Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Bearing Up: What To Look For When Choosing a Teddy Bear For Your Infant

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The first teddy bears were made in the early 1900s. They were given the name ‘teddy’ after the US president of the time, Theodore Roosevelt, who was in office between 1901 and 1909 and despite much contempt was often referred to as ‘Teddy’. The first teddy bears were made by two toymakers – one German and one American – Richard Steiff and Morris Michtom and straight away became one of the most popular children’s toys ever. Teddies still haven’t lost their appeal either as they remain one of the most popular gifts for babies, children and even adults.

Teddy bears make a great gift for a new born baby as they engage their senses. The soft fur of a modern teddy is something that babies love and a teddy bear therefore makes a great gift for a baby’s birth as well as future birthdays and Christmases. Although people of all ages love teddies, if you’re considering purchasing one for a new baby there are a few things you should take into account.

Traditional or modern teddies?

Traditional bears, like Steiff’s classic teddy bears are harder, more rigid and have much coarser fur than a modern teddy. A traditional teddy generally has smaller eyes and a longer nose and limbs, which means that they’re usually collected and put on display rather than squeezed and cuddled like a modern bear. Traditional bears are not necessarily intended for children, although they make a great gift if you want to encourage the start of a collection. A modern bear, on the other hand, has much softer features and is generally a soft toy aimed at children. The fur of a modern teddy bear is usually exceptionally soft so babies love them because they’re warm and snuggly. You can buy bears for special occasions too – whether it’s a birth, birthday or Christmas you’ll be able to find a modern bear that’s fit for purpose.


When young children are around, safety is of the utmost importance, so it’s only natural to want to be sure that the product you’re giving to a child is totally safe. Although teddy bears can be extremely expensive and are aimed at adults just as much as they are at children, they are essentially still toys and therefore must comply with all toy safety standards.

If you buy a teddy for a child with a hard nose and eyes, as opposed to ones that are merely stitched on, then it’s important to make sure they’re attached securely because young children have a habit of pulling and chewing the harder elements of a soft toy. If your aim is to start a collection for the child and you therefore wish to buy them a collectable teddy, it’s essential to inform the parents so that they don’t give it to their child as a toy. It’s usually the tags on collectables which helps them to hold their value, which means that it’s essential for them to stay intact, so these bears should be put on show for when the child is older as opposed to being treated as a toy.


Although nowadays teddy bears are available in all manner of colours, traditionally they were only available in varying shades of brown. If you prefer the look of a traditional teddy but want to give the baby a gift that they will benefit from right away – a modern teddy for example – then there are plenty of modern brown teddies about.

Alternatively, there are plenty of occasion bears out there, so if you are buying a teddy for a little baby’s birth then there’ll be plenty to choose from when it comes to appropriate colour and personalisation.


A teddy bear is generally the gift of choice for young children because it’s something they can enjoy right away. They can play with them and snuggle up against their new, soft toy at night. Teddy bears are made from a number of different materials. For example, synthetic fabrics are generally used to make modern bears, whereas pile or mohair is used for traditional, collectible bears. Mohair is considered the best type of fur, but its coarse nature means that it’s not necessarily the best choice for a baby – you’re more likely to see a mohair bear in a collection. If you want something cute and soft for the new addition then a bear made using synthetic fibres is the best choice because, this is likely to be the softest teddy and therefore a baby’s favourite.

Whatever teddy you choose, the recipient is sure to love it from the day they’re born and for many years afterwards.

Baby Hamper Gift is a UK company specialising in baby gift baskets and hampers with a strong emphasis on high quality products.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

My Debenhams Dream Bedroom

When I saw the Debenhams Dream Bedroom competition on Mammasaurus and Love Chic Living I absolutely had to enter. When my browser shows me my most visited sites, Debenhams is always there. I'm on first name terms with the delivery driver, so a virtual spending spree was right up my street.

To enter this competition you need to create a mood board depicting your dream bedroom, up to a value of £5,000. I've never made a mood board before, but I've thoroughly my first attempt at interior design.

The Furniture

The Bedding and Accessories

Here's what I would buy with my £5,000.
Black nickel Olivia bedstead, king size, £468.00
Back care ultimate 2000 mattress, £536
White pack of four spiral fibre pillows, £30
Hungarian goose down duvet - 13.5 tog, £320
2 Designer black ball stand lamps at £55 each, £110
2 White 'Brighton' high gloss two drawer bedside chest at £180 each, £360
White 'Brighton' high gloss double wardrobe with mirror, £432
Black Clarence 9 Light Crystal Chandelier, £191.20
Light grey 'Butterflies' bedding set, £73
Taupe 'Miramar' chair with dark feet, £432
Taupe 'Miramar' bench with dark feet, £540
Designer black butterfly cameo cushion, £20
Designer lilac bird and butterfly print cushion, £22.40
Natural butterfly embroidered cushion, £22
Designer black striped butterfly cushion, £22.40
Silver large butterflies jewellery box, £17
White framed butterfly art, £30
Silver small butterfly jewellery box, £10
Clear and black glass vase, £58

I've added up my spend and it's coming out at only £3,694 -  for all that. 

What have I missed?



Ripple Amethyst Lined Eyelet Curtains, £119

Ah, that's better.

My new total spend is £3,813. Bargain.

Now, you'll have to excuse me, I have butterfly cushions to buy...


Monday, 7 October 2013

Ticket Ballot for the CBeebies Panto 2013

Join CBeebies presenters in Sheffield as they celebrate the excitement and anticipation of Christmas with plenty of music, dancing and a few CBeebies surprises!
Families in Sheffield have the chance to see their favourite CBeebies stars on stage in a brand new musical version of A Christmas Carol.
Many of the channel’s favourite faces will be appearing including Justin Fletcher (Gigglebiz / Justin's House / Something Special), Phil Gallagher (Mister Maker), Ben Faulks (Mr Bloom), Gemma Hunt (Swashbuckle) and Rebecca Keatley (Let's Play). They will also be joined on stage by some very special, top-secret guests.
The classic novel by Charles Dickens has been specially adapted for the CBeebies audience with the mean and miserly Ebenezer Scrooge needing a bit of CBeebies magic to help him learn to care for those around him and share in the joy of Christmas!
The performances will be filmed and the resulting programme will be broadcast as the centrepiece of this year’s CBeebies Christmas schedule.
Free tickets for A CBeebies Christmas Carol are released today (4th October 2013) through www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours and will be allocated via a ballot which is open for one week. Performances will take place on Friday 8th November and Saturday 9th November 2013 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
Outside The Crucible, Tudor Square will be transformed into a winter wonderland for families to enjoy. There will be a host of different activities, all created by BBC Learning to excite and inspire young audiences. No tickets are required for the events in Tudor Square and the activities will run daily from 10am.
CBeebies Controller Kay Benbow says: “We're delighted to bring so many of CBeebies favourite stars to Sheffield. We hope audiences in The Crucible will be caught up in the magic of the story. There are also fun-packed activities taking place in Tudor Square and we look forward to all the family coming along to take part.”

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Sandy's Big Night In

Wow, £750 to spend on a big night in - how awesome would that be?

I'd organise a CASINO night for friends and family.

I found Funcas online. They provide all of this, with prices starting at £420:
Delivery and Setup
Luxury Casino Tables
Up to Three Hours Playing Time
Professional Fun Croupiers in full uniforms tailored and made in Las Vegas
Free Acorns Fun Money
15 Years Experience
Full Public Liability Insurance
A Casino Experience with a Fun Twist
Personalised Fun Money – from £20 depending on number of guests. We professionally design your own fun money incorporating your company logo, photographs and any other details. We will forward you a sample proof of the note before printing. An added bonus is your guests will be able to keep them as a memento.

The personalised money sounds particularly brilliant.

Everyone would have to dress to impress. I would wear this dress from John Lewis and pretend I was a Bond Girl

We'd have plenty of money left to serve champagne all night and posh nibbles. I'd buy this cheese board hamper from John Lewis
 I would also set up my laptop on the sofa (the chill out zone) so that me and my guests could play Bingo, with Two Little Fleas, the sponsors of this competition.

This, my friends, would be the perfect night in.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

New survey reveals that over 83% of parents admit to bribing their kids

Parents are increasingly turning to bribery to help deal with the behaviour of their children, according to a recent survey by personalised children's chart website, KiddyCharts. But does this really mean that we are turning in a nation that's willing to give our kids chocolate just to keep them quiet?

The recent survey showed that 83.1% admitted to bribing their children with anything from extra time at the computer, to handing over sweets and chocolates.

But are we really bribing our children - or are we really just trying a little bit of positive encouragement?

Mum to two, Helen Neale, who owns www.kiddycharts.com which provides beautifully drawn personalised charts for children helping with everything from staying in their own beds to potty training, says:

"Sometimes parents can be confused as to whether they are offering a bribe or a reward to their kids. It really depends on when you provide that little incentive."

So perhaps this could explain why so many parents are resorting to what they feel is a bribe to help them with their child's behaviour?

Helen continues, "If you are in the middle of trying to manage your toddler who is having a tantrum in a supermarket, and you offer a sweet for them to calm down; then that's bribery. However, if you have given them something after they have behaved well, or they have achieved an agreed goal, that's a reward. It's the desperate placation of challenging behaviour that we should try to avoid if we can. Though I know myself how hard that can be."

Two-thirds (66.12%) of parents admitted to using sweets and chocolates to coerce their children. It's important that even though we might resort to this in extreme circumstances, we must try to remain resolute when dealing with those terrible twos.

Helen adds, "All parents have experienced those public tantrums when all we want is the world to swallow us up. But our children have long memories, and if we give in for a bit of peace and quiet now, that can spell a whole world of trouble in the future."

Dr Amanda Gummer, a child psychologist who works with The Good Toy Guide, says "Bribery and positive reinforcement are two sides of the same coin. The difference is that with positive reinforcement the aim is to help children learn the natural consequences of their actions. These can be positive and negative, but you get more of what you focus on so it's good to incentivise, notice and reward good behaviour."

She re-iterates Helen's warning too, "Occasional mild bribery is no bad thing and it helps children learn how the world works so they can be a bit more street wise and not succumb to actual bribery, but do it too often and you'll end up with a child who won't do anything you ask without asking what's in it for him/her."

To help parents with the increasing challenge of parenting in today's fast-paced world, Helen has developed a range of personalised children's reward charts at KiddyCharts retailing at £2.99 each for printables, and £4.95 for A4 and £8.95 for A3 charts. The company's charts are the only behaviour charts to feature in the Good Toy Guide. Uniquely, subscriptions are also available so parents and schools can use the charts as and when they are needed throughout the year without paying extra. For the largest subscriptions, per chart costs are as little as 50p each.

Aside from helping to stop the need for bribery, KiddyCharts products can help with other aspects of parenting including:
Care charts, that use images to help working parents show who looks after their children day to day
Progress charts, that allow children to move along a track to reach a pre-agreed goal, and can also be used a simple reward charts
5-a-day charts, to encourage children to get their five different fruit and veg in everyday.

All the charts allow photo personalisation where pictures can be placed as an integral part of the background; turning our children into pirates and princesses!
"Our personalisation is not just about dumping a photo into the background.  It's about involving the child in building the charts so they really feel they are part of the learning process and not just an afterthought. That way the charts are so much more likely to be a success in helping you help them."

More information on KiddyCharts can also be found at:
Website: kiddycharts.com
Twitter: @KiddyCharts
Google Plus: KiddyCharts
Pinterest: KiddyCharts

Disclosure: I have NOT been paid to post this infographic. I took part in the survey behind it and was interested in the results. Helen is a friend, and there is no commercial relationship between us.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Big Fun With Little Trains

Big Fun With Little Trains (16-24 February 2013) is fast approaching at the National Railway Museum in York.

You can enjoy nine days of toys, models and rides.This is in addition to the usual collection of locomotives, wagons and carriages.

We love the NRM, but sadly it's a little too far for us to get to now we have moved down South. If you can't make Big Fun With Little Trains, check out the website for all up-coming events.

Disclosure: The NRM always send a small gift with their press releases. This time it was a die-cast Chugger, much appreciated by my four year old.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Maternity Swishing Parties

Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure have teamed up with Tommy's baby charity and new mum Jenni Falconer to create a guide for maternity swishing parties.

If you would like to get together with friends and swap maternity and baby clothes you can download their guide, full of tips from maternity stylist, Alex Longmore.

Disclosure: I'm being sent some Persil Non-Bio as a thank you for writing this blog post.