Thursday, 15 December 2011

Father Christmas, elves and reindeer at Ruxley Manor 2011

We took Blake and Maegan to meet Father Christmas at Ruxley Manor garden centre on Tuesday.
It was the first time both my children had met Father Christmas, Blake is two and a half and this year is the first year that he is really into Christmas (Maegan is nearly 6 months).

We booked the tickets online the night before, it cost £13 for all of us (£8.99 for Blake, £2 each for me and Rich, and it was free for Meg (children under 2 without a gift are free)

I wasn't sure what to select for Blake - There were two categories, Under Two's and Over Two's - Obviously at Two and a half, he's the over two's category but at the next step, the booking system asked for details (name, age, interests)  and the youngest age you could select was 3. I tried choosing under two with a gift instead (£5.99) but the system didn't ask for Blake's details and I wanted the experience to be as full as possible, the booking system didn't ask for Maegan's details at all.

We almost didn't make our time slot - we got stuck in awful traffic and one of the children had done a big poo - the nappy change and toilets are at the other side of the garden centre so we had to do some running and finger crossing (There's only one nappy change and it's in the disabled loo)

But luckily the time slot before was running a little late so we were OK!

There were real reindeer outside the grotto too for everyone to see - totally free of charge and beautiful!

Before we go any further, I just want to say, the experience was worth every penny and lasted nearly an hour, and you can take your own camera, so stop reading if you want to be surprised or keep reading if you want to know what to expect!

You're greeted by a very happy elf who takes a register and issues all the children with a passport where they collect stamps as they go through the journey. Inside the entrance hall every one recites a magical poem to encourage the elves to open the door to the workshop.

Everyone has a wonder through the working mechanical workshop full of busy little elves creating gifts and working hard for Christmas and the journey continues to the North Pole wilderness, complete with snowy Christmas trees,  a giant penguin band and a sleigh full of presents...and you earn your first passport stamp. There are elves on hand to help if you want any photos taking with your own camera.

Next we went into a lovely little wooden cabin with lots of tables and benches and pots of crayons so you can write or draw a picture for Father Christmas, post it in the post box and earn another passport stamp. Blake drew a scribble which represents a robot.

And then we wondered through to a cosy little elf kitchen to make special reindeer feed following the secret recipe, we sat in front of the log cabin and enjoyed counting out the scoops of different mixes of seeds, oats, fairy dust and ingredients into a little bag. You get to take your bag of reindeer food home with you to sprinkle on Christmas eve, and we rounded this section up with a lovely rendition of jingle bells (we all had a bell to shake too) and earning yet another stamp in the passport.

It's off to meet Father Christmas next! - Everyone goes through to the big guy's cozy snug living room which has a wonderful fireplace and festive decorations. Father Christmas has a chat with everyone, Blake was very enthusiastic and not at all shy like I had expected! He really enjoyed chatting to Father Christmas. All the children gather in front of the fireplace and we all make some magic happen - a present appears from the magical chimney labeled and ready each child so Father Christmas can call them by name to come forward and receive their gift and earn the final stamp in your passport. There's also a special gift for the parents who came too!

After this, if you want to, each child can sit on Santa's knee and tell him what they would like for Christmas, you can also have a professional photo taken by an elf at this point too - we decided to buy a photo and 3 key rings afterwards for £7 but you don't have to - there's no pressure at all and the elves are happy to help if you want to take your own photos. Blake and Maegan enjoyed meeting him, Meg had been asleep for most of it but woke at the right moment!

It was an amazing experience and much more than we were expecting which is why I wanted to go into so much detail!

Ruxley Manor garden centre also has a great little cafe and a small farmers market stall outside the gate, there was a lovely Christmas room and amazing garden furniture - well worth a little explore! Theres a pet area with fish, tortoises, lizards and hens to name a few too and a great toy gift area - lots of wooden toys!

My first experience of Father Christmas as a parent and I loved it!

Emma in Bromley xx

Ruxley Manor Santa's Grotto from Matt Soper on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Born to boogie silent disco for under 10's in Bromley

Book yourself a place at the Born to Boogie Silent Disco and help raise some money for children in need, sounds like lots of fun for all children under 10. RSVP

Sat, 10th December 2011 4pm in the Whitfield Hall, United Reform Church, Bromley.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Father Christmas in Bromley

With thanks from my good friend louise, i'd like to share this with you x
In bromley on Thursday 24 November from 5pm you can see Santa and his elves along with live reindeer, Christmas carols and a Samba parade. And Panto stars will switch on the lights in the High Street at 7pm. Christmas markets are on from 9 until 23 December and there is FREE PARKING in the Civic Centre and Hill car parks in Bromley town centre every Thursday from 24 November until 22 December from 3pm - 9pm

Emma in Bromley x

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Dora's Enchanted Forrest Adventures

We love Dora in our house so we were very exited to be sent a review copy of Dora's Enchanted Forrest Adventures DVD before it's showing on Nick Jr.

The Adventures are split into three special episodes which make it great for pre-schoolers (we all know, a toddler isn't going to sit still for the length of a feature film) and are packed full of new friends for Dora, including  elves, unicorns, fairies and dragons!

Official Synopsis included below:
Part 1: Tale of the Unicorn King Tuesday 8th November at 4.30pm repeated at 6.30pm on NickJr.
Dora and Boots are in their flower-filled spring forest with their friend, Unicornio.  All of the forest animals have chosen Unicornio as the King of the Enchanted Forest. There’s just one problem, Unicornio is unsure he deserves the title.  Dora and Boots will show Unicornio that he can be King as they travel to the Castle for his royal coronation.  Together, we challenge the smart Owl to a riddle contest; help Unicornio use a magical giant shield to protect us from the Dragon and rescue Squirrel from a roaring river.  When Unicornio reaches the Castle, he finally believes that he can be King.  Dora gets a beautiful dress and Boots wears his fancy boots for the coronation. All hail King Unicornio! 

Part 2: Secret of Atlantis Wednesday 9th November at 4.30pm repeated at 6.30pm on NickJr.
It’s summertime and Dora and Boots are at the beach when they see Diego riding in on a dolphin. He’s just been on an undersea adventure and found the legendary lost continent of Atlantis. He's discovered it’s secret and the reason why it disappeared from Earth.  Diego recruits Dora, Boots and King Unicornio to help him end an ancient feud between the unicorns and dragons. That’s the only way to make Atlantis rise. Together we’ll travel from the Enchanted Forest (where Unicornio leaves the Owl in charge) to make friends with the Dragon at the Volcano; then race over the beach to the middle of the ocean, where we’ll call the Golden Phoenix to make the lost continent return. Hurray!
Part 3: Dora Saves King Unicornio Thursday 10th November at 4.30pm repeated at 6.30pm on NickJr.
Dora and Boots are playing in the leaves on an Autumn day when Little Rabbit arrives from the Enchanted Forest for their help. When King Unicornio returned from Atlantis to the Enchanted Forest, Owl didn’t want to give back the King’s crown, so he tricked Unicornio. Now Unicornio is stuck plugging a dam with his unicorn horn so the whole forest won’t be flooded.  Owl is still ruling over the Enchanted Forest, where he’s made new rules like banning scarecrows, elves and fairies. Can Dora and Boots help King Unicornio get his crown back and once again rule the Enchanted Forest?

Don't worry - if you miss it - The full trilogy is then repeated back to back as a two hour special on the following dates:
  • Friday 11th November at 4.30pm
  • Saturday 12th November at 11am and 4pm
  • Sunday 13th November at 12pm and 3pm
  • Saturday 19th November at 1pm
  • Sunday 20th November at 9am and 5pm
  • Friday 25th November at 4pm
  • Sunday 27th November at 12pm
Usually my little boy loves Dora, but in these episodes, he really seems to have two new favourites - Boots and Diego! It's very cute to see him acting out the character of Boots - I think it comes naturally to him as he is a little monkey!

So far we've only watched the first two parts but I wanted to share it with you before it starts on NickJr as we are loving what we've seen so far!
It's all very exciting and the graphics are really sharp and clear, there's something about the elves that give me a sense of nostalgia - I'm sure they look like elves from something in my childhood! 

To celebrate and accompany Dora's exciting Enchanted Forrest Adventures, you can buy the DVD from amazon with an RRP of £12.99 from 14th November - currently the pre-order price is a bargain of £6.99.

Also in stores from the 14th November from Fisher Price will be Splash and Surprise Dora - A styling head with lots of features such as hot and cold water colour changes and lots of accessories. Fisher Price also have Magical Fairy Dora - an 11 inch doll who talks, sings and has a magic wand - I so want this for myself!

See the Nick Jr website for Dora activities and games

Emma in Bromley x

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Fireworks displays and Bonfire night in Bromley 2011

I've compiled a little guide for local fireworks displays for this year's bonfire night. If you know of any other local ones - particularly ones starting earlier in the evening, please do let me know!

Southborough Primary School

4 November 2011
Fireworks display for all the family.
Location: Southborough Primary School, Southborough Lane, BR2 8AA
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
Cost: £5 on the gate, pre-schoolers free
There'll be refreshments, burgers, do-nuts etc for sale as well as glow-sticks and some funfair rides to keep everyone amused before the spectacular display.
Event organiser: Friends of Southborough Primary School

Norman Park 

Friday 4th November 2011

Fireworks Display and Family Funfair

Gates open at 5pm

Bonfire Lit at 7.30 pm

Fireworks Display starts at 8.00pm

Tickets: Adults £5 (14 plus & Unaccompanied Children),Children £3 (5 to 13), under 5s free(On the gate)FREE Limited On Site Car Parking

Norman ParkHayes LaneBromley

For further informationWeb Site:

Chislehurst Charity Fireworks

05 Nov 2011 18:00

Chislehurst Recreation Ground
Empress Drive, Chislehurst BR7 5BG,BR7 5BG

Charity Fireworks 
Gates open 6pm, bonfire at 7pm and firework display at 7.30pm. Advance tickets from local shops at £2.50 for children, £5 for adults and £13 for families (2+2). Prices on the gate £3 and £6. A fun-filled family event. ALL profit goes to charities, most of them local.

Beckenham Round Table Fireworks and Funfair

5 November 2011
A fun event for all ages. Firework display and children's fun fair.
Location: Croydon Road Recreation Ground, Croydon Road, Beckenham
Time: 18:00 - 22:00
Cost: Adults and unaccompanied children £5.00; children £3.00; under 5’s free
Fireworks commence 20.00hrs (20/25 minutes)
Pay on the Gate.
Gates open 18.00hrs.
Funfair 18.00 - 22.00hrs
Event Organiser: Beckenham Round Table Phone: 07956 878686

Crystal Palace Park, 
Anerley Hill, Bromley, SE19 2AA
Time: 18:00 - 22:00
Cost: Adults, children over 14 and unaccompanied children - £5; children (5 to 13 years old) - £3; children under 5 - free
Childrens fireworks display will start at 7.00pm.  The main firework display will start at 8.30pm.
Admission:  Pay on the gate.  Gates open at 6pm.
On site car parking (Sports Centre entrance):  £3
Please note:  No fireworks, alcohol or pets to be brought on site by the public.
For further information visit

Blackheath Fireworks
Saturday 5th November 2011 8pm in the centre of the heath - donations.

Emma in Bromley xx

Monday, 31 October 2011

The papier mâché pumpkin disaster and rescue!

I have to admit, I took my inspiration from kirstie allsopp's new "craft" book - which features a papier mâché snowman piñata - my thinking was - if you can do a snowman - I must be able to create a pumpkin!

Also, I wanted to replicate a pumpkin rather than do a real one for 2 reasons,
1) I felt that my 2 year old could join in more and 2) I don't actually have anywhere safe to put a lit pumpkin in the house at the moment!

I haven't done papier mâché for about 20 years and it was the first time Blake has done papier mâché so if your expecting something amazing - you might want to pop over to red ted art instead! (my fave children's craft blog)

Ok so firstly we blew up a balloon - a free one from mcdonalds - and covered it in olive oil - really you should cover the balloon in Vaseline but I didn't have any so I thought I'd try oil instead!

Then I divided a newspaper up - I split 1 page into 3 long strips and kept going until we had a large pile of paper.

To make the paste, we added one cup of flour and two cups of water to a bowl and Blake mixed it all up with a wooden spoon... which he looooved to do!

We dipped the paper strips into the paste and layered on the ballon until it was fully coated, Blake really enjoyed this bit!

It usually takes about 4 hours for a layer to dry, we left it overnight and did a second layer the next day.

Our intention was to paint it orange but we couldn't find orange paint anywhere! Our first point of call was elc but they didn't have orange, we also tried smiths, hawkin bizarre and that book shop next to patisserie vallerie in the glades (where we did buy a pack of cheap small felt sheets for 99p to use for the pumpkin's face features) . I'm guessing rymans down at Bromley south would have had some but I didn't fancy the walk.

As an alternative I decided to try orange tissue paper from paperchase.

I wasn't sure if a layer of orange tissue papier mâché would work but there's only one way to find out!

We left our orange pumpkin to dry over night again on the kitchen window.

Unfortunately it was a sorry sight the next morning and I'm not sure what went wrong! The balloon had shrunk inside so maybe that was to blame for it's deformity, or maybe it was because that night was particularly cold and it didn't get to dry out properly on the side that was closest to the window, or maybe a third layer was one to many. Maybe the oil instead of vaseline ruined it? I'm not sure.

The orange tissue papier mâché layer did not work at all, not only was there the scary looking deformity but also, it just didn't look nice at all!

As a fix it job we but the pumpkin's best side forward and covered in orange tissue paper - just as it is and pritt sticked it on!

We then stuck on black felt cut outs for eyes, nose and mouth and a green card for it stem / hair, i did the cutting out and pointing, Blake did the sticking!

Et voila ... Toddler friendly pumpkin!

While I don't like to encourage trick or treating, I do love Halloween parties, dressing up and the fun it brings!

Halloween is a great time to do crafts with your little one and be a bit more creative with food too.

Loved getting messy and trying something new and this craft was easy for my two year old to do, he did most of this - even down to sticking the face details on.

Emma in Bromley xx

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Shnuggle Modern Moses Basket, Our Review.

Lucky Maegan was sent a Cream waffle Shnuggle modern moses basket to try out and review and the verdict is that she loves it!

It's been a little godsend for us, as Maegan has a big brother, Blake who's 27months and the Shnuggle has been the way Maegan has been able to have daytime naps.

It's made from plastic rather than wicker so it doesn't creak like a traditional moses basket and the Shnuggle has ventilation holes in it's base so there is plenty of airflow. I love that it's easy to wipe down the whole basket.

Maegan loved how cosy the Shnuggle is - its got padding underneath the waffle layer so when she wiggles and moves about she never catches herself and she loves to sleep with her head against the cushioning. The Shnuggle is suitable for up to 6months or until your baby can sit or roll unaided - I found it to be a generous size, and although Maegan is only 3 months, I have every confidence that the Shnuggle will last her.

We usually put the hood up while she sleeps, as I think it makes it a bit more cosier for her and also as a signal to Blake that Maegan is sleeping, if the hood is up, he's not to touch!

The Shnuggle basket also comes with a warm, thick matching coverlet and an airflow mattress (We've used mothercare fitted crib sheets to cover the mattress and they fit really well )

The waffle surround and padded lining stay in place with elastic and come off and on easily for washing - and they wash really well - no shrinking or mishapping.

The Shnuggle has soft cotton handles which can be removed - I've removed them for now as Blake likes to be "helpful" and has put them inside the basket a few times rather than leaving them hanging on the outside.

You can buy a stand for your Shnuggle if you wanted one and there are also some lovely blankets available from the website too or a mattress upgrade. Shnuggle is currently available in Cream Waffle, White Waffle, Dotty Blue or Dotty Pink.

There isn't anything I would change about the Shnuggle, it's design and function is ace and there isn't anything you could improve on really. I would like to see more colour choices - more brighter ones and unisex ones as this basket is designed to last and also, it would be good to see Organic Cotton choice and maybe a natural mattress option.

There isn't anywhere to attach a toy so I've stitched a little loop in the hood to dangle Maegan's soft chime toy from which she loves to bat.

I would recommend the Shnuggle to a friend and it's good quality for its price - worth every penny.

£59.99 including postage from 

Now - Ohh I  know this isn't what the Shnuggle is designed for or suitable for, but I couldn't resist - Blake climbed in and decided to do Row Row Row Your Boat with Meg - She is actually awake by the way! Was too cute!

Emma in Bromley x

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The worst thing about parenting

This is a blog question prompt (I needed a bit of inspiration today!) and for me the answer is simply the noise!

I'm a quiet person, before having children I enjoyed nothing more than a good book and a hot choc - a nice bit of piece and quiet! Honestly, I rarely did the clubbing/pub thing and I love slippers as much as heels!

Having two children means this is a very rare thing indeed! It can get quite noisy in our house- from toys to tantrums! It can be rather hard when you just want a bit of quiet time but both children have decided that would be the best time to both scream and shout, I can't remember the last time I got to cuddle up with a book (other than the gruffalo) and just read - I've been reading the same book for 11 months and I have about a hundred pages to go (it's only got 350 pages to the whole novel). I used to go through a book a week or so!

If I'm completely honest - the worst thing about parenting has got to be the worrying! About your child's health/development/future/education etc I find my mind constantly worries! I have a history of childhood kidney disease, hubby has asthma, we both need glasses and between our families we have a plethora of allergies so I'm always looking out for signs. Where we currently live doesn't offer good primary schools so I've been looking into the prospect of homeschooling and worrying about the future education for my two year old! (blog post on that can of worms to follow).

And whilst I make a bit of a grumble about the noise ... My favourite sounds in the whole world have got to be my little ones laughter and chatter! ... And snoring!

So go on, what's the worst thing about parenting for you?

Emma in Bromley x

Monday, 26 September 2011

Pain in the bum ... and my lower back, hip, leg and foot! Sciatica in late pregnancy!

So at 37weeks I woke with excruciating pain from my back all down my left side into my foot. I couldn't walk properly and had to crawl up the stairs on hands and knees. Certain movements were out of the question and simple things such as picking my toddler up hurt like crazy! Had I pulled something in my sleep? was the baby sitting on a nerve?

When I booked in to see my GP a few days later as it hadn't improved (If anything it was getting worse!) She tested my reflexes and tried to raise my left leg - I had less than 20% liftability! She discussed the pain with me which started in my lower back on the left, ran through my hip and left bottom cheek and all the way down my leg, into my ankle and had given me pins and needles in my left foot a few times, also my leg had felt like it was giving way and the pain was constant but peaked every now and again with movements as white hot pain in my hip and ankle.

My GP declared I had Sciatica brought on by the baby's position and at almost 38 weeks the only cure is to give birth! Pain killers and anti inflamitaries normally used to treat sciatica are too strong to take in pregnancy and at this stage, by the time I get an appointment with an Osteopath, well, baby would be here.  It's kind of a pat on the head and get on with it dear situation.  She did mention a good support belt - I bought the Nexcare maternity support belt for £35 from Mothercare in Bromley - It feels very supportive but does nothing to help the pain or movement. It's soo supportive it actually becomes uncomfortable and feels like it's adding extra pressure to my bladder, I think it's because of the baby's position. To be honest, it was a waste of money but I was desperate to try anything!

She's been fully engaged for weeks! - I\ve been told this is unusual  for a second baby! My midwife actually said that the reason I'm suffering sciatica is beacuse the baby has been engaged for quite sometime, it's the pressure of her literally forcing my hip apart! - Lovely!

Sciatica in pregnancy can often be confused with Pelvic Girdle Pain which is similar, the pain starts in your lower back, and runs through your hip and bottom, often on one side like sciatica but the main difference is that Pelvic Girdle Pain doesn't extend further than your knee!

A midwife at the Oasis suite at the Pruh showed me a few exercises to do and I've been warned it can take a while to fully recover from sciatica.

During very early labour, I had this strange feeling of pressure that got so painful I thought I was going to throw up, then baby moved and the sciatica eased off!

12 weeks after giving birth, its all normal mostly and has been since the day before I gave birth, but every now and again I get the odd twinge or dull ache in my hips and lower back.

Emma in Bromley x

Friday, 23 September 2011

Thomas and Friends, Day of the Diesels DVD Review and Giveaway

We were very excited to be sent a copy of Thomas and Friends Day of the Diesels new dvd to review, Blake loves Thomas, he calls all trains Thomas and his Brewster from Chuggington and Toystory duplo train are both also called Thomas and are best friends in the world of Blake!

Blake likes to watch a few of the really old episodes which I watched as a child when he feels sleepy and he likes the new episodes at playtime - he likes to reenact what he's watching and usually he's Thomas, but sometimes Percy.

We popped the DVD on - it's an hour long special and I know Blake wont sit through the whole thing. he's 27 months so we tend to watch long cartoon in 15 min bursts and talk about what we've seen and go back to it later.

The opening scenes were really frightening for him - I was really surprised as its the first time he's been afraid of something he's seen on the TV. The story starts with a great big fire - the animation is incredibly realistic and there are raised voices, smoke and I think for a two year old it was a bit too scary but the scene soon calms down and introduces Belle, one of four new trains. (Belle, Flynn, Dash and Dart)

We loved watching the trains whizz around Sodor and watching Belle and Flynn the new steamies playing games with Thomas, a lot of the focus on this dvd is around Percy - he feels a little left out with the new trains taking away Thomas' attention and he soon finds a new friendship with the Diesels, including Diesel 10 who has a big claw on his head, and two newbies - Dash and Dart who make a comedy pair - who are devious, and I think for a two year old, some of this story line was a little to devious for him to understand what was happening but he seemed happy enough to watch the trains - although he definitely picked up that something wrong was happening by the music and tone of those parts of the story, we always talk about what we are watching and I found it quite hard to think of a way to explain this bit.

Of course there were more fire scenes as both Flynn and Belle are fire fighting trains and the other scenes didn't seem to be as frightening as the opening scene and I think Blake really liked Flynn - he keeps pretending to squirt water - or really doing it at bath time!

It's a good dvd and a lovely story as everyone is always friends and work together in the end.

There are some great toys that go with this story and we've added one of the Thomas take and play sets to the Christmas list!

Thomas and Friends Day of the Diesels is available from Monday 26th September and is available on DVD rrp £12.99 or Blu ray rrp £14.99. The HiT Store website has the Blu Ray and DVD combo pack on a special price of £11.99

There are new pages for Day of the Diesels on the Thomas and Friends website with activity sheet downloads and other extras.

I have two dvd copies to giveaway to my readers, UK only please, these will be sent out directly from the lovely PR lady.

All you have to do to enter is name one of the new four characters in the comments box below.

For bonus chances you can tweet a link to this post (@beachpebble) or like my blog's facebook page and let me know in a separate comment below.

Competition closes at 8pm on Friday 30th September 2011.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Bob the Builder the Big Dino Dig review and competition

My little boy loves Bob the builder so when an opportunity to review the latest dvd arrived, we jumped at it!

Bob the Builder the Big Dino Dig dvd was released on Monday so is available in the shops and online now, rrp £12.99 but the HiT store have it for £9.99

Blake is 27 months and doesn't quite sit through the full 60 min feature but that suits us fine, the story is broken down into sections so it is easy for us to stop the dvd and have a chat about what we have seen and then go back to it.

Bob and his team are building a theme park for Mr Tobleronie (Yep, the name makes me want triangle shaped chocolate!) but when they are preping the site, they discover dinosaur bones!

As the story progresses, a number of the main characters discover dinosaurs and these discoveries are used in the theme park, but what I really liked was that they had a book of dinosaurs and with each discovery also came a little educational bit about the dinosaur.

For us, we paused the cartoon after each discovery and recreated some of the story - we like to pretend to be Rubble the new character and when the team found a terradactyl we flew around the room and pretended to catch fish!

The story flows well if your little one has a longer attention span than mine! the cartoon is well animated with lots of lovely bright colours and none of the story was frightening for my 2 year old so a good thumbs up.

There's only one short fireman sam advert first so you don't have to get in a panic - thank you!  - or is it just me thats put a dvd on only to discover the adverts before the cartoon are too long and either toddler is distracted before the cartoon starts or having a full on tantrum freak out!

The dvd has a bonus feature which is a lovely selection of 6 worksheets to print out from your computer, including a make your own paper bob hat.

I have a copy of Bob the Builder Big Dino Dig for one of my lovely readers to win, to enter, please share a dinosaur or bob the builder story in the comment box below.

For example, I once (in recent years too)  referred to a Stegosaurus as a Sagittarius for which my lovely hubby still takes the mickey out of me for, ohh and I also do great T-rex arms....

Competition open to UK people only, and the winner will be sent their dvd directly from the PR company.  For extra entries you can Tweet a link to this post (please include @beachpebble and @bobthebuilderuk) or like my facebook page.

Please add a separate comment for each entry below so I can include all your chances in the draw.

Competition closes 29th September at 8pm.

Emma in Bromley x

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The 308 Coat by Clark and Gray, From Maternity to Motherhood

When I first heard of the 308 by Clark & Gray I got very excited! back in the days before I was a SAHM, (stay at home mum) one of the areas I covered in my career as an online marketing manager was a maternity brand and I was at the end of my second pregnancy so I really respect any great maternity and baby ideas particularly ones started by brave and inspiring parents.

I struggled through two pregnant winters without a coat that fitted properly and it was difficult! Affordable maternity coats made me look ridiculously pumpkinish as I'm only 5'3" (please note, this figure is rounded up to the next full inch) - they just all seemed to be tent like or octopus armed! The luxury ones were just too expensive and maternity brands were having a tough time (Homemummy, Formes, Blooming Marvelous have all vanished).

I got in touch with Thea to see if I could review the 308 coat - my timing was rather silly, hot summer at the end of a pregnancy was probably not the most sensible time to offer a coat review! - I have to say, Thea at Clark & Gray is simply lovely, inevitably delays have occurred on my review which I intended to do back in early June! I had a heavy bleed in pregnancy, lived at my in-laws for 2 months while our kitchen was done, given birth and tried to settle back into our home with two little ones... lets just say - the last few months have been one heck of a ride and this beautiful coat hasn't had the attention it so clearly deserved. I received the 308 in grey on loan for the purpose of my review.

Thea Gray of Clark & Gray has come up with the ultimate - The 308 - This coat has removable panels which simply zip in and out of the beautiful lines of the coat so you can wear it at every stage of your pregnancy and afterwards, with the panels if you have baby in the sling or without panels if you are pushing your pram! Thea is herself a mum so she's used her own experience to come up with this lovely idea. There is a very handy inside pocket, for me this is important as I don't always like to take a handbag as I often walk with baby in sling and toddler on scooter (I need to be hands free!)

This is good quality luxury - from the beautiful tweedy warm wool outer to its silky soft satin blue interior, carefully chosen buttons and timeless fashion detailing such as the large collar, deep cuffs and epaulets on the shoulders.  Thea has impeccable taste and has designed an elegant and simply wonderful coat for any woman's wardrobe, built to last and change with your needs, this isn't a one season wonder, as the brand slogan goes, this is for pregnancy and beyond.

The 308 coat by Clark & Gray is available in Blossom Mother and Child stores, Online and in their Harrods boutique.  £390 in Grey or Navy.

I have two wishes, 1) to have been lucky enough to have had this coat in the cold wintery months of my pregnancies and 2) that I could have kept the 308 coat but sadly, it was only on loan, goodbye lovely coat!

More info on the Clark & Gray website.

Emma in Bromley x

Monday, 12 September 2011

Waterbaby pregnancy vitamin drink review and giveaway

*Update - There is now a competition to win a week's supply at the bottom of this post...

As soon as I'd heard about Waterbaby, I really wanted to check it out so I offered to review it!

When I was pregnant both times, pregnancy sickness was a big issue for me, and I often brought my vitamin tablets back up! Not much fun at all! ... Also, I just kept forgetting to take them, and now I'm breastfeeding my 11 week old, I still forget to take my vitamin!

Que Waterbaby pregnancy care water! This is a great idea, this is a flavoured water drink fortified with folic acid and a range of vitamins tailored to offer you extra hydration (with sickness, the extra blood volume and baby growing, you need extra fluids) as well as nutritional support.

Waterbaby is designed to be drunk at any stage of pregnancy from preconception, actual pregnancy and breast-feeding.

It's a lovely still water, I tried the citrus hint flavour and it was a gentle refreshing lemony lime flavour and tasted good - I was a bit worried you might get the vitamin stuff altering the taste, like when you take a tablet you get a bit of after taste, but there was nothing like that!

I'm a bit fussy when it comes to ingredients (actually, I'm just a bit fussy altogether!) and I've been put off flavoured waters in the past as often they contain artificial sweeteners but Waterbaby doesn't, I couldn't see any nasties in the ingredients at all really!

My cheeky lil' two year old was desperate for a sip, obviously the nutritional balance isn't right for a toddler, but I did let him have a taster sip (we've done baby led weaning so I've always encouraged him to try what I'm having) he declared it was yummy and called it lemonade! (actually if the guys down at Waterbaby hq could do a toddler vitamin water drink, that would be great!)

So I haven't found any other pregnancy nutrition drinks to compare it to, it does seem to be out there on it's own at the moment and I think it's a nifty idea to help you take your folic acid and vitamins as well as helping you stay hydrated. I do think it is a better choice than a tablet as water helps your body absorb the nutrients and having pregnancy vitamins in a drink form is easier than a tablet (well it is for me!) as you won't sick up all of it as you can just sip it and not as likely to forget to have a drink!

Waterbaby is currently £7.99 for a 7 day supply (rrp £9.99) or £28.99 for a 28 day supply (rrp of (39.99) on the Waterbaby website (add £3.50 for p&p) or you can buy from ChemistDirect £7.99 for 8 day supply or £29.99 for a 32 day supply (add £3.49 for p&p)

It is more expensive than a tablet but it does offer an additional benefit of aiding hydration and a more practical way of taking in your vitamins particularly if you suffer pregnancy sickness or forgetfulness! (baby brain, anyone?)

Either drink it from the bottle (500ml) or dig out your favourite glass, chill it, pour over ice, add a mint leaf and sip through a straw!

More info on the Waterbaby website.

Emma in Bromley x

* Update .... Ben and Anna at Waterbaby would like to offer one of my lovely readers a week's supply of Waterbaby :-)

Competition is open to all UK mums to be or breastfeeding mums and all you need to do is tell me what other flavours you would like to see, in the comments section below.

Bonus entry if you tweet a link to this blog post include (@beachpebble @drinkwaterbaby) or like my blog's facebook page. Please add a separate comment below for your bonus entry so I can include it in the draw.

Competition closes at 8pm Sunday 25th September 2011.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Nike mags mcfly back to the future trainers

I'm more of a shoe girl and normally trainers wouldn't interest me but I have to say that the interweb is full of stories this morning about a Nike event which has hinted to invited guests that the self lacing Nike mag trainers from back to the future are about to launch!

There's a teaser on you tube posted by docemmettbrown88 (yep, this made me giggle my geeky giggle)

Nike mag teaser video

I most certainly want a pair and these had better be out for Christmas so I can buy my hubby a pair for Christmas!

Emma in Bromley x