Tips For Keeping Children Warm In Winter

When freezing cold weather strikes, as adults we know what to do to keep ourselves warm – but what’s the best way to keep our kids warm? The early months of the year often bring a prolonged cold snap or two with temperatures often plummeting below zero degrees.

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

We all know how challenging childcare can be during a spell of cold weather. We really want them to play outdoors but it’s easy to avoid it because we worry that they’ll be back in two minutes flat, complaining of frozen fingers or slipping on the ice.

As you might imagine, Norway experiences much lower winter temperatures than we do – often -10 degrees so here are some great tips for keeping kids warm in winter from childcare expert Elaine Kobbeltvedt.

Elaine is a mother and grandmother with more than 25 years of childcare experience, having run her own family of nurseries in both Scotland and Norway.

Want to know how to protect a child from the cold?  Read on.

1) Layering

The Norwegians all use the layering concept when it comes to dressing children for cold weather.

Place a layer next to the skin which is made from a soft material to prevent any rubbing or irritation, then add a fleece layer to keep them warm.

Over the top of this, you then add another layer of a coverall or rain suit (depending on the weather) to protect them from the elements.

This ensures the child is kept warm and protected but prevents overheating from too many bulky items because us Brits tend to just pile on jumper after jumper!

2) Cover the extremities

Heads and hands always need to be kept warm and covered to prevent frostbite and cracked skin which can be really painful for a child.

3) Keep feet warm and dry

Shoes and boots need to be waterproof and preferably lined.  Don’t forget thick socks if the footwear allows it, or two pairs of thin socks.

4) Keep them active

Use the layering concept and invest in children’s clothing ranges designed for cold weather, such as Tiny Trolls of Norway.

The ideal cold-weather clothing will allow children to stay warm but still move around with ease. Bulky layers will restrict their freedom of movement.

Ideally, kids will be active and enjoy the fresh air, rather than getting chilly – and grumpy!

5) Care for their skin

Elaine recommends putting cold cream on a child’s face as an extra protective layer against the elements. But make sure it isn’t a water-based product or the water can freeze on their skin.

Two great creams to try are Weleda Weather Protection Cream which is a water-free cream to protect babies and small children against the wind and cold, and Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm which can be used to treat dry spots and chapped skin or lips and is suitable for the whole family. There are plenty of ranges which offer gentle skincare for little ones, especially those who are prone to eczema.

You might also consider a Tusseladden which is an all-weather coverall. These can be used all year round as they are totally breathable.

This makes them just as useful for the great British summertime when it may be a bit windy or rainy, but not too cold, and great as an outer layer for cold winters when the mercury plummets.

Comfortable and easy to take on and off, you can find ones for the under-3s which have a handy two-way zip for quick and easy nappy changes.

Do you have any winter health tips for kids to share?  Do you wrap your kids up and send them out to play?

The best way to keep our kids warm might simply be to wrap them up and let them roll around in the snow!

GANT Teen Boys Full Zip Hoodie – Review

If you’ve got tall kids, you’ll know that it’s often a challenge to find clothes that fit longer bodies, arms and legs well among lots of the high street brands.  At 9, Ieuan is already 4 ft 8″ and last year’s clothing already looks like it was previously worn by the Incredible Hulk and has duly shrunk several inches.

We were happy to discover that American classic brand GANT now offers a great range of classic sports and casual wear for kids and teens and Ieuan was delighted to receive a GANT Teen Boys Full Zip Hoodie to check out the sizing and quality.

The hoodie comes in three colours, Evening Blue (which Ieuan is modelling), Light Grey Melange and Port Red, all of which go with pretty much anything and are great to throw over jeans and t-shirts when rushing out of the door.  I have given up trying to get Ieuan to wear jumpers but he’ll happily wear a hoodie everywhere.  He’d wear it to school if they’d let him!

Sizing goes by height which makes things a lot simpler.  Ieuan is wearing the 146/152 size which fits him perfectly.  He’s a tall lad for his age (9) and needs the extra length in body and sleeves.

The hoodie is made out of cotton blend jersey, has a lined hood and a full-zip front.  There’s a split kangaroo pocket and the cuffs and hem are ribbed.  Ieuan particularly likes the collegiate felt GANT logo on the chest.

This GANT boys hoodie is roomy and comfortable and he hasn’t really taken it off.  I’m happy because I know I’ll get at least a year or so’s wear out of this and it’s washable with care.

GANT has a great kids’ and teen range with a collection of wearable, comfy basics all with the cool GANT logo.  Caitlin has her eye on this GANT Teen Girls Lightweight Puffa Jacket in a gorgeous raspberry red.

We think it’s a range that’s definitely worth checking out.

 

Art Of Football Artwork T-Shirts For Dads & Kids Review

If you are looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary for a gift for the man in your life or for Father’s Day, take a look at www. art-of-football.com, a unique clothing and artwork site which offers a range of t-shirts, sweatshirts, prints and canvases featuring your favourite football stars in artwork painted by a number of designers.

Mat and Ieuan Hobbis playing football in the back garden
The boys enjoying a friendly game

Art of Football has a very interesting philosophy. All of their designs have been thoughtfully made primarily as a piece of art to do justice to those moments of high energy and elation which mean so much to fans.  The designs aim to capture all the raw emotion and energy felt during those seconds of celebration and to capture these with style.

They want to move away from the majority of football T-shirts that feature generic, screen-printed images of footballers like Luis Suarez to create something really unique.

You can even send in those sporting moments that mean the most to you to suggest a new design they might like to feature.

Football isn’t the only sport they feature, however, there’s also boxing and rugby.  It’s easy to choose your favourite as you can pick your favourite team using a drop-down box.

We were sent two t-shirts to try.  Mat’s features the legendary Ronaldinho.

Both the names of the garments and their descriptions are rather special too.  Here’s the description of the Ronaldinho football artwork t-shirts and sweatshirts.

Mat Hobbis wearing Art of Football Ronaldhino T-Shirt
Art of Football Ronaldhino T-Shirt – £25

“No one can compare to Ronaldinho. I remember his plays, his dribbles. I remember him winning every title at the Camp Nou. He made history at Barca, he made history with Brazil and he’s still making history.” — Neymar Jr

“I’ve worked with some great players in my time and all at a very interesting period in their careers, nineteen to twenty years old. But, with due respect to the others, Ronaldinho was a cut above the rest.” — Celso Roth, Ronaldinho’s coach at Gremio, his first club”

Ieuan’s t-shirt is called Enter The Dragon which celebrates Wales qualifying for the Euros last year. Here’s the description and there’s even a YouTube link to relive the moment captured on the t-shirt. This particular design is also available as a print.

Ieuan Hobbis with Art of Football Enter The Dragon T-shirt
Enter The Dragon Kids’ T-Shirt – £14.99

“After a superbly exciting campaign, Wales reached the finals of a major tournament for the first time since 1958 as they head for France and Euro 2016. Here the superstars Bale and Ramsey celebrate but this was a team effort from the boys in red. Having beaten one of the favourites Belgium along the way, they fear no-one. History beckons.

Relive it : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OaWTEoYGIM

Made of soft and good quality cotton and beautifully packaged in retro football paper, these would make a great Father’s Day gift for the football-obsessed dad which is really something quite special.

Art of Football wrapping paper

Art of Football t-shirts make a perfect gift for a footie mad dad (or mum!) and their son (or daughter!). Great for Father’s Day or just to celebrate your love of The Beautiful Game and reasonably priced too.

Review: Howick Junior Kids Clothes at House of Fraser

GIFTED: Since Caitlin had some new clothes for her birthday in November, Ieuan has been worrying about his ‘look’.  Convinced he is the new Derek Zoolander I am under strict instructions to find him something ‘cool’ to wear and happily House of Fraser has stepped in to help out.

Ieuan wearing Howick Junior Quilted Pique Polo

Howick Junior is just one of a number of designer brands at House of Fraser with great clothing for kids.  (You can also find Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein for example).

Ieuan chose the Howick Junior Quilted Pique Polo (now £13 reduced from £22) and the Howick Junior Padded Boys Gilet (now £21 reduced from £35).

Detailing on Howick Junior Polo

I particularly liked the detailing on both garments which are very well made.

Ieuan is tall and can take an age 8-9 or even a 9-10 in some brands but both these were in age 7-8 and fitted him perfectly.

Ieuan wearing the Howick Junior Pique Polo Top

The length of the polo shirt is good too – nothing worse than a top which gets no further than the waistband of the trousers!

Ieuan wearing the Howick Junior Boys Padded Gilet

The lining of the Howick Junior Padded Gilet

The gilet is nicely padded with a bright lining and two pockets to keep hands warm.  It has a zip and studs.  Again, the length is good.

If you’re looking for kids’ clothes for Christmas you can find some great savings now.  There’s free delivery when you spend over £50 or you can order up to 6 pm for free buy and collect next day.

We are lucky as we live just outside Cardiff which has a large House of Fraser store. In fact, I worked there for two years many moons ago but that’s another story ……

Ieuan giving the thumbs up by the Christmas tree

For more information on the Howick Junior Kids Range go to www. houseoffraser.co.uk.

Back To School Through The Decades With M&S

Back to school week used to be a magical time when I was growing up. I was born in 1964 so my formative school years were in the 70’s and early 80’s through Harold Wilson’s Labour Government and the Miners’ Strike and Thatcher’s Britain from 1979 onwards. And yes, I can remember the long hot summer of 1976!

Can you tell my mum cut my fringe?  Me circa 1974

In my Primary years, we still had morning milk in bottles with silver foil caps and a tuck shop which sold Wagon Wheels which were the size of your head and Crème Eggs that took more than 3 bites to eat them. Crisps used to cost 2d. Yes, I am that old, although I have now recovered from decimalisation. I still prefer my temperatures in Fahrenheit though.

Later, my sister and I attended our local comprehensive, St. Cyres, in Penarth and had to wear a school uniform comprising a pleated skirt, white blouse, black jumper and a black and white school tie. In those days school uniform was stocked in one or two local shops and you had to get in quick or there was nothing left.

Hard at work!

The uniform seemed to be stocked in two sizes – either Harry Potter size or Hagrid Rubeus size and was made in a material so warm and heavy you could probably survive a week in an Everest base camp wearing it.

Nope – still can’t sight read!

Our school shoes had to have heels no more than 2.5 inches high and if your hair touched your shirt collar, you had to wear it up – including the boys. Our headmistress was an absolute stickler for rules and would carry a tape measure to check your heel height. If you failed the test you were sent home. No ifs, no buts. And you could forget jewellery (other than plain gold studs or hoops) or make-up. I suspect if our headmistress had seen a tattoo she would have had a fit of the vapours.

Mum is still cutting my fringe circa 1981

Then there was the excitement of buying a new pencil case and one of those Helix Mathematical Kits which contained a compass and a protractor. In those days, pencils could be bought actually sharpened – there wasn’t so much concern about health and safety then.

The first week of term would see the giving out of fresh new writing books and textbooks which we would be instructed to go home and cover in sticky-backed plastic (much loved from watching Blue Peter).

Everything was new and as fresh as the crisp autumnal air. We’d wear our new school winter coats even in the Indian Summer, cooking nicely on the school bus.

Now, 30 years on and Caitlin and Ieuan are experiencing both the joy of the long summer holiday and the excitement of returning to start a new school year and ‘back to school’ seems to have become a major event.

If you ask any of the already frazzled parents trying to entertain their brood with activities not involving Pokemon, or an ‘I’ anything, this can only be a good thing.

For a start, high-quality school uniform is readily available and comes in sizes to fit every child and you can even still buy Helix Mathematical sets. There are backpacks rather than the old fashioned satchels and more coloured and scented stationery than you can woggle a ruler at.

I think it’s a good thing to encourage kids to be excited about going back to school. It is, after all, where they will spend a sizeable percentage of their time and it makes sense to get them into a mindset of looking forward to learning.

This summer, M&S will be celebrating over a century of helping parents get their kids ready to go back to school so to give Caitlin and Ieuan an idea of what school was like way back then, we took them to the St. Fagans National History Museum just outside Cardiff to see Maestir School which is set up as it was in 1900.

Incidentally the National History Museum at St. Fagans is well worth a visit and features many historic buildings painstakingly resurrected for the public to learn about many aspects of Welsh life through the decades.

Maestir School was a small country school built in 1880 which had just one classroom. It was built from shale-stone taken from the local quarries and had a slate roof using slate from North Wales. The yard at the back was segregated to keep boys and girls apart.

Pupils of all ages – from 5 to 14 – would have been taught in the same classroom and there are desks in a variety of sizes to accommodate them. A far cry from the classroom set up we have today, although I can remember wooden, lidded desks in the early days at comprehensive. I think some of them are still there, together with the graffiti and chewing gum that was stuck underneath to hide it from the teacher.

Caitlin is about to start Year 4 and Ieuan Year 3 and they are both ready for the challenge. Young minds need feeding and near-constant stimulation.

Anything we can do to help create the best learning environment and to get the kids into the right mind-set is well worth the investment in my (text) book.

But you know things haven’t changed that much since my sister and I walked to school.  There may be more traffic on the roads and more technology to grapple with but our kids are learning broadly what we did and, hopefully, having just as much fun.

You can share your school memories with M&S on social media using #MySchoolYears.  Bet you didn’t have a fringe as good as mine!

*School uniform courtesy of M&S.

Caitlin wears:-

Girls embroidered pinafore in grey – £12 (T761728) 
Girls cotton rich cardigan in navy – £10 (T761339)
Quilted belted coat navy – £27 (T747431J)

Ieuan wears:-

Boys Plus Fit Pleat Front Adjustable Waist Supercrease Trousers in grey – £10 (T764628P)
Outstanding value unisex pure cotton jumper in navy – £7 (T763908) 
Padded parka in black  – £35 (T879299Y)

Essential Fashion Guide For Your Children This Winter

This winter is looking to be particularly chilly, so I’m already thinking about wrapping the kids up warm.  It’s time to think about children’s winter clothes.

My kids have reached the ages where they want a say in their fashion choices. They want to look like all the other kids and wear big brands and the right movie merchandise.

It’s not always easy to get hold of the things they want, so I’m spreading my search on the internet to see what is looking good this winter – and making sure I stay within budget.

Children’s winter clothes ideas

Baby wear

Baby wear in winter is really easy.

Babies can’t regulate their body temperatures in the same way we can so it’s essential to provide layers to trap their body warmth in.

Protecting little fingers and toes is important too. I really cringe when I see barefoot babies in buggies at this time of year!

Lots of mums are looking for designer baby clothes to ensure the quality is good, and the look is just right too.

Togs for toddlers

Toddlers are trouble with a capital T! They run around and make a mess in no time.

When you’re looking for winter fashion for a toddler, you need to find clothing that moves with them.

Most toddlers are quite wobbly on their feet, so it’s important to avoid any clothing that restricts them too much.

I love those cute, fluffy snowsuits, but they can be hard for a toddler to move about freely. For a baby, they’re perfect because they’re easy to take on and off in a nappy emergency.

Pic from Flickr.com 

Winter warmth for preschoolers

Preschoolers are very determined little people. They don’t want to wear scarves and socks, and good luck getting them to wear a jumper!

If your preschool has a uniform, I would recommend buying it, if your budget can stretch to it. You may have more chance of getting them to wear things like jumpers and hats if everyone is wearing the same thing.

Snow boots are the big thing in footwear right now. They’re warm and robust, and muddy puddles are no cause for concern!

Once kids are at school they are determined to be wearing the latest thing but I avoid V-necks and Tees at this time of year. Long sleeves and warm collars help keep chesty coughs at bay.

Gloves, hats and scarves get lost a lot, but if you choose a set featuring their favourite movie characters, the kids are more likely to keep them safe!

With the bad weather coming in, I prefer to stick to clothing I can run through the tumble dryer.

Pic from Flickr.com 

Winter clothes for teenagers

When it comes to teenagers, you sometimes have to give them a clothing allowance. Let them make their own choices.

Appearance and fashion are very important to children at this age. If you get something they don’t like the look of, they simply won’t wear it – and boy can they be stubborn!

It’s important not to panic if they don’t look appropriately attired for the weather. Teens are hardy creatures, but they won’t let themselves be cold or wet for long!

When it’s cold and wet outside you want to wrap your children up in long coats, hats, scarves and gloves.

But not all kids will be willing to wear what’s needed!

Have a warm and healthy winter.

Review: ClaireaBella Medium Jute Bags for Girls

You may remember I recently posted about my lovely personalised jute bag made by ClaireaBella. Loved by celebs and previously featured on ITV’s This Morning, I bought my personalised bag during one of stockist Toxic Fox’s occasional discount offer periods and both Caitlin and I fell in love with it.

Since then, the ClaireaBella range has exploded with a whole raft of girls’ accessories which can be personalised – not only jute bags but hoodies, t-shirts, mugs, wine glasses and phone covers to name just a few.

Caitlin was overjoyed when she recently got the chance to have her own ClaireaBella medium jute bag courtesy of Toxic Fox.  The bags are an ideal birthday present for girls of all ages and great for taking on holiday to pose on the beach!

How are the bags personalised? Simply go to the Toxic Fox website, click on ClaireaBella and then select the most appropriate dress design, hairstyle, hair colour, eye colour, skin tone and name (up to 12 characters) for you, then sit back and wait for your unique bag to arrive. You can design your own ‘aBella’ character in about a minute and it is really easy to do.

Choose your outfit and then customise eye, hair, and skin colour and choose an accessory.

And it’s so simple, Caitlin designed hers in a couple of minutes. In fact she revisited the application quite a few times to play around with different looks and combinations.

 

In terms of quality, the bags are very well made and the jute is of a sturdy quality. Caitlin’s is a Girls Medium Jute Bag which measures 30 cm wide x 27 cm high with a 15 cm gusset. The handles are nicely rounded so that the bag is comfortable to carry.  You can have a name up to 12 characters painted on your bag.

The bag also features Swarovski elements, a cute rosette bow, a ‘hand made with love’ silver charm and a gorgeous rosette and bow. Each design is also surrounded by matching bubbles. Because there are so many ClaireaBella impersonators out there, each bag also says “yes it’s a ClaireaBella” on the reverse.

The jute bags can take up to 15 Working Days to produce as they are hand-made with love. Because each bag is hand-painted by a fully trained ClaireaBella artist there may be some slight colour variations, but this makes every bag unique.

The Girls’ Medium Jute Bag measures 30cm wide by 27cm high with a 17cm gusset and is priced at £34.99 with free delivery when you spend over £40.

More information is available at ClaireaBella at Toxic Fox. @ClaireaBellaLtd on Twitter or on Facebook.

Be warned though,  Caitlin already has several “mum & daughter” shopping trips planned so we can show off our ClaireaBella personalised bags!