Saturday, 30 April 2016

What I Read in April

What I've Read This Month

Clap, Clap!Clap, Clap! by Madalena Matoso
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2016. Fab activity based counting book with super cool illustrations!

At The Beach: First WordsAt The Beach: First Words by Katja Spitzer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2016. The cool illustrations and bright colour palette really makes learning fun! My daughter loved pointing to the pictures as we read through the new vocabulary. The binding and paper are great quality, and the small size made us think of a Ladybird first vocab book made over for the modern day.

The JourneyThe Journey by Francesca Sanna
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fiction, 2015. This is an incredibly powerful book, sensitively providing a way to open discussion about conflict and migration with children. The artwork is gorgeous, and the binding and paper quality is excellent. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone.

You can see my full write up of this book here -

Murders of the Black Museum: The Dark Secrets Behind a Hundred Years of the Most Notorious Crimes in BritainMurders of the Black Museum: The Dark Secrets Behind a Hundred Years of the Most Notorious Crimes in Britain by Gordon Honeycombe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 1995. An interesting read with lots of short overviews of major crimes, including some of the most famous in the UK. It is quite dated now however, and some of the assumptions and social commentary is really quite jarring.

The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy The Shocking Inside StoryThe Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy The Shocking Inside Story by Ann Rule
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first book I've ever read about Bundy - I generally read UK cases - but I'm glad I made the leap. I liked the informal style of Rule's writing, and the contrast with what was going on in her own life with what was happening in Bundy's - a man she considered a friend and colleague. I read the most recent version so it's also interesting to see how Rule's feelings about Bundy hardened over time and with distance, something of a testament to the hold Bundy had over women!

People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie BlackmanPeople Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie Blackman by Richard Lloyd Parry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I could give this ten stars, I would! It's part true crime, part mystery, part intensive cultural study - and brilliantly written. I felt like I learned so much, not just about Japan's hostess tradition, or Lucie Blackman, but how complex we all are. Everyone's interpretation and memories of a person will be different, no matter how apparently 'normal' their life is.

View all my reviews

Friday, 29 April 2016

Friday Frivolity - Crazy Hairstyles

Friday Frivolity pinnable image

This week's host theme is crazy hairstyles, so I thought I would share with you all a selection of my own hairstyles over the years:

Baby me!

I'm about 18 here - check out Rhys' spikes!

Totally obsessed with 40s and 50s fashion at age 19.

Emo style at 20.

Channeling my inner blonde bombshell at 21.

All that bleach made my hair kind of fall out... I decided to start over!

Now on to the link-up! :D

The Hosts:

Host: Jess from Babi a Fi
Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Google + // Instagram // Bloglovin'

Jessica is an amazingly funny and smart blogger from Wales who writes on a whole range of topics -- from entertaining vintage nostalgia, to technology tutorials, to book reviews, to raising her adorable munchkin, and so much more! This week Jess has been writing about how to Grow Your Blog with StumbleUpon and International Women's Day.

Host: Sarah Eliza from Devastate Boredom
Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Google + // Bloglovin'

Sarah Eliza is on a mission to Devastate Boredom by living a life full of all of her favorite things... friendship and connection, laughter, books and music, furbaby love, minimalism, wellness pursuits, Paleo-ish cooking, and on and on! Check out her post on the 5 best Trader Joe's products you've never heard of!

Host: Audrey from Munofore
Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Google + // Instagram

Audrey is an awesome, eclectic blogger, who not only can cook up a storm over on That Recipe, but also writes at Munofore - "MUsings NOt FOod RElated." Munofore touches on humor, parenting, crafting, holiday ideas, tutorials, and more! This week she's sharing photos of her favourite California native plants.

Host: Lisa from Syncopated Mama
Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Google + // Bloglovin'

Lisa is an awesomely hilarious and wonderfully authentic writer who marches to her own drum on her blog Syncopated Mama, providing an "un-labelly spot" for all the happily off-beat folks out there who have been wishing to find kindred spirits. She shares her adventures building a natural home, teaching her adorbs daughter, establishing and refining positive communication skills, camping, creating, cooking, and so much more! Check out her educational ideas and resources in the latticed learning series!

Calling all bloggers looking for an upbeat and supportive group of pals to join in hosting the weekly #FridayFrivolity par-tay! We are hoping to add to our ranks of dedicated hosts and co-hosts, and would love for you to consider joining the fun! Co-Hosts are welcome on a temporary basis (usually a month), while Hosts make a more ongoing commitment. :) Swing by HERE to express interest and ask any questions!

Featured Post from Last Week: 
In a fun twist, since we now have four hosts we will also have FOUR FEATURES.... but you will have to go check out the other three blogs to see if you were featured there! ;)

Social Media Blast -
by Stay at Home Yogi.

I've been making lots of fab new social media connections through this dedicated link-up - check it out and make some new blogging buddies!

Now time for the new stuff! 

This a link-up for all things funny, fun, encouraging, hopeful, and happy. That includes free printables, giveaways, and other fun stuff to make us SMILE and start the weekend off on the right foot.

If you're here in search of fun and uplifting reading materials, skip the rules and just start clickin'! 

Bloggy buddies, thanks for coming to par-tay! You are welcome to link up to three posts, and old posts are always welcome! There are three rules only:

Party Rules

If you want to let others know about the linky, feel free to grab the badge!

Babi a Fi

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Win a 3 Month Subscription to The Maths Factor

Win a 3 Month Subscription to The Maths Factor

It's no secret that I struggle with maths. On paper, I'm a maths whiz - I got my A at GCSE. But it took months and months of tears, frustration, and extra maths study every evening to get there. After the exams were sat it was like all that maths dribbled right back out of my ears! I wish now that I could have had some intervention at a much earlier stage, so maths lessons didn't feel like a nightmare.

With that in mind, I'm really excited to be running a competition for a 3 month subscription to The Maths Factor.

The Maths Factor is an online maths tutoring site for 4-11 year olds. It was set up by Carol Voderman in 2010 and, although it is geared towards the English primary curriculum, it is suitable for children all across the UK and beyond. It's results are pretty impressive too, with 8 out of 10 parents saying they see an improvement in their child's maths confidence within 3 months, and 6 out of 10 within the first month.

There are five principles behind The Maths Factor's approach to learning:

  1. A little bit every day! Short, daily sessions are the surest way to embed learning steadily and securely.
  2. Keep it fun! Progressing through the course unlocks fun, colourful games.
  3. Time is the greatest gift. Be patient and supervise your child through the early days, then start to decrease supervision as they become more confident.
  4. Use a combination of online and offline. Printables are offered with every topic.
  5. Build your own confidence with maths. Many parents are unsure about arithmetic and maths themselves - so for every module in the course there is a special parent video, along with written advice, giving hints and tips for  supporting your child.

Subscription costs £9.99 a month or £27.50 for three months. You can buy through the website, Amazon, and in store at WHSmith. Or you can fill out the Gleam form below to get up to five chances to win a 3 month subscription.

Win a 3 Month Subscription to The Maths Factor

Don't forget to enter my other giveaways.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Review: Nom Nom Kids Reusable Pouches

Reviewing NomNom Kids Reusable Food Pouches

Somebody said to me the other day that my reviews are always glowing and positive. Well, that's because I pretty much only review things I am 100% glowing and positive about! The Nom Nom Kids Reusable Food Pouches are no exception to this rule - they are easy to use, kind to both the bank balance and the eco conscience and, most importantly, very popular with a baby named Marianna.

I was super impressed with these, and they also got a seal of approval from Nanny Wendy when we tried them out at my parents' house. We even let Marianna have one in the car which, given Marianna's ability to make mess, is really saying something!

What are Nom Nom Kids Reusable Pouches?

Created by mum of two, Suzanne Moore, Nom Nom Kids came into being when Suzanne was unable to find a reasonably priced - and decently sized - reusable food pouch for her own kids. Most of the ones on the market were either single use, or needed a bulky filling station to get the food into the pouch.

Nom Nom Kids pouches are made of dishwasher and freezer safe plastic, are super easy to fill, and are completely reusable.

Nom Nom Kids Reusable Food Pouches in jungle animal design

How do they work?

The pouches are so straightforward even a kitchen-phobe like myself can use them. There is a zip lock opening running along one side of the pouch - you just open that and pour / spoon in the food. Simple! If you blow into the spout first to fully open the pouch the process is even easier.

Once the pouch is full, just press the opening closed. It has a double zip lock closure and, in spite of my fears, there is no way anything is going to seep out or leak once you've closed it.

Nom Nom Kids Instructions
Pictorial instructions from the Nom Nom Kids website.

Our Experience

I was curious to find out how Marianna would get on with them, as we had never given her anything in a pouch before. She looked at me quizzically for a moment while I demonstrated what she should do with it, and that was that. There was a container full of spaghetti bits in her hands, and she didn't need my help to get it into her mouth!

Marianna using a Nom Nom Kids pouch

The Nom Nom Kids pouches are perfect for weaning - you can use it with a spoon attachment, or older babies can hold it themselves - and as they're freezer safe, you can make up a whole batch of them in advance. They're also perfect for on the go snacks, lunchbox essentials (yogurts and suchlike), and allowing kids who have yet to master a spoon to feed gooey foods to themselves.

Marianna's spoon control is almost non-existent, something not helped by the fact she refuses to let me feed her with a spoon, and loses her temper big style after a few attempts to get it in herself. We're still practicing with the spoon, of course, but I've been using these alongside to prevent meltdowns, and to be sure she is eating.

As close as I was allowed to get!

Anything else I should know?

Nom Nom Kids Reusable Pouches come in two different sizes, 140 ml / 4.5floz (jungle animal design) and 200 ml / 7 floz (monster design). They'll both hold a full yoghurt! You can see the difference in size in this pic:

back of the nom nom kids pouches

The clear window on the back of the pouch lets you see how much food is left in it, and I love the space on the back for you to write in details about the food - such as what it is, who it belongs to, and when it went in. As that last suggests, Nom Nom Kids pouches are all about safety. The red caps are large enough not to be a choking hazard, while the pouches are BPA, PVC and Phthalate free.

Nom Nom Kids Reusable Food Pouches in monster design
The Monster Design.

The other great thing about these is that they are compatible with all the existing pouch accessories - like spoons, caps, handles, and spouts - on the market. For more info on what is available, check out the Nom Nom Kids pouch compatibility page. I think the only other thing to be aware of is that you can't microwave them, just heat them in a bowl of water instead.

Where can I buy Nom Nom Kids Reusable Pouches?

In the UK you can purchase them from Amazon, or directly from

The pouches come individually (£2.95 for the smaller or £3.25 for the larger), packs of three (£6.95 vs £7.95), a pack of eight larger pouches for £20, or a weaning starter pack of ten pouches, spare caps, and a non-permanent pen for £20. When you think that each pouch will last around 40 uses - or eight weeks of school packed lunches - that's really good value! You can also get packs of three replacement caps for £1.

Shipping is a flat rate of £2, or free if you spend over £30.

You can stay in touch with NomNom Kids via:
Instagram ButtonFacebook ButtonPinterest ButtonTwitter Button

For more of my reviews, click the picture below:
Reviews from Babi a Fi - food, fashion, beauty, baby, toys, books, tech, days out, and more!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

What I've Won in April

This Month I've Won...

I still haven't got back into the swing of comping, and it really shows! All I've won this month is -

 Churchill umbrella on Twitter.
 Nescafe post-it notes from the #bigstart campaign.
Bundle of Warner Bros Easter DVDs from the Emmy's Mummy blog.

You can check out my success - or otherwise - in other months HERE.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Blog Calendar for January

Blogging Calendar - Holidays, Celebrations, Awareness Days, and Other Notable Occasions.

Throughout the year there are so many awareness days, commemorative days, special days, celebrations, holidays, observances, etc, etc. These can be great as blog post inspiration, or just for getting a bit of extra traffic to an existing post by repromoting it as a tie-in.

Read on for a list of notable dates for January - if the day has its own website or wiki page, I've linked to it. A lot of the weirder ones are USA based unofficial 'national days'; I've included them in the list if they've crossed the pond, or had a fair number of media hits when I googled them.

I've included links to any posts I've written for a particular day.


New Year's Day.
Commitment Day.
 Emergence of Slovakia Day.
 Global Family Day.
 Haiti Independence Day.
 Jump-Up Day - Montserrat.
 Kalpataru Day.
 Liberation Day - Cuba.
 Public Domain Day.
 Sudan Independence Day.
World Day of Peace.


Happy Mew Year's Day - new year for cats!
 Kakizome - Japan.
Motivation and Inspiration Day.
 Pet Travel Safety Day.
Science Fiction Day.


Drinking Straw Day.


Hypnotism Day.
 Independence Day - Myanmar.
Spaghetti Day.
Trivia Day.
World Braille Day.


 Bird Day - USA.
Twelfth Night.
Whipped Cream Day.


Bean Day.
Cuddle Up Day.
Shortbread Day.


Bobblehead Day.
 Distaff Day.
I'm Not Going To Take It Anymore Day.
Old Rock Day - as in stones not The Rolling Stones.
Tempura Day.
 Victory Day - Cambodia.


Argyle Day.
 Babinden: Day of the Midwife - Bulgaria.
Bubble Bath Day.
Show and Tell at Work Day.
 World Typing Day.


Apricot Day.
 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas - India.
Play God Day.
 Martyrs' Day - Panama.
Static Electricity Day.


Bittersweet Chocolate Day.
Cut Your Energy Costs Day.
 Fete du Vodoun - Benin.
Houseplant Appreciation Day.
Peculiar People Day.


Clean Off Your Desk Day.
 Human Trafficking Awareness Day - USA.
Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day.
Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day.


 Kiss a Ginger Day.
Marzipan Day.
Poetry at Work Day.
 Youth Day - India.


 Lohri - Punjab.
 Malanka - Ukraine.
Peach Melba Day.
Rubber Ducky Day.
☆ St. Hilary's Day - supposedly the coldest day of the year!
 St. Knut's Day.
 Stephen Foster Memorial Day - USA.
☆ Togo Liberation Day.


 Bhogi - out with the old.
Dress Up Your Pet Day.
 Feast of the Ass. [As in donkey, this is a family friendly blog! ;)]
 Flag Day - Georgia.
Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day.
 Makar Sankranti.
Organize Your Home Day.
 Thai Pongal.


 Army Day - India.
 Chosongul (Korean Alphabet) Day - North Korea.
Strawberry Ice Cream Day.
 Wikipedia Day.



Appreciate a Dragon Day.
Hot and Spicy Food Day.
Nothing Day.
 Religious Freedom Day - USA.


Cable Car Day.
Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day.
Kid Inventors' Day.


Winnie the Pooh Day.


 Confederate Heroes Day - Texas, USA.
 Kokborok Day - India.
Popcorn Day.
 Robert E. Lee Day - USA.
 St. Wulfstan's Day.
Tin Can Day.


Buttercrunch Day.
Cheese Lovers' Day.
International Acceptance Day.
 Martyrs' Day - Azerbaijan.
Penguin Awareness Day.
 St. Agnes Day.


Answer Your Cat's Questions Day.
Celebration of Life Day.
 Grandpas' Day - Poland.
 St. Vincent's Day.
 Unity Day - Ukraine.


 Bounty Day - Norfolk Island.
Handwriting Day.
Measure Your Feet Day.
 World Freedom Day.


Beer Can Appreciation Day.
Belly Laugh Day.
 Compliment Day.
 Eve of the Conversion of St. Paul.
 Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day.
Peanut Butter Day.
Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day.
Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day - Wisconsin.


Burns Night.
Irish Coffee Day.
 National Police Day - Egypt.
 National Voters' Day - India.
Opposite Day.
St Dwynwen's Day - Wales.
 St Paul's Day.
 Tatiana Day - Russia.


Australia Day.
 International Customs Day.
 International Mobile Phone Recycling Day.
 NRM Liberation Day - Uganda.
Peanut Brittle Day.
 Republic Day - India.
Spouse's Day.
 Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement.


Chocolate Cake Day.
Holocaust Memorial Day.


Blueberry Pancake Day.
Data Privacy Day.
Kazoo Day.


Cornchip Day.
Curmudgeon's Day.
Freethinkers Day.
 Kansas Day - USA.
Puzzle Day.


Croissant Day.
 Fred Korematsu Day - USA.
Inane Answering Message Day.
 Martyrs' Day - India.
 School Day of Non-Violence and Peace.
Seed Swap Day.
 World Leprosy Day.


 Amartithi: Meher Baba Day.
Backward Day.
 Bug Busting Day - headlice awareness.
Inspire Your Heart with Art Day.
 SOS Day for the RNLI.
 Street Children's Day.


 Handsel Monday. [First Monday]
Plough Monday. [Monday after Jan 6th]
 Coming of Age Day - Japan. [Second Monday]
 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. [Third Monday]
 Blue Monday. [Third Monday]
 Weedless Wednesday. [Wednesday in the Third Full Week]
 Peace Sunday. [Sunday falling between Jan 14th and 20th inclusive]
 International Fetish Day. [Third Friday]
World Religion Day. [Third Sunday]
 Community Manager Appreciation Day. [Fourth Monday]
Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. [Last Monday]
 No Pants (i.e. trousers) Subway Ride Day. [TBA]

Weeks / Months

 Dry January - alcohol free month.

For other months, click HERE.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

This Week #32

Be the reason somebody smiles today.
Life this Week

Marianna and I stayed at my parents most of this week, so Anthony could finish the painting. It was nice - on Wednesday we went to Tredegar House, and it was generally fun to catch up with everyone. But. (There is always a but.) Marianna was really hard work all week. If she and her partner in crime (Bracken the dog) weren't up to something, she was sticking her hand down the toilet or trying to get through the dog flap. I feel exhausted!

One cute thing happened on Thursday night. My mum and I were sorting through doll shoes for ebay and Marianna came over and started trying to put the shoes on her own feet. We're talking tiny little Barbie shoes here! It was so sweet. 

Anyway, we came home yesterday morning and I was very pleased to see our new fridge/freezer had arrived. It has a working light, and unbroken shelves, and all sorts of fancy things the old fridge could only dream of. 

Photo of the Week

A photo posted by Jessica Powell (@plastigffantastig) on
Marianna at Tredegar House.

This Week, I 'Ave Been Mostly...

☆ READING: The Journey by Francesca Sanna. Check out our review HERE.

WATCHING: Lip Sync Battle.

☆ LISTENING: Daddy Cool by Boney M. I only found out really recently that Frank Farian (of Milli Vanilli fame) did pretty much all the recorded vocals for Boney M. I don't know why, I must have misread an interview or something, but I thought it was Bobby Farrell who had done it all. Anyway, it was a bit of a shock to see the man behind the voice!

☆ WEARING: Well, not me, but Marianna has been wearing some of the summer dresses my mum bought her. They're so cute!

☆ EATING: Fini Watermelon Bubblegum. When I started secondary school there used to be a guy with an ice cream van on the school playground at lunchtimes - this was before Jamie Oliver - who sold the most amazing watermelon bubblegum with sugar pips. I had no idea what they were actually called and have googled many times over the years. Then, a few weeks ago, I finally found out the name. I paid like £5 for a pack from Poland off ebay but it was totally worth it!

☆ REVIEWING: Sudocrem Care & Protect. Growing up, Sudocrem was held to have near magical properties in our house - no matter what was wrong, Sudocrem could help fix it! Now it can even prevent problems. This new cream is specially designed to prevent nappy rash, rather than being a general antiseptic cream, so you get all the usual Sudocrem goodness plus extra baby friendliness. E.g. It comes in a flip lidded tube instead of a pot, to make life easier for you - but more difficult for babies who desperately want to make a mess. This is great as Marianna has managed to get into the normal pot and cover herself in the stuff on more than one occasion.

It's designed to form a protective barrier between skin and, er, excretions, as well as conditioning the skin and working to prevent infection. It also smells really nice, and goes on easier than regular Sudocrem. I might be a bit biased as I was using Sudocrem on Marianna anyway, but this will definitely be a changing bag must have now!
On the Blog

I did the 30 Day Blogging Challenge this week, and a list of 50 Ways to Build Backlinks. I'm reading so many SEO and marketing blogs at the moment! I also hit some social media targets I've been working towards; 5,000 followers on Twitter, 1,000 on Facebook, and 1,000 on LinkedIn. :)

newerPageTitle olderPageTitle Home