Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Fisher-Price Wheelies Loops 'n' Swoops Amusement Park

I cannot tell you how excited the toddler was when he received the Fisher Price Wheelies Loops 'n' Swoops Amusement Park to review. It was only the day before that he was glued to the TV as he saw it on a advert, I think WOW was his initial reaction. I bet I'm not the only one who gives the response of 'see what you get for Christmas'. It certainty was like Christmas had come early for him as we were opening the box together, just to see his excitement.

Putting it together wasn't that difficult, it did need the help of a screwdriver to secure parts in place but other then that it was a clip in job. It took my about 10 minutes to put together including popping some stickers on to it, so no need to worry about it taking a while to build come Christmas day and you have a impatient toddler waiting for it to be built.

Like with all the Fisher Price items I own and a big reason why I purchase them for my children is the bright colours. Not only are they fun, but they look fun and inviting. The Wheelies Loops 'n' Swoops Amusement Park from the front looks great and after you add the stickers it helps to bring some life to it but from behind it doesn't look too appealing but then I think that's just me being picky.

Play wise, Oli spent the first few days playing non stop with it and now it's only just played with now and again. I have a suspicion that it has something to do with his age, I'm looking forward to passing it onto Dylan and watching him play with it as he grows. Certaintly will make a great toy to share and play with in the playroom.

I'm not sure I would pay the RRP (£44.99) for it but then I think this may be down to not currently being in the car phrase, he goes through certain stages where it's all about one kind of toy but then returns back to it. So maybe next week, the only toy he might want to know about will be this one. That and the fact I've packed all his little people cars away. It comes with two cars but I wonder if to make it even more exciting for Oli that I should add some more cars to it. Whenever we have other little friends round to play, it's the first toy they head for so it's gone down with his younger friends. I personally think it could make the perfect Christmas present for a 2 year old, that age was the age that Oli really started to get into his cars and the Fisher Price Wheelies Loops 'n' Swoops Amusement Park would be a great way to introduce them.

It's currently available on sale at the time of writing this for £39.99 from , Argos & Tesco.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Two Parenting Fails In One Week

There's only a few things as a parent which can make you cry, be it a bad night with the baby or a uncontrollable toddler tantrum in the supermarket. They can bring tears to your eyes.

My first parenting fail of the week didn't bring much tear wise other then a 'oh no!' Apparently it was pirate week at Oli's play school and guess which child wasn't sporting a eye patch and a beard? Yes mine. The newsletter had a date mistake where the days were wrong but the dates were wrong. I of course went with the day and not the date! Doh! It wasn't really a biggie as some other kids refused to dress up so he wasn't the only non pirate there.

Today's parenting fail did bring tears, from both Oli & me. He was invited to a Birthday party a while ago for a girl in his school. We've had the invite on our fridge ever since and spent yesterday getting Oli rather excited about it as we picked out some presents and a card for her. We turn up to find not Birthday decorations in the hall but Halloween decorations. I thought we had the wrong venue until the man said aloud the date of the party to which the organiser of the Halloween party said was yesterdays date. So we're only a day late for this Birthday party! Oli was simply gutted, I felt like I needed to be marched straight to the stocks. I really do feel like I've let him down, twice I've failed him this week simply for being all over the place with my dates.

May of missed a party yesterday but he had lots of fun with his new Trunki & Strawberry lolly pop & jam sandwiches!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Baker Ross - Halloween

Are you still looking for some Halloween crafts to do with the youngsters? Then look no further then Baker Ross. We've recently been recruited as Baker Ross ambassadors where we've been receiving some parcels full of lots of craft materials for us to do with what we wish. I've still not got round to blogging about the first box but wanted to do a quick post about the second box that arrived last week. Not only did it have the biggest pots of finger paints I have ever seen, it also had some Halloween crafting supplies as well as some Christmas bits & pieces.

Now what Baker Ross have done apart from introducing crafting supplies to a family who usually shy's away from crafts is to bring out the inner crafter inside of the man. I never knew it but he's actually rather fantastic when it comes to anything art/craft related. So thankfully my children have at least one parent who knows the difference between Van Gogh & Picasso. He obviously payed more attention to Neil Buchanan on Art Attack growing up, then what I did.

We received some goulish characters in finger puppet form to colour in, we actually all joined in with the colouring in of these. I couldnt go wrong with a organe felt tip and a pumpkin scarecrow to colour in. We had fun introducing Oli to these various charatcers and helping him learn the names of them. Our finished characters will be pinned around the house to show off to our guests at our Halloween party. Keep a eye on our twitter feed as we have some fab ideas on what we're going to with some of the other materials we were sent, including the luminous glow in the dark paint which we're planning on painting on to some toilet rolls with cut out eyes to pop into our garden bushes.

It's not to late for you to order some Halloween Craft Essentials for Wedsneday with Baker Ross's next day delivery if you order before noon. I've used the next day service myself when buying Birthday presents for my nephew so can personally recommend it. They're also selling Halloween Themed Treats & Toys as well as blogging some ideas on Halloween themed crafts.

You can also find Baker Ross over on , & .

Friday, 26 October 2012

Boden discount codes at MyVoucherCodes

Quick! Until Sunday 28th October, My Voucher Codes are offering a fantastic discount code for Boden. They are offering you 10% Off All Orders, a Free Gift For New Customers Plus Free Delivery and Returns at Boden!

I know this because they approached me to tell me about this fab offer and ask if I wanted to try it out for myself. Of course I did, I like learning about offers and I'm a huge fan of Boden clothing. Especially the kids clothing but this time around I choose to treat myself to something. With winter around the corner I need a new jacket which I can wear when it's not quite coat weather and something that I can wear indoors. I picked out this Velvet Trim Hoody because it's looks ultra cosy and I'm rather addicted to polka dots.

The order including postage and package would have initially been £63.00 and using the MyVoucherCodes discount make it £53.10 giving of 10% and free delivery or £9.90. The code also includes a free gift for those setting up a new account!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Have a homemade Christmas...

Have a homemade Christmas - homecrafts.co.uk

Breastmilk Popsicle

Now this is what I call using your own resources - making popsicles out of your breastmilk. Dylan's teething at the moment and I think it was not long after we started our Breastfeeding journey together that I saw a popsicle over on pinterest. I'm pretty sure it was done with a dummy, anyway I put it to the back of my mind as I thought we were a long way away from teething. I was wrong! Dylan seems to of been teething for the last few months, any day now he'll have his first teeth through. Teething granules/gel don't seem to be hitting the spot so my mind flashed back to those popsicles when I came across these gummy teethers that I use to use with Oli.

I expressed some milk into the lid of them and then stuck them in the freezer, we got it out a few weeks ago to use for the first time and it went down a treat with Dylan. He loved it. Not only did it soothe his teething gums but I think he loved the fact he was getting his milk at the same time. It gets a little messy so make sure you pop a muslin down underneath it to stop you from both getting soaked. Now that we've started weaning, I think I'm to have a go at making him some banana flavoured ones for him.

A snapshot, fool-proof and doable guide to bedtime routines for your little ones

Bedtime can be a huge source of frustration from a parent’s point of view. If you need any convincing, just ask your mum or dad how long it used to take to get you to sleep when you were a baby! The chances are that they will tell you that at times it felt like a bit of a battle. 

There are loads of ways you can try to make bedtime easier for both you and your baby. For example, you can make sure she has something comfortable to sleep on, like an organic baby mattress. However one of the most important steps is establishing a bedtime routine from a very early stage.  Read through the following tips and try introducing some of them before your baby goes to sleep. You should find that your routine will slowly but surely start to become easier.

Let’s play
Your routine should start about half an hour before bedtime by playing a fun game with your baby to help her relax. This can be a fun way to start off the routine but make sure you play something calming like ‘This Little Piggy’ though because you don’t want her to get too excited!

Bubbles and squeaks
A nice warm bath is another great way for your baby to unwind before bedtime. The warm water will have a soothing effect on her and adding some Johnsons Baby Bubble Bath can help make it fun. Unfortunately some children don’t enjoy bath time so this step may need to be skipped in some cases.

Kisses and cuddles
Another way to help your baby learn that it is nearly bedtime is by having her say goodnight to everyone in the house. This should pretty much guarantee plenty of kisses and cuddles which will help her settle down. You can even make a bit of a game out of it and say good night to her favourite toys or family pets. 
Cosy crib
Make sure the lighting in your baby’s bedroom is turned down low and the room temperature is comfortable (about 18 degrees Celsius is about right). As well as helping to create a cosy atmosphere which will help her drift off, this will also help her learn that night time is for sleeping.  

A treat before sleep
Your baby will not be able to sleep if she is hungry so make sure you give her a bottle of warm milk before bed. The milk will also give her a nice warm feeling which will help her to settle quickly.

Have a catch up
Having a chat with your baby once she is in bed is another great way to help her relax. There are loads of things you can chat about, for instance all the fun things she did today or what exciting things you are going to spend tomorrow doing.

Parents have been telling bedtime stories to help their children fall asleep for centuries. The sound of your voice can be very soothing and will help her relax. Once she is old enough, you can let her choose the story herself but you may well end up reading the same story every night!

Singing lullabies is another really popular way of helping your baby to fall asleep. As with telling a story, the soothing sound of your voice will have a calming effect on her. Quite often, you will notice that she starts to nod off while you sing but make sure you continue until you are sure she is asleep.

Soothing sounds
One last step that can help is to play some soft music in the background as your baby is falling asleep. This can be especially useful if your singing voice isn’t quite doing the trick! Playing some lullabies can have an incredibly soothing effect and should help her gently drift off.

Don’t feel under pressure to introduce all of these steps at once. Pick one or two that you think your baby will react to and start with those. Slowly introduce the others over a period of time and you will find that bedtime will become less stressful and, if you are really lucky, something you and your baby can look forward to! 

This is a sponsored post

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Giveaway Opportunity from Duracell - The Ultimate Halloween Party for Kids!

Duracell recently got in contact to chat to us about some new research which revealed that a staggering one third of alkaline batteries thrown away may still have up to 67% of usable power left inside. Have you ever thought to try those batteries in another device before chucking them away? Just because it's not powering the xbox controller anymore might not mean that it wont work in your TV control. I say that because that's my secret frugal tip - well until Duracell found this out and my secret was out.

They want to demonstrate that batteries that have been assumed ‘dead’ can be given a second life by trying them in your low drain household devices such as remote controls, clocks and torches. And as we approach that spooky time of year, they've pulled together a Halloween party challenge for me to enjoy with the boys. But not only have they've given me one, they're offering one of these to giveaway to one of you guys!

The box has all the ingredients for a Halloween party with our little monsters - including decorations, costumes and party games to play in the dark made even spookier by using a torch, run by part-powered batteries that have been rescued from the recycling stream! We're having a party next Wednesday so expect a follow up post with photos of our Duracell Halloween party.

To help prevent future batteries being sent to the recycling bin before their time is up, they will also include a pack of Duracell Ultra with Powercheck™. The unique built-in Powercheck technology is like having x-ray vision, allowing you to see the power left inside so you can squeeze out every last drop of available battery juice.  It’s as simple as pressing the white circles on each side of the battery and the gauge will indicate how much power is left. I dont know about you but I still find these batteries fun to squeeze at my age! Can be a great way of teaching your little one about batteries & power. 

To enter, we would like you to watch the video below and answer the following question - How many LEDs were used to build the Bunny sculpture? See the rafflecopter for T&C's.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, 22 October 2012

Potty Training - Complete!

Ladies & Gentlemen I present to you, ONE POTTY TRAINED TODDLER!

It's like mission completed, our journey has ended and we've reached the end of potty training. It's been a long haul but then I think that's been our fault, we got rather lazy when I was pregnant with the training so maybe could of had this completed sooner rather then later but we're now there and big boy nappy pants are no longer needed at all at bed time. That was the last task for us to accomplish - wearing pants at bedtime. I guess we let him lead the way on that one, it was only at Butlins when he had the whole week nappy dry that I thought once we had got home we could get rid of the nappies. Sadly that first night back in his own bed, he wet his nappy and then the next night. I was gutted, I thought we were on to something.

A wise friend who's just been through the potty training journey herself said to me that she just went for it with the whole pants at nighttime malarkey. Just as I was about to do this, stomach bugs hit the house. Yeah I wont go into details but to save myself from a horrid nappy I put a potty in his room and pleaded for him to use that if needs be. We have left his door open for him to use the toilet but I think he preferred this option. It worked and it meant no horrid nappy for me in the morning, well not from the toddler anyway *fist pumps air*.

I was happy that we were now on to pants at bedtime, but sad that we had the potty back in the equation. So I simply took that out of it again by getting rid so he had no choice but to use the toilet. I do think maybe we need to get a night light for the landing or maybe make the cord for the bathroom light longer so that he can reach it himself in the night. Guess we're figure that out but in the meantime we're going to celebrate the fact we're nappy-less. Yay!

Friday, 19 October 2012

The MAD Blog Awards 2012

Just a couple of weeks ago I went along to the Raddison Edwardian in London for The MAD blog Awards Ceremony. You may have remember me mentioning in the past that my blog has been voted and put into the finals for Best Pregnancy Blog in the Mum & Dad Blogging Awards. I only confirmed my attendance just a couple of days before as I wasn't sure how I would do the evening without a baby bouncing around, what made it possible was having the husband in a hotel room directly above me. Just as I was leaving the room to go downstairs for the ceremony, Dylan decided he wanted a feed. So I bought him down with me and sat in a room on my own whilst the rest of the finalists mingled and drank champagne. Me and him had a word, I told him we were going to have this feed and that he was going to go up to his Daddy and that this time apart was going to do us both some good. So this night was the first time I has been away from him since he was born, but it wasn't like I was that far away - just a elevator away.

And it did do me some good! I couldn't of asked for a nicer table, I was able to have adult conversation with Susan, Melaina, Clara, Merry & Lindy. I was able to eat with 2 hands and even have a few glasses of wine. The above photo was made possible by Seraphine who sent me the Sweetheart Nursing Dress last minute, which came very handy as during dinner I popped up to settle off Dylan to sleep. A rather beautiful Fiorelli Bead Charm Necklace and a last minute dash to Dorothy Perkins for some flat shoes as I had chickened out of wearing heels. Sadly my colour co-ordination is way off but I have ended up with some pretty glittery pink shoes. I also had make-up done by Arbonne and my hair was styled by Regis. I felt rather bad when I approached the hairdresser as my hair was a utter mess, thrown into a ponytail that morning as I tried to get 2 children and 1 husband ready to catch a train. She worked miracles and managed to give me a head full of curls and volume.

Table 7 hanging out with Myleene Klass. Picture Credit : The MAD Blog Awards.

I had a lovely night catching up with old and new friends, eating some delicious food including trying squid for the first time. It was nice to put some faces to blog names/twitter handles. What was wonderful was watching many bloggers that I've been following for a while be awarded with trophy's and prizes for the wonderful blogging work they do. We all as parent bloggers have families and homes to look after so to run a blog alongside this really is award worthy, I would make every blog I followed a homemade trophy if I have either the crafting ability or enough toilet rolls. Regis has blogged about the awards and have included a list of all the winners as well as a photo of me at the end.

Back when I was pregnant I remember getting through some of the days by following others bloggers who were also pregnant, there blogs had became my new must read and I was sharing in their maternity wardrobe and pregnancy woes. My original nomination went to Emma who's blog I was following each week with her weekly updates, she was just ahead of me and it was nice to see what was possibly coming up for me. I was sad that she didn't make the first round but was joyous to see that Alice, Luschka, Jennie and Heather had made the final. I guess this is why I never thought I would win as I enjoyed reading these blogs so much , I even voted and had my money on Alice winning!

What happened took me by shock, like totally actual shock. When I heard call my blog name I was actually stunned. I had the ladies around me nudging and telling me to go up. I may of cried, for that I blame my hormones and maybe the wine. Yes definitely the wine. I was announced as winner of Best Pregnancy Blog. I cant ever recall ever winning anything before and to of won something which represent my pregnancy which resulted in the greatest achievement with the birth of Dylan was a huge honour in itself. To know that you guys thought my pregnancy posts were worthy to of been of nominated in two rounds of voting was a another huge honour. I cannot thank you enough, I'm at the point where I visit my pregnancy mentally as I think about a third child. It wasn't a easy pregnancy, it was downhill from the moment it started.

Me pictured with Liz Weston from New Baby Guides. I cant tell if this is my shocked face or my wine face, either way it's not a good look for me. Picture Credit : The MAD Blog Awards.

Of course if I wasn't a crying wreck I would of gone all out on the thank yous and had of given big thank yous to the likes of you and everyone else who put up with my blog posts and tweets which were nothing but constant moans. Thank you for all your advice and tips and support in general. Jen, Hannah and Luschka who pointed me in the direction of doctors and the hospital when my sickness was no longer just a ordinary morning sickness. Kerry who put up with my constant whining and was there when I confirmed the pregnancy and looked after Oli whilst I was rushed to hospital when I had my first pregnancy mishap. Vic & Pippa who were there in so many ways for me. Oli for not abandoning his mummy when she was too sick to play with him. The husband for of course knocking me up and putting up with my despite me having the worst hormones ever and I guess the last thank you is down to my bump, Dylan. The one that I actually carried around for 9 months and who from the outside I was ill, he continued to stay healthy and was born giving me the home birth I had wanted for the last 9months, we'll ignore the fact we were taken to hospital soon after. 

I hadn't given any thought to the prize as I had no expectation at all of winning and the trophy to me was more then enough of a prize to me along with knowing people voted for me. The spa vouchers from my sponsor New Baby Guides was the perfect prize for me, I've never been to a spa before and it's given me something to look forward to once Dylan isn't so reliant on me for feeding. I had a fantastic time that evening and I'm so glad I gave myself that 'me' time away from the baby.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Amazon Family

We were asked if wanted to trial Amazon's new service - and was given £25 to see for ourselves what this new service was about. Whenever I see the word 'free' I'm instantly interested and wanting to know more! Well Amazon Family is free for the first 3 months and this includes :

  • £10 off when you spend £50 in the baby store.
  • FREE one-day delivery on millions of items with Amazon Prime.
  • At least £50 worth of exclusive offers each month.

The service which you can cancel anytime, costs £49 after your FREE 3 months. The benefits of this includes :

  • A further £25 off when you spend £50 in the baby store.
  •  FREE one-day delivery on millions of items with Amazon Prime.
  •  At least £50 worth of exclusive offers each month.

Signing up couldn't be easier, I was first asked for some details about the sex and age of my children so that they could give me personalized offers, emails and product recommendations. The first page I was greeted with was one full of offers and recommendations. Offers really do interest me these days what with having 2 children and trying to budget. I saw that I could get a free nappy bin if I was to buy the cassettes for it, bonus it that you're actually getting the item for the price of the items you actually need for it.

You can find everything you need with the handy suggestions, I have to admit to getting lost in suggestions of what is ideal for mum.Might email that section off the husband as a subtle hint for gift ideas. I liked the looks of the subscribe and save section where where you can actually save money on items that you actually use like nappies and laundry detergent, and you wont be without when you forget that essential item. Not much a necessity by I'm thinking of using this service to keep our Tassimo coffee machine regularly stocked with latte's.

Not only is it handy for buying essentials but it contains lots of guides to what you actually need to buy from a hospital bag checklist to a weaning essentials guide. I used the weaning guide to give myself a refresher on what we need now that we're weaning Dylan. I pretty much have everything still from when we weaned Oli but I did use our £25 to purchase some new spoons.

The rest was spent on something I consider to be a essential when helping Dylan to get steady on his feet and that was a Vtech baby walker. It can be used as a toy from the age of 6 months with the front coming off to be used as a floor toy. I'm going to be sneaky and put it away for Christmas where he'll be several months and even more into anything that has noises and buttons for him to play with.

For me this is a worth while service to be a part of as Amazon usually is my first point of call when it comes to buying anything baby/toddler related. I've even started calling upon it to do my Christmas shopping.

I'm only kicking myself because I didn't think to spend up to £50 that day to get my £10 off.  I guess that's what happens when you're suffering from a terrible case of 'baby brain'.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Managing alone with illnesses

The other days was one of those days where I just missed curling up in bed with the remote and having the ability to sleep the day away. I guess what I did instead made me stronger, reminded that we as mums can pretty much get through anything because we have to. I was so ill through the night, I was full of temperature and couldn't stop being sick. My poor rug suffered for it and so did the husband as he was nice enough to feed me with paracetamol and keep me topped up with water. I've never experienced a temperature like that before, not even in hospital when they've said my temp has spiked. I literally stripped off and sat naked in my living room, husband thought I was bonkers as it was freezing apparently in that room, he said this as he stood shivering away. I was convinced I had food poisoning but as the wise one said, he had exactly the same food as me so it couldn't of been. He put it down to the colds we have.

Yes those darling children of mine who have been full of flu have kindly passed in to their parents, over the last couple of weeks we've inherited shares in olbas, kleenex and vicks. That little nasal stick has been my best friend the last few days. I got up and I put food for Oli and anything he may need at the bottom of the fridge so that during the day he could go and get his own lunch and snacks. I also made up a few drinks, both for him and me. I really did have a sofa day, thankfully Oli understood I was ill and just enjoyed watching films with me and playing with his toys. The joys of breastfeeding meant no preparing bottles or anything so Dylan had a day of snuggles and whatever toys was bought to him by his brother. The day wasn't as bad as I imagined when I originally woke up and cursed the husband for having to go to work.

Of course you then have the other extreme where one of your child become ill so you need to give them lots of attention whilst still looking after the other one. It seems that a few days later Oli's cold (I'm still saying colds as I'm guessing that's where it all came from, I guess when we'll ill we're prone to get all sorts) gave him the same bug that I had. I went to his bedroom to find he had been sick in the night, I was so sad that I hadn't been there to comfort him but I didn't hear anything. He spent the day on the sofa and was just wanting lots of cuddles and to curl up and sleep on me but then I had to see to Dylan as well. The sick bowl came out again and Oli put it to good use, he couldn't keep any water down.

I guess it's times like this where the best of you comes out to play, I stopped sulking about being alone whilst ill and having to look after the boys and thought ahead to make the day easier. You just get on with it.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Essential One

I'm such a naughty blogger/mother as I've known about this fantastic baby clothing company The Essential One now for the last 6 months and have not uttered a word about them to you guys yet. I first discovered them when I was pregnant and I got a tweet asking for my address as they wanted to send me a gift for my new arrival. What they sent me got me hugely excited about our new baby which was due at any time. We received a baby blanket which was rather appreciated as I hadn't thought until then about a blanket for his carseat and pram. See you would think that being a second time mum I would know that but it's amazing how quickly you forget all things baby once you're faced with a toddler.

The Essential One seems to have all this covered with it's Newborn Baby List. The great thing about them is that they only sell what we need, which is great if you're like me and have a habit of going off and buying items that I just simple don't need.If that's not enough of a reason to check them out then you should see how adorable the range of clothing is! These are pictures from last season as I want to share the new A/W season with you in another post (any excuse to show off those cute baby photos!)

What I personally love about The Essential One clothing is the quality of the clothes, I find with baby clothing it can lose that new quality to it after a few washes. Several washes later and all of the clothing retained it's soft cotton touch. It didn't fray, bubble or shrink or look any different. I think they suit my boy's boys personality rather well, the colours are not dull and each outfit has a little motif to it.

This 3 pack of sleepsuits/baby grows pictured above is available on the The Essential One website for £18.00 which to me is a great price as it puts each sleepsuit at £6 which includes a matching drawstring bag which is handy to keep them in before baby arrives and afterwards to store them until another little one may come along. They each have integral scratchmittens which prevents baby clawing himself and as I like to use them, helps keep them warm now the weather has turned. You can even buy matching hats.

Considering I already have a household of 2 boy's, Dylan came along and made it 3. This baby all in one  - Mummy's New Man available for £12.00 makes me giggle and everyone who reads it. He certainly is my new man. The poppers at the bottom easily open allowing quick simple baby changing.

You can find The Essential one over on , or blogging away over on the new The Essential One Blog.

Why I don't believe in Halloween, but still celebrate it

I'm not a believer in Halloween, the thought of kids knocking on strangers houses for trick and treating makes me nervous. Them by themselves means the dangers of not knowing who's door they are knocking on and what about the sweets they're receiving, how are we to know what kind of sweet it is? I know, I know we shouldn't wrap them up in cotton wool and thoughts like this will just take the fun out of life. But I just cant help but to feel that way when it's comes to my children and strangers. Dressing kids up as devils makes me feel eery as well. I cant explain why but there's just something about celebrating hell & dressing up as 'a bad BAD guy' which makes me edgy. Bet you're thinking by now that I'm a right nutcase who takes the fun out of everything?

Well I don't, I do like to get involved with the fun of pumpkin carving and the dressing up. Despite the man's hatred of Pumpkins, we'll be buying some to decorate and carve. I've seen so many ideas over on Pinterest that I plan on using, I've pinned some to . We've actually got some people coming round for fireworks the night of Halloween so I'm going to do make some Halloween themed decorations. I think we'll be going down the American dressing up route of dressing up as other characters, I'm sure the toddler will have something in mind and for Dylan I have Oli's old cat all in one which he can wear.

The food Halloween brings with it excites me though, I'm a HUGE pumpkin pie fan and will be hunting down recipes so I can attempt my own in the next couple of weeks. I'm usually lazy and buy candy apples from the supermarket but I might have a go at making my own with the toddler this year.

What do you do come Halloween? 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Dramatic Change

The toddler has gone for a rather dramatic hair change which is a big change from the hairstyle he's had for the last couple of years. We've gone from long locks full of blonde curls to a short style which sees him with dark brown hair. He wouldn't stay still long enough for me to get a decent enough photo but I'm sure you'll see it in some future posts. To get this result, it took us a whole bag of haribo! Judge me if you must but no hairdresser would touch his head unless he keeps his head still. I'm hoping next time we can take sweet blackmail out of the equation.

Photos in Home Décor – Only for Students?

Students have been returning to college across the country over the previous month – and many others are taking the first tentative steps of their university lives. As a result, the papers have been full of advice for them, advice of all kinds. One of the most common articles aimed at freshers has been how to brighten up their halls of residence, with photos and posters remaining a staple of student décor.

Life after graduation
But just because posters are almost a cliché of a student's digs, is this any reason to eschew all such decorations in “adult” life? Once your student days are behind you, it is certainly healthy to look to the future and take on perhaps more responsibilities than in the carefree college years – but this does not have to mean throwing the baby out with the bathwater. While posters of your favourite bands or cult movies blu-tacked all over your living room wall may well suggest both scruffiness and arrested development, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of the recent advances in digital poster printing.

Photos are memories
Nowadays, a good poster printing company can turn any image into a high-quality work of art. Imagine your favourite black and white image of your child or family blown up to poster size and displayed in the same way that a painted portrait would be, or perhaps one of your most evocative holiday snaps – landscapes and city skylines are particularly good for this. Bear in mind how your photo-poster will be displayed, as well. Whereas in your student days a poster would be tacked up on a bare wall and gradually become dog-eared, now they can be professionally and inexpensively framed, allowing them to enhance the most smart and stylish living space.

Posters reflect your passions
The simple truth is that if you have any image stored on your computer or elsewhere that you would love to see on your walls, poster printing firms are able to make this a reality. Posters can and should reflect the passions of your life, and just as this was the case when you were a student, this can also reflect the changed realities and priorities post-graduation, such as family, travel or home-building.

Partner post

Picture source URL:

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Should TV be banned for those under 3?

So hot parenting news at the moment is that experts are urging parents to ban under 3's from watching TV. So blah da blah blah, nothing we've not heard before. It's another case of here's a study, decide for yourself if you should take it word for word or not. Of course it does have truth in it, sitting watching TV will make kids fat or obese as they call it. I believe that's the case if they're sit watching it 24/7 where no exercise is involved and they're sat eating unhealthy snacks in front of it.

I think the decision about TV and children under 3 is one left for the parents, the parent should decide exactly if their child should watch TV and how much of it they watch. I have no shame in saying that my very own 3 year old Oli has been introduced to the box, even Dylan's been treated to it. Only earlier he was led on his play mat staring up at Ice Age as Oli watches it again for what seems like the millionth time this year. That's the thing, Oli enjoys it so I'm no scrooge to take that enjoyment away from him. We don't seem to watch channels in this house, our on demand TV service provides various programmes and we seem to add a children's DVD to our collection everyday.

Personally I see nothing wrong with screen time and I can actually see it as educational at times, it helps to teach Oli new words as well as letting him hear the pronunciations as well as hearing words from us, a book or the TV which says a word which interests him, he'll repeat it back to us. I just see it as another source to help encouraging him with his speech. I also don't see it wrong to use it as a for of entertainment for them as long as it's not the only form of entertainment they know. Oli pretty much has the run of the house when he's not at play school, if he wants to do painting then we'll have the paints out, if he wants to sit and play with his toys - great, he's really starting to use his imagination to play with them now. But if he wants to watch some on the TV then I don't have a problem with that, especially now he's getting older and watching stuff that the whole family can enjoy. I think it all comes down to balance at the end of the day, my child isn't going to get obese watching the amount of TV that he does because he has he TV time balanced with exercises, books, toys and other stuff which doesn't involve screen time. 

What are your thoughts? Do you think TV should be banned for under 3's? 

Encouraging your children (even the boys) to try dance

Getting your children to dance is easy. Getting your child to go to dance class can be a little harder. It’s easiest to start at a younger age before they are influenced by other friends and their activities. It’s a great way for your child to make friends, keep active and be creative.

Girls are much easier to encourage: they get to wear tutus! If they’re not your average girly girl, they can try something more “cool” like street, jazz or tap dance.

Boys can be a little more difficult. Send them with siblings so they have someone to help them feel more comfortable – or mixed classes to start with, so they can get to know other boys doing the same in an environment where they don’t feel segmented. Ballet will always be the biggest hurdle. It’s still very largely seen as a ‘girl’s dance’ but it builds great strength, coordination, and balance – and so many will agree that a male ballet dancer faces more strength, stamina and fitness targets than any footballer. Show them other athletes or famous people who have danced which have helped them get to where they are today, or try more ‘cool’ dances as above – hip hop/street. It all gives them the same core abilities and when they are more confident they can decide which area of dance they want to specialise in.

If your child is very young, you can go to classes together. It’s a great way of spending time together, and you get to see how they develop and what they like to do. As they grow older, they’ll feel more confident to go to classes on their own. 

Dancing develops a sense of working towards something, and mild healthy competition, and performing in shows or working through exam grades is great for their confidence.
Children will differ with what like they to do. Some will follow the strict routine of ballet better, whereas others will need something more free and creative. But give them the chances to try out a few different styles to see what they enjoy the most. 

Children will always go through stages of not wanting to continue – eg new friends don’t do it, they can’t be bothered, they’re bored etc. Be careful when deciding how to support them: don’t force them or they’ll end up resenting something so wonderful, but encourage them enough to stick with it if it’s something they do genuinely love.

These tips and tricks for encouraging children to give dance classes a go were provided by Move Dancewear, dancewear retailers and providers of dance products based in the UK.

This is a sponsored post

Lift Shares – Getting your Family Where They Need To Be

All of us have struggled with getting our kids to the right place at the right time, particularly when there’s a few little ones running around demanding to be taken to football practice, a friend’s house and dance class.

Unfortunately, we parents can’t be in more than one place at a time and this often means that the children are a little late and we’re left stressed and tired from running around all day. Finding the right balance isn’t impossible though and working with a team of other parents can be a great solution to your problems.

While lift shares often arise naturally as the result of friendships or simple necessity, sometimes you may need to go a little further to find some help. Depending on where you’re taking your children, it’s usually a good idea to talk to the organisers of that activity and see whether there’s anyone in a similar situation.

If you’re taking your son or daughter to football practice, just have a quick word with the manager or coach and you may find that there’s someone just down the street that needs help with lifts as well.

However you get into a lift share, it’s important to remember that it’s a relationship that needs to be well balanced and consist of just as much give as take. Just because your new lift share partners have beautiful new crossover cars doesn’t mean that you should be using them more than they find themselves in your vehicle.

You’ll often find that a good lift sharing arrangement can blossom into a good friendship if you both treat each other with respect, so just remember to be there for them when they need a little help too.

Lift shares can also be great for your kids, as they get to meet new people their own age and interact with other children that they may never have met properly otherwise.

By being able to share the load with other people in a similar situation, you both benefit from a less stressful schedule and a little more time to relax and do your own thing. Family life shouldn’t be dictated by a never ending string of car journeys back and forth and, by using lift shares, it no longer needs to be.

Whether you or your partner is the one doing the driving, it is always good to know that you’ve got someone to call on for a helping hand. 

This is a sponsored post

Need a cheap courier you can trust? Who doesn’t!

In recent years the world has become a noticeably smaller place with the internet providing instant communication across the globe. These days you can find almost anything you could ever want online and have it delivered to your doorstep without having to get out of your armchair. Online courier companies also provide you with the ability to send almost anything to any location, again without you needing to do much more than simply hand your parcel to the courier when they arrive to collect it.

The best means of sending a parcel, though, really does depend on what you're sending and how quickly you need it to arrive. Knowing a little about the most commonly used methods of delivery should make selecting the best service for you that little bit easier.

Traditional postal services, such as the UK's Royal Mail, still represent the most cost effective means of sending letters and small parcels (generally anything under 2kg) overseas. You could find yourself losing out in other areas though. There will be no guarantee as to how long a delivery might take, and you won't be able to track your parcel's progress towards its destination.

In comparison, cheap courier services, of which there are an ever increasing number online, tend to provide a much more rounded service. You ought to find that a courier offers a comprehensive range of express and economy services to practically any location around the world. Additional benefits will include deliveries that require a signature, real-time tracking and a pro-active approach to resolving issues and delays.

We have more options open to us than ever before. Knowing just a little about what is on offer before making a choice should lead to a much better service and can even mean you save a few pounds along the way. 

partner post

Image credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Finance_g198-Piggy_Bank_p40055.html

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Victory is mine!

I did have this as a Facebook status but I felt the need to take it one step further, like blog post further. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the fact that I have BOTH my children fed, bathed and in bed by 7 O'CLOCK. It's usually not so rare to have Oli in bed by that time, he's simple enough to get to sleep. Book and a kiss and he's off like a light, long may that continue. Dylan usually a little later, by the time I've finished getting him dressed and all that other evening stuff you do when you have kids. His bedtime can easily reach 8 or later. Tonight I think is the first time since Dylan was born that I managed to get them both down together and maybe the start of a new routine.

We shared a spag bol, then the boys went in the bath together, got dry and dressed and the 3 of us went into Oli's room whilst I read him his book. Then Dylan had a feed and soon followed his brother into sleepy land. At the same time I heard Daddy coming in from work, he was calling out for all of us. He was in shock to find everyone in bed and asleep, he said he was afraid something bad has happened. Is it really that much of a shock? I think the fact I did it all and by a decent time by myself makes myself more worthy of the trophy I want to make myself, engraved with the time and date of this rare victory in this parenting malarkey.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Accidental Weaning

Husband's are just simply big ratbags aren't they? Mine made the mistake of opening up a pouch of baby food which has been in the cupboard for a while, thinking that the 4+ of it meant 4 years, not 4 months. So he opens it up and offers it to the toddler who rejects it with a 'yuck' and then hubs turns to me to ask why he didn't like it and why was I giving him the face of thunder. I explained to him that I was simply saving it for when we were weaning Dylan and in case I ever wanted to use it alongside our planned baby weaning. Oh the amount of times I've heard that man come out with 'oohhhh' in response to something wise I've said.

Of course now this pouch was opened with a toddler who didn't want it and a life date of 24 hours. I was going to bin it but I just couldn't bring myself to waste it, so instead I gave it to Dylan. Yep, just days after saying I was going to wait until 6 months and go down the baby led weaning route I choose to start his food journey now. Just goes to show that plans can change as a parent and not everything goes the way you want it too.

Part of me did it after seeing hubs face when going to offer Dylan the juice of something he was feeding Oli and then quickly remembering what I had spoken about with regards to introducing food. It broke my heart to quickly see him draw back and not go with something he wanted to do. He is at the age where this & that wont do any harm, I should of told him to ahead and do what he wanted that evening. After all we are both his parents and despite my obsession with Dylan's mouth belonging to me, he is his father.

I guess that's why I took that moment to give Dylan that pouch of flavours and me and the husband took it in turns whilst he was sat in his bumbo chair to feed him. Needless to say he has both his father's & brother's love of food and couldn't get enough of it. That time of introducing something other then my breastmilk came along and passed, I accepted that this is the next stage in our baby journey now. He's 5 months, almost sitting up and is turning into a right chatterbox already! Maybe mummy needs to start learning to let go a little bit more!

By the way, congratulations HIPP Organic on being the first food to be introduced to Dylan. We had banana, pear & mango which he very much enjoyed and it may grace our changing bag again in the future.
Newer Posts Older Posts Home