Naked Skincare kids set winners announced!!

Two winners have been picked at random to recieve a whole set of Naked Kids shampoo sets! http://www.thefamilyexpress.com/2011/07/win-naked-for-kids-shampoo-set.html

Congratulations to……

Amy Cooper Pearson

and

Claireandtribe

Congratulations winners! Please email your delivery address to danielle@thefamilyexpress.com I wish I had enough to give you all a set, but don’t worry because I have a fabulous competition coming this week with 4 prizes!!

Lelli Kelly new school shoe range

We love Lelli Kelly shoes at The Family Express, and it’s not just my 6 year old daughter, but I do too! We have owned many pairs of Lelli Kelly shoes, and I can honestly say that they have lasted fantastically well!! I love the soft leather. They are breathable due to the leather inserts and are comfortable for little feet too.

You can read our previous post on Lelli Kelly and why every little girl loves them here:

http://www.blogbybaby.com/2011/06/lelli-kelly-shoesloved-by-little-girls.html

I thought I would share with you all the new school shoe range, as it is coming up to that time of the year again where we all go out hunting for school shoes that the children won’t mind wearing!
Jennifer Dolly Shoes
These come with interchangeable straps so you can create different style shoes! Brooke had this design last year and loved being able to put the sparkly straps on for parties! These come in either a patent, or leather version.

School Dolly Stars
These have the zig zag velcro strap. I love the star detail on these, and the straps keep little feet secure.

School Ballet Kelly
These are a ballet pump style which comes with three changeable straps to create different looks.

You can buy Lelli Kelly shoes online at www.shoes.co.uk, where you can see the whole range and more! There is a video to watch too! They offer free postage and free returns too, which is great for home shopping! http://www.shoes.co.uk/kids/lelli-kelly/

10.37am and already I am in floods of tears…

I have just driven home from town in tears. Jordan decided to kick off in phone4u while I was upgrading my phone. I thought I had done everything right, I had warned him where we were going, I let him take his toy car in his pocket, and I went to to WHSmith before hand to buy him some stickers for his sticker book that he could have after the phone shop. Both Jordan and Brooke were told that we would take a trip to the cake shop too.

So there I was in phones4u, and Jordan kicks off. No trigger identified, which makes bringing it down that bit harder. I do the usual ‘be good come sit with me, look what I have’ distraction technique, to which he gets worse and worse. I end having to carry him out of the phone shop, kicking and screaming, because he now hates the world and wants to ‘blow it up’.
I sit him down on a bench and he tries to run off, so I grab his arm and try to make it look like I can control the very strong 8 years and 9 months old boy in front of me. He then tried to bash his head on the wall, and I have to restrain him. At this point, there is no turning back. It has blown up to the point where nothing will bring him back round.A man comes over and tells me my restraining techniques are awesome and asks if I do self defence.
So I head back to the car restraining Jordan, or at least trying to. While I rummage around in my handbag to find my car key, Jordan sees a break for freedom to hurt himself. He chucks himself in the road, which results in me dropping my hand bag spilling the contents everywhere.
I struggle to pick him up from the concrete floor where he is desperately to inflict himself with any pain he can, I manage to get him off the road and he smacks me full on in the face, but the look of shock on his face of what he has just done stops him for a split second and it gives me the chance to open the car door and get him inside.
All this time, my 6 year old daughter Brooke is just following me, thinking that this is the most natural thing in the world.
I get in the car and drive off, knowing the motion of the car will calm him down. Then the tears start to stream down my face. But why am I crying?? Is it because i know my 8 year old is getting bigger and stronger and there is going to come a day real soon where I can’t restrain him, or is because I feel like a failure of a mum for not realising the kick off before it happened and didn’t diffuse it as well as I could of? Probably both to be honest. Maybe its because I know he doesn’t mean it, and that inside he is the most loveable boy that just can’t deal with things very well. Either way, I am now in tears again and Jordan is now looking at me with sadness in his eyes saying he is ‘sorry in his head’

How LEGO has helped my 8 year old Autistic son

My 8 year old son Jordan is mad about LEGO. Jordan suffers from autism and adhd which causes him to have a very low attention span, but over the years we have found it has helped his concentration massively, and he can now sit and complete whole LEGO sets in one go, following the instructions.

Jordan also suffers from hypermobility, meaning that his joints don’t have any resistance in them. He undertakes physiotherapy to help him gain control of his fine motor skills, and one of the things that has helped him is, you guessed it, LEGO! The pushing needed to connect the pieces of LEGO help strengthen up his lax ligaments. The benefit of this therapy is that with increased control of his fingers and wrists, Jordan will be able to hold and control a pen, something which he cannot do very well at the moment.

The lovely people at LEGO sent Jordan some sets to try out, and he was delighted to see one of them was the new Star Wars Imperial V-Wing Starfighter.

Just like the film, this set includes the Imperial Pilot who has a gun, and R2-Q2 figures! This set includes 139 pieces.

Jordan followed the instructions booklet perfectly, having autism means that he has to do everything just right, nothing can be out of place.


Jordan loved putting this together, and needed only help with adding the stickers onto the right places, to make sure they were just right.
Here is the finished model!

It has rotating wings with manoeuvring parts so you can use it for flying and landing modes, creating a very realistic model that provides hours of fun! The windsheild opens up to allow you to put the pilot in and out. You act out lots of scenes out of the Star Wars films, providing hours of fun.

Jordan loves this LEGO figure and it has become one of his favourites! This would delight any Star Wars fan, or even anyone who likes planes!

You can buy this LEGO Star Wars Imperial V-Wing Starfighter #7915 from the LEGO SHOP http://shop.lego.com/en-GB/ for £21.99. Also available from all leading toy shops.

You can find out more about LEGO online at http://www.lego.com/en-gb/default.aspx

Cake & Jelly new online shop

If you haven’t seen the media surrounding the new Cake & Jelly online boutique, then you’re in for a treat!

They have a range of what looks to be gorgeous detailed items that are all handmade! We can’t wait to see first hand the fantastic quality of the items.
We love the look of this bunting! The gorgeous colours really compliment each other.
The range currently includes t-shirts, tote bags, personalised and non personalised bunting, cushions and beanbags. Each on is individually made and they look fantastic!
You can check out the whole range currently available at http://cakenjelly.co.uk/
Follow Cake & Jelly on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cakenjelly

Fun in the Summer Holidays: PlayMais


Here is another idea for all you parents looking for something to keep the kiddies amused this summer holiday!

PlayMais is pieces of different coloured blocks which are 100% biodegradable. They are made from 100% natural ingredients, a mix of sweetcorn and plant dyes that you use to have hours of fun.
PlayMais sent us two sets to try out from the PlayMais world range.
Jordan, my 8 year old son got the Jungle set.

And Brooke, my 6 year old daughter got sent the Deco set.
Both Jordan and Brooke were super keen to get started, there is fantastic inspiring pictures of possible creations on the box, and the kids were full of chat about what they would make first.

I was pleased to see that even the packaging of PlayMais was Bio-degradable, and even the knife which comes inside both sets is also Bio-degradable!
Opening up the box of Jordan’s PlayMais we were greeted with it full to the brim of bright colourful peices! There was some templates for designs of animals and even a background to assemble to display your creations!
So how do you use PlayMais? A little piece of material comes with the set and you simply wet it under a tap, then squeeze all the water out, leaving it damp. You then gently dab the PlayMais onto the damp material and attach it to what you want to. The pieces can be stuck to each other, to card, to paper, and even glass.
We decided to create the crocodile first!

Jordan then felt inspired to make his own creation of a snake! and then we created a lion!

PlayMais can be cut up to give the little pieces even more possibilities! Here is Jordan’s Jungle set so far!

Brooke opened the Deco box to find it full to the brim of lovely girly coloured pieces! This box also had templates inside and Brooke wanted to make the bag that was featured on the front of the box. I assembled the bag for her, which was straight forward, and she set to work decorating it with all the pretty colours!!


She loved all the girly colours and found it really simple to do. The pieces stuck to the card really well.

We have created quite a few different creations out of our PlayMais boxes, and there is still masses of peices left in there, this an activity that will last ages, and time and time again! Parents will love this just as much as children, me and my hubby found ourselves sat there long after the kids had gone to bed creating things!
One last great thing about PlayMais is that because of the ingredients used to make it, it is completely safe should it get eaten! My 17 month old son, Mark found his sisters box of PlayMais left open and decided it looked like fun to empty it and then proceed to play with them! I wasn’t concerned because I knew that they were completely safe and posed no risk to him.

Both the Jungle and the Deco set retail at £16.99, which is a fantastic price for something that will last for so long!
You can check out the whole range of PlayMais and more information about them on their website www.topbananatoys.co.uk/PlayMais

Pop across and like PlayMais on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/PlayMais-UK/197413976964441

John Crane High Tea shape matching set review and competition!


I was delighted to get the chance to review the John Crane High Tea shape matching set, having previously seen sneak previews from being a fan of the John Crane Toys Facebook page I was in awe, its everything I love, wooden, pink, cute and involving cake!

I saw it just a few weeks ago in the flesh at a press event and it looked even more gorgeous in real life than the picture suggested. I knew instantly that my daughter Brooke would love it.

I was expecting a large box to arrive for the set, but was surprised to see John Crane has cleverly devised a packaging system that keeps it compact, yet protected without over usage of packaging materials.

I opened it up and was excited to see all 15 little cakes all lined up in individual holes (yes, I am very easily pleased!!
The assembly instructions were straight forward, and it took literally a minute to put it together.


It was then ready for play time!



Each of the 15 individual cakes is a different shape and design meaning that your child has to use their hand/eye coordination and shape recognition to match up and put the cakes in their ‘right place’. But the learning benefits don’t stop there! they also have numbers underneath each one allowing for children to match up the numbers as well, which is great for developing number recognition and number formation! The great thing is, it is so cute and so much fun, children don’t even realise they are learning!



I am a massive believer that children learn through play the best and the next great thing about the High Tea shape matching set is that it encourages role play! Role play is vital for children’s development and in my opinion, shouldn’t be underestimated. They learn to use their imagination and creativity skills and it boosts their social development. Brooke loved acting out a tea party scenario with the set and invited all of her favourite toys to join her for cake! She even invited me to join in, which was lots of fun-there is nothing better than the taste of pretend cake!!

The John Crane High Tea shape matching set is adorable. It is a top quality wooden toy and the detail that has gone into this is clear to see, each little cake is crafted with such beautiful colours, designs and finishing touches.

This has quickly become a favourite of Brookes!

The John Crane Tidlo High Tea shape matching set is available from all good toy stores including Dillon’s ToyBox for just £23.95! http://www.dillonstoybox.com/john-crane-tidlo-high-tea-set-825-p.asp

You can check out more great creations from John Crane on their website www.john-crane.co.uk and check out their very own blog at www.thejohncraneblog.co.uk
John Crane have given us a High Tea shape matching set to give away to a lucky ‘The Family Express’ reader!
To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is pop over to the John Crane Facebook page which can be found at http://www.facebook.com/johncranetoys and add them as a friend.

Then simply leave me a comment below stating you have done so! It’s as simple as that!!

For a bonus entry you can do the following for an extra entry for each completed step…

-Write on the John Crane Facebook page ‘‘I would love to win a High Tea shape matching set from ‘The Family Express‘ (once they have accepted your friend request)
-Follow @johncraneblog on twitter and tweet the following

‘#win a High Tea Shape matching set with @johncraneblog and @danielleGparker http://t.co/LKIyArE ‘

You must make sure you copy the URL in too for it to count.

-Follow me on Google Friend Connect.

-Like our page ‘The Family Express‘ and share our competition with your friends tagging us in!

Then simply pop it in a comment on here so I count the extra entries!

This competition is open to UK residents only. The closing date is midnight 7th August 2011. Winner will be announced on the 8th August 2011.

Good luck!

Fun in the Summer Holidays: Yummy Dough!


I was very excited to try out Yummy Dough with Jordan (8) and Brooke (6).
They adore modelling dough and will happily spend hours creating amazing masterpieces for us then have to mash up and put back in the pot when its time to pack up. With Yummy Dough though, you bake your creations and can then eat them!!

The bucket of Yummy Dough that was sent through to us had funky pictures of possible creations on it that fired up the kids imaginations before I had even opened it!!
Yummy Dough comes with 4 packets of dried mix that each create a different colour, a synringe, and a cutting knife. You can also use the bucket it comes in to mix your yummy dough.


Creating Yummy Dough is simple, all you have to do is pour the powder mix into a bowl and then add 15ml of water.

This has to be exact to create the perfect dough, hence why they include a syringe to make sure its accurate. Perfect for people like me who are clumsy and can ruin the simplest of recipes!!

You then stir the mixture until it looks like a crumble mix, then get your hands in and get kneading! The first colour I done I kneaded myself, but feeling confident with the second, I let Jordan and Brooke have a go too.

It is then ready to mould! Jordan and Brooke loved creating their masterpieces and sat there for a good hour moulding and kneading, before popping them onto a baking tray (covered in baking paper) for me to pop in the oven. This time we only used two colours for our trial run, but you can mix the colours to create new exciting ones.

As Yummy Dough is completely edible, it doesnt matter if they had a sneaky taste before it was cooked, although I didn’t emphasise this to them as the last thing I want is them doing it with normal modelling dough!! (try explaining to an 8 year with autism that he can eat some modelling dough but not others, it would be a disaster) But it was great reassurance for me that nothing is toxic as they did drops pieces on the floor that my 16 month old was fascinated in tasting!!!


I popped the kids creations into the oven and baked them for 10 minutes. I was not expecting the delicious smell of biscuits to flow through my house!! They smell gorgeous, so much so, that I left them in a few minutes longer and they did go a little bit hard! I was reassured by the leaflet that stated if served with a glass of milk they would be perfect.

Jordan was keen to try eating his creations now that they were cooked and tucked into all of them!! He said they were delicious!

Yummy Dough is a fantastic and creative alternative to normal modelling dough. It has the big attraction of children being able to eat their creations. It is the perfect activity to keep kiddies of all ages amused in the school holidays. We love Yummy Dough!!

Yummy Dough is a creation by MAP Toys, you can check out their website at
www.yummydough.com and purchase from all good toy retailers such as Smyths, Hawkins Bazaar, and PrezzyBox. Visit MAPToys website www.mapstoys.com for a list of stockists. They have a RRP of just £7.95-£9.99, it’s a total bargain!

Mr Popper’s Penguins released 5th August 2011


This morning I made the exciting trip of taking my 8 and 6 year old to London for a preview screening of Mr Popper’s Penguins at the Empire cinema in Leicester Square!

We were told to arrive at 9.45am for breakfast and fun in the foyer. They had laid on people face painting penguins onto arms and faces, balloon shapersa making balloon penguins, there was a vast selection of goodies to eat and drink, and there was even the chance to have your photo taken and put into a scene, as you can see above!!

About an hour later we were called to take our seats ready for the screening, by this stage Brooke had a super detailed and sparkly penguin painted onto her arm, and both her and jordan had balloon penguins and I had some gorgeous pictures of us all.The film started with some previews of more films coming out later this year, including new Glee, and much to my childrens delight, a new Alvin and the Chipmunks film, Chipwrecked!


Now I won’t lie, I am by no means a professional film critic but I thought you might like to hear my view of the film, and the kids views too!

Mr Popper’s Penguins is based around Mr Popper who is played by the very funny Jim Carrey.

The opening scenes are of Mr Popper as a child speaking to his absent explorer father through a cb radio, the strong bond they have is clear. His father sends home souvieners from his travels. It then switches to the present time with Mr Popper, who is now a hot shot property buyer who will use any means to purchase properties to knock down and build new buildings. Mr Popper is a father of 2 who is divorced, he lives in a posh apartment.

A package arrives for Mr Popper from his now deseased father, he cracks open the crate to find a frozen penguin, which Mr Popper assumes is stuffed…..he turns around and as slowly defrosts behind his back. Mr Popper repulsed by the gift, puts the penguin inside the bath tub and fills it with ice and toddles off to work completely unaware of what damage a penguin can do when left alone! Trying to send back the penguin another crate arrives, this time however, it contains 5 more penguins!! The film follows the story of the bond between Mr Popper and his own children, and shows how the penguins really bring them together, and even rekindles the relationship with the ex-wife. At the same time he still has to do his job of trying to become a partner in the company he has so worked so hard in.

This is a hilarious film that had us all laughing like loons. It has a great plot following Mr Popper’s job and relationship, that adults will love. It left me feeling really happy and in total awe that sometimes you need to remember what is really important in life. The animation of the penguins are amazing and at one point I was left wondering if they were actually real!!! The children adored the penguin scenes, especially when they poo!!
This is rated a PG certificate and in my opinion it is totally suitable for children to watch,I can’t find anything in it that I wouldn’t want my children watching. But I would say that young children wouldn’t understand the plot very well, they would enjoy the penguin scenes but I couldn’t see it engaging very young children for long period of time. This is a perfect film for children ages 6+ that is perfect for watching together, as both adults and children will love it.

This was a fabulous film that I simply cannot wait to see again.

Mr Popper’s Penguins is released in cinemas nationwide on 5th August 2011.