Adam’s epic adventure! And so it begins…

Hi, I’m Adam. You’re going to be hearing a lot more from me in the coming months. The folks at My Nametags decided to send me off on an epic adventure and you can follow my story on our Facebook where I’ll be posting each week from some pretty awesome places!

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I was so nervous before my first ever flight but what a journey that turned out to be! I watched my favourite movie, Paddington Bear and munched on loads of teddy bear crisps the entire journey.

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After my long journey I was certainly in need of a rest. So I found a nice lake to relax by in the sun.

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After my nap by the lake I did some climbing on some nearby rocks in preparation for my big climb up a mountain the next day.

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I know I’m still smiling in this one but honestly this was only the halfway point up the mountain and I was so tired, but I had to keep pushing on if I ever wanted to be as brave as my friend, Winnie the Pooh.

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Hey Look! I made it to the top and here I am feeling pretty chuffed with myself.

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Another smile for the camera one last time before I head off to my next destination. Stay tuned to see where I end up next…

My Nametags Strike Gold In Feefo’s Trusted Service Awards!

2017 has got off to a fantastic start for the My Nametags team thanks to Feefo awarding us with their Gold Trusted Service accolade.

Here at My Nametags, our customers are at the heart of everything that we do. We set high standards for ourselves and are proud to boast a 99% service rating.

Last year My Nametags picked up Feefo’s Gold Award and we are delighted to announce that we have received it for another year! Feefo allows us to receive the views of all our customers and is crucial in helping us to develop our products and service. We are happy to know that we are doing a good job and are grateful of the kind words that we receive every day.

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Toy Alert – what’s hot for 2017

We sent our My Nametags’ detectives to London’s annual Toy Fair at Olympia on 24 January to find out what will be the most sought after toys for 2017! Read this and you’ll be seriously ahead of the game for present ideas for the next 11 months…

BEST S.T.E.M. TOY

Toys that promote Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) skills are set to grow in popularity during 2017. We thought that the Science Lab from the Galt Explore and Discover range was fabulous and well-priced at £12.99. It will be launching later this year at Galt Toys: to be the first to know when it’s available, you can signup to the Galt Newsletter following this link www.galttoys.com/?nostodp=fi0cvxa2tb

Image of Galt Toys Science LAbScience Lab Product

COMPETITION ALERT!

We’ve teamed up with Galt Toys to offer one lucky reader the chance of winning a £100 voucher to spend at Galt!
To enter our Facebook competition just click here.

Terms & Conditions:

UK residents only;
No cash alternative to the prize will be offered;
Voucher code must be used online at www.galttoys.com

BEST WOODEN TOY

For that big present for age 3+ Hape’s new mighty Mountain Mine, which is part of its railway collection, ticks all the boxes. Full of interactive features including a lift, tunnels, cranes and bridges. £169.99 from Amazon.

E3753 Mighty Mountain Mine

BEST CONSTRUCTION TOY

Lego has a fantastic new playset which kids will love to play cops and robbers with. Comes complete with jail cell with breakout feature, monitoring room with screens, plus police motorbike, crook’s ATV, four mini figures and even a police dog! The LEGO City Police – Mobile Command Centre. £39.99 from Smyths Toys.
Lego city policeBEST GAME

Cheeky Monkeys won best new game at the toy fair and you can see why. You have to balance your monkeys on the 3D tree but you run the risk of other players stealing them. The winner is the one with the most bananas. The perfect family game. Suitable for age 4-8 and available from 14 February £9.50 from Orchard Toys.

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BEST PLAYSET

This adorable Sylvanian Families Village Cake Shop will keep your little ones entertained for hours. The detail is amazing with 90 pieces, including 11 varieties of cake, a Veronica Cakebread figure and a story book that’s perfect for bedtime reading. Available from March from Sylvanian Families £39.99.  Watch out for the Starry Point Lighthouse (£59.99) and Ballet Theatre (£54.99) both available in July.

NEW Sylvanian Families Village Cake Shop[31437]

BEST PRESCHOOL CHARACTER

PAW Patrol is a big hit for most pre-schoolers and this fab Paw Patrol Jungle Terrain Vehicle Rescue Set is set to become a winner. Use the crane to pull the panther to safety and push the Paw badge to activate lights and sound. Comes with Ryder, Mateo and baby panther figures. £44.99 from Amazon.

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BEST WHEELED TOY

Micro Scooters won (one of three) best Wheeled toy category at the Toy Fair and you can see why. It’s a great quality-made first bicycle for toddlers and is suitable from 2-5 years. Allows your child to build co-ordination and balancing skills. Micro Chopper Balance Bike £79.95 from Micro-Scooters.

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BEST CREATIVE TOY

We just love this fabulous magnetic activity box.  It’s bright with lots of pieces to play with to create hundreds of different pictures or scenes.  The Magnetic Shape Activity Box will be available from April. £19.99 from Fiesta Crafts.

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Top Six 2017 Fitness Trends

The New Year is the time of re-evaluating our lives and fitness is for many people a key area. So if you started in January with the best intentions and are ready to give up, don’t! Or if you’re still keen, finding out about the latest trends will keep your workouts fresh.

We’ve rounded up the top six fitness trends you should look out for. Adding something new to your weekly workout is bound to keep you motivated throughout 2017.

Count Steps!

Short on time? Trying to juggle home, family and work? Log your daily steps with a wearable fitness tracker or smartwatch from brands such as Garmin, Apple or Fitbit. This year’s wearables, not only track distance they will also provide heart rate readings, GPS route tracking, move reminders and more. Top tips: avoid the car, walk up the stairs and you’ll be surprised at how many more steps you can do in a day.

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Virtual boxing

The boxing fitness trend will continue into 2017 but the news is it’s going digital. The Boxx Method  is an online virtual boxing workout programme, which is super easy to do at home. All you need is a pair of 1kg weights and you can stream expert instructors to your PC/TV/Tablet/Mobile whenever you want.

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Water Workouts

Watch out for swimming fitness classes for a full body workout. Fitness clubs including Virgin Active  are offering low-impact, high-intensity water-based group High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes. These classes will offer sprint and long swims as well as resistance activities to give you a well-balanced workout without straining your joints.

Functional Fitness

Functional Fitness is the idea that you strengthen muscles every day to be able to lift a suitcase, carry your toddler etc. It’s a term that has been around for a while. However in 2017 we will see new machines to help you achieve this easily. Watch out for the new Assault Bike from Fitness First. The idea is has heaps of cardio and calorie-burning workout options plus the resistance increases automatically as you push, pull and pedal.

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Strength Training 

Strength training will be big news especially for women in 2017. The old myth that lifting weights makes you bulk-up is slowly disappearing.  Look out for lifting groups and the rise of one-to-one coaching on weights.strength

Mind & Body

The mindfulness concept has finally reached the gym. The focus will be on taking time out to sweat out your stress instead and trying to get to grips with the deep connection between mind and body. Watch out for beginner courses offered in high street gyms and chill out candlelit classes.

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Help your child to love reading – win a book!

Image of Lost My Name bookChildren who are read to often go on to perform better at school. But how do you try to encourage a love of reading from an early age? We’ve five top tips on how to get the most out of reading to your child.

You could be in with a chance or winning a set of customised My Nametags stickers plus a personalised book for your child from Lost My Name. See below for details.

Let them choose

Let your child choose the book and they will instantly feel more involved. It’s very likely that your child will choose the same book, time after time. But don’t worry as repetition is good. If you’re fed up with always reading the same book then give your child a choice of two books that you would like to read.

Quiet and ComfortableImage of lost my name book

Choose a time of day that suits you and your child. It could be after lunch for preschoolers, bedtime or even bath time! Make sure it’s quiet and there are no distractions e.g. TV, other siblings, mobile phones etc. and a lovely comfortable spot to snuggle up with your child.

Talk about it

Talk about the book and ask questions as you go along to keep your child interested in the story. Get them to guess what will happen next or ask why they think something happened.

Have fun!

Bring stories to life with silly voices and actions. Children love nursery rhymes and songs too. Rhyme and repetition are great for encouraging your child to join in and learn the story. If your child has enjoyed reading a particular book, then find out more about it. Check the internet for fan clubs and the author’s website. Look for games, colouring sheets or competitions.

Read everythingImage of lost my name book

When you’re out and about read everything you see from adverts to shop signs and bus timetables and basic newspaper headlines. This will help reinforce to your child the value and joy of learning to read.

COMPETITION ALERT!

One lucky reader in each country will win a set of My Nametags stickers plus a personalised book from unique children’s publisher Lost My Name. Each book, worth £19.99, will be based on your child’s name making it completely unique to them. All you have to do is follow My Nametags and Lost My Name on Facebook and tell us why you chose your child’s name. We will pick one winner per country (UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands). Find out more about these lovely books on www.lostmy.name.

Healthy Snacks for Kids – tips from mums

We all know that we should be giving our kids healthy snacks to take to school or have after school when they’re ravenous. I know from experience it’s very easy to get stuck in a rut and grab a couple of biscuits on the way out to school pick up. So here’s the inside track (from mums at the school gate) on healthy snacks that kids like and will eat.

Get children involved with your quest for “healthier snacks” getting them to add up sugar cubes on the ‘Sugar Smart’ app. It’s simple to use. Just scan the barcode of their favourite food or drink and it pops up with how many sugar cubes it contains. My kids were shocked at how many sugar cubes were in a packet of their favourite biscuits…Image of the Sugar Smart app

Getting the 5-a-day

We all know that you can’t beat fruit or vegetables for a super healthy snack. Make getting their five-a-day fun by serving fruit on cocktail sticks or by adding stickers to a colourful bag full of fruit and veg. My 8-year old loves cucumber, celery and carrot sticks with a small pot of hummus – just perfect for a quick after school snack. And, I even write messages and smiley faces on her banana to take to school! 😉

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Cheese & Eggs

Protein from cheese and eggs will help fill hungry tummies fast. Eat on their own or with oatcakes or crispbreads. A boiled egg is easy and quick to make. Buy ready-wrapped cheddar sticks or cut slices from a block of cheese to take to school.

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A (healthy) Sandwich

Oatcakes, rice or corn cakes are all healthy alternatives to your traditional white bread sandwich. Top with cheese, jam (no-added-sugar of course), banana, hummus, or mashed avocado. Healthy nut butters without added sugar such as almond or cashew are great too. Apples spread with nut butter are a favourite in our house. Avoid taking nuts into school because of allergies.

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A (healthy) Biscuit

If you enjoy baking then it’s so much better to make your own healthy versions of muffins/flapjacks etc as you “know” exactly what you’ve put in them, say many mums. Alternatively, check for healthy snack bars without added sugar or additives. Some brands mums swear by are Nak’d,  Trek or Bounce Balls.

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Unsweetened Yoghurt

Avoid shop-bought yoghurts which are full of sugar and instead add fruit and honey to plain yoghurt to sweeten naturally.

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Nuts & Seeds

Choose nuts and seeds (outside of school) over crisps. Not only are they full of healthy omega oils, but they’re a filling snack. Look for natural nuts without salt or sugar. Your typical 5 year old should not eat more than 3g of salt (or 1.2g of sodium) a day, according to government guidelines and some bags of crisps will contain a high amount of salt.

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DIY Popcorn

My kids love making popcorn with me. It’s fun to make and quite frankly it tastes so much better than buying a microwave bag or a ready-popped version. We sprinkle on both salt and sugar but you could try honey or dip in good quality chocolate for a special treat.

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Healthy H2O

If your kids love water then you’re laughing. Many mums swear by adding squeezed fruit to spice up water. My kids love their Kidzinger with built-in citrus press and straw.

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Know Your AW16 Fashion Trends

It’s almost the end of the summer and autumn beckons. We’ve picked the best of the latest fashion trends for AW16 so you’ll know your wide-legged from your culottes and will be able to spot this season’s take on the modern ruffle from a mile away…

Dark Floral

Blooms on a black or dark background will carry you through many seasons. Wear with chunky boots for an edgier look.

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ASOS Dress £40

The Wide-Leg Trouser

Ditch the skinnies in favour of the wide-leg trouser this autumn. Very chic…and oh so comfortable…

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Anthropologie jeans £128

Victoriana

Tap into this season’s Victoriana trend with a delicate chiffon high collar top. Pair with denim or a pretty skirt.

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Karen Millen top £115

Ruffles

Ruffles have continued into AW16 but are less romantic. Think structured wave. You’ll find ruffles everywhere on dresses and ponchos but we love this versatile tunic.

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Mint Velvet tunic £79

Animal print

Any wild cat print (or snake for that matter!) goes this season – from leopard to cheetah. Keep it simple with just one item – a jacket or a pair of boots but not both!

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ZARA jacket £59.99

Velvet

Velvet, the richest of fabrics will be this season’s darling. Crushed or coloured. Take your pick.

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My Theresa dress £460

Military

Jackets and coats in the military style will be back in this autumn. Soften the look by wearing over pretty dresses and skirts.

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River Island coat £110

Ready Steady School – BIG school in a box!

Getting ready to start and progress through Reception is not just about turning up on the first day. It’s about families preparing together to make that transition into school a smooth and positive one. With the right tools you can help your child’s personal, social and learning skills develop and grow so they start school and progress with confidence from the very beginning.

From September onwards teachers have their own challenges to face. Just imagine 30 four year olds at the end of a tiring school day putting on coats, fastening shoes and packing book bags – all personal challenges in their own right. By practising skills such as dressing and fastenings before children start school they develop the independence needed to function effectively in the new school environment. Imagine the reward for the child who puts on and fastens their own shoes and coat and is first out of the door to play.

Ready Steady School is on a mission to help your child feel smart and confident from day one at BIG school. Developed by 2 highly experienced Early Years teachers, Tom and Pom boxes are personalised and contain illustrated, easy to follow task cards and educationally sound, fun, interactive activities for you to share with your little one.

Their Starting School Box builds on basic skills by practising simple everyday tasks helping your little one develop confidence and independence. Their Letters and sounds Box contains all the tools to support learning how to read and write.

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Achieve a flying start to school with www.readysteadyschool.org and check out the blog for more ideas and support.

You can enter our Facebook give-away here to be in with a chance of winning one of these BIG personalised boxes – and a set of our personalised colour stickers to make sure you kick start the new school year!

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Summer Essentials for Kids – win travel games!

With the holidays almost here (and a mum of four kids myself) I thought it might be helpful to list those key “must have” items kids will need over the summer. Whether your toddler or tween is attending holiday clubs or going on holiday it’s always handy to have a backpack with all those essential items in …named of course!

To get you off to a great start this summer, we’ve teamed up with Orchard Toys who will give away six of their new mini games to one lucky My Nametags newsletter reader. All you have to do is follow My Nametags and Orchard Toys on Facebook and tell us your child’s favourite board or cards game. Good luck!

Backpack

Whether it’s just for a day trip or a week’s holiday get your kids to have a go at packing from a young age. You may have to check it over (and possibly remove the 15 cuddly toys they’ve stuck in there!) but at least they will have had a go. I’ve found buying my children a backpack each that they like is half the battle.

Mi Pac Backpack - Blue Galaxy £22.98

Mi Pac Backpack – Blue Galaxy £22.98

Toddler Backpacks & Lunchbox – Princess £27.98

Toddler Backpacks & Lunchbox – Princess £27.98

Games

Give the electronic devices a break and pack some board games or cards to while away the hours while waiting for trains or planes. Orchard Toys have just launched a collection of travel size games for £4.99 each which are sure to keep younger kids amused.

http://www.orchardtoys.com/collection/mini-games

Orchard Toys mini games £4.99 each

Water bottle

I’ve often made the mistake of forgetting a water bottle or bringing one between four which doesn’t go down well! My top tip would be to get each child a really nice water bottle and hopefully they’ll remember to fill it and keep hydrated while they’re out and about.

Dino Family £12.99

Dino Family £12.99

Bee & Friends £12.99

Bee & Friends £12.99

Sunglasses & hats

Sunglasses and hats are a must wherever you go in the summer. Invest in a hat they really like and hopefully it will get worn. I love the ones with the flap are great for younger children and are perfect for swimming in too.

Baby & Children’s Sunglasses £6

Baby & Children’s Sunglasses £6

Quick Drying Flap Hats £12

Quick Drying Flap Hats £12

Colouring Books

Colouring books are the perfect entertainment for long journeys and have had somewhat of a revival in recent years. You can find colouring books to suit all ages and tastes (even adults!)

Anti -Boredom Colouring Book £5

Anti -Boredom Colouring Book £5

Travel Games Pad £5.99

Usborne Travel Games Pad £5.99

Headphones

A good pair of headphones is essential for keeping the peace while kids play music or videos. My youngest loves her little pink headphones and they’re the first thing she packs when we travel.

Little Rockerz headphones £14.95

Little Rockerz headphones £14.95

Peppa pig headphones

Peppa Pig headphones £14.95

Charger

Needing to charge everyone’s devices all at once is part of modern family life. Or forgetting to bring one at all when you go away is also very annoying. We love this charger which is not only high powered and quick, it will allow you to charge up to 6 tablets and smartphones simultaneously.

Avantree Charging Station £19.99

Avantree Charging Station £19.99