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First-time Mum Giveaway

October 31, 2012 in Book Reviews, Closed Giveaways, Parenting

“A new baby doesn’t come with an instruction manual but it feels like it should!” If you are pregnant and feel scared at the prospect of what you will have to contend with when your little bundle of joy arrives then this giveaway is for you!

Here at Rhoda Reviews we’ve been given a copy of First-time Mum by Hollie Smith to give away to one lucky reader. Hollie is the author of Pregnancy for Modern Girls, and has put pen to paper again to share her tips on how to cope with those first 12 months of your child’s life.

One of the first things that struck me about this book is that it is written in a kind of “here’s some advice if you’d like it” sort of way rather than “look at me I’m amazing, do what I do”. That in itself put me in the right frame of mind to read this book, it’s not condescending, it’s just useful. It’s written like it’s advice from a friend, and this friendly tone continues throughout the book.

The book is divided into three parts: Starting Out, Your Baby and Being Mum. Each section is filled with individual chapters and tips. It’s the kind of book that you can sit down and read or dip in to when you need a bit of help. It’s easy to navigate and even includes tips from other mums to help you on your new journey.

I have to say though that the section that really stands out to me is the “What to buy for your baby” chapter. The baby market is absolutely huge and it is quite easy to be convinced that you need absolutely everything you see. Hollie sets out the things that you actually do need along with those things that are essentially just a waste of money. This section definitely appeals to my moneysaving side!

If you like the sound of this book we are giving you the chance to win your own copy. To enter simply complete the rafflecopter entry form below – easy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

First-time Mum retails for £10.99 – be sure and shop around before you buy though as I’ve seen it for cheaper online.

A copy of this book was received for our consideration. This has in no way affected our opinion of the book, as always our post is completely honest and all opinions are entirely our own. Thank you to the publisher for providing the prize for this giveaway.

Happy Birthday Mum!

October 1, 2012 in Personal

Today is my Mum’s 60th birthday! I just wanted to take a minute to wish her a very happy birthday!
We love you very much Mum and are so incredibly proud of you. Hope you have a lovely day!
Lots of love

The Pirate House

September 25, 2012 in Young Children

Back in February Liz reviewed Not on a School Night by Rebecca Paterson. Now she reviews Rebecca’s latest book The Pirate House.

We’ve one other book by Rebecca Patterson (Not on a School Night) and love it, so were really pleased to receive this new book which is even better. Just from the front cover, the bright, colourful illustrations appealed to Jonny (3) and Sophie (16 months). ‘The Pirate House’ is a book that can be enjoyed by both kids at the same time as there aren’t too many words on a page (so Sophie doesn’t get bored) but there’s lots to look at so Jonny is entertained. Therefore, sometimes we read the book in a few minutes and other times I can make it last a lot longer.
The story is clever with a nice twist at the end which appeals to kids and adults and it has really reminded me how children can make imaginary worlds out of anything. Sam Turner thinks a pirate lives in their street, and soon the story grows and grows as the children take on the story.
This book’s real beauty is its illustrations. They invite the reader into a world where anything is possible and drive the story on.
A real favourite!
A copy of this book was received for consideration. This has in no way influenced our review, which is, as always, completely honest.

Why Did Nobody Tell Me?

September 10, 2012 in Book Reviews, Parenting

A couple of weeks ago a copy of the latest Mumsnet book Why Did Nobody Tell Me? popped through the letterbox. Filled with advice, thoughts and feelings from the message boards of Mumsnet this is a book that contains the “home truths that every parent needs to know”.
I flicked through a few pages before passing it over to Liz and I just knew she would love this book. Here’s what she had to say….
Hilarious! Many, many times over the past three and a half years we have found ourselves facing the dilemma ‘laugh or cry’. So far we have managed the ‘laugh’ but the latter is always an option to consider. I have talked to many mothers who portray parenthood as one ‘fun’ road and figure they are either far better at it than me or just lying. Comments like ‘I never mind when they throw food everywhere’ or ‘we were lucky, they slept through from two weeks old and now they’re three they still have a two hour nap after lunch’ require a forced smile followed by a quick exit before I carry out behaviour I wouldn’t necessarily want to teach to my two children.
Thank goodness I have one friend who I met when Jonny and her son were just born and we have always told each other what we really think and don’t think badly of each other when we try and sell them to the circus or complain bitterly that they’ve managed to have ten tantrums before they’ve even got out of bed.
I feel like Natasha Joffe and Justine Roberts (and the Mumsnet crew) could certainly join us for a coffee (or more likely wine) and we would be friends for life! How refreshing to find a book that doesn’t attempt to be a ‘positive’ manual, but rather lets you enter a world in which all is not perfect…
With our first child I remember reading a ‘manual’ that someone bought us after the first few weeks and thinking ‘oh well, I’ve stuffed it up already. Let’s have some cake’. As they grow older there are so many ‘things’ to tick off to show the world that you’re a good parent. If you do this you can honestly turn up to anything and say you’ve just had a wonderful time painting/baking/etc (of course omitting the fact that your favourite dish has been broken, the non-stick pan is non-stick no more, the newly painted wall will not wash clean no matter what the can says, and that it was actually an awful experience as my other child wreaked havoc at the same time and threw up everywhere, etc etc so as not to spoil the illusion). If only everyone would turn up having not showered and looking dreadful the world really would be a better place to live in.
This book actually gives useful advice you can take on board or ignore. I have been laughing for days – page 305 regarding party bags is one of my favourites.
This book should be given to you at your first midwife’s appointment – it would be the best preparation. 
A copy of this book was received for consideration. This has in no way influenced our review, which is, as always, completely honest.

Bunting Design Oilcloth Cushion from Alana J Design

September 5, 2012 in Company Crush, Gifts, Home & Garden, Maternity, Supporting Small Businesses

Don’t you just love discovering new companies? I love that feeling of finding a new company, with great products that you just can’t help but fall in love with. Yes I’ve used the word love three times in two sentences but today it feels appropriate.

I recently discovered Alana J Design who specialise in handmade gifts for the home….and you guessed it I fell in love!
Alana J Design started off by creating handmade pillowcases for v pillows (a great gift for Mums-to-be) seeing a gap in the market for stylish designs rather than the plain, uninspiring ones that were previously available. From there they have moved on to creating gorgeous bunting and other types of cushions.
I was lucky enough to be sent one of their Oilcloth Garden Cushions and I was extremely impressed with what I saw!
The cushion arrived beautifully packaged. I think you can tell a lot about a company with how they present their products. Alana J Design clearly take a lot of pride in their work and my cushion arrived carefully wrapped in purple tissue paper with a sachet of lavender included. This is not just any lavender sachet though it’s from a Lavender Farm local to Alana J Design – another huge tick from me, supporting local businesses and so lovely and fresh! I actually have it hanging in the living room at the moment as I just love the smell. Such a great touch and I like that it has a personal edge too, a great idea.
As for the cushion itself, well I had high hopes after seeing how lovingly it had been wrapped and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The bunting design cushion epitomises quality. It measures 14″ x 14″ and is filled with a slightly larger cushion pad meaning that it is fully filled out. It really is very comfortable – in fact it’s comfy to sit on as well as to lean against.  The oilcloth fabric itself is gorgeous and feels durable and hard wearing. You can tell this cushion has been lovingly made as each and every stitch is perfect!
One thing I really like about this cushion is that fact that it is wipe clean. I’ve been looking for cushions for my garden furniture for a while now and was struggling to find something that met all my requirements, but this is perfect. In fact this cushion would be great for family picnics – comfy to sit on, easy to clean and a beautiful design too. I know that when my friend’s kids come round this will be the cushion I let them use as I won’t need to worry about a “sticky finger attack”!
I could go on and on about this beautiful cushion but there’s really just one final point I’d like to make. This cushion retails for just £10. Now I’ve been looking at mass produced cushions for the garden for a while now and I can tell you this handmade cushion blows them out the water in terms of value, quality and of course its beautiful design.
I’ve now got my eye on a few of the other products on the Alana J Design website. I know for a fact that my sister would love this Cath Kidston handmade V pillowcase….
….and anyone who knows me will tell you that this Sheep Bunting has my name written all over it!
Sometimes when I write a review I want to find something negative to “prove” that it is an honest review. I’ve been sat here trying to think of anything, anything at all slightly negative to say about this cushion but you’ve guessed it, I can’t think of one single thing. I’m just so impressed with the quality, price and overall design. I really love it!
Alana J Design tell me that they will be running a competition every month over on Facebook, so be sure to pop over and like their page so that you don’t miss out!
So there you have it, my latest company crush. I’m in love!
A sample cushion was received for consideration. This has in no way affected my opinion of the product and as always my review is 100% honest.