Parcel2Go Sent With Love: Posting Memories Across the Pond


I love the idea of keeping in touch and I want to keep in touch, I even try sometimes but I really struggle to maintain it. However becoming a parent has really challenged my attitude about staying connected to loved ones. I want Precious Sparkle to know his roots and I need to make my connections part of his life. These means that they need to be visible to him and I’ve got to put more effort into meaningful interactions with loved ones.

And so since I became a mum last year, I’ve made more effort to stay in touch with my immediate and some extended family. We live across many continents, and it’s been such a delight watching my little one engage with them over the phone, Whatsapp and Skype.

‘Sent With Love’

So when I came across the Parcel2Go Parcel2Go’s easy peasy website campaign, I had to get involved. The idea of posting memories made me remember the years when so called, ‘snail mail’ was my staple way of keeping in touch. Even now, thinking about it makes me smile.

What precious moments those times were … choosing pretty stationary or cards, or jazzing up bog standard lined paper for my letters … sitting and writing about my experiences … focusing on remembering and capturing memories made … sharing snippets of my life in ink on paper. Oh, the anticipation of the reply … the delight of receiving an expected or surprise letter, or parcel from the post room at uni, or through the letterbox at home …. 🙂 .

I can’t quite do justice to describing how fab those days were. There isn’t much like picking up a bundle of memories on sheets of paper … holding and touching them whenever and wherever … taking them out of your bag to show a line or paragraph to a friend. Sweet and lovely memories, I tell you. 🙂

Email, instant messages, text messages, and ‘cheaper-ish’ international calls gradually took over postal mail for me. They are faster, quicker, and cheaper; but no way near as exciting and filled with expectations.

Like the “56.5% of people surveyed” by Parcel2Go, I increasingly use social media and the internet to keep in touch with loved ones. However, despite their merits, there are things you can not send them, feelings they’ll never inspire, and emotions they will never give rise to. 

I mean, don’t get me wrong, the internet has its place. However, I think our modern reliance on it to keep in touch makes it easier to be casual about special occasions like birthdays.

You can just write ‘happy birthday’ on people’s Facebook timeline, text or video message it in seconds. What time we save … no need to wonder round an offline or online shop to choose a card you think suits the occasion. I suppose that’s what quicker, faster, cheaper, and easier does for you; it seems to reduce ‘the special’ to quick taps of fingers on the keyboard, or perhaps brief viewing on the screen.

Getting involved

A time comes though, when you want more and know you can do better. Parcel2Go’s ‘Sent With Love’ has been a trigger and an opportunity for me to connect better and grow more in my desire to be a better sister and aunty. I want to reach out more to loved ones – family and friends – in more meaningful ways, even when it’s not the most convenient. I want folks that are dear to me, to know that they mean that much more.

And so, even though life has been full of waves in recent months, I felt I could find some time to get involved, and tap into another layer of helping my little man plug into my roots.

It was crazy and there were times I doubted I could pull it together. I haven’t sent a surprise parcel in a long time but the delight in sending one is not strange to me. It’s so lovely to put a smile on someone’s face, isn’t it. 🙂 Unlike internet communications, I had to really think about what I wanted to send, and even why. I also had to find time to go to different shops to get them.

My parcel

I decided to prepare a parcel that reflected a snippet of my childhood memories, and interests to my niece and nephew across the pond. They are growing up so fast and I want to be a signficant part of their lives. I haven’t been the best aunty to them; though I’m not sure what this looks like. 🙂

I focused on sending what isn’t directly possible through the internet. I bought some of my favourite healthy snacks from Whole Foods, a few clothes and shoes from Tesco’s summer sale, books from my stash of Book People’s buys from work, a spare book (I had at home) for my brother, and some hello and birthday cards. The plan was to send them all in a jiffy bag but the one I had wasn’t big enough. I thankfully found a cardboard box from a monthly children’s collection I’d purchased ages ago, to reuse … a chance to be green, hey. 🙂

Sent With Love all

Parcel posting

I went on Parcel2Go’s easy peasy website to arrange for my parcel to be picked up and delivered to my nephew and niece, with the 100% postage promotional code they had sent to me. Look out for my review of my experience of booking the posting of my package through Parcel2Go. It was a straightforward series of data entry and clicks, with clear instructions.

Parcel receipt

My parcel was picked up from work last Wednesday and my sister-in-law received it on Monday. What a lovely conversation we had about it – look out for my post about this later in the week. I tell you, I am so glad I signed up to the Parcel2Go Sent With Love campaign and I hope this is the beginning of closer communication with my niece and nephew.


Guess what? Parcel2Go is kindly giving one of you the opportunity to join their Sent With Love campaign and win a 100% delivery promotional code to send your own gift to a loved one. Looking out for the competition tonight.

How do you keep in touch with loved ones and what would you like to improve about this?

Top 5 | Outlook Solar Shade Review

When I was asked to review the Outlook® solar shade™, there wasn’t much to think about. Sunshine is fab, but I’ll choose being in the shade over being in the sun on most days. So, products with extended sun shade covers are especially appealing to me, especially on hot sunny days.

And when it comes to my little man, I can’t ignore all I’ve heard about the reasons to protect him from direct exposure to sunlight. Yes, I know he needs the sun for vitamin D but he also needs protection from harmful UV rays and glare. Learning that the solar shade™ is made of “breathable UPF50+ fabric which blocks 99% of harmful UV rays and glare”, definitely caught my attention.

The solar shade™ was sent to me and I enjoyed checking it out on my son’s buggy. So without further ado, I give you my Outlook solar shade review.Solar Shade pack

Here are the top 5 things I really like about it.

1. Easy to fit

It is so easy to assembly; no faffing around to figure it out. I literally took it out of its packaging and storage pouch, and it popped open. This took me a bit by surprise the first time and made me chuckle. 🙂 I like the fact that it can open itself but I can control how and when. When I take it out of its pouch now, I leave enough room between it and I to stretch out to its full size.

Also, I didn’t need to read through any leaflet or instructions to fit it. I extended my buggy’s hood, laid the solar shade™ over it, clipped the strap around my buggy’s handlebar, and fastened the velcro side straps to the buggy’s frame on each side.That was it … impressive, isn’t it.

When it was time to put it away, I realised that I didn’t need to undo the strap. I just lifted it up, over my buggy’s handlebar, and that was that.

Solar Shade fit

2. Easy to use

You can pretty much use the solar shade™ with all buggy, pram, and car seat models that have their own canopy. It’s compatible with 3 wheelers, travel systems, strollers, and even joggers.

I really like the flexibility of the solar shade™; I mean, you can adjust it to the level of shade you want to create. So, you can for example lower it for a darker and cozier environment, perhaps one especially conducive to sleep, for your little one.

Its easy-view zip at the front and middle makes it easy to see your child from the back of buggy. This comes in really handy if you want to quietly check if your little one is sleeping. 🙂

Solar Shade use

3. Easy to clean

I haven’t used my solar shade™ enough to clean in … I don’t think anyway. 🙂 However, it says on the packaging that I just need to sponge it with warm water and mild detergent. The solar shade™ is made from 100% polyester, you see; with a springy structure around most of its rim.

4. Easy to store

When I’m done with the solar shade™, I literally open the velcro side straps, and lift up the clipped strap from around my buggy’s handlebar. I then coil the solar shade™ into a small circle and put it in its storage pouch. The pouch just about fits into the back pocket of my buggy’s  hood, below my handlebar. That’s it! It takes very little space to store it.

I also recently realised that I could leave it hanging on my folded buggy, instead of folding it. In this instance, I only open the velcro side straps. The clipped strap around my buggy’s handlebar gives the solar shade™ the anchor it needs to hang downwards from it, and lie flat on my folded buggy.

Solar Shade store

5. Good value for money

It costs £19.99 and you can use from 0 to 4 years. This means that it only costs £5 a year to keep the sun’s reflection from little ones’ eyes (no need for sun glasses when using it), and shade them from harmful sun rays. I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say, ‘that’s a bargain!’.

Even better, it’s currently on sale for £15.99 on baby’smart. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Pinterest; they would love you to drop by and say, ‘hi’.

The Outlook® solar-shade™ is an Australian product and it is approved and recommended by the Skin & Cancer Foundation Australia.

Solar Shade Review

I’m pleased I came across this product and even more that I got the opportunity to review it. It’s a product I see myself using with my little one for years to come.  Below is a video of a slightly different model of the one I reviewed, I found it useful watching it and thought I’d share it with you … enjoy and thanks for reading my review.

How do you shade your little one(s) from the sun’s harmful rays when you’re on the move with them?

Top 5 | Baker Days Letterbox Cake Review

Who doesn’t like a good-looking piece of cake? There might be some people, but I’m not one of them. So, when Baker Days asked me to check out their letterbox cake a while ago, there wasn’t much to think about. 🙂

I chose the cake I wanted and they sent it to me for my Baker Days letterbox cake review. I was pleased to receive my World Breastfeeidng Week themed cake on the last day of World Breastfeeding Week.

I  kept this really cute cake in its beautiful box for as long as I could resist tasting it; I was quite tempted to frame it and display it. 🙂 I eventually got on with checking it out and

Here are the top 5 things I like about it.

Continue reading

Top 5: MAM Feeding Bowl Review

The MAM Feeding Bowl was one of the items MAM Baby UK sent to me to check out, early this year. I have put it through its paces over the months and here are the top 5 things I really like about it.

Continue reading

Top 5 | Huggies Little Swimmers Review

One of my dreams for Precious Sparkle was to get him swimming, days after he was born. However, as new-mum-haze descended on me, days very quickly turned to weeks … then months … and a year and more; and still no swimming lessons.

I remember hesitating due to vaccination concerns but the NHS states that babies can swim in public pools whatever their age or vaccination status. I also got myself tied up in knots about the swimming gear he needed.

So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when I came across HUGGIES® Little Swimmers® campaign to encourage mums to take their little ones swimming. After dilly-dallying for about 16 months, I finally had enough motivation to inject another fun and bonding activity into our weeks.

I was pleased to receive a pack of size 3 – 4 HUGGIES® swim pants in the post last month.

We’re now in the third week of our HUGGIES Little Swimmers review, and I can’t wait for our next lesson. It might sound silly, but these swim nappies have helped to ease my hesitation about taking Precious Sparkle swimming.

Below are the top 5 things I really like about HUGGIES® Little Swimmers® disposable swim pants:

Review / Top 5 | Huggies Little Swimmers Review |@aNoviceMum | Adventures of a Novice Mum Blog

1. Fun and Attractive Design

Each swim nappy has bright and engaging Disney™ underwater graphics and a character on it. I appreciate the colourful design of the nappies. It is appealing to the eyes, and definitely a potential toddler teaching tool. Showing Precious Sparkle the nappy as part of our swim time trigger is helpful for our routine. It’s also another opportunity to reinforce and develop Precious Sparkle’s identification of animals and things like, ‘fish’, ‘tortoise’, ‘bubbles’, ‘water’ etc. It sure adds to the fun of getting ready to go swimming.

2. Tear Away Sides

I like the velcro strip on the side panels; they enable you to put them on like a normal nappy when they’re opened, or to pull it up like a pants when they’re closed. At the moment, I find it easier to open the strip when I put them on Precious Sparkle. Perhaps in the future after potty training, I’ll pull them up like pants.

Unlike a normal nappy, there is no fiddling around to look for the closing and opening tabs when you need to take them off. I just peel back the top panels from the bottom ones. This is very handy with Precious Sparkle; he isn’t always happy to lie down for his nappy to be removed, you see. Faffing around trying to keep him on the change table to remove his nappy is not something I want to be doing in a public changing room.

Furthermore, the tear away design of the panels makes it very easy to adjust the fit of the nappy. I just change the position of the top panels on the velcro strip of the bottom panels as needed.

I was initially concerned about the strength of the velcro to keep the nappy on during swimming lessons. However, our time in the pool has assured me that they are strong enough; the nappy stays on in water until it’s removed.

3. Good Absorbency

All users of normal nappies know how they swell as they soak in liquid; thankfully, this doesn’t happen with HUGGIES® Little Swimmers®. So, though it gets wet as you would expect from exposure to such large amounts of water, it doesn’t expand like normal nappies.

I am very pleased about this; I wouldn’t want Precious Sparkle to wear anything that weighs him down in water.

4. Stretchy in the Right Places

I like the stretchy waist band that helps to give the swim nappy a snug and comfortable feel.

I like the stretchy tear away side panels; they keep the nappy on whilst giving room to move during swimming.

I like the stretchy inside layer around the thighs; good guards against undesirable leaks. Precious Sparkle has not needed the leak guards yet, but it’s helpful to know they’re there … just in case.

5. Affordable

At the moment, we only take Precious Sparkle swimming when he has swimming lessons, and that happens once a week. There are 12 nappies in the pack we are using; so, he needs at least 4 packs a year. Each pack costs around a £5 / £6 depending on where you buy it from. However, they are currently on sale in many stores; the cheapest being £2.60 at Tesco, and at Ocado on a buy 1 get the cheapest free deal. So, the current minimum yearly cost of Precious Sparkle’s swim nappies is £10.40. Now, that’s a bargain … don’t you think!

 HUGGIES® Little Swimmers® come in 3 sizes:

  • Size 2 – 3 (3-7 kg / 7-15 lbs)
  • Size 3 – 4 (7-15 kg / 15-34 lbs)
  • Size 5 – 6 (12-18 kg / 26-40 lbs)

Review / Top 5 (Sizes Images) | Huggies Little Swimmers Review |@aNoviceMum | Adventures of a Novice Mum Blog

It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to buy any other swimming specific gear for your toddler apart from swim pants, especially in a closed public swimming pool like the one we use.


As is the tradition on my blog, I like to source related giveaways for my readers when I receive products to review. HUGGIES® is kindly offering one of my readers a year’s supply of HUGGIES® Little Swimmers®. See the giveaway post (to be published shortly) to find out more.

If your little ones swim, what do you like about their swim nappy? | What’s your must-have swimming gear?

Top 5: Mam Bite and Play Teether Review

Precious Sparkle has enjoyed the MAM Bite and Play teether that the lovely folks at MAM Baby UK kindly sent to us, over a month ago.

You see, more of his teeth are coming out and this makes chewing and biting a favourite pastime! So, you can imagine his delight at having another toy to explore, albeit, one that will help his teething.

I must say that he doesn’t seem to exhibit most of the typical teething symptoms, but I know that some moments are worse than others on his teething journey. Continue reading