Thursday, 27 October 2016

Brantano - Childrens shoe fitting service


It's getting chilly outside, the seasons are quickly changing and with winter approaching quickly it seems it's a perfect time to get your children's feet measured. Most of us will have had their feet measured at the end of summer ready for the new school year - Oliver's already gone up by half a size!

We were invited to Brantano to review the free children's shoe fitting service they offer when you're looking to get shoes for your children! Their specially trained staff can make sure your child gets correct fitting shoes.

I always have been a strong believer in the importance of correct fitting footwear for children - their feet are growing so quickly and we want them to grow in a correct fitting shoe don't we?

A lot of people say to me that their shoes are so expensive and whilst I agree they can be expensive for the size they actually are but at Brantano they offered a fantastic range of shoes at great prices! - there really is something for everyone there.

Brantano have provided me with some excellent tips to share with you for the perfect fitting winter shoe.

How should a shoe or boot fit around the ankle? Should it be snug and no slipping or is a bit of slipping ok?
“The collar of the shoe (the bit that sits under the ankle and across the heel) should sit comfortably just under the ankle bone and comfortable on the heel. Most children’s shoes are made with padded collars in order to minimise any rubbing of the ankle or heel. When the child walks the shoes should not move up and down as this can cause rubbing and blisters. Boots should also fit snuggly around the ankle area and it’s also important to consider the thickness of socks. When buying winter boots it’s always a good idea to take a couple of pairs of socks with different thicknesses so the fitter can check the fit.
As part of our measure and fit process our expert fitters will always check the areas around the ankles and heel grip to make sure there is a comfortable fit. Shoes which can be taken off easily without being unfastened would probably be too big.”
What should I be looking for to know my child’s feet and ankles will be protected as much as possible in winter days?
“As we approach autumn and winter Brantano will stock a range of shoes and boots suitable for little feet in the cold and wet weather. As with shoes our expert fitters will measure and fit boots making sure they are a comfortable fit for your child. For very snowy days we would recommend a snow boot for warmth and for rainy days we would recommend a leather boot that has been protected such as Clarks Shadowfun.”
So when we arrived at the store we were greeted by a member of staff with a welcoming smile (who at the time had no idea who we were and that we were there to review the service). The children got distracted by the fantastic selection of bags, water bottles, umbrellas and cuddly toys as well as toy cars that were next to us!

Firstly it was time for the children to both have their feet measured.

Brantano shoe fitter then gave both children a bit of paper that says the size of their feet and when they should next get measured - a handy reminder to pop in to your purse!

They also get a sticker which all children love!

It was Isabelle's turn to find some shoes first - we had an idea of boots in our head. She is very into shoes and loves to go shoe shopping. She took ages to decide which ones she wanted!

She started with some gorgeous purple ones by start rite but for some reason they wouldn't fit on her little feet :( She does seem to curl her feet up if she isn't 100% keen on the shoe - little trouble maker!

Oh Brantano sell so much loved brands such as clarks, start rite, sketchers, vans and nike to name a few.

These floral boots were just so gorgeous! I regret not getting them too now! Here's a photo of her asking her brother if her shoes look nice.
Oh which ones to choose?!
It's so easy to find your child's shoe size section as they're easily signed. They had a great selection for girls in toddler 6 but there wasn't many boots to be honest. Definitely somewhere to look for normal shoes!
Oliver's turn next and guess what! He looked at a pair of shoes. The lady suggested this sketchers pair - he nodded to approve of them.. tried them on and said yes these ones! HE CLEARLY DIDNT EVEN NOTICE THE STAR WARS ONES NEXT TO HIM! I wasn't about to tell him - I think the lady suggested some fantastic shoes - the exact ones that I wanted actually.
These boots again... aren't they just lovely?! They were £24 and looked so so cute. She said they were very comfy.
They had a great selection of trainers for girls too at really competitive prices.
These ones actually light up!
Yes that's right - lots of offers to be had all over store - can you see the 20% off & 30% off signs here in the boys section.
Here she is again - trying to decide.

And she's decided! We thought it best to pay £4 to get them protected from the rain... it took 1 minute to pop them into this machine and it sprayed them with protective spray which we thought was a great idea especially with a toddler!
She obviously found this really exciting and was allowed to help pop the boots inside.
And here is what they decided on! Some gorgeous boots for Isabelle - I would wear these!!!

And some fab comfy sketchers for Oliver! Fantastic for an active boy.

From start to finish the service we received was fantastic, even though my children were at times running around a little crazy the staff were very patient with them and tried to help in every way they could by suggesting other shoes and also telling me when they didn't think the shoe was the right one for that child.

What we chose - Feet Street Fringey Ankle boots £24

and for Oliver - Sketchers Rive £30

We would definitely return to Brantano and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the children's shoe fitting service to a friend. It's so important to have correct fitting shoes for your children and I hope my post have proved to you that although they're correct fitting shoes they don't cost the earth and they still look super cool!

You can find where your local Brantano store is by clicking here and you can also shop online if you already know your childrens shoe size from a recent visit - also for adults they have a huge selection!

Mary-Kate x

*please note that we were invited to attend by Brantano and were gifted a free pair of shoes for each child of our choice. All opinions within this post are my own - apart from where stated the tips from experts*

Monday, 24 October 2016

A free from halloween

Allergy parents won't be very interested in the idea of treat or treating - the idea of walking up to a strangers door and asking for sweets isn't something that I like the idea of anyway but the children love it don't they? And I think with a few people - neighbour who you know, there's no harm and it's just a bit of fun! Another terrifying thought as an allergy parent is a party - the party food! When you're an allergy mum or dad it becomes very difficult to include your child in the Halloween fun, so I thought I'd share a quick post about Isabelle's favourite treats including cakes, chocolates and sweets which you can find in the supermarket - making allergy life a little easier!

These suggestions are all free from the following - dairy, wheat, soya, nuts (
Although some may be a may contain - we're fine with those!)

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Supersize Thunderbird 3 - Review

Thunderbird 3
I remember last Christmas I was on a big hunt for as many Thunderbirds bargains I could find as Oliver had just become obsessed with it. The octonauts - his previous favourite got pushed to one side and it was all about Thunderbirds Are Go! Over the year he has got various thunderbird toys and now his collection looks complete (or is it?) thanks to an amazing bundle we were sent to review just in time for the new Thunderbirds Are Go series 2 which is on CITV and ITV this month! You know what I'll be watching from now on. He was sad when he realised that he could no longer watch the old series on itv catch up on our smart tv although he had watched it over and over on repeat, so he'll be delighted now there's going to be some new ones and I'm looking forward to peace and quiet whilst he is glued to the tv and then busy recreating scenes from the show using his new toys - totally ok parenting right?!

So one of our favs - Vivid have launched a new collection of Thunderbird toys (their toys are always fabulous and really good quality, fantastic designs and built to last children's clumsy hands. The new range is out just in time for the Christmas wish list, they're inspired by the series and offer fans the chance to recreate their on F.A.B adventures at home and this time there's even real smoke too! I didn't think it would look as cool as it does but it really does look cool.

Even if your child isn't a Thunderbirds fan, any little boy or girl who loves rockets will simply adore the Supersize Thunderbird 3 with it's brilliant features.

Oliver was so excited - you'll probably notice that most of the things we review are Isabelle related so this one feels really special for Oliver and he's already said he wants to do a vlog about it! He is taking it very seriously telling me step by step what the toys do and why they would make good Christmas presents bless him.

It was very easy to set Thunderbird 3 up following the easy to read instructions included within the box. There's a little section for some water (but don't worry, the designers have really thought about this with parents in mind too and it's not possible for the child to get the water out or try to fill it up as it's behind a screw.. meaning you can have a little control over the water!) They'll also be some stickers too which we haven't got around to doing yet in the photos as Oliver was so keen to start playing with it as soon as possible! And we wanted to share on here asap too just in time for the launch!

Oliver says this is one of the coolest toys he has ever had and I must say I agree with him! His little sister thinks it's pretty cool too.

It's fantastic to find toys that your children can really get into and create their own game, this is definitely one of those toys!

There is several different features of this toy - our favourite is definitely when you press the launch button for a few seconds and countdown begins to make smoke appear at the bottom just like a real rocket! It's amazing size too at 48.5cm long - they weren't lying when they said supersize!

If the rocket takes off correctly when the countdown has finished then it'll make blast off noises with 'smoke' following it but if not there will be an alarm which means a failed launch has happened! uh-oh... we did have a few of these before we mastered it! Especially little miss Isabelle. It's a great feature though because you want your children to learn to do something correctly - mistakes are ok and to give it another try! It also adds another element to the game because they need to retry.

These movable mini figures are also included and they have their very own seats inside the cockpit - making this mission even more realistic!

During the missions the rotating drill sounds whilst the extendable grasping arms can hold the rocket in place on any surface.

It requires 3xAAA batteries.

We would definitely suggest it for a Christmas present this year!

                                                                           Retails for £49.99

You can find out more about the Thunderbirds Are Go range here at the Vivid website -

Make sure you look out for our next Thunderbirds review coming soon!

*please note that we were sent these items for free for purpose of the review - all opinions are our own*

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

bath to bed with In The Night Garden

Since we moved and the children have been in the same room, bed time has been some what challenging so I knew something needed to change and we needed to get into more of a routine with both of them. I like the children to go to bed at 7pm, have a story together and Isabelle has her milk then walk out the door saying goodnight and they'll both go straight to sleep (YEAH RIGHT!) it never usually happens like that, Oliver is easy and he'll go straight to sleep after a cuddle where as his little sister will get up out of bed about 1000 times which can be so disruptive to Oliver, irritating for us as we want a little bit of an evening together as a couple and also to get blog posts done obviously as well as catching up on some tv that isn't In The Night Garden or another cbeebies show! Then a bundle from Golden Bear Toys arrived for us to review which I'm hoping is going to work wonders for our family now that the winter nights are approaching - do you realise it'll be Christmas soon?! These are fab Christmas present ideas. So tonight it worked perfectly and I'm really impressed with how cute the items are.

When they arrived Isabelle was super excited and we had to carry a few of them up to the school to 'fetch lala' as she would say (collect Oliver - for those of you who cannot understand the language of Isabelle).

A bath is not usually in our routine, I hear bath mentioned so much in peoples bedtime routine which makes me feel like this awful mum who just doesn't bother to enjoy this wonderful time with her children but that's not true because although I love bath time and think it's a great addition to a bedtime routine - my children both have sensitive skin and if they had a bath every day its much worse and appears dryer. They do love a bubble bath though and often share one full of Child's Farm bubbles. These two new In The Night Garden water toys were such a hit with both children! Isabelle loved them because they are upsy daisy and iggle piggle... Oliver loved that he could get his sister in the face with the water!

They're very well made and perfect size for a toddlers hand. Easy to use and stand up alone if you want to pop them on the side of the bath which also looks very cute. They cost £3.99 each and actually look just like the tv characters so your little one is bound to love them. Brightly coloured and very happy - whats not to love about them? Absolutely perfect stocking fillers for babies or toddlers who love baths or In The Night Garden.

The other two items we were sent included a Bedtime boat which is based on Iggle Piggle's iconic boat from the tv show, the bedtime boat has been designed to provide a soothing and gentle experience to help children aged 12 months and over get to sleep easily. Featuring a lightshow of colourful stars to help relax your child. It also can be used as a glowing occasional light and has adjustable volume control for the lullabies and 10 short themed stories featured on this boat. It also has a timer so you can decide what works best for your child. Because it features a nightlight - it's perfect if like mine, your children are not fans of the dark! We always need to have a light of some sort on in their room until they're asleep. We've tried lots of different night lights and this is definitely in my top 2 now - the other is one that's handheld which is useful for toilet trips in the night! It requires 3 x AA batteries. £24.99. Isabelle thinks this is lovely, she can use it herself as the buttons are very easy to 'read' for toddlers. she loves listening to stories and will press that button over and over - which is good because if shes staying in that bed then I am one happy mum!
The final toy in our parcel was a super cute Makka Pakka which is a soft cuddly toy featuring light up friends making a perfect bedtime comforter for your little ones, suitable for children aged 10 months and over. It has soothing sounds and a warm, glowing light up tummy which features iggle piggle and upsy daisy in different colours. Isabelle just adores this as it's perfect size for her to snuggle at bed time -it's approx. 25cm. It's really well made, and would make a fantastic gift for a baby this christmas. Also requires 3 x AA batteries. rrp £24.99
We are really impressed with these toys, they're definitely going to help us get more into a routine with our cheeky toddler! From bath to bed, the new range of In The Night Garden toys are a fab choice for Christmas presents.
*please note - we were sent these toys free our charge for the purpose of this review, all opinions are my own*

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Pulled elbow

Last Sunday I headed off to The National Wedding Show at Olympia and I left Michael with both children for the day, he planned a nice family day with the grandparents (his parents) for lunch at their house and then for a walk at college lake - Oliver's favourite place to go birdwatching ofcourse!

I had a lovely day at the show - I'll post about that soon but when we were finished I tried calling Michael - he didn't answer which I thought was a little weird considering he was meant to be picking me up from the station when I got back so I tried to call his mum instread - she answered and sounded a little shifty! Then there was a crying in the background, I assumed Isabelle was just over tired from all the walking but I was wrong. Michaels mum said that she had something to tell me, Isabelle had hurt her arm - they didn't know how bad so they thought it best to take her to hospital to check it out. WHAT? My first thought was my poor baby is hurt and my second was why did no one call me?! I would of left sooner.

Michael says he was swinging her with his dad, one arm each side - you know like all kids like to do, I often did it when I was little with my parents and never got hurt. she thought they were continuing - why wouldn't she? so she jumped up lifted herself off the ground, may have fallen a little (I'm a little confused and I wasnt there to watch it, by the sounds of it everything happened so quickly!) Michael caught all her weight by one arm and immediately she cried, hysterically screaming wouldn't move arm - wouldn't let you touch it, had it down by herself and continued like this until the doctor fixed the problem!

The nurse knew what was wrong with her almost instantly apparently. She had a pulled elbow which means a bone called the radius which sits within a ring of ligament had slipped out of the ring, in adults this fits snugly but as shes so little it can happen if the arm is pulled by swinging or lifting the child. Usually it doesnt happen after the age of 6 years as its then fitting snugly. The doctor had to move her arm to slip it back into place and after that she was fine straight away and stopped crying almost instantly!
And actually apparently it's fairly common... So be careful with your little ones arms.

Michael obviously feels awful, he was just trying to play with her like we both have with both children many times swinging them.

*yes now I am wrapping her up in cotton wool!*

Friday, 30 September 2016

Jakks Disney Tsum Tsum

Sometimes I think that by not having a tv package that we miss a lot of the new toys around as we don't see the tv adverts for them.. so when we were sent these little cute things Oliver was very intrigued to find out more about them and so was I!

I thought Isabelle would be a little too small to play with them but actually she's played with them loads and thinks they're great fun.

We were very kindly sent 2 packets of Disney Tsum Tsum's by Jakks Pacific, one was a 3 pack which retails at £4.99 and one was a 9 pack which retails at £14.99. This range is fantastic for any Disney fan as it features all your favourite characters... we were lucky enough to get ones including Elsa and Cinderella! As well as my old fav Dumbo.

They're very cute and stackable - I don't know anything about previous Tsum Tsums but I know these are vinyl and appear to be strong enough to cope with a toddlers heavy hand as they're a hard plastic

Both children have love playing with these, creating stories and enjoying imaginative play. They would make an ideal stocking filler for Christmas! Oliver likes to see how many he can stack ontop of each other before they tumble down.

Included in the pack is a collectors guide which you can use to keep on track of the ones you've collected so far.

We love that they come in different sizes and Isabelle thinks the smallest (the babies) are super cute! Each Disney character is collectable in each of the three sizes so there are plenty to collect.

To find out what we got in our mystery pack have a look at the video I've added below :)



*please note - we were sent these items for free in exchange for our honest review*