Life Canvas

Review: Parragon Life Canvas Stationery

Monday, September 29, 2014

I've been meaning to write this review for a while. I completely organise my life using lists in various notebooks as well as drafting many posts on paper whilst out and about. I keep a notebook and pen in every handbag and changing bag I own so I'm never caught short. What I really do love is unusual yet stylish stationery. For that reason I was overly excited when Parragon announced their new 'Life Canvas' range and offered to send me some samples. I wasn't sure which I would be receiving and I couldn't have been more pleased when a package containing the 'Paris' journal and mini sticky notes dropped through the letterbox.

The A5 journal contains 160 pages of elegantly designed pages. So pretty you almost wouldn't want to write in them! The quality of the journal is fantastic, I have no doubts that it will be long lasting. Words just can't even describe how much I love my journal!

The mini sticky notes are just as cute! No more boring post it's! with 275 individual sticky notes, this set should last you ages. It features 11 different whimsical designs and best of all, they come in a tiny pocket sized folder. They are super tiny and super cute, an essential for any fellow stationery hoarders!

You can catch up with the latest news and products on Parragon's social media pages

barbie bag

Review: Barbie & Me Colour Change Glam Bag

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Back in July I attended the Christmas in July event with Amazon and one of the products that really stood out for me amongst the toys was the new Barbie colour changing bag. My first thought when given a demonstration was 'Gracie would love this for Christmas'. Well now I've been lucky enough to test this item out and see what she really thinks of it. 

This is definitely a toy for a girly girl, although enjoyed by Zach, so not exclusive to girls I did find that it really did make a great impression on Gracie who likes to think she's a big girl and it really opened up her imagination whilst playing. The bag is great for role playing and the accuracy of the colour changing is pretty impressive. The bag opens up and contains a selection of cute charms which can be stuck on the front to accessorise the bag. 

To play with the bag and activate the colour changing mode. You simply hold the bag against any item of clothing and press the heart shaped button for the bag to match up the colour. The bag is aimed at girls between 3-7 years and I think it is perfect for girls of that age. Gracie is only three but has easily learnt how to use it properly and loves it. I have to admit the amount of times the bag has been played with so far definitely justifies the high cost of the bag.

The bag retails at £29.99 and will be available to buy at all good UK retailers including both Hamley's and Amazon who will be listing it in their Top 10 Toys For Christmas. I can see this toy being hugely popular and featuring on every little girls Christmas list this year!

Happy Birthday Zach!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

It seems crazy to me to think that two years ago today my baby boy was born! Although it seems like he's been around forever, he is my baby and always will be!! It's amazing how quick they grow up especially the first two years. I've been looking at photos over the last few days of Zach in his first two years and had to share a few of my favourites to celebrate!

Happy Birthday Little Man!!

baby bottles

Review: Munchkin Latch Bottles

Friday, September 26, 2014

I first saw the Munchkin Latch bottles at Britmums Live and I was instantly impressed. I applied while I was there to join their panel of bloggers and test out the bottles on Elsie. Of course I had planned to breastfeed but also wanted to try expressing milk after a few weeks to introduce bottles so I could have an occasional break and give Daddy or big sister a chance to bond through feeding. I ended up introducing bottles earlier than expected as she needs formula top ups after every feed to help with her trouble putting on weight. This means I've managed to try out the Munchkin latch bottles early on.

The Latch bottles were designed to mimic the breastfeeding experience, the teat moves and functions like the breast which helps to ease baby's transition from bottle to breast and vice versa. The teat stretches, moves and pumps so that baby can latch and feed just like they would on your breast. There are a few things that make this bottle unique, as well as the moving teat (most other brand bottles are shaped like a breast yet don't move or stretch like your breasts do), the anti colic valve is fitted to the base of the bottle to prevent air bubbles travelling through the milk, therefore reducing the chance of colic. You can read more about the bottles here.

I was quite worried introducing bottles so early as I know that it can sometimes affect a baby's latch when breastfeeding. Elsie has been using these bottles since she was around 4 days old now and she is now just over three weeks and I'm happy to say she has no trouble latching on when it comes to breastfeeding. She is quite happy with the bottles too, thankfully the mixture hasn't got confusing for her and the bottles are really helping us to continue our breastfeeding journey and ensuring she is getting enough milk.

I find out of all my babies, Elsie is the only one who doesn't tend to bring her milk back up following a bottle and I definitely think the latch bottles have something to do with that! I am very happy with the bottles, they are definitely the best I have ever tried and I can honestly say I have tried most other brands of bottles at some point with both Gracie and Zach.

As you can see from the photo we were sent the newborn starter set which contains two 4oz bottles, two 8oz bottles, four stage 1 teats, two stage 2 teats and one bottle and teat brush. We also received another one of each bottle meaning we have six bottles in total which is more than enough for one days use. The newborn starter set costs around £29.99, the single bottles are around £6.99 or you can go straight for a 3-pack of bottles which is around £16.99. I have spotted them on offer at Boots at the moment though so worth doing research as you might be able to grab them at a bargain price!

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend these bottles to parents especially those in a similar situation as us who need to combine both breastfeeding and formula feeding. I am very happy to still be able to breastfeed despite the problems we have had and I'm even more happy that although she needs to use bottles too, we have found the perfect solution that works for us both.

 The Munchkin LATCH products are now available to buy in Boots stores across the UK and online. 

You can find out more about the latest news and products on the Munchkin UK social media channels.

journey to dragon mountain

Mike The Knight: 'Journey to Dragon Mountain' at Warwick Castle

Thursday, September 25, 2014

We were recently asked to visit Warwick Castle for a special VIP screening of Mike The Knight's first feature length film 'Journey to Dragon Mountain'. Although Elsie was just two weeks old and only just out of hospital I just couldn't turn down the chance to take Zach to meet Mike The Knight as he is probably his biggest fan! So crazy me ventured to Warwick Castle on my own with all three little ones for the special event. 

The morning started with a meet and greet with the Warwick Castle and HIT Entertainment staff, special goody bags on arrival for the kids and some yummy jam tarts and fruit kebabs to eat before the screening. The room was full of excited children waving their Mike The Knight flags and wearing their Mike The Knight hats. I had Zach roaming around shouting 'Mike Knight, Mike Knight!'. Now the film would have to be good to keep all these kids entertained for a whole hour.

The film features the King (AKA Mike The Knights Daddy!) who tells the kingdom about a sparkly jewel stolen from Dragon Mountain by the Viking's and how when he tried to return it he had an encounter with the dragon itself who was retrieving his missing jewel. When the Viking's are then once again spotted with the jewel, Mike and the King end up on a difficult journey trying to return the jewel to Dragon Mountain in order to save the kingdom of Glendragon. Will they succeed?!

Both Gracie and Zach loved the film! Gracie even hung around after to be filmed talking about how much she loved the movie. She liked that Evie was in most of the film and she thought the Viking's were very funny. Zach was very excited that Mike The Knights Daddy was in the movie and that he looked so much like Mike. He couldn't wait to tell his Dad all about it when we got home. I liked that it had a lovely happy twist to end the film.

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

After the screening had ended the kids got to meet Mike The Knight himself! This was open to all guests of the castle for the selected weekends. Zach was a bit wary until Mike put his hand out to hold his hand and he soon grabbed it and started talking to him. In fact the kids loved him so much that they followed him to the meeting spot again later for more cuddles and chatting. The second time they even got to meet Evie too, who just happens to be Gracie's favourite character in the show.

Along with the chance to meet Mike The Knight, there were plenty of medieval style games for the children (or adults) to join in. A particular favourite of ours was the horse racing where of course all the kids wanted to be Galahad!

We spent a few hours enjoying the castle grounds afterwards, living close to the castle we have done this a few times and we think Warwick Castle is a great attraction for a family day out.

Mike The Knight 'Journey to Dragon Mountain' is available to buy now from Amazon here for just £5. Would make a perfect birthday present or stocking filler for any Mike The Knight fan!

It's not too late for you to take your family for a fun day out with Mike The Knight as he will be at Warwick Castle again this weekend (Saturday 27th September, Sunday 28th September) For information and booking tickets visit

We were invited to the VIP screening for free in order to give our thoughts on the movie but all opinions are our own.

Miscarriage: My Life One Year On

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Today is a strange day. One year ago today I was excited, it was my Dad's birthday and the day of my first scan with baby number 3. I couldn't wait to ring my Dad that evening while he was working away to tell him the news. We had managed to keep it quiet the whole 12 weeks. Of course I never got to make that exciting phone call. Instead I rang him to briefly say Happy Birthday desperately hoping he wouldn't notice the sadness in my voice and know there was something wrong. 

A year ago today I sat alone in a room staring at my baby on the sonographer's screen praying that there had been a mistake and that my baby did indeed have a heartbeat. There wasn't. It was one of the hardest days of my life so far which led to a difficult few months and I really don't know how I got through it. 

The strange thing is, today should be an extremely hard day but it isn't. Today I am thinking about that day whilst holding my beautiful daughter, who is four weeks exactly today. Of course it doesn't mean I don't feel sadness about the baby that wasn't to be. I do however completely understand the meaning of the title 'Rainbow Baby'. Elsie was a huge surprise so quickly after the devastation and she has really been like a light at the end of the tunnel. I think I would definitely be in a different place if it wasn't for her.

So today I am just going to enjoy my three babies and be thankful for everything I have got. 

Panda drinks

Review: Panda Soft Drinks

Monday, September 22, 2014

I have fond memories of panda pops back when I was at school. They were one of my favourite treats from our local shop, usually on the walk back from school. Well the iconic drink has made a comeback! The new range consists of still juice drinks, flavoured waters and squashes. The still juice drinks come in raspberry and blackcurrant flavours, the flavoured water comes in orange & pineapple and blackcurrant flavours and the squash comes in either tropical or summer fruits flavours.

We were sent samples of the blackcurrant flavour Panda Splash flavoured water to try out. The 250ml bottles make them ideal for lunchboxes, picnics or even just to keep in your bag as a handy drink whilst out and about.

I love the handy size of the panda pop drinks. At £1.99 for a pack of six they are great value for money. They have a very refreshing taste meaning when the kids had finished drinking theirs they didn't ask for more straight away like they do with many other drinks but it was their first choice when they wanted another drink. I also like that they only contain natural flavours with no added sugar.

We have actually bought Panda drinks a few times since being sent these samples. They have become a favourite with all of us especially the bottles of squash. Although Gracie doesn't yet take lunches to school, it'll be our first choice for a lunchbox drink.

Panda Still juice and Panda Splash are available to buy at Asda, Tesco and Ocado. Panda squash is sold in Tesco costing 99p for a 1 litre bottle.

we were sent samples of the item featured for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

baby bath

Review: Shnuggle Baby Bath

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A few months back I was offered the chance to review the fantastic new baby bath from Shnuggle. All I had to wait for was baby! The Shnuggle bath is no ordinary baby bath, not only is it beautifully designed but it is very cleverly thought out to support baby at bath time. The bath is made from a soft and tactile baby safe foam making it both warm and soft to touch. It is kinder to baby's skin with great insulation that keeps the water warmer for longer. The material is a super-strong polypropylene foam, which is extremely lightweight and durable. The best feature about the bath is the bum, bump and back support which aims to make baby feel safe and secure and avoids the slipping and sliding that is common with many other baby baths.

Like I said I have waited a long time to try this out and was it worth the wait? In all honesty it definitely was! As anyone who has ever bathed a newborn baby before will know, they are quite slippery and the Shnuggle bath really makes it easier to hold them without difficulty and it must be comfy as every time we have used it Elsie has immediately relaxed and fallen straight to sleep. It especially made it easy for me to bath her without help post c-section, which I would have struggled with using any other bath.  I love how you don't need a large amount of water in the bath due to the shape and size making it easy to carry when filling and emptying. The water definitely stays warm longer meaning I can let her stay in there a little longer while she's enjoying it! I've never known a small baby who loves their baths as much as she does.

The only downside of course is the fact it is only suitable until around six months for most babies (dependent on size) but the majority of people will be happy to bath a baby in the main household bath by six months. I know we will be happy to do so.

This is definitely one of those products you don't know you need until you try it! I certainly wouldn't be without it now and will be recommending to all my friends and family. 

The Shnuggle baby bath comes in five pastel colours; Ocean, Mint, Pearl, Buttercup and Rose and is  available to buy on the Shnuggle Online Store for £30.

You can catch up with the latest news from Shnuggle on their social media pages below.

Shnuggle Official Twitter Page
Shnuggle Official Facebook Page

I was sent the product featured free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Join Us on 18/09/2014 for a #SofiasMicroWorld Twitter Party

Monday, September 15, 2014

This Thursday we will be hosting a magical Sofia The First Twitter party. With the help of Gracie, Zach and a few of their friends we will be testing out the new range of Sofia The First micro playsets.

There will be party food fit for a prince or princess and royal party games and activities. You can see all the fun and have the chance to win fantastic prizes by following and tweeting with the hashtag #SofiasMicroWorld. Don't forget to follow @CarlyMarkham1 @DisneyJuniorUK and @UKMumstv so you don't miss anything!

If you can't wait until Thursday for some fun with Princess Sofia you can find plenty of fun Sofia activities and games on

Also if you do miss out on the party I will be reviewing the toys on my blog too so you can have a read about what we think very soon.

Bringing Home The Baby!

Friday, September 05, 2014

We've been home a few days now. The past week has been pretty crazy! I can't quite believe my baby is over a week old already. I am so glad to have her home she's certainly worried us the first few days. 

I said in my birth announcement that I would explain more when I'm home. The reason we were kept in hospital wasn't too bad but was still worrying to us as parents. The day we were set to be discharged they found that she has a heart murmur which I'm told isn't rare but is something they would like to keep an eye on. As well as the heart murmur she suddenly started losing weight and this has been our big issue. Just 48 hours after being born she had lost 11% of her birthweight and so we had to stay until she put some back on. 

We finally arrived home Saturday afternoon and were just getting settled when Monday morning she had lost weight again and we were sent to children's A&E where she had lots of blood tests and as well as now losing 13% of her birthweight, her blood sugar levels were very low and so we ended up back in hospital again. Now I felt major guilt over her weight problems as I have been breastfeeding and as my milk still hasn't come in she wasn't getting enough. I was worried I was doing something wrong and felt like I had failed her completely. I now realise I was being silly and the staff on the children's ward were a huge help when it came to preparing a feeding routine that suits us and actually saw her putting small amounts of weight back on. It does mean that I am topping up her feeds with formula at the moment but I am hoping to stop that once I have enough milk myself for her. 

Anyway we are now home and she is putting on weight slowly. The kids absolutely adore her. She couldn't have fitted into our little family any better! She even has a name now. 

Say Hi to Elsie!