Friday, 30 November 2012

New Home

Britain’s Top Family Holiday Beaches

Snippets of UK coastal treasures & where to stay

The British Isles are home to some of the world’s bluest waters, sandiest beaches and hilliest green hills – three landscape-types that are perfect for family fun. This post looks into the top 10 beaches from TripAdvisor’s 2012 Traveller’s Choice Awards and cherry-picks the best ones with UK campsites nearby.

Sandy Stretches of Padstow – Cornwall

Padstow’s Tregirls Beach is one of the most naturalistic in Britain and has the country’s longest footpath (630 miles) running alongside it – a massive playground for families of all ages. You won’t find many shops, cafes or portaloos here but that’s the beauty of it, this is one of the few places in the UK where you can really escape.

Best thing for kids: Jumping the foamy waves at the water’s edge.

Where to stay: Perran Sands holiday park just 40 minutes away – surf school on-park is brilliant for the whole family. It is definitely one of the best campsites in Cornwall for beach access.

Double the Fun in Weymouth – Dorset

Weymouth’s beauty is twinned with the Portland peninsula and both holiday spots together really spoil our island’s south coast (in a good way). Weymouth and Chesil Beach share the surfable south tide and the softest dry sand. On top of the natural attractions here, families can visit the Sea Life Park for an unforgettable day out - throw some seaside fish ‘n’ chips into the mix and you have the perfect family holiday.

Best thing for kids: Dangling a net from the side of a bobbing fishing boat and making a catch.

Where to stay: Weymouth Bay or Littlesea – choose either because you can use the facilities of both no matter which park decide to book a holiday home at.

Beaches of Bournemouth - Dorset

Over seven miles of talcum-soft sand and warm summer winds make Bournemouth one of the big favourites for family holidays in the UK. As the spray of sea water lightly cools your face during a wave-cutting jet ski ride, that’s when you know you’re on a real holiday. Still, for more laidback holidaymakers, there’s nothing better than a fresh ‘99er and a paddle through the shallows. Bournemouth’s beaches have it all and for families looking to please everybody, it is definitely the top spot.

Best thing for kids: Playing hide and seek on the ferry ride across to Brownsea Island, where it’s all about spotting deer, peacocks and squirrels.

Where to stay: Rockley Park – just across the water from Sandbanks (home to the rich and famous), this 5-star park is right in the middle of the action. From watersports to the Bournemouth Oceanarium, there are endless days out to be had here. The best bit? Unwinding with an afternoon’s luxury spa before watching the sun go down over Poole Harbour.

This is a feature post from Haven 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Who told you to grow up?

The challenge of elderly care

Looking after the elderly is not without its share of challenges. The changes to an older body make certain tasks difficult. To this end, it’s important to know how you can improve the home to help improve their lives, granting them that all important sense of freedom and independence.

Whether it is about understanding the importance of space, walk in baths or a social life, there are various ways you can enhance their life and keep them safe at the same time.

This doesn't necessarily specifically relate to anyone living with you, either. We often have older family members, such as parents and grandparents, who live outside of our home. In these cases, it’s often important to keep an eye on their living arrangements. If they aren't suitable, some of the suggestions here may be just as useful.

A Sense of Space

First of all, it’s important to understand that elderly family members often face different mobility needs to others. To meet this, you need to ensure open space where possible. Tight spaces and obstacles only pose as health risks. There should be clear corridors and walkways, with open rooms with space to reach everything.

Mobility and the Bathroom

The mobility needs already discussed are just as important in the bathroom. This is a crucial area, where people tend to be alone. As such, in addition to the added risk of slippery surfaces, it’s important to have safe facilities.

Walk-in baths or showers are perfect for this, since they allow you to simply walk in. A lot of the hazards involved in such facilities are from having to strain to get in and out. A walk in option naturally circumvents this. Not only will such vulnerable members of your family be safe, you can also relax without having to worry every time they take a bath. Again, this all adds to building a strong sense of independence and freedom.

An Active Social Life

Finally, whilst it’s critical to address many home issues, it’s also important to encourage an active social life. Elderly citizens can often fall into the trap of staying at home. In family situations, this can be troublesome as it may create stress in the home. Elderly citizens need to get out as much as anyone else.

There are countless options available, with the likes of senior citizen's passes and offers making a lot of activities cheaper and free. Encouraging this is recommended, as it will also allow them to meet like minded and similarly matched people. Family and a home life are important, but the need for friends is just as crucial for a well rounded life.

In summary, this is only a short run through of some of the challenges you might face, but it should hopefully show some of the easy solutions. These are situations faced by many families over the years, so fortunately some simple solutions have been found over this time.

This is a sponsored post

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Christmas Presents from PlayMerrily

I don't know if you remember reading our Wooden Train Set review earlier on this year where we reviewed a rather lovely BigJigs Rail Set from PlayMerrily Toys. Well I thought I would do a follow on post to tell you a little more about our new wooden train set. I say new because even though it's several months old now it's in the same condition as it was when it came out of the box. Safe to say it's endured many toddler tantrums and teething attempts from the baby.

We've been such a fan of it that he now owns the BigJigs Wooden Roadway. Out of all the toys Oli owns these are the one lot which are touched everyday, at some point throughout the day I can guarantee you that his rail & road tracks are built by him and into some amazing shape which is different every time he puts it together. Maybe the endless possibilities are one of the many reasons it doesn't sit in the corner gathering dust like some of his toys.

For Christmas I've recently been purchasing accessories via PlayMerrily to add on to his tracks, starting with one which connects both his train set and wooden roadway together. I've been buying him so more trains for the tracks. Knowing that his tracks are so well played with fills me with so much excitement, I just know that come Christmas day, all these train/road track accessories are going to be his favourite presents. I'm rather sneaky at the same time knowing that all these wooden toys that I'm buying for the toddler will one day be played with by the baby and any other future children. I cant recommend these wooden tracks enough, they would make a fantastic Christmas present for the toddler in your life.

Has your child got a toy that they play with every single day?

Mommy Needs Love Too

Some of you might think that pregnancy means not being able to do all the things you did before you started carrying a child. Fortunately, this isn’t the case at all, especially if you have the right clothes to wear for the occasion. There was a time when choosing the right clothes for Christmas parties, birthday celebrations and even baby showers was hard, but it’s possible to get some great clothes for any big social event you plan on attending during this jolly ol’ season, even if your baby bump is beginning to show.
When pregnant, you might think your choice of maternity clothes for parties is limited, but you can find loads of maternity wear for all occasions online, like this one below.


When you see what you can wear, you may wonder what would work for different occasions and how it would look when you’re wearing it. If you want to wear a maternity address for formal events such as the office Christmas party, you will want it to be loose yet comfortable. White dresses are usually good, but something more festive like red or berry colour would also work for the Christmas season.

For informal gatherings, you might want to choose something more casual. If your friends know you’re pregnant, they will understand. As long as you’re happy and comfortable in what you’re wearing, that’s the important thing. You should be able to feel confident in what you wear, and by finding great, stylish and flattering maternity clothes, you can do just that.

This is a featured post from Tiffany Rose.

A Christmas Classic: Lego is always in

The appeal of Lego is something that has never seemed to waver, even with the unstoppable tide of technology which sees new high-tech toys and gadgets for kids emerge every Christmas. Many people carry a fondness for their old set of bricks well into adulthood and there's a powerful sense of nostalgia for the multiple generations who have played with it for decades.

Even the basic bricks collection with the familiar 2x3 and 1x6 pieces can be used to build just about anything and there's a huge choice of beginners’ sets for younger ones. The classic Lego City has kept the peace in many a Christmas household, with its endless possibilities, all stemming from the simple concept of daily life. Whether they want to play at firemen, policemen, train travel or shoot into space, this is a toy that can keep on growing to match your child’s imagination and can easily be added to, year after year.

Then there are the franchises: the iconic Lego Star Wars and the new addition, Lego Super Heroes. With both Marvel and DC Comics characters returning to the cinema in a big way over the past couple of years, the chance to build their own Batman or Superman is bound to be top of a few wish lists this Christmas. Launched to coincide with the first of the film prequels in 1999, Lego Star Wars has remained popular thanks to its collectible status among adults and space-age appeal for kids.

Today, Lego shows no sign of relinquishing its hold over the toy market, even pitted against the latest Xbox console or robot incarnation. Ingenuity and sheer variety has kept Lego at the top, with a set to keep everyone happy; whether boy or girl, movie fan or superhero geek. As Christmas gift ideas go, it's a safe bet.

This is a featured post

What I wish I had known as a first time mum..

JOHNSON’S Baby has asked me to write a note to self explaining what I wish I had known as a first time mum- so here it is!

Oh Emma as a mother for the first time you knew absolutely zilch about motherhood, it's not like it was on your curriculum at school. You were taught how babies were made and the process but not actually how to look after one once you had given birth. You had to self teach on the spot and it was something that you learnt about as you experienced it for yourself. I thought all those years of babysitting would prepare me for my future as mother but boy was I wrong. It didn't exactly give you a experience of sleepless nights or a idea of actually how many nappies a baby can go through in a day.

What I wish you would of known was that the one person that did know best, was you. You shouldn't of listened to all that silly advice that was being chucked you left, right and centre. You should have trusted your own instincts, especially as every baby is different and the one person that knew your baby the best was you. Why did you spend all that time worrying about that conflicting advice especially when you were told you were weaning your son too early? It didn't do any harm as you can see for yourself now. You felt the time was right for both you and Oli to introduce food so you did but then when you told people you were greeted by cries of 'you should wait'. I know now that the second time round, you've not batted a single eyelid at what anyone else has said. After all mum knows best.

Johnsons have launched a new campaign to coincide with the announcement of some results of some groundbreaking new research, carried out by the University of Manchester. The research has found that JOHNSON'S Baby Extra Sensitive Wipes and Top-To-Toe Bath are just as safe as using cotton wool and water or just water to cleanse delicate newborn skin. Based on groundbreaking new (independent) evidence, mums can now confidently make a choice when it comes to cleansing their newborn baby, right from the very first day.

Keeping baby’s skin clean and hydrated is important for their general wellbeing and happiness. Mums-to-be and new mums are currently advised by the majority of midwives and health visitors to use simply water alone when cleansing their newborns. Yet for many mums, instinct and the desire for both convenience and effective cleansing, leaves them facing a tough choice that can be at odds with this professional advice.

Endorsed by family health expert and mum of two young children, Dr Ellie Cannon says: “I know from experience there isn’t a mum out there that doesn’t worry about every action they take when it comes to their babies. There are plenty of occasions when there’s a mental tug of war over whether to follow professional advice or to trust your instincts and make a decision that just feels right for you, regardless of professional opinion. The findings of this clinical trial now give new mums one less decision to worry about, and actually provide them with reassurance and confidence to make an informed choice that’s safe for their baby – fantastic!”

The campaign that JOHNSON'S have launched is called Mums Know Best and this aims to empower new mums and women in the last stage of pregnancy to trust their instincts and have confidence in theor own convictions as they experience motherhood and learn to navigate the minefield of conflicting advice and opinion.

As you can see from my own note to myself I'm 100% behind the new JOHNSON'S Baby campaign and you will find no bigger believe then me in the fact that Mums do indeed know best. I'm also secretly relieved to hear first hand about this research as when we were in hospital that first week with Dylan, I was too tired to bother with cotton wool and water so took to JOHNSON'S Baby wipes instead.

Guess I was somehow convinced by others that I was doing wrong by my son to taking to him with a wipe instead of cotton wool and water, I think I’m afraid of getting told off. No mother should ever feel like that. At least I know next time instead of trying to hunt down someone for a bowl to pour some water into that I can just take straight to baby's bottom with a wipe instead.

“I have been asked to work with JOHNSON’S® Baby to write a “note to self” to coincide with their Mums Know Best campaign which aims to empower new mums and women in the last stage of pregnancy to trust their instincts and have confidence in their own convictions, supported by the groundbreaking new independent evidence proving that JOHNSON’S® Baby Extra Sensitive Wipes & Top-To-Toe® Bath are as safe to use as water alone on newborn skin.  They have paid me to write this post”

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Dear Mumma & Bubba

I really did try hard not to write this post. Especially as I think Nickie totally has it covered in her 'bad idea' post. I actually urge you if you're reading this to go and read her post before reading on as it covers it in so much better detail then what I can. I'm blogging to vent my frustration more then anything. Frustration that any parent would ever need to even think up a invention like a bottle bib. Have we actually got to busy for our kids that we cant even take time out of our day to sit and hold a bottle up for them?

It worries me that a mother would actually want to invent something like this, I think selling something like this offends mothers everywhere as well as offending our children. There's so many questions this produces such as if it's safe but for me the fact it's being marketed as something to replace the parent feeding the child just leaves me gobsmacked. If worrying about getting her ironing done over feeding baby, she really needs to rethink her priorities in life. For me the ironing can wait, would rather be spending that time with baby. Though saying that I don't iron, big fan of the 'hang it up & let the creases drop out' method.

My own personal advice to that mother would be that if you're to have a second child sometime in the future why not think outside the box and try breastfeeding whilst baby is in a sling? I can guarantee it's much safer then your silly contraception. Hey it's even got the benefits of being both great for you and baby. I admit I'm totally selfish in loving breastfeeding with how I can do so much at the same time as feeding him, hey I don't even have to hold a bottle up to his mouth. You my dear are just simply selfish by not wanting to do any of the work parenting involves. It might of been ok if you would of just chucked this idea out there but the fact it was followed with sentences like how frustrating it is holding a bottle is just told us what kind of parent you are. The fact you deleted your facebook page after receiving such negative feedback (what was you expecting?) told us you don't have faith in your own product. I'm guessing this so called bottle bib concept wont be going any where then your wild imagination?

I think I've qualified in the school of motherhood as there's nothing more I would rather be doing then holding a bottle to feed my child and having that precious one to one time with them. Take it from someone who no longer has baby in the form of her toddler who would much rather be running wild then having a 5 minutes peace and quiet with his mother, we do have it but not one where I'm in control. I'm savouring every minute of feed times with Dylan as I know it wont be long before he's joining his brother in running wild.

Lack of sleep? There's a name for it!

Washing your hair with shampoo for the third time in a row? Milk in the cupboard whilst the cornflakes sit in the fridge? Wanting the only thing in your hand to be a cup of coffee? Any of this sound familiar to you?

It probably does if you're a parent, especially if you're a parent to a newborn. I know at the moment me and sleep deprivation have made friends yet again whilst the baby goes through a bad teething stage. I'm spending my days in a blur, clock watching and counting down the hours until the man comes home so that I can hand the children over to him.

Johnsons have come up with a name for it - baby lag. They have a campaign on the go to help us parents combat this 'baby lag' and provide us with some tips and helping to get baby to sleep, enabling us to get a goods night sleep ourselves.

Dr Dev Banerjee, a sleep expert, has been working in collaboration with the JOHNSON’S® Baby brand on the Baby Lag sleep campaign and has given some great advice on ways to help baby sleep. I want to share the tips she gave if baby is crying. These are the first things to try when baby wont settle, I know usually for us it's either a bit of winding or a simple nappy change that is needed.

  • First of all, as a parent, check that the baby is not unwell. 
  • Check the temperature. Is there any vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation? Any rash may be a sign of an infection. 
  • Check that your baby is not too hot or too cold. 
  • Check that the nappy is not dirty. 
  • Think about colic. 
  • Generally, newborn babies are naturally anxious about their new surroundings, a simple cuddle for comfort sometimes can help settle the baby.  
  • If in any doubt, always ask a midwife, health visitor, and the GP for advice if you are really worried.

Johnsons have come up with 3 fun games to help determine exactly how 'baby lagged' you are based on your reaction times, co-ordination and memory. Once you've received your score , your introduced to a 3-step night sleep routine which just might help make a difference. 

What are you waiting for? Click below to take the baby lag test!

How to keep children healthy

There are many ways to keep children healthy but one of the best and simplest ways to do this is through the use of water purification filters. These filters remove dirt and chemicals that is found in standard tap water, making the water cleaner and safer to drink.

Purifying water has many advantages for children, with some people arguing that chlorine which is naturally found in drinking water is known to attack skin, respiratory systems and digestive systems if found in large doses. A water filter or purification system removes this chlorine from the water meaning that this risk is no longer there.

The dangers of unfiltered water

Unfiltered water has also been linked to many epidemics and outbreaks of disease, and although the water is filtered in a large plant before it goes to your tap, many people take the view that these large water treatment works simply can’t filter the water effectively - meaning harmful chemicals could still be present.

This is a reason why personal water filtration is popular; as you wouldn't want your child to be ingesting these chemicals. By filtering the water prior to use you are removing any chemicals or harmful substances and taking away the problem. By doing this yourself you know that you can trust the quality of the service as well.

Clean water is best

It is believed that filtered and clean water is best for a child’s physical and mental development as well as for the health; often prompting people to invest in water filters. There are many types of water filters you can buy - ranging from large whole house filters to filters you put into the bath to draw out chlorine. Investing in even a small water purification system is a very good way to help keep your child healthy and ensure they are not damaged by tap water in any way.

Of course, many people drink tap water and are perfectly fine. It has passed certain tests to be allowed to be consumed and is safe to drink 99.9% of the time. But when it comes to the health of your children, do you really want to take the risk that the water might not be safe – especially when the solution is so straightforward?

Water purification systems are relatively inexpensive to buy and this means you don’t have to worry about financial implications getting in the way. This means that you and your children can benefit from cleaner water without having to worry about any other problems. Alongside the health benefits which can be reaped from drinking purified water, you may also notice an improvement in your own health and appearance. Both your skin and hair needs to be hydrated to look healthy and some have claimed that drinking purified water has led to an improvement in the condition of their skin and hair. 

This is a sponsored post

Monday, 26 November 2012

Calm before the storm

I think last month I spent it questioning why life was so quiet. BOY I did a whole lot of jinxing when I was thinking that. Gone from wondering what to do with myself to not having any time at all to do anything. Teething has really made a impact and I think it has something to do with Dylan's sleep disturbances, that and the fact he's full of cold. Both him and Oli are full of it and all I seem to be doing is wiping noses constantly. If I'm not wiping bottoms, I'm wiping noses. Starting to think this parenting lark is all about the 'wiping'.I've inherited this cold as well but whenever I get past it I get a virus where my eyes swell up and I get the most horrendous earache.

So when I'm not wiping I'm trying to pack up a house. Yes we're moving AGAIN! This is the last time for a very long time, we've found ourselves the most perfect house with lots of room for the family we want to one day expand (thinking about that third baby). Last year we moved twice so to be doing again this year is a tad exhausting. I have spent the last few weeks excited but now it has hit me that I'll actually have to pack up this house and that our new house needs lots of work doing to it.I have all those issues to deal with like letting utilities know we're moving, trying to get the post office to redirect my mail. Which I've been trying to do online with no successful, the thought of actually having to go into the post office at this time of the year fills me with dread.

For some reason I'm struggling with the thought of leaving the house where I gave birth to Dylan. (I've STILL not got round to writing a post on my homebirth) I keep looking at the spot where I sat and had him and it fills me with so much warmth. The fact he's going to be going into his own room after spending his first several months with us in ours is a tear jerker alone! We're currently co-sleeping, well the night doesn't start off like that but we certainly wake up with him in our bed. This was something I was going to stop when he moved into his own room but I don't know if either of us are ready for that.

I'm spending the husband's money quicker then it comes in, with needing new furniture and Christmas presents to buy I think the word JOB may be creeping up with me next year. I do have some ideas in the pipeline but then with that comes needing time and time seems to not be a luxury anymore. I'm trying to think practical for Christmas presents, like Oli's going to be moving on from his cot bed into a proper single bed so I'm sneaking in the odd character themed bedding as presents. I've also discovered that I have some kind of OCD where I don't like paying full price for items, it seems that everything I buy has to be in a sake or offer of some kind.

I have a whole post I wont to write about customer service or shall I say lack of. Starting with the appalling service I got from First Great Western a few weeks ago, where the train man (not to sure on the technical name for him) refused to help me get on the train with the pram so then I struggled with trying to keep hold of a toddler whilst getting baby and bags on to the train. Thankfully some stranger helped me out, 2 seconds later and I was on the train. I've then had the Next courier leave a delivery right by my bins which has gone walkies, was already narked at it not arriving before 1pm which was the box I ticked on the website meaning that I went and bought the tops so that I could use them in a photo shoot.Then the other day I received the most shocking customer service from Morrisons as well as having a customer bang his trolley into me which has left me not wanting to go near a supermarket by myself anytime in the near future, especially not my local Morrisons.

Dylan seems to have discovered crawling, we're still waiting for him to sit longer then 20seconds by himself but crawling seems to be happening before everything else. Even before any teeth want to appear, we keep thinking one's going to appear but they just don't seem to want to break though the surface. I was thinking last night as I was eeking about the thought of a crawling baby and a Christmas tree that if he's anything like his brother then he wont be that fussed. The only problem with that is he seems to be the total opposite to his big brother, Dylan wants everything and anything! Who knew babies could throw tantrums? We get screams if we take anything off him which he shouldn't be playing with, which is rather a lot when you think about the amount of toddler toys we have.

So there's my last month. There's my randomness to last you until I next grab 10 minutes to babble (in this case it's why I'm trying to rock a teething baby to sleep!) We move this week so I guess my presence around these parts may be quiet for the next couple of weeks whilst we do all that house moving business and seek out a broadband connection. Hope the start of the Christmas holidays are treating you well?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A Viral Rash

It's a tad scary when you find your child covered in a rash, like REALLY scary. Of course the first thing you do is the glass test which we did and the rash faded. As the rash had started early that morning, come the evening and seeing that it had spread to his back has freaked me so I phoned NHS Direct. We chatted and I was told I would have a nurse phone me back, literally a minute after putting the phone down the nurse phoned. She didn't sound overly concerned and neither did me. I knew it wasn't anything and I was already convinced that it was a viral rash. She said if I wanted she could book us in to the local walk in which isn't so local as it's a few towns away. I passed and said that if he showed any signs that alerted us or if it got any worse that we would take him.

The next morning it has spread to his face and he was being more sick then usual so I booked him in with the doctors. I guess this was more for peace of mind then anything. She confirmed what we were thinking and that it was just a viral rash and that it would vanish in a few days. I took that photo of his tummy this morning so it's starting to look much better already. I guess it was just alerting to see my babies skin covered in something that seems so foreign, something which can be a sign of much worst then a viral rash.

It doesn't help that he's going through the trauma of teething at the moment so maybe the rash could even have something to do with that. I was even worried it was because of something I ate like I've been eating nuts the last few days and I don't think I've had those since he was born so I was wondering if he had a nut allergy. The doctor again put my mind at rest about that. I guess you just cant help but to be on edge when it comes to your babies.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Creative Christmas Gift Idea- Books!

Christmas is fast approaching, and when I say fast, I do indeed mean fast. Last time I thought about it approaching at all, it was only the end of October and I had plenty of time. I was also going to be super organised this year, and get all my presents well in advance. December is around the corner, and I’m still in the planning phase of presents, i.e. haven’t got any and have no idea what to get.

If you also need some gift inspiration, then read on, as I’ve stumbled across a very creative gift idea from Blurb.

Blog Books

If a member of the family is a keen blogger (subtle hint here to the man), you could transform their blog into a Blurb photo book, so that they have a hard copy of their blog. You can decide if all or just a selection of the blog’s best posts should be included in the book, and you can also choose to have full creative control of the design. Alternatively, you can opt for one of Blurb’s book templates. The process is very straight forward, and the end result is professional looking photo book.

Travel Books

If you need a gift for a friend or family member, who is a keen traveller, consider putting the pictures of their latest trip together in a photo book. Either use the photos you already have of the trip, or surprise them by putting the photos they posted on Facebook or Instagram into a book.

Cooking Books

Has someone close to you just started Uni, and are getting sick of beans on toast already? You could give them a self-created cookbook with all their favourite dishes in. Or if the family is full of Michelin Star worthy chefs, then why not take a unique recipe from everyone and create a family cook book.

Baby Books

You’ve taken endless pictures of the little ones, but they’re all just sitting on your computer or memory card. Surprise your spouse with a baby photo book created and designed yourself.

Friend Books

If a friend has recently had a big birthday or get together, or you simply want to remind them of some of the fun times you’ve had, then a photo book is a creative and personal gift option.
As you can see, there are many, many photo book options. This is why I wanted to share the photo book gift idea.
You can take my word that creating a photo book is an easy procedure, as I’m not that tech-savvy, so it’s a reasonable word to listen to. Or you could take a look at this video, and discover how simple it is. It might even provide you with some more photo book inspiration.

Lollipop Lane - Domino Stroller

Lollipop Lane, a leading UK nursery brand has launched it's first strollers into the UK market. We've been lucky to get our hands on one to review before it was released on sale. The anti-cruise stroller has been designed to keep in line with Lollipop Lane's design led approach. They are available in four contemporary designs - Harbour, Mariposa, Carnaby and the one we are reviewing Domino.

Now I think what qualifies us to review this stroller is that we've used a stroller back with the toddler, a stroller that was double the price of our new Lollipop Lane Domino Stroller. I was looking forward to comparing the difference between the two and finding out what makes this Lollipop Lane stroller stand out from the crowd?

What do you get in the box?

A Domino Stroller including wheels and fold-able canopy and front shade visor, a rain cover, instructions, a bumper bar, a cup holder and a reversible padded seat liner.

Setting Up

Putting the stroller together was quite simple, it doesn't come in any parts other then the main chassis and the two front wheels. These are easy to slot in following the instructions. The instructions themselves are informative with actual photos of what needs to happen with the set up of the stroller. I got slightly confused when it came to the liner but then seeing a actual photo of it set up put this right. Popping the canopy on was simple and clicked straight into place. Setting up really didn't take much time at all. This impresses me, I like simplicity especially whilst I have a toddler and teething baby to juggle at the same time. 


Storage wise we have a under basket, a zipped up compartment on the back and a cup holder. You also have the handle bars which are rather handy for a few 'light' bags but of course this isn't recommended, use your own common sense when it comes to something like this. The zipped up compartment is in a place where it's easily accessible to you. I love the fact the stroller comes with a cup holder, I think every pram should come with one. Though the toddler likes to store his drink cups in them whilst I like to put my bottle of water/cream fraps in it. Maybe every pram should come with two installed? The only downside to this cup holder is the fact it sticks out to the side but then it easily slides on and off if it's not needed.

Design & Features

The design of the stroller is what we call a umbrella fold and this personally is one of my favourite points to this stroller. It's lightweight which doesn't leave you struggling when it comes to putting it into the boot of the car or even carrying it up stairs. The chassis is aluminium providing a strong sturdy structure for the pram.

You have 3 positions with the back rest to which gives you the ability to put your baby in what position will best suit you at the time, though I didn't quite get chance to pop it back before Dylan fell asleep in it. I only went to adjust the straps, must of been rather comfortable.The foot rest is also adjustable which is handy as the child's legs start to grow.

I like the liner pattern and so did Dylan, it's common knowledge that baby's first colours are indeed black and white and this certainly got his attention. He was sat staring at it whilst I was putting the stroller together. The liner is reversible as well as being padded to provide head support/comfort. The stroller has a handle attached to the side which blends in well with the pram, when folded it's helpful to use this to carry it to where you wish to place it.

The foldable canopy also has a fold out sun vizor and a window which allows you to have a glimpse at baby without stopping and popping around to the front. The front support bar is handy feature which I found for myself was adjustable with squeeze of the button at the side, fab for as when baby grows you can adjust it for his arm reach. Great for attaching baby toys on to keep them entertained whilst on the go or simply to stop them from being chucked out the pram and being lost to the pavement below.

The Ride

Ok so if Dylan could talk I obviously ask him how he found the ride, he cant so I'm going to talk on his behalf. It looks comfortable, judging by the fact he fell asleep from sitting in for a few minutes tells me he likes the padded liner and that he needed not have the position adjusted for him. He fell asleep with it in the upwards position. He's currently at the age of 6 months when these photos were being taken and this review being put together, he sat up quite happily and comfortably. I guess this is where I releasing my baby is no longer a baby anymore. Though the Lollipop Lane strollers are suitable from birth onwards.

Pushing is simple, I don't think I really need to elaborate on that other then fact it was a sooth ride for our little passenger. The husband enjoyed pushing and noted how simple it was to get up & down the kerb. Height wise, the handle grips are in the right place for both of us to not have to bend over. The angle they are placed at provides our hands with a comfy hold along with the comfortable foam they are wrapped in.

The front wheels have a swivel and directional suspension whilst the rear wheels have suspension and a link brake. They are non puncture so no worries about getting a flat tyre and hunting around for a pump.

The Shopping Test

We live quite close to a supermarket so unless we're doing a big shop which is usually home delivered, we walk over to it. Of course this means having Dylan in a pram and the handy part to that is those storage options I mentioned. I'll be sad when our pram days are over as I'll actually have to carry the shopping myself.

Heading to the shops, I want a pram where I can push and hold on to the toddler's hand at the same time as we have roads to cross. Slightly difficult with a pram like this, though it is doable but then I think if this was my main pram then I would be teaching to hold on to the pram himself. I remember my mother doing the same to me when my younger brothers were in a pram.

Of course what we were really putting to test was the shopping basket, well I'm happy to say it passed. The storage basket attached made the most of the size of the pram and it was as big you could get it on this stroller. Of course it's used to house the raincover so you've never caught in some rainstorm without it, but this folded doesn't take up much room and leaves plenty of room for storing other items such as your shopping. I put the much heavier items like the husband's iron bru and the tins of baked beans, it didn't even add much weight to the pram and was just as easy to push when the storage basket is empty.

Safety & Technical Information

The straps to me are one of the most important aspects to the pram, I'm happy to say it has a 5 point harness which is the most important safety feature. Adjusted to your baby's size this will keep your baby safely strapped in and kept in the right position whilst going up and down the kerb/partaking in Daddy's pram pushing. The pram also as a safety lock.

Unfolded Size: L: 83cm W: 50cm H: 107cm

Package Size: L: 26.5cm W: 21cm H: 107cm

Net Weight: 6.9kg

Handle Height approx: 100cm

Overall Thoughts

I really like the stroller and was surprised by how much so, it was the first time we had put Dylan in a forward facing situation and as the husband pointed out he probably enjoyed being able to see everything without our faces staring at him (his words!)

It is different to what the competition is offering on the stroller market. You're getting your money's worth when you think about how other stroller companies are trying to make more ££ out of you by selling accessories separately. For me I give Lollipop Lane a big thumbs up for including a padded liner, bumper bar and that luxury of a drink holder.

The Lollipop Lane Domino stroller is available now over on the Lollipop Lane website at a RRP of £95.00.  And we have a special Loved By Parents offer for you where if you place a order for a stroller before January 31st 2013, you can add a Treacle & Bubble luxury blanket (worth £14.99) to the basket for free using the code LBPlolly.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Keeping Santa alive for kids: when to burst the bubble?

For many children in the UK, the very idea of Santa Claus underpins the magic of Christmas and is the main reason it's often their favourite holiday of the year. But the time will eventually come when, as parents, we have to break the news that Santa Claus does not exist. Timing can be crucial to avoid heartbreak, so just when is the right time to burst the bubble?

One thing that's certain is that the message should come from parents or close family and not a third party. Avoid the scenario where your children return home from school heartbroken after being told that Santa isn’t real by their teacher - one supply teacher even lost her job in 2008 after telling a class of kids that Santa was a myth. The message should be calmly and clearly communicated to your child by you, when you judge the time to be right.

Some would argue that children should be told straight away that Santa doesn’t exist, before the myth can become ingrained. Others believe that this may not be the best course of action. The myth of Santa Claus encourages good behaviour in return for a mystical delivery of toys, whilst also encouraging a sense of community and tradition amongst young children, increasing their awareness of a long-held tradition and teaching them that Christmas gifts don’t come without cooperation on their part.

Whilst telling children too early is certainly a risky strategy, the same can be said about leaving it too late. The older a Santa-believer gets, the higher the risk that they will be ridiculed by other children who know better, or find out in uncomfortable and upsetting circumstances. Finding the balance is crucial, and keeping up to speed with how other parents at your child’s school are dealing with the issue is a great way to find the right time.

It’s important to remember that children aren’t ignorant to their surroundings, and, more often than not, a child will discover the truth for themselves, without the need for a frank conversation. They too will see adverts encouraging parents to buy Christmas gifts or overhear conversations about presents bought for other people, and may slowly come to the conclusion that Santa Claus is a fun idea, but that even without him, presents will still emerge.

If you feel that telling children yourself is the way forward, then finding the right tone is important, as is making sure they fully understand before finishing the conversation. Taking a historical approach and explaining the story of Saint Nicholas is one time-tested method, whilst other parents prefer to let religious teachings and thoughts take over from Santa Claus, with a focus on the nativity and the importance of celebrating the birth of Christ. However you choose to break the news, remember that the hurt of learning the truth will quickly be forgotten come Christmas morning.

This is a sponsored post

The Yummy Mummy

Yes we are mums, yes we have 1000 things to do in the space of one hour, and yes we are absolutely excellent at multitasking……as we have no choice, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose our amazing fashion sense we had BC (Before child). It is understandable that we won’t have as much time as we used to when we were young but we need to remember that it is important to make time for ourselves.

I have chosen to write this post to put emphasis on the importance of looking and feeling great! Not for those out there who have to look at our unmade faces, but for the way you feel about yourself. We spend our lives making others happy (Because we are just so nice like that) but what about making ourselves happy. Buying ourselves a couple of pairs of boots or a nice coat isn’t going to kill us, it is winter after all.

With that in mind, I have chosen to write this post to show all of you lovely ladies that there is a way to keep up to date with the latest fashions and it doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank.

Invest in a statement coat and boots

Coats and boots are the only two things you can wear more than 4 times in one week, and this is why I like to invest in an excellent warm and stylish winter coat and some fabulous boots. I can’t wear heals that I used to wear when I was younger so I prefer to wear a gorgeous pair of flat boots which look simple and tasteful.

I don’t know about you, but I have never had the slimmest carves. No matter what I do or how hard I work out I still have chunky legs, and therefore sometimes it can be slightly difficult getting my legs into thigh high boots….if only we looked like Julia Roberts in pretty women.

This is why I have collated a selection of gorgeous boots from House of Fraser and a couple of statement jackets which I believe immediately smarten up an outfit and can be worn with absolutely everything.

If you’re anything like me you would like to stick to darker colours, but that doesn’t necessarily have to mean wearing black to every event. This season I think plums, purple; brown and toffee colours are the gorgeous alternative to the classic black. As always black goes with absolutely everything so don’t got throwing out all of your beautiful black ensembles but try and team them with a little bit of colour, whether you dare to wear red or would like to stick with the autumnal colours.

For those of you out there who love their bright colours and 6inch heals these are the outfit choices for you.

These two pairs of boots make me melt every time I look at them, if you are like me and wouldn’t be able to last longer than 5minutes wearing these in the day then purchase them for your Christmas nights out, you will stand out and indeed look a very yummy mummy.

This is a sponsored post

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Breastfeeding Doll? So What?

So recently the media got sniff of the fact there's a doll out there that's a breastfeeding doll out there. So what? Big deal being what exactly? That there's a doll that promotes breastfeeding just like there's a doll that promotes bottlefeeding? I don't think I've read a article which read 'BOTTLEFEEDING DOLL, SHOCK, HORROR!'. If it bothers you, simply move on with your life. You obviously have a problem with breastfeeding UNLESS of course your sharing the same fears as me. What I do have a problem with is young girls getting there assets out when they don't need to be, not yet not until they have children of their own. Of course that's not what one certain daily mail article was about, it seemed to of grasped at the chance to have a dig at breastfeeding instead.

This doll could be a great doll for a parent trying to explain to another sibling what they are doing, I know Oli gave me a fair few weird looks at first when I started breastfeeding his brother. Of course now that's the norm for him to see. Which is what breastfeeding is, normal. It's not something that should be looked away from in horror, it's something that should be admired like all natural things are. What has angered me is that in the first few lines of this article it wasn't really about the doll, it seems to of opened up the whole bottlefeeding/breastfeeding debate yet again. Which I guess was the aim, nothing like a big wooden spoon take to that subject to get some readers and some debates on the go. I guess I've fallen trap to that with my reaction of anger and disgust at reading such

I don't think personal opinions should be something that is said aloud, it should be kept personal. The daily mail article journalist has spoke her personal opinion out allowed in the public and there for create another public breastfeeding vs bottlefeeding debate. I don't think I've expressed my real personal opinion on the subject, not even here on my blog. But I will right now and this is the only time you'll hear me saying this on my blog, to me breast is best. Yep I even used the cheesy line of 'breast is best', you'll also find my husband quoting that too. In this house we hold a stance that breastfeeding is the way forward. I also think you shouldn't knock it until you've at least tried it. But like I've said, that's my personal opinion.

What you will not ever hear from me is any negativity towards those who bottle feed, it is down to every parent how they want to feed their own child. I will not cast any evil looks/words to those who bottle feed or even bat a eyelid because it's none of my business. I will not be waving any banners or handing out any flyers (though you will find me taking part in breastfeeding mobs, dedicating a pinterest board to & pretty much blogging about it every other week), if any breastfeeding woman came to me wanting advice and support I would happily past down the help and support that I've received. Exactly the same with any bottlefeeding woman who came to me in the same way, no different treatment simply because of the way they choose to feed their child. 

Oli being bottledfed & Dylan being breastfed

I've bottle fed one of my children and I'm breastfeeding the other, I've been on both sides so I think this qualifies me to have to have a say on both seeing as I've experienced both methods. One of my children knows bottles and the other one will never know what bottles are. I've seen and learnt the differences with my own eyes. I'm not going to go into these because I don't have to justify either way of feeding, I do however at the end of the day have two healthy boys despite being fed in 2 different ways.

I have a issue in how this article spoke on behalf of people that breastfed, trying to make it seem like we're all bottlefeeding haters. I don't think I've ever read publicly anywhere that someone has accused a mother of child neglect simply for not choosing to breastfeed her child. If this author feels that way about bottlefeeding then maybe she's got hidden guilt? If she feels criticised that I think she has issues which shouldn't be taken out on those who breastfeed. Simply buck up your ideas and back up your own decision. She's obviously got a backbone if she decided to stir up this whole breastfeeding vs bottlefeeding again.

I think it's about time we moved on from this, there's no debate to had especially over people's own personal opinions which is kinda what it bottles down to at the end of the day. If we've taken on this decision to become mothers then I'm pretty sure we're capable of deciding how to feed our children be it formula or breastmilk.


Monday, 12 November 2012

Thinking About That Third Baby

We want three children, simple as that. We would like three children in our family, to complete our little family. Though I doubt I can get away with calling it 'little' for much longer as the boys start to grow. Me and the man have both said that we want three children so that's great that we're both on the same wave length. But the next question after that is when? When do we add a third child to the household?

I guess I would NEED to be completely over that mental trauma of my last pregnancy to be able to go through pregnancy again. But then why go to that effort if my pregnancy is again like the last one? What if from day one my sickness is horrendous and I'm spending more time in hospital then with my children, the husband losing money or worse, his job from having to juggle the children, the house and me. The sickness finally subsiding to be greeted with hormones of the worst kind. How will I be able to do a pregnancy like that again with two children?

At the moment I'm really enjoying Dylan and giving him my full attention (as well as his big brother of course!) and I cant imagine sharing all these first moments with the prospect of another baby on the way, if that makes sense? I want to enjoy Dylan's first couple of years without any other distractions. I guess I like the thought of having only one baby at a time. Someone told me the jump from 2-3 is harder, is it more difficult to divide your time amongst three then two? I know God only gave us two arms but I'm pretty sure I've mastered the art of using the toddler as a extra set of arms at times of need. 

I do blame Dylan in a way for me thinking so often lately about this future third child of ours, he makes me incredibly broody and apart from the odd teething tantrum he really is a well behaved baby. Him and Oli together have the most amazing sibling relationship and everyday I wake up so full of joy because of these amazing children. I even have crazy days where I want more then 3 of these joys, the husband doesn't have those crazy days but then I do believe we should never say never.

We knew the time was right to start trying for Dylan when Oli was at the age of two and I certainly have no regrets about that now. That was the perfect timing for us, Oli is now potty trained and doesn't need a pram to get around. Since Dylan was born we only had one baby in nappies and needing a pushchair. Oli is at a age where he didn't bat a eyelid about a sibling but then I guess that's down to the person he is. I'm pretty sure Dylan is going to grow up being the opposite to his brother and he might freak at another sibling coming along.

So saying that I guess I've answered my own question, so I would have 3 years between my children. But is it right to plan when to have your next child? I guess anything can happen in the next couple of years so of course nothing is ever set in stone.

When did you know the time was right?


Dylan got sent a pair of UGGs to review and what perfect time considering the trees are now bare and we're now having to de-ice the car in the mornings. Yes, winter is upon us which means it's time to wrap up warm. When it comes to keeping the baby warm, it's more of a mission

We've been reviewing the INFANTS ERIN style UGGs in a rather adorable baby size perfect for the cutest of baby feet. In this case Dylan's feet. Now I'm a huge fan of leggings for boys but struggled to find suitable footwear to go with them, of course he wears socks but putting shoes on him just looks silly. And I'm not keen on putting feet which are still growing and forming into shoes. These UGGs seems to of solved both those problems, they go fantastically with his leggings and they are rather spacey and soft for his feet.

They are made from genuine twinface sheepskin and are extremely soft to the touch, ideal for my sons delicate baby skin. Popping them on to his feet cant be any easier, they are held in place with a simple velcro fastening.

The gift box they came in help to make them a great gift idea, I know I would of appreciated these as a gift for my baby. I've kept hold of the box so that when Dylan outgrows them I can pass them on to a future sibling. And it doesn't matter if that future sibling is boy/girl as the ERIN UGGs are unisex. Though if you wanted a girlie colour, they come in baby pink as well as chestnut.

I think I may of been finally persuaded to treat myself to a pair of Women's UGGs after seeing for myself the quality of the UGG boots. And yes because I'm jealous that my 6 month old has these rather cool boots whilst I'm left wearing trainers with holes in.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Stocking filler ideas for me, the man, the toddler and the baby

With less than 50 days to go until Christmas, the big day is fast approaching – trust me, 50 days is not the much, especially if you have a larger extended family.  If – like me – you always leave present buying to the last minute, then you need to get organised this year - and I’ve already starting thinking of a few stocking filler ideas. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

The Baby

It's Dylan’s first Christmas this year, meaning it’s going to be a special time with my family and friends. The magic of Christmas is all about spoiling the children – whether they’re yours or somebody else’s - and spending some real quality time with them. For Dylan, I’m going to treat him to a festive onesie to keep him snug and warm throughout the winter. Plus, it’ll make for some cute pictures.

The Toddler

The present pile for Oli next month when he wakes up on Christmas morning is likely to be massive. Oli loves Fireman Sam, so I’m going to get him a soft talking Sam doll – even though it may just end up driving me bonkers by Boxing Day. It’s also a toy that Dylan can enjoy when he’s a bit older as well and this is something I think about when buying birthday and Christmas presents.

The Man

Buying for your other half can be tricky sometimes, especially for those with joint bank accounts, which can make planning surprises turns into a covert mission at times. This year I’ve been looking at luxurious mens underwear online at FigLeaves or a comfy morning robe. The reason for this is because it’ll look more natural on the bank statement if he checks it. Genius!

And finally…Meee 

While I was looking at that site for potential presents for him, I noticed just how high quality the nightwear from is – hint, hint! Being a mother of two, it can be too easy to just go for the comfortable and practical option when it comes to underwear, but I don’t want to end up looking like Bridget Jones in her big pants. No, I want to look and feel great this Xmas. 

This is a feature post from Fig Leaves

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

I Have a 6 Month Old!

Can you believe it? Because I cant. We're half way through his first year and it's just gone so incredibly quick that I was actually pleading to Dylan yesterday with tears in my eyes, just to slow down or just stay at this stage for a little longer. I only know from experience with his brother that this first year goes so fast and before you know it, you have a potty trained toddler.

When pregnant with him, I feared how I would be able to divide this love that I had for Oli with another child. Oh what a silly thought that was. My heart got bigger, it gave me more love and gave me another reason for waking up every day. Serving these boys everyday is a pleasure, being a mother and making my own plan on how to raise them and shape them into men.

He's made me more soppy, as I sit writing this I'm in tears. How do I sum up the last 6 months? How do you describe this love for another human being?

Our pregnancy journey was rubbish, regular reader or friend - you'll know why. I didn't bond with my bump/unborn child until last months. Pregnancy turned me into a monster and I spent pretty much most of it in and out of hospital for so many different reasons.

I've not posted about our homebirth experience yet, 6 months on you really think I would of said something about it. I've blogged our birth story but I've not really elaborated on our homebirth, I think once I've finished writing this and finally stopped blubbing, I'll make a start on it. I guess the fact we went straight to hospital after casted a shadow over it, I've not even finished writing about our stay in hospital. I have part 1 & part 2 about his infection but 3 & 4 are yet to be finished.

Guess with Dylan came less time to do anything, being a mum of 2 is the most amazing job in the world but can be so time consuming at times. The clothes load doubled, the housework piles up and you find yourself not really being bothered to do anything at all other then slob on the sofa after one night feed too many. With that comes the crazy amount of dry shampoo you go through, I've learnt that you can go 2 days without it and then 2 days with it until you really need to get your lazy arse into the shower.

6 months, gosh. I'm doing what I do in real life - babbling. When I'm nervous/afraid/sad/any emotion in general that I just chat rubbish. I guess over the last 6 months I've been feeling all of those in one way or another. When he was born, I was so nervous about owning a newborn. My head had been auto-tuned into toddler mode, Oli's newborn days were long gone. I didn't even know how to hold a baby! I was afraid of not coping, I didn't know how Oli would take to a new sibling and I was worried that we wouldn't breastfeed which was something I had my heart on ever since failing to do it the first time around. I'm sad, sad at the moment that the newborn is going. Yes we want another baby but then the newborn part will fade again and then the baby days are over for me and I'll be moving on to teenagers. This makes me sad as well as excited at the same time.

Again babbling!

Dylan, over the last 6 months has changed by the day. He's developed a personality, a cheeky one. He knows how to make us smile and likewise. He is gorgeous, major cuteness is coming from him and I just cannot stop taking photos (apologies to my followers!) of this cuteness. His favourite person by far is his older brother, Oli can do no wrong in his eyes and they are already the best of friends. My heart flutters at the thought of this friendship blossoming over the new few years. Breastfeeding is our amazing journey together which is one of my favourite times of the day, especially in the evening when we have cuddles before a feed and as he drops off I get to watch him fall asleep whilst having the best thing in the world - breastmilk.

We're still ebf but feeds are slowly starting to drop now that we've introduced food. He's already upped himself to 3 meals a day, I swear the reason he gets so excited in the mornings is that he knows once we hit the stairs he's soon going to be having his porridge. We're having issues with veg but boy does he love his fruit, such a sweet toothgum. He's been introduced to the wonders of water, he also enjoys this and just yesterday I started him with a doidy and he's taken to that much better then his little sippy cup. I can see we're going to have fun teaching him how to drink from a cup.

We thought he has mastered sitting up but then he decided that he didn't want to sit up and that rolling around the floor having his brother wait on him was a much better idea. Yeah he has us all wrapped round that cute little finger of his. He's doing the whole bringing his knees up and slowly starting to rock, I remember Oli doing this leading up to crawling. The baby babbling has started and I really enjoy watching exercise his lungs whilst finding his voice.

Basically.. The first 6 months of Dylan's life has rocked, we cant wait for the next 6.

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