Children’s clothes from House of Fraser

We have quite a lot of friends with slightly older kiddies so get a lot of hand-me-down clothes for Monkey and LM, which is great as so many are barely worn. But sometimes it is lovely to choose clothes for them myself. To pick something I want them to wear. So when House of Fraser got in touch and asked me to review some clothes for the kiddies again I couldn’t resist.

House of Fraser as a department store says luxury to me, and so traditionally isn’t somewhere I have thought of when looking for children’s clothes. But boy was I wrong as they have so many lovely bits to choose from and the prices are not astronomical either.

With Monkey’s birthday coming up I couldn’t resist this gorgeous Little Criminal shirt he could wear for his family birthday party. He is in t-shirts a lot of the time and it was lovely to see him in this lovely shirt as he looks so grown up! I love the colours too and it looks perfect with his purple trousers.

Little Criminal shirt

For LM I couldn’t resist this gorgeous Pumpkin Patch dress. Two of my favourite colours are purple and teal (and these colours were the theme for our wedding in fact) so I just thought this was gorgeous.

pumpkin patch dress

I tend to prefer jersey dresses for her day to day as they are a bit more flexible and comfy but for a special occasion this is lovely and with it being cotton it is very lightweight so is perfect for a warm sunny day.

Even with these two little beauties I still had room in the budget they gave me for a third item! So I chose this cute little octopus t-shirt by name it, a brand I had not heard of before. It is such a lovely t-shirt and is a lot more closely fitting than any of Monkey’s other t-shirts.

name it tshirt

It’s a lovely fit actually and more like the fit hubs wears with his t-shirts, so it makes Monkey look so grown up! We love it 🙂

I am so pleased with the quality and fit of all of these lovely clothes, and the best bit, all together they come in at under £30, which is brilliant!

We received these clothes free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all words, opinions and images are my own.

We're going on an adventureThe Giggles Family

Children’s Clothing at House of Fraser

When I think of House of Fraser, I think of a big department store, the home of designer brands and luxury items. I don’t, I admit, think of children’s clothing. At least none that I could afford. I have written before I can be a bit thrifty, and I don’t like the thought of spending more money on my children’s clothes than I would on my own clothes, especially considering how quickly they grow out of them!

When I was contacted and asked to choose some children’s clothing from them for £30 or under I was intrigued to see what clothes they had, and what I could get for the money. Well I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the options available and the lovely clothes they stock. Luckily for me it was sale time and being the bargain hunter I am I wanted to see how may items I could get.

I think I did pretty well and got some gorgeous bits for both kiddies.

Monkey is wearing a lovely striped Benetton t-shirt and gorgeous cord trousers from Pumpkin Patch. I quite like the Pumpkin Patch brand but had never bought anything from Benetton before. Both are lovely quality and my favourite for baby/toddler clothes – machine washable and tumble dry-able! A must for me 🙂 It’s difficult to get a photo of him standing still but here is a few shots of him in his lovely new outfit.

house of fraser clothes monkey

Little Miss is wearing a gorgeous onesie from Kite, a brand I hadn’t heard of before but will be keeping an eye out for in the future. I couldn’t resist the colours as they are just gorgeous and the material is extremely soft and snuggly. Again machine washable and tumble dryable and I think LM looks just gorgeous in it. She looks pretty happy in it too don’t you think?

house of fraser lm

I am loving the quality of all of the clothes and they are certainly affordable so will be adding House of Fraser to the shops I consider when looking for children’s clothes.

We received the clothing for free for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.

We're going on an adventure
The Giggles Family

Thrifty? or tight?

I’ve had this post in mind for a while but I struggled to write it because I guess talking about money is always a bit tricky. It’s worth saying that I am not saying anyone else’s approach to money and spending is wrong, just different, and all I can do is talk about works for me personally, and us as a family.

Can you be thrifty without being tight? Or do you have to be a bit tight in order to be thrifty? Money is odd. I always feel that no matter how much you have, you will live within your means. I don’t like spending money, I never have. I’m not entirely sure where it comes from but I’ve always been quite careful with money. I hate spending more than about £15 on an item of clothing, and I keep clothes for years, literally YEARS. I buy the cheapest possible greetings cards and quite often get toys and things second hand on ebay.

When I was working and single I never had the highest salary, and for a long time managed to scrape by, covering my mortgage, bills and food with perhaps £30 left for clothes/entertainment every month. A carefulness with money that always came naturally was essential in those days and Birthdays and Christmas were the times I got new clothes or DVDs etc. Years of this basically led to an increased aversion to spending.

Then I met my husband, who has a similar attitude to me. He also had years of scraping by on a low salary and he too had learnt to be careful with his money. The difference between us was that his hard work over the years really paid off and he now earns a far better salary than I had ever dreamed of! In our early relationship, I was promoted too and with our combined salaries we were decidedly comfortable. It was a really weird experience for me not having to budget for every single penny spent.

After making the decision to be a SAHM and live off of my hubby’s salary, we are still better off than I ever was on my own but we are not exactly loaded or carefree, by a long way! We budget for everything and try to save every month in various forms to make sure we can afford unexpected car bills, holidays and other expensive times, like Christmas and Birthdays.

We manage pretty well but I think my natural aversion to spending still helps! I like to look for bargains, I buy Monkey’s clothes a season or more ahead in the sales, or I buy them from supermarkets or Primark because I don’t see the point in spending a lot of money on something he will wear for such a short time. We’ve even bought some things from charity shops, as let’s face it, baby/toddler clothes are very rarely ‘well-worn!’ We’ve actually been really lucky too in the fact that Monkey has had a lot of second hand clothes from a friend with son a year older than Monkey. This has saved us so much money over time!

The only exception is shoes, as he has wide feet so it’s important for his development to have his own shoes. They mold to the feet wearing them so wearing someone else’s shoes can be uncomfortable. Because of this Monkey only ever has one or two pairs of shoes at any one time. They are just so expensive and I just don’t see the point for lots of different pairs at his age. I wonder if I would be different if we had a girl? Maybe not!

He very occasionally gets a new toy, if we think it will help his stage of development, but for the most part, and especially as he gets older, we try and keep toys just as christmas/birthday presents. Some of the more expensive toy items, I prefer to get second hand. I got some great £5 bargains off ebay last summer. Occasionally if a big thing, like his trike, is in the sale, we will get one new, but it has to be quite a good discount!

We have just bought some outdoor toys for his birthday – we were looking for a swing/slide and a playhouse, but they are all so expensive and we just couldn’t justify spending the hundreds of pounds on new ones. We just can’t afford to! So it has been hello ebay again and we’ve got some great second hand bargains. So they are a little faded or worn, but then all outdoor toys end up like that and Monkey doesn’t care! It’s not just Monkey’s bits we scrimp on though either as hubby and I rarely buy ourselves clothes or other bits, and any recent purchases have been in the sale or from Primark.


Monkey’s “new” second-hand house from ebay

I prefer to think of myself as thrifty rather than tight though. Tight has such negative connotations of greediness or a lack of generosity. I like to give lovely things to people, it’s just that I like to get them for the lowest price possible, that way it means I can afford to get them more. And the fact that we save more in various ways means we are able to be a bit more relaxed about buying lunch out at the cafe at soft play, or have day out as a family.

One of my friends laughed at me the other week as I had patched a puncture on Monkey’s ball. She laughed as the balls are only a few quid, and thought it seemed pointless, but to me it made sense. I was fixing a puncture on his buggy wheel so why not fix the ball too? Why not save myself spending those few quid if I could? Besides, Monkey loves that ball!

Then on the flip side, we are spending a lot of money on the garden. We sold hubby’s nice pre-Monkey car for a banger which takes 6 or 7 tries to start somedays. We did this a) because hubby now works within walking distance and it was de-valueing on the drive and b) because we felt the money could be put to better use, for example, to give us a nice garden.

I guess it comes down to choices. What is important to you. I’m not saying the choices we make are right for everyone but they work for us. We could be a lot better in some ways – I know we could save money on our food shops by being a bit more savvy, but it comes down to laziness and effort. Especially now I am pregnant again, we just like the ease of ordering food online and having it delivered. I’m sure we won’t do this forever, but right now it works for us, and we still try to make the most of offers where we can. We also plan our meals, which really helps keep the food bills down.

We have a nice house and we do like nice things. I guess that the times we do spend a bit more money on something it is because it is something that is exactly what we are looking for, and that we know we will have for many years to come. The gorgeous dresser we have in our dining room was pretty pricey, but we couldn’t find what we wanted cheaper, even after many hours scouring for a second hand one to do up, and we adore it. This is our family forever home and that dresser will be with us for many many years.

Being a bit thrifty day to day allows us to save and then spend a bit more on things that mean more to us.

Whether we will always be like this, I don’t know. Maybe if we suddenly became millionaires (unlikely as we don’t play the lottery) I would relax my spending rules? But it is so ingrained that I’m not sure I could ever see myself spending lots of money on things like baby clothes when they won’t be needed for very long. As with so many things though, different strokes for different folks and we all make different choices for different reasons.

What do you think? Is Thrifty and Tight the same thing? Are you thrifty or are you a bit more relaxed when it comes to spending?

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Super Busy Mum

Monkey doesn’t wear jumpers!

This week’s The Prompt immediately reminded me of when Monkey was a tiny baby and it has led me to thinking a lot about those days.

The Prompt, if you don’t already know, is a linky hosted by Mum Turned Mom, and this week’s prompt is the following quote:

Sweater, n. Garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly. Ambrose Bierce

9 days oldThis quote reminded me of what we were told by health visitors and midwives about dressing our Newborn Monkey. They said he should wear a vest – which we should count as his skin, then he should wear the same number of layers as us, plus an extra layer. So if I was wearing a t-shirt, he should wear a vest, a t-shirt, and then another layer. If I was wearing a tshirt and a jumper, Monkey should wear 4 layers. You get the idea.

In reality, we soon realised that for Monkey, this was completely wrong. I know it’s just a rule of thumb and that it is probably perfectly accurate for a lot of babies, but for Monkey this was waaaaay too many layers. He was one warm baby! Still is in truth.



In summers, especially the first summer when he was born, he was basically in nappies most of the time, slept with a fan in his room and actually his favourite thing on a hot day was to be positioned in front of a fan (at a safe distance) to get a nice breeze, he has always loved feeling the wind in his face!



Just found this cute clip of Monkey very much enjoying lying in front of the fan 🙂

Occasionally we have forgotten what a hot baby he is … with disastrous results.

For example, his first Christmas, we bought him a really cute fleecy baby-grow for him to sleep in with the idea that he would look really cute on Christmas morning. We forgot how warm he is naturally and oh. dear. lord. He went to bed fine, then about an hour and a half later he was screaming, we went upstairs and he was on fire, just completely overheating (cue us feeling like the worst parents in the world) so we had to strip him down to his nappy and basically held him up in front of the open window (and it was cold!) to cool him down. Thankfully this worked and he slept fine for the rest of the night in one of his normal baby-grows. But that pretty much put paid to our relaxed Christmas Eve! He still looked cute on Christmas morning though and we will never make that mistake again!


So, honestly, Monkey hardly ever wears sweaters (or Jumpers) because I know he would completely overheat in one. I can be really chilly and in a big jumper with a t-shirt under and he’ll be in two thin layers, perfectly happy. He is in a sleepy bag at the moment but he is still in the summer Tog one, we have bought a lovely winter one but it seems so thick and it just hasn’t been cold enough for him to wear it.

I really like the quote, but for us it is very much untrue!

mummy mishaps

Persuading a stubborn Monkey that he really should wear a hat and mittens…

As a baba Monkey was fine with wearing hats, but he never liked wearing mittens, so last winter was hard at times as his poor fingers would get so cold! We put mittens on and he would just pull them right off. This year, he doesn’t even like hats, and definitely not mittens! I’m not too surprised as he often needs convincing about ‘new’ items of clothing. At the beginning of the summer he absolutely hated wearing sandals, but he got used to them after wearing them with socks for a while. Then, after a summer of being barefoot or just in sandals, the first time we put socks on again you can see he was thinking “and what, are those things on my feet??!” and he kicked up a fuss. It must be odd for them as their memories just don’t go that far back so even though he has worn them before, it feels like a new thing to him. He eventually got used to socks and shoes .

Monkey happily in a hat age 41/2 months

Monkey happily in a hat age 41/2 months

Monkey happily in a hat, age 9 months

Monkey happily in a hat, age 9 months

When he had to wear long sleeved tops, jumpers and thick coats he wasn’t impressed either, but he has again got used to them though he still gets cross about long sleeves sometimes.

The hat thing is also our fault a little bit, as we have been playing around putting things on our head and laughing, so he thinks that putting things on your head is silly, even when it’s a hat. So we didn’t manage to get him to wear a sun hat all summer, though occasionally sunglasses did stay on for a few minutes at a time!

Anyway it has obviously been getting colder so the hats and mittens have come out. Hats he screams and pulls until they come off (even if they are done up) and hoods are the same. Unlike other things, there just seems to be no getting used to them. And the first time mittens went near his hands he ripped them off as if they burnt him and threw them away in disgust!

But… we are finally getting somewhere now after some careful persuasion! Full credit for the mittens go to daddy, as he spent quite a long time introducing mittens to monkey whilst in the house, playing with them, putting them on himself and then holding them open for Monkey to put them on himself. Monkey is at that age where he wants to make decisions for himself, so I think this has been a big thing in the fight against hats and mittens, he will not wear them because we want him to, it has to be on his terms!! The first day that Monkey willingly put mittens on outside, and kept them on the whole time, I couldn’t believe it! So like I say, full credit to daddy!

He now realises that they keep his hands much warmer and he is happy to have them on a lot of the time, which is great. Hats have been a lot slower progress, even with trying the same methods as the mittens, we have not got anywhere. However, today we have had a Eureka moment!

It is pretty much freezing here today but my neighbour and I still go for our daily morning walks. As we left the house today I deliberately didn;t try to put Monkey’s hat on until we got to my neighbours house and knocked on the door. While we were waiting I had a chat with him and popped his hat on, and it stayed on!! I think those couple of minutes in the cold, followed by the chat were enough for him to realise that the hat would keep his head warm. Yay! It stayed on the whole time we were out, and when we went out later in the day there was no objection to hat or mittens for the entire time we were out!


So I am a very happy and proud mummy today, and he looks so cute in his hat!! 🙂


Poorly house and crochet baby booties!

Oh where is spring? Really I am so fed up with all this cold weather, and the germs that come with it! Every time we have a semi nice day it seems to be followed by a week of freezing! Been a bit of a poorly house for the last week or so too, I think I mentioned in my last blog that the monkey had been poorly, and sadly that carried on into the following week, and then I started throwing up too and well not a lot of fun to be had with poorly baby and a poorly mummy! If you work you can take a sick day but it’s not like you can get a sick day when you are a stay at home mum!

So it’s been all hands on deck and luckily my lovely mother in law was very happy to help, which meant daddy could get on at work, and, well, thankfully we are all much better now but we have been looking for some cheering up! We got these lovely Daffodils last weekend and thankfully they have been brightening up the kitchen nicely (and our moods!) although the pollen was so strong!


Through all of the illness I have been managing to carry on a bit of crochet 🙂 mainly carrying on with granny squares for my blanket project. I am doing quite well but have worked out that for a really decent sized blanket I am going need to make well over a hundred… 11 down so far so it may take me some time! Loving how they look already though!


As this project is going to take some time, and because I am massively impatient and like to see things finished, I have decided to alternate a bit and do some other small projects in between the granny squares. My lovely mother in law bought me a “Simply Crochet” magazine with some very cute patterns in, including one for these lovely baby booties which I couldn’t resist as they are so cute and as mentioned, we need some cheering up this week!


Now they say they are for 0-6 months so way too small for Monkey now, but honestly I am not sure they would ever have fit our little one’s feet! A couple of friend’s have had little ones recently though so will see if they fit on their little tootsies. Also I have a friend due at the beginning of April, so I thought that if they go well I may make a little pink pair for part of her baby present 🙂

I started the pattern and all seemed well, although it was getting late when I started them and I seemed completely incapable of counting so I did get a little stressed at points. I mean really, how hard is it to count 9 stitches! hehe but once I got going the sole suddenly appeared, and then I decided it looked a bit like Iggle Piggle’s boat hehe 🙂


Then came a phrase that completely flummoxed me! htr2tog. Um what? I get the htr bit but not the rest, isn’t 2 tog something to do with duvets? Luckily there is a list of abbreviations at the back of the magazine which said “work 2 half trebles together.” Unfortunately this didn’t make things any clearer to me and after looking through the guide bit of the magazine I was none the wiser and once again turned to my trusty friend that is Google. Seriously what did people do in the days before the internet? There I found out what to do. I don’t kid myself that I am able to describe it very effectively, there are plenty of other people who can explain it perfectly, such as here. 🙂

After that it seemed to quite swimmingly and soon enough I had first one, and then another booty! They are very cute but they are seriously small! So we will see if they actually fit on my friend’s baby’s tootsies!


Had a lovely weekend with the hubby and now that the daffodils are withered we have realised that our kitchen windowsill needs some brightening up! We have done a lot since we moved in 10 months ago, including having a new kitchen put in, but we haven’t put anything apart from the occasional bunch of flowers on the windowsill and it does need a bit of brightening up.


So yesterday when we were out buying some buttons for the booties (and some toy stuffing for my next project!) we popped in to our fave little Le Creuset shop. Yes the stuff is expensive but they always have colourful bits and we tend to buy one item at a time to spread the cost and make it fun 🙂 Anyway so to start off our windowsill we bought this lovely Jug! Think we should put something in it, it can be used for flowers of course but they are only temporary so need some ideas for things to go in there if anyone has any??


We obviously need a few more things on there but it’s a start at least! 🙂