Category: Little Reviews

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.

 

Is Your Dog an Itchy Dog? Plus a Giveaway for you and your Pet – Come and Join!

*This is a sponsored post.

Doc like all dogs like to scratch, sniff and lick.  That’s the way they were made.  When they’re not sleeping, eating, running around like loonies or following you around the house like a love-sick-puppy, they’re doing just that – scratch, sniff and lick.

But unfortunately some dogs are more prone to itch.  Us humans are not just the only ones who have allergies, dogs have them too, especially if your dog is like ours who likes to explore on his own and root around for goodness knows what.

For those who are wondering if they have an itchy dog.  Here are some common signs that might just help you tell whether your dog has allergies too:

  • Itching and scratching.  And this isn’t just the usual scratch here and there, but non-stop scratching, especially behind the ears.

  • Licking their paws.

  • Rubbing their face on furniture as if trying to get rid of something.
  • They may also have hot spots on their bodies.
  • Excessive grooming.
  • Red eyes.
  • Dry, flaky skin.
  • Excessive moulting.

Does all this sound familiar?  Then perhaps, your dog is indeed an itchy dog.  No need to panic, you can of course take your dog to the vet and they’ll tell you what to do.  Or perhaps you can also try YuMEGA Itchy Dog for dogs with sensitive or itchy skin.  “YuMEGA is a premium quality supplement for dogs prone to feeling itchy”

How does it work?

YuMEGA Itchy Dog works in three ways:

  1. It Calms the Itch with extra GL from Borage (Starflower), provides Omega 6 (GLA), which helps to soothe the urge to itch.  YuMEGA Itchy Dog contains higher levels of Omega 3 – 70% more powerful than ever before.
  2. Improves Coat Condition:  High levels of essential Omega 3 oils from Golden Flax seed helps to improve coat condition.  A healthy coat is your dog’s first line of defence against itchy triggers like pollen and grass.
  3. Supports Natural Defences: Added natural vitamin E and Omega 6 (LA), supports the skin’s natural defences, helping your dog maintain a barrier against the allergens that cause itching.

It’s easy to use too.  All you need to do is mix it with your dog’s food daily.  The amount of course, depends on the size of your dog.

It’s the perfect time to use YuMEGA Itchy dog, especially since summer months are known to flare up allergies, and as pet-owners, we must ensure that our dogs are armed against all sorts of allergies.

And as mentioned, the summer months are here, (fingers crossed the forecast will deliver good weather), which means if you’re like us, who love to go on lots of different adventures and picnic with our over-excitable always  sometimes annoying bundle of fur, called Doc, you will need this lovely picnic basket for you and yours.

This very-handy little picnic basket is all yours for free.  All you need to do is comment below and tell us where you plan to take your dog for a picnic.  The best answer will win!  You will also need to like Lintbells on Facebook, Instagram or follow them on twitter and the hamper is yours.  This give-away is open till the 26th of June, midnight.  UK Residents only.

The Pupnic Basket has the following goodies:

– 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.

What are you waiting for?

Join and comment below!

Have you planned your Summer Holiday?

I’m sure by now a lot of families out there have planned if not booked their summer holiday already.   If you’re one of those lucky/organised ones, well done, you guys.  When going abroad, we like to book ours well ahead of time too.  As you know, it’s cheaper that way.  Sadly, we haven’t done any bookings as I type this all because little T and I have to renew our passports, which we hope to get sorted out next week.

As for plans, oh we have loads of those!  After all, planning is free right?  At the moment, we have a few choices up our sleeves.  It’s nice to have alternatives, in case, the first one doesn’t pan out right? Here’s ours.

PLAN A: Spain-Portugal

Go on a road trip again.  The first time we ever went on a road-trip as a family, was when we drove all the way to a remote cabin in Scotland and absolutely loved it.  The second one was a road trip to France (with a day-trip to Belgium).  We stayed in a Eurocamp and did day-trips to Disneyland and Paris, as well as  trips around the beautiful French countryside.  Ah, that was bliss.

This time though, the plan is to drive to Plymouth to catch a ferry to Santander and drive all the way down the Spanish coast to Portugal – doesn’t that sound dreamy?

We love doing road-trips.  I guess one of the reasons is that you can stop anytime, especially if you see something that catches your attention.  It’s easy to just stop and roam around and experience the local culture without having to worry about your schedule too much.  And if that doesn’t work, there’s ….

PLAN B: Train-trip to Eastern Europe

Ever since reading “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kustova, I’ve longed to travel by train to Hungary and Romania and yes, visit Count Dracula’s castle in Bran.  I would love to watch the beautiful countryside/mountains of Eastern Europe.  When I mentioned this to my husband, I was pleased  to know that he’s always wanted to do it too.  But I’m wondering though whether T is too young to appreciate a trip like this one, though I’m sure she’ll enjoy travelling by train.  And then there’s …

PLAN C: Homegrown

This is the easiest and if I’m honest, the most feasible plan.  I have family from the States who might come over this summer and of course, it’s only right that we show them around the UK.

I’ve always wanted to explore Wales, since we’ve never really had the chance apart from staying in Hay-on-Wye and doing day-trips from Bristol.  A close friend who regularly camps in Wales has been inviting us to go with her, so this might just be our chance.

And of course, there’s still so much of the UK that I haven’t explored.  What better way to do it when you have guests right?

As you can see, our plans are still up in the air and I know that time is indeed running out, hopefully we’ll be able to finalize our plans soon.

What about you?

Have you booked your summer holiday?

*This is a sponsored post.

Dentastix: Dental Care for Dogs

Admittedly, we haven’t done much about Doc’s dental care.  Not because we don’t care about it, I guess it’s because we assume that his teeth are alright.  As far as we are aware, he doesn’t have any problems.  How do we know? Here’s our checklist.

  • His breath doesn’t smell.  Granted it doesn’t smell like toothpaste or that you wouldn’t want to lock lips with him, but if you did, but I’m happy to share that he doesn’t have dragon’s breath.  Knock on wood.
  • His teeth appear to look healthy with no broken teeth.
  • Gums also appear good.  They don’t look swollen or inflamed.
  • And most importantly, he doesn’t have trouble chewing at all.  His most favourite thing to chew is sticks.  As soon as he’s off that, then I’ll start to worry.

And thanks to Dentastix, Doc has been getting excellent dog dental care.  What makes Dentastix perfect for dogs?

Pedigree Dentastix has a unique X-shape and when fed daily has been scientifically proven to help reduce the build-up of tartar by up to 80%.

It also contains two active ingredients (sodium tripolyphosphate and zinc zulphate), which bond with the calcium in saliva and slow down the build-up of tartar. This helps plaque stays softer and makes it easier to remove with Pedigree Dentastix.

As for us, we like it because it’s a treat and at the same it, it’s caring for Doc’s teeth.  And Doc? He likes it because it tastes yummy!  He’s been happily chewing on Dentastix for more than five days now and absolutely loves it.

What about you? Have you tried Dentastix?

Do you have tips on how to care for your dog’s teeth?  Do share.

“This post is a collaboration with Pedigree, but all thoughts are my own. For additional dental care information you can read the following Pedigree Reviews article for tips and advice.”

ANIMALTALES