Friday, 25 September 2015

Top five gifts for children...

I can’t really speak for every child in the world, but I can speak for a few of them and for my own! If you are stuck for ideas for birthday presents for your child (after all who wants more plastic tat in their lives?) then here are a few of the best...

Give a child the an ability to learn new things! For instance, pay for a dance, music or art class and help to learn new stuff and improve skills as well. Also, classes are a great way to encourage children in their interests and let them know that you pay attention to them and what they enjoy. So that is really the perfect gift for sure! With long term benefits too.

Gift Vouchers
Better than money as it won't get frittered away -  you can give children gift vouchers he or she can spend in special stores. There are loads of options for this, for instance overstock coupons from! Or you can create your own  like “I'll do one chore no questions asked” or “movie and popcorn night, you pick the movie!” It will not only empower your child but also let them feel really appreciated.

I love to give books too since it lets children learn new stuff and is a nice quiet activity. Just know what books are appropriate and in keeping with your child's interests. Or maybe you have your own favorite book from childhood you loved a lot?! We've done that a few times and it's so much more meaningful if it's a book you've read yourself.

Subscriptions also work well as a present. My children are always hassling us to buy them comics and if there's a free gift, it's even more of a crowd pleaser. I also like the fact that it gives children an incentive to read. My 7 year old loves reading and I think he finds comics more manageable that a whole book.

Spending time together is obviously also a great gift to a child - the gift of time. Go to the theatre, a theme park, the cinema or out for a picnic, it doesn't have to cost a lot of money.  Local fairs and shows though mainly in the Summer, are a great way to spend time together and support local events at the same time. We always go to that kind of thing as there is something for everyone and it gets us out of the house.

What are your top tips for finding the perfect gift?

This is a guest post.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Scooby Doo Lego - Yes That's A Thing!

We went into Leeds on Sunday with the aim in mind of going to a super hero convention at the Marriott hotel. Unfortunately when we got there, we realised we had got the wrong day. To say the boys were disappointed would be a massive understatement! It was highly annoying especially as we had got up really early to go and it had taken an hour to get there. Argh! 

To make it up to them we took them to the Lego shop. Although it didn't open until 11am, so we had to wait around, have some delicious brunch, that sort of thing. When we did eventually get in we gave a £10 maximum spend per child (which severely limited our choice let me tell you) but in between tantrums I DID notice that Lego are now doing Scooby Doo sets! YIKES how awesome is that? Sadly my boys aren't into Scooby Doo at the moment, mainly because they find the cartoons rather terrifying. But I know plenty of kids are - I used to be one of them! If yours are also fans of Scoob, check out these amazing Scooby-Doo stop motion videos created using the brand new LEGO Scooby-Doo sets!  New videos will be uploaded weekly – so be sure to visit and subscribe to the WB Kids YouTube channel

Even more excitingly, you can complete the instructions on the widget below to be in with a chance to win £150 gift voucher from Smyths Toys so you can get a set yourself!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a guest post. 

Friday, 18 September 2015

Top Tips for Moving House With Children...

Last April, a very heavily pregnant woman (me) with only four weeks to go before my due date, moved house along with my husband and two children. I was actually geared up for it to be MEGA stressful, and in the event it was actually ok. I think we were lucky in that the people who bought our house, and the people we bought from were nice people, so no-one tried any funny business at the last minute.

We accepted less on our house in the end than we wanted, but it was last chance saloon for us really to get moved before baby number 3. I'm really glad we did that now as it's impossible to do very much when you've got a small baby in tow, plus being woken up night after night is REALLY tiring, which makes things even more stressful. We were lucky that a suitable house just happened to come on the market after we accepted an offer on ours, and those people were happy to ship out and go into rented, even though their house sold a bit quicker than they were expecting. It can happen that way sometimes.

The legal process was quite straight forward, with the only minor hiccup being a tree preservation order in our old garden which we required some paperwork for. The hardest thing was definitely the packing, it seemed to take forever. Luckily we had a garage to store all the packed boxes in, so we just piled them up and up. We also sold and gave away a LOT of stuff, which was really important as there's nothing worse than paying to transport things you don't even need. Our kids naturally found the whole thing rather trying; having to stay out of the way when people came round for viewings, not being allowed to get their toys out until people had gone etc. My oldest son found it particularly hard as that house had been his home for seven years and he was very attached to his large bedroom. Incidentally our moving day was the same day he started a worrying head tic, but that's another story.

This infographic from Volition Removals is super helpful, I wish I had seen this before we moved, some really helpful tips...

Moving House With Children 
attribution to
Here are my top tips, including some of these:-
1) On moving day, DEFINITELY have someone else look after your children. It's downright dangerous having the kids wandering round with all the furniture being shifted etc. Have them stay overnight if possible so you can get some proper rest after you've moved.
2) Hire a local company to move you - steer clear of the national companies, they are much more expensive than going local.
3) Do not try and do any heavy lifting yourself. That' what you are paying for!
4) Get wardrobe boxes so you don't have to take all your clothes off their hangers - wardrobe boxes are big enough to just hang everything up, this saves a LOT of time.
5) Start packing about two weeks before your move, if possible pile up boxes in one place, preferably in a secure garage or near the front of your house.
6) Warn your neighbours! We didn't do this and by a bizarre twist of fate ended up moving on the same day as our next door neighbours. This involved me shouting a bit as they nabbed the space we were saving for our removal van.
7) Definitely arrange for the children to say goodbye. We didn't do this and even now the children yearn for the old house. For them there has been no closure.
8) Arrange a treat for the children for when they come to their new bedrooms, a little present or something. It's a big upheaval for them and it's worth remembering that.
9) Be prepared for them having trouble sleeping for the first few nights, or even weeks! You may have trouble sleeping yourself as you get used to your new environment.
10) Let your children have friends over to play as soon as you are settled in your new home. Let them explore the house together to make it seem more exciting! Play hide and seek together!

What are your top tips for moving with children?

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Batman Unlimited Clip and Super Hero Giveaway!

What is it about little boys (and girls I'm sure) and super heroes? Batman especially is mega popular in our house at the moment. It's taken a while for my oldest son to get into that sort of thing, but now he's SUPER obsessed, which means by youngest son is obsessed too, naturally! I know they are going to be super excited when I show them the clip below for Batman Unlimited. Superheroes, villains, bad guys, robberies and a bit of mild violence, what's not to like?! If like me, your house is a super hero fun ground (!) you can create your own ultimate super hero with a fun name, look, powers and more by clicking here!  Also check out some of the amazing new videos from Warner Bros, including favorites such as Scooby Doo  & Batman Unlimited . There will be many more updates over the next year, so don't forget to subscribe to their channels! Yippee! 

Click here for DCKids Channel 
and here for WBKids Channel:


There is also an awesome giveaway to win an amazing gift set from Warner Bros. Including Teen Titans Go action figures & T-Tower set, A Batman Unlimited action figure, DC Super Friends gift set and Batmobile. ENTER HERE!

This is a guest post.  The giveaway is run by a separate organisation and has just been mentioned here for interest and is in no way connected with Pret A Mummy. Thanks!

Brogue Tan Chelsea Boots - How Much?!

So as is traditional at this time of year, I've been on the lookout for a new pair of boots. I wear boots so much in Winter that I pretty much wear out a pair every year. Last year though, I got wise to it and bought a better quality pair in the first place that can be repaired each year for further wearing. But I can't shake the habit! One thing I've been on the lookout for, for many years, is a really stunning pair of chelsea boots. Having size 8 (and the rest) feet, I have to be really careful with flat shoes as they can make my feet look even bigger (if that's possible). With that in mind, I thought it might work if I get some boots that are not a simple block colour to sort of, break my feet up a bit. Not literally of course.

So this year I've decided to go for it, I'm going to get some! Thing is, I've got in mind that I want tan, which makes my search that much harder. Maybe they will make my feet look bigger than black would, who knows?

After extensive googling I have narrowed it down to two pairs, only thing is, they don't come cheap.

Here is my first option from Moda in Pelle.

Moda in Pelle Calisee Boots £109
Now the thing is, although I love the colour and brogue design, I'm not so crazy about the rounded toe-ness of these boots. More to the point, I've already tried them on and they were a smidgin too tight. Thwarted! I also noticed that the spray that they've used to make them tan is a bit uneven around the buckles and you can clearly see the bits they've missed, not great for £109. Now I don't know if these still work, but there are two offer codes you can use to get money off Moda in Pelle - try GIFT4H9 or EVENT20 if you do fancy these.

Now back to business. Since these were clearly a no no  I've decided to go for these Slow Tan Chelsea Boots from Kurt Geiger, though at £165 they are seriously exxy. What do you think?
Kurt Geiger Slow Tan Chelsea Boots £165
They also have an offer code which gives 20% off - KGTWENTY.

From what I can see, I think I prefer these ones due to the better detailing and the more pointy toe. Whether I can get my mammoth feet into them is another matter.  I did spot cheaper deals than this in various places but alas not in my size. ASOS have some for £115 here, wish I was a 7. The reviews are great, feeling excited! I promise to look after these...

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Little Bou Review!

I have a giant baby. Actually, all my babies have been giant babies. I don't know if it's genetic or a case of overfeeding/greed but there you have it! My baby girl is almost four months old already and has jumped up from the 75th to the 98th centile. Eek! Funnily enough she isn't feeding loads, though she does like to lie next to me at night time and have a feed pretty much whenever she feels like it. Tiring.  What this means though in practical terms is that my four month old baby is now in 9 - 12 clothes! I'm never sure about sizing anyway as it seems to vary so much from shop to shop .M&S are usually quite generous sizes for instance, whilst I think Next are quite small.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you a LOVELY online boutique called Little Bou, which was originally aimed at boys, but now has lots of girls clothes as well! It's actually quite refreshing for boys to be considered for a change, with my two older children, it was always a battle to find them really nice clothing, and my eye was always drawn wistfully to the girls section in shops.

Seems I'm not the only one;-

"Since its foundation in 2009 Little Bou was on a mission: offer a wide range of stylish, high quality, practical and playful clothes for boys. Spurred by the very limited choice of style and quality in boys’ clothing offered by major retailers we handpick from the best children’s brands across the world: Mini A Ture, FUB, Bonnie Baby, Yporque, Finger in the Nose, Ej Sikke Lej, Milibe, Boys & Girls to name just a few."

Anyway, I was lucky enough to be sent this beautiful romper suit from Little Bou, which can be found here. What really sets it apart is the quality of the fabric, the cotton is thick and soft and is totally different to the sort of thing you buy in high street shops. I showed it to my mum when it arrived and her first words were "ooooh!" I also love the design, a few years ago I wouldn't have even noticed this sort of thing, but my colleagues at twinkl have educated me about good design, and I think I have a much better eye for it now.

Anyway, here is the little lady in all her glory. This was as still as I could get her to stay so sorry for the blurring...

The sizing on this is great as the suit is 6 - 9 months which fits her perfectly. You really do notice the amazing quality, and as my friend Jemma says, you're better spending a bit more in the first place as then it lasts SO much longer. True words.

Beautiful outfit and I will definitely be looking for clothes for the boys at Little Bou in future.

For the purpose of this review I was gifted the romper suit mentioned in my blog post, but all thoughts are my own and I do really love Little Bou!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Free Your Mind!

Recently we took the decision to get rid of one of our cars, taking us down to a one car family. The decision to do this wasn't really financial, it was more us not being able to make a decision about what we wanted to do. I had a Fiesta on a lease deal and when the deal was up we either had to buy the car and hand it back. In the end we ran out of time and so simply handed the car back and haven't got around to getting another one yet! With three children it's difficult to know what's best to do, so we've just done nothing! The one car thing is actually fine and to be honest, I feel quite "free" not having to maintain and pay for two cars. It's sort of liberating not being "owned" by something that's actually quite demanding - I had to keep it clean and was continuously having to put petrol in (imagine that!). Funny how you think you own something, but actually it ends up owning you.

When we moved house a few months ago, in the same way, it felt really cathartic to get rid of so much JUNK. A lot of it I sold to people in the local area of gave to charity. But one thing we still have masses left of are our books and CDs. Now that we both have kindles, we rarely buy books anymore. Part of me is sad about that - I remember reading books of my parents as a teenager, books that I otherwise would never have heard of and it has stood me in good stead. Stuff like the Brontes and Jane Austin, who are still my favourite authors today. But the fact is that we just don't have the room for a load of books anymore, and I can't stand the smell! My husband has a LOT of sports related biographies and they all seem to be hard back, they are HUGE and take up so much room. At the moment all our books are still in boxes in the garage, which is where I think they will probably remain.

CDs as well, since we met in our late twenties and were both teenages in the 90s, we have many many CDs, a lot of which are duplicate. Back in those days, CDs were pretty expensive, often £15 each (hard to believe now) so I'm a bit loathe to just give these away. We have thousands of pounds worth of CDs, but once I've downloaded them all onto iTunes (which one day I WILL do), I'm not really sure what I will do with them all? I did see an advert on TV though for something that I may give a try, a website called Ziffit. The idea is that you scan all your unwanted books and CDs using an app to get an instant price, then put them all into one large box ready to be collected by a courier. Ziffit then transfer the money into your PayPal account - easy eh! As a busy mum I particularly like the idea of things being collected from my house = little effort on my part!

So get rid of your stuff, declutter, feel freer and earn money!


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