Friday, 17 July 2015

Funky Kid Family - Meet the Veggies!

You know I love a bit of twinning.  I don't like my boys to wear the same thing as each other all the time, they are individuals and very much encouraged to speak their minds, have their own views.  But it does look really cute when they match or there's a theme.

The thing is, sometimes I like to join in too!  There are some truly beautiful kids clothing ranges out there if you look for them.  There are epic independent brands like those you find on Insta and Etsy.  Then there are larger brands like Katvig, Polarn O Pyret and all the Scandi brands like Duns.

As a shorty I have a secret - I fit quite happily into clothing made for a 12 year old.  I do a considerable amount of my shopping in the kids department of H&M.  It doesn't stop there though.  I can also fit into the kids sizes stocked by the likes of Duns.  One of my fave online stockists, Funky Little People, stock Duns.  I have been loving their radish print from afar for a long time. I was emailing Anna, who runs FLP, recently.  We were discussing the awesome radish print.  I said I really needed to get the boys some tees in that print but that I'd really love to wear it myself.  I'd told her how I fit into kids sizes and she told me that she had a dress in that print, age 12.  So, we took a punt, I bought it, and it fitted!

This weekend just gone, the boys and I had our first outing all matching.  We did get a few looks, quite a few compliments and a group of teenage girls had a snigger..  Fair enough.  I'd probably laugh at a Mum matching her kids.  But I don't really care.  I love this print!

Duns Radish, Scandi, Twinning is Winning

Duns Radish, Scandi, Twinning is Winning


Would you take it as far as me?  Would you actually wear kids clothes?

Link up your kids fashion posts below.  Please do link back to me and display the badge if you can. Tweet me your links, I'll retweet!

FKF is taking a break next week and possibly the following week as we will be enjoying family time but we will be back!

Happy Friday and end of term everyone!






Thursday, 16 July 2015

Holidays are here again!

It's that time of year again!  Excitement is in the air (or is it just a much needed thunder storm?).  Everyone is feeling slightly ragged.  The kids are tired.  The parents and teachers more so.  Somehow, we are all hanging in there, desperate for the slightly euphoric experience that is the last school run of the school year.   Our thoughts turn to holidays....

Holidays pre-children are like a hazy memory.  A holiday with children is a somewhat different experience.  I always think it's rather like that phrase "a change is as good as a rest".  Or at least, that's what I tell myself.  Because holidays with young children aren't exactly relaxing.  That's not to say they aren't enjoyable.  Hence the change, if not rest.

What do I love about holidays with kids?  I love the chance to visit attractions like theme parks and pretend it's all "just for the kids" when really you are having just as much fun.  I love that the simple things are fun like sitting on the beach and having an ice cream.  I have happily learnt to love that going out of an evening isn't a requirement to a good holiday.  As long as we have Rumikub, Boggle, ice cream and some booze it's all good.  I love just being away from home for a bit, being somewhere where I don't have to worry so much about house work!

What don't I love about holidays with kids?  I don't particularly enjoy long journeys.  I've learnt various ways to make journeys easier; plenty of stops, in car activities, giving out travel sickness meds, having lots of plastic bags (for unexpected vomit!) towels, wet wipes, changes of clothing at the ready, audio books and kid friendly music, endless snacks and water.  I also intensly dislike the arrival home.  The husband is usually worn out from driving.  The kids are tetchy and desperate to run around even if it's 8pm.. and I'm itching to un pack, clean the car and get the washing on.. and then I need another holiday.  A REAL holiday ;-)

Dale Fort Pembrokeshire


We have had some lovely holidays since we've had our boys.  We've holidayed in France three times, in Cornwall, Yorkshire, Centreparcs, Wales, Devon.  We've taken long car journeys (5 hours to Yorkshire).  We've been on the Ferry (travel sickness tablets required for husband and Ethan.  A lot of pushing a buggy around a deck for me).  We have yet to take the boys on a plane.  I've loved all of our holidays.  They have all provided us with something a bit different.  Sometimes, like this year, we go back to somewhere we've been many times before.  This year we are taking the boys to the Isle of Wight.  The last time we were there, six years ago, I was heavily pregnant with Ethan.  The IoW is somewhere I've told Ethan about many times.  It's a place my parents took me to many times.  Pete and I have holidayed there 3 times ourselves.  Blackgang Chine is a family tradition.  We can't wait to share it with the boys.

Artichokes in France


Pete and I have always talked about the different kinds of holidays we'd like to take in the future.  We want to take the boys to the states, recreate our honeymoon.  One day I'd love to visit relatives in Australia.  Something we both like the idea of is trying a cruise one day.  I don't think we'd mind where the cruise went.  We just love the idea of being on a huge ship (as long as hubby can control the sickness!!).  I've always associated cruises with older people and couples but these days there are just as many which are family focused.  Which is just as well, because, let's face it, our boys will be holidaying with us for a long time yet!  I quite like the idea of a Mediterranean cruise that gets close to Africa.  Just imagine the food!

5 am on a Ferry Face!
How have you found holidays since having children?  What are your favorite family friendly holidays?

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Makeup for little ones - keep your children safe

Kids and makeup: always a hot topic! How should we parents deal with it? I have two boys and they are still very young, so as yet, this is not something I have had to consider, excepting the odd face painting session! However, I do wonder what it would be like if I had a girl. I have friends with girls who, even age 5 or younger, have asked to wear make up (I'm sure there are some boys who express this wish too). What should be your reaction to the fact that your little girl wants to apply some makeup? Do you allow her to use yours, have her own or it is just a no-no for her?

It seems that you don't have to deny your child everything makeup. If they really wants to have fun with some makeup, then let them; only make sure that what they use contains only safe products.

When you decide that your small kid, tween or teen can use cosmetics for their skin, then be sure to buy for them only those that do not have toxins and unnecessary chemicals. Though quality cosmetics can be quite expensive, you do not have to break the bank to make your kid happy. With promo codes for Sears, you can be sure to find a great deal of children-friendly products at discounted prices and make immense savings on the cosmetics you buy for your kids.

In my escapades trying to find the best natural and chemical free products, I have come across many cosmetics with ingredients that on further research, I would not recommend for kids. I would say it's bes to avoid children’s play makeup containing Fragrances, Nanos, Phthalates, Bismuth Oxychloride, Talc, Parabens, Polyethylene glycol, Diethyl phthalate, as well as Artificial Preservatives, Colors and Dyes. They may not always be safe!

Another thing, do not be duped by labels of “Natural”, “All-Natural”, ”Organic”, “Organically Natural” or ”Recyclable” on cosmetic products. Check the ingredients! Other inscriptions that you need to be extra-careful about include Non-GMO, Fresh, Cruelty-free, Vegan, Handmade, Hypoallergenic, “Safe”, “Bio-something”, “Pure”, Healthy, etc. They may be safe for you but not for your kids. If need be, seek professional advice from a skin expert.

What scares me most are those personal care products purported to be made FOR KIDS yet contain toxins and nasties health experts warn that your little ones should be avoiding at all costs. For instance, statistics by the Environmental Working Group show that the U.S. cosmetics market alone exposes kids and tweens to approximately 33 ingredients (in more than 400 cosmetic products). Remember that most of these ingredients and products have also been banned for cosmetics in comparable markets like Canada, the European Union and Japan for being unsafe for developing kids’ bodies.

In addition, 61% of ingredients found in "for kids" products are not properly assessed for safety. So, if the FDA is not doing enough to guarantee safety for you and your child when it comes to the cosmetic products on our market, then we better do it ourselves!

Some of the harmful ingredients that you should be looking out for when you buy the next round of play makeup include DMDM hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Sodium lauryl, laureth sulfate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Formaldehyde, Triethanolamine and Triclocarban.

And do not let your pocket suffer in pursuit of the best safe cosmetic products when coupons can help you get big discounts and rebates on your purchases. Check them out today!

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Farm Fest - Nearly sold out!

We are so excited about attending our first festival as a family this summer.  Even more excited that it's Farm Fest, something local, not too huge and very family friendly.

Farm Fest Komodo

We're getting all our camping gear ready; a tent, sleeping bags, pots, pans and a kettle!! I'm starting to think about the entertainments as well.  Obviously we will have the boys with us so what they want to do will also be taken into consideration, and to be honest, Pete and I will just be happy to absorb any live music we can, but I would love to see The Floral Wham Trams - they sound intriguing! Komodo sound very cool. Toyface also intrigue me.

Farm Fest The Floral Wham Trams


If you fancy coming along, you'd better get a move on because tickets are almost sold out!! Go get some NOW!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Remember when we were all drinking out of glass jars with straws? Another other memorable things from this decade..

I was thinking whilst doing the washing up the other day (dangerous, I know).  You see those memes all over the net these days.   Lists of things we all used to do, use, wear, listen to etc in the 70s, 80s, 90s etc.  It got me thinking, what will these memes feature in the future?  What will be circulating in 2030 when we remember the twenty tens or whatever we are calling this decade (what ARE we calling this decade?  Five years in and I have no bloody idea!)?

Well, I thought I'd make my own list...

1) Drinking from jars

Why are we all drinking from jam jars?

Remember when we all thought we were so hip(ster) drinking from jars with straws?! It's laughable really, isn't it.  Why exactly are we drinking from jam jars?  It's got to be a hipster thing.  I remember two or so years ago that bars started serving cocktails in jars.  When I went out once.  In around 2014 I think.. I remember thinking "I have made it out, ON AN EVENING, for once.. and I have paid £8 to drink from a recycled jam jar!  I wonder if I should save it for my Mum to fill with jam?".  Joking aside though, I do actually like these jars.  Probably, I've been suckered in like everyone else, but I find them strangely practical with the kids.  I'll be honest, despite being nearly 6, Ethan still spills his drinks.  If I give him milk in one of these jars with a straw and lid, things seem to stay a lot less messy!  I find it's handy for me too, if the kids accidentally knock over my always there glass of water.  And reusable straws! Hell yes.  I'm all for straws that can be used over and over.  As long as you invest in a straw cleaner folks (yes, google it.  That's a thing).

2) Instagram

It's got to make the list, hasn't it!! I remember when IG became available on Android (never been rich cool enough to have an iphone) and I nearly wet myself with excitement! Yes! I can get on the bandwagon!  I don't know about you, but it's my fave social media.  I'm always on the damn thing.  Looking at peoples photos of their jam jar drinks.

3) Brand Reps

If you're on IG and really into kids fashion and follow all the cool WAHM clothing companies then you'll be au fait with the "humble" rep search.  Will it have it's day?  I think it probably will.  I think that we're seeing the peak of the brand rep searches just now.  I'm not thinking they are going to completely disappear but I suspect brands will change how they do things, to keep things fresh!  Just today the lady who created Whistle & Flute (huge Canadian self made kids clothing brand) wrote about the end of their rep searches.

Whistle and Flute Brand Rep Search


4) Micro Scooters and Balance Bikes

Come on, show me a kid who doesn't have a micro scooter and a balance bike!  When Ethan started riding with his balance bike 4 years ago they were still quite uncommon, but now they are ten a penny.  I actually think both of these are fantastic things.  The balance bikes definitely help learn cycling skills.  Ethan was riding a standard bike without stabilsers by age 3.  And Micro Scooters are a huge improvement on the old fashioned difficult to manover styles.  Even if it does mean you are run over about 15 times a day by one.  And how else would we cope on the school run?

5) Minecraft

The game of the masses.  So simple in style it looks dated.  So universally appealing, everyone loves it.  Kids are addicted but we don't mind too much because it's one of the most educational games out there!  In fact, it's even used as a teaching tool in some schools.  Ethan plays Minecraft every day and when he's not playing it, he wants to watch YouTube videos.  Stampy Long Nose is now one of the most well known people among the kids of today!  I think he might even be bigger than Minecraft.

Minecraft, Stampy Cat Cake
Ethan's Minecraft Birthday Party

Well, there's 5 things to get us started.  What would you add to the list?  What do you think will stand out from this decade?

Funky Kid Friday - Monkey & Mole, Esme's Journey & how you can help

Handmade leather moccasins are all the rage these days.  For the last 5 years or so there has been a surge in their popularity and new brands are popping up all over the place now.  Etsy, Folksy & Instagram is bursting with them.  Like with many things, this craze really started over in the US.  The first brand I saw making them was Freshly Picked.  They started up in 2009 and when Felix was born I was lusting after a pair.. but they were already quite pricey without taking postage and possible tax into consideration so I held back.  Then, one day, I discovered Monkey & Mole and I nearly exploded with happiness!

I was brimming with happiness when our first pair arrived.  The quality of the leather and crafstwomanship was second to none.  Unlike a cheaper pair of moccs I'd bought before, these ones would stay on Felix's feet all day (no mean feet with that fidgeter).  I liked that although they gave his feet protection they weren't hampering his growth or attempts to walk in any way.  They looked beautiful and everyone who saw them complimented us on them.



Over the last couple of years Chrissy and I have worked together online, features on my blog, giveaways on Instagram, ads on my blog.  When we have exchanged emails Chrissy would tell me about her worries about her daughter, Esme.  How she worried something was "wrong" after an upsetting two year check up with a rather tactless health visitor.  Prior to this check up Chrissy had just been enjoying Esme.  She wasn't worrying and analysing behaviour, well no more than any other mother would be.  It turns out though, that as tactless as the health visitor was, Esme was falling behind her peers and so the journey to a diagnosis began.  That diagnosis eventually came in; autism.  Esme suffers from anxiety, very few words, struggles to interact, plays differently and is easily frightened by noises.  She is also a complete delight and the world to her doting parents.

Chrissy discovered ABA Therapy , an early intervention therapy for children with autism which would really give Esme a boost.  The issue is that this therapy is only available privately and is extremely expensive.  Chrissy didn't give up when she discovered this, though.  No, she decided to raise funds!  And the way she's going about it is quite amazing!  This fantastic Mama is going to cycle 500 miles from Lands End to Bolton and Esme will be joining her!!



I realise this is not a typical Funky Kid Friday post but I really want to help get the word out there about Chrissy's amazing mission.  As Funky Kid is my most read feature and, well, Monkey & Mole moccs are fashion related, I thought it would be OK!

Chrissty & Esme start their journey on the 20th July (not long) and will be arriving in Bolton, where they were both born, on the 21st of August.  If you would like to support them and can donate anything, no matter how small, you can do so here.  You can keep up to date with their progress via Instagram.

If you'd like to link up your kids fashion posts, you can do so below!  Happy Friday everyone! X

Friday, 3 July 2015

Funky Kid Friday - Little Wild Child

Oh.. it's been one of those weeks.  Ethan has been off school all week apart from today.  Felix has been full of craziness.  His sleep is terrible again and he's taking ages to settle in the evenings as well.  We're all a bit worn down and I'll be honest, I don't much feel like blogging!!

We've been home all week, we've not really gone anywhere or done anything.  Felix has spent most of the week naked in the garden!  I thought I'd share a couple of outfits from last weekend:

Stitched Up Apparel, Be Wild

This t shirt couldn't be more appropriate for Felix.  He needs no encouragement, he IS wild!  We were sent this t shirt by Stitched Up Apparel who we brand rep for. Stitched up are a UK brand run by a stay at home Mama.  She makes some beautiful clothing and this tee is part of a brand new range!  It retails at £14.

RaanRoo, Ra an Roo, Ra and Roo, Kids Romper, Penguin Romper

This stunning penguin print romper is part of a limited edition range from Ra an Roo.  It's really well made.  The style is retro but the print gives it very modern trendy feel.  Felix loves anything with animals on so it was a hit with him.  I love it because it has a "baby" feel about it!

So, now it's over to you guys!  What have your little ones been rocking in this heat?  Link up below, tweet me your links, link back to me - you know the drill!

Happy Friday!

X

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

When is it right to use finance?

Pete (the hubby) and I are not natural risk takers.  We don't buy lottery tickets, we went to Vegas and didn't gamble and we've always taken out fixed rate mortgages.  Debt makes us both uncomfortable.  We are lucky, Pete earns a good wage and we can afford for me to stay home to look after the boys, for now.  This does mean that we have to be careful with our money though.  You won't find us holidaying in Jamaica (one day maybe!) and we don't drive a fancy car.  That's not to say we don't have holidays or a good car, we do, but we do it within our budget.  Holidays are UK or France.  The car is a family run around and Pete rides his bike to work meaning that it doesn't get used often anyway!

Sometimes, we have had to make large purchases.  We have always tried to save up before buying very expensive items but we've found that is much harder now we are on one income and have two boys.  When it comes to things like sofas or mattresses, we have used store finance schemes.  Pete is much more uncomfortable with schemes like this than I am (sensible person!!) but I always think that as long as you use these things to your advantage then it's OK.  The key is to look for 0% finance or credit cards.  You do NOT want to be paying interest.

We bought a new mattress recently and we wanted to make sure it was an excellent one that will last us 15 years or more.  This meant that it was VERY pricey!! So, we used the stores credit scheme and we are paying it off in monthly installments over 6 months.  That way we could have the mattress when we needed it (and we did really need it, our old one was grim!) but pay it off without putting ourselves out of pocket and crucially without paying more than the actual cost of the mattress.

There is a very handy site online which can offer you all sorts information on companies that offer credit schemes for products from clothing to furniture, it's worth a look if you're thinking about making a purchase using credit.  Click here for more info!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Keep safe with CosmEthics

I've written a few times about trying to use healthy and safe products, both on myself and my family. I've always preferred to stick with more "natural" products where I can.  That's not to say that I don't recognise the benefit of modern medicines at all and I'm certainly pro immunisations!!  I also know that "natural" doesn't definitely mean safe. We all know about poisons which occur in nature!  However, there are some ingredients like SLS that I do like to avoid in my products.  We all have sensitive skin in our family and I know we benefit from avoiding harsh chemicals.

I recently found out about a very hand app. It's all about apps these days!  Anything which is handy and can make our lives easier is good in my book.. or my phone ;-)  This particular app has been created by CosmEthics and is available free on iOS and Android.  The idea of the app is to give users a quick understanding of cosmetic products ingredients.  You can also add personal "alerts" which can flag up ingredients which are particularly problematic for you, such as in the case of allergies.  I wanted to share this information because this is something that I am genuinely interested in and I know there are many others out there who like to know about what is in their products.

At present I have been looking up products online, googling each separate ingredient before deciding if I wanted to buy it.  This app will now do that for me! Yay! Time saved!



Friday, 26 June 2015

Funky Little People - Summer Sale!

One of my favorite online retailers and one of our longest standing sponsors, Funky Little People are having their summer sale!

There are some amazing bargains to be had from funky Smafolk bedding to wonderful Dunns t shirts.  It's got to be one of the best places to stock up on your Scandi addiction!!

Go check it out!

Funky Little People Summer Sale, Freds, Dunns, Smafolk