The Next David Beckham?

Being fans of football, we have been quite keen to get Harrison into some sort of football club. He loves kicking a ball around in the garden, and loves watching it. I also think it is really important to try and get kids involved in some some sort of sport  (says the girl who hated PE and sport at school!) – the exercise and discipline involved is good for them – they have to listen carefully and follow instructions and rules. Most clubs around by us seem to take kids from around five years plus, so when an advert for a local club for children from nursery age upwards popped onto my Facebook feed, we asked him if he wanted to go – the answer was yes!

The club is only about twenty minutes walk from us, and one of Harrison’s friends was starting it as well. His best friend is starting soon so it’ll be a chance for them to see each other outside of school. We weren’t very well prepared. We all assumed for some reason it would be in the sports hall, and hadn’t checked the weather forecast. Thankfully, we chucked the rain cover under the pram but all I had on was a cardi. Half way there, the heavens opened! When we arrived we realised it was on the field and even torrential rain wasn’t going to put a stop to it. It didn’t stop raining until right at the end by which point we were absolutely soaked, covered in mud and frozen!

day 87

Harrison joined in for about half the session. At three years old he was the youngest and I think an hour might be a little too much to start with. He was joining in and doing his best to keep up with the older boys, but after half an hour the cold and rain got to him and his friend, so we headed home. He’s asked to go back next week which is good, and we will be much better prepared!!

PicMonkey Collage

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

BritMums

Project 365: Week 13

March 22nd

day 81

The photo is terrible but I was so proud of this – Harrison can now write his name independently!

March 24th

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Today we had Benjamin’s nuclear kidney scan. I had been really worried about it since we had the letter, but as you can tell, it didn’t bother him!

March 24th

day 83

I’d been really excited for months about ordering a Lindy Bop dress for my sister in laws wedding in May. I spent hours on the website and thought I’d chosen the perfect one. It came on Tuesday, and as you can probably guess by my face, I wasn’t keen. It looks okay in the photo but even my mum agreed that it wasn’t great on. I’m swapping it for a different one which I think is much more ‘me’.

25th March

day 84

My beautiful, smiley little Ben!

March 26th

day 85

A Ben-heavy post this week! Usually, he goes in the big bath with Harrison and Alex, but he was asleep when they had one tonight, so he went in his baby bath!

March 27th

day 86

Harrison’s school broke up for Easter today. As well as bringing his easter bonnet, easter basket, various pictures and paintings, he brought home this gorgeous card!

March 28th

day 87

Today Harrison went to his first football coaching session. We were a little unprepared – for some reason we thought it was indoors and so didn’t have waterproof coats, getting very wet and muddy, but Harrison really enjoyed it. He only managed half of the one hour session – he was the youngest by far and an hour is a bit much for him still, but he is asking to go back next week!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Serum

I’m 30 at the end of this year and touch wood, I don’t have any lines or wrinkles around my eyes (yet!). What I do have, and am incredibly self-conscious about, is dark circles under my eyes, which really show up in photos.

When the opportunity to review InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Serum arose, I couldn’t turn it down. The serum contains Vitamin C, plant stem cells, passionflower and caffeine to help reduce the appearance of dark circles, puffiness and fine lines.

InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Serum

The serum is bright orange, which comes as a bit of a surprise when you first open it, but quickly blends into the skin. It has a gorgeous, fresh citrusy scent which I love. You only need a drop for each eye so the 30ml bottle will last ages. You pop it onto your finger and then gently press it into the skin under and around your eyes. It is absorbed into the skin quickly and isn’t at all sticky.

InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Serum

I’m always a little sceptical about whether products like this work, but I can see a difference after using it or a fortnight. My skin fees a little tighter around my eyes, and the dark circles, although not totally gone (nothing short of a miracle would do that!), they’re definitely better than they were.

InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Serum is available from the InstaNatural website and Amazon for £17.97.

 

*I was sent this product in return for a honest and unbiased review

WIN!!! An Pretend Play School Set from Learning Resources

Back in February, we reviewed this fantastic play school set from Learning Resources. You can read the full review here

Pretend and Play International School Set

The set is brilliant for encouraging role play and creativity, and practising those all important literacy and numeracy skills. Harrison and Alex love theirs, and is still their most played with toy at the moment!

I’ve teamed up with Learning Resources to offer one reader the chance to win one for themselves. All you need to do is follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter Widget. Please make sure you complete the mandatory entry otherwise your other entries will be invalid – I do check! All terms and conditions can be found here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Benjamin’s Nuclear Kidney Scan

Back in December, when he was just three weeks old, Benjamin was admitted to hospital because he was seriously ill. You can read the whole story here. He had jaundice and sepsis caused by an e-coli infection picked up at birth.

So far, he doesn’t appear to have had any lasting effects from his illness, apart from a weakened immune system. However, on Monday he had a ‘nuclear kidney scan’ to rule out any lasting damage.

When I had the letter, I was completely taken aback. I’d never heard of a ‘nuclear scan’ before, and it sounded terrifying. Reading the letter and information did little to allay these fears! It might say it’s harmless – but he was going to be injected with radioactive stuff!

Nuclear Kidney Scan

 

A half an hour scan on a four month old who needs to remain still? I was dreading it!

We arrived at Heartlands Hospital bright and early. Benjamin had been quite unsettled for a few days because of his teeth and a cold, but thankfully he seemed much better. We got up to the ward where he was when he was when he was ill, which didn’t bring back very nice memories. A numbing cream was applied to the back of his hands and the crook of his arms ready for a cannula to be inserted. The cream took about half an hour to to take effect. We were then taken into a side room with a young male doctor, who didn’t even acknowledge Ben – he’s only four months but he still a person! He could not get the cannula in at all, trying both hands and arms, but it just wasn’t working. Luckily the numbing cream meant that he couldn’t feel it, but he started getting a little distressed at being pinned down. After almost half an hour, the doctor gave up and fetched another doctor. She was much nicer and chatted away to Ben. She took one look at his little bleeding and battered hands, and went straight to his foot. He hadn’t had any numbing cream so he did have a little cry, but it was over in a few minutes. It just made me feel so bad seeing my little baby having yet more needles stuck in him – he’s been through enough already.

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We then had to walk down to the nuclear medicine department (the complete opposite end of the hospital!), where a radiologist injected a small dose of harmless radioactive material into him via his cannula. The cannula was then removed and we were free to roam the hospital for the next two hours.

Ben had remained fast asleep in his pushchair throughout the procedure, so we headed down to the cafe so I could have a latte and catch up on some work whilst he slept.

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After an hour or so, he woke up. I gave him a cuddle and a bottle, and changed his nappy before taking a slow walk back up – Heartlands Hospital is huge!

For his scan, he had to lay on a narrow bed – the actual scanner was underneath him, He could remain fully dressed and have his dummy and his rabbit. Although the letter said it would take thirty minutes, the doctor said that if Ben lay still, it would be done in twelve minutes. He was obviously listening – I had my hand on his tummy to keep him still but he didn’t move once. I think he was too fascinated with the machine.

We won’t get the results until his follow up appointment with his consultant, but I’m not too worried. His initial scan on Christmas Eve showed no damage and this was just to confirm that. I’m just hoping that was the last of the tests – I don’t want to put him through anymore.

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Bio Kult Infantis

Last week I attended an event in London hosted by Lowri Turner. The event was to promote a range of probiotics, called Bio-Kult Infantis, which are especially designed for babies, toddlers and young children.

Many of us recognise Lowri Turner as a television presenter, but she is also a mum of three and qualified nutritionist. She is also a keen advocate of probiotics, having seen them benefit her young nieces and nephews.

I’ve never really given probiotics more than a fleeting consideration. I’ve only ever associated them with those vile yoghurt drinks, so to hear more about them was fascinating and a complete eye opener.

Bio-Kult Infantis

70% of our immune system is located in our gut. Our bodies contain a mixture of ‘good’ bacteria and ‘bad’ bacteria. This balance is essential for children to develop a healthy and mature immune system.During a natural birth, a baby will pick up this balance from mum, but this process is missed during a C-Section. Antibiotics at birth or a young age can also wipe out any of the good bacteria.

Bio-Kult Infantis comes in powder form, and contains seven strands of probiotic bacteria, as well as vitamin D (which encourages a normal immune system, and the development and growth of bones), omega 3 (for brain development) and prebiotics, which is a ‘food source’ for the beneficial bacteria.

I like to see evidence to back up claims that a product such as this works. The two experts at Bio-Kult – Natalie Lamb and Dr Mayur Joshi – showed us the results of some studies which had been carried out.

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The first one was on colic. We have been so lucky that only Harrison had colic, and that was over in a few weeks, but it really is a hideous condition, made all the more worse by no one actually knowing what causes it. Experts believe it is something to do with the gut and is defined by the number of hours a baby cries in the day. Almost 84% of babies who were given the probiotic (in a blind study) showed a 50% reduction in crying. Nearly 40% showed a complete resolution of symptoms – definitely worth exploring if you have a colicky baby!! Other studies show that probiotics can help ease acute diarrhoea and constipation.

The most interesting one for me was an eczema study.Eczema runs in my family – my youngest brother is 22 and still suffers terribly with it, despite trying multiple creams and medication over the years. Alex is prone to patches of eczema, and Benjamin has quite dry skin, so may well develop it later on. Taking probiotics has been known to reduce some of the symptoms – I’ll definitely be passing some of the Bio-Kult capsules onto my brother to see if they help at all.

More importantly, absolutely no side effects have been reported, and the infant powder can be used from birth. It can be mixed with milk, water or sprinkled over food. If breastfeeding, it can be applied directly to the nipple, so it is easy for children to take.

My one concern is the cost. At £11.95 for 16 sachets it isn’t cheap, especially with three children.I think this would put a lot of parents off. I was given a couple of boxes, but I certainly can’t afford £72 a month (one sachet per child per day).

Bio Kult InfantisWe will be giving these to Benjamin over the next few weeks. As some of you may know, he was very poorly just before Christmas, and his little body (just three weeks old!) was pumped full of multiple antibiotics. You can read about what happened to him here. Antibiotics saved his life, but we have been warned that his already fragile immune system may have been weakened as a result, so it will be interesting to see whether using this product will help!

*My travel expenses were covered for this event, and I was provided with samples of the product to review. 

 

 

 

 

 

Mobile Photography

On Saturday, I visited The Photography Show with Zara from Mojo Blogs. As you can probably tell from the photos on my blog, photography isn’t a particular strength of mine, although when I look back at the photos I took when I started blogging, I’ve come on a long way! Every single photo I’ve taken has been on my iPhone 5. I do own a very basic ‘point and shoot’ digital camera, but to be honest, my iPhone takes better photos and I like being able to upload them to social media straight away. That said, i am getting a ‘proper’ camera in the summer and I can’t wait!!

A lot of the stuff that I saw, although incredibly interesting, wasn’t really relevant to me. It was really fascinating to watch people taking photos and experimenting with different angles and perspectives.

There was one session I attended which was really relevant and interesting, and I’m going to share what I learned with you.

mobile photography tips

The talk was given by Oliver Lang, an Australian mobile phone phototgrapher. He focuses on street imagery and the use of Instagram. Up until recently, and even now, photography on mobile phones hasn’t really been taken very seriously. Oliver proves that is it a credible form of the art, and was even commissioned by Burberry for photos.

Here is what I learned from his session

Mobile cameras are convenient

Like most people, my phone is always near. It’s either in my hand, in my bag or in my bra (I don’t tend to wear clothes with pockets!), so it is always easy to whip out and snap that fleeting moment.

Mobile cameras are good in crowds

A camera can be big and bulky, and trying to capture a scene in a busy crowd can be difficult. A phone can be held close to the body which make it easier. People also notice a big camera, and so may ‘pose’ accordingly – not good if you wanted a completely natural photo. A phone is much more discreet and inconspicuous.

Mobile cameras are good for close ups

iPhones aren’t bad for landscapes, but they’re much better at taking close ups (perfect for product review photos!) and it is much easier to fill the frame. They’re also the best for selfies!

Mobile Cameras are good for connectivity

The photos are easy to share with a wide audience and thus gaining feedback immediately.

Treat mobile camera apps like photos

If they’re rubbish, don’t hold onto them – delete! Oliver mentioned a few apps that he uses for taking and editing photos – Snapseed and Procamera being two of them. I use Pomelo to edit photo, but I will be checking these out – his photos are incredible!

Consider context

This one is particularly interesting with the increasing popularity of photo sharing websites such as Instagram and Flickr. The context needs to be considered and addressed when uploading photos. By just ‘sharing’ a photo (which I often do), you may gain a few ‘likes’, but not get the engagement you want. By ‘publishing’ it – explaining what it is and why you took it, you are more likely to get comments and feedback. If you are uploading to Instagram and want a larger audience, use appropriate hashtags. I think as bloggers we do tend to do that anyway to increase traffic, but definitely something to consider!

Curate your photos

When we follow friends on Instagram, we tend to see mainly photos of their day to day lives – children, pets etc. He suggested that if you are a serious photographer, unfollow these people and follow photographers of the genre you’re interested in – food, street, fashion etc. They then won’t get missed amongst everything. Now, I follow people because I enjoy seeing photos of their lives, so this doesn’t really apply to me, but I guess a secondary account could be created to follow photographers if you wanted to.

I learnt so much from this session, and although I am incredibly excited to be owning a camera, I feel much better about ‘only’ having an iPhone for photos – it is more good enough!

WIN!!!! A 3D Jigsaw from Hobbycraft

Hobbycraft not only sell a huge range of art and craft stuff (my idea of heaven!), they also sell an extensive range of jigsaw puzzles, which you check out here.

We (well, my mum!) had a go at the 3D Eiffel Tower puzzle, which I think looks pretty impressive, standing at 44cm tall! You can read the full review here.

eiffel tower jigsaw2

Now you can be in with a chance of winning a Leaning Tower of Pisa 3d jigsaw. To enter, follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. Please make sure you follow them carefully – I do verify all entries!! You can find the full terms and conditions by clicking here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jigsaw Puzzles from HobbyCraft

I’m pretty rubbish at jigsaws. I just do not have the patience. This trait clearly hasn’t come from my mum – she loves jigsaws. She even has one of those funky mat things to hold them in place.

When I was contacted by Hobbycraft to see if we wanted to review a Ravensburger 3d Jigsaw, I asked if I could pass it to my mum. We received this 216 piece Eiffel Tower one, which retails at £15.

Hobbycraft 3d Puzzle

She has never done a 3d jigsaw before, and I was interested to see how they worked and how the pieces fitted together. Instead of being made from cardboard, as most traditional jigsaws are, these pieces are made of plastic. Each piece is numbered to help you understand where each piece goes, and some of them are hinged.

Eiffel Tower jigsaw pieces

We did have a slight issue with the plastic pieces that hold the levels together – they didn’t fit together particularly brilliantly which did affect the stability of the tower. Apart from that, it was well made.

eiffel tower 3d

My mum said that it was relatively straightforward to put together, taking her about an hour and a half. If you want something that is really going to be a challenge, this probably isn’t it, but if you want something that’s not going to take forever to put together, this is great!

Once it was put together, it did look pretty good, standing at 44cm tall.

eiffel tower jigsaw2

I have now teamed up with Hobbycraft to offer one of my readers the chance to win a 3d Puzzle of their own. If jigsaws are your thing, then head over to here to enter.

You can see the full range of jigsaws available from Hobbycraft here.

 

*We were sent one of these to review.All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

 

Project 365: Week 12

This week has been an incredibly busy week, with some amazing opportunities!!

March 15th

Sunflowers

Today was Mother’s Day, and I was spoilt!! I had a photo frame and some bath stuff from Harrison – they took some money into school and chose something for us – and then had some flowers and wine. Sunflowers are my favourite!

March 16th

Easter chick

Today we had the task of making an Easter bonnet for nursery. I’ll be blogging about it in more detail, but I love this little chick hiding on it!

March 17th

day 76

Harrison insisted on wearing the back up trilby I bought for making Easter bonnets with to school, and carrying his umbrella like a walking cane. He had his mobile phone in his coat pocket (an old one that they play with), and every few steps he had to check he had everything.

March 18th

day 77

I had an assignment for a client to do tonight, which was not the easiest one to do – cue the bottle of wine in the background!

March 19th

Buckingham Palace Road

Today was an adventure! I went to London to an event, which was amazing. You can read more about my day here.

March 20th

Solar Eclipse

Of course, today’s photo had to be one of the eclipse! I did get clearer photos but I think this is the prettiest!

March 20th

day 80

Today I went to The Photography Show with the lovely Zara from Mojo Blogs. I had a lovely couple of hours mooching around and having a natter. Comiccon was also on whilst we were there – some of the costumes were epic!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

London: A Personal Achievement

On Thursday, I did something I am incredibly proud of – I went to London on my own.

To most people, this probably isn’t any big deal, but to me it was a massive deal. My family know that I do have a tendency to get a little worked up about things. I do tend to joke about it, but in all seriousness I do get incredibly anxious and worried about things like this, to the point that I’ve turned down opportunities because I just get too nervous. I worry I’m going to get lost, that I’m going to be late, that something is going to happen, and it is ridiculous.

I’m 30 this year, and I need to get a grip. I don’t want us to miss out on any more opportunities because of my silliness.

The event, which I will be blogging about soon, was a ‘baby shower’ hosted by TV presenter and nutritionist Lowri Turner to promote Bio-Kult Infantis – a range of probiotics for children. It was held at the Flemings Hotel in London.

I had been booked onto a coach leaving Birmingham Coach Station for 8.45am. The coach station is literally fifteen minutes from our house on the bus, even in rush hour, but me being me left at 7.30am ‘just in case’. Being late for something makes me really anxious, and I would much rather be an hour early for something than even a minute late. I got to the coach station with plenty of time to spare, giving me chance to grab a Starbucks and a magazine, and chill out for a few minutes before boarding the coach.

digbeth coach station

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I spent the journey, which took just under three hours, reading my magazines (and cringing at a story about a woman having a relationship with a tree called Tim – where do they find these people?!) and doing some blog post planning and writing. Once we got into London, I just sat and looked out of the window. I saw places that I’ve read about in countless celebrity magazines (Notting Hill is amazing!) and examined everyone’s faces to see if they were a celeb!

We arrived at Victoria Coach Station at 11.30am, giving me an hour to get to the venue. I’d researched the route multiple times and written it down step by step. I also had Google maps downloaded, which was actually useless as I can’t read a map (yes, I know!). The route was supposed to be straightforward, and about 1.5 miles long. Because I wanted to see as much of London as I could, I’d decided to walk – it should have taken me less than half an hour – down the road, across Green Park and down another road. Simple?

Well, it turns out I can’t even follow my own directions. I got completely lost and that 1.5 mile walk turned out to be almost three miles according to my pedometer. However, my rather scenic diversion meant I saw the changing of the guards, something I’ve always wanted to see.

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I also got to see the beauty that is Green Park – who would have thought there could be so much greenery in the middle of London?

Daffodils in Green Park LondonGreen Park, London

 

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Even though I was totally lost and knowing that I was probably going to be late (two of my biggest fears!), I managed to stay calm. I asked policemen and blokes carrying briefcases for directions, and eventually found the hotel, with literally a minute to spare.

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I had assumed that it would be a fairly large event, where I could remain in the background – it turns out there were just a few other people – the lovely Sanna from Wave to Mummy and the rest were journalists from some well known magazines – eek! Lowri was there, along with two experts from Bio-Kult.  If I’d known it was going to be such an intimate affair I would have probably been too intimidated to have gone!

I was thrown into the deep end and introduced to Lowri as soon as I walked in. She was so lovely and down to earth that I found myself relaxing immediately.

We sat down round the table and listened to Lowri and a presentation by some of the experts behind Bio Kult – I’ll be writing more about that next week – and then chatted over lunch. I was relieved to see it was an afternoon tea rather than a meal. Less chance of making a mess. Eating in front of strangers is another big worry of mine. I am the world’s clumsiest eater, but even I struggle to create too much mess with finger sandwiches and macarons (how delicious are they?!!). I did manage to drop a nut in my coffee, but apart from that, I managed to get through the event without making too much of an arse of myself. I even managed to ask a question!

The way back to the station was much more chilled out. I had an hour and a half to get back for the 4pm coach and I found the way I should have gone in the first place. I had a mooch around the souvenir shops and picked up some nice tacky giant pencils for the boys and took a few touristy photos.

London

Buckingham palace road

I found the departure gate at the rather large and busy coach station without any problem – apart from shrieking rather loudly when a pigeon flew into the back of my head – the bloody things were flying around inside the station!

It took us a little longer to get home, hitting a bit of traffic getting out of central London and a delay on the motorway just before Birmingham, but it was nice to just sit and relax for a few hours.

I am incredibly proud of myself for going yesterday – and even more so with the fact that I stayed calm even when I was lost – I’m not going to be turning down any opportunities any more!

Brilliance in BloggingNominate me by clicking here – thankyou!

 

Benjamin’s 4 Month Update

Today, Benjamin is four months old!

He has changed so much since his three month update, and he is constantly surprising us with all the new things he does.

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He is pulling himself into a sitting position – he obviously isn’t quite strong enough to stay sitting up yet, but he is almost there. He is also showing us his eagerness to get moving. He has been able to roll over for quite a while now, and when he is on his front, he is pushing his knees up and sticking his bum into the air ready to crawl. Of course, he hasn’t got the strength or the power to actually move, but he has the technique sorted. Harrison and Alex started crawling a month or so after they started to do this, so time to start baby proofing very soon!

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He is still a really easy baby to deal with. He sleeps well and is generally settled in the daytime, with plenty of big beaming smiles and cute little giggles and gurgles. He has had the odd few unsettled moments lately because he is teething – cue lots of dribbling! Ashtons and Parson’s powder seems to be doing the trick though thankfully.

He now weighs a very respectable 13lb 15oz. He is still on the 25th centile but is very long – his 3-6 month sleepsuits only just about fit him!.

He loves to watch what is happening around him and is much happier now he can sit his little seat at the dining table with us. Sometimes, it all gets too much for him though!

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Brilliance in BloggingNominate me by clicking here – thankyou!

 

 

Minbie Bottle Review


When we found out that I was pregnant with Benjamin, we made the decision to give him formula rather than breastfeed him. There were a few reasons for this decision, which you can read about here, but the main one was because of how difficult it was to get Alex to take a bottle.

The teats on a regular baby bottle are a completely different shape to a nipple. Most mums won’t introduce a bottle before six weeks in case it causes nipple confusion, but after this point, a baby will often struggle to adapt to a bottle – a no win situation! This is where a Minbie bottle is different.

Minbie Bottle

The shape of the teat is very different from a normal orthodontic one – very similar to a nipple. The teat is designed to support a newborns instinctive breastfeeding technique which makes it easier to combine breastfeeds and bottle feeds from the first day.

Minbie Bottle

Benjamin’s first two feeds were breastfeeds and then we moved onto bottles, with normal orthodontic teats. I was interested to see how he would get on with these very different teats.

We were sent one 6oz (180ml) bottle, which retails at £4.95. The bottle doesn’t come with any teats, just the seal and collar. My only criticism would be that this is the biggest bottle available. Benjamin is almost four months old now and is on the verge of moving onto 7oz bottles. Luckily, the Minbie teats do fit onto our Philips Avent bottles so we will still be able to use them. There is a 4oz bottle available, which for some reason is made out of glass (not sure about that one!). The 6oz one is made from BPA free plastic.

Minbie Bottle

The teats, which are in a pack of two teats with a pod that doubles up as a lid, cost £9.83. Not the cheapest of teats, but well worth it. They are available in premature, newborn and 3 months plus size.

Now, as I said, Ben has pretty much been bottle-fed since birth, but interestingly, his latch on these teats is completely different to to his latch on his normal teats. Instead of just having the tip of the teat’s ‘nipple’ in his mouth, he has his mouth opened around the whole teat – mimicking the latch of a breastfeed – the whole point of the specially designed teat!!

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I really wish I’d discovered this range of teats and bottles when Alex was a baby – it would have kept our breastfeeding experience going whilst giving me a break!!

They are available to buy on the Minbie website.

 

*We were sent this product to review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Giddy Bowl

Whenever I give Harrison and Alex any sort of snack in a bowl, you can pretty much guarantee that one of them (or both of them!) will end up spilling it all over the floor. When Alex from Lamb and Bear asked if any bloggers wanted to review a fantastic new non-spill bowl she had come across, I couldn’t volunteer fast enough, Was this the solution to the constant spills?

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The Giddy Bowl, designed by Gr8 Solution, is a bowl which remains upright no matter what position. Turn it upside down? The bowl stays up. Turn it sidewards? The bowl stays up. It was designed for use in aeroplanes and boats and has a quick release lid, carry handles and an outer shell that can be used as a handy colander or strainer.

Giddy Bowl

I do need to point out that whilst it is spill proof (believe me, Harrison and Alex have put it through it’s paces!), it isn’t ‘throw it across the room’ proof, nor it is it ‘drop it from a highchair’ proof.

I can imagine it being really useful when Benjamin is a bit older – I can pop some snacks in there for him to munch on in the pushchair without worrying about him tipping them all out.

The bowls are available in yellow and pink, and blue and green. They retail at £9.99 and can be purchased from the Gr8 Solution website.

 

* We were sent this review to review.All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Family Fever

Bike Rides

For his third birthday, Harrison had his first ‘proper’ bike with stabilisers. Before that, he had a balance bike, which has now been passed down to Alex. His reaction when he saw the bike was amazing – he still calls it his ‘birthday bike’ now!

Up until recently, he hadn’t really played on it other than in the back garden, which hasn’t got a great deal of flat concrete for him to ride on properly. With me being pregnant I couldn’t do a lot and Graham needed an extra pair of hands to manage two toddlers on bikes!

The other day, Graham took him for a quick ride up and down the pavement outside our house, where he showed us that had got the hang of pedalling – before he only pedalled half way round.

The weather wasn’t too bad on Saturday so we decided to to take them on their first proper bike ride, down to the local park. Alex had the choice of his balance bike, Toddle Bike and his ride on motorbike. He chose the motorbike. They put on their helmets and off we went!

day 73

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He zoomed off like he had been riding for years. We gave him markers to stop at – the lampost, the tree, the red car etc. Alex trailed behind on his motorbike.

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After a play on the equipment, it started to get a bit chilly, so we headed home. The walk back was uphill, so he wheeled it back, looking so grown up.

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Next step: no stabilisers!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

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Project 365: Week 11

After last week being so busy, we’ve had a much needed quieter and chilled out week this week. The weather wasn’t too bad up until Friday so the kids spent most of the afternoons outside in the garden – bedtimes are getting much easier now they can go outside, get fresh air and burn off some energy

March 8th

day 67

On a Sunday we usually go to my mum and dad’s for lunch. My dad is recovering from a badly broken ankle, so needs to put his feet up every so often. Of course, Harrison and Alex saw this as an opportunity to jump on him!

March 9th

day 68

Ignore the washing on the radiator in the background! Today we received a ‘selfie stick’ in the post to review. Although I think they’re a little bit silly, we had lots of fun messing about with it!

March 10th

day 69

My mum and dad’s road was being dug up and resurfaced today. Harrison and me popped by after nursery to go and watch – for a little boy obsessed with trucks and diggers this was absolute heaven!

March 11th

day 70

This was a bit of a cheat one. I actually completely forgot to take a photo today, but luckily I found about 100 very unflattering selfies of Harrison from that day – that counts, right?

March 12th

day 71 (2)

Today we went to my nans house after nursery. It was a really warm and sunny day and definitely felt like Spring. The gardener was there and the daffodils were out!

March 13th

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The obligatory nursery mothers day card – and the best card I have ever received! I also had some bubble bath and a photo frame that Harrison chose and paid for at nursery.

March 14th

day 73

Today we went out for Harrison’s first proper bike ride, which I will be blogging about later in the week. How grown up does he look?

Zip It – A Fancy Book of Fastenings

This week we have been reading and exploring a brand new book from Little Tiger Press – Zip It, by Patricia Hegarty. Zip It   On the outside, the brightly coloured board book looks like a book for younger children, but it is actually more suitable for children of Harrison’s age (3) and older. It is a fun book full of interactive activities for little fingers to explore. Each page has different fastenings, such as zips, buttons, poppers, velcro and laces, and encourages children to fasten and unfasten. Zip It Zip It   The book, in theory, is brilliant. The kids haven’t been too bothered by the words on the page – the fastenings are far too exciting! Zip It The problem with the book is the flimsiness. Harrison and Alex have always been taught to treat books with respect – some of their books are almost thirty years old and are in perfect condition still – but this one is quite extensively damaged already. The pages of the book simply aren’t strong enough to support the fastenings. After a few gentle tugs, the zip has come away at the edges, the flap hiding the velcro has ripped and the laces have fallen out. As the book is aimed at clumsy little fingers, it is a little disappointing. On the bright side, it is a lovely book – big, bright illustrations and simple text make it appealing to children. With a bit of toughening up this would be the perfect addition to a preschool book collection.

*We were sent this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 


MamaMummyMum

Making Bedtime Easier

Before I had kids, I had this very naive idea that once they started sleeping through at around three months old (ha!!) that they were easy to deal with at night. I had visions of tucking a lovely, freshly-bathed toddler in bed, reading a nice story together and having a cuddle, and then not hearing from them until 8am the next morning.

Then I actually had children.

The reality of bedtime is much more chaotic and stressful, usually ending in delaying tactics, bickering and bribery. Once we’ve finally managed to escape the room we get half an hour or so before having to go and deal with one of them over something. Alex, at two years old still rarely sleeps through the night. Harrison, once in bed is generally pretty good, and thankfully neither of them are particularly early risers.

I’m absolutely not a fan of any sort of sleep training – controlled crying or crying it out is a huge no-no to me. I’d rather be up and down all night then hear any of them cry, because I think bed should be a place where children feel safe, not upset or scared. However, I am all for any tips or tricks for making bedtime easier and less stressful, so here is a little round up of some ideas – some of which I need to take on board!

Making Bedtime Easier

Routine

I’m not a massive fan of strict routines, but sometimes a flexible one is needed, especially at bedtime. Our routine starts after dinner, when we start winding down and having a story. At around 7.15pm it’s into pyjamas and brushing teeth, before heading up to bed at 7.30pm. Two night a week we bath them before bed. They know what is coming next at each step.

Keep the room at a comfortable temperature

Around 18°c is the optimum temperature. Too cold and it’s uncomfortable, too hot and the risk of SIDS is increased. Harrison and Alex both wear thin pyjamas and have a lightweight quilt. Benjamin wears a vest, sleepsuit and a sleeping bag such as this gorgeous cloud print one from Beebies Baby Store.

Make the Room Dark

As the nights get lighter,convincing a little person that it is really is bedtime can be a nightmare. A blackout blind, such as the fun Disney blackout one from VELUX can help keep the room dark. For the mornings, one of these clocks from The Gro Company can help them understand when it is time to get up.

Avoid Screen Time

At night, our bodies produce a hormone called melatonin, which encourages sleep. Bright lights from televisions, computers, mobile phones and tablet interfere with the production of melatonin, and prevent sleep. It’s best to avoid these for around an hour before bedtime.

Encourage Daytime Naps

For babies and younger children, sleep can breed sleep. Children who don’t have a nap in the daytime can often be overtired and grumpy, and fight sleep at bedtime. On the days when Alex misses a nap (which is rare, thankfully!) he is even more of a nightmare at bedtime than usual. However, naps after about 3.30pm can affect bedtime!

Hopefully these tips might make bedtime a little easier – what are your top tips for a stress-free bedtime?

**

Baker Ross Bunnies

A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of the Easter crafts we had started, using some of the kits and bits and pieces that Baker Ross had sent us. On the weekend, we had lots of fun making these adorable 3D wooden bunnies.

Baker Ross Rabbits

We are trying to experiment with different painting materials and techniques, so instead of using paintbrushes to paint them, we used the pastel pom-poms that we had been sent.

pompoms

We used a plastic clothes peg to hold one of the bigger sized pom poms (great for fine motor development!) and dipped it into the paint. It made a lovely effect on the wooden bunnies when dabbed on.

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Once the paint on both sides, and on the ‘feet’ that stand it up had dried, we got to work giving our bunnies a face. We glued on some googly eyes and a smaller pom-pom nose and mouth, with a little ribbon around their necks, before choosing a pom pom tail. I let the kids stick them on with glue sticks, but did use the hot glue gun on them when they weren’t looking!

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What do you think of our bunnies?

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*We were sent these products to review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

 

Painting With Vehicles

I had seen this activity a few times on the internet, and had planned to do it ‘one day’ with Harrison and Alex. They both love vehicles, they both love paint, so I knew they would really enjoy this, but for some reason (the mess!) we had never got round to doing it. Then, the other day we were watching Mr Maker on CBeebies and he was doing this, and Harrison begged to have a go – so we did!

Painting With Vehicles

We have laminate flooring (thank god!) so I just had some wipes to hand. If you have carpet, I would strongly suggest waiting until the weather improves and doing it outside!

You will need:

Paint

Paper Plates

Large sheets of paper (we used lining paper)

Tape

Vehicles

 

We taped the lining paper onto the floor to stop it slipping around, and squeezed the paint onto paper plates. Putting it on paper plates makes it easy to roll the wheels in the paint, and you can simply chuck the plates away when you have finished.

We then chose four vehicles (one for each colour paint), all of different sizes. We rolled the wheels in the paint, making sure they were well covered. Then, we got to work pushing and pulling the paint across the paper.

Painting with Vehicles

They loved seeing the different marks that each vehicle left on the paper, and raced their cars across it. I think they also really enjoyed doing art on a bigger scale than normal.

Painting with Vehicles

painting with vehicles

We love using different objects to paint with, and over the next few months we are going to be trying out all sorts of different things. Sometimes it is more about the processes used rather than the finished product. Watch this space!

Painting with vehicles

 

Parents Evening

A few weeks ago, we had Harrison’s parents evening at Nursery.

Our appointment was actually first thing in the morning, and I was able to wait inside and watch Harrison inside the classroom. I’ve always been really curious about what he does and who he plays with, so I made myself as inconspicuous as possible in the corner. He didn’t notice me until I was going through to speak to his teacher. He had headed straight over to a table where clipboards, paper and pencils had been laid out. He picked one up, tucked the pencil behind his ear and went over to his best friend Luke, who was playing on the carpet. They had a chat, which I couldn’t quite hear, and then Harrison headed off towards a table of building bricks.

His report from Miss R was really positive. I came away from his last parents evening, in November, feeling a little frustrated. He was hiding all the things he did every day at home such as counting and identifying shapes and colours, and when I explained to the teacher that he could do it, I felt like one of those parents who insist their child can do it all when they can’t – he really could though!! I did have to remind myself that he had only been in school for less than two months, and that he was only three! I have sent things in that we have done at home for her to see and put in his learning journal.

It seems like he is now coming out of his shell. He is best friends with Luke and they sit together for everything, but he does have a good circle of friends. He’s always been a sociable little lad, which I think is because he went to plenty of playgroups from just a few weeks old.

He can identify his name easily and can form most of the letters in it. He’s beginning to understand phonics now – he had drawn a picture of his favourite food (porridge) and had told Miss R that it began with a ‘p’. We have been supporting this at home by playing lots of phonics games and using these fab phonic/letter formation sheets from Twinkl, which he loves.

Letter formation

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He can confidently count to twenty, although when he is asked at school to count a number of objects, he often just says a random number. We both think that is down to him being too lazy to count! He can count objects when he wants to, so I printed off and made this little game, again from Twinkl. He and Alex both love it!!

Counting game

He is a little bit too laid back when it comes to class discussions, and would much rather listen to everyone else rather than contribute, but  is fine in smaller groups or one to one discussions. I’m not worried about that all – I hate speaking in large groups!

His real strengths lie in building things and construction, which comes as no surprise. He loves to build things and make things out of playdough. Last week he asked Graham to help him make a car out of an empty toilet roll holder and straws.  It’s given us some ideas about what to get him for his birthday in June – some Meccanno kits!

The other thing he enjoys and is good at, which again I’m not surprised at, is role play. Harrison is absolutely fantastic at using his imagination which we really encourage.

We are both so proud of Harrison and how he has settled in at school.  Being one of the younger ones in his year I was concerned it may be too much too soon, but he is absolutely thriving there!

Tendre Deal

Tendre Deal is a members only, flash sale website specialising in unique, high quality and designer kids products, such as clothes, hats and bedding from French designers. It is run by the lovely Alexandra, who you can see in this short video below:

A flash sale members website, such as Tendre Deal, offers their members great deals on products, but the offers and promotions are only available for a short time, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. The promotions at Tendre Deal start on a Monday at around 7pm and last for 3-7 days, or until they’ve sold out, whichever happens first. If you see something you love, you have to act fast – there’s no guarantee it will be there later!

Capture

I’ve  visited the Tendre Deal website each week over a period of three of four weeks, and each time there has been a new sale. I’ve seen some quirky bedding, clothes and hats, all of which have been beautiful.

Now, as a mum to three boys, I don’t have the chance to buy girls clothes, but I am lucky to have nieces and friends with daughters, and when I saw this beautiful dress, priced at £23.95, I just couldn’t resist.Tendre Deal

Delivery can take up to 15 days after the end of the sales event, and this is clearly stated on the website. Shipping costs £3.50, no matter how much you order, which I think is pretty good considering it comes from France.

The dress came within the 15 days and oh my gosh, it was BEAUTIFUL!!! If they did it in adult sizes, I would be ordering one for myself. The quality is fantastic.

Tendre Deal

What I will say is when ordering clothes, order a couple of sizes larger – French sizing is considerably smaller than British sizes. This dress is 6-7, and my niece is an average sized almost 6 year old, and this was too small. It is so lovely that I have given it to Alex’s best friend, Jess, who looked gorgeous in it. Jess is 3 in May. She is quite tall for her age, but the dress fitted her perfectly.

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I absolutely love the concept of the website – high quality and unique French products at low prices. I’ll be checking back regularly to see the latest promotion!!

Visit the Tendre Deal website to see for yourself, or follow on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with the latest deals!

Since writing this, Alexandra won the Mumpreneur Bronze Website Award – well deserved in my opinion!

 

We were sent a voucher to purchase items off the website. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

The Giggles Family

Project 365: Week 10

This week has been a busy week. We’ve looked after our nieces, done lots of creative stuff, played outside, had friends over, read lots of books….I’m knackered!!

March 1st

day 60

This weekend we looked after our nieces, who are 5 and 12. It was a lovely weekend, even if I did get roped into baking with 4 kids!

March 2nd

day 61

After school, Harrison wanted to get the playdough out. Whilst he was playing, I took the opportunity to sort out our huge playdough box. We have over forty tubs of the stuff, and well over a hundred cutters and tools. I chucked some dried up stuff away, sorted out all the mixed up colours into labelled tubs and created a bit of order in the box.

March 3rd

day 62

Everyone says how much Harrison and Alex look alike, and I know they do, but they also look so different to me – until I saw this photo. When I saved it on my computer I had to name it because Alex looks so much like Harrison here. In a few years time, I’m going to struggle to tell who this is!

March 4th

day 63

I’ve seen this idea a few times but just never got round to trying it with the kids. Today we watched Mister Maker and he was doing it. The boys begged me to let them try it – I’ll be blogging about it soon!

March 5th

day 64

Like lots of kids, Harrison went to school today dressed up as a character from one of his favourite books. He loves The Hungry Caterpillar!

March 6th

day 65

I realised that we have never had my brothers round our house for a drink, so tonight both of them came round, along with Tom’s fiancee for a takeaway and a couple of drinks. It was a lovely evening – we had the music channels on in the background and just chatted.

March 7th

day 66

The kids have been making the most of the warmer weather and have been out in the garden. Harrison was scooting around like a maniac in his car when it toppled over. Of course, my first reaction was to take a photo!

 

Cooking With Cousins


Last weekend, we looked after our two nieces, Leah and Katrina. The big challenge for us was looking for things to do to keep two boys aged 2 and 3 and two girls aged 5 and 12 amused!

They played in the garden in the morning, but just before lunch the heavens opened. After colouring and drawing, they managed to talk me into baking cakes with them. Anyone who has been to our house will know the kitchen is barely big enough for one person, let alone five of us! Leah (the eldest) and I gathered all the stuff we needed for banana cupcakes together and we headed for the dining table.

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We talked about the ingredients and the kids helped to weigh it all out. They each had a go at cracking the eggs (swiftly followed by me fishing bits of egg shell out of the mix!), and all had a turn at mashing bananas and stirring the mixture.

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Once the cakes had been cooked and had cooled down, they got on with the all important job of decorating them with chocolate fudge icing – I think Alex ate more than he spread!

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The finished cakes, as you can imagine, didn’t last very long!

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My Buddy Box

We were given the opportunity to review a My Buddy Box.

The My Buddy Box is a foldable and stackable box, which can be used as an alternative to carrier bags and are completely recyclable.

Buddy Box

The boxes come in a variety of designs – we were sent a Cath Kidstone-esque print one, which was super pretty! When folded up, it looks like a handbag!

We don’t have a car at the moment, but if we did, this would be perfect for popping into the boot to hold shopping or to keep all those bits and pieces that seem to float around the boot tidy.

We have decided to use ours to pop clean washing in ready to take upstairs. It is pretty enough to keep downstairs and is so lightweight,I can easily carry it up and down the stairs.Surprisingly,  it holds up to 20kgs! When it is folded up, we can pop it into the cupboard because it takes up very little space.

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They would make great storage boxes for toys, books, cleaning equipment, DVDs etc, because they are easy to stack on top of each other.

They are really to use – unfold, move the sliders into place and off you go! See how it works in the video below:

You can buy the My Buddy Box for £14.99 on their website, and you can check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Readers can get free p&p by entering RACHEL at the checkout.

 

*PR Sample.