Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Answer a quick survey about your wedding dress & win a £100 voucher

Off the peg, vintage, borrowed or bespoke? Bride and Groom want to know everything about the most exquisite dress you’ve ever owned – your wedding dress!
So to find out about all your wedding dress essentials, they’ve put together a quick questionnaire and would love you to fill it out for them. It only takes a few minutes and one lucky entrant will win a £100 voucher as a thank you for their input.

To enter the survey, click here!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Getting a passport is harder than getting into the Royal Family

I don't know if this is actually true as I have never tried becoming a member of the Royal Family and I also don't intend to ever become one but I can imagine that Lizzie & Co would want to know quite a bit about you before they let you into Buckingham Palace and .
Well, the people at the Passport Office are quite curious as well and that is fair enough as they obviously want to be sure that they only hand out passports to people who are actually eligible for them but to be honest, I think they are going a bit over the top with what they want to know.

This is what you need to apply for a first children's passport according to the Passport Office's website:

What the website doesn't tell you is that if one of the parents is not British (that would be me), you absolutely have to strip down to your pants when applying for your child's first ever passport. Not only do they demand that you send your passport and all other forms and certificates to the Passport Office, no they also require the following information for each of your parents: full name, date of birth, their place of birth and when and where they got married. What does my parents' wedding anniversary have to do with Amy? Isn't it enough that Ben and I gave proof of who we are? I really don't want to know what they would have wanted me to pull out my sleeve, if my parents had only been co-habiting - probably the birth certificate of my great grandaunt's German Sheppard. Ridiculous!

Friday, 26 August 2011

The DIY and interior design fairy has sprinkled her magic dust on me

Remember when I asked you to throw some inspiration for interior design ideas at me because I had absolutely no idea on what to do with my boring living room? Well, lean back and relax, my lovelies, because the DIY and interior design fairy has sprinkled some of her magic creativity dust on me. I have played around on a website called Olioboard and created several mood boards with different looks for our front room. I have never used so called mood boards before but I remember a friend using them to plan her wedding and I have to say: I am sold on the idea.

While she sat down and used cuttings from magazines and worked with different posters because nothing she wanted fitted on just one sheet of paper, I decided to go all digital in order to save myself time, nerves and hassle. I registered with Olioboard and within minutes I was able to create my first ever mood board. You can simply drag and drop items from a library of accessories or upload your own items, e.g. pieces of your own furniture you want to create a style around. I love the idea of creating mood boards and am already planning the look of the next room. They are super easy to create and just so effective: You don't have to walk around DIY stores to collect paint samples or spend a fortune on decorating magazines that don't inspire you. 

We have decided to go with a kind of Scandinavian look that fits around our humongous brown leather sofa (it's just too comfy to get rid of it) and we will keep all our furniture because all our pieces are only about two years old but we are going to say goodbye to our cream grey carpet carpet and will go for a completely different colour scheme for our walls. At the moment they are painted in a warm brown tone but with all our furniture being dark brown, you can imagine that it can get quite claustrophobic in here. To change this, we have ordered wooden white oak flooring and decided to go for two bright white walls and two walls in a colour called faded malachite (you know exactly what I mean, don't you?).

What do you think of my little interior design project? Which of your rooms would you like to give a makeover and why? Also, if you decide to create a mood board, leave me a link to your blog post...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Sleeping sucks...

... at least if you are my 17 week old daughter. Amy is generally an amazing sleeper. She's been sleeping through since she was 3 weeks old and I know how absolutely lucky I am but the last two nights have been a bit of a challenge for me.

Amy has decided that 4.30am is the perfect time to wake up. If she'd only be having a feed that would be fine by me but after having what seems like the drink of the century (yes, it feels that long when all you want to do is go back to dream land) sleeping is the last thing on her mind. She gives me a cheeky grin and starts entertaining herself by loudly talking to the dark. Well, that is for the first two hours. Then she gets tired. But being tired doesn't equal going back to bed if you are a stubborn baby like her - people say, she's got that from me but they must confuse me with someone else. Anyway, sleeping is not on Amy's to do list after two action packed hours in the middle of the night - not even, if she can't keep her eyes open. No, if you see how much Amy fights sleep you might think that sleeping really sucks. Don't ask me who taught her that, it certainly wasn't me. I try rocking her to sleep. I let her Twinkle Twinkle Little Violet play lullabies and environmental sounds to her (normally an instant winner) but the more I try to help her settle the angrier she gets. You can't imagine what angry noises this cute little face can produce and how much strength she brings up when she wants to lift up her body so that she doesn't have to lie down - it surprises me every morning and admittedly, it slightly scares me thinking about how she'll kick off once she's older. In my horror visions, I already see her taking camp on the naughty step. In the nice ones, everything is pink and fluffy and full of butterflies and unicorns - you get the picture? It looks like this and after a 4 hours fight I can see it clearly:

Competition: Win a personalised Peppa Pig Book + discount code for Mummy Alarm readers

Starting school can be a daunting time for youngsters but now the idea of school can be introduced with this personalised Peppa Pig book by Penwizard. Whether your little ones are going to school, nursery or playgroup - you can make their first day a special one by sending them on their very own Peppa Pig adventure.


In ‘Go to Playgroup’, your child stars in the words and pictures with Peppa, Rebecca Rabbit, Danny Dog, Candy Cat, Suzy Sheep, Zoe Zebra and all the Peppa characters that they know from their favourite series. Creating your child's very own Peppa Pig story couldn't be easier: Simply add their name and then personalise the illustration to include their eye colour, hair colour and style and skin colour. Choose whether they go to school, nursery or playgroup and even add your very own personal message, for the ultimate personal touch.

If you would like to create this unique personalised book starring your child as they start school at simply visit and fill in their details. Readers of Mummy Alarm save £3 on all Peppa Go to School purchases until 30th September 2011. Simply enter the discount code 362589 when you are checking out.

How to enter:
1. If you want to win a personalised Peppa Pig book, leave a comment telling me what you loved most about school. - REQUIRED

Please, use separate comments for each bonus entry. Failure to do so will result in only one entry per person. 

For extra entries: 
2. Follow @caro_mad on Twitter & tweet: "I want to a personalised Peppa Pig book with @caro_mad. You can enter here:"
3. Comment on one of my non-competition posts and let me know which one you commented on
4. Subscribe to Mummy Alarm via Google Friend Connect
5. Follow Mummy Alarm via Networked Blogs
6. Like Mummy Alarm on Facebook
7. Share this competition using the Google+ button below

Terms & Conditions:
The closing date of the competition is 14/09/2011
The winner will be chosen at random.
The winner's names will be shown on this page.
Competition is open to residents of the UK only.
The prize is non-refundable and cannot be transferred. No cash alternative is available.

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions
Loquax - The UK Competetion Portal

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Silent Sunday

I've been webifyed or What your internet habits tell about you!

I've just come across a nice new app to play with: Webify Me promises to analyse your personality examining your use of social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter and your internet surfing habits in general. Well, for you my dear readers, I took the plunge and told them the dirty truth about my relationship with the world wide web. What Webify Me found out? Read below what the different objects tell about my Cyber-Me. Some of the statements might be right, some might be wrong. Judge yourself and if you are brave enough take the quiz yourself and come back to leave me a comment so I can see how we compare.

Pop Magazine
Why, look at you. Clearly, you bear the mark of The Fierce. You know what's hot, but rock your own style, and can dance on that fine line that separates dandy from dowdy.

Fortune Teller
The Fortune Teller, The Cootie Catcher — an ancient, noble device of truth-seekers. Let fortunes be told forthrightly, with simple honesty guided by blind chance.

Ah, the Flask — the party is wherever you are, Social Butterfly. You bring it, and you bring it in style. But you also know when to stop. Keep it classy, my sleek silver friend!

Eat my dust! I'm bumping up my browsing into hyperdrive and leaving lesser browsers behind..

Friendship Pin
The Friendship Pin — an unbreakable bond between you and your BFF. It shows you are loyal, willing to wear your love on your sleeve (or sneaker).

Action Figure
A significant cultural heroic icon looms large in your inner nerd psyche. Embrace it. (We really don't want to get into the whole trademark thing, OK?)

You've earned The Headphones. You know that the best concerts are the all-star lineups you stage for yourself, in your own head.

Let's go! You're not one to sit around; you like the active, positive and healthful, in body mind and spirit. And you have the sweaty wrists to prove it.

Android Smartphone
For you, the Internet cannot be contained to a desk or a cafe. You carry it with you, not a place you go, but a tool you use. This is your Swiss Army Knife™.

Name Tag
Who are you, really? That's something you can decide, and decide again, and again. Create a persona for each world you live in. Just don't get confused, or they'll make a movie about you.

Pocket Knife
The Pocket Knife — small, versatile, and just a little bit dangerous. It is your symbol because you are resourceful, and sharp, and you know how to fold yourself.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Like washing up? No, me neither...

... and also Persil's new range of washing up liquids hasn't changed this BUT it has made washing the dishes a little bit nicer. We do have a dish washer (Thank God for that!) but I prefer washing sauce pans and frying pans by hand, simply because they need a good scrub in our house - you know, men in the kitchen and things like that. So having a fab range of nice smelling washing up liquids to chose from really boosts my spirits when I am on washing up duty. The new Persil range comes in four yummy fragrances: Apple Fizz, Lemon Burst, Pink Blush and Orange Crush, with vibrant colours to match their fresh and fruity aromas. 
We have been sent all four fragrances to try and although washing up isn't on top of my favourite-things-to-do list, these washing up liquids bring fun into your kitchen. I really liked that they are brightly coloured (always gets me in a happy smiley mood) and their smell is absolutely fantastic. My usual washing up liquid smells like exactly that - washing up liquid. The new Persil range, though, is really fruity and smells like you could drink it - I obviously won't do that but it's nice to be surrounded by non-synthetic smells, don't you think? My favourite is Pink Blush which reminds me of fresh pink grapefruit with lots of sugar... nom nom nom. I'm sure you would have guessed it sooner or later, but the new Persil range does not only smell nice but it is also antibacterial, which is always a plus when you've got a baby at home, and cleans your dishes really nicely. But what other would you expect from Persil. They aren't at the top of the market for nothing, are they?

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Competition: Win one of three pairs of Bobux

From birth to three, little feet undergo an enormous amount of change. Whether crawling, toddling or walking, a child’s footwear needs to support healthy, natural development.

Bobux, a leading New Zealand innovator in children’s footwear, draws on both science and working with globally renowned specialists and natural health researchers to create eco-friendly footwear that allows unrestricted development as babies and toddlers grow. Bobux offer three ranges of footwear based around the philosophy that children do better when they’re comfortable, happy and free to develop as nature intended. Each shoe is designed to support key stages of a child’s development from crawling to walking.

Soft Sole (indoor wear) 
The first ever soft-soled elasticated leather baby shoe was created in 1991 by Bobux founder Chris Bennett. These are soft, breathable and flexible shoes for babies of 0 to 27 months. Made with eco-leather and non-toxic stitching and dyes. With a unique elastic ankle support, these Bobux originals works with little feet as they grip the floor, flex muscles and spread toes, assisting in crawling and making those first steps as easy as possible. The fun, colourful soft sole designs also work to stimulate little minds just as they’re starting to take in visual information. It’s like having a mobile on the end of their legs!

Pre-walk (outdoor wear)
They feature a revolutionary duo-flex sole (leather round the edges and rubber underneath) to support but not restrict natural movement during those first few steps. The pre-walk range consists of sandals, ballet shoes and sport shoes.

i-walk (outdoor wear)
A soft, flexible rubber-sole shoe with extra grip that conforms to the natural walking motion of little feet allowing them to grow and explore without restriction, avoiding malformation and spinal issues later in life. The i-walk range consists of sneakers, loafers, casual shoes and sandals.

Please, use separate comments for each entry. Failure to do so will result in only one entry per person. 

How to enter:
1. If you want to win a pair of your choice, fill in your details in this competition form, pop over to Bobux's website and leave me a comment telling me which pair you would like to win and why.

For extra entries: 
2. Follow @caro_mad on Twitter & tweet: "I want to a pair of Bobux shoes with @caro_mad. You can enter here:"
3. Comment on one of my non-competition posts and let me know which one you commented on
4. Subscribe to Mummy Alarm via Google Friend Connect
5. Follow Mummy Alarm via Networked Blogs
6. Like Mummy Alarm on Facebook

Terms & Conditions:
The closing date of the competition is 07/09/2011
The winners will be chosen at random.
The winners' names will be shown on this page.
Competition is open to residents of the UK only.
The prize is non-refundable and cannot be transferred. No cash alternative is available.

A future mummy blogger?

I have discovered that there is a Facebook version of a game that my sister and I used to play until the computer started smoking: The Sims. And guess what, my sim is writing a blog. Ok, she isn't a pro yet and she certainly doesn't rank in the Tots 100 or leads the Wikio Parenting Ranking but hey, she might get there...

Have you ever played the Sims? And what careers did you give them?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

And the winner is...

And the 10 lucky winners of a Write & Spell Book of their choice are...

Natalie Holland - @fluffyblueberry 
Maya Russell - @maisietoo 
Iain MacIver - @maci234
Louise Strachan - @Bobbity666 
Katie Simmonds - @ktcoventry
Danielle Jordan Terry - @tinkabelldani 
Leanne Mc Loughlin - @second_time_mum 
Janice Taylor  - via email
Mummy Lion - @MummyLion
Helmarkxx - @picklepie35

Congratulations - please email me your addresses and full name via this contact form and let me know if you would like the book for reception or Year 1&2.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Can you throw some DIY inspiration at me?

I know that nesting should normally start before a baby is born but with me it seems to be the other way round. Since Amy's birth I have watched hundreds of DIY programs, read dozens of interior design magazines and surfed the internet to find some inspiration for our living room and bedroom but it just won't come to me. It is getting really frustrating because both rooms desperately need a creative overhaul. They are perfectly livable and I am sure many people would be glad to have a home like we do. But I just don't like those rooms anymore. They're plain, boring and just don't feel
We have agreed that we need laminate flooring in our life. Of course, carpet is nice and fluffy, keeps your feet warm and gives your living room a cosy feel but it also is a real pain to clean - especially if you knock things over as much as we do and that is Amy not even included yet. However, we are unable to decide on the colour or wood effect we would like as we haven't got the slightest idea of what overall style we want to go for. Our living room is really small, oddly shaped and worst of all comes with a massive but super comfy leather 3-seater and two big armchairs that restrict how you can arrange your furniture. Also there is only one wall that we can put our telly on so that limits where we can put the 3-seater. You see, it is an interior design  nightmare if you aren't a super clever architects who designs houses for TV shows like '60 Minute Makeover' or 'DIY SOS'.

The same problem strikes in the bedroom. It's shaped like a trapeze, it's small and has one side covered in build-in wardrobes so there's literally one way to put the bed. The worst thing about it are the colour scheme and curtains, though, which are a left-over of our landlady who decided to leave quite a few pieces of furniture (yes, the sofa) behind before moving in with her boyfriend. Fortunately, we could convince her that it would benefit us AND the house if we gave it an overhaul. I don't mind getting my hands dirty, plastering walls or cover myself in dust but first of all we need to decide on what we want. 

Maybe you can help? What do you want in a living room and bed room? Do your rooms have a personal touch or did you go for clean chic? Does your home reflect your character and can you decorate a room without breaking the bank?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Review: SnoozeShade Plus - sunshade and sleep aid for strollers and prams

Do you know the feeling when you are out and about, the sun is shining and your little one just doesn't want to go to sleep? Thought so. Well, lean back and relax because Cara Sayer has come up with the invention of inventions: The SnoozeShade Plus.

The SnoozeShade Plus is the ultimate sunshade and sleep aid for strollers and prams that allows you to maintain your child's sleep schedule while you are out and about and also protects them from the dangers of sun rays. The SnoozeShade Plus is the further development of the SnoozeShade Original and comes with a new 'lookout' window for your little one to see out. Once they are asleep or you want them to settle for a nap, you can easily zip it up to create a darkened and cosy environment that helps nosy toddlers and babies to switch off and have a snooze. Closed, the SnoozeShade Plus offers one of the highest levels of sun protection available on the stroller sunshade market with UPF50+. But don't worry about your little one overheating. The SnoozeShade Plus is made of a double-layer of soft breathable fabric that allows air to circulate so that your little passenger stays comfy throughout the entire journey.

What I'm thinking about it? For me the SnoozeShade Plus is an absolute must-have during the summer months. Amy is a brilliant sleeper once she is asleep but when we are out and about she always struggles to switch off and relax. The SnoozeShade Plus was a great help with keeping up her sleep routine. Amy wasn't distracted by her environment and could relax and eventually drop off to dream land while still hearing our voices and being protected from the sun light. It also provides protection against mosquitoes and other nasty insects you don't want anywhere near your baby or toddler - brilliant if you like to travel. The lookout window is a great feature to reassure you that your little one is alright and as if the whole idea behind the SnoozeShade Plus wasn't clever enough already, it also fits all popular 3- and 4-wheeled prams, strollers, pushchairs and buggies with a single hood. We are using it with the Mamas and Papas Sola and I am impressed about how easy it is to attach to the pram with its elasticated Velcro straps - it literally takes seconds and even daddy can do it.

Retailing at £29.99 the SnoozeShade Plus is good value for money. It is made of a robust yet light material and offers sun protection and sleeping aid on the go. If you would like to buy a SnoozeShade Plus or Original, check for the latest offers and a list of stockists.

Disclosure: I have been provided with a free SnoozeShade Plus for this review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced by SnoozeShade.

And the winner is...

The lucky winner of a High Tea Shape Matching toy by John Crane Ltd. is...

Whitelilygreen -@mummiafelice 

Congratulations - I'll be in touch shortly!


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