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Lights..Camera..Action!

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All parents love to talk about their babies and here at the Mini-U hangout, we are no exception. We often find ourselves chatting proudly about any one of our Mini-U family members, sometimes singing the praises of our Curly Locks Activator and Dynamite Detangler for kids whose hair tends to ‘walk on the wild side’ or maybe just enjoying the massive fun factor of our creative and colourful Dunk & Doodle family.

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Anyway, we really feel like shouting it from the rooftops, but the downside of that is that most of you won’t be able to hear us! So, we have hatched a clever plan to show the wider world just how much fun our Mini-U family can bring into your bathroom. Now you don’t have to just take our word for it because you’ll be meeting the whole family on the big screen (we’re not talking Hollywood here though.. more a small screen debut) in a new full-colour, action-packed mini-movie starring the whole of the Mini-U family. Every product from our bathtime family gets a chance to show off their unique skills and undeniable fun factor, leaving you in no doubt about what they’ve got to offer you and your kids..sometimes words are just not enough, you need the ‘lights, camera, action!’ touch to really bring something to life.

Such an exciting video project deserved an exciting location, and you can’t get much better than the beautiful Lainston House Hotel for our filming location. We felt this was the perfect venue, with the biggest bathroom and bath tub I have ever seen, making it the ideal back drop for our bathtime divas! lh hero gallery

 

We have teamed the dream location up with the fantastic skills and expertise of our film crew Parkes Productions to produce a short, bright, colourful and engaging film to inform and entertain you, the customer.

With a growing list of retailers supporting the brand in stores across the UK and world, we would now like to offer customers a better understanding of the Mini-U bathtime brand. Mini-U will endeavor to place video screens in all our stores, an ideal solution for sharing our new, fun film.

Of course we don’t want anyone to miss out on the fun so we’ll be sharing this new fun video across our social media platforms. So keep your eyes peeled, because our adorable Mini-U characters will be coming alive on a screen near you soon!

Bye for now

Caroline

 

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Mini-U teams up with Southampton Hospital Charity

For some time now the team at Mini-U has wanted to get involved in a charity that directly benefits children and with so many wonderful and deserving charities out there, it has been difficult decision.

14168884722_8fb662dda2_zFor us, the deciding moment came a few weeks ago, as were were heading home along the M27, relaxed and happy from a wonderful family day out. The wailing sirens of a passing ambulance from the Southampton Children’s Intensive Care Unit jolted us from our comfortable reality and we reflected on the fact that someone’s child was in that ambulance and our hearts reached out to their famliy, even though we’d probably never know who they were.

To our horror, a few minutes later we saw the ambulance for a second time, and this time it was pulled up on the hard shoulder of the motorway which meant only one thing – the child inside required immediate medical assistance. My blood turned cold and the hairs on my arms stood up; someone’s child was in that ambulance with their little life in the balance and here we were just driving by feeling powerless.

Following this incident we knew in our hearts that we’d found the charity that we’d been looking for and we’re now committed to doing our very best to raise funds for the Southampton Hospital Children’s Ward through charity events and other initiatives in the coming months.

 

imgres-1Southampton Hospital Charity aims to enhance the world class facilities provided at Southampton General and the Princess Ann Hospitals by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

University Hospital Southampton provides services to some 1.3 million people living in Southampton and South Hampshire plus specialist services including neurosciences, cardiac services and children’s intensive care to more than 3 million in central southern England and the Channel Islands.

The charity funds projects go towards improving the environment for patients to make there stay in hospital as comfortable as possible, so important to small children

 

We look forward to keeping you updated with details of fundraising events and hope that you will support us in our efforts.

That’s all for now.. Caroline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tear Free Detangling for Curly Locks

Screenshot 2014-10-07 10.17.34 As we’re currently running a special offer on our specialist products for curly and sometimes unmanageable locks, Curly Locks Curl Activator and Dynamite Detangling Spray, we thought this would be a great time to share this blog talking you through the best way of dealing with tangled hair which won’t end in tears…yours or your little one’s.  Thanks to the contributors at naturalhairkids.com for this useful post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“One of the main reasons that parents dread wash day is because of the tear filled detangling process. If  your little one runs and hides when you bring out the comb, then you are doing it wrong! Detangling  should only be done when hair is soaking wet using your fingers or a wide tooth comb. If you hit a snag  when detangling, don’t rip through the tangle with the comb. Stop, remove the comb, and attempt to work  the tangle out using your fingers.

While detangling may seem like a very long and tedious process, it is crucial in retaining hair length,  minimising breakage and preventing knots and matting.

 

 You will need: 

Spray bottle with distilled/filtered water
Conditioner
Wide Tooth Comb
Hair clips

 Directions:

 Step 1: On soaking wet, clean hair, part hair into four sections and clip aside leaving one section out.

 Step 2: Take the section that is left out and separate it into 3 smaller sections and clip aside leaving one  section out.

 Step 3: Apply a liberal amount of conditioner to the hair from root to tips.

 Step 4: Using a wide tooth comb, comb through hair beginning at the ends and gradually work your way  to the roots. *Note: if you feel resistance, do not pull, remove the comb and start combing again at the  ends and working towards the root/scalp.

 Step 5: When the section has been completely detangled, double strand twist it and repeat with the next  section until all of the hair has been detangled and twisted.

 Step 6: Rinse out conditioner and style as desired.

 Note: If hair begins to dry and becomes  difficult to detangle, spray section liberally with water before  applying conditioner.”

 

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Winter coats wrapped up!

Despite the much-welcomed warm days of another Indian summer, we know that the autumn will soon be here and we don’t want to be taken by surprise! There’s an old saying I love which goes.. ‘there’s no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothing!’ With this in mind, it was time to revisit our wardrobes to make sure we were all kitted out for the wet days and cold nights ahead. We’ve been looking around at what’s on offer in the high street for kids this year and these are a few of our winter 2014 favourites to keep our kids warm, dry and bang on style!

Which is your Winter 2014 favourite? 

bang on trend

From Zara

Marks and spencer

From Marks and Spencer

Nautical

From Jo Jo Maman Bebe

troters

From Trotters Childrenswear

classic

From John Lewis

unique

From Mi Mariposa

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Having Fun with Lunch Boxes

September is zooming by and the hectic school routine has well and truly kicked back in! This year I have decided to be a super organised Mummy and rather than setting myself too many morning tasks which make getting to school by the morning bell so stressful, I have given myself a new daily challenge of advance planning once my little one’s in bed before I flop exhausted onto the sofa. Top of my must-do list is the all-important lunch box and this year I am determined to create a daily offering which will be both yummy and satisfying because the sight of an empty, well-appreciated lunch box always gives me the feel-good factor..know what I mean? In my research I came across a multitude of simple and inspiring ways to liven up your lunch boxes and here’s just a few ideas to get you started. Although some of these ideas may seem time-consuming, don’t get freaked out thinking they will take forever, you’ll soon get into the flow and once you’re creative streak takes over you won’t even notice the time!.

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 The box: Firstly I love these sandwich boxes that come with 3 sections; my daughter loves finger food in a picnic style and this box allow you  to create just that. This type of lunch box can be picked up on Amazon  and I believe it’s the first step towards a more interesting lunchtime experience.

 The sandwich: No one knows their child better than you, so pick a selection of sandwich cutters that you know your child will enjoy.

You can pick up a great variety of sandwich cutters from all over the place, Lunch Punch offer a fantastic array of choices to jazz up any boring  sandwich!
 

 

Change it up to create excitement around lunch each and every day!

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Quick and simple TOP TIP: Add bagged snacks to the lunch box,  Jacobs Oddities are perfect,  they come in a great selection of flavours and shapes for you to get creative with.

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot 2014-09-23 21.58.16 The 5-a-day challenge:

 Some kids just love their fruit and veggies but if they don’t, well us parents just have to wise up and find creative ways to lure our  lovelies into devouring them without question!.

Have you thought of wrapping fruit into a chocolate spread wrap? Or creating delicious dips for dunking carrot sticks or fruit cubes?

We recently purchased this great device for cutting fruit and veggies into original and interesting shapes and it’s as quick as slicing  but way more edible for young minds!

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Keep it interesting: I found this great idea of writing a little love note, reminder note or something to make your little one laugh via Honey you baked. If your little ones are too young to read yet, try adding edible pictures to jazz things up – there is a great selection online

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Screenshot 2014-09-23 21.28.31If you are more of a sandwich bag kind of family and you fancy yourself as a bit of a Picasso, then take a leaf out of David Laferriere’s book, who creates a different piece of art daily for his kids to appreciate before devouring their sandwiches! Check out all her work via Flicker

 

Been inspired with your lunch box lately? Please share the ideas around and keep boredom out of the lunch box!

 

That’s all for now folks!

Caroline 🙂

 

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Back to school bedtime routines for your Little Monkeys

 

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Despite a welcome sigh of relief that the summer break is over and a return to normality (aka ‘the predictable school routine’) is just around the corner, for most parents this transition time is bitter-sweet. Whilst longing for time for yourself and a break from juggling work and childcare, we now have to relinquish lazy mornings and fun family days out or rainy afternoons snuggled up at home. Of course life seems more chaotic without the school routine and the pressure to constantly devise suitable entertainment for our children can be exhausting, but our homes are going to feel awfully quiet once the new term starts. One moment the summer is stretching out invitingly before us and then in the blink of an eye our little ones are back in uniforms and dragging their feet to school.

As a parent, one of my greatest challenges has been successfully negotiating bedtime issues and surviving, for the most part, in a sleep-deprived state!

P6162377My daughter Rosie has never been a great sleeper; as a baby she would feed every 2 hours and as she grew her sleep pattern became more and more erratic. Being a light sleeper myself, not to mention a total soft touch when it comes to needs of my toddler, I would often find myself squished along the side of her tiny bed in a sleep-defying position in my attempts to maintain the household peace.

I was seriously at the end of my tether when we thankfully stumbled across some of the best and most effective advice on coping with sleep-related challenges. Following a few of these simple and actually quite obvious tips, we successfully tackled the issues that had plagued our bedtimes and for the first time in years started to enjoy blissful sleep once again.

Rosie, now aged 5, still has the occasional night of broken sleep, but with summer holidays coming to an end, the new challenge for us all is to get our back-to-school bedtime routine back in place. With long, light summer evenings and a relaxed attitude over the summer break, bedtime has got later and later, as I’m sure is the case for most families. A happy bedtime means a happy child, ready to take on an action packed day at school and so, with this in mind, here are some top tips from the experts on a calm bedtime routine and how to keep them in their own bed for the whole night!

 

Go to bed at the same time

Even though little children can’t tell the time, their bodies can. Going to bed at the same time every night helps them physically and mentally get  into a sleep routine. Although it can be tempting to change the routine at weekends and during the summer holidays, try to keep bedtime  consistent. Later bedtimes can make it hard for kids to change back to a normal schedule.

 Thank you to WebMD for these wise words of wisdom on the all important bedtime routine. For further great tips on all  things kids visit http://www.webmd.boots.com/children/default.htm
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2014 favourite TOP TEN family activities for FREE

 

Summer fun for FREE 

The summer holidays are well and truly under way and as a mum myself, I am only too aware of the pressure we parents are under to keep our kids entertained. When it comes to amazing days out, here in the UK, we are spoiled for choice, but unless you have very deep pockets, it’s going to be a very expensive summer!

So what if we just go back to basics? Will our kids enjoy their holidays any less?
Here’s food for thought with my 2014 favourite TOP TEN family activities that are free (or nearly free)….

 

Splash Parks

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With the best summer I can remember in years we need to make the most of the fab splash parks scattered across the UK! Kids love water, especially when it’s shooting up out of the ground or cascading over their heads. Make a picnic with your family’s favourite treats, grab a bucket and watering can, slap on the sun cream and make a day of it!
For details on some great splash areas across the UK visit http://www.sunsafe.co.uk/waterplay_portfolio_localauth.htm

 

Hobby Craft

Did you know that Hobby Craft offer a fantastic FREE summer scheme to help occupy your little angels? From loom bands to puppet making, they run a cool range of activities daily between 11am – 3pm.
Don’t worry if your not a craft enthusiast, yourself, they have helpful members of staff on hand to advise on the activity of the day.
Find out more at www.hobbycraft.co.uk

 

Summer Book Challenge

My daughter and I absolutely love books and our local library is one of our favourite destinations.summer book

Funnily enough, it was my daughter’s idea to first visit the library, curious to know what was hidden behind those doors. Although we had always enjoyed books together, for some strange reason, we hadn’t taken advantage of this wonderful service until then. If you haven’t checked out your local library then now is the perfect time, while the Summer Book Challenge is running. Kids aged 4 – 11 are set the challenge of reading 6 books during the holidays and are rewarded with themed stickers, a certificate and a medal if they finish! Trust me they love it the library is a buzz of fun activity.

Take time to pick the books, find a quiet corner and read a few while your there, most library’s offer some great colouring in too!

 

Play day in the park

parkAt some point or another we all use the park, but it recently dawned on me that the park doesn’t need to be a quick 20 minute visit. Pick one of the larger parks in your local area, pack a tasty picnic (yes! the picnic will be an essential part of most of my Summer Top Ten) grab a ball and a blanket, scooters, bikes and don’t forget the dog! Why not text your friends and family and make a day of it? As long as the kids have space to play, something to swing or climb on and plenty of favourite snacks, they’ll be happy all day and so will you!

 

Pets at Home

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Pets at Home is another nationwide store that offers you FREE family fun, with their Kids Holiday Pet Club. If you have an animal-loving child, why not visit a store near you and meet the guinea pigs, bunnies, fish and more. For more information visit www.petsathome.com

Nature Trail

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We are privileged to live in a country where we have great access to beautiful National Trusts parks.
Many

locations offer trails to walk and investigate, picnic areas to relax in and unforgettable natural landscapes to enjoy.

Capture your little ones’ imaginations, by becoming explorers for the day or by building a den in the woods. Why not search for creepy crawlies or collect different leaves for leaf prints back at home?
For more information visit
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

 

‘PJ Day’

Not every day’s an outside day in a typical British summer, so get ready to celebrate the next summer holiday rainy day with my highly recommended essential Family PJ Day!
As a family we love choosing our favourite movies and board games, preparing some popcorn and then snuggling up on the sofa with a blanket for a restful ‘PJ Day’. It’s such a treat to simply spend time together and I love to make the most of it before my little lady gets all grown up!

 

Museums

muKids are like little sponges sucking up everything that they see and hear, so why not introduce them to something new this summer and visit one of the many museums the UK has to offer.

Remember, pick a child friendly museum for your family and plan your trip to get the most out of your day. Museums that are suitable for children tend to have interactive sections so make sure you don’t miss out!
Follow the link below for some of the best free museums open this summer in the UK:
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/free-museums-and-art-galleries

Arts and Crafts

Never under estimate the power of a craft table! I learned that the secret to a fun and relaxing craft session is:
Dedicate your time to just this – turn off that mobile phone!arts-and-crafts-table

Plan and prepare your activities – kids are impatient

Let them do their own thing – hard to do I know!

Join in the fun – crafting is relaxing!

You can easily pass a morning with arts and crafts and it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Make the most of Google for free step-by-step craft activities and printable colouring-in sheets.

We also love www.disney.co.uk for a great range of colouring-in sheets that can be printed.

You could also check out http://poundshop.com/ or http://www.tigerstores.co.uk/ where you can pick up a great selection of arts and crafts bits and bobs without breaking the bank. Let your artistic side go potty!

Kids Festivals

OK, I know this one isn’t free but this is a really fun family experience! children’s festivals are becoming ever more popular and are a fabulous way to spend a day or better still a long weekend together as a family. Pitch your tent and enjoy camping together, dancing together and making the most of the great outdoors.

LOLLIBOP

There is still some great festival fun to be had so why not check out http://www.lollibopfestival.co.uk/ or https://www.google.co.uk/#q=jamie+oliver+feastival for further details.