Monday, 23 November 2015

Object of Design: Why we Love the Dyson V6

When design works, 
everyday boring objects like vacuum cleaners 
 have the power to transform a mundane task into a pleasant activity. 

This is surely what happened 
when the cordless Dyson V6 Total Clean came into our lives

Before, we would kind of argue 
about whose turn it was to vacuum clean. 
Now, much to my surprise, everyone's become a vacuuming fan; 
even the four-year-old. 

A Mum in London

It gets rid of spider webs on the ceiling easily

In a house with staircases, carrying around and plugging/unplugging 
a heavy vacuum cleaner is not the most practical thing. 

The Dyson V6 is so light and easy to carry around,  
we clean the house much quicker and with half the effort. 
Plus being cordless, there's no need to worry 
about the cord not being long enough.

We don't hide it in the broom closet 

The Dyson V6 is so pretty, it certainly doesn't look like a vacuum cleaner.
We have ours in a corner of the kitchen readily available, 
and it has received many compliments from friends and family. 

The V6 comes with four different heads 
and converts into a handheld device with a few clicks .  
My favourite is the powerful mini motorised head that removes ground-in dirt 
{I use it to clean the children's mattresses, the buggy and the car seats}.

A Mum in London

It cleans the worst kids' mess 

With a motor that spins at up to 110,000 rpm, nothing stands in its way. 
We put it to the {kids} test: from mashed cereal on the carpet 
to sticky Play Doh bits on the kitchen's stone flooring, 
the V6 sucked everything up. 

Plus, being very quiet, it's the only vacuum 
that doesn't scare my baby to tears. 

It makes cleaning fun & it's fun to clean

Firstly, the air that comes out of it is cleaner than the one that comes in. 
Secondly, you can empty its bin with just one click. 
Thirdly, all its components can be easily removed and cleaned. 

But my absolute favourite thing in the V6 is its clear bin.  
By watching all the nasty stuff it sucked up, 
I can't help but feel a sense of accomplishment.  

In a nutshell: functional design that looks good. 
A vacuum cleaner that makes cleaning fun. 

Dyson V6 Total Clean, currently £279 (was £430), available at Currys & Dyson

Disclosure: Gifted sample for the purposes of this review.
All views and wording my own.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Family Life in South West London

Which is the best place in London for families? 
This is a question I get asked a lot. 

While I'd say most of London is child-friendly, 
one part of the capital is predominantly a family affair

With a whole area south of the river Thames 
being dubbed 'Nappy Valley', 
there are some good reasons 
South West London is family territory.

A Mum in London

The Parks 
Some of London's finest parks can be found in South West London. 
In autumn take the children for deer spotting in Richmond Park
in winter go to Battersea Park's big slides,  
and in summer go splashing at Wimbledon Park's paddling pool 
or at the urban beach in Fulham's Bishop's Park

One thing is sure: in SW London you are spoilt for choice 
when it comes to having fun with the little ones. 

The Transport Links
Central London is easily accessible from South West London. 

The old, reliable District Line takes you directly 
to London's most central and child-friendly locations. 

Alight at South Kensington station for tons of knowledge 
at the Science and Natural History Museums, 
get off at Westminster to see Big Ben, the London Eye, 
and the sharks at the London Aquarium
or stop at Bayswater for heaps of fun at the Diana Memorial Playground.

A Mum in London

The Schools 
South West London boroughs are known for their good state schools. 
In fact, the borough of Wandsworth is one of the top five 
best performing local authorities in the country. 

Before planning a move and looking up for properties, 
the outstanding schools' catchment area. 

The Family Life 
There are plenty of family friendly shops and restaurants 
in this part of London, 
perfect for a day out with the children. 

Our favourite ones are the independent coffee shops in Parsons Green, 
the cute boutiques in Wimbledon village, 
and the family friendly restaurants in Fulham. 

Disclosure: Sponsored Post.
All views and wording my own.

Monday, 16 November 2015

An Eddie Catz Party Review

Organising a four-year-old's birthday party 
can almost feel like organising a wedding.

Minus the dress. Plus the mess. 

Sending the invites, handling RSVPs,
making food arrangements for children and adults,
finding a children's entertainer/face painter,
buying plastic bric-à-brac for the party bags,
making a cake, and the list goes on.

In brief, making sure everyone has fun and enough cake.
Which, of course, is easier said than done. 

A Mum in London

This is why we opted to let specialists handle all those details 
and have the four-year-old's birthday party at Eddie Catz Wimbledon

Booking a party there couldn't be any easier: 
everything can be done online. 
After choosing a suitable date and time slot, 
I had the option to pick a theme, add a birthday cake, 
choose food and refreshments for adults, 
and order party extras like balloons. 

I appreciated that at the time of the booking 
I only had to pay for a minimum of 10 guests; 
the final amount would be paid four days before the party 
when I would have the final number of guests. 

This allows for flexibility with the RSVPs 
and limits the number of no-shows. 

A Mum in London

On the day of the party, 
we simply had to show up with the cake and welcome our guests. 

Our party hosts {they were absolutely brilliant} took care of the rest: 
sorting out refreshments and special dietary requirements, 
serving yummy party food 
{the children had pizzas, chicken nuggets and chips, 
carrots, baby tomatoes and grapes}, 
and making sure the children had fun 
by dancing and interacting with them. 

The highlight of course was the visit of Eddie Catz himself, 
which sent the kids crazy and running to hug the big cat. 

A Mum in London

After running some more in the big soft play area, 
it was finally time for blowing the candles 
and handing over the party bags 
to 22 very excited {and exhausted} children. 

The party was a big success with parents and children alike, 
and the little ones had heaps of fun. 

The two hour duration is more than enough 
for the children to play and enjoy the facilities 
and for parents to have a chat 
and then go home with an exhausted child 
who is guarantee to nap all the excitement off.

In short, what we call a win-win situation!

In a nutshell: a stress-free way to host a child's birthday party 
while making sure everyone has fun. 

Eddie Catz party, from £13.50 per child, suitable for children up to age 10.

Discosure: Discount received. 
All views and wording my own. 
Many thanks to Eddie Catz Wimbledon for a fantastic party. 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Tips for Moving Baby into Their Own Room

After nine months in the womb, 
and a further five months next to mum and dad's bed,  
it's time for Baby to start sleeping in his own room. 

Which, of course, is easier said than done. 

Babies are not very keen on changes in their routine, 
and moving them from mum's side
is probably not going to go down well at first. 

But there's a way of easing
Baby's transition into their own room.

A Mum in London

Step by Step
Some babies resist changes, so it is better to make the shift gradually;
start by putting Baby in the crib for her morning or afternoon nap
so she can get used to her new bed and room.

It's important to remember that most medical professionals
advise that keeping baby with you in the same room
for their first six months of their lives
significantly reduces the risk of SIDS.

Room of Joy
Spend some time with your baby in their nursery
prior to moving them there.

By playing together, reading books
or simply relaxing in their new room,
babies can get used to the new surroundings and smells,
and, most importantly, they will be able to associate
their new room with happy memories of them with you in it.

Familiar Faces and Sounds
Babies need to see reassuring objects and hear reassuring sounds
when they wake up in the middle of the night.
A cuddly toy and a soft lullaby can save you hours of sleep.

Apart from being super soft and cute,
this My First Forever Friends* bear
combines two settings that help babies fall asleep:
with the soothing lullabies and the star lightshow
Baby P had no problem falling fast asleep in his new room.

Room for Manoeuvre
Last but not least, go easy on yourself
if the transition does not work at first.
Like all major changes in their life,
babies might just need a bit more time.

*Forever Friends Bedtime Lightshow, £29.99 available to buy from Argos 
See the whole {very cute} My First Forever Friends range here

Disclosure: PR sample. 
All views and wording my own. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

A Coat for Calling London

When clocks change I always do a big wardrobe clearing,  
pack away my summer clothes 
and get reunited with my warm winter coats. 

And, invariably, every year I unpack and then repack 
a couple of coats I haven't worn for years.  

Only, this year I will put these coats to good use

'Calling London' is an organisation 
that collects clean, unwanted winter coats, 
sorts them into sizes and redistributes them to charities 
supporting the homeless, the elderly, refugees, women and children in need. 

A Mum in London

The charity was formed in 2011 when a group of friends 
decided to help the less fortunate 
brave London's bitter winter temperatures 
by collecting unwanted coats and jackets. 

The yearly winter coat donation drive
will run from Monday 2nd November to Friday 27th November, 
and welcomes donations of all kind of coats:  
men's, women's, children's and babies' jackets. 

You can drop them off at one 
of the 30 Chestertons estate agents collection points 
or at the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham 
and Westminster City Council.

Find your nearest Chestertons drop off points and view more drop off locations here

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