want to do that. Or do people blog as a catharsis? But if that was the case why not just save it all in a word document on your computer? I think for a lot of bloggers it's about the sense of community, linking up with others going through similar things as you, sharing ideas and experiences.

One thing I am always surprised about when I meet other bloggers is how different they are to how I expected them to be. I'm sure most bloggers are completely normal, nice people who just go about their busines day to day and write the odd blog post. But the ones that stick in my mind are the larger than life ones I've met at blogging conferences, the big personalities (or "big I am" as my husband calls them) with outdoor voices who seem to have a need to be heard. The other thing that I noticed is that there is a blogging hierarchy, the big name bloggers who everyone wants to talk to and clamours around them trying to get noticed. Why? They are just normal people, the same as the rest of us. But the point is, people come across very differently in the written word. Or is it that the written word is our true self and everything else is just an act? Or is it the noisy people who are the most shy beneath it all?

Anyway, back to clamouring round the Big I Ams. I love blogging, but I do it for my own reasons, and I won't suck up to anyone else, ever.

Thrifty Thursday, Isabella Oliver 50% off day, Oasis bargain top, H&M Chino bargain and discount party invitations!!

Apologies for the last two missed Thrifty Thursday posts, I was on holiday. I don't know why it's called a holiday, more like a work yourself round the clock entertaining children type thing. Anyway, after the excesses of the holiday, I am not just being thrifty, I am not spending anything at all, ever again!  But I'm sure all my readers have a few pounds to spare...

First I want to give a mention to the lovely people at Isabella Oliver for sorting out a lovely shirt dress for me to take on my holidays, it was bought on a 50% off day but underwent several swaps and emergency next day deliveries to get to me on time. I am not willing to put a picture of myself on here wearing the dress as I look pale as a ghost at the moment. But here is the pic from the website.
Isabella Oliver Cool Cotton Dress.
I admit for most people IO is a bit pricey, but they do these great one off days where sometimes things are as much as 50% off, well worth looking out for as the cut and quality is great.

There are lots of summer sales on at the moment, and Oasis, as one of my favourite shops, is worth a browse. There are lots of dresses on sale, but nothing mega good value. However this t shirt is pretty good value at £15 as I think I would wear it forever; work, home with jeans, it looks really comfy and wearable. I've lost count of the number of times I've bought something then when I go to my wardrobe in the morning I don't want to wear the new item as it's impractical, or worse, uncomfortable!
Oasis Bow T Shirt £15
My husband has officially banned me from online shopping at H&M. Although the stuff is very bargainous, to compensate I buy lots of it! I was interested to see they have a sale on at the moment, but have to restrain myself from purchasing. I was slightly annoyed to see some trousers I recently paid full price for (was £14.99) have gone into the sale, they are now £7.49. They look like rags on the website, but are very versatile, comfy, cool and easy to wear. I have the beige version.

Following a great #yorkshirehour networking twitter event last night, I made contact with the lovely Natalie from HoneyApple who provides gorgeous children's party invites, and she's given you, my readers, a great discount!

Here is some info:

HoneyApple provide customers with personalised invites for special occasions. Customers can choose to personalised one of our current designs with their dear one's name and or photo. Alternatively invites can be completely redesigned or created from scratch to feature all their favourite things. 

Customers are sent a proof of the artwork and variations to choose from if it's a new design prior to printing. Once the customer is happy we send a paypal invoice which can be paid using any major credit/debit card or paypal account. All our invites are sent with envelopes.

Example prices (other quantities available) :
Pack of 10 = £4.90
Pack of 25 = £8.80
Pack of 50 = £14

Customers can claim 20% off the price of invites by contacting HoneyApple via facebook and simply mentioning Pret-A-Mummy. Offer expires midnight 30th June 2012 and can be claimed more than once. 

Postage and packing is £1.60 on orders up to 50 invites, £2.20 on orders of 50 plus invites.

And finally, I really must mention the Fairy Hobmother  who is spreading joy and love amongst all bloggers at the moment. Comment on this post and you might be next!

I received no financial compensation to write this post but Isabella Oliver were very nice to me and shipped my item ASAP. Actually, thinking about it, The Fairy Hobmother sent me a gift voucher.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Great Hayfever Rip Off....

As a red head (well auburn-ish) it seems to be my lot in life to suffer from the various ills and ailments that seem to affect those with ultra fair skin; sunburn in February, eczema, generally looking as pale as a ghost, you know the score. But the one I find the most debilitating is the horrendous condition I suffer from every year - hayfever. In fact it's not just hayfever, as I've got older I seem to have become more susceptible to allergies of every sort - dust for example I find sends me into sneezing fits, itchy eyes and general misery (worst when I'm cleaning the house, a good excuse not to do it but then it gets more dusty!). Hayfever starts in around March, I don't know what sort of pollen is around at that time of year but it doesn't do me any favours. By April I can not open my eyes properly until around 10am. I have no idea why I am so badly affected in the mornings, but contact lenses seem to make the problem worse, and sunglasses slightly help. May and June are a write off and I mainly cower indoors, especially if my husband is cutting the lawn. Picnics are a no-no as is going near any sort of animal. My symptoms are always the same, ridiculously sore eyes that are mega dry and make my contact lenses pop out; really really runny nose all the time, sore throat and constant sneezing.

I've tried all sorts of remedies, though when I was pregnant and couldn't take any medication at all I was particularly miserable. That year I tried eating lots of honey from local bees after being reassured by the bee keeper that this was a failsafe technique. It didn't work, and I got really bad toothache.

Now I take a daily hayfever tablet, nose spray and multiple eye drops, it takes the edge off it but it doesn't seem to really hit the spot. A few times I've been to the doctors for super strong hayfever tablets but have been given the ones that make me really really sleepy, I'm knackered enough as it is without taking medication that makes me more so.

I'm a bit of an expert on the cost of hayfever medication, as a thrifty mum I'm always on the lookout for cheap hayfever tablets to stock up on.  Recently I've been buying Boots value range which is 99p for seven tablets. I noticed on the packet that it says they are 10mg tablets containing the ingredient Loratadine.  With a bit of investigative work I noticed that this is the same ingredient that is in the coloured box, snazzy looking "Boots" branded ones which cost £4.49! For 14 rather than 7 but that still makes them double the cost! So for a nice looking box you have to pay double for exactly the same product. The Clarityn ones (which used to be my brand of choice!) are £3.39 for 7, which is more than double the cost of the value ones, even though they contain exactly the same ingredient. At the moment these are on buy one get one free which makes them better value, but still quite a lot more than the value ones.

To me, this shows a lack of transparency about what you are buying and what you are getting for your money. I always thought that branded products were better quality than the "value" ranges, but in this case, if the active ingredient is the same, surely it is exactly the same product.

Do you have any examples of "value" ranges being exactly the same are much more expensive branded products?

Monday, 18 June 2012

WIN WIN WIN! Abigail Story Buddy from Hallmark...

The Prize!

Hallmark are proud to announce a brand new arrival in their family of Interactive “Story Buddy” soft toys. 

Abigail, a pretty brown bunny will be the first lovable lady to join the cuddly clan, which currently includes Watson the Racoon, Cooper the Bear and Jingle the Husky Dog.

The perfect gift for your little bunnies this spring, Abigail is a real girls’ girl. She loves tea parties and playing dress up and through her adventures learns the vital life lesson that being herself is the absolute best she can be.

Abigail comes complete with her own story book, ‘Abigail and the Balance Beam’ which follows the chatty bunny trying to make her mum extra proud of her by performing gymnastics.  As passages from the book are read aloud, Abigail springs to life and joins in the story!

Additional books featuring the exciting adventures of Abigail are also available including, ‘Abigail and the Tea Party’; a tale of a special tea party hosted by Abigail’s mummy and ‘Abigail and the Lost Purse’ which follows the discovery of some dress up clothes that later turns into a fun girlie game.

Children will love listening to the adorable floppy-eared bunny join in with the new exciting narratives as, page by page, a new phrase is unlocked for Abigail to say. This interaction, as well as the delightful toy itself, makes the reading experience a magical one for the whole family to share!

For even more story time fun with Abigail, there is also a downloadable app suitable for use on iPhones and iPads, to accompany the playful bunny. The free app includes a short animated story that can be played aloud through the app’s internal narrator or recorded by a loved one to add a personal touch to the tale.  The app also includes child-friendly puzzles and an interactive game that lets your child play dress-up with Abigail, just like in the book!

Priced at £19.99 Abigail is available from April 2012 in Hallmark stores and The additional books for Abigail are also available from the same outlets priced at £5.99 each. 

Further cuddly characters are set to join Abigail and the rest of the Story Buddy crew later in 2012.

To win your very own Abigail story buddy please enter by doing the following (you get one entry for each one you do):
  • Comment on this post leaving your name and email (or twitter handle).
  • Follow my blog by email - top right of this page.
  • Join my blog - again on the right.
  • Follow  Pret-a-Mummy on twitter.
  • Like Pret-A-Mummy on facebook.
  • Use the buttons below to tweet, like, share, google+ etc.
Most importantly, don't forget to say in your comment which ones you have done, and PLEASE leave your email address (or twitter handle) too so I can contact you if you win.

This competition ends on Sunday 1st July 2012. UK entrants only.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The soundtrack to my holiday was rain...

I've been looking forward to our two week holiday for weeks, at times it's been the only thing that's kept me going. Even though I am super fair skin that burns to-within-an-inch-of-its-life, I thought the power of the sun would rejuvenate and invigorate me. It was not to be. It rained all week in Dorset, then it rained solidly for a week in Brittany. Let me tell you, a caravan in pouring down rain can feel like a small place with six people in it, I can see why rats take to pacing.

This photo pretty much summarises the whole week. There was not one day I didn't wear my pink Joules hoody.  Thank god for Gortex rain coats, wellies and fleeces.

French Rainy Motorway
On the positive though, most of the clothes I packed I have simply put back in my wardrobe. There is absolutely no need to wash unworn clothes.  I feel a cold coming on....

Saturday, 9 June 2012

£125,000 beach hut for sale? Anyone?

This week we've been in rainy Dorset on holiday. It's such a beautiful part of the uk and everytime we visit the south coast I always start thinking about how we should live down south and how much it has going for it. But I guess this week it just rained everywhere.

Anyway, as per usual we took a stroll over to Mudeford beach which has all the amazing beach huts you can see in the photos. I haven't bothered instagramming them (is that a verb now? I instagram? You instagram?) as they are just so blooming' beautiful there was no need. We* went for a coffee in the cafe on Mudeford beach, just next to the beach huts and I could see a couple of adverts for beach huts for sale. Some were for around £125k which I found unbelievable! I mean, who would spend that sort of money on a small wooden shed with no running water and no mains power inaccessible by road? I got the feeling from looking at the peeps around that the answer to that question is someone toothy, blonde and fleece wearing and bearing a striking resemblance to our equine friends but that's probably just me showing my northern insecurities.

*not hubby and I but MIL instead - on that day hubby was undertaking his ten hour round trip to get his ruddy passport which thanks to my dad, fate, and whatever higher being you want to believe in, did arrive on time.

Would you pay £125k for a beach hut?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Rail fest!

The passport situation is now under control - here is a guest post from my good friend Rachel in my absence!

Choo Choo!

As Pret-A-Mummy is on her holly-bobs (well she will be once Pret – A – Daddy’s passport arrives!!) she very kindly gave her tickets to “Railfest 2012” to me!

I have a train geek as a husband and he was a very giddy boy as we arrived at the National Rail Museum in York. Railfest runs from 2nd – 11th June and is Britain’s biggest rail celebration, so enormous, it is the size of 11 football pitches! Famous trains featured at Railfest, that you may have heard of include The Mallard and The Flying Scotsman, the first train to reach 100 mph! (See, I did take note of some train facts!)

During our visit we looked at exhibits, getting an extra good look, by climbing into the driver’s cab and having a train ride on some fantastic machines, for our little one, a ride on the miniature train was super exciting! The Chuggington Activity Area provides an opportunity for younger fans of Koko, Brewster and Wilson to dress up to dress up as one of the characters (so don’t forget your camera!)

Unfortunately, my baby is only 7 months, so was just a little too small for the costumes. Young visitors also receive a special Chuggington book and can do some crafty Chuggington activities, whilst in the Chuggington depot.

The wonderful sights, sounds and smells were getting a little too much for our mini train lover so we had a bit of quiet time in the Family Chill Out Area! With lots of train themed TV shows on a big screen and a Chuggington Playspace, filled with toys, it gave us all a quiet 10 minutes.
As we visited on the opening day, we saw Carol Vorderman, declaring Railfest open and naming a brand new train “The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight “ which was followed by a very loud, but amazing, even to the mini one, fly past! Brilliant!

We had a fantastic family day out and easy access and super staff made our day stress free!

For more information on the event visit: 2012

P.S – Look out for my blog: bakingmummy, launching this week!

Rachel received no financial incentive for this post, just free tickets.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

No Passport...

What could have been.....
For weeks and weeks we have been looking forward to our next holiday as a family. We aren't the type of people to go on holiday all the time, usually only once a year. To be quite honest with you, I'm not really a holiday person. I have ridiculously fair skin which burns very easily (I was once badly sunburned in February whilst having a stroll in Wales!), I am scared of beaches as I once nearly got swept out to sea in a rubber dinghy, I don't like swimming pools as I wear contact lenses so dislike getting splashed and "foreigners" always take an instant dislike to me, I have no idea why.

Anyway, back to the point. We are supposed to be going on holiday tomorrow, except we aren't, as my husband's passport has NOT come back in time. I nearly wrote ON time, but to be fair, it does say allow 4 weeks, and we only allowed 10 days. I still had a faint hope everything would be ok, but it was only a random chance checking that resulted in me realising it had expired at all. I must have said, "we need to be more organised" at least 8 million times, but as my husband has rightly pointed out, that won't make the passport come any quicker.

So we have changed our plans and now we are going to Dorset first (thanks for the loan of the holiday home Auntie Jean!) and because of the damn lovely bank holiday, things have been slowed down even more. So basically we have to ring an office in Durham at 8am on Wednesday and hope and pray they will let us drive the 7 hours from Dorset to "upgrade" and collect the passport in person. We will then go to France, hopefully, or maybe not.

Does anyone have any tales of hope for me? What should we have done?

Friday, 1 June 2012

Furniture Bargain!



I love a bargain, mostly for myself I admit, however we are desperately looking for a new table as our current one is huge and takes up way too much space, especially with the world's biggest highchair next to it.


So I was interested to see the spring sale is on at Furniture Village until 5th June. I like Furniture Village as their sales staff are not pushy and you are free to browse and have a good look at their latest collections. They also provide free delivery over £250 and up to 3 years Interest Free Credit.  I have to admit we always do that when we buy things, I don't see the point in shelling out £1000 on a sofa all in one go when you can pay it in installments.  With the Jubilee in mind I also like the fact that Furniture Village support British brands like Ercol, Old Charm and Tempur. Get yourself down there over the bank hol weekend and see what bargains you can pick up in the Last Few Days!

For your information this is a Sponsored Post

Viral video by ebuzzing


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