Browsing Category


Giveaway PR Collaboration

Tommee Tippee {a giveaway}


Is there anyone out there who’s child’s first sippy cup collection did not include one from Tommee Tippee?  All three of my children have had them as their first cups, we’ve had blue, green, pink, orange and even a couple with stars on and they’ve all been well loved, and well used. Which is what made it so lovely when Tommee Tippee got in contact to invite us to the Baby Show for the launch of their new range of sippee cups. For starters, my ears pricked up at the sound of new cups, and then from a brand whose products we already think are great.  It was a very easy “yes please”!

Pip at very nearly almost nine months old has just about mastered picking up his own cup for a drink, and the infinitely more useful, waving it around the room until it splatters your sister with water and she squeals in surprise, which is apparently very very funny.  His favourite is blue, with a blue lid and it’s one of the very basic sort, hence the flying rain game.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

But it all seems very lo-tech compared to the new range.  They’re all non spill cups, the first (suitable for from 4 months) with a nice squishy soft spout to introduce babies to the concept of having a drink,the second a bit bigger and much more like the cups we’re used to, only with curvy handles with a little rubber grip on them (and a very cute carrot on the front), and finally the Tommee Tippee Active cup for 12 months and up which has an insulator in it to keep everything cool.  Elma has a sports bottle with something similar inside it and it was brilliant last summer for keeping drinks nice and cool when we went out to the park for a while.

The all look a lot of fun and the best news is that I have a set of all three to giveaway.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Plus do you see that even tinier very special little bottle on the end

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

It’s possibly the cutest USB stick I’ve ever seen.

The giveaway is open to anyone in the UK, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below and entries will close on 31 May 2015 – good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations Rosie! I’ve sent you an email to sort out sending you your lovely prize!

Disclosure: we were guests of Tommee Tippee at the NEC Baby Show and were given all these lovely bits and bobs to giveaway to you.

Crafty Ideas Family Giveaway Kitty Review

In which we enter the world of small elastic bands


(Disclosure: this is a review post, in among the tale of a little girl’s optimism, the real reason why everyone should learn a round turn and two half hitches, and the preservation of my embroidery thread. All thoughts and words are undeniably my own; no one else would chatter for so long and on so many tangents. And if you make it to the bottom there’s even a giveaway!)

Over the summer a new word entered my eldest daughter’s lexicon. A word that I suspect strikes fear into the hearts of school caretakers everywhere, and anyone else engulfed in a tidal wave of colourful elastic.

Yes, Kitty discovered the existence of loom bands. And from there it was only a short step to wanting to make one. Well they do come in all sorts of exciting varieties of pink and purple.

But her interest seemed to come and go, right up to the point that we found ourselves sat in children’s church visiting a friend one Sunday morning and the Sunday school leader pulled out a packet of bands. All the little girls set to and a fair few Mummys as well, twisting and weaving the bands over their fingers until there were half a dozen new bracelets accessorising Sunday dresses. Kitty pulled out a small handful of bands and brought them over to us;

“Mummy! Can you make me a loom band?”

And despite numerous sneaky looks at the little girls constructing at speed all around me I had to say no. For the first time in her life Kitty had found something crafty that neither of her parents knew how to do. Clearly it was time to learn, and happily Hobbycraft were more than willing to be elastic enablers and sent us the Cra-Z-Loom kit to try out.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

A kit that fortunately comes with instructions as well as a bright magenta loom (instant hit), the hook (also pink) a baggie full of 600 rainbow bands and 25 s-clips.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

In my defence I’m not sure why I thought I should know how to make loom bands; when I was in my teens the big thing was friendship bracelets. I ruled at friendship bracelets, mainly due to the winning combination of being a sailor – two half hitches; piece of cake – and having a mother with a well stocked embroidery box who would allow a little light pilfering on the condition that I didn’t leave it in a giant snarled mess. I could make cords and stripes and zig zags, chevrons, fish (very popular at Scripture Union camp!) and even the occasional word.

I’ve got fond memories of hours spent with thread pinned to my school skirt with a safety pin and I’ll admit I was a little curious to see what I’d make of the latest incarnation, and whether I’d ever get over the fact that they look exactly like brace elastics (if you don’t know what I’m talking about then I’m officially jealous of your good fortune and excellent straight teeth!). Kitty on the other hand was just a smidgen more than curious when she heard she was finally getting her hands on a loom band!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

So how did we get on?

The basic premise seems to be that you lay out your bracelet by looping bands over the pegs, then hook the bands in order and finally pull the bracelet off the loom and finish it up by joining it with an s-clip.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

We started with the simplest of the three bracelet instructions in the pack and after I’d had a quick play with half a dozen bands to work out what we needed to do I handed it off to Kitty. She easily got the hang of the zig zag pattern we were trying to make and ‘warped’ the whole loom quite happily.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

When it came to the weaving she could see what she needed to do but found it more of a challenge; she did about half the band and I did the other half, but she’s only just four, and I’m sure that as she grows her manual dexterity will catch up and I won’t get a look in. With a few more years experience wielding a crochet hook under my belt I found it easy to hook the bands up and over and the whole thing came together quickly to someone’s evident delight!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And after that certain someone went to bed it’s just possible that I may have got it back out for a little play of my own – for research and testing purposes of course you understand!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Once you’ve worked out what you’re trying to do the raised braid and the waterfall bands come together as quickly as the simple band and the results are just as well received by small daughters. I found the pictures the most useful guide to what we were doing for all three; the words seemed to unnecessarily complicate matters.

And half a dozen bracelets in I can see why loom bands are so addictive; they’re quick, easy to make, and Kitty and I had a great time playing together and choosing colours (I’d never be able to teach her friendship bracelets at this age) and happily my embroidery box remains untrammelled.

The kit itself feels sturdy enough to withstand a few years weaving and I liked that the instructions covered a few different band patterns.

If there is a downside It’s the storage conundrum. The bands and links come in little plastic bags of the sort that once opened are going to erupt everywhere. We started out putting the bands in the bowl to my kitchen scales which was great – right up until the point that I needed to weigh something – and then we moved on to one of Elma’s weaning bowls. After that seemed to erupt a rainbow of elastic every time anyone so much as looked at it I’ve poured them all into a screw top jam jar; no one can do loom bands without Mummy to open the jar and my hoover is much happier without a regular diet of elastic through it’s innerds. And while jam jars aren’t a practical inclusion to a kit, a resealable bag or a little clip box would be an improvement, particularly in a kit that’s priced at £15.

Which brings us to the sticky question of the price. It is a great starter kit there’s no question about that, but is it £15 worth of great kit? I’m honestly not sure about that; it’s more than I would pay on a whim or to pick up something new for a rainy afternoon.

Having said that, if they could sort out a storage solution it’s got everything you need to keep you busy for hours thus fulfilling my sister and my childhood rule when choosing Christmas presents for each other; something to do and with all the bits you need. Devon in the winter can be very stormy and also very shut!

And as I’m certain I’m not the only one who looked at small elastic bands with bafflement I have a little treat for someone. Hobbycraft have given me another Cra-Z-Loom kit to giveaway – to enter all you have to do is fill out the form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Crochet Giveaway Inspiration

And the winner is …


Thank you so much to everyone who played along with my little giveaway; I’ve never done one on the blog before but it was so much fun I think we might just have to repeat it sometime. I’m glad I didn’t have to choose a winner on merit though because I think I’d love to come and play on every single one of your crafty days.

But without further ado I can confirm that the comments have been closed, the entries read and enjoyed, the Duplo verified and counted and … (drumroll please) … I may now hand you over to my very own, bespoke, and slightly bemused, random number generator;

And just in case the video doesn’t want to play ball for anyone,



The winner is number 3, otherwise known as Hannah who said:

My perfect crafty day would involve sewing pretty things with a magic iron to make the seams sit flat and not a single bit of unpicking to be done the whole day.

Yippee! Hannah I’ve sent you an email, if you let me know your mailing address I’ll send it on its way!

Crochet Giveaway

One of these things is not like the other (and a giveaway)


Crochet at Play twice

One of them is my signed copy of Kat’s book, won as part of a fabulous prize in Kat’s competition that will rocket me to Mama of the Year as far as Kitty is concerned, just as soon as I locate my 9mm hook and start to wrangle with the octopus pattern; and the other is the copy that I impatiently waited for Amazon to deliver, devoured in one sitting, pillaged the stash to find the yarn for a project, and used to make Elma the softest little baby wrap imaginable.

They have both made me very happy.  But even if Kitty and Elma suddenly develop preternatural skills at crochet, I don’t need two books, and so, in the interests of spreading a little joy across the internets, I’d like to find my original copy a good home.

We’re going lo-tech on this one; to enter the giveaway just leave me a comment telling me your dream crafty day.  We’ll assume that all small children are being entertained/educated/over-sugared by loving friends and family, and that magic elves have cleaned the house, including any necessary pre-tidying of your crafty space, leaving you with an entire day to dedicate to doing exactly as you please; what would you like to do?

I think I’d have to make a cake (essential sustenance for later), then pull out my spinning wheel (sadly neglected since Kitty decided it was the most exciting thing she’d ever seen and could not be persuaded not to attempt to put tiny fingers between the spokes) and a good audiobook. I’d pull out the sewing machine for the afternoon and either do a little piecing on the latest quilt or start another dress for Elma, before heading out into the evening sunshine with the camera to take pictures with time to stand and stare.  And finally, as the day drew to a close, I’d curl up on the couch with a good chunk of cake, an old familiar film, and a little simple knitting in a beautiful yarn.  And if I stayed awake before the opening credits finished rolling I’d consider it a serious achievement!

But enough from me, the floor is now open.  I’ll close the comments next Monday (17th June) and let the random number generator decide the winner.