Finding the Perfect Gifts for Kids with Wicked Uncle

Buying gifts for kids when you have no idea what interests them can be a tricky task. There's all different things to consider, like if the toy is suitable for their age group and whether it will drive their mummy crazy (oh c'mon no one really enjoys hearing their baby's musical toys a million times a day!) But that's where Wicked Uncle comes in. Wicked Uncle is an online toy store that specialises in helping you find the perfect gifts for kids. It's particularly useful for those who either don't have kids themselves or are just generally clueless when it comes to buying presents (we all know someone like that right?)

For a bit of fun, Wicked Uncle has come up with a challenge that requires an adult with no kids to use their website to buy a present for a child they know. I put forward Arthur's Uncle Danny (my younger brother) to see how he got on. He's not always been the best at actually choosing gifts (preferring someone else to do it for him), though I was very impressed with my birthday present this year, so maybe he's turned a corner! Anyway...I sent over the link to the Wicked Uncle site and kept my fingers crossed that he'd pick the gift I had in mind.

What's so great about the Wicked Uncle website is that it makes searching for a gift so easy. You can choose to shop by gender, age, interest or even just look at what's popular. With Arthur's 1st Birthday in just a couple of weeks, Uncle Danny rightly chose the 'Age 1' category and thankfully picked the toy I had my eye on for Arthur - the Walkalong Wooden Puppy*! Arthur loves our dogs so I knew he'd love his own little toy dog to pull around.

Even though Arthur's not walking yet, he's had so much fun pulling the dog as he crawls around the living room. He also loves holding onto the dog and rolling it up and down. For the last few weeks, I've got the feeling that Arthur is ready for his 'next stage' toys so this is really perfect and will keep him going until he gets all of his birthday toys (I'm so excited!) The Walkalong Wooden Puppy is very well made and for me, is extra-lovely because it's made from wood. There's just something so charming about wooden toys in a world full of plastic isn't there?

If that wasn't enough, Uncle Danny also chose another toy for Arthur from the Wicked Uncle website, perfect for one of Arthur's favourite times of the day - bath time. He picked the Tomy Rescue Boat*, which looked great! Again, Arthur's been getting a little bored of his bath time squirters that he's had since he was tiny so it was brilliant to have a more interesting toy for him to play with. This Tomy Boat is sound activated, which makes it all the more exciting for little ones. You squeeze the squeaky remote control once to get the motor going on the rescue boat and again to get the water shooting out of the cannon. Arthur's so interested in how the boat works (he turns it over to have a look) and laughs when the water gets him - or even better, squirts at me! 

I'm really impressed with Uncle Danny's choices and love that Wicked Uncle makes finding the perfect gifts for kids so easy. They have a fantastic selection of toys for all ages, so with Christmas just a 9 weeks away (uh-oh) now's the perfect time to see what they've got to offer!
*These toys were purchased with a voucher provided by Wicked Uncle for the purpose of this post.
Thank you Wicked Uncle - we loved working with you!
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Arthur Daniel - Why Your Name is Special

Baby names are something that have always interested me, even before I was pregnant with Arthur. For years, I was obsessed with the name Edie and was certain that if I had a little girl, that's what I'd call her. Edie Rose. It's funny though as when I found out I was pregnant, I didn't even consider the name Edie for a girl! I had two names I liked, Olivia and Devon.

Now, I know what you're thinking - but you didn't have a girl and no, no I didn't! But strangely, before I found out I was having a son I really couldn't pick a boy's name. Then once I found out it was a little boy in there, it was like something clicked in my head - he was Arthur. My Arthur. I didn't tell anyone I was set on the name at first, as I wanted to be 100% sure but when I was, I told my mum and knew how much choosing that name meant to her.

You see, Arthur isn't the first Arthur in our family. My mum's dad (my grandad - or Gonga as I chose to call him) was called Arthur too. Well actually he was called Thomas Arthur but it seems back in the day people often went by their second names instead. It was the same with my dad's dad, funny isn't it? My mum loved her dad very much and even though I only got to spend the first few years of my life with him (and therefore unfortunately don't remember a lot of our time together) I have always felt a real connection to him. I think it's because my mum has so many lovely memories of him and stories to share. I feel like I knew him well. She also says that my brother is a lot like him and I can see the likeness when I look at pictures too.

My Gonga once appeared to me in a dream. I think it was a couple of years ago. In the dream I didn't realise it was him, nor could I place the man he was with but I was speaking to him and he was telling me he was proud of me and that he hoped I had a happy life. It was only in the morning that I realised it was my Grandad in my dream and when I told my mum she wondered if the man he was with could have been his twin brother John. It made me feel quite emotional and actually what he said means even more to me a couple of years on, now I'm living a much happier life.

Because my Grandad Arthur was so important to my mum and our family, I wanted to honour him in some way by naming my little boy after him. Arthur is apparently derived from the Celtic name 'Artos' which means 'Bear.' It is also a name associated with being noble and courageous. It's a good name and the perfect choice for my little love.

My Arthur's second name is Daniel and yes, that's another family name as my brother is called Daniel. It's a name I've always loved - in fact my parents said that when my mum was pregnant with my brother I was set on the name Daniel and when my dad suggested another name, I said I was going to call him Daniel anyway...or so the story goes! But I also chose it as Arthur's middle name as my brother was really there for me when I was pregnant (and not exactly having the easiest time). I wanted Arthur to be named after another good man. Arthur absolutely adores his Uncle Danny so I think he'll love the fact he shares his second name with him once he's old enough to understand.

A special name for a special little boy. I feel like it's a name that'll suit him no matter his age and I look forward to sharing the story behind his name with him in years to come.

Most names have a meaning to them and I love reading about other people's baby name choices, so feel free to share your link if you've written a similar post or tell me how you picked your baby name/s below.

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H&F Vintage Tearooms, Chesterfield Review

Going out for Afternoon Tea is one of my favourite things to do with my family and earlier this year we found a gem of a place in Chesterfield - the H&F Vintage Tearooms. For me, a good Afternoon Tea isn't just about the cake (though the Vintage Tearooms in Chesterfield has plenty of that) but the experience as a whole.

One of the things I love most about the H&F Vintage Tearooms is that it has so much character and charm. You feel like you're really getting an authentic vintage afternoon tea experience. I love everything about the place from it's gorgeous decor, down to the team's uniforms and the way they address you as 'mam' and 'sir.' It's all in the detail and it's all so lovely.

You feel really welcome at the Vintage Tearooms and I personally feel the team go the extra mile to make sure everything is to your liking. We recently went for mine and my mum's birthday and had the most wonderful time. The service was quick, the waiter serving us was so friendly and polite and the Afternoon Tea itself? Well that was simply delicious!

As a mummy, it's really important to me that I visit child-friendly places and I've always felt really comfortable taking Arthur here. There are highchairs available for use and the waiters and waitresses always make a fuss of him. Once when we visited, Arthur spent the whole time staring at one of the waiters who was sorting out the cutlery - he was fascinated! The lovely waiter spoke to him and kept him entertained, which was so kind and made all the difference to my visit.

Of course, you're probably wondering what the Afternoon Tea is actually like...well between us, my family have had quite a few Afternoon Teas around Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and this has to be one of our favourites!

For £11.95 you get a pot of tea or coffee for one, a selection of sandwiches (they're happy to cater for vegetarians and even put it on a separate stand), a choice of scone with jam and cream, a choice of cake and a serving of fresh fruit. There's usually plenty of scones to choose from (I love the cherry scones best) and a vast selection of cakes. I had the chocolate fudge cake last time I visited and it was delicious. The strawberry milkshake cake that my mum picked also looked so good. I believe the cakes change from day-to-day but with so many flavours to choose from, you're bound to find at least one you like.

If you're not a fan of Afternoon Tea (what's wrong with you?!...I kid...well kind of) there's plenty of other things on offer on the Vintage Tearooms menu; from basics like teacakes and toast, to homemade classics like pates, seasonal tarts and ploughman's lunches.

I'm not so adventurous when it comes to my tea - English Breakfast Tea will do me just fine but if you're after something a little different, there are a number of different loose teas on offer, which can be paired with a nice big slice of cake.

Whether you're going out for a special occasion or simply fancy treating yourself to an Afternoon Tea, the H&F Vintage Tearooms in Chesterfield is a must-visit place. It's somewhere the whole family can enjoy themselves (just look how eager Arthur was for his share of the Afternoon Tea in this picture) and the vintage charm of the place is sure to put a smile on your face.

I dare say we'll be visiting again for Arthur's 1st Birthday - definitely a good excuse for more of that delicious cake!

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Chewy Chocolate Button Cookies Recipe

Chewy cookies are probably one of my favourite ever treats - especially with a cup of tea, so I thought I'd share a little recipe that I have adapted here on my blog. I originally used this Millies Cookie Recipe but after making a couple of batches, I decided to change things up a little, so the cookies were more to my taste. Rather than being Millies-style cookies, these are Chewy Chocolate Button Cookies. They taste absolutely delicious (if I may say so myself) and even have my family's approval (they are quite the critics when it comes to my baking - trust me!)

Ingredients (makes around 19-20 cookies):
125g of unsalted butter
100g light brown soft sugar
125g caster sugar
1 egg
1tsp of vanilla extract*
225g of self raising flour
1/2 tsp of salt
56g of Giant Chocolate Buttons

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C
2. Cream the butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl
3. Lightly beat the egg and add into the mix along with 1tsp of vanilla extract*
4. Add the flour and salt, combining them with the mixture
5. Break up the chocolate buttons into smaller pieces and mix them in
6. Roll into walnut size balls and place on trays lined with baking paper (no need to grease it)
7. Bake for 7-9 minutes until the edges are lightly golden
8. Remove from the oven and leave to harden for a few minutes
9. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool
10. Enjoy them with a big mug of tea!

*I just thought I'd add that you don't necessarily need the vanilla extract. I made a batch of these cookies today and didn't have any in the cupboard. Personally, I don't think it's made a lot of difference - they still taste SO good.

The reason I decided to use chocolate buttons for my chewy cookies, rather than chocolate chips is that my dad and brother are quite fussy when it comes to chocolate (that's the polite way of saying they're chocolate snobs). Originally I used a cheap packet of chocolate chips from the supermarket in the cookies and they didn't think the taste was quite right, so I swapped them for giant chocolate buttons and even I've got to admit that they taste much better now. I tend to use around 2oz, which is just shy of a full pack but you can use as many as you like - it's all a matter of personal taste.

The first time I made these cookies I was so worried about taking them out of the oven after such a short time and was adamant that they'd just fall apart but if you leave them to harden for a few minutes, you'll be able to transfer them all to your wire rack in one piece. I also recommend spreading them out on your baking trays so they don't merge together. I tend to do mine on two large baking trays, baking one batch at a time.

If you're a fan of Millies-style cookies, I reckon you'll like these. The recipe has certainly been created in that style, resulting in likely baked cookies that taste amazing whether warm or cooled. They also keep for a few days, if you can resist eating them...they don't last that long at our house.

So there we have my Chewy Chocolate Button Cookies recipe! If you have a go at baking them yourself, I'd love to know what you think of them.


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Tasty Baby Food from Piccolo

When you think of puréed food, you probably think of younger babies enjoying their first tastes but did you know that fruit and veg pouches can actually make healthy, tasty snacks for older babies too? Piccolo has recently launched a wonderful range of mediterranean inspired fruit and vegetable purées, ideal for first tastes and beyond.

The Piccolo purées* are beautifully packaged in colourful, illustrated pouches, which immediately drew me in and with a wide range of flavours (listed below), I was sure I'd find some that Arthur loved!

Piccolo Flavours:
Apple and Apricot with a pinch of Cinnamon
Squash, Red Pepper and Chickpea with a hint of Rosemary
Banana, Blueberry and Apple with a hint of Vanilla
Cherry and Yoghurt with Wholegrain Oats
Peach and Apple with a hint of Basil
Spring Greens with a hint of Mint

New Piccolo Flavours:
Mango, Pear and Kale with a dash of Yoghurt
Raspberry and Apple with Soaked Oats
Sweet Potato, Beetroot, Apple and Pear
Banana, Strawberry and Peach with a hint of Mint

Over the last couple of months, Arthur's been working his way through these and surprisingly he loves them! I say surprisingly because just like his mummy he usually likes things one minute and then goes off them the next but not with Piccolo - these pouches he really loves! 

If you've caught up on my recent weaning posts, you'll know Arthur's past the purée stage of weaning (I did a combination of purée and BLW) but he enjoys a Piccolo pouch as a tasty snack or sometimes even a pudding! Like many of the other Piccolo-loving babies on Instagram, Arthur takes his straight from the pouch - no spoon necessary. The baby food pouches are great for throwing in your bag when you're going out and are particularly useful when you're on holiday, as I found out on our recent trip to Devon. It gave me peace of mind (and no mum guilt) knowing that Arthur was eating organic baby food with 100% natural ingredients.

Arthur seems to like all of the flavours - even Spring Greens, which he'll happily drink straight from the pouch or enjoy as a pasta sauce. The new, rather more adventurous flavours, containing ingredients like Kale and Beetroot also went down a treat. I feel like Arthur's already way better than me when it comes to trying new foods and I'm 26! I'd say his least favourite flavour is probably the Apple and Apricot pouch, though I'm wondering if it's something to do with the pinch of cinnamon. Cinnamon's an acquired taste right? He seems particularly taken with the Cherry Yoghurt and Banana, Blueberry and Apple pouches, so they are at the top of my list to buy now we've run out.

All in all I'm very impressed with the My Little Piccolo pouches and think they're up there as the best purées Arthur's tried (yep they've even beaten that very well known brand!) I love watching him savour his Piccolo pouches, knowing that they're packed full of good, honest and natural food. And if that wasn't enough, My Little Piccolo has also formed a partnership with the NCT; donating 10% of all profits to help fund food education. So we've got cute packaging, great tasting, healthy snacks and good morals - what more could you want?

The Piccolo pouches are stocked in Waitrose (currently on three-for-two**) and online at Ocado and Amazon. Head on over to the Piccolo website to find out more about their stockists, story and the tasty ingredients that go into their wonderful weaning products. 

Has your little one tried Piccolo yet?
*I was sent the above products for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own
**Information correct as of date of publish
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#RSPCAPetPeeves: Still Life in the Old Dog Yet

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that one of my lovely dogs, Jazz has been rather under the weather. In fact, he was so poorly that we actually said heartbreaking goodbyes to him on two separate occasions, thinking he wouldn't be coming back from the vets. We were all absolutely devastated but in agreement that we'd give him the best chance of life but if he was suffering, we'd have to let him go. Miraculously, Jazz seems to have made a fantastic recovery over the last week or so and proved that there's still life in the old dog yet. He's lost quite a bit of weight through being poorly with a very nasty infection but his appetite is back and he seems a lot more like his old self. We're so thankful that we get to spend a little longer with our beautiful dog, who we've had for twelve years. He's such a massive part of our family and it's certainly made me realise that I need to treasure him even more.

A shoulder to cry on
One of the things I love most about Jazz is how caring he is. He's extremely loving and if you're at all upset, he comes running to you, beside himself with worry. You can have a good old cry on him and he'll always make you feel tons better. Sure you might get snuffled a bit but it's so worth it! 

Did somebody call the fun police?
Something else I love about him is that he likes to keep us all in check, which is so, so funny. He's quite bossy and will make it known if he's not impressed with you. If you're having too much of a good time, he'll bark at you (we like to call him the fun police) and he's forever keeping our rescue dog Oby (more about him in a minute) in line.

He's a neat freak
Jazz also tidies up after Oby and has a habit of putting all of his toys away in the basket - even if he's not quite finished playing with them. It's so amusing to watch...who needs TV when you have dogs?!

All about Oby...
Like Jazz, Oby is a German Shepherd Border Collie Cross. We believe he's nine years old - even though he acts like a puppy most of the time! We rescued Oby three years ago (you can read all about that in this post) and despite everything he went through in the past; he's a very loving dog and has become an important part of our family. Something I love about Oby is how 'doggy' he is. Whereas Jazz has some quite human-like traits, Oby is all dog. He loves nothing more than a good old game of tug of war and enjoys racing Jazz up the local trail...although poor old Jazz isn't really up to it right now!

Love me, love me, say that you love me
Oby can be a bit of a diva too. Obviously Jazz has required a lot more attention recently with being poorly and so Oby has been quite the sulky Sue. He needs constant love and attention and will even sigh if he's not getting what he wants. It's probably something to do with the fact he was treated so poorly by previous owners but luckily for Oby, we have plenty of love to go around. Even when he's having a sulk you can always win him over with a belly rub.

Over the last three years Jazz and Oby have become brothers and I can't tell you how happy I am that Jazz seems to be recovering because I think Oby would feel pretty lost without him - we all would. If you are a dog owner or any pet owner, I'm sure you'll be able to relate to that. Pets are such a big part of our lives aren't they?

The reason I've been babbling on about my fur babies today is that I'm taking part in the #RSPCAPETPEEVES campaign. This campaign is all about encouraging pet owners to get their pets insured. As a family that has just had a pretty poorly doggy and racked up some hefty vet bills, we can tell you first hand just how valuable pet insurance is. It's so worth it, not only in terms of saving yourself money if your pet needs treatment but actually being able to get them the help they need to recover. The RSPCA works closely with More Th>n Pet Insurance, so if you still need to get your pet insured, it's definitely worth considering the packages they offer.

Do you have a pet? Are they insured?
Tell me about them in the comments below 
& share your stories on Twitter using the hashtag #RSPCAPETPEEVES 
Disclaimer: Jazz & Oby will be receiving a hamper from the RSPCA as a thank you for sharing their stories!
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Tips for Planning a Low Key Baby Shower

It's been a year since I started planning my baby shower and with my birthday in a couple of weeks (the day it was hosted on) and Arthur's 1st birthday just a few weeks after, it's something that I've been thinking about a lot. My baby shower was a sweet, simple and meaningful celebration. I kept it low key - opting to invite only my closest friends and also inexpensive. It was a lovely, special day and so I thought I'd share a few tips for those wanting to plan their own low key, budget friendly baby shower...

1. Forget all the rules
I think it's some sort of baby shower etiquette that you don't host your own baby shower and that a friend or family member does it for you. Well, I say, if you want to host your own baby shower and tailor it to your liking - forget all the rules and go for it. That way, it'll be exactly how you want it to be.

2. Keep your invite list small
If you want a low key baby shower then stick to inviting your most important people - family, best friends, you know...the people that really matter. I loved having a small, intimate gathering with my best friends. We don't all live close by anymore so it gave us the perfect excuse to catch up and celebrate together. Obviously a small invite list will help to drive down your costs if you're providing food too.

3. Do a buffet and make your own cakes
It's not a wedding so you don't need a formal sit down meal. Baby showers are all about easy snacks, buffet food and plenty of cake. Buffet food is cheap and cheerful and it always goes down a treat. My mum bless her, made all of my baby shower cakes and sandwiches in the early hours of the morning (despite it being her birthday too - the epitome of 'made with love') and they were beautiful.

Side tip - accept all the help you can get! You'll be tired enough as it is being pregnant, so if your family or friends offer to help you do the food or get set up, say YES. YES PLEASE. My mum and dad were amazing and my best friend Liz was also wonderful helping me get everything ready.

4. Look for decorations on eBay and Amazon
There are loads of great websites and online boutiques selling baby shower decorations but a lot of them are pricey. If you are looking to keep your baby shower budget friendly then search for baby shower decorations on eBay and Amazon instead. I found sellers on both sites with very similar (some even the same) decorations but for a fraction of the price. eBay sellers often offer free delivery too! I also bought things like sweetie bags and popcorn boxes, which were a nice touch to my baby shower buffet.

5. Scrap the baby shower games (if you want to)
Although I would happily join in with someone else's baby shower games, they weren't something I wanted to play at my own baby shower. Trying fake poo and guessing what it is and pinning the sperm on the egg just don't really do it for me...but again, there's no real judgment here! As I was saying before, I wanted to spend quality time with my best friends and talk all things baby, so I decided to scrap the baby shower games altogether.

I did decide to hand out some baby prediction cards for my friends to fill in, which was pretty fun. No one actually guessed anything right but they've made a nice addition to Arthur's memory box. I know some people like to get their guests to write a message for their baby's time capsule or sign a guest book,  both of which are lovely ideas. Baby shower activities don't have to make you cringe!

So there are a few simple tips for those who want a low key and budget friendly baby shower. It's your special day, so there's nothing wrong with taking control of the planning or going against tradition. There's no right or wrong way to plan a baby shower and as long as you have a lovely time, then you've done a good job!

Did you have a baby shower or are you planning one?
Tell me about it in the comments below.
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My 5 Weaning Favourites

I've been weaning Arthur for nearly five months now so I thought I'd share some of our favourite weaning products. Whether you go down the puree or BLW route or a combination of the two (which was my chosen 'weaning method') I'm sure you'll find some of these useful too...

1. Cosatto 3Sixti Highchair in Strudel
A highchair of some sort is a weaning essential and after numerous recommendations I chose the Cosatto 3Sixti Highchair in the Strudel design. We’ve been using this highchair since Arthur started weaning (a week or so before he turned 6 months) and I’m so impressed with it. Not only does it have a bright, fun and colourful design but it’s also really sturdy so you feel confident your baby won’t be able to somehow knock it over. It rotates 360 degrees so you can swivel it round and the trays are removable allowing for up to the table feeding. It can also be used at different heights with an easy gas-lift button that you press with your foot and has three reclining positions.

The 3Sixti Highchair is really easy to wipe clean and has removable straps that I pop in the washing machine for a deeper clean when necessary. The only thing I would say is that it’s quite heavy to move from room to room (though it does have little rollers) but again, I think it’s heaviness is a reflection of how sturdy and safe it is. Oh and I forgot to mention it has a five-point harness and seat pummel to stop your little one from wriggling out too!

When dining out I tend to use the highchairs available for Arthur but if they're unsuitable or unavailable the Totseat saves the day!

2. Tommee Tippee Easy Drink Sippee Cup
Arthur's tried a few different beakers since he started sipping water at meal times but he seems most taken with the Tommee Tippee Easy Drink Sippee Cup. This beaker comes with removable easy-grip handles and a removable non-spill valve. It's recommended that you let babies learn to drink free-flow without the non-spill valve but when you're out and about or don't want to get liquid everywhere it's definitely a useful thing to have in the beaker! It's BPA-free, dishwasher proof and can be sterilised too.

3. Tommee Tippee Easy Scoop Feeding Bowls & Explora Feeding Spoons
If you're coming up to the time where you'll be weaning your baby, I definitely recommend looking at the Tommee Tippee range. They're my go-to brand for feeding spoons* as Arthur seems to prefer eating his cereal and yoghurt off them. I think their Easy Scoop Feeding Bowls* are great too. They can be stacked for easy storage and are designed to make it easy for you to scoop up puree onto the spoon. You can also buy ones with lids, which are great for taking out and about with you.

4. Vital Baby Prep and Go Food Pots
These weaning pots from Vital Baby are great if you're going out and need to pack food for your baby or you're portioning out food to pop in the fridge or freezer. They have a secure clip-on lid and are BPA-free. You can pick up a multi-pack for around £4.99 so the pots are very reasonably priced too.

5. GumiGem Silicone Dapper Bibs
If there's one piece of advice I'd give a mama about to wean her baby, it'd be prepare for mess and a lot of it. Those cute little dribble bibs you were putting on your little one to catch their milk are no good for weaning - trust me, they'll be destroyed within minutes! Instead, you need something a little more practical and robust in order to keep your little one's favourite outfits free from the brightest coloured staining you'll ever see.

My favourite bibs to put on Arthur are the ones that are made from BPA-free silicone. They're easy to wipe after use, can be put in the dishwasher for a deep clean and often come with a crumb catcher, which works a treat at scooping up missed mouthfuls. Most of the crumb catcher bibs out there are fairly plain in design but if you're looking for something a little more fun for your baby to wear, take a look at the Bling and Dapper Bibs by GumiGem*. Featuring necklace and tie designs, these handy crumb-catcher bibs are anything but boring and ideal for messy meal times. Arthur looks absolutely adorable in his Dapper Bibs and I love that they can be rolled to minimise space in your changing bag when you're out and about.

I was recently asked to become one of GumiGem's brand ambassadors so be sure to look out for my social media posts featuring their bibs and teething jewellery, as well as some upcoming blog posts. They've also just re-launched their website, so head on over to see their fun, baby-friendly products for yourself!

What are your favourite weaning products?
*PR Items
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Homemade ice cream with the Savisto Ice Cream Maker

Summer's nearly over but that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy a tasty ice cream and here in the Hunt household, we've been having a go at making our own with the Savisto Ice Cream Maker*. For some reason, I always thought making ice cream would be quite difficult but having the machine makes it super easy.

The Savisto Ice Cream Maker comes with a 1.5 litre freezing bowl, a large funnel allowing you to add ingredients whilst the mixture is churning, a digital time display and a booklet featuring 133 homemade ice cream recipes. I think it's a lovely sleek and compact design, not taking up too much worktop space at all.

After browsing the recipe book, I decided to make a simple strawberry ice cream. It's my mum's favourite flavour and I thought it was a good one to start with as it required minimal ingredients and effort. The night before I put the removable bowl in a bag in the freezer so it would be ready the next day - an important step to remember, as the bowl must be frozen for around 12 hours prior to use.

The strawberry ice cream recipe in the Savisto book was very easy to follow. All you had to do was puree your strawberries and then mix them together in the bowl with the cream and sugar. There wasn't any cooking or chilling involved in this recipe but others in the book are more complex and elaborate.

Once it was all mixed together nicely, I popped it into the frozen bowl, pushed in the paddle, locked the top on and set the timer for 30 minutes. Admittedly, I had no idea if this was the right time to churn the ice cream for, as the recipe book said to go with the manufacturer's instructions and I couldn't seem to find the right time in there either but thankfully 30 minutes was perfect! You can actually churn for up to 40 minutes or reduce the time using the button on the digital screen in five minute intervals.

Something else I really liked about the machine was that it wasn't too noisy. The noise it made was low-level so you could get on and do other things in the mean time without it bothering you.

Once the thirty minutes was up, I transferred the ice cream into a Tupperware container and put it in the freezer. I was seriously impressed with how the ice cream had turned out - it was lovely and vibrant in colour and soft to scoop. My homemade strawberry ice cream also got a big thumbs up when it came to trying the ice strawberry ice cream isn't my favourite but even I thought it tasted good! My mum and dad absolutely loved it and said it tasted as good as the ice cream you buy in the little shops on holiday!

Cleaning the machine was also very straight forward. I simply waited for it to return to room temperature and then hand washed it with a cloth. The entire process of preparing, using and cleaning the Savisto Ice Cream Machine is quick, easy and fuss-free - just what you want from a home kitchen appliance. I can't wait to try some of the more complex recipes in the book - I'm thinking it's gonna have to be a butterscotch or salted caramel ice cream next as they're my favourite flavours!

At £34.99 (was £44.99) the Savisto Ice Cream Maker is extremely well priced and perfect for those wanting to try their hand at making ice cream at home. Although it doesn't have an internal freezing mechanism like some of the more expensive machines, I really don't think freezing the bowl is an inconvenience and the machine itself does everything you need it to do. It makes a great amount of ice cream with it's 1.5 litre capacity and I'm sure it's going to get plenty of use in the Hunt household!

*PR Item
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