Posted in reading

Wonderbly Personalised Book Review

Ellie loves reading, it’s one of her favourite things to do. She reads fluently too with so much expression but her favourite books are the kind where she feels like she is really in the story. That’s where personalised books are amazing because she can find her name or a character that looks just like her while getting stuck in to the story.

Wonderbly is an online book company specialising in personalised books for children. They have a wide range of books in three age categories: 0-3 years, 3-6 years and 6+ years allowing you to easily choose a book suitable for the child the book is for. There is a book suitable to gift for any occasion too!

We have been very fortunate to have been sent their “Princess You The Great” book to review.

These stories are built around your child; giving them the fun and excitement of seeing their own name built in to the story.

Getting started is really simple.

Just choose a book, write in your child’s name, and pick the character drawing that looks the most like them.

I LOVE the different choices of customisation you get with the Wonderbly books. You don’t just choose Boy or Girl, you can choose characters with the same hair and skin colour of your child, this gives them the feeling that they are really in the story!

The website is extremely easy to use and navigate, the hardest part is choosing which book to personalise. There is the option of changing the colour of the cover (some colour options have an additional fee) and then a choice of softcover, hardback or premium hardback layflat. The hardback is a popular choice for any child book to keep them safer in little hands!

Before I finalised our book I created my own dedication which would be printed on the first page. I’ve done this for every personalised book we own, I think it will be a lovely memory for when Ellie is older.

Princess Ellie The Great

A little princess or prince has been invited to the palace to celebrate someone special – but who could it be? On their way they’ll meet lots of magical creatures who need their help and learn what makes a true champion.

A story about a strong, brave girl who just so happens to be a Princess. What more could a little girl want in a story whose main character looks just like the girl reading it. I love that the story teaches young girls they can be both a princess and a brave warrior able to overcome anything they desire! Within the story the main character learns the power of kindness, creativity, courage and determination – all qualities I want Ellie to have as she grows up – by befriending and helping the magical creatures they meet.

Each page is beautifully illustrated on thick high-quality paper and sourced from sustainable forests (making them good for the planet too!)

Our new Wonderbly book is an amazing addition to our Wonderbly Collection and we all love reading them. They are fun and make reading a bedtime story together even more special.

These are books I know we will treasure forever!

Do you own any Wonderbly books? I’d love to know what books others would recommend!

DISCLOSURE – WE WERE KINDLY GIFTED THE PRODUCT TO REVIEW HOWEVER AS ALWAYS ALL THOUGHTS, OPINIONS AND PHOTOGRAPHS ARE MY OWN.

Posted in fathers day, Gifted

Fathers Day Gift Guide

Since my Mothers Day Gift Guide went down well, I’d been asked whether I know of any quirky/out of the box gift ideas for Fathers Day coming up too.

Reminder – Fathers Day in the UK is Sunday 19th June 2022.

I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing businesses and try out some great products to put together this year’s gift guide. I am always very honest and will only ever review and share products I genuinely recommend and would buy myself.

Disclosure – All items shown below have been gifted to review and include in this year’s Gift Guide however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.

Engravers Guild

For the Dad who enjoys a tipple.

Click to see their Instagram profile

I love a personalised gift and was very excited to receive this amazing Bubble Whiskey Glass from Engravers Guild. It’s the ideal fathers day gift as you can include any wording or message you like.
It’s a classic straight sided whiskey glass with the added detail of the bubble in the base making it suitable for whiskey drinkers everywhere.

It comes in a luxury silk lined box and engraved using a precision laser making it a personal and memorable gift. Engraving and gift box is included in the price too!
The glass is medium in size (measuring 90mm high).

Priced currently at £19.99 and is available here.

Kitchen Craft

For the Dad’s who love a good brew.

Click to see their Instagram profile

This set of 4 beautiful footed mugs from KitchenCraft shout out elegance. Designed in the UK and made from high quality china. They make the perfect gift for any dad who enjoys a delicious brew! Each mug holds 400ml of tea or coffee and has a stunning lemon pattern throughout.
Priced at £20 and you can purchase from Cook Serve Enjoy here.

Club Seven Menswear

No more holey socks for Dad.

Click to see their Instagram profile

Club Seven have got everything a man needs for their underwear drawer, from briefs and boxers to socks. The cushioned crew socks are soft and comfy to wear and come in white or black. The boxers are true to size and fit well. The material is a good quality too and feels like they are durable.

Prices start from £9 and is available to buy here.

Stranger Things

For the Dad who likes to dive in to a good show.

Click to view our unboxing on our Social Media

The officially licensed merchandise from the hit Netflix show Stranger Things from Yume_toys and Kaptoys are great for any fans of the show! Transport yourself back to the 1980’s and unbox the retro TV to reveal hidden clues, games, trading cards and collectibles hidden inside these Upside Down Capsules.

Price: £12.99 and can be purchased here or at your local HMV store!

Mikasa

Upgrade Dad’s kitchen.

Click to see their Instagram profile

This striking Drift storage jar from Mikasa is made of high-quality ceramic and has a tribal-inspired pattern. It can be used to keep all sorts of kitchen items safe – even Dad’s secret stash of treats! It has a wooden lid with a rubber seal which will help keep the contents fresh. It’s a beautiful addition to any kitchen. The Drift inspired design can be found on multiple products allowing you to mix and match across the kitchen for a stylish finish!
The jar is dishwasher safe however the wooden lid should be wiped clean only.
Price – £17.49 available to buy from Cook Serve Enjoy here.

Maps Gifts Etc

Where’s Dad’s favourite place? Put it on a mug.

Click to see their Instagram profile

Map Gifts Etc is a lovely small business run by Lucie and has wonderful personalised gifts for all occasions on their Etsy shop. These personalised Father’s Day Location Mugs are unusual, personal AND practical. They can be designed for any location anywhere in the world and can have either a vintage or contemporary map on both sides of the mug. You also have the option to add personalised wording to go over the image. These mugs come gift-boxed ready for Fathers Day

Priced at £17.25 and Lucie also offers FREE DELIVERY on these mugs too. It’s available here.


Me and You Versus The World

To show Daddy just how special he is.

Click to see their Instagram profile

Me and You Versus The World is an emotive story of love, friendship and adventure, this beautifully illustrated book written by Claire Gamble is a great way to spend time with Dad this fathers day and is even more special coming from younger children too.

Priced at £9.99 and can be found here.

Built

For the busy, working Dad or the fun dad who enjoys family picnics!

Click to see their Instagram profile

This BUILT insulated lunch bag is suitable for Dad’s lunch and small picnics at the weekend. It’s fully insulated allowing food to be kept cooler for longer and is deceivingly big inside and has room for lunch boxes, drinks and snacks. It’s leakproof thanks to it’s PEVA lining and has an adjustable shoulder strap and handle for easy mealtimes on the move!

Priced at £21.99 and is available from Cook Serve Enjoy here.

Artesa

This might sound cheesy but Dad’s are really grate…

Click to see their Instagram profile

For any Dad who has a love of fine dining, having guests round or just loves cheese this set of 4 side plates from Artesa featuring vintage cheese labels made great gifts! Made from high-quality ceramic they will look great for any occasion. Each plate is 19cm wide. They come presented in a matching box and ready to gift to Dad.

Priced at £21.99 from Cook Serve Enjoy and can be found here.

Posted in Gifted, product review

Greater Skies – Review

In our house stars are extremely meaningful; I look to the brightest star every night before I go to bed and I just know somewhere by that bright star is my boy. I guess when you’ve experienced a significant loss like I did you cling on to “something” that can relate to them, for some it’s feathers or robins but for me it’s stars. When I was deep in those first days of grief a friend sent us a star that they named after Jason. I was absolutely floored. It is to this day the kindest, most special thing anyone ever did for my boy. It brings me comfort no matter how silly it may seem, to think that Jason is watching us from that star and knowing one day I’ll be right there with him.

Greater Skies

Greater Skies is a company that creates custom, personalised star maps giving you the chance to mark a memorable date. Greater Skies create detailed maps of the stars as it looks from anywhere on the Earth – whether that date is in the past, the present or even in the future! These are now available in digital e-card form making it easier to let someone know you’re thinking of them in these difficult times.

When Greater Skies reached out to collaborate I knew the exact date and time I wanted to use; Ellie’s birthday of cause. She’s really interested in the stars so I knew she’d love to see what they looked like at the exact point she entered the world.

The Creation Process

I was immediately impressed with how easy it is to create a map on the website. In just three easy steps you’re finalising the details and getting ready to put your order in.
Step 1: Choose your style and colour: there are 4 styles to choose from and each style has it’s own colour schemes. I chose the planet design in magenta as I want to put it up in Ellie’s room. You can then choose whether to add constellation and star names.


Step 2: Choose the place and time you want to use: (REMEMBER: this can be from the past, the present or the future) I was able to use our home address and the exact time Ellie was born to create the map of the stars.

Step 3: Add text: I altered the text at the top of the map and added a message at the bottom – you can add 5 lines of text

The only other decision you have to make is the size and whether you want it framed. You then see a draft of your map before you order to make sure all the details are correct.

After I’d put my order in I was sent a digital high resolution copy which I was able to download (you can choose this option to print at home). I loved being able to see what the map looked like before it had arrived.

I quickly received an email stating it usually takes 0-3 working days to process the order – print, frame and ship (digital copies are instant) and just 1-2 working days for delivery and ours arrived within that time frame too! You can of cause opt to pay more for express delivery.

When it arrived it looked absolutely stunning, the white frame set it off perfectly. The print itself is of a high quality and far better than if I’d have printed it myself.

What We Really Think…

These maps are absolutely beautiful, I love how you can personalise them in so much detail – receiving something personal is the best feeling. They make such wonderful gifts. The finish is perfect, the frame is a great quality and it really finishes off the print. What makes them so amazing is how versatile they are, these are perfect for Anniversaries, Birthdays, Christmas, Valentines, MOTHERS DAY (hint 14th March in the UK) and they can be used to celebrate relationships, births, graduation, those special milestones like buying your first house the list is endless.

It’s been great being able to talk to Ellie about the stars, the constellations and what the print means, she’s loved finding the big dipper, we found the constellation where her names star is and where Jason’s named star is too. I love how she always includes her Big Brother in everything.

Visit https://greaterskies.com to find your perfect map of the stars.
Prices start from just £29 and even offer free delivery for certain prints.

Disclosure – We were gifted a Framed Star Map by Greater Skies however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.*

Posted in parenting

Lapland Mailroom – Review

I remember writing letters to santa as a child, sitting with the Argos catalogue and circling all the toys I wanted santa to bring but I dont remember santa ever writing back to me. Its so much easier with all the latest technologies available to keep the magic of Christmas alive and its clear in how strongly children believe in the jolly fat man.

Ellie has written her letter to Santa, she left it by her elf door and the elves magically got it to santa while she was asleep and she was quite happy with that.

However, she was absolutely over the moon when a personalised letter from Santa arrived through the post! In her own words:

wow santa knows me, he really knows me and he really got my list!!

The Lapland Mailroom website is so easy to navigate and creating your personalised letter couldn’t be easier. I was able to add Ellie’s name, where we live, a special message from Santa including what she really wants for Christmas (if someone knows where Santa *cough*ME*cough* will find a Cat Bike please let me know!) and even the name of one of her friends to really make sure she believes.

As well as the lovely letter we also received an activity book, a Christmas card to colour, a big sticker and a nice list certificate.

Ellie feels like santa really cares and it’s all down to how detailed her letter was.

You can check out the different letters and get your own in time for Christmas here

Disclosure – We were gifted our Letter from Santa however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.* 

Posted in Gifted, product review

Newspaper Headlines Personalised Football Book – Review

Do you have a special person in your life who is sport mad? More specifically football mad? Honestly i’ve never really understood why people get so involved in a football game they arent playing – that was until the most recent World Cup and I cheered on England more than anyone in the house! I grew up with a family who were fans of Rugby more than football so I never really had a team to cheer on, I once supported Liverpool but that was just because I fancied Michael Owen at the time -cringe!-

My husband has been an Aston Villa supporter ever since he started going to football games with his Grandad so when Historic Newspapers asked if I’d like to collaborate on their Newspaper Headlines Book of cause I jumped at the chance.

First of all I wanted to talk about the range of books they offer on the website. With so many options from personalised childrens books (which we have reviewed in a previous post – check it out!) to personalised ladybird humour books for adults. There is something for everyone!

Historic Newspapers have a range of different newspaper books to choose from; birthday, anniversary, war, pictorials as well as their personalised football newspaper books (starting price £39.99) These special books feature newspaper stories from 1905 and appear in colour from 2006! They are available in hardbound, hardback covers which can be upgraded to leather or leatherette cover. The cover is embossed in gold detail and you can add the recipients name and a special message on the inside. The deluxe pictorial edition comes with a keepsake box, which is also embossed. At first glance, the overall presentation is of a really high standard.


I have been fascinated while flicking through the pages and reading some of the articles from the early 1900’s but my husband has been ecstatic in learning more about the team he has supported for so many years. This specific edition has also been updated to include the 2019 playoff victory! I have been so pleased with how much is included in the book. The extra addition of photographs of players, team shots and matches was also a hit with my husband.

Our pictorial edition ends with a very strange newspaper article with the announcement of football being suspended due to the Coronavirus in March of this year. This, for me, will always be a reminder of a year where we learnt to appreciate so much more than we ever did and as a family, this book features the highs and lows of being a Villa supporter and is a fantastic way to get to know the history behind the team.


It’s the kind of gift that you can dip in and out of, you could spend years reading and rereading articles and I know Luke can’t wait to show it off to my brother and Ellie when she is older too.

Of cause you want to know whether your team is even available and I wasn’t sure Villa would be one of those teams but I was surprised by how many teams they had to choose from!

I am so impressed by the quality, the presentation and the whole concept of this Historic Newspapers Gift, from adding in those extra details, making it personal to the recipient, to the final product. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for the perfect gift for a football lover, whether that is Father’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas or just to show someone you care! It is so unique and I can imagine each team has a very different story to tell through their own articles.

Disclosure: I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review by Historic Newspapers. All views, opinions and images are my own.

Posted in Gifted, product review

In The Book – Review

In The Book is an online book company specialising in personalised books for children and adults of all ages. They have a wide range of books and there really is something for everyone; Disney, Peter Rabbit, Marvel, The Hungry Caterpillar, Beano and so many more. This isn’t including their own range of personalised stories. We have been very fortunate to have been gifted two of their books to review.

These stories are built around you (or your child); giving them the fun and excitement of seeing their own name built in to the story. I loved this idea as not only is the name written in the illustrations but it is also the main character in the story too.

The website is extremely easy to use and navigate, the hardest part is choosing which book to personalise. There is the option of A4 softback, A4 hardback (both available in the standard cover) and the classic hardback which is bound in a premium hardcover with gold embossing.

Once chosen there are three steps to personalising the book:

When our books arrived I was absolutely amazed at the quality and size. I obviously hadn’t read the A4 sizing and was expecting a smaller book which I was worried would be too small to keep Ellie’s attention. These are the perfect size for all readers, big and small. Each page is beautifully illustrated and the story is just magical.




Ellie’s Unicorn Adventure” is a wonderful story about a Unicorn (with your child’s name) who gets bored in the meadow and goes off on an adventure to find new places. From a pink candyland to the snowy mountain tops this story takes the reader to so many wonderful places.

Ellie’s Thoughts:

I asked Ellie what she liked the most about the Unicorn’s adventure and her reply was:

I like the Unicorn because she has the same name as me. She is cheeky. My name is in the sky. See E, L, L, I, E it says Ellie! The Unicorn likes the snow, it has footprints to go back home so she doesn’t get lost.

We also received a beautifully illustrated “Book of Nursery Rhymes” Ellie loves to sing and she has always loved nursery rhymes so I knew she would love this one so much. The book of nursery rhymes is packed full of songs little ones will already know and love such as Humpty Dumpty, The Wheels On The Bus and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, there’s even a few Mummy doesn’t remember!




Similar to the Unicorn book, Ellie’s name is on the front cover and appears throughout the pages in the illustrations. We’ve had lots of fun getting Ellie to find her name hidden on drain pipes, buses and even on pies. She gets so excited when she’s found it. It’s a great way to get them to recognise their name in written form!

For me, the best part is that you can include a picture of your child on the back page. I love this as it’s a way of remembering how old they were when they received the book. Ellie couldn’t believe her picture was in there too, she told me it must have been magic. I know that even when she is too old to be singing nursery rhymes and believing in unicorns I will always remember the smile on her face when we would read them together.

Disclosure: I was gifted these two books in exchange for an honest review by In The Book. All views, opinions and images are my own.

Posted in Gifted, parenting, product review, reading

Wonderbly Personalised Childrens Books – Review

I often wondered whether Ellie would lose the passion she has for stories as she grows up or whether it will continue to bloom. It seems quite clear to me that as she’s getting older she still loves to listen to stories, she particularly loves ones with unicorns, cheeky characters and most of all books with her name in.

We have recently been given the opportunity to review two books which have been gifted to us by Wonderbly; “I Love Daddy This Much” and “The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name”

For those who don’t know; Wonderbly is a publishing company specialising in personalised children’s books for all ages. These books make your child the star of their own story. You can even personalise the illustration to look similar to your child too!

The process of making your Wonderbly book couldn’t be simpler. The website is well designed and easy to navigate. You can search for books by age, bestsellers or you can browse through them all! There are so many wonderful titles to choose from.
First of all you need to decide on the name, the gender and the features of the main character.

You can then personalise some of the books even further:

Once you’ve chosen the format (paperback, hardback etc), the recipient and the cover colour (available on specific books) you can then dedicate your book. This appears on the inside of the book.

I Love Daddy This Much” is THE perfect Father’s Day gift for both Dad and baby/child! It’s a beautiful story all about how much Daddy is loved, who wouldn’t love this as a gift? They also do I Love You/Mummy/Grandma/Grandad This Much too!
Ellie has loved reading this with her Dad and giving him lots of cuddles when she does. She has even started repeating some of the phrases to him when she tells him she loves him. For Ellie, she was so excited to see a girl with ginger hair the same as her and her Daddy and then to see her name written across the pages was great too.

The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name” is another wonderful story using Ellie’s name throughout the book. Ellie has just started recognising her name and is now able to write her first name without any visual support which is amazing as she is now able to recognise her name in stories too. She gets very excited when she sees it written on the page. This story helps the character follow a trail to find the letters of her name and links them to different animals. Each story is completely individual, Ellie’s story won’t be the same as Jason’s story as they would meet completely different animals.

You can find all the Wonderbly titles at their website: http://www.wonderbly.com/uk
You can also follow them for news, shares and the odd competition too!
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Disclosure: I was gifted these two books in exchange for an honest review by Wonderbly. All views, opinions and images are my own.

Posted in parenting, parenting after loss, product review

Photographs

Ever since I was a teen I’ve loved taking pictures, I was always hiding in my bedroom trying to find new ways to take “the best selfie” or posing in some way. Yet actually, I hate having my picture taken, I get awkward and self-conscious and always feel like a whale. I remember when Luke and I would go on holidays (always a coach trip abroad and they were AMAZING!) I would take roughly 2000 pictures to remember every single detail of that trip. Of cause, I don’t even look at them and the thousands of scenic pictures mean nothing to me as I don’t remember half the places we visited. Yet, I still take them.

I remember not wanting to take any photos of Jason the day he was born. It felt wrong and insensitive somehow. He was dead. I didn’t hold him alive and I didn’t want to fake how I was feeling for a picture either. I was told that the midwives would take some photo’s of him so there would be some if we ever wanted them. I didn’t want anyone to meet him but allowed close family in to say hello and goodbye; I denied those who would have loved him so much that chance but I knew I’d have put on a brave face and pretended this was exactly what we were expecting if they had come. I wanted to be true to myself, I wanted to cry and grieve for the little boy in my arms who didn’t even get to meet his Mum.
Right before we said our final goodbyes to Jason I took one photograph on my phone. I placed him in the incubator/cot, wrapped his blue blanket around him (a hospital one as I couldn’t bear to see him with anything we had in our hospital bag…nothing would have fit any way) and took the only photograph I have in colour of my beautiful little boy. A decision I regret every day of my life. I wanted more. I need more and I can’t go back to take them. I’d give anything for one picture of the three of us. One moment where we could pretend our family was complete, regardless of whether we were happy or sad, just one photograph showing for a brief moment we were complete.

Since Ellie’s birth I have taken far too many lots of photos. I want as many pictures of her as I can possibly get because if ANYTHING was to happen to her at least I would have them to look back and remember that she is here. I know that sounds morbid but when you have lost a child you never fully believe any other children are here to stay either. I try to take as many family pictures as I can and i’m always asking Luke to take pictures of me and Ellie together. He doesn’t. He forgets. He’s not very good with photographs and the ones he does take seem forced because i’ve asked for them. I want those pictures where we are just being us, the pictures where we are playing…like I take of him and Ellie all the time.

What saddens me the most is that our family is complete. Not physically of course but complete all the same and I will never be able to have that family photo of the four of us together. However, I do have something pretty close and it means the world to me.

I have been Instagram friends with Nin for a while, our mutual loss of our children bringing two random strangers together and building a friendship. She has started her own small business creating beautiful family portraits so I messaged her to see if she could create something for me. We talked about what I wanted, we discussed whether I wanted Jason to be as he was born or as he should be now. I sent Nin pictures and she used what she knew about me and my little family to create something that is perfect. Every little detail was done with so much thought and care. Nin’s illustrations are stunning and she managed to get this drawn, coloured and sent all within the space of a few days! I was totally surprised when it arrived just 4 days after first talking through what I wanted.

Luke, Ellie, Jason, Me and Misty the Cat – Our family…finally complete in a picture.

If you are looking for something a little different, a bit more personal or even a way to make your family complete then please get in touch with her. These illustrations would make the PERFECT gift for any occasion and she isn’t afraid of a challenge either!

To see more of her work please head on over to her instagram page

Disclosure: this is NOT an ad, I paid for this illustration and just wanted to share how amazing it is!! All views and opinions are my own.