Rainbow sensory gifts | My guest blog post

Our life has been filled with sensory exploration for around 7 years.

When I first expected that Harri had sensory processing disorder and autism, he was around 14 months old. He had no interest in baby toys unless they flashed, and hated anything that made noise, we found it increasingly difficult (and still do 8 years on) to find him anything that kept his interest longer than a few seconds, or that didn’t cause him sensory overload.

We started off with very basic light up toys, little flashing balls, changeable light bulbs, flashing bath toys etc.

Bath time used to be a really hard time for us, he absolutely hated water, hated having his hair washed or brushed, hated having his teeth brushed. And what many people don’t realise is that there are so many sensory toys and equipment that can help make these things easier.

Simple things like adding flashing lights to the bath or tap, toothbrushes and toothpaste that are made specifically for children with SPD and you can buy little sand timers which really helped as a visual aid, coral sponges are lovely and soft once wet and ideal for children that don’t like to be touched or get too wet. But not only that, one of the best ways to conquer a fear of water is to introduce it into play, same with sand, grass and dirt.

We had some amazing services involved when Harri was little, portage being the main one. Who taught us all the wonders of sensory play and the benefits for not only children with special needs but children in general of all ages, and when Harri was 3 we made him the most amazing sensory room complete with a bubble tube and fiberoptic lights, that were mainly supplied by a charity called Caudwell fund.

This was his own space, where if he was having a meltdown or a particularly bad day, he could go to relax amongst the lights and his little flashing toys and it would calm him.

During the time when he was a baby, there wasn’t much available like what Katie produces. No one did sensory packs, and the ones that were available from bigger sensory companies weren’t affordable, so we had to make do with things we could find or make ourselves, I would have been so grateful to have had a company like Rainbow Sensory Gifts, where I would know the things were safe and carefully thought out. I would have benefited from having Katie in general to bounce ideas back and forth and I’m so thankful that I have somewhere I can grab all these wonderful toys at such affordable prices to help Fraser learn and develop his skills.

Fine motor and hand eye coordination skills will always be big milestones for us because Harri didn’t learn to wave, point, clap until he was around 3, we’re still working on his pincer grasp and he’s now 8 years old.

Fraser with the help of Katie’s deluxe sensory bag, is already trying to do the open and closed wave at 6 months old, he can move objects between hands, pick some smaller objects up like her wooden rainbow blocks, spikey flashing balls and ribbon wands.

He’s been learning how to problem solve by hiding items underneath his scarfs and finding them, and pulling the scarfs through an Oball.

One of the big things for us is that Fraser has a flat head at the back, he had stiffness in one side of his neck and absolutely hated tummy time, this is why we originally bought the deluxe sensory bag, to encourage tummy time but also to use things like the flashing ball, mirror, visual cards and bells to get him to move his head from side to side.

This all helped immensely and whilst his head is still flat because he can’t sit unaided, he spends the majority of the day now on his tummy, rolling around the room trying to reach his sensory toys. And he can now move his head from side to side with no issue.

I also think when we have access to sensory toys like Katie produces, it encourages us to play more and educate ourselves more about learning through play and it’s benefits, which is so so important. You don’t have to spend an absolute fortune like I was led to believe, I spent hundreds of pounds all those years ago, and the equipment from caudwell, whilst absolutely amazing, was worth a lot of money and I could have never ever afforded to have bought it myself.

We’re lucky now that we have people like Katie, and resources more readily available. Instagram and Pinterest didn’t exist then. My ideas were my own and it was so stressful not really knowing what I was doing. Which is why Katie’s little information booklet which gives you ideas on how to use the items in the bags, is so amazing.

I’m not sure about anyone else but I find babies really hard work to entertain and not only that, it also meant that after we had played, he was quite happy to lie on the floor with a few bits from the sensory bag whilst I pottered on around the house or just had 5 minutes to myself and I never had to try and think of games to play or activities to do with the toys because I had them right in that booklet.

Fraser has been using Katie’s sensory toys since he was around 5 weeks old, and he will continue to use them into toddlerhood.

I really look forward to seeing what rainbow sensory gifts has in store for the future and will continue to support her every step of the way because without a company like hers I’d still be struggling to find what I need at amazing value, to help Fraser learn and

develop all these awesome skills.

Links for Katie’s Website and Instagram below

https://instagram.com/rainbowsensorygifts?igshid=61yt85lboaba

https://www.rainbowsensorygifts.co.uk

Vatos Inflatable sensory tummy time mat | Review | Gifted

We were lucky enough to be gifted the most amazing sensory water mat from vatso toys for Fraser.

He’s 6 months old and hard to entertain at times, and not sitting unaided as of yet. So this is absolutely perfect for tummy time!

The bright colours engaged him immediately, he loves chasing the foam shapes with his hands and making the water splash inside. It’s great for developing hand eye coordination and fine motor skills, and will be great for any baby to develop strength in their upper body.

Fraser absolutely hated tummy time and this would have been a godsend.

We had a really hard time getting him to lie on his front for more than a couple of seconds and he actually developed flat head which has now started to rectify itself through doing sensory play.

Ideal for those none messy sensory play sessions, easy to transport around the house or to the garden and great to take with you on your travels!

We’re always looking for things that are easy to pack as we travel up north to visit family quite a bit.

This is so easy to prepare, you just fill the middle (we used luke warm water) and then inflate the edge, then you’re ready to go!

Suitable for 3 months upwards and a total bargain.

This is a great addition to any sensory collection or a great starting point. I’d honestly recommend this to anyone with small children.

We are so thankful to review this for you, Fraser is having a whale of a time (see what I did there)

Links for Instagram and amazon below

https://instagram.com/vatosuk?igshid=y0g0aboe88ps

https://instagram.com/vatostoys?igshid=k3n2o7cu8suh

https://www.amazon.co.uk/VATOS-Inflatable-Toddlers-Development-Activity/dp/B07PYQR4F2/ref=mp_s_a_1_fkmrnull_2_sspa?keywords=vatos+baby+water+mat&qid=1558524512&s=gateway&sprefix=vatos+&sr=8-2-fkmrnull-spons&psc=1

I’m Back!

Wow, it was like travelling through time looking through my old blog posts, I only ever intended to take a short break and here we are 4 years later!

Like with everything life got in the way, I’ve since had another baby and moved 300 miles away from Newcastle to Kent to be with my partner Joe. Who I met on Xbox but that’s a story for another time..

So I thought I’d do a basic introduction post again as you’ll all have forgotten me by this point.

I’m Sam, Mother of 3 beautiful children.

Harri is 8, Penelope is 6 and Fraser is 6 months old. Partner to Joseph and we live in Chatham, Kent.

I’m a self taught photographer, still learning the ropes but have just recently set up my own business ‘Penelope Ophelia Photography’ which is named after my daughter due to taking my diploma in dark room photography whilst I was pregnant with her.

Currently specialising in family photography and product photography, and my idea is to be affordable to everyone whether it be families or small businesses.

‘Why start your blog back up after such a long time?’

I hear you, it’s been ages but I did really used to enjoy it. I’m trying to get back into the swing of things and doing more things for myself, I had contemplated deleting and starting again but I think it’s nice to leave the old posts so you can see how much my interests have changed over time.

I’ve also gained more of a following on Instagram as of late, and I generally like interacting with other parents and brands, I think a blog is the next step to add to my profile and I’ve missed writing and reviewing on a bigger platform.

Interests?

Photography obviously.

Still completely obsessed with interior design and over the next year we’re buying the house and lots of work needs doing. So there will be updates on that when the wheels are set in motion.

Very into movies, series. Basically a Netflix pro, if you want a recommendation check out my highlights on Instagram, although that also needs an update but there isn’t much I haven’t seen!

Always looking for new things to watch so if you have any of your own recommendations, throw them my way.

Huge learn through play advocate, especially sensory toys so I’ll be posting about that quite a bit.

Kids fashion, which has been a recent thing really. We’re brand reps for several small companies on Instagram and it’s all stemmed from that. We are massive supporters of small businesses and try to only buy from insta/Etsy shops when we can.

This is also how the product photography started and the companies have all been an amazing help and support. But we will go into that later too.

You can still expect reviews from me, we have been lucky over the past few months to have been gifted some items in exchange for honest reviews and photographs and this is a great platform to do that on.

So.. I think we’re all caught up. Bit of a boring one to start with but felt it needed doing.

Link for Instagram

https://instagram.com/helicopterparentof3

Hope you’re all well and Happy Hump Day!

Quiet time = Impossible 

  

I’m super sorry I’ve been so quiet this past week, the kids have got me demented (damn you summer holidays). 

I literally have zero time to myself, so I’m finding it difficult to be able to blog at the minute but I will try and do a few beauty reviews this week when I eventually get around to it. I have a few other items and companies that I want to talk about too, so hopefully at some point this week I may actually get some time to do it! 

This house has been full of tantrums/meltdowns/fighting/crying and I’m EXHAUSTED. 

It’s really difficult keeping both the kids entertained because they like different things. I don’t get out a lot due to Harri not really coping well outdoors (ASD and sensory issues) and I really struggle when I’m on my own. 

I really feel the need for some time to meditate at the minute, but finding perfect silence is almost impossible when you have children! I’m going to grab my Zen colouring book and give that a go instead. 

Thanks so much for reading. Hope you are all well! 

Sam 

Xxxx  

 

Toy review Tuesday! 

  



Fisherprice Disney Little People  



 



I absolutely adore this range and so do the kids. 

We started collecting them last Christmas.

We started with the Disney castle, Ariel carriage and Cinderella carriage.  
   

Then for Penelope’s birthday added in the Cinderella dance floor and the Tangled tower.  

 


As with all Fisherprice toys, they are sturdy, thick plastic. Colourful and fun, pretty much indestructible which is a big thing to look for In this house! But because they are Disney related the kids seem to show a lot more interest. 

And even though these were purchased for Penelope, Harri really enjoys them too. And it’s not often that he’s bothered with toys at all, unless they are sensory related, it’s also go them kind of playing together side by side. Which is a huge step for Harri. 

   
  


What I find great about this range, is that there is so much too choose from. Meaning that I can purchase bits to add to her collection every birthday/Xmas etc. 

We have already got her a few bits for Xmas, including the Aurora and the fairies package, Clip clop horse track and the Aladdin/jasmine magic carpet. 

   
 
Yes obviously, some of the toys are quite large. So storage can sometimes be an issue. Penelope’s room is super tiny, but currently we are managing well. I can’t say I will be saying the same come Christmas time!  

  

If you are struggling for ideas on Christmas presents, I absolutely recommend anything from this range. There is a massive amount to choose from (try Ebay for some of the rarer bits) and any small child that loves Disney will love these! 

Thanks for reading lovelies! 

Sam 

XXXX 

Sensory Sunday!

  

So this week instead of reviewing a sensory toy/product. I decided to share with you the wonderful and cheap world of DIY Sensory bottles! 

We’ve been collecting the cheap miniature pop bottles from the Asda own kids range. Which are a perfect size for this! 

You can fill them with absolutely anything. The water ones are great as they make the objects float. 

You can also make noise ones without water! This is one of the water ones I made for Penelope. Its just water filled to the top and then we put some of the craft Pom Poms in. She played with it for ages! 


 
I can’t take credit for this idea, it came from the fantastic world of Pinterest. Here’s a few we are going to make over the coming months.  
 
  
If you wanted some better bottles/containers I’m sure anything will do that is light and has a screw cap. I seen these ones on Pinterest and think they are fab but have yet to find containers like these.  
 
Here’s a quick list of things we have used, feel free to pop your own ideas in the comments! You can pretty much use anything. 

  • Beads
  • Ribbons 
  • Sand 
  • Water 
  • Glitter 
  • Pipe cleaners 
  • Pom Poms 
  • Googly eyes 
  • Food colouring 
  • Foam shapes 
  • Foam letters 
  • Foam numbers 
  • Rice 
  • Pasta 
  • Glitter glue 
  • Glow in the dark paint/glitter/shapes 
  • Buttons 
  • Dice
  • Water beads 
  • Fake flowers 

Hope you have enjoyed this blog. These are so easy and cheap to make. My kids both love them (Aged 4 and 2). Harri has sensory processing disorder alongside His diagnoses of Autism. So he absolutely loves anything like this. 

They are also great for baby sensory play! 

Thanks for reading! 

XXXX 

15 ways to use Vaseline 💕💕

  

I always have a pot of Vaseline in my drawer, have done since my early teens and over the years I’ve discovered some weird and wonderful things you can use it for! So here’s a quick list:

1. Customise your cosmetics

Add Vaseline to any lose pigments from your eyes shadows, blush etc and mix them together to create a cream shadows and blush. You can also do this to make tinted lip balms. 

2. Use it as a clear Mascara 

On makeup free days or natural makeup days you can trade in your mascara for Vaseline by smoothing it over your lashes for a glossy and thicker look. It’s also a great eye lash conditioner! 

3. Polish your shoes!

Bit of a weird one but my grandma once told me to use it for polishing my tan boots. This was quite recently and it gives them a great shine! 

4. Get the perfect tan

Apply it to dry areas like elbows and knees before tanning as it acts as a barrier so that the tan won’t cling/go streaky in those places. 

5. Gentle eye makeup remover

We all know how expensive makeup remover can be, but you can use Vaseline on the tip of a cotton bud to gently remove eye liner, mascara and I’ve even found when I used to use false lashes that it would help with removing the excess glue. 

6. Soothe dry skin 

Apply Vaseline to dry skin or cracked heels on your feet and then pop a pair of socks on. You can also do the same for hands and wear some gloves overnight. Really helps hydrate your skin. 

7. Mess free manicure 

Apply to your cuticles before painting your nails to keep the colour off your skin. 

8. Remove makeup stains from clothing

With a damp cloth, Vaseline can be used to help lift makeup stains from your clothing, pillow cases and bedding. 

9. Instant Highlighter 

Just use a small amount on the high points of your face for a natural dewy highlight. You can also use it on your shins to make your legs glow. 

10. Smooth that baby hair! 

You can smooth down your baby hairs or frizz by using small amounts of Vaseline in replace of hair product. 

11. Prep skin for fragrance 

Moisturised skin holds fragrance for longer, apply Vaseline before you spray. 

12. DIY lip scrub 

Add some sugar to your Vaseline to make your own DIY lip scrub. 

13. DIY shower/bath sea salt scrub 

Add Sea salt to your Vaseline to make your own DIY body scrub with moisturising benefits. 

14. Take those brows 

Add a very small amount of Vaseline to your eyebrow brush to help shape your brows perfectly. 

15. Help stubborn earrings slide in

If you’re like me and don’t wear earrings too often, the holes can sometimes be difficult when trying to put earrings in. Add a small amount of Vaseline to your ear lobe and over the earring to help it slide in with no problems. 

Let me know down below if you have any Vaseline tips! 

Thanks for reading 💕💕💕 

 

Toy review Tuesday – Disney Animator Dolls 

  

We started collecting these at Christmas and we would absolutely love Penelope to own the entire collection. She currently has Ana, Pocohontus, jasmine and tinker bell. She adores them but they also look lovely on her shelf. 

The dolls seem really well made but like with everything their hair can get messy after a while so we have found ourselves tying them in pony tails to try and keep them in good condition. 

The only problem we have had is with tinker bell. Penelope only had her a week and her head fell off. We hadn’t kept any of the original packaging or receipt so didn’t think we would be able to take her back although we have not tried. When looking on Disney store reviews it seems to be a common problem but only with the Tinker bell doll. The rest have been absolutely fine with great reviews.  

 
That certainly hasn’t put us off buying more, we already have a few on Penelope’s Christmas list and at £20 each we think they are an excellent price. 

 There are more to the collection that above, you can get the frozen characters also. Some of them also come in sets with extra clothes/props (obviously they are more expensive) and they also come in miniature sets too. 

So if your children love Disney I would definitely recommend these toys! Just not tinker bell which is a shame but I wouldn’t want you to waste your money for it to break!

Thanks for reading! 

Xxx 

 

Sensory Sunday! 

Wooden Sensory Blocks 

I’m a little bit obsessed with looking for really funky sensory toys for the kids. Amongst making some of our own and buying things other people have recommended, I search the net trying to find the next best thing. 
What is slightly irritating is the price ranges. Sensory toys are most certainly not cheap, but sometimes you can find some really great things that are totally worth the money.  

Harri attends a nursery specifically for children with Autism. So as you can imagine they have some of the most amazing sensory toys/areas and so we often find ourselves purchasing bits and bobs we have seen him interested in within school. He’s not into toys really so when we don’t find something he seems to enjoy we generally buy them. 

On a parents morning we noticed these on one of the tables and I thought they looked great. Not just for Harri but Penelope too. 

They were £40.80 inclusive of VAT, plus postage. And I know that might seem a tad expensive but the kids really do love them. 

You get 16 natural hardwood blocks with liquid, beads, glitter and sand centres all with different colours. They are great for sensory stimulus. You can shake, stack, build and hold them up to the light. And are ideal for shape recognition and simple block building tasks. 

Harri does play with them when he’s not fixated on his cars/books etc. But Penelope absolutely loves them and can play with them for a good hour before moving onto something else. 

They are available from the following website 

http://www.sensoryplus.co.uk/products/wooden-toys/sensory-blocks-set-of-16/SE826

Thanks so much for reading, I will be trying to make Sensory Sunday blogs every week, hopefully adding some DIY bits along the way. 

Xxx