butlins photo oppTwo days to go and it’ll be a brand new year, I do love a fresh start; it means I can put past mistakes behind me – hopefully I’ll have learnt something from them and I can move on and try to make it a better year for me and my family.

Mari’s World blog

I have a lot to thank for in 2012, my blog has really taken off well and all the hard work that has gone into it is now paying off. Mari’s World has been included in the Woman & Home top 100 Foodie and Travel blogs one of my favourite magazines! It was nominated and voted in the Circle of Moms Top 25 European blogs (Thank you for your votes) Over the year Mari’s World has hovered around the 50 – 75 mark in the TOTS 100 a table that takes into account almost 5000 UK blogs and it has been sitting around the 70 mark of the ebuzzing chart too in the parenting category with an overall position of 271 in their Top Blogs chart.

Ambassador opportunities

I have been fortunate enough to work with some excellent brands this year, a chosen Butlins ambassador we enjoyed two excellent holidays in Skegness and Bognor Regis. This year we shall visit Butlins for a third holiday hopefully at Easter. I have worked with John Crane as their Chief Reviewer bringing you an enormous selection of their excellent wooden toys. Panasonic chose me to be one of their Intelligent Living Mums and I am thrilled to bits with my new combination microwave oven and Britax asked us to be their ambassador and try out their group 3 car seats which are so safe and easy to use it’s unbelievable.

Panasonic bread maker

Editor of BritMums blog

My best opportunity of 2012 came from BritMums when they asked me to edit the BritMums blog for them. Since April I have taken on this exciting role and have been in touch with so many bloggers across the entire community and beyond. I was able to work at the BritMums Live event and see how much graft goes into making this one of the most enjoyable blogging conferences in the yearly calendar. I am so happy to have this chance and look forward to spending the next year with them.

 

Wishlist for 2013

My first enormous project of 2013 will be getting married in March! Now with Christmas behind me I can focus on that and hopefully make this a fun and happy day for our friends and family to enjoy with us.

With regards to my lifestyle I need to find a better balance in 2013, something I’ve been hearing from lots of parents recently. 2012 saw me working daily on Mari’s World and although the hard work paid off I am exhausted now and enjoying sitting back from it all and taking a deep breath. By doing this I can see I don’t want to slave over a computer all year but also enjoy my girls after school, catch the tiny moments that make the growing up process so much fun. Having two older children I know how quickly this magical moment passes by so I want to make the most of it.

Mari's World, parenting, twins

I have Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, Pinterest accounts and Google + social media too and where I enjoy them all I have understood I can’t do everything. So I am dabbling in each area as and when I please rather than making a rod for my own back.

Thank you for all your likes, follows and general support in all of my social media areas.

I would love to get that book started I keep going on about each year, I would love to get to the end of 2013 and tell you I’ve got a first draft almost completed – or at least started. It’s all about time again and that’s the lesson of 2013, dedicating my time to my priorities. I have the idea I just need to find the time.

I want to get out my knitting needles or start a new needlework project, I still have to sew up my cushion so have two days to get it done before 2013 starts – can I do it?

emily peacock cushion almost compeleted

I also want to read more books this year and listen to more music and so I am looking forward to starting JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy and listening to my brand new Emeli Sande CD who I think has a stunning voice.

Happy New Year to all from me and my family, I look forward to sharing more in 2013

Mari x

Marianne Whooley

I’m including this post in the next BritMums Carnival hosted by the lovely Jenny Paulin at Mummy Mishaps

Pintoy hospital john craneThe last toy to bring to your attention just in time for Christmas is the Pintoy General Hospital from the John Crane collection.

It comes half flat packed in a box with just the second, smaller building which needs constructing and takes 5 minutes maximum.

Painted in vibrant, bright colours with a moving lift operated by a turn handle this toy gives the perfect setting for all sorts of emergencies.

Accessories include a reception, rehabilitation bars, an operating theater, beds with covers and pillows, portable tables, drips, toys for the children’s ward and a ramp.

The toy itself doesn’t come with any staff so it might be a good idea to remember this as once the box is open children will want to get hands on with doctors and patients, we used our families from the Marlborough Doll’s house.

We also had a huge fire last week and had to call in the fire engine to help us evacuate the hospital. The girls had their first fire drill at school a few weeks ago so we’ve been able to act out all sorts of emergencies.

pintoy hospital - john crane

A brilliant toy for any child who has a family member in hospital as it helps them understand what is happening. Also a great toy for schools and preschools as the children learn about the emergency services.

Fabulous for role play and expanding conversation, also learning about different jobs in our society. It also will come in very handy when we have our next dentist appointment on the 3rd January as it will allow me to explain what is going to happen and therefore avoid any fear.

Have a look on the John Crane website for your nearest retailer

wooden toy fire engine - Pintoy - John CraneOne of John Crane’s most popular toys is their fire engine and I have been sent one to review for Mari’s World.

I can say straight off I love it and it has been made to the usual very high standards that John Crane demands. No rough edges and very interactive, this fire engine will have children amused for hours. There is a ladder that swivels round and extends to reach high buildings, there is an attachment either side to fix your water hose onto and the steering wheel can be fixed on either side, quite ingenious and opens the toy up to international play!

The roof of the cabin is removable and the fire fighters (sold separately but a must for proper play) can sit inside as they whizz off to their next incident.

The fire fighters are dressed in uniform with hard hats and come with accessories too, an oxygen tank for entering smoke filled rooms, two walky-talky radios, a megaphone and two axes plus a portable fire extinguisher amplifying the game enormously.

I am keeping this toy aside for Evan my grandson as although he is not one yet I know this is the kind of toy that will look gorgeous in his bedroom until such a time as he can enjoy playing with it.

The toy is indicated from 3 years up but there’s nothing to stop a younger child playing with it under supervision (small removable parts) It’s sturdy and easy to push along, I am sure the colour alone would attract most children’s attention. There are a couple of excellent customer reviews on the John Crane website already.

wooden fire engine - Pintoy - John Crane

A quick search has confirmed that prices are from £30 upwards for the Fire Engine and around £18 for the group of 4 Fire Fighters with accessories.

An investment piece that thanks to the excellent standard of design can be passed down to future generations too.

Nativity wooden toy setI’ve been working with John Crane now for over a year and know just how good their toys are. I’ve met some members of staff and know how much they all care about their products. A lot of time and thought goes into making sure their products are of top quality and desirable for the age groups they are aimed at. With Christmas approaching fast it seemed the perfect excuse to give a list of all the toys we’ve reviewed so far in the hope they will sort out your Christmas lists.

Remember for the full catalogue to visit their website John Crane Toys, Like their Facebook page to be in the know of all the giveaways they hold and follow them on Twitter for the latest news.

My favourite John Crane toys

Toy kitchen john craneToy kitchen

Toy dolls houseToy doll’s house

Nativity set

Balance Bike

Meowsic keyboard playMeowsic keyboard

Sevi villageSevi toy village

For smaller children

John Crane rainbow cubesWooden stacking cubes

animags wild animalsAnimags wild animals

Sevi breakfast tray wooden toySevi breakfast tray

Sevi Hamburger TraySevi hamburger tray

Learning toys

wooden recorders

John Crane high tea shape sorterHigh tea shape sorter

John Crane Wooden AbacusWooden abacus

memory game john craneMemory game

Happy Birds game john craneHappy birds game

John Crane Teddy FlipperTeddy letter and number flipper

sorting and teaching clockSorting and teaching clock

safari floor dominoes - john crane toysSafari floor dominoes

Skipping ropes

Role play toys

oldfield farm and tractorFarm set – Oldfield Farm

Tractor and trailer

Dolls high chair and bunk beds

children’s baking kit and cookware

Dolls pushchair

Bedroom ideas

sevi lettersSevi wooden letters

Wooden toy boxes for storage solutions

Mini pull along cart

animags wild animalsIt’s toy box time again and this week John Crane are proposing a 21 piece game called Animags Wild Animals.

A collection of 6 wild animals made out of wood and brightly painted plus three bushes to create a jungle environment. Each animal is divided into three pieces which fit one on top of the other with magnets to make the animal, bottom, middle and head so to speak.

Apart from the hand to eye co-ordination it also gives thinking and reasoning skills a good workout and is advised for children from the age of 2.

You can imagine the laughter of making a tiger with a crocodiles mouth and a gorillas’ feet?  hours of fun!

animags wild animals

I had a quick peek online and prices for this wooden toy go from £12.99 to around £14.50. The puzzle comes in a sturdy box with an easy opening for little hands and each animal comes packaged in its own bag. find your nearest dealer at John Crane toys

animags wild animals