Category: Little Reviews

The Perfect Keepsake: A Martha Jackson Locket (A Review)

There’s something really sweet and romantic about lockets.  I think it’s because they have been romanticized in stories, books and in the movies.  Whether it’s a period or a romantic movie, chances are, the heroine will have a locket around her neck with the photo of her beloved in it.  Or perhaps, of a mother, who has lost a child and forever wears her locket with a photo of her little one, close to her heart.  Or this:

She saw that it was the work of a skilled artisan and that the diamonds were of great brilliancy and superbly set, but the cutting of them denoted that they were of a former day. She noticed too that the locket opened, and, pressing the hidden clasp, she saw the two halves spring apart to reveal in either section an ivory miniature.” 

  • Edgard Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes

When Martha Jackson got in touch and asked if I wanted to do a review of one of their lockets, I quickly said yes.  At the back of my head, I thought of T of course.  I knew that when she’s old enough, she will love to have a locket to forever cherish.

They have a number of beautiful lockets to choose from, but I chose the Silver Double Oval locket.  I thought it would be handy to have two compartments.  Although admittedly, I haven’t found a photo of little T, small enough to fit in there.  But I’m sure I’ll eventually find something or perhaps, I’ll have to print a specific photo for this beautiful keepsake.

Above is a photo of the first compartment.

The second compartment is bigger than the first.

Martha Jackson’s lockets can also be personalised.  I asked that the words “Carpe Diem” to be engraved behind the locket.  This is something we like to remind T about to.  To always seize the day, no matter what her fears are or the circumstances she’s in – grab life by the throat and experience everything life has to offer.  After all, as parents, isn’t this what we wish for our children?

As you’ve probably noticed, there’s also a small letter “T” and a little pearl charm along with the locket.  You can order these add-ons.  It can be an initial like the “letter T”, a lovely pearl, or even a little key.  I just love these little add-on details, it just makes the locket even more special and unique to the wearer.

What I love about the Silver Double Oval Locket:

  • As mentioned, it has two compartments.  One small one in front and another bigger one at the back.
  • I love that you can personalise all the Martha Jackson’s lockets.  For me, it’s the perfect gift for daughters when they are old enough to cherish it..  You can also choose your own font, whether you want a simple font or an elaborate one.
  • Again, I love that you can choose some add-ons, whether it’s an initial or a charm like a pearl or a key.  You can also choose whether you want the add-ons in silver or gold.
  • I love that you can choose the length of the necklace.  When ordering, you can choose a short one (35-40 cm), or a long one like mine (76 cm, extra long belcher chain.)
  • And most of all, I love that the price is affordable.  It won’t cost you an arm and a leg to have something as beautiful and unique as this one.  This particular locket starts at £45.   Of course, the add-on charms and the length of the locket will also determine the cost in the end.  For someone special in your life, it’s definitely worth the spend.

What I don’t like about it:

  • This isn’t major.  But I wasn’t too impressed with the packaging.  It came in an ordinary small white box.  I think something as pretty and as dainty as this deserves better packaging.

I’ve shown little T the locket and she absolutely loves it.  I’ve told her that when she’s older, she can have it.  She keeps asking me “But when will that be mum”?  I told her that she’ll have it when she’s responsible enough not to lose it.

Christmas is just around the corner.  If you’re looking for a special and unique present for the woman in your life, whether it’s your wife, partner, girlfriend or daughter, I think this forever keepsake is the one for them.

What about you?

Do you like lockets too?

*I received this lovely locket from Martha Jakson for the purpose of this review but all photos and opinions are by yours truly.  

A Special Gift from … Prestige Christmas Hampers

*Sponsored post, Prestige Hampers.

Can you believe it’s only 49 days till Christmas?  Have you started your Christmas shopping yet or at least, started your long list of Christmas presents to give?  Here’s an idea.

I don’t know about you, but my husband and I love Christmas hampers.  We love receiving them and giving them as presents for Christmas, especially for people who love food and drink.   I guess one of the reasons why we love them is the variety of what you’re getting.  It’s like a smorgasbord of all the wonderful treats one usually serves on Christmas day.  Now who wouldn’t want that?  And to top it off, they are packed in one lovely hamper, perfect for those picnics we also love doing, preferably in much warmer days.

Prestige Hampers have a variety of hampers, depending on what items you prefer.  Are you a chocolate lover, prefer cheese, mostly wine, with some lovely cold meat, or whether you have a budget of £20 less or £500 more, there is one hamper for you.

As for us, my husband and I were like a couple of kids on Christmas day, as we opened our special Christmas hamper, taking turns with “oooohing and ahhing” as we looked at our each treat from our Prestige Christmas hamper.

Our Christmas Hamper had the following goodies:

1 bottle of Shiraz, 1 bottle of Chardonnay, 1 delicious fruit cake, a box of Pralines chocolate, shortbread from Walkers, one bar of dark chocolate from Beech’s, Yorkshire Crisps, tea from English Breakfast, one small classic Christmas pudding from Walker, handmade smoked oatcakes from Reid, Red Velvet Crunch bitter Biscuits from Farmhouse biscuits. 1 small jar of Christmas Preserve with mulled wine from Mackays and a small jar of Mackays Christmas marmalade with cranberries, packaged in one lovely hamper.

What we think of Prestige Christmas Hampers:

We genuinely loved it.  As mentioned, my husband and I had fun opening it and discovering the contents of the hamper.  If you’re thinking of a buying a present for someone special in your life who happens to love food like we do. Then look no more, choose a prestige hamper for them.  They’ll love it as much as we loved ours.

If you’re curious about what they really look like and how big the items are, have a little look at the short video below and see for yourselves.

What about you?

Would you like to receive a Christmas hamper from Prestige on Christmas?

*We were sent the Christmas Prestige hamper for the purpose of this review, but all photos and opinions are by yours truly.

Exploring Rough Tor with Millets

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Millets.

Before we had T, my husband and I used to do a lot of walking here in North Cornwall.  We had a different dog back then.  For those who’ve been following my blog for some time now, you may have read about Mutley.  The dog who sadly passed away due to bone cancer when I was pregnant with T.  It took a while before we had another dog, and when T turned three, that’s when Doc joined our little family.

Admittedly we don’t do a lot of walking anymore.  That’s what happens I guess when you have children.  Extra curricular activities run even on the weekends.  But lately, my husband and I have been yearning to take up walking and exploring more of the outdoors again, by foot, like we used to.  We talked about buying ourselves proper hiking boots, good ones, not the kind that breaks after a season.  Luckily for us, Millets came to the rescue.

For avid hikers, dog walkers, or any lover of the outdoors, Millets is a must-visit for all your hiking gear.  They have the widest range of durable walking boots, jackets, rucksacks and everything else needed for your outdoor adventure.

1. Peter Storm: Men’s Insulated Pennine II Jacket and BRASHER: Men’s Country Master Walking Boots 2. PETER STORM: Girl’s Ormskirk Walking Boots 3. BRASHER: Women’s Country Trekker Walking Boots.

My husband, little T and I were really impressed when the items (see above) arrived.  Upon opening the boxes, we knew right away that they were all good quality and we’re really excited to get them all tested and since it’s T’s half-term break, we quickly planned an afternoon on Rough Tor.

T’s school broke up for half-term break on a rainy Thursday last week.  When I checked the weather forecast, Friday looked promising.  We waited for my husband to finish some work and also waited for T’s best-friend F who was spending the afternoon with us that day.  For awhile, I was wondering whether we should cancel, since the dark grey clouds seemed to be hovering, promising more rain.  But we decided to go for it after all, thanks to Millets, we were geared for whatever the weather.

The Historian wore the Peter Storm’s Men’s Insulated Jacket together with Brasher’s Men’s Country Walking Boots:

What he liked about the jacket:

It’s well padded and insulated.  Perfect for the rough Cornish weather.

What he didn’t like about it:

The pockets aren’t big enough for an OS map (see above) and it could do with another deeper inner pocket.  But then again, he says that people usually bring a rucksack with them, like we did that day, so it really isn’t much of a negative.

What he liked about the boots:

Everything.  He absolutely loved the boots.  He said it’s the perfect walking boots.  Keeps your feet warm and dry when walking in the rain or hiking through muddy and wet grass.

What he didn’t like about the boots:

Nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nada.

Rough Tor is about a twenty minute (or maybe even less drive from where we live)  It’s a tor (Cornish word for hill) on Bodmin Moor.   It’s a known place for hiking and also popular among the tourists.

It actually drizzled on the way there.  Doc snuggled up to my brand new boots.  I think he likes them too.

We took a photo of our new boots before the walk just to make a comparison after.

Then together with T’s best-friend F, we headed off for our little hike up Rough tor.

We’ve been to this place so many times especially when we have visitors around.  You don’t need to be an expert hiker to climb to the top.  I guess that’s one of the reasons why we like going.

You’ll also find a lot of sheep on the path that’s one of the reasons why we never allow Doc to go off leash.  He’ll frighten the poor sheep if we do!

“Take a photo of my boots mum!”  T said as she stopped in her tracks and of course I obliged.  I don’t think F, her best-friend was amused.

Looking at the sky, I remembered thinking “Oh dear, we better hurry before it starts to rain again.”  I wondered even whether to call it off but our little team was way ahead of me by now.

“Be careful please!”  I called out to the kids as they scrambled up the rocks.  I stopped and looked behind at how much we’ve covered.

The carpark seen between those trees looked so far away.  I quickened my pace by now I’ve lost sight of my husband and the kids were also quickly disappearing before my eyes.

I stopped to catch my breath and caught sight of these beautiful rock-formations all over Rough tor.  It’s such a breathtaking scene.

As if giants decided to play with the rocks and stack them up neatly one after the other.

I also remembered thinking “Thank goodness, I’m wearing proper boots!  I don’t think ordinary trainers would do the trek up the tor”.

Once up, there were more beautiful rock-formations around.  “What took you so long, mum?”  T asked me as I sat down to catch my breath.  “Didn’t you hear me calling for you?”  I asked her.  She shook her head.  It was too windy up there to hear anything I guess.

And there’s Doc and the husband admiring the view.  The clouds still looked ominous to me so in spite protests I told everyone that it’s time to head back down before it started to rain.

On our way back though, we saw another family going up the tor in spite the weather.  I remember thinking how brave they were considering they had smaller kids with them.

T and F as usual went ahead of us.  They were playing around as always by the time we got to them.

And or course, we had to take an “after-the-walk-photo” of our boots.

Verdict:  Men’s and Women’s boots from Brasher and Peter Storm Girl’s walking boots are excellent boots for the outdoors.

Need we say more?

I’d like to go back again though when the weather is better.  My husband read about some bronze age settlements somewhere around the tor, when the weather is better, we will come back and hunt for them.  It’s handy of course that, all this isn’t very far from where we live.

If you want to see more of the beautiful scenery surrounding Rough Tor, watch short video below:

What about you?

What kind of adventures have you done over the half-term break?

Saving for our Daughter’s Future

*This is a sponsored post.

“I have a letter mum” T proudly held a white envelope up to us.  And she was right, it was addressed to her.  It was a summary of her ISA savings account which we started when she was barely a month old.

“How much have I saved?”  She excitedly asked.  Note the “I” and not the “we” as if it was her who deposited monthly in her account.  Ah bless.

We read the amount to her.  She gasped.  “I’m rich!”  Till we explained that this account was for her University fees.  My husband and I both actually sighed, with this rate, we’ll be nowhere near the £37,000+ it takes for a degree here in the UK according to this article.  To think, that’s only the cost of the Uni fees, they haven’t even included accommodation, food and clothing allowance.  Good grief.  And of course, by the time she’s old enough to go, it will probably be double that amount.  Thank goodness  T is only six, we still have time.  Do we really have time though to scrape and save enough to ensure that our daughter can go to Uni without a massive student debt to burden her?  And how are we doing this?

Scrape and Save

By scraping and saving of course.  I’m lucky I’m married to someone who is ever so careful with our finances.   We both are. We actually have an emergency fund we can dip into goodness knows, something unforeseen happens (knocks on wood, hopefully that will never happen).  It may not be a huge amount, but at least we have something to cushion us even for just a bit.

Have No Credit

My husband and I don’t own credit cards, no loans, no mortgage to think about.  Whatever we need goes out of our current account.  I don’t judge anyone and perfectly understand how for some people credit cards are a safety net just in case the numbers don’t add up at the end of the month.  And I know it can easily happen to anyone.

Buy only What You Need

Thank goodness my husband and I are both simply folks.  We don’t buy expensive stuff.  I don’t own signature brands and shun away from most things expensive.  If I see something I like, I wait till it goes on sale and if I find the price reasonable enough, that’s the only time I buy it.  We do like to splurge on each other during special occasions mostly on books though, especially Folio books.  As for other necessities, I usually wait for the sales before buying anything.

Small Joys and Simple Pleasures

Lastly, my husband and I are both homebodies.  We like the simple pleasures in life like a good home-cooked meal instead of eating out or watching movies at home instead of going to the cinema.  We both like to potter around in the house during the weekends.  We’re members of the National Trust and English Heritage which means, we don’t spend much most of our days out especially if we bring a picnic with us.

All these may just be little things, but when added up together can amount to something and surely we’re doing the right thing right?

What about you?

Do you also prepare for the future?

 

Back to School with Start-rite

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with start-rite.

I think this is the shortest summer holiday little T has ever had and I can’t believe that she’ll be back in school next month.  I’m panicking a bit because there are still some activities I want to do with her.  We haven’t even gone camping yet, or learned how to ride the bike without stabilizers, or learned the “You are my sunshine” song in the ukulele yet.

And yes, I do know the summer holiday will end soon.  In fact, in spite the panic, we’re actually ready for it.  She already has new uniforms in time for next month and also has a pair of  new school shoes courtesy of Start-rite.  We got little T’s first ever pair of shoes from them.  My husband was very particular about this. He didn’t want to just buy just any pair of shoe from the shops.  He wanted her properly fitted and booted.  Yes, T and has a history with this particular shoe brand and we trust it.

For this year, T chose a classic Mary Janes style for her school-shoes.  If you’ve been following our little blog for some time now, you will know that my daughter is very sporty and just like any other six, going seven-year-old, she loves to skip and run around like a loony.

What we liked about the shoes:

  • The velcro.  Admittedly, T still hasn’t mastered tying her shoelace yet so a velcro strap is a big help for her.
  • We like the style and the leather.  As mentioned, we’ve been happy with Start-rite from the beginning and know that we are getting good quality shoes.
  • At £42.99 we think that the price is just right.  Might be pricier than other school shoes, but at least we know that we’re getting our money’s worth and know that it will last her long.

When it comes to school shoes my husband and I don’t really mind spending more for better quality shoes and as I’ve mentioned, T and start-rite have a good history together, we know that this will last her till at least next year.  I won’t be surprised if it even lasts longer than that.

As parents of young and active kids, it’s always best to spend a little bit more for good quality school shoes, isn’t it, especially if we know that it will last longer than most of the other brands.

What about you?

Are you a Start-rite parent too?

We are!

Canesten Campaign Winner

We’ve picked our winner for the Intimate Conversations with Canesten.  I love what Jenny wrote:

My parents gave me a book about boys and girls/men and women and puberty when I was smaller.  I think I read more about the book instead of sitting and talking with my mum.  I wish when I was younger I had asked more about  the changes my body was going through, although my mum tried her best I think sometimes after the “talk” has been and gone, parents can forget to “check-in” with their kids… I think the “talk needs to be “talks” spread out over months, even years… not everything can be covered in one talk, and the importance of communication is key

She is so right.  It shouldn’t just be one talk, one sitting-down-moment with T.  It should be a series of talks over the years.  I hope I remember this.  Thank you Jenny!

Back-to-School School Supplies with Smiggle

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Smiggle

I know what you’re thinking, school hasn’t even ended yet.  But hey, what can I say?  My daughter is exactly like me who loves anything to do with stationary, coloured pens, and beautiful sparkly journals.  Personally, I prefer my journals not to be sparkly, but when you’re a six-year-old, I guess they prefer, one that glimmers.

I’m familiar with the brand Smiggle.  Who isn’t?  Go to any city centre and you’ll find a Smiggle shop filled with the brightest pens and everything your little one will need for school, or even just for their collection.  When the lovely people behind the brand got in touch and asked if T would like to sample some, I said yes of course.  And boy was she pleased when she opened the package which was addressed to her, she especially loves this very sparkly journal:

She spent hours just playing with the sequins alone.  By brushing across it with your fingers, you can actually change the design.  She quickly wrote her first entry down and I’m not kidding when I say that she actually slept with it.  That was how much she was pleased with this very sparkly journal from Smiggle.

She also had fun with this DIY pencil-case that has everything a child would need for school.  It has coloured felt-tip pens, a rubber, a ruler, a sharpener and scissors.

There was also a small little badge journal which smelt like candy.  T loves it! And of course, not to mention a letter T keychain which she quickly put on her backpack.  I was kinda hoping she’d save it for September, but did she listen to me?  Of course she didn’t.  When a child is that excited, you wouldn’t want to burst their bubble now would you?

Thank you Smiggle for making little T a happy bunny.

What about you?

Are you and your child crazy about stationary/school supplies too?

Intimate Conversations with Canesten: Plus a Chance to Win a £50 Voucher from Amazon

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Canesten

I’ve always wanted a daughter.  I guess it’s also because I’m close to my own mother and want to replicate the kind of relationship I have with her, and what I have with little T is even better.  She’s my little shadow. When she’s not in school, she’s always with me.  She likes to cuddle and gives kisses freely.  And we talk, we talk a lot.  We talk about everything.  I dread the day when she won’t do as much anymore or even want to be with her old mum as much as she used to, hopefully that day will never come.

Little T is a perfect combination of a little girl who loves ballet, playing her cello, gymnastics, but at the same time won’t hesitate to play rough with her best friend who happens to be a boy, or win a race on sports day.  She’s both “girly” and “boyish” though I don’t really like using labels, but she’s definitely both.

My darling daughter is turning seven in August.  How did that happen?  Where did my chubby little baby go?  I can see traces of her on her little six-year-old face, but soon, even that will be gone.  I’m not ready for T to grow another year older.  I know that sounds selfish, but time is just happening way too fast.

I’m not really looking forward to those intimate albeit awkward conversations with T, especially The Talk.    I’m imagining there will be lots of giggles, or maybe she’ll be too grossed to even want to listen to me.

What I want to say to her is this, it’s all part of being a girl, part of being female, part of being a woman.

Already she has questions about when will she have breasts, although at this age, she still refers to them as “boobies” and always said with a little giggle.  I really don’t mind talking about the changes in a girl’s body as they turn into puberty, especially once she starts having her period.  She knows what it is, when she was younger she used to call it “pyramid” and much to my embarrassment used to announce “Mummy has her pyramid today”.

And of course along with that comes the changes in a girl’s body together with the discussion of  proper care of our intimate health and common intimate conditions such as thrush, cystitis, and BV.  Some may think, isn’t it a bit too early to discuss this with your daughter?  I’m not saying I’m going to discuss all of this with her in one go.

I think it’s important to prepare them early.  And to discuss it in a manner where it comes out naturally.  If she gets used to talking about it at an early age, she won’t hesitate to come to me for more questions, at least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

I didn’t have this you see, when I was growing-up.  I never even knew what Thrush was or what the symptoms were.  I had to find them all out on my own.  As parents, we try to give our children as much life skills as we can.  I believe that this includes having these intimate conversations with them, especially for daughters, no matter how trying these conversations may be.  And to reiterate that no matter how embarrassing or difficult the question are, they can always discuss it with us.  What about you?  If you have daughters, have you had this discussion with them?

And for those who want to win a £50 Amazon voucher, all you need to do is answer the question in the comments below. The best answer will win the voucher.

What I wish I knew about intimate health when I was younger.

Terms and Conditions:
1. There is 1 prize of one £50 Amazon vouchers. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered
2. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over.
3. Closing date for entries is 17 of July 2017.
4. Entrants must leave a comment below.
5. The winner with the best answer will be chosen.
6. The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 
days or a new winner will be chosen.
7. The winner’s name will be available on request.
8. The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address.
9. This is a joint promotion between Little Steps and Canesten®
10. Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions 


Good Luck!

Someone’s Going on a “Pupnic”! … and the winner is …

If you remember last month, we did a little give-away here at Little Steps.  If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can have a read here.

The winner of that give-away, with the best comment is … drum roll please ….

Congratulations Donna! I do hope you’ll enjoy your “pupnic” in the woods with Dudley.  You and your furry family member will receive the following:

– Wicker pupnic hamper
– A pack of snacks for your pooch
– Remember to stay hydrated with a water bowl for them and water bottle for you.
– Have fun with a toy
– Be responsible, wherever your adventure takes you, with biodegradable poop scoop bags
– Prepare for irritations and itches with a microfiber cloth for a furry wipe down and give YuMEGA Itchy Dog all summer long.

Thank you all for joining!

Pet Parasite Action: Join Us!

*This is a Sponsored Post.

One of the reasons why we love our house is the location.  We are surrounded by 500 acres of farmland and Doc, little T’s dog, absolutely loves it.  He loves exploring, especially with the other farm dogs.  He likes to go up to the cows and see how long they’ll tolerate him before they moo him away.  He also likes finding the smelliest thing he can find and then roll onto it till his fur is absolutely caked in it.  Then with a smile on his face, comes home to us.

As you can see, one of Doc’s favourite thing to do is chew on sticks.

I do worry about him and all the germs he picks up when out on his adventures, especially since he likes eating the poo of the calves.  Our farmer neighbour said, they (the dogs) like eating that because it’s full of milk. So far, he hasn’t shown any bad effects from eating all that poo.  Fingers crossed, he’ll be fine.

As pet owners, we all worry about our dogs and of course, when you have children, you worry about them too.  Some of us may know that roundworms and ticks are worrying not just for our dogs, but as well as for us humans too.

Scary isn’t it?

Jenni Falconer with her dog Alfie.

In line with this, TV presenter Jenni Falconer is backing the Pet Parasite Action campaign which aims to raise awareness of the need to treat our pets.

As a dog owner and a mum I want to be sure that I do the best thing for my pet and family.  During the pet parasite action campaign I’m encouraging all pet owners to visit their vet for a simple way to help protect their pets against parasites inside and out, including those that may be harmful to the rest of the family.  Let’s act now to help protect all the members of our family, furry or otherwise.

 

According to a survey carried out by Pet Parasite Action of over 1000 dogs nationwide, lungworm worries dog owners most with 74% saying they are concerned about this parasite. While 82% of dog owners are able to correctly identify that lungworm could be fatal to their pets, while 43% said that they think dog lungworm is the parasite that poses the greatest risk to human health, when actually it’s harmless to people.

Over a third of survey respondents (36%) say that they are worried about ticks but just 48% realise that ticks can cause fatalities in dogs because of the diseases they transmit.  Also only 28% recognise that ticks (as a transmitter of Lyme disease in people) are a risk to human health.

The least worried about parasite according to the survey is probably one of the most concerning. Just 15% say they were worried about roundworms and only 7% correctly say they think roundworms could threaten human health. Yet if accidentally eaten, eggs from the roundworm Toxocara pose a significant threat to human health, potentially causing blindness or neurological disease – especially in children.

One in four people don’t realise their pet could have parasites but they might not be visible, as is often the case with lungworms, hard to find ticks and roundworms and the microscopic eggs they produce.

Around 1 in 6 say that it’s been about a year since they last treated their pet for ticks, lungworm or roundworm and despite concern about its effects, 23% say that they don’t know when their pet was last treated for lungworm.

At the end of the day, especially like Jenni, if you are a parent of young children, it’s best to make sure that your dogs are healthy by taking them to the vet regularly.  That old adage is definitely true – better be safe than sorry.

What about you?

Ready to take Pet Parasite Action too?

Join us and help spread the word.