Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Trend for Hand-me-Down Culture Extends to Nappies

The growing trend for recycling has spurred a hand-me-down culture that no longer has stigma attached to it, but gNappies, the purveyor of the hybrid nappy, urges parents to think beyond clothing or nursery equipment when considering suitable items to pass on.

Clothes swapping and recycling has become not just necessary or accepted but an embraced solution – both to facilitate cost savings and bring eco-benefits, and now parents can pass on their eco-friendly efforts by handing down gNappies - a hybrid system combining cloth nappy with disposable element - passing them on to friends or from first child to second, making the initial investment even more cost-effective.

gNappies president Kim Graham-Nye, who founded the company with husband Jason, said: “When you plan to have more than one baby it makes sense to save any costly items and clothes, as the parents among us know how quickly children grow. In addition, the popularity of clothes swapping parties means parents often pass items on to friends who may be expecting a child.

“Over the average timespan of nappy-wearing, non-disposables work out cost-effectively anyway, however, parents considering shunning disposable nappies can be further assured that their initial investment in a hybrid nappy system is a sensible one as the reusable pants and cloth inserts can be used again if more babies are planned. The gNappies little gPants come in a variety of colours and patterns that are not just functional items to pass down but also super-cute! They can be used with either gCloth inserts or biodegradable gRefills, offering the option to combine reusable and disposable for the best of both worlds.”

gNappies is the world’s first hybrid system; gRefills offer the disposable element as they can be home-composted or thrown away in the domestic waste, and gCloths offer the reusable element as they are washable.

Kim started gNappies after learning that conventional disposable nappies are the third largest contributors to landfills in the world despite only five per cent of the population using them. Wanting to make a change, Kim and husband Jason developed gNappies – a system made up of washable cotton nappy pant and either 100 per cent biodegradable gRefills or a washable gCloth. Disposable nappies take up to 500 years to decompose, whereas gRefills decompose in 50 – 100 days in home compost and can also be disposed of in domestic waste.

Kim added: “What could be greener than not only investing in eco-friendly nappies, but passing it on to create even less waste. Many parents aspire to care more for the environment, usually as a result of the concern for the future of the planet and their child – and using gNappies can make a real difference to the planet and the reduction of landfill waste.”

gNappies are available in all colours, patterns and sizes, including gBundles to get parents started, at www.gnappies.co.uk, and also www.amazon.co.uk.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Trip Down Memory Lane with Gibson

Whether you are a bit of a traditionalist or someone who likes some challenging fun, Gibsons' new jigsaw puzzle launches for 2012 promise a theme to appeal to almost everyone.

The 'Memories of' range, which already includes collages of products from the 1940s, '50s, '60s and '70s, introduces a further decade of nostalgia with the latest 1980s Sweet Memories.

Those of us with fond recollections of Bad Manners and Bananarama may also recall the chocolaty treats of Banjo and Bar Six plus the days when Curlywurly's were just 10p! This extremely moreish 1000 piece puzzle is not only a trip down memory lane for kids of the '80s but guarantees to have a few mouths watering too.

For those preferring a more scenic challenge, Gibsons introduces seven fabulous new canvases from the 'Painter of Light' Thomas Kinkade. These beautiful and truly chocolate box scenes include Central Park in the Fall, Cobblestone Village and Teacup Cottage and each captures elements of light in a completely unique way that only Kinkade can.

The choice of puzzles ranges from 100 to 2000 pieces and each puzzle is made from 100% recycled top quality board. Once complete they can be framed and kept as a keepsake for years to come.

For those of us who like to plan ahead for Christmas, this is a good place to start!


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Rain Needn’t Stop Play With Waterproof Trousers from Little Terra

Sprayway Trousers from Little Terra
As much as we may remember childhood winters consisting of crisp frosty mornings with perfect blue skies and a layer of glistening snow, the reality was probably very different.

It’s more likely most days were spent avoiding the rain and the slush – and it’s no different for children today.

That’s why outdoor clothing specialist Little Terra is living up to its reputation for supplying online brands to off-road kids with a range of waterproof trousers aimed at keeping youngsters outside and active whatever the weather.

The range features brands such as Sprayway, Regatta, Target Dry and Bush Baby that prove waterproof trousers can be on trend as well as functional.

Products include Bush Baby Kids Waterproof Mountain Dungarees, which are hard-wearing, fully-taped and breathable and come with a useful chest pocket.

Target Dry’s Packaway Overtrousers are lightweight, waterproof and windproof and they are the ideal solution for wet walks in the country or messing around in the garden.

Sprayway has been a name trusted by mums and dads for years, and now the brand’s Junior Rain Pants, are available from http://www.littleterra.co.uk

These practical trousers have a lightweight taffeta lining which, when teamed with a base layer, keeps young legs warm as well as dry.

Carolyn Budding, children’s clothing buying specialist at Little Terra, said: “As a mum-of-two myself, I know what a nightmare it can be if your kids get soaking or covered in mud on a walk.

“This range will keep youngsters warm and dry, but it also introduces some fantastic funky designs that children will love wearing.”

Waterproof trousers available from Little Terra are featured in their autumn and winter range video, available to view at http://www.youtube.com/user/LittleTerraShop

For more information about Little Terra, and to see its other ranges of outdoor clothes and accessories for children, visit www.littleterra.co.uk

Sunday, 22 January 2012

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The Urban Meadow Supports Fairtrade Fortnight

''There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness...'' - Ghandi

Ethical kids clothing website The Urban Meadow will be supporting Fairtrade Fortnight with a series of special offers on Fairtrade brands such as Greenbaby and Boys & Girls.

"We will be featuring a different daily deal each day of Fairtrade Fortnight on our website www.theurbanmeadow.co.uk," explained a spokeswoman for the company.

Fairtrade fortnight is 27 February - 11 March 2012.

What The Urban Meadow believes
A belief that kids should be kids and fashion should be fairtrade is the driving force behind this start up business run by dairy farmer Claire Jones, mother of two and business partner and mother of three Alex Williams. The Urban Meadow is based near Wimborne in Dorset, in the heart of the Cranborne Chase countryside.

The Urban Meadow is a unique place selling kids clothes, aged 0-11 years that are ethically sourced and organic. The collections are relatively small, many created by mothers who share the same vision of a sustainable future for future generations. It’s fashion with a conscience – without compromise on the outstanding quality, brilliant colours and fun designs that parents expect.

We remember the days when we were young when clothes cost a little bit more but our mothers didn't expect to throw them out after a few wears. The clothes lasted through to the youngest sibling whether they liked them or not! We're passionate about the quality of our clothes - we are confident that they can be passed on from child to child and still look great. It may be a cliche but you do really get what you pay for - we'd love to do our little bit to help people move away from a throwaway society.

4.We stock a wide range of organic and fairtrade clothing from cute baby grows, comfy pants, on trend jeans, statement T's and very special dresses! Brands include Boys&Girls, Speesees, Greenbaby, Little Lark, Ideo, The Old Rectory, Bamboo Baby and more. The Urban Meadow clothes speak for themselves in terms of quality, originality and ethical awareness.

5.Sweatshop free is a must for us and where we can we always choose organic. Every worker from any country has a right to a fair working condition such as wages, hours and environment. Although not all our clothes carry the Fairtrade logo we can guarantee they have all been produced ethically.


Pourty in motion! Parents Go Potty For The Pourty!

The world's first easy-to-pour potty is set to minimise some of the mess involved with potty training in 2012.

The award-winning Pourty Potty, which can be emptied drip-free from the back, is now available on the High Street for the first time in John Lewis and 200 Boots stores, priced from £9.99.

Until now available only online, the Pourty Potty is the brainchild of dad and former lawyer Jon Rathbone who came up with the idea whilst potty training his eldest two children at the same time.

Fed up with the excess drips and spills involved with emptying a standard potty he developed a new model with a patent-pending pouring duct and anti-drip lip. Children love it because it has a wide comfortable seat and parents love it because it is more hygienic and easier to empty and clean.

The Pourty has consistently received 5 star reviews from the nursery industry, mummy bloggers and customers and has won several awards, including Best New Product to Market from Practical Parenting Magazine. It is already one of the bestselling potties online with Mothercare, Tesco Direct, Asda Direct, Kiddicare, Boots and Amazon.

Jon Rathbone comments: "I knew a pouring potty was a good idea, but it's very exciting to have taken that idea, turned it into a great product and now see it making life easier for other parents too." 

Introducing Yoga And Relaxation To Children

Children are being brought up in a world of noise and busyness. Busy parents, school pressures, additional after school activities, computer games and fast moving TV can all add to their stress levels. School tests, falling out with friends, arguments between parents, feeling overwhelmed by homework and being bullied or teased can add to the stress as they learns how to deal with the outside world.  (EDITOR: Or as they don't learn to cope with it?)

These stresses can cause a range of physical disorders like sleep problems, irritability; stomach aches bed wetting, headaches, muscular pains as well as mental and emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, nervousness, anger and temper tantrums.

Yoga is a wonderful activity that can help counter these pressures. When children learn simple techniques for self-health, relaxation, and inner fulfilment, they can navigate life's challenges with a little more ease. Learning yoga from an early age encourages body awareness and appreciation of their surroundings. Physically, it enhances flexibility, strength and coordination as well as aids concentration and sense of calmness.

The beauty of yoga is that children of all shapes, sizes, abilities and ages can benefit from the exercises. Children can stretch as much as as comfortable as they learn that every body is different. Most of the poses have animal names and shapes which can capture the imagination of even the youngest of children. They can imitate the movement and sounds of the animals and imagine the qualities of that animal. For example when they adopt the lion pose, they can feel strong and courageous, while in the tortoise poise, feel quiet and still inside their mind as well as their body.

More and more schools are adopting yoga at this time. A recent government study reported by the Telegraph found that fewer school children are participating in school sports and are signing up for more "fun" non-competitive alternatives like circus skills (juggling) and yoga.

Yoga is a great form of exercise for mind, body and mental health and so a wonderful way for children to stay fit and healthy throughout their lives.

Relaxation is also vital for children's health and well being. Just a few minutes a day can help young children feel calm and focussed and ready to face their day. Relaxation can help children sleep as it decreases muscle tension, slows the rate of breathing and reduces blood pressure. It can also help children's concentration and listening skills as they feel quiet and able to listen and assimilate information, so giving them better problem-solving abilities.

Creativity and imagination is also improved as children are encouraged to take their minds away from their current situations and take themselves on imaginary journeys in their minds. Children develop self-esteem and a feeling of self worth as they start to see their strengths and qualities in the quiet.

Here are the most common types of relaxation techniques.

Breathing Exercises:

Children can lie on their back and put their hands on their stomachs. As they breathe in, their tummy will rise and as they breathe out, it will fall. Children concentrate on breathing in and out slowly as they focus on the rise and fall of their tummy. This can help children let go and feel calm and quiet.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation:

Children can lie on their backs on in a comfortable chair. Starting at the feet, they squeeze and relax each limb. As they move up through the body slowly, they will feel calm and relaxed.


Children close their eyes and imagine they are floating on a cloud or lying on a boat and floating down the river. They might imagine that they are lying in warm sunshine and feeling the warmth in their body or imagine that they are sinking gently into soft sand.


Children can repeat the words "I am calm and quiet, I am calm and quiet' and slowly as they repeat, they feel more calm and quiet and relaxed.

Marneta Viegas is founder of Relax Kids and has written 2 books of children's visualisations and produced a range of children's relaxation CDs for concentration, anger management, anxiety and worry, self-esteem and bedtime. For more information visit www.relaxkids.com.

New Pushchair Launch - Movix By Mothercare

Movix adds to the wide choice of pushchairs at Mothercare!

The new complete pram and pushchair travel system, making life a little easier and a lot more stylish.

Easy to use, functional and stylish, bursting with a great choice of colours, Movix provides a personalised pushchair from birth to toddler.

Create the Mothercare Movix pushchair in three easy steps, choose; the base pack consisting of the chassis and carry cot (available in dark clay or vanilla); the necessity pack consisting of carry cot apron, hood, seat pad, harness pads and weathershield and the comfort pack consisting of a snug cocoon cosytoe and change bag.

Personalise to individual taste by choosing the necessity and comfort packs in a variety of colours such as, cherry pop, citrus punch, pebble, hazelnut and ebony creating up to 50 exciting colour combinations- designed for baby, personalised by parents.

The functional design of the Movix offers parents a range of options, from pram mode; with its easily removable and portable carry cot base (suitable for occasional overnight sleeping), too parent and forward facing positions with an additional Maxi-Cosi infant car seat option that simply clicks into the chassis providing quick and easy manoeuvrability for an undisturbed baby.

The 4 wheel pushchair benefits from versatile designs that go the extra mile such as a practical 3-position airflow seat with hinged bumper bar which makes getting little one in and out easier and large rear inflatable tyres for a more comfortable and smooth ride whatever the terrain.

New for Spring 2012 Movix will be available to pre order February 2012

In stores and online March 2012

The complete Movix package is £570 (+£130 Maxi-Cosi optional)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Sunday, 15 January 2012

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Starchild Now Makes Shoes For All Ages

Starchild has expanded it's size range to include kid's sizes upto 10 years, and also adult sizes.

Following from customer requests Starchild has expanded it's range of soft leather baby shoes to include all sizes, from 0 to 99 years now all the family can enjoy their handmade shoes.

"After several celebrity special requests for our Union Jack shoes in adult sizes (Ozzy and Sharon, Liam Gallagher) we decided to roll out production so everyone can enjoy the fun. With the Olympics and Jubilee approaching, there has never been a better time to get yourself a pair of made in England, Union Jack leather slippers," explained a spokesman for Starchild.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Lovedbyparents 2012 Parenting Awards

Yoomi, Littlelife, Kiddicare.com, Virgin Hot Air Balloons and Vital Baby have teamed up to sponsor the Lovedbyparents 2012 parenting awards!

On the 9th January 2012, Lovedbyparents.com will open their parenting awards for the second year running.Following from a very successful first year, Lovedbyparents have established themselves as a recognised brand within the parenting market. Attracting entries from all over the world and recognition from some of the industry leaders.

By testing and rewarding products that are genuinely Lovedbyparents, the awards highlight the very best products that are available for todays' parents.

There is £100 submission fee per product and you are able to select up to three awards per product. All of the relevant categories are now available on Lovedbyparents.com


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Smart-Trike Hailed As A Smart Choice By Dr Toy!

Smart-Trike is delighted, and really rather proud, to announce Stevanne Auerbach, also known as Dr Toy, has honoured the world leading brand with a Dr Toy's Best Pick Award and claimed that a Smart-Trike will help develop confidence - Fact!

These prestigious awards recognise product excellence and are handpicked by Dr Toy herself. With over 40 years' experience in this field and being marked as one of the most respected and internationally recognised experts in the industry this is certainly an accolade to shout about!

It should come as no surprise that tricycles are so popular with the expert in child development and play, as they encourage little ones to engage with the outdoors, boost confidence and creativity, not to mention they are a whole lot of fun! The sooner parents get their little ones using a tricycle the better as they will undoubtedly reap the benefits. This was definitely a tick in the box for Dr Toy who was impressed that the Smart-Trike range gives babies as young as 6 months the chance to climb aboard their very first tricycle.

Having evaluated and reviewed many developmental and creative children's products Dr Toy chose Smart-Trike as one of her Best Picks saying: "Going outdoors in a Smart Trike can help toddlers develop more confidence and improve basic motor skills."

Commenting on this achievement Head of Communications Osnat Feingold said: 'It's wonderful to be recognised by one of the leading experts in the industry and we are so proud to have been awarded a Best Pick Accolade. We are delighted Dr Toy has also highlighted the benefits of riding a trike to parents and hope this supports Smart-Trike's overriding commitment to encourage families to get active!'

Smart-Trike has a tricycle to suit every little one; from the stroller certified Recliner-Stroller that has a tilting seat especially for younger babies, through to the fun animal themed Zoo range that supports toddlers up to their 3rd birthday and beyond. As the child grows the trike adapts to their every need meaning a Smart-Trike will last for years and years! Each trike has a carefully designed steering handle allowing parents to take control in the early stages, once they grow up this can be removed and they can begin wheeling around independently. It's no wonder that Dr Toy thinks a Smart-Trike is a smart investment!

RRP: Recliner-Stroller £149.99 or Zoo £99.99

Stockists: Toys R Us, ELC, Argos, Amazon, Mothercare, Smyth's

Known familiarly as Dr Toy; Stevanne is an expert in child development, education, special education, psychology, parent education, toys and other children's products. Each year she evaluates and reviews the newest, best, educational, creative, and active toys, games, and other products for her annual awards programme.

Smart-Trike is the world-leading tricycle company. They have an exciting range of tricycles that transform as the child grows. The Recliner-Stroller model is stroller-certified and supports babies from the age of 6 months to 2 years. The Zoo range is available in a variety of different animals including; Dolphin, Cow, Bee, Frog and Ladybird. This tricycle supports children from the age of 10 months through to 3 years.

Life Is Easier With Mummy's Maid

Whilst many mums would love to have a nanny, housekeeper, cleaner and personal assistant, the reality is that most people cannot afford such luxuries, but with Mummy's Maid (www.mummysmaid.co.uk) that much needed extra pair of hands is possible.

Mummy's Maid, founded by Oxfordshire-based Kez Luckett, provides families in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Hampshire with short term household help that is designed to be used on an adhoc basic as and when the need arises.

A fully vetted individual, usually a mum returning to work, goes into a client's home and will take care of cleaning, laundry, general household chores and running errands. They also offer a child care service that can be used when a trusted sitter is needed but no one is around to help out. An increasingly popular option is a package for new mums and allows them to spend time with their baby, without the worry of household chores, or have some supportive childcare so they can catch up on much needed sleep.

Kez Luckett, said, "In this tough economic climate not everyone can afford ongoing domestic help, but all too often mums simply can't do it all. I set up Mummy's Maid so everyday people can have access to an affordable, flexible service as and when they need it. We work on a minimum of two hours per session rather than a lengthy, binding contract".

She added, "All our girls go through a rigorous vetting process, with face to face interviews, reference checks and an enhanced CRB disclosure. Most of them are mums themselves and understand the daily juggling act that is motherhood. They simply step in and do whatever needs to be done, even if that's a cup of tea and chat!"

One happy customer said, "We can't afford a cleaner every week but sometimes I need a bit of extra help and Mummy's Maid is the perfect solution. The ladies who come in are absolutely lovely, work incredibly hard, and are reliable and trustworthy. I always know using them is money well spent and wouldn't hesitate to recommend Mummy's Maid to family and friends!"

In 2012, Mummy's Maids will be launching a homemade frozen food service where nutritious meals are delivered frozen to your door so all that needs to be done is reheating. They will also be offering a one to one support service for mums that need extra help with all aspects of breastfeeding. Both of these will be available in Buckinghamshire from January.

Babyglow And Bounty Join To Increase Awareness Around Baby Body Temperature

Babyglow Marketing UK Limited has agreed a three year education and awareness programme with Bounty. This extensive and highly targeted program will involve raising awareness around the importance of monitoring body temperature of a baby amongst new and expectant mums.

The programme efforts will specifically focus on mums-to-be that have reached or are beyond their third month of pregnancy and new mothers with babies up to 5 months old.

Important temperature information and details about Babyglow's temperature sensitive baby clothing products will be made available via the free to join Bounty parenting club, which works with top brands, charities and government to provide mums and mums-to-be with product samples and information and help get them most out of family life.

This will include extensive distribution through; the famous Bounty sample packs given to around 98% off all new and expectant mums and its free information guides, which are inserted into Bounty packs and have a staggering distribution figure in excess of 2.2 million per year. Plus its website, bounty.com which receives over 1.3million visits each month and its supporting forums, E-newsletters and social media activity.

Babyglow, having researched and developed temperature sensitive baby clothing, have both a very good understanding of how the body reacts to temperature rises and how to monitor this using easy, modern methods.

Babyglow garments use micro technology and natural fibres to turn a convenient product such as their sleep-suit into a wearable, washable monitoring device. This means that mothers and carers would be able to see at a glance if their baby has a fever or raised body surface temperature anywhere on their body.

This is important as some illnesses will first start generating a temperature reaction in specific parts of the body before spreading through the rest of the body. This can for instance create a temperature increase around the organs before other parts of the body surface would have noticeable increases. Having a Babyglow suit will show these early temperature increases already as the suit monitors the whole body surface all of the time, whilst keeping the head clear to allow cooling.

Bounty has estimated that, on an annual basis, the Babyglow temperature related information and product details will be sent to or handed to mothers and pregnant women within the target audience 13.2 million times.

Bounty Consumer Champion, Faye Mingo says "Bounty are delighted to be backing the Babyglow venture with extensive access to our media portfolio which includes Bounty packs, guides and www.bounty.com. This is a true partnership and we look forward to working closely together to come up with new and exciting ways to reinforce key messages to mums and we look forward to having a longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship in the future"

FACTFILE:Babyglow Marketing (UK) Ltd (www.babyglowuk.com) is the official distributor of Babyglow products in the United Kingdom.

Babyglow is a brand that designs, develops and markets clothing and related products that monitor or regulate body temperatures in infants.

Babyglow sleep-suits are wearable, washable temperature monitors.

Babyglow products have a clear visual indication all over the product to show temperature changes from regular body temperature to raised body temperature and reverse.

Babyglow Marketing (UK) Ltd performed a soft-launch of the temperature monitoring sleep-suit product in the UK in October 2010 following appearances in 'The Apprentice' and the largest London based baby consumer show.

Babyglow products can be found in a growing number of independent speciality shops and pharmacies in the UK, as well as at the onlines store at www.babyglowshop.com. Babyglow is commercially consulted by Conceptable Limited in London.

About Bounty
Bounty (www.bounty.com) is mums' best-loved source of advice and support for everyday parenting and has been giving mums more for more than 50years.

Bounty is a free to join parenting club that works with top brands, charities and government to provide mums and mums to be with product samples and information and help get them most out of family life

With over 50,000 new members joining every month, over 9 out of 10 new mums receive Bounty packs and information guides and on average, bounty.com receives more than 1.3million visits to the site each month.

Be A Peppa Sports Champion....And Champion A Good Cause!

 Peppa Pig fans can celebrate the 2012 Olympics with a new ‘Team Peppa’ Bag For Life (£2) available exclusively at Asda stores nationwide, from 9th January 2012. All Peppa ‘champions’ who buy the bag will be helping baby charity Tommy’s to help more babies have the best start in life.

The bag will be available at checkouts at all Asda stores from with proceeds going to Tommy’s.

Tommy’s funds research into pregnancy complications –such as stillbirth, miscarriage and premature birth – and provides free pregnancy health information for all parents-to-be, so more parents can have a happy and healthy pregnancy.

Sadly, pregnancy complications such as these are more common than people think:

1 in 4 UK women lose a baby at pregnancy or birth.
Every day in England and Wales alone, around 290 women experience a miscarriage, approximately 149 babies are born prematurely and 10 babies are stillborn.
In Scotland, about 25 women experience a miscarriage and 2 babies are born preterm every day, and one baby is stillborn every second day.

This is why Tommy’s funds internationally-renowned research into pregnancy problems. None of Tommy’s
work would be possible without the fundraising efforts of the public and partners such as Asda and Peppa Pig.

Last year, Asda raised a fantastic £945,000 for Tommy’s - we will need your help again this year to raise a similar amount in 2012!

Join team Peppa and get yours now while stocks last!

For more information go to: www.tommys.org/asdapeppa

The Great Book Exchange At Early Learning Centre

It's always good to start the New Year with a positive approach and 2012 is no exception. On 4th January 2012, Early Learning Centre will be launching The Great Book Exchange, designed to revamp young children's reading material and get books that they have outgrown to children who really need them.

Britain is a nation of book lovers
Many families in the UK have a collection of much loved and much read books at home that their children have outgrown. So Early Learning Centre is launching The Great Book Exchange to encourage parents to bring the books their children have outgrown, into local stores for them to redistribute to local children and charities who need them.

In return parents will be able buy new books for their children with a 50% discount voucher so their children will be able to benefit as much from The Great Book Exchange as the local children's causes that will receive the donated books.

Nicki Tracey, Head of Brand Communications at Early Learning Centre said, "Reading to children is the most amazing gift and anyone can do it! Reading boosts children's development, teaches them new words and helps them discover and learn about the world. I love reading bedtime stories to my two children, it's the best time of the day as they snuggle up, feel calm and safe and I know I'm giving them a love of words and stories which will give them a head start at school and stay with them for life."

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust added, "Our recent research highlighted that one in three children do not own a book of their own. Initiatives like The Great Book Exchange are essential to improve access to books and encourage children to read for pleasure."

At Early Learning Centre, they passionately believe that all children should have the chance to enjoy books and reading, and The Great Book Exchange is a great way to recycle books for other children to enjoy.

Four easy steps to the Great Book Exchange

1. Go to a participating ELC or Mothercare with an ELC shop-in-shop.

2. Bring in up to ten of your children's old books.

3. Receive a 50% discount voucher to spend on books in store.

4. Go home happy with the knowledge that your old books are going to children who need them.

To find out more about The Great Book Exchange please visit www.elc.co.uk

Mums And Dads: Time To Thank The People And Places Who Make Your Life Easier...

(…though there’s nothing to be done about your 3am wake-up calls…)

Screaming in the cereal-aisle, bored toddlers running riot in a restaurant, leaky nappies… being a new mum or dad is hard work, and that’s before you even begin to think about the tricky job of parenting.

That’s why since 1995, baby charity Tommy’s has been asking parents to help reward the organisations that are truly baby-friendly in the charity’s annual Let’s get baby friendly Awards ceremony. To date, over 200 awards have been given out to date for vast improvements to services and products.

To vote for your favourite baby-friendly organisations, visit www.tommys.org/awards between 9th January and 20th February 2012. Everyone who votes will be in with the chance of winning a family holiday with Keycamp.

As part of Tommy’s remit to support the one in four couples who lose a baby during pregnancy or birth, the Let’s get baby friendly Awards also strive to thank individuals with its five very special awards. Tommy’s knows only too well that when couples lose a baby, it is often the support provided by the parents’ nearest and dearest that gets them through. To nominate someone for an individual award, describe your reasons in an email to awards@tommys.org.

Miracle Unit

This award gives mums and dads across the UK the chance to thank the neonatal miracle workers who gave their baby the best start in life.

Supported by Hologic


This award recognises the support of a midwife, GP or any other health professional who has gone above and beyond for mums and dads during pregnancy or birth, or a pregnancy complication. This Award is split into three regions across Great Britain: Scotland, England and Wales.

Supported by Danone Baby Nutrition

Champion Children

The Champion Children Award is dedicated to those born prematurely and to recognise the tenacious spirit of these young fighters.

Supported by Build-A-Bear Workshop


Do you know someone who's been a real angel during a difficult time? If a partner, relative or friend has supported you through a parenting or pregnancy-related problem such as miscarriage, premature birth or stillbirth, Tommy's and Philips want to give you a chance to say a big thank you.

Supported by Philips Avent


NEW FOR 2012: The Courage Award celebrates a couple or individual who has had a difficult road to parenthood but has made it through one of the most heart-breaking times in their lives with outstanding courage.

Supported by Asda

The winners of these awards, and their nominees, will be invited to the star-studded awards ceremony on Friday March 16th 2012 at the Landmark Hotel, London. For the Champion Children Award, three randomly selected nominees and a family member will be invited to attend the ceremony.

Celebrity parents attending this year’s ceremony will include Arlene Phillips, Kirsty McCabe, Lizzie Cundy, Cherry Healey, Natasha Hamilton, Jill Halfpenny, Kate Garraway, Lee Mead and Carrie and David Grant.

Tommy’s Chief Executive, Jane Brewin, says ‘We know how heartbreaking it is when a parent suffers a pregnancy problem, loses a much-longed-for baby, or when a newborn arrives too soon and has to spend those first precious weeks in special care. There are some amazing people in the UK who offer support during this difficult time – neonatal nurses, partners and friends and family, superstar GPs and midwives – and we’re really pleased we’re able to say “thank you” to these often-unsung heroes.’

In 2011, Tommy’s introduced a set of new awards, including the EBP Green Award, launched in response to the progress that so many companies are making to augment their green credentials. The Green Award is sponsored by Environmental Business Products, and will honour the most eco-friendly baby company, as voted for by parents.

Tommy's Let's get baby friendly Awards 2012

The voting period for all categories starts on 9 January and ends on 20 February 2012.

Voting is exclusively ONLINE at www.tommys.org/awards

Children suffering as recession forces UK parents to take extra work, says children's charity

Charity warns of a generation at risk, as 72% of us take on more work to make ends meet

The recession has forced almost three quarters (72%) of British parents to take on extra work to make ends meet, a survey by I CAN, the children’s communication charity, and Openreach, reveals this week.

A third are working longer hours, 18% have found themselves with no option but to take on a second job and one in five are now doing extra work from home. More than half (55%) say they have less quality time with their children as a result of their work.

The survey shows that parents of children 0-5 years old understand the importance of regular, quality conversation with their children. However:

• 35% say they rarely have time to talk these days and blame increased workloads
• 19% are too tired to chat with their children by the time they get home from work
• Around a third state that either answering work calls or responding to emails often interrupts attempts to chat with their children.

Although the modern British parent recognises mealtimes as one of the key occasions to engage in conversation with young children, 40% are regularly missing out on these meals due to work commitments.

Kate Freeman, I CAN Communication Advisor, said, “Parents want the best for their children and are well-informed about how important it is to chat with children in order to nurture their communication skills. They’re aware of the key milestones at the different ages and stages of development – but their best efforts are being hampered by the recession’s impact on their working hours.

“We’re concerned at the knock-on effect on young children who need verbal interaction to build their own speaking and understanding skills, especially in the early years. Without these skills they may start school with a lower level of language than expected at their age. The good news is that making time for chat and rhyme will help get children ‘communication fit’ and ready for school.

“To reassure parents that there are quick and simple ways to help their child’s communication we’ve put together 10 tips on building talking and singing into a busy day and are encouraging families across the country to take part in the 11th annual Chatterbox Challenge, from 1-7th February 2012. The Chatterbox Challenge, developed by speech and language therapists, aims to develop children’s communication skills, through songs and rhymes, in homes, nurseries and childminding groups across the country.”

Olivia Garfield, Chief Executive, Openreach, said, “Despite the pressure parents face it is positive that they understand the need to develop their children’s communication skills. We at Openreach support the Chatterbox Challenge as it brings families and communities together and at the same time develops children’s vital speaking and understanding skills. Communication is at the heart of our business and by talking and practising songs and nursery rhymes with their children, parents are helping build the next generation of confident chatterboxes.”

The Chatterbox Challenge is an annual educational and fundraising event for children aged 0-5, to practise nursery rhymes and songs to develop their communication skills. This year’s theme is ‘Kids in Motion: Get active and make chatter matter’, when children will be getting ‘communication fit’ for Summer 2012 by combining words with actions and performing popular songs including ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’ and ‘Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush’.

Thanks to the support of Openreach, donations raised during the Chatterbox Challenge go directly to I CAN’s work with children with speech, language and communication difficulties. In the UK, one child in ten will struggle with a communication difficulty that will persist throughout their lives.

There is still time to register for a free Chatterbox Challenge pack, please go to http://www.chatterboxchallenge.co.uk

(EDITOR: Well, there's the dilemma, isn't it? Food, clothing, a roof over their head funded by the extra income? Or whatever the unpleasant alternative might be...)

Wednesday, 4 January 2012