And That’s a Wrap 2016

Well my lovely readers and followers, it is time to bid you all Adieu for 2016. It’s been a busy year and one which has seen my lovely little blog blossom and grow. I have a lot to be thankful for and hope that the momentum that has happened, particularly in the last 6 months, continues in 2017.

We’ve had lots of opportunities come our way from products to review to days out, and we as a family are eternally grateful for them. I know how lucky we are to receive items and days out and therefore I always to try to do my best with them. I hope I’ve done the brands proud and that they are still willing to work with us next year. Either way I should say a big thank you to them all for the opportunities and campaigns they’ve brought our way.

But now that the Christmas holidays are upon us and I’m finished work for 2016, BattleKid is done in nursery until January, and BattleDad is just about finished too, it’s time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and we hope you have a lovely New Year.

I am signing off the blog until January and taking a well deserved break. The weeks in the run up to Christmas have been hectic and so it’s time to relax and enjoy some family time together. Don’t worry, there will still be my daily #project366 pictures on Instagram which will post to Facebook and Twitter. I’m sure I’ll still be Snapchatting intermittently too, so I won’t be completely AFK from social media.

We are taking a break from the house too and are off to a sunnier climate so I’ll be bullet pointing our days for the Holiday Diaries, which will come in January. I’ll be keeping up to date with my Tribe on Facebook and Instagram so won’t be totally out of touch. As for blog posts, they’ll start again in January.

I should also warn those of you who follow me on Instagram that I don’t intend to carry on with the Project 365 next year. I’ve done two years of it and feel that is enough. I’ll still be posting regularly but plan to take more time and care over my pictures so expect some changes there. Other than that I am hoping to continue with the My Sunday Photo run by Darren of Photalife as I’ve really enjoyed taking part this year and it ensures I get at least one post published a week.

I’ll be publishing posts as often as I can but no doubt there will be highs and lows in their frequency as there has been this year! Writers block hits the best of us, as does losing your mojo but we eventually get over it and get back to the keyboards.

There will of course be reviews, days out and some things from this year I still need to catch up on. And there will no doubt be more Holiday Diaries. Stay tuned for them next year as one is going to be a big one!

All that is left for me to say is a heartfelt thank you to you all for your support, following, comments and friendship over the last year. We really do hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope to see you back in 2017!

Seasons Greetings from the Battle Family x

My Top 7 Favourite Christmas Songs

When Christmas is drawing near, radio and TV start playing Christmas songs and there are a few which are my firm favourites. While I don’t mind listening to Christmas songs in general, it must only be in the month of December and preferably one of my top 7 favourites below.christmas-songs

Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea. It must be his version and not the Michael Ball one. Christmas doesn’t really start for me until I hear that song on the radio of my car during December. It’s a thing in our family started by my Mum a few years ago and every one of us girls (there are 3/4 of us who drive) agree it’s not Christmas until we hear it in the car during December.

Fairytale of New York – The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacCall. This one of those classic ultimate pop Christmas songs and it actually makes me feel a bit emotional every time I hear it. Maybe it’s because The Pogues are Irish and that makes me think of home, I don’t know.

All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey. For me this is the ultimate feel-good Christmas song. And interesting fact I hear on the radio recently, Mariah makes over 400k on average from royalties of this song each year. That’s crazy! Money for doing nothing. It just goes to show what a popular song it is!

Do They Know it’s Christmas? – Band Aid. Another classic song that I’ve already heard on the radio, it has to make everyone’s top Christmas songs list!

Merry Christmas Everyone – Slade. Another of my favourite Christmas songs, I particularly love the “It’s Chrrriiiiiissssstmmmaaaaassss” part of the song.

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee. Tell me this song doesn’t make you immediately think of Home Alone when you hear it! A great song for a brilliant Christmas movie, the two will forever be associated with the other for me. I can’t wait until BattleKid is old enough to enjoy Home Alone!

White Christmas – Bing Crosby/Michael Bublé. Whether it is Bing featured on Home Alone or suave Michael Bublé, this is one of those classic Christmas songs that you can’t help but sing along to when you hear it. And Michael’s Christmas album is played loud and proud in the week leading up to Christmas, both in my car and at home.

So there you have it, my top 7 favourite Christmas songs of all time. Are any of these in your top 7?

Cath x

Trapper Hat from Rockin Baby and Matching Gloves

We were kindly sent a Trapper hat from Rockin Baby and matching gloves for review recently. I was quite excited as I first came across Rockin Baby at the BlogOn MSI conference I attended in September and was very interested to hear their ethos. trapper hat from rockin baby

Rockin Baby was founded in America in 2002 and was taken over in 2011, whereupon their Mantra became

You buy, we give.

For every sling and piece of children’s clothing that is bought from Rockin Baby, they donate the same to mothers and children around the world, child-to-child, mother-to-mother, who need it via their partnership with well organised, non-profit organisation such as ChildFund. Slings are their core product but their expanding baby and children’s wear ranges are fashionable, colourful and desirable to fashion-savvy parents and their children. For every item people such as you or I buy, they donate a sling, carrier or item of clothing to needy children around the world. This is amazing and they are the only company who do this, as far as I am aware. What a wonderful thing to do!trapper hat from rockin baby

Rockin Baby slings and pouches are made in America and pass rigorous safety tests in both the US and Europe. Their clothing range includes knitwear, outerwear, nightwear and accessories, as well as tops and bottoms. We were kindly sent one a Brown Trapper Hat from Rockin Baby and matching gloves to road test with BattleKid.trapper hat from rockin baby

Anyone who knows BattleKid knows that he is a hat man. From his Curious George hat, to his Aviator hat to his Nans Knits hats, he loves wearing hats. So much so that the girls in nursery often have a hard time of it taking it off him during the day. He often comes out with a sweaty head from wearing his hat throughout the day! So we were extremely delighted to get the opportunity to review another one to add to his collection.

The Trapper hat from Rockin Baby and matching gloves are a lovely burnt orange colour with brown stripes. The hat is a trapper style as the name suggests and the hat is fleece lined inside and has a fur trim too. It’s really cosy and warm and the colour is fantastic.trapper hat from rockin baby

However, despite receiving an age 3-6 years, BattleKid’s head was too big for it. The hat fit at the front and went over his ears no problem but was riding up the back of his head. Now I do have trouble with the sizes of hats for BattleKid as he has a big head and generally only buy hats when I have him with me to try them on. I’ve recently bought him a hat from another retailer and had to get an age 5-6 despite him not turning three for another week! So I was a little disappointed that it didn’t fit him properly but certainly didn’t think he needed a size 7-10 years!trapper hat from rockin baby trapper hat from rockin baby trapper hat from rockin baby

That said the hat is a great style, one that suits him and was really warm and cosy. He wore it to see Santa recently and wasn’t cold at all with the trapper hat from Rockin Baby on.

The matching gloves we received in a size age 3-6 years are big on him so will last him the next few winters which I’m delighted with. He is still getting the hang of putting his fingers in one finger, as all young children do, but the colours are fantastic and the gloves will keep his hands nice and warm outdoors.

What I love about the Trapper Hat from Rockin Baby and matching gloves:

  • Extremely warm and cosy.
  • Great colours.
  • The Trapper hat is fleece lined and with a fur trim.
  • Quality of products feels great.
  • Very stylish.
  • This style of hat suits BattleKid down to the ground, if I do say so myself.
  • Gloves are generously sized and will last BattleKid for a few winters to come.
  • Value-for-money with the hat priced at £14.00 and the gloves at £10.00 considering that for every item you buy Rockin Baby donates one as well.
  • Rockin Baby have a wonderful ethos and mantra, you buy we buy.

What I didn’t like about the Trapper Hat from Rockin Baby and matching gloves:

  • The hat didn’t fit BattleKid but that may simply be down to the fact he has a big head and I find hats hard to buy in ‘his’ size.

Overall I was happy with the colours and quality of the trapper hat from Rockin Baby and matching gloves. However, as I’ve mentioned the hat was too small for BattleKid, despite us receiving an age 3-6 year’s size. I would say that if you are considering buying a hat for your little ones from Rockin Baby and their heads are larger than usual sizes, order a big one which will last. Would I recommend Rockin Baby for clothing and accessories such as hats and gloves? Without a doubt. Their clothing are not only stylish and fashionable but reasonably priced considering their “You buy, we give” mantra.

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

*We were kindly sent the trapper hat from Rockin Baby and matching gloves for review. However, as always, these are our own honest thoughts and opinions of the products.

Childrens Bedding from Character World

We’ve been thinking of updating BattleKid’s bedroom as he approaches 3, so when we got the chance to receive some childrens bedding from Character World for review I jumped at the chance and knew exactly which character we’d like to receive.childrens bedding from character world

BattleKid’s bedroom has very much been a place for sleeping and only sleeping. He very rarely ‘plays’ in his room and we’ve kept it this way since he was little. He has a few toys in there but they are more for distraction while getting dressed in the morning or while getting ready for bed. He doesn’t play in his bedroom during the day and we like it that way. It keeps it as a room for sleeping in and quiet times. However, that said we still want it to be a room he likes to go to, for obvious reasons.

When BattleKid turned 2 at the start of this year we decided to update his room from a nursery to a toddler’s room. It had been a traditional kind of nursery with the Next Cheeky Monkey theme running throughout. But after we had his Curious George themed birthday party we decided to convert his baby nursery to a toddler room using Curious George as the feature.

Now that he’s getting a bit older we’re thinking it’s time for a change again. We had to stop him watching too much Curious George as he was starting to respond to us in monkey noises rather than speech, and while he still likes George, he now enjoys watching Thomas the Tank Engine in the evenings before dinner. With that in mind I asked if we could receive Thomas the Tank Engine childrens bedding from Character World and we were pleasantly surprised when we received a junior bed set, a fleece blanket and a towel poncho.childrens bedding from character world

Character World started in 1998 with the aim of being the number 1 licensed textile manufacturer in the UK and they are, both in the UK, and now Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Character World provide the best bedding textiles for all major entertainment companies from TV, movie, gaming and music. Their collections include characters from things such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Frozen, Star Wars, Peppa Pig, Marvel Heroes and many, many more. Their huge range includes bedding, cushions, blankets, towelling, curtains, rugs and beanbags.

The first item to be reviewed was the Junior childrens bedding from Character World. BattleKid’s cot was a cot bed so Junior bedding fits it perfectly. I sneaked into his room before collecting him from nursery one evening to change his bed. childrens bedding from character world childrens bedding from character worldThe first thing that struck me about the set we were sent was how vibrant the colours are. Now, I haven’t washed this set yet, so I am hoping the colours don’t fade but I will update you all if they do. I doubt it though. The actual Thomas the Tank Engine design is lovely and a certain little boy was only thrilled to see him on his bed that night.

Oh mama, it’s Thomas. What he doing on my bed?

He was more than happy to jump into bed that night under Thomas, and he slept really well, with no problem. I’ll be honest and say I was a bit apprehensive as we’ve been using a bedding set that has zips up the side to ensure his duvet doesn’t slip down off him but we had no problems that night or any since. He likes to move outside his duvet and it seems this non-zip version doesn’t cause him any problems. Perhaps he now finds it easier getting the duvet back on him during the night if necessary. So our Junior childrens bedding from Character World has gone down a storm with BattleKid.childrens bedding from character world

The next thing we used and loved was the Thomas the Tank Engine fleece blanket. I gave this to BattleKid after swimming one Sunday afternoon and he was toasty and warm under it while watching the Jungle Book film. He doesn’t nap in the afternoons anymore but he was close on this occasion under his new Thomas fleece blanket. Again it was a case of “oh mama, Thomas”. This blanket is really warm, despite appearing thin on first glance and the colours and design again are colourful and beautiful too.

Last but not least we’ve used the Thomas the Tank Engine towel poncho after swimming and showers at home. I haven’t taken pictures after swimming as our changing room is on the small side and I don’t want to include pictures of other children without their parent’s permission. So I’ve stuck to a few pictures at home.childrens bedding from character world childrens bedding from character world

Once again I had a very happy Thomas the Tank Engine fan who was only more than happy to get out of the shower when I showed him this. BattleKid often kicks up a fuss about getting out of the shower (bet he changes his tune when he gets older) and it can be a struggle to get him out but not when I produced this Thomas towel poncho. Out he came with a grin as I put it over his head! And on several occasions he has asked for his Thomas towel after showers but it is washed and ready to take on our forthcoming holiday to the Canaries!

What we love about the childrens bedding from Character World:

  • A huge range of characters to choose from.
  • Vibrant colours on our Thomas the Tank Engine bedding, blanket and towel.
  • Designs are lovely and will definitely appeal to young fans.
  • Lots of items to update your child’s bedroom with from bedding to cushions to rugs.
  • Value for money and available through a number of retailers including Argos, Mothercare and Amazon with prices typically ranging from £15-25 depending on the retailer and product.

What we didn’t like about the childrens bedding from Character World:

  • Nothing. Although I would have loved to have seen Curious George in their range when we were searching for things to update BattleKid’s bedroom earlier this year.

Overall, both we and BattleKid are thrilled with the items we received for review from Character World. So much so that we are intending to update his room after his birthday in January to a Thomas the Tank Engine theme to carry on from what we’ve received. I have already ordered a rug (Character World one), lamp shade and wall decals to use during the update so stay tuned for that post in January.

All that is left to say is that we are very happy with the bedding and towel we received from Character World. So if your little one is a big fan of a particular character make sure you check out the huge range of childrens bedding from Character World!

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

*We received a junior bedding set, fleece blanket and towel poncho in Thomas the tank Engine from Character World for the purpose of this review. However, as always, the opinions of the items expressed in this review are wholly mine.