Shopping

Get £5 to spend at borntobeyoung.com!

Sausage is getting to an age now where clothes and fashion are of upmost importance. She loves nothing more than shopping for a new outfit and is never happier than when she’s allowed to choose her own clothes at the beginning of the day. In fact, fashion has seeped into other areas of her life too; she has her own laptop and can often be found playing various ‘dress-up’ games that she finds online, and is always asking me to tie or button something she’s dressed her dollies in.

She’s recently started taking an interest in Mummy’s work, and when I get the chance to do anything fashion related, she’s almost as enthusiastic as when she gets toys to review, so being asked to write about a new kids fashion site seems very appropriate for us at the moment!

Sometimes, being a blogger means that we get cool opportunities to have a sneak peek at new and exciting things, and today I’m able to pass that opportunity on to Mum’s the Word’s readers. The lovely people over at Born to be Young, the newest online retailer of kids clothing, is offering all lucky Mum’s the Word readers £5 to spend on their site, with no minimum spend, just because they’re feeling generous! Here’s what they told me about the site:

We are building something completely new in the children’s e-commerce sector as with Born to be Young mums (and dads ) can:

– save and endorse products they like through the lollipop button (when someone clicks on the lollipop, the product gets more “credit” and is saved in the mum’s profile)

– create a profile : see example here: https://www.borntobeyoung.com/profile/1

–  follow (designers and peers) and get followed

They’ve got some absolutely stunning outfits for girls and boys, plus a whole bunch of baby items, gifts, toys, decorations and so much more. Here’s a few of our favourites:

Born to be Young

There’s lots more to come on the site before its official launch but there’s items still plenty to see between now and then, and what’s already there gives you a really great example of the quality of the items that Born to be Young will offer.

To take advantage of this offer, all you have to do is head over to Born to be Young, register on the site and they’ll send you a code to the value of £5 for you to spend on anything you want on the site. Their kids clothes are absolutely to-die-for, but I’ve also got my eye on a few of their gorgeous ornaments, for when we move next month, too.

Once you’ve been over there for a look, do come back and tell me  what you thought of the site and what you bought (or are planning to buy!). I’d love to know what you all thought.

Happy shopping, dear readers!

Review · Technology

Seagate Expansion Review

Review by Tony Crammond

We’re a completely digital family. We don’t do tangible incarnations of media at all and we love the freedom and space that goes along with it. On the road and want to watch a movie, sign in to BitTorrent Sync, wait a few short minutes and away you go – it really is the only way to fly. Naturally though, we use a lot of disk space, so when Tesco Compare home insurance asked us if we wanted to try out Seagate 3TB Expansion Drive, we jumped at the chance.

When we opened the box the first impressions were good. It’s a fairly small, unassuming little package with no gaudy, eye-catching decals or unnecessarily ugly ‘features’ like superfluous knobs or disco lights. It’s compact, black and well vented, which means there shouldn’t be any temperature related shenanigans. This was a plus one for Seagate, right off the bat.

Seagate Expansion 3TB
Domo Kun Not Included!

Setting up the Expansion was a breeze. It was a case of sliding the correct plug adapter on to the plug and jamming both ends of the included USB 3.0 cable in. There’s no software to install or settings to fiddle around with. We have no qualms in saying that literally anyone could pick one of these up and have it up and running in no time with no outside assistance.

Now, aesthetics and ease of use are one thing, but we don’t buy removable storage for its looks or how easy it is to set up, do we? No, we buy it so that we can have somewhere secure to store all of our important media, be they back-ups for work, family photos or your entire HD iTunes movie collection, and in this capacity the Expansion was exemplary. Once you’ve plugged it in to your PC or laptop, you’ll notice a new drive appear in your ‘My Computer’ screen and you can dive right in, adding files to the drive.

The Expansion is fast, thanks to its USB 3.0 credentials, but USB 3.0 isn’t a necessity. You can go ahead and jam it in to your USB 2.0 port just as easily and while you won’t get the same nippy transfer speeds, you’ll still get solid performance. In our test run (using USB 3.0) we were able to copy a 1.2GB movie file from our home drive, which is a Samsung SSD, to the Expansion in about 10-11 seconds, which is more than fast enough for our everyday needs, and made moving a large portion of our media collection a painless affair.

The drive has so far excelled in stability too, with no drop-outs or outages in over 2 weeks of continuous use. Temperature hasn’t been an issue for us either, despite us having to keep our home at a balmy 22 degrees constantly to appease our new baby (who we think might be part lizard – but that’s another story, for another day).

So, overall we would like to give the Seagate Expansion (3TB) a huge thumbs-up. Its simple, effective approach to expanding home or office storage was a breath of fresh air and with an RRP of about £78 we can’t think of another device which we would choose above it.

Family

Learning to Drive #sp

Learn to DriveI’ve often said that learning to drive was one of the best things I’ve ever done; I passed my test (first time!) when I was 18 and the freedom that it gave me changed my life. I think I was so determined to get my licence because I’d spent so much of my life on buses and public transport. I went to school about 15 miles from my home which meant being up and out of the house before 7am, from the age of 11. By the time I was old enough to learn to drive, I was more than ready to never use buses again!

Skip forward 12 years (HOW can it have been that long?!) and Husband is thinking about learning to drive. He’s always been an avid biker and never really saw the need for a licence, but now we’ve got two kids he’s considering jumping on the motorised bandwagon. I’ve no doubt that he’ll be an absolute natural behind the wheel as riding a bike arguably gives you better road sense and hazard perception, so he’s well armed with some of the important skills that he’ll need.

I was lucky that I took my test when I did. Sure, I had to take the theory test, but there are other elements to a test now that I narrowly avoided; the hazard perception and practical knowledge parts of the test were introduced roughly a year after I took my test and I was grateful not to have had the added pressure, but I also think they’re a really important part of driving knowledge.

My first car after passing my test was a tiny little Fiat Cinquecento. She had an 899cc engine and did 0-60 in about 25 seconds but that car was my pride and joy. I named her Ruby Racer, because of her metallic red paintwork and I even had a pink furry steering wheel cover AND pink fluffy dice (to be ironic of course!) These days, I’m a proper grown up and I drive a large family car. It’s a huge estate so that I can fit a folded down buggy AND a weeks shopping in the boot, plus Chuck is quite comfortable laying on a cushion in the back if we ever want to take him on a journey with us.

When I think about the differences in the two cars, it does make me chuckle. My Cinquecento, a tiny little roller skate where my only real concern was fuel economy and low insurance, compared to my current vehicle, a huge tank of a car which we bought because it’s safe for the kids, has plenty of space for car seats and is reliable and hard-wearing. 12 years and such a change in priorities!

Being able to drive has meant that I’ve been able to do so many things that I’d have been unable to do had I never learned, so I’m really glad that I did and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to sharing the driving with Husband once he passes his test, so here’s hoping he’s as natural at it as I think he will be!

Family · Holidays

Prague, a beautiful place for a family vacation

11920245696_f7e43bf12a_zPrague from Powder Tower by Jiuguang Wang (CC BY-SA 2.0) 

There are few cities in the world that can compete with the fairy tale beauty of Prague. With its majestic castle, Bohemian architecture and absorbing history, Prague is a fantastic location for a family vacation. Whether you visit Prague in the height of summer or the depths of winter, you will discover a city that will inspire and thrill the entire family. You will also be able to find great places to stay. From the quirky to the traditional, lodging in Prague is effortlessly easy as you will see on booking websites such as Venere.com.

Perhaps the most iconic location to visit is Prague Castle. Dating back to the ninth century this ancient castle looms large overlooking the Czech capital. With its enchanting buildings, whimsical gardens and, of course, the castle itself, you could easily be mistaken for believing you have wondered into the set of a Disney movie. Yet this staggeringly beautiful location is the residence and office of the Czech President. You can also attend various exhibitions, concerts and special events at the Castle.

At the front gates of the castle complex, on the hour from 7am to 8pm in the summer and from 7am to 6pm in the winter, you will be able to witness the changing of the guard. These blue cladded soldiers add to the fairy tale vibe of the castle. Aside from the castle itself, the complex boasts museums such as the brilliantly fun Toy Museum and beautiful gardens which offer up stunning panoramic views of Prague and the Vltava River.

As you survey Prague from the castle’s various gardens you will see several bridges crossing the Vltava River. One of these, however, is sure to stand out from the rest. The famed Charles Bridge buzzes with tourists who come to marvel at this wonderful feat of gothic engineering. Dating back to 1402, this historic bridge is home to 30 religious statues as well street artists and vendors which are sure to entertain your whole family.

Until 1841, Charles Bridge was the only bridge connecting Prague Castle to the city’s Old Town and other areas. Just like the Prague Castle complex, it wouldn’t feel out of place to see a fairy tale prince and princess emerge from one of the many stunning buildings that the Old Town and Old Town square have to offer. The Old Town boasts the Astronomical Clock which is an astonishing medieval structure. First built way back in 1410, Prague’s much loved astronomical clock is the oldest one in the world that’s still in working condition. Situated just around the corner from the Astronomical Clock, is the Old Town square. This charming square, that is always full of life, offers many family friendly activities but perhaps the best one is to take a horse and carriage ride through Prague’s cobbled streets.

One great place to take a horse and carriage ride to is Petrin Hill or to its base where you can use the funicular railway to climb to the top. Upon reaching the summit you and your family will be treated to not only stunning views of Prague but also a great recreational area full of parks, woodland and mazes. You will also be able to indulge in stargazing at the Stefanik Observatory whilst a trip to the top of Petrin Tower, a mini Eiffel Tower, is well worth it.

Other great locations for an ideal family vacation include the Prague Zoo which is situated outside the city centre. Prague also has a mini Sea World whilst the National Marionette Theatre is great family fun. Puppetry has been popular throughout Prague’s history and the before mentioned theatre offers performances suitable for all ages.

Uncategorized

London’s Hidden Gems

Eltham_PalaceGuest Post

With a city the size of London, there are bound to be some amazing places to visit that aren’t particularly well known, or that offer something completely different from the norm. So if you’re looking for something to do in London that’s a little off the beaten track, where should you go?

Eltham Palace

So off the beaten track that even residents of the local area didn’t know it was there until it opened its doors to the public, Eltham Palace is a beautiful place to visit. It’s starred in many a television programme over the years and is a mixture of architectural styles, from the historic Great Hall which still holds remains of the medieval palace, to the stunning art deco property which was built here during the last century. There’s a play area for children and beautiful gardens in which to enjoy a picnic.

Angels

For 170 years Angels has been providing costumes to the film and entertainment industry, and now you can be a part of that by taking a tour of the biggest collection of costumes and accessories in the entire world. Featuring a staggering eight miles of costume racks, a tour of this unusual place is well worth taking if you’re a movie-buff in London. You’ll visit the tailoring departments, where you can see bespoke costumes being made, as well as visiting the various departments which include the jewellery department, the wig department and, of course, the massive costume store, where you’ll see costumes used for the likes of The English Patient, Titanic, The Young Victoria, Memoirs of a Geisha, Anna Karenina, Call the Midwife, The Great Gatsby, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Maleficent and The White Queen.

Happiness Forgets

This subterranean cocktail bar is hidden underneath a restaurant in Hoxton Square. It’s not a flashy bar, or a secret members club, but it just so happens to be making the most of the space in the basement area of the restaurant and offers good service and amazing cocktails- and you’re guaranteed to find a dark candlelit corner in which to snatch a romantic moment or a quiet drink with friends. Sip cocktails with names like the Hawksmoor Colins, Unforgettable Fizz and Too Many Manzanilla, along with great bar food and even some delicious sweet treats like pistachio donuts with honey syrup. Foodie (and drinkie!) bliss!

The Seagrass

If it’s good old fashioned cockney pie, mash and liquor you’re after, look no further than The Seagrass in Chapel Market. Equally, if you’re looking for an al a carte menu, you can also find it here! On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights this 19th Century pie and mash house undergoes an amazing transformation into a fine dining destination, serving up only the best in British produce. Choose from Spiced Cornish Crab Bisque, Venison Haunch Fillet with triple cooked chips and Bernaise sauce and a fantastic British cheeseboard with oatcakes and chutney, among other culinary delights. A real surprise from what would otherwise be just another great pie and mash house.

There are plenty of hidden hotspots in London – which one will you choose to visit first?